Pay Tribute to Ron Santo with JDRF on May 19th at Wrigley Field As They Honor the Ricketts Family and the Chicago Cubs as Their ‘Best of Illinois’


I will be posting a photo-filled, complete recap of my recent trip to Chicago in the next few days. Until I am able to do so, I wanted to let you know about an important event paying tribute to Ron Santo by the JDRF coming up at Wrigley Field on May 19th.

If you had asked Ron Santo what he wanted out of life, his answer would have definitely included two things. A World Series championship for the Chicago Cubs.  A cure for diabetes. And not necessarily in that order.

To the youngest Cubs fan, Santo was the voice they heard on the radio, doing color commentary for their favorite baseball team.  A Cubs legend, according to stories their elders have told them and what they’ve seen in the books they’ve read.

To the oldest Cubs fan, Santo is not only a name that brings up memories of entertaining broadcasts from an announcer with perhaps an even greater passion for the game and Cubs than all Cubs fans combined. His name also sparks recollection of great moments in Cubs history and the back of a baseball card that puts Santo among the greatest third basemen to ever wear a Cubs uniform.

Perhaps most powerful of all, hearing the name ‘Ron Santo’ also conjures up the moment they realized that the player they’ve made an argument for Hall of Fame induction for so long, not only performed at that level against expected odds such as weather, talented opposing pitching, a day game home schedule and the grueling toll a season of professional baseball takes on an athlete.

He also performed at that level while battling an unseen foe. Santo accomplished it all while battling diabetes.

Santo did all that he possibly could to push the Cubs towards greatness including injecting himself with insulin during ballgames when necessary and pushing his body to the limit. He wanted to be part of the team that ended the Cubs drought and brought a championship to the city of Chicago. And if he wasn’t going to be in uniform when it finally happened, he was going to be in the broadcast booth.

He also worked hard off the field, perhaps even harder, at helping foundations such as JDRF fund research in an effort to find a cure for diabetes.

The Cubs got behind Santo’s effort to find a cure very heavily in 1989 when Santo joined the WGN broadcasting team. You hear the name Santo, you think Cubs. You hear Cubs, you think Santo. You hear the name Santo, also think diabetes. The Cubs know that and know what Santo gave to this organization on the field and in the booth. There was no way they wouldn’t support Santo in his quest to find a cure.

Through the team’s efforts with Cubs Care, they have been a great partner with organizations such as JDRF in working to find a cure and it is this passion to continue Santo’s efforts even after he has passed, along with the work they did alongside Ron, that has earned the Cubs and the Ricketts family the greatest honor the JDRF awards by presenting them with the Best of Illinois award.

On May 19th, at Wrigley Field, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) will be honoring the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs while paying tribute to Ron Santo. The honor has been given by the JDRF since the early 80’s and is the highest honor the organization awards. The award started out as Man of the Year, then Person of the Year and eventually it became Best of Illinois. It has honored athletes, corporate leaders, broadcasters, politicians and more. All of the recipients received the award due to their commitment to finding a cure. Ron Santo propelled the Cubs and the Ricketts family’s passion for finding a cure to new heights. While they are to receive the award on May 19th on Wrigley Field, there is much more work to be done in finding a cure.

In case you were wondering after reading this if there is a way for you to be a part of this wonderful event and help towards a great cause, yes there absolutely is.

You can attend the ceremony and/or spend a day at Wrigley Field in honor of Ron Santo. Here is how:

The JDRF and the Cubs have worked together to organize a day of celebration, tribute and awareness and you can help out by attending in honor of Santo.

The day time portion of the event is geared towards families. Wrigley Field is being showcased as much as the generosity of the Ricketts and Cubs Care. You will be able to see parts of Wrigley that before now, you would have only dreamed of having this type of access.

The day time portion is called the Little Sluggers Family Event. It will go from 2-5pm and will involve a tour of Wrigley, guided by a Cubs Ambassador. For $150 per adult/child, you will be able to walk on the field and have a catch (no cleats please), tour the players’ locker rooms, enjoy complimentary concessions and beverages, bat in the batting cages, tour the media booth where Santo used to call Cubs games and view a special tribute video to Santo.  When the JDRF and the Cubs would team up for events in the past, Ron would always record a welcoming video to those that attended. This year, the video will be in honor of Ron.

The evening ceremony is when the Best of Illinois honor will be presented to the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs. For $250 per individual, you will able to enjoy all of the perks of the Little Sluggers Family Event (only without the guided tour feel by a Cubs Ambassador…you may tour the same areas at your own speed) as well as attend the evening ceremony and eat dinner at one of the night’s delicious buffet stations. An afternoon of making Wrigley your home followed by an evening of dinner at the ballpark and watching your favorite team and their owners be recognized for their work to find a cure for diabetes? It sounds like a great day to me. For $1200 per individual, you get the same opportunities as the $250 price, however your dinner will be at a reserved table under the dining tent and will include your own seat in an assigned section of the ballpark to watch the evening’s program. (NOTE: purchasing a ticket to the evening event gains you access only to the evening portion of the day. The day time event is a completely separate portion of the day’s festivities altogether).

If you have a large group of friends that you would like to enjoy the day with, you may also purchase tables of 10 for $10,000 and $25,000. For $10,000 you enjoy all of the opportunities mentioned above and your table is in the main dining tent as well. For $25,000 you receive all of the above plus a celebrity guest will join you for dinner. Former Cubs players have been known to attend such events and while there is no guarantee that your celebrity will be a former Cub, no matter who you are sitting with will have a place in their heart for the team and the cause like the rest of your group. (And if it is a former Cub?? How cool would that be!?)

The evening’s program will include a live auction including a signed Santo jersey donated by the Santo family, a tribute to Ron on the field, proceeds donated to a Fund a Cure’s specific area of research, in this case, complications in honor of Santo, the Best of Illinois presented to the Ricketts, and an acceptance by Tom Ricketts followed by an address from the Santo family.

I made a statement in my previous post that it’s nice to see people helping people nowadays. Cubs fans to other Cubs fans are like family and the Cub players, current and former including Santo are definitely some of our favorite relatives. The Cubs have been doing great things for years to support Santo’s and the JDRF’s efforts in finding a cure.

Santo wanted two things: a World Series title for the Cubs and a cure for diabetes. Cubs fans know he did all he could in both areas. He certainly would have wanted us all to be a part of the celebration when the Cubs finally won the Series.

In his honor, let’s hope that opportunity presents itself one day. In the meantime, let’s take
it upon ourselves to also be a part of finding a cure. In honor of Ron Santo, if you can attend either portion of the day, please do. It’s a great cause and a great organization. If you are unable to attend, you may make a donation of any amount at the following website:

All donations help and are greatly appreciated. Baseball can be more than just a game and there are more than a couple ways to honor a former great one. The number is retired and the patches have been sewn to the sleeves. If you can, let’s honor Santo one more time by helping to find a cure
in honor of #10. And as always, Go Cubs Go.

Prose and Ivy is at Wrigley Next Week. Are you?


Hey there, Cubs fans! Are you by chance going to be at the Cubs game next Tuesday night and/or Wednesday afternoon?

You are?

Well, great…ME TOO.

If you want to meet up during a game or before hand/afterwards, let me know and let’s see what we can work out! Not sure where I’m sitting as of yet, but I will be there taking in the last two games of the homestand against the Rockies at Wrigley. As of now, looks like I’ll catch Russell Tuesday night and then Coleman on Wednesday (ok, Soto will do the catching, but you know what I mean). Would have been great to see Wells/Cashner, but they are no where near ready to come back yet. Hopefully we see them on the mound at Wrigley again soon.

I’ll keep this post updated as I find out more! Go Cubs Go!

UPDATE – 4/27 7:25pm CST: An amazing day today in Chicago. Aside from coming to town to catch two games against the Rockies at Wrigley, I also had a couple meetings scheduled. I’m happy to say I will have some exciting news to share very soon. Regarding the games, today’s game against the Rockies was postponed until June 27th. No refunds or exchanges so I’ll probably be back in town to catch the make up game. I was at Wrigley long enough to eat another amazing tray of nachos (seriously, they must be the best in MLB) and take more photos to post on the blog. Those will be up in the next days or so. Looking forward to sharing them with you. It wasn’t raining very hard and the tarp never came off the field. I felt good about a 1:20pm start because of all the hours left in the day to start the game late if need be. However, I think teams’ travel schedules start to get in the way and unfortunately due to a lack of break in the poor weather and the fact that both teams would travel tonight, they called it. Flying out in the morning. Had a blast. Check back here in the next couple days for photos and more details about the trip. I’ll be scheduling another trip for May sometime and of course will look to come back to catch that make up game for a trip back in June among other return visits to the ballpark this season. Looking forward to it already. Go Cubs Go!

UPDATE – 4/26 10:50pm CST: Just got in from the Cubs game. Wrigley is the best place to watch a baseball game, hands down. Always more fun to see them win, but considering the way the weather was today, good to see a game at all. Didn’t turn out much better than my simulated version on PS3. Rockies beat the Cubs 4-3. Helton proved to be too much for the young Jedi, Russell and Soriano’s bottom of the ninth blast came leading off with no one on and came up short in the end. Russell doesn’t seem to be the long term answer as he didn’t get through five yet again although he threw his career high, 82 pitches. Took a ton of pictures and will have a lot more to say when I post after tomorrow’s game later this week. Also, for some reason my phone won’t allow me to access Twitter so if you follow me and were looking for in-game tweets, that’s why there weren’t any. I’ll update this again though after the 1:20pm CST game tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get to sing Go Cubs Go at Wrigley before the my trip is over. Go Cubs Go. Let’s raise that W flag tomorrow.

UPDATE – 4/26 1:10pm CST: Hanging out at my friend’s place where I’m staying these couple days. Played Rockies/Cubs on PS3, MLB 2K11. Russell pitched a great game but bullpen blew it late. Was up 2-1 going into the 8th on a Soriano home run. Ended up losing 5-2. Good thing it didn’t count…and hopefully it doesn’t end up counting as the only Cubs game I see today. Raining pretty hard in Chicago right now. That’s the bad news. Good news is it’s only 1:10 and today’s game time is 7pm. We’ll see. Hey Chicago, whaddaya say, how about we stop this rain today?

UPDATE – 4/25 10:30am CST: I will be sitting in section 110 at the Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon games. Third base side 1’10’. I may not have a jersey with the 10 patch on it, but I think it’s cool the first games I’ll see at Wrigley this year are going to be third base side, 110. Flying in honor of Mr. Cub. Root, root, rooting in honor of Mr. Santo. Go Cubs Go!

UPDATE – 4/21 9:50pm CST: Found out I’ll be in Row 14 on my flight there and back. I shall snack and read thousands of feet about the ground in honor of Mr. Cub.

Love MLB. Love This Kid. Love This Video.


MLB is full of characters as is YouTube. This video is the perfect mix of both.

