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

Dailies

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.

‘Chicago’

Dailies

My dad and stepmom came to visit this weekend.  They hadn’t come to visit for about eight years and it was great to have them here.  My dad especially always thinks the city is going to be too hot, too cold, too crowded, too…something. Lately it’s been beautiful outside.  60’s.  Upper 70’s.  Spring.  Baseball weather.  Beautiful.

And then came Sunday.  90 degrees beating down on the NYC pavement…and of course, the one day in nearly the past decade that my dad chose to visit.  Figures.

We had a great time regardless.  He and my stepmom had never been to Central Park so we took a long walk.  Beat the heat with some ice cream and waters bought at those carts you find in parks across the country.  I only just recently decided to eat hot dogs sold from a cart.  A baseball hot dog is a wonderful thing.  Something about buying a hot dog from a baseball vendor or at a concession stand at a stadium just feels right.  Buying a hot dog from a weird man with a dirty cart filled with old hot water…not quite the same appeal.  However, they are $2 and sometimes, especially lately, a two dollar lunch is just what the checking account ordered.

There were kids all over the Alice in Wonderland statue.  People driving remote controlled boats at the boat pond.  A Greek parade pouring down Fifth Avenue.  Lots of people out sunbathing and people walking their dogs everywhere.  A great Summertime scene in 90 degree weather smack in the middle of Spring.

We went out to eat for every meal which something I really only do when company is in town visiting.  My stepmom was talking about the Yankees/Red Sox games she caught over the weekend and how exciting they were.  Great games sure, but on top of that, the Red Sox won.  She’s one of those fans who have recently come back around to baseball.  She’s in her early 60’s and after the 1994 strike, she had had enough.  Too much focus on money and greed for her to respect the game she once loved.  Enough years passed though and she’s come around again.  Rooting for the Red Sox like she always has.  Of course for a while there it was because she liked to go sit in the outfield and check out Dwight Evans booty.  Now though, it’s simply for love the Sox and having something in common with her grandchildren who live in CT.

We had tickets to see ‘Chicago’ on Broadway Sunday night and she kidded about skipping it to watch the Sox/Yanks on Sunday night baseball.  She decided she could hang in there though (of course) and enjoy the show based on the movie she’s loved since she saw it.  I hadn’t seen the movie so I didn’t know what to expect.  Let me tell you…this show (and I’m sure film) does not paint a very pretty picture of Chicago.  Murders, crimes, lies, etc…I understand the city has a reputation for crooked politicians…but they sure didn’t try to shine a light on anything positive with regards to Chicago, that’s for sure.  I mean come on, throw a baseball fan a bone and mention Wrigley or something, ya know?  Of course with the way this show was going, if there had been a baseball reference, it surely would’ve been about the Black Sox scandal.

Anyway, the show was great.  Not one of my favorites of all the shows I’ve seen in New York, but up there among one of the better performances…especially when it comes to less is more.  They do a lot with hardly any set or stage frills and you’re entertained the whole time.  Which really, is a lot like the Cubs now that I think about it.  Wrigley Field.  Barebones.  Old school.  No real frills.  No cookie cutter park.  Bare essentials.  Few thrills or real ‘characters’ when it comes to our lineup.  Just hardnosed baseball that entertains you the whole time you’re at the park or following the season.  Pretty cool in that respect considering the show is called ‘Chicago’.

Some of the songs in the show remind me of some of the Cubs roster though.  Just for fun (considering we’re a few games in back of the Cards right now…not exactly the April I had hoped for) here are some of the songs that made me think of Cubs players and the players that match up:

“I Can’t Do It Alone” – Carlos Zambrano.  Ace of the staff.  No-hitter last year.  We know he’s going to bring it every time he takes the mound.  But he is not going to be able to do this thing alone. Demp, Lilly, Harden and Marshall are all going to have to step their games up if we want to repeat in the Central again this year.

“My Own Best Friend” – Aramis Ramirez.  Pretty much our only quality at third base.  Without a true backup, he’s basically his own best friend on the hot corner. Aramis goes down and we’re pretty screwed at third.  We need his glove and bat all season long.  Injuries will come and go…let’s hope Ramirez isn’t effected too often in ’09.

“Mister Cellophane” – Micah Hoffpauir.  This really applied stronger during Spring Training.  Lately Micah has been getting his share of at bats and his talent is no longer see through to Lou.  He’s giving him a chance to shine in the regular season like he did in Spring Training.  Not ready to give up on Lee by any means, but like DeRosa was great to have as a quality anywhere kind of guy, Micah is the closest thing we have to that right now on the ballclub and it’s good to see he’s finally getting noticed.

“All I Care About” – Chicago Cubs fans.  While the character that sings this in the show is rather sarcastic in singing that all he cares about is love…I think Cubs fans would be genuine.  Sure we want the trophy after all these years…but there has to be a reason we come back year in and year out.  For love the Cubs, we wouldn’t come back if it was all we really cared about.  Championships are nice and a World Series title would be insane, but be honest, you’ll keep coming back regardless.

