· 2017 Cubs, Joe Sez, News · , , , ,


I have, for my entire 56 years, believed that Cubs fans have more character than … well, Mets fans, for example; that mid-westerners (except, of course, for St Louis fans), by nature, are way nicer than your average finger-flippin’ yay-hoo in a Phillies cap, and smarter than your typical show-up-late-and-leave-early Dodgers fan; that people who faithfully stick with a team through multiple lifetimes of abject futility, bad trades and nonexistent bullpens are the sort you want in your fox hole.

The Peter Gammons Principle.

This week, ESPN’s Peter Gammons brought all that into question by absent-mindedly suggesting Bryce Harper would like to play for the Cubs. The REAL story, though, isn’t whether Harper actually wants in, it’s how some Cubs fans are responding to it. Gammons’ statement has shined some light in the dark corners of the collective Cubs fan mind, revealing a few disgusting thoughts scurrying around like cockroaches. I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty friggin’ appalled, and feel the need to Orkin these guys. More on that in a minute.

Gammons’ initial remarks, and clarified, retracted, back pedaled, follow-up explanation on the subject of the Cubs signin’ Bryce Harper, and the possible ramifications of such a move, started a firestorm — albeit a speculative one — that would rival the inferno that burned Chicago to the friggin’ ground 150 years ago. Most of it confirmed my theory about the character of Cubs fans. Some of it, though, proves that every walk of life has some percentage of the genetically inferior.

And I’ll fully grant you that the little bit of gray matter I’ve got between my ears pales in comparison to some molecular biology, graduated-with-highest-honors Princeton grad. But I can tell you this, my friend … I’ve been rackin’ it day and night since Gammons’ wild and unsubstantiated speculation, yet I still can’t figure how some of the crap I’ve read can come from the mind of a Cubs fan.

For sure, the media is part of the problem. True to form, they jerked an offhand comment by a famous baseball writer right out of its context, and twisted it all up into a controversy pretzel. And probably on purpose. That’s today’s shit-stirring media for ya.

As for Gammons himself, he should know better. When a guy like him says, “I have people tell me that Bryce Harper really would prefer to play for the Cubs,” it means something. The rest of the sports press is gonna pick it up and run with the fucker. I swear, if Gammons farted, the sycophantic ($10 word bonus) press wouldn’t point fingers and curl their noses, they’d wanna talk about what it smelled like and compare it to other farts. To me, Gammons did the sports equivalent of a Trump tweet — said somethin’ outrageous and unsubstantiated — and now everybody has their jock straps in a wad.

It may very well be true that Harper would, to quote Gammons, “prefer to play for the Cubs.” Not a great insight, cuz who the hell wouldn’t? I’ll bet if you surveyed every active player, and they answered honestly, the vast majority would say the same thing. We’ve got Theo, we’ve got Jed, we’ve got Joe. We have Brizzo, Arietta, Zobrist and Baez. Contreras and Davis. Heyward and Russell. Lackey, Lester and Schwarbs. If you don’t wanna be a part of that, you probably don’t wanna have a naked pool party with the last 12 Playmates of the Month, either.

Still, sayin’ somethin’ like that nearly 2 years before your contract with the Nats runs out would be a classless thing to do. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting, intimating, hinting or otherwise insinuating that Harper did anything at all like that. Maybe he said nothin’. Maybe he said stuff to his friends in confidence. You gotta be able to do that without some sports hack floatin’ rumors on you. It also doesn’t matter one iota (How much is an “iota” anyway?) if I personally happen to think Harper is the kinda Milton Bradley douche burger that would crap on his own team. The bottom line is there’s no evidence that Harper said jack, and for Gammons to hang that out there over the plate like a waist-high Carlos Marmol meat ball, wasn’t journalism, it was sensationalism.

In the words of John McEnroe, “You can’t be SERIOUS!”

