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Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Griffin’

Zambrano Rips Cubs After Loss…This Time He’s Absolutely Right

Posted by sportsmaven on June 5, 2011

After the Chicago Cubs crafted yet another come from ahead loss to long time nemesis the St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Zambrano could hold back no longer. Moments after Albert Pujols launched his second of back to back walk off homers to beat the Cubs on consecutive days, Zambrano took a minute comment on the Cubs morbid play and this time he couldn’t be more spot on with his commentary. In his post-game comments following Sunday’s 3-2 loss, Zambrano pulled no punches when asked what he thought of the outcome, as reported by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune:

“The problem wasn’t Pujols,” Zambrano said in a loud voice, glancing toward Marmol’s locker as he spoke. “The problem was (Marmol’s slider to Theriot).

“We should know better than this. We play like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team and the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassed — that’s the word for this team.

“We should know better than what we (did) on the field. We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter. We should know that as a team. We should play better here. We stink. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

The unfortunate part of what is quickly becoming a lost season for the Cubs, Big Z seems to be the only one in the Cubs organization who is not only openly honest in how the team is currently playing, but also seems to be the only one with any sense of holding anyone accountable for poor play as of late. No, the problem wasn’t WHAT Big Z said, the problem was that he was THE ONLY ONE that stepped up to say it. Past history aside, maybe Zambrano should be questioned for being the bearer of this on the mark comment, as his past comments haven’t been sparkling to say the least. But Sullivan’s comment of Zambrano throwing Cubs closer Carlos Marmol under the bus? C’mon, this needed to be said. If not by Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, then certainly by manager Mike Quade, who is the orchestrator of the latest incarnation of the debacle known as the Chicago Cubs and is quickly losing the faith and support of the dwindling Cubs fan base.

The best thing to happen to Tom Ricketts, Mike Quade and their Cubs team was the long playoff run by the Chicago Bulls, which took all the pressure and focus off of a wobbly and challenging early season of marginal play by a team with a severe identity crisis. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse for the Cubs, as the focus has shifted from the wildly successful Bulls season that ended prematurely, directly to a team that is in it’s worst performing stretch of play thus far this season.

And unfortunately for Mike Quade, direct comparisons with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau will now start, as Quade seems to hold what appears to be a diametrically opposite coaching/managing philosophy to Thibodeau, who is notoriously known for holding his players accountable. Just ask Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah about accountability.

Another unfortunate situation for Quade is sharing the Chicago baseball spotlight with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who would, as Sullivan eloquently states, never allow another player to throw a teammate under the bus because that’s his job to do as Sox manager.

Being a player’s manager in and of itself is not a bad thing. The other thing that Tom Thibodeau is known for is being a players coach and he seems to be skillfully adept at managing that along with player accountability. What I wanted to hear from Quade today would be something to the effect of:

“We didn’t get the job done again today. We had the book on Ryan Theriot, went away from what we knew best and it burned us. We also had an opportunity to change our approach from yesterday and we didn’t do that and it cost us the game. This is an unacceptable performance today and in this series from the manager down to the 25th guy on the roster and we need to change this immediately in order to get better.”

Instead, according to Paul Sullivan, Quade chose to say this:

Manager Mike Quade, who watched Pujols beat his team in extra innings for the second straight day, said he would let his players “deal with” Zambrano’s critique.

“I don’t know exactly what that means,” Quade said of the “Triple-A” comment. “We had a chance to win a ballgame 2-1, and we didn’t get it done. The people that picked him up were not Triple-A caliber, (Sean Marshall) and Marmol.”

Marmol has blown saves in Zambrano’s last two starts. Quade said he had no problem with Marmol throwing a slider to Theriot with a 2-2 count and the tying run on first.

“He got ahead with his fastball,” Quade said. “Right now, I could care less. Those are the things you go back and look at tomorrow.

“Marmol throws a slider. Everybody is always (ticked) when he gets beat with his fastball. I’m just (ticked) when we get beat. ‘Z’ pitched good. That’s all I know.”

Sounds like shades of ex-Chicago Bulls interim head coach Jim Boylan, who in 2008, had an incident with then-rookie Joakim Noah, who yelled at assistant coach Ron Adams when Adams was riding Noah particularly hard in practice. In a still stunning move, Boylan allowed Bulls veterans Adrian Griffin and Ben Wallace to add 2 additional games to the one game suspension Boylan had already doled out to Noah for the yelling incident. Yes, let’s let the players police themselves and deal with the critique. Good idea.

