A League of Her Own

Tuesday Headlines: Merry Freakin' Christmas, Cubs Fans

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 Last night, while Jim Hendry was nestled all snug in his bed, visions of Brian Roberts dancing in his head, another (and possibly the best) candidate to man CF in Wrigley slipped through the Cubs' fingers.

Boston also reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with outfielder Mike Cameron, according to a person familiar with those negotiations. That deal is subject to a physical, the person said on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

Oh hey, did I mention Boston also got John Lackey?

Meanwhile, the best team in the NL was busy making their perennial all-star lineup even better:

At 6:00 pm, the deal looked like this, according to Stark:

Phillies acquire Roy Halladay, Mariners prospect, Mariners prospect
Mariners acquire Cliff Lee
Blue Jays acquire Phillippe Aumont, Travis d'Arnaud, Phillies prospect (likely OF Michael Taylor)

 

And, AND, in the NL Central, the Cards offered Matt Holliday the deal of the century:

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have offered Matt Holliday an eight-year contract worth about $16 million per year.

On the off chance that it's accepted, it'd be the biggest contract in Cardinals history, overtaking the seven-year, $100 million deal that Albert Pujols is two years away from finishing up.

If the $16 million figure is right, then the contract would be worth a total of $128 million, making it the 11th biggest pact in baseball history. It'd be the third biggest for an outfielder behind Manny Ramirez's eight-year, $160 million contract with Boston and Alfonso Soriano's eight-year, $136 million contract with the Cubs.

Goodness, look at that. It cost us more for Alfonso Soriano than it will cost someone for Matt Holliday.

As you can see, one team is NOTICEABLY ABSENT when it comes to making moves.

Bruce Levine, are you as hopeless as I am?

Sooner or later, and most likely as soon as this week, beleaguered Milton Bradley will be traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for Pat Burrell.

However, the perception the Cubs will have more money to spend on free agents and trades by moving Bradley is false. Bradley and Burrell will make $9 million in 2010 -- that's a wash -- whatever money Jim Hendry saves on Bradley's 2011 contract will not impact $1 of his 2010 payroll. Bradley's owed $12.5 million in 2011. If Hendry can save $6.5 million by eating $6 million, that will only help the person running the 2011 team.
Wow--that sounds great. So basically we're going to wind up paying $11 million for Pat Burrell to play (a bad) RF. Or Luis Castillo to play 2nd.
 
But wait! It gets better!
 

The Ricketts family has targeted $15 million in new ticket revenue for 2010 which will go toward upgrades in Wrigley Field. A man of his word, Tom Ricketts said every dollar of profit in the foreseeable future will go to the team, including Wrigley and payroll.

Although the Cubs' $140 million will put them among the top five or six teams in payroll expenditures, it's the same payroll they had for 2009.

Hendry has an automatic bump of $8 million to pay Ryan Dempster, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and Kosuke Fukudome more cash in their escalating long-term contracts. He also has eight players eligible for arbitration this year. That list includes Ryan Theriot and Carlos Marmol, who both made around $500,000 last season and both will make around $3 million due to the arbitration system.

If the Cubs are going to compete with St. Louis next season, Hendry likely will need $7 million to $10 million to help sign the players he needs.

So basically, next year we're going to spend $30 million next year for Ryan Dempster, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Theriot, and new bathrooms.

Awesome.

If you're keeping track, the Cubs are down to Marlon Byrd, the cheatsy Rick Ankiel, and Johnn Damon. I quote the always level-headed Harry Pavlidis of Cubs F/X:

"I never thought I would say this, but, if the Cameron-to-Boston is true ... Byrd me."

Merry Fucking Christmas, Cubs fans!

If this morning was depressing enough already, Bruce Miles delves into the Cubs terrible habit of over-paying for middle-relievers:

What struck me were comments by Pirates GM Neal Huntington. Dejan reports: "Neal Huntington commissioned Dan Fox, the Pirates' statistical guy, to perform an analysis of the value of relief. Among other information it produced: If you take the top 50 relievers in the game, then take out all the closers, there tends to be a 60 percent turnover from year to year."

