Archive for March, 2013

Go: Island Living

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

The 2013 baseball season begins in two days. You’ve just found out you’re going to be stranded on a desert island for the entire baseball season. You can bring one electronic device. What do you bring?

Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to lizzie@viewfromthebleachers.com and she’ll see what she can do!

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Northside Archives: Streaking

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

If you don’t follow basketball, you may not know the Miami Heat are kind of a big deal at the moment. The reigning NBA Champions just had a 27-game win streak snapped in Chicago by the Bulls last night. The Heat were attempting to break the NBA’s record of 33-straight wins put up by the 1972-73 Lakers. If you’re saying to yourself, “the Cubs might not win 33 games the entire year!” – just remember, it’s only March. No need to be so pessimistic; they’ll probably get at least 43.

Longest Streak Ever
The Cubs longest win streak is an impressive 21 games. More impressive, they’ve had two DIFFERENT 21-game win streaks. Less impressive, the first streak came before Adolf Hitler was born; the second came before most of the world realized he was a pretty bad guy.

Streak #1
In merely their 5th year of existence, the Chicago White Stockings, as managed by Cap Anson posted an incredible 21-game win streak from June 5 through July 8, 1880. Silver, Cap, Joe, Tom, Ned, Abner, George, and King were the regulars. Larry Corcoran and Fred Goldsmith were the pitching staff – between them throwing all but 28 of the 775 IP during the season. Corcoran was 43-14 with 1.95 ERA and 536.1 IP; but really what does that tell you, pitching wins are overrated. At the end of the streak, the Cubs record was 35-3. They had a rough July (because ya know, they were still the Cubs) and would finish with a record of 67-17, NL Champs and 15 games clear of the 2nd place and since defunct, Providence Grays.

Streak #2
On September 2, 1935 the Cubs sat in third place in the NL. First place STL was 2.5 games up on the Cubs, with the Giants in between the two rivals. At 79-52 the Cubs had a very good record to be sure, but 1934 had ended with those three teams in exactly that position with comparable records. By the time the Cubs lost again (on Sept. 27) they had a whopping six-game lead over their rivals and were headed to the World Series. Even after losing the final two games of the season, the Cubs posted an impressive 100-54 record before losing to Detroit in the Fall Classic.

Other Fun Facts

  • The Cubs longest win streak of 2012 was a measly 4 games – a feat they accomplished 3 times.
  • In 2011, they actually won 7 in a row. Don’t remember it? Probably because it came after a horrendous 8-17 stint.
  • Not since 2001 have the Cubs sported a winning streak of 10+ games. That year they won 12 in a row…after they’d lost 8 in a row!
  • However, 12 in a row is better than 6 different teams have EVER managed.
  • In fact, only 1 team boasts a streak longer than the Cub record of 21. The San Francisco Giants won 26 in a row back in 1916.

This Year?
What your prediction for 2013? More than the 4 game streak in 2012? Less? As for me, I expect our longest losing streak to be longer than our longest winning streak…for a fifth year in a row.

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More Bullpen News

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The story yesterday was the news that the Cubs have claimed Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays, who had claimed him off waivers from the Royals earlier this spring. Moscoso has been added to the 40 man roster, with Arodys Vizcaino being placed on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, which clears the spot for Moscoso.

For those unfamiliar with Moscoso, there is a reason for that. He sucks…or at least he did last year as a bullpen arm. The interesting caveat is that the year before, when his primary role was as a starting pitcher, he was actually quite good. Here is your comparison:

The rumor on Twitter as of this writing is that Cory Wade has been told he will not make this team, which leaves the newly acquired Moscoso to serve as the long man, filling the role Carlos Villanueva was penciled in for or older than dirt left, Hisanori Takahashi. Personally, I think Moscoso offers more flexibility and upside and seems to have the leg up.

Also told they were not a part of the opening day roster were infielder Alberto Gonzalez and pitcher, Zach Putnam. That seems to lend itself to the decision that barring a waiver wire pickup, Steve Clevenger will win the last bench spot.

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Opening Day Roster is ALMOST Complete

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

It’s almost here. Can you smell it yet? Opening day is so close. If you’ve read the blog for awhile, you know I hate spring training so the quicker we get the opening day the better for me. I have a tradition dating back to when I was in middle school to always stay home from school / work on opening day. As I’ve gotten a few years older I’ve realized that I can still work a little and take off half the day, so I’m anxiously awaiting Monday to come. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go home and watch the game on the couch and risk my kids running around screaming or go by myself to Buffalo Wild Wings. Both have advantages and disadvantages so I’ll have to weigh those before making a very important decision. In the meantime, let’s talk about the news.

