Chicago Cubs: June 2007 Archives



No, I'm not whining about pro-choice Republicans, I'm bringing you gold - USA Today's profile of Hall of Fame Cub Ryne Sandberg midway through his first year managing the Cubbies Class A affiliate in Peoria.

Sandberg, 47, approaches his job with the Peoria Chiefs in the same manner he did everything in his 15 seasons as the Cubs' second baseman — The Right Way. No shortcuts, no big-leaguing it, no mailing it in. He rides the team buses, stays in the economy motels, takes his rotation pitching for batting practice, coaches third base during games and files daily reports on his players....

Sandberg's credentials — 10 consecutive All-Star Games, nine consecutive Gold Gloves for defensive excellence, 1,061 runs batted in and a .285 career batting average — give the manager instant credibility with his aspiring players, who range in age from 18 to 24. Some remember seeing him play; some don't.

Sandberg hears one comment often from them: "Hey Ryno, you were my parents' favorite player."

That notion definitely plays in Peoria: The Chiefs' second baseman is Ryne Malone, and the spelling of that first name is no coincidence. The Clinton, Iowa, native was named after Sandberg.

Hmm... Anthony Ryne Lu? Er... pretend you didn't read that.

I didn't know until I read this that Sandberg interviewed for the Cubs job last year. That must have been in my disenchanted period. According to the article, Hendry recommended he take over Peoria to get some experience.

This reminds me, I gotta get out there for a game.

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Chris DeLuca on Zambrano's fresh start:

"I'm 1-0 with 6 2/3 innings, and from now on, I will try to think like that."

The official record will show that Zambrano is 6-5 with a 5.38 ERA and pummeled his own catcher in his previous outing.

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Brothers Fighting


Mariotti on Z and Barrett:

An enraged human being doesn't beat the snot out of someone -- six stitches, one black eye, facial cuts, permanent dignity loss -- and then feel enough love for a brother 18 hours later to weep in his arms. Same goes for Barrett, who couldn't possibly have looked in the mirror and felt affection for Zambrano.

I bet you a million dollars that Jay Mariotti does not have brothers (or, ahem, little boys close to the same age) - oh, and also that he has never seriously competed in sports. This stuff happens all of the time. Guys get ticked off when the team is doing bad, they misdirect that anger at teammates, go at it, and then kiss and make up. It's neither a good nor smart thing to do, and it's absolutely crazy to do it in the dugout in front of the cameras, but it's what happens, especially with incredibly competitive guys like Z and Barrett. It's not a matter of Barrett looking in the mirror and feeling "affection," it's about forgiving your buddy because you're feeling the same frustration that he is.

Man, I remember going at it with my best friends over pick-up basketball - the shoving, the swinging, the cursing, being separated by our friends. Then you walked away, the adrenaline and testosterone rushes abated and there were never hard feelings afterwards.

For all of his bluster and arrogance in his writing (and especially his TV appearances), Mariotti very often seems to not know what it's like to be a man.

Oh, there's also this:

Zambrano said all the right things after the 6-2 win. The night before, he told himself, "Tomorrow is the season opening for you. Forget about anything else. Just start from tomorrow." But isn't that a dicey proposition for anyone thinking of paying him up to $100 million -- that he starts the season two months late?

Shame on Zambrano for trying to make a fresh start after a disastrous two months! How dare he start over? Keep sucking eggs Zambrano! Lose! Lose! Lose!

Reports of Jay Mariotti being an arrogant jerk are highly under-exaggerated.

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Cubbie Blogging


I haven't said much about the Cubs in a while. Mostly because I did not and still do not know what to make of this team. Anytime you have such a drastic overhaul of a baseball team, there will be no way to know what the end-result will be. It doesn't matter how much you spend, you still have to take those individuals and make them into a team. I was skeptical about Jason Marquis and Mark de Rosa, but excited about Soriano, Floyd and Lilly.

Well, the results so far have not been pretty. We have the highest powered line-up we've had in years, but can't score any runs. This team, which was explicitly built to win with the home run has exactly two players on pace to hit 20 or more home runs. Our $136 million man Alfonso Soriano, who we brought in to hit 30+ home runs, drive in 90 + runs and steal 30+ bases is on track for, in those respective categories, 18, 42 and 24. 4 of our starters - that's HALF of the position players we trot out every day - are hitting .254 or less.

On the pitching side, things are a bit better. The starting rotation has been solid: Marquis and Lilly have been excellent and Rich Hill has shown that last year was not a fluke. The arrival of Sean Marshall to fill in is good news, as he was one of last year's bright spots - hopefully he'll never see AAA again. Ryan Dempster has been solid, with only 1 blown save in 12 chances. The problem, amazingly has been our ace, Carlos Zambrano. He's been crazier han usual, culminating in his dugout fight last Friday with teammate Michael Barrett. That, and the middle relief can't get the job done. Last I checked, they were leading the league in losses. With an anemic offense, you simply can't afford to have a shaky pen blow what few leads you can get.

Making it worse is that the never-ending saga of what the h*** happened to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood (now guest-starring Wade Miller, though his problems aren't "homegrown" the way Prior and Wood's are) is still playing in the background, giving the whole season an even darker and more somber tone than it deserves on the merits.

That drama came to the NY Times this week, which had a lengthy profile (free reg. req.) of Kerry Wood and his history of arm troubles in their Sunday sports magazine. It's not a fun read for any Cubs fan, but though those of us whose answer for the Cubs' mid 2000s woes is "Blame Dusty!" should give it a fair reading.

What continues to baffle me is that nobody ever talks about the Cubs' training and medical staff when these things come up. I'd have fired the lot of them in June of 2005. Larry Rothschild seems to get off scot-free, too. Yeah, sure it's hard to deal with 25 year-olds with arms of gold, but if he couldn't do it, then the Cubs should have brought in somebody who could command more respect.

I still have optimism for 2007. The NL Central is still wide open. The Cubs have good enough players, it's just a matter of them coming together as a team, having somebody step up to be a team leader (Lee and Ramirez are too laid back, Barrett and Zambrano are too hopped up on crazy) and finding a winning groove. Personnel-wise, we need to keep prospect Felix Pie in the bigs and let him learn through major league experience. We should then ship off some combination(s) of Matt Murton, Cliff Floyd, Jacques Jones and one or two of our young pitchers for a bullpen arm or two and a shortstop that can bat his weight, or preferably Daryle Ward's weight.

It is certainly not too late. GO CUBS!

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Chicago Cubs category from June 2007.

Chicago Cubs: April 2007 is the previous archive.

Chicago Cubs: July 2007 is the next archive.

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