A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines For Friday

Cubs vs. Phillies

Try tagging him before he gets to the base next time, Brainiac.

Sigh. Here comes the obligatory mention of the Beer Tosser. Today we can all be proud that mob justice once again got its man.

Johnny Macchione, 21, was cited for battery and illegal conduct within a sports facility late Thursday. The college student's face had been splashed across the Internet and television after the team announced it had ejected the wrong man in the incident and was looking for the real culprit.

"Chicago Cubs, I'm sorry I disgraced you," Macchione said as he left Belmont Area police headquarters after being charged.

After watching the video of the incident all day yesterday, I'm starting to think that he should also apologize for the stupid get-up he wore to the game. There was no excuse for that.

Moving on to the real news, which is that our team is in the TOILET, the fans and media are starting to turn the heat up on Lou:

The Cubs have lost seven of eight after being swept by the Phillies, falling 4 1/2 games behind the idle Cardinals. Before the skid, the Cubs had won 16 of 22 to move from fourth place and 4 1/2 games back into a first-place tie. Does Piniella's track record keep him immune from being a target of criticism, or is he in danger of receiving the same kind of scrutiny Dusty Baker had in his final two seasons with the Cubs?

"I haven't seen the abuse Dusty took yet," Derrek Lee replied. "But I'm sure if we don't win, it's around the corner." Piniella can't be happy about his team's play, or that they are being criticized during Cubs' broadcasts for their lack of preparedness, which reflects on the manager.

Seriously people, what do you expect Lou to do? He's tried every possible lineup combination, used approximately 39 different pitchers, and banned the Gatorade Machine from the dugout. If Spellcheck wants to give up 17 runs every inning and Milty can't keep track of how many outs there are, it's hardly Lou's fault. The only thing I blame him for is playing Aaron Miles.  

While we're on the subject of blame, I think a lot of it rests squarely on the shoulders of Jim Hendry and his obsession with left-handed batters. Before millertime and thisyearcub and Perkins take after me, let me say that I understand why getting rid of DeRosa and Wood and signing Bradley and Gregg made sense at the time, from a statistical perspective. I do however, think Hendry underestimated what it would mean to the team to take two of the veteran leaders out of the clubhouse and replace them with a bunch of AAAA benchers and a disgruntled malcontent. You can say "chemistry is overrated" all you want. I think this team is a classic example of a talented team that is reeling from lack of leadership. There is no other reason for them to be playing this poorly other than lack of discipline.

Excuse me while I brace myself for the onslaught of insults (and possibly cups of beeer) hurled my way.

I understand that many of you don't agree with me and will try to change my mind, but, taking a cue from the people who don't believe in evolution, the birthers, and the death panel lunatics, I'm simply going to reply to all evidence with a "I'm sorry, that's just what I believe."

In happier news (well, happier for us, not necessarily for Aramis), we should see the most beloved fighting chickens owner this side of the Mississippi back in the lineup tomorrow, despite reports that he'll be in massive amounts of pain the entire time:

Aramis Ramirez is expected to return to the Cubs lineup Friday, but Derrek Lee says too much is being made of Ramirez's absence. 

The Cubs are 25-17 when Ramirez starts at third base and 33-38 when he's not in the lineup.

If you're keeping track, that's the second stupid thing DLee has said today.

Bruce Miles thinks I can take my "team chemistry" theory and shove it:

There's been a lot of talk about "hustle" and "effort" and all that lately when it comes to the Cubs' struggles.

Those aren't the real issues. The Cubs have struggled because four of their five starting pitchers have been on the DL, with two of them on it right now. They miss third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and their outfielders have not performed at the plate.

Short starts by Tom Gorzelanny and Big Z's late scratch last week at Colorado killed the bullpen. And Carlos Marmol is not the same guy he was last year out of that pen.

First baseman Derrek Lee addressed the issues without making excuses this morning.

"Our bullpen's had a huge load, and it's hard to play like that," D-Lee said. "We can't put it all on Ramy (Ramirez). We have to play better. We've had injuries all year. We're not going to lean on that. We've got to find a way to play through them. Z comes out in the third inning (at Florida). The bullpen takes a load. He comes out right before the game. The bullpen takes another load. Gorzelanny comes out (early). The bullpen takes a load. That's not easy to win like that. You just fight through it."

I can understand how it's not easy. On the other hand, have you considered it might be easier if the position players tried knocking in some of the men waiting on base? I've heard that helps.

On the other hand, Gordo takes my side and tells Bruce and Derrek where to go with their crazy "injuries have killed this team" notions :

Forget the never-ending list of injuries to key players that began the first week of May. You've got a $136 million left fielder, Alfonso Soriano, who went through the longest slump of his career, which devastated a lineup already missing top hitter Aramis Ramirez through most of that nearly two-month stretch. 

You've got a $30 million right fielder, Milton Bradley, who was signed as the big bat that was going to balance and charge the middle of the Cubs' lineup, but whose greatest impact the first four months of the season involved clashes with umpires, media, Gatorade jugs, the afternoon sun, the nighttime lights and math.

