Virtual Waiting Room Virtually Gone
So, single game tickets went on sale yesterday (yawn), a couple of weeks later than what had been the norm for many years. I used to go at it on Day One via phone and computer both, from the opening bell until whenever I finally broke down the door to the virtual waiting room. Usually that was mid-afternoon and by then the pickings were slim for whatever prime games hadn’t already sold out.
Yesterday it was mid-afternoon before I even recalled that the ticket windows were open. Then I tapped into the Cub website for the sake of both old times and curiosity.
Opening Day was still wide open. So was the White Sox series. The Saturday Boston game in June was down to nothing but $140 (!) bleacher seats (that’s not including handling/processing fees) but the Friday and Sunday games were very available. Weekend series with the Cardinals in July and September still featured full menus of sections and price tiers. I checked again before I hit the sack last night and all of the above was still true. I couldn't find a sold out game. Feeling almost sorry for the organization I plunged in and bought four in the bleachers for a game vs. the Giants on Labor Day weekend when my alma mater Iowa Hawkeyes will also be in town for their season opener at Soldier Field. I got 'em for the comparatively low price of $27 (silver tier) plus about another nine bucks per in add-on fees.
The brand appears a bit tarnished after prolonged storage in fifth place.
But the thick manual the new management regime has been rushing to assemble apparently isn't limited to on-field ways and means of doing business.
One of my spring rites is to get pocket schedules from the Cub marketing commandoes. I'm unable to find them here in Des Moines, even so closely removed from headquarters as the team's Triple A outpost. They always oblige, but never so promptly or cordially as this year. The same day I e-mailed my request I got a reply from Barb, a "Wrigley Field Ambassador" assuring me the schedules were already in the mail. Sure enough, they arrived a couple of days later, tucked inside a handwritten note from Barb. She also tossed in a Cub decal and expressed her hope that I'd be able to pay (and I do mean pay) a visit to The Vaunted Confines sometime in 2012.
There's one born every minute. The trick this year will be luring three million of us enabling suckers through the turnstiles again. But if they can get someone who's used to driving across town to watch guys like LaHair and Barney play for free to spend lots of time and money for the privilege of watching them do less in Chicago than they did here in Des Moines, who knows? Maybe they can turn that trick.
15 minutes until first peek at the 2012 Cubs on WGN. I can hardly wait to see what I bought into.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.