I do not want to see the 2009 Cubs succeed. To do so would be to go against every baseball sensibility I have. It would be to go against any sense of justice and fairness in this world. To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would be a slap in the face of the baseball gods (sorry, Dusty Baker). To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would validate stupidity. When a G.M. takes a 97 win team and needlessly overhauls them in the offseason with head-scratching, nonsensical moves, it should not be able to win. I want to see the Cubs win a World Series, but my God, not this team. Cub fans deserve better than this ill-conceived team Jim Hendry has put together and Lou Piniella has watched over. I’ve heard people say the Cubs will actually make the playoffs because they play most of their remaining games against sub .500 teams such as the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals. Sure. I’m so glad that we have the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV so I can actually watch real baseball this September.
It’s only August 11th, but the Cubs are well on their way to being C.U.B.S. (Completely Useless by September). Sure, the guys that tow the corporate line on TV will say the Cubs are only three games behind St. Louis and they have the best NL record since the All-Star break (well they did before this weekend; they may not have that distinction anymore), but anyone watching the games can’t be fooled. I feel a need to debunk five common myths about the Cubs right now.
My family and I had a blast on our week long road trip out East. While in Philadelphia we saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, we ate Philly cheesesteaks (Geno’s is the best! And definitely have the cheez whiz!), and we did the cheesy touristy stuff like have our picture taken at the Rocky statue.
So the Cubs have fired hitting coach Gerald Perry. The same Gerald Perry who was given credit for guiding the Cubs offense to a .278 average in 2008 and a .271 average in 2007. The Cubs offense has been a complete disappointment this year, hitting only .246 as a team. Even the Washington Nationals are hitting .259! I believe that this is just a knee-jerk, desperate reaction to the disappointing season the Cubs are experiencing. If Perry had great success in 07 and 08, then what’s different in 09? The team is replacing Perry with Von Joshua, because they believe that since Joshua worked with the AAA players currently on the Cubs roster, then he can have better luck at getting guys like Bobby Scales (.241), Andres Blanco (.212), Micah Hoffpauir (.261), and Mike Fontenot (.236) to hit better. As if the young guys have been the only problem. What about Alfonso Soriano hitting only .229? Aaron Miles hitting .200? Milton Bradley hitting .227? These aren’t young guys that Joshua coached in the minors. Why put all the blame on Perry? At what point do you look at the players? Perry was heralded as a big reason behind the team’s division titles the past two years? What is the difference now? Let’s look at some of these players.
Yesterday I made light of the fact that Carlos Zambrano went nutso at Wrigley. It was a needed eruption to get his deflated team pumped up again. Today, I actually saw the whole footage of the outburst on TV by my parents house while picking up my son. I was at work when this game was played so I didn’t see the whole thing. What I saw put a sour feeling in my stomach. I’ve changed my tune. I still think that an eruption by a player or manager can have a positive effect on a team. However, Zambrano crossed a lot of lines yesterday. The biggest line crossed was that of the bat to the Gatorade machine. It’s scary to see how close he came to hitting Larry Rothschild in the chest. He swung the bat at the machine without any regard to the safety of his teammates on the bench. I honestly think that the Cubs themselves should suspend Zambrano. He’s out of control. He should be suspended by the team and forced to take an anger management class or get counseling. I actually saw an interview with Big Z on the news where he said with a straight face that he never got into it with an umpire before or had an out burst like that. What? No, there’s something wrong. The Cubs right now seem to be taking the stance people associated with the Red Sox took with Manny Ramirez when they would say, “It’s Manny being Manny”. However, I don’t recall Manny putting his teammates safety at risk. Would the Cubs be singing a different tune right now if Rothschild took the bat to the chest, or if the bat’s backswing caught a player on the bench in the head. Or if a piece of the Gatorade machine hit a player in the head. Or a fan, for that matter. Seeing this outburst reminded me somewhat of a scene in the Jimmy Piersall biopic “Fear Strikes Out”. If I was a Cubs player on the bench, I would have actually have been scared. We can go back to many out bursts from Zambrano. From hitting batters to the fight with Michael Barrett, Zambrano has shown time and again he is his own worst enemy. Can the Cubs really count on him? Is he really a number one starter? A stopper? I don’t know. He keeps proving that he’s a loose cannon that does more harm than good to the team at times. Why would the Cubs keep pursuing San Diego’s ace pitcher? Maybe because deep down they know that they can never know what to expect from Big Z. If Lou Piniella and the coaches are just going to look the other way, then Jim Hendry needs to step in and demand a level of professionalism. The Cubs cannot continue to apologize for Big Z’s behavior and look the other way. The need to get him help. If not, he’s only going to end up hurting the team.
I said it was going to happen. I said that it needed to happen. Someone on the Cubs exploded in rage. While it wasn’t Lou or Bradley, Big Z provided plenty of fireworks for the faithful this afternoon at Wrigley.