Joe Sez

ONE DOWN. ABOUT 110 MORE TO GO, ACCORDING TO MY CRYSTAL BASEBALL.

· 2017 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , , , , , , ,

JOES-CRYSTAL-BASEBALL-2

A few thousand Old Styles and about forty pounds ago, when I was a freshman, I dated this hot blooded Italian chicadoodle for a while. Her old man flew Corsairs with Pappy Boyington in the South Pacific. He was an Ace, too, whose face looked like somebody chiseled it outta granite … and none too carefully, either. He was about as broad as a house, spent some time coaching the US Boxing team, and had a temper that was perfectly suited for someone who’d been shot outta the sky a few times.

Thankfully, his offspring didn’t look anything like him, but hoooooo boy … she had every bit of his vein-poppin’ temper! I mean if Bashar al-Assad had just gotten the Marcellus Wallace “gimp” treatment from Zed — that kinda temper. BANG! KASHWACK! BAAAMMM! When doors started slammin’, you knew she was on the war path. In her case, though, it was more like the war interstate highway.

Fast forward to opening night. Just when it looked like the Cubbies were about to pull a little of that World Series magic outta their seat cushions … KAPOOWWW! The Cards handed us a foundation-rattling helping of the angry girlfriend treatment in the form of Randal Grichuk. That shard of light peeping through the door to victory got vaporized by Grichuk’s bat.

Can’t say I liked that.

Not to worry, though. We’re just toying with ’em. Think about it, pallie. After putting 17-1/2 games between us and the Cards last season and winnin’ the last game of the playoffs in THEE best World Series ever, Theo does the equivalent of spotting your kid sister 19 points in a game of 21 by letting the devil incarnate — the Cards — make off with Fowler. (Fowler is dead to me, by the way.) Then, just to make things interesting, our lineup decides to close one eye at the plate Sunday night, Lester is about as sharp as a bag full of overcooked pasta, and Strop … well … Strop was Strop; the human question mark. And still — still —  we come within a Grichuk of winning anyway.

Let’s just say I’m not worried.

Why? Cuz last night we gave the angry girlfriend treatment right back to St. Louis, turning Matheny’s review of the last play of the game into a broken hinge in the House of Cards. Some killer base running early and an amazing grab in left by Almora didn’t hurt either.

I’m thinkin’ about 111 or 112 wins this season. Optimistic? I know, I know. Who am I and what did I do with the real Joe Schlombowski, right? Hey! Sue me for riding the wave, pal. I’ll get off when I’m damn well ready … or when the Cubs turn back into the Cubs. Whichever comes first.

Joe

WHAT’S THE OVER / UNDER FOR WHEN MANFRED SKATES ON TONIGHT’S CUBS-CARDS OPENER?

· 2017 Cubs, Instant Replay, Joe Sez · , , , , , , , , , ,

NIGHTENGALE-MANFRED-TWEET

Hey there, sponge cakes. Welcome to Opening Day — not Opening Week, as baseball has taken to calling it. That’s gotta be a Manfredism. Speaking of which … Bob Nightengale reports that commissioner Rob Womanfred will be in attendance at the Cubs opener in St. Louis tonight. My question is: When does he adios the game? I figure it’ll be after the 7th, cuz that’s how long he thinks major league games oughta last.

I tend to pick on commissioners, and Manfred is no exception. But, hey, they bring it on themselves. Bud Selig, for example, decided to end the 2002 All Star game in a tie. It’s baseball. There are no ties. And that “World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All Star game” rule was his, too. I’m tellin’ you … listening to baseball commissioner ideas is like walkin’ your dog — you gotta bring a plastic bag along to pick up all the turds. I’ll give this to Manfred: the guy flushed the ASG/World Series advantage brain fart. But that’s it on the plus side of the Manfred board. Everything else he wants to do — most of which revolves around makin’ games shorter — screws with the fundamentals of baseball.

