Three days away…Wrigley Field…Game 1, NLDS.
This video sparked the stream of conciousness that follows. Please watch before reading.
Historically, aside from all the wins and losses and eliminations and playoffs and naming of a World Series champion this year…going forward the record books and baseball landscape are going to look a bit different as they are about to lose two of their East coast mainstays, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. One with simply a new building and one with not only a new building but a new name. Depending on how things go this weekend, as of end of day Sunday, Shea Stadium will cease to exist as the home of the New York Mets. As a kid who grew up on the East Coast, this is where I’ve seen most of the baseball games I’ve gone to. When I went to the game the other night I couldn’t help but feel sad that this place was no longer going to exist. You could tell fans around the ballpark were already thinking about the fact that Shea would no longer be around too. Hard not to with fans taking pictures for their own favorite memory spots inside and outside of the stadium, as well as the organization’s countdown to the final home game.
There’s a certain vibe that can be felt in a ballpark. Some don’t exactly share the same amount of history as others do. Either they haven’t been around as long or haven’t had the same amount of successful, memorable seasons as other teams have had in their ballparks. Wrigley and Fenway will now be the last two remaining stadiums from the OLD days. They are classics…historical landmarks in the fabric of the baseball society. With every new cookie-cutter stadium that is built and named after some stupid cell phone company or bank, the closer we get to losing a large part of what has made baseball what it is today. The venues that the game has been played in. Think about it. Some of you may have moved with your family at some time in your life. Left the house that you grew up in. Left the only home you and your family have ever known. It’s a sad thing to go through. I know because I’ve fought my family on them doing so for a long time now. I’m sure eventually it would be best for my parents to move out of the house that is now a little too big for them and its been a little selfish on my part to request that they stay. People say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a house. You’ll still be family no matter where your parents live and regardless of whether you’ll be able to go back to the only home you’ve ever known or not, it’s about where your family is that makes a house a home, not the actual house itself”. That may be true, but then why does it matter so much to so many that nothing does change and that you’re able to keep the same house forever? It’s because that’s where all your history lives and breathes. And as baseball fans, our fellow fans become our baseball family and our stadiums our baseball family’s home.
Root for a team long enough and you don’t even need to know the people around you at the ball game. Just the simple fact that you wear the same team colors and have laughed and cried at the same history of the team together is all that matters. When it comes to being a baseball fan, that’s what matters. The memories. And the memories will always be there. It just doesn’t feel the same though when you think about the fact that the tangible place in which those memories took place will be gone forever. And for baseball fans that have had to go through this around the country, it’s a very sad thing. Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium and every other ballpark that has been shut down over the years because it was simply to old and out of date to invest in and carry on, had fans that went through the same thing New York Yankees and New York Mets fans are going through now. The memories live on but the tangible home of those memories soon to be lost forever. That is a sad thing. One of the biggest necessary evils of the game I suppose. Let’s just hope Wrigley Field is never added to the list and that Cubs fans never have to experience this kind of loss.
Final score: Mets 7, Cubs 6. Will any of what occurred in the past four days matter come October? Who are the Cubs going to play in the NLDS? This race has been so entertaining, I don’t even want to be able to know the answer to that until after all the games end on Sunday.
By beating the Mets in the house the Amazin’s built, the Cubs clinched home field advantage throughout the NLCS. Now whether they make it that far remains to be seen. However, with the home field advantage Wrigley has been so far this year for the Cubs…that is definitely more great news this club can enjoy, in addition to repeating as NL Central champs, clinching the division on Saturday against the Cardinals.
The magic number is down to two. One win for the Cubs…one loss for the Brewers. That’s it. That’s all that is standing between the Cubs and a repeat title in the National League Central. 151 games played. 92 won. 59 lost. And at home, a record of 53-25. Tomorrow at Wrigley they get another opportunity to celebrate on the home field, for the 54th time this season…and if accompanied by a Brewers loss…this celebration will come with the division and another trip to the postseason…another chance to get to and win the World Series.
What an amazing game tonight. Dempster achieved his career high win count with 16 after failing to reach the mark in his last few starts. Soriano comes through as does Ramirez in extremely clutch situations. Marmol duels his way to lead the Cubs into the top of the ninth holding on to the lead. And in a classic battle of speed versus power, Wood defeats Fielder in a one-on-one battle of the NL Central titans to hold off the Brewers push and win the game 5-4 in front of an extremely excited Wrigley crowd.
Carlos Zambrano is the man.
Why ‘yikes’? First off, I can’t believe its been so long since I posted last. The past month and half was extremely stressful for a number of reasons and while I made sure to watch the games, read the box scores and follow the standings, it was hard to find the opportunities to talk about it all and share my thoughts about it on here. Things have settled down a little bit though, so it should be a bit easier to do so. Expect more posts and pitchers of beer handed out down the stretch. This season is turning out to be intense…
umpkins. A rock star. Work hard, play harder. Yet you know what beating and exhaustion he couldn’t take as long as his time as a rock star? Following the Cubs on a regular hard core basis. Oh sure, he’s still a die-hard fan, but he’s more watching the roller coaster from a far than actually sitting on it like he used to. No wonder…a .487 winning percentage since he entered the world in 1967. He’s not in the running for the “if for anyone” award here, but still, I love the fact that being a Cubs fan was harder on him than being a rock star. Hilarious.
In about 40 minutes from the time I am beginning this post, the Red Carpet All-Star Game Parade will air on FOX for the world to see. Unlike many baseball fans who will be watching, I actually had the opportunity to attend earlier this afternoon LIVE and in person! It was amazing.
Cubs give up practically nothing and in return they steal away a great pitcher to add to their collection. I like Murton and I liked what Patterson was starting to show…but hey, this is Harden and in response to the Brewers getting Sabathia…Harden sounds good to me. Just come in and look around Harden and you’ll see plenty of great examples of how we do things here with the Cubs. Seven All-Stars (ultimately eight when Marmol was voted in as a replacement), three voted to be starters…two starting pitchers voted in and our closer as well…the veterans are leading the way and the rookies are standing out as some of the best in the game as well: Fukudome and Soto headed to the big showcase in the Bronx as starters…a lot to be proud of right now as a Cubs fan.
