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View Full Version : The Moron Column Count '02: Flubs 3, Sox 0


cheeses_h_rice
03-05-2002, 10:15 AM
http://www.suntimes.com/output/mariotti/cst-spt-jay051.html

The slaughter is on, folks.

Today's column actually is sprinkled with realism throughout, basically saying that the Flubs have 2 sure things in Sham-ME and Lieber, and a whole lot of question marks. So I give this one a "3" based on Chisox353014's rating system:

5=Extremely positive
4=positive
3=equal parts positive and negative
2=negative
1=extremely negative

That makes the totals (columns/points/average points):

Flubs 3/12/4
Sox 0/0/0

I'll be out of town from Friday through Monday, but I'll return Monday night to update the totals over the weekend. By then, you have to figure that the Sox will merit at least ONE column, right? I mean, doesn't the Moron have to come out and get one last big dig in at David Wells, at the very least?

:moron

Cheeses, have you been hacking into my cherry-colored iMac?



Never too early to doubt Cubs

March 5, 2002

BY JAY MARIOTTI SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST










MESA, Ariz.--They are old and young, retired and vacationing, floppy-hatted and nose-ringed. They have absolutely nothing in common except their single-minded obsession with a ballclub that usually--check that, always--lets them down. They are Cubs fans, and when the temperature is 72 and the skies are Cubbie Blue and the beer man is shouting ''Old Style'' on a March afternoon, you try to think like them.

Ooze optimism. Sprinkle ''Holy Cow!'' and ''Hey, Hey!'' into conversations. Spread faith that no god could make a team suffer 100 years without a championship. Devise a theory why the Cubs finally will win a pennant and play in a World Series this season. I gave the thought process an entire day to develop, through 19 runs, 33 hits and five errors of a torturous exhibition game. And even so, I came to a familiar conclusion.

This isn't the year, either.

There are too many question marks, and not enough exclamation points, to expect anything more than a shot at the wild-card berth. Other than the fact Sammy Sosa is concerned about his severe ankle sprain, Bill Mueller might not be ready for April, Moises Alou has yet to suit up, Todd Hundley still isn't right, Corey Patterson still isn't ready and the second basemen appear to be Delino DeShields and Chris Stynes, sure, all is swell in the land of the HoHoKams. Everything has to break right for the Cubs to beat out the Cardinals in the division and, for that matter, an impressive group of wild-card contenders that include the fortified Mets and Braves. And with history as my proof, riddle me this: When has everything ever broken right for the Cubs?

If it's too early to panic about spring-training injuries, it isn't too early to wonder if something is amiss. Excellent teams usually have eight to 10 sure things entering a season. The Cubs have two: Sosa, providing he's healthy, and Jon Lieber, who should approach 20 wins again. Otherwise, aren't there legitimate doubts about some guys being too old, some guys being too young, some guys being too average, some guys being vulnerable to injury? It hit me funny to hear Don Baylor, who enters the third year of a four-year contract and is one disappointing season from having Cubdom call for his hide, speak so proudly of a rather modest goal. ''Not since the 1971-72 seasons has this franchise had back-to-back winning seasons,'' Baylor said, ''and this year, we're going to break the streak.'' Wow, back-to-back winning seasons! Talk about living on the edge. Print that on a T-shirt and sell it in Wrigleyville.

Rare is the Cubs manager who rallies fans to his side. Despite an overachieving 2001, Baylor hasn't won over the masses yet. This is his biggest challenge to date, and after the Oscar Acosta/Mack Newton fiasco, it's important he runs the show free of strife. But already, he has encountered a flareup with the ever-paranoid Flash Gordon, who demanded to know whether he's the full-time closer (he is); a challenge from the ever-bizarre Julian Tavarez, who says he should be the No. 5 starter (he might not be); and a curious public debate about bunting from Patterson, who has yet to prove he belongs in the major leagues. In one sense, I like Baylor's toughness in a clubhouse that used to operate like a country club. But if he isn't careful, he's going to lose his players if losses mount. In his first season, he took on Sosa. Last year, he took on the starting pitching staff.

Who's next? Ronnie "Woo Woo'' Wickers?

Unlike most Cubdom zealots, who braved the cold last month to form long ticket lines around the ballpark, I want this organization to prioritize the World Series as Job 1. The Tribsters haven't done that yet and probably never will. Andy MacPhail has done well to create an air of respectability, but there's still too much in-house emphasis on fighting with rooftop owners, raising ticket prices and increasing that all-important profit margin. The payroll, currently 11th among big-league teams, still isn't what it should be for a corporation as large as the Tribune Co. When MacPhail signed Alou in December, the fans went gaga. But his lone major acquisition was a mere blip compared with the spending sprees of both New York teams and the savvy moves of the Cardinals, who landed Tino Martinez to replace Mark McGwire and Jason Isringhausen to close ballgames.

