Author Archive

Here is the Worst Prediction Job in History

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I try to be good at making predictions. Before the start of the 2014 year, I made some rather correct predictions and figured it would be easy to do it again in 2015. Guess again. I present to you the worst job of prognosticating in the history of prognostication.

1. Jorge Soler will lead the team in HR – I’m coming out of the box firing with this one. It’s easy to say that it will be Anthony Rizzo or even Kris Bryant, but I think Soler is flying under the radar and I think he’s going to be a great player, if he can stay healthy. He’s struggled with leg issues in the past, but if he can avoid the injury bug, his bat is for real.

2. The five starting pitchers with the most starts will combine for 900 innings. – Last year, the five guys with the most games started were Travis WoodJake ArrietaEdwin JacksonJason Hammel, and Jeff Samardzija. They combined for a total of just under 700 innings. My thinking here is that Jackson sucked, Wood sucked and Hammel and Samardzija both were traded. If everyone is healthy, the rotation should be improved this year and I think 900 IP is doable.

3. Tommy LaStella will start more games than Javier Baez at the Major League level this season. – I want to believe in Baez. I want to believe that he will use the demotion and go be ready to come up and crush it, but more and more I’m worried that he’s going to be the one who fails to reach the ceiling that has been set for him. I think LaStella can be a solid everyday guy that won’t wow you, but also won’t kill you and I think his versatility gets him more starts.

4. The Bullpen will finish in the top 5 in MLB in ERA – I put a lot of pressure on our pen last season, but I think it’s going to be even better this season with the addition of Jason Motte. In my opinion, that’s a signing that has flown under the radar.

5. Mike Olt will play well enough to push Bryant to the OF - It’s a make or break year for Olt and I think he’s going to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park. Guys ranked that high on everyone’s prospect boards are there for a reason. They have talent. They don’t usually just completely stink. This year we’ll see Olt jump into the conversation as one of the future core.

6. Welington Castillo will be on the team for the entire year – I don’t think it will be a three catcher system the entire season, but I also don’t think that Jed and Theo like what the market is for Castillo at this point. It’s been said that they want him as insurance. It’s tough to see his trade value increasing with Miguel Montero in the starting role, but strange things and injuries can happen. I just don’t see the Cubs being offered enough in return to move him.

7. Starlin Castro will have 200+ hits – He’s done it before and has said he would like to play in all 162 games this season. His 162 game average so far in his career is 185 hits so to think he can’t eclipse 200 this year is silly. He’s going to be surrounded by talent. That tends to cause guys to raise their level of play and I think we’ll see that from Castro this year.

8. The right field bleachers will not be open until August – Nothing about this renovation project has been on time and I think the bleacher renovation will continue that trend. They have said right field will be ready by June, but I think something causes a delay and it doesn’t happen until August.

9. Kyle Hendricks will lead the team in pitcher wins - Granted, it’s a dumb stat, but I am a believer in what he can be. I think he’s going to show good things this year and will surprise a lot of people. I don’t think he’ll be the most dominant pitcher on the staff, but I just have a feeling he’s going to rack up some wins.

10. The Cubs will win 85 games, but miss the playoffs by 3 games – There are people everywhere that have gone hog wild picking the Cubs to win the world series, cure cancer, and establish world peace in 2015. I’m not going that far. I do think this team will be a fun year to watch, but I think the real fun begins in 2016.

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Sunday Trivia: Pitchers in 2015

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

I’m gonna try to make this a regular thing on Sunday mornings. We’ll run some sort of trivia or similar concept in the morning this off-season. Here is the first edition. Without Google, can you name the pitchers who took the mound for the Cubs in 2015? It’s harder than you think. You have 10 minutes to complete your mission. Please post your score in the comments section. Remember, no cheating.


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How the Cubs Should Address the CF Situation

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Q: The Cubs offered Dexter Fowler a qualifying offer, which he is likely to decline. What should the Cubs plan be for 2016 in CF?

