So how can we possibly cheer ourselves up at this point. Well short of the Cubs going on a tear starting around 1:20 PM today, I can only offer you this. I dug out an article I wrote approximately a year ago about the Cubs. So while you're feeling pretty down about this current team, remember where we were around this time last year. Christ, purging Neifi was the highlight of our August!
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Dusty Baker, keeping the delusion alive
by Chip Wesley, originally posted 8/10/06
I, like many people out there, pretty much gave up on this season two months ago. The Derrek Lee injury, the ineptitude at the plate, stupid gaffes on defense, the remains of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior lying in a pile making us wonder if we could build some sort of cyborg superpitcher from the salvageable parts, among other things, caused me to chalk it up as yet another wasted year as I drowned my misery in some Old Style.
Drink up you poor bastards. Drink up!
So this morning I got a chance to read this article, and I laughed my balls off. OK, first off let me say that I'm well aware that Dusty is going to always respond like this. The man's head has been in the guillotine all season, and it hasn't left. Jim Hendry simply let the executioner take a cigarette break until October. So obviously he's going to spew bullshit like this. If he said, "Yeah there's not much left in the tank this year dude, we're hoping to finish out strong and be back in it next season," Hendry could hail back the executioner midway through one of his Camel Lights to pull the lever. Bottom line is, no manager will say they're out until they really are out.
Who else was supposed to play in their absence? Neifi? Juan Mateo? Michael Wuertz? The only big leaguer you got in the deal was Izturis. Those are not the moves of a team still fighting for the postseason. Who says Greg isn't coming back? Um, this year? I guess I am Dusty. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Greg isn't coming back this year. That's what we're talking about right? I thought you weren't looking to next season yet.
The Cubs dealt Greg Maddux, Todd Walker and Scott Williamson at the trading deadline. Doesn't that send a signal that the season is over?
"Not to me," Baker said. "It signals to me that it was time for somebody else to play. It was up to Greg, too. He didn't want to leave, but if somebody else wants you -- who says Greg isn't coming back? I always feel I have a chance. That's how it is, that's how I am."
But hey we're only 9.5 games back (10.5 after Fat Z got shelled again) from the wild card! Yeah, we only have to leapfrog Washington, Florida, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Colorado, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Cincinnati, and we're right back in this sumbitch! Only 10.5 out and yet we hold the second worst record in the NL (you stay classy Pittsburgh!). All this shows is how absolutely shitty the NL is this year. Don't get me wrong, I've been a staunch supporter of the Senior Circuit, buts lets face the facts folks, this league sucks right now.
At this point, just like so many other people out there, I'm looking forward to seeing the younger guys play the rest of the year. Thunder Matt has been stroking a hot bat (and getting extra base hits too). Some people say that he and Angel Pagan should be in a platoon in LF, which I call BS. Flash the stat splits all you want at me, but the fact is Pagan hasn't really had that many at bats this season, at least not enough to say that he's clearly better batting in certain situations than Murton. Yes Pagan hits righties better, but last time I checked, Thunder Matt was batting over .280 against them as well, which isn't crappy by any means. Pagan will be a good 4th OF to have but lets allow Murton to finish the season strong starting in LF, in hopes he's the man next year. That is of course until the Cubs sign Carlos Lee in the offseason causing me to take a molotov cocktail to the Saloon.
Then there's Rich Hill, who finally got over the hump in the bigs and is pitching decent ball now. I'm extremely happy about this because it could mean we'd finally have a solid lefty in the rotation, thus possibly stopping management from drinking the Glendon Rusch kool-aid. Seriously guys, he hasn't pitched well as a starter in like 3 years, stop trotting his ass out to the mound. Bring him in for long relief if you have to but please, PLEASE stop starting him.
And one last guy I'd like to mention is OF Felix Pie, who is one of Hendry's golden kids that he refuses to bargain with in any trade. Pie has pretty good defense, but his offense isn't quite ready yet, as he's struggled a bit in AAA Iowa this year. Some people want him called up to play since the season is lost (shhh, don't tell Dusty). But that would be a mistake. He's only 21 right now, so another year in Des Moines won't hurt, and its not like the clock is ticking here. Lets not rush him, only to be pissed that we're stuck with Corey Patterson-lite.
That's all I have for now. I figured someone should talk about the Cubs since that's what we claim our blog is mainly about, yet haven't said much concerning them lately. Here's to hoping Mark Prior wins two in a row and the Cubs can pull back to within 9.5 in the wild card. Look out rest of the NL except Pittsburgh, the Cubbies are on a roll!
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So yeah, about a week later we'd see Neifi go, the Cubs would still suck eventually taking last place away from the f'n Pirates, a blood clot in his lungs would finally keep Glendon Rusch from taking the mound any more instead of the inept coaching staff, and I was left in a Old Style-induced haze for the remainder of the year.
So buck up Cub fans! At least we're not back there.