Tagged: Marlins

An Open Letter To Bud Selig Re: Reinstatement of Pete Rose

The BBWAA Hall of Fame ballots have officially been released.  One name that is not among the candidates to be enshrined is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. 
thumbnailCAAMARXE.jpg Some names that will appear on the ballots are names connected with steroid use.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, unless your method of cheating was by steroid use.  Why?  Why is betting on baseball a worse crime?  Pete Rose never bet against the Reds so it wasn’t like he “fixed” the games to ensure he would win a bet.  He lied about his gambling at first, but finally broke down and admitted his wrong-doing.  He regrets his mistake.  Players like Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro denied any wrong doing despite the evidence that proves otherwise.  Roger Clemens will deny his actions till the day he dies and even then, will never admit it.  Alex Rodriguez denied reports of his usage, but finally revealed the truth after the evidence was leaked to the press.  His reward?  He gets to keep playing as if he did nothing wrong.  Why?  Why does a player that tests positive for steroid use gets to get caught 3 times before he faces a lifetime ban?  Why are steroid users allowed to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?  Are they not cheaters?

thumbnailCAF2K6Q0.jpg          Dear Mr. Selig, I don’t understand why Major League baseball has crucified Pete Rose.  Sure, he made a mistake.  He bet on baseball and that is strictly against the rules.  He made a mistake and is truly remorseful.  As the Commissioner of MLB, are you afraid to overturn a previous Commissioner’s ruling?  Why?  Is there no forgiveness in baseball?

In light of the steroid era, haven’t we learned anything?  The steroid users have been glorified.  In 1998, fans of MLB enjoyed the greatest homerun race ever.  Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire slugged it out and the fans went wild.  At the time, we thought we were witnessing history, only to discover that it was all smoke and mirors.  In hindsight, it was a major disappointment.  Then there’s Barry Bonds, who belted 70 homeruns to become the homerun king.  Again, it was all an illusion, wasn’t it?

Considering the fact that steroids not only tarnished the game, it destroyed the integrity of America’s past time.  So why do players like Palmeiro get rewarded by appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot?  I don’t get it.  MLB has always taken the stance that baseball is a pure sport, a sport with integrity.  Let’s face it, baseball has been stained by steroids.  Players looked for an extra edge and found it.  They cheated, pure and simple.  The problem that I have is that if a player fails a drug test, he gets suspended for 90 days or whatever it is.  then, if he tests positive again, it’s a 180 game suspension.  The third offense results in a lifetime ban.  So why is it, that Pete Rose received baseball’s death penalty for one mistake made after his playing days were over?  Pete Rose played the game the way it should be played.  He set the example for everyone.  He never used steroids or cheated in any way, shape, or form as a player.  As a manager, he bet on his team to win.  Big deal.  Why is his case a greater crime than steroid use?  I think there is something wrong with that picture.

Here is my proposal, Mr. Selig.  I have an idea that might actually prove to be the right thing to do.  I hope that you read this post and seriously consider what I am about to suggest.  Why?  It is the right thing to do and I am confident that you are a man of integrity.  Here’s my idea. 

Since Pete Rose bet on baseball while managing the Reds, then he should be banned as a manager.  However, since Pete has alot to offer, he should be allowed to coach, mentoring young players and teaching them how to play the game the way it was meant to be played and teaching them about the dangers of cheating.  Pete Rose should be allowed to participate in the game of baseball in some capacity.  He was the greatest hitter ever.  Have some respect and give him his due.  Pete Rose has paid the price for his mistake and is sorry.  He should be forgiven.  Perhaps a little forgiveness would bring back some of the integrity that has been lost in Major League baseball.

