Monthly Archives: November 2016

IT’S A WRIGLEY WONDERLAND.

· Joe Sez · ,

MERRY-CUBSMAS-FROM-WRIGLEY-WONDERLAND

Hey there, yule logs. Welcome (almost) to the official start of the Cubsmas season, which is marked by the annual MLB winter meetings, not Thanksgiving, as most people think. I know that’s a monkey in the wrench for you traditionalists who believe that choking down a dried out bird, and fighting the unwashed masses on Michigan Avenue the day after, are somehow festive. But hey, far be it from me to judge. I’m just sayin’.

And while we’re on the subject, the Schlombowski’s don’t do turkey on turkey day either. In this household, if you’re gonna stuff something it better be a sausage casing, my friend. So every year I send away for an economy-size, special-Joe-version beef bunger and jam it with the most delectable processed meats known to man and Cubs fans alike. (That would cover everything except liverwurst. I mean it’s got ‘liver’ in the name, for chrisakes. And ‘wurst’! That stuff is not going in the temple that is my body. Alright, it’s more like a tool shed … I’ll give you that. But no liverwurst.) Anyway, so I do my Brancusi imitation on it so it kinda looks like a turkey. I do this to make the in-laws feel better. (Inheritance.) This, I should tell you, is not always successful. One year, for instance, my brother-in-law turned white as a soda cracker, and started ranting about how it looked like Jesus, phoned WGN, and an hour later 400 people and 3 news trucks were on the front lawn. And another year it was a dead ringer for Nixon. No kidding.

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WHERE DOES KRIS BRYANT GO FROM HERE?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News · , , , , , ,

SCARLETT-JOHANSSON-HOT-TUB 2

In the past four years Chris Bryant has loaded up his trophy case with the Collegiate Player of the Year, Minor League Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and now Most Valuable Player of the National League. The guy could put a True Value sign on his house with all that hardware. One question comes to mind: How in the hell to you top all that?! Personally, I think it would involve Scarlett Johansson and a hot tub full of whipped cream, but that’s just me. If I’m Kris Bryant — who’s less than half my age, much taller, way thinner and with movie star looks and all — I think I’d be talkin’ swimming pool instead of hot tub, and probably addin’ Charlize Theron and Salma Hyak to the roster. Talk about a Hall of Fame line up…

I digress. But who could blame me?

Anyway, I totally think KB deserved this year’s award. He was, in a couple of words, friggin’ awesome! What’s most amazing to me is that he’s just a kid, and has only been in the league for 2 years. Think about that.

Nevertheless, I can already hear Sport Illustrated, ESPN, Fox Sports and various other baseball prognostication epicenters yammerin’ out loud about how Bryant is headed for Cooperstown. Has he had a great four years? Let’s put it this way: If Donald Trump somehow puts together a string like that, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed and Hillary Clinton will be petitioning to have The Donald’s face added to Mt Rushmore. My point is this: Bryant has killed it for four consecutive years. No question … that’s amazing. But let’s wait to see how his career plays out before retiring his number. My beer mug runneth over with talking sports heads and their so-called expertise proclaimin’ this or that player as the next incarnation of Mickey Mantle, if not Jesus Christ himself. And how many times have they been right? I can count ’em on zero hands, my friend. I say, let’s enjoy Bryant bein’ Bryant, and hope that he doesn’t slip on the whipped cream and tear somethin’. Or that Theo doesn’t get attacked by aliens, who steal his brain … so he trades Bryant or somethin’. Or that Bryant doesn’t decide to pull a “Grant Desme” and give up baseball to become a Catholic priest. (We definitely gotta get him in that hot tub with Johansson, ASAP.)

