5 questions with Al of Bleed Cubbie Blue

I shot Al of an e-mail not too long ago and gave him 5 questions to answer about the Chicago Cubs. Al's a passionate fan and replied very quickly with some good natured answers. Many thanks Al!

With the off-day yesterday, is there any chance that Hill gets protected from having to face the Brewers again and Zambrano takes his start on Thursday to face Yovani Gallardo?

That's exactly what Lou Piniella's plan is -- the Brewers kill lefties and Lou wanted to keep both Hill and Ted Lilly (whose turn wouldn't have come up anyway) away from them. Hill will pitch Friday in St. Louis.

I saw recently that you made it to your 10,000th game. That is awesome, congratulations! What are the odds you get to another 10,000 games before seeing a world series winner?

Ha-ha-ha. Funny! You've got two things confused. The Cubs franchise won its 10,000th game last week. I saw my TWO thousandth Cub game last Monday.

The rest of the question, I can answer this way: Who'll win a World Series first: the Cubs or the Brewers?

Which contract is going to hurt the most over the next few years? Zambrano at $18 million, Ramirez at $15 million, Fukudome at $14 million, Lee at $13 million, Lilly at $12 million, or Marquis at $10 million.

Probably Marquis, although you have the numbers wrong. Marquis is due $17 million combined this year and next. Lilly's deal is for $10 million a year.

The other four deals look pretty good right now, wouldn't you say?

Is it frustrating as a fan to see your ballclub make roster decisions based on just four games? On a related note, how frustrating is it to see the plug pulled on the Felix Pie experiment so quickly two years in a row? Is it possible that Pie's high strikeout rates in the minors are indicators that he'd never have success in the majors and no one in the Cubs organization recognizes that?

What roster decisions are you talking about that took only four games? I'm not sure which moves were made then. Do you mean sending Carmen Pignatiello down? He was only a temporary fix anyway.

I'm disappointed in what I've seen from Pie so far, because I think he has more talent than he's shown. He's never really had a chance to play every day for a couple of months to show what he can really do.

Strikeout rates -- really, who cares? Alfonso Soriano strikes out a lot, and that infuriates us at times. But Soriano can also carry a team. I'm not suggesting Pie is that good or going to be that good. But I think he deserves a chance.

Once again the Cubs have 30+ million in payroll advantage over any other team in the NL Central. Hendry's got a losing record as GM and yet always has one of the top payrolls in the national league to work with. You'd think he'd breeze into the playoffs like the Yankees and Red Sox do every year. How long does Hendry have to produce the winner, how quickly does the plug get pulled on the Hendry experiment?

That all depends on what happens this year with ownership about to change. Hendry may have a losing record, but he's also got two playoff appearances in his six years as GM (really, 5 1/2, because he took over in the middle of 2002 and had a playoff team the next year, his first full year). That's not so bad, is it? If the Cubs make the playoffs in 2008 and advance farther than they did last year, I can't see new ownership dumping a successful baseball operations department.

Editor's Note: Apologies on the mistake on Al's number of games attended, congrats to the cubs on 10,000 franchise wins, and congrats to Al on 2,000 cub games attended! Quite a feat!

On the contracts, I just picked a year near the end of the deal. So according to Cot's Baseball Contracts:

* Zambrano is due $18 million in 2012
* Ramirez is due $15 million in 2011
* Fukudome is due $14 million in 2011
* Lee is due $13 million in 2010
* Lilly is due $12 million in 2010
* Marquis is due $10 million in 2009

Thanks again Al for being such a a great sport!