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The year in Cubs quotes: 'We stinks'

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The year in Cubs quotes: 'We stinks'

Everyone showed up at spring training in great shape, brimming with confidence and enjoying the Arizona sunshine. The Cubs were banking on a carryover effect from their strong finish to the 2010 season. What could possibly go wrong?

Some seven months later, Jim Hendry spends his time on golf courses, while Mike Quade is ready to go fishing, waiting for the next general manager to decide his fate.

No one would admit that they saw a 71-91 season coming. Heres how they watched it all unfold.
We fully expect to be in contention in the National League Central. (I) dont have any doubt we can do that. Hendry on the first day of camp, Feb. 13.

I want to talk about the good team that we have. I want to focus on this year and be a better player, a better pitcher. Thats what everybodys looking forward to. Carlos Zambrano, Feb. 14.

You have to understand how supplements work. They dont make you Superman. Steroids make you Superman. Marlon Byrd responding to his relationship with BALCO founder Victor Conte, detailed again on HBOs Real Sports, Feb. 16.
Im cured. I got approval from the psychologist that I can be by myself. Zambrano, Feb. 22.

Even in Little League I never got involved with a teammate like that. Im not a troublemaker. Put it that way. Aramis Ramirez on his dugout altercation with Carlos Silva, after the first inning of the fourth spring-training game, March 2.

No storybook ending, but I dont believe in those things anyway. Quade after an Opening Day loss to the Pirates, April 1.

Were going to see what were made of. Randy Wells after the Cubs announce Wells and Andrew Cashner will be going on the disabled list, April 6.

Believe me, the last thing that I want to do this year is disrespect the manager. Zambrano after storming off the mound before Quade could get there to take the ball from him, April 13.
I cant win. Hendry, knowing the media would run wild with speculation after he hugged Albert Pujols, May 10.

That was embarrassing and that (expletive) got to stop. Quade, minutes after holding a closed-door meeting with his team following a loss in Cincinnati, May 16.

If we havent reached rock bottom with this, were pretty damn close. Quade after another loss to the Reds, May 17.

It was good to kind of blow some steam off and have some fun and watch that guy run around naked. Koyie Hill after a streaker ran onto the field during a win in Miami, May 18.

Im blessed. Byrd, thankful that the fastball that smashed into his face the night before at Fenway Park didnt leave any permanent damage, May 22.

Whatever heat comes, bring it on. Quade, June 3.

We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners, embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing. Thats the word here for this team. We should know better than this. We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a a good fastball hitter. We stinks. Zambrano after Carlos Marmol blew the save in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, June 5.

(Bleep) the goat. Message on the back of T-shirts, June 14. (At least one player who regularly wore the shirt had no idea what the curse was all about, or how long it had been since the Cubs won the World Series.)

I have 100 percent confidence in Jim. Tom Ricketts, a little more than a month before the chairman fired Hendry, June 15.
Ive never bought into the (idea that) I should have a baseball guy to watch my baseball guy and his baseball guys. And then what do you get? A baseball guy to watch the baseball guy whos watching your baseball guy? Ricketts, defending team president Crane Kenney, June 15.

Sometimes the doctor is talking to you like when your wife is talking to you, youre like, Yeahyeahyeah but your mind is elsewhere. Zambrano, unable to explain the details of a back injury that landed him on the disabled list, July 1.

Hes better than me. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks after Starlin Castro was named to the All-Star team, July 3.

Were right where we need to be. Matt Garza after a comeback win in Washington left the Cubs 17 games under .500, July 7.

I was just mad because of my sore back I didnt get a tee time at Oakmont. Ryan Dempster, trying to brush off the shouting match he got into with Quade after the manager pulled him from the game, July 9.

When daddy tells you to do something, you do it. Hes the manager. You dont have to like it, but thats the decision. Hill, smoothing over the Dempster-Quade dugout argument in Pittsburgh, July 9.

Newsflash: Sometimes guys need a day here and there. Kerry Wood, insisting nothings wrong with him physically, July 24.

Im not a lunatic. Quade, believing his team can get back in the playoff race, even though they were 18 games under .500, July 26.

Change. Change. Change. A lot of change, a lot of changes to win. Zambrano, refusing to explain the changes he said he wants to see around this team, July 27.
Nobody has come forward to me from the team and said: We want to trade you. Jim hasnt talked to me about it. Whats the other guy? Kenney? Or the Ricketts nobody has talked to me about (this). Its only in the media. Its speculation that this team wants Ramirez. Ramirez during one of his many State of Ramirez updates, July 28.

(Its not like) if you didnt get something done by 3 p.m. today, this is a disaster. I dont put too much stock into that. The guys we kept for the most part are guys that still have a chance to be involved next year. Hendry, hours after the trade deadline, and nine days after Ricketts told him hed be fired, July 31.

Its going to be one of three things: Either Ronnie batting, Ronnie fielding or Ronnie with his hairpiece on fire. WGN Radios Pat Hughes before the unveiling of Ron Santos statue, Aug. 10.

His lockers empty. I dont know where hes at. He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their ass off for him. I dont know where hes gone, what hes doing. I heard he might retire. Quade on Zambrano after his meltdown in Atlanta, Aug. 12.
We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward. Hendry on Zambrano, Aug. 12.

Hes a big man, but I think mentally hes weak. Alfonso Soriano on Zambrano, Aug. 13.
You cant fight change. Its big business. Were here to win games and the last couple years we didnt win enough of them. Hendry, at the news conference announcing his firing, Aug. 19.

