When the Cat's Away El Mouse Will Finally Play

After getting stood up at a mid-day press conference with a once angry pitcher in exile from the big leagues I went home after work to change into shorts and sandals and then headed back to the ballpark. Last night I pulled my first shift of the summer in the "Ryne Line," the nightly queue that forms in the stands to get a brief audience with the only HOF'er currently at work in baseball's minor leagues.

Since I was there alone I was left to pass the wait by watching the Oklahoma City Redhawks take BP before the grounds crew painted the infield a dark red and bright white. I couldn't help but eavesdrop on some of the conversations going on around me. One guy a few spots back remarked that he can't stand the Metrodome and doesn't plan on going to a Twins' game again until or unless they get an outdoor stadium. Good luck with that, pal!

Eventually I got the manager of the first place Iowa Cubs to sign a PCL ball and one of the cards they were passing out at the Wrigley Field turnstiles on the day in 2005, about a month after his induction at Cooperstown, when his #23 was retired and hoisted up the foul pole.

I don't know enough about big league baseball or Ryne Sandberg to know what kind of a manager he would be at that level. I do think he has grown into his role as a manager at this level.

His respect for the game, as much as the numbers he amassed playing it, are a good example for prospects rising through the system. But how would the attitudes expressed in his HOF speech play with a guy like Carlos Zambrano for instance? This morning's Des Moines Register quotes Sandberg as talking with Zambrano upon the latter's arrival in Des Moines earlier this week about the importance of demonstrating to the youngsters how a major leaguer goes about his business. He also reminded him that he was joining a team in first place. These comments almost sound like warnings from a parent to a child before they leave town for the weekend which Sandberg is doing , by the way, to attend this year's ceremonies at Cooperstown where his old teammate, Andre Dawson, joins the elite club. Zambrano is suppoed to pitch tonight, finally. We'll see how he behaves while his [anger] manager du jour is away.

I note that Ryno has not surprisingly broken out to a solid early lead in the Chicago Tribune's informal popularity poll about Piniella's eventual replacement. His selection would be a natural PR move. But more importantly, I think if he gets the job it will signal a sea change in organizational direction and philosophy. I don't think Sandberg is the man to take charge of the national league's highest paid team even though he was once, briefly, MLB's highest paid player when he signed a contract at something like $7 million per year as I recall. But if this next rebuilding cycle centers on homegrown talent then he might be the wise choice as well as the people's choice. With that in mind, Hendry's ability to bail wasted payroll from his sinking lifeboat between now and whenever his next new manager is hired may have a lot to say about who that turns out to be.

MEANWHILE...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you watch Sam Fuld on a regular basis you'd want him on your side. Tuesday night he had two doubles in game one of a twinbill. In game two he homered before making spectacular catches for the first and third outs in the 7th and last inning to nail down the I-Cubs' sweep. His sidekick is Darwin Barney who is very near the PCL lead in both hits and at-bats and has nudged his BA just north of .300 again. Fuld is the much faster of the pair. The other night Barney stole 2nd when he, or Sandberg, picked a good off-speed pitch to run on, and got up and kept right on going to 3rd before another pitch was thrown when he noticed the 3rd baseman was playing back and the pitcher wasn't paying him any attention whatsoever. But then he was thrown out at home after tagging up on a fly ball to fairly deep CF. He wasn't dogging it and I can't believe he was winded after his dashes around the middle bases. I know they both project as bench players but a good bench is a good thing. My guess is that both of them are Sandberg's type of player and would have a spot on a roster he put together in Chicago next year...

Last night was a rematch of a bout five days ago between Jeff Samardzija and rehabbing Rich Harden. Our guy won again. Both had shaky innings when we scored four in the bottom of the 2nd and they got two back in the top of the 3rd. Both finished strong, retiring the last nine hitters they faced in their five-inning stints. In fact, Harden racked up nine strikeouts, striking out the side after Micah Hoffpauir blasted a two-run homer to dead center off of him in the bottom of the 3rd. But he appears really out of his groove with his changeup, like a golfer groping for a swing that he knows will repeat itself stroke after stroke. Not offering him arbitration last fall turned out to be a good decision after all. As for Samardzija, you know the speech. Power arm - he was in the mid to upper 90's throughout last night - poor command. He throws too many obvious balls; pitches that miss their spot so badly as to not even tempt a hitter to get himself out. Only as of just last night has he allowed as many hits as walks for the year, 38 of each in 58 innings of work.

Comments

with all the resources deadspin has they had to even write that article?

it's like asking who that guy in the straw hat all those years behind home plate in LA was.

weird.

Ummm... Who was that guy?

mike brito, long-time dodgers scout

http://imageofsport.org/image/thumb/250-250/4...

But where's Waldo?

I always believed he was a victim of a mafia hit.

Mike--

I'll be taking the kids to the Aug. 9 iCubs game, and they're really excited about getting Ryno's autograph. Does he sign before or after the game? If before, how early should we get there?

