The big guns at Wrigley have been firing regularly all September. Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee have all been hitting with the kind of power we expected from them back in April. None of them are showboating, selfish superstars….they do their business, and when they succeed, they act like it was supposed to happen. It reminds me of Walter Payton scoring a touchdown….unlike Terrell Owens, when Payton scored, he acted like a guy that has done that before. That is staying classy. Too often, overconfidence and arrogance are defense mechanisms disguising one’s insecurity and fear. The Cubs don’t need the semblance of cockiness….they need only to believe in themselves, put in their best effort every day, and never give up. Lately, that is the persona I have seen from this team, and it couldn’t be happening at a more opportune time. The stars are all aligning, CCO Readers….so are you still worried about the Brew Crew? You know better….
On January 26th, 1900, Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter to Henry Sprague, in which he referenced a West African proverb “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”. Good ol’ Teddy mentioned that had he yelled and blustered, he would not have gotten the votes he needed for his initiative.
A few years later, the Cubs would win their last World Series….
I actually disliked the 2004-2006 Cubs. I disliked them because of their attitude. They whined, complained, and blamed….over and over again. They ran announcers out of town (who blames announcers, honestly?!?) they alienated fans, they underachieved, and all the while they never seemed to take any responsibility. Even their leader couldn’t think to say anything other than “c’mon, dude….” when asked to explain why/how his players remained arrogant, despite their incompetence on the field. Certain bad characters are now gone, and good riddance, and the new management seems to hold the players accountable for their actions, and the players have followed suit.
Is it karma, fate, or just a big cosmic coincidence that this team seems to be made up of more-work/less-talk players, and they are now destined for the playoffs? Some people say there are no such things as coincidences, and others say that connections can be found for just about anything in everyday life, if one looks hard enough.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but ol’ Teddy did address Henry Sprague as “Harry” in his letter….so that has to count for something, right?
A new beginning….
Congratulations. You are the new owner of the Chicago Cubs….arguably the most popular baseball franchise in America. The team you bought just set an attendance record, and won the World Series. Your future looks really, really bright!
Far-fetched? It is more possible than I could have imagined in May, that is for sure. The turnaround of this team has been great, and I don’t fear any of the other NL teams enough to feel the Cubs couldn’t win a 7-game series against them. As far as the American League goes….let’s worry about that when we get there!
Zambrano, Lilly, and Hill can get the job done as starters. I think Hill is the biggest wildcard, as when he is on, he is lights out, and the only reason he fails is when he loses his mental focus.
The bullpen is as good as any in baseball, even if Dempster delivers scary moments. Don’t be surprised if Marmol closes a playoff game or two. Lou Piniella should be smart enough to know that you don’t get to a World Series every year, so when you do, you need your best players on the field as much as possible. Look for a lot of Bobby Howry, Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, and Scott Eyre out of the bullpen, in the playoffs. If I see a lot of the other guys, I will be disappointed.
If the offensive lineup can stay healthy, I think they are all peaking at the right time. Even Jacque Jones is due for a 2-HR game this week. Things tend to balance out in life, and that means that there are quite a few HRs left for Ramirez and Lee to hit, and my guess is that they stay hot, at least through the first round of the playoffs. Ryan Theriot has also started hitting again, and having Soto at catcher is like watching what would happen if Michael Barrett’s power, Jason Kendall’s average, and Henry Blanco’s arm were all genetically-merged. I am excited to have this young man in our future!
Exhale, CCO Readers….6 games (really 7, because we are all watching the Brewers’ games anyway) is a long time to hold your breath. Keep an eye out for Greg Maddux….his game against the Brewers will hopefully be meaningless, late next week, but if it matters, we can all sit back and root for the greatest Cubs pitcher of all time, notch one more great win for the Cubbies! Until next time, pray that I get that suite for the Diamondbacks/Cubs playoff game through my company as I have planned, and let’s go Cubs!