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   1. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: May 08, 2007 at 05:36 PM (#2358488)
I'm disappointed we didn't get to hear about Ron coming over, eating all of your Tombstone pizzas, then barfing MGD on your floor.
   2. Meatwad Posted: May 08, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2358530)
i think the need to get murton more playing time, however iv got a feeling that jones will be delt sometime in the near future to a team that needs out field help
   3. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: May 08, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2358554)
I'm closing this thread because it has gone offtopic.
   4. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 08, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2358556)
Take, for instance, the game in which Lou complained that he had a reliever (Ohman) throwing “30 to 40 foot curveballs” and that he can see why this team has been losing as long as it has. Would these frank words come from Dusty or any other Cub manager in recent memory?

Actually, I can see Don Baylor saying that. Only in his case it would've been done in lieu of talking to the player. That ain't the case with Piniella.

(I wouldn’t expect Hill or Marquis to stay at their levels, but that’s ok).

Between them they have an ERA of 1.90 so far. Yeah, I can live with a combined ERA worse than that from the club's supposed 3 & 4 starters.

No comments on how frustrating it was to see them lose their first six one-run games?

It's a sunny start to the season. The Cubs have a good record and are playing better than their record. The Cards are toast with Carpenter out, and the death of Hancock likely knocking the spirit out of the team (for the time being at least). That'll likely be enough to keep them out of the postseason. Houston lost Pettitte & Clemens. Pittsburgh's still Pittsburgh. I like Cincinnait. Narron's had them playing better than I would've guessed since he showed up, but they're at best a dark horse. Milwaukee's the team to beat & the Cubs are their main competition. The dozen games left where they face off will be pretty damn important ones.
   5. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: May 08, 2007 at 07:25 PM (#2358586)
Despite the 1 run losses, it's tough to get too upset about a Cubs' team with the 3rd best Pythagorean record in baseball. Even this early, the Brewers' have enough talent and a large enough lead that they have to be considered favorites. But the Cubs still have a pretty good shot at the division and are probably the favorites for the Wild Card. It's shapiong up to be an exciting season; and I'm excited at the prospect of being excited about the Cubs this September.
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2358604)
The Cards are toast with Carpenter out, and the death of Hancock likely knocking the spirit out of the team (for the time being at least).

Not to mention their sucktastic offense, which Hancock and Carpenter weren't going to fix anyway. And the fact that they have no prospects worth trading for to plug any significant holes. Rick Ankiel's going to be at least a platoon outfielder in St. Louis by the end of the year, and I say that with all seriousness.

And I really enjoyed seeing the Cards beaten twice in the first month of the season by both of the starting pitchers they let go as free agents (Marquis and Suppan). Well, maybe I'd rather not have seen those Suppan wins, given the Brewers' start...
   7. Sweet Posted: May 08, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2358605)
2007 Cubs:

9th in VORP (6th in NL, behind, NYN, FLO, PHI, MIL, ATL)
8th in SNLVAR (4th in NL, behind MIL, NYN, LAN)
20th in WXRL (11th in NL, ahead of HOU, COL, FLO, PHI, CIN)
3rd in DER (2nd in NL, behind NYN)

So that's pretty good. I think the bullpen's better than that. Lineup and rotation seem about right. Defense is surprising given the personnel shifts -- it could simply be small sample size, or maybe Lou really is a genius.

Beyond the numbers, it's just a more likeable team (winning does that, I know). I'd rather Izturis not be around, Cedeno's continued scufflings are really frustrating, and it'd be nice for Murton to get a sustained shot, but these are relatively minor quibbles after what we've been through. So far, so good.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2358606)
Oh, and I'm happy with the way the Cubs are playing, too. I said all along that their incredible futility in close games (they lost their first 9 games decided in extra innings or by 2 runs or less) couldn't possibly continue, and it hasn't; all 3 wins against the Nats were by 2 runs or less (and their only loss in the last nine was by a single run). I think as long as their pythag continues at anything resembling this rate, they'll be in very good shape come September.

And the Brewers can't possibly continue playing near-.700 ball, though they're certainly a formidable rival (and look to be for a number of years).
   9. Walt Davis Posted: May 08, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2358626)
Well, let me piss a little on the parade then. :-)

Amazingly, I think Lou might be even more thin-skinned with the media than Dusty was -- which is really saying something. If he's gonna lose it over simple questions like "how much playing time is Pie gonna get?" how's he gonna react to legitimately critical questions? Sure, maybe it's part of his master plan or the Lou magic -- blow up at the simple stuff and they'll know they can get a rise out of you and never bother asking the legitimately critical questions. But right now he looks like a guy the media can poke and get a reaction from anytime they want and that will eventually be a detriment.

