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Tuesdays with Felsy- Let's all get a grip.

Tuesdays with Felsy- Let's all get a grip.

A bunch of odds and Sods as we desperately wait for Tanaka to pick a coast and for the Cubs to get to Spring training.

- Yesterday was one of those days that made you question if indeed you were ever a fan of the Chicago Cubs and if you will ever be again going forward. Not by the actions of the Cubs mind you. But by Cub fans. For those of you that missed it the Cubs introduced a new Mascot- "Clark". He's an absolutely harmless bear who is going to be on the outer periphery of Cubs games while mostly catering to Cubs fans 6 and under. This caused most Cub fans to lose their mud and ruin everyone's Twitter timelines by destroying Clark and the Cubs for everything from "putting marketing ahead of baseball" to the fact that Clark the Cub's hat is backwards and thus is too gangster.

PLEASE!!!!!!

This was he third most important story on last night's news behind the weather and a shooting in Araura. I understand the Cubs off season hasn't been a very productive one (more on that later...) and Cub fans tend to get more narcissistic and are ready to vote yea or NAY!!!!!!! on the next move, the latest press conference. But this was pure silliness.  My favorite was that the Cubs were desperate for something to announce at the upcoming Cubs Convention. As if the backlash from announcing Kerry Wood's extension hasn't stopped reverberating everywhere. ( It's now a sound Byte at Cubbie Hate 670 the Score...).

I've always extended an invitation to these supposed "fans" that if they hate everything or are critical about everything about the Cubs all the way down to the mascot that perhaps they should leave, not be a fan anymore. I know this is futile. They always claim loyalty and will continue to bitch until the Cubs actually win the thing. When they'll attempt to make the whole 106+ years about THEIR suffering.

Clark made an appearance last night with some other Cubs at a Children's event. From all pictures and reports, the kids had a great time. How about we let it stay that way?

- The other burr that seems to be under the Cubs fans saddle is the Jeff Passan article where he calls the Cubs cheap. Frankly, I thought it was a fairly spot on article. The Cubs are coming across as cheap from the perspective of anybody that's not invested in the Cubs the way we are.  Could you pay less for an outfield than the one of Ruggiano/Schierholtz in right, Sweeney in center, and Junior Lake in left? What is that? Half a Curtis Granderson? Granderson is a very expensive place-holder for the Mets who will get 60 million dollars while not winning a thing while waiting for Noah Syndegard and others from the minor leagues to help restore their glory. Now the Mets might be stupid.....but they're not being accused of being cheap. Choose your poison I suppose.

It should be pointed out that Passan goes on to laud Theo and the front office and the Cubs stable of minor league studs. Passan even says that the Cubs could be good very soon. I, for one, am totally on board with not spending on free agents until a little more of the foundation is laid down ( like next year when Baez and Bryant are household names...). And part of that process is listening to out of towners call you cheap.

- Comcast Sports Chicago has somehow managed to get worse. How is that?

- Someone on Twitter said we're now down to the "Masahiro Tanaka's wife prefers to live in LA" part of the negotiations and I couldn't agree more. I'm not sure that I like the fact that the Cubs have been so quiet ( the quiet team usually wins these things) or that I don't. Let's just hope they're still in the running....

- Don't think the Blackhawks are gonna make it this year come playoff time. Hope I'm wrong. But Q's point chasing has come at the expense of developing some kids from Rockford. And those kids were/still can be kind of vital in keeping the current Hawks fresh through a long season off of a short off-season. Throw in the fact that they're capped out come trade deadline time where the Blues and Kings can really add.....I just don't see it. Hope I'm wrong.

- Cubs convention is right around the corner......that's....... that's something.

- Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs still haven't avoided arbitration. Were looking at around 5 million dollars. Shouldn't be that hard should it?

- Kyle Hendricks breaks camp with the big club this spring. Heard it here.

 

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  • One of the things the Cubs have been weak on over the years is good PR. I am wondering if it would benefit the Cubs to have someone within the organization sit with the media and explain the restrictions placed upon them regarding payroll and why/how they got there.

    Not sure if that would hurt regarding FA's and all or if it might upset some fans, but maybe it would clear the air with most fans, the media, and most importantly, Scott Boras.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Cubs are never going to win a PR war until they win a championship. It's fighting a losing battle until then.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    "...have someone within the organization sit with the media and explain the restrictions placed upon them regarding payroll and why/how they got there."

