Now a Staff Writer for Baseball Digest

Dailies

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

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 BaseballDigest.com by clicking here: http://www.baseballdigest.com/2011/03/13/baseball-digest-birthdays-johan-santana/
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!

Congratulations Byrd! Reds up close and personal

Dailies
Congratulations to the Cubs lone all-star in Marlon Byrd!  Check out the hitting stats of the top 10 Cubs’ performances so far this year (in stats listed below) and you can see why it was a clear, cut and dry result, in choosing Marlon to represent the Cubs in the Summer classic.  Sometimes injuries happen and people are unable to play.  As a result, perhaps only Marmol has a shot of joining the party late, but it’s highly unlikely.  Nice to have fresh enthusiasm on the team and a great example of what Jaramillo’s hitting program can do for guys.  Now, let’s hope it catches on for the rest of the team in the second half of the season.

Our 5-8 and Fukudome helped the Cubs destroy the D’backs out West with a barrage of extra base hits.  Great spark in Fukudome leading off the game with a home run and the rest of the game followed suit.  Tomorrow night I’ll be at Citi Field for the Mets/Reds game.  Looking forward to seeing the NL Central leading Reds up close and personal.  Maybe seeing them in person will help answer some questions as to why they are having the kind of season they are because I still haven’t figured out why their 2010 is turning out the way it has been.  Anyone have any thoughts as to why in the world we are looking up at of all teams…the Reds???  Almost as bad as being brutally roughed up by the Pirates this year.  And that’s bad.

Congrats to Marlon Byrd…GO CUBS GO!

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Dailies
  1. Carlos Silva with the best start a Cubs pitcher has had since the beginning of time.
  2. The Braves are one of the hottest teams in baseball.
  3. The Mets are 22-9 at home.
  4. Galarraga came one out away from a perfect game and still recorded what would’ve been 28 outs in a perfect world.
  5. It would’ve been the third perfect game thrown this season.
  6. The Baltimore Orioles were the first team to fire their manager this season.
  7. Carlos Silva is 8-0!
  8. Zambrano starts a record of consecutive Cubs Opening Days, moved to pen, then back to rotation all BEFORE June.
  9. Schilling has hardly said anything controversial this season.
  10. Griffey Jr. retires during the season instead of waiting until the off-season.
  11. Jimenez of the Rockies leads the majors in wins (11) and ERA (0.93)
  12. Robinson Cano is hitting .363
  13. The Rays own the best winning percentage in the majors at .649
  14. The Reds holding strong in the NL Central at 33-25, .5 games behind the Cards and 6.5 games up on the third place Cubs.
  15. The PIRATES are 12-6 in one-run games.  The PIRATES.
  16. Dontrelle Willis is a D’back.  How is he not the Tigers’ own long time dominator he was supposed to be?
  17. I actually watched about 10 minutes worth of the MLB draft.  I guess that’s something.
  18. Ted Lilly is 1-5.  Leading the club at 8-0?  Flipping CARLOS SILVA!!!
  19. The Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup finals.  WHAT?!?
  20. Seriously.  That Carlos.  Unreal.
This season has been full of surprises. Some more unfortunate than others. Most unfortunate: Griffey. Next: Lilly. Least unfortunate: Silva leading the club in wins and being the man. Someone tell the Reds that’ll be enough out of them please. I mean, really. Go Cubs Go! Let’s start surprising some folks and move our way on up the NL Central standings!

I’ll Take Some Blame for This Streak

Dailies

You just need to keep your mouth shut in this great game.  You can’t mention anything about anything going great because as soon as you do…BOOM, gone.

My last post was about Lou loving his decision to move Z to the bullpen and all the great winning that went on afterwards.  Were we on a streak to end all streaks?  No.  We weren’t even in first place.  But the team had found it’s offense for a few games, it had a new fire lit under itself with Z gone to the bullpen and we looked to be headed in the right direction.  Then I posted all about how please Lou must be with himself and it was all down hill from there.  Now we’ve been swept by the Pirates, lost two games in a row after exchanging blow outs with the Reds and have to suffer a series against a strong NL East team in the Florida Marlins (who as I write this, we are currently losing to 4-2 in the ninth.

We are six games out of first place in the Central, five games behind the wild card leading Giants and have a miserable record of 14-18, looking up at the Cards who sit pretty at 20-12 and are only three and half games above the lowly Astros at the bottom of the division.  Castro has even been called up to the bigs and after one huge, record breaking outing of a home run and six RBI in his major league debut, our team seems to have forgotten how to string hits along for offense again and have even found more ways to struggle at home at Wrigley.

Z to the bullpen.  Castro up to the bigs.  Theriot to second.  Flip flop Ramirez and Soriano in the line up.  I’ve been watching a lot of NBA playoff basketball lately and just like in those games where every team will have it’s run if given enough time, the same has gone for Lou lately.  A hot streak, a cold streak….a cold streak, a very cold streak. Hopefully he finds the right mix and the right words to light a fire under this team soon.  If wanting to win, if being paid millions isn’t enough then something else must be wrong.  We need Lou to figure it out because Hendry can only call up so many hot hitting prospects to try and make a difference.

I think Keith Hernandez would fall into a coma if he called Cubs games.  The Mets are 17-14 and two games out of first place behind the Phillies and even with all of that, here’s a clip of Keith calling a Mets game.  Go Cubs Go…let’s turn this thing around QUICKLY!

Tro-Lou-Lou!

Dailies

Since Piniella made the well-spun ‘voluntary/good of the team’ Zambrano move to the bullpen last week, the Cubs’ bats woke up in the third game of the series against the Mets, swept the NL Central rival Milwaukee Brewers and are riding a four game winning streak.  I was at the game against the Mets at Citi Field when the club finally managed to win a game against the also struggling Mets (who have since also seemed to figure some of their issues out).  It felt good to finally sit amongst Cubs fans after a game at Citi with the Cubs on top in the final score, providing the opportunity to sing Go Cubs Go on the way out of the stadium! 

