Nomar Canceriparra

by Teddy Ballgame

There has been a lot of talk about team chemistry and how the Cubs are better off with Sammy Sosa & Moises Alou gone from the team. That Sammy was a cancer has been mentioned in the same way Garciaparra is talked about by some Red Sox fans. The funny thing is that not so long ago these players were all these franchises had. Sammy & Nomar were revered by their respective fandoms in a very recent days gone by. It’s hoped that Cub fans who traded their Sammy jerseys for Nomar ones got them on sale because it now looks as if he may not play another game for the Northsiders in his career. Garciaparra’s on a one year contract that runs out at season’s end, probably about the same time he’ll be over his injury. A lot of Cub fans are glad to see Sosa gone because he was a one dimensional player, not a team guy. But is Jeromy Burnitz the solution? Burnitz’ best home run season is only two more than Sammy’s worst and Jeromy did that in Colorado. And Alou has been replaced by a career bench player Todd Hollandsworth.

This was the year the Cubs were all set to FINALLY win the World Series. Two years ago it was that damn Bartman character and last year it was Steve Stone, Sammy’s boombox, and Prior’s injuries. With all their troubles behind them, this was the year.

Then it started to happen. One at a time the wheels started to come off. Joe Borowski broke his hand, Todd Walker got hurt, and Nomar Garciaparra suffered an injury that reminded fans of Joe Theisman where his groin muscle was torn from the bone. Can you say Silence of the Lambs?

In reality the Cubs just don’t get it. The Boston Red Sox FINALLY won last year after getting rid of Nomar Garciaparra. Don’t get me wrong, Nomar is a hell of a hitter, especially for a SS, but you need a shortstop who can field the position. The Red Sox also picked up a firstbaseman with a golden glove. This isn’t a fantasy baseball team, this is real life baseball. And in real life baseball you need a doubleplay combination that can field the ball, a leadoff man, a quality bullpen, & a solid rotation.

It’s just too easy to lay the blame on the decline of Sammy Sosa. But when you look at the facts the Cubs actually did better when Sosa was on the decline than when he was hitting all those home runs. So I don’t think Sammy was the problem.

Looking at what it takes to win and what direction the Cubs are taking to build a winning ballclub it’s easy to see where the Cubs are missing the mark. I’ve already addressed the infield defense and lack there of. The team hasn’t had a quality leadoff man since Bobby Dernier. LaTroy Hawkins is a good setup man, but hasn’t shown the same abilities as a closer. The rest of the bullpen is in shambles. And the rotation is average at best, especially after losing Matt Clement. But other than Greg Maddux there are no proven winners. Kerry Wood has never won 15 games, but he should be much better off without Steve Stone telling him how to “pitch”. Pitch is the operative word seeing where Wood is not a pitcher, he’s a thrower. Mark Prior is another very talented member of the rotation, but other than winning 18 games two years ago his highpoint has been six wins. Who’s to say Prior’s injuries are a thing of the past? Then there’s Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano won 16 games last year and 13 the year before. Like I said with all this team’s shortcomings this rotation is average at best.

So getting back to baseball team chemistry and cancers on a ballclub. I’m not going to say Sammy Sosa was good for team chemistry, but for the most part he did his job by hitting home runs and driving in runs. It’s not crucial for a winning ballclub to have a good glove in RF. On the other hand it is very important for a winning ballclub to have a defensive shortstop. Just ask the Red Sox?

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One Response to “Nomar Canceriparra”

  1. TB, I will agree with you on two points. 1]that when a team ditches a high profile player, the fans will tend to turn against that player (is it any wonder you dont have any Sosa lovers in wrigleyville?). It’s just human nature.

    2]i wont argue with you that you need a good fielding shortstop but i dont see why nomar doesnt fall into that category (at least when he’s healthy).

    Bob Dernier?? You lost me, there.

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