Friday, November 07, 2008


CLICK HERE for the New Site
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Stay here if you want to search the 1060west archives.


Greetings All,

I have started a new Cubs blog titled waxpaperbeercup. I am following the goings on with the Cubs and mixing in some thoughts on Chicago and beer.

Come on over and take a look.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Closing time

UPDATE: 1060west's John Dooley and, I think, frequent comment man Jim Leo have started a blog called ghostofpaulnoce. So get off of this page and go read something new over there! Now go...


Dear reader, (that's in your honor gm)

Over the last several years, I have had a great deal of fun writing, on this little corner of Al Gore's interweb, my thoughts on the Chicago Cubs. As the Cubs approach the 2008 season, I have decided that I no longer will update 1060west. On one hand I am reluctant to do this (this could be the year!--LMAO), on the other hand I am quite relieved to go back to being a 'private citizen' Cub fan. While I have always enjoyed keeping this blog, I have enjoyed it less and less as time has moved on. So with that I've decided to end this experiment (an experiment that I never thought would last this long).

This page has had great contributors who have spent alot of time posting and commenting on this blog over the past several years. I want to thank each and every one of them. I am not sure what purpose any of this served, I do know at times maybe we said some things people liked and at times we said things people didn't. But hell this is a blog about a baseball team, nothing more or less. In the end I hope you enjoyed our little tainted vision of what was going on over at 1060 West Addison St.

So to all you readers out there--thank you very much for letting this crappy/unpopular blog be part of your interweb experience.

Go Cubs & Adios,


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Santo Marte De Rosa de Assisi Convention

January usually marks a time of sporting fervor in the city of Chicago. Many others, among me, have taken to warm nights watching our beloved Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears, DePaul, or Illini games.

Unfortunately, the above mentioned teams have had little to no success in this Our Year of the Lord 2008.

Due to this oddity, I have lurched myself into Cubdom like never before.

On this 19th of January I took the leap of faith.


The Cub convention did not get off to a stirring start for me. Upon leaving my place of residence, I found my Chevy Malibu's left side mirror smashed to smithereens. Apparently, some drunkard (maybe Keith Moreland) smashed my mirror to pieces. I was a bit disheartened. But not even sub zero weather would stop me from displaying my brand new 1987 Andre Dawson road jersey!

The first meeting of the day was the traditional "Meet Cubs Management" at 9 a.m. Apparently; Kaplan was sick and unable to emcee. I'm sure that if he was there, he would've found a way to skewer Aramis Ramirez, per usual. Needless to say, the absence for this viewer was a pleasant surprise.

Northwestern broadcaster Dave Eanet took time away from the SUCKFEST going on at Welsh-Ryan Arena to partake as emcee. You could almost see Eanet looking out amongst the chairs stating, "Dear Jesus! This room just outdrew the crowd for the Chicago State game!" Btw, Carmody fans, tickets still available. (Don't want to miss Texas Pan American on January 31st, and band 'Feel the Groove')

Eanet and Cory Provus did a fantastic job fielding questions, and keeping the majority of the stupidity out of the questioning. And that may have been the oddest occurrence of the day; out of the four separate seminars I went to, I'd say 90% of the comments were pretty solid. I was expecting some pretty stupid shit.

The panel consisted of Crane Kenney (Cape Cod look, Palo Alto personality), Jim Hendry, and Lou Piniella. Lou called Fukudome 'the guy from Japan', Crane Kenney actually sounded interested in baseball, and Jim Hendry seemed to have an exceptional mental agility.

Not that I was testing Hendry for the sort, but he just seemed on top of his game. Hendry and Lou keep pounding the fact that there will probably be two more moves before camp. Obviously, no names could be released.

One of my favorite parts of the morning session was Crane Kenney explaining to the CubDUMB portion of the audience, that the New York Mets made $400 million off of their last naming rights deal with Citibank. The silence in the room from the stupids was priceless. "Boy, that's a lot of money!" No shit. I can't wait for Boeing Stadium at Wrigley Field. Cha. Ching.

Another oddity of the morning press conference was Crane Kenney's consistent chiming that Sam Zell DOES have the option of being partial owner of the Chicago Cubs AND the Chicago White Sox with NO EXPIRATION DATE. This seemed to stun most people in the room, including myself. Apparently, Kenney and baseball execs met a couple weeks ago to speak on the pending Tribune deal. Word is Zell has no intention of selling the club, nor his under 5% share in the White Sox. Apparently, this is legal. Kenney explained to us that one of Zell's partners was the one fixated on the Sox, not Zell. Mmm, okay. But isn't shareholding, shareholding? Or is there a certain percentage that Zell would have to be invested with the White Sox to make this a no-go? Maybe I just didn't read enough of the FANTASTIC WORK by over the previous year? I'll go with the ladder.

Away from the financial fracas, Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella played hero all night long. 85-77 was the work of magicians, and the fans let the two know of these successes repeatedly throughout the day.

You could see Hendry and Piniella's confidence as a complete 180 degree turn from last year. The rotation was so grandiose, the two stated with little hesitance that 'they are the team to beat this upcoming year'. It's always fun for Cubbie Blue to get a little bit of a swagger, ain't it?

The biggest mistake of my day was not taking a single pad of paper, or pen (as I'm sure you have noticed).

What followed after this staggering swagger fix, was the beginning of what many of my cohorts were warning me from the night before: Santo Marte de Rosa de Assisi Fever.

Apparently, unbeknownst to many of us at 1060west, Mark DeRosa won the 2007 N.L.Central for the Chicago Cubs. You would've thought from the comments during the Q and A, that Hendry was proposing to send DeRosa to Cuba for a box of cigars!

Jesus Christ, people! DeRosa only started 88 games at second, last season. He had 13 starts in RF, 5 starts at 1B, and even one start in LF. This doesn't even show the countless games he rotated to other positions after starting at second. Bringing in Brian Roberts is not going to end the Mark DeRosa experience.

I'm being serious people. You weren't there. DeRosa is apparently the #1 lovechild of the WGN-loving crowd. They must be going here for DeRosa's stats.