All in all it was a great weekend.  Took my dachshund to the dachshund festival on Saturday and it was hilarious.  Dad and stepmom came in on Sunday and we had a blast in the big city, can’t wait for them to come back again.  The show was a great time and a real treat for them to take us.  Chicago needs to do something to change that rep though, it really doesn’t come off all that great in the show.  Maybe something big is needed to make people think about it differently…like I don’t know…a Cubs championship perhaps?

Couldn’t hurt.  Go Cubs Go!

“Ker-ry! Ker-ry! Ker-ry!”/Let’s Say They’re Right part  2

Dailies

As much as I am a fan of Alyssa Milano, I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying watching my Cubs beat up on her Dodgers.  Two back-to-back 3-1 wins kicking off this three game series…good times.  The Dodgers are no slouches this year either, 3.5 games back in the West behind the Dbacks, a decent measure of how the Cubs are doing in playing such a talented squad.  And judging by the results, we are doing REALLY well.

Fukudome was amazing again this evening and on his Bobblehead Night, mind you.  Kosuke may be the most impressive signing by any ballclub in a LONG time.  Fukudome had two terrific plays in the outfield tonight and a key double in tonight’s victory, but think about what a huge impact he has had on this ballclub this year.  Unbelievable.  And between Fukudome, Ramirez and Wood tonight…the Cubs were awesome.  I was initially concerned about how signing Edmonds was going to effect the overall chemistry of the ballclub.  I must say, I’m glad to have his bat and ability in the clubhouse.  Granted, his bat has been less present than his ability lately, but I’m sure it will come around.  In the meantime, we have Johnson.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t even miss Pie.  I was perhaps his biggest supporter in the land of the MLBlogs and now…well, first place in the Central at the end of May at 31-21 speaks for itself.  Edmonds better start hitting though, otherwise, I’m sure my tune will change once more.

Soriano continues to be a factor with his occasional home run leading off and seeing that he hasn’t hurt himself jumping around in left field, he’s back to helping make this lineup a big threat against all opponents once again.  I haven’t had a chance to read Derosa’s blog where he and Theriot do their teammate Q&A but I’m looking forward to it.  This team is full of a bunch of good guys who try night in and night out, day in and day out where its nearly impossible to not root for each and every one of them with all your heart. 

Chris Berman made a comment tonight about what a big story it would be if the Cubs were to do the unthinkable and end the 100 year championship drought this year with Wood, the once ‘ace starter’ as their now ‘ace closer’.  I believe that’s true and appropriate seeing that we’re in the 10 year anniversary month of his 20 K game…but the same could be said for Dempster.  What a great experiment he’s turned out to be so far this year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them are playing in Yankee Stadium come July over the All-Star break.  I wonder how many Cubs will be representing Chicago on the National League team.  You could make a case for a lot of them…Lee, Zambrano, Soriano, Fukudome, Dempster, Wood.  Could be a big year for the Cubs in the off, regular, mid, and postseason this year.

Tomorrow night’s game is on ESPN 2 for all of you who only catch them when they’re on national television and it should a great pitchers’ duel between Lowe and Zambrano at Wrigley.  

Anyone else surprised our biggest competition for the Central so far has been the Cardinals and the Astros?  I am.  Before the season I figured it would be the Brewers and the Reds…so far…not so much.  Not that I’m complaining mind you, just surprised.

I haven’t been able to blog in a while as things have been pretty crazy with a number of stand up dates and a couple of television and film productions.  One thing I was starting to have some fun with was the idea of the most appealing aspect of facing any of the teams in the AL in the World Series this year and why any of them would be fun to face (and let’s face it, what would we care who we face?)  Last time I did so, I wrote the aspects of the AL East.  Since it’s been a while, here is my take on why I’d be psyched to face anyone in:

The AL Central

White Sox: Seriously.  Crosstown rivals.  What could be more fun than this matchup?  The White Sox are currently in first place in the AL Central and have put a huge push on to get there lately going 8-2 in their last 10 games.  Bring it on ChiSox.  Bring it on.

Twins:  No Santana?  No Problem.  Santana’s in NY and while he won tonight, that team is a disaster.  Meanwhile, the team he left is thriving with their young talent.  A Series featuring the young talent of the Twins in ‘Sota against the young talent here in Chicago…that definitely sounds like a good time to me.

Indians:  These fans think they’ve waited a long time since the last time they won a Championship.  Puh-lease!  It would be a big story though and only one could end the streak.  100 years.  Chicago Wins.  Better story, better team, better outcome (if you ask me that is).

Tigers: The way they started their season, the fans in Detroit are probably feeling like they’ve been waiting forever to see a winner.  If the Tigers do in fact turn this thing around and show up in the postseason at all, that momentum would be pretty scary.  Then again, if the Cubs are there as well that means they did it all year long.  Now that’s momentum and no matter how much Pudge, Cabrera and Willis you throw it at…forget the Dtrain, this team’s momentum would be too much for Detroit to handle.  A great Series though with great storylines too.  Fun, fun, fun…indeed.

Royals: 7 games back on May 27th.  If they end up in the World Series you can bet the stories won’t be about KC or the Chicago Cubs.  It will be about 80% of the AL’s managers being fired after letting the ROYALS tear up the league with their ridiculous payroll and low expectations.  Teams like this that have a magical year are normally scary to play against.  But please…low expectations…magical years…wrap it altogether and we’re talking 100 seasons of Cubbie history.  I don’t care what kind of voodoo KC has going on.  The Cubs/Royals would probably go seven games just to drive us all crazy too…now that would definitely be interesting.

