Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Alex Ciepley
I've spent the past week and change at a family reunion in Bavaria, where our German hosts regularly plotted our day along the following lines:
8:30 - wake up NOW
9:00 - eat breakfast NOW
10:00 - get in car for tour of village NOW
12:00 - eat lunch NOW
1:30 - nap NOW
3:00 - tour vineyards NOW
5:00 - buy wine in gift shop NOW
6:00 - eat dinner NOW
8:00 - sit in circle and socialize NOW
It was mentally and physically exhausting, like a family boot camp. I did have a good time, though, and managed to slip out of several tours with some cousins, suffering only briefly the mildly withering gaze of the hosts. There were some Swiss, Finnish, and British relatives there also, and they seemed to humor the German sense of punctuality a bit more than the Americans--the Brits simply ignored the "rules", scuttling into breakfast with about 2 minutes to spare each morning.
The cultural revelations didn't stop at just our differing sense of what entails a "vacation", though. It also seems that Germany is a bona fide enemy of the Chicago Cubs. Our men in blue were a miserable 0-6 while I was in Europe, and I think I can chalk up yesterday's double-headed disaster to my jet lag hangover from the trip home. If, say, the 2006 Cubs would like to set new standards of mediocrity, they should just send me to Germany for the year. They'll be bound to lose every game.
This is, of course, in stark contrast to the great state of Maine, where the Cubs are 5-0 when I've been vacationing there. I love Maine. It's pretty, there's good seafood, and I like hearing locals tell me where to "pahk the cahr". Surely a truly wise Cubs fan would take note of my Maine-Cubbie winning phenomenon and would promptly buy me a summer vacation house on an island just off the coast of Camden. If any readers are so inspired to donate such real estate, please take note that my only requirements are a working toilet and a 500 square foot kitchen.
How psyched am I to see Matt Murton and Adam Greenberg up at the majors? Murton's callup was just a matter of time, as he's spent the year establishing himself as the best hitter in the Cubs' minor league system. Greenberg's promotion, though, is a welcome surprise. He's a scrappy little guy who concentrates on--hold onto your skivvies--getting on base. Last year, Greenberg discussed his potential value in relation to the 2004 team on Cubs.com:
"They led the league in home runs, but were near the bottom in on-base percentage (11th in the NL)," said Greenberg, who has a career OBP of .384. "Keep putting more people on base and keep hitting home runs, you do the math, you're going to score more runs. If they need a leadoff hitter, that's what I bring to the table. I have to believe that."
It's worth noting that Murton and Greenberg currently had OBPs at Double-A West Tenn of .403 and .384, respectively. Those marks would be good for 2nd and 3rd on the current Cubs team. These dudes know how to get on base; now it's just a matter of Dusty figuring out how to get them in the lineup.