Archive for May, 2007

Being a Cubs fan is like..

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Okay, it’s time to have some fun in the midst of yet another season of baseball butchery. Let ‘em fly, just keep it relatively clean and nothing that’s culturally offensive.

I’ll do the first two:

Being a Cubs fan is like being a member of the Lost Tribes of Israel. You spend an eternity wandering throughout the Diaspora in search of the Promised Land.

Being a Cubs fan is like being a seventeen-year cicada. You spend sixteen years underground – when it’s your day in the sunshine you get screwed and then you die.

Let’s see what y’all can come up with!

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Game 51 – Ugh (la)…Another Loss

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007


May 30th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Florida 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 3 0   9 12 0
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   0 5 1
W -  R. Messenger (1-1)   L  - T. Lilly (4-3)  S – None
Homeruns: D. Uggla (10 & 11) M. Cabrera (10) J. Willingham (7)

Box Score

Optimism
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t share Mark and a lot of other fans sentiments on the lack of heart. How exactly are you guys measuring heart? Watching a game on TV tells you nothing. Unless you can spend time with a player on an everyday basis and get inside his head, you’re simply watching from a distance. You can’t measure heart or drive to win like that. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. Right now the team is in a funk. When you look up and down this lineup though, it’s a team that should be able to score runs. I’m nowhere near abandoning my confidence that this team will win the NL Central. It looks to be a division that will have a winner that all but backs into the crown. Why can’t that be us? I’m using Mark’s favorite phrase when I advise everyone to stay the course and not abandon this team yet. Call me a homer. Call me a moron, but I believe the Cubs will turn this mess around.

Ted Lilly
Ted got hit pretty hard tonight from a boxscore standpoint, but if you watched the game, he really didn’t pitch that bad. He had given up just 3 earned runs into the 7th inning, which is acceptable by me. He got ahead in the count on a good deal of hitters and seemed to have the hitters guessing most of the night as evidenced by his strikeout total. The problem was that every time he did get hit, he was hit hard.

Cliff Floyd
I’d really like to see Cliff in the starting lineup everyday for a couple weeks to see what he can do. He’s got a great deal of power and can provide a much needed left handed bat in the lineup. Having him in RF and Jones in CF allows the Cubs to begin to alternate between lefties and righties in the lineup, which is vital when you get to the late innings and pitcher changes. In addition, it keeps the starter from getting into too much of a zone for his release point by pitching to all righties. Sorry Murton fans, but i’m backing Floyd.

Scorekeeping
The more I watch baseball on TV or in person, the more I realize that I’m a dork. One thing I really enjoy is keeping score, even when watching the game on television. All those times when Steve Stone used to say something to the effect of “….if you’re scoring at home.” Yeah, he was talking about me. Am I the only one out there who does this? Surely I can’t be, right? I just find that it helps me keep up with what’s happening. It helps during night games to keep me from falling asleep, and it definitely helps me catch things I may have forgotten when it comes time to analyze the game.

The reason I bring this who scorekeeping idea up is because of how excited I was today to find a very nice PC scorekeeping program instead of the paper/pencil method I currently use. I tested it out today using the free trial version (yes, they actually charge money for it) and I liked it. Whether or not I will drop the money to purchase the program is yet to be determined, but we shall see. What i’d like to know is if you keep score at the game or at home? If so, maybe we can get a little discussion going, because i’m always looking for more efficient ways of doing things.

Tough loss today, but we’re only 6 out and we’ve got the Brewers coming in soon. Let’s get hot with the Braves and be ready to make our move by the weekend. It’s a new month. Let’s make it a good one.

Mark’s Thoughts
Here we go again, another game that ends with the Cubs shaking their heads. This is a very uninspired ballclub, I personally don’t think they will see the .500 mark again this year. And the sad thing is that it will be the second year in a row where a slightly better than .500 record will win the division! Imagine, all the millions were wasted – the Cubs could have fielded a sixty million dollar team with less talented guys who tried real hard and at least we’d have a fighting chance.

Being a Cubs fan is nine years of disappointment followed by one year of hope. And the one year is the one you’d never pick.


STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Sergio Mitre (.202) He should have got a win, but got hurt
  • Second Star – Dan Uggla (.144)
  • Third Star – Miguel Cabrera (.080)

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  • Pride in the job

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

    Nearly all of us wake up five days out of seven and go to work. Some of us have safe jobs and we can just coast until five and go home; but most of us have jobs in which our security is based upon performance. If our company doesn’t do well, changes could happen and we could be out on the street. OR, if we don’t do well, we could end up on a “performance improvement plan” or some other form of corporate documentation that would result in the same.

    So it perplexes me when, year after year we see the Cubs shake their heads and lose games. We’ve fired the so-called president and a very uninspired manager yet the results seem to be the same. Now we have a firebrand in the dugout and he’s not afraid to make changes – in fact he’s changed his lineup more than Imelda Marcos changed shoes. So what gives?

    I think that there’s a malaise in the clubhouse. For some reason or another the key players don’t have the spit and vinegar that’s requisite for championship baseball. They go out there and put up decent numbers but the attitude sucks. These guys are just doing an eight to five, clocking their hours and collecting their paychecks. We’ve had Barrett, Zambrano, Lee and Ramirez for a few years now – sure they put up good numbers but are they team leaders? Methinks not. This team looks like 25 guys who are preparing for a firing squad, not a World Series.

    I’d like to think that Piniella has the moxie to change the prevailing attitude, I suspect that he’ll do everything he can. But if this team is still losing at All Star break I think it’s high time that the Cubs consider trading some of their so-called “untouchables” and see if we can get players with a little less skill and a lot more attitude.

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    Game 51 – Open Thread

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Sergio Mitre – Mitre was masterful again on Friday, scattering eight hits and a walk while striking out eight in a no-decision against the Mets. Mitre has allowed only five earned runs in his past 36 innings, though he has just two wins to show for it.

    Ted Lilly – Lilly will be back to pitching on five days’ rest. Maybe the extra two days off between his past two starts threw him off. Against the Dodgers on Friday night, the lefty issued a season-high four walks and gave up five runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing of the year and the first time he walked more than he struck out (two).

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Sergio Mitre – ESPN Splits


    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Felix Pie (AAA) 1-5, 2B, RBI, CS, (.396avg)


    This Day In History

    1927 Cubs’ shortstop Jimmy Cooney completes an unassisted triple play as he snares Paul Waner’s liner, steps on second to double up Paul’s brother, Lloyd, and then tags Clyde Barnhart coming from first for the third out.

    1956 Mickey Mantle barely misses (18 inches) becoming the first player to hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium. The monster shot was still climbing as hit the facade in the upper stands.

    1974 Sadaharu Oh becomes the first Japanese player to 600 home runs.

    1982 Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak begins with the Oriole third baseman (position for the first 27 games during the streak) batting eighth against Blue Jays.

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    Game 50 – Gotta Work on Special Teams

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007


    May 29th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Florida 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 4 0   9 13 2
    Chicago 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0   4 8 1
    W -  D. Willis (7-3)   L  - J. Marquis (5-2)  S – K. Gregg (6)
    Homeruns: J. Hermida (3) D. Lee (4) R. Theriot (1)

    Box Score

    I really thought we were going to get a win against Dontrelle. The thing that scared me and kept coming to mind though was how much run support he has been getting. That continued in this start.

    Jason Marquis
    Marquis has been pitching very well this year, but tonight was just not his night. He had trouble keeping his pitch count down and was very close to being pulled after four innings due to a high count. He got himself into way too many jams. He was able to get out of the first one in the 2nd inning very nicely, but after that, the Marlins began to break through. The encouraging thing to me is that despite the poor start, his ERA is still under 3.00. Who would’ve thought that would be the case this late in the year?

    Baserunning Miscues
    I love the fact that before the game, Lou emphasized how important baserunning is and how the Cubs needed to get better at it. How did they respond? Mark DeRosa runs into an out at third on a play that was right in front of him. I have no idea what he was thinking. My only guess was maybe he wasn’t paying attention and thought it was a force place. Why else would he run on that play? Just a few plays later, Michael Barrett got picked off second on a snap throw from Miguel Olivo. It’s baserunning like this that is killing this team. We really need to fix this stuff and I’m not sure it’s a management issue. It has been going on for as long as I’ve been a Cub fan.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Jeremy Hermida (.249)
  • Second Star – Ryan Theriot (.181)
  • Third Star – Josh Willingham (.166)

    In the fourth inning, you can see that 75% of the time, a team should win when they’re at that point. It all went down hill from there.

