Archive for September, 2008

My Heart Went Boom!

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Tonight we travel to Shea Stadium, home of the notorious New York Mets. Up until last night, when curiosity got the better of me, that was just about the sum total of my knowledge regarding Shea Stadium. That and the fact that the Beatles once played a concert there. Hence, the title above. If you have to ask what the connection is, you’ll probably never know.

I was not at The Beatles’ Shea Stadium Concert. I did see The Beatles on that same tour in Chicago at The International Amphitheatre down by the Stock Yards. I say I saw them, because I sure didn’t hear them. But that’s another story.

Now I am informed that Shea Stadium is actually within the City of New York, in the borough of Queens, upon a geographical location know as Flushing Meadows.

I do know a little bit more about the City of New York, in general, than I do about Shea. I know that the Dodgers and Giants left. I know that the Corleone Family left, too. And I know that John Lennon was shot and killed there.

But tonight we’re here for baseball. I understand that Ron Santo did not make this trip because of his lack of warm and fuzzy feelings for the Mets. I share those same feelings. Nineteen sixty nine seems like only yesterday. I do not forget, and I do not forgive.

Back to the present:

The Cubs open the scoring in the top of the 2nd with 2 outs. DeRosa doubles to left center and Reed Johnson sends him home with a single to center. Cubs lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd.

But the Mets come back to tie in the bottom of the 2nd. Carlos Delgado draws a walk to open the inning, moves to third on Luis Castillo’s single to right, and scores on a wild pitch. Jason Marquis is looking a little shaky tonight. Score is tied 1-1 after 2 innings.

The curveball of Jon Niese is looking sharp tonight.

In the bottom of the 3rd Marquis is getting knocked around a bit. He almost loses the pitcher, Niese, going 3-2 before grounding him out. Jose Reyes and Dan Murphy hit back to back doubles, yielding one run. But Jason comes back, striking out Beltran to end the inning. Mets lead 2-1 after 3 innings.

**BIG INNING ALERT** Now it’s Jon Niese’s turn to get bombed. Geovany Soto leads off the 4th with a double down the left field line, takes 3rd on DeRo’s single to left, and scores on Reed Johnson’s single to center. Score is tied 2-2 with no outs. Theriot’s bloop single to right loads the bases for Jason Marquis, who connects with one of those sharp looking curveballs, pounding a grand slam home run to right center. I take it all back, Jason. Cubs lead 6-2 with no outs.

Nelson Figueroa is now pitching for the Mets. With 2 outs Dee Lee slams a four bagger to center. Score is 7-2. Aramis doubles but dies on 2nd. With a 6 run fourth inning, the Cubbies bat around and lead 7-2.

**FELIX PIE INNING ALERT** In the top of the 5th Felix absorbs a straight uppercut as a foul tip caroms from bat to ground to chin. A “double bank” shot! He reaches 1st base on a fielder’s choice, takes 3rd on Ryan Theriot’s single to right and scores on Jason Marquis’ 5-4 fielder’s choice. Cubs lead 8-2 with 2 outs.

The inning ends as Soriano both strikes out and is hit by a pitched ball. The K takes precedence. Three outs. This is known as “Adding insult to injury”. Cubs lead 8-2 going into the bottom of the 5th.

In the top of the 7th Carlos Beltran tries to knock down the right center field wall, going full speed after DeRo’s long fly ball. Beltran makes the catch, the wall is still standing, and Carlos remains in the game.

In the bottom of the 7th Marquis hits the wall. Jose Reyes gets an infield hit and David Wright hits a 2 run homer. That’s all for Jason Marquis. Neal Cotts comes in and, eventually, gets the 3rd out. Score is 8-4 going into the 8th.

The Cubs went 3 up and 3 down in the 6th and 7th innings. In the eigth inning the Cubs go four up and three down with Theriot dying at first. Score remains 8-4.

Cotts hits Luis Castillo to open the Mets 8th. So long, Neal. Neal Cotts faced 4 batters tonight and got one out. Jeff Samardzija comes in to face pinch hitter Damian Easley.
Easley fans. Pinch hitter Endy Chavez works a full count, before flying out to Pie. Jose Reyes flies out to Fuku. Jeff Samadzija faces three Mets and gets three outs. That’s what I’m talking about.

**BIG INNING ALERT** In the 9th, Aramis doubles with one out and takes third on Koyie Hill’s ground out to 1st base. Ward walks. Feliz Pie beats out an infield hit to Castillo, scoring Ramirez. Cubs lead 9-4. Theriot singles to right, loading the bases with 2 outs. Fuku pops up to the 3rd baseman on the infield grass, ending the big inning. Fuku has had 2 at bats tonight and has popped out both times.