You've got a $91.5 million ace, Carlos Zambrano, who continued a several-year pattern when he blew off a team charter and when he let his temper flare by throwing a ball 320 feet into left field during an argument with an umpire, and who continues to wrench his balky back with power-hitting displays in batting practice.

Piniella worked with Soriano -- who despite his flaws works hard and remains a positive clubhouse guy -- until finally ordering him to the sixth spot in the lineup. He had as much patience with Bradley as anyone had a right to expect before finally ejecting him from a game for some of the extracurricular stuff in June, and gaining another level of respect from teammates tiring of the distractions, and later took a personal role in working with Bradley on his hitting.

Here's the thing you guys. We're not out of it. Not yet, anyway.

Is this a playoff-caliber team at present? No.

 Are these Cubs fun to watch? God no.

But it's mid-August. Soon it will be September and the ivy will turn red. Then October. And then it's over again until the Spring. In those long, cold, dark January nights, we're going to be wishing for live baseball, even BAD live baseball, to watch. So we might as well enjoy it now, even if it's not all that enjoyable. Personally, when baseball season is over, a little part of me feels like it's missing. So as long as my team is still playing, I'm going to go along for the ride.

Besides, there's always the chance we'll see something like this again:

elviscub.jpg

Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune.

 

We're about to head into the final stretch, in which 37 of the 49 games remaining are against sub-.500 teams. We start today with a 1:20 game against the lowly Pirates.

Have some coffee, shake off the grouch, and get ready to watch some baseball.

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126 Comments

Fargo said:

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Excellent comments Julie-right on the money.

Umbra said:

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You've got a $136 million left fielder, Alfonso Soriano, who went through the longest slump of his career, which devastated a lineup already missing top hitter Aramis Ramirez through most of that nearly two-month stretch.

You've got a $30 million right fielder, Milton Bradley, who was signed as the big bat that was going to balance and charge the middle of the Cubs' lineup, but whose greatest impact the first four months of the season involved clashes with umpires, media, Gatorade jugs, the afternoon sun, the nighttime lights and math.

You've got a $91.5 million ace, Carlos Zambrano, who continued a several-year pattern when he blew off a team charter and when he let his temper flare by throwing a ball 320 feet into left field during an argument with an umpire, and who continues to wrench his balky back with power-hitting displays in batting practice.

******************

One of these things is not like the others.
One of these things just doesn't belong.
Can you tell me which thing is not like the others
Before I finish this song?

thisyearcub said:

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Just one, Umbra? I can point out several things.

Umbra said:

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The one I was focusing on was:

Alfonso Soriano played poorly.
Milton Bradley played poorly.
Carlos Zambrano threw a ball into left field when he was angry.

Doc said:

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honestly, to me, Milton Bradley is the least disappointing of all those...Bradley, through out has at least still gotten on base. Granted, he was paid to drive in runs, but he is making a lot less outs than Soriano and Soto right now (who are two players that were expected to produce a lot more this season).

I expected all this out of Bradley...just about...I expected him to get a few more base hits and drive in a few more runs...but all the other stuff I expected. I didn't expect Soriano to be this bad...and I didn't expect Soto to be as good as last year, but he should be better than he has been.

And Zambrano...ugh. What can I say that already hasn't been said.

gravedigger said:

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Did you just say Milton Bradley is on meth?

thisyearcub said:

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Well, I guess none of this is going to matter after reading the "sorry, this is what I believe" little deal, but maybe others will entertain this.

But I will repeat what I said yesterday: Does anyone think holding onto DeRosa/Wood and signing Abreu or Dunn over Bradley (who has quietly become the team leader in OBP) would really make a major difference in where the Cubs stand right now?

Again, none of those players (unless they have some special Miyagi-power) could prevent the injuries to Ramirez (an absolute killer), Dempster, Soto, Lilly, Johnson and Zambrano. Sure, like Lee said, you're supposed to play through it, but come on. This isn't fantasy baseball, where you can just pick up someone just as good.

The Cubs weren't the best team in the NL last year because they had great chemistry, it was because they stayed relatively healthy. Sure, no team is going to go through a 162-game season injury-free, but you just can't have that many players get hurt for a significant amount of time. I'm surprised the Cubs have battled and stayed in it for this long, especially losing Ramirez for that long, considering he was the one guy the Cubs could least afford to lose.

But I agree with you Julie: It sure is hell isn't over yet. Gotta take advantage of playing some of these weaker teams (SD, PIT, WAS are 9 of the next 13 games, along with 4 against the Dodgers). Get back to within 2 games or less before the STL series and you're back in the race.

And to end this, f Johnny Macchione (ban him from Wrigley, give him the max for whatever those charges can bring) and f Steve Stone.

JulieDiCaro said:

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First, the "this is what I believe" was tongue-in-cheek.

But look, Matt. We had injuries last season. Soriano went down (twice?), Ramirez went down (though admittedly not for 60 days), Z was on the DL. The difference this season is that, when guys went down, no one picked up the slack.

