If you haven’t already seen the Cubs’ holiday e-card, you can view it here. On behalf of myself, my wife Sasha and our son, Rhys, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (Maybe we’ll find Brandon Webb tied to the train tracks under the tree this year? Ok, that wouldn’t bode well for keeping him healthy in 2011. How about NEXT to the holiday train tracks?) Happy Holidays!
There have been some rather large events this off-season, signings that really jump off the screen at you, no?
(Note: Those of you looking for the Santo dedicated post titled “The Cubs Have Lost Their Voice”, it is listed right below this entry. RIP #10. You will be missed.)
Depending on where you live in the world, if asked right now, “What’s today?” some of you may answer “Friday”. Some of you may say “Saturday”. Some of you may say something that makes no sense because you are wasted. And for those of you who write a baseball blog and are a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, today you may answer “Why it’s Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day, of course!”
I have been writing Prose and Ivy for three years now and one of the highlights for me has been my relationship as President of the Cubs Chapter of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). The idea of uniting baseball bloggers across the web and opening up opportunities to work on projects together seemed intriguing to me and it’s been an experience I’m happy I committed to. From working contributing to others’ columns, to hosting podcasts, to voting on end of year awards and worth inductees for the HOF, the BBA has a great group of writers who are passionate about their team and the sport in general. I have a list of all the blogs listed in my sidebar down on the right side of the blog. You should check it out if you haven’t. If you have a blog and are interested in joining (no fee, just a few guidelines for membership is all), I urge you to contact the BBA and jump aboard! The website for the alliance can be found here.
The logo for the group looks like this:
At the end of the award voting, I decided that since the Baseball Bloggers Alliance had come along so quickly, it might be nice to get an idea of who was actually in the group. To that end, I’m working through the roster and asking ten questions of each member. The first five are standard, while the last five are a little more personalized. Hopefully this will help us get a feel for our fellow members. So, here’s entry nine in a recurring series.
Website: Prose and Ivy
Question 1: How and why did you get into blogging?
My two main interests are comedy and sports. I’ve been writing and performing comedy for over 12 years. I stopped ‘performing’ when it came to organized sports after my senior year of high school (not including intramurals or club sports in college, I suppose). So basically, I never had a real outlet for my ideas/opinions/thoughts on sports.
I love baseball and when I saw the opportunity to have a blog on MLB.com, I jumped at the chance. Thought it would be a fun opportunity to joke, vent, rant, etc when it came to one of my favorite things in life. And then, when they made the site free, even better. : )
Question 2: Do you have any blogging projects planned for the off-season?
Over the off-season I plan on continuing to write and follow the trade rumors and signings as they happen. The moves that effect the Cubs directly, as well as some of the bigger signings that effect the team indirectly. In addition to that, I will continue a key feature on Prose and Ivy where I interview Cubs fans, much in the same nature as you are doing here for BBA members. The feature is called “Prosecards from Cubs Nation” and it’s been a blast getting to know Cubs fans from all over and here about their thoughts and experiences rooting for the Cubs. Will definitely continue that feature right up until Spring Training starts and into the 2010 regular season.
I also have a blog talk radio show where I discuss Cubs baseball and post the shows to Prose and Ivy. I haven’t recorded a show since the season ended, but that is something I’m looking to jump into again and post to the site just after the new year.
Question 3: What’s been your most enjoyable experience as a blogger (particularly well-received post, a high-profile link, a connection you wouldn’t have had otherwise, etc.)?
My most enjoyable experience as a blogger was when I was given the opportunity by MLB.com to review an X-Box game for MLB.com/Entertainment. They were looking for people to review MLB 2K8 and the write-ups would be featured on the site with an official MLB byline. That was all I needed to hear. I let them know I’d like to review the X-Box version of the game if possible and after they said it was a go, I went right out and bought an X-Box. Had the system for about a week, long enough to review the game, but short enough so that Best Buy would believe I had purchased it as a duplicate gift and take it back. Well worth the two trips to Best Buy and the opportunity to be prominently showcased on MLB.com.
Question 4: How did you find out about the BBA and what attracted you to the group?
I can’t remember how I heard about the BBA, however I think I heard about on another blog or was approached by Daniel himself, I can’t remember. The most attractive part of the group is the alliance the blogs share, in that, if you are a fan of a blog on the list, and looking for more quality baseball information…if you look at the list of blogs the BBA members recommend, you will be forwarded on to another blog in the group. It’s great for referring readers along to other BBA blogs and a great place to get quality bloggers together to share ideas regarding how to improve their sites.
Question 5: What do you want to see out of the BBA in the coming year?
BBA representatives on sports talk shows. TV and radio, both. I think that would be an amazing jump for the BBA on networks like ESPN, MLB Network, as well as local sports news shows around the country. Might be a bit far fetched, but we’ve already received recognition on ESPN with one of the Yankees blogs being selected to represent NY (AL) in the covering the playoffs this year from the fans’ perspective. Seemed to me like a great step in the right direction to achieve what I mentioned above.
That and maybe keychains. Yeah, strike that. Definitely keychains.
Question 6: How would you describe the Wrigley Field experience?
I would describe the Wrigley Field experience as incomparable when you see it in person for the first time. If my friend Justin is reading this, that means you can’t compare it to anything. It’s like no other stadium in the big leagues and only Wrigley and Fenway can actually say that, both for unique, distinct reasons. No jumbo-trons showing you the same blooper reels from 1982. An energy of a fan base just chomping at the bit for a championship banner to raise on Opening Day the following season.
Being at Wrigley feels like attending a reunion filled with family members you’ve never met before. People you look forward to spending time with as you know you have a ton in common, whether you know their names or not. Before you know it, you’re having a beer together laughing about shared family stories and happy you had a chance to share that time together at the world’s greatest ballpark. Like favorite cousins by the end of the day related not by blood, but bleeding Cubbie blue (cheesy, but accurate).
The Wrigley Field experience is also kind of like a weird montage from a High School Musical film where when you see it for the first time you wonder, how on Earth do all of these people know the words to that song and why are they all singing it simultaneously? I mean, that doesn’t happen in real life. Does it?
Wrigley’s basically amazing. You see the names on the jerseys like family members you share the same memories about. Sandberg, Banks, Smith, Grace, Lee, Davis, Dawson. A feeling that you’ve shared the ups and downs and simply can’t wait to get to your seat, have something to eat and enjoy watching your favorite baseball club compete day in and day out. It’s possibly the greatest way to spend three hours on any given day, bar none*. (*pun intended. the bars are a bonus. it’s the team and the stadium that makes the day great.)
Question 7: Is it tough not to be fatalistic as a Cub fan, to not just expect something to go wrong?
Yes, but that’s all part of it. At this point, it’s part of being a Cubs fan. You expect the worst which is what will make the day the Cubs win the title that much sweeter. It would mean, finally, something didn’t go wrong. (Then of course, I believe you may cue the action sequences of the film 2012 to follow very closely behind. Pretty much right after ‘Cubs win! Cubs win!’. Consider yourself warned.)
Question 8: How did you become a Cub fan?
I think a lot of people either become a fan of team because their parents rooted for them, their friends rooted for them, or they end up with a favorite player and then the team follows suit. For me, it was Ryne Sandberg. I grew up in Connecticut with no professional baseball team to be found among the up-turned collars and Eastland knots. Most of the games I attended growing up were at Shea Stadium down the turnpike and into Queens so I saw a lot of National League ball. Ryne Sandberg was my favorite player. The Cubs attachment followed soon after and it’s been an interesting ride (to say the least) since it did. As always…Go Cubs Go.
Question 9: Do you enjoy having a MLBlog?
I definitely enjoy having an MLBlog. MLB.com is the go-to place for all things baseball (obviously) and MLBlogs is a great opportunity the league has given the fans. The system gives you the opportunity to add a lot of cool features to personalize it so it really feels like you’ve made it your own. I would highly recommend it. (That and chocolate frosties at Wendys. Those things are awesome.)
Question 10: What’s up with that blog address?
I probably should have just gone with the words prose and ivy in the url, would probably be easier for people to find. But…I didn’t. The url is www.onedayatwrigleyac000000.mlblogs.com. The w’s I had nothing to do with and in a way, I feel they’re a little redundant. We’ve seen what one ‘W’ can do, let alone three. The mlblogs part comes with the territory. The onedayatwrigleyac000000 part was all me. It basically refers to the sign at Wrigley that refers to the Year of our Cubs (the AC “Anno Catuli”) and keeps track of the number of years it’s been since the Cubs won their division, league and the Series. The day the Cubs win it all (including their division that is), the sign would read AC000000 as in Anno Catuli and then zero years since the last division title, league pennant and Series title. Lofty goals for sure, but then again, it’s not all about the seventh inning stretch and Lou throwing a fit now is it. Ask me again when we have more time and I’ll tell you how I came up with the .com.
Take some time to check out the group’s site and don’t forget to wolf down some peanuts and cracker jack. BBA Day holiday tradition…of course.
Go Cubs Go!
What an unbelievably sad day. I normally sign on to Twitter as an escape. As a place to be slightly more sarcastic or obnoxious than society allows me to be in real life. To hang out with my Cub friends who I would never have met or talked to if it weren’t for the site considering I live in New York City and most of them, in Chicago. It’s usually a rip-roaring good time.
This morning, however, was very different.
I have about a 40-minute walk to work. It flies by generally because of the hustle and bustle that is New York City. Lots to look at and take in to distract me from the journey and nowadays, the cold. Twitter is the perfect walking companion. When I signed on today as I headed downtown and checked my @ replies, the first thing I saw was RIP Ron Santo complete with birth and death dates. At first I wasn’t sure it was even real as it came from FakeLouPiniella. However, considering the date was just yesterday’s date, Dec 2nd, and not even FakeLouPiniella would make such an awful, unfunny joke…something told me that it was actually true. I checked my Twitter feed and unfortunately, it is true. My Twitter timeline was almost nothing but messages about Ron Santo’s passing. I couldn’t believe it.
The Cubs lost their voice and most likely their biggest fan.
There is always that moment when you receive horrible news that you are in fact speechless. You have absolutely nothing to say, mixed with the fact that you have no idea what to say at all. That moment usually passes when you utter the phrase “I’m speechless”. Technically you are speaking, yet still, you are speechless. Cubs fans all over Twitter could say nothing but tweet kind words about Santo, condolences to the Santo family and gratitude for the years he served as one of their favorite Cubs.
The Hall of Fame hadn’t come around to inducting Ron Santo and it’s unfortunate. If he gets in now, we won’t know if it was for sheer performance or because he’s passed before enjoying the moment. It’s unfortunate because no one deserved to represent the Cubs as a hall of famer the way Ron did and no one would have enjoyed seeing his Cubs win it all like Santo would have. People admire Dawson because of the way he played through injuries and they should. Santo was injured for a great portion of his career with a disease no one even knew he had. It says something about his performance that people consider him Hall-worthy and his play at that time as one of the best in the game that they couldn’t even tell he was dealing with a disease. Santo was a great Cub, a great ballplayer, a great person and a great listen on the radio.
Many Cubs fans I know watch the game on TV and listen to Santo on the radio. To a lot of Cubs fans, Santo’s calling of a game is the Cubs. There are also a lot of young fans who only know Ron as the radio voice of the Cubs. A Cubs broadcast will never be the same, not without one of the great Cubs in front of the mic. His passion from his playing days and his desire to win while in a Cubs uniform never waivered once he was away from the base and in the booth. This Old Cub is probably many fans’ favorite documentary as it chronicled his battle with disease in becoming one of greatest to represent the North Side. His number 10 hangs proudly at Wrigley, something he held dearly in his heart, perhaps even more so than a potential HOF induction. His love for the game and the joy he brought to Cubs fans after a victory was demonstrated in heel clicking delight. It became as much a part of a Cubs win as the W flag itself. Many little leaguers across the country who loved the Cubs I’m sure performed the same heel click a thousand times.
Ron Santo has passed away. Suddenly many things that normally bother Cubs fans about the Cubs don’t matter as much as they usually do. Today, all that matters is that we lost one of our own. A member of our family. And if it’s left everyone speechless, including the Cubs, it makes sense. The Cubs have lost their voice.
RIP Ron Santo.
First, iTunes became the gateway to The Beatles. Now, naturally, Prose and Ivy is part of Apple’s next best thing.
- Category: Sports
- Released: Nov 30, 2010
- Version: 2.0
- 2.4 MB
- Languages: English, Spanish
- Seller: Casey Haakenson
- © NoticeSoftware, LLC
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Whether you are a regular reader of this blog or perhaps you follow my Twitter account @proseandivy you know that I have been trying to get Internet superstar Keenan Cahill to sign on and agree to doing one of my fan interviews, “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”. The kid is hilarious, his videos are blowing up youtube and he’s a huge Cubs fan. He’d be a great interview.
Well, I haven’t heard from him and now I think I know why. He has bigger fish to fry. Like hanging out and making music videos in his bedroom with none other than 50 Cent. Ok, Keenan that’s cool. No problem. But you know he’s a Yankee fan, right? Check out the video here (and you can save time if you’d like by jumping ahead to the 1:20 mark for the big entrance):
Go Cubs Go!
Recent post on my Twitter page:
As Chapter president, I hereby (just really like using that word) post the Cubs Chapter votes representing our contribution to the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) tallying of votes for the NL Pitcher of the Year, aka The Walter Johnson Award. Here is how our chapter voted: First place Roy Halladay. Second Place: Ubaldo Jiminez. Third Place: Tim Hudson.