In addition, Pete Rose deserves to be in the hall of Fame, period!  His numbers speak for themselves.  His success came the old-fashion way, he earned it.  He worked hard to get where he had gotten.  He deserves to be on the ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  It doesn’t mean that the writers will vote him in, although I think he deserves it.  He should at least have the opportunity to be on the ballot.  It’s time to be a leader, Mr. Selig, and give Pete Rose a reprieve.  It has been long enough.  Don’t you believe in giving people second chances?  Steroid users get second and third chances.  Pete Rose needs only one second chance and you are the only one that has the power to forgive.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, but maybe there should be.


thumbnailCARERZJN.jpgPete Rose
was my favorite player when I was a youngster.  He inspired me to play baseball.  He inspired me to hustle.  He inspired me to dive head first into whatever base I was trying to reach.  He inspired me to aspire to becoming a big leaguer some day.  Pete Rose was awesome.  My very first MLB game was at Riverfront Stadium and Pete Rose was playing third base.  He was the reason I wanted to see the Cubs and the Reds play.  Rose captivated my imagination and made me realize that a player had to work hard and give 100% all the time.  He inspired a strong work ethic in me.  Watching Pete Rose chase Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak was unbelievable.  Every game was exciting.  That was what made baseball so great.  He chased the 3,000 hit milestone.  Then, the incredible 4,000 hit milestone.  He finally broke Ty Cobb’s record for most hits all-time.  It was amazing.  Pete Rose kept me interested in baseball, no, more like obsessed.  Pete Rose deserves some credit.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Have a heart and reinstate his eligibility status.  It’s the right thing to do.  If it wasn’t for Pete Rose, I would not be the diehard baseball fan that I am today.   I hope that somehow you read this, Mr. Selig.  I have the utmost respect for you and your integrity and I trust that you will consider doing the right thing.   Thank you,  Scot Blust.

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Should Starlin Castro Move To Second Base?

Allow me to create a hypothetical situation.  What if Starlin Castro made a transition to second base?  It would create an opening at shortstop, which with a trade, could provide the Cubs with a legitimate lead-off hitter. 
thumbnailCAX4JZ3Z.jpg 

A switch to second base could provide the remedy to Starlin Castro‘s defensive woes.  Castro has excellent range and could develop into a solid defensive player.  Playing second base would allow Castro to make shorter throws thus cutting down his throwing errors considerably.  It would also allow room for a shortstop that can lead off and ignite the offense.  But who?

What we’re looking for, is a player that can lead off, has a high OBP, steals bases, and plays solid defense.  That’s it.  Any player that fits that description is worth consideration.  I may miss a few.  There are many minor leaguers who could meet the requirements but, for all intents and purposes, I will focus on established veterans. 

Let’s examine shortstops with a combination of these attributes.

While there are many “untouchables” out there with high on-base per centages, here are some players that may be fair game.

Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins.  His OBP last season was .378.  He also stole 32 bases.  The Marlins have a history of cleaning house and Ramirez could easily be on the trading block.  He is an all-star caliber player. 
thumbnailCAE370K0.jpgHanley Ramirez and Starlin Castro would make a lethal combination up the middle and a powerful and speedy 1 – 2 punch at the top of the order.  I wonder if Jim Hendry could pull off such a deal.

Consider this:  The Cubs have a highly touted shortstop in the minors.  Hak- Ju Lee will be ready for the big leagues in a couple years and the Cubs will have to decide whether or not to move Castro to second base anyway, so why not make the transition now and acquire a shortstop that can leadoff and provide defensive prowess?

Jose Reyes is another possibility.  The New York Mets may want to trade Reyes.  Like the Cubs, the METS have paid a ton of money and have been disappointed by the results.  Perhaps a contract for contract trade would work out for both teams. 
thumbnailCAEGE919.jpgJose Reyes hit .282 and had 30 steals last season.  Starlin Castro could benefit by having a veteran double play partner, someone that can also teach him to lead off.  Castro needs a mentor to inspire him.

Rafael Furcal is another possibility.  The Los Angeles Dodgers are in turmoil and it sounds like they are prepared to clean house. 
thumbnailCAYPAO5Y.jpgThe time may be right to swoop down and pluck Furcal from the Dodgers.  In 2010, Furcal batted .300 with a .366 OBP.  He stole 22 bases.

There aren’t any fits on the free agent market so a trade would have to happen.  Possibly a better solution to the leadoff dilemma would be a free agent second baseman, but that’s another blog.  For now, I will have to explore the possibilty of adding a shortstop and moving Castro to second base, a position that Castro may be better at.  We have to explore the possibilities and wonder…What if?

