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   1. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2038091)
Let me be even more clear: Any question asked of me regarding the team’s poor play now and how to build for the future will be answered with a reference to Houston of last year and the year before. My manager and general manager have also mentioned Houston of the last two years repeatedly. You’ll keep hearing it until we’re mathematically eliminated. No, I’m not comparing this team to that team in any real specific way or taking a serious look at Houston’s starting rotation and closer versus our personnel. But as long as I can keep mentioning Houston in ‘04 and Houston in ‘05, I have no reason to take a hard look at this team or consider how to prepare for the future because we know that miracles can happen.

Indeed. At what point will the Cubs sink below Houston's record from last year? I'm hoping maybe a sweep by the Braves this weekend would get us there.

Then we can say "yeah, but we're worse than Houston was last year. So stop making that comparison, numbnuts."
   2. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2038101)
That is way premature for a variety of reasons. Our [minor-league] system is performing well and has performed well. Every independent study we do of our system, we are producing players on par to almost every franchise. . . . And our teams, by and large, are faring pretty well in all of the levels.

I would love to see this study. I really, really would. I guess the Cubs would be about average overall, but well-below (dead last perhaps) the average for position players (and definitely last in position starters). Is there any weight given to the quality of the player?
   3. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2038116)
At what point will the Cubs sink below Houston's record from last year?

The Cubs are 18-28; last year at this point the Astros were 16-30. They did win four of their next six, so the Cubs will need to go at least 2-4 against Atlanta and Cincinnati to keep pace with last year's Astros.
   4. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2038118)
When will U.S. troops be pulled out of Iraq, you ask? It’s when my generals and field commanders tell me the time is right. I don’t make that decision. Oops...sorry. I learned how to pass the buck from the best of them and got a bit carried away. As I was saying, it’s Jim Hendry’s job. Not mine.

I don't think MacPhail was passing the buck. I think he was just avoiding the question.


But as long as I can keep mentioning Houston in ‘04 and Houston in ‘05, I have no reason to take a hard look at this team or consider how to prepare for the future because we know that miracles can happen.

As tired as I am about all the Houston references (which is why I give my daily update of the historical chances), it's not really the references themselves that I find most annoying; it's the fact that the "braintrust" not only believes that a miracle can happen but operates the team with the idea that it isn't just possible, but realistic.


My recent effort to call in a Chicago Tribune sports reporter and editor to try to water down the critical coverage of the Cubs and Jacques Jones’ baseball IQ in no way makes my assertion here laughable and a perfect representation of a corporate lie.

The funny thing is that when I read MacPhail's comment, I presumed that he was specifically referring to the incident -- as if to point out that the fact he couldn't get Sullivan fired demonstrates that the Cubs don't control the Tribune.
   5. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2038120)
And losing all three to the Braves would put the 2005 Astros and 2006 Cubs tied at 18-31.
   6. Neil M Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2038126)
Houston '04 was very dependent on the Cubs imploding in the last month. Are we seriously expecting <b<both</b> the Cubs to massively improve and someone else to dissolve in a mess of hissy fits and recrimination? That's one hell of a plan.
   7. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2038138)
Are we seriously expecting both the Cubs to massively improve and someone else to dissolve in a mess of hissy fits and recrimination? That's one hell of a plan.

If any team can pull both of those things off at the same time, it's the Cubs.
   8. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2038139)
The "braintrust" isn't pointing their fingers at Houston '04 too much anymore -- probably because it's been pointed out that team had a managerial change.

It's Houston '05 that's the target, with the added sweetener of making the World Series.
   9. Mike Isaacs Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2038156)
>It's not really the references themselves that I find most annoying; it's the fact that the "braintrust" not only believes that a miracle can happen but operates the team with the idea that it isn't just possible, but realistic<

I completely agree, but the repeated references provide the window to what the team is "believing" and how the team is "operating" on those beliefs, IMHO.

>When I read MacPhail's comment, I presumed that he was specifically referring to the incident -- as if to point out that the fact he couldn't get Sullivan fired demonstrates that the Cubs don't control the Tribune.<

The same interpretation crossed my mind, djf. But whether MacPhail has succeeded in getting Sullivan to tone down his coverage will now be open to intepretation. At any rate, MacPhail represents the Chicago Cubs, and there was certainly an effort by MacPhail (the Cubs) to exert influence over a beat reporter to change his coverage of this team. It was or should have been viewed as an abuse of his position and certainly a violation of what was promised regarding the independence of the Tribune newspaper. That he should use this as an example of the separation between the Cubs and the newspaper is just a bit mind-boggling, no? A grand example of corporate logic from the mighty spin machine.
   10. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2038161)
but the repeated references provide the window to what the team is "believing"

If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...
   11. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: May 26, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2038162)
It's Houston '05 that's the target, with the added sweetener of making the World Series.

