I was so gonna do some kind of April Fool's thing, but figured lots of blogs will cover that so...
I'm here to complain.
If it was last year, we would have already seen Kosuke Fukudome's heroic beginning as a Cub in the Cub-like 3-4 10-inning loss to the Brewers on opening day.
That was on March 31st, 2008.
This year, with the extra long spring, we won't see any real baseball until April 6.
So my natural baseball body clock is complaining like it's got major jet lag.
I'm tired of the kiddy rides.
I am ready to watch real baseball with real players playing for real wins and real losses.
What did the WBC do for us, anyway?
It made D Lee angry, it messed with Carlos Marmol's head, it made Geo gain weight, it delayed Kosuke's arrival, it embarrassed the entire Dominican Republic, and it didn't mean a thing.
Would you have cared if the US won?
Did you care that they didn't?
Here's what it did do - it made you and me wait an extra week to start summer so that come October we can see the most important baseball games played in worse conditions than last year.
The Cubs regular season doesn't end until October 4th.
That means by the time the World Series is being played it's possible that the Bears will already be 1 and 6 and looking for a new head coach, that all the stores will be having their Christmas sales going on, and that Cub funnyman Ryan Dempster will have secretly teamed up with the Wrigley ground crew so that they leave a snowman on the pitching mound while clearing the rest of the field for game 7.
Man, decisions are coming fast and furious. Pretty happy with these guys getting their tix to The Show. Micah Hoffpauir gets his spot on the bench and Koyie Hill, the guy who cut off his freaking fingers and had 'em put back on, is going to be the back up catcher for the Chicago Cubs. I don't wanna be mean here, but come on. We're all dealing, heart-wise and head-wise, with a LOT of turnover on this Cubs team. Replacing Henry Blanco with Paul Bako was just wrong, and I am SO HAPPY that Koyie Hill had the spring he had so I don't have to eat that particular turd too. Also, gotta tell ya, listening to the Cubs on Sunday, D Lee hustling to first, Ron says he saw him pull up, then D pulled himself outta the game. Not alot of detail after, but you know D didn't play for the US in the WBC because of a sore right quad. Didn't play today either. Micah started against the Royals, I heard nothing about the quad because probably it IS nothing but... These "sore quads", they happen every freaking year and they take a long time to get better. Ask Alfonso. Anyway, good to know they've got all that promise on the bench with H-Power.
Okay, what's left? Bullpen, right? Come on David Patton!
3 spring training games, then 2 exhibition games vs. the Yanks in their new stadium, a day off, and then hello Roy Oswalt. Have I ever told you I hate the Astros?
Well, I guess I'm not that surprised by Lou's choice as closer. Kevin Gregg has had an outstanding spring, he's got a new lease on pitching with his leg healed, and Carlos... Well, read this paragraph from the story by Carrie Muskat: "Gregg, who has 61 saves over the past two seasons, has not given up a
run in 8 1/3 innings over nine spring games. Marmol, named to the
National League All-Star team last year for the first time, has given
up four runs, hit five batters, walked one and given up six hits over
eight innings." None of that really matters, but the hitting 5 guys kinda isn't very good, Carlos. Please click on that link above, because some of Marmol's quotes are pretty priceless. Confused? Want to tell your side of the story but also got to keep everything on the up and up? Remember last year when Jason Marquis let fly with a few little loose-tongued comments? And where is Jason nowadays? Anyway, big decision made.
Here's a weirder one: Chad Gaudin or David Patton? Chad has apparently spent more time working on his beard than his pitching. I listened to the game today (Sunday), and he came in when Ted Lilly finally got a little gassed in the 6th. There were 2 guys on, Chad let 'em both score along with somebody else over the 2 innings he pitched. Gaudin had a not so great end to last year, and this spring he's pitched 11.2 innings, given up 17 hits, 14 runs, walked 8, and really has done nothing to inspire confidence.
Patton came in and put up a bunch of zeros for an inning except for 2 strikeouts. Here are Patton's stats:
Okay, so there's nothing there. He's actually never gone above single A (read about him here and here). But this spring he's gone 9.2 innings, given up 8 hits, 1 run, 2 walks with 10 strikeouts. Seriously, if he made this team it would be impossible. But damn Chad, what do you think Lou should do?
Last thing. I was grossly mislead by the preview to "I Love You, Man". Please go see it. I'm sure I ruined some of the jokes for people around me because I was laughing so loud and long. Really, truly funny.
Don't know what the wind was yesterday, but he hit a 400 footer out of the park. That's his 5th homer of the spring. His league leading 22nd RBI. I figure if he was on any other ballteam, he'd be that magical hope that sprouted up in spring. If you were the manager of any other team, you'd be doing interviews talking about this Hoffpauir guy being the next big thing. The pr machine would be out in full force, his agent would be getting calls about maybe Micah doing local commercials for, oh...Smith Lumber say. On the Cubs, he's the guy hoping for a spot on the bench. There are some things that aren't mysterious about Lou, and one of them is he loves guys who can hit.
Michah Hoffpauir can hit. Of course, so can Derrek Lee. Awhile back, I heard a radio interview with D, and sorry I can't remember who was asking the questions. But he said that Lee had some very under-publicized neck pain last year, which led up to a question like, well Derrek, when do you pull yourself out of the lineup? When do you surrender to pain and figure maybe somebody else might help the team better? And Derrek's reply was that the way he was brought up, if you can get on the field then you can play. It was something almost exactly like that. And this is one of the reasons I really like Derrek Lee, and one of the reasons you do too. He's a gamer. So, it's just a tough nut with H-Power. But please get him on the bench, and lets see what happens.
Today Lou's supposed to name the closer. As time has gone by this spring, this has become a harder choice to make. I still like Marmol, but Gregg looks real solid too. Not easy.
They both have pretty decent spring numbers, actually. Unfortunately, these numbers are misleading... Paul Bako's hitting .344, Koyie Hill .390, each have a homer. Bako with 5 RBIs to Hill's 8. Their history would tell you those numbers won't project into the regular season. Koyie has 231 major league at-bats and a .190 average. Bako has nearly 10 times that many at-bats and a .231 lifetime average. But besides the seriously amazing story of Koyie coming
back from almost cutting off the thumb and fingers on his throwing
hand (which makes you just hope the best for the guy), there's this... I saw a bunch of Reds games last year. Games where Bako started. And I can't remember any plays in particular. I just remember at one of those games saying to Sutter something like, "Do you want any of these peanu...JESUS COULD PAUL BAKO SUCK ANY WORSE? Uh, do you want any of these peanuts?"
Little late on this one, but couldn't pass it up. First we heard, it was the flu. Then, food poisoning. Bad chicken salad. Ewww. All that mayo and pickle relish, all that chicken. Re-experienced for days. Nothing worse.
Okay, heard that the game got "winded" out last night, so Kosuke's '09 spring debut was delayed. And, uh oh, the Cubs are playing the Sox as I write, and it's already 7 zip Cubs in the second, and Lou just said Kosuke got a hit so...awesome. Big Z on the mound. Uh, gotta go.
is a sports and art blog following the Chicago Cubs with cartoons, gifs, animations, and illustrations by Chicago artist Tim Souers.
I began the illustrations in 2003 - you can find the links to the 2003 - 2006 seasons below.
2007 - present is in the regular archives.
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