Here are some photos from that Cubs victory at Citi Field:

When I showed up to Citi Field it was raining pretty hard.  The rest of the day was beautiful and then of course one hour before game time…POURING!

rainy outside citi.JPG

Which gave the baseball fans coming off the subway nothing better to do than hang out under cover and get into a yelling match…Let’s Go Cubbies…Let’s Go Mets…(repeat)

cub met fan arguing.JPG

Eventually the cops came and show was over.  Mets fan got in, Cubs fan didn’t.  After I got inside I was greeted by a giant tarp mocking the fans hoping for a quick start time.  The game eventually started at 7:45pm (not bad)

citi field tarp first baseline.JPG

So I waited it out in the upper level, under cover in a seat that wasn’t mine (self photography sometimes comes out blurry, what can I say)

sitting at cubs mets.JPG

And after sneaking by a security guard, I eventually enjoyed watching the game from the FIELD LEVEL (another seat that wasn’t mine) and had a great view to see the Cubs blow out the Mets!  Good times had by almost all..just not the Mets fans.  

citi field field level.JPG

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog about how please Lou must be with himself regarding all the quality decisions he’s made recently:

Ted Lilly returned from the DL to the starting rotation prompting the Z move and the team went on a tear against the BrewCrew.  The Cubs team we all had the opportunity to watch decimate Milwaukee over the weekend very well may be the result of Lou’s decision to mix things up a bit.  To shake up the entire clubhouse by making ONE major decision.  Take your opening day ace and put him in the bullpen.  Strengthen the bullpen, make room for what was arguably last year’s ace in the starting rotation, keep Silva’s dynamic 2010 rolling and meanwhile, mix young talent in with vets to light a fire under the overpaid ‘stars’ and push the whole ‘let’s just have fun’ mentality on the team in a pep talk that seems to have had an impact for about a week already!  I don’t think any rational Cubs fan actually thought the season was over a week ago, but MAN…we certainly didn’t look good, that’s for sure!

Soriano seems to have found his swing and his legs.  Ramirez seems to have decided the best thing for him is to not swing at all, leading to last night’s game winning walk-off walk.  Derrek Lee is still blasting the ball so hard only mother nature can keep him in the park.  Marlon Byrd shows that even husky centerfielders who look like they would be better fitted to lead block for the Bears offense can man the outfield and produce at the plate, with new lineups even featuring his hot bat in the clean up spot!  Marmol has been placing his pitches extremely well, shaping up to be one of the game’s great closers and proving that the job should have been his two years ago (when I said it should have)!  All the while, it seems like the right guy are getting playing time despite the way their paycheck reads and the appropriate selections are being made when deciding who to send down to the farm teams. 

Lou Piniella has had a hand in all of it.  The pep talks, the decisions, the private meetings, the line ups.  He’s pulling the strings and manning the man behind the curtain position extremely well right now and I hope he continues to do so.  He has a reputation of one of the great managerial minds in baseball, even if every now and then he throws a three year old style tantrum and should lay off the ballpark snacks more than he usually does.  Does his belly look like a profile causing some children to wonder if that guy is the manager or the mascot?  Perhaps.  Is he perfect?  NO!  But is he doing a great job right now?  Yes.  Do I think his moves are enough to win us the most pathetic prize in professional sports: the BP Crosstown Cup?  Sure.  Do I think he’s giving us a shot at the big prize of the World Series trophy if he keeps this kind of performance up?  Absolutely. 

Tune into a Cubs game and find them up five or six runs half way through the game with the starter reeling away at opposing batters and our late inning duo of Zambrano and Marmol waiting to squash any thoughts of late game rallies and zoom in real close to Lou Piniella’s head.  Is he still thinking strategies to win the game he’s in with the big picture on his mind?  I’m sure he is.  Is he probably feeling pretty good about the way these decisions he’s made of late have been turning out?  More than likely, if we could see inside his head, it may look a little something like this:

Keep it up guys and keep it up Lou!  Gotta give you credit while we pile up the W’s because you know how the fingers are pointed at you when the other flag gets hung up as well!  Go Cubs Go!

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It IS a Way of Life. Couldn’t Agree More.

Dailies

So game 2 at Citi Field tonight went JUST about as well as game 1.  Arguably, you could say the Cubs performed even worse tonight than they did last night.  Less hits, less runs and on the plus side, less errors.  All of it amounted to a decent start by our ace Zambrano (as usual the starter suffers) wasted by an inept offense incapable of stringing hits together to produce runs.  And let me tell you something, tonight was not Soriano’s fault so let’s give him a pass on this one.

Zambrano pitched an uneven game but maneuvered out of most jams he got himself into.  A few pitches he lost his handle on coupled with some of the LUCKIEST bloop singles you’ve ever seen in your life resulted in Zambrano giving up 2 runs, although he wasn’t completely dominated by the Mets, striking out nine.  Here is the box score for the game:
box score apr 20 cubs mets.png
When is Ramirez going to start hitting?  When is Lou going to find a line up that produces?  When are people going to stop blaming the pitching (outside of blown saves/bullpen weaknesses)?  YES…our bullpen IS an issue…BUT…it’s tough for a starter to earn a W when the offense doesn’t put any runs on the board and it’s tough for even the best relief man in baseball to hold the opposing team when given little to no room for error.  And lately when they’ve come in this season, maybe we’re up one run leaving NO room for error.  That’s no position to have your offense keep your pitchers in throughout an entire season.  Pelfrey dominated the Mets throwing no-hit baseball through four innings and the Cubs only had three hits in total for the game.  I like to think my request of folks to RT my tweet about jinxing Pelf’s no-hitter is the reason it fell apart after a few people did and Fontenot answered with the Cubs’ first hit of the game.  Regardless of the reason, the offense stunk up the place again tonight, for the second night in a row at Citi Field and going on over half a dozen times now in a row in total.  Something needs to be done.
It’s my tweet campaign to break up the no-hitter though that I’d like to focus on.  Cubs baseball, even on the road outside of Wrigley is a way of life.  Players come, players go.  Managers come, managers go.  Wins come, losses come, winning seasons come and go…highs and low throughout the years and new faces in the crowd to share all of this with come and go as well, just like in life and it’s all about how you deal with it and who you have to share it all with.  Tonight there were many Cubs fans in the crowd to share the agony with and also a couple of moments when it looked like the Cubs may break through and make a game of it.  I had the privilege of meeting up with three Cubs fans I tweet with on Twitter along with their friend at the game for the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth innings.
When you’re in another team’s stadium, it’s not like at Wrigley where it’s incredibly easy to make a new Cub friend.  It makes those few that are around you sporting Cubbie blue among the heckling masses all the more important in experiencing Cubs baseball for that evening.  You’re all in it together and it’s fun to have some allies in the crowd on your side when the creepy looks and heckling starts.  And for the most part Cubs fans are great people!  Hanging out with Megan @MOgulnick, Dana @dwags29, Angeline @ataccini and Mary @mew5h was a blast tonight!  Great people to share the highs and lows with.  The agony of defeat and that late game hope of possibly turning it around and coming back in the clutch.
If you’re on Twitter, follow them, they are cool people and loyal Cubs fans.  I believe Dana said what I was trying to say above best (and in only 140 characters or less mind you):
“@dwag29 

@MOgulnick @proseandivy @ataccini awesome to experience it with you guys. A loss doesn’t feel nearly as awful when among fellow masochists!”