I haven’t blogged in a bit mainly because I don’t fully understand what is happening in baseball. How in the world do the Tampa Bay Rays have the highest winning percentage in all of baseball at .610?
They are one loss better than the Cubs, who I suppose would be considered the second best team in the majors accordingly and somehow lead the AL East, 1.5 games in front of the defending W.S Champ Boston Red Sox. I mean, we’re almost at the All-Star break and it’s amazing.
Dempster did it yet again tonight. Crushed the Sox pushing his record to 9-2, a perfect 9-0 at home. Lou gave him the chance to go the full nine innings but after a couple got on, including a weak infield single off the third base bag, Howry came in in relief (perhaps a bit of Marmol-aid might be called for after all…what is wrong with Carlos lately? Even with a great Cubs win and sweep of the weekend series I can’t help but continue to wonder) and put the final few outs away in front of the greatest fans in Chicago, in the greatest ballpark in Chicago, for what is clearly the better team in Chicago.
Oh, this is fun. Incredible game! Cubs took the second game of the weekend series against the Sox today with an incredible nine run fourth inning including two home runs by Edmonds, one by Ramirez and one by Fontenot. And I thought Lilly scored with the bail out Ramirez gave him yesterday with his two shots…that was a scratch off compared to the lottery of runs Marquis scored today.
What an unbelievable season so far. I honestly think my computer was even so shocked at how well the season is going, it put its self on the DL. Back up and running now though…good times.
As much as I am a fan of Alyssa Milano, I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying watching my Cubs beat up on her Dodgers. Two back-to-back 3-1 wins kicking off this three game series…good times. The Dodgers are no slouches this year either, 3.5 games back in the West behind the Dbacks, a decent measure of how the Cubs are doing in playing such a talented squad. And judging by the results, we are doing REALLY well.
Fukudome was amazing again this evening and on his Bobblehead Night, mind you. Kosuke may be the most impressive signing by any ballclub in a LONG time. Fukudome had two terrific plays in the outfield tonight and a key double in tonight’s victory, but think about what a huge impact he has had on this ballclub this year. Unbelievable. And between Fukudome, Ramirez and Wood tonight…the Cubs were awesome. I was initially concerned about how signing Edmonds was going to effect the overall chemistry of the ballclub. I must say, I’m glad to have his bat and ability in the clubhouse. Granted, his bat has been less present than his ability lately, but I’m sure it will come around. In the meantime, we have Johnson. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t even miss Pie. I was perhaps his biggest supporter in the land of the MLBlogs and now…well, first place in the Central at the end of May at 31-21 speaks for itself. Edmonds better start hitting though, otherwise, I’m sure my tune will change once more.
Soriano continues to be a factor with his occasional home run leading off and seeing that he hasn’t hurt himself jumping around in left field, he’s back to helping make this lineup a big threat against all opponents once again. I haven’t had a chance to read Derosa’s blog where he and Theriot do their teammate Q&A but I’m looking forward to it. This team is full of a bunch of good guys who try night in and night out, day in and day out where its nearly impossible to not root for each and every one of them with all your heart.
Chris Berman made a comment tonight about what a big story it would be if the Cubs were to do the unthinkable and end the 100 year championship drought this year with Wood, the once ‘ace starter’ as their now ‘ace closer’. I believe that’s true and appropriate seeing that we’re in the 10 year anniversary month of his 20 K game…but the same could be said for Dempster. What a great experiment he’s turned out to be so far this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them are playing in Yankee Stadium come July over the All-Star break. I wonder how many Cubs will be representing Chicago on the National League team. You could make a case for a lot of them…Lee, Zambrano, Soriano, Fukudome, Dempster, Wood. Could be a big year for the Cubs in the off, regular, mid, and postseason this year.
Tomorrow night’s game is on ESPN 2 for all of you who only catch them when they’re on national television and it should a great pitchers’ duel between Lowe and Zambrano at Wrigley.
Anyone else surprised our biggest competition for the Central so far has been the Cardinals and the Astros? I am. Before the season I figured it would be the Brewers and the Reds…so far…not so much. Not that I’m complaining mind you, just surprised.
I haven’t been able to blog in a while as things have been pretty crazy with a number of stand up dates and a couple of television and film productions. One thing I was starting to have some fun with was the idea of the most appealing aspect of facing any of the teams in the AL in the World Series this year and why any of them would be fun to face (and let’s face it, what would we care who we face?) Last time I did so, I wrote the aspects of the AL East. Since it’s been a while, here is my take on why I’d be psyched to face anyone in:
The AL Central
White Sox: Seriously. Crosstown rivals. What could be more fun than this matchup? The White Sox are currently in first place in the AL Central and have put a huge push on to get there lately going 8-2 in their last 10 games. Bring it on ChiSox. Bring it on.
Twins: No Santana? No Problem. Santana’s in NY and while he won tonight, that team is a disaster. Meanwhile, the team he left is thriving with their young talent. A Series featuring the young talent of the Twins in ‘Sota against the young talent here in Chicago…that definitely sounds like a good time to me.
Indians: These fans think they’ve waited a long time since the last time they won a Championship. Puh-lease! It would be a big story though and only one could end the streak. 100 years. Chicago Wins. Better story, better team, better outcome (if you ask me that is).
Tigers: The way they started their season, the fans in Detroit are probably feeling like they’ve been waiting forever to see a winner. If the Tigers do in fact turn this thing around and show up in the postseason at all, that momentum would be pretty scary. Then again, if the Cubs are there as well that means they did it all year long. Now that’s momentum and no matter how much Pudge, Cabrera and Willis you throw it at…forget the Dtrain, this team’s momentum would be too much for Detroit to handle. A great Series though with great storylines too. Fun, fun, fun…indeed.
