Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Storm The Castle
by Derek Smart
Here's the quote that everyone is likely to focus on today. I'll use the Mouthpiece version:
"I'm evaluating everything," Hendry said. "When you're having this kind of a year I'm evaluating all situations. When you're 20-plus games below .500 we certainly want to give us a chance to see if we can make a run here before the break, see if we can do well the rest of the week. I'll spend a lot of time over the break [evaluating], not just the way the [coaching] situation is, but also with your own players."
Here's the reaction of noted intellectual, Phil Rogers:
Jim Hendry has seen this, and he's still evaluating?
It's a red letter day here at Cub Town, because I'm in full agreement with Rogers, as I imagine all vaguely sentient Cub fans are. The idea that Hendry could still be evaluating a season whose tailspin has gone into a tailspin would be laughable if it weren't so unsettling.
Of course, the idea that the evaluation process continues isn't the most egregiously disgusting notion, it's the concept, ridiculous on its face, revolting at its depths, that to "make a run here before the break" could change anyone's mind, that a five-game winning streak could negate the weight of evidence accrued over 83 games of barbarous incompetence - let alone the testimonial rendered by the two previous seasons' failures.
I understand what folks mean when they defend Baker, saying that he isn't the root of the problem, that the awful roster he has to work with is no small part of the bargain, and they're right - this team is not constructed to be successful, no matter who is at the helm.
However, it's no accident that what is now the height of speculation about impending changes in the team's coaching staff coincides, not only with the continuance of a stretch of appalling baseball, but with the arrival in town of the newly resurgent former whipping-boy, Corey Patterson.
This morning's feedingfrenzy has as much to do with Good Corey's return to Chicago as anything else. It is the blood in the water, the trigger for the final rounds of denunciation of a coaching staff that has shown time and again that it is incapable of taking potential and molding it into production.
The argument for ridding the team of Dusty and Co. has little to do with the club's current record, and everything to do with their basic failure to understand and utilize their players' skillsets, their abject bungling of the most rudimentary of strategic devices, and most damning of all, what has proven to be a fundamental inability to get young players to the next level - to not only teach when necessary, but to have the patience to do so.
The evaluation process is over. This group of men has failed. If they are not elsewhere by July 14, it's time to storm the castle.