This morning I got wind of a new Al Yellon article so poorly thought out, so unreasonably daffy and so incompetent that I cursed the Twitter Gods for suspending my account because I wanted to share some good old Steve Stone motherboy flesh with the world.
It was going to be a long day reading other people mock Yellon’s latest turdpile while I was left with my backup Twitter account and 130 hearty followers.
And then, the clouds lifted, Twitter let me back in and it’s time to Fisk the shit out of:
You know for Al, this a very brief headline. Â I wonder how he was able to contain himse….
Say, Theo. Just how much longer are you expecting us to wait?
Damnit, I forgot to wait for the inevitable subhead.
I’ll warn you now, this is going to be a long read, so have a seat with your morning coffee and settle in.
Gonna warn you gang, this one is epic. Â Homer’s got nothing on Al. Â The Iliad, it’s like a Dick and Jane book compared to what you are about to read. Â Grab that coffee (which is for closers, so no coffee for you Carlos Marmol!) and settle in. Â If you haven’t taken your daily dump, you might want to read this on the commode because Al’s going to drop some serious knowledge and you are going to shit.
The idea for this article began as the Cubs appeared to be sailing along to a 3-0 win over theÂ MetsÂ Sunday afternoon. It would have been their fourth win in a row and moved them to nine games under .500.
Ahh, the magical nine under mark. Â The Mason-Dixon line of semi-contention. Â You know, the old rule of thumb, any team nine under or better on June 16 is in contention, anybody worse than that, well, they should die in a barn fire.
So that got me thinking this (and hear me out, because obviously the Cubs didn’t win Sunday, and that will be the point of this exercise):
If there’s two things Bleed Cubbie Blue readers don’t like they are:
What if the Cubs continued on a bit of a winning streak, and theÂ PiratesÂ andÂ RedsÂ fell back to Earth, and at the All-Star break the Cubs found themselves, say, four or five games under .500 and four or five games out of the second wild card?
A few things here. Â Why would the Reds fall “back to Earth?” Â As much as I loathe the fighting Brennamans, they’re pretty damned good, and Dusty doesn’t destroy them until the playoffs start. Â Pissburgh? Â Well, no amount of games over .500 is enough for that bunch to give back in the second half. Â But notice Al says nothing of the Cardinals. Â That bunch is just too great to possibly start losing. Â They have Allen Craig and Pete Kozma! Â Goddamnit, get out of their way and plan the parade route.
Second, you’ll note that before the Cubs blew a three run ninth inning lead yesterday, Al was giddy at the thought of a modest four game winning streak and was allowing himself to get his little hopes up for near-contention at the All-Star Break.
Hey guys, the Cubs are almost close enough to be in it! Â Catch that fever!
One bad inning and the season is over for Al, and all that’s left now is rage and loathing and the inability to communicate through words.
What then? Do you keep such a team together, maybe add a piece, and try to make a run at that second wild card?
Wait, let me rephrase that. Â Fuck no.
Because wild cards in recent seasons have done quite well in the postseason — there’s been at least one wild card in the league championship series every year but one (2009) since 2002, and in that time frame four wild cards have won the World Series (2002, 2003, 2004, 2011).
Got that? Â Being a wild card team is the key to winning the World Series. Â Four times in 11 years it worked. Â As opposed to the seven times it didn’t.
But if the Cubs could just get near that kind of wild card contention (even though the addition of another wild card has lowered that bar so far that it’s pretty meaningless) everything would be great.
Or do you then punt on the season because as we all know, this team isn’t really that good and the rebuilding process has to build a better base with “waves and waves of talent”, as many here keep repeating?
Does Al really think that sometime in July the Cubs will decide whether to “punt on the season” or not? Â Is he that dumb? Â Does he not realize that the decision was made two years ago to punt this season? Â You’d think that a highly respected season ticket holder (I can’t even type that with a straight face) would be clued in to “the plan.”
The Cubs are supposed to suck this year. Â They are supposed to finish with one of the five worst records in baseball so they get a high draft pick and a higher draft pick bonus pool. Â This is not rocket science, it’s also not something the Cubs have kept a secret. Â Teams can say that they’re never not trying to win, but the Cubs are trying to not win. Â Aggressively so.
