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Friday

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May 2013

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COMMENTS

Game 52 – The Wind is Finally Blowing Out in the Cubs Favor

Written by , Posted in General

Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Travis Wood – .267 (WPA)


As a fan base, often we find ourselves deep in conversation about what is wrong with the Cubs roster. We constantly seek answers and yearn for something different.  With a team that has been haunted so long by infinite obscurity, we- Cubs fans- often have only next year to look forward to. Often we find ourselves in a twilight zone of looking for the next scapegoat for the unlucky roller coaster that many, much longer than I, have been stuck on for so many years.

When the team is playing bad we look to the advanced statistics and say that team just continues to be unlucky.  When the team is on a hot streak you’ll often find the pessimist calling the troops back and tempering expectations because they say we are outperforming.  Look at any comment, most bloggers, and many in the press and you will find those that will constantly state that the team isn’t supposed to be competitive this year.

So why even put a team on the field?

The past three games show why the Cubs field a team.  Games like today show why the game of baseball is so great.  A pitcher, who many thought would be an afterthought this year, belted his second HR of the year; a grand slam for that matter.  Travis Wood, the aforementioned afterthought, also continued his hot streak dominating on the mound.  What were my favorite parts about this game?  It wasn’t the win (that was great and everyone loves to raise the “W” flag).

It was watching Wellington Castillo skipping home with excitement after Wood hit his bomb.  It was watching the guys in the dugout smile, have fun, and build and rally around each other.  It was David DeJesus screaming from first base to second where Wood was standing just to do some sort of gunshot animation.  That’s what winning teams get to do.  They get to exploit the joy of the game and squeeze out more wins.

So although the past three games the Cubs have been dominating a not so good team in the White Sox, you may find yourself asking why is all of the talk of fun so important?  When you are team with a positive run differential and all the advanced stats say you are losing based solely on an unpredictable series of events, maybe fun is the thing that will change it.  I’m not advocating that the Cubs haven’t had fun in the past, but you’ll remember recently when Alfonso Soriano discussed getting tired of losing.  You can remember just the other day when Kevin Gregg got upset about all the talk about deadline deals.  Soriano and Gregg’s comments show that the team wasn’t enjoying what was going on.

Is having fun going to change things?  No, probably not too much.  Yet, when the series of events begin to line up in your favor and pitchers begin to hit grand slams something might be changing. Maybe enjoyment and continuity are the nonrecordable and unaccounted for statistic that may make a difference in a team like this.  A Cubs team that has been dominant with their starting pitching, had a bullpen (although in flux) that has seemed to settle in recently, and had hitters that are driving the ball with authority.

The best thing I found about being a Cub fan is that you will never find more real, diehard fans, who believe in a team.  No matter the situation or naysayers maybe will soon see the year of the Cubs.

The Cubs won this one 8-3 today. They beat a very good pitcher in Jake Peavy.  Maybe, just maybe, the lake wind is changing in our favor.

  • BLPCB

    Whenever I feel down about the Cubs I draw strength from this song, knowing that it will happen before I die.
    http://youtu.be/CqHTScDBsDU

    And whenever I see that play station commercial from last year, it brings a tear to my eye knowing that the real celebration will be 10x better. When the Cubs win it all, I don’t care what happens, I am going to be there for the final out and the World Series parade. I don’t care if I get fired, because my life would be complete with a Cubs World Series title.

    • I’m pretty sure the guy in the Donald Duck costume would cover your shift at the pizza place or your uncle’s company. Don’t let that get in the way of your emotional shitty music baseball thing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Have to agree with your music analogy. That song is terrible.

  • AC0000000

    Whenever I feel down about the Cubs I draw strength from this song, knowing that it will happen before I die.
    http://youtu.be/CqHTScDBsDU

    And whenever I see that play station commercial from last year, it brings a tear to my eye knowing that the real celebration will be 10x better. When the Cubs win it all, I don’t care what happens, I am going to be there for the final out and the World Series parade. I don’t care if I get fired, because my life would be complete with a Cubs World Series title.

