The Chicago Cubs have sucked this Spring. There’s just no getting around it. Not only are they 1-4, but they’ve been outscored 42-25, and have committed a mind-boggling 15 errors in those 5 games.

It was only a matter of time before the “team meetings” started. I’m not sure that I was prepared for two team meetings in one day, but that’s what the Cubs did yesterday.

First, manager Mike Quade held a team meeting to address the sloppy play and the mid-game fight between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez.

“We just put things to bed and made sure things don’t fester and kind of get a recommitment to cleaning up some of the mistakes we made,” Quade said Thursday. “It’s not just about saying we need to clean some of this stuff up, it’s offering solutions and ideas that we think may help clean things up.

“That doesn’t mean it happens overnight,” Quade said. “You want to make sure people are committed to the work they’re doing, that they understand the differences in Arizona and the things that go on here, be it pop ups or the speed of the infield, all the things that this place presents. You just emphasize particularly the defensive end of it.”

Quade was the only one who talked at the meeting. He was glad to see some of the players were as ticked off as he was by the sloppy play.

“I’m glad people are [upset],” he said. “We need to channel that anger at the opposition and within ourselves and that’s all. Just handle it the way you need to handle it. I think we put that to bed and as far as I’m concerned, we did.”

He did not call Silva and Ramirez into his office, opting to let the two resolve their differences. That doesn’t mean he wants to see more altercations.

“Look, if we were going to have everybody fighting who has made mistakes this spring, we’d have the cage match of all time,” Quade said. “Let’s be honest — it hasn’t been good. It’s surprised me because I’ve been happy with the work.”

All fine. It’s a delicate balance for managers when it comes to team meetings – sometimes, they’re necessary; but in order to have maximum impact, you can’t hold them every time the team takes a collective dump. Given the absurd performance of the team thus far in Spring Training, I have no problem with Quade popping his meeting cherry this early. Let’s hope it has an impact.

But one meeting wasn’t enough, because Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena called a players only meeting shortly thereafter.

Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena called a players meeting, stressing the need to stick together, after manager Mike Quade had spoken with the team about the shoddy defense and the dugout scuffle Wednesday between the two veterans.

“Just the veterans talking, so we know we’re all on the same page,” Byrd said. “We have some big dogs on this team now — big-name guys who have been around for a long time.”

Byrd wouldn’t go into details but he said it was no reflection on Quade, who gave his approval.

“He’s righting the ship, doing exactly what he’s supposed to do,” Byrd said. “He basically laid the ground rules out. Everybody understands there is nothing else to be said. I mean, you can keep bringing it up, but it means absolutely nothing.”

Glad to see that the subject of the players’ meeting was focused on the in-fighting issues, as that’s the kind of subject players are more likely to be receptive about from other players. And was there ever any doubt that the two leaders on this team would be Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena?

  • greg

    I think you used an old team photo, Theriot’s still in it (nice yellow suit, too)

    • jim


  • CubSouth

    Hey Ace, I haven’t been able to watch any of the games thus far, were there any Minor Leaguers not expecting to make the club that were impressive? Someone that we may see in September or may get a look at next season?

    • Ace

      Nope. The only real possibilities are Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters on the positional side and a handful of pitchers – so far, Jackson and Vitters have struggled, and none of the young pitchers has seen much action other than Jay Jackson (who is clearly being looked at as a reliever).

  • Art

    2 meetings in one day? Quade’s meeting should have been enough. apparently the players didn’t think so. Byrd and Pena never should have had the one right after Quade’s. I’ve never felt Quade was the guy for this job and he’s done nothing to change my mind from day one. he’s not a take charge/leader type. he only talks public with and about the kid/Castro. it’s a team not just Castro.

    instead of talking to Rami and Silva together, he talks to them individually, doesn’t care if they apologize or talk to the media as he earlier insisted they do no matter what the issue. maybe I’m wrong, but he doesn’t get my vote.

    • vitaminB

      So I guess Quade will just have to go forward with the election in your head without your support.

      Every sound bite /quip I’ve heard from Quade has seemed like the appropriate thing to say. Give the guy at least the first five ACTUAL games of the season before you start doubting his abilities.

    • jstraw

      You care if they apologize? Is this third grade?

      • Ace

        You should apologize for that.

        • jstraw

          Iiiiiiiiiiiii’m sorrrrry.

  • philoe beddoe

    so far I think he has made good decisions….Dempster-opening day…thats the right call….saying Fuku maybe best lead-off option, probably right…who cares about spring training….little early to label him a failure..

  • BT

    I blame Lou.

    • veryzer

      I blame Hendry.

      • Jeff

        I blame Domingo Ramos and Hector Villanueva.

        • PFK

          I blame Yosh Kawano

          • Dave

            I blame Bartman

            • Ace

              I still blame Dusty.

              • marc

                I blame Ace! : )