Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cubs Want to Put Money Back in State Budget This Time

I made a big deal about the Cubs trying to use state money as a means to increase their own wealth, so it is refreshing to be able to also point out when the Cubs do something that is more socially conscious.  The Cubs and the Illinois Secretary of State's office kicked off an initiative today where the goal is to actually pump money back into the state budget by making official Cubs license plates available to fans who want to let everyone on the road know that they shouldn't be cut off in traffic if the Cubs are losing.

According to Bruce Levine:

Twenty-five dollars from each license plate goes to the Professional Sports Teams Education Fund and is earmarked for the Common School Fund which supports public schools throughout the state of Illinois.

You can go to the Secretary of State's website now and reserve a Cubs license plate for yourself so everyone on the road will know where your allegiances lie and maybe some kids will get a slightly better education as a result. 

You can get Vanity, Personalized or randomly generated plates with the Cubs design.  The full (and complicated) list of fees for regular passenger vehicles are detailed here.  Also, don't ask me to explain the difference between a Vanity and Personalized plate.  I just know Vanity plates are more expensive.

I wonder if KOYIE SUCKS is taken already.

Getting to Know: Todd Wellemeyer

Name: Todd Wellemeyer

Position: Pitcher

Role: If logic and reason combine with a healthy dose of luck and miracles, long reliever

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

2011 Opening Day Age: 32

Uniform Number: #37

Does this guy seem familiar to you?: Yes.

Wellemeyer came up with the Cubs in 2003 and burst onto the scene by striking out the side for a 17th inning save in his major league debut against the Brewers.  In his first five appearances, he pitched 7.1 scoreless innings and struck out 13 while walking none.  In his final 20.1 innings, he walked 19 and struck out 17 while his ERA ballooned up to 6.51. He pitched sporadically out of the bullpen the next two years and didn't ever get much better.  But that debut was pretty awesome.

How is he still in the majors?: The Cardinals.

In 2007, the Cardinals picked up Wellemeyer off of waivers, converted him into a starter, and he was a semi-useful pitcher for them for about a year and a half.  This is generally considered one more piece of evidence that the Cardinals have sold their collective souls to Satan.'s Most Similar Pitcher: Willie Banks

More's Most Similar Pitchers That Also Sucked For the Cubs at Some Point: Scott Sanders, Chad Gaudin, Jim Bullinger

Why We Might Like Him:
  • He has, to the best of my knowledge, never killed a puppy.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • He will be wearing a Cubs uniform for at least a good part of Spring Training.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: LEWD MELODY TREE

What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • The Cub Reporter - "Wellemeyer would be better than Justin Berg or Thomas Diamond in a middle relief role, I guess...."
  • The Deep Dish - "Wellemeyer's contract is non-guaranteed. So that money is far from spent and may very well not be. This is likely another "Sure, why not," signing by Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who's always been fairly amicable about inviting back former players for a spring training go-round."
  • Inside the Ivy - "I will never understand why people question these deals.  It is no different then bringing in a non roster guy.  Welly has had MLB success.  If he figures it out you have a mid 90's fastball guy in your pen who has been there before.  If he sucks you release him.  No big deal."
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue - "This is a minor league deal with a ST invite, nothing more. Remember this: Mike Quade was his manager for three years at Iowa, and Mark Riggins worked with him when he (Wellemeyer) was in the Cardinals organization and Riggins was minor league pitching coordinator. So those two are quite familiar with him."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: The Half-Assed Conclusion

When I started recapping the 2010 season a million years ago, I thought it seemed like a good idea when I had writer's block and nothing of much substance was happening around the team.  What I failed to understand at the time was what a life-sucking ordeal I was getting myself into.  But since I don't want to leave a job undone, I will do the short short version:

August to December: They sucked and nobody cared.


OK, that may have been accurate, but my reader expects more than an Aaron Miles-like effort.  I remain committed to doing my job as a blogger at least as well as Koyie Hill does his, so I'll just half-ass my way through the short version and wait for someone to give me $850,000 to do so:


The Cubs struggle on and start to lose at a horrific rate, practically guaranteeing a 100 loss season just two years removed from their 97 win high.  Xavier Nady takes over at first base after Derrek Lee is traded and the world miraculously does not explode.  Lou's mom gets sick (probably from watching her son's team try to play baseball), and he decides being a good son is more important than sticking around and having Yellon bitch that this is all his fault, and he leaves the team for good.  The Cubs turn the managerial position over to Mike Quade, insisting that he is a real candidate for the permanent position next year.  Everybody laughs.  Quade stops putting Nyquil in the Gatorade dispenser and the team actually starts to win some games.


Todd Ricketts loses a bet with his siblings when he takes the over (one) on total number of hairs on Mike Quade's body and has to film an episode of Undercover Boss.  Tyler Colvin is stabbed in the chest by a flying piece of a bat and still manages to score on the play, but it ends his season and we lose half of our reasons for bothering to watch at all anymore. 

The Cubs continue to win games under Quade and nobody really cares all that much at this point, but Ryne Sandberg suddenly isn't the assumed front-runner to be the new manager.  My last game as a season ticket holder at Wrigley ends up as a loss to the Cardinals in which Jeff Samardzija gave up eight runs which seemed somehow fitting.  Thanks for that, buddy.  The season mercifully ends a week later in Houston with another loss.


The baseball playoffs start and I honestly am having a hard time remembering specifically what happened and I don't feel like looking it up.  Somehow the Giants managed to get to the World Series and actually win it while being carried by the unstoppable force of Cody Ross and using a wise strategy of not letting Mike Fontenot play.  The immovable object of Pablo Sandoval could also be seen sitting on the bench.  The Cubs were busy planning off-season moves and dragging Ernie Banks and Billy Williams out to Arizona to convince folks to pay for their new spring training facilities/waterpark.  Tom Ricketts wrote a letter to season ticket holders that made Moby Dick seem like a comic strip in which he basically said the Cubs would be going cheap on the field, and more expensive off the field if you wanted to see the Cubs play anyone but Pittsburgh on an April Tuesday afternoon.  They wrapped up the month by hiring Mike Quade as the permanent manager and then reportedly not even offering Ryne Sandberg his old AAA job back to him.  Sadly, this is not the worst thing a member of the Cubs has ever done to Sandberg (I'm looking at you, Palmeiro).


