It’s Time for the Stretch

The last day of a baseball season is filled with so many thoughts and mixed emotions. Maybe it is the kid in me, but I am never quite ready for the end of the baseball season. Yes, I will watch the post-season and the World Series but the baseball season has, and always will end, when the Cubs are done for the year.

I read somewhere this past week that bad baseball is better than no baseball at all. That phrase really hit home for me and summed up the recently completed season. While it was a bad year at the big league level for the Cubs, at least it was baseball. Every day we were able to hear Pat Hughes say, “Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the air” but unfortunately this season, that was sometimes the lone highlight of the game.

It has been another long year for the Chicago Cubs, one full of change and one that was more about the future than the present.

With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, it is time for the CCO to take a breathier but not without a few thoughts and tips of the cap.

I know I say this every year but it is hard to believe we just completed our seventh full season and despite the way the big league team played, the site continued to grow … and for that we tip our caps to all of our readers.

A huge thanks goes out to Tom for his tremendous coverage of the minor league system and to Ray and Ben for their contributions this season … and to my buddy Jim who helps keep the CCO on the World Wide Web. And, last but not least, to Brian for reminding us all to take time to laugh and that the game we are all so passionate about is that, just a game.

A tip of the cap goes out to my wife Abby for all she does and gives up on a daily basis so I can have my hobby. I would not be able to do this without her … or Mego, Hughes, Jake, ZuZu and Jordan.

When news breaks in the coming weeks, it will be posted so you guys can keep up with and discuss the latest on the Chicago National League Ball Club. For now, the daily articles, columns and reports will not be as frequent. You can follow the CCO on Twitter for the latest tidbits and rumors during the down time.

And until next time … Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Follow the ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves." - W Anderson.
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  • Tintin

    Neil alllways a Gentlemen and allways a great site to feed our Cub passion. Thanks for yet another great CCo year. When the cubs lose, which happens pretty often, I post a lot less but I stop by everyday. Thanks you Abby for sharing a great guy with us. Super thanks to Tom, Brian, Jim, ray and ben and Zuzu and Mego.

    One of theese days, instead of saying till next year, we will be celebrating as we live on to the World Series. For now….till next year.

    TinTin

    • TinTin

      Sorry for the misspelled words

      *we stinks*

    • SuzyS

      Augustin,…TinTin????

  • Cubs 31

    Greetings from Fort Myers, FL. Again, Neil, thanks for another great year. XM radio keeps me in touch with all the Cubs games and your recaps were a nice touch. I was a sophomore in college when the Cubs last lost 100 games. Didn’t think it would happen again, was I evere wrong. Things never change. Fall instructional league has 2 weeks left here in Fort Myers. Have had a chance to see what the Twins, Red Sox, Rays, and O’s have coming up in their organizations. Also there should be a decision this fall/winter if the Washington Nationals will be coming to Fort Myers for spring training beginning in 2014. Final thought, it would be a nice gesture on the Cubs part to invite Adam Greenberg to the Chicago Cubs Convention. Again, Neil, a thousand thanks for a job well done. For 2013, the words of Ron Sant, “This is the year!” As I told someone the other day: The definition of what it means to be a die-hard Cubs fan: an eternal optimist. And yes, I will renew my season tickets.

    • Chicago Steve

      Can’t wait for spring training!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Bad baseball is better than no baseball at all. I love baseball. I’m ready for next ST already. But first, let’s have some decent acquisitions to the roster.

  • cc002600

    This is best baseball site by a country mile.
    Thanks, Neil and Tom

    I am very interested to see how this 1 game playoff works out. Interesting concept.

    Couple things they REALLY need to do with playoffs, that I will never understand.

    1.) They need to start the games earlier. Who can stay up until midnight or 1AM to watch these games ? Not too mention, the next generation of kids will never get to see the playoffs. How shortsighted is that ? If the Super Bowl can start at 6:30 EST, why does baseball have to start their playoff games 2 hours later ??? so dumb.