    • I’m pretty sure the guy in the Donald Duck costume would cover your shift at the pizza place or your uncle’s company. Don’t let that get in the way of your emotional shitty music baseball thing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Have to agree with your music analogy. That song is terrible.

  • Eddie Von White

    Exactly, Holden – good job. When Wood got wood my son, daughter, and I leaped off the couch in jubilation – just like we did the night before when the Blackhawks won – twice!

    • Doc Raker

      No kidding, that was the worst call in hockey. First of all it should of been a delayed penalty, it was the Redwings that boarded Saad and Saad threw the punch after the goal was scored. Horrible call, good thing the Blackhawks won or that guy would of been in Bartman kind of trouble but this guy deserved it, Bartman did not.

      • BLPCB

        But a fan didn’t alter things

      • Eddie Von White

        Yeah, no kidding again – and that ref was a well-respected official – emphasis on was.

  • Eddie Von White

    Exactly, Holden – good job. When Wood got wood my son, daughter, and I leaped off the couch in jubilation – just like we did the night before when the Blackhawks won – twice!

    • Doc Raker

      No kidding, that was the worst call in hockey. First of all it should of been a delayed penalty, it was the Redwings that boarded Saad and Saad threw the punch after the goal was scored. Horrible call, good thing the Blackhawks won or that guy would of been in Bartman kind of trouble but this guy deserved it, Bartman did not.

      • AC0000000

        But a fan didn’t alter things

      • Eddie Von White

        Yeah, no kidding again – and that ref was a well-respected official – emphasis on was.

  • Noah_I

    I think the fun thing could be a chicken and the egg scenario. When you’re generally playing ball well enough to be a .500 team, but are just unable to get a ball to find the outfield grass with RISP, are making a bad error at a bad time, or are just watching leads dissipate when you’re closer or setup man can’t get anyone out, I could only imagine it gets frustrating. When you’re doing those things right, though, I could only imagine the game gets a lot more fun. Then again, perhaps a better attitude could lead to better results as well. That’s the sort of intangible that cannot really be measured, though. This is the one thing I really like about this team, though: it’s full of high character guys. You are not seeing bickering or finger pointing when they are struggling.

    • BLPCB

      This. I agree with you. Do you think that this could have been a contributing factor to our collapse in 2004? Because that was a really loaded team and I felt that they would have won it all had they made it to October.

      • Noah_I

        I always felt a bigger part of the ’04 collapse was the schedule. The Cubs had a series in Miami at the very beginning of September wiped out by a hurricane, and as a result the Cubs did not have a single off day after September 10. From September 10 to October 3 (the end of the season and a span of 24 days) the Cubs played 26 games. I think it’s just as likely that they ran out of gas in the last week.

      • BLPCB

        But there were tensions going on in August before that happened. And even in July during the Cardinals series when Hawkins went after the umpires and needed 5 coaches to restrain him. And let’s not forget that the Cubs blew a chance to have Woody serve a suspension despite being injured for 2 months, then when he was healthy, the appeal was denied.

      • BLPCB

        We were in a tight battle with the Cardinals that year until Ramirez tweaked his groin, missed 10 days, and the Cardinals opened an 8-game lead on us. We seemed to lose focus after that, even though we still had the wild card and were in solid position.

  • Noah_I

    I think the fun thing could be a chicken and the egg scenario. When you’re generally playing ball well enough to be a .500 team, but are just unable to get a ball to find the outfield grass with RISP, are making a bad error at a bad time, or are just watching leads dissipate when you’re closer or setup man can’t get anyone out, I could only imagine it gets frustrating. When you’re doing those things right, though, I could only imagine the game gets a lot more fun. Then again, perhaps a better attitude could lead to better results as well. That’s the sort of intangible that cannot really be measured, though. This is the one thing I really like about this team, though: it’s full of high character guys. You are not seeing bickering or finger pointing when they are struggling.

    • AC0000000

      This. I agree with you. Do you think that this could have been a contributing factor to our collapse in 2004? Because that was a really loaded team and I felt that they would have won it all had they made it to October.

      • Noah_I

        I always felt a bigger part of the ’04 collapse was the schedule. The Cubs had a series in Miami at the very beginning of September wiped out by a hurricane, and as a result the Cubs did not have a single off day after September 10. From September 10 to October 3 (the end of the season and a span of 24 days) the Cubs played 26 games. I think it’s just as likely that they ran out of gas in the last week.

      • AC0000000

        But there were tensions going on in August before that happened. And even in July during the Cardinals series when Hawkins went after the umpires and needed 5 coaches to restrain him. And let’s not forget that the Cubs blew a chance to have Woody serve a suspension despite being injured for 2 months, then when he was healthy, the appeal was denied.

      • AC0000000

        We were in a tight battle with the Cardinals that year until Ramirez tweaked his groin, missed 10 days, and the Cardinals opened an 8-game lead on us. We seemed to lose focus after that, even though we still had the wild card and were in solid position.

  • Doug S.

    This is much more fun than last year.

    • Agreed Doug. Much more palatable.

  • Doug S.

    This is much more fun than last year.

    • Agreed Doug. Much more palatable.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    It was great to see the Cubs take out all of the trash this May.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    It was great to see the Cubs take out all of the trash this May.

  • Doc Raker

    Great points Holden, fun is important it keeps the mind fresh and baseball is a mental grind, without a fresh mind bad habits will take over. Baseball is a game you have to play loose, you can’t play baseball tight or scared and having fun is one way to stay loose and focused which absolutely gives you an edge over a mentally fatigued opponent. Your insight into the intangibles is welcomed, this is something that will never show up on a metric. One of the hall marks of the teams I have coached are the kids have fun while learning about the greatest game of baseball. I am a big believer in that staying calm and focused is an ingredient in being clutch and if a clutch situation is fun rather than scary the odds swing in your favor. Thanks Holden.

    • BLPCB

      This totally sounds like the Simpsons episode MoneyBart, when Lisa benched Bart after he went yard to win a game against her orders to let the pitcher walk him. Bart refused to play for her because he was like you’ve taken the fun out of baseball. But then Mike Scoscia guest starred and said the best players listen to their managers
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoneyBART

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Mike Scoscia would give that advice, it is amazing how many players have more fun when Mike is not managing them.

      • BLPCB

        But in this episode, Lisa knows nothing at all about baseball, and manages 100% with sabermetrics. It’s like she was managing out of a computer. Not too many managers would get angry if someone hit a walk-off HR when they were ordered to allow the pitcher to walk them.

        Plus Scoscia is a great manager. He has the rings to prove it.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I think he just has one, and Dusty gave it to him.

      • BLPCB

        2 as a player. Which I learned from that episode

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Rings as a player do not make you a good manager, nor does beating Mr. Baker in the World Series.

      • BLPCB

        So you’re saying Scoscia isn’t a good manager? Then why is he the longest tenured manager right now, and why was he given a 10-year contract after the 2008 season?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        If Dusty had won the 2003 World Series with the Cubs he would still be managing them today, because it would have taken a few years to get past the euphoria of finally winning the title to realize he was a bad manager. That is what is happening with the Angels, thay are just now realizing Scoscia is not all that great.

      • BLPCB

        The euphoria wore off in 2004 when he couldn’t contain the team and they missed the playoffs. But through the 2004 season, everyone thought he was a good manager. 10 years in SF always in the playoffs, his first 2 years in Chicago, 2 85+ win seasons

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        So what you are saying is that Dusty is a good manager?

