“They Named it San Diego, Which of Course in German Means a Whale’s Vagina”

It's hard to go wrong with an Anchorman quote, especially when talking about "America's Finest City". I'm on vacation this week thus the lack of lineups in the game threads and my general lack of presence to keep you guys in line in the comments but The Angel Fan Wife and I procured a baby-sitter, (Uncle Chris) and headed on down south for my first look at the Bums in Blue - 2007 style. The drive from Long Beach was rather breezy, only a bit of traffic just as we reached the outskirts of the city. Camp Pendleton were in the midst of some sort of training or maneuvers as there were about 3 very large helicopters doing all sorts of interesting stuff, either that or we were being invaded by a family of three trying to cross the road. We parked a few blocks out to save on parking and trekked it to the park to get our tickets. Petco has an interesting pricing structure to discourage people from going to the games, encourage people to buy tickets online. They actually raise prices by $2 for day of game tickets bought at the ticket window. For all I know this is common practice around ballparks these days, but it's the first time I came across such corporate trickery and maybe "whale's vagina" wasn't that far off. We got their pretty early so we could dine at one of the fine establishments in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter just a few blocks from the park. After heavy deliberations, we saw a solid contingent of Cubs fans hanging out at the Rockin Baja Lobster which looked like a good place for a margarita, ones that happened to cost as much as our dinners. Once done with our pre-game adventures we headed to the park, our seats in the front row of the upper right field boxes (Section 233). A pretty decent view of the park, although you had to stand up to see anything hit to the wall in right. As for the game itself, well you all watched it, but here are a few of my own observations: - After Michael Barrett finished warming up Sean Marshall in the bullpen he headed to the dugout. I'm not sure if this is ritual or not, but he proceeded to do the man-hug handshake with just about everyone in the bullpen except Rothschild who just got the handshake. I guess Larry isn't the touchy-feely type. - Marshall looked pretty unimpressive to start the game and the first few innings. The location was all over the place although he did change speeds quite effectively as his final line of 8 K's will attest to. - Petco is just a brutal hitters park. The Cubs hit a few that just died particularly Lee's shot to center that barely hit the warning track. A ball that sounded like a homer off the bat. Of course to be fair, Marshall would have been gone by the fifth in most any other park. - Either Wells had a pedestrian move to first or Murton's been studying up because he had a walking lead on his stolen base. - There's a dancing groundskeeper who breaks from the pack when they rake the infield. He has a scoreboard graphic and everything. He also rules. - I'd love to tell what Murton was thinking or doing when he got doubled off second base but we were on a quest for ice cream so I only saw it on the monitors. I can tell you what he was thinking afterwards though, "Crap, that was dumb...better not make eye contact with Lou when I walk in the dugout". - There was a nice audible thump when Soriano hit the wall and scoreboard on a deep fly to left followed by a nice audible "oooh" from the crowd (can't recall the batter or the inning). Soriano was flexing his wrist for the better part of the rest of the inning. - The rally-crushing double play by Izturis was about as predictable as they come. - I absolutely have no idea why Piniella went out to visit Marshall right before the blast to Kouzmanoff if not to take him out. Marshall had been tempting fate all day with some deep flyballs and Wuertz had been up for the better part of 20 minutes in case Marshall had to be pinch-hit for in the top half of the inning. - If you've never witnessed "Trevor Time" in person, you're missing out. Hoffman walks out to "Hells Bells" and the crowd goes nuts ala "Wild Thing" in "Major League". Of course if I was a closer, I'd go with "Peanut Butter-Jelly Time" myself. Not much else to say, another one-run loss and a depressing walk to the car. Sigh. Cubs try to avoid the sweep tonight against Chris Young with Marquis going for the Cubs. I'll be watching at home tonight but I'm going to try and hit a couple Dodger games this weekend.
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Comments

I'm sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don't know what it means. I'll be honest, I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.

Agree to disagree.

