Archive for February, 2009

Quick Hits: The Leadoff Man

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Lou Piniella mentioned that his leadoff man might be different this year and some names have surfaced since. Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Aaron Miles and Joey Gathright have all been mentioned. Pardon me for sharing, but don’t you have to actually be a starter to be a leadoff man? It seems to me that the only starter in that mix right now is Theriot. I’m not sure who will be leading off this year, but I know one thing: If Gathright and his career .328 OBP is the answer, I don’t wanna know the question.

The Last Unicorn film

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My Predictions for the 2009 Season

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I wanted to throw these out there early so we’d have something to watch throughout the spring training games. Without further delay, here are some fearless predictions for the season. Feel free to voice your agreement / disagreement accordingly, as well as post your own.

  • Carlos Zambrano will fail to reach the 15 win mark after missing 5+ starts due to injury.
  • Kosuke Fukudome will have the polar opposite season from last year, having a good spring, poor start to the season, and then finishing strong.
  • Carlos Marmol will win the closer role out of spring training, but we will see Kevin Gregg finish close to 10 saves.
  • Jeff Samardzija will begin the season in Iowa’s rotation
  • Micah Hoffpauir will fail to make the team out of spring, not because of a poor showing, but because of lack of versatility.
  • Mike Fontenot will receive 400+ at bats at second base and will make at least 5 appearances at SS.
  • Paul Bako will not finish the season as the backup catcher
  • Jake Peavy will not throw a pitch for the Cubs
  • Rich Harden will make 26 starts
  • The Cubs will win the NL Central division by 11 games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Alfonso Soriano will play more games in the leadoff spot than he will outside of that spot.
  • Derrek Lee will finish the season with 21 homeruns.
  • Milton Bradley will finish the season virtually injury and incident free

There ya go. What says you?

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Talkin Baseball on ESPN 1000

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Here were some notes to start off spring training on Friday.

Jeff Samardzija on Waddle & Silvy on Friday

  • He cut a couple inches off his hair heading into spring training
  • Expects to have a shot at competing for the rotation
  • Has had to talk to veterans like Scott Eyre to adjust to the move from being a starter to a reliever
  • Has trained as if he was a starter for this season
  • The biggest thing he took away from last season was the incredible atmosphere around being on a winning team.
  • Had high praise for the great coaching Larry Rothschild gives him.
  • Was very high on the team chemistry that this ball club has going into the season.
  • Insists that he has four pitches that he can throw, despite the fact that we never really saw much of the change from him last year.

Bruce Levine on Waddle & Silvy on Friday

  • Marmol expects to win the closer role out of spring training.
  • Said Samardzija needs a third pitch (Fastball & Splitter), despite the fact that Jeff mentioned he throws FOUR pitches. Later in the day he mentioned that endurance and experience are needed for him as well.
  • Mentioned that Kerry Wood pitched the last few years with the same type of tear in his rotator cuff that Rich Harden has.
  • Jake Peavy situation is still not being pursued.
  • In response to Waddle’s worry that players are injury risks (Bradley, Harden and Soriano) and may derail the team, Bruce said he didn’t feel worried and that sometimes you have to roll the dice.
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Cubs Convene on Cosmic Convergence of Coincidences

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Originally posted by Tim McGinnis at Tales from Aisle 424


Today is many things. It is the day pitchers and catchers officially report to Spring Training. It is also Friday the 13th. While I have done my best to not draw too many conclusions about the possible ramifications of such a coincidence, I’ll admit that the thought has festered.

It is my hope that this is the first step of many by the Cubs organization to tell the baseball gods where to stick their curse, but I believe it was probably just a small clerical oversight when planning out the Spring Training schedule. My guess is that Crane Kenney (he who felt it necessary to bless the dugout before the playoffs last year) simply didn’t check his calendar closely when the date was first set.

Generally, I’m not a big believer in Friday the 13th, but this day also marks a major anniversary for me. It is the eleventh anniversary of my first purchase of my season ticket package in Aisle 424.

You may wonder how I have remembered the exact date of my purchase when I have difficulty remembering what I had for dinner last night (Waffles!), but it is not so much because I remember the date I purchased the tickets, I remember because of what happened the very next day.

On February 14, 1998, Harry Caray collapsed into a coma while dancing with his wife, Dutchie, after a Valentine’s Day dinner. He never regained consciousness and died four days later.

So, it stands to reason that I killed Harry. I certainly didn’t mean to, and if I had any inkling that was going to be the penalty for fulfilling a personal dream, I certainly wouldn’t have done my little I-Got-Cubs-Tickets Jig after getting off the phone with the Cubs’ ticket representative.

Eleven years later, the Cubs begin their quest to avoid the 101st year of championship drought at a point in time that has some historically bad mojo tied to it. You can see why my optimism might wane a bit.

But instead, I choose to take this as an opportunity to stand up and shove this cosmically tainted day in the faces of the baseball gods and spit at their feet. This is a new time

Cleaner movies

, when I will not fear black cats, bad karma, or shady conspiracy theories. I dare them to do their worst.

Now where did I put that rabbit’s foot?The Hard Word dvd

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Alright, lemme hear ya…good and loud.

Friday, February 13th, 2009

As we get ready to start the long journey toward October, I want to hear what type of ideas you have for posts and topics as well as features for the site. It’s your site to read so let me know what you want to see. I’ve been leaning toward more extensive minor league coverage and discussion on the organization as a while rather than primarily the big league team. Give me some feedback as to what you want. Don’t be afraid, even if you’ve never commented before.

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