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


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


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 – 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?


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

Fukudome – American Idol. For the irony?

Dempster – Dancing with the Stars. I have no idea if Demp can dance but I
hink he’d be hilarious on it.

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

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

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

The Cubs have just won the World Series and you have been given the
assignment of writing the lead story, covering this moment in baseball
history.  Come up with 5 of the most creative headlines you can to kick off
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,…what
is it that you find most rewarding about blogging?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2009 Was Aaron Miles’ Fault.

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

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

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

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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If Only Hendry Could Be Scared Out of Making Poor Decisions


Imagine if we were able to put a contract with the costs of signing the likes of Milton Bradley, outside of the cash aspect in front of Hendry?  Or even a giant contract like the one that was offered to Soriano?  Scare tactics for better investments by baseball GM’s.  Might be a good idea to apply the same strategy used here to stop people from driving home drunk, to our trusted execs in the front office.  Brilliant….and for what it’s worth, a good message for those leaving Wrigley and ballparks across the country, as well. 

 Go Cubs Go!

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Opening at Home With a W


Incredible game today as we defeated the Brewers 9-5.  Great start to our home schedule and the home crowd was loving the turn around the team showed at home as opposed to the flop our  opening road trip turned into thanks to an ineffective bullpen and non-existent run production.  Starting pitching proved to be a strength today with Dempster’s performance, masterfully handling the Brew Crew, fully taking advantage of the power surge the Cubs offense displayed in  hitting three home runs today at Wrigley.

Good thing we didn’t stop hitting them while they looked like they were going to go down.  We had them on the ropes and kept going after strong with the head shots and body blows.  Good thing.  The Brewers managed to come back into the game, scoring five runs over all and if we hadn’t kept pushing and getting as many runs as we did, this one could’ve easily gone the other way and there would be no singing in Cubville this afternoon.

Mighty Casey…a small word of advice to our Cubs.  Stop waiting for and relying on Might Casey.  The home run is not always going to be there.  Games of multiple home runs certainly won’t always be there.  A large majority of our runs so far this year has come from the long ball and today was the only time we had such an outburst of hits.  This outburst of men on base needs to happen far more often.  How often is Soriano going to have a multi-hit game after all?  He’s so afraid of running into the brick wall (all of a sudden) it seems to be effecting his whole game.  Lou has to find away to put a lineup together that not only features power capability, but also the skill to manufacture runs.  Right now, we look more like the pep squad firing off t-shirts to the masses at an NBA basketball game the way we’re scoring runs with the ball jumping off the bat, as opposed to a team of skilled, strategic baseball players who can be patient at the plate, get their pitches and work their way on base.  Now, of course I’m not complaining about home runs.  It’s just, we need to get on-base more often like we did today, work the bases wisely and rack up the hits working our guys on base around to home.  Jeff Baker, Xavier Nady and Aramis Ramirez all went deep today and we won.  Great.  No complaints.  Since there were guys on base, those home runs counted for more than just solo shots.  But it’s not always going to be that way just as no other game this year has been that way.  Most of the time we are simply going to need well-placed, timely hitting to get the job done.  We have a couple guys that tend to be all or nothing style hitters.  We can’t have our guys 1-8, game in and game out playing that same way as one cohesive offensive unit.  Lou needs to fix this and fix it fast.  Today was a nice change, sure, but we need this more often than not.

Love beating the Brewers and love a win on Opening Day at home.  Hang your ugly pictures on the building for the week.  Discuss putting up a horrendous Toyota sign in left field.  As long as we keep winning, those things are going to get a lot less attention and all anyone will really be talking about is how good it feels to watch our Cubs win game after game and prove to be true contenders in 2010.
Dempster was really good today.  Let’s hope that continues with his next outing.  You fans with tickets to tomorrow’s game, get your singing voices ready.  I’m hoping you’ll have a chance to showcase them like today’s crowd did after a great Opening Day performance by the Cubs.
Go Cubs Go!
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Today’s a Good Day


Who needs a Cubs win when you open your email and receive great news like this?!?  

Good Day,
Be informed that my previous mail was not responded and I am not sure
if it did get to you since I have not heard from you.
I wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to
the total sum of 6,000,000.00 GBP (Six Million British Pounds) in the
codicil and last testament of the deceased. (Name now withheld since
this is our second letter to you).

I contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore
can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance. I therefore reckoned that you could receive these funds as you are qualified by your name identity. All the legal papers will be processed upon your acceptance.

Upon your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward
to us your letter of acceptance, your current telephone and fax numbers
and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary LEGAL documents in
your name at our high court probate division for the release of the
fund in question.

Contact me immediately so that we can get this done.
Kind regards
Go Cubs Go!  I’m heading out to look at things that bling.  I’m in the money.
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A Fair Warning To All Cub Fans’ Attics and Basements! Time To Get Out Those Packed Up W Flags!


Thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by Randy Wells and two timely home runs by Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd (and by timely I mean even thought it’s only game three, it was about time a HR led to a victory) the Cubs finally put up a 1 in the W column for 2010!!!

It’s a shame Colvin is buried behind Soriano and Fukudome’s giant sacks of cash in the Cubs dugout.  The kid has a ton of potential that could help the team win now and only bad contracts keeping him from playing on a regular basis.  I’m happy Lou thought to put him out there though last night and here’s to hoping he’s not shy about it in the future.  You want to talk about a gut to trust?  Lou’s your guy.

Thing is I think a lot of Cubs fans forgot with all the excitement of the new season starting is that, the Braves are a tougher team than most give them credit for and now that they have this new kid Heyward lighting fires under the vets and their fan base, Atlanta isn’t exactly an easy place to play.  At least we got out without being swept and now will go into a less challenging opponent setting in Cincinnati. 

I like the club they’ve put together.  I think they are headed in the right direction.  But now is not their time.  They aren’t quite at the caliber of competitiveness or talent that the Cubs or Cards are for that matter.  We honestly should sweep this series, although it will be interesting to see how Zambrano reacts to being moved up in the rotation to pitch on Saturday.  This was done in order to lineup our righties against the Brewers next week.  I guess the quicker we can get him out there to forget the horrible outing on Monday, the better.  Then again, after watching him stink up the joint, who is really in any rush to seehim on the mound again?  We’ll see how this plan works out.

Tonight, we’ll also get to see what we ended up getting back for good ‘ol Milty in the Seattle trade when “Other Carlos” takes the mound.  Hopefully Silva delivers and we even up the record at 2-2 instead of ending our opening week with two sad carLosses.

And I wouldn’t have any problem seeing Colvin in left field again tonight either.  Just saying.

Go Cubs Go!

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2010: New Beginnings and Opening Day with carLos


The Cubs kicked off the 2010 regular season today and Atlanta brought out the big guns right away.  Out came Atlanta baseball legend, Bobby Cox.  Introduced was MLB Hall of Famer and home run king (just like the same way you still call former Presidents, Mr. President even after their term/s are over) Henry Aaron.  And then after the Cubs looked like they may set the table for Zambrano and friends to jump out to a quick start, Atlanta introduced baseball fans to the newest addition to the highlight reel, Jason Heyward with a three run blast to tie the game in his first major league at-bat, as a result of his first Major League swing.

Zambrano was clearly off his game surrendering 8 runs in 1 1/3 innings, the Cubs recorded two errors, used seven pitchers in total and were dominated by a tough Atlanta team, 16-5.  Today’s Opening Day was simply a case of the Braves being the better team in all areas, all day long.  (Although, Z doesn’t fare too well on Opening Day.  Might be time to hand the ball to someone else??)

A bright start to the game was the three runs right away in the first inning.  Nice to see us jump on an opponent quick and not wait until late in the game to make up ground for a change.  Also, nice to see Byrd, the Cubs’ newest addition, put up three runs on a huge blast scoring his first home run in a Cubs uniform.  Welcome to Chicago Mr. Marlon Byrd.

We’re going to enjoy an off-day tomorrow, hopefully put this one out of our mind and come back strong in game two against Atlanta on Wednesday.  Cards, Pirates both won and the Brewers suffered a notch in the loss column in their opener as well.  I expect 2010 is going to be a thrill ride and we are just getting started.  To new beginnings, a new season and new possibilities.  Let’s get a W in game two!

Also related to new beginnings, I moved into a new apartment a few days ago hence the slight slowdown in posts (I HATE PACKING AND MOVING).  The new place is a great find and the extra space is going to be needed big time.  Why?

(this part of the post was written nearly three months ago, only I was waiting to include the news on my blog):

I think I know what video game characters feel like when they stand there waiting for you to make a move and tell them what to do next.  You know that look when the character you control through an alternate universe just stands there tapping their foot, or just simply breathing with no mind of their own as to whether they run, walk, shoot, jump, etc.  I feel like I am just living a blank stare waiting for someone to snap me out of it and tell me what to do next.


Because of this:

OH.  MY.  GOD.  My wife is preggers.

According to the first test she took this morning:

It was kind of like, “wellllll, I guess you’re KIND OF pregnant….maybe?”  The one solid line you see is the control line.  That line is apparently always there.  Then, after you take the test, if you’re pregnant, the second line shows up.  Well, as you can see there, it is so faint it was hard to tell if it knew what it was talking about.  I couldn’t take it.  We had to get a second opinion.  I’m going to freak out over a device that can’t tell me for sure whether there is a player to be added to this team to be named later?!?!?!?  No.  So, we went out and got another.  The pregnancy test for dummies as my wife puts it.  Much like a contestant on a Bravo clothing line competition, it’s either yes or no from the expert panel.  Pregnant or Not Pregnant.  Our only choices.  No kind of’s.  No maybe’s.  No, ‘ask again later’ (I’m kidding, my wife didn’t pee on a magic eight ball).

And now here I am totally out of my head.  If this test is correct and the doctors confirm it as such this week when my wife, Sasha, goes in for a blood test, then we’re looking at a due date of sometime in October.  Right smack in the middle of the World Series.  Talk about overwhelming.  What if the Cubs are in the World Series and all of this is taking place?  Isn’t having the Cubs in the World Series enough to worry about?!?  And now potentially the Cubs in the Series PLUS our first kid!??!

And, oh man.  What if my book idea actually becomes reality.  What if I’ve put potential financial income on the line that could benefit not only my wife, but my kid too!?!?  The stakes just got a lot higher for sure.  The first test was totally nonchalant about it and the second was a glaring YES, YOU ARE PREGNANT!   If this season puts that much at stake with every ball, strike, walk, out, win, loss, injury, trade, W and L flag raised at Wrigley…my goodness.  An intense season of Cubs baseball like never before.

(Regular readers of this blog know exactly what I’m talking about regarding the book.  If you’re a first timer, here is the book pitch I put out there about five weeks ago.  An absolute passion project that I believe would be an amazing account of one Cubs fan’s take on experiencing the ultimate season of lovable-loser Chicago Cubs baseball with more at stake for me than for any of the players, managers, coaches, owners, etc.

Regular readers of Prose and Ivy know I’ve been emotionally invested in the ups and downs of Chicago Cubs baseball for years.  I’ve been writing this blog for a couple of years now and writing about sports in general since I would cut out pictures from the sports section and tape it to construction paper which I would type up imaginary sports articles on when I was little.

I’ve written reviews and articles for and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  I’ve written and produced television shows for Fox Reality, A&E, Travel Channel and Showtime.  I’ve performed stand up for over 12 years, shot pilots for shows I’ve created and written comedy for Comedy Central.  It’s all been a blast and I look forward to doing more when the opportunities present themselves.  Unfortunately, today’s economy has made these opportunities few and far between lately and like many, I am displaced working day jobs needed to pay the bills but not necessarily in situations classified as ‘ideal’.  When it comes right down to it, all in all, I love writing and I love baseball.  The ultimate dream for me would be writing an entertaining, timeless classic account of being a fan of the Chicago Cubs.

But how do you write about the Cubs and take it in a direction that hasn’t been covered before?  There are countless books about Wrigley Field. (Not literally countless).  There are endless books about the best Cubs players by the numbers (not literally endless) and a ton of books about individual Cub personalities or listing interesting factoids about your favorite Cubs players/organization of all time (not literally a ton, I don’t believe).

The question: How do you write an engaging, entertaining, timeless book about being a Cubs fan and the greatest organization in baseball without blending in and reiterating everything that’s been said in Cubs based books previously published?  What could I write that is unlike any book sitting on the baseball shelf at your local bookstore today?

Today, I believe I’ve figured it out.

I had a thought today about raising the stakes for myself as a fan and having the outcome of the 2010 Chicago Cubs baseball season actually effect my life, win or lose.  That thought?

“What would happen if I bet it all on the Cubs?”

Here is the pitch:  I write a book about my experience as a fan of the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 season.  The twist, I am the one fan in the world with more at stake than the players themselves.  While the athletes may have incentive based contracts, those incentives are simply bonuses on top of their salaries.  Come the end of the day, they get paid something (a very large something at that) no matter whether they win, or lose.

The deal: my entire advance and residuals for the book are at stake.  If the Cubs win it all in 2010, I get paid.  If they don’t…I don’t.  Simple as that.

Aside from your actual ‘life’ itself, there are no higher stakes one could gamble than the quality of your life itself.  I’ll have more riding on the 2010 Chicago Cubs season than any other fan out there.  More than any player, coach or manager.  Players, coaches and managers get paid, do or die.  I won’t have that luxury.

Every decision Hendry makes behind the scenes will directly effect my life come the end of the season.  I will share my thoughts on every move he makes throughout the year. I’ll follow the team during Spring Training, recap each game and keep an eye on the players that will determine my fate including a visit to Spring Training to see the team perform in person.

During the regular season I will travel to Chicago from New York to see the Cubs play in person.  When the team visits the East Coast, I will get tickets and check out the team’s performance at each Northeast stadium they visit.  It will be the Cubs roster that decides whether I get paid for a passion project and make my dream come true. Wouldn’t you want to evaluate and see them for yourself as much as you possibly could?  Me too!

Also, if Andre Dawson is voted into the Hall of Fame this year, a trip to Cooperstown would definitely be included!  Interviews with other fans regarding the Hawk and being a Cubs fan in general as well as their thoughts on my venture along the way would be hilarious no matter how the team is doing.  What an exciting detail that would be to add to the experience, an honor for the Hawk well earned and much deserved, without a doubt!

Now, I have a wife.  I live in New York City, arguably the most expensive city in the world.  Committing a ton of time to a passion project with no guaranteed financial benefit is not something every wife would be supportive of and I have no idea how she’d react.  Would she get angry?  Would she become as addicted to knowing the in’s and out’s of Cubs baseball as I am?  What would her reaction throughout the season be?  How would I react?  What would it feel like to see the W flag raised with so much at stake?  How would it feel come the All-Star break with the Cubs sitting pretty in first place in this situation?  And what if they’re losing?  What if Bradley wasn’t the problem and the chemistry still isn’t there in 2010?  What if injuries are a problem once again and all of our stars, one year older, are spending even more time on the DL?  What if Hendry makes a bonehead move (in addition to Silva, that is)?  How would it feel to see an error in the field cost me more than just the once in a lifetime opportunity (potentially) to see the Cubs win a title?  What if I had this deal going at the time of ‘The Bartman Game’?  What would that excerpt have been like?

As a social experiment, I will write about my day in and day out experiences rooting for the Cubs, putting complete faith in them to change my life by winning the World Series.  Something the team hasn’t accomplished in over 100 years.

I imagine the stress will be immense.  I picture the frustration with poor play and cold streaks at the plate to be unmatched.  I predict the heartbreak over an injury to be unbearable.  Box scores will be reviewed closer than a Biggest Loser trainer breaks down ingredients and calories for completely invested contestants.  The 2010 season will play out like a fantasy baseball team with results that are unparalleled.

For years people have wondered why, when I refer to my favorite sports teams, I use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’.  ‘How do you benefit if they win?’ they ask.  ‘Don’t say we.  It implies you win as well’, they say.  Well, this would make that comment completely irrelevant and obsolete throughout the 2010 Cubs baseball campaign.  Imagine letting it all ride on arguably professional sports’ least lucky, most cursed team.  If you ask me, that story and experience would be absolutely fascinating.

If there is anyone reading this with the power to make it happen and is at all interested, please email me:  And readers should feel free to leave their thoughts here as well.  I expect some of you to think it’s cool and some of you to think it’s the dumbest proposal they’ve ever heard.  No matter which side is right…I think it would be amazing to be so invested in one season of Chicago Cubs baseball.

2010.  The Chicago Cubs.  World Series Champions.  It could happen.  I mean, someone will win it all next year.  Why not the Cubs?  What would that be like with the ultimate dream at stake?  And that my friends is why I’m willing to bet it all on the Cubs in 2010.)

I thought the stakes were high five weeks ago.

“Pregnant”.  Yikes.  Go Cubs Go! 

And as an update, of course, yes, it was all confirmed and we are just out of the first trimester.  Expected due date is in October.  Wouldn’t a Cubs World Series appearance be the perfect way to kick off your first few weeks in life?  Hard to argue with.  Looks like the Cubs may need some convincing.  Let’s hope Z comes back strong and we move forward with a W against the Braves in game two on Wednesday!

Go Cubs Go!

Rami Looks Good In a Tie & Sometimes Championships Are Simply Child’s Play


Cubs tied the Royals today in Spring competition and it was great to see Rami step up to the plate, look healthy and chalk up an RBI to contribute to a 5-5 final score after nine innings. I think the Royals are going to surprise some people so it would’ve been interesting if this game counted and they had gone on until someone finally won. However, in order for the Cubs to surprise anyone this year and return to NL Central dominance, they are going to need an effective, healthy Aramis Ramirez.

