A League of Her Own

Cubs Thursday Headlines: Sweep!?


Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano pumps his fist after getting out of a bases loaded second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 15, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom



The Cubs managed their first sweep in St. Louis in over 22 years last night with a 7-3 victory over the Cardinals. The tandem of Big Z and Tylermania! proved too much for the Cards. Big Z was chatty after the game, reiterating his wish to retire at the end of his current contract.

"Like I said, I don't think I will be playing any more after these three years, and I will enjoy any moment, any situation, anything that I can enjoy in the big leagues," he said. "A friend of mine told me any time I'm batting I look excited, I look happy, more than when I'm pitching.

"So I want to mix it up. I want to have 50-50. When I'm pitching, I want to have the same enjoyment, the same motivation I have when I'm hitting, what I'm doing right now."


More Cubs veterans were chatty yesterday, including Ramirez and Soriano, who feel ready to be good again.


Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez say Cubs general manager Jim Hendry should feel free to spend whatever payroll room he has on pitching this winter because they're ready to reclaim major roles in a lineup they say should be good enough to contend next season as is -- even without filling the gaping hole created by the departure of No. 3 hitter Derrek Lee.

"We can do it,'' said Soriano, who reaches the midpoint of his eight-year, $136 million contract in about two weeks. ''With Marlon [Byrd], Rami and me, we can do it. And with the young talent.''

Said Ramirez: ''[Rookie Tyler] Colvin's going to be better. [Rookie Starlin] Castro's going to be better. Hopefully, the veterans, we'll all stay healthy. I'm talking about me, Sori, Marlon. If we're all healthy and we all do what we're supposed to do, and the pitching [improves], we should be OK.''



Darwin Barney has caught the eye of one Mike Quade and played himself into consideration for a roster spot in 2011.

''Why not?'' interim manager Mike Quade said. ''He's going to be a real nice major-league player, and whether it's as an every-day player or a versatile guy, that I don't know. His bat will probably determine that because all the intangibles -- the defense and the other stuff you're looking for -- he does well. ... He's impressed me, I know that.''

Barney, who started for the achy Castro (bruised hip) at short the last three games, entered Wednesday night's game against Chris Carpenter hitting .406 (13-for-32) in his previous 11 games.

Darwin, however, does not wish to be compared to Ryan Theriot.

Just don't call him Ryan Theriot, who used a similar 2006 opportunity to launch a successful 2007 bid for the lineup. Barney seemed to bristle when one media wag tried that this week.

''Theriot and I are different guys,'' he said. ''He's a good person; I like him. We got along really well. But I hadn't heard any of that. I'm just trying to find my place on this team and hopefully keep producing when I'm in there.''

I'm beginning to feel as though something is amiss with the rise of Mike Quade. Prior to last night's game, he got kind words from Tony LaRussa. Something's up.

''In two games against us, he's been on top of everything,'' La Russa said of the Cubs' 5-1 and 7-2 victories. ''And it's no surprise. He's got a good reputation.''


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34 Comments

Doc said:

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My two comments for the day:

1. Z...do us all a favor and just retire now. Stop with this crap.

2. Barney = Theriot? No. Barney = Cedeno. Just wait...you'll see.

plamorte said:

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I agree with #2. As for #1, meh, his shtick is getting old but I've learned to ignore it.

Only $68 million more to go for Sori...

Doc said:

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Yes, the shtick is getting old. It's really annoying because, I believe that in reality he will not retire in 2years, and that he is just using this whole this for sympathy. Hey says that it's too much of a sacrifice to be away from his family. Fine, I guess the $18 million a year doesn't compensate for that, so just retire now and give someone who actually wants to play baseball a chance to play.

AndCounting said:

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That's silly.

AndCounting said:

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Sorry, I'm wrong. That's ridiculous.

