Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hey Chicago, What do you say?

I read an article recently, or maybe it's a blog, I'm really not sure. Regardless, I feel the need to voice my opinion on some of the stuff I read. I've got some strong opinions, and I'm not afraid to share them.
The original post can be read here: Cubs Article

First, he says this: "Don't pink slip general manager Jim Hendry."
Ok, this is stupid. After the offseason moves the Cubs made, I think it's clear that this exactly what needs to happen. I'm not convinced that he knows what this team needs. He traded away DeRosa, a SOLID team guy, and he brought in Milton Bradley, who I like to call the big fat epic fail of this season. Bradley has been with 7 different teams over the past 8 years, and has proven attitude problems. Yet, Hendry gives him a 3 year $30 million dollar contract. So we gave up a great team guy for a whiny diva with sub-par stats. DeRosa was versatile and was an everyday man. Bradley sits in the outfield and hopes the game only goes 9 innings so he can be out there the least amount of time. Who would you rather have on your team? Hendry also let Kerry Wood walk. This one is a toss-up. Wood wanted years and money, but Hendry brought in Gregg, who is also making stupid money. Well guess what? Gregg lost the closing job two weeks ago to Carlos Marmol, who has also been shaky. The bullpen is a mess. They don't know their heads from their asses. Throw in the questionable contracts of Soriano and Fukedome, and I'm even more convinced it's time for Hendry to get a change of scenery. He has done plenty of good things for the Cubs, but people can get complacent. There's nothing wrong with shaking things up and getting some fresh ideas up in the GM's office.
Next: Don't sit in those front-row seats right next to the Cubs' dugout.
This part of the piece I semi-agree with. Firstly, if you paid all that money for the team, sit wherever the hell you like. Secondly, I like the idea of grabbing a random fan or two and having them sit and chat with you throughout the game. It's a good way to keep the game personal and not get too caught up in the business side of it. If you want to keep the fans coming back and happy, you have to know what they want. What better way to do that than to ask them? I also agree with the writer saying "Don't touch the big three" The ivy, the red marquee sign, and the scoreboard in the outfield are all landmarks and what makes Wrigley Field what it is.
The only other major thing I disagree about is this: Don't wait on Piniella. I'm pretty sure it's clear Piniella wants to be here. And frankly, I want him to be here. He calls out Bradley on his crap, he still gets angry and gets ejected, and I like what the team has done since he's been here. As far as giving him 24 hours to state his managerial intentions, what do you want him to say? Given the sub-par team this year, I think he's done just about all he can. He goes to bat for his guys and has done a fairly good job managing the team day to day. What more do you want? He can't magically make Bradley into less of a girl, or make Gregg stop giving up homers in the 9th. But he can and did do something to change the situations. Granted, he may have been a little slow on removing Gregg, in my opinion. And maybe he should have had a real hard talk with Bradley before the season started to let him know his old crap wouldn't fly in Chicago, but these are big boys and Lou can only do so much before it has to be the team that takes it to the next level.
The biggest thing that got me with this article was the Hendry and Piniella comments. I just wholeheartedly disagree with the sentiment of keeping Hendry and dumping Lou. So there you have my strong disagreement. As for the other half....
I agree with most of the other things said. Honestly, I think it is time we traded Zambrano, and the Soriano deal was not a good one. Making these changes now would show the fans a commitment to finding the best players and trying to get over this World Series hump. And for the love of God, don't raise ticket prices! Cubs fans are the most loyal and abused in the world, since the Red Sox finally got over their curse. Don't make us hurt in the wallet as much as we've hurt in our hearts since becoming fans.
This is all coming from a Cubs fan who has been stuck in Tennessee for far too long, and has been born and raised a Cubs fan. So take my opinion for what it is, an opinion.

Fortunately for those reading this, I found out we're 10 games behind St. Louis after having already typed this up, so no too terribly angry rants.
We gotta believe!

Is it that time already?

It looks like three weeks from yesterday will be my first taste of the 2009-2010 season. The 19th will be the first pre-season game I can attend, since I have to work on the 17th. And it doesn't look like I'll be able to make training camp like I have the past two years. I'm pretty sure the first Saturday they have on ice activities, I have work. I'm not too upset about it. Yes, I'll miss the chance to catch up and socialize with everyone I haven't seen all summer, but the regular season is just around the corner. That's what pre-skate is for.
I'm excited to have the boys back in Nashville. It's been a long summer, unusually long since I'm not used us not making the playoffs. The break from the game is always nice, just because it's good to step back and focus on other things for awhile. Now that the offseason is just about over, I've got to find a way to fit the boys back into my schedule.
Guess I need to prepare myself to jump head first back into hockey season.

