Author Archive

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Emilio Bonifacio Is the Stuff of Legends

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

There is no denying that Emilio Bonifacio is our most exciting hitter right now. He has 13 hits through the first five games of the season. Junior Lake showed some gumption this week, legging out doubles and even wearing the wrong uniform against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Rizzo blasted his first home run of the season, and Travis Wood got to pinch hit in the 16-inning marathon on Wednesday night.

Please tell me that I’m not the only one that is ridiculously excited that Cubs baseball is back. Also, please tell me I’m not the only one who noticed that the Cubs picked up where they left runners on second and third to end the inning. And please tell me I’m not the only one who is… concerned about the RISP problem. Before yesterday’s game, Pat mentioned that the Cubs were 4-for-40 (.100) with RISP so far this year. There is a lot of baseball left, but it is a bit concerning that the RISP problem is so prevalent this early.

In other news, replay is already looking to be a huge time-waster during games that already last for many hours (let’s not forget about extra innings!) and Mike Trout is going to have a phenomenal season… again. It’s so good to have baseball back.

  • Jeff Samardzija had a quality start. It’s nice to see our ace go out there and take care of his responsibilities on the mound. Now we just have to teach him how to hit a la Wood.
  • The bullpen was great. James Russell and Justin Grimm combined to throw a 1 hit effort.
  • The Kids went 0-for-7 with RISP.

Tomorrow the Cubs play the Phillies at 1:20 PM Central on WGN. Hopefully we will be able to pull some offensive flair out of thin air and score some runs against Sandberg’s crew.

 Get To Know Your Opposing Pitcher
AJ Burnett

Yes, it is true that he once blew me a kiss a couple years back. In his debut with the Phillies, he went 7 innings, gave up one run, and got the no-decision. Hopefully the Bonifacio, Lake, and Crew will be able to tag him for a few more runs tomorrow.

He made his Phillies debut Tuesday in Texas, allowing seven hits and one run, with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings. He hopes to build on that as the Phillies play without injured lefty Cole Hamels. ~

Burnett throws four pitches. His main pitches are a four-seam fastball and sinker at 91–94 mph, as well as a knuckle curveball at 80–83. Less frequently, he also throws a changeup to left-handed hitters at 87–89 mph. The curve is especially good for swinging strikes with its 44% whiff rate for Burnett’s career. The changeup has also been good for getting groundouts — it has a ground ball/fly ball ratio of better than 5:1.

Burnett has faced considerable control problems in his career. He has led the major leagues in wild pitches twice and hit batters once. However, Burnett has also been a good strikeout pitcher; he led the American League with 231 strikeouts in 2008. ~ Wikipedia


I listen to a lot of country music. Eric Church has made his way to the top of my “most played” list, and I can’t get this tune out of my head.

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