Archive for Chicago Cubs

Milton Bradley’s suspension – justified or overreaction?

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , on September 21, 2009 by nathanelwell

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Right fielder Milton Bradley has been suspended by the Cubs for the remainder of the 2009 season.  GM Jim Hendry says that he was suspended after “learning of the players remarks in the Daily Herald”.  I won’t go into the details, but you can read the article here.  I would guess that most people who hear about this would not be surprised.  Honestly, it relieves me.  And I certainly hope that they find a way to trade him in the off season.  Milton Bradley, in my opinion, has been a “chemistry breaker” for years.

Some would say that the media and fans have unfairly formed an opinion about him and haven’t even given him a chance in Chicago.  Even if there was 1 ounce of truth to this, Bradley has created the media perception by himself.  Whether its tearing his ACL after going after an ump, or kicking and punching the water cooler around in the clubhouse, players undoubtedly started to get weary of Bradley and his bad temper.  It does nothing but alienate Bradley from the rest of the team, and it keeps him from playing to his ability.  From a fan standpoint, when you try and chase after fans in the stands, they aren’t going to like you!  From a media standpoint, when you call someone from the press “Uncle Tom” that is not going to help your perception either!  Its what my Dad always calls the “echo effect”.  The echo effect is to “respond to and treat others as you would want them to do to you”.  Bradley has dug his own grave in this department.

Should we mainly focus on a players stats and ability on the field?  Absolutely.  But we can’t ignore or forget a players behavior, either – especially if it is detrimental towards fans, the media, and most importantly the team.  And clearly, the Chicago Cubs must have felt the same way.  Bradley said that “I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment.  There’s too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly.  Everything is just bashing you. It’s just negativity.”  The problem with Bradley’s comments are that they are inconsistent with what some other players feel.  Reed Johnson said that “I came from Toronto and come here and just like fall in love with the city and fall in love with the organization…Its just hard for me to believe that you can come to this city, come to this organization, and not enjoy your time here.”

Although I feel badly for Bradley that he can’t play baseball until 2010, I certainly hope that he can learn from his mistakes, and help fix the perception that he has already so badly damaged…And hopefully this will be done away from the Chicago Cubs!

Baseball and Relativism

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by nathanelwell

Ask my wife, and she’ll tell you that I love baseball.  It doesn’t matter if its the Padres/Nationals or the Cubs/White Sox, I love to watch the game.  Since I was a little guy, I’ve loved to play the game as well – from t-ball and juice boxes to high school and sunflower seeds, it was an everyday part of my life growing up.  So its with baseball that I choose as my “arena” to test a belief system that many in our culture associate themselves with.  That belief system is relativism.  WordNet would define relativism as “the philosophical doctrine that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved”.  Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them”.  So in summary: I am doing an “experiment” of sorts.  The guinea pig is relativism, and the maze that the guinea pig is tested in is called baseball.   Any questions?  anyone?  ANYONE??

Lets say that the Chicago Cubs are playing the Philadelphia Phillies. (this is a total random pairing, and has no relation to who is actually playing tonight, the teams and characters are purely coincidental…)   Pedro Martinez is pitching, and Derrek Lee is batting (again, purely coincidental).  Martinez throws a pitch, that hits the catcher’s mitt with a loud SMACK and the umpire gestures the third strike, effectively striking out Derrek Lee.  But Lee turns around to the umpire and says, “I don’t see it that way.  It may mean to you that it takes 3 strikes for a strike-out, but for me, it takes 5 strikes for a strike out.”  The umpire rolls his eyes, but lets Lee step back into the batters box.  On the next pitch, Derrek Lee hits a line drive, and the ball bounces off the center field wall.  As he is rounding the first base to head to second, Phillie first baseman Ryan Howard steps right in the baseline path, blocking Lee from getting to second.  As soon as the ball is thrown in to the infield, Phillie second baseman Chase Utley tags out Lee, who is still caught in the basepath behind Howard.  “That is fielder interference!” exclaims Lee.  Howard turns around with a chuckle and says “It all depends on what the phrase ‘fielder interference’ means”.  Hopefully you all get the picture.

