Archive for the ‘General’ Category

All Star Game Changes

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Last year it was the Royals, this year, it is the Cubs. I am beyond pleased that so many fans have voted for the Cubs players to get into the All-Star game, and truthfully, many of the Cubs players that will be on the NL All-Star Team will be deserving. However, something needs to change with either the voting, or the significance of the All-Star Game.

Last year, going into the final voting update, the Royals had 5 players that would be starting at their respective positions. One of those players was Omar Infante, and he would have been starting over Jose Altuve. I would argue that Alex Gordon probably wasn’t the most deserving outfielder either, but he was hurt so he didn’t end up playing anyway. In the end, 4 Royals started the game, which is perfectly fine, except for the fact that the game means something. Home field advantage in the World Series is awarded to the league that wins the All-Star Game.

This year, the Cubs have 5 players that would currently be starting if the voting ended today. The only real objection I would have would be to Addison Russell starting the ball game; however, Russell has come up with several clutch hits this year, and has also made some outstanding defensive plays. The alarming part to me is that Jorge Soler is 6th in the outfield voting, and while Soler had begun to turn it around before his injury, he was no where near an All-Star caliber outfielder. While there is no way he would creep up into the top 3, Giancarlo Stanton has had a miserable 2016 season, and he is ahead of Gregory Polanco, who has a batting average that is almost 100 points better than Stanton, and is doing a lot more to help his team win.

So, what can we do to change it? Well, the answer is simple, really. There are two solutions, either of which would be much better than the system that is in place as of now. The first solution would be to make the game mean nothing again. Honestly, there is no reason this game should mean anything anyway. Managers try to rotate position players in and out of the game, and pitchers throw 2 or 3 innings max. The All-Star game is an exhibition. No one would complain if it went back to being a meaningless exhibition. In fact, less people would complain if it went back to being a meaningless exhibition.

If the league wanted to keep the game meaningful, I would suggest something like a player vote. Have every player on every active, 25-man roster submit a ballot. The players wouldn’t be allowed to vote for players on their own team, and ideally they would vote for the players that would give their league the best chance to win.

Obviously, every system has flaws, but it is clear that something needs to change within the current system so that undeserving players are not determining who is rewarded home field advantage in the World Series. With that being said, as long as the system is the way it is, I would encourage everyone reading this to go #VoteRizzo #VoteZobrist #VoteBryant #VoteRussell #VoteFowler and #WriteInRoss.

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GirlieView (06/09/2016)

