When CSTB first sent me this clip, I thought it was Ozzie Guillien spinning his rap career into a post-season WWE tour. Nope, it’s an episode of “Santino’s casa,” in which the WWE’s Santino Marella trash-talks the Cubs to Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster. Casa, a comedy heel, currently holds the Inter-Continental Championship Belt courtesy of lady wrestler Beth Phoenix, aka The Glamazon, who wins matches for him. The ironic career parallels of Marella and Howry never seems to dawn on Home-Run Bob, even whle standing next to Dempster. Anyway, I congratulate Howry on topping Marsella at his own game, and in his future career as the new Bobby Heenan. Speaking of new careers …
In a week when the Cardinals publicly forfeit the season, the Cubs sweep the Pirates on the road, when Mark DeRosa reveals he’s a fantasy football nerd who plays four different on-line leagues (you’re living the fantasy dude! You have groupies and free beer anywhere in Chicago! Get off the fucking computer!), and the Trib Co narrows Cub bidders down to five possible captains of industry “ the real news is this just may be my last Cubs Mailbag here at CSTB. And I don’t think I’m announcing this prematurely at all “ but I’ve e-mailed the Sun-Times as to my availability for Jay Mariotti’s job. If Mariotti wants on the internet so bad “ and he’s apparently the one writer in the world who can’t figure out how to get on the Internet “ then the mailbag awaits you, sir. Since he has no job and God knows how much income-producing hours I’ve wasted here … well, Rog, he’s all yours.
As to this week’s mailbag, sadly, the Cubs’ status as the best team in baseball and #1 in the NL Central since John McCain first joined the Navy to shell Vera Cruz has not attracted a better class of fan. No, were Carre Muskat not the last staff writer still on the Tribune payroll (sorry you had to give up your health care, kid!) she would most likely answer these questions a bit more honestly than her job description allows. Thus, I am happy to help out, via the future of sports journalism, the Internet. Time to roll up my sleeves for the last time …
Steve W., Louisville, Ky.: How much longer is manager Lou Piniella willing to give Fukudome to get his offense going before he opts to replace him in right field? ¦ I used to be optimistic when Fukudome came to the plate, now I’m not.
Steve, time to get optimistic again. Fukodome hit what Lou would call a œnice pinch-hit home run last Sunday against the Nationals. In a closed door meeting with Lou last week, just the two of them, no interpreters or Japanese speaking lawyers allowed, Lou explained that Fukodome™s work visa specifically includes a contractual option to serve with the Illinois National Guard in Baghdad should his average fall below .275. Lou is known among players as a motivator.
Scott P., Trevor, Wis. I understand that the Cubs do not have a clear MVP candidate who stands out, stats-wise. I believe it’s Geovany Soto. He is a rookie catcher who has led a pitching staff to the second-best ERA in the National League, has hit consistently all season long and is a catcher who rarely takes a day off.
Scott, Scott, Scott “ getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren™t we? As post-season vets like Jim Edmonds and Lou Piniella point out, none of that is an issue until the Cubs gets some things done. Currently, the team is evaluating parade routes so as not to collide with Obama™s homecoming inaugural when he wins the White House. World Series rings have to be sized, Bob Howry™s World Series share to be disputed, and allotting team bats to world leaders now asking that the national museums of their homelands each get one ¦ well, MVP awards will have to wait until the first week of September, is all I™m saying.
Javi T., San Juan, Puerto Rico: Looking at Minor League stats, I’ve seen Jason Dubois tearing it up in Triple-A. Is there any chance we might see him with the big league club this year, and if so, in what role?
Good question, Javi. The big team indeed wants Monsieur Dubois in Chicago, as mlb sees him as the great Gallic hope in bringing French players back into the game. Like the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), MLB™s RBIF program searches for today™s Lajoies, Durochers, and Lefebvres, as Eric Gagne has driven far too many of his young countrymen to misguided Savate attempts in the UFC. Jason Dubois carries the hopes of the free French world on his shoulders.
Conor M., Glenview, Ill.: Now that the Cubs are flirting with the best record in baseball, it makes me wonder about the significance. How have teams with the best record in previous seasons fared in the playoffs?
Let me put it to you this way, Conor “ the very idea of the Cubs as œbest team in baseball in the post-season means history is hardly your best guide. You would fare better studying Casey Kasem™s all-time most requested song lists or Keith Olbermann’s primary guesses. You may as well ask, “Traditionally, how have African-American presidents fared in their second terms versus white Presidents?”