Royals: 7 games back on May 27th. If they end up in the World Series you can bet the stories won’t be about KC or the Chicago Cubs. It will be about 80% of the AL’s managers being fired after letting the ROYALS tear up the league with their ridiculous payroll and low expectations. Teams like this that have a magical year are normally scary to play against. But please…low expectations…magical years…wrap it altogether and we’re talking 100 seasons of Cubbie history. I don’t care what kind of voodoo KC has going on. The Cubs/Royals would probably go seven games just to drive us all crazy too…now that would definitely be interesting.
Get out there and do your thing tomorrow night Zambrano and sweep these Dodgers. It’s the least you guys can do after letting Pittsburgh steal a few from us. I guess I spoke to soon a few weeks back, huh?
First place in the Central up for grabs tonight! Looking forward to watching the game and blogging about it later tonight!
Later that evening: Unbelievable. (not my average length of blog but I think that pretty much says it all)
GO CUBS GO!
Hey everyone…in between my time spent watching the Cubs and blogging about them I had the opportunity to pretend I was them. And I suppose Lou Piniella too, for that matter, considering I was in charge of lineups, arguing with umpires, etc.
Here is my review of MLB2K8 on Xbox 360. I thought it would be cool to get the MLB.com by-line and a great chance to receive a free copy of the game. It’s definitely one I recommend highly. Here is the article, complete with reviews from Steve Dempsey and Paul Festa for the Wii and Playstation 3 respectively.
If you don’t want to leave the site, you can read my Xbox review right here:
By Ryan Maloney / Special to MLB.com
A new Major League Baseball season also means a new beginning for video
gamers everywhere. Put down your Assassin’s Creed, your Halo2 and, yes,
even your Guitar Hero 3. The MLB 2K8 game from 2K Sports has just
arrived at the MLB.com Shop, and to help capture the diverse experience
we turned to three members of the MLBlogs community who reviewed the
game over the Nintendo Wii, PLAYSTATION3 and Xbox 360 systems.
Xbox 360: Celebrating baseball in its purest form
When it comes to playing MLB 2K8 on Xbox 360, all the Denis Leary voiceover in the world could not do this game justice.
MLB 2K8 on Xbox gives you a thrilling gaming experience without losing
Hitting with the new Swing Stick 2.0 is awesome. Now there is an
The first stadiums I played in were the four I have visited: Fenway
Experiencing the graphics and sounds of each park is like sending
Overall, I found MLB 2K8 to be a fun and refreshing simulation of what
As for tonight’s game, another huge 3 game series against our division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers kicking off.
Jason Marquis on the mound tonight at Wrigley…let’s extend this lead on the Central, shall we? Go Cubs Go!
Ten innings of history in the making. One of the most exciting games of the year lead to the Cubs taking a two game lead in the NL Central, a five game winning streak to the extended status of six games in a row and their record to 10,000 wins all-time! Only the second team to reach the 10,000 win mark ever! Wood goes down in the books as the winning pitcher, even though he blew the save (a weird consolation prize the way baseball scoring works, you’d have to admit) and Marmol got the save. Loved seeing Marmol come in and get the save…it’s not even that Wood pitched poorly, just a couple of pitches got away from him and he paid for it. With a ‘W’. Again, weird. More thoughts on this to come when its not so late…for now, let me announce the new Prose and Ivy Chat board here on the blog that you can find me in during most games. Feel free to come by and say hey on game days. Until I get a chance to post more, here were my in game thoughts I posted in the chat board (in case anyone happened to stumble across the chat board during this history making event:
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: c’mon hill, let’s go!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: look at soto go…and cedeno getting some respect! (i know, its to set up the force outs, but still, Cedeno’s slam=RESPECT
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: lee and ramirez…good times for cubs fans…not so much for opposing pitchers!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: soto 3-for-3! nice!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: theres the first blemish on hill’s night 3-1 Cubs
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: wuertz is horrible
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: this could get ugly quick
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: wow, that sixth inning was hard to watch
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: gotta love the fight in this team!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: fuku-dome!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: fuku-dome!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: they are SCARED of him!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: do it for michael johns derosa! : )
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: f*ck
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 10,000 just may have to wait another day…bot 8, 5-4 COL…
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: here we go bot9
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 1 away…
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2 balls to Lee…
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Lee gets on base and the lead run comes to the plate in Ramirez!!!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: pie in to run for Lee! strike one to Aramis
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Ramirez on a 1-2 pitch…deep to left field for the LEAD, 6-5!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Hey Hey! I almost called it to right….I could feel it coming and then BOOM to left! AWESOME!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 7 8 9 coming up for the Rockies…a combined 1 for 6 on the day (and one guy hasn’t even hit yet!)
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: wood comes in and immediately 0-2, a ball and then STRIKE THREE
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 1 away
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: let’s go Wood! let’s go!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: and again STRIKE TWO!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2-1 count on Podsednik
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: base hit
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: damn
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Let’s go Wood
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 6 game win streak…10,000 overall on the line..Wood v. Spilborghs! (who saw that coming for the history books?)
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: are you kidding me? 6-6 and it has to be a guy named Podsednik off a hit by some no-name Spilborghs???
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: and of course Barmes….strike three.
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: way to go Wood. history class dismissed.
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: here come the cubs in extra innings again
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: ward intentionally walked
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: c’mon theriot..how about a 10th inning RIOT
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: theriot hitting .365 for the month of april…
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: And in comes Fontenot making it 7-6 Cubs….somebody get Marmol up and ready!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: after all these years leading up to win 10,000, what’s another inning?! 🙂
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: heading into the bottom of the ninth…did I say history class dismissed? My bad, sit back down, that bell didn’t ring yet!!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: all kinds of wins this year…could number 10,000 all time and six in a row be of the one run, extra inning variety? perhaps! bot 9 up next!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Awesome…Marmol it is.
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: Go Cubs Go!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 3 fouled off pitches, helton making marmol work for this one
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: pitch 8 to helton is hit to cf and pie puts it away…one down!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 2 strikes to holliday…how about something to celebrate this holliday?