I know a lot of people don't go in for the chemistry argument, but I do, kinda. I don't think it's the overriding factor, but I think it's A factor.

Remember what we always used to say about last year's team? We said over and over "I love this team, they NEVER give up!" There were so many improbably comebacks last year. So many great moments.

I do think that, in addition to the quiet veteran leaders like DLee and Soriano, you DO need some rah-rah guys in the dugout, especially when you go down big early. I think DeRosa was one of those guys. I think Kenny Lofton was one of those guys. His stupid boombox issues aside, I think Sammy was one of those guys. I'm not sure we have one of those guys this season.

Don't get me wrong: I think there were a lot of mistakes made going into this season, including thinking Mike Fontenot was a starter and having Aaron Miles as the backup plan for the middle infield.

But, I dunno. We've commented often this season that, when this team gets behind, they just look like they want to go home. It just feels like something is missing--and it's not just the hitting. When the entire team slumps at the same time, I think there's something mental going on there.

I'm not saying DeRosa and Wood were the answers to all our problems, in a vaccum. Though do I think that having had DeRosa at 2nd all season instead of Fontenot/Miles would have been a significant upgrade. And honestly, Bradley hasn't played well enough to justify the moves we had to make to bring him in. While that might not have been predictable, statistically, at the time, I believe that Hendry should have taken his past issues into account and realized that this would be a difficult place for him to play.

I know I've said all this a million times before, so I'll shut up now.

berselius said:

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Julie, just curious, do we know if DeRosa as truly a clubhouse leader, or was it just a matter of the media being a big fan? I seem to remember reading somewhere that Lou was not actually a big DeRosa fan.

I think they made the right move signing Bradley but what kind of sticks in my craw is the trade for Kevin Gregg. He makes more money than DeRosa would have, but I feel like I'm the only one who's driving this train. The Cubs had no reason to expect that he's be anything more than an average to slightly above average pitcher, but *at the time* they had good Carlos Marmol in the house, who had 'shown he can close games' from time to time at least. Also, the market for relief pitchers last year was really cheap

JulieDiCaro said:

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I think my feelings about DeRosa being a rah-rah guy is based partially on the media reports (good point there), but also because of what I observed of him in the dugout during games (often goofing around, laughing, talking) and the role he played in so many of those comebacks.

You're right, though. It's my subjective opinion.

gravedigger said:

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To me, this team has enough players who have been around for a few years (Lee, Ramirez, etc) that if they can't find a leader amongst them, they are incapable of being led.

Further, these aren't kids on a t-ball team. They are adults. They ought to be able to sow up and do their jobs regardless of having a "team leader."

JulieDiCaro said:

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And adults should also be trusted to do their jobs and not screw around on the internets all day without a supervisor hanging over them all the time, but it often doesn't happen.

gravedigger said:

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And those people should be fired.

But again, these guys are getting paid more money in a year than most of us will make in our lives. I don't work hard because I have little motivation to do so. If the money and fame don't motivate them, maybe they want to be an editor and I can take over their paycheck. I'll gladly "lead" the team.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree that Gregg was a horrible singing--and one Hendry should have seen coming. He was demoted from closer in Florida the season prior.

gravedigger said:

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Yeah. The vast majority of us were saying this, and I just still don't understand why, if all of us could see it, Hendry could not.

berselius said:

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Also, I would not be surprised if Hendry didn't resign DeRosa in the offseason

JulieDiCaro said:

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Thus guaranteeing that he'll be horrible next season.

thisyearcub said:

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If you add up time from last year's team on the DL (the important players) and this year's (again, the important players, not Chad Fox), you'll see a significant difference.

We'll just have to take our sides: You say chemistry, I say injuries. Not much after that.

JulieDiCaro said:

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it's not like i'm saying the injuries had no effect. i don't think we sucked because of injuries. i think we sucked because of injuries alone. i think we sucked because of injuries + the whole team failing to hit the ball at the same time.

to me, there's an emotional component there.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Do I think it would have made a difference to have Ibanez or Dunn or Abreu in RF? Yes, I do.

First, I don't think those guys would have slumped like Bradley did coming in. Whether you think Bradley's issues this season were internally or externally-caused, I don't think they would have had them.

Also, are you serious? Do I think Dunn's 30 HRs, 85 RBIs and .407 OBP or Abreu's 8 HRs, 77 RBIs and .403 OBP would have been preferable to Bradley's 8 HRs, 30 RBIs, and .394 OBP? Especially during the slump when no one was hitting?

Uh . . yeah. You bet I do.

berselius said:

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Defense counts too, Julie. Bradley's been okay out there, but Dunn (especially) is HORRIBLE in the OF.

JulieDiCaro said:

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But I thought that during the off-season we all decided that his offense made up for him sucking in the field. I'm of the belief that you put your best offensive team out there (with the exception maybe of SS and CF) and defense is what it is.

berselius said:

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They pretty much canceled out, from what I remember. Also, Abreu's power explosion was about as unlikely as Bradley's power disappearing

thisyearcub said:

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Yes, I'm serious. Dead serious. What I'm saying is, does Dunn or Abreu over Bradley equal this team not being 4.5 games out? Keep in mind, all the injuries stay the same.

