— Ryan Maloney (@proseandivy) July 7, 2011
I had an amazing trip to Chicago this week. Flew in to O’Hare Airport on Sunday afternoon, caught the make-up game against the Rockies on Monday, doubleheader against the Giants on Tuesday (day game was another PPD make-up) and then flew back to New York on Wednesday. One win, two losses, a ton of robot unicorn attack plays and a pink, pink sunburn to show for it. Incredible way to spend your days indeed.
Is there a place where apple juice and peanuts taste better than in a coach class seat on a Delta Shuttle plane? I venture to guess no. No, there is not. Sitting there, next to my Delta neighbor on our way to the Windy City, she ordered cookies and a Coke. I had the peanuts and apple juice. Cookies and coke? This is a flight. You’re 40,000 feet in the air. Have the apple juice and peanuts and ride like a king, or queen in this case. Some people just don’t know what they’re missing.
On the flight there and back I was reading a book I picked up recently, ‘Veeck, As In Wreck’. Fascinating tale of Bill Veeck, Jr’s time as a true baseball man working his way up the ranks from selling programs at Comiskey, to owning his own baseball team. The things he would do to draw a crowd to the park and the promotions he would run to add entertainment value to the paying customers’ experience were at times hilarious and usually brilliant. Reading the stories brings you behind the curtain and into the mind of Veeck where anything is possible and not everything is what it seems. Home field advantage was taken to a new level, raffles were rigged for the highest entertainment possible and one time he even made it appear as if it had rained hard enough to postpone a game by three hours even though only a couple drops had fallen. As long as he was doing all he could to keep his team/business running, the team winning and the people paying, he was happy. Baseball minds of that time didn’t always appreciate Veeck’s strategies however these same people that were against some of his practices were also the folks that would be included on a long list of people who either took a long time to see past the surface or never quite got there in ending up ‘getting it’.
Monday’s game against the Rockies was a make up game for a contest that had been postponed back in April. I like it when people call baseball games a ‘contest’. It’s certainly a contest where your odds are pretty good of winning. Think of all the contests you’ve entered in your lifetime. I bet you would have taken 50-50 odds every time. I enjoy it because it seems out of place and it never ceases to amuse me. It is a game. You play the game. You win the game. You lose the game. You don’t have a contest. Sure there are many contests within the game. Who can get the other team to 27 outs first? Who can score the most runs? Who can tally the most hits? Who can keep their starting pitcher in the game the longest? Who will win the battle of the stolen base, the runner or the catcher? There are lots of contests going on within the game. However, baseball is a game. Not, a contest.
The game was incredible. It was threatened by rain once again in the early morning however the skies cleared up in time to hit up the local bagel shop and down a quick cinnamon raisin bagel and coffee before heading to Wrigley. It was not necessary that the rain stop in time for me to have breakfast mind you. It was simply a nice thing to have happen, not having to worry about the weather on my way to the game.
My friend, Michael, and I headed to the stadium and picked up his ticket from will call. Will Call. Another term I’m not so crazy about. Why not ‘Will Pick Up’? ‘Will Call’ sounds like they will call you. I am pretty sure that baseball teams don’t have people on stand by to call you up if your ticket is left in the Will Call booth a few innings into the game to see if you’re on your way, need a ride, or want to arrange for someone to bring the ticket to them somewhere. I mean, those ticket fees and service fees are high enough where I could see justifying such a service being in included, I simply don’t believe that is the case.
We immediately hit the snacks before heading to our seats. Michael hit up the peanut guy. I went straight for the nachos. Now, if Michael was on a plane at the time, I would have commended him for making such an outstanding decision. The fact that he was at a baseball game, I could also appreciate the choice given that it’s such a traditional game-viewing snack companion. Only Cracker Jack could have earned the same response. However, while I enjoy the occasional bag of peanuts and cracker jack at a baseball game when at Wrigley, you always start your day off with one thing. The nachos.
I’m not talking about the helmet nachos. I saw a woman walking around with what was an official MLB helmet size nacho order. It was covered in cheese and jalapeno and looked like it was about to kill someone, namely the woman carrying it back to her seat. No, not those nachos. I’m not suggesting you bring tofu, but come on people. Let’s not try to kill ourselves at one game, in one inning. Let’s let the unhealthy food get us over time. Take in a few years of Cubs baseball before you completely jam shut your arteries. No, I’m talking about the regular nacho. The most delicious treat in all of baseball. The Wrigley Nachos. Not sure why they yell out ‘I need a cold nacho’ when I order them because while the nachos are cold and the jalapenos aren’t included…the cheese is HOT. For about 10 minutes that is. In that 10 minutes though? Find your seat at Wrigley Field (especially where I was, section 110…best seats in baseball) and experience the best 10 minutes of your life. Delicious.
The woman that sat us in our seats was named Lenore (above) and she was very friendly. She fit the Confines perfectly. She was amped to find out I was sitting in her section as her son’s name is Ryan as well. He also lives in New York. It was like a paying customer/section valet match made in heaven. Lenore was awesome and the Cubs should be proud to have her on board. Mr. Ricketts, if you are reading this, Lenore is the best. She said she loves working for the Cubs and it showed. Good people. Just saying.
The Cubs then went off on the Rockies pitching like in no other game I have seen all year. An amazing welcome and kickoff to the three games in two days trip I was on. Ten hits, including four home runs later (two a piece by Ramirez and Pena) and I was proudly singing ‘Go Cubs Go’ louder than Michael would have cared to hear. Here is a picture of my victorious pose after the game, transformed into what it would have looked like had someone commemorated the event with a collector’s coin:
Campana was in center. DeWitt was at second base. Otherwise, the line up was what the Cubs and Cubs fans thought we’d be getting this year all along. And the results were just as ideal as well. Without all the injuries, this team could have been firing at this level of cylinder all year and who knows where we’d be in the standings now. Once this team stops limping, they will be exposed for the team they truly have been behind the DL lists all along. I believe that. It’s coming and it’s going to be fun to watch.
We need to stop limping around and start competing. Byrd is on his way back, slowly but surely. Barney is back. Zambrano went out with lower back pain today so who knows where that is headed and Cashner is still working his way back. If this team is able to stop limping around and show the world their true self, much like Kevin Spacey did as Keyzer Soze at the end of The Usual Suspects, I like our chances in making a true run of it very much.
While we are limping around though, Tuesday was more of what the team has presented as of late and it was more of the usual suspect play.
The World Champion San Francisco Giants were in town. These weren’t the Colorado Rockies. It was the Freak, the Panda and the Beard. Before the trip I figured Garza was our best bet at a win. Other than Garza, we were going to see Doug Davis against the Giants and then Rodrigo Lopez as well. Unfortunately I was right. The first game was beautiful with seats in the shade and more amazing nachos. After that it was downhill from there as the Giants destroyed the Cubs. The night cap didn’t go much better and I walked out of Wrigley with a trip record of 1-2. Forget trying to win three in a row (which is what I wanted – would have been the team’s first time this season). I would have been lucky to see either Davis or Lopez walk away with the W. In both the Tuesday afternoon game and the night cap, a five-run inning would prove to be too much to handle. A controversial call at the plate helped blow one of the games, but overall, we just weren’t as good on Tuesday as we were on Monday.
I thoroughly enjoyed singing Go, Cubs Go and belted out the seventh inning stretch at all three games like nobody’s business. You have to though, right? You’re at Wrigley Field. The greatest stadium in all of baseball (sit down Mr. Gammons, you’ve had your say). You’re there watching the Cubs on a beautiful weekday afternoon and as was the case on Monday, the Cubs just put on a power display to excite the masses. How do you simply sing any song in that situation? You don’t. You belt it. I did. And it was awesome.
While I was in town on Tuesday, I had a chance to meet with Kevin Saghy, the Cubs’ public relations and marketing specialist. Like Lenore, you can tell he loves working for the Cubs. It was great to thank him in person for what he and the Cubs did for my son Rhys when he had his surgery this past December. If you haven’t already read the story about it on Cubs.com, you can check it out here. I encourage you to check out the link as it’s a great example of the Cubs going out of their way for a fan in a way that is certainly not required, but very much appreciated.
As I write this, the Cubs are tied with the Giants 1-1 in the top of the 12th inning. Rami came through huge with a solo shot to tie the game in the ninth and change the momentum of the game after the crowd saw Zambrano leave in the second. Kerry Wood is due back off the DL tomorrow. The team I watched Monday is the team I believe this team can be on a regular basis. The fact that Zambrano went out with pain so early and yet the team hung in to shut out the Giants the rest of the way and then tied it to go to extra innings shows that we’re not giving up today and shows well as far as the rest of the season is concerned, too.
The team is slowly getting a few key guys back and I’m happy to hear Hendry isn’t planning a ‘fire sale’ just yet. The trade deadline isn’t for another month. Stranger things have happened than a ballclub coming back from being down 11 games on June 30th.
We don’t need a fire sale. We need the team to stop scrambling to find the missing pieces on the depth chart that are going to keep this thing together. We need this team to stop limping and show it’s true colors. We need this team stop messing around, get on a run and show what it’s truly capable of. We need it to show that we have one more good run in these veterans and that we’re not really the limping team the fans, league and media have followed so far in 2011. We need it to prove that the team is much, much more than that.
We see that happen…and the rest of the league won’t know what hit ’em. Go Cubs Go!
(And ‘Robot Unicorn Attack’? If you’re not familiar with it, click here. I’m addicted.)
Looking forward to catching the make up game against the Rockies at Wrigley on Monday! Looks like we’re getting Garza on Monday in the make-up match-up. Tuesday will be loaded with Cubs baseball as well. Doug Davis will get one of the two games and possibly Lopez or someone up from the minors to get the other. I’ll be at the stadium for both games of the doubleheader. Three games, two days. Can’t wait! (You’d think the best shot to win is Garza against the Rockies on Monday and not Davis and Pitcher X against the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants. However, as we saw in Boston at Fenway, it doesn’t always work out that way! Seriously, can’t wait!!) Go Cubs Go!
Now that I got the stupidity of the day out of my system (see the “article” that follows this one…they can’t all be gold), I thought I’d take this space to write something much less ridiculous.
The game of baseball is something I hear people complain about way too often. Not so much from those who are fans of the game, although those people have their complaints as well (strike zones, realignment, All-Star Game intricacies, instant replays, the DH, asterisks, Series throwing conspiracy theories, etc). I’m talking more so about the people who only take the game for what it is on the surface. Nine innings. Twenty seven outs. Nine players. A ball, a glove and a bat. Some dirt, some grass and unpredictable weather.
“It takes too long”.
“Nothing ever happens”.
And on, and on.
What these people fail to recognize is what the sport is aside from the score sheets. Aside from the box scores. Aside from the record books. Beyond the greatest ballplayers of all-time, their stats and their plaques. More than Cracker Jack, peanuts, hot dogs and beer. The cold April games, the cool Fall nights and the scorching Summer afternoons.
Beyond all of that. If you look beyond all of that, you will find a game that provides great opportunity. Not only in fame and fortune to those who play it. Not only to the parents who share the joy of the game with their children. Not only the fact that the game has been there as a distraction during times of war and as a sense of normalcy after national tragic events. The game is all of that and more. The beautiful thing about the game is that you don’t know when something amazing is going to happen and the fact that the possibility exists for something incredible to happen is there all of the time. And I don’t mean simply home runs, no-hitters, walk-off victories and perfect games.
I’m talking about the game as a venue to do some good. It serves as an amazing platform to raise awareness on a number of social issues and to raise funds for organizations looking to find cures for a long list of illnesses.
I recently featured a Youtube video with Brian Wilson and Cody Ross of the San Francisco Giants teaming up with Keenan Cahill. Cahill is a favorite on Youtube and has accrued millions of views for his lip-synching videos. The Giants teamed up with him to help raise awareness for Maroteaux-Lamy disorder (the disease Cahill suffers from) and to help raise funds for Cahill’s family who face medical bills for Cahill for prescriptions that are often extremely expensive.
Another article I recently posted described what the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) accomplishes with it’s hard work year in and year out. This past May, they honored the Ricketts family and the Cubs at Wrigley Field with their highest honor, the Best of Illinois award. With Ron Santo a huge part of the Cubs’ family for decades and having suffered from diabetes his entire life, the organization and the Ricketts family have been huge proponents in raising awareness and helping raise funds to find a cure.
When people show up to the ballpark all year long, often between 2-3 million people per season per team, those fans are capable of doing much more than simply voting their favorite players into an All-Star game, willing a game-ending strike out, or singing Sweet Caroline. If given the right opportunity, they make a difference in areas that matter way more than what happens on a baseball field. They can in fact help fund organizations that are working day and night to find cures. You think seeing the Cubs win the World Series would change your life? Think about if their mere existence helped build an opportunity for complete strangers to unite and fund a cure for a disease you or a loved one has suffered from or passed away because of. Now, that would really affect your life. And you’d have more to show for it than just a commemorative SI issue and a sweatshirt to show for it.
Vice President Joe Biden was in town yesterday at a CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) event reassuring folks in Chicago who support the organization that a cure is possible. Obama advisor, David Axelrod, introduced Biden to the crowd and the Vice President went on to acknowledge Axelrod’s wife for her commitment and thanked her for starting the organization. Axelrod and his wife, Susan, have worked hard to help find a cure since their daughter started suffering from seizures at the age of seven months. The city of Chicago showed up in droves. 900 people were in attendance and over $800,000 was raised. Axelrod supports Chicago baseball following both the Cubs and the White Sox. Obama is 100% a White Sox fan although has admitted to checking all scores of the day during late night episodes of Sportscenter. You know the two of them set aside their North side/South side differences when it comes to something much more important than who wins the BP Cup this season.
The baseball community is a powerful thing. When fans work with other fans, millions of people can be focused on finding a cure for one thing and that is an incredible opportunity. A friend of mine, Alison, lost her brother, Christopher, to what is known as Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) in 2002.
Christopher was a talented pitcher from Utica, NY, a star player for both the Proctor High Raiders and Utica Post’s American Legion team. I can’t imagine what it was like for them to lose him so unexpectedly and suddenly. You can read more about Christopher here and find details about the upcoming CURE fundraiser the Donalty family is arranging for this September 17th.
I know how large Cubs Nation is. It’s pretty obvious…’nation’…it’s in the name. Cubs fans are everywhere. If you happen to be a Cubs fan and read this blog and are in the Utica area, I encourage you to attend and donate if you can. Even if you’re not in Utica area, this little gadget called the Internet is like throwing us all in the same backyard anyway. You may have missed the Biden and Axelrod CURE event last night in Chicago and you may only find ballot boxes at your local ballpark for All-Star voting. However, often, MLB gets involved in making a difference outside of the scorecards and I encourage you to get involved as well. If you don’t see the opportunity to get involved with CURE at Wrigley and you or someone you know has had their life affected by the disease, take advantage of the link provided above.
Baseball fans are capable of accomplishing all sorts of feats together. Yes, much, much greater than ‘the wave’.
The next time you hear someone complain about the game of baseball, feel free to kick off your argument of how great the sport is with mentions of ‘hardest thing to do in sports is hit a 95 MPH fastball’, or ‘there is no clock, someone HAS to win’ or ‘how can you not like America’s favorite pastime’. Once those arguments fail, as they usually do, throw in the fact that baseball is another great opportunity for millions of people to have some fun, unite resources and truly do some good.
I’d like to see them argue with that.
The Crosstown Classic continues tonight. Cubs/Sox at US Cellular. Davis on the mound for the Cubs. More Cubs-specific content to come. Until then, as always, Go Cubs Go! And seriously, why not root for your team to do well, while the fans step up and do some good?
And now, a ridiculous musical interlude. Gimme a beat…
I like the Cubs cuz they are great.
I root for them when they’re at home plate.
Rooting for Cubs is good clean fun.
I always clap when they hit home runs.
One time I went and then they lost.
I then had dinner. A salad. Tossed.
I watched the News recap the game.
I hoped they won. Still lost. So lame.
I like Wrigley and Ernie’s statue.
Stay alert. Foul balls come at you.
I like nachos. I like cheese.
I don’t like ticket service fees.
Right now the standings make me sad.
I felt that way about ‘My Two Dads’.
Whatever happened to Paul Reiser.
I drink Corona not Budweiser.
This rap is just off my head.
Had to do work. Wrote this instead.
Sorry if you didn’t like it.
Baseball’s not football. They don’t hike it.
I think Starlin Castro’s awesome.
Retire 8 for Andre Dawson.
I like the Cubs cuz they are great.
I root for Cubs when they’re at home plate.
One day I hope they win it all.
Result: twelve day Wrigleyville pub crawl.
People will be so damn happy.
Like they are when I’m done rapping.
Like getting tagged at the plate….we out! Byrd to your mother.
I need to get more sleep.
It had been about a year prior that Zambrano displayed more rage than the machine had ever season. Like a cross between Yosemite Sam, the Tasmanian Devil and a Real Housewife from New Jersey. If there had been a dining room table next to that Gatorade water cooler, it too would have ended up in some other location than it initially started. It was a scene that put into a very loud visual, the thoughts that probably the rest of the team and fan base were feeling at the time. It didn’t turn out exactly the way Z imagined as it was a long road through anger management and bullpen sessions until he could find his way back to the starting line up.
The one-time ace found himself outside the lines of the organization after choosing to cross one. He may have spot on in his disgust and anger, however it clearly wasn’t the time, place or way to handle it.
Cut to yesterday against the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox.
Zambrano on the mound and fuming after giving up a two run bomb to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Sox. You could see it unfolding in front of your eyes. The wick was in one hand. The match was in the other. The fuse was ready to be lit and soon to follow could be another huge explosion.
Only, something different happened this time. The fuse was left untouched. The match was blown out. Zambrano kept his composure. Last year it was his teammates’ sloppy play that put him in a tough spot. This year it was his own pitching and poor location. Perhaps that was why we didn’t see Carlos explode into another lowlight for Sportscenter. Perhaps it is easier for him to forgive himself as opposed to forgiving his teammates. I mean, just recently he said in an outburst to the media that the team was playing like a AAA club and directed comments at Marmol as well. More likely? Those anger management sessions may have paid off and he is learning from his mistakes.
It was a display of Carlos slowly crawling back to the respected member of this team that he once was not too long ago. And it was good to see.
By keeping his cool, he was able to stay in the game and put forth one of his best pitching performances of the season. How many times do you recall a Cubs starting pitcher going eight innings this season? Forget Russell, Davis and Coleman. Those guys had a chance, but never really had a shot. Dempster and Garza? I can’t remember the last time I saw them end a game with a stat line that included 8IP. Zambrano could have easily put the nail in his Cubs coffin and likely the season with another meltdown like last year. We lose Zambrano and we can forget about 2011.
Yes, many of you have already started looking ahead to 2012. I don’t blame you. 9.5 games out on June 20th and still a large contingent of the team is in healing mode as opposed to reeling mode. We haven’t been able to reel off three wins in a row this year and although the rest of the Central has struggled as of late, we’ve only been able to pick up 2.5 games in the past couple weeks. Don’t be so quick to leave though. We have picked up 2.5 games in the past couple weeks.
Pujols just went down with an injury and will be out for six weeks. That should put a crimp in the Cardinals chances for sure. We lost some ground to the Pirates lately but they are coming back down to Earth. The Brewers and Reds refuse to kick it into a gear that will leave the rest of the Central in their proverbial dust. It’s still a possibility for 2011. I have no percentage regarding how likely. Just simply a fact that it’s still a possibility for 2011…only…we’ll need Zambrano to make it happen.
If the Cubs were to trade Zambrano, I would have to see it as them giving up on the season. Dempster got the starting nod for Opening Day this year thus giving him the role essentially as the team’s ace. Skill wise though, Zambrano is still the most talented guy on the squad. He hasn’t been on the DL as of yet this season, leads the team in wins and isn’t looking to ask for a trade. He has mentioned he’d waive his no-trade clause if asked, but he doesn’t want to go. Is that just political rhetoric? Is that just Z being PC? PC Z? Maybe. I believe he wants to win here. No one gets that upset about something that they don’t care about. No one gets that heated over something time and again unless it matters to them.
