Tagged: Tom Ricketts

The Dawn of a Dynasty

I’m back! It’s been a few years since this die hard Cubs fan has posted anything. Since that time I have quietly watched the Cubs Organization bring the dynamic duo of Epstein and Hoyer into the fold. Cubs fans were told to be patient and trust in the rebuilding process. While most baseball fans would balk at such a thought, a few more years of mediocrity is a small price to pay for us Cubs fans. Tom Ricketts deserves a ton of credit. As an owner, he has done his part in creating an environment conducive to winning baseball. Epstein and Hoyer have managed to transform the Cubs farm system into one of the best, if not the best, in MLB.
The “Plan” has moved on to the next phase of development. The Cubs got lucky when the highly coveted Manager, Joe Madddon suddenly became available. This was an unexpected surprise. It also complicated matters. The Cubs weren’t planning to be competitive till next year, but with Maddon in place there has been a huge buzz around baseball that the Cubs are ready to make their move. In fact, Cubs fans expect the Cubs to make a splash during the Winter Meetings. The Cubs have already lost out in the Russell Martin sweepstakes. He would have been a perfect fit to catch and lead a young Cubs team. Didn’t happen. Now the Cubs are waiting on an answer from left-handed ace, Jon Lester, who undoubtedly would anchor any pitching staff. The question still looms. Are the Cubs making their move this year or simply adding a few pieces of the puzzle?  I think if they land Lester, then the Cubs will make additional moves to solidify the 2015 Cubs. If the Lester deal falls through, then I look for the Cubs to go after James Shields and add a few small pieces here and there. We have to keep in mind that next year’s free agent class is very promising and the Cubs will not be going overboard this year by spending a ton of money on free agents. In addition, they are not going to trade away top prospects just so they can improve this year. Yes, the Cubs will make their fair share of moves this winter, but fellow Cubs fans, keep your expectations in check for now. We just have to wait and see how things play out. We are standing at the dawn of something incredible. The Cubs organization aren’t constructing a team that can be competitive. They aren’t putting together a team that can make a run at a World Series championship. No, Epstein and Hoyer are up to something even greater. The Cubs are building a DYNASTY!! Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer have a plan and they plan to build an organization that will dominate for years to come. Get ready Cubs fans!!! Are you excited? I am. Regardless of when it will happen, it will happen and it will happen right before our eyes. It has already begun. GO CUBS!!!!!!

Another Season, Another Year of Frustration!

It has been a while since I written about the Cubs. My mother always said, “If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!” There hasn’t been anything positive about the Cubs in 2011. It has been a long season and we’re only half way through it. Disappointed and disgusted, I stopped watching the Lovable Losers back in May. Even had my satellite shut off so I wouldn’t have to endure the pain anymore. What can I say at this point? It’s the same old story and the same old outcome. Very predictable. Very sad.
As a die hard Cubs’ fan, I can only hope that someday, things will be different. Someday, this team will learn how to win. But when? Back in March, I bought tickets to see the Cubs take on the Phillies. Two games actually. Monday and Tuesday. Apparently, I will be lucky enough to see two of the greatest pitchers of this era, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, they pitch for the other guys! I do not expect much from the Cubs, but on a positive note, perhaps I will get to witness back to back no-hitters. It is a very real possibility, especially the way the Cubs are going.
I will be rooting for the Cubs, but I have to admit, I don’t have much hope for this team. When will this frustration and disappointment end? When? Cubs’ fans are the greatest people on this planet and deserve so much better. The Ricketts family said that they were committed to winning a championship. When? As long as Jim Hendry continues to make bad decisions, the Cubs will continue to be the laughing stock of baseball. Isn’t it time to clean house and bring in the right personnel? SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE!!! I love baseball. I love the Cubs. Until this team learns the art of finding ways to win, I cannot look. I will peek every now and then, but it has become too painful. Maybe someday, I will look forward to watching the Cubs play. Maybe someday, the Cubs will be World Series champions…. Maybe someday.

Seriously, Are The Cubs Going To Be Any Good This Year?