I love DeRosa as much as the next guy, but he can play more than second base. Click here for methods of cannonization. I would like Santo Marte De Roa de Assisi to be buried next to St. Retardus, the patron saint of believe bracelets.

I did go to the microphone on behalf of 1060west to question Hendry on the importance of keeping Jason Marquis as the number five starter. I wanted to ask him specifically, 'What do you value more; a guaranteed 30-35 starts a year guy, or somebody with the potential to move up in the rotation?' Sounds like an odd question, but I just wanted to see where they stood with the Biz Marquis. The man wasn't to be found all weekend, and was mentioned in numerous trade talks.

Unfortunately, time ran out and I was unable to deliver.


To explain why, how, or what propelled me to remain in the Grand Ballroom for this waste of existence is beyond my comprehension. Oh, yeah, now it hit me. JIm Leo sucked me into this vortex of the universe by stating it was one of the more FUN convention highlights. Let me tell you this: If 'Jay Baller's Chest Hair History' was in Ballroom C, I would've gladly taken the ladder.

Kathy and Judy spent the time drooling over Matt Murton (married), Ryan Theriot (married), Mark DeRosa(married), Frank Sinatro!, (married and OLD), and Stevie Eyre (married, and wait, WTF???! Scott Eyre?!)

Questions varied from, 'What body part would you change the most about you?', to 'Where did you propose to your wife?'

The question I quickly asked myself was 'When the fuck am I going to get out of this room?' The answer was 'quickly.' Pat and I scurried out of the room to get to the coaching conference.


Gerald Perry's voice was akin to Ron Harper/Bob Love combination...if Harper and Love had been drinking since 6 a.m.


If the Cubs ever have Perry speak to the populace again, I would like an interpreter. The gist of Perry's ramblings went something like this:

Hannngne ovr duh wayul, plers like theriot or no soriano dey someone tole me wunts, uh, uh, hangenn,e, ayi, fassball, yousidufk, look for a zone, and, if, taken a ball, just, hann brainin, uh. You gotta hit it.

What? Good thing our hitting coach can't speak a discernable word of english. I don't want Theriot or Ramirez understanding one fucking word that retard is spewing.

The star of the show, once again, was ole Lou Piniella. There's just this odd confidence in the old fudger. It reminds me of some guy you'd want in your platoon if you went to war: someone who's slightly crazy, but impeccably brilliant; a major necessity during war time. I'm not sure that matters when it comes to baseball, but something to chew on nonetheless.

What did I learn from the exhibition? Not a damn thing.


I really put a lot of weight on this portion of the day, and to tell the truth, it was kind of underwhelming.

Rick Sutcliffe, Lee Smith, Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks each took apart in the festivities.

Sutcliffe retold the story of Maddux getting in trouble for beaning the Padres in retaliation for Dawson's beaning in '87. That was kind of cool. Lee Smith called former Boston manager Joe Morgan the stupidest person he worked for. Pretty funny. Outside of that, not the greatest thing.

My favorite portion of the storytelling came during Ron Santo's egg-timer story. After the Don Young debacle, Williams and Hundley played a trick on Santo, putting an egg timer in a box, and playing it for a time bomb. Santo fell for it, and tried to get the entire team to evacuate the clubhouse. Uproarious laughter, right? Who cares.

My favorite part of the stanza was when he had to admit the portion of the hate mail he received after making comments about Young. "What's that," you say? Santo isn't the saint he makes himself out to be? Damn truth. The guy ruined the SOB's career, and got off easy. I just wish the majority of CubDUMB would recognize that Santo was not the greatest man of all time.

60 Years of WGN and the Cubs

Jack Rosenberg, Bob Brenly, Len Kasper, and Bob Vorwald. By far, the best thing we saw all day.

I could listen to Rosenberg talk for about nine years. The hour began with a rebroadcast of Don Cardwell's final out in the 1960 no-hitter against the Cardinals. The video can be seen here at If you haven't seen this, you are not a fan.

Stories about Arne Harris, Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, or today's guys never gets old.

We were given a 15 minute preview of a 2 hour special that is scheduled to debut on WGN in March. All I can say is, 'wow'. Once again, WGN is going to outdo themselves, and create one of the must-haves for any Cub history nut. The footage they got on Santo, Banks, and Williams was off the hook.

I've never met Len Kasper in person. All I know, is that sitting in front of him, I could sense a total understanding of where we come from. Len hasn't been a lifelong Cub fan, but he gets it. I don't know what the fuck that means, but it means something. He knows there is a place for fans like us, or the 'W' flag waving fans, the 'believe bracelet' fans, the heckler fans, the old lady fans, etc. He seems to understand that their are so many more divisions to Cubdom than most people realize. I came away from this meeting having a much deeper respect.

Leaving the program, we ran into new Lasik eye surgery recoveree Tom Shearer. The former Channel 5 sports man was a pleasure. Shearer was actually just there as a fan, not on news. He asked us if this was our first convention, etc. Good guy. He did try to pick up my buddy's girl however. Just coz you got Lasik don't make you Touchdown Jesus, Tom!

In the end, we got to get close with Bill Madlock, Daryle Ward, Dave Otto, and Tom Shearer. Not a bad day. And, while waiting in line to speak with Cub management, I got grabbed on the ass by a 60 year old ex-principal who told me that "Judy Markee used to sit in on our Sex Education classes" at school.


Stay away strange Cub fan, stay away.

In the end, I had to stave him off with 5 bucks and a pack of naked Dave Martinez cards.

All in all, a good day. So, from here to Timbuktu, I say: 88-74 in '08!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cubs add Shingo

The Trib's Paul Sullivan reports on the Cubs big move prior to the convention. The Cubs have added an arm that more than likely will wind up closing games at Iowa.

The Cubs added former White Sox reliever Shingo Takatsu on Friday. Terms of the deal have not been released.

