Archive for July, 2006

And Now We Wait

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

First, I have a message for Jim Hendry. Itís from my wife. Unless you get some really really good players in return for Greg Maddux, not just a couple of prospects, you are stupid.

She really doesnít want to see him traded at all. You see, she watched the 4-2 victory over the Cardinals this afternoon. She has seen several of his victories. She saw most of the April wins when no one could touch the professor. Todayís gem was # 327 in his HOF career. Funny, before today, 327 was just the name of a road that ran near my high school. Now it means more, so much more.

Great, now the game. The first 2 Ω innings or so were absolutely weird, I thought Rod Serling was going to make a cameo appearance in the booth (I wrote that line before I saw Joe’s graphic below.) Michael Barrett gets picked off second by the Cardinal catcher, Molina to end the first.

But the fun all happened in the bottom of the second. With runners on first and second and one out, Ronny Cedeno blooped a single to left. John Mabry was held up at third until he realized that Angel Pagan wasnít looking and kept on coming to third. At this point every Cub fan thought this was another disaster unfolding with two runners at third base. But Scott Rolen was focused on the ball coming in from right field, not the runners. Mabry scampered in for the score and Pagan made it to third.

Cardinals rookie starter Anthony Reyes then appeared to pick off Cedeno, who got caught in a rundown between first and second. OK we lucked out on the Mabry play we will definitely screw it up here, right? Wrong! Pagan broke for home and David Eckstein’s throw to the plate was late. The Cubs were credited with a double steal and stole home for the first time since Ricky Gutierrez did it Aug. 10, 2001, against the Giants.

The Cubs took the lead 2-1 and never relinquished it, tho the Cards threatened in the 9th, loading the bases against Ryan Dempster, who surrendered but one run and finally got Aaron Miles for the third out to seal his 20th save in 25 tries in 2006. He is now 3 for 3 since getting yanked by Dusty Tuesday night in New York.

Two more rather strange plays. The Cubs caught a break at the top of the third when Jacque Jones made a diving catch to rob Pujols of a hit and it turned into a double play when the Cubs appealed that So Taguchi didn’t retouch second base when trying to get back to first. The expression on Taguchiís face was absolutely priceless.

The last point about the strangeness of the game came at the plate when Cedeno was thrown out after he collided with r Molina in the second inning. The ball came loose but Cedeno wasn’t able to get back up and touch the base. Had he run on the inside of the baseline he might have been able to score but in the end it didnít matter.

This was Greg Madduxí day to shine and receive a rousing ovation from the crowd at Wrigley which swelled to over 41,000 in the sweltering heat. Everyone felt this could be the second swan song for the Professor.

Nine wins. Not too shabby if you ask me. Not on this club, this year. That is nine more than Prior, eight more than Wood. In fact he has the second most wins on this staff, second only to Cy Young contender Carlos Zambrano.

Wherever he ends up, they become my favorite team to win it all this year.

Oh God, please anybody but the Yankees or Cardinals.

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You have now entered…

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The Cubs won again today despite every part of them trying to give the lead away. They are no undefeated against the red birds at Wrigley this year. Could they really get another sweep of these guys? Who are these Cubs? Where did they come from? Why couldn’t they have arrived sooner?

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A heart attack a minute

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Tonight the Cubs were down to just Scott Eyre in the bullpen as Ryan Dempster came in to close in the ninth. The rest of the bullpen had been used up in the first eight innings as the Cubs play twenty games in a row without a day off; tonight however the Cubbies were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a come from behind victory over the Cards.

Todd Walker and Michael Barrett had back to back jacks in the first inning to give Rich Hill a brief lead but the Cards came roaring back with four unanswered runs. Hill was pulled in the fourth inning after loading the bases with one out – Michael Wuertz came in and shut the door to get the Cubs out of the inning. The Cubs were able to come back and take the lead, thanks to a timely E5 by Rolen with the bases juiced.

Then the drama came in the ninth. Dempster got hit hard, even on the outs. Cedeno made a great play on a ball hit deep in the hole and would have thrown the ball into the St. Louis bullpen were it not for a fine dig by Neifi Perez at second. Perez also made another fine play to nail down the victory, giving the Cubs their third win in four days. Dusty, however will have to make more judicious use of his bullpen pitchers than he did tonight.

Speaking of Dusty, Jim Hendry announced that Baker will finish out the year as Cubs manager. No surprise there, he’s been saying that all year long. Jim Hendry is a “stay the course” man and I won’t be a bit surprised if the Cubs go into next year with Mark Prior and Wade Miller as two of the five Cubs’ starters. I think it’s likely that Dusty will be back with a one-year contract but at this stage it’s only a guess.

Joe’s Take – I disagree about Dusty. I have a feeling that he will not be retained. Jim Hendry is smart enough to know that Cub fans do not want him back. He’ll appease both sides in this one. By letting Dusty finish, he doesn’t stab him in the back after giving him a vote of confidence all year. Then, by not bringing him back, he satifies the fan’s request.

Update – I hope you’re right Joe, I admit that my opinion is based upon mistrust and the fact that Hendry does what he wants to do and to heck with what the rest of Cubdom thinks. In unrelated news, Carrie Muscat reports that Greg Maddux now has a no trade clause – did I miss something? My understanding is that Maddux has a gentleman’s agreement, not a no trade clause.

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Another regurgitation special

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

As I’ve said before, good managers find a way to swing ten crucial games, bad managers find a way to lose ten. My question to Cubs fans is this: Why in the Sam Hill is Glendon Rusch being used in a crucial situation when the game is on the line? That having been said, why did we not have anybody up in the tenth after Rusch put men on second and third? Each day the Cubs manager shows us new levels of personal incompetence.

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Podcast is Here

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

In response to the poll on the sidebar, I am pleased to announce the arrival of a podcast on this site. I have teamed up with new blogger Phil Zuber of A Cub Fan’s Obsession. Phil has a degree in radio so it helps to have someone like that to get the ball rolling.

The Podcast will be called the Big League Baseball Report. We have plans to produce a podcast at least every other week. It will be increased if there is a demand there. This first podcast is a little longer than they will normally be, but we have some good topics on there. Here is a rundown of the broadcast (33 min)

  • Discussion of booing in sports
  • 5 Hitters potentially on the move before the deadline
  • 5 Pitchers potentially on the move before the deadlne
  • Cubs that could or should be moved before the deadline

We’re excited to bring this podcast to you. We really value your feedback. Give it a listen and please use the comment section. Enjoy!!!

Download the Podcast (MP3) – Here

UPDATE iTunes Subscription is available here

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