A lot went right with the '05 Astros that they had no control over - most notably an absolute dogfight in the NL East that prevented any of those teams from winning the Wild Card. This year, with punching bags in Washington and Miami instead of baseball teams, even if the Brewers, Astros and Reds all fade, I'm willing to bet that at least two of the Phillies/Braves/Mets will have more than 90 wins at season's end, and the '05 Astros only won 89 games.
   12. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2038173)
If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...

"Insane in the Membrane"?
   13. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:06 PM (#2038174)
The same interpretation crossed my mind, djf. But whether MacPhail has succeeded in getting Sullivan to tone down his coverage will now be open to intepretation. At any rate, MacPhail represents the Chicago Cubs, and there was certainly an effort by MacPhail (the Cubs) to exert influence over a beat reporter to change his coverage of this team. It was or should have been viewed as an abuse of his position and certainly a violation of what was promised regarding the independence of the Tribune newspaper. That he should use this as an example of the separation between the Cubs and the newspaper is just a bit mind-boggling, no? A grand example of corporate logic from the mighty spin machine.

Sure, but my point is that you're original take implied that MacPhail was pretending the Sullivan incident never happened. This is obviously not true -- not only because MacPhail knew it happened, but because the interview was with Tribune reporter Fred Mitchell.

Both knew the incident took place, and MacPhail obviously wasn't going to pretend otherwise to Mitchell, so the only way I think you can read it is as if MacPhail was pointing to the incident as proof that the Cubs don't control the Tribune.

Yes, this is shameful. The good news, however, is that it apparently (to my eyes anyway) hasn't worked.
   14. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:06 PM (#2038175)
According to ESPN's baseball tonight, if the Cubs didn't fire Dusty on the off-day yesterday they're not going to fire him at all this year. They also said it would be unfair to fire him because of the Prior, Wood, and Lee injuries.

So I guess the fact that we've been carrying injured pitchers while having a good hitter get injured for two months has saved Dusty's job. Hey, didn't that happen last year too? Wow, what a great leader. I bet with this Barrett suspension about to be served he could be looking at some manager of the year votes!
   15. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2038181)
So I guess the fact that we've been carrying injured pitchers while having a good hitter get injured for two months has saved Dusty's job. Hey, didn't that happen last year too? Wow, what a great leader. I bet with this Barrett suspension about to be served he could be looking at some manager of the year votes!

I think the Cubs just want to top Houston from last year. If they came back from 15-30, we're going to come back from 25-50.

The catalyst will be: Tony Womack.
   16. Mike Isaacs Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:21 PM (#2038198)
<Both knew the incident took place, and MacPhail obviously wasn't going to pretend otherwise to Mitchell, so the only way I think you can read it is as if MacPhail was pointing to the incident as proof that the Cubs don't control the Tribune.<

What's even more ridiculous about this whole thing is that I don't think Sullivan's coverage was as tough as it should have been. And in this case, Mitchell provides no follow-up to the question and fails to raise with MacPhail some of the points we're now discussing. We shouldn't even have to be gently debating this. If it's true that MacPhail is referencing this incident in a passive-aggressive way here, Mitchell should follow up and directly ask MacPhail to defend his behavior and how it jives with the Cubs respecting the Tribune as an independent newspaper. It's the reporter's job to make clear just what MacPhail is trying to get away with and ask him directly to defend himself.

In other words, MacPhail doesn't realize that the Tribune isn't that far removed from providing the coverage he wants.
   17. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2038207)
If MacPhail isn't going to be fired, and if he isn't going to quit, he should just shut up. When his excuse-making isn't merely annoying or laughable, it's insulting.

But one thing's for sure, he should never, ever bring up the Houston Astros in any context whatsoever. He should pretend the Astros don't exist, because if you look at the Astros track record over the time he's been with the Cubs, it makes MacPhail look very bad. In the last 11 years, the Astros have posted 10 winning seasons. A .543 win percentage. Lower payrolls. Lower attendance. The 2005 Astros don't serve as an example of hope for Cubs fans, they serve as evidence of what a complete joke the Cubs are and will remain as long as MacPhail is at the helm.

