I’m a “different” type of Cubs fan…

As I mentioned in my last post, I am 24 years old, and from the South Side of Chicago. I’m a diehard Cubs fan. Around 20-30 times a year, I can be found in Aisle 425 at Wrigley Field. Cubs cap, shirt or hoody, no peanuts, no beer, totally into the game. I stand for the national anthem and the 7th inning stretch. I scream my lungs out when a good play is made, and I boo when I see a travesty or injustice on the field. I want what every other Cubs fan wants, 162 games a year: WINS.

Yet, I consider myself to be a “different” type of Cubs fan. I don’t bring up 1908, the 101-year title drought, 1945, the billy goat, black cat, Evers-Tinkers-Chance, the collapse in the 1984 NLCS, 1989, 1998, 2003 (that often), 2007, 2008, or Milton “Scapegoat” Bradley (at least to throw insults at him). Yes, I consider myself to be a rabid Cubs fan, but I know when to turn it off. I don’t want to be the type of fan that is 80 years old, and feels his life isn’t complete because the Cubs haven’t won a World Series. Words couldn’t describe my feelings if the Cubs were to win the World Series, although I’m sure I’d cry tears of joy. Still, it is not a top priority to see the Cubs win a World Series before I die.

I guess the Milton Bradley Experiment made me realize just how different I am. It seems that many Cubs experts, er, fans, were not aware of the type of player that Milton Bradley is. Injury-prone, volatile, and unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions in most cases. A good, but not great hitter, who’s never been known for his fielding or athletic ability, and not a “clubhouse guy”. He had a very good, but not great 2008, and that was mostly because he hit in a lineup with other powerful hitters, in a hitters park (Arlington), and was the team’s primary DH, which obviously put less strain on his body. Bradley became the 2009 whipping boy for Cubs fans. Never mind the fact that the moron formerly known as Jim Hendry decided to give him a 3 year, $30 million contract despite the fact that he’d never played more than 2 full seasons with a team in his entire career. Or that there were cheaper, more reliable alternatives, such as Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez. Or that Soriano, Soto, Gregg, Miles, Fukudome, Heilman, and Fontenot had terrible seasons. Cubs fans had found their bitch. Because of this, I now find myself cheering for Bradley, even though he’s playing in Seattle. Bradley eventually played the race card, and most dismissed both notions that he’d faced racism, and that fans at Wrigley are racist, period. What infuriated me most were the Cubs fans that used the excuse: “We’re not racist, we love Derrek Lee!” That’s the equivalent of a white person denying that they’re racist, and bringing up their one black friend in order to refute that claim. To that, I say “oy vey”.

The departures of Kerry Wood and Mark Derosa also made me realize I’m not like the average Cubs fan. I didn’t come close to shedding a tear upon hearing of their departures. I’m sorry, but I didn’t lose sleep when I learned that Kerry Wood wouldn’t be re-signed. His career highlight came in his rookie season, when he struck out 20 in a game against Houston. I was at that game, and thought I was looking at the next Roger Clemens. Unfortunately, his career was marred by injuries and trips to the disabled list, and when he was healthy, he didn’t even win 15 games. While Mark Derosa was a highly productive player, I couldn’t grasp how so many Cubs fans (a good number of them, females) reacted as if the Cubs had just traded an All-Star. I also learned that a good number of Cubs fans seem to react without thinking, feeling as if Mark Derosa was traded for Milton Bradley. This is what I like to call “the lazy truth”. Yes, Derosa’s salary needed to be moved in order for the team to sign Milton Bradley. However, if Lou Piniella hadn’t flipped out after being swept in the 2008 NLDS by the Dodgers, whining to everyone within earshot about a need for more lefties in the lineup, Milton Bradley wouldn’t have spent one inning in a Cubs uni in 2009. In addition, Mark Derosa was the Cubs primary second baseman. If Piniella didn’t endorse Mike Fontenot as a worthy candidate to play second on a daily basis, Derosa wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Add the ownership issues before the 2009 season, and the Cubs front office just wasn’t sure if the new owner would be in favor of adding, without subtracting salaries.

I’ll say it. I’m not a fan of the “Bleacher Bums”. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I find them vile, disgusting, assholish, or “a bunch of immature fucking drunks who are more interested in beer than baseball” (my little brother’s description of them), but I believe they give Cubs fans a bad reputation. The men are sometimes shirtless, the women are sometimes damn near shirtless, a good number of them are belligerently drunk, and at times, it looks more like a frat party than a section in the stands where fans would be watching a baseball game. Ron Santo? Meh. Most Cubs fans love him, and some find him annoying. I tend to identify myself with the latter, especially when listening to him on the radio. Despite his Harry Caray impersonation, I’m not high on Ryan Dempster or his contract. A Dusty Baker basher? I am not. Why would I trash a man that managed the Cubs within a few outs of the World Series? Could he have gone out and talked to Mark Prior after Bartman lunged for a souvenir? Yes. Was it necessary? No. The Cubs could’ve closed it out the 2003 NLCS in game 5 (good ol’ Zambrano was the starter) and had a chance in game 7 (Cubs cult hero Wood was the starter), but they didn’t. Allow me to remind you of the tailor-made double play ball hit to sure-handed Alex Gonzalez that could’ve gotten the Cubs out of that dreadful inning in game 6 as well. 2004 wasn’t his fault, either, as the Cubs choked down the stretch. Go ahead, be an idiot and blame Baker for Wood and Prior’s injury problems. Wood had a serious elbow injury early in his career (while Baker was managing the Giants), and a good number of people felt it was only a matter of time before Prior and his “perfect mechanics” would break down. I was a huge fan of Sammy Sosa, and still am. It’s funny how most Cubs fans ignored his selfishness and lack of basic fundamentals when he was carrying the team. Once that stopped, Cubs fans couldn’t wait to see him go. I’m young, and am not interested in getting a history lesson every single day. I’m not gullible, nor am I overly pessimistic. I am a Cubs fan, but I was a baseball fan first, and I’ll always be that way. I’m not all that interested in the mystique of Wrigley Field. I don’t care for the guest 7th inning stretch singers. I absolutely despise the  “Lovable Losers” tag with a fiery passion. I like to make fun of fellow Cubs fans. I’m well-aware that there’s a little bit of an uppitiness about Cubs fans, also.