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: annnnddd……
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: ball 1…seven pitches in to a full count…grounded to first!!! celebrate this holliday: 2 away!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: atkins takes strike 1
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: COME ON MARMOL!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: BALL 1
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: BALL 2
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: AND MARMOL GETS THE THIRD OUT BY CATCHING THE INFIELD FLY! ATKINS IS OUT
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: CUBS GO 15-6 ON THE SEASON!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: 6 GAME WINNING STREAK IN TACT!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: AND THE ORGANIZATION GETS ITS 10,000TH WIN! Way to Go Cubs! Way to go Marmol! Go Cubs Go!!!! What a great game to represent this milestone in the baseball history books! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
- Prose and Ivy Ryan: What a great game.
Ted Lilly got his first win of the year and all is well in Cubville. Monday night Zambrano picked up another win with seven strong innings, allowing only one run and looked absolutely dominant. Not only physically, but mentally too, the way he looked hungry for even more success and more domination after every strike thrown and out collected. Having a warrior like Zambrano pitching for your ball club every five days is such a treat to look forward to, in between starts. He’s the type of personality I love having on this team. His scuffle with Barrett in the dugout last year came from his passion for winning and it ended up being one of the things that sparked the Cubs to success last year. That fire in his eyes is the type of thing that, once contagious, can really propel a team to their best start since 1975…huh, what do you know…exactly the position the Cubs are in after 20 games into the season.
The Mets’ Heilman couldn’t keep up with Zambrano and the Cubs hit him hard over and over…a theme that continued throughout the evening. Even one of the Cubs’ least effective bats found a way to put an exclamation point on the team’s dominance when Pie hit a 3 run shot in the eighth to put the game away. I haven’t enjoyed a home run like that since Opening Day when Fukudome went yard to tie it up. Sure, any Cubs home run is exciting, but these two came for guys in moments I really wanted them to come through and exceed expectations…or to some degree, meet them. I couldn’t have been happier for Pie when the ball found its way into the cage just over the ivy in right. A great ending to a great game.
And then today…my goodness. Not only does Lilly show signs of coming around and matching the results put up Demp and Big Z finally, but he even comes away with the win at that. No ‘L’ flag for Ted today. The Cubs’ bats are on a ridiculous streak and I LIKE IT. Seriously, it’s hard to remember the last April that was this much fun to follow the Cubs. Every single one of our starters today got a hit and six of the eight position players are hitting .300 or better. What a rough couple games the Cubs gave Sosa there with Pie going yard after being in such a slump and then today Cedeno comes in and jacks him out of the park for a grand slam putting the game out of reach on a whole other level. CEDENO. Not Lee, not Ramirez…Cedeno. Everyone is hitting. I mean, look at this box score:
|Hart, K, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
Also, great to see Marmol lock down 2 more K’s and the Cubs get out with the win without wasting innings from Wood and get a chance to let him rest today. The more days we can do that for Wood, the better.
And now next up, Hill on the mound in the high altitude, higher expectation environment of Coors Field. With all the recent success the Cubs have had to start the season including this five game win streak, Hill is going to be expected to continue to show signs he deserves to be one of our starters and to keep this thing going…especially when it comes to the bigger picture: the 10,000 all-time win mark for the Chicago Cubs. Now, does that really matter in the long run for this season? No, but it would still be a cool milestone for the organization to hit. With all the hitting that is going on, I don’t expect it take very long to get there.
52-24 and 2 sweeps. That’s our record so far against Pittsburgh this season. We’re 6-0 against the Pirates with an overall record of 12-6 on the season. Thanks to this last win against the Pirates, we took over first place by 1/2 a game over the Cardinals. And this weekend, it wasn’t even close.
Unbelievable. I feel like I’m saying “I’ll take that anyday” a lot so far this season. Well, roughly 12 times anyway. One run wins. Ugly wins. Completely dominating wins. Completely dominating wins back to back. And even wins that come back-to-back-to-back in a sweep. It’s been a great first month so far. I mean look at these two box scores from the past two blowouts over the Pirates:
I’m glad Fukudome’s deal isn’t more serious, just a cyst over his eye. It does go to show again how valuable Derosa is though as he played right field today. He’s supposed to be our starting 2B and he has since played LF and RF (could Brian Roberts do that? I don’t know that he could). Eyre is supposively coming back, so that will be interesting. We haven’t gained too much from those who took his place in his absence, but I certainly don’t want the Eyre of 2008 that we’ve seen so far to come back. We don’t need that now. We already have Weurtz. Isn’t that bad enough?
And if Dempster was unhappy about his inning management today, well then somebody help him out with that or tell him something that he thinks will help. Because whatever he’s doing is working as I was right. Demp is justified as a starter starting the season at 3-0 and having one of the best starts among all Cubs starters.
Speaking of which, Zambrano goes tomorrow against the Mets. A much truer test of the Cubs’ abilities. MLB.com’s story is right. I believe the Pirates are a team you should beat. But the Mets are another story…so…we’ll see. Maine is on the mound for the Mets and he’s having a great season too. Should be another pitcher’s duel Zambrano finds himself in. Let’s hope the Cubs didn’t waste all the good offense on the Pirates. Time to ‘meet the Mets’ all right…with a giant offensive onslaught.
Let’s say the experts are right and the Cubs are going to represent the National League in the World Series this year. And really, what better game to talk about this afterwards than today’s game. Our 4-8 hitters looked great and our pitching looked strong. Hill turned things around a bit and had a decent game giving up only 1 run on 3 hits and even erased one of those men on base by picking off a Pirate at first. It was the first win by a Cubs lefty starter this season…a nice trend to kick off, hopefully its contagious. Marmol was AMAZING facing six hitters striking out five. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite Cubs to watch, right up there with Fukudome and Zambrano. And Wood put it away for his fourth save in five opportunities. What a great late game 1-2 punch he and Marmol are becoming.
As for the ‘obnoxious’ behavior exhibited by the Cubs fans against Cincinnati…shove it Brennaman. Get a sense of humor. One ball leaves and fifteen are thrown back. Come on, that’s funny. As long as no one’s pegging Fukudome or using Derosa and Reed as target practice, I’m all for the fun. Derosa’s cocl with it too aside from the fact that its 10 minutes of his life he’ll never get back (the clean up). Where exactly does Derosa have to go? His Idol was eliminated so no phone calls to Fox to make. Don’t sweat the 10 minutes Derosa. Just keeping doing a great job backing up Hop-A-Long Cassi-D.L.