Well, the Cubs didn’t win Sunday, and that was the difference between nine games under .500 and 11 games under .500…
Every game is a two game swing between over and under .500. Â This is nothing new, Al.
…and with a four-game series coming up beginning Monday night against the Cardinals, it would appear that the Cubs are heading toward being sellers rather than buyers at the trading deadline.
He’s really sticking to his guns that this one game actually means something. Â He’s like Don Quixote, only he’s too lazy to get on a horse.
They have quite a number of chips worth selling this season, including Scott Feldman and Matt Garza, among others.
Two, that’s “quite a number.” Â Oh, but they are “among others.”
Before I get to that, a few more words about Sunday’s debacle, which is, in an odd way, related to all of this
Quality writing. Â I’m going to make a point about that, but first, how about some of this?!
It’s time to get Carlos MarmolÂ off this team.
That’s a good idea. Â How about you get rid of the relievers on it that are worse than him off, first? Â Because as bad as Carlos has been, he’s not even the worst guy in that bullpen. Â You don’t think Shawn Camp, Hector Rondon or Zach Putnam could do that?
It doesn’t really matter how; he has zero trade value, but maybe you designate him for assignment and try to deal him.
The best way to successfully trade a guy is to basically release him first, then wait for the teams to start fighting over him.
If it doesn’t work within the 10 days, just release him. He has no value at all; there’s about $5.5 million left on his deal, and I feel compelled to point out that in June 2006, the DiamondbacksÂ released Russ OrtizÂ with $22 million remaining on his contract — because Ortiz was hurting the team.
Good for the fucking Diamondbacks and what they did seven years ago. Â Awesome example. Â Anything since the Obama Administration, Al?
At some point, performance like this hurts the team and its future.
That some point isn’t this year. Â Performance like Carlos’ isn’t hurting anything, other than Carlos’ pride. Â But you’ve seen how he dresses away from the field, pride’s not exactly something he’s got a good handle on anyway.
It was stated in Sunday’s recap thread that this mid-June game against the Mets was “virtually meaningless.”
I disagree with that, it’s not virtually meaningless.
I submit that itÂ isÂ meaningful to sweep a three-game series on the road against a team you haven’t done that to in 22 years.
I submit you are full of shit. Â It means nothing. Â The Jim Essian Cubs swept the Mets on the road lo those 22 years ago, and what did it mean?
It meant nothing.
That helps build a winning attitude and winning culture. Instead, you have a jaw-dropping defeat and excuses like this from Dale Sveum:
I’m not going to drop quote a drop quote, basically Dale said Kevin Gregg had been used four days in a row, so he had to close with somebody else, and he went with Marmol, because Marmol used to be the closer…you know, three months ago.
Ridiculous. Â I know. Â Dale and Carlos should be publicly flogged. Â Go get them, Al.
Dale goes on to say that Carlos has pitched better in innings other than the ninth, something Al Â thinks, even for him, is absurdly obvious.
Pardon my profanity, but no shit, Dale.
I will not pardon your profanity. Â That’s uncalled for on a family family-of-web-sites like sbnation.com.
You just now figured this out? You’re supposed to be knowledgeable about these sorts of things, and pretty much everyone reading this site knew this and you didn’t about Marmol
Do you think Al thinks Dale reads his site?
Even if Dale could read he wouldn’t read that shit.
Then Al quotes real writers quoting Alfonso Soriano. Â Soriano rarely gets mad, but he was mad on Sunday and he had a couple of good lines. Â First he said when he’s mad like that he has to “get it out” and then he feels better. Â And he said Marmol “used to be good.” Â Other than that, it was pretty much Alfonso being his happy self.
The point is: winning is contagious.
Nope. Â It’s not. Â Good teams win more games than bad teams, it’s not a disease they catch. Â If diseased teams won more games than others Ryan Braun’s herpes would have a World Series ring by now.
Winning is important. Yes, Every. Single. Game.
Can’t be that important, since no baseball team could ever win every. Single. Â Game. Â The idea is to get as many really good players as possible. Â This is what the Cubs are trying to do right now. Â But it’s going to be ugly for a while. Â Why is this news?
