Thursday, April 1, 2010

All Due Respect to the Cubs

Perhaps I'm just getting soft in my advancing age, but I'm beginning to gain a serious appreciation for the Chicago Cubs franchise. The long suffering franchise has many fans for a reason, and I think I'm finally beginning to appreciate their franchise and some of the many great players who play (and have played) for it.

I know Alfonso Soriano gets some criticism for dropping the occasional pop fly and not always being a heads-up baserunner, but I love the way the man plays. He's got a ton of flair and flash, and like my little league coach always said: "It's not the way you play the game, it's how you look playing the game." In this era of big-time entertainment, Soriano knows how to get it done and I for one can appreciate that.

I think a lot of people were way too hard on Corey Patterson. I last saw him in person playing for the AAA Iowa Cubs over here in Portland against the Beavers. He's always had that raw speed, and everyone's seen his amazing potential in the field and with the bat. I just know he's certain to break out one of these seasons, even if he unfortunately didn't get a chance to prove himself with the Cubbies.

Here's another misunderstood Cub... maybe the most of all. I know I've been critical of Mr. Zambrano in the past, but I know deep down he's a gentle giant and most likely is a clubhouse leader who can pull the whole team together in times of adversity and tell them how to win the right way, with poise and dedication.

Sammy Sosa was truly a great baseball hero and I miss his game. I know we'll never see proof one way or another, but I can't believe for an instant that he really took steroids and messed with the record book. I've come to realize now how endearing that little hop he took after he'd hit one out of the park was even though I couldn't always get behind it at the time. His sprints to the outfield were truly epic, nearly worthy of the Ozzie Smith backflips when he'd take the field!

And on to a more recent Cub who has drawn some flack lately. I think that, despite all of the pundits and the broadcasters who think that they know what they're talking about, Kosuke Fukudome will prove to be worth every penny the North Siders shelled out by the time his contract is up. He's definitely one of the most underrated players in the game and I will seriously laugh at anyone who passes on him in fantasy drafts so I can reap the benefits.

I never really found Derrek Lee to be one of the classier Cubs players, but I'm starting to finally come around on him. I do know one thing - he's pretty much on par with Albert Pujols when you're talking about the best first basemen in the game. If it wasn't for the fact that I've been a Cardinals fan for so long and Albert has been around for nearly a decade, I would otherwise have a hard time objecting to a straight up Lee-for-Pujols trade at least when you put it on paper.

Ahh... Dusty Baker. I know he wasn't always so popular with Cubs fans and I know he didn't have a ton of success overall, but he's one of the wisest baseball managers I've ever watched. Sometimes I wouldn't mind if a guy like Baker could go out and manage and stay in the broadcast booth during his downtime because he has so much wisdom to share.

I suppose I also can't really talk about what I like about the Cubs without honoring one of their legendary players. Billy Buckner, man. He looks good in the pinstripes.


Collective Troll said...

Amazing post! "It's not the way you play the game, it's how you look playing the game." - I think that is the official motto of the little league! Cracking up! Derek Lee for Pujols is a win win!

night owl said...

I could never do this same sort of thing with the Yankees/Giants.

Howard Bagby said...

Nice post. I have always said if Harry Caray was alive today WGN would lose their license from his pronouncing Kosuke Fukudome.

Howard Bagby said...

It hit me right after I made my comment. Is there any significance between this post and the day it was posted?

kevincrumbs said...

Very subtle, I like it.

I was invited a couple weeks ago to go up later in the summer (with some people you also know) to Safeco for some Mariners/Cubs games. My answer was that I hate the Cubs and didn't want to spend hours surrounded by their douchebag fans.