Huntington's "long-standing thinking" is summed up this way: "People have tried to pay the big bucks for relief, and it generally doesn't work."

Ring any bells?

How about Mike Remlinger at three years and $10.6 million? Or LaTroy Hawkins at three years and $11 million? Or Bob Howry for three years and $12 million. Or Scott Eyre at three years for $11 million?

Yep, those are all relievers signed by the Cubs in the era of Jim Hendry as GM. Just recently, Hendry re-signed lefty reliever John Grabow for two years and $7 million. We'll see how that works out. It may or it may not.

Hendry also has signed veterans such as Mark Guthrie and Scott Williamson, with less than stellar results. To paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, a few million here and a few million there, and pretty soon we're talking real money.

For what it's worth, I couldn't agree more (see previous rants re: $4.5 million for John Grabow). But don't worry, the Daily Herald reports that Hendry remains "confident" about being able to improve the team this off-season.

Hendry's "confident," Lovie's "confident," Vinny's "confident." Does "confident" mean something other than I thought it did?

Hey Bruce, how about some warm, fuzzy news this morning?

"Everybody's calling me," Santo said from his Arizona home.

The former Cubs third baseman confirmed he has signed on for three more years as the Cubs' radio analyst in the WGN booth. Santo, who has battled diabetes for all of his adult life and numerous health problems in recent years, will turn 70 in February.

He might miss a road trip or two during the season, but he says he's feeling fine and that there's no slowing him down.

"I'll be here as long as I can stand and call the games," he said. "It's therapy."

I know there are Cubs fans out there who can't stand listening to Ronnie call a game, but the Santo/Hughes combo is one of the great joys in my life. Sometimes, you just need to hear from someone who yells at the Cubs along with you.

Because I need something to help me mellow out this morning, please enjoy this video of Neil Diamond singing "The Channukah Song."

 

 

 

Hands down, the best thing about this video is Neil's chest hair.

And finally, "7 Things You Didn't Know About the Charlie Brown Christmas Special."

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84 Comments

gravedigger said:

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Oh my god, Julie, I love your new cynicism. I don't feel so alone anymore.

AndCounting said:

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Great video. The chest hair is great, but personally I love the excessive wrist hair. Pure genius.

As far as the Cubs, cynicism appears to be the only option.
"You keep using that word (confident). I do not think it means what you think it means."

JulieDiCaro said:

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I was tempted to embed a youtube clip of the "inconceivable" scene. but i was too grouchy.

AndCounting said:

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I know the feeling. This is a rough morning in all kinds of ways. I'm intentionally dispersing my bright spots so I don't have to smile and laugh too much.

Dmband said:

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Cue the Jim Hendry apologists. Im glad we are on the same page that he is not good at his job.

But the larger point is, 2010 is not looking good. I cant believe Im about to say this, but we might as well keep Bradley. (I feel so dirty now)...if we are going to be bad, why lose MORE money? Ps...think about our starting rotation before Lilly comes back..(I've now heard May...good thing he waited 2 months after the season ended)...its boarderline funny to think about it...

Now Im starting to get upset...damn you Cubs!!!!! Damn you to hell!

oog of ulams said:

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Here I am! He did a fantastic job 2006-2009. A fantastic job. Since July, the team has taken every silly and stupid tack imaginable. What happened to the organization around that time?

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'll give him singing Lilly. However, he also signed Soriano during that time. And Milton Bradley. And Aaron Miles. And Kevin Gregg. And had put Mike Fontenot in a starting role. Also in 2009, he gave $4.5 million to John Grabow and let Rich Harden walk, knowing Lilly will be out until at least April.

So I think some of those years are in question.

gravedigger said:

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There's not a GM out there with a tenure as long as Hendry's who hasn't made some mistakes like those. He does have some maddening tendencies, especially when he focuses too much on one need and then goes out to sign 14 terrible players for that position.

But, Oog has the reason. Hendry is the most successful GM in this team's recent history, which says a lot.

gravedigger said:

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I mean, shit. He didn't sign Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, etc. etc.

