Cubs Managerial Candidate List

UPDATED UPDATE: Bob Brenly doesn’t want this job. Don Wakamatsu might. And that would be a lot of fun, hearing Ron Santo every day trying to say, “Joining me is the fine, fine manager of the Chicago Cubs, Don Waka . . . waka . . . kazmatsui.” So there are new names and newly crossed out ones. Can you feel the eternal hope springing up within you?

UPDATE: Several of your submissions have been added to the list, and to compensate we’ve narrowed down the search by eliminating a few names from contention.

Now that Fredi Gonzalez has declined the offer to become a contestant on The Manager, I thought this might be a good time for a brief rundown of the Cubs managerial search list. Here’s whose names have been added to (and in some cases removed from) the list:

Manny Acta
Dusty Baker
Bud Black
Bruce Bochy
Bob Brenly
Daren Brown
Bobby Cox
Richard M. Daley
Neil Diamond

Dryer Lint
The Edge
Brett Favre
Carrie Fisher

Terry Francona
Ron Gardenhire
Cito Gaston
The Gatorade Machine

Bob Geren

Kirk Gibson
Joe Girardi
The Cast of Glee

Fredi Gonzalez
Ozzie Guillen
Happy Fun Ball
Stephen Hawking
Todd Hollandsworth
A Kennedy
Jason Kobus
Tony LaRussa
Pat Listach
Jim Leyland
The Theme from Love Boat
Ken Macha
Joe Maddon
Charlie Manuel
Jerry Manuel
Jerry Mathers as “The Beav”
Bob & Doug McKenzie
Bob Melvin
Jillian Michaels
Brad Mills
Cookie Monster
My Left Foot
The Old Spice Guy
Regina Phalange
Albert Pujols
Mike Quade
Jim Riggleman
Edwin Rodriguez
Henry Rowengartner
John Russell
Jack Russell Terrier
Keri Russell’s Hair
Kurt Russell

The San Francisco 49’ers

Ryne Sandberg
Mike Scioscia
Michael Scott
Little Jerry Seinfeld
Tom Selleck
Buck Showalter
Sideshow Bob
Siegfried and Roy
Luke Skywalker
Oliver Stone
Steve Stone
Sachin Tendulkar
Joe Torre
Jim Tracy
Alan Trammell
Twinkie the Kid
Bobby Valentine
Garry Varsho
Don Wakamatsu
Ron Washington
Carl Weathers
Hunter Wendelstedt
Whoever it was that punched Perez Hilton
Billy Williams’ statue
Ronnie Woo
Ronnie Woo’s Dentist
Ned Yost
Carlos Zambrano
Don Zimmer

I’ll be sure to update this as names continue to be added and removed from consideration.

I Propose A Moratorium On PED Discussion Until Everyone Reads This

Bill James makes it plain why the purist hubbub over PEDs is revisionist myopia and why the federal investigation is just plain stupid.

Here’s a sample:

First of all, I have absolutely no doubt that, had steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs existed during Babe Ruth’s career, Babe Ruth would not only have used them, he would have used more of them than Barry Bonds. I don’t understand how anyone can be confused about this. The central theme of Babe Ruth’s life, which is the fulcrum of virtually every anecdote and every event of his career, is that Babe Ruth firmly believed that the rules did not apply to Babe Ruth.

It only gets better from there.

Almost forgot, h/t to mb21 @ ACB

Cubs Season Tickets Are for Chumps

All things considered, I’d rather be staring at my TV.

Don’t get me wrong (or do, it’s up to you), I love Wrigley Field. But I can’t go there 82 times a year (83 or 84 if you count the playoffs). I love the Cubs, but I don’t really want to watch more than 5-10 games in person during any given season. I just have no incentive for ever investing in any season ticket plan. There have been some great posts lately over at Tales from Aisle 424 and ACB on the bigger picture of ticket sales, but I wanted to look at the issue of ticket sales from an individual perspective. From my view, season tickets are for chumps.

I want to rule out one segment of season-ticket holders from the chump equation: those enterprising individuals or . . . enterprises who, in periods of high demand, exploit other chumps on the secondary ticket market either for profit or to subsidize or completely pay for their own Cubs game attendance. When the Cubs are winning and people are willing to pay double or triple face value through online purchasing platforms happily and conveniently facilitated by the Cubs organization, owning season tickets is as much a business as it is a leisurely experience. Come playoff time, I imagine the potential for profit is absolutely outstanding.