It's also annoying that he brings up 2003. There are four players on the current roster from that season, and two of them are on the DL, quite possibly in part because of the rented mule treatment they received in the last couple of months of that season. Whatever attempts were made to build on that success can only be evaluated as abject failure.
   18. Mike Isaacs Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2038222)
>They also said it would be unfair to fire him because of the Prior, Wood, and Lee injuries.<

Apparently, the moment these injuries took place, Dusty Baker's performance as a manager became totally irrelevant and not worthy of any kind of evaluation. You would expect this misguided reasoning from someone like MacPhail or Hendry. But you're hearing it everywhere now...and I just don't get it.

It is an absolutely erroneous leap in logic to suggest that those who advocate getting rid of Baker are also saying Baker is the only one to blame for this team and are absolving all other executives from responsibility. And yet, this way of thinking will not go away.

When is it time then to fire a manager? If he has a good team and the players are not performing well, you can't hold the manager responsible. The manager doesn't hit or field, we're told. OK. What happens when the team isn't so good and is not playing well. The manager didn't hire these guys. In this case, Baker didn't cause the severe injuries on this team so any way the team performs, conducts itself and is manageed on the field is now excusable.

What this thinking really says is this: There is never a justification to fire the manager. And in specific, since this manager has a team with some serious injuries, it would not be fair in any way to evaluate the job he is doing. If other jobs were just like that, sign me up.
   19. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2038229)
As much as I want to see MacPhail, Hendry, and Baker all gone in the most unseemly of ways, one thing that especially irks me about MacPhail and Hendry is the PR game they are playing about Dusty.

To some extent, I agree that if they've decided he's the right guy for this team, they should announce his extension right now. There are only two reasons not to announce it now --

1. The team hasn't decided yet (or, put another way, this losing stretch is giving the team doubt) -- if that's the case great, but there has been no indication of this whatsoever;

2. They don't want to deal with the public/media backlash that would come from the announcement -- this is yet another example of the Cubs being run in a manner of a PR organization first, and a baseball team far down the list, and yet another example of what I find most reprehensible about the organization.
   20. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2038250)
What this thinking really says is this: There is never a justification to fire the manager. And in specific, since this manager has a team with some serious injuries, it would not be fair in any way to evaluate the job he is doing. If other jobs were just like that, sign me up.

I agree completely with the entire post. What gets me is the other game that the media is playing -- the idea that a manager only deserves to be fired when he's 100% of the problem. In his latest Q&A, Paul Sullivan opines:
While Dusty Baker isn't blameless, when a team is in last place in almost every offensive category, including runners in scoring position, in addition to walks allowed, I don't see how he's totally responsible for the stunning lack of production by some very highly paid players. Look at the players' stats and tell me which ones are playing poorly because of Baker's managing. I don't think he deserves a contract extension until the season plays out and we see what transpires. But I still don't think he's the main reason why this team is playing so poorly.


This is just nonsense on so many levels. First, has there ever been a situation in any professional sport in which the manager was, indeed, "totally responsible for the stunning lack of production"? Whatever happened to the notion that "you have to fire the manager because you can't fire the players"?

More importantly, let's put aside the fact that Prior, Wood, and Lee are hurt. Let's deal with the other 22 members of the team. Is there anything we've seen from Baker's managing that has been at all truly positive (rather than "not negative")?

This is a manager who is tactically inept, has exerted influence/control over a bench that is annually among the worst in baseball, perpetually (despite his insistence otherwise) fields teams who run the bases terribly, miss cutoff men, etc., and above all else, is simply not getting the best from his players.

Yes, he doesn't have much of a hand to play with (though he does have some influence in shaping his hand). That's why Hendry needs to be shown the door as well.

Nevertheless, Dusty's job doesn't end simply because three of his top players have been hurt. He still has to manage the other 22 and he's been simply awful at it.
   21. Mike Isaacs Posted: May 26, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2038267)
Amen and very well said.

The same Q and A piece raised my ire as well.

Just to be clear, this would be the same Paul Sullivan who is much too hard on the Cubs and needs to hold back a little, right?
   22. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2038279)
Just to be clear, this would be the same Paul Sullivan who is much too hard on the Cubs and needs to hold back a little, right?

Yeah, I was thinking about that. In general, I don't think Sullivan is really a Cubs-mouthpiece (though he is less abrasive than the Sun-Times guys). I have read him criticizing both Dusty and Hendry.

Still, things like this really don't make him look good. He and Mike Kiley have done a lot of waffling about the Dusty issue.
   23. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: May 26, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2038288)
If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...

"Insane in the Membrane"?
Was my post too subtle for you?
   24. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2038292)
I got your reference, not to worry. I just think a song about insanity better describes any belief that the Cubs will come back and contend this year.
   25. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#2038818)
<u>Update after today's debacle</u>
Between 1900-2005, there have been 69 teams who had the Cubs 18-29 start.