Thanks--

garsky...he signs every night according to a pregame ritual; be prepared to go early and wait 45 minutes to an hour in a line that forms by the i-cub dugout and ends up winding down the aisle parallel to the leftfield foul line...he starts @ about 6:45 for a 7:05 game and signs for about 15 minutes every game. It's very orderly & he will sign 2 items per 'customer' - as far as i know there are no restrictions on what he'll sign; people take jerseys, bats, balls, etc. & he also poses for quick pictures...by 6:00 last night the line was already getting lengthy

Thanks Mike!

Cincinnati IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Volquez(L, 1-1) 2.1 5 6 6 4 4 1 7.56

just like trading for an all-star.

I'm sure there's a study on this, but guys coming back from TJ surgery seem to take 2-3 months of whenever they feel like they're ready to actually start pitching like they use to.

It seems to be more of a 1 season period instead of 2-3 months. They come back and are just inconsistent that first year. The second year they are normally back to normal.

On another note, it looks like David Dejesus just broke his wrist (or sprained/injured) trying to make a catch at Yankee Stadium.

And Alberto Callaspo was traded to the Angels to fill their gaping hole at 3b, so I guess we can cross them off the list for teams that might be intersted in ARam.

You mean like trading for former All-Star Carlos Zambrano?

"An MRI Thursday on Jamie Moyer's left arm revealed a sprain of the ulnar collataral ligament and a strain of the pronator tendon."

:(

MLB started testing minor leaguers for HGH today...

http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2010/07/22/minor-leag...

*waits for the first of 150 positive reports*

That's kind of what I thought. But I did read about a year ago that the tests for HGH they had then could only catch someone if they had taken HGH in the previous 24 hours, that it's out of the system too quickly to make the tests that useful.

I don't know if the current tests are just as restricted.

As I understand it it's a naturally occuring hormone, you're simply measuring the level of it (like testosterone). I think the 24 hour thing is for urine, and that the time frame for blood tests is longer.

Anyway, just further evidence Selig wasn't complicit in allowing steroids in MLB.

Cards allegedly offered 2 major league players for Oswalt.

Aaron Miles and Brendan Ryan?

I keed.

better get at least one of Frese, Rasmus (I assume he's untouchable) or Garcia if you're Wade.

Rotoworld suggests John Jay, Allan Craig, Fernando Salas, none of whom I know much about so maybe just as good as my list.

A. Callapso to Angels for Sean O' Sullivan and William Smith.

ESPN saying Astros would have to eat some of Oswalt's salary in order to trade to Cards.

well, well...might as well buy LaRussa a keg for the clubhouse and offer to wipe after Duncan takes a dump.

guess it all depends on the level of prospect Astros could be getting back...

From Paul Sullivan on Twitter...
Sammy Fuld just made an incredible catch in center to save Zambrano in his debut outing in Iowa. Z seems very happy.

And this from Carrie Muskat...
Carlos Zambrano gives up two hits, both singles, in scoreless 7th for #IowaCubs. He threw 15 pitches, 10 strikes

They showed highlights on the Chicago news. Fuld ran back and slammed into the CF wall to make the catch.

On another note, the Royal's DeJesus supposedly only hurt his thumb running into the wall trying to make a catch tonight at Yankee Stadium. It looked really bad, he jammed his hand/wrist into the bullpen fence and bent it back. I thought for sure he broke his wrist.

Second round pick Reggie Golden to sign Friday.

http://www.thewetumpkaherald.com/articles/201...

Then 17-year old Reggie Golden launches a three-run bomb in Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field last August.

And here is Reggie taking BP before the AFLAC All-America Game at Petco Park in San Diego (also last August).

And finally here is Golden working out for scouts in RF at UIC last August the day before the Under Armour game at Wrigley Field.

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  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 4 min 37 sec ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 27 min 11 sec ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 27 min 42 sec ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 30 min 25 sec ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 33 min 45 sec ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 34 min 13 sec ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 38 min 25 sec ago view
  • i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.

    the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.

    some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.

    crunch 50 min 50 sec ago view
  • I read it as him saying it's not really that much of a concern and that the one time it really cost Lester, vs. K.C., was an anomaly.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 56 min 25 sec ago view
  • if jeff says it, it's cool...when i say it, it's straight from the mouth of hitler.

    aside from the lack of jeff touching on the insane leads runners take and lester's inability to throw if he's fielding, this is a lot of what i've said about the issue.

    exploitable, needs his own personal catcher to control his shortcomings, relies on his ability to get outs along with his personal catcher keeping runners in check before things become further exploited...

    crunch 58 min 35 sec ago view
  • That would be Rice Krispy Treat

    The E-Man 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • "Crunch's cousin"

    Butterfinger or Baby Ruth?

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • I saw the first three innings and the last three, so I didn't see Arrieta get hit. His stuff looked nasty at first...what happened? Any insight from anyone who watched?

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • That question came from CRUNCH's cousin.

    The E-Man 2 hours 46 min ago view
  • He's definitely one of the best

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 2 hours 46 min ago view
  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs on Lester:

    Question: Do you think that Lester’s base-throwing yips/lack of the ability to hold runners is a big deal? He’s had a long, successful career despite this, mainly due to being good a run prevention, but it did hurt that one time vs. KC in the playoffs. Should Cubs fans be making a bigger deal out of it, or is it just not that big of a deal?

    Tito 2 hours 58 min ago view