Thursday, May 07, 2009

Jersey Boys

When we moved from Chicago to New York, we decided to live in Manhattan to get the full-fledged New York experience. Because really, why move to New York ... but live in Brooklyn. Or move to New York but live in ... Jersey. If you're gonna do it, do it.

Apparently that philosophy does not apply to ex-Cubs. Thanks to Morthas, the Greek god of collecting, for pointing out the Newark Bears. (Not the existence of, which I already knew, but the current composition.) The 2009 Bears have FOUR ex-Cubs on the roster. Plus the website is chock-full of interesting tidbits about the players. Considering how odd today is, let's take a closer look at the players and some odd facts.

Panda attempts to explain all the ex-Cubs.

Let's start with Darryle Ward, thought to be out of baseball or at least munching on a piece of high-caloric food somewhere. He's on the Bears.

Little known fact: Ward spent the 2009 spring training with the "Cincinnatie Reds."

Bobbie Hill! Holy hell, would you have ever guessed that Bobby Hill was still playing baseball for money? We traded our "second baseman of the future" and Jose Hernandez to the Pirates to get Kenny Lofton and a third baseman named Ramirez. At least THAT guy is still around.

Hill upon learning he was drafted by the Cubs.

Little known fact: This is Hill's second go-round in Newark: "Originally a second round draft pick for the Chicago Cubs, Hill instead decided to play for the Newark Bears. In 2000, Hill hit .326 with 13 homeruns and 82 runs batted in for the Bears. ... Hill was signed by the Chicago Cubs and played in the major leagues from 2002-2003."

Michael Tucker! Tucker played for the Cubs in 2001, making him one of the oldest ex-Cubs still active. (By my count, only Ross Gload from the 2000 team is still around, with David Weathers and Julian Tavarez also representing 2001.)

Little known fact: "Tucker hit the first homerun ever at Turner Field and collected the last base hit ever at Milwaukee's County Stadium."


Bobby Brownlie. This kid was a first-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2002. Now there many reasons why the Cubs will never win the BCS National Championship of Baseball, aka the World Series. Let's look at the 2002 draft for one.

Baseball, more than football or basketball, will always have first-round flameouts due to the difficult nature of projecting talent. But by my count, at least 13 first-round picks from 2002 have become regular players in the bigs, guys like Cole Hamels (Phillies), Scott Kazmir (drafted Mets/now Devil Rays), Prince Fielder (Brewers), and Jeff Francoeur (Braves). Several others are at least in the bigs in some capacity still, like B.J. Upton (Devil Rays) and Denard Span (Twins). And where is the Cubs first round pick? Newark.

Wait a minute, who drafted this guy?

By the way, it's not just Andy McPhail's fault. Ed Lynch and Hendry are on the hook too. Look at this heaping pile of success since Kerry Wood was the No. 4 overall pick in 1995:

1996: Todd Noel
1997: Jon Garland
1998: Corey Patterson
1999: Ben Christensen
2000: Luis Montanez
2001: Mark Prior
2002: Bobby Brownlie
2003: Ryan Harvey
2004; No Selection (that guy sucks)
2005: Mark Pawelek
2006: Tyler Colvin
2007: Josh Vitters
2008: Andrew Cashner

We were so optimistic ... so gullible.

And if you're thinking it's too early to judge the more recent picks, well, Jacoby Ellsbury (2005), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007) may disagree. (Seriously, go watch that Ellsbury video if you haven't seen it yet.)

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