    They have. His name is Theo Epstein. He's said it makes no sense to pay for (using Felzz' example above) Curtis Granderson who will get 60 million dollars while not winning a thing while waiting for...Baez, Bryant, Almora, Edwards etc., just to win a few more games.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I have 2 words for you-Crane Kenney. Want to know why the Cubs PR stinks? Look whos in charge of it. They should have kept John McDonough. He does a great job with the Hawks.

  • Can't wait for playoffs! If Blackhawks stay healthy, nobody beats them is a 7 game series. Nobody!

    And, hopefully Baez arrives at Wrigley right after Cup Finals!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    If Baez hits like the Southern League Baez of 2013, Im betting hes in a bog league uniform no later than the AS break.

  • I'm not interested in Clark, but my grandkids surely will be. Can you say "cultivating future fans" boys and girls? Give the Cubs credit for good marketing and the pub that may result from the charity work. Sure beats the noodle. Also give them credit for stating that Clark will not come between the fans and the game as in other ballparks. This is one place the "rooftoppers" thankfully don't have a say. If I had any criticism, it would be that Clark should have a female partner named Addison.

    Also do the Cubs only need to market to beer drinking frat boys who ruin the game experience for families?

    Also: Some consider that the Cubs are cheap in comparison to other teams. Keep in mind the other teams don't have outsiders with a seat at the table that constrains their ability to maximize profits that makes spending possible.

  • In reply to Sheboygan Frank:

    Clarke and Addison could procreate and have twin cubbies Sheffield and Waveland. The frat boys may take to Addison. She could work the bleachers and Murphy's.

  • In reply to Sheboygan Frank:

    I like the idea of a little girl Cub named Addison who is Clark's friend. Good one, Sheboygan!!!

  • Personally I would much rather have "Ruggiano/Schierholtz in right, Sweeney in center, and Junior Lake in left" than have overspent on a short-term solution to a long-term problem. I actually think that this combo (perhaps with some contributions from Vitters, Ryan Kalish, Szczur and/or Brett Jackson early season) provides very nice defense, and assuming they can stay relatively free of injury - decent offensive production if deployed intellegently.

    Don't get me wrong - actually would have loved to see the like of Granderson roaming about LF in Wrigley for a year or two (or three), but other than making a few games more interesting this season (as I am sure he will do in NY) - he wouldn't have been worth the long-term cost.

    The OF is going to be croweded with up & coming prospects over the next few seasons,... and putting a roadblock in front of any of them at present is a bad idea.

  • I was fairly disgusted on the trashing of Clark from other bloggers and media types all day on it. Really your attacking a mascot for kids ?

    "I've always extended an invitation to these supposed "fans" that if they hate everything or are critical about everything about the Cubs all the way down to the mascot that perhaps they should leave, not be a fan anymore. I know this is futile. They always claim loyalty and will continue to bitch until the Cubs actually win the thing. When they'll attempt to make the whole 106+ years about THEIR suffering."

    Agree 100%, some of the pure negativity is just cries from some bloggers and media heads looking for attention. I get being critical but come on....

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    Hear, hear!

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    In reply to Rbirby:

    Can anyone supply a link to someone trashing Clark. All I hear is people talking about it but no evidence of it.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    You're kidding right? It was all over Twitter. Just because you somehow missed it, you assume everyone else is just making it up? You're probably just late to the party, because everyone is back-tracking now, but it wasn't like that at the time of the announcement. You can check these two links here and here but there is some graphic content.

    That is just a small sample. Evidence is everywhere if you know how and where to look for it.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John,

    The Deadspin article is having fun with it. It's not up in arms about "how could the Cubs get a mascot". There's a huge difference. There's nothing wrong with having some fun with it even if some may find some of it obscene. Basically all that I've seen is of this sort of reaction.

    I don't follow Obstructed View and based on their Twitter account neither does 99.99% of the Chicago metropolitan area (1105 followers). I've seen more articles blasting people that have supposedly overreacted to Clark than I have seen articles actually overreacting to him....and I've been looking. If I have to go out of my way to look for it then it's not really that prevalent

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    It was very prevalent and it was immediate. Looks like you were just late to all of it and just caught all the backtracking as well as the reaction to all the bashing. Sounds like you missed it all, no shame in admitting that. It's by far the better, more likely explanation that a lot of rational people are making this all up or overreacting to it.

    Obstructed View is a respected blog. I didn't agree with Tim's reaction, but he has a strong voice on Twitter when it comes to the Cubs.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I never said people are making it up what I said is that people are taking the Deadspin article (which was by far the most common reaction) and similar and blowing them out of proportion to the extent of the OV article (which was very few). Basically the reaction to the initial Clark reaction was the real overreaction.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    I gave you one, but Deadspin wrote about 4 articles on it. And you can add all the readers as well. I'd say they overreacted.