It breeds confidence, it breeds a winning attitude, and I don’t particularly care about one space higher in the 2014 draft. How many years is this team going to do that?
It’s not about one space higher in the draft. Â Though every space is important. Â If the argument Al started with was the Cubs trying to contend, that’s more than one spot. Â It’s ludicrous, of course, but his argument has already completely fallen apart.
Then Al gets into a long section where he posts stat lines from players who had good seasons in the low minors and then they turned out to be shitty players like Brandon Wood, Brian Dopirak, and Jake Fucking Fox.
Gee, you mean some prospects started out well and then didn’t make it?
I’ll bet some started off poorly and turned into good players.
I’ll bet some started off well and turned out to be good.
I’ll bet some started off shitty and never got any good.
The argument is tired and simple and not worth our time.
The point of all of this is:
Wait. Â There was a point?
The point of all of this is: you can be excited by Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Rock Shoulders,Â (and he’s declined quickly, another example of how Midwest League numbers shouldn’t fool you) and others, but they are all playing at the lower levels of the Cubs system.
You know who had great Midwest League numbers? Â Corey Patterson and Albert Pujols. Â One of those two will be a Hall of Famer. Â A douchebag would say that Midwest League numbers don’t matter because Patterson flopped. Â A rational person would say, if you do well there that’s a good sign, because performance matters. Â It can’t predict the eventual outcome, but that doesn’t mean you disregard it because it’s not 100 percent predictive.
Baez excited everyone by hitting four home runs in a Florida State League game last week, but at the time that happened, it was mentioned that just one other player had ever done that in the 94-year history of the league. That was Ryan Harvey… who was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2003 draft (same overall selection as Almora), and another Cubs pick who, like Dopirak, never made it. Harvey, now 28, is also toiling in the Atlantic League.
As soon as people found out only Baez and Harvey had done that, assholes started saying, “Hah! It doesn’t matter.”
Well, they were right, but not in the way they think. Â Four homers in one game is a fluke, even for a great player. Â You can have four great at bats and not hit four homers, you could have four average at bats and do it, too. Â The fact that a guy who never made it did it, does not mean that anyone else who ever does it will also not make it. Â Honestly, are people really this dumb?
Some of you are excited about Kris Bryant and penciling him into the lineup in 2015 or 2016 … the man isn’t even signed yet and hasn’t played a single professional game. Sure, he looks like a great talent and will likely succeed at the big-league level, but there are no guarantees.
Al never gets tired of lecturing his readers does he? Â The real question is, why does he have readers? Â Does anybody actually take this clown seriously?
I repeat, just so there is no misunderstanding:Â there are no guarantees with prospects.
No? Â I thought Theo knew where to find the guaranteed ones. Â You know, like Lars Anderson and Jason Place. Â Prospects don’t all turn out. Â Who is arguing that? Â On the other hand, you only need a handful of them to be good for it to be worth it. Â That’s how this works.
Sure, they look great now, and it appears that Theo & Co. have made good selections in their two years at this game. But if you think all of these players are going to be leading the Cubs to the postseason and the World Series in 2015, or 2016, or beyond, you have a better crystal ball than I do.
Al’s crystal ball is covered in bologna smudge.
If the Cubs are going to trade off parts later this year, and at this point it looks like they’re heading that way, they are going to lose 90-plus games again.
I’ve got news for you. Â They’re going to lose 90 plus regardless. Â This team is bad. Â How is that a surprise on June 17 to a guy who pays to watch every home game?
At some point you have to stop doing this and at least try to win. I am not suggesting spending hundreds of millions of dollars on players like Albert Pujols or Josh HamiltonÂ who were getting past their sell-by date and have turned out to be expensive busts. What I am suggesting is that the Cubs identify, this coming offseason, a couple of players to fill needed holes either by trade or by mid-range free agency, and go and sign them with the intention of beginning to contend in 2014.
The Cubs are going to try to contend next year, that’s part of the plan. Â Try. Â They probably won’t actually contend, because they’re not going to trade for, or sign middling players to contracts at a length that would put them in the path of Soler, Baez, Almora or Bryant. Â One thing they’ve proven to be good at is finding middle of the rotation arms, so they’ll do more of that, probably. Â The plan was to bottom out last year and this, then slowly build it up. Â No matter how much Gordo screams, “Debt service!” in the background.