Somehow it went unmentioned by the brother’s Johnson that Scott Baker was evaluated on Sunday by the team’s orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. (Note to self: return christmas gifts for Jeremiah and Jedi and purchase two lumps of coal.) The evaluation of the MRI he had revealed no structural damage to the elbow for Baker, who is recovering from Tommy John. While it is a setback in the rehab process, it doesn’t push the time table back dramatically. While there hasn’t been an official estimate set, I’d expect his return to be sometime late June or early July. It’s not ideal, as the goal was to show he was healthy and showcase him, but if he can come back healthy he may be a value. Remember, Ryan Dempster was picked up off the scrap heap back in the day off of surgery and turned out pretty well for us.

Keeping with the pitching staff, the Cubs continue to inch closer to the bullpen for opening day as Rafael Dolis was optioned to AAA on Sunday. The main reason for the move was a blister he’s been dealing with. That leaves just three names remaining, Zach Putnam, Cory Wade and Hisanori Takahashi, who is the only lefty. All three are non-roster invitees, so in order for them to make the team a spot will need to be made for them on the 40 man roster. We’ve already established that Brent Lillibridge and some non-roster infielder should make the team. Adding one of these three to that count means three guys need to be removed from the list. Looking at the current 40 man roster, I see a few possibilities:

Scott Baker transferred to the 60 day DL, which opens up one spot, is an obvious choice. Robert Whitenack is another name that would potentially be designated for assignment in hopes no one claims him and he can be outrighted to AAA. That would clear two spots. Beyond that, it’s tough. I don’t know about you, but I’m on the edge of my seat, and I say that completely serious. These kind of speculative things cause me to completely dork out and obsess over. Keith Law was in attendance to scout a few Cubs prospects the other day and filed a report mentioning Whitenack.

Robert Whitenack, however, looked awful in his comeback from 2010 Tommy John surgery, sitting 85-87, way below what he was pre-surgery. He’s a cautionary tale for every one of us (myself included) who looks at that operation as risk-free. Most guys come all the way back, but maybe one in 10 don’t. (FULL STORY)

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Morning News: Another Day Closer

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Let me start by passing along belated birthday greetings to our beloved blogfather, Joe Aiello. Joe shares his birthday with Starlin Castro, which is fitting since they both exhibit surprising skills for their respective ages.

Steve Clevenger’s surprising and eye-opening camp has created an interesting problem for Dale, and may lead to the kind of versatility he relishes.

Perhaps the Cubs’ makeshift rotation isn’t as bleak as it might seem.

Jonah Keri previews the NL Central. Spoiler Alert: he’s not high on the Cubs.

The Cubs can’t escape Kyle Lohse.

Yahoo paid a kid $30M for a smartphone app.

A group of Russian tourists climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid in Egypt and took some spectacular photos from their illicit perch.

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Morning News: One Week To Go

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Seven Days Away
Next Monday the Cubs take the field in the season opener against Pittsburgh. Dale has Castro penciled in as the No. 2 hitter. And Rafael Dolis was eliminated as a contender for the final bullpen spot; that is now down to Zach Putnam, Cory Wade, and Hisanori Takahashi.

Not A Good Sign…
Your high-priced 1B is in a steep decline. Your high-priced 3B is embroiled in yet another PED scandal. Your high-priced SS is old, has no range, is coming off a broken ankle, and you are forced to trot him out there until he willingly quits. Your high-priced CF was hurt in his first spring game and probably won’t return until May (or later). Your closer, returning after a year off from injury, is 42 years old and in his final season. So what do you do Brian Cashman? Acquire the AL’s albatross, Vernon Wells. What’s amazing is that the move probably makes the Yankees better, at least until Granderson returns. If I was a betting man, I’d expect Girardi to retire in late-July/early-August only to be replaced by a hairless no-name who likes to bet the ponies.

Brackets Busted
Did you know that Florida Gulf Coast was younger than you (well maybe most of you) – established in 1997? Did you have them in the Sweet Sixteen? They are the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet Sixteen. For good measure, there’s a 12 (Oregon), a 9 (Wichita State) and a 13 (La Salle) all crashing the tournament’s second weekend as well.