    And as I said, there were many, many reactions on Twitter in the moments after the announcement which you obviously missed, though I'm not sure why that's hard for you to admit. Just because you didn't see them, it doesn't mean they weren't there.

    We all miss things once in awhile. It doesn't mean it doesn't or didn't exist. The world moves on without us even when we aren't there to witness events.

    But whatever, if you want to bury your head in the sand, that's fine by me. I'm fully aware that people believe what they want to believe, sometimes even when there is ample evidence to the contrary.

  • Why do people over react on everything the Cubs do or don't do. Personally I like it. He won't be jumping around the dugout or anything. And ITS FOR KIDS! He's better than southpaw! Southpaw looks like a buger in a sox jersey.

  • As for our Blackhawks, there is no doubt that Handzus is a detriment to the team, and at his age there is no way he should play every game. But Pirri is not the answer either. For one, he is hurt right now, and beyond that his speed and defense are average at best and he is not willing/able to win board battles. The Hawks do not have any extra forwards on their roster at the moment in order to save cap space for later. The depth on the bottom 6 is not what it has been in recent years, Bickell's knee (and general regular season apathy) and Handzus sucking is causing issues right now. I fully expect the Hawks to acquire a bottom 6 center at the deadline unless they feel Teravainen can step right into the lineup once his season ends in Europe. I would love to get Legwand as a rental at the deadline, but we may not have cap room for it depending on what they send back to Nashville.

    There is no doubt that the Blues and Ducks have closed the gap with the Hawks since last year. Both of those teams have improved their depth and speed while the Hawks took a slight step back. I think any playoff series with those teams would be a coin flip.

  • It's not Clark. I'm sure he is a great guy, that is really super around kids.
    That's not the point. This team is on track to lose 100 games for the third year straight and this is what hits the front pages...Clark. Renovation plans have stalled, no big Jumbo in left, no sign of prospects (yet), TV contract in limbo, fans leaving in droves...and we get Clark.

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    In reply to xhooper:

    This would have made headlines regardless of who they added this offseason. Also, adding a mascot and adding players is certainly not mutually exclusive.

    "Renovation plans have stalled, no big Jumbo in left," -- it was always a stretch that we would see the jumbotron this year, even right after they announced the plans.

    "no sign of prospects (yet)" -- I'm not quite sure what you mean there. Of our top 7 prospects (Baez, Soler, Almora, Bryant, Edwards, Alcantara, Johnson), 6 are likely to start AA or higher. Baez and Alcantara could realistically be up by June, and Bryant and Soler by the end of the year.

    "TV contract in limbo" -- This situation hasn't changed. I don't know how it's in limbo.

    "fans leaving in droves" -- a legitimate concern, but not long term.

  • Should have been you, Towelie.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d5/508_towelie.gif

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    I'll put this on John's thread, but I'll put it here, too. The Cubs really invited this on themselves when they launched him on Twitter with: "Still figryuing out how 2 tyype with these big pawz. Will gett lessons from @Cubs. Come back soon!!" I don't think he should have been anywhere near Twitter until he was established at kids events like the one last night and that tweet was just begging to be mocked. Twitter is really for adults. That was inappropriate for Twitter.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You would think they would have seen this coming, wouldn't you? Twitter?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I suppose......

    But I mean..... so what.

    OK it was a little ham-handed. But what is the ideal intro for a mascot. If he just shows up and kids are all confused..... If they just issued a press release- that would probably be fine.

    But whatever error the Cubs caused or didn't cause....the backlash is still way too much.

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    In reply to felzz:

    The idea intro is an announcement between the fourth and Fifth-Third fifth inning and an invitation to all the kids to be sure to get Clark's autograph. Or at the Convention. Or pretty much anywhere other than Twitter.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Before I say this, I need to disclose that I don't have children. But with that aside, I think you might be underestimating kids' usage of social media, or at least knowledge of it. ("Those dagnab children with their dagnab smart phones...) The first thing I thought when I saw Clark's tweet was "man, if I had kids, I could tell them that Clark wrote a message here" and play it up. Clark also has a bio (grandchild of the original bear mascot, favorite snack, etc.) that I'm sure isn't technically for kids to read, but hey their parents can translate it for them.

  • In general, the Cubs PR machine (and most any PR team in professional sports) could take some notes from the Blackhawks PR department. They really seem to shine in that regard (McDonuagh is pretty awesome).