As Chapter president, I am hereby posting our votes for the recipient of the NL Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever). First place: Brian Wilson. Second Place: Billy Wagner. Third Place: Heath Bell.
The Chicago Cubs Chapter, which includes myself and other Cub bloggers signed on as members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance(see the list in the post below this one) have voted for NL rookie of the year, or as the BBA calls it, our Willie Mays Award.
Oct 15th. That is my son’s due date.
About a week ago my wife and I finished up cleaning the entire apartment. They call it ‘the nesting period’ according to our very expensive and nearly as informative child care/lamaze classes. Talk about thorough, it wasn’t short of a visit to the ER to make sure my thumb was ok after cutting it while, none other than…scrubbing the tub. After an hour in the ER, some hospital glue and a ‘have a nice day’, we were on our way home to finish up and situate the nest to a level classified: Ready For Baby. (I’m fine, thanks for asking).
Things were cleaned, arranged just so. Nightlights were placed, sheets were laid down and curtains were put up. All that needed to happen was the baby’s actual arrival.
AND THEN….the storm came.
It rained extremely hard last Thursday night here in NYC and apparently a drain on our terrace area was blocked. By about six leaves mind you. This was just enough to cause a flood in our bedroom and living room. Classification now: Nowhere Near Ready for Baby. All of a sudden there is a ton of work to do as all of the floors in our apartment need to be ripped up, gutted and replaced. Joy.
With the recent success of the Cubs interim manager, Mike Quade, many Cubs fans are torn as to who should get the gig next year. Lots of fans, while Lou was still here, thought it was a no brainer: get Sandberg up here and let’s roll! Lots of other fans also thought trying to get Torre, LaRussa, Girardi, Bobby Valentine and the long list of others were no-brainers too.
However, now that the Cubs have posted a 9-5 record under Quade (an over .600 winning percentage) fans are wondering if perhaps Mike Quade shouldn’t be passed over and maybe he is the guy that should land the job for 2011. Those that believe Quade should be given a shot if he finishes the season as strong as he’s started his shot as Cubs skipper are quite adamant about it and hope he does so and carries this success over to next year. (Then again Cubs fans are always passionate in their beliefs of their Cubs no matter what those feelings are now aren’t they?)
The idea of Hendry’s buffoonery and Ricketts’ newness to the post and the fans’ new feeling of giving Quade a shot inspired this post. Please enjoy this new development in the world that is known as The Chicago Cubs through the eyes of Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon”.
In this video and the parody script listed below it which you can use to read along in Cubs translation…Tom Ricketts will be played by Dr. Terminus and Jim Hendry is played by his shorter, older con-artist minion. Ladies and gentleman, I give you “(Don’t) Passonmikequade!” (I suggest clicking the video window to open it in a second window and scrolling this page for parody lyrics)
Ricketts: Quick, who will they want to manage the team in 2011?
Hendry: Just pass on Mike Quade.
Ricketts: Just pass on my whatty?
Hendry: Pass on Mike Quade!
Ricketts: Got it. How wonderful to see your smiling faces again I…I’ve never known such warmth, such welcome, such loving hospitality
Man: Get out ya hack!
Man: And don’t bring those Milton Bradleys here again!
Woman: Go on back where you belong…Ameritrade!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I sense enthusiasm I sense loving response
And that’s why I feel Wrigley is my home away from home
I’ve been making millions in my time at ‘Meritrade
Went to U of C and that’s right down the road
You’re gonna like us, No use in fightin’ us
Caray, Ernie, Billy Williams, let’s have statues surround the stadium!
Little Jeff Samardzija was so nice to visit
He comes and goes from Triple A when recalled
Man: Why doesn’t he stay there?
Ricketts: But through all the tips
You know who could manage this place
Make the call now, one name on my list
Why…..it’s…Get Joe Girardi, uh, Call up Joe Torre, no, no… Bring back ‘ol Dusty, uh, Try Alan Trammy, p…p…Persuade Bob Brenly Uh, Quick sign Jim Tracy, uh, Pass me a hottie? Oh, I know! I’ll Hire my daddy!
Cubs fans: No, don’t Pass on Mike Quade!
Ricketts: Of course, that’s what I meant to say
Woman: I thought we’d win, 2008 And then we got robbed!
Ricketts: Remember we’re losers who do thrive on your love!
I know Silva looks like he only drinks Buttermilk
Leads aren’t under firm control given to Marmol
Santo’s emotions, “Unreal” he does notion
New statues for Cub alliance
Forget we make losing a science
With L.A. we trade away
We couldn’t keep Ted here
Don’t know what to do with Sean Marshall
Cubs fans: You’ll probably ship him out
Ricketts: Ha, ha, yes we probably will…
Man: The issue is, no thanks to Jim our Cubs always stink!
Ricketts: But WE’RE here – the wins are coming!
Cubs fans: We’re gonna flush your BS down the troffs near the sinks!
Ricketts: Wait, listen, my specialties are Hand-shaking, public speaking, statue unveiling, beer guzzling Bleacher-bumming, sibling-having, spin-doctoring! And every other ‘whatever-ing’ you can think of! My friends, you are not giving me a chance! We brought all of these free agents in from Tokyo! Japan.
Cubs fans: oooh…
Old Cub fan: Oh Ricketts, oh Ricketts, Ricketts, Ricketts, help me.
Ricketts: I hear someone. I hear someone calling me. A Cubs fan in need. A Cubs fans calling out to another great cubs fan. A service only I can provide. Madam, Tommy Ricketts is here to appease you.
Old Cubs fan: Ayye?
Ricketts: What’s your problem lady?
Old Cubs fan: Ayye?
Ricketts: How can I turn my back on such a dear woman? It’s the bleacher bum in me.
Old Cubs fan: I hear…Santo…yelling.
Ricketts: That’ll be exactly $150 madam. $75 a seat!
Old Cubs Fan: Oh, bless you Ricketts! Wait ’til next year! Wait ’til next year!
Ricketts: My decision can cure her! Did you hear her bless me while I blessed her too? How wonder I feel right here in my heart! And that’s what the baseball business is all about folks! People helping people. You should all get help!
(Hendry jumps up on Convention stage in disguise)
Ricketts: Gadzooks! What have we here?
Hendry: Oh, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. All I’m asking for is a miracle.
Ricketts: All he wants is a miracle! How can I deny him folks….IF he’s willing to pay for it, he’s gonna get it!
Hendry: 8 years for $136 million!
Ricketts: 8 years for $136 million!
(Ricketts pours Old Style into Hendry’s mouth out of a flask, Hendry begins to dance to Go Cubs Go!)
Woman: I trust him!
Woman: I believe he’ll hire the right guy!
Man: I’ll put my hard earned money for season tickets with no guarantees in his hands!
Ricketts: My friends you’ve seen a miracle!
And you’ll see many more, People will come pouring in to, see Wrigley!
Sosa failed testing?
Surely you’re jesting!
Keep those dimes and dollars mounting
Hendry: I’ll collect!
Ricketts: I’ll do the counting! Everyone who roots for us will strong and happy We’ll be getting more wins by the day!
Cubs fans: Yay!
Ricketts: Get them off waivers!
Need the right man to lead us
All of Cubs Nation’s gonna say…
Buhh..Bring us Bobby V, no,
Raise up Frank Selee,
no, no, Dig up McCarthy,
Uh, Call Atlanta ’bout Bobby?,
q…q…q…Call up Bill Dancy
… Hire Barbaro Garbey,
Go with Bud Bailey,
Sandberg’s the must be,
Help me Girardi,
Just get Joe Torre, I want my mommy…ha ha ha ha!
Hendry (whispers): Pass on Mike Quade
Cubs fans: Don’t Pass on Mike Quade!
Ricketts: I know.
Guess we’ll see how it plays out! For now, yes…if Mike Quade finishes this season the way he’s started, I agree. The guy should be given a shot and someone should suggest the Cubs (Don’t) Passonmikequade. Go Cubs Go!
The Cubs will honor one of the greatest Cubs of all-time tonight when they unveil a statue of Hall of Famer, Billy Williams.
The statue will be revealed in a ceremony at Wrigley before their game against the Astros at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. Lots of folks had a problem with the way they handled the Harry Caray statue situation in replacing his long-held location at that intersection with the new Williams statue. While I don’t really understand the decision to move Caray for Williams (why not just leave Caray and Banks, the only other player to be honored with a statue at Wrigley, where they are and put Williams else where?), it doesn’t bother me outside of not understanding the logic in doing so.
Williams already has his number retired by the club and it’s a great honor to be immortalized outside the game’s greatest stadium. I’m currently reading about Billy Williams and it’s a fascinating story. I’m happy for him and can’t wait to see the statue next time I visit Wrigley. (Banks too for that matter as I’ve only seen the Caray statue in person).
A team that is short on championships and long on failures, I’m glad the Ricketts have decided to find a way to keep moving forward while updating but not changing the old stadium and honoring greats of the past, highlighting the positives that Cubs fans can be proud of while many obsess over the losing seasons and loveable loser reputation (a little too much in my opinion). I feel it’s hard to break out of the lovable loser/losing mentality when you are constantly embracing it and while it may be necessary in a laugh-instead of crying kind of way, it won’t ever help us win a title. The more ways we can emphasize the positives and look to move this team forward in a way that makes a positive difference, the better.
In a way, it would be easy for the Ricketts to push the old Veeck mentality of come out and have fun at the ballpark, don’t worry so much about the winning. This would be even easier for them than other potential owners considering they grew up with it all around them finding love in life and for their team in the bleachers of Wrigley and as die-hard fans, it would be easy to take that loveable loser mentality into the owner’s box. Think about how horrible that would be if they took the ‘let’s have a sense of humor’ approach and commemorated some horrible moments/characters in Cubs history with statues outside of Wrigley. My Cubs statues of limitations if you will.
A statue of Lou Piniella for instance. Giant belly, raving lunatic face, maybe even yelling in the face of an umpire (this statue would take a while considering there’d be an ump as well). Holding two giant stone tablets, one reading 2007, one reading 2008 and beneath him on the ground, two broken tablets: 2009 and 2010. His left arm in the air in anger and his right arm reaching out, just short of a carved out stone version of the word “potential”.
A statue of Dusty Baker for instance. This one would have to be practically a characature. Big smile on his face commemorating his arrival in the Windy City. A toothpick so large it’s nearly the size of the rest of the statue. Carved out fans crying all around him at his feet and a little Sammy Sosa in the back of the statue doing whatever he feels like.
A statue of the Cubs batting glove Bill Buckner wore in game six of the World Series in 1986 for instance. Simply to commemorate the once a Cub, always a Cub feeling. You may be able to take the player out of Chicago, but you can never take Chicago out of the player.
A statue of Sammy Sosa for instance. Biggest torso on a player’s statue ever created with a tiny head and two gigantic arms sitting upon two gigantic, powerful legs. In his back pocket a syringe. His right arm pointing up to the sky in celebration of a home run and his left hand behind his back with his fingers crossed to denote the honesty that each home run was bashed in while chasing down unattainable records. Of course there would be no number on his back because next to him would be a very little Tyler Colvin wearing the number 21 just laughing and having a great time doing a respectable job representing Sosa’s old steroid infested number. At Sosa’s feet, a Spanish to English dictionary ripped in two and set on fire in hopes that no one knew it ever existed in Sammy’s possession, ever. And the bonus feature, for some reason after years and years of looking this way, the statue’s face will begin to fade until the face is so white it longer resembles anything that it used to be and fans will have to do a double take to make sure it’s who they think it is.
A statue of Todd Hundley if you will for instance. Todd Hundley’s statue would be made of the most expensive metal and yet, would deliver the least amount of entertainment value. If fans had their way, it would probably also receive the largest amount of bird excrement. Hundley would simply be standing there with hands in his pocket offering absolutely nothing with a giant smile on his face. No glove as he was horrible behind the plate. No bat as he delivered nothing compared to what was expected of him. Next to him on the ground? A giant bag of cash with a cartoonish $ symbol. Hundley’s would be the only statue with a sound effect…that being, the sound of a truck backing up which would commemorate the giant contract he was given. When the truck doesn’t arrive, fans will realize that it is commemorating how long Cubs fans waited for results out of Hundley even though all of his money was on the way.
And last but not least, a statute of Will Ohman for instance. Quite possibly the worst Cubs relief pitcher to ever demonstrate hilarious ineffectiveness right before my eyes. Ohman’s statue would be of him on the mound looking in for the sign. Behind him, a brick wall covered in ivy and the famous scoreboard. Out of the scoreboard would be a kid just waiting to flip over the visitors’ run total on the scoreboard. When Ohman pitches, the other team scores a ton of runs and it will show. Ohman’s statue, the only one with a cool interactive feature, will allow fans to step up to the plate, literally. You can step on a home plate and right on cue a ball with be shot out of a small cannon, flying over the outfield wall. The run the boy running the scoreboard was counting on, delivered.
Needless to say, this would be a horrible sight to see and I’m glad the Ricketts are knowledgable enough of the past and looking to celebrate it. We need more focusing on the positives these days as our team is falling apart beyond what I expected. 2007, 2008 were a blast. 2009 was a let down. However this year, has simply been sad. No playoffs. No title. Not even having Lou for the whole season. The bright spots need to continue getting us through and they need to continue to be celebrated. Williams is a bright spot from the past and we need to keep those bright spots in mind while enjoying the current bright spots of today (Quade, Castro, Colvin….and that’s been about it).
You guys have any other ideas for Cub Statues of Limitations? Congratulations Billy, you deserve it! Go Cubs Go!
