Hendry out, Irene in.

Obviously there is a lot to talk about. Thing is, I’m putting the computer on higher ground to protect it among other things from Hurricane Irene. We’re evacuating the city for a couple of days and I’ll be back to talk about all things Cubs once I do. Wish us luck. We get water in our place with a small thunderstorm. This one is going to be a disaster.

Go Cubs Go! And Irene, simply Go Away.

Prosecard from Cubs Nation – Chris Jelinek

The Cubs have won four straight series and 11 of their last 14 games. On the other hand, Zambrano has quit on the team and Casey Coleman is on his way back to the majors. Never a dull moment with this team and quite frankly, we’re all in this together.

It’s fun to meet other Cubs fans and hear what they think of the season and why they root for the Cubs. In this interview series, I get to do just that. Today’s installment of Prosecard from Cubs Nation is with Chris Jelinek. A Cubs fan since the he was born, he like the rest of us, is still waiting to see the Cubs win it all. You both have so much in common, why not check it out?! Enjoy…Chris Jelinek and his Prosecard from Cubs Nation:

1. Name: Chris Jelinek

2. How long have you been a Cubs fan? Why do you root for the Cubs?:   I have been a Cubs fan since the day I was born (17 years ago). I became a Cubs fan because my dad was and always had the game on. Whenever I came home from school, I would be watching or waiting for the Cubs games to come on. I had the Cubs starting lineup memorized when I was about 7 years old. Always have been and always will be a Cubs fan.

3.  Have you ever seen the Cubs play on the road? What was that experience like? If not, which stadium would you want to see them play in on the road? What do you love about Wrigley?  Yes, I have been to a Cubs game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati and I just recently went to the Crosstown Classic at US Cellular Field. I love Wrigley Field but sometimes it’s cool to see a road game. Fortunately, both road games I went to the Cubs won. I really enjoyed the game at US cellular field because of the rivalry. Cubs won 6-2 so that made the experience a lot better and I got to have bragging rights for the night.

4. At the trade deadline, what moves do you want to see Hendry make? (interview took place before the trade deadline):  Right now I would like to see Hendry possibly clear up some cap space to make a strong push for Pujols or Fielder. Personally, I really like Ramirez, but if possibly I would like to see Soriano and Fukudome get traded. But with Soriano’s contract that will obviously be a tough task. I think Hendry needs to find some good pitching prospects, which are almost ready for the big leagues. So basically, prepare a team that appeals to free agents.

5. What was your impression of the team based on the first half of the season? What are your expectations for the second half?   I didn’t have really high expectations for the Cubs this year, but the first half was terrible. Unfortunately, there were a lot of injuries but that is no excuse. The first half was definitely one to forget, but I was impressed with Castro and Barney. For the second half I’m expecting a close to .500 team. I would like to see top prospect, Brett Jackson, get some playing time and big league experience.

6. You are the Cubs’ GM for a day. What is your first order of business?   If I was the Cubs GM for the day, I would fire Mike Quade and try to hire a manager who has a good playoff record or just experience (Maybe Joe Torre or Joe Girardi). Then after that I would focus on making roster moves. But I believe an experienced manager is what the Cubs really need next year.

7. You are in charge of the Miller Lite ad in right field. Against NL Central opponents, what would you have the sign say?
Astros- “ Houston landed, we have no problem. Cubs will win a series”
Brewers- “Enjoy a victory drink as the Cubs finish the Brew”
Cardinals- “Come watch the Cubs sweep the Cardinals. It will be a like a “Holliday” in the city.
Pirates- “If the Cubs beat the Pirates it will be a safe sail to the division title”
Reds- “Come watch the Cubs keep on “Rolen” as they attempt to beat division rival Cincinnati Reds”

8.  Which Cubs team since 2000 has been your favorite and why?  My favorite Cubs team since 2000 would have to be the 2008 team. Even though they failed in the playoffs, it was a fun team to watch all year. I loved Mark Derosa and his love for the game and willingness to do whatever it took to win a ballgame. And I loved Rich Harden, so when the Cubs made a move for him I was really excited but unfortunately that club didn’t do anything in October.

9. Are there any former Cubs you kept an eye on and followed their career after they left the Cubs?   Definitely. Sammy Sosa was my favorite player growing up, so when he went to Baltimore and Texas I always checked up on him and his HR count. And it may sound strange but I have kept an eye on Mark Prior. I always have wanted to see if he could come back. I also check up on D Lee and Ted Lilly.

10.  You get to write the headline for the Tribune the day after the Cubs win the Series. Give a few examples of headlines you would run:  First headline would be, “The Curse is Reversed! Cubs are World Series Champs!” Second would be, “The Drought is finally over, after 103 years the Cubs have won the pennant!” Third would be, “Do You Believe in Miracles? Yes! Cubs Win the World Series!” The fourth would be, “Cubs Fans, It’s not a dream, The Cubs have won the World Series!” And the last one would be, “Hey, Hey, Hey! Cubs have won the World Series!”

