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Anarchist's Brunch- Snapshot of the future.

Anarchist's Brunch- Snapshot of the future.

That's how it's supposed to look. Packed house. National TV. Best team in the league in the other dugout. Cubs winning the game. Decidedly. Yes we can zoom out and see where the Cardinals are in the standings, as an organization and where the Cubs are and realize that there's still lots of work to be done. But if you needed a carrot, or a postcard from the future to put on the wall, last night's game was it. There was a time not too long ago when the Cubs had national relevance. Right now it's only as a ship to be pillaged and bartered with if you believe last night's telecast. But if tonight's game on ESPN matches that of last night's game on FOX, it will start to feel like 6 years ago when the Cubs were the darlings of the NL.

Dale Sveum realized how big last night's game was. He managed it like it was a playoff game. Perhaps it was. While I've had my issues with the Cubs manager this year I will give him this, his team plays hard consistently. And he never gets too mad or too happy. Some see that as being emotionless. or Dull. But I sensed a little urgency from #4 last night. Of course, Putting Borbon in right field for defensive purposes only to have the first ball hit to him get dropped doesn't make you look that great, but the white flag went up all the same.

Part of what makes last night's game was the opponent. Chances are if it was any other team except the Cardinals ( possibly the Brewers) that game is played before 30,000 people. Maybe. But those 200 Cars from St.Louis carried a good 5 to 6 thousand Red Bird fans ( perhaps they were hauled in 18,wheeler cargo shells.) and they definitely added to the atmosphere. But it was the fact that it was first place team and considered the best team in the NL that got my attention. And with Cubs fans focus on the entire rebuild of an organization, last night's opponent is the standard for which all comparisons are drawn. You don't think watching Rosenthal, Martinez, Maness and Joe kelly, all home grown arms, come running out of that bullpen wasn't part of the reason Zastryzny, Hanneman, Skulina, Masek and Frazier were drafted right after Bryant?  Plus the Cardinals are the living example of Theo's proclamation that you just need to consistently get in the playoffs because anything can happen. Those 2006 Cardinals were the worst team to ever win the World series.  Of that I have no doubt. They're followed very closely by the 2011 Cardinals. Ron Washington what are you do.......But the point is they won the World series.

I ranted last night about the broadcast. And how they wouldn't shut up about the trade rumors. I was trying to watch a ball game. In front of a packed house. Against the best team in the NL. That the Cubs won. Decidedly. And FOX refused to get out of my way. And we're reminded time and time again by Sports Radio and write-by-numbers columnists about how far the Cubs are and what dates we should be circling...2015...2017....blah blah blah. And I will say it one more time. Seeing the big picture doesn't mean you're married to it. You don't have to see everything through the big picture lense. In fact, being aware of the long term plans means you get to enjoy the short term fodder unconditionally. Soriano hit a double and a homer to beat the Cardinals. Garza fought through 10 hits to keep the best offense in baseball at bay. Kevin Gregg fought through some adversity to get the save. Trade value be damned. They were Cubs on July 13th, 2013. And they played their asses off.

Beautiful Chicago night. Packed Wrigley Field. National TV. First place team in the other dugout. Cubs win. Decidedly.

That's what it looks like. That's how it should be.

LITTLE BIT OF THIS. LITTLE BIT OF THAT.

Good for you Timmy Smoke.

Baseball in the Social media age is a fascinating thing. Checking my timeline one last time before going to Bed I saw the hype. "Timmeh through 7" "Lincecum's arm is going to fall off....." "Tim Tim through 8". Naturally I click over to my At-Bat App and see the Padres are coming to bat. Watched the 9th on my phone. I'd like to think that Dick Enberg went silent to let the last out play in front of our eyes uninterrupted. But listening to the call, I think Enberg just got lost. No matter, it was wonderful to watch.

Let me at least throw this out there for all the armchair GM's. Garza and the Cubs DID discuss a contract extension. This was quickly poo-pooed by the beat guys with Gordon Wittenmeyer channeling his inner Bronson with the words "No Dice". Is it at least POSSIBLE, that the Cubs found out what the demands were, figured that they could live with those terms and said. "Okay, if we don't get A, B, and C we'll simply sign him after the trade deadline passes....". By all accounts the Cubs demands are high. Just wondering.