Cubs fan, Keenan Cahill has been featured on this site before and his videos are great. He suffers from a very rare disease called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome. The way the YouTube community and a number of celebrities have embraced this kid is heartwarming. Here is an example of MLB getting on-board. The SF Giants are hosting a fundraiser for Keenan because medications for what he has can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Good to see people helping people, nowadays. Stay tuned for future posts regarding a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation event in Chicago honoring the Cubs and the Ricketts family for their commitment to helping millions of children and adults who live with diabetes. On May 19th they will be paying tribute to Ron Santo at Wrigley Field through their Best of Illinois honor. More details to come!

Baseball is more than a great opportunity to love a sport and eat popcorn and cracker jack. It can be a strong medium to also do some good. Enjoy the video. Go Cubs Go!

‘Prosecards from Cubs Nation’ – First Installment of 2011!


This season could be described as exciting, frustrating, fun, miserable, promising and hope crushing…just depends on when you ask a Cubs fan “How is the season going?”.

One of the best parts of being a Cubs fan is that Cubs fans enjoy talking Cubs with other Cubs fans whether it’s here or Twitter, a bar or the bleachers. Cubs fans are some of the most knowledgable baseball fans out there and because the passion is so great across the board, it’s always a fun conversation no matter where it’s taking place.

A couple years ago, I decided to start a feature here on Prose and Ivy that would make the site more interactive and open up opportunities for fans to get to know each other. Or, at the very least, I’d get a chance to meet some more Cubs fans. The feature is called Prosecards from Cubs Nation and it’s just a chance to throw some fun interview questions at a Cubs fan and learn more about them. I’ve even had a chance to get to know a couple in person when we were all at a Cubs game at Citi Field in New York sometime last year. Very cool.

Today’s Prosecard is from Steve Isaacson, a Cubs fan since the ’60s. He may not have seen it all, but he sure has been through a lot as a Cubs fan, even a stint as a ‘Cub’ playing in a Cubs Fantasy Camp in 2007.

Cool guy, fun interview. Check out his answers here in my first installment of ‘Prosecards from Cubs Nation’ for 2011! If you are interested in being interviewed for an upcoming Prosecard, email me at and I’ll send you some questions! Go Cubs Go!


Name: Steve Isaacson

Why are  the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?  Anybody who remembers “why” isn’t old enough! I’ve been a Cub fan since the mid-60’s, when I was 8, and moved not far from Wrigley Field.  Back then, I used to write to the Cubs traveling secretary ER “Salty” Saltwell about becoming a batboy and I would always receive a nice rejection letter on Cubs stationary with a schedule and Cubs stickers in return.  As a teenager I went to 100’s of games in the bleachers (including Kenny Holtzman’s first no-hitter) and then became a vendor for 5 years. I’ve now had season tickets for more than 25 years that I share with friends. I’ve been to spring training a bunch of times (including this year), the 1989 playoffs in SF (10 days before the earthquake) and went to Cubs Fantasy Camp in Mesa in 2007. Being a Cub fan is just who I am and have always been.

Who is your all-time favorite Cub?  It’s always been Ron Santo. In little league I played 3rd base and wore #10. At Cubs Fantasy Camp, 40 years later, I played 3rd base and wore #10. Even though as a player he had a reputation as a hothead, in reality you could never meet a nicer guy.  He also had a reputation for not being a clutch hitter.  I didn’t realize until after he died that it must have been harder for him to hit in late innings because of his diabetes wearing him down.  Realizing that, my respect for him has increased even more.  It’s a shame he wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame while he was living.  Now, I don’t really care. He is in all Cub fans’ HOF.Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster?  Kerry Wood.  When he came back this year for far less than he could have earned elsewhere, that told me that the players know that being a Cub is special just like being a Cub fan is special.

Nearly 103 years is a very long time to go without a title. What do you say to
fans of other teams who can’t understand why you are a Cubs fan? 
I tell them when we finally win, ours will be sweeter and better than anything they experienced when their team won.  Especially Sox fans (White and Boston).

You attended Cubs Fantasy Camp in 2007. What was that like? The more details the
Cubs Fantasy Camp was the best baseball experience I ever had! I have so many stories. My coaches were Ed Lynch and Bobby Denier. The daily clubhouse meetings were led by Joe Pepitone and you could not repeat his stories in mixed company or to children.  It was unbelievable when Rick Sutcliffe came up to me to introduce himself like I didn’t know who he was or when Camen Fanzone would ask if he could please sit down at my table at breakfast (a nicer person I have never met). Phil Donahue played on my team and Eddie Vedder played too and sang at the last night’s banquet.  The best was the last day when the campers played the former players at Ho Ho Kam. It was my daugher’s 20th birthday that day and she was in school in NY. We exchanged voice mail messages and she called me back again as I was walking down the main aisle. Ernie Banks was walking down the aisle by himself the other way towards me. I stopped him to ask him if he could take my cell phone and wish my daughter a happy birthday which he graciously did.  What a great birthday present for her!

What is your favorite part of seeing a Cubs game at Wrigley?  How little it has changed and brings back all the great memories I have from my youth. Still some of the same vendors from 35 years ago!

What is a Cubs/Wrigley Field/MLB pet peeve of yours?  My pet peave at Wrigley is how celebrities get the royal treatment and as a lifetime fan and long time season ticket holder I don’t seem to get favors or much respect. My pet peeve with MLB is how it has refused to seriously deal with steroids and cheaters.

Better having a family own team, or a giant corporation and why?  Makes little difference to me.  We need an owner who is committed to winning whatever the cost like Steinbrenner.  The jury is still out on the Ricketts.

You can play a pick up game against nine of your all-time favorite Cubs plus one
manager. Who would you most like to play against?
 If I pick a player for each position, then Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Starlin Castro, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Hack Wilson, Andy Pafko, Gabby Hartnett, Fergie Jenkins, Leo Durocher, Something old, something new, something HOF, something my youth, Yeah, lots of others I could include, include  Mark Grace and Greg Maddux. I know I left off Sosa and Dawson. Sorry, I hold grudges.

What is the strangest/coolest piece of Cubs gear/memorabilia you own?  Coolest:  my LE replica of the Ernie Banks statue (a friend’s daughter worked for the artists) and a 1935 flag that flew above Wrigley (the Cubs won 21 straight games in September that year to win the NL pennantand the last time they won 100 games in a season).  The strangest, if I had one, would be a Soriano bobblehands doll.

Do you believe the Cubs are cursed? Why?  I don’t believe they are cursed.  Alou couldn’t have caught that ball. I was there and I saw it happen. It wasn’t Bartman’s fault.

Team that let you down the most (which year)? 1969, 1984, 2003. They all broke my heart.

What are your expectations for the 2011 Cubs?  Win some, lose some. Wrigley will be cold and empty come mid-October.  Hope I’m wrong! What a story that would be!

Carlos Marmol strikes out the side to deliver a Cubs World Series title at
Wrigley. You are the play by play announcer. Write out your call of the final

How would you celebrate a Cubs World Series victory?  Party hard for a long time and then, I joke, not renew my season tickets.  What else would I need to go to games for?

Thank You Notes to MLB Done Early. Dear _____,


If you and I were to ever meet, you would then be able to tell people that you once met the world’s worst thank you note sender. I’m awful at it. I forget completely often and when I do remember it’s generally months later.

I’ve sent Easter cards as thank you notes for Christmas presents. My birthday is in October and I normally turn Christmas cards my wife remembers to send into my own birthday thank you notes. “Hey, Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season…..and thanks for that Best Buy gift card you gave me back in October. That was really thoughtful. Love, Ryan”

This year, I’ve decided to get my thank you notes done early. For family and friends? No. I still owe a bunch thank you notes for Christmas presents I received for Christmas of 2009.

These thank you notes are going out a few hours ahead of the 2011 MLB season officially starting. Get ready to check your inboxes MLB front offices….these thank you notes are getting done early.

Dear Baltimore,

Thank you for giving Guerrero another shot at displaying his home run talents for baseball fans to enjoy. Thank you for giving Derrek Lee a home with a team within a city that truly loves the history of their franchise and is hungry for more success to come. Thank you for taking care of Felix Pie when he needed a good home. Things don’t always work out in Chicago for everyone so it was kind of you to rescue a center fielder who needed a place to live. Also, thank you for not trading Brian Roberts to the Cubs. While I thought that’s what I wanted a couple years ago, turns out there were some flaws with that model as we’re now seeing. Have a good time and enjoy the season.


Dear Boston,

What can I say. Thank you for inviting the Cubs into your historic park this coming May. I don’t know if it was something we said but I’m glad you’ve decided to have us back. Thank you for using all of your buying power to keep key free agents away from the Yankees. I truly enjoyed watching that. But not as much as I’ll enjoying seeing the Cubs sweep your series at Fenway. Enjoy hoping your big names don’t end up on the DL anytime soon and tell Caroline I say ‘bah-bah-bah’. Neil Diamond Rocks.


Dear NY Yankees,

Thank you for coming up short this season and not making the post-season in advance. I always enjoy watching you fail. As much as I like to have a W flag fly over Wrigley, I wish there was always an L flag flying over Yankee Stadium. Enjoy watching Jeter and A-Rod and Mo get older this season. I know I will.


Dear Tampa Bay,

Thank you for participating in our gift exchange this year. While I think it is somewhat unfair that you made us bring nearly half a dozen gifts to the exchange to receive back only two, I believe we got the better end of the deal. Although maybe I should go look for the gift receipt just in case. You did give us a gift receipt just in case……right??? Anyway, enjoy the season and please end up regretting not having Pena and Garza.


Dear Toronto,

Thank you for the bacon.


Dear Chicago White Sox,

Thank you for agreeing to once again participate in the BP Crosstown Cup competition with us this year. I don’t know how many hours of sleep I lost this winter knowing that that glorious prize resides on the South side. Cubs fans want nothing more than to throw a parade after winning the Cup. What’s that? Oh right. I mean Blackhawks fans. Thank you for making it hard to choose between you and the Cardinals as to which team we dislike more. Always a good time.


Dear Cleveland,

I hear you rock yet I haven’t seen any sign of it since……………I’ll get back to you. Thank you for being around long enough to at least be featured in Major League. I still think you should have signed Charlie Sheen this off-season. Thank you for challenging the Sox for the AL Central in advance. Cubs fans always enjoy seeing them sweat.


Dear Detroit,

Thank you for giving Will Rhymes a shot at second base this year. I believe he earned it. We have our own competition going at second base at Wrigley. I believe Barney has earned the right to start there for the beginning of the season even if Baker and DeWitt are waiting in the wings. Enjoy keeping Cabrera on a short leash this year. If you’re able to, I think you could have a great season.


Dear Kansas City,

I know you don’t have much so whatever you are able to do is always appreciated. The little engine that could I like to call you. However, I can’t remember the last time you could. Maybe the 80’s I suppose. Wow that was a long time ago huh? I hope you enjoyed the Pine Tar I sent you. Thanks for the laughs.


