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The Best Bad Cubs Team of My Time: 2B Mark Grudzielanek

Yes, that's Eric Karros instituting the "Flying V" chess strategy.

Yes, that’s Eric Karros instituting the “Flying V” chess strategy.

A passing comment on Twitter has led to my next pet project.  I’ve compiled a 25-man roster of the best bad Cubs of my time.  Let me clarify a few things right off the bat.  I looked at stats, but I really don’t care about your stats-based argument.  This is supposed to be fun.  Calm down.  As you’ll see as the roster develops, personality wasn’t as big a factor as it was for the Bottom 126.  However, watching a bad player play well as a Cub made generally made him pretty likeable.  I’m starting with the bullpen, then I’ll do the bench, then the starting pitchers, and finally the starting eight.  HERE is the roster so far.

If there’s one thing Jim Hendry was good at during his tenure with the Cubs, it was eating an entire sleeve of Oreo cookies without using his hands. If there were two things he was good at, the second one was getting weird career years out of mostly-bad middle infielders. Mickey Morandini lives here. Mark DeRosa made the BBC team as a bench player. And overall, DeRosa was a better player in Chicago than Mark Grudzielanek. However, screw Mark DeRosa. More was expected of him than Grudzielanek, and he had nothing to do with the Cubs being able to throw Todd Hundley on a tire fire, where his booze-soaked sweat went up like kerosene. Plus, Grudzielanek played on a team that actually won a playoff game. Plus, just look at him playing chess against Eric Karros. Shove your Ivy League education, DeRosa. Also, I’m just going to say it. Grudzielanek has piercing blue eyes, and if memory serves, he had a really hot girlfriend/wife when the Cubs clinched in 2003. Because that somehow affects me, and I’m ignoring the existence of Heidi DeRosa. For those reasons, Mark Grudzielanek is the starting second baseman on the Best Bad Cubs Team of My Time.

Grudzielanek was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1989, but he didn’t sign because who in their right mind would voluntarily play half a season’s worth of game in a shithole called Flushing? Instead, he waited to sign until the Montreal Expos took him in the eleventh round of the 1991 draft. Do you hear that, New York? Some people would rather LEAVE THEIR HOMELAND than play in your town. Others would apparently fly from Japan to play there, but screw your stupid face, Tanaka.

And now comes the part of this article where I’m going to start shortening “Grudzielanek” because it’s a pain in the ass to write, I don’t know how to make a macro, and cutting-and-pasting is for bus-riding losers. Besides, if Harry doesn’t have to pronounce it, why should I have to spell it? Surprisingly, you can keep taking letters away from his name (to a certain point) and still make a stupid nickname!

Grudzielane was…not very good in the minors. In his first three years, his OPS didn’t top .668. He hit 2, 5, and 1 home run in those seasons, spending his time from low-A to high-A ball. With the class AA Harrisburg Senators in 1994, however, Grudzielan finally broke out. He batted .322/.382/.477 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs, all career highs to that point. He also stole 32 bases, though he was caught ten times. That was enough to earn him a spot on the Expos’ 1995 Opening Day roster. The 1994 Expos were stacked. The 1995 Expos were not. So they came into Wrigley Field on April 28, 1995 and lost 4-3. But Grudziela got a pinch-hit at-bat late in the game. As so often happens, he struck out swinging on four pitches. But his MLB career was underway.

Grudziel was not good as Montreal’s starting shortstop. He had a ton of at-bats (he led the league in ABs and doubles in 1997), but his OPS+ never cracked 100. He had a pretty good first half in 1996, hitting .328/.358/.440, and that earned him a spot on the NL All-Star Team.

After Grudzie spent parts of four years in Montreal, the Expos sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 1998 trade deadline along with Hiram Bocachica and Carlos Perez for Jonathan Tucker, Peter Bergeron, Wilton Guerrero, and Ted Killy. Sorry. Ted Lilly. Grudzi fared somewhat better in parts of five seasons in Los Angeles, where he batted .284/.328/.389 and presumably met the hot girl who joined him on the field after the 2003 clincher who very well might have been a figment of my imagination.