I have found more Cubs fans to interact with on Twitter than in ‘real life’. Why? Because I live in New York City. Many of my “Prosecards from Cubs Nation” features have featured Cub fans I found on Twitter and a few of them I’ve even had a chance to meet at Citi Field attending Cubs v. Mets games.
They were all great interviews and I appreciated everyone stepping up to the plate and participating. I have one I’m looking to put together with Brian from popular Cubs blog “Bullpen Brian”. We should be able to arrange in the next week or so. Until then, I’d like your help in getting another Prosecard set up. Follow this kid @KeenanCahill and send him a tweet telling him to do our next Prosecard from Cubs Nation. He’s a Cubs fan and he cracks me up with his videos. If you haven’t seen them, here are a couple. Great to cure the 2010 Cubs blues. (Although Quade is also helping I must say…..and come on Castro! Get that AVG up and win the batting title man…big September is all you need!)
Check out his videos and let’s make this happen! Silva back on the mound tonight. These videos go out to Big Carlos Silva! Get that W Silva!
Go Cubs Go!
Our season’s in the dumps, our manager’s retired and left the game forever and we don’t have much to root for, for the remainder of 2010. Let’s lighten things up around here Cubs fans! Feel better about your day by downloading a copy of one of my recent live stand up performances!
The MP3 is called “One Track Mind” and is available for downloading today for only $1.99! You can’t beat it. Check out the track’s page here and download a copy today. (I’m talking to you too Lou….you could use a laugh, no?)
GM Hendry and Lee. Every regular season we’ll be keeping tabs on one guy who MUST perform up to expectations for the Cubs to continue repeating in the Central Division and hopefully finally make a run through October! Lee’s current 2010 stats: 16 HR, 56 RBI, .335 OBP, .416 SLG AND .251 AVG. Lee’s 2009 stats: .309 AVG, .395 OBP, .585 SLG, 35 HR, 111 RBI, 1 Baby. First time since 2005 Lee puts up 30 or more HR’s in a season. Lee was one of the biggest reasons the team had their best April in 2008, hit 10,000 wins all-time, had a 55-26 record at Wrigley, captured the NL Central Division crown for the second year in a row…and really the only reason we stayed in playoff contention as long as we did in 2009!!! Lee’s final stats for 2008 (for those that are interested): .291 AVG, .462 SLG%, .361 OBP, 20 HR, 90 RBI. (Note: Here were my thoughts on Lee during Spring Training 2008…good thing his stats turned around when the games started to count: As of my post on 3/18 Lee is having a ROUGH Spring. 3-for-39 so far with about as many walks as strike outs, only four RBI’s and a BA of .154. Let’s hope he’s just warming up and once we get closer to our everyday lineup he gets comfortable with the guys around him and his stats improve drastically. Do your thing D-Lee…seriously, SOON, Opening Day will be here before you know it! (And so will the end of September, so be sure to continue to show up and deliver!) Of course, 2008 didn’t turn out the way Lee or anyone else would’ve liked…nor did 2009 for that matter. Here’s to a horrible Spring once again in 2010, a great regular season and a postseason with a happy ending to report in the D-Lee News of October 2010!! For you stat guys/girls out there, his final 2009 Spring stats: 19-for-58, 5BB, 9SO, .369 OBP, .458 SLG, .322 AVG. Can’t wait for Spring to get here!!! Go Cubs Go!!! UPDATED: Lee’s horrendous 2010 Spring stats: 7-for-40; 3 HR; 9 RBI; 8 BB; 11 SO; .294 OBP; .450 SLG and a scary .175 AVG. 2010 should be great. Go Cubs Go!
GM Hendry and Lee.
Every regular season we’ll be keeping tabs on one guy who MUST perform up to expectations for the Cubs to continue repeating in the Central Division and hopefully finally make a run through October!
Lee’s current 2010 stats: 16 HR, 56 RBI, .335 OBP, .416 SLG AND .251 AVG.
Lee’s 2009 stats: .309 AVG, .395 OBP, .585 SLG, 35 HR, 111 RBI, 1 Baby. First time since 2005 Lee puts up 30 or more HR’s in a season.
Lee was one of the biggest reasons the team had their best April in 2008, hit 10,000 wins all-time, had a 55-26 record at Wrigley, captured the NL Central Division crown for the second year in a row…and really the only reason we stayed in playoff contention as long as we did in 2009!!! Lee’s final stats for 2008 (for those that are interested): .291 AVG, .462 SLG%, .361 OBP, 20 HR, 90 RBI.
(Note: Here were my thoughts on Lee during Spring Training 2008…good thing his stats turned around when the games started to count: As of my post on 3/18 Lee is having a ROUGH Spring. 3-for-39 so far with about as many walks as strike outs, only four RBI’s and a BA of .154. Let’s hope he’s just warming up and once we get closer to our everyday lineup he gets comfortable with the guys around him and his stats improve drastically. Do your thing D-Lee…seriously, SOON, Opening Day will be here before you know it! (And so will the end of September, so be sure to continue to show up and deliver!)
Of course, 2008 didn’t turn out the way Lee or anyone else would’ve liked…nor did 2009 for that matter. Here’s to a horrible Spring once again in 2010, a great regular season and a postseason with a happy ending to report in the D-Lee News of October 2010!! For you stat guys/girls out there, his final 2009 Spring stats: 19-for-58, 5BB, 9SO, .369 OBP, .458 SLG, .322 AVG. Can’t wait for Spring to get here!!! Go Cubs Go!!! UPDATED: Lee’s horrendous 2010 Spring stats: 7-for-40; 3 HR; 9 RBI; 8 BB; 11 SO; .294 OBP; .450 SLG and a scary .175 AVG. 2010 should be great.
Go Cubs Go!
Year in and year out. Next year. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait until next year. A century plus. Cubs fans raising Cubs fans, who raise Cubs fans. The never ending disappointing cycle of let down generation after let down generation.
Make a move. Make a trade. Buy your tickets. Get a program. Look at the roster. Watch the scoreboard. Follow the off-season. Complain about non-moves. Relish in the potential of team additions. Listen to sports radio. Blog about your favorite team. Buy a jersey. Wear the jersey. Wear out the jersey. Watch name on said jersey get traded. Buy new jersey. Repeat.
Watch games on television. Join the new age of sports voyeurism and subscribe to an on-line service to watch your favorite team. Hope for the best. Expect the Worst. Enjoy Spring training. Analyze spring performances and talk about this being the year for a certain youngster. Write up your preferred roster, line-ups and rotations for the regular season. Disagree when the big club decides otherwise.
Give too much credence to an outstanding April. Dismiss a crap start to the season and believe May is when the bats will turn themselves around. They always do, right? Sit in the sun and bake in the dog days of Summer. Stand for the anthems and stretches. Applaud your favorite celebrity and guffaw over confusing cameo selections of has-beens, never was and never will be’s.
Wait for winter meetings. Wait for trades to be announced. Wait for pitchers and catchers to report. Wait for the games to count. Wait for the pitchers to settle in and the bats to wake up. Wait for the all-star break’s say in where you stand. Wait for clincher. Wait for the playoffs. Wait to not be swept. Wait to make the playoffs. Wait for a shot at a World Series. Wait and wait and wait.
Root for the veterans and hope for the rookies. Cheer on the new hope that a new manager brings and say goodbye to their expected or promised dream results left unfulfilled. Give new ownership the benefit of the doubt. Attend Conventions. Speak your mind. Wait in line to get your autographs. Wait until the day you no longer have to wait.
Look up in August and see that you’re almost twenty games out. Wait to play spoiler. Wait for consecutive wins. Wait for series wins. Wait for tickets to go on sale. Wait on the wait list. Wait in traffic on the way to a game. Wait in line at the concession stand. Wait for the moron running on the field to get caught by security. Wait for the pitcher with the unbelievably slow pace. Wait for the other team to meet at the mound. Wait for Lou to get to the mound. Wait for the hop to go away. Wait for the crazy to go away. Wait for offense and the pitching to get on track at the same time. Wait for the Cardinals to have a bad day. Wait for the Reds to come back to Earth. Wait and wait and wait.
Remember that year? That was the year. That was going to be the year. How many people are even still here to remember the year. Wait, what was the year? Wow, all those years. Will it be this year? No, not this year. How many more years?
This posting will now be played out for you in youtube form. Cubs fans will be played by Steve Martin. A World Series championship will be played by the rental car assigned to V-5. The baseball gods will be played by the lady at the counter. New Cubs ownership will be played by John Candy. Go Cubs Go!
Everybody: Hello. Do you know us?
[Everybody, except Zambrano, puts on their caps]
Everybody: We’re a Major League Baseball team.
Lou Piniella: But since we haven’t won a pennant in over 100 years, nobody recognizes us – not even in our own home town.
Ryan Dempster: That’s why we carry the American Express card.
Derrek Lee: No matter how far out of first we are, it’s cool. You know, it keeps us from getting shut out at our favorite hotels and restaurant-type places.
Aramis Ramirez [pointing to us] So if you’re looking for some Big-League clout, apply for that little green home-run hitter.
Tyler Colvin: Look what it’s done for US. People still DON’T recognize us but…
[Tyler snaps his fingers]
Carlos Zambrano: We’re contenders now.
[Also dressed in a tuxedo, Starlin slides into home plate and holds up a green credit card]
Starlin Castro: The American Express card: Don’t steal home without it.
17.5 games out of first in the NL Central. Go Cubs Go!
Every now and then, I make an appearance on another blogger’s blog or radio show and sometimes, they aren’t Cubs fans. Usually, if they don’t root for the Cubs, they are Cardinals fans (just the way it’s been working out). These guys in particular are Bill Ivie (Cards) and Matt Kelsey (Royals) and they have a great show on blogtalkradio.com called i70 Baseball. We had fun discussing the weekend series between the Cubs and Cardinals (what a fluke that series win for the Cubs was, huh?), Piniella’s announcement, the future of the Cubs come this off-season, whether the rivalry between the Cards and Cubs is the same that it used to be and why the Cubs and Cards annual series always seem to be tight even if one team is 1 game out of first and the other is 17 games back.
Have a listen and feel free to leave a comment in the comment section agreeing or disagreeing with anything I said! Go Cubs Go!
Travis at Royals blog, One Royal Way www.oneroyalway.com, not only covers Kansas City Royals baseball, but his site also includes a page featuring information on every major league ballclub. He has bloggers that are fans of each team contribute the team description for each team page so that it adds a little more to the reading experience. Also, he feels it makes more sense for a fan of said team to write the description instead of him doing it himself.
He asked me to create the description for the Cubs page and it was fun to write. Thought I’d share it with you here.
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 is called the Lovable Losers, however I’m not sure how many fans ‘love’ their Cubs as opposed to simply being ‘addicted’ to them. Rooting for the Cubs is 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 ration of fans who live to see the Cubs win a World Series to those that spend their life eting 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). Go Cubs Go!
If you are a fan of one of the teams he still needs a blogger to write the description for, shoot him an email and see if he’s interested. Otherwise, go check out his site simply because I said so. (Plus, even on the East coast, you still have an hour and half to kill before the work day’s over so why not?)
Go Cubs Go!
Lee opted to stay with the Cubs instead of waive his no-trade clause to be sent to the Angels. As far as I’m concerned, he’s one of the best Cubs first basemen of all-time. If he wants to stay and finish his contract, so be it. Happy to have him through the rest of 2010. Technically we’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs so who’s to say we can’t pull off something miraculous. Granted, we are WAY further behind in the standings than I would’ve expected to be at this point. I would have thought we’d be about 5 games back and still in the thick of things by now and only behind the Cards possibly (I really don’t think anyone saw this season coming from Cincinnati). However, Lee’s commitment to the team is something I respect and I’m happy to have him slugging away (or let’s face…or not) for the rest of this season. I mean, not this happy:
I’ve often wondered what my Mom and Dad did to pass the time during the day at work. My stepfather and stepmother were a plumber and teacher respectively so they never really had the 9-5 challenge of staying awake and being productive. Nowadays you can practically coast through 2/3’s of a given day on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Youtube, Foursquare (not sure why this one exists), various blogs, websites, Hulu, and on and on. Honestly, how many times can you go to the bathroom? How many times can you walk over to a co-worker’s desk (notice, not email or IM) and ask them to grab some coffee or visit the water cooler? If I had to put up with that nowadays, I don’t know how I’d survive.
With the Internet we find out things instantly and we are able to communicate to others in an instant of finding out the news of the day. Somehow it got by me yesterday that James Gammons passed away. Now for many of you, chances are that by name alone, you don’t know who I’m talking about. However, what if I say “None of this OH-LAY ********” or “Forget the curve ball, Ricky. Give him the heater”.
Now do you know who I’m talking about?
Of course you do.
The actor that played Cleveland Indians manager, Lou Brown, in the film Major League passed away yesterday at the age of 70. Here is the article in the NYTimes. In my opinion, James Gammon is responsible for giving us the best overall performance of a baseball manager in the history of film. I loved his dry humor and the way he’d deliver his lines. His voice could help you pick him out of a line-up all by itself, as it probably should be credited for landing him a number of roles that he played. His performance was impeccable and unforgettable, proven by the fact that I still quote him over and over again even after a decade’s passing since the film came out.
