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Cubs Relying On A Different Pena Then Last Year

By Jon Peterlin (jonathan.peterlin@gmail.com)

To put it simply, Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena had a rough 2010. While still hitting 28 homers for the Rays last year the left handed Pena only batted .196. Pena never claimed to be good at hitting for average though. He showed glimpses of coming around in 2007 hitting a career high .282, but since then hasn't disproven why he's a career .241 hitter at the plate. So why did the Cubs dish out 10 million dollars for a player whose strikeout percentage rival former Cub and notorious strikeout king Jose Hernandez's? Two names, Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker. The two of them will be battling to decide who will be Pena's backup. I don't see this as a winning situation for anyone. Colvin hit decent for his first season in the big leagues showing glimpses of power with the bat, but his fielding in the outfield was an eyesore at times. Moving him to backup at first base would seem to be a pretty logical choice for the Cubs, if he had ever played there before. Jeff Baker brings 50 games of experience with him at first base and very comparable stats to Colvin offensively. He'll hit more for average than Colvin, but isn't even in the same ballpark when it comes to hitting for power. So the Cubs are faced with an easy decision in putting the former first rounder Carlos Pena at first base. The Cubs have to take this with caution though. Although Colvin and Baker's numbers aren't impressive, neither was Pena's last year. Pena swears he'll have it all fixed around and it won't be a problem, but if I'm Cubs manager Mike Quade I need to be watching Pena closely. He has the job and I hope making the switch from American League to the National is good for him, but after hitting under the Mendoza line last year the Cubs need to see results.

When I Think That I Can't... I Envision Ron Santo

By Brittany Feagans [brit.feagans@gmail.com]

“I know getting inducted into the Hall of Fame had to be something, but that flag is going to be hanging there after everybody is gone” — Ron Santo

When I was a kid, my dad would scold me every time I used the word “can’t.” Knowing “can’t” was not a swear word, I wondered why other kids were allowed to say it but I couldn’t. Reflecting on that memory, I realize he didn’t want me to think that I was incapable of doing anything– he did not want “can’t” in my vocabulary.

Ron Santo must have had a dad like mine. Either that, or he was simply born with the stubbornness and ambition that enabled him to prevail through the many physical hardships he faced. Anyone who enjoyed listening to Ron Santo’s colorful commentary on WGN Radio 720 knows there aren’t many topics taboo enough to avoid on-air. Failure, however, was one of them.

Despite being ravaged by health problems, Ronnie never complained. Being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 18 didn’t stop Ron from making Major League Baseball. AND Major League Baseball history. It was just something he had to learn to live with. In fact, Ron didn’t even make public that he suffered from diabetes until “Ron Santo Day” on August 28, 1971. He refused to let anyone tell him he couldn’t do something. For someone originally given a life expectancy of 25 years, Ron sure as hell persevered. From his perpetually cheery demeanor, you’d never guess he lost both legs to diabetes, suffered a heart attack, and fought bladder cancer. Oh yeah, and his mom and step-dad were killed in a car accident in 1973 on their way to watch Ron play in Spring Training. For the average person, these seem like an awful lot of reasons to complain. Ron, however, was far from average.

In his 15-year Major League career, Ron earned five Gold Gloves, 2,254 hits, and the admiration of millions. How he has not yet been inducted into Cooperstown is one of the biggest mysteries in the sports world. Even after Ron hung up his cleats for the last time in 1974, he remained an integral part of Chicago baseball. Although I never got to see Ron play, his enthusiasm in the broadcast booth is something I will always remember.

Many years after my dad first taught me about perseverance, we’d spend almost every summer day tuned in to WGN Radio to listen to Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. No matter how bad my dad’s day at work was, or how heartbroken I was over a guy, listening to Ron and Pat never failed to put a smile on our faces. We’d look forward to long car rides, and plan them around Cubs games just so we could listen to WGN. I remember a few years ago when we decided to bring the boombox into the house, mute the TV, and listen to Pat and Ronnie. As long as we could hear Cubs baseball from the biggest Cubs fan there was, we didn’t mind the multi-second delay that existed between radio and television. Ron had a way of making you feel like you were right there with him, watching the game.