Dear Minnesota,

Your accent is funny. Beat the Sox in the Central this year and there is extra mustard on your hot dog in it for you when you come to Wrigley. When do you come to Wrigley next? We should get together more often. Say hi to Joe and the kids and thanks for Kirby Puckett.


Dear LA Angels,

Thank you for the rally monkey. It goes so well with ALL THE OTHER ONES you’ve given us over the years. I hope you enjoy the MLB season and claim the wild card because that’s my gift to you. I predict you will win the AL Wild Card spot.


Dear Oakland,

Thank you for giving us McGwire and Canseco in the 80’s, they were amusing. Of course, I find them both entertaining for different reasons now. If Jose Canseco wins The Apprentice, I want someone to test him and make sure it wasn’t his brother all along.


Dear Seattle,

Thank you for Ichiro. Oh, and Griffey. What’s with the Moose? Enjoy your road games this season when you get to see some actual sunshine.


Dear Texas,

Thank you for your entertaining run through the playoffs this year and thank you for another amazing season from Hamilton in advance for this year. That guy is a great story and fun to watch. I must say, I have a hard time rooting for you because of the Bush family, but hey, that’s not your fault. Nolan Ryan’s cool. Thanks Nolan for that fight with Ventura highlight. Always fun to watch.


Dear Atlanta,

I can’t say I care for you. I don’t like Chipper Jones, I don’t like your tomahawk chop, I don’t like that Heyward finished ahead of Castro in rookie of the year voting last year and I don’t like the Hawks. I know that has nothing to do with you, but still…thanks for making things difficult for the Phillies this year. Seriously… it. Thanks.


Dear Florida,

Remember when we used to get together, you on TV and me at home in the Northeast…and you used to be in the post-season winning the Series and stuff. That was fun, huh? Thanks for Hanley Ramirez. I still hold some resentment for 2003. So I’m going to stop this thank you note there.


Dear NY Mets,

I have enclosed twenty dollars with this thank you note. I hope that helps.


Dear Philadelphia,

Thank you in advance for not being everything everyone thought you’d be. Sure you have an amazing rotation on paper but thank you for not just blowing through the National League and making it interesting. Can you find a way to do that right up until the NLCS where the Cubs beat you? That’d be great, thanks.


Dear Washington,

Thank you for moving baseball to the nation’s capitol. Bacon is fun to get from Canada, why not baseball too. Thank you for taking Werth as well. I don’t think you’ll be any good this year and I don’t care for Werth so I think it’s a great match. Enjoy the losing streaks in 2011.


Dear Chicago Cubs,

You guys rock. I appreciate all you’ve done for my family (see the posts included a few posts down) and I appreciate the moves you’ve made this off-season. I’m excited about the team as it looks and I’m hoping for the best. I have predicted that we win the NL and claim a World Series victory over the Red Sox come October. That would be an amazing birthday present for Rhys and I. Have an amazing 2011.


Dear Cincinnati,

Thank you for making fans realize that the Central isn’t just about the Cubs and the Cardinals. You could tone it down a bit this year though with the whole Votto as MVP and winning the Central thing though. That would be appreciated. Oh, and thank you for Jim Maloney. I used to tell people that your great from the past was my Dad and kids believed me. That was fun.


Dear Houston,

Thank you for the Zambrano no-hitter. That is one of my all-time favorite Cubs games. Thank you for working with Pittsburgh in building a strong foundation in the NL Central division standings for the rest of the teams to stand on. You’re too kind. Hope your Texans end up playing this year.


Dear Milwaukee,

You should have told Grienke to leave the basketball to Jennings. That probably would have served you better going into this season. Thank you for making Fielder available after this year. Who knows, if not Pujols, maybe we end up with Fielder at first in 2012. (No one show this to Pena just yet). Thanks.


Dear Pittsburgh,

Thanks for the Penguins. And of course, for letting us do so well against you over the past few years. It’s practically a day off. Enjoy hoping the Steelers come back this Fall. And of course praying for Sidney. In all seriousness, I hope Crosby is back soon.


Dear St. Louis,

Thanks for nothing. Unless we get Pujols. Then you’ll get the biggest fruit basket of all.


Dear Arizona,

Thank you for letting the Cubs crash at your place during Spring Training. Chicago is simply too cold and Florida is too far away. Mesa is just right. Thank you for 2001 as well as I never got to thank you for that. I always enjoy watching the Yankees lose. Enjoy the season.


Dear Colorado,

People may think I am rocky mountain high for picking you to only win the wild card as some have you winning the NL West. Thanks for making things interesting in a division I really don’t care all that much about.


Dear LA Dodgers,

Thank you for contributing to ruining our last two playoff appearances. A broom? You shouldn’t have. Let’s not make it a habit? Thanks.


Dear San Diego,

Thank you for Anchorman and thank you being the team that Cubs fans hate yet don’t get to express enough. On a daily basis only the Sox, Cards and Brewers come up throughout the season. But talk about history and it’s you guys that they hate discussing the most. Thanks for those ugly camoulflage jerseys. Actually, forget I said that. They are hideous. Please stop. Enjoy the season.


Dear San Francisco,

Thanks for an entertaining World Series last year. Thank you for watching out for DeRosa and Fontenot. Thank you for Lincecum and for showing Kung Fu Panda what a weight watchers meal looks like this off-season. Thank you for not repeating as champs and allowing the Cubs to win it all in 2011. Seriously. Thank you.


NOW THEN….with all of the thanks out of the way…….LET’S PLAY BALL! MLB’S OPENING DAY IS HERE! Tomorrow, the Cubs, with Dempster on the mound. CAN’T WAIT. GO CUBS GO!

Now a Staff Writer for Baseball Digest


In addition to covering the Cubs on Prose and Ivy, I will now also be writing about baseball in general for

While some of the articles will be Cubs-centric, others will not. It will really all depend on what assignments I receive from their assignment editor.
I’m excited to have my writing showcased under the Baseball Digest banner. I used to read the print version cover to cover, every new issue that came out when I was growing up. They are the oldest baseball publication in the country and it’s exciting to be a part of their staff.
You can read my first article on by clicking here:
As part of their popular Baseball Digest Birthdays feature, I was assigned today’s birthday: Mets pitching ace, Johan Santana. Santana turns 32 today.
I hope you enjoy it!
On a separate note, I watched the Cubs battle the Dodgers today on WGN. Baseball in Vegas? Make that…Cubs baseball in Vegas??  Sounds AMAZING. Another Cubs item on my absolutely-must-do list!
Zambrano looked great and even though the games don’t count, always fun to see the Cubs win. I’m excited Castro looks as strong as he does. Can’t wait to see what this team is capable of this year. Go Cubs Go!

Spring Training: Good Place to Get Your Mind Right, Too


I like that they throw the Cubs Convention every year and I can’t wait to attend one myself one day. Living in New York City makes it rather challenging to do so but when this last one came around, I mentioned it to my wife. She said you should go to it one of the years. Agreed. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

One of the things I appreciate about the convention is that it gives the new Cubs an opportunity to taste what the club means to the people of Chicago and across the nation root-root-rooting for the Cubbies. Every baseball out there knows about the drought and they hear about it endlessly beginning with when their name is associated with coming to the team. It doesn’t even wait until they are a Cub. It starts with simply rumors. Still, it’s important for new Cubs to understand it’s a honor to be a Cub and that appreciation needs to be taught to guys like Pena and Garza by guys that have been there ie Ramirez and Silva.

The fact that they haven’t won it all in over a century guarantees that the team who does win it all will go down as one of the greatest accomplishments any team has ever reached on a baseball field. A World Series victory is not a World Series victory. They are not all the same. And when the Cubs break through and end their drought it will be talked about probably for as long as Cubs fans have been waiting for it to happen. Cubs fans will talk about it for at least that long or until they die. Whichever comes first.

I hope that the recent outburst by Silva in the Cubs dugout at Spring Training is simply a result of a pressure to win. Not merely make the rotation as he stated, but a pressure to win. I want the Cubs to realize the pressure they are under but not crumble by it’s intimidation factor, but rise up to the challenge and view it as the opportunity that it is.

Passionate ballplayers are a good thing to have on your baseball team. Quade needs to carale that enthusiasm and passion and make sure it stays focused in the right direction. Harnass that energy and emotion and make them play the game fundamentally sound and going all out, all heart, on each and every pitch.

Silva’s outburst should not be compared to Zambrano’s. Zambrano’s was during a regular season game against our crosstown rivals and the game counted. Heck, the BP Cup was on the line (kidding). Silva experienced only one year of Cubs baseball. Maybe that’s all it took for him to ‘get it’. Zambrano had been here for YEARS. We know he understands the pressure and the situation all Cubs are put in. You’ve heard other Cubs talk about it for years. However, some Cubs handle it better than others. Those guys with level heads need to help Quade keep guys focused, not motivate them to go out of control.

Ramirez was involved in the Silva skirmish and he’s another guy who has been here a while and has felt the pressure of the city and the fans. This game is a great thing. This team is a great home. The city of Chicago is a great place to live and the fans are a great group of people to want to win for.

Have there been incidents where Cubs fans haven’t exactly been put in the best light by their own actions? Absolutely. Does it happen across the country in ballparks with fans of all teams? Of course. Does that make it ok? Of course not. However, with however many bonehead moves any Cubs fans have made over the years to disgrace the rest of us, overall, the loyalty the group has shown this team outweighs any negative remark one could make against us.

The fans care. That’s all there is to it. They want the title so bad year in and year out. 103 years and counting and yet still…there the fans are rooting, supporting, praying, hoping, waiting. A great majority of league draws nowhere near what the Cubs do in attendance. Is Wrigley a big reason? Sure, tourists love it. However, many of the people through the turnstiles at Wrigley are die-hard fans who have stayed by the Cubs through thick and thin.

New and old Cubs alike need to appreciate that and play their hearts out. Care when the games don’t count and really care when they do. Only, know when to go ballistic. Know when is the right time and no when to let it go. Spring Training is the perfect time to care about your performance, but not to lose your mind over it.

I appreciate Silva and Ramirez’s passion however it needs to be focused in a positive direction. Still lots of Spring Training games left to clean up the sloppy play and get the mindset right. Quade has a tough challenge ahead of him. His words inspired a players only meeting called by two of the team’s veteran players. Hopefully I’m right in thinking he’s the right guy for the job.

I believe he is.

Go Cubs Go!

Does Quade Really Want to Hurt Them?


You have to love Spring Training. The games don’t count towards anything real except evaluating players, figuring out potential line-ups and planning ahead for potential call-ups. However, many take it very seriously. Today was a great example of Quade taking it just seriously enough.

After Starlin Castro committed the Cubs’ eighth error of the Spring (after just three games, mind you) Dempster said Quade was going to start penalizing the players after future errors that are made. How, you ask? With less playing time? Being pencilled in lower on the depth chart? Making them run sprints?


After every Cubs error, Quade is going to cut off one of the guilty player’s fingers.