Gammons’ motivation aside, I’m positively dismayed at some of the reaction by Cubs fans to this story. The comments posted to this article, for example, include the following:

Everyone assumes the Cubs would want to keep Bryant around for a long time, because he’s a great player. But Bryant’s first year as a free agent will come at age 30. Harper’s first free agent year will come at age 26!!!! It makes loads of baseball sense to want to have Harper for ages 26-33 (or whatever) more than to want Bryant for ages 30-37.

Harper’s free agency is still two years away and there are so many teams and variables to think through so it’s still a long shot that the Cubs will sign Harper. But really, from a baseball perspective, it is a no-brainer to take Harper at age 26 and wish Bryant well at age 30.

To which I respond with one word: Loyalty. It’s somethin’ I hold in the highest regard. Like a pizza from Lou Minatti. Along with honesty and integrity, it’s part of what defines character — somthin’ in short supply these days. Loyalty is the defining characteristic of a true die-hard Cubs fan. (That and a well-endowed beer gut in a mustard-stained tee shirt.) How else can you explain the complete lack of logic that goes into unconditionally loving the perennial doormat (until 2015) of the National League? I get the “baseball perspective” the guy above refers to. I just think it’s the kinda perspective that’s warped by a lack of character.

Dumpin’ Bryant for Harper would satisfy his one-dimensional argument, but not take into account the pinheadedness of cuttin’ out the soul of our team in exchange for a questionable clubhouse force. Winnin’ with what we already got isn’t a bad or necessarily impossible thing. We already did it once. We don’t need the Harp to do it again, and we don’t need to say sayonara to KB at age 30. Should the Yanks have cast away Jeter, Posada or Rivera at 30? Only a moron would have made those moves.

Lemme put it to you this way: If you’re datin’ Samantha Hoopes, do you F that all up by also tryin’ to date Kate Upton at the same time, with the ultimate plan to cut the Hoopester? No, you do not. You see where Sammy can take you, which I’m pretty sure would be somewhere between nirvana and heaven.

Let me introduce you to Marsellus Wallace.

The Cubs have somethin’ special, my friends. If they didn’t, jaggoffs like Harper wouldn’t wanna come here. In a perfect Joe Schlombowski world — the baseball one, not the Swedish Bikini Team one — the Cubs would hoist two or three more trophies before this group starts to suffer from the aforementioned “baseball perspective.” I suppose that’s inevitable (like the air quality resulting from a sixer of Old Style and a couple of Chicago dogs). But why orchestrate it in exchange for Papalbon’s punching bag?

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with that. Like this guy:

And I also think it’s foolish to assume that the Cubs can automatically re-sign Bryant. He may want a change of scenery. IMO, if you have a chance to sign Harper and let Bryant walk, you do it.

I’m sorry, but people who think this way should have their Wrigley privileges revoked. Additional sanctions involving boiling oil and fire ants are on my list, too, but run afoul of the Geneva Conventions. Besides, what’s more cruel and unusual than never again being able to set foot in the Friendly Confines? Maybe the Marsellus Wallace treatment, but that’s about it.

What guys like this don’t understand is that there happens to be a lot more to winning than gettin’ the most expensive (sometimes equals “best” often times doesn’t) player in the game to sign on the line which is dotted. It’s a crap strategy that usually guts a team financially, which totally undermines the friggin’ goal.

Two words: Barry Bonds.

On top of being a cheat, a liar and the Darth Vader of the Giants clubhouse, Bonds viewed himself as the epicenter of the baseball universe. Even more assholian, he expected his teammates to do the same. The bloated Bonds ego was matched by just two things, his paycheck and his body — the latter, the result of nothing that he ever admitted to, but that Helen friggin’ Keller coulda seen with her own two eyes. The Giants won exactly zero rings with Bonds, but about 5 minutes after they cut him loose and used his ransom for some good pitching … BOOYA! Three of ’em in 5 years. Pissed me off, I’ll tell ya, cuz I hate the friggin’ Giants.