Often, with as tight as MLB competition can be, your records in one-run games are huge come the end of the season. Always great to see the Cubs take as many as they can get and especially against a team in the Central. Not that the Pirates should factor in to heavily this year, but you know what I mean. 10-6, 1 game behind the Cards. Good times.
Now, to the real business at hand. Say the experts are right and the Cubs are in the World Series…well who’s representing the AL? Does it matter? No…as long as we’re there, they could all be fun! As promised, here is my first installment of why it would be fun to play any of the teams in the American League in the World Series. And we begin with:
The AL East
Yankees: Two of the most historic, oldest ballparks in the Major Leagues. One is being demolished come the end of the season and the other may never be the same if certain people get their way. What better way to celebrate a Cubs Series after all these years than by playing every game in two of the greatest stadiums in baseball…and beating the Yankees in a four-game sweep? Sounds like fun to me.
Red Sox: As above, same goes for Fenway. Red Sox Nation got their’s four years ago and then took another for good measure last year. Cool with the Green Monster, but not with a Greed Monster. You’ve had yours, share. The story lines would be amazing and although I’m not positive…it may not be too late to bury a Lee jersey in the Fenway Park visitor’s dugout. Something to check into if the time comes. Sounds like fun to me.
Orioles: Ok, so maybe this will be the reason that oriole kept trying to fly itself into my bedroom window over and over again and not the Brian Roberts trade. 100 years since the Cubs last title and the silver anniversary of the O’s. “Derosa, Roberts. Roberts, Derosa”. Nice put a face to the trade rumors. Cubs playing in a Series involving Roberts regardless of whether the trade happened or not. Sounds like fun to me.
Rays: Could be billed as “The No-fair Bowl”. With the Rays being in existence since 1998, not exactly the same amount of suffering between the two teams’ organizations/fan base. Every where in baseball people will be talking about how money doesn’t make a difference as they try to offer contracts to ballplayers whose names sound like the other cast members of ‘Desperate Housewives’. The stories that could be written about the extra pressure the Cubs will be in to win this Series and shock the Rays would put on the baseball world. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.
Blue Jays: First World Series victory against a team that resides in another country after signing a third country’s number one free agent back by a pitching staff made up of pitchers from all over the world. Hardly simply a World Series title…that’s practically world domination. Sounds like ‘waited for a 100 years to win another’ kind of fun to me.
For now though, we’ll take these things one game at a time. AL Central to come next week (for fun, of course) and the Cubs continue their drive to make the experts look brilliant tomorrow against the Pirates. Marquis on the mound. GO CUBS GO!
While I will definitely continue writing here as close to daily as possible, whenever I get a chance to add a little something extra to this space, I’m going to try throwing on this new feature as an add-on to my writing. Of course, I’m not sure the embedding is going to be compatible with the new format. (If so, great, if not, I guess there will be a link at the end of this to click on). This was my first attempt so they’ll get better as we go (promise). Those AL East comments I talked about yesterday are coming either later this evening or tomorrow at the latest. Rough game today, huh? I don’t know what Lilly’s waiting for. Hill’s in danger of losing his spot in the rotation and Lieber didn’t look so hot today giving up Griffey’s #596, a 3 run shot…seriously…could someone besides Zambrano and Dempster please start showing something in the starter’s role please?
That would be great. In the meantime, feel free to click this link to play the first Prose and Ivy Cubcast! Good times. Go Cubs Go!
As I write this, the Cubs are up 11-3 in the middle of the 8th inning tonight against the Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati was down by more than Ocho by the middle of inning numero Cinco and there was no looking back. What an unbelievable game. Zambrano looks amazing. 7 innings and only 2 runs given up on 8 hits and 5 strike outs. He even doubled and had an RBI. Now if only the rest of the starters could follow suit.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this being the first game with Soriano. 15 days. Wow. That is horrible. It’s unfortunate it happens on a move (the hop) that isn’t even necessary to field his position…and odd that it happened doing something he does game in and game out, fly ball putout after flyball putout. I like the fact that it opens up the opportunity to get the Theriot/Fontenot LSU double play combo on the field and it gives great value to Derosa’s existence on the roster. Still though, losing Soriano is huge and it will be interesting to see how it affects us over the next couple weeks.
Now, when I created the D Lee News and every other link list in the sidebar, I had the freedom of using them and adding to them anytime I wanted. Since the blog format change, they haven’t been working properly always so I haven’t been able to keep the D Lee News or the Pitchers/Beer section as I’d like. So let me say this, as for the pitcher/beer result for today’s game, it’s obvious, no? Zambrano, this tall, ice cold, frosty mugged beer is on us. You may be expected to stay off the soda and coffee…pull up to the bar with a bunch of bananas, a potassium pill and some pretzels my friend. This beer’s for you…and its on us.
As for the D Lee News…if you look at the archives or have been a regular visitor to Prose and Ivy since Spring Training…you’ll know how worried I was about Lee. He looked so amazingly bad in Spring Training, regardless of whether it counted, I really thought it mattered. Turns
out…I was wrong. Lee is having an unbelievable start to the season. Fukudome has totally stolen the show, but Lee is probably the biggest reason the Cubs kick things off at 8-5 (about to go 9-5 as they are now up 12-3 in the top of the ninth with one out, about to put this one away). Coming into tonight’s game Lee leads the team in AB, R, Hits, Doubles, HR, RBI, total bases, slugging %, and batting average (not counting Blanco who only has 8 AB on the season). Are you kidding me? No. I did not see this coming. And it is probably the second best surprise of the season. Fukudome is the first. He had another great game tonight going 2-for-3, scored twice, 2 RBI and walked twice. He’s hitting .353 on the season and leads the team in on-base percentage. Imagine this lineup when Soriano is healthy and hitting and Ramirez is hitting and in a timely manner and for power as expect, at that. Incredible.