It got me thinking about the greatest performances of all-time when it comes to depicting baseball managers. As soon as I posted on Twitter upon hearing the news that I feel Gammon’s performance was my favorite and the best of all time, someone tweeted “Wilford Brimley is pissed at you right now”. I know Brimley was the oatmeal guy and had a long respectable acting career. I know he was likable and many think his performance in The Natural is the all-time best. However, I disagree. I respect Brimley’s performance and in fact I think it was the third best of all time. Who comes in second? Well, here is my list of the top five of all time starting with number 5:
5. William Devane in “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”
ish and his useless in the field, great at keeping score/taking a pitch team geek made Matthau and this team a bunch of guys you loved to root for. A drunk little league manager doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of guy you’d like to root for, but in Matthau’s hands it was a lot of fun and one of the best ever.
Andre Dawson will finally be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On Sunday afternoon, he will take his rightful place among the legends of the game. The lawn in Cooperstown, I’m sure, will be absolutely packed with Cubs (and possibly some Expos) fans for as far as the eye can see (or at least until the lawn runs out). I’ve never been to an induction ceremony and this was to be my first. If I had the opportunity, I would’ve attended Sandberg’s. With the announcement of Dawson going in back in January, I immediately looked around to make hotel reservations.
As you could imagine, hotel accomodations were extremely hard to come by. Many hotels were sold out when I called and I started calling only minutes after the announcement was made. I had my numbers ready to go and as soon as my blackberry sent through the note that Dawson was in, I kindly stepped out of the meeting I was in and started the hunt for my Cooperstown home for this upcoming weekend. Apparently, while I wanted to be sure of Dawson getting in, many fans made their reservations ahead of time ‘just in case’.
Motels nearby: sold out. Hotels: sold out. Quaint country side inns and Mom and Pop bed and breakfasts: sold out. One place was completely taken over by the media and Cooperstown employees which would make sense I suppose, at least for the media as they too would have to sleep somewhere, right? Well after widdling my way through sold out venues and those that require a 3 night stay (the induction is only on Sunday and the museum probably only really needs one day so 3 would be a little excessive….and expensive, like $1200) I finally found a place about a half hour/forty minutes away in beautiful, sunny, tropical Utica, NY. Ok, not ideally sitting on Main Street, Cooperstown with a view of the parade from my room window, but still, close enough to be a part of all the action and share in Dawson’s big day.
Then about a week or two later, my wife and I found out she was pregnant (perhaps the only new year’s resolution I’ve ever actually kept and accomplished so quickly by the way. TMI?) and we’d be having a baby come October and she’d be right in the thick of pregnancy in the hot, hot Summer days of July. A total trooper and excited about coming home with a new baseball cap, my wife was still game and hot or not, she was ready to go check out Cooperstown for the first time in her life and share in Dawson’s big day.
I wanted to head up there with her and take in all the sights and sounds the town and the museum has to offer. Show her some of the cooler baseball memorabilia they have on display. Interview a ton of Cubs fans and get their take on the event and what it means to them. Interview haters and find out perhaps why they don’t think Dawson belongs in the hall. Make some silly videos and archive our experience in Cooperstown that weekend to share with you all. And most importantly, just be around it and share in a historic afternoon that will bring Dawson’s baseball achievements to a close with perhaps his greatest honor yet (the highest you can obtain as a player so yes, his highest honor).
Unfortunately, although I’ve mentioned it here in a few times and in the vlog I shot on the day of Dawson’s Hall announcement, I will not be able to make it to Cooperstown this weekend. I do plan on finding some way of covering this event whether it is through an interview of some sort or what, I haven’t decided. However, due to important family matters I will not be able to attend. My father-in-law had a stroke about two weeks ago and it was very, very scary. Driving my wife up to see him in the hospital, not knowing what was happening or what could happen was one of the most intense car rides I’ve ever experienced. I know what her parents mean to her so I just tried to get her there as quickly as I could. A good 5 hour drive from NYC to NH and we did it in about 4 hrs and 20 mins (don’t tell the police though). : )
He is doing well and is able to talk although he has a lot of recovering to do and rehabbing coming up. A clot in his brain and some brain hemorraging was occuring and if his wife hadn’t had him to the hospital as quickly as she did, this weekend could be much different. I just wanted to let you all know that I won’t be able to go up to Cooperstown and share photos/videos with you of the big Andre Dawson gets into the Hall weekend as I said I would. As disappointing as that is, all things considered, I am happy to say that we will be spending the time with her father and mother at the rehab center in New Hampshire.
As I have my own son on his way, I’m starting to further understand how important family is. Back in January I couldn’t name you one place I’d rather be this coming weekend. However with recent events, there’s no way I’d be anywhere else than where I’m going to be.
If anyone has any photos, videos, etc after this weekend they’d like to share, or if you are attending and would be up for me interviewing you afterwards, please don’t hestitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thrilled for The Hawk and I look forward to hearing his speech and seeing all of the coverage on MLBN. It’ll be cool too to hear Sandberg’s speech or from anyone that is there to speak on behalf of Dawson as they knew him in his playing years and beyond.
This coming Sunday, Andre Dawson and I will having something in common. We will both be exactly where we should be and all things considered, for both of us it could be A LOT worse. (A more uplifting post about two Lou’s and the greatsest movie managers of all time is to follow this evening. Go Cubs Go!)
Our 5-8 and Fukudome helped the Cubs destroy the D’backs out West with a barrage of extra base hits. Great spark in Fukudome leading off the game with a home run and the rest of the game followed suit. Tomorrow night I’ll be at Citi Field for the Mets/Reds game. Looking forward to seeing the NL Central leading Reds up close and personal. Maybe seeing them in person will help answer some questions as to why they are having the kind of season they are because I still haven’t figured out why their 2010 is turning out the way it has been. Anyone have any thoughts as to why in the world we are looking up at of all teams…the Reds??? Almost as bad as being brutally roughed up by the Pirates this year. And that’s bad.
If you read Prose and Ivy regularly, then you know that I also have a podcast at BlogTalkRadio.com that compliments what you read here on-line. I’m due to record another Prose and Ivy podcast so I will set that up soon. However, as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I also co-host a podcast occasionally for the BBA. Tonight, I was supposed to co-host the podcast with the gentleman “Web”, from the San Diego Padres blog “WebSoulSurfer”. Well, Mr. Web never showed up. So I had to host the hour all by myself. Have you ever talked about baseball to no one but yourself for an entire hour? I hadn’t either. However, now I can say I have.
When it comes to Chicago Cubs baseball, if recent events have taught us anything, it’s never say always. One of my favorite things to say here at Prose and Ivy is, “We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh”. Given our performance in the past against the lowly Pirates, it always appeared on the year’s schedule as a gift-wrapped blessing. A small three day break if you will where wonderful things happen like Cubs home runs flying out of the park, pitchers dominating on the mound, Cubs ending up on the right end of a blow out and W flags are hooked to the flag pole rope at the top of the first for it’s inevitable rising after the top of the ninth. Plan to head home early folks because the Pirates are coming to town. There won’t be any Cubs batting in the bottow of the ninth because there won’t be one. These games are given. The Pirates can’t handle the talent and the skill level the Cubs bring to their games. Regardless of how the Cubs were going, if you see Pittsburgh coming up on the schedule, get ready for at least a three game turnaround and find your brooms. The Cubs were about to seem the Pirates and all will feel right again in Wrigleyville.
That was then. This…is now.
All of a sudden, the Cubs can’t be counted on to beat one of the worst teams in all of baseball and the cellar dweller or the NL Central. See that .342 winning percentage and the 17 games that they currently sit behind the division leading Reds? Don’t let that fool you! When the Pirates have had the all-of-a-sudden priviledge of playing the Cubs, they are a surreal .800 ballclub! In ten games against the Cubs this year, they’ve won 8 and lost 2. What?!? WHAT!?! There are certain things that this blog feels it can count on: baseball magazines and websites and blogs will have the Cubs listed as contenders in the Central, talk whether this is the year and then the Cubs will let you down come October (some seasons even earlier); Dempster will predict the Cubs will win it all; Carlos Marmol will be responsible for at least six heart attacks across the midwest throughout the course of a season; Sox fans will hate on Cubs fans and vice versa; and if nothing else is going our way, hey hey…at least ‘We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh’. Well, that last one apparently no longer applies. And it just may be a blessing in disguise.
Think about how this season is going. The Reds lead the NL Central and the Cubs currently sit in fourth place looking up at the unfortunate view of Brewers behinds, hardly even keeping the Cardinals in sight, while the Reds are a ******** 10 games out in front of them. The offense thinks it’s still the off-season. Carlos Zambrano is seeing a shrink. Piniella seems to be snoozing through the first half of the season. All of our ‘all-stars’ suddenly look too old, too injured, or too apathetic. Castro started out hot and then cooled off to an average pace. Wells can’t seem to find the form that kept him one of the club’s most dominant pitchers in ’09. And for some reason, we CAN’T beat the Pirates. Fine. If that’s the way it is…if that’s the way it’s going to be, then perhaps the rest of the things we’ve come to expect can start to make a change as well.
Perhaps the head shrink can get Zambrano under control and he can perform out of the bullpen upon possibly returning after the All-Star break. Perhaps Wells can find his form and start to lead this club through a charge to possibly make up 10 games to the top of the division. Our crosstown rivals just made a huge push to put themselves in the club of relevant baseball teams for this year, and if they can do it I KNOW we can do it. Perhaps we will find a way to win one run ballgames in the 2nd half of the season. Those eighteen losses in one run games might just be the single most frustrating aspect of 2010. Perhaps since what has become the norm against Pittsburgh has been turned on it’s head, maybe all of these other things we’ve come to expect from this team this year can take a change of course as well. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.
Of course, if it does happen there is a very good chance that we may have a few different guys wearing that same disguise as there are rumors that everyone from Zambrano to Marmol to Fukudome to Lilly are on the trading block. I’m not sure how far behind we need to be for Ricketts to consider himself a seller as opposed to a buyer. He’s a good business man it seems, but he’s also a fan. I wonder how hard it must be for him to make rationale decisions when analyzing at point this particular team is no longer going to make the push it needs to contend. I wonder if Ricketts thinks Pittsburgh is just another symptom of an extremely frustrating and disappointing Cubs season. I wonder if he can find a way out of this mess and find the blessings in all of this turmoil. So many fans on-line if you read around the Cubsblogosphere have already said ‘please, no more’ or are very close to taking that flag and throwing it in like a towel. I don’t like our odds against the rest of the league if we can’t even handle Pittsburgh. However, I didn’t expect Pittsburgh to put the beating on us the way they have. Hopefully an unexpected 180 on this season’s trajectory is around the corner as well. If not Pittsburgh, we’ll always have fool’s hope, right?
(Any thoughts you’d like to share can be done in the comments section, or if you’d like, you can call into tonight’s Baseball Bloggers Alliance podcast. I’m guest hosting tonight at 11pm EST and you can find the show’s site and information here! And since I’m hosting with WebSoulSurfer who runs a Padres blog, I’ve included a clip of the Derrek Lee/Chris Young fight. Why not? Enjoy. Go Cubs Go!)
The MLB championship is out of our Cub reach for 2010. Time to accept that…but who cares. That trophy is overrated. Let’s be honest with ourselves…the Crosstown Cup is our coveted ark. If this season were an action film it’d be Lou Piniella Jonesin’ with the Cubbies After the Lost BP Ark. Now is the time to step up and make all of our Cub dreams come true…win the next two games in an epic fashion and tie the Chicago White Sox for the BP Crosstown Cup.
The BP Crosstown Cup awaits and we are now in a must win situation. Dave Roberts and the Red Sox in 2004? That’s nothing compared to Lou Piniella and the Chicago Cubs of 2010. Time to make history. Time to go get the greatest prize in all of sports. Get the ticker tape and the police horses ready. There’s going to be a whole lot of thrilled Cubs fans crowding the city of Chicago come Sunday night when the whole town rejoices the Cubs claiming the BP Crosstown Cup over the Chicago White Sox in a historic comeback of epic proportions.
Never in the history of baseball has any team ever come back from being in a 3-1 deficit in a Cup clinching series with two games to play and the opportunity to tie for the Cup. Never. The Cubs can be the first. Starting this weekend’s series already down 2-1, the Cubs rolled into Sox territory on Friday and lost it….and then lost it. Zambrano gave up some hits that he thought should’ve been stopped by Cub fielders. It resulted in him serving the team with all that he had for an entire 1 inning. After closing out the first and giving up four earned runs including one three-run bomb, he got to the Cubs dugout and immediately let loose on his teammates. Holding nothing back in what was probably a mixture of Spanish and English, Carlos Zambrano let his battlemates know how unhappy he was with their performance and followed up his 2009 signature game with another strong outing in the dugout destroying another Gatorade machine.
This was the type of performance that will be mentioned along side some of the greatest pitching performances of all time. Schilling’s bloody sock game? Mariano Rivera’s overall career in the post-season as an absolute shut-the-door-kinda-closer? Good luck measuring up and reaching the number one spot when the greatest moments to ever take place in the game of baseball are discussed. Carlos Zambrano went out and put forth an effort that left manager Lou Piniella nearly speechless in the post-game press conference. The team, mind-blown from their ace’s outing, have no idea what to do next with their Opening Day Ace-turned bullpen stop plug-turned best option to fill a void in the rotation. What else does he have left to achieve? What else does Carlos Zambrano have to do to prove to people his place in the game of baseball?