After the 2002 season, the Cubs needed to replace Mark Bellhorn because he wasn’t 45 years old, and Dusty Baker was coming to town. So, in arguably the best trade of Jim Hendry’s tenure, he acquired Grudz along with Eric Karros for Chad Hermansen and Todd Hundley. I give Hendry a lot of deserved shit on this site. But in building the 2003 team he traded for the starting second baseman, the starting first baseman, and the eventual starting center fielder and third baseman. That’s pretty good work. But then he traded for both Juan Pierre and (eventually) Phil Nevin to build the 2006 team, and I remember why no one likes him.

As you may be aware, the Cubs didn’t have a leadoff hitter until they acquired Lofton, and Grud stepped up nicely to fill that void. He hit .314/.366/.416, well enough to make Dusty forget that “second basemen gotta hit second, dude.” He was apparently even good enough to earn an MVP vote and prove that some baseball writers are so stupid, they phosphoresce. Early in the 2004 season, Grud’s Achilles heel was his Achilles heel. He tore it early in the season and didn’t come back until June. Unfortunately, that gave Todd Walker the opportunity to jump on the douchetrainwreck that 2004 team was. The soft-spoken professionalism of 2003 Grud was replaced with the loudmouth dirt dog nonsense of the 2003 Boston Red Sox. The Cubs let Grud walk after the 2004 season, and the St. Louis Cardinals were more than happy to pick him up for a million dollars.

After a pretty typical season in St. Louis, Grud drove his trailer across the state and played three seasons for the Kansas City Royals. In his first year with the Royals at the I’m-going-to-pretend-it’s-still-young-because-it’s-looming age of 36, he won his first Gold Glove. He batted .300/.339/.412 in Kansas City as their primary second baseman and occasional shortstop. In early August of 2008, Grud blew out his leg bouncing off of Ross Gload’s potential while trying to chase down a Juan Uribe pop-up against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals granted him free agency after he didn’t appear again in the 2008 season. The Minnesota Twins took a chance on him halfway through the 2009 season, but he didn’t see any MLB action.

The Cleveland Indians signed Grud prior to the 2010 season because everyone but Dolan was aware that their hot-shit prospect second baseman was garbage. Sure enough, he was, and Grud played well for the Indians once they kicked Luis Valbuena out of the lineup. Don’t believe me? Just watch this fading frat star spit phrases about Grud from his murder basement! Your collared shirt does not fool me, sir. Also, it’s “www” not “ww.” It took me four hours to figure out how to access your website.

Grud was released by the Indians in June of 2010 to make room for Anderson Hernandez, who ssssuuuuuuuucked. Sadly, Grud went out ignominiously with an oh-fer against the White Sox in an 8-7 Indians loss. Maybe he should have taken more Bionix.

Gru retired on February 23, 2011, so get those Hall of Fame ballots ready soon, kids.

Greatest Cub Moment: Remember that incredible 5-game series in early September of 2003 when the Cubs should have swept the Cardinals but had to settle for taking four of five because umpires are worse at their jobs than any other employed person on this planet? Well, the Cubs were coming off their only loss of the series, a 2-0 blanking in game three. In the bottom of the 8th inning in game four, the Cubs were trailing 7-6. Grudz had come in as part of a double switch. Facing Woody Williams with one out and Tony Womack on second base, Grudz tripled to right center field, tying the game and setting up Sammy Sosa to drive in the game-winner. Sammy popped out in foul territory for the second out. Fortunately, Moises Alou ripped a single to left, driving in Grudz and sending Wrigley Field into a state of delirium generally only reserved for Sting concerts.

Worst Moment as a Human: It never helps the batting average to take an 0-6 as Grudz did on April 22, 2001. Even worse, he left runners in scoring position in his first FOUR at-bats, left a guy on first in his fifth, and made the second of the final three outs in a 7-6 Dodger loss. That’s one of those hole-in-the-ground days.

The Best Bad Cubs Team of My Time: 1B Daryle Ward

DAT ASS

DAT ASS

A passing comment on Twitter has led to my next pet project.  I’ve compiled a 25-man roster of the best bad Cubs of my time.  Let me clarify a few things right off the bat.  I looked at stats, but I really don’t care about your stats-based argument.  This is supposed to be fun.  Calm down.  As you’ll see as the roster develops, personality wasn’t as big a factor as it was for the Bottom 126.  However, watching a bad player play well as a Cub made generally made him pretty likeable.  I’m starting with the bullpen, then I’ll do the bench, then the starting pitchers, and finally the starting eight.  HERE is the roster so far.

