Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Sale of Two...

Whoops, sorry. Slip of the tongue. Tale of two cities. Two baseball cities, that is. Both, strangely enough, named Chicago.

Full disclosure (what a relief to you, I'm sure): At the beginning of the season, I heartily predicted both the Cubs and White Sox would both be resolutely mediocre. I was never a huge fan of Ozzie Guillen as a player, and his basic, dirty-uniform style of managing (which mirrors his playing style) didn't seem to take last year, especially when many folks point to the very moment the Sox lost the AL Central was against the Twins, on a collision at the plate which scored a run for the Twins, won them the game, and knocked the entire Sox team, not just the catcher, into the middle of next week. A tough-guy manager had no idea how to get his team to respond in kind, and they meekly played out the string.

Weeeeeeeeeeell, seems like Tommy Boy missed the meetings, because the White Sox, you know, the "small-market" (whatever, Christ with the markets and the sizes) team in town, are truly the best team in baseball. They are winning every single way they need to: Timely hitting, superb defense, speed, speed, pitching, speed, pitching and pitching. Who knew Jose Contreras would be as good as he's been? Dustin Hermanson? Hi there. Buerhle, Garland, everyone knew, but the other pitchers have gone above and beyond. Cotts, Politte, sign in and get a kiss from Miss Roleplay! And let's have a slice of pie for the team speed. Aaron Rowand just gets better and better in center, and many people would give the team MVP to Scott Podsednik for his hustle and his lead-off speed and ability to upset a game on the bases. (Traded from Milwaukee to the White Sox for Carlos Lee; that one turned out pretty well for all involved.) Simply put, Podsednik has been the perfect leadoff hitter...

Leadoff hitter...leadoff hitter...

Mmmm. The Cubs. The Chicago National League Ball Club. The hell is going on up there, with the forty bazillion dollar payroll? Well, they've lost eight in a row again, and are at their season low, is what. I told you this would happen. Now that the starting pitching is beginning to wilt in the sun, the Cubs' many flaws are being exposed and the team is getting flayed. Just raked. They have no offense (think how Tampa-like they'd be if Derrek Lee wasn't playing waay over his career marks and Aramis Ramirez wasn't around), and God help anyone who thinks Kerry Wood will $tay in the bullpen a$ a $topper. How bad is it? Corey Patterson is back. Yeah, man, so is Nomar. (Who, to be fair, does already have a homer and two RBI) But the leadoff position hasn't been settled; Matt Lawton was obviously a stopgap measure and hasn't done even as well as anyone hoped he would. Plus, the bullpen is caving in on itself again, and the Cubs are once again playing fundamental baseball the way my cat plays the stock market, which is to say he paws at the ground and picks up absolutely nothing while others have much more success at it than he does.

I've ranted in this space already several times this summer about how badly the Cubs play basic fundamental baseball, and on offense, everyone knows they score almost half their runs on homers, and that's appalling, even at Wrigley. Jim Hendry took the players to task earlier this week, doling out a piece of the responsibility to them, and I know he was saying it in defense of Dusty Baker, but dude, you bought them. Are you now finally admitting that this team is an offensive joke and needs to be completely retooled?, again?, before that tiny window closes for good on those four arms that have been the only ballyhoo on the levee? Of course not, he'd prolly say, but dude. Clown noses for all, cause this team can't do anything right just now.

So the Cubs will probably win seven or eight a little latyer in the season, and that's good, but I know they're going to lose four, and then win two, then lose three and win one and lose three more. That's the makeup of this team I love so much. No offensive production in Wrigley is absolutely insane, say it loud. Meanwhile, what's that the Sox were playing in New York, where they took two of three form the Yanquis? Mmmm, smells like playoff baseball.
Go Go Sox.


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