11.  You need to choose a current Cubs player to do one of the following things: attend a bachelor’s party, babysit your kid, handle a business transaction, run the team next season. Who would you select for each and why? I would probably take Matt Garza to the bachelor party because he is always on the edge of the dugout, cheering for the team. So he would probably be a funny guy to have at a party. I would have Ryan Dempster babysit my kids because he is always good with fans at the ballpark and he would probably be a responsible guy to babysit kids. I would have Kerry Wood help with a business transaction because he seems to run a lot of charity events and he would probably be the best Cub to help run a business. And finally, I would have Marlon Byrd run the team. Very enthusiastic player who would be good with motivating players and helping them with mistakes. He has also been around the game for a while now so I would trust that he would have an idea of how the run a ball club.

12. You are selected to write an article about what it was like to be a Cubs fan in 2011. It will be placed in a time capsule and opened in 2111. What would you want to tell those baseball fans of the future? I would tell them our suffering has continued this year. It has been 103 years without a World Series but hopefully one will come soon. We have a young superstar coming up, Starlin Castro. Hopefully you think of Castro they way we think of Cubs great Ernie Banks. And most of all, hopefully the Cubs win multiple World Series titles before 2111.

13. How would you celebrate a Cubs World Series victory?  My Celebration would start inside Wrigley Field because I would be at the game. I would stay at the ballpark celebrating with thousands of fans until the stadium closes. After that, I would party in Wrigleyville all night. I would get a hotel room for about a week and just stay and party in the city for days. I would get the parade and rally site at about 2 or 3 A.M to make sure I’m close to the stage. The parade would be key to the celebration because it will be the most insane thing Chicago has ever seen.

14.  You have to make a choice. Either change the exterior of Wrigley incuding the marquee, or make changes to the scoreboard. One or the other. Which would you change? I would change the scoreboard. I love the scoreboard but I wish there was an opportunity for fans the see replays. I don’t’ want them to change the scoreboard but if came down between the two I would choose the scoreboard. Maybe they can sell the scoreboard and that can help pay Prince Fielder (joking).

Thank you to Chris for playing along and agreeing to be interviewed for this installment of Prosecard from Cubs Nation. If you are interested in being the next Cubs fan to be interviewed, email me at maloney_ryan@yahoo.com or send me a DM on Twitter, @proseandivy and I’ll send you some questions! Go Cubs Go!

Z time has come

That’s it. It’s over.

Last year we saw Zambrano go from demoted Opening Day starter, to average joe member of the rotation, relegated to the bullpen, off the roster altogether and then back on the team throwing like the effective Zambrano we all know and love.

Effective Zambrano is not coming back this season. Likely, not at all.

Zambrano gave up five home runs to the Atlanta Braves, threw a couple more pitches at Chipper Jones and was ejected from an otherwise uneventful outing. On Bobby Cox night at Turner Field, the Braves were retiring Cox’s number six for the many pennants he helped lead the team to. Never to be out done, Zambrano must have figured, go ahead, retire a number. I’m going to retire altogether.

Zambrano headed to the locker room, cleaned out his things and announced to the Cubs staff that he will be retiring. Blee-blee…blee-blee-blee…that’s all folks.

Zambrano has always had a battle with inner demons. On many nights, he came out the victor and was able to quiet the crazy and pitch the Cubs to a W. On the other nights, Zambrano lost to the demons, lost his control and then lost the game for the Cubs. Worse than contributing a string of not-s0-quality starts? Quitting on your team completely. Walking off the field after being ejected and taking his anger out on Larry ‘Chipper’ Jones, was another start to a horrific outburst by Z. This time, he took it too far. Emotions get hot. Words can be said. Fists may be thrown. It’s not to be tolerated but at least it happens in the heat of the battle. Fighting so hard to help his team, the venom has spilled over a couple of times and led Zambrano to physically attack teammates in the dugout. I believe quitting on them altogether is even worse.

Quitting delivers no fight. It delivers no effort. It only makes you stand out as a loser. As someone who can’t be counted on. As someone who can’t be expected to ride the highs and lows of a season until the story plays itself out come September or October. It’s a long time from April once the fall comes around. The summer is filled with excruciating hot days and a ton of frustration to go along with some wins that make it all worth while. That’s simply the game of baseball. You need to have 25 men altogether willing to keep their hands and feet inside the car and mostly all times and go along for the ride together. Otherwise, you haven’t got a chance.