    2.) They need to finish postseason earlier. Playing the WS in November (at night !) is absolutely ludicrous. Why not schedule a few day-night DH’s in the season so you can finish regular season a little earlier ? ….and cut down on the off days in October.. Start the WS no later than mid Oct.

    • Aaron

      I’m wondering if Theo’s comments about the FA market mean they’ll continue the Maholm/DeJesus type of FA signings, and continue to fill holes with the likes of Germano/Socolovich, etc.

      If that’s the case, then we’re in for another 100-loss season. The Cubs need guys like Liriano, A. Sanchez, etc. for the rotation just to be respectable, and it doesn’t look like that will happen.

      I’ve always said that you take inventory first of your own system to see if guys can be replaced and the prospects would give you the same, or slightly less production. Then, if you look at your system, and they can’t even provide that…you sign veteran stopgaps while your lower minors develop. You ALWAYS look internally first, then you look to the outside.

      in this case, the Cubs don’t have a single starting pitcher that is/will be ready in the next 1-2 years. Who knows what Sanchez, Liriano, etc. would command in terms of years/dollars on the open market. One thing I know, is that the Cubs absolutely need to do something about their rotation that does NOT involve signing the Germano’s of this world. Why? Because what Team Theo neglected to do in that case was identify talent in the system that could at least be equal…if not better than Germano, Socolovich, etc. Why not give Jay Jackson a try in that case? Why not even Trey McNutt for crying out loud? Why not Struck, Beeler, or whatever…..It’s not like they’d be any worse than Germano.

      They broke the cardinal rule in that case. Yes, maybe they didn’t want to add McNutt to the roster just yet, but guys like Struck, Beeler, Jackson, etc. are NOT going to light the league on fire, and if they tank…they tank, and you continue to retool your system with minor league free agents after you get them off the roster. Hopefully I am making sense here….

      I personally believe that Liriano and a few other starting pitchers are looking at “make good” deals in the 1-2 year range. Why wouldn’t they at least try that before they give it to journeymen like Germano? Just sayin’…

  • paulcatanese

    Theo on Baez, “a little out of control’ when he started, now in the fold.Thank you Theo for bringing that up, a lot of posters said the same thing and were questioned…

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      This was my first year reading CCO and I have checked in daily since January. Thank you for all the great content and excellent insight. Your website it put together very well and your ‘team’ clearly knows how to do it. There is no better place to keep up with the Cubs than here. Ive been a Cubs fan since I was 7 and I just turned 38. There were many days this season I read this site bypassing all the orher mainstream sources.

      Well said – ‘bad baseball is better than no baseball.’

      Talk to you soon and thanks.

      Javier in Chicago

  • Bryan

    Theo’s comments on ticket prices (online Tribune this afternoon)….
    Ticket prices

    Epstein said the Cubs have a “covenant” with the fans and that the 2.8 million in attendance for a 101-loss team is proof they’re “buying in” to the plan.

    “They’re a part of that covenant, so we have to reward them ultimately,” he said, adding “patience” is required.

    Yet the Cubs had the third-highest average ticket prices in 2012, and if they’re suggesting “incremental’ progress on the field, don’t they owe it to fans to significantly lower the ticket prices?

    “I think the experience at Wrigley is pretty great,” he said. “If we stay committed to that vision and we’re going places and we put a team on the field that plays really hard, the experience of coming to Wrigley is pretty special, it’s unique, it’s hard to replicate. I think that has something to do with the ticket prices.”

    Epstein said the Cubs want to make things easier for families on budgets, and that the business operations department, led by business president Crane Kenney, is trying to “give them more value for what they are spending” at Wrigley.

    “There’s no getting around the fact that as far as the ultimate return on investment for the fans’ dollar, which is seeing a winning team, they going to get better value down the road than they’re getting right now,” he said. “It’s our job to make sure the debt value, and experience of watching a baseball team down the stretch and into October and celebrating with that team is priceless, and that’s ultimately how we can reward the fans’ support.”

  • paulcatanese

    The new wall behind home plate serves at least one purpose, Cub catchers now do not have to travel as far on wild pitches.