This was a tough position. There are quite a few good/bad first basemen who have played for the Cubs. Julio Zuleta, Phil Nevin, Eric Karros, Manny Trillo (1987 ver.), Carlos Pena, Xavier Nady. And go ahead and cry for Randall Simon, crybabies. It’s my list. If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past 9ish years, you’d know there was only one clear choice for this position. Hell, you might even ask yourself if the only reason I started this list was to have a reason to write an article about the greatest Cub player of all time, DARYLE WARD. And I shan’t provide an answer to that musing, good sir. Daryle Ward is an awesome, lovable teddy bear, and he is the clear choice for the starting first baseman on the Best Bad Cubs Team of My Time.

The son of former first baseman and left fielder Gary Ward, Daryle Ward was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 1994 amateur draft. Ward slugged baseballs and brews down in the minors, and he hit his way to value. I’m just going to go ahead and say he was involved in the biggest blockbuster trade of all time. On December 10, 1996, he was traded by the Tigers with Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller and C.J. Nitkowski to the Houston Astros for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash. Every other player in that deal was a worthless throw-in. Ward was the shooting star. The wildflower. The milkshake. And oh, how he did put the “shake” in milkshake.

Ward made his Major League debut with the Astros on May 14, 1998. With the Astros already trailing 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Ward pinch hit for pitcher Mike Grzanich. As he was wont to do, Ward battled through seven pitches, six of them strikes, before he was finally retired swinging by Jose Silva.

Ward had a decent run in parts of five years in Houston, compiling a .269/.316/.465 slash line. He played in the 1999 and 2001 NLDS with the Astros, hitting a home run each year in series losses to the Atlanta Braves. In fact, on October 12, 2001, his two-run, pinch-hit homer cut the Braves’ seventh-inning lead in half. The Astros still lost in a Braves’ sweep, but WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, LARRY DIERKER???

After the 2002 season, the Astros sent Ward to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Ruddy Lugo. Because the Astros are dumb. While the Cubs were having their best year in ages in 2003, Ward refused to take any headlines away from Chicago, turning in his worst year. Because he’s an unselfish goddamn angel. The Dodgers let Ward go after the 2003 season, so he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he had a career rebirth. Or resuscitation. Or at least he staved off the prospect of forced retirement for another few years. During his two seasons in Pittsburgh, Ward hit .256/.313/.434 with 27 home runs and 120 RBIs.

Prior to the 2006 season, Ward signed with the Washington Nationals. He hammered the ball to the tune of a .308/.390/.567 line, making him an attractive bench player for a contending team. The Braves were just that, and they sent Luis Atilano to Washington on the last day of August in exchange for Ward. Ward hit well enough for the Braves in 20 games, but they missed the playoffs, and the nation was once again deprived the opportunity to see Daryle’s big old grin on FOX.

Prior to the 2007 season, Ward signed a 2-year, $2.2M deal with the Cubs. It will be the best $2.2M the Cubs spent until they eventually buy some goddamn pants for Clark. I know it’s been some time since you’ve thought about this, but the 2007 Cubs were actually good, and Ward was great. In 133 plate appearances, Ward hit .327/.436/.527. On a free-swinging offensive team, Ward managed to draw nearly as many walks (22) as he struck out (23). His 143 OPS+ was the highest of his career, and he was a monster at Wrigley Field, where he hit .345/.457/.569.

Though Ward cooled off in the 2008 season, he still had more RBIs than Henry Blanco, so shut up, Dolan. He had, however, cooled to the point that, unbeknownst to him, his career had ended. He played his final game on September 27, 2008 against Dale Sveum’s Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs won 7-3, partially on the strength of a first-inning, two-run shot Ward hit off of Ben Sheets. And that’s how I’m going to remember him. Not for the two strikeouts in his final two at-bats.

Ward tried to catch on with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Nationals (again), and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he didn’t stick anywhere. Like Roy Hobbs, he’s still barnstorming with the Lancaster Barnstormers in Pennsylvania along with another former Cub phenom, Ryan Harvey. Ward is on the disabled list right now, so here’s hoping for a productive 2014 from the big lug. I’m not saying, but Theo JUST SAVED all that Tanaka money…

Also, Daryle is on Twitter! He looks like he’s loving life, and isn’t that the greatest gift of all? He only has 224 followers, so get on that, people.

