When Hall of Fame induction weekend in July rolls around and I find myself standing in the middle of thousands of Cubs fans (and perhaps a few Nationals fans sprinkled throughout) in Cooperstown, NY to listen to Andre Dawson give his Hall of Fame induction speech, he MIGHT be wearing a Cubs cap. This has yet to be decided.
Anyone else concerned about Ted Lilly?
Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids on the same day Greg Maddux returns to the Cubs as the assistant to GM Jim Hendry.
“And at the end of seven, it’s Dawson 5, Phillies 3.”
As for today, at the end of nine years, it’s Dawson 1, Everyone else 0.
The quote listed above is from Harry Caray in calling Andre Dawson’s classic three run home run game against Philadelphia on August 1, 1987. Hawk had five RBI on the three home runs and nearly single handedly defeated the Phillies. At the top of the ninth the graphic on the screen actually read: Top of the 9th, Dawson 5, Phillies 3. An unbelievable performance from what is now, an official hall of famer.
Like that day in 1987, today was all about Andre Dawson. If Andre Dawson’s living room were complete with a right field bleacher section, I’m sure it would’ve been filled with shirtless, thrilled Cubs fans bowing to the great outfielder as he heard the news that he was the only person to receive enough votes today from the BBWAA to be elected into Cooperstown.
What that moment must have been like for Dawson after an amazing career and 14 years after he last played in an MLB game. Nine years of will he or won’t he, with the most recent years having him come within even 44 votes of being elected. Dawson recently mentioned that while many HOFers were telling him it was only a matter of time before the player they respected so much got the call, 44 votes was a large jump for where he was and perhaps this wouldn’t be the year. After all, he was a Cub and they are used to looking forward to next year.
In 2010, there is no more waiting until next year for this Cub. Andre Dawson is the sole player to be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Sandberg mentioned Hawk in his induction speech. It will be interesting to hear what Andre has to say in his. Immediately after I heard the news today I started calling around to hotels in the Cooperstown area. I wanted to make sure that I had a room reserved so that I don’t miss the induction ceremony come July 25th. You know Cubs fans. We show up everywhere! Forget sell outs at Wrigley game in and game out…Cubs fans show up on the road, at conventions and anywhere else we can to support the team. I spoke to a women working for the BBHOF today and she mentioned that some years, they’ve had as many as 80,000 show up for the induction speeches. Granted, I’m sure those were years when more than one player was voted in. Still, Cubs fans are Cubs fans and I know that tiny town in upstate NY will be loaded with them come July. I know I’ll be there and I can’t wait to capture and remember every moment of the weekend.
When I got home today I had to write again how amazing it is for Andre and say congratulations once more. I immediately threw on his three home run game from the Cubs legends DVD collection and just got finished watching it. So cool to be able to relive that incredible performance. In addition to writing this post, I also shot my first Prose and Ivy vlog for the site which is posted below and on my new youtube channel to partner up with this blog. You can check out the site and leave comments on my blog here (obviously) and leave comments on my videos on youtube…the channel is called ProseAndIvyTV…by clicking here.
Here is the video I shot today about Dawson getting into the Hall of Fame:
Need to get back to this tonight when I have more time to write, but I had to jump on quick and celebrate with a tiny post at least….2010! Hall of Famer Andre Dawson!!!! The Hawk is in!!! So cool…way to go Andre! See you in Cooperstown!
One of the major upsides I’ve heard so far to the Cubs signing Marlon Byrd as their new center fielder is that he’s a guy who comes with great character. Quality as a person through and through, the kind of guy the Cubs should be welcoming into a clubhouse that has seen it’s share of in fighting, finger pointing and broken Gatorade coolers in recent years. I reached out to Texas fans on Twitter the other day to find out their POV of what we’re getting in Byrd and one of the responses I received read, “[Byrd is] an awesome team player who never quits! He’s a player that will run out everything even if it’s a routine groundball. He will make plays that will astound you in the outfield! I am sad to see him go. He will be a player that I will watch and root for wherever he goes.” Sounds like the kind of person we should be thrilled to have as a Cub in 2010. Let’s hope he’s the kind of player we’d like as well.
