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View Full Version : My gush: It's HoHo, Hee Hee


Rocky Soprano
02-25-2003, 09:49 AM
Im kinda starting to like this guy:

My gush: It's HoHo, Hee Hee

February 25, 2003

BY JAY MARIOTTI SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST



http://www.suntimes.com/output/mariotti/cst-spt-jay25.html

Viva Magglio
02-25-2003, 09:51 AM
Well, Mariotti finally got one right. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

gosox41
02-25-2003, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by Rocky Soprano
Im kinda starting to like this guy:

My gush: It's HoHo, Hee Hee

February 25, 2003

BY JAY MARIOTTI SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST



As proof that I'm trying to be upbeat, positive, a pocket Ronnie "Woo Woo'' Wickers and a newsprint version of the eternal Wrigleyville opti-mist in the ESPN ad, let me say this about the Cubs: I sense a championship on the horizon. Yep, one of these decades, generations or centuries, they're definitely going to win it all.

I can just feel it.

What do you want from me, anyway? Unsubstantiated, 72-degree hope or the cold, brutal truth? A dozen years of driving down the Superstition Freeway, passing every fast-food joint that ever contributed to a love handle and arriving at the complex on Center Street in Mesa, Ariz., have taught me a recurring lesson about Cub life. Every spring training is a tease, right down to the HoHo in HoHoKam Park. Believe what you want to believe, suckers. Until further notice, I'll assume this season is no different than the others in my Chicago years, during which the Cubs have finished a collective 215 games out of first place and 112 games under .500, won zero division titles, reached one postseason series via a wild-card playoff, lost that series to Atlanta in a 75-hour sweep and hung more rooftop-repellent tarps behind the bleachers (three) than title-related cloth on flagpoles (none).

I realize the Maharishi of Mesa, Dusty Baker, wants all of us to stop mentioning the futile past. "I wasn't born yet in 1945, and my daddy wasn't even born yet in 1908,'' Johnnie B. Good said. "So there ain't nothing I can do about any of that stuff.'' But for all the recuperative resolve shown annually by Cubbie loyalists worldwide, I've become desensitized to the concept of faith. Go ahead and embrace Dustiny. Find religion in the return of Steve Stone. Assume the addition of Mark Grudzielanek is some spiritual connection to Harry Caray, who never could pronounce the name and was last heard spitting out, "Mark Grrrrd ... Mark Gruzzzzla ... Mark G. steps in against Bullinger.''

Doesn't matter to me. Above any exorcism of curses and hexes, the Cubs must be a very good ballclub to reach October. And at the moment, they are merely a decent ballclub burdened by too many of the usual maybes and ifs. Do me a favor and look at the batting order honestly, 1 through 8. How does this team score enough runs to win 81 games? Doesn't Moises Alou have to stay healthy, no gimme at age 36 after 11 disabled-list stops, for the offense to have a chance? Who protects Sammy Sosa if Alou breaks down and Hee Seop Choi becomes his own punchline, Hee Hee?

I know, right about now, steam is coming out of your ears and you want to kill the messenger. But hey, think back to December, when Peoria native Jim Thome ached to fulfill a lifetime dream, sign with the Cubs and provide perfect cleanup support for Sosa. That would have excited even me, but management didn't want to spend the money, despite Thome's claim that he would have taken considerably less than the $85 million for which he signed in Philadelphia. Why not splurge? Why blow off one of the sport's top sluggers--Sosa plus Thome equals 110 homers--at a token lunch meeting?

"It's time for Choi to play,'' answers GM Jim Hendry.

Rather than understand the pain of a 95-year ache and invest their plentiful resources on the sure thing, the Cubs blind us with more hope in the form of Choi, a 6-5, 240-pound monster who has yet to prove he can hit a big-league fastball, much less the breaking stuff, and might be back in Iowa before Memorial Day. As a cushion in case of a Choi bust, Hendry earned kudos by dumping problematic pariah Todd Hundley and acquiring Mark G. and Eric Karros, the veteran first baseman who will start the season platooning with Choi. But amid the raucous civic celebration over Hundley's departure, giddy fans missed the downside. Karros is getting old and fighting injuries, which explains why he hit only four homers in the second half last season. The combined 2003 price tag for Karros and Grudzielanek is $15million--a few million more than they would have paid Thome. Why not release Hundley, sign Thome and keep grooming Choi in the minors as possible trade bait?

Or am I making too much sense and spending too much of the Tribune fortune?

Such is the difference between real hope and an ivy-covered facade. "I am a rookie,'' Choi said. "I am not like Eric Karros.''

Gulp.

The Cubs are depending on too many kids to develop quickly, not the way a 67-95 team jumps into playoff contention. Hendry admits as much, saying, "We're not in the developmental business at the major-league level,'' yet he contradicts himself by expecting Choi, second baseman Bobby Hill and center fielder Corey Patterson to mature before our eyes. I understand they are the prizes of the farm system, but there is no guarantee any will make it big. If one of the three turns out to be an outstanding player, the Cubs should feel fortunate.

It's now clear Patterson won't be a five-tool superstar as once advertised. The big brass rushed to his defense after he was criticized last week by former manager Don Baylor, but his second-half performance suggested he has been overhyped through the years. After the All-Star break, he hit .228 and walked only twice in 278 at-bats, painful numbers for a would-be leadoff or No. 2 hitter. We'll be patient because we have no choice. But as Baylor said, Patterson may lack the ambition to be a star.

"For anybody to say I had a bad year, I'm not going to accept that,'' he said.

What, it was a good year?

Hill's attitude, I like. He has the best chance of the kids to settle down, have a good year and help stabilize the infield of the unknown. But the questions continue at third base, where Mark Bellhorn must show his 27-homer splurge wasn't a fluke. Already, Ron Santo has suggested Bellhorn display more eagerness to play third. That he doesn't like the position isn't a good sign he'll perform at a tolerable level.

A legitimate strength is pitching. Don't be stunned if Mark Prior, whose mechanics are borderline ballet, wins 18 games and makes the All-Star team. Yet don't assume, as some have, that the Cubs own the best rotation in the National League. Kerry Wood is still more a thrower than a pitcher, has yet to demonstrate the consistent command of an ace and remains a health risk. Matt Clement was brilliant at times, holding opponents to a .215 batting average, but throws his slider in such a way that people are concerned he'll hurt his arm. Let's see a little more of Carlos Zambrano before we nominate him for the Cy Young Award.

The bullpen is better, not that it could be worse. Mike Remlinger was the smartest pickup and might wind up as your closer if the slimmer but still combustible Antonio Alfonseca keeps blowing up. I also like Remlinger's attitude. "The only attention I want is when I'm sitting in that car driving down the street after we've won the World Series,'' he said.

It's a nice thought in February, when the sun is glorious, the grass is green and every team is in first place. But sorry, I'm not falling for Cubdom gush. Once bitten, forever shy.



Is that the whole article? Where was the part where he blames the Cubs problems on Jerry Reinsdorf and the Comiskey upper deck?
Bob

Randar68
02-25-2003, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Rocky Soprano
Im kinda starting to like this guy:

Rocky, please post only links to articles if possible. Copyright laws et al as well as bandwidth...

beat ya to it, daver, LOL!

NUCatsFan
02-25-2003, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by Randar68
Rocky, please post only links to articles if possible. Copyright laws et al as well as bandwidth...

beat ya to it, daver, LOL!

For Moronotti columns, that's fine. But what about those of us who refuse to register with the Cubune? CS.com now has all (just about) of their stories as registered-users only?

ScottySoxFan
02-25-2003, 01:53 PM
It is free to sign up. All you have to do is sign up with an e-mail address to get access to the registered-users only stories.

Just make sure you don't check the boxes at the end that allow them to send you SPAM.

Rocky Soprano
02-25-2003, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by Randar68
Rocky, please post only links to articles if possible. Copyright laws et al as well as bandwidth...

beat ya to it, daver, LOL!


Sorry guys, next time I will make sure to just post the link.

:)

Daver
02-25-2003, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Randar68
Rocky, please post only links to articles if possible. Copyright laws et al as well as bandwidth...

beat ya to it, daver, LOL!

Curses foiled again!

Really it is more a copyright issue,the Trib has contacted us more than once to inform us we were in violation of copyright laws,we really don't need the headaches......

kermittheefrog
02-25-2003, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by daver
Curses foiled again!

Really it is more a copyright issue,the Trib has contacted us more than once to inform us we were in violation of copyright laws,we really don't need the headaches......

Maybe we should ask our friend progers to get his buddies off our back?

:)

kevingrt
02-25-2003, 06:14 PM
Just read it this morning! That was a great article. One of the few articles I ever agree with Mariotti.

"Yep, one of these decades, generations or centuries, they're definitely going to win it all.

I can just feel it."

Had to be the best quote from the whole article!

Ziggy S
03-02-2003, 03:27 AM
I only read the Scrubune's Sports Section when Rosembloom puts out a column (Sundays for the Scrubune; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for Redeye).