One week. It has been one week since that quiet train ride home from Wrigley Field. It was weird. Pistol Pete and I went down to Wrigley early, taking the 11:30 train down. We worked hard to get the fans pumped up; yelling, screaming, a snake with a noose around its neck. Wrigleyville was crowded, and a bunch of my friedns were in the area just to soak in the vibe on a beautiful Chicago day. Myself, Pete, Pokey, Campy, Crawly Sr, and a whole bunch of Cubbie faithful gathered at Bernie’s and other watering holes praying the Cubs would extend their season. The Cubs did a nice pregame, with some Cubs history and Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, threw out the first pitch. But apparently Rich Hill didn’t get the memo that Chris Young can only hit fastballs, and Young took that first pitch fastball and quieted the crowd quickly. The Cubs hit into double play after double play, and the party never really got started. My dad and I watched quietly as the Dbacks celebrated on our field. The weird thing about another team winning a playoff series on your field is that it is so quiet you can hear the opposing team hooting and hollering. Nothing like a little salt in the wounds.
Play Like There’s No Tomorrow?
It was funny that this was the marketing slogan that the Cubs came up with this season. It was Opening Day that the Tribune announced that the Cubs were going to be sold. So, with the future of the Cubs up in the air, it really had a lot of meaning. Now the Cubs are uncertain who will own the team and who will stay or go. Not just players, but management too. John McDonough, who got the Cubs to the playoffs in his first year as president, has been with the team since 1984. Is he gone? Jim Hendry, who has been with the Cubs 13 years, what about him? Scott Eyre, Cliff Floyd, Keerry Wood, Jason Kendall, Steve Trachsel, and Daryle Ward are all free agents. Will Floyd retire? Will the Cubs pick up the options on Eyre, Wood, or Ward? What about the young kids? Pie, Theriot, Fontenot, Soto, what part will they play on the team? Lot’s of questions that don’t have any easy answers.
Lots of rumors have already started. The biggest is about possible ownership of the Chicago Cubs, one of the premier franchises in all of sports. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Mark Cuban will never ever buy the Cubs. Not as long as Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf have their way. John Canning, chairman of the private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC and a longtime friend and business associate of Commissioner Bud Selig, heads one group of investors. Chicago financier Lou Weisbach in putting together another group that will try to buy the Cubs.
The Return of Stone
Yes, every Cub fans dream may come true. Steve Stone may return to the Cubs, but unfortunately for all Cubs and Stoney fans, it would not be as a GM or in the radio booth. Stone would like to have significant input in the team’s decision-making process without the title of a top executive.
The Return of Johnny B. Baker
One of the teams that the Cubs have struggled with the last few years has been the Cincinnati Reds. Luckily, our old friend Dusty Baker has just been signed as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. It will be fun to see him run them into the ground. Cincinnati Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman had some choice words about Dusty in 2004, the season in which the team battled with many broadcasters. Kind of a shock considering interim manager Pete Mackanin posted a 41-39 record after Jerry Narron was dismissed on July 1. Plus the Reds were so banged up by the end of the year, losing Dunn, Griffey, and many others. The Cubs play Dusty and the Reds on April 15th for a three game series at Wrigley.
Lots of rumors have been flying about the possible firing of Yankees manager Joe Torre. One rumor has the Yankees firing Torre to hire Lou Pinella. Wouldn’t be the first time that Pinella has bolted a team he was under contract with early.
As you can see, there is a lot that will be happening over the off season, so keep checking back for all the latest Cubs news.