Baseball Toaster Cub Town
2006-10-02 07:06
by Derek Smart

Rarely has the end of a season held such relief. Rarely have I been so grateful for the cessation of baseball activities, for the opportunity to rest my weary eyes, to no longer feel the pull to watch the unspeakably foul train wreck horror show that was this latest Cub season.

Adding to the palliative nature of the day is the word that Andy MacPhail will no longer be steering the ship, with marketing whiz John McDonough taking over, at least on an interim basis.

There's a part of me that finds the idea of the man behind many of the things that have made a day at Wrigley less and less about baseball over the years repulsively appropriate, but despite my initial sneer, I'm left with this thought: if anyone in the organization has been an unqualified success at his job, that man is McDonough, and if he is as committed to winning as he has been committed to marketing, he could turn out to be an inspired choice.


Barring a series of events too odd to explain, Dusty Baker will finally be given his walking papers, told that he will not be asked to rejoin the team now or ever, ending what has been the baseball equivalent of a 1000-mile walk to the gas chamber. It will simply be good to have some sort of resolution, however anti-climactic.


I had this plant once. It was a hanging plant, the kind with flat, green and yellow mottled leaves. I'm exquisitely awful with plants, to the point where I should have my photo up in any nursery, the botanist's equivalent of Public Enemy #1. Yet I kept this plant alive for years.

The problem was, the plant should have died many times over. Because my thumb couldn't be more brown if I soaked it in henna for a week, I would simply forget to water it for extended periods, only remembering when I noticed the poor thing's severe droop and crunchy texture, at which point I would promptly moisten and revive.

I did this time and again, allowing this poor thing to reach the brink of death, to nearly escape this sad existence, only to cruelly pull it back, restoring it to health for no other purpose than to re-enter the cycle, to nearly die, then live again and wish for the end.

Finally, we moved, and lacking the will to transport it to our new digs, we left the plant in the alley to die or be claimed by a passing stranger. Either it would meet its eventual end and find the peace it so richly deserved, or be picked up by someone who would hopefully be more responsible. Just because it was a plant doesn't make it okay.


In the end, I'm just happy that it's over, that no matter who manages the team next year, no matter what players are brought on board, no matter what Jim Hendry's eventual fate might be, we have a few days, maybe even weeks, where we can at least rest, and in our weaker moments, dream of a time when the end of the season will be a source, not of relief, but of unmitigated joy.

2006-10-02 07:29:44
1.   dbt
As a transition step, can we have a season that ends even in mitigated joy? Please?
2006-10-02 07:56:44
2.   Daniel Zappala
Best wishes to the Cubs. You guys deserve far better than what you got this season.
2006-10-02 08:05:46
3.   Chyll Will
"if anyone in the organization has been an unqualified success at his job, that man is McDonough, and if he is as committed to winning as he has been committed to marketing, he could turn out to be an inspired choice."

Why does that remind me of a Dilbert cartoon?

(Dilbert & Wally in a conference with Tad from Marketing)

Dibert: "We heard you gave an interesting presentation this morning, Tad. We have a transcript of your speech. Apparently, you told the client that our product kills mold and mildew."

Tad from Marketing: "Well, doesn't it?"

Dilbert & Wally: "WE MAKE SOFTWARE!!!"

Tad from Marketing: "So?? Haven't you heard of the Placebo Effect??"

Stunned silence...

2006-10-02 08:15:37
4.   Chyll Will
3 All to say I hope you can return to 2003 form, minus you-know-what (sincerely.)
2006-10-02 08:28:12
5.   cubstoic
At last, our long national nightmare is over!
2006-10-02 08:43:42
6.   Sandus
Will McDonough open up the checkbook to get the players this team needs?

Or will he just expand his job and create the most marketable team?

2006-10-02 08:46:19
7.   dianagramr
Anyone sitting shiva for the end of the Cubs season?
2006-10-02 12:44:39
8.   underdog
Think the Cubs'll make a pitch for Joe Girardi, if he is indeed out of LoriaLand?
2006-10-02 20:21:21
9.   Rick Houston TX
Unfornuately, McDonough is not going to clean house and get rid of the root cause of this year's misery- Jim Hendry.

Since the Cubs lost nearly 100 games and the free agent market is thin, I don't think the Cubs can recover and become a contender in 2007. The Cubs need to focus more on 2008.

I don't like the idea of Girardi as manager. I fear he might quarrel with Hendry. Hendy is in a weak position after presiding over the Cub's 2006 disaster. I think the combniation of a politically weak general manager and a demanding new manager could create organizational chaos. Since McDonough has primarily a broadcasting/ marketing background, he would be a poor referee if Hendry and Girardi argue about baseball decisions.

I think Frank Robinson would be a good choice as manager. He managed the Expos/ Nationals through difficult years and I think he is tough enough to manage the Cubs through a rebuilding year. Since Robinson doesn't have a connection with the Cubs organization, I think he could provide an independent evaluation of the talent. Robinson certainly commands respect from ballplayers.

2006-10-03 07:45:38
10.   operablogger
I don't see McDonough as a long-term choice, but rather a place-holder. Look for the organization to hire a real executive before deciding who will manage. And since we're talking about recycled managers here, what about Flippy (Alou, that is)?
2006-10-03 10:06:32
11.   Chyll Will
10 Doubt it. Look for him coaching 1st base in NY if Tony Perez gets a shot in Florida.

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