We’ve seen Zambrano lose it on a few occasions. He obviously cares. The good thing to take away from yesterday though, aside from the win over the Sox, is that he clearly not only cares about the Cubs winning, but he now also cares about how he directs that passion. Even if he had no one else to point a finger at, he could have easily had a mental meltdown and thrown in the towel on the day after giving up that home run early on. He could have seen the game as Apollo Creed getting the crap beat out of him by Drago…a lost cause. D.O.A after that home run.
He did not.
Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to stay in the game, keep fighting, and show people he has changed. Like Rocky said, he if they can change and he can change then the whole world can change. I would have liked to have seen Zambrano make this speech at US Cellular after the game:
That would be nice. But I’ll take us starting with Big Z first and then going from there. Big Z. Cool. Calm. Collected.
Well done, Carlos. That anger management stuff appears to be working out. Keep it up. This one’s for you.
Go Cubs Go!
It’s June 20th and you know what that means! THE CROSSTOWN CLASSIC!
Two teams, one cup.
Oh, Chicago baseball fans, how our BP Cup do runneth over.
The BP Cup is perfectly named as it means about as much as the home runs count that are hit in batting practice. Last year the Cup went to the South side. It has resided in the hands of folks like Adam Dunn, Ozzie Guillen and A.J. Pierzynski. The players, I’m sure because it is a ‘Cup’ after all, took it home with them. Took it on trips with them. Took it places some of them may even be too embarassed to share. They took it their loved ones who had never seen the Sox win the Cup since it’s inception all they way back in 2010. Every single White Sox player plus Ozzie had their hands on it for a whole year.
Do we really want it after who knows what those guys have done with it? I mean, it was reported that on Sunday, Ozzie passed a kidney stone. I’m just saying.
If the White Sox think as highly of the Cup as many Cubs fans do, there is a possibility that the kidney stone saw the inside of the BP Cup. If there were a series they probably wouldn’t mind winning, it’s this one. Keep the Cup, White Sox. It’s all you.
You can have it. Proudly display it in your trophy case. Build a statue outside US Cellular Field to commemorate it’s greatness. Years from now, chant at Cubs fans “Two-thousand-ten!” “Two thousand-ten!” and make us feel awful about the drought.
One year since the last time a Chicago team won the BP Cup and it wasn’t the Cubs. When oh WHEN, will a Cubs fan in my family get to see the Cubs win the Cup!?! How unfair. How can the baseball gods do this to us. Why should the Sox fans get all the fun? Why should they get to raise the Cup year in and year out?
What about us Cubs fans? What about Blackhawks fans? Why must we make them be so specific in their chants of ‘We want the Cup!”. Now they have to say “We want the Stanley Cup! The hockey one! Not that crappy promotional good for nothing baseball meaningless trophy Cup!” That chant is SOOO long. But so be it. Whatever White Sox. You feel the need to have a trophy that makes you feel good about yourself? So be it. Keep it. We don’t even want a ribbon for participation.
Let’s rename the Cup in fact. No more BP Cup. Let’s just call it US Cellular Cup. Forget engraving the names of every ballplayer that wins the Cup on to it’s illustrious sides. Let’s just engrave, PROPERTY OF THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX on to it. We’ll show up for six games every season and make sure you have your little trophy so you can have some meaningless piece of metal to make you feel good about yourself.
Better yet, we’ll win the series and STILL give you the cup. Like a little kid hoping for a foul ball, standing by the dugout with our glove on next to clumsy adult-sized you. We will catch the ball and then hand it to you because in our life, the prize, as cool as it is to you, will never mean that much to us.
How’s that sound? We’ll win the series, you keep the cup. We know how much it means to you.
Go Cubs Go!
Go Cubs Go! (Give us Dads out there a W to cap off Father’s Day tonight!)
I’ll be back a week from Monday. Taking in the Rockies game on Monday and the Giants doubleheader on Tuesday. Can’t wait! Go Cubs Go!
If you are at Wrigley this weekend, you’ll notice the Chicago Cubs have the New York Yankees in town this week.
In my neighborhood, however, it’s always as if Yankees fans have me in town.
Walking around New York City displaying my Cubs hat this morning, I came across a guy proudly displaying a disgusting white t-shirt with the Yankees emblem on it. The fact that the Cubs took game one didn’t stop him from having a little fun with me and he wanted to know what it was like to be a Cubs fan. I said, “So far this weekend, better than being a Yankees fan”. New Yorkers appreciate a quick reply. I had no interest in talking to him any longer than I had to as I walking my dogs and he was some what sketchy. That was the end of our exchange however it won’t be the last time (nor was it the first time) that someone asked me what it’s like to be a Cubs fan while walking around New York City.
So, you want to know what it’s like? I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again.
The Chicago Cubs are the kind of life long commitment that they should sell insurance for. Think about the things that you buy insurance for to protect you from. They are for all of the worst case scenarios in life. House burning down, flood, car accident, death. They should immediately add to the list: Cubs fan.
In all of the above situations you are put out, living a situation that leaves you speechless and wondering, how could this happen to me? Why me? And when you are a Cubs fan, that happens all of the time. Follow by a quick look to the fan to your left or right at Wrigley, in a bar, at home, or at an opposing team’s stadium and asking aloud “Why us? Why us AGAIN?”
It would be the most expensive insurance of all insurances sold to baseball fans of course because we as Cubs fans would need it the most. Essentially, all other baseball fans if they too could purchase insurance for rooting for their team, their monthly payments would only exist to cover costs the insurance company would gather in paying out to help out Cubs fans. It is a brutal existence and a little insurance as a fan to add to those occasional and not-so-often insurance runs would be a great thing to have.
This team has long been called the Lovable Losers, however I’m not sure how many fans would consider themselves ‘in love’ with their Cubs as opposed to simply being ‘addicted’ to them. Rooting for the Cubs can feel like a bad habit that few are able to break. The highs are so great because they are so rare that you can’t wait to experience another and it drives you crazy that jonesing in between the highs.
The team hasn’t won a World Series since 1908 and hasn’t appeared in one since 1945. The ratio of fans who live to see the Cubs win a World Series to those that spend their life eating peanuts and Cracker Jack and then never getting a chance to even decide whether they want to get back or not…I couldn’t even begin to guess. All you can do is put on your Cubs hat and hope that you do get to see them win the big game in your life time and that things like Brock, black cats, goats and Steve Bartmans stop getting in the way. (Moises Alou would never have caught that ball by the way, just saying).
The Cubs have given us stars like Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, Mark Grace, and on and on. Addicted or ‘in love’ with their Cubs, fans come back to root them on at Wrigley Field, visit them on the road, watch WGN, listen to the radio and hope for the best. You can learn a lot about the team in many, many places on the web. Just thought this might give you a better insight as to what it’s really like to be a Cubs fan. However, the short answer to the question tell me about the Cubs and what it’s like to be a fan? It’s awesome. (Calling Geico now to deliver my pitch).
Game two against the Yankees today. Let’s get another W before we send Z out there and the Yankees scouts start taking notes on our former ace. (Zambrano, please don’t waive your no-trade. We pull this thing to five or six at the All-Star break and we still have a shot). Get that W, Demp. Davis finally broke into the W column for 2011, Demp could do so for the first time in three career starts against the Yankees. Sounds like a plan to me. And who doesn’t like seeing a plan come together? Go Cubs Go!
My boss is away for the next two weeks. She flew to France yesterday with her six month old daughter and mother-in-law and will be in Nice for 10 days. After that stretch, she will be in London for a week and then eventually back after the Fourth.
Not only for her (beautiful Cannes in June and then a week long stopover in London sounds pretty good when relishing in either New York City heat, New York City rain or traveling between NY and Chicago with what has proven to usually end up in a rainy, wet forecast thus far this year) but also for me. Sarcasm within sarcasm. Like some sort of sarcasm deriviation of Inception going on in this paragraph. I think. I didn’t see it. But I hear things.
It actually is a tough gig. She must have a great relationship with her mother-in-law as traveling internationally with anyone is quite the experience and if you aren’t tight enough to handle it, it can rip you to shreds. Add an infant to the mix and you have yourself a recipe for potential disaster. Hopefully this trip goes smoothly or else it could be a very long two weeks assisting from a far in any number of situations that may come up.
In addition to writing and production gigs, I am currently working at an ad agency during the day. My desk has become the second home to Prose and Ivy. My computer at home is of course the mothership and this little nook without walls (how 2011. Away with the cubicles!) has become the satellite office. If I am not doing something that I must do then I am doing something I love to do. Two things happen during my day. I either do something I don’t want to do, or I am communicating with you.
It’s a beautiful opportunity to be able to apply a professional paycheck band aid in between gigs that actually apply to my overall writing/producing career. I get paid to make sure others do things they are supposed to do which entails a lot of things I don’t want to do. However, when I’m not having my hand forced into excel documents, shared drives, booking travel and client meetings or making the always exciting call to a car service, I have the opportunity to sit here and write or talk Cubs with you.
Of all the things I could possibly be doing as my ‘day job’ this one is not great, however it isn’t the worst possible thing either. I do what I have to do and then I do what I want to do. If I wasn’t perched at a computer all day, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to watch/listen to the Cubs on MLB.TV. Day games are like gold when it comes to April-October. Talk about an amazing way to pass the day. Twitter would be an account I merely had for occasional blog post promotion and the periodic sarcastic remark. I wouldn’t have the ability to sit here and live tweet a game or discuss the latest in pop culture with over 800 people throughout the day (currently totaling 7,777 tweets as I write this). When doing stand up, an applause break is a fantastic response. To get a retweet or a ‘ha’ or a ‘bwahaha’ or an ‘lol’ etc, is essentially the same exact thing. The Cubs have become something that is not only a love and passion of mine, but also a tool for survival.
In the age old saying that when the cat is away the mice will play, I would be one of the mice. The rest of the mice however are not the co-workers around me in there also sad non-cubed cubes, but all of the Cubs fans on Twitter. The cat is in France or London depending on when you ask me. I will have the occasional occurence of assisting from afar that will be necessary however for the most part, I am ready to play. Two weeks is a long time. And we are going to kick things off with the Yankees.
If I had the ability to, I would be showing up immediately to the block party the Cubs are throwing. I believe it is going to end up being a celebration of not only Cubs baseball, Wrigley, Cubs fans and Wrigleyville, but also the fact that we don’t face Jeter. Six hits away from his 3,000th hit sits Jeter and while it is a milestone that deserves a backdrop with historic proportions such as Wrigley…I’m very glad he will not be reaching the milestone at Wrigley.
If you were at Wrigley and Jeter reached the 3000 mark, how would you respond? I’m assuming a polite cheer in observance of his accomplishment. Thing is, that’s about as far as I could take it as I really don’t care for Derek Jeter or any of the players on the New York Yankees. I don’t like the Yankees and I would not enjoy cheering for one. I would ony briefly in appreciation of what it means to witness a moment as special as that in the grand picture of baseball history, but not because of Derek Jeter. In fact, come to think of it, I would only be clapping because it is hard to do but more so because I was there to see it. I wouldn’t even be particularly happy about it. I just would think it was cool that I ‘was there’ when it happened I guess. I would assume other Cubs fans would react the same way.
Worst case is that it would come on a game winner. How would we be expected to react if he had used his personal feat to defeat our team? I don’t think it’s fair to expect us to applaud while someone raises the ‘L’ flag. Sure it’s about the bigger picture, but we would have lost. I would then suggest Derek go inside the visitor clubhouse and eat some Fudgie the Whale cake or whatever is planned for celebrating when he reaches that mark.
Regardless, we don’t have to worry about it because Jeter is on the DL and won’t be playing the Cubs this weekend. In fact, he won’t even be in Chicago. He’ll be in Florida somewhere rehabbing. So much for those ads pitching Castro v. Jeter in the six gamers. I wonder how people who bought those plans feel. I’m guessing they are happy about it because they thought it’d be cool to see the Yankees play at Wrigley (as I think it would be cool to see the Cubs play at Fenway). If they bought to specifically see Jeter, I would think they’re pretty bummed.
That’s fine though. Let them stay home. We don’t need a Wrigley filled with bandwagon, annoying Yankees fans anyway.
The funny part to me is that it looks like Jeter might accomplish the feat in New York – only – at Citi Field.
Poor, poor Mets fans.
As if this season hasn’t put them through enough…now their stadium with no greatness to show for it could be broken in by a Derek Jeter Yankee milestone? Yikes. I wonder how THEY’LL react if it does in fact happen there. What a horrible situation for Mets fans. I would guess some would cheer the accomplishment out of respect, but, to have it in the same city, a crosstown rival doing it in your own back yard? No thanks.
I look forward to seeing how we do against the Yankees this weekend. It’s very similar to the situation we were in when we faced the Red Sox. Davis, Dempster Wells. Essentially the same level of pitching we through at Fenway. Hopefully, being at Wrigley instead of on the road will make a difference. It was nice to take the series against the Brewers. I would like to go into another series though where I feel like we’re favored to win the series again. Four games against the Brewers was surely not that at all. The Yankees? Nope. And we just recently had that brutal road trip against the Cards, Reds and Phillies.
The season isn’t getting any easier that’s for sure. Glad to see Soriano back off the DL hitting home runs and Fukudome was unreal against Milwaukee. Hopefully, that keeps up. Doug Davis, how about we break into the win column for 2011, huh? In the Cubs situation, I’m not sure who exactly the cat would be. Maybe the cat is always the overall expectations that the city and fans put on this team to finally win it all. Considering they fell about 11 games back recently, the cat kind of went away. The good thing though, the mice came out to play.
F**K the Goat tees were made. Players looked like they were enjoying themselves. We took a series against the Brewers. It’s usually the most fun when the cat leaves and the mice can relax a bit and have some fun. Maybe the DL stints became a bit much to handle so early in the season and watching the team slide back in the standings week after week made one big fat cat for a while there.
It’s good that from what I can tell from fans on-line, the expectations have since diminished for 2011. The key is to have the Cubs recognize it, yet come out to play regardless, motivated even. Fans can give up if they’d like but the key is that Quade keeps the players focused and fighting and playing.
The Yankees are in town and expectations are staying where they are or diminishing even further. That cat’s not coming back any time soon. The cat may have gone away but this is when it can be the most fun…so, the mice must continue to come out and play.
Go Cubs Go! Beat those Yankees.
My son, Rhys, worn out by this crazy Cubs season.
Ok, it’s probably not keeping track of the DL that has him worn out. More than likely, it’s just nap time.
Regardless, Go Cubs Go! Beat those Brewers.
The Cubs rolled into Philly last night, not completely whole and coming off a recent eight game losing streak. A four game series against the Philadelphia Phillies isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered for a team as beaten up as the Cubs.
After a rain delay though, the Cubs bullpen stepped up and carried the team on their shoulders with 8 2/3 scoreless relief. The Cubs’ Soto and Colvin went deep with back to back homers or at least appeared as such until they reversed Colvin’s and made it a ground rule double due to ‘fan interference’. Colvin ended up scoring the game winning run in the eleventh on a Phillies error. Cubs win, Cubs win in extras in Philly. Oh happy day.
This team is beaten up physically, mentally, emotionally…morale must be lower than ideal at this point yet they continued to fight and get a win. This is an effort that you have to respect and appreciate. After going down 3-0 to a team like the Phillies early in the game, it would have been easy to roll over and play dead during and after the rain delay. They didn’t though. Youngsters like Soto and Colvin stepped up. On a team where there are many names and faces the casual fan would have to look twice to figure out who they are due to call ups to cover the injured, it was nice to see a couple names we planned on counting on before the season started, actually stepping up and making a difference.
Fans may not recognize some of these young players yet, but they will. They aren’t going to give up on the season just because they are 11.5 games back on June 10th. There is no mercy rule. We continue to play so we might as well get scrappy and fight until we run out of games to try to make up ground. Or at least until they post an ‘E’ in the games back column.
You know this team had expectations to do great things this year. I’m sure they felt, as did many fans, that a number of things would have to fall into place in order for this team to make noise in the Central this year. With all the setbacks we’ve suffered, I’m sure it’s on their mind when they get up in the morning, on the way to the ballpark, during the games, in the locker room afterwards and at home or at the hotel on the road, trying to get a good night’s rest and not focus on the negative. Pushing forward after a demoralising start to the season is not the easiest thing to do and I respect this bunch for continuing to play hard and get back in the thick of things.
Soriano, Baker and Johnson will eventually come back. Wells is here and Cashner is a ways out. Byrd is still a couple months from manning centerfield again. This team is going to need every star and no-name to pull together and get this thing done. Good to see the guys continue to push hard, even against a strong opponent like Philadelphia. Three more games to go in the city of brotherly love. Go Cubs Go! (And because the lyrics seem appropriate, a little Springsteen for you as you go on your way):
Aint no angel gonna greet me
Its just you and I my friend
My clothes don’t fit me no more
I walked a thousand miles
Just to slip the skin
The night has fallen, Im lyinawake
I can feel myself fading away
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of philadelphia
One of the benefits to working in the city is the ability to walk to a number of places in order to kill time at lunch.
If I get an opportunity to take a lunch, I normally head out for about a half hour and can hit up Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, a food place and maybe one more stop within a few blocks. Ok, so maybe it takes 45 minutes. Nine times out of ten, if I don’t hit them all, I at least end up at Barnes and Noble.
I probably owe Barnes and Noble a ton of money. If they were able to one day scans us as we walked through the turnstile door and figure out how many pages, or how many books we’ve read without buying and then charge us retroactively for that reading, I would probably have to finance the fee. I am definitely one of the guilty parties that put Borders out of business. Barnes and Noble one day is probably going to be next.
While it’s still around though, I find myself there often. Two rows are my lunch time go-to’s. Comedy. And sports. Between the two of them, my experiences with each have largely shaped who I am today. After ‘parental guidance’, those two things have done the most to make me who I am today. I’ve watched sports for as long as I can remember and I played sports for as long as my talent would allow (that would be intramurals in college for the record). I’ve been performing and writing comedy for over nearly fourteen years. It will be fourteen years this September to the first time I stepped on stage at a true comedy club in Boston, MA. Dick Doherty’s Comedy Club. Sunday night show. Bring two friends/paying customers, get 5 minutes of stage time. I was bit by the bug and have loved doing comedy since.
I just got back to my desk from a quick trip to Barnes and Noble which is what inspired this rambling. The other day I started flipping through a couple different Cubs books and ended up purchasing Veeck: As In Wreck. Before that it was The Last Best League about the Cape Cod baseball league featuring the finest young talent in the game. I’ve read Jim Breuer’s entire book in the past month and most of Tina Fey’s while standing in the middle of the store, not far from the checkout counter. That counter is filled with people who would love for me to sign up for the Barnes and Noble Club, however they don’t seem to care if I buy any books. I mean, I do buy books, however a lot of the time, I end up remembering where I left off in a given book and just continue reading it for free day after day until the book is finished over a span of consecutive visits. (Sorry, Jim and Tina).
Today I ended up in the autobiography section. I’ve been stopping by in the past few days to read Paul Mooney’s book ‘Black is the New White’. It is fascinating. It’s all about his career in comedy and coming up through the ranks along side Richard Pryor, his best friend through that time of his life. I’m up to Chapter 25 and I plan on reading that one next tomorrow afternoon. See you then B&N (don’t close overnight, k? Thanks).
It got me thinking about stand up comedy on my walk back to work. I’m not sure what made me connect these three things, but this is what happened. 1) Stand up comedy is like the supposed survival battles of yesteryear of the Roman Colosseum. 2) The audience at a stand up show is both the crowd and the lion. 3) The Colosseum is still standing for people to admire, tour and stand in awe of. 4) If Wrigley is Chicago’s Colosseum, does that make the Cubs the lion or the humans?
It’s that last one that even to me seems a little silly and yet after being in the heat, intriguing all at the same time.
Wrigley is a long standing building that fans have traveled to from far away lands or right around the corner to watch numerous ‘battles’ over the years. We clearly go there to watch one side win and the other side lose. The weapons have been replaced by balls, gloves and bats and the ‘players’ are now all human, the rules are different but the fact remains that it’s still a ‘battle’ with one side winning and one side losing. (It amuses me to think that instead of a W or L flag flying at the Colosseum to let people know who won that day, they’d have a human flag and a lion flag to fly).
