A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines For Tuesday: Welcome to My Insanity

Astros-Cubs

Let the slow descent into madness begin.

We'll start off with LOHO-favorite Bruce Miles, who leaves us hanging up front with a trivia question. Right in the middle of his column!

There are names, and there are labels. The name is Jake Fox, actually Jacob Fox. That name, Jacob Fox, is a famous one in Chicago sports history. Think on that a minute, and we'll come back to it.

Jeez, Bruce. I don't read the morning news to be challenged intellectually. Just tell me already.

Jake Fox of the Cubs is trying to make a name for himself in major-league baseball. At the same time, he's trying to shed some labels that remain stuck to him as he concludes his seventh year of pro ball.

The 27-year-old Fox has heard them all: good hitter, poor fielder, man without a position and DH.

"I think everybody deals with labels," Fox said on the Cubs' just-concluded road trip. "That's one of the hard parts about this game coming up, because this game is based on evaluation. Scout evaluation, coach evaluation, your whole game is based on evaluation. So when you have a label, it follows you.

Yes, we all deal with labels. And labels follow you. A sometimes you get a label in the first place because it's an accurate way of describing you. And sometimes the label follows you because it's still an accurate description. Don't be offended, I once heard something about me being a scarlet-headed witch.

Or something.

And then Jake inexplicably delves off into some story about a souvenir his grandparents bought him from Cooperstown:

Now about that name. Fox shares the same first and last name of White Sox Hall of Famer Jacob "Nellie" Fox. A native of Indianapolis, the Cubs' Fox says it's a coincidence, but one he enjoys.

"I knew that," he said of his name. "My grandparents went to Cooperstown when I was real young, and (the Hall of Fame) sells those little cards in the gift shop.

"They brought me one back of Jacob Nelson Fox. Jacob Nelson 'Nellie' Fox. So I always knew there was a Jacob Fox in the Hall of Fame. I thought that was really cool. I still actually have a card at home, but I always thought that was really cool."

Okay then.

For those of you expecting Ricketts to come in and make a big splash this off-season, Carl Slezak says "neh." And she kind of yells at us about it:

Last we saw Ricketts, he was standing and cheering a Milton Bradley home run from a box seat at Wrigley Field, proving his true blue Cubbie fandom. But we already knew about his loyalty to the team. The question on everyone's mind is what kind of an owner will Ricketts be? After a 2009 season filled with frustration and disappointment, will he want to start fresh, with his own handpicked people? Apparently not.

(snip)

Piniella, who seemed tired, cranky and disinterested during most of the season, has recently appeared energized. But is that a reliable predictor for 2010? What if the team gets off to another bad start? How will Piniella react, and how will the players react to him, knowing he will be in the final year of his contract? If Zambrano behaved immaturely this season, showing up Piniella on more than one occasion, how will he act next year, knowing the manager is on his way out?

I don't know, Carol! Stop yelling in my face and giving me the third-degree this morning--I just woke up!

 And what about Hendry? Despite his terrible 2008 offseason, he has proved over the years to be a good major-league talent evaluator. Unfortunately, he also has presided over a flawed farm system that has produced precious few young, solid prospects. Year after year the Cubs have been forced to fill their holes with expensive free agents. That's hardly a formula for long-term success. But it is the Cubs' formula. 

As boss, Ricketts could choose to rid the organization of every remnant of its losing history. He could have his pick of the most accomplished names in the game, from managers to general managers to player personnel directors. He could immediately begin to make this organization over. But don't look for bold change anytime soon. The new boss has already shown us that he's content to stay the course. How very Cub-like of him.

Hooray! This means next year is already here! Go Cubs!

Remember back to like, three weeks ago when we were saying that it was still POSSIBLE that the Cubs could make a huge run and still have a shot at the WC? Well guess what? SOMEBODY's making a huge run. . . but it's not us:

ATLANTA -- Two weeks ago, they gained a faint pulse. One week ago, they were creating reason to wonder if it was possible. Now with just six regular-season games remaining, the Braves are inching closer toward completing what would be a miraculous run into the postseason.

While the challenge still appears to be great, the odds of the playoff scene visiting Atlanta this year are increasing with every passing day, or maybe more appropriately, with every passing start made by Jair Jurrjens and the other members of the Braves' rock-solid starting rotation.

(snip)

With their 15th win in their past 17 games, the Braves moved two games behind the front-running Rockies in the National League Wild Card standings. And as ever-optimistic manager Bobby Cox pointed out, his club is also now four games behind the first-place Phillies in the National League East race.

I TOLD you guys this should have been a Braves blog!

#$@#$*@@!@&%$!@#

But don't fret, kids. We still get to watch the Cubs play the Pirates tonight at 7:05!

Oh yeah, and we might be officially eliminated today.

Have a great day!

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58 Comments

gravedigger said:

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We were officially eliminated months ago. This team sucks.

