Archive for September, 2010

Thursday Randomness

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

It’s Thursday so that means Dave will be here with In the News, right? Nope, he’s retired so you’re stuck with me. Let’s get it on.

Trivia Answer

On Tuesday I asked the question “Since 1960, there have been five (now only four) players who have thrown at least 200 innings, struck out at least 200 batters and have failed to win more than 10 games. Name them.”

Here are the answers:

Nolan Ryan (3 Times)

Year Age Tm W L ERA IP SO WHIP
1978 31 CAL 10 13 3.72 234.2 260 1.411
1985 38 HOU 10 12 3.80 232.0 209 1.293
1987 40 HOU 8 16 2.76 211.2 270 1.139

Roger Clemens

Year Age Tm W L ERA IP SO WHIP
1996 33 BOS 10 13 3.63 242.2 257 1.327

Bob Johnson

Year Age Tm W L ERA IP SO WHIP
1970 27 KCR 8 13 3.07 214.0 206 1.215

Turk Farrell

Year Age Tm W L ERA IP SO WHIP
1962 28 HOU 10 20 3.02 241.2 203 1.097

Where are they now?

In case you forgot, the Cubs used to have a certain red-headed young OF that wasn’t really given a proper chance to hold down the starting LF job for the Cubs. Said redhead just made some news in Japan. (Source)

NAGOYA — Matt Murton topped the 200-hit mark, Atsushi Nomi threw seven innings of one-run ball as Hanshin beat Chunichi 6-1 in the Central League on Thursday.

Murton became only the fourth player in Japanese baseball history and first since Alex Ramirez in 2007 to have a 200-hit season when he had a solo homer in the seventh off Kazuki Yoshimi (12-9), the second of his three hits in the game.

Nomi (5-0) struck out nine and allowed five hits. Hanshin took over second place from Yomiuri in the CL standings.

In other CL games, at Tokyo Dome, Jose Castillo hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth inning as Yokohama beat Yomiuri 5-2 to snap a six-game slide; and at Mazda Stadium, Shohei Tateyama outpitched Kenta Maeda with his third shutout of the season, leading Yakult over Hiroshima 3-0.

In the Pacific League, Softbank took advantage of a shaky Bryan Corey to score eight runs in the first inning and went on to beat the Lotte Marines 9-3. With their fourth straight win, coupled with the Seibu Lions’ fifth consecutive loss later in the day, the Hawks held a half-game lead atop the Pacific League standings and had a magic number of two to clinch the PL title.

Elsewhere in the PL, at Seibu Dome, Rakuten chased Seibu ace Hideaki Wakui after just three innings en route to a 4-3 win for the Eagles.


Hmmm, very interesting

I’ve been tough on a guy like Koyie Hill over the last few years. I like him as a guy and appreciate his ability to call a game, but he just can’t hit the baseball. I questioned why the Cubs didn’t go with another option like Robinson Chirinos while we let someone like Wellington Castillo develop. The other day I found a nugget that may explain why. Koyie Hill is the player’s rep. Obviously that’s not preventing a move, but it does mean he’s got responsibilities and every responsibility means you’re more valuable to the team.

Did You Know?


Bruce Levine mentioned in his latest chat on ESPN Chicago that “
Adam Dunn is a top priority for the Cubs if they can afford him.” Dunn will be a type A free agent, which means a team that signs him will have to yield their first round pick to the Nationals as compensation, right? Wrong!!! The Cubs will finish in the top 15 picks, which means their first round selection would be protected. They would have to give a 2nd round pick to Washington.

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As We Come Down to the Wire…….

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

I wrapped up my 2010 season by attending the Cubs/Cards game at Wrigley Saturday.  The mood was somewhat somber at the ballpark for obvious reasons. I mean, how often do we actually see a series between the Cubs and Cardinals where neither team is in contention?

The In-Laws were visiting from Minnesota and wanted to take in a game.  All of them are rabid Twins fans, which makes talking baseball painful.  Every year, for the last decade, when the leaves start to change color, their team is preparing for the playoffs, and every year I feel the need to go through a twenty minute diatribe stating why the Cubs have failed yet again.