Of those, two (2.9%) made the postseason:

* the '74 Pirates
* the '81 Royals (who made the playoffs because of their second-half record)

Two other teams (the '05 Astros and '14 Braves) made the playoffs with worse records. Including all teams with records as bad as those teams, this would be 209 teams, with four (1.9%) making the postseason.

Dusty Baker on Wednesday: "Yeah, anything’s realistic. We’re continually reminding them (the players) of that. We’re hammering it home pretty good. Everybody’s thinking it’s over. It’s a long ways from over."
   26. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: May 26, 2006 at 10:21 PM (#2038826)
If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...

"Insane in the Membrane"?


I think "Stupidity Tries" will work a bit better.
   27. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2038837)
Including all teams with records as bad as those teams, this would be 209 teams, with four (1.9%) making the postseason.

I'm going to start rooting for us to make the bottom 100 - the worst starts of all time. We're at T-210 right now, but I have to think that's with a bullet.

(Now if we only had a gun and a getaway car, we could put that bullet to its proper use.)
   28. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#2038942)
I must say, the media (and the Trib) have been more patient than I expected ... with the most twisted of logic.

When a few players are underperforming, that might be the fault of the players or a particular coach or of course just bad luck.

When EVERYBODY is underperforming, when you are pretty much dead last in everything, that is management's fault.

The season has been riddled with obvious errors -- the Pierre trade (which should have worked out better than it has), the Jones signing, not having a platoon partner for Jones or a backup for Lee, not having much starting pitching depth (and trading what you had for Pierre), trying to trade Walker (as I've said before, imagine how much more miserable the last month would have been without him), having three MI on the bench, replacing Lee with Walker and then having the gall to comment you can't find a better 1B than Walker, bringing up Theriot then not giving him any ABs even though your 2B make this guy look like Babe Ruth, working Bynum into the lineup in LF instead of 2B (when your 2B are making this other guy look like Ted Williams), guys caught off-base, balls tossed out of play when they're in play, shoving, punching, and assaulting opponents and water coolers. Now the bullpen is starting to implode.

I'll ask again -- how much more embarassing does this have to get before someone gets fired?
   29. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#2038952)
I know, not literally everybody is underperforming. The sad thing is, many are performing at expected levels.
   30. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 26, 2006 at 11:55 PM (#2039025)
This might actually be some good news:

Cubs TV Ratings Down 45% since 2004

Hitting this team in the pocketbook is the only way that any real change is going to happen. Now if we could just get the attendance to start dropping as well. I'll be interested to see how the crowds are in August and especially September if the Cubs are sitting 30 under .500 this year. In the summer, I'm not sure what they'd have to do to keep people away. The experience of summer day baseball at Wrigley is enjoyable even when they suck.
   31. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 26, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#2039035)
I'll ask again -- how much more embarassing does this have to get before someone gets fired?

Well Walt, a couple of weeks ago I expressed my doubt about people being fired. The Cubs are now 4-19 on the month. My answer to your question is, quite possibly, not much. After today's loss, I wouldn't be surprised to hear a shakeup announcement any day now.

This organization is a mess, and no one is buying MacPhail's turd polish.
   32. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 27, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2039164)
We really need a prolonged losing streak. 4-19 is terrible, but not historically terrible. If this team dropped 12 or 13 in a row, or say 25 out of 27, that might do it. Though I still think they'll play the injury card.

What really frosts my cake is that everyone's acting like the Cubs are the first team in the history of baseball to lose an important player to an injury. It happens every year - and you don't see those teams suddenly turn into the MLB version of the Bad News Bears. It's the manager's job to help guide his players through the tough times. He can't hit, and he can't pitch or field, but it's his job to manage the attitudes and emotions of the team. I feel like about 18 or 19 of the guys on this team have quit for the time being - the ones who are out there swinging at every pitch, loping around the field, making stupid plays on the bases, making bad pitches at the worst possible time.

You can say all you want that it's not all Dusty's fault this team is putrid, and that's right - but it's partly his fault. There's a reason that teams playing like this fire their managers. Something has to happen. It's just lunacy going down the same road game after game after game after game. Not only is the team not adjusting to life without Lee, it's actively getting worse. Either throw up your hands, say "#### it", and start planning for 2007, or do *something* - anything - for 2006. And don't tell me that Tony Womack was the missing link. He's been released more times than a porn star's ejaculate (and he's just about that useful).
   33. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 27, 2006 at 12:38 AM (#2039183)
If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...

"Insane in the Membrane"?