Anyway, my point is, Cubs baseball like life has a ton of ups and downs.  Best to be shared with fellow Cubs fans as often as possible, even in hostile territory like Citi Field, New York City.  Here are photos from tonight’s game at Citi Field:
Me on the subway on the way to the game, dreaming of a Cubs win and delicious Citi Field chicken fingers:
me on the subway to the game.JPG
The view of the stadium as you approach it from the seven train in Queens, NY:
shot from the subway.JPG
Lots of Cubs fans at the game that I didn’t know too!:
santo fan.JPG
cubs fans.JPG
The reason I believe Ron Santo always has an excuse to not make the trip to Shea/Citi:
black cat game plaque.JPG
This sign is in the subway halls.  It’s an ad for Budweiser.  It should be prefaced with “Beat the Cubs….”
its what we do.JPG
For those that have been to Shea Stadium and remember it, here are some of the pieces still around from it…the old Shea apple, the old NYC skyline lights that were on the giant scoreboard, and today’s Shea Bridge dedicated to the old stadium:
shea apple.JPG
shake shack.JPG
shea bridge.JPG
Aside from not being very good right now, here are a couple of other things the Cubs and Mets have in common:
kingman.JPG
todd hundley.JPG
This guy set the tone for the evening.  Fun with a chance of humiliation:
dog greeter.JPG
When I first met up with Megan, Dana and Angeline (L to R), Dana and Angeline blissfully in denial of the bleak situation the Cubs were in going into the bottom of the eighth.  Megan, not so much.  (Right after this photo a home run was blasted into the stands two rows in front of us…I think Megan may have known it was coming)
meg dwag ataccini.JPG
Top of the ninth, last chance…rally caps on everyone!  If we’re going down, we’re going down having fun!
rally caps.JPG
Unfortunately, the late game rally gods weren’t on our side and our first tweetup resulted in a loss for the Cubs.  The four of us sulk as Mets fans all around heckle joyfully:
post loss misery apr 20 cubs mets.jpeg
And yet the beautiful thing about baseball?  It’s only 1 of 162 and tomorrow’s another game!
smiles after loss apr 20 cubs mets.jpeg
Final score: Mets 4, Cubs 0.  More of the same.  Would love to see a change of pace and get out of my week at Citi Field with one win.  Tomorrow’s my last chance to see the Cubs win in person this year in NY.  Silva, it’s all you buddy.  Bring your A game and tell your offense to play like it’s 2008 (I’ll take 2007 for that matter, as well). (1am in NY now…rest of pics to be added in the AM)  Go Cubs Go!
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First Game in Big Apple, Rotten to the Core

Dailies

Always a blast to see the Cubs play in my hometown of New York City.  We only get four games at Citi Field this year with Chicago only making one trip to NY in 2010.  Monday night was the first game of this week’s four game series at Citi and man…it’s great to see the Cubs in person, but it would be a lot more fun if you can see them get the win.

Two teams struggling is what you have with the Cubs and Mets playing each other.  Hard to really tell what to expect although with Wells on the mound facing Not Santana for the Mets and our roster of guys against a not-so-healthy Mets team, on paper I expected the win.  Screw paper.  Paper don’t know jack.  And whatever paper Lou wrote his new line up down on can be thrown away as well.  Tonight’s line up was the first time Lou has toyed with the new order which is supposed to generate runs and get our otherwise unproductive offense going against lefties.  Considering we see three lefty pitchers in this series alone, it’s a great time to rearrange guys to hopefully get results.  Only problem, it didn’t work.
Did we hit?  Sure, nine hits in the game.  How many did the Mets have?  Nine.  We both had nine hits and one error.  The difference maker?  The fact that the Mets timed their hits to come while runners were on base, and at times in scoring position.  Pagan’s two run shot was the game winner and the five run seventh inning did us in tonight.  Wells was strong through six innings…I would’ve left him in for a seventh.  Instead, in came James Russell and he was all over the place as was Mr. Notre Dame WR/P.  Unfortunately the timely hits weren’t there again tonight and our bullpen’s weakness proved to be too much for our measly one run to overcome.  
Byrd looked good in the field and at the plate, even pressing on to first base as if nothing happened after getting beaned in the helmet by what was thankfully a change-up.  Even Soriano had a couple of hits.  Here is the box score for the Cubs from tonight’s game:
cubs box apr 19 2010.png
Even Randy Wells got on base twice to try and help himself out.  But guys like Lee, Rami, Soto and Baker just struggled too much.  It was a pretty ugly game all around.  One team’s bullpen was going to ruin it for that team and it just happened to be the Cubs’ night tonight to do so.  
I expect Lou to go to this lineup again against the next lefty they face.  I don’t figure he’ll completely toss the option aside after one poor outing.  But this team has to generate offense. Especially in a park the size of Citi Field.  Soriano’s first blast would have been out of most parks but ended up being a double after reaching 415 feet.  We have to take advantage of the giant outfield and get extra base hits, not keep trying to hit one out and end up all or nothing.  That doesn’t bode well for us the majority of the time.
Here are some photos from my trip to Citi Field tonight:
The inside of Citi Field before the game started and the Cubs were taking BP:
citi field inside.JPG
The scoreboard announcing the night’s starting pitchers:
starters on scoreboard.JPG
Mets fans were extremely excited about Ike Davis, 1B, being called up for his MLB debut:
they like Ike.JPG
The kid did real well in his debut getting his first MLB hit and RBI.  Believe he had some help:
choir.JPG
I may have been sitting by myself, but I wasn’t there alone of course as plenty of other Cubs fans were present taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of Citi Field:
ryan at citi apr 19.JPG
other cubs fans.JPG
more cubs fans.JPG
In the end though, Mets fans had the last laugh and had a blast wherever this guy was:
PIC_0042.JPG
While Cubs fans were left wondering why no O, hops on D and a shotty bullpen seem to be the theme this year, while looking aro
und trying to find this guy:
PIC_0037.JPG
So now both clubs are holding tight at 5-8, trying to figure things out quickly while the season is still young.  Four game series so lots of baseball left to play, but we need to win the game we are supposed to win.  In order to do so, we’re going to need Lou to possibly allow our starters to go seven occasionally, timely hitting, consistency in the bullpen and continued quality from our starting rotation.  Zambrano pitching tomorrow night.  I can’t remember the last time I saw Z have a quality start in New York unfortunately, however, he’s the supposed ace of this staff.  Aces serve as stoppers and step up with W’s when the team needs it.  Well, Arizona just lost to St. Louis on the West coast which means we just lost another full game to the Cards.  Zambrano…get your best stuff ready because even though it’s early…we definitely need it.
Looking forward to going to tomorrow night’s game (and this time carrying one more layer with me…it was COLD).  April baseball in New York and the Cubs are in town.  Time for this team to make some noise and set the tone in a positive manner for the rest of 2010.  Go Cubs Go!
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New York, New York….It’s a Helluva Town!