I wasn't thrilled about the Ohman situation. I'm glad to see the end of the Dusty excuse-making -- remember when he "defended" ARam taking a popup in the noggin -- but Lou seemed to take that question (and seemingly every question, just like Dusty) as a shot at his decision-making and he tossed the player under the bus to defend himself. Something more like "Obviously Ohman knows he pitched poorly today and he was off his game, but he's pitched well in the past and I continue to have faith in him" would have suited me -- at least as the public stance. If he thinks being blunter with Ohman in private will work, that's fine.

Not to say there aren't positives. Lou is more willing to experiment, he seems to understand that different situations sometimes call for different actions in response, etc. I'm not necessarily thrilled with his penchant for playing everyone -- that was one of Dusty's problems you'll recall -- and his love of Theriot (though if he keeps walking, he might be capable of Pierre type numbers which is better than I ever thought), but I'll wait to see how that plays out. That is, obviously he has to play everyone in the OF and he's had no choice but to screw around with SS until he found something that worked, but I'm thinking we'll see less of the bench going forward.

As to the play of the team -- they have been doing pretty well. Obviously the pitching is heading for some tougher times and there's nothing like a series against the Nationals to get the ol' W-L record (temporarily?) back into good shape. But I think my "concerns" here slightly outweigh my positives. Given how incredibly well some of the pitchers have done -- 3 starters and 5 relievers with ERA+ of 146 or better -- and that Derrek Lee is on pace for about 95 doubles (no really), this team should have been winning like mad. We've given up the 3rd fewest runs in the league and scored the 6th most but due to bad luck, poorly timed bad bullpen performances, and an OF that still has just 6 HR among them, we're at 500.

The point being I don't think we're really the 3rd best on pitching/defense. I don't think we're bad but other than Zambrano and Eyre and the 5th starter spot, seems every other pitcher on this team is gonna do worse going forward. The offensive production will have a different shape by the time the season's over but I'm not sure I expect it to improve substantially. In terms of true talent, this still looks like a low-mid 80s win team to me. Now if we had parlayed this nice run into a record like Milwaukee's, that would bode pretty well for staying in the mix all season ... but unfortunately I think our current record is more reflective of our true talent than our pythag record and I see us sticking around 500 most of the season.

Unless we get to play the Nationals every month. :-) Are the Royals on our inter-league this year?
   10. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 08, 2007 at 08:44 PM (#2358646)
But the Cubs still have a pretty good shot at the division and are probably the favorites for the Wild Card.

I'd suggest you take a gander at the NLE. The Mets are first in RA/G and RS/G. And the cemetaries are full of men who underrated Bobby Cox.

Not to mention their sucktastic offense, which Hancock and Carpenter weren't going to fix anyway.

But Marquis certainly would've.

Amazingly, I think Lou might be even more thin-skinned with the media than Dusty was -- which is really saying something. If he's gonna lose it over simple questions like "how much playing time is Pie gonna get?" how's he gonna react to legitimately critical questions? Sure, maybe it's part of his master plan or the Lou magic -- blow up at the simple stuff and they'll know they can get a rise out of you and never bother asking the legitimately critical questions. But right now he looks like a guy the media can poke and get a reaction from anytime they want and that will eventually be a detriment.

But it's a very different kind of thin-skinnedness. Here's a crack I've made before: the 2004 Cubs looked like they wanted to go away and cry somewhere. The Piniella Cubs look like they want to get in a bar fight. One uses thin skin as a reason to collapse, and the other uses it to motivate them to fight more.

Tony LaRussa can be incredibly thin skinned at times. Good example just recently when he shut out a St Louis paper because of something negative they said about the Cubs. But you can make a combative relationship work. It can help establish who is in authority and who isn't. It can help motivate by creating an us-vs.-them atmosphere. Guillen can be really thin skinned too if you think about it. Look at him sounding off on, well, anyone really.
   11. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:04 PM (#2358663)
I wouldn't characterize Lou as thin-skinned . . . at least not yet. Perhaps I don't read the situation as you do, Walt, but it seems to me that Lou isn't bristling because someone is questioning him (although he's snapped a few times); rather, it seems that he's just tired of hearing the same questions every day for weeks.