JulieDiCaro said:

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"The most successful GM in the Cubs recent history" says almost nothing.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Look, I don't know how Jim Hendry managed to swap Bobby Hill for Kenny Lofton and Ararmis Ramirez, nor Todd Hundley for Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek. I do give him credit for being able to hold on to Zambrano and Soto.

But over the course of the last several years, he's mad a bunch of BAD DECISIONS. This is exactly where those of us who criticized the back-loaded contracts were afraid of: a team full of aging players and no money to do anything with.

BAH.

gravedigger said:

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Everyone knows I hate this fucking team so much it makes my head want to explode. But I don't fully blame Hendry. He's been one of the few bright spots.

Instead, I prefer to blame the owners and the fans.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't FULLY blame Hendry, but I blame him a lot for being stupid. How many times do I have to hear that the Cubs are interested in Luis Castillo before we can officially brand him a moron?

He hasn't been a bright spot for at least two seasons. He's just been a spot. His bad moves have probably cancelled out his good moves.

gravedigger said:

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In the last two years?!

Two years ago, the Cubs have the best record in the NL. That god damn Hendry, he sucks. They did that in spite of him.

I know this is quite a bit of the Pot and the Kettle, but calm down.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Great. I don't care about two years ago. We're screwed NOW, thanks to the stupid moves he made back then. And seriously, signing Milton Bradley despite his history, and replacing DeRosa with Miles/Fontenot are right up there with the two dumbest moves in baseball history.

thisyearcub said:

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History? Um, no.

thisyearcub said:

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Absolutely no way. You Hendry haters are acting like he is Dave Littlefield or something. If his bad moves cancelled out his good moves, then how have the Cubs won three division titles under his tenure? Dumb luck?

Again, Hendry's not the best GM ever, but certainly has helped this team since arriving.

thisyearcub said:

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Also, if there is such a thing as a GM who doesn't make a few bad moves along the way in his career, then that would be the team that wins every WS title. So far, haven't seen it.

Folks, Cubs could do a lot worse than Hendry. LOTS.

Proggy said:

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Well said.

thisyearcub said:

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And here's my last comment before I go beserk on this. Dylan brought up a good point at ACB. Are Cubs fans blaming the wrong person?

http://www.anothercubsblog.net/2009-articles/december/dylanj.html

Hendry can only do what Crickety Ricketts allow him to. Make no mistake, the Cubs HAVE money. Whether they want to spend it is a different issue.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree with that. Screw the bathroom renovation. Give Matt Holliday $20 million to play in Wrigley next season.

flyball said:

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hey, capital improvements are a good thing

JulieDiCaro said:

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And Good God, I can say he's made some stupid moves without saying I think this is all his fault.

I think it's his fault he let Harden walk and that we're stuck with Bradley and Soriano. How does that turn into he's responsible for this team sucking?

JulieDiCaro said:

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A few bad moves, fine. A few bad moves that completely hamstring the team for the next three years are a little more than that.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Don't call me a 'hater.' That word is so stupid. I can criticize our GM for the stupid moves he makes without being a 'hater.'

thisyearcub said:

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Well, it wasn't directed to ONLY you, but if you prefer criticist, so be it.

I don't mind people criticizing, but I just don't see any truth in "Hendry's bad moves have cancelled out his good moves." No way.

JulieDiCaro said:

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It is possible that I'm overstating things, but dammit, why point it out when I'm in the middle of a tempertantrum. All it does is make me madder.

Just let me go.

Proggy said:

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His bad moves have "probably" cancelled out his good moves? How exactly do we determine that? Can't be team performance.

C'mon Julie. You're waaaay smarter than this.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't care. I'm mad today.

JulieDiCaro said:

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And I'm not smart, I'm stupid. If I were smart, I wouldn't cheer for the Cubs, I'd cheer for a decent team.

Doc said:

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like the Royals.

Doc said:

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The problem with Jim Hendry was that he sacrificed the future to win a world series in 2007 and 2008. And it didn't happen!

