A League of Her Own

Cubs Monday Headlines: Yawning Towards Spring Training

DragonCon 2009 Costumes and Attendees - Day 3, Atlanta, GA
Just like Cubs Con, only the costumes are blue

It's that magical time of year, when Cubs' fans hearts turn to jelly at the thought of getting to sit on Keith Moreland's lap. Yep, we're nearing the Cubs Convention, and the list of attendees has been announced!

The new owners, the Ricketts family, plus Lou Piniella and his coaching staff also will attend the three-day event.

Dawson, elected into Cooperstown on Wednesday, will be joined by Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg.

Besides Byrd, the Cubs players currently on the roster scheduled to attend include Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Carlos Marmol, Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, and Geovany Soto. Others expected to attend include John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny, Justin Berg, Jim Adduci, Esmailin Caridad, Andrew Cashner, Welington Castillo, Tyler Colvin, Sam Fuld, Jeff Gray, Angel Guzman, Koyie Hill, Micah Hoffpauir, Brett Jackson, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, and Randy Wells.

Former Cubs Glenn Beckert, Jody Davis, Bob Dernier, Randy Hundley, Jay Johnstone, Gary Matthews, Keith Moreland, Andy Pafko, Milt Pappas, Scott Sanderson, Lee Smith, Tim Stoddard, Rick Sutcliffe, and Steve Trout also are scheduled to take part.

General manager Jim Hendry and his staff plus broadcasters Ron Santo, Pat Hughes, Len Kasper, and Bob Brenly also will be at the convention, which is sold out.

There will be a special meetup of nerdy Cubs fans (no Klingon costumes necessary) on Friday, January 15 at 7:30. Find kindred spirits at Kitty O'Shea's at the Hilton. The purpose of this meetup is to get all boozed up, then descend upon the management session with verbal pitchforks demanding accountability from Jim Hendry and his minions.

Bruce Miles comments on the Brian LaHair signing and the Heath Bell rumor:

As far as LaHair goes, he's a 27-year-old left-handed hitter who was drafted by the Mariners in the 39th round in 2002. At Class AAA Tacoma last year, LaHair had a line of .289/.354/.530 with 26 homers and 85 RBI. He spent 45 games with the Mariners in 2008, going .250/.315/.346 with 3 homers and 10 RBI.

Apparently, he'll compete with Micah Hoffpauir for a backup spot.

I've also seen Heath Bell's name bandied about. Do the Cubs really want to mess with Carlos Marmol two years in a row? Bell had 42 saves in 48 chances for the Padres last year. He's a closer, not a setup guy. Marmol was 11-for-11 down the stretch last year and finally started to look comfortable.

[Julie wakes up, butts in and takes over headlines]:

The Sun-Times has been feeling obvious lately, and decided to rub the uh . .  situation . . . with the starting rotation in our Monday morning faces:

While the focus of the Cubs' off-season has been on getting rid of problem outfielder Milton Bradley and acquiring a center fielder (Byrd), the issues facing a pitching staff that has been among the best in the majors the last three seasons have gone largely unnoticed.

The biggest issue is the fact that Ted Lilly, the team's winningest pitcher the last three years and its lone 2009 All-Star, is recovering from shoulder surgery, isn't expected to start a throwing program until later this month and isn't expected to be ready to pitch until a month or so into the season -- in an optimistic scenario.

''I've talked to him, and he seems to be doing well,'' pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. ''It's shoulder surgery, which is a concern always, but they didn't do a whole lot other than clean it up. He should be OK. We'll see. We're not going to know until he starts his throwing program.''

I would argue that the season hinges on Randy Wells. We have a pretty good idea what we'll get with Dempster and Zambrano. If Wells pitches . .  well, WELL (heh), we'll have three solid starters and 4 when Lilly gets back. If he goes into a sophomore slump, we're in big trouble unless someone else steps up in a major way. Hendry has made some big gambles lo these last few years, and several have come back to bite us in the ass. Let's hope this is one gamble that pays off.

Podcast with Alex Quigley today at 1:00 CT! Last week I hung up on Alex in the middle of a latte-fueled rant agaisnt Trent Green. Tune in and see what zaniness we have in store for you this week!

And a Very Special LOHO Podcast from Cubs Con is in development. Please pressure Matt to lower his contract demands so I can make this happen.

Finally, someone sent this to me last night, and it PERFECTLY sums up my feelings for gravedigger. Mark, old friend, this one is for you:

 

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58 Comments

gravedigger said:

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Andre Dawson has another reason to hope he enters the Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs hat. If he does, the Chicago Cubs have promised to retire his No. 8 jersey, a source close to Dawson told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/story?id=4814493

Perkins said:

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That's an absolute disgrace. Either his numbers as a Cub are worthy of having his number retired, or they're not (they're not). His choice of cap in the HoF has absolutely no bearing on it...or at least it shouldn't.

