Friday, October 06, 2006

 

Thank God that's over

2006 has to be the worst season in the 30+ years I've been a Cubs fan. The season was over before June rolled around! And the June Swoon came, as it usually does, but by then so what?

I'm glad that Baker and MacPhail are both out. 2/3 of the architects of the MHBs (Most Horrible Baseballers) are gone. But the head clown, Andy boy, is still there. And as long as he's building a team, the ceiling will be 80 wins. So we suffer through 2007, 2008, and hopefully no more.

I didn't go to a single game this year. I started going to Wrigley in 1987, the year that Andre Dawson won the MVP and had a career year. I always went to at least 1 game a year (I think 1990 was my only 1 game season), and in the early 1990s, when I lived a few blocks from the park, I was going to 10-15 games a season. I could tell stories about these games all day long (and my wife likes to point out that I already have). But I won't do that here.

But my point is that, since I came to Chicago to start college, and in the years since, going to Wrigley has been a part of summer. I considered it a perk of living in this city. And yet, before the season started, I knew this team was not worth watching. And, alas, I was right.

With Baker gone, the manager spot is the key one to address. Joe Girardi seems like the easy play, and I think it's the right one. The planets had to align this way, and this is a chance that will not happen again. Take it, Hendry, or bear the wrath of your already angry and disenchanted fan base.

Lee will be back, and he'll hopefully have a solid season. Not an MVP season, but a good season. You need a second baseman badly. Don't know who that will be at this time. Theriot seems like a good prospect at short, and Ramirez is gone at third. He'll want too much, and his moment to prove he deserves it came in May after Lee was hurt. He went into a tailspin, and finished up strong when it meant nothing. So take your silicone-like numbers, A-Ram, and go play in New York after A-Rod is run out of town. Good luck surviving in that atmosphere.

Can the Cubs go out and get Joe Crede? Would that be a kick? Pay him Ramirez money ($11 million per) and he'll earn it more than Ramirez did. I like the idea.

In the outfield...I still say missing Johnny Damon was a mistake, but too late now. Pierre should leave, because 200 hits and 60 steals meant nothing to the team's success this year. And don't go with Felix Pie in his place if you're wanting to win in 2007. Ixnay on the Urtonmay. Jacque Jones didn't earn his money last year (did any of the Cubs?), but he wasn't bad, either. So he'll stay. But the other 2 spots are apparently open.

Barrett does nothing for me, but at least he's signed. That is one player they should deal if they get a chance, because he is not a playoff-caliber catcher. But there he is.

Pitching...where to start? Carlos must stay, and Rich Hill's lone complete game gives him a spot in the rotation. At least 2 free agents (one a very big name)should be signed, and perhap Carlos Marmol could be the number 5 guy. Prior should prove himself in April and May before I'll get excited about him. I think the damage Dusty did to him in September and October of 2003 is irreversible. Look up his pitch counts if you don't believe me.

The bullen also needs revamping. Dempster IS NOT a closer. He never was, either. He had one good season with it, but that does not mean he's Goose Gossage now. Who to get? Beats me. Eyre and Howry were worked too much in 2006, but they're signed for big dollars, so they stay put. But other arms are needed, too.

2007 should be an interesting season. But I'll sit that one out, too. I didn't break out in a rash, or lose control of bodily organs, the way I thought I would last year. There is life beyond Cubs baseball and Wrigley Field. A different life, but not an unpleasant one.

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