My love for the Cubs never has, and never will waver. If anyone wants to question my knowledge of baseball, try me. Chances are, I’m more knowledgeable than you are. I’m always open to logical, realistic conversation about anything pertaining to baseball. Disclaimer: I out morons like TMZ outs cheating spouses and drug addicts, and to be honest, I take joy in it. There are most certainly Cubs fans who annoy me on a daily basis, but I have love for all of them…especially the different ones.

P.S. I miss Karen!!!

P.P.S. Who loves ya, baby?!

I DO NOT hate the White Sox…

I was born in Harvey, Illinois. I was raised on the South Side of Chicago, 86th and Champlain and 70th St (near Stony Island) to be exact. I am Black. I love the South Side of Chicago with a fiery passion. I graduated from Kenwood Academy, and frequented the campuses of Morgan Park, Simeon, Dunbar, Prep, Hyde Park and other schools on the South Side to get my social fix. Even when it shows me its worst, I still proclaim the South Side to be the best part of the best city on the face of the Earth. I don’t hesitate to let people know where I’m from, and I couldn’t care less when I hear disparaging remarks or praised heaped upon the South Side.

However, I am a DIE-HARD Chicago Cubs fan. I attended my first Cubs game at Wrigley when I was five (1990), and have been to almost 200 games at The Friendly Confines since. I was a fan during the days of Dunston, Sandberg, Dawson, Grace, Guzman, Harkey, and Morgan. And one during Sosa, Blauser, Wood, Prior, Beck, and Grudzielanek. I’m probably an even bigger fan now, during the *gulp* Soriano, DLee, Lilly, ARam, Soto, Zambrano and Marmol Era. 1998 gave me reason for optimism, but I knew the Cubs were overmatched against a far superior Braves team. 2003 broke my heart, because I knew the Cubs were going to win it all once they defeated the Braves in the NLDS. Unfortunately, South Beach fish ruined the party. 2007 and 2008  gave many Cubs fans reason to be excited, only for the Cubs to dash all hopes and dreams with subpar (understatement) performances in the NLDS in both years.

Let me clear something up with you Pale Hose fans. I DO NOT hate the White Sox. To be honest, I was a White Sox fan up until after the 1993 season. The White Sox had been eliminated by the eventual champion Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, and suddenly, I just wasn’t as big a fan anymore. Still, Frank Thomas was my favorite player (I even wore his signature spikes), and I enjoyed watching Jack McDowell, Joey Cora, Carlton Fisk, Ron Karkovice, Bo Jackson, Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez, and Robin Ventura play, too. The way I saw it, I had two baseball teams in Chicago to cheer for. The only difference I saw was that one played in the American League while the other played in the National League, and one wore black and white while the other wore blue and white.

I wasn’t quite old enough to completely understand the differences between the North Side and South Side. I had an uncle that lived on Sheffield (and still does), three blocks away from Wrigley, and I can say I noticed that there were more Whites than Blacks on the North Side, similar to there being more Blacks than Whites in the area on the South Side that I lived. Other than that, I didn’t know about “blue collar vs white collar”, or “rich vs poor”, or “middle-class vs elitists”, or any of the other bullshit that some moronic Cubs and Pale Hose fans buy into.

Again, I DO NOT HATE THE WHITE SOX. They barely register as a blip on my baseball radar, to be perfectly honest. I’m not one of these Cubs fans that sits around all day, thinking of insults to make about them and their fans. I’m more worried about the Cubs’ problems than the Pale Hose. Obviously, Pale Hose manager Ozzie Guillen is a moron, but everyone not named Ozzie Guillen knows that.

What irks me about the organization and its fans are the way they’ve acted since the 2005 World Series. You’re NOT a dynasty. I don’t care what your cocky general manager and manager feed you. Fuck Pierzynski and “Big Bad” Bobby Jenks. I couldn’t care less about your hick homer for an announcer, either. One title does not a dynasty make. Yes, I know it’s one more than the Cubs have won over the last century, but that’s not the point. To celebrate is one thing. But to only celebrate when rubbing it in the face of a Cubs fan is just wack. Pure, unadulterated, wackness. This would be different if Pale Hose fans were Yankees fans, and Cubs fans were Mets fans. If the Pale Hose had 27 titles under their belt, Cubs fans couldn’t say a thing. That’s not the case here. The Pale Hose broke a title drought of 88 years, so it’s not like the Hose had a great history of winning.