Dave, many of us don't want to be the guy who says...
"we are only a couple games back" in may
"we are well within reach" in June
"if we win all of our series we can take this division" in July
"well, maybe this isn't our year" in August
"Fire Dusty" in September.

I and others are just beating you to the punch. Sure we have won some games, sure it is early, but early is an argument only good for superficial flaws. This team has fundamental flaws and early it looks like this team does too many bad things to pull it through. It could happen, but many of us right now doubt it will.

all in all, slumping players will get better, overachievers will get worse and we will be @ 500, 4-5 games out of the division and watching Bears games.

It's been a rough week for me and the Cubs aren't making it better.

But I gotta say... the first time I really, really laughed this week was the Dancing Banana, so thank you Rob.

As I have already said, this is not a great team. But i do think that they can still finish above .500. Not a lot above .500, but I also don't think they will need to finish a lot above .500 to win this division.

Not only that, but I also have not said the Cubs are playing good baseball. All I said was that it was really amusing to see the always changing tone on this site. If the Cubs win a few games, they are a great team playing great baseball. If the Cubs lose a few games in a row, the season is over, this team sucks, Lou sucks, Hendry sucks, etc. Of course the "Cubs suck" theme tends to be a lot more extreme than the "Cubs are a good team" theme.

So let me say this, before everyone freaks out. The Cubs are not playing good baseball. I fully acknowledge this. I just think that the Cubs will play better baseball.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

- lack of focus, not sore shoulder cause of Z's problems supposedly.

- Wood started throwing Monday for the first time in 2 months. At least 6 weeks before he's ready. What he'll be ready for in 6 weeks is a whole other story.

But I gotta say… the first time I really, really laughed this week was the Dancing Banana, so thank you Rob.

Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh.

Here's my first exposure to Peanut Butter-Jelly Time.
http://www.devilducky.com/media/38524/

Rob G-
If you want a good deli sandwich, try the "Cheeseshop" a friend of mine owns it and it's in the gaslamp district.

If I was a closer I would enter to "Why Can't We be Friends" by War.

thnx Jacos, I'll keep it mind for our next trip.

also Cotts threw 5 scoreless in Iowa last night if it hasn't been mentioned.

The thing that alarmed be from the article Rob linked is that the Cubs seem to assume that Z must be healthy just because he hasn't complained to Roths or the trainers about any pain.

You don't think, just maybe, that an overamped kid with a huge ego gunning for the Cy Young in his contract year might be a little bit slow to reveal any aches and pains?

The thing that alarmed be from the article Rob linked is that the Cubs seem to assume that Z must be healthy just because he hasn’t complained to Roths or the trainers about any pain.

SunTimes says the same thing. He's not hurt because he hasn't told them he's hurt...he hasn't even gone to the trainer...

good grief, Z is negotiating a long term big bucks contract. He's not going to tell anyone he's hurting until his arm falls off.

...like you said vorare

I stayed up to 1 am EST to watch this game. All I have to say is:

I hate this fucking team.

You don’t think, just maybe, that an overamped kid ...

How old does someone have to be to no longer be a kid? Zambrano turns 26 next week - he is old enough and mature enough to let someone know if he is feeling pain.

And if he really was worried about getting a big contract, maybe he should be forthright about being hurt if it is causing him to pitch like crap.

well if he is hurt he cant keep it up for 4 months while his numbers suffer along with part of his velocity.

you can pitch on a torn cuff and a sore shoulder...pedro astacio pitched for almost 4 years on a torn shoulder. of course he pitched poorly (not like he was an ace before), but he pitched through the pain as much as he could fearing the pretty much career-shorting/ending shoulder tucks that few seem to come back from effectively.

whatever's going on with Z he's not looking like a 15m dollar man.

Oh, and I love the outcry against Izturis and his double play. Of course no mention of the Orange Guy and yet antother bad baserunning misktake. 1st and second and no outs goes to to 1 and two outs. If moron boy, who couldn't have scored if the ball dropped, didn't get doubled off, Marshall bunts and we have the top of the order coming up. But it's all on Izutris, the man who can actually field his position.