You do see my point, right? And at least Gammons gave it a nod, himself, sayin’ that the cost associated with havin’ both Bryant and Harper on the same team would be prohibitive.

We don’t need a Harp to play “Go Cubs Go.”

I suppose there’s maybe a .000001% chance that the two yay-hoos I quoted up there were captured by the ISIS of baseball, St. Louis fans, made to kneel in Cardinal red jump suits and forced to say those things on video. I’d like to think that, cuz any Cubs fan freely willin’ to write off Bryant and bow to Harper represents a warped view of the Faithful — a radical Bryce Harper version that promises 72 season tickets for helpin’ to bring the Harp to Chi-town.

The Cubbies may not be havin’ the year they did last season … yet … but they are the defending World Series champs. They did that with Bryant. What has Washington done with Harper?



· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , ,


If you read between the lines of this piece by ESPN’s Jayson Stark, you might get the impression that havin’ a lot of star power is all that matters in baseball. Funny … All these years I thought it was winnin’ the World Series.

Personally — and I fully admit I’m old school … in fact, I’m more like prehistoric school — I couldn’t give a rat’s hiny if people are buyin’ Bryant’s or Trout’s or Big Papi’s jersey, or if kids are sculpting their heads like a Bryce Harper doll (other than the fact than they look like morons). I’d rather have a team of no-names with Darth Vader’s charisma, but who play the game with a purpose defined by winning, instead of how many Muscle Milk commercials they’re in.

As luck or karma or divine intervention or Theo Epstein’s nuclear-powered brain would have it, the Cubs have both this year — stars and studs. Maybe that’s divine intervention after all. I think Mr Stark is right, the National League, at this point in time, has more Hollywood than the American League.

To which I say, “So the hell what?”

That has about as much to do with goin’ home with the hardware as the color of your tooth brush. And I don’t care who you are … you could be Buster Posey or Robinson Cano or Jesus H. Christ (I think he’s from the Dominican) … winnin’ the Series is the be-all end-all of human existence for ballplayers.

Let’s start off by goin’ back to the 70s, when Mr Stark points out that the stars burned brightest in the National League. Despite that assertion, the American League took the Series 6 times in that decade. Is that a landslide? No. But it’s an indication that buyin’ a guy’s jersey doesn’t necessarily affect the outcome in October.

In the 80s, it was an even split; 5 for the AL, 5 for the Senior Circuit. In the 90s, though, there musta been some kinda eclipse on the Star Effect thing, cuz despite the red carpeted American League, the NL claimed 6 titles. Coulda been worse, too, cuz there was no Series in ’94. Hard to say, on account of the players and owners were too busy crappin’ on each other to do their jobs. (Yeah, my ass is still a little chapped over that one.) Anyway, 6 outta 9 went the other way. From 2000-2009, though, it’s 6 for the Junior Circuit — a bit better than half, so I’ll concede that one. I sorta, kinda, reluctantly also gotta give in on this current decade we’re in, since the National League has taken 4 outta 6, so far, and it’s during that time that Stark says the star quotient has shifted from the Junior to the Senior Circuit. However, I hasten to point out that the 2012 Giants nearly escaped death twice in the playoffs, so I don’t think it was their Hollywood status that got ’em to the Series, let alone helped ’em win. They were like friggin’ White Walkers — nothin’ coulda put them down that year.

Now lemme say right here, that we still got 4 more championships to decide in this decade, and it wouldn’t make me the slightest bit itchy if the Cubs won all of ’em. In which case, I think my argument starts to fall apart a bit. Fine. Bring it on. I’d sooooo rather have the Cubbies sittin’ on top of the baseball world, that have my theory validated.