As a former long suffering Cubs fan who’s now basking in the joy of a World Series Championship, I’m just happy that Bryant plays for the team that I’ve loved since I was old enough to pee. As far as the future goes, my fingers and toes are crossed, so that when Bryant is starin’ free agency in the face, he chooses to value Chicago more than his slime ball agent, Scott Boras, tells him he should. In the mean time, we have a friggin’ ass-kickin’ team, FULL of most valuable players as far as I’m concerned. One of ’em happens to be Bryant. I’d like to think where he, and the rest of the team, goes from here is right back to the World Series next year. And I don’t think that’s Skip Bayless-like hyperbole ($10 fancy word bonus!) at all.

Joe

DARK SIDE OF THE DEXTER FOWLER MOON.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , , ,

DEXTER-DARK-SIDE-2

Money, get back.
I’m all right, Jack, keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set,
And I think I need a Lear jet.

It’s difficult for me to grasp what goes on inside some people’s heads when it comes to money. After the best season of his career, playin’ a key role in the Cubs march to the cherry on top of the 2016 baseball season sundae, Dexter Fowler has declined his mutual option with the Cubs and will re-enter the free-agent market for next season. TRANSLATION: Show me the friggin’ money, baby.

Fowler’s option would gild his 2017 pockets with $17.2 million. Just to put it in perspective, let’s look at how that number breaks down, based on this year’s stats.

1) Fowler had 551 plate appearances in 2016. If he matched that next season, he’d be gettin’ $31,215.97 every time he stepped into the batter’s box. Hit, walk, pop out, weak ground ball to the pitcher, gettin’ beaned … whatever. $31,215.97 for just steppin’ up to the plate. Cha-ching. Just not enough ching for Fowler.

2) Dexter played in 125 regular season games this year. If he did that next season with the Cubs he’d get the following: 1) 37 days of hangin’ out at the ballpark and shootin’ the pies of cows with his buddies, in addition to regular off days. 2) $137,600 every single time he actually had to do somethin’ more than spittin’ sun flower seeds to help the team. 3) A real good chance at repeating this year’s championship. Is that good enough for Dexter? No, it is not.

3) Let’s say Fowler amassed another 126 hits next season like he did in 2016. His $17.2 mil would parse out to $136,507.94 for each and every one of ’em. Can you imagine that? I mean the crisp sound of your base hit being matched by 136,500 and almost 8 crisp one dollar bills! And that would not just be any sound, that would be a friggin’ 100 piece orchestra playin’ the 1812 Overture, my friend. Apparently not to Dexter’s ears, though.

4) In 2016, the big D recorded 216 put outs and had 6 assists. If the numbers were the same next year, that would be $76,444.44 for every out he had a hand in. I grant you, some of his catches were awesome … but $76 grand for every one? Even the cans of corn and the ones that come right to you and you don’t have to move even 1 inch? How do you turn that down?

You can slice this 17 million ways from Sunday, but no matter what, it always adds up to a number with 20 syllables. And yeah … the money is for all this stuff together, so you can’t really do a 1-to-1 compensation on a single stat. That said, I’m just tryin’ to paint a picture here that illustrates how friggin’ ridiculous this is.

Money, get away.
Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team.

I love Fowler, or at least I did until he started actin’ like Roger Clemens — a guy who would jump teams for an extra 50 cents and a couple vials of HGH without battin’ even one eyelash. Yeah … I totally get that baseball is big business these days, guys have short careers and need — a really, really subjective word — to make as much as possible while they can. But how much is enough? At some point, greed rears its Kardashian head and kinda craps all over whatever humanity was there before.

I understand that Dexter has probably earned a multi-year deal from somebody. It would be nice if it were the Cubs, who I’m sure aren’t gonna just let Fowler jump ship without first makin’ a serious offer. Based on what he said yesterday, though, I’m not sure we’re even in the running. “I’m definitely going to be a free agent, but hopefully it happens a little bit quicker than last year,” said the Cubs’ 30-year-old switch-hitting leadoff hitter. “You can’t control what goes on, but I loved my time in Chicago and I’m definitely not counting them out, but we’ll see what God has planned for us now.”

“Loved my time in Chicago” … past tense? What God has planned for you? KEY-RYST! When Custer was greeted by 11,000 Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Big Horn, THAT’S what you call findin’ out what God has in store for you. But purposely walkin’ away from a team that could very well compete for the Series over the next 4-5 years, just so you can make more than $17.2 million a year? Give me a friggin’ break. Dexter might as well just change his name to Gordon Gekko right now. The champagne smell isn’t even outta the locker room yet and Fowler is talkin’ about money. That’s one of those things that puts a red-hot, acid-coated burr in my hiney. Fowler is makin’ a choice. He’s not leavin’ it up to God or Buddha or the Magic 8 Ball as if there’s some divine power involved in the outcome. The only power, besides Dexter, involved in this decision is his agent, and those guys all work for Satan Incorporated.

Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say,
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away.

The bottom line — which is a term that Fowler seems like he’s intimately familiar with — is winning. If that mattered as much as money, who knows? Maybe Fowler woulda still done the same thing, but at least it wouldn’t have been while the remaining echo of Go Cubs Go was still in the air. Doin’ it now is just selfish and, quite frankly, maybe we don’t want a guy on the team that has that green streak runnin’ through him. You didn’t see that in Derek Jeter, arguably the greatest shortstop in Yankee history, who found a way to stay with the Bombers his entire career. Sure, they paid him plenty, but who knows what he coulda got on the open market. Posada? Same. Rivera? Ditto.

I’d like to see Fowler wearin’ the Cubs pinstripes next year, and part of that depends on what Theo is willing to do for him. I can tell you this, though, Theo is lookin’ out for the team, and since Dexter has now demonstrated that “team” isn’t really his priority, I think there’s a pretty good chance that Chicago has seen the last of Dexter Fowler.

Joe

IS IT SAFE, NOW, FOR STEVE BARTMAN TO COME OUTTA HIDING?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, The Playoffs · , ,

STEVE-BARTMAN-SHADOWS

Not while I’m around, it’s not.

This morning, Bleacher Report’s Mike Chiari wrote, “Regardless of if or when Bartman decides to emerge publicly, it is abundantly clear that Cubs fans are ready to embrace him.” That seems like pretty strong language to me, my friend. Yeah, I’m fairly certain most people are ready to forget Steve Bartman’s crime against humanity, but “embrace?” I’d rather embrace a porcupine.

“Forgive and forget,” Sister Demarus used to say to us in 2nd grade. This, while right behind her was the J man — life size — nailed to a cross and hangin’ on the wall above the whole room, as if to say, “you better be good or this could happen to you, kid.” That always sent mixed messages to me. Yeah, yeah … I know Jesus was all about forgiveness, and deep down I think Sister Demarus, in her snow white habit, was right. Besides, I suppose the last 13 years have been Bartman’s own special kinda crusifiction. The difference, though, is that Bartman’s suffering hasn’t saved anyone. It hasn’t washed one single square inch of my soul, I can tell you that. Or guaranteed me a spot in the clouds for eternity. Or even something as mortal as blessin’ me with some season tickets. Instead, the entire Cubs nation has continued to suffer right along with him. Not in the shadows like a sewer rat, the way he has, but sufferin’ nonetheless.

So … should I forgive him? Full disclosure: I’m actually thinkin’ about it. Seeing your team jumpin’ around the infield, having just become World Series champions, has a way of melting even the most arctic of frigid of hearts. But I’ll tell you … even as recently as 2012, when we lost over 100 games — same old Cubs — I woulda paid money to see Bartman draggin’ some t-shaped lumber down Sheffield on his way to wherever they settle the score with guys like him. But now we’re the champs, and holdin’ a grudge is stupid (unless it involves the White Sox or Cards).

Maybe it makes sense to try and ween myself off of Bartman, almost like an addict. Besides, I’ve read where goin’ cold turkey doesn’t always work. Perhaps there’s a 12 step program, like BA — Bartman Anonymous — out there. Whatever. I think it’s probably best to take it slow. I could start by removin’ some of the pictures of him that I rubber banded to the urinal cookies at work. A few, not all … and then see how I handle that. One baby step at a time, I say. You can never be too careful when you’re dealin’ with a jaggoff.

