Thursday, March 10, 2005

Suicide Watch, or Cubs Spring Training Edition

I am so desperate for something, so pressed for time -- job, writing, slave to Wife -- that I threw this together a few weeks ago and am now slapping it up with some minor changes. I expect about 2 comments.

The blogger comments sections on many blogs is fubar. But you already knew this.

Spring is here, hope springs eternal, and only several months until Cubs Suicide Watch.

Already Kerry Wood (see below) has thrown a scare into Cub Nation by getting an MRI for shoulder tightness, one of many maladies the young hurler has suffered throughout his career. Cool and calm people that all Cubs fans are, we're interpreting "shoulder tightness" to mean "probable amputation."

Eggheads and faux-poets love baseball, if only because most eggheads and faux-poets are too short for basketball, too wimpy for football, and too disinterested in hockey. There's a reason George Will and the late Bart Giamatti and millions of unathletic braniacs write about baseball -- it's because they feel some psychic/intellectual connection because it looks so easy. All this crap about the poetry of the game is a crock. That bonehead Will once said some shit about the "craft of baseball." Made me want to blow my nose on the man. Craft is for macrame, butthead.

Now, I know all of you are wondering: how do the 2005 Cubbies stack up this year? Don't give a shit, you say? Well, then how does the starting lineup's projected 2005 compare to my writing? Still don't give a shit, you say?

I don't care. It's all about me.


Starting lineup:

Corey Patterson, CF -- Lots of potential, but can't lay off high fastballs. I can't lay off high fastballs or cheap, wacky plots that ignore character development.

Todd Walker, 2B -- Streaky hitter with power. Sums up my writing abilities nicely.

Nomar Garciaparra, SS -- Fantastic hitter, good fielder. Super-sensitive, however, and can't lay off the first pitch. I'm super sensitive to criticism, and neurotic to boot.

Amaris Ramirez, 3B -- OK fielder coming into his own as a hitter. I'm an OK at pretty prose and am continually coming into my own as a writer.

Jeremy Burnitz, RF -- Replaces a legend, strikes out too much. Unlike predecesor, is not on steriods. I strike out a lot, gave up steroids when my testicles shrank to raisins, and as a writer, chasing too many legends to count.

Delivering us from evil

Derrick Lee, 1B -- Excellent defensively, good combo of power and speed. Slow starter. I've got a good combo of humor and sharp characterizations. Slow starter, as evidenced by my continuing efforts to publish the novel.

Todd Hollandsworth, LF -- Steady and hard-working. Gets hurt a lot. Sometimes I'm steady and write plenty. Other times I become a Law & Order zombie while my computer sits fallow.

Michael Barrett, C -- Good bat, fair defense, lousy with pitchers. I've got a good word processor, am fair with description and lousy with making stories compelling.

Starting pitching

Kerry Wood, R -- Electrifying fastball, curveball that breaks 12 to 6, slider that kills. Inconsistent. Me, same: flashes of brilliants overshadowed by prolonged mediocrity. (Kerry, please, don't get hurt. Please, just win 15 games, screw that tight shoulder. 15 games. Is that too much to ask?)

Mark Prior, R -- 96 mph fastball that moves; is unbeatable when can throw breaking balls for strikes. My fiction is unbeatable when I can flesh out characters' motivations. Which seems to be rarely.

Carlos Zambrano, R -- Best pitcher for Cubs in '04. Throws 95 mph fastball and 93 mph sinker. Young and lets emotions get the best of him. I'm old and let emotions get the best of me, especially when assessing the (seemingly) endless successes around me.

Greg Maddux, R -- Four-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall-of-Famer with pinpoint control. Can only go six innings per start. I'm not headed for the National Book Award and I can only go six minutes per writing session before I start surfing.

Glendon Rusch, L -- Not overpowering, but good control. Either I'm overpowering or I'm not in control. Neither both.


Mike Remlinger, L -- Crafty lefthander with good curve and changeup. Age and arm troubles a concern. I'm a crafty righthander with a decent curve and lousy changeup. Age and talent troubles a concern.

LaTroy Hawkins, R -- Great setup man, awful closer. Probably the truest description of my writing talents.

Ryan Dempster, R -- Likely closer following injuries. I'm a likely novelist following years of frustration.

Joe Borowski, R -- Question mark following shoulder injury. Doesn't have raw stuff for closing role but makes it happen. Sweats a lot. At night. In air-conditioned rooms. We have this in common.

Next: real interesting stuff, promise.