A Tribute To Sparky Anderson

A legend has passed away today.  Sparky Anderson will be remembered for his World Series Championships in Cincinnatti and Detroit, but I will never forget my very first MLB game in 1977 between the Cubs and the Reds.  Sparky was managing The Big Red Machine and I got to see the legend with my own eyes.  I was only 9 at the time, but even then, I knew that I was witnessing a part of history, a legend.

thumbnailCALHKW4M.jpgAs a nine year old, I was all about baseball.  I lived and breathed it.  I collected baseball cards and made trades like a GM would, using my keen insight and intuition to determine what players would hold their value and who I could afford to part with.  Back then, I could rattle off every stat for every player at any given time.  There wasn’t much about baseball that I didn’t know at that age.  I only wish I could have played the game as well as I would have liked, becoming a professional baseball player was my dream, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I was really into the Reds at the time.  The Big Red Machine was the ultimate team, in my opinion.  Sparky Anderson was the Manager, arguably the best in his time.  There was something special about him, you could just tell.  He was like the grandfather everyone wished they had.  I remember having his baseball card and refusing to part with it.  It didn’t matter that I had duplicates, because I knew that I had something special.  I had Sparky Anderson.  Well, my child’s intuition was correct in that assumption.  Sparky turned out to be a Hall Of Famer and deservedly so.  When I saw Sparky in person while attending the game between the Cubs and the Reds at Riverfront Stadium, I was in awe. 
thumbnailCA6LUK6U.jpg At the time, I don’t think I fully appreciated his managing prowess as I do now, but intuitively, I knew.  It was an honor to be in his presence. 
thumbnailCAAF4EFT.jpg Sparky Anderson exemplified what a Manager should be.  He was a kind-hearted man and a fierce competitor.  He was wise, intelligent, and a keen strategist.  He understood the game of baseball and knew what it takes to win.  He was a leader and a motivator.  Sparky Anderson was beloved by all, especially me, because Sparky was the kind of coach that I would want.  Even though I am a Diehard Cubs Fan, have been since 1978, there will always be a special place in my heart for Sparky.  God bless his soul.  He will be missed.

Why Diehard Cubs’ Fans Are Angry!

Mike Quade is now the new Cubs’ Manager, but that’s not why diehard Cub fans are angry.  While Q may be deserving, many fans are bitterly disappointed and some are downright outraged by the lack of loyalty and disdain demonstrated by the Cubs toward Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi.

After replacing Lou Piniella in August, Mike Quade made a case for himself to be the next Cubs’ Manager as the Cubs finished the season strong.  The Cubs went 24-13 under Quade, who made an immediate impression as he proved that he can manage.  A new attitude was adopted by the Cub players and Quade influenced the team to get better, and they did.  Rather than playing out the season, the Cubs stormed back and compiled the best record in the National League, next to the Philadelphia Phillies, during the last 37 games of the season.  The Cubs’ Pitching Staff was vastly improved, Carlos Zambrano was unstoppable, and the bullpen was lights out.  The new look Cubs looked like a different team under Mike Quade, who deserves alot of credit for the turnaround.  Q made a statement, and seemingly out of nowhere, emerged as the leading candidate for the Cubs’ managerial position.

But that’s not why Cub fans are angry.

As the interview process dragged on, many diehard Cub fans waited eagerly as the drama began to unfold.  The Cubs interviewed Freddi Gonzalez, who withdrew his name as the Atlanta Braves announced that he would replace the legendary Bobby Cox following his retirement after the Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. 

Eric Wedge was interviewed but ended up getting a job with the Seattle Mariners.  Bob Melvin was also on the list, but many felt that he was not a good fit for the Cubs.  Finally, Bob Brenly, the Cubs commentator, withdrew his name from consideration because he felt that he was not a good fit.  Brenly was supported by many of the fans, but it appears that he will look elsewhere.  No one really knows why.