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  • Game 50 – Open Thread

    Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Dontrelle Willis – Willis was in line to pick up his seventh win after allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings against Philadelphia in his start on Thursday, but the Phillies rallied late to tie the score and bump him out of the decision. Willis has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past three starts and is 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA in five career starts at Wrigley Field.

    Jason Marquis – Marquis should’ve gotten the win in his last start, against the Padres on Thursday night. He gave up one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out five, but left with the game tied. Marquis has won his past five decisions and is looking like one of the best free-agent additions. He’s 4-3 with a 6.83 ERA against the Marlins in his career.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Dontrelle Willis – ESPN Splits


    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Felix Pie (AAA) 4-4, 3B, HR, 2RBI, 2R, (.406avg)
    Micah Hoffpauir (AAA) 3-4, RBI, R, (.292avg)
    Jake Fox (AA) 2-5, 3RBI, (.342avg)
    Tyler Colvin (High-A) 3-4, 2B, 2RBI, R, SB, (.303avg)
    Scott Taylor (High-A) 7IP, 2ER, 9H, 2BB, 2K, WIN (4.95ERA)
    Jacob Renshaw (Low-A) G#1 5IP, No Runs, 4H, 2BB, 5K, WIN (3.50ERA)
    Marco Carrillo (Low-A) G#2 5IP, No Runs, 4H, 6K, WIN (2.92ERA)


    This Day In History

    1922 The Supreme Court rules that organized baseball is a sport and not a business which exempts major league clubs from antitrust laws and interstate commerce rules. (This is a Mark Strickler Special)

    1990 A’s Rickey Henderson theft of third base in the sixth inning of a 2-1 loss to Blue Jays breaks the 62-year old American League stolen base record of 892 held by Ty Cobb.

    2000 At the age of 104, Fred Roberts, the oldest living Dodger fan, makes his first visit to Dodger Stadium. Wearing a jersey with the number 104, the World War I veteran cheers as Sean Green’s sixth inning grand slam helps to beat Al Leiter and the Mets, 4-1.

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    Putting lipstick on the pig…again

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    Today we watched Byun-hyun Drysdale befuddle the Cubs, a team that now looks somewhat clueless at the plate. This appears to be an increasing trend with the Cubs – they are starting to look a lot like Dusty’s team last year. They go up to the plate hacking, they leave runners on base in key situations and on the basepaths they find a new and innovative ways to lose games instead of winning them.

    So last year we got rid of a tired and uninspired manager and replaced him with one that had a reputation for being a sparkplug. Where’s your fire and zeal Uncle Lou? Are you waiting for July Fourth to show us your fireworks? I’m still behind Piniella but I’d like to see him start to hold this team more accountable. Even if that means “facing” them in the papers. And Lou, why in the Sam Hill did you put Eyre in the game again today? What kind of stupidity was that? Had it not been for Piniella’s poor decision-making the Cubs might have tied the game in the ninth. But no, he had to go back to the well with Eyre, a move that was very reminiscent of Dusty repeatedly going to LaTroy.

    Usually Cubs fans will cut you a year’s worth of slack Uncle Lou but patience is not at an all-time high in Chicago. Sorry to say it but the honeymoon appears to be over – it’s time to bring home the bacon!

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    Game 49 – Abercrombie and Fish

    Monday, May 28th, 2007


    May 28th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Florida 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1   5 10 1
    Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3   3 8 1
    W -  B. Kim (3-2)   L  - S. Marshall (0-2)  S – K. Gregg (5)
    Homeruns: R. Abercrombie (2)

    Box Score

    A late rally adds some excitement, but the Cubs fall in a really good game. I enjoyed this one, despite the result.

    Sean Marshall
    With another good start resulting in yet another tough loss, Marshall appears to have solidified his spot in the rotation and what that means for Wade Miller is anyone’s guess. Right now, the Cubs may try to move him into the bullpen in the hope that he can be better than what we’ve had to this point. Odd are that Marshall will not be relinquishing that 5th spot though. The biggest problem to this point in his young career for Marshall has been his control. If he can continue to work on that, he’s got decent stuff and can be successful in the bottom part of that rotation. Today he walked two and struck out six, but was over the 100 pitch count after just 6 innings of work. He seemed to go deep into counts often. After getting Reggie Abercrombie on one pitch to start the game, Marshall couldn’t do it again the rest of the game. I think Lou made the right call leaving him in to start the 7th inning. With the success of the bullpen this year, you have to give Sean a chance to try for a couple quick outs in an attempt to get through 7. He took a tough loss today, but sometimes you have to deal with those. His next start is against Atlanta and Chuck James. We’ll see if he can continue to pitch well and get himself a win to show for it.