Of course Buster Olney reports that the Cubs are "down the road with at least two teams".

But it's a long way off to Holliday road!

With very little baseball this week and the biogenesis suspensions possibly coming this week, this will test the mettle of baseball fans.

Couldn't be a better time for a Pearl Jam show at Wrigley.

By the way, Theo if you're reading this ( I like to think Theo reads our Blog. Keeps my head in the game....) can you tell your good friend Eddie that the best Pearl  Jam shows I've seen and heard open with "Release" and close with "Yellow Ledbetter". The 20 + in between songs are all his to choose of course, but Relase for the opener and/or Yellow Ledbetter to close. Thanks.

Oh and Jacoby Elsbury.....you know what? We'll discus him in the offseason.

Really amazed how much Luis Valbuena has grown on me.

I feel I owe it to a certain Cub fan to promote his new movie "Dealin with Idiots" which is currently playing at the wonderful Music Box theater. The movie features Bob Odenkirk, Jami Gertz and Timothy Olyphant whose comedic chops are incredibly underrated. It's about youth baseball, I'm sure it's a scream, and if you have a chance please check it out.

Jeff is currently working on a second screenplay called "Dealing with Idiots 2"  which is about a Cubs fan who goes to war with a certain over the top blogger. If you need help with that screenplay Jeff, I got some ideas.....

Love ya Garlin.

"Meet the Beatles" is my Sunday listening. And since I might be on the treadmill a little later, I might substitute some Smithereens  covers of that first album to kick up the pace.

Onwards.

 

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  • Felzzy good piece. You are right about Pearl Jam and opening with Release. I've seen them many times. Best concert I've ever seen in fact was their 94 show closing down the Stadium with Urge Overkill opening. They rocked that place for almost 3hrs. Opened with Release.

  • I remember that show. That was when they were fighting Ticketmaster. I remember not getting tickets. But yeah, Release is uch a fabulous opener, which is odd given it's slow haunting nature. But it kind of unites the crowd and the. They launch into something raucous like Spin the Black circle....

    Glad you liked the article.

  • I liked the piece as well. The rebuild feels different. Something about what is happening throughout the organization indicates that we have turned the corner.

  • Small sample size, but Castro is hitting .313/.365/.479 in July after a really bad June. I like the way he's working the count now but I wish he'd let pitchers walk him some. He gets in hitters counts but instead of sitting on a pitch, it seems he's just expecting a strike often and swings at bad pitches instead of just taking his base.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    The "take some walks" training is what has put him on a two year downward trend, IMHO.

    I liked the 2011 Castro much better than the 2012/2013 version. Not all players can or should try to be Votto.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I disagree. Castro isn't trying to walk and striking out looking. He also isn't taking pitches and getting behind in the count. His biggest problem is that he's been swinging and missing at more pitches than ever. I don't think that's a function of taking more pitches.

  • Nice article as usual felzz - always read them - don't always comment on them.

    I can't make up my mind about Sevum as a manager - part of why he looks so bad a manager oftentimes relates to the tools (or lack of them) he has at has disposal right now. That bullpen has been an implosion waiting to happen since opening day - and its hard to win when you go into the 8th or 9th with a small lead and your bullpen gives up a couple of runs.

    Gregg has been an amazing find. Russell has been better (if overused). Guerrier has actually not sucked most of the time since swapping him for Marmol. Beyond that - between injury and just plain lack of talent - Sevum has had the legs cut out from under him.

    But you are absolutely right,.... Sevum has a team that almost always looks like it is playing hard and actually expects to win most nights. They haven't given up.

    The hordes of hitters in the minors should start making an impact in a year or two,.... the pitching arms,.... maybe 2-3 years. But in the meantime this team is what it is,.... a work in progress.

  • Felzz, I know that you and I are pretty like-minded about the rebuild, so you know that I liked the piece and agree very much so. And as 44slug says above, it looks like the team has turned a corner, which relates back to the excellent piece that Tom wrote last week.

    Which leads me to this: Games like yesterday sometimes frustrate the hell out of me. No, the Cubs are not a good team yet. No, they cannot realistically compete with the current roster. However, they are a hell of a lot closer than most people think. We've known for a while that the starting pitching is strong, but the bullpen stinks. Well, the FO has addressed the bullpen throughout this season, and right now it looks pretty damn good. At the least, it is an average bullpen, which is leaps and bounds above where it was to start the season.