AndCounting said:

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Or preposterous. If someone made a movie about Carlos Zambrano, and there was a story line in which he tried to gain sympathy by saying he wants to retire after his current contract is over so he can be with his family when in reality he just cares so much about what people think of him that he made up the entire thing and really wants to play forever, I would walk out of that movie and demand my money back, because it is unbelievably nonsensical but not so much so that it results in unintended humor. No human being, however deranged, narcissistic, or psychotic, would contrive that story line to gain sympathy. It doesn't ring true, nor is it the kind of thing that someone in need of sympathy would believe would ring true.

berselius said:

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THIS LSA +1 Rec'd NAMBLA

AndCounting said:

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I mean never, in all my life, have I heard someone criticized for saying they want to stop working AFTER their current contract is over. This isn't Barry Sanders walking away with four years left on his contract. He isn't begrudging the Cubs for paying him. He said when he's fulfilled his obligation, he wants to quit. Why is that worthy of criticism? I'm tired of the fact that when the 1 out of every 100 athletes who actually says something close to sincere, they get ripped. Even if it's totally made-up crap, it's still better than the cliche factory.

No offense. I just couldn't disagree with this line of thinking any more than I currently do.

Doc said:

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This isn't something that he sits back and thinks about...and it is foolish to think that these are premeditated conscious acts no different than him blowing up in the dugout.

Sub-consciously, right now, Z feels he needs to gain the sympathy of those around him. Playing the "I'm always away from my family, and I'm missing out on all this stuff that all of you take for granted" crap is indeed trying to gain people's sympathy.

JMan said:

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i love it when fans presume to know and understand the psychology of someone they watch on TV. Are you contributing to Sullivan's daily columns?

Doc said:

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I never presume...I base on my personal experience...and as someone who I believe is a little more like Zambrano than I'd probably like to admit, I can honestly say as I sit back and analyze some of the things that I do and say, that I have with the help of others, drawn some similar conclusions. In the end, I stand by what I have said and until this guy proves me different and exhibits contrary behavior for an extended period of time, I feel I have no reason to change my opinion of what he has said.

AndCounting said:

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I think he's doing it just to piss you off.

gravedigger said:

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Of all the ridiculous things I've read here and elsewhere, that #1 there is up on the list. I expect better from you, Doc.

sloan peterson said:

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RE:#1-Z is stating he is going to retire to stop the "run him out of town" policy that many Cubs sportwriters/fans still have. As in, well I'm leaving anyway, and you owe me the $$, so don't think of trading me,etc...

Doc said:

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hey, Pat, who is that playing Superman?

plamorte said:

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SuperTyler

thisyearcub said:

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Thursday Thoughts:

1. Sorry Darwin. You're going to get those comparisons. And they're valid. It's great and all you're getting your shot right now, but at best you will be a low reserve player. Seriously, one (1!!!) walk in 58 plate appearances??

2. I am happy that Zambrano has settled down and truly hope the anger management helped. If he wants to retire in 2012, that's his gig. I just hope he keeps this going into next season. Plus, the Mayans have informed me the world will end in 2012 anyway so I don't see what the big deal is about.

3. I WANT to like Mike Quade and he is growing on me. However, it's a lot easier to win games when all the pressure is off, etc. This is when teams that are still in contention really tighten up and every little thing is magnified. I remember a few years back when the Cubs got swept by the Marlins (who were about as crappy as the Cubs are now) in what was a tight NL Central race (I think with the Brewers). Anyway, point is, I'm warming to Quade but still would go for Girardi if he's available.

4. I saw the Black Keys last week, my second time this year at one of their shows, and they continue to amaze me.

HackWilson09 said:

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I heard that about the Black Keys. Just saw DeVotchka and Pavement in the span of two weeks. Things get better when your kids get old enough to take care of themselves.

Barwin Darney is one of a long line of Cubs shortstops that just don't have the entire package. In his case, he lacks speed, power, and patience at the plate. If Theriot would have accepted his appropriate role as a bench player, he would have been good in this position. If Barney comes up knowing he'll never start, then he could be useful. He makes contact, which is what you want in bench players -- we have had too many whiffers on the bench for years now. Jeff Baker? Fukudome? Fontenot? Worthless on a bench, can't be counted on. A pinch-hitter has to put the ball in play.

You know, if Z has had an epiphany about family and controlling his emotions, he just might still become one of the best pitchers in baseball. He has hot streaks similar to CC Sabathia, he has great movement on a lot of pitches, he changes speeds very well, and gets out of jams with the best of them. His main issue is location, but he seems like a smarter pitcher right now, having eased up on his velocity to hit his spots.

Talking about contracts is just pointless. If he's on our team for the next two years, I hope he does well.

As for fighting with Derrek Lee? Well, I wasn't too happy with DLee's effort this year either. Or Piniella's effort.