We'll have to wait until the end of the season when the final stats (not just OBP and HR, but VORP, etc.) flesh out and I guess then we can truly see.

Umbra said:

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Agreed. We'll call the doctor once he's dead, perform an autopsy, and find out exactly what he's dying of.

JulieDiCaro said:

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it might, when i think back to all those games when our pitchers held the other team to 2 runs and we couldn't score. the MN series in particular comes to mind. we never got anyone past 2nd base in one game.

so yeah---increased offensive production might have very well made a difference.

berselius said:

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To argue in the same vein, what if Adam Dunn made 2 fielding errors in the game, giving the Twins a 4-run cushion?

JulieDiCaro said:

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stop trying to confuse me with logic.

no, but seriously--how many errors has he made this season? i'm too lazy to look it up. then again, i'm pretty sure he can at least keep track of the number of outs in an inning.

actually, it might be worth giving up a 4-run cushion if i get to see Dunn step on the wall again.

berselius said:

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He's made 13 errors on the season between LF (5 in 505 innings), RF (3 in 180 innings), and 1b (5 in 175.2 innings). More importantly, his combined UZR between those position is -27.0. That's nearly -3 wins worth of bad defense.

For comparison, here's Bradley's numbers:
3 errors in 684.1 innings at RF, and a -3.5 UZR, which translates to about a third of a win.

thisyearcub said:

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Wow, so it could even be worse. Thanks B.

Doc said:

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It's really too bad that in the end he really won't suffer anything from this...

Creditors preparing to remove Zell.

He's a greedy little devil.

Doc said:

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It's really too bad that in the end he really won't suffer anything from this...

Creditors preparing to remove Zell.

He's a greedy little devil.

Doc said:

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not sure why that posted twice. weird.

gravedigger said:

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Yeah, sorry Julie, but we are out of it.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Everyone keeps talking about the bullpen and the starting rotation and injuries. Have people forgotten the month when the pitchers were lights out and we couldn't score any runs?

Dmband said:

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Here's what has been really bothering me as this team slips into obscurity. Now, I cant speak for everyone, but I will say this. The Cub fans that are in my inner circle all agreed on the following 4 things prior to the season (in order of importance, my opinion)

1)Gregg is not a good closer
2)Soriano should NOT be leading off
3)Milton Bradley was a bad signing
4)Derosa (nuff said).

Now my problem is this, how can we as fans, all see these things, however the people who get paid millions of dollars to make these decisions were 100% wrong. I just dont get it!!!

Again, this IS NOT a situation where hindsight is 20/20, these things were all said by a lot of Cub fans before the season even started.

JulieDiCaro said:

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But see, now you're going to get accused of being in love with DeRosa.

For me, in addition to the veteran thing, it's that I'm comparing DeRosa to the Fontenot/Miles combo. I hate that combo.

I think Bradley has played too poorly to justify getting rid of DeRosa and replacing him with Fontenot/Miles.

It is NOT that I think Mark DeRosa would make everything better. But we lost a lot of production that we didn't make up for.

Umbra said:

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I don't know if that's exactly fair. It's very popular for people to criticize moves made by the front office of any sports team. Then, if the deal goes bad, you can throw up your hands in the air and say, "I knew that was going to happen!" If the deal works out, people rarely get confronted for opposing it at the time: everyone just sheepishly grins all the way to the bank.

Being wrong about a bad deal carries harsher consequences than being wrong about a good deal, so people hedge their bets in favor of thinking that more deals are bad. Does that make sense? People aren't fired for the good deals they didn't make, they're fired for the bad ones they did. That's not exactly fair. Shouldn't they be logically equivalent?

There's a term for this, I think. Cassandra's Syndrome, maybe? I'm being a modern jackass and should probably wikipedia this before I made a fool of myself. Cassandra was the woman from the story of the Trojan Horse in Homer's Iliad who was blessed with the foreknowledge that the Greeks were hiding inside the horse, but was also haunted by the curse that no one would believe her foretelling.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I love how you feel the need to tell us who Cassandra was. I went to college too, jerk. :P

I agree that Bradley's play this season was not forseeable, in a vaccum. What I DO think was forseeable was that this would be a difficult place for him to play, causing him to get all headcase-y and possibly play poorly.

Now I'm worried that I'm spelling "forseeable" wrong. Am I?

gravedigger said:

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I went to college, and graduate school, and without the explanation I'd have thought Cassandra was a stripper.

Umbra said:

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I'm simply trying to communicate better and get my point across, but whenever I explain myself, I am accused of being 'condescending' (not explicitly by you, just in my personal life). But if I don't explain myself, I am accused of being elitist and speaking over people's heads to show off. The only answer is to not talk about Smart People Things. I shall from here on out only speak like Sarah Palin. She's more like 'real' Americans, you know? Hunting wolves from helicopters, giving press conferences where you slam the media, normal everyday American stuff.

