Rambling About This Great Second Half Team

Nine out of eleven! Don’t call it a comeback!

Seriously, don’t. It’s not happening. However, I must admit that it has been enjoyable to watch the Cubs win baseball games … plural!

That is right; the Cubs have transformed themselves into a force to be reckoned with just in time for … Football season. This means it is time for us to do some enjoyable, comedic and possibly informational rambling this wonderful Friday.

So please, come along for the ride.

  • Ronnie’s statue is wonderful. I wanted it to be his famous “heel click,” but even though it is not, it is a great tribute to a man who played all out all the time. I had a chance to see the statue in person on Thursday morning. It is beautiful.
  • Why isn’t Pena on waivers? And before everyone goes hemming and hawing about The Hendry being an idiot, just think about it. There has to be a logical reason, right?
  • Or not.
  • Tyler Colvin might be the future, but Reed Johnson has earned playing time. He has every right to be on the field.
  • I can’t necessarily say the same thing about ‘Fonz, but he has been stroking it lately.
  • This is credited to Neil: “I was surprised the Cubs were not no hit by Chein-Ming Wang. Any manager that inserts Blake DeWitt into the third spot of his batting order deserves to have his team no hit. “
  • Well played, Neil. Well played.
  • Speaking of the manager, Mike Quade has been nominated for an award: “Best Manager Ever in games that don’t matter.” Let’s give it up for Mike!
  • I had the privilege of attending a season-ticket-holder lunch in the Batter’s Eye Thursday afternoon. Mr. Ricketts, Mr. Kenney, Mr. Hayward and others were on hand and wonderfully candid.
  • Mr. Hayward has his eye on the pulse of Cubs fans when it comes to electronic improvements to the ballpark. His ideas are groundbreaking and exciting. He truly is a man of vision. I am not blowing smoke. A friend attended with me and was awe struck by Mr. Hayward’s vision.
  • Love him or hate him, Tom Ricketts stands up in front of fans asking for feedback, knowing it will be negative and harsh, but demands it. That deserves my respect.
  • And don’t let anything you read fool you, the leadership is as disappointed in the team’s performance as anyone else. That was abundantly clear at Thursday’s lunch.
  • We did not receive any detailed information, but look for news on the future of Wrigley Field and the plan to be discussed in the media in the coming months. I am very curious to see where everything goes.
  • This has nothing to do with the lunch, this is simply my opinion: When you read about the amusement tax, please remember that Wrigley Field generates the most in Chicago. This is the largest amusement tax in the country and Cubs fans pay it.
  • Just remember that.
  • If taking some of the money that Cubs’ fans have already paid to improve the ballpark they love is wrong, well, then, in honor of Chris Berman, “I don’t wanna be right.”
  • Back to actual baseball …
  • I like the adjustments Garza has made this season. I look for him to have a big year in 2012.
  • Garza is on pace to give up 16 home runs this season. That would be 12 less than last season. Most people really worried about this stat, and he has quelled those fears … for now.
  • And I don’t want to hear it because the NL Central has plenty of big bats as well.
  • Dempster has definitely bounced back from a horrid start to the season. Maybe his final year in a Cubs jersey can be a good one.
  • Why was Soriano still playing left field in the ninth on Thursday?
  • I guess this is all much easier to pick apart as a fan, but it is a mind-scratcher for many.
  • Hey, the Cubs have won 9 of 11. That is not too bad considering what had already transpired this season. Maybe it is that it doesn’t matter.
  • Or maybe, and hopefully, it is because these players have pride, and won’t quit. And maybe Quade deserves a little something for that as well.

Go ahead, let me hear it. Give it to me. Let your voice be heard. I

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • Richard Hood

    Great rant as always Brian. I have one thing I want to go a little deeper on that I have mentioned before. The Public money from Wrigley and that Amusement Tax you talk about paid for Soldiers Field, The United Center and the Cell I think it is only fair that some of that public money at this point be used to improve/renovated/ rebuild Wrigley.

  • Tony_Hall

    The Cubs have taken over the role, as the team, that plays spoiler, to the teams, that really aren’t playoffs teams, but have acted like one for the first 4 months.   

    • paulcatanese

      Sounds like a plan Tony, confusing for the team and put out there by the confused.

