WAIW Cubs Blog Roundtable, Week 8: Awwwww, Crap. Well, We Lose.

Friday, May 15, 2009

WAIW Cubs Blog Roundtable, Week 8: Awwwww, Crap. Well, We Lose.

. Friday, May 15, 2009

We at WAIW are lucky enough to be acquainted with the operators of a bunch of excellent Cubs blogs. Every Friday throughout the 2009 season, we're going to bring as many of them as we can together to share their thoughts on being Cubs fans. This week - bullpens of horror!:

Any Cubs fan with more than a few years under their belt can tell you, immediately upon request, of at least a dozen blown late leads they've witnessed. Even with a struggling lineup, the bullpen seems to be what inspires the most terror in Cubs fans so far this season. In all of your years watching the Cubs, what relief pitcher has inspired the least confidence? Who did you see stroll in from the bullpen as WGN went to commercial that made you say "ohhhhhh shit. We're screwed"?


Easy question: Roberto Novoa. We started calling him "The Cooler" over at LOHO. I don't think he ever even managed to HOLD a single lead, much less NOT blow one. He was terrible, horrible, beyond awful. Hands down the worst pitcher to have ever graced the mound at Wrigley---and that's saying something.

- Cubbiejulie runs A League of Her Own, and it took her about six seconds to answer our e-mail


This is easy: Mel Rojas. The guy came to the Cubs before 1997 after posting consecutive 30+ save seasons with the Expos. All Rojas did was blow saves left and fucking right. Twice giving up three run homers with two outs in the ninth. It was painful to watch. when Ed Lynch dealt him midseason, I was a happy camper.

- WPBC runs Waxpaperbeercup, which is scientifically proven to leave your hair silky, with beautiful shine

Ted Lilly Fan Club

Easy. Joe Borowski. Cubs reliever for a four-year span, we never embraced Joe-Bo and, to be honest, never trusted him for three primary reasons. 1) He was originally drafted by the White Sox which is a tip off that something is just not right. Anytime that a former ChiSox ends up as a Cubbie, it doesn't end well (see Sosa, Sammy or even Neal f-ing Cotts). 2)Before joining the Cubs, he was a veteran of both the Mexican League and the Northern League. Needless to say, we doubt that he saw the necessary level of competition needed for success in the Majors and he probably just focused on eating churros before/after games. 3)He named his sons Blaze and Ty. Really? Your sons are not American Gladiators (Blaze) or Old West Re-enactment Actors (Ty).

- The Ted Lilly Fan Club was working on the technology to clone Ted Lilly so the ball can pass from Ted to Ted in the 7th. Then they giggled because they figured out that would mean the phrase "Ted Lilly relieving himself on the mound."


For me, it was LaTroy Hawkins. But not when he was a setup man. Not when he was a closer. It was when he was coming in to close, specifically, a game with a 2-run lead. I don't know why that was his kryptonite, and I doubt there are stats kept on this kind of thing, but I swear to Jesus that the guy blew every damn 2-run lead he came in to close.

- Ace is from Bleacher Nation, which this week conjured images of a sauced-up Chad Gaudin falling into a dumpster


I think that I'd be doing the world a disservice if I singled out anyone other than Neal Cotts. Off the top of my head, I'd rather virtually anyone fill his spot in the current bullpen - including LaTroy Hawkins, Bob Howry or the drummer from Def Leppard. Yet he remains a member of the Chicago Cubs not for his talent, but because 25 years ago his mother crammed the Crayolas into his left hand, thus sealing the fate of a sub par Major League career.

- Jen is from Cub Blogging, where the verification word to leave a comment on an article about Ryan Theriot, I shit you not, was "handible." The Internet is learning.


To be honest, this question made me realize that I don't really pay much attention to relief pitchers. I think I do in the moment, but it doesn't stick with me through the years like starters and position players. There wasn't a name that came to me right away, so I looked back over the rosters of the last 20 seasons. I recognized most of the names, but couldn't remember many specifics. One name jumped out at me, for no particular reason - Turk Wendell.

Wendell played for the Cubs from ‘93-'97 and from what I remember, he was pretty middle-of-the-road looking back on his stats. He was pretty awful his first few years, but seemed to pull it together after the strike-shortened ‘94 season. I do remember dreading him coming into games, but usually because we would be subjected to his insane quirks, not necessarily because of his performance. Most of this is referenced when talking about superstitious baseball players. Here are just a few:

- Wendell insisted that the umpire roll the ball to the mound rather than simply throw it to him. If an umpire would ignorantly throw the ball to him, Wendell was known to let it go past him, or even to let it bounce off his chest, after which he would retrieve it from the ground.

- Whenever his catcher stood, Wendell would crouch down.

- Wendell often brushed his teeth between innings (some claim that he brushed between every inning). While brushing, he often hid in the dugout, either by ducking behind objects or by facing the wall.

His most popular display was his exaggerated leap over the third baseline coming back to the dugout.

He's also known for what he said about Vladimir Guerrero - "he can freakin' go back to the Dominican and find another line of work." Another of my favorite Wendell quotes is "I only wanted a few things out of life -- a wife, children, to play baseball and to hunt deer."

Although I seem to have not had much of a place in my heart for relievers, unless certain current Cubs players improve in the bullpen this season, I'm thinking I will easily remember some of the names that plague us now.