It’s clear: White Sox fans in Chicago barely care about the White Sox, unless they’ve just won a World Series. How else can one explain the fact that US Cellular is rarely sold out? The White Sox know they’ll sell out twice during the regular season. Opening Day, and the Cubs/White Sox “Red Line Rivalry”. That’s it. A park with much better amenities, food, more aesthetically pleasing to the eye–is usually in the middle of the pack when it comes to home attendance. There’s enough parking, and it’s not hell on Earth for train riders after a game. Chicago is the third-largest media market in the country, and 40,000 fans can’t show up 81 times a year? I don’t want to hear that White Sox fans are too busy working. Shut that shit up, please. Cubs fans work, too. Granted, we might play hooky in order to catch a 2:30 game every once in a while, but we’re not all unemployed deadbeats. Also, I’m not sure how some Pale Hose fans can label Cubs fans as rich snobs, and then turn around and call them lazy, unemployed drunks. Pick one. Stick one. Thank you.

It’s sad that a good number of White Sox fans have an inferiority complex. To assume that all Cubs fans are rich yuppies that want nothing more than to get drunk and watch a team lose is idiotic and very ignorant. It’s hard to understand where Sox fans come up with the theory that Cubs fans think they’re any better than them. Most likely, it feeds into their belief that the Cubs and their fans hate everything about not only the Sox, but the South Side, in general.

The White Sox would absolutely love it if someone actually hated them. It would give them a true rival, which would create more publicity, putting more people in the seats. The Cubs and White Sox are not rivals. I repeat, they are not rivals. So if there are any Cubs fans that hate the White Sox, or vice versa, they’re morons. The Cubs main rivals are the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, in case you were wondering.

Sometimes I think Ozzie talks so much shit about others because he actually wants to be loathed, disliked, despised, and hated. His act is contrived. The White Sox don’t win enough to be disliked on the level of the Yankees, or Duke, and don’t have a 25-man roster full of douches, so Guillen and AJ pick up the slack, which is fine. When a franchise decides that those two will be the unofficial lead singers for their band however, don’t be surprised when people line up to shoot darts at your team. I do the same at times, but that’s only because I know more about them than the Cardinals and Brewers, and because they make it easy.

In conclusion, I, along with most Cubs fans, do not hate the White Sox. It would be almost pointless for any of us to feel that way, the same as it would be pointless for White Sox fans to hate the Cubs. Be honest. We all know which baseball team runs this town. Ozzie and Ken Williams know it, and have said it. The players and the media know it, too. The quicker White Sox fans stop worrying about what the Cubs are doing, and focus on Ozzieball (Honestly, why would a team with sluggers that plays 81 games a year in a homer-friendly park play smallball?!?!), the better for all of us. I acknowledge that there are some idiot Cubs fans that worry too much about the White Sox, but the purpose of this post wasn’t to address them. Trust me, the Cubs have their share of problems in many areas, and the last thing that’s on my mind is a team that plays in a different league, who we’ll face only 6 times a year. Grow up, people…

P.S. I miss Karen!!!

P.P.S. President Obama may be the White Sox most popular fan, but that doesn’t take away from the face that he throws like a girl(no offense, Karen).

Ted Lilly is my homeboy…

First, allow me to give you a “brief” rundown of the 2006 season for your Chicago Cubs. Terrible.

Now, allow me to give you a “Cubs fan’s” rundown of the 2006 season for your Chicago Cubs.

C-Michael Barrett: A guy who started with Montreal and eventually became one of the majors’ better offensive catchers with the Cubs(while in his prime). Missed time in ’06 due to injury, but still posted good numbers. Fell off in ’07, and was traded to the Blue Jays.

IF-1B Derrek Lee, who in 2005 had one of the best all-around offensive seasons of all-time, broke his wrist in April, and was shelved. The wrist gave him problems later in the season, shelving him again. (Some of my nerd friends think that’s why his power numbers have been nowhere near what he produced in 2005. SUCKY TRAINERS, see Mark Prior, Kerry Wood) 2B/SS Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Theriot, Tony Womack, Todd Walker(Why are we trusting Millar, when a much younger, better Walker didn’t bring any of the damn ’04 “magic”?), Neifi Perez, and there are a few I’m sure I missed. It’s sad that out of this group, Theriot EASILY outperformed them. I thought Riot was going to be Dustin Pedroia before there was a Dustin Pedroia, seriously. Cedeno, as fashionable as he looked on the field, SUCKED, and the rest were random bums. 3B Aramis Ramirez had an excellent season, but again they were empty numbers. Do it down the stretch, ARam.

OF-LF Jacque Jones had a good, but not great season, and RF Matt Murton would’ve probably looked better in right in a Cubs uni than Fukudome and Bradley. Yes, he was part of the deal that enabled the Cubs to trade for Rich Harden, but again…Fukudome and Bradley. CF Juan Pierre did exactly what was expected of him. Steal 50+ bases, get on base at less than a 35% clip, and have his arm taken advantage of as if someone had injected roofies into it before every game.