Dailies

The Cubs (5-7) roll into the big apple today, looking to kick off a four game series against the Mets (4-8).  Both clubs have struggled to provide run support to their starting pitchers, however, the Mets have had it slightly tougher in that their starters aren’t exactly providing quality starts either.  Tonight’s matchup at Citi Field:

Cubs at Mets

 

 

R. Wells
Wells ERA 2.92 REC 1-0
Last appearances:
4/14 vs MIL 6.1 IP, 4 ER ND, 7-6
4/08 at ATL 6.0 IP, 0 ER W, 2-0

 

 

J. Niese
Niese ERA 6.55 REC 0-1
Last appearances:
4/14 at COL 5.0 IP, 5 ER ND, 6-5
4/08 vs FLA 6.0 IP, 3 ER L, 3-1

Wells takes the mound tonight for the Cubs.  Last year, the rookie sensation caught fire and didn’t slow down, becoming the Cubs second most reliable pitcher behind Ted Lilly.  This year, with Lilly starting the season on the DL, Wells is expected to continue his success and not suffer a sophomore slump.  Once Lilly returns to the rotation (Saturday) there will be key decisions to be made regarding the 25-man roster and the starting rotation.  Until then, there are a week’s worth a games to be played and the current five man must keep the ship together until Ted is back to help right it.

Both the Mets and the Cubs are looking up at division leaders with 8-4 records.  As expected, those teams are the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Phillies are always a thorn in the Mets side and New York is going to have to figure things out quickly to stay in the race, even though the baseball season hasn’t even flipped the calendar page to May yet.  They will look to start figuring things out against the Cubs tonight.

The Cubs will hopefully face a tired and frustrated Mets team after their brutal series with the Cardinals this weekend which included a 20 inning marathon (the only game the Mets won over the weekend against St.L).  The Cardinals are still the team to beat in the Central so it would do us well to win the series against the same teams the Cards win series against.  I wouldn’t sweat Pittsburgh sitting above us in the standings just yet.  Like I like to say here at Prose and Ivy, “We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh”.  I believe that will again ring true in 2010.  A great start is bound to fall apart for the Pirates.

So tonight the Cubs must win a game they are expected to win once again.  They let us down over the weekend dropping a series to the lowly Houston Astros.  We can’t scoreboard watch this week and be disappointed time and again.  These are games we need to win so the offense needs to be there against a Mets rotation that is struggling to figure things out thus far.  And in order to do so, Lou has devised a brand new line up for three of the games this week where the Cubs face lefties.  A test drive if you will of a line up against opposing left handed pitchers that Lou thinks may result in greater production.  If that holds true, then tonight I could potentially be watching, firsthand, this Cubs line up take on New York at Citi Field:

Byrd CF

Baker 2B

Lee 1B

Nady RF

Ramirez 3B

Soriano LF

Soto C

Theriot SS

Wells P

So far this season, Theriot is 1-for-11 against lefties which forces Lou to move Theriot to the eighth spot in the lineup.  Although is production is down against lefties at the top of the lineup, considering he’s a guy who can get on base and is counted on to set the table for the bigs, for a number 8 hitter, even one who is struggling, we could do a lot worse.  Nady hitting clean up isn’t something I’m thrilled with.  I much prefer Ramirez in the clean up spot considering he’s a stronger power numbers guy and is healthier than Nady right now.  Nady can’t do this every time they play lefties since he is still recovering from elbow surgery.  However, considering they face a lefty pitcher three times this week against the Mets, you can figure I’ll see Nady in the line up in the 4 hold at least once.

I don’t know much about Byrd’s record in the leadoff spot.  He’s a level headed guy with a lot of potential and a quick start to the season so you don’t lose much productivity by replacing Theriot with Byrd there.  If you have Nady hitting clean up, you don’t have Fukudome playing so he’s not an option there.  Soriano is out and no one else makes sense.  That might be more the reason why Byrd hits lead off in this line up.  More of a process of elimination than anything really.  When Sori’s not playing and Colvin is in the line up I’m not sure that he fits in the no. 6 hole quite as easily.  He has shown great patience at the plate though and an ability to go deep so perhaps all Lou would have to do is write in Colvin’s name that day as opposed to Soriano and his line up is still good to go.  I have a feeling I may see the answer to that scenario at some point this week too with the Cubs playing the Mets here in New York for what should shape up to be an evenly matched, intense, equally important to both teams, four game series.

Likely pitching matchups for the next few games are as follows: Wells v. Niese tonight, Zambrano v. Pelfrey tomorrow and then Silva v. Perez on Wednesday evening.  On paper, I like our odds and I can’t wait to see Silva in person.  I’m surprised by his quick start to 2010.

citi-field-hot-water-new-york[1].jpgLooking forward to seeing the Cubs this week at Citi Field…I feel like the circus has come to town.  Go Cubs Go!

