CALM DOWN! Calm down right now. Take a step back, put down the bottle and breathe. It is going to be okay. Yes, he is awesome, yes he is an MVP, yes he is a Gold Glove first baseman and yes he is an All-Star, but please, just calm down.
There are so many reasons to freak out and overreact and get all nutso and crazy, but I am here to tell you that it is going to be okay, seriously, it will. Last year Nomar Garciaparra went down around the exact same time of year and Neifi Perez came in and did something crazy awesome for 8 weeks. See the problem was that Nomar was out for much longer than that. However, if anyone can come in and do half of what Derrek can for the next 6 weeks, this team will be okay. Over the next 6 weeks if I can get 8 homeruns and 20 RBI’s at first base I am cool, and that is totally possible. John Mabry is a consummate professional, Todd Walker has shown what he can do, even the minors are a plausible possibility at this point. So let me move on to why it will be okay.
In 1989 the Cubs won the Eastern Division. In that season the following players were on the DL at some point in time:
The following players came up huge for the Cubs in substitution roles:
The first four were Opening Day starters. Of the second four, Dwight Smith was the only one on the Opening Day roster. Dascenzo was in the minors, McClendon did not sign with the club until May and we did not get ‘Sweet Luis Salazar’ until the end of July. Who knows who will be on this ball club come the end of June when Derrek returns, there will still be HALF a season to be played.
Again, did anyone think that Neifi was going to hit .400 for six weeks, NO. The Cubs were still in it on August 1st last year and Nomar was considered a crux of that team. Now I know that D-Lee has more of a recent string of ‘awesomeness’, but let’s take a look at the schedule through the end of May:
at St. Louis – 3 games
vs. Florida – 3 games
vs. Milwaukee – 3 games
vs. Pittsburgh – 2 games
at Arizona – 2 games
at San Diego – 4 games
at San Francisco – 3 games
vs. San Diego – 3 games
vs. Washington – 3 games
at Comiscular – 3 games
at Florida – 3 games
vs. Atlanta – 3 games
vs. Cincy – 3 games
These teams are a combined 79-76. If you take out the ‘wrong-siders’, these teams are 69-71. We are playing teams with a combined .500 record, and trust me the Marlins and Nationals are slipping quickly. The Brewers were overrated. The Padres and Diamondbacks are below average teams and who knows what will happen with the Giants. So this is more good news. We do not play Houston until June and after this weekend; we will not play St. Louis until the end of July.
Almost every one of those series is winnable WITHOUT Derrek Lee. Sure, it would be easier with him, but break it down into parts. Eight weeks is four two-week sessions. If we can have a platoon of guys pull it off for half that time, we can stay afloat, we really can.
Also, go look at the National League and tell me who is all that good. I will give you the Mets, but beyond that, who else? Mr. Shaun O’Rourke and I had a very calm conversation last night and we talked each other off the ledge, if you will. We both agreed that after watching the Cards in person, well, they are not that good. Ponson, Suppan and Marquis are all coming back to earth and So Taguchi is starting half of the games in left field. Sure, Pujols is ridiculous, but both Edmonds and Rolen are getting older as well, and their bullpen is absolutely porous.
As far as the Astros, Andy Pettite is 1-3, Brandon Backe has a sore back and Roger Clemens will be arriving around the time our super stud D- Lee is suiting up again. Speaking of the Astros, does anyone remember where they were after the first seven weeks of last season? They were a pathetic 14-29, and I believe they went to the World Series. After the Cubs have played that many games this year we will be half way past DL’s DL stint (pretty clever, huh). I think it is safe to say that the Cubs record will be better than that, they already won 9 games.
Also, the Cubs should have Wood, Miller and Prior back within the next 4-6 weeks, and if even ONE of them can produce it will help immensely. Also, our self-proclaimed Cy Young candidate has yet to win a game.
Trust me, I was distraught when I heard then news. Derrek Lee is a phenomenal player and a great presence, but this is a rallying cry, a team builder and something that can motivate a club like nothing else. Professional athletes have a great deal of pride in their games and when everyone else has given up on them, they dig even deeper and produce, just ask Todd Walker.
No one knows what will happen, but this is not a reason to give up, we don’t even know what is going to happen. Mabry could come through, some AAA kid you have never heard of could knock our socks off, we just don’t know. I just provided many reasons to prove that this is SO not over yet. I know this helped me, and I know it sure helped Shaun, and we both hope it sure as heck helps you!
Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com, and until next time….
Stay Classy Cub Fans!!!