Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Somehow This Must All Be Castro's Fault

I didn't see or hear any of the game today, but from keeping an eye on my Twitter feed, the Cubs may as well forget about bringing back the organ music and just go with a healthy dose of Yakety Sax at Wrigley this year.

But before the game started, Quade had some business to attend to with his 21-year old centerpiece of the organization (or so he is being billed with all of the Castro vs. Jeter billboards all over the place).  Per Gordo:

Quade has "long talk" with Castro today about bearing down defensively and on bases.

How long could this talk have been?  Here is how I imagine the discussion should probably have gone:

Quade:  Hey there Starlin.  You know, I really like how your discipline at the plate has improved over the last year and I love your aggressive approach, keep up the great work there.  But I wanted to talk to you about your defense and base-running.

Castro:  Yeah, I'm working at it, Skip.

Quade:  I know.  I know you are.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't want you to think I don't notice your efforts, but I really want you to focus on your concentration when you're out there.

Castro:  I'll try, Skip.

Quade:  Because defense and base-running are important too.

Castro:  I know.

Quade:  OK, because we can't keep giving outs away and pulling Theriots out there on the basepaths.

Castro:  Ha ha ha.  Yeah.  I get it.  I'll do my best, Skip.

Quade:  That's all I wanted to hear.

Done.  In fact, I think I was STILL pretty long-winded and patronizing in my little skit there.  But I get the feeling that the actual conversation went on for awhile.  It doesn't seem like a conversation they had as they passed each other in the dugout.  It seems more like Quade pulled him into his office, closed the door and really got into details with Starlin, possibly involving illustrations and a twelve-step action plan with obtainable goals.

"I want you to memorize this diagram, son. Know it like the back of your hand."

Now, I'm as interested in the next guy as watching a team that is solid fundamentally, so I understand the reasoning behind wanting to stress these things, but why was Starlin singled out?  The Cubs had made nine errors in three games, only one of them by Castro, and he's the one getting the sit-down talk about the importance of fundamentals? 

It's not because he's young either because Colvin made two errors in the first game and (as far as has been reported) hasn't gotten a condescending lecture from the manager.  Nor has Blake DeWitt and his two errors, Carlos Pena, Jeff Baker, Andrew Cashner, or Bobby Scales, the other culprits in the first three games.

Maybe they've all gotten a talking-to and we've only heard about the one involving Castro.  Either way, somebody thinks that Castro is more deserving of being treated like a child, either the Cubs, the beat reporters, or both.

Then the game started and all hell broke loose as Castro added his second error of the spring to go along with Aramis Ramirez and Captain Fundamentals (aka Koyie Hill) all committing errors in the first inning.  They later made two more to bring the total count of defensive miscues up to fourteen in four games.  But the shoddy defense is actually taking a backseat to the fireworks in the dugout following the first inning.

According to Gordo, Soriano identified the combatants as Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva.  I don't know much about what actually happened, but it sounded like it got physical and Silva left camp without speaking to the media.  I can only hope, for his sake, that he isn't spotted later eating dinner.

So if an error by Castro launches Quade into a big long soliloquy about fundamentals, surely a dugout brawl will spark some long-winded musings on pride, teamwork, maturity, duty, and possibly some lines stolen from Yoda about rejecting the Dark Side of The Force aimed at Silva.

Quade says he plans no disc action for silza. 'Not from me.' Will meet with team tomorrow, re: this & sloppiness.

So Castro has to be wondering why Quade thinks he shit in his Cheerios.  Castro makes some mistakes in the course of being one of the youngest major-leaguers in the game right now and gets a lecture.  Silva goes apeshit and there is actual violence in the dugout and there won't be any repercussions?  What the hell?

Don't get me wrong, I think Quade is absolutely handling the Silva thing correctly by minimizing its importance.  Like I said last year when Zambrano got into a shouting match with Lee, the Cubs blew that way out of proportion and kept harping on the incident when other teams with similar situations over the years have been able to move on fairly easily after dugout incidents.  But the dissonance between how Quade is handling this incident (treating the players like adults) versus how he is handling Castro (like a child) troubles me greatly.

The absolute last thing the Cubs need is to piss off the one exciting thing about the team that is supposed to be a foundation on which to build future successful teams.  If the Cubs keep treating Castro like this, he is going to leave via free agency the instant he is allowed to do so and he'll be flipping the Cubs off as he goes.


It appears that Quade will have a team meeting about all of this nonsense tomorrow. According to Bruce Levine:

"You've got two pissed off people," Quade said after the 12-5 loss to the Brewers. "It was a brutal first inning with plenty of blame to go around, and people get frustrated. Maybe that's what we freaking need. Maybe we need to get pissed off.

"I mean it's Day 4 of spring training. I got no business getting all fired up on four days of work. But it's getting to the point where that was really tough to watch."

So he's going to try to turn this into a rallying point for the team.  It's not quite, "Remember the Alamo!", "Remember the Maine!" or even decent lemonade out of lemons, but it's worth a shot.  More importantly it hopefully won't single Castro out.


Adam said...

Suggested 2011 slogan: let's not ruin this with a lot of talk.

Unknown said...

You don't mind if I just cry a little bit over here, do you?

--sobs quietly in the corner of the room--

Kin said...

I was remarking to my friend earlier that Quade wouldn't dare try this pep talk thing with least he wouldn't make it so demeaning. I'm glad Castro is at least hitting well in these first few games.

FrankS said...

Cub slogan for 2011:

We make our manager sick!

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