Author Archive

I Love Bryan Adams

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

by Cap’n Realist

After the second straight day of attacks on one of my favorite musicians, I feel it’s important to Make A Stand.   These sort of attacks tend to Cut Like a Knife, and though many of you may not be fans, it’s important that he can Depend on Me.  I’m not oven going to make this about the fact that the man is charitable and principled, his defense of LGBT rights and the rights of Canadian First Nations citizens are plenty well chronicled.  This is about the fulfilling experiences that have been brought into my life through seeing his live shows.  He doesn’t have a great singing voice, and that comes through in his recorded music.  It also makes his live shows sound just like him.  It’s a nice shift from the “who is this singing?” I usually experience when seeing a show, especially a rock show.

In the summer of ’85, a 15 year old realist from the outskirts of Chicago and his 16 year old friends made the 90 minute trip to Alpine Valley Music Theater in beautiful Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  The great Bryan Adams was playing with a Euro Band called Cock Robin.  Cock Robin was known for their hit song “When Your Heart is Weak” which, as I understand it, continuously plays on a loop in Seymour’s waiting room.  I digress.  The show itself was fantastic, because as with any rock show, I knew the lyrics and could sing along.  I was 15.  During that show, I met and made out with a Northwestern co-ed named Carrie (or Kerry, or Cari, or Keri…can’t be sure).  Anyway, it was the realist’s first make out sesh, and it was with a college chick.  A One Night Love Affair, if you will. One for the ages.

I never saw Carrie again, but saw Bryan Adams twice more in the 80’s.  In the 90’s, like Sherm and Brad, I decided I was too cool for Bryan Adams, so I spent my money on Third Eye Blind and Chumbawumba tickets.  Fast forward to September 10th, 2001, I met a tall exceptionally attractive woman on a first date in Manhattan Beach, California.  We had a great time for the first half hour or so, but then the conversation lagged.  She asked what type of music I was into.  I couldn’t admit to Chumbawumba at that point, so I muttered “Bryan Adams.”  Turns out SHE LOVED THE GUY!  The next day was extremely tragic for all of us, but we decided to keep seeing each other.   Three months later, we flew to Vegas to see him live at the Paris Casino on New Year’s Eve.  I kicked down for 13th row tickets, the best I could afford.  The first 12 rows of the venue were completely empty, the usual Vegas garbage of hanging on to the best seats as a thank you for the worst gamblers.  After a single song, he stopped the show and asked the ushers to orderly move everyone 12 rows closer.  Initially, they refused, and the head of the casino had to come on stage and meet with him before they’d do it…but he steadfastly said that his fans deserved to be close.  We ended up in the front row. The following 4th of July I got engaged to that woman, and 15 years later, Bryan Adams’ music is something we still agree on.   Unlike 3rd Eye Blind and Chumbawumba, my marriage and Bryan Adams have stood the test of time.   Sure it’s cheesy, and the lyrics are bad, but admit it, you know the words.

“I got my first real six string…

You didn’t come here today looking for an All-Star recap, did you?

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Stat of the Week – How Good Are The Cubs?

Friday, April 29th, 2016

One of our readers, Andrew Berman, shared some research he did where he looked into the best starts to the regular season in major league history, specifically referencing the Chicago Cubs and their 20-game tear to open up 2016. Andrew’s research references Bill James’ Pythagorean Winning Percentage, which uses a team’s runs scored and runs allowed to estimate their expected win-loss record. Runs scored and allowed are more representative of a team’s underlying performance than wins and losses over a small sample, and so it’s no surprise that Pythagorean Winning Percentage has proven more predictive of team’s future win-loss records than their actual win-loss records.

