The Muskbox Returneth to the Relevance It’s Always Enjoyed 13

There’s no slumpbuster like a Muskbox slumpbuster. Thanks to the idiocy of people who read and the continued nightmare that is the 2010 edition of the Chicago Cubs, the Muskbox continues to shine. In this week’s Muskbox, a guy from Valparaiso asks about a player from Valparaiso, an Iowan is sick of watching Darwin Barney play in person, and some Swedish guy would rather watch the Cubs than bikini models. It’s a weird time to be alive, people.

I read the Cubs are going to have a special day for Andre Dawson on Aug. 30. Is this true? Are they going to retire his No. 8?
— John S., Winfield, Mo.

Not if Michael Barrett has anything to say about it!

CARRIE: The Cubs will honor the newest Hall of Famer on Aug. 30 when they play host to the Pirates at Wrigley Field, but there are no plans to retire Dawson’s number. Third base coach Mike Quade can continue to wear No. 8.

…and some flowers in his h- Oh, wait.

What’s the latest on Jeff Samardzija? With all the pitching woes and callups, I haven’t heard his name mentioned much. Is the Cubs management down on him or is he not producing like they want? He has a pretty big contract and I would think the Cubs would like to see him producing some dividends.
— John H., Valparaiso, Ind.

72 strikeouts against 49 walks in Iowa this year. Don’t they have any other shitty pitchers with big contracts they can use?

CARRIE: John H. isn’t the only one asking.

God help us all.

CARRIE: Got a note from Art K. of Lexington, Ky., and more from Samardzija’s home state of Indiana.

So many notes, so few teeth.

CARRIE: In 2009, Samardzija went back and forth between Triple-A Iowa and the big league team, and it was difficult for him to get into any kind of routine.

There were so many bar skanks that needed banging!

CARRIE: The plan at the beginning of this year was to have him pitch in relief because that was what the Cubs needed. In 20 games out of the ‘pen with Iowa, he compiled a 4.45 ERA. He was moved back into the rotation, and is 4-0 with a 2.29 ERA in eight starts. The Cubs want him to get his work in, get experience, and not be on the shuttle between Des Moines and Chicago.

They’d prefer he were on a shuttle piloted directly into the sun.

CARRIE: Another pitcher considered for a callup was Jay Jackson, who is 8-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 25 games (18 starts).

Don’t waste your time. I already looked. Jackson actually is the best option left in Iowa. Commence killing yourselves.

Having endured another rough season as a Cubs fan…

I don’t know what day it is by you, but the season isn’t over yet, SWEDE!

…I’d be interested in knowing how you perceive the young bullpen and the remainder of the season preparing for next year. Should the Cubs merely let them play and learn, hoping for a better 2011?
— Gabriel V., Stockholm, Sweden

Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

CARRIE: Absolutely. The best way the front office can evaluate the young pitchers is by seeing them in game situations. This isn’t September when they’re facing other team’s callups. Here’s a test — who were the three relievers the Cubs were counting on for 2010?

John Grabow, Carlos Marmol, and Sean Marshall?

CARRIE: Remember Angel Guzman, Jeff Gray and Esmailin Caridad?


CARRIE: Gray is the only one pitching, and he’s made four appearances at Triple-A Iowa. What’s tough for Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Justin Berg is that they’re still developing a second pitch.

They’re gonna call it the old Russell Cashberg! And Dave Otto is going to call it a fosh.

CARRIE: This next stretch of 17 games will be tough as the Cubs face playoff contending teams Cincinnati, San Francisco, St. Louis, San Diego and Atlanta.

The last stretch when they went 5-12 was a walk in the park.

What do the Cubs have in mind for first base next year? Would they consider moving Tyler Colvin to first and having Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome as the starting outfield?


Will they re-sign Derrek Lee?


Or do they go after a big name through free agency or trade?
— Jeff B., Bloomington, Ill.


CARRIE: I’m not sure.

God dammit.

CARRIE: Colvin is a possibility, having played first in high school and college. Lee is a Gold Glove first baseman and a leader on the team, but this has been such a disappointing season (.252, 12 homers, 51 RBIs) and it’s difficult to see the Cubs giving him a new deal. This year, he’s making $13 million.

He asked four questions. Zero were answered. This is the most disappointing ratio since Thermopylae.

Is there any chance we will see Darwin Barney play at Wrigley this year?
— Nick C., Davenport, Iowa

Darwin Barney is currently sporting a .380 SLG in the launching pad league that is the PCL. Ronny Cedeno once slugged .537 in that league. We may see him in Wrigley. But why would we want to?

CARRIE: I’d say the chances are good, although it may not be until September.

Enjoy your Darwin-Barney-free existence while it lasts.

CARRIE: Barney impressed the team in Spring Training and was hitting .294 so far with 24 doubles, 45 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He’s primarily played shortstop and it’d be hard to bump Starlin Castro from that spot right now. Barney also can play second base.

Can he slug Albert Pujols and Joey Votto in the backs with a baseball bat? I joke, but I- I actually think that won’t even help.

I’ve read that Blake DeWitt actually is stronger at third than second. Have you heard anything to indicate DeWitt could be the heir to the hot corner once Ramirez leaves?
— Kenny A., Nashville

I sure hope so, because I have a fucking AWESOME idea for “Third’s Company” t-shirts. The Cubs will knock on your door!

CARRIE: DeWitt has played 111 games at second and 109 at third so far, and when he joined the Cubs last Sunday, said he was still learning second base. He’s looked good so far and one reason to keep him there is that third base is usually a power position.

And for the Cubs, second base is a midget position!

CARRIE: DeWitt hit his second homer of the year on Wednesday.

Which is approximately twice as many as Theriot has hit this year. Okay, exactly twice as many.

CARRIE: Ramirez has a player option for 2011 at $14.6 million, and has said he will likely exercise that. What a difference a sore thumb makes. In 2009, when Ramirez missed two months with a sore shoulder, he still finished with a .317 average, 15 homers and 65 RBIs in 82 games. He hit .425 with runners in scoring position. This year, he’s played 81 games, and is hitting .223 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs. And, he is batting .223 with RISP.

Yet I’d still prefer he were the starting third baseman next year over Blake DeWitt.

  • DVXPrime

    Reader’s Digest version: Not only are the Cubs stuck with the deadwoods masquerading as major leauge baseball players, but the Cubs’ farm system is slightly less bare than Ol’ Mother Hubbard’s infamous cupboard.

    Funny, when I catch the odd baseball highlights on ESPN or wherever, I see lots of empty seats in some stadiums. Please somebody tell me that Cubs Nation is voting with their feet and not wasting their depleted discretionary income on this mob.

  • Slak

    I’m voting with my feet. I haven’t been to a game this year. Haven’t been able to say that since 2002, I believe. My dad has had season tickets since 1984 (!!!!!) and he’s canceling them. Now, I’m pissed off at the Cubs but the fact that I’ll never get to use those season tickets again is fucking sad. I’m a realist and a cynic but even I know the Cubs will likely have a decent team at some point in the future. At least one season will be filled with competitive baseball. But my dad’s seats will no longer be an option.

    Thanks, 2010 Cubs. Thanks a lot.

  • Moon

    If you want to watch winning baseball, you should switch to the YANKEES!

    /Now I have to go wash my mouth out with soap.

  • DVXPrime

    Okay, that’s two volunteers for the walkout…any more?

    BOYCOTT 2010! Let’s RAWWWKKK!

  • With no chance of re-signing D-Lee, why not give Tyler Colvin some time at first base this season? Lou Piniella doesn’t want to do it, but if Lee’s replacement is already here, it seems like an obvious move. Thoughts?

  • blueslacker

    It’s like that time his sophomore year when Samardzija went on Spring Break down in Florida or wherever with his frat brothers Skeeter and Slapdick. Dude they got so drunk and Skeeter almost got eaten by a gator so after that they called him Cooter but anyway Samardzija got confused and went home with some similar looking dudes from Vanderbilt in similar A&F sweaters. Spent a whole semester there before he realized he was in the wrong frathouse. Guys would be like “Hey, man, who are you?” And he’d just laugh and say “Ha ha good one faggot” and then go nail their girlfriends. Longstory short, Samardizja does not adjust to change well. Worst semester ever.

  • Justin

    I was over at BCB a couple of weeks ago and saw that several of the window lickers were clamoring for Barney. If you thought Fontenot and Theriot were midgets, wait til you see Barney. The Cubs may as well find a bearded lady to round out the bullpen.

  • Starlin Castrated

    @Justin – Wouldn’t that imply we had a strongman as well? And a ringleader for this bunch of failures?

  • aaronb

    @Cubs Fan Report

    Seems like a huge waste of defense to put Colvin at 1st.

    He becomes an offensive liability at first, and probably long term in the corner OF.
    For all the “Breakout” he has shown this year. Keep in mind this kid has a 785 ML OPS. Micah F’n Hoffpauir has a MLB OPS of 776 and a ML of 826.

    It’s like Todd Walker at first and Neifi at 2nd version 2.0

  • santo10

    The Iowa Cubs and Darwin Barney are in first place in the who gives a shit league, so if they make the playoffs you guys should road trip it to Des Moines and we can go get trashed together!!! Ryne Sandberg will sign your balls before the game.

  • santo10

    Your good friend Paul Sullivan says Barney is joining the team on Thursday, and we are now CAJUN FREE!!!!

  • McManus


    If anyone is up for a road trip, Kevin Millar is currently on the St. Paul Saints.

    …but on the DL. He was in the dugout for the last game I was at and I was able to remind him how glad I was that he did not make the Cubs. He smirked a couple of times in my direction. I’m sure he was thinking he was glad he wasn’t on the Cubs too

  • Edelweiss

    Except for Jim Hendry.