It’s a Beautiful Day For a Home Run…

Carlos Zambrano, RHP 2005: 14-6, 3.26 ERA 202/86 K/BB, 21 HR in 223 1/3 IP 2B *Tony Womack (2-12, 167/286/250 vs. Zambrano) SS #Felipe Lopez (2-13, 154/214/385, HR) CF *Ken Griffey Jr. LF *Adam Dunn (4-23, 174/321/435, 2 HR, 5 BB, 8 K) 3B Edwin Encarnacion 1B *Scott Hatteberg RF Austin Kearns (2-13, 154/389/231, 4 BB, 4 K C Javier Valentin P Aaron Harang Aurilia: 7-17, 415/545/371 vs. Dempster Dunn: 6-13, 462/462/692, HR vs. Williams Griffey: 6-16, 375/412/1063, 3 HR vs. Eyre Womack: 9-24, 375/500/625, HR, 6 BB vs. DempsterAaron Harang, RHP 2005: 11-13, 3.83 ERA 163/51 K/BB, 22 HR in 211 2/3 IP CF *Juan Pierre 2B *Todd Walker (4-19, 211/250/211 vs. Harang) 1B Derrek Lee (8-22, 364/364/682, 2 HR) 3B Aramis Ramirez (3-14, 214/267/429, 1 HR) RF *Jacque Jones C Michael Barrett LF Matt Murton SS Ronny Cedeno P #Carlos Zambrano Lee: 1-16, 063/348/063, 6 BB vs. Weathers Lee: 2-13, 154/214/385, 1 HR vs. White Perez: 7-18, 389/389/500 vs. Mercker Perez: 5-13, 385/429/615, HR vs. Weathers
Here we go! Pitches get thrown in anger, and the runs count, for the first time in six months. The Cubs try to get off on the right foot and put last year's disappointing results behind them. Our boys in blue have new faces at shortstop and across the entire outfield, with Juan Pierre giving them a classic leadoff man (you know the type: hits a lot of singles, fast, no power) for the first time in years. De facto (and de jure) staff ace Carlos Zambrano takes the hill in what could be a long-ball-laden contest, as the forecast calls for winds of 20+ mph blowing out to left. Derrek Lee currently holds the record for longest homer at GABP by a visiting player -- let's see if he can overtake Wily Mo Pena for longest homer by a right-handed hitter.
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How did DLee hit a homer for the cubs in 2003?

Nevermind the link to the game is for '05

triple for Pierre

..and Walker drives him in...

Is that what's supposed to happen?

Woo-hoo! Our team SLG is 2.500 for the season!

(tongue-in-cheek, of course)

Nope, just did. Pieree lead-off triple and Walker with an RBI double. Cubs lead 1-0

season opener
big z shuts down the red legs
winter is now gone !

Dropped Fly by Dunn (from Jones) Cubs lead 2-0 bases loaded nobody out

Adam Dunn say hello to the American League.

it's a good thing you told juan pierre that even a triple is OK

hilarious that the season opens on one after that title....

Anyone else having trouble with the radio feed for the game? I have purchased my annual pass to listen to the games, but I am not getting anything.

Murton 3 run homer WOOO-HOOO

Anyone have the MLB audio package? Is it just me or is it not working? I was listening and the game cut off...nothing happens when I try and listen to it...

I had spotty audio during the pregame, then it cut out entirely and I gave up.

Yeah, I lost my audio, too...must be early season bugs. I expect it will be back up eventually.

Murton is god!!

We've already hit for the cycle! center


The Gameday lineup lists Zambrano as both Catcher and Pitcher. Dusty's overuse has finally gone too far.

My bad - I guess that's his first initial.

I stand by my joke, though.

If the first inning is any indication, unlike prior years pitchers are going to need to throw strikes to Cubs batters if they expect to get them out.

P.S. It is a joy to watch Murton, Lee and ARam hit.

Pretty poor defense by Pierre on Dunn's flyout.

He had plenty of time to get in position to catch and throw the ball back in, but instead he kept backing up, and eventually caught the ball on his heels. The run would have scored either way, but better positioning could have kept the other runners from advancing.

Z will just have to strike out the rest of the side so it doesn't matter.

Was that Dunn first career sac fly?

Big Z is trying to give it all back this inning. I wish Blanco was catching.