SP-RHP Carlos Zambrano was the majors’ best 200K/100BB pitcher. RHP Kerry Wood? “Hot Tub”. No comment. RHP Mark Prior came back from a freakish elbow fracture in 2005 to post pretty good numbers, but his 2006 season was atrocious. After that, it went completely downhill for our Trojan friend. Oh, and if you wanted to see “terrible”, you should’ve seen Carlos Marmol. There were countless times in 2006 when I called for him to be traded for a case of root beer. RHP Greg Maddux was…not good. LHP Rich Hill irritated me then, when he was actually pretty decent, and, as much as I loathed Marmol, I detested the soft-tossing LHP Sean Marshall.

RP-Yes, the lame Ryan Dempster. The guy, who like about 1,000 comedians/comediennes(yes, I’ve seen women, too)in CHICAGO, does a Harry Caray impression. He was Kevin Gregg, just in Canadian form. I went to about every Cubs home game that summer, and I let him have it, all the way from Aisle 425. I really can’t badmouth the bullpen too much, because that was basically the strength of their pitching staff, sad to say. Yes, that includes Bob Howry and Steve Ire.

Manager-Dusty Baker was a lame duck. Point. Blank. Peri-ahd. Dusty Baker was/is responsible for getting Cubs fans away from using the “Lovable Losers” label for their team. All of a sudden, this was what was expected. Unlike the atmosphere after the ’98 season, when Cubs fans were just happy to be able to call Sammy Sosa and Kerry Wood their own. Cubs fans got away from the “happy to be here” tag right after the 2003 NLCS. The Cubs were in playoff contention in ’04 before choking down the stretch, and they were a team that lost Wood and Prior for stretches. It was the same with Wood and Prior the next season(this was before the Cubs realized they had two glass-armed aces and put together contingency plans), and the Cubs finished a few games under .500. The 2006 Cubs were just BAD, and Dusty Baker was the fall guy.

And now, on to December, 2006.

Watching Baseball Tonight, as per usual, I saw a story about Cubs general manager Jim Hendry signing free agent LHP Ted Lilly. ‘Nice’, I thought. For four years and $40 million. ‘Dumb’, I thought. What made this signing sound even dumber at the time were the circumstances under which it took place. Jim Hendry, a man who had signed free agent LF Alfonso Soriano to a “sizable” deal and re-signed ARam to one as well, completed the deal with Lilly while in the hospital, hooked to an EKG. For Steve Carlton? Yes. For Ted Lilly? Yahoo IM me if you want to sign. All I knew about Lilly was that he was a stoic-looking lefty that had gotten into a confrontation/altercation with Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons. I personally thought it was awesome.

How's my breath?

Little did I know that Theodore Roosevelt Lilly would become the Cubs best pitcher since the start of the 2007 season. He takes the bump every 5 days, looking as plain as white bread, and does his job. Nothing flashy, just consistent. I feel better about his chances to give the Cubs a chance to win every time he starts than any other Cubs starter in recent memory. I don’t even want him to rush back from his injuries. A 100% Lilly is easily the ace of the Cubs starting rotation. If I have a son, he will be a lefthanded pitcher, modeled after Lilly. And just when I thought Teddy couldn’t get any doper, he TRUCKED St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina(which eventually caused him to be removed him from the game), pitched 8 innings, got the win, in September…in St. Louis.

Ted Lilly don't take no guff...

I understand that the Cubs probably wouldn’t have signed Ted Lilly if they had a better 2006. I’m sure that if Wood and Prior were healthy, along with Zambrano and Hill, there would’ve been no need for Lilly. The same could possibly be said about Alfonso Soriano, that the Cubs wouldn’t have reached for him if they were coming off a 2003-like season. But unlike Soriano, Ted Lilly is that dude. You know exactly what you’re going to get from him, unlike most of the other knuckleheads currently being employed by the Cubs. Lilly might not be back after this season. The same goes for DLee. Bet that if the Cubs are out of contention by the All-Star break, Lilly and D. Lee would be the first to go. So appreciate “The Stoic One” for as long as you can…

P.S. I miss Karen!!!

P.P.S. Whatever happened to Scott Servais?

I’m SICK of you Milton Bradley-haters…

I’m really annoyed by all the hatred that still remains for Milton Bradley. First, I want to clear something up. Milton Bradley is a jackass. He’s sarcastic, is not a “social” guy, and has a quick temper. Add a “me against the world” attitude, and you know why he’s playing for his 8th team in 9 seasons even though he’s a fairly talented baseball player. Yet, it unnerves me to know that there are so many Cubs fans and bloggers and Chicago sportswriters that seem to blame the Cubs mediocrity last season squarely on Milton Bradley.

I found myself booing him the way I once booed Todd Hundley. He couldn’t do anything right by my standards. I was disgusted by the sight of the guy that somehow stole a 3yr/$30mil contract from the dumbass aka Jim Hendry. I knew the Cubs were still in contention, but I kept imagining Bobby Abreu or Raul Ibanez in his position, and kept thinking that the Cubs would be atop the Central instead of trying to gain ground on the Deadbirds.

