Archive - Feb 2009

February 28th

Brad Snyder smacked a grand slam home run and Bobby Scales batted twice and drove in three runs with two singles to highlight a nine-run 7th, as the Cubs shutout the White Sox 13-0 before an all-time record crowd of 13,010 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, Arizona.  

box score

Aaron Heilman goes for the Cubs, Jeff Marquez for the White Sox.

Corey Koskie signed a minor league deal and will join the Cubs after Team Canada is eliminated from the WBC. The Cubs have been searching for someone that could play third base and spell Aramis Ramirez on occasion, and with his left-handedness he seems like the perfect fit if the game hasn't passed him by.

Perhaps you have run into "word clouds," a visual device that represents how frequently different words appear in a text.  As a historian I love it, as I can do fun things like compare Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance speech with McCain's from the Republican National Convention.

That's useful stuff.  I can show word clouds like those to my students, and ask them what the clouds do (and do not) reveal.

But who cares about utility.  Let's use some word clouds to navel-gaze, and check out our favorite baseball-related websites.

 

- Joe Posnanski writes about the case for Andre Dawson and the Hall of Fame.

3. The idea that a lack of walks is the ONLY reason Dawson has not been
elected to the Hall of Fame does not ring true for me. If Dawson had
3,000 hits, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He does not. If Dawson had
500 homers, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He does not. If Dawson had
managed to stay in center field for more than seven years — that is if
his knees had not gone out on him — he would be in the Hall of Fame.
His knees did go out (and I think he won four pretty suspect Gold
Gloves in right field). If Dawson had hit .300 instead of .279 for his
career, he would be in the Hall of Fame, and probably if he hit .290.
If Dawson had driven in 100 RBIs 10 times instead of four, score 100
runs 10 times instead of two … on and on.

- Fangraphs takes a quick tour of the Cubs prospects and Alex Eisenberg finishes his top 15 list.

- Spot the current Cub coach in this clip.  Question is, how does a die-hard Tigers fan not know who he's talking with at the bar?

- We won an award. Thank you, thank you very much...I'd like to thank God for giving me the strength to write about this insufferable franchise on a nearly daily basis. And the Angel Fan Wife for putting up with her insufferable husband while he follows this insufferable team. Oh yeah, and thanks to the rest of the writers which you all actually come here to read.

-  Starting to switch back over to the in-season look around the site. The schedule and weather are back on the left sidebar and game results are back as well at the top right.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

February 27th

Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and reached base three times, Mike Fontenot drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple, and Sam Fuld smacked a solo home run, scored two runs, and threw a runner out at the plate, as the Cubs thrashed the Texas Rangers 10-4 at Surprise Stadium today.

box score

Ted Lilly will start for the Cubs before heading off to Team USA. The Rangers will start Scott Feldman.

Lineup from Muskat:

 SS Ryan Theriot, CF Reed Johnson, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, DH Jason Dubois,
C Geovany Soto, 2B Mike Fontenot, LF Doug Deeds, 3B Luis Rivas, RF So
Taguchi.

February 26th

Jake Fox slammed a three-run homer and Joey Gathright had three hits, a walk, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base (and made a nice running catch in right-centerfield as well), as the Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, Arizona this afternoon, before another smallish crowd (6,711).

box score

 Yovanni Gallardo vs. Sean Marshall to start the game at HoHoKam Park.

Lineup from Muskat:

CF Joey Gathright, 2B Aaron Miles, RF Milton Bradley, 3B Aramis
Ramirez, LF Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jake Fox, C Paul Bako, SS Darwin Barney
and P Sean Marshall.

February 25th

Micah Hoffpauir crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, turning a two-run Cubs deficit into a two-run Cub lead, as the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-3 in the Cactus League opener for both clubs at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona 

box score  

Baseball Prospectus had the Cubs running away with the NL Central a few weeks back. CHONE projections1 thinks it will be a tight race with the St. Louis Cardinals. They have the Cubs at 88 wins, just five ahead of the Cardinals, six ahead of the Reds and seven ahead of the Brewers.