Takatsu, 39, spent all of 2004 and part of 2005 in Chicago. In 99 games in the majors with the Sox and the New York Mets, Takatsu collected 27 saves over 98 2/3 innings. He gave up 81 hits, 17 homers and 40 walks. His ERA was 3.38.
What the hell is next? Britt Burns?

Opening the convention

Well here it is Cubs Convention weekend. For me, the convention always brings to mind the words of one Bill Shatner(before he started selling hotel deals and airline deals)...

NOTE: bad kermit over at has a post that every Cub fan should read about a luncheon with Jim Hendry. This is probably the most honest look into what Jim Hendry really thinks about several current and ex-Cubs, the media, and baseball. On the interweb it doesn't get much better...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Selig to be commisioner forever

Well not quite.

Crane Kenney may want to look for another gig after he's let go by Sam Zell. It turns out Bud Selig won't be going anywhere soon. According to all major new services Uncle Bud has gotten a contract extension until 2012. LMAO.

I guess the reason for this extension is pretty damn simple. This from

But under his watch, MLB has more than quintupled industry revenue, set numerous attendance records, developed a large battery of new or remodeled stadiums, rebuilt its working relationship with the players' union, and developed what is widely considered the gold standard for league-based Internet operations.

While many baseball fans might be upset, this is alright for this blog which has lost too many of our long time whipping boys recently. It started when Andy MacPhail and Dusty Baker left, that was followed by the departure of Dennis FitzSimons. Soon we won't have Jim Hendry to pick on any more. So it's onward and upward as we follow the adventures of Uncle Bud for the next four years.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blast from the past

Jon Lieber had his most success in the big leagues when he was with the Cubs. Now the Cubs and Lieber will try to relive some of that success. Lieber has joined the Cubs and will pitch in the backend of the Cubs rotation in 2008.'s Ken Rosenthal fills in all of the blanks...

Lieber, who turns 38 on April 2, was the last Cub to win 20 games, going 20-6 in 2001. He spent the past three seasons with the Phillies, but missed the second half of last season after suffering a ruptured tendon in his right foot.

The signing of Lieber could signal a trade of right-hander Jason Marquis or the return of righty Ryan Dempster to the bullpen.

Another possibility is that the Cubs are trying to build rotation depth in the event that they trade younger starters such as right-hander Sean Gallagher and/or lefty Sean Marshall, possibly in a deal for Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts.

Lieber will be in the Cubs' rotation, according to a source; without that understanding, he would have signed with another club. He was offered more money by other teams, but wanted to return to the Cubs.

Interesting that he has been guaranteed the fifth slot in the rotation.

Monday, January 14, 2008

1989. The start, finish, and execution of the modern day Chicago Cub fan.

Going through my cluttered sun room yesterday I came upon a rusty stack of old record books I kept as a child. The overwhelming majority of these books had been marked by countless highlighted facts, created personal statistics, and imaginary resolutions to games that never occurred. Scourging through these documents emitted the usual melancholic nostalgia for yesteryear. Melancholic, I say, because the heap in my hands was filled with years of lost hope.

Thought emerges; I used to care a lot more.

I used to care so much that I went to my local mall during the winter of 1989/90 and purchased a book from The Sporting News called “1989 National League Averages and Box Scores”. It was one of the few things my father bought for me not on my birthday or Christmas Day.

I never got what made him say ‘yes’ to the purchase. My father was relatively cheap in those days, and was busting his ass to make ends meet. But, for some reason, on some boring evening in the Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, Illinois, he decided to purchase this beacon of statistical goodness.

Before the purchase, to tell you the truth, I had never looked at the book. I thought I was looking at a 1989 book with 1988 stats. Driving home, I noticed that the stats in The Book gave out all of the box scores of the 1989 season.

1989. Oh dear, Jesus! Yahtzee! While communism was beginning to fall all around eastern Europe, my own coup had been scored with the purchase of This Record Book.

I wouldn’t need “Boys of Zimmer” on VHS. That video only recounted a couple of games during the championship campaign. This Box Score Book contained every moment of every game. Every Domingo Ramos at-bat. The result of every Mitch Williams inning.

And why did the fact The Book had 1989 results, and not 1987 or 1988 results really matter? Was it just because the Cubs had gone 93-69, and had won the division?

I thought that was the reason.

Looking back, I think the main reason for my love of that particular book had to do with what it represented for Cubdom.

1989 suckered me.
And, if you are reading this, it probably suckered you.

Like many of you, I knew when Rafael Palmeiro went to Texas for Wilkerson, Kilgus, and Williams, it was a mistake. It was a terrible mistake.

When the Cubs only won a couple of pre-season matches, I knew the Cubs didn’t have the talent to compete.

When management didn’t go out to get anybody to complement Dawson or Sandberg by opening day, the Cubs were done.

When the Cubs banked on Rick Sutcliffe’s health, I knew we were finished.

When the Cubs tried to convince us that a rookie by the name of Jerome Walton could patrol Center Field on opening day, my father laughed.

When Jim Frey told us that he was doing whatever he could for the team to win, we knew he was full of shit.

When I came home from school on Opening Day 1989 with the bases loaded and nobody out, with Mike Schmidt at the plate, the season had ended.

I sat there with my back pack dragging from my leg. I had run all the way home from the bus stop to catch the last stages of the Cubs in action. And I got this.

My father, wrecked by too many Cub losses, folded his clothes in a calming manner. He had watched Schmidt destroy the Cubs singled handedly with a four homer game in ’76. Schmidt owned the Cubs in Wrigley. We all figured this would be the end of it. Schmidt hits the homer, Mitch Williams gets booed off the field, and Don Zimmer gets fired. Jim Frey gets canned. It was going to happen. My father and I had already made the plan for both to get out of town.

Then those rancid sons of bitches suckered me.
Suckered me good.

Like an ex-girlfriend from college coming home just to ‘check-in’ with her ole sweetheart.

The Cubs, Mitch Williams, the ivy, Old Style, all of that sentimental bullshit suckered me in 1989. Suckered me in about 15 pitches.

And if it didn’t happen to you, you are a lying sack of shit. It was impossible not to believe. Nothing can stop you from CubDumb. Once it takes you, it’s like a magnetic beam.