      • BLPCB

        Re-read. I said through 2004, most people thought that he was a good manager. It was the 2005 and 2006 seasons that his true colors showed

      • Jedi

        This is a parody right? You don’t really think Scioscia ‘isn’t all that great’…they’ve been to the playoffs 6 times in his 13 seasons. Never finished below 3rd, and averaged 89 wins. For the decade before he was hired, the Angels never won more than 85 games in a season. Since they’ve hired him they AVERAGE 89 wins. I would almost literally kill for that to be the Cubs last 13 seasons. Then you throw in the title, I mean how can you possibly say that a team led by Darrin Erstad should win anything, let alone a World Series. They hadn’t been to the playoffs for 15 years before he showed up, and only three times total in their entire history. Five of six years (from 2004 thru 2009) they finished 1st in their division. The year they didn’t finish first they won 89 games.

        What’s wrong with the Angels now has little to do with Scioscia. He can’t coach Pujols and Hamilton on how to be younger and healthier.

      • BLPCB

        I can’t believe this, but I actually have to agree with Jedi!
        Shocking, I know. This is different than Dusty’s 10 year run in SF, because Scoscia was never anchored by a doping Barry Bonds.

      • Jedi

        If Scioscia is fired, most teams in the league would have serious internal talks about hiring him. I’d certainly expect the Cubs to consider it.

      • BLPCB

        And the fact that he has 5 years left on his Angels deal would mean he would be cheap for those 5 years. He didn’t win solely on talent. He’s won because he knows how to manage a team, and he knows what moves to make. You need a certain level of talent in order to win in baseball. But to be in championship contention, you need a manager that utilizes it properly, which Scioscia does. Such as managing his pitchers, when to bring in a new reliever, pinch-hitting, etc.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        He is a good manager, but I find it amazing how many players do better when the are in a different organization.

      • BLPCB

        Such as?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Napoli in Texas and others

      • Jedi

        Um, no. Napoli had one great year in Texas and one year that was like every other year that Mike Napoli has played. Scioscia didn’t like Napoli as a defender (specifically at the catcher position), the Angels didn’t need another DH, so they traded him. It was painfully obvious to everyone why, and Napoli even said it motivated him the following year. Perhaps you can blame Scioscia for giving him motivation, but you certainly can’t blame him for somehow holding him back. Look at 2012, Napoli’s numbers are just like every other year he was with the Angels. They’re the same this year in Boston. He was so coveted by the Rangers that they let him go in favor of AJ Pierzynski’s twilight..haha.

      • BLPCB

        Scioscia doesn’t get angry when players go yard even if they were ordered to take a walk.

      • Doc Raker

        Exactly, playing baseball out of a computer isn’t fun, Bart going yard was fun. Of course the Simpsons told you the wrong message of listen to your manager instead of ‘don’t manage a baseball from a computer.’

      • BLPCB

        Lisa learned to love the game at the end when Bart decided to play for Lisa after what Scioscia said. They were down 1, he pinch-ran. Ignored Lisa and stole 2B and 3B. Lisa decided to cheer him on as he tried to steal home. Even though Bart was thrown out and they lost the championship, Lisa thanked Bart for showing her to love the game

      • Eddie Von White

        Are you saying Raker is a closet Simpsonite?

      • BLPCB

        No. Just explaining the episode. Every time Lisa was mad at Bart she was like, “The computer said this. The computer said that.”

        And in reality, the only way to allow a pitcher to walk you is when you are given the 4-finger salute

      • Seymour Butts

        Oh, he’s closeted all right……..

      • BLPCB

        Just watched the episode
        http://wtso.net/movie/486-2203_MoneyBART.html#
        Pretty good episode

  • Doc Raker

    Great points Holden, fun is important it keeps the mind fresh and baseball is a mental grind, without a fresh mind bad habits will take over. Baseball is a game you have to play loose, you can’t play baseball tight or scared and having fun is one way to stay loose and focused which absolutely gives you an edge over a mentally fatigued opponent. Your insight into the intangibles is welcomed, this is something that will never show up on a metric. One of the hall marks of the teams I have coached are the kids have fun while learning about the greatest game of baseball. I am a big believer in that staying calm and focused is an ingredient in being clutch and if a clutch situation is fun rather than scary the odds swing in your favor. Thanks Holden.

    • AC0000000

      This totally sounds like the Simpsons episode MoneyBart, when Lisa benched Bart after he went yard to win a game against her orders to let the pitcher walk him. Bart refused to play for her because he was like you’ve taken the fun out of baseball. But then Mike Scoscia guest starred and said the best players listen to their managers
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoneyBART

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Mike Scoscia would give that advice, it is amazing how many players have more fun when Mike is not managing them.

      • AC0000000

        But in this episode, Lisa knows nothing at all about baseball, and manages 100% with sabermetrics. It’s like she was managing out of a computer. Not too many managers would get angry if someone hit a walk-off HR when they were ordered to allow the pitcher to walk them.

        Plus Scoscia is a great manager. He has the rings to prove it.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I think he just has one, and Dusty gave it to him.

      • AC0000000

        2 as a player. Which I learned from that episode

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Rings as a player do not make you a good manager, nor does beating Mr. Baker in the World Series.

      • AC0000000

        So you’re saying Scoscia isn’t a good manager? Then why is he the longest tenured manager right now, and why was he given a 10-year contract after the 2008 season?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        If Dusty had won the 2003 World Series with the Cubs he would still be managing them today, because it would have taken a few years to get past the euphoria of finally winning the title to realize he was a bad manager. That is what is happening with the Angels, thay are just now realizing Scoscia is not all that great.

      • AC0000000

        The euphoria wore off in 2004 when he couldn’t contain the team and they missed the playoffs. But through the 2004 season, everyone thought he was a good manager. 10 years in SF always in the playoffs, his first 2 years in Chicago, 2 85+ win seasons

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        So what you are saying is that Dusty is a good manager?

      • AC0000000

        Re-read. I said through 2004, most people thought that he was a good manager. It was the 2005 and 2006 seasons that his true colors showed

      • Jedi

        This is a parody right? You don’t really think Scioscia ‘isn’t all that great’…they’ve been to the playoffs 6 times in his 13 seasons. Never finished below 3rd, and averaged 89 wins. For the decade before he was hired, the Angels never won more than 85 games in a season. Since they’ve hired him they AVERAGE 89 wins. I would almost literally kill for that to be the Cubs last 13 seasons. Then you throw in the title, I mean how can you possibly say that a team led by Darrin Erstad should win anything, let alone a World Series. They hadn’t been to the playoffs for 15 years before he showed up, and only three times total in their entire history. Five of six years (from 2004 thru 2009) they finished 1st in their division. The year they didn’t finish first they won 89 games.

        What’s wrong with the Angels now has little to do with Scioscia. He can’t coach Pujols and Hamilton on how to be younger and healthier.

      • AC0000000

        I can’t believe this, but I actually have to agree with Jedi!
        Shocking, I know. This is different than Dusty’s 10 year run in SF, because Scoscia was never anchored by a doping Barry Bonds.

      • Jedi

        If Scioscia is fired, most teams in the league would have serious internal talks about hiring him. I’d certainly expect the Cubs to consider it.

      • AC0000000

        And the fact that he has 5 years left on his Angels deal would mean he would be cheap for those 5 years. He didn’t win solely on talent. He’s won because he knows how to manage a team, and he knows what moves to make. You need a certain level of talent in order to win in baseball. But to be in championship contention, you need a manager that utilizes it properly, which Scioscia does. Such as managing his pitchers, when to bring in a new reliever, pinch-hitting, etc.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        He is a good manager, but I find it amazing how many players do better when the are in a different organization.

      • AC0000000

        Such as?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Napoli in Texas and others

      • Jedi

        Um, no. Napoli had one great year in Texas and one year that was like every other year that Mike Napoli has played. Scioscia didn’t like Napoli as a defender (specifically at the catcher position), the Angels didn’t need another DH, so they traded him. It was painfully obvious to everyone why, and Napoli even said it motivated him the following year. Perhaps you can blame Scioscia for giving him motivation, but you certainly can’t blame him for somehow holding him back. Look at 2012, Napoli’s numbers are just like every other year he was with the Angels. They’re the same this year in Boston. He was so coveted by the Rangers that they let him go in favor of AJ Pierzynski’s twilight..haha.