In a completely unrelated thought I just had after finishing watching the Bird/Magic documentary on HBO…there is something to be said about a team that knows and owns their roles. There is a large sum of value, completely intangible of course, when every member of your team puts on their uniform in the exactly appropriate mind frame. When all of your teammates are getting ready for competition focused on solely what is expected from them and why they are on the team to begin with, you will experience many more W’s than you will L’s in the long run. And often, as is the case when you compile a great number of W’s, it can often lead to a championship.

I speak from experience in the most amateur level of team sport competition. Now again, this is right after watching the Bird/Magic doc so it is inevitably directly related to basketball, however indirectly related to all team sports, including baseball and for this blog’s purpose, indirectly related to Hendry and Lou’s efforts in making the right decisions in assigning the right guys to the active roster for the start of the season coming just short of two weeks from now.

The experience level from which I speak is what I like to call organized-recreational-pick-up-campground-league basketball. Basically because that is exactly what it was.

One Summer day, in the early to mid 90’s, my younger brother approached me with an idea for a march madness style campground basketball tournament. My family was always camping and were seasonal for years. Every weekend would be spent camping at Moose Meadow campground in CT, playing basketball, playing softball, playing pickup football and then for the guys: trying to meet as many girls as possible. My brother and I were friends with a real tight group of guys who were also mostly seasonal. We would hang out every weekend with basically the exact same agenda each and everyday. And it was a schedule that is responsible for some of my all time favorite moments from childhood.

Around 9am everyday at the campground, we would be awoken by the sound of someone dribbling a basketball. The campground had just put in a full court basketball court…the greatest thing to happen to Summer since S’mores.

The dribbling was always by the same kid.  One of my best friends, Kyle. Kyle and I grew up together, participating in the same activities and often on the same teams from the age of six. Kyle’s family was out at the campground seven days a week during the Summer where as my family came out only on weekends. Kyle was and is a Red Sox fan and also a die hard Celtics and overall basketball fan. If Kyle was awake, he was either shooting hoops or walking around to see who was awake to shoot hoops with him. That often didn’t prove necessary as his dribbling woke most of us as our sites were by the court.

9am, awoken by the sound of Kyle’s dribbling. 9:30am wrap up breakfast and head to the basketball court. Meet up with everyone by 10am (some were slower in getting out than others). 10am-12:00pm, three on three basketball. 12noon lunch. 1:00pm Adult Softball.

Oh man, the adult softball game.

This was supposed to basically be a softball pickup game of campers 18 and over for a serious game of softball without including and letting kids get in the way. It was a simple game, for nothing on the line but bragging rights, yet was always treated like Game 7 of the World Series by those who played in it. The simple fact that you got to participate in the adult softball game was an honor bestowed upon very few people still in their teens. With the frequency that we were at the campground and the close relationships we formed with the regulars who played at the game, we were usually allowed to play as well.

It was a thrill to be a part of and we saw some amazing, dramatic pick up softball games on that field. An old school campground baseball diamond with the dirt entrance/exit road lining the first base line, a giant 45 degree hill lining the third baseline, and forget ivy lining the outfield. From left to right the outfield quickly turned into the outfield wall comprised of forest…trees that felt like brick if you were one of the unfortunate ones to chase a flyball into it like smacking the wall at Wrigley. And if you were in charge of manning right field, your outfield wall mark was made up of a few very thick, very solid, very unsafe waist high giant tree logs. Another obstacle I’m sure if Sam Fuld had been a camper at Moose Meadow, would’ve run head first into time and time again.

Now, come about 3:30/4pm the softball game is over and it’s back to the basketball courts. 4-6pm basketball, 6-6:30pm dinner 6:30-8:30 basketball. We played A LOT of basketball. Anyway, all that time spent on the basketball courts, playing with and against each other proved to be very valuable. The same type of value hopefully this Cubs team is getting out of Spring Training…the knowledge, acceptance and possession of your own and each other’s strengths and ability you bring to the table that is most needed for the overall betterment of the team.

After my brother asked me to help him organize a tournament style basketball competition across the state against other kids at other campgrounds, we had an amazing time. Three years running, four teams participating in round robin style each year. Sometimes the kids and teams playing were repeat competitors, sometimes they were brand new teams and faces. Every year, however, we had basically 90% return rate of the players on our team. Moose Meadow had skills much at the same level as the other teams, but the one thing we had the others didn’t have was an unspoken knowledge of each other’s talents, personality and intangibles brought to the table.

We had Dan, our campground league equivalent to Michael Jordan. He was always the best player on the court and always the go-to guy in crunch time. Tall and athletic, the only one of us who could dunk and the same kind of quiet, confident likability that Jordan possessed. We knew that no matter who was on the floor with Dan, he was the offensive leader. He was to be deferred to in crunch time and the offense ran through him. Knowing his talent was a key ingredient to our team’s success and that it was our’s and not the other team’s was a reason to show up ready to win every game in and of itself. The games were always close for the most part. But when push came to shove, Dan gave us the advantage on paper almost every time.

We had Kyle. The Kevin McHale of our squad. Possibly our second best offensive player, best rebounder and a solid leader by example. A great guy to have in team meetings, timeouts, half times, etc to keep spirits up and the one with the strongest basketball IQ.  He was a student of the game.  Tireless energy and incredible sportsmanship. When the competition got too heated, Kyle was always the one to keep things level headed and appropriate. You respected Kyle as a leader of the team and looked to him to lead by example on the court and off.

We had my brother, Sean. The only guy in competition with Kyle as our second best offensive player. Sean was the best at running his mouth and getting into an opponent’s head. He had good offensive skills and the outgoing personality to keep things fun. One year he shaved his entire head except for the letter M on top for Moose Meadow. A complete showman, he was all about winning, got upset when others made mistakes but never was harder on anyone than he was on himself. People knew they’d get a lot of effort and production out of Sean because you knew underneath the showman shell, you knew he expected only the highest performance out of himself in each and every game. It made you want to play harder and deliver as well.

We had the Corbin boys, Jerry and Heath. Two of the nicest tough guys you’ll ever meet. They were total role players who knew their place in the offense and on defense. Especially defense. They contributed a level of commitment to the team matched only by their love for the game and the team itself. The passion they brought to the court and desire they shared with the rest of us to not be the guy that let’s the rest of the team down made them solid in their role as solid role players…not expected to perform like campground league all-stars, but to contribute consistently as best as they possibly could. They were also the first two people to get in a teammates face if one of their own was getting out of line, which let you know they’d be the first to get in an opponent’s face if they were out of line in the way they were acting when it came to someone on their team. Quality people, with a heart for their teammates and desire to win like only brothers could share.

And then, we had me.  It feels weird to really try to describe myself as a player except to say that I was proud to wear the Moose Meadow jersey (Kyle would go on to tell me, after reading this, that he saw me as the Bruce Bowen of the squad). I understood everyone’s role on the team, even the bench players that I haven’t mentioned here. Even at that young age, I could tell that having everyone proud of what they bring to the table was the one intangible that separated us from the rest. We weren’t ball hogs.  We weren’t all trying to be the star of the afternoon. It made us special and it deliver three straight campground league tournament championships with an overall record of 14-1 for the three years we participated. People knew their roles, the chemistry was great and everyone kept the energy, positivity and level of performance high in every game for not ourselves, but for each other because no one wanted to let any of our teammates down.

And BELIEVE ME, I realize this all sounds ridiculous because it was only a bunch of individual five on five pickup games, organized into a tournament of kids from different campgrounds played in the woods in front of crowds of tens (ok, maybe 10). I realize that completely. But I don’t care what level of organized sports one may talk about. A complete team of teammates understanding their roles, respecting the breakdown of every single player’s role on the team and carrying an understanding, devotion and level of commitment to not let down the guy standing next to you is an equation that equals winning.

Hopefully this is something this year’s Cubs team takes away from their experience in Arizona in this year’s Spring Training. If it is, it could make all the difference come October as to what kind of story they’re able to tell when their run with the organization has finally come to an end.

UPDATED 6/8/11: This link started getting a bunch of views again today. Dan and Kyle came across it and started sharing it on Facebook. Since it was brought to my attention again after writing it a year ago, I have read it about five times now today. Always fun to look back, whether it’s in this blog or in life in general. Give me a time machine and I’d go back and spend another summer with those guys in a heartbeat. Good times. (Also, this idea might be necessary if any of us are to actually live long enough to see the Cubs win a championship).

Go Cubs Go!

That’s the Ticket x3!


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!  

Does Kevin Millar read ‘Prose and Ivy’?


Yesterday, I wrote the post included below this one about how there may be some magic in Kevin Millar.  About how, he may have some magic left in him seeing that he was part of the 2004 Red Sox team that broke the long-standing curse in miraculous fashion.  I focused on how if that stands to be true, it may be the key intangible Millar brings to the table that shouldn’t be overlooked this Spring when it comes to deciding whether Millar makes it to the big league stage as a Cub.

Today, ESPN posted this interview with Kevin Millar.  Sounds a little familiar, no?  
Anyway, as cool as it would be for Millar to be a loyal reader of Prose and Ivy, it would be even cooler if he turns out to be right!  

Go Cubs Go!
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July 25th -Cooperstown, NY- The Andre Dawson Expo


When Hall of Fame induction weekend in July rolls around and I find myself standing in the middle of thousands of Cubs fans (and perhaps a few Nationals fans sprinkled throughout) in Cooperstown, NY to listen to Andre Dawson give his Hall of Fame induction speech, he MIGHT be wearing a Cubs cap. This has yet to be decided.

The cap on his Hall of Fame plaque however, this has been decided.  Andre Dawson will enter the Hall of Fame, forever enshrined as a Montreal Expo.  
I’m disappointed if only for Andre.  Otherwise, I’m still thrilled for the guy.
He didn’t want to say the wrong thing or look like a bad guy, or offend an entire group of fans that may still hold their time rooting for the Expos dear to their hearts.  That’s why he never came flat out and requested to go in as a Chicago Cub.  However, he didn’t have any problem hinting that he’d prefer to go in as a Cub and once the announcement was official, went as far as basically saying that he’s disappointed his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame will not be a home for which he may hang a Cubs cap.  It will forever be etched in bronze that he was a Montreal Expo first and foremost…and then, oh yeah, he also played for the Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins.
I of course would love for Andre to go in as a Cub.  Why wouldn’t I?  However, I’m not that upset about it.  It is what it is.  He’s a hall of famer, he made it and I’m happy for The Hawk.  However, what it is…is…a flawed system.  The hall decides which cap a hall of famer will have applied to their plaque as we know.  The player’s feeling is taken into account however they believe if those that run the hall crunch the numbers and decide which city will represent the time where the player was his most valuable and dominant, then historically speaking the dignity of the hall and the honor will be preserved.  Seeing that it’s an opinion, there will always be those who disagree.  Even in this case, Dawson himself isn’t thrilled.  Apparently this system got real fire under itself when Wade Boggs wanted to go in as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray. 
My question…so what?  Why not let him?
Think about what the player has to do to earn this honor.  The day in day out hustle and grind of the major leagues for many of them stretches nearly two decades.  To keep your performance at a hall of fame level takes an amazing amount of desire, dedication, hard work, commitment, consistency and character.  With all that this person must dedicate to earning a place among the greats, haven’t they earned the right to say which cap is on their plaque?  And what do we have to lose by doing so?  Historically speaking nothing.   The numbers are all the same and all the teams are listed on the plaque regardless.  If anything, by letting the player decide, we would actually end up gaining something.  
Imagine if Wade Boggs had been allowed to go in as a Devil Ray.  Imagine, historically speaking, what that would say about Wade Boggs.  Imagine the conversations that would generate…the reasons why he would do that.  The feelings he must have had towards the Red Sox to choose a Tampa Bay cap.  By allowing the player to choose, we actually find out about them as people, beyond the numbers, which if you ask me…would actually be fascinating.  Completely hypothetically speaking of course, but you’ll understand where I’m going…which cap would Dennis Eckersley choose, or Yogi Berra, or Reggie Jackson, or Rickey Henderson, or any other member of the hall that played significant time with multiple teams?  It would be fascinating to hear their reasons for choosing the caps they chose and it would be a real tell-tale sign of what their careers meant to them along the way beyond the numbers.
Many things are taken into consideration when the BBWAA votes on the candidates each year.  Some of those factors have nothing to do with numbers.  We know how loudly the numbers speak and they are loud at that, numbers speak very well by themselves.  But imagine how much more we’d know about the greats of the game if they were allowed to step up to the plate and make one more move in solidifying their place in the game.
That would be something I think a lot of people would get behind.  Except perhaps the Baseball Hall of Fame, that is.  
It is what it is.  And Andre Dawson’s HOF plaque cap is that of the Montreal Expo.  Whether he wears a Cubs cap at any time during his induction speech is completely up to him.  And if you ask me…that is exactly the way it should be all-around when you reach that day, that milestone in your professional baseball career.
Go Cubs Go!
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I Typed All of the Words You See Here But That Didn’t Have Any Impact On Whether I Posted Or Not. Right, Mr. McGwire?


Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids on the same day Greg Maddux returns to the Cubs as the assistant to GM Jim Hendry.

Once again, the Cardinals get the best of the Cubs.  They couldn’t even let us enjoy Maddux being back in the fold.  Next thing you know, McGwire this, McGwire that.  Yet the part I believe will be focused on most with regards to McGwire’s statement, is his opinion that taking steroids had no impact on his actual performance on the ball field.  
Wait.  What???
Performance.  Enhancing.  Drugs.  Steroids.  Things that enhance your performance…drugs that enhance your performance.  How ridiculous is this statement?  So, they simply allowed you to stay healthy, not blast home runs out of St. Louis and make them land in McCovey Cove?  Huh.  
How do you feel about toothpaste Mark?  You used it this morning but it had nothing to do with your fresh breath and plaque removal?  How about money?  You made and spent money but all it did was keep you wealthy and had nothing to do with how you got all the stuff you own?  
What’s your definition of ‘is’ Mark?  I don’t know about the BBWAA but I have a feeling Bill Clinton is extremely impressed.  And I’m not saying you’re still using steroids, but I thought snapping Bob Costas over your knee at the end of the interview was a bit odd.*
I know it must have been tough for McGwire to make a statement at all and I respect his willingness to finally do so.  However, to say that you took steroids, yet you don’t believe it impacted your stat line year in and year out…how do you say a pill, an injection can’t make you skilled at hitting a baseball?  Maybe not, but it sure does help turn on the ball fast and strong enough to send it into a major league stadium parking lot!  I don’t know about the rest of you, but to me my immediate reaction is a blank stare.  A stare that simply says “Did he just say that?”  It makes me cringe even further with regards to his cheating.  
And now Peter Gammons is on and as a man respected as one of the elite baseball reporters out there, how is he not laughing out loud at this?!?  Doesn’t a McGwire fan of even Gammons’ magnitude have to simply step back and say, “I’m a fan, but this guy is nuts”.  He did just mention that he’s delusional in a round about way by comparing him to Clemens (couldn’t agree more here).  Will it result in HOF votes for McGwire because he ‘came clean’? I hope not.  I don’t care what your opinion is Mark.  You admitted to using steroids.  You cheated.  Gammons says his admittance eliminates McGwire for him regarding the HOF which is nice to hear.  All of the panelists on MLB Network are in agreement.  And I’m right there with them.  Not only are you a cheat Mark, now to me, you’re a moron.  
Amazing how much good and harm one person can do to the game of baseball with one decision.  People loved watching the record chase in ’98 and some people say he and Sosa saved baseball (I don’t agree with this, baseball wasn’t going anywhere).  However now that they know they were duped while the players were doped, it’s hard to look back at that time fondly…especially not in the way people thought they’d be able to one day.
I’m glad you came forward Mark.  I’m glad you admitted it.  Everything else you had to say didn’t matter which is good because it didn’t make any sense, although you may actually believe your own BS.**  Enjoy your place with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Going forward, this is the only way you’ll ever wear a cap of any kind in the game of baseball again.  A’s or Cardinals cap on a HOF plaque is not something you’ll ever have to concern yourself with, I’m guessing.
And one day I believe we will be in the same position the Cardinals fans are in today when it’s Sosa’s turn.  That is if he ever has the guts to admit it.  He gave Cubs fans great thrills, including that race in ’98.  But an honest Cubs fan knows something wasn’t right with Sosa’s stats either.  Here’s to hoping when Sosa does come out, he doesn’t try to beat around the bush.  Admit you used and it enhanced your stats.  You may not be elected into the HOF, but I for one will respect you much more for being honest now as opposed to continuing your ways of dishonesty going forward.
Makes me appreciate true talents and truly good people in the game like Dawson who was elected into the Hall last week.  You think character doesn’t weigh in at all when BBWAA voters cast their votes?  Listen to what these guys are saying about McGwire today.  It absolutely does and it absolutely should.
*No Bob Costas was injured in the writing of this post.  
**Believing that taking steroids didn’t impact his performance what-so-ever and that all of those home runs were simply God given may be just what Big Mac needs to hold on to in order to get through this.  That said, Mark….this one goes out to you:

Anyway…good to have you back Mr. Maddux.  And as always, Go Cubs Go!
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Andre Dawson – Hall of Fame Class of 2010


“And at the end of seven, it’s Dawson 5, Phillies 3.”

As for today, at the end of nine years, it’s Dawson 1, Everyone else 0.