Jared Wyllys

My first choice would be for the Cubs to pursue signing Jason Heyward to a long term deal as aggressively as they can. Heyward is actually younger than Anthony Rizzo (just barely, but still), and although the Cardinals and several other teams are likely to be chasing him as well, I think he’s worth it. He’s coming off of a career best year, and would be able to fill in a spot in the outfield very nicely. My only concern with him is that he has spent more time in RF in his career than CF, but I trust he could handle it.

Another intriguing option that popped up in the last couple of days is Denard Span. I actually hope the Cubs would try and sign him prior to the 2015 season. He did not have such a great year health-wise, so that’s a concern, but when he did play, he hit very well. If Heyward is not an affordable option, I say Span deserves a look.

Nick Dorey

The Cubs situation in center field is a tricky one. I think it all revolves around where the front office stands in regards to the future of Albert Almora Jr. I for one am a big believer in his skill set, and that he will be ready to go by next summer. His glove is ready for Wrigley and has been for a long time. It’s his offense that has needed major work. In the second half of last season, Almora made big strides in his offensive game, posting an average above .300 and an OPS over .800. As good as Dexter Fowler was on offense for the Cubs as a leadoff hitter, I think it would be wise to let someone else pay him the big contract that he is likely to earn.

I would rather see the Cubs spend that money on a starting pitcher and adding some help for the bullpen. In the gap between the beginning of the season and the time that Almora is ready, I could see the Cubs playing a combination of Austin Jackson, Matt Szczur, and Chris Denorfia to get by. The rest of the team has plenty of talent on offense to carry them through until Almora gets called up. There is another possibility of the Cubs trading Almora this offseason, given the rise in his stock from his strong second half. In that case, the Cubs should sign Fowler or another free agent center fielder (possibly Denard Span?) depending on the price and how much they are willing to spend.

Rob Willer

If I were acting as the Chicago Cubs general manager and Dexter Fowler turned down the qualifying offer I would look at three options. The first option would be to fill the role internally using a lot of what Joe Maddon has preached on player versatility. Throughout the season we saw Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Starlin Castro, Tommy La Stella and Addison Russell play a multitude of positions and in this option I can see the same for centerfield. During the season Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register noted that Baez would take fly balls during drills and I can see him splitting the time with a few others. This of course holds if the Cubs keep their offensive youth noted above and are using their versatility to get their big bats in the lineup.

In the second option if Castro we’re to get traded this off-season to field a deal for starting pitching I then could see Baez playing second and the Cubs trying to add a centerfielder. The hard part is that the market isn’t the greatest for outfielders there are candidates including Denard Span, Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward. I know the Cubs will have money to spend but I’m not sure they’re going to spend around 150 to 200 million on Heyward and injuries for Span worry me to sign him long term. Gordon is an intriguing name but he plays as more of a corner outfielder and I’m not sure that goes with the current roster as we have a surplus at the moment of corner outfielders. I would assume Schwarber gets half the starts in left-field and half at catcher or a tad below.

In the end I’m going with signing Austin Jackson back to play centerfield for this upcoming season to a two year deal for around 21 million. This in turn gives the cubs flexibility to combine option 1 and they get to keep grooming Almora in the minors for another season and still keep versatility intact. In this option the Cubs have the option to add a few more arms to their rotation and potentially another bullpen arm and be flexible more in contracts through free agency and trades.

Jeremiah Johnson

I’m not in love with any of the OF free agents. And even if I was, the best options are better suited for corner spots. So if I’m going to make a big splash in the OF, it’s not likely going to be at CF. That leaves me looking for a cheap option to bridge the gap until Almora or McKinney is ready to be promoted from the farm. I’ll probably sign someone like Austin Jackson to a short, cheap deal, bring a couple more guys to Spring Training on minor league deals, and let them duke it out with Matt Szczur for the starting job. I think it will be a lot harder to replace Fowler in the lineup than in the field, and I can live with a platoon there this season if I think the best answer is still in our farm system.

The only reason to go big now is if I have lost confidence in our prospects (not yet), or I think we’re just an OF bat away from a ring (nope). That said, I’d like to kick the tires on Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward, but neither of them really solve this particular problem for the Cubs.