It gets old but their is a benefit, as I feel I have every right to adopt the Twins as my post- season prom date  (remember last week’s post?) without guilt. You see, I married into it.

In my opinion, marriage provides an affable excuse for being a “sports team swinger”.  It is not required, but if you feel the need to swing, as long as it is with your mates team, to keep things saucy (or to keep you sane), by all means do it…..you have earned it!

It seemed, while observing from my upper deck perch over third base, that the Cardinals fans outweighed the Cubs fans.  My guess is that the Cardinals fans, getting bounced later from the post-season conversation, didn’t cancel there flights in time to get a full refund.

All of this leads us to a new edition of Five Burning Questions!!!!!!

1) Is it a requirement for Cardinals fans to wear all of their garb to the ballpark?

Next time you attend a Cubs / Cards game (or any Cardinals game) check out the Cards fans.  You can spot them from a mile away and it’s not just because the team color is red.  It is the sheer amount of red that one person can wear which draws the eye!

The coordination is unreal.  Ever see the movie Boomerang? When Eddie Murphys friend brings his dad to dinner and he has the mushroom belt with the mushroom jacket liner, and his wife uses pieces of her fur coat as earrings to match or “coordinate” with the fur coat?  These are Cardinals fans!!!!!!

Maybe it’s just me, but one hat seems to do the trick.  Is it necessary to wear a red hat, candy cane socks, a cardinals polo shirt, a belt with little cardinals all over it, and a watch with a cardinal whose wings are the hour and minute hand?

No!

I think it must be a requirement for every Cards fan to dress head to toe….they are almost as annoying as Ohio State fans! (Don’t get me started on that stupid necklace that looks like a string of turds hanging around ones neck!)

2) What if Lou retired earlier?

First off, I am a Piniella supporter. Loved the guy for everything he did and represented.

However, I wonder how the season shakes out if Quade gets the post in May or June? Are we playoff bound?

Just thinking……

3) What if Ryne Sandberg is a terrible major league manager?

What if the Cubs hire Sandberg and he swan dives right off the bat?

How will Cub nation respond to Ryno if he goes 10-29 out of the gates? Will he get a longer leash because he is Ryno? Does he deserve it?

Sometimes I wonder if Ryne Sandberg would get the publicity he gets if he wasn’t the Cub golden boy in his playing days.

If he does well then great, but if he struggles, and Quade is the next Jim Leyland, then hold on to your hats.

4) Is there a chance that somebody other then Girardi, Sandberg, or Quade gets the gig?

The are two reasons that make this outcome plausible……

1) Bob Brenly feels, in an article with ESPN Chicago, that the big three may not be the only realistic candidates for the job.  Apparently he feels Jim Hendry has an abundance of contacts in baseball and the job could go to somebody that hasn’t even been mentioned.  Take it for what it is worth……

2) I have this sneaky suspicion that Jim wants to shock the world and show us all how great he really is.  If he hand picks an outside shot and is successful he gets a front row seat in Cub lore…….the way I see it, with some of the recent decisions he has made, he might as well go for the Hail Mary pass.  He may be gone by 2012 anyhow…….

5) If you could bring any former Cub out of retirement and put them on next seasons roster who would it be and why?

My pick : Ryne Sandberg, although I want him  to play second base not manage.

I feel he would bring some leadership at the player level to a team desperately craving it.

Well that’s it, a lot of “what ifs” this week……

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Tuesday Trivia: Hardluck SP?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

It’s a lazy Tuesday today so let’s throw out a little trivia. As always, post your guesses in the comment section.

Q. Since 1960, there have been five players who have thrown at least 200 innings, struck out at least 200 batters and have failed to win more than 10 games. Name them.

Hint # 1 – One player is on the list for list year unless he can grab another win.

Hint # 2 – One player did it three separate times.