As it stands today, the Cubs hold a major league-best 15-5 record. But how does their Pythagorean record stack up against some of baseball’s historically great teams? We went back 75 years and examined each team’s first 20 games of the season. Here’s what we found:

Pythagorean Winning Percentage Through 20 Games, 1940-2016
Team Year Runs Scored Runs Allowed Pythagorean Win% Outcome
Athletics 1981 99 37 .877 Lost ALCS
Dodgers 1974 117 51 .840 Lost World Series
Cubs 2016 123 54 .838 TBD
Yankees 2003 142 63 .836 Lost World Series
Red Sox 2001 109 49 .832 Missed Postseason
Twins 1972 96 49 .793 Missed Postseason
Indians 1959 121 62 .792 Finished 2nd in AL
Cardinals 2012 104 54 .788 Lost NLCS
Dodgers 1941 120 63 .784 Lost World Series
Tigers 1984 120 63 .784 Won World Series

The Cubs boast the best Pythagorean Winning Percentage in over 30 years of baseball. Granted, we’re putting stake in only an eighth of a season’s worth of data, but there is some pretty remarkable company shown in the table. Of the bunch, only two teams missed the postseason, while four of the seven who did dress in October found themselves playing for the World Series by season’s end. Let’s see how their run differential compares to some of the great teams of the past.

Run Differential Leaders Through 20 Games, 1940-2016
Team Season Runs Scored Runs Allowed Run Differential
Yankees 2003 142 63 79
Cubs 2016 123 54 69
Dodgers 1974 117 51 66
Tigers 1993 158 93 65
Cardinals 1962 141 77 64

From top to bottom, the Cubs have done everything well this season, dominating all phases of the game. Their pitching has been spectacular, where they own a league-leading 0.96 WHIP and the league’s third-best ERA at 2.58. As we wrote last week, their defense has been among the best in baseball so far, and their offense has been well above average in its own right. For a bit of perspective on this season, here’s how the run differential leaderboard shapes up through the first 20 games of 2016.

Run Differential Leaders Through 20 Games, 2016
Team Runs Scored Runs Allowed Run Differential
Cubs 123 54 69
Cardinals 126 85 41
Nationals 82 52 30
Mets 88 60 28
Dodgers 96 74 22

When restricting to only the first 20 games of 2016, the Cubs are well ahead of the rest of the field. While they certainly won’t maintain this torrid pace, their differential of plus-69 runs prorates to 559 over a 162-game season. Give or take 200 runs, and that mark would still easily top the 1998 Yankees’ differential of 309 runs, the greatest difference dating back to 1940. But only time will tell if history was meant to be made in 2016.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Seymour Goes to Camp

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

by Seymour Butts

As most of you are aware, I am a recidivist when it comes to Cubs fantasy camp. This year was my 13th. I took my GoPro along and spent the last month cutting about 8 hours of film to 17 minutes. The camera was mostly mounted to my head and thus a lot of the footage bobbles. I discovered that the sound quality of the GoPro mounted in it’s housing was not great, and eventually I discovered how to do voice overs, but only late in the project did I figure out how to adjust the sound levels on that. When running the camera makes a repetitive pounding noise.

When I looked at it last night, there were several things I wanted to have done better, but with my target audience being , well, all of us, I said “screw it, I’m done”.

My goal is to give you a taste of just what goes on there and hopefully a few of you will figure out what those of us who have been already know. It needs to be at the top of your bucket list.

Enjoy it, or don’t I really don’t give a crap at this point.

And for those who just can’t stand that not everyone uses their real name here (honestly, Seymour Butts is a name just made for this blog) you can figure out mine with some effort in this video, thought I cut an introduction short to make that task more difficult.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Chris Coghlin: The Road Back to Relevancy

Monday, December 21st, 2015

by Adam Serink

The outfield for the Chicago Cubs of 2016 looks outstanding. Names like Heyward, Schwarber, Soler, and even Zobrist likely will highlight the lineup card for years to come. But there is another name that Cubs fans should get used to hearing, if they aren’t already – Chris Coghlan.

