Wednesday, September 01, 2004  
Rick Morrissey Strikes Again

As you know from some of my earlier posts, I really enjoy reading Rick Morrissey's writing. I generally get a nice laugh from it, and generally agree with it. I guess it also kind of helps that he did an interview for us as well. I didn't get a chance to talk about his latest Cubs post, but it was a great one. If you haven't read it, take a quick trip over and give it a read.
I don't intend to discuss his article, but rather some of the quotes and concepts he talks about because they are, in my opinion, worthy of being discussed. It seems that all year, all I have seen from the Cubs has been a bunch of whining, complaining, and begging for someone to throw them a pity party. "The Umps don't like us", "Our broadcasters don't like us", "We have too many injuries". All this complaining all year from all kind of different players. I am going to pull some block quotes from Morrissey's article and give my opinions on them.

On Friday, reliever Kent Mercker called the press box to complain about what he considered to be excessive praise of Houston's Roy Oswalt by WGN-TV announcer Chip Caray. In a daily double, Mercker also found time to scream at an umpire after the game.
I'm sorry, but if you have time to call up to a TV booth to chew out the announcers, you need to be using your time better. As a reliever, you have all the time in the world time simply sit, watch baseball and study hitters. These guys, more than any other players should be the most scholarly on every hitter in the Major Leagues. They should be able to know the hitters inside an out. As a result, because they pitch for such a short period of time, they should be able to have lower ERA's than starting pitchers due to the amount a hitter sees them. They rarely work through any part of a lineup more than once so hitters do not get much of a chance to see their stuff. Kent Merker, who is having a pretty decent year should be closing his mouth, studying the game and preparing for the situation. If he did that, he wouldn't have time to complain about Chippy and his annoying call of the game.
After a 7-6 Cubs loss Saturday, starter Carlos Zambrano complained about home plate umpire Eric Cooper's strike zone, never mind that it was Zambrano's error that helped give the Astros three runs. The carping has been a trend, to the point where the umpires view the Cubs the way most of us view ingrown toenails.
I watched this Zambrano play. Had he not blown that play, the Cubs win that game. Rather than transferring the blame, take it on yourself Carlos, be a leader. The umps didn't lose this game for you, you did that yourself. Umpires are not giving you calls because they are sick of your complaining shut up and maybe you'll get a few calls your way. I find it funny that one of the player who doesn't complain, Greg Maddux, is still getting calls to go his way. He gets strikes on the corner as he always has. Umpires respect him and will give him those calls. This Cub team needs to earn some respect first and then they will start getting the calls they are looking for.

I read this next section, in response to Pee Hands complaining that Chip and Stoney were not kind enough to the team in their broadcasts, and about rolled on the floor laughing. I would love to see Rick ask Moises if this is what he would like the broadcast to be like.
Here is what the Cubs apparently would like from Caray and Stone on TV:

Chip: "Alou strikes out on three straight pitches. The umpire really is jamming him, Steve. It's a travesty."

Steve: "Sure he swung on all three pitches, but you couldn't be more right, Chip. It's totally unjust. And let me take this opportunity to say that the city of Houston is a hovel."

Chip: "Sammy Sosa's .257 batting average is really deceiving. The great man is hitting .400 in my book."

Steve: "I hate the White Sox."
The fact of the situation is this. This team is not and has not played up to their full potential this year. Until they do, they need to keep their mouths shut about someone calling their game. Take what they say, pin it up in your locker and use it as a motivator. That's what old school players would have done.

Finally, good ole' Dusty "Magic Dust" Baker is always good for a laugh.
"There could be some merit to the players' complaints. We don't have no crybabies here. I don't think we have a team that's going to complain unjustifiably either. It appears there's more focus on what we haven't done in general vs. what we're doing and what we're accomplishing." ~ Dusty Baker
Ok, so let me make sure I have this correct. Dusty wants more emphasis on what the Cubs are accomplishing. Well, according to my calculations, their most recent accomplishments are as follows:
  • 8-0 loss to the hopeless Montreal Expos
  • Lost 4 out of last 5 games
  • Failure to capitalize on an easy schedule and distance from the pack in the wild card race.
Dusty, you ought to be like a proud father and hold that up for all the world to see. You must be so proud. At any rate, I will be expecting a call later tonight from Kent Merker telling me I too hard on the team. It's a good thing I have caller ID.

Guess who's back in the bigs

It seems that once highly touted Rick Ankiel is going to get another go round with the Cards. I am excited about seeing this happen. As much as I hate the Cards, something always interested me about this guy. I am curious to see what he does. If nothing else, he'll offer me some nice entertainment as I watch umpires duck out of the way of his wild fastball. What a nice September it's going to be.

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