He's going to walk in a run.

I knew I shouldn't be getting all smug about the top of the first!

An old fan in a Cubs floppy hat just took a foul ball off his head!

Then Murton made a great leaping grab against the wall to rob Kearns of a 3 run double!

What is Foul (Runner Going)? (from Gameday)

If this first inning is any indiacation, Murton better get the player of the game award...

Crap. I can't handle this if every inning will be like this....

1 down, about 1400 to go...

foul runner going means....foul...runners were going (no surprise here bc it was 3-2 2 out.)

but a nice addition to the gameday this year

murton catch was leaping? wow....Z with a 34 pitch inning, not awesome. JWill better start warming up.

Is there a time table on Priors return yet?

I haven't heard any solid date for Prior. They said he is playing catch without pain. I do not believe he has thrown off a mound yet, unless I missed that. So that would still mean at least a week of throwing off a mound before he makes some rehab starts, probably 2-3 of those. Late April but more likely early May if there are no setbacks. But I would still be leary, it is a strain of a muscle in the rotator cuff and any rotator cuff injury has always been bad news.

Z looks like he is dialing it in...

or not...

Is he just erratic (watching on Gameday) the placement of his balls look well outside of the strike zone

The first inning of the first game of 2006 ó and already it's the greatest show on earth! Many of the pluses and minuses of this Cub team showed themselves in the first "33 minute, action-packed inning."

In the top of the inning we saw Pierre's possibilities; the Buckner-like bat control of Walker; a whole lot of plate-squeezing that DLee earned last year; the absolute terror that a hitter that Ramirez can be; the batting approach of Jones if he's going to be effective; the caution of Dusty in not hitting Murton 6th (not yet - but it'll take Dusty till June to hit him there); and what a ballplayer Murton's going to be (for me, he, alone, saves Hendry's job).

In the bottom of the inning we see why we need a second baseman with some range (that base hit could have been a DP, or certainly an out at second ó meaning probably 20 fewer first inning pitches for Z); why runners will be tagging up at first base against the Cubs; and what a ballplayer Murton's going to be.

Can anyone comment on the accuracy of Z today? It seems terrible on Gameday...

It's as bad as it seems.

the zone is VERY tight...and kinda unfair on a lotta low + outside stuff not being called.

still, Z would be wild even with a bigger zone given.

Was the home run legitimate or all-wind ball?
(sorry for all the questions)

Wow. 72 pitches thru the first 3 innings. A mere 39 strikes.

Time for the no longer #4 to start warming up, or does it look like Dusty is trying to get a Zambrano a W (because he missed one last year)

Jerome that is

Anyone having any luck w/ the MLB radio? This is bullsh!t...

My MLB radio is fine. It's delayed about a minute and cuts out between innings otherwise its fine.

Walker is a very good hitter...

'Nuf Said.

What's Zambrano's problem. He pitched like crap in last year's opener too. Apparently not #1 material...

Z lets his emotions run him over. He's probably amazingly keyed up this afternoon and can't relax and find his release point. He tends to overthrow at times too.

Doesn't bode well for his playoff composure, although I'm getting 160 games ahead of myself.

Z needs a brain transplant.
Why a double switch in the 5th inning?

Wow, nice bunt after two bad bunt attempts by Cedeno. Bases loaded.

Wow, what a first ML AB for Pagan....

Nice to see some productions from the bottom of the order.

From Gameday
Pitch 1 - Ball
Pitch 2 - Called Strike
Pitch 3 - Ball
Pitch 4 - Swinging Strike
Pitch 5 - Foul
Pitch 6 - Foul
Pitch 7 - Ball
Pitch 8 - Foul
Pitch 9 - Bloop single & RBI

atta boy pagan!

Go, new guys.

From Gameday
Ball, Called Strike, Ball, Swinging Strike, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Bloop RBI single

"J. Pierre singled to pitcher"

What does this mean?

Also, it is nice to see us scrap out runs without a long ball (Murton's HR was nice too :)

Todd Walker, 3 for 3....3 RBI's

The double switch actually makes sense here, it lets Dusty keep his pitcher in for a couple of innings and not use all 11 pitchers for this game.

Dusty has a good lineup, is using young players, and appears to have actually figured out the reason for using the double switch.

Maybe Dusty has decided to be a competant manager during his contract year?

