Saturday, August 5, 2017

Let us look back to the Harbaugh years in San Francisco and we see the beginning of the down fall of Colin Kaepernick. There were good years and bad years with the 'niners including a Superbowl appearance. But there are those who wondered whether Kaepernick was as good as his hype and that started long before Harbaugh left. Fast forward to today and he remains unsigned most believe because of his political stance. A lot of fans say how can you take the attitude of not saluting the flag of the country that made you rich beyond your wildest dreams?

Enter Jay Cutler. He is a white Quarterback who also does not have a job this season. He was injury prone and also prone to mishandle snaps and throwing the ball to the other team. Jay made no statements regarding race relations in this country but he has another thing in common with Kaepernick: they were both on losing teams the last few seasons.

Sports is a what have you done for me lately thing. Regardless of what sport you play. If 'Kap" had gone 10-6 last year and maybe made the playoffs. Had some of the numbers he had when Harbaugh was still head coach then he would have a job right now. He wasn't the only one protesting but he is the most prominent athlete doing so and the lack of  a job, even a backup job shines the light on him even brighter. One thing about journalism is they tend to stick to one side of a story and beat it into the ground. It is like law enforcement when they get on a trail and they don't let go even if they convict the wrong man. Colin Kaepernick was overrated when he was winning and flexing for the camera after every touchdown he scored. I'm not a fan of show boating because the fall is painful and inevitable.

People in Chicago got tired of Jay's brooding and the dropped snaps and the interceptions. The man is talented but probably more so in his own head. He is an NFL level Quarterback but at this point no better than Kaepernick. Considering both teams are coming off of losing seasons which the 3-13 Bears beat the 4-12 Forty Niners it's time to put the whole saga to rest. Colin does deserve a chance to prove himself. There are teams who could use a good back up. And who knows "Kap" could work his way into a starting job.
I hate to bring up Michael Vick though he served his time for his crime and did deserve a second chance. Kaepernick has done nothing criminal. He just picked the wrong time to pick up a cause. Many would say there is no good time when people of color are being slaughtered by the police. No one can contradict that when Philando Castile is shot by a police officer and people are able to watch him die live on social media after telling the officer he had a gun and made no move to use it. On top of that the officer as in too many other cases is acquitted. How do you blame a man for protesting that or a man choked to death over the sale of a few illegal cigarettes in New York?

You have players coming into the NFL as known women abusers drafted in the first round saying they are repentant over their behavior and at times repeat such behavior. Violent men who know better but teams want to win so they have these men on their teams. Even the Cubs are not without blame with the troubles Aroldis Champan had before coming to Chicago but he's got a nice fat contract back in New York and a World Series ring  to go with it. No one is talking about them while Ray Rice sits because no one will take him on. Strangely enough he might have more support than Kaepernick at this point. Once again he has committed no crime. The shame of it is the beleaguered Commissioner has not come out and said a word to defend Colin or shame them he knows is doing this young man wrong is a reason he should be removed from his post considering there hasn't been much hes done right in his tenure.

Americans have a reputation for speaking out when they are not made whole. When their legislature let them down.When something important as life is taken away in the worst ways. That a man would use his right to protest when any American is being hurt by those who should serve and protect would get punished for doing so by not being allowed to earn a living with what he is good at is wholly UN-American.