Get out there and do your thing tomorrow night Zambrano and sweep these Dodgers.  It’s the least you guys can do after letting Pittsburgh steal a few from us. I guess I spoke to soon a few weeks back, huh? 

Felt good to get another posting up here again.  Will try to avoid such a delay again anytime soon.  GO CUBS GO!
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Let’s Go Marquis

Dailies

First place in the Central up for grabs tonight!  Looking forward to watching the game and blogging about it later tonight!

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/player.swf?mediaId=3380544
Later that evening: Unbelievable.  (not my average length of blog but I think that pretty much says it all)
GO CUBS GO!
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My MLB2K8 Review for MLB.com

Dailies

Hey everyone…in between my time spent watching the Cubs and blogging about them I had the opportunity to pretend I was them.  And I suppose Lou Piniella too, for that matter, considering I was in charge of lineups, arguing with umpires, etc. 

Here is my review of MLB2K8 on Xbox 360.  I thought it would be cool to get the MLB.com by-line and a great chance to receive a free copy of the game.  It’s definitely one I recommend highly.  Here is the article, complete with reviews from Steve Dempsey and Paul Festa for the Wii and Playstation 3 respectively. 

If you don’t want to leave the site, you can read my Xbox review right here:

Bloggers take a swing at MLB 2K8
MLBlogger takes new video game for test drive

By Ryan Maloney / Special to MLB.com

A new Major League Baseball season also means a new beginning for video
gamers everywhere. Put down your Assassin’s Creed, your Halo2 and, yes,
even your Guitar Hero 3. The MLB 2K8 game from 2K Sports has just
arrived at the MLB.com Shop, and to help capture the diverse experience
we turned to three members of the MLBlogs community who reviewed the
game over the Nintendo Wii, PLAYSTATION3 and Xbox 360 systems.xbox logo.png

10 in 10…How Appropriate

Dailies

winningest MLB teams.pngTen innings of history in the making.  One of the most exciting games of the year lead to the Cubs taking a two game lead in the NL Central, a five game winning streak to the extended status of six games in a row and their record to 10,000 wins all-time!  Only the second team to reach the 10,000 win mark ever!  Wood goes down in the books as the winning pitcher, even though he blew the save (a weird consolation prize the way baseball scoring works, you’d have to admit) and Marmol got the save.  Loved seeing Marmol come in and get the save…it’s not even that Wood pitched poorly, just a couple of pitches got away from him and he paid for it.  With a ‘W’.  Again, weird.  More thoughts on this to come when its not so late…for now, let me announce the new Prose and Ivy Chat board here on the blog that you can find me in during most games.  Feel free to come by and say hey on game days.  Until I get a chance to post more, here were my in game thoughts I posted in the chat board (in case anyone happened to stumble across the chat board during this history making event:

  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: c’mon hill, let’s go!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: look at soto go…and cedeno getting some respect! (i know, its to set up the force outs, but still, Cedeno’s slam=RESPECT
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: lee and ramirez…good times for cubs fans…not so much for opposing pitchers!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: soto 3-for-3!  nice!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: theres the first blemish on hill’s night 3-1 Cubs
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: wuertz is horrible
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: this could get ugly quick
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: wow, that sixth inning was hard to watch
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: gotta love the fight in this team!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: fuku-dome!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: fuku-dome!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: they are SCARED of him!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: do it for michael johns derosa! : )
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: f*ck
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 10,000 just may have to wait another day…bot 8, 5-4 COL…
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: here we go bot9
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 1 away…
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2 balls to Lee…
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Lee gets on base and the lead run comes to the plate in Ramirez!!!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: pie in to run for Lee!  strike one to Aramis
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Ramirez on a 1-2 pitch…deep to left field for the LEAD, 6-5!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Hey Hey!  I almost called it to right….I could feel it coming and then BOOM to left!  AWESOME!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 7 8 9 coming up for the Rockies…a combined 1 for 6 on the day (and one guy hasn’t even hit yet!)
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: wood comes in and immediately 0-2, a ball and then STRIKE THREE
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 1 away
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: let’s go Wood!  let’s go!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: and again STRIKE TWO!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2-1 count on Podsednik
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: base hit
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: damn
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Let’s go Wood
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 6 game win streak…10,000 overall on the line..Wood v. Spilborghs!  (who saw that  coming for the history books?)
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: are you kidding me?  6-6 and it has to be a guy named Podsednik off a hit by some no-name Spilborghs???
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: and of course Barmes….strike three.
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: way to go Wood.  history class dismissed.
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: here come the cubs in extra innings again
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: ward intentionally walked
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: c’mon theriot..how about a 10th inning RIOT
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: theriot hitting .365 for the month of april…
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: And in comes Fontenot making it 7-6 Cubs….somebody get Marmol up and ready!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: after all these years leading up to win 10,000, what’s another inning?! :)
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: heading into the bottom of the ninth…did I say history class dismissed?  My bad, sit back down, that bell didn’t ring yet!!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: all kinds of wins this year…could number 10,000 all time and six in a row be of the one run, extra inning variety?  perhaps!  bot 9 up next!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Awesome…Marmol it is.
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: Go Cubs Go!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 3 fouled off pitches, helton making marmol work for this one
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: pitch 8 to helton is hit to cf and pie puts it away…one down!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2 strikes to holliday…how about something to celebrate this holliday?
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: annnnddd……
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: ball 1…seven pitches in to a full count…grounded to first!!!  celebrate this holliday: 2 away!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: atkins takes strike 1
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: COME ON MARMOL!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: BALL 1
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: BALL 2
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: AND MARMOL GETS THE THIRD OUT BY CATCHING THE INFIELD FLY!  ATKINS IS OUT
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: CUBS GO 15-6 ON THE SEASON!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: 6 GAME WINNING STREAK IN TACT!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: AND THE ORGANIZATION GETS ITS 10,000TH WIN!  Way to Go Cubs!  Way to go Marmol!  Go Cubs Go!!!!  What a great game to represent this milestone in the baseball history books!  Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!
  • Prose and Ivy Ryan: What a great game.

