Archive - 2007

October 24th

The final tallies aren't in for the 2007 preseason prediction but there were a few other contests we ran over the years that I never got around to calculating. So now is the time... 2006-2007 Free Agent Frenzy Full Results 1. Chifan3887 - 64 2. WPZ - 59 (Now known as Wrigley's Believe it or Not) 2. Junior - 59 Chifan3887 takes the prize by being the only one to correctly pick Greg Maddux signing with the Padres last offseason.

October 23rd

Which dubious single-game NL record did Glenn Beckert set in 1972?
Good luck with that one....

Today we welcome five esteemed Cub bloggers who were kind enough to share their thoughts on the questions which the TCRers addressed on Monday. The guest list includes: Andy from Desipio.com, Adam from Bugs and Cranks, Joe of View From The Bleachers, Cub Reporter alum and Mayor of Cub Town, Derek Smart, and the Ted Lilly Fan Club. It's an honor to be your hosts, gentlemen. Thank you for coming over to play in our sandbox. Enjoy… 1.) What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Joe (View From The Bleachers): My favorite moment of the season was by far the comeback on June 25th, when the Cubs had seemingly blown the game in the 9th after a bullpen implosion that allowed six runs. The Cubs came back and won it on a walk-off, two-run single by Soriano that made Len Kasper’s voice crack. I wanted to jump up and scream, but the family was asleep. Adam (Bugs and Cranks): Aramis Ramirez' walk-off homer against the Brewers on June 29th was probably my favorite memory. It was the moment where it really seemed like winning the division was going to happen.

October 22nd

A double dose for you...
Following the 1973 season. the Cubs traded future Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Vic Harris and what future four-time batting champion?
AND
Who has taken the most career walks as a member of the Cubs?
Web searches are discouraged....

With a lull in the offseason action and on the playoff diamond, we thought it's time to break out the TCR roundtbale. As always, TCR is not responsible for the opinions and viewpoints of its authors. ------- 1. What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Cubnut: Two come to mind: Ramirez's game-winning home run against the Brewers at the end of June and Lee's pinch-hit grand slam to seal a win against Team Grinder. I also enjoyed the early-season game (at Cincy?) in which Lou Piniella stormed out to the mound in the ninth inning, screamed five or six words at a struggling Ryan Dempster, then made a u-turn without ever actually stopping. After all the mealy-mouthed managerial nonsense of the past few years, I thought that moment was refreshing AZ PHIL: Aramis Ramirez hitting the game-winning HR in the bottom of the 9th off Brewers closer Francisco Cordero at Wrigley Field. Transmission: I agree with AZ Phil. Dr. Hecht: I was at the game where Lou Piniella had his tirade with umpire Mark Wegner. I still love watching it on the highlights that I've saved for my iPod. The first portion of the season had been so disappointing. The day before Zambrano had his altercation with Barrett and the Cubs were a 22-30 to that point. The Cubs wound up losing the Saturday game to the Braves 5-3. So what was to like? Although many have said Lou's antics were contrived that day, particularly because Pagan was pretty clearly out out at third, it really had a tangible feel that Lou was doing the right thing for his club. He was doing what any good 1950-60's manager would have done...go toe to toe, belly to belly and kicking some All-American third base dirt on a very prissy modern day umpire, you know, these umps who nowadays toss players for blinking improperly. Somewhere above (or below) the ghost of Jocko Conlan was enjoying Lou's display. I love old style baseball, not to mention an Old Style when Lou went ballistic. Rob G.: The Aramis walk-off homer was the "oh my god" moment of the season. But that whole period from the end of June until Soriano hurt his hamstring, there was a general feeling that the Cubs would find a way to win most of their games. I'm not sure there's a more reassuring feeling for a baseball fan when you know your team will find ways to win. Christian: Mostly I have an overall general memory of slowly remembering why I like this team. Four years of Dusty Baker had really soured me on the Cubs, and the off-season, with its questionable signings and news that my favorite player wouldn't be playing this year (if ever again) didn't help. Once the season started, it took a few months for me to even want to pay attention anymore. Once I did, I realized how different the team looked and how much more interesting they were under Piniella. I guess the specific moment I can point to is the June 29th game, when they came back from a 5-0 hole in the first to win on A-Ram's walk-off homer. Beating the first-place Brewers to win their seventh in a row, I think I felt for the first time that even if they didn't make the playoffs (which seemed a foregone conclusion at that point), they would at least be fun & interesting to watch down the stretch.

October 21st

This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused).

October 19th

It be rather slow when it comes to all things Cubs related these days but we've got a few things planned for next week for your enjoyment. In the meantime, notes start walking: - Cubs.com has a new offer for an online fan club. Your twenty bucks gets you this:
Cubs Club members will receive benefits unavailable to other fans, including your very own 2007 Membership Card, MLB.com's Gameday Audio for the 2007 regular season, exclusive ticket offers, access to the home postgame press conference video archives, the ability to view Wrigley Field 24/7 through our interactive web cameras, and access to our exclusive editorial content and blog provided by the staff of Vine Line.
It seems to be just worth the Gameday Audio that usually goes for $14.95 I believe. UPDATE: As always, read the fine print or well just read it thoroughly. It's not such a great offer since the Gameday Audio expires at the end of 2007 and there's about 5-12 games left on the year that matter. You can read the full membership benefits here.

October 18th

I'm going to bring back TCR Friday Notes for tomorrow but just a reminder that Derrek Lee will be making a guest appearance on ER tonight which should be relatively soon for your East Coasters. Here's hoping that it's better than his last performance on a big stage.