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Good Call – Part II

Monday, September 27th, 2010

1998 was a strange year for the Northsiders. Fourth-year manager Jim Riggleman was leading a unique collection of talent that included rookie sensation Kerry Wood, aging centerfielder Lance Johnson, quirky closer Rod Beck, rubber-armed setup man Terry Mulholland, and emerging superstar Sammy Sosa. In mid-August, the Cubs added an unlikely slugger who would help propel the team to a wild finish.

At age 39, 3B Gary Gaetti was near the end of the line. He spent most of 1998 with the St. Louis Cardinals, battling through a mediocre season. In 306 at bats, “G-Man” had only produced 11 home runs. On August 14th, the Cardinals cut ties with Gaetti, giving him his unconditional release.

Meanwhile, the Cubs were right in the middle of the wild card hunt. Despite the team’s success, Riggleman was looking for help at the hot corner. Jose Hernandez had shown flashes of power, but to call him “streaky” would be an understatement. On August 19th, the Cubs rolled the dice and signed their new third baseman.

Gaetti was an immediate difference-maker. In 37 games he put up huge numbers: .320/.397/.594. On September 28th, his two-run bomb led the Cubs to a wild-card-clinching victory in a one-game playoff against the San Francisco Giants. It was the perfect end to a crazy regular season.

Unfortunately, the magic faded in round one of the playoffs as the mighty Atlanta Braves swept G-Man and the Cubs. His 1-11 performance mirrored the output of his teammates, as the Northsiders scored only four runs in the series.

Despite the disappointing postseason, 1998 was a fun, unexpected ride for Cubs fans. Gaetti’s contributions were critical down the stretch. His signing was the textbook definition of a “low-risk, high-reward” move.

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GirlieView (09/24/2010)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Happy Friday! Before we get started allow me a bit of an administrative interlude. After today, GirlieView will be moving to Mondays. The week’s best will cover the previous Monday through Sunday. This will allow me to actually have a life on Friday evenings. :-) And will give you something to look forward to since Mondays always need an extra little kick anyway. So, we’ll see you back here on October 4. Now, let’s get to this week’s survey.

GirlieSurvey

This is a big one. Eight questions! Get ready! As usual I’m going to keep a tally, and after the season officially ends I’ll report back as to who got the closest!

1. Who will win the AL East?
2. Who will win the AL Central? (This is the freebie. If you get this wrong you are officially out of the game!!!)
3. Who will win the AL West?
4. Who will win the AL Wildcard spot?
5. Who will win the NL East?
6. Who will win the NL Central?
7. Who will win the NL West?
8. Who will win the NL Wildcard spot?

Good luck! No prizes, just some adoration and applause.

Lizzies

  • Cubs go cannibal and eat the corpse that was once Soriano, realizing that letting him continue to fester in the dugout sends the message that it’s okay to play shoddy, half-hearted defense and make tons of outs.
  • “Cheech” Zambrano
  • Also, I’d like eight million dollars, complete education reform in this nation, nice people as politicians, pants whose waistline automatically expands as mine does, a carbon dioxide atmospheric scrubber, and a new leg for Tiny Tim.
  • Your rant was rendered less rant-ish by the unintentional ‘sunglasses guy’ emoticon.
  • I thought it gave it that “Misspelled Tea Party Protestor Sign” touch that every rant needs.
  • “Fundamentals are the most valuable tools a player can possess. Bunt the ball into the ground. Hit the cutoff man. Take the extra base. Learn the fundamentals.”- Dick Williams
  • I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Tyler all the best on a speedy recovery and restful off-season. In a season that turned out to be more about the future than the present, he’s given us all some hope.
  • I’d like to see the Cubs go into the 2011 season with a Soto/Castillo catching crew.
  • Daver, Fair winds and following seas.
  • Every year, around March, we rent a tux, a limo, maybe even purchase a corsage and prepare to lose our World Series virginity.
  • Every year our date refuses to put out.
  • I am pretty sure one of those years our date threw up on the way to the prom and we turned the limo around and went home
  • Philly Phanatic AKA green Q-Bert in a jersey
  • I love it when Midwest upstarts beat East/West Coast juggernaughts because it means that the mainstream media (I’m looking at you ESPN) must acknowledge that people live between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.
  • Only after you have scored, can you get buyers remorse in the morning and hunt for someone you can bring home to meet mama.
  • It’s like drinking cough syrup mixed with piss.
  • I much prefer rambling on mindlessly about whatever I feel like.
  • If that gets you a visit from the FBI I hope you let us know!
  • If it gets you a visit from a terrorist I hope you let the FBI know.
  • if you aren’t suicidal in Med school, you aren’t applying yourself hard enough.