Pierre's single to pitcher was a little swinging bunt that ended up stopping behind the pitcher who had fallen off the mound.

the pitcher tied to pick it up and throw home, but the run had already crossed the plate.

I'm picturing Dusty in the Dugout with a MLB Coaching for Dummies book...Ok, OK, maybe he did figure it out on his own.

Is it just me or has the bad ball/strike calling of spring training carried over into the season? Lot's of strikes on both sides being called balls. The strike zone looks even smaller this year.

Adam Dunn looks like a drunk Dave Kingman in left field. He is the worst outfielder since George Bell.

Dunn looks like a Little Leaguer today.

Should Lee's double have been caught by Dunn? I dont get WGN out in Seattle...

You owe me a Coke Fred.

This is fun!

And just think Dunn didn't even need to come to the Cubs to suck. Phew....

Jordan, Dunn ran back, then turned the wrong way, looked like he was lost/confused, and fell down at the warning track against the wall and watched as the ball landed about five feet to his left. The wind played a part but he should have at least been around the ball, even if he couldn't catch it.

Cedeno looks like a young Dunston, swinging at basically every pitch, no matter where they are. I'm a little worried about his horrible strike zone judgement.

I'm guessing that strikeout will end Ronny Cedeno's day.

Can Williamson stink it up any more? You got a 7 run lead, pal - so throw some freaking strikes.

Nice pitch low and away by Eyre to K Dunn.

I was at the game. It is extremely windy and was very cold. Any pitcher would have a difficult time today.

Lee is 1-2 with 2Rs, 3 BBs 1 RBI. Man...

Hey everyone, greetings from the Netherlands! I bought the package so I'm actually getting to watch the game. Well actually I'm listening to it, because has no picture for me. Oh well, at least I get to hear the dulcet tones of Bob & Len.

Hi Christian!

Did you grow up in the U.S. or become a Cubs fan overseas?


Christian is overseas on business.

Williamson looks rusty....

How about giving DLee a rest now?

what do you guys think of Eyre??

Great to hear you can stay in touch with the game from Europe, Ruz.

Speaking of Cubs fans across the pond, I thought we'd be hearing more from John Hill now that the season has started.

any news on D-lee contract?? Lets hope that dropped ball didn't make Hendry rethink anything. Wait, that would imply thinking....

Wow, Len just said Reds pitchers have combined for over 150 pitches, and Cub pitchers over 170. Still only the bottom of the 7th. Eyre just k'd Lopez to end the 7th. Long outing for Eyre.

Dusty like to burn his relievers out early. Come on, you know that.

gotta love that Sarcastic Cheer for Dunn's catch.

THink the Cub Fans give same cheer when Prior makes first start in June??

I have a man crush on Matt Murton

Chicago Radio said the contract is 90% signed and done deal. The hold up? Don't know.

I too have a Matt-Murton-Man-Crush.

He's trotting out Eyre and Howry early. Perfect way to blow their confidence and make them Hawkins-esk basket cases by mid-may....

Now you know why his nickname was "Glass".

Poor Nomar.

We need a cool nickname for Murton. Like Big Z or D Lee.

How Bout "He's not Holly" or the "anti-Burnitz"
Mean Mat Murton, Matty, Double M?

He's trotting out Eyre and Howry early. Perfect way to blow their confidence and make them Hawkins-esk basket cases by mid-may....

Actually, I think bringing Eyre and Howry in to a game with a comfortable lead makes a lot of sense. That's a lot better way to get the first one under the belt than coming in and giving up a one run lead in the first Cubs appearance

Anyone going to the Wrigley Garage sale??

I'll pay someone to get me a Bleacher seat or even a Brick would suffice!

Does Ohman vulture the win today?


Mark my words, it will catch on.


I was being sarcastic, I have no problem with it, I was more tonge-n-cheek about it all.

I also think they could have taken DLee out but he does need the AB's. See, he got an AB, an RBI and didn't have to run the bases.

D-Lee's sac fly, how close was it to a granny?

Who did Mabry replace, or did he just PH?

Not very. D Lee's sac fly was just at the beginning of the warning track. He got under it, so it never looked like it was going out. I was actually surprised it went as far as it did.