Brilliant. Great line by Demp and awesome that Quade found it funny, too.

These games are supposed to be used to get back in the swing of things, no pun intended. To work out the kinks at the plate sure, but also in the field. Get them out of the way now, Quade said, and he’s right. Work out your throws to first. Let the sun win a few battles on pop-ups now instead of later. Get your timing down for double plays. Work it all out now. Besides, an errant throw to first in Spring Training is simply a future potentially autographed souvenir.  No big deal.

Quade is organized as I said yesterday and I believe he has the team headed in the right direction. It’s going to take great leadership but also a great sense of humor to make it through the grueling 162 game season. So far, Quade looks like he’s batting .1000 in both departments.

It’s a lot easier to replace a gatorade cooler than it is our star young player’s fingers. No need to go crazy now. Give them time to realize their crimes.

This video goes out to you Mike Quade, from a most appropriate sponsor:

So happy Cubs baseball is back. Go Cubs Go!

So Far, Quade’s a Hit…But Too Much of a Good Thing?


Sometimes when people try too hard or try to be too cool, they fail miserably. That’s why Quade has to be careful not to be too much like Kraegen in the above video.

I like that Mike Quade is making this team his own by doing things a little differently, however, he needs to remember to keep the tough love leader as part of his game plan as well considering how well it was received by the team at the end of last season.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Cubs hiring Quade. I like that he’s enthusiastic to see his guys start putting on display what they can bring to the team. I like that he is looking to further evaluate guys he’s familiar with within the Cubs’ system. I even appreciate the fact that he listed lineups three games in advance. I believe it will help players prepare and learn their roles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can’t have a successful team without everyone knowing and embracing their role.

I think Quade has kicked off Spring Training the right way. Let the veterans know what is expected of them and let the youngsters know they are getting a fair look. That’s all any of them can ask for. But are the Cubs in danger of having too much of a good thing the way Quade has started off camp? Is he in trouble of setting a tone where there is too much of a good thing going here (loss to Oakland aside, that is)? Will the players get too used to feeling like they know what to expect and not ready to easily adapt when need be during the season? Like anything, I suppose it’s simply a matter of opinion. Many of you are still upset that Sandberg isn’t running the show. However, in answering the last question, I believe everything is going to be just fine and anyone who is freaking out over Quade’s system of three days heads-up being too soft needs to relax and enjoy having Cubs baseball back on the air. 

I understand that people like to pick at the bone for things to complain about, especially when we’re only one game in to Spring Training. Not a whole lot to get worried about but we’re sports fans and when nothing is there, sometimes we create things. I’m feeling pretty good about Quade’s leadership so far and don’t think you should be expecting or worried about any crazy flying basket locker room meetings out of Quade. He may have his own way of running the show that wasn’t done by Piniella or guys before him, but so far I think he’s taking this team in the right direction and has not discarded the Quade that got him the job late last season.  

It speaks volumes about Quade’s interest in respecting veterans and leaving windows open to surprises coming out of camp. He referenced Colvin the other day as a recent pleasant Spring Training surprise/success story. I’m glad that he is looking to fill in the roster spots around the guarantees with guys who earn the spot and want to play hard. Of course we’re going to see the guys you can wear. If you can buy a jersey with a player’s last name on it, it’s basically a guarantee you will see them play a major role, at least in the first month or so of the season. It’s the bench players that make a team great though. Stars make you ‘really good’. Depth makes you great.

When I was in Vegas for my honeymoon, I bet on the Cubs three times and won two out of three bets. It would be wild to log into a baseball spread site and predict which players made it out of camp. They very well may, I’m not sure. I know the regular season matters so as a fan of course those games are already fascinating. However, I wonder how many people buy the season previews or the annuals or the minor league prospect reports and try to bet on who will come out of camp. If they are then I’m sure these Spring games are taking on a whole new significance and importance to those particular fans. Imagine watching a Spring game and truly caring how long a player stays in the game. I love the fact that Quade left Garza in the game to hit instead of replacing him with a pinch-hitter. Quade’s right, he has to learn to hit sometime. Now is the time to do so.

I wonder what Zambrano had to say about it privately to Garza afterwards. I know it was reported that he didn’t see it but Z is one of the best hitting Cubs pitchers on the team. While Garza is working with Jaramillo to feel comfortable hitting after hardly doing so for the Rays, he must also be talking to the other guys on the staff and who better to ask than Zambrano? Of course, Garza did get shelled in his first appearance as a Cub in spring training including a grand slam to Coco Crisp. But (cue Fred Armisen’s Joy Behar) who cares, so what? It’s Spring Training. I’m sure the guy was nervous and worried about making a good impression. I’m sure it was just one pitch that got away that led to four runs. Do I want to see it during the regular season? No. Does Quade leave him in the game in a situation where he should replace him with a pinch-hitter when the game counts? No. So far Garza has a hit and the ball to place on his mantle. So far, Quade has been a hit with the Cubs and fans alike.

Is posting game lineups three games in advance too coddling? Is giving veterans reasonable expectations and laying all of your cards on the table too much? Is giving young players the feeling like they could possibly leave the minors behind and join the club for Opening Day or very soon into the season the wrong way to handle your business when it comes to prospects? No. No to all three.

I like what I’ve heard from Quade so far this Spring and I don’t think any of these things are a bad thing. This is Quade’s team now. It’s his time to put his stamp on it and run the show the way he thinks it should be run. At the end of last year he essentially had all of his players’ support that he should be hired as manager as well as mine.

I believe while it’s still early, Quade still has that support 100% and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Spring plays out leading up to Opening Day. Go Cubs Go!

Question: Would You Be a Cubs Fan If You Knew?


I have a question for you, Cubs fans.

First, watch this video:
That is an Ebay commercial I did roughly eight or nine years ago. When you see me there, what you see is a guy who decided to leave everything he knew to blindly head out and pursue a goal. To try and achieve something that isn’t guaranteed. Something that is obtained by very few. A guy that knew what he wanted but had no idea how to get there, mainly because whether he made it there or not was completely out of his control. 
Essentially, a perfect example of absolute blind faith. A gutsy move to leave everything and everyone with the hope that perhaps, one day, all the time invested would pay off and the ultimate goal would be realized.
This was my very first commercial gig, ever. It was before I was a member of SAG (that wouldn’t happen until a few years later). It was one of the first auditions the agent I had at the time sent me on. He called me up and asked me if I could do a Sean Connery impression. I either said ‘no, but I can develop one’ or flat out lied and said ‘yes, ABSOLUTELY’. Either way, I hung up the phone with an audition set for the next day and absolutely no idea how I was going to pull off a Sean Connery in 24 hours.
I rented a couple of Sean Connery films that night at the local Blockbuster and watched them beginning to end. I don’t even recall which films they were. I practically walked into the place asking ‘Do you have any copies of Sean Connery’s accent in stock?’. 
After a couple of viewings, I was pretty sure I had it down. Make your throat sound froggy, hit the hard consonants on the end of your words and slur your S’s. That’s what I was going with. I had no idea if it was going to work but that was the plan. 
Again, blind faith locked in, ready to go.
The role was that of ‘Son’. The family was obsessed with collecting Sean Connery memorabilia and the son was an awkward geek. I’d be up against a bunch of other people for the role…and those were the only details I had. I went to the studio for the audition and there were a number of other white guys waiting to go in. I tend to audition for a certain type and for some reason there always seems to be a lot of white guys waiting in the waiting room with me. Go figure.
A guy sitting next to me had these great, geeky looking glasses. They were thickly framed, complete with tape on the bridge. Perfect. I asked him if I could use them for my audition after he went in for his. He said no, without hesitation. I thought that was pretty uncool. But, ok, you brought glasses. I didn’t. Fair enough. 
May the best Connery win.
I went in and read for the part and killed it. I nailed the script the way they wanted and they enjoyed my improv to them as Connery (thankfully the director of photography’s name was Seamus). I found out soon after that I would be doing the commercial. Sweet.
Since doing that commercial I must have gone on hundreds of auditions. I’ve booked a number of them as well as some short films, a couple of pilots and one feature. It seems like each time I think no small amount of success is to come my way again in my career, a little morsel of goodness comes about and it keeps me going, pursuing the goal. 
Chasing the carrot, running on nothing but blind faith.
This is pretty much the same exact way I feel about rooting for the Cubs. It makes me wonder if you, as a Cubs fan, would have become a Cubs fan if you knew that you still would not have seen your team win it all at this point in your life. If when your family persuaded you to jump aboard the fan base, or when you looked around the majors and decided the Cubs were the team for you…if you were told flat out that from that point up until February 9, 2011 the Cubs still would not have won the World Series, would you still have chosen the Cubs as your team? 
Would you still have gone on the long, disappointing, frustrating, although at times thrilling journey?
I have no idea what I would have done although I’d like to think that if the person couldn’t tell me what would happen beyond today regarding whether the Cubs would win it all or not then I would still decide to go with blind faith, thinking that it would still happen sometime after today. 
I mean, really, how can anyone expect something so awesome to come quickly and so easily? (pipe down Yankees fans)
Hanging in there with my career as a writer and performer has been very similar to hanging in there with the Cubs. It is often a dark, frustrating, mind-boggling journey. While my career doesn’t have a definitive X-marks-the-spot-end-goal necessarily (no matter what I achieve, I’d probably always want to achieve more), the Cubs do have the ‘X’ target to shoot for. 
A World Championship. 
Once that is achieved, of course fans who get to witness their team win it all, want that feeling over and over again as many times as they can possibly experience it. However, for the Cubs to reach that goal ONCE in our life times is all any of us are really hoping for. And really nothing is driving it besides absolute blind faith. 
Every now and then a little morsel comes along making me continue hanging in there, either chasing the carrot myself, or as is the case in rooting for the Cubs, to nab it for me/themselves/all Cubs fans alike.
Morsels. An NL East championshp here. An NL Central division title there. An amazing come from behind win, a triumph over a rival, a key free-agent signing. The organization going the extra mile for my family and I, making me proud to be a fan. All of these moments keep me going as a fan and it’s so funny how amazing the moments’ timing are. Just when I’m feeling like there’s no hope, somebody pitches an absolute gem or a season comes along where we make the playoffs or a winter signing occurs and I think there it is. The missing link. Next year is definitely going to be the year
I’ve felt good about auditions before and those are generally the ones I never hear back from for a callback. I’ve felt like I’ve bombed others and it turns out I booked it. I’ve seen games on the Cubs schedule that I ‘know’ we’re going to win and it turns out we lose miserably. I’ve seen road stretches that seem like the absolute demons of the schedule and we come out smelling like roses, returning to Wrigley victorious.
It’s about the journey. I never know which pitch of an idea or audition could result in some great, exciting news. The next moment that keeps me going. I never know which year is going to be the year for the Cubs to win it all and all my time surviving the ups and downs take on a new meaning. The hardest part of going after something completely out of your control is the fact that you can only have faith that it will happen. Some day, some how..all the while knowing that nothing is guaranteed. 
I can’t wait for the day the Cubs hit the X. I can’t wait for them to hit their mark. For one of these Cubs teams, one of these Cubs managers to leave their mark. 
I was thinking today about some of the road gigs I’ve done over the years performing stand up and meeting cool people in small towns or big cities over the years. I was thinking about shows I auditioned for and didn’t get and the breaks I have received and how I appreciate them so much considering what I’ve gone through to achieve them. It got me thinking about the journey and whether if when I started back in 1997, if I could go back in time and tell myself what I will have achieved by this point in time, if I would have gone through with it anyway not knowing what else might be possible from this point forward.
Like rooting for the Cubs, I believe I would have said yes. It would have been a shame if I had that opportunity and decided not to. I feel the same way about the Cubs. Ryne Sandberg is the key reason I root for the Cubs and if he had come to me one day years and years ago and said, look…(like Piniella, I guess)…by Feb 9, 2011 the Cubs will have only won a handful of division titles and had no real success in the post-season. We certainly will not have won the Series by that point in time, so it’s up to you if you still want to root for the Cubs…your choice”, I believe I would have said “well, what happens in 2011?”
And if he didn’t know and neither did I, I believe I’d still power on ahead and hope for the best that it would some how, some day happen after this point in time.
What about you? Would you have still chosen to be a Cubs fan all these years if you knew ahead of time that up to this point in time they still would be World Series trophy free? Completely World Series titleless in your life time?  If you don’t mind, leave me your thoughts in the comment section, I’d love to hear your response.
Pitchers and catchers coming up in about a week. Sounds like another morsel of hope to me. Can’t wait to see if all this blind faith culminates in experiencing the Cubs winning it all. (Notice how I didn’t say ‘I can’t wait to see if this all proves to be worthwhile’. It’s absolutely about the journey and I already believe it has been).  Go Cubs Go!

Thank You to MLBlogs and ‘The Chicago Cubs’


I’d like to say thank you to MLBlogs for featuring Prose and Ivy on the MLBlogs home page today.  After participating in the I-70 Baseball Blog Talk Radio podcast, discussing the outlook for the NL Central in 2011 last night, I thought perhaps the increase in traffic that I noticed on my site this morning was based solely on my appearing on that show.

Then, I clicked on the MLBlogs home page and I was pleasantly surprised by this:

mlblogs home page jan 18.png
The photo they used is a photo that I included in a post on here called ‘New Beginnings’ back in October or November of last year. If you click on the October and November links for 2010 in the sidebar you’ll be able to find it. The last thing I expected to see when I went to today was to see a picture of my son, Rhys and I with Prose and Ivy showcased as their featured site. It’s very cool of Mark and everyone at MLBlogs to take the time to promote the blogs that we all put so much time and effort into as bloggers. I appreciate them bringing my blog to the forefront today and introducing me to new readers, as they do any time they showcase any of our MLBlogs. And honestly, could I ask for a better description? “Vying for the title of King of All Media…keeps readers engaged with consistently strong writing and a dose of humor”. All I can say is I’m glad they enjoy it and I appreciate the encouraging words and support very much!

I really think gets it right and does fan relations better than any other league (yes, even if they hadn’t showcased my blog). From the MLBlogs community as a whole, to the blogger features, the recent activity list, the monthly top 50s, the annual top 100, asking bloggers to contribute content to various articles for a byline on and the interaction you get from the social media team on sites like Twitter.  The NFL, NBA, NHL and any other sports league trailing behind these guys in fan turnout or even lacking in audience as a whole could learn a lot from Major League Baseball. Thank you to Mark Newman and everyone at for helping bring my blog to a wider audience and making my son’s day as well.

Here is a picture of Rhys checking out himself and his Daddy featured on today:

rhys looking at mlblog home page.JPG

Now, something I’ve wanted to share with you for a couple weeks is how I feel that the Cubs organization exemplifies the level of class a team should have in relating to their fan base. I was going to dedicate an entire post to it, but this seemed like a great opportunity.A little while back, about a month or so ago, my son Rhys ended up admitted to the pediatric surgical wing at a hospital in New York City. He had a minor surgery but because he was only seven weeks old and they had to put him under to perform it, it was semi-serious considering that’s always a scary thing to have to do to someone so young. He is fine now and I’m happy to report all is well.

While I post often on this blog about the Cubs and their progression or regression (whichever is appropriate) during the off-season and throughout Spring Training/regular and post-season, I also am very active on Twitter.  Some of you probably follow me and if not, you can at @proseandivy. The Cubs fan community on Twitter is a group of people that I have come to admire and truly enjoy communicating with. It can be about the Cubs, baseball in general, or even the most mundane detail in life or pop-culture as we know it. My tweets are generally full of sarcasm and humor and I find the one-upmanship challenge with other people on there to be entertaining and inspiring. Once you feel you have something that’s funnier than anything else that can be said about something…boom…someone else posts something even funnier. And you try to top them and on and on we go.  Occasionally though, things happen like deaths in the family, scary surgeries or exciting moments like the birth of child. That is when the Twitter community really steps up their game and let’s you know they’re there for you.

When I mentioned that Rhys was having surgery and that I felt no seven week old kid should have to go through this, it was overwhelming the response I received from people on Twitter. The well-wishes and prayers that flooded my timeline meant a lot to me, there the Cubs community on Twitter was again, stepping up when it mattered the most. During this exchange, the Cubs social media team heard about Rhys’ surgery and after sending their best wishes that all turns out well, they took it a step further.

They direct messaged me and said, “Hi. A few of our mutual followers told me about your son’s surgery. Is he a Cubs fan? Perhaps we could send him some stuff to cheer him up.” Well, of course Rhys is a Cubs fan (or as the photo on the home page today put it ‘Cubs fan in training’). That’s all Kevin from the Chicago Cubs’ team needed to hear. He said he’d try to get something out soon.

Once we arrived home from holiday travel, the coolest thing was waiting for us. A box. Addressed to Rhys. Well, Rhys only knows so many people, so who could have sent Rhys mail?  A relative perhaps, sending a gift we didn’t get to exchange in person?


Addressed to Rhys…..from…1060 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL.  Oh my God.  Rhys just got a package from….THE CHICAGO CUBS!!!!

We couldn’t wait to open it. We rushed upstairs to our apartment and immediately opened the box. I’ve included photos below of what they sent to Rhys, items that will forever decorate his room and keep our family talking about for years to come.
Inside the box was: a Zambrano bobblehead doll, a Wrigley Field marquee frame, a light switch plate with the Cubs logo on it and two cool Cubs hats!  So, cool. Once Rhys’ head is big enough, he’ll wear the hats proudly I’m sure and we’ve already been playing with the Zambrano bobblehead.  The switch plate is now on the wall and the frame is waiting for a picture of us at Rhys’ first game.  Here is a photo showing the items included in the package:
The coolest part however, was the card that was included.
Hand-written, with a picture of the W Flag over Colvin, Cashner and Castro, inside it read:
Happy Holidays, from your Cubs.  Rhys, We heard about your surgery and thought a few Cubs items would help cheer you up during your recovery. Happy Holidays and feel better! Best, The Chicago Cubs

The thought that went into the package and the sentiment in going the extra mile for a Cubs fan truly made me respect the organization even more than I already had. I’m already a Cubs fan and of course, Rhys is as well.  But how many kids are lucky enough to have someone with enough class reach out and go the extra mile for them when that person doesn’t even know them?

And how many of those kids have that person reach out to them from their favorite baseball team?

Think about that. Think about the days before social media. What were the odds you’d get to communicate with your favorite ball club, or have the open-door type relationship we have with our favorite teams today. It probably never would have happened in our days as kids and even while it can today, how many teams would take the time to do something so thoughtful? I can’t speak for the other teams, but when it came to the Chicago Cubs…they stepped up and showed nothing but class.

One day, Rhys will truly understand and appreciate what it meant for someone from the Cubs to take the time and try to cheer him up after what was a scary situation for all of us.The Cubs aren’t perfect, nor are their fans and neither groups ever will be.  They will always make decisions that we won’t always agree with and we will always take the good with the bad because that’s part of being a fan. On their side, all they have to do is have enough players on the roster to fill out the jerseys that they sell to their fans and put enough butts in the seats to keep the organization thriving with enough hope in their fans’ hearts to keep them coming back to Wrigley and supporting them on the road for years to come.  What they don’t have to do, is go the extra mile for any of us. They really don’t have to. However, in this case, the Cubs did just that and I really appreciate it.

It says a lot about the team and the league as a whole.I realize the section of the MLBlogs home page where Prose and Ivy was featured is always a segment of the site that features a random MLBlog. However, while they take the time to showcase us bloggers, it’s right to take time and acknowledge that in this aspect of the league/fan relationship, MLB does it right. They do a great job keeping their fans interested, interacting and into their team year in and year out. There will always be something to complain about in life, but sometimes it pays to stop and be grateful for the cool things people do for you when they take the time to do so.

So, thanks again to the MLBlogs team for the plug today and to the Cubs. Once again…total class and thank you.  Go Cubs Go!

AUDIO: Guest Appearance on I-70 Baseball Radio


Monday night, I had the pleasure of making a guest appearance on Bill Ivie’s I-70 Baseball Radio podcast on  It is a great compilation of Cardinals and Royals fan bloggers and always a fun listen.  This particular episode, they gathered up bloggers representing every team in the NL Central.  I took part in the panel discussion and made my case for the Chicago Cubs winning the Central in 2011. Some of you may have already heard it as it was their highest rated episode since launching in July of last year.  (For a more in detail description of what I expect out of the Cubs in 2011, check out the post below this one).

It really was fun to do and I think you’ll enjoy it.  The Cardinals fans hope they lock Pujols in before Spring Training although they don’t think it’s a hard deadline, the Pirates fans seem to believe they will once again finish in the basement of the division, the Brewers folks are confident they will contend and everyone (except me) believes either the Reds or Cardinals is the best team in the Central.  Pretty sure they thought I must be delusional to think the Cubs can pull this off in 2011, although Bill Ivie was on board with the concept that it’s not impossible for things to fall into place and make 2011 the Cubs’ year.  Hey, crazier things have happened and this division is going to be one of the tightest in all of baseball.
Go Cubs Go!
Listen to internet radio with Ivie League Prod on Blog Talk Radio

2011 Season Preview – WE’RE GOING TO SHOCK THE WORLD


We shocked the world“.

Those words are uttered in only two cases.  Absolute disasters, or sports miracles.  It’s kind of bizarre, but in no other situation do you ever hear of anyone saying that the world was shocked. Ever.  Even with Obama’s election, perhaps some of the world was surprised but no one stated that he had shocked the world, or that our country had shocked the world given our election’s result…and that was a historical Presidential election.

