March 04, 2007

Signs of spring

Walking through the Pentagon City Mall today, I spotted a guy wearing a Chicago Cubs jersey.

Number 12.


Sigh. It's a good thing Marnie wasn't with me to see this.


Grand Marnier said...

I am so sad that Soriano has left DC, but at least it wasn't to the White Sox. Maybe the Cubs will have a chance at the Pennant this year (and I will win that category of the annual New Year's Predictions). Of course, just by me saying this, I have jinxed them...

Josh said...

When the Cubs lose, it will have everything to do with the fact they're tied up an obscene amount of money in Soriano, a player who is below the league average in the single most important offensive statistic: on-base percentage. (Career OBP: .325, which is merely worse than all but three TEAMS in 2006.)

Yes, he's exciting. Yes, he made the Nats more fun to watch. Yes, in 2006 he was the best player the Nats have ever had. (Though the stats say Nick Johnson not far behind.)

But he will not help the Cubs win a pennant.

Josh said...

Maybe I shouldn't have used career averages. Maybe I should just talk about his career numbers on that stat. Nice improvement in 2006.

I don't see any reason to believe why he'll maintain it in 2007. This is the chart of an improving player.

Grand Marnier said...

Grumpy ol' Man Josh--can't you just let me believe in the Cubs?

Plus, comparing Soriano's OBP to team stats doesn't have anything to do with a team not being able to win the pennant. Sure it helps, but the Cardinals were #14 on that list with a team OBP of .337 and the Tigers were #24 with a team OBP of .329. Neither of those stats are that far away from Soriano's stat last year.

I know that Soriano is no spring chicken, but he is one of the fastest, most exciting players to watch, and I hope that he does well with the Cubs.

Josh said...

I like the Cubs. I was a Cubs fan from about 1988 to 1991 or so.

(I was an early member of the Mark Grace bandwagon for some reason. He was totally robbed of the 1988 NL Rookie of the Year Award. Stupid Chris Sabo. Screw him and his goggles. Those goggles were worthless!)

And I only wish Soriano the best. I'm just glad that my team isn't spending money on him, especially for the next hundred years. (I would especially like if my team had taken the $10 million they WERE paying Soriano and doing something with it. Say, purchasing the services of flyball pitchers who can take advantage of the friendly un-confines of RFK instead of "saving" the money for future payroll. Yeah, right.)

A couple clarifications: I said OBP is the most important offensive stat. And I believe that both the Tigers and the Cardinals went to the playoffs on the strength of their pitching. Especially the Tigers. (I was so wrong about the Cardinals all year that I don't know how or why they were any good.)

Also, the question isn't whether Soriano is almost as good as a particular team (particular when was objectively worse in that regard) ... I'm comparing him to the league averages. If Soriano is hitting WORSE than the average leadoff hitter (and his OBP was worse than, say, Jamie Carroll (look it up, Jim Bowden defenders)), that's pretty weak. If it's worse than entire teams -- when he should be LEADING a team (given his considerable salary), that's really really bad.

Amy said...

It was a sad Cubs-Sox cactus-league matchup yesterday for a Cubs fan. Just wait til next year!

Grand Marnier said...

"I'm just glad that my team isn't spending money on him..."

Ha! You said the Nationals are your team!! Score one for me and DL004D!

ed002d said...

I sort of hope a crevasse opens in the infield at Wrigley and swallows the whole damn team. Ideally, Tribune executives will be present, too.

Josh said...

The Nats are my NL team. I've never wavered on this. And I'm especially irritated at being asked to spend money on the Nats this year when Kasten, et al., have no plans to do the same. And Jim Bowden is an idiot. I hate them all, and I root for the Nats (as long as they aren't playing the Red Sox or playing a game that could impact the Red Sox. I'll see a quark with my naked eyes before I see a Bowdenite in the World Series).

I would never get this irritated with equally stupid franchises in, say, Pittsburgh or Kansas City.

Josh said...

That was supposed to be "Bowdenite team," meaning a team in the image of Jim Bowden.