Goodbye, Dale or Here We GO Again!

September 30, 2013
Dale Sveum was fired today as manager of the Cubs.after 2 of the worst seasons in Cubs history, even though he was expected to lose, being saddled with a team of journeyman players. The reason for his firing appears to be the regression of Starlin Castro and a disappointing year from Anthony Rizzo(I refuse to characterize him as regressing, how do you regress after one full season in the major leagues?) I admit Sveum was not an especially good manager, but he wasnt supposed to be and the offense did struggle a lot in the 2nd half. But the starting pitching took a huge step forward under Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio, with Travis Wood, Chris Rusin, Scott Baker and Jake Arrieta all showing great potential this season. Even the bullpen, which struggled with Carlos Marmol early on, showed signs of getting its act together. But, alas, that doesnt matter, Sveum is out and now the search is on for the Cubs next manager. 
Almost immediately the name of Joe Girardi has come up as a candidate. Girardi went to school in Evanston and had 2 different stints as a player with the Cubs. With the Yankees he has won a championship and has established himself as one of the best managers in baseball. Which brings me to why it would be a mistake for the Cubs to hire him as the next manager. First of all, I was under the impression that Theo had a plan and that plan was to let a manager be the sacrificial to lose games while him and Jed built up the farm system, then when the team was good enough, then they would hire a Girardi to manage. I see a lot of Cub fans getting on the Girardi bandwagon, but it feels like Sandberg all over again. 
Im going to be honest and I know a lot of Cub fan wont like this, but they are thinking too much with their hearts, rather than their heads. I suppose I cant completely blame them, thats what makes us Cubs fans, but I have a failing in that I live in the real world and in the real world a manager isnt going to magically come in, sprinkle fairy dust on the players and automatically make them contenders. The Cubs are probaly not going to be contenders next year, no matter who the manager is. There is a thin free agent market and it would serve no purpose for them to sign any of the few impact free agents that are out there. They could possibly trade a couple of their young prospects, but unless its for 2 or 3 big sluggers, that wouldnt make sense either. So why bring in Girardi just to have him suffer with a lousy team? 
I do love the Cubs and want to see them wn, but I want to see them win every year. That wont happen with a big name manager or a bunch of big name free agents. Theyve already tried both and neither was a permanent solution. So please, Theo, do not give in to the same sentiment that too many Cubs fans are suffering from. And Joe, stay in New York, at least for now!
 

Day of Reckoning

January 7, 2013
You knew this day was coming. The media made sure everybody would know. And on Tuesday it will be the day of reckoning for the Hall of Fame Class of 2013, at least the ones with links to steroid use, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza. For me I have gone over this issue in my mind time and time again. While I think cheaters dont belong in the Hall, there is a part of me that thinks the problem was so deep and involved so many hitters and probaly more pitchers tha...

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Who IS this guy?

November 19, 2011

"Who is this busher?" "Why was he hired to manage the Cubs, he has no major league experience?" "The President of the Cubs shouldve hired a star instead of this guy!"
That sounds like the reaction of many Cubs fans when the Cubs hired Dale Sveum to manage the team for 2012, but it is meant to describe what many people must hav felt in 1925 when the Cubs hired Joe McCarthy. Like Sveum, McCarthy had no experience as a major league manager. Indeed, McCarthy had never even PLAYED in the major leag...

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My Dad, the Cubs and Me

October 30, 2011

October 27, 2004 is a date that is ingrained in my memory, not just because it was the day the Boston Red Sox broke the supposed "curse" by winning the World Series. It was the day my father passed away. Those 2 events are not totally unrelated, though. I became a Cubs fan because of my father. It was the one thing we had in common. We were very different in most ways. He was a bus mechanic and loved working with his hands, while I have always been somewhat mechanically challenged. He prefe...


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Sept. 2, 1972: Me, Milt Pappas and the last Almost Perfect Day

September 2, 2011
left, Fanzone, sans trumpet, right, Milt Pappas
Me, circa 1972
On September 2, 1972, Milt Pappas no-hit the San Diego Padres 8-0 and came within a strike of a perfect game. I was lucky enough to be at that game with my family. I was 13 years old and had been a Cubs fan for 3 years. My dad was a huge fan and that got me interested. That was one thing I had in common with my dad. He worked as a bus mechanic at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois and he also drove a bus for weekend field trips...

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Jimmy Qualls, 1969 and the not-so-perfect game

July 13, 2011
On July 9, 1969 Tom Seaver was pitching a perfect game against the Cubs with 2 outs to go in the 9th inning when Jimmy Qualls stepped to the plate. What happened next isnt really important in the whole scheme of things, but it was a key moment in that exciting 1969 season. To get a better appreciation of that moment it helps to understand what had gone on up to that point in the season. The Cubs had gotten off to that great start and seemed to be primed to reach the post season for the first ...
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Jim Hendry......

July 6, 2011
Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the day that Jim Hendry was named General Manager of the Cubs and I think this is a good time to do some evaluation of the job he is doing. First I would like to say that I have been a staunch defender of the guy. He has had some success, indeed he is only the 2rd GM in the history of the franchise to oversee multiple post season appearances and is the only one to oversee 3 post season appearances. In terms of a success rate, Hendry is probaly the best eve...
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Book: The Original Curse by Sean Devaney

May 10, 2011
Did the 1918 Cubs throw the World Series? And is there a curse connected to it?

In 1918, the Cubs played the Boston Red Sox in the World Series to cap off a tumultuous war-torn season that left baseballs future in real doubt. It was a series the Cubs lost in ragged fashion. Even though the Red Sox won, it would be 86 more years before they won again and the Cubs are still looking for another championship.
In Sean Devaneys new book, he suggests that the Cubs may have thrown the Series and that m...

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The Brock for Broglio trade: why John Holland does not deserve to be the most maligned GM this side of Jim Hendry

April 28, 2011
On June 15, 1964, the Chicago Cubs traded Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, Don Landrum and Bobby Shantz. Brock would end up leading the Cards to the World Series and eventually ended up in the Hall of Fame while Broglio came up with a dead arm and would be out of baseball by 1966. In the years since then the trade has taken on mythical status as the worst trade of all time. Many revisionists use this trade to illustrate the failure of the 1969...
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BOOKS: Fred Merkle:Public Bonehead, Private Hero

March 4, 2011
From time to time I want to spotlight books that might be of interest to Cubs fans, especially books of historical interest. This week, I want to discuss a new book about the key figure in what is probaly the most famous game in the history of the Chicago Cubs, played on September 23, 1908. This book is called "Fred Merkle:Public Bonehead, Private Hero" written by Mike Cameron, in which he tries to humanize a long misunderstood player. Its a very fascinating read, and while its a little flawe...
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