I''m one of these old school Blackhawks fans. Which means I make up maybe 5-7% of the current Blackhawk fandom that's currently stuffing the United Center to see the team play these days. That's to be expected, Championships bring fans and bandwaggoners. The more the merrier I say. But what I'm leery about, and what my brother does a fabulous job of over at The Committed Indian is to prevent what's happened to Bulls fans. Now I'm not one to label or put down a fan base, just ask any inbred, methed-out Cardinal fan who's not to ashamed of showing you his 6 teeth to speak to you. Every team in this city has a swath, maybe even majority, of fans that brings down the reputation of the die hards, but only with Bulls fans are you considered "wrong" or a "trader" for acknowledging the best player in the game as the best player in the game.Tell a Bears fan Peyton Manning is great? no problem. White Sox would agree with you about Justin Verlander. But tell a Bulls fan that Lebron James is amazing and they ask you why you don't just move to Miami and root for the Heat.
It's because the Bulls fans don't watch the NBA. So they don't look around and have any reference of how good their team really is. They just see a team that hustles and plays great defense because that's ALL THEY SEE. They love Luol Deng and most within the UC think he should be resigned. But if you were to look around and see most of the threes in the NBA, Deng is probably back of the top 1/3rd to mid-pack. You need to orient yourself to the rest of the league.
Now when it comes to the Cubs, it's easy to look at this winter of discontent where we try and blur our eyes at Liam Hendricks until we see an actual starting pitcher, and just want to cry. It hasn't been a very good winter. There's still a Hail Mary of Masahiro Tanaka and the dominoes that might trigger with a Jeff Samardzija trade. But for now....yikes.
But look around the NL, who's off-seasn do you wish you had?
The easy answers are Washington and St. Louis. But they're supposedly the models the Cubs want to emulate correct? And while it would have been nice to get Doug Fister for a song, the Cubs would have peddled him at the deadline and they'd be back where they started again. And while having a very athletic Peter Borjous in center would be cool, who exactly would've been the Cubs equivalent of David Freeze?
So we wish the Cubs were them, but who else? The Reds lost Dusty Baker, always an enviable move, remember feeling darn good when the Cubs did it. However, they let Shin Soo Choo just walk and he'll be very hard to replace, no matter how fast Billy hamilton is, plus they're keeping moody Brandon Phillips and seem to want to jam Joey Votto into a role he's not accustomed to. Not particularly envious of them. The Brewers? please. The Pirates may only get better as they're very young. But AJ Burnett still hasn't signed and don't underestimate what he meant to that club. (Burnett is one of those late bloomers that's a really good example of why you would want to keep and extend Jeff Samardzija....).
How about the Mets? By the time Harvey and Syndegard are ready Curtis Granderson's contract will be an albatross if it isn't already. The Diamondbacks are slithering around with their head cut off. The Giants got a 40 year old Tim Hudson coming off a broken leg........Anyone?......Anyone?......Going once.....Going twice? Padres got Josh Johnson.....OK..........
Suddenly the Cubs off season isn't as bad as it once looked. And when you consider that Theo and Jed literally did a lot of their Christmas shopping in July. ( If Garza was traded this December for Edwards and a flyer like Olt and two pieces of filler like Grimm and Ramirez, everyone would declare this off-season a win right?)
So this silent off-season may feel like a deadly one. But orient yourself. Look around the league. The Cubs aren't choking on any ample amounts of dust. It's not as terrible as it seems.
It is however boring. How about pissing everyone off and wasting a draft pick on Ubaldo Jimenez.....?
ODDS and SODDS
So Mike Moody is now a regular here? Once again....Nobody told me. How much of an expansion fee is he paying? Am I seeing any of this money? I'm still waiting for Mauricio to buy me some Daisy Cutters.
Welcome my friend, good to have you on board. By the way "Mood Swings" is a better title for your column.
So Patrick Mooney, perhaps the only respectable person over at that cesspool known as Comcast Chicago, has a very nice read about Andy Macphail. In the story is some interesting quotes from Theo about building with JUST prospects.
“We have to guard against this perception that we believe that once our most talented prospects come up to the big leagues, all of our problems are solved, because that’s not the way it works in baseball.”
“We invoke that all the time internally: ‘Let’s not think that we’ve reached the finish line just when we get a few prospects to the big leagues.’ In some ways, that’s the starting line.
Now I agree with all of this. But then he turns around and tells Cub fans about how great it is to be patient and that the kids are eventually gonna be here and things will be swell. That's called messaging your mixes.....I mean mixing your messages. (See what I did there?)
The last really cool Christmas song I heard was last year during the Colbert show.
I'm trying to find an album this year that tops the Wooden Shjips "Back to land" as album of the year. Haven't done it yet. I know it's not the Parquet Courts. It's not the Queens of the Stoned Age (unfortunately). Savages.... maybe. So far "Back to Land" is in the lead.
Keith Richards turned 70 this week, so let's go with Beggars Banquet, by far the most Keif-ish Stones album, as our Sunday music. Also, here's a neat story about how Keith wrote "Street Fighting man".
Alright, I'll just ask this once, piss everyone off, and show myself out, if the Cubs were to sign Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, then flip them at the trade deadline, you couldn't get more than the 2nd and 3rd round pick you'd be losing in signing them? Really? Really!???!!!??!
I don't think the Cubs should sign Grant Balfour, but I love this image of ol' buddy Al Yellon throwing out his back doing Balfour Rage when he comes into a game.