Sandberg takes his ball and goes home, by which I mean Pennsylvania, to manage the Phillies' AAA team and Tom Ricketts says Sandberg will always be welcome to return to the Cubs, provided he doesn't insist on trying to manage them.  Mesa passes the bill to fund the new spring training facilities and gives the Ricketts the idea that maybe people in Illinois will also be more than happy to fork over money they don't have to them.  Tom works out a plan to get money from the state that involves an open admission that he will be jacking ticket prices up significantly in the future and pisses off everyone except one guy eating a baloney sandwich who insists the plan to withhold future money from a state that is $15 billion in debt is a good thing.  For the first time in human history, common sense and good reasoning win out and the Ricketts withdraw their request for public funding.  For now. (Cue dramatic organ music.)


Ryan Theriot signs with the Cardinals and immediately finds a microphone to declare that he is finally on the right side of the Cubs/Cards rivalry, making it the only thing on which Theriot and I have ever agreed.  Ron Santo hears the news and dies laughing. At least, that is how I choose to believe it happened. 

The Cubs forge forward and sign a first baseman coming off a pretty bad year, but he's a good guy, he came cheap, and apparently doesn't mind having his payments spread out over the next decade.  Steve Rosenbloom tells us he was brought in to keep an eye on Castro so he wouldn't grow up like Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, or Carlos Zambrano.  Why Steve thinks the Cubs don't want Castro to be good at baseball is anyone's guess.  The Cubs also sign Kerry Wood back and begin to look for a replacement for Ron in the booth, WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER WHATSOEVER AND ANY CONJECTURE OTHERWISE IS 100% FALSE.

So that was 2010.  A huge disappointment all around, in my opinion. I mean, Jupiter didn't even explode and create a second sun that teaches Roy Scheider and John Lithgow a valuable lesson about life and friendship with Russians.  But 2011 has to be better, right?  Right? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cubs Have a Plan That Will Make You Dizzy

I won't hash out the blow-by-blow details of the Cubs Convention since the guys at ACB did a nice job of aggregating many of the live-tweets from myself, @cubstats23, @ataccini and @JulieDiCaro to give a good play-by-play of the action.

What struck me the most on a bigger scale is that it turns out the Cubs have a very cohesive plan for going forward.  I know!  I was shocked as well, but it became very evident in the answers the Cubs' brass gave in various sessions throughout the weekend.

If someone at the Convention expressed concern about the Cubs parting with numerous high-ranked prospects, the Cubs would point out that giving up young unproven talent for an established veteran is necessary to compete now.  They would then tout Garza as a front-of-the-rotation starter to complete the holy triumvirate of top starters in the rotation that is set to go up against the Brewers, Cardinals and Reds.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

If someone was concerned about rising ticket prices and other worries about the club taking more of fans' money to pay for such a veteran-laden team, we would be reminded that many of the salaries that are causing the bloated payroll are coming off the books soon and the team would be more efficiently run.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

If someone asked about the minor league system's ability to replace veterans as they leave the roster, the Cubs would talk about the young talent like Cashner, Colvin, and Castro at the major league level and future stars like Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Brett Jackson as proof that they are dedicated to building "the right way."  Because organizations win championships.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

It seemed that very few people at Cubs Convention seemed to notice how there is really no end to this line of questions and thus no endpoint of improvement organizationally that could result in a World Series through anything besides dumb luck. 

Think about it: they are building the minor leagues the "right way," but trading off a good number of highly rated prospects in the process of trying to win now, which would lessen the chances of the minor leagues being successful in producing enough talent to replace departing veterans to win consistently and thus necessitating more veteran (and expensive) help in the future.  Here is a helpful diagram (click to see it larger):

It just goes round and round.  The Cubs have an answer that spins everything to result in applause and hope and rainbows, but the answers all eventually cycle around on themselves and nothing ever really changes. 

Luckily for them, there are plenty of Cubs fans who are very concerned about video scoreboards, naming rights, statues outside the park, replacing the organ with recorded music, and other non-baseball related items to help cloud the issue and the Cubs take every opportunity to strike the right chord on these nonsense issues to keep the fans happy while, again, not really making anything better on the field. "NO SELLING OF NAMING RIGHTS TO WRIGLEY FIELD!!"  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

It turns out the Cubs do know what they are doing in at least some respects.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cubs Throw $850,000 Out the Window

The Cubs avoided arbitration with Koyie Hill by signing him to a one-year deal for $850,000.

For a team that is supposedly so cash poor that they had to finance their first baseman's one year deal, you have to wonder why they were so willing to set almost a million dollars on fire like that.

That isn't completely true.  Any replacement minor-league call-up would have cost them a league-minimum $400,000, so they only wasted $450,000.  But when you take a few hundreds of thousands here and a few hundreds of thousands there, sooner or later it adds up to some real money.

I can not stress enough how terrible and useless Koyie Hill is to this team.  He is not young.  He is slow.  He can't hit.  He is not good defensively.  He actually cost the Cubs a full win last year, statistically. He was at -1.0 WAR.  How bad is that?

Neifi Perez put up seasons of 0.6, 0.6, and 0.4 WAR for the Cubs from 2004 to 2006. Mel Rojas was worth 0.1 WAR in his one disastrous year with the Cubs. Remember when Anthony Young was with the Mets and he couldn't do ANYTHING right and was 2-14 in 1992 and 1-16 in 1993?  In those years, he was worth -0.3 and -0.4 WAR respectively.  Then when he came to the Cubs he was worth 1.1 WAR and then 0.4 WAR the next year.

It should not shock you to learn that the only person who I could think of off the top of my head as being absolutely terrible that was actually worse than Koyie Hill was... Aaron Miles.  Miles was worth -1.4 WAR in 2009 for the Cubs.  So he was worse than Koyie, but not by as much as you would think considering Koyie is going to take home twice the league minimum to forget that baserunners are live and never get on base.

The Cubs would have been better served by taking the $450,000 extra they are paying to Hill and just tossing it off the balcony in the Grand Ballroom at the Cubs Convention into the crowd. Seriously, because I bet at least half of that money would wind up back in the Cubs' pockets when those people would scurry out and purchase 13 game plans to see the Cubs lose to the Yankees and Reed Johnson jersey shirts (HE'S BACK!!!! OMG!!!).