As Dusty was, but at least Lou seems to deal with it directly (by snapping or being blunt) rather than making excuses, using his kid as a shield, or babbling on about how "walks clog the bases" or how dark-skinned folks play better in the sun.
   12. Boots Day Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2358669)
It seems like Piniella's biggest positive is that he's not Dusty. A lot of the stuff he's done -- putting DeRosa in rightfield, not playing Murton enough, faling to get Zambrano going -- would have been vilified if it had been done by Baker. But Lou could take the field in a halter top and hot pants, and people would say, "At least he looks better than Dusty."

Having said that, it's nice that the team is winning. I agree with Walt that the team's record reflects its quality better than its Pythag. Ain't no way any of Marquis and Lilly and Hill finish the year with ERAs below 3, much less 2.

But a .500 record, all things considered, wouldn't be half bad.
   13. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2358686)
That's not really fair. There have been several things that Lou has done that Dusty would never do:

* Dusty would not give Theriot regular time as a SS. We'd still be seeing Izturis and Cedeno may still be on the roster as well.

* It's entirely possible that Theriot wouldn't see as much time at 2B either. Instead, he'd be nailed to the bench, used as a backup IF and 2nd PH (after Ward). IOW, he'd basically be Jose Macias.

* Dusty wouldn't use Marquis as a PH/PR.

* Instead of signing Cliff Floyd, Dusty would have wanted a speedy, non-hitting 5th OF type . . . and installed him as the every day CFer. Because Dusty wouldn't think Murton could play RF, Murton would either be traded or be in Iowa and destined for such a trade.

* Dusty wouldn't use Rocky Cherry and Will Ohman would probably be in Iowa as well.

Not all of these are bad things, but they are definitely different than what Lou has done. I'm sure I could probably come up with a few other differences as well.
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:33 PM (#2358693)
and his love of Theriot (though if he keeps walking, he might be capable of Pierre type numbers which is better than I ever thought)

It's not as if the Cubs have any obviously superior options at short, so as long as Theriot keeps hitting (and he doesn't need to hit .320 or whatever he's hitting now to be a vast improvement [offensively, at least] on Izturis; .270 would suffice, particularly if he keeps walking), I'm fine with this.

I'm bothered by Piniella's occasional need to add DeRosa to the outfield mix (why make that logjam more complicated than it already is, particularly if it costs Murton playing time to the benefit of an inferior hitter?), but that's my only major complaint.

And as far as I'm concerned, the media stuff's a non-issue.
   15. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2358695)
Not to mention their sucktastic offense, which Hancock and Carpenter weren't going to fix anyway.

But Marquis certainly would've.


Heh.
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:39 PM (#2358698)
Instead, he'd be nailed to the bench, used as a backup IF and 2nd PH (after Ward).IOW, he'd basically be Jose Macias.

Please. If only we were so lucky as to have Macias nailed to the bench when he was a Cub.
   17. Spahn Insane Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:43 PM (#2358701)
A lot of the stuff he's done -- putting DeRosa in rightfield, not playing Murton enough, faling to get Zambrano going -- would have been vilified if it had been done by Baker.

Speaking for myself, I've registered my complaints about those first two things (IOW, while I think Piniella's easily been a net positive, he hasn't been perfect); as to the third, I don't recall anyone blaming Zambrano's poor April in '06 on Baker.

And deJesus Freak pretty much sums up my view of a range of positives/evidence of creativity that Piniella shows, which would have been unthinkable under Baker.
   18. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2358703)
It seems like Piniella's biggest positive is that he's not Dusty. A lot of the stuff he's done -- putting DeRosa in rightfield, not playing Murton enough, faling to get Zambrano going -- would have been vilified if it had been done by Baker.

Actually, Zambrano did have trouble get going last year under Baker. His April was terrible. And I do remember one or two "Z's DOOMED!!" posts . . . but only one or two. Most people were willing to see how that one played out, and when he recovered in April the "Good bye Carlos" posts were forgotten.

As for Murton, people nailed Baker for not using the kids when the only alternative was clearly inferior players. There was some grumbling over his problems with Choi, but Karros had a good enough year so that it wasn't too vocal. Baker uninterested in even giving Cedeno a shot if it meant cutting into the playing time of Captain Everything Neifi Perez, even if the team was out of the running as they were in late '05.