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2016 Season = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • NO on Braun. Just No.
  • We win the world series for the first time in 108 years? No way I want Fraud taking any credit for it and saying some BS like “I’ve always liked the Cubs and their fans”.
  • Agree. Then we’d have to start cheering for him.
  • No…Fuck No.
  • Big Toe Joe- Seymour used a bad word. They must of under toasted his sandwich today at Quizno’s.
  • I get cranky when they are out of French onion sun chips, Doc.. let it pass
  • I don’t like Braun.
  • As much as it would be an incredible feat for [Arietta] to end the season without a loss, there’s going to be games where he gives up 2 or 3 and the bats go cold.
  • I know there will be tons of reply’s to this as everyone will be fascinated with my viewing habits.
  • We need a stat guy to determine your BARIP (batting average on replies in play)
  • More interested in your viewing habits with folded dollar bills in the Bay Area last week.
  • He uses coins
  • Ouch
  • And one day we shall meet and regale tales of much and little truth.
  • (1 thru 9) Lester, Ross, Rizzo, Zobrist, Bryant, Russell, Soler, Fowler, Heyward.
  • I am really not following your batting order.
  • what are the odds the Cubs still win with Doug’s order?
  • I missed the banter, the “Wood played hard” never gets old I guess. Hope we never trade that guy.
  • There is always more Wood in the forest.
  • Just wanted to post this here to see Raker go crazy: FanGraphs crowd sourced TV broadcaster rankings put Kasper and JD as the 4th best team in baseball.
  • I will bow in the direction of the Cascades at sundown.
  • Pull those pants up a little first
  • It’s nice to see that Joe Maddon reads this blog and pays attention.
  • Looking forward to the NWL starting up the 3rd week of June. Finally some live baseball here and get to see the baby cubs when the green Sasquatches come to town.
  • Do they have a Yeti cooler night?
  • No, but in the 4th inning every game they have a sushi race.
  • So, I see soy sauce, and what I am guessing is wasabi. The other two? A Scotch Brite scouring pad and an egg who works the streets?
  • L-R – Mr Kappa Maki, Chef Wasabi, Ms BC Roll, Sadaharu Soy.
  • That looks delicious
  • I chuckled when you called him Grandpa Rossy, then I cried when I realized I am 6 years older than him. Sigh.
  • In fact, I can honestly say I have no idea who [CJ Reifenhauser] is or how he got on the 40 man roster to begin with.
  • Reifenhauser was, I believe, a 12 year who broke his arm, and when it healed he was suddenly gifted with a 100 mph fastball. Daniel Stern was His personal catcher. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold runners or field his position, and Thed decided they only had room on the 40 man for 1 of those.
  • Sad to see CeeJer go
  • Reifenhauser plays bass with Kool and the Gang, Thed put him on the roster for Len’s sake but once Len and JD got that #4 ranking Thed figured Len didn’t need the help.
  • The more I watch Ben Zobrist play baseball, the more I realize how important he is to this team. In the month of May, he’s been remarkably productive and I don’t know what the Cubs offense would look like had he not been on the team and Starlin Castrobe manning second base.
  • Zobrist is the best hitter the Cubs have had since Mark Grace, his at bats are outstanding. What a brilliant pick up.
  • Zobrist is excellent. I am more impressed every day with him.
  • Love Zobrist. He is an outstanding batter, fielder, and locker room guy. P.S.-his wife is singing the national anthem today.
  • That would make sense if we really cared to help our service members but we really care to sell more jerseys and what better way to do that than have special jerseys for special days so suckers like you buy more of our stuff. This way you can feel like you are helping our service men when you buy our over priced MLB jerseys. Enjoy, MLB Merchandise Marketing
  • Did you forget that MLB is a whore? I thought I made that clear.
  • Let’s see…MLB takes money for it’s services…check. Fans of 29 of 30 teams end the year feeling screwed…check. Fans of the 30th team get a happy ending, money well spent…check. You can’t kiss MLB on the mouth…check. I guess you are right.
  • Wood pitches long, too
  • It’s not all about length, but what you do when you’re in there that counts
  • Not surprising… Wood always pitches hard against stiff competition.
  • getting wood to go deep was a huge relief.
  • Shame on me for missing the opportunity to work in the deep reference.
  • Ah.. wieners sure are funny
  • It’s a crime that Trey McNutt didn’t default to #3
  • I hate it that the brewers picked up Ramirez. I will be sad every time I see him pitch.
  • Yes Richard is pretty crappy, but so is every team’s final reliever.
  • No team has ever won a game while scoring zero runs. Ever. If you want to blame pitching for the loss, go for it.
  • Richard is the goat because he followed Arrieta and gave up three hits. If he would’ve followed anyone else on the staff, today’s focus would be on the offense that mustered up one hit.
  • I, for one, don’t expect Arrieta to win every game he starts.
  • Physically, [Lester]’s a solid #1 for 15 big league teams. Mentally, and defensively, he’s still a 13 year old.
  • All the 13 year olds I know can throw to first base.
  • But only a lucky few can actually get to first base
  • A friend and fellow Cubs fan described Lester as fragile.
  • Must be Italian
  • So I was just looking through these and Ive decided we are all very weird here.
  • 23 over on June 3. Unbelievable.
  • This just in: Jake Arrieta is human. News at 10:00.
  • Baseball has a funny way of bringing you up and knocking you down. Just about the time you start proclaiming “Jake Arrieta Day” and thinking it’s a sure thing…well, you know.
  • Remember when Jeff Smardijida was our “ace”?
  • This is what happens when you taunt the baseball Gods and start expecting an automatic win from Jake Arrieta every time out. The baseball Gods shut it down all around. No wins for Jake and no posts for the VFTB. Say 10 Holy Mary’s and 5 Our Father’s for your penance and everything will be fine.
  • Who says we’re being patient? Seymour has started a new blog “WherethehellisJoe?.com” Sue is frantic worrying that you got hit by a foul ball. Len had a new tweet called “FireRaker.com”. I accidentally ranted on View From the Beautyshop and three blue-hairs fainted. The Lizzies have gone into syndication in Mad Magazine. Swanson is drawing triangle mouths on the side of city buses. Adam Dunn called. CAPS quit his job and has taken up beachcombing. EVW quit coffee cold turkey and now drinks Earl Grey with honey in it. It’s a shitshow, Joe. A complete shitshow. Hurry back.
  • Watching Philly feed. Guys talking about Lester’s inability to throw to first. Funny, but….No idea who’s at the Pavilion this month.
  • Data nerd here
  • Welcome. We now have a nerd and a dork.
  • Nice – Did you use a spreadsheet to calculate that?
  • Of course. I live in spreadsheets.
  • oh get a room you two
  • Could you send me a spreadsheet with hotels sorted by rating and price filtered down to ones within walking distance to Wrigley to help me make an informed decision of where to get a room?
  • Catchers are like bananas. They are good for a long time but once they start to go bad, they go bad fast.

