I wish Chicago Sun-Times columnist Joe Cowley would stick to telling White Sox general manager Ken Williams how to do his job.
In Thursday's Sun-Times, Cowley, a former longtime White Sox beat writer, advised Cubs fans to not get their hopes up in regards to the North Siders signing St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. He suggested that any Cubs fan who dares dream of Pujols donning a Cubs uniform in 2012 should "pick up the nearest stapler and punch it into your chest to help snap you back to reality."
The improved play the Cubs demonstrated under interim manager Mike Quade during the season's final weeks (a 24-13 record) was encouraging but it doesn't change the fact that the 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster.
Heroes: Relievers Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow (1-3), Bob Howry and Tom Gorzelanny combined for five shutout innings..
Hero: John Grabow walked a batter, but faced the minimum four batters during his 1 1/3 innings of relief.
The Cubs game on Wednesday night was delayed for 18 minutes when the power went out at Wrigley Field and in parts of Wrigleyville. Here's what various members of the Cubs did to pass the time.
Hero: Sean Marshall entered in the bottom of the seventh with the Cubs clinging to a one-run lead, the bases loaded, and two outs. He escaped a mess that was created by John Grabow and Bob Howry, retiring Josh Hamilton on a soft liner to second baseman Ryan Theriot. Marshall also worked a hitless eighth while striking out two and lowering his ERA to 1.93. Marshall is 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA and has allowed just two hits while striking out 12 in 10 innings this month.
Truth sometimes can be stranger than fiction.
When I heard the rumor that the Cubs were close to signing 36-year-old free-agent reliever Bob Howry, I hoped that maybe it had originated at The Heckler.
Hero: Starlin Castro continues to impress. The 20-year-old rookie shortstop went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the fifth to raise his average to .375.
Hero: Tom Gorzelanny (2-4) worked 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and walking two while striking out five. Gorzelanny exited the game after he injured his finger while deflecting a Carlos Ruiz liner in the seventh.
Hero: "He's back!" Ron Santo exclaimed.
The jury is still out on that, but Aramis Ramirez picked an opportune time for his fourth home run of the season and first since April 15, slamming a two-run walkoff shot to left-center in the bottom of the 11th on a 1-and-0 pitch from Colorado reliever Matt Belisle (1-1).
It's become a daily exercise of the media and blogosphere to speculate on ways Cubs general manager Jim Hendry can improve his sorry bullpen.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors is the latest to chime in, but the solutions he suggests do not make this Cub fan's heart race.
Hero: Twenty-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro set a major league record with six RBI in his big league debut.
Hero: "Alfonso Soriano's locked in, ain't he?" Mark Grace asked Len and Bob while visiting the booth after his rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Hero: Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3, HR, 2B, 4 RBI) hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning off Arizona starter Rodrigo Lopez (1-1) that put the Cubs ahead to stay.
Hero: The first inning sank Tom Gorzelanny (0-3). The left-hander was outstanding, but was done in by the two runs he surrendered in the opening frame. Gorzelanny worked seven innings in all, allowing just five hits.