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The Art of Being a Cub Fan: Is Losing Better than Winning?

The June swoon, the July good-bye, the August bust, and the September to dismember could all be used to discuss the ghosts of Cubs’ season past.

There are a few exceptions of course; one being the ’84 team that headed into San Diego up 2-0 and found a way to cough up the NLCS. I am sure that Gatorade on a glove had everything to do with it.

The ’89 team showed promise until they met up with a buzz-saw in the San Francisco Giants and were taken in five games.

Then the ’98 squad behind Slammin’ Sammy Steroid-Osa made it to a play-in game for the wild card and actually won. That made it even more disappointing to Cubs fans when the Braves scalped them in three.

In 2003, the Cubs gave their fans what maybe the biggest tease they’ve seen in 90-plus years. They had an amazing divisional race that saw them take the Central on the next to last day. They took the Braves into Game Five of the series, and actually found a way to win their first series since Moses parted the Red Sea.

Then, with only five outs left until a trip to their first World Series since 1908, well, you know the rest.

You also know the recent history of the Cubs if you are a true fan.

So, the question I wish to ask with this particular article is, which is better, knowing you have no chance and enjoying the season, or setting yourself up for heartache?

Before you get too set on saying one or the other, let me explain.

In recent years, the Cubs have been 50/50 on whether they are in the race late in the season. It seems like they are either at the top, or at the bottom. No in-betweens, and I do not count the Pirates as a team, just an FYI.

Those seasons when they make the playoffs seem to be magical, until the D-Backs,  Dodgers, Braves, or whoever sweep them right into Gary, Ind.

In my opinion, that just sucks the air out of the entire season and makes me want believe that they will actually never win a World Series in my lifetime.

On the other hand, in a season that nothing is expected, or they are out of it by mid-to-late June, I can just sit back, drink a few beers, and watch the Cubs play baseball, for better or for worse.

There is no worrying about magic numbers, trade deadlines, or really anything. It is just relaxing to watch Cubs baseball without any talk of Billy Goats, curses, and Bartman balls.

This season is one of those. Sweet Lou is finishing up his career at season’s end. The Cubs are double digit games out. Young players are on the roster looking to make a name for themselves.

This is just as great as if they are in a pennant race. My hair isn’t going gray, I’m not losing any sleep, and I don’t want to drive to the suburbs and kill a guy with glasses that tried to catch a foul ball.

It all comes down to whether you want to set yourself up for heart break. It’s almost like you are seeing a girl who you really like, but she is not into you at all. Sure, she’ll show you some attention every now and again when she wants something or when she is drunk and you’ll do. But in the end, you are just setting yourself up for a letdown.

I guess, for many Cubs fans, being one is like going on a date, paying for everything, then at the end of the night having the girl go off with some guy she met at the bar while you were taking a leak.

As always, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

So I ask, is it better to win and take the chance of having your heart broken, or losing and just enjoying the great game of baseball?

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Go Cubs, Go! Introducing A Few Players Who Need to be Dealt With By Next Month

If you are a true Chicago Cubs fan, then by now you know that this team is quickly heading nowhere.

Although they are still within 10 games in the division, the chances of them making up any ground is highly unlikely.

So what are the next steps this franchise needs to take?

It is simply to try and move veterans with the high salaries, and to build from the minor league system.

Honestly, if you look at the guys on the Cubs’ 25-man roster, most of them were acquired from other teams, rather than brought up through the system. Maybe the Cubs should take a page from the Tampa Bay Rays’ playbook on building a winner.

So, who exactly should the Cubs get rid of?

Well, I would start by a hobbled Aramis Ramirez, but then who wants a beaten up third baseman that can’t hit anymore? Derrek Lee is also a candidate for being dealt with. He has had an off year so far, but he still could be a player for someone wanting to add a bat down the stretch.

Carlos Zambrano is my top choice to be sent packing, but who wants a guy that throws more temper tantrums than strikes?

Also you could add Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, and Alfonso Soriano to the list of guys who could be dealt with if the right offer comes along.

