Friday, October 13, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
It's been a long run, folks. A long, obnoxious, pointless waste of time, money, and energy. We've suffered through double switches galore, through Neifi Perez at leadoff, through any Enrique Wilson, through Tony Womack (twice!), through Jose Macias, and, most recently, through Freddie Bynum. We've watched our former heroes Mark Prior and Kerry Wood get reduced to brittle shambles of their former selves. We've watched a collapse of monumental proportions. We've broken televisions and radios. We've watched formerly great relievers (Latroy Hawkins, Mike Remlinger) misused, miscast, and discarded. We've wept. We've lived and died with the Cubs through four years of futility.
I remember, after the Cubs lost the NLCS in 2003, thinking that they had blown their chance. They wasted some brilliant playoff pitching (aside from Game 7 and the last 2 innings of Game 6) from Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The Sosa game-tying homerun in Game 1. The Aramis grand slam off Dontrelle Willis. Hell, the Alex Gonzalez homer in Atlanta. Didn't even Doug Glanville's skeleton hit a triple in the playoffs? The Cubs seemed destined to win that year. How great would it have been? The three longest-suffering franchises in baseball would have broken their droughts 1-2-3, from 2003 through 2005. It would have been a story for the ages. But, in typical Cub fashion, they f@#$ed it up. A lot of fans blame Alex Gonzalez. Many blame the foul ball, Farnsworth, or even Prior. But, let's face it. No one was more blameworthy in 2003 than Dusty.
Dusty is the one who rode the young Zambrano all season, beating him into the ground to the point that he was pitching on fumes in the playoffs. Dusty was the one who left Prior in with a eleven run lead in the fifth inning of the Game 2 blowout of Florida (I screamed at you through my TV when Prior ran out for the 6th inning, Dusty, and I chugged a bottle of Pepto Bismal when he came out for the 7th). Dusty was the one who didn't go to Clement out of the bullpen at any point during the playoffs. Dusty was the one who made so many moronic decisions during the year that it took until the Saturday double header against the Pirates for the Cubs to clinch. Let's be honest. The division should have been wrapped up a week earlier, and our starters should have gotten the rest they so desperately needed (Why the f@#$ did he keep running Shawn Estes out there to get beat like a drum?).
And the worst part is that Dusty will make you feel like it's your fault for hating him for it. He'll say, "Aw, shucks, dude. I guess it's not in the cards." He'll sprinkle his magic powder, and he'll tell you that he had no one in the bullpen for Game 2. No one in the bullpen could hold a ten run lead for four innings, Dusty? You don't expect us to be stupid enough to believe that, right? Veres and Guthrie gave up a hit and a walk in their two innings of relief. You couldn't have stretched them out a little more?
Dusty would have you believe that it's Matt Clement's fault that he didn't pitch in the playoffs. He claims that he asked Clement if he wanted to pitch, and Clement said he didn't feel comfortable doing that. In Dusty's world, that makes it Clement's fault. Well, f@#$ you, Dusty. You're the manager of the ballclub. Act like it. It's not Clement's call. You know how you manage a club? You walk up to Matt Clement during the 3rd inning of Game 2 when it's already an 8-run rout and say, "Get your ass out of the dugout and down in the bullpen. You're going into this game. And make me a goddamn sandwich while you're down there. You know how I like it. Everyone who ate my crappy sandwich during that Subway promotion knows how I like it." And if Clement complains, kick his ass out of the dugout. You weren't there to make friends, Dusty. You were there to win, and you blew it. Clement should have been ready to go in Game 2 and, since you refused to bring him in then, he sure as hell should have been ready for Game 6 and 7. That's on you, Dusty. Not Matt Clement.
Your stupid loyalty to bad baseball players was staggering, Dusty. You kept trotting Shawn Estes out there, when everyone in Chicago knew that Juan Cruz was a better option. You let Mark Bellhorn rot on the bench so you could get at-bats to Lenny "I'm-the-all-time-leader-in-pinch-hits-because-everyone-but-Dusty-knows-I'm-not-good-enough-to-start" Harris. We should have wrapped up the division in the middle of the week, Dusty. And you should have rested Z, Prior, Wood, Clement, and your entire bullpen. Instead, you wore them down like dogs. Wood and Prior were heroic in the playoffs, and you wasted it.
