The Shocking Truth: The Cubs Are Us

The Cubs are people! They’re made out of PEOPLE!!!!  

The Cubs are people, and I don’t mean they are a team comprised of human beings. They are that, but . . . no to the duh. I’m saying the Cubs consist of a litany of metaphors for people just like you or me or that guy who keeps sniffing his fingers on the train. It’s like the Cubs assembled a motley cast of unremarkable human beings and, instead of putting them all in a house for a reality show, they processed, amalgamated, and packaged them into a baseball team.

The Cubs are people. The Cubs are you. If any of these statements don’t apply to you, just look over your shoulder. Somewhere lurking behind you is the statement’s intended recipient.

You don’t like your job, and you dream of finding a better one. But you know tomorrow you’ll be right back in that cubicle. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are  you.

You’d like a bigger house, but at the end of the day you know what’s really important is the people that make life special. Achieving your wildest dreams would be nice, but enjoying life wherever you are is what counts. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You know that sometimes the only way to address your problems is to self-medicate, be the prescription alcohol, narcotics, or donuts. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You want to lose weight. But if losing weight means sacrificing the things you enjoy most, you’d rather be fat. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You want to get rich. The best way to make that happen, by your judgment, is to play the lottery. Somebody’s gotta win it all, right? Might as well be you! And by you, I mean the Cubs.

You see that person. You’re attracted to him or her. You’d like to go out, get married, grow old together. You imagine it all happening, but it never does. I now pronounce you the Cubs.

You want to learn to play the guitar. You get really good at Rock Band. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You have tons of work to do. You spend your time talking about baseball. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you. You are me.

You don’t like that person. You’d like to tell him or her off. You think of an excellent rant in your head. You post it anonymously on a message board after telling the true object of your ire to have a nice day. You are the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You don’t like the current regime that governs over you. You complain about it. You vow to vote for the other person. You’d never in a million years get involved in politics. You expect that eventually things will go your way. You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You have bad luck, so what’s the point? You’re the Cubs. The Cubs are you.

You are charming. Almost everyone likes you. Too much success would probably just spoil that. I recognize you from somewhere. I think I saw you play at Wrigley yesterday.

Every time the UPS truck drives by your house, you look out eagerly, hoping it will stop at your door. You didn’t order anything. In the event a package does arrive, go ahead and sign as “The Cubs.”

You watch romantic comedies and wonder if your life will ever be that romantic or that funny. Maybe if you’re Jennifer Aniston it will. But you’re not Jennifer Aniston. You’re the Cubs.

You believe in something. Anything. And you know that deep down, that’s enough. And let me tell you . . . you’re right. Especially if what you believe is that you are the Cubs and the Cubs are you.

You never stop hoping, and you never start trying. YTC. TCAY.

You realize this post is overly cynical.
You realize this post is on the money.
You realize this post only begins to scratch the surface.
You’re angry.
You’re laughing.
You’re rolling your eyes.
You. Are. The. Cubs. TheCubsareyou.

You don’t care how stupid it is. It’s a game. It would be nice if they won. It won’t kill you if they don’t. Or maybe it will. Whatever. You know who you are.

Fukudome: Not Just for April Anymore

What’cha gonna do, brother, when Fukudomania runs wild on you, brother? 

Kosuke Fukudome has a career OPS of 1.004 in the month of April. This excellent track record of starting the season on fire has earned him the nickname “April Kosuke.” Unfortunately, that’s not a compliment. While his April accomplishments are praiseworthy, the moniker is more of an ironic mockery of his alter ego: MayJuneJulyAugustOrSeptember Kosuke. Unlike Rex Grossman, whose Good-Rex/Bad-Rex routine was far more erratic, Kosuke has been fairly good at limiting the offensive explosions to April, hence the name. Or has he?

I’ve heard Kosuke called a bust, a platoon player at best, a disappointment, and just another of Jim Hendry’s typical failed free agent signings. Kosuke praise has been sparse. I get the impression, and it’s a pretty well informed one, that Cubs fans and baseball fans in general view Kosuke as a guy who just can’t hit once the calendar turns to May. This year, according to what I hear, has been no exception.

One problem: that’s a load of crap. Here are Fukudome’s offensive splits by month in 2010 (obviously not including his three-hit, two-double performance to kick-off September):

April/March 24 16 80 13 5 16 13 .344 .443 .641 1.084 192
May 27 19 92 8 1 7 12 .253 .348 .367 .715 97
June 17 12 59 3 0 1 5 .189 .259 .226 .485 35
July 20 8 48 6 2 2 10 .162 .340 .324 .665 83
August 22 15 75 8 4 12 12 .365 .467 .651 1.117 207
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2010.

April was great for Fukudome, as usual. May was about average, a little lower perhaps. June was abysmal, but he also only started 12 times that month, due more to Tyler Colvin catching fire than to Kosuke cooling off. The lack of playing time carried over into July, a month that saw Kosuke at the plate fewer than 50 times. That said, he still managed a respectable OBP for the month (.340).

Kosuke’s August was outstanding, even better than his April. He ended August with an .835 OPS, good for 12th among NL outfielders and the best in the Cubs outfield (minimum 350 PA). His wOBA is .362, 11th among NL outfielders and, again, best on the Cubs. Kosuke has not hit the metaphorical wall we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him hit. He’s just hitting the unmetaphorical ball consistently . . . when he plays.

This isn’t a complaint that Kosuke should have been playing more. All four Cubs outfielders have been pretty bunched together statistically. Not one of them represents a drastic improvement over the others (again, this is more a positive than a negative, as they’ve all had better than average seasons on the whole). I just think people should take notice: Kosuke has had a good season, and he’s still going strong.

And as to the platoon argument: it’s hard to make one. For his career, he’s only had 252 career plate appearances against lefty pitching with below average, but not terrible, results (a .695 OPS). This year he’s actually been better against lefties than righties, though in only 34 PAs.

Kosuke should be pretty easy to trade at this point, although his salary is sizable. Any GM who isn’t at least a little bit interested in having Fukudome on his team (including Jim Hendry) just isn’t paying that much attention to what Kosuke has done this year.