Bottom of the 9th: Carlos Marmol is pitching with a 5 run lead. Now he has a 4 run lead. Carlos Marmol just doesn’t have it tonight. He faces 5, walks 2 and gets 2 out. With 2 out and runners at the corners, Kerry Wood is called in to save the game for the Cubs. We only need one more out, guys.

Kerry Wood strikes out Luis Castillo on 3 pitches. Cubs win 9-5, clinching home field advantage through the playoffs. Oh, that sounds sweet!Rising Damp film Collateral Damage film Before Sunrise film

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Cubs Claim Brad Snyder and Designate Adam Harben

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today claimed outfielder Brad Snyder off waivers from Cleveland and added him to the team’s 40-man roster. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Adam Harben has been designated for assignment.

Snyder, 26, was originally selected by Cleveland in the first round (18th overall) of the 2003 Draft. He has batted .273 (641-for-2,345) with 132 doubles, 32 triples, 84 home runs and 356 RBI in 639 minor league contests, having spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Buffalo.

A left-handed batter and thrower, Snyder hit .246 (101-for-411) with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 61 RBI in 115 games for Buffalo this season as the team’s centerfielder, including a .271 average (39-for-144) following the Triple-A All-Star break. He hit .300 (27-for-90) with four home runs and 16 RBI in 24 July contests before ending the campaign with a .304 batting average (17-for-56) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

In 2006 with Double-A Akron, Snyder led the Eastern League with 86 runs scored, was second with 233 total bases and 135 games played, was fourth with 141 hits and fifth with 62 walks. He ended the campaign with a .270 batting average (141-for-523), 28 doubles, five triples, 18 homers and 72 RBI.

With Akron in 2005, Snyder was named the Eastern League Player of the Week ending August 7 after hitting .419 (13-for-31) with 11 RBI in seven games. Later that year, he batted .367 (36-for-98) with three homers and 19 RBI in 25 games for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League – his .367 batting average ranked sixth in the league.

Harben, 25, was 3-6 with a 5.37 ERA (35 ER/58.2 IP) in 23 games (seven starts) for Single-A Daytona this season, missing time on the disabled list with a left calf strain (June 6-17) and a right shoulder strain (August 10-September 11). He was acquired by the Cubs from Minnesota September 5, 2006, in exchange for infielder Phil Nevin.Collateral Damage movie

Simon Says video

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All The Way

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

As much as I love “Go Cubs Go,” it really doesn’t come close to Eddie Vedder’s new song about being a Cubs fan. This isn’t the greatest slide show to music I’ve ever seen, but it’s good enough to make you smile about being a fan. And maybe, just maybe, the Cubs will go “All the Way.”

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Havin' Some Fun!

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

It was quite a night with all the Cubbie Blue Kool-Aid and Cubbie Blue Jell-O Shooters. Whew!

Lou is shaking things up with this lineup today. Good. It will be fun to watch. I find myself appreciating Lou Piniella’s managerial prowess more and more. Go Cubs Go!

Whoa, fast start! There are Cardinals on 2nd & 3rd after only 3 or 4 pitches. Fortunately, Ryan Dempster regains his composure after taking a couple or three quick jabs. Cards take a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 1st.

Fuku leads off with a double to right center. Maybe the leadoff spot agrees with him. As they say, the view changes when you’re in front. Cedeno fans. Hoffpauir fans. Ward grounds out 4-3. Fuku dies on 2nd. Could have bunted him around. It hurts to waste an opportunity like that.

In the top of the 2nd, Looper tries to lay down a sacrifice bunt with 2 strikes, but Dempster turns it into a double play instead. Nice play, Cubbies. St. Louis leads 1-0 after 1 1/2 innings.

Kosuke gets his 2nd consecutive hit of the day to open the bottom of the 3rd, a single to right. Yoi desu (translation: “that’s a good thng”). Kosuke takes 3rd on a well executed run & hit single to right by Ronny Cedeno. Fuku scores on a Micah Hoffpauir fielder’s choice to 2nd. Lopez’ error (on the throw) keeps everyone safe. Score is now tied at one run apiece. Go Cubs Go!

Daryle Ward looks at a called 3rd strike. Mr. Ward disagreed with the call, but there are now 2 outs. Fontenot singles to right and Cedeno tries to score from 2B. A good throw from Ludwick nails Ronny at the plate, but I applaud the aggressive base running attempt. Go for it. Score remains 1-1.

Cards go three up and three down in the 4th. I hope I don’t jinx things by observing that Ryan Dempster looks very good this afternoon. After that initial 1st inning 1-2-3 punch, leading to a single run, he has looked outstanding.

**FELIX PIE INNING ALERT** Felix Pie leads off the 4th with a triple to right field. Man, that guy can run. Let’s get him in, OK? Pie scores (and yes, he was safe) on an RBI fly to short center by Casey McGehee. Good savvy base running by Felix Pie. That was his inning. Cubs lead 2-1. Wooo-Wooooo!

Damien: Omen II rip Collateral Damage on dvd

Glen Hobbie is mentioned on the telecast, triggering Cubbie Dude memories. As I recall, that Cubs pitching staff included Hobbie, Dick Drott, Moe Drabowski… Ahhhh. Memories.

Izturis steals 2B after singling to center. Then Cesar tries to score on a single to right. But Kosuke nails him with a strike to Koyie Hill for the 3rd out. That defensive play by Kosuke was poetry in motion. Cubs lead 2-1 after 4 1/2 innings. Fukudome is starring in his own movie this afternoon.

Highlight of the Cubs 5th was a strong two out double to right by Micah Hoffpauir. But he died on 2B .

Jeff Samardzija relieves Dempster in the top of the 6th, and he acquits himself well. The Cards go three up and three down.

**BIG INNING ALERT** Fontenot walks to lead off the Cubs 6th. Let’s get him around. Pie singles to right, with Fontenot taking 3rd. No outs. Casey McGehee singles to center, scoring Fontenot. Cubs have runners at 1st & 2nd with no outs. A Koyie Hill sac bunt moves runners to 2nd & 3rd with 1 out. Pie tags up and scores on an RBI foul out to left field by Jim Edmonds (pinch hitting in the pitcher’s spot). Once again, good base running by Felix Pie. Fuku grounds out to end the inning and strands McGehee at 3B. Cubs take a 4-1 lead into the 7th.

Chad Gaudin is pitching for the Cubs in the 7th. He, as opposed to Dempster & Samardzija, does not look sharp as he walks Troy Glaus. Well, maybe he was just deliberately pitching around Troy, as he then strikes out Nick Stavinoha. Chad is not getting any help from the home plate ump and walks Jason LaRue. That’s two walks out of 3 batters faced. First the catcher, then the pitching coach go out to have a talk with Gaudin. Gaudin settles down, retiring the next two batters and getting out of the inning with no runs scored. Nice job, Chad.

Jim Belushi and the Wrigley Field Grounds Crew lead the 7th inning stretch entertainment. Their performance is very well received by the crowd. Cubs lead remains 4-1.

Cedeno leads off the Cubs’ 7th against reliever Kyle McClellan with a double down the right field line. Ronny has looked good today, both fielding and hitting. Hoffpauir walks, but Ward hits into a double play. Cedeno’s at 3rd with 2 out and, lo and behold, he scores on a Kyle McClellan wild pitch. Thanks, Kyle. Cubs lead 5-1.

Randy Wells is pitching for the Cubs in the 8th. Impressively, Wells gets Pujols to hit into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play. Good show, Randy. Cubs lead 5-1.

Jason Motte is pitching for the Cards in the 8th. He’s slingin’ heat in the 97-98 MPH range, as he strikes out the side. Impressive. Very impressive.

Bob Howry is in to pitch for the Cubs in the 9th, and he closes it out with no damage. Cubs win their last home game of the 2008 regular season 5-1.

I gotta say, that is not the final result I envisioned when I saw the starting lineup. My first thought was that the Cards would be the ones havin’ some fun today. And, for the 1st two or three batters, they were. But, surprise surprise, the Cubs’ “B” team gits ‘er done. There is definitely some depth to this Cubs roster.

We were all havin’ some fun this weekend, so my personal sound track for the next 24 hours will feature “Havin’ Some Fun” by the Bob Mintzer Big Band.

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Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It!!!

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Top 1st: Soriano was caught daydreaming in LF as Ludwick’s fly ball sailed over his head for a double. Good pick up out of the dirt by Dee Lee on the throw following Puhols’ grounder to SS. Lopez looks at strike 3. No score.Bottom 1st: Dee Lee pounds a double off the deep center field wall. No score.

Top 2nd: Glaus goes down swinging. The Fox TV announcers are definitely out of towners. Touristas. Navy Pier. Rush Street. I can’t listen. There’s a 5-7 second delay on the telecast. So Pat & Ron tell me what just happened, and then, 5 seconds later, I see it on TV. It’s like Deja-Vu all over again on every pitch. Interesting effect.

Bottom 2nd: **BIG INNING ALERT** Edmonds drives one high off the left field indent, and cruises into 2nd with a double. Soto walks. The Cubs have runners on 1st & 2nd with no outs. DeRose hits into a 4-6 fielder’s choice, leaving runners at the corners with one out. Fuku walks on 4 pitches to load the bases. Joel Pineiro is throwing a lot of balls. Lilly goes down swinging. 2 out. Soriano lines a hit to LF which Barton flubs. The ball rolls to the wall. Three runs score and Alfonso lands on 3rd base. Theriot flies out to right. Score is 3-0 Cubs after 2 innings.

Top 3rd: Catcher Jason Larue leads off the inning which begs the question: Whatever has happened to Yadier Molina? I mean, I know what happened, but not what’s happened since then. Ted (“The Human Steamroller”) Lilly must have really banged him up. With one out, Izturis bounces a single over Lilly’s head. Theriot grabs it but has no play. Ludwick grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Cubs lead 3-0.

Bottom 3rd: Cincy leads Milwaukee 1-0 . I think LaRussa addressed the Molina situation on FoxTV just now, but I wasn’t able to get the sound on in time. What did he say? Cubs lead the Cards 3-0.

Top 4th: Spectacular play by Ramirez & Dee Lee to get Pujols out. No runs scored. Nevertheless, I’d feel better with 10 More Insurance runs (IFBWTMIR).

Bottom 4th: **BIG INNING ALERT** Soto gets to 1st on an error by Troy Glaus at 3rd. DeRosa slams an RBI double off the indent vines in left. Soto scores. Cubs lead 4-0. DeRosa advances to 3rd on a ground out by Fuku. One out. DeRosa scores on a squeeze bunt by Lilly who is safe on the play. Cubs lead 5-0. The Cubs really executed the squeeze play well there. Does that one qualify as a “suicide squeeze”?

Top 5th: Three up and three down. Cubs lead 5-0.

Bottom 5th: Aramis singles to left with 1 out. But Edmonds’ 4-6-3 double play ends the inning. Cubs lead 5-0. **IFBWTMIR**

Top 6th: **BIG INNING ALERT** Izturis singles to center. Ludwick goes down swinging for the second out. Pujols gets to 1st base on Lilly’s 1st walk of the game. Runners on 1st & 2nd with 2 out. Cards execute a successful double steal. Runners on 2nd & 3rd. Lopez gets an infield RBI single to short. Troy Glaus slams a 3 run HR to left. Cubs lead 5-4. Ron Santo needs Oxygen. Barton grounds out to end the BIG INNING. Cubs lead is cut to one run: 5-4. As Ferris Buehler once said: “Life comes at you fast…”

Bottom 6th: Soto gets on with an infield single to 3rd. Soto is out by a mile trying to get to 2nd base. Two out. Did Fuku miss a hit & run sign? Fuku goes down swinging. Not Fukudome-san’s most stellar at-bat. (IWFBWTMIR)

Top 7th: Josh Phelps, pinch hitting for Pineiro, is called out on strikes. Jason Larue goes down swinging. Cesar Izturis grounds out to short to end the inning. 3 up and 3 down. I suspect Ted Lilly is through for the day. But he finishes on a classy note.

Bottom 7th: Fontenot, pinch hitting for Lillly, grounds out to 1st. Soriano flies out to right, and Theriot goes down swinging. Three up and three down.

Top 8th: **BIG INNING ALERT** Carlos Mormol is pitching. Ludwick, Pujols & Lopez are due up. The umpire is not calling strikes for Carlos. Three straight balls called. Two straight strikes. Full count. Ludwick flies out to center. Cincy is leading Milwaukee 3-2. Pujols pops out to 2nd. 2 out. Cincy takes a 4-2 lead over the Brewers. Lopez grounds out 3-1. Very solid relief performance by Carlos Marmol. Cubs lead 5-4 and are 3 Cardinal outs away from VICTORY!!

Bottom 8th: Dee Lee fans. One out. Ramirez fans. Two out. The ump is calling strikes on Edmonds. So, having no other choice, Jim Edmonds swings and grounds out 4-3.

Top 9th: **BIG INNING ALERT** Kerry Wood is pitching. We are three outs (and one run) away. Troy Glaus walks. The tying run is on 1st base. The pinch runner is cut down at 2nd base on a 4-6 fielder’s choice. One out, tying run on first. Schumaker looks at strike 3. A thing of beauty. Two out. Pinch hitter Aaron Miles flies out to center field for the 3rd and final out. Cubs win the game, (5-4), and take the division title.

I’m hearing The Fabulous Thunderbirds: “Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It!”

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