Cubs hitting coach Jamarillo had Byrd for a few years and thinks very highly of him. He has Byrd pencilled in as solid five hole guy in the Cubs batting lineup to start the season and mentioned he’s a great leader in the clubhouse and a great teacher. Seeing that Byrd averaged .295 over the three years he worked with Jamarillo in Texas, it would appear that he understands the tools Jamarillo uses to teach so another solid leader improving our lineup from 1-9 couldn’t hurt. We lost too many games last year due to an ineffective offense, run production way down from the year before. Time to get back in form and match the success of ’07 and ’08 with division crowns. Only this time, match that success with positive results in the playoffs (aka: don’t get swept by LA).
Sure Marlon’s last name obviously helps recall a guy like Andre Dawson whose nickname is the Hawk, but it’s the quality people see in his character that I’d like to focus on here. Even Ryne Sandberg mentioned in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech that Dawson was once of the classiest teammates he ever had and that Dawson played the game the way the game was supposed to be played. Sandberg said, “Andre Dawson, the Hawk. No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more, or did it better than Andre Dawson. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I watched him win MVP for a last place team in 1987 and it was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in baseball.” The intangibles should be focused on when it comes to voting players into the Hall of Fame in addition to their career stats. Andre Dawson should be a no-brainer to be voted in this year seeing that he has been on the ballot for nine years now and is long overdue. He brought speed, power, defense and character to the ballpark year in and year out…starting with his first year as a Cub where he agreed to a blank contract and let the Cubs decide how much they wanted to pay him after he’d already agreed. He loved the game of baseball and loved being a Cub. Time for the BBWAA to show some love back.
After doing some research I came across a copy of the Hall Of Fame ballot sent to voting members of the BBWAA:
The MLB Network turns one today and much like my nephew who turned one in November, really only the people that created it understand it’s being celebrated.
New talent will make for an even greater 2010 on the network with Peter Gammons of ESPN fame joining the gang. Hopefully, the new talent the Cubs add this off-season will provide a positive boost as well. Marlon Byrd may be the biggest acquisition thus far for GM Hendry and the team on the North Side, however the off-season is long from being over.
Hendry is keeping within the budget the owners have asked to stick to and considering so far we’ve rid ourselves of an ineffective bullpen stat line eye sore in Gregg, a second rate dud at second base in Miles and an outfielder who couldn’t stand Cubs fans who resorted to giving out free baseballs to fans in right as souvenirs (unfortunately on fly balls he caught while there were still less than three outs and men on base) and upgraded our outfielder situation by moving Fukudome to right (where he’ll be more of an asset) and mixing in the talented and if nothing else, available, Byrd in centerfield…I’d say so far, so ‘pretty good’ by Hendry this off-season. Would I count on Byrd to put my chances of a thrilling October with a happy ending for a book deal all by himself? NO WAY and I’ll have more on Byrd later. (Regarding the book deal, see the post listed below this one).
There are still more moves to be made and deals to be done. By GM Hendry for sure and hopefully with an interested publishing company as well. Time will tell.
For today though, happy birthday to the MLB Network! Mark Newman, the enterprise editor of MLB.com wrote an article commemorating the network’s first anniversary. He asked for people to send him their thoughts regarding what it has been like having the network available 24/7 over the past year. I submitted and am quoted at the end of the piece! It reads:
Ryan Maloney, a Cubs fan in New York, said it changed his baseball world and he cannot wait to see what is next.
“Having MLB Network 24/7 has been an amazing resource, as it practically puts the viewer in the Commissioner’s Office with their timeliness in breaking news and updates surrounding the game,” Maloney said. “Having MLB Network on 24/7 has provided younger viewers with an opportunity to allow historic-game footage to serve as the face of the biggest names of baseball past.
“[It’s] a great way to allow fans of all ages to truly appreciate what makes the game of baseball the great game it has developed into today and the people that have contributed to our country’s favorite pastime along the way. The days of getting your baseball news from boutique sports news stations ended a year ago, the day MLB opened its specialty shop in the MLB Network.”
