I’m sure I’ll be accused of basically sitting out another Cubs season only to post when someone (usually Al Yellon) writes something so dumb that I can’t let it go without comment.
That’s pretty much completely true.
So on Monday, when Al wrote his idiotic “Open Letter to Cubs Fans” I realized I was going to have to find time to rip it to shreds, and today seemed like the first real chance to do it.
But Al couldn’t wait for me. Â He wanted to top that bit of idiocy and he did.
So what’s a boy to do? Â I guess, I’ll just have to scream at both.
Lets’ start with his post on today’s post with his suggestion…nay, demand…that the the Cubs fire Dale Sveum.
This post isÂ notÂ being made because Ryne Sandberg is coming to town Friday as manager of the PhilliesÂ In fact, I’m going to recommend below that the CubsÂ hire someone completely different. There, I’ve pretty much given away my answer to the question posed in the headline.
I like how the post is “made” not written. Â Kind of the way little kids make poop. Â Oh and SPOILER ALERT! Al gave away the plot! Â Rosebud’s not just a burning sleigh, you know.
Dale Sveum will complete his second season as manager of the Cubs likely with more than 190 losses. No other Cubs manager has ever done this.
History, bitches! Â Wrigley is lousy with history.
I’ll grant you a lot of that is not his doing; his bosses, at times, have given him rosters that no major-league manager should have to deal with.
These teams have been so bad, no big-league manager could win with them. Â Impossible. Â So let’s fire Dale.
Sveum has, in my view, one overriding strength as a manager
He leads the National League in misspelled tattoos?
he gets his players to respect him and play hard for him.
So, is that a good thing?
That’s a good thing.
Well, fire that sumbitch then. Â Whatta waiting for Ep-steen? Â Can’t find a gorilla suit to wear to sneak out of the ballpark after you whack Dale?
It’s often not enough because of those players’ talent level.
Got it. Â His players are bad, but they try hard, which reflects well on the manager and also means you have to eat his contract and send him back to Arizona where you know he’s going to try to kill a snake with his teeth.
It is a distinct improvement over the previous occupant of that position,
You’re saying Dale is better than him? Â Bold statement Al. Â Better back off that limb, slowly, Evel!
and in fact, of the previous two managers, who under GM Jim Hendry often let the inmates run the asylum.
Wait, what now?
I know you’re not talking shit about Lou, Al. Â I know how awful those two first and one second place finishes in his three full seasons were. Â Lou’s pointing where he’d like you to kiss him, too.
Sveum’s weaknesses include bullpen management, as I have often written.
But since your weakness is writing, nobody could figure that out.
I’ll give him a bit of the benefit of the doubt because, again, he simply hasn’t had enough good relievers.
Al’s case is pretty iron clad. Â The team is bad and nobody can win with them, and the guy is bad with a bullpen, but his is so bad it doesn’t matter. Â Sorry Dale, the man has an airtight case. Â (And apparently he keeps his head in it.)
But he has often misused the ones he does have, often to ill effect.
THE MOST AL YELLONEST SENTENCE EVER WRITTEN! Â STOP THE INTERWEBS! Â AL WINS!
Not only has Dale misused his bullpen but to ill-effect. Â That’s important because normally misuse leads to spectacularly great results.
His batting-order selections are at times baffling
It’s almost like he has a shitty offense and just tries to see if anything will work.
recently he went on record as saying Anthony RizzoÂ would stick in the No. 2 spot “for a while”, and then reversed that the next day, apparently because Rizzo himself went and asked to be moved.
Rizzo has batted second five times, so that was one long day. Â I’m sure Al sat through all five games of that quintupleheader, soiling himself for fear of leaving his seat for the bathroom.
I can guarantee you Mike Matheny would have told Rizzo, “This is how I want to do it. Thanks for your thoughts, but I’m the manager.”
Mike Matheny is the gold standard of managers now? Â The guy who had to retire because concussions had turned his brain to pudding and had to become a manager because he had bankrupted his family? Â Chances are Matheny would have said, “This is how I want to do it. Â Thanks for the pancake hat, would you like to buy into this timeshare?”
You might think Sveum deserves to finish out the third year of his contract — and the Cubs hold a team option for a fourth season — but all that will do is push a media narrative in 2014 of, “Is Sveum going to be extended or fired?” That’s not an unreasonable position, to give him another shot.
By all means then, keep taking the actual unreasonable position.
