Author Archive

Yesterday’s News: There’s a Roach in the House!

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Donn Roach made his second career start, pitching in place of Wada last night. It was peppered with good things and bad things, as per usual for the Cubs. For some reason this Cardinals team just can’t be beat, as they are the first team to 50 wins this season.

The Good:

Donn Roach hit an RBI single that wound up being the Cubs’ only run on the night. Nobody was injured! Fun Fact: On Saturday, Roach became the 1,999th player to appear in a game for the Cubs.

The Bad:

Double plays. So many double plays. It seems like no matter where the Cubs put the ball, a defender was there. There were some good rips but there was better defense. Our defense looked a tad shaky, especially in the center field region. Fowler seems to be favoring his ankle still, and it was especially evident while he was tracking the balls hit to him. The offense has been struggling mightily in the last four games, and consequently they’ve lost their last four games.

Closing thoughts:

Michael Wacha (AKA Adam Wainwright, Jr.) became the second NL starter to reach double-digit wins, even though he took a liner off the quadriceps (good try, Starlin). Even though the Cubs are struggling right now, they will bounce back. They have been bouncing back all season, and doing it in style. It’s just too bad they have to slump against St. Louis when they should be gaining ground on them. But have no fear, Bryant, Rizzo, and Russell will break out, our pitching will line up (Neil Ramirez is rumored to be reinstated today), and the W flag will wave again soon.

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Sometimes Rain Is a Good Thing

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Last week my roommate and I went to Seattle and Vancouver. Surprisingly, it was hot and sunny each day we were there. Not surprisingly, nobody had air conditioning. You would think that two girls from Florida would be acclimated to that kind of heat. We weren’t. But we did climb two mountains (or very steep hills, depending on your definition of the word “mountain.”) and watched Felix Hernandez pitch vs. Tampa Bay. The Mariners snapped a 7-game losing streak that night. It was neat. Also, Safeco Field has good tacos. Who knew? Now, on to the Cubs…

The Good

Kris Bryant and Addison Russell both showed some defensive flair in the first inning, making two quick outs, while Kyle Hendricks struck out the third batter to end the inning. Hendricks was very good, his one mistake being a solo shot to Joey Votto. Otherwise he was hitting his zones and making the pitches he needed to make. Glad to see him pitching well again. Kris Bryant was majestic and full of #sparkle, as usual. He was called out at home on a single and a close play at the plate, but upon further review was called safe. Miguel Montero hit a home run. Everything looked pretty good for the first 5 innings. Motte was efficient in the ninth. Bryant and Montero reached base, Castro drove in Bryant to win it!

The Bad

Joey Votto homered. Castro made a bad throw. It rained. The game was delayed. FOR. TWO. HOURS. Close to three hours. And then James Russell came in, gave up a single, and then a home run. The game was tied. Eric Karros led the seventh inning stretch. Maybe the fans should just sing with no guest conductor. Addison got picked off second base in the 8th. Rizzo GIDP bottom 8, could have driven in the go-ahead run. There was a lot of sloppy baseball after the long delay. It was nice to see a Cubs win!

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Game 42 Notes – It Had Been A Long Day

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Cubs (9) @ Diamondbacks (6)

W: Jason Motte (2-1)
L: Enrique Burgos (0-2)
S: Pedro Strop (1)

It was noticeable from the beginning – Arrieta was on his B game tonight, while the D’Backs were on their A game. Even though, Jake Arrieta‘s B-game is better than most people’s B-games, it was obvious that he didn’t have his stuff.

The defense didn’t have their stuff, either. A couple of errors messed things up a bit. They were dumb, annoying errors, too, not even the ones where you can argue “but he has such great range” or whatever other excuses folks come up with. They were just boneheaded errors. The Cubs were looking like fools on defense.

Interestingly enough, Edwin Jackson pitched a clean inning. Who would have thought the between he and Schlitter, they’d both still be on the big league roster? And that Jackson is pitching… dare I say… well?  (An aside – Brian Schlitter‘s middle name is Patrick. What a nerd.)