Ken B., Montgomery, Ill.: If a pinch-hitter bats twice in one inning, does he have to go into the game?
Ken, if your pinch hitter hits twice in the same inning, you’re hardly in a œpinch anymore, right? Gotta think these things though, pal.
Todd D., Chicago: My brother and I are trying to research the Cubs uniforms. From 1997-present, the uniforms have pretty much stayed the same. There was an era between 1984-93 when the Cubs wore the pullover jersey. The uniform we are trying to find is the one with the cursive Cubs logo on the chest that was worn sometime between 1994-96. We have found baseball cards during that time frame, but we can’t confirm that it was worn. It almost seems like a conspiracy to hide those uniforms. I have also heard rumors that they got rid of the cursive Cubs logo because it looked too much like the word “Cuba” on their chest. Please confirm that the uniforms did in fact exist and the time frame in which they were worn. I have been trying to find one to purchase, but it is nearly impossible.
Yes, Todd, there’s a “conspiracy.” Mailbag is already working on the definitive Cub Uniform History, and we™re telling you now, back off. Mailbag bought up all 1994-96 uniforms and you will NEVER get a decent photo of one for your œresearch. You are so wrong on the pullover theory it™s laughable. The fact that you are using baseball cards and consulting on-line mailbags to complete your work tells me you and your brother are imbeciles. I already have the whole œCuba scandal, the Ernie Banks/Billy Williams sock trade, and Shawn Dunston cup scandal completely locked down. The subject is owned completely by me, and that includes my concurrent history of Cub shoes, œLaces High.
Ed K., Clinton, Iowa : Watching the Little League World Series, I couldn’t help by wonder if Mike Fontenot is related to Kennon Fontenot of the Lake Charles, La., team?
Underage Chinese gymnasts might scandalize the Olympics, but under baseball™s œspecial agreement with the Federal government “ which guarantees a 19th century monopoly to MLB “ baseball is also able to take advantage of 19th century child labor laws. Mike™s ready for the big leagues, but Kennon needs a little work. The Cubs set him a 15-hour a day schedule, two meals a day (except Sundays when he does yard work for extra cash and pays for his own meals).
Chris A., Gladstone, Mich.: I saw an article about Matt Cerda being the last guy struck out by Danny Almonte in the 2001 Little League World Series and that the Cubs drafted Cerda. I’m curious about how he’s doing with the Cubs.
The Cubs are always looking for guys who can strike out, Chris. Cerda, another underage œstar of tomorrow,” plays for the Cubs’ in Mesa, Ariz. When Rich Hill visited Mesa this summer, he bought beer for Cerda who turned 14 in July … unless the Arizona stores Cerda hits are on the McCain family beer runs, in which case Trib influence in the GOP keeps Cerda™s locker well-stocked.
Charlie P., New Johnsonville, Tenn.: Who was the last switch-hitter for the Cubs to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning? I say it was Mark Bellhorn, but a buddy of mine says no Cubs switch-hitter has ever done that. A free dinner rides on the answer.
Mailbag never answers personal questions about player œpreferences, and your turning legit baseball slang into gay subculture innuendo (“Bellhorn?”) is inappropriate for the Cub mailbag™s underage readers “ who should get back to work, anyway.
Ryan D., Springfield, Ill.: I have to correct you on Greg Maddux’s wins with the Cubs. He has won 133, not 178. I had to look it up because I knew he couldn’t have won a majority of his games with the Cubs.
Ryan œD– as in Ryan Dempster? What a surprise. Correct Ryan, Greg Maddux wasn™t, as you like to say, œall that as a Cub, and you are still the fans™ all-time favorite. Thanks for e-mailing “ again. Your helpful “suggestions” on rounding down tenths of a point (instead of rounding up) when citing Carlos Zambrano™s innings pitched, Kerry Wood™s fastball averaging 93.5 and not 93.7 mph as I have stated, or mentioning in this space that Carlos Marmol was an œall-star without mentioning that he was an œall-star substitute for an injured Kerry Wood, have all been duly noted. I have also made this clear to your agent, at your request. And please stop going over my head to Sam Zell, who has a lot more on his mind right now than getting me to mention your stake in that Chevy dealership in Downers Grove.