The First ‘Prosecard from Cubs Nation’ for 2010 Is Here!

Dailies

To celebrate the start of a brand new Cubs campaign, here is the first “Prosecard from Cubs Nation” for 2010!  

Also, in honor of the Chicago Cubs coming to a town near me this week (New York City) to play the Mets at Citi Field, this week’s Prosecard is an interview with another New York based Cubs fan, and fellow Cubs tweeter, Dana Wagner!  After a painful series loss to the Astros this weekend, I figure it’s time to look ahead and think about taking advantage of a Mets team that had to go TWENTY innings to defeat the Cardinals (Cubs fans everywhere loved that one) and should be rather tired.  Take into account the fact that the Mets play again tonight on Sunday Night Baseball and tomorrow’s 7:00 game at Citi Field should feature a completely drained New York team, sitting back on fastballs by Wells a little too long, hopefully resulting in a great day for Cubs fans (a ‘W’) at Citi.  If the offense shows up and supports him, Wells always gives us a great opportunity to win.

Without further delay, as the Cubs get ready for a FOUR game series against the Mets this week (which I’ll be reporting from, you can count on it), I give you today’s “Prosecard from Cubs Nation”!
Name: Dana Wagner


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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Why are the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?
I get asked this question a lot because I’ve never lived in or near Chicago.
Last year I wrote a blog post about it – http://bit.ly/do17Tq. The short
answer is that when I was 7 years old I joined a tee ball league and decided
I wanted to be on the team named the Cubs. That season (1986) I started
following the Chicago Cubs and fell in love with Sandberg because I wanted
to play 2B. From then on I was sucked in. And oh yeah, my Cubs team won the
tee ball World Series. I had no idea what I was in for.

Favorite memory watching the Cubs play in New York City:

Unfortunately, most of the Cubs games I’ve been to at Shea or Citi Field,
the Cubs have lost, so I don’t have great memories of them. Hoping to change
that this week when the Cubs visit Citi. Watching Jason Marquis hit a grand
slam against the Mets two years ago was pretty awesome, though.

Favorite current Cub:

Derrek Lee

All-time Favorite Cub:

Ryne Sandberg

Your dream starting Chicago Cub line up for 2010 would be?

Do you mean of current Cubs or fantasy players? I guess I’ll go with
current. It’s not too different but I do like Fukudome batting #1 and
Theriot #2. Fukudome is a little more patient at the plate and has a higher OBP. I wouldn’t even mind maybe switching Fontenot & Theriot. If Sori and Soto regain their power this year and can be consistent, can you imagine how
dangerous that 3-7 could be?

Fukudome
Theriot
Lee
Ramirez
Byrd
Soriano
Soto
Fontenot
pitcher

How would you celebrate a Cubs championship?

I would have to be at Wrigley with my fiance and all the amazing Cubs fans
I’ve met through Twitter. I’d love to spend the whole week after in Chicago,
celebrating at bars in Wrigleyville every night and just soaking up the
scene of so many Cubs fans so happy in one place.

Most feared opposing batter?

Hate to say it, but Pujols.

Most feared opposing pitcher?

Mariano Rivera. I wouldn’t want the Cubs to be facing him down 1 with three
outs left in Game 6 of the World Series. Then again, I’d love for the Cubs
to be facing him down 1 with three outs left in Game 6 of the World Series.

You can either sing “Take me out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning
stretch or call a half inning on WGN.  Which would you rather do and why?

Call a half inning. I’d love to hear Santo say “Gee whiz” in person. And I
think I can yell louder than Judd Sirrott.

The Cubs cease to exist tomorrow.  Do you still follow baseball and if so,
who do you root for?

Oh geez. Hasn’t my life in baseball been hard enough? Of course I would
still follow baseball. I love the sport. I would probably root for the
Dodgers. I grew up in LA, but never wanted to be a Dodgers fan. I’ve always
had the need to go against the grain – never root for the hometown teams.
But now that I live in Brooklyn, I feel more connected to the Dodgers. I
always root for them, except when they play the Cubs.

One thing you would change about Wrigley Field?

I’ve only been to Wrigley twice, so I don’t have a lot of complaints. Maybe
Goose Island Honkers Ale available from the beer vendors in the stands?

What is your impression of NY baseball fans and what is it like to be a Cubs
fan living in Brooklyn, NY?

New York is a baseball town. Sure, we have basketball and football fans but
this city lives and breathes baseball and its fans are just as passionate as
Cubs fans. I’m not a Yankees fan, but I do have great respect for Yankees
fans because they are so passionate about the team. I also love that there’s
such a large representation of fans of other teams here. I frequently see
and meet people who are fans of teams from outside NY.

As a Cubs fan here, the only thing that’s hard is that I don’t get to watch
most games on TV and that I can’t really share the experience of Cubs highs
and lows with many other people. That’s why I love tweeting during games
with Cubs fans on Twitter – even if I’m just watching on Gameday or
listening on MLB At Bat’s Audio of WGN, I get to experience the game with
other fans.

One thing you would change about the game of baseball?

I have two things I would change:
1) I hate the rule of being able to take first on a strikeout when the ball
gets away from the catcher. A K is a K. I don’t care if it favors the Cubs
or anyone else. I hate the rule.

2) I’d like to see managers be able to have one challenge per game on close
calls — whether a tag at a base or a ball/strike call — as coaches in
football have. I find it frustrating when a manager runs out on the field to
challenge a call but it’s meaningless. They’re not going to change the call,
and the manager is likely to get tossed. It’s just to support the player.
Let’s make it meaningful and use instant replay. And if the manager has only
one challenge then he’ll be sure to use it on something that could be
potentially game-changing.

The NBA logo is said to be based on Jerry West.  Which former Chicago Cub
silhouette do you think the team would base a similar logo for the franchise
on if they were to to do so?  (Aside from Mr. Cub that is).

C’mon, it HAS to be Mr. Cub. No excuses.

Fine, fine. Well, since this interview is about MY experience of the Cubs
I’d say Ryno – he represents The Cub of all Cubs to me since I’ve been a
Cubs fan.

You’re having dinner in the Cubs clubhouse and can invite any four Cubs,
living or dead.  Who would you invite and why?