Greatest Cub Moment: Back before Kevin Gregg was awful for the Cubs, he was awful for the Florida Marlins. The Cubs were in Florida on August 15, 2008, and the Marlins were staked to a 5-3 lead in the top of the 9th inning. Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson both reached base in front of Ward. When Lou Piniella called his named, Daryle was probably a bit surprised. He was currently mired in an 0-13 slump. But Daryle calmly got up from the bench, squeezed a whole tube of chocolate cookie dough into his mouth, and launched the second pitch he saw from Gregg into deep right center. Some stay he’s still rounding the bases. My runner up game is this one, when he single-handedly outscored the St. Louis Cardinals. But I have a LOT of favorite Daryle Ward games, so screw you.

Worst Moment as a Human: If you have a long enough baseball career, odds are you’re going to wear the sombrero at some point. Ward did on June 7, 2001. The Astros managed the near-impossible, losing a 2-1 game in Colorado to the Rockies. Ward had four at bats, struck out four times, and left five guys on base. NO ONE IS PERFECT, JERKS!!!

/takes ball
//goes home

Friday Roundup: The “Clark the Terrifying Nightmare” Edition

KIDS EAT FREE

KIDS EAT FREE

The Cubs Convention is upon us and, for the first time in several years, I’m not going to be drinking heavily immediately outside of it while making snarky comments about Keith Moreland’s complexion and Gordon Wittenmyer’s affinity for Dewar’s. I’M SUCH A BITCH. Maybe we’ll have to schedule a drinking thing some time in the near future. One where a pantsless Clark the Cub won’t be lurking in the shadows. Sweating. His vodka-soaked breath dampening the inside of his nightmarish visage. Waiting until one of us strays far enough from the group to strike. For a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series since before man began building the Titanic, it’s amazing that THIS is the most embarrassing decision they’ve ever made.

Your tips are as appreciated as the sickly sweet smell of Clark’s booze-infused breath on the back of your neck.

Friday Roundup: The “Hall of Dumb” Edition

Voters dig the breaking ball.

Voters dig the breaking ball.

“Hall of Lame” was too low-hanging, even for me. First of all, congratulations to Greg Maddux. It was a foregone conclusion that he’d be a Hall of Famer, but I’m just glad I know have two Hall of Fame beagles (Ryno and Maddux) in my house. That said, the Hall of Fame is fucking stupid, and the bouncers to this elite club are goddamn idiots. The links below will prove just that. But I’m not going to let that get in the way of the celebration of arguably the greatest pitcher of the generation. Congratulations, as well, to deserved Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas.

Your tips are as appreciated as that extra three inches off the outside corner.
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The Muskbox Resolves Not to Talk About Uniforms, Immediately Breaks Resolution

"And now a selected reading from my upcoming novel, 'The Wolf of Waveland'."

“And now a selected reading from my upcoming novel, ‘The Wolf of Waveland Avenue’.”

Have you lost weight since the first of the year? Have you switched to e-cigarettes like an utter douchebag? Are you on the wagon? Have you been practicing guitar every day? How are your resolutions going? Probably better than the Muskbox’s, assuming her resolution was to use the Muskbox for helpful informational purposes in 2014. The new year brings a new Box. Same as the old Box.

Why would the Cubs entertain the idea of trading Jeff Samardzija?

Because SOMETHING surrounding this team has to be entertained, AMIRIGHT?

He has a solid arm and many years ahead of him.

What are you, an actuary?

They have the young talent that they have been trying to obtain. It looks to me that you add just one or two more power hitters and the Cubs are in contention.
— John P., Swifton, Ark.

Sure, as long as those power hitters are Ruth and Gehrig, the Cubs are going to be ACES in 2014! Speaking of which, has Ernie Banks, godlovehim, come up with a terrible slogan for 2014? If not, I have some suggestions.

THE CUBS WILL SMELL CLEAN IN 2014!
THE CUBS WON’T SUCK PEEN IN 2014!
WE’LL RUN OUT EPSTEIN IN 2014!

CARRIE: The Cubs are listening to offers because they’ve made it no secret that they are trying to restock the Minor League system (look at the deals at the Trade Deadline the past two years).

Aw, do I HAFTA???

CARRIE: They also are trying to keep Samardzija, and have talked to his agent about a possible long-term deal, which would be more cost effective for the Cubs.

The Cub front office is like every woman I’ve ever dated.

CARRIE: The reason teams want to acquire the right-hander are the same reasons the Cubs want to keep him — he’s durable with a power arm, and is under team control for two more seasons. He’s projected to get about $5 million in arbitration, which is a great price for a starting pitcher these days. I think they need more help than one or two power hitters, as you say.