Barrett missed a HR by about 5 in to left...but has anyone ever seen an ump with this small a strike zone for an entire game??? It's unbelievable


It's hard to know when Dusty bashing is sarcastic on TCR

Jimmy Rollins just doubled to extend his streak.

Not the most crisply played game I've ever listened to - Ron's moans were well into mid-season form as Zambrano walked the Reds back into the game. But I'll take it.

However, isn't it nice to have a Cubs team that can actually run? And get on base? And bunt? And advance on a route fly ball? And execute the hit-and-run? OK, Aram had a brain fart and got doubled off second, but this team seems a lot better fundamentally than last year's crew. I can get used to that very quickly.

Is Maddux warming up too?

Ever occur to anyone that Z gets too excited for games like this and shouldn't be the opening Day starter.


Let's hope this isnt' the last time all year we're over .500. 'till thursday

Really, what are the odds that the Cubs would score 16 runs on opening day two years in a row and in both games Z would only last 4 2/3?

I will feel real good if they don't get shutout on Thursday. Which seems to happen after big run games.

Anyone notice that Ron has the worst time pronouncing Matt Murton's name? Murrrr-Ton.

As for a nickname, how about M-Squared? That or Big Red.

Matt Murton:

That Celtic can Belt It!

"Ever occur to anyone that Z gets too excited for games like this and shouldn't be the opening Day starter."

If he wants to be thought of as an ace and get the big money down the road that goes with that he's going to have to learn to start a damn opening day game against the Reds without throwing 1000 pitches by the fourth inning.

Riverboat Gambler, as far as a nickname for Murton, in the theme of our faux French outfield (Pierre and Jacque) if feel the only appropriate name would be Monsieur Murton.

Murton HAS nickname which has been well
reported ( by him anyway) After his first few
days in the clubhouse Maddux started calling
him "Orange Guy" and Murton is not one
to disagree with Madog ( He actually seemed'
to like it). Leave it at that

And I had my sights set on "Daredevil".

Murton, Murdock, what's the diff?

Monsieur Mur-ton! Vive la france!

Le Grande Orange, non?

hey, dont forget to catch the play-by-play at "from the cubicle" at for those of you who care.

i was reminded of how Z only lasted as long as he did last year opening day cuz he got tossed for taunting home ump dale scott by asking him where his glasses are and doing hand gestures implying scott's blindness, ahahahaha!!

another opening day shellacking, what fun! i only hope cedeno's bunt single was a true show of skill (just so he's not left out on a day where every guy seemed to chip in, besides mabry)


*Anyone notice that Ron has the worst time pronouncing Matt Murton's name? Murrrr-Ton.*

That's nothing. I caught the last few innings on XM and had to endure Brennaman and Nuxhall, the latter pronounced it Moo-ton.

Nuxhall is probably beloved in Cinci but he sounds like a mush-mouthed old man to me.

*Now you know why his nickname was "Glass".

Poor Nomar.*

That same story mentions Lofton going on the DL. I hope that puts to bed the idiotic notions some Cub fans had on (re)acquiring either of those two washed up geezers.

PS, I had Nomar going down after his first at-bat as a Dodger--turns out he didn't even make it THAT far.

Better get back on the 'roids, No-play.

apparently when no-glove dunn caught pierre's pop-out to left, he couldnt do it without clocking womack in the head with his glove! ahahahaha! wow. worth the price of admission.

"Le Grande Orange"
I don't think he wants that nickname. Unless he wants to hang around on North Halsted.

Sorry for the long url thanks for shortening it for me.

I love opening day wins.


HA HA....Had to throw that in there.

Not exactly a pretty game to watch, but it got teh job done. Zambrano and Williamson did not look good, but our offense was good from top to bottom. Dusty even made good double switches, hit and runs and sac bunt calls.

Tied for the lead...

It helped that the Reds pitching sucks and the wind was flying out at 25mph. Ill take it.

If the biggest knock on Z's game is that he sucks on opening day I'll take it.


Is it too early to start calling it the three headed monster at second base?

Gulp, gulp, gulp,..... ahhhhh.... Cubs kool-aid always tastes best in April

I hope that Ned Coletti statue isn't coming along too quickly. Nomar/ Lofton DL.

Nothing better than an Opening Day win with a day off coming. But why do they always have the goofy day on - day off schedule the first few days of the season? I don't get it.

By the way, we have 6 guys hitting .500 or better. I'm not saying that will hold up for the entire season, but if it does that has to be some kind of record.