Nate Head

It stings a bit, yes. But the Cubs will survive without outfielder Dexter Fowler–while saving some serious coin. Fowler’s pesky, switch-hitting presence at the plate was refreshing to a team who hasn’t seen Fowler-like production in the leadoff slot in recent memory. However, Fowler’s play (highlighted by his stellar second half) has rightfully earned him an expensive, multi-year price tag, one that simply isn’t in the cards for the Cubs.

Denard Span is the ideal candidate to replace Fowler. A left-handed hitter that has experience leading off, Span can be the immediate solution at the top of the order. Injuries plagued Span last season and limited him to 61 games, but he was terrific the year before–the 31-year-old free agent slapped 184 hits and swiped 31 bags, while hitting .302/.361/.416 in 2014. The long term future in center field is uncertain for the Cubs, but a veteran speedster like Span is the right place to start–just as it was last summer with Fowler.

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A Cubs OF Gets Suspended

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

It feels like the off-season is just itching to start and the moves are on the cusp of coming. While we wait, let’s catch up on some of the headlines.

Nationals Hire Dusty Baker to be their Manager (Full Story) – There are a lot of people that will hear this news and immediately laugh. For example, Keith Law things Baker is one of the worst managers in the game. Then again, he hates Net Yost as well and he just won a World Series. The fact is, Dusty gets a lot out of teams that are ready to win and the Nationals are loaded with talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the NLCS or even the World Series as of right this minute.

Tsuyoshi Wada is Going Home (Full Story) – I don’t know what we had in Wada, exactly, but I’m surprised he didn’t get more of a chance. It also surprises me that no one, in a league always hunting for left-handed pitching, would take a chance and entice him to stay in the Majors. At his age, I doubt he comes back over to pitch here again.

Cubs Minor League Outfielder, Adron Chambers, Suspended for 50 Games (Full Story) – I don’t feel sorry for guys that get pinched for violating drug tests, but I also don’t blame them. If it means a potential suspension, but the opportunity to get looked at favorably and get to the Majors to make even a million dollars, isn’t that worth it for your family? It’s hard to say no to the temptation.


1959Ernie Banks (.304, 45, 143) wins his second consecutive MVP award. ‘Mr Cub’ garners 10 of the writers’ 21 first-place votes, with Eddie Mathews (5) and Hank Aaron (2) of the Braves and Dodger Wally Moon (4) names found on top of the remaining ballots.

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Out of the Archives: Success Rate of MLB Draft Picks by Slot

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

This post originally ran about three years ago, but it’s worth bringing back. Props to Michael Jimenez for writing it.

It’s no secret that MLB prospect success rates are rather low.  There’s been a couple great studies on prospect success rates like Scott McKinney’s study on the success of BA’s top prospects  and Matt Garrioch’s study on the draft’s success by round; however, I have not seen any studies on the success rates of draft picks by each individual slot.  This has peaked my interest recently as the Cubs are tanking the 2012 season for as high of a draft pick as possible.  Many of you already know I am working on a Ph.D. in History so something like this is right up my alley (too bad I chose a Civil Rights topic for my dissertation instead of a topic on baseball or I’d be done already).  I decided to do my own study tracking the success rate of every draft pick in the first round from 1990-2006.


I separated the 17 years into three separate brackets. 1990-1995, 1996-2000, and 2000-2006.  I chose to stop at the year 2006, because many of 2007′s prospects have their fates yet to be decided. The number 3 pick for instance, Josh Vitters, just hit the majors.  Is it fair to call him a bust when he’s had 25 plate appearances and is still only 22 years old? Granted the more recent years will still be a little shady as well, especially players drafted out of high school, but at this point successful players should be performing at the majors.

Establishing what would be deemed a “successful” draft pick was the most difficult part of this study.  I asked a few of the popular prospect experts how they would define success of an MLB draft pick, and the responses all came back similar; it depends on each individual case, the money involved, and where they were selected. There was no one way to define “success” that would cover every draft pick.  So instead I chose three separate approaches.