Lee – favorite current Cub
Sandberg – favorite all-time Cub
Dawson – second favorite all-time Cub
Mark DeRosa – I know you’re laughing, especially since he’s no longer on the
Cubs. But I just absolutely loved him when he was with the Cubs. He just
plays the game the right way and I thought he was such a great addition to
the team. Always did what he needed to to help the team. Also, we went to
the same college — he graduated just before I did — and I think I could
just chat with him easily.

Do you believe the Cubs are cursed?  Yes or no and why?

No, of course not. But I do believe that there is a psychology of losing
that affects the organization, players and fans that is very real and
contributes to their collapses when they are on the cusp. I think for any
other team, a 2003 Game 6 would be upsetting but not crippling. For the Cubs
and their fans, because of our history, it was crippling.

You are the head of programming at a major network and you are casting six
different, existing reality shows.  Which shows do you cast Fukudome,
Dempster, Zambrano, Piniella, Hendry and Tom Ricketts in, individually and
why?

Fukudome – American Idol. For the irony?

Dempster – Dancing with the Stars. I have no idea if Demp can dance but I
t
hink he’d be hilarious on it.

Z – Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. For the pure hilarity. But being a
fan of Kathy’s I know that she’s someone who got where she is because she
never passed up any opportunity and clawed her way through everything. I
feel like sometimes Zambrano thinks he doesn’t have to work as hard because
he’s already at the top. He could learn a few lessons from Kathy.

Lou – Survivor. If he can survive a Cubs season, he can survive anything.

Have to get back to you on Hendry and Ricketts. Drawing a blank.

The Cubs have just won the World Series and you have been given the
assignment of writing the lead story, covering this moment in baseball
history.  Come up with 5 of the most creative headlines you can to kick off
your article.

Curse Reversed! CUBS WIN IT ALL!

Take THAT, Billy Goat! Cubs Beat White Sox to Win 2010 Pennant!

No, it’s Not April Fools Day: The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champs!

Cubs Win World Series Behind MVP Lee’s Four Grand Slams.

Cubs Win! Lou Tweets: “Look, We Did It.”

You have a blog of your own, EdgeofBrooklyn.com…what
is it that you find most rewarding about blogging?

I don’t have a single focus for my blog, but try to write about topics that
excite me. I like being able to share my ideas and opinions about media,
technology, sports, marketing, beer — whatever it is that is the driving
force behind my energy at a given moment.

You are hired to run the social media/marketing department for the Chicago
Cubs.  You are asked to create a cool application that Cubs fans can use to
enhance their experience as Cubs fans.  What would your application be and
why?

As someone who currently works in social media marketing, this would be
truly a dream come true for me. I would have to put a lot of thought into a
new app, but something that I’ve been talking about lately which I think
could really enhance the fan experience is the current application
Foursquare. I would partner with Foursquare to develop custom badges and
other rewards for check-ins at Wrigley and Cubs fan events. I joked on
Twitter recently with a tweet: “Chicago Cubs partner with Foursquare to
offer It’s Gonna Happen badge for check-ins at Wrigley Field”. It was a joke
but I could actually see it working. I see Foursquare not just as an app for
saying where you are just to earn random badges, but actually to enhance
experiences that bring people together and foster their common passions. The
possibilities are endless for sports teams. It would also allow the Cubs
organization to get more involved with fans in other cities – not just those
who go to Wrigley Field. There could be badges for Tweetups, road games,
Wrigleyville bars, etc.

You are living a real life version of the Cameron Diaz film “The Box”.  If
you push the button inside the box, two things will happen.  One, the Cubs
will win the World Series in your lifetime.  Two, someone you don’t know
will die.  Do you push the button?

No. The Cubs winning the World Series isn’t worth the guilt of knowing that
I would cause someone’s death. And as superstitious as I am about feeling
that if I don’t wear a certain shirt or hat during a game, the Cubs won’t
win, I know in the back of my mind that the Cubs should be able to win
without my help.

You’re hired to run the Cubs 2010 public relations campaign.  You can use
any slogan, player, etc that you want to.  What is your advertising
campaign/slogan for the 2010 season?

2009 Was Aaron Miles’ Fault.

To be honest, though, I actually really love the idea behind this year’s
“It’s a Way of Life” campaign. If I were working on that campaign this year
I wouldn’t just do a single contest for fans to say what makes them devout
Cubs fans. I would make it a season-long highlight of the true fan
experience where the Cubs featured fan perspectives, tweets, blogs,
podcasts, videos and photos on cubs.com and on live broadcasts. Carrie
Muskat could interview Cubs fans for her blog once a week or allow Cubs fans
to guest-write a blog. Just from knowing all the Cubs fans on Twitter and
the amazing group of bloggers and live-game tweeters, I feel that the
possibilities are endless for the Cubs to truly connect with Cubs fans and
use that in their marketing.

Finally, what are your expectations of the Cubs for the 2010 baseball
season?

Like every season, I expect them to work their ***** off with the goal of
winning it all. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t want to hear Big Z say
he’s been lazy with his workouts or Soriano say he took his eye off the ball
because he was thinking of the wall behind him. I just want them to do
everything they can to win each and every game.


Thank you Dana for my first “Prosecard from Cubs Nation” for 2010! Always great to meet another loyal Cubs fan, especially in the New York area!  Can wait to see the Cubs play up close and personal at Citi Field this week!  Wells on the mound tomorrow night to kick it off!  Go Cubs Go!

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That’s the Ticket x3!

Dailies

Game On!  Let’s make these games count already!

I got my tickets for when the Cubs come to NY and I can’t wait!  Have a ticket to three out of four games as I have to see as much as I can in person this year with the Cubs’ only trip to NY coming first thing in April, only a month away!

Not expecting a lot of long ball seeing that Citi Field’s dimensions are horrendous when it comes to home runs.  So hopefully Lou’s line up table setters in Theriot and Fukudome find their way on base a bunch and Lee and Rami are able to find holes in the outfield to knock them in.  It’s not too hard to find holes in the Mets outfield.  For one, especially without Beltran, they aren’t very good.  Francoeur is a joke.  Bay hasn’t played at Citi Field so getting used to the park and its dimensions will take some time.  As for Pagan, I liked him as a Cub and was sad to see young potential get away.  All in the same, he’s no Carlos Beltran.  All that, plus the fact that the outfield is ginormous (another flaw in the designing of Citi Field) if Theriot and Fukudome can find their way on, we should be starting off those ballgames up a run or two and ready to roll.

