Saying Goodbye: Matt Garza

Certain things are worth breaking out of self-imposed blogging hiatuses for, and the dealing of Matt Garza to the Rangers by the Cubs is one of them.

If I have one regret in the departure of Mr. Garza, it isn’t in losing a cool guy, or a quality pitcher (although those things are worth consideration, because he certainly fits into both categories). No… 99.9% of my sadness is based on the reality that we never learned whether Matt Garza was a man, or a muppet. A muppet of a man? Or a very manly muppet?

I would rather have this question answered than whether the chicken or the egg came first. I would rather have this mystery solved than to have determined (once and for all) whether the glass is half full, or half empty.

Alas, it is not to be. And so I must wish the enigmatic character that is Matt Garza adieu with a heavy heart.

If there is one thing I DO know, it’s that the following farewell song has never been dedicated to a more deserving or more appropriate recipient.

So long, Mr. Garza.

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Saying Goodbye: Tony Campana

If The FBB has seemed even more than usually neglected as of late, you may chalk it up to the fact that it’s authoress has recently acquired a full-time job (I don’t know why I’m writing in the third person… hi there. It’s me, Lizzy.)

I haven’t abandoned ship, but it is probable that my blogging habits will continue to suffer in the coming months. Just a heads up.

THIS is one post that wild horses couldn’t keep me from writing. And even if they could, I don’t know why they would want to. I mean, what grudge could wild horses possibly have with Tony Campana? Unless he beat one of their own in a footrace. Which is possible.

Like many Cubs fans (and unlike many others, I don’t doubt), I was sad to hear of the departure of our resident speed demon. He may not have been the best at getting on base, but when he did… golly! There was nobody this side of the moon more fun to watch.

I wish Tony the greatest in Arizona and beyond. I shall remember him fondly. And I have no intentions of removing this photograph from my wall any time soon:

Tony & Me!

 

Saying Goodbye: Bryan LaHair and Randy Wells

 

The Cubbies 2012 first-half first baseman (and All Star, thank you very much) recently agreed to a deal that will send him to play for the SoftBank Hawks in Japan next year. Seems about right, doesn’t it?

In any case, I offer my appreciation to Mr. LaHair for the services he rendered us this season, along with wishes for a successful, happy tenure in Japan.

As for Randy Wells, I sort of forgot all about him, which I feel badly about. Because, even though he’s the sort of guy most fans turned on a long time ago, I can’t help remembering the good times. He took a no-hitter into like, the seventh or eighth inning one time. Remember that? No? Well, it happened.

Happy trails, Randy.

Saying Goodbye: 2012 Chicago Cubs

Another year of disappointing Cubs baseball is in the books.

I know this wasn’t the easiest team to watch…

I know you guys probably made a few faces like THIS during the course of the year…

I know I did.

But let’s not be fatalistic, guys. I mean, why should we be? So we had another bleh season. So what? We can take it. We’re Cubs fans, doggone it.

And there is every reason to have hope for the future. We still have Theo and friends. We’re building something. Our turn may not be as far away as it feels right now.

Besides which, if you look at this year’s playoff picture, you’ll see a whole lot of reasons for optimism. I mean, the Orioles made it, you guys. To the postseason. The BALTIMORE Orioles. And the Nationals. And the Athletics. It’s crazy. And kind of awesome.

So, let us accept the Cubs 2012 stinkiness with grace, and look forward to 2013 with minds unclouded. Because, one of these years, waiting til’ next year is going to pay off.

Saying Goodbye: Jeff Baker

And here I thought we might actually get to keep one of my old favorites…

No such luck.

Sigh.

I estimate the percentage of Cubs fans who regret to see Jeff Baker depart to be between 0.1 and 1.5%. I am a proud member of the minority.

No one will ever convince me that Jeffy B was not awesome. He was a solid bench guy, and in my experience was one of the nicest guys on the team these past few years. Plus, he calls Virginia home. And I love my fellow Commonwealthers.

I wish Jeff the very, very best of luck in Detroit. My fondness and respect for him will not soon die.

Saying Goodbye: Ryan Dempster

NOTE: I prepared the following post before the whole Atlanta trade-that-wasn’t went down. Since then, the general attitude toward Mr. Dempster has taken a vicious turn. I have a lot of things I could say on this subject, but am choosing to omit them for now. I will say that fans’ recent treatment of Ryan has absolutely disgusted me. Since my opinion of him has not changed, I am going forward with the goodbye I lovingly penned two weeks ago. That is all.