Marlon Byrd, even though he leads the team in hitting and has been the lone bright spot, could be gone. He is unhappy with his current contract, and is trying to get the player’s union to help him void the deal. But, at least we’ll get something for him, right?

The big problem with unloading a group of guys that have not came through over the past several years is the massive salaries these guys carry.

Here is a breakdown of the top ten Cubs salaries in 2010, according to .


Cubs Salaries
1 Alfonso Soriano $19,000,000
2 Carlos Zambrano $18,875,000
3 Aramis Ramirez $16,750,000
4 Kosuke Fukudome $14,000,000
5 Ryan Dempster $13,500,000
6 Derrek Lee $13,250,000
7 Ted Lilly $13,000,000
8 Carlos Silva $12,750,000
9 Xavier Nady $3,300,000
10 Marlon Byrd $3,000,000


In this bad economy, who wants to pay that for a group of guys that have barely won 30 games at this point in June?

The short answer is, nobody!

I will go out on a limb and say that the Cubs may be able to deal Lilly since he is a left handed starter and those can be a hot commodity coming down the stretch.

Zambrano will be dangled, along with Ramirez, and maybe Lee, but nobody will bite. I think Fukudome could end up out West with a playoff contender, as could Xavier Nady.

Dempster may be on the block too, but he is not a young gun anymore, and I doubt anyone will want to take on his contract.

The bottom line is that it is all about waiting until next year again.

But before next year begins, the organization needs to decide how it wants to prepare for the future. Will they stay with the same stale product out on the field, or bring up the future Cubs in guys like Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin.

Finally, I think that Cubs manager Lou Pinella will step down by mid August. Sweet Lou can’t throw enough fits on the field to get these guys fired up. I think it would be wise to retire and move on to the next stage of his life before this club gives him a heart-attack.

As always, we hope that next season will be the year, but a lot of next season depends on who the Cubbies can unload by July 31. This core group simply did not get it done and their time is up.

It’s time to bring up the kids in Iowa City along with their manager for 2011.

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Goodbye Kid: Ken Griffey Jr. Retires

Ken Griffey Jr will always be known to myself and many others as “The Kid.” As of June 2, 2010, The Kid is retired until Cooperstown calls his number.

He gave a statement that read


“While I feel I am still able to make a contribution on the field and nobody in the Mariners front office has asked me to retire, I told the Mariners when I met with them prior to the 2009 season and was invited back that I will never allow myself to become a distraction.”

Griffey leaves the game with 630 long balls, good enough for fifth all time. He hit a solid .284 lifetime with over 1800 RBI’s.


Griffey won an MVP award and multiple Golden Glove Awards during his career. He played 22 seasons with the Mariners, Reds, and White Sox but never won a ring.


Griffey will undoubtedly be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2015.


See ya there, Kid.

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Roy Halladay’s Perfect Game: Marlins Offering Tickets to Baseball History

Are you a Roy Halladay fan?

Would you like a ticket to his perfect game?

Well, you are in luck, ’cause the Marlins organization is selling the remaining tickets.

Earlier today, the Fighting Fish announced that they were going to be selling the remaining tickets that were left from Halladay’s historic performance.

How many tickets are left, you may ask?

Just over 25,000 fans showed up Saturday, but many were not necessarily there to see baseball. You see, since the Marlins are not overly popular in South Florida, the organization has come up with the “Super Saturday” gimmick.

Every Saturday home game, they hire a band and shoot off fireworks, in order to draw a crowd to an often-empty Sun Life Stadium. This week, I do believe it was the band O.A.R., which is an upgrade to the Orange Bowl halftime show I saw in the same stadium (K.C. and the Sunshine Band).

Either way, now there is a total of just over 15,000 tickets left for sale. The team says it will continue to sell them until they are gone. As of last check at around 7 p.m. Eastern time, they had sold more tickets from this game, mainly to Phillies’ fans, than tickets to Monday’s Memorial Day win over the Brewers.

So, how do you go about buying your ticket, and how much will it cost? All you have to do is pay full price, as long as they are available, and head on over to the Marlins’ website.

