Dear Jim,


Apparently, Cubs GM Jim Hendry doesn’t give an ‘F’ what we think about how he’s handling the team’s roster decisions.  Interesting.

I don’t quite know how to respond to this article.  I kind of fee like Hendry is justified in being annoyed with having to answer this question for the thousandth time (probably literally even after a short period of time).  But then again, when you’re in the position he’s in a) you’re the guy who should be asked, besides Piniella who is also being asked over and over again; b) see ‘a’.

There are countless (not countless, but I don’t feel like figuring out how many right now) news outlets across Illinois alone, never mind the entire sports-covering country.  All of them are putting out their 2008 Baseball Preview pull-out sections this week and each one of them is going to not only put in their two cents as to who they feel has put themselves in a position to win, but also who they think has not.  The decision regarding who would ultimately be chosen as the Cubs’ closer was one of the bigger stories in baseball this offseason.  Every preview I have read so far, on-line or printed paper, has mentioned Wood as the closer and Fukudome’s adjustment as two of the biggest keys to the Cubs’ success this year.  It is a huge factor, it was a huge decision and there of course will be a huge amount of coverage. 

I’m simply a fan when it comes to the game.  Hendry, you are being paid millions of dollars to actually make these decisions.  You and Lou together, I’m sure, decided Wood would be their guy.  When writing your 2008 preview about the Cubs, when focusing on Wood, that makes the first two guys you want to question and get quotes from you and Piniella.  Why is it that I get that, but you don’t?  Where do you get off going all Zell on the press and essentially the fans when it comes to this decision/subject?  You are one of the key faces of the organization.  An organization whose following is as loyal as any other and who’s history stands up to all others.  I don’t care what the reasons are that led you to respond this way.  It’s simply not justifiable.

Piniella has handled all pitching decision interviews with class this year, even with his apology about how he reacted to Marquis early on in the Spring.  And even then, he didn’t drop the f-bomb.  And its not even the use of the f-bomb that I have a problem with.  Its more about who its directed at.  The press: just doing their job, asking a very relevant and justified question.  And the fans: who pay for merchandise, tickets, etc to pay for a large percentage of the budget that makes it possible for the Cubs to exist, in turn making your job exist. 

I know the organization must be exceedingly frustrated with what Wood could have been and what they’ve actually received out of him/his potential/talent.  But if you’re going to name Wood the closer and believe in his ability to get the job done…he’s walked nobody this Spring…is blowing up radars all over Arizona…and you’re saying he’s healthy enough to carry us in the ninth all season after years of injuries/setbacks…wouldn’t now be the time to be the most optimistic?  Wouldn’t now be the time to be even a little cocky about where Wood’s at?  That perhaps it took longer than you’d like but now we’ll finally get what we wanted all along out of Wood?  Isn’t that what you’re saying by naming Wood our closer?  If so, then why be so defensive?  Why carry yourself in a manner that is repulsive and unprofessional at best?  I have been pushing for Marmol to be our closer all Spring.  You and Lou apparently feel Kerry is good enough to close games out and save wins throughout the season, but due to his durability issues, Marmol and Howry would be better served in the set up roles in the seventh and eighth. 


I actually don’t believe this theory…if that were the case then why isn’t Rivera pitching set up for the Yankees?  Why aren’t all of baseball’s best late inning pitchers pitching in the seventh and eighth innings?  The 7th and 8th innings are incredibly important to lock down and get us to the ninth.  But the ninth is pretty important too, don’t you think?  I mean, if we have what it takes through 7-8 and then our guy in the ninth falls through and blows it…who cares what Howry and Marmol achieved in the 7th and 8th?  Why put your best guy to lock games down in the ninth, who you claim to be Wood…yet tell us that Marmol and Howry are actually more dependable and thus are in the 7th and 8th?  And if Wood is so great and you’re confident he’s the guy…then again, why not just step back, smile and say ‘Just watch, you’ll see’ when asked about why Kerry Wood as the Cubs’ closer.

As a fan, I don’t appreciate feeling lied to about the faith you have in Wood.  And just as much, I really don’t appreciate the way you handled yourself when asked about Wood.  You’re one of the key faces of the Cubs organization.  Act like it.  Or make some decisions that will allow you to, that you’re actually confident in.  That might be the best idea for all of us.


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