July and August come around, and suddenly, besides DLee, Bradley was the Cubs best hitter(check his numbers). It seemed like the summer would be saved, and then he popped off in late August about hatred. Racial epithets directed towards him, which a good number of people shrugged off, and some even insinuated that he used as an excuse for his poor numbers. I can only think of one fanbase off the top of my head that is more vanilla, and that is Boston’s. Watching home Yankees games gives you a glimpse at just how diverse New York City is. The same can be said for Dodgers and Angels games. The sad thing is that Chicago is just as diverse, but you wouldn’t know it by watching games at Wrigley, or even The Cell for the most part. Now the animosity between Bradley and everybody else increased. Once again, he vented to a reporter that Chicago is a negative place to play and he wasn’t surprised that the Cubs hadn’t won a World Series in 100 years. A couple doses of sarcasm to a reporter in September and finally, Jim Hendry pulled the plug on the Milton Bradley Experiment. Bradley finished the season hitting .257, with 12 homers and 57 RBI. His .OBP was .378 and his slugging percentage was a disappointing .397. He was ejected, threw mini-tantrums, made baserunning, fielding, and mental errors, struck out looking too often, and just simply didn’t produce.

It was clear that Bradley would be traded in the offseason. There was no way the Cubs could bring back a guy that had caused so much controversy on and off the field, on top of not producing. A matter of the team and players involved in the trade for Bradley was all that needed to be resolved. December, 19, 2009, Jim Hendry gave many Cubs fans an early Christmas present with a trade sending Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for underachieving pitcher Carlos Silva. Most Cubs fans prematurely penciled in another 10-15 wins for the Cubs next year, mainly due to the departure of Bradley. The clubhouse would be a lot better, and there wouldn’t be a moody presence in the dugout, either.

Yeah right. It’s funny how fans have no problem with an asshole as long as that asshole is producing. Cubs fans, remember Sammy Sosa? The guy who struck out 150+ times a season, mostly on pitches that were nowhere near the strike zone? The guy, who early in his career routinely overthrew cutoff men and attempted steals like a madman no matter the situation late in the season to reach the 30HR/30SB plateau? How many times did he wind up with only a single because he did a premature “Sammy hop”? I do believe it was Sosa who was the owner of the boombox that blasted salsa music in the clubhouse. While most other guys hit a homerun and went back to the clubhouse to be congratulated by teammates, Sosa made a production of it. The hop. Touching home and throwing two fingers to the sky. Coming back to the dugout and finding the camera and sending his own form of a shoutout to whoever the recipient was. When he was hitting 40HRs and winning ballgames by himself for the Cubs, no one had a problem with his ways. When he tailed off, we were ecstatic to trade him to Baltimore, virtually for Scary Hairston, Jr. Granted, he didn’t help his cause by leaving the ballpark early on what was Fan Appreciation Day, but Cubs fans lost all love for Sosa long before that. When you’re hitting .250 and striking out more than twice as much as you walk, you don’t have much leeway with any fans, let alone Cubs fans.

I do not point the finger only at Cubs fans. Ty Cobb was a well-known racist. Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Albert Belle, Jim Rice, and Barry Bonds were not known for being great guys either, but all of them were elite players that for the most part, were given passes by fans for being assholes. There are examples in football, basketball, hockey, and soccer as well(which I won’t get to now).

If Bradley were hitting .321 with 22HRs and a .436 OBP(he posted those numbers in 2008 with Texas in 126 games, only two more than he played with the Cubs in 2009)on September 20, 2009, I guarantee no one would have called for his head. Face it, we(because I am a Cubs fan, too)are not exactly an optimistic bunch. I’m only 24, and have had my heart broken by the Cubs more than I care to remember. We’re basically waiting for the dream to end every season. Some seasons it ends very early, and others we are driven(1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008)to the point of self-destruction. And if you don’t believe that out of all of those drunk white guys in the outfield bleachers on a summer day at Wrigley, that not one would have the beer guts to shout something racist at an underperforming, already sour Bradley, you’re delusional.

The Cubs 2009 season was a disappointment, and not just because of Milton Bradley. It’s obvious that Bradley had a bad year. So did Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, Aaron Miles, Geovany Soto, ARam(I include him only because of his injury, from which I don’t think he ever fully recovered), Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Aaron Heilman, Kevin Gregg, and Carlos Marmol(until he was named the closer). Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot were both average, so I tend to ignore their contributions. I don’t understand how Cubs fans have forgotten Sori’s huge contract and low production to this point, or that Zambrano is one of the highest-paid pitchers in the majors even though he’s the ace by default. Hendry missed out on a chance to add a proven ace in Jake Peavy to re-sign his buddy and clubhouse comedian, Ryan Dempster. Dempster is a good pitcher, but not a 4yr/$52 mil pitcher. Hell, add Lou Piniella and his weird management of the bullpen and lineup to that list, too.

There’s no way that Bradley’s bad performance stood out more than Soriano posting his worst season since his rookie year in the majors. Soto smoked pot, got fat, and proved that for some players, there is such a thing as a sophomore slump. Everyone is waiting for Zambrano to finally pitch more like an ace and not an overhyped #3. Gregg blew saves left and right while Marmol couldn’t throw more than one strike at a time, and it seemed like most fans were waiting for a Bradley strikeout or error.