Fine. They’re a middle reliever and a backup catcher away.

With Javier Baez on the rise and Starlin Castro “sputtering” at the plate, what are the chances that Castro can be dealt for pitching prospects? Seems the Cubs should do so now while he’s still very young and under contract.
— Jason C., Elk Grove, Calif.

Why is “sputtering” in quotes? You kids help me out. Does sputtering secretly mean something dirty? Like twerking or date raping?

CARRIE: How do you know Baez won’t “sputter,” too?

Well, now I really hope it’s NOT something dirty. Gross, Carrie.

CARRIE: It’s clear Baez and the Cubs’ other top prospects have talent, but they have not been tested at the Major League level.

Some might say that none of these guys have ever taken a test at all.

CARRIE: It’s a little early to give up on Castro. Be patient.

Breathe in through the nose. Out through the mouth. Close your eyes. Focus on your bellybutton. Imagine your nipples are moving toward one another. And now they’re moving apart. You’re floating in a giant bowl of Bisquick. The Beach Boys are playing softly in the background.

CARRIE: Baez, 21, has 828 Minor League at-bats total. Derek Jeter totaled 1,751 Minor League at-bats before he was promoted to the Yankees. Gary Sheffield, to whom Baez has been compared, collected 1,228 at-bats in the Minors before he got the call.

Yeah, but the 2014 Cubs are more ready to win now than the 1995 Yankees.

Why do the Cubs want Masahiro Tanaka? They will have to pay the $20 million posting fee and then tons of money for the signing. And I know the Draft has a lot of pitchers. Aren’t the Cubs sixth in the Draft? Who do you project they will get?
— Dan C., Orland Park, Ill.

Because the Cubs have had a ton of success with Asian players.

CARRIE: The reason the Cubs and others are interested in Tanaka is because by all accounts, he’s Major League ready.

Unlike STUPID JAVIER BAEZ!!!

CARRIE: He was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan and he’s 25 years old. Yes, the Cubs have the fourth pick overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. They could select a high school or college pitcher and then wait years for him to develop, not knowing for sure if he’ll even get to the big leagues. In talking to scouts who saw Tanaka, they feel the right-hander is worth the investment.

They could also select an 80-year-old! Or a monkey! Or a Clemens!

Will the Cubs ever change their look, even just a little? They need new uniforms. It’s time for a change.
— Lisa M.

Thanks, Obama.

CARRIE: You will see some new looks this year as part of the Wrigley Field 100th anniversary celebration. The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from significant events at the ballpark during each decade of Wrigley’s history.

Where the stitching is SLIGHTLY different from the current uniforms. Isn’t the cool thing about the Cub uniforms is that they’re already pretty classic?

CARRIE: The first is a copy of the 1914 Chicago Federals uniform, which will be worn on the 100th birthday game, April 23 against the D-backs. The remaining uniforms will be worn on a “Throwback Sunday” game for the corresponding decade. Visiting teams also will wear retro uniforms on those games. The Cubs also will feature an alternate road jersey for 2014 that pays homage to the road jersey worn in the 1920s.

Except for Welington Castillo, who will play topless.

With a huge offensive hole at second base…

I thought Theriot retired?

…why didn’t the Cubs look at Robinson Cano? Darwin Barney is solid at defense, but the Cubs could have used a big bat in the lineup.
— Chris L., Appleton, Wis.

Ruth, Gehrig, and Cano. World Series-bound.

CARRIE: There are 240 million reasons why the Cubs didn’t sign Cano.

START LISTING THEM!!!

Friday Roundup: The “SNOOOOOW DAAAAAY!” Edition

Image via Discovery.com.

Image via Discovery.com.

Or Monday Roundup, whatever. My new year’s resolution was to try to get back into posting regularly. I didn’t say when, I didn’t say how, and I’ve never vouched for the quality. Happy New Year to those of you still obsessing over lunar cycles solar revolutions. For the rest of you, happy 68th of Smarch!

Your tips are as appreciated as ancient Simpsons references.
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The 2013 Essies

Essies TrophyWhat a year the 2013 Cubs had! They avoided 100 losses, they fired their dull manager, they hired a new dull manager, and they watched Tony LaRussa get voted into the Hall of Fame. On this, the day after you drank alcohol and probably said something stupid to a hot girl, let’s give out some inaugural year-end awards. WELCOME TO THE ESSIES!