For now though, Soriano is out and we’re looking to make due. Tonight was a great start coming away with the W. 9-5 on the season including a nice two game smackdown of Dusty in his return to Wrigley. Hard to complain about too much so far. A few pitchers need to pick up their game a bit and they know who they are, although I have no problem with the press harping on their struggles. Hopefully it will motivate them to turn things around and join the rest of the team on their level of extraordinary play so far this season.
A number of publications in the beginning of the season picked the Cubs to win the Central and many picked them to win the whole thing. I’ve been thinking about that (who hasn’t) for a while now and if that were the case…I was thinking about what it would be like to play the American League champion whoever they may be. Lots of thoughts on facing every American League team in the Classic. Those thoughts to be posted in the upcoming days…but let’s face it, if the Cubs are representing the National League in the World Series, bring on anyone from the American League…they could all be fun. Tomorrow, to kick things off: the AL East.
Not the prettiest stretch of baseball, but definitely a successful one. Taking one of the worst teams in baseball into extra innings and at times playing some seriously ugly baseball somehow became the formula to a successful 3-0 road series against the Pirates. The sweep gives the Cubs a 5 game winning streak…wow.
Not exactly the way you would think a 5-game winning streak would go, is it? But, hey, we’ll take it! You know there will be times where other teams play horrible baseball and somehow defeat the Cubs…we might as well take ours when we can.
Aside from Hill, Lee, Fukudome and Ramirez we played really well today. That’s amazing that we could actually win a game by a significant margin when the players singled out as having horrible games are the number 3, 4 and 5 hitters and starting pitcher! Yes, I believe that is the exact definition of winning ugly. Let us be the ugliest successful team in the history of baseball. The trophy will still be beautiful.
Soto, Fontenot and Theriot all had great days and Soriano held his own in the leadoff spot, including delivering a stolen base. Wood was lights out (very encouraging) bringing his ERA down to 6.00 for the season and he, Howry and Lieber pitched really well today out of the bullpen. Good to see Howry have a good day.
I am a little concerned about Derosa. I don’t know where his head’s going to be at over the next few weeks after the huge event he suffered through last night in his personal life. As if the illness, an irregular heartbeat and trade rumors weren’t enough, now Derosa’s favorite American Idol contestant has been eliminated from the show. While Fontenot had a great game today, hopefully it won’t be long until Derosa can fully recover and get back to the place he needs to be mentally to perform on the high level that is expected of him. Thanks Michael Johns. Thanks a lot.
Marquis won’t be starting the first game against the Phillies. Instead, Zambrano will pitch in his place.
And that was the case in the last game the Cubs played. 3 errors. 12 innings of professional, major league baseball, a level where no game should look like this. The Cubs only went 1-2-3 twice in twelve innings and yet still needed three extra frames to put away the Pirates. I must admit, I’m a little surprised how similar this was to the Cubs home opener against the Brewers after requesting that we ruin the Pirates’ home opener in the same fashion the Brewers ruined ours. I mean, aside from Gagne looking like he was about to pass out it was basically the same game. Thankfully, the Pirates had a guy named Meek on their team who had the worst day of all. I was forced to watch the game today on GameCast. Here was the situation in the top of the 12th, or at least how I saw it:
1 out, Top of 12, bases loaded. Ramirez steps up. He hits a sac fly to right to score Theriot who had walked and stole second. Watching a game like this is quite possibly the least exciting way I can think of to watch a game (I really missed my MLBTV access today as I wasn’t able to do so on the computer I was on today), but its better than nothing I guess. After Ramirez’s sac fly, here’s what I saw (exciting huh?):
In a weird way, I guess it was…I mean we took the lead right? But honestly, somebody needs to tell ESPN what kind of season Fukudome’s had so far and GET THAT MAN A PHOTO! I can understand Meek wanting to hide his face today…but c’mon. Let’s get Kosuke a photo, huh? After all said and done, the Cubs won ugly but it will count just as much as any other this season. Here’s how the entire top of the 12th played out:
Theriot didn’t even start and managed a stolen base (the Cubs had FOUR on the day!) Then Soriano managed to find his way on base. One hit in six at bats today but this walk was key and let’s face it…while we’d love to see Soriano get some power numbers like usual, we really just want him on base to set up the other guys and see what his legs can manage to steal. That’s what counts. Set the table for the other guys in the lead off spot. Johnson had himself another great day and has turned out to be a great pickup. Glad to see that even though the Cubs made way too many errors themselves (you can’t expect to win too many games where you make 3 errors) they were able to take advantage of the Pirates’ errors and miscues, including Meek’s wild pitches. Looking at the averages of the guys in today’s lineup, it seems like people are starting to hit. Lee had a decent day at the plate (2-for-5, 2 walks and a run scored) and of course Fukudome lit things up again. Sometimes you just have to simply be better than the other guy, not necessarily impressive at all yourself.
I’m glad we were able to give Wood a break today. Any chance we can get I think we should and it would be nice if Howry could get his you-know-what together. Marmol was lights out though (as expected) and I never had a doubt about the Cubs pulling this out once he entered the game. Hard to watch, easy to look back and enjoy. Here’s to winning the ugly ones! Don’t get too used to it Lilly. They won’t always work out in your favor like this one did. It wouldn’t hurt for you to start turning this thing around either. Just fyi.
Great weekend! Went back to my alma mater to do some comedy and had a great show! Saw some friends and family I hadn’t seen a while…good times.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Cubs got their first series win of the season and some of our guys are looking great so far! Fukudome has taken over Chicago. They may call Matsui “Godzilla”, but even he couldn’t take over a city the way Fukudome has taken over Chicago. He’s basically done exactly what I expected…brought a complete playoff atmosphere/excitement to every home game at Wrigley. Some players just do that (like I’ve said in an earlier blog ie, Lebron James, etc) and Fukudome is definitely one of them. How exciting it must be for him to be making such an impact in a new league, in front of new fans. Making the decision to make such a move with his career and family couldn’t have been easy and I’m happy to see its working out for him so far.