This franchise is fucking clown shoes.

Aisle424 said:

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If you can think of a better way to pander to the masses, I would like to hear it.

AndCounting said:

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There's been a pretty big overreaction to this, especially since the story leaked through "a source close to Dawson." I trust Fred Mitchell, who broke the story, a lot more than I trust anyone else from the Trib, but it's still not a rock-solid story. There hasn't been any report that the Cubs wouldn't retire #8 if Hawk entered as an Expo, and I think it's speculative at best to accuse them of leaking this story to pressure the Hall of Fame--the Hall really doesn't care what flags fly at Wrigley, especially since the ones of the championship variety have never called Wrigley home.

Yeah, I think trying to coerce a Hall of Fame acknowledgment away from the Expos is a cheap thing to do, if that's what they did. But IMO that's a pretty big if.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I think we may be reading this wrong. I don't think it's meant to coerce anyone. Just pointing out that it would look kind of silly to retire someone's number and then have them in the HOF in another uniform.

But the point is well-taken. Either he deserves to have his number retired or he doesn't. What hat he wears into the HOF shouldn't matter. After all, we retired Maddux's number and he's going in as a Brave.

Perkins said:

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Yeah, I didn't have a problem with Maddux, but he was one of the top 5 pitchers all time, and significantly better in his time with the Cubs than was true for Dawson.

I just think that for the Cubs to retire Dawson's number is setting the bar awfully low, especially considering their (un)likelihood of retiring Sosa's number anytime soon.

flyball said:

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agreed

gravedigger said:

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Also, from the Gift that Keeps on Giving:

"In the interview with Esquire Magazine, Blagojevich says: "I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little Laundromat in a black community not far from where he lived. I saw it all growing up.""

http://cbs2chicago.com/governor/rod.blagojevich.interview.2.1417753.html

cubsforever said:

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Let's see - Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery. The Cubs unloaded - Gregg, Bradley, Miles, Harden, Cotts, Jake Fox - two of which may be dumb. They missed out on Granderson, Cabrera, Cameron, Capps, DeRosa, Brett Myers. They signed LaHair, traded for Gray, Byrd, Silva. Boy am I excited - 4th place is in sight! - There still are Ben Sheets, Orlando Hudson, Reed Johnson, JOn Garland --- but I am afraid Heath Bell is going to become the Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy of this winter. This winter sucks.

gravedigger said:

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That is an understatement, my friend.

JulieDiCaro said:

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My only hope for this season, seriously, is that the '89 Cubs were supposed to suck, too.

:(

flyball said:

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where's millertime to be optimistic about the season? I need someone to explain to me why my bitterness and pessimism is unfounded

JulieDiCaro said:

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i dunno. he hasn't been around lately.

boo.

gravedigger said:

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He said if I sexually harassed him one more time he'd leave and not come back. I thought he was joking...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Way to go. And he's not even the hot triplet. Little Bear is.

Little Bear said:

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Thank You

Little Bear said:

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Wait and minute!!!!

Little Bear said:

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He got a real job in Milwaukee and doesn't have a lot of time.

Aisle424 said:

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Let's not pretend that the addition of any of those guys they "missed out on" would have suddenly made this team worlds better than it is right now with Marlon Byrd and friends.

Granderson - glorified platoon player that everybody likes
Cabrera - aging shortstop more concerned with his own statistics than anything else
Cameron - Occasional flashs of brilliance followed by looooong streaks of being useless
Capps - decent reliever (but so was Gregg)
DeRosa - good stubble
Myers - hurt and was never as good as advertised anyway

Perkins said:

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Cameron would have been better than Byrd by about a win per season...or at least he'd be projected to do that. His defense is really really good.

Aisle424 said:

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Cameron's defense is good, but so is Sam Fuld's for a fraction of the price. Saying a guy is 2 or 3 wins above replacement is still not very impressive. Replacement level players suck and we should be able to produce a 2 WAR player from our minor league system. That is not asking for much. But they can't, so everything else the Cubs have done, or reasonably could have done this offseason is throw expensive band-aids on problems that require major reconstructive surgery. Arguing over whether we have Johnson & Johnson brand vs. Walgreens is fairly pointless.

Perkins said:

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Well, the Cubs system has produced at least a few league average (2 WAR) players. Theriot, Fontenot, and Soto have been average or better for most of their tenure with the team.

Cameron is a 4-5 win player, whereas Byrd is a 2-3 win player. And Cameron can handle a stick, which gives him a distinct advantage over Fuld.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Len is on WGN Morning News, and WOW is he wearing a whole lot of orange makeup.

Aisle424 said:

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He told the make-up artist, "Give me the Kaplan."

Edelweiss said:

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One of the players has to wear makeup for public appearances, like the Cubs Convention, but isn't so obvious.