By the 8th inning, the score was 6-4, Katie (that’s me), was nearly asleep, and then Jorge Soler did a thing where he hit the ball, the guys on base advanced, two runs scored, and he wound up on second base. Then, wouldn’t you know, the game was tied up!

There was a long time of the ballgame being tied, and then this awesome thing happened:

And then the bottom of the ninth was quick and painless. Rizzo had 6 RBIs, so Arrieta’s rough outing didn’t matter.

October is coming. Let’s go.



1957 – In his first big league at-bat, Frank Ernaga hits a third inning home run to deep left field off future Hall of Fame southpaw Warren Spahn in Chicago’s 5-1 victory over Milwaukee. The rookie right fielder follows his Wrigley Field round tripper with a three bagger in the following frame to become the first Cubs player to have hit a home run and a triple in his major league debut.

1969 – For the first time since the start of the season, a span of forty-one games, Don Kessinger does not reach base. The Cubs Gold-Glove shortstop grounds out four times and hits into a fly-ball double play in his last at-bat during Chicago’s 7-5 loss to the Padres at San Diego Stadium.

2001 – Cincinnati is finally shut out when Cubs’ starter Jon Lieber one-hits the Reds on 79 pitches, 3-0. The span of 208 of games without being blanked establishes a new National League record, with the 1931-33 Yankees (308) and the 1978-79 Milwaukee Brewers (212) being the only teams with longer streaks.

2011Jo-Jo Reyes makes his 28th straight start without recording a victory, tying the major league record shared by Cliff Curtis (1910-11, Braves, Cubs, Phillies) and Matt Keough (1978-79, A’s). The Blue Jays southpaw, who leaves the game trailing 5-0 to New York after just three innings of work, hasn’t won a start since June 13, 2008.

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Game 36 Notes – Six in a row!

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Pirates (1) @ Cubs (4)

W: Jon Lester (4-2)
L: Gerrit Cole (5-2)
S: Travis Wood (1)

The Cubs have won six games in a row. This is not a drill. I repeat, the Cubs have won six games in a row.


Jon Lester has had a slow warmup, but I think he’s finally hitting on 5 of his 6 cylinders. Today, he notched his 1,500th strikeout, going 7 innings and giving up one earned run. He is still 0-for-forever batting, but it will come, I know it.

The bullpen was alright and definitely interesting. Brian Schlitter was awful, as per usual. He might be a reverse Samson – if he cut his hair, maybe he will do better. Phil Coke and Jason Motte weren’t too shabby in their respective outings, allowing 0 runs and maintaining the lead. The best part of the night, however was this:

Travis Wood is officially a member of the Cubs’ bullpen. Joe Maddon made it official in his post-game conference. I’m all for a Dennis Eckersley like rebound for TWood, with him being my current favorite Cub and all. Here’s to hoping his relieving career takes off.


First things first. If you are unable to listen to Len and JD broadcast games, I am so sorry for you. They are a real treat. Len is all business most of the time. JD seems that way on the surface. However, if you really actually listen to him, he has some glorious nuggets of wisdom to pass on. A lot of them are borderline NSFW and are 100% hilarious if you get past the dryness of his humor.

Addison Russell is going to be a perennial All Star, you heard it here first. This kid is unbelievable. He delivers at the plate, his defense is phenomenal, he has the cutest face I have ever seen, and he is quite funny. Check out this instagram video of he and Kris Bryant doing silly things, here.

And here is a clip of the incredible catch he made tonight:

Yeah, I’m definitely a Russell fan. However, until he starts using pine tar, I will not be sitting anywhere near the Cubs’ dugout. Three times in his last 25 plate appearances, the bat has slipped from his hands, and twice it’s gone into the stands. Tonight he hit some chick in the shoulder. Given, she was out of her seat during the AB, so she may or may not have deserved it. (She was unharmed.)