How 'bout Al Yankovic's "Dare to Be Stupid."
   34. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2006 at 02:37 AM (#2039530)
If only there were a song to incorporate this feeling to not stop believing on their journey to the division title...

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?
   35. CFiJ Posted: May 27, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2039740)
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

Nothing of such quality should be linked to this year's Chicago Cubs.
   36. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 27, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2040067)
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

As big slumps go, it was bigger than most.

Since misery loves company, here's what I just looked up at espn.com. Here's a list of stats the Cubs currently rank in last place for the entire NL:

Runs, Hits, Homers, Doubles, Batting Average, Walks, On-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, RBIs, Total Bases, At Bats, Intentional Walks (tied with two other teams), Total Plate Appearances, Hit By Pitches, Extra-base hits, Pinch Hits, Flyballs, Runs Created, RC/27 Outs, Isolated Power, Secondary Average.

That's frankly some amazing offensive ineptitude. It's like the opposite of the old Big Red Machine, which led the league in everything. It's a Bizzaro version of the Perez-Bench-Rose-Morgan-Griffey-Geronimo-Foster-Concepcion lineup. Nice. I suppose it's a moral victory that they're next-to-last in Pitches per PA (SF is behind them).

And they're third in the NL in most GIDPs hit into. To be fair, that's partially because their 2nd in ground balls hit.

They're fourth in triples. So they still got that to work on.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2040576)
Here's a list of stats the Cubs currently rank in last place for the entire NL

Ahh, if only the list were that short. You forgot about the other side of the ball:

ERA, BB allowed, SB allowed, P/PA, DIPS ERA (I don't think ESPN adjusts for park though)

And, toy stat and all, our Beane Count is 62 (lower is better). The maximum possible Beane Count is 64. We're last in HR hit, BBs taken and BBs allowed but only 14th in HR allowed. The next worst team is Pitt at 49.

If Rob Neyer is reading this, surely there's an article in worst Beane Count teams of all time.
   38. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 28, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#2041706)
Runs, Hits, Homers, Doubles, Batting Average, Walks, On-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, RBIs, Total Bases, At Bats, Intentional Walks (tied with two other teams), Total Plate Appearances, Hit By Pitches, Extra-base hits, Pinch Hits, Flyballs, Runs Created, RC/27 Outs, Isolated Power, Secondary Average

But how are they doing with RISP?
   39. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 29, 2006 at 04:47 AM (#2041967)
Oh, that's last in the MLB too (.219).

What gets me, though, is the assumption that this is all their problems -- if that's the case, wouldn't they have a ton of men left on base? I don't know what the LOB stats are, but I can't imagine that the Cubs are at the top of that list either.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: May 29, 2006 at 08:29 AM (#2042074)
The single most amazing stat is that they're last in OBP yet have hit into the third most DPs.

Then you have them getting out-homered 8-0.

You guys see this team regularly. Did they drink the small-ball, BIP kool-aid (they are near the bottom in batter Ks) and turn everyone into a GB hitter? Did they listen to Ozzie's BS instead of checking his team's actual numbers?

But hey, we scored about 5 games worth of runs today, so I'm sure they're turning it around. And it's been days since we beat up an inanimate object (the water cooler and Pierzynski).

Wow, our run differential (-72) is nearly twice as bad as Pittsburgh's and Florida's (both -37).

Thank god for the Royals (an amazing -127 ... though they are still outscoring us).

We're on pace for 59 wins. The worst the Cubs have done since the 162 game schedule is 59 wins (62 and 66). In the long history of the Cubs, they've never had a lower season winning percentage than those seasons. They are playing like the worst Cub teams in history!

How much more embarassing does this have to get before someone gets fired?
   41. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 29, 2006 at 11:32 AM (#2042106)
How much more embarassing does this have to get before someone gets fired?

“Dusty is going to get every opportunity to manage the club and get us out of this hole, and he’s going to get an opportunity to manage this club when we get healthy the next couple of weeks also.”
   42. Dash Carlyle Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2042483)
Our updated, post-Braves sweep Beane Count: 64.

That's the maximum. Last in HRs, BBs, (fewest) HRs and BBs surrendered.

Although, that doesn't include today's game vs. Cinci, currently ongoing. I mean, the Cubs might hit 9 homers or draw 20 walks, or Washington may surrender 23 walks. I'd feel pretty stupid about this post then, wouldn't I?
   43. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2042506)
The single most amazing stat is that they're last in OBP yet have hit into the third most DPs.

That is truly mind-boggling. I have no idea how this can happen, other than the fact that they must hit an incredible number of groundballs (as evidenced by their lack of power as well).