    The Cubs are playing good ball right now, and all with offensive players still underachieving. Sure, Castro is hitting again, but Rizzo is still in a funk. Soriano has turned it on, but he's still not at the level he was last season. But the way this team is playing right now, they're a .500 team. I know it's nobody's goal to play just .500 ball, but it does a couple of things.

    First, it makes the FO look seriously at whether some current players might actually be long-term pieces to try to keep (Felzz mentions extending Garza - something I've argued for over a year). Second, it is sure a hell of a lot better press to be at .500 than .400. The majority of Cubs fans aren't reading this blog, and don't understand the big picture. They might see a piece in the paper every once in a while, and dare I say it, they hear about Baez in yesterday's Fox telecast, but the average fan doesn't really understand what a rebuild is.

    And I guess there is one more argument for maybe making that push to reach that .500 mark this season (other than it possibly means competing for wild card NEXT season). As a Cubs fan, do you really want to align yourself with the Tim McCarvers of the world who continually dump on the team and only look at the Cubs as a team where a few talents can be plucked from?

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    In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    I don't disagree with your main idea, but I do feel the need to say every time I hear people argue the point of losing fans by putting a bad product on the field I can't help but wonder, "Do they really think those 'fans' won't come running back faster than ever once they're winning?"
    If the FO is willing to take the temporary hit at the box office, I really don't see them losing ANY long term fan base once this thing comes together.

  • I'm with you Sinister... Well said.

  • Great brunch, Felzz. I feel incredibly full and slightly nauseous which is the sign of success. Just one minor correction... I'm pretty sure that all Cards fans that don't make their way to Wrigley in a cart drawn by a mule are conveyed there in mobile meth labs. Just wanted to draw that distinction. Let's hope for 3 out of 4 from the meth'ed out birds!

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    Am I the only one who just absolutely despises Pearl Jam?!
    Everything after Ten just sounds like cliche, boring guitar work while a seemingly constipated man spews forth poorly written metaphors.
    ...On that note, I really dislike Nirvana, as well. Gotta play the villian, here!

    I like the Cubs approach to patience at the plate. It forces the pitcher to throw more pitches and more quality pitches. Ideally, we'd have a lineup full of OBP guys.
    Unfortunately, Castro is better served being aggressive. You can really tell he forces taking those borderline pitches on the outer half, he'd otherwise take to the opposite field.
    That added pressure seems to induce really bad 2-strike swings at breaking pitches in the dirt.
    I prefer Castro to go up there aggressive. Leave him in the 2 hole. Leave his approach alone. Allow the idea of pitch selection to remain in his head. He'll either grow into it, or he won't. But the forced, compromised approach has cost him half of 2013. Let the kid hack away!

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    PJ hasn't been all that good since mid 90's. however I loved VS. even better than 10 IMO.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I always preferred Stone Temple Pilots to Pearl Jam.
    ...Until the let Linkin Park inside them. Now, they're tainted and things between us can never be the same.

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    Oh, and Felzz:
    I forgot to say- Your review and analyzation of Cards fans the other night...As inbred, meth smoking hilljacks had me rollllling over here.
    Thank you for a hilarious wrap up for an otherwise depressing game!

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    Well, I think "despise" is a little harsh. I think the first three Pearl jam albums are keepers. (even though Ten is clearly the most original). And while I didn't care much for No Code, their 4th, I applaud them for branching out and changing up the sound. They haven't recaptured the magic since....bits and pieces.... but they're still playing in a music scene dominated by boy bands, Americal Idol wannabes and schlock. At least they're real.

    As for Nirvana, I only listen to Bleach.

    And Cardinals fans.... Yeah, that's shooting red, smelly, in bred fish in a barrel. But still fun.... Glad you enjoyed it.

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    Yesterday Rosenthal said that contract talks with Garza "reached the advanced stage and they talked money and term". I often read that teams have had contract talks and NOT talked money or term. WTH else is there to talk about? That's all a contract is, money and term. No agent says, "Before we talk about money and term, my client wants a jacuzzi set up on the pitchers mound for every one of his starts. Are you OK with that?" :)

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Haha! First things first.

  • I'm ready for the futures game, I can get a look at alcantara.

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