While we wait for tonight's finale in Washington (the last game the Cubs will ever play in RFK Stadium), let me share a few thoughts about all of the commentary all of you have made here about various topics regarding how the Cubs are being run (and I'm referring to the front office here, not Lou Piniella's field management), or not run, as some of you believe.
As many of you know, I have often defended management at this site. I have done so not because I necessarily agree with everything they have done -- in fact, click here for my thoughts about the Jacque Jones signing when it happened (I was against it from the beginning), and here for some comments I made about the Greg Maddux/Cesar Izturis trade (I said it was addressing a need that did not exist) -- but because some of the vitriol that has been spewed in the direction of Jim Hendry and John McDonough seems to me to be undeserved; that some of you automatically think that anything Hendry and McDonough say cannot be believed because of untruths that have been told in the past; and finally, and most importantly, because none of us can know everything that goes on in the executive suites of a baseball team, no matter what sportswriters from various newspapers may say is the truth.
For example, I wrote last year about the possibility that the Cubs could acquire Alex Rodriguez. Yeah, maybe that was pie-in-the-sky. But at the time the information I received seemed credible to me, and it was confirmed to me by an independent source. I was also told, at some point right before the trading deadline, that Todd Walker was about to be traded to the Giants. That didn't happen.
And why did these things not happen? Only the people involved in these non-decisions know. And they're not going to tell me, nor are they likely to tell any of the beat writers or columnists, either.
And this all leads me to the current situation, where many of you apparently believe that somehow, Sam Zell, Bud Selig, Jerry Reinsdorf, or Stewart Copeland of the Police have blocked the Cubs from making deals to shed the salaries of Jones and Izturis, or signing Carlos Zambrano to a contract extension, or improving the team in areas where it's deficient.
Yes, there was apparently a deal involving Jones going to the Marlins, with the Cubs eating quite a bit of his remaining contract (all but the minimum salary, apparently), and then it "fell through" -- reasons unknown. Did you ever stop and think that perhaps this thing got somehow "leaked" before it should have been, and that no final deal had ever been consummated? Sports talk radio, where this was first "announced", always wants to scoop its competition. That's the mistake I made when I went with the A-Rod rumors last year; they really were nothing more than rumors, but when I posted them, it was taken as "Wow! This is going to happen!", and when it didn't, I looked like nothing more than a rumormonger, which is not what I want to be accomplishing here.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I do not believe any of the conspiracy theories, tinfoil hat stuff or other things posted on this site that seem to state that anything coming out of Jim Hendry or John McDonough's mouths is a lie. Yes, Jacque Jones could have been traded for a miscellaneous minor leaguer and so could Cesar Izturis, eating most of the contract(s), since at least in Jones' case, they have to pay him anyway. But why not at least attempt to get some major league help for the ballclub? Is it possible -- I think it is -- that Hendry might have come close to pulling the trigger on a deal and changed his own mind just because he wasn't sure??
Of course it is. As I said, we cannot know what's going on in the executive suites. Speculate away (hey, Jay Mariotti does, and he's getting paid big bux to do it), but the reality is what goes on on the field every afternoon or evening.
Now let's win tonight and head on to Pittsburgh.