***

Ryan Dempster served us splendidly for 8+ years, and I have no reservations in saying that I will miss him very, very much. His departure, though neccesary and long expected, feels like the end of an era (I believe that Carlos Marmol now inherits the title of longest tenured Cub).

To commemorate Ryan’s time with the Cubbies, I have put together the following timeline… please chime in if I’ve left anything obvious out!
Ryan Dempster, a timeline:

January 21, 2004: Ryan Dempster signs as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs (salary: $300,000).
August 1, 2004: Ryan makes his Cubs debut, pitching 2/3 of an inning and allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and no runs. This goes almost entirely unnoticed as the much-hyped Nomar Garciaparra was also making his premier appearance as a Cub, and Greg Maddux was making his first attempt at win number 300.
Spring 2005: Ryan removes the tires from teammate Will Ohman’s car, puts it on blocks, and hides the tires around the ballpark.
2005: Ryan assumes the role of closer and records 33 saves, posting a 3.13 ERA.
2006: The Cubs go 66-96. Dempsty puts up a 1-9 record and saves 24 games. He is not a fan-favorite.
March 2007: Ryan informs an Arizona paper that if pitching doesn’t continue to work out, he will pursue a career as a ninja.
2007: The Cubs improve drastically as a whole, but owing to his poor personal stats, Mr. Dempster’s popularity does not. The nickname “Dumpster” is widely employed throughout Cubs Nation. The Cubs consider converting Ryan to a starter mid-season. The press gets wind of it, and the idea is soon nixed. Ryan would go on to comment on this subject the following year with, “It’s amazing how unhittable I was, last year, as a starter.”
Early 2008: Haters, doubters, pessimists and skeptics have a field day when it is officially announced that Ryan will make the transition to the starting rotation.
April 23, 2008: The Cubs record their 10,000th victory as a franchise. When the press question Ryan on the event, he says, “I remember when we won 5,000. What a memorable day that was.”
Mid 2008: Haters, doubters, pessimists and sceptics are forced to eat their words as an excellent first half earns Ryan a well-deserved berth on the National League All Star Team. Most still feel that this was a fluke and that he will go on to prove their initial inclinations.
September 20, 2008: Ryan showers fans with champagne from atop the third-base dugout at Wrigley Field, following a win over the Cardinals which clinches the Cubs a place in the postseason.
Late 2008: Prior to a September series with the Brewers, manager Lou Piniella rearranges the Cubs pitching rotation so that Mr. Dempster will face off against Milwaukee’s ace CC Sabathia. When asked the reason for this set-up, Ryan replies, “I hit better off left-handed pitching.”
End 2008: 😦
November 19, 2008: Ryan signs a 4-year, $52 million deal to remain with the Cubs.
Spring 2009: Ryan admits that Ted Lilly scares him.
Mid 2009: The by-now beloved pitcher issues a press release informing the public that his infant daughter, Riley, had been born with a condition known as DiGeorge syndrome, or 22q11 deletion syndrome, a disease which complicates swallowing, breathing, and speech, and which affects about 1 in 1,800 babies born. Ryan, along with his wife Jenny, have since started a foundation to raise awareness for the disease.


September 25, 2009: Ryan signs a baseball for yours truly prior to a game in San Francisco, and  just behaves tremendously awesome in general.
Spring 2010: Ryan ends up on the wrong end of a bet with teammates when Team Canada loses its first game against Team USA in the Vancouver Olympics. There are reportedly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches involved.
2010-2011: Mr. Dempster further proves his awesomeness as a human being and competence as a pitcher. Everybody loves him except for utter morons, and it is almost funny to remember how he was once a closer who was regularly derided by the populace.
Early to Mid 2012: Ryan throws 33 consecutive scoreless innings.
July 2012: Ryan declines a trade to the Atlanta Braves, inciting the ire of the majority of Cubs Nation.
July 31, 2012: Ryan Dempster is traded to the Texas Rangers for prospects, ending his 8-year-long Cubs career.

So long, Dempsty. And thanks for the memories.

Saying Goodbye: Paul Maholm

Dear Paul Maholm,

Though your time in Chicago was but brief, I would like to thank you for your services. You pitched like an All Star these past few weeks, and I particularly appreciate the positive attitude you brought to the table (as evidenced through your fine Twitter account, among other things.)

May success follow you to Atlanta, and beyond. God bless.

Yours very sincerely,

Lizzy