Now we all know the truth. Mark Prior is finished in baseball, and Sammy Sosa is as good as he ever was. How foolish the Cubs seem now, to have given up on a proven producer, while never giving up on a proven underachiever. I suppose it is only a matter of days now until Prior’s imminent release from the club becomes official. Later that same day, Slammin’ Sammy will be near the mound, microphone in hand, surrounded by such Cubs greats as Santo, Williams, and Banks. Jason Marquis will trot out towards Sam the Man, and will take one look at Sammy, and then he will remove his jersey with #21 on the back, and give it back to its rightful right-field owner. As Sammy somehow manages to speak to the packed Wrigley crowd without the use of an English interpreter, he speaks in such a sincere and Gehrig-esque prose that despite the fireworks that fill the night, and the roar of the military jets engines flying overhead, nor the earth-shaking chants of the Cubs Faithful in the stands, the only sound any of us can hear is the beating of our own hearts, which have all been moved so mightily by the man blowing kisses to the heavens. Umm, yeah….you know better….
Two words for everyone: Spring Training. Four more words for everyone: These games mean nothing. I feel a little like the doctor from Airplane who starts slapping the hysterical woman, to get her to calm down. Let’s break down the starting rotation first:
- Prior or Miller
The fifth starter won’t be Neal Cotts, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, or any other human that wasn’t already penciled in as a likely starter before Spring Training got underway. The only way that rotation changes is if there are a few injuries, and then we may see someone like Guzman sneak in. Otherwise, I am not sure if there is any drama to be had. Reading some of Prior’s comments in the papers, he insists his velocity was in the low 80’s last year in the beginning of spring as well, and that he expects to get his velocity back. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that. Whether he is a better option than Wade Miller remains to be seen, though, as I want the pitcher on the mound to be the guy that gives the Cubs the best chance to win, and not because he is the guy that has the best pedigree or who supposedly had the most talent 4 years ago. While Spring Training doesn’t mean much, it is nice to see that our first four starters in our rotation are injury-free, and seem to be throwing the ball well, as expected.
The Stone Cold Truth….
I miss Steve Stone. I even liked Chip Carey, too. I am sure that Len and Bob are nice guys, and do an ok job, but for about 20 years, Cubs baseball on TV meant that I got to listen to Steve Stone, and someone with the last name of Carey. Now that the cause for the broadcasting exodus, Dusty Baker, has been vanquished from Wrigley, why isn’t Stone back in the Cubs fold? Some things in this world are just common sense, and having the entertaining and enjoyable talents and personalities of the likes of Steve Stone, and even Mark Grace, during Cubs games are perfect examples.
Final Thoughts….Come On, Already!
There are not going to be many surprises coming out of Spring Training this year. Really….just think about it: do we have a controversy at 3rd base? How about catcher? Do we know who our closer is? What about our setup guys?
The fact is that this team is so deep, and so loaded, that all the positions, except for 5th starter in the rotation, have already been figured out. Even the 5th spot has quality names in the mix, and not unproven or unknown rookies. Ok, maybe I am curious about DeRosa’s ability to hit, and Soriano’s ability to play CF, but other than that, I think I know what all our everyday players brings to the club.
So hurry up and finish these Spring Training games, as I am ready for the games to matter, and ready for the Cubs to take the lead, and keep the lead, in their division all year long. Until next time, CCO Readers, let’s keep an eye out for Gracie and Stoney, and maybe even for a Sammy Hop here and there, get ready for a season for the ages, and let’s go Cubs!