October 17th

Cubs front office promotions include Oneri Fleita and Mark O'Neal. FLEITA WAS: director of player development and Latin American operations NOW IS: vice president of player personnel It's a new title, so what becomes of Oneri's old position? Is this a cost cutting move (24 fewer letters on his business card)? O'NEAL WAS: head athletic trainer NOW IS: director, athletic training I think it lets Mark O'Neal take care of the entire body now instead of only things above the neck (he was getting tired of working on Z punching people in the noggin). My congratulations to Mark O'Neal. Keeping the team healthy makes my life on TCR that much easier! CARL RICE WAS: director of information systems and special projects NOW IS: senior director of information systems and special projects Looks like our Cub computer whiz is either a year older so he got the elder statesman title or he took a course in Spanish, so now they get to call him señor. JAY BLUNK WAS: director of sales and marketing NOW IS: vice president of marketing and broadcasting The promotion includes getting a key to the executive washroom. His first action will be to get rid of the remaining Andy McPhail monogrammed hand towels.

October 16th

The Baltimore Orioles have claimed RHP Roberto Novoa off waivers from the Cubs. Acquired along with 3B Scott Moore and OF Bo Flowers from the Tigers in February 2005 in exchange for RHP Kyle Farnsworth, the 26-year old Novoa spent the entire 2007 on the DL after suffering a fractured shoulder in an off-season car crash. In his two previous seasons with the Cubs (2005 and 2006), Novoa went 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 115 games (all in relief), allowing 124 hits and 19 HR in 120.2 IP, with 57 BB and 100 K and a 1.50 WHIP. Because Novoa, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman were on the DL going into the post-season, the Cubs were able to add three players to their post-season roster who were not on their 25-man roster as of 8/31 (Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, and Geovany Soto), but once the Cubs were eliminated, there was no further need to keep Novoa on the DL. Players on the 60-day DL do not have to be placed back onto the 40-man roster until rosters are frozen on 11-20, but wth 2+169 of accumulated MLB service time, Novoa will almost certainly qualify as a "Super Two" for salary arbitration purposes, and so he probably would have been non-tendered by the Cubs on 12/12. And because he is eligible to be a Six-Year Minor League FA, even if he had cleared waivers today, he probably would have refused his outright assignment to the minors and would have opted for free-agency instead. So this way, the Cubs get $20,000 instead of nothing. Novoa joins a host of other "refugees" from the Cubs who are now in the Orioles organization, including (among others) RHPs Francis Beltran, Chadd Blasko, Rocky Cherry, and Jon Leicester, IF-OF Freddie Bynum, OFs Jason Dubois, Jason Fransz, Luis Montanez, and Corey Patterson, 3B Scott Moore, and 1B Brandon Sing, former Cubs President Andy McPhail, and ex-Cubs Scouting Director John Stockstill. Also, Orioles manager Dave Trembley and bullpen coach Alan Dunn are former coaches in the Cubs minor league system, and ex-Cubs RHP Kennie Steenstra is pitching coach at the Orioles Delmarva club in the South Atlantic League.

October 15th

From Dusty, himself:
"I love challenges." "I know I'm not a miracle man. I don't know if it's going to take a year or two years or whatever. But we're dedicated to winning.” "I want to dispel the reputation that I can only work with older players…I'm looking forward to having a mixture of young and old. I sometimes feel I have more in common with younger players." "I want to help guys on the team have a winning attitude. I'm almost more of a teacher than a manager." "A number of players have indicated that they would possibly like to come [here] and play for me. They're dedicated to bringing in the best players that the budget will allow."
From his new boss, the General Manager:
"He brings a lot of intangibles. A lot of people want to play for him." "It's pretty obvious that he's one of the best in the business. Every player he gets, he gets the most out of him." "Putting our young players in his hands is going to be terrific. It came across very clearly…that he was looking forward to helping mold and shape their careers and he was looking forward to working with young players. He felt, through his homework, that we had a lot of good ones, not only coming up to the big leagues last year, but coming up through the system…He's a guy I feel can work with any type of player, and certainly with our young players."
Bob Castellini and Wayne Krivsky feel they have the right man. But then, so did Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry, back in November of 2002…when Dusty and Hendry stood before the assembled Chicago media and the microphones at the press conference from which all of these quotes were taken.

The contracts of 18 Cubs minor league players expire on October 15th, and so each of the 18 is eligible to be a free-agent. The Cubs have until the day after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether to add a potential minor league free-agent to their 40-man roster (which the player cannot refuse), offer the player a minor league contract for the following season (which the player can refuse), or just allow the player to walk away.

October 14th

Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs and the Seattle Mariners are the two MLB clubs who have expressed the most interest in Hiroshima Toyo Carp RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is 32-years old and an 11-year veteran of Japanese major league baseball. Because he is an unrestricted FA, no posting fee would be required. Sully also mentions that the Cubs had tried to sign Kuroda a year ago, but Kuroda decided to return to the Carp for one more season. Cubs Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator Steve Wilson has been busy the past few months, signing amateur free-agents from Australia, Korea, and Taiwan. By being present and active around Asian and Australian baseball circles, Wilson gives the Cubs a leg-up over where they were just a year ago. The "Big Fish" among Japanese FA this off-season should be Chunichi Dragons OF Kosuke Fukudome. A 30-year old left-handed hitting RF, Kosuke (like Ichiro, he wants to be known by his first name) had right elbow surgery in L. A. in August, and is presently said to be rehabbing in the U. S. As is the case with Kuroda, Kosuke (pronounced "Ko-Skay") is an unrestricted FA and so no posting fee would be required.

10-15-07 - Dusty Baker announced as Reds new manager 11-2-07 - Wayne Krivsky trades Phil Dumatrait for World Series MVP Augie Ojeda

October 13th

Today was "getaway day" for the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team, and when I say "getaway" day," I don't mean an overnight trip to Tucson. I mean the end of the line, far as we go, everybody off the train.

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