Mitch Williams blew past Mike Schmidt, Mark Ryal, and Chris James as if they were Gary Scott, Jeff Kunkel, and Willie Greene.

The thing about Mitch in ’89? Mitch just didn’t give a fuck.

Mitch could’ve walked three straight batters, and had been facing Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio, it wouldn’t have mattered. The son of a bitch just didn’t care in ’89.

And none of us questioned it. We all just got sucked in by this wave of CubDumb that threatened to end the future of the Cubs, as we knew it.

The Cubs got off to a torrid 8-2 start, then tapered off to 17-18. The hot start permitted the Cubs to falter quite a bit. The Cubs went through a multitude of injuries.

They once started an outfield of Doug Dascenzo, Gary Varsho, and Mitch Webster. Dear Jesus. How did we get through that one?

Then, the shit really took off.

All sorts of weird shit happened in games: Rick Wrona made a squeeze bunt to beat the Mets on national TV. Mitch Williams hit a fucking home run. They pulled off a double steal in Cincinnati that was a factor in winning the game. They came back from a 9-0 deficit to beat Houston. Andre Dawson with ½ of a good knee ran all the way from first base to score on a double to beat the Cardinals.

It goes on:

A pitcher hit a double in the 11th to win a game! Les Lancaster, that’s right, Les Lancaster hit a double to beat the Giants on national TV. The Cubs had come back from being down 3-0 in the bottom of the 9th with two outs.

Lloyd McClendon hit a home run in his first Cub at bat.

Shawon Dunston ended a game with a double play off of a POP UP.

Did I mention Mitch Williams hit a fucking home run?

The whole damn thing never made sense.

Didn’t have to. I was 9. These things could happen, right?

The player performances defied any rational explanation.

The 1989 Cubs may have been the first team to make Bill James contemplate suicide.

They over performed every single prediction made on any level.

Rick Sutcliffe stayed healthy for a full season in only the second time since 1984. Mike Bielecki won 18 games, his highest total ever. Greg Maddux won a career high (at the time) 19 games. Les Lancaster’s ERA was, what, 2.35? Mitch Williams made 36 saves in his first year as a closer. Steve Wilson won his first five decisions.

Jerome Walton, a rookie, decided to go on some random-ass 30 game hit streak. Damon Berryhill, the Cubs projected catcher, was injured most of the year. The Cubs succeeded with Rick Wrona and Joe Girardi, two rookies, behind the plate. Ryne Sandberg decided he was a power hitter, and hit 30 home runs. Mark Grace hit a then career high .314. Vance Law’s average dropped dramatically. SO, Lloyd McClendon decided to come up from the minors and hit .286 with 12 home runs in his place.

Dwight Smith came up from the minors and hit .324.

Gary Varsho won a 1-0 game with an RBI triple.

Luis Salazar showed up one day, and hit .325 the rest of the year.

Curtis Wilkerson and Domingo Ramos played baseball on a team that won games.

Mitch Webster was there! Maybe Toto, too. We can’t verify.

Dawson was supposed to carry the offense with Sandberg, and hit only .252 with 21 home runs. So, how could they win? See above.

It all happened, at the same time. A whirlwind.

The team that had no answer for any criticism in spring training now had an answer for any situation.

Before the playoffs, we were all so damn sure those Giants from San Francisco would have no answer for our ‘Full O’ Answer Cubs’.

I fell in love too early

Will Clark looked like what baseball players should look like. Come to think of it, the entire ’89 Giants team just looked so damn mature in this series. Kevin Mitchell just seemed to squeeze the life out of us. Robby Thompson always had an answer. Les Lancaster didn’t.

The cruelest joke may have been Game 5. Down 3-1, in the ninth inning, the Cubs made a furious rally. Single, single, single. It was 3-2. Oh, dear! Sandberg is at the plate. Bedrosian looks tired. Groundball. Game over. I hate Columbus Day to this day.

Scribbled pages

As I reach the end of The Book, it comes to mind all of the marks that have been made in the directory of 1989 baseball. I must have looked This Thing over in 90, 91, 92, hell, ’98, ’99. After all, it was proof.

It was proof that one day, far, far away in our existence, the perfect conditions of time and space created something that will never be experienced again. Never again.

I am thoroughly convinced to THIS DAY that there is no team in professional sports history that rivals the oddity that was the 1989 Chicago National League Ballclub.

The book is a sham.

So, was the team. So, was the ivy. Wrigley Field. Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Chuck Cottier, Al Michaels on ABC’s Thursday Night Game of the Week, Marvell Wynne, Pat Perry, the whole damn thing was a lie.

For years after, my buddies and I would be suckered in by TribCo, Ed Lynch, Larry Himes, Andy McPhail, and other contemporary associates of the Chicago Cubs.

We were told it could be just like 1989.

“Just envision it!” they said. “Derrick May could hit .324 just like Dwight Smith. And what if, what if, what if this trade for Jody Gerut turns out like getting Salazar in ’89? What if Jaime Navarro does what Bielecki did in ’89, and pulls together an 18-7 season?
Couldn’t you imagine if Gary Scott just gets his game together?! This offense will be unstoppable. If Lieber and Wood make 30 starts, it’ll be just like Maddux and Sutcliffe in ’89.

During the games, it’s worse:

“I know we are down 3-0 with two outs, but hot damn, if I didn’t remember that crazy game against the Giants in ’89, anything is possible!”

“So, we’re down 9-0! C’mon, it’ll be just like the Astros comeback, it will be great.”

“I know we lost this 3 game lead over St. Louis, but remember in ’89. They thought they caught us, and then, SALAZAR!’

It never ends

After that season, you didn’t have to get better if you were Chicago Cubs management.

You just needed to sell that 1989 is just around the corner.

“Just you wait, kids! Just you wait, and see! Look how it will all come together. It will be memorable. Bring your kids! Bring your parents, bring the neighbors. It’s going to be one fucking unforgettable ride!”