But they might as well have just stuck me on the end of the bench and not let me do anything and it would have ended up better and cheaper for them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: July

July 1 – Tyler Colvin dramatically ties the game against the Reds with a 2-run single in the bottom of the 8th inning, but the Cubs lose later 3-2 anyway when they let Bobby Howry pitch in the 10th inning.

July 1 – The Cubs plan to have Carlos Zambrano go to the minor leagues and then return to the bullpen after his timeout is over. Also, no TV for a month.

July 2 – Chad Tracy cleared waivers and became a free agent. He couldn’t find a major league team interested, so he signed with the Marlins.

July 4 – Marlon Byrd is named to the National League All-Star team because someone from the Cubs has to be and Pat Hughes, unfortunately, doesn’t count.

July 5 - Dusty Baker reveals to the Sun-Times that he knew EXACTLY how to fix the Cubs, but they wouldn’t let him when he was here and now he’s not going to tell. Other things Dusty knows how to do but that he is keeping secret: how to fix Social Security, cold fusion, and making Paris Hilton go away.

July 5 – The Cubs option Jeff Berg and call up Justin Stevens… or send down Justin Berg and call up Jeff Stevens… or something. It doesn’t fucking matter.

July 6 – Scott Rolen tells the Trib he knows why the Cubs suck. Their facilities stink and there are too many game time changes. Plus old guys can’t handle the grind and young guys party too much. Dusty Baker can neither confirm nor deny that he already had that theory.

July 8 - Tom Ricketts hosts a Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day at Wrigley Field where members of the Cubs organization talked about Northwestern Football, concerts, future appreciation days and anything else they could think of besides talking about how they would improve the actual team.

July 9 - Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Aramis Ramirez’s batting average rises above the .200 mark for the first time since April 9th, thus signifying only six more weeks of the Cubs sucking. Six weeks later, Mike Quade takes over and the Cubs finish 24-13.

July 11 – The Cubs finish the first half of the season by getting shut out 7-0 by the Dodgers to lose 3 out of 4 in the series. Way to finish strong, boys.

July 13 - George Steinbrenner dies when Dusty Baker refuses to tell him the location of the Fountain of Youth.

July 13 – Marlon Byrd forgets he is representing the Cubs and makes an actual heads-up play by forcing David Ortiz at second base on a bloop line drive to center that fell in front of him, thus paving the way for a National League victory over the American League for the first time since the invention of the wheel.

July 14 – Joey Votto says he would never pat a Cub on the back to congratulate him on a good play. Bruce Levine thinks he was serious. Paul Sullivan thinks he was joking. Nobody can explain to me why it is important in the slightest.

July 14 - FOX Sports reports that Derrek Lee’s father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate says he would accept a trade to the Angels.

July 16 – Derrek Lee says he never said he would accept a trade and that nobody knows what he is going to do. Dusty Baker says he knows, but he isn’t going to tell.


July 19 – The Brewers manager, Ken Macha complains that Prince Fielder is getting hit with too many pitches. It turns out Fielder has his own gravitational pull.

July 20 – Lou Piniella announces he is retiring at season’s end and Cubs fans immediately complain that the best manager in most of our lives isn’t quitting soon enough.

July 21 – Tom Ricketts announces that Jim Hendry will hire the next manager of the Cubs and Ryne Sandberg sends an “old school” message that he is interested in the position via telegram.

July 22Carlos Zambrano pitches an inning for the Iowa Cubs in his quest to return to the major league team after his suspension. He faced five batters, threw fifteen pitches, gave up two hits, didn’t walk anyone, and adjusted his cup seventeen times.

July 26 – Cubs prospect, Josh Vitters, breaks his finger when he is hit by a pitch that is, ironically, the first pitch all season he didn’t swing at.

July 27 – Zambrano reveals that part of his anger management is to write down every time he gets mad. Zambrano’s normally quick pace on the mound slows considerably as he journals after every pitch he thinks should have been called a strike.

July 30 – Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Cubs game ratings are down almost 40% from the same time last season, revealing the sad truth that 60% of Cubs fans have had their remote controls hidden by Dusty Baker.

July 30 – The Cubs release Bobby Howry and the Rockies honor him with a fireworks display in scoring 12 runs on 13 hits off of three separate relievers in the bottom of the 8th inning in Colorado.

July 31 - Ted Lilly's awesomeness is traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Blake DeWitt and them agreeing to take Ryan Theriot as well.

Coming next month... the return of Zambrano and the departure of Lou.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cubs Trade Prospects and Credibility for Matt Garza

Remember when Tom Ricketts outlined the Cubs' needs going into 2011 in his letter to Season Ticket holders?

Going forward, we recognize the need to recommit to fundamentals. We need to stabilize our defense and cut down on errors. We need to improve our offense and become more efficient in both moving runners and hitting with players in scoring position. It is too early to determine whether this will be addressed with internal moves, trades or through free agent acquisitions. But we know we must improve in these areas.

So far, the Cubs signed an all-or-nothing type slugger to play first, low-balled a fan favorite middle reliever, and now traded for a pretty good starting pitcher.  If anyone can tell me how those moves address the deficiencies in the 2010 team, they are smarter than I am.

Keep in mind, I don't dislike the deals in and of themselves.  Garza is a fine pitcher and is as consistent as you can expect a pitcher to be.  Carlos Pena's one year deal (that they had to finance) and Kerry Wood's bargain basement deal are solid value moves.  The problem is that none of the moves actually make the team a hell of a lot better than they were out of the gate last year.

Pena replaces Derrek Lee, and even though Derrek had an off year last year, so did Pena, so if you are going to talk about Pena making an improvement, you have to concede that there is as real a chance that Derrek rebounds in Baltimore if his injuries have healed up.  So, maybe you have to give a slight edge to Pena because he's younger, but that is all.  Anything more than a slight improvement will depend on fortune smiling on the Cubs, and we know how often that happens.