Before the 2009 season they had to start making some shortcuts to try to get this team to stay competitive...which they were (barely)...but they were without a doubt, worse than they were in 2008. Now is the time where the real pain of these poor signings starts to occur. And it doesn't end after 2010. It appears that the Cubs are going to try to re-sign Derrek Lee...that will likely be a salary increase along with the other outrageous salaries for Ramirez, Fukudome, Bradley, Zambrano, Soriano and Dempster.

Hendry has had one of the largest payrolls in baseball to work with...and will continue to. What does it say, though, when this team has no flexibility to make a single move right now?

This all would be a moot point if they had won the World Series (or even an NLCS) in 2007 or 2008 with these guys early in their contracts when they were at their peaks. It all would have been worth it.

But they didn't, which means that Jim Hendry failed to assemble a team that could win it all with the second largest payroll in the NL (next to the pathetic Mets).

Other GMs the Cubs have employed have had much less to work with than Jim Hendry...and probably could have done a better job assembling a team than he has.

I've said we should fire him in the past...but I actually have decided that Hendry should stay on...and I would give him until about June to begin to take some serious steps to fix this mess.

And signing John Grabow to a 2 year $7.5 mil contract isn't a good start.

AndCounting said:

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I was among the defenders of the Grabow deal, but so help me, if that winds up being the cherry on top of this offseason shit sundae, I want out.

Dmband said:

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Juan Pierre is a white sox

JulieDiCaro said:

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I can't wait to see him in his giant White Sox hat.

FrankS said:

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Well, so much for the claims that the Sox GM is smarter than the Cubs GM because Pierre already proved that he is terrible in Chicago. The man has only had two seasons in his entire career where his OPS+ has exceeded 100 and one of them was last year. Kenny, you're a sucker.

AndCounting said:

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If the Dodgers are paying half his contract, though, it's not that terrible a move. That still makes him an expensive pinch runner, but it gives the Sox some depth, I guess.

AndCounting said:

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Is there any doubt that Juan Pierre will have a career year for the White Sox? (Okay, the obvious answer to that question is, "Yes, there's a ton of doubt, he's not good. But I'm grumpy.)

lotus said:

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AndCounting: extra points for the Inigo ref. That was (besides Santo getting extended) the only bright spot of this post.

JulieDiCaro said:

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what about the video?

Dmband said:

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The sox needed a prototypical leadoff hitter. He played very well for the Dodgers when Manny was injured. I think it was a good move for the Chisox and they have a roster filled with young talent and decent veterans. We have a bunch of question marks. Not to mention thier rotation is very, very good..(also a combo of young talent and vets)..


Meanwhile our wonderful GM has spent the entire offseason trying to unravel his mistakes from last year and eating millions. Come on guys...

JulieDiCaro said:

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I have to say, if you're on Twitter, @FakeJimHendry and @NotJayCutler are doing a lot to cheer me up this morning. :)

Dmband said:

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I agree that Hendry has been the most successful GM for the Cubs....but I dont think that excuses the boneheaded moves he's made. Also, his tenure just so happens to coincide with the team having more resources at its disposal that ever before...so I dont think we can pat him on the back too much..

gravedigger said:

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Why not? Omar Minaya has even more resources and seems intent on driving the team into the ground. There are several teams with big budgets that haven't won as many games as the Cubs have this decade.

As I pointed out above, Hendry's boneheaded moves don't compare to some of the seriously ridiculous contracts out there. The Cubs aren't paying Magglio Ordonez $16 million to be a singles hitter, but a bunch of people who criticize Hendry would say that Dombrowski is a better GM.

JulieDiCaro said:

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The Tigers also aren't paying Soriano $18 million per to strike out and fall down in the outfield.

gravedigger said:

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I don't love Soriano, he drives me crazy, but he's not been terrible or a total albatross. I don't think Hendry sits there thinking "I wish I never signed this loser," or that Lou thinks "I'd rather have Alex Rios"

JulieDiCaro said:

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How did Alex Rios even get into this conversation? Hendry never should have offered 8 years. If you don't think Soriano is an albatross now, just wait.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I now have 18 Google Wave invites, if anyone is interested. email me if you want one.