I think it’s time for a change, and since people often say to me here, “Well, you should have a plan if you want to change”
No. Â Nobody wants to hear your plan. Â You’re an actual troll who buys overpriced bleacher tickets in bulk. Â Nobody gives a shit what you think about anything. Â Well, except for what the Cubs record is in any given hat, because that’s some high quality entertainment.
so here it is: the Twins’Â Ron Gardenhire is on the last year of his deal in Minnesota, where he is in his 12th season.
What did Ron Gardenhire ever do to you that you’d besmirch his character by giving him your endorsement. Â Gardy’s a good manager. Â He’s also got a job, and he’s in no danger of losing it, and the Twins have the top farm system in baseball, so he’d probably just stay where he is and see how those guys pan out.
The Twins are now in their third straight bad seasonÂ (though they are a bit better than they were in 2012), but Gardenhire led them to six playoff berths in his first nine years.
They must have a shitload of playoff series wins, then.
Granted, they won just one playoff series under Gardenhire, but he also had five 90-plus win seasons in those nine years.
So Gardenhire has the same number of playoff series wins since 2003 as…the Cubs. Â You. Â Are. Â A. Â Genius.
The Twins could have had a seventh postseason appearance, in 2008, but lost the A.L. Central tiebreaker game to the White Sox.
Indisputable fact. Â Since baseball does not allow ties, if the Twins had won, they would not have lost.
We’d take that, I think.
What, losing to the White Sox? Â Dale didn’t do that this year. Â Not once.
Gardenhire, who will turn 56 in October, has a reputation as a good strategist and a good manager of young players, which will become important for the Cubs over the next several seasons. I think he’d be the perfect “next guy” who can take the Cubs to the next level, and lead them in the postseason. Both the Cubs and Gardenhire, I think, could use a change.
I think you could use a change. Â In your dosage. Â You can cut Prozac in half, you know.
What do you think?
I think you’re a fucking idiot.
I also think your previous “effort” was just as batshit stupid as this one.
There’s going to be an apology coming up, but first I want to tell you a couple of stories.
Is the apology that these stories are going to literally bore us to death? Â Because you should lead with the apology if we’re going to be dead before you would otherwise get to it.
Please note!Â This post is going to be quite long.
Now here’s a guy who knows his audience. Â “This one’s going to take you a long time to read, so you will want to prepare to have your brain bombarded with brilliance for HOURS!
Pull up a chair, if you aren’t in one, and settle in for a while.
Most of Al’s readers are in a Craftmatic adjustable bed.
(And please. Please, please. Be respectful and kind in your comments.)
Not thin-skinned, argumentative and pointless…like Al.
Some of you might know who Carmella Hartigan was. If you don’t… here’s her story.
Holy shit. Â Is he really going to regale his “audience” with the story of another 1,000 year old bleacher nitwit?
Carmella was an everyday regular in the left-center field bleachers for decades — this was before the bleacher reconstruction;
That evil bleacher reconstruction…the one that killed Carmella Hartigan!
you could find her sitting in the last row wearing her pink CubsÂ cap for nearly every game.
Cubs all-time record when she wore that hat: shitty.
She was born Carmella Tamburino in a small village in Italy, February 14, 1902,
Nope. Â That’s made up. Â Tamburino? Â Valentine’s Day? Â Al’s the only person to ever be catfished in person. Â And how much you want to bet that “Carmella Hartigan” was just Ed Hartig in a dress?
Eventually, she became a Cubs fan and started coming to the bleachers regularly in 1965, after her husband died.
She had also lost the will to live, so she went to Wrigley to be among her kind.
She lived on the North Side near Horner Park; until she was well into her 90s she rode two buses to Wrigley Field and back every day.
Ooh, two buses? Â She’s practically the Italian Rosa Parks.
In her later years, disappointed with the Cubs’ failures as all the rest of us have been, her mantra on hoping they’d eventually win it all was: “How long do they think I can wait?”
Hey Carmella, ever think maybe they were the ones doing the waiting?
Mike Bojanowski told me that, upon saying his usual season-end farewell to her in September 2002, Carmella told him she didn’t expect to return, saying, “If it’s your fortune to live as long as I have, you’ll understand.”
“If you live as long as me you’ll figure out that you’re going to die someday. Â I’m not so smart. Â But you didn’t invent the tambourine like I did, so go fuck yourself.”
She was right. Carmella died December 21, 2002, aged 100 years, 10 months.
Shortest day of the year. Â Shorter for her than most.
I attended her wake at a North Side funeral home, where her family was astounded at the number of her bleacher friends who showed up.
Mostly because you assholes all wore ill-fitting polyester Cubs shirts, ate all the cold cuts and insisted on sitting in the back row.