The thing I can’t figure out is, who would I have been rooting for at the Colisseum. Would I have been rooting for the human to win, or pull for a mauling by the lion?
Is that wrong? I just honestly am not sure which outcome I would prefer. Which victory would have sent me home happy? And in this silly analogy, then, which would the Cubs be? The humans…or the lions?
Sad part is, when the day comes that Wrigley Field is no longer needed to house Cubs games, I don’t believe it will still remain. I think any owner that decides to tear the place down is going to hear it from the fans, however, that day might just be inevitable. The Colosseum remains and you can tour it and take in it’s grand stature and imagine the battles that once happened there and the crowds that once showed up to take it in. No, I’m not really implying that Wrigley Field’s bleachers, rooftop partners or grandstands are anything to literally match up to that of the impressive architectural accomplishment that is the Colosseum. Simply, stating that Wrigley is the venue, as was the Colosseum to the Romans, to see our ‘battles’ of today on the baseball field. I just can’t figure out who of today is the lion and who is the human.
Of course, back then, you only got one out. Heck, you probably only got one strike on you by the opponent and the game was over. Especially if the opponent was the lion. No calling time and stepping out of the box opportunity available there.
I understand the comparison and question is silly, but this is what happens when I’m outside too long in 100 degree heat I guess, wihtout lunch. Still, I’m curious. in this ridiculous heat induced scenario, if we are to say Wrigley Field is our Colosseum, then who are the Cubs? The humans? Or the lions? And out of curiosity, which side do you think you would have been rooting for?
(I need to get a sandwich and some air conditioning, STAT).
Go Cubs Go!
While I agree with what Zambrano said, I’m wondering if there is any Filter Day in the anger management course he took last year. He’s been great for two months of the season, but it seems as if the frustration of April and May has already got to Zambrano and he is starting to lose it. His outburst, directed at Marmol about his pitch selection to Theriot against the Cardinals and the overall play of the team has caused some waves. I would imagine a viewing of Hangover Part II might not be all it takes for this team to get back on track. Sure, Carlos loses it sometimes. Sure, you need to understand it’s just Carlos being Carlos. Sure, he was right.
Zambrano is correct. This team needs to play better and he has been a victim. Aside from his team’s overall record, his individual record has been affected by the lack of ability of the bullpen to close out games (specifically Marmol). Thing is, you can’t just fly off the handle. I mean, you can…but it’s probably not going to be as effective as you hope it to be.
Carlos, thing is, you need to figure out the fact that you can’t just say anything. More often than not, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. I hope his apology is effective with the team, I really do. In case it isn’t or it happens again, I’d like to suggest the Lloyd Dobler approach. Perhaps the next apology Carlos makes could look a little like this:
And sound a little like this:
Suggested tunes to blast on his boom box:
“I’m Sorry” – Patsy Cline
“If You Don’t Know Me By Now” – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
“Bad” – Michael Jackson
“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” – Elton John
“Oops, I Did It Again” – Britney Spears
“Apology Song” – The Decemberists
“Hard to Say I’m Sorry” – Chicago
Any other suggestions to give Carlos? Feel free to pass them along.
Go Cubs Go!
If this Cubs season was the movie Se7en and today was the final scene, I would be the dishevelled Brad Pitt character, my beloved Cubs would be played by Gywneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman would represent MLB.com and Kevin Spacey would represent the Cubs schedule/DL.
Lately, every day I log in to check out a box score, it’s a nasty confirmation of what I keep hoping isn’t really happening. Watch the Cubs go down injury after injury. Watch the Cubs lose game after game after game after game after game after game after game. Seven in a row? Seriously? Is my fear of seeing this season spin completely out of control actually happening? We’re not dead in the water already are we?
I like to think that no, no we’re not. Garza came back and after one rough outing, we must be getting closer to his true value/quality in his second outing, right? I mean, that’s what happened with Wells. He came back from an injury and got rocked in his first game back, however, his second time on the mound after coming off the DL was much better. And isn’t a Zambrano outburst old news by now? Wasn’t it tantrums and outbursts and thrown hats and beat up catchers and dugout outbursts and smashed Gatorade coolers that played a role in spurring us on in previous years? If you look back, won’t you also find that in the box scores?
The schedule is killing us right now. Injuries put us in an extremely vulnerable position and now the schedule is simply killing us right now. Already in a not-so-ideal situation going into the previous homestand against the Mets, Pirates and Astros, it was our performance that let us down. We could have had a 7-2 home stand however we ended up playing below expectations and looked pretty horrible. We couldn’t have had the Mets at a better time. The Pirates were locked in a tie with us in the standings before pulling away. The Astros were essentially calling shotgun for the cellar of the division.
Now, we are only a game ahead of the Astros, barely keeping our stuff out of the basement of the division. The Pirates have unfortunately listened to my post about needing some space, only instead of allowing us to leave them behind, they have done just that to us. Ricketts recently said the only thing that is wrong with this team is injuries. Byrd, Johnson, Cashner, Soriano, Baker. He has a point. However, it’s the guys that are playing that are letting me down. Colvin is hitting around .088? With the opportunity he has been given with the injuries to Johnson and Sori, he needs to be stepping up. He was practically number seven or eight on the organizational depth chart when it came to the outfield just a couple weeks ago. How is he not taking advantage of this opportunity?
Barney and Castro continue to be dependable despite brief lacks in production for each. (Everyone is going to have a small stretch of poor at-bats every now and then). Montanez and Campana are fun to watch, like a side show at the circus or Tomorrowland’s Carousel of Progress right at Disney World. Glimpses into the future of what could be is what it is supposed to offer, however when you go and check out, you feel like you’re seeing more of the same. And Tomorrowland has an excuse, it’s ride is ancient. Montanez and Campana are young kids with, aside from speed, talents that aren’t necessarily offering anything this team doesn’t already have (ok, youth would be on that list as well).
Perhaps this team is simply too old. Perhaps that happened in the winter of 2008. Perhaps Piniella squeezed what little success juice was left in this bunch of vets before heading off to his Tampa orange grove, leaving Quade with nothing but bloody pulp.
Perhaps Quade had all the potential he needed and the ability to take this squad to the type of performance record they reached at the end of last season. Then again, they do say to only weigh March and September with so much salt. Now that we’re seeingthis team go at it from April on, maybe those that made that saying one of those unwritten rules to live by have a point.
It’s good to hear from the Cubs’ beat reporters that the team is still trying to stay loose. Heard mentions of them watching Hangover 2. I believe Hangover: Part 2 will do the trick (although I haven’t seen it yet, the first is HYSTERICAL) and it is also appropriate. This seven game losing streak has provided all of us with quite the hangover.
Now is not the time to give up. It’s only June 7th. We aren’t even half way through the season. Quade needs to keep these guys fighting. No letting down, anything is possible. (Not saying likely, just possible). Time to find where Doug (Davis) is (the way he is pitching this year, his skills may have been killed by Crystal Meth tweakers), become the three best friends there ever, ever was and get everybody on board in one Cubs wolfpack. It doesn’t even matter to me if any of them can remember it the next day or Zambrano goes so far off the deep end, the Cubs end up with Mike Tyson’s tiger in their clubhouse!
Perhaps it’s the seven game losing streak that has me ranting from Se7en to The Hangover. All I know is that I’m ready to stop being afraid of finding out what is in the box (score). Even when I already know what is there.
Go Cubs Go. Please take the upperhand away from John Doe now. Thanks.
A tough stretch is coming up for the Cubs and I am not talking about that of the seventh inning variety (as depicted below…a taste of my beautiful singing chops. You’re welcome).
No, I’m talking about something different altogether. Grab a sandwich, your iPod, a PSP, a road map, charge your cell phone and grab your road jersey. It is time for a ROAD TRIP!
When you are swept by the Astros and go 3-6 on a homestand that involves only playing the Mets, Pirates and Astros, you have to be disappointed. Thing is, it’s tough to be surprised due to all of the injuries the team has had to endure lately. The simple fact that our DL could defeat most teams on any given day (you get what I’m saying) says a lot about the talent that we’ve had taken from us so far this year. It’s tough for Quade to fully execute his strategy when he constantly must substitute out proven talent for wide-eyed youngsters from the farm system.
Having Wells and Cashner go down was one thing. You could hope the offense would pick them up. Then however, we started losing position players and then it got really tough. As a result, we are currently 8 games out in the Central chasing everyone but the Astros (who are only two games behind us, mind you).
This upcoming week presents great power for the Cubs. Tomorrow they kick off a road trip that has them playing two division foes plus a powerhouse in the National League in the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets beat the Pirates today after being down by seven runs, so we know anything is possible. I’d like to see that go in the Cubs’ favor in this upcoming 10 game trip through St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philly.
Both the Cardinals series and the Cincy series are three gamers.
Three opportunities where the power is in the Cubs hands to take games away from the lead in the standings. The power to make up ground in the Central with every game they play. Division games present that opportunity. However, as Spider Man taught us, with great power comes great responsibility. (That and being bitten by a radioactive spider has it’s benefits).
If we don’t win these games, we will set ourselves up for a hole that could prove to deep to recover from. The first six games of this series are the ones that truly matter given the opportunity they present. I hope we win them, or at least a majority of them. It’d be a horrible situation to walk away from two situations that caused us to lose major ground in our own division, simply to be rewarded by a four game series with the very tough Phillies.
Garza is due back on the road trip so that’s good news. Soto is back already. I wouldn’t count on much more than that except maybe Ramirez making an appearance, stitches and all. Cashner was moved to the 60-day DL, Byrd is still about six to eight weeks or more away, Soriano won’t be ready to go in any of these games and I’m not sure when Baker gets back. We are a beaten team but I like to think we are a resilient team. The fight doesn’t stop with us and Quade needs to make sure that’s the case through the entire road trip.
When I am at Wrigley in a few weeks, I want us to be no worse off than we are now. Ideally, I’d like us to be a couple games better.
If you are going to be at Wrigley for the make up game against the Rockies or the double header against the Giants, let me know because I will be there too! I can’t wait. Looking forward to catching more games at Wrigley and seeing us do well against two NL West powerhouses. A day/night double-header at Wrigley? What a perfect way to spend a day.
Last time I was there, the Monday game was a close one as Sori pulled us within one run with a bomb in the ninth and then unfortunately the Tuesday was rained out. The Rockies game is the make up game though so I’ll get to see that one and then the double header…will make for a ton of ballpark food, 7th-inning stretching and a ton of Cubs baseball. Awesome.
Here are some photos of the last couple games I saw at Wrigley. Various random shots, hope you enjoy. And if you are at Wrigley June 27 or June 28, let me know! Gotta love a road trip…prove me right Cubs and let’s have a great week and a half. It’s going to be tough, but it certainly won’t be boring! Cardinals, Reds, Phillies. It starts tomorrow in St. Louis. Check out the slideshow and Go Cubs Go!
Today’s Prosecard interview with a Cubs fan features none other than Anna Weddell! She loves Ryne Sandberg, has great analogies for pairing up current Cubs players to the cast of the Wizard of Oz and should be working for Miller Lite’s advertising department!
Check out her answers to the questions below. If you’d like to be featured on Prose and Ivy in an upcoming Prosecard, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some questions!
Huge road trip coming up for the Cubs…more on that later today. For now, enjoy your lunch hour with Anna Weddell, fellow Cubs fan and today’s Prosecard from Cubs Nation!
Name: Anna Weddell
Why are the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?
I have loved the Cubs as far back as I can remember. My grandpa was a die-hard fan and taught me all about the Cubs and Wrigley Field. My grandpa was my hero, my mentor and the main person in my life, so whoever he cheered for, naturally I would cheer for. My fondest memory is getting picked up from kindergarten and coming home to watch the Cubs on WGN. My first song wasn’t taught by my family, but by Harry Carey during the 7th inning stretch. I love every new season because I have hope and wonder, Could this be the Year!! The Cubs have always been in my life and they always will be.
Who is your all-time favorite Cub?
So many to choose from, but I would have to say Ryne Sandberg. When I was younger I did not want to be him, I wanted to be his double play partner. That way I could be on the same field as him every day. As soon as I could play softball, I played shortstop with the dream of playing for the Chicago Cubs. He was a great 2nd baseman. He hit for average and power and seemed to make all the routine plays and then made some not so routine plays. He was my hero. Luckily for me, I was at the game when the organization retired his number.
Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster?
Kerry Wood. He is a great ballplayer and doesn’t play for the money. With all the injuries he has suffered through the years, he persevered to become a good set up man. He is just someone to admire.
Bigger disappointment of recent years: Soriano or Zambrano?
Soriano. When the Cubs first signed him, I was excited because he could bring great things to the ball club. So far, all he has brought are injuries and shaky defense. Granted when he is hot he can carry the team, but he is cold more often than he is hot. He swings at bad pitches with runners on, he can’t steal bases anymore and he does not hustle. At least with Zambrano, we know what to expect. Sometimes he will lose his temper, but that has always been Z. I would much rather have Z pitch in game 7 of the World Series, then have Soriano up to bat with the winning run on second.
Which Cub do you believe is the biggest game changer?
Starlin Castro, because he is good a good hitter. Quade can put him anywhere in the lineup and he knows what his job is in that spot. He can steal bases and run the bases well. He takes his fair share of pitches. He can hit for average or drive in a lot of runs and hit for power. I think he will be making a few All-Star appearances in the future.
What were your thoughts when news came out about Cashner and Wells going to the DL?
My first thought was: Crap, two young pitchers are down with arm injuries and will be out for at least 15 days. My next thought was Please do not let Samardzija start. He is not starting pitcher material in my eyes. Finally, my last thought was, if the pitchers replacing those two can keep us in games then the Cubs will be okay. Just get the game to the late inning bullpen guys and we will win more than we lose.
You are Dorothy. You are traveling down the Yellow Brick West Addison Street with three Cubs as the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow. Which Cub fits those roles the best? Who would be playing each and why?
The Lion would be Zambrano. He has been a fan favorite and then has had his crazy outbursts at the fans. He talks a big game in Spring Training and normally does not achieve what he had set out to do. But he keeps fighting and pitching well. This year he seems different to me, more genuine and calm. I think we expect him to have his meltdowns and he needs all the courage to not have any and if he does ; apologize and admit that he was wrong. The Scarecrow would be Kerry Wood. He has been in the league a long time and can teach the young guys in the bullpen a thing or two. He also has been a favorite since he came up from the minors. Injuries then started to pile up on him and some fans, myself included, washed their hands of him. I did not think I would ever see him wearing Cubbie Blue again. He has the brains to know that the North Side of Chicago loves him. The Tin Man would be Marlon Byrd. He hustles every play. Plays an excellent center field. He seems to do everything right. That is what you want from your big money players. Hustle, good at-bats, great defense and strong knowledge of what the situation is at any given time. Some players seem to forget that the fans are the ones that pay to watch them. Marlon seems to go 110% all the time. He has heart and passion and everyday he puts on the uniform he is going to try and win.
You are head of marketing for Miller Lite and must come up with a catchy slogan for the beer ad addressing the visiting team. What would you have the sign say for the following teams: Mets, White Sox, Cardinals, Phillies, Yankees, Brewers?
This was one of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer.
Mets: Who wants to place some bets, that we will sweep the Mets.
White Sox: You can put in on the board: Another Blown Save
Cardinals: Hey Pujols, Hope you like pinstripes and Cubbie Blue
Phillies: Tell Sandberg we said Hi
Yankees: Good thing the wind is blowing out because the Bronx Zoo is in town
Brewers: The Brew Crew is doomed we are ready to bring out the brooms
You are able to play catch with one player to ever wear the Cubs uniform. Who would it be and why?
Ryne Sandberg because I grew up watching him and I think he is a great guy. He is a HOF 2nd baseman and would have some great stories about his playing days. He would teach me things and I would just enjoying learning from him.
Do you believe the Cubs are cursed? Why?
No, I do not believe the Cubs are cursed. On any given day any team can beat another team. That is why they play the game. Sometimes I feel that the Cubs players try too hard in the postseason. All the players want to end the drought. If they would just play like they did to get to the postseason, they might have a chance. There is no curse, I think it is lack of preparation. Every team brings their A game and they face the best pitchers and some of the best hitters in the league. The Cubs just need to have good pitching and defense and the offense will follow.
Which players on the current roster are you excited when you see their name in the lineup and who do you hope doesn’t leave the bench on a given day?
I am excited to see Castro and Barney at the top of the lineup. They get the offense rolling. When they are on base, the Cubs will score runs. The middle of the field is very young but very good right now and I enjoy watching them play every day. The players I do not want to see are Koyie Hill and Blake Dewitt. Neither of them have proven to me that they can help the ball club on a given day. As back-ups they fill the spot but never as an everyday starter. We have too much talent at 2nd and catcher for them.
How do you feel about Quade over Sandberg?
At first I was upset about the job going to Quade, but the more I thought about it, it was the right decision. Sandberg is a hero on the North Side, our HOF 2nd basemen. He would get cheers at first, but if the club started going south, would fans turn on him, like they do with every other manager. Anybody can sing the praises of a winning manager but would the North Side still love #23 if the Cubs were horrible?
The Cubs win the World Series and you have to write the headline for the Tribune. What does it say?
Holy Cow! The Cubs Win it All!
Hey Hey, it might be, it could be it is A Championship for the Chicago Cubs!
Let the Country Celebrate, The Cubs have reached the Promised Land!!
What is your prediction for the Cubs in 2011?
4th place, it is sad to say but I do not think the Cubs can compete with the Reds, Cards, or Brewers. This team is young and they are rebuilding this year, so 4th place is the best I see them doing. If they prove me wrong that would be great.
Thanks, Anna! Stay tuned for more on the Cubs’ upcoming trip through St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia! Go Cubs Go!
No team in the major leagues can claim to have a more exciting, talented dynamic duo up the middle than the Chicago Cubs. Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney have proven to be strong building blocks for the franchise going forward and a solid foundation for the team to lean on this season. They both deserve All-Star recognition and you can help send them to the starting line-up by voting for them over and over again.
I received the following email a few minutes ago…feel free to use the link below to vote for Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney (write-in) and your other favorite Cubs players you feel should represent the National League and the Chicago Cubs in this year’s All-Star game!
ALL-STAR UPDATE: CASTRO AND BARNEY NEED YOUR VOTES
The National League All-Star ballot update was released today and top Cubs performers Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano need your help to make the squad!
Starlin Castro ranks second among MLB shortstops in hits and average entering today’s games, while write-in candidate Darwin Barney leads all MLB rookies in hits, runs and batting average. Alfonso Soriano — currently ninth among NL outfielders in All-Star voting — is tied for second in the NL with 12 home runs.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times on cubs.com — online or via your mobile device — using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until June 30 at 10:59 p.m. CT.
AND… while you’re at it, vote for my son Rhys (shameless plug) in a contest! You can help put him on the cover of an upcoming issue of Parents Magazine. Now wouldn’t that just make your day? Ok, more accurately…now wouldn’t that just make Rhys’ family’s day?
Vote by clicking here and submit your vote in like 2 seconds! http://t.co/XYsBHG9
Do it. Vote for Castro (and Barney and Rhys) and all your wildest dreams will come true.
Go Cubs Go!
Cubs hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo, believes that preaching patience to his hitters is what this team needs to succeed. Now, certainly a walk is better than a strike out. Heck, it’s better than just about any kind of out that doesn’t involve a sacrifice for a run. I don’t believe our problem has been getting on base any more than the rest of the league. Our problem has been getting guys around that are already on base. Timely hitting with men in scoring position, that is our problem.
I understand young players like Castro and Barney get on a roll partially because of their talent and partially because opposing pitchers haven’t seen them before and haven’t figured out their weaknesses. I understand preaching patience to the young guns and pushing the philosophy down to A ball to keep the organization’s company line on point for when the young players hit the majors. Thing is…while it may help get one of the youngsters on base once more a game, the problem may just be that Jaramillo is preaching to a bunch of injured, often on the DL players.
He is preaching patience to a bunch of patients.
