Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals as champions of their respective leagues. The World Series was a good one which I felt the umpires did an excellent job. In the end, the Red Sox were able to win their first World Series at home since 1918. Congrats to Boston and their fans.
Now, it’s time to begin the off-season and it’s going to be an exciting one. Some of the big names in free agency are Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-soo Choo and Brian McCann. There are also several names being floated around already in trade rumors. The Angels’ Mark Trumbo, Dodgers’ Andre Ethier, Rays’ David Price and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips.
I really don’t see the Cubs making any major moves after any of those names as of today. The Cubs will probably have another season of spending on guys like Edwin Jackson or David DeJesus. I don’t see Theo & Co. trading the farm away for someone like David Price either. Instead, I think Rick Renteria will be the next manager and there will be a few minor moves after that, but nothing earth shattering.
There is also the issue of Jeff Samardzija. Do we sign a contact extension or do we go to arbitration? Or does he get traded? This is one player I will be watching closely.
I’m already looking forward to the winter meetings so I can learn what direction the Cubs will be heading this off-season.
Okay, I didn’t really know what to title this post. First, let me say that I am not a fan of Commissioner Bud Selig. As a matter of fact, I think he is the worst commissioner of all major sports in this great country of ours. He turned a blind eye during the whole “steroid era”, helped create inter-league play, was acting commissioner during the strike in 1994 and is a former owner. My list of negatives could actually go on and on, but that’s not the focal point of this post. You see, I am afraid of what Selig is going to do with the upcoming compensation that the Red Sox will get from the Cubs for hiring Theo Epstein. The Red Sox didn’t have to let the Cubs talk to Theo, but I think after the epic collapse in September their organization was ready to wipe the slate clean. This allowed for the exits of Terry Francona and Theo.
Anyway, I fear that Selig is going to force the Cubs to give up one of their better minor league prospects. As a former owner, I can see him punishing the Cubs and Epstein for leaving an organization before his contract was up. I really hope I am wrong on this and my fear is not warranted. However, I do not trust Selig to make a legitimate and fair decision for either team.
When it’s all said and done, I don’t have a say in this at all. All I can do is share my thoughts and feelings on this simple blog. I hope Selig doesn’t punish the Cubs and force us to give the Red Sox someone like Brett Jackson. If he does, it will be just another reason for me to not like him as Commissioner of baseball.
Statistically, Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players in the game today. There are few players that can match his all around production. However, since joining the Yankees in 2004 things have gone down hill. The Yanks have not been to a World Series since 2003, the year before AROD arrived. They have made it to the ALCS only once and that was in 2004. They took a 3 games to none lead over the Boston Red Sox before losing 4 straight games. The Red Sox went on to win their first World Series in almost 90 years. AROD has struggled in the playoffs since becoming a Yankee only hitting .159 in his last 44 postseason at bats. Then the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1995. There is also his use of steroids that came out not that long ago. Then the fact that he initially lied about it too. And finally, AROD was going to play for the Dominican Republic this year in the World Baseball Classic. Unfortunately, he was unable to play due to a hip injury that will force him to miss the first month of the season. And to top it off, the Dominican team didn’t even make it out of the first round losing to the Netherlands last night in extra innings.
I am not tyring to bash AROD even though it may sound like it. Since becoming a New York Yankee things haven’t gone his way. He’s just had a bad run of luck or maybe he’s cursed. Either way, I still say he is one of the best players in the league. I think once he returns from injury he will be a man on a mission. He has a lot to prove on the field and what better way to shut up your critics than by crushing the ball the way he is capable of.
I am a die-hard Cubs fan that lives in Cardinals territory. Throughout the years I have heard it all from Cardinals fans. To be honest, it’s ususally the same 3-4 jokes over and over and over again. They haven’t come up with anything new in quite some time. My friends who are Cards fans have a respect for me as a Cubs fan and I respect their loyalty to their team as well. It’s the everyday encounters that I have that are the most surprising. There was the time I was sitting with two friends at McDonalds. As we were discussing baseball and the Cubs some old timer interrupted our conversation to start ripping on my beloved Cubbies. Initially, I ignored him but after a few more verball jabs from this unknown individual I let loose a verbal punch of my own. It floored him and he walked away. My two friends were Cardinals fans and even they were annoyed with this individual. This week I went to rent a movie and the teenager working there noticed my Cubs hat and immediately started in with the Cubs jokes. He must have thought he was being original because he was laughing at his own jokes as if they were something new. I told him that I had already heard them, but he continued his attempt at ripping on the Cubs. Finally, after my transaction was over, I let a verbal punch loose and it seemed to shut him up as I took my movie and left the store.
The preacher at the church I attended while growing up, Randy, was a devote Cardinals fan. He would always manage to get a Cards-Cubs joke into his sermons during baseball season. Maybe it was his way of making sure I paid attention during the Sunday morning service. It did work and I was always ready to do battle with him after church was over. However, the rivalry of our two teams never caused any problems in our relationship and I actually enjoyed hearing his sermons when he would talk about baseball and the Cubs and Cardinals. During my high school years we went to many baseball games together in St. Louis. We were both fans of the game of baseball and we each had a team that we loved.
The church I attend now has a Cubs fan for a preacher. Scott, is a smart man. He really knows the bible and has a passion for serving Jesus Christ. I remember the first sermon he preached at our church he used CUBS as an acronym. I do not remember what the acronym was, but I remembered he used it and immediately I knew I would like him. He also looks like Greg Maddux’s long lost twin brother.
I am constantly wearing a Cubs hat or shirt. Wherever I go Cardinals fans feel it is necessary for them to strike up a baseball conversation about the rivalry. Often they start right in with the jokes. Usually, I just try to smile and let them go on their way. It’s when they continue their verbal assault that I decide to come back at them. Usually the best one they can come up with is the 100 years without a World Series title. My best response to that is, “Like a famous Cardinal once said, I am not here to talk about the past”. This usually shuts them up. I imagine for one of two possible reasons. One, they have no clue what I am talking about. Two, they know I am referring to Mark McGwire’s comments before a congressional panel when he was questioned about steroid use. Either way, it seems to work. My Cardinals friend Marty was at McDonalds when I used it and thought it was funny and effective.
Throughout the years I have heard all kinds of jokes and various CUBS acronyms used to make fun of the Cubs. Yet, none of these clever quips have ever made me question my devotion to the Cubs. Never have I looked at the person ripping on the Cubs and said, “WOW, You’re right! Maybe I should be a Cardinals fan”. I will always be a Cubs fan. And when they do win the World Series I will know that stuck by them all the way. I imagine it will be gratifying. At least that’s what my friends say that are Boston Red Sox fans.