Soto escorted Zambrano out of the dugout after the amazing course of events took place clearly wanting to take the great one away from the mere mortals around them. Lee was so taken by the great pitcher’s display of effort, ability, passion and love of the game that he too started to yell along with Zambrano hoping to fire up his teammates and share in this historic moment with one of the greatest characters in the game. Galarraga not flipping out after a perfect game was stolen from him? Give me a break. Carlos Zambrano knows what it takes to gain respect from his teammates, manager, coaches, GM, fans and opponents. This is exactly the kind of attitude and effort the Cubs need this weekend to stake a shared claim to the sport’s biggest prize. They all need to look at how Zambrano presents himself as a winner, follow his lead, and dig out of this 3-1 hole to a victorious 3-3 games a piece in the Crosstown Cup series for 2010.
With two games to play the Cubs can tie and share the parade with the team on the South side of town. Piniella said repeatedly after the game that he is embarassed. Of course he is. It’s embarassing how good we are right now and the opportunity that’s been presented to us to tie for baseball’s prized joy, the reason players play this great game. It’s embarassing how fortunate this franchise is and has been for the past century.
Down 3-1, the Cubs are in a must win situation over the next two games in order to tie for the BP Crosstown Cup. You probably never thought the day would come. You think the Lakers’ victory in the NBA Finals brought commotion and disorder to the streets? Wait until Chicago has their Cubs at the top of the BP Crosstown Cup world, tied with the White Sox. No taxi will be safe my friends. The Cubs win the next two and history will have been made, dreams finally realized.
So we may have found a way to improve our record in one-run ballgames! Easy! Just wait to win until the 13th inning!
Lilly was great yesterday and it’s a good thing the Mariners were even worse at cleaning up the basepaths than the Cubs were. Tons of men left on base resulted in a marathon of a game for the Cubs in Seattle and Piniella enjoyed getting the best of his former ballclub. Of course one-run ballgames happen often in baseball so we’re going to find a new way to come out victorious. It’s not even July and we’ve already played in 27 one run ballgames out of the nearly 80 games played. Do that say 30 more times this season in the second half and the time leading up to the break and then add 4 innings to each of those games and you’re looking at playing 120 extra innings! While those wins would certainly come in handy, adding about 11 games to your schedule with this group of old fragile Cubs is not exactly a recipe for success. Clearly that won’t happen, but you get my point. Grateful for the win, nervous about us finding a way to keep it up in one run ballgames.
Today Zambrano, Mr. Opening Day starter to the bullpen, back to the rotation, takes the mound against the White Sox. Now, I dislike the White Sox just like you. What do I dislike even more? The Crosstown Cup. That’s right. I dislike the Crosstown Çup even more than I dislike the White Sox. This Cup is ridiculous. The Blackhawks won the only Cup that should be in Chicago right now. And at least they had a plan for how to get the damn thing if they ended up in a tie…because they’d play until there wasn’t one!
What happens if the Cubs take two out of three this weekend? The series will be tied at 3. The first year of the city’s beloved Crosstown Cup…and no plan for a series tie? Does it simply end with no one winning the cup? Do they go to runs scored? Whose team had the bigger idiots in the stands? Number of gatorade coolers smashed? Best insults thrown from fans of the opposite team?
Zambrano v. Peavy tonight to kick it off. Cubs look to either sweep or win two out of three to tie the crosstown series up. They better sweep with regards to the Cup, because of they don’t and only manage two out of three…..then what?
Go Cubs Go!
I still can’t believe the Central is turning into a two team race and it’s the REDS battling the Cards for the division lead. I felt in the beginning of the year that the Cubs are probably in a position where they are just too brittle and a little too old to really contend. I picked them to win it all (of course) however deep down I knew it would take something more than a miracle to make it happen. Sure, adding Castro was exciting and brought the team’s average age down a bit but in the end, he’s part of a team struggling to find a way to make it over the hump and win on a consistent basis along with the Cards and Cincinnati.
We’re not in a very good position looking up at the Reds with our star third baseman changing his batting grip because he’s too hurt to hit the way normally does and has for over a decade now. It’s not good that that same player is openly speaking to the fact that the entire locker room is filled with guys playing through pain. Look at the calendar. It’s only June 23rd. We haven’t even hit the all-star break yet. We haven’t even made any significant dent in the dog days of Summer. We’re eight games back, too fragile, too old and too unlucky. Piniella is hoping we hit a streak leading up to the big game. Why wouldn’t he? Of course he does. He’s a winner and he wants to win. However I don’t see it happening with this squad in 2010.
Piniella recently mentioned the team is 10-16 in one-run games this year when a reporter brought it up. 26 games so far this year that the team was in and yet we fall six games under five hundred in those contests. Intangibles and luck win you one-run games and we are falling short in both cases.
Lilly started the season late and while physically present, has really shown up in the stat or win column the way we need him to. Chances are Carlos Silva will be the team’s lone representative in the All-Star game on July 13th in Anaheim. I’ve said it before and will say it again. Carlos Silva?!? If he’s the best we’ve got….the guy no one expected much from except to show up to the Cubs like aspirin and help rid us of a headache…then we are in big trouble.
Remember a couple years ago when the NL All-Star team was flooded with Cubs? I attended the all-star parade that year here in New York and it was awesome to see our favorite Cubbies rolling down the Avenue of the Americas representing the best of the NL and the Cubs team with the most potential since the flip of the new milennium (yes I believe our 2007 and ’08 squads were better than the ’03 team). Now we’re simply shells of our former potential. The last names are the same but the guys in those uniforms are simply beyond their true opportunity to win it all. It’s sad really but without significant moves or a stroke of dumb luck, once again this will not be our year.
This is that weird time of the baseball season where it’s too late to say it’s early and it’s too early to say it’s too late. However this team needs to dig deep and make things happen quick. Find a way to get on base and score some runs to support our rotation. Find a way to win one-run ballgames and of course when possible, enjoy being on the right side of a blow out.
Some big series are coming up and lots of baseball left to play, but boy, oh boy…it is time to dig in and start looking like contenders. Cincy and St. Louis aren’t messing around and aren’t going to wait around for Chicago to get it’s act together.
Almost feels like it’s time to get that Cubbie swagger back that they had a couple years back, basically refusing to lose and just plowing ahead all about winning. I went to Mets/Tigers tonight and the Mets improved on their home field advantage driving their record at home to 26-10. They are a team that seems to have figured it out and are simply refusing to lose at home. You can see a confidence in everything they do. Winning breeds confidence of course, but I also believe a little bit of confidence or swagger might do the Cubs some good as well. Going back in a couple weeks to see the Reds when they come to town. Will be interesting to see one of baseball’s biggest surprise up close and personal.
On a personal note, things have been crazy lately as I’ve been completely baby crazy. Found out that my wife and I are having a little BOY come October. A BOY. So cool. Can’t wait to take the little guy to Citi Field and experience the great game of baseball. Of course a trip to Wrigley is on deck as soon as possible too. Never too early to catch a game at the greatest park in all of baseball. A wild summer of hoping for playoff baseball and figuring out how this baby stuff is going to work come October.
This Fall is going to be exciting regardless with the little guy on the way…but throw in some playoff baseball and never mind blowing my mind. My head might explode. Go Cubs Go!
- Carlos Silva with the best start a Cubs pitcher has had since the beginning of time.
- The Braves are one of the hottest teams in baseball.
- The Mets are 22-9 at home.
- Galarraga came one out away from a perfect game and still recorded what would’ve been 28 outs in a perfect world.
- It would’ve been the third perfect game thrown this season.
- The Baltimore Orioles were the first team to fire their manager this season.
- Carlos Silva is 8-0!
- Zambrano starts a record of consecutive Cubs Opening Days, moved to pen, then back to rotation all BEFORE June.
- Schilling has hardly said anything controversial this season.
- Griffey Jr. retires during the season instead of waiting until the off-season.
- Jimenez of the Rockies leads the majors in wins (11) and ERA (0.93)
- Robinson Cano is hitting .363
- The Rays own the best winning percentage in the majors at .649
- The Reds holding strong in the NL Central at 33-25, .5 games behind the Cards and 6.5 games up on the third place Cubs.
- The PIRATES are 12-6 in one-run games. The PIRATES.
- Dontrelle Willis is a D’back. How is he not the Tigers’ own long time dominator he was supposed to be?
- I actually watched about 10 minutes worth of the MLB draft. I guess that’s something.
- Ted Lilly is 1-5. Leading the club at 8-0? Flipping CARLOS SILVA!!!
- The Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup finals. WHAT?!?
- Seriously. That Carlos. Unreal.
Are we sitting exactly where we’d like to be coming up on the final weekend of May? No.
But we’re not in horrible shape either. Have to keep at it. The Reds have a great young pitching staff and they’ve set themselves apart from the rest of the Central atop the division accompanied by really only the Cardinals so far this year. Most of our injuries have found themselves in the rotation as we were without Lilly to start the season and we’ve already had a wild start with the Zambrano to the bullpen move, Colvin’s contribution to the team, moving Soriano in the order to help his bat (now he leads the team in nearly every major hitting stat) and a slow start by Lee and Rami (although according to ESPN: During the home stand against the Dodgers, Lee was 7-for-9. In his last 14 home games, Lee’s hitting .400 (22-for-55), with one homer, six doubles and 9 RBIs.)
The Spring is getting old but the Summer has yet to rear it’s head yet and we’ve got a ton of baseball left to play in 2010. I’m not getting worried about our place in the standings as long as we continue to hover within six games or less throughout the Summer and then get hot through August and September and make a move on the division. I am concerned about Zambrano and Baker though.
Zambrano was in the hospital with appendicitis type symptoms and let me tell you, that can be extremely painful. Hopefully he’s ok. He’s due back against Pittsburgh, who we could use him against considering they are all of a sudden playing us in 2010 unlike the reliably lousy Pirates team of recent years justifying my fun Pitt slogan of “We’ll always have Pittsburgh”. They are playing us tough this year and we need Z and all guns firing on all cylinders to even compete with the Pirates. This division is going to be tougher than I thought overall this year and we need guys healthy.
However, more important than being on the field, is being able to simply get around and live a happy, healthy lifestyle. Baker had a scare where he couldn’t see at all out of his right eye and got pulled from a game when he didn’t even make a move on a liner that came right by his left side. That is some scary stuff right there. We need our guys performing but more importantly, we simply need them healthy. Let’s hope this weekend provides some entertaining baseball with W’s against the Cards, but more so, let’s get some good news on Z and Baker.
You just need to keep your mouth shut in this great game. You can’t mention anything about anything going great because as soon as you do…BOOM, gone.
My last post was about Lou loving his decision to move Z to the bullpen and all the great winning that went on afterwards. Were we on a streak to end all streaks? No. We weren’t even in first place. But the team had found it’s offense for a few games, it had a new fire lit under itself with Z gone to the bullpen and we looked to be headed in the right direction. Then I posted all about how please Lou must be with himself and it was all down hill from there. Now we’ve been swept by the Pirates, lost two games in a row after exchanging blow outs with the Reds and have to suffer a series against a strong NL East team in the Florida Marlins (who as I write this, we are currently losing to 4-2 in the ninth.
We are six games out of first place in the Central, five games behind the wild card leading Giants and have a miserable record of 14-18, looking up at the Cards who sit pretty at 20-12 and are only three and half games above the lowly Astros at the bottom of the division. Castro has even been called up to the bigs and after one huge, record breaking outing of a home run and six RBI in his major league debut, our team seems to have forgotten how to string hits along for offense again and have even found more ways to struggle at home at Wrigley.
Z to the bullpen. Castro up to the bigs. Theriot to second. Flip flop Ramirez and Soriano in the line up. I’ve been watching a lot of NBA playoff basketball lately and just like in those games where every team will have it’s run if given enough time, the same has gone for Lou lately. A hot streak, a cold streak….a cold streak, a very cold streak. Hopefully he finds the right mix and the right words to light a fire under this team soon. If wanting to win, if being paid millions isn’t enough then something else must be wrong. We need Lou to figure it out because Hendry can only call up so many hot hitting prospects to try and make a difference.
I think Keith Hernandez would fall into a coma if he called Cubs games. The Mets are 17-14 and two games out of first place behind the Phillies and even with all of that, here’s a clip of Keith calling a Mets game. Go Cubs Go…let’s turn this thing around QUICKLY!
Since Piniella made the well-spun ‘voluntary/good of the team’ Zambrano move to the bullpen last week, the Cubs’ bats woke up in the third game of the series against the Mets, swept the NL Central rival Milwaukee Brewers and are riding a four game winning streak. I was at the game against the Mets at Citi Field when the club finally managed to win a game against the also struggling Mets (who have since also seemed to figure some of their issues out). It felt good to finally sit amongst Cubs fans after a game at Citi with the Cubs on top in the final score, providing the opportunity to sing Go Cubs Go on the way out of the stadium!
Here are some photos from that Cubs victory at Citi Field:
When I showed up to Citi Field it was raining pretty hard. The rest of the day was beautiful and then of course one hour before game time…POURING!
Which gave the baseball fans coming off the subway nothing better to do than hang out under cover and get into a yelling match…Let’s Go Cubbies…Let’s Go Mets…(repeat)
Eventually the cops came and show was over. Mets fan got in, Cubs fan didn’t. After I got inside I was greeted by a giant tarp mocking the fans hoping for a quick start time. The game eventually started at 7:45pm (not bad)
So I waited it out in the upper level, under cover in a seat that wasn’t mine (self photography sometimes comes out blurry, what can I say)
And after sneaking by a security guard, I eventually enjoyed watching the game from the FIELD LEVEL (another seat that wasn’t mine) and had a great view to see the Cubs blow out the Mets! Good times had by almost all..just not the Mets fans.