JulieDiCaro said:

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know what i was thinking about today? remember back in like, june, when some of us said that we just didn't feel like this team had what it took? and a whole bunch of people (who shall remain nameless) yelled at us and said "stop panicking! this team will win the division." And they made fun of all of us who said this team sucked?

yeah, i was thinking about that.

gravedigger said:

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Haha. Yeah.

I'd probably usually be in their camp, it is just that I'm really pessimistic and I hate Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot. So I've been on the "this team is the worst team ever and doomed to failure" camp since Opening Day.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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And I always said "Let's go team!"

JulieDiCaro said:

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Yes you did. :)

millertime said:

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Remember how some people's thoughts are governed by rational logical, and make decisions based on research, data, and sound reasoning, while other people use their feelings and make up intangible arguments based on nothing for as to why something in the future might happen? And when the improbable happened and the Cubs didn't win the division that the second group of people tried to lord it over the first group of people when all along it was only because the second group of people got extremely lucky with their guess and it had nothing to do with the second group of people's crazy superstitions and beliefs in made up concepts like chemistry and teams "not having what [winning the division] took"?

That's what I was thinking about. I like this game. Who else was thinking things about things this morning?

thisyearcub said:

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I was thinking about that too millertime. Crazy.

flyball said:

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I was thinking that when people are involved things can be unpredictable and what seems good on paper isn't always that way in real life, occasionally you go through the whole prep and map it all out only to find that in the world your calculations don't quite work

but that has nothing to do with baseball, my model didn't really turn out the way I wanted it to

Umbra said:

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I was thinking about how games are played on a field, not a spreadsheet.

oog of ulams said:

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I was thinking about how spreadsheets are fielded on a play, not a game.

Umbra said:

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I was thinking about spreading sheets across a field and playing a game of Naps.

millertime said:

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I was thinking
11110101010001010101010100010101010101010

flyball said:

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you were thinking you wanted to win the geek-a-thon?

JulieDiCaro said:

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know what else i was thinking while i was sitting in ESL tutoring class? how ticked off i was that i could see this comment and now respond to it, and how sometimes women's intuition can trump all kinds of things. and how defensive guys get about that.

Umbra said:

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Things Needed To Understand Baseball:

1. Children.
2. Two X Chromosomes.
3. Spreadsheets.*

(* Note: Spreadsheets optional.)

JulieDiCaro said:

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finally---thank you!

thisyearcub said:

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Umbra, that is the post of the month. Well played, sir.

thisyearcub said:

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What dun?

JulieDiCaro said:

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i'm off to adult literacy tutoring training. . . or something. be good and don't break the internet until I get back.

secdelahc said:

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But if I break the internet, that means I don't have to work on Finance. Can I pretty please break the internets?

Dmband said:

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Here's a question for the panel..

What's the closer situation look like next year. Are we going with Marmol for sure? The FA class for closer's looks medicore at best...

Thoughts....feelings...

MN Pat said:

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I feel a headache coming on when I think about the closer situation for next year ...

JulieDiCaro said:

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uh--how many years did we get Gregg for? please say "one."

secdelahc said:

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74.2678 years. He plans on pitching until he's 115 years old. Like Julio Franco.

Doc said:

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yes, one. He's gone after this year. And if Hendry resigns him, he should be banned from baseball.

thisyearcub said:

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Lou said Marmol would be the closer heading into next year. He's pitched well the last few weeks, but those have been when the games don't matter (which is why the clubhouse is "looser).

I think they're going to let Marmol sink or swim, and not make it a competition as they did in ST this year. When he's on, he's unhittable, but Marmol has to figure out his control to walk less people.

Doc said:

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Marmol is likely to start the season as the closer. I don't think that is going to change this offseason. The organization believes that the closer position is in no need of being changed.

So with that being said, am I happy with this? Maybe. I believe Marmol has the stuff to be a good closer. He's got the head for the job, and we've all seen how filthy his stuff is. I honestly believe his biggest problem is his mechanics. At the end of last season and most of this season he really started to through much more from the side and not staying on top of the ball. This is a similar to some of Zambrano's issues over the last few years. The result of this that they tend to fly open during the delivery and their pitches don't have the same sink on them, and the slider tends to be very difficult to control.

If Rothschild can help Marmol correct this bad habit, I believe he will be devastating as a closer. But Rothsy hasn't done a great job with working with Zambrano on it...hopefully Marmol will listen a bit more.

Dmband said:

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hahahahaha. Yeah...youre right..sorry!

Dmband said:

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Also, is anyone else having a really tough time watching any other baseball right now? I just cant get into it...possibly just bitter. Typcially I enjoy late September/October baseball...

JulieDiCaro said:

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that is all about to change for you, my friend.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Okay-so adult literary tutoring training was brutal. I fell asleep twice.

flyball said:

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were you at least sitting in the back of the class?

JulieDiCaro said:

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yep---all the way in the back. unforutnately, i was also next to the old guy who raised his hand to weigh in every two seconds.

millertime said:

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Don't give up Julie! You'll learn to read someday! I just know it!