To this day, 1989 created a group of Cub fans that think showing up is chance enough at a World Series crown.

All 1989 really proved is that shit happens.

That’s too big of a concept to get at 9 years of age, but it’s much easier at 27.

I took the book, smiled, and put it back at the bottom of my history books.

It deserves to be buried next to my ole copies of Hunter S. Thompson and Henry Miller. The 1989 team can live with the freaks of nature, where they belong.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

First and foremost

we still must keep in mind that the biggest upgrade the Cubs could do this off season would be to add another stud starter.

We can add all the Fukudomes and Roberts we want and we'll never have a lineup like the Yankees, and you see how far they've gotten in the playoffs recently.

I know we probably don't have the talent in the farm system for a Santana trade but to ignore the need to add another shut down pitcher is crazy. Arizona isn't going to be any easier to beat in the playoffs with their addition of Haren, so it's imperative the Cubs explore any teams trading scenarios and scour the crap heap of rehabbing pitchers like B. Colon, to further that end.

It's time for Hendry to be creative. I know, I know, those words creative and Hendry don't usually collide in the same sentence, but that is what it is going to take along with a little luck to be a serious playoff contender.

Trading any serious minor league talent now, will only further exacerbate our ability to procure any quality additions in the future. The Cubs need to be careful that any trade they make is not for a middle of the road player but a truely impact player. I would rather see a D. Lee traded to the Yankees for an I. Kennedy than trading Marshall and Gallagher for Roberts.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kenney in 2009?

With the sale of the Cubs coming soon, many of the people who had high profile jobs in the Cubs front office have departed. John McDonough and Jay Blunk dashed over to the Westside to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Black Hawks place in the Chicago sports fans mind. So it should come as little surprise that Crane Kenney the man who quietly was Andy MacPhail's and later John McDonough's boss down in the tower is vying for a new position. This from today's Bright One in Michael Sneed's column:

Sneed hears Crane Kenney, senior veep and general counsel of Tribune Company, hopes to become the new baseball commissioner, replacing Bud Selig.

• • The upshot: Word is a head-hunting company is vetting Kenney as a candidate.

• • The backshot: Kenney oversees the Cubs for Tribune Co.

Kind of ironic that the man we always thought would try to replace Selig was MacPhail. Turns out the man who was behind the curtain, MacPhail's boss Crane Kenney is vying for the position.

Selig's contract runs through 2009. At that point he plans on retiring. So looking at this from the outside it would probably make alot of sense for Kenney to find his way into a position in the commissioner's office when the Cubs are sold (and his position eliminated). At that time it will be a short period until a replacement is named for Selig. Very interesting.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rumouring: Melky Cabrera

LMAO. I nearly spit up when I read this on's Ken Rosenthal column:

The Yankees are showing serious interest in Cameron, major-league sources say, figuring that they could trade center fielder Melky Cabrera even if they do not send him to the Twins for left-hander Johan Santana.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is a supporter of Cameron's; the two were teammates with the Mariners in 2000. Cameron also has recent experience playing in New York; he was with the Mets in '04 and '05.

Cabrera, 23, is part of the Yankees' offer for Santana, but could fit for several teams that are in the market for a young, affordable, switch-hitting center fielder.

Those teams include the Cubs, Reds, Braves, Royals and Pirates. The Yankees likely would seek prospects for Cabrera, replace him with Cameron in center and keep Johnny Damon in left.

Ahh this brings back all the fun we had with Melky last summer. So gm, I dedicate this post to you my friend. Here's your request and dedication, and now on with our countdown...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Developing story: Roberts to Cubs

The kids at ACB have been following the happenings at Orioles Hangout for much of the winter. Today this report from the Hangout has 2B Brian Roberts coming to the Cubs for Cedeno, Marshall and Gallagher. Right now this is just a rumor.

On the Trib's Baseball Blog--The great Phil Rogers is reporting that this deal will happen and the only question is how much JH will give up for Roberts:

On hold over much of the last month, the Brian Roberts talks are on again between the Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. This deal is almost certainly going to happen -- the only question is when and how much it is going to cost the Cubs.

The feeling among major league executives is soon, and a lot. Don't be surprised if the trade is finalized later this week -- perhaps even Wednesday -- and the deal includes pitchers Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher and Ronny Cedeno.

Is Phil using the Hangout as a Source?

More to come on this developing story...

UPDATE 7:24 -- WGN Radio's David Kaplan chimes in on his blog that the price for Roberts could be higher:

Next up on the trade front is All Star second baseman Brian Roberts and standout starting pitcher Erik Bedard. The Cubs are hot to trot for Roberts who would fit perfectly at the top of their order but contrary to what is being reported in Baltimore, the price is very high. Several sources have reported that O's President Andy MacPhail is looking for pitchers Sean Marshall and Sean Gallagher plus minor league shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Great sources have told me that the price for Roberts is much higher than that. Names that the Orioles are reportedly asking for include Rich Hill and several much more highly regarded players that could include Felix Pie, minor league standout outfielder Tyler Colvin, and others. Sources also tell me that GM Jim Hendry will not part with Hill in any deal and while he is willing to pay a high price, he i s not willing to bankrupt his system of elite prospects.

Will this deal get done? I believe that it will but both sides will have to compromise and in the end the Cubs will pay a very steep price to snare one of the few elite leadoff men in the game. Roberts stole 50 bases in an All Star campaign in 2007 while hitting .290 with 12 home runs and driving in 57. His OBP of .377 would be a huge upgrade for the Cubs lineup but the big question that still remains is: At what price?

I'll agree with what Maddog said in the comments below. Colvin is a moveable piece with Fukudome and Soriano wrapped up for so many years. Beyond that I'd tell MacFail to go fuck himself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In Defense of Dayn

Recently over at, their resident statistics guru Dayn Perry weighed in on the 2008 outlook for the NL Central. After including the seemingly obligatory mention of just how bad the NL Central is these days (trust me Dayn… we know), Perry basically boils the argument down to the Cubs and Brewers (and as much sense as that may make, I think Perry—as well as pretty much every other analyst out there—might be underestimating Houston. Some of Ed Wade’s moves this offseason may have been questionable, but if that team can stay healthy, they have a chance to score a lot of runs. But that’s really neither here nor there). In case you didn’t take the time to read the article, Perry uses a position by position comparison of both teams to come to the conclusion that the Cubs have what it takes to repeat as division champs next season.

