Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
A Little Town Business
by Derek Smart
You may have noticed that all you've seen of Alex so far have been the two fineinstallments of his interview with Len Kasper. Well, there's a reason for that. He's out of town. And state. And country.
Due to the joys of wacky timing that life occasionally brings us, Alex had a long scheduled trip to France, and as these things are bound to go - at least in the mind of someone like me - when you're preparing to start a new website, and you're leaving the country on Wednesday, the site will, by cosmic necessity, launch early Thursday morning.
This is how it was, but much as I know he wanted to be around when we first went live here at Cub Town, when given the choice of handing the keys to your writing partner for a week, or forgoing the pleasures of Paris in order to hunker down at the keyboard, the choice is easy as, "Nomar or Neifi?" You go to France.
So, it's all on me for the next little bit, but fear not, I am feeling up to the task. My previews of the other NL Central teams - a series called "Know Your Enemy" - will start on Monday. Besides, Alex will be back late next week, and then we'll really get this party started.
Now, a few observations for the day:
It seems fitting that the day after I mention how lopsided, yet fragilely so, the Dubois/Kelton tilt has been, Mr. Kelton goes 2 for 2 with a run scored, and Mr. Dubois goes 0 for 1 with a strikeout. This thing ain't over yet.
I haven't said anything about Kerry Wood's shoulder because, well, there really isn't much to say. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit freaked out, but I also have a weird sense of optimism about the whole thing, despite my natural inclination toward cynicism. Here's the deal: Wood is scheduled to resume throwing on Monday, and that's when I'll have a concrete reaction. A good, pain-free session, and I'm done with this. Shut him down, and I'll probably need someone standing by with a bucket of water to douse my flaming hair. Stay tuned.
While I wasn't railing against the Cubs for failing to protect Andy Sisco from the Rule 5 draft, I recognized that the move was fraught with risk, particularly since there were a couple of better candidates with little immediate, or even future use, who could have been exposed. Still, I really didn't think he would stick with the Royals, despite their likely ability to stow a Rule 5er in the back of their bullpen. This changes my feelings:
Yeah, I know, sample size, sample size, sample size. Still, since he's pitching out of the bullpen, all he needs is four or five more decent innings, and he's got himself a spot, probably for the season. There's still the possibility that he could pitch himself out of a roster spot during the year, but once he's up with the club, it'll probably take a lot to push him away.
Not protecting Sisco was questionable and an obvious gamble at the time. It's looking like Jim Hendry might lose this bet.
I'll have my first chance to see more than an inning or two of Cub baseball this afternoon, and I couldn't be more excited. I hope to have some observations of the contest later on, but even I don't, make sure that you take the chance to get a little taste of the game today. There's nothing like a ballgame to take the edge off the lingering winter days.