  • Dorasaga

    It seems that Peavy is aggressively shopping himself:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/caa-to-represent-jake-peavy.html

    He’s 31, fully healthy again, and who knows? a good number two for 2014.

  • paulcatanese

    “When It Was a Game III” that aired on HBO this morning was a classic. It brought tears to my eyes. I grew up in that time of baseball in the 50′s and 60′s.
    I feel sorry for the guys that found the game after that, to never see what Baseball was all about in it’s true form. The doubleheaders every Sunday, the things that were given to the fans, and above all the availability dollar wise for everyone to see the game.
    While it may be true (I doubt it though) that players today are better, who has knowledge of who they truly are?
    The struggles of the racial difference in the game, the dominance of players from other countries along with the black players of the era was to change the game (for the better) forever.
    You could follow you’re heros for most of their career with the same team. Every team then had their “franchise” players that would grow in the hearts of the fans forever.
    You can tell yourselves that Baseball is better now, but don’t tell me that, all one has now is “big business”, money, money and more money.
    You’re heros will be with you’re favorite team until they become “free agents” and then the dollar signs appear, and they are gone.
    Owners are figuring how to increase income,players have become numbers in a computer to be evaluated by a milage of different things, just not a game any more.
    It’s fortunate for me that I was able to be around to see the true glory days of Baseball, and feel sorry for those who were not.

    • Dorasaga

      Good share of a reflection. New not always translates to better. I sometimes wonder what pro baseball is all about, and if it ever dies one day, why? Maybe I want to see what Bill James proposed years ago: de-monopolize baseball. Start a new league. That’s done before. Why not again?

      • paulcatanese

        That would not upset me a bit. Independent minor league baseball comes close, Tom does a good job on his reports of those.

        • Tom U

          Thank you, Paul.

  • Tony_Hall

    Tip of the cap to you and how you always try to remind us that this is just a game.

    Bad baseball is still better than no baseball is absolutely true.

    But nothing beats good baseball by your favorite team and I hope, for all of our sakes, that this is the last year we have to discuss a team that plays this poorly. We are all Cub fans and that is what we want more than anything, to see our team playing in the playoffs, year after year, and ultimately winning the World Series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steveartist Steve Baier

    Thank you guys for this great Cubs site! Even with the Cubs losing 101 games, your coverage is World-Series worthy.

  • cubtex

    Here Here. I cannot take another year like this :) It starts with putting a better product on the field and developing the farm system, Let’s hope they do both and not just the latter.

  • TedTop16

    Neil:
    Thanks for doing a great job day in and day out with a frustrating team to follow for the year. You made it interesting.

  • Rational Logic

    Hands down the best Cubs blog/website out there. Cheers, Neil, and thank you. Enjoy the offseason.

  • Tom U

    Thank you Neil for your kind recognition and the opportunity to provide everyone with coverage of their favorite team’s minor league system.

    And thank you to everyone at the CCO for your kind comments.

    I look forward to bringing you all the best coverage of off-season baseball from the fall and winter leagues, and to a new season next year.

  • paulcatanese

    It almost go’s without saying it,my favorite site, and articles.
    Learned alot here Neil, Tom, and the rest, thank you all.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I appreciate all of the comments this morning.

    I would recommend that everyone take a minute and read the comments from Theo Epstein this morning. David Kaplan and Jordan Bernfield did an excellent job tweeting the information

    Click here

    https://twitter.com/TheCCO

  • John_CC

    An essay for the first week of October by former commissioner Bart Giamatti. I like to read this the last day of every season. I hope you all enjoy it.

    http://mason.gmu.edu/~rmatz/giamatti.html

  • Aaron

    If I might make a prediction…..given Theo’s comments today:

    Rowson to minor leagues
    Cubs hire Magadan to replace him

    Cubs trade Soriano

    ….just a few hunches

  • Dorasaga

    Good share. I esp. enjoyed that complaint via CSN: “Theo admits Baez began pro career playing “a little bit out of control,” but now calls 1st-round pick “solidly in our core.”

