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Tom Ricketts & Theo Epstein Should Be Thrown In Jail For Giving Away Sammy Sosa's Number To Tony Kemp (And Other Cubs Notes)

I can’t imagine a better place to start this blog because I feel it’s been so rare for me to kick things off with good news. Usually I’m reeling from a series loss or bitching about ineffectiveness on the road, lack of investment in the bullpen and obviously material deficiencies throughout the Cubs’ farm system. I mean that’s been the lowest hanging low-hanging-fruit in recorded human history / this MLB 2nd half. The Cubs had their weaknesses and it was finally catching up:

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 12.22.43 PM

That’s 3-7 in some very win-able games and a chief reason that Cubs’ fans were not too thrilled coming into last weekend.

Then this happened:

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 12.23.16 PMAnd we get sucked right back in like we just hit our first nice drive of the day on the 15th hole and we finally have our swing figured out. It’s the reason we keep coming back. The reason we day dream about watching baseball alone on the couch. It’s dark in your apartment because the sun set over 45 minutes ago but you haven’t realized because Joe Maddon’s about to make his 3rd pitching change of the night. You’re pissed. It’s not until you get up to take a piss that you realize it’s Wayyyyyyyy later than you thought. You remember you have to be at work in 10 hours which is only made more depressing by the fact that you’re still wearing the day’s business casual and the Cubs are tied after 6 innings. God forbid they go extras and you get 4 hours of sleep. God fucking forbid that happens.

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That’s being a Cubs fan right now. All of us are putting in night after night of following the team and they’re taking us through peaks and valleys not yet seen on the north side. I mean really, honestly and sincerely – we don’t know what’s going on.

This marks the 5th straight season since 2015 that we should be dialed in to the team in August. But if you go back to 2015, it was pure bliss. We were competitive and whatever happened was better than the last 8 years. Then 2016 came and it was a whirlwind to the finish line. Blink and you’re world series champs. Then 2017 – slow start but absolute juggernaut in the 2nd half and a seamless division title only to lose in what looked like a conquerable NLCS. Then the 2018 collapse no one took seriously. None of that has been real life to be honest. Each and every one of those seasons was painfully unique.

2019 is much more realistic to me. Ups and downs. Slumps and bursts. Extremely difficult schedule and loads of pressure from fans and media. I mean for all intents and purposes, this season… this consistent feeling of What The Fuck Are We Doing… is much closer to what we can expect the long-run. Like 2015 wasn’t really happening. 2016 was a dream. 2017 was basically unchallenged until the playoffs. 2018 is wiped from my memory.

It’s the years like 2019 that I need to confront and figure out how to deal with and to that – we’re figuring it out in real time. One week ago I was the most confused person on the planet. Now we’re back to feeling like we’re worth a shit.

This is just my longwinded way of saying Get Used To It. Theo & Co. have been telling us forever that being good at this is a lot harder than Cubs fans make it out to be. And now, after all the ups and downs going back to the early Rizzo days are we able to understand firsthand what they mean.

Yes, 162 is a lot of baseball.

Yes, it’s impossible to feel good for all 162.

But also Yes, we’ve been through enough as a fan base to say we wouldn’t have it any other way. In the words of John Dillinger I’M NOT GOING BACK TO THAT FUCKING BULLSHIT.

To the notes:

Well This Is Bullshit

I like Tony Kemp a lot. Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Twitter knows that I’m a big Tony Kemp supporter. Sue me I like heads up baseball and dynamic athletes on defense. Just the way I draw it up and Tony Kemp fits the bill.

That said.

We don’t just hand out 21 on the northside like it means nothing. In fact it’s basically reserved for our worst player each year since first giving it out again in 2007 to Jason Marquis

Tyler Chatwood (2018)
Mark Zagunis (2017)
Tommy Hunter (2015)
Junior Lake (2013-2015)
Scott Hairston (2013)
Joe Mather (2012)
Tyler Colvin (2010-2011)
Milton Bradley (2009)
Jason Marquis (2007-2008)

Sammy Sosa means something to everyone around here and almost all of us it’s positive. I’d go as far as 99.9% of Cubs’ fans that aren’t complete assholes have a favorable opinion of Sammy Sosa. And if we’re removing all the assholes from the equation, doesn’t that leave us with the part of the fanbase you actually want to appeal to? Or are we just dead set on sucking the life out of everything that was once cool about the Cubs

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Either way is fine by me. I just want to know if we’re going to be the kind of people that have dignity and honor their living legends.

Or are we going to be the sensitive bunch relying on a handful of minor transgressions to drive a bigger personal agenda that can be distilled as We Just Don’t Like Him.

