Thursday, September 24, 2009


A few months ago, I expressed my supreme disappointment in this season's assemblage of Cubs players -- the first time I can remember not liking a Cubs team -- in polite company and declared that I would not be attending any Cubs games this year. My mother-in-law pointedly responded: "Do you think they'll notice?"

Fair enough. But I tilt at windmills (as evidenced by continuing to post aimless ruminations on this blog) and, so, with equal futility have undertaken a boycott of the Chicago Tribune. The Trib doesn't care. The moronic baseball sportswriters for that publication don't care. But I do. And, my enjoyment of Chicago sports has improved by leaps and bounds since ignoring that daily.

In the interim, I have reacquainted myself with the formerly loathsome Chicago Sun-Times and have come to truly appreciate the great work done by Arlington's Daily Herald -- a paper with writers worthy of the teams they cover.

In a blogpost today, Bruce Miles takes Jim Hendry to task for his attitude towards beat writers over the last week. Miles doesn't seem to have any agenda other than to report his disappointment in Hendry's behavior and doesn't express himself in terms of hyperbolic outrage; the stock in trade of Sully and Rogers (who don't seem to understand that they live in glass houses). Miles is also suitably subtle about his digs at the hysteria that has gripped the Tribune, stating only:

It probably hasn't helped that the Trib is running a referendum on whether Hendry should be given one more year.

That seems a fair and restrained observation. It is a much more polite way of saying that it probably hasn't helped that the Trib has assigned corrosive, self-lauding clowns to cover the city's best franchise or that the Tribune hasn't helped anyone this season, except, perhaps, Cardinals fans.

Personally, I think Jim Hendry should lose his job -- new ownership should have an immediate opportunity to put their stamp on the wayward franchise and Mr. Hendry has, unfortunately, not performed well enough to merit a second chance under this regime. But even if I agree with the ultimate conclusion of the paper's current campaign to slam someone else related to the franchise, I am more troubled by the unmoored negativity and condescension of the Tribune. It is not just that the attacks are so aggresive, it is that they are so parsimonious as to be indefensibly idiotic.

Bang the drum all you want about signing Milton Bradley or how much the clubhouse misses Mark DeRosa, but the Cubs pen only converted 39 out of 60 save (65%) opportunities this year which is slightly worse than the pen's performance last year (converted 44 of 67 save opportunities; 66%). In 2007, the Cubs' bullpen converted 39 of 53 save opportunities (74%). The Cardinals pen converted 42 of 56 save opportunities this year (75%). If the Cubs pen had converted 3/4 of their save chances this year, the team would have won an additional 6 games: this would put them just a couple of games behind the Rockies for the wild card spot and firmly within the playoff hunt. 13 of the 23 blown saves came from Hendry acquisitions Kevin Gregg and Aaron Heilmann. But, of course, the storyline of poor decisions regarding who to put in the bullpen is not nearly as fun or controversial as soap opera tales of a locker room gone mad (you know what cures dissension in a clubhouse? Winning. Winning makes even Jeff Kent tolerable). So what we get is more of the same horsesh*t drivel driven by faux outrage at the personal inadequacies and shortcomings of players. And everyone pretends that the results of the baseball game are predetermined by the morality play concocted and narrated by unimaginative voyeurs. Whateve.

No comments:

Post a Comment