Lizard

  • I though you worked at a Dominos?

Have a great weekend! And, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (VFTB and/or GirlieView and Facebook (VFTB and/or GirlieView)

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The Big Bag of Randomness

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Now that Dave is retired, the job falls to someone to bring you the news, right? Wrong. That’s not my cup of tea. I much prefer rambling on mindlessly about whatever I feel like. Who wants the restrictions of having to post about current events? Blah, not this guy. That said, here is my batch of random notes for the week.

Playoff Rosters are coming!!! – If only that statement actually instilled a little bit of excitement around here. Alas, baseball in Chicago will thankfully come to a close soon. For teams not based in Chicago that will actually be playing in October, playoff rosters will be set very soon. That said, I thought you might be interested in knowing what it takes to be eligible to play in the postseason. On September 18th, the Dodgers traded Octavio Dotel to the Rockies. The first thought that may come to mind is that Dotel would immediately be eligible for the post-season should the Rockies make it. That’s not the case. In order to be on the postseason roster, a player must be on the 25 man roster, the disabled list, the bereavement list, or the suspended list for the playoff eligible team as of midnight on August 31.

The only way someone not on one of these lists gets on the postseason roster is if he was in the system as of August 31 and is replacing someone that plays the same position, but is injured. For example, if the Cubs were in the playoffs, Brett Jackson could play in the postseason provided that he replaced an outfielder that was injured. For the Reds, that means the nasty Cuban, Aroldis Chapman is eligible for October baseball provided that he replaces someone like Mike Lincoln who is on the 60 day DL.

Guns Don’t Kill People, Baseball Bats Almost Do – Thankfully Tyler Colvin is still on this earth and will be making a complete recovery. The backlash is that people are calling for the use of bats that are made from wood other than maple. Deadspin.com put together a video of some scary bat incidents (View the video)

If the Bats Don’t Get Ya, the Terrorists just might? – I don’t know if you saw this, it really didn’t seem to get much publicity that I saw, but some guy had every intention of blowing up Wrigley Field.

A 22-year-old Lebanese medical student who regards Sept. 11 as a “beautiful day” is in custody after placing a backpack containing what he thought was an explosive device into a Wrigleyville trash can, federal authorities said Monday.

Sami Samir Hassoun, of the 4700 block of North Kedzie, has been charged with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Chicago office said.

Hassoun’s arrest after midnight Saturday comes after a months-long investigation during which he unknowingly worked with an informant and an undercover FBI agent, officials said. (Source)

I don’t know what you think about this, but to me it’s some scary stuff. I’ll never forget the stuff that went down on 9/11 and to think that there are still people out there with enough hate in their hearts to do things like this scares the crap out of me. On a non-serious note, if there was a way we could work with the terrorist to blow the field up when no one would get hurt, I’d be all for it. I’m not a fan of Wrigley Field. I’d much rather see a new state of the art ballpark.

Mitch Atkins…The Tribe has Spoken – Atkins was designated for assignment (Muskat Tweets). That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s done with the organization, but it’s usually not a good sign. I haven’t heard anymore since the tweet, so we’ll see what happens to him.

Don’t Want Ryno? Canada Does – Chicago Breaking Sports had this to say about Ryno’s chance of becoming a manager:

The Cubs aren’t the only team interested in interviewing Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg for a managerial opening. Add the Toronto Blue Jays to the list.

Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted Wednesday night that the “Blue Jays have a long list of candidates, and Ryne Sandberg is on it.”

Sandberg managed the Triple-A Iowa Cubs this year and was named the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year. Current Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is stepping down at the end of the year. (Source)

Amusing Image of the Week


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Book Review: Drinking With George

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The complete title of this book is “Drinking With George – A Barstool Professional’s Guide To Beer”. The author is George Wendt (with Jonathan Grotenstein). It was published in 2009.

