Like Andre Dawson himself, I’m officially tired of Cap Watch. Let the Hall of Fame make its decision as to which cap _ Cubs or Expos _ Dawson will “wear” on his plaque. Dawson speaks with Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner about that today:
You can bet on one thing: If there is any hint of a quid pro quo between Dawson and the Cubs about retiring his number, the Hall of Fame will put an Expos cap on that plaque so fast it would make your head swim. So whoever is talking about such deals, and it’s not Dawson, he or she would be wise to zip it.
On to other things.
The Cubs caravan kicks off tomorrow, and I’ll be downtown to cover that. The caravan is the precursor to the Cubs convention, which opens Friday and runs through Sunday. I’ll be there for that, as well.
Judging by the restless nature of fandom this winter, the Saturday morning session where fans can ask questions of Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella and Crane Kenney (if he’s on the program this year, and I can’t imagine him not wanting to be) should be a doozy. Here’s what I’d like to see, and hear, this weekend:
--The WGN radio hosts limit their filibusters and allow fans to ask questions. Those of us in the media have access to Cubs management every day if we want it. The fans don’t. Let the fans start asking questions as soon as these sessions open. There have been years when the WGN hosts have used up the first 20 or 25 minutes with their own questions.
--Good questions from the fans. If you’re unhappy, here’s your chance. If you want to ask Hendry and others how this team is better now than it was last year, ask it.
--I’d like to hear Crane Kenney tell us how moving spring training to Florida is going to make life easier and better for the Cubs. With most teams in Arizona clustered around Phoenix and everybody moving in that direction before too long, the conditions are optimal for getting work in and not spending three hours on a bus. Not that I believe Crane wants to move to Florida or anything like that, of course.
--I’d like to hear the Ricketts family, if they’re taking part in sessions, explain how the structure of their debt service will eventually help the Cubs.
--If I’m a fan at one of these sessions, I’d want to know that there is going to be money to add players by the July 31 trading deadline. Kenney promised last winter the money would be there, and Hendry had to scramble in the summer months, to say nothing of having to watch Jake Peavy go to the White Sox.
--Lou’s take on whether he believes his lineup is too right-handed or just right.
--How Geovany Soto looks.
--Ditto Carlos Zambrano.
More things and then you can have at it:
The Ben Sheets saga is still where it’s been lately. The Cubs have liked and do like Sheets, but they are nowhere nearer to signing him than they were last week, when speculation arose. They still need to see him throw, and if Sheets and agent Casey Close want a high-priced multiyear deal, it won’t be with the Cubs. Sheets failed a physical with the Rangers last off-season. If he’s healthy, will be feel obligated to them at all?
There also doesn’t seem to be much to those Heath Bell rumors, at least at this point. Bell is arb-eligible after making $1.255 million last year, when he saved 42 games in 48 chances. He’s going to want a nice raise, as will current Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, and the Cubs have a slew of arb-eligible players this winter. And do the Cubs mess with Marmol's mind for another spring training?
Catch this one about the Florida Marlins addressing players association concerns about using their revenue-sharing money for procuring players and not putting it into the owners’ pockets? It’s high time the union raised this issue (even as they’re opposed to salary “floors), and the Marlins say they’ll use that dough in good faith. For years, speculation has been that teams such as the Marlins, Pirates and Royals have been using revenue-sharing money to pad their bottom lines instead of spending it on players, ostensibly what revenue-sharing is for in the first place.
We shall see.