Here, Jones and Floyd are both currently outhitting Murton and everyone acknowledges Soriano's got to be in the line up whenever healthy. There's more criticism at Hendry for creating the glut than Piniella. And he's still got Murton in 22 different ballgames, even if half were as a late inning replacement. Looking over this thread, there's some qualms about putting DeRosa in the OF, but that amounts to 37 innings in 29 games.
   19. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:15 PM (#2358729)
Having said that, it's nice that the team is winning. I agree with Walt that the team's record reflects its quality better than its Pythag. Ain't no way any of Marquis and Lilly and Hill finish the year with ERAs below 3, much less 2.


Well, 10% of the Cubs' innings have been pitched by guys with ERA+s in the 30s. Those two, Eyre and Wade Miller, have given up 1/4 of the Cubs' total runs allowed. So even though only a few Cubs players have been bad, those guys have been REALLY bad. Miller's crappiness should be replaced by Angel Guzmzan's below averageness. And if he doesn't improve, I doubt the Cubs will put up with Eyre's crappiness much longer. Combined with an improvement from Zambrano and the pitching should be above average overall. Even though the individual performances are different than I might have expected, the offense overall has been about what I thought it would be. I think the Cubs should find their level somewhere between their .620 Pythag. % and their .517 overall W%.

I'd suggest you take a gander at the NLE. The Mets are first in RA/G and RS/G. And the cemetaries are full of men who underrated Bobby Cox.


Well jeez, I never noticed that there's a whole 'nother division over there. Must be my Midwest bias. The NL East is a tougher division top to bottom than the NL Central which will put the Mets or Braves at a disadvantage for the WC. Being the best team in the NL should hurt the Mets odds at the Wild Card. And while the Braves obviously have a significant chance at winning the WC with that stellar offense, they have needed Tim Hudson to pitch out of his mind just to put up a team ERA+ of 95 so far.

Honestly, there are a ton of teams who could be the Wild Card: the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Braves, Phillies, Padres, Diamondbacks, Reds, Brewers and maybe the Marlins, Astros and Cardinals. Most of those teams probably have at least a 5% chance of the WC. To be the favorite for the Wild Card, you need to be a very good team that's competing with another, better team. To me, the favorites are he Cubs and the Braves. And while I'm sure I'll be killed and buried in a cemetary for contemplating it, I think the Cubs are better than the Braves. Still, it's important to remember that when talking about such a wide open WC chase, unless the Cubs were head and shoulders above everyone else, being the favorite only means that they'd have a 15-20% chance instead of a 5-10% chance. Whether the Cubs are the favorite or not over Atlanta, it's only a matter of a few percentage points, either way.
   20. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:26 PM (#2358741)
Instead of signing Cliff Floyd, Dusty would have wanted a speedy, non-hitting 5th OF type . . . and installed him as the every day CFer. Because Dusty wouldn't think Murton could play RF, Murton would either be traded or be in Iowa and destined for such a trade.

And here I thought Hendry was the GM.
   21. Boots Day Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:38 PM (#2358760)
I didn't mean to imply that Piniella hadn't done some good things, because he has. I'm just saying if you want Dusty-like problems to complain about, they're there. And I don't think a 15-14 record would have gotten Dusty off the hook.

Well, 10% of the Cubs' innings have been pitched by guys with ERA+s in the 30s.

And over 40 percent of the Cubs' innings have been pitched by guys with ERA+ of 195 or better. That's gonna last about as long as an ice cold frosty malt on a hot summer day.
   22. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:56 PM (#2358790)
And here I thought Hendry was the GM.

Sure, but if you didn't think Dusty had any role in getting guys like Goodwin, Macias, Neifi, Martinez, etc. -- or for getting rid of guys like Bellhorn, Choi, Dubois, etc. -- then you're just nuts.
   23. Dan Contilli Posted: May 09, 2007 at 06:40 AM (#2359136)
People aren't getting all over Lou the same way they got on Dusty because he's still new. Managers can't be judged in small samplings just like players can't be judged in small samplings.

We had four long years of Dusty to allow the fact that he sucked to sink in. I know that I felt he was a poor tactical manager early on, and that he had obsessions with terrible players like Lenny Harris that bordered on lunacy, but I didn't realize he was a full blown retard until he allowed his team to bat out of order against the Pirates in 2004. That was nearly 180 games into his tenure.

Lou so far hasn't done anything remotely that stupid yet, thank God.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2007 at 08:43 AM (#2359161)
You'll get no argument from me that Piniella has been better than Dusty. But Piniella's also had media problems and famous blow-ups pretty much everywhere he's gone so no reason to think Chicago will be any different. But hey, that can be fun.