I was kind of mired in the reading of a book which was real slow and real deep… like Molasses. I had decided I needed something lighter, when this one jumped off the shelf at me.

From the inside back jacket cover we learn that the author, George Wendt, “began his show business career with Chicago’s Second City and is best known for his role as Norm Peterson on the classic television sitcom ‘Cheers’. Wendt has appeared in more than a hundred TV shows, movies, plays, and music videos, from ‘Fletch’ to ‘Family Guy’, including nine appearances on Saturday Night Live…”

George Wendt also played “Superfan” Bob Swersky of “Da Bears” fame, “a guy from Chicago who lived for drinking beer, cheering for the Bears, and gorging himself on Polish sausages.” George tell us he “didn’t have to stretch much” to play that role.

At the end of the book, under the heading “ABOUT THE AUTHOR”, we learn the following: “George Wendt lives with his family in Southern California. He likes beer. A lot.”

At some point, as I was reading the book, I looked closely at the cover photo of George Wendt and I thought: “Holy Moly – He looks bloated and puffy and fat and terrible. Like he’s been out drinking all night and then, at 6:00 am, they told him to sit at the bar and have his picture taken.” Then I looked in the mirror and realized: Hey, he looks just like me!!

George and I both grew up in the City of Chicago, although he grew up on the South side, and I grew up on the North. He went to Catholic schools and I did not, at least not until much later.

George learned about Chicago’s Catholic school mafia, and so did I, although from a different perspective, and not until much later.

George also liked beer and drank quite a bit of it. I never cared for beer, and so I didn’t drink much of it at all. At least not, once again, until much later.

If you were to read every word in this book, as I did, you might conclude that ole’ George is a little irresponsible at times. Towards the end of the book there is a sort of a disclaimer: “I don’t want to make light work of the bad. I’m not 100% proud of the things I’ve done while under the influence. I’ve seen the love of drink rain hell on the lives of people that I care about deeply.” So, I guess, we’ll give him a free pass, for now.

“Drinking With George” includes a number of recipes for beer cocktails. The one which particularly grabbed my attention is for “Mexican Iced Tea”: “Pour one and a half ounces of tequila and three ounces of beer (preferably Mexican) over ice. Garnish with lime.”

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- “…a world without beer? I don’t know if that’s the kind of world I want to live in.”

- “…in Chicago, beer is pretty much synonymous with mother’s milk.”

- “I often sit back and think, ‘I wish I’d done that,’ and find out later that I already have.” Richard Harris

- “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin, (“although arguably a misquotation: he may have been talking about wine. Either way, he’s right.”)

- “Why is it that when you drink seven nights a week in college you’re a partyer, but after that you’re an alcoholic?” – Anonymous

- “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” – Dave Barry

I enjoyed reading “Drinking With George” – by George Wendt. I’m taking the whole thing with a grain of salt, and temporarily giving George a free pass on the responsibility thing.

I recommend “Drinking With George” to all who manage to maintain a sense of humor about alcohol in general, and about beer in particular. As the inside front jacket cover states: “The next best thing to a barstool and a pint, ‘Drinking with George’ is all the fun – without the hangover.”

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Bandwagon Time!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

It’s getting to be that time of year.

It’s a familiar time for Cubs fans.  The MLB Prom (AKA, The Post Season) is around the corner and our date died a slow but much expected death somewhere around the All-Star break.

Every year, around March, we rent a tux, a limo, maybe even purchase a corsage and prepare to lose our World Series virginity.

Every year our date refuses to put out. Yes, we have actually made it to the prom.  Yes, we have hit the dance floor,  but it has been over sixty years since our last “after party” and over 100 since we went…..all the way!

That’s a dry spell!

The After Party

If the “prom” is the post -season,  the World Series is the “After Party”.  Everybody knows the payoff is in the party after the prom and not the actual prom itself.