BTW, when is the front office planning on sending out tickets? Aren't they usually here by now?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't you go breakin' my heart

It is August 22. The Cubs have 41 games left in the season. While this seems like a lot, the season comes to an end on October 4th, my 21st birthday. Last year on that date, the Dodgers completed a sweep of the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs. With the way things are going, being swept in the playoffs seems like a far off dream. We are currently 7.5 games out of first in the Central, and we only have one series left with the division leading Cardinals. Unless our offense turns things on, the Cubs may be on the outside looking in come mid-October. 101 years may become 102. All I can hope for is that they win a World Series in my lifetime. I figure they've got about 70 years to do so.
This week, Gregg lost his closing job. This move was a long time coming. Although, I am less than confident in his replacement, Carlos Marmol. Marmol has had issues with control even in the set-up position. Let's face it, the bullpen is less than stellar. We're paying Gregg a lot more than I care to imagine, and he hasn't been anywhere near solid this season. On the other side, the $10 million dollar man, Milton Bradley, hasn't been impressive either. The Cubs did not make wise moves this offseason, and I am still not happy about DeRosa's departure. If they miss the playoffs this year, all I can hope for is some radical changes. I know Lou has been unhappy, and when Lou's unhappy, ain't nobody happy.
Don't read this as me giving up on the team, because that is far from the truth, but after watching them strand ten runners against the Dodgers today, I'm becoming a little more realistic. There is still time, but the club needs to turn things around sooner rather than later.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Trips, stress, signing, hair

I am fully aware that I have sucked at blogging lately. However, now my summer class is over, so maybe I'll have more time. We've actually been working at both jobs, which is where I do most of my writing. It's pretty easy to write blogs in between answering phone calls.
Guess I'll use this blog to follow up on the last one about trips.
I bought my plane ticket to Tucson to see Sarah in October. Nothing has been finalized beyond the flight, but I'd really like for us to drive to Phoenix and see the Blues play the Coyotes. This'll be about 2 weeks after my 21st birthday, so I think that would be pretty awesome. Me and Sarah will do some planning and see what we can work out.
As for the Chicago/St. Louis trip, the AHL released their schedule this week. As fate would have it, the Admirals have a home game the day between the Chicago and St. Louis games. So we'll be hitting three games in three nights. Part of me kinda wants to try to add Columbus onto that, but I know Kelly has to work. Depending on money, me and Ciara may try for it. Now it's my turn to talk people into things. haha It's about as far as Chicago from us, but for some reason we haven't gone up there yet. That will leave Detroit as the only arena we haven't visited in the Central Division.
Opening night is in about two months. Hopefully by then, my stress level won't be so high that I won't be able to enjoy the games. Once classes start up in about two weeks, I'll have a feel for how this semester will be, as far as the involvement in classes goes. Then I can gauge how much hockey I can handle. There are some games I don't have tickets for that I'm eyeing up.
Since we last "spoke," the Predators have signed Ryan Jones to a two year contract. I'm indifferent on this one. He's a young guy with some promise, but I wasn't impressed last year. I like that he goes to the net because we've missed that since Hartnell left, but I hope he takes it up a notch this year. I also hope he doesn't grow that nasty hair long again. I don't care who he donates it to; it looks gross. We got rid of Pihlstrom and his gross hair, so please don't make me look at the mullet! This team used to be about good hair: Kariya, Weber, Erat. What is happening?
This turned into a tangent. Time for my fantasy football draft.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hockey trips

I guess I haven't posted anything since the schedule came out.
So let's see, what to talk about.
How about potential trips? Hockey fans travel better than a lot of other fans, and I'm no different. I don't travel for football, simply because I think I'm losing my interest in the sport that seems full of thugs and prima donnas. Plus, football tickets are outrageously overpriced. I usually make a trip a year for baseball, but finances are preventing my Chicago trip this year. However, I manage to make a few trips for hockey every season, largely in part to allowing myself to be talked in to things rather easily.
Trips on the docket:
Oct. 14-19 Phoenix, Arizona Blues @ Coyotes
This would be a chance for me to root for my second favorite team without feeling guilty. The main focus of this trip would be seeing my BFF Sarah, who ditched me to move with her husband. What a cow right? :P It's partly over fall break from class, so I'd only miss one day, but get to have almost a week with good friends. The planning is on hold until Jenry hears something about a job, so pray for them!
Dec. 26/27-30 Preds @ Chicago, possibly an Admirals game, and Preds @ St. Louis
This is what I got talked in to. Kelly and Ciara are horrible friends who love to ruin my wanting to be financially responsible. I'm sure this one will be a lot of fun, mainly because we'll finally all be 21. So if the Preds have a firm grip on the ankles like the last time we saw them in Chicago, we can drown our sorrows accordingly.
Mar. 20-21 Preds @ St. Louis
This would be what has now become the annual girls trip to St. Louis, which started last year. Seat on the glass, behind the bench, a fancy hotel, amazing Italian food, and an open bar. The only thing that sucks this year is that the game is on a Sunday, and we have a home game the Saturday before. Still plenty of time to plan, but we'll have to make some decisions. Last year's trip was pretty epic, what with the overtime goal by one Mr. Shea Weber, so we'll see if it can be topped.

I had also thought about going to the Atlanta game that is over spring break, but I really need to save the money for Chastity's Florida wedding in May, Ciara and I both need to save. I'm fine with giving that hockey trip up for what will amount to about a week of laying on the beach with a drink in my hand.