Furthermore, they've got the Cubs listed 10th in their power rankings, fourth in the NL behind the Phillies, Mets and Braves.

I think we can infer two things from this new information. First, the Cubs aren't quite the locks to win the NL Central that some of us have led ourselves to believe. Second, that Sean Smith who runs the CHONE projections is a Cub-hater2. I think that's irrefutable. I even think I found a picture of him


1 - Is it pronounced Shawn? If so, I would have just called it the FIGGINS projections.

2 - Disclaimer: Sarcasm.

Minor League Camp doesn't open for another couple of weeks, but here are the projected Cubs Minor League Camp rosters for the five squads (141 players) at Minor League Camp and also the DSL Cubs Reserve Lists (two teams - 70 players).

The Cactus League season begins with its newest member, the Los Angeles Dodgers strolling into HoHoKam Park. Jeff Samardzija and Mitch Atkins are set to go for the Cubs. The Dodgers will trot out Claudio Vargas to start the game.

Feel the excitement!


Lineups from Sullivan:

Dodgers: Pierre LF, Ausmus C, Ethier RF, Loney 1B, Blake 3B, Kemp CF, DeWitt 2B, Young DH, Abreu SS
Cubs: Soriano LF, Theriot SS, Lee 1B, Hoffpauir DH, Soto C, Fontenot 2B, Johnson CF, Robnett RF, Scales 3B

 

February 24th

The World Baseball Classic Rosters were announced and eight Cubs will be involved with the event - five from the major league squad. (Drumroll please)

  • Carlos Marmol (Dominican Republic)  (See Update below)
  • Carlos Zambrano (Venezuela) (See Update #2)
  • Kosukue Fukudome (Japan)
  • Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico)
  • Ted Lilly (USA)
  • *Vince Perkins (Canada) 
  • **Alex Maestri (Italy)
  • **Hung-wen Chen (Chinese Taipei)

* Non-Roster Invitee, ** Minor League System

So the story from yesterday turns out true about Zambrano and looks like Carlos Marmol had a last minute change of heart. Say hello to your 2009 closer - Kevin Gregg!

UPDATE: Either Muskat is doing her usual bang-up job or some things are still up in the air. Her story doesn't mention Marmol or Zambrano at all. Soto is set to DH in the first game for Puerto Rico and catch Jonathan Sanchez in their third game. Also, under the Cubs headlines on that story is the "Cubs' Marmol opts to skip Classic for D.R." article and it looks like the rosters no longer have Marmol on them, but Zambrano still is listed. Not so fast Kevin Gregg - hahahaha!!

UPDATE #2:  Zambrano said he's not pitching in the WBC. He is set to go Monday for the Cubs in Cactus League play. The Venezuelan teams attempt at the Jedi Mind Trick seems to have failed. 

"Carlos, it says right here that you're pitching for the team. You will pitch in the WBC. Look, it's been printed on the web."

"No, I'm not"

(Waves hand) "Yes, you will."

"No, I'm not, and stop waving your fucking hand around."

The Cubs moved their Spring Training operation a half-mile north up Center Street from Fitch Park to HoHoKam Park today, and as was the case each of the previous two years, Manager Lou Piniella once again eschewed the ubiquitous and traditional intrasquad game most MLB clubs play the day before Cactus League and Grapefruit League games commence. Lou just does not like to play any more games than necessary during Spring Training, even if it's an informal seven-inning intrasquad game.

Hat tip to Bleacher Nation for the find, but it appears that Carlos Zambrano has duped us all. Official rosters are set to be announced tomorrow but SI.com has the scoop on Team Venezuela.


Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs will stand in for Santana on the mound while sluggers Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers will lead Venezuela's offense, according to the line-up released on Monday by Edwin Zerpa, president of the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.

In addition to Santana, Anibal Sanchez, Angel Guzman, Maicer Izturis and Renyel Pinto will not be participating, mostly because their respective Major League teams would not clear them. Others did not want to risk injuries.

Zambrano was not originally expected to join the line-up, but the Cubs decided to clear him.

No good will come of this.

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