On a side note, I attended my first game there in 2007. It was a Friday night matchup against the Braves for which me and my buddy had not bought tickets in advance. A scalper offered us two “fish tank” seats, otherwise known as outfield seats, for $5 each.

The joke, you ask? The parking was $10.

What are your thoughts on what the Marlins’ organization is doing? Is it good for fans and collectors? Should they be allowed to sell you tickets to games that you never even attended? Would you pay $45 for an infield box seat to a game you didn’t attend.

If only I had gone and bought a $5 fish tank seat…

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Is Missing a Perfect Game the Worst Feeling as a Fan?

First of all, I would like to congratutlate Roy Halladay for throwing the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Secondly, I would like to hang myself for not being present, even though I had the chance to be.

I don’t know if it is the worst feeling a fan can ever have. I have seen the Cubs piss away a lead in game 6 of the NLCS. I have witnessed several Bengals’ playoff losses. I have also seen many Northwestern bowl losses. This one hurts.

I was asked today, the day of Halladay’s perfect game if I wanted to attend tonight’s game. I said yes, and was told to text or call him. He never responded.

It turns out he got food poisoning from a local deli and was praying all night to the porcelain Gods, at least until he heard what Roy had done. He was upset to say the least. Other than that, he said he had gone from upset-crying-sad to upset-pissed-off-mad.

It got me thinking about if this could be the worst feeling in sports.

True, you get mad or upset when your team loses in the playoffs or championship, but how upset can you get?

It is so rare to see a perfect game in baseball. The odds are so less than 1% that it cannot be measured. It is more likely that you will see a no hitter, triple-double in basketball, or 5 OT game in hockey playoffs.

Is it me or do I look a fool with my pants on the ground?

I feel that the perfect game in baseball is the ultimate in what you can be a part of in sports history. It is so hard to be perfect in anything, including sports. It is even more impossible to be perfect in being a fan, which I feel inadequate in as of now.

So I guess I ask the question, what is the worst feeling as a sports fan? Is it missing a huge sporting event, even though you could have been there? Is it watching your team bomb a title game? As always, your opinions are much appreciated so feel free to comment below.

Also, as a single male, I also like comforting hugs, which I surely need at this time in my life, and I hope many sports fans will agree…..

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Breaking Up The Blue Jays and Why They Have a Chance To Contend

Many of the so called experts predicted the Toronto Blue Jays to end up in the cellar in the AL East.

So far, this hasn’t happened as the Blue Jays have stayed within striking distance in the AL east, and currently own the AL’s third best record.

How have they done this you may ask? Well, it is simple. They currently lead the league in home runs and the pitching staff has stepped up and pitched pretty consistently.

At the plate Vernon Wells is tearing it up. He is second on the team in homers with 11, leads the team with a .301 average, and has batted in 33 runs. This is what many Blue Jays fans have expected from Wells year to year.

Perhaps the surprises of the year have come in journeyman IF/OF Jose Bautista, who leads the team with 14 long balls and 38 ribbies.

Currently his 14 homers leads the AL, which is a surprise for a guy who hadn’t hit 75 in his career going into the season.

Along side Bautista is Alex Gonzalez, who has rocked 10 long balls and knocked in 30. Gonzalez hadn’t hit more than 10 homers all season long since the 2007 season with the Reds.

Edwin Encarnacion has also been a major part of the attack at third base. He has hit 7 long balls and driven in only 16, but is a dangerous addition to the lineup on a daily basis.

While these three have done it at the plate and carried the team, many of the guys thought to have been the main offensive threats heading into the season have struggled.

Adam Lind is only batting .237 and has struck out nearly 50 times. Former all star Aaron Hill is batting below the Mendoza line at .156, and Lyle Overbay has struggled to get going batting just over .200. Just imagine if these guys were hitting like they could?

Where the Jays have really capitalized is at the front and end of the game. Starters have combined to go 19-13 to this point, and several starters have carried no hitters into the late innings.

The Jays are lead by Ricky Romero, who leads the team in ERA, strike-outs, and is tied for the lead in wins.