We did so because, in that sense, sheÂ wasÂ family. She’s buried with that pink Cubs cap.
She was buried with it because they were worried you’d run off with it and try to squeeze your oblong melon into it.
Even though Carmella was alive when the Cubs won their last World Series,Â as a small girl in Italy, she likely knew nothing of them at the time, so she never saw her favorite team win it all, despite living more than a century.
What a tragedy. Â Immigrant lives to be 100, survives world wars, a great depression, a polio epidemic, and doesn’t see one particular baseball team win a trophy. Â Life just isn’t worth living.
Here’s another story, told byÂ Sun-TimesÂ sportswriter Rick Telander.
now let me explain why I feel the way I do.
Just point on the doll where the boy scout leader touched you.
I have begun to contemplate my own mortality.
As have many others before you. Â With anticipation.
I’ve done pretty well in the genetic lottery;
If I live as long as my dad has, that’d be 35 more years, which is a good long time.
It’s a long time. Â Not sure how good it is.
That makes me think back to 35 years ago — 1978. That’s the year I graduated from college.
Wow. Â Are we doing the whole timeline here, Al? Â Let me get some graph paper so I can plot this all out.
In considering that, think about this: the Cubs’ drought for not evenÂ gettingÂ to the World Series was 33 years in 1978. That drought –Â not even the World Series-winning drought, just the drought of even getting thereÂ — is now more than twice that length.
There’s no need to get all italic-sy on us. Â Besides, that really does seem like basic math. Â I don’t think this is as astute as you think it is.
Years pile upon years with a blur. You’ll please forgive me, then, if I at times seem a little impatient with everything that’s going on with the current state of our favorite team.
Well sure, I mean when death is nigh, it’s hard not to take it out on Brian Bogusevich.
Simply living longer and having experienced more Cubs failures doesn’t make me better or make my opinion more important than anyone else’s.
I think we can all agree on that. Â And on the opposite, too.
We’ve all suffered disappointments and soul-crushing defeats.
Save the J-Date stories for another column.
I apologize for being over-the-top with this following Friday’s loss, and I hope you will forgive me for letting it get to me.
Knock it off. Â How many times do people have to explain to you that the wins and losses in this season are irrelevant? Â You take some stupid ass late August loss in San Diego in a season that’s heading for more than 90 losses again and try to use it as a petard to hoist yourself upon? Â You deserve to be miserable, then. Â Nobody’s forcing you to chronicle this shit on your crappy web site. Â You do that because you’re an awful little man who enjoys ruining other people’s enjoyment of watching baseball.
But there are times I do begin to wonder if I will die without ever seeing the Cubs win the World Series.
SPOILER ALERT: You do.
Carmella Hartigan lived a century and never saw it. Quite a number of friends, met in the bleachers, some younger than me, died without ever seeing it.
Oh, boo hoo. Â My dad did, and you know what? Â It didn’t matter, and he knew it didn’t matter. Â He was a son and a father and a husband and a grandfather. Â He liked watching the Cubs, but their wins and losses didn’t define him. Â He wanted to see them win, but he also wanted to do all sorts of other stuff, and he did most of it and he was happy as hell. Â So don’t give me this bullshit about how not seeing the Cubs win will be crushing. Â It only is because you want it to be. Â You, and thousands like you get off on your self-identification as a tortured Cubs fan. Â It’s tiresome, and it’s just plain stupid. Â If you really mean it, then you’ve got actual problems. Â They are a fucking baseball team, made up of people who are paid to pay the game, and the wins and losses mean more to you than they do to them because you decide to ignore any kind of perspective. Â Nobody feels sorry for you, because you have decided to be sorry.
Now, on to the analysis part of this epic.
Many of you have said, in connection with what current Cubs front-office management is doing, “This kind of thing hasn’t been done in the entire century of failure.”
That is 100 percent correct.
I respectfully submit that statement is incorrect.
I respectfully submit that you are an idiot.
A build like thisÂ hasÂ been tried before, and more than once.
Dallas Green began doing it when he took over — and the Cubs organization was in much worse shape in late 1981 than it was in late 2011. The cupboard was empty; there was almost no talent on the major-league team (save Bill Buckner) and almost nothing in the system, except for the recently-promoted Lee Smith, two guys who were selected in the last years of the Wrigley regime (Mel Hall and Joe Carter) and Jody Davis, probably the best Rule 5 pick the Cubs have ever made.
Lendy Castillo farts in your general direction.