I'm still curious about how they rank in LOB . . . and also curious why I can't find the stat listed on ESPN.com.
   44. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2042546)
I'm still curious about how they rank in LOB . . . and also curious why I can't find the stat listed on ESPN.com.

CBS Sportsline has it here. They rank 29th in MLB with 313. Tampa Bay has left 301 men on base. By the way, the Pirates are next-to-last in the National League in LOB with 341. (This is all thru Sunday's games).
   45. fables of the deconstruction Posted: May 29, 2006 at 09:09 PM (#2042598)
When is it time then to fire a manager?

I'm not always sure "when" it's time to fire A manager, but in my NSHO the "time" to have fired THIS manager was during the events generated from the fallout of the Stone-Carey affair. How a manager could be more concerned with whats being said in the broadcast booth than the "self-destruct" sequence on the ballfield is beyond me. That's been 'how long now?' and Dusty's still not on borrowed time.

Since I'm a transient fan, not on the loop, I will refrain from further speculation of the myriad dilemmias within the Cubs organization. There's enough wrong with the Orioles to keep me busy for quite a piece.
;) ...

--------
trevise
   46. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 30, 2006 at 12:46 PM (#2043693)
Thanks, Kiko!
   47. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 30, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2044102)
Tribune to boost stock price by aggressively repurchasing shares . . . financed by the sale of "non-core" assets *other* than the Cubs.

Put another way, the Tribune is selling off parts of its enterprise, but specifically denies it is selling the team.
   48. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 31, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#2045189)
Looks like the Trib is coming into some hard times.

I would bet a lot of money that they don't own the Cubs five years from now.
   49. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2006 at 06:54 AM (#2045272)
On Saturday, David Kaplan had a lengthy interview (21 mins) of Andy MacPhail on the Cubs Central show, which is available as a podcast on the WGN site. Apologizing in advance for the length, here is a paraphrased Q & A:

Q: I'm a fan, first and foremost, and losing 3 to the Marlins, with the dollars and expectations involved -- this is the lowest I've seen of the franchise.

A: It was a bad week, that's for sure, looking at the way we played. We could have won 2 of the 3 and one thing it shows is the failure we've had since the beginning of the season to hit with RISP. We're last in MLB in that category and that, in large matter in my view, accounts for why we've struggled.

Q: Fans know that if you don't do your job, you get fired. At what point is there some responsibility placed on someone -- you, Hendry, or Dusty, for what's happened since 2003?

A: Everyone's responsible, plus the players. We all have to take accountability and try to get it turned around. We started playing 5-6 games over ,500, then hit "a little bit of a swoon" and it's our hope and expectation that when we get back to full strength we can play the way we did in April.

Q: The media is speculating about Dusty being fired. If Jim came to you and said he wanted to give Dusty an extension, is that your call, would you use a veto and say "let's wait to see how the season plays out"?

A: One thing I've learned from Fay Vincent is not to answer speculative questions. They don't do anybody any good. I do know that the most important relationship in an organization is between the GM and manager. They have to have each other's trust and confidence and respect for each others' jobs. What I would do is make a judgment when and if that day comes.

Q: So as far as you are concerned, Dusty is your manager for the foreseeable future?

A: Yes. From my conversations with Jim, that's not where his mind is now, not even close. He's more focusedon trying to put more pop in the lineup and trying to get us back to the way we were playing in April.

If you take the emotion out of it and simply analyze what's going on, it's a simple -- we're hitting .140 as a team with RISP and 2 outs. The league average is around .250. We rank 30th of 30. With RISP, we're hitting .225 -- 30th of the 30, with the league hitting around .267. The goofy thing is that in April, we were at one point 6th in the league, hitting over .300.

Its simply a matter of knocking them in.

Q: Since Dusty has been here with Gene Clines as coach, the Cubs have been one the worst teams at drawing walks and also the worst in issuing walks. Do you need to change your philosophies of going up hacking and find guys more patient at the plate?

A: That's exactly what we're teaching. Not to single out any players, but we're trying to get Murton to hit to the right side and work the count more, much like we saw early on. What happens to some guys, though, is that they want to do so much and they want to hit the 3 run homer and they set goals, but get impatient to get there and too aggressive.

People in the baseball operations do understand the importance of working the count, getting into the bullpen, and doing the things that we're not doing as much as we'd like to.

Q: Fans are saying that the payroll is $94mm, yet they raised ticket prices, expanded the bleachers (which you said would go toward the payroll), got money from the sale of the Nationals, get rooftop money, and have Sosa's contract off the books, yet the payroll is similar to last year and the White Sox spend more. Response?

