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Post Mortem 2004

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Trust me, losing isn't lovable

I never wanted to write this post, but I've known for a while that I would have to. In fact, I've wanted to say several of the things I will be ranting about for sometime now, but I held off because you always want to give your team the benefit of the doubt... but with the final nail in the coffin, and mathematical elimination upon us, it is time to come clean... to vent... to let it all out... to clear the air of all the rotten, putrid, hurtful things I have needed to say for a while.

Another one run loss today proves again: This team had no heart. Certain players were exemplary, while others just mailed it in... and with all the sand on the bottom half of the hourglass, its time to name names:


  • Moises Alou: Alou was a cancer this year. For a guy with 37 home runs, 100+ RBIs and Runs, and an OPS above .900 to warrant a spot on the 'get off my team' list is pretty sad. However, Alou's horrible baserunning, defense, and demeanor created a negative atmosphere around this team that was unexcusable. Alou's constant whining about the umpires was ridiculous, mostly unfounded, and uncalled for by a league veteran and supposed clubhouse leader. Moises Alou take a long look in the mirror... and get off my team.

  • Sammy Sosa: I have never been a big Sammy Sosa fan. In 1997, I went to a game and my family and I waited outside the players entrance to get autographs. When Sammy came out, he signed autographs for a bunch of fans, but I didn't bother to walk over 10 feet and get one. I felt at the time, and still do feel that Sammy is a one dimensional, selfish player. Now, for any hall of fame caliber player who has spent 13 seasons with your team, you are going to have moments when you embrace the player (about 544 of them at least)... but I have always admired Sammy from a distance. This year, Sammy's performance declined and I refuse to give him a pass. Sammy Sosa... get off my team.

  • Kent Mercker: The broadcasters have nothing to do with what happens on the field. Any player who can't look themself in the mirror and say: "I screwed up" is a player that should look for employment elsewhere. Kent Mercker... get off my team.

  • Wendell Kim: Time to wave goodbye little buddy.

Thanks for stopping by... now skedaddle

  • Jose Macias: I cringed whenever you made it into the game. You have some tools, but not enough to justify a return engagement in 2005.

  • Tom Goodwin: This is a sad day because I know you are a positive influence in the club house... but you seem to have run out of gas. I think its time to hang 'em up.

  • Paul Bako: You play hard, its not personal, we just need better production from the second string catcher. Your defense has declined significantly as well.

Its time to part ways

  • Matt Clement: I really like you, but you completely choked down the stretch. The contract is up, and I hope you enjoy your stay in Pittsburgh. You are a class act, its just time to move on.

  • Mark Grudzielanek: Sometimes fate is just wicked. You get traded to the Cubs as a washed up, over paid player. You play your heart out, post excellent numbers, and then get a significant paycut. You take the pay cut, and your team signs another player at your position who is better than you. While insisting you are the starter, the fans are smart enough to realize who gives them a better chance to win, and despite a .300 AVG, you are run out of town in favor of the new guy. Sorry Grudz, but we can't have both you and Walker next year... and we're keeping Walker. We will welcome you back if Walker leaves... but make sure to stick it to us in contract negotiations.

Blessings to you and your family!

  • Michael Barrett: I'll admit it. Before the season started I would tell anyone who would listen that the Cubs had downgraded behind the plate. I was wrong. Your defense could be improved, but you are a team player. If there was a man on first, who needed to move over to second. I would pick you as the first player I wanted at bat. You are aware of game situations, and you play the game 'the right way.' Michael, thanks for being a Cub and Blessings to you and your family.

  • Greg Maddux: Last August (2003) I told my best friend that the two most important free agent acquisitions the Cubs could make during the 2003 winter was Ivan Rodriguez, and Greg Maddux. This winter, I was disappointed that the Cubs didn't get Pudge (and I still am), but I was thrilled to bring you back into the fold. I have doubted along the way. I have been overly critical of your bunting abilities, while not recognizing your defensive accomplishments. I have occasionally criticized your pitching, and had some doubts early in the season. However, your stretch drive performances have been remarkable, and you won 15 games again this year, topping 300 for the career. On top of your successes, you are willing to take responsibility for your failures. Unfortunately, this is a refreshing difference between you and your teammates. Greg, thanks for coming back to Chicago. Thanks for working with 'the Franchise' and Woody. Thanks for helping Clement and Z. Greg, enjoy the winter, work on your golf game, and blessings to you and your family.

  • Aramis Ramirez: Your play at third base has not gotten nearly the praise you deserve. You are the best hitter on this team, and you played great defense all year. You have learned how to avoid striking out, but need to work on hitting the ball in the air more (5th in baseball in GIDP). We really love having you in Chicago and would like to see you stay a long, long, long time. Please listen to Jim Hendry who will offer you an enormous long term deal this winter. Aramis, please enjoy your winter and blessings to you and your family.

Why we lost out


This team was good enough to make the playoffs despite the injuries, but the apparently comfortable confines of the trainers room are the number one reason this team went down in flames.

Joe Borowski: the most significant loss of the season. In 22 games, Joe lost 4, and blew 2 saves. When his injury was finally diagnosed, his departure moved LaTroy Hawkins to the closers role. The move created a gaping hole in the Cubs pen, and led to another 12 blown saves (9 for Hawkins, 3 for Remlinger). In short, Borowski's injury not only left the Cubs without a reliable closer, but also hurt the rest of the pen's effectiveness.


Games started at shortstop
Player NameGames Started
Ramon Martinez57
Nomar Garciaparra40
Alex Gonzalez35
Rey Ordonez17
Neifi Perez12

Offensive Inconsistency: Despite averaging 4.87 runs per game, the Cubs scored 2 runs or less 41 times this season (25% of all games). The Cubs finished 14th in the NL in bases on balls, 11th in OBP, and 6th in Average. This offense was inconsistent because it relied too heavily on the long-ball, (235 of them through 161 games), but didn't have the speed to win games when the wind was blowing in. This team finished 11th in stolen bases with 65 on the season, and half of those were Corey Patterson.

Not why this team lost:

Dusty Baker: Dusty made some mistakes, in fact a lot of them, but I will not blame this season on Baker. If we grossly underachieve again next year... I'll personally get out the axe, but the Cubs will play their first meaningless game in 2 years tommorrow. You do not run a manager out of town with that kind of track record.

The Day that stands out:

Friday, May 28, 2004

The Cubs lost both ends of a doubleheader to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the first game, Michael Barrett hit a seventh inning grand slam to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Joe Borowski then gave up 5 runs to the Pirates who won with a two out walk off grand slam by Rob Mackowiak.

In the second game, the Cubs lost 5-4 when LaTroy Hawkins gave up a two run homer to Mackowiak in the ninth, and Francis Beltran gave up a solo shot in the tenth to Craig Wilson.

One day, two losses, two bullpen collapses, one season in a nutshell.

Posted by Byron at October 2, 2004 9:43 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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