Lizard

  • And for the love of God, we are having a great season. Enjoy.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Chuck, Junior von White, Kyle Clark, Noah, and Tomas Checkosky for their first 2016 Regular Season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for contributing!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Sherm, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go Sherm, second time in a row!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Sherm
2. Eddie von White
3. Doc Raker
4. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
6. Doug S
7. Joe Aiello
8. cap’n realist
9. Brad Lyerla
10. Sean Powell

Chit Chat

  • Another off day on GirlieView Thursday so what can we talk about? If you could have dinner with any current Cub who would you pick, and why?
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Falling In Love All Over Again

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Chicago Cubs — Won 8-1 at the Phillies

I am on vacation this week in Chicago. I picked a horrible week to come as the Cubs head to Atlanta and Washington, two places I could actually drive to and watch them on the road. Oh well, I’ll just have to catch what I can while I’m here visiting family. Probably won’t see much of any of the games, so expect these posts to be more of a placeholder to talk about the game until I get back.

I did watch some of the game and I think I’m in love with Albert Almora.

For now, I’ll just leave this here. I did pretty good calling the Lackey start today:


Tennessee Smokies (AA) – Won 4-1 at Mississippi

South Bend Cubs (A) – Lost 6-4 vs Dayton

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When Ryan Howard Homers Off Your Team, It Is Not Your Night

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Chicago Cubs — Lost 3-2 to the Phillies

Almora Up / Soler Down – Before the game, the Cubs made a move to place Jorge Soler on the 15 day DL with a strained hamstring and selected the contract of Albert Almora. It seems as if Cub fans have been waiting on Almora forever, but it is important to remember that he was drafted out of high school and continues to be a young player for every level he achieves. Please remember as we watch him play over the next few weeks that he is not a savior. He is a kid that, for the most part, just started to figure things out this year. The Cubs need to put him in positions to be successful and get him a taste of a winning environment in the Majors. Let’s hope Soler’s injury is not a long term one as I don’t think Almora is a long term solution this year.

Offensive Inability – It was one of those night where we ran into a pitcher in a groove and we couldn’t get anything going. It’s frustrating when you lose to the Phillies, a team not playing good baseball right now, but that rotation they have is going to be really good as they continue to develop. Jered Eickhoff looked really good and was striking guys out like it was going out of style at one point. When a guy is in a groove like that, there isn’t much you can do, but to try to grind out good at bats and scratch and claw out some runs. The time they had to capitalize was in the 9th and they missed the chance. Bases loaded and down two with no outs and we failed to get the job done. We had a chance and failed to execute. It is as simple as that.

Ross Over Montero?Miguel Montero has not looked good this year. I do not know what the problem is, but he does not look like the same player this year compared to last year. At what point do you consider starting David Ross more than Montero? Before you bring up Willson Contreras, it is not his time yet. I just do not have the same confidence in Montero compared to last year. I hope it improves, but I am concerned. He’s signed through next year and I wonder if the Cubs would consider including him in a package if someone was interested before this trade deadline. I don’t think there would be interest, but you never know.


Iowa Cubs (AAA) — Won 6-5 vs Memphis

  • SP – Michael Wagner – 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 7 K
  • LF – Matt Murton – 2-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI (Left the game early with an injury)

Tennessee Smokies (AA) — Lost 5-1 at Mississippi

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A-Adv) — Swept a DH (4-3 & 4-3) vs Potomac

South Bend Cubs (A) — Won 4-3 (12 inn) vs Dayton

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All Our Outfielders Keep Getting Hurt

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

It appears that, for now, we are back in business for posting new content. I”m sure you guys never realized how much you take VFTB for granted until it was taken away from you. It”s funny, I”ve been doing this 13 years and each time something major happens to the blog, I begin to question whether I want to carry on. Then I remember how much I”d miss it and decide it”s a journey worth making.