I believe that Ronnie is the reason why Cubs fans remain so optimistic despite year after year of disappointment. Ron instilled in us the belief that “this is the year.” He kept fans believing in a franchise when no one else would. There was no question in Ron’s mind that the Chicago Cubs will eventually quench their World Series drought.

Although he’s gone to the Broadcast Booth in the Sky, there is no doubt that Ron Santo’s ghost will continue his reign at Wrigley Field. After all, Ronnie has some unfinished business to take care of. Hopefully some of Ron’s optimism has rubbed off on the 2011 Cubs, so he’ll be able to check “World Series” off his list sooner rather than later. The only other thing Ron has yet to accomplish? Cooperstown.

On December 2, heaven gained a Hall of Famer. Earth just doesn’t know it yet.


Weepy Lou & The Whiny Bitch

You would have thought Lou Piniella led the Cubs to back-to-back world series titles they way he was sent off by the Wrigley Field stupid.
Cubs fans never cease to amaze me. Whether it’s still packing Wrigley everyday, still throwing visiting teams home run balls back onto the field, cheering Mark DeRosa upon his return as if he was Ryne Sandberg, or how the drunk fools in the bleachers still think it’s cool to act like a fool—those are just a few, I could go all day on the new age Cub fan. Seeing Lou Piniella cry before his last game was sad, as was his emotional post-game press conference. For a second, I felt bad for him. I know his mother is sick, so I wanted to understand his decision to walkaway now. Then I thought about it. This is the same guy who openly quit on the Rays when things weren’t going well. This is the same guy who only came to the Cubs knowing they were going to spend a ridiculous amount of money($300 million on horrendous contracts before the ‘07 season), threw a premeditated tantrum two days after the Zambrano-Barrett divas match, pulled Zambrano in game 1 vs Arizona in ‘07 while wanting to save him for game 4 or 5, inserted Kosuke Fukudome in the 2-hole in the Dodgers series in ‘08, emotionally quit after game 3 of that series, mentally quit 6 weeks into the ‘09 season, continued to ask….”what do you want me to do?”, berated a reporter asking him a question….”what the hell kind of baseball do you play?!, and came back this season to ensure he collected that extra $4 million dollars. I’m sure he needed the money, considering he’s been collecting baseball checks for 46 years.
Why everyone is hailing this guy like he won 2 world series titles for the Cubs is tougher for me to grasp than why Lovie Smith still runs his stale pathetic defense. His tenure in Chicago was one thing, a failure. I’ve heard enough of “the first Cubs manager to lead the Cubs to back-to-back division titles” garbage. Lou was brought here to win the world series. That’s it. The money was spent, and it was on him to deliver a championship while he collected that $3-$4 million each year. It didn’t happen. What happened to Piniella was what happens to all managers that take the job at Clark and Addison…they get Cubbed. It happened to Don Baylor and Dusty Baker before him, and I’m sure it will happen to the next sap who takes the gig(think twice Joe Girardi). If Cubs fans wanted to show their appreciation for Lou, they should have walked out of Wrigley prior to his farewell and said f*ck it because that’s what he’s doing. If the Cubs were in the hunt or in 1st place right now, do you think he’d be going to help his ailing mother? No chance. He openly quit on his team, the idiot fans who cheered him, and an organization that paid him handsomely.
The only thing dumber was the Cubs insistence that he stick around the last three months. It was obvious, early on this season, that Lou had thrown in the towel that Rocky should have thrown in during the Apollo Creed- Ivan Drago fight. And, you thought an ownership switch would change the culture of that horse shit franchise. Shame on you–and shame on Piniella for coming back this year when he knew he was finished. However you remember Lou, just know he quit on his team, and his tenure was nothing more than a typical Cubs failure.
Speaking of failures, I’ve been doing this blog for ten months and have yet to rip into White Sox douche lord-announcer Hawk Harrelson. Hawk has finally lost his mind. Look, I don’t hate the White Sox. I treat them like that annoying cousin that you have to deal with every once in a while. They’re there and you deal with them on holidays. It’s a shame Harrelson has made me unable to enjoy a White Sox game. That’s what it has come to. The mute button is nearly worn out on my remote anytime I have them on. Why do I watch? Because I love listening to Steve Stone talk baseball. What I don’t love is that dumb hillbilly, blaming umps, calling other teams hits “duck snorts”, saying the Twins got some “gift home runs” or “cheap runs”, and bitching about balls and strikes from 6 innings ago. I know Jerry Reinsdorf is loyal, but Jesus, he has to know how bad his play by play announcer is. I’m willing to bet anything that Stone was hired with the hope of easing Hawk away from the homer juice. You know, just call a game, engage in good baseball conversation with the game’s best analyst, and put the focus where it should be….the game. It worked for a while, but those evil umpires brought the penis back out of the worst announcer in baseball.
I’d love to ask this ass-clown when he thinks the umps conspire to screw the Sox? Do they hold secret meetings in hotels and plot out a strategy to make sure the Sox lose? It’s asinine, and a good portion of White Sox fans love this fool. I don’t get it. There isn’t another announcer in the league who is as obnoxious as he is. His true self came out over the weekend when Stone wasn’t in the booth. The constant bitching hasn’t sat well with Stone, and it shouldn’t. You know what the best part of a Sox game is? The dead air when the Sox are losing. For those several seconds at a time when you hope that Hawk passed out, walked out of the booth, or was abruptly fired for being the babbling asshole he is. I don’t mind if the Sox make the playoffs because I know I’ll be able to watch a quality team without having to listen to old Carl Yastrzemski stories. If you only knew what I would give to have Reinsdorf fire the dumb hick by saying “he gone.” If you like Hawk Harrelson, there is a 98% chance I would never have a beer or hangout with you. He is a baseball imbecyl and the biggest blemish on the White Sox organization. Now, if only the Cubs could get rid of their biggest blemish(Jim Hendry), we might just be onto something.