Gee... Look what has happened after those two left!

flyball said:

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his mane is Darwin Barney, eventually everyone will be compared to him

I equate this Z thing wanting to hang with his family to deciding to move after school, it doesn't mean that I don't like where I'm at, or that I'm not going to continue to work hard and have fun while in my current location/job, but that maybe I realize this is it for me here and there was always a finite amount of time and I'd rather finish with good memories

he won't be on the team after the contract anyway, so what does it matter?

plamorte said:

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The Black Keys are in my top 5 favorites of ALL time, I love them, they're playing a New Years Eve show in Chicago, I want to go so bad.

Also I'm with you on Quade, I want to like him, he's winning but I think the situation is different as you said, not contending and just going out there and playing.

HackWilson09 said:

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Quade has made a few strange moves, like sac-bunting Cashner with a 5-1 lead and one out in the 8th the other night. Why no pinch-hitter to pad the lead there with a 31-man roster? Or taking pitchers out that have shutouts going, in favor of relief pitchers that may or may not have it that day, and only have 80 or 90 pitches.

Gives a hint of strange things happening under pressure - ala Dusty Baker.

The real test with all Cubs managers is how they hold up over time. When they start caving in to the media by making moves that they know the reporters won't like, not to mention dreading having to talk to these idiots every day. I wish the Chicago media wasn't filled with so many assholes - not counting Miles and Levine, who I enjoy very much.

Wait, is Julie "Chicago media"? I appreciate her stance on Spellcheck -- that's not mean, that's truth!

gravedigger said:

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Who is the fucking moron comparing Barney to Theriot? Hmm? I demand an answer.

First, before we even get into their difference playing baseball, lets look at the pictures. Ryan Theriot looks like a minature muskateer. Darwin is hot and delicious and I want to eat him. Let us not ever again make that comparison, ok?

HackWilson09 said:

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Theriot is a Dolly Madison Zinger - the reddish kind, with those weird coconut flakey things. You don't want to eat that? Imagine you're at a gas station, miles from nowhere, and it's all they have.

gravedigger said:

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No. Not if I were starving and it was the only thing there.

Teebob2000 said:

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Maybe not eat the *whole thing*, maybe just the creme filling, amirite?

gravedigger said:

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you are not right. not at all.

Teebob2000 said:

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I meant the Zinger's, btw.

sloan peterson said:

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They don't carry the red zingers in CA-not even in the 7-11,or 99 cent stores. So I would never be in the position of eating Theriot...

sloan peterson said:

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Gravedigger-Theriot is just prepping for his post-baseball career in remakes of the Muskateer movies...

cadarnell said:

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whether in contention or not, sweeping good teams in their place is hard to do. Somebody bottle "playing loose" and feed it to all our players ???? ... they aren't playing loose/better because the pressure's off. Thay are playing loose/better because they are a team with a leader ...NOW !!

thisyearcub said:

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Just look at the Braves. They just lost only their second home series of all season, to the Nationals. They're playing tight.

St. Louis isn't a good team anymore. They've mailed it in. Shouldn't have ever traded Ludwick. Not sad to see them suffer though!

Doc said:

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In thinking about it, the comparison between Barney and Theriot has some validity to it...if you ignore ability.

2006, a year when the Cubs were flat out horrible, Ryan Theriot got his first chance to play on a semi-regular basis. Some people thought he did pretty well. The Cubs went into the next season with a new manager, and Theriot got the chance to impress that new manager in spring training and eventually won a job at a position that he normally didn't play (as Theriot was a 2nd baseman in the minors).

Fast forward to 2010. The Cubs are flat-out horrible and Darwin Barney gets hit first real shot in the big leagues and has gotten a chance to play on a semi-regular basis. Some people think he's doing pretty well. The Cubs are getting a new manager next year, and Barney has the chance to impress that new manager, and possibly win a job in a position he normally doesn't play (2nd base...as he is normally a shortstop).

That's where the comparisons end, I think.

gravedigger said:

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I declare a LOHO rule that if you're invoking any kind of comparison whatsoever between Barney and Theriot, you must point out that Theriot is a troll and Barney is hot.

Doc said:

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I really didn't notice that about Barney...

Can I just leave it at "Theriot is a troll and Barney is human"?

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