Now that the Cubs have finally turned Lou Pinella into an old man, I would like to throw my hat in the ring to be their new manager. I don’t have a lot of qualifications but I did play high school baseball , leading the team in homeruns both my sophomore (2 taters) and junior (1 dinger) years and I also led the team in stolen bases (can’t remember) and was one of only about three players smart enough to wear a cup during most of the games.
What I can really bring to the table is some interesting strategies I learned from playing eight seasons of 16-inch co-ed softball. In those eight seasons, my teams won three championships, some second and third places and I even have one of those “participant” statues on my desk. It’s a little gold guy in a batting stance but if you ask me he was probably not very good because his batting stance is horrible, the bat is perpendicular to the ground and he doesn’t have enough weight on his back foot for my liking. Anyway, between my keen eye for statues with horrible batting stances and my handful of trophies, I think I’m the proven winner the Cubs need to get them out of their 100+ year slump.
Here are a few strategies I’ve learned that I would use if I was managing the Cubs:
Strategy 1. Put the best player as the lead off hitter and as the left fielder. I was the leadoff hitter for most of the years I played softball, and I also played left field. I assume they did this because I was the best player. So I would do this in the major leagues. Since the Cubs do not have anyone you could consider to be the best player, they should trade for Albert Pujols and make him play left field, which leads me to my next strategy.
Strategy 2. Trade for Albert Pujols. He is really good, and if he was on my co-ed softball team he would have batted first. And then I would bat second, except for the fact that a girl had to bat second, because it was co-ed and we had to bat guy, girl, guy, girl, etc. But in the major leagues there are no women players (even though there are some Japanese players and also some of the Cubs bat like girls), so you don’t have to worry about this. So just get Albert Pujols, bat him leadoff and make him play left field and start counting those championships.
Strategy 3. Make Carlos Zambrano play first base. On my softball team, no one wanted to play first base, so if you made the coach mad he or she would sometimes make you play first base as punishment. At the very least they should make Carlos have to bring a 12-pack of beer to every game, because if a player is being a pain in the ass in a softball league, they have to bring at least a 12-pack of beer to each game or nobody will put up with them. And if Carlos brings something cheap and crappy like Keystone you should break his balls for it and make him bring something better next time.
Strategy 4. Take down the outfield walls at Wrigley Field. When we played softball at Grant Park, there were no outfield walls. If you hit the ball through the outfield it would just keep rolling and rolling for an easy home run. I see the Cubs hit lots of balls off of the ivy, or balls that roll all the way to the ivy that end up as doubles instead of homers. If you took those walls down, the outfielders would have to chase the ball a long way down the street and it would be an easy home run. Also, when the other team comes up to bat, you can put the walls back up to make it harder for them to hit those rolling homeruns. Someone will have to invent this technology, though. I bet if we traded for Albert Pujols he could invent it. Albert Pujols can do anything.
Strategy 5. Use aluminum bats. I hit all of my home runs in high school when I switched from wooden bats to aluminum and I exclusively used aluminum bats in softball because you can hit the ball farther. I think if the Cubs switched to aluminum bats, they would hit a lot more home runs. This would be true whether or not we used Strategy 4. Aluminum bats are more expensive, but this is offset by the fact that they last a lot longer than wooden bats.
Strategy 6. When a fat player gets on base, have them pretend they are hurt. When a fat player in softball gets on base, you usually tell them to fake that they are hurt, and then the last person to make an out can come in and run for them. Hopefully this is someone fast and skinny. This strategy might back fire if you have too many fat players on your team as sometimes a fat player will fake an injury and then an even fatter player was the one to make the last out. Then you kind of go “well, we screwed ourselves on that maneuver.” But I think in the major leagues you could expect the fat players to kind of keep track of who made the last out, and if that player is fatter than they are then they should not fake an injury in that instance. I mean, come on, it’s the major leagues and the players should know a little bit about strategy. As the manager of the Cubs I would also try to keep up on this, and if say, Gio Soto got on base I might yell out “Hey, don’t fake an injury, Zambrano made the last out and he’s fatter than you are.” I would also tell Zambrano to fake an injury every time he got on base. Because he’s fat.
Strategy 7. My last, and most important strategy: Use 10 players in the field. In softball you can have 10 players in the field, and we usually went with 4 outfielders when a guy was batting and then we moved that extra fielder to the infield when a girl was batting. If I was managing the Cubs, I would use 10 players in the field and give them a huge advantage over the teams that are just using 9 players. I would put that extra fielder in the outfield on all batters except for when the opposing team’s pitcher or a Japanese player is batting. More than any strategy, I find this one to be the most useful.
So there you go. Please forward these strategies to the Ricketts family. I will be waiting for their call.
Bonus Strategy: Buy the Miami Heat and the NBA. If none of these strategies seem to work, I would just buy the Miami Heat, move them to Chicago, and change their name to the Chicago Cubs. Then I would buy the NBA and change their name to MLB. This would be really expensive, but should be good for at least 3 or 4 championships right there.