Friday, May 2, 2008

Cubs Columnists, Exercising Judgment and Keeping Things in Perspective

Yesterday's win against the Cubs sure has the Chicago media in a tizzy, if Rick Telander and Jay Mariotti of the Sun Times are any gauge.

Both have columns in today's paper that I stumbled upon on Al Gore's internet this afternoon, and you would have thought they were writing about a 2-22 team rather than the club that just set its franchise record for wins in April.

Telander's effort was a rambling diatribe on the various reasons why Lou Piniella was one misguided missile of a question away from pulling a Lee Elia. It's too bad none of the media present, Telander included, had the stones to ask a question before Lou fumed off.

Among Telander's reasons why Lou is in full meltdown mode:

The small-market Brewers now have won both early series against the Cubs. If the Cubs can't beat Milwaukee, how can they hope to beat, say, the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals?

If this is the Cubs closer's best work, God help us all.

Soriano ... Is it possible that the once-gifted bonus baby is now a brittle, unteachable liability?

Wow - didn't you mean $136 million unteachable liability, Rick? Yikes, tough crowd in Chicago - the next 5 years of Soriano's deal are sure going to be fun.

Telander also called Milwaukee a name....I think.

Remember, Milwaukee the city, the urban principality, is to Chicago as a little piggie is to a water buffalo.

I'm not sure what this means, but I'm offended that he called us a little piggie. We're actually exceedingly fat in Milwaukee, Rick - don't you know anything?

Mariotti's column was quite similar, although he focused exclusively on Kerry Wood and his failures in the closer role in Chicago. In Jay's opinion, the reason why Milwaukee is even close to Chicago in the standings has to do with each team's respective closer.

Why has Milwaukee taken four of six in the season series? I'd suggest that Eric Gagne, after a ragged start, now has nine saves for the Brew Crew.

Wow - and I thought Gagne was an unmitigated disaster as the Milwaukee closer, according to the yahoos on the Journal Sentinel Brewers Blog. If Gagne is a disaster, what does that make Wood?

And then Mariotti of course pulls the Marmol card.

But the former Kid K has become Kid BS, as in blown save, botching his third of seven opportunities in a ghastly 4-3 loss to the Brewers. His latest collapse -- three hits, a walk, a plunked batter, three earned runs and a wickedly sour taste -- was a mirror image of his Opening Day flop against the same division rivals. The differences between Wood and other big-league closers are many, including the fact he's a neophyte in the role and seems capable of an injury breakdown on any pitch. The major difference, though, is that a better man for the position works in the same bullpen.

Kid BS, I like that.

Of course, Marmol has no experience as closer either, and didn't seem to flourish under pressure in the Diamondbacks series last fall, but whatever - you'll get no argument from me that as a Brewers fan I'd rather see Wood closing games rather than Marmol, who strikes out approximately 90% of the Brewers that he faces.

Who knew that an innocent little ballgame on the first day of May would send the Chicago scribes into such a frenzy? Is this what Cubs fans feel like too?


AP said...

Then go and look at every preseason prediction that were collectively blowing the Cubs, and they all say something like, "...Kerry Wood is healthy and ready to dominate the closers role."


Wrigleyville said...

but ... they have an alternative. or 2. which is a good place to be.

matt said...


Anyway, that doesn't matter if you don't utilize said alternative.

Wrigleyville said...

marmol or howry (preferably marmol, but howry arguably would be steadier in the 9th than woody) - so 2.