  • Henry

    Great Rant Brian! I agree with Richard below about the use of the Amusement tax!  That just kills me to see it listed on the tickets. I believe the Cubs should get a piece of that!  I also believe the Ricketts family should talk to uncle Bud and MLB and tell make them cough up some cash for Wrigley improvements!  I know Jerry Reinsdorf will strongly oppose this but MLB keeps touting Wrigley and the history behind it (questionable in my mind since there have been 0 championships!)  MLB hand picked the Ricketts family so they should help them. The pitch should be that MLB is not helping the Cubs but helping preserve   a piece of Baseball history!   

    Brian, how did you get invited to the batters eye lunch?  I have been a season ticket holder since 90 and have been asked my opinion once.

  • Aaron

    Good rant as usual, Brian.

    Any manager that inserts DeWitt in the 3-hole, and states that the Nationals are “in contention”, in spite of the fact they were something like 19 games out of first place at the time he said that……shows that he is the most delusional person in the world….perhaps as delusional as his boss, Hendry, which now makes ALL the sense in the world as to why that idiot didn’t trade the veterans when he had a chance.

    But Quade wasn’t done, was he? He went on to say that he’s not playing young guys down the stretch, because he’s playing teams in contention….LOL….

    I really hope you’re right, Brian, that the Cubs’ brass actually lives in reality….that Jim Hendry and Mike Quade are NOT MLB quality leaders, and furthermore nowhere close to big market leaders.

    • Henry

      Management is truly delusional!  The Quade quote about playing veterans because they are playing teams in contention!  I never understood that!  Who are you helping?  A team’s goal should be: do what is best for your team not for the team you are playing.  If you play your prospects against all the contenders then who are you hurting?  I

      • John_CC

        Delusional is far too kind and way more forgiving than I will give them.

  • Ripken Boy

    I understand your comment that Reed Johnson has earned his playing time, but the team needs to know if Colvin is an everyday player or not. Reed Johnson will not be your everyday rightfielder next year and the team needs to know if Colvin is that guy or if they have to go out and get one in the off season.

    • Aaron

      And this, has been, and will always remain the biggest issue under Jim Hendry’s reign as GM.

      How could the Cubs not use 2005, 2006, 2010, and now 2011 as rebuilding years? Clearly, in back-to-back years we have evidence that it just doesn’t work out, and ironically, last time this happened, the Cubs went on a spending spree that has had lasting effects on the long-term competitiveness of this team, when if they’d just “let the kids play”, it might have turned out entirely different. I am NOT saying that rookies would’ve made the playoffs in 2007, but I am just saying that at least you’d know who can hack it, and who can’t, and then use your system to make trades if you need to go in a different direction.

      The Cubs have the most future MLB players in their system….maybe not the most stars, but most in volume. Why not see what they can do at the MLB level this year, and if they can’t hack it next Spring Training, or even the last 2 months of this season, then you look at trades, or younger free agents.

      This is why I was a HUGE advocate of the Cubs signing the likes of Melky Cabrera, Franceour, Josh Fields, Milledge, etc., because I knew that they were going nowhere this year, and signing or re-signing guys like Baker, Johnson, Hill, DeWitt, etc., just wasn’t going to help this team long-term. Sure enough, only Johnson, as a potential 4th/5th OF factors into this team’s plans next year…(obviously, that’s assuming Hendry is gone, or they’d all be back)

      But the point I made then…and still make now, is that those younger free agents like Cabrera, etc., could’ve been valuable trade bait at the deadline this year, or used as a future nucleus if Cubs prospects didn’t take the necessary steps forward.

      • gocubs

        Aaron, Cabrera has had a pretty good year, but come on…Franceour is a mediocre player at best and Fields and Milledge are bad at baseball…and they are not even young any more.  I dont get your fascination with those players at all. 

        Fukudome was a  superior and more valuable player than any of those guys will ever be.  Fukudome always posted a WAR value of anywhere from +1 to +3, Francour has averaged around +.5 for his career and is frequently a negative WAR player…he’s worth less than any old guy you could call up from your system.  Cabrera’s having a career year at +2.3 WAR, but is usually around 1.5.  Fukudome was a more valuable player.  The other guys you mention are negative WAR…that means they are a negative value to your team and are worth less than an average replacement player.  

      • cc002600

        Right. If we listened to you, we would have Dunn at 1B and Ankiel in CF.

        How would that look right now ?????   I told you back then they were both terrible.