With Spring Training right around the corner, it’s time to evaluate the offseason moves made by Jim Hendry, the Cubs General Manager.  Each and every year Cubs’ fans get excited around this time.  We are ever hopeful that the new season will bring that elusive championship, but in the end, we are disappointed yet again.  Could this year be different?  Could 2011 be the breakthrough year to remember?  Have the Cubs made the necessary moves to bring the right balance to a team that has struggled to reach its potential?  I am going to gaze into my crystal ball and peek into the future and try to determine what kind of team we have to look forward to.

The first glimpse that may be indicative of a promising year dates back to the last month and a half of last season.  After the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella, Mike Quade took over the helm and steered the Cubs in the right direction.  Under Quade, the Cubs finished strong.  The players responded to his style of managing and won nearly 2/3 of the remaining games.  Quade made a strong impression on Jim Hendry and Cubs’ Chairman, Tom Ricketts, and the interim tag was removed as he won the managerial job over fan favorites such as Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi.  There was much controversey over the process, but in the end, Mike Quade had earned the position.  In 2011, Mike Quade will face the challenge of managing over the long haul of the season.  If 2010 was evidence that he has what it takes to turn this team around, then indeed, the Cubs have much to look forward to.

As the Cubs searched the free agent market to fill some obvious holes, Jim Hendry finally found a left-handed first baseman in Carlos Pena.  Was it the right fit?  Some may argue, but seriously, Pena is a great defensive first baseman and has a powerful left-handed bat.  Exactly what the Cubs needed.  Is his .196 batting average and high strikeout ratio a concern?  It would be, but Pena is working with Rudy Jaramillo, the Cubs’ hitting coach, and is totally committed to improving his swing.  That willingness to learn is the key.  There are far too many veterans who think that they are so great that they have nothing more to learn, the very same players who start to stink and drag everyone around them down.  So it is refreshing to see a player who wants to get better.  Carlos Pena is going to work out just fine, you’ll see.

The Cubs also re-acquired Kerry Wood.  I am very happy about this because Woody is, was, and always will be a Cub.  He is a club house leader and understands what it means to be a Cub.  He gave the Cubs a huge discount to come home.  He did an awesome job for the Yankees last season and he promises to do more of the same for the Cubs in 2011.  Hopefully he can remain healthy and prove to everyone that HE’S BACK!  I think that he will return with a vengeance.  I am excited to see him again!

Then, there was the controversial trade for Matt Garza.  The Cubs may have lost some top prospects, but they have gained one of the best pitchers in the game today.  He will be a welcomed addition to the Cubs’ pitching staff.  Coming to the National League where hitters aren’t very familiar with him will be to his advantage.  I look for him to have a great year.  Like Woody and Pena, I foresee him silencing the critics very quickly.  I predict that he will win 18 games or more this season.

The Cubs have also made some minor moves, such as re-acquiring Reed Johnson, Todd Wellmeyer, and getting some players in the Tom Gorzellany trade.  We’ll see how those work out as only time will tell.  On a positive note, the Cubs have signed Geovanny Soto, Sean Marshall, and I believe, Carlos Marmol thus avoiding arbitration.  So that is good news.

One important factor that will determine the Cubs destiny is whether or not they can stay healthy.  Last year was a disaster as far as injuries go.  A healthy team learns to play as a team and gel.  A different line-up everyday is disastrous to team chemistry and that was something we saw too much of last year.  The Cubs need to stay healthy, period!  It is good to hear that Tyler Colvin will be back this year.  Watching him being impaled by a broken bat scared us all.  It’s great that he will return, we’ll need him.

The Cubs seem pretty solid up and down the line-up, except for one thing.  We still do not have a protypical lead-off hitter.  I probably sound like a broken record, but this could make or break the Cubs’ offense.  Last season, there was no spark to ignite the offense and consequently no pressure on the opposition.  If the Cubs truly want to contend, this crucial piece must be found.  If no trades are made, then somebody will need to step up and learn how to get on base and rattle the defense.  I hope that Mike Quade doesn’t just pencil in just anybody.  He knows full well that the lead-off hitter sets the tone for what will follow.  Anyway, we’ll see what happens.  Perhaps Starlin Castro or Kosuke Fukudome will be willing to learn how to fill that role.  Who knows, after all, there is still some time before the season begins.