433 - i don't know, but my guess is all of the inclement weather in april.


they do that in cold-weathered cities in case the first game is rained/snowed out, they can easily have an official opening day the following day. opening day tickets are worth much more than 2nd game of the year tickets, and this way people can all just use the tickets from the intended opening day the next day.

this happened to the Cubs in 03 for their home opener. it was against the expos, and the day of the scheduled opening day it snowed like hell. they just pushed it to the following day (a tuesday i think). i managed to get my hands on some tickets for free from an older cub fan who had an extra standing on addison street (i was by myself, going home from work (AM shift) on the El and decided last minute that i'd get off and see if i could get in).

I hadn't come prepared to sit outside in 30 degree weather for 3 hours, so i was freezing. i called my uncle, who is at every opening day, found him near the expos bullpen and he had handwarmers!

clement got the win, hee seop choi chants started, and the crazy 03 season began.

(long tangent....sorry...but i think i basically answered the question. warmer cities don't have that extra day off right after the opener)

Henry -- that was my guess too, but why leave the space open after just one game? It seems it would be much more useful to plop the free day sometime in the middle of the year, after a few rainouts will have probably happened.

Wednesday, April 5th at 1:02:03 am=

01:02:03 04/05/06

Rusch has to throw a no no with that kind of maddness floating around. It's also my birthday.

Orange Guy for MVP!

GL - I remember that Opening Day well, except I had the reverse experience that you did -- I took the day off for OD, then had to work the next day (i.e. the "real" opening day). So, I was forced to sit in a bar on Southport and drink all day (I think that was a Monday). Not the worst way to spend a day off.

gawd. i wish we still had dontrelle.

Murton's Knick-Name suggestion
"The O.G." Get it...Orange Guy

The O.G. is Ballin!

Or the Oh Gee is Ballin!

O.G. - i like that

All things considered, I thought Walker showed his proper place on this team today. That defense rhetoric just doesn't fly with me. If you're gonna play Jones and Pierre every day, Then you may as well have some offense and keep Walker in there.

ANyone else get the feeling of last year? Put up two touchdowns in a blow out game and then lose the next two 0-1 and 1-2.


Re: Walker -- I agree, today was a nice showcase of what he can contribute. And I really think defense at 2B is overrated anyway -- there just aren't enough tough plays at that position over the course of a season to make a difference that's worth having a markedly lesser hitter in there.

I've seen a lot of defensive ranking systems that rate fielders by position, but I haven't yet seen any that ranks the defensive positions by importance to team defense. In other words, we all kinda understand that CF, SS, etc. are key defensive positions, and lots of runs can be saved by having a good fielder at that position. But I haven't seen anything that tells me that a great second baseman will prevent lots more runs than an average one. Can anyone point me to any data on this?

LMAO at this from the Heckler:
Cubs GM Jim Hendry is often on the defensive as hidden details about player injuries find the light of day. But Hendry claims the issue is really more about semantics than truthfulness.

"When you use the word 'serious,' I think tornados and earthquakes, not rotator cuffs and ACLs," Hendry said. "No Cubs player has ever had a tornado-type injury, and that's why we don't tell you about them.

"Sure, Mark Prior spent a lot of time on the DL last year, but never did we feel the situation was serious. In fact, I found it a little funny. Like, 'Whoops! Here we go again! What's that rascal Mark gone and done this time?' But serious like Hurricane Katrina-serious? I don't think so."

When asked what he would consider a serious baseball injury, Hendry suggested an unlikely scenario.

"Let's say that instead of a bat, Barry Bonds brought an axe to the plate," he said. "And then, if he lost his grip on the axe and send it flying through the air at Kerry Wood, severing his pitching arm at the shoulder, leaving the right side of his body a mangled, bloody mess Ö now that's a serious baseball injury."

But would Hendry fully report the injury to the media?

"Before going public with the news, I would first have to hear from the trainer and have Kerry undergo an extensive evaluation," Hendry said. "I would probably list an armless Wood as 'questionable' for his next start."

By Dave Narter, contributor

Baseball Hilight of the day-
A fan threw a "siringe"-looked more like a turkey baster- at Bonds feet in San Diego.

Glad to ESPN has embraced Bonds some more with the "RUTH WATCH" on the scroll at the bottom of the screen with Bonds stats of the date.

