Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Orgies of Failure
2006-05-25 08:16
by Derek Smart

One of my strengths, at least as I perceive things, is in the notation of details. I'll watch a game, see some small thing that catches my eye, then make a far bigger deal out of it than necessary with the intention of being some combination of insightful and entertaining. If I get in the same zipcode as either at least once in a post, then I figure I've done my job.

Which makes writing about this team extraordinarily difficult. The fact is, there are no details at the moment. Every issue plaguing this club is big picture stuff - not pitching, not playing defense, not getting on base, not hitting when they are on base, not hitting for power, not hitting period. Nothing is going well, and everything that's going wrong is doing so in such a Grand Guignol style that it defies commentary. There are only so many ways to say, "My goodness, he was just disembowelled."


I'm going to my first ballgame of the year on Saturday, and I'm not in the least bit excited. It's hard enough to watch these fellas stink it up through the remoteness of television, so I can't imagine what it'll be like up close and personal.

I'm going because a friend who used to live here is in town on business and wanted to hit the yard for old times' sake, and since I recently found myself a "guy" for such things, I secured some pretty good seats. I take it as par for Murphy's course that now I've found a way to nab the occasional chair at the park, doing so is akin to purchasing the soothing comfort of a three-hour soak in a tub of fire ants.


Getting back to the issues confronting this club, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, takes the fall today after one of the more embarrassing sweeps of the last few seasons. I think the team performance over the last month would cause most organizations to start assigning blame and letting people go, but I'm unsure if we'll see it happen here.

It's not that there aren't folks deserving of a pink slip - a legitimate case could be made for firing anyone with decision making authority in the entire organization, and a remorseless housecleaning would certainly bring with it a level of satisfaction - but I get the feeling that this organization won't do it, simply because they're actually under the delusion that the club's problems will somehow heal sans intervention.

Players are allowed, even supposed to delude themselves - remarkable comebacks like the hilariously oft-cited Astros' rebirth of last season are not possible without that skillset - but those responsible for making decisions as to who is on the team and who plays when they get there are not. A cold, calculating realism is required to make those choices, and more and more it seems these folks are either unwilling to work that way, or simply incapable of it.


It appears from the ink being spilled this morning that Tony Womack will bring his special brand of apocalyptic futility to Wrigley this weekend, in an attempt to "solve" the Cubs' "problems" at "second base."

There's no reason to bore you with a long analysis of why this is silliness in the extreme, particularly since it's obvious to anyone with pretensions of sentience that Womack is merely an older, more defensively and offensively challenged version of Jerry Hairston. Tony's likely arrival on the club only makes a blighted present exponentially drearier.

As for the future, I look forward to nabbing Aaron Miles two years after the Cardinals are through with him.

2006-05-25 08:29:32
1.   rynox
Going to Saturday's game? Hope you are a drinker, Derek. Some heavy narcotics might be in order, too.
2006-05-25 09:27:42
2.   Bryan
For a long time, I have said that the Cubs are the only team in baseball that can't score with the bases loaded and nobody out. Perenially you see a strikeout and a double play. They've added another notch to their belt this season. Now, they're the only team who has ever found a way to throw $100+ million at a AA ballclub that just happens to call Wrigley home.
2006-05-25 11:50:15
3.   operablogger
Random comments on the above:

1) This is a management team for which the term "soul-searching" is anathema

2) RE: "they're actually under the delusion that the club's problems will somehow heal sans intervention" -- well, there's always Divine Intervention.

3) With the impending return of Womack, perhaps Hendry can entice Ray Oyler to come out of retirement as the other half of the keystone combination. There's something notably Cub-like about having a lifetime .175 hitter (in 1200-plus ABs) in the starting lineup.

2006-05-25 13:32:41
4.   moghopper
Any chance we can get Steve Ontiveros at 3rd? I mean, in preparation for Aramis' injury.

Oh, its coming.

2006-05-25 13:46:30
5.   Derek Smart
I was kinda hoping for Steve Buechele, actually.
2006-05-26 06:40:04
6.   operablogger
What about Gary Scott?
2006-05-26 14:59:15
7.   garbanzo
How about a Kevin Orie/Tyler Houston platoon at third? Houston could catch the ten games Barrett's suspended, too!
2006-05-28 09:38:29
8.   Schteeve
I was at Wrigley yesterday, and it occurred to me that the Cubs have one of the least imposing collection of talent ever assembled to play baseball. Added to that, they always seem to do all the little things it takes to lose.

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