What good is preaching patience to a bunch of players that can’t stay healthy? What good is it to get guys on base and then not be able to knock in the runs? Who wants to lead the league in men left on base? I’m all for a high OBP. The Cubs are third in the National League in the category. Of course it’s difficult to clear the bases when you’re not getting the hits when the bases have a no-vacancy sign over them. It’s not like we’re not hitting for average. The Cubs are in second place in the NL in AVG, only a handful of points behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Currently, we are 7.5 games behind said Cardinals. We are getting on base and we are hitting for average. We’re not even striking out as much as you may think. Currently we are in 15th out of 16 teams in the National League in strike outs, only team striking out less than us: the Cardinals (of course).
We aren’t quick to swing at poor pitches overall. We aren’t just taking a quick lap from the dugout to the batter’s box and back again very often. We aren’t having a hard time getting on base.
Patience isn’t our problem. Timing is.
I don’t know if even Jaramillo can teach timing. Patience? Sure. Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it. That’s easy. Heck, when you’re batting, patience and ‘wait for it’ calls for the hitter to simply stand there and not get hit by the pitch. As long as it’s not thrown directly at me, even I could do that. Patience is easy. Timing? Timing is hard.
I’d like to hear Jaramillo start talking about timing and figuring out a magical solution to the lack there of.
While the players are injured and taking a round-robin approach to the DL, patience is arguably wearing thin. Patience at the plate isn’t the problem. Patience in the bleachers and in the standings is where the patience is becoming an issue. At the plate, Jaramillo’s forte, timing is the problem.
Time to change the company model to reflect timing as the point of focus in the batter’s box and get away from patience. With all the patients we’ve had lately and all the youngsters getting called up to replace them, now would be the perfect time.
Go Cubs Go!
With injuries piling up this season to multiple Cubs starters, it’s important for us Cubs fans to stick together more than ever. It’s only May 31st so there is still a lot of baseball left to play and anything can happen but we need to get healthy fast, get our guys back on the field and turn it around quickly. It takes time to make up games, especially in a division as tight as the Central. Hopefully Garza comes back on Sunday and Wells improves in his second outing since coming off the DL. Once we start to stockpile our pitchers again, I feel like we have the offense to generate the necessary support. Just a matter of getting healthy and chasing the Cardinals, Brewers, Reds and Pirates as hard as we can. It would be nice if the Astros stay in the basement of the division. We dont’ need ANOTHER team to chase at this point in the season.
I know many Cubs fans feel the frustration after a tough loss and the elation after a great win that I feel so I always find it interesting to get to know other fans, by more than their Twitter handle.
If you are interested in being interviewed for a Prosecard of your own, email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you some questions. You submit your answers and a photo and BOOM…we have ourselves a Prosecard. Here is today’s Prosecard from Cubs Nation from Ryan Aaron. Ryan loves his Cubs and has reason for MLB to eliminate the White Sox altogether. Check it out!
Name: Ryan Aaron
Why are the Cubs your favorite baseball team? Living in Oklahoma City we do not get a lot of the teams. As a child I could always count on watching the Cubs play. Watching Sandberg and Grace on the field and Harry and Steve Stone in the booth was the best part of my baseball child hood.
Who is your all-time favorite Cub? Ryne Sandberg
Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster? I would have to go with Starlin Castro
Best thing about having a family own the team as opposed to a giant corporation and also the worst thing: The best thing about it being owned by a family is because in most cases it will be ran like it is a family and not just everyone is a number there to make a profit. The worst thing about it is because with it being owned by a family is that the budget may not be as large and may not be able to pay the players we develop when it is time or go out and get the one or two players needed to finish the piece of puzzle during free agency.
Your favorite thing about Wrigley Field: The ivy and the old scoreboard
Player you enjoy watching the most and why: Starlin Castro because he always plays at 110 percent. He plays with a level of energy that you don’t see everyday. Whether it is in the field or at the plate he plays all out all the time.
The Cubs are still chasing their next World Series title after nearly 103 years. What is it that they are missing? Why hasn’t happened in that time frame already? This is a tough one. I don’t think the answer is talent. We have had plenty of teams talented over the years. I guess it comes down to luck. I do not think the team is cursed but we have had a lot of bad breaks over the years. If just one of those goes the other way who knows maybe we hav e1 or 2 or 3 championships in that time frame.
Who is your favorite Cubs broadcaster (radio or TV)? Len Kasper
You are asked to write a brief column in between game 6 and game 7 of the World Series. Series is tied 3-3. Cubs win game 7 and the day we’ve all waited for will finally be here. What does the beginning of your column look like? Today is the day. Will it be the day we have all been waiting on or will it be another day of heartbreak?
How will you celebrate when the Cubs finally win another World Series title? I honestly do not know. I am sure there will be a lot of happy tears and adult beverages though.
You are offered a job to design a new logo for the Cubs. What would the logo look like? I would mix in a little bit of the current with the C and bring back the original logo with the bear holding the bat.
MLB has to cut one team for financial reasons. They have narrowed it down to the Brewers, Cardinals or White Sox. Which team would you recommend they lose and why? The White Sox would be the team I would contract. Why because the Cardinals are one of the historic teams in baseball and the rivalry with the Cubs is like none other, it is known world wide. The Brewers are a team that that when we go to there park it is like another home game Wrigley North. The White Sox are like the little kid down the street to me the one that no one wants to play with. They do nothing to help us and nothing to hurt us. They are just there.
How would you describe what it is like to be a Cubs fan? It is a roller coster no one has ever rode before, we have our ups and downs every year, but they are different than any other team.
The Cubs have won the World Series. You are writing the Tribune’s headline. Give me 3 samples of how you would have it read. HOW SWEET IT IS!!!!, CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! GO CUBS GO!
Thanks Ryan! Hope our Cubs get healthy and headed in the right direction in the standings ASAP!
Go Cubs Go!
It is currently in the bottom of the third inning in today’s game against the Pirates. Last game of the three game series. Fukudome just hit a leadoff double. I want to know how you feel about the season so far. The Good? The Bad? The Ugly? Let me hear your thoughts as today’s game unfolds. Stop yelling at the TV or telling your friends how much you love such-and-such about the Cubs. Let me hear what you’re thinking about the season so far right here, right now. Looking forward to hearing what everyone is thinking up to this point. Go Cubs Go!
A win against the Pirates? Lately, that’s very rare. Did it happen today? Nope. Not today. Aside from a blast by Soriano in the ninth inning to cut the deficit in half, the Cubs weren’t able to come up with much of anything today against the ‘Buccos’. I don’t care for that nickname when it comes to the Pirates. And I don’t care for the fact that they have become a giant thorn in the Cubs side.
Doug Davis once again proved that he is not the answer in replacing Wells or Cashner. Add him to the list of guys who have auditioned for the spot and as Randy Jackson would say, “I don’t know, Dog. For me, it was just a little too pitchy”. Ha. Word play. Anyway, you understand what I’m getting at. Any Cubs fan familiar with the pitching problems we’ve faced since the season started understand what I’m saying. What was painful though was seeing Coleman warming up after Davis did nothing but give up a couple runs. COLEMAN? Isn’t enough that we have to see this kid pitch every five days while filling a rotation spot? Now we have to see him in spot relief as well? I mean, I understand he threw what….five pitches in his last outing before handing the ball to ICEBerg…but still. Every time I see the names DAVIS, COLEMAN, RUSSELL on the back of jerseys it makes we even more anxious for the return of our true four and five.
Thank goodness Zambrano’s doctor visit came up negative and any stiffness he was feeling in his neck turned out to be no big deal. We couldn’t take that right now. Dempster and Zambrano need to be patient and wait a little longer for their turn if they plan on packing their bags and booking a trip to the DL this season. Let’s wait for Garza, Wells and Cashner to send their Prosecards and tell us how great their stint was before we get Z and Demp on Travelocity looking up flights and hotels in sunny, warm, tragic DL-land.
Need to clean up the errors in the field and by clean up, I mean stop them. No more. We are too far back now to allow any unearned runs. Let’s make up some ground with quality baseball and then perhaps think about booting ground balls around the infield. At least give us time to get the rights to the Benny Hill theme song and we can make a real show of it one day in late August when we’re battling for first place and we just laugh it off as a fluke as we continue to blow away the teams we face. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) If we are going to help ourselves and pick each other up, a good place to start would be the ground balls. We pick those up and we could put an end to the unearned and earn our pitchers some W’s.
I still hold on to the goal of a 7-2 home stand. Of course, that would require winning the next five. However, we took the Mets series 2-1, so if we do that to Pittsburgh then we get the Astros who are sitting in the basement of the Central. And what team makes the most sense as far as sweeping is concerned? The one in the basement. Ha. Word play.
Wins against the Pirates have been a rarity recently and that needs to stop. Period. I want back in to the days where I could say ‘We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh’ and I’d like to revisit it as such tomorrow. In the meantime, here is something else that is rare. I came across it on-line just searching ‘rare Chicago Cubs film’. Thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share (like the way Pittsburgh hopefully shares the W’s. One for them…one…two for us. Sounds fair. Enjoy the footage). Go Cubs Go!
Nearing the mid-way point of this nine game home stand, next up: the Pittsburgh Pirates. Division games often make the difference at the end of the season. Now is the time to pull away from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Here are your 2011 standings in the NL Central as of today, May 27:
Sitting side by side like Siamese twins sharing the fourth spot in the NL Central, the Cubs and Pirates are both clawing away as best they can to see what the Cards and Reds are up to atop the standings. Hoping the hole they are standing in isn’t made of quicksand, they’ve got their shovels out trying to dig their way out of the hole they dug themselves. Like watching two people doing their best to recover from a slip of the tongue, Cubs fans will be rooting for the Cubs to successfully do so and hope the Pirates end up packing up their things and asking for room in the basement next to the Astros in the basement of the division.
As expected, the Central is turning into a four team race. After this series, one of the two teams will have separated themselves from the other and hopefully it’s the Cubs joining the Brewers, Reds and Cards and not the Pirates. It is so hard to make up ground in this division as we’ve seen recently. Feels like in the past couple weeks, while the Cards have picked up a couple games on us, every time the Cubs win, the Cards win and when we lose, at times they still win. It gets frustrating to win a day game and hope you pick up a game that night, only to watch St. Louis maintain their lead. It’s a tough division, I know, but Pittsburgh, you’re getting a little too clingy. Enough is enough. We need a little space.
The Cards, Reds and Brewers all get to play the Pirates and Astros as many times as we do. Chances are they are going to take care of business. This week is our turn, our shot at winning the games we need to win to contend. Four games over the Astros, we’ve done a good job stiff-arming Houston in the standings.
It’s time to do the same to you, Pittsburgh.
Not too long ago, Pittsburgh might as well have been a difficulty rating of just above an off day or batting practice. A young team fighting desparately to become relevant again after 20+ years of coming up short, they are slowly getting better. Recently, the Pirates are making it a series against the Cubs and at the end of the year, like last year, the Pirates even took the season series between the two of them. Chasing the Cards is one thing. First thing’s first though…we need to pull away from Pittsburgh. We’re trying to achieve something here and you are cramping our style, Pirates.
Doug Davis on the mound tonight. Remember Doug, these are the Pirates. Not the Red Sox. Get the W. Go Cubs Go!
A picture is worth a thousand words…or at least one Jib Jab video. Feel free to play the video above before reading the rest of the post.
What a great game today. Another laugher as the Cubs take two out of three against the Mets to kick off their nine game home stand. If we were allowed to play all nine last night, then perhaps we would have come back and found a way to sweep them. Unfortunately, the rain had other plans and the Mets escape the broom. I believe if we don’t get out of Wrigley with a 7-2 record this week against the Mets, Astros and Pirates, then it’s a giant missed opportunity to make up some ground. If we take the next two series 2-1 that puts us at 6-3 for the week so we’re now going to have to sweep either the ‘Stros or the Pirates. Would love to see that happen.
Zambrano looked great today as he was dominant on the mound and went 3-for-3 at the plate. Is he fun to watch hit, or what? Pena finally defeated the wind and went yard to put the Cubs ahead 2-1 early on and the rest of the team followed suit. Lots of timely hitting and hustle from the youngsters again and it’s fun to see guys like Campana, Castro and Barney make a difference in the line up. Granted, Campana kind of looks like that punk kid that end up in the Bad News Bears sequels after Amanda was no longer pitching, but hey who am I to hold that against him. The kid is a welcome sight. I just can’t believe yet another hurdle has been presented in Colvin’s career with the Cubs. With Campana contributing it may take another outfielder to go down with an injury for Colvin to see the big league stage again any time soon.
The Mets continued their struggling ways at Wrigley as expected. If it wasn’t for an outing by Berg painting the picture of a call that could have been made by fictitious Indians’ broadcaster, Harry Doyle, perhaps the brooms are out of the closet. I’m hoping this wasn’t our best chance at it among the three opponents we’ll see but something tells me it was. Still shooting for that 7-2 at the end of the home stand and hopefully the Cardinals will do their part and lose along the way.
Great series and I’ll be talking about it tonight as a guest on a Mets podcast called Mets Public Record. Looking forward to it.
UPDATED 11:55pm May 26: Here’s the webisode. I come on at the 14:50 mark. Fun chat with the hosts about the Mets/Cubs series. Check it out:
Way to go Cubs. Keep it up. Go Cubs Go! JIB JAB!
Here is a link to Marlon Byrd’s blog in case you aren’t familiar with it, another in the popular MLBlogs community. Marlon’s latest post is a great sign that he’s doing well and will be back in the Cubs’ line-up as soon as possible. Check it out: The Byrd’s Nest
Get well soon, Marlon. Go Cubs Go!
The Cubs were the victim of mother nature tonight as their game against the Mets was cut short. Half way through the top of the seventh inning, the umps finally called for a rain delay and ultimately the ballgame on a soggy night at Wrigley. Quade was pretty upset that his team didn’t at least get to finish the seventh inning down by three runs so he’d have a shot to tie the game. According to Quade, it wasn’t raining any harder when they called for the tarp than it was a couple innings before. Good to see the fire, Quade. Keep it up.
So, Thursday is now the rubber match between the two clubs and I like our chances with Zambrano on the mound. The Mets got lucky tonight as Berg had a meltdown of epic proportions. His fastballs looked like Steve from Blue’s Clues, wondering hopelessly unable to find it’s target no matter how much the people watching yelled at him to locate the strike zone. It was an ugly scene, hopefully one he can shake off while he’s still with the club. Coleman also had a miserable outing. Unfortunately that’s what we get with three of our five starters out with injuries. You have to hope the replacements can step up and if they can’t, you have to hope you at least get your nine innings to make up for their poor performance. Neither happened tonight and now the three game series is tied at one game a piece.
To make up for the lost baseball this evening, here is a video of an old home run derby between two retired numbers between the Cubs and Mets organizations respectively. Ernie Banks and Gil Hodges. You have to love having this kind of access to old-school baseball moments in history. Enjoy…and Go Cubs Go!
We got the Mets at exactly the right time. They are low on talent. Low on pitching. Low on ‘superstars’. And perhaps the most important one of all…low on morale.
Yesterday’s game was a laugher. It was the perfect way to kick off the nine game home stand, a crucial one for the Cubs. That second inning was a beast. The Cubs got on base and got on base and got on base unlike no other game I remember. We were relentless and it was somewhat refreshing. RISP you say? No problem. WHAM…a single. BOOM…a two RBI double. The hits piled up and the runs were doing their best to keep up.
The Mets had no shot of keeping up with the Cubs yesterday. It was as if the offense timed itself with the ivy. Both were seemingly in full bloom and looked spectacular. Dempster got his legs under himself after the first inning and then cozied up in the warm nook of a five run lead after two, never to look back. The need of this team that stood out the most immediately resulted in stand out players. With guys down like Soto, Byrd and Baker, we need these young kids to step up and make a difference. Maybe Pena reminded them of what it was like to have a dominant young force in Tampa Bay a few years back. These kids put on a show and it was fun to watch. Heck, even Soriano, Ramirez and Hill joined in on the fun. Aside from Quade giving Castro an earful after a baserunning error, the team was nearly perfect yesterday.
The Mets? Not so much.
In many ways, these two teams are very much alike. Many injuries and poor positioning in the standings. Yet in many ways, they are very different. The key one being morale. After the weekend series against the Red Sox, losing two of three plus their lone All-Star of last year and a strong number 3 in the rotation, you would imagine the team’s morale being extremely low. However, that kind of low morale isn’t the same type of low morale the Mets are experiencing.
Injury and tough loss morale is much different compared to ‘jerk boss’ morale. The Mets are suffering from Jerk Boss morale. Have you ever had a jerk boss? I have. Not only does having an abusive boss make doing your job more difficult, it makes it very hard for you to even want to. Nothing says stick it to the old guy with the ‘nothing-but-sh*tty-things-to-say’ attitude like an 11-1 loss. You think we stink? Alright fine, we stink. Now are you happy? William Shea must be turning in his grave watching this organization implode.
Shea fought to bring a National League ballclub to New York after the Dodgers left in ’57. He threatend MLB with an additional professional baseball league called the Continental League. Afraid of competition, MLB gave in and gave NY one of two new teams in the expansion (the Astros being the other who were then the Colt .45s). He poured his heart and soul into the effort and the team named their second home after him. First home: Polo Grounds. Second home: Shea Stadium. Nowadays, the Shea Bridge that leads to concession stands in the outfield is named after him at Citi Field. I’m starting to think he must be thinking thanks but no thanks after watching what Wilpon has done to his beloved team.
The Mets are in trouble in more ways than one and luckily, we have them right where we want them. Losing 11-1 is no way to defeat a low morale problem and here they are, in our home at a disadvantage being on the road. We need to keep pounding them and be sure to sweep.
The Astros and Pirates are must win series as well and I expect us to. However, this Mets series is a different kind of opportunity. These guys are as low as it gets. It’s time to step on the gas as Keith likes to say and keep the runs piling up. (Maybe not by putting one of our only two starting pitchers out there to pinch hit – Quade, I understand guys like to have fun and it probably will help morale overall but- please be careful with Zambrano and Dempster. They are the only two quality, healthy starters we have left).
Another night game tonight against the Mets. Gee v. Coleman. Coleman took advantage of a friendly atmosphere in Florida to start turning his season around. Tonight, the Mets will provide another great opportunity. Go Cubs Go!
It’s official. The Cubs sent Matt Garza to the DL today to hang out with the rest of the Cubs potential All-Stars: Byrd and Soto, Pitchers: Wells, Cashner and 2011’s Mark DeRosa: Jeff Baker. Wow, this is a lot to be up against when trying to make up ground in the Central. It seems like every day that passes, you hear about a Cubs injury and then as soon as you accept it and move on, convincing yourself all will be well with the Cub world and we’re back on track regardless, the DL Land Shark comes a’knockin’ at the door again! Well, I say ENOUGH with the ‘candygrams’.
I believe in Quade and what he can pull out of a hat with this team, but come on. The man needs his pieces! The Garza listing is a real blow to the already patchwork quilt of a line-up/rotation Quade is continually forced to put together. I know Cubs fans must be concerned. Am I right? Do all of these injuries to your favorite ballplayers have you down in the Demps, er dumps?
Better to laugh about it than cry!
Here are some videos I thought might lift Cubs fans spirits while browsing the DL. All of them involve something with great potential unexpectedly hurt by non-sense or absolute catastrophy. Sound familiar?
In a season constantly interrupted by chaos and roughly 50% of the games going essentially win, lose, win lose…I think these are perfect for a laugh and to symbolize the up and down nature of the team’s health during the 2011 season. Especially the second video. Every time they react to a Michael Bolton interruption it looks and sounds a lot like I do when I hear about another injury to a Cubs player. You’re welcome. Mets/Cubs tonight. Can’t wait.
Go Cubs Go!
Tonight kicks off a nine game home stand for the Cubs and we sure could use some good news at the end of it.
Against three of the lowest representations of major league talent the league has to offer, the Mets, Astros and Pirates come into Wrigley this week for three games a piece. Are they catching the Cubs at a good time? Absolutely. The injury list up to this point of the season tallies up key losses: Wells, Cashner, Soto, Garza, Byrd and Baker. All of them were supposed to contribute an extreme amount to the Cubs drive to a winning season. And now? None of them more than likely, will be available for any of the three series.
Their replacements? Russell, Davis, Coleman, Castillo, Hill, DeWitt, Johnson and for however brief a period of time, Montanez.
