Archive for March, 2008

Noting A Trend for Dontrelle

Monday, March 17th, 2008

This is non-Cub related, but since he’s a former Cub farmhand, I thought it might interest you.

Most people know how bad Dontrelle Willis was last year and I found something I thought was interesting. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but it made me say, hmmm.

In 2006, Willis used his fastball 63% of the time and finished with an ERA of 3.87. Last year, that fastball usage increased to 78% of the time and the velocity on it declined from 90.5 mph to 89.3 mph. Not only did he use it more often, but it was slower as well.

Why the sudden change in fastball usage? Throw in a case of wildness and Dontrelle was forced into more fastball counts in his starts. In 2006 he averaged a shade over 16 pitches per inning. In 2007, that number increased to 17. While it may not sound like much, it magnifies over the course of the season.

If Willis is going to be successful again, he has to regain his command and decrease the wildness.

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Roster Projection – Week 3

Monday, March 17th, 2008

We have some changes this week in the rotation and the bench.

 Miscellaneous Notes

Remaining Non-Roster Players in Camp:

  • Les Walrond (P) – Why is he on the team again?
  • Chad Fox (P) – Cubs are just waiting for his arm to fall off before they release him.
  • Koyie Hill (C) – No chance to make the team out of camp
  • Alex Cintron (IF) – The Cubs are going to need to find room for him on the 40 man
  • Micah Hoffpauir (IF) – Making a strong case to make this team out of camp
  • Casey McGehee (IF) – It’s pronounced McGee. Get it right already!!!
  • Josh Kroeger (OF) – Has had a nice spring, but is there room for him? Doubtful.
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Roo Woo in Regular Season Form

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

This was sent to me by a reader yesterday:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdAHV2lFwWg

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The Price of Fame

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Sammy Sosa is CoolLast week, Jeff Pearlman wrote an article on ESPN.com about how Nomar Garciaparra showed no love towards Dodgers fans during autograph day, the last ever at Vero Beach, Florida.

Pearlman said, “In one of the least fan-friendly displays I’ve ever witnessed as a baseball writer, Garciaparra spent the absolute minimum amount of time signing.” He never looked up. He never said a word. When fans offered a hearty “Good luck!” or said “You’ve always been my favorite!” he either grunted or pretended the sentiment was never expressed.

I don’t think that Garciaparra’s less than friendly attitude warrants him the stigma of “rapidly fading has-been” by Pearlman, but it did get me thinking. In the limited time I witnessed Garciaparra in public, he always seemed like a nice guy to me. Feelings about Garciaparra aside, Pearlman did say something that I agreed with. He said, “I wanted to tell him (Garciaparra) that fame is fleeting, and the ability to make someone’s day — to make a memory — is a gift few of us possess.”

Good point indeed.

I can remember sitting with my uncle at Wrigley watching the Cubs during batting practice. Sitting with my uncle at Wrigley Field meant pretty darn good seats, so I always had the opportunity to weasel my way up to the front row and try to get an autograph. The day I got Mark Grace’s autograph while he was jogging by the bullpen still ranks in the top ten of my favorite Cub moments.

Or how about waiting for the players after the game outside the parking lot (before it turned into the zoo it is today). We would wait forever for Maddux or Sutcliffe to come over and sign. I remember my mom telling Gary Scott (remember him) he played a great game and he didn’t even play that day. He still signed my scorecard after he chuckled heartily at my mom. One time, Hector Villenuava signed a ball for my best and friend and I while he was getting into his car, and then proceeded to give us free cologne samples. On the way home from the games we would replay those type of moments, each time making them bigger and bigger in our heads.

Situations like that did make my day and were and are monumental to my memories of Wrigley Field and more importantly the Chicago Cubs. My family and friends and I still talk about those times, although now it is to mostly make fun of me. So, is it an athlete’s responsibility to sign autographs? Do baseball players owe fans something because we “pay their salaries?”

I don’t think someone not signing an autograph means they are a bad guy. I get the idea that everyone has a bad day. If a player decides to sign autograph after autograph after autograph, great. If not that is ok too. I am more interested in the way they carry themselves in general and their work off the field; names like Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee come to mind.

The game of baseball is not like it once was. We (and I use the term we loosely here) turn baseball players and athletes in general, into heroes when they really should not be. They are over-hyped and most of them have egos to match. They are overpaid to play what at the end of the day is a game, a game that at its best is played for hours during those long days of summer with a group of friends.

What do you think? Is it a baseball player’s responsibility to make memories for the fans? What baseball player or athlete in general made your day…made you a memory?

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Steve Lavin Thinks I’m Retarded

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’m a huge Illinois basketball fan and usually enjoy the duo of Steve Lavin and Brent Musberger on the mic. Today, though, Lavin insulted my intelligence with commentary he passed off as insightful but was actually a retarded excuse for analysis. His comment about Illinois this season was paraphrased as follows:

After yet another made free throw, Lavin remarked that it was the story of the Illini season. If they could just make more free throws, shoot the ball better, and turn it over less, they would have had a lot different season this year.

Wow Steve, that’s insightful. So basically, if I understand you correctly, if the Illini would have just had a better team, they would have had a…wait for it…better season. Brilliant. Steve, go away and quit assuming I’m a moron that buys the crap you’re selling.

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