The Cubs also scored two runs in the seventh without needing a hit! There were some walks, some errors, some stolen bases, a balk… it was quite interesting, and quite nice to get those insurance runs with minimal effort on our behalf.

Bill Madlock was the guest conductor for the seventh inning stretch. He mentioned that Steve Carlton was the toughest pitcher he faced, yet he hit .311 off him. He was enjoyable to listen to and seemed like a nice guy.

The Cubs have won six straight. Wood is a reliever now. Tsuyoshi Wada may be called up in the very near future. Exciting things are happening in Chicago. We are good. Let’s go, Cubs.



1977 – At Wrigley Field, the Cubs tie a franchise record, hitting seven home runs during a 23-7 pounding of the Padres. Larry Biittner goes deep twice with Dave Rosello, Gene Clines, Bobby Murcer, Jerry Morales, and Steve Ontiveros also clearing the ivy.

1979 – The Phillies beat the Cubs in a fifty-hit slugfest in the Windy City, 23-22. The 11 home runs hit in the game tie a major league mark, established by Chicago and their opponents playing in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in both 1967 (Reds) and 1977 (Mets).

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Game 29 Notes – Let’s Pretend This One Didn’t Happen

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Cubs (4) @ Brewers (12)

W: Kyle Lohse (2-4)
L: Travis Wood (2-2)

Elation. Agony. Tears. Desperation. All of those things were involved in one way or another in tonight’s game.

The first few innings were fun. The Brewers scored a couple runs, and then this happened:

It was glorious. Beautiful. Picturesque!

And then the game got real ugly, real fast. Travis Wood fell apart, Edwin Jackson happened (I don’t know why he keeps happening), Phil Coke choked, and, as ridiculous as it sounds, the Cubs could not get a handle on Kyle Lohse and the Brewers’ pitching. The Cubs were so disjointed that Anthony Herrera pulled a Junior Lake circa 2014:

The second most exciting part of the evening was when David Ross (yes, the catcher) pitched a 1-2-3 inning. His inning was the most efficient Cubs pitching since the first. Check out his stuff:

The last position player to pitch for the Cubs was John Baker last season. Before that, it was Joe Mather (did you forget about him? I forgot about him.) Ross looked a little bit like a Dad throwing a coach-pitch little game.

Len and JD provided some comic relief between pitches with presidential impersonations of Tricky Dick Nixon and Ronald Reagan (“I am not a crook!” in reference to a missed call and “Tear down this wall!” in reference to KB’s home run.)

Other than that, the game was pretty deflating and frustrating. The Cubs lost to the worst team in baseball. The bullpen is horrendous. The team we had two weeks ago has disappeared into oblivion and we’re back to last season again. I know it is early, and in baseball you just never know, but it’s disconcerting when the team plays this badly against a bad team. The bullpen AND our 4 & 5 starters need some revamping. I expect some DFA’s to happen in the near future. (Edwin Jackson, anyone?)

On the bright side, Dexter Fowler is warming up nicely, and Rizzo has a great stretch at first base. Kris Bryant‘s potential keeps rising. Addison Russell is continuing to give Bryant a run for his money.

They’ll get it figured out. Joe is a smart guy. Theo is a whiz. Let’s leave this one here and keep moving forward.


3. – C.J. Edwards  (AA) – 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 K

4. – Kyle Schwarber  (AA) – 1-for-4, 1 K

5. – Albert Almora (AA) – 1-for-4

6. – Gleyber Torres (A) – 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 K

7. – Duane Underwood (A+) – DNP

8. – Billy McKinney (A+) – 0-for-4, BB, K

9. – Pierce Johnson – Injury Rehab

10. – Jen-Ho Tseng (A+) – 3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K

11. – Eloy Jimenez (EXST)

12. – Jake Stinnett (A) – DNP

13. – Carson Sands (EXST)

14. – Jeimer Candelario (A+) – 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI

15. – Dan Vogelbach (AA) – 0-for-4, 1 K

16. – Justin Steele (EXST)

17. – Mark Zagunis (A+) – 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

18. – Victor Caratini (A+) – 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB

19. – Corey Black (AA) – DNP

20. – Dylan Cease  (EXST)


Nothing notable today, so let’s go out and make something happen so we have something to add.