    As for the Cubs Front Office PR machine, I know they really owe nothing to the fans and/or media, but seeing how Emery (and Trestman) operates with the public shows just how refreshing it is to get an honest, non spin-dominated view from the front office. They explain decisions without being extremely vague and often condescending. They also appear to take ownership of mistakes, something I'm not confident this front office likes to do or does well. What does all this mean. As other people have mentioned in this post, I think a tweak in how this team communicates with it's fan base would go a long way in setting a lot of people at ease with the rebuild. I know it would for me.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Hmm-Im wondering, doesnt the idiot Crane Kenney run the "business" side of the team? This mascot launch sounds like something Kenney would do.

  • Felzz, you saying Kyle Hendricks comes north out of spring training? well, Heres to hoping hes anything close to the minor league Kyle Hendricks. His stuff is supposed to be like Mad Dog Maddux. Heres to hoping his career is.

  • The Cubs are so cheap that they didn't give Clark pants.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    So,... the mascot is Bear-butted?

    Hilarious,... sort of. But then again maybe I am just easily amused? :D

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I don't know if bears wear pants. I've watched a lot of the Cleveland show and Tim doesn't wear pants. neither do those bears in the disgusting Charmin commercials.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Clarke could bring in Charmin advertising $$ to help pay Tanaka' s contract.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The only way Clarke's gonna get any Charmin.is to get an spiff from them. Cubs are too cheap to buy anything but single ply Walmart house brand.

    Tanaka's the exception. He gets one roll to go with his heated toilet seat.

  • Felsy-- Love the love sent Kyle Hendrick's way. Prospect evaluators seem to way undervalue this guy. At least outside the organization. Inside it, he was Pitcher of the Year, and has posted three consecutive years with WHIPs under 1.10. People knock his ceiling as being merely a "mid-rotation pitcher." I'm like, that's no knock. Call him up if he proves it in Spring Training or int he first half at Iowa.

    And in terms of Clark. It really is all about the kids, and I sincerely hope they assign him to their Dominican training academy. Those kids need all the help they can get. For a little more humor on the Clark subject, hope you enjoy this fake news story about the "fallout" and fan over-reaction: http://www.chicagonow.com/fluffington-post/2014/01/cubs-mascot-999/

  • Bless you Felzz for calling the mascot thing for what it is: a complete non-event that "the bitter bunch" is using as an opening to tee off on their frustration that the rebuild isn't moving faster. I have kids 8 & 5 who are obviously the target audience for the mascot. Try as I might to get them to focus on the game they spend all their time when we are at events with a mascot tracking the mascot and figuring out what he is up to.

    All that said, I did LOL at hoffpauir6's comment above!

  • Until the Cubs start seriously contending for a pennant, anything that is done to promote the team will meet with ridicule from supposed fans. These "fans" want the FO to spend money on players that are past their prime and will do nothing to help the team once the younger players arrive. I for one look forward to bringing our five year old grandson to his first game this year and the chance to have him meet Clark.

  • Couldn't agree more about the new mascot. Everybody is all bent out of shape for nothing. It's for young KIDS! As long as they don't have him on the field ( or God forbid on the dugouts ) during games, who cares?

  • Awesome article Felzzy. I agree with pretty much everything you said...except the Hawks..they are badass and will be right in the thick of it come playoff time.

    Also the childrens event that you mentioned was a visit to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Pediatric Developmental Center.

    Clark the bear (and other rookies) brightened the day of children with autism and other developmental challenges...

    http://galleries.apps.chicagotribune.com/chi-chicago-cubs-new-mascot-clark-20140113/

  • As a wildlife biologist, I can say with certainty I have never encountered either of the North American 3 bear species wearing pants. It is simply prohibitive to sh**ing in the woods ........... or on the snow. Do you want Clark to go against nature? Fig leaves might be more apropos! As I, you are making a big deal about nothing, as if something must be made a big deal of!

  • I don't think the Hawks pay enough attention to defense this year. Last season if they did not want you to score it wasn't happening. That said, I think they will win one more Cup with this core.

  • I saw this happen when the Hawks introduced Tommy Hawk. People grumbled ( not to the degree that Cubs fans are grumbling....) and then before you know it, he's as common place as the team and the beer.

    It just amazes me how quickly people are ready to ridicule, object to, and get massively offended by tiny and insignificant things....

  • In reply to felzz:

    RE: "It just amazes me how quickly people are ready to ridicule, object to, and get massively offended by tiny and insignificant things...."

