Archive - Mar 2007

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse held a terrific roundtable concerning the relationship between sports bloggers and sports journalists earlier this month, featuring Paul Sullivan, Bruce Miles, Will Carroll and Paul Lukas.

GROTA invited me, Al Yellon, Joe Aiello, and Chuck Gitles of Bleed Cubbie Blue, The View from the Bleachers, and Ivy Chat, respectively, to contribute to the follow-up round table, which you can now read, here. It's more serious than entertaining, but I have to say, I was pretty proud of these two lines:

Looking for good reporting in the sports blogosphere is like when you played spin the bottle with the high school band: You might get the hot saxophonist, but more likely you get stuck with one of the woodwinds.

and

Regarding some of Paul Sullivan’s comments: I’ve already discussed at length his remark about how “most newspaper reporters have to actually go to college and get a degree” and pay their dues, and so forth.

But I wonder if Paul is aware that he split an infinitive in his sentence about the necessity of getting a college degree? ~grin~

My previous TCR commentary on the state of sports blogs and sports journalism can be found here.

Dr. Joseph Hecht returns with a new recurring column, a breakdown of injuries to our Cubs and some of our division rivals. --------- Under the Category: Break out the Blue Duct Tape. Kerry Wood’s latest ache is apparently proximal triceps related. He is officially on the DL and back to slow rehab mode although there has been no word on when towel drills will begin. So far no MRI has been ordered but who knows since we’re not getting much information. Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll has said: “What’s not so bad is that sources tell me that pain is not in the back of the shoulder, but rather nearer the triceps where Wood has already had problems this spring.” I commented on the situation a few days back on this TCR thread. Included is a nice link to triceps anatomy. Godspeed Woody… -----

Fun game if you're watching today's game, see who's napping at the game or didn't even bother to show up from too much partying in Vegas. Marquis vs. Horacio Ramirez and then down with the NL starting on Monday.

March 30th

Vegas Baby, Vegas! Cubs versus Mariners in the desert at Cashman Park. Ted Lilly versus Miguel Batista. Which of these Cubs is most likely to have spent the whole night gambling, drinking and hitting the strip joints? A) Carlos Zambrano B) Cliff Floyd C) Ryan Theriot D) Henry Blanco E) Scott Eyre

As Christmas Opening Day approaches, time to put on the prognostication hats and have some fun with the Cubs season. Reader Bryan has offered to tabulate the results and I'll come up with the prizes at some point (still owe chifan3887 for his Free Agent Frenzy win, I didn't forget about you). So predict away... Five points for a correct answer. 1. Who will have the most plate appearances in the #2 spot of the lineup? 2. Who will have the most plate appearances in the #8 spot of the lineup? 3. Which player will end up playing the most defensive positions? 4. Which pitcher will start the most games for the Cubs? 5. Which pitcher will end up with the most appearances for the Cubs? 6. Which Cub(s) will make the All-Star team? (5 points for each correct name, subtract 2 points if you name someone who doesn't make it) 7. Which Cub(s) will finish in the top 10 in MVP voting? (5 points for each correct name, subtract 2 points if you name someone who doesn't make it - None is an acceptable answer) 8. Who will be the first Cub promoted from the minors? 9. Who will be the first Cub on the Opening Day 25-man roster to land on the disabled list? (that means Kerry Wood, Buck Coats and Juan Mateo are excluded) 10. Where will the Cubs finish in the division (1 through 6)? 8 points for a correct answer on the following 2 questions, subtract one point for how many places you're off. So if you predict they'll be 5th in runs scored and they end up at 3rd or 7th, you get 6 points. We won't get into negatives though, so if you're off by more than eight, you'll get zero points. 11. Where will the Cubs rank in team runs scored among National League teams? (1 through 16) 12. Where will the Cubs rank in team runs allowed among National League teams? (1 through 16, 1 meaning the least amount of runs allowed) 15 points for the correct answer on the following questions, subtract one point for how far you end up off the final answer. For example, if you predict 90 wins for the Cubs and they end up with 88, you get 13 points. We won't get into the negatives though, so if you miss by 15 or more you get a zero for that answer. 13. How many wins for the Cubs in 2007? 14. How many total home runs by Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano combined? 15. How many home runs and stolen bases for Soriano combined? (If you think he'll end up at 40/40, please put 80 as your answer) Tie-Breaker #1: How many innings pitched in the majors for Mark Prior? (closest answer wins) Tie-Breaker #2: How many innings pitched in the minors for Mark Prior? (only used if there happens to be a tie for the first tie-breaker question) To make it easy for Bryan, please use the following format to answer. Please use a separate comment if you care to add your two cents beyond your answers. I'll close the comments on Monday, April 2nd around 11am CST. 1. Name 2. Name 3. Name etc, etc, etc... UPDATE: In my attempt to make things easier I foolishy separated the wins and losses question earlier. Just ignore that and I'll fix the comments on those that answered already.