Some people want shorter games. Yeah, I read about that all the time. But I ask: Who are these people? Are they millennial types raised on iPhones, video games, and blaring music so loud during any break in the action that it makes my toenails hurt? I think maybe so, cuz I don’t hear people my age complaining about watchin’ a game for 3 hours. (Except for Mr. “if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway” Womanfred.) I’d even be willin’ to bet that it was Robbie’s idea to broom the nudie pictures from the pages of Playboy — another institution that didn’t need to be “improved.” I’ll tell ya … if congress wants to investigate something that’s truly un-american … that would be it, my friend!

Point is, maybe it isn’t baseball that needs fixing. Instead, maybe it’s the binge-watching, instant-gratification, short-attention-span generation that can’t spend four seconds away from their social media feeds without breakin’ out in a sweat that needs fixing. Baseball has been around for like a million years, and other than stupidly not lettin’ black players in until Jackie Robinson, it’s pretty much been perfect. It doesn’t need the pathetic DH. It doesn’t need instant replay … especially when the umps still can’t get it right. (See today’s Yankees-Rays opener.) Baseball doesn’t need a fake intentional walk, or a protective bubble around middle infielders, or a special purpose rule puttin’ a guy on second in extra inning games. And it SURE as hell doesn’t need two innings clipped off the tail end. If anything in baseball needs to be clipped, it’s Rob Manfred’s self-important wings and Noah Syndergaard’s goldilocks. Other than that, unless you wanna make American League pitchers man up and take their swings, or turn that F-ing head-banging noise off between batters, or hire the displaced Playboy models as bat girls, we should just leave baseball the hell alone, pallie.

Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.

Joe

THERE IS NO JOY IN METVILLE. MIGHTY TEBOW HAS STRUCK OUT.

· Joe Sez, News, Spring Training · , , , , ,

MIGHTY-TEBOW

Hey there, turf toes. Happy little Friday. (Uh … that mean’s Thursday, White Sox fans.)

Anybody see Tim Tebow’s debut as a Met yesterday? Two words: strike six. One can only hope that the rest of the Mets — all goose-bumped from showerin’ with a Heisman Trophy winner — start swingin’ just like him. Hey, I totally get that hittin’ a wicked-nasty Rick Porcello sinker is harder than a choir boy at a porn festival. And I freely admit that the only difference between Tebow at the plate and ME at the plate is about 5 inches and 47 lbs of solid muscle. But I mean, c’mon … Puttin’ Joey Chestnut in a suit and tie doesn’t qualify him to teach classes on the finer points of culinary etiquette.

Now I like Tebow. As a football player. In that capacity, I thought he got the shaft by the press — a bunch of yay-hoos who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, by the way, and who attacked the hell outta him for wearin’ his faith on his football uniform sleeve. Especially that colossal trouser snake, Bill Maher. Of course you never hear anyone breath a friggin’ syllable about players of color, in any sport, for expressing their thanks to the Almighty after takin’ someone deep, or for praising the G-man after winnin’ the Super Bowl. But Tebow? They did everything but actually nail him to a cross, my friend.

I give a lot of credit to the guy for standing up to that pinheaded crap and chasin’ his other dream. I mean I’m guessing baseball is some kinda dream. Although, so far, it’s a pretty bad one. Still, workin’ hard enough to get a shot is commendable. But at some point, I think we’re gonna have another Michael Jordan come-to-Jesus revelation, and Timmy is gonna realize that hittin’ a running back would be lot easier than hittin’ a baseball.

And if that doesn’t happen, even the geniuses running the Mets may eventually bring their heads back out in the sunshine. Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.

Joe

WHAT’S THE PROPER ATTIRE FOR PROTESTING THE CUBS’ WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP?

· 2017 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , , , , ,

CARDINALS-FANS-PROTEST

Hey there, pocket squares. Have you seen the “what not to wear” fashion fart from joesportsfan.com? Once again, Cardinals fans are livin’ up to my expectations. In true, sniveling, diaper-wearin’, I-didn’t-get-what-I-want-so-I’m-gonna-protest political fashion, good ol’ Joe is sellin’ a t-shirt with a Cubs-like logo and “Not my World Series champions” on it.

“Not my World Series champions?”

Is there another World Series somewhere with another champion? Last time I checked, the Fall Classic was it, my friend. Maybe there’s one on another planet or somethin’. Like the planet Uranus … where Cards fans rule, cuz it was named after ’em.