- Corey is from Ivy Envy, where they're putting the fun back in fundamentals. Just like Tom Emanski.

Ginger Russ

What has 12 fingers, weighs as much as a orca whale, and couldn't save a game if his son was being held captive by a deranged fan and he had to hit a home run save the game and dedicate it to said fan?

If you guessed Antonio Alfonseca, then you're correct. If you guessed Bobby Rayburn, then stop watching The Fan on TBS.

I'm sure I won't be the only one to name El Pulpo as the worst Cubs relief pitcher of all time, as he undoubtedly deserves it. Coming off being named National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year a few years previous, Alf blew nine saves in his first year with the Cubs. Of course that was in only 28 opportunities, a 68% save percentage. But it was one memorable day that I will forever remember (redundant?) that I saw in person Alf's suckitude, said a big GFY and never looked back.

Saturday, June 28, 2003, Comiskey Park. The previous day Alf had given up the game losing run in the ninth after the Cubs managed a late rally in the top of the inning to tie the game. This day the Cubs would go into the 8th with a 6-4 lead. The game was pretty much in the bag and my Mom, a Sox fan, was jeering me about how I was going to gloat about the Cubs beating the Sox. "Wait," I told her, "Dusty's putting in Alfonseca, congrats, you just won the game."

Sure enough, Fatty gives up a 2 run shot to Aaron Rowand with 2 outs to tie the game. Sure it was Juan Cruz who took the lost giving up the losing run the next inning, but it was Alf's pitching that deflated the Cubs that day, and my confidence in him forever. Luckily, he would only last till the end of the year with the Cubs, but I've hated that f#@ker ever since. It makes me even more sick when he went on to win a ring with the Phillies last year. Excuse me now, I have to go throw up just thinking about it.

- Ginger Russ is from the College of Idiots, where Alex Gonzalez will address the 2009 graduating class

Chip Wesley

Back in 2006 Roberto Novoa made me lose any and all hope for a win whenever he came to the mound. When Dusty put that long-necked son of a bitch out there it was as if he was waving the surrender flag right then and there. Since then I've dubbed one reliever each season as the recipient of the "Roberto Novoa Award", given to the bullpen guy that pretty much spells doom for any chance of a win that day when he takes the mound. In 2007 it was Will Ohman, last season was Bob Howry and this year's front runner currently is Neal Cotts.

-Chip Wesley, of Thunder Matt's Saloon


Kat said...

While this year my vote is for that Cottsucker we have, last year I woulda said Wuertz.

KD said...

What about Kyle Farnsworth? I recall many a time yelling at my TV, "DAMMIT Farnsworth!" Sure, he was pretty to look at, but his pitching was unpredictable at best......my vote for this year is DEFINITELY Cottsucker. Dude makes me want to throw things at the TV....

Steve said...

KD! farnsworth has a special place in my heart. he bodyslammed people! i was excited any time he came to the mound because i didn't know whose ass was gonna get served.

KD said...

isn't Farnsworth like 6'11" or something like that? He was kinda hot....where is he now?

John said...

running up a 5.56 ERA in Kansas City. He's their Bob Howry. Sorry, Steve.

KD said...

I think John's my favorite WAIW guy now.... ;)

Steve said...

kerri. after all we shared in the cubblogging chat room. john doesn't care about you, he never will.

KD said...

LOL...'tis true Steve, 'tis true...those WERE special times.....I'll reconsider my WAIW loyalties and get back to you on that.....

Froggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Froggy said...

Wolfie's sister here. I can't stand Marmol...or as Wolfie calls him Chuckie Marbles....I know we will lose once he steps up on that plate...

Steve said...

froggy. you are being ridiculous. marmol is the best thing we've had in the bullpen since the nextel call to the pen cell phones.

Froggy said...

If he's our life saver then we have problems...You sound like Wolfie but when ever were watching the game and he gets up on the plate it's a mess....

Kat said...

believe it or not i liked farnsworth. as steve said, it was always interesting to watch him & hope that something happened just to see who he'd tackle/bodyslam. Classic!

Angry Mike said...

HAHA, well if Ginger Russ would have taken a moment out of his busy (sarcasm) day to forward the request I would have been more than happy to share my thoughts on one Kyle Farnsworth. No one may have ever done less with more talent. Oh, and he was a complete asshole. People forget that when he charged the plate it was against a PITCHER. Yeah, real tough guy.

KD said...

Thank you, Angry Mike!

Steve said...

i don't know angry mike - imagine kenny powers charging your ass. just saying, pitchers can be badass. you're fucking out!

Cole said...

Although the Cubs have had worse relievers, Joe Borowski stands out the most for me. In June 2003 I went to see my first Cubs game in 3 years, and Prior threw 16 strikeouts through 8 innings, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead. JoeBoRo came in and blew the game with a three-run homer. His excuse? "I missed my location by about 3 feet."

wolfie said...

I don't care what you say Froggy, I stand by Chuckie Marbles...I'm gonna have to go with Hawkins. I feel like things went wrong over and over again with that guy in '04.

Steve said...

its funny because when hawkins came in to yesterday's game i had confidence we would win.

wolfie said...

When people like Hawkins and Howry leave the Cubs I expect them to win several Cy Youngs in a row. Put it in the books, Marquis' 2009 season will look something like 23-6 2.36 ERA.