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Browsing posts from September, 2010

To Hire Quade, That Is The Question

By bullpenbrian - September 30, 2010 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

I said Mike Quade has zero chance to manage the Cubs next season. Maybe I spoke too soon?

Ryan Dempster, who became the clubhouse’s unofficial spokesman with the departure of Derrek Lee, gave his vote of approval for Quade following Tuesday’s 5-2 win in San Diego.

“He’s done a great job and I hope that he’s here longer than just this year. I hope he’s managing for us next year because he deserves it. He’s done everything they’ve asked, and everyone in here really likes him.”

Those are powerful words given Dempster’s credibility, and should pull some weight in Quade’s direction this offseason.

Quade deserves some praise, but what do you make of a team playing without any pressure and without fear of losing a job? That, of course, is for Jim Hendry to determine.

If not guilty by association with the old regime, I’d have no problems with Quade as the next Cubs manager.
But I still feel the Cubs need a clean break from the 2010 season, and that leaves Quade out in the cold.

Hiring a higher profile candidate than Quade guarantees nothing, of course. But Jim Hendry is desperate to make a splash hiring. His pick for the 2011 manager is certain to determine his job security.

Signing Quade puts Hendry on a very short leash. He’s not the popular pick, he’s not high profile and his sample size with the big club is small.

If Quade’s success doesn’t carry over quickly next season, Wrigleyville will be in an uproar, and Hendry out the door.
Hire a Ryno or Girardi, however, and Hendry buys more time to right the ship.

It’s a tough position for the Cubs’ GM, and Dempster, although well intentioned, hasn’t made things any easier on Hendry.

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In Dusty We Trusty

By bullpenbrian - September 29, 2010 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

So many Dusty Baker haters out there, but there’s no denying this guy’s a winner. He was a winner with San Fran. He was a winner with Chicago, and now he’s a winner with Cincinnati.

This is Baker’s fourth division championship–Giants ’97-’00, Cubs ’03, Reds ’10.
He’s just the ninth manager all time to lead three different teams into the postseason, and only the third manager to turn the trick in a nine year span.

Baker’s won three NL Manager of the Year Awards–’93,’97,’00.
He could easily win his fourth this season.

Cubs fans, however, loath Baker. He was the blame of nearly every Cubs misfortune from 2004-06. That despite coming within six out of the World Series, an 89-win season in 2004 and the Tribune company’s awful ownership group.

I’m not saying Baker deserved to stay with the Cubs, he didn’t.
The win loss record wasn’t there and neither was his clubhouse chemistry.
But to keep blaming Baker for all the Cubs’ shortcomings during his time in Chicago is ridiculous.

Dusty Baker didn’t fail here alone, he had plenty of help.
Kerry Wood and Mark Prior ruin themselves without Baker’s help. Sammy Sosa, too. Baker didn’t just wake up stupid one morning in Chicago. The Cubs, however, did and let a HOF manager get away.

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Closing Down Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - September 28, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs went (35-46) at home this season.
Its lowest mark since 1999 (34-47).

Chicago’s home batting average is .265.
That’s 14-points higher than on the road.

The pitching staff’s ERA, however, is 38-points
higher (4.48) than its road ERA of 4.10.

Despite all the many disappointments, the club
still managed to draw more than 3 million in attendance.

What does that say about Cubs faithful?
Does loyalty to the end mean we’re lesser fans?
Is it true Cubs fans are all about the beer?
Should we be embarrassed to support a crummy team so well?

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Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - September 27, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Posted an ERA of less than 1.60 in last 18 games.
In the same stretch has held opponents below .200 average.
Overall, retired the first batter faced 71-percent of the time.
Has held inherited runners to score just 28-percent of the time.
Name that Cub!

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Let’s Go Hawks!

By bullpenbrian - September 26, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Felt good to back at the UC Saturday night.
Game 1 of my modest Blackhawks season ticket package.
Hawks threw us peons in the 300-level a bone with a pre-season matchup vs. Detroit. Hey, we’ll take it!

With the Cubs suffering through the final weeks of the season, Hawks hockey is right on que. Cubs fans, including myself, could use a break. The Bears are the easy choice, but the Hawks are the popular one. And why not after winning its first Stanley Cup in 49 years!

The Blackhawks are so hot right now 20,553 showed up for Saturday’s preseason game. That’s a franchise record for an exhibition contest. Coach Q’s bunch, as expected, delivered a thrilling 4-2 win. Not exactly the excitement surrounding Wrigley Field, eh!

I printed the Hawks current roster to take with me to the game.
There are so many new faces I can’t always tell who’s who out there.
I still see No. 32 and think Versteeg, No. 16 Ladd, No. 33 Byfuglien…and so on.
But those guys are history and the new meat has arrived, and just in time for the official end of the Cubs’ season.