Of course Quade’s “players rule” mantra ultimately starts at the top with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, who had a chance to inject some upfront honesty when asked by the Chicago sports media this week to assess how his team has performed thus far this season:

“When asked earlier today what was wrong with his 23-30 team (now 23-34 after the Cardinals weekend sweep) on the verge of being swept by the “worst” team in the National League (the Houston Astros), Ricketts said simply: “Nothing. Just a lot of injuries. We’ll be fine.'”

Of course if you believe that a team that has the longest current losing streak in MLB at 6 in a row, a team that has yet to win 3 games in a row all season, a team with a 23-34 record good for 5th place, has 7 players on the disabled list, the worst pitching in the NL, second worst fielding in the NL, a team that has taken the fewest walks in the league while giving up the most walks in the league is “fine”, then you have drunk the Kool-Aid the Ricketts have served along with the improved “Wrigley Experience”.

As famed Clinton political strategist James Carville would say if asked about the state of the Chicago Cubs, “It’s all about winning, stupid!” and the Cubs aren’t doing a lot of that along with not enough honest looking into the mirror either. Good for you, Big Z, wish your management would have beat you to the punch on that one though.

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Chicago Bears Find An Offense?

Posted by sportsmaven on August 14, 2007

Was it just me, or did the Chicago Bears bring out a semblance of an offense to their pre-season opener against the Houston Texans?  Bears QB Rex Grossman completed his first 8 passes and finished his night with an 8-10, 50 yard performance.  That’s right, an 80% completion rate.  My post from August 6th listed 5 things that the Bears must do to succeed in 2007:

1. Offense has to make another leap in performance — The surprise of last season’s team was definitely the performance of the offense. Nobody on the planet thought the Bears would be #2 in the NFL in scoring nor that Rex Grossman would throw 20 TD passes and over 3000 yards passing. For the Bears to jump to the next level, Grossman must improve his completion rate. Last season, he was at 54.6%. This season, he has to eclipse 60% and limit his interceptions from 20 to single digits.

Rex Grossman Leads Chicago Bears over Houston Texans
(AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

Grossman has looked sharp in training camp and looked sharp on Saturday night in Houston.  He checked down when his primary receivers were covered and did that well.  Rex actually looked like a quarterback on Saturday night.  The running game, led by Cedric Benson dished out some hits, but showed a sever drop off when Benson was replaced by Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe.

The Bears defense looked dominant, stopping the run, the pass, basically anything that got in front of them.  I thought that the Bears special teams needed quite a bit of work, especially on the kick coverage teams.

Could the Bears actually lead the league in scoring this season?  What a thought that would be….

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Chicago Bulls Unleash New Secret Weapon: Tyrus “The Microwave” Thomas

Posted by sportsmaven on March 1, 2007

Well, maybe we’re going a bit overboard on this one, but what a game for the rookie, Tyrus Thomas, who heated up off the bench in relief of PJ Brown to pop off a career high 14 points. I can say the same for the other Bulls rookie, Thabo Sefolosha, who had an even better night, dropping a career high 19 points on the hapless Golden State Warriors (well they didn’t play like warriors tonight) in the Chicago Bulls 113-83 victory. The Warriors started F Kelenna Azubuike, fresh from the NBADL. He may be the poster child for the NBADL as the Bulls allowed Mr Azubuike to hang 23 pts. on them. A shrewd move by Warriors coach Donn Nelson to start Azubuike, of whom the Bulls apparently didn’t get a scouting report. This guy was 20% of the Warriors offense tonight!

Tyrus Thomas Dominates WarriorsThabo Sefolosha Beats Down Warriors
(AP Photos/Nam Y. Huh)

This game looked over after a third quarter push by the Bulls. It looked like neither team really wanted to play the 4th quarter. If they could, the Warriors would have called it a night after three and went home with the whipping from a Bulls team with the personality of Sybill. Adrian Griffin even scored 17 points tonight. He may have not scored 17 points all season.

Lose 2, win 2, lose 2, win 3. This appears to be how the Bulls plan to approach the next few weeks of the regular season, at least until they decide to flip the switch for the 10-1 run into a 6 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. Maddening inconsistency, that’s our Bulls team motto. Steve Schanwald, this marketing tidbit is on the house, courtesy of the Sports Maven. It’s has to rank right up there with The Playoff Payoff.

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