The quote listed above is from Harry Caray in calling Andre Dawson’s classic three run home run game against Philadelphia on August 1, 1987.  Hawk had five RBI on the three home runs and nearly single handedly defeated the Phillies.  At the top of the ninth the graphic on the screen actually read: Top of the 9th, Dawson 5, Phillies 3.  An unbelievable performance from what is now, an official hall of famer.

Like that day in 1987, today was all about Andre Dawson.  If Andre Dawson’s living room were complete with a right field bleacher section, I’m sure it would’ve been filled with shirtless, thrilled Cubs fans bowing to the great outfielder as he heard the news that he was the only person to receive enough votes today from the BBWAA to be elected into Cooperstown.

What that moment must have been like for Dawson after an amazing career and 14 years after he last played in an MLB game.  Nine years of will he or won’t he, with the most recent years having him come within even 44 votes of being elected.  Dawson recently mentioned that while many HOFers were telling him it was only a matter of time before the player they respected so much got the call, 44 votes was a large jump for where he was and perhaps this wouldn’t be the year.  After all, he was a Cub and they are used to looking forward to next year.

In 2010, there is no more waiting until next year for this Cub.  Andre Dawson is the sole player to be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame.

Sandberg mentioned Hawk in his induction speech.  It will be interesting to hear what Andre has to say in his. Immediately after I heard the news today I started calling around to hotels in the Cooperstown area.  I wanted to make sure that I had a room reserved so that I don’t miss the induction ceremony come July 25th.  You know Cubs fans.  We show up everywhere!  Forget sell outs at Wrigley game in and game out…Cubs fans show up on the road, at conventions and anywhere else we can to support the team.  I spoke to a women working for the BBHOF today and she mentioned that some years, they’ve had as many as 80,000 show up for the induction speeches.  Granted, I’m sure those were years when more than one player was voted in.  Still, Cubs fans are Cubs fans and I know that tiny town in upstate NY will be loaded with them come July.  I know I’ll be there and I can’t wait to capture and remember every moment of the weekend.

When I got home today I had to write again how amazing it is for Andre and say congratulations once more.  I immediately threw on his three home run game from the Cubs legends DVD collection and just got finished watching it. So cool to be able to relive that incredible performance.  In addition to writing this post, I also shot my first Prose and Ivy vlog for the site which is posted below and on my new youtube channel to partner up with this blog.  You can check out the site and leave comments on my blog here (obviously) and leave comments on my videos on youtube…the channel is called ProseAndIvyTV…by clicking here.

Here is the video I shot today about Dawson getting into the Hall of Fame:

Congratulations again to Andre “The Hawk” Dawson!  Baseball Hall of Fame – Class of 2010.  You deserve it and I’m thrilled for you.  Go Cubs Go!

The Trade That Ruined Christmas


“Whoa….no way!  You ACTUALLY got me an…an iPud?”

“Oh wow, I can’t believe you got me an…HBox?”
“Oh my God, how did you know!?!  I was hoping you’d get me a…a Dwindle?”
That was pretty much what it was like hearing about Hendry’s latest ear behind your ear, lame off-season trick in dealing Milton Bradley….clubhouse morale disaster and overall unproductive knucklehead…for the one and only, difference making, crown jewel, diamond in the rough, what we’ve all been hoping since our final out of ’09…the one name tossed around we’d hoped we’d get in a trade for Bradley….ladies and gentleman…ooh, look under the tree….this one says “To Cubs Fans…Love, Hendry”….open it!  Open it!
“Oh my God, you shouldn’t have!   I can’t believe you got us…you got us Carlos Silva?!?”
You shouldn’t have.
Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate you not giving me coal or an ugly reindeer sweater, but seriously Hendry.  Seriously, you shouldn’t have.  Carlos Silva?!?!??!!?  Are you kidding me?!  This is the best you can do?  You go all the way to the American League.  All the way to Seattle to find us the perfect gift.  Something that would blow my mind, something I would love and treasure always…and you bring back Carlos Silva?  Are you trying to ruin Christmas?  Because you’ve succeeded.  Way to go.  Why not just trip Grandpa and break his new hip or bring up the one thing that will get everyone riled up and arguing at the dinner table while you’re at it?  Come on Hendry!  THINK!
I understand the Bradley you had wrapped and ready to give us, wasn’t going to make anyone very happy, but you don’t talk about possibly giving a Bradley and then go out and get a Silva in exchange.  That’s just cruel.  Thanks a lot Hendry.  Thanks for nothing.  Thanks for delivering something we already have.  No really, this is perfect.  I’ll just put it over here with the others.  You didn’t happen to get a gift receipt did ya?  I’m sure there’s something else Seattle has that I’d like in exchange.  Oh, no?  No gift receipt huh?  Done deal?  Great.  No, great, GREAT!  I love it.  I don’t hate it at all.  I don’t completely hate the gift that you thought would be so great.  I don’t think you wasted your time completely or given Cubs fans the worst gift ever.  Thanks for taking very little and turning it into nothing.  
Carlos Silva?  CARLOS flippin’ SILVA?!?  It’s like you didn’t even try.  
You know what….go.  Just go.  Put down the nog.  And go.  Merry Christmas.  Hope you enjoy all the money and merchandise profits we all gave you this year while you come in here with your fancy wrapping paper wasted on a used Carlos Silva.  Unbelievable.  
God help us….everyone.  Go Cubs Go!

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Interview


About six months or so ago (?) I joined up with a group of other baseball bloggers in an association known as the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance).  It’s a great group of passionate, talented writers who blog about their favorite team and baseball in general.  There are a few members of the group who have blogs dedicated to baseball in general and at least one representative of every team in MLB.  You can check out their website here.

One the features they’ve added to the mix for this off-season is an interview with each of the members of the BBA.  It’s very much like what I do here with Prosecards from Cubs Nation.  Daniel is a guy that runs the group and he conducted an interview with me yesterday…thought I’d share it with you here.  Prose and Ivy as it turns out is blog #14 in order of people joining the BBA (appropriate considering it’s a Cubs blog, don’t you think?).  Check out the site and visit the blogs listed in the roster.  Some really entertaining, informative writing included for everyone to enjoy.  Here is the interview courtesy of the BBA:


Website: Prose and Ivy
BBA #14

Question 1: How and why did you get into blogging?

My two main interests are comedy and sports. I’ve been writing and performing comedy for over 12 years. I stopped ‘performing’ when it came to organized sports after my senior year of high school (not including intramurals or club sports in college, I suppose). So basically, I never had a real outlet for my ideas/opinions/thoughts on sports.

I love baseball and when I saw the opportunity to have a blog on, I jumped at the chance. Thought it would be a fun opportunity to joke, vent, rant, etc when it came to one of my favorite things in life. And then, when they made the site free, even better. : )

Question 2: Do you have any blogging projects planned for the off-season?

Over the off-season I plan on continuing to write and follow the trade rumors and signings as they happen. The moves that effect the Cubs directly, as well as some of the bigger signings that effect the team indirectly. In addition to that, I will continue a key feature on Prose and Ivy where I interview Cubs fans, much in the same nature as you are doing here for BBA members. The feature is called “Prosecards from Cubs Nation” and it’s been a blast getting to know Cubs fans from all over and here about their thoughts and experiences rooting for the Cubs. Will definitely continue that feature right up until Spring Training starts and into the 2010 regular season.

I also have a blog talk radio show where I discuss Cubs baseball and post the shows to Prose and Ivy. I haven’t recorded a show since the season ended, but that is something I’m looking to jump into again and post to the site just after the new year.

Question 3: What’s been your most enjoyable experience as a blogger (particularly well-received post, a high-profile link, a connection you wouldn’t have had otherwise, etc.)?

My most enjoyable experience as a blogger was when I was given the opportunity by to review an X-Box game for They were looking for people to review MLB 2K8 and the write-ups would be featured on the site with an official MLB byline. That was all I needed to hear. I let them know I’d like to review the X-Box version of the game if possible and after they said it was a go, I went right out and bought an X-Box. Had the system for about a week, long enough to review the game, but short enough so that Best Buy would believe I had purchased it as a duplicate gift and take it back. Well worth the two trips to Best Buy and the opportunity to be prominently showcased on

Question 4: How did you find out about the BBA and what attracted you to the group?

I can’t remember how I heard about the BBA, however I think I heard about on another blog or was approached by Daniel himself, I can’t remember. The most attractive part of the group is the alliance the blogs share, in that, if you are a fan of a blog on the list, and looking for more quality baseball information…if you look at the list of blogs the BBA members recommend, you will be forwarded on to another blog in the group. It’s great for referring readers along to other BBA blogs and a great place to get quality bloggers together to share ideas regarding how to improve their sites.

Question 5: What do you want to see out of the BBA in the coming year?

BBA representatives on sports talk shows. TV and radio, both. I think that would be an amazing jump for the BBA on networks like ESPN, MLB Network, as well as local sports news shows around the country. Might be a bit far fetched, but we’ve already received recognition on ESPN with one of the Yankees blogs being selected to represent NY (AL) in the covering the playoffs this year from the fans’ perspective. Seemed to me like a great step in the right direction to achieve what I mentioned above.

That and maybe keychains. Yeah, strike that. Definitely keychains.

Question 6: How would you describe the Wrigley Field experience?

I would describe the Wrigley Field experience as incomparable when you see it in person for the first time. If my friend Justin is reading this, that means you can’t compare it to anything. It’s like no other stadium in the big leagues and only Wrigley and Fenway can actually say that, both for unique, distinct reasons. No jumbo-trons showing you the same blooper reels from 1982. An energy of a fan base just chomping at the bit for a championship banner to raise on Opening Day the following season.

Being at Wrigley feels like attending a reunion filled with family members you’ve never met before. People you look forward to spending time with as you know you have a ton in common, whether you know their names or not. Before you know it, you’re having a beer together laughing about shared family stories and happy you had a chance to share that time together at the world’s greatest ballpark. Like favorite cousins by the end of the day related not by blood, but bleeding Cubbie blue (cheesy, but accurate).

The Wrigley Field experience is also kind of like a weird montage from a High School Musical film where when you see it for the first time you wonder, how on Earth do all of these people know the words to that song and why are they all singing it simultaneously? I mean, that doesn’t happen in real life. Does it?

Wrigley’s basically amazing. You see the names on the jerseys like family members you share the same memories about. Sandberg, Banks, Smith, Grace, Lee, Davis, Dawson. A feeling that you’ve shared the ups and downs and simply can’t wait to get to your seat, have something to eat and enjoy watching your favorite baseball club compete day in and day out. It’s possibly the greatest way to spend three hours on any given day, bar none*. (*pun intended. the bars are a bonus. it’s the team and the stadium that makes the day great.)

Question 7: Is it tough not to be fatalistic as a Cub fan, to not just expect something to go wrong?

Yes, but that’s all part of it. At this point, it’s part of being a Cubs fan. You expect the worst which is what will make the day the Cubs win the title that much sweeter. It would mean, finally, something didn’t go wrong. (Then of course, I believe you may cue the action sequences of the film 2012 to follow very closely behind. Pretty much right after ‘Cubs win! Cubs win!’. Consider yourself warned.)

Question 8: How did you become a Cub fan?

I think a lot of people either become a fan of team because their parents rooted for them, their friends rooted for them, or they end up with a favorite player and then the team follows suit. For me, it was Ryne Sandberg. I grew up in Connecticut with no professional baseball team to be found among the up-turned collars and Eastland knots. Most of the games I attended growing up were at Shea Stadium down the turnpike and into Queens so I saw a lot of National League ball. Ryne Sandberg was my favorite player. The Cubs attachment followed soon after and it’s been an interesting ride (to say the least) since it did. As always…Go Cubs Go.

Question 9: Do you enjoy having a MLBlog?

I definitely enjoy having an MLBlog. is the go-to place for all things baseball (obviously) and MLBlogs is a great opportunity the league has given the fans. The system gives you the opportunity to add a lot of cool features to personalize it so it really feels like you’ve made it your own. I would highly recommend it. (That and chocolate frosties at Wendys. Those things are awesome.)

Question 10: What’s up with that blog address?

I probably should have just gone with the words prose and ivy in the url, would probably be easier for people to find. But…I didn’t. The url is The w’s I had nothing to do with and in a way, I feel they’re a little redundant. We’ve seen what one ‘W’ can do, let alone three. The mlblogs part comes with the territory. The onedayatwrigleyac000000 part was all me. It basically refers to the sign at Wrigley that refers to the Year of our Cubs (the AC “Anno Catuli”) and keeps track of the number of years it’s been since the Cubs won their division, league and the Series. The day the Cubs win it all (including their division that is), the sign would read AC000000 as in Anno Catuli and then zero years since the last division title, league pennant and Series title. Lofty goals for sure, but then again, it’s not all about the seventh inning stretch and Lou throwing a fit now is it. Ask me again when we have more time and I’ll tell you how I came up with the .com.


Thanks for reading the interview….how would you have answered some of those questions regarding the Cubs and/or Wrigley Field?  Hope everyone is having a nice holiday season despite the fact that as of now come Christmas morning, Milton Bradley will still be under the tree (and not in a good way).


Go Cubs Go! 

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MLB Network 1, Cubs 0


So far this off-season the MLB Network has more key free-agent acquistions than the Cubs do. Patience will definitely be a virtue while we wait to find out what last names will be attached to Chicago’s favorite bags of laundry.

Hendry wasn’t able to do anything significant during the Winter Meetings but that doesn’t really surprise me.  The economy is horrible so everyone’s being careful about every move they make and the consequences those moves may have in the long term.  Also, there’s always those couple key free-agents that the dominos don’t get to fall until those pieces land where they may.  In the past couple years guys like Fukudome, Matszuaka and Johan Santana played the role. This year it’s Halladay, Lackey and arguably Bay.  We know that there are certain pieces we can expect to be there come Spring, but there are 266 free agents still out there looking for a new address.  Anything can happen and it’s going to keep the miserably cold winter extremely interesting this year.

Happy to see Miles and Heilman go.  Never was thrilled with Miles being a Cub, he had huge shoes to fill when he was the replacement piece for fan-favorite and capable utility man DeRosa.  Heilman is just a joke.  He came in with promise when he reached the Mets and then went on to contribute to the horrilbe state the Metropolitans have fallen to.  I live in NY and have seen a ton of Mets games and read a ton of Mets headlines.  Heilman is a disaster and we’re a better team without him.

That somewhat, in some round about way brings me to Castillo.  Luis Castillo is playing for the New York Mets.  I’d like to remind everyone of that.  IF a trade actually ends up going through, whether it’s for Bradley straight up or involving as many as twenty-something teams, IF the Cubs end up with Castillo, be disappointed.  This is not the Luis Castillo that played with Florida.  This is an older, slower, less effective Castillo and he will not do much in getting the Cubs to where they need to be.  Again, living in NY has given me plenty of opportunity to see Castillo let down Mets fans from all over and become the hot target of New York boo-birds.  The Mets last won the Series in ’86 and last appeared in it in 2000.  You think the Mets fans’ level of patience brought out a lot of boos and negative press?  Wait until the fans of the Cubs, waiting 100 years and counting in taking home the trophy, get their hands on an inempt second baseman like Castillo.  We’re far better off with the Fontenot-Baker tandem.  I would prefer to upgrade at second if we can, but Castillo is not the guy.

Love Ted Lilly but I’m a little concerned about how long it will take for him to be effective next year coming back from surgery.  I know we have more pressing needs than a back up plan to Lilly, but it would be great to see if Hendry could work out a deal somewhere that brings in a solid starter as insurance.  I like his confidence in the guys we have, but I’d feel more secure in our shot if we had one more quality guy with the experience and numbers to prove he can handle it. Even more so than Gorzelanny or Marshall can offer.

Congratulations to Peter Gammons, look forward to catching you on MLB Network.  Hoping the Cubs give us a few guys to look forward to catching as well.  Go Cubs Go!

Happy Thanksgiving


All around the country people will be celebrating by preparing food for their family and loved ones on the same thing baseball fans are talking about all over the country.  The Hot Stove.  Let’s hope that our holiday weekend is filled with hot stove results that warm us on the inside and don’t spoil the season.

The Cubs aren’t expected to be big buyers this off-season, although they are expected to have an impact and a serious presence on the trading block.  Would love to see them re-gift Milton Bradley to someone this holiday season.  It was a nice idea coming in from Texas, but you know what, it just doesn’t fit.  I’m sure someone has a headcase right fielder that can potentially deliver numbers but is more likely to get the out count wrong on their wish list.  Perfect candidate for the Cubs to re-gift Bradley.

Bradley is kind of that relative that no one really wants to have at the table but feels like they have to invite because technically, they are legally related.  Like Thanksgiving dinner is Spring Training 2010 and you walk into it hoping ‘you know who’ isn’t there.  Chances are he could be there….but man…how much better would it be if he weren’t there.  Then again, if he’s not there, what will everyone talk about?  Who is everyone supposed to gossip about and blame all of the families problems on?

And what about the hot head you love when they’re there because they are so funny but then again when they get upset they end up trashing the place and making it really awkward to be around.  Let’s call that guy Uncle Carlos.  Fun guy to be around until he loses it over nothing.  Loveable hot-headed Uncle Carlos.

And then there’s that sibling you enjoy being around but the family spoils.  They spend a little too much money on that one person in the family, a little more than they probably should and because of it, everyone else has to sacrifice.  They don’t always show up and contribute to the family the same way others do and yet they are given a lot more than the rest of the group.  You kind of always expect more from them and the family goes nuts when they actually produce. Everyone’s favorite cousin, when he does actually hop to it and do something for others, it’s generally out of left field. Can’t wait until cousin Soriano shows up.