Many would consider the Cubs winning the World Series to be an absolute sports miracle. If the Cubs were to in fact win the World Series, become the champions of the world in the world of baseball…you can bet a LOT of money that someone will use that phrase.  Someone will flat out state that the Cubs’ victory over the Boston Red Sox (yeah, that’s right, the Boston Red Sox) surprised the entire world, our entire planet, so much that it is in shock. Chicago?  Certainly.  Boston?  Yes.  Canada?  Um, ok.  Bangladesh?  Paris?  Sydney? Helsinki???  Intrigued?  Perhaps?  Shocked?  No.

If the Cubs were to win the World Series then yes, someone will say they shocked the world. In reality?  They would have made millions of Cubs fans VERY happy and many baseball fans or people who have a heart would happily give them a pleasant smile, perhaps a teary eye and a ‘that’s cool’ sentiment considering the over a century long drought the team has suffered through and well, to not feel something towards a group of people who suffered for so long…yes, you’d have to be heartless to not.  However, I feel shocked is a bit of a stretch.

The streak itself lends itself as the only evidence you truly need to NOT be shocked by the Cubs winning the World Series.  Over ONE HUNDRED years without a championship.  Others have done it much more quickly.  The Mets.  The Marlins.  In fact, every single team that has won a championship has done it within a shorter waiting period of time than the Cubs would have with the current streak at 102 years and counting.  Give me a break ‘shocked’. The Cubs are DUE.

You know what I think would be shocking?  If the Royals win the World Series in 2011.  If the Pirates win the World Series in 2011.  If the Orioles win the World Series in 2011.  And yes, even if the Phillies win the World Series in 2011 I’d be shocked because how often do you actually meet expectations and nothing goes wrong for your team to stop you from what should have been an easily accomplished, obvious to predict feat?  In each of those scenarios, I would be SHOCKED.

If the Cubs win it?  Not so much.  Surprised?  Elated?  Thrilled?  Speechless?  Relieved? Absolutely.  But after 102 years and with the roster that we have (that’s right, the roster that we have) I believe in one of the other age-old sayings in sports when it comes to predicting how a season will turn out.  And that is: Why not us?

And really, why not us?

As far as I’m concerned, great teams need five key things to win it all and I believe the Cubs have the potential to meet every single criteria.  Pitching, youth, veteran leadership, wise management, luck.  Some are MUCH harder to come by, but I see no reason why the Cubs can’t land the money ball in every single category.

PITCHING: Our starters were great when it came to quality starts in 2010.  Dempster is about as reliable as it gets and a great guy to have in the clubhouse.  He’s the rock of the rotation for 2011 now that Lilly is gone and there is no reason to think he can’t be the leader in the starting five.  Zambrano is equal parts talent and equal parts imbalance. That’s what many believe, I don’t buy it.  Zambrano is extremely talented and capable of doing great things, proven in his overall Cub record, leading the team in the past five Opening Day starts, throwing a no-hitter, being a dominant figure on the mound and the way he finished the second half of last season.  If he can start the way he did last year and finish the way he did last year, then Zambrano might just be capable of handling just about anything.  And what are the odds that he will go from Opening Day starter, to bullpen, back to rotation with head issues in between mixed with being the center of a lot of team drama? Chances are that’s not going to happen again.  I like Z’s chances of having a real quality 2011.  Wells is working on showing people that his first year is the real Wells, not the sophomore slump guy we watched in 2010.  I like that he can admit that he grew too big for his britches last year. Talent is great but mixed with maturity, it can go a long way.

Silva/Russell/Cashner are practically interchangeable.  No matter who ends up staying with the club, they will be the Cubs’ fifth starter and usually .500 seasons out of your number five guy is about all anyone hopes for.  I know they are all capable of giving us that if not greater ALTHOUGH, if it’s not Russell, all we’re looking at are righties in the starting rotation.  (That can’t be good).

And of course, the Cubs’ new toy for 2011…the new piece on the showroom floor: Matt Garza.  I was disappointed when I heard we were bringing in another guy this off-season but his name wasn’t Carlos.  I really want to lead the league in Carloses (Carlosi?  Carli?). I’m kidding….Matt Garza is possibly the missing link the Cubs have been looking for.  15 wins last season, an ALCS MVP and an all-around solid pitcher.  Coming from an environment and culture similar to the Cubs where no one expected much, he knows what it is to help get a team from the basement to the penthouse of an incredibly competitive division.  I like the Garza signing.  I don’t think we gave up too much for him and I’m excited to have him as a key part of the Cubs starting rotation in 2011.

Marshall/Wood/Marmol. Is there a better bullpen trio in the league?  Maybe only the Yankees and that’s only because they landed Soriano to match with Rivera.  Rivera is a legend, but he’s also another year older.  Even if they make the Cubs #2 in the league, I’d take it because in the grand scheme of things, being number two in the league regarding your top three bullpen guys is pretty damn good and nothing to complain about.  I love the talent and potential we have to close games out now, starting with a lead going into the seventh and holding it throughout the rest of the game. 2010 was horrible for the Cubs when it came to one-run decisions.  This next season? Not so much.

The Cards are strong with their 1-2 punch in Wainwright and Carpenter.  The Reds are impressive with their young staff coming off a division title.  The Brewers always seem to compete and will do so with Greinke in 2011.  It’s not going to be easy, but pitching wins championships and I feel comfortable putting the Cubs staff up against any one else in the Central.

THE ROSTER:  Our starting line-up, while somewhat premature considering it’s only January 14th and pitchers and catchers don’t even report until a month from now, is pretty much figured out for the most part.  Not in any particular batting order, just a simple run-down of Cubs starters by position:

C – Geovany Soto – Talented young catcher, one of the best in the National League. Coming off an off-year last year but recently signed an extension with additional money/increased salary.  He’ll be looking to show the Ricketts and the fans that the Cubs didn’t make a mistake in signing him and avoiding arbitration, or for counting on him even after shoulder surgery (probably the key reason he was only signed to a one-year deal…again, man, this is the year of the one-year deal, isn’t it?). Also, all we have behind him is Koyie Hill really, so Soto, you have no choice.  You need to be awesome…no relying on Koyie. Thanks.

1B – Carlos Pena – Our latest Carlos addition to the Cubs.  Pena batted under .200 for the season in 2010.  He was one of many one-year contracts that were doled out in the off-season (do that many people think they have a shot at Pujols?) and he is expected to bring the power bat necessary to replace Lee’s spot in the order.  His glove is supposed to be reliable and his power numbers shouldn’t suffer at Wrigley.  I like the signing, I think it has a lot of potential to work out and I believe his BA will rebound.  God, help us if it doesn’t.  I’m tired of anyone thinking Colvin is a good option at first and Lee’s already been exiled to Baltimore.  This has a lot of potential to work and if he stays healthy, I believe it will.

2B – Blake Dewitt – I don’t expect much out of DeWitt and I believe Baker may even replace him come June or July. However, with the other guys in this line up, second base is a place that we really just need the flash and reliability of the glove on defense, not necessarily a whole lot of RBI.  Just get on base and set the table for the guys we’re paying to knock in the runs Dewitt and we’ll all be happy.

SS – Starlin Castro – The club already has ads sporting Castro against Jeter, so yeah, the organization is high on Castro.  All of the Cubs Con materials feature the youthful stars of the team and Castro, after finishing in the top 10 for the NL in hitting his rookie campaign is among the top of them.  No sophomore on the team is expected to do more than Castro is, I believe the expectations on him are even higher than Soto’s were.  Hopefully he lives up to them and continues to learn under Quade’s leadership.

3B – Aramis Ramirez – If Ramirez stays healthy (and I understand it’s a big IF) then he will be fine.  He is playing at the end of his current contract and if he truly wants to stay in Chicago as a Cub, then 2011 is the time to prove the Cubs should pick up the 2012 option. He picked up his own option for 2011.  The team has the call in 2012.  Rami can put up big numbers healthy.  I’ll be rooting for the trainers once again this year to see that it happens.

OF – Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome – No, I don’t think we’re playing softball.  I simply believe left to right we’ll start Sori, Byrd and Colvin and Fuke will sub in where needed.  I believe we’ll be seeing Reed Johnson at Wrigley a bunch this year as well.  Chances that five outfielders stay healthy and produce are very slim, however, I like our chances with the guys we’ve got.  They all bring something different to the table and they are a talented bunch at that.  Hopefully Byrd can repeat his All-Star caliber performance of 2010 in 2011 (it wouldn’t hurt for Sori to make a return to the All-Star stage as well.  Just saying).

New manager: Mike Quade – Quade took a team playing for absolutely nothing and had them playing basically .600 ball. He proved to be a great leader in teaching the young stars on the team and the vets respect his long journey and knowledge he’s gathered throughout his life in the game.  As of Opening Day, the entire team will be behind the idea of having him as their manager.  Some more than others as some of them even went as far as publicly backing his selection before it was announced. Quade is going to get a chance to do something he’s always wanted to do and the players believe he can get them what they’ve always wanted to get.  The same thing the city has always wanted to see.  A title.  A championship.  A ring.

Given all the unknowns that happen to every single team throughout a baseball season, luck becomes a great factor, indeed. However, luck is out of our control as it is every other team in baseball so as for things we can control, I think the ingredients and potential are there. Let’s hope the execution and results show up as well.

Respect to the rest of the Central, the National League and the Red Sox (that’s right, the Red Sox…I don’t even think the Yankees are making the playoffs in 2011).  I think it’s going to be a tough road to get there, but after 102 years…come on…we don’t expect it to be easy…and we’re due.  Why not us?  A Cubs fan predicting the Cubs will win the NL Central and then go on to win the World Series.

I know.  Shocking.

Projected order of finish in the NL Central (rest of the league to follow in a post much closer to Opening Day):

1. Chicago Cubs
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Ok, now seriously, calendar…get moving!  Looking forward to hearing from any one that might have any news or pics from Cubs Con and of course, pitchers and catchers in a month!

Go Cubs Go!  

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Sometimes The Photo Inspires The Entry



This post was 100% inspired by the above photo.  Quite possibly my all-time favorite movie character and Chicago fan, Clark W. Griswold, Jr.

In “Christmas Vacation”, Clark is seen wearing a Bears hat and a Blackhawks jersey.  I have to believe the man is a Cubs fan.  I just don’t see White Sox in him.  Ever the optimist, Clark looks above and beyond the challenges ahead and often times doesn’t even know they exist.  Completely oblivious or completely blinded by his optimism, this is what many would believe to be a great way to go through life.

You know the man must have had season tickets to the Cubs for him and his entire family.  He may have won them on another game show with Ellen and the kids dressed as pigs or some other farm animal.  Or maybe one year, instead of putting in a swimming pool, he got everyone seats along the first base line.  Cousin Eddie: “But I don’t like baseball, Clark”.  Clark: “I know that Eddie”.