The day after I read this, I found an interesting rebuttal to Perry’s argument at a good Milwaukee Brewers blog run by a guy named Jeff Sackmann. Some of you are probably already familiar with, as well Jeff’s work at The Hardball Times.

Now before I continue, allow me to reiterate the fact that is a good page— it’s definitely the best Brewers blog I’ve found. And more importantly, know that I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Sackmann, who is a smart and obviously loyal baseball fan. But with that said, I think his attack on Perry’s article is totally unfair. While I agree with Sackmann that the methodology Perry uses may be shaky, I would still agree with most of what he says.

For one, I agree that the Brewers will outscore the Cubs in ‘08. And, as Jeff mentioned, while Perry may have underestimated how big of an edge the Cubs have in left field, I think he fails to mention just how much more production the Brewers figure to get out of shortstop, right field, and second base (I think Rickie Weeks is ready to turn the corner in ’08. His .903 OPS in the second half of ’07 would probably agree). But the bottom line is even if Perry uses a half baked process to come to his conclusion; the fact is he’s probably right. Now remember—Mr. Sackmann also agreed up to this point, so I’m not calling him out on this front. But I do have a problem with the rest of his argument.

Which brings me to pitching. Perry says that the Cubs have a potentially significant edge in both the rotation and the bullpen; a claim I believe most would agree with. However, Mr. Sackmann apparently didn’t have much use for Perry’s logic in this respect. Let’s break down the rotation first, starting with each team’s ace.

Given Carlos Zambrano’s remarkable durability, and Ben Sheets’ complete lack thereof, I think a big edge has to go to the Cubs on this one. Perry mentions in his article that for the Brewers to have a shot at dethroning the Cubs they’ll need Sheets to be good for 200 innings, something he hasn’t accomplished since 2004. But that’s really sugar-coating the issue. Because the truth is since that 2004 season that saw him complete a career high of 237 innings, Sheets has failed to reach even 160 innings—never mind 200. To counter this, Sackmann argues that the Brewers are perhaps the team best equipped in all the land to deal with an injury in the rotation. Now that may be—but there is no way that any one of Claudio Vargas, Carlos Villanueva, or Manny Parra can step in and fill the shoes of their ace—they probably couldn’t even come close. Bottom line—the Brewers need 200 innings from Sheets and they won’t get them. As for Rich Hill versus Yovani Gallardo, that’s a pretty close call. Sackmann calls it a push despite admitting that Gallardo hasn’t even pitched a full year in the big leagues. Now, I’m fully aware of Gallardo’s minor league pedigree and trust that he’s on the verge of being a pretty good pitcher, but one could also argue that Hill’s ’07 was also only a sign of things to come. In fact, The Bill James Handbook pegs Hill for 223 strikeouts in ’08. Based on that and the fact he has a whole season already under his belt, I would take Hill given the choice between the two for next year, but it’s definitely close.

Now here is where Sackmann totally loses me. Arguing that Lilly versus Suppan is a push is just not right—FIP (fielding independent pitching) be damned. I guess to put it like he did, sometimes smart people just write stupid things. Sure the Brewers defense hurts Soup (Oh and trust me, we’ll get there), but defense aside, Lilly is still the better pitcher. Their respective strikeout rates really tell the story best. Lilly has a career K/9 rate of 7.66, while Suppan checks in at a feeble 5.05. Just to give you a little perspective—the immortal Jason Marquis owns a better career mark than that. In fact, Suppan hasn’t ever—not even once—over the course of a full season struck out better than 6 batters per nine innings. As for walk their walk rates, Suppan comes in ahead by a healthy margin. Over the past 3 seasons, Suppan owns a BB/9 rate of 3.05, while Lilly checks in at 3.40, but that really doesn’t tell the whole story. It is certainly worth noting that while Suppan has spent the past 4 and a half seasons in the NL Central, Lilly spent the three years prior to coming to Chicago in Toronto, where he had to face potent and equally patient lineups from teams like the Red Sox and Yankees. In his first year in Chicago, Lilly walked just 55 batters—13 less than Suppan in almost identical amounts of innings. With this in mind, Lilly is probably the safe bet going forward to walk fewer batters. Really the only thing Suppan has on Lilly is the fact that he keeps the ball on the ground and in the park more often. But even with that said, Suppan’s HR/9 rate for the past 3 years hasn’t been anything special. Just remember—the question is which pitcher do you take for ’08, and the answer is Lilly no question.

As for the rest of the rotation, Sackmann calls it a push between Marquis and Bush, and gives a slight edge to the Cubs in Dempster versus Chris Capuano, who is fresh off of a season in which he went 5-12 with an ERA of 5.10. But if you ask me, we’re more likely to see either Sean Marshall or Gallagher get more starts than Dempster, in which case the edge would be even more in the Cubs favor. Either way considering how much more they figure to get out of the top of their rotation, the Cubs have the better staff going into next year. The only scenario where the Brewers could come out on top here is if the Cubs trade away too much pitching in a potential Brian Roberts deal, and/or Carlos Zambrano suffers the first major injury of his career.

Now for the bullpen. An interesting aspect of 2007 was that the Cubs quietly put together a solid ‘pen-- something they hadn’t had in years. The Brewers on the other hand saw relievers not named Francisco Cordero blow leads too frequently. Unfortunately for the Crew, they will be without Cordero from now on, since he signed with Cincinnati this offseason. In ’08 it’ll be up to Eric Gagne—yes, the same Eric Gagne we all saw crap the bed in Boston the last three months of ’07 (6.75 ERA), and the same Eric Gagne whose name was all over the Mitchell Report. And while Sackmann is right for asking why exactly Perry chose to tab Wood as “the dominating, shutdown closer they've lacked for so long,” there really is little wonder why Perry calls Gagne “and unknown quantity going forward.” Wood, along with Howry and Marmol, makes up a potentially dominating back end of a ‘pen, easily trumping anything Milwaukee could counter with. So even if Shouse is better than Eyre, or Weurtz no better than Torres, the Cubs’ bullpen is not just stronger, but also deeper, with Carmen Pignatiello, Billy Petrick, and Jose Asciano among others all capable of stepping in should anyone get hurt or become ineffective.