Ryne Sandberg was a leading candidate as well.  After managing 4 years in the Cubs’ farm system, many believed that he was being groomed to take over as the next Cub Manager.  The former Cub second baseman and Hall Of Famer, managed the Cubs’ Triple A affiliate, Iowa team to a first place tie this past season.  Sandberg won the Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year Award and proved that he was a legitimate candidate to manage at the big league level.  Upon hearing the news that Quade was named Manager, Ryno expressed his disappointment and decided that he will explore other opportunities.  He has said, that it is his dream to manage in the Major leagues, if not in Chicago, then somewhere. 

Finally, many diehard Cub fans expected Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ GM, and Tom Ricketts, the Cubs’ Owner and Chairman, to wait till after the post-season to talk to New York Yankees’ Manager, Joe Girardi.  The Cubs have stated that they wanted to have a manager in place by the November Organizational Meetings in November, but there was no hurry to rush the interview process.  That led many to speculate that the Cubs were waiting to interview one last managerial candidate, particularly former Cubs’ Catcher, Joe Girardi, whose New York Yankees were still alive in their quest for another World Series championship.  Apparently, Joe Girardi, who many believed to be the most experienced, successful, qualified candidate for the job, was never even considered.  Upon hearing the news at a Yankee press conference, Girardi appeared shocked by the news but quickly congratulated Mike Quade on the decision.

So why are diehard Cub fans bitterly disappointed and angry?

thumbnailCAJV0B2C.jpgNo one can argue that Mike Quade earned his right to manage.  The reason that the diehard Cub fans are outraged is the complete lack of loyalty and disdain that Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts have displayed toward two of the diehard Cub fan favorites, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi.  First of all, the fans expected Jim Hendry to wait for Joe Girardi.  While Girardi’s contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season, there was some question as to whether or not he will return to New York for another season.  Many believed that he might have interest in coming home to Chicago.  He has said in the past, that managing the Cubs was his dream job.  He interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial position before, but failed to land the job because of his inexperience managing.  Since then, he managed a young Florida Marlin team and has led the New York Yankees to a World Series championship.  This time around, Joe Girardi was completeley snubbed by the Cubs.  He wasn’t even granted an interview.  Sad.  The other sad part of the managerial search was the treatment of Ryne Sandberg.  Many believed that if Mike Quade did get the job, then Ryno would be promoted to Bench Coach.  Instead, Sandberg was snubbed once again.  He was never offered the position.  Now Ryno has to deal with the disappointing news and will most likely leave the Cubs’ Organization to manage another team somewhere else.  Two former Cubs, unwelcomed in their own backyard.  This is why Cubs’ Fans are furious.

Tom Ricketts trusted Jim Hendry to make the final decision.  Jim Hendry demonstrated a complete and utter lack of loyalty in the managerial search.  He has shown disdain toward former Cubs, who have become fan favorites over the years.  While it was a great day for Mike Quade, who finally gets the opportunity to manage in the big leagues, it remains a sad day in Wrigleyville.  Tom Ricketts has stated publicly, that the Cubs should listen to the diehard Cub fans more.  Unfortunately, no one is listening and the diehard Cub fans are extremely angry and disappointed by the PR disaster that Jim Hendry has created.  Many fans have expressed their anger by deciding to no longer support the team.  Many will stay away from Wrigley.  Many have cried for Jim Hendry’s resignation or termination.  Many diehard Cubs’ fans have simply given up.  I have been a diehard Cubs’ fan for the past 32 years and my hopes and dreams of seeing the Cubs win a World Series has been crushed, not because Mike Quade was named Manager, but because two of my all-time favorite Cubs, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi were treated with a lack of respect and a lack of loyalty.  Somebody please tell me why I should remain loyal to the Cubs when there is no loyalty in the Cubs’ Organization.  I will have to search my heart before I will watch the Cubs again.  My faith and trust in this organization has been shattered.  It breaks my heart.  Thank you, Tom Ricketts and Jim Hendry, your lack of loyalty has just cost you thousands and thousands of loyal Cub fans everywhere.  What were you thinking?

A Diehard Cubs’ Fan Speculates As Cubs’ Managerial Search Intensifies!

Who will it be? Rumors are flying and speculation is mounting as the Cubs continue the search for the next Cubs’ manager.  Who has the inside track?  Several names have surfaced and everyone has an opinion as to what the Cubs should do.  A Diehard Cubs’ Fan reveals his thoughts of who will emerge as the best candidate for the job.