I'm not sure folks realize how incredibly some of the Cubs have been pitching:

Dempster 195 (and by far career best walk-rate so far)
Wuertz 224
Howry 150 (there's a good chance he'll keep that up ... consistent with his last few years)
Cotts infinity as of yesterday
Guzman 188

Hill 238
Marquis 197
Lilly 146

even Ohman's got his numbers back to tolerable.

The bullpen really has been off the charts -- and sometimes those things do hold up for an entire season.

Don't get me wrong, I think it will be a good staff going forward. Zambrano will, god willing, return to form. I think Hill and Lilly are both quite capable of 120ish ERA+'s (also capable of worse). Marquis being durable and league average-ish is possible. But the team ERA+ right now is 117 ... and I was expecting to say it had been a really long time since they'd done that, but turns out it was 118 in 2004. :-) But before that you have to go back to 1972!

Anyway, it remains that, with some breaks, this team could put up a pretty good record and make the playoffs. And of course following 3 of their last 4 sub-70 win seasons, they added 21 or more wins so they're a virtual lock 87+ wins. :-)
   25. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 09, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2359259)
I'm actually pretty happy with Piniella. He's been a little nuttier in his decision making (walking Freddy Sanchez to get to Jason Bay? WTF?) than I expected, but for the most part he's done the best he can with a flawed roster, unlike his predecessor who took bad situations and made them worse -- really, Baker's worst attribute as a manager was his influence on and execution of the roster.

I think Piniella might be a little thin-skinned, but he handles it better than Dusty did. Dusty's response was to blab on and on, saying stupid things that would make your blood boil. Piniella just clams up when he's annoyed by the media, and I think that's an appropriate response. It also appears that he is tougher on his players when they screw up, and that's a good thing. The team is still performing poorly in terms of fundamentals, but it seems better than it used to, and Rome wasn't built in a day.

I'm not sure folks realize how incredibly some of the Cubs have been pitching

The pitching has been amazing. I've been meaning to do an entry on this. Jason Marquis with 5/6 quality starts and a 196 ERA+ -- wow. I wondered if he would put up 5 QS all year. Now, looking at his peripherals, clearly he hasn't been that good, with the exception of only giving up 2 HR in nearly 40 IP, a trend I expect to end with the weather having warmed up.

But if anything approaching this combination of good pitching and decent hitting is maintained all year, the Cubs should be pretty good.
   26. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 09, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2359266)
And over 40 percent of the Cubs' innings have been pitched by guys with ERA+ of 195 or better. That's gonna last about as long as an ice cold frosty malt on a hot summer day.

35 days and counting
   27. dcsmyth1 Posted: May 09, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2359304)
----"... not playing Murton enough"

What's with this 'Play Murton' sentiment. The Cubs' primary goal is to win games. Murton is not an appreciably better hitter that Floyd or Jones, so Piniella is doing the smart thing and platooning them. It just so happens that the Cubs have faced very few LHS so far...
   28. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: May 09, 2007 at 05:15 PM (#2359455)
The Cubs don't need a 118 ERA+ to be a good team or to make the playoffs. They only need a 118 ERA+ to stay on pace for 100 Pythagorean wins. In fact, a league average offense plus a team ERA+ of 118 would probably be a 94 win team. If the Cubs can put up say a 106 ERA+ and a 105 OPS+ the rest of the way, that would make them an 89 win team.

There's something really perverse about pointing at the great performance of the pitchers up to this point as a reason why the Cubs will do poorly. Sure, many of the Cubs' pitchers will regress, but how much is overstated by the diminishing returns on ERA+. It's not as if every pitcher would have to be below average to hit their projections. If Hill, Lilly, Zambrano and Marquis all throw about 160 more IP each with respective ERA+s of 111, 119, 155 and 89, the Cubs will be fine.
   29. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:17 PM (#2386437)
Remember when everyone complained how Jim gave none of the native primates the keys to Gonfalon?

1 new thread in the last 53 days.
   30. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2386440)
Yeah, I know. In fact, I talked to Andere about it just three days ago. In my case, I haven't really been all that inspired -- maybe because of the season, but mainly because I usually haven't had a whole lot to write about that I haven't put in various threads . . . usually, several each week.

I'll work on it.
   31. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:27 PM (#2386452)
Oh, I don't really care that often. I was never one complaining about who had/didn't have the keys anyway. I'm just surprised.