Overall, I think the Cubs will be much improved.  If the lead off role can be filled, I think the Cubs will be in business.  Once again, I am excited about the upcoming season, unfortunately, my crystal ball isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be, but that would take all of the fun out of watching the season unfold now wouldn’t it?

Cubs Lose, Cubs Lose! Red Sox Win Adrian Gonzalez

Another day of bitter disappointment and frustration for Cubs’ fans as the Boston Red Sox acquire Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego.  Apparently, the Cubs are more committed to cutting payroll than winning.  I am disgusted by the Cubs’ lack of moves.  It appears that we are in for another long and disappointing season. 

thumbnailCAC10SKZ.jpgThe Padres will receive 3 prospects, a pitcher, a first baseman, and an outfielder.  Surely, Jim Hendry could have put a better package deal together, but he failed to.  How does Hendry retain his job?  He is destroying the Cubs and Tom Ricketts is okay with that.  Apparently, since the Cubs have $103 million in payroll committed to players that do not perform up to expectations, there is no desire to spend any more.  Why can’t these players take a pay cut to improve the team?  It’s not about winning anymore, it’s about money.  Adrian Gonzalez would have been the perfect fit for the Cubs, but they let him get away.  Now, Cubs’ fans will have to settle for a second-rate first baseman.  How can this team treat their fans this way?

We are diehard Cubs’ fans, so I guess we are supposed to be frustrated and disappointed.  The Cubs want to preserve their ‘Lovable Losers’ status.  Personally, I am sick and tired of this team’s committment to losing.  Cubs’ fans want a winner.  We want a World Series championship.  Shame on Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts.  Shame on the Cubs.  Maybe in another hundred years the Cubs will win, but that will never happen with the new ownership and as long as Jim Hendry is running the show.  Maybe I need therapy to deal with being a diehard Cubs’ fan, because they are driving me crazy!

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?

Sandberg To Interview With The Toronto Bluejays; The Latest Twist To The Cubs’ Managerial Search!

It’s official.  Ryne Sandberg has scheduled an interview with the Toronto Bluejays, throwing the Cubs’ managerial search a curve ball.  The Chicago Tribune reports that Ryno will meet with Toronto to discuss the opening for Manager with the Bluejays.

What does this mean?  Is Sandberg tired of sitting around while the Cubs’ General Manager, Jim Hendry and Owner, Tom Ricketts wait to talk to Joe Girardi?  Have the Cubs already made a decision?  It isn’t clear, but I would think that Ryno isn’t taking anything for granted and is exploring his options. 

While the Cubs wait for Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees to finish the post-season, the Cubs are taking a chance that Ryne Sandberg and Mike Quade could find managerial positions elsewhere.  Since Joe Girardi is still under contract, he has not publicly announced any interest in the Cubs’ position.  He simply refuses to discuss the matter which leaves the world in the dark as to whether or not he is an option for the Cubs.  Of course, maybe Jim Hendry knows something that we don’t.  Who knows?  Most Cub fans are willing to wait for Girardi , others panic at the thought of losing Sandberg. 

The Cubs’ managerial search is getting interesting.  No one can blame Ryne Sandberg for exploring his options.  Of course, we’ll see what happens. 

thumbnailCAZ5MTW4.jpgThere is a rumor that the Cubs are waiting to talk to Joe Girardi, who is the most experienced, qualified, candidate, who many fans believe is the best fit for the Cubs.  While Girardi might be the frontrunner in the Cubs’ managerial position, plan “A”, it is believed that Mike Quade is in line for the job if Girardi falls through.  Perhaps, the Cubs offered Sandberg a job as Bench Coach and Ryno snubbed the idea, sighting that he wants to manage a team, not be a bench coach.  If that is the case, then Sandberg may walk.

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.