Green’s drafts produced quite a number of quality major-league players: Mark Grace, Greg Maddux,Â Shawon Dunston, Rafael PalmeiroÂ Joe Girardi and Jamie Moyer, and some others of lesser talent.
Lesser talent that Jamie Moyer? Â I didn’t think such a thing existed.
Green, unfortunately, wasn’t allowed to complete his mission.
And, that’s why we say this sort of thing has never been tried before. Â Assembling a team full of Phillies rejects while you decide to try to draft well is not a rebuild. Â It’s called building a softball team (I’m amazed Bob Dernier and Ryne Sandberg didn’t finish the season at 120 pounds given they had to field every ball), trading a top prospect for a veteran pitcher, nearly catching lightning in a bottle, and then trying to bring the whole damn team back another year when you know it’s not going to work. Â In other words…it’s the Cubs Way.
Green got upset when the Cubs lost 13 in a rowÂ in spring trainingÂ in 1984 and pulled the trigger on the deal that got Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier to the Cubs just before Opening Day. The Cubs don’t win the National League East in 1984 without that trade.
I’d like to see Theo Epstein get that upset with losing.
I’m sure you would. Â “Hey, we just lost a bunch of exhibition games, let’s see what the Phillies want for their fourth and fifth outfielders!”
It was tried again when Andy MacPhail was hired away from the Twins.
Nope. Â It wasn’t. Â Even MacPhail admits that flirting with wild card contention in 1995 gave them a false sense of where they were and led to terrible personnel decisions in 1996 that led to the 0-14 start in 1997.
You can bash MacPhail all you want, and yes, many of his methods failed
Gee, thanks for your permission.
But the Cubs under MacPhail produced Kerry Wood, Mark PriorÂ and Carlos Zambrano. Had those three pitchers remained healthy (both mentally and physically), they could have been the core of a playoff-caliber starting rotation for more than a decade.
But they didn’t. That’s why a real farm system has more than three guys in it.
So you can’t say an organizational build hasn’t been tried.
Actually, you can say it. Â If you don’t want to be wrong.
Both of those general managers presided over eras that did produce quite a number of good major-league players. The organization, for reasons we now know all too well, never had the depth it needed, and it’s not my point to recount those failures here.
So in your mind, “depth” isn’t part of a full-rebuild. Â Because that’s rich. Â It is the actual point of rebuilding. Â It’s why they are stockpiling prospects. Â They fail at a high rate, so you need to have a lot for it to have any impact on your team. Â The reason the half-assed rebuilds you just mentioned failed is because they were half-assed. Â Neither of them were attempted under a system like the current one that limits teams ability to stockpile young players. Â So your commitment to it has to be even more complete than it has at any other time, ever. Â For more than 100 years the Cubs have always tried to patch a team together, and it hasn’t worked. Â That’s why this approach is refreshing. Â And yes, there’s no guarantee it will work. Â But there’s a pretty clear guarantee that the other way doesn’t.
The current regime has invested a tremendous amount of money in young players, both through the draft and international signings, and has opened an academy in the Dominican Republic that we all hope will bring success in the future. These are, without question, good things.
You’ll forgive me if I don’t share all the excitement that was posted here and elsewhere about the millions spent this July on 16-year-old kids, who, ifÂ everythingÂ goes right,mightÂ be at Wrigley Field in 2019 or 2020. Â It’s the same reason I don’t really care if someone’s “arb clock” is started one year early so the Cubs could, presumably, save a few million dollars eight years from now. That could be eight more years without winning a damn thing.
Al hates these cans!
Sigh. Â I don’t even know where to start. Â The idea, as we know is to collect as many cheap, talented, young assets as possible. Â The only way to do it is to bottom out, increase your draft pool and your international pool, and draft as high as you can, then sign as many of those picks as possible. Â When those players start to develop you can play them or trade them for what you need. Â Why is this news to him? Â Have the current Cubs at any time not made it clear what their plan was?
Here’s how I see the current crop of young players
Nobody cares what you think. Â All of your previous statements prove that you don’t understand what’s going on, so why should we put any stock into your analysis of something you clearly don’t get?
Why does anyone take you seriously?
The team has to supplement this, as both Green and MacPhail did, with key signings or trades.
The golden years.
These are the guys after all who brought us Larry Gura and Michael Tucker.
And here’s where I’ll get a little controversial:
If by controversial you mean asinine, you’re way ahead of us.
You can’t just wait until 2015 or 2016 to do this, because maybe the guy you need won’t be available then.
This way he’ll be older!
They should go after Robinson Cano.
Yes, you heard me.
No. Â Thankfully I can’t hear you.