First, I went with  a similar methodology to Scott McKinney’s study on BA’s top 100 prospects.   I used FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as the tool for measurement.  I took  the average of WAR at the MLB level during the player’s controllable years excluding seasons under 100 plate appearances or 25 innings pitched if they occurred in the first 1 or 2 consecutive seasons of reaching the majors. McKinney wrote  that he “was attempting to account for the fact that many players get very little playing time in their first or second season, and I did not want to give them equal weight in the average WAR calculation.  At the same time, I didn’t want to omit all short or partial seasons over a player’s cost controlled years because they are often due to injury or poor performance.” I agreed with this premise and decided to keep this stipulation.  This is labeled as cWAR.

That means for a player to be deemed a “success,” they must post at least a 1.5 WAR average in the 6 years before they could hit free agency.  In addition, there would be a “superior” category in which the player would need a 2.5 WAR average over that same time period.

Second, I looked  at the peak of the player’s career.  I evaluated the players’ best 5-year stretch using higher minimum WAR requirements than the first approach and labeled it as pWAR.  Since I cherry picked the best 5 consecutive seasons of a player’s career, I increased the WAR to fit the basic definitions for a league average and superior player.  That means the minimum success WAR was raised to 2.0, while the minimum superior WAR was raised to a 3.0 average.  This would give “late-bloomers” a chance at being called a success, or some successes to be bumped up to superior players.

Lastly, I looked at the longevity of a career.  To play in the majors for an extended period of time shows a player had enough skill to stick around at the highest level.  I wanted a number high enough that the player received either a multiple year contract or multiple contracts after they hit free agency.  I decided to use 10 years as the amount to be deemed a success for draft picks.  There were 2 players in the next bracket who are both still active and sitting at 9 years, I decided these 2 players deserved the success as longevity; they are R.A. Dickey and Matt Thornton.  After 1999 there were no players who were successful via only the longevity clause which was expected as there’s just not enough time to develop through the minors and reach 10 seasons yet.  The same minimum requirements of 100 PAs or 25 innings pitched for the first year or two apply.  I also decided to add a similar stipulation to the tail end of careers to eliminate failed comeback attempts to avoid artificially inflating a player’s length of career.  Overall, a very small percentage of players were deemed a success via only longevity so I was very happy with how this approach turned out.


Without further ado, the results spreadsheet for your viewing pleasure

As you probably expected, the further the study went, the more fuzzy the picture became on some draft picks. These were guys, usually called up within the past few seasons, who sat on the fringe of success and could go either way depending on how the rest of their career goes.  There wasn’t a significant amount of players affected to alter the results but there will definitely be an influx of more successful players as time goes by in addition to the handful of the successful by longevity guys as well. This type is actually rather easy to predict.  Usually they are just on the border of being a good player.   The majority were actually converted starting pitchers who went to the bullpen and found some success there after failing as a starter.  Guys I would expect to see hit the 10 year mark include Phil Hughes, Chris Volstad, and Carlos Quentin among others.  The study predicted players that I perceive as borderline very well.  In all, I agreed with nearly every determination in the study.  The few that I disagreed with, tended to have injuries skew their statistics.

One question I wanted definitively answered was if tanking actually helped teams rebuild quicker.  I would answer that with a resounding yes after seeing how successful the higher draft picks were compared to the mid to low picks especially when separated into the brackets.

Teams that chose in the top half of the draft had at least a 36% to find a successful player moving forward.  Teams choosing in the top 5 had nearly a 50/50 chance.  While teams had a little better than a 1 in 5 chance to land a quality player in the 16-25 range, if you weren’t making the playoffs, you absolutely wanted to draft as high as possible.

As you can see the chance to find a superior player also drastically decreases the further you get in the draft.  It was even more important for rebuilding teams to stay in the bottom 10 in the standings to have the best chance at acquiring impact talent.  After the top 10, there is a significant drop off that levels off until the final bracket.

