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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.

First, I gotta question the decision makin’ power of a guy who snubs a $17.2 million qualifying offer from the current World Series Champion — a team that stands to compete for the same hardware for the next few years. That one thing, all by itself, makes me think the guy had somethin’ in the works — even if it was just in his own mind — while still in the throes of last season. Either that or he needs an intravenous drip of Prevagen.

“I feel like this team has a chance to win a World Series,” Fowler said. “That was a big part in coming [to St Louis], because winning is addictive.” Is that right, Mr Cockroach? What the F do you call winning the World Series? Look, you don’t have to be Einstein to read between those lines, pal. If winning was what mattered to F (yeah, I’m gonna call him F from now on, and you can make your own mind up on what I mean by that) then why jump from the best team in baseball, run by the smartest guy (Theo) and the best field manager (Joe)? What F really means is that makin’ more money than God is addictive. If he’d been tendered an $83 million/5 year offer from the Wenatchee Valley Cherry Bombs girls softball team, he’d be gettin’ his fix in eastern Washington.

Second, and far far worse … we’re talkin’ the Cardinals. Not the Mariners, not the Mets, not the Marlins. The friggin’ Cardinals! The dead-on metaphoricalicious equivalent of the British. They even have the same ugly friggin’ color scheme uniforms, pallie. Coincidence? I think NOT! Goin’ to a team in the same division, not to mention our most hated arch rival since the beginning of baseball time, is a sure sign that Fowler is tryin’ to inflict as much damage to the Cubs as possible. He might as well have marched into Theo’s office and dropped the kids off on his desk.

To St. Louis I say this: Study your history, dirt bags. Benedict Arnold eventually began openly fighting for the British. And though they paid him well, they never really trusted him. I mean, you can’t trust someone that’s so easily willing to betray somebody else. He’s in your house now, lurking in the shadows. Good luck with that. You’re gonna need it when you do battle with the Cubs.

Joe

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.

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