Zambrano quit on his team and in quitting there is no way for you to give your team a chance. Quade saw that and that is why he berated Zambrano to the media. He didn’t know where he was. He had 24 other guys battling their butts off in Atlanta. Hot, steamy, frustrating to play Atlanta. Atlanta is a good team. The entire National League is chasing Atlanta for the wild card spot. You need everyone in if you’re going to have a chance to go home victorious. The Cubs were lucky to pull out the series victory. Of course, the two games they won? The ones where Zambrano wasn’t pitching, leading the way.

Zambrano, I have always argued, makes the Cubs stronger. Despite the craziness, his talent made this team stronger. Made this team a contender. Sure, their record shows otherwise this year despite Zambrano’s starts. However, now, I believe it is time to say goodbye to Zambrano. He can go anywhere he wants. Good luck finding a team willing to put up with a quitter who is a hot head to boot. Oh, I’m sure he’ll find some contender willing to take a chance on him. Teams have taken chances on worse in the past. However, whomever it is that takes the shot on Zambrano, they need to understand that they are getting garbage. A cramping, hot-headed, unpredictable, lousy teammate, quitting piece of garbage. If you feel a couple of wins might be worth a shot, then go for it. I doubt it will play out favorably.

The Cubs have banned Z from the team completely and he is not being paid for the time. 30 days he has been banned from the team. On the ‘disqualified’ list. Banned. That is a strong word. Disqualified and banned. A couple of words I’m sure no great player wants on their resume. Great players don’t need to worry about it though. They are usually not headcases. And if they are, they usually find a way to avoid the tags of ‘disqualified’ or ‘banned’. I mean, how many great players can you think of that have been disqualified or banned from their team? I can’t think of one.

I can think of a talented player who has extreme mental issues and can’t get a grip on the demons to hang in there and help his team out down the stretch, quitting on them, their fans and the organization after five lousy home runs. I can think of ‘that guy’. Unfortunately, ‘that guy’ was one of ours. Well, is one of ours. For how long though, is yet to be seen.

After 30 days has passed, depending on how this works (can the team trade him if he’s on the DQ list?) when he returns, it needs to be a quick ‘make sure you grab everything out of your locker, Z. The bananas, too.’ type of return. And then back out the door he goes. No therapy. No bullpen assignment. No more games. Proverbial or scheduled.

Zambrano’s time is up. He needs to no longer be a Cub. ASAP.

Go Cubs Go!

New today for Baseball Digest – Christy Mathewson Feature

 

Let’s kick this one off with a quick poll.

No dwelling on it. Answer with whichever choice comes to mind naturally after hearing the question.

Which Fab Five was more impressive: Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson…or…Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson?

(I’ll wait for you to stop laughing and then we can carry on with the rest of the piece).

The latter group in the poll represents the very first group of major league baseball players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In 1936, the five men were the first to receive the game’s greatest honor and set the bar for all to follow.  The last name on the list, Mathewson, was born on this day in 1880.

From Factoryville, Pennsylvania, Mathewson grew up playing multiple sports, earning recognition for his skills in baseball and football while attending Bucknell University. Factoryville celebrates Christy Mathewson Day every year on the Saturday closest to his birthday. Bucknell University’s football stadium is named Christy Mathewson Memorial. However, it was his performance on the baseball field that truly cemented his legacy.

Click here to read the entire article. Go Cubs Go!

Unveiling Santo: The fans’ statue

That’s not a bad idea for a blog. Thing is, I don’t cook.

Cooking is not a passion of mine. Baseball is. And no, I don’t believe Amy Adams should play me in the film adaptation of Prose and Ivy, should there be one. Not that she couldn’t pull it off. I just don’t see it. Have fun suggesting people that should be cast to do so if the time comes in the comments. (why not)

While odd to feature ‘Julie and Julia’ in a post about Santo, still, I like the way Julia Childs not only inspired Adams’ character to do something creative, but also made her feel like everything is going to be alright. She helped steer her further into enjoying and delving into her passion while still making her feel like she wasn’t alone in it all. She was someone she could relate to because they shared the same passion.

I post it because in a way, I believe Ron Santo did the same thing for Cubs fans. In this case, pass10n.

I would suspect that Santo didn’t have a killer bouef bourguignon recipe to share with foodies. He more than likely owned the Cubs cookbook that has been on-sale for charity. However, his gift to Cubs fans wasn’t something you could cook up on a stove or in an oven. Granted, Wrigley Field can hit over 100 degrees on the heat index in the middle of July or August, still, Santo’s gift was his everyman-ness. The fact that Santo seemed to be one of us.

I would also suspect that there are many Cubs fans around ‘Julie’s age who look back on a ballgame that their mother or father took them to. When they share the story with others, perhaps in their best Meg Ryan impression as Adams does here, they get to the part about how they looked upon beautiful Wrigley Field down against the wall along the third base line and it was then that their parent pointed out their all-time favorite ballplayer. However, it wasn’t just any ballplayer. It was Ron Santo. One of the greatest players to wear a Cubs uniform. A man that was loved on and off the field for nearly five decades. It wasn’t just some ballplayer their parent wanted them to see. No. This was RON SANTO.