But the people who actually go to the majority of Cubs’ home games are suckers. It’s just not worth the expense, and I don’t understand why people are willing to spend so much money and time to watch the Cubs, even if they’re good.

As I said, I do love Wrigley and the Cubs. I do enjoy going to games. But here are some elements of the Wrigley Experience that make visiting with regularity unimaginable for me.

The Wrigley Hassle
Getting there is inconvenient. Whether you drive and park or take the train, a sojourn to Wrigley consumes an entire day, even if you don’t live in Indiana. For people who live within walking distance to the park or anywhere in the city, really, getting to Wrigley is easier than getting Ryan Theriot to swing at the first pitch. Even then, though, almost no one can expect attending a game to be less than a four-hour investment. Going to all 81 home games would take up two solid weeks of your year at the very least. For people outside the city it’s more likely a 5- or 6-hour excursion, which would take up almost 21 days of their summer. To me, that’s insane. Turning on my TV takes two seconds, and while I’m watching a game, I can get plenty of stuff done. Advantage: Home.

The Wrigley Price
My back-of-the-envelope calculations for the cost of a full season-ticket package, including the price of tickets, transportation, parking, concessions, and counseling, is an average of $10 million per person. The night-and-weekend packages cost roughly half that amount. Even if I could lower that expense into the low thousands, I still wouldn’t do it. If I’m going to drive downtown and spend 20 hours a week someplace, I’m expecting them to pay me. Watching on TV only costs the price of a satellite subscription and whatever furniture I break during losses. Advantage: Home.

The Figley Wrans
Most of my times at Wrigley have been pleasant. Irate and/or drunken idiots comprise the underwhelming minority of people in attendance at Wrigley Field, but I’d imagine that over the course of an entire season you have more than a few blessed moments of baseball spoiled by slurred speech, spluttered spit, and spilled suds. Or people who just use too much alliteration. Either way, sometimes I’d much rather watch alone or with my friends, family, wife, and/or sons unconfined by the so-called friendliness. Advantage: Home.

The Wrigley Experience Playoff Edition
I know for a lot of people, the big payoff is the playoffs. The possibility of witnessing history, the foretold end of the Cubs’ century-long death grip on futility, is enough to make the daily grind of Wrigley attendance more than worth it. Personally, I don’t get it. I’m anxious enough watching the games at home listening to the dulcet tones of Dick Stockton (okay, that’s a major plus on the Wrigley side). I don’t need the added cardiac triggers of 40,000 agonizing screams every time a ground ball wends its way past a nervous infielder’s glove. I know it would be thrilling to see in person, but I just don’t have the constitution to brave my xenophobia through an epic fail with destiny on the line. Advantage: Home (however slight).

Maybe this makes me a bad fan. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe I’m too old to be having this conversation with you on my lawn. (Get off!) But in my eyes, people paying thousands of dollars to watch the Cubs on a daily basis are getting robbed. And, in the long run, they very well may be enabling the Cubs’ destructive addiction to losing.

Castro Returns, Quade Shuts Up. It’s About Time.

Enough said, indeed.

Two hours before the series finale of the Cubs/Astros series at Wrigley tonight, Gordon Wittenmyer tweeted this uncharacteristically abbreviated quote from Mike Quade about Starlin Castro’s return to the lineup:

Enough said.

If only Quade had taken that approach two days ago when he first benched Starlin. I had no problem with the benching, but he should have issued terse sound bytes to the media upon request instead of laying out a verbose smörgåsbord of ramblings about why Castro would be enjoying a paid vacation next to Alan Trammell. Some people loved the move. Others hated it. But I can’t imagine anyone was impressed by the stuttering overdose of the blah blahs.

Who am I to talk? I know. But I don’t have the problem of the Chicago sports media hanging on my every poorly chosen word. Quade won’t have that problem for long, either, especially if he can’t learn to appear at least a little professional in front of the press.

Oh, wait . . . I forgot who his boss is.

Dignity. Always dignity.