Regular readers of Prose and Ivy know I’ve been emotionally invested in the ups and downs of Chicago Cubs baseball for years. I’ve been writing this blog for a couple of years now and writing about sports in general since I would cut out pictures from the sports section and tape it to construction paper which I would type up imaginary sports articles on when I was little. I’ve written reviews and articles for MLB.com/Entertainment and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. I’ve written and produced television shows for Fox Reality, A&E, Travel Channel and Showtime. I’ve performed stand up for over 12 years, shot pilots for shows I’ve created and written comedy for Comedy Central. It’s all been a blast and I look forward to doing more when the opportunities present themselves. Unfortunately, today’s economy has made these opportunities few and far between lately and like many, I am displaced working day jobs needed to pay the bills but not necessarily in situations classified as ‘ideal’. When it comes right down to it, all in all, I love writing and I love baseball. The ultimate dream for me would be writing an entertaining, timeless classic account of being a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
But how do you write about the Cubs and take it in a direction that hasn’t been covered before? There are countless books about Wrigley Field. (Not literally countless). There are endless books about the best Cubs players by the numbers (not literally endless) and a ton of books about individual Cub personalities or listing interesting factoids about your favorite Cubs players/organization of all time (not literally a ton, I don’t believe).
The question: How do you write an engaging, entertaining, timeless book about being a Cubs fan and the greatest organization in baseball without blending in and reiterating everything that’s been said in Cubs based books previously published? What could I write that is unlike any book sitting on the baseball shelf at your local bookstore today?
Today, I believe I’ve figured it out.
I had a thought today about raising the stakes for myself as a fan and having the outcome of the 2010 Chicago Cubs baseball season actually effect my life, win or lose. That thought?
“What would happen if I bet it all on the Cubs?”
Here is the pitch: I write a book about my experience as a fan of the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 season. The twist, I am the one fan in the world with more at stake than the players themselves. While the athletes may have incentive based contracts, those incentives are simply bonuses on top of their salaries. Come the end of the day, they get paid something (a very large something at that) no matter whether they win, or lose.
The deal: my entire advance and residuals for the book are at stake. If the Cubs win it all in 2010, I get paid. If they don’t…I don’t. Simple as that.
Aside from your actual ‘life’ itself, there are no higher stakes one could gamble than the quality of your life itself. I’ll have more riding on the 2010 Chicago Cubs season than any other fan out there. More than any player, coach or manager. Players, coaches and managers get paid, do or die. I won’t have that luxury.
Every decision Hendry makes behind the scenes will directly effect my life come the end of the season. I will share my thoughts on every move he makes throughout the year. I’ll follow the team during Spring Training, recap each game and keep an eye on the players that will determine my fate including a visit to Spring Training to see the team perform in person.
During the regular season I will travel to Chicago from New York to see the Cubs play in person. When the team visits the East Coast, I will get tickets and check out the team’s performance at each Northeast stadium they visit. It will be the Cubs roster that decides whether I get paid for a passion project and make my dream come true. Wouldn’t you want to evaluate and see them for yourself as much as you possibly could? Me too!
Also, if Andre Dawson is voted into the Hall of Fame this year, a trip to Cooperstown would definitely be included! Interviews with other fans regarding the Hawk and being a Cubs fan in general as well as their thoughts on my venture along the way would be hilarious no matter how the team is doing. What an exciting detail that would be to add to the experience, an honor for the Hawk well earned and much deserved, without a doubt!
Now, I have a wife. I live in New York City, arguably the most expensive city in the world. Committing a ton of time to a passion project with no guaranteed financial benefit is not something every wife would be supportive of and I have no idea how she’d react. Would she get angry? Would she become as addicted to knowing the in’s and out’s of Cubs baseball as I am? What would her reaction throughout the season be? How would I react? What would it feel like to see the W flag raised with so much at stake? How would it feel come the All-Star break with the Cubs sitting pretty in first place in this situation? And what if they’re losing? What if Bradley wasn’t the problem and the chemistry still isn’t there in 2010? What if injuries are a problem once again and all of our stars, one year older, are spending even more time on the DL? What if Hendry makes a bonehead move (in addition to Silva, that is)? How would it feel to see an error in the field cost me more than just the once in a lifetime opportunity (potentially) to see the Cubs win a title? What if I had this deal going at the time of ‘The Bartman Game’? What would that excerpt have been like?
As a social experiment, I will write about my day in and day out experiences rooting for the Cubs, putting complete faith in them to change my life by winning the World Series. Something the team hasn’t accomplished in over 100 years.