Also, I was correct about my being wrong about the Cassandra Effect. The Cassandra Effect is when you say that something bad is going to happen (e.g., Greeks inside a horse, signing Milton Bradley) and the louder you yell it, the less you are listened to because you are raining on everybody's parade. In this thread, Dmband and gravedigger can both be said to be suffering from the Cassandra Effect. So before Jack McDowell comes in here and kicks my blogging butt again, I'm inventing a new thing called the 'Doomsayer Bias', which is when there is a bias towards predicting Bad Things. It occurs when the incentives for avoiding a mistake outweigh the incentives for making a good decision.

You are spelling "foreseeable" incorrectly. Foreknowledge, foretelling, foreseeable.

JulieDiCaro said:

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a) i'm only teasing you, silly; and
b) damn, that's what i thought.

thisyearcub said:

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Great post Umbra, and right on the money. If the Cubs don't make the playoffs, yeah, that'll suck, but this team had hit a standstill, the front office decided something needed to be done and I can't fault them for that.

gravedigger said:

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Here's the problem:

1) This team cannot hit
2) The bullpen is usually bad
3) The rotation is pretty OK, but never healthy
4) Lou done gone an loss his damn mind

So, yeah. Forget about this team for this year.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That might be the best summary of this season I've seen so far.

gravedigger said:

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Well, I feel kind of stupid posting it, like blackjack's "you need to have good hitters and pitchers to win" argument -- it's quite self-explanatory.

JulieDiCaro said:

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therein lies it's beauty.

JulieDiCaro said:

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"its beauty.

GAH

gravedigger said:

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I wasn't going to point it out. I mean, I wanted to. But I restrained myself.

JulieDiCaro said:

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here's the thing. when we were learning possessives in 2nd grade, our teacher had us write "it's" along with everything else, thinking it would confuse us if she introduced an exception. no one told me it was improper until 3rd grade, and by that time it was thoroughly stamped on my brain. i still struggle with it.

boo for dumb teachers.

berselius said:

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Wow, that's ridiculous. At some point when we were learning about posessives they just told me to replace it's with "it is" any time you use it to see if it works.

What drives me crazier is people who misspell lose as 'loose'. They don't even sound the same at all! Grr

JulieDiCaro said:

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that's what my third grade teacher told me, but i still have to stop and think about it every. single. time. if i try to just write quickly without thinking, i always get it wrong.

gravedigger said:

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That teacher should be beheaded.

gravedigger said:

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whoa, I meant "fired," but "behaded" came out.

Dmband said:

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I heard a stat yesterday that was compelling. Last year our 7,8,9 was the 2nd most productive in baseball. Not the NL, in all of baseball which is amazing if you factor in the AL has a DH. DeRo was a huge part of that. This year (and obviously a lot has to do with Soto's lack of production) we have gotten nothing out of that part of our lineup. That allows opposing pitchers to navigate through our big hitters much easier and thats why we leave an obnoxious number of runners on base.

berselius said:

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Injuries, injuries, injuries. The big hitters aren't doing so hot at knocking runners in either.

Dmband said:

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so I guess the question now is does Lou go, does Hendry go, do both go, or do we have a repeat of the exact same season next year. Our outfield is obviously going to be exactly the same...

gravedigger said:

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I think the team should be contracted.

JulieDiCaro said:

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*snort*

Doc said:

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lol!

That would solve a lot of our problems.

gravedigger said:

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I'd have a lot more free time. And be less angry, generally.

thisyearcub said:

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I think both deserve to stay.

Doc said:

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At this point, I think the bigger question is whether Lou chooses to stay.

Regardless of what happens to Hendry or ownership...the Cubs will have Lou come back next season, if he wants to come back.

Hendry, on the other hand, I don't want back. I don't want him to have the opportunity to sign some B-list free agent (or two) for $40 million over 3 seasons after this year is over.

berselius said:

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Actually, I think that if Hendry makes any FA moves this offseason, it's going to be either Mark DeRosa or Orlando Hudson, both of which I'd be happy with provided the contracts aren't particularly long

berselius said:

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Actually, I think that if Hendry makes any FA moves this offseason, it's going to be either Mark DeRosa or Orlando Hudson, both of which I'd be happy with provided the contracts aren't particularly long

Doc said:

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As much as I miss DeRosa this season...he will likely be offered a multi year high priced contract by a number of clubs...and at his age right now, I don't think that would be a wise thing to do this off season.

If DeRosa was willing to come to Chicago again for 1 or 2 years...I'd probably be willing to go for that.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Agreed. I'm not sure I want him in 2 years. Maybe just for next year.

gravedigger said:

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I would not.

baturkey said:

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I didn't realize that you could be charged with battery with beer. I mean, I'm definitely not a lawyer, but if I was on the jury, I would be incredulous.

Umbra said:

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Well that depends on the beer, doesn't it? If it was Bud Light or something, that's different. It's light. It doesn't hurt if you get hit in the face with it.

But if it was something heavy and dark? Guinness? A Porter? A Stout? You're going to jail for a long time.

Also, I doubt there would be a jury for this. I think a judge would be all that's needed. Not that it'll even get that far. But my years watching Law and Order have come in handy here.

JulieDiCaro said:

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under the law, battery is simply and unwanted touching. it can be with anything, and it doesn't even have to be violent. i once had a domestic battery case where two people were whipping uncooked hamburger patties at each other.

but you're right--the jury is going to balk. then again, they probably expect him to plead in exchange for community service.

Umbra said:

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I hope he does 'Big Brothers Big Sisters'. This man needs to interact with our nation's youth.

Fargo said:

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This may be a specious argument, but is it not puzzling that we have had so many injuries? Have we been more injury-prone than any other team? If so, why is this happening, poor conditioning? Poor preparation? But more importantly, not every team folds during injuries (o.k.-maybe the Mets), but we don't have anyone clutch except Ramirez. D-Lee has been at times, but not consistently. I agree with the chemistry and leadership concept. It is not there this year. Between Woody and D-Ro, you had two stand-up, no-nonsense guys. Even though Lee and Ramirez have been there longer than others, neither has that part of their personality to be team leader. Theriot has sounded more like team spokesperson than anyone else. I heard Theriot interviewed last night and he insists they are playing as hard as they can, but it's all about the injuries. We don't know what's said behind closed doors. For all we know Pinella screams at the top of his lungs at them. They actually LOOK like they aren't having fun. Even though there is still plenty of baseball left-I don't see how they can pull it together enough to make a run. It seems like the play-offs last year took every ounce of confidence out of them and you can't inject anyone else on the team with attitude issues (Bradley and Zambrano). I actually am amazed at how Zambrano and Bradley haven't gone at each other like Zambrano and Barrett did. Jim Hendry has a LOT of work to do before next season.

gravedigger said:

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The Mets have it worse.

Umbra said:

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As we all know, the Cubs are getting injured too much because they don't do Pilates.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I said "yoga and pilates." I'm telling you, it's all about core strength and flexibility. it worked for Jermaine Dye--he's a huge pilates guy.

gravedigger said:

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I do agree with this. Strengthening the core is essential to building stable strength throughout the body.

Yes, you look ridiculous doing it. But these guys make enough money that they can pay a personal trainer to guide them through it in a windowless room where nobody will see them looking like pansies.

Doc said:

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I'm hoping Jim Hendry doesn't get the chance to do any work before next season.

I really think he needs to go.

gravedigger said:

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Remember when he had open heart surgery or whatever?

berselius said:

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It was an angioplasty, I thought. That's when he signed Ted Lilly!

berselius said:

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Well, I should correct myself here. Ted Lilly doesn't sign contracts, he just stares at them and his signature appears on them

Doc said:

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So, he's only allowed to sign free agents when he is on a hospital bed. Fine.

gravedigger said:

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Also, remember when the rumors were going on that he liked an adult beverage occassionally, and even Al didn't run out to refute them or remove the messages on BCB?

I actually really like Hendry. I'll find it really hard to dislike him after he acquired the guy who has become my favorite player (Ramirez) for nobody.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree with everything you said, except that I think Z and DLee do lead in their own way. DLee is a Sandburg--he leads by example. Z has been disgruntled and injured a lot this season, so I think he has other things on his mind.

I DO think that injuries are being blamed a little too much by the players, who seem to be using it as a crutch. Like I said, it's not JUST that Aramis has been injured, it's that we lost his offense without making up for it somehere else.

Umbra said:

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Using it as a crutch, like when DLee said "We've had injuries all year. We're not going to lean on that."

JulieDiCaro said:

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Okay nevermind.

Sometimes I hate having smart readers. Why can't we have sheep like other sites who just agree with everything I say?

Umbra said:

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Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that LOHO should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.

Also, disagreeing on the Internet is much more fun.

millertime said:

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You are so right. Is that kool-aid ready yet? The great space comet is almost upon us. We need to escape the clutches of Lord Xenu.

millertime said:

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SCIENCE STOPPER!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Disagreeing with me isn't in the Bible!

millertime said:

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Is that kool-aid ready yet glorious leader? The hour of Lord Xeno's return draws near!

gravedigger said:

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If a key player is injured, the otehrs have to step up. Soriano has failed at that this year. So has Bradley. For a while, so did Lee. I agree with you -- it is time for everyone to STFU about injuries.

millertime said:

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Wow, I sleep in this morning, and miss some of the best headlines action I've seen all year. The site is going BUHZONKERS!

Obviously, as Julie pointed out above, I don't believe as much in team chemistry. To me, a team has good chemistry because they win, they don't win because they have good chemistry. Of course a team that is winning (like the Phillies) looks happy, they're winning games. Find me a team that loses 100 games and is all smiles. You won't, because when teams do bad and have fun, people accuse them of not trying and only caring about money. For that matter, find a team that wins 100 games and has chemistry issues.