Milton Bradley and Larry Vanover having a friendly conversation...

Bradley was wrong to speak so badly about Cubs fans, simply because we pay his bloated salary. I’m sure a lot more athletes feel that way about their home cities, but they’re “smart” enough to keep those thoughts to themselves. Also, it wouldn’t have hurt him to be nicer to members of the Chicago media, seeing as how they’re the ones that paint the final picture of him. Still, Cubs fans should’ve known that we were getting an ill-tempered, sometimes volatile, outspoken, injury-prone right fielder. Even though Bradley himself admitted that he had a bad year, his numbers weren’t that far from his career averages. When I read that Bradley wanted to be here, and that he told Byrd to enjoy it and not do the same things that he did to earn fans’ ire, I believe it. The guy’s a ballplayer. He’s just a different type of ballplayer. He’s not Mark Grace or Eddie Banks, guys that you would like to have a beer with. He didn’t produce like Sosa, allowing you to see past his ornery ways. He, along with many other Cubs, had a bad 2009 season. Bradley was just the most convenient whipping boy. Despite subpar performances from so many, the Cubs were still in playoff contention with several weeks left to play in the regular season.

Bradley will be the left fielder/right fielder/DH for the Seattle Mariners(who are my pick to win the 2010 AL West, by the way). The Cubs have signed center fielder Marlon Byrd, and Fukudome will move back to right field. Byrd will hit fifth, and a lot of people are counting on new hitting coach Rudy Jamarillo to help Cubs hitters rebound from a horrible 2009. The pitching is solid, but Lilly won’t bring his stale face to the bump every 5 days until around May, hopefully. So that means that we’ll have to pray that Randy Wells can work some more of his beginners magic. Speaking of “hopefully”, Marmol has finally found his place as a closer. I wouldn’t mind it if Piniella would resign as manager, and Ryan Sandberg(with Mark Grace as his bench coach)would take over.

In conclusion, GET OVER MILTON BRADLEY. He’s not even in the same league anymore. Be aware: If you see a guy at Wrigley in a Cubs Milton Bradley jersey, it’s me.

P.S. I miss Karen!!!

P.P.S. #shoutout to everyone that doesn’t blame the 2009 Cubs season on Milt…

Just the weekend…

I went to the Cubs game Saturday. It was their second to last game, and fortunately, they won. Sadly, they didn’t win today, in the finale. Still, I don’t think they’ve lost any fans. I know the Cubs haven’t lost me. We’ll simply wait for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training, in 2010, and hope that 1212 months is enough of a wait. Even though the Blackhawks got points after their first game for a shootout loss, I still wanted to see them get their first win of the season before leaving Finland. Coach Quenneville started Niemi in net (in front of his hometown fans) and the Blackhawks shut out the Panthers, 4-0. I’m glad to see the young Blackhawks showing that they can rack up goals and win games, even if it is only 2 games into the season. And thank somebody the Bears blew the Lions out today. Good teams are supposed to blow teams like the Lions out, 48-24. I wish Cutler had thrown for more yards, but I’m pretty sure he likes wins over individual accolades. On another tip, Michigan State beat Michigan for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. So I figure that half off my family can’t stand me right now. I don’t care; I have bragging rights for the next year… P.S. I miss Karen!!! P.P.S. #shoutout to The Deck Guild

A Saturday at Wrigley Field…

Aisle 425, Row 7, Seat 103. Damn my acrophobia. I hate walking down the few steps to Row 7. Pretty good view, though. It’s like some of these women think they’re coming to a Cubs game to be seen. And the dudes sitting in the aisle across from us? WOW. Both of them are wearing Montreal Expos jerseys and fitteds. In other news…I dig how there are a couple of people rocking Blackhawks apparel, though. I don’t feel so bad for wearing my Black Hawks(Original 6) fitted now. WHO wears heels to a Cubs game? A foul ball ended up being caught by a guy two rows in front of me. I didn’t even budge. I just never saw the point of climbing over someone to catch a foul ball. I wish Soriano was playing today. I laugh watching him playing leftfield. Randy Wells was one of the few Cubs that didn’t make me wanna throw my tv out of the window this season. I’m glad he had a good start; good way to finish his season. Not sure why the second beer tastes better than the first. Could it be the beginnings of a “buzz”? Food and drinks are expensive as hell at Wrigley. $6.50 for a beer, $4 for a hot dog. $3.25 for a pretzel, jeez… But, you have to eat SOMETHING, right? Recorded Ryne Sandberg singing the 7th Inning Stretch in “sepia”. Dope. Finally, Marmol closed this thing. Cubs win. Getting out of Wrigley is the tricky part. Wrigley is old as shit, and has too many narrow paths, considering 40,000 are leaving at basically the same time. And unlike in LA, where Dodgers fans start leaving at 7pm, regardless, Cubs fans usually stick around for all 9. Why do I miss Jada right now? Phone’s dying, but Jessica Rabbit just told me the Blackhawks AND Michigan St. won. Nice. I’m in the mood for some shrimp egg foo yung. With french toast. Tomorrow’s the last Cubs game of the year. Disappointing season, but at least I have Wrigley… P.S. I miss Karen!!! P.P.S. #shoutout to Uncle John, and all the Cubs fans out there that bleed blue and red…