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Bud Selig Talking Playoff Expansion

By bullpenbrian - September 25, 2010 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

I’m not for expanding postseason  baseball.
At least, not with additional Wild Cards.
Doesn’t mean I’m a purist. Doesn’t mean I’m not open for suggestion.
It’s just that I like significant importance tied to the regular season.
Is that too much to ask?

A meaningful regular season works well for the NFL, which is the gold standard other professional sports leagues model themselves after. So why should baseball be any different, especially for a league playing a whopping 162 games?

Keep adding playoff teams and you’ve got a regular season as meaningful as the NCAA’s basketball schedule (Which reminds me, there are actually more teams heading up March Madness in 2011). Ridiculous, but another story for another time.

Anyway, the good news is Bud Selig jumping into baseball’s think tank.
It seemingly doesn’t happen often enough, or long enough, but lately, Selig and friends have helped push baseball further out of the Dark Ages.

The regular season is beginning sooner.
The World Series will again be played in October, not November.
Instant reply is under further examination, too.
Now, if we could only get Opening Day games played in warm weather markets and World Series games ending before 1:30am EST!

One day, perhaps, baseball sorts this whole mess out.
In the meantime, however, it’s business as usual.
Slow, steady and follow the football leaders.

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Bautista Hits 50 HR, Big Deal?

By bullpenbrian - September 24, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Jose Bautista hits 50 home runs and baseball fans talk about 50 dingers like it means something again. Really?

Albert Pujols hit 47 last year. Ryan Howard hit 48. Just three years ago A-Rod (54) and Prince (50) hit the 50-mark. Heck, in 2006 Howard hit 58, David Ortiz 54!

Bautista’s achievement, albeit a terrific one, isn’t exactly remarkable.
The guy’s hit 50 home runs, which is very respectable, but it’s not 60, and it’s not 70. To speak as though is silly.

It seems baseball fans want Bautista’s mark to mean more than is really does.
No question it’s our way of moving forward from the Steroids Era.

We want our sacred records back, and of course, more 50 homer seasons to cheer for. But this time around we want them clean, we want them real.
We want Jose Bautista, not A-Fraud.

Sure, 50 is worth celebrating, but to think we’ll never see 50 again, c’mon!

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Jim Edmonds Vs. Achilles

By bullpenbrian - September 23, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Good news for my boy, Jim Edmonds.
Turns out there’s no tear in his right Achilles’ tendon.
Which means, one of my favorite former Cubs lives to play another day!

Got to believe Baker will rest the 40-year-old for the remainder of the season.
Edmonds’ post season savvy and experience is critical for the young Reds, who will have lots of butterflies during Game 1 of the NLDS.

Jimmy, however, has been to the post season many times with much success. He’s made big plays, hit big home runs and won a world championship, which is why Cincy traded for him him in the first place.

Losing Edmonds Tuesday night would have been a crushing blow.
Not just for the Reds, but for me, too.
Edmonds has always been a favorite of mine.
But losing both he and Griffey Jr. in the same season would’ve proved too much. Here’s hoping Edmonds rides off into a Reds October sunset!

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Buster Posey NL ROY

By bullpenbrian - September 22, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Buster Posey is my NL Rookie of the Year.
He’s been the back bone of the Giants since being recalled May 29.
San Fran is nowhere near the West title without him.

Since his call-up, Posey is batting .324. That’s fifth highest in the NL and trails only Carlos Gonzalez (.350), Omar Infante (.338), Joey Votto (.329) and Matt Holliday (.325).

He’s hit safely in 12 of his last 16 games and 17 of his last 38 hits (45%) have gone for extra bases, including his game-winning home run Tuesday night at Wrigley.

Posey’s started 94 of 97 games, has 36 multi-hit efforts, and plays the toughest position on the field. He’s already logged more than 550 innings behind the plate, including six shutouts.

Among rookies, Posey ranks:
1st in average & slugging percentage.
2nd in on base percentage.
4th in RBI (62) & multi-hit games (36).
5th in HR (15).
6th in hits (118).
7th in doubles (23).

Rookie. Of. The. Year!

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Derrek Lee Update

By bullpenbrian - September 21, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Derrek Lee has finally got it going offensively with Atlanta.
He crushed a two-out, seventh-inning grad slam to power the Braves to a 6-3 come-from-behind win on Sunday, then went 2-for-4 Monday night at Philly.

Lee has reach base safely in 16 of his last 20 games.
Is batting .338 with 12 runs, 11 RBI and 10 walks since August 30.
And since joining the Braves has raised his average 20-points (.256).

The prospects of Lee returning to the post season, however, remains in jeopardy. Philadelphia has won eight straight, including a 3-1 vicotry Monday against Atlanta, increasing its lead in the East to 4.0 games.

The Braves, meanwhile, hold a two game edge in the Wild Card.
But San Diego and Colorado continue to close the gap quickly.
A hot-hitting Derrek Lee could prove the difference maker down the stretch.

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