Garza replaces Ted Lilly for all intents and purposes.  Both have been 3-4 WAR pitchers and Lilly actually was a better pitcher than Garza was last year.  Of course, Garza is coming to the NL and he's younger, so we'll call them about even, and maybe even a slight advantage to Garza. 
Then you add Wood to the bullpen and assume he'll be healthy and you have a slight improvement there. 
Where is the help for the offense?  How does this help the team be more fundamentally sound?  Pena might be a fine first baseman, but so was Derrek Lee.  If anything, the team has managed to tread water in the off-season.
Remember what Tom said about developing their own players in the organization?
Continued long term success will come through superior scouting and player development, and we are committed to improving that facet of the organization. As a result, this likely means a shift of some of our resources from the major league payroll toward scouting and player development, but we are still very much in the evaluation phase.

Trading away four and a half prospects (you can take that as a Sam Fuld is short joke OR a Sam Fuld isn't very talented joke, I'm multi-layered here)  isn't what I would call improving "player development."

These moves are intended to fool the masses into thinking the team is good without going crazy on cash.  Otherwise there is no reason to trade for Matt Garza.  None.

They already have Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, Gorzelanny, and Silva PLUS Cashner, Jay Jackson, Casey Coleman, and, for some reason, Jeff Samardzija who could all theoretically start.  Why trade away the organization's #1 pitching prospect (Archer) for three years of arbitration-salaried Garza when A) you don't need him and B) he doesn't make you that much better to begin with?

It is all about spin and misdirection.  The difference between now and when Tommy wrote that letter is that the Cubs are burning through their Season Ticket wait list faster than they thought possible, the Cubs Convention that usually sells out in 20 MINUTES still has tickets available after 2 MONTHS of being for sale, and every other team in the Chicago area is either good already (Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks) or making ballsy moves in an attempt to get good (White Sox).

So Tom is throwing out his original recipe for success (which may have been nothing more than flowery prose in the first place) and the Cubs are mortgaging the future in an effort to appear to be getting better.  You have to wonder how Cubs fans can be expected to believe anything the Ricketts say going forward.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cubs New and Improved Convention Schedule - Now With 25% Extra Hope!

Before we get back to rehashing 2010, let's take a brief glimpse into the here and now and see what the Cubs' Baseless Hope Propaganda Fest (AKA the Cubs Convention) will look like this year.

Bruce Miles takes us through some of the highlights:

Friday kicks off with the opening ceremonies. You can bet on a nice tribute to late third baseman Ron Santo.

I expect to see many grown men crying, that is, if I can manage to see through my own tears.  Then things will get REALLY depressing.

According to the release, “Saturday's slate kicks off with The Ricketts Family Forum at 9 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom. For the second year in a row, Cubs fans will have the opportunity to interact with Cubs ownership and hear the organization's plans for the future. Cubs Business Management will interact with fans at 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.” Oh, there might be a question or two about ticket prices and bang-for-the-buck you fans are getting, or not.

This ought to be interesting.  Last year, they were hailed as conquering heroes.  This year, they are bathroom-remodeling, statue-building, oversized-novelty-eyelass-wearing, reality television personalities who have the balls to ask for public money from a state that is $15 billion in debt.  I can't wait to hear the questions the fans ask, but I swear to God, if they talk about the urinal troughs again, I will cut someone.

My favorite: "Meet Cubs Baseball Management," featuring General Manager Jim Hendry, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush, Manager Mike Quade and Assistant to the General Manager Greg Maddux, takes place at 10 a.m. in the Continental Ballroom." Fair is fair here: Last year, the WGN radio hosts did not monopolize the questions as they had been wont to do in the past. That gave fans a chance to jump in. Kudos to Dave Eanet. Maddux is the newcomer to the panel.

Last year, Randy Bush said about two words during the entire session and I expect he'll say less this year with Maddux getting asked ever other question by the fans.  This is the session where Cubs fans bitch about DeRosa being traded (yes - it will come up again this year, I promise you) and there are various declarations that players like Bryan LaHair should get more playing time.

What, no Larry? "'Pitching Evolution,' featuring Kerry Wood, Randy Wells, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and Pitching Coach Mark Riggins, at 10:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom. The group will explain the art of being a starting pitcher, set-up man and closer, the differences between the roles and the pressures and rewards that come with each.” I’ll miss seeing Larry Rothschild get grumpier with each passing question.

I agree with Bruce that Larry Rothschild's increasing intestinal discomfort was always a highpoint, so it will be hard to replace that, but seriously, what the hell is Jeff Samardzija doing in this panel?  Is he there to explain the art of never getting anybody out? The art of fine hair maintenance? The art of spelling his name?

Won’t be the same without Lou: "The Q Factor," featuring Manager Mike Quade and coaches Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier, Mark Riggins and Dave Keller at 12 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Quade and his staff will discuss their techniques and philosophies heading into the 2011 season.” I’ll miss Lou handing off some of the tougher questions to his coaches.

This is the session where Cubs fans always ask how come the Cubs don't steal more bases or hit-and-run very much. (SPOILER: They are slow and bad at making contact.)  Half the fans will complain that the starters got left in too long and half will complain that the starters were yanked in favor of a crappy bullpen too often.

Your first chance to meet Carlos Pena. "‘The Dominican Way of Life,’ featuring Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pena and Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita, at 3:30 p.m. in the Boulevard Room. The group will talk about their transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States and Fleita will discuss how the organization scouts, develops and transitions international players to the United States.” Will Kap be there to ask Aramis why he “dogs” it? I’ll bet you’ll come away liking Carlos Pena.

I'm wondering which of Aramis Ramirez's testicles are being held by the Cubs marketing department, because he hasn't made an appearance at the Convention since at least 2007 (I couldn't find lists older than 2008).  Maybe Carlos Pena IS a shining example and the savior of the Latino players' souls! I just hope for their sake that the Dominican Way of Life is better than the Way of Life the Cubs are selling us. 

“On Sunday, a pair of sessions will be devoted to the youth and future of the Chicago Cubs. At 9:15 a.m. in the Continental Ballroom, four Cubs who are 25-years-old - Tyler Colvin, James Russell, Darwin Barney and Scott Maine - will discuss their transition to the big leagues."

The future of the Cubs involves James Russell, Darwin Barney, and Scott Maine?  Just kill me now.