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Game 16 Notes – I Ain’t Missing You At All

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Cubs (7) @ Reds (3)

W: Jason Motte (1-0)
L: Burke Badenhop (0-1)


This baseball team is just plain fun to watch. It would be a little more fun to watch on Central time, but beggars can’t be choosy. Here are a few notes from the game:

PITCHING – Jon Lester went 6 solid innings, with 10 Ks, 5 hits, and 3 ER. He has yet to collect his first Major League hit, but I know it will happen someday. It is hard to tell if Bryant’s first home run or Lester’s first hit will be more fun. (I am just kidding. We all know that Lester’s hit will be much more fun.)  THE BULLPEN, my goodness. Thankfully Brian Schlitter and Edwin Jackson were nowhere near the mound tonight. Gonzalez Germen pitched well and Zac Rosscup was lights out – 3 Ks, no hits or walks. Jason Motte was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th with a little help from his friends, and Hector Rondon closed it out rather effortlessly. Overall, a decent bullpen outing was had. I only suffered a partial heart attack this time.

HITTING – The hitting was sparse, but it happened, important things happened. Lester and Mike Leake both pitched very well, giving up 3 runs apiece, and they were spread out. Dexter Fowler broke up the perfect game with a double in the top of the fourth, and Anthony Rizzo tied it up with a 2-run shot. Most of the middle innings were 1-2-3 innings. The top of the 9th was interesting when Rizzo reached second on a fielding error by Marlon Byrd, Bryant drew a walk off  Aroldis Chapman, and an attempted hit-and-run turned into a double steal when Starlin Castro did not make contact, but the boys ran anyway. The inning ended and Rizzo and KB were stranded. The real fun happened in the top of the 11th, however. With two men on, Jonathan Herrera hit an RBI single. Then David Ross hit an RBI double off the wall. Then Travis Wood had an RBI groundout and the Cubs were up by four runs. Yes, you read that right. The Cubs were up by four(!) runs. Runs that were scored in extras. Consecutively. In one inning.

DEFENSE – Addison Russell. Bottom 5. Billy Hamilton (who has stolen three bases already at this point), leading off. He grounds one to second and Addison dives for it and throws it over to first just a hair before Hamilton does. It was incredible. Watch it:


  • Seems to me like Russell and Germens’ names are backwards. Addison and Gonzalez are last names. Apparently, their parents didn’t get that memo.
  • Bryant walks a lot. It’s all fine and great, but I’d also like to see him get some hits, collect a few RBIs, etc. It’ll come with time, I know, I’m just impatient. He sure is fun to watch, though.
  • Russell achieved Golden Sombrero status with 4 Ks and a popout in this game. He’s young (younger than me!) and has some learning to do. I’m not all that worried about him with his defense being so spectacular, though.
  • I recently stumbled upon a song. It’s by the band NeedtoBreathe. Give it a listen:


I don’t know about you, but I know that last years Cubs would have rolled over and died in the bottom of the 10th when the bases were loaded with Reds. This time the tides have turned. It’s a totally different team. I even kind of like Castro now. These kids never say die.

So with that, goodbye 2009-2014 Cubs. You’re nothing but a memory. I ain’t missing you at all.


1876 – The Chicago White Stockings make their National League debut with a 4-0 victory over the Grays at the Louisville Baseball Park. The franchise, which will be also known as the Colts and Orphans before becoming the Cubs in 1903, will finish in first place in the circuit’s inaugural season.