The second question I wanted to answer was if drafting had improved over the years as scouting and saber metrics had advanced.   This is a little more difficult to answer but based purely on my research I would lean towards no.  In the 90-95 bracket  teams found a successful player 34% of the time and a superior player 18% of the time; however, those numbers dropped in the 96-00 bracket to 27% and 16%.  In the final bracket, those numbers rebounded to 30% and 20%.  While the successful player percentage is still lower than the first bracket, if you take into account that many players drafted between 00-06 have not been in the majors long enough to get out of their controlled years and there were zero longevity successes in this bracket, you could predict an increase of 12 more successes.  That would increase the success percentage to 37% still within 3% of the 90-95′s success rate.  With modern medical advances, nutrition awareness, and less general wear and tear on players, I think there’s a case to be made that we are seeing more successful players because injuries are less career threatening than ever before and players were able to keep a higher production and hang around the majors longer.  You could also make the case that the 02′ and 05′ drafts are two of the best draft classes ever and those are skewing the numbers more positively.  Moreover, there were a few cases like Brian Bogusevic who haven’t been in the majors very long, put up a really good season, and that one year that carried him to a success result.  In any case, there’s no definitive evidence to conclude there was an improvement in scouting.

As for the Cubs, the organization wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Out of 17 draft picks in the first round, they came away with 5 good picks and 2 superior players for just shy of a 30% success rate.  The average success rate was 30.64%, and the Cubs were tied for 14th, right in the middle of the pack.  However, there were two problems.  Foremost, three of their picks’ careers were derailed by injury – Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, and Mark Prior – and the team traded away Doug Glanville and Jon Garland for past their prime veterans.  Second, there were zero successful picks after 2001. As Scouting Director from 1996-2002, Jim Hendry chose 4 of the 5 successful picks for a 57% success rate. The guy that assumed the role after Hendry, John Stockstill, went 0-3 before he left to join the Orioles.  After Hendry turned to Tim Wilken, you can see a noticeable difference in talent through the draft with all four of his first picks already playing in the majors.  Speaking of Tim Wilken, there’s a good reason he’s so highly regarded around the major leagues.  While with Toronto and Tampa the two organizations went a combined 9-16 (56%).  I am very happy the new front office kept him on board and have expanded his roles with the team.


I enjoyed working on this quite a bit.  It was fun to take a stroll down memory lane, and it was also interesting to see what players I perceived as better or worse than they actually were.  I had to triple check Corey Patterson’s numbers after they said he was a success… and he wasn’t the only player/team I was surprised by.

I’m not done with this study.  I’m already expanding to the team stats and I will definitely revisit the study in a few years to update and expand it for more recent drafts.  I will probably go back earlier than 1990 as well to continue to investigate if the success rate of organizations has improved or diminished over the decades.

If you have any suggestions how to improve the study, found an error or want to share any surprises you found, please leave them in the comments.

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NLCS Game 3 Notes – Mets 5 @ Cubs 2

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

I sat in the bed last night after the game trying to process it all and think about what I was going to write in the morning. I thought I would wake up refreshed and ready to talk about it, but I’m not. What do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that it will be OK? After all, the Red Sox came back from down 3-0 in the series to the Yankees in 2004 and not only won the series, but won it all and broke their losing streak. Do you want me to say that it was the umpires fault we lost? Perhaps you would like me to say that if Addison Russell hadn’t gotten injured, maybe some of the infield issues wouldn’t have happened and this would be a different series. I can’t say any of those things this morning. I’m sorry.

We know what happened last night and it hurts. We know that Kyle Schwarber misplayed a ball in left field that went over his head. Hey, he’s young and playing out of position. What do you expect? We know that Miguel Montero failed to block a third strike in the dirt that essentially got the Cubs out of a jam only to see the runner reach first base and a run come in to score. It happens. It’s in inopportune time, but it happens. We saw Javier Baez come in to take away the bunt to Curtis Granderson in the 1st inning only to be charged with an error on a ball hit back to him. It happens. There is no guarantee Russell makes the play. We know Daniel Murphy hit his 5000th home run in consecutive games. It happens. Guys get hot in the playoffs and turn into heros. We saw Jorge Soler dive or over extend for a sinking ball at him that he had no business trying to catch on the fly, only to see the ball completely go past him and wedge in the ivy (thank God for ground rules). It happens. All of these things happen. The problem is that they all happened to us and they all happened on the same night.