Talk about a needing your bench and back up guys to step up and play hero for a stretch of time. The Cubs came into 2011 with a starting rotation of three solid starters and then two guys we were hoping we’d have at least .500 records from come the end of the season. Dempster was about to get his turn in the ‘let me be the ace’ rotation that he’s taken a back seat previous years to guys like Lilly and Zambrano. Zambrano came off as a bigger head case than Mr. Potato Head last season and no one was really sure what to expect in 2011. Sure his second half of 2010 was impressive, but it had to be in order to help make you forget about the first half. Garza came in like the hot girlfriend that moves into your place that you think it’s good idea to have her around and you think there’s great potential. Thing is, she’ll only move in if you get rid of a bunch of your stuff. Some of those things are harder to let go of than others but you give it a shot because hey…this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. And then there was Wells and Cashner. Wells treated us to a ‘See’ season in 2009 and then the frightening ‘Saw’ season in 2010. Unsure of where 2011 was headed after Spring Training, he earned the number four spot in the rotation after doing enough in the pre-season. Same with Cashner who essentially stepped up long enough to yell ‘shotgun’ to get the five spot considering the other possibilities had stat lines in Spring that yelled ‘not it’.
It wasn’t but two weeks into the season and Wells and Cashner were gone leaving only what turned out to be a shaky Demp and high in the ERA, low in the crazy Zambrano (which yes, we’ll take if it leads to wins yet may not be as entertaining). Garza has put up an impressive amount of strike outs however they haven’t translated into too many wins on the days he pitches. And NOW, Garza is out with tightness in his throwing arm, his elbow concern pulling him from the series finale at Fenway. I feel like if we had Garza on Sunday, we would have taken the series against the Sox and team would feel great heading back to Wrigley for this homestand.
However, we didn’t have him. We didn’t win the series and on top of it all…while our pitching became furhter comprimized, our line-up took some shots as well. One of them literally, as Byrd took a fastball to his left eye socket and is out indefinitely. The other being Baker who pulled up lame turning a shot to the wall in Boston into a double (capped off with an injury induced, ugliest slide I think I’ve ever seen).
The players that are on the DL were key pieces in Quade’s plan for success. He now must make due with a make shift line up of bench players and spot starters. The team needs help and they can only look to their bench and their bullpen. No one else is going to get it done. They have to step up and help each other out until the expected superstars of the team get back.
The good thing for this week is, the opponents are in a similar position. The Mets have what they were pitching as superstars in their pre-season ticket sales push, only in recent days their owner has come out and trashed the faces of the franchise. Wilpon said that Reyes is essentially an injury waiting to happen that will never get star money, that Wright has a nice smile and an ok back of a baseball card but is no ‘superstar’ and while they have to pay Beltran 100% of the money due to him, he’s only offering 60-75% of his former self day in and day out because he’s simply not the talent he once was. They have suffered injuries in the rotation and made up for it by signing arms from the land of misfit pitchers hoping for the best. This team is in no better shape than the Cubs, especially with key players like Wright, Santana, Pagan and Ike Davis on the shelf with injuries. They too are looking for help from within.
The Astros are struggling and holding down the fort they’re having fun building in the basement of the NL Central and surprisingly, the Pirates of all teams will probably end up being the toughest team we face on the homestand. I still can’t believe we are behind them in the standings. At the end of the day though, they are still the Pirates and they can always use all the help they can get.
I believe we are still at a slight advantage given the talent we have as backups and the fact that we’re at home for these games. I expect a record of 7-2. Anything less than that will be a missed opportunity to make up some ground this week in the Central (as long as the Cards cooperate of course). To play us out, I submit this tune as the soundtrack of the upcoming nine game homestand. Enjoy…and Go Cubs Go!
Today’s Prosecard from Cubs Nation is from Christopher Petersen! We’re all in this thing together…might as well get to know one another! If you’d like to be interviewed and featured here in a Prosecard, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you questions to answer. That and a photo and you are good to go!
Big week coming up with a nine game homestand against the Mets, Astros and Pirates. Would love to see us go 9-0. It’d be tough, but against these three troubled franchises, anything is possible. I’m sure Christopher would agree.
Here is his Prosecard from Cubs Nation…check it out!
Name: Christopher Petersen
Prose and Ivy: Why are the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?
Christopher Petersen: My best friend in grade school was a huge baseball fan in general and a Cubs fan specifically. So, although I liked watching the games already, he sort of solidified me as a Cubs fan. When I was seven years old in 1984, I wasn’t fully aware of what I was in for. But I got into watching the games, and I became fascinated with listening to Harry call a game. Even as a kid, I knew he wasn’t doing the greatest job, but it always sounded like he was having fun, so it was fun. Being a Cubs fan also sort of fits my personality a bit, because I hope for the best but prepare for the worst with pretty much everything.
P&I: Who is your all-time favorite Cub?
CP: I grew up as a huge fan of Sandberg/Grace/Dawson, but as I learned more about the team I came to truly appreciate Fergie Jenkins. His accomplishments, especially in terms of his durability and complete games, seem almost mythical today when you compare them to modern pitchers who can’t stay healthy for an entire season, even with pitch count restrictions and modern conditioning. But Dawson would have to be my all-time favorite simply because of the legend of the blank check. To see a guy express as much appreciation for the team as a player as you do as a fan, it’s something rare. He knew how fortunate he was to play baseball for a living, and he let the fans know how much he appreciated their support.
P&I: Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster?
CP: I’ve always been a staunch supporter of Carlos Zambrano, even when I know I probably shouldn’t be. He’s a big fat crazy idiot, and I see some of myself in that because I myself am a big fat crazy idiot.
P&I: The Cubs are wearing patches with the number 10 on them this season in honor of former Cub player/broadcaster, Ron Santo. What is your favorite memory of Santo?
CP: I was born too late to ever see Ronnie play, but on the radio he was a truly unique figure. There’s no doubt that he wasn’t the most polished broadcaster, but he was always entertaining. My favorite memory was of a game in 2008 against the Dodgers. The Cubs had built up a mostly comfortable lead before a series of soft hits brought L.A. back into the game. Ron had been growing more and more agitated with each Dodger run, and when the last bloop single hit the outfield grass, he just started shouting “WHY? WHY? WHY?” It’s become a go-to expression of anguish for my wife and I since then. Ron had a way of making every game the most important game of the year, which was emotionally exhausting at times as a fan, but you knew he was always sincere. And that’s more than you can say for a lot of broadcasters.
P&I: Would you rather be in attendance to see a regular season perfect game thrown at Wrigley or a playoff walk-off home run?
CP: Now, this question feels like a trick, because a regular season perfect game at Wrigley could technically be thrown by an opposing pitcher. I have a feeling that if I said “perfect game,” I would get to my seat and have to watch the Cubs get blown away by Wandy Rodriguez or something equally humiliating. The playoff game is more important anyway, so I’m going with the walkoff homer.
P&I: The Cubs marketing department comes to you, asking for ideas for a new slogan for the 2011 Cubs. List three or four ideas you would suggest.
CP: Yikes. Okay. I guess I would try to play up the youth factor of the team, with Castro/Colvin/Cashner/Barney/Wells etc., so let’s see…
“The future begins today.”
“Enjoy your Old Style, because legally these guys can’t.”
“Your 2011 Chicago Cubs: None of them were born before ‘Star Wars’ came out.”
P&I: What is your favorite Cubs game of all-time? Why?
CP:That’s a difficult one to answer – to me every win feels just as good as the next and every loss feels just as bad. I guess the one that sticks out most in my mind was one from 1992, the game against the Cards where Jim Bullinger homered in his very first major-league at-bat. It sticks out to me because it was such a bizarre, random occurrence – the kind of thing that only happens in baseball.
P&I: If you could change one thing about Wrigley what would it be? If you fought to keep one thing the same, what would it be?
CP: I’d really like to see the park modernized to a certain extent. I know that’s practically heresy to a lot of people, but when you understand just how outdated the players’ facilities are, you have to feel like they’re at something of a disadvantage. I want the Cubs to get clubhouses and training facilities as good or better than the best in the majors – because it can’t be easy to break a century-long drought when your home is practically as old. Obviously, I’d like Wrigley to maintain as much of its charm as possible, but the priority should be making the ballclub into a champion. As for what I want to keep the same, I want the Cubs to stay at Clark and Addison. Being in the middle of a neighborhood is what makes the ballpark unique in the majors, and I can’t imagine going to a Cubs game in the middle of a gigantic parking lot.
P&I: You’re assembling the greatest Cubs rotation in history. Who are the five pitchers you would select and why?
CP: Working backwards through time:
P&I: Sammy Sosa hasn’t worn a Cubs uniform in years. As a fan, what are your feelings regarding Sammy Sosa as of today? Are they different than they were when he was a Cub?
CP: I look at Sammy the way you would look at a crazy ex-girlfriend. You had a ton of fun while you were together, even though you knew in the back of your mind that something wasn’t right. Now that it’s over, you look back and realize you weren’t in the right frame of mind at the time.
P&I: Which season did you feel was actually going to be ‘the year’? One more than any other and why?
CP: I try not to get too excited at the start of any season, regardless of how good the team looks on paper. This helped me out immensely in 2009 as that whole thing crashed and burned. I’d have to say 2003 just felt differently, up until those last two terrible days. There were reasons to feel confident, even after Game 6 happened. You still had Kerry Wood pitching Game 7. There was no reason to panic, even though every fiber of your being as a Cubs fan was wracked with anxiety. But then, it all fell apart anyway. Oh well. O-blah-dee, o-blah-dah, and all that nonsense.
P&I: The Cubs have won the World Series. You are writing the headline for the next day. How would you have it read? Three or four examples would be great.
CP: “IT HAPPENED”
“HELL’S WEATHER: FROSTY”
“YOU’RE NOT DREAMING”
P&I: How do you plan on celebrating a Cubs World Series victory if we are lucky enough to have it happen in our life time. What would you do?
CP: If I do see the Cubs win the World Series, it will certainly be one of the happiest moments of my life, but other than an immense feeling of relief it won’t really change anything. I’d celebrate by having a few drinks with my friends, taking my wife out to dinner, then probably hanging my “W” flag outside my house for the rest of the year. Then, once the next season starts, I’d roll it up and put it away until the next time they win the World Series.
Thanks Christopher…Go Cubs Go!
The image of the baseball hitting Marlon Byrd in the face is one I am having a hard time shaking off. The second image, the one of him thrashing around home plate on the ground from the pain is even more disturbing.
Marlon Byrd is the type of player that can carry a team when he’s on a hot streak. When his bat hasn’t quite hit it’s stride, he’s still a Cub that is fun to watch because you can tell he takes pride in being here and playing for Cubs fans. To see interact with the fans in the bleachers at Wrigley is one of the hidden gems of the Wrigley Field experience. The friendly jabs back and forth. The willing conversations with kids and adults alike. The dancing, the pointing, the smiling. Marlon Byrd is possibly the most likable player on the team which is what makes this injury all the harder to take.
I wouldn’t wish getting hit in the face with a fastball on any baseball player. Not a player I dislike and of course certainly not one I root for on a regular basis. The league is doing more to test out new helmets to help with preventing concussions that occur as a result of beanballs. Thing is, when you are unable to get out of the way and one of those pitches catches you in the face…not a whole lot you can do about it except go down hard and hope for the best.
Think about the highlights you’ve seen on Sportscenter…all the times you’ve seen them play that disturbingly loud PLUNK sound of a baseball hitting a batting helmet. You’ve seen the concern of players in the field and teammates in the dugout when they show those shots. Of course, they generally show the reaction once and the plunking about 30 times in a row. To see the concern on those players when a beanball happens off a batting helmet is one thing. You know it’s a big deal when players on the other team have looks on their faces like Youkalis did for the Sox. He looked absolutely horrified and rightfully so. Regardless of which uniform he is wearing, no player wants to see another player take a fastball to the face. And if they are concerned, players who have ‘seen it all’, then you know it is something to be concerned about.
As soon as it happened I thought of the scary episode baseball experienced earlier this year with Atlanta Braves minor leagues manager, Luis Salazar getting hit in the head with a foul ball and then slamming his head to the ground on his fall afterwards. He has lost the eye and his life will never be the same. Coaching like that can’t be easy…it would be impossible to play. My number one concern is Byrd’s health and vision. Number two would be his ability to play. When you start to talk about injuries to the head, you can’t mess around or take it lightly. The Cubs need to take this very seriously and take care of Byrd. He is an important part of the line up and fabric of this team however they must not rush him back…if coming back is an option at all.
Nothing would be sadder than to see a player in his prime, loving playing for the Cubs, have his career cut short because of this type of play. The head is just such an intense opportunity for brain and vision injuries, maybe the league needs to go even further to protect their players. Facemasks? I don’t know, not necessarily…but maybe.
My friend, Paulie Malignaggi, is a professional boxer. He fought the fight of his life at Madison Square Garden a few years back against a real brawler. It was a title match against the very talented and very strong Miguel Cotto. I produced a documentary of his training leading up to the fight and then we were there filming on fight night. Paulie performed to his best ability and made us all proud of him. While he did not win, he was impressive in defeat. I couldn’t believe he went the distance considering in the third round, he broke the orbital bone on the left side of his face (the bone below the eye/lower part of the eye socket). I couldn’t imagine the pain he must have been in and was concerned for his well-being, his career and his vision.
Luckily, Paulie healed and went on to continue his boxing career. Sometimes though, athletes can endure the same type of injury and not come out of it as lucky.
This Red Sox/Cubs series is something I’ve looked forward to because I predicted Cubs/Red Sox in the 2011 World Series. Game one was exciting until it turned into a giant blow-out loss. Game 2 was more fun as we ran off an 8-run 8th inning. Thing is, the game 2 success was greatly affected by the fact that one of our Cubs went down with a serious injury earlier in the game. Perhaps it’s because I have first hand experience with an injury like this, knowing someone who has suffered facial fractures/broken bones around the eye. I know how serious it can be and maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time shaking the Byrd injury off.
I can’t wait to hear an update and I very much so hope Byrd is okay. I realize he is a baseball player and not a boxer. It’s not like it was ten rounds of continuously getting hit in the face with a fastball. One shot, that was all. But to think about seeing the pitch hit him in the face and then him flailing in pain on the ground…a concussion would be one thing and I believe the team will handle his injury well and look out for Byrd’s health. As of right now, his vision is my real concern and I’m hoping for good news about his condition soon. Even more so than a Cubs win this evening.
Hoping for the best re: Byrd and that his teammates will one for him tonight. Would be a great start to what could be a long road back to the playing field for Marlon. Go Cubs Go.
Before this weekend’s series at Fenway Park, the last time the Cubs appeared in a game that mattered there was 1918. It was the World Series and as the result of a shortened season due to the world being at war, the two teams at the top of their divisions were selected to play for the championship.
Those teams were of course, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs.
1918 is a Series that ended up in the W column for the team from Beantown. That year would haunt them for 86 years until their next championship. Yankees fans would chant NINE-TEEN EIGHT-TEEN at the Red Sox year after year as they would meet their AL East division rivals in the playoffs in what felt like every single year (although realistically that was not the case). The Cubs on the other hand, are still waiting to capture their ‘next’ title and the last one occurred 10 years before the 1918 Series. In a decade that featured arguably the best Cubs teams of all-time, they would unfortunately come up short (possibly to their own accord, according to documents recently released) and the memories they would have of Fenway Park were not exactly fond ones.
93 years later, a Cubs team would finally step back into Fenway Park for games that counted. Not playoff games mind you (although I do predict that’s how 2011 will play out). A weekend series that has the entire MLB fan base watching primetime matchups between two of the most storied franchises in the game. It’s definitely a series I’ve kept my eye on since the schedule was released and I was // this close to heading to Boston this weekend to take a game or to in, in person. As it is, while Wrigley Field is the best place to watch a baseball game, arguably, Fenway Park is the second best (and some fans would even flip flop those two). The two oldest ballparks in the major leagues, it’s amazing how high they rank in the eyes of baseball fans. The casual fan would think that the newer parks featuring all kinds of replica throwback feel plus the technology and comfort of modern day would be the favorites of fans. However, as it turns out, while some of the newer amenities are nice, the replica throwback effort often comes across as trying too hard and nothing can match the true feeling you get when you walk into the real deal.
Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, while receiving slight updates and additional seats over the years since the 1918 match up, are still the truth when it comes to our favorite past time. They provide fans with a home to celebrate their team game in and game out and the opportunity to relish in the history of their beloved franchises as it surrounds them inside the ballpark every where you look. There is no need to reference a key part of the stadium or the field where something amazing or magnificent happened throughout the years. No need for pictures or museums. Whatever is there to celebrate the past is simply by choice, not be necessity. All of the areas of the ballparks where those special moments occurred are still there, right in front of you, getting groomed and prepped by the grounds crews each and every season.
The two parks are special in that way and nothing else in the league is, can or will ever be quite as magical as them.
The 1918 Series is something the two teams have in common. The fact that their ballparks are such true relics to the history of the game is certainly another.
I was sent a review copy of a book called ‘Remembering Fenway Park – An oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox’. It’s a great book and I wish they did one for Wrigley Field.
My favorite thing about the book is the way it manages to cover the history of the park from both the inside and out. What I mean by that is, not the outer walls and inside of the park, but the way it reviews the history of the stadium as an observer in addition to the quote, emotions, memories and thoughts shared by former Red Sox players who played many, many games at Fenway. With a foreword by Johnny Pesky, immediately you are taken to a place that gives instant credibility to the author. The stories told by the players give you an inside look as to what it is to be a Boston Red Sox player and the images that accompany it are spectacular.
Williams, Fisk, Ramirez, Rice, Clemens…they are all here. The book takes you decade by decade, year by year breaking down what the atmosphere was like around Boston at the time. It paints a picture as to what the pulse of the nation felt like and how it affected the league as time went by. It’s hilarious to see the old park in it’s youth and the types of ads that are around the stadium (apparently shaving blades were a very hot commodity in the early 1900’s and the companies that made them were willing to shell out dough to get their razor known around Fenway…also a razor with two blades was a big deal back then…what are we up to, like seven blades by now?)
Some of my favorite images are those of the spectators. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to wearing suits and fedoras to the ballpark. They say what’s old will be back and become new again.
To see Fenway Park expand throughout the book is also a very interesting aspect. It is like a time capsule reference of the business plan blueprint the organization took throughout the years. How to make more money…where to put more seats…how to get more people to the ballpark. Baseball is a beautiful game with it’s measurements from mound to plate and from base to base. However, while the talent on the field is a spectacle to behold, the game is also a business. The owners of the team throughout the years clearly understood this and it’s fascinating to see them maintain the honor and reputation of the park as a landmark of the sport while still finding places to build here and change there to increase the seating capacity. If they had made mistakes or errors along the way, they’d still be selling out to large numbers, however, fans wouldn’t feel the same way they do about the ballpark.
Opening Day line ups of the teams throughout the years from 1912-2009 is also a great resource in watching the team develop like an amoeba. Young stars come up to the league early in the book and you watch their careers develop until they leave you as a respected, beloved veteran at the end of their careers. This happens constantly and it is also an interesting way to see how the Red Sox have handled the ballclub throughout the years. Who did they keep? Who did they trade? Who did they sign? It’s a record of nearly 100 years of business decisions that have made the Red Sox the team they are today and Fenway Park the stadium we all know and respect.
Wrigley Field deserves this type of treatment. I know that there are NUMEROUS books out there about the history of Wrigley Field and many of them are quite good. However, aside from no World Series title reference next to the year 1918 in the book and the dates listed as 1912-2010 (which I feel gives the impression that Fenway closed in 2010…I maybe would have listed it as ‘Since 1912’ or something to that effect), the author, Harvey Frommer, does it right. If he already has encapsulated the history of Wrigley Field, then I want someone to tell me where I can get it. If he hasn’t, then let this be my official ask that he do so.
Baseball fans will love this book even if they are not Red Sox fans. I would encourage you to find it, buy it and enjoy.
