Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Saturday, March 29, 2008

(Dr) Phil Us in on the Cub Rules

Our old friend Dr. Phil has spent the last week entertaining readers with his 2008 season previews. Discussing the Cubs' chances this season, he shows once again that he knows the rules that today's baseball journamalism plays under.

For each team, Dr. Phill offers pros and cons for each team going into 2008. Here's his very first reason why the Cubs won't win this year:

Con: Check the uniforms. This is the 100th anniversary of their Cubs' last World Series title.

Readers, let me ask a question: if you asked me what I thought about the Brewers' chances this year, and my first take was the fact that they haven't made the post-season since 1982, what would you think about my analytical skills? Or if I said that there's no way the Pirates will contend because they spent the better part of the '40s and '50s as also rans?

Or, more provacatively, if I said that the White Sox won't win the AL Central because of what happened way back in 1919?

At best, you'd laugh me off as a crank. At worst, you'd think I was deeply disturbed. After all, what does any of that have to do with this year?

None of that has anything to do with this year. But when it comes to discussions about the Cubs, it's perfectly crumulent to bring up events that happened three-quarters of a century before some of the current roster were even born. It's almost like a requirement nowadays -- any mention of the Cubs has to mention the hundred years.

Dr. Phil knows which side his bread is buttered on. He plays by the rules.

The good Doctor shows his in-depth knowledge of the Cub Rules in this discussion of the NL West:

While still feeling the effects of his 2007 shoulder surgery, [Mark] Prior had an outstanding spring training. He will benefit from being away from the intense scrutiny that came with the expectations he created for himself at Wrigley Field. He will start the season on the disabled list but could make 20-plus starts. Prior can be a free agent after this season, which was a factor in the Cubs not offering him salary arbitration, so he won't lack for motivation. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs will have two starters pitching better than Prior in August and September, when he could have been pushing the Cubs toward the playoffs.

For the past three seasons, the favored script about Prior always (as per the rules) mentioned his fragility, how the Cubs couldn't count on him, and how stupid the Cubs were for counting on him to make any kind of contribution during the season -- no matter how good he said he felt during spring training.

This year is different -- Prior threw twenty-five pitches in batting practice, and everything is all good for him. No snide remarks about his past. No questions about whether or not he's a malingerer who's not tough enough to pitch in pain. No mocking the Padres for thinking they'll get anything at all out of him.

Not this year. This year, Dr. Phil is counting on him to get 20 starts in. And he wonders if the Cubs will have two pitchers better than Prior this August. Things change, indeed...

But what changed? Gentle Reader, it's so simple -- check the uniform!

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