The Cubs’ General Manager, Jim Hendry and Cubs’ Owner and Chairman, Tom Ricketts have interviewed several candidates for the managerial position but with a couple of weeks left before the November Organizational Meetings, a decision is still hanging in the balance.  More than likely, the Cubs are done interviewing candidates, that is, except for one, Joe Girardi. 

Joe Girardi is still under contract with the New York Yankees and the Yankees are still alive in the post-season, fighting for another chance at a World Series championship.  Until the Yankees have been eliminated or win it all, Joe Girardi is off limits.  The Cubs have insisted that there is no timetable set for naming the next manager.  It is likely that the Cubs are waiting to hear from Girardi before making a final decision.  Depending how the Yankees fair in the post-season will, more than likely, decide if Girardi will stay with the Yankees or move on and pursue what he once called his dream job, of managing the Chicago Cubs.

So far, the Cubs have interviewed Freddi Gonzalez, who elected to take over the Atlanta Braves following the retirement of Bobby Cox.  So he is out.  The Cubs have also interviewed former Arizona Diamondback and Seatlle Mariner skipper, Bob Melvin and former Cleveland Indian Manager, Eric Wedge.  Tom Ricketts has stated that he is looking for a candidate that understands the culture of the Cubs’ history and fans.  Neither of these two candidates have played for the Cubs or have been in the Cubs’ organization.  Both have mediocre managerial records, both below .500 winning per centages.  That doesn’t bode well with Cubs’ fans so it is unlikely that they will be hired.

Most fans will agree that the short list has been whittled down to three candidates, all of which have ties within the organization.  Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi both played for the Cubs back in the eighties, both were well respected and loved by the fans which is why they are at the top of the list.

Mike Quade has been interviewed and has made a strong case for himself as he turned the Cubs around in the final month and a half of this past season following Lou Piniella’s sudden retirement in August.  Quade went 24-13 and has garnered support from the Cub players who have said that they liked Mike and enjoyed playing under him.
thumbnailCACT6MC2.jpg  Quade has turned some heads and has garnered much support in his pursuit to be the next manager.  Unfortunately for Quade, 37 games was not nearly enough to truly evaluate him and his potential as the Cubs’  manager.  Q stands for question marks.  No one really knows how he will stand up to the presseure of a whole season.

Ryne Sandberg is a former Cub and a Hall of Fame member.  He is a fan favorite at Wrigley.  Ryno has had incredible success managing in the minor leagues.  Sandberg won the Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year this past season with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate, Iowa.  Ryno emphasized the fundamentals and has enjoyed success with the younger players in development.  Many believe that the Cubs have planned on Ryno to someday take charge.  The drawbacks to Sandberg are that he hasn’t managed in the Major League, nor has he gotten his feet wet as a coach at this level.  In addition, he hasn’t had the scrutiny and pressure of dealing with the media and fans.

Why hasn’t a decision been forthcoming?  The Cubs are waiting to talk with Joe Girardi. 

Joe Girardi, a former catcher with the Cubs has been quoted as saying, managing the Cubs is his dream job.  Girardi interviewed with the Cubs in the past, but at the time, did not have the MLB experience that was desired.  Since then, Girardi managed a youthful Florida Marlin team and has led a veteran New York Yankee team to a World Series championship.  Joe knows baseball.  Joe knows the Cubs.  Joe knows Chicago, he grew up in Peoria, Illinois.  Joe knows how to manage a MLB team.  Joes knows how to win.  Joe knows how to get to and win a World Series.  Joe knows what Cub fans want and expect.  Joe knows how to handle the scrutiny and pressure of the media. 

Why are the Cubs waiting to talk to Girardi?  Because he is simply the best qualified manager for the job and the Cubs know it.  He is worth the wait!

In my opinion, the Cubs will hire Joe Girardi, if he becomes available, which will depend on how the Yankees do in the playoffs.  If he is not available, then the obvious direction that the Cubs should take, will be to hire Ryne Sandberg and Mike Quade, one as the Manager and one as the Bench Coach.