10000 win flag.png10,000 and counting.  Great time to be a Cubs fan.  Go Cubs Go!  (Can you believe the Pirates are in at number 5 all-time??  Perhaps, but not with much help in recent years!)
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Heil-Yeah! And No Need to Rename it the ‘L’illy Flag

Dailies

Ted Lilly got his first win of the year and all is well in Cubville.  zambrano_pumping_fist_1.pngMonday night Zambrano picked up another win with seven strong innings, allowing only one run and looked absolutely dominant.  Not only physically, but mentally too, the way he looked hungry for even more success and more domination after every strike thrown and out collected.  Having a warrior like Zambrano pitching for your ball club every five days is such a treat to look forward to, in between starts.  He’s the type of personality I love having on this team.  His scuffle with Barrett in the dugout last year came from his passion for winning and it ended up being one of the things that sparked the Cubs to success last year.  That fire in his eyes is the type of thing that, once contagious, can really propel a team to their best start since 1975…huh, what do you know…exactly the position the Cubs are in after 20 games into the season.

The Mets’ Heilman couldn’t keep up with Zambrano and the Cubs hit him hard over and over…a theme that continued throughout the evening.  Even one of the Cubs’ least effective bats found a way to put an exclamation point on the team’s dominance when Pie hit a 3 run shot in the eighth to put the game away.  I haven’t enjoyed a home run like that since Opening Day when Fukudome went yard to tie it up.  Sure, any Cubs home run is exciting, but these two came for guys in moments I really wanted them to come through and exceed expectations…or to some degree, meet them.  I couldn’t have been happier for Pie when the ball found its way into the cage just over the ivy in right.  A great ending to a great game.

cedeno slam.pngAnd then today…my goodness.  Not only does Lilly show signs of coming around and matching the results put up Demp and Big Z finally, but he even comes away with the win at that.  No ‘L’ flag for Ted today.  The Cubs’ bats are on a ridiculous streak and I LIKE IT.  Seriously, it’s hard to remember the last April that was this much fun to follow the Cubs.  Every single one of our starters today got a hit and six of the eight position players are hitting .300 or better.  What a rough couple games the Cubs gave Sosa there with Pie going yard after being in such a slump and then today Cedeno comes in and jacks him out of the park for a grand slam putting the game out of reach on a whole other level.  CEDENO.  Not Lee, not Ramirez…Cedeno.  Everyone is hitting.  I mean, look at this box score:

4/22/08

Chi Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Johnson, LF 4 0 1 2 1 1 3 .339
Pie, CF 5 0 2 0 0 0 4 .206
Lee, 1B 4 1 1 0 1 0 3 .353
Ramirez, 3B 4 1 1 0 1 0 3 .280
Fukudome, RF 3 2 3 0 2 0 0 .357
DeRosa, 2B 4 1 1 1 1 0 6 .309
Cedeno, SS 5 2 2 5 0 2 7 .345
Blanco, C 2 1 1 0 1 0 3 .357
  b-Ward, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .077
  c-Soto, PH-C 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 .317
Lilly, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 .200
  a-Fontenot, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .206
  Howry, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  d-Murton, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .111
  Marmol, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  e-Marquis, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250
  Hart, K, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 36 8 14 8 8 3 33

Also, great to see Marmol lock down 2 more K’s and the Cubs get out with the win without wasting innings from Wood and get a chance to let him rest today.  The more days we can do that for Wood, the better. 

And now next up, Hill on the mound in the high altitude, higher expectation environment of Coors Field.  With all the recent success the Cubs have had to start the season including this five game win streak, Hill is going to be expected to continue to show signs he deserves to be one of our starters and to keep this thing going…especially when it comes to the bigger picture: the 10,000 all-time win mark for the Chicago Cubs.  Now, does that really matter in the long run for this season?  No, but it would still be a cool milestone for the organization to hit.   With all the hitting that is going on, I don’t expect it take very long to get there. 