Even this season, Dusty, you did nothing but make excuses. You blamed the injuries to your "horses." You blamed day games. It was everyone's fault but yours, Dusty. My parents taught me at a very young age to stand up and hold myself accountable for my mistakes, but you were never man enough to do that, and I don't think you ever will be.
I knew, lying in my bed the night of Game 7, that, as long as you were their manager, the Cubs would never get as close to the World Series as they had that night. Good riddance to you, Dusty. I hope someday you learn to hold yourself accountable for your own actions, but I'm glad that someday won't occur with you in a Cubs uniform.
Friday, September 29, 2006
You've got our coin, Dusty, now get your kwan the f@#$ out of here.
However, not even Jim Hendry can possibly be stupid enough to resign Dusty, right? The uproar would be outstanding. Therefore, I have compiled a dream list of coaches to take over the Cubs next year. They're available, Jim. Put down the cruller and make some phone calls.
- Manager, Joe Girardi. Jim is afraid of the smear campaign the Marlins are putting on Girardi. He's not afraid, however, of smearing butter on a Twinkie. He also didn't seem to care about the Nomar trashing that came out of Boston when he was unhappy there. Jim, of course he's not going to say anything nice about Girardi. He, unlike you, seems to understand public backlash. Girardi should be the runaway winner of NL Manager of the Year. Loria doesn't want to piss off the 12 remaining Marlins fans. That's also why he has never signed Neifi Perez, Jim. You dumbass. Second Choices: There are none. It's Girardi or bust. So help you, Jim, if you f@#$ing hire Lloyd McClendon.
- Pitching Coach, Greg Maddux. Maddux knows this organization is run by retarded drunks. He knows that the Cubs have little to no talent in the farm system. And he had to orchestrate his own trade just to get out of here. Why would he come back? Did you see him crying at his press conference when the Cubs resigned him in 2004? He loves the Cubs, like all of us masochists. Plus, wouldn't it be nice to see what he can do as a pitching coach in the same division as his brother Mike? Second Choices: Rick Kranitz has been in the organization before, and he's worked wonders with the young Marlins pitching staff. Mike Maddux is the most underrated pitching coach in baseball. Steve Stone is brilliant, but he's too arrogant to teach the game of baseball to the Cubs' pitchers.
- Hitting Coach, Ryne Sandberg. Some time after his career ended the second time, Sandberg learned to talk. And he hasn't shut up since. Can we put a bat in his hands, stand him in front of Matt Murton and Ryan Theriot and ask him, "Hey, Ryno? How did you develop that sweet swing, and how were you able to use it to hit the ball out of the park?" Let's face it. Ryno had one of the best swings the Cubs have seen in a long time, and I'd love to have him back. Second Choices: Andre Dawson, one of the scariest, nicest, best ballplayers to have played for the Cubs. Mark Grace, just to get him the hell out of the booth and away from the English language. Also, he knew how to take a walk, something this team lacks. Plus, I think the bad blood has mostly come to rest.
- Bench Coach, Don Zimmer. What the hell does a bench coach do, exactly? Seriously. Does Dick Pole work on Prior's posture when he's parked on the bench for 90% of the season? I guess we need a figurehead, though, so can we get Zimmer to come back? Second Choices: Who the hell cares? Let's see. Bill Murray? He'd keep the clubhouse light, that's for sure.
- First Base Coach, Billy Williams. Billy, get your ass out of the front office and back on the field where you belong. We'd have two of the sweetest swings in Cubs history on staff. Come back to us, Billy. Second Choices: Dusty Baker, just to humiliate him and to annoy him when guys actually get walks. Any of the guys who don't get the jobs above would do, too.
- Third Base Coach, Chris Speier. This is the only guy I'd keep from the current regime. He's aggressive without being Wendell Kim-stupid, and he is the only coach who cared enough to drink heavily because of this crap team. Second Choices: See, First Base Coach Choices.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
This is what it's come to, folks. I read. I read some silly novel called Reversible Errors, just because it was written by a guy from my hometown. But that's not the point. The point is that two weeks ago, Dusty Baker drove me to reading. I got to thinking, "Is this a good thing? Will the time I don't waste on the Cubs make me a better person?" To find the answer, I decided to stop watching the Cubs completely for two weeks. Let's explore what I did in that time in an effort to finally answer the question, "Do the Cubs sucking at everything make me suck at life, too?"