The sabermetric stuff is important. But its just a piece and were not running the baseball organization by a computer model. Ricketts, Aug. 19.

You cant release 25 guys. Somebody had to pay the price. Ramirez, Aug. 19.

You want somebody else? Marmol, laughing off speculation that there could be a new closer next season, Sept. 5.
This organization has an extreme desire to actually bring a championship here. As far as it may look at times, I see it coming. Carlos Pena, eternal optimist, Sept. 7.

Im not going to wax nostalgic. I plan to be back. And I plan to do a good job next year. Quade, stubborn optimist, before the seasons final home game, Sept. 21.

You can bring here whoever you think the best manager in the big leagues is I dont think its going to be any different. The bottom line is as players we didnt get it done. Ramirez, Sept. 27.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Sitting down with new Cubs coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Sitting down with new Cubs coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey

Spring training baseball games are up around the bend, but before the boys of summer get into organized action, two of the team’s new coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey sit down with Kelly Crull.

Plus, Vinnie Duber joins Kelly to discuss these baseball conversations including the memorable first words of Kyle Schwarber to Chili Davis, “I don’t suck!"

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Changes aren't exactly popular, but Cubs and Sox — except maybe Willson Contreras — will adapt to baseball's new pace-of-play rules

Changes aren't exactly popular, but Cubs and Sox — except maybe Willson Contreras — will adapt to baseball's new pace-of-play rules

MESA, Ariz. — We know Willson Contreras doesn’t like baseball’s new pace-of-play rules.

He isn’t the only one.

“I think it’s a terrible idea. I think it’s all terrible,” Jon Lester said last week at spring training, before the specifics of the new rules were even announced. “The beautiful thing about our sport is there’s no time.”

Big surprise coming from the Cubs’ resident old-schooler.

The new rules limit teams to six mound visits per every nine-inning game, with exceptions for pitching changes, between batters, injuries and after the announcement of a pinch hitter. Teams get an extra mound visit for every extra inning in extra-inning games. Also, commercial breaks between innings have been cut by 20 seconds.

That’s it. But it’s caused a bit of an uproar.

Contreras made headlines Tuesday when he told reporters that he’ll willingly break those rules if he needs to in order to put his team in a better position to win.

“I’ve been reading a lot about this rule, and I don’t really care. If I have to pay the price for my team, I will,” Contreras said. “There’s six mound visits, but what if you have a tight game? … You have to go out there. They cannot say anything about that. It’s my team, and we just care about winning. And if they’re going to fine me about the No. 7 mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Talking about pace-of-play rule changes last week, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said his team would adapt to any new rules. In Chicago baseball’s other Arizona camp, a similar tune of adaptation was being sung.

“Obviously as players we’ve got to make adjustments to whatever rules they want to implement,” White Sox pitcher James Shields said. “This is a game of adjustments, we’re going to have to make adjustments as we go. We’re going to have to figure out logistics of the thing, and I would imagine in spring training we’re going to be talking about it more and more as we go so we don’t mess it up.”

There was general consensus that mound visits are a valuable thing. So what happens if a pitcher and catcher need to communicate but are forced to do it from 60 feet, six inches away?

“Sign language,” White Sox catching prospect Zack Collins joked. “I guess you have to just get on the same page in the dugout and hope that nothing goes wrong if you’re out of visits.”

In the end, here’s the question that needs answering: Are baseball games really too long?

On one hand, as Lester argued, you know what you’re signing up for when you watch a baseball game, be it in the stands at a ballpark or on TV. No one should be shocked when a game rolls on for more than three hours.

But shock and fans' levels of commitment or just pure apathy are two different things. And sometimes it’s a tough ask for fans to dedicate four hours of their day 162 times a year. So there’s a very good reason baseball is trying to make the game go faster, to keep people from leaving the stands or flipping the TV to another channel.

Unsurprisingly, Lester would rather keep things the way they are.

“To be honest with you, the fans know what they’re getting themselves into when they go to a game,” Lester said. “It’s going to be a three-hour game. You may have a game that’s two hours, two hours and 15 minutes. Great, awesome. You may have a game that’s four hours. That’s the beautiful part of it.

“I get the mound visit thing. But what people that aren’t in the game don’t understand is that there’s so much technology in the game, there’s so many cameras on the field, that every stadium now has a camera on the catcher’s crotch. So they know signs before you even get there. Now we’ve got Apple Watches, now we’ve got people being accused of sitting in a tunnel (stealing signs). So there’s reasons behind the mound visit. He’s not just coming out there asking what time I’m going to dinner or, ‘Hey, how you feeling?’ There’s reasons behind everything, and I think if you take those away, it takes away the beauty of the baseball game.

“Every game has a flow, and I feel like that’s what makes it special. If you want to go to a timed event, go to a timed event. I’m sorry I’m old-school about it, but baseball’s been played the same way for a long time. And now we’re trying to add time to it. We’re missing something somewhere.”

Whether limiting the number of mound visits creates a significant dent in this problem remains to be seen. But excuse the players if they’re skeptical.

“We’ve got instant replay, we’ve got all kinds of different stuff going on. I don’t think (limiting) the mound visits are going to be the key factor to speeding this game up,” Shields said. “Some pitchers take too long, and some hitters take too long. It’s combination of a bunch of stuff.

“I know they’re trying to speed the game up a little bit. I think overall, the game’s going as fast as it possibly could. You’ve got commercials and things like that. TV has a lot to do with it. There’s a bunch of different combinations of things. But as a player, we’ve got to make an adjustment.”