At the risk of giving my “opinion” in a sports blog, I must say that relativism is a dead-end philosophy that would be contradicted in so many ways in our society.  In a world where no accountability is desired, “anything goes”, and it all depends what “is” means, a society cannot function without objective truths, in the same way that baseball cannot function without objective rules.  If you don’t believe me, then try telling me that all truth is relative.  Isn’t that an objective statement?  Anyone???

Reverse the Curse

Posted in MLB with tags , , , on June 21, 2008 by nathanelwell

Now that we are nearing the end of the first half of the MLB season, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement that is building for Cubs fans.  On Friday, in legendary fashion, Aramis Ramirez hit a walk off home-run in the bottom of the ninth, and the Cubs defeated the Chicago White Sox in the first of a three game series at Wrigley.  What did Ramirez have to say?  “That’s my job.  I’m a clean up hitter, an RBI man.  People expect me to do that.”  Yes, this was only one game.  But not only was it against their crosstown rivals, but they came back from a late deficit to pull off the win.  And they were playing in a day game.  And they didn’t get home until early Friday morning.  And they had lost 3 in a row before Friday’s game.  I think you get the picture.

Within the last twenty something years, I have never been this confident about the Chicago Cubs.  As a team, the Cubbies are batting .281, which is the highest team average since 1937.  They’re averaging 5.4 runs per game, which is the highest since 1935.  The Cub’s .354 On-base percentage is the highest since 1930.  In all of the above listed categories, the Cubbies are fairing better than their last World Series team in 1908.  They also have a 12 game winning streak at home.  I remember in 1994, the Cubbies lost their first 12 games at Wrigley Field.  This was something I was accustomed to.  But now, the Cubs are actually WINNING?  If that won’t make you roll out of bed on the opposite side, I don’t know what will.

It is only a positive thing that the Chicago Cubs are in the historic “Comedy Central” division.  Since the Cubs branched into the Central Division in 1994, they have never ended up with a winning percentage over .600.  Go back to 1945, and that will be the first time that the Cubs had a higher winning percentage (and that was the last time they went to the Fall Classic).  In only 3 of the past 14 years has a team won the Central Division Title with an over .600 winning percentage.  Besides this, unless Albert Pujols can magically heal his injury, unless the ‘Stros bring back the killer B’s, and unless Cincinnati brings Jose Rijo out of retirement, we aren’t going to see an NL Central team come close to the Cubs this year.

I’d like to credit Lou Piniella for their success as well.  If you remember the 2001 Seattle Mariners, Piniella led that team to a 116-46 record.  He didn’t win the World Series that year, but if you go back to 1990, Pinella pulled off an upset by sweeping the Oakland A’s in the World Series as a coach of the Cincinnati Reds.  And he hasn’t even had to throw a base across the field, stick his shoe in the umpires face, or throw his hat on the ground in dispute of a call.  Lou has “managed” to bring a team together.  Lou’s flexibility and his controlled-temper this year have been keys in helping the Cubs succeed.  At the beginning of 2007, it looked as if there would be clubhouse mutiny until Lou Piniella sat down with team leader Derrek Lee.  But it apparently was all over-exaggerated and described as “growing pains”.

When the Cubbies do make it to the playoffs, and when they open their first World Series game at Wrigley, my only concern is that they stay away from the following:

 

Alfonso Soriano out 6 weeks with broken finger

Posted in MLB with tags , , on June 12, 2008 by twonateshow

Ugggggggh.  As a Cubs fan I am tired of having to report these sad stories.  As I watched the game last night on ESPN, A pitched ball somehow hit Soriano on his hand and then bounced up and hit him in the head.  He is estimated to be out for 6 weeks.  It is so hard to be a Cubs fan!