Useful Shot That
Play the ball where it lies; and Sergio Garcia did exactly that…after he climbed the tree, located his ball, and hit it back into the fairway while facing the wrong direction and hitting one-handed.

Spectacular Wreck
I think it’s totaled.

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Go: Dinnertime!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

You have the opportunity to dine with any Cub, past or present. Who do you choose? Where do you go? What do you eat?

This Go question was submitted by Allan (thanks Allan!) Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to lizzie@viewfromthebleachers.com and she’ll see what she can do!

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Morning News: Friday Mop Up

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Not a ton of news coming out of Cubs camp lately. Expect another round of roster cuts sometime today. Bruce Levine says Matt Garza is pain free and about ready to start throwing off the mound again. Alfonso Soriano thinks the Cubs have as a good a chance as anyone, provided they get off to a hot start.

Noah covered the rumors nonsense about the Cubs possibly moving from Wrigley out to the suburbs. Rest assured, it’s not going to happen. However, if you find yourself in the pro-relocation camp, you can find some reassurance from Rick Reilly’s recent “column.” Reilly has long been a champion of shallow thought and sloppy research, but this entry represents a new low. Never mind the ridiculous conclusion he leaps to–probably in service of his hackneyed one-liners–the “math” he employs to get there would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. Honestly, I know I linked to it but it’s really not worth your time.

Montgomery Burns’ Bud Selig’s World Baseball Classic Waste of Time and Talent has claimed another victim. Dodgers’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez will miss the next eight weeks after an injury to a ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery.

Elsewhere in Chicago sports, the Bears bid a fairly unceremonious goodbye to the face of their franchise Wednesday when they announced they would not be resigning Brian Urlacher. While it’s true Urlacher was hobbled by injuries last year, the defense was still noticeably better with him on the field. Better enough to merit more than a low-ball offer ultimatum. While I’m not sure it wasn’t the right decision, I know it could have been handled much better. Michael Wilbon wrote a nice article about the unsentimental nature of the NFL. And just for fun, here’s an article I wrote last year on sports divorces.

Also in ex-Bears news, former receiver and aspiring drug kingpen Sam Hurd has been re-indicted on even more charges. If convicted, he faces a couple decades in the big house.

Yesterday was the first day of March Madness. I have no idea what happened, other than that my Oklahoma State Cowboys got pantsed by twelve-seed Oregon. I’m not a basketball fan, and I don’t even partake of the “fun” of filling out a bracket. But if you’d like to see how wrong your picks were, you can check the day’s scoreboard.

Finally, if you live in Idaho, keep an eye on your dog.

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GirlieView (03/21/2013)

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

We’re on the home stretch now. Yesterday was the first day of spring and even though in my neighborhood it’s still feeling mighty wintery, I know meaningful baseball is right around the corner and that makes me happy. I have a feeling it makes you happy too!

