Category Archives: Cartoons

A Christmas card for Cubs fans

cubschristmas

In the past few years, we knew we weren’t getting much from the Cubs during the holidays. No big presents, no reasons to cheer. Just a really good excuse for hitting the egg nog — the spiked variety.

Well, the year without a Santa Claus is over. Just this December the Cubs signed free-agent grand prize Jon Lester, inked right-hander Jason Hammel and acquired catcher Miguel Montero. Those deals come on the heels of landing arguably the best manager in the game in Joe Maddon.

If this year is getting everything on your wish list, the past few years have been like receiving the entire population of the island of misfit toys. Here are the lowlights:

December 2013: The Cubs acquire Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Kalish, Wesley Wright, John Baker and Jose Veras. In a real sign that things are looking up, none are with the Cubs anymore.

December 2012: It didn’t look like much at the time, but the Cubs claimed Hector Rondon off waivers from the Indians on Dec. 6. He had a great year as the Cubs’ closer last season. Besides Rondon, they signed Kyuji Fujikawa, Ian Stewart and Nate Schierholtz — three placeholders while young talent developed.

Those deals came after a flurry of transactions in November, such as signing Dioner Navarro and Shawn Camp, releasing Bryan LaHair and letting Stewart walk. Talk about shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Remember, though, if you believed in Theo & Co. you expected the ship to go down to the bottom before coming back up. Signing Scott Feldman was a life preserver, as the Cubs later traded him for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop.

December 2011: In the first moves of the Epstein regime, the Cubs shipped out Tyler Colvin for Stewart in one of those “Man, I wish I had a crystal ball” moments. They also sent Sean Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood in a solid, if unspectacular deal. Former closer Manny Corpas was also signed and then went into the witness protection program.

In November of that year, Aramis Ramirez became a free agent, marking the departure of one of the final connections to the last Cubs playoff teams.

December 2010: The highlight, by far, was the signing of free agent Kerry Wood, who had reinvented himself as an effective reliever. The reunion felt good, but like most good reunions, once the party ended, we were left with a hangover and plenty of bitterness.

It’s been a tough few years, no doubt about it. And some of the gifts the Cubs have given us lately will prove to be defective and will go unused in the corner. But for now, Theo better watch out for the mistletoe because there are hordes of Cubs fans who would like to plant a big kiss on his mug.

You can reach Patrick at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Cubometer shirt

Jorge Soler Debut Lifts Cubs-O-Meter

The Cubs-O-Meter reflects how I’m feeling about the Cubbies at any given time. The name pays homage to the famous Shawon-O-Meter of Cubs days gone by.

How can the Cubs-O-Meter not be upgraded after Jorge Soler’s stunning debut?

This says it all:

That second home run was … ah … destroyed. It would have traveled another 100 feet if it hadn’t run into immovable objects in the bleachers. You can’t really hit a ball much harder that that. And these homers came against the Cardinals. Yes!

So the Cubs meter goes up to “I shaved and this is a new shirt,” but it’s a really nice shirt — how about a brand spankin’ new Soler Cubs jersey. Wish I could wear it at his home debut Monday. Wrigley should be hopping on a holiday with Soler, Baez and possibly the return of Anthony Rizzo from a bad back.

I think Soler has a chance to be the best of the bunch when we compare all of the Cubs young guns. His combination of bat speed, eye and overall balance at the plate is ridiculous. You can’t start off much better than .533/.563/1.267 in the first four games of a major league career.

Pitchers will make adjustments, but Soler appears to be more advanced than Javier Baez is in his approach at the plate. Baez’s swing is a rocket to the moon that when unleashed goes boom or bust spectacularly. Soler’s cut is more like a supersonic fighter plane that can adjust to conditions around it but still unleash lethal power.

That’s no knock on Baez. If he can get a better handle on the strike zone, he can be something special. What about the other Cubs youngsters? Rizzo has grown into an All-Star before our eyes — flashing a combo of power and average that is fun to watch. Starlin Castro has his detractors due to his mental lapses, but he just keeps getting hits. Kris Bryant has had a ridiculous season in the minors, so good in fact that the team doesn’t want to burn service time by calling him up. Like Baez, Arismendy Alcantara has shown flashes of brilliance while also struggling to adjust to major league pitching. But he’s young.

That’s the joke. They’re all young. Rizzo is the elder statesman at age 25.

And the nobody can put a ceiling on any of them yet. I have to let that sink in. We’re not talking about serviceable major leaguers. We’re saying that the Cubs have multiple potential superstars coming up. Wow.

If I was betting, I’d put my money on Soler to be the best of the best. It all puts a big smile on my face. Not as big as Soler’s though.

Where would you set your Cubs-O-Meter? Leave a comment and/or tweet to #CubsOMeter.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Cubometer fine

Cubs-O-Meter: From Donuts To OK

The Cubs-O-Meter reflects how I’m feeling about the Cubbies at any given time. The name pays homage to the famous Shawon-O-Meter of Cubs days gone by.

This morning I set the Cubs-O-Meter to “I need a donut and a hug” because Edwin Jackson is so horrible. This tidbit sent me over the edge.

And then because the Cubs are a loving organization they put EJax on the DL with a severe case of suckitis. There is a Santa Clause! So I’m moving the meter up a notch to “I’m fine, really I’m fine.” You read that like you’re responding to your mom asking you if you are OK after you just lost the big game. Your annoyed and tough and about to cry at the same time.

As for Jackson, I know I write about how the losing helps draft position, but a loss like last night just leaves a hangover that lasts for a while. Jackson was horrible. That’s not even a strong enough adjective. How about pathetic, wretched, putrid. There we go.

In honor of pegging the meter to “I need a donut…” check out this Classic Jim Gaffigan clip.

Where would you set your Cubs-O-Meter? Leave a comment and/or tweet to #CubsOMeter.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Cubometer shirt

Son And I Seeing Cubs In Big Apple

The Cubs-O-Meter reflects how I’m feeling about the Cubbies at any given time. The name pays homage to the famous Shawon-O-Meter of Cubs days gone by.

Why wouldn’t the Cubs-O-Meter be looking good since I’m taking my 4-year-old boy to see our team play the Mets in New York?

He told me this morning he’s going to be wearing all blue to cheer on the Cubs.

So today is a big win, no matter what Jake Arrieta and the Cubs do today.

I’ll update the post tonight with results on the day, like Jack barfing from too much ice cream or something.

Where would you set your Cubs-O-Meter? Leave a comment and/or tweet to #CubsOMeter.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.