Hey, and those of you who are sayin’ I don’t understand the game, are full of pine tar. I get that it’s about the money, pallie. That’s been the holy grail since George Steinbrenner bought the Yanks. It’s also why the Friendly Confines aren’t so friendly when it comes to actually goin’ to a ball game. You practically gotta mortgage the brown stone these days. So, yeah, I get the friggin’ money part … and I understand that more money means bein’ able to sign and pay the guys you draft. But seriously, if spendin’ money on star players had anything to do with winnin’ the Series, the Yankees and the Dodgers would have won every one of ’em since 1999. And I think we know how that’s gone.

That’s about all I gotta say, except for these two words: Barry Bonds. Buildin’ a franchise around a star, or stars, because they’re also popular for some reason is about as effective as usin’ Windex to cure cancer. The Giants went that route, and it wasn’t until (speakin’ of cancer) that malingnancy was removed from the clubhouse that they went from bein’ the Giants to the World Champion San Francisco Giants. Three friggin’ times, too, in this decade. They filled their roster with guys you never heard of … until you did. And you did cuz they won. And won again, which had nothin’ to do with how many times they were on Colbert.

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



· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, Uncategorized · , , ,


Hey, if there’s anyone out there willing to drag the Cubs through the mud when they deserve it, it’s me, my friend. Sometimes, fingers need to be pointed (or in the case of the Mets, flipped) and, now and then the Cubs deserve to be on the receiving end. Why? Cuz In my mind, it serves no one’s purpose to “Hillary Clinton” things whenever the Cubs start conducting business on a private server. When they do that, I call ’em on it. But HOLY FRIGGIN’ CRAP! … What the hell is up with you guys wantin’ to string Tommy La Stella up by his Draymond Green target area?! Especially Jesse Rogers, who follows the Cubs for ESPN. I mean, it’s easy for us yay-hoos to mouth off from the cheap seats, but a pro callin’ a kid out cuz he fertilizes the infield grass a couple of times seems a bit harsh.

Maybe I’d feel different if we’d lost. Probably. I’m pretty good at blamin’ a loss on a guy’s brain fart. In fact every time I hear the name, Bartman, I still break into a sweat, and it’s a good 45 minutes until the facial tic goes away. So I get it. La Stella has had better days. But it’s not like anyone is whinin’ about our pen (which does finally have some bulls in it this year, but today, and a fair number of other days this season, they’ve looked more like veil calves). What about their roll in today’s near collapse? My point is, it’s a friggin’ team … and no single guy is gonna win or lose a game all on his own, although that’s what it looks like sometimes. It really doesn’t help La Stella to settle down when he gets skewered in the Twittersphere cuz of one bad day at 3rd.

Besides, anyone who is a true baseball fan — and I don’t give a crap how young you are — knows the name, Brooks Robinson. If you don’t, you’re not a fan. Maybe you’re somewhat interested in the game. Maybe you like pin stripes. Maybe you were dropped on your head as a kid … I don’t know … but you’re not a real baseball fan unless you know the name Brooks Robinson and what it stands for; perfection. Without question, the best third baseman to ever step inside the chalk. Period. (You Phillies fans who are at this moment callin’ me names cuz you think Mike Schmidt was better … go get your shine box.) Brooksy had no equal. Never will. He was called “the human vacuum cleaner” and “Mr Impossible.” And his glove — that golden extension of his left arm — was like a black hole; a singularity with a gravitational pull so strong not even light could escape his grasp. It was a place where doubles down the line met a swift and early death. As a hitter, you stood a better chance of havin’ a threesome with Miss July and August than hittin’ a ball past Robinson.

If there is a God, he played 3rd base for Baltimore.

And you know what? Mr Robinson made 263 errors at the hot corner. I grant you, that was over a 23 year, Hall of Fame career, but that averages out to over 10 a year. In fact he booted 21 in a single season once. Still, he was — if you haven’t yet grasped this — the best. So, before all of you “fans” remove every last shred of flesh from Tommy La Stella’s carcass, consider the possibility that his glove could end up as golden as Robinson’s someday. Go ahead and dish it out when someone deserves it, by all means. I’ll be right there with you. But could you try to not be such Yankees fans? Please?