Joe

I DON’T KNOW WHAT NUMBER THIS CLOUD IS, BUT IT’S GOTTA BE A LOT HIGHER THAN 9.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, The Playoffs · , , , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I got one question: Where in the hell did all these people come from?! I ask in that particular way cuz there are definitely some major league ice sickles hangin’ off of Satan’s ass today. Yup. The biblical equivalent of a large Canadian low swooped down and turned the lake of fire into somethin’ the Blackhawks could win another Cup on. But, whew … Cloud 9? (Or whatever number it is.) It feels way more like Sardine Can 9 to me. You’d think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made simultaneous announcements to drop outta the race for Idiot in Chief. Nope. It was the Chicago Cubs winnin’ the last game of the last series of the 2016 baseball season.

That’s right, pal. After sufferin’ through 108 years, 19 days, 2 world wars, 1 billy goat curse, Steve Bartman and the Kardashians, the Chicago Cubs are finally sittin’ on the very tip top of the baseball world. If I was friggin’ Shakespeare I still couldn’t find words to explain how good this feels. I think it’s in the general vicinity of playin’ hide the sausage with the missus, but with mustard, relish and some cheesy fries. I can tell you this, whatever this feelin’ is … I’m not alone, cuz it appears as though I’m celebratin’ with 15 or 16 million of my closest friends.

CUBS-WIN-STILL

At the risk of stating the obvious, I don’t know when I’ve seen a better World Series. I know. That’s a little like saying, “Those are some major league yabbos, you got there, Dolly,” to Ms Parton. Sometimes, though, you just gotta say stuff, even if it doesn’t need sayin’. Of COURSE I haven’t seen a better Series than that. Anyone who saw the previous one ain’t breathin’ anymore.

But Wednesday night … holy CRAP, was that nail-biting or what?! I created a new divot in the edge of the Schlombarcalounger from being perched there for 4 hours. Comin’ back from a 3-1 series deficit, and givin’ away a 5-1 lead in game 7, and going extras, and the whole “did Joe overtax Chapman by using him needlessly in game 6” thing … it was a baseball thrill ride of Magic Mountain proportions. Havin’ an umpire crew from the Stevie Wonder school of rock was like the whip cream on top of this extra large tension sundae, too. I didn’t much like it, and it’s definitely a good reason to keep the Second Amendment intact, but the umps did, in their own pathetically incompetent way, make things interesting. Of course, some people find reality TV interesting, so I think “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder. Except for umpires, cuz their eyes don’t work much).

If I could change anything about Game 7 (besides me havin’ front row seats with Bill Murray) it would be to bring Harry back from his skybox to call the game … for two reasons. 1) Harry was the definitive, quintessential, beer-drinkin’ Cubs fan, not to mention the voice of the team for like a million and a half years. He had more Cubbie blue in him than the Chicago River does today, and … AND … I was walkin’ outta the Ambassador East, where Harry lived during the season, and where I used to get up for the game, and he took one look at the missus and me and offered us a ride to the ballpark. No shit! Of course I think he gave us the ride so he could enjoy ridin’ with the missus for 15 minutes. Anyway, reason #2 is that if Harry woulda been doin’ the game, no one’s ears — mine especially — would have been assaulted by the moronic commentary of one Joseph D. Buck. (That’s a D for douche bag.) He’s like a friggin’ Ken Doll, except he’s not as knowledgeable about baseball. Obviously, I’m not the only one with this fantasy, cuz Budweiser did a pretty good job of showin’ us what it woulda been like if Harry had called the game:

Anyway, I could go on and on, but it’s taken me 2 days just to stop celebratin’ enough to write this little bit down. Bottom line is the Cubs are world champs, which has put grins the size of the Sears Tower on about 30 million people. Enjoy the parade, baby!

Joe

PS. I believe the groundbreaking ceremony for the Theo wing in Cooperstown will be underway soon.