And now back to our regularly scheduled blog about how please Lou must be with himself regarding all the quality decisions he’s made recently:
Ted Lilly returned from the DL to the starting rotation prompting the Z move and the team went on a tear against the BrewCrew. The Cubs team we all had the opportunity to watch decimate Milwaukee over the weekend very well may be the result of Lou’s decision to mix things up a bit. To shake up the entire clubhouse by making ONE major decision. Take your opening day ace and put him in the bullpen. Strengthen the bullpen, make room for what was arguably last year’s ace in the starting rotation, keep Silva’s dynamic 2010 rolling and meanwhile, mix young talent in with vets to light a fire under the overpaid ‘stars’ and push the whole ‘let’s just have fun’ mentality on the team in a pep talk that seems to have had an impact for about a week already! I don’t think any rational Cubs fan actually thought the season was over a week ago, but MAN…we certainly didn’t look good, that’s for sure!
Soriano seems to have found his swing and his legs. Ramirez seems to have decided the best thing for him is to not swing at all, leading to last night’s game winning walk-off walk. Derrek Lee is still blasting the ball so hard only mother nature can keep him in the park. Marlon Byrd shows that even husky centerfielders who look like they would be better fitted to lead block for the Bears offense can man the outfield and produce at the plate, with new lineups even featuring his hot bat in the clean up spot! Marmol has been placing his pitches extremely well, shaping up to be one of the game’s great closers and proving that the job should have been his two years ago (when I said it should have)! All the while, it seems like the right guy are getting playing time despite the way their paycheck reads and the appropriate selections are being made when deciding who to send down to the farm teams.
Lou Piniella has had a hand in all of it. The pep talks, the decisions, the private meetings, the line ups. He’s pulling the strings and manning the man behind the curtain position extremely well right now and I hope he continues to do so. He has a reputation of one of the great managerial minds in baseball, even if every now and then he throws a three year old style tantrum and should lay off the ballpark snacks more than he usually does. Does his belly look like a profile causing some children to wonder if that guy is the manager or the mascot? Perhaps. Is he perfect? NO! But is he doing a great job right now? Yes. Do I think his moves are enough to win us the most pathetic prize in professional sports: the BP Crosstown Cup? Sure. Do I think he’s giving us a shot at the big prize of the World Series trophy if he keeps this kind of performance up? Absolutely.
Tune into a Cubs game and find them up five or six runs half way through the game with the starter reeling away at opposing batters and our late inning duo of Zambrano and Marmol waiting to squash any thoughts of late game rallies and zoom in real close to Lou Piniella’s head. Is he still thinking strategies to win the game he’s in with the big picture on his mind? I’m sure he is. Is he probably feeling pretty good about the way these decisions he’s made of late have been turning out? More than likely, if we could see inside his head, it may look a little something like this:
Keep it up guys and keep it up Lou! Gotta give you credit while we pile up the W’s because you know how the fingers are pointed at you when the other flag gets hung up as well! Go Cubs Go!
So game 2 at Citi Field tonight went JUST about as well as game 1. Arguably, you could say the Cubs performed even worse tonight than they did last night. Less hits, less runs and on the plus side, less errors. All of it amounted to a decent start by our ace Zambrano (as usual the starter suffers) wasted by an inept offense incapable of stringing hits together to produce runs. And let me tell you something, tonight was not Soriano’s fault so let’s give him a pass on this one.
Always a blast to see the Cubs play in my hometown of New York City. We only get four games at Citi Field this year with Chicago only making one trip to NY in 2010. Monday night was the first game of this week’s four game series at Citi and man…it’s great to see the Cubs in person, but it would be a lot more fun if you can see them get the win.
und trying to find this guy:
The Cubs (5-7) roll into the big apple today, looking to kick off a four game series against the Mets (4-8). Both clubs have struggled to provide run support to their starting pitchers, however, the Mets have had it slightly tougher in that their starters aren’t exactly providing quality starts either. Tonight’s matchup at Citi Field:
|Wells||ERA 2.92||REC 1-0|
|4/14 vs MIL||6.1 IP, 4 ER||ND, 7-6|
|4/08 at ATL||6.0 IP, 0 ER||W, 2-0|
|Niese||ERA 6.55||REC 0-1|
|4/14 at COL||5.0 IP, 5 ER||ND, 6-5|
|4/08 vs FLA||6.0 IP, 3 ER||L, 3-1|
Wells takes the mound tonight for the Cubs. Last year, the rookie sensation caught fire and didn’t slow down, becoming the Cubs second most reliable pitcher behind Ted Lilly. This year, with Lilly starting the season on the DL, Wells is expected to continue his success and not suffer a sophomore slump. Once Lilly returns to the rotation (Saturday) there will be key decisions to be made regarding the 25-man roster and the starting rotation. Until then, there are a week’s worth a games to be played and the current five man must keep the ship together until Ted is back to help right it.
Both the Mets and the Cubs are looking up at division leaders with 8-4 records. As expected, those teams are the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies are always a thorn in the Mets side and New York is going to have to figure things out quickly to stay in the race, even though the baseball season hasn’t even flipped the calendar page to May yet. They will look to start figuring things out against the Cubs tonight.
The Cubs will hopefully face a tired and frustrated Mets team after their brutal series with the Cardinals this weekend which included a 20 inning marathon (the only game the Mets won over the weekend against St.L). The Cardinals are still the team to beat in the Central so it would do us well to win the series against the same teams the Cards win series against. I wouldn’t sweat Pittsburgh sitting above us in the standings just yet. Like I like to say here at Prose and Ivy, “We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh”. I believe that will again ring true in 2010. A great start is bound to fall apart for the Pirates.
So tonight the Cubs must win a game they are expected to win once again. They let us down over the weekend dropping a series to the lowly Houston Astros. We can’t scoreboard watch this week and be disappointed time and again. These are games we need to win so the offense needs to be there against a Mets rotation that is struggling to figure things out thus far. And in order to do so, Lou has devised a brand new line up for three of the games this week where the Cubs face lefties. A test drive if you will of a line up against opposing left handed pitchers that Lou thinks may result in greater production. If that holds true, then tonight I could potentially be watching, firsthand, this Cubs line up take on New York at Citi Field:
So far this season, Theriot is 1-for-11 against lefties which forces Lou to move Theriot to the eighth spot in the lineup. Although is production is down against lefties at the top of the lineup, considering he’s a guy who can get on base and is counted on to set the table for the bigs, for a number 8 hitter, even one who is struggling, we could do a lot worse. Nady hitting clean up isn’t something I’m thrilled with. I much prefer Ramirez in the clean up spot considering he’s a stronger power numbers guy and is healthier than Nady right now. Nady can’t do this every time they play lefties since he is still recovering from elbow surgery. However, considering they face a lefty pitcher three times this week against the Mets, you can figure I’ll see Nady in the line up in the 4 hold at least once.
I don’t know much about Byrd’s record in the leadoff spot. He’s a level headed guy with a lot of potential and a quick start to the season so you don’t lose much productivity by replacing Theriot with Byrd there. If you have Nady hitting clean up, you don’t have Fukudome playing so he’s not an option there. Soriano is out and no one else makes sense. That might be more the reason why Byrd hits lead off in this line up. More of a process of elimination than anything really. When Sori’s not playing and Colvin is in the line up I’m not sure that he fits in the no. 6 hole quite as easily. He has shown great patience at the plate though and an ability to go deep so perhaps all Lou would have to do is write in Colvin’s name that day as opposed to Soriano and his line up is still good to go. I have a feeling I may see the answer to that scenario at some point this week too with the Cubs playing the Mets here in New York for what should shape up to be an evenly matched, intense, equally important to both teams, four game series.
Likely pitching matchups for the next few games are as follows: Wells v. Niese tonight, Zambrano v. Pelfrey tomorrow and then Silva v. Perez on Wednesday evening. On paper, I like our odds and I can’t wait to see Silva in person. I’m surprised by his quick start to 2010.
To celebrate the start of a brand new Cubs campaign, here is the first “Prosecard from Cubs Nation” for 2010!
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Why are the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?
I get asked this question a lot because I’ve never lived in or near Chicago.
Last year I wrote a blog post about it – http://bit.ly/do17Tq. The short
answer is that when I was 7 years old I joined a tee ball league and decided
I wanted to be on the team named the Cubs. That season (1986) I started
following the Chicago Cubs and fell in love with Sandberg because I wanted
to play 2B. From then on I was sucked in. And oh yeah, my Cubs team won the
tee ball World Series. I had no idea what I was in for.
Favorite memory watching the Cubs play in New York City:
Unfortunately, most of the Cubs games I’ve been to at Shea or Citi Field,
the Cubs have lost, so I don’t have great memories of them. Hoping to change
that this week when the Cubs visit Citi. Watching Jason Marquis hit a grand
slam against the Mets two years ago was pretty awesome, though.
Favorite current Cub:
All-time Favorite Cub:
Your dream starting Chicago Cub line up for 2010 would be?
Do you mean of current Cubs or fantasy players? I guess I’ll go with
current. It’s not too different but I do like Fukudome batting #1 and
Theriot #2. Fukudome is a little more patient at the plate and has a higher OBP. I wouldn’t even mind maybe switching Fontenot & Theriot. If Sori and Soto regain their power this year and can be consistent, can you imagine how
dangerous that 3-7 could be?
How would you celebrate a Cubs championship?
I would have to be at Wrigley with my fiance and all the amazing Cubs fans
I’ve met through Twitter. I’d love to spend the whole week after in Chicago,
celebrating at bars in Wrigleyville every night and just soaking up the
scene of so many Cubs fans so happy in one place.
Most feared opposing batter?
Hate to say it, but Pujols.
Most feared opposing pitcher?
Mariano Rivera. I wouldn’t want the Cubs to be facing him down 1 with three
outs left in Game 6 of the World Series. Then again, I’d love for the Cubs
to be facing him down 1 with three outs left in Game 6 of the World Series.
You can either sing “Take me out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning
stretch or call a half inning on WGN. Which would you rather do and why?
Call a half inning. I’d love to hear Santo say “Gee whiz” in person. And I
think I can yell louder than Judd Sirrott.
The Cubs cease to exist tomorrow. Do you still follow baseball and if so,
who do you root for?
Oh geez. Hasn’t my life in baseball been hard enough? Of course I would
still follow baseball. I love the sport. I would probably root for the
Dodgers. I grew up in LA, but never wanted to be a Dodgers fan. I’ve always
had the need to go against the grain – never root for the hometown teams.
But now that I live in Brooklyn, I feel more connected to the Dodgers. I
always root for them, except when they play the Cubs.
One thing you would change about Wrigley Field?
I’ve only been to Wrigley twice, so I don’t have a lot of complaints. Maybe
Goose Island Honkers Ale available from the beer vendors in the stands?
What is your impression of NY baseball fans and what is it like to be a Cubs
fan living in Brooklyn, NY?
New York is a baseball town. Sure, we have basketball and football fans but
this city lives and breathes baseball and its fans are just as passionate as
Cubs fans. I’m not a Yankees fan, but I do have great respect for Yankees
fans because they are so passionate about the team. I also love that there’s
such a large representation of fans of other teams here. I frequently see
and meet people who are fans of teams from outside NY.
As a Cubs fan here, the only thing that’s hard is that I don’t get to watch
most games on TV and that I can’t really share the experience of Cubs highs
and lows with many other people. That’s why I love tweeting during games
with Cubs fans on Twitter – even if I’m just watching on Gameday or
listening on MLB At Bat’s Audio of WGN, I get to experience the game with
One thing you would change about the game of baseball?
I have two things I would change:
1) I hate the rule of being able to take first on a strikeout when the ball
gets away from the catcher. A K is a K. I don’t care if it favors the Cubs
or anyone else. I hate the rule.
2) I’d like to see managers be able to have one challenge per game on close
calls — whether a tag at a base or a ball/strike call — as coaches in
football have. I find it frustrating when a manager runs out on the field to
challenge a call but it’s meaningless. They’re not going to change the call,
and the manager is likely to get tossed. It’s just to support the player.
Let’s make it meaningful and use instant replay. And if the manager has only
one challenge then he’ll be sure to use it on something that could be
The NBA logo is said to be based on Jerry West. Which former Chicago Cub
silhouette do you think the team would base a similar logo for the franchise
on if they were to to do so? (Aside from Mr. Cub that is).
C’mon, it HAS to be Mr. Cub. No excuses.
Fine, fine. Well, since this interview is about MY experience of the Cubs
I’d say Ryno – he represents The Cub of all Cubs to me since I’ve been a
You’re having dinner in the Cubs clubhouse and can invite any four Cubs,
living or dead. Who would you invite and why?
Lee – favorite current Cub
Sandberg – favorite all-time Cub
Dawson – second favorite all-time Cub
Mark DeRosa – I know you’re laughing, especially since he’s no longer on the
Cubs. But I just absolutely loved him when he was with the Cubs. He just
plays the game the right way and I thought he was such a great addition to
the team. Always did what he needed to to help the team. Also, we went to
the same college — he graduated just before I did — and I think I could
just chat with him easily.
Do you believe the Cubs are cursed? Yes or no and why?
No, of course not. But I do believe that there is a psychology of losing
that affects the organization, players and fans that is very real and
contributes to their collapses when they are on the cusp. I think for any
other team, a 2003 Game 6 would be upsetting but not crippling. For the Cubs
and their fans, because of our history, it was crippling.
You are the head of programming at a major network and you are casting six
different, existing reality shows. Which shows do you cast Fukudome,
Dempster, Zambrano, Piniella, Hendry and Tom Ricketts in, individually and
Fukudome – American Idol. For the irony?