Little concerned about Rami’s soreness and the time he is missing this Spring.  I’m watching the replay of today’s Cubs/Indians Spring game right now.  Interesting to see Baker at third.  I figure if he’s making the ballclub, it’s more so for his ability to play second base.  Having a guy who can play third and second wouldn’t hurt as it looks like Lou has wanted to see if Fontenot and Baker both are capable of playing either the left or right side of the infield.  That makes me wonder if perhaps Lou is concerned about Rami as well.

Byrd’s looked pretty solid so far this Spring which is good to see.  We need a guy that can patrol centerfield with authority but also get the job done at the plate.  Rangers fans I communicated with on Twitter were especially disappointed to see Marlon come to the Cubs. I’m starting to see why in watching him perform this Spring and hopefully it continues on into the regular season.

Got my 2010 Cubs club card, my Cubs jacket for early April games, my Cubs jersey and my Fukudome t-shirt ready to hit Citi Field with abandon no matter how warm or cold it may end up being.  Opening Day across the country is always a crapshoot when it comes to the weather and more often than not you end up freezing for at least 2/3’s of the game.  I remember catching one opening day in New York and 50% of the fans in the upper level was standing in the aisles at the corners of the stadium trying to get into the sunny spots and avoid the shade.  Hopefully my dates with the Cubs coming to town in April avoid the usual early season chill factor.

I don’t foresee Samardzija making the club as a starter this year.  We’ll need him to perform well out of the bullpen though with a huge blow to the squad with Guzman’s injury.  Guzman was a guy that made me feel real comfortable with our bullpen and now without him, not sure how this is going to play out.  And Silva?  How do you guys feel about Silva?  I’m not so sure he’s the guy we need to get us through the early part of the season either until Lilly is closer to 100% and ready to step into his usual spot in the starting rotation.

Whatever Lou decides to do, I can’t wait to find out and I can’t wait to see it perform in games that count!

I received a copy of the Maple Street Press’ 2010 Cubs Annual and it’s amazing.  Great coverage of last year with an insightful look into the 2010 season.  All of the photos are in beautiful color and the stat breakdown of each player on the roster is detailed down to the finest percentage of performance.  It’s great to read a high quality observation and analysis of what the Cubs have been lately, what they could truly potentially be in 2010 and what the future holds with a breakdown of the hottest prospects in the Cubs organization.  Two things that really jump out at me right away is that it is as up to date as you can possibly get (the rosters are up to date and accurate…nothing bothers me more than a company that tries to get an annual out to early and for instance, still has Bradley as a Cub and no mention of Marlon Byrd)….the other thing that stands out is that it is 100% Cubs.  That may sound like an obvious observation, but take a trip to Borders or Barnes and Noble or browse on line for a while.  Try to find a preview to the upcoming season that doesn’t simply feed about five pages of Cubs info (that might not be up to date) in a program that runs about 150 pages long.  Hardly worth your money as a Cubs fan.  If you are looking for a truly efficient breakdown of what to expect going into this regular season, pick up a copy of the Maple Street Press’ Cubs Annual for 2010.  You certainly won’t be disappointed.

Hopefully we can say the same thing about our Cubs’ season come Fall and the games hit a point where they could REALLY mean something!  Go Cubs Go!  

Not Exactly Seventh Heaven

Dailies

It happened.  We’re seven games back. 

wild card 9:5.pngI thought six games would be a lot to make up in a month…seven I think is going to be too much.  Any result that puts us in the playoffs this year I’m afraid would be a miracle at this point.  Harden pitching today against the Mets.  Heading to see some family for the annual Labor Day weekend luau.  Hope my cell phone has some good news for me later today.  Full recap of my time at Citi last night for the Cubs/Mets game is listed in the post below this.  Go Cubs Go!

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Three Men and a Baby

Dailies

Zambrano earned some clout.  Soriano’s out.  And Lee missed another game on paternity leave for the birth of his second child.

Congratulations D-Lee, hope baby Lee and Mama Lee are doing well!  Adding one baby to your 2009 stat line after writing this, just because, why not!

Had fun at the Cubs game tonight at Citi Field…until about the eighth inning that is.  Zambrano, who has struggled in the two games he had prior to this one since coming off the DL had a strong outing.  His control seemed to be a bit off but he still got results.  He gave up a solo shot to New York’s up and coming left fielder Cory Sullivan in the second inning but aside from that he was effective getting out of any self made jams and keeping the Mets off the board.  From my seat in the second row of the front section of the upper deck behind home plate, I had a great view of pitches as they crossed home plate.  The point of view up there (section 514 for the record) is amazing and makes it real easy to agree or disagree accurately with the ump’s balls and strikes calls.  I think Zambrano got robbed a bunch, but then again, was the recipient of a few gifts as well.  Parnell benefited the same for the Mets so all is fair in love and strike zones. 

Parnell has had a rough go of it for the Mets but he was strong through his seven innings as well.  Not as strong as Zambrano though.  The Cubs managed to load the bases three times in the game and unfortunately only came away with a run during the eighth inning.  Timely hits was not this team’s strong suit tonight and I’m sure it didn’t help having Soriano on the bench and Lee’s bat home by the crib.

Soriano is out indefinitely and I must say…I think we’re looking at 2010.  I hate saying that before we are mathematically eliminated and I love our bench guys, I just don’t think we have enough to do what it takes this year.  When I left Citi to the pumping fist of K-Rod and the smiling faces of Mets fans, the Rockies were up 2-0.  Currently as I type this, the D-backs are up 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth.  If the Rockies come back and win, putting us seven games out, I think that’s exactly what we’ll be, figuratively.  Out.  Seven is too much to over come without some ground-breaking miracle that MLB Network will talk about for ages.  Without some kind of miraculous finish to the season, I think we’re done.  I didn’t think that before I left today for the ballpark and I won’t think it until we are officially seven out.  But if it comes to that, I believe we’re done.

