Wednesday, December 08, 2004

posted by James - 1:20 AM

...and a hearty NOMAR to all you out in Cubbie Land and around the baseball globe.

I couldn’t be happier Cubs GM Jim Hendry followed through on making Nomar Garciaparra more than just a trade-deadline, shortstop upgrade. It felt too good to only last four months.


I don’t want to fleece some of the credit away from Hendry, but I took the above picture at the conclusion of Nomar’s successful debut in Cubbie Blue, which also coincided with my Grandma’s 70th birthday and Greg Maddux’s first attempt at 300 wins... and if the out-of-this-world lovefest which ensued in any way influenced Nomar’s decision, I’m just happy to have chipped in.

That was four months ago. However, I may deserve some kudos for what I did last night.

In a response to a post on the U.S.S. Mariner, I wrote this before I went to bed last night:
I’m hoping the rumblings are Nomar and Todd Walker resigning with the Cubs.
By all accounts, we’ll be seeing a 100% healthy Nomar at short from the start of the 2005 season.

Even though the contract isn’t chump change by any means ($8 million), it won’t be prohibitive to other measurable improvements, even if its hefty incentive clauses kick in (up to $3 million).

(Think about it: Cub Fan 1 walks into a bar and Cub Fan 2 greets him.

Cub Fan 2: Nomar!

Cub Fan 1: Carlos!

Bartender: Beer?

Cub Fan 2: uhhh... Sosa.

Cub Fan 1: oooh.... you had the chili last night too, huh?)

I would have liked Master Hendry (which is how I will refer to him until further notice) to work on an option year included in this deal, but the timing couldn’t have been better.

Yes, there is a chance the price might have come down as suitors for Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera sorted, priced and stupefied themselves out, but that’s a chance I’m glad Master Hendry didn’t take.

And even if Nomar only gets in 140 games due to injury and smart field management (I’ll believe it when I see it), how is he not worth triple what Omar Vizquel and Cristian Guzman got as the first free agent shortstops to sign deals this offseason.

And for the second season in a row, Master Hendry has forced the hand of the Cubs’ competitors in the division and throughout the National League by making the first big move.

He did it last year by getting Derrek Lee and LaTroy Hawkins before the Winter Meetings even started, apparently learning from his previous year’s failure to acquire 3B Joe Randa from the Kansas City Royals and leaving the Winter Meetings with nothing but a lot of work left to do (of course, I’m fine with this now because then we might not have Aramis Ramirez, my lovely wife’s favorite Cub, manning the hot corner).

Even if the move isn’t a shock, it’s still a brilliant opening gambit and hopefully a good omen for next season, which can’t get it’s ass here soon enough for me.

These kind of proactive moves make other team’s dumbass moves, such as the Yankees signing Tony Womack to a two-year, $4 million contract, and subsequent improvements, like Maddux last year, into nothing but a second helping of gravy on an already sufficiently-slathered biscuit (that one’s for you, Tommy).

Think Carlos Beltran... now, that’s some good gravy.

Yeah, I’ve been gone for more than a month. I will give no excuses, but I do have an admission to make... I no longer live Just North of Wrigley Field.

I now live Slightly Southeast of Wrigley Field. I hope no one expects me to change the name of this blog, because Slightly... just doesn’t have the poetry. And I figure, at the very least, it can remain an homage to an area that will always remain special to me.

Is it just me, or have some of the biggest stories in recent sports history happened in the last month. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen sports grab front-page headlines this often, and it’s not at all good things.

Of course, my lack of updating here hasn’t kept me from compiling these subjects, or at least trying to make something meaningful out of them.

Maybe I’ll be able to do that here, although, if you remember this blog’s humble beginnings, I can’t promise I’ve gone the route of a pixel conservationist, and I tend not to get into something unless it’s done right.

I feel a lot like President Jed Bartlet these days, or at least I think a lot about what he’d think about certain situations, or how’d he’s handled certain situations in the past (which happens if you watch as much of the West Wing as I have, as often as I do).

Hard to imagine, but he got to a point where he had so much going on, between running for re-election, battling Senate hearings, policing the world, etc., even the First Lady noticed his difficulties... I mean... challenges. (Right, Sam.)

“You’ve gone from having so much to say, to having so much to say, but not having the time to talk about it, to having so much to say that you can’t talk about it...”

A very loose quote, but that last part sums it up pretty well, but that’s why business is good these days, especially if you’re not a pixel conservationist.

However, it will have to wait. Stay tuned.

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