Nothing like the holiday season and something to potentially be excited about on the Hot Stove to celebrate all that we’re thankful for.  If you’d like to add another family stereotype to the hypothetical Cubs Thanksgiving table, please feel free to choose the type of relative and the Cubs player you believe fits the Jell-O mold and include it in the comments section!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and that the Cubs’ turkey hangover doesn’t last until the Spring.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Go Cubs Go!

This week’s “Prosecard from Cubs Nation”!


One of my favorite new features of 2009 on Prose and Ivy is “Prosecard from Cubs Nation”.  I started doing it late in the season and I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing three die-hard Cubs fans so far and am always interested to hear from more of you Cubs fans interested in being interviewed for the site.  Basically I send you fun questions about the Cubs and you get to tell the world where you’re coming from in Cubs Nation and lay it out the way you see it, from your point of view!

This week’s Prosecard from Cubs Nation is with Chad from Indy.  Chad’s a huge Cubs fan and a loyal reader of Prose and Ivy.  Here is the result of my interview with Chad!
Prose and Ivy read and Cubs fan featured: Chad Tinsley Tudor

Name:  Chad Tinsley Tudor

Why are the Chicago Cubs your favorite baseball team?

I grew up watching the Cubs with my dad in Indianapolis because that was the team he watched. My first memories of the team were when I was seven years old, the 1990 Chicago Cubs. I love everything the team stands for, the history, Wrigley Field, the players, Harry Caray, the Wrigleyville area, the logo, our colors. To me the Cubs = baseball. 

Favorite Cubs memory:


So many… Sammy Sosa’s homerun chase in 1998. The 2003 team and the ride they took us on. The 2007 team was so fun to watch (minus the playoffs of course) Watching Ryne Sandberg, Grace, Dunston, Maddux, and The Hawk with Harry calling the games with Stone. The biggest of all would be attending my first game in 2001 at Wrigley. I sat eight rows behind home plate and my all time favorite Cubbie was sitting directly behind me. Ryne Sandberg. It was like a dream. I couldn’t talk for about three innings until he asked me to pass a message to a scout sitting in front of me. He was the nicest guy, and probably the craziest thing to ever happen to me. He signed a ball for me; it’s something I’ll never forget. 

Favorite current Cub:


Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee & Aramis Ramirez

All-time Favorite Cub:


Ryne Sandberg

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


BJ Upton, Hanley Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geo Soto, Alfonso Soriano, Chase Utley, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano 

That’s a far, far, far, fetched dream. I know. 

How would you celebrate a Cubs championship?

Cry like a baby. Hopefully I’ll be at The Cubby Bear Bar partying all night. 

Most feared opposing batter?


Albert Pujols & Adam Dunn

Most feared opposing pitcher?

Carpenter, Wainwright, Lincecum

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?

I’d want to sing “Take me out to the Ballgame.” I don’t know what Cubs fan wouldn’t. Lots of pressure though (i.e. Jeff Gordon)

One thing you would change about Wrigley Field?

Nothing. I love everything about it, including the bathrooms nobody seems to like. 

One thing you would change about the game of baseball?

Earlier start times for the playoffs. Lots of kids are not being able to stay up and watch these games. 

You are the Cubs’ dugout Gatorade cooler.  You are able to hand out one restraining order against the Cub of your choice.  Which Cub do you choose and why?

Obviously Carlos Zambrano would be my pick with his anger management history.

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

I feel like the Harry Caray logo above the pressbox is a good one already even though it’s not much of a silhouette. Maybe a silhouette of a Derrek Lee follow through swing. 

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

Ryne Sandberg because he’s my all-time favorite. Mark Grace because I heard he was a great guy to sit and have a beer with. Carlos Zambrano because I like his personality, he seems like he would be real fun to hang out with.


Last I would pick Ron Santo just to hear the stories he has, I always like listening to him on the radio, even when he’s yelling like a mad man. 

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

No. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. The Red Sox broke their “curse.” It’s not easy to win the whole thing, that’s why it’s so special when teams especially your team does. 

More vital to the Cubs’ success…Getting Soriano back on track?  Getting Soto back on track?  Trading Bradley?  Landing a new leadoff man?


More vital is Soriano and Soto back on track, that’s why I kept them on my dream 2010 Cubs roster. Soriano can carry the team for weeks when he gets going and we all know how great Soto was his full rookie year. 

In your opinion, who’s crazier?  Carlos Zambrano or The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

I’ve seen commercials of those housewives and they seem pretty crazy, but based off Carlos’ meltdown in 09, throwing the ball out to the bleachers and assaulting the Gatorade machine… I’m going with El Toro. 

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:






You have 30 seconds to convince Piniella to stay on past 2010, OR to convince Hendry to make Sandberg the manager come 2011. They will listen to you if your argument is convincing enough.  Which one can you make a stronger argument for?

That’s up to Jim… If Lou still has the fire in his belly I’d welcome him back. Ryno is a Hall of Famer taking bus trips with young ball players all over the country. He is paying his dues and doing an excellent job developing the young talent while winning. I’d love to have either; I think it’s a win-win situation for Cubs fans to be in. 

You are the hopeful new owner of the Chicago Cubs.  The last thing standing in the way of the deal getting done is you must decide one thing to change at Wrigley Field.  Have to.  Would you either take away the ivy on the wall, update the scoreboard to an giant HD screen, or change the outer marquee? And…why?

I just couldn’t do it. If I had to like you said, I would somehow attach an HD screen to the old scoreboard. Honestly though… I just couldn’t change this landmark. 

Hypothetically speaking, four Cubs players have career years in 2010.  Which four Cubs players do you think have the most potential to do so next year?

Carlos Zambrano bounces back. I think Kosuke Fukudome has a great year at the plate. Aramis Ramirez is going to have a strong, healthy season. I really think the breakout guy is going to be Carlos Marmol, he’s ready to step up and be the leader in the bullpen.  

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?



Thanks to Chad Tinsley Tudor for taking the time to be interviewed for Prose and Ivy.  Love the answer about the dream line up…looks good to me.  And so far not one fan believes the Cubs are cursed.  Interesting.  I think the JUST WIN slogan would resonate with Cubs fans of all generations.  Simple and to the point.  W’s baby.  Need to get those W’s.

Keep an eye out for a potential second installment later this week as I look to pack as much in here this week as I can going into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Any Cubs fans interested in being interviewed for a future installment of Prosecards from Cubs Nation, please email me at and I will send you a list of questions!  Grabow signed to a 2 year deal. New billboards put up behind the left field bleachers. Heilman dealt to the Diamondbacks. Ricketts attending their first owners meetings.  Lots to talk about, email me and let’s talk Cubs baseball!

Go Cubs Go!

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Come on, that’s funny


This blog has been featured on the home page and on the Entertainment page, but never on MLBlogs’ home page.  

That is, until now.  And what is the headline on the post below this one, previously greeting countless potential new readers while I’m featured center stage?
“Not A Whole Lot Going On”.
Catchy, huh?  Makes you want to read more doesn’t it?  Gee, let me click on this new Cubs blog I’ve never read.  It’s featured on the MLBlogs home page, must be fascinating.  Let’s check out the top post here…oh…not a whole lot going on.  Alright then, guess I’ll read something else.
Anyway, thought it was hilarious the timing of my last headline with the being featured and all.  That, plus when I told my dad to pull up and check out who is on the front page he said “Cool…Tim Lincecum”.  I said “Below him”.  He misheard me.  Hilarity ensued.  Good times.  
Thanks for featuring Prose and Ivy on the MLBlogs home page MLB and welcome new readers.  Any Cubs fans interested in being interviewed for one of the fan segments, email me at
Go Cubs Go!  
(And if we sign Grabow, cool.  If not, cool, but I prefer we keep him.  If we lose Harden, cool, but I know a few female Cubs bloggers that will be very disappointed.  As for Reed….hope there’s a way to keep him in the mix.  Any outfielder not afraid to run smack into a brick wall to record an out for the Cubs is alright by me.  One signing that would be particularly interesting if for nothing other than the secrets of Wrigley Field that could be revealed….Curtis Granderson.  He comes with a bit of baggage and it’s filled with production equipment for a potential new reality show.  At least it wouldn’t involve him decorating cakes in the Cubs dugout).
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Big Deal


Admittedly, maybe its the lack of Cubs in this years playoffs…but I haven’t seen anything to get excited about.  Normally the playoffs are extremely addictive and I love watching every minute regardless of who is playing.  This year however, I haven’t seen anything to get all that excited about.

I am hoping that it is either going to be an Angels/Dodgers series…my number two choice because then we’d hear fun promos about a freeway series.  Not really fun as much as different which will keep things interesting.  A Yankees/Dodgers series…my first choice because I’d love to see Torre beat the Yankees.  For sports fans it provides the best story lines.  An Angels/Phillies series because I hate the Phillies and wouldn’t mind rooting for them to fall at the door of a back to back championship.  
The only combination I absolutely won’t watch is a Yankees/Phillies series.  I hate both teams with a passion and will find no joy in seeing either finish October successfully.
So, hopefully it’s Torre over the Yankees.  I get to see the Yankees lose and Torre have the last laugh.  The Cubs aren’t in it, so that sounds fun to me.
The film festival was a blast by the way.  I had more people show up to screen my comedy “Quarter Life” than any other film in the festival.  The audience loved it and it was a blast to screen a film I act in, in front of a group of people I’m not blood related to.  The filmmakers had a great time.  We screened over 75 films in four days and I look forward to screening more films next year.  One of those films may be a Cubs film I have in mind.  We’ll see how that goes though over time.
For those with teams still playing in the final four, enjoy.  I can’t wait for the 2010 season to begin.
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25 years later

One of the most exciting seasons in Cubs history happened 25 years ago and the pinnacle moment of that season happened exactly 25 years ago today.  Happy 25th anniversary ’84 Cubs.  A few videos to celebrate the memory of that exciting Cubs season.  Both are interview clips with Rick Sutcliffe…this first one, man.  Talk about a tough act to follow.

These videos come off of and its great to hear thoughts of that amazing Cubs year from someone smack in the middle of the whirlwind of reasons as to why it all happened the way it did. Something that would be great for Bradley to hear now too…maybe if he hears enough former and current Cubs talk about how lucky he is to be a Cub, maybe it will help him realize what he has if ends up staying or what he had if Hendry finds a taker this off-season.

The domino effect of events that had to happen in 1984, to end the way it did and claim the title that they did is a pretty amazing story. One that almost lets Hendry completely off the hook when it comes to the Bradley signing. I have taken him off the hook completely and feel confident in Hendry making the deals in the off-season to see if it makes the difference in 2010. No one thought the moves the Cubs made would put them over the top and back into the playoffs. But they did. And trades and signings that the organization and fans get excited over, ones that they have high hopes for can just as easily surprise and disappoint. The 1984 Cubs had a young, all-star caliber talent in Ryne Sandberg and a bunch of guys that no one saw coming. It all just kind of fit just right and put the Cubs in the playoffs.

Sure, we all want the Series title…aiming to make the playoffs is never the ultimate goal, simply the first necessary step to get there. But imagine if we were celebrating and enjoying a team like this today. I don’t think any one of us would complain about that. Happy 25th anniversary 1984 Cubs. May you be one highlighted season among those that eventually, hopefully shortly, get us to the ultimate prize. Go Cubs Go!

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Fuld, Colvin, Fukudome Left to Right in 2010


Hey, wait a second…that doesn’t sound half bad.  Fuld, Colvin, Fukudome with Reed Johnson as our fourth and heavily relied upon outfielder.  Three guys who aren’t afraid to hustle after a ball and own the glove where would be bloop singles go to die.  Three guys who aren’t afraid to get a face full of ivy in exchange for a much needed out.  Three guys who aren’t injury prone and beyond their prime.  Three guys who don’t have handicapping attitudes that effect themselves, their teammates and the entire organization.  Three guys Cubs fans could really get behind.

So then what do we do with Soriano and Bradley?  Well come on.  Bradley?  I don’t care what his mother says.  “My son is willing to come back to the Cubs if they are willing to have him back”. Or however she put it….give me a break.  If the Cubs DON’T trade him, of COURSE you’re coming back to the Cubs.  And you better hope that 24 other guys in Cubs uniforms, your manager, your general manager, the general public and Cubs fans (especially those who sit in the bleachers) have a really short memory.  Anyway, bottom line….Bradley?  You trade Bradley.  Get rid of him.  Apology or no apology.  I read a blog from an Orioles blogger suggesting perhaps the O’s would be willing to take a chance on Bradley.  Really?!?  Great!  How about Roberts for Bradley?  How about that?  No scratch that.  Give us a quality reliever to throw into the seventh or eighth inning to set up Marmol.  That would be a huge help and a great answer to ‘then what do we do with Bradley’.
As for Soriano, make him our 2B.  Seriously.  Trade Fontenot and see what other bullpen help we can get or package him in a deal that may land us more depth on the bench or a quality 2 or 3 starter.  Let Baker and Soriano platoon at 2B with Blanco as the key reserve off the bench.  You put Sori at 2B and we keep his bat in the line up while returning him to his defensive roots.  
If we did that, our opening day lineup 1-8 could look like:
Fukudome RF
Theriot SS
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
Soriano 2B
Colvin CF
Fuld LF
Soto C
It honestly doesn’t look as intimidating without Bradley’s name on paper.  But hey, we’re three and zero in games without him since his suspension.  The beginning of these few games have been filled with hit parades and tons of runs.  Maybe having something that looks good on paper shouldn’t be the goal.  Maybe it’s going to take the old faithfuls (Lee, Rami, Sori) with a good mix of reliable (Theriot, Fukudome, Soto) and a healthy mix of talented, hungry youngsters (Colvin, Fuld).  That may be what we need after all.  Maybe keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t necessarily require spending like the Joneses at all, even though we’re in a major market.  Forget spending like the Joneses and try scoring W’s and making the playoffs like them.  That’s what’s important and maybe a little mix up of the line up with some new blood is just what we need.  And what’s easier to root for than homegrown talent?  Straight out of the farm system?  Very cool and very exciting for fans regarding the organization as a whole.
So in 2010, if I were Piniella (who I believe will be given one more shot at this thing, along with Hendry) I would heavily consider an outfield of Fuld, Colvin and Fukudome left to right.  No fear and an extreme desire to succeed.  Sounds like a brilliant recipe to me.  What do you think?  Go Cubs Go!

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Got any change?


Hey buddy, got any change?

If you’re a Cubs fan, that’s pretty much what you’re thinking about, hoping for and expecting come this off-season.  And the Cubs have no choice.  Staying put is a recipe for disaster.  Last year they won back to back division titles and made significant moves.  This year their go to guys couldn’t get a hit in the clutch when it mattered most, the starting pitchers had no run support and many turned in sub-par seasons when the organization and fans had hopes and dreams of so much more.  This off-season therefore, should show significant action above and beyond what we saw last winter.

Zambrano has a no-trade clause and apparently he’s not budging.  Ok, fine.  You know what then?  My feeling is that it’s not time to give up on Zambrano, simply time to expect less.  He’s no longer the ace of this staff.  Well, let me rephrase that.  He is the ace of this staff, however not deservingly so.  He’s seen his last consecutive Opening Day start, his last year as the number one guy.  We had guys on this roster this year who performed more like the ace of the staff than Zambrano did, never mind the possibilities of what we may come up with in a trade or a free agent signing elsewhere across the league.  So that’s what needs to be done with Z.  Knock him down a peg.  Bring in a true ace.  The Cards are deep in the ace category which is why they are destroying us this year.  It seems like their entire staff dominated this season, two of their starters vying for the Cy Young award in the NL.  We need a guy with the right stuff literally up his sleeve, and in his head.  A leader.  A true ace.  Move Z down and find that guy.  A rotation where Z is your number 2 or 3 guy instead of your 1 is a huge upgrade right there.

So Z needs a change of spot in the rotation and change of expectations to carry on his shoulders.  Others need a change of location in the lineup.  Soriano isn’t capable of leading off any longer and Piniella has already announced those days are done.  Good.  Move him to the sixth hole where power is more of a commodity.  Where you’re practically a DH expected to field your position only slightly above average.  Come to think of it…why not experiment moving Soriano back to 2B in the Spring?  His knee is clearly a problem.  Covering the hole at second calls for a lot less hustle and grind over the course of 162 than covering a large amount of room in left.  His knee can’t take it and the final games showed that he may not be our guy out there defensively.  Sure he was in pain, but who’s to say that won’t happen again after another long season in left?  Perhaps moving Soriano to the sixth hole to take advantage of his power and to 2B to take advantage of other options in the outfield is the way to go.  Love Sori’s bat potential…his detriment to our defense is too much to have him as our regular LF though.  Sori to the 6 hole and 2B.  Something to consider.

Other guys simply need a change of scenery.  Enter, Milton Bradley.  Or should I say, Exit.  Bradley has been suspended by the Cubs organization for the remainder of the season.  Comments he’s made were determined detrimental to the team and organization and I believe we’ve seen the last of Milton Bradley in a Cubs uniform.  You can’t simply come in with a history of being a problem child, sign a three year deal which pays you 10million a year to play a game for a living, be expected to bring the power left-handed bat the team needs to put them (at least) out of the realm of being swept in the first round of the playoffs…then only produce a .257 AVG, 12 HR and put up 40 RBI.  And then on top of it all, blame everyone but yourself for your poor performance while trashing the organization that gave you a great opportunity in the first place.  Why doesn’t he get what he could potentially be a part of?  Imagine if this team won it all?  He’d get to be a part of the largest celebrated, most talked about sports championship in the history of sports.  And he’d be marked as a huge reason why.  Instead, he limps out of a game, refuses to bat and disgraces his time here in every which way.  I don’t believe Milton Bradley deserves any racist comments that may have been thrown his way by fans.  And I’m not equating taking that kind of abuse to having to read poor stats in the box scores every day…however, I believe Bradley and the fans deserve better.  As far as I can tell, it looks like both may very well get just that.

Mathematically, we’re still in (blah, blah).  However, with reality comes the expectation that our season will end come the final game of the regular season.  The thing that makes these remaining games fun to watch is simply Cubs baseball, rivalries, playing spoiler and watching the young guys get their shot.  Think about how you feel just weeks after the final out is recorded in a Cubs game.  Think about how much you can’t wait for Spring to come around again so that the Cubs are back.  That feeling is right around the corner, so enjoy watching the remaining games while you can.  Sure, it’s not always pretty, but at least it’s there.  And the rivalries…good times.  Who doesn’t love watching Cubs/Brewers, Cubs/Cardinals no matter the time of year?  Those are always entertaining.  I don’t care if all are eliminated, simply fun to root for the Cubs to beat those teams and we got a week of the Brewers coming up.  Let’s go out strong and make a statement to take with us into the winter and into the Spring that we don’t just lay down and die.  The players, management, or the fans.  And let’s enjoy watching the young guns get their shot at the grand stage.  I’m excited about Tyler Colvin coming up.  I can’t wait to see what he may have to contribute as a potential future Cub great.  He’s a coveted Cub prospect, his season is over and now is his time to shine.  Shining in Spring training only means so much.  Shining against division rivals when the games still matter is something else.  Our outfield is depleted.  Our team is hurting and so are our chances of making the playoffs.  So let’s get out there, change our outlook on the ending of this season starting today and enjoy the remaining games and the FEW positive things we have left to root for in ’09 Cubs fans.

I mean really, what’s the alternative?  Cry about it?  Not this year.  Besides…if you cry about the Cubs into the Fall and Winter this year, when will you have time to do so about the ’09 Bears?  Pace yourself.  Expect change.  Enjoy this ’09 team while you can.  Gorzelanny on the mound tonight (see that, change already).  Colvin on the grand stage up from AA ball.  Let’s beat Milwaukee…get that W Gorzelanny!  Go Cubs Go!

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If only…


If only Lee didn’t wait so long to turn it on this season.

If only Bradley wasn’t turning out to be what we were warned about as fans.
If only Soriano had a healthy knee.
If only Ramirez spent more time on the field and less time on the DL.
If only Soto hadn’t had the munchies this year.
If only Z was performing like a real ace.
If only Lilly and Wells had more run support.
If only Dempster wasn’t screwed over by a lame offense as well.
If only Reed Johnson hadn’t followed it off his foot.
If only Lou had gone away from Gregg as the closer sooner.
If only we’d kept DeRosa.
If only we had room on the roster for Hoffpauir and/or Fox.
If only Miles wasn’t occupying a spot.
If only the Rockies hadn’t found that hot streak.
If only Pujols didn’t have another killer year (and by killer I mean Cub killer).
If only it wasn’t 11:40pm on the East Coast.  I’d go on and on.  But it is.  And overall, it is, what it is.  All of these things have happened this year and we are where we are.  Incredible win over the Brewers tonight only by far a perfect or strong outing overall.  Zambrano nearly gave up way too much before he left.  Milwaukee couldn’t throw a strike if their life depended on it walking in and hitting people to give up more runs than the Cubs actually earned.  We’ll take it, sure…especially with the Cards losing tonight and the Giants (also fighting for their Wild Card life) on top of the Rockies as I write this…which means…the Cubs could gain ground in the Central and the WC race.  Nothing to complain about there, but still, it is what it is.
Fourteen games left.  Need to keep winning.  St. Louis and Colorado are very strong and are not going down without a fight.  We need to keep winning and let the chips fall where they may.  Soriano had successful surgery today which is great to hear.  We need him ready for the Spring so sooner the better with regards to the surgery.  And of course, Lee needs to keep his hot streak up.  He hit the 100 RBI mark tonight which is incredible that he could have a .300 30+HR and 100RBI season this year considering the way the season started for him.  Love seeing him do well…just need to continue for another 14 games and then we’ll see.
Continues tomorrow against the crew….Harden vs. Looper.  No one has the obvious nod between the two of them as far as I’m concerned.  Do your thing Harden and get that W!  Go Cubs Go!

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Prose and Ivy on-line Talk Show Today 3pm CST!


Hey Prose and Ivy readers/Cubs fans…today features the first episode of the Prose and Ivy Cubs internet talk show and you can listen in by clicking on this link.  The show details are listed below.  Hopefully there aren’t any glitches because I haven’t used the system before…we’ll see! Feel free to call in and talk Cubs baseball!  

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The listener call in number is 347-855-8243.  Unfortunately our special MLB guest has had to reschedule so we’ll have them on as a surprise at another time.  But lots of great topics to discuss regarding the Cubs anyway….tune in, call in…Wells on the mound today against the Reds….Go Cubs Go! (UPDATE: The pilot show has been recorded and is ready for you to listen to now….click play on the Prose and Ivy Cubs player in the link list to the right and check back for upcoming air dates SOON!  And for accuracy’s sake, when I say ‘bottom of the ninth’ I actually meant the top.  Ok, that’s it…enjoy!)

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The Rockies have surged their way to a last at-bat victory once again and matched the Cubs sweep of the Pirates with a sweep of the Reds.  

Unbelievable.  Bring on an eight game series with the Rockies right now and let us sweep.  That may be the only way we make up enough ground to take this thing over this year.  And you know how likely that is.
Unbelievable.  Cincinnati….you disgust me.  Thanks, for nothing.  Have to keep winning or else we’re definitely through.  They sweep September and we sweep September, more power to them.  Finish strong like Lou says, our only remaining option.  Day to think about it tomorrow.  Come Friday, we need to keep this Cubs W streak going.  Go Cubs Go!

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Top 9 on 9/9/09 and not a bad 9 today at that

“We’ll always have Pittsburgh”.
I say that a lot here, but it always hold true.  Swept the Pirates today and it feels good to see the Cubs have that kind of success on the road.  But, you know then again, of course we did.  We’re supposed to beat Pittsburgh.  We’re supposed to win when Zambrano pitches.  Even post-DL Zambrano is still supposed to be a victorious Zambrano.  Outscored the Pirates by 10 runs over the past few days including a record tying performance of getting eight straight hits to start a game.  Incredible, but like Lou asked, ‘where was this all year?’
Maybe a little too late….like Lou’s pep talk.  It’s apparently lit a fire under the Cubs but now instead of controlling our own destiny, we need to rely on sad teams like Cincinnati.  They haven’t done us any favors this week against the Rockies as they keep losing and the Rockies keep matching us result for result.  At this rate we’ll gain no ground and that’s what’s so frustrating.  Relying on teams that can’t hold a light to true contenders is no way to spend September.  Yet here we are…we need to keep winning though in order to have a shot at grabbing the wild card.  The Reds are currently up 3-2 in the top of the ninth so we’ll see.  Would be nice to pick up a game tonight though.
Not sure why the media is making such a big deal over today’s date, 9/9/09, but they are.  Last year the Olympics started on 8/8/08.  Cool, but that was the Olympics.  You know what today is?  Just Wednesday.  Anyway, took advantage with a fun opportunity for fans to select the best all-time hitting performances in a season for players at all nine positions.  Even for the Cubs, it’s not as easy as you’d think.  Cubs fans should fill it out and let me know how you voted.  Here’s how I voted:

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What do you think Cubs fans?  Would you vote differently?  Why?  I’ll break down my rationale over the next couple days.  Wanted to get this out there today though while it was still 9/9/09.
Off day tomorrow, then back at Wrigley, Harden vs. the Reds.  Let’s hope Cincy can do us some favors there and fall to the Cubs the way they gave this past series to the Rockies.  Go Cubs Go!
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Seven Ate Nine


There is an old children’s joke that reminds me of this Cubs season. 

“Why is six afraid of seven?”
“Because seven eight nine.”

As soon as we hit seven games back I felt that it was too much to overcome and that loss ate up any chances we had of winning this thing in ’09.  Add to it the fact that the Rockies keep winning and the rest of the pack keeps losing and they are separating themselves even farther in this wild card race.

Both the Cubs and the Rockies are 5-5 over their last 10 games.  However, the way those wins and losses fell, we’ve lost ground on the Rockies and are now eight games back in the wild card standings.  I can’t believe publications and outlets like ESPN even include them on their NL Wild Card standings/contenders lists any longer.  I mean, again, it would take a miracle.  So why not list the realistic chances only.  Anyone who hasn’t been mathematically eliminated would require a miracle to make it in, so in that case if you list the Cubs, might as well list everyone.

Our line up was sorely missing Lee as his return to the lineup included a couple of home runs and a victory against the Mets.  Putting all of that pressure and urgency on Wells’ starts in September is just too much for a rookie to realistically come through with so it’s no great surprise that Wells is proving to be unable to carry his weight through September.  Zambrano’s been touch and go, Demp hasn’t done anything special and there’s been no run support for Lilly or Wells.  So in that case we have to keep hoping Wells, a rookie, figures out a way to win and it’s just been too much.

Another Cubs loss today and a Rockies win.  An unfortunate pattern as of late.  I think I had the Dodgers winning the West and the Giants taking the wild card before the season began so if not the Rockies or Cubs, I suppose for my own record, the Giants are welcome to win the WC. 

The way this season is ending will raise lots of questions in the off-season.  Another starter needed?  A closer?  A new manager?  Use some of these class, talented youngsters to get a big name to win now with guys like Soriano, Lee, Ramirez and Bradley playing and getting up there in years?  Trade any of those guys in a blockbuster trade and perhaps that will make a difference?  I don’t know.  But the off-season will provide a ton of questions, predictions, analysis and trade proposals.  Hendry will have his work cut out for him in figuring out the last few moves necessary to mold this roster into a World Champion team. 

Until then, we still have 27 games left.  Eight games out.  Has seven ate ’09?  Probably.  But if the math works in our favor, then history may as well.  And if that’s the case, the off-season business may be a lot different, the chemistry may be okay and the language we hear will be something entirely unexpected.  First of the 27: Lilly against the Pirates.  We’ll always have Pittsburgh is a popular saying here at Prose and Ivy.  Tomorrow, we’ll see if that’s still true and if so, whether it makes any difference or not in the standings.  Go Cubs Go!

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Not Exactly Seventh Heaven


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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Six back, Diamondbacks and Upper Deck


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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Teddy Must-win


When my brother was about seven years old or so, he got a toy called Teddy Ruxpin.  This robotic creature was a cross between a teddy bear and a boom box.  It had everything.  Cassette deck in the back to play the storylines, storytelling ability, soft exterior making it an attractive soft teddy bear best friend and a mechanical inside making the whole thing work.  Wasn’t a whole lot this little guy couldn’t do.  Was the go to toy that year and was easily the most popular kid’s entertainment around at the time.  Had a best friend named Grubby who was a fatter, sloppier version of Teddy Ruxpin, yet still had the same mechanical make up, great for entertainment, just not as sharp on the outside and not the number 1 guy in toy sales that year.

This year, Ted Lilly is the Cubs Teddy Ruxpin.  Sounds ridiculous I know.  But this guy is the man this year and there isn’t much he doesn’t offer.  Eight solid innings today giving up only four hits shut down the Astros and gave the Cubs a much needed series win.  Like I said yesterday after the night cap W, currently quoted on the home page (at the time of posting anyway….September is the season for scoreboard watching.  And now after Lilly did his thing, we have to sit and wait. 

But Lilly was the man today.  Eight innings, base hit…trying to generate and manufacture runs by attempting to even steal second base.  Unsuccessfully of course, but still the fire and desire was there.  Aside from Lee’s going yard for 2 runs, today was all Lilly.  Can’t blame him.  All quality starts since the break and just one win to show for it.  The Cubs offense hasn’t shown up to support his brilliant pitching so of course he was out there trying to grind in the runs himself. Whatever he can do to get the W because the Cubs need them now more than ever.  Hardly any season left and it’s on every Cub to give it all the way Lilly did today.  Go a little further.  Push a little harder.  Do the extra things that help the team end up victorious at the end of the day. 

Lilly’s effort, heart and desire today is what we need day in and day out.  Clearly the wild card victory is Colorado’s to lose, but let’s keep winning and keep the pressure on them to win or else give up ground to us DAILY.  No time to waste.  Our lone all-star stepped up and set the standard that all other Cubs should look to live up to and surpass if possible.  Lee is finally healthy and he’s inching closer to a potential .300 30HR 100RBI season and it couldn’t come at a better time.  Bradley prides himself on the fact that the media was wrong to harp on ‘can he stay healthy’ considering he’s hardly missed all that many games.  Ok, great.  But you need to produce in these games Bradley.  Stay hot and produce.  Support great pitching performances like the one Lilly put in today.  And don’t stop putting the pressure on those above us.

Colorado has the Mets, hopefully the Mets can pull their JV team together and upset the Rockies tonight.  If so, we’ll pickup a full game in the standings.  Atlanta beat Florida last night.  Best thing that can happen tonight is for Florida to beat Atlanta.  Let them share the beating and games lost in the standings during their intra-wild card standing series this week.  If that were to happen and the Giants lose as well.  We could be looking at five teams within five games of each other with a month left to play.  Gotta love it.

Going to Friday night’s game at Citi Field against the Mets.  Zambrano will be starting for the Cubs.  He would be the Grubby to Ted Lilly’s Teddy Ruxpin.  When Lilly pitches, those games are absolutely must-wins.  Same with Wells and also Zambrano.  Lilly is the unofficial ace of the staff this year with his all-star status and Wells has high expectations to live up to with a stellar rookie campaign as he and Lilly share the team lead in wins at 10.  But Zambrano needs to step up and deliver the great story with the mechanical side of him and not continue to simply produce the sloppy, fiery, entertaining outside of Zambrano.  He is the official ace of this ballclub and we need to be able to count on him.  His games are must-wins as well, so come Friday, that’s exactly what he needs to come away with.

Tomorrow we get the White Sox and those games are always interesting.  If any one team is going to play spoiler to another, can’t think of any other team better to do so against than your crosstown rival.  Let’s hope the pitches keep finding their places and the bats stay hot.  First thing’s first though.  We did our part today in getting the win.  Now, once again, something we’ll be getting real used to over the course of September…time to sit back, stress out…and keep a real close eye on that scoreboard.  Thanks MLBlogs for showcasing Prose and Ivy on the home page today.  I’m sure it helped attract a whole new batch of MLBlog readers, perhaps some Cubs fans, and hopefully some return readers over the course of the final month of the regular season.  Feel free to comment regarding anything Cubs/MLB related in the blogs or in the chat section to the right…and enjoy the rest of the season.  This one is getting REALLY interesting….Go Cubs Go!

(And just for fun, for those of you unfamiliar with Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby, take a look at this):

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Let the Scoreboard Watching Begin


Cubs win tonight over the Astros 4-1 at Wrigley with a strong outing by Wells (the kind of outing I expected last week when I bet on the Cubs to beat the Nationals in Vegas) and a dominant performance by Marmol.  Timely hits didn’t hurt the cause either and now it’s time to see what the other NL wild card hunters do this evening.  Here’s how the NL Wild Card standings look right now:

wild card standings.pngThis doesn’t take into account the fact that the Cubs won though the Giants loss is reflected.  Currently the Rockies are up on the Mets 8-3 in the 7th inning with the bases loaded.  Not good.  Atlanta and Florida have an NL East rivalry showdown series going so that will be convenient watching them beat each other up as long as the Cubs continue to win.  Four teams to catch.  We’re in this position due to inconsistency throughout the year along with a number of other reasons.  It is what it is.  September is the season for W’s and scoreboard watching.  Let the season begin!  Way to go today boys.  Great game Wells and Marmol.  And was it me, or did Lee and Ramirez actually look like they were having a good time?  Love having Baker out there.  Feel like when he plays we win.  Same kind of feeling I get when Wells pitches.  Also enjoyed the late Fuld for Soriano defensive replacement.  This is all part of what I mentioned earlier today regarding what the Cubs need to do in my opinion to claim the wild card…a position that has repeatedly resulted in teams making appearances in, and at times even winning, the World Series.

One game at a time.  Scoreboard, baby.  Scoreboard.  Go Cubs Go!

Crunch Time


This was the big news yesterday in Cub land.  We’re keeping Harden and Heilman.  Apparently we had received some interest in a few players but these were the only two that we came close to losing.  I have a hard time feeling sad about the thought of potentially losing Heilman.  I don’t really think he’s good for much more than a stop inning here and there, nothing special, nothing more nothing less.  If we were to lose Heilman, I don’t think it’d affect our chances down the stretch very much at all.

So I believe that’s why all the focus in the media ends up being on Harden.  And I agree.  If the Cubs were to let Harden get away, despite how Wells is pitching this year, it would signal that the organization thinks ’09 is a lost cause.  We all know it’s not.  We all know it doesn’t look good.  But we all know we’re not out of it.  Not yet.

Many teams have used September to make the playoff push a success and woke up in October as contenders.  Recent years included teams like the Astros, the Rockies going on a tear down the stretch and surprising everyone…that NL Wild Card seems to be up for grabs every year and this year is no different.  Sitting six games back after losing yesterday with the top two teams in the wild card race idle is not a good place to be, for sure.  However the Cubs have about 30 games left.  Six games to make up and we play A LOT of sub-par teams within those thirty left to play.  We’re keeping our guys and we’re making the push.  And that’s all we can ask for as fans. 