Hopefully it will be replaced by the "Mitchell Watch"

Hooray for me, picking Zito for my fantasy team.

1.1 IP, 7 ER

Sigh... gonna be a long year for my fantasy team.


"Le Grande Orange"
I don't think he wants that nickname. Unless he wants to hang around on North Halsted.

LOL!!!! That's REALLY funny!!


I have started to devour a new book by John Dewan called The Fielding Bible which uses a Plus/Minus system to evaluate defense. The general idea is to try any count how many plays a player makes above or below what an average player at that position would make. It does not let you compare one position to another. But it did rate Walker at -2 in 05, essentially meaning that in his 97 games at 2B, he let 2 runners advance/get-on-base over the average second baseman. Compare that to Rickie Weeks (minus 11 in 95 games), Tadahito Iguchi (minus 3 in 133 games), and Jorge Cantu (minus 7 in 80 games). People do not seem to argue that Weeks and Cantu are liabilities. Using this system, he is below average (but half of all 2B are!)

Jacque Jones? -8. Juan Pierre? -9. Adam Player-of-the-Day Dunn? -16.

My general judgment of this book is that it tends to show that with few exceptions (on the plus side, Orlando Hudson at 2B, on the negative side, Bernie Williams in CF), there is not much variability from the mean in the data. Could be a problem with Dewan's methodology. But in general the book shows to me that it does not take much above-average offensive contribution to make up for below-average defense.

ex-Cub (and almost Cub) notes:

Dontrelle Willis 5 shutout innings, matching Oswalt but Astros win 1-0 on a wild pitch by Joe Borowski with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th.

...I guess every other day will be an ex-Cub day for the Marlins pitching staff.

Luis Matos got the start in CF over CPat but Korey got into the game for defensive purposes (Matos moved to LF for Conine) and Latroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless 8th for a hold as the O's beat the DRays.

Nomar going in DL for rib cage injury...Seanz replaced him at 1B. Furcal did lead off and go 3-5 with 3 runs scored in a losing 11-10 effort against the Braves.

J Burnitz, batting 6th...line 0-4, 1K, 2 LOB as the Pirates lost to the Brew crew

Mark Grudzielanek 0-4, 3K's batting 2nd for KC in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers. Andy Sisco pitched the 8th and gave up a HR to C Guillen

Moises Alou went 1-4 hitting behind Bonds in a 6-1 Giant loss to the Padres

John Lieber was rocked with 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings vs StL (including Poo-holes first of two HR's)

...still watching the Yanks vs A's (Yanks up 7-1 early) and wondering if Farnsy will make his pinstripe debut.

CUBSTER: I was going to give the Borowski bit.

However, I like your ex-Cub update. I nominate YOU to continue this pace as much as you can! :->

Particularly the Burnitz day-to-date watch will be interesting when compared to JJones.

i wont name names, and i know its just one game (the opener at that) but i cant help laugh at the posters who are members of the "get us barry zito! we need barry zito!" association.

he pitches a ton does he? eh!? AHAHAHAHA!!

.......okay that was childish.
but it was fun just the same.

DC -- thanks for that. I'll check that book out.

Maybe it's a problem with his methodology that the players are so compressed around the mean. Or, maybe it's further proof that defense is -- gasp! -- overrated. I've always felt that major league fielders generally secure the same outs and hold runners to the same bases. There are exceptions, of course, but generally this seems to be true, and Dewan's data seems to say so.

If a guy rates a -6 under Dewan's system, it sounds like that would be pretty bad. But that's only one extra baserunner allowed per month!

Again, this isn't to say that there aren't differences among fielding abilities. Of course there are. My point is that these differences don't justify playing a lesser hitter because he is a better fielder, because that extra fielding ability just doesn't come into play very often (and when it does it doesn't necessarily lead to extra runs allowed).

Or how about the Adam Dunn anonymous group? His defense today basicly gave us the game! Hey but he has a great obps+@@^^3=3 or something.

adam who?

"The general idea is to try any count how many plays a player makes above or below what an average player at that position would make."

i dont get it.

so you watch every play a player makes and give it a +/- (or i assume even) score.

it seems like basic scouting with some proof-based points system that isnt exactly a complex algorythm.

since i assume the writer didn't sit down and watch every single play all his subjects made to fill his conclusion, i dunno what he's looking at.

if he IS actually looking at all that...well...ummm...okay.