Chicago Cubs – Won 6-4 over the Phillies

All Our Outfielders Keep Dying – First it was Kyle Schwarber, then it was Matt Szczur, then Jason Heyward, and now Jorge Soler. If you missed the game, Soler went down after straining a hamstring running to first base early in the game and was immediately removed and replaced by Szczur. He”s had a history of leg issues, so I”m a little concerned about this one. The Cubs will know more today after the MRI, so let”s hope it”s nothing serious and that some good rest will heal it right up. The scary things about the hamstring injuries is their healing time is so slow and unpredictable. One tweak and you”re back to step one. For a guy like Soler, that doesn”t bode well, so cross your fingers. There was a quote in Jesse Rogers article on ESPN:

“It”s not too serious compared to what I”ve felt before, but we”ll have to wait until tomorrow when we get the MRI,” Soler said through Cubs coach and translator Henry Blanco. “It”s frustrating. I”ve been feeling better and coming around at the plate. Hopefully it”s nothing serious.””

Two things there. One, was anyone else clueless to the fact that that Hank White was still a part of this organization? I had no idea and I don”t know why I didn”t know that. Second, he really has played better since taking on a more pronounced role, so it really is discouraging.

Shining Like a Star – We”ve talked about the fact that, at times, Jake Arrieta makes it very difficult to be Jon Lester and be the guy that not only has to follow Jake in the rotation, but has to live up to the hype of his contract. After Arrieta”s start on Sunday in which he lost, Lester turned in a gem of an outing. What are your thoughts on Lester? If you had to put your trust level from a 1 being the worst to a 10 being the best, where do you rate Lester? For me, my rating is continually climbing and I”m up around a 7 or an 8, with Jake being a 10.

No More Screw the Closer – All year long, the Cubs have extended leads as Hector Rondon was warming up or potentially getting into the game in a save situation. I hate the save, but it”s part of the game and Rondon was getting screwed out of opportunities. Last night Justin Grimm made sure that didn”t happen. With the Cubs up 6-0 in the game and a bet that I made with my Phillies fan co-worker that said the Cubs would outscore the Phillies by 10+ runs this season looking great, Grimm decided to reward Rondon by giving up three runs and allowing Rondon to grab a save. Stupid Justin Grimm.


Iowa Cubs (AAA) – Lost 6-2 vs Memphis

Tennessee Smokies (AA) – Lost 3-1 at Mississippi

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Technical Difficulties

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Thanks for being patient. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties that is making it near impossible to post new content to the blog.
If you or someone you know has the ability to troubleshoot WordPress issues, please contact me: joe@viewfromthebleachers.com

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Why I Blame Jake Arrieta

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Chicago Cubs – Cubs Won 2-1 vs Los Angeles

I’m ashamed to admit this to you, but I elected to not watch the game yesterday to take a break and spend time with my wife watching something else for a change. I didn’t initially plan it that way, but turned the game off after the first inning. Jon Lester gave up the HR to the very first hitter he faced and I began to think that this might be a good day to watch something else. I blame Jake Arrieta for those thoughts. We’ve gotten so spoiled watching his starts and, up until the last one, knowing that the Cubs would win. I don’t feel the same about the rest of the pitchers in the rotation. It’s not that I worry that we will lose when they pitch, but you just don’t have that complete sense of confidence like you do when Jake pitches. Because of that, an outstanding performance by Lester gets missed because I elected to watch three episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Hulu. I often wonder if Lester envisioned himself as the ace of the staff on a the team that broke the World Series drought. He obviously thought he would be the best pitcher, since Jake wasn’t quite as dominant at that point, but I wonder now if he gets jealous at the lack of attention. Just throwing it out there, but I blame Jake.

I’m cutting out of work early to go catch up with a friend of mine today and watch the game. While I’m disappointed it’s not Clayton Kershaw on the mound, it should be fun to watch Julio Urias, who is considered one of the top young prospects in the game and is the Dodgers # 1 prospect. This guy is just 19 years old. Maybe another Sandy Koufax?

