Tagged: World Series

NOW THE OFF-SEASON BEGINS

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.

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CUBS NEED A NEW PITCHING COACH

Wow, I did not see this one coming!  Larry Rothschild is now a member of the New York Yankees pitching staff.  I understand his reasoning behind the decision to move and don’t blame him one bit.  He lives in Florida and the Yankees have spring training in Tampa.  Makes sense and he’s going to an organization that is a World Series contender almost every year. 

My first choice would be Greg Maddux.  I would love to have Maddog teaching our young guys and veterans a thing or two.  I don’t think this is likely to happen, but I can dream.  My next choice would be for Greg to woo his brother, Mike Maddux, away from the Texas Rangers to be the Cubs pitching coach.  And I don’t see this one happening either. 

I look for the Cubs to fill this position with someone that manager Mike Quade wants.  Who that will be I don’t know at this point. 

What’s Wrong with Baseball…….Bud Selig!

bud_selig.jpgI have thought about writing a post on Bud Selig for quite some time.  But every time I started I would get too frustrated.  I think he is the worst commissioner of any sport.  I think he has done more to hurt the game of baseball than any other commissioner….EVER!  His failures, and there are many, never cease to amaze me.  I don’t know how this man can honestly feel good about the job he has done while serving as the acting commissioner and official commissioner of Major League Baseball.  His tenure as commissioner began in a shady manner.  I would call it a coup d’etat.  Fay Vincent was commissioner, but was basically forced to resign due to a no-confidence vote by a majority of the owners in baseball at that time.  When Bud became commissioner he transferred his ownership in the Brewers to his daughter.  That would prevent any conflicts of interest ……yeah right!

Let’s see, I am trying to think of some positive accomplishments Bud has made since taking over for Vincent.  The only thing that I remotely like is the wild card.  However, in a perfect world, we would have four divisions in each league and a wild card would not be needed.  However, we currently have three divisions and the wild card does make sense.  But while I am touching on playoffs let’s don’t forget the 1994 World Series.  Oh wait.  The ’94 Series was cancelled.  There was that little strike thing going on.  Yep, Bud let that one slip by.  Maybe it was his way of getting back at the MLBPA for busting him and other owners in the 80s for their collusion.  They ended up having to pay the players $280 million in damages.  So, I guess that’s not something he would want to brag about. 
What about the All Star game. First there was the tie in 2002…..which occurred in Bud’s hometown of Milwaukee.  Then he decided to make the All Star game really exciting by granting the winning team home field advantage for their respective league in the World Series.  I don’t particularly care for that one either.  Best record should determine that. 

Well, how about baseball in November?  The way the post-season is now scheduled baseball can continue all the way into November.  That sucks!  Players having to wear ski masks just to stay warm is ridiculous.  C’mon Bud, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Yet, you continue to tinker with the game trying to squeeze a little more money from the networks and the fans for you and the owners. 

Then we have the whole performance-enhancing-drugs situation.  All Bud had to do was admit that it was a problem and take stiff action.  Instead, legislators in Washington, D.C. had to get involved.  They had to waste their time with the mistakes of baseball players, owners and Bud.  He kept his head in the sand while Big Mac and Slammin’ Sammy cracked homeruns at record rates in ’98.  What a joke.  That whole mess could have been handled a lot better. 

Then there is the somewhat liked creation of interleague play.  Personally, I could do without it.  I like to think I am a baseball purist and frankly, the newness has worn off for me.  I would like to abolish interleague play and get a balanced schedule for each league.

One of my favorite things to complain about Bud is his ability to reschedule games between teams.  The Cubs and Astros playing in Milwaukee in 2008 or the Indians playing the Angels in Milwaukee in 2007.  As a Cubs fan, there is no doubt in my mind that the Cubs getting to play the ‘Stros so close to home helped them out.  That game should’ve been rescheduled somewhere in Texas.  But Bud’s home town was able to benefit from his decision as well as the Cubs.  Aren’t there other ball parks with domes that he could have rescheduled those games at?  Another obvious abuse of power by Bud!

It’s the commissioner’s responsiblity to protect the best interests of the sport.  David Stearn did a pretty good job of it in the NBA.  It didn’t hurt that MJ came around during his tenure either.  Roger Goodell is the commissioner for the NFL right now and seems to be doing a great job so far.  However, Bud, well, I have never felt that he had the best interest of the game in his heart.  I believe he has always been more concerned about making more money for his fellow owners. 

I know there is a lot more that I could write about Bud and his ineptness at being commissioner.  He is supposedly going to retire as commissioner in 2012.  I cannot wait for that day to come.  I hope we get a new commissioner then that will do everything in their power to protect and improve the game of baseball.   

 

BOLD PREDICTION!!!

I am not one of those guys that says my team is going to win it all at the beginning of each new season.  I usually try to be objective.  It’s not hard to see if your team has enough talent to compete.  However, crazy things happen.  Look at the 2006 Cardinals.  They won only 83 games in the regular season.  Yet, it was enough to get them into the post-season.  Then they went on to win the World Series.  Or I can remember the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins.  Both teams finished last the previous season.  That was a great season for baseball. 