I don’t know if the Cubs will lose this series. More than likely they will, but I do know this. I know I’ll be in front of my television tonight watching game 4 and cheering my heart out and you should to. I saw too many fans pouring out of Wrigley last night before the game was even over. I saw too many fans last night not even standing up when everyone around them was standing and cheering. Tonight, I’ll be watching, cheering, and hoping and you should be too, if for no other reason than this team of players has given us a wonderful surprise one year early. We were not supposed to be tweeting with hashtags reading #WeAreGood in 2015. These were gifts that were to be opened on opening day 2016, but this team succumbed like a parent to our pouty lip and let us open a gift the night before Christmas. Tonight, as you watch the game, whether we win or lose, cheer out of respect for a team that gave you so much this season and remember this tweet.

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NLCS Game 1 Notes – Cubs 2 @ Mets 4

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

All day Saturday I paced the house and looked at the clock. Gametime couldn’t come fast enough. I had it all lined up. I was going to a friend’s house who is a big Mets fan with a few other guys, some of them Cub fans, to watch the game on his big screen. All day I was looking forward to it. Then it all started to unravel. My friend sent a text around dinner that he was not feeling well and was going to have to take a rain check, which left me watching at home. I fired up the Roku box (we’re recently cord cutters) and loaded my Sling App that I’m on a free trial of, and the internet was having some speed issues. Thankfully those cleared up before first pitch, but another thing going wrong. Then the first few innings happened and it was basically all down hill from there.


I knew the Mets had a good starting staff and I knew that Matt Harvey, last night’s starter, was really good. I went into the series knowing this, but I still felt like we could out slug them. It just didn’t happen. Harvey pitched like a boss and basically tied the leash on the lineup. They couldn’t do a thing. Even when it seemed like we were going to get something going when a ball was lined off of Harvey, he picked it up, made the play at first base, and kept on sticking it to us. In his one other start against us, he pitched really well as well, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise as more of a disappointment.

Jon Lester took the ball for the second series in a row for game one and for a second time, the Cubs left the park with a loss. Like last time, I didn’t feel like Lester pitched bad, but when you’re being called on to get a win, you have to pitch better. You have to raise your game up a notch and will yourself to put up zeros. Lester was just too hittable and the Mets capitalized with a couple home runs and a key base hit with runners in scoring position. They put more guys on base than we did all night and took advantage when needed. It happens and it needs to go in the books and stay in the books. Lester didn’t get the win, but unlike in the NLDS, he’ll get another shot and he needs to take advantage.

As for the bullpen, they did what could do, with Justin Grimm, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill all chipping in to patch up the remaining outs, but it didn’t matter much. I’m still amazed that the Cubs have been able to get positive things from Richard and Cahill, two guys that were left in the baseball dump to rot. I don’t know what will happen to either of them, as both are free agents at year end, but it’s been interesting to see this front office hit on more lottery tickets.


Not much to talk about here, with the exception of two runs. For the first few innings I worried seriously that I was going to see a no hitter. There just wasn’t any offensive firepower coming from the bats. David Ross was in at catcher since Lester was on the mound, so that weakened the bottom of the order, although Ross did just miss a home run by about five feet. Lester came up with a big situation at the plate, but was unable to take advantage. It is what it is. Did you expect a bad hitter to find a nut in that sitiatuion? If you did, you set yourself up for dissappointment. In the end, there were just two plays to discuss.

First, was the 5th inning. After Anthony Rizzo led off the inning with a hit by pitch off the right elbow, Starlin Castro came to the plate and hit a rocket line drive over the head of Juan Lagaras and Rizzo came around to score. In the box score it looks great, but should Castro have been on 3rd? Take a look at the highlight.