Also making a splash is former third round pick Shaun Marcum, who is 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA and is showing signs of being a front of the rotation pitcher. Also youngsters such as Brett Cecil, Dana Eveland, Brandon Morrow, and Brian Tallet have been solid contributors.

In the bullpen it makes all the difference in the world when you have a closer.

Kevin Gregg has turned back to his All Star form of 2008 as he has nailed down 12 games in 20+ innings while keeping his ERA under 4.00. Scott Downs, Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen, and Jason Frasor have also been solid working out of the pen, combining for a 7-5 record with an ERA of just over 4.00.

At this point many readers who aren’t Jays fans may be saying,

“So what? They still play in the same division as the Yanks, Rays, and Sox!”

I say, not so fast my friend! Please don’t forget who the manager is on this team.

Cito Gaston has been there and done that. Cito has been to four post seasons in his career, all with the Blue Jays, and won back to back titles in 1992-93. He has a knack for getting the most out of players, and this group has been no exception.

If I were to hire any manager in the game, Cito would be at the top of mine, and most people who know baseball’s list.

The bottom line is do not turn your back on this team. Sure, they have lost two of three against the Rays this season, and five of six against the Sox, but they are still relatively young. This is a team that is learning how to win, and Cito Gaston is the man to teach these young men how to do so.

I am not saying they will win the division, or even make the wild card spot, but I assure you that they will stay in it. Romero and Marcum provide a solid 1-2 punch, while youngster Brett Cecil has showed the promise of a great young pitcher.

Add a lineup that can score at any moment with the long ball and you have something.

Again, I am just saying they will contend at this point. I am not completely on the bandwagon yet. If they can find ways to win series’ against the Yanks, Sox, and Rays on a consistent basis then you had better watch out.

Cito will have these guys playing well above their skill sets all year long, and all I say is if you are a fan of baseball, do not discard the Toronto Blue Jays as the pennant races heat up.

But as always, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong…..

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Lima Time! A Look Back at the Career of the Flamboyant Pitcher

Former All-Star pitcher Jose Lima was found dead Sunday morning at his Los Angeles home, after suffering an apparent heart attack. The 37-year-old had not pitched in the majors since a stint with the New York Mets in 2006.

He had recently spent time in the Korean League and Independent league just last summer.

Many will remember Lima as a fiery guy, who liked to wear his emotions on his sleeve. He bounced around after a 1999 season that saw him win 21 games for the Houston Astros, by far the best season of his career—a career that saw him pitch for 13 seasons, on five different teams, and win 89 games, while losing 102.

Lima got his start with the Detroit Tigers in 1994. He made his major league debut on April 20 of that year, but he had some struggles that year, pitching just over six innings, and giving up 10 earned runs. He was sent back to the minors by early May.

In 1995 and ’96, Lima went 8-15 with an ERA approaching six. Detroit would trade Lima to Houston, where his potential would finally turn into production.

In 1997, Lima pitched out of the bullpen and went 1-6 with an ERA of over 5.00. The following year, he had earned a spot in the rotation after a solid spring. He would notch a then career-high 16 wins against just 8 defeats, and would carry an ERA of just under 4.00.

The 1999 season was by far his best season, as that year Lima won 21 games, and strikeout nearly 200 batters. He was voted to the All-Star game, and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. Lima time had been born.

But, as good of a season as Lima enjoyed in 1999, he would never reach those heights again.

He would once again pitch in Detroit, but on a team that may have been the worst in baseball in 2002. He went 5-10, and was quoted in the local papers as saying, “If I can’t pitch on one of the worst teams in baseball history, where am I supposed to pitch?”

He would have one more solid season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005, as he went 13-5, and recorded the team’s first playoff win since the 1988 World Series. He threw a five-hit, shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.

After that he bounced around between Kansas City and the Mets, and eventually left the majors all together.

After stints in Korea and the Independent League, Lima finally left baseball for good, and was actively involved in public appearances on behalf of the Dodgers’ organization.

While Lima had not been in the majors since 2006, players still have taken the news hard.

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz wrote, “R.I.P. Lima” on his cap in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lima will be missed.

