Baseball Toaster Cub Town
2004-11-01 12:07
by alex ciepley

Excuse me if I'm distracted the next few days. I'm prone to getting jumpy during certain events: women's Olympic figure skating finals, Cubs games, and presidential elections. You'd think Tums would release a special product: Tums 2004, Election Night Special.

There isn't a whole bunch of Cubs news at the moment, but I thought I'd take a look at a couple quotes from Todd Walker's two chats with ESPN last week. Note: these chats are unfortunately only available through an ESPN Insider subscription.

Todd discussed his desire to return to the Cubs while also touching on Nomar' status:

the cubs are my first choice at this point..hopefully it works out..with Nomar, I know he loved chicago, but the cubbies may not be willing to pay him. The yanks and the Angels will.

I think it is actually likely that Todd will return as the second baseman next year, which is fine by me. I'm also intrigued by the idea of Placido Polanco, but I haven't put much thought into the situation yet. Polanco isn't as strong an offensive force as Walker, but he brings truly fantastic fielding to the mix.

I also think that it may be likely that the Cubs bring back Nomar for one year. I think a one-year deal would be terrific for both parties, allowing Nomar to ramp up his value while letting the Cubs enjoy a year in which Nomar is especially motivated to produce.

Later, Walker discussed some other potential Cubs moves:

I think the cubbies may also pursue Beltran if Mo doesn't come back. And the cubbies have Neifi Perez still

The Cubs seem set to become a finalist in the Beltran sweepstakes. I have no idea how his signing would be financially feasible (unless it is a backloaded contract that starts at 10M for 2005), but it could probably be worked out. And as for Neifi -- no, Todd, I will not consider that nightmare scenario.

Walker chatted again a couple days later, and reemphasized his desire to come back as a Cub.

I think there is a good chance I'm coming back but the ball is in the Cubs court.

The chat sessions, if you have ESPN Insider, are well worth checking out. Walker spoke at length in the chats, and you get a decent sense of his personality through his responses. He's very outspoken, honest, and more than once appeared a bit testy. While I respect his candor at times, I thought the following exchange was pretty lame:

Jon (CT): Todd - There is no denying Cabrera is better defensively than Nomar. Specifically this year where Nomars heel, really limited his range. I think your one example (cabrera one hop to Millar) seems very petty.

Todd Walker: from your extensive experience in the big leagues, is that where you can say "there is no denying??"

I can understand Todd's frustration at being criticized on his opinions by a non-baseball player, but it is exceedingly dumb to think that you have to play a sport in order to observe it intelligently. If we're not filmmakers are we not allowed to have an opinion on a movie? If I go to a restaurant, can I not evaluate my entree because I'm not a professional chef?

There are many, many things I will never understand about the game of baseball because I didn't play it professionally, but it doesn't take an expert to see that Orlando Cabrera gets to more balls than Nomar -- especially the slightly hobbled Nomar we saw in the field this year. If you're not allowed to make observations about the game, why bother watching?

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