When saying that this year's team doesn't have that "never give up" attitude, I think that is a byproduct of our team not winning games. Again, it is hard to have a "never give up" appearence when you lose a lot of games. Find me a team that has a losing record but still looks like they scrap for every game. For the record, this team has had plenty of "clutch" hits. Remember that week against the sox with 3 comeback wins? Soriano is tied for 2nd in the majors with 3 game winning hits. The leader, the most clutchy-est player in the league, has 4 game winning hits. Geoff Blume has 2 game winning hits against the Cubs. If your team has Geoff Blume in the lineup, your team is super screwed.

As I've said before, I think Jim Hendry has done a great job at putting this team together over the years. I know Soraino has a huge contract, but his first two years he has been one of the best hitters on the team, and without him we wouldn't have made the playoffs. And he sure beats the hell out of having Murton most foul on this team. I don't like the Gregg move, but otherwise, Hendry has hit more often than he's missed. Why people are blaming Lou, I have no idea. He is doing the same things he did when they Cubs were winning non-stop last year. Unless he suits up and pitches the 9th for himself, I don't see what else he can do. I was also wrong about Fontenot, I thought he would be much better than he was this year. So for this off-season, we should target RP, CF, and 2B. Not the worst position to be in. Maybe Vitters can learn to play 2B, or Fox?

I don't believe in Evolution Julie. Did you just compare me to people who believe that president Obama isn't American and president Obama wants to create a death panel? Seriously?

gravedigger said:

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I really dislike the framing of the "evolution" argument. When one says "I do not believe in evolution," are you saying you don't believe humans evolved from lesser beings? Or that you don't believe that species, over time, evolve? Because if it is the latter, you are really dumb. And that's all I can say about that.

JulieDiCaro said:

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We are NOT going to get into an evolution debate here.

Seriously. I will delete comments for the first time if that happens.

gravedigger said:

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awwwwww but mom!

(just to be clear, I'm not arguing about evolution in the sense that humans came from whatever animals. I don't care about that. I'm saying species change over time, which is evolution, which is evidence that people have to be careful with the language they use. That's all)

millertime said:

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This is my fault. I should have ended that last paragraph with a ;), or split it up. Everyone knows that winky face implies humor/amusement.

KINGCOACH said:

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evolution is your only hope!! evolution is the process by which only the strongest survive!!.. the CUBS have been dying for so long, they are the poster-child for the exception to the evolution theory!!.. if i weren't for the senseless fans that throng to the park to see minor league baseball.. the CUBS would have already ceased to exist.
the CUBS will never win the world series.. their only hope is to change the name of the team.. call them the DUBS, or FLUBS, or SCHLUBS.. or the LOSERS.. after 101 tries as CUBS, they have a much better chance with another name.
oif i owned the team, i would jump up and say " THE CUBS NO LONGER EXIST !!! THEIR DAYS HAVE SOME AND GONE.. INSTEAD THE CUBS HAVE GROW UP AFTER 101 YEARS.. & ARE OW FULLY GROWN BEARS!!!... LET THE TEAM NOW BE KNOWN AS THE BEARS!!
that is your only hope.. as a friend of mine once said "if the CUBS ever win the WS.. you better run... CUZ ARMEGEDDON CAN'T POSSIBLY BE MORE THAN 15 MINUTES AWAY!!!"

millertime said:

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I don't believe humans evolved from lesser beings. However, that is an arguement for a different blog, as it in no way connects to Chicago sports of any kind. Also, Aaron Miles sucks.

gravedigger said:

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Aaron Miles evolved from a centipede.

millertime said:

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ahh yes the centipede. The most notoriously bad insect thing at baseball.

gravedigger said:

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well, they lack hands.

millertime said:

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And any knowledge of the game. Seriously, they don't even try to hit the ball. They just kinda, wander around and die without contributing anything positive to the team. So yeah, Aaron Miles is half man, half centipede?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Let's just not even go there, Ed.

gravedigger said:

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I want to go there.

millertime said:

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That last part of mine wasn't serious, I was just amused.

Umbra said:

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"For that matter, find a team that wins 100 games and has chemistry issues."

2007 Red Sox.

"And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man! It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening. Once we saw that, we weren’t afraid to get rid of him. It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It sucked, but that was the only scenario that was going to work."

millertime said:

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I am defeated.

Dmband said:

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Doc- You beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing about hendry. He has to go...at the risk of getting berated here, all you need to do is look to the other side of town and see a GM who is making the right moves...Hendry has put us in a position with almost no farm system to speak of and a ton of backloaded contracts. He rolled the dice and took a shot when the window was open and it just didnt work out. Nothing against the guy, but accountability has to factor in at this point.

Doc said:

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Here is where I go and contradict myself...

To Hendry's defense...

This organization and this fan base has been very demanding...pretty much putting him in a position where he has to "win now". I personally like to look much more long term than that. But he really has been given that directive since 2003.

He constructed a team to "win now"...

That team has not "won now"...

I blame the players a lot for that...

but after this season (and I've been giving this a lot of thought lately)...this core of players have really one more legitimate shot at winning it all. And by core players, I mean Ramirez, Lee and Soriano (you might be able to put Fukudome in there too)...

All of these guys are on the back side of their careers. It is unlikely they will have great seasons again and if fact their production is much more likely to start going down than staying put.