Those are teams that want to win. The Cubs only want to contend long enough to keep Wrigley Field filled with beer drinkers. If they happen to make the playoffs, it's gravy in their eyes. What's amazing about the Alou signing is they didn't even want him. ''Our eye was on re-signing Rondell White, and when he left [to sign with the Yankees], we lucked out with Moises,'' Baylor said. It won't be a stroke of good fortune, though, if the aging Alou continues to struggle with ailments, including the strained muscle in his left side that has delayed his debut until mid-March. And if Mueller continues to suffer from the same knee problem that wiped out most of his promising 2001 season, the Cubs will have a major hole at third base, as usual.

As it is, doubts are clouding critical positions. If you believe the adage that teams must be strong up the middle, the Cubs are hurting. Patterson has been handed the center-field job only weeks after MacPhail said it was wide open. I don't sense he's ready to grab the apple and live up to his hype. With Bobby Hill likely to be optioned out, journeymen DeShields and Stynes are the leftovers at second. Hundley needs to escape his funk quickly, or Baylor will start Joe Girardi, who can't hit but is worth the call because of leadership and character. At shortstop is MacPhail's second-best pickup, Alex Gonzalez, who will hit for power, field his position and whiff like mad.

The team strengths, of course, can be staggering in their impact. Protected by Fred McGriff and Alou, Sosa can have his most monstrous season yet and improve the team's seventh-place standing in runs scored. If Lieber is backed by a healthy Kerry Wood, a maturing Juan Cruz, a consistent Jason Bere and a quick-study Mark Prior, look out. And in the bullpen, few teams have a ready-made closer like Kyle Farnsworth if Gordon flames out.

Don't get me wrong. The Cubs will win more games than they lose. But can they win 90 or 95 games? That's asking too much, especially with MacPhail on record as saying no major payroll upgrades are coming in July--which means no Scott Rolen. It will be another fun, eventful, back-page-dominating season in Wrigleyville. It just won't be a championship season.

But then, Cubs fans are used to that.

Iwritecode
03-05-2002, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by cheeses_h_rice
[B]I'll be out of town from Friday through Monday, but I'll return Monday night to update the totals over the weekend. By then, you have to figure that the Sox will merit at least ONE column, right? I mean, doesn't the Moron have to come out and get one last big dig in at David Wells, at the very least?

I'm sure once the Moron lurks on this site and sees this post he will spit out a line or 2 about the Smut Sox...

Iwritecode
03-05-2002, 10:55 AM
I just read the article. You gave this a 3 Cheeses? That's pretty generous IMO. Other than Sosa and Lieber, he shows absolutely no optimism about the team. It's almost like it was written by a Sox fan. Check out some of the quotes:

"Ooze optimism. Sprinkle ''Holy Cow!'' and ''Hey, Hey!'' into conversations. Spread faith that no god could make a team suffer 100 years without a championship. Devise a theory why the Cubs finally will win a pennant and play in a World Series this season. I gave the thought process an entire day to develop, through 19 runs, 33 hits and five errors of a torturous exhibition game. And even so, I came to a familiar conclusion.

This isn't the year, either."

I knew that last year...


"Everything has to break right for the Cubs to beat out the Cardinals in the division and, for that matter, an impressive group of wild-card contenders that include the fortified Mets and Braves. And with history as my proof, riddle me this: When has everything ever broken right for the Cubs?"

Ouch.

"It hit me funny to hear Don Baylor, who enters the third year of a four-year contract and is one disappointing season from having Cubdom call for his hide, speak so proudly of a rather modest goal. ''Not since the 1971-72 seasons has this franchise had back-to-back winning seasons,'' Baylor said, ''and this year, we're going to break the streak.'' Wow, back-to-back winning seasons! Talk about living on the edge. Print that on a T-shirt and sell it in Wrigleyville."

That's funny. Although it's a fact I doubt most Cub fans realize so I really doubt they will be calling for Baylors head after this season.

"Unlike most Cubdom zealots, who braved the cold last month to form long ticket lines around the ballpark, I want this organization to prioritize the World Series as Job 1. The Tribsters haven't done that yet and probably never will."

Does this confirm that he is actually a Cub fan?

"Andy MacPhail has done well to create an air of respectability, but there's still too much in-house emphasis on fighting with rooftop owners, raising ticket prices and increasing that all-important profit margin. The payroll, currently 11th among big-league teams, still isn't what it should be for a corporation as large as the Tribune Co."

