Friday, March 28, 2008


It's baseball season, that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a team for six months, knowing full well they won't win. Here's a starting nine for the Chicago Cubs.
  1. Why haven't they won? Hall of Famer Billy Williams will turn 70 on June 15 -- also the anniversary of Brock-for-Broglio -- and he's the answer to a pretty good trivia question. Who was the last good outfielder signed originally by the Cubs who went on start for five seasons for the team?

    Corey Patterson? Nope, he only started for four seasons and he wasn't good. The answer is Williams, who retired in 1976.
  2. Why was that in past tense? The arrival of catcher Geovany Soto and Japanese rightfielder Kosuku Fukudome, an on-base machine, does suggest the Cubs are changing their ways by trusting some players, even though they haven't already been through another organization already. It doesn't

    The Beep (i.e., Baseball Prospectus 2008) already figures Soto will be the best catcher in the NL Central as a rookie. It also has Fokudome down for a .401 on-base percentage in his first season Stateside.
  3. What else to expect: The national media to run pitcher Ryan Dempster's pre-season prediction of a World Series title into the ground, in case that hasn't happened already. Never mind that he was probably buzzed when he said it, what on account of being Canadian and all. Our beer is stronger.
  4. If you want to destroy the stage, we're all for that: Righty reliever Carlos Marmol is probably the X-factor, not having Kerry Wood as the closer. The always redoubtable RosenBlog has sounded alarm bells about Marmol having some issues with his comand this season.

    The Cubs starting pitching -- Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, et al., -- is spoken for, at least the first four spots.
  5. The experts speak: "If the Cubs ever win the World Series, the news coverage will be the most boring bunch of shit you could ever imagine." -- George Carlin

  6. Worth noting: None of the three Yahoo Sports! national baseball writers see any team in the NL Comedy Central cracking 90 wins, but two of them are taking the Cubbies to finish first.

  7. Silver tongue: The rant that Lee Elia got off on April 29, 1983 is on the all-time top-5 of events that baseball won't officially celebrate the anniversary of this season.

  8. Forgive the guy already: It only took ex-Cubbie Moises Alou close to five years to ruefully own up to what humourist Jay Pinkerton pointed out in October 2003 -- that he wasn't going to catch that foul ball that sentenced Steve Bartman to a life of ignominy.

    "Everywhere I play, even now, people still yell, 'Bartman! Bartman!' I feel really bad for the kid," Alou said, shaking his head.

    "You know what the funny thing is?" he added a moment later. "I wouldn't have caught it, anyway." -- Jim Litke, The Associated Press, March 28
    That's not what he said at the time, of course, but like Pinkerton said, "The Cubs not winning the World Series is hardly cause for alarm — they've been doing it successfully for decades without any help. The fact that someone in the audience decided to pitch in this year just means it was one less mistake for the Cubs themselves to make."
  9. Need-to-know: The Cubs can't win the Series this season. No, the nightmare scenario is that Wrigley Field gets shut down for renovations, they have to use the cross-town White Sox's stadium and they win it all playing there.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to

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