Since I had my Dustorcism, I have watched the following movies and television shows (sponsored, in part, by Netflix):
- Life on Mars--If you're not watching this BBC show, start watching this show. It's about a cop in London who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. Is he dreaming the whole thing? Is he in a coma? Is he dead? Is he actually back in time? Anyhow, he's the guy in the white hat trying to change the Stone Age, crooked ways of the cops back in 1973. This is one of the best shows on television.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia--I'm pissed I was invited to this party late. It's on FX, and it's absolutely brilliant. The characters are loveably evil, and Charlie may be my favorite comedic character of all time. The 50's-TV-style opening is juxtaposed against the shocking and hilarious content. Why aren't you watching this show right now?
- Peep Show, Series 1--An interesting British comedy that does a lot of shots from the perspective of the main characters (hence, "Peep Show"). Let's face it. It's not The Office, but it was enjoyable and had some very funny moments.
- Three Days of the Condor--Robert Redford, government conspiracy, and the American Dream of returning to work to find everyone in your office shot to death. Great movie.
- The Brady Bunch Movie--Okay, this was my wife's pick. I think if I was a bigger fan of the original show, I would have enjoyed it more. It was better than the Cubs, though, right?
- Castaway--I saw this one when it first came out in the theater, and couldn't remember whether I enjoyed it or not. I liked it better this time, because I'm getting to the point in my life when getting stranded on a desert island doesn't seem that unappealing. I'm also having my wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow, so the scene where he knocks out his tooth with a skate blade sent shivers down the spine.
- The Descent--Saw this one in the theaters. Wow. I wasn't expecting the gore. There were some great jump moments, some truly disgusting scenes, and a lot of tension between the characters. It was interesting how the characters were fighting against both the cave and the creatures. For someone as claustrophobic as I am, it was tough to watch, but very good.
- Lost, Season 1, Disc 1--Just got this one last night from Netflix. I missed out on the Lost fever when it first spread. I can understand this story's appeal, despite the completely absurd plot holes and the writers' inability to remember what their own characters have said from scene to scene. Bizarre.
- Dead Rising (Xbox 360)--It's like playing Dawn of the Dead, and it's oh-so-sweet.
- NCAA Football (Xbox 360)--Notre Dame has already won one National Championship of many more to come.
- NCAA MVP Baseball (Xbox)--I picked this up to get in my baseball fix, as I finally came to the realization that MLB 2K6 completely sucks. It's a great game, as a non-MLB sequel to...
- MVP Baseball (Xbox)--I fired up a new season, and in keeping with the no-Cubs theme, I am using the Twins (my backup AL team). They are 5-2 so far, if you're wondering.
I have finally been able to run at a relatively consistent rate. I have dropped a couple of pounds, and last week I ran more (21 miles) than I had in the previous three weeks combined.
I have been able to pay more attention to my dog and wife, who both love me even more than they did before I gave up on the Cubs. My friends don't find me as bitter. My co-workers notice a little spring in my step. I've talked more to my family.
I've been bad about going to Church, but have dragged myself out of bed the past two Sundays to practice my faith.
How does this all add up? To me, it looks like I'm a better person for having given up hope on the Cubs. I challenge anyone to give me a good reason not to give up on them before a pitch is thrown in 2007...
Friday, August 04, 2006
"I'm tired of all the questions directed at me and the staff of 'Fire Dusty Baker!', so I want to assure you that 'Fire Dusty Baker!' will be here through the end of this season. At the end of the season, I will take a look at everything and decide where to go from there," Hendry said between bites of a jelly doughnut.
Rumors had swirled around "Fire Dusty Baker!" that it would be removed due to its incompetent writing, factually inaccurate stories, wild speculations, not-so-subtle insults, and lack of timely updates. The rumors were based largely on Hendry's statement before the All-Star Break that he would evaluate the site. This led many in the media to believe that Hendry would make a move soon after the break.