Believe it or not, that is exactly what he and his team is doing. They are reviewing tape and classifying everything through pixels on a computer. There is, of course, a subjective element to it -- but it is still largely mathematical. You can read an interesting interview with the author here:

He brings up an interesting case study, Mike Lowell:

"You can look at a guy like Mike Lowell, a Gold Glove third baseman who looks tremendous at third base. And he is tremendous. He is the only ìAî rated fielder on bunts in each of the last three seasons on our system. So heís great at handling bunts, and he is great on fielding balls down the line. But it turns out he is substantially below average on balls hit straight on and balls hit to his left. And heís so much below average that it really makes him a fairly average third baseman overall in my eyes. I donít consider him one of the top third baseman, let alone the Gold Glover. It could be all positioning, but I also think itís a bit more than that."

The bottom line is, its a lot of sabermetrics mixed with a bit of scouting. I think its very interesting that they are classifying all different aspects of a position (pop-ups, left, right, slowly hit, etc). I haven't read the book yet, but I think the study will be improved the more specific the definitions of each play is.

The truth is that, like all fielding statistics nowadays, it is just a start. But its a very intriguing one, and the best one I've seen thus far.

hey...if that's what they're doing, that's good stuff. it's so simple that it seems like a very sane way to go about evaluating a player's D.

boring, boring, good stuff.

btw, yes i know plotting a few hundred vector graphs for analysis of camera footage from differing angles isnt exactly "simple" but the application of it as a point of study is.

it doesnt fill in all the holes...such as bad habbits like taking one off the hip when you could have played in front of it etc etc etc...but it seems to be an interesting tool. i still don't quite get how it could be a compelling read, but hey...whatever...

Ow! I just got around to reading today's USA Today "Baseball 2006" insert.

As is the trend with sports rags nowadays, they give a number and then describe what it is.

"29 -- Greg Maddux's victory total over the last two seasons, one more than Prior and Wood combined."

I guess that's not really a surprise, but it somehow rankles me more to hear it put that way.

##Check it out, The Cubs are going to Sign Hendry to an extension this week.

To any of the folks who went down to Spring Training this year, how did Maddux look? Was his velocity down again? Greg has been just an amazing pitcher. With Roger Clemens the greatest pitcher in the last quarter century. He should have won 15 again last year but for some early season bullpen failures. But he is forty and now only just an above average major league starting pitcher. He should be our 4th or 5th starter, not our second.
Of all the explanations for the Cubs demise last season (terrible outfield, a medoicre home run or nothing low OBP offense, poor team play, poor base running, medocre defense, weak bullpen), they pale in comparison to the below par starting pitching, supposedly the team's strength. I know I predicted 85 wins last week, but I did that being optimistic about Prior's and Wood's return. That is probably a mistake. Prior and Wood are not likely to return when schedule, and if they do, they probably will not be much better than mediocre (We just have to accept that Dusty blew their arms out in 2003 and they will never be that consistentlyl brilliant again). That makes the Cubs starting rotation not much better than Cincinnati's and that will eventually wear out the bullpen. A 75 win season is the then likely outcome despite the Cubs' outfield being much better than last year's edition. A great opening day win, but you are not likley to win many games when you give up seven runs, and with Rusch, Marshall, and Williams in the rotation (or their ilk), I am afraid that will occur far to often.


It takes awhile to figure out the best way to navigate The Fielding Bible, because there really is a ton of data here. As Derek said, the authors do review every play and this even accounts for pre-pitch positioning because they also rate plays to the players left or right in addition to the objective vector analysis. That raises intetesting things--e.g., all of Soriano's minus (-23) is to his left, which indicates he might cheat too much to the middle of the field.

There is a nifty picture of where hits landed, by vector, in 2005 against each team. For the Cubs, in front of RF and over-the-fence were the only two areas where we were below average (only a multi-year, multi-player study would indicate whether that is Burnitz and Walker or the notorious sun).

Wasn't there, but I saw a couple of his final ST starts on TV. He looked like typical Greg Maddux in April. Great control, no velocity (FB around 84!). Sinker & backdoor pitch still all working... although his movement obviously looked better in Vegas than it did in Arizona.