I am a member of the 1212 Month Fan Club…

Another year. Without a World Series title. Or even an appearance. For the Chicago Cubs and their loyal, devoted fans. We (Cubs fans) have blamed a billy goat, a black cat, Steve Bartman, and now…Milton Bradley, for the Cubs’ failures. After coming into the 2009 season as the NL’s “clear-cut favorite”, the Cubs won’t even finish the season with 90 wins. The Cubs “ace” pitcher, Carlos Zambrano, will not reach either 15 wins or 200 innings. A rookie, Randy Wells, has been the Cubs most consistent pitcher…and he’s a converted catcher. The Opening Day setup man and closer, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg, have taken turns given fans heart attacks. Ryan Dempster, previously one of the worst closers in baseball, was grossly overpaid this offseason (after ONE good year as a starter) and has been above average. Catcher Geovany Soto followed up a Rookie of the Year campaign with a season that brings up two words: sophomore slump. Quite possibly, it had something to do with riding the oak in the World Baseball Classic and doing his best Cheech & Chong impersonation before the season started. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez missed almost two months after dislocating a shoulder. Light-hitting shortstop Ryan Theriot seemingly adopted a power hitter’s attitude. Second basemen Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles have stunk it up, period. Luckily, the position was saved by trade acquisition Jeff Baker. After an awful April, first baseman Derrek Lee went on to have one of the better all-around seasons in baseball. Too bad, again, he put up big numbers in an otherwise mediocre season for the Cubs. Just like he did in 2005. The Cubs outfield was the most overpaid, underperforming outfield in baseball. Leftfielder Soriano, the $136 million man/space cadet. Centerfielder Fukudome, a poor man’s Hideki Matsui. And rightfielder Milton Bradley, who despite criticism, wasn’t that far from his career production. Unfortunately, his career averages leave MUCH to be desired. However, you have to give his agent credit. Anybody who could convince someone to give a volatile, injury-prone, above average player who’s never played more than 2 seasons with one team a 3yr/$30 million contract should be given some type of award. Then there’s the (who my Granny B says looks like an old woman) manager, Lou Piniella. If he didn’t look frustrated, he looked uninterested. He couldn’t control his team. He had players show him and umps up, and attack Gatorade coolers. Players (well actually, just Bradley) vented to the media and made disparaging comments about the media and fans. And WHO constructed such a fine cast of characters? General manager, Jim Hendry. Well, at least the Cubs are no longer a prisoner of Sam Zell. Let’s hope Tom Ricketts is a better, and more sensible warden. Till next spring training, Cubs fans…

Did Milton *gulp* call Cubs fans out?

So the Cubs suspended RF Milton Bradley for the rest of the season. If this were college, Hendry, the Cubs AD, would say he would be suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Apparently, Bradley stated over the last few days that Chicago’s negativity has had an adverse affect on his play. (As if booing, even some racist fans, would cause a guy to play as badly as Bradley has this season, but I digress) I thought to myself: Bradley’s an ass. He finally got more than a one-year audition, in a big market, and BOMBED. In 2009, he didn’t resemble a fraction of the player that he was in 2008. But that’s the problem. TOO MANY Cubs fans were banking on the 2008 Milton Bradley, and didn’t know enough about his past. And I don’t mean his off-the-field transgressions (as I see one blogger included his arrests) or his volatile antics on-the-field. I mean his actual stats. In 2008 (his career year), he hit .321, but with 22 homers and 77 RBIs…in only 126 games. He was in the lineup often as a designated hitter, which makes missing 36 games something to worry about. He had never hit 30 homers or driven in 100. He’d never been a basestealing threat or even an above average fielder. He’s a career .277 hitter, and only had 103 career homers before 2009 in 8 seasons. Cubs fans should’ve known that we couldn’t completely rely on this guy. But the way we booed him at times, you’d think he was A-Rod and we were Yankees fans. Honestly, why expect so much all of a sudden? Since I became a HARDCORE Cubs fan in ’98, the Cubs have fielded some mediocre and good teams. I’d sit back at times and wonder why Cubs fans believed every year would be the Cubs year. Even being a diehard Cubs fan, I could honestly predict that they wouldn’t do much. It seems that Cubs fans don’t want to associate themselves with the “Lovable Losers” anymore. However, there’s still belligerent drunkenness and ignorance. There are PLENTY of people who act as if attending a Cubs game is the equivalent of walking down a red carpet. Plain and simple, there are Cubs fans that go to home games that don’t know a DAMN thing about baseball. Not that those three types of people don’t populate MLB parks all over. It just seems like it’s more accepted at Wrigley. Wrigley Field for some brings them back to their college campus, tailgating before a football game on a Saturday morning. THAT, is the problem. The culture is a riotous, and at times, chaotic one. Bradley’s cries of racism didn’t shock me. Not one bit. His claims that Cubs fans are negative didn’t shock me, either. Cubs fans are some of the most pessimistic sports fans of all-time. We have to be. Listen to the way Cubs fans complain. It’s absolutely the worst sports banter you’ll ever hear. Having delusions of grandeur too, we must be. Blaming Bartman for the 2003 NLCS failure. A billy goat. A black cat crossing Ron Santo’s path. Cubs fans are passionate. Which is a gift and a curse. Sometimes I think Cubs fans misplace that passion. I wish more were knowledgeable of the game instead of just being Cubs fans. Maybe then more wouldn’t have been to ready to crucify Bradley at his first mistake. In my opinion, I think right now, there are a lot of hurt Cubs fans. (Not because Bradley has been suspended; I’m sort of happy about that myself.) But because we’ve been called out. We’ve been told by Bradley, “Yeah, I’ve stunk it up this season. But it doesn’t help to play my ass off, fuck up, and endure you guys’ act as if it’s the first fuck-up ever in the history of baseball.” For once, a player isn’t applauding the fact that we are the world’s greatest fans. We’ve been told that we’re obnoxious, dumb, racist, ignorant, drunk, negative and just bad fans. I think it’s a shock to most of us. To be lumped in with other professional sports fans, when for years, we acted as if our shit didn’t stink because we chose to stick with a losing team. Face it, Cubs fans: We kinda do it to ourselves. How many players/managers/coaches have we hinged the season’s hopes on? Even subconsciously? How many times have we gotten a glimpse of success only to have it blacked out by reality? We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Cubs break our hearts. Year after year. They seemingly find a different way to do it to us. Yet we go back, for more pain. And after some time, for most of us, it has made us bitter, if only the slightest amount. Some of us spew that at anyone who adds to it, and sometimes we spew with pure, unadulterated hate. It just so happens that the Cubs lost another “cult hero” (even though Derosa had played here only TWO seasons!) and essentially replaced him with Milton Bradley. Jim Hendry made the move, thanks to some needling from Lou Piniella. If Bradley doesn’t come back in 2010, then neither should Hendry and Piniella. P.S. I miss Karen!!! P.P.S. #shoutout to all the real Cubs fans, who aren’t interested in whining and bitching about how “horrible” the Cubs are 24/7