Dear Jim Hendry

By Brittany Feagans [brit.feagans@gmail.com]

Dear Jim Hendry,

You are a sad excuse for a General Manager. Theriot, Fontenot, Lilly, Lee... and that's just in the past month! I would ask if you've lost it, but I'm not sure you ever actually had it.

C'mon Hendry, Atlanta was desperate. In first place and down Glaus and Jones, the Braves are a team we could have really bartered with. But no. Instead of bartering, you dealt Derrek Lee, a three-time Golden Glove winner and two-time All Star, for three "prospects." I'm sorry, but a "prospect" should be someone who is ready to play in the Majors. No offense to Robinson Lopez, Tyrelle Harris, and Jeffrey Lorick, but they've still got a few years left to cook in the Minors before they're "well done" and ready to play in the Big Leagues. Starlin Castro was a real prospect, and look what he's done for the Cubs upon being called up!

Hendry, for all we know, Lopez, Harris and Lorick will fade away and never even get past AA. Call me pessimistic, but I guess that goes hand-in-hand with being a diehard fan of the team you continually screw over.

I understand preparing for the future, rebuilding, and seeing what our rookies are capable of, but essentially dumping DERREK LEE? Yeah, he hasn't had the best year, but really-- he's DERREK LEE! Setting his six errors and sore back aside, he's a fan favorite and, more importantly, a leader for this franchise. The Cubs without Derrek Lee is like Ren without Stimpy, Angelina without Brad, the White House without Obama.

I was dismayed to see Lilly, Theriot, and Fontenot go, but now I'm irrate. If you're going to trade someone as valuable as Derrek Lee, at least make an offer for someone of value! Four of our best players were all essentially gift-wrapped and served to our opponents on a golden platter. And for what? "Players to be named later?"

Unfortunately for Cubs fans, due to the naivety of the Ricketts, we're stuck with you Hendry. What the Cubs need to do is organize a riot and dethrone you once and for all. But oh, wait... you already quieted The Riot a few weeks ago. No wonder it's been 102 years.

Sincerely,

Brittany Feagans, on behalf of Cubs fans everywhere

Cubs Mix blog featured writers Matt Anaya, Brittany Feagans, Mitch Heun, Garrett Monaghan
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