        Funny, how you conveniently forget to mention those stellar recommendations that you made.  LOL

        • Aaron

          Were you hit in the head a lot as a kid? Perhaps you ate paint chips….

          The reason I say that, and one of the reasons I infrequently respond to your idiotic diatribes against me is because you quite obviously have memory loss.

          I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said I was wrong about Ankiel. In fact, I mentioned it even this year (though I mentioned it a lot last year).

          As for Dunn…he had his appendix out this year. It’s already been well-documented the effects that can have on your swing.

          If he’s still awful next year, then come back and rub it in my face. I’ll eat the crow.

    • roseyc

      It’s not if you traded Johnson and Baker and DeWitt that there would be a bidding war for them come next winter. I’m sure they are so in demand that there no way that the Cubs who desparately need them to contend next year. How ridiculous that sounds. See all these especially could actually help someone win the World Series coming off the bench and then the Cubs could play the kids if only a chance just to see major league pitching but Noooooooo! we need to play Reed Johnson who will be our starting right fielder next year right! This delusional talk is contagious and Hendry and Quade ought to be in politics with that kind of talk but like a politican wins and losses are counted in baseballs and the Cubs don’t do the Wins only after they are out of it.If you don’t care about winning then Quade is your man

    • Schwimmer

      I don’t understand what the obsession is with seeing if COLVIN can be an everyday player…by getting him in the line-up everyday????  He is batting .104.  He should be playing in the minor leagues.  

      There is no “well managed” Major League Team that would put all their energy in a player like COLVIN who has shown that he’s not ready.   

      We’ve got 4 outfielders already:  SORIANO (who should be playing in the hopes that he will get into a streak…where we can finally trade him); BYRD (same thing…let’s hope he’s hot, so we can trade him); JOHNSON (same thing..so, we can trade him) and CAMPANA who is far, far more deserving of showing us what he can do than COLVIN.

      Think about it?  We all love COLVIN for his potential.  But he needs to prove it, first — in the MINORs where he can develop confidence and play everyday.   The Major Leagues are not the place for a player to “work on his stroke.”  Not when his offense is so bad!

      • John_CC

        First: no amount of hot streak is going to make Soriano any more trade-able.  The verdict is out, he is an aged veteran with a slow bat, weak legs and terrible defense. He is streaky and can still hit a fast ball when he connects. He will be “traded” only when the Cubs agree to basically pay him to play for another team.

        Second: Teams were calling about Byrd, Hendry either wanted to much or just doesn’t want to trade one of his veteran leaders.

        Third: Johnson was deemed “untouchable” by Cubs management. Plus he is a solid veteran bench player and any team that is interested in him knows exactly what they are getting. Frankly, at his age and with his back issues, playing too much will probably ruin him for what he is best at – coming off the bench and spot starting once/twice a week.

        Finally, why is Campana more deserving than Colvin?  Did you watch the Cubs last year?  Tyler hit .250 with 20 HR in 360 ABs last year, slugged .500 – that was highest on the team.  That my friend, is why you want to see if he can get his groove back and take the next step.  I’m not saying he can, but you certainly cannot say that he has not shown potential.

      • cc002600

        It’s quite simple….these last 6 weeks are completely meaningless games in
        terms of wins and losses, so why do we need to see veterans that are not part of
        the future or who we already know what their ceiling is vs. youger players with
        potential, like Colvin, who COULD be part of the future ?   This season has been
        over since mid-april, so why not use it to evaluate younger players ?


        Q-ball keeps  saying his veterans have “earned” playing time.  whaaaaat ? 
        How did they do that ?   What has Byrd done to “earn” playing time ? I love Reed
        Johnson, but still his role on any team at this point is as a backup OF. come


        This team is going to lose 90+ games, who cares if its 92 or 95 or 97 or
        whatever the final number is. What does it matter ?

      • Mike Q ball Quade

        Wait a second is this Henry ? Haha I think I’m on to you!

        • Henry

          Different person but same idea!!!!

  • paulcatanese

    Season ticket holders, kind of consider myself one as I have taken every step I can to watch all of the games out here on the west coast. That being said I have to say that I recognize some of the same individuals on the televison coverage and mlb tv. One guy, every day,up behind the third base dugout in his short sleeves,glasses and open top golf hat, and another gal, white hair, glasses, golf hat, down near the front row, she has been around for a few years, glad to see that, I look for her every year and know I’m at the right place.