A: It's inaccurate. Against other teams, we were 6th in 2004 and 2005, and in the top 2-3 in the NL. This year, the only NL team definitely higher is the Dodgers. Payroll isn't keeping us from winning, it's just that too much of it has been on our sidelines -- last year Nomar, this year Lee and Wood. The payroll did move up, it's not keeping us from winning, and there is nothing wrong with keeping money available to spend during the year as well, like we did with Ramirez and Nomar.

Q: Other teams plan for several injuries, but this team, if they call up Womack, we'll have 5-6 2Bman, no credible backup for Ramirez (who always seems to get dinged up), and we really didn't have a 1B backup. Is that something in the future you'll want to address -- spending more money on a better bench?

A: You try to have as much depth as you can, especially given our history, that's why Hendry signed Mabry at of/1b/3b. You also want to spend efficiently and build in redundancies given the injury history. Still, no one anticipated Lee to get hurt.

Hendry tried to bring in a surplus of pitching, given our history, but we had too many injuries early. Then we had guys who had been credible starters in the past, with quality start % of 50% (in Rusch and Williams) struggled to start the year, so you had to go to the minors and get guys with good arms like Guzman who just aren't ready to pitch at this level yet but certainly have the requisite pitches to succeed.

Q: One thing that concerns me as a fan is the fact that games are on a bunch of different channels, not in one spot like WGN. Does it concern you that you might be losing your fan base because people can't watch as much?

A: A lot of that change is in the media industry. We have more options today, and the amount of programming is still too much. WGN still does more Cubs games over the air than any other channel of any other team and with the satellite and MLB.TV, fans all over the country have access -- both of the Cubs and other teams.

Q: Have you thought about cutting the infield down to help a slap hitter like Pierre?

A: The coaching staff works with the grounds crew to make sure the home team is as friendly as it can be. Every team does this.

Q: When it comes to our injuries, it's always the power arms. Has the time come to rethink your philosophy and look more at pitchers than power throwers?

A: We strongly believe that pitching is a huge part of the game (at least 80% of the equation) -- I'm a big proponent of this. You need to develop as much as you possibly can. If you froze rosters today, there are more pitchers who were drafted and scouted and signed by the Cubs as any other MLB team -- easily. You just need to develop as much pitching (power pitching or any other) to be effective. If you do that, you can make trades to fill position player needs, but it is extraordinarily expensive (in $$$ and/or players) to acquire a starter.

You don't want to develop pitchers at the expense of position players totally, but you have to understand the importance of it. You can never have enough of it.

Q: Fundamentals, they've sucked for the last three years. Each year, we talk about how we're going to emphasize it, yet mistakes continue to happen. How are we gonna fix this?

A: This is a game of repetition. You have to do it until you get it right, and if one guy can't get it right often enough, you have to find someone who can get it right. Doing the basics well, like driving the runners in, is the difference between winning and losing. No team is perfect, but you have to make sure you're above the average, especially when you have injuries to overcome.

Q: Is it tougher to play in Wrigley with the Chicago media and fans than to play for the Twins or Royals?

A: Guys play for many teams now, and there are some places where he'll thrive and other places where he'll struggle. You can make intelligent guesses, but you really don't know. No one predicted what would happen with Lee, for instance. The only way you'll know who will thrive and who won't is to see for yourself.

Q: Fans feel the season's over and they are devastated -- beyond embarrassed. What do you say?

A: They have a right to be unhappy with the way we've played. We have not played good baseball in the last month. Your season isn't over when you're 10 games under .500 and you don't need to look at ancient history -- look at the Astros, who were 15 games below .500 and looked it. None of our players should think it's over. You have to focus on changing the things you can, start hitting with RISP and doing the things it takes to win. The record itself doesn't mean we are out of it.

Q: We never seem to get the top FA signings in their primes -- the ARods, Tejadas, etc. Do you see that changing with the new revenue streams being developed?

A: Yeah, I would hope so. You can make the case that Lee was a top FA signing and we can see how important he is. Sometimes those signings manifest themselves in the year prior to FA, but I hope we can bring other top FAs in as well.
   50. Bunny Vincennes Posted: May 31, 2006 at 07:30 AM (#2045281)
AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   51. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 31, 2006 at 11:35 AM (#2045295)
You can make the case that Lee was a top FA signing and we can see how important he is.

Sure, if you ignore the fact that he wasn't a free agent. No one's going to pat you on the back for retaining a guy who was already on your team, dickweed.
   52. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 31, 2006 at 11:40 AM (#2045297)
Oh, and thanks for doing that dJf. Interesting, if depressing, stuff.
   53. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:26 PM (#2045333)
Sure, if you ignore the fact that he wasn't a free agent. No one's going to pat you on the back for retaining a guy who was already on your team, dickweed.