After this Mr. Sackmann just gets hypocritical. After criticizing Perry for devoting only brief paragraphs to summarize each team’s offense and pitching, Sackmann devotes a whole 66 words to cover defense, the benches, and managing. What’s hysterical about this is that it is totally obvious to anyone who knows anything about Milwaukee’s ballclub is that these are undoubtedly the Brewers’ weakest points.

Defensively, they’re almost comically bad. But before we explore, let’s hear Jeff’s take on defense. And I quote, “All the other details are just quibbling. Defense is important, and the Cubs are better at it, but I think most of the offensive position comparisons stand even considering defense.” Umm… what? Defense is a detail? Quibbling?

Allow me to quibble for a moment. John Dewan’s plus/minus system says Ryan Braun is hands down the worst third baseman in baseball (actually, the worst defender period), Rickie Weeks is the second worst second baseman, and Prince Fielder is the fourth worst first baseman. At shortstop, J.J. Hardy falls in the middle of the pack, but his range factor was second to last in ’07. In center, Bill Hall is playing out of position as if you couldn’t tell by watching him for two seconds. And behind the plate the Crew’s got Jason Kendall who is coming off a season in which he allowed 131(!) stolen bases while throwing out only 20 runners. Really, it could be fair to say that the only really plus defender in the Brewers’ starting lineup is Corey Hart in right field. As for left field, I’m not sure who figures to get the most starts out there. In fact, I’m not sure that Doug Melvin knows that yet. I’d wrap up my argument by discussing the Cubs’ defense, but really I’d be wasting my time. We don’t even need to look to know the Cubs get a sizeable edge here.

Look, I’m not saying the Cubs are the odds-on favorites going into next year. I still think next season is still very much up in the air, because there really are so many questions yet to be answered. Is Felix Pie ever going to come around? Will Ryan Dempster remain in the rotation? Can Ben Sheets and Rickie Weeks stay healthy and productive? No one knows. And even if we did, it would still be hard to say who will come out on top next year. My only point is that Dayn Perry had perfectly solid reasoning behind choosing the Cubs as his preseason pick, and as much respect as I really do have for Jeff Sackmann, his take on Perry’s opinion just didn’t sit well with me.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Corporate welfare -- brass tacks

Sam Zell and John Canning's little scam of the state of Illinois actually made it's way into the national media today. The Washington Post ran an article today about the potential sale of Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Here is a link to that article. There is very little new in the article. Some bullshit from ISFA spokesman Doug Scofield is laughable though:

"Potentially, the benefits of public ownership are an ironclad guarantee of keeping Wrigley as the Cubs' home, which is good for the state and the city," Scofield said.
LMAO. Where are the Cubs going people? Anyways.

The best comment in the whole story comes from the author Kari Lyderson:

The arrangement would probably raise the Cubs' asking price significantly. That is because the buyer would not be stuck with the field renovation, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

That my friends is the brass tacks of this whole thing. Zell will sell the Cubs at a premium if this deal goes through. That is why this deal is so important to Zell, Canning and the politicians that want their money and support.

Corporate Welfare is little series for the crappy/unpopular. If you wanna see the past rants on this proposed idea and why it is bad for the taxpayers, here they are:

Corporate welfare -- December 21, 2007
Corporate welfare (continued) -- December 23, 2007
Corporate welfare -- Daley changes his tune -- January 3, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rumouring: Do you belieb?

This morning I listened to Chet Coppock and Bruce Levine's Hot Stove Show on ESPN 1000. Levine reported something that I am not real sure of why or how. We all know that JH has interest in adding another starting pitcher. Levine real quickly mentioned the name of former Cub starter and soon to be 38 year old Jon Lieber.

Last season for the Phillies Lieber pitched in 14 games, 12 of those were starts. He went 3-6 with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.449 WHIP. In July Lieber underwent season ending surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left foot.

In 2001 Lieber had his best season as a professional going 20-6 for the Cubs. He was the last Cub pitcher to win 20 games and that was a long time ago.

Pagan dealt...
Al Yellon is reporting the Cubs have dealt Angel Pagan back to the Mets for two prospects.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Corporate welfare -- Ald. Tunney's two cents

This is becoming the little story that won't go away. Yesterday it became clear that Mayor Daley was on board with the state of Illinois buying Wrigley Field. Apparently somebody got to Daley over the holidays, and he changed his mind. Well that person forgot to talk to 44th ward Alderman Tom Tunney. Now Tunney has chimed in with his displeasure:

"The key is why [government would] get involved in Wrigley if there are private people willing to step up to the plate," he said.

That is a great question and one this blog has been asking for days. The answer is real simple the reason the state gets involved is so Sam Zell and the Tribune can pocket a premium for the Cubs, John Canning and his group (or another new ownership group) get the benefits of a new stadium and the revenues that come with it.

Tunney has been closer to the Cubs than any politician since he inherited the ward from Bernie Hansen back in 2002. He has worked well with the Cubs, negotiating deals that would be good for both the Cubs and the neighborhood. Since Tunney took office the Cubs have added seats, added nightgames, expanded the bleachers. Tunney has worked well with this team and the Tribune. He realizes that the Cubs don't always follow up on their end of the bargains on these deals (remember the corner building that was part of the bleacher expansion project?). So he brings up several factors related to the neighborhood:

Beyond that, the alderman said he is concerned that Wrigley issues settled in recent years after lengthy and sometimes painful negotiations could resurface. They include the park's landmark status, a limit on the number of night games and a plan approved by the city calling for construction of a five-story building containing a garage and commercial space on land just west of the park.

