WAIW Cubs Blog Roundtable 19: Brick Walls, and the Opposite

Friday, July 31, 2009

WAIW Cubs Blog Roundtable 19: Brick Walls, and the Opposite

. Friday, July 31, 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 - the defensive greats, and the not so greats:

As important as hitting is, good play in the field can turn a player into a favorite as well. Certainly people put up with Corey Patterson and Felix Pie a little longer because they could occasionally play a mean center field. John continued to advocate for Fukudome last year because of his defensive skill, even as his batting average came to resemble Koyie Hill's. On the other hand, you've always got your Shawon Dunstons, Afonso Soriano's and the like. So who is your favorite defensive player of all time? Conversely, who is the worst defender you've seen play regularly?


For the best, in my lifetime, how can I not go with Ryno? Sure, he wasn't nearly as flashy as some others, but he was so consistently solid. And how about Derrek Lee circa a few years ago? Was there a better first baseman in the game at the time? Which reminds me, Mark Grace was damn good over there, too. This is quickly becoming a stream of consciousness.

As for the worst in the field, I don't have one. But I can give you a guy that really, really pissed me off: Juan Pierre. He got so much credit for being this great center fielder, when in reality, he was simply fast. He took poor routes and he couldn't throw to second base on the fly.


The Cubs have had some good defensive players through the years: DLee, Maddux, Grace. But my favorite defensive player for the Cubs happens to be a HOF player, Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg was brilliant at 2B. Because of his size he played it differently from many of the mites that occupied the position in the 80's. He had the errorless streak, where you never thought he would make an error. I actually remember being at a party when he made the error to end the streak. The only second sacker that I ever saw play it better was Robbie Alomar.

Worst defensive player, many come to mind again Hector Villanueva, their current corner OF's. But my worst defensive player was Eric Young. EY was so bad we called him E4. He made 27 errors in two seasons with the Cubs, and maybe statistically that doesn't make him the worst, but good lord after watching Sandberg play second for all those years it was really hard to watch E4 the two years the Cubs had him.

Chip Wesley

Maybe it was just my imagination but during his one year stint back in 2005 Jeromy Burnitz had a hell of an arm in right field. I saw him make some awesome throws to home. I was actually pissed the following season when the Cubs didn't bring him back. Of course the Pirates stupidly threw $6 million at him and he rewarded them with a pretty lousy season before calling it a career, so in hindsight it was probably best Chicago didn't re-sign him. Still, Jock Jones wishes he had half the arm Burnitz had.


Sometimes all it takes is one error to leave a permanent stain in your mind of a player's defensive abilities. Even when that player is considered to be an above-average defender. Maybe he only had 10 errors that year. But if it's a big enough error...an error that - instead of ending the 8th inning of the NLCS with a routine (routine!) double play (or at least one!) and the Cubs still up two runs - led to the Marlins scoring seven more runs and well, you know the story...May Alex Gonzalez be banished to a hell dimension where he will be forced to 6-4-3 for all of eternity.

And yet, the same guy that tied that very game on the other side is now one of my favorite all-time defenders - D-Lee. While I adore (or stalk, let's not argue semantics) Aramis Ramirez - after five years of watching Derrek dig out the garbage thrown to him across the infield it really makes you appreciate #25's Gold Glove.

Ginger Russ

All this excitement is making me tired. Between the Cubs magically scoring 24 runs in 2 games (what was that like all the runs we scored in June combined?), all the trade rumors, and now Brett Favre is retiring again (only Favre can retire from being retired, but don't worry, he said he would be available in November), I can barely hold my head up. So I will make this short and sweet.

Best defense I've ever seen has to be Sandberg. For nine years from 1983 to 1991 was the best 2nd baseman in baseball, receiving a Golden Glove each of those years. Now 2nd base is the new 3rd base for the Cubs, as we've trotted out horrible player after horrible player this year at second (sans Andy White, who is actually decent, although can't hit worth a shit, at least 354 out of 355 times at bat).

I would also like to point out to some other blog, let's just call them ACB, that people ask Ryno about steroids and he answers their questions. Unlike some real douchebags that chew on toothpicks, he doesn't dodge the questions. He answers them truthfully and yes he may have an opinion, but at least he isn't vanilla about it. Sandberg, along with Mr. Cub, was probably the most upstanding Cubs player to set foot on Wrigley Field. I hope to God that he does one day become the Cubs Manager, so you do become Another Cardinals Blog and you never write retarded ass shit about the Cubs ever again.

Worst defensive player I guess Todd Hundley. I don't really have any stats to back that up, but he sucked. So much for short and sweet.


Chip Wesley said...

The lack of comments I assume are due to the utter shock and horror of my Jeromy Burnitz entry.

John said...

Oooo, look at me. I'm Chip Wesley. I run a popular Cubs blog and get regular comments. People provide feedback on the stuff that I write. Now it's time for tea and crumpets. Would you like some fancy finger sandwiches? I would, because I'm Chip Wesley.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the second comment is not the real Chip Wesley.