This has been quite a week for your Chicago Cubs, but not exactly one that you would want to write home about. Frankly, for Cub fans, this has come close to being completely unwatchable as they continue to struggle offensively, while wasting quality pitching. To make matters worse, off the field the Cubs are making headlines as well. Again, these are not headlines that anyone should be proud of, as they fire hitting coach Gerald Perry, and Sammy Sosa gets exposed as the steroid user we all knew he was.
Let me start off with the recently disgraced and ousted Sosa, who if you have been following my blogs I defended him as much as I could without saying he was 100% clean. In case you missed things, I wrote up a blog stating how I believed he was worthy of the Hall of Fame, and listed off a bunch of stats. I also, however, mentioned how he has never tested positive (that we knew of at the time) and was never connected to any drug factory like so many others have been. Well, yesterday the walls came crashing down on Sosa as he was reported to have been among the 104 players who tested positive in 2003 for performance enhancing drugs. Ironically, the news came out around a week after he made reference to his hall of fame worthy career in his retirement announcement. Let me clear something up, if you did miss my last blog, I always thought that he was a steroid user. I just was giving him as much of a benefit of the doubt as I could. Now, all those stats that do make him worthy, they wont mean anything as he will join Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGuire, Alex Rogriguez and all others who have tested positive ( or will) in a group of players who will never get voted into the Hall of Fame. Their numbers make them all worthy of the honor, but none of them will ever be voted in because they have been caught cheating the game. Much like Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, they will all be on the outside looking in for the rest of their lives.
That’s just one of the off the field stories for the Cubs. As I mentioned, the Cubs relieved Perry from his duties with the ball club. Am I the only one who sees this as a complete farce? Not just Perry’s firing, but hitting coaches being fired at all. They are not the ones who go to the plate and swing the bats, yet they get blamed when the offense falters. In fact, you could make the argument that the only reason they have hitting coaches is to work with the younger players who are still making the adjustments to the major leagues. By the time the players become veterans, they don’t need the hitting coaches, as they are already used to the majors and know how to watch video and detect flaws in their swings. However, Perry as given his walking papers, and had the blame placed squarely on his shoulders.
The firing of Perry was the one and only “big move” the Cubs are able to make this year. They can not add any payroll, so making a trade to bring in a star player to shake things up wont happen. While we are talking about trades, you can all but count out trading away some of our older veterans at this point in time. No one will want to trade for a high priced player who is struggling, at least not for the price tag they come with. Even if the Cubs were able to find a way to trade a player, they would be asked to eat a good chunk of the salary, which again the Cubs cant afford to do. Even if those roadblocks didn’t exist, there is still the little matter of the no trade clause they all have. This is the team the Cubs ill be forced to play with for the rest of the year. The firing of Perry was the only “big move” they could make, before firing Cubs Manager Lou Piniella which might very well happen if the team continues to play like a bunch of lollygaggers. Before you say that Perry was a bad hitting coach, keep in mind he held the same position with last years team, which you could argue was the best offense in all of baseball. As is all too typical, the coaches always get too much of the blame, and not enough of the credit..
Having to admit that this team is a joke makes me sick to my stomach. No one is coming up with clutch hits at all. Sure, some of the players are hitting, but they are not coming through with runners in scoring position. There have been far too many bases loaded or men at second and third, or men at the corners with less then to outs where the Cubs walk away with no runs scoring. Sure, there are players who are coming up with hits, like Derrek Lee and finally Milton Bradley, but they are not hitting for power. They are not coming through in the clutch. This team is next to last in the National League in scoring, a season after they led the league in that very same statistic. I am sick of hearing that the trade of Mark DeRosa or the injury to Aramis Ramirez is why this team is struggling this bad. They have four, count them four players running out there everyday who were all stars last year. Count them off with me, Alfonso Soriano, Bradley, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome. When Ramirez gets back, that will bring the total to five. They should not be struggling this badly, they look like a triple A team. To top things off, they just lost the first of a now to game series to the Chicago White Sox 4-1.
This has been a horrible week for the Cubs and their fans. The sad part is, this week is barley even half over. There is still plenty of time for things to get much worse.