He should be our 4th or 5th starter, not our second.

If that's not scary enough, I think Rusch is actually starting game #2. Yikes!

"Dusty blew their arms out in 2003 and they will never be that consistentlyl brilliant again"

I'm critical of Baker, but Wood has been damaged goods since high school(bad back) and then overusing that Bugs Bunny curve ball. Prior has yet to have a tear or rip muscle or ligament in his arm. For those two you have shown I give you Z and Clement both still pitching.
I blame him for alot of his in-game decisions but you can't pin Blue Cross and Blue Shield on him.

A couple of TCR favorites-to-fix-the-Cubs, Carlos Beltran and Adam Dunn, were booed long and loud in their home openers.

Booing Beltran has become a tradition for Mets fans.

Well Kiley at the Suntimes is predicting an extension for Hendry on Thursday and an extensino for Baker to follow closely behind. Other than the fact that Kiley seems obsessed with reporting Hendry/Baker extensions (suntimes has an article about every three weeks on the subject) it seems pretty probable. Hendry I do kin dof understand but Baker is ridiculous. I hope the Sox take this city over by storm if baker is re-signed and that the cubs go back to drawing 7000 fans per game again like in the late 70's and very early 80's. F%cking baker Hendry and McPhail. I sure hope it ain't true.

(If they are offered extensions I will likely quit watching the Cubs altogether, after 30+ years of active obsessive fanaticism and daily watching.)

Holy crap -- I just read that Hendry may be resigning today!


resigning as in quitting? (yay!)

OR re-siging as in extension? (boo)!

Sun Times is reporting that Hendry will likely resign on Thursday!


##Check it out, The Cubs are going to Sign Hendry to an extension this week.
Posted by: cubswinthepennant at April 4, 2006 04:09 AM

right -- what did you guys think I meant?

(I am in a smart-ass mood this morning for some reason)

I can't believe he'd resign with their record this season.

What I don't get is that McPhail is going to sit down with him today to begin discussions with him before he resigns. What could there be to talk about?

And Tom Delay resigned today too! Maybe he wanted to resign a couple of press cycles before Hendry resigns on Thursday.


He will re-sign, not resig, people. Several chicago area papers are reporting this. Another contract for a guy with some genius moves and some idioti moves. Why would he resign?

Anyway, I think this stability is good. MacPhail is the bigger problem. As for Dusty, who the heck knows. I can't tell what his deal is--on anything, ever. Yesterday, he actually had people bunt.

Until the trib sells the team, I have no doubt that MacPhail, the kiss a-- will stay in place. He claims in the papers today that he expected the Cubs to have won already, a World Series. Uh-huh. It isn' just money, but damned if the had higher payroll.

Pray for the Trib stock to crash even more and you won't have to worry about this management team anymore.

May this win signal the kind of magic we saw in '89 when Mitch Williams walked the bases loaded and then struck out the side, including Mike Schmidt. I knew that day they would win the division. I just wish I felt that way now. This seems more Tuffy Rhoades--don't forget, he hit three HRs, and the Cubs still lost in '94 (and forever).

SELL SELL SELL. Anyone want to get btwn 500 and 600 mil together to make an offer?


Whose idea was a stupid off-day today?

"I hope the Sox take this city over by storm if baker is re-signed and that the cubs go back to drawing 7000 fans per game again like in the late 70's and very early 80's." - Superjimmer

While I share your disgust at rewarding these boobs, the Cubs never drew less than 1.2 million in those years. (except for the strike shortened '81 season) They were as high as 1.5 million in '78 and 1.6 million in '79. They usually finished somewhere in the middle of th pack attendence-wise.

Spats, why would he resign? Because of boards like this one that constantly bash him, that's why. At least McPhail is sitting down with him to try and talk him out of it.

I can't believe that Hendry is going to resign. This is not a good day.

We need a cool nickname for Murton. Like Big Z or D Lee.


Some time in March someone said "The Big Murt" in reference to Frank Thomas's years as "The Big Hurt". I like it.

Who said that?

It's not really a nickname per se, but what about "Get your Murt on"?

Or "Surprisingly Tricky Last Name to Pronounce Guy"?

"The Big Murt" nick for Murton popped up last JULY.... it didn't originate on this board...believe it or not.

Ever had a "Big Murt" at Hovey's?

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