For a change of pace, I'll post something that makes no reference (other than this sentence) to newly acquired relief pitchers, backup catchers or potential acquisitions.
Late last season, I made a bet with Drew over the Packers/Bears records; I have donated $20 to Project 3000 (I'll scan and post a pick of the receipt if Drew wants proof). I was going to pay Al at the convention, but only saw him for a minute during the "Meet Cubs Baseball Management" session.
Had a nice e-mail exchange with Dave Eanet of WGN about how much time the hosts took during that sesssion. Dave apologized and explained that some of it was because Piniella was late, so the session started late, and he didn't account for that. I believe him -- I know there are conspiracy theorists that will insist it's to deflect difficult questions, but think about it. If that was the goal, why would they take ANY questions? The first two or three could all be ones that Hendry & Co. don't want to answer.
After the baseball management session ended, I went up to Hendry to ask my questions. I prefaced them by saying that he may not be able to answer either, and I understood that. The first one was along the lines of, "The theme this offseason is that you needed to get more left-handed . . . yet you won 97 games. I respect that you're not resting on that -- but when people ask about leadoff, the answer is that you won 97 games." My point is that it seems to be a double standard. Hendry's response was to get aggressive and combative.
Before I could ask the question of "Did you have any organizational discussions about bringing someone in with a higher OBP?", he badgered (no pun intended) me with, "Who would you get? Who is better?", and then proceeded to put down every name that I suggested. Since I didn't want to ruin it for the others around him, I put up with more than I would have in a one-on-one setting. At one point, I suggested Furcal, and got "Are you going to trade Theriot and pay him $30M? He can't even stay on the field." -- I resisted the urge to say either, "Yeah, because Theriot sucks", or, "Bradley can't stay on the field, either, you horse's ___". Yes, I mentioned Roberts, and he muttered something about not dealing with Baltimore -- hours before he did. So, by his demeanor, Hendry pretty much answered my first question -- yes, they did want to get a better leadoff man, but they couldn't -- and now they need to publicly defend Soriano being there -- again.
The second question was along the lines of, "Why do you need to carry 12 pitchers, when 1 or 2 of them hardly ever see the mound?" Reply -- "Got to. Got to have them. Lou and Larry decide who pitches."
So, yeah, I still think Jim's a good GM -- but he can also be a defensive jerk.
Speaking of dealing with Baltimore, I missed a few posts in the Pie traded discussion, but I found a couple this morning. Looks like Ballhawk paid his debt (yes, that was me that you'd bet). Drew, assuming you've also paid $5 per our bet . . . .
Finally, I've mentioned this a couple of times, but I asked Crane Kenney about the "L" flag during his Sunday session. They are going to keep it, which I think is the right thing to do -- I think flying the "W" but not the "L" is contrived. I also asked about the "softball" jerseys -- those aren't going away, but the red-brimmed road hats are.