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DUMPIN’ BRYANT FOR THE HARP IS DEFINITELY NOT MUSIC TO MY EARS.

· 2017 Cubs, Joe Sez, News · , , , ,

HARPER-AS-CUB-2

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?

Joe

IS WINNING THE “STAR WARS” BATTLE WHAT MATTERS IN BASEBALL TODAY?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , ,

MLB-STARS

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.

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TOMMY LA STELLA? OFF WITH HIS HEAD? SERIOUSLY?

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

ROBINSON-AND-LA-STELLA

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.

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NOAH’S ARK SURPASSED IN SCALE BY PUIG’S ARCH.

· Joe Sez, News · ,

YASIEL-PUIG-THROW

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.

Joe

THE CUBS ARE 8-1. WHERE IS ESPN?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · ,

NO-ESPN-MAG-APRIL-2016

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.”

However…

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.

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