Nova Scotia, here we come!!

All right, tonight we leave for the east coast.  We’ve been gearing up the last week so I haven’t spent too much time watching the Cubs, but on with the latest being Kosuke Fukodome traded to the Cleveland Indians for some prospects.  The funny part is while I’m writing this post, I’m listening to Billie Holiday’s All of Me. 

The Cubs picked up Outfielder Abner Abreu and pitcher Carlton Smith.  The Cubs will have to eat a few bucks in the process but I think it was the right thing to do.  Kosuke came to the Cubs with great fanfare a few years ago but there hasn’t been too much room in the lineup for him.  Tyler Colvin will get some more playing time and that’s a good thing.

So back to Nova Scotia.  We’re going to take a two week vacation and drive across.  At least 16 hours, but probably closer to 18 with stops for Darcy to get fed and changed.  It’s going to be exciting seeing friends and relatives and of course seeing the beautiful Cape Breton.  The car is almost packed and the tunes have been loaded.  We’re ready to go!

I’m going to take a break from baseball for the two weeks but I’ll post our trip diary and catch the Cubs highlites from the road.

Go Cubs Go!

—Mark Gauthier

Not Out Of It Yet

Jeff Baker thinks they can do it.  The Cubs three game winning streak was over last night.  Say what?  The Cubs were on a winning streak in 2011?

During last night’s game a funny thing happened and in many ways it kind of sums up the season the Cubs have been having.  Bases loaded, no outs and Alfonso Soriano is up, he hits the ball directly to Casey McGehee, Casey jumps over the bag and throws home.  He didn’t touch the bag to get two outs.  Why am I talking about a Brewers player?  It was a dumb move, but worse is that the Cubs couldn’t score any runs with the bases loaded.  Now, that’s the kind of season the Cubs have been playing.  Not taking advantages of the opportunities that come up.

It was a good game and the Cubs can make up ground because they play divisional rivals.  There’s two months left.  It’s a long shot but anything can happen.

I’ve been a little lazy in keeping up with the news but I watched the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and the ticker that scrolled underneath it was saying that Pat Gillick would be interested in talking with the Cubs about a possible position in the organization.  This would be great!  We know the kind of work he did in Toronto and with the other clubs.  This would be a great move.

My Cubs optimism is kicking in.  I think they can turn around this summer, at least to some kind of respectable finish.  I’ve said all along that they’re a good team, maybe there was a Goat in the clubhouse.

—Mark Gauthier


Back On Track

All is right in the world when the Cubs beat up on the Astros.  As the trade winds blow throughout the league it seems every time players who’s necks are out there seem to step up, er, um to the plate.  shoot, I thought I could avoid that one.

There’s another funny phenomena that happens when teams lose and then they win a game or two; they try to validate their losing season by saying that,”I’m back on track”  of course I’m talking about Carlos Zambrano.  Now to be fair, yes, they won a game and maybe they are back on track but to say that this time into the season is somewhat false.  If this were the beginning or middle of May, i would say that “Being back on track” is a good statement to make.  There would still be time to salvage the season and a clear focus towards the World Series would be Back on Track.

I think in order to be “Back on Track”, the Cubs need to do well in the trade Deadline and show and prove to fans that they are taking leaps forward to next year.  They have the money to do it, I trust the brains behind the Cubs will do well.

The Cubs are in the right direction, but not Back on Track . 

—Mark Gauthier

It’s Time

As I’ve said before, I wear Alfonso Soriano’s jersey with great pride.  I think he’s a great player and he’s had an all right season.  Baseball is filled with superstitions, streaks and all sorts of crazy things that go on.  This season has been weird.  Individuals have played well but there’s no team chemistry with the Cubs.

When Alfonso Soriano says that he won’t step in the way of a trade, he doesn’t care.  He’s 35 and wants a championship ring.  Is that greed or he doesn’t want to play at Wrigley Field?

The Cubs need to look at the future.  I’ve enjoyed this season as much as any other season.  Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and a few others have played amazing.  They’re not going to play in October.  They will next year. 

The Cubs should trade Alfonso Soriano and I think they will before the season is out.  They’ll suck up his salary and hopefully trade him for some young hot shots who want to and have the legs to bring a championship to Wrigley Field.  Now, I’m not saying that Alfonso and some other players have lost their enthusiasm but when the highest pay roll outside of New York can’t get it done, then changes need to be made.

Soriano would be doing the gracious thing by demanding a trade and the Cubs should hapilly eat that 36 million if it means getting some more young players.

On the flip side, I think baseball needs to move young players quicker up to the Show.  In hockey, you’re drafted and playing the next year.  Sink or swim, Welcome the Show, Don’t cry for Mommy.

