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Is it time for a change of scenery?

We talk all the time about players needing a change of scenery to either resurect the talent that is within or bring it out to begin with. I’ve been a proponent of this with Carlos Zambrano for quite some time now. In addition to players, maybe it’s time to take a l0ok at this concept when it comes to the venue. Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune had a pience recently in which he discuss this concept when it comes to Wrigley Field.

It would allow the team to hire better players and pamper them in style. The architect could lovingly re-create the treasured features of the existing stadium, while omitting the shortcomings. So they should be thinking of how to make the best of their location. A new park would rid the Cubs of their maintenance headaches, while providing them better ways to relieve fans of cash — lots of luxury boxes, better dining, new shops and diversions. (Source)

I’ve never understood why people are so in love with the ballpark. Is it the ivy? Perhaps it’s the manual scoreboard? The troughs? Whatever it is, with the exception of the age and history (of losing) those things can be incorporated into the new park. I just don’t see what the problem is. If you’re into online sports betting, especially with an emphasis on baseball betting, I’d bet the fact that Wrigley will, unfortunately, always be a part of the Cubs. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’m not sure.

Discussion Question: Would you be opposed to the Cubs moving to a new ballpark?

Slow your roll on more playoff teams

Phil Rogers of the Tribune recently reported that MLB discussed the idea of expanding the playoff format from 8 teams to 10 teams as early as 2012. According to Rogers, “Major League Baseball adjourned its quarterly ownership meeting Thursday without taking action on commissioner Bud Selig’s recommendation”

In my opinion, this is a good suggestion for a number of reasons as long as it’s done correctly. First, by allowing more teams into the mix, it allows the fans a larger chance that their team will be playing in meaningful games come September. There’s nothing worse than when your team is basically out of contention in late July / early August. It makes the off-season longer because you have no desire to watch your team during the remainder of the regular season, but you can’t see them get better until November at the earliest. Adding additional playoff teams means more teams in the hunt longer. That’s better for baseball. Second, it gives the Cubs an even greater chance of making the post-season, which increases the chance of winning the World Series. At this point, that’s all I want to see.

The only thing that would prevent this proposal from being a good one would be to see MLB screw it up by allowing the season to run into November as a result. The season is already too dang long so adding more teams has disasster written all over it. Either shrink the season to 154 games, eliminate / drastically reduce the off days in the playoffs, or go with some schedule double headers in the regular season, but don’t let baseball be played in November.

Discussion Question: Are you in favor of increasing the number of teams in the playoffs from 8 to 10? How would you address the length of serason issue to accomodate the change?

Bye Bye Larry

The Cubs sent out a statement the other day announcing the new that Larry Rosthchild has decided to take a three year deal with the Yankees. As a reult, he was released from the contract he had with the Cubs. It seems like there are two schools of people when it comes to Rothschild. Either you hate him and think he ruined some of the pitchers in the organization or you think he’s one of the better pitching coaches in the game. I tend to fall into the latter camp for a few reasons. First, He’s been the one constant through all the managerial hiring and firings. The new manager has always seen fit to keep him on staff. Second, whenever he’s mentioned by anyone considered to be a baseball expert of some sort, he’s always spoken of very highly. This, in my opinion, is a big loss for the Cubs moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the position is addressed. The Cubs have said they expect to have a hiring in place sometime soon after Thanksgiving. It will probably be someone from within the organization. Time will tell what effect that will have on the staff in 2011 and beyond.

Carrie Muskat listed some potential replacements from within the orgainization on her blog:

* Mark Riggins: The 2010 season was Riggins’ third as the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator. He handled the same duties with the Cardinals for 12 seasons and spent 29 seasons in the St. Louis organization.

* Lester Strode: This past season was Strode’s 22nd with the Cubs and fourth at the Major League level. He has been the Cubs’ bullpen coach for the last four seasons. Prior to that, he was the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator from 1996-2006. He pitched in the Minors from 1980-88 with the Royals, Orioles, Cardinals and Cubs.

* Dennis Lewallyn: The 2010 season was “Lew’s” fourth as Double-A Tennessee’s pitching coach. He spent 11 seasons in the Diamondbacks’ system before joining the Cubs, and was Arizona’s Minor League pitching coordinator from 2002-06. As a player, he made his Major League debut in 1975 with the Dodgers and played eight seasons, including stints with the Rangers and Indians.

* Mike Mason: Mason pitched for the Cubs in 1987. The 2010 season was his third as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach, and his 18th year in coaching. He was the Royals’ Minor League pitching coordinator in 2007 after handing the roving pitching coordinator duties from 2004-06. He’s also worked in the Phillies’ Minor League system.

Discussion Question: How do you feel about the loss of Larry Rothschild?

Transactions

Mark Johnson and Brad Snyder have become free agents.

Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Kyle Smit, and Alberto Cabrera have all been added to the 40 man roster.

Brian LaHair has re-signed with a minor league deal.

I’m a fan of Archer primarly because he went to H.S. roughly 800 feet from my office. I never saw him pitch, but he’s developed nicely since coming over as a part of the Mark DeRosa trade. As far as LaHair, I think he’s got a legit shot at competing for the first base job if the Cubs don’t go out and bring in a high priced free agent to fill that spot. At the very least he should be given a look as the backup now that Micah Hoffpauir is off in Japan slaying pigs as part of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Trivia

What follows below are three clues to consider when guessing the mystery ballplayer. See how many clues it takes before you can correctly guess. Start with clue # 1 and work your way through. Good luck. If you’re interested in more of these, they can be found in the book, Name that Ballplayer by Wayne Stewart

Clue # 1 – In 1967 this man carried his club to the American League pennant by hitting .523 over the last 12 games with five homers and 16 RBI. His team required a sweep of a season-ending doubleheader in order to prevent a three-way tie with the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins, and this man, a proverbial one-man wrecking crew, went 7-for-8 with five runs driven in.

Clue # 2 – He is better known by his three-letter nickname than by his difficult to spell alphabet soup of a last name.

Clue # 3 – He won the Most Valuable Player award and a Triple Crown in the 1967 season, known to Red Sox fans as “The Impossible Dream” year. In the meantime, his .301 average in 1968 represents the lowest average that was good enough to win a batting crown.

Click for the Answer

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail