August 25, 2009

Cubs Sold

A few days ago, Steven asked "Hey, the Cubbies have got a new owner! Think it'll make any difference?"  As I sit here listening to the Cubs lose to the terrible Washington Nationals 12-4 in the 7th inning, my opinions on the matter are rather foul and vile.  In other words, a perfect mood to answer this question.

Short term, the sale of the Cubs to Tom Ricketts will make very little difference to the fortunes of the team as a whole.  They're saddled with two awful contracts, those of Milton Bradley (3 years/$30million) and Alfonso Soriano (8 years/$136million), which will make it difficult for the team to sign anybody of note in the offseason.  Both of these players are, to be frank, stinking up the joint.  Soriano was once a 40 homer/40 steal man, and while he's on pace to go 40-40 again, it's 40 walks/40 rbi (I exaggerate, but not by much).  They brought Bradley in to provide left-handed power and great on-base percentage... of course, he's promptly managed to hit 10 homers and hit .257 (as I write this, he just hit a home run, so make that 11 homers).  Both of them are, to be charitable, butchers in the outfield, and Bradley has an injury history longer than my wings.

The long-term signing of underachieving Carlos Zambrano, a starting pitcher with the famous "million dollar arm and a ten-cent brain", who is self-professed as "lazy", who recently went on the disabled list with a back injury suffered while he was taking batting practice (as he showed off his batting prowess, which is actually considerable), isn't going to help matters either. 

The one difference the new ownership will make is in management.  The team's general manager, Jim Hendry, and field manager, Lou Pinella, are probably walking to the hangman's noose after the season:  Hendry for signing those lousy contracts, and Pinella for his flat-out awful job this year.  The team has pretty much (Washington is up 15-5 now) underachieved all year, except when it's just been bad, and it probably shouldn't've been this way.

Long-term, however, there is some hope.  The 42-year old Ricketts is a long-time Cub fan.  He lived in the Wrigleyville area and met his wife in the Wrigley bleachers.  Unlike the Tribune Company, previous owners of the team, he has an emotional stake in the club.  Previously, TribCo made occasional noises about winning, but sure seemed more interested in just making money off the Cubs (and rightfully so.  That's what businesses do, after all).  I suspect that if Ricketts says he wants the Cubs to win the World Series, he'll actually mean it.  I have no idea how deep his pockets are after buying the team, but obviously he'll have SOME money left.

So, while I'm not getting my dreams get ahead of the ugly reality, there's at least a glimmer of possibility out there.  And what more can a real Cub fan hope for? 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:46 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 It's tough being a Cubs fan.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2009 09:51 PM (+rSRq)

2 As a Rangers fan, I was sad to see Bradley leave.  He was amazing for us last year.  And at least he can still take a walk unlike any of our current hitters (Bradley's .391 OBP would be the highest on our team).  Though his slugging percentage has dropped horribly this year. 

But I guess, given that we're actually in playoff contention (Gasp!) we're not doing too bad without him.

Posted by: arson55 at August 26, 2009 01:20 AM (CmQxm)

3 Arson, don't be fooled by the .391 OBP.  It's come up recently after hovering around .340-ish all season.  His numbers might actually look somewhat okay come October, but he's had a lousy year.

And now he's whining about how hard it is to play at Wrigley Field, how he gets booed when he makes a wimpy out or a fielding gaffe.  Here's a hint, Parker Brothers, it's because you've sucked this year, and the Cubs fans who aren't there to drink and flirt in the bleachers know it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 26, 2009 04:28 PM (3IJ3A)

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