Dempster – Dancing with the Stars. I have no idea if Demp can dance but I
hink he’d be hilarious on it.
Z – Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. For the pure hilarity. But being a
fan of Kathy’s I know that she’s someone who got where she is because she
never passed up any opportunity and clawed her way through everything. I
feel like sometimes Zambrano thinks he doesn’t have to work as hard because
he’s already at the top. He could learn a few lessons from Kathy.
Lou – Survivor. If he can survive a Cubs season, he can survive anything.
Have to get back to you on Hendry and Ricketts. Drawing a blank.
The Cubs have just won the World Series and you have been given the
assignment of writing the lead story, covering this moment in baseball
history. Come up with 5 of the most creative headlines you can to kick off
Curse Reversed! CUBS WIN IT ALL!
Take THAT, Billy Goat! Cubs Beat White Sox to Win 2010 Pennant!
No, it’s Not April Fools Day: The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champs!
Cubs Win World Series Behind MVP Lee’s Four Grand Slams.
Cubs Win! Lou Tweets: “Look, We Did It.”
You have a blog of your own, EdgeofBrooklyn.com…what
is it that you find most rewarding about blogging?
I don’t have a single focus for my blog, but try to write about topics that
excite me. I like being able to share my ideas and opinions about media,
technology, sports, marketing, beer — whatever it is that is the driving
force behind my energy at a given moment.
You are hired to run the social media/marketing department for the Chicago
Cubs. You are asked to create a cool application that Cubs fans can use to
enhance their experience as Cubs fans. What would your application be and
As someone who currently works in social media marketing, this would be
truly a dream come true for me. I would have to put a lot of thought into a
new app, but something that I’ve been talking about lately which I think
could really enhance the fan experience is the current application
Foursquare. I would partner with Foursquare to develop custom badges and
other rewards for check-ins at Wrigley and Cubs fan events. I joked on
Twitter recently with a tweet: “Chicago Cubs partner with Foursquare to
offer It’s Gonna Happen badge for check-ins at Wrigley Field”. It was a joke
but I could actually see it working. I see Foursquare not just as an app for
saying where you are just to earn random badges, but actually to enhance
experiences that bring people together and foster their common passions. The
possibilities are endless for sports teams. It would also allow the Cubs
organization to get more involved with fans in other cities – not just those
who go to Wrigley Field. There could be badges for Tweetups, road games,
Wrigleyville bars, etc.
You are living a real life version of the Cameron Diaz film “The Box”. If
you push the button inside the box, two things will happen. One, the Cubs
will win the World Series in your lifetime. Two, someone you don’t know
will die. Do you push the button?
No. The Cubs winning the World Series isn’t worth the guilt of knowing that
I would cause someone’s death. And as superstitious as I am about feeling
that if I don’t wear a certain shirt or hat during a game, the Cubs won’t
win, I know in the back of my mind that the Cubs should be able to win
without my help.
You’re hired to run the Cubs 2010 public relations campaign. You can use
any slogan, player, etc that you want to. What is your advertising
campaign/slogan for the 2010 season?
2009 Was Aaron Miles’ Fault.
To be honest, though, I actually really love the idea behind this year’s
“It’s a Way of Life” campaign. If I were working on that campaign this year
I wouldn’t just do a single contest for fans to say what makes them devout
Cubs fans. I would make it a season-long highlight of the true fan
experience where the Cubs featured fan perspectives, tweets, blogs,
podcasts, videos and photos on cubs.com and on live broadcasts. Carrie
Muskat could interview Cubs fans for her blog once a week or allow Cubs fans
to guest-write a blog. Just from knowing all the Cubs fans on Twitter and
the amazing group of bloggers and live-game tweeters, I feel that the
possibilities are endless for the Cubs to truly connect with Cubs fans and
use that in their marketing.
Finally, what are your expectations of the Cubs for the 2010 baseball
Like every season, I expect them to work their ***** off with the goal of
winning it all. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t want to hear Big Z say
he’s been lazy with his workouts or Soriano say he took his eye off the ball
because he was thinking of the wall behind him. I just want them to do
everything they can to win each and every game.
Imagine if we were able to put a contract with the costs of signing the likes of Milton Bradley, outside of the cash aspect in front of Hendry? Or even a giant contract like the one that was offered to Soriano? Scare tactics for better investments by baseball GM’s. Might be a good idea to apply the same strategy used here to stop people from driving home drunk, to our trusted execs in the front office. Brilliant….and for what it’s worth, a good message for those leaving Wrigley and ballparks across the country, as well.
Go Cubs Go!
Incredible game today as we defeated the Brewers 9-5. Great start to our home schedule and the home crowd was loving the turn around the team showed at home as opposed to the flop our opening road trip turned into thanks to an ineffective bullpen and non-existent run production. Starting pitching proved to be a strength today with Dempster’s performance, masterfully handling the Brew Crew, fully taking advantage of the power surge the Cubs offense displayed in hitting three home runs today at Wrigley.
Mighty Casey…a small word of advice to our Cubs. Stop waiting for and relying on Might Casey. The home run is not always going to be there. Games of multiple home runs certainly won’t always be there. A large majority of our runs so far this year has come from the long ball and today was the only time we had such an outburst of hits. This outburst of men on base needs to happen far more often. How often is Soriano going to have a multi-hit game after all? He’s so afraid of running into the brick wall (all of a sudden) it seems to be effecting his whole game. Lou has to find away to put a lineup together that not only features power capability, but also the skill to manufacture runs. Right now, we look more like the pep squad firing off t-shirts to the masses at an NBA basketball game the way we’re scoring runs with the ball jumping off the bat, as opposed to a team of skilled, strategic baseball players who can be patient at the plate, get their pitches and work their way on base. Now, of course I’m not complaining about home runs. It’s just, we need to get on-base more often like we did today, work the bases wisely and rack up the hits working our guys on base around to home. Jeff Baker, Xavier Nady and Aramis Ramirez all went deep today and we won. Great. No complaints. Since there were guys on base, those home runs counted for more than just solo shots. But it’s not always going to be that way just as no other game this year has been that way. Most of the time we are simply going to need well-placed, timely hitting to get the job done. We have a couple guys that tend to be all or nothing style hitters. We can’t have our guys 1-8, game in and game out playing that same way as one cohesive offensive unit. Lou needs to fix this and fix it fast. Today was a nice change, sure, but we need this more often than not.
Who needs a Cubs win when you open your email and receive great news like this?!?
Be informed that my previous mail was not responded and I am not sure
if it did get to you since I have not heard from you.
I wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to
the total sum of 6,000,000.00 GBP (Six Million British Pounds) in the
codicil and last testament of the deceased. (Name now withheld since
this is our second letter to you).
I contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore
can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance. I therefore reckoned that you could receive these funds as you are qualified by your name identity. All the legal papers will be processed upon your acceptance.
Upon your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward
to us your letter of acceptance, your current telephone and fax numbers
and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary LEGAL documents in
your name at our high court probate division for the release of the
fund in question.
Contact me immediately so that we can get this done.
Thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by Randy Wells and two timely home runs by Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd (and by timely I mean even thought it’s only game three, it was about time a HR led to a victory) the Cubs finally put up a 1 in the W column for 2010!!!
It’s a shame Colvin is buried behind Soriano and Fukudome’s giant sacks of cash in the Cubs dugout. The kid has a ton of potential that could help the team win now and only bad contracts keeping him from playing on a regular basis. I’m happy Lou thought to put him out there though last night and here’s to hoping he’s not shy about it in the future. You want to talk about a gut to trust? Lou’s your guy.
Thing is I think a lot of Cubs fans forgot with all the excitement of the new season starting is that, the Braves are a tougher team than most give them credit for and now that they have this new kid Heyward lighting fires under the vets and their fan base, Atlanta isn’t exactly an easy place to play. At least we got out without being swept and now will go into a less challenging opponent setting in Cincinnati.
I like the club they’ve put together. I think they are headed in the right direction. But now is not their time. They aren’t quite at the caliber of competitiveness or talent that the Cubs or Cards are for that matter. We honestly should sweep this series, although it will be interesting to see how Zambrano reacts to being moved up in the rotation to pitch on Saturday. This was done in order to lineup our righties against the Brewers next week. I guess the quicker we can get him out there to forget the horrible outing on Monday, the better. Then again, after watching him stink up the joint, who is really in any rush to seehim on the mound again? We’ll see how this plan works out.
Tonight, we’ll also get to see what we ended up getting back for good ‘ol Milty in the Seattle trade when “Other Carlos” takes the mound. Hopefully Silva delivers and we even up the record at 2-2 instead of ending our opening week with two sad carLosses.
And I wouldn’t have any problem seeing Colvin in left field again tonight either. Just saying.
Go Cubs Go!
I’m all for the organization taking pride in both its history and its current line up, as well as it’s devoted fans. However, this is simply a good idea, terribly executed. Have a look at the new additions to Wrigley for Opening Day. Happy to say, they won’t be staying: check it out.
Go Cubs Go!
The Cubs kicked off the 2010 regular season today and Atlanta brought out the big guns right away. Out came Atlanta baseball legend, Bobby Cox. Introduced was MLB Hall of Famer and home run king (just like the same way you still call former Presidents, Mr. President even after their term/s are over) Henry Aaron. And then after the Cubs looked like they may set the table for Zambrano and friends to jump out to a quick start, Atlanta introduced baseball fans to the newest addition to the highlight reel, Jason Heyward with a three run blast to tie the game in his first major league at-bat, as a result of his first Major League swing.
Zambrano was clearly off his game surrendering 8 runs in 1 1/3 innings, the Cubs recorded two errors, used seven pitchers in total and were dominated by a tough Atlanta team, 16-5. Today’s Opening Day was simply a case of the Braves being the better team in all areas, all day long. (Although, Z doesn’t fare too well on Opening Day. Might be time to hand the ball to someone else??)
A bright start to the game was the three runs right away in the first inning. Nice to see us jump on an opponent quick and not wait until late in the game to make up ground for a change. Also, nice to see Byrd, the Cubs’ newest addition, put up three runs on a huge blast scoring his first home run in a Cubs uniform. Welcome to Chicago Mr. Marlon Byrd.
We’re going to enjoy an off-day tomorrow, hopefully put this one out of our mind and come back strong in game two against Atlanta on Wednesday. Cards, Pirates both won and the Brewers suffered a notch in the loss column in their opener as well. I expect 2010 is going to be a thrill ride and we are just getting started. To new beginnings, a new season and new possibilities. Let’s get a W in game two!
Also related to new beginnings, I moved into a new apartment a few days ago hence the slight slowdown in posts (I HATE PACKING AND MOVING). The new place is a great find and the extra space is going to be needed big time. Why?
(this part of the post was written nearly three months ago, only I was waiting to include the news on my blog):
I think I know what video game characters feel like when they stand there waiting for you to make a move and tell them what to do next. You know that look when the character you control through an alternate universe just stands there tapping their foot, or just simply breathing with no mind of their own as to whether they run, walk, shoot, jump, etc. I feel like I am just living a blank stare waiting for someone to snap me out of it and tell me what to do next.
Because of this:
OH. MY. GOD. My wife is preggers.
According to the first test she took this morning:
It was kind of like, “wellllll, I guess you’re KIND OF pregnant….maybe?” The one solid line you see is the control line. That line is apparently always there. Then, after you take the test, if you’re pregnant, the second line shows up. Well, as you can see there, it is so faint it was hard to tell if it knew what it was talking about. I couldn’t take it. We had to get a second opinion. I’m going to freak out over a device that can’t tell me for sure whether there is a player to be added to this team to be named later?!?!?!? No. So, we went out and got another. The pregnancy test for dummies as my wife puts it. Much like a contestant on a Bravo clothing line competition, it’s either yes or no from the expert panel. Pregnant or Not Pregnant. Our only choices. No kind of’s. No maybe’s. No, ‘ask again later’ (I’m kidding, my wife didn’t pee on a magic eight ball).
And now here I am totally out of my head. If this test is correct and the doctors confirm it as such this week when my wife, Sasha, goes in for a blood test, then we’re looking at a due date of sometime in October. Right smack in the middle of the World Series. Talk about overwhelming. What if the Cubs are in the World Series and all of this is taking place? Isn’t having the Cubs in the World Series enough to worry about?!? And now potentially the Cubs in the Series PLUS our first kid!??!
And, oh man. What if my book idea actually becomes reality. What if I’ve put potential financial income on the line that could benefit not only my wife, but my kid too!?!? The stakes just got a lot higher for sure. The first test was totally nonchalant about it and the second was a glaring YES, YOU ARE PREGNANT! If this season puts that much at stake with every ball, strike, walk, out, win, loss, injury, trade, W and L flag raised at Wrigley…my goodness. An intense season of Cubs baseball like never before.
(Regular readers of this blog know exactly what I’m talking about regarding the book. If you’re a first timer, here is the book pitch I put out there about five weeks ago. An absolute passion project that I believe would be an amazing account of one Cubs fan’s take on experiencing the ultimate season of lovable-loser Chicago Cubs baseball with more at stake for me than for any of the players, managers, coaches, owners, etc.
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: email@example.com. 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.)
I thought the stakes were high five weeks ago.
“Pregnant”. Yikes. Go Cubs Go!
And as an update, of course, yes, it was all confirmed and we are just out of the first trimester. Expected due date is in October. Wouldn’t a Cubs World Series appearance be the perfect way to kick off your first few weeks in life? Hard to argue with. Looks like the Cubs may need some convincing. Let’s hope Z comes back strong and we move forward with a W against the Braves in game two on Wednesday!