Rubber band match tonight. Cubs at Red Sox. One more game that matters in the books for 2011 at Fenway Park tonight on Sunday Night Baseball. Garza is out with tightness in his shoulder. Byrd still hospitalized from being hit in the face with an Acevedes pitch. While my thoughts are with Byrd and I hope for GREAT news as far as he’s concerned and I wish Garza could represent us in this third game against the Sox, it will be fun to see one more game against the Sox at Fenway……and I hope we get seven more this post-season. Only this time, I want the Cubs to walk away with the title and I want to be there. That’s how I’d like to remember Fenway Park.
Go Cubs Go!
For the first time since 1918, the Chicago Cubs will be visiting historic Fenway Park.
At that time, the two teams were facing each other in the World Series. A time before curses. A long time before blogs, MLB Network and 24 hour sports radio/television. What was at stake may have been greater back then, but there will definitely be more people watching this time around.
Back in 1918, players weren’t paid more than about $5,000/year and World Series championship bonus could run up to 20% of that total. With no guarantee of winning, there are rumors that players were willing to throw away a shot at a title and bonus money for the guaranteed payday that came along with throwing the Series. The Red Sox won the World Series and lately, people have questioned whether the Cubs handed it to them on a silver slugger plate.
I like to think that they didn’t. I like to think the corruption started in 1919 with the White Sox and the Black Sox scandal. The book/film, Eight Men Out fascinated me when I first came across them and the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson, made famous in the film ‘Field of Dreams’ was one I was infatuated with for a while (still am today). How could anyone throw away the opportunity to win the World Series? I suppose now that I have a family of my own, I can understand the pressure to provide. I also know what it is to feel unfairly treated by an employer who is making millions. Considering the way owners treated players back then, as much as I’d like to believe it wasn’t the case, it’s hard to say the Cubs didn’t possibly contribute to the Red Sox success that Series.
This upcoming weekend series at Fenway, it’s just that. A series. Not a Series.
Nonetheless, the fact that it’s been nearly 100 years since the Cubs played at Fenway against the Red Sox (the Sox have visited Wrigley in a regular season inter-league game since) is a big deal and all eyes will be on Fenway Fri-Sun night. I wanted to get tickets and drive up to the old ballpark but it wasn’t in the cards. Regardless, I can’t wait to see this showdown.
You think a stretch against the Reds, Cardinals and Giants is a true test of where the team stands? Try facing the Boston Red Sox. After a slow start they are starting to fire on all cylinders. The favorite selected by many to win it all in the pre-season, individually and as a team are now hitting their stride. Once buried in the depths of talent in the AL East, the Sox are scratching their way back to the top of the standings, an effort I’d like to see come from the Cubs after their own slow start this season.
Two games against the Marlins in Miami is a great appetizer and a wonderful opportunity to finally get some sun and warm up a bit. However, the Marlins are no Red Sox and their ballpark is no Fenway. As excited as we are as Cubs fans for this weekend, you’d have to imagine the Sox fans are looking forward to it just as much. To experience the historic match-up and possibly to cheer their team on to victory and spoil the visit once again for the Chicago Cubs 93 years later.
Interleague play has opened up the opportunity for these types of match-ups, these types of tests for the club during the regular season. Considering I picked the Cubs over the Red Sox this year, this is one three game set I am very much in particular interested in seeing play out. Hopefully, it does so in the Cubs favor.
What happened in 1918 has no bearing on what will happen this weekend. It was merely a blip on the radar throughout the century-plus long title drought by the Cubs. However, if in fact something dirty did go down 93 years ago in that Series now being questioned by fans across the baseball landscape…then this series would be a great opportunity to redirect the focus where it needs to be and where it deserves to be.
All eyes will be on Fenway Park this weekend. Fenway Park is no Wrigley Field. Let’s ship up to Boston and show those Red Sox that they in fact are no Chicago Cubs. Get ready Bah-ston. We’re looking to sweep. Go Cubs Go!
One of my favorite Prose features is the Cubs fan interview series I do called “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”. It’s always fun to hear more about why different fans root for the Cubs and how they would react in hypothetical situations regarding their favorite baseball team. Whether it’s someone I meet at a game, or someone I meet on Twitter or some other social media site…it’s always fun to have a chance to learn more about a fellow Cubs fan.
Today’s Prosecard is with Christin Haws, otherwise known as @kikiwrites on Twitter. Check out what she has to say about loving the Cubs and the fight they are showing this season. If you want to be interviewed for a feature Prosecard, simply email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you some questions!
And now…Cubs fan extraordinaire, Christin Haws!
Name: Christin Haws, KikiWrites if you’re on Twitter.
PROSE AND IVY: Why are the Cubs your favorite baseball team?
CHRISTIN HAWS: It’s because of my mother. She shook off her Cardinal fan upbringing and switched sides in a fit of rebellion and chose to raise her children in Cubbie blue.
Actually, it was less deliberate than that. Mom watched/listened to Cubs games (she was brought up in a Cardinals household, but was never much of a fan) and I watched/listened with her. And so, at that impressionable young age, the seeds of love were planted. Now, twenty-some years later, I can’t imagine NOT rooting for the Cubs. They’re my home base.
P&I: Who is your favorite Cub of all-time?
CH: I hate the “favorite” questions because I’m always changing my mind, but in this case I can say with a fair amount of certainty that it’s Andre Dawson. I think the fact that we both played right field and wore number 8 at the same time during my youth sealed the deal. However, Doug Dascenzo will always be my favorite position player pitcher.
P&I: Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster?
CH: Ryan Dempster now that Ted Lilly is gone. Not that I mean to have Demp play second fiddle to Teddy. I love Demp as a pitcher and a person. He makes no excuses when he does poorly and gives away all the credit when he does well. I like watching him pitch because when he has it, it’s awesome, and when he doesn’t have it, he’ll do whatever it takes to find it. Lilly had the upperhand in my favoritism when he was on the team because he’s left-handed. I’m curiously biased like that.
P&I: What is your favorite thing about Wrigley Field and what would be the first thing you would change?
CH: My favorite thing about Wrigley is the feeling I get when I first see the field. It’s the warm, fuzzy, excited rush of YAY CUBS! No other field can do it to me like that. Oh, baby.
As for changes, aside from moving it closer to my house (that’s more my problem than Wrigley’s; six hour round trips make for long days) and upgrading the player facilities so they can be more comfortable and competitive, I’d like a designated section of the bleachers for the frat party. If you’re just there to drink, you sit there so you don’t bother the people who are there to watch the game. And any home run hit into that section is immediately recovered and given to a fan who knows the inning, score, and/or name of the opposing team.
P&I: What former Cub deserves a statue on Wrigley the most out of all the Cubs that either don’t have one or don’t have one planned already? Why?
CH: Unless there’s something in the works that I haven’t heard about, I say Fergie Jenkins. Ernie Banks and Billy Williams have theirs and Ron Santo is getting his, all rightfully so, but I include Fergie in that group of guys. I’d like the complete set.
P&I: If someone asked you ‘what is it like to be a Cubs fan?’ what would your reply be?
CH: I’d tell them that it’s just like being a fan of any other team except that the insult bullseye on your back is bigger, the World Series drought jokes are staler, and the fan base is so polarized between delusional optimists and suicidal pessimists that you sometimes feel like there’s no happy medium. Other than that, it’s totally typical.
P&I: The Cardinals call and ask for a trade of Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Carlos Pena and Carlos Marmol for Albert Pujols. Do you make the deal? Why or why not?
CH: No deal. Pujols is a fantastic player, of this there is no doubt. But I’ve always been big on TEAMS, not just one star guy. I’d rather take my chances with the four than pin all of my hopes on one.
P&I: Which Cubs player would you most like to join Twitter so you could hear their random thoughts on a 24 hour basis?
CH: Koyie Hill. Last season the guy said he had one more home run than a dead man. Clearly, he needs to be sharing thoughts like this on a regular basis.
P&I: Ronnie Woo-Woo approaches you and reveals his biggest secret. He can make a World Series championship happen for the Cubs (he knows a guy) but in order for him to do so, the Cubs would have to give up Wrigley Field the season prior. The WS championship would happen in the first year of the new stadium. Deal, or no deal?
CH: No deal. First of all, the romantic in me wants the World Series won in Wrigley. Second of all, I’m not selling my soul (or any part of me) to Ronnie Woo-Woo. Lastly, it’s Ronnie Woo-Woo. There’s no guarantee I’d hang around long enough to hear his whole spiel.
P&I: How do you plan on celebrating the Cubs next World Series title?
CH: Ideally, I’d celebrate in Chicago, living it up and partying down with my fellow Cubs fans. It’s been a long time coming. That party promises to be epic. I’d take my mom so we could celebrate, at least a little bit, together. She is the reason I’m a Cubs fan, after all.
Realistically, however, I’ll probably have to work the next day, so whatever celebrating I could manage would be delayed until my day off. Or I’d call in sick. For several days.
P&I: What was your first impression when they announced the BP Crosstown Cup?
CH: I had a moment of cynacism and thought, “Great. Another way for White Sox fans to be insufferable.”
P&I: What is your prediction for the 2011 Cubs?
CH: I think because everyone has set the bar so low, they’re going to do better than anticipated. They’re going to have a good year. Maybe not a championship year, but it’ll be good. I think they’re going to end up being a fun team to watch. Not because they’ll win all the time (though I do hope they win a lot), but because they’re actually playing like a team. They’ve got fight this year. I love that.
Lots of updating still left be done to the site now that MLBlogs has switched over to WordPress, but so far so good.
Interested to hear what you guys think of the new look.
Still importing videos and images that were on the site before that apparently are still held up in WordPress customs. When I first logged on after the switch it looked like Prose and Ivy had been sent through an Etch-a-Sketch. Now, it’s starting to come together but would love to hear your thoughts.
One thing that will be posted to the site this week that I couldnt’ get up last week because of the construction is a bunch of fan Prosecards from Cubs Nation interviews I conducted a few weeks ago. I received some great answers from a number of fans and I look forward to sharing them with you here.
A post regarding my recent trip to Wrigley will be up soon as well including photos. I already miss the old layout of my site, but I’m coming around to building the new look. One thing I’ll be changing soon I think is the author photo. I made it the same one I use on Twitter for continuity, but I have some nice shots from Wrigley that I think would up the Cubs feel a bit and suit the ‘gravatar’ needs quite nicely.
Lots more Prose and Ivy Cubs coverage is on the way, starting today! Thanks for hanging in there while the site platform was under construction this past week…site has a new look, but I’ll be continuing to give you strong Cubs content as best I know how.
Go Cubs Go!
I will be posting a photo-filled, complete recap of my recent trip to Chicago in the next few days. Until I am able to do so, I wanted to let you know about an important event paying tribute to Ron Santo by the JDRF coming up at Wrigley Field on May 19th.
If you had asked Ron Santo what he wanted out of life, his answer would have definitely included two things. A World Series championship for the Chicago Cubs. A cure for diabetes. And not necessarily in that order.
To the youngest Cubs fan, Santo was the voice they heard on the radio, doing color commentary for their favorite baseball team. A Cubs legend, according to stories their elders have told them and what they’ve seen in the books they’ve read.
To the oldest Cubs fan, Santo is not only a name that brings up memories of entertaining broadcasts from an announcer with perhaps an even greater passion for the game and Cubs than all Cubs fans combined. His name also sparks recollection of great moments in Cubs history and the back of a baseball card that puts Santo among the greatest third basemen to ever wear a Cubs uniform.
Perhaps most powerful of all, hearing the name ‘Ron Santo’ also conjures up the moment they realized that the player they’ve made an argument for Hall of Fame induction for so long, not only performed at that level against expected odds such as weather, talented opposing pitching, a day game home schedule and the grueling toll a season of professional baseball takes on an athlete.
He also performed at that level while battling an unseen foe. Santo accomplished it all while battling diabetes.
Santo did all that he possibly could to push the Cubs towards greatness including injecting himself with insulin during ballgames when necessary and pushing his body to the limit. He wanted to be part of the team that ended the Cubs drought and brought a championship to the city of Chicago. And if he wasn’t going to be in uniform when it finally happened, he was going to be in the broadcast booth.
He also worked hard off the field, perhaps even harder, at helping foundations such as JDRF fund research in an effort to find a cure for diabetes.
The Cubs got behind Santo’s effort to find a cure very heavily in 1989 when Santo joined the WGN broadcasting team. You hear the name Santo, you think Cubs. You hear Cubs, you think Santo. You hear the name Santo, also think diabetes. The Cubs know that and know what Santo gave to this organization on the field and in the booth. There was no way they wouldn’t support Santo in his quest to find a cure.
Through the team’s efforts with Cubs Care, they have been a great partner with organizations such as JDRF in working to find a cure and it is this passion to continue Santo’s efforts even after he has passed, along with the work they did alongside Ron, that has earned the Cubs and the Ricketts family the greatest honor the JDRF awards by presenting them with the Best of Illinois award.
On May 19th, at Wrigley Field, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) will be honoring the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs while paying tribute to Ron Santo. The honor has been given by the JDRF since the early 80’s and is the highest honor the organization awards. The award started out as Man of the Year, then Person of the Year and eventually it became Best of Illinois. It has honored athletes, corporate leaders, broadcasters, politicians and more. All of the recipients received the award due to their commitment to finding a cure. Ron Santo propelled the Cubs and the Ricketts family’s passion for finding a cure to new heights. While they are to receive the award on May 19th on Wrigley Field, there is much more work to be done in finding a cure.
In case you were wondering after reading this if there is a way for you to be a part of this wonderful event and help towards a great cause, yes there absolutely is.
You can attend the ceremony and/or spend a day at Wrigley Field in honor of Ron Santo. Here is how:
The JDRF and the Cubs have worked together to organize a day of celebration, tribute and awareness and you can help out by attending in honor of Santo.
The day time portion of the event is geared towards families. Wrigley Field is being showcased as much as the generosity of the Ricketts and Cubs Care. You will be able to see parts of Wrigley that before now, you would have only dreamed of having this type of access.
The day time portion is called the Little Sluggers Family Event. It will go from 2-5pm and will involve a tour of Wrigley, guided by a Cubs Ambassador. For $150 per adult/child, you will be able to walk on the field and have a catch (no cleats please), tour the players’ locker rooms, enjoy complimentary concessions and beverages, bat in the batting cages, tour the media booth where Santo used to call Cubs games and view a special tribute video to Santo. When the JDRF and the Cubs would team up for events in the past, Ron would always record a welcoming video to those that attended. This year, the video will be in honor of Ron.
The evening ceremony is when the Best of Illinois honor will be presented to the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs. For $250 per individual, you will able to enjoy all of the perks of the Little Sluggers Family Event (only without the guided tour feel by a Cubs Ambassador…you may tour the same areas at your own speed) as well as attend the evening ceremony and eat dinner at one of the night’s delicious buffet stations. An afternoon of making Wrigley your home followed by an evening of dinner at the ballpark and watching your favorite team and their owners be recognized for their work to find a cure for diabetes? It sounds like a great day to me. For $1200 per individual, you get the same opportunities as the $250 price, however your dinner will be at a reserved table under the dining tent and will include your own seat in an assigned section of the ballpark to watch the evening’s program. (NOTE: purchasing a ticket to the evening event gains you access only to the evening portion of the day. The day time event is a completely separate portion of the day’s festivities altogether).
If you have a large group of friends that you would like to enjoy the day with, you may also purchase tables of 10 for $10,000 and $25,000. For $10,000 you enjoy all of the opportunities mentioned above and your table is in the main dining tent as well. For $25,000 you receive all of the above plus a celebrity guest will join you for dinner. Former Cubs players have been known to attend such events and while there is no guarantee that your celebrity will be a former Cub, no matter who you are sitting with will have a place in their heart for the team and the cause like the rest of your group. (And if it is a former Cub?? How cool would that be!?)
The evening’s program will include a live auction including a signed Santo jersey donated by the Santo family, a tribute to Ron on the field, proceeds donated to a Fund a Cure’s specific area of research, in this case, complications in honor of Santo, the Best of Illinois presented to the Ricketts, and an acceptance by Tom Ricketts followed by an address from the Santo family.
I made a statement in my previous post that it’s nice to see people helping people nowadays. Cubs fans to other Cubs fans are like family and the Cub players, current and former including Santo are definitely some of our favorite relatives. The Cubs have been doing great things for years to support Santo’s and the JDRF’s efforts in finding a cure.
Santo wanted two things: a World Series title for the Cubs and a cure for diabetes. Cubs fans know he did all he could in both areas. He certainly would have wanted us all to be a part of the celebration when the Cubs finally won the Series.
In his honor, let’s hope that opportunity presents itself one day. In the meantime, let’s take
it upon ourselves to also be a part of finding a cure. In honor of Ron Santo, if you can attend either portion of the day, please do. It’s a great cause and a great organization. If you are unable to attend, you may make a donation of any amount at the following website: http://www.jdrfillinois.org/dinner/index.html
All donations help and are greatly appreciated. Baseball can be more than just a game and there are more than a couple ways to honor a former great one. The number is retired and the patches have been sewn to the sleeves. If you can, let’s honor Santo one more time by helping to find a cure
in honor of #10. And as always, Go Cubs Go.
Hey there, Cubs fans! Are you by chance going to be at the Cubs game next Tuesday night and/or Wednesday afternoon?
Well, great…ME TOO.
If you want to meet up during a game or before hand/afterwards, let me know and let’s see what we can work out! Not sure where I’m sitting as of yet, but I will be there taking in the last two games of the homestand against the Rockies at Wrigley. As of now, looks like I’ll catch Russell Tuesday night and then Coleman on Wednesday (ok, Soto will do the catching, but you know what I mean). Would have been great to see Wells/Cashner, but they are no where near ready to come back yet. Hopefully we see them on the mound at Wrigley again soon.
I’ll keep this post updated as I find out more! Go Cubs Go!
UPDATE – 4/27 7:25pm CST: An amazing day today in Chicago. Aside from coming to town to catch two games against the Rockies at Wrigley, I also had a couple meetings scheduled. I’m happy to say I will have some exciting news to share very soon. Regarding the games, today’s game against the Rockies was postponed until June 27th. No refunds or exchanges so I’ll probably be back in town to catch the make up game. I was at Wrigley long enough to eat another amazing tray of nachos (seriously, they must be the best in MLB) and take more photos to post on the blog. Those will be up in the next days or so. Looking forward to sharing them with you. It wasn’t raining very hard and the tarp never came off the field. I felt good about a 1:20pm start because of all the hours left in the day to start the game late if need be. However, I think teams’ travel schedules start to get in the way and unfortunately due to a lack of break in the poor weather and the fact that both teams would travel tonight, they called it. Flying out in the morning. Had a blast. Check back here in the next couple days for photos and more details about the trip. I’ll be scheduling another trip for May sometime and of course will look to come back to catch that make up game for a trip back in June among other return visits to the ballpark this season. Looking forward to it already. Go Cubs Go!
UPDATE – 4/26 10:50pm CST: Just got in from the Cubs game. Wrigley is the best place to watch a baseball game, hands down. Always more fun to see them win, but considering the way the weather was today, good to see a game at all. Didn’t turn out much better than my simulated version on PS3. Rockies beat the Cubs 4-3. Helton proved to be too much for the young Jedi, Russell and Soriano’s bottom of the ninth blast came leading off with no one on and came up short in the end. Russell doesn’t seem to be the long term answer as he didn’t get through five yet again although he threw his career high, 82 pitches. Took a ton of pictures and will have a lot more to say when I post after tomorrow’s game later this week. Also, for some reason my phone won’t allow me to access Twitter so if you follow me and were looking for in-game tweets, that’s why there weren’t any. I’ll update this again though after the 1:20pm CST game tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get to sing Go Cubs Go at Wrigley before the my trip is over. Go Cubs Go. Let’s raise that W flag tomorrow.
UPDATE – 4/26 1:10pm CST: Hanging out at my friend’s place where I’m staying these couple days. Played Rockies/Cubs on PS3, MLB 2K11. Russell pitched a great game but bullpen blew it late. Was up 2-1 going into the 8th on a Soriano home run. Ended up losing 5-2. Good thing it didn’t count…and hopefully it doesn’t end up counting as the only Cubs game I see today. Raining pretty hard in Chicago right now. That’s the bad news. Good news is it’s only 1:10 and today’s game time is 7pm. We’ll see. Hey Chicago, whaddaya say, how about we stop this rain today?