The Cubs are in a place now where no matter who they’re playing, I feel like they’re going to win. And not in that love-is-blind kind of way either. No homer predictions day in and day out here…I genuinely feel like they are going to win every game they play (not literally, but you know what I mean). They are .500 after six games, against two division rivals. As of now the Brewers and Cardinals are 5-1 leading the NL Central up 2 games over the Cubs in the standings. Good luck with that. That 2 game lead is about to evaporate very quickly. I believe the team is still coming together and shaking off some winter rust. Lee came through huge today with his third home run of the season and even Soriano hit one out! Fukudome looks great, Zambrano has had two strong starts and Wood looks like he’s coming into his own in the closer role. Dempster and Marquis showed they deserve those last two spots in the rotation in the Spring and now that they’ve completed their first starts of the season and shook any nerves off about it, I’m hoping they’re ready to move forward and raise some ‘W’ flags in the process.
It’s a long season but there is just something about this team. I believe .500 is going to be long in the rear-view mirror come the end of the season…and in a good way. Milwaukee spoiled our opener in an exciting fashion and tomorrow we roll into the Pirates home opener. Here’s hoping the Cubs pull off the same thing with the Pirates that the Brewers did to us. The schedule organizers do a great job with all the division games right up front. This division is probably going to be tight all the way down to the wire this year, just like last year (I realize this, it’s just fun to talk a little trash every now and then). Having these divisional games up front is an exciting way to start the season…you always want to get out of the gates quickly…but especially against teams in your own division. Let’s keep winning these series. Zambrano looked awesome today…must’ve had a whole bunch of bananas laid out for him in the locker room before this one! (Hey, whatever it takes…)
Are there no limits to the talents of Kosuke Fukudome?! People said he was fast, but he’s shown some great speed so far this season! Today against the Brewers, Fukudome nearly became the first player in major league baseball history to get to first and third base at the exact same time. Psyched the Cubs were successful in landing him in the offseason! Check out these numbers:
|OBP .667||SLG% 1.125||AVG .500|
Whatever they’re whispering in Fukudome’s ear, keep it up! Sure it’s only three games in but Prose and Ivy and Chicago are huge fans of Kosuke Fukudome! Even if they don’t quite know how to express it. Let’s see how Kosuke does against the Astros this weekend! The Brewers couldn’t figure him out and I doubt the Astros will in their first series against him either! FUKU-DOME!! FUKU-DOME!! Rich Hill on the mound tomorrow…let’s take this series and make it a great weekend! Go Cubs Go!
Put the brooms away! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
I love making a huge deal out of a win after only the third game of the regular season. It’s ridiculous, but in a good way. Just as I’ll freak out when they lose early on more than is probably necessary…but this is much more fun to do. Wood came through today and so did Soriano back in the leadoff spot. Hey if he’s happy there and can do the job, let him! Fukudome, Theriot and Fontenot with extra base hits and Ramirez goes yard on the record for the first time this season! Awesome. And Dempster…big game for him! Wood said it was good to get the first win out of the way and that it was no big deal. I love it when players say its good to get the first win out of the way like it’s a bad thing. Feel free to get the next 92 wins out of the way leading us to the division championship too! One game behind the Brewers already but there’s a long way to go…plenty of baseball left to play! Keep it up guys!
Go Cubs Go!
It could be a lot worse. So what, two games down, no wins to show for it. Its two games. Soriano will be leading off tomorrow and well see how that goes. It wont be the first time Lou switches up the line up and thats to be expected. Its not like we were going 1-8 like that for 162 games anyway. Lets see if Soriano up first against the Brewers makes a difference. Soriano loves the leadoff spot and Theriot says the spots where hes most hit most and is most comfortable. It was all about Sorianos legs…protect Sorianos legs in the 2 hole…and now Piniella feels hes running just fine so he will hit him lead off.
It was great to see Lee go deep today. He had a great day which is refreshing after his Spring…the sooner he can get going the better. Especially with Soriano and Ramirez drawing nothing but zeroes today. Somebody has to be counted on and hopefully with one game left against the Brewers in this opening series, we can get a W and leave only down a game kicking off the season. Again, its one thing to lose games up front, but to lose them to a team in your division is a whole other story.
I would have liked to have seen Lilly have a good first outing. He got batted around pretty bad. Hopefully hes able to pull it together for his next time out. Tomorrow, Dempster will find himself warming up in a whole different scenario. Lets hope he has a different outcome and the bats show up to help him out. Would love to see him get to a save situation so we can see if Woods horrible outing was just nerves or something else. I still think Marmol should be the closer, but if were going with Wood, the sooner he can get it going (just like everyone else on this team), the better. And Im sure he will. Im sure everyone will and we will be just fine. (Did I convince you? Not even sure I convinced myself…)
Go Cubs Go…beat those Brewers tomorrow!
(And as for all those apostrophes that were left out of this post? I left them out on purpose in honor of Mr. Cub and his new statue outside Wrigley. I can’t believe they forgot the apostrophe!) Here’s the story if you haven’t heard already: LETS PLAY TWO)
Not a win. But definitely an amazing start to the season…at least when it comes to things to talk about. Of course when you start the season and you’re looking to get out of the gates quickly, it helps to win your first game. Especially when its against a division rival. And especially when its the division rival you’re supposed to take down to the wire again this year in determining who wins said division.
It was cold and rainy and miserable yet nobody cared. Fans were out to support their Cubs, old and new as many turned out to cheer Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks during the unveiling of his statue next to Wrigley before the game. I can’t wait to see the statue in person. Its made by the same guy that did the Harry Caray statue and it look incredible. Henry Aaron was right, it should have been done a long time ago. I’m glad someone who seems so down to earth and appreciative of all life has given him and all he was able to give back is known as Mr. Cub. Here is a photo of the statue:
Two tarps had to be taken off before today’s game. The one on Ernie’s statue and the one on the field. The field’s new draining system got a real test today as it was raining hard before the game causing a 40 minute delay before the game and another 52 minute delay during the game. It was amusing to see the groundskeepers using giant squeejee’s to dump the flooded water that did remain on the field into the system. While there is no longer a crown in the middle of the field, there are so many draining holes, I half expected Bill Murray to show up and give them a hand.
Of course, after nearly a hundred years without a title and months of offseason drama leading up to what should be a very exciting season, what was another 90 minutes of rain delay?!
Once it finally got underway, it was worth the wait to finally get to Opening Day! Zambrano looked strong before and after the rain delay. Ernie Banks threw out the ceremonial first pitch and for a bit it looked like they may only get to play two…innings. After the tarps were pulled for a second time, Zambrano continued to dominate along with Sheets. If these guys both pitch like this all year, its going to be quite a race for the Central. Unfortunately, Zambrano went out of the game after hitting the ground and falling awkwardly in the seventh on an infield fly he caught while crashing into Lee. Marmol came in to relieve him with 2 outs and a 2-2 count. He successfully got the Cubs out of the inning with one pitch. Not surprised by that at all seeing that I’d been saying all Spring he should be our closer, not Wood. (more on that later)
Our bats were pretty pathetic today. The Cubs were 2-for-31 today without Fukudome who had an incredible debut going 3-for-3 including a double and a three-run blast to tie the game in the ninth. Fukudome is going to be great for the Cubs this year but we can’t rely on him to carry us and give us a chance to win like this on a regular basis. The other guys are going to have to step up, especially in the top of the order where Theriot and Soriano were horrible going 0-for-5 each.
Fukudome was definitely the one true bright spot as far as the offense was concerned today. It was a blast to watch the response the right field bleacher fans gave him when he came back out to right after tying the game and even more interesting to see how the crowd welcomed him before his first at bat. This picture to me is hilarious, all the different things I believe the fans think about Fukudome’s arrival wrapped into one photo:
The one woman with her jaw dropped in awe. The guy with his camera ready to go as if there aren’t enough cameras pointed at Fukudome these days. The guy in front in the red cap looking at him like he’s ‘the one’ and the answer to take us to the promised land. The guy in the blue cap to the right of him looking absolutely giddy over his presence on the Cubs this year. And once the moment arrived, he didn’t disappoint. The first pitch he saw he drove to deep CF. The ball landed at the base of the wall and Fukudome had himself a stand up double. The place went crazy…but then seriously, why wouldn’t they? I did…and especially in the ninth when Lee FINALLY got a hit, Ramirez got on base on a walk and Fukudome hit the shot that people will probably truly remember his debut for. A three run shot to tie it up and clean up after Wood almost destroyed us in the top of the inning. Great day Fukudome! Now, let me rephrase that second to last sentence.
Wood basically did destroy it in the ninth. I wonder if Lou is questioning his decision…I am (still). I’m willing to chalk this one up to Opening Day jitters but we surely can’t have any more outings like that from Wood. Especially against division rivals. Howry ended up giving up the winning run in the tenth but if it weren’t for Wood’s ninth, we never would’ve seen Howry. Actually, even that’s not true…it was a mixture of Wood’s collapse and Gagne’s. Good thing Gagne’s off the HGH! He looks horrible…not only fundamentally weak and pitching horribly, but like a total slob. At one point the ump even had to tell him to tuck his jersey in because he looked like such a slob. And what is he experiencing, menopause?? It’s 40-something degrees outside and he’s fanning himself like its the dead middle of August?! Something is definitely wrong there and I think it can only mean good things for the Cubs in the long run.
I still think the Cubs have a strong bullpen, however today, the bullpen along with every hitter except Fukudome were the reason we lost. Piniella wanted a fast start and told them it was important to do so in a very competition division along with all the potential this Cubs team has. Apparently, they don’t quite understand what he meant by that just yet. Let’s hope Lilly fares better come Wednesday and the point finally starts to sink in.
OPENING DAY AT WRIGLEY! FINALLY!
About two hours from now the Chicago Cubs will start their quest of winning the Major League Baseball championship for 2008. After following every move the team made all offseason closely and watching every Spring Training game available, I couldn’t be more excited, or more ready. I think Lou has the team ready to go mentally and physically and I think they’ve made all the right decisions with the roster. Last year’s battle with the Milwaukee Brewers will probably closely resemble this year’s outcome only I believe the Cubs will win the division by five games over the Brewers this time. Nothing of course makes this more likely then beating them head to head and today is our first shot at ’em for ’08.
Wrigley is going to be rocking, I just know it. I can’t wait to hear what people think of the adjustments made to the field and the stadium. I can’t wait to hear what the players think of it. I can’t wait to hear the right field bleacher fans’ reaction to Fukudome the first time he takes his place in the outfield wearing number 1, ready to go. I can’t wait to see if bats that were heating up at the end of Spring continue to do so in the frigid Chicago weather. I can’t wait to see Zambrano take the mound completely pumped to take the first game in the battle of the Cubs/Brewers and ready to win his first Opening Day. I can’t wait to see if John Kruk is right about D Lee and that he’s going to be in NL MVP form this year out of the gate and throughout the season. I can’t wait to see the first ‘W’ flag of the season raised above the scoreboard. I can’t wait to watch the final out of a game and then see it actually count in the standings. And I can’t wait to understand how this new blogging format works so I can fully communicate/take advantage of all its functions in enjoying this season with you.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about an Opening Day before and I’m not sure what exactly is making this one so different. I’m definitely glad the wait is over though!
With the MLBlogs update happening a couple days ago, I just wanted to welcome any new readers and let previous readers know that I will be trying to get all of the features I had on this blog before…up and running here once again. A lot of categories are listed to the right that need to be reproduced due to the system changes and I will look to have them there asap. Until then, enjoy the postings, I look forward to hearing your comments on any/all of it and thanks for checking out Prose and Ivy! Monday is the day we’ve been waiting for…Zambrano and the Cubs against the Brewers…OPENING DAY for the Cubs, 2008! Excited about the line up, digging the decision to put Pignatiello on the roster and send Marshall to AAA and I feel really good about our rotation and bullpen. Matt Murton’s great but I’m looking forward to seeing Johnson get in the mix this year along with the outfield platoon of Soriano, Pie, and Fukudome! 2008 is already sizing up to be an unbelievable year and there hasn’t even been one pitch thrown in a Cubs game that counts. Awesome. Let’s follow up last year’s success with an even deeper trip through October! Go Cubs Go! First pitch less than 19 hours away!!!