Go Cubs Go!
Cubs tied the Royals today in Spring competition and it was great to see Rami step up to the plate, look healthy and chalk up an RBI to contribute to a 5-5 final score after nine innings. I think the Royals are going to surprise some people so it would’ve been interesting if this game counted and they had gone on until someone finally won. However, in order for the Cubs to surprise anyone this year and return to NL Central dominance, they are going to need an effective, healthy Aramis Ramirez.
In a completely unrelated thought I just had after finishing watching the Bird/Magic documentary on HBO…there is something to be said about a team that knows and owns their roles. There is a large sum of value, completely intangible of course, when every member of your team puts on their uniform in the exactly appropriate mind frame. When all of your teammates are getting ready for competition focused on solely what is expected from them and why they are on the team to begin with, you will experience many more W’s than you will L’s in the long run. And often, as is the case when you compile a great number of W’s, it can often lead to a championship.
I speak from experience in the most amateur level of team sport competition. Now again, this is right after watching the Bird/Magic doc so it is inevitably directly related to basketball, however indirectly related to all team sports, including baseball and for this blog’s purpose, indirectly related to Hendry and Lou’s efforts in making the right decisions in assigning the right guys to the active roster for the start of the season coming just short of two weeks from now.
The experience level from which I speak is what I like to call organized-recreational-pick-up-campground-league basketball. Basically because that is exactly what it was.
One Summer day, in the early to mid 90’s, my younger brother approached me with an idea for a march madness style campground basketball tournament. My family was always camping and were seasonal for years. Every weekend would be spent camping at Moose Meadow campground in CT, playing basketball, playing softball, playing pickup football and then for the guys: trying to meet as many girls as possible. My brother and I were friends with a real tight group of guys who were also mostly seasonal. We would hang out every weekend with basically the exact same agenda each and everyday. And it was a schedule that is responsible for some of my all time favorite moments from childhood.
Around 9am everyday at the campground, we would be awoken by the sound of someone dribbling a basketball. The campground had just put in a full court basketball court…the greatest thing to happen to Summer since S’mores.
The dribbling was always by the same kid. One of my best friends, Kyle. Kyle and I grew up together, participating in the same activities and often on the same teams from the age of six. Kyle’s family was out at the campground seven days a week during the Summer where as my family came out only on weekends. Kyle was and is a Red Sox fan and also a die hard Celtics and overall basketball fan. If Kyle was awake, he was either shooting hoops or walking around to see who was awake to shoot hoops with him. That often didn’t prove necessary as his dribbling woke most of us as our sites were by the court.
9am, awoken by the sound of Kyle’s dribbling. 9:30am wrap up breakfast and head to the basketball court. Meet up with everyone by 10am (some were slower in getting out than others). 10am-12:00pm, three on three basketball. 12noon lunch. 1:00pm Adult Softball.
Oh man, the adult softball game.
This was supposed to basically be a softball pickup game of campers 18 and over for a serious game of softball without including and letting kids get in the way. It was a simple game, for nothing on the line but bragging rights, yet was always treated like Game 7 of the World Series by those who played in it. The simple fact that you got to participate in the adult softball game was an honor bestowed upon very few people still in their teens. With the frequency that we were at the campground and the close relationships we formed with the regulars who played at the game, we were usually allowed to play as well.
It was a thrill to be a part of and we saw some amazing, dramatic pick up softball games on that field. An old school campground baseball diamond with the dirt entrance/exit road lining the first base line, a giant 45 degree hill lining the third baseline, and forget ivy lining the outfield. From left to right the outfield quickly turned into the outfield wall comprised of forest…trees that felt like brick if you were one of the unfortunate ones to chase a flyball into it like smacking the wall at Wrigley. And if you were in charge of manning right field, your outfield wall mark was made up of a few very thick, very solid, very unsafe waist high giant tree logs. Another obstacle I’m sure if Sam Fuld had been a camper at Moose Meadow, would’ve run head first into time and time again.
Now, come about 3:30/4pm the softball game is over and it’s back to the basketball courts. 4-6pm basketball, 6-6:30pm dinner 6:30-8:30 basketball. We played A LOT of basketball. Anyway, all that time spent on the basketball courts, playing with and against each other proved to be very valuable. The same type of value hopefully this Cubs team is getting out of Spring Training…the knowledge, acceptance and possession of your own and each other’s strengths and ability you bring to the table that is most needed for the overall betterment of the team.
After my brother asked me to help him organize a tournament style basketball competition across the state against other kids at other campgrounds, we had an amazing time. Three years running, four teams participating in round robin style each year. Sometimes the kids and teams playing were repeat competitors, sometimes they were brand new teams and faces. Every year, however, we had basically 90% return rate of the players on our team. Moose Meadow had skills much at the same level as the other teams, but the one thing we had the others didn’t have was an unspoken knowledge of each other’s talents, personality and intangibles brought to the table.
We had Dan, our campground league equivalent to Michael Jordan. He was always the best player on the court and always the go-to guy in crunch time. Tall and athletic, the only one of us who could dunk and the same kind of quiet, confident likability that Jordan possessed. We knew that no matter who was on the floor with Dan, he was the offensive leader. He was to be deferred to in crunch time and the offense ran through him. Knowing his talent was a key ingredient to our team’s success and that it was our’s and not the other team’s was a reason to show up ready to win every game in and of itself. The games were always close for the most part. But when push came to shove, Dan gave us the advantage on paper almost every time.
We had Kyle. The Kevin McHale of our squad. Possibly our second best offensive player, best rebounder and a solid leader by example. A great guy to have in team meetings, timeouts, half times, etc to keep spirits up and the one with the strongest basketball IQ. He was a student of the game. Tireless energy and incredible sportsmanship. When the competition got too heated, Kyle was always the one to keep things level headed and appropriate. You respected Kyle as a leader of the team and looked to him to lead by example on the court and off.
We had my brother, Sean. The only guy in competition with Kyle as our second best offensive player. Sean was the best at running his mouth and getting into an opponent’s head. He had good offensive skills and the outgoing personality to keep things fun. One year he shaved his entire head except for the letter M on top for Moose Meadow. A complete showman, he was all about winning, got upset when others made mistakes but never was harder on anyone than he was on himself. People knew they’d get a lot of effort and production out of Sean because you knew underneath the showman shell, you knew he expected only the highest performance out of himself in each and every game. It made you want to play harder and deliver as well.
We had the Corbin boys, Jerry and Heath. Two of the nicest tough guys you’ll ever meet. They were total role players who knew their place in the offense and on defense. Especially defense. They contributed a level of commitment to the team matched only by their love for the game and the team itself. The passion they brought to the court and desire they shared with the rest of us to not be the guy that let’s the rest of the team down made them solid in their role as solid role players…not expected to perform like campground league all-stars, but to contribute consistently as best as they possibly could. They were also the first two people to get in a teammates face if one of their own was getting out of line, which let you know they’d be the first to get in an opponent’s face if they were out of line in the way they were acting when it came to someone on their team. Quality people, with a heart for their teammates and desire to win like only brothers could share.
And then, we had me. It feels weird to really try to describe myself as a player except to say that I was proud to wear the Moose Meadow jersey (Kyle would go on to tell me, after reading this, that he saw me as the Bruce Bowen of the squad). I understood everyone’s role on the team, even the bench players that I haven’t mentioned here. Even at that young age, I could tell that having everyone proud of what they bring to the table was the one intangible that separated us from the rest. We weren’t ball hogs. We weren’t all trying to be the star of the afternoon. It made us special and it deliver three straight campground league tournament championships with an overall record of 14-1 for the three years we participated. People knew their roles, the chemistry was great and everyone kept the energy, positivity and level of performance high in every game for not ourselves, but for each other because no one wanted to let any of our teammates down.
And BELIEVE ME, I realize this all sounds ridiculous because it was only a bunch of individual five on five pickup games, organized into a tournament of kids from different campgrounds played in the woods in front of crowds of tens (ok, maybe 10). I realize that completely. But I don’t care what level of organized sports one may talk about. A complete team of teammates understanding their roles, respecting the breakdown of every single player’s role on the team and carrying an understanding, devotion and level of commitment to not let down the guy standing next to you is an equation that equals winning.
Hopefully this is something this year’s Cubs team takes away from their experience in Arizona in this year’s Spring Training. If it is, it could make all the difference come October as to what kind of story they’re able to tell when their run with the organization has finally come to an end.
UPDATED 6/8/11: This link started getting a bunch of views again today. Dan and Kyle came across it and started sharing it on Facebook. Since it was brought to my attention again after writing it a year ago, I have read it about five times now today. Always fun to look back, whether it’s in this blog or in life in general. Give me a time machine and I’d go back and spend another summer with those guys in a heartbeat. Good times. (Also, this idea might be necessary if any of us are to actually live long enough to see the Cubs win a championship).
Game On! Let’s make these games count already!
I got my tickets for when the Cubs come to NY and I can’t wait! Have a ticket to three out of four games as I have to see as much as I can in person this year with the Cubs’ only trip to NY coming first thing in April, only a month away!
Not expecting a lot of long ball seeing that Citi Field’s dimensions are horrendous when it comes to home runs. So hopefully Lou’s line up table setters in Theriot and Fukudome find their way on base a bunch and Lee and Rami are able to find holes in the outfield to knock them in. It’s not too hard to find holes in the Mets outfield. For one, especially without Beltran, they aren’t very good. Francoeur is a joke. Bay hasn’t played at Citi Field so getting used to the park and its dimensions will take some time. As for Pagan, I liked him as a Cub and was sad to see young potential get away. All in the same, he’s no Carlos Beltran. All that, plus the fact that the outfield is ginormous (another flaw in the designing of Citi Field) if Theriot and Fukudome can find their way on, we should be starting off those ballgames up a run or two and ready to roll.
Little concerned about Rami’s soreness and the time he is missing this Spring. I’m watching the replay of today’s Cubs/Indians Spring game right now. Interesting to see Baker at third. I figure if he’s making the ballclub, it’s more so for his ability to play second base. Having a guy who can play third and second wouldn’t hurt as it looks like Lou has wanted to see if Fontenot and Baker both are capable of playing either the left or right side of the infield. That makes me wonder if perhaps Lou is concerned about Rami as well.
Byrd’s looked pretty solid so far this Spring which is good to see. We need a guy that can patrol centerfield with authority but also get the job done at the plate. Rangers fans I communicated with on Twitter were especially disappointed to see Marlon come to the Cubs. I’m starting to see why in watching him perform this Spring and hopefully it continues on into the regular season.
Got my 2010 Cubs club card, my Cubs jacket for early April games, my Cubs jersey and my Fukudome t-shirt ready to hit Citi Field with abandon no matter how warm or cold it may end up being. Opening Day across the country is always a crapshoot when it comes to the weather and more often than not you end up freezing for at least 2/3’s of the game. I remember catching one opening day in New York and 50% of the fans in the upper level was standing in the aisles at the corners of the stadium trying to get into the sunny spots and avoid the shade. Hopefully my dates with the Cubs coming to town in April avoid the usual early season chill factor.
I don’t foresee Samardzija making the club as a starter this year. We’ll need him to perform well out of the bullpen though with a huge blow to the squad with Guzman’s injury. Guzman was a guy that made me feel real comfortable with our bullpen and now without him, not sure how this is going to play out. And Silva? How do you guys feel about Silva? I’m not so sure he’s the guy we need to get us through the early part of the season either until Lilly is closer to 100% and ready to step into his usual spot in the starting rotation.
Whatever Lou decides to do, I can’t wait to find out and I can’t wait to see it perform in games that count!
I received a copy of the Maple Street Press’ 2010 Cubs Annual and it’s amazing. Great coverage of last year with an insightful look into the 2010 season. All of the photos are in beautiful color and the stat breakdown of each player on the roster is detailed down to the finest percentage of performance. It’s great to read a high quality observation and analysis of what the Cubs have been lately, what they could truly potentially be in 2010 and what the future holds with a breakdown of the hottest prospects in the Cubs organization. Two things that really jump out at me right away is that it is as up to date as you can possibly get (the rosters are up to date and accurate…nothing bothers me more than a company that tries to get an annual out to early and for instance, still has Bradley as a Cub and no mention of Marlon Byrd)….the other thing that stands out is that it is 100% Cubs. That may sound like an obvious observation, but take a trip to Borders or Barnes and Noble or browse on line for a while. Try to find a preview to the upcoming season that doesn’t simply feed about five pages of Cubs info (that might not be up to date) in a program that runs about 150 pages long. Hardly worth your money as a Cubs fan. If you are looking for a truly efficient breakdown of what to expect going into this regular season, pick up a copy of the Maple Street Press’ Cubs Annual for 2010. You certainly won’t be disappointed.
Hopefully we can say the same thing about our Cubs’ season come Fall and the games hit a point where they could REALLY mean something! Go Cubs Go!
Yesterday, I wrote the post included below this one about how there may be some magic in Kevin Millar. About how, he may have some magic left in him seeing that he was part of the 2004 Red Sox team that broke the long-standing curse in miraculous fashion. I focused on how if that stands to be true, it may be the key intangible Millar brings to the table that shouldn’t be overlooked this Spring when it comes to deciding whether Millar makes it to the big league stage as a Cub.
In 2004, it had been 86 years since the last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. A near collapse, a stolen base, a miracle comeback and a defeated curse later and the Boston Red Sox were World Champions for the first time since 1918.