UPDATE – 4/25 10:30am CST: I will be sitting in section 110 at the Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon games. Third base side 1’10’. I may not have a jersey with the 10 patch on it, but I think it’s cool the first games I’ll see at Wrigley this year are going to be third base side, 110. Flying in honor of Mr. Cub. Root, root, rooting in honor of Mr. Santo. Go Cubs Go!
UPDATE – 4/21 9:50pm CST: Found out I’ll be in Row 14 on my flight there and back. I shall snack and read thousands of feet about the ground in honor of Mr. Cub.
MLB is full of characters as is YouTube. This video is the perfect mix of both.
Cubs fan, Keenan Cahill has been featured on this site before and his videos are great. He suffers from a very rare disease called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome. The way the YouTube community and a number of celebrities have embraced this kid is heartwarming. Here is an example of MLB getting on-board. The SF Giants are hosting a fundraiser for Keenan because medications for what he has can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Good to see people helping people, nowadays. Stay tuned for future posts regarding a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation event in Chicago honoring the Cubs and the Ricketts family for their commitment to helping millions of children and adults who live with diabetes. On May 19th they will be paying tribute to Ron Santo at Wrigley Field through their Best of Illinois honor. More details to come!
Baseball is more than a great opportunity to love a sport and eat popcorn and cracker jack. It can be a strong medium to also do some good. Enjoy the video. Go Cubs Go!
This season could be described as exciting, frustrating, fun, miserable, promising and hope crushing…just depends on when you ask a Cubs fan “How is the season going?”.
One of the best parts of being a Cubs fan is that Cubs fans enjoy talking Cubs with other Cubs fans whether it’s here or Twitter, a bar or the bleachers. Cubs fans are some of the most knowledgable baseball fans out there and because the passion is so great across the board, it’s always a fun conversation no matter where it’s taking place.
A couple years ago, I decided to start a feature here on Prose and Ivy that would make the site more interactive and open up opportunities for fans to get to know each other. Or, at the very least, I’d get a chance to meet some more Cubs fans. The feature is called Prosecards from Cubs Nation and it’s just a chance to throw some fun interview questions at a Cubs fan and learn more about them. I’ve even had a chance to get to know a couple in person when we were all at a Cubs game at Citi Field in New York sometime last year. Very cool.
Today’s Prosecard is from Steve Isaacson, a Cubs fan since the ’60s. He may not have seen it all, but he sure has been through a lot as a Cubs fan, even a stint as a ‘Cub’ playing in a Cubs Fantasy Camp in 2007.
Cool guy, fun interview. Check out his answers here in my first installment of ‘Prosecards from Cubs Nation’ for 2011! If you are interested in being interviewed for an upcoming Prosecard, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some questions! Go Cubs Go!
Name: Steve Isaacson
Who is your all-time favorite Cub? It’s always been Ron Santo. In little league I played 3rd base and wore #10. At Cubs Fantasy Camp, 40 years later, I played 3rd base and wore #10. Even though as a player he had a reputation as a hothead, in reality you could never meet a nicer guy. He also had a reputation for not being a clutch hitter. I didn’t realize until after he died that it must have been harder for him to hit in late innings because of his diabetes wearing him down. Realizing that, my respect for him has increased even more. It’s a shame he wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame while he was living. Now, I don’t really care. He is in all Cub fans’ HOF.Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster? Kerry Wood. When he came back this year for far less than he could have earned elsewhere, that told me that the players know that being a Cub is special just like being a Cub fan is special.
Nearly 103 years is a very long time to go without a title. What do you say to
fans of other teams who can’t understand why you are a Cubs fan? I tell them when we finally win, ours will be sweeter and better than anything they experienced when their team won. Especially Sox fans (White and Boston).
You attended Cubs Fantasy Camp in 2007. What was that like? The more details the
better! Cubs Fantasy Camp was the best baseball experience I ever had! I have so many stories. My coaches were Ed Lynch and Bobby Denier. The daily clubhouse meetings were led by Joe Pepitone and you could not repeat his stories in mixed company or to children. It was unbelievable when Rick Sutcliffe came up to me to introduce himself like I didn’t know who he was or when Camen Fanzone would ask if he could please sit down at my table at breakfast (a nicer person I have never met). Phil Donahue played on my team and Eddie Vedder played too and sang at the last night’s banquet. The best was the last day when the campers played the former players at Ho Ho Kam. It was my daugher’s 20th birthday that day and she was in school in NY. We exchanged voice mail messages and she called me back again as I was walking down the main aisle. Ernie Banks was walking down the aisle by himself the other way towards me. I stopped him to ask him if he could take my cell phone and wish my daughter a happy birthday which he graciously did. What a great birthday present for her!
What is your favorite part of seeing a Cubs game at Wrigley? How little it has changed and brings back all the great memories I have from my youth. Still some of the same vendors from 35 years ago!
What is a Cubs/Wrigley Field/MLB pet peeve of yours? My pet peave at Wrigley is how celebrities get the royal treatment and as a lifetime fan and long time season ticket holder I don’t seem to get favors or much respect. My pet peeve with MLB is how it has refused to seriously deal with steroids and cheaters.
Better having a family own team, or a giant corporation and why? Makes little difference to me. We need an owner who is committed to winning whatever the cost like Steinbrenner. The jury is still out on the Ricketts.
You can play a pick up game against nine of your all-time favorite Cubs plus one
manager. Who would you most like to play against? If I pick a player for each position, then Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Starlin Castro, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Hack Wilson, Andy Pafko, Gabby Hartnett, Fergie Jenkins, Leo Durocher, Something old, something new, something HOF, something my youth, Yeah, lots of others I could include, include Mark Grace and Greg Maddux. I know I left off Sosa and Dawson. Sorry, I hold grudges.
What is the strangest/coolest piece of Cubs gear/memorabilia you own? Coolest: my LE replica of the Ernie Banks statue (a friend’s daughter worked for the artists) and a 1935 flag that flew above Wrigley (the Cubs won 21 straight games in September that year to win the NL pennantand the last time they won 100 games in a season). The strangest, if I had one, would be a Soriano bobblehands doll.
Do you believe the Cubs are cursed? Why? I don’t believe they are cursed. Alou couldn’t have caught that ball. I was there and I saw it happen. It wasn’t Bartman’s fault.
Team that let you down the most (which year)? 1969, 1984, 2003. They all broke my heart.
What are your expectations for the 2011 Cubs? Win some, lose some. Wrigley will be cold and empty come mid-October. Hope I’m wrong! What a story that would be!
Carlos Marmol strikes out the side to deliver a Cubs World Series title at
Wrigley. You are the play by play announcer. Write out your call of the final
strike. “STRIKE 3. CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!! IT’S A MIRACLE IN OUR TIME!!! FOR RONNIE AND HARRY AND ALL US LONG SUFFERING CUB FANS, THE MONKEY IS FINALLY OFF OUR BACKS!!! LET’S CELEBRATE!!!”
How would you celebrate a Cubs World Series victory? Party hard for a long time and then, I joke, not renew my season tickets. What else would I need to go to games for?
This morning, walking to work, I was reading the MLB headlines – my regular morning routine. Nothing makes a 40 minute walk to work fly by like reading about who came through in the clutch last night and who fell flat on their face.
I read the Cubs recap for last night’s game. I was able to follow the game on-line but I always read the recaps, regardless. Demp was great until he wasn’t. That pretty much sums it up. After six innings he had only given up only one run and was cruising along. Of course, the trick is to catch him or any pitcher before they are no longer producing in a game. It’s always a gamble and something I’m sure Quade and his pitching coach are still fine tuning only 10 games into the young season. I was happy to see Dempster land his first W of the season and to hear that at his best he struck out five consecutive Astros batters.
It was good to read about Castro’s unbelievable day in the leadoff spot. Are we a little spoiled with Castro, or what? The baseball bat is to Starlin Castro what the ping pong paddle was to Forrest Gump.
No matter what you throw in front of Castro, if he decides to swing at it he is going to make contact. Last night in the lead off spot by the fourth inning, Castro had three hits, scored three runs and stole the Cubs elusive first stolen base of the 2011 season. Second base is no longer the Hope Diamond. We finally secured our first SB of the year and I’m hardly surprised Castro is the guy that accomplished it.
Marmol finished strong with three strike outs in his four-out save. It bothers me the club didn’t go to Marmol earlier as their closer. Remember that horrible experiment with Kevin Gregg?? Ugh. Marmol is dominating in the role again this season and I am becoming more and more comfortable with him that he will finish a game successfully as well as make it entertaining to watch (if not nearly heart attack inducingly entertaining).
The win put the Cubs back at the .500 mark at 5-5. We are 2 games back in the Central in second place tied with Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. We have that in common with those two teams…but my gut told me we had something in common with the league as well.
As soon as I saw the 5-5 record, something told me that’s about exactly what the league is doing right now. .500. And as it turns out, as of this morning, it is. Adding up the wins in the win column across the league and you end up with 145 wins. Add up the losses in the loss column across the league and guess how many you get? 145.
145-145. That’s the league’s overall record as of right now. Many teams are hovering between 4-6 and 6-3 and for every 9-1, 8-2 or 7-2 team, there are those that are sitting at 3-7 as well. The Rangers have the best winning percentage at .900 followed by the Indians at .800 and Rockies/Phillies tied at .778. Otherwise, teams are either already considering making their basement stay a permanent fixture for the season or scraping to crawl their own way back to .500 while the rest is comfortably sitting at .500 looking to get better.
The Cubs, I feel are sitting in an uncomfortable .500 position. We are down two starters. We’ve been unable to secure enough run support to swing a couple of those losses to the win column and the Reds seem to be progressing every day. It’s surprising to look around and see that you’re tied with Pittsburgh ten games into the season. However I believe that they are in an uncomfortable position, not because of the negatives, but because of the potential positives around the corner. It’s uncomfortable to know that you’re this close to improving, this close to playing better yet knowing that you’re not quite there yet.
It’s frustrating to know that you have the talent and the capability and the signs are all there that you’re about to hit that level of performance that puts you over the top…you can taste it/see it, but you haven’t quite reached it yet. I believe Quade likes what he has seen lately in Barney, Castro, Colvin, Marmol and even Soriano. I believe he believed coming out of camp that he had the right mix of guys to surprise some people this year. I also believe that after Cash and Wells went down, he felt Coleman could step in and make a difference.
I believe that at .500 after 10 games, we could clearly be a game or two better possibly rooming with the Reds at the top of the division as opposed to the mid-level standings exception we currently reside in. However, looking at the league as a whole and seeing that overall the entire league is no better than .500 with only a handful of stand outs (mostly in the American League) it makes feel even better about the Cubs chances this year.
Sure, it would be fun to blow away the league and run away with it. However, sometimes, some seasons, all you have to do is stay competitive and consistently contend with those around you to make sure you are still in it come time to make that September push for the playoffs. I like that the Cubs are at least hanging in with the rest of the league and with three teams tied for second place, clearly they are hanging in their with the rest of the division.
Ten games in and the Cubs are .500. I believe Quade has them headed in the right direction though and that we’re on the upside of what the record shows, capable of winning more series and pulling away from that .500. We’re .500 now, sure, but no need to panic.
Essentially, so is the rest of the league. Go Cubs Go!
Update: After writing this, I realized something and I’m including an update instead of editing it in an effort to stay honest with you and also to point out some humor in it all. As soon as I tweeted about this new post with the headline as the tweet, I realized – wait a second. Of course the league is .500. The league is ALWAYS .500 because when one game is played, one team wins and the other team loses. ALWAYS. Except for the called All-Star game every few decades or so, every game has a winner and a loser. Thus, a .500 record across the league. The only thing that would not have made sense was if the overall league record was anything BUT .500. Ok, fine. So, maybe it wasn’t the epiphany I thought it was…but, still. The Cubs are playing .500 ball. Exactly at the level that the league can’t be worse than. The trick is to find the right mix to hang with teams like the Rangers, Orioles, Phillies and Rockies and not pull the league down like the Red Sox, Astros and Rays. Quade still has to be frustrated that he is this close to having this team perform well on a regular basis. A week ago when we were only mere games away from the first play ball of the season, it was just flashes. Then it became signs. Now, it’s clearly potential. Injuries have already affected the 2011 Cubs season but that’s going to happen to everyone. Quade needs to find a way to get this team playing better than average ball. The league average will always be .500. Right now we are average and we are two games out. Let’s start playing above average ball and see where we sit another 10 games from now. And as I told @croquet037: Next time coffee…THEN challenge the zero-sum rule! : )
Five games into the season and the Cubs are 3-2. Currently, we are in second place tied with the Pirates (who by the way, I used to say ‘we’ll always have Pittsburgh’ and I’m not so sure that’s the case any longer), a game and a half behind the Reds. For the first week, not too bad and lots of great signs in the early season.
Castro has been unbelievable at shortstop, a sign that perhaps he is no longer affected by the error bug bite he endured last season. He is hitting at an astouding .476 with 10 hits in 21 at-bats and nearly half of those hits have been extra bases. In fact, he hasn’t swung at a pitch he didn’t make contact even once in five games. Talk about a ‘good eye’. He is showing no symptoms of a sophomore slump so far and he is probably the Cub I enjoy watching the most so far in 2011.
Colvin has been a nice surprise. He is proving he has returned completely healthy from the injury he suffered late in the 2010 season and has proven he is a capable back up at first base. Having his versatility in both the outfield and infield is once again going to prove to be very valuable.
Garza threw for 12 strikeouts in his debut with the Cubs. Garza is the guy many fans are going to keep their closest eye on given that the Cubs gave up a lot of young talent to reel him in from Tampa Bay. If he continues to perform like that, he will look to be a worthy acquisition come October.
Even Soriano looks great so far. His batting average is .278 and in five games he already has 2 HRs. Not sure why pitchers have kept a close watch on his leads at first base considering he is no longer the speed threat he once was. Either way, good to have Sori hitting at a respectable clip and hopefully it goes nowhere but up as the season progresses.
If only the promising outlook could hold a little longer. For the next few weeks apparently the four and five starters in the Cubs rotation will be Rachel Dratch’s famous character: Debbie Downer.
While things have been looking up, that is no longer the case as today it was announced that Cashner and Wells will be sent to the 15 day DL. Wells has a strained right forearm (wah-wah) and Cashner has a strained right rotator cuff (wah-wahhhh).
In my opinion, Coleman may end up getting one of the spots as will possibly Marshall, Samardzija or Russell. Quade is right back where he was a couple weeks ago trying to lock in a number four and five. With Silva no longer an option, this definitely puts the Cubs in a tough spot. I was on Twitter the other day chatting with Cubs fans, talking about Zambrano and Cashner and how they had to leave their respective starts with tightness/cramps and how that puts pressure on Demp, Garza and Wells. Someone joked that without everyone firing at full blast the Cubs have no shot so there is no pressure on those that remain.
I of course disagree with that statement. There is pressure as the season is only five games old. We are in second place, 1.5 games out and lots of baseball left to play. There are only five spots so not everyone could get one in the beginning of the year. That however doesn’t mean that guys like Russell or Coleman couldn’t perform to the level we need them to. Look at Cashner. Of course he stood out as the guy that could perform the best out of those left contending for the number five spot, but it doesn’t mean all is lost. If anything, people should focus on the fact that a) we’re only 5 games in and b) it’s only a 15 day stint which means missing 2 or 3 starts per. Not exactly an entire season affected here…as long as the DL stint is long enough for them to get healthy.
The rotator cuff bothers me more than the forearm however neither is good news and hopefully each heal quickly. The season was looking like it was heading in the right direction…and now this. Let’s just sit back and hope for the best. Enjoy the good news when you can because it’s a long 162 game season. Look at the Phillies: already affected by injuries in the line up and the bullpen. Look at the Red Sox: they haven’t even won a game yet. It’s a long season and it’s never going to be good news the whole way through. We’re bound to have some Debbie Downer type moments as the season goes on. Go Cubs Go!
If you and I were to ever meet, you would then be able to tell people that you once met the world’s worst thank you note sender. I’m awful at it. I forget completely often and when I do remember it’s generally months later.
I’ve sent Easter cards as thank you notes for Christmas presents. My birthday is in October and I normally turn Christmas cards my wife remembers to send into my own birthday thank you notes. “Hey, Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season…..and thanks for that Best Buy gift card you gave me back in October. That was really thoughtful. Love, Ryan”
This year, I’ve decided to get my thank you notes done early. For family and friends? No. I still owe a bunch thank you notes for Christmas presents I received for Christmas of 2009.
These thank you notes are going out a few hours ahead of the 2011 MLB season officially starting. Get ready to check your inboxes MLB front offices….these thank you notes are getting done early.
Thank you for giving Guerrero another shot at displaying his home run talents for baseball fans to enjoy. Thank you for giving Derrek Lee a home with a team within a city that truly loves the history of their franchise and is hungry for more success to come. Thank you for taking care of Felix Pie when he needed a good home. Things don’t always work out in Chicago for everyone so it was kind of you to rescue a center fielder who needed a place to live. Also, thank you for not trading Brian Roberts to the Cubs. While I thought that’s what I wanted a couple years ago, turns out there were some flaws with that model as we’re now seeing. Have a good time and enjoy the season.
What can I say. Thank you for inviting the Cubs into your historic park this coming May. I don’t know if it was something we said but I’m glad you’ve decided to have us back. Thank you for using all of your buying power to keep key free agents away from the Yankees. I truly enjoyed watching that. But not as much as I’ll enjoying seeing the Cubs sweep your series at Fenway. Enjoy hoping your big names don’t end up on the DL anytime soon and tell Caroline I say ‘bah-bah-bah’. Neil Diamond Rocks.
Dear NY Yankees,
Thank you for coming up short this season and not making the post-season in advance. I always enjoy watching you fail. As much as I like to have a W flag fly over Wrigley, I wish there was always an L flag flying over Yankee Stadium. Enjoy watching Jeter and A-Rod and Mo get older this season. I know I will.
Dear Tampa Bay,
Thank you for participating in our gift exchange this year. While I think it is somewhat unfair that you made us bring nearly half a dozen gifts to the exchange to receive back only two, I believe we got the better end of the deal. Although maybe I should go look for the gift receipt just in case. You did give us a gift receipt just in case……right??? Anyway, enjoy the season and please end up regretting not having Pena and Garza.
Thank you for the bacon.
Dear Chicago White Sox,
Thank you for agreeing to once again participate in the BP Crosstown Cup competition with us this year. I don’t know how many hours of sleep I lost this winter knowing that that glorious prize resides on the South side. Cubs fans want nothing more than to throw a parade after winning the Cup. What’s that? Oh right. I mean Blackhawks fans. Thank you for making it hard to choose between you and the Cardinals as to which team we dislike more. Always a good time.
I hear you rock yet I haven’t seen any sign of it since……………I’ll get back to you. Thank you for being around long enough to at least be featured in Major League. I still think you should have signed Charlie Sheen this off-season. Thank you for challenging the Sox for the AL Central in advance. Cubs fans always enjoy seeing them sweat.
Thank you for giving Will Rhymes a shot at second base this year. I believe he earned it. We have our own competition going at second base at Wrigley. I believe Barney has earned the right to start there for the beginning of the season even if Baker and DeWitt are waiting in the wings. Enjoy keeping Cabrera on a short leash this year. If you’re able to, I think you could have a great season.
Dear Kansas City,
I know you don’t have much so whatever you are able to do is always appreciated. The little engine that could I like to call you. However, I can’t remember the last time you could. Maybe the 80’s I suppose. Wow that was a long time ago huh? I hope you enjoyed the Pine Tar I sent you. Thanks for the laughs.
Your accent is funny. Beat the Sox in the Central this year and there is extra mustard on your hot dog in it for you when you come to Wrigley. When do you come to Wrigley next? We should get together more often. Say hi to Joe and the kids and thanks for Kirby Puckett.
Dear LA Angels,
Thank you for the rally monkey. It goes so well with ALL THE OTHER ONES you’ve given us over the years. I hope you enjoy the MLB season and claim the wild card because that’s my gift to you. I predict you will win the AL Wild Card spot.
Thank you for giving us McGwire and Canseco in the 80’s, they were amusing. Of course, I find them both entertaining for different reasons now. If Jose Canseco wins The Apprentice, I want someone to test him and make sure it wasn’t his brother all along.
Thank you for Ichiro. Oh, and Griffey. What’s with the Moose? Enjoy your road games this season when you get to see some actual sunshine.
Thank you for your entertaining run through the playoffs this year and thank you for another amazing season from Hamilton in advance for this year. That guy is a great story and fun to watch. I must say, I have a hard time rooting for you because of the Bush family, but hey, that’s not your fault. Nolan Ryan’s cool. Thanks Nolan for that fight with Ventura highlight. Always fun to watch.
I can’t say I care for you. I don’t like Chipper Jones, I don’t like your tomahawk chop, I don’t like that Heyward finished ahead of Castro in rookie of the year voting last year and I don’t like the Hawks. I know that has nothing to do with you, but still…thanks for making things difficult for the Phillies this year. Seriously…..do it. Thanks.
Remember when we used to get together, you on TV and me at home in the Northeast…and you used to be in the post-season winning the Series and stuff. That was fun, huh? Thanks for Hanley Ramirez. I still hold some resentment for 2003. So I’m going to stop this thank you note there.
Dear NY Mets,
I have enclosed twenty dollars with this thank you note. I hope that helps.
Thank you in advance for not being everything everyone thought you’d be. Sure you have an amazing rotation on paper but thank you for not just blowing through the National League and making it interesting. Can you find a way to do that right up until the NLCS where the Cubs beat you? That’d be great, thanks.
Thank you for moving baseball to the nation’s capitol. Bacon is fun to get from Canada, why not baseball too. Thank you for taking Werth as well. I don’t think you’ll be any good this year and I don’t care for Werth so I think it’s a great match. Enjoy the losing streaks in 2011.
Dear Chicago Cubs,
You guys rock. I appreciate all you’ve done for my family (see the posts included a few posts down) and I appreciate the moves you’ve made this off-season. I’m excited about the team as it looks and I’m hoping for the best. I have predicted that we win the NL and claim a World Series victory over the Red Sox come October. That would be an amazing birthday present for Rhys and I. Have an amazing 2011.
Thank you for making fans realize that the Central isn’t just about the Cubs and the Cardinals. You could tone it down a bit this year though with the whole Votto as MVP and winning the Central thing though. That would be appreciated. Oh, and thank you for Jim Maloney. I used to tell people that your great from the past was my Dad and kids believed me. That was fun.
Thank you for the Zambrano no-hitter. That is one of my all-time favorite Cubs games. Thank you for working with Pittsburgh in building a strong foundation in the NL Central division standings for the rest of the teams to stand on. You’re too kind. Hope your Texans end up playing this year.
You should have told Grienke to leave the basketball to Jennings. That probably would have served you better going into this season. Thank you for making Fielder available after this year. Who knows, if not Pujols, maybe we end up with Fielder at first in 2012. (No one show this to Pena just yet). Thanks.
Thanks for the Penguins. And of course, for letting us do so well against you over the past few years. It’s practically a day off. Enjoy hoping the Steelers come back this Fall. And of course praying for Sidney. In all seriousness, I hope Crosby is back soon.
Dear St. Louis,
Thanks for nothing. Unless we get Pujols. Then you’ll get the biggest fruit basket of all.
Thank you for letting the Cubs crash at your place during Spring Training. Chicago is simply too cold and Florida is too far away. Mesa is just right. Thank you for 2001 as well as I never got to thank you for that. I always enjoy watching the Yankees lose. Enjoy the season.
People may think I am rocky mountain high for picking you to only win the wild card as some have you winning the NL West. Thanks for making things interesting in a division I really don’t care all that much about.
Dear LA Dodgers,
Thank you for contributing to ruining our last two playoff appearances. A broom? You shouldn’t have. Let’s not make it a habit? Thanks.
Dear San Diego,
Thank you for Anchorman and thank you being the team that Cubs fans hate yet don’t get to express enough. On a daily basis only the Sox, Cards and Brewers come up throughout the season. But talk about history and it’s you guys that they hate discussing the most. Thanks for those ugly camoulflage jerseys. Actually, forget I said that. They are hideous. Please stop. Enjoy the season.
Dear San Francisco,
Thanks for an entertaining World Series last year. Thank you for watching out for DeRosa and Fontenot. Thank you for Lincecum and for showing Kung Fu Panda what a weight watchers meal looks like this off-season. Thank you for not repeating as champs and allowing the Cubs to win it all in 2011. Seriously. Thank you.
NOW THEN….with all of the thanks out of the way…….LET’S PLAY BALL! MLB’S OPENING DAY IS HERE! Tomorrow, the Cubs, with Dempster on the mound. CAN’T WAIT. GO CUBS GO!
In addition to covering the Cubs on Prose and Ivy, I will now also be writing about baseball in general for BaseballDigest.com.
I like that they throw the Cubs Convention every year and I can’t wait to attend one myself one day. Living in New York City makes it rather challenging to do so but when this last one came around, I mentioned it to my wife. She said you should go to it one of the years. Agreed. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
One of the things I appreciate about the convention is that it gives the new Cubs an opportunity to taste what the club means to the people of Chicago and across the nation root-root-rooting for the Cubbies. Every baseball out there knows about the drought and they hear about it endlessly beginning with when their name is associated with coming to the team. It doesn’t even wait until they are a Cub. It starts with simply rumors. Still, it’s important for new Cubs to understand it’s a honor to be a Cub and that appreciation needs to be taught to guys like Pena and Garza by guys that have been there ie Ramirez and Silva.
The fact that they haven’t won it all in over a century guarantees that the team who does win it all will go down as one of the greatest accomplishments any team has ever reached on a baseball field. A World Series victory is not a World Series victory. They are not all the same. And when the Cubs break through and end their drought it will be talked about probably for as long as Cubs fans have been waiting for it to happen. Cubs fans will talk about it for at least that long or until they die. Whichever comes first.
I hope that the recent outburst by Silva in the Cubs dugout at Spring Training is simply a result of a pressure to win. Not merely make the rotation as he stated, but a pressure to win. I want the Cubs to realize the pressure they are under but not crumble by it’s intimidation factor, but rise up to the challenge and view it as the opportunity that it is.
Passionate ballplayers are a good thing to have on your baseball team. Quade needs to carale that enthusiasm and passion and make sure it stays focused in the right direction. Harnass that energy and emotion and make them play the game fundamentally sound and going all out, all heart, on each and every pitch.
Silva’s outburst should not be compared to Zambrano’s. Zambrano’s was during a regular season game against our crosstown rivals and the game counted. Heck, the BP Cup was on the line (kidding). Silva experienced only one year of Cubs baseball. Maybe that’s all it took for him to ‘get it’. Zambrano had been here for YEARS. We know he understands the pressure and the situation all Cubs are put in. You’ve heard other Cubs talk about it for years. However, some Cubs handle it better than others. Those guys with level heads need to help Quade keep guys focused, not motivate them to go out of control.
Ramirez was involved in the Silva skirmish and he’s another guy who has been here a while and has felt the pressure of the city and the fans. This game is a great thing. This team is a great home. The city of Chicago is a great place to live and the fans are a great group of people to want to win for.
Have there been incidents where Cubs fans haven’t exactly been put in the best light by their own actions? Absolutely. Does it happen across the country in ballparks with fans of all teams? Of course. Does that make it ok? Of course not. However, with however many bonehead moves any Cubs fans have made over the years to disgrace the rest of us, overall, the loyalty the group has shown this team outweighs any negative remark one could make against us.
The fans care. That’s all there is to it. They want the title so bad year in and year out. 103 years and counting and yet still…there the fans are rooting, supporting, praying, hoping, waiting. A great majority of league draws nowhere near what the Cubs do in attendance. Is Wrigley a big reason? Sure, tourists love it. However, many of the people through the turnstiles at Wrigley are die-hard fans who have stayed by the Cubs through thick and thin.
New and old Cubs alike need to appreciate that and play their hearts out. Care when the games don’t count and really care when they do. Only, know when to go ballistic. Know when is the right time and no when to let it go. Spring Training is the perfect time to care about your performance, but not to lose your mind over it.
I appreciate Silva and Ramirez’s passion however it needs to be focused in a positive direction. Still lots of Spring Training games left to clean up the sloppy play and get the mindset right. Quade has a tough challenge ahead of him. His words inspired a players only meeting called by two of the team’s veteran players. Hopefully I’m right in thinking he’s the right guy for the job.
I believe he is.
Go Cubs Go!
You have to love Spring Training. The games don’t count towards anything real except evaluating players, figuring out potential line-ups and planning ahead for potential call-ups. However, many take it very seriously. Today was a great example of Quade taking it just seriously enough.
After Starlin Castro committed the Cubs’ eighth error of the Spring (after just three games, mind you) Dempster said Quade was going to start penalizing the players after future errors that are made. How, you ask? With less playing time? Being pencilled in lower on the depth chart? Making them run sprints?
After every Cubs error, Quade is going to cut off one of the guilty player’s fingers.
Brilliant. Great line by Demp and awesome that Quade found it funny, too.
These games are supposed to be used to get back in the swing of things, no pun intended. To work out the kinks at the plate sure, but also in the field. Get them out of the way now, Quade said, and he’s right. Work out your throws to first. Let the sun win a few battles on pop-ups now instead of later. Get your timing down for double plays. Work it all out now. Besides, an errant throw to first in Spring Training is simply a future potentially autographed souvenir. No big deal.
Quade is organized as I said yesterday and I believe he has the team headed in the right direction. It’s going to take great leadership but also a great sense of humor to make it through the grueling 162 game season. So far, Quade looks like he’s batting .1000 in both departments.
It’s a lot easier to replace a gatorade cooler than it is our star young player’s fingers. No need to go crazy now. Give them time to realize their crimes.
This video goes out to you Mike Quade, from a most appropriate sponsor:
So happy Cubs baseball is back. Go Cubs Go!
Sometimes when people try too hard or try to be too cool, they fail miserably. That’s why Quade has to be careful not to be too much like Kraegen in the above video.
I like that Mike Quade is making this team his own by doing things a little differently, however, he needs to remember to keep the tough love leader as part of his game plan as well considering how well it was received by the team at the end of last season.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Cubs hiring Quade. I like that he’s enthusiastic to see his guys start putting on display what they can bring to the team. I like that he is looking to further evaluate guys he’s familiar with within the Cubs’ system. I even appreciate the fact that he listed lineups three games in advance. I believe it will help players prepare and learn their roles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can’t have a successful team without everyone knowing and embracing their role.
I think Quade has kicked off Spring Training the right way. Let the veterans know what is expected of them and let the youngsters know they are getting a fair look. That’s all any of them can ask for. But are the Cubs in danger of having too much of a good thing the way Quade has started off camp? Is he in trouble of setting a tone where there is too much of a good thing going here (loss to Oakland aside, that is)? Will the players get too used to feeling like they know what to expect and not ready to easily adapt when need be during the season? Like anything, I suppose it’s simply a matter of opinion. Many of you are still upset that Sandberg isn’t running the show. However, in answering the last question, I believe everything is going to be just fine and anyone who is freaking out over Quade’s system of three days heads-up being too soft needs to relax and enjoy having Cubs baseball back on the air.
I understand that people like to pick at the bone for things to complain about, especially when we’re only one game in to Spring Training. Not a whole lot to get worried about but we’re sports fans and when nothing is there, sometimes we create things. I’m feeling pretty good about Quade’s leadership so far and don’t think you should be expecting or worried about any crazy flying basket locker room meetings out of Quade. He may have his own way of running the show that wasn’t done by Piniella or guys before him, but so far I think he’s taking this team in the right direction and has not discarded the Quade that got him the job late last season.
It speaks volumes about Quade’s interest in respecting veterans and leaving windows open to surprises coming out of camp. He referenced Colvin the other day as a recent pleasant Spring Training surprise/success story. I’m glad that he is looking to fill in the roster spots around the guarantees with guys who earn the spot and want to play hard. Of course we’re going to see the guys you can wear. If you can buy a jersey with a player’s last name on it, it’s basically a guarantee you will see them play a major role, at least in the first month or so of the season. It’s the bench players that make a team great though. Stars make you ‘really good’. Depth makes you great.
When I was in Vegas for my honeymoon, I bet on the Cubs three times and won two out of three bets. It would be wild to log into a baseball spread site and predict which players made it out of camp. They very well may, I’m not sure. I know the regular season matters so as a fan of course those games are already fascinating. However, I wonder how many people buy the season previews or the annuals or the minor league prospect reports and try to bet on who will come out of camp. If they are then I’m sure these Spring games are taking on a whole new significance and importance to those particular fans. Imagine watching a Spring game and truly caring how long a player stays in the game. I love the fact that Quade left Garza in the game to hit instead of replacing him with a pinch-hitter. Quade’s right, he has to learn to hit sometime. Now is the time to do so.
I wonder what Zambrano had to say about it privately to Garza afterwards. I know it was reported that he didn’t see it but Z is one of the best hitting Cubs pitchers on the team. While Garza is working with Jaramillo to feel comfortable hitting after hardly doing so for the Rays, he must also be talking to the other guys on the staff and who better to ask than Zambrano? Of course, Garza did get shelled in his first appearance as a Cub in spring training including a grand slam to Coco Crisp. But (cue Fred Armisen’s Joy Behar) who cares, so what? It’s Spring Training. I’m sure the guy was nervous and worried about making a good impression. I’m sure it was just one pitch that got away that led to four runs. Do I want to see it during the regular season? No. Does Quade leave him in the game in a situation where he should replace him with a pinch-hitter when the game counts? No. So far Garza has a hit and the ball to place on his mantle. So far, Quade has been a hit with the Cubs and fans alike.
Is posting game lineups three games in advance too coddling? Is giving veterans reasonable expectations and laying all of your cards on the table too much? Is giving young players the feeling like they could possibly leave the minors behind and join the club for Opening Day or very soon into the season the wrong way to handle your business when it comes to prospects? No. No to all three.
I like what I’ve heard from Quade so far this Spring and I don’t think any of these things are a bad thing. This is Quade’s team now. It’s his time to put his stamp on it and run the show the way he thinks it should be run. At the end of last year he essentially had all of his players’ support that he should be hired as manager as well as mine.
I believe while it’s still early, Quade still has that support 100% and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Spring plays out leading up to Opening Day. Go Cubs Go!
I have a question for you, Cubs fans.
I’d like to say thank you to MLBlogs for featuring Prose and Ivy on the MLBlogs home page today. After participating in the I-70 Baseball Blog Talk Radio podcast, discussing the outlook for the NL Central in 2011 last night, I thought perhaps the increase in traffic that I noticed on my site this morning was based solely on my appearing on that show.
Then, I clicked on the MLBlogs home page and I was pleasantly surprised by this:
I really think MLB.com gets it right and does fan relations better than any other league (yes, even if they hadn’t showcased my blog). From the MLBlogs community as a whole, to the blogger features, the recent activity list, the monthly top 50s, the annual top 100, asking bloggers to contribute content to various articles for a byline on MLB.com and the interaction you get from the social media team on sites like Twitter. The NFL, NBA, NHL and any other sports league trailing behind these guys in fan turnout or even lacking in audience as a whole could learn a lot from Major League Baseball. Thank you to Mark Newman and everyone at MLBlogs.com for helping bring my blog to a wider audience and making my son’s day as well.
Here is a picture of Rhys checking out himself and his Daddy featured on MLBlogs.com today:
Now, something I’ve wanted to share with you for a couple weeks is how I feel that the Cubs organization exemplifies the level of class a team should have in relating to their fan base. I was going to dedicate an entire post to it, but this seemed like a great opportunity.A little while back, about a month or so ago, my son Rhys ended up admitted to the pediatric surgical wing at a hospital in New York City. He had a minor surgery but because he was only seven weeks old and they had to put him under to perform it, it was semi-serious considering that’s always a scary thing to have to do to someone so young. He is fine now and I’m happy to report all is well.
While I post often on this blog about the Cubs and their progression or regression (whichever is appropriate) during the off-season and throughout Spring Training/regular and post-season, I also am very active on Twitter. Some of you probably follow me and if not, you can at @proseandivy. The Cubs fan community on Twitter is a group of people that I have come to admire and truly enjoy communicating with. It can be about the Cubs, baseball in general, or even the most mundane detail in life or pop-culture as we know it. My tweets are generally full of sarcasm and humor and I find the one-upmanship challenge with other people on there to be entertaining and inspiring. Once you feel you have something that’s funnier than anything else that can be said about something…boom…someone else posts something even funnier. And you try to top them and on and on we go. Occasionally though, things happen like deaths in the family, scary surgeries or exciting moments like the birth of child. That is when the Twitter community really steps up their game and let’s you know they’re there for you.
When I mentioned that Rhys was having surgery and that I felt no seven week old kid should have to go through this, it was overwhelming the response I received from people on Twitter. The well-wishes and prayers that flooded my timeline meant a lot to me, there the Cubs community on Twitter was again, stepping up when it mattered the most. During this exchange, the Cubs social media team heard about Rhys’ surgery and after sending their best wishes that all turns out well, they took it a step further.
They direct messaged me and said, “Hi. A few of our mutual followers told me about your son’s surgery. Is he a Cubs fan? Perhaps we could send him some stuff to cheer him up.” Well, of course Rhys is a Cubs fan (or as the photo on the home page today put it ‘Cubs fan in training’). That’s all Kevin from the Chicago Cubs’ team needed to hear. He said he’d try to get something out soon.
Once we arrived home from holiday travel, the coolest thing was waiting for us. A box. Addressed to Rhys. Well, Rhys only knows so many people, so who could have sent Rhys mail? A relative perhaps, sending a gift we didn’t get to exchange in person?
Addressed to Rhys…..from…1060 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL. Oh my God. Rhys just got a package from….THE CHICAGO CUBS!!!!
The thought that went into the package and the sentiment in going the extra mile for a Cubs fan truly made me respect the organization even more than I already had. I’m already a Cubs fan and of course, Rhys is as well. But how many kids are lucky enough to have someone with enough class reach out and go the extra mile for them when that person doesn’t even know them?
And how many of those kids have that person reach out to them from their favorite baseball team?
Think about that. Think about the days before social media. What were the odds you’d get to communicate with your favorite ball club, or have the open-door type relationship we have with our favorite teams today. It probably never would have happened in our days as kids and even while it can today, how many teams would take the time to do something so thoughtful? I can’t speak for the other teams, but when it came to the Chicago Cubs…they stepped up and showed nothing but class.
One day, Rhys will truly understand and appreciate what it meant for someone from the Cubs to take the time and try to cheer him up after what was a scary situation for all of us.The Cubs aren’t perfect, nor are their fans and neither groups ever will be. They will always make decisions that we won’t always agree with and we will always take the good with the bad because that’s part of being a fan. On their side, all they have to do is have enough players on the roster to fill out the jerseys that they sell to their fans and put enough butts in the seats to keep the organization thriving with enough hope in their fans’ hearts to keep them coming back to Wrigley and supporting them on the road for years to come. What they don’t have to do, is go the extra mile for any of us. They really don’t have to. However, in this case, the Cubs did just that and I really appreciate it.
It says a lot about the team and the league as a whole.I realize the section of the MLBlogs home page where Prose and Ivy was featured is always a segment of the site that features a random MLBlog. However, while they take the time to showcase us bloggers, it’s right to take time and acknowledge that in this aspect of the league/fan relationship, MLB does it right. They do a great job keeping their fans interested, interacting and into their team year in and year out. There will always be something to complain about in life, but sometimes it pays to stop and be grateful for the cool things people do for you when they take the time to do so.
So, thanks again to the MLBlogs team for the plug today and to the Cubs. Once again…total class and thank you. Go Cubs Go!
Monday night, I had the pleasure of making a guest appearance on Bill Ivie’s I-70 Baseball Radio podcast on blogtalkradio.com. It is a great compilation of Cardinals and Royals fan bloggers and always a fun listen. This particular episode, they gathered up bloggers representing every team in the NL Central. I took part in the panel discussion and made my case for the Chicago Cubs winning the Central in 2011. Some of you may have already heard it as it was their highest rated episode since launching in July of last year. (For a more in detail description of what I expect out of the Cubs in 2011, check out the post below this one).