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The Future of the 2010 Chicago Cubs

When asked what his team needed to do to turn it around after a fifth-straight loss to the Pirates, Chicago Cubs skipper Lou Piniella had this to say:

“If we start doing the things that we’re capable of doing, I won’t have to answer these questions all the time.”

But the question remains, can this team turn it around in time to make any noise in the post-season picture?

The quest to find this answer began today with a 4-3 comeback win over the Bucs.

Down 3-1 in the seventh, the Cubs found a way to claw back and tie it. In the eighth, Soriano stole his way over to third, and Xavier Nady knocked him in with a single. Marmol was able to hold the one run lead in the ninth.

The win puts the Cubs at 16-22, and gave Lou Piniella his 1800th career win—something only 13 skippers before him have done.

Could this be the turnaround that the Cubs so desperately need? If you go back to the 2007 season it took a Piniella outburst in which he assaulted the third base bag during a late May game against the Braves. The Cubs would get hot in June and eventually catch and surpass a struggling Brewers team down the stretch.

The keys to getting this team going are simple. Sweet Lou needs to rekindle the fire that has made him one of baseball’s great managers. No offense to the calm 66-year-old that is having fun, but that isn’t what got him 1800 wins.

The next thing that has to happen is that big boppers Ramirez and Lee need to get it going. Ramirez is still hitting below the Mendoza line, and D-Lee is hitting a measly .230 and is second to only Ramirez in strike outs.

The final piece, and the one that has cost them the most games is the awful bullpen. Perhaps the biggest joke out in the pen is the $60 million ace that hits gatorade dispensers just as hard as opposing batters hit him. At 1-3 with an ERA of over 7.00, Zambrano has proven to be the poster boy for woeful Cubs pitching.

Also earning the nod for being a bullpen liability are former Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, Esmailin Caridad, and John Grabow. I know both Notre Dame and Caridad have only thrown a combined seven-plus innings, but a combined ERA of over 14.00 doesn’t help keep you in the majors.

Earning honorable mention is Justin Berg and Jeff Gray. The only thing keeping them from being picked on is they are a combined 1-0, even though their ERA’s are just under 7.00.

The few bright spots—and I do mean few—are the pitching performance from Carlos Silva, who is 4-0 with an ERA under 3.50. Dempster and Gorzellany haven’t pitched horribly, but in most games get no run support, and Lilly has looked decent in his few starts. Finally Marlon Byrd, who I thought would be a waste of money is leading the team in all of the triple crown categories.

Earning honorable mention is Soriano, who is hitting over .300 with seven homers, the newcomer Castro, who had seven RBI’s in his Cubs debut, and the bullpen performances from Marshall, Russell, and of all people, Marmol.

The bottom line is that anything coud happen in a division where the Cardinals are clearly the best team. What could help the Cubs is how mediocre the other teams are, and how many times they get each team the rest of the way. But it is gonna take a fire being lit to get this team going.

So what is the future of the Cubs in 2010? I think it is going to be a team looking to sell and get younger by the All-Star break.

If the Cubs can find any value in unloading veterans like Ramirez, Lee, Zambrano, Soriano, Dempster, and Lilly—they should do so. By now it is apparent that this is not the nucleus that will provide the North Siders with their first World Title since before the Great Depression.

However, in these tough times, there will be a lot more sellers than buyers, and moving the high salaries of these older players may be tougher than it once was.

The future of Cubs teams for years to come will depend on what management does with this year’s underachieving team. It could be the difference between rebuilding now and for the next two to three years, or sitting with a group of veterans that have yet to even win a playoff game.

Also, when Lou Piniella retires either at season’s end, or resigns before season’s end, look for the next Cubs manager to be Ryne Sandberg. He has spent several years in the minor league system now and already knows the players that will eventually get called up, in case the Cubs elect to rebuild.

To sum it all up, if the Cubs can’t get it together,they will look to rebuild, dump salary, and Ryno will be the skipper in 2011.

I am sure there are many Cubs fans that will disagree with me, but as Dennis Miller would say: “That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.”


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