In the past decade Cubs fans have attended the prom (remember prom= post season) three times.  All three times our date has gone frigid and asked to be driven home before making it to the “after party”.

(I am pretty sure one of those years our date threw up on the way to the prom and we turned the limo around and went home, at least it seemed that way)

So what do you do when your team denies your advances year in and year out.  You find a sure thing and get on it’s bandwagon!

The Sure Thing

Every sure thing has one quality in common; a reputation.

Be careful here, if you choose an obvious slut things could backfire.  You don’t want to be the person that is obvious in their search for a happy ending!  You also don’t want to be the chump who jumps on the “sure things” bandwagon and gets kicked off  (i.e. fails to make it to the after party)……you basically sold your soul and contracted god knows what disease during the foreplay only to fall short of the payoff.

Who might be an obvious slut?  The Yankees for one!

They have been to the World Series 40 Times!  In those 40 after parties they went all the way 27 times!!! This is as sure as sure gets.  They have been to six of the last 11 after parties and went all the way four times!!!

Where baseball is concerned that is promiscuous!

Which brings us to the next quality of a sure thing; desire.

How bad does a team want it? The Reds, Twins, Rays, and Rangers all exhibit this as a top quality. Why? Well, it depends on the team…..

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds haven’t been to the prom in 15 years!!!! Can you imagine that Cubs fans, no post-season at all for 15 years!!! That is something even we can laugh at…..sort of.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins have been to the prom five times in the last decade yet the last World Series was 19 years ago, and yes they went all the way.  However, when you go fives times in a decade and don’t close the deal you start to wonder if it will ever happen again.  Have you lost your mojo?

Plus, the Twins have a brand new dress called Target Field they would like to show off in the national spotlight.

Tampa Bay Rays

They are the relative new kid on the block.  In the league 12 years and a doormat for most of the American League in that time.  In the last three years they hit puberty and grew into themselves nicely. Their first and only visit to the Post-Season came in 2008 where they made it to the after-party only to get sent home early by Philly.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers look like a formidable date for the dance. They are a bit of dark horse in my book and it could take some serious luck to make it to the Series.

If you want to back a team that swims in a similar sea as our beloved Cubs, the Rangers would be your closest bet. Since their entry into the league in 1972 they have managed three playoff appearances and have been a no show at the World Series.

With the injury to Josh Hamilton, their marquee slugger, and his questionable return this may make the Rangers an act of desperation.

If you don’t like any of those…….

………. there is always the Phillies.  Four years ago they would have been a quality choice.  Lately however, they have been quite slutty.

This was a franchise, more or less a city, starved for a championship.  They finally got one in 2008. It had been almost three decades since a professional Philadelphia sports team had won a championship.

The Phillies have taken the NL East crown the last three years and are looking good for a fourth. They have made it to the after-party the last two years and won the big prize in 2008.

This makes them a sleezy choice, but if you are looking for that sure thing, and the Yankees are just too filthy for you, then Philly is your girl (or guy).

My only problem with Philly is that damn Phanatic!  I am not sure what it is supposed to be but it creeps me out.

*I know I have failed to mention the west coast teams but believe me, they are all fake. Go figure, huh?

You could always stay home……

Well, there you have it.  This years best bets to go all the way.  If you are the type of person who can wander from mate to mate then we have given you a salad bar of easy dates for this years post-season.

Of course if you are like me, a dedicated sucker, only one solution will do…..stay home with your one true love and wait ’til next year.



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In the News: The Final Edition (For Now)

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

 Cubbie kool aid

Greetings, Cubs fans. Well, first things first, some sad news (uh, depending on how you feel about me): I’m afraid this will be my last “In the News” report for a while. I’m heading out on vacation this Thursday and will miss the last week or so of the Cubs’ season. And, after that, I’m going to be focusing more on my contributions to SB Nation Chicago. If you’re fan of Chicago’s other sports teams, please check it out.

