The Cubs general manager talked to reporters before Thursday night's game, and remained steadfast in his role as eternal optimist heading into this pivotal homestand. Hendry brushed off the thought of any criticism fans might have of the job he's done or the team's sub-.500 showing so far this season.
"I spent most of my life in baseball and you take the good with the bad," said Hendry. "I've heard a lot of great things said about me and written that I didn't quite believe."
That said, Henry also admitted that if things aren't going well on the field, any criticism "ought to start with me."
Fans tend to focus on the negative, and if you look hard enough, there are plenty of them to go around:
Mark DeRosa's a Cardinal. The Aaron Miles experiment failed. The Ryan Freel experiment failed. The attendance guessing game gets more cheers than Milton Bradley whose season highlights include a bonehead blunder, a blowup and a batting average hovering around .240. Cubs leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano -- Chicago's $136 million man -- is batting .230, is sitting on the bench at the moment and hasn't come close to doing the things that a good leadoff hitter does -- namely, consistently reach base.
"He's a streaky guy," Hendry said of Soriano. "When he gets hot, he can carry you ... We always go to the ballpark thinking that this is the day he can get ignited again."
And there you have it -- that old Chicago Hope. If the Cubs have anything they can cling to right now, it's exactly that. Through the injuries, underperforming players, mishaps, miscues and general buffoonery, they're a hot streak away from first place. They have 11 games in a row at home going into the All-star break, including four games apiece against division rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis, both of whom the Cubs trail in the standings.
Hendry told reporters that hopes and expects to be standing in front of reporters at the end of this regular season in the exact same spot he was at the end of last year's -- division champions. We should know by July 13 whether that's a distinct possibility or if the criticism that he claims ought to start with him ought to stay with him.