A real estate developer has assembled property for a proposed project that would include a hotel near the park at Clark and Addison Streets, and a Cubs official commented in passing that if a development of that size were permitted, "why not do [a hotel] as part of the ballpark" and redesign the already-approved Cubs commercial project, Tunney said.

"Everyone is thinking out loud," he said, adding that he is concerned about preserving the character of the neighborhood and the quality of life of local residents.

Anyone who has read this blog for some time knows that I have not always supported the neighborhood wackos who try to hold up the Cubs on any of the projects they plan to improve Wrigley Field. Again, I am not against the new owner rebuilding the grandstand. I just don't want to see it done on state funds.


Corporate Welfare is little series for the crappy/unpopular. If you wanna see the past rants on this proposed idea and why it is bad for the taxpayers, here they are:

Corporate Welfare -- December 21, 2007
Corporate Welfare (continued) -- December 23, 2007
Corporate welfare -- Daley changes his tune -- January 3, 2008

Center Of Attention

There is considerable head scratching going on over the ability of Felix Pie to perform at the plate if Uncle Lou inserts him as the 2008 Chicago Cubs everyday center fielder.

Now if we've learned anything about Piniella's style of managing his ball players it's this...if you don't perform, you don't stay a starter for very long.

It's amazing the 2007 Cubs outfielders didn't sustain any concussions since they weren't wearing their batting helmets on defense. Therefore, the additions of Fukudome and Pie should help considerably.

But what about the offense?

Well the triumpherant of Jones, Murton and Floyd manning center and right field in 2007, had a grand total of 22 HR's. Not very devasting offensive production for the new duo of Fukudome and Pie to overcome, and their speed and defense will never go into a slump.

But how much of a contribution to the offense will come from Pie? The Cubs still have the switch hitting Angel Pagan, who's speed and defense isn't much if any of a fall off from Pie's.

If Pie's inclusion in a trade, along with Marshall and Murton can fascilitate the acquistion of B. Roberts, Pie's contribution to the Cubs offense will be greater than if he ever takes an at bat in 2008.

Pie still has sex appeal to other clubs, but if he starts in center field this year and falters, he won't bring anymore back to the Cubs than J. Jones.

It would be great if the Cubs could acquire B. Roberts for just Murton and Marshall, but it seems Baltimore want's another player. The Cubs would be foolish to include another pitcher unless it's Dempster or Marquis, and it's probably beyond our wildest dreams that the Orioles would want either of them.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Corporate welfare -- Daley changes his tune

Apparently over the holidays hizhonor changed his mind. That's all that I can figure. Or maybe, just maybe Sam Zell, John Canning, Andy McKenna and all of the billionaires that will benefit from the rebuilding of Wrigley Field on the taxpayers dime got to Mayor Daley. So not even a month after saying this:

“We can’t even get any money for the CTA and they’re worried about the Chicago Cubs? They’ve made money every year. It’s very profitable and some way, we’re supposed to bail them out? I’ve never heard [of that] . . . I don’t think they’re leaving. They just increased the price of tickets,” Daley said.

“We have a crisis at the CTA right now. It’s hard to believe . . . that people are now talking about taxpayers helping out the Cubs. The Cubs are not gonna move. It’s a gold mine. . . . If you’re gonna start holding this issue over the heads of passengers of the CTA and this crisis we’re in and they want to start talking about whether or not taxpayers are gonna buy [Wrigley Field] — that’s hard to believe.”

The mayor has changed his tune. He is now 'open-minded' to the deal that will allow Zell and a potential new owner of the franchise to benefit from the state buying Wrigley Field. In today's Bright One reporter Fran Spielman reported on Daley's change of mind. Think some of this has to do with the fact that Zell is a supporter of Daley?

"I have an open mind. . . . I always have an open mind on an issue. And why not? You should have it," the mayor said.

Daley was cagey when pressed to explain his change of heart about the deal being pushed by new Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell, a longtime Daley supporter.

"Well, I think they realize it's much more complicated . . . and that's very, very important. We have a crisis at the CTA, and we have to get that crisis over with for both the CTA and Metra for long-term funding. That is the priority we should have," he said.

But, if that's solved?

"Well, we'll see," Daley said.

That change of opinion didn't take long. Never underestimate a politicians ability to help out those who can help him maintain his clout.

Crane Kenney (how long is this guy gonna be part of Zell's Tribune?) is happy the Mayor has changed his tune:

Crane Kenney, the Tribune Co. senior vice president who oversees the Cubs, said company officials "appreciate" the mayor's about-face.

"Our goal from both the Tribune and the Cubs end is to do a transaction which preserves the field, ensures the team stays in Chicago and is an appropriate transaction for our employees who are now shareholders of the Tribune. If we can accomplish all three of those things, it would be a wonderful thing," Kenney said.

Crane, the goal of this transaction is to make the most money possible period. Stop with the rest of the bullshit please. Man, I think I liked it better when you were the man behind the curtain.

So we go from Daley and Crane to an unnamed source who seems to give alot of info, including the fact that no tax dollars will be used in the deal. The money will come from revenues generated by Wrigley Field:

"They now understand what it is that's been proposed. There's a lot of positives here for the city and state," said a source familiar with the deal.

"You get a 93-year-old landmark restored, the Cubs to agree to play on a long-term basis with terms determined before the sale of the team. The land and the stadium are almost entirely owned by the public. And money to renovate the stadium comes out of revenues generated within the building itself. No restaurant tax. No hotel tax. No property tax being diverted."

The old phrase used to be "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you" apparently now it's not a bridge but a stadium, in this case a 93 year old decaying ballpark. As this plan actually begins to get a head of steam the truth is there is no such thing as a free lunch, one way or another Illinois taxpayers will foot the bill.


Corporate Welfare has become a little series for the crappy/unpopular. If you wanna see the past rants on this proposed idea and why it is bad for the taxpayers, here they are:

Corporate Welfare -- December 21, 2007
Corporate Welfare (continued) -- December 23, 2007