I do want to thank Joe for giving me the opportunity to write here. Even though the 2010 Cubs haven’t exactly made it easy to stay inspired and motivated, it has been fun keeping everyone up to date on the some (most?) of the major team-related story lines as well as getting in my two cents regarding various issues. I’d also like to thank Lizzie, Chet, Mark, CubbieDude and everyone else who’s been so welcoming. I hope to be back again to contribute at some point, and I’ll definitely be checking in via the comments section when I get a chance.

And now … on with the news:

Tyler Colvin is recovering. It appears the Cubs’ young outfielder’s gruesome impaling hasn’t been officially covered here, so let’s get up to speed: Tyler was nailed in the upper chest by a piece of catcher Welington Castillo’s broken bat on Sunday afternoon. Colvin was rushed to a local hospital where he will remain for another day or so. You can see the injury and read Tyler’s statement from his hospital bed here.

As it should be, Colvin is done for the season. And what a season it was. After making a very brief appearance as a defensive replacement in 2009 (he may have gotten one start), Tyler showed up to spring training with those now-mythical “extra 25 lbs.,” and absolutely crushed the ball throughout the team’s Cactus League schedule. Although his plate discipline problems didn’t exactly evaporate at the big league level, he hit for a remarkable amount of power, earning him a decent (if slow to materialize) amount of playing time under Sweet Lou and then Mike Quade.

Tyler ends his 2010 campaign as follows: .254/.316/.500 (.816 OPS, .350 wOBA) in 295 plate appearances, good for a 1.8 WAR. Although the low OBP is (and will remain) concerning, he hit for enough power to counteract its shortcomings. (That’s what wOBA is for.) As rookie campaigns go, I’d declare his a success — if for no other reason than he forced the team to keep him in consideration as a starting player next year. Whether he’ll actually be one will, in part, depend on what becomes of Fukudome next season. If Kosuke is dealt, Colvin should get the nod as the starting right fielder.

I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Tyler all the best on a speedy recovery and restful off-season. In a season that turned out to be more about the future than the present, he’s given us all some hope.

Also done for the year: Geo. A few hours before Colvin’s horrific on-field accident, the news came down that Geovany Soto, in consultation with the Cubs’ training staff, has decided to undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery. As detailed in this Bruce Miles’ blogpost, the successful surgery went down yesterday and Geo has already been discharged from the hospital. The team (and player) decided to go forward with the surgery now to enable Soto to be fully ready for baseball-related activities by January 1st. That should have him fine playing shape by spring training.

Geo ends his 2010 campaign as follows: .280/.393/.497 (.890 OPS, .385 wOBA) in 387 plate appearances, good for a 3.5 WAR. Those are, in my humble opinion, spectacular numbers for a catcher. I was hoping throughout the season that Geo would be able to keep his OBP at or over .400, but I’d say a slugging percentage that flirts with .500 makes up for the .007 shortage. Among all MLB catchers with at least 300 plate appearances, Soto placed 5th in value (WAR). And, among NL catchers under those criteria, he still leads all in wOBA, though the Giants’ Buster Posey or perhaps the Braves’ Brian McCann could still pass him.

So, again, we thank you, Geo, for doing pretty much everything you could to quell any remaining suspicions that your rookie year may have been a fluke. It wasn’t. You are a good and valuable player at a premium position. May you also have a speedy recovery and restful (though not too restful) off-season. I’d like to see the Cubs go into the 2011 season with a Soto/Castillo catching crew.

A couple remaining questions as the season winds down:

1. Can Big Z keep it up? Since returning to the rotation from the restricted list on Aug. 9, Carlos Zambrano has won six of eight starts, struck out 42 batters in 51 innings, surrendered only one home run and has a 1.59 ERA in that time. He’s lowered his overall season ERA to 3.75 (.381 FIP, 4.45 xFIP). A strong finish to the season may either convince Jim Hendry to say, “Aw, shucks, Z. I can’t stay mad at you,” and keep him around. Or it could boost Z’s trade value enough to enable Jimbo to work out some sort of deal with another team, though that still seems pretty unlikely given how much money is involved. And I don’t feel a bad contract swap is justified at this time. Then again, I’ve always been able to let Z’s bad/strange behavior roll off my back better than others.

