Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side

GAME 46 PREVIEW COLORADO ROCKIES (14-31) at CHICAGO CUBS (21-24) Wrigley Field, 1.20pm CT, TV: CSN, Fox Sports RM
SP Mark Prior SP *Joe Kennedy
SS #Desi Relaford CF Jerry Hairston
2B Luis Gonzalez SS #Neifi Perez
1B *Todd Helton 1B Derrek Lee
CF Preston Wilson 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF *Brad Hawpe LF Jason Dubois
LF Matt Holliday
d>RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B Garrett Atkins CF *Corey Patterson C #JD Closser C Henry Blanco Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot Todd Walker, freshly back from the disabled list, is never one to shy away from giving his opinion. At the start of the year, for instance, he pronounced that the 16 runs the Cubs scored against the Diamondbacks in the season opener was reliable evidence that the offence wasn't as bad as everyone had feared. Er, okay. He's changed his tune a bit. From today's Tribune...
Even if you're a Tony Gwynn, he's not going to hit here what he hit in San Diego because of the tall grass. You hit balls in the gaps that land in front of the outfielders, and it's a single not a double. It doesn't kick and keep going. If you stand at home plate here, and you stand at home plate at Coors Field, there's a major difference in the outfield as a whole. I'm sure there's a purpose for [the Cubs keeping the grass long]. But here's my point: You either need home-run guys or speed guys. If you're a great hitter--like Nomar [Garciaparra]--he hit .290 [in 2004] instead of .320. A lot of balls Nomar hits for base hits go through third and short. And from what I noticed, those were being caught. Maybe 40 years ago they were hitting the ball around [Wrigley was a hitter's park]. But over the last few years, and especially the last two years, if you don't hit home runs, you have to have guys who bunt and steal and do the small ball thing--not two [players], but more like six or seven of those guys.
Todd Walker is off-base. There's little evidence to suggest that the grass is any tougher on hits (or doubles in particular) than other ballparks, at least according to ESPN's park factors. Perhaps part of the reason for that is that, though when the ball rolls it quickly slows, on the bounce the ball can really scoot. It'll come as news to nobody that Wrigley doesn't quite play like Coors, but I think that's the first time anyone's made the point that the grass is the difference between the two. Thin air at altitude, anyone? As for his comment regarding Nomar, he should be aware that Nomar hadn't hit .320 in Boston for a good few years until the first half of last year, and that even then the words small sample size are somewhat fitting. A more plausible excuse for "only" hitting .290 might also be found in Nomar's Achilles injury. Walker's unlying tone throughout (or at least the tone suggested by the way the piece is written by, er, Paul Sullivan) is that the grass is responsible for all our offensive woes. He's wrong. He's also wrong to come to the conclusion that, the grass supposedly being the problem, the Cubs have to have players up and down the lineup capable of bunting and stealing a base. If the grass really is causing so many extra outs on balls in play and as a result so many fewer baserunners, is the solution really to give up more outs (or risk more outs) whenever you have a rare baserunner on? I somewhat doubt it. It'd strike me as more fitting to instead find ways onto the bases that don't involve subjecting the ball to the grass. Take a wild swing at what I'm talking about. And then, with bases clogged, hit your homers if you will. That is, of course, if the problem is the grass. And it isn't. It's our offence.

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  • Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.

    CTSteve 2 hours 9 min ago view
  • Hi Arizona Phil,

    Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?

    Raisin101 8 hours 40 min ago view
  • bruh...

    crunch 9 hours 55 min ago view
  • O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side). 

    Arizona Phil 10 hours 13 min ago view
  • Wow, Lyin' CTSteve? He was just BEGGING for my endorsement last year!  Lame!

    Transmission 10 hours 19 min ago view
  • 1. I did not say the thing I insisted that Trans write down and attribute to me, or it was taken out of context.

    2. Trans and his "roast" (aka, a Salisbury steak TV dinner by Swanson) are very low energy.

    3. Make TCR great again.

     

    CTSteve 10 hours 25 min ago view
  • Yeah, I'm fine if I don't hear another one, furlong time.

    Transmission 10 hours 27 min ago view
  • nice recap, horrible game...i hope to never hear another horse pun/joke for at least a decade.

    crunch 10 hours 39 min ago view
  • Recap posted.  ~sigh~

    Transmission 10 hours 56 min ago view
  • THAT WAS TURRIBLE.

    MY GAWD.

    crunch 11 hours 20 min ago view
  • Ok, fine. I'll do a recap.

    Transmission 14 hours 24 min ago view
  • Thanks for the post AZ. That's a huge attendance. Scouts must be excited about somebody.

    Would you say Cease's performance was a result of working on his change or was it just a bad outing? And isn't Ademan some ridiculous age, like 17 or something?What are your thoughts on him?

    Old and Blue 14 hours 31 min ago view
  • LOL and yes. No need to even be that formal, can just say "Trans, keep my name out of this abomination of a discussion."

    Transmission 17 hours 3 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat Verified account
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    Shane Victorino was released. Will have more details later. He was on Iowa #Cubs roster

    QuietMan 17 hours 47 min ago view
  • *tumbleweeds*

    wonder if he was released to retire or to try to latch on with someone else...

    crunch 17 hours 50 min ago view