March 2006 Archives for Agony & Ivy
Well, there is going to be a lot of indignation over the Wrigley Field bleachers being knighted the Bud Light Bleachers. That's right, friends, Anheuser-Busch has sent its marketing gallantry out from St. Louis abroad to conquer and pillage, and the Wrigley Field bleachers are officially plunder. The press release has been issued. Expect lots of indignation, that's for sure, and I'm writing now to say one thing: it's righteous indignation.
If I didn’t already have a headache this morning when I started reading the last 40 pages of Cubs Nation by Gene Wojciechowski, I would have gotten one soon enough. It’s Wojciechowski’s game by game account of the 2004 season, and it’s well written. We all just wish there would have been a different ending. It was painful to relive those blown games and sideshow theatrics. We’d just as soon forget losing 4 out 5 down the stretch in September, and Sosa skipping out early, and the fallout of Steve Stone & Chip Caray.
My argument concerning the book, however, is that in the end Wojciechowski could have done something to alleviate some of that pain by answering a simple question: Why bother? Why spend so much time following this team? Was it worth it?
Well I finally surfaced back in the normal world after a 5 day music bender for the South by Southwest conference and festival, just in time to find several hundred comment spam here on Agony & Ivy, and nothing but bad news elsewhere in Cubdom as the storyline is injuries yet again.
Conspiracy theories surround Mark Prior once again, or around the organization regarding Prior, except now they seem like more than theories even if they’re not quite facts yet either. Prior is hurt and the “I told you so’s” have the upper hand. As far as I can tell, the only thing keeping everyone’s minds off of Prior was when Todd Walker stuck his foot in his mouth, which led to everyone trying to figure out what he & Baker were saying about each other because we’re all desperate for the drama to end with a productive second baseman in the lineup. There was that and also the WBC, in which the US came up lame, hollowing out our explanations about how it’s not a real champions tournament anyway because now that they lost these sound more like sore-loser excuses than criticisms.
I’ll get right to the point: how come no one is suggesting that Derrek Lee will replicate his production from last season?
Everywhere I read, the idea is that we shouldn’t count on Lee to do it again, because that was a career season, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Maybe that’s right, and certainly there’s no way we should expect such great numbers, being that they were exceptional in every sense of the word. It was the best season ever put up by a Cubs first baseman, I’d suggest, even if that still wasn't enough to keep some people from becoming entirely negative towards the Cubs and Jim Hendry and whomever else. (Partially negative, OK, because they definitely underachieved; but entirely might be a bit overboard, don't you think?)
First bad meant good, then da bomb, then phat, and now sick, so as far as I can tell the whole culture is going to hell and there ain’t nothin’ we can do about it. The latest evidence? My DVR recorded the U.S. vs. Canada WBC game, and after Cuba finally won their extra innings thriller ESPN cut over to the U.S. game just in time for the Americans to fall behind 7-0. But that’s not the issue: the issue is that the fans were booing them.
My TiVo recorded the exhibition game on Sunday, and when I settled in to watch for a little while that evening, the first thing I saw was Jerry Hairston’s at bat, and within 30 seconds he was beaned and on the ground. So there it is, I thought. That's how this season is going to go. Mark Prior will never throw again, Kerry Wood will never walk again, and Jerry Hairston is down for the count. Add that to the fact that Greg Maddux is better off throwing in Advil commercials than major league games, Aramis Ramirez is too fragile to play in the WBC, and Dusty Baker just threw the newspaper at the wall because he got stuck on a Kids’ Jumble (ROOIKE stumped him), and I figure the Cubs will be lucky to win 62 games.