A few things to jumpstart midweek discussion:
- The Sun-Times' Greg Couch says Kerry Wood should never be a closer. His argument seems to center around the fact that Wood's been hurt before, and so why should we trust him? Further:
If Wood is the closer, then the Cubs will be risking next year and messing around with a potentially great talent in [Carlos] Marmol.
They have never really prepared him to be a closer. And that should be the focus of the offseason, the spring and the start of the regular season. Give the kid a chance to grow into the job.
Wood has the right mentality for the job and the firepower for it. But he hasn't shown that he can pitch back-to-back-to-back days at all, much less over a long season, without tearing a ligament or falling in the hot tub.
Would you really feel comfortable with him coming out in the ninth inning in the April cold, where injuries are more likely?
Most likely, he would start the season OK, develop into the bullpen's leader with everyone counting on him. And then he would get hurt.
Where would that leave the Cubs? Starting to teach Marmol the job in mid-July. It's much easier to replace an injured middle reliever than an injured established closer.
And what about the karma? Wood is connected to a failed era. He couldn't pull out Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 2003.
He gave up the final home run to Arizona this year, too, in the first-round playoff sweep.
So let's see. Because Wood failed in the past, he might fail again? Every closer fails. And the Cubs would be "messing around" with Marmol? He's never closed either, Greg. Couch says: "It's much easier to replace an injured middle reliever than an injured established closer." But he gives no evidence for this claim.
I'd like to see Wood close, but I wouldn't hand him the job, either. Make him earn it, make him show he can take those back-to-back outings. If not, then try someone else. But don't dismiss him out of hand.
- Four more Blackhawks home games will be on CSN, all on Wednesday nights in March, bringing the total for this season to 11. More smart marketing, especially near the end of the season, when this young and improving team will likely be jockeying for playoff position.
- I have added game times to the 2008 BCB Cubs tentative schedule, which you can always find on the left sidebar. The only missing times are for 18 Saturday dates; nine of those (the maximum allowed) will be on Fox and -- assuming Fox keeps to the same schedule as 2007 -- will be at 2:55. The others will most likely be noon starts. There's one Sunday (at Los Angeles on June 8) listed as TBA; I'm sure that ESPN will take a few Cub games, both home and road, for Sunday night telecasts. As of now, 26 games are indicated as home night games, which gives them room to add up to four more.
- There is still NO confirmation of the rumor reported on ESPN radio in Denver that the Cubs had signed Kaz Matsui; I changed the title of the diary to reflect that this was still only a rumor.
- On a blog titled "KinescopeStealsHome", blogger "HL" has an interesting post trying to determine which Cubs/Pirates game was featured in Ken Burns' "Baseball". He says it's likely a NBC Game of the Week and thus a Saturday, but the only details that match the photos you see on that link occurred on July 2, 1971, a Friday. The only other possible dates given wouldn't have matched the obvious midsummer shadows that are visible in the photos. Hat tip to Viva el Birdos for the link.