I don't really trust Hendry to make any changes to prepare this team for another serious run two years from now. He's mortgaged a lot to get to this point. He bought up expensive riverfront properties because he was told he had to, and it just happened that those properties were in a flood plain, and it just happened that it rained a lot this past year and those properties now kinda suck. Now he's going to have a hard time selling those properties and...and...I have no idea where I'm going with this...

Fire Hendry.

berselius said:

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The good thing about this is that the Cubs have a TON of money coming off the books after the 2010 season. We're a big market team - we can retool.

I think Hendry's done a great job with the big league club, especially with the trading he's done (Ramirez!), but the main knock on him is the HORRIBLE drafts that the Cubs have had under his tenure. I know a lot of that is Wilken, but Hendry hired him and has stuck with him, so the buck does have to stop with him there

thisyearcub said:

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Are you kidding me? Kenny Williams is making the right moves? Taking on Alex Rios, that's a hell of a contract. And then Peavy, I mean, they're going to have NO money to keep their guys in the future.

I'd go with another example.

Ed Nickow said:

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As usual, lots of comments to read before chiming in ... sorry if this has already been said.

First, full disclosure, I'm one of the "we should never have traded DeRosa" people. I've lost count of how many times I've seen a play blown by one of our revolving crew of second-rate second basemen and said "D-Ro would have made that play".

This is a narrow reading of the injury situation, and certainly doesn't address the question of whether Zambrano is taking care of himself - or if Lou is doing enough to stop him taking batting practice. But I believe that if DeRosa was still on the team it would have been easier to wait out some of the injuries.

Did A-Ram hurt his shoulder a second time because he came back too soon? Would it have been easier to keep him out a bit longer if there was someone Lou could have been confident playing the corner?

Lots of other issues here, of course. And this single change wouldn't make much of a difference overall. But with a versatile (and capable) utility guy like DeRosa on the team, it would likely have been easier to deal with injuries and let guys sit out long enough to really heal instead of coming back too early.

berselius said:

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Mark DeRosa was never a great defensive 2b, ed. Fontenot, at least has always been a good defensive 2b. He may have had a few brain farts this year, but he gets to a LOT more balls than DeRosa does.

A lot of DeRosa's value last year was due to the fact that his backup, Fontenot, was hitting out of his mind last year. Yes, it was great that he could move around to various spots in the diamond, but really Fontenot was replacing the people that DeRosa was filling in for defensively. Yes, DeRosa would have been an improvement on the rotating 2b carousel this year, but we would still be seeing them in the lineup. DeRosa isn't nearly enough to make up for the huge drop in production and injuries this team has faced

summerguy said:

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I just have a problem with the way Lou seems to make decisions this year. He's acting like Dusty where he refuses to make changes and waits too long to do so. For example, Dusty batting Korey leadoff all of '05.

Lou would not move Soriano out of the leadoff spot even though he had been god-awful there. He waited until about halfway through the season before doing anything.

Lou refused to play Jake Fox at 3rd base for the longest time while Ramirez was injured. He was one of the only Cubs actually hitting at the time and he instead chose to start Ryan freakin Freel and Mike Fontenot there. I understand the whole defense stigma he had but much like playing Adam Dunn in the outfield, at some point the offense is more needed.

Maybe I'm the only one that thinks this, but Lou hasn't gotten enough heat for it. However, Hendry should be fired for putting Lou in this situation to begin with. Going into a season without a 3rd base backup.

Dmband said:

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Doc I love how your commment started "In Hendry's defense" and then ended "Fire Hendry" hahahaha.

Doc said:

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In my defense...I did say I would contradict myself.

Dmband said:

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I agree with the comments about Lou. The fact that it took him 3 months to move Sori out of the leadoff is a joke.

Doc said:

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forget 3 months...it took 2 1/2 years.

KINGCOACH said:

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cubbie julie.. for the life of me i can't understand how or why any sane person would want to waste their time blogging on this wretched bunch of morons on this CUB team..
THEY ARE HELPLESS & HOPELESS!!.. H E L L O ?!? LOOK A THE PHOTO OF THE PLAYERS IN THE DUGOUT... THEY ALL HAVE THEIR HEADS HUNG IN DEFEAT!!! THEY ARE BEATEN ! ! ! !! THEIR BODY LANGUAGE SEZ "I HAVE GIVEN UP!!"
watching this squad is like hanging out at the train terminal, waiting for the inevitable train wreck.. which is coming, but you don't know when.
do yourself a favor.. seek professional help..get a life.

baturkey said:

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I don't know whether it's funny or sad that post by Cubs fans and non Cubs fans are eerily similar.

Umbra said:

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Funny. That post is hilarious.

jtbwriter said:

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What a wonderful piece of irony-here we have someone who goes from lower case to upper case bleating and then advises our Julie to get help and a life? Must be a Sox fan.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hee.

That advice seems well-intentioned and hard to argue with. I'm not really sure why I do it either. I blame my parents.

Umbra said:

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The logic is inescapable, is it not?

I think this is the same guy who thought that independence was the worst thing to ever happen to this country.

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