Ted Lilly Fan Club said:

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Ted Lilly's Throwing Program = Shot Put Exercises on Stilts

flyball said:

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Julie the event you really want to go to is the front office one which is usually Sunday morning, those are my favorite fan rants

Joe the Cop said:

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Maybe we could split costs on a lawyer in case he comes after both of us.

JulieDiCaro said:

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God, lawyers suck.

gravedigger said:

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Well, I have NO idea what that video is, since my work blocks youtube.

JulieDiCaro said:

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that's a real shame, because you're gonna love it.

Edelweiss said:

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If the kid were singing in Spanish, I would have thought it was Carlos Zambrano at age 4.

cubsforever said:

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Of course there no guarantees - Bradley and Miles and Gregg are a testemony to that - neither is 91.5 million on "Z" - but everyone was very happy when that happens. Doing nothing is just not an option and I am tired of hearing money and other bad contracts stops the team from improving. We need competitors and hard workers - like the Lillies and the Derrick Lees and yeah even the Theriot's of the world even though he doesn't have the most talent - he at least works his butt off - as did Jake Fox and Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson - and Ben Sheets - that is what we need more of - and unless there is a hidden gem like Lou Brock in the Cubs minor league - give away prospects in order to get a real contributor. And giving a Cuban refrugee $30 mil is not the way to go either - giving Bradley $30 million arguably was the better choice. Yuks. There are a lot of teams that sign people to bad contracts - but I will also argue that $7.5 mil to Harden is a GOOD contract - and $12 million to DeRosa is a good contract - and $15 mil to Cameron is a good contract - for both parties. These are class "A" guys with good work ethic and still productive. Cub Convention should not be another reason to prolong our agony. Hendry - get on the stick and have something to truly announce this weekend - two bonafide major leagurers more coming to Chicago!!!

flyball said:

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the Cubs Convention announcements annoy me, I understand they feel the need to make some sort of deal to feed the vultures some news, but every year it seems more forced

oog of ulams said:

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You have no idea who is working his butt off and who isn't.

AndCounting said:

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Can't you just, you know, check for a butt? Or at least a dangling cheek or something?

plamorte said:

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^^^I'm glad I can still get my @adambuckled fix even while he's on a 24 hour twitter hiatus

HackWilson09 said:

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Hey, I finally understand the Bryan LaHair signing... It's all about Pete LaCock.

The new owners are trying to erase all memory of LaCock by covering him up with LaHair.

It's always been a rather clean-cut organization. The whole LaCock thing always made watching the Cubs in the 70's feel a little dirty.

plamorte said:

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Nice! I found mine too: http://bit.ly/6um6Pc

JulieDiCaro said:

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

That photo is misleading. Alex went to Belvidere High School, so to really make your costume accurate, you should wear overalls with no shirt underneath OR a sleevless tuxedo t-shirt.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm so sad that gravedigger can't see his video, it's totally ruining my day.

BTW--podcast starts 38 minutes! Call-in number is (917)889-9169. What's on your mind?

flyball said:

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cheer up, its something fun to watch later

Blackhawks 5 + Bruins 2 = flyball happy

gravedigger said:

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send me the link in an email and i can see it on my Pre.

gravedigger said:

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Oh Julie I hate you so much.

JulieDiCaro said:

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You love me. And you love that video.

gravedigger said:

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I most certainly do not.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I can't stop watching that and laughing.

thisyearcub said:

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If anyone feels like buying me an airline ticket to Chicago this weekend for Cubs Con, please contact me. Julie, couldn't we write that off or something?

If not, CJ, check your email. I wrote you back, podcasting at some point this weekend should be a go. Give me a shout on the Interwebs.

JulieDiCaro said:

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K. It looks like i'll be on WGN Saturday morning. Plus podcast with Alex, plus podcast with you. Won't be able to schedule until later in the week.

You and your fancy airline tickets. Just take the bus.

flyball said:

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the drive isn't that long, what maybe 17, 18 hours?

Julie on WGN again on Saturday? excellent

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ha--I just ripped on Cubs fans again the podcast. I think I'm going to make that my "thing."

I'm in such a bad mood about this team.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I just want to say that the list of former Cubs at Cubs Con this year looks to suck. With Mickey Morandini, Ron Coomer, and Mike Bielecki?

flyball said:

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Bielecki really needs to be there every year

also no Kathy and Judy this year

sparkles said:

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I always forget my password to this site! I don't know why, and it annoys me.

You guys better do the Cubs Convention podcast. One of my New Year's resolutions is to read blogs again, so hopefully I don't disappear for long.

No blizzard to keep here for the weekend unless Boston is developing a storm I am unaware of.

flyball said:

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sparkles!

I know you want a snowstorm, but I do not, sorry

MillsChC said:

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So I moved to a neighboring state two weeks ago, and today was the day I was finally able to convince AT&T to turn my internet on.... so what'd I miss?

Btw, relying on local tv stations for any type of news relevant to me, stinks.

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