    Thats the point, I know these people are true fans and am sure they are some of the ones that are asking tough questions at those meetings, and they should, those tickets are not cheap, so they have the right to.

    Brian, an exceptional post, as you have touched on all of the factors that are bothering all of us out here. I look forward today of reading all of the comments of the posters, and hopefully answering some of them, they spark what is on my mind.

  • cubtex

    Signing deadline for draftpicks coming up on Monday! Let’s see if all those speculations pa out. Hopefully it will be a great day for the Cubs future!

  • Ira Rosenberg

    Maybe you can tell me…..what is Lopez, Ortiz and Grabow still on the team??   Are we being told that we don’t have 3 pitchers worth a look-see for the rest of the season??   Unreal.

  • Robertwwade

    When are they going to get rid of flake one(Zambrano) and flake two(Soriano)?

  • Kingdomusa

    Can I add to the stupidity of quade
    1. Pitching to Pujols for walk-off HomeRuns immediately aftertelling the cub fans to “BRING IT ON”
    2. Using the players nicknames is for elementary school kids but let’s not forget our vets said he is one of the Boys to them. Wonder what the rookies felt about that other than Barney & Castro coming up for 20 days & play 2 or 3 games.
    Quade will never be a Rookies coach & that is why we needed Ryno.
    3. Constanty watch his pitching staff begin to struugle & he is constantly late getting someone up in the bullpen to be ready.
    4. I agree that DeWitt & Baker along with Hill are not needed in 2012 but no doubt he feels the vets earned it.
    5. Quade was hired because he a.) was a YES MAN to Jimbo b.) was college room mate with asst. GM Randy Bush c.) went 24-13 against rookies on inferior teams & 2 wiining teams that litterly quit in playing in September in the Cardinals & Brewers.

    Will we ever see Jim Hendry sing in the 7th inning. There would be earthquake warnings because of 40,000 plus boos that would be heard in Gary. Hendry flat out screwd Ryno & then told him he wasn’t even a 4th or 5th candidate. That is what is sickening after Ryno did everything he was asked to do getting winning records & 2″ Manager of the Year” awards besides.

    Enough is enough, Tom. It’s your team, the fans of Cubs nation want change, so give it to them.

  • paulcatanese

    Two schools of thought on the Cubs. 1. The manager Qua, plays for today, lets win today, play the vets, in his mind the best choice for the win, today. Thats one reason Johnson and Soriono are in the lineup.Dont really understand the reason for DeWitt other than he has slightly more seniority over some others, Qua is doing what he percieves as the best option to win and preserve his job. It makes no difference that the Cubs have had the beginning they had with a losing record, each day is a new one for Qua, “and we can win today”.

    2, The other side of course is PLan For the Future, play the rookies, see what we have for the future, change the philosophy and the mentality of the Cubs and plan for a sustained team that will win over the next few years and not just today. Like you cant win if you dont score, you dont know what you have unless you give them the opportunity to show it. Qua does not fit into this plan.

    The last option here is left to management to make the choice of the way to go.

  • John_CC

    Todd Hollandsworth lays into Aram and upper management all at once!  He said this on the Danny Mac Show, quote from the Trib:
    “When you’ve got your best player — he’s your best hitter, we’ve
    watched it for years now — and you can’t seem to have a positive effect
    on the guys around you in your clubhouse, getting them to step up or
    play to a different level, it’s just hard for me to swallow, especially
    when you’re being paid to be that guy,”

    “Then you bring into question effort and that’s one thing in the game of
    baseball that really is inexcusable.  One hundred percent effort all
    the time, there’s really no reason for you not to have 100 percent
    effort.  He’s got impressionable kids around him right now: Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, these kids are growing up, they’re watching it and you know what, they’re not getting any better.”

    Hollandsworth also took a swipe at Cubs’ management for their handling
    of Ramirez, who told the team before the trade deadline that he didn’t
    want to waive his no-trade clause for family reasons.

    “It’s going to be another 100 years before this team wins another (World
    Series) if they continue to let the inmates run it,” Hollandsworth

    • paulcatanese

      John, that was a great article by Hollandsworth and truer words were never spoken. I have to say in Arams case, just too much money to a lazy player,and his impact on the kids is true. It may affect them in the long run.