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Bargain Broken

Apparently Dale Sveum didn't get the memo.

This was supposed to be a new Cubs era.

One typified by the oft-repeated mantra of "Playing the game right."

One that stressed fundamentals.

And accountability.

Starting with the little things.

Like hustling out of the box on a batted ball.

Instead, we're back to how great of a teammate Alfonso Soriano is. What, he brings candy to the clubhouse every day?

No matter how great Soriano may be in the clubhouse, he's a selfish dolt on the field. And that's the worst kind of teammate you can be.

Unfortunately, we can now induct Sveum into the Kubs Kulture Hall of Fame.

His defense of Soriano's latest blunder comes on top of the realization that his definition of "last straw" doesn't include the word "last."

Cubs fans accepted an implicit bargain with Theo Epstein when he correctly gauged that they would accept a rebuilding that Red Sox fans wouldn't; the key part of that bargain was that we would be treated to a young, hustling team built on the fundamentals as we worked our way through the pain.

Sveum, as a former hard-nosed grinder himself, was supposed to mold this team in his image toward that end. Without even getting to his awful strategic errors, Sveum is failing badly.

Cubs fans will accept losing - for now - but not losing like this. It's not what we signed up for.

The Week in Review: The Cubs went 2-4 for the week, winning the opening games in interleague series' against the Tigers and Red Sox before dropping the next two in both. The Cubs are now a major league-worst 22-44 with a win percentage (.333) that is still higher than the on-base percentage of all but three Cubs.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs head to the South Side for three against the White Sox and then to Arizona for three against the D-backs. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start on Wednesday if he's still a Cub.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started all six games at second because he is the Cubs' second baseman. The ghost of Jim Hendry is not happy.

In former second basemen news, Aaron Miles is retiring after a scrappy little career that came to a screeching halt once he arrived here in Chicago. He is missed.

Crazy Corners: Dizzy Dale Sveum continues to sit All-Star Game candidate Bryan LaHair against lefthanders in favor of Jeff Baker, who, ahem, is more naturally a third baseman. With Ian Stewart on the DL and Joe Mather in center field against lefties instead of major league steals-leader Tony Campana, non-prospect Luis Valbuena is now getting starts at third. By the way, Sveum's righty platoon against lefthanders is 3-15.

Weekly Bunting Report: Bob Brenly wants Campana to bunt almost every time he comes to the plate, and why not? At some point the infield will draw in enough for Campy to get some real base hits, too. With his speed, developing Campana should be a top Cubs priority. Get it, Dale?

The Zam Bomb: It's happening in Miami - a Carlos Zambrano meltdown. First he gave up seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in a 13-4 loss to the Rays and complained of back stiffness. Then manager Ozzie Guillen said he was restricting Zambrano's batting practice habit of swinging for the fences. (Sound familiar?) Then he was chased in the third in the return match against the Rays on Thursday. I think we all know what's coming.



Endorsement No-Brainer: Theo Epstein for The Price Is Right because it's time to open the bidding.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of 2015 fell sharply this week in favor of 2016.

Sink or Sveum: 20% Analytical, 80% Emotional. A sinking Sveum fell an astonishing 12 points on the Dale-O-Meter this week due to his overly emotional attachment to pseudo-analytical strategies like his right-handed platoon lineup that clearly do not work. His pathetic defense of Alfonso Soriano's failure to run out a botched soft liner to third with two on and two out late in the game also did lasting damage. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy (Charles Manson), Not All There (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge) and Non-Emotional robot (Data), Dale is really more Not All There than Bat Sh#t Crazy.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale totally followed instructions when he tried to fix your car but for some strange reason the wipers go on when you turn on the radio.

Over/Under: The number of times Soriano won't hustle out of the box for the remainder of the season: +/- every time.

Don't Hassle The Hoff: Micah Hoffpauir is hitting .306 and had both a homer and a walkoff sacrifice fly this week for the second-place Nippon Ham Fighters. Don't hassle him.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the rebuilding honeymoon is over.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Fantasy Fix: Cubs For Sale.


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