March 29th

For the second time this Spring, Micah Hoffpauir stroked a game-winning HR, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 before an all-time single-game Cactus League record crowd of 12,917 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon. box score

The last game at Hohokam Park for the year and Arizona Phil tells us that they're cutting it off after nine innings even if it's tied so everyone can pack up and head to Vegas for the weekend series versus the Mariners. Wade Miller goes for the Cubs against a split-squad DBacks crew led by Doug Davis on the mound.

For your morning's amusement, a sampling of search results that have brought people to TCR.

March 28th

Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez homered, and Mark Prior got his final 2007 ST start before being optioned to AAA Iowa, as the Cubs and Rockies battled to a ten-inning 4-4 tie in front of a capacity crowd of 12,716 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park today in Mesa. box score

The Cubs optioned Mark Prior to AAA today along with Angel Pagan and Rocky Cherry. That leaves 28 warm bodies in camp and Buck Coats, Juan Mateo and Kerry Wood will all head to the disabled list. So your 2007 Chicago Cubs:

Mark Prior velocity watch vs. Aaron Cook. Snooze. - In other news, the Cubs and Zambrano are still talking about an extension, the Sun-Times has sources saying negotiations center around a five-year deal in the $75 to $85 million range (that includes his $12.4 million contract from this year, so essentially a four-year extension). - The same article says that former top prospect and current reclamation project Matt Harrington has been released - we hardly knew ye. Former #1 pick Bobby Brownlie has also been released. - Lou is threatening to send Michael Wuertz down to Iowa to build up some arm strength and seems to really be pushing for an 11-man staff to get Angel Pagan on the team.

Our resident doctor, Joseph Hecht takes a look at the plight of one of our Cubs heroes. ---------- I have an idea for a dramatic play. Synopsis: It’s about a dysfunctional family. The father ran off years ago, leaving two children and their mother, except for one postcard of Wrigley Field, the father has not been heard from since.

March 27th

With both teams probably "out of pitchers," and with a tie game looming, Ronny Cedeno lofted a two-out three-run walk-off home run off the scoreboard in left field, giving the Cubs a hard-fought 13-10 ten-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of 10,886 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score

I'm officially bored of spring training....let the games begin!!!! Rich Hill versus fellow lefty Jorge de la Rosa today at Hohokam Park. The Kerry Wood news from Will Carroll doesn't sound too bad, far less damning than Mr. Wittenmeyer's speculation that Wood will be fortunate to be back by June.
It's bad, in that any setback is bad, especially to a shoulder we already know is both fragile and damaged. What's not so bad is that sources tell me that pain is not in the back of the shoulder, but rather nearer the triceps where Wood has already had problems this spring. After seeing Wood's last outing, it's hard to see any mechanical difference--he's still stepping across his body, and it still looks like scapular dyskinesis could be an issue beyond the triceps and damaged cuff. It's still unclear how long this will sideline Wood, but Opening Day is out for sure. Whether he makes it back and can hold up as a reliever remains to be seen.
Hey, don't we have a doctor in the house? Time for Cubster to chime in... UPDATE: Piniella says the news on Wood is "encouraging." From Sullivan's article:
"A lot of the soreness and pain is gone," Piniella said. "We'll continue to evaluate him over the next few days. Whatever he can do, we'll allow 'em to do."
Wood was evaluated by a team physician Monday. The Cubs are referring to Wood's injury as "shoulder fatigue" and he's being treated with anti-inflammatories. He'll be evaluated "day-to-day."

Mark Prior gets his final ST start tomorrow, facing the Colorado Rockies at HoHoKam Park. But with Wade Miller's outstanding outing at Scottsdale Stadium last Saturday (5 IP, three hits, no runs, no walks, and four strikeouts), it appears that Miller has all but nailed-down the 5th spot in the Cubs starting rotation.

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