What to do?

Damn you, Jim Hendry and your penchant for overvaluing players. You’ve dug this Cubs team into a hole, officially. 8yrs/136mil to Alfonso Soriano, a career below-average fielder with a horrible eye at the plate and a reputation for playing like a space cadet more times than not. 3yrs/30mil to Milton Bradley, a guy who was injury-prone his entire career, and when healthy, never put up eye-popping numbers. 5yrs/91.5mil to Carlos Zambrano, basically the Cubs ace only because Kerry Wood and Mark Prior never panned out. Is anyone else confused as to why this guy STILL isn’t a top 10 pitcher in the majors? 4yrs/52mil to Ryan Dempster, a great guy, but a barely good pitcher, career-wise. The only reason he made the move to the starting rotation is because he STUNK IT UP during the 2006-07 season as the team’s closer. His 2008 numbers were good, but not anything that’s in the neighborhood of Bob Gibson-numbers. He didn’t do enough in one year , after not starting for 5, to earn that kind of payday. Check his stats, please. Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol proved to be much better options, anyway. 4yrs/48mil to Kosuke Fukudome. As of now, Fuk is doing exactly what I expected of him. Hit from .270-.290 with an OBP from .380-400. He has 11HR and 30 doubles, which is pretty good, but not worth 12mil/yr for an unproven prospect from the other side of the world. Every GM seems to think that their Japanese prospect is going to be the next Ichiro, unfortunately. 2yrs/5mil to Aaron Miles?!?! ‘Nuff said. AND, unloading any of those players would be an almost impossible task. To make matters worse Jim, you listened to Lou bitch and moan after the Dodgers swept ‘em in the 2008 NLDS. Damn near changed the complexion of the team with just two moves. You pretty much traded one of the most popular Cubs EVER(Derosa) and let one go without a fight (Wood). You replaced Derosa with a volatile Bradley, who once had his season shortened because he tore his ACL. While trying to argue with an umpire. You replaced Wood with Kevin Gregg, a guy that led the MLB in blown saves last year–pitching for the Florida Marlins. If a closer can’t get the job done in front of 15,000 fair-weather fans; did you really think he could in front of 40,000+ crazy ones? It’s taken a monthlong, torrid hitting streak from Bradley just to get his numbers to “They’re okay, I guess”. Gregg has lost his job to Marmol(an almost-as-scary option). This team needs speed, and I guess you’ve FINALLY realized that going after a Chone Figgins would help. Especially considering the fact that your power-laden, speed-deprived team is at, if not near the bottom of the majors in stolen bases. Carl Crawford could be on the market after 2010. I’m sorry, but I think that you should be fired, Jim. You did a great job getting Aramis Ramirez, but even he has yet to play to his potential, and could walk after the 2010 season. Marmol could very well be the best setup man/closer in baseball, but he can’t for whatever reason throw 3 straight strikes to anyone. Soto: bad sophomore slump. Fontenont and Theriot: “nice lil’ players”. The same goes for Sam Fuld, Jake Fox, Micah Hoffpauir and Andres Blanco. Will Vitters, Colvin, Castillo, Shark, and Cashner pan out? Only time will tell. Too bad I hope you’re not around to see it. I’m coming for your job, Jim… P.S. I miss Karen!!! P.P.S. #shoutout to Martina Martini Marinier, my favorite Puerto Rican/Cuban goumad