    Why No Balk?
    Byung-Hyun Kim pitched outstanding today and has been great since the Marlins brought him in via trade a week or so ago. Does that mean he’s an all-star all of a sudden? Hardly, but right now he’s getting a the job done. My frustration came with the umpires not calling obvious balks on Kim on three different occasions. None of them would have been game changing, but the fact that at one point they pulled Kim aside to talk to him about it and never called it is ridiculous. When you get to the Major Leagues, you have to know what you can and cannot do on the mound. The umpires shouldn’t be allowed to pull you aside to talk with you about it and not penalize you in some way. In case you missed what happened, Kim would step onto the rubber with his hand in contact with his glove, similar to a position you would be in as you come set in the stretch. Then, he would drop his right hand and take the sign. Once you bring your hands together, you either have to pitch the ball or step off the mound. Kim did neither and should have faced the penalty for it. Later in the game, he was moving his shoulder on a pitch instead of coming set and wasn’t called on it.

    Why are fans idiots?
    One of the best things about the game today and games all around baseball was the idea of pausing for a moment of silence to honor the veterans on Memorial Day. All of baseball stopped except for ignorant fans that were either too drunk to know what was going on or just too ignorant to have any respect. I can’t stand people like this. Have some pride and respect for your country and for people doing more for you than you really will ever know. Recognize that it’s time to be quiet and don’t open your dang mouth by shouting crap like “Go Cubs, WOOO” This is one of the main reasons I hate fans and hate actually attending games. People in the stands are ignorant and I hope someday baseball and sports in general bans alcohol completely. It’s never going to happen, but it really would make it a lot better for families and people who actually care about the game.

    Scott Eyre
    Len and Bob brought up the idea of sending Scott to the minors in an effort to work out his troubles in a less hostile place. What Cub fans can do right now that would help the most would be to keep their yaps shut instead of booing. Everyone knows Scott has struggled. He knows it more than anyone. Why do we need to remind him? Do we want him to keep struggling? Booing only hurts a player and right now, we need to send as many positive vibes this guy’s way.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Byung-Hyun Kim (.375)
  • Second Star – Kevin Gregg (.103)
  • Third Star – Cliff Floyd (.091)

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  • Game 49 – Open Thread

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Byung-Huyn Kim – Kim’s second start as a Marlin didn’t turn out quite as well as his first. Facing Philadelphia at home on Wednesday, Kim allowed four runs on five hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings. He did not factor in the decision. Kim has a 5.06 ERA in two starts with Florida.

    Sean Marshall – Marshall was tremendous in his 2007 debut last Wednesday against the Padres. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings and struck out eight. One pitch made the difference in the game — an 0-1 changeup to Kevin Kouzmanoff, who hit it a two-run homer in the seventh to give San Diego a 2-1 win. Marshall was able to throw 105 pitches, which is a good sign that his shoulder is not an issue. He was slowed in Spring Training by fatigue in his shoulder.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Byung-Hyun Kim – ESPN Splits


    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Felix Pie (AAA) 2-5, 2B, 4RBI, (.382avg)
    Les Walrond (AAA) 7IP, 1ER, 6H, 3BB, 6K, WIN (4.17ERA)
    Sean Gallagher (AA) 5.1IP, 3ER, 6H, 4BB, 2K, (3.67ERA)
    Jesse Estrada (High-A) 7IP, 1ER, 5H, 3BB, 5K, WIN (4.93ERA)


    This Day In History

    2004 Matt Clement becomes the 21st big league pitcher and the first Cubs’ hurler in over a century to hit three batters in one inning to tie a major league record. The victims plucked in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates are Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall and Craig Wilson.

    2006 In an 11 inning slugfest at Wrigley Field, the Braves establish a new club record by hitting eight homers in a 13-12 win over the Cubs. Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans Adam LaRoche (2), Brayan Pena and ,Edgar Renteria (2) all go deep for Atlanta.

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