Best Cub Player: Travis Wood

Despite the fact that Cubs fans ever-so-patiently waited through another rebuilding year, it’s nice watching some occasionally honest-to-goodness talent at Wrigley Field. Scott Feldman pitched well and (along with Steve Clevenger) landed the Cubs some apparent talent in Pedro Stop and Jake Arrieta. Matt Garza’s solid pitching and miraculous ability to stay uninjured for three consecutive starts may have helped the Cubs land their third baseman of the future. But those guys are gone, Wood is still a Cub, he made 32 starts, and the majority of those starts were great. Despite my love for SeanBearPig, it made sense for the Cubs to swap him for Wood. The trade really paid off for the Cubs in 2013. THEY WERE ACTUALLY WATCHABLE WHEN WOOD STARTED.

Best Cub Debut: Junior Lake

Remember when Junior Lake came up and people were comparing his numbers favorably to Yasiel Puig’s? Probably not. Because that was probably on Sportsnet Central and no one was watching. But Lake had a 1.274 OPS after his first seven games, so everyone in Chicago was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Lake finished the year with a respectable-enough .760 OPS and allowed Epstein to dump his entire outfield. HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, DAVID DEJESUS.

Most Disappointing Season: Starlin Castro

Castro came into the 2013 season after back-to-back All-Star seasons. Cubs fans were hoping his plate discipline and pitch recognition would improve. It didn’t. It got worse. Castro had a .167/.204/.250 slash line in the month of June. Woof. I’m not saying the regression of Castro (and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Rizzo) is the reason Dale Sveum was fired. Other people are saying that. And I just might agree with them.

Most Successfully Played His Way off the 2014 Roster: Dioner Navarro

Dioner Navarro was once a super-hot-shit catching prospect for the Yankees. Then, he became a journeyman backup catcher. He’s built like fat Geovany Soto, but he can actually hit, so the Toronto Blue Jays signed him away from the Cubs about a month ago. Congratulations and best of like to Dioner, as it was actually a lot of fun watching him rejuvenate his career in Chicago.

Most Boring Winter Meetings: The 2013 Winter Meetings

Good lord, I don’t think Yellon could even manage to muster more than 10,000 words about this year’s Winter Meetings. The Cubs acquired Justin Ruggiano for Brian Bogusevic and…that’s it. I wasn’t expecting fireworks, but that- That was tedium.

Biggest Albatross Unloaded: Alfonso Soriano

I loved Alfonso as a Cub, but Epstein was finally able to actualize Chuck’s wettest dream when he shipped Soriano off to the Yankees just before the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline for a halfway-decent pitching prospect. Alfonso became the Yankees’ entire offense, and they were basically getting him for free. I hope Alf has a ton of success in 2014 back where it all started. Oh, by the way, this was also the year that Epstein turned Carlos Marmol into someone who was not Carlos Marmol. Only four years after the Cubs should have actually traded him. Oh, well.

Best Facial Hair: Carlos Villanueva

GIF courtesy of Fangraphs.

GIF courtesy of Fangraphs.

Biggest Waste of Money: Kyuji Fujikawa

$4.5M this year for 12 innings of shitty pitching and a 67 save percentage. Oh, and he’s under contract for next year with a buyout for 2015. I like that Theo occasionally reminds us that he’s not perfect.

Guy You Most Likely Forgot was Even on the Roster: Brent Lillibridge

Yes, it was just this past season that we “had” to watch Lillibridge collect a lone single in twenty-four at-bats. His OPS+ was -77.

Best Replacement of Keith Moreland: Anyone But Todd Hollandsworth

I was so excited when Moreland “quit,” but then when I heard Hollandsworth might be an option to replace him, I was right back to my usual state of rampant disappointment. Fortunately, Ron Coomer got the job. I have no idea how he’ll do, and I feel like at some point Pat will walk in on Coomer stuffing his face with Jed Hoyer’s birthday cake and have to yell, “Coooooooomerrrrrrrr!” but at least he’s not Hollandsworth.

Most Coveted Non-Cub Player: Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen is the coolest goddamn guy in baseball, and he helped lead the Pirates not only to an above-.500 record, but also their first playoff appearance in over 20 years. His efforts earned him the 2013 NL MVP Award, even though he was better in 2012. His Pirates did us all the favor of knocking of Dusty’s Reds in the Wild Card game, though sadly they couldn’t knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs. He’s also just absolutely slaying it personally.

Biggest Dickhead Team: Boston Red Sox

Isn’t the “WE’RE SO ANTI-YANKEE THAT WE ALL HAVE TO HAVE RATTY BEARDS” shit just a little pathetic? Thanks for beating the Cardinals. Now please go away.

Ryan Dempster Award: Brian Wilson

This is how you treat the CEO of the team who made you? I don’t care if it’s wrong to root for a guy’s elbow to explode. I’m rooting for this guy’s elbow to explode.

Worst Fans: San Francisco Giants

Every team has its fair share of idiot fans, but holy shit, Giants fans. You don’t deserve to celebrate those titles. Also, just so you’re aware, no one else on the planet gives a shit about West Coast baseball. Also, IT’S A GODDAMN GAME.

Friday Roundup: The “You Have a Blog?” Edition

Picture HT: level5

Picture HT: level5

Hello, internet friends. The end of the year is nearly upon us! The biggest story of the Cubs’ offseason so far has been the inking of doubles machine Ron Coomer to the WGN radio gig. I’m glad Coomer got the job. Not because I think he’ll be good. He may be. I don’t know. I’ve never heard the guy. But at least Todd Hollandsworth won’t be guffawing up the broadcast. I can’t wait to hear how Pat Hughes introduces him. Santo was “Cub legend.” Moreland was “former Cubs star.” Coomer must be “former Cub backup third baseman.” I wonder how many lonely, confused, blue-haired widows are going to send a very confusing fax confessing their love for the new Ron. Based on his attendance game picks, Pat is going with a cool dozen.

You battered readers are wonderful to send me tips despite my neglect. Send more here, if it pleases you.

  • Poor kid. Not a good name to have in this town right now. Because people are dumb, you see.
  • Great. Now the most famous person from Naperville is the dope who started the four-letter site.
  • Here’s your depressing weekly dose of whatmighthavebeens.
  • If you weren’t yet convinced that the owner of Murphy’s is a stupid asshole and you should never give him a cent of your money, here’s yet another reason. Seriously, with all the bars around Wrigley Field, why do people go to that shithole? It’s the Ronnie Woo-Woo of Wrigley bars.
  • Lock up your stray cats.
  • Sometimes, people aren’t terrible. (HT: level5)
  • It’s funny watching a drunk Vikings fan fall down, but the guy filming is as big or bigger a “fucking idiot” as the faller. There’s a kid right in front of you, you stupid asshole.
  • Bears fans are far more intelligent.
  • Honey badger don’t care.
  • Welp, our species is fucked.
  • The whole video isn’t great, but the first sixteen seconds are priceless.
  • TWEET OF THE WEEK: I really hope Stephen King’s Twitter feed doesn’t just confirm that he’s a creepy weirdo, but he’s certainly not off to a very good start. If you’re disappointed by King, I’m sure you can find something amusing here.
  • NIGHTMARE FUEL OF THE WEEK: You yell spitting llama, everybody says, “Huh? What?” You yell testicle-biting llama, we’ve got a panic on our hands. (HT: level5)

Friday Roundup: The “XBONERTIME!” Edition

Courtesy of The Onion

Courtesy of The Onion

If it seems like I’ve been neglecting you, I HAVE. You know. Life ‘n’ junk. Plus, now that the new Xbox is out, don’t expect daddy to come home straight from work any time soon. If only UPS would get here.

Your tips are as appreciated as a reckless UPS driver who gets his route done quickly with no breakage.

  • I hope everyone’s thoughts are with the people of Washington, IL and all of the other communities affected by the storm last week. That said, GO BEARS FANS.
  • The MLB Network does this dumb shit, too.
  • To be fair, it IS pretty obnoxious when people act like they’re actually enjoying Cubs games.
  • We haven’t done a quiz in a while, so did this guy win the Cy Young? (HT: Jason)
  • I hope everyone is okay, because this propane accident is awesome. (HT: level5)
  • This was somehow Jay Cutler’s fault.
  • If you didn’t order a next-gen console, CALL YOUR MOTHER every once in a while.
  • It really whipped the llama’s ass.
  • Futurama loved its maths.
  • Dolphins don’t have the luxury of tube socks.

For Neifi

Go save a season today.

Go save a season today.