Monday, September 21, 2009

The Obligatory Cubs Failure

The damn Chicago Cubs failed again and will not win the World Series. Most likely, the damn Cubs will never win the Series...

I spend to much damn time listening to Sports Talk Radio. I spend to much time watching baseball on TV. I need to become a grumpy White Sox fan or icky Cardinals fan or {shudder} Soul Sealing Hell Spawned Yankees fan. Or I need to more powerfully divest myself of Sports "Fever".

After two straight winning season in 2007 and 2008 the Cubs as a team choked both time in the Playoffs. While Lou Piniella is a good manager over the long hard slog of a 162 game baseball season and he's done a nice job of utilizing and maximizing his bench players potential; The short 5 game first round playoff series is too dicey and often one bad game or a couple hot players can take it over and crush the hopes and dreams of little Cubbie fans worldwide. Now, it's not totally Piniella's fault as the idea of playing 162 games and then having your Championship chances ruined by a "mere" 3 losses is bad planning by the MLB.

But, it's all based on the drive for more games and more revenue and if the Baseball Cartel could figure out a way to add more games and keep Fenway, Wrigley and Yankee Home Run Stadium open year round they would but Chicago winters, especially lately, aren't too conducive for that prospect. That's enough of Money Ball and wistful lamentations for Baseball purity.

The 2009 Cubs failed as an organization. Several players did very well, Derek Lee especially. But several decisions and baseball incidents caused the team to collapse.

The first and worst move was the acquisition of known malcontent Milton Bradley. Bradley appears to be a not nice person who finds ways to blame everyone but himself for his extensive history of problems. The Cubs ostensibly claimed they acquired Bradley to be a left-handed run producing hitter. Bradley does not drive in a large amount of runs and was not what the Cubs needed. So Bradley was what his history advertised and not what the Cubs declared... To make room for Bradley's forced signing the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa.

DeRosa has always been considered a role-player but if his last 4 seasons are taken alone his numbers show him to be an everyday player, who will produce a .285 average, 15-20 home runs, score and drive in 80+ runs. DeRosa was widely acknowledged as a good influence, clubhouse leader and showed a willingness to play a variety of positions for the Cubs during his two seasons with the team. Each of those attributes turned out to be exactly what the Cubs needed and missed in 2009.

The Cubs made the risky decision to enter the season with no backup for talented but slightly injury prone 3rd Baseman Aramis Ramirez and it turned out to probably be the worst cost-benefit analysis of the season. Ramirez got hurt and missed significant time during the season (DeRosa could have filled in at 3rd) but with DeRosa gone and when Ramirez went on the Disbaled List, the Cubs moved Mike Fontenot from 2nd Base to 3rd. Fontenot was to be given the shot to be the everyday 2nd baseman and he might have been okay this year if he also did not have to worry about playing everyday at the hot corner. The added pressure along with being a regular everyday player hampered his ability to adjust at the plate and kept Fontenot in an extended hitting slump.

Incredibly talented Carlos Zambrano again exploded into full blown Big Z meltdown mode in his underwhelming season. Zambrano is such a gifted baseball player he's got Nuke Laloosh's pitching power with the hitting ability of Crash Davis, unfortunately as Costner alluded to in Bull Durham Zambrano's apparently also got Laloosh's "5 cent head".

The off season abandonments of Felix Pie, Casey McGehee, and Jason Marquis contributed to the sad bad 2009 season.

And Non-Cub Alfonso Soriano continued his slow decline into baseball agedness. The Cubs have 6 years and $100 Million USC left of his .250 hitting Designated Hitter fielding ability left.

Fortunately for Cubs Fans the season's withering won't be seared into their psyche like 1969 or 1984 or 2003 or 2008...

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