At least he realizes the goal of the Cubune. Who cares about winning, look at all the money we are making!

"The Cubs only want to contend long enough to keep Wrigley Field filled with beer drinkers. If they happen to make the playoffs, it's gravy in their eyes."

I've seen this exact quote by many Sox fans. Why is Jay saying it?

"The team strengths, of course, can be staggering in their impact. Protected by Fred McGriff and Alou, Sosa can have his most monstrous season yet and improve the team's seventh-place standing in runs scored. If Lieber is backed by a healthy Kerry Wood, a maturing Juan Cruz, a consistent Jason Bere and a quick-study Mark Prior, look out. And in the bullpen, few teams have a ready-made closer like Kyle Farnsworth if Gordon flames out."

Ahh, there's that Cubbie optimism we all know and love. Just in case we forgot who was writing this article.

cheeses_h_rice
03-05-2002, 11:16 AM
Well, if you think that article was negative, I can't imagine what you make of his Sox articles.

He writes, "They are Cubs fans, and when the temperature is 72 and the skies are Cubbie Blue and the beer man is shouting ''Old Style'' on a March afternoon, you try to think like them." Really? Has Jay ever in his life tried to "think like" Sox fans?

And how about this remark, obviously meant as a subtle dig at the Sox: "It will be another fun, eventful, back-page-dominating season in Wrigleyville." Please, tell me that the Moron would ever write that about the White Sox.

What he's saying is that, sure, the Flubs won't win their division this year, but that they still have glorious Wrigley Field and amazing Sam-ME Sosa, and there's not a chance in hell that the Flubbies WON'T be dominating the "back-page"s of Chicago papers (read: the Sun-Times).

It's like he acts as if the Sox don't exist, like they're the equivalent of the Chicago Wolves to the Blackhawks. You're not insulted by this?

Iwritecode
03-05-2002, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by cheeses_h_rice
Well, if you think that article was negative, I can't imagine what you make of his Sox articles.

He writes, "They are Cubs fans, and when the temperature is 72 and the skies are Cubbie Blue and the beer man is shouting ''Old Style'' on a March afternoon, you try to think like them." Really? Has Jay ever in his life tried to "think like" Sox fans?

And how about this remark, obviously meant as a subtle dig at the Sox: "It will be another fun, eventful, back-page-dominating season in Wrigleyville." Please, tell me that the Moron would ever write that about the White Sox.

What he's saying is that, sure, the Flubs won't win their division this year, but that they still have glorious Wrigley Field and amazing Sam-ME Sosa, and there's not a chance in hell that the Flubbies WON'T be dominating the "back-page"s of Chicago papers (read: the Sun-Times).

It's like he acts as if the Sox don't exist, like they're the equivalent of the Chicago Wolves to the Blackhawks. You're not insulted by this?

I'm not insulted by his ignoring the Sox as much as when he blatantly trashes them. The thing about this article is that even though a few paragraphs reminded you who was doing the writing, a lot of it was negativity about the Cubs. Usually everything he writes would make you believe that the Cubs are looking to repeat the division championship for the next five years and that Sammy Sosa will break all offensive records...

Chisox353014
03-05-2002, 05:54 PM
This was pretty even-handed by his standards, although I have seen him rip the Trib before. My guess is he's just hedging his bets against the unbridled optimism in Flubbie-Land. If (when) the Flubs fall flat again, he can say "see, told you so!" Of course if they do well, he'll be elbowing his way onto the bandwagon with a quickness again.
I noticed that he is writing these articles from Arizona. I wonder what the chances are that he'll swing by Sox camp for a few columns on his way back home?

Cheeses, have you been hacking into my cherry-colored iMac?

LOL! During the Olympics, he ran a sort-of 'day in the life' column which mentioned that he uses a blueberry Powerbook. Since I am an ardent Mac supporter, I took that as a sign that he actually does have a couple of functioning brain cells after all :)

FarWestChicago
03-05-2002, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by Chisox353014
LOL! During the Olympics, he ran a sort-of 'day in the life' column which mentioned that he uses a blueberry Powerbook. Since I am an ardent Mac supporter, I took that as a sign that he actually does have a couple of functioning brain cells after all :) Uhhh, the fact Moronotti uses a Mac is VERY BAD for the Mac community. "Hey everybody, morons use our computers!" I'm not saying you guys are morons. But, you are being associated with the King of Morons. And don't try that he's a moron except for his taste in computers stuff. :smile:

Tragg
03-06-2002, 08:58 AM
I hope that count stays at "Sox 0". Who wants Moron writing Sox articles. That's like wishing for Fox to assign the Chimp to Sox games.
Forget it.