On this, the 61st anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World, the Cubs and Astros finish the season with the game most of the world would like to forget. Cubs manager Dale Sveum seems to have mixed feelings about the last day of the season, even as his team is 61-101.
“I think when we get into this business of baseball, you’re always sad to see the season end,” Dale said. “It’s part of your life, and that’s what you do on an everyday basis. Yeah, it’s nice to go home and regroup a little bit. At the same time, it doesn’t take too long to want to get right back in the saddle and get back in the dugout and the clubhouse with the guys.”
It’s quite the makeshift lineup for the Cubs today:
Unless Alfonso Soriano gets in as a pinch hitter, he’ll finish at .262/.322/.499 with 32 homers and a career-best 108 RBI. He was asked about quieting his critics.
“People always see me with the wrong eyes,” he said. I’m hard-working, and I think the manager and the president and all those guys they appreciate what I do and they give me the opportunity batting cleanup, and I do the best I can to make the team better. This is my first time batting cleanup and I enjoy it.”
Soriano has two years left on his giant contract. He also has 10-and-5 rights, which means he can veto any trade involving him. He seems ready for the rumor mill.
“I have a lot of time to think about it,” he said. “I’m ready to see my name in a lot of rumors. We’ll see what they want to do and I hope we can be on the same page and see what happens.”
He also half-joked about retiring when the contract is up.
“Oh, I just say that because the way I feel now,” he said of being tired at the end of a long and losing year. “I wish this could be the No. 8 year on my contract so I can retire today. There’s two more years left.
From a media standpoint, Soriano has been a joy to be around for six years. He said he learned how to deal with the media from being with the Yankees and watching Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez and Bernie Williams deal with the press.
Darwin Barney also is off. He’s slumped badly of late, going 2-for-28. Barney’s line has fallen to .254/.299/.354. Last year, the line was .276/.313/.353. The homers went from 2 last year to 7 this year, the RBI from 43 to 44, the walks from 22 to 33 and the strikeouts from 67 to 58. Sveum reiterated that he feels Barney should win the Gold Glove at second base.
We’ll get to a whole bunch more in the paper tomorrow. Theo Epstein addresses the media tomorrow morning at Wrigley. Sveum said he anticipated both turnover and further development of the young players.
“I think there are some guys that are here that still have to probably develop,” he said. “Whether they make the team or not, they still have to develop. Sure, there will be turnover. We have to fill some holes in areas, in starting pitching, the bullpen, third base, power bats. These are your Christmas lists. It’s not easy to get what you want under the Christmas tree, either.
“I’m sure there will be turnover, sure there will be some more development for some of the young players. We’ll wait and see. That’s why winter is so fun, because you don’t know who’s going to be non-tendered, free agents, how the market is. Or you go to spring training and some guys come back and they’ve made adjustments like Rizzo did, and they’re ready to play at this level. So you go t all kinds of different things that can happen.”