I’ve expected nothing this year except just that out of this team.  No exact result did I expect…just simply a fighting attitude from a group of talented guys and a no-quit approach from a team that on paper stacks up as one of the best in the bigs. 

I love the game of baseball but clearly I follow the Cubs closer than any other team out there so I guess that’s why their inconsistent play stands out to me.  Injuries we hear about everyday, regarding every team on and other news sources.  However, when you watch, read about and write about a team day in and day out, you see the little things that make the difference.  The things that make the difference between a stellar rookie season and a stumbling sophomore campaign.  That make the difference between back-to-back-to-back division titles and being 10.5 games behind the division leading Cards.  The things that make the difference between controlling your own destiny and having to closely participate in scoreboard watching to see how four or five other teams are doing on any given day because your post-season hopes depend on it.

This team has been inconsistent all year long.  If you follow the Cubs you know this and it messes with your head, your emotions and it’s hard to not be frustrated by it daily.  It’s now time for this ballclub to get it together.  We kept Harden for the push.  He needs to get his stuff under control and fast.  Wells needs to step up and finish the season strong.  His off-speed pitches need to come back and dominate, separating themselves from his fastball.  It’s a lot to ask of a rook but if you’re out there, we need you to perform.  Hill needs to continue his successful ’09 as Soto’s backup with hot numbers as the starter throughout September.  Zambrano needs to step up and finally be our ace this year.  His inconsistency and injuries are a big part of why we are where we are.  Piniella needs to figure out who gives us the best chance to win and play those guys into the ground right down to the final out of the regular season.  Soriano’s cortisone shots need to be as effective as his bat, and Bradley’s as well.  His bat was to be the difference that puts us into the NLCS, not leave us on the outside looking in come October.  Lee needs to keep it up heading towards a .300, 30HR, 100 RBI season and continue to hush Cubs fans thoughts, comments and feelings of perhaps its time to look to Hoffpauir as we all were discussing earlier in the season.

Now is the time for everyone to shut up and play.  Play every fly ball, ground ball, pop up and bunt laid down like its their last.  Look at every ball close to the strike zone and hustle on every ball put in play like they never have before.  Run out ground balls.  Turn double plays.  Focus on defense and the basics.  Make your pitches.  Do your job scouting the opponent and beat the teams you’re supposed to beat. 

We do all of that and I like our odds.  Chances are, we’ll continue to be inconsistent and come up just short.  Point is though, that as of today we still have a shot at this thing.  Let’s settle in, pile up the W’s and take control of the Wild Card.  That’s our way in this year.  Let’s do what we need to do to accomplish that and then turn up the heat even further in October. 

Can’t wait to see how this all plays out.  Happy to see Harden and Heilman are still with the club.  Happy to see that wherever Hendry keeps his towels, that’s exactly right where they have stayed.  No towels being thrown in on ’09 just yet.  Not yet.  Little time left.  But what’s left in extremely valuable.  Cubs v. Astros this evening.  Wells on the mound.  Let’s get this push off to a great start tonight.  Go Cubs Go!


What a week!


Why the absence?  Why the ‘back in a bit’ title in the last post?  Why the Muppet wedding video last week?  Because last Saturday I got married.  York Beach, Maine…and it was beautiful. 

ryan sasha dance.pngThe Reverend Tom Vanderslice from Chicago presided over the ceremony in a beautiful chapel, St. Peters by the Sea.

st peters.pngHurricane Bill threatened to make the entire weekend a washout and weather reports were rampant with updates filled with potentially bad news come the wedding day.  However after all was said and done, we only saw rain for 10 minutes Friday night and for 10 minutes a couple hours before the ceremony on Saturday.  PHEW!

The reception afterwards was incredible.  Sasha and her mother did such an amazing job putting every small detail together that it added up to an amazing day that no one that attended will forget.  It was so much fun to dance the day away and look around and see all your family and friends smiling and enjoying themselves as well.  We had a blast, so while I don’t think my new in-laws read this blog, in case they do THANK YOU!!! : )

After the wedding it was off to the honeymoon on Sunday….to LAS VEGAS!!! Or as the locals call it, Lost Wages.  We did well to not lose too much money.  We’d win a little and then lose a lot but it evened out to a very responsible/reasonable amount come Friday when it was time to go home.

ryan and sasha flamingo bench.pngWe had an amazing time in Vegas.  We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel and here was the view from our room:

view from hotel.pngAll the palm trees you see were part of the outside pool area.  Three pools throughout, connected by waterslides.  NICE.  Then you can see how you can basically see for miles and miles to the mountains of the dessert.  It was 100-110 degrees and sunny everyday.  What a crazy experience to fly into Boston Friday night and have it be raining and 50 out.  Bizarre change of elements.  A lot of heat and a lot of hydrating being done throughout the week like this moment here:

serendipity straw ryan.pngFilled the days with fun checking out cool events like the Price is Right Live (neither of us got called to ‘Come on Down’ unfortunately)

price is right photo.jpgLoved the food and hit the buffets hard.  Here’s a sample of my dessert one night:

dessert.pngThat’s right.  Three.  And that wasn’t the end of it.  We’re talking buffet desserts here, not strikes.  Eventually found myself some cotton candy.  I highly recommend the Treasure Island casino buffet if for no other reason than the desserts.  Awesome.  (Currently watching the Mets/Cubs game.  Z got hammered.  Marshall isn’t doing much better and Pagan must be enjoying beating up on the Cubs.  Hopefully we pull this one out but currently down 4-1)

cotton candy.pngLooks like the woman behind me in this photo was excited about the cotton candy too.  She’s taking one to go. : )  Oh, and yes….there was gambling.

Hit every single casino on the strip from the Encore to Circus Circus.  Had a blast.  While I was there, I figured, hey, we bet slots and tables.  Time to bet sports book?  Absolutely!  Wednesday morning I decided to bet on the Cubs vs. Nationals game.  The Nationals are a joke as every knows.  Then again, our bullpen hasn’t faired much better this season.  Here I am making my first Cubs bet of the week.  That’s right.  “First”.

2nd bet fingers crossed.pngI decided that because the bullpen has been having issues, I would give Harden the benefit of the doubt against the Nationals and bet what they call the fifth inning proposition.  I’m not a sports better generally so this was all knew to me.  I could’ve bet on how many runs they’d score, who would win overall, through the 5th inning etc.  So I decided to bet that the Cubs would lead at the end of five innings avoiding a bullpen collapse altogether.  This was a tough call though knowing how many walk offs and late inning wins there are in baseball…did I want to bet all 9?  Nope, go with Harden and that’s that.  So I watched the five innings (to my new wife’s displeasure since it was our honeymoon) and I couldn’t believe it.  The Nats we
re up 1-0 for a while, into the 4th.  The Bradley hit a two run shot in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.  What a great position to be in right?  Just have to hold them through the top of the 4th and then I win!  My $10 (ten in honor of Ron Santo) bet would pay out about 3.75 and I’d make a few bucks while cheering on the Cubs!  Into the top of the 4th we go.

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Harden looks great.  Then a guy gets on first.  Passed ball…guy to second.  Uh-oh.  Base hit with two outs and wouldn’t you know it….one out away and I lose my bet.  2-2 at the end of five innings.  As usual…one out away…lose.

I placed that bet at New York, New York Hotel and Casino.  After a long day of kicking myself for not betting the whole game (the Cubs ended up winning the ballgame which I was happy about.  I’d rather them win and me lose than the other way around) we ended up at Paris, another casino on the strip.  Here we got a souvenir, yard tall eiffel tower shaped strawberry daquiri shown here:

ryan eiffel tower drink.pngNow, I am not a drinker.  So by the time I was done with this drink, I was pretty buzzed.  It was then that I decided the next morning I would bet on the Cubs again.  They’d be playing the Nationals and what are the odds they’d lose to the Nationals.  I mean, they already beat them once, why not again?  And with Wells pitching?  This year they win ALL THE TIME when Wells pitches (not really, but it feels that way).  And because I was buzzed, I decided tomorrow morning I’ll place another bet on the Cubs, this time for nine innings and for $30 dollars.  That way, I can make my money back that I lost the day before.  (Dangerous way of thinking in Vegas).  And so I did.  That morning I knew it was not a great strategy, but I was in Vegas on my honeymoon living it up, so why not do like Ernie said and:

2nd bet let's play two.png“Let’s play two!”  $30 down on the Cubs vs Nationals, Cubs to win at the end of the game mainly because it’s fun and Wells is pitching.  Here is the picture of the bet ticket:

2nd cubs bet ticket.pngIf I win, I get my 30 back, plus 13.60 which would put me where I would’ve been if I won the first bet.  Sweet.  Wells.  Nationals.  Bet it at Bill’s Saloon Casino in honor of Bill Veeck.  Guaranteed. 

Actually, no.  Nothing is guaranteed in Vegas.  No sure things.  Cubs lose.  Wells gets rocked early, down 5-0 early the Cubs could only battle back to 5-4 and I may have been robbed on a play at the plate where it looked like Lee was called out even though his hand appeared to hit the plate before the tag.  So there I was.  $40 lost on the Cubs.  Done?  Nope.  Still a 2:00pm game on Friday before I flew out…let’s make it a three game series for me the Cubs and the sports book!  Why not?

And then wait a second.  I started thinking….I wasn’t losing at the end of five innings on Wednesday’s bet.  At the end of five, the game was tied at 2-2.  Tie goes to the runner, right?  Shouldn’t tie in this case go to the gambler?  So I asked the sportsbook at the Flamingo what happens in the case of a tie and they said…… get your money back!!!!!  What?!?  I get my money back!!!!?!?!?!  Sweet!  Only thing was in order to get my money back I had to walk all the way back down the strip to get it at NY, NY!  Worth it to me!  SO…I placed my third bet of the week, this time on the Cubs to win, complete game against the Mets.  Lilly pitching at home against the NY Mess (injuries have ripped them apart this year)?  How could I miss?  So, $20 down on the Mets.   I let my 10 ride plus another ten.  Here is a picture of the third bet ticket:

3rd bet ticket.pngAnd here is a picture of me celebrating my tie on the first bet and the fact that I’d get my money back!

1st bet win discovery.pngConsidering I thought I had lost, this was very exciting!  And here I am after I got my $10 back from the betting window:

1st bet push $10 payout .pngNot a big drinker…and look at that smile after keeping $10.  Not a big gambler either.  You’d think I just won a couple hundred bucks.  This was cashed in at NY, NY so of course they had the Mets/Cubs game on in the sports area.  I went to check it out to see how my third bet was doing, a $20 spot on Lilly at home.  Here’s a shot of Bradley on the big screen there:

3rd be
t bradley on screen.pngAt this time the score was 1-1.  Time to go to the airport…I’d have to check in later on my phone to see how it turned out.  And as it turned out…Soriano goes deep with a three run shot in the eighth inning to give the Cubs the win 5-2!!!  I win!!!  So I had a tie, a loss and a win in my Cubs betting in Vegas.  A great, great time and it was fun making the Cubs a part of it.  Have to send my winning ticket into the Flamingo for my winnings, doing that this week.  Here is a picture of me at the airport when I realized my third bet was a winner:

3rd bet win discovery.pngA little scary, I know.  Oh well, it was exciting.  Unfortunately though the honeymoon was over (literally, not figuratively) hence this pathetic shot of me in the hotel room on the way out the door:

honeymoon over pout.png But was Vegas fun?  Absolutely.  In fact, I’d say Vegas is,

slots of fun.pngLooks like the Cubs are going to lose this one day.  Down to their final out.  Sucks…good thing I didn’t have money on this one!  Make that official…last out recorded.  Cubs lose today.  But what a great week.  For those of you who would like to see more photos of the wedding, reception and honeymoon, you can see a slideshow of photos one of the maids of honor took by clicking here.  Happy to share them with you!  Go Cubs Go!!!  Look forward to seeing them when they come to New York this weekend!


No Coffee for you Gregg


Did I know much about Gregg before the Cubs signed him?  Not really.  I knew he looked like a goon.  I knew he pitched for the Marlins.  I knew that he was coming in to replace a Cubs favorite.  I knew he’d be challenging Marmol for the closer job.  I knew he was the wrong choice.  I thought I knew Lou knew what he was doing.

And now here we are.  29 opportunities and six blown saves later, the goon who is not Wood nor Marmol is blowing are shot at ’09.  Killed me to wake up and see that the Cards beat the Dodgers last night.  Unbelievable.  Pujols is having an unreal year, the Cards are soaring and here we are, doing our best to simply keep up.  We do pretty well, he hand it over to our closer in the toughest sitch a closer can be in…the one run lead.

Goon gets to one strike away.  Boom.  Blown save.  Boom.  3 run walkoff for the Padres.  The same Padres who hurt us by not beating the Cards in their previous series have shown up once again to hurt us by beating us directly.  The same Padres franchise that crushed us in ’84.  I hate the Padres.  Especially right now.  More so though, I hate Gregg.

Lou, enough already.  Borrow Gregg’s goon goggles if you have to.  Please see that he is not the guy for the ninth.  It’s amazing that fans have been saying it all year yet here we are, in August, and you’ve still got that goon blowing saves.  I know, I know.  After last night you FINALLY said maybe you’ll make a switch as to how you handle the late innings.  That would be great and about time.    You finally made some changes in the lineup and we did marginally better.  Make the change to Marmol, sit Gregg altogether if you have to and move Guzman to the eighth.  At least if you decide to throw Gregg in the seventh we have a shot at making up the runs he gives up.  I swear, nothing upsets me more than seeing L – Gregg in the pitching results.  L – Gregg?  So wait….we were up and that goon blew it AGAIN!?!  Drives me nuts.

The Cardinals are no joke this year.  The Cubs aren’t a joke, but we’re grasping at straws here.  Our line up can’t hit when it matters.  Our starting pitchers can’t stay healthy.  Our closer can’t close.  And our fans can’t hold on to their beer.  Enough already.

I feel like I need to put this clip up for Gregg.  No coffee for you Gregg.  Coffee’s for closers. 

Unbelievable.  Come on Lou.  Enough already.  Gregg doesn’t deserve these leads.

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NEW FEATURE: Prosecards from Cubs Nation!


What’s up Cubs fans!  I remember writing a post last year about how ‘we’ll always have Pittsburgh’.  Seems as if that feeling and situation still rings true.  I didn’t get a chance to watch today’s game as I was up to my eyeballs in work today, but I did have a chance to follow it on-line.  When I saw a four run first inning, I thought, wow it’s about time.  Let’s see how this goes.  See if Wells can hold ’em and maybe we’ll actually beat a team when we have more hits than they do.  And then…BOOM….a 10 run 2nd inning!  What!?!?  10 RUNS?  Unreal. 

That’s the kind of thing you like to see when you check in from work on the ballgame.  The days are long enough without sending me a final game score that shows Gregg as the losing pitcher or the fact that the Cubs were blown out.  A 10 run inning is exactly what you need to get you through a miserable afternoon!  Fukudome, Lee (7 RBI!) and the gang doing their thing today and Pittsburgh plays victim to another Cub on-slaught.  Awesome. 

I wasn’t the only one enjoying it either….one of Prose and Ivy’s most loyal readers took great joy in the outcome as well.  She goes by the name of ‘Abracadabra’ and is often found chatting with me and other fans here during Cubs games.  A few of you have really stepped up and stood out as enthusiastic readers and Cubs fans over the past year and a half year and because of the great fans I’m meeting with this blog I decided to add a new feature to Prose and Ivy.  It’s all about Cubs fans and showcasing some of the team’s biggest fans.  This week’s interview is with Abracadabra in a new feature I like to call “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”.  Check out the feature’s debut here with Abracadabra in the lead off spot!

Prose and Ivy Reader and Cubs Fan showcased: Abracadabra


Hey Prose! Here's my profile; can't wait to see the interviews up on your blog. Keep the posts coming!!
Name: Abracadabra

Why the Cubs are your favorite team: To put it in two words: CUBS
NATION.  We're all in this together, win or lose. It's singing "Go Cubs
Go" with 40,000 of your closest friends after a Cubs victory. It's
going to a Cubs road game and having several thousand Cubs fans
cheering alongside you.
It's been a hundred and one years, but when we do win it all, it will
be the greatest celebration ever. No fan of any other team can claim
that. None of us became Cubs fans because it was easy, but I wouldn't
give it up for anything.

Favorite Cubs memory: June 29th, 2007. Cubs vs. Brewers at Wrigley
Field. Rich Hill gives up five runs in the first inning, but the Cubs
chip away and enter the bottom of the ninth trailing by two runs. With
one out, there are runners on first and third and the Cubs get a run on
D-Lee's sac fly. We're down to our last out, and the tying run is only
on first.. Aramis steps up to bat, and hits Francisco Cordero's first
pitch into the left field bleachers for a walk off win. Greatest game
I've ever been to- Wrigley Field was a madhouse.
Favorite current Cub: Ryan Theriot

Favorite all-time Cub: Ernie Banks

Your dream Cub line up: Derrek Lee 1B, Ryne Sandberg 2B, Aramis Ramirez
3B, Ernie Banks SS, Billy Williams LF, Hack Wilson CF, Andre Dawson RF,
Jody Davis C, Fergie Jenkins P

How would you celebrate a Cubs championship?: My dream is to be in the
stands at Wrigley Field, or at least in Wrigleyville, but I don't know
what the probability is of either of those happening. Wherever I am, it
will be a combination of shouting/cheering/crying/waving my W flag and
hi-fiving/hugging anyone who's close by. I can't even imagine how
exciting it will be- you know, like all the years of heartbreak have
finally paid off.