Hendry remained silent about the site's future until Friday. "Fire Dusty Baker!" suspects that it was difficult for Hendry to read the many articles on the site, as he usually mouths the words
he is reading, making it impossible for him to read and eat simultaneously.
Whatever the reason for the delay, the staff at "Fire Dusty Baker!" is pleased to serve its three loyal readers at least until the end of the 2006 season.
I'm not a smoker, Jim. I'm not going to enjoy it. My hair, clothes, and breath will stink, my teeth will stain, my food will taste bland, and my wife will probably hate me. But none of it can be as bad as watching your stinky, bland team on the field, and hating them.
The Surgeon General has said smoking is bad for you, Jim. It may even kill me. But no more than your team is killing me right now.
So, Jim, do the right thing. If not for me, if not for the fans of the Cubs out there, for my pink and beautiful lungs. Save them, Jim, before they become black enough to play in a day game for your idiot manager.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Zambrano's decision came mere hours after the Cubs defeated Milwaukee to win the series with the Brewers three games to one, and to send the Cubs to their longest winning streak of the season: three games. "Now that we've won three games in a row, I think that Jim Hendry might re-sign Dusty Baker, and my arm just can't handle that."
Zambrano's right arm begged to differ. "I can handle that," Zambrano's right arm said. "If I can handle all the instant messaging he does, I can certainly handle throwing upwards of 250 pitches per start." Zambrano's left arm did not return phone messages left for it by Fire Dusty Baker!
Zambrano thinks that playing exclusively for the National League All-Star team will prolong his career. "When I went to the All-Star Game [in 2004], they only made me pitch an inning. Only one inning! I think that if I only have to pitch one inning per year, I can pitch for the next 4000 years. If I pitch for Dusty, I think I might reach that by September."
Cubs pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood were amazed by Zambrano's lofty goals. "He wants to throw an inning? In one year? Like, three outs? 'Big Z' is a total workhorse," Prior said. "He's not going to bat, too, is he?" Prior asked.
Fire Dusty Baker! caught up to Wood, who was similarly amazed, in a brief period of lucidity between surgery-induced anesthesia highs. "I'm sure going to miss Carlos," Wood said. "He took a lot of pressure of the other starters by eating a lot of innings. Who are our starters again these days?" When Wood was informed that Glendon Rusch had taken the hill for the Cubs on Sunday, he slipped into a deep coma.
Zambrano is expected to pitch the fourth inning of Tuesday's All-Star game. His next appearance will be in July of 2007, two months ahead of Prior and Wood's next starts.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Asked about the Platoon, Baker said, "Dude, you see Murton's hair? I send him out into the jungle against righties, and they're going to be aiming right for that red hair. That red hair is like a bullseye. When me and Hank Aaron used to play, we always used to point out how, if we saw a blonde guy, a brunette guy, and a redhead guy, we'd shoot the redhead guy first, because you know redheaded guys are dangerous. That's just the way it is, man. You know? I don't make the rules."
Cubs left fielder Matt Murton learns that he is now part of a Platoon with circus clown Freddie Bynum.
Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno heard about the Platoon from Baker hours before it was announced to the press. "I wasn't too suprised. During batting practice today, Dusty asked me to wear a metal jacket and go deer hunting with him. I think he's been watching the Military Channel and is confused," Cedeno said.
When asked about the Cubs' recent struggles, Baker did indeed seem confused. "Man, it's like the apocalypse now out there the way we're losing games. You know? I wasn't just born on the fourth of July. I can see that we need to get better out there on the killing fields. I don't want to just be some casualty of war. You know? In 2003, we were soldiers, and we almost made it all the way to the top of that golden hamburger hill, but we lost our way in the fog of war. We have to wait for guys like Lee, Prior, and Wood to get back, because that's like calling in the green berets, you know?" Baker stated as he sat on a bus stop bench, fascinated with a passing feather.
Time will tell whether the Platoon will revive the struggling Cubs, or if they will continue to hit like the walking dead.
Friday, April 07, 2006
"Well, it's disappointing," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "When you look over at the other dugout and you see 25 guys all sitting there in uniform, it breaks your heart a little bit, dude."
The 2006 season was marred in its earliest stages after consecutive seasons in which the Cubs failed to make the playoffs due to the continued existence of teams like the Cardinals, Astros, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox.