But for me….well, it’s always about my Cubs.  In 1998, we made the playoffs but didn’t have enough to win.  Then we had a magical run in 2003 before it sadly ended.  The last two seasons have been tough for me when October came around.  This year though, this year is different.  The Cubs revamped their team.  The roster is a lot different than last.  It’s been overhauled in order to succeed in the post-season.  This is where my “BOLD PREDICTION” comes in to play.  The Cubs seemed happy to make it in 2007.  Last year, the Dodgers were peaking at the right time under Joe Torre.  This year is the Cubs year.  While I think we may struggle in April I look for this team to come together under sweet Lou’s guidance.  They know what they must do now.  As a fan, I know what this team is capable of and I believe the players do too.  I think they know that this has the makings of a very special team. 

So, here it is without any further ado.  The Cubs will make it to the World Series in 2009!  Notice I am not saying they will win it all.  I am not that bold…..yet!  Go Cubs Go!

Sizing Up the Cincinnati Reds

Reds.jpgJust recently my friend and Reds fan, Dave, wanted to know why I haven’t written anything about the Reds on my blog.  Well, I decided to write something for his sake.  I figure if he’s gonna take the time to check out this blog I might as well as write something about his Reds.  I am trying to convince Dave to start his own blog or even join forces with me to write a blog about the Cubs, Reds and baseball.  Until then, I guess this will have to do.  I will do my best to look at things objectively, but remember, I am a Cubs fan and we can be biased from time to time.

 

The Cincinnati Reds glory days of the “Big Red Machine” are long gone.  As a matter of fact, they haven’t won the World Series since the magical year of 1990.   That was a great team.  Jose Rijo, Chris Sabo, Eric “the Red” Davis and the Nasty Boys featuring Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton.  I remember going into the series against Oakland that year that none of our friends gave the Reds much of a chance to win.  Then they went and swept the mighty A’s. 

The last winning season the Reds had was in 2000.  However, with the way things are shaping up, I don’t think they are that far from finishing over .500 once again.  They have developed a solid core of young players that may bring this team back into the playoff hunt for years to come.  

Here’s a quick look at some of the current Reds that I like and think the organization should build around.  At 1B is Joey Votto.  I think he’s a really good player, but I think he eventually will have to move to LF or RF due to minor league stud Yonder Alonso.  In Brandon Phillips the Reds have an all star at 2B.  At 3B is Edwin Encarnacion.  He is still young, only 26, but needs to work on his defense.  The outfielder of the future is here in Jay Bruce.  He possesses a lot of talent, but may be best suited in RF.  I believe these guys should be the core of the Reds lineup over the next few years and will help lead them into the next decade. 

On the mound things look bright too.   Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez may turn out to be a great 1-2 punch at the start of the rotation.  Then there is the possibility of Homer Bailey making the rotation soon.  If these 3 young guns develop like the Reds hope you may be looking at a team capable of winning a World Series sooner than later. 

A lot of young talent with the Reds.  If these guys play like they are capable of then the Reds will win a lot of games.  I imagine that will be the case.   The obstacle I see standing in the way for the Reds is salary.  How will they be able to pay all of these guys?  Cincinnati is not a big market team like the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs.  Until then, there is no doubt in my mind that the Reds organization is going in the right direction.   

WBC Reaction

Well, the WBC is now over and the Japanese once again are champions.  As I watched Sunday night’s game featuring team USA versus Japan I was frustrated.  The announcers kept pointing out, especially in the 8th inning, that Davey Johnson was managing the game as if it were spring training.  If that is true, then why even try?  It’s obvious that Japan, South Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc., all take this event more serious than the USA.  This is not an insult or attack on the players.  I loved the perfromances by Adam Dunn, Kevin Youkilis, Mark DeRosa and others.  I know the players wanted to win and gave their best efforts.  However, if team USA ever wants to win the WBC there will have to be a different approach.  Other teams were managed as if it were game 7 of the World Series.   We need to do the same.  Until then, it is unlikely that team USA will emerge as champions in the WBC.   

Will the Cubs Find A Pot of Gold in ’09?

trophy.jpgIf you’ve ever been around a Cubs fan, you may have heard the phrase “Wait til Next Year”.  Over the last couple of years there has been a new motto,”It’s Gonna Happen.”  To a person who’s not a Cubs fan, I doubt you would understand…..with Red Sox fans being an exception.  Think about it.  The Cubs have not won a Championship in a century.  Heck, they haven’t even been to the fall classic since 1945.  It’s frustrating.  Unitl last year, I could count the number of times the Cubs have been to the post-season on one hand in my life time.  I remember 1984.  The Cubs seemed destined to finally win.  Ryne Sandberg was the MVP that season and Rick Sutcliffe won the Cy Young.  We had a great closer in Lee Smith.  It was a sad way to lose.  Then there was 1989.  The Giants were just too much.  Will “the Thrill” Clark was a beast that series and the Cubs lost again.  I knew we didn’t have a chance in 1998, but that was a fun season to be a Cubs fan.  I remember where I was when I watched Kerry Woods 20 strikeout performance in May of that year.  Plus, there was a magical pursuit of Roger Maris’ home run record.  Then came my heartache.  2003!  Heck, that fall my wife, a Yankees fan, my buddies from grade school, Dave-Reds fan and Marty-Cardinals fan, were all rooting for the Cubs as they seemed certain to finish off the Florida Marlins.  But most anyone knows what happened.  I won’t mention his name.  That moment seemed to define the heartache of being a Cubs fan.  The last 2 seasons have been great and both were followed with major disappointment in the post-season. 

This year the Cubs have revamped their roster in hopes of winning in October.  I think that’s great, but we have to get their first.  As long as sweet Lou is managing I think we have a chance.  Maybe, just maybe, the Cubs will find a Pot of Gold in the form of a World Series Trophy this October.  It’s Gonna Happen!