Doc said:

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I'm not so optimistic. I don't think she can do it.

Doc said:

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if anyone is up for some exciting baseball, the Twins and Tigers are currently playing the first game of a doubleheader today. The Twins are only 2 games behind the Tigers...

It's 1-1 in the bottom of the eight inning right now in game 1.

Doc said:

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9 innings complete...

Tied still 1-1.

millertime said:

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Go Twins!

Doc said:

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I'm a bit torn here...

I like the Twins just because I really like how that organization brings up players and how they seem to really play good fundamental baseball and are competitive with not the best talent.

The Tigers...well, I really like the owner of the Tigers and I really would like to see the Tigers play well for the city of Detroit which is a great baseball town that has been hit hard by, well, everything for almost 30 years.

Doc said:

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And the Twins take the lead.

Doc said:

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it is 3-1 Twin going into the bottom of the 10th.

Doc said:

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Twins win game one...3-2.

gravedigger said:

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I'm pulling for the Twinks.

Doc said:

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you would.

millertime said:

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You must have a typo. It's spelled Twins. No k.

gravedigger said:

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You are mistaken. Carl will agree with me.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I like Twinks too.

Dmband said:

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Millertime-

I crossing posts here b/c I thought it was very interesting what you were saying about being a "team game"...and I just wanted to re-post this word " jackassnessissity ". Awesome.

Anyhoo, I have to point out that your claim that it is primarily an individual game (i.e. pitcher v. batter) is somewhat incorrect. One needs to look no further than the offensive production dropoff when ARAM got hurt. It allows pitchers to approach the entire lineup differently, particularly in the NL with the pitcher batting 9th, and if Fontenot is batting 8th...(sorry mike).

Furthermore, and I know how much you love the idea of chemistry, but the baseball season is the longest in all of sports (perhaps not golf or nascar, but I know nothing of these sports) and when you have the team together, everyday, for 8-9 months, I really do think it matters, and I dont think its a fluke that we are 6-1 without him (I think thats right?)..but thats obviously based on other factors as well.

gravedigger said:

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I stand by the argument that if Mike Fontenot goes to the plate thinking "God Jesus Fuck I hate Milton Bradley" and strikes out swinging, the problem is with him and not Milton Bradley.

thisyearcub said:

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Agreed.

millertime said:

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I just wrote a long comment, and then it was eaten by the comment monster. Ugh.

To summerize, I think that it is very difficult to prove that ARAM's absence was the reason behind the drop in productivity. Likewise with Bradley. There isn't enough data to form a reliable conclusion. You don't know how much injuries, schedules, hot/cold streaks that happen every year have an effect on those games. I don't think team chemistry doesn't have any impact, I just think that that impact is so small that it is almost non-existent.

I can't type anymore because the nerdy people two tables down are having a loud nerdy convresation about how mellow the orcs are, and which magic spells they should use. It's unbelievable how stereotypical the whole scene is. Overweight guys, computers, bad facial hair, nerdy voice...

"In the fantasy novels dragons are known to be able to screw anything"

And with that, I'm out. Peace.

millertime said:

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I shall now return to the activity I was doing, which is not in any way nerdy at all.

I am watching someone with a British accent play through Final Fantasy VIII. Don't hate on it, this shit is awesome. And in no way nerdy. Stop judging me. I'm hip. I'm with it.

thisyearcub said:

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I think it's a fluke, sorry. I'm more in the school of they're looser b/c pressure's off, they're just kind of going out there loose.

If you believe in this, then you should have been mad the Cubs let Marquis go. Because this will continue his streak that he's never missed the playoffs in his MLB career. Every team he's played on has gone to the postseason.

Perkins said:

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Though they don't always take him along for the ride. Which may happen again this year, since he's been pants for the last month.

Dmband said:

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Oh...and yes, Marbury and Owens would be bad additions to the team. LOL

Dmband said:

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So youre saying missing our key RBI guy and the best hitter on our team did not impact that rest of the lineup (particularly the bottom of the lineup, which was NON existant this year). Come on guys! I feel like Im taking crazy pills...I invented the piano key necktie!

Good call on what I assume is a Magic The Gathering reference? bad facial hair, Nerdy voice...ahahahahaha.

And Ok, I'll concede that this last little run has some fluke like qualities...its just too easy to point out its been sans MB.

millertime said:

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I'm saying that Aramis Ramirez does not affect anyone else's OPS. Mike Fontenot has either a good season or a bad season because of himself. He doesn't hit more doubles, or take more walks, becasue Aramis is or isn't in the lineup.

Love the zoolander ref. I have no idea if it was a Magic: The Gathering thing or not, it seems more like D&D. Yep, they def have some dice. Sadly enough, I used to play Magic: The Gathering. Fun game, but too much money. Every time I got a good deck, they'd come out with a new expansion, invent new abilities, and my stuff would be outdated. Money trap.

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