Ask Paul takes a well-deserved vuvuzela break to answer your questions on Steve Stone, potential Cubs All-Stars, saving the Old Man and whether it's White Flag time.
Dave Englund, Belvidere, Ill.
Yes, Dave, history seemed to repeat itself last weekend when Lou Piniella lambasted Stone over the Colvin controversy. It brought back flashbacks to the summer of 2004 for those of us who watched the Dusty-Stone, Mercker-Stone feuds play out. It seems that Stone can really get under people's skin, and when your No. 1 critic is also part of the TV booth, it increases the possibility of his criticisms being heard. Most Cubs fans shared Stone's opinion, and after Lou relented and said Colvin would play more regularly, the perception is that Stone won this round. Either way, it makes the next round of the City Series that much more interesting.
Paul, being an insider do you think the team will respond to all the outside critics who are trying to tear this team apart? And, does this team have the heart to come together, save the season and save the Old Man's job?
Ken Knight, Peoria
Not sure anyone is trying to "tear apart"
, though there are plenty of inside and outside critics pointing out the team's inadequacies. These things happen when you have the second highest payroll in baseball and are 7 games under .500. So far the Cubs have not responded to anything that's been said or written about them, and most don't pay a whole lot of attention to what anyone (except Steve Stone) says, so it's hard to see them responding now. And no, they're not thinking about "saving the Old Man's job," assuming you're referring to Lou in a Hemingway-esque fashion because of his recent road trip beard.
Toni, Madison, Wis.
Milton was definitely part of the chemistry problem in 2009, as has been chronicled. The chemistry is not the problem this year, though Carlos Silva's mound fit last Saturday was not conducive to the "team" concept. The problem is they're not hitting, especially in the clutch.
I've never understood why 40,000+ continue to come see a team that would struggle in AAA. What am I missing? You can see more scoring in the World Cup!!!
Frank Caldwell, Plano, Texas
Answer: Mostly because the bulk of the tickets were purchased in the winter when the idea of spending a June afternoon or night at
seemed like a very good idea. Who would've thought they'd be this dull?
I'm done with the Cubs. Just can't take it anymore. Loss after loss, excuse after excuse. Any suggestions for life without the Cubs?
Dave, Kokomo, Ind.
David Lowery, Krakow, Poland
Silva, Marlon Byrd and Marmol all deserve to be All-Stars, but with the Cubs' lousy record, one or two of them may not make it. As far as your crazy bet, I wouldn't count on Hendry winning GM of the Year, since there is no such award, even if he was having an outstanding year. Silva and Byrd are major plusses, but the record speaks for itself. Silva for Cy is a longshot, though a possibility. He's having a great year, but he's also getting a lot of run support -- seventh in the NL as of June 15, at 6.27 runs per 9 innings.
, by the way, gets the least amount of NL run support-- 2.11 per 8 innings.
Joe, Boca Raton, Fla.
I've always believed that one Cubs-Sox series a year would be satisfactory, or even a four-game series with two at Wrigley and two at the Cell. But the
want three Cubs games for the attendance boost it always provides, so it's probably going to stay this way until divisional realignment. I've yet to receive an answer as to why the Cubs haven't played the
. It's a no-brainer match-up, but perhaps someone with no brains is making the decision.
Paul, is it just me or would you agree it's time to pull off a series of "White Sox-esque, wave the White Flag and unload some guys" type of moves, focusing on the future?
Mike Wagner, Richmond, Va.
I believe the White Sox have trademarked the term "White Flag trade," but yes, it may be time. That must mean it's also time for Ask Paul's 10th annual Wacky Trades proposal column. Send us your Wacky Trade (trademarked) proposals for Jim Hendry (please, I'm begging you, keep them brief) and we'll post the best ones in next week's edition of Ask Paul.