Tomorrow night, a six game win streak and 10,000 all-time Cub wins is certainly not out of the question.  Go Cubs Go!
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We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh

Dailies

52-24 and 2 sweeps.  That’s our record so far against Pittsburgh this season.  We’re 6-0 against the Pirates with an overall record of 12-6 on the season.  Thanks to this last win against the Pirates, we took over first place by 1/2 a game over the Cardinals.  And this weekend, it wasn’t even close.

Unbelievable.  I feel like I’m saying “I’ll take that anyday” a lot so far this season.  Well, roughly 12 times anyway.  One run wins.  Ugly wins.  Completely dominating wins.  Completely dominating wins back to back.  And even wins that come back-to-back-to-back in a sweep.  It’s been a great first month so far.  I mean look at these two box scores from the past two blowouts over the Pirates:

4/20/08
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4/19/08
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That is an amazing weekend of baseball.  With the new format here, I’m not even sure they lined up correctly honestly, but really…what’s it matter?  Both days happened regardless of whether they line up with the correct date here and the Cubs look great.  I think it’s amazing it’s happening without our All-Star outfielder and leadoff hitter but boy, signing Johnson sure does look like a really smart move now, huh?  Why do we continue to see rumors that the Cubs are looking at Coco Crisp?  Maybe, they’re just that, rumors.  With Johnson in the leadoff spot, I’d be interested to hear what the Cubs record is opposed to others leading off, besides Soriano (anyone know?).  Lee is amazing.  Even people in the message boards (my point being not just me) are talking about Lee killing it this year and predicting he finish with the triple crown.  Hey, who am I to argue?  He looks great.  And Ramirez seems to be coming around lately too, especially today with his four hits (matching Theriot’s four hits as well). 

I’m glad Fukudome’s deal isn’t more serious, just a cyst over his eye.  It does go to show again how valuable Derosa is though as he played right field today.  He’s supposed to be our starting 2B and he has since played LF and RF (could Brian Roberts do that? I don’t know that he could).  Eyre is supposively coming back, so that will be interesting.  We haven’t gained too much from those who took his place in his absence, but I certainly don’t want the Eyre of 2008 that we’ve seen so far to come back.  We don’t need that now.  We already have Weurtz.  Isn’t that bad enough?

And if Dempster was unhappy about his inning management today, well then somebody help him out with that or tell him something that he thinks will help.  Because whatever he’s doing is working as I was right.  Demp is justified as a starter starting the season at 3-0 and having one of the best starts among all Cubs starters. 

Speaking of which, Zambrano goes tomorrow against the Mets.  A much truer test of the Cubs’ abilities.  MLB.com’s story is right.  I believe the Pirates are a team you should beat.  But the Mets are another story…so…we’ll see.  Maine is on the mound for the Mets and he’s having a great season too.  Should be another pitcher’s duel Zambrano finds himself in.  Let’s hope the Cubs didn’t waste all the good offense on the Pirates.  Time to ‘meet the Mets’ all right…with a giant offensive onslaught.

Let’s keep it going…Go Cubs Go!
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Let’s Say They’re Right

Dailies

Let’s say the experts are right and the Cubs are going to represent the National League in the World Series this year.  And really, what better game to talk about this afterwards than today’s game.  Our 4-8 hitters looked great and our pitching looked strong.  Hill turned things around a bit and had a decent game giving up only 1 run on 3 hits and even erased one of those men on base by picking off a Pirate at first.  It was the first win by a Cubs lefty starter this season…a nice trend to kick off, hopefully its contagious.  Marmol was AMAZING facing six hitters striking out five.  He is quickly becoming one of my favorite Cubs to watch, right up there with Fukudome and Zambrano.  And Wood put it away for his fourth save in five opportunities.  What a great late game 1-2 punch he and Marmol are becoming.

wood soto 4:18.pngfukudome triple 4:18.pnghill 4:18.png 
As for the ‘obnoxious’ behavior exhibited by the Cubs fans against Cincinnati…shove it Brennaman.  Get a sense of humor.  One ball leaves and fifteen are thrown back.  Come on, that’s funny.  As long as no one’s pegging Fukudome or using Derosa and Reed as target practice, I’m all for the fun.   Derosa’s cocl with it too aside from the fact that its 10 minutes of his life he’ll never get back (the clean up).  Where exactly does Derosa have to go?  His Idol was eliminated so no phone calls to Fox to make.  Don’t sweat the 10 minutes Derosa.  Just keeping doing a great job backing up Hop-A-Long Cassi-D.L. 

Often, with as tight as MLB competition can be, your records in one-run games are huge come the end of the season.  Always great to see the Cubs take as many as they can get and especially against a team in the Central.  Not that the Pirates should factor in to heavily this year, but you know what I mean.  10-6, 1 game behind the Cards.  Good times.

Now, to the real business at hand.  Say the experts are right and the Cubs are in the World Series…well who’s representing the AL?  Does it matter?  No…as long as we’re there, they could all be fun!  As promised, here is my first installment of why it would be fun to play any of the teams in the American League in the World Series.  And we begin with:

The AL East

Yankees:  Two of the most historic, oldest ballparks in the Major Leagues.  One is being demolished come the end of the season and the other may never be the same if certain people get their way.  What better way to celebrate a Cubs Series after all these years than by playing every game in two of the greatest stadiums in baseball…and beating the Yankees in a four-game sweep?  Sounds like fun to me.