That’s what I think,

—Mark Gauthier




Something Fishy

Ok, I’m really a sucker for those kind of things.  The truth is that after Ryan Dempster threw a beauty of a game, the Cubs got whipped by the Marlins 13-5.  I don’t think it was Carlos Zambrano’s fault and I think the finger pointing is well left in the first half of the season.  The fact is the Cubs got beat up yesterday.  They got beat up in the kind of game where some teams just have your number.  Here’s an example:

A few years ago, the Ottawa Senators were in the playoffs and after going three rounds where they just destroyed any competition that came their way, they were expected to go on and win the Stanley Cup.  However, the Anaheim Ducks were just a better team than the Senators and beat up them to win the Stanley Cup.  Was it anything the Sens did wrong?  Should they have changed their game plan?  Fire their coach the next season?  There were so many questions, but it all boiled down to the Ducks simply were the better team and they won.  Congratulations.  When a team plays hard and doesn’t win, it’s just as good as winning.

Carlos Zambrano pitched a good game and the Marlins had his number yesterday.  I think maybe that’s why this season has been frustrating because too many teams have had the Cubs number.  We’ll get em next time.

—Mark Gauthier

Second Half

Hope spring’s eternal.  Here’s the second half of the season and the Cubs started off where they left before the All Star break–with a loss.  No more negativity.  This is it, it’s a new season and if the Cubs want to be playing in october, they’ll have to win just about every game.  Not that it can’t be done, but it’s going to be a tall order.

I’m not going to be negative, I believe in this team.  Let’s forget about yesterday’s really tough loss against the Florida Fish 6-3.  Ryan Dempster is going to lead the Cubs into salvation with a WGN Friday afternoon classic.  If you’re in Chicago, take the day off work, head on down to the park, grab a cold one and watch the Cubs turn the corner on a very frustrating season.

Oh and don’t forget that PS I Love You is playing tonight at Schubas Tavern.  Check them out!

—Mark Gauthier

Who Would Have Thought?

Who would have thought that the Pittsburgh  Pirates would be this good?  I had no idea and I also thought that Chicago might do better this season. Yesterday, the Cubs were beat 9-2.

I’m not being cynical or anything but it’s the All Star break and I really didn’t think the Cubs would be this bad.  Second worst record in the majors!  37-55 record.

There was a dugout argument between Ryan Dempster and Mike Quade.  I don’t know about anyone else but there’s trouble with this team.  Barring a miracle, the likely chances of the Cubs making the post season or even for that matter turning the corner to respectability is a long haul.  They can do it, but something’s gotta change.  I’m not expecting Quade to come back after the all Star break.

Aramis Ramirez says,Èveryone needs a break.“

I think they need more practice.

—Mark Gauthier

Tragedy in Texas

A couple of days ago, tragedy struck the Stone family at a Texas Rangers game.    Shannon Stone, a 39 year old firefighter was doing what every father would do for his son at a ball game, he even stopped by the sporting goods store to pick up a new glove in hope that maybe they could catch one off of their favourite player, Josh Hamilton.  That’s just what happened. Josh Hamilton threw one to him and Shannon Stone,  leaned over to make the catch but fell over the railing as his young son  Cooper watched.

We’ve all watched the tragedy unfold on clips or as we watched the game.  I think it’s right by not showing further footage of the tragedy.  It was a sad day for everyone.  It was a sad day for baseball.

I think what hit home so much was I’d  do the same thing for our son Darcy.  It’s something every father would do.

Our hearts go out to Cooper and his family.

—Mark Gauthier

All Star Break Report

So, it’s a little early.

The Cubs lost their third straight game against the up and coming Washington Nationals.  I don’t know what else to say except to spew out some cliches.

‘Close isn’t good enough”

“We’ll get better after the All Star break”

“We’ve had some injuries”

Something’s not working within the Cubs organization.  They can keep saying that they’re rebuilding but what started out as a somewhat promising season has quickly turned into a disastrous outing by a proud organization.  Carlos Pena was supposed to be their saviour and for what it’s worth, he’s done an outstanding job this year.  I would go as far to say that he’s surpassed all expectations.

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Tony Campana have all shone for the Cubs but what’s quickly becoming apparent is Mike Quade is not the right person for the job.  He’s done ok, but not great.  You can’t be a “player’s” manager before long when multi million dollar players walk all over.

Kosuke Fukodome has done way better than I expected and I’ve apologised a lot about my harsh criticism.

I think the real reason the Cubs aren’t doing great is they have too much money tied up in wasted areas and that might clear up at the end of the season or it could continue through until next season.

Jim Hendry and Mike Quade need a break.  They’re not the right people for the organization.  Hell, Mike Quade managed my hometown Ottawa Lynx years ago and I still think he’s got to go.

Ok, Ryne Sandberg where are you?

—Mark Gauthier