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Tuesday, June 28

Once again, as usual, I don't get it

Just finished my morning routine - shit, shower, shave, find the Cubs articles in the Trib, Sun-Times and Daily Herald.

I picture the three beat writers briefly huddling together every day over the tap beer on "special" that day, laying waste to the free popcorn and asking for more. Oh yeah, and then discussing the angle for the day.

"I'm going to write that Kerry Wood is back, so the Cubs are about to go on a roll."

"I'm going to say that since Prior bounced back so strong, that there's no reason to assume the same won't happen with Woody."

"And I'm going to mention that Zambrano needs to turn over a new leaf, and come back strong, too."

Geez. One little one-hitter, and everybody mixes themself a huge-ass pitcher of blue kool-aid. Kool-aid, Kool-aid, tastes great. The Cubs are comin', can't wait. Look, it would be foolish to expect anything more than what the team has done up until now, and especially to expect more out of Wood than what he has given us in the past.

Except for one glorious outing in May of 1998, and two other glorious outings in October 2003, what is Kerry Wood?

He is a man that will post an era in the mid-threes, he will not give up a lot of hits, he will strike out a lot of guys, as well as walk (and hit) a lot of guys. He will often get behind early, and he will often lose his concentration in key situations. If he gets 15 more starts this year, chances are, he will win 6 and lose 5, and give the game to the bullpen in the other four, where they'll blow three of them. I'm sure there are 10 or more teams that would KILL for Kerry Wood.

But does this sound like the man that will carry us to the division title, or the wild card? Has anyone this side of Joe Namath ever had a bigger name for less? I just don't get how you can wake up today, after the first half of baseball this year, and look at the Cubs and see a postseason contender?

I understand, Dumpster is doing well as the closer, Prior and Maddux seem ready to go, and the bullpen is as solid as they've been all year (my submission to the Funk & Wagnalls "Damn With Faint Praise" contest for the year 2005). But you still have a mess in left field, THE joke of all of Organized Baseball in center, the painful "regression to the mean" occurring at shortstop, and worst of all, the same evil "regression" has GOTTA happen down at first base, where Superman Derrek Lee has almost singlehandedly kept us in the race.

I don't see optimism, don't try to sell ME chicken shit by calling it chicken salad.