1976 – During the fourth inning of the game being played at Dodger Stadium, Rick Monday becomes a national hero when he takes away an American Flag about to be set on fire by the two trespassers (a father and son) in the outfield. The Cubs’ 30-year old fly chaser, who served six years in the Marine Reserves, will be presented the flag a month later in a pre-game ceremony at Wrigley Field by L.A. executive Al Campanis as a gesture of patriotic thanks.

1978 – At Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, the Phillie Phanatic makes his debut in a game against the Cubs. The six foot green mascot with a 90-inch waistline is played by Dave Raymond, who will keep the job for 15 years after starting as an intern in the team’s front office.

1989 – With former players on hand, including Billy Herman, Andy Pafko and Billy Williams, the Cubs celebrate the 75th anniversary of Wrigley Field with a 4-0 victory over L.A. at the Friendly Confines. The ‘ceremonial’ first pitch of the game, a spitball, is thrown by 97-year old Bob Wright, who appeared in two games for Chicago in 1915 when the team played their home games at West Side Park.

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Ernie Banks: A Legacy That Lives On

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

When you hear the name Ernie Banks, what is your first thought? For me, I picture a big grin on his kind face as he holds a bat. I hear the phrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame; Let’s play two!” And I think of a perennial, unparalleled optimism and love for the game that spanned over decades and reached thousands, millions of people.

Ernie Banks is the ultimate Cub. Say what you will about other players, but not one of them earned the title “Mr. Cub.” Not one of them came close. No one ever will.

It has taken a lot of years for the Northsiders to unlock the mystery of Ernie’s optimism. Sure, “There’s always next year,” and “This is the year,” but few believed those sayings, and even fewer believed them wholeheartedly. The moniker of Lovable Losers became less of a joke and more of a lifestyle. The team and the fanbase accepted it as normal, with no qualms about anything as long as there was a place to sit and a beer to drink.

Despite the air of contempt among some of the fans, things have been changing right under their noses. There were the obvious changes – the change in ownership, the firing of Hendry, hiring Theo and Jed, trading players, the renovations, etc. – but something unseen has been changing, too.

When Ernie passed away in January my world came to a screeching halt. I never got to see him play, but I got to meet him at the Cubs Convention. His welcoming smile and kind eyes caused the crowd around him to just watch in awe as he reminisced a little bit and talked a little bit about the current team. His love for the game and for the Cubs just emanated from his very being. It was surreal. This man was supposed to live forever! Mr. Cub could not possibly leave us!

He didn’t.

On Opening Night, during the Ernie Banks tribute, there was electricity in the air. It was out in the bleachers, in the Cardinals players and their fans. It was in the whole world of baseball. Ernie’s face was plastered over those new scoreboards, all over the bleachers, all over our TV screens at home, and it hit me – Ernie never left.

He left behind something very special for us, something intangible. It’s not something that you can see, exactly. It’s more something that you feel.

It’s most obvious in the players. The players feel it. Watch them during warmups. Watch them run onto the field. The air about them is different. They hold their heads a little higher. They have a little more spring in their steps. They have a glint in their eyes. They finish plays. They play games until the very last out.

Ernie never left us, people. He is everywhere with this team. And when those bleachers are finished, and we set our happy little (or big) behinds on those seats, Ernie’s spirit will be there, too.

This is our year. Do it for Ernie.

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Baseball the World Over

Monday, March 30th, 2015

A funny thing happens when you move across the country – your life changes. You leave behind everything you knew for the unknown, for adventure, for… work. In a matter of days, you become a citizen of a new town, make new friends, find a new favorite watering hole. It’s all different. The people are a little wacky, the bugs are enormous, and the weather is weird.

But as you drive around town and check out your new stomping grounds, you happen upon a spot of dense traffic, cursing under your breath that you didn’t find an alternative route. Finally the traffic breaks and you see what caused the backup – a baseball stadium. Droves of people file into the parking lot, and the smoke from the tail-gater’s barbecue wafts through the air. You decide to pull in, pay the $10 fee for parking, and buy a ticket off a scalper. The price may be a little hefty, but at this point it doesn’t matter. An unseen force is pulling you into that ballpark.