Dmband said:

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The Cubs entire outfield is currently comprised of immovable contracts. Enough said...

AN ENTIRE OUTFIELD OF PLAYERS THAT WE CANT MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!

I INVENTED THE PIANO KEY NECKTIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

gravedigger said:

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Those contracts in include Soriano, who has the potential to still be one of the more feared hitters around; Bradley, who will turn it around so who cares about his contract; and Fukudome, who, whatever.

Doc said:

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Fukudome I think is the most tradeable of the bunch. If there is no team willing to take Bradley off the Cubs hands, they should seriously consider trying to dump K-Fuk then.

Dmband said:

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I think Rios is going to have a good year. And his defense is good....

Doc said:

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someone explain to me how the Phillies got the Jays to give them $6 million, to take 2 mid-ranged prospects all for Roy Halladay.

Surely the Cubs could have done this? Right?

gravedigger said:

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Yeah i keep seeing that and assume Im reading it wrong.

Dmband said:

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That whole deal doesnt make any sense to me....

gravedigger said:

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Me either. Also, the big issue before between PHI and TOR was that they didn't have compatible players to trade. But as I understand it, none of the players PHI is getting from SEA are going to TOR. It is more like two trades with one predicated on the other happening, not a real three team trade. So why, now, do they have the players that match? Are the players from SEA filling holes of the players going to TOR? I'm so confused.

And, if you didn't need those pieces to go to TOR, why not keep Lee and have two Cy Youngs? I know it isn't necessarily that simple, but it seems a good GM could make it happen.

AndCounting said:

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Where's ALL-CAPS Phil when we need him?

gravedigger said:

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Oh no, don't summon him...

JulieDiCaro said:

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I think he got banned from CN by the guys on the Bulls blog. LOL.

Doc said:

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That's too bad...because we needed some jerk-ass to add a little color to the place.

Doc said:

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I've been constructing an argument is support for this trade for the Phillies...and you know...except for the fact that Lee might bail after this coming season...I don't see this a net positive trade for the Phils.

Roy Halladay is more expensive.
Roy Halladay is right handed (i'd prefer the lefty).
Roy Halladay is older.
Roy Halladay has almost twice as many innings thrown as Cliff Lee.

Personally, I'd rather have Cliff Lee. But if he wasn't going to stick around town after this season...well I guess trading him would be a smart move.

In the end, if the Phillies actually had the players that the Jays wanted, I'm guessing they could have made the trade happen. That obviously wasn't the case. The Jays must really have liked the Seattle players...that's the only thing that seems to help this trade make any sense.

EamusCatuli1908 said:

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OMG-Smart, Good looking and a bitter Cubs fan. Are you single? I like Hendry but I wonder sometimes. He spent like a drunken sailor, because of the cubs sale. Now we have some really bad contracts. While Philly is turning themseleves into the Yankees, we are still trying to unload a player we fell in love with. While I suggested a one year deal for Adam Dunn we gave a kings ransome for someone who never had many RBI's and wanted RBI's from him. So the question is, if Bradley is traded who is going to get on base in this offensive offense? WHY DOES THE CUBS FALL IN LOVE WITH SO MANY PLAYERS AND THEN GET THEM AFTER THEY HAVE PEAKED?

JulieDiCaro said:

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It's their dreamy eyes. The wrinkles only make them look sexier.

Dmband said:

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I agree...Why didnt they keep Lee? I know you mentioned the extension for Halladay, but didnt Lee get and extension as well? Its all very, very wierd. ALL CAPS Phil (great nickname btw) would be too busy yelling about how awesome Allen Iverson is to make any real sense.

I think we can all come together on this...we now MUST turn our attention to Marlon Byrd, because if Scotty Pods ends up patrolling CF for the Cubs, I might have to take the season off..