On January 15, 2014, the Chicago Cubs signed Chris Coghlan to a minor league deal including an invite to Spring Training. Coghlan had been drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Florida Marlins, and he continued to dazzle throughout his minor league career. He earned his first major league call up in May of 2009, and it seemed like Coghlan would not see the minors ever again. That year, Coghlan hit nine home runs, and drove in forty-seven runs, with an impressive slash line of .321/.390/.460. With that impressive display, Chris beat out such names as JA Happ, Andrew McCutchen, and Dexter Fowler for the 2009 Rookie of the Year honour. It seemed like the Marlins had something special, and without a doubt, they believed Coghlan would be their next star.

Late 2013 – After the impressive debut season, the major leagues caught up with Chris. He managed to slash .242/.307/.352 with the Marlins for the remainder of his tenure with the major league team. Injuries caught up with Coghlan, and over those four seasons following his outstanding debut season, he managed to play in only 265 major league games. The Coghlan of 2009 was gone, and the Marlins’ organization, and fan base had realized that. He had been optioned to the minor leagues numerous times, and his lingering injury problems turned off most everybody. Within four years, Coghlan had went from being a potential star with the Marlins, to a minor league castaway. And in late 2013, the Marlins called it quits. They pulled the plug on the ”Chris Coghlan Experiment”. He was not tendered a contract for the following year, therefore, making him a free agent for the first time in his career. Could this have possibly been the end of a career that once had so much promise? Possibly so. But it never did come to that.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Coghlan. he was expected to challenge names such as Schierholtz, Lake, Sweeney, and Ruggiano for a spot in the outfield. And when the time came to pick who stayed, and who went, Coghlan, with his .224 average throughout the spring, did not appeal to Theo and Jed, leading to their decision of sending him down to AAA Iowa. In his twenty four games played in Iowa, Coghlan hit for only a .243 average, but put together a stellar on-base percentage at .379, while jumping around the field at all three outfield positions, and multiple innings logged at first base. He showed strong versatility and was it possible that Coghlan had yet again found himself? It sure seemed that way.

On May 3, 2014, Ryan Sweeney strained his right hamstring, as he almost regularly managed to do. The corresponding move was made, and Chris Coghlan was added to the roster. May 4th was Coghlan’s debut in Cubbie blue, and there was nothing note-worthy about it, to say the least. Actually, from his Cubs’ debut until July 6, Coghlan looked like he was lost. He was overmatched, out of place, and it seemed like it was soon to be the end for Cogs and his tenure with the team. Through his first fifty games played as a Cub, Coghlan started twenty seven games, with a slash line of .229/.303/.356. Many had lost hope in Chris, but Rick Renteria was not one of those people. Coghlan’s playing time increased, he received more at bats, starts, and eventually, Ricky’s experiment worked – Coghlan was looking good out there.

On July 7, Chris Coghlan had himself a game. He went four-for-five, with two doubles, a stolen base, and two runs scored. With one game, his batting average shot up twenty three points, and it sparked a resurgence in his career, where he initially was at the point many believed it was over for him. With that one game, Coghlan began to play with great frequency, and his numbers began to go up as well. After one game, Coghlan had become a feared hitter yet again in Major League Baseball, marking a major comeback in a career that just months prior had looked so bleak. From July 8th, onward, Coghlan looked like a new man at the plate. Whether it was Renteria’s persistence, or Coghlan’s mentality, something had changed with Chris. He was blazing hot. He hit .307, with thirty four extra base hits from July 8th, until the end of the season, Coghlan had been one of the best bats the Cubs could’ve asked for. They had found a type of player they needed in the worst way – a lefty bat, who could play everywhere in the field, steal bases, take great at bats, and get on base more than most. It was no shocker to see that Chris had been named the Opening Night starter for the 2015 season, this time by the new manager, Joe Maddon. The Cubs showed a lot of confidence in their new left fielder that they salvaged from the trash heap, and turned into something special.