      • AC0000000

        Scioscia doesn’t get angry when players go yard even if they were ordered to take a walk.

      • Doc Raker

        Exactly, playing baseball out of a computer isn’t fun, Bart going yard was fun. Of course the Simpsons told you the wrong message of listen to your manager instead of ‘don’t manage a baseball from a computer.’

      • AC0000000

        Lisa learned to love the game at the end when Bart decided to play for Lisa after what Scioscia said. They were down 1, he pinch-ran. Ignored Lisa and stole 2B and 3B. Lisa decided to cheer him on as he tried to steal home. Even though Bart was thrown out and they lost the championship, Lisa thanked Bart for showing her to love the game

      • Eddie Von White

        Are you saying Raker is a closet Simpsonite?

      • AC0000000

        No. Just explaining the episode. Every time Lisa was mad at Bart she was like, “The computer said this. The computer said that.”

        And in reality, the only way to allow a pitcher to walk you is when you are given the 4-finger salute

      • Seymour Butts

        Oh, he’s closeted all right……..

      • AC0000000

        Just watched the episode
        http://wtso.net/movie/486-2203_MoneyBART.html#
        Pretty good episode

  • verncrowe5

    The Cubs keep winning and the Brewers keep losing. Just staying out of last place (with the Astros gone) is joy in itself. One step at a time!

  • verncrowe5

    The Cubs keep winning and the Brewers keep losing. Just staying out of last place (with the Astros gone) is joy in itself. One step at a time!

  • I can’t wait until gravatar pushes their updates. I’ve commissioned Joe’s cartoonist to Cernak me up a bit.

    • Doug S.

      You’re going to look like a girl?
      Guess it beats my dog in a dress with sunglasses and ketchup.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      So the book on your head is to help you Cernak up a bit?

      • Cubs hat, Jerry. Fine art of this caliber is sometimes hard to interpret. .

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        That is why I am not an art major, too subjective. I like hard facts, they are more fun to play with.

    • Seymour Butts

      I do have that in common with Katie.. both of us have our actual photographs as gravitars.

      • BLPCB

        Nice crack.

      • BLPCB

        I do too. Spelling out OHIO with Los Tres Caballeros.

  • I can’t wait until gravatar pushes their updates. I’ve commissioned Joe’s cartoonist to Cernak me up a bit.

    • Doug S.

      You’re going to look like a girl?
      Guess it beats my dog in a dress with sunglasses and ketchup.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      So the book on your head is to help you Cernak up a bit?

      • Cubs hat, Jerry. Fine art of this caliber is sometimes hard to interpret. .

    • Seymour Butts

      I do have that in common with Katie.. both of us have our actual photographs as gravitars.

      • AC0000000

        Nice crack.

      • AC0000000

        I do too. Spelling out OHIO with Los Tres Caballeros.

  • Fun may be a chicken and the egg argument, but it definitely has an impact either in advance or on the backside, regardless of whether you see it as a chicken or an egg. Teams that play loose and motivated have an unmeasurable advantage in event lining up in a favorable series to produce positive results.

  • Fun may be a chicken and the egg argument, but it definitely has an impact either in advance or on the backside, regardless of whether you see it as a chicken or an egg. Teams that play loose and motivated have an unmeasurable advantage in event lining up in a favorable series to produce positive results.

  • Great game…go Cubs. I listened to the game with my beady little ears. Sometimes my giant triangle mouth reflects off of my monitor, and that hurts my small crossed eyes.

    • Jedi

      The giant mouth looks like it would deal with pizza easier than footlongs.

  • Great game…go Cubs. I listened to the game with my beady little ears. Sometimes my giant triangle mouth reflects off of my monitor, and that hurts my small crossed eyes.

    • Jedi

      The giant mouth looks like it would deal with pizza easier than footlongs.