Red Sox:  As above, same goes for Fenway.  Red Sox Nation got their’s four years ago and then took another for good measure last year.  Cool with the Green Monster, but not with a Greed Monster.  You’ve had yours, share.  The story lines would be amazing and although I’m not positive…it may not be too late to bury a Lee jersey in the Fenway Park visitor’s dugout.  Something to check into if the time comes.  Sounds like fun to me.

Orioles: Ok, so maybe this will be the reason that oriole kept trying to fly itself into my bedroom window over and over again and not the Brian Roberts trade.  100 years since the Cubs last title and the silver anniversary of the O’s.  “Derosa, Roberts.  Roberts, Derosa”.   Nice put a face to the trade rumors.   Cubs playing in a Series involving Roberts regardless of whether the trade happened or not.  Sounds like fun to me.

Rays: Could be billed as “The No-fair Bowl”.  With the Rays being in existence since 1998, not exactly the same amount of suffering between the two teams’ organizations/fan base.  Every where in baseball people will be talking about how money doesn’t make a difference as they try to offer contracts to ballplayers whose names sound like the other cast members of ‘Desperate Housewives’.  The stories that could be written about the extra pressure the Cubs will be in to win this Series and shock the Rays would put on the baseball world.  Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Blue Jays: First World Series victory against a team that resides in another country after signing a third country’s number one free agent back by a pitching staff made up of pitchers from all over the world.  Hardly simply a World Series title…that’s practically world domination.  Sounds like ‘waited for a 100 years to win another’ kind of fun to me.

For now though, we’ll take these things one game at a time.  AL Central to come next week (for fun, of course) and the Cubs continue their drive to make the experts look brilliant tomorrow against the Pirates.  Marquis on the mound.  GO CUBS GO!
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A New Feature on Prose and Ivy

Dailies

While I will definitely continue writing here as close to daily as possible, whenever I get a chance to add a little something extra to this space, I’m going to try throwing on this new feature as an add-on to my writing.  Of course, I’m not sure the embedding is going to be compatible with the new format.  (If so, great, if not, I guess there will be a link at the end of this to click on).  This was my first attempt so they’ll get better as we go (promise).  Those AL East comments I talked about yesterday are coming either later this evening or tomorrow at the latest.  Rough game today, huh?  I don’t know what Lilly’s waiting for.  Hill’s in danger of losing his spot in the rotation and Lieber didn’t look so hot today giving up Griffey’s #596, a 3 run shot…seriously…could someone besides Zambrano and Dempster please start showing something in the starter’s role please?
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Please?

That would be great.  In the meantime, feel free to click this link to play the first Prose and Ivy Cubcast!  Good times.  Go Cubs Go!

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They Could All Be Fun

Dailies

reds v cubs.pngAs I write this, the Cubs are up 11-3 in the middle of the 8th inning tonight against the Cincinnati Reds.  Cincinnati was down by more than Ocho by the middle of inning numero Cinco and there was no looking back.  What an unbelievable game.  Zambrano looks amazing.  7 innings and only 2 runs given up on 8 hits and 5 strike outs.  He even doubled and had an RBI.  Now if only the rest of the starters could follow suit. 

I didn’t really know what to expect with this being the first game with Soriano.  15 days.  Wow.  That is horrible.  It’s unfortunate it happens on a move (the hop) that isn’t even necessary to field his position…and odd that it happened doing something he does game in soriano swinging bat close up.png and game out, fly ball putout after flyball putout.  I like the fact that it opens up the opportunity to get the Theriot/Fontenot LSU double play combo on the field and it gives great value to Derosa’s existence on the roster.  Still though, losing Soriano is huge and it will be interesting to see how it affects us over the next couple weeks. 

Now, when I created the D Lee News and every other link list in the sidebar, I had the freedom of using them and adding to them anytime I wanted.  Since the blog format change, they haven’t been working properly always so I haven’t been able to keep the D Lee News or the Pitchers/Beer section as I’d like.  So let me say this, as for the pitcher/beer result for today’s game, it’s obvious, no?  Zambrano, this tall, ice cold, frosty mugged beer is on us.  You may be expected to stay off the soda and coffee…pull up to the bar with a bunch of bananas, a potassium pill and some pretzels my friend.  This beer’s for you…and its on us.

As for the D Lee News…if you look at the archives or have been a regular visitor to Prose and Ivy since Spring Training…you’ll know how worried I was about Lee.  He looked so amazingly bad in Spring Training, regardless of whether it counted, I really thought it mattered.  Turns
D Lee.png out…I was wrong.  Lee is having an unbelievable start to the season.  Fukudome has totally stolen the show, but Lee is probably the biggest reason the Cubs kick things off at 8-5 (about to go 9-5 as they are now up 12-3 in the top of the ninth with one out, about to put this one away).  Coming into tonight’s game Lee leads the team in AB, R, Hits, Doubles, HR, RBI, total bases, slugging %, and batting average (not counting Blanco who only has 8 AB on the season).  Are you kidding me?  No.  I did not see this coming.  And it is probably the second best surprise of the season.  Fukudome is the first.  He had another great game tonight going 2-for-3, scored twice, 2 RBI and walked twice.  He’s hitting .353 on the season and leads the team in on-base percentage.  Imagine this lineup when Soriano is healthy and hitting and Ramirez is hitting and in a timely manner and for power as expect, at that.  Incredible.