Now, I could try to write this pinheaded thinking off to a study which showed that people get more stupid in a crowd. Or another one suggesting that society in general is getting “stupider.” (I don’t even think “stupider” is a word … so maybe it’s true.) The problem with both of those is that Cubs fans are part of American society. AND we form crowds. Big ones. Really, really big-ass crowds. In fact over five million of us gathered to celebrate the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship, making it the 7th largest gathering in the history of history.

How many fans gathered to commemorate the last Cards championship? I have no friggin’ clue, but I can tell you it wasn’t five million, my friend. I am, however, willing to concede that whatever the headcount it was surely the largest gathering of pinheads in the history of the world. Congratulations. Have a lollipop.

Anyway, go to Joe Sports Fan and take a look at that friggin’ shirt! Any self-respecting Cards fan would rather take a nap with a scorned Lorena Bobbitt and a four-foot machete than strut around with a bastardized Cubs logo on his chest. I mean, the Cubs-Cards thing is baseball’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys, right? They hate us; we hate them. So wearin’ your arch enemy’s colors is a weird way of showin’ whose side your on.

You’ll never ever ever never see a Cubs fan wearin’ a Cards logo, I guarantee you. Not and live to tell about it. Quite the opposite, my friend. For example: You know those urinal cookie thingies? Well, down at the plant we got a bunch made with Cards logos on ’em. THAT’S what Cubs fans do with Cards logos. Great for target practice.

I’d also like to point out the copy that Joe Sports Fan writes about the shirt. It reads, “We are strong. We are united. We are clothed in a delicious blend of cotton and polyester sure to make friends jealous on Opening Day as the 11-time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals take the field against a team that hasn’t won one in over a century. Sad!” Since the Cubs are currently sittin’ on the trophy, I’d say if anything is “sad” it’s that Joe Sports Fan can’t count to 1. Typical.

So … while St Louis fans are busy protesting one of the greatest sports stories in a hundred years, the Cubs are quietly goin’ about the business of repeatin’ as Series champs, just like they did in 1907 and ’08 — something the Cards have never done.

Joe

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SCURRY ACROSS THE FLOOR, BE CAREFUL. IT COULD BE DEXTER FOWLER.

· Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , ,

TURNCOAT-#5

A snake. A rat. A cockroach. And anything that one might find growing in the dank corners of a gas station bathroom. These are things that should hold a higher place among men than the one, the only — the ever-lovin’ lulu of dastardly, scum-sucking, hemorrhoid-inducing jack wagons — the traitor. In this case, Dexter Fowler.

That’s right, snowballs, this morning the St. Louis Cardinals (the devil’s agents among the living) announced that they’d inked a deal with our former leadoff hitter to the tune of $82.5 million for 5 years. Chaaaaaaaaaaaa-ching. The guy is gettin’ a gargantuan payday. Does he deserve it? Well, let’s see … Did he cure cancer? Did he stop the climate from changin’? Did he bring me that human ice cream cone, Scarlett Johansson? No, no and, sadly, no. But this is baseball. Nobody deserves what they get paid. If you accept that then, yeah, Fowler should get a few years and more for each one. But that’s not the real story here.

The real headline is ripped from some stupid history book Sister Demarus made me read in 8th grade, and recounted the story of Benedict Arnold — a guy who fought heroically for the Continental Army (that’s our side, pinwheels). At some point, though, he started providin’ the British with American troop locations and, as the commander of West Point, began weakening the fort’s defenses, draining its supplies and craftin’ a surrender plot right underneath George Washington’s nose. Really … how different is Fowler than Arnold? Yeah, sure … they don’t look alike, they live in totally different times, and one was a soldier and the other a centerfielder. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like they were stamped outta the same mold. But they SMELL exactly the same, my friend. And it’s this odoriferous scent of Turn Coat No. 5 that makes Fowler the Benedict Arnold of the Chicago Cubs.

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TOM RICKETTS GIVES CUBS FANS A SWIFT KICK IN THE SNOW BALLS FOR CHRISTMAS.