Clark has to be a Cubs fan because he just has that excited look in his eyes even when his strained smile tells you things aren’t going his way.  He won’t take no for an answer when it comes to having a good time and providing those around him with one as well.  Sounds like Cubs fan to me!  102 years and counting?  I’d say that’s not taking no for answer if nothing else is!  And you know Clark would be THRILLED the Cubs pulled off the Matt Garza trade.  Clark: “Surprised, Eddie?  If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”  You know he’d go out and buy the new Garza jersey to wear to next season’s opener if he didn’t already have an old one with the last name GRISWOLD already sewn across the back ready to go.

Clark W. Griswold, Jr. would be the type of fan with season tickets who wins the drawing for a season ticket holder to sing the seventh inning stretch. Only when they decided that they’d have to cancel his opportunity to do so when Jeremy Piven showed up, he’d pretend to have a gun and force them to let him sing.  Is there a fan jail cell at Wrigley?  Probably, would Clark end up in it?  Of course not!  He’d talk his way out of trouble with the Ricketts by introducing his family and getting them to admit that they never should’ve done those crappy Way of Life radio ads to save a buck.  He’d then pack up the family and travel across the country to catch the Cubs play a road game on the kids’ holiday break.  (It would have to be a road game of course…the song ‘Holiday Home’ doesn’t have the same ring to it).

Spring Training Vacation is a movie I would love to see.  Clark and the family drive from their modest home on a ***-de-sac in Illinois, across the plains to Arizona.  Kick off the trip with a round of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in which Rusty refuses to sing along.  Have them check into the motel and send Clark out for a night swim where he runs into Cubs fan Marisa Miller at the motel pool.  Marisa Miller: “I am a big fan of Fukudome.  Do you like Fukudome?”. Clark: “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy”. 

Of course things don’t go well when they arrive at HoHoKam Park and hilarity ensues. Cousin Eddie’s boy has been signed by the Cubs as a Spring Training invite and Rusty ends up going off and getting into trouble with the local radicals.  It all ends with Clark as the hero giving his family a great family vacation at Cubs Spring Training and of course this film features all new kids playing the Griswold children once again!

Anyway, kind of got away from me at the end, but you get the point.  Love the photo and yes, I believe Clark W. Griswold, Jr. HAD to be a Cubs fan.  He’s just too likable to be a White Sox fan.  Go Cubs Go!  Let’s win one for the Grizzer!

First Soriano. Then Fukudome. Now…Garza. I’ll Never Learn.


There he is.  Matt Garza.  The Cubs new starting pitcher.  Potentially our new ace in the hole.  And when it comes to the Cubs making moves in the off-season, it causes me to spend an entire Winter displaying the worst poker face in all of baseball.

It has to be based on the fact that it’s been forever since the Cubs won a Series, couple with the fact that the two chances we’ve had to get the shot most recently resulted in an 0-for-6 showing against the Dodgers and D’backs combined respectively.

The Cubs make one move and I already think next year is going to be the year.  It’s pathetic really.  When will I ever learn? Probably never. I guess that’s part of the fun though in being a baseball fan, right?  Especially in being a Cubs fan.  No one utters This is the Year or Wait Until Next Year like a Cubs fan.  As if Pena wasn’t enough (and really, he wasn’t….merely replacing Lee’s bat in the line-up wasn’t exactly what I thought was the move necessary to put us over the hump), then the Cubs go and bet the farm on Garza.
About that. People saying the Cubs bet the farm?  I think it’s overblown.  We gave up a couple of top prospects and talented, hard-nosed outfielder we have no plans on ever really using again.  Other wise, we kept top pitching in addition to Vitters and a number of other young top prospects in the organization, safe and sound.  Enough about the Cubs betting the farm on Garza….although if we did, I might be ok with that.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to.
Pitching wins championships.  By trading for Garza our starting rotation is now one of the best in the National League, arguably the best in the Central although I believe we lose that argument to the Cardinals.  It definitely helps us hang in there for the NL Pennant though if we can make our way to the playoffs, even with power house Philadelphia bringing in Lee to team up with the rest of their Fab Five.  Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, Gorzy?  With the quality starts our rotation posted last season plus Garza’s potential coming off a 15-10 pitching in the uber-competitive AL East I think this is one of the best Cubs rotations I’ve seen.
I know…this is how I get when a big name becomes a Cub.  I can’t help it.
The Cards have great pitching.  The Reds came into their own with their young pitching staff. The Brewers landed Greinke. And now the Cubs snatched up Garza.
I’d rather have Garza than Greinke. How about you?  How does this trade make you feel about 2011? The 2008 team was probably the team I’ve been most excited about in recent years.  With the addition of Garza, right or wrong…I think I’m even more excited about 2011.  Please Cubbies…don’t prove me wrong.
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Go Cubs Go!

Welcoming Back Kerry Wood: Set-Up for Success


There have been some rather large events this off-season, signings that really jump off the screen at you, no?

Look familiar?

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Cliff Lee’s signing with the Phillies has significantly changed the landscape of the National League.  I don’t care how many heavy hitters you have in your line-up.  If they can’t drive through the ball on the sweet spot of the bat, or at least make contact and muscle one out of the stadium or deep to the wall for extra base hits, it doesn’t really matter.  Pitching wins championships and now with that rotation in place, Philadelphia has positioned themselves as the team to beat.  In not only the NL East, but in the National League as a whole.
In the year of the one-year contract, the Cubs managed to land Carlos Pena to man first base.  He’ll be expected to perform significantly better in the average department (.196 in 2010) and at the very least find a way to also stay on par in the power numbers department (28 HR, 84 RBI in 2010). In his time with the Cubs, Derrek Lee not only led by example in the clubhouse and delivered game changing presence at the plate, but his glove saved many errors from occurring over the years and in effect cancelled out a lot of would be runs.  The Cubs are going to need Pena to step up and play that same role.  A match of his .196 AVG in 2011 isn’t going to cut it.  The fans will have patience with the newest Cub but I can’t imagine the leeway lasting more than the first few weeks of the season.  If Pena follows ‘The Lee Way’ however, he will get off to a very slow start.  If we were able to give Lee time to get his season in gear year in and year out, we should at least afford Pena the month of April to do the same.
Think about how many one-run ballgames we lost last year.  Give us enough of those games back and we would have been playing meaningful games in a role other than spoiler, well past the middle of August.  Injuries and our record in one-run games in 2010 were two keys to the Cubs not living up to hopes/expectations.  Hopefully a new line-up featuring more Colvin in right with Fukudome as the fourth outfielder, a repeat All-Star performance by Byrd, a return to form by Soriano, sophomore success by Castro, a healthy Ramirez, another year full of quality starts by the rotation and an overall positive effect by inserting Pena into the lineup to help generate another run or two per game and we may be back, looking at the top of the standings in 2011.  I don’t expect Cincinnati go away, the Cards are always tough and Milwaukee is shoring up it’s pitching staff so it might take every single one of those things listed above happening in order for the Cubs to land on top next season in the Central.
Of course, this post was kicked off by talking about pitching making the difference.  We can add another couple runs per game (which would be great since we scored more than 80 runs less than our opponents did last year) however, if we can’t hold onto that lead late in the game, it won’t even matter.
And that…is where Kerry Wood comes in…by coming back.
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The return of Wood is the biggest headline of the Cubs off-season dealings and he’s going to be welcome with open arms, expected to carry the load late in the game.  Wood may just be the bridge we need to fill the gap from Marshall to Marmol.  Wood absolutely helps the Cubs form a powerful 7-8-9 inning tandem in Marshall, Wood and Marmol.  It will make the Cubs a scarier opponent going beyond the fifth inning with a lead.  Definitely, a lot scarier than the team was last year when we pitched so many youngsters in late inning, hold situations.
Wood’s return showcases the portion of heart that was lost on the team when Wood went to the Yankees.  He represents what could have been and now what could still possibly be. Kerry Wood isn’t the answer to all the Cubs’ problems.  I mean, just look at the list I put together three paragraphs back.  However, with two disappointing seasons behind them, the loss of their voice in Santo (whose funeral provided the opportunity for Wood and his wife to meet up with Hendry and kick off the dominoes it took to make this deal happen – and wouldn’t that be cool if while Santo can’t see the Cubs win the Series during his lifetime, his passing may be the thing that helps make the deal happen that pushes the Cubs over the hump to victory in 2011? – What a story that would be) and the great unknown ahead in what Quade can accomplish with a whole season, it will be nice to have a familiar face on the team again.  The face of a guy that never should have left in the first place, in my opinion.
The thing about Wood’s return is I can’t think of another pitcher that once served as a full-time starter, set-up man and closer for the same organization.  Can you?  Wood won Rookie of the Year and nearly led the Cubs to the World Series as a starter and tallied 34 saves in his one year as the Cubs’ closer, the same number he’ll wear back with the team as a set-up man.
Philadelphia may have landed Lee.  The second best pitcher dealt out there, Grienke, may have landed with the division rival Brewers.  However, when it comes to the Cubs making a difference with a pitching signing, it wasn’t about the big name or the big bucks.  The Cubs have a competitive, quality start-churning out five in Z, Demp, Wells, Gorzy and Silva if in fact those are the guys we go with come April.  So, it’s more so about a great pitcher with a lot left in the tank in short relieft, coming back to his home team, his home field, his home organization to carry the load, this time as the set-up man.
Hopefully this stint with the team will result in him setting up the team for ultimate success instead of let down.  Either way, it will be good to have him back and Chicago will be thrilled to once again be rooting for one of their own.  Go Cubs Go!

Want To Make Starlin Castro Nervous?


From the folks over at The Beckett Blog, a photo of Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ pride and joy and captain…proudly featured posing in a Cubs uniform.  Hysterical.   Although it certainly would trump the Cardinals announcement that they signed Ryan Theriot to play shortstop for the next 2 years!  (How about that?  Theriot to the Cards.  2011’s Jim Edmonds.  Get ready for a bit of bizarre world Cards fans….and you better hope it’s not more like having Aaron Miles on your side again).  No need for Castro to sweat though.  Just another ‘Fun With Photoshop’ moment for bored baseball fans on the Internet.  Thank goodness for that.


Many people can’t understand why the Jeter talks are taking so long.  Many also forget that baseball is a business.  A huge, huge business.  Like all businesses, it’s all about your return on investment (ROI).  And when you are as old as Jeter is and coming off the career-worst year that Jeter is coming off of, your legacy is the only thing you have going for you in the boardroom.  And like many of the greats before him, that might not be enough for the Yankees to offer what Jeter is looking for.

It would seem wrong to see Jeter play on another team, but it happens.  The athletes that accomplish amazing things, setting them apart as the sport’s elite are few and far between.  How many of those players actually get to play for one team their whole career?  Even fewer.  Jeter wouldn’t look right in another uniform but if the numbers don’t look right to the Yankees front office, then it won’t matter.