MacPhail's quote was "Yeah, I would hope so [that the Cubs will make big FA signings]. Sometimes you . . . you know, you'll . . . I think you could probably make the case that Derrek Lee was a top free agent signing and we were smart enough not to let him go through the process. And the way our offense has struggled in his absence, I think we've all learned exactly how important he is to us. So, sometimes those signings will manifest itself in the year prior to free agency, so occasionally you do see them. But that's not to say that you would not see one as a regular free agent as well."
   54. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2045338)
Actually, that answer was one of the ones I objected to least.

What continues to befuddle me is the organization's belief that this losing stretch is solely the result of bad luck, particularly MacPhail's insistence that it is all the result of hitting with RISP.

If he were correct, wouldn't the Cubs have more men LOB? As Kiko pointed out above, the Cubs are dead last in the NL in that category too.

Furthermore, if I were more enterprising (and I might be later today), I think it would be interesting to go back over this season and look at all the various situations the Cubs have had with RISP -- if the Cubs were league average in those situations, how many more runs would they have scored? How many wins would result?

This would require looking at the play-by-play info, with assumptions that a base hit would score a runner from 2B (which I know isn't 100%, but you'd have to make some assumptions). I suppose one could and should factor the occasional extra-base hit into the mix as well, but I'm not sure how to do that even remotely close to accurately.

My wild guess is that the Cubs may have won perhaps 2 more games, and maybe 2 more would have been sent to extra innings. Big freaking wow.
   55. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:41 PM (#2045340)
BTW, could someone fix the page width after Jack's scream?
   56. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2045347)
Way to go Jack.

D*mn Madisonians and their primal scream therapy.

Next time, just do like all the other Cubs fans and drink yourself into a stupor.


You are scaring my dogs...................
   57. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2045355)
If you wanted to factor in XBHs, you could probably start by looking at the total Cub hits this year and find what % are 2B, 3B and HR. Then, if you find that they would have had 50 extra hits if they had been league average with RISP, you could break those 50 hits into 1B/2B/3B/HR based on the team's percentages of those hits. Of course, that's not entirely accurate either - how do you decide when there would be a single vs when there would have been a 3B?
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:14 PM (#2045365)
By the way, Corey Patterson is at .291/.336/.507. 18 steals in 19 attempts. Made a great catch last night.

Just thought that was interesting..................
   59. Spahn Insane Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#2045394)
Corey Patterson is going to be a very good player. I said over the winter I thought the Cubs should just hold on to him and see what happens, if the best alternative was signing Jacque Jones for megabucks and trading the farm for Pierre--FWIW, I hate being right like that. (Of course, he'd probably have continued his free fall if he'd stayed with the Cubs, but still.)
   60. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2045399)
I wish we'd see a big story in the Tribune (or Sun-Times) about how well Patterson is playing.
   61. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2045400)
I think most Cubs fans around here had similar sentiments.

I wonder how Baker/Hendry will rationalize THAT. IF any reporter in Chicago
actually bothers to ask.
   62. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2045408)
If you wanted to factor in XBHs, you could probably start by looking at the total Cub hits this year and find what % are 2B, 3B and HR. Then, if you find that they would have had 50 extra hits if they had been league average with RISP, you could break those 50 hits into 1B/2B/3B/HR based on the team's percentages of those hits. Of course, that's not entirely accurate either - how do you decide when there would be a single vs when there would have been a 3B?

That's the issue. Another thing is that it's far more likely that, say, Jacque Jones hit that HR than a pitcher. It's going to be tougher than I figured to just go back and randomly assign hits to particular situations.

I suppose that if MacPhail was correct in saying we were over .300 in April, one thing you could do is not make any changes in May until the average drops to league average, then only make changes since that date. (I suppose you could take some hits away in April, but I'm in a charitable mood and that would be looking at more games than necessary.)
   63. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 31, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2045825)
Did anyone notice the following?

We strongly believe that pitching is a huge part of the game (at least 80% of the equation)

This is retarded.

Corey Patterson is going to be a very good player.
I said over the winter I thought the Cubs should just hold on to him and see what happens


There was a lot of that sentiment on this board. IMO, the big red flag with Patterson is not that they let him go but that their instructional staff looks far superior.

If I were Baltimore I'd be salivating at the thought of swapping dreck for Felix Pie in three years.
   64. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 31, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2045827)
"IMO, the big red flag with Patterson is not that they let him go but that their instructional staff looks far superior."

By that I mean the Orioles' instructional staff looks superior to the Cubs' staff.

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