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of 2013 = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • Midway through spring training and we have 5 people vying for the last three spots in Lizzie’s Top Ten. It should be quite the race.
  • For a guy who has no use for science, you certainly have a lot use for science.
  • I, like my Montana based friend, try to say something funny every time, thus fewer comments to cull from. Damn my high moral fiber.
  • we need all the third basing we can get.
  • TGIF, no news and we all know no news is good news, particularly for us Cub fans who are afraid to find out who comes up lame next.
  • If I was a gambler, I’d put my money on Norm being busy being a dad who is tired of our bullshit. I’d also wager that Tommy got nabbed by Chris Hanson.
  • Talked to Norm today. He’s been busy searching for Chris from Illinois.
  • And I highly doubt that Lizzie is Carrie Muskat. Lizzie is much more thoughtful than she is
  • One game this year, one of the coaches fed the machine due to a lack of healthy bodies. Bastard actually fielded the position.
  • It’s a weekly.
  • I’d like to say Happy Birthday to my mom. If it weren’t for her, this post would be impossible.
  • Does your Mom read this Blog? Is She Lizzie?
  • I believe Joe learned how to blog from his mom, the beat writer at cubs.com. Whether or not she and Lizzie are one and the same has yet to be determined.
  • Lizzie’s frisky, but not THAT frisky
  • Indiana is not that far from Kentucky…
  • Brett Jackson making the opening day roster would be a huge mistake. You refine skills by playing every day in the minors, not riding pine in the majors.
  • Was this Norm’s scheduled day to write? Perhaps we should get a kickstarter going to hire a P.I..
  • Seymour may be a culinary bore but at least he doesn’t start fights with pitching machines and 70 year old stock brokers which is a plus in my book.
  • 3B is a soul-sucking vacuum this year.
  • The state of 3B throughout baseball is a sad state of affairs.
  • [Ramirez's] overall body of work easily places him among my favorite Cubs since I’ve been conscious enough to follow them.
  • It’ll probably be something more prospecty than MLB rostery. And yes, I did just invent two words.
  • Welcome Joe to the Ian Stewart bandwagon. There is now a grand total of 2 of us.
  • Yesterday we talked about the return of Ian Stewart, who was scheduled to make his spring debut. How did it go? It didn’t. Dude didn’t play.
  • I have essentially no optimism that any of the Cubs’ 3B options this season will work. I think that Stewart will fail over the first 2 months, then Valbuena will fail over the next month and a half, then Vitters will fail over the next month and a half, then Lake will fail over the final month and a half. But, considering I flat out don’t think Vitters or Lake are ready yet, I think the Stewart option presents a higher potential upside, no matter how minimal the odds of him are to reach that upside, than the Valbuena option does.
  • Well said. You should get a job in the organization.
  • We should pool our talents and take a run at this thing.
  • I’ll whip up a resume for a Mr Senoah Whiteswan. Sounds native american, may have a leg up.
  • Can I get in on this action? Every party needs a pooper and that’s why you invite me.
  • Yes you can. You will be Noah-Swan’s adviser. Kind of like Jed is to Theo.
  • You don’t need a resume, everybody on VFTB is already an expert.
  • My Baby got back
  • I’m sexy and I know it
  • Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
  • The ladies haven’t been digging the chauvinism so Dave Sappelt provided a long ball but the Cubs lost. And the ladies still don’t dig him…
  • Stand back…I know science.
  • I love hitting in the desert, the ball goes farther, post game steaks are juicier and Seymour look so funny with SFP50 spread all over his face.
  • That’s probably mayo.
  • I’m confused, are Spring training stats meaningless or do they mean something?
  • You use stats from spring training when it helps you make your point and disregard them when it disagrees with your view.
  • I’m putting my money on HeRo to make the team.
  • Pretty much spot-on regarding the bullpen, as much as the idea of Carlos Coleman continuing to work as a starter makes me sort of nauseous.
  • Last season, we had Volstad (very tall) and Campana (very short) who weren’t very good at playing baseball.
  • So we should just line everybody up according to size, like when we took our school pictures, and choose our lineups. Small guys bat first large guys last
  • That’s what she said.
  • Thanks for the summary. I enjoy reading the articles you guys post, and the peanut gallery of commenters to the articles are both funny and intelligent.

Lizard

  • Bazinga

Shout Outs

A big shout out to the following readers who submitted their first 2013 Lizzie. We’re so happy to have you here!

  • Darlin_Starlin
  • Still Curious

MVL

  • Congratulations to jswanson the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around!

Top Ten of 2013 (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

(In honor of the coming of spring, I’ll post the full 2013 standings this time.)

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Doc Raker
4. Eddie von White
5. Jedi Johnson
6. Joe Aiello
7. Chuck
8. Gymjok
8. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy
11. cap’n obvious
11. Katie
13. Jerry in Wisconsin
14. Verncrowe5
15. Doug S.
16. Dusty Baylor
16. Jeremiah Johnson
16. Tom C
19. CAPS
19. LVCubFan
21. Bones
21. Bryan
21. Mark_from_Toronto
22. Aaron
22. Allan
22. Darlin_Starlin
22. Dous Entendre
22. Hugh Hefner
22. Josephine
22. Josh H
22. Just Curious
22. mrbaseball2usa
22. Norm
22. Still Curious
22. wisconsinjpc

Chit Chat

I’ve been soliciting suggestions all off-season long for our Saturday morning filler Go column, and I’ve received more than I can use. That column will be coming to a close once the season starts, so I thought I’d use one of my favorite overflow submissions for my GirlieView chit chat today. This is from our pal gymjok! Have fun with it!

  • Which Cub (present or former) do you most resemble?

Enjoy your weekend!

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