Again, at this point, assuming Cliff Lee is not a viable option (which he probably isn’t), the Cubs don’t have many viable options for the top of the rotation. So they might as well hang on to the anger-management-mellowed Z for another year of his deal.

2. Can Marmol pull it off? And by “it” I don’t mean one of his patented, filthier-than-thou sliders. I’m referring to the single-season K/9 record. The Cubs wiggly armed closer currently has a K/9 (ratio of strikeouts to nine innings) of 15.64 (124 Ks in 71.1 innings pitched). That’s well ahead of the MLB record, which I believe is held by Eric Gagne, who compiled a 14.98 K/9 in 2003 with the Dodgers. I guess it’s a little too early to call it, but Carlos is still on the road to making history. He’s been a 2.7 WAR pitcher in the closer’s role and, I believe, is due for an arbitration hearing this off-season. So that should be interesting.

And, last but not least, one more…

Cubs Next Manager Power Rankings

1. Ryne Sandberg. What the hell — I’m just going to leave Ryno in the top spot. If only because of the comments Tom Ricketts made at a recent sports business event hosted by a local Chicago sports radio station. He basically said the next manager needs to be someone who:

  • Knows the team’s history, culture and general atmosphere,
  • Who’s young enough to stick with them for a while, and
  • Who can still act as a coach (not just a manager).

That pretty much describes Sandberg, though, on the other hand, it also describes …

2. Mike Quade. Yes, I think the former third base coach has built up his resume quite substantially since taking over. He has all the qualities that Ricketts mentions — and even more minor league coaching experience. He also has a 17-7 (as of this writing) record since taking over, including the best road trip (in terms of winning teacher) IN CUBS’ HISTORY. I have to admit, I like Quade a lot more than I thought I would. He’s intense, focused, engaged and, in particular, I like how he gives a round of applause to a starting pitcher he’s about to pull from the game. I just dig little things like that.

It would not surprise me at this point if the Cubs shocked the universe and offered him the job. He’s youngish (53), from the Chicago area, very familiar with the current players and Wrigley atmosphere, an accomplished minor and major league coach, and now, in an admittedly very small sample, a successful big league manager.

3. Bob Brenly. The Sun-Times reported last week that BB will interview for the job. He’s not exactly young — he’ll be 57 next year. But he could conceivably stick with the team for a good 10 to 12 years at that age. Brenly is presumably well-acquainted with the players as well as Cubs culture at this point, so he fits the bill. He’s also a fan favorite who would bring a certain amount of butt-kicking to the table. I’m just not sure that’s what the team is looking for and why I think a more “positively motivational” guy like Quade has the edge.

4. Eric Wedge. Baseball guru Peter Gammons caused a kerfluffle this past week by supposedly “predicting” that the former Indians manager would become the Cubs next manager. He actually said Wedge would be the “best fit,” which isn’t really a prediction. It’s just an opinion.

Still, Wedge will be only 43 next year, so he has youth on his side. I don’t really know how familiar he is with Cubs history or the fan/media atmosphere around Wrigley, however. I guess if Hendry does want to go with an “experienced” choice, Wedge seems fairly feasible as he’s younger (as noted) and available.

5. Bob Melvin. ESPN has reported that Hendry will be interviewing the former Mariners and Diamondbacks field general sometime around “the end of the season.” Melvin turns 49 next month, so he’s not as old as I suspected and still younger than Brenly. But he’s another outsider who I can only assume is being given a shot for due diligence purposes. He’d make for a boring choice in my opinion, but I guess you can’t count him out.

6. Joe Girardi. I know I should count ol’ Joe out, but I just can’t. He’s a dark horse. He probably won’t escape the clutches of the playoff-bound Yankees. But you never know.

Eliminated: Alan Trammell and, reportedly, Fredi Gonzalez.

Naturally, there are probably a variety of other candidates I’ve neglected to mention. (I simply can’t imagine Torre or LaRussa coming here.) But those are the guys on my radar at the moment. Feel free to chime in with others in the comments section.

OK, guys and gals, that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy the rest of the season and … yeah, I’ll say it … go Cubs!

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