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Wednesday, July 14

Mid-season disappointment

There is something that I can always count on this time of the year.

I can always count on the fact that, on the day after the all-star game, I will be disappointed, for one reason or another.

One reason is usually the lack of accomplishment of Cub players in the game itself. Let's see...I can recall Jim Hickman getting the hit that brought Pete Rose home in the Ray Fosse collision. I remember Bill Madlock receiving a co-MVP award for getting a big hit. I remember Lee Smith getting a win, Ryne Sandberg hitting a double, and last night, both Sam-me and Alou each got a hit. Didn't the Hawk get a homer one year?

That's it...the grand total of All-Star accomplishment, in my lifetime, by Cub players. When they invariably go through the list of the all-time accomplishments, the only time you ever see anyone in a Cub uni is if you see Leo the Lip waving Charlie Hustle home right before the hyperactive tax-evading scumbag ended Fosse's career.

Rose, that is. Not Leo.

The other reason is, as always, the lack of excitement I feel due to the lack of big trades made during this convenient timefframe. No Mike Piazzas or Scott Rolens are coming to help with the offense, no Mike Lowells to nail down third, no Randy Johnsons to lead our staff. It's always someone else. Once in a while, we might pull down a Mutt Krotchner or Felix Horridia. Once a century, a Rick Sutcliffe comes in and unexpectedly turns his career around. But he was hardly the Biggest Name available out there in 1984. If we had brought in Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, or Jack Morris, that would have been the sure thing Alpha Male trade to make.

The rumors are always just rumors when it comes to us. Today, you hear talk about sending some combination of Matt Clement, Alex Gonzalez, and the highest prospects to some combination of Boston and Arizona for Nomar and/or the Unit. The Unit would fall under "nice to have". I would expect that he might come up big down the stretch this year, and be Maddux 2004 next year. Whereas, Clement will provide innings and win one-lose one for the next eight years.

A new shortstop is a "Priority 2" in my book. It's important, and certainly Nomar would fill the bill there. It would be nice to see us obtain one of these two big names, just once, to provide nourishment to the desperate fan base, that WE MEAN BUSINESS this year!In fact, circumstances now are as favorable as they have EVER been that this very thing could happen. We might end up with one of these guys.

BUT, for the first time in my life, I openly wonder if getting the biggest names is the BEST thing to do. Because, to me, Closer is our Priority One. Hawkins had his "I don't want to be here" face on Sunday night, and I could actually see the shit running down his legs. When he came in this winter and DIDN'T make any noises about being the closer, that confirmed for me that he doesn't have it in his jock. Closers are BORN, not MADE, and it's not a matter of stuff, but heart.

Both Nomar and Unit make over $15M annually. I think the Trib is willing to take on that much money, but no more, probably. Which means that if we get one of these names, then we can't go out and get an Ugie Urbina or Jorge Juno to guide us down the stretch. It would make more sense to go get Cabrera, the SS from Montreal AND one of the closers for the same money, or less, than it would cost for Unit or Nomar. It would mean, once again, that we passed on the big names. But, this time, if we got the closer and an offensive upgrade at short (which, frankly, isn't saying much), I'll be more than understanding.

I keep checking the wires, impatiently waiting for our closer, our new shortstop, or ANYBODY that's going to help us out of the seven-game hole we dug ourselves in the first half. But I see nothing. If you know of anything, leave me a comment or e-mail me.

Otherwise, I'm going to go to bed tonight, disappointed, like every other year.