Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.
As I write this, we are down 3-1 to the Cardinals. I thought we would instantly be better??
Well, even if we get stomped by the Evil Satanic Fowl, today is a good day, as you might expect, now that Jim Hendry's termination was announced. I put it that way, of course, because he was actually fired on July 22nd, but they let him hang around, literally, as a lame duck for nearly a month. In that month's time, he did not trade Carlos Marmol to Texas for decent prospects, he did not trade Ramirez, Pena, or Dempster, he put Zambrano on the bizarre "unqualified" list for the second time in two years, and lastly he threw a lot of Ricketts money at the 2011 draft picks.
Seems that Hendry's best talent was spending his owner's money.
As curious as all that business is to me, I am going to try my best to forget about it, because Tom Ricketts said some good things today, too. He gives three criteria for his next GM: first, someone from a winning culture. Next, someone analytical, who knows how to utilize statistical data. Finally, someone with a track record of developing talent. In other words, everything that Jim Hendry is not. This cut through all the layers of my petrified, cynical heart, thus proving to me that either Ricketts knows what he is doing after all, or at the very least, he has been listening to his fans.
Two names immediately come to my mind: Rick Hahn and Andrew Friedman. Hahn is the Assistant to Kenny "Stanford" Williams down on the South Side, and Friedman is the GM of the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, Hahn is infinitely more available than Friedman, but frankly, his current team does not have a much better track record of player development than the Cubs do. Friedman appears perfect for the position, and it is possible he may consider the Cubs' job to be superior to the one he already holds. The Cubs make FAR more money than the Rays, enjoy a FAR FAR larger following, and like every other person who has taken over the position the past 100 years, if he has any ego at all, may cherish the opportunity to finally be The Man who Cured the Cubs.
It's really not a bad job; especially if the Cubs can come to some sort of settlement with Zambrano, the only bad salary they will be stuck with after this year is Alfonso Soriano's. This should provide the new GM with just the kind of challenge a man of ambition craves; the opportunity to stick someone else with Soriano, leaving a nearly clean canvas to set up his kind of team. Hopefully, the kind of team that likes to throw strikes, take walks, hit situationally, field their positions and not get picked off of second base six-to-eight times a year.
We've had this day before; I've had several. I remember Dallas Green's New Tradition; the power struggle that led to his demise; I remember Andy McSweaterVest bringing his family pedigree and his winning Twins tradition to Wrigley Field; who can forget Ed Lynch? Don't even get me started about Larry Himes and his unholy fixation on Sammy Sosa. I have every right to be skeptical about this latest reboot.
But I can't. I'm not allowed, and besides: I don't feel skeptical. It's in my blood. My wife accuses me of not being a Good Cubs Fan because I turn off the game when they start losing, and because I come out here and complain all the time. No, dear, I AM a Good Cubs Fan, because I believe Tom Ricketts when he says things will be different and better. That's the hope, that's the blind unconditional optimism that we all share. That's being a True Cub Fan.