Just Left Chicago? Did you move elsewhere or are you on vacation?
   32. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:31 PM (#2386457)
Just a new handle. Tomorrow I may go with "Is Just Alright."
   33. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:35 PM (#2386463)
Oh, I don't really care that often. I was never one complaining about who had/didn't have the keys anyway. I'm just surprised.

Well, to be clear it wasn't really about who did/didn't have the keys, it was about trying to get this thing off the ground, and clearly, that didn't happen. None of us expected to be able to maintain this thing on our own, so we thought more access would work. Maybe we weren't wrong about that, but simply need to expand the circle more. Any useful suggestions would be appreciated.
   34. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:42 PM (#2386473)
While I'm receptive to expanding the circle, I do think that (a) the blog was pretty active over the off-season, for the most part and (b) while we haven't written a whole lot here lately, it does seem (to me) that the main site is posting Cubs articles with increased frequency. IOW, it's not as if there are no outlets available (as was the case the last few seasons); it's more like we're missing out on individual essays and commentaries that aren't contained within various newsthreads.

Speaking personally, I just haven't had much to say that would take more than a few sentences. Actually, now that I think about it, I just came up with an idea. Maybe you'll see it soon.
   35. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 31, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2386485)
Any useful suggestions would be appreciated.

I dunno, rather than ambitious stuff (deJesus' wayback machine stuff) maybe simpler features. A fun thread about guessing what date Piniella will get ejected. When he'll blow a gasket in a press conference. Whose bad performance will set him off.

Just a general kvetch thread. What's wrong with the team, can it be fixed, is it just luck or something deeper at stake.

Mundane news items that aren't quiet big enough for primer newstand. Maybe a thread on the beat reporters pro/con, good/bad/indifferent.

More basic historical features (skim b-ref or retrosheet and find 1-2 things that happened this date on Cubs history and make an item on that. Nothing heroic, just a few sentences, to maybe spark reminisces. Also, just keep a note on famous events that we'll have anniversaries of later this year. Keep especially close item on any anniversaries than happened 5/10/15/20/.. .45/50/55 . 100 years ago. That makes it sound harder than it needs to be. I mean just scan b-ref's franchise index page for the Cubs, see if there's any memorable players/seasons we're on the 5-year marker of, and file away a note for future news about it. Then when the anniversary comes up, spend 5-10 minutes mentioning it. This is the 100th anniversary of the 1st Flag that's flown forever (what year was the Tinker-Evers-Chance poem written anyway? 1907 or some other time)? 95 years since Zimmerman's near triple crown. 90 year marker of the double no hitter. 80 years since Charlie Root's best season. 75 years since the '32 pennant winning squad & the called shot. 70 since the Giants' furious September drive overcame the Cubs. 50 since the Drott/Drabowsky phenoms flamed out. 45 years since the worst team in club history & Banks's move to first. 40 years since the Durocher Cubs broke through & Jenkins first won 20. Late July marks the 35 anniversary of Durocher's firing. There's a thread that can be had on the best/worst Cubs managers base on that. Was Pappas's no-hitter that year, too? It was Reuschel's first year in the rotation. 30 year anniversary of the Little Blue Machine - not the most famous swoon, but the biggest collapse. 25 years since Sandberg's first season with the club. (Man that sentence makes me feel old)> July marks 25 years since Lee SMith became closer. 20 since Dawsons' MVP season. Also 20 since Maddux's first season. Also 20 years ago: the Eric Show game. July 4/5 marks the fifth year anniversary of the firing of Don Baylor.

Obviously, I'm biased towards the historical stuff. It might not be as popular with others.

Fun fact: last week was the 5 year anniversary of Mark Prior's MLB debut.

Items on how ex-Cubs are doing on other teams.

A new prediction thread - now that we've seen them "play" for 40+ games, what do you predict their W/L record will be. Maybe even give a fun potential gift (winner gets a night of free drinks the next night at whatever watering hole youz meet at in Chicago. Or have someone with a big batch of tickets offer to donate 1 game's tickets for the contest).

Anyone follow the minor league squads at all? Just a basic little update or two on that stuff.

My main suggestion is, avoid any large-scale projects. I know Anthony Giacalone stopped working on Centrist because every post of his took an hour to do, and would get 6 responses, and he got sick of it. And he couldn't get himself to write something smaller. My hunch is this blog is deader than doornails because people's ambitions for what they want to do is often a little too daunting for themselves. Well, scale it back some
   36. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 31, 2007 at 09:07 PM (#2386489)
Loads of good ideas there --thanks!

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