If this is truly the reason for keeping a man from making a living it is shameful and the owners who are perpetrating this injustice should be regarded in the same way as former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Until one of them comes out and says so this will go on unresolved through the season. And every time a Quarterback is injured and Kaepernick's name isn't mentioned as a possible replacement it says a lot about this country and its regard for the lives of their fellow Americans. This isn't a platform to get all high and mighty about the police treatment of people of color. We're talking two different things. But it still has to be said we wouldn't be having this conversation if The Forty Niners were a winning team the last couple of years.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A hot start second half usual like since Maddon took the helm. The Cubs have beaten the teams they should have. No matter that their competition is around .500 and falling. Momentum is a rush. Late inning add on is this team’s M.O. witnessed by the Jason Heyward home run to beat Milwaukee. This is different from last year’s team which struggled to drive in runners in scoring position.
I said it all along the Brewers were never trying to win the division. It just took this long for the Cubs to finally get their heads together. So far second half pitching is on point. The bull pen is as leaky as any Cubs potential playoff team like the 2003 Cubs. Maybe the 2007 and 2008 Cubs under Lou Piniella.
With the team doing as well as they are I still wouldn’t bet against the Dodgers in a possible NLCS matchup. The Cubs have been active, adding Quintana to the staring staff and trading for a second catcher and left handed help in the bull pen. All of these moves are warranted for the future and a dramatic playoff run. With barely five games separating the teams in the division (sans the Cincinnati Reds) it is still anyone’s to win. The National League wild card is most likely coming out of the National League West.
While in Theo we trust we know dynasty’s come and go. I’d be selling the store to go back to back. A reliever or two can still be had after the trade deadline. Not worth trading away the future to upgrade what may still be a leaky bullpen. Another starting pitcher would’ve been my focus even if it means having a 6 man rotation going forward. A hunger games type of thing to see who makes the post season roster.
This is not a team that is used to losing which the reason for doing what they are. But they seem to be building for a run at the 2017 title. They’ve got their work cut out for them considering their just 8 eight games over .500 and is not running away with things like the other division leaders. Once the Cubs reach 10 and 20 games over .500 one can tell how much they’ve turned things around and how much of a run the Cubs have in them and how hard are they going to have to work to show that the World Series once again goes through Chicago.
No one can deny a team when they get hot at the right time going into the playoffs which is why I suggest sending Ian Happ back to the minors until the September call up so he can get solid playing time rather than sitting on the bench or throw him in a deal for a pitcher where some expect a number of our current staff to walk at the end of the season. There should be an acceleration on the development of pitching in the minors. It’s time to see one or two of them grace the mound as soon as possible. If even they start in the bullpen.
One problem with trading away your future stars is that other teams get better fast. Once again there will be talk about the Cub factor as one way or the other a former Cub prospect is gracing a baseball roster somewhere and be the one to strike a big blow for their club. The sky is the limit with this team. Until the last pitch has been thrown and the final score announced, the Cubs are the defending World Series Champions.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This is a letter to the people of Wrigleyville, Chicago, Illinois: The sky isn’t falling. We are not looking at another one hundred plus years. We are not a championship starved city. But we are quick to forget . It takes a lot of luck, time and circumstance to beat out thirty plus clubs. This isn’t the time to go back into lovable loser mode.
Good pitching is hard to come by and even harder to cultivate. The Cubs have all the position stars in the world but there is no one raving about pitchers in the cubs minor leagues that would ready to be called up to the big league club. Meantime the current rotation is having a problem throwing pitches with their World Series rings on. Does the trade for Jose Quintana change any of this?
Consider the boys are tired. Maybe even sick of baseball a little bit. I know what it is like to panic about your team but this is not the time. Perhaps I’ve slipped back my World Series coma. I’m at peace with the boys as they are. Let’s cease with the psychobabble and deal with the reality of things the way they are. The wild card isn’t an option with the NL West as good as they are. The answer is to win the division as Milwaukee isn’t trying to win it. Trades need to be made to upgrade pitching. The starting rotation and the bullpen. Putting Kyle Schwarber behind the plate would be a good idea as well. John Jay would solve all of our lead off problems unless you want to trade for Curtis Granderson to at least address the problem of veteran leadership David Ross seemed to bring to the young group these last few years. Hendricks certainly cannot carry the load coming off of the DL as it is. The bullpen is worse than leaky even when the team has the lead.
Again the sky isn’t falling. There is no need for another time machine for some great future another century from now. The Chicago Cubs are still the Defending World Series Champion until 2018 when they are either repeat champs or another champion has been crowned. Think for a second fans: when was the last time we talked about this team as perennial? There have been many perennial s in my lifetime in all sports. Some of them in Chicago.
Teams rise and fall. Looking for the next dynasty. The rest of us look for players who enjoy playing for our clubs and contributing to our cities. Wrigley Field being a neighborhood park and the Cubs being the tenant of such makes for these opportunities.