"Kid" has a lot less to do with age than maturity. Z may have mountains of talent, but I would hardly call him mature.

Even if Z continued on about this pace and went, let's say, 13-13 with a 5.25 ERA, he would still be a $15 million man. His age and past numbers will dictate that, not his 2007 numbers.

"How old does someone have to be to no longer be a kid? Zambrano turns 26 next week"

allegedly he's 26...

yes and no, manny.

i agree that even after a poor year, he should get boatloads of cash.

but he does need to pass a physical in order to sign such a deal, and if a physical shows an injury that he was hiding, he could be in trouble. and i would think that teams would make that the physical was as in-depth and thorough as possible if he really comes a year where he has a 5.25 era.

typing alert!!!

and i would think that teams would make SURE that the physical was as in-depth and thorough as possible if he really comes OUT OF a year where he has a 5.25 era.

if Z finishes with a 5.anything ERA something is not right with the kid even if its just a total loss of mechanics or needing to hit up eyre's medicine cabinet.

he's got a touch of wild even at his best, but he's showing more than one danger sign with what he's been doing recently.

#5: Cotts threw 5 scoreless

Cotts threw 3.

#5: Cotts threw 5 scoreless. Cotts threw 3.
-----------
also, Cotts STARTED the game

and gave up no runs and didn't walk anyone.

hint, hint...if they stretch him out will he be 7 feet tall?

will he be 7 feet tall?
-----
maybe they only need him to be 6 ft 7 inches so they can use him and Sean Marshall as bookends.

Chad-Izturis still sucks. No matter who else made a bad play, Izturis is still mediocre at best, and for $4 million, he sucks.

BTW:
Murton: 2 for 3 with a walk, and a run scored.
.286/.343/.374....not slugging much.
Izturis: 0 for 3, 6 LOB, 4 for his last 20.
.266/.328/.330

Some discussion about Jake Fox's fielding, from InsideTheIvy.com, May 18th:

Fox showed off his glove work in the first inning on Thursday by making a head-first dive in left field that robbed Matt Esquivel of extra bases.

In the second inning Friday, he knocked down a screaming liner from Esquivel at first base that got Tennessee out of a bases-loaded jam.

Fox has been adjusting to life outside of catching since late last season at Double-A, when he first began the outfield experiment.

“It keeps me in the lineup every day,” Fox said of the switch. “I do miss catching every night, but playing the outfield and first base keeps my body fresh. If I’m going to come out every day, I might as well be in the lineup.

“Originally, they put me out there to see if I could play some other positions. I think they’ve realized that I can,” added Fox.

Offensively, Fox stands at 360/385/616 with an impressive 25 extra-base hits. (Derrek Lee has 20.)

Fox has a teammate, Josh Kroeger, who was released in the last couple years by Arizona and Philadelphia, but who may yet make the Cubs forget Josh Hamilton!

Kroeger has put up these numbers in 138 at bats: 370/442/558. Kroeger plays in right and is described this way by his manager (same article):

“He’s above average in the outfield, runs well and has a good arm,” Tennessee manager Pat Listach said of Kroeger. “He’s a left-handed hitter, so you can plug him into that lineup any night and he’ll do some damage. He doesn’t say much in the clubhouse, but from 7 to 10, he’s all business.”

As you can tell, I'm looking for alternatives to Floyd, Jones, Hoffpauir, etc.

how many double plays vs league average have we hit into?

according to the mlb site, the cubs rank 21st in hitting into DP's

1-Oakland (49), 2- Rockies (47)
21-Cubs (32)
30-Brewers (25)

so clearly we are below average in GIDP's...so I have to assume that we lead the league in poorly timed GIDP's (per my definition is GIDP's with a man on 2nd or 3rd). I have no idea how to look that up though.