Most feared opposing batter: Albert Pujols

Most feared opposing pitcher: Tim Lincecum

You can either sing during the seventh inning stretch or call a half
inning, which would you rather do and why?
Call a half inning. Singing
in front of 40,000 is not my thing.

One thing you would change about Wrigley Field: Ticket prices. 

One thing you would change about the game of baseball: Get rid of the DH in the American League.

You're having dinner in the Cubs clubhouse and can invite any four
Cubs, living or dead.  Who would you invite and why?
Jake Fox, he seems
like he is a really nice, down to earth guy. He also played with my
cousin (Kevin Slowey) in the Arizona Fall League. Ryan Theriot. He's my
favorite player! Ernie Banks, he's Mr. Cub!! Ryne Sandberg, another
Cubs great and Hall of Famer. 

Do you believe the Cubs are cursed?  Yes or no and why? NO. Curses are
just excuses. Baseball is determined by the players on the field.

More vital to the Cubs' success...Zambrano's bananas or the back up Gatorade machine? Got to go with the bananas.

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Soriano that he is never going
to lead off for the Cubs again.  What do you say?
Sorry Alfonso, we
need you in the lineup, but we need you batting in the sixth hole. It's
best for the team, and we could use your power lower in the order.
You're best suited to bat around the middle of the order, so we want to
utilize that. 

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Kerry Wood that he'll never
pitch for the Cubs again.  What do you say?
I wish I wasn't the one to
tell you this, but the team has decided to move on with another closer.
I know how much you would have liked to end your career with the Cubs.
Please understand that the fans didn't want this to happen, and you
will always be welcome in Chicago.

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Carlos Marmol that despite
being the fan favorite and most dominating pitcher on the roster to
compete for the closer, the job is going to Kevin Gregg.  What do you
You've had a great spring Carlos, and I know your goal was to win
the closer's spot, but we've decided to give the job to Kevin Gregg.
I'm not saying Gregg is the better pitcher, all it is, is that we're
giving you the 8th inning role which can be just as important. In fact
there's more flexibility for the team if you're not going to close,
since we can bring you in to get out of a jam in the 7th inning if we

You are Steve Bartman.  You have the opportunity to see the Cubs play
in the postseason at Wrigley Field and potentially close out the NLCS
making your way to the World Series.  However, you are warned that
either you, or the guy next to you is going to make a decision that
night that will make you one of the most hated Cubs fans in the history
of the game.  50-50 shot.  Do you go to the game?
No... If you go your
life may be in danger, and you'd always be hated by Cubs fans, even
though you're one of them. 
Disclamer: I don't hold Steve Bartman responsible for the Cubs collapse.

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?
My advertising slogan would be a
movie trailer for the 2010 season starring the players in various
roles: Aramis Ramirez: "The RBI Machine", Carlos Zambrano "The
Venezuelan Bull", Ryan 'The Riot' Theriot "The Sparkplug", Derrek Lee
"Veteran Leader". And of course, soundtrack by Steve Goodman.
"For the last hundred years, every season, every playoff berth has been
nothing more than an unfinished chapter in a long, sad book... but with
handful of determined players and a veteran leader, the whole story may
be rewritten."
Believe- A Lou Piniella Film, coming April 2010

Awesome to hear from Abracadabra!  Thanks again Abracadabra for leading off in the new Prose and Ivy feature spot!  17-2 win today.  Good things happen when Wells pitches lately.  And playing Pittsburgh sure doesn’t hurt!  Can’t wait to have Z and Lilly at full strength again.  Rami back at full strength would be a true blessing as well.  We won’t be playing the Pirates everyday, need to get as much fire power going as possible in rounding out this season…and it’ll be September before you know it!  I know we’re supposed to beat teams like the Pirates so it’s good that we do, because so is everyone else.  Now we need to keep this up AND figure out how to stay competitive and take series from true contenders.

If you want to be featured as a Prosecard from Cubs Nation and do a fan interview to be posted here at Prose and Ivy to share with other Cubs fans, please email me at and I’ll send you the questions to answer!  Thanks again Abracadabra!  Go Cubs Go!

Make that ‘See-Saw’


Once again, following a strong one run win by the Cubs, they follow it up with being on the wrong end of a blow out.  I think Wells has been great for this team this year but today the Rockies proved to be too much for him.  The amount of wins he’s collected for us and the recent innings he’s eaten up have made him one of our most valuable Cubs this year.  And now with Zambrano out with spasms, who knows how much more we’ll need to get out of him.  We might have to keep asking for too much from the youngster in order to keep up the W’s while the L’s seem to keep chugging along aside them.

Two games behind the Cards now as neither team has really been able to take advantage of the other’s mediocrity.  I have to feel like the Cardinals are a little closer to having it together though and the Cubs need to find a way to be more consistent.  Ironically, that’s been the one constant through the entire season.  There’s a reason why when people say ‘at least I’m consistent’ after they make another mistake they are joking and making light of a bad situation.  Unfortunately the numbers don’t lie and it’s going to be hard for the Cubs to make light of a situation that could end up with them quickly falling to the middle of the pack in the Central if the Cardinals do prove to be the team closer to having it together in upcoming weeks.

I feel like this team has been kept together by duct tape, gauze and bandages all season long.  It still blows my mind that we’re two games back even without having all our guys on the field most of the year.  It’s been this weird game of watching the 15 day DL rotate throughout the year and a stressful one at that.  I need to research and find out how many games each of the guys have missed this year.  Hard to wonder where we’d be had we been able to stay healthy.  I’ve thought losing DeRosa has had a big impact on this team this year, but DeRo or no DeRo, he’d have no influence on guys staying healthy.

The latest lineups have been entertaining though and I like that Piniella isn’t afraid to try new things and look for the fix.  Fukudome’s been fairly consistent no matter where in the line up and I like what he’s doing with Soriano.  Lee has turned it around and is pushing towards having another 30 HR 100 RBI season.  Having Rami out with a sore shoulder is scary as we saw what a force he was for the Cubs run production when he returned to the lineup.

Hopefully Piniella and the staff are wise in how they use everyone going forward.  Need guys as healthy as possible going into September which is exactly what we’ll be heading into come the end of Zambrano’s stay on the DL.  And hopefully that will translate into more consistency and less of a see-saw performance from the team to round out the year.  Two games back.  Time to tighten it up.

Go Cubs Go!
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Gimme an All-Star Break!

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Three and half games back at the break.  Could be a lot worse considering how often we’ve had our starting lineup in there.  Regardless…it’s really not that bad of a place to be at the break so regarding what to focus on, how about: congratulations again Ted Lilly for being selected to represent the Chicago Cubs in the All-Star game tomorrow night.  As usual nowadays, home field advantage in the Series is on the line and really, the American league has won far too many of these games lately.  Let’s go National League, let’s get that W tomorrow night!

Watching the derby now, they’re up to Pena first round.  I decided I’m taking Mauer before this thing started and I’m sticking to it.  We’ll see!  St. Louis is a great park for this event…division rivals or not, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of damage Pujols does in front of his home crowd. 
In celebration of the All-Star break, I finally got my parade photos from last year when the Cubs had eight all-stars on the roster!  Here are the photos I was able to rip from my phone.  They are phone pics mind you, so that should explain the quality.  Enjoy the pics, enjoy the derby and let’s hopefully enjoy watching Lilly get the W in a National League win tomorrow night!
Kosuke Fukudome and “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks
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Ryan Dempster
ryan dempster parade.jpg
Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins
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Ryne Sandberg
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Geovany Soto
geo parade.jpg
Alfonso Soriano
soriano parade.jpg
Go Cubs Go!  Let’s get that home field advantage, National League!
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I’m Lovin’ It


No, it’s not a McDonald’s advertisement.  Simply my response to Game one of today’s doubleheader against the Cards.  Z threw a gem and even hit a home run.  Talk about the talent out weighing the crazy!

I don’t root for anyone to fail, but I must admit I enjoyed watching Pujols botch that grounder today allowing two Cubs runs to score.  He’s catching Obama’s first pitch to start the All-Star Game festivities.  Hopefully that one doesn’t get through as well.
Game two tonight, can’t wait.  Pulled within 2 1/2 with the win.  Would be great to go out 1 1/2 out come the break at the end of the night.  Lilly will see an inning or two over the next couple days, everyone else will get some much needed rest.  But first, we need to pick up another game against the Cards tonight.  Wells on the mound and this kid is hot!  Let’s hope he adds another win to his streak….and let’s hope Piniella enforces the ‘use the stairs’ rule…we don’t need any more stupid injuries like Demp’s.
Also feeling good about pledging to fellow MLBlogger Zack Hample‘s charity effort for Pitch In For Baseball.  Arguably the BEST ball hawk in the game, Zack is snagging baseballs for charity.  You can pledge a certain amount per ball snagged (your choice) and at the end of the World Series, your donation makes it possible for kids all over the world to enjoy, and at time, be introduced to the game of baseball.  Sounded like a great cause to me after hanging out with Zack today, so I’m on board!  You can be too by clicking here!
Mark Newman of, Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres and now your friendly neighborhood Cubs blog Prose and Ivy are all helping make a difference…what are you waiting for?  Click the link above and support a great cause!
Beat those Cards tonight Cubbies…Go Cubs Go!
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$900 million Doesn’t Go Very Far These Days


Tribune Co. and the Ricketts family have allegedly reached an agreement on terms that would allow the Tribune Co. to sell the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25% share of ComCast SportsNet Chicago to the Ricketts.  This of course pending approval by MLB and a court of law considering Tribune has filed for Chapter 11.  

$900 million doesn’t go very far these days if all you can get are the Cubs, Wrigley and a share of SportsNet.  I’m kidding of course.  I just can’t imagine having access to that much money.  My girlfriend bought a new car a week ago committing to $20,000 over the next 6 years and she was like, OMG, I can’t believe I just committed to $20,000 over the next 6 years.  
This cat Ricketts just committed to paying around $900 million dollars for an unbelievable prize he won in an auction bid.  This guy makes following a $10 Cubs tee shirt on Ebay seem like a joke.  Remember those old Mastercard commercials that always ended in something being ‘priceless’?  The amount of Cubs lore and history the Ricketts will own, the events that have happened inside the walls of Wrigley are priceless…but apparently the same can’t be said for the actual physical being that the Cubs and Wrigley are.  If you ever catch yourself saying that Wrigley is priceless, stop and rephrase because it definitely has a price….about $900 million.  
This also goes to show though what a business this is to guys like Ricketts.  The total disconnect between owners and fans and the reality in which both live in.  No wonder some of the more expensive seats are empty around baseball.  They are meant to sit people like you and I, only they’re owned by guys like Ricketts.  Ricketts could throw away once worn pants with the amount of money it would cost for you and I to buy a field level CBOE seat for one game.  He and the rest of the baseball owners, I feel, will never get what it takes for baseball fans to attend a game themselves, let alone bring their family.  This is all of course, just a guess.  I don’t know Ricketts personally.  Maybe he’ll be different.  Maybe he’ll get it.  Maybe it won’t all just be about the money.  We’ll see.  What I do know is this.  My girlfriend committed to a $20,000 and is all about watching her pennies and budget in this economy.  You think a guy who just dropped $900 million on a purchase isn’t going to be thinking business first in a ‘how on Earth am I going to be able to make these payments’ kind of way? I’d be surprised if he wasn’t.  New ownership is coming.  A new day is on it’s way.  The future may hold the ultimate prize for the Cubs someday, sure.  But it’s the unknown of what we get with this rich cat Ricketts that worries me more.  $900 million, huh?  Time to go turn my change in at TD Northbank.  I’m thinking of splurging on lunch.
Cubs/Braves tonight from Ricketts Field, er, Wrigley Field.  Let’s keep the W flag flying high!  Go Cubs Go!
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Bare Minimum


Ted Lilly.

That’s it.  One All-Star for the Cubs this year.  This of course does not include injury replacements and of course the fans will get to vote in the final reserve.  I supposed there’s a chance a Cub could end up being included in either.  But for today in the offical All-Star selections by fans, by players and by managers one Cub is included and that was Ted Lilly.
Every team gets at least one representative.  A pity all-star if you will.  If you don’t think that this year’s team is far inferior to that of last year, simply look at this year’s all-star roster versus last year.  I went to the All-Star game parade in New York last year and there were over half a dozen Cubs on the team.  Felt like after the all-time legends came by, every other car had a Cub in it.  This year, no one is dominant in a Cub jersey when compared to the rest of the National League.  Marquis is even an all-star this year.  I swear, if the NL’s potential home field advantage in the Series comes down to some all-star battle between someone on the American League team (looking at the lineups, probably a Yankee or Red Sox player) versus Jason Marquis, I will be incredibly bummed.  I can’t believe this.  The only thing worse would’ve been having DeRo on the All-Star team as an Indian or Cardinal.  
Almost at the break and we’re 3 games out.  We’ll get Rami, Reed and Guzzie back on Monday.  Hopefully that helps.  Last year’s playoff sweep of a loss to LA hurts even more so looking back at where we were last October and where we are today in July.  Last year’s team was MUCH better than this year’s and the expectations were rightfully high.  If this year’s team wins the Central again I’ll be surprised, let alone make any noise in the playoffs.  Maybe it’s simply the injury bug being a little thirstier this year around the Cubs dugout?  I don’t know.  But I see, baseball people see it and overall the fans see it.  This Cubs team is not as good as last year, nobody is performing where they were at last year and as a result I feel increasingly stronger that if we had a shot at winning it all, last year was the year.  This year’s team, there’s just something off.
Way to go baseball fans, not voting in Sori or Fukudome based on name and reputation alone.  Vote in the proper guys.  Congratulations to Ted Lilly.  Having a decent season and well deserves to represent the Cubs in the All-Star game a week and a half from now.
One Cub on the NL All-Star roster versus last year’s dominant population of Cubbies.  Pathetic.  But accurate and deservedly so.  The fans got it right in their lack of Cubbies this year.  Let’s hope the second half of the season is much different than the first for the rest of the roster and that Lilly keeps it up.
Are you happy with the NL and AL rosters?  Anyone get snubbed in your opinion?  Disagree with me with regards to the Cubs?  Agree?  Let me know.  Cubs/Brewers in a few minutes from now.  Lilly on the mound.  Can’t wait.
Go Cubs Go!
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Mark My Words


Mark DeRosa will come back to haunt the Chicago Cubs.  No doubt about it.  Having him shipped out and sent to the American League is one thing.  Having him in the division rival’s line-up is another.  Happy for Mark that he’s no longer in the basement of the AL Central.  Interested to see how this plays out in the NL Central come the end of the season.  

Mark DeRosa is a Cardinal.  Makes me even more upset that the Cubs let him go in the first place.

Go Cubs Go!

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Bang for Your Buck


I want to know if your team gives you enough bang for your buck.  And by ‘buck’ I mean it in a number of different ways.  The financial investments: tickets, merchandise and maybe some of you like myself with the Cubs, a way to watch the games like  The emotional investment: the time spent watching games, the energy put into rooting for your team, the mental effort put into analyzing the decisions your manager or general manager make with your club and the amount of heart put into celebrating your team’s victories/agonizing over defeats/arguing with fans of other teams, especially rivals over whose team is better.

Take the Cubs for instance.  You arguably can’t get more bang for your buck.  The moment a new title pennant flies at Wrigley, the Cubs would be the team that give its fans more bang for their buck than any other team in baseball.  The history: huge.  The drama: unmatched.  The stadium: historic.  The reputation their fans have with other fans: lovable losers…basically bottom of the barrel, respected yet bashed with glee (especially by their rivals’ fans).  The players…just to name a few: Soriano.  Ignites Cubs games on a regular basis with leadoff home runs.  Regular representative of the team come the All-Star game.  Raises the heat on debates on where in the order he should hit.  Carries himself like a professional and makes Cubs fans proud to root for him.  Bang for your buck?  Absolutely.  

Theriot.  Awesome nickname: The Riot.  Awesome first name: Ryan.  It is my name and sounds like Sandberg’s first name.  Hard to go wrong there.  Hustles on every hit ball and is among team leaders in all hitting categories.  Helping carry this team during a very tough stretch where extremely important keys to the team’s success have been injured.  Bang for your buck?  You bet.  

Bradley.  Controversial off the bat (pun intended) which is always entertaining providing lots of bang for the buck.  A huge threat when hitting well and finally in a long term deal, first of his career.  Love hate relationship with the fans….love hate relationship with the media…love hate relationship with…I’m guessing you name it.  Bang for your buck?  Possibly only Zambrano tops Bradley for most interesting character on this team.  

Lee.  Batting champ on the resume.  Team leader.  Scapegoat.  Absolutely dangerous when he hits his stride.  Hoffpauir hot on his trail causing fan debate as to whether it’s time to let Micah take the role full-time away from Lee.  Talented, hot topic, leader in the clubhouse and proven winner.  Bang for your buck?  Please, absolutely.  

Soto.  Rookie of the Year.  Sophomore slump.  First rookie catcher to start an all-star game in forever.  Handles one of the most talented starting rotations in all of baseball and from what I’ve read on several female Cubs fan blogger sites…apparently the ladies are big fans as well.  Bang for your buck?  YUP.  