Samardzija, I Hope Quade Starts Ya

A plethora? Ah . . . no.

Let’s get something out of the way right now: I should be sued for that awful headline. I apologize, but I’m not so sorry that I’m willing to put in the effort for a better one. The good news is, I’m putting twice as much effort into the rest of the post, so hang on to your hat!

Jeff Samardzija is back on the Cubs’ AAAA team, mostly because the AAA team ran out of games. Bruce Levine blogged about Spellcheck’s back-and-forth journeys between the majors and minors and the bullpen and starting rotation. He mentioned his hopes that Samardzija remain as a starter, and I’d just like to echo them. First, let’s see what Mike Quade has to say on the subject, since it’s probably his decision, more or less:

A start’s in the offing for him, and we’ll just have to see.

Okay, I don’t know what that means. I think I need Old Hoss Radbourn to translate. Let me just say that if a start isn’t in the offing for Jeff Samardzija, I’d like to give Quade what for! Here’s another quote from Carrie Muskat’s aforelinked article on the recent call-ups:

The right-hander could start, but the Cubs do have an overload of starters now.

I must disagree with Muskat here. I would not say the Cubs have an overload of starters, nor do they have a plethora.

It would be more accurate to say the Cubs have a plethora of bullpen arms masquerading as starters, and I don’t see the harm in adding one more to the mix. Samardzija hasn’t exactly accrued a plethora of Major League starts. (I need to stop saying “plethora,” so I can stop typing in this ridiculous accent.) He has two starts on the big league level for a total of 8 1/3 innings.

The Cubs don’t need another bullpen arm for this season. If Samardzija shows promise as a starter, let’s see it now. Give post-heart-surgery Silva some additional rest. Move the third-generation Coleman back to the bullpen. Go to a 10-man rotation. I don’t care. Just don’t move Samardzija back to the bullpen until it’s absolutely necessary.

Confidence isn’t everything. You still have to be able to pitch well to succeed as a Major League starter, but Samardzija has shown he has the arm to pitch. If he can gain some big-league confidence, he could be a valuable addition to the rotation. If Quade sends him to the pen, his bruised ego might prevent him from being even a decent middle reliever.

And I think Quade would be in the offing . . . whatever that means.

Will You Never Learn?

Damnation is a Way of [L]ife too

The nice thing about being friends with Cubs fans is that they never learn. They’re like Wile E. Coyote. The World Series is their Road Runner. They keep thinking they’re going to catch that damn bird, and it’s pretty funny to watch them die a hundred gruesome deaths.

Every year I make a bet with Adam that the Sox will win more games than the Cubs. Last year, he won and I had to wear a Cubs hat to work. This year, he’s conceded* and let me repay the indignity by posting on his Cubs blog. I already feel dirty being here, so I’ll make this short and sweet before taking three consecutive showers and then watching the Sox dismantle the Tigers for their eighth consecutive win.
I just have one question for you: why? Why the hell do you keep watching this (as Bob Brenly so eloquently put it) dead-ass team? The organization is a joke. And I’m not speaking as a Sox fan here, I’m telling you as an objective observer that the rest of Major League Baseball looks down on the Chicago Cubs as a pathetic joke of a franchise. Adam’s argument is that once the team wins it all, the celebration will be the biggest in the history of the planet. And when the Coyote catches the Road Runner, he’s going to be ecstatic. There’s just one problem: Neither. Will. Ever. Happen.
You know this, right? I assume if you possess the powers of literacy, you’re intelligent enough to know impossible from possible. The Cubs will never win a World Series. You will never celebrate. So why are you still a fan?
No love,
Dante the Infernal Sox Fan
*Technically, the Cubs could run the table and finish with 84 wins, and the White Sox could never win again and stay stuck at 77 wins. Even Adam has the good sense to acknowledge it ain’t happening.

What Could You Possibly Want to Hear About the Cubs?

Bob Newhart waking up with Ryan Theriot to discover 2010 has been a dream? I’d take that.

I’m at a loss. I seriously have no idea what would constitute welcome Cubs news at this point. Cubs lose and help their draft position? Meh. Cubs win 10 in a row? Even meh-er. Starlin Castro hits ten straight homers? Yeah, that would be better than Starlin Castro makes a fool of himself and gets benched, but not by much. The baseball, by the reflexive property of suckiness, is what it is.

