First, the good news. Happy New Year and good cheer to all Cubs Den readers. Joining John and Tom this year and interacting with you fine fellows has been a highlight of my 2012. While having to watch and write about Jason Berken pitched games was hard on all 7 of us that actually bothered, knowing that there was a pocket full of friends waiting to discuss it with me (Even if it was a count down to this supposed organization changing #2 pick, but whatever.) helped the summer stroll by. Hope you’re 2012 goes out like an exploding Jeff Samardjiza fastball.
Now the bad news. 2013 is going to look a lot like 2012. A. LOT. And while most of us look forward to seeing what the next day, next game, heck, even next pitch might bring, the truth is you can almost write down what’s going to happen. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
January- With Epstoyer doing an exemplary job of shoring up the pitching staff, they will now turn their attention to the 800 lb. gorilla in the room with the 18 oz bat- the offense. Which sucks. Marmol will be traded. Perhaps even Soriano. Maybe even Brett Jackson. (Brett Jackson for Dominic Brown in a classic “change of scenery” trade… who says no?). In the end a new outfielder will be here and maybe even another free agent bat signed. And while it will be argued whether the offense is improved, it will at least be different.
February- Ahhh Spring Training is almost here, and Cubs Den reports are sporadic as John Arguello secretly shops around for housing in Arizona as he attempts to become the next Keith Law. Distractions aplenty as the Cubs open camp with Crane Kenny making some statements about the new facilities followed by hundreds of Cub fans complaining that Crane Kenny shouldn’t be in front of any microphones, shouldn’t be in Arizona, and basically just shouldn’t be… Crane will then suit up and attempt to complete running drills a la Willie Mays Hayes in “Major league” only to pull both hamstrings and rip up both ACL’s MCL’s and MC5’s…. Thanks for playing Crane.
March- Junior Lake not only makes the team, he’s the starting left fielder. Arguello then posts the 700 pages of prior postings about Lake from the previous 2 years, allowing Arguello to close on a house, buy a couple of radar guns and load up on note pads. Jeff Samardzija is named opening day starter, and many speculate that it’s all a ploy lower Garza contract demands while several others feel it’s a precursor to a trade.
April- Cubs win their opener 11-5. Garza hits Shark in the face with a pie, leading several to wonder whether Garza was intentionally trying to injure Shark out of jealousy. As is custom Cubs fans and media will over analyze the first 15 games of April, and then make ridiculously false statements based off the Cubs going 6-9 in those games. This will cause me to write every wrap with the Same Stones quote, the same Lebowski quote, and the same cheap shot at Hoosier Daddy. In turn, newly appointed Cubs Den editor in chief Tom Loxas to suspend me and send out a search party to Arizona to find Arguello.
May- After being re-instated, I’m treated to wrapping Cubs games in which they have their first winning month under the Theo/Jed/Pi/Epsilon management team. This causes The Kapman to hold three days of “is the Cubs rebuilding plan ahead of schedule?” CTL’s. Paul Sullivan, Bartender Frankie-O and Todd Hollandsworth debate this topic non-stop. Unfortunately, the only thing they can agree on is that Kap has the best tailor in the city...
June- Arguello returns from Arizona, realizing that 120-degree days and Scotch is a bad thing. He takes up residence in Kane County, where Dan Voglebach is averaging a home run every 10 at bats. Enthusiasm is tempered when it was learned between games of a double header; Heavy D ate an entire cow. And nobody notices because everyone is focused on the draft. Unfortunately, Manea, Appel, and Stanek have read their own press clippings and have priced themselves right out of the Cubs plans. The Cubs draft another high school center fielder, and I laugh, and laugh, and laugh…
July- Trade deadline time. And the biggest name leaving the Cubs is David Dejesus. Causing Hoosier Daddy, me and several others to wear black armbands in memoriam of Kim Dejesus leaving the City. Also, the world spins off it's axis and there's a loud crack in the earth as Paul Sullivan writes an article that's actually both informative and entertaining...
August- Cubs once again go on a post trade deadline swoon. Vizcaino is brought up and inserted into the rotation despite having an ERA of 5.19 and a 1.643 WHIP in Iowa. His first start is okay but he gets roughed up in the next two outings, forcing a switch to the bullpen where hestays and wins the closer's job. His starting struggles are blamed on Ryan Dempster and his awful Harry Carry impersonation.
September- Josh Vitters gets called up and hits .380/.388/.460. He also has 8 errors in 10 games, including one where he hits his own pitcher with a throw. But it’s good enough that it forces Sveum to move Valbuena to 2nd base, Barney to SS, and Castro to CF. Sveum says the moves are designed to get Valbuena more at-bats…
October- Dusty Baker’s Reds go up 3-0 on the Detroit Tigers and are leading 7-0 in the sixth when Dusty decides to give Alroldis Chapman 1 more inning (his 235th of the season) The Tigers score 4 runs in the 6th, go on to complete the comeback and become the first team to win a world series when down 3-0.
November- John Arguello is elected mayor of Geneva, Il. as the Cubs head into year 3 of the re-build. Jed Hoyer goes on all the radio stations and TV shows claiming this is the year they spend money in order to bring a winning championship to the North Side and their great fans. Bob Nightengale reports that the Cubs have a verbal agreement with Robinson Cano. Three days later, he signs with the Red Sox.
December- Tom Ricketts decides Wrigley Field is indeed too antiquated and outdated for a 21st century baseball team and moves the team to……Kane County, where the mayor has given them a sweetheart deal on parking, concessions, the whole nine yards. The only conditions are that the mayor be hired as head of scouting, and Dan Voglebach must play first base.
Should be a hell of a year. Can’t wait for it to get started.