You maneuver your way around the park and find your seat – all the way at the top row of the upper deck – and have a seat. The smell of Nathan’s kosher all-beef hotdogs hits your nostrils and the shroud is lifted. The reason that ballpark was irresistible is because even though your life is changing at breakneck speeds, baseball remains constant.

You go grab a hotdog and a beer ($15 for a hotdog and beer? Yowza.) and on the way back you see someone wearing a Cubs shirt. You’re not even at a Cubs game! The Cubs are nowhere near here! But you’ve found one of your own! Naturally, the both of you hit it off and chew the fat for a few minutes.

When you get back to your seat, the people around you empathize with you about being a Cubs fan, even though they never have had endured the pain of the Billygoat curse. For a moment, nothing has changed. Everything is perfect and right in the world.

The next batter hits a double down the line and the infield dirt leaves little puffs behind his cleats as he hustles into second base. Amid the dust and tangle of bodies at second base, the umpire signals “safe!” and the stadium roars to life. Which two teams are playing, again? You can’t remember, but it doesn’t matter. Baseball is baseball the world over.

The sun begins to descend toward the horizon and long shadows are cast on the infield. Visions of Wrigley dance across your mind as the shortstop tosses the ball and the first baseman scoops it perfectly out of the dirt. The satisfying snap of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt is something of a melody as the batter goes down looking and it’s time for the seventh inning stretch. You “root, root, root for the Cubbies” and those nice Minnesotans offer to buy you a beer or a sandwich or whatever your little heart desires and of course you say yes, because it’s a free sandwich! (Or beer. Whatever fits your fancy.)

As you sit with other baseball fans, discussing the anomalies of the game, you wonder to yourself, “is this heaven?”

No. It’s not even Wrigley Field. It’s Fort Myers.

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Edwin Jackson Gets His Win

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

MVP – Devin Mesoraco (.173 WPA)

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

The Cubs finished out week 3 with a win, ending their 5-game losing streak. Edwin Jackson was on the bump and pitched 5.2 innings of giving up 8 hits and 2 runs. He also struck out five (!) batters.  You may proceed with the Ed-onewin Jackson jokes.


Emilio Bonifacio continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the leadoff spot. Today he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He’s batting .358 on the season.

Justin Ruggiano went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Mike Olt, Darwin Barney, and Welington Castillo all had home runs today. (Yes, THAT Barney for all you non-believers out there…)

Castillo now has 8 RBI on the season, tied with Rizzo for second place. Starlin Castro leads the team with 9 after this week.

Anthony Rizzo left today’s game with back spasms. Hopefully he doesn’t have to sneeze anytime soon. I’d hate to have another Sammy Sosa incident.


The Barney/Castro/Rizzo combo is a great one.  Today they combined for a beautiful double play that was dubbed the Premier Play of the Day by MLB Network.

Ruggiano also made a beautiful sliding catch in right field. He might maybe be on the path to usurping Nate’s throne as my favorite right fielder. (Don’t tell Nate.)

This past week was a rough one on the North Side. A five game losing streak is as deflating as it gets. Jackson snapping the skid is as surprising as it gets.  This season is going to be a roller coaster ride. Strap on your seat belts, folks. It’s going to be a long season.

Homer Bailey

In three starts, Bailey has blown four leads already and has been unable to get beyond five innings. He allowed four homers during a no-decision to the Pirates Monday. The bright side? There were no walks and nine strikeouts.


Bailey leads with a four-seam fastball in the 93–96 mph range. He also has a two-seam fastball at 94-96. Bailey throws three breaking balls, his main one being a slider in the mid-high 80s and the other being a curveball in the upper 70s. Lastly, he throws a splitter in the mid 80s.

David Nail is the second-most played artist on my iPod. He’s got an easy voice and his tunes are pretty catchy.

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