    I agree, but consider the thousands of people who saw the same tweet or articles and didn't think much about it, or just said, "well that will be nice for the kids" or something similar... it's always the douchebags that make the most noise & are the loudest whiners.

  • Its for kids. its fine. harmless as long as he doesn't stand in front of me during a key part of the game. but i do have one concern. his eyes. i can't figure it out exactly but he looks....scared. not a good sign i don't think. maybe happy, or playful or even tough but the cartoon pic looks like he is afraid of something.

  • If you've ever spent ten minutes at a minor league game, you realize the value of keeping kids amused. That's all Clark is for, the kids, so I'll embrace him - this is the children's game, after all. No amount of jaded adults whining will ever be able to overcome Clark potentially making one kid with cancer smile solely because the Cubs mascot came to see them.

    Besides, it could always be the 1908 mascot: http://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/photo-chicago-chicago-cubs-and-their-mascot-stands-behind-sepia-1908.jpg%3Fw%3D640

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Yeah, that one is a little scary.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's also the last time the Cubs won a World Series. When they win it all in 10 months, I am solely attributing it to the addition of Clark.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I was at first amused by the anti-Clark stuff, but as it grew louder and harsher, I realized how, wait a minute, this is purely for the freakin' children. I admire a lot of what Deadspin does, but after seeing what they had yesterday, I was really disappointed in them. The anti-Clark stuff is a prime example of why Twitter can be a negative thing.

  • I've had nothing bad to say about the front office since Hendry left. Until now.

    The two things that always set the Cubs apart from other teams (in a a positive way) were 1) Cub fans refused to do The Wave and 2) the Cubs never had a silly, cutesy mascot running around. As a Cub fan since 1963, to say I hate both of these with the white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns would be an understatement.

    They'll say "The mascot is for the kids". When was the last time you heard kids yelling in unison "We want a hit!". For decades, at some point you would hear that at every Cub home game. Why haven't you heard that in recent years? No kids at the games, that's why.

    The only mascot with talent and who should've ever existed was The San Diego Chicken. But he WAS NOT A CUB MASCOT!!!

    Now, get off my lawn.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    What the hell are you babbling about?

  • What is it about the Cubs, that media just takes pot shots at everything they do? Open season to turn everything into a joke. I am not going to post it, but Deadspin put out there latest joke of the day, drawing a big hairy you know what on the cartoon. Just totally lame attempt at humor, and really kind of down right creepy. The Cubs released a statement, and were not happy. 7th grade humor at its worst. But for the Cubs, its always anything goes for a joke.

  • I visit Cubs Den daily (and love it) and I realize that John can get a little homer-ish at times, but I chalk it off to being passionate about the Cubs and trying to put things in the best possible light.I don't know what to say about this Felzz piece though. I think he could learn a thing or two from Brett at Bleachernation. Brett did a much better job at discussing the topic and being mature about it. Felzz lost me when he broke out the old "if you don't like it root for another team" rant. The people that are ranting about the Cubs (and the ridiculous mascot) aren't doing it because they don't care about the Cubs, most of them want to win and feel ranting is an effective way of voicing their frustrations. As reported everywhere, the Cubs knew what type of reaction that they were going to get and they knew they were going to be criticized. Sure some of the comments were uncalled for, but to me it is no worse than someone getting self righteous and telling other people how to be a proper fan. It is the nature of the business, if the team stinks and the fans feel that the team is not getting better, they will criticize. Especially when the team keeps throwing them softballs like the mascot.

  • In reply to Cubz99:

    How is it a "softball"? Children are the greatest commodity we have in this country (albeit we are doing a fine job of educating them to not be), so the Cubs recognize a way to reach out to them. Where is the harm in that? The naysayers can gripe all they want to, but will be met with certain opposition such as seen here on this blog. "What have you done for me lately?" has become a resounding theme in this day and age, and even though it's everyone's right to ask that, it's disgusting and wreaks of narrow mindedness. Most of us are not satisfied with near-miss seasons and we're glad we finally have a front office that isn't either. How did the Bulls build that dynasty? Was it purchased free agents or was it sprinkling pieces to add to the drafted talent? What have the Blackhawks done in the recent past, and how did they do it?

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    Where is this supposed outrage over Clark? I'm on Twitter and haven't seen any of it. I've only seen people talking about it. Get a grip!

  • A lackluster winter on top of a 100-year freeze has us Cubs fans loaded for bear, even one as small as Clark. Thanks for rescuing him from the blogmire, Felzz.

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