Tagged: Aramis Ramirez

The Cubs Need A Lesson In Teamwork!

By now, everyone has seen or heard about the scuffle that took place last week.  If this is a sign of things to come, then the Cubs are in serious trouble.  Hopefully, this incident will be put to rest and the Cubs can get on with the business at hand.  Before we move on, perhaps we should take a closer look at how these things happen.

Obviously Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva have better insight into the situation than I do, but I may be able to shed some light on this subject.  Players get frustrated when things don’t go their way.  A bad pitch or a costly error can cause some players to become unhinged and blow up at their teammates.  Bad idea.  The word “Teammates” suggest that players should be on the same side.  We’re all in this together should be the motto.  A teammate should lift his fellow player up when he makes a mistake, not condemn him.  This has been the problem.  Mike Quade did a fine job of downplaying the incident with the media, but I wonder how the situation was addressed in the clubhouse.  Sure, they had a team meeting to address the 14 errors in the first 4 games, but was it enough to prevent future outbursts of infighting?  Time will tell. 

A successful team establishes urgency and direction.  A worthwhile purpose that unites the team as a whole.  Teams must have complementary skills at each position.  Everyone plays a particular role.  Teams set clear rules of behavior to help achieve their purpose and performance goals.  This enables the team to stay focused and committed.  Teammates should challenge one another to be better rather than placing blame and embarrassing each other.  Teammates should be family, spending alot of time together to create an unbreakable bond, trust, and understanding.  Successful teams feed off of positive reinforcement, recognition, and reward.  Lastly, there must be accountability.  Each player should be held accountable for his performance.  That does not mean he deserves to be ridiculed but rather each player has a responsibility to his teammates to learn his craft, work hard, and improve on a daily basis.  Just because a veteran earns millions of dollars doesn’t mean that he isn’t expected to work hard and give maximum effort.  It doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t seek help from a coach when he needs it.  There are too many players that think they know it all and don’t need the extra help or that they don’t have to hustle.  Those players don’t deserve to wear Cubby blue.  The players who are truly commited to improving and winning are the ones that should stay, everyone else should go elsewhere.  There is no room for laziness at the MLB level. 

Every successful team forges its own path.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be conflicts because there will be, but how a team handles it, is crucial.  Isn’t it time the Cubs start playing as a team, committed to excellence and winning?  Enough of these childish tantrums, let’s get down to business and win a World Series! 

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My All-Time Favorite Cubs!

I have been a diehard Cubs’ fan for over 32 years.  Here is a list of my all-time favorite Cubs.

In no particular order, I have broken my favorites down by position.  Former Cub Greats like Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo are NOT listed since I never had the opportunity to see them play.  However, obviously, they are the best.

In the OUTFIELD, my favorites include ANDRE DAWSON.  Andre Dawson is a Hall of Famer and his numbers speak for themselves. 
thumbnailCASVJS4E.jpgSammy,
thumbnailCAGSWXSZ.jpgon the other hand, lost favor with me when I, along with the rest of the world, discovered that he used a corked bat while hitting 66 homeruns in 1998.  Sammy was exciting to watch, but with the steroid scandal, he became a major disappointment.  I was at Wrigley all summmer long in 1998 and was a witness to history, unfortunately it was all smoke and mirrors for the fans.   Another favorite has been Gary Matthews.  “Sarge” always took charge in the outfield and played hard-nosed baseball.  He was an all-out effort kind of player. My third favorite outfielder, in my time, is BOB DERNIER.
thumbnailCASG8UGU.jpg
thumbnailCAYVE10S.jpg  He was a speedster that not only stole bases, but had a gold glove as well.

At THIRD BASE, the Cubs haven’t had anybody that has stood out until Aramis Ramirez came along. 
thumbnailCA6WKXR1.jpgAlthough he struggled with injuries last season, he has been a solid performer over the past few years with the Cubs.  Hopefully next season, he will return to form.

At SHORTSTOP, my favorite was Ivan DeJesus
thumbnailCAU6D3I4.jpgHe was the lead-off hitter back when I began watching the Cubs.  He played solid defense and stole bases.  He always gave 100%.

At SECOND BASE, there is only one RYNE SANDBERG. 
thumbnailCACA1ZSP.jpgA Hall of Famer, Ryno was simply the best.  He was the most clutch hitter that I’ve ever seen.

At FIRST BASE, while most fans would arguably pick Mark Grace and rightfully so, my pick is BILL BUCKNER.  Back in the day, Buckner was a hitting machine.  In my opinion, he was a better hitter than Gracie.  He was a pretty good defensive player as well.  It is unfortunate that fans only remember the ball that went through his legs at Boston.
thumbnailCAK2MV8C.jpg  The same could be said for Leon Durham in 1984.  Derek Lee deserves special recognition.  I almost picked him and probably should have.  He is probably the best first baseman the Cubs have had in my 32 years as a fan, I just was a big fan of Buckner, that’s all. 