I could make fun of this team, but this entire season has been a joke, and it’s no longer funny. It’s like watching Aaron Miles hit all day long. At some point, wryly observing that he’s not good just becomes overkill and any sane person would turn their attention to something else.

I could talk about next year, but the effects of the 2010 Kool-Aid wore off for pretty much everyone by June. We’ve been talking about next year so long, I’m already anxious for 2012.

Talk of the managerial search makes me want to drag my teeth on asphalt.

The wave making a comeback at Wrigley yesterday didn’t even anger me. It’s not even fun watching the White Sox fans get their hopes up, knowing full well they’ll be utterly disappointed by season’s end. It’s just mildly enjoyable.

I don’t know why I feel this strange duty to keep posting. I think everyone is done. And I haven’t the slightest idea what would possess anyone to say, “Hey, I want to read something about the Cubs!” If such an urge strikes you, please let me know.

Ernie Banks joins the Cubs

Here’s a pretty cool fan video taken at the Cubs Press Pass All Access event at Wrigley Field on August 29. Ernie Banks tells some great stories about his first time at Wrigley (Is this all there is?), his father paying him to play catch with him for the first time, and the fans actually booing him at the event (in good fun . . . I think). Good stuff, and thanks to shellie619 for the video.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

What Harry asks for, Harry gets.

I taunted all of Twitter about the fact that I was about to enjoy some Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and they weren’t. Doc Blume said he’d love to find a recipe. So since no one cares how much I hate the Mets, I figured I’d deliver something of use. (Harry Pavlidis wanted me to make sure to include a poorly photoshopped image of Soriano in a chef’s hat. I aim to please.)

Here it is, slightly modified by my wife from a recipe you can find in its original form on

2 Eggs
1 cup Mashed Ripe Bananas
1/3 cup Oil
1/4 cup Milk
2 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips in medium bowl and set aside. Mix eggs, bananas, oil, and milk in large bowl until well blended. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Bake 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature. Cut into 18 slices to serve. Or just eat it all, whatever.

Ten Reasons I Hate the Mets

Playing the Mets feels like a punch to the crotch. Just ask Santo.  

This season has been brutal to watch, painful to listen to, and arduous to describe. It’s no picnic coming up with something to write about this team on anything resembling a daily basis, not that you care. Really, you don’t. As a collective group, the Chicago Cubs fan base crossed the Care Barrier more than a month ago. I’m not writing about this team out of a belief that people care, I’m writing out of obsessive compulsion.

If I’m to lure you to be likewise obsessed and compelled to the point of actually reading something here, I have to get unethically manipulative creative. So I turn to the wisdom of the wizard of direct-response marketing: Denny Hatch. Denny is an astute business man who knows, among a panoply of other business success secrets, how to trigger the emotions of his audience to move them to the point of action. His arsenal of instigation includes seven emotional catalysts guaranteed to push people’s buttons: fear, greed, guilt, exclusivity, salvation, flattery, and anger.

Fear is played out with Cubs fans. Day baseball at Wrigley might be putting the Cubs at a disadvantage and dooming us to centuries of failure, but that’s just one monster of many lurking in the shadows. Greed is a chord best strummed in the spring when fans hope to get their tickets and have their money, too. Guilt is best explored during the holidays, because that’s what all the celebration is meant to cover up, isn’t it? Exclusivity? I’ll leave that to people who think the bleachers is a country club from which the $10 crowd should be banned. Salvation? Not until Bobby Scales comes back. I have completely abandoned flattery. That leaves me with anger, so I’ll muster all I have for the Mets.

Fortunately, I hate the Mets, so there’s a lot of anger to muster. Why do I hate the Mets? I’m so glad I asked on your behalf.

Ten Reasons I Hate the Mets

10. They suck.
9. 1969
8. They let their cats wander out into the on-deck circle.
7. I’m still mad about their fake prospect who could throw 163 mph.
6. They play in New York.
5. Blue and orange? Really?
4. Dwight Gooden
3. I just do.
2. That stupid home-run apple
1. My mom always told me that when a New York Met wore a C on his jersey, it stood for “Cocaine.”