For now though, Soriano is out and we’re looking to make due.  Tonight was a great start coming away with the W.  9-5 on the season including a nice two game smackdown of Dusty in his return to Wrigley.   Hard to complain about too much so far.  A few pitchers need to pick up their game a bit and they know who they are, although I have no problem with the press harping on their struggles.  Hopefully it will motivate them to turn things around and join the rest of the team on their level of extraordinary play so far this season.

A number of publications in the beginning of the season picked the Cubs to win the Central and many picked them to win the whole thing.  I’ve been thinking about that (who hasn’t) for a while now and if that were the case…I was thinking about what it would be like to play the American League champion whoever they may be.  Lots of thoughts on facing every American League team in the Classic.  Those thoughts to be posted in the upcoming days…but let’s face it, if the Cubs are representing the National League in the World Series, bring on anyone from the American League…they could all be fun.  Tomorrow, to kick things off: the AL East.

Great game tonight!  Go Cubs Go!
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Who Cares How….right?

Dailies

Not the prettiest stretch of baseball, but definitely a successful one.  Taking one of the worst teams in baseball into extra innings and at times playing some seriously ugly baseball somehow became the formula to a successful 3-0 road series against the Pirates.  The sweep gives the Cubs a 5 game winning streak…wow.

Not exactly the way you would think a 5-game winning streak would go, is it?  But, hey, we’ll take it!  You know there will be times where other teams play horrible baseball and somehow defeat the Cubs…we might as well take ours when we can. 

Aside from Hill, Lee, Fukudome and Ramirez we played really well today.  That’s amazing that we could actually win a game by a significant margin when the players singled out as having horrible games are the number 3, 4 and 5 hitters and starting pitcher!  Yes, I believe that is the exact definition of winning ugly.  Let us be the ugliest successful team in the history of baseball.  The trophy will still be beautiful.
world series trophy.pngSoto, Fontenot and Theriot all had great days and Soriano held his own in the leadoff spot, including delivering a stolen base.   Wood was lights out  (very encouraging) bringing his ERA down to 6.00 for the season and he, Howry and Lieber pitched really well today out of the bullpen.  Good to see Howry have a good day. 

I am a little concerned about Derosa.  I don’t know where his head’s going to be at over the next few weeks after the huge event he suffered through last night in his personal life.  As if the illness, an irregular heartbeat and trade rumors weren’t enough, now Derosa’s favorite American Idol contestant has been eliminated from the show.  While Fontenot had a great game today, hopefully it won’t be long until Derosa can fully recover and get back to the place he needs to be mentally to perform on the high level that is expected of him.   Thanks Michael Johns.  Thanks a lot. 

Marquis won’t be starting the first game against the Phillies.  Instead, Zambrano will pitch in his place. 

Oh and Pignatiello…you’ve probably noticed.  That’s not heaven…it’s Iowa. 
Go Cubs Go!
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Opening Day 2008: Theri0-for-5, Sorian0-for-5 and a Big Day for ‘Dome

Dailies

marquis welcomes opening day 2008.jpgNot a win.  But definitely an amazing start to the season…at least when it comes to things to talk about.  Of course when you start the season and you’re looking to get out of the gates quickly, it helps to win your first game.  Especially when its against a division rival.  And especially when its the division rival you’re supposed to take down to the wire again this year in determining who wins said division.  

So in that respect, today was a huge let down seeing that the Cubs lost to the Brewers in 10 innings today 4-3.  However, what an unbelievable start to the season. 

It was cold and rainy and miserable yet nobody cared.  Fans were out to support their Cubs, old and new as many turned out to cheer Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks during the unveiling of his statue next to Wrigley before the game.  I can’t wait to see the statue in person.  Its made by the same guy that did the Harry Caray statue and it look incredible.  Henry Aaron was right, it should have been done a long time ago.  I’m glad someone who seems so down to earth and appreciative of all life has given him and all he was able to give back is known as Mr. Cub.  Here is a photo of the statue:
Picture 3.pngTwo tarps had to be taken off before today’s game.  The one on Ernie’s statue and the one on the field.  The field’s new draining system got a real test today as it was raining hard before the game causing a 40 minute delay before the game and another 52 minute delay during the game.  It was amusing to see the groundskeepers using giant squeejee’s to dump the flooded water that did remain on the field into the system.  While there is no longer a crown in the middle of the field, there are so many draining holes, I half expected Bill Murray to show up and give them a hand.
bill murray caddyshack.pngOf course, after nearly a hundred years without a title and months of offseason drama leading up to what should be a very exciting season, what was another 90 minutes of rain delay?!