You’ll notice, especially on the slo mo replay after the play, that Castro was very slow out of the box watching the ball. Had he hustled from the first step out of the box, he probably reaches 3rd as the throw goes to the plate to try to get Rizzo. That was a big play, because the very next play, this happened.

If Castro is standing on 3rd base after his hit, he scores easily on that play. It’s little things like this that drive Cub fans bananas, and I don’t blame them. I’m a Castro supporter. I like him and I want to keep him, but I say that knowing things like this happen. I’m not blind to it and I don’t take the approach that it will suddenly get better with age. Some guys are smart baseball players and some are not. Some play with their head up and some play with their head down. Castro is a head down kind of player with a lot of raw talent and last night it got us a run and it cost us a run.

The other offensive note to mention was Kyle Schwarber‘s monster shot. This guy is  a beast and he continues to hit moon balls.

Up Next

We turn our eyes and our hopes to Jake Arrieta. While it’s not a series ender if he can’t win tonight, it would be quite damaging and dig us a pretty deep hole to come back from. Here is your pitching matchup for tonight.

Met’s Fans are dumb. That’s all I have to say about that. Here is the only evidence I need and then I can drop the mic.

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Can You Name the Cubs Opening Day Lineups Since 1991?

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

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Am I Ready For This?

Friday, October 16th, 2015

On October 27th, 2003, VFTB was born. It came about in direct response to the feelings I was experiencing and had experienced in the 2003 season. That was the year the Cubs made it to this exact spot, the NLCS. In fact, in case you are a brand new Cubs fan, that was the year they were five outs away from seeing their first World Series appearance since 1945. This doesn’t happen very often. Sure, people know it’s been over a century since the Cubs last won it all, but when you really start to look at the numbers, it’s staggering to think of the futility of this franchise. I’ve tried to explain it to my wife, so she can understand a little about how I’m feeling, but it’s no use. People who don’t live and die with this team don’t get it. So, I’ve decided to use the blog for it’s original purpose this morning and that is as a way for me to get on the couch and share my feelings.


Obviously, this has to be the first emotion I’m feeling, but it’s twofold. While 2007 and 2008 were “playoff years” for this blog, let’s face it, there wasn’t much to be excited about. Two tail between your legs sweeps and we were out before you could even blink. It wasn’t exciting, but this, THIS is exiting. The present is very exiting. I find myself having trouble concentrating at times because I’m thinking about the next game. I find myself wondering what it feels like to have a baseball team that actually wins. It’s exciting to still be watching baseball and only baseball while my fantasy football team goes to hell. I’ve not watched an ounce of football because of how excited I’ve been about this post-season. However, I also find myself very excited about the future. We’ve been talking about that for a while now, but it’s finally here and it’s exciting to know that as good as this team is now, the team is going to get that much better and continue to be exciting. In 2003 the average age of the team was 31+ years old. Average age of this team is 26 years old. I’m excited that the window is just starting to open.


With excitement comes pride. I’m proud of this team. It’s not embarrassing to say you’re a Cubs fan right now. People recognize that your team is good and pundits everywhere talk about how they could be the favorite to win it all. It makes you proud to hear your baseball team being talked about on Mike and Mike or Baseball Tonight or, well, everywhere. It makes me proud that rants and videos like this can be made.


With pride comes that devil on my shoulder that constantly tells me that my team can’t win. They can’t overcome all the futility. They can’t win anything. I find myself anxious and worry that something will go wrong. Enough eggshells have been walked on to feed an army of men omelets for life. I don’t like feeling this way, but history shows that we can’t help but feeling this way. I fear that this team is going to come into the series with the Mets believing all the hype, letting it all go to their head and then having the entire Jenga tower come toppling down. Then the fear turns into the last feeling.


2003 hit me very hard. I remarked to my wife that it felt as if someone had died. She found that silly, but it truly did feel as if I had experienced a horrible loss in the family. I don’t want to feel that again. I remarked on Twitter:

So am I ready for this? I don’t know, but we’ll find out.

I don’t want to get you down and leave it like that, so I leave you with this to make you feel better.

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