I know I can't handle the Cubs shoveling sunshine up my ass for extended periods without some adult beverages to ease the pain, so I'll be hanging out with my podcast pals and other Twitter folks at the LOHO Tweet-up at Kitty O'Shea's from 7:00 to whenever on Friday evening.  You don't need to buy a Convention Pass to get in the bar, so come and join in!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: June

June 1 – The Cubs lose their seventh game out of eight with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are 14-30 against everyone else in the league, crossing over from funny to sad and wrong.

June 1 – The Cardinals call up our good friend, Aaron Miles. Hard to imagine how the Cardinals ended up missing the playoffs.

June 1 – The Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Angels of Los Angeles, California Angels of Anaheim are interested in trading for Xavier Nady as a replacement for Kendry Morales, who graduated from the Ryan Dempster School of Injuring Himself in a Post-Game Celebration. Nady is appealing because his arm comes pre-injured, so they know what part of his body is already useless.

June 2 – The Chicago Tribune reports the Angels are interested in trading for Derrek Lee to replace Kendry Morales when they found out Derrek was also pre-injured with a bad thumb and tightness in his hamstring.

June 2 – Lou Piniella tells the Daily Herald:

“I still cling to the fact that our guys are going to hit, but at the same time, it’s already June,” Piniella said. “We’re not here in April. We’re not in May. We’re about, what, a third into the season.”

Hang in there, baby!

June 3Carrie Muskat calls bullshit on both the Nady and Lee to the Angels rumors, and spoiling some perfectly good wild speculation to distract us from the Cubs screwing everything up.

June 4 - Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation, struggles with his command and gives up three runs, proving to be far too many as the Cubs score only one run in eight innings off of previously winless (0-7) Felipe Paulino. Paulino would use this victory to vault himself to zero more wins in 2010 to finish 1-9.


June 7 – Ryne Sandberg says he would be interested in managing the Orioles if they wanted him. Or the Cubs. Or anybody. Would it help if he said, “Pretty please with sugar on top?” He’ll be your best friend. Please? Anyone?

June 7 – The Cubs select 191st ranked prospect, Hayden Simpson with the 16th pick in the amateur draft. Not that it matters much as whoever gets picked is just going to get traded for someone like Matt Garza anyway.

June 9 – The Cubs install the Toyota sign above the bleachers and add a Sign Viewing fee to ticket prices.

June 9Aramis Ramirez is put on the disabled list for what the Cubs call a bruised thumb and what Steve Rosenbloom would call Chronic Laziness.

June 10 – One sign that Lou just doesn’t give a shit anymore comes up when he bats Chad Tracy in the clean-up spot. Tracy exceeds all expectations by actually making contact twice in going 0 for 5 and leaving six men on base.

June 11 – The Cubs begin playing snippets of recorded music of the players’ choice for Cubs batters coming to the plate instead of the traditional organ music. The thought was that if the team was going to play like minor leaguers, the stadium should sound like the minor leagues.

June 12 – Carlos Silva gives up only two runs in eight innings against the White Sox, but still loses his first game of the season because the Cubs’ bats are still afraid of the ball. At this point, Silva was 8-1 and the rest of the pitchers on the team were 19-34. Scientists are still baffled how this could have happened.

June 13 – The absolute highpoint of the season at Wrigley Field occurred when the Blackhawks paraded the Stanley Cup around the field before the game and showed us all what a championship-winning team actually looks like. Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd then traded no-hit innings into the 7th inning, and Lilly took his no-hitter into the 9th inning and surrendered a lead-off hit to Juan fucking Pierre. Ted found Pierre after the game, shook his hand, and then stuffed him into the Stanley Cup.

June 15John Grabow was re-activated from the disabled list. Did I mention they had put him on the DL? I didn’t? Well, he’s back. It doesn’t matter.

June 17 – The Cubs hire Ari Kaplan as Manager of Statistical Analysis. Finally! It’s about time the Cubs embraced some modern analytical methods in an effort to improve their team. Maybe things will start to improve! Jim Hendry was very excited to have Ari on hand:

"It's a game that has to have a strong human element, whether it's scouting or performing. You just don't draw people up on computers and plug them in and that means they can perform at Wrigley Field in a pennant race.”

Or not.

June 20 Ron Santo says he will not travel with the team to Seattle because there is nothing about the Cubs playing in the rainy northwest that isn’t depressing.

June 23 – The Cubs announce a fantasy camp at Wrigley for $7,500 per person, but have to eventually lower that price when nobody wants to learn to bat from a team that can’t score off of Felipe Paulino.

June 25 – With the season now closer to the trade deadline than to Opening Day, Jim Hendry still has trouble deciding whether the Cubs are buyers or sellers in the trade market. Hard to tell when your team is 32-40 and eight games out of first. Hey, maybe Zambrano’s start against the White Sox today will give some sort of sign!

June 25 – Carlos Zambrano gives up four runs in the first inning, stages a nutty, freaks out on his team, and gets into a shouting match with clubhouse favorite, Derrek Lee in the dugout. He then compounds his unacceptable behavior later that night by eating dinner instead of going to his room to think about what he did.

June 26 – The Cubs and Randy Bush still cannot get over that Carlos Zambrano ate his pre-arranged dinner with Ozzie Guillen the night before:

“Nothing against Ozzie. I would’ve thought with the events of yesterday that Carlos would’ve gone home, spent some time reflecting on what happened, thought about his career and his teammates and where he was at. I’m disappointed to hear he was out yukking it up at dinner.”

How old is Zambrano? 8?

June 26Lou Piniella calls a team meeting to find out what he can do differently to help them score runs. They tell him it would help if he posted the lineup the day before a game so they can know if they are playing or not. Again, there is no joke here. That was their suggestion.

June 28 – The Cubs announce Zambrano will be placed on the restricted list and begin treatment. There was no word if he was allowed to eat yet or not. We presume the doctors made that determination. Our only hope is that they posted whether he could eat or not at least a day ahead of time.

June 30 – Cubs players still somehow believe in their season and vow to chug on and turn things around:

"It's not like we're not giving an effort or we're playing dumb baseball," [Koyie] Hill said.

I don’t think those words mean what Koyie Hill thinks they mean.

Holy crap.  We're not even to the All-Star Break...

Two Years Blogging About the Cubs I'll Never Get Back

I just realized that today is Aisle 424's second birthday.  It's amazing how fast the time goes and how quickly the little ones grow up.  It seems like just yesterday that only two or three people were even aware of this blog.  Now, thanks to the miracle of the interwebs and a plethora of dick jokes and f-bombs, well over five people are aware of it.

I think I may treat myself to an extra Twinkie at the convenience store before heading back down into my mother's basement to continue dissecting the 2010 season.

Seriously, thanks to everyone for reading my drivel over the last couple of years.  I keep hoping that someway, somehow the content might get more fun, but the Cubs are hellbent and determined to push me as far down into defensive snark as possible.

Speaking of which... Matt Garza?  Really?  REALLY?!  The difference between this team contending and not is Matt Garza? Lord, grant me the strength to make it through a third year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: May

May 1 – The Cubs defeat the Diamondbacks after Bobby Howry blows a save for them and Cubs fans all laugh because we know that Howry is someone else’s problem now.

May 1 - Ryan Theriot draws his one walk for the entire month of May.  Seriously.

May 2 – The Cubs reach the .500 mark for the third time in 2010 by taking three of four from the Diamondbacks. Most folks were pretty sure the Cubs had turned a corner and would be able to continue their roll against the hapless Pirates in the next series. After all, who can’t beat the Pirates?

May 3 – The smartest fans in the world’s newspaper writes this about the Cardinals’ inevitable NL Central championship:

In the National League Central, who can take this team down?

Seriously, unless the Chicago Cubs start putting together some long winning streaks, this race could turn into Secretariat at the 1973 Belmont. A horse named “Sham” tried to get out and run with Secretariat but couldn’t hang on. Secretariat won by 31 lengths. The Cubs, Brewers, Reds, Pirates and Astros might want to go to and watch what happened to poor Sham.

After a 6-1 home stand, the Cardinals are 17-8 and have a 4 1/2-game lead in the mediocre Central. That is, by far, the biggest lead by a first-place team in the majors. And what will change? Unless the Cardinals are struck by catastrophic injuries, I don’t see how the five Shams keep pace.

I don’t know what is funnier, that the Cardinals actually did fall apart (without catastrophic injuries) or that they thought the Cubs would be the only ones capable of catching them.

May 6 – The Cubs get swept by the Pirates after scoring a total of five runs all series and getting killed 11-1 in the series finale. The Cubs never reach the .500 mark again in 2010. Who could have predicted that? Me. That’s who.

May 7 – The Cubs make a shocking move and send Chad Tracy to the minors in favor of some punk prospect from their AA team.

May 7 – Starlin Castro makes the Cincinnati Reds his bitch with a three-run HR in his first major league at-bat, and a bases-clearing triple later on for a total of 6 RBIs. And Cubs fans loved him and always remembered he was a 20-year old playing at the highest level of competition from that time on…

No, no. We tip our caps to you. Unless you start making rookie mistakes.

May 8 – Carlos Zambrano is, sadly, the most effective reliever, giving up two runs in one inning as the bullpen allows 11 runs in the 7th and 8th innings to the Reds. This is when the Cubs realized their wish upon a star that Carlos Zambrano would become the “best set-up man on the team” wasn’t specific enough.

May 8 – John Grabow is sent back to Chicago when the Cubs tell him his knee hurts.

May 9 – Lou Piniella decides to let Ryan Dempster face Joey Votto in the 7th inning with two out and two on and nursing a 3-2 lead after watching the bullpen give up 11 runs the night before. Joey Votto’s resulting homerun would have left the solar system, but it bounced off one of Saturn’s moons and is scheduled to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere sometime this summer.

May 10 – Starlin Castro makes his Wrigley debut, has a pretty bad night, going 0 for 2 and making three errors, and is booed by the Wrigley faithful like he was making mistakes on purpose.

May 10 – MRIs conclude that John Grabow’s knee is fine and that he just sucks.

May 14 – Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutcheon combine to go 10 for 11 with 17 total bases, two HRs, 7 RBI, 10 indian burns, 6 wet willies, 8 swirlies, and 12 atomic wedgies against the Cubs.

May 19 – The Cubs sign just-released-by-the-crappy-Diamondbacks Bobby Howry. Apparently they couldn’t reach Matt Karchner because his phone was disconnected. Cubs fans are almost unanimous in their reaction:

May 19 - The Cubs begin stretching Carlos Zambrano out in preparation for his return to the rotation by letting him get one out in a victory over the Phillies, which is just ridiculous.  I mean, how the hell did they beat the Phillies?

May 20 – Barry Rozner goes on the radio and states that Carlos Zambrano probably had to think about tanking games in the bullpen to force a change in his situation. Not that he asked Zambrano or anyone who knows Zambrano about it, he just threw it out there on the radio as a matter of fact. Sadly, this is not a joke either.

May 22 - David Patton is designated for assignment to make room for Bobby Howry on the 40-man roster, making his presence on the Cubs roster in 2009 about as valuable as nude photos of Wilford Brimley, but more disturbing.

May 23 - The Cubs beat the Texas Rangers to take two of three from the eventual American League Pennant winner in their home ballpark, thus showing how an inferior team can beat a superior one in a short series.  You're welcome, Giants.

May 24 - Carlos Zambrano threw his first simulated game in his road to return to his starting role, and the Cubs even simulated a weak groundball sneaking past the outstretched gloves of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot just to make it more realistic.

May 26 - Gordon Wittenmyer picks up where Barry Rozner left off and came out and wrote that he suspects Zambrano pitched poorly in the bullpen on purpose:

It was a decision made after he struggled and couldn’t get his mind around the new role well enough to adjust — yet all of a sudden he has been dominant since being told he’ll start again.

”It goes to show you, basically, that he’s very capable of doing that particular role,” manager Lou Piniella said over the weekend, stopping short of being critical.

But there was no going back on the return move for Zambrano at that point, not with team officials knowing what everyone else around the team knows: That lights-out pitching isn’t likely to continue if he’s told he has to stay there.

Of all the things of which you can accuse Carlos on and off a baseball field, DELIBERATELY PITCHING POORLY isn't even close to being one of them.  Do the media members in this city even watch the games?  Carlos Zambrano would probably tear his own genitals off and hit them into the stands with a fungo bat if he thought it meant the Cubs would win the damn game, and these guys are asserting that he gave up runs and looked like a goober in the bullpen on purpose?  I have to go lie down.
May 26 - Top starting pitching prospect, Andrew Cashner, is moved to the bullpen.  Not the Chicago Cubs' bullpen, mind you, the Iowa Cubs bullpen.  Of course, Rozner and Wittenmyer are nowhere around when you need them to accuse the Cubs of deliberately trying to lose.
May 29 - It comes out that Ryan Dempster deferred money from his salary to give the Cubs the flexibility to sign Xavier Nady. You have to figure that Dempster would probably not have made the offer if he had known his money was going to a player that still can't play in the outfield because it requires throwing.  Of course, deferring money from his multi-year deal is something that pro teams will sometimes do.  It's not like they deferred money from a player's one-year contract or anything. They would NEVER do that.  Wait...
May 30 - The Cubs and Ryan Dempster learn the hard way that there are some things you should never do:
  1. Tug on Superman's cape.
  2. Spit into the wind.
  3. Pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger.
  4. Mess around with Jim.
  5. Throw Albert Pujols a strike.

I think this was the 3rd HR of the day.  I don't know.  I don't care.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: April

April 1 – It turns out the 2009 season was all just an elaborate practical joke.

April 3 – The Cubs leave Mesa with an 18-12 Cactus League record, proving once and for all that Spring Training records mean as much as when the Cubs promise to build a world-class organization for their fans.

April 5 – Marlon Byrd hits a 3-run homerun in his first regular season at-bat as a Cub in the 1st inning to give Carlos Zambrano a 3-0 lead before he took the mound in the first game of the season, in case you hadn’t heard...

If you were fortunate enough to die right after that moment, you died happy. Otherwise, the rest of the season was downhill from there.

April 5 – A couple has sex in a U.S. Cellular Field bathroom stall during the White Sox sold-out Opening Day game, shocking everyone to the core of their being that the Sox had sold out a game.

April 7 – It is announced that the Cubs have the highest average ticket price in the major leagues. Crane Kenney celebrates by announcing that a statue of a bleacher ticket will be commissioned.

April 8 - Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd both hit solo homeruns to defeat the Atlanta Braves for the Cubs’ first victory of the season even though John Grabow made an appearance (and didn’t get an out).

April 8 – Carrie Muskat reports that Ted Lilly is having some back issues in addition to his normal rehab from shoulder surgery. It isn’t seen as a big deal because it’s not like he’ll be stealing bases and diving head first during his rehab starts.

April 9 – The Cubs bullpen blows another late lead to spoil Carlos Silva’s first start, despite John Grabow not pitching in the game at all.

April 10 – Carlos Zambrano rebounds from his Opening Day debacle with a solid seven-inning effort, John Grabow recorded outs without giving up a run, and three Cubs hit homeruns to secure the victory over the Reds. Surely, this will be a springboard for Zambrano to establish himself back as a solid front-end starter.

April 12 – The Cubs win the Wrigley Field opener when they realize that Doug Davis sucks and beat the crap out of him.

April 12 – It is reported that Derrek Lee has a bad thumb and the Cubs say that it is nothing serious. He is batting .364 before the injury and, if the Cubs are right, will surely continue to put up those types of numbers going forward.

April 14 – The Cubs get back to the .500 mark at 4-4 after LaTroy Hawkins closes a game like LaTroy Hawkins does by allowing four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. It is the most LaTroy Hawkins has ever been applauded at Wrigley Field in his life.

April 15 – The Cubs lose in their attempt to sweep the Brewers when John Grabow is their best pitcher of the day.

April 18 – I managed to get the first foul ball of my life off the bat of Humberto Quintero, leading to the debate over what is sadder, the fact that it took me over 30 years to get a foul ball, or that it will be the most memorable thing that Humberto Quintero ever does.

April 19 – Ted Lilly DIVES HEAD FIRST into second base in a failed steal attempt during one of his minor league rehab starts for his SURGICALLY REPAIRED SHOULDER. Nobody in the media rips him for engaging in a foolish activity that could lead to a setback.

April 21 - The Cubs move Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, he accepts the demotion and says all the right things to the media. I wish this was a joke, but it isn't.

April 21 - Bruce Levine discusses the development of top starting pitching prospect, Andrew Cashner:

Andrew Cashner has been starting since 2009. The Cubs’ 2008 first-round pick was a stellar closer at TCU. There’s no real consensus among the Cubs’ development people whether Cashner should be a starter or reliever at this point. The thinking is the young power pitcher could be a starter if he continues to develop a third pitch.

The organization has to make sure it doesn’t have a repeat of the Jeff Samardzija situation. Floating between starting and relieving has cost him — and the Cubs — valuable development.

It seems Levine is just being a worry wart. Surely after moving their Opening Day starter and best young pitcher since Greg Maddux to the bullpen, the Cubs would think twice about moving Cashner to the bullpen. And don't call me Shirley.

April 23 - It is announced that Wrigley Field will host a Big Ten football matchup between Illinois and Northwestern, meaning that for the first time since the 1970 Bears finished 6-8 at Wrigley, the venerable ballpark will host as mediocre a football game as it does baseball games.

April 24 - Jeff Samardzija gets sent back to Iowa.  His hair care products are sent in a separate tractor trailer.

April 25 - The Cubs finish a three-game sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee and request that the schedule be amended to include only games against the Brewers.

April 26 - The Cubs and White Sox marketing departments combine forces and utilize the sum of all their talent to invent the BP Crosstown Cup that goes to the winner of the six games between the two teams.  Seriously, that's what they came up with.  The runner up idea was to individually kick fans of both teams in the crotch and dump flaming gasoline on them as they entered the ballpark.

April 26 - President Barack Obama fires the first volley in the battle for the BP Crosstown Cup as he welcomes the World Champion Yankees to the White House:

"Now, it's been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans," Obama told the team. "I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example."

He knows something about sustained success, being in the Democratic Party and all.

April 27 - The Cubs try to take the momentum of a four-game winning streak and push over the .500 mark for the first time all season, but are obviously still smarting from Obama's withering put-down when they run into the mighty Washington Nationals who beat them behind the solid pitching of Livan Hernandez's corpse.

April 27 - The Cardinals re-acquire Aaron Miles and the smartest fans in the world are actually happy about it.

April 28 - Marlon Byrd continues to be the word and the Cubs continued to suck.

April 29 - Kosuke Fukudome HIT A GRAND SLAM!!... after the Cubs were down 13-1 in the 8th inning to the Diamondbacks.

April 30 - Jim Hendry announces that Starlin Castro will almost assuredly be getting called up to the major league team soon, prompting a conversation with Ryan Theriot:

"Ryan and I had some good, honest chats that the day may come when Castro arrives that he'll have to move off short," Hendry said. "And I think Ryan was receptive to that."

Of course, this is a man that also said:

"Ryan is capable of being a .300 hitter and a very good infielder when he does move."

So you clearly can't put a lot of stock into what he thinks.

Coming in May, Starlin Castro's super awesome debut and then a whole bunch more losses.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cubs 2010 in Review: March

March 1 – The Missouri State Senate votes unanimously to remove Mark McGwire’s name from a stretch of I70 in St. Louis and renaming it for Mark Twain, despite allegations that Mark Twain used performance enhancing dictionaries in his writing.

March 1 – Representatives from the White Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Reds boycotted a Cactus League kickoff breakfast in Mesa, Arizona to protest the proposed Cubs Tax. The protest was largely unsuccessful as it just meant more bacon for everyone else.

March 3 – The Cubs sign Cuban right-handed pitching defector Juan Yasser Serrano on the basis that he was Jim Hendry’s favorite character in “Major League.”

March 3 – Milton Bradley tells the New York Times:

"Two years ago, I played, and I was good. I go to Chicago, not good. I've been good my whole career. So, obviously, it was something with Chicago, not me."

Milton proceeded to put the Seattle Mariners on his back as he regained his powers away from the Kryptonite of Chicago by posting a .641 OPS in 73 games for them.

March 3 – Gordon Wittenmyer endorses Kevin Millar for a bench spot, stating,

"Kevin Millar has done what nobody in the Cubs' clubhouse has done -- end a curse -- and he's willing to share the formula his self-proclaimed ''bunch of idiots'' in Boston used six years ago to bring down the Curse of the Bambino."

Thank DeRosa he was there to teach Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon how to be good at baseball. Ryan Theriot will surely become an All-Star under his tutelage.

March 4 – The Cubs first Spring Training lineup features their worst hitter, Ryan Theriot, leading off and their eventual best hitter, Geovany Soto, batting eighth. We should have known how things would go from there.

March 4 – Tylermania is officially kicked off as Tyler Colvin homers and doubles twice in the Cubs first Spring Training game. It becomes apparent that the only thing that can stop him is if someone stabs him in the chest, but that seems extremely unlikely.

March 7 – Xavier Nady continued to be held out of Spring Training games due to the recovery from Tommy John surgery taking longer than expected. He is relegated to sitting around and counting the $3.3 million Hendry gave him.

March 10Nady finally appears in his first Cactus League game as a DH as he still is not able to throw or scratch himself with his surgically repaired right arm. The Cubs estimate he’ll be able to throw by June, but are confident he will start a regimen of scratching as soon as April.

March 11Starlin Castro hits his first homerun of the Spring. Ryan Theriot was heard to say on the bench, “I can do that, but I don’t want to.”

March 12 Jeff Samardzija gives up four runs on five hits and a walk in two innings against the Brewers. On the plus side, his hair was extremely manageable.

March 13 – John Gaub, Jeff Stevens, Justin Berg, Esmailin Caridad, and Mike Parisi pitched without giving up earned runs in split-squad action. The bullpen is going to be AWESOME!

March 15Lou Piniella announces that Ryan Theriot will be the lead-off man and that there would be no platoon based on the opposing starting pitcher because he’s tired of listening to Theriot talk about how awesome he would be at it.

March 15 – Angel Guzman decides to have surgery on his shoulder in an effort to give him the best chance at a comeback in his career after consulting with Dr. James Andrews, and presumably, Chad Fox.

March 18 – Cubs outfield prospect Gregorio Robles tested positive for performance enhancing drugs for the second time as he continued to take extreme and illegal measures to achieve his goal of having people know who he is.

March 19 - Oney Guillen is fired from the White Sox by his father, Ozzie, after posting a number of tweets mocking Kenny Williams and the Sox, resulting in the number of followers for Oney to increase by about 600% within a couple of days. Luckily, Jake Peavy saved the Sox PR department from mass suicide when he distracted the press by declaring how much he hates the Cubs.

March 20 – The Cubs cut Starlin Castro and he was never heard from again. Then Ryan Theriot woke up.

March 21 – In an epic battle for the last bench spot, both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar go 0 for 3. Millar did, however, pull the snakes-in-a-peanut-can gag on Ryan Theriot causing him to giggle uncontrollably, thereby raising his all-important intangible quotient.

March 22 – Aramis Ramirez misses his 10th straight day of action with sore triceps. The Cubs insist he is fine and that his absence is precautionary. Knowing how honest and transparent the Cubs are with their players’ injuries, we can all assume that he was just being lazy.

March 23Ramirez plays as the DH and goes 2 for 3 with an RBI. All better.

March 26Jeff Samardzija gets sent to the bullpen in favor of Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva but believes he should be a starter because neither of those guys’ hair is as shiny or flowing as his.

March 27 – Youngish shortstop, Andres Blanco, is traded to the Texas Rangers for something so insignificant that represents what the Rangers gave up in return as a blank space.

March 27Tyler Colvin goes 4 for 5 to raise his Spring OPS to 1.204, rescued orphans and puppies from a burning warehouse, and cured cancer and there was still a possibility that he might not make the team in favor of Sam Fuld.

March 27Bud Selig announces that the MLB will take over negotiating with Arizona lawmakers to find financing for the Cubs new Spring Training facility in Mesa.

"If everyone will stay out of the way, we'll get it done," Selig said.

He then added, “Got that, Todd?”

March 31 - The Cubs cut Kevin Millar and he goes on to get a job on the MLB Network annoying the hell out of everyone, and not just the people in the dugout. Awesome.

March 31 - The Cubs announce that the Cubs will be placing a statue of Billy Williams outside of Wrigley. To continue honoring the proud tradition of Cubs baseball, future statues will include Marla Collins, Yosh Kawano and Ron Santo’s toupee.

Coming in April, the actual start of the death march and we learn what the word is.