I got to the stadium in time for batting practice.  I don’t normally get to the stadium that early and it was great.  I was standing right by the outfield wall where all of the Cubs pitchers (most) were stretching and warming up their arms.  Marmol looked great (too bad we didn’t see him tonight).  Lilly was there and I took the opp to shout some praises.  Berg was having a blast with kids asking him for baseballs, you could just tell he was digging it.  And Grabow was being harassed by two 10 year old kids for a baseball.  The same baseball he was currently warming up with.  Funny what kids don’t get.  Even after he said to them point blank, “I’ll give it to you when I’m done with it”, they still pestered him for it, asked why he needed it, and then began harassing another pitcher for the ball at his feet that he wasn’t using.  This guy was warming up right next to Grabow, the guy who promised them his ball.  Ah, the New York City public school system.

One kid next to me during BP was pretty cool.  Little Mets fan but clearly a baseball fan in general.  He had asked me if I could help him point out where the Cubs were on the field during warm-ups that he had in his stack of baseball cards.  Of course I could.  He was very excited to see Ted Lilly in person and was hoping to get an autograph.  I don’t know that that happened, but it was fun taking in BP with someone who still sees the game like an eleven year old kid.  Baseball the way it should be.

Once again Cubs Nation turned out and there were more Cubs fans around me than Mets fans in my immediately portion of the section.  One Cubs fan who had never been to Citi before was surprised that there aren’t any bleachers.  ‘That’s just not right’, he said.  Funny how bleachers are such a part of Cubs baseball.  He was floored that the stadium had no bleachers.  As if it made the game of baseball impossible to be played without them…like the Mets’ new ball field had no place for shortstop.  Funny.  Good guy to watch the game with.  Unfortunately after we celebrated the Cubs tying it up in eighth, I was correct when I told him the Mets would take the lead again once Gregg came out to pitch in the bottom of the same inning.  I really dislike Gregg.  He needs to be off this team in 2010.  He has done nothing but hurt this team in the greater picture and he needs to go. 

Mets played great defense tonight aside from their couple of mishaps in the field.  One easy pop up that should have been an out dropped in for Bradley and I believe it was Bradley again who benefited from an error at first.  To make up for it all was Parnell who had bases loaded at one point and got out of it with two strike outs and then a brilliant defensive play on the mound when a shot up the middle fired at him and he was able to stop it and get the out at first.  Unreal.  Mets win 6-2…scoreboard watching time.  Let’s hope we don’t let the GB mark reach seven.

Tomorrow’s another day at Citi and I believe Lee will be back.  No Soriano, but we’ll see if Fuld can make something happen.  And while Zambrano did his thing today, he deserved a win he didn’t get.  That’s to the fault of the Cubs inability to score guy in position and keep the stranded total down.  Hopefully that changes tomorrow and Marmol gets to show his stuff successfully in more than just the warm ups.  Get the W tomorrow boys….Go Cubs Go!
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Six back, Diamondbacks and Upper Deck

Dailies

Heading out to Citi Field in a little bit.  Seats in the upper deck behind home plate, good seats to scoreboard watch from and root for the D’backs to beat the Rockies and the Cubs to beat the Mets.  Hoping to catch Cubs batting practice.  Not expecting a lot of home runs tonight with Citi’s horrible dimensions when it comes to the long ball.  If it’s true that chicks dig the long ball, I doubt chicks dig Citi Field.

sept 4pitchers.pngLet’s hope they keep Zambrano under control if he takes BP.  Don’t need him pulling anything or adding to his back problems trying to yank one out of Citi when it doesn’t even count.  Zambrano needs to have his first quality start since coming off the DL.  Last time he faced the Mets he was extremely ineffective.  Hopefully he’s worked out the mechanics issue he’s had of late and is back to his old self tonight.  Mets will have Parnell on the mound.  With a record of 1-4 after five starts and an ERA of 10.29, this is another guy looking to get on track so I guess it’s a race to see which pitcher can put it together the fastest.  With the park dimensions, it’s going to take a lot of small ball to beat the Mets at their own game tonight.  81 degrees and partly cloudy at game time is the forecast.  Should be a beautiful night for baseball.  Expecting to see a lot of others at the game wearing Cub blue.  You know how we do in turning out at road games.  LET’S GO CUB-BIES!  I’m sure to be matched by many LET’S GO METS cheers.  Can’t wait.  Go Cubs Go!  Back later tonight with a recap!

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Are we there yet? YES!!!

Dailies
Thankfully, yes…FINALLY.  Tomorrow is:
And the games finally count!!!
Huge changes this year.  No DeRo.  Milton Bradley’s bat balances the lineup.  Gregg as our closer.  A possibly recently disgruntled Marmol as our setup guy.  More playing time for Fontenot and a new guy named Miles.  Soto with a solid all-star season under his belt raring to go in an effort to avoid the sophomore slump.  All this and more equals a very interesting prospect that is the 2009 Chicago Cubs MLB season.  And I am ready.
I got my new gear:
I got my new Cubs Club card:
I got my MLB.TV:
I got my New York Chicago Cubs Fan Meetup group:
And the Opening Day roster is set:
I’m ready.
I decided at the end of 2008 I would no longer expect anything, simply enjoy the ride.  That’s exactly what I’m going to do in ’09.  I have no expectations.  Zero.  Simply go out and enjoy the season, all of it’s ups and downs and bumps and bruises and highs and lows.  Come October, we’ll see where that brought us.  It will be hard to maintain this mindset for sure, but it’s my new approach to being a Cubs fan.  I think we have a great chance and I wouldn’t devote as much time to the team if I didn’t always think this was the year.  However, after 101 years of it not, it’s time to stop expecting a change and simply enjoy the ride no matter the outcome.  That’s going to be tough like I said, but it’s definitely worth a shot.
That being said, here are my 2009 MLB Predictions.  Predictions that is.  Not expectations.
AL EAST
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
AL CENTRAL
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Minnesota Twins (WC)
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers
AL WEST
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland A’s
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers
NL EAST
1. New York Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals
NL CENTRAL
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
NL WEST
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants (WC)
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
ALDS
Red Sox over Indians
Twins over Angels
NLDS
Cubs over Giants
Mets over Dodgers
LCS
Red Sox over Twins
Cubs over Mets
World Series
Cubs over Red Sox
And there you have it.  Your 2009 MLB World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs.  Streak dead.  AC000000.  No expectations.  Simply a prediction.  Go Cubs Go!!!