To Live and Die in Eternal Hope

Even casual observers are aware of the Chicago Cubs’ failure over the last one hundred plus years to win a championship, a level of accomplishment that has built up an aura of inevitability that welcomes suckers, gamblers, statisticians and romantics in equal measure. Writers far more tortured and elegant than I have written about the agony of cheering for the Chicago Cubs.

This legacy of ineptitude is somewhat misleading. The club was actually pretty good, all things considered, from 1903-1945. Since WWII? Only 5 seasons of 90 or more wins. Tampa Bay alone has equaled that mark, and not just from the franchise’s inception in 1998, which would be cringe inducing enough, but since the name change in 2008 from Devil Rays to Rays. Yeesh.

What can you do? Love is love. Trying to explain the why of it is as pointless as telling Don Mattingly why on-base percentage is important.
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Ah, Hope, It Does Spring Training Eternal

So you're saying there's a chance.

So you’re saying there’s a chance.

Pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty, and the marathon that is the major league baseball season will soon commence with the cactus and grapefruit leagues splitting squads and testing arms on the way to telling us almost nothing of value in terms of accurately predicting the events of the upcoming season. In the vein of pointlessly speculating, and in lieu of more productive activity in the real world, let’s examine the prospects for the 2014 Kansas City Royals.
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It belongs in a museum!

Indiana Jones hesitates to take the idol, unsure whether the Incas forged it during the steroid era.

Indiana Jones hesitates to take the idol, unsure whether the Incas forged it during the steroid era.

Maybe Indy wouldn’t be so upset about the Baseball Hall of Fame insanity that we’re subjected to in the new millennium, but I’m growing very weary. Today, around ten players who are obvious, no doubt, sure-fire first-ballot hall of famers were given the shaft by the collected baseball writers of America, most of whom were left out in the cold because they are proven/admitted/suspected steroid users and a few because the voters have no understanding of how to measure greatness.
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Happy Retirement Kerry Wood

It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball watching Kerry Wood pitch.  Limitless talent, high character, endless injuries, Chicago Cub and all the agony that entails.

I went to Wrigley Field to watch Kerry Wood pitch in his rookie year of 1998, went back in 2000 to see his first start after the arm injury that kept him out for all of 1999.  A year and a half on the shelf, and he defeated the Astros in that first appearance back, giving up only one run in six innings, hitting a home run just for good measure.  I watched every pitch of his absolute domination of the Braves in the 2003 NL division series, I skipped work on opening day one year to eat pizza and watch Wood defeat the Reds despite giving up four runs.  I watched him come back from injury after injury, his transition to a closer, his brief stint with the Indians and Yankees, and his return to the Cubs, where he functioned as a very solid reliever.
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Alfonso Soriano Should Not Be Hitting Cleanup

Alfonso Soriano, presumably before he fails to get on base.

I like Alfonso Soriano.  Many Cub fans do not, and the reason for this is the man signed a $138 million/8 year contract and then presumably failed to live up to expectations.  Is this a fair assessment?

His career numbers before joining the Cubs:

.281/.512 SLG/.321 OBP

34HR per year, 39 doubles per year, 25 Stolen Bases per year

After joining the Cubs: Continue reading


Top three on my bucket list as of April 25th, 2012:

1. Attend Bruce Springsteen and the E street Band concert.
2. Discover lost city of the ancient world and take many pictures but tell no one.
3. Watch Chicago Cubs win the world series.

I came to Springsteen late, missing out on his most popular years save for a cassette version of Born in the U.S.A.   Sure it was good, but how much credibility could you really give Dancing in the Dark?  Well, as it turns out, a lot. Continue reading