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CUBS HONOR FOWLER IN DEFIANCE OF THE JOE SCHLOMBOWSKI SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY.

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

FOWLER-RETURNS-TO-WRIGLEY

When Dexter “Benedict Arnold” Fowler returned to Wrigley yesterday you’d have thought Halle Berry was walkin’ through the aisles naked handin’ out $100 bills. The place went full on Mt Vesuvius. It was almost as if he’d stepped onto the hallowed grounds of Wrigley Field and right then and there … on the spot … accessed the public address system to announce that he was activating some sorta double-secret Jared Kushner back-channel clause in his contract that returned him to the Cubs for the duration of the season.

Did he do that? No.

Still, the Cubs faithful made a spectacle outta Fowler’s return to Chicago — a guy who not only chose to leave a World Series Champion team, he defected to the baseball equivalent of ISIS. At least to the Cubs. If you’re a real Cubs fan — not the safe-spacing, snow flake, powder puff kind that marches to Katie Perry’s “just unite and love on each other” mantra — then you know that in spite of all the great crap Fowler did for us last year, he’s dead to us now. That’s why yesterday’s fan reaction boggles my Old Style altered mind.

When Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, did you see the Rebel Alliance embracing him when he came back to deal with that whole Dantooine thing? No, you did not. But yesterday, when the Cubs presented Fowler with his World Series ring, they did everything but have the Blue Angels buzz the friggin’ stadium. I grant you, he earned it. But if the ring exchange had been planned by me, 1) it woulda only happened if Theo had put a gun to my head or threatened to make me eat ketchup on my Chicago dogs and 2) I woulda placed his Series bling in plain sight somewhere in Garfield Park and invited Fowler to a game of Finders Keepers.

And the fans? They were just as goo-goo-eyed. They delivered an ovation for the ring thing, and then another one when Fowler goes yard in the first off Lackey. SERIOUSLY?! You’re gonna cheer a guy hittin’ a home run against us? And of all people a St Louis Cardinal?! In-friggin’-credible. That’s like throwing a parade for Osama Bin Laden or inviting Kim Jong-un over for Sunday Night Baseball. You never ever ever never EVER cheer for a Cardinal. Ever.

Now I know trades go both ways, and when we raided the Cards lineup before last season, I was plenty happy about that. Still not gonna throw any parties for St Louis … but a thank you note? That might have been appropriate. I can’ t imagine any die-hard Cardinals fans were firing up a Cuban or turning cartwheels, though. And I don’t blame ’em. Hating your arch rival is like jock itch, moronic questions from the media, and $14 Budweiser — it’s part of sports. The size of the rivalry should dictate the amount of prescribed venom. It goes something like this:

H = rc²

That’s the Joe Schlombowski theory of relativity, where hate (H) equals the rival (r) times the speed of light (c) squared. And lemme tell you, pallie, when you multiply St Louis by the speed of light squared, you get a number that’s light years away from givin’ Dexter Fowler a friggin’ ovation.

This whole thing raises a number of questions: What kind of a Cubs fan would cheer for a Cardinals player? Should they be summarily ejected? Should fans be required to submit to random “fan testing?” Should that test be multiple choice, essay or both? Should failures be reported to the proper authorities? Who are the proper authorities? If there are proper authorities, doesn’t that imply that there are improper authorities? If John Mellencamp were to fight these particular authorities, would they still win? What happened to John Mellencamp? Why did he drop the “Cougar” from his name? Is a cougar the same thing as a MILF? What does “summarily” mean? I’m definitely going to lose some sleep over this.

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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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

HOLY COW! FINALLY, JOYFULLY, THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE GOIN’ TO THE WORLD SERIES!

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

CUBS-WIN-2016-NLCS

“This is it! This is it! It’s two, they’re gonna turn two! Eeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!” The moment the ball was hit to Russell, I jumped outta my chair, screamin’ like a banshee. I don’t really know what a banshee is, but it’s gotta be loud and somewhat unhinged. (That would make my sister in law a banshee.) I bear hugged the missus who was already workin’ on a full set of raccoon eyes. If I was a woman, or Johnny Depp, I woulda had ’em too, cuz I realized she wasn’t the only one cryin’. That’s what happened at the Schlombowski household Saturday night. And I’ll tell ya … except for the Swedish Bikini team servin’ me beers without their bikini’s, blubberin’ like a newborn was the last thing I expected to happen. I guess the Cubs going to the Series means more to me than I thought it did … And believe me, I thought it would mean one helluva lot.

