So the Cubs lost. Honestly, I kind of expected that. They never had a good bullpen, and you don't win World Series' by forcing your best pitchers to go eight innings. Six innings, then bring in middle relief. But the Cubs have never had good middle relief, and no true closer since they let Lee Smith go back in the late 80's. Neither have the White Sox.
So what do you do? Well, Greg Maddux should be available. Sign him to a two-year contract, and let him teach Wood and Prior how to place their pitches. Let him encourage Clement and Zambrano to do better, too. Imagine that lineup. I'm sure if Maddux had pitched game 5 instead of Zambrano, we'd be gearing up for that Series.
Corey Patterson should be back next year. But what about second and short? Two problem areas which need to be addressed. Third base has always been a question mark, but give Martinez a shot at it. Mueller was average, then went to Boston and became awesome. Let's see if Martinez can do the same after leaving Pittsburgh. Truthfully, I think the Cubs overachieved this year. Second place in the division would have been a nice improvement. Houston shouldn't have collapsed, but they did. Wonder what the Astros fans will blame that on? In contrast, the White Sox are a year away, too, and finished right where they should. If Kenny Williams tweaks a bit more here and there (like getting some decent relief pitchers), the Sox will be in the playoffs next season. And maybe we'll get that Red Line series after all..
And finally, fix the middle and late relief problems. No way should Mark Prior be throwing 125 pitches. Get some people who can get the job done. Now.
And stop blaming Steve Bartman and the goat for all your problems. And Cub fans, do me a couple of favors. Stop whining about "XX years of frustration" and next year, when the Cubs get to the NLCS, act with a little more class. Etiquette says you don't dance in the streets until after you've won the Series. Everything else looks laughably pathetic. You want to be champions, then act the part. I'm not saying it isn't cause for celebration when your team advances, but what went on here after the season clincher and game 5 of the NLDS was overboard.
And remember, it's not over until the last out of the last game. Tuesday was pathetic. The fans and the media here were talking about how Prior and the Cubs were going to the Series, etc. with one little problem - the game hadn't started yet. No doubt several articles from the Sun-Times and Tribune were tacked up in the Marlins' locker room as motivation (for evidence, see Pudge Rodriguez' reactions in the 8th inning of Tuesday's game - you think he didn't read those articles and get pissed?).
More Cubs tales:
As I left my apartment for class Tuesday, one woman had the audacity to walk up to me and ask me where I was parked so she could have my parking space (this despite the fact that the area is clearly marked as a permit only zone). I told her I was taking the 'L' (which I was). She looked pissed.
Wednesday, I had to endure a ride on the Red Line with five drunk teenagers (think fourteen, not nineteen), one of whom loudly shouted "CUBBIES!" over and over. His friend laughed and said, "you're funny when your drunk, dude," to which he replied, "I can't watch the Cubs when I'm sober, man - they piss me off." They were headed up to Addison - to do what, I don't know, because they weren't even in the area code of being old enough to enter a bar. One of the three girls in the group was chattering on her cell phone with a friend, and became upset when she found out that the Cubs were losing 7-5. C'mon people. It's just a baseball game. Sheesh....
Lastly (on the Cubs theme, anyway):
When you're walking/driving through my neighborhood, please be polite. If it's after 11 on a weeknight, be quiet. We have jobs we have to go to in the morning. Even if you're not going to yours, others don't get that option. And you wouldn't like it if we did what your doing in our neighborhood in yours, so be considerate of our property as well. Thanks.
I have a job. Well, I have two, really. One which pays, one which doesn't. But they're both interesting, and I'm excited about both. And they're both legally-related, and full of networking opportunities. So I've got that going for me. (Note to Marty Stark: One's with Big Law. This should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes....email me if you want to know who)