Sweet blessed Jaisus, things are gonna be muy caliente in Miami.
Ozzie, Big Z, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes. Logan Morrison is no Mensa member, either. Man, if this team doesn't jump out and lead end-to-end this year? The machisimo, the backbiting and finger-pointing. The families and all that Latino Heat! The dramatic awkwardness of all that is holy. And that's just the tweeting. If all owner Jeffrey Loria wanted out of 2012 was to be the center of attention, to be the lead story on every ESPN SportsCenter, he could not have made a better move than to trade for the Scourge of all Gatorade Machines everywhere. Poor Mark Buerhle. He has always been a bit of a pud, and not just because he played for the Sox. But he doesn't deserve this. No sir. No way. The 2012 Marlins are the most combustible roster since the post-Championship Mets of the late Eighties, with Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and the rest all committing simultaneous career hari-kari.
Please note the two different foreign language phrases so far. Japanese and Spanish. Yes, I am going for it today.
In the meantime, Theo Epstein is building our new Cubs Culture of professional maximal effort towards improvement. I'm not really complaining. This fall, noting the often contradictory conditions that occur at Wrigley Field, I advocated building a team based not on power, but on team speed and defense. This is being done with the subtraction of Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin, and the addition of Ian Stewart and David DeJesus. I have also spent years out here pointing out that ballplayers are easily led, and are creatures of habit, and thus are unusually succeptible to negative influences. For example, a 6-foot-5, 260 pound belligerent who calls out teammates for their poor habits and failings when he himself has never followed a game plan in his entire life, who is nearly always out of shape, all of which points to his miserable failings as a teammate. UPDATE FROM SULLY: Wow. Simply, wow. Since you're under the bus there, Z, can you check to see if it is leaking oil or anything, there?
I will disclose to you that it is entertaining to watch a man as demonstrative as Zambrano, who seems to throw balls with anger. When at the plate, he swings from his ass, and if and when he connects, usually ends up going a long way. Who bounds around like an overgrown kid, whaling on drink machines, bellowing at umpires, and grappling with mopes like Michael Barrett and Derrek Lee. It's great TV, great theater, and I suppose wonderful to write about. Que sera, sera.
Fortunately, I don't have to work alongside him 8 months a year, and I don't have to endure a cross country flight with him immediately after he goes on record as saying "we stinks". To a man, the rest of the Cubs were completely tired of his act, and he had to go, and Theo made it happen, and got back, hell, more than I figured he would. A 25 year old, 6 foot 8 guy with three years experience in the Marlins' rotation. Chris Volstad has not shown much, yet, but shoot, at this point what would you rather have, a 25 year old pitcher who pitched last year in Double A, or a 25 year old pitcher who just finished his third full year in a major league rotation?
The Full Unconditional Support period for Theo and his BoyQuarium of Lesser GMs continues. And yet, I realize that while assembling a roster of guys who are only concerned with playing baseball is the right thing to do, in fact, the only thing that should be done, the short term result will be a lot of losses this year. This isn't the worst part of it, though. None of us, including myself, have ever witnessed a true Cubs rebuilding effort before. (The last one was arguably in the early 1960's, when Santo, Williams, Kessinger, Beckert, Hundley, the core of the 1969 team was formed). In the long run, we will witness something build and grow and we will experience the satisfaction in the development of a winning team.
It is an aside, an ultimately meaningless aside, but in pure entertainment terms, this team is going to seriously lack personality. No je ne sais quoi. Soriano will remain, and he really doesn't say much. The cornerstone, Starlin Castro, is a major league hitter with a rookie-league intellect. Ryan Dempster has always been the dork who tries to hard to be funny, and in his old age, has mellowed to the point of tedium. Matt Garza is hyperactive, but as soon as some contending club coughs up the prospects we want, he's gone, too. Don't count on any off-the-field headlines; there aren't going to be any demonstrations of athletic immaturity, either on the field or in the clubhouse; nobody is going to step up and say "we stinks" anymore.
In terms of a competitive entity, this is a good thing. In terms of entertainment, in the short term? Not so much. We've heard it before, but it means more now than ever - Be Patient, Cubs Fans....