· Joe Sez, News · ,


This play has been making the rounds on social media like Yasiel Puig just cured cancer and balanced the federal budget. On the same day. Most every comment I’ve read makes this throw — which, I admit, did nail the guy at third — into something other-worldly; like God himself breathed some sorta biblical power into Puig’s arm. My charitable side, if I had one, would assume these guys never saw Roberto Clemente, Fred Lynn or Reggie Jackson throw a ball from the wall — not 20 feet inside the warning track— to nail a guy at 3rd or home. Happened all the time, my friend, and I saw plenty of them myself. Even Chicago’s own hero-turned-juicer, Sammy Sosa, woulda made that throw better than Puig.

I saw Puig’s throw the night it happened. Who didn’t? ESPN and every other jock sniffer on the planet ran it to friggin’ death. Hell, Jennifer Aniston could walk down Michigan Avenue stark-friggin-naked and she wouldn’t get that kinda coverage. (By the way, if she ever does that, I’ll be checkin’ off number 3 on by bucket list.) But like I said, I can’t argue with the end result; Puig nailed the guy. It’s the way his throw was characterized — by sportswriters, no less — that’s chaffing my backside. It was called “a laser” to third. A laser? Look … I may be closer to a Christian Scientist than a rocket scientist, but I’ve seen enough Star Trek to know that lasers don’t come in “rainbow”, which is exactly what that throw was, pal. If I didn’t know better, I might have thought the game was in St Louis with that kinda arch.

Anyway, while we’re busy dipping Puig’s arm in bronze and adding a wing to Cooperstown to keep it in, let’s try not to crap all over the guys that perfected the art of the cannon shot from deep right center. Have a little respect for the game, and the guys that made it great by doing the impossible, not just flippin’ bats and shit.



· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · ,


Let me start by saying that I love ESPN. I’ve been an addict since way back, back, back, back, back when Chris Berman could still see his toes. Since before ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 and Deportes. Since before Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser started yelling at each other, and before Keith Olbermann became such a ginormous a-hole. My first words were “DaDaDa. DaDaDa.”


I was pickin’ up an ice cold sixer of Old Style today, and while scanning the mags at the check out line (Hey, did you know the bitter marriage between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle continues to fall apart in the wake of the president’s womanizing?) when ESPN The Magazine’s cover grabbed my disbelieving eyeballs like a Fabricio Werdum guillotine.

There’s football on the cover! FOOTBALL!

I got a Prince Fielder sized problem with that, pal. First, there is the obvious fact that baseball kicks football’s ass. Second, it ain’t football season. It’s baseball season and hockey season and basketball season, but not football season. Third, and by far the one that’s stuck the furthest into the nether regions of my craw (whatever that is), is that the one team in sports history — not just baseball, but all sports — that has had the biggest, longest, ugliest, most painful dry spell known to man — the friggin’ Chicago Cubs — are on an 8-1 tear; one of the best starts in franchise history. They’re averaging over seven runs a game. Yeah, you read that right. And…AND…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two teams in the modern era have had a better run differential than the Cubs through nine games — the 1905 Giants and 1999 Indians. Both were plus-44. The Cubs are plus-43 through nine. And this doesn’t warrant an ESPN The Magazine cover? Really?

I realize it’s a long season, and we’re only heading into the third week. A lot can happen, I know. But it’s been a lot of nothing happening for over a hundred years, for the Cubs. So how is it that when the perennial door mat of the National League comes outta the gate like the friggin’ Tasmanian Devil, we get no nod from ESPN? You call that journalism? I call it pinheadism, my friend. I don’t give a crap that the NFL draft is around the corner. It happens every stinkin’ year. Like clock work. The Cubs going 8-1 outta the first 9? That hasn’t happened since Neil Armstrong made footprints on the moon. You wanna see a giant leap for mankind? Wait and see what happens if my Cubbies win the Series, my friend.

Hey, ESPN The Magazine…Bite me.