He cared and wasn’t afraid to share his feelings. He loved the Cubs as the Cubs loved him back. He displayed a passion for the game and the team as a player and then later as a broadcaster. His cheers and groans in the booth came across as a ventriloquist’s act. We as the fans were the ventriloquist and while Santo may have been saying what we wanted to say, if we did say it, it wouldn’t be the same. Often, the sports fans’ voice isn’t heard as if the lips are not moving. Santo gave Cubs fans a voice in the booth and it was a continuation of a special relationship between the two, Santo and the fans.

Watching Santo react after a Cubs win seemed as if a fan had won a contest to suit up for the day and play third base. Certainly many Cubs showed pride and enthusiasm after a Cubs victory throughout the years, but not in an as memorable fashion as Santo. His heel-click, signature celebration displayed the same type of excitement and eutopia-like bliss a fan feels after riding the roller coaster that nine innings of a baseball game can deliver. Any time Santo performed his trademark heel-click, it was if a fan had run onto the field to celebrate with the players and instead of being tackled and arrested, the security guards gave him a uniform and a high-five.

The fan in Santo is what separated him from the rest of the Cubs. Ernie Banks is Mr. Cub, no doubt about it. Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Billy Williams, Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins among others have all found a place in Cubs’ lore and Cubs fans’ hearts. However, arguably, no Cub was more relatable than Santo. Cub fans loved the Cubs. Santo loved the Cubs. Cubs fans loved Santo and the feeling was mutual. He loved the city. He loved playing at Wrigley Field and more than anything he wanted to bring a championship to Chicago and its fans.

The Santo statue is going to be unveiled today at 5:30pm CT. I can’t imagine that they molded it to take any pose other than the heel-clicking Santo celebration. It is the proper thing to do. It is the only thing to do. To build a Santo statue…as soon as that was agreed upon…I’m guessing the next lines of that meeting went something like: “Great. So, the heel-click, yes?” “Yes.” “Done.”

The statue is going to be unveiled next to the Billy Williams statue, over by the Captain Morgan Club. A perfect location if you ask me. Right over by an area known for fans coming together to celebrate or commisorate over their Cubs. Right by the corner where fans often parade off the L on their way to Wrigley. Right by Williams, another Cubs great. Putting Santo among the greats yet also amongst the fans is the perfect placement.

I look forward to hearing what is written on the statue base. It will be a bittersweet moment for the Santo family, I’m sure, as Ronnie won’t be around to enjoy it with them. The great part about the Santo statue though is that in a way, from now on, he will always will be there, on our side, like one great big good fairy, to quote our surprise casting in Adams, here. A permanent fixture outside of Wrigley, putting the heel-clicking exclamation mark on a Cubs’ win and serving as a reminder that Cubs fans aren’t alone in this after a loss. Great times have existed and while they may be few and far between, the team will continue to reach for that ultimate gift back to the fans. A championship.

It may not happen this year or next or the year after that. However, it will be a great reminder that it hasn’t been for a lack of trying or caring. The players may display some sloppiness and laziness here and there throughout the season and we may receive some bums here and there who truly don’t care. However, Santo is one that did. He cared very much and the feeling from the fans was mutual. It may take some time (even if it’s more than we’d like), but we’re all in this together and everything is going to be okay.

What Santo means to this organization is something that deserves a statue outside of Wrigley, especially seeing how much the organization meant to Santo.

Banks, Williams, Harry and now Santo. And in a way, it will honor the passion and love for the team that the fans hold as well.

Congratulations, Ron. You deserve this honor and I look forward to seeing it soon. Go Cubs Go!

UPDATED: 8/10/11 7:15pm CT: The statue has been unveiled and it really is impressive. Not the heel-clicking pose I expected, but still. A beaut’. Congratulations to Ron and the entire Santo family. Nice job, Cubs. Well done.

photo credit: @CubsInsider

New today for Baseball Digest – Deion Sanders Feature

Few athletes have had an impact on the MLB, NFL and our overall cultural landscape the way Deion ‘Prime Time’ Sanders did. While never a Cub, his story is an interesting one for baseball fans in general. If you have a minute, take a look!

Excerpt:

If we were to truly honor Deion Sanders, the right way, this article would have been written not in the morning, but in prime time.

If we were to truly honor Deion Sanders, the right way, this article would include a link at the bottom of the page leading to its continuation at NFL.com.

If we were to truly honor Deion Sanders, the right way, this article would include not only a link to a previous Baseball Digest print edition mention of Sanders’ career, it would include a video making it stand out among the rest, done in Flash.

Read the entire article by clicking here!

Go Cubs Go!

Prose and Ivy Tweet of the Day

Go Cubs Go!