More than anything else, I feel gratitude towards Mr Ricketts who, as the Cubs owner, sorta takes a back seat to Theo, Jed and Joe in terms of getting credit for puttin’ this club together. But if it weren’t for Mr Ricketts, none of those guys would be here and, in all likelihood, our season woulda been over by the mid-season classic, like usual. So … thank you, Mr Ricketts. On the 10 million to 1 chance that you’re readin’ this, I want you to know how grateful I am that you brought Major League Baseball to Wrigley Field. Yeah, there’s always been some sorta reasonable or unreasonable facsimile, but until you started signin’ the checks, it’s never been anything like this. Thank you for givin’ so much joy to so many people who have patiently waited for so very, very long. We do, however, need a sit down about concession prices, my friend.

Full disclosure: I was more than skeptical at times over the last 5 years. 55 seasons of nothin’ will do that to a Cubs fan. So for me, bringin’ in Theo wasn’t an instantaneous Kyle Schwarber moon shot. Not that I didn’t wet myself with excitement when Theo first signed. I mean he came with the Red Sox miracle on his resumé, which was huge. Still, it took a while before all the ingredients started to come together. That’s when the intoxicating aroma of Theo stew with Maddon sauce started wafting out over Wrigleyville, and I realized that Mr Ricketts was really baseball’s Charlie Trotter. So sue me if I’m a little slow on the uptake. Nobody except Javi Baez is perfect, pal.

“Try not to suck.” That was the mantra this year. A Joe Maddonism that’s Yogi-esque in its utter simplicity and purity. And the Cubs lived up to every bit of it. They did not and do not suck, my friend. The same can’t be said for the Dodgers. Sorry, it may be unsportsmanlike to kick your opponent when he’s down, but somethin’ has got to be said about what happened to the Dodgers and their messiah, Clayton Kershaw.

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THE DEAFENING SOUND OF A BUNT HAS AWAKENED THE SLEEPING GIANT.

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

AWAKEN-SLEEPING-GIANT

The bunt. No one likes to bunt. Pitchers bunt, but that’s cuz they can’t hit. Except for Cubs pitchers — who CAN actually hit — which means they don’t like to bunt. There’s no majesty in a bunt. No glory. Not a single player has ever been signed to a multi-year, silly-money contract cuz he could lay down the perfect bunt. You won’t see the Bunt Derby substituted for the Home Run Derby at the All Star Break. Ever. They don’t hand out plaques at Cooperstown for tappin’ the ball down the line. And no fan will ever bid a hundred grand for a ball that went 37 feet. Most of the time, a bunt means you’re willing to give yourself up for the cause. It’s noble in that regard, but in the arsenal of offensive weapons, it’s the BB gun.

Yet, with all 10 mph of its minuscule exit velocity, last night’s bunt, by Ben Zobrist, was perhaps the most powerful blast of the night. Yeah, yeah … Rizzo and Russell went yard. But I say that four run 4th doesn’t even get started without Zobrist makin’ the bunt heard ’round the world. It was the catalyst for the entire 10 run barrage, and simultaneous collapse of the Dodgers’ ability to play defense. In fact, if you consider what happened from that point forward, it would be more accurate to call it a lionalyst or tigeralyst than a catalyst. Name it what you want, Ben’s willingness to get the ball rolling by … uh … getting the ball rolling was what it took to CPR the Cubs offense. In psychological terms, that bunt was a 500 foot moon shot over the center field bleachers.

After that, the genie was not only outta the bottle, he was grantin’ just about every single wish that could possibly come to the mind of a Cubs fan. At least the ones that can happen in front of 54,449 people, and that don’t involve Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson and a can of Reddi Whip. We’d gone 21 innings without so much as sneekin’ a peek at the plate, and had accumulated just 6 hits in 60 at bats in games 2 and 3. For a while there I was hopin’ we could pull Mario Mendoza outta retirement. Instead, Zobrist ignited the Cubs’ jets by doin’ somethin’ most clean-up hitters probably have written outta their contracts. What followed was epic.