Rich C said:

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I don't really blame Hendry for the bad signings as much as I blame him for the awful scouting, drafting, and player developement in the minor leagues. In the last 25 years, I can count on one hand the number of players that the Cubs have drafted and developed that have had successful big league careers (WITH the Cubs). Hendry has been here long enough to take the blame for the horrible foundation the Cubs are trying to build from.

gravedigger said:

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This is one of his weaknesses, to be sure. Aside from Zambrano and, to an extent, Wood, this is quite true. This may be turning around with the likes of Marmol, Soto, etc., but don't consider me optimistic.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Soto is fat and Marmol is wild.

gravedigger said:

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I love you.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Did I make you change teams?

LostinFla said:

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MLB winter moves, recapped in a nutshell…
Phillies’ best acquisition – Roy Halladay
Angels’ best acquisition – Hideki Matsui
Mariners’ best acquisition – Chone Figgins / Cliff Lee
Red Sox’s best acquisition – John Lackey / Mike Cameron
Cubs’ best acquisition – RON SANTO
That pretty much says it all…

JulieDiCaro said:

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Damn, I forgot Chone Figgins in my most recent post.

Oh well.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Oh LOL! I just saw the Ron Santo part. hee.

Doc said:

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Hey...it's all about what is important to your franchise.

But the Cubs, it is important to have a legless man up in the booth crying after Soriano drops a routine fly ball in left field.

For other teams, it is important to try to get baseball players that can play the game well.

So, for the Cubs, it was a good signing.

AndCounting said:

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I'm hoping this extremely insensitive joke gets lost in all the mad discussion, but I just can't hold it in any longer:

I can't believe the Cubs gave Santo 3 years. His doctors are only giving him 2.

Hurl the stones now. I deserve it.

Doc said:

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LMAO! Wonderful! Luckily it's the Tribune that is paying the bill for that one.

Dmband said:

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You could throw Randy Wells into the "good" column as well

Rich C said:

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Randy Wells won't go in any column for a couple of years.

JulieDiCaro said:

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assuming he doesn't take a page from Geo's book and sophomore slump on us.

Dmband said:

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Also, does anyone else think its a good thing the Cards are going to overpay for Holliday? Between him and the coming extension for Poo holes, they are tying up a boatload of cash in two players for an extended period of time...granted they are both good but you never know...

Doc said:

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I really am surprised that the Cardinals would have make an offer like that. If Jocketty was still GM, I don't think they would have made that deal.

For the Cardinals, though, Poo-holes statements this offseason (where he said the he intended to play his whole career in St. Louis) gave the Cardinals the ability to go out and get Halladay...because they likely will not need to pay Albert as much as many people initially thought they would in order to keep him wearing cardinal red.

flyball said:

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here's my issues, the Cubs started winning, much of the reason or this was Hendry, he made some smart moves at the right time, especially with trades, and next thing you know the Cubs are doing well

but then they didn't win the World Series, got close enough to figure out that they could make a lot, I mean A LOT of money if they did one day, and decided to make someday right then, (ok, so that last section I'm guessing what was in their brains, I could be wrong, the reason doesn't really matter anyway) so they went out and tried to get some players that would help right away, but the market it seems required that Hendry pay a lot for a lot of years to get these players, but sign the players they did, and it was great

and then instead of winning everything they came close again, and again, but each time a little bit further away, and a series of bad luck incidents, gambles that didn't quite pay, etc the franchise is where it is, still tempting enough to make us hope for one more try at the World Series, but with enough holes that we all freak out, and big contracts that make it feel as if there is an expiration date

is it Hendry's fault? well, maybe making us think the Cubs could actually do something is, personally I feel as if the expiration date was 11/3/2009 and the next 3 years we should just sit back and watch the high price talent be pretty good, maybe not great, but pretty good

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree with this completely.

Only I would have said it with much more rage.

LostinFla said:

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I like your rage. Cub fans (or is that CUBS fans) need more rage. They have been complacent for over 100 years now. Most other franchises would have been driven out by torch and pitchfork ages ago. It's not just time to win, it's past time to win. Way past. Ricketts gets no honeymoon. Does he want a winner or does he want a profit? We'll find out this spring.

Doc said:

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I'm fairly sure if I had more rage, I'd be in jail by now. My goal in life is to get more people enraged over this team...and life in general.

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