A player such as Coghlan likely appeals greatly to a manager like Joe Maddon. His hard-nosed, tough playing style, while not flashy, or as appealing to the typical fan is beneficial to the team. The newly found power stroke and defensive versatility, while maintaining strong on-base skills, could open up a new door for Coghlan, who could potentially become a player similar to new teammate, Ben Zobrist, and Maddon would be the manager help him accomplish that. Do not expect to see Coghlan’s name in the lineup every day, but expect him to be a quietly productive member of the 2016 Chicago Cubs, and a player who could earn a nice contract after the season.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on August 26th

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

by Nate Head

1. Game Notes

Cubs 8 @ Giants 5 – The Chicago Cubs won their sixth game in a row last night by a score of 8-5 against the San Francisco Giants. The bats erupted for ten hits (8 against starter Matt Cain) and Cubs hitters found the seats three times with Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Montero, and Starlin Castro each slugging home runs. Jake Arrieta tallied his league-leading 16th win and his ERA dropped to 2.22 with his six inning performance in which he did not allow an earned run and conceded just four hits and one walk.  Starlin Castro hit the ball on the screws four times, going 3-4 with a single and double and his night was highlighted by a 399 foot dinger to left field. The Cubs extended their lead over San Francisco in the Wild Card race to 7.5 games, and improved to a 5-0 record against the defending champs this season. The bullpen made the game slightly more intense, but the Cubs lead was never in serious danger.

My Player of the Game: Jake Arrieta (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 8 K’s)

2. Arrieta the Ace

Jake Arrieta continued his blistering streak Wednesday night, which at this point, surprised no one. Last night, Arrieta broke Hall-of-Famer (and former Cub) Greg Maddux’s team record with his 13th consecutive quality start. The lone run scored in Jake’s presence was unearned, as a throwing error by the right-hander himself allowed Kelby Tomlinson to cross the plate in the sixth inning. Arrieta’s dominance this month (5-0, 0.54 ERA in August) has given his Cy Young aspirations a boost, but Zack Greinke of the Dodgers is currently the undisputed leading candidate. However, a couple shaky starts from Greinke could open the door for Arrieta—who is not showing any signs of slowing his roll.

3. Cubs add Bonifacio

Emilio Bonifacio has agreed to join the Cubs on a minor league deal, according to reports. Bonifacio (who turned 30 in April) is expected to report to Iowa immediately and is a strong contender to join the big league team in September. Bonifacio was designated for assignment and eventually released by the Chicago White Sox after hitting a nightmarish .167/.198/.192 in 47 games this season. On a team that already has a surplus of middle-infielders, Emilio’s appeal likely comes from his speed. The 30-year-old has stolen bases at an impressive 77.5 percent success rate throughout his nine year career, swiping 165 bags while only being thrown out 48 times. Bonifacio played 69 games for the Cubs last year, hitting .279/.318/.373.

4. Down on the Farm

Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez extended his hit streak to six games for Class A Eugene last night, hitting two home runs and collecting three RBI’s in game one of a doubleheader against Spokane. Matt Szczur hit a home run during a 3-2 win for the Iowa Cubs last night.

Unfortunate news surfaced in Tennessee last night, where the Smokies announced that Cubs No. 3 prospect Billy McKinney will be out for the season with a hairline fracture. McKinney suffered the injury last week by fouling a ball of his leg. The 20-year-old was hitting /285/.346/.420 for the team this season.

5. What’s on Tap?

The Cubs look to win their seventh game in a row, and their sixth straight against the Giants. Let’s take a look at the probable pitchers:


THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY

www.NationalPastime.com

1966 – After seeing a caricature of himself on the scoreboard, an angry Leo Duroucher calls the Astrodome’s press box to have it removed. When nothing is done, the enraged Cubs manager rips the phone out of the dugout wall and tosses it onto the infield.

1972 – Ron Santo‘s three run home run off Ron Bryant proves to be the difference in the Cubs’ 10-9 victory over San Francisco at Wrigley Field. The third inning round-tripper, the first of a pair he hits in the game, is the third baseman’s 2‚000th career hit‚ and drives in his 1‚200th run.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: