Smile Politely

Call and Response: 2ON2OUT Answers Your Queries

I hope everyone has had a chance to read Doug’s fantastic response to my column last week. It served as a brief history lesson on the Cubs’ long standing inability to close the deal and a reminder to Cub fans how jealous Cardinal nation will be when we’re running through the streets of Wrigleyville celebrating this Fall.

And so, in honor of a record six comments to the 2ON2OUT column last week, I will take a moment to respond to my loyal readers.

Comment 1: Its so awesome. They just look so solid. it seems like their bats always come through when needed.

KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!! (no pun intended)

2ON2OUT: Now I’m a man of Faith, so I’ve never been into the whole ‘knock on wood’ superstition, and if you mean actually knocking on Kerry Wood, well, I won’t do that either, I worry too much about that arm… but I wholeheartedly agree here. The Cubs have been clutch in late-inning situations, often times notching critical comeback wins in the final three frames. In the past four weeks there was a stretch where the Cubs were leading (in at least one inning) in twenty-four straight games.

Comment 2: It would be amazing to have both a Cubs Words Series and a horse racing Triple Crown winner this year. Two gigantic milestones culminating at the same time… I think I could go for that.

Goat sacrifice, anyone?

2ON2OUT: Now I’m a man of Faith, but it’s been awhile since animal sacrifice was a necessary part of Communion and Ritual, so I’ll pass on the goat offering…ah, and I kind of love animals. I love your dedication to this club though; I can feel your passion Let’s just maybe redirect it a little, cool? The Triple Crown didn’t happen. Big Brown was out of gas. Being from a family with a history of raising and racing horses, I was quite interested in the Belmont this year; would have been really cool to see it happen, and as you say, it was on a significant date…30 years from the last Crown. Hopefully the other event you’re hoping will happen won’t have the same outcome, you know, the one with the 100 year anniversary…

Comment 3: The thing is, even if the Big Z is a little off his game on the hill, he can — and most certainly will — beat you with his stick.

2ON2OUT: That is correct. Zambrano is batting .364 and would start in LF for the San Diego Padres.

Comment 4: Even Edmonds could finally pull it out, Adam. And I agree with you on the pitching thing, but I would accept mid-relievers too. I don’t think we even need to get rid of the farm league (who is leading the AAAs, by the way — not shocking when you look at the line up of Murton, Pie, Patterson, etc, who could probably beat up on the Pirates, Reds, and other majors)

I think we can get rid of Cedeno and/or Fontenot or Murton or some AAA pitchers to get some help with pitching. It may be time to pull the trigger on Marquis as well.

This is a great season so far. Can we walk away at least 8–4 in the next 12 road games? That is the question.

2ON2OUT response: The answer is that we’ll have to go 4–1, to go 8–4 in the next 12 road games. The West Coast road trip was a good one, by all accounts. The Cubbies went 4–3 and didn’t lose either series, taking the first two of three and splitting the second with Torre’s Dodgers. The offense was a little flat, but that’s to be expected in pitcher’s parks such as PetCo and Chavez Ravine. Heck, how else do you think Marquis spun a gem last night? Was proud of the guy though, we needed the win and he finally threw strikes, walking only the final batter he faced in the 7th. As for the trade, we certainly have a lot of depth with Murton, Pie, Patterson, Cedeno, Fontenot, Hill, Marshall, etc. These are the types of major-league ready ballplayers that trade deadline partners are going to be asking for along with a couple top-notch younger prospects. Note to Hendry: get it done.

Comment 5: Posted by: Steve Trout

Dream on. Cubs will choke like always. They will choke on applesauce. Maybe next year huh?

2ON2OUT: Steve (aka Rainbow). First of all, you were a major league pitcher, making major league money. I don’t care if it was the eighties, you’ve got the money to pay someone to make you a better website for God’s sake. Wow.

Secondly, while your father was a great pitcher, you were not. However, I have some pretty awesome memories of you from the ’84 Cubs, so to see you write in with such negativity is disappointing. Listen, I realize the Sox have paid you to do a few more speaking engagements recently), but we still love you on the North Side, now get it together and get on this train.

Comment 6: So what about an OF upgrade. Any love for Adam Dunn. Can his powerful bat compensate for his liabilty-laden defense and strikeout frequency? I am hoping we can pull off another Pirate treasure acquistion…Jason Bay.

2ON2OUT: As much as I like watching Adam Dunn hit moonshots, there simply is no place for him on the Cubs. Dunn is headed to the AL to be a DH. He is an atrocious fielder who makes Soriano look like Carlos Beltran. As for a little Pirate treasure, unfortunately, I think those days are over. They likely came to an end when the Bucs fired GM Dave Littlefield, who subsequently came to work for the man who ripped him off on numerous occasions. Yes, Littlefield now works for the Northsiders (That has to really bother the Pirate faithful; any Pittsburgh fans out there care to weigh in?). Anyway, as much as the Cubs would like another OF, what they really need is starting pitching. Early word is that AJ Burnett, who I like, but don’t love and Randy Wolf who I don’t particularly like are available. Let’s see how it shakes out. At least Burnett can be dominant, if he ever decides to actually put some effort in…

This week it’s three with the Bravos and then the start interleague play (for the Cubs). We’ll visit Toronto and possibly get a first-hand look at Burnett and a Blue Jay team sorely in need of a few Cedenos and Murtons.)

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