    The Ol’Cubs Way was not preparing Baez to learn his trade. I can only hope for the better, more up-to-date training and coaching from now on.

  • Aaron

    congrats to Ryno for receiving a much deserved promotion!!!

  • SuzyS

    John CC…Thanks for sharing…it was a great wistful piece.
    Having been born in Beantown and remembering watching the “FISK” game with my long-ago passed away father…I cherish and feel the sentiment deeply.

  • cubs1967

    too bad the cubs incompetent owner has allowed 2 GMs not do the right thing and hire him for ourselves……….but then again JH and Theo don’t have the guts to allow a legend into their house……even if it means allowing incompetments like quade or his twin sveum ruin things that much longer.

  • BrutalTruth

    i love big bold talk on the internet…it’s so exciting..and easy given the anonymity that one can have. gives us regular folks the chance to sound off as brashly as want even if we might never say those things out loud if we had to say them in person.
    your boldness is turning me on cubs1967…keep it up stud ;)

  • gocubs

    you really have no clue whats going do you?

  • Brp921

    First name Brutal last name Truth?…….

  • paulcatanese

    I would not be unhappy if Brenly left the booth, I would love to see Steve Stone back with the Cubs, his baseball smarts are beyond the competition.

  • ChadAudio

    Absolutely agree. I come here first.

  • RynoTiger

    I missed Stoney when he was run out..but I think his time on the south side with Harrelson has made him a blah announcer.
    Who are some other people that could do a good job?

  • Henry

    Paul, Steve Stone is no longer an unbiased commentator. When he was in the Cubs booth I never heard him refer to the Cubs as we. As a White Sox commentator or a baseball expert on a local Radio station The Score he refers to the White Sox as we. He also speaks with venom in his voice when he analyzes the Cubs. No Thanks! We can do better.

  • Sarge36

    I have never understood why people think Steve Stone is so knowledgeable. He picks and chooses things to comment on and is careful not to go too far out on a limb. If he was as knowledgeable as people think he is, he would been a manager, bench coach, pitching coach, GM, or assistant GM at least once over the past 30 years. He chooses not to- so that he is not exposed. I will take Brenly’s knowledge any day over Stone. Hope he stays with the Sox so I dont have to listen to him.

  • paulcatanese

    I’m not sure about that, and thinking about it, who wouldn’t be down as an announcer next to the Hawk,
    who makes it well known that he’s the show.
    Totally new on the North side and that may be a re-birth for Stone.

  • paulcatanese

    Don’t know about others, but don’t watch the playoffs and rarely the World Series, I suffer enough with the whole season watching the Cubs, watching playoffs only reminds me of the caliber of baseball played VS the Cubs. Too discouraging, rather would lay off and begin again next spring.
    Altough the off season comments on the site are more interesting and follow and post with Neil and Co.

  • RynoTiger

    what a terrible call in that Braves/Cards game.
    I just saw BA .216 Flaherty strike out.

  • TheoTiger

    Yes but Flaherty is playing on a playoff team instead of a 100 loss team! And he is much cuter than Barney. Grrrrrr

  • Tony_Hall

    That was a brutal call. The reason for the infield fly rule is to make sure that the defense doesn’t get a double play, by letting it drop and doubling up guys who didn’t run. Not sure if the ump noticed but that was well into the OF and there was no chance of doubling up the runners. That is the type of play where no call would have been better, and the umps should have fixed that more immediately than they called it. It might not have changed the outcome, but we will never know now.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good for Flaherty for getting the opportunity. He had a nice single, slapping it down the line. But overall looked over-matched at the plate.

  • paulcatanese

    Don’t agree with you Sarge, no dis-respect, but I would take anyone over Brenly. To listen to him it’s like he is the all-knowing guru about the game, he is not that and is repiticious most of the time.
    I tuly believe the Diamondbacks deserve him.

  • Brett

    I like Brenly. I could do without Len Kasper though. I am not impressed by him at all.