Once it finally got underway, it was worth the wait to finally get to Opening Day!  Zambrano looked strong before and after the rain delay.  Ernie Banks threw out the ceremonial first pitch and for a bit it looked like they may only get to play two…innings.  After the tarps were pulled for a second time, Zambrano continued to dominate along with Sheets.   If these guys both pitch like this all year, its going to be quite a race for the Central.  Unfortunately, Zambrano went out of the game after hitting the ground and falling awkwardly in the seventh on an infield fly he caught while crashing into Lee.  Marmol came in to relieve him with 2 outs and a 2-2 count.  He successfully got the Cubs out of the inning with one pitch.  Not surprised by that at all seeing that I’d been saying all Spring he should be our closer, not Wood.  (more on that later)

Our bats were pretty pathetic today.  The Cubs were 2-for-31 today without Fukudome who had an incredible debut going 3-for-3 including a double and a three-run blast to tie the game in the ninth.  Fukudome is going to be great for the Cubs this year but we can’t rely on him to carry us and give us a chance to win like this on a regular basis.  The other guys are going to have to step up, especially in the top of the order where Theriot and Soriano were horrible going 0-for-5 each. 

Fukudome was definitely the one true bright spot as far as the offense was concerned today.  It was a blast to watch the response the right field bleacher fans gave him when he came back out to right after tying the game and even more interesting to see how the crowd welcomed him before his first at bat.  This picture to me is hilarious, all the different things I believe the fans think about Fukudome’s arrival wrapped into one photo:
fans looking at fukudome approach first at bat.jpgThe one woman with her jaw dropped in awe.  The guy with his camera ready to go as if there aren’t enough cameras pointed at Fukudome these days.  The guy in front in the red cap looking at him like he’s ‘the one’ and the answer to take us to the promised land.  The guy in the blue cap to the right of him looking absolutely giddy over his presence on the Cubs this year.  And once the moment arrived, he didn’t disappoint.  The first pitch he saw he drove to deep CF.  The ball landed at the base of the wall and Fukudome had himself a stand up double.  The place went crazy…but then seriously, why wouldn’t they?  I did…and especially in the ninth when Lee FINALLY got a hit, Ramirez got on base on a walk and Fukudome hit the shot that people will probably truly remember his debut for.  A three run shot to tie it up and clean up after Wood almost destroyed us in the top of the inning.  Great day Fukudome!  Now, let me rephrase that second to last sentence.

Wood basically did destroy it in the ninth.  I wonder if Lou is questioning his decision…I am (still).  I’m willing to chalk this one up to Opening Day jitters but we surely can’t have any more outings like that from Wood.  Especially against division rivals.  Howry ended up giving up the winning run in the tenth but if it weren’t for Wood’s ninth, we never would’ve seen Howry.  Actually, even that’s not true…it was a mixture of Wood’s collapse and Gagne’s.  Good thing Gagne’s off the HGH!  He looks horrible…not only fundamentally weak and pitching horribly, but like a total slob.  At one point the ump even had to tell him to tuck his jersey in because he looked like such a slob.  And what is he experiencing, menopause??  It’s 40-something degrees outside and he’s fanning himself like its the dead middle of August?!  Something is definitely wrong there and I think it can only mean good things for the Cubs in the long run.

I still think the Cubs have a strong bullpen, however today, the bullpen along with every hitter except Fukudome were the reason we lost.  Piniella wanted a fast start and told them it was important to do so in a very competition division along with all the potential this Cubs team has.  Apparently, they don’t quite understand what he meant by that just yet.  Let’s hope Lilly fares better come Wednesday and the point finally starts to sink in. 

Exciting start to the season..
.let’s start getting some ‘W’s!  Go Cubs Go!
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‘Z’ Day is Finally Here!

Dailies

OPENING DAY AT WRIGLEY!  FINALLY!
zambrano openind day 2008.pngAbout two hours from now the Chicago Cubs will start their quest of winning the Major League Baseball championship for 2008.  After following every move the team made all offseason closely and watching every Spring Training game available, I couldn’t be more excited, or more ready.  I think Lou has the team ready to go mentally and physically and I think they’ve made all the right decisions with the roster.  Last year’s battle with the Milwaukee Brewers will probably closely resemble this year’s outcome only I believe the Cubs will win the division by five games over the Brewers this time.  Nothing of course makes this more likely then beating them head to head and today is our first shot at ’em for ’08.

Wrigley is going to be rocking, I just know it.  I can’t wait to hear what people think of the adjustments made to the field and the stadium.  I can’t wait to hear what the players think of it.  I can’t wait to hear the right field bleacher fans’ reaction to Fukudome the first time he takes his place in the outfield wearing number 1, ready to go.  I can’t wait to see if bats that were heating up at the end of Spring continue to do so in the frigid Chicago weather.  I can’t wait to see Zambrano take the mound completely pumped to take the first game in the battle of the Cubs/Brewers and ready to win his first Opening Day.  I can’t wait to see if John Kruk is right about D Lee and that he’s going to be in NL MVP form this year out of the gate and throughout the season.  I can’t wait to see the first ‘W’ flag of the season raised above the scoreboard.  I can’t wait to watch the final out of a game and then see it actually count in the standings.  And I can’t wait to understand how this new blogging format works so I can fully communicate/take advantage of all its functions in enjoying this season with you.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about an Opening Day before and I’m not sure what exactly is making this one so different.  I’m definitely glad the wait is over though!

Let’s Play Ball…GO CUBS GO!
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