Va, Phil:

Fox also has 5 BBs and 31 K's, so he would fit right in...his OBP is barely above his BA. Not good.

didn't I mention Murton's baserunning mistake?

and sorry about the Cotts info, speed reading.

"allegedly he’s 26…"

Oh for fuck's sake, ENOUGH with assuming players are still faking their birth certificates. Venezuela IS NOT Cuba, they have valid offices of vital records and they're not a third world country. Sure, they're run by a complete nut, but they can at least get their certificates right.

BillyBucks,

Fox's OBP is barely higher than his BA, but they're both quite high.

If you want to get on base, you look at OBP. If you're getting guys on base and nobody's driving them in, SLG is not a bad indicator.

I'd like to see some players on the Cubs who, when they hit the ball, the runner on second doesn't have to hold up at third.

Cliff Floyd: I suppose it's a small data sample, but his OBP is down 21 points from his career average, while his SLG is down 83 points. Do we want Floyd in the lineup if he's turning into a singles hitter?

anyone find it odd that 5 years ago all the rage was the cubs pitching prospects and this talk continued even up until 2 years ago. Now it seems all the talk is about our position players. What gives? And does this mean they will end up as the Juan Cruz's of outfielders?

Even more predictable than Izturis grounding into that double play was Chad's defense of Izturis.

Also, RobG did mention Murton's baserunning mistake, and even implied it was "dumb."

anyone find it odd that 5 years ago all the rage was the cubs pitching prospects and this talk continued even up until 2 years ago. Now it seems all the talk is about our position players. What gives?

Well, Hendry pretty much cleaned out our AAA and AA staffs. He gave quite a few away for peanuts (e.g. Nolasco, Pinto & Mitre for a one year rental of Pierre). But most of them can be found pitching in the major leagues including four Cub SP's, Hill, Marshall, Zambrano, and Guzman.

can someone explain to me why the hell rich hill didn't learn a slide step in the minor's?

(e.g. Nolasco, Pinto & Mitre for a one year rental of Pierre)

that trade still pains me, they might not be the next roger clemens but they were wasted in that trade

(e.g. Nolasco, Pinto & Mitre for a one year rental of Pierre)
----
anyone bringing up D-Train is going to get whacked in the nose

Izzy benched...I'd call this the hot hand lineup (which is good cause I said he'd get the most ab's in the 2 hole in the preseason contest)

Soriano, DeRo, DLee, ARam, Floyd, Barrett, JJones, Riot & Marquis

vs

Giles, Cruz, Cameron, Gonzalez, Greene, Baird, Mad Russian, Sledge & Young

Even with the carping and the abuse, at least we're relatively on topic with baseball and more or less sticking to substantive criticisms and substantiated rebuttals (mostly; a few exceptions). As long as we're hovering within a short win/lose streak of .500, still lots of reason to log on and see what the topic du jour is.

TCR, still the best Cubs Blog. And the season is not a lost cause...yet...if you're (on average) tuning in because there is a reasonable chance of some good baseball being played.

I laugh everytime I see references to the Pierre trade. Most, not all, applauded the trade when it was made. We wanted to run Mitre out of town. Nolasco is battling injuries, and Pinto is till inconsistent. I we still had Ricky and he was sent to the DL (twice I believe) we would be mocking the Cubs for yet another injured pitcher. The last laugh for now is that Mitre has had at least two good starts in a row.

Well, it's not just Izzy. Derosa and Lee just struck out with a leadoff triple. Ramirez is our last chance. Let's start ripping the heart of the order like we do Izzy! You can include Rammy now, He just fanned.

RobG, I hope you didn't spit over the railing. I think I was sitting right underneath you. My first trek to PetCo as well. And you're right, Hells Bells is hard to understand unless you're there.

And on the Murton baserunning gaffe, I'm shocked--shocked!-- that the ball was caught. It looked like a sure-fire base hit when it came off the bat but the RFer was playing so shallow and it was about the only ball that carried all night.

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