"You have to figure if the top eight or ten teams in the league for the past few years were wiped off the planet by some sort of supervirus that only affects outstanding athletes, that we would have probably made the playoffs the last two years as well as this year," Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry said. "But as far as I know, there is no such virus, nor have there been any natural disasters localized to those teams' clubhouses, so we were eliminated a little early this year."
Neifi Perez hoped for elimination of the top teams as well. "You have to realize that if the top eight teams just vanished into the Bermuda Triangle, or something, that would eliminate 200 more players who are all better than I am. Cha-ching!"
News of the elimination inspired pitching coach Larry Rothschild to begin a strenuous and highly-dangerous rehabilitation progam for pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. "As soon as I heard we had been eliminated, I decided to put as much stress as possible on those guys' arms, just so they're extra-special ready for the 2007 season."
Details about Rothschild's new, unorthodox program were vague, but rumors circulated that both pitchers will be keelhauled, quartered, and then forced to serve for six months' time on an Arctic fishing boat.
"I had to put them on the fishing boat, because I just missed the signups for the heavyweight all-right-handed arm wrestling tournament," Rothschild said.
Neither Wood nor Prior could be reached for comment, as they were both at base jumping class.
News of the Cubs elimination reached the Cardinals players, as the fact that no one had died was posted on the Wrigley scoreboard before the game. "I'm sure it's disappointing for them," Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols said as he reacted to external stimuli. "There's not much left for them to play for," Pujols added, metabolizing.
"They have 159 games left after today's game, which would normally leave them plenty of time to catch up," Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said as he inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. "But when you have three whole teams in front of you who are all still alive, you're pretty much stuck just playing out the rest of the season."
Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal declared three Cardinal players dead before the first pitch of the opener, but his diagnosis was proven incorrect when those three players were seen playing pepper and dividing cells.
"Those guys just have to hang in there now that they're eliminated," said Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, clearly having a soul. "Teams get eliminated early sometimes, but you have to stay positive," he said as he grew slightly and played with his biological offspring.
"There's always next year."
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Said Ramone of the trade, “Since I started my collection, I’ve been going down my list of cards saying, ‘Got him. Got him. Got him. Got him.’ Every time I get to Prior, though, I had to say, ‘Need him.’ It bugged me that he was a ‘need him.’”
Ramone plans to put the card in his display case next to his vibrating Leo Mazzone card. He says that he will leave five spaces open around it for Prior’s ‘Cy Young’ cards.”
When Ramone was asked if the Prior card was his favorite in his collection, he said, “It’s probably number two. You know that card where the guy has ‘@$#! FACE’ written on the bottom of his bat? It’s going to take one great card to beat that one.”
Billington was similarly happy with the acquisition. “Oh, yeah. I’m pumped about the trade,” Billington said. “At first, Phillip was asking for my Rich Hill rookie card, but I have that one in a hermeneutically-sealed safe in my attic. No one, and I mean NO ONE is going to touch my Rich Hill, or Dicky Bump, as I like to call him.”
Fans of Billington’s collection were outraged at the trade. Billington’s father, Tom, when reached for comment, said, “That kid is retarded.”
Billington’s best friend, Mark Williams, was equally dismayed. “Man, I don’t know what that stupid [Billington] is thinking sometimes. Did you know he paid ten dollars for his fricking Glendon Rusch card? Ten dollars! He could have actually purchased the life of Neifi Perez for that!”
Billington has been known to be careless with his cards, as Williams explained, “Man, I found his Todd Walker mint condition rookie card sitting at the bottom of an old shoe box. Under some blankets. At the back of his closet. Which is at the bottom of the deepest, darkest part of
Cubs manager Dusty Baker, having nothing better to do in the offseason than lament the release of Jose Macias and look forward to the inevitable resigning of a 42-year-old Jose Macias, commented on the trade. “Dude, man, I used to collect baseball cards. You know what I used to do? I used to cut out my face from pictures and paste it on Hank [Aaron]’s card. Man, you ever eat paste? Boy, I put on a lot of pounds from eating paste.”
Does Dusty still have his collection? “Well, man, I ruined most of my cards of black players. They got all faded from leaving them out in the sun for too long.”