At CATCHER, my favorite was JODY DAVIS.
thumbnailCAIL1KLX.jpg  He was awesome.
thumbnail.jpg  Back in 1984, the Cubs had a good team up and down the line-up.  It was probably my favorite team as a whole.

STARTING PITCHER is none other than Greg Maddux
thumbnailCAXBVF46.jpgHe is the king of the hill.

My favorite CLOSER was BRUCE SUTTER.  He had a split-fingered fast ball that was lights out.  Carlos Marmol recently broke his strikeout record for closers.

thumbnailCA01ENS8.jpgSome of my other favorites include, most notably, JOE GIRARDI, LEE SMITH, DENNIS ECKERSLY, Kenny Lofton, FERGUSON JENKINS, MARK GRACE, Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood, RICK SUTCLIFFE, LEON DURHAM, KEITH MORELAND, Derek Lee, DAVE KINGMAN, SHAWON DUNSTON, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Marmol.   My FAVORITE CUBS’ TEAM was 1984. 
thumbnailCAFW14WS.jpgIt was a season to remember!
thumbnailCAWZTYEX.jpg

Big Z, Cubs, Finishing Strong!

In his final start of the season, Carlos Zambrano delivered yet another quality start to finish the year on a positive note.  Big Z went 8-0, with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts since returning from the restricted list. 
thumbnailCAHAZ47R.jpg What more does Zambrano need to do to silence his critics?  He has gone out to the mound and quietly gone about his business.  He is calmer and more subdued.  Big Z has changed, not only his mindset, but has changed his approach to pitching.  Instead of trying blow batters away, Big Z has shown signs of maturity as he has learned to change speeds and mix up his pitches.  Whatever changes he has made, it has made a world of difference as Zambrano does not appear to be the same guy that we saw earlier in the season.

Baseball is a game of adjustments.  Big Z has made some adjustments and it shows.  I just hope people will get off of his back.  He has changed.  Give the guy a chance.  There’s nothing more Big Z can do other than come back next year and keep up the good work.  I think it is time for Cubs’ fans to show the guy some love and support.  He has earned it.

The Cubs as a team deserve credit for a strong finish.  Under Mike Quade, the Cubs are 24-12, that is a .667 winning percentage folks.  What more can you ask for?  True, it would be nice to see that kind of effort sustained for an entire season but the Cubs have built a solid foundation going into next year.  Whether Mike Quade returns to the Cubs or not, he has definitely opened some eyes.
thumbnailCACT6MC2.jpg  He deserves to manage somewhere.  I for one, have been impressed.  The Cubs are starting to look like a winner and I am pleased to see the turnaround.  There may be hope after all for the Cubbies!

Marlon Byrd drove in 3 runs last night to spark the Cubs’ offense and Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam to put the game away.  Marlon Byrd has been a blessing as he has consistently done a great job this year.  Byrd has been a leader who has set a good example for the rest of the team.  He hustles on every play and demonstrates what a player should be.  He gives every game 100%.  THAT is how you make it to the postseason.  If we had 25 guys who played as hard as Marlon Byrd, the Cubs would have something special.  Since Mike Quade has taken over team, it seems that the team as a whole has adopted that mentality.

Aramis Ramirez has had a rough year, battling injuries all season. but has finished strong as well.  With a healthy Ramirez, the Cubs are a far better team.  He is a great player who struggled because of nagging injuries.  His grand slam last night was beautiful.
thumbnailCA6WKXR1.jpg  It made me feel good to see him swing the bat again.  I hope Aramis can get some rest in the offseason and come back healthy.  A healthy Ramirez translates into a much better Cubs’ team.  The lineup pretty much revolves around Aramis.  Hopefully, the Cubs can acquire a slugger to precede Ramirez in the lineup.  Aramis Ramirez is a far better hitter when he has protection and doesn’t have the burden of carrying the Cubs’ offense.  Too much pressure was put on Ramirez to hit the long ball this year.  A-Ram is a much better contact hitter when he isn’t swinging for the fences on every pitch.  Anyway, it’s good to have him back in business. 

The Cubs have been road warriors, winning 17 of their last 21 road games.  WOW!

The Cubs will finish the season today at Houston.  2010 has been bittersweet.  It has been a year of frustration and disappointment, but Mike Quade and the Cubs have given us HOPE and encouragement as we look forward to next season.  Thank you, Cubs, for finishing the season like true champions!!!