At 30, he’s worth it; he’s exactly the age that Soriano was when he signed with the Cubs in 2006.
And we know how well that contract turned out. Â By all means, use the Soriano contract as an example of what TO do.
Cano would fill the black hole in the middle of the Cubs’ offense, and give the Cubs the possibility of trading Starlin Castro or Darwin BarneyÂ or both, for help elsewhere, presuming Baez might be ready by next year sometime.
You’ll cash in huge for Barney. Â Is Micah Bowie out there to trade for again?
Signing Robinson Cano would do another thing: just as with the Soriano signing in 2006, it would show the fanbase that the Cubs are ready and willing to compete, perhaps a little earlier than some artificial “timetable” that’s been set by the front office.
The fanbase doesn’t need to be sent a message. Â A sedative perhaps, but not a message. Â The best thing about this front office is that they will not deviate from their plan to placate a few thousand dipshits like you who can’t or won’t understand what the plan is. Â What you think is irrelevant.
In my view, putting teams full of DFA guys and waiver-wire pickups and never-were minor-leaguers who have a couple of hot weeks in the major leagues on the field at Wrigley is disrespectful to the paying customer.
Then don’t go. Â If you’re so disrespected, go find something else to do. Â Leave the martyr business for Italian immigrants where it belongs.
To that, you’ll likely say, “Just stop buying season tickets, then.” Beyond the fact that this is not an option for me, for many reasons that I have explained here on multiple occasions, you aren’t saying that just to me.
Knock it off. Â Read that to yourself out loud and if you can pretend it’s not absurd, you are pathological.
You’re essentially tellingÂ everyoneÂ who wants to see a major-league product on the field to stay away until the young players magically become superstars.
No. Â What I’m essentially telling you is that you don’t have to watch it.
Even Jeff Samardzija opined, after the Matt Garza deal, that maybe the Cubs were dumping too much.
You know who the worst judges of personnel moves (other than you) are? Â Players.
I want the Cubs to build a strong organization. I certainly don’t have a problem with drafting well and getting as much talent in the minor leagues as possible, even knowing that some (or even many) of those guys will never make it.Â If anyone here claims my position denies this, you are simply wrong.
You can’t just magically get productive players without giving up prospects or the money you need to stockpile prospects. Â And, as much as you hate to admit it, losing in the short term is part of the plan. Â The current system encourages rebuilding teams to lose by penalizing those who win with smaller draft pools and slots. Â This isn’t rocket science. Â And hanging onto players with dubious long term futures and good current trade value like Matt Garza makes no sense. Â None.
All I am saying is that the “parallel tracks” Theo Epstein once spoke of, can and should be done; it shouldn’t be just lip service.
It hasn’t even been two years yet. Â Why is it objective observers are impressed with how much depth the Cubs have added to their organization in such a short time, but you are oblivious to it?
There’s one further reason the Cubs should make an effort to put a better team on the field in 2014. The WGN-TV deal, as you know, is up at the end of the year and the team has already stated publicly that it will likely be up for open bids.
The team’s current record will have no bearing on the rights fees they can generate going forward. Â None.
I’ve written before on how it would benefit both the team and WGN-TV to re-up.
And you were wrong.
If you have a mediocre team on the field, who’s going to pay a bigger rights fee? The DodgersÂ got their huge local TV deal because they let it be known they were going to be a major force going forward. So did the RangersÂ when they got theirs.
This is wrong. Â The price for the Dodgers TV rights was clear when Frank McCourt still owned them, it’s why Fox was going to cut him such a sweet deal and take advantage of his financial problems, and why baseball squashed the deal, because they wanted a stable ownership in there that would squeeze every penny out of the rights fees, not settle for pennies on the dollar to get his homes out of hock. Â The Rangers looming TV deal was the reason billionaires were lining up to buy that team, too. Â The record is not going to limit the Cubs TV deal, the poor staggered timing of their WGN and Comcast Sports Net contracts will. Â Neither the Dodgers or Rangers…or the Phillies who got a huge deal, too, have to split their deal. Â Still, the Cubs will do just fine.
With another 90-plus loss season in the books this year, ratings are bottoming. Ad rates are going to be down next year as a result. Unless there’s a clear sign of movement upward in the future, who’s going to pay what the Cubs want for this portion of the TV contract?
Somebody who wants to make money.
We can have both. WeÂ shouldÂ have both. Dallas Green would have done both.
Since when has Dallas Green become a fucking saint?
How much longer do they think I can wait?
Maybe they’re waiting you out. Â I’d be for that.