Fukudome.  Please.  From the off-season where all we could talk about as Cubs fans was will he-won’t he up through opening day against the Brewers at Wrigley to the cool headbands, through the hot first half of his rookie season to the crash of his second half and a decent start to ’09.  Plus you know the club must be thrilled with what he does for the organization in overseas merch and interest in the club.  Bang for your buck?  Tons…and bang for your yen as well for that matter.
The bench. This is where you really tell if you’ve got a team that gives you bang for your buck, or just a few over-priced stars and everyone else who happens to dress the same as them everyday.  The Cubs’ bench has managed to step up and keep our team in the thick of the NL Central race and provided fans with quality guys to root for.  This bench as a whole has become the 2009 version of DeRosa when it comes to heart, versatility and ability to step  up and fill in in a crunch when injuries happen.  Without our talented bench, the Cubs would be in a lot of trouble right now heading into the the thick of Summer.  Bang for your buck?  Over and over again (thankfully). 

Zambrano, Harden, Lilly, Dempster, Marshall.  You bring your guys and we’ll bring ours.  I like our chances, injuries, ups and downs and all.  Bang for your buck?  No matter what day it is, you got it.  Especially Zambrano.  Bananas.  Cramps.  Tantrums.  Strikeouts.  Opening day starts.  No hitter.  Team Ace.  Beating up catchers in the dugout.  And a ton of heart.  Bang for your buck?  Maybe the definition of said phrase.  
Like I said…this club could arguably be the one team in the league that provides the most bang for your buck.  And I’ll go ahead and say it flat out, I believe they do just that…and there is no argument to be had come the day they raise a new World Series title pennant.
Cubs fans…think of a reason this is true that I forgot to list?  Tell me in the comments.  And fans of other teams who disagree and believe that their team in fact gives them and their team’s fans more bang for your buck…tell me their too.  Interested to hear your thoughts.
Great run lately for the Cubs.  Love the fight we’re seeing and loving that with even with all the injuries, we are right in the thick of this thing.  Harden’s turn tomorrow in Detroit.  And since I mentioned Ryne earlier…as a side note, I completely agree Ryno.  Completely agree. Go Cubs Go!
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As Long as the Talent Outweighs the Crazy


Zambrano notched his 100th win yesterday in his first game back from serving a six game suspension.  In the game he earned the suspension, he went off reality-tv-star style on the umpire, bumped the umpire, threw a ball into left field (maybe to see if Soriano was paying attention?) and proceeded to enter the dugout and destroy the Gatorade machine.  Reporters were calling him crazy.  A headcase.  Out of control.

Perhaps that day he was a crazy headcase out of control and the dugout was all out of bananas to boot.
But as it is with many things in life, if the pros outweigh the cons then all’s well that ends well.  Like dating.  Do you know how many crazy women I have dated in my life?  In all honesty, not that many.  However, the ones that were crazy also had to be incredibly attractive.  Otherwise, why in the world would one put up with the crazy?
That may sound horrible to some people and I don’t mean it to be taken the wrong way.  They weren’t crazy all the time, but often.  And there had to be pro’s to the relationship that outweighed the crazy moments…otherwise…we’re done.  Being attractive didn’t hurt and the relationship lasted as long as the pro’s outweighed the crazy (con’s).
That’s pretty much what the Cubs have in Zambrano.  A crazy hot headcase.  And his pro’s definitely outweigh his cons.  
The guy went off and got a six game suspension.  First game back, he homers in a game his team won 2-1 which makes his run the difference in the game arguably, struck out seven, dominated throughout and notched his 100th victory in a Cubs uniform.  And with great timing too.  This team has been up and down all season long with the injuries and headaches along the way.  When Zambrano was suspended six games, ultimately since he’s a starter we only really lose him one game due to the pitcher rotation.  But still, we need Z this season more than ever.  Our bench isn’t as deep and our performance has more holes in it than the team’s previously used Gatorade machine.  When it’s Z’s turn to pitch, in order for us to have a shot this year. we have to get the W.  And that’s exactly what Z delivered yesterday.  His turn.  His game.  Our W.
Is Zambrano the most mentally stable player on the team?  I don’t know, I haven’t really spent any time with any of them one-on-one or in person for that matter.  From what I’ve seen on TV and in the news and during games?  I’d say no, he’s not.  But does that necessarily make him a hinderance?  I don’t hear anyone complaining about wins.  And aside from the dugout refreshment coordinator, I don’t see anyone having a whole lot else to complain about.  So no.  Zambrano’s talent definitely outweighs the crazy…and it’s June, which is usually where a tantrum kicks us into gear.  So let the ump-bumping and gatorade smashing be appreciated I say.  Until he starts returning with ground outs and L’s…then and only then would he possibly no longer be attractive enough to us Cubs fans to be acting so crazy.
(And since fans of other teams read this blog as well, I’d really be interested to hear who your team’s crazy hot headcase is and if you think they’re truly ‘attractive’ enough to be deal with all of their ‘crazy’!)
Go Cubs Go!
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May I Have a Minute of Your Time?

Hey, hey there Cubs fans, it’s me your friendly neighborhood Gatorade dispenser.
Make that, your not so friendly Cubs dugout Gatorade dispenser.
Gone are the days when pitchers would beat up catchers to take out their frustrations.  I’ve never missed Barrett more than I have recently, that’s for sure.  A quick message to the Cubs: I am not the reason you are a hot mess right now.  Not one bit and I’d appreciate it if you would please STOP beating the crap out of me to make yourselves feel better.
Eight losses in a row and then two W’s.  Probably six more to follow to match the previous eight that’s how unpredictable and consistently inconsistent you guys have been.  And now Z get’s suspended six games…for bumping the umpire.
Um, excuse me…didn’t anyone happen to catch what he did to me?!?!  Hello?
And how about you Demp…how’s that pitching hand feel after punching the CRAP out of me, huh?  Feel better now?  Think busting up your hand on my lightning rod logo is going to help things?  Is that listed in your book o’ tricks “How to get out of a horrible rut”?  Don’t think so.
Maybe a little less time getting suspended and losing your crap and a little more time getting timely hits, knocking in some runs and striking some opposing batters out.  
I mean, I’m not one to throw folks under the bus, but how about we look around and suggest a few other potential punching bags in the dugout to take your frustrations out on?  How about Soto, maybe a backhand upside the head will knock some sense into his sophomore slump of a season.  How about a quick right to Lee…maybe be Hoffpauir even…take Lee’s spot and in receiving your first sign from Sweet Lou, your first action is smacking Lee upside his head to maybe rattle something inside that head of his in a place that makes hitting for power and average happen?
Speaking of Sweet Lou, how about since June is coming up, somebody rough up Lou a bit and shake out one of his famous quarter of the way through the season tantrums that always seems to light a fire under your behinds and get those W’s piling up?  We’ve seen it before and we win with a bench coach filling in for Lou’s managing….hard to win with our team relying on tantrums from Z, Lilly and potential injury causing moves by Dempster to try and light a fire.  C’mon Lou, you and I say hi at least a dozen times a game…slug down some ‘ade, cleanse that pallet and get out there and light a fire, man!
I love being in the Cubs dugout.  I dream of a day where I get poured out on someone in celebration of a Cubs World Series.  I’ve already been repaired once this season and this beating Z gave me was WAY over the top.  I want to be here for you guys, but I can’t continue like this.  I’m happy to do my part, but please go back to beating up each other and leave me out of it.  In fact, run around the bases so many times we’re destroying teams like the Cardinals and Brewers or please, stick to destroying each other to light that fire and then come see me for a cold beverage after you’ve both come to and the team is on a tear, ripping up the Central.
This team is better than this.  We couldn’t have been held together by Rami and DeRo last year, right?  It’s time you guys step it up and use that energy in a productive way.  Let’s start with the Dodgers.  And most importantly, please stop hitting me.  Hit the Dodgers, hit the Dodgers pitching, hit each other, hit the bars in Wrigleyville.  Whatever it takes.  But please, more W’s and less bats and fists to me.  I’m not the reason you’re losing.  Figure it out fast though because if I have to listen to the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates dispensers gloat about how awful we are one more time…I’m going to grab one of those bats myself and there’s no telling what might happen then.
In tribute to the NBA playoffs…get the W’s this weekend and beat L.A.!  (And it’s hit parade.  Not hit gatorade, for crying out loud).  Go Cubs Go!
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Better L8 than never


The Cubs are working on their 8 game losing streak as I write this.  Let me rephrase that, hopefully they’re working on ending this 8 game losing streak.  Sitting five games back right now and have recently decided that they’ll lose to the Pirates too.  As my girlfriend just said: “They should stop sucking.”  They should.  

I don’t know how long it’ll take for them to start the stopping but it needs to happen fast.  I knew when I wrote my last post that things didn’t look good, but c’mon.  I didn’t see this coming.  Who did?  Any of you?  
I can’t believe our rotation is going round and round losing back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back games like this.  Ok, fine not all of them were the starters’ fault, but still.  We’re supposed to be good to go in the bullpen too so no excuses there.  Hopefully the streak column in the standings stops at L8 and after tonight we get the long time coming W1.  L8 stinks, but at least with a win we can stop the bleeding.  I mean it’s Pittsburgh, right?  I remember writing blogs last year like “We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh”.  Not enough has happened between then and now to change it so drastically…has it?  Come on Cubbies, let’s get that W!
Go Cubs Go!
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How good are we?


Today on Twitter I put it out there that the Cubs would sweep this series from the Cardinals.  So much for that.

Forget should be, could be, would be.  How good ARE we?  Honestly, maybe not that good.
Sure, healthy I think we could be unstoppable.  But this is the major leagues, who wouldn’t be unbelievable at full strength?
It is what it is.  Here’s what it is:
HITTING Cubs ranking across the entire National League:
Batting Avg .252 tied for 11th
SLG Avg .427 ranked 5th
OBP .339 ranked 7th
SO 268 ranked 7th
BB 144 ranked 7th
HR 46 ranked 4th
Hits 312 ranked 13th
Stolen bases 20 ranked 11th
Games 37 (fewest in the NL)
So what are we looking at here.  We’ve played the fewest games in the NL so we don’t have the at-bats the other teams have.  Yet, the at-bats we have had have only been so productive.  Two-thirds of the National League has a better batting average than we do.  About 80% of the league has more hits than we do.  Yet, our walks are up there in the top ten putting our OBP up there in the top ten as well. We’re getting on base and showing above average patience.  Not quite enough in the results category though and somehow while our patience has been rewarded at times with plenty of walks, over half the NL is either more patient than we are overall or are swinging at better pitches than we are as we rank 7th in the NL in strikeouts.  Soriano and Lee of course may step forward, they surely help in that category (Soriano leads the team with 36), but overall, this is an issue.  The key problem with the team so far as far as I can tell by just taking a quick look at the numbers is well displayed in using Soriano as an example in that Soriano also leads the team in home runs, hits, doubles (tied with Fukudome), runs, RBI’s and total bases.  
Can he be amazing some nights? Yeah.  Is he sometimes awful?  Well, yeah.  Does that make him good?  Um…at times?  But certainly no better than that.  And that’s pretty much where the team is performing as a whole.  Lots of moments where we look brilliant and then plenty of examples of ‘wait, what?’  Injuries happen to everyone…every team.  No single player ever won the World Series.  This is a team sport.  So let’s just forget about injury bugs for a while…our bench and back up guys are just as important as the starters.  Their at-bats count just as equally.  They cross home plate, it counts as a run just as it does a starter.  If they fly out, no breaks there.  No half outs.  No mercy rule for bench/support guys.  It is what it is.  And right now, this team…from marquis starter to last guy on the roster, this team isn’t very good. Not often enough anyway.
Thirty seven games in.  21-16, three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.  That’s what happens when you have a stat sheet that looks like the one listed above.  Starters or supporting players, this team has to get more consistent.  Tonight’s three hit display was pathetic and I agree with a lot of Cubs fans in that we could be sitting pretty right now 20% of the way through the season if we had that fire night in and night out.  I don’t think it’s there right now.  I do believe what I said in my last post that Piniella has done a great job keeping us in the thick of things considering that we’re not at full strength.  Problem is, those that do get to play must get more consistent.  Otherwise, we’re not that good of a ballclub.  At best, we’re ok.  And when was the last time a team that was just ok did anything special?  
Season’s still young but it can get away from you in a hurry.  Let’s hope the guys start hitting their stride, finding that patience at the plate and those that are struggling shake off the rust finally and really start contributing.  Otherwise, maybe it’s time to give some other guys a shot who make a difference on a consistent basis.  
Before I sign off here, let’s take a look at the pitching stats:
PITCHING Cubs ranking across the entire National League:
ERA 4.50 ranked 10th
Wins 21 ranked 4th (behind two others in our own division, Cards and Brewers)
Saves 9 tied for 8th
Hits 293 ranked 15th
ER 163 ranked 8th
HR 45 ranked 2nd most
BB 151 ranked 6th
SO 308 ranked 1st
And yet again, there you go.  For every one thing we’re doing well, there’s something bringing us down to mediocrity.  Should, could, would…paper…forget it all.  This team is going to have to find a way to be much more consistent and develop in the areas they are lagging behind.  It’s up to Lou and the coaches to figure this thing out.  As far as I can tell, more patience at the plate, smarter pitch/swing selection, more control on the mound, keeping the ball down (when the opposition hits it, they are apparently hitting it a LONG way) and perhaps a change at closer is in order to bring this thing up to par.  
Should we be good?  Yes.  Could we be good?  Sure.  Love our roster on paper?  Me too.  Are we all that good?  Right now?  Not really.  Lucky to be three games out.  Let’s see how the rest of this series against the division rival Cardinals goes.  Would be a great time to really start throwing this thing in gear.  Go get ’em Demp. (oh, and as for which of these guys I think deserves an all-star vote as I promised in my last post?  Just one…Fukudome.  The rest, I’d have a hard time justifying so far).  Go Cubs Go!
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Are we there yet? YES!!!

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.
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Minnesota Twins (WC)
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland A’s
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers
1. New York Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants (WC)
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
Red Sox over Indians
Twins over Angels
Cubs over Giants
Mets over Dodgers
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!!!

The Great Debate – Why is this your team’s year?


Alright Cub fans, let me hear from you…your best argument to all other baseball fans as to why THIS YEAR is THE year that we finally claim another championship, our first since 1908!!  Fans of other teams…feel free to tell us why we’re crazy to think so…again.

Go Cubs Go!

A-Rod, You Disgust Me.


And yet, you don’t surprise me.

MLB can do nothing about evidence showing that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.  That is a shame.

It is a shame that we as fans are expected to root for cheaters.  Nearly 101 years of Cubs baseball without a World Championship.  Were we victims of cats, over zealous fans and straight up chokes…or an entire league filled with cheaters giving them the advantage over us.  Sosa would be the first Cub people would come up with as far as a player who may have used and they’d suggest that we too had our fair share of players that have used performance enhancing substances throughout the steroid era.  Cork has been proven, but that’s about it on Sosa.  No other Cub has really come up in these talks over the past few years yet I wouldn’t be surprised if some names turn up over time.  Of course Palmiero came up time and again and he spent some years as a Cub and I can’t say I’m positive no other Cub has ever used.  I just hope that the whole steroids-in-baseball-thing ends here with A-Rod.  And of course, anyone that hasn’t already been mentioned that may be listed among the other 103 players included in this, up until now, confidential testing from 2003.

Wouldn’t that be great.  Wouldn’t it be great if we’ve heard all the names, or at least have all the names, and we could put an end to doubting what we see before us.  To be able to believe in the purity of the achievements we see day in and day out on the field, throughout this season and every seasons that follows.  To know that whatever amazing stats are posted, were earned and achieved on pure physical ability and never doubted otherwise.  To know that once the Cubs hoist the trophy in the middle of Chicago in a World Series parade, that no Cub on the team cheated and the team earned it fair and square.  That would be a great thing.

As of now, I feel like these fluke occurrences (Bartman) and supernatural oddities (goat, cat) weren’t the only things that have provided Cub fans with heartache.  It’s these cheaters, like A-Rod.  Those who succumbed to the pressure of performing at a certain level that their bodies couldn’t deliver.  Those who felt the need to live up to contract deals that their overall ability could never justify.  Nearly 101 years of no titles for the Cubs, because of people like A-Rod.  Disgusting.  And MLB says they can’t do anything about it.

What a shame.

You know what though, on the other hand, so what.  We all know Bonds cheated and his records are forever tarnished.  Now, A-Rod, the guy that was supposed to pass Bonds and clear the top of the lists in the record books of asterisks comes with one giant, glaring one of his own.  MLB doesn’t have to do anything to A-Rod.  We already know he cheated and from now on, he’ll just be another cheater in baseball fans’ eyes.

To say steroids is a part of baseball is possibly a true statement, but it is a shame.  I suppose it’s also human nature to cheat and try to achieve as much as you can whether you have earned it or not.  You know what though, human nature also allows for those of us who are better than that, to decide to not go down that road and rise above it.  We can all think of things that would progress us further and faster in our own careers.  That doesn’t mean we have to do it.  You can be the top paid guy on the totem pole (maybe not $252 million) and still not give in to cheating.  It’s too bad all we have to play the game are imperfect human beings.  The game deserves better than that.  We as fans deserve better than that.  And MLB, as one of your biggest fans, right now I hope you realize that your response is as disgusting as A-Rod’s actions.  No action is not good enough.  You need to be better than that.

With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, Spring is on the way.  Hill and Wuertz have been sent away.  The team is nearly officially sold to the Ricketts family and naming rights, Peavy and the team’s official roster are still up in the air.  I have plenty to talk about regarding all of these things.  For today though, as a fan, baseball’s let me down again.  And for now, that’s all I really feel like saying.

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