Then you can sprinkle in some of those younger players and let them grow up with the team, rather than expect them to magically sprout intoAll-StarsÂ when they hit the big-league level. That would be nice, but you can’t count on it.
Sprinkle and sprout? Â Weren’t those the White Sox mascots in the ’80s?
As I have written here before —
Then by all means, write it again.
and you’ll find out soon exactly when this is —
Ooh, it’s a cliffhanger!
upcoming later this summer is the 50th anniversary of the very first time I set foot in Wrigley Field.
Oh, I thought it was something that somebody might give a shit about. Â I guess I was wrong.
I started following the team intently, as intently as a kid can, and the blossoming of the late-1960s teams that never won anything but live on in our hearts coincided with the years that kids are the most interested in baseball, before the teen years intervene. That’s the background I come from regarding the Cubs, and I know others here share that. You understand what I mean. If you’re younger, you lived through 1984, or 1989, or 1998, and we likely all shared 2003, 2007, 2008 and other disappointments.
News flash: In last 50 years, Cubs have mostly been bad, have always been disappointing, sometimes painfully so, says longtime nitwit.
I’m tired of disappointments.
You’re lucky SB Nation isn’t, or you’d be looking for a new retirement gig.
Then Al goes onto a very long paragraph about Jerry Pritkin, the “Bleacher Preacher” one of the few Cubs fans who are as annoying as Al himself. Â We’re not even going there.
I personally know people who have lived and died without ever seeing the Cubs in the World Series. Â I don’t want to be one of those people.
We always knew Al was one of those grumps who yells into the microphone at the Cubs Convention that he’s been a Cubs fan for ___ years and I don’t want to die without seeing them in the World Series.
You know what happens when you tell people your problems? Â Eighty percent of them don’t care and the other 20 are glad that you have them.
We’re all born an accident of geography and time. Â If Al had been born during the years when his underwear was actually in style he’d have seen back to back Cubs world championships. Â But he wasn’t. Â You get the hand that’s dealt to you.
It’s time to start on the “parallel tracks” Theo Epstein mentioned, almost in passing, when he was hired: build the systemÂ andÂ try to win games right here and now.
I’m going out on a limb and guess that Theo felt like it might take more than a season and a third to rebuild the team. Â Just a hunch.
Theo, it’s time to win.
It’s about time somebody told him.
There’s fan loyalty going back decades, and emotions and tears involved. How much longer? How many more tears, Theo?
This front office is smart enough to know that the idea that unless the Cubs turn it around quickly the fans will leave and never come back is pure bullshit.
The Cubs could lose 140 games each year the next three years and the minute they sniff a playoff spot, for real, Wrigley will be crammed with fans again.
The whole argument that Al is espousing that “It’s time to win.” Is exactly the reason the Cubs have gone 105 years without a World Series title. Â The easiest thing to do is to sit down and write up a plan, the hardest thing is to stick with it. Â This process was supposed to be long. Â If it were easy, every team would do it.
To throw a shitty little tantrum because a reliever who is playing out the string on a team that’s nowhere near contention, gave up a three run lead, in a game in June against another non-contender is almost unbelievable.
It’s only “almost” unbelievable because it’s Al.
That wasn’t a heartbreaking loss yesterday. Â It was absurd, yes. Â But it doesn’t matter right now. Â Most of the players who will be on this team the next time it’s good are not on this roster right now. Â It doesn’t matter how Marmol does, or Cody Ransom or Dioner Navarro or Luis Valbuena…well, let’s not go crazy…
It did matter what Matt Garza did, because he will be traded in July (unless he gets hurt again) and the better he pitches the better the return will be for him.
There’s just no reason to get this upset about a game against the Mets in a season that’s going nowhere.
No rational reason, anyway.
Winning can be done.
Uh oh, he’s trying to land a dramatic finish. Â Cue the John Williams music!
It must be done.
Um…no, actually itÂ mustn’t.
We have had virtually infinite patience.
But that patience is growing short.
Turns out not only does Al not know what virtually means, he doesn’t know what infinite means, either.