Quade: Cubs arent quitting on the North Side

538578.jpg

Quade: Cubs arent quitting on the North Side

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011Posted: 11:40 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney
Box Score
READ: The long road back for Wood and Cashner
READ: Quade recalls "Moneyball" days in Oakland

CINCINNATI The White Sox seem to be on a collision course between Ozzie Guillen and Ken Williams. The Cubs are in a holding pattern, waiting for the season to end so they can intensify their general manager search.

Two disappointing baseball teams wont give the city meaningful games across the final two weeks. Its been like that all summer on the North Side.

Guillen called out his players after Wednesdays loss to the Detroit Tigers, saying they had no fight left. Mike Quade has now watched his team lose 85 games and sink to 20 under .500. But the Cubs manager hasnt seen anyone quit on him yet.

I dont know whats going on (over) on the South Side, Quade said Thursday. Its not my place to get involved in any of that. I only know about this group here and they havent. They didnt last year. I dont think its in their nature. I guess thats unfortunate (for the White Sox). But Im happy with the effort down the stretch here.

As if to prove a point, the Cubs went out and played a game that lasted four hours and one minute.

They erased a two-run deficit in the ninth and took the Reds (74-76) to 11 innings before Jay Bruce launched a first-pitch slider from James Russell, the seventh reliever out of the Cubs bullpen. Bruces two-run shot traveled 394 feet before disappearing over the right-field wall to give the Reds an 8-6 walk-off victory at Great American Ball Park.

Whatever the motivations money, numbers, pride the Cubs have maintained a sense of professionalism throughout a difficult season. Theyve viewed their chemistry issues as isolated to Carlos Zambrano.

The problems are more complicated than effort. The Cubs began Thursday leading the majors in errors (124) and tied for third in blown saves (23). Theyre a bottom-tier team in terms of starting pitching (4.91 ERA) and hitting with runners in scoring position (.235).

But give them this much: They finally got to their downtown Cincinnati hotel around 5:30 on Monday morning and put up 12 runs in a victory that night. And even with first pitch at 1:20 p.m. first pitch looming on Friday, they didnt give in late Thursday night.

Thats just a testament to what were about right now, said starting pitcher Randy Wells, who couldnt protect a four-run lead or finish the fifth inning.

Even if there are a few things about this team that deep down Quade would like to get off his chest, hes not wired that way, and doesnt have the same platform as Guillen.

Ozzies always worn it on his sleeve, Quade said. Thats what he does. Hes probably more vocal in that regard than I am. And if hes upset with things, you usually dont have to sneak around to figure it out. Hell let you know. Thats part of his passion, (what) has made him good at what he does.

Were different sides of town. Were different people.

Etc.

Reliever Justin Berg whos on the 40-man roster but spent most of this season at Triple-A Iowa will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday. Team USA selected two Cubs prospects outfielder Brett Jackson and left-hander Jeff Beliveau to play next month in the World Cup in Panama and the Pan American Games in Mexico. Andrew Cashner faced four batters and was charged with one run during Thursdays loss, which means hell likely be unavailable again until Sunday. Starlin Castro needs seven hits to reach 200 and wants to do it during the final homestand at Wrigley Field.

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

Theo Epstein tops Fortune's list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

Theo Epstein tops Fortune's list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

The Cubs keep raking in the accolades.

Theo Epstein is the latest to be honored, with Fortune naming the Cubs president of baseball operations No. 1 on the newly-released list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.

Epstein — the architect of the Cubs team that ended a 108-year championship drought — beat out such names as Pope Francis, John McCain, LeBron James and Joe Biden.

Fellow Chicagoan and White Sox ambassador Chance the Rapper also made the list at No. 46.

The rationale for Epstein includes:

In his book The Cubs Way, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci details the five-year rebuilding plan that led to the team’s victory. The Cubs owe their success to a concatenation of different leadership styles, from the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts to the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of club president Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox. In the following passages, Verducci describes how a deeper understanding of important human qualities among his players—the character, discipline, and chemistry that turn skilled athletes into leaders—­enabled Epstein to engineer one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports.

For more on why Epstein and the Cubs topped the list, head to Fortune.com.

Epstein had a classic reaction to the honor, texting ESPN's Buster Olney:

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball - a pastime involving a lot of chance. If Zobrist's ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."

Now what? Jon Lester driven to deliver more World Series titles to Chicago

Now what? Jon Lester driven to deliver more World Series titles to Chicago

MESA, Ariz. — Now what? Ryan Dempster believes these Cubs are young enough, hungry enough and talented enough to become the first group to win back-to-back World Series since the three-peat New York Yankees built a dynasty with titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

But Dempster already understands the expectations at Wrigley Field this season, especially after pitching on disappointing Cubs teams that got swept out of the playoffs and working as a special assistant in Theo Epstein's front office.

"Nothing can top it," Dempster said. "You can win 162 games and sweep everybody in the playoffs and it won't be as exciting for people, other than maybe the guys playing it."

That's why Jon Lester isn't putting up the "Mission Accomplished" banner at his locker, even though the Cubs had the parade down Michigan Avenue in mind when they gave him the biggest contract in franchise history at the time. Dempster — who also earned a World Series ring with the 2013 Boston Red Sox — had given Lester a scouting report as the Cubs went all-out in their pursuit of the big-game lefty.

There are still four years left on Lester's $155 million megadeal. It has been less than five months since the Cubs finally won the World Series and unleashed an epic celebration.

"Now the hard part is you don't get complacent," Lester said Wednesday after throwing six innings against an Oakland A's minor-league squad at the Sloan Park complex. "I talk about these young guys — that's where that helps. Even though you've accomplished things personally, you still want these guys to accomplish things.

"That's where that drive still gets you. You don't want to let your teammates down. You still want to be accountable for what you do. And that means showing up and doing your work in between starts and in the offseason."

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Lester believed so much in Epstein's vision, the pipeline of talent about to burst and the lure of Chicago that he signed with a last-place team. The Cubs needed a symbol to show they were serious about winning, a clubhouse tone-setter and an anchor for their rotation.

A new comfort level in Year 2 of that contract helped explain how Lester performed as an All Star, a Cy Young Award finalist and the National League Championship Series co-MVP. But Lester wants to make sure that the Cubs don't get too comfortable — or feel like they're playing with house money.

"You enjoy that, you learn from it," Lester said. "The biggest thing is not getting complacent with yourself and with your teammates. That's what drives me, making sure I'm prepared to pitch.

"I'm called upon every five days, and I have to be there. That's where that goal of 30 starts and 200 innings comes into play. I feel like if I do that, then I've done my job, for my teammates and this organization.

"The championships and the World Series — that's stuff you can't predict. It's stuff you strive to do every single year. So that's all we're going to focus on again. Our team goal again is to win a World Series."