Iowa Cubs (AAA) – Won 5-4 at Oklahoma City

  • SP – Drew Rucinski – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K
  • 1B – Dan Vogelbach – 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R (Oh how I wish I had the video of that triple)

Tennessee Smokies (AA) – Lost 4-3 vs Jackson

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A-Adv) – Won 6-3 at Salem

South Bend Cubs (A) – Lost 6-2 at Fort Wayne

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Unfortunately, This Cubs Player Needs To Go

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Chicago Cubs – Lost 5-0 vs the Dodgers

For the first time since the no hitter pitched by Cole Hamels, the Cubs lost a regular season start by Jake Arrieta. We’ve started to take this for granted. In fact, I was even on ESPN radio yesterday and said that I believe that at the end of the season, Arrieta will still have 0 losses. Call me crazy, but I think it can happen. It would break the record helded by Carl Hubbell for consecutive decisions without a loss, which stands at 24. Jake is currently at 20, so really it would shatter it. Now the question is if he can do it. He really pitched well yesterday, but didn’t get the run support behind him, which he’s had no issues with this season. It happens. You write it off and move on.

The game was very enjoyable to watch and it had that feel that it was going to be a 1-0 final, possibly going into extra innings (which I was dreading). Instead, Clayton Richard happened and the game finished 5-0. Richard came in and faced three hitters in the 8th with the score 0-0 and promptly gave up three straight singles. Maddon pulled him in favor of Adam Warren, who wasn’t much better, and the damage was done. For Richard, his ERA is now at 8.00 and the poor outing came just a little while after the news that Neil Ramirez, who was moved when Matt Szczur came back because the Cubs needed a spot on the roster, was claimed by the Brewers. So, to summarize: The Cubs still have a 32 year old journeyman lefty with an ERA the size of a hot air balloon as well as a 3rd catcher in Tim Federowicz that can’t hit to save his life (.198 career average in the Majors) and are no longer in possession of a 27 year old reliever with the ability to reach the upper 90’s with the fastball. That makes sense. Richard needs to go and Spencer Patton needs to be called up (if the Cubs want to stick with the bloated pen that I’m against).

@CubsWin found a potential issue with Richard’s delivery.

Quick Note: In the 1st inning, Ron Coomer made me laugh. Jake had 2 outs with Joc Pederson (lefty) at the plate and a runner one 1st. Pederson showed bunt on two straight pitches, to which Ronnie basically ranted that it was an odd move to have your cleanup guy bunting with two outs and a runner on base against Jake, especially considering the lefty righty matchup. His loose quote was “who do you think is going to drive in the runs?”

Iowa Cubs (AAA) – Won 11-6 at Oklahoma City

Tennessee Smokies (AA) – Lost 10-5 vs Jackson

  • SP – Stephen Perakslis – 3 IP, 6 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K
  • RF – Billy McKinney – 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI

South Bend Cubs (A) – Lost 5-1 at Fort Wayne

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Why The Cubs Option for Full Time 3B is Obvious

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Sunday afternoon, I was at a vineyard in Baroda, Michigan. My wife, her two kids and two of mine were enjoying some wine and listening to some live music. It was a beautiful afternoon. Out of nowhere the guy next to me says, what’s wrong with the Cubs? Not knowing what he could possibly be talking about I said, what are you talking about? He said, they are kicking the ball all over the infield. They have to address that.

I was mystified. I pushed back saying, I think they are really solid in the infield. Who do you think is weak?

Well, it turned out that he was unable to support his position with any rational argument. But he did dump on Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella’s defense at third. I have seen similar complaints here and there, including even a bit of it in the comments on View from the Bleachers. So I made a mental note to check it out.

Monday morning, back on the computer, I went to FanGraphs to look at our defensive performance at third. It tells a story:

In 214.2 innings at third base, Kris Bryant has a .955 fielding percentage, RZR .849 and UZR/150 of 24.1.

In 122.2 innings at third base, Javy Baez has a .907 fielding percentage, RZR .667 and UZR/150 0f 5.7.

In 96 innings at third base, Tommy La Stella has a .870 fielding percentage, RZR .737 and UZR/150 of 8.2.

In a nutshell, this shows that Kris Bryant is a very fine third baseman. If you think otherwise, then you need to realign your thinking. He could be a perennial all-star at that position. And, on a small sample size, he is much better than either Baez or La Stella.

Please do not misinterpret. I like La Stella and Baez. They are pretty good too. I also like the way that Joe Maddon uses Bryant. I am not sure that sending Bryant out to play third everyday would be the best thing for the team overall, notwithstanding his excellent play there. Why? Because Bryant is also our best left fielder. So when he is at third base we are weaker in left field and vice versa. That means that having him in the line up at one of those positions versus his possible replacement is good for the team and the incremental difference between having him at third versus left is inconsequential in comparison. That gives Maddon flexibility. He can rotate players from the bench behind Bryant at third and left, keep their hitting sharp and give rest to the team (except possibly Bryant) during the long season.

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