I imagine the stress will be immense. I picture the frustration with poor play and cold streaks at the plate to be unmatched. I predict the heartbreak over an injury to be unbearable. Box scores will be reviewed closer than a Biggest Loser trainer breaks down ingredients and calories for completely invested contestants. The 2010 season will play out like a fantasy baseball team with results that are unparalleled.
For years people have wondered why, when I refer to my favorite sports teams, I use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’. ‘How do you benefit if they win?’ they ask. ‘Don’t say we. It implies you win as well’, they say. Well, this would make that comment completely irrelevant and obsolete throughout the 2010 Cubs baseball campaign. Imagine letting it all ride on arguably professional sports’ least lucky, most cursed team. If you ask me, that story and experience would be absolutely fascinating.
If there is anyone reading this with the power to make it happen and is at all interested, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. And readers should feel free to leave their thoughts here as well. I expect some of you to think it’s cool and some of you to think it’s the dumbest proposal they’ve ever heard. No matter which side is right…I think it would be amazing to be so invested in one season of Chicago Cubs baseball.
2010. The Chicago Cubs. World Series Champions. It could happen. I mean, someone will win it all next year. Why not the Cubs? What would that be like with the ultimate dream at stake? And that my friends is why I’m willing to bet it all on the Cubs in 2010.
Go Cubs Go! A safe and happy new year to you all!
Cubs sign Rudy Jaramillo as their hitting coach for 2010.
His time in Texas was littered with experience guiding Soriano and Bradley through productive years at the plate. You have to wonder if his time with them, plus the fact that Bradley trusts him so much, is a sign that regardless of whether a team out there is interested in Bradley, that perhaps Hendry is thinking of giving this Bradley experiment one more shot.
Jaramillo is known as being a guru. Hendry says he’s the best hitting instructor in the game. Really Jim? You think so? It’s a good thing he’s received such high praise from his peers as well, because really, what else is the guy that hired him supposed to say? “Who, Jaramillo? Yeah, he’s alright I guess”. Not happening. Of course Hendry is going to say he’s the best.
Jaramillo is known for being a great communicator in getting players to work hard and after seeing results, earn his trust. The Cubs website has a story where Jaramillo speaks of a time where Sosa was in the batting cage with four other hitters. Over 100 balls were hit and after the session, the four hitters picked up the balls and Sosa didn’t touch one. Next round, same result. Only this time when the hitters went to pick up the balls, Jaramillo told them to stop and let Sammy do it all. Sammy, the diva, did just that. Considering Sosa has selective bi-lingual ability communication resulting in Sammy Sosa doing a ball boy’s job that most major league hitters do without a second thought is definitely a great example of Jaramillo being a great communicator. But he’s still a batting coach, not a shrink. So, not sure how he helps in Bradley’s case. If he’s even still around in 2010 that is.
Love the work ethic already though. Jaramillo is planning on viewing tape of Cubs’ hitters from ’09 and then meeting with some of the younger talent in Arizona in November. Taking this team from potential to reality is going to take someone willing to go the extra distance. I love Piniella and think he’s a great baseball mind. However, people think he’s sleeping a bit lately and not quite the fire plug he’s been in the past in motivating and getting results. Maybe that’s where Jaramillo comes in to reinforce that fire and add a level of urgency and desire on the coaches’ level that’s been missing. Jaramillo could help from his place on up in the organizational in that way potentially, as well as from 1 down to 8 in the Cubs’ order. Wouldn’t that be nice.
And not for nothing, but in 2006, Cub fan fave Mark DeRosa hit nearly .300 with Jaramillo on the Rangers as well. As far as working with former players goes…well, I’m just saying. That would be a great reason to welcome Jaramillo as well.
Off-season has begun already for the Cubs regardless of the fact that game one of this year’s World Series hasn’t even kicked off yet. And their first move comes on the coaching level. Interesting first tweak in getting this team to the next level in 2010.
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy! (Great movie) Go Cubs Go!
Hey, wait a second…that doesn’t sound half bad. Fuld, Colvin, Fukudome with Reed Johnson as our fourth and heavily relied upon outfielder. Three guys who aren’t afraid to hustle after a ball and own the glove where would be bloop singles go to die. Three guys who aren’t afraid to get a face full of ivy in exchange for a much needed out. Three guys who aren’t injury prone and beyond their prime. Three guys who don’t have handicapping attitudes that effect themselves, their teammates and the entire organization. Three guys Cubs fans could really get behind.