HIM

HEEEM

Ian Happ Gets A Beef

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Ian Happ either strikes out or walks 48% of the time he gets into the batters box. That’s a lot, but at least it’s an even 24-24 split and that’s only through a handful of games and couple dozen appearances. Nevertheless, it’s important in the context of the pinch hit home run because he’s working his at-bats as deep as he can. So to work it to the 6th pitch then launch it off Mars is a big time move and should put some confidence behind his approach.

Lucky for Happ, he got 4 months in AAA to work on that approach which is showing some benefit now. For a long time people complained he should be on the major league roster because he’s better than Descalso (who isn’t right now) but honestly that’s a waste. Happ needed reps. He got his reps. And now he’s being called on to deliver. Good thing he’s got 4 months of reps to work off and not one start every third game.

Javy’s approach can best be described as See Ball Hit Ball and it leads to some amazing moments like last night. But it also means he’ll go 6 weeks and take 3 walks. Javy is your classic example of taking the good with the bad because the good is just soooooooooooo fucking good. And even that’s not doing it justice.

If you want to talk something that sucks, I present Anthony Rizzo singing live band karaoke.

No offense big fella but that almost made me puke whereas the news that Craig Kimbrel has a bum knee *ACTUALLY* made me barf just a little bit. Taste like hot giardiniera but I digress. Point is I’m not thrilled about this move at all.

Here’s the nice part though – the Cubs are 4-1 in August and have a chance to win a series tonight against the A’s. Every win with Craig and Contreras on the DL/IL is extra gravy. Like these will be the hardest games they win all year with them out and it being August and everyone on the schedule is trying to make the playoffs. Everyone’s out for blood and no one is fucking around.

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So it’s a good thing Nick Castellabos showed up. HOLY FUCK is this guy legit.

Tall. Lean. Big leg kick. Big swing. Lots of heads up baseball on the bases. Lots of Big Nick Energy like you read about. Everything you want in a major league at bat you’re getting it from Nick Castellabos and I for one am fucking here for it. To think two very average pitching prospects got him for us down the stretch at a time everyone is so uptight about trades is crazy. How come he didn’t land more?

Honestly I don’t know and I don’t care. Lots of people are suggesting the Cubs should think about signing him this offseason and I’m here to tell YOU to politely shut the fuck up. It’s been a week. I know I just gave him the kind of proverbial helmet washing you tell your grandkids about but just trust me on this. We got a lot of things to worry about right now and who is playing right field NEXT FUCKING YEAR isn’t one of them. Sorry. I don’t want to yell but I also don’t want to listen to stupid fucking arguments so here we are. Making the best of the situation and taking life one day at a time with Nick Castellabos.

Speaking of one thing at a time.

Amazing that Yu Darvish has walked 2 guys in his last 5 starts going back to July 3. It’s insane how much better he is and if you listen to Red Line Radio then you already know this version of Yu isn’t getting paid enough.

Think about that.

Yu Darvish has been sooooo much better than his contract over his last 5 starts.

Now imagine a time when anyone anywhere could have said that about Yu Darvish and the Cubs. Chances are it’s Never but here we are (again) talking about it.

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For the millionth time, it’s obvious Darvish hit a breaking point with his internal battle between control and command. And for those of you newbies at home, control is the ability to Not Walk A Hitter where as command is the ability to Throw It Where You Want.

They are not one in the same.

You can have Control without Command.  But you cannot have Command without Control.

Does that make sense? It should.

Darvish was being too fine with his pitches. Trying to command the shit out of everything which is pretty hard when talking about Darvish. His stuff is that nasty. It moves all over the place and he’s got a long delivery and all these things that make it hard for him to repeat pitches in consistent locations.

HOWEVER

His stuff is so fucking electric that when he backs away from Command and starts thinking about Control… I just want to get ahead and be aggressive… I don’t want to walk guys …. They need to earn their way on the bases …. well that’s a different conversation then I need to make my perfect pitch. And again, when it’s Yu Darvish, you don’t need to be perfect. You need to challenge people.

Why?

You’re fucking awesome!

Imagine being able to hit a golf ball 400 yards and instead you want to hit a cute 3iron. That’s Yu Darvish 2018 – June 2019. The last 5 starts he’s been letting the big dog eat in the strike zone and you see what that means for opposing lineups.

Finally. Jason Heyward. 

Champion. Leader. Jackhammer.

He looks leaner in all material respects. Physically he looks leaner but I also think you can see the weight of being the big name free agent is gone. Maybe 3 consecutively trending downward years does that. Maybe not. Either way I don’t give a fuck.

Jason Heyward has become the unseen, unanticipated spark plug this club needs so desperately. I could sit here and say about damn time or I could be honest and speak from the heart. I choose the latter.

Finally Part 2: We got a game tonight.

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