· Joe Sez, News · , , , , , , ,

TOM-RICKETTS-GRINCH

Christmas is a time of good cheer, right? That is unless your name is Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, Grinch look-a-like, and the guy who put the ‘dick’ in Dickens.

If you unearthed every single last chunk of coal in the entire state of Wyoming and hauled it to Chi-town, it still wouldn’t be enough to fill Tom ‘Ebenezer’ Ricketts’s Christmas stocking. Not even close. Best you could do would be to marvel at how the black of the coal is no where near as dark as Ricketts’s microscopic little heart. Assuming he has one at all.

That’s right, sports fans. This week, the Cubs announced that they’ll be raising 2017 ticket prices by an average of a smidge under 20%. Merry friggin’ Christmas. With that move, Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts — the man who brought an end to 108 years of the Chicago blues — revealed his true colors. And what an ugly friggin’ rainbow it is, my friend.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,
You really are a heel,
You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

This special Ricketts box of Crayolas contains the following:

1. The aforementioned black. In this case, an inescapable black hole shade of midnight reserved for only the greediest, meanest, nastiest of hearts. Again, this assumes there’s something heart-like in this guy’s chest.
2. Gold; as in what already lines every nook and cranny of Ricketts’s pockets. (What the hell is a ‘cranny’, anyway? It sounds painful. Whatever the hell it actually is, I’d like to Garo Yepremian my right foot smack into the center of Ricketts’s.)
3. Green. But not just any green, mind you. The Benjamin, Hamilton, Washington and other dead presidents kinda green, soon to be migrating from the accounts of Chicago Cubs fans’ to the overflowin’ coffers that are already straining to hold the Ricketts fortune.

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart’s an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You know, for about a month there the guy had to be on the very tip top of Santa’s “Nice” list, havin’ brought so much joy to so many people after so many years. Not now, pallie. If I’m Santa, I’m spikin’ the reindeer’s preflight meal with enough Exlax to evacuate the collective GI track of a herd of elephants, then I’m establishing a holding pattern over Ricketts’s house about 2 hours later. I mean, half the city is STILL wearin’ its World Series grin. Hell … I’m one of ’em! So what does ownership do? They give us baseball’s version of the ice bucket challenge. I can just see Ricketts sittin’ behind his big ol’ desk, wringing his sweaty hands like Mr Potter, and sayin’, “Alright, alright, they’ve had enough time to enjoy themselves. It’s time to make some money off these suckers.”

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch,
Given a choice between the two of you’d take the seasick crocodile!

I get that baseball is a business … supply and demand and all that kinda crap. And they gotta reinvest in the team if they’re gonna keep this crew together long enough to win one or two more trophies. Plus, the Cubs are damn good. They’re gonna draw. There’s just no arguing with the fact that tickets are gonna be a hot item next season. Should prices go up? Yeah, probably. But 20%? Are they gonna be 20% better than they were this year? No, they are not. They’d have to win 124 games to do that, and unless everybody else plays with 7 guys or without gloves or somethin’, that just ain’t in the cards, pal. Ricketts is gonna put essentially the same product on the field next year but charge us 20% more to go see it. Friggin’ Scrooge, man. I didn’t see the guy droppin’ prices in 2013 after we lost over 100 games the previous year. How come the door never ever ever never swings in the other direction? Cuz of guys like Ricketts, that’s why.

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You’re the king of sinful sots,
Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

In closing, I’d like to once again (cuz I have already) thank Tom Ricketts for bringin’ Theo, Jed and Joe to the Northside. Without them we’d still be the Chicago Cubs instead of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Seriously, I’m grateful. But Tom, if by some magical reason you’re readin’ this, I also want you to know that you can take your Grinchy attitude and stuff it right back up your chimney with glee, pal. Why? Cuz the average Joe — guys like me who already have a tough time affordin’ a few games a year — won’t be able to go to any, now. Or at least fewer. So thanks, dick head. You not only stole Christmas, you’ve stolen the pleasure of goin’ to the ballpark, too.

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch,
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk!”

Joe

PS. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was written by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. Genius. Friggin’ genius.

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