I like Castro at short.  I love his upside and potential.  We aren’t simply a Jeter away from winning it all and to bring him on board would be silly in tampering with Castro’s development.  Still, the simple fact that they took the time to photoshop Jeter into all 29 teams uni’s is hilarious.  Perhaps fans of some of those teams who could upgrade at SS, without a true young up-coming talent, who is a Jeter away from winning it all, now have reason to dream the dream: spending the Winter daydreaming over what might be next Fall after landing one of the game’s premiere talents.  Jeter isn’t what he was in the 90’s, but still.  You could do a lot worse.

Too bad he doesn’t play first base.  Now that would be a move where the talent we currently have doesn’t stand a chance in measuring up against Jeter…’90’s or 2011 Jeter for that matter. 

Not much player news on the Cubs front.  Quade and coaching staff locked in and everyone’s looking forward to the upcoming December Winter Meetings.  Jeterless, sure.  Still, can’t wait to see what the roster looks like come Spring Training in February.

Go Cubs Go!

What would it take to make the Cubs unstoppable?


Yes, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.  Yes, I have some ideas of my own.  Yes, I wanted a lame excuse to post this hilarious SNL digital short here on the blog because it’s hilarious.  Yes, I realize I used the word hilarious twice in that last sentence.  Yes, I know what a thesaurus is.

Things I believe would make the Cubs unstoppable in 2011: a miracle, an ace starting pitcher, more Colvin/less Fukudome, a power hitting first baseman, a repeat performance by Marlon Byrd, Soriano does his impression of Cocoon 3, Quade convinces Castro he’s up for rookie of the year honors again therefore avoiding any possibility of the young one having a mental sophomore slump, Marmol reaches 96 saves, Todd Ricketts appears on Millionaire Matchmaker, Say Yes to the Dress, International House Hunters and Celebrity Apprentice, the Cardinals close their doors forever, the Reds are moved to the American League and last but not least, we sign Mike Schmidt to manage our AAA club.  That’s right, take that, Phillies.

List in the comments what you think it would take to make the Cubs unstoppable in 2011!  Go Cubs Go!

New Beginnings


Recent post on my Twitter page:

Good thing about the Giants win last night? The Cubs are once again in the running to win the World Series.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the 2010 World Series.  Not many paid attention to the Series in comparison to other years but it does nothing to dampen the thrill of victory for the Giants or their fans, I’m sure.  A series, filled with pitchers with excellent resumes and two teams who would be providing a first if they were to take home the trophy, this one was something more fans should have enjoyed despite the lack of usual headliners.  Seeing as the All-Star game proves to be a very difficult thing for the NL to win year in and year out, it’s nice to have the championship trophy reside with a National League team.  Hopefully, next time it finds it’s way to the North Side.
And isn’t that the best part of the season ending?  YOUR team has a shot yet again at winning it all.  As soon as the ‘E’ is posted next to your team’s city in the standings, the rest of the season is for every reason OTHER than winning the World Series.  All valuable in their own way, however none worth as much as winning it all.  Once the season ends, the playoffs run their course and the final out of the Series is recorded with players dressed in laundry other than that of your favorite players spraying each other in champagne (or ginger ale as it were this season in the Texas locker room) all of a sudden, we’re looking at next year and what moves are necessary to elevate your team to the promised land.  The promised land of course is a bit much as nothing is promised, especially that of a World Championship.  Anyway, it’s a saying, so I said it…the point is, the beauty of the Giants finishing their parade route is that door has closed and a window of opportunity has opened for the Cubs.  Let’s hope the right moves are made so we’re thrilled it’s open.  The wrong ones could make us want to jump out of it.
Mike Quade will be our manager in 2011 and I’m excited at the prospect of what that means in a 162 game sample of what he’s capable of achieving.  There is something to be said about the way he handled young talent like Castro in his benching early on in Quade’s interim tenure and the way the veterans got behind him as a candidate for the one of the most coveted job in all of sports.  Coveted in that, the man the manages the Cubs to the World Series victory the city has been waiting for, for over a century, will be appreciated in a way no other coach or manager would ever be or has ever been in all of sports.
There is also something to be said for the way the organization kept on nearly the entire coaching staff, something I’m sure Quade had a say in.  To me it says that this team believes that with Quade and this particular supporting coaching staff, they have the leadership that can take the Cubs all the way.  At least the best that their money can buy right now and are willing to let ride on the small sample we were privy to at the end of 2010.  As a side question, what happens to Eddie Vedder’s Cub anthem if we do go all the way?  An ‘I Told You So’ remix perhaps?
The belief Hendry and the Ricketts have in this compilation of leadership in the dugout/bullpen and the loyalty the players and organization have displayed towards Quade in the early moments of this off-season makes me proud to be a Cubs fan.  I believe it’s setting a strong tone of all focused on one goal as it needs to be, as early on as possible.  Hopefully the small sample of success demonstrated in the last few days of 2010 translates into greater success with the opportunity to do so in a complete 2011 campaign.
The length of the Quade contract is also wise.  Enough to give Quade a shot but not enough to eliminate other options if it doesn’t work out.  Including I’m sure, giving Ryno a little more time getting experience under his belt in case he were interested in the position once again a few years from now and the Cubs thought he was ready.  Remember, Quade was passed over for the Cubs job once before.  Never say never and nothing is ever impossible when it comes to hires and fires and coming and going in major league baseball.  Makes me want to keep an eye on the length of contracts guys like Girardi sign with the mindset of perhaps the length of the deal they sign may show whether they’re still keeping the Cubs job prospect alive in the back of their minds.
The key lineup devisers and skill coaches are in place.  Now we have holes to fill and hopefully we land players looking to start anew with the Cubs and give themselves and us as fans, lots to cheer for and be excited about.  A starting pitcher, bullpen help, a power hitting first baseman and perhaps a strong utility infielder are all positions the club should be looking to fill this winter (a lot will be said for how the club feels about Hoffpauir and Vitters with their off-season moves).  As per usual, all eyes will be watching the news and reading the sports sites for updates on who may or may not be a Cub in 2011 and those resource outlets won’t disappoint when it comes to rumors and predictions.
The Cubs Convention tickets are on sale now, a great sign that 2010 is over and everyone is looking forward to 2011.  Especially the fans as we’re all ready for the club to land that elusive championship.  Time to start the clock over as winners when it comes to Chicago Cubs baseball.  It’s time to move the AC clock to read AC000000.
Speaking of ‘new beginnings’, on a personal note, my wife gave birth to our first born on Oct 23rd.  Below are a few pictures of our son, Rhys Lewis Maloney, all 9 lbs 6.5 ounces of him.  I’ve already started reading the sports section to him and telling him every story I can think of to assist in his love of baseball.  I can’t wait to enjoy games with him and am already planning our first trip to the ballpark.  Parenthood has already been a trip with a ton of diapers, multiple sentences uttered including the words ‘butt paste’ that I never thought I’d say and even a few occasions where I was unable to beat the clock and was as a result…peed on.  Good times.  Rhys has been a great baby though and it’s been awesome to have some time off to spend with him and my wife for a couple weeks after bringing him home from the hospital.
rhys cubs 3.jpg
To new beginnings.  Go Cubs Go!

The Qualm After The Storm


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.

ripped up floor.jpg
My employer was nice enough to allow me to work from home to supervise the activity.  This is more for my wife to feel OK about everything as I think she feels better with me here.  So, here I sit waiting for emails or calls from my boss, blogging about the Cubs, sitting in the middle of a flooring ripping whirlwind party all around me.  You know those construction sounds you can ‘kinda’ hear from across the avenue, on the building next door and it just ruins your day?  Now take that noise and put it fifteen feet away from you.  Nice, right?  Clink, clank, scrub, clink, clink, clink, hammer, clank, clink, clink, scrub, scrub, clink….all, day, long.
It did get me thinking though.  A) I can’t believe this is happening so close to when the baby’s due date is.  And I realize Oct 15th is still 11 days away, however, you know how babies can be.  It’s all up to them.  So, we can mark the 15th on the calendar all we want. Circle it, underline it, put stars all around it…it makes no difference.  He is coming whenever he wants to and we have no idea what to expect.  and B) If I think about the horrible timing of this all, I will go crazy so let’s compare the repairs going on here to the Cubs repairs necessary this off-season.
Considering the season ended just yesterday in disappointing fashion (losing to Houston resulting in a fifth place finish this year for the Cubs) I can only pinpoint so many needs.  A power-bat, preferably at first to replace Lee.  A stud in the starting rotation.  Another couple arms in the bullpen.  A quality second baseman (maybe not this guy as rumored in recent years) and maybe a young third baseman with some upside in the scouting to have around to compete for the third base job after Rami’s gone whether it be figuratively or literally.
Oh yeah….and a MANAGER.
Or a decision re: the manager anyway.  Quade has shown incredible skill with the youngsters (benching Starlin to make a point re: hustle/effort) and with the veterans (keeping them playing hard throughout the last 40 games of the season even though they were on the brink of or officially eliminated from post-season play).  Lou Piniella is not the easiest act to follow and even though his tenure ended poorly, he did deliver two divisional championships while he was with the Cubs.  Quade has one of the best records of a manager filling in as manager of the Cubs mid-season ever.  I have a lot of confidence in him and wouldn’t mind seeing if he could do the same thing in 2011 that he has in his final quarter of the season in 2010.
Then again, Sandberg is a guy learning and having some success in the minors and is a fan favorite.  A guy like Sandberg along with old successful vets like Torre, Girardi and LaRussa are the only other guys I think have a shot at this spot.  I don’t foresee Wedge being the guy (and I really don’t see LaRussa here either).  Who know if Torre wants to manage really.  We don’t want another Piniella situation, aside from his ailing mother.  And Girardi may stay with New York so it may be down to Sandberg and Quade.  Between the two, I take Quade yet I’d be happy to root for Sandberg (again).  Just not sure he has the experience it will take to be successful just yet (look how long it took Mattingly to learn under Torre before he got a shot) and Quade keeps saying ‘nothing replaces experience’ (and I don’t think that’s by accident either by the way).
I don’t think the Reds are going away anytime soon and I don’t think this season was a fluke. Their young pitching is a huge part of their success and if healthy they will be competing among the top teams in the Central for a while.  The Cardinals are of course going to be competitive.  Personnel wise, Hendry and Ricketts have a ton of decisions to make.  A ton of work to do to make this Cubs team successful.
Notice I didn’t say competitive.  We are competitive.  Think about how many one-run games we lost this year.  Think about how many games we lost to Houston and Pittsburgh.  We have to win the close games and we have to beat the teams we are expected to beat.  Where is it toughest to win, in theory?  On the road.  Quade’s road record was 17-5.  Just saying.
A lot of decisions to make.  A lot of work to be done.  Let’s just hope it’s quick and painless. Unlike the way this last minute, unexpected floor construction in my apartment feels right now.
Clink, clank, clink, clink, clink, scrub, scrub, hammer, bang, clink, clink, clank, clink, clink…
Go Cubs Go!

(Don’t) Passonmikequade!


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…’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.
I hear…opponents…giggling.
I hear…fans…singing.

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?,
p…p…Player/Coach Rami,
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!