Four runs in the 4th. Monkey? What monkey?

In the bottom of the 2nd, Adrian Gonzalez is called out in a close play at home, but on review it’s plainly obvious that he was safe. Still, the bozos in New York uphold the call. That was baffling. I mean what’s the point of havin’ reviews if the umps in New York are gonna leave their seein’ eye dogs at home?

A one-run 5th. After givin’ back a couple of runs in the bottom half of the 4th, Rizzo says, WTF, and takes one of ’em right back.

During this particular at bat, Rizzo starts headin’ to first on what he believes is ball four, only to be called back by the called strike of home plate umpire, Angel Hernandez. Then, in the words of Harry Caray, “ho-leeeee coooooowwwwwww!” Instead of standin’ on first with a walk, Rizzo deposits Pedro Baez’s pitch in the bleachers. Don’t know if he said anything to Hernandez when he crossed the plate, but I think a thank you would have been in order.

How ’bout five more runs in the 6th? Cubs world, Cubs world! Party time! Excellent!

Rizzo and Russell gather 3 hits each, and both had round-trippers. I don’t know how many times that’s happened, but I can’t imagine it’s been very often.

In a game where just about everything goes right for the Northsiders, Zobrist gets a second bunt single, of the swinging variety this time, makin’ it a multi-hit game. This one involved a close play at first, and Zobrist was originally called out. But the review went in favor of the Cubs, again, and the call was reversed. This time, New York got the call right.

Like Zobrist, Fowler, too, has a couple of hits, including a double.

Contreras unloads the Guns of Navarone on Justin Turner, pickin’ his bushy red ass off — not first, not third, but second. Awesome.

The Dodgers, who made just 80 errors over the course of the regular season, make four in this one game. So no matter how much Adrian Gonzalez whines about that call at home plate, or how much momentum he thinks was stolen from them as a result, the Dodgers dirtied their own diapers, defensively, last night. They LOST the game. AND they were beaten. And how did they handle it? Like you’d expect. They were moanin’ louder than the entire stable at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.

Montgomery, in keeping with the hitting prowess of the rest of the staff this post season, bangs out a single.

Heyward, although 0-5 and pretty much as anemic at the plate as he’s been all year, has a couple of good at bats, one that ended up drivin’ in a run.

All in all, things were different last night, for both ball clubs. The Cubs finally started playin’ like the Cubs, and the Dodgers had their season-long luck run out, followed by a heapin’ helpin’ of sour grapes in the clubhouse afterwards. Given the trouncing we took in games 2 and 3, it would give me a world of satisfaction to tell LA to “go get your shine box” right now. But it ain’t over. It’s down to the best 2 outta 3. No room for mistakes.

Though never definitively proven, Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was believed to have said afterwards, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” I think LA unleashed their Pearl Harbor in games 2 and 3, and now the sleeping giant is wide friggin’ awake.

Joe

IN VOLCANIC TERMS, WE’D CALL THIS MEGACOLOSSAL.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , ,

RIZZO-6-RBI

You know, when I was a kid, my parents used to get National Geographic. I used to thumb through it (for the articles, pal) and now and then there’d be a piece on volcanos. There were these awesome photos and fancy diagrams explaining how all this pent up raw power, buried inside the Earth, has to get out once in a while. And when it does, you got yourself a major league natural disaster.

Well, my friend, I think what we’re lookin’ at with this year’s Cubs is exactly that: the geological equivalent of Mt. Vesuvius or Mount St. Helens or Krakatoa or something. I mean the Cubs have been dormant for 107 years. Yeah, we shook up the Richter Scale in 1945, and had a few minor rumblings over the last 30 years, but it wasn’t until last year that people started wondering if the tremors on Chicago’s north side are for real. Based on pure scientific observation so far this season, I’d say it’s time to sound the Amber Alert system, cuz it’s looking like there’s a Prince Fielder-sized butt-load of molten Fowler, Rizzo, Zobrist and Arrieta that’s starting to explode on the rest of baseball.

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