Archive - Nov 2010


November 29th

For your consideration...

STUBS: A Father's Tickets to the Greatest Shows on Earth [Outskirts Press] will be formally released on Friday, December 3 at Beaverdale Books here in Des Moines. The book is already showing as "in-stock" online at both Amazon and B&N. The cover synopsis and author bio are below. I've also included a link to the preliminary Amazon listing. I think if you order more than one copy you'll trigger the magic words: FREE SHIPPING!

A boxful of old ticket stubs is the framework for this account of a father’s evolution. While his children grow his horizons expand, changing the way he sees the world. STUBS makes a case for holstering the camcorder, and the dot-to-dot of episodes intertwines with reflections on parenthood from the perspective of a man reborn by the births of his children. The venues range from Raccoon Valley Little League to Carnegie Hall; the occasions from Opening Day at Wrigley Field to Mozart’s 250th birthday party in Salzburg. The result is an album filled with illustrations of how much kids have to teach.

Michael Wellman is the author of Far From the Trees: The Troubled Sons of an American Neighborhood [Outskirts Press], a finalist in the 2009 Indie Book Awards. He is a regular contributor to the Des Moines Register whose work has also appeared in The Iowan and on Iowa Public Radio. During the summer he blogs for The Cub Reporter. He was born, raised and lives it up in Des Moines, Iowa, a place he can’t seem to get enough of. Contact him at [email protected].

November 23rd

As the holidays draw near it's time to start making lists. Even in the wake of seasons as lackluster as 2010 there are things to be grateful for. Take, for instance, the following:

1. The Cubs still don't have a mascot.

2. Most of the seats at Wrigley Field are still unobstructed.

3. Most of the events staged there are still baseball games.

4. Ron Santo still works there.

5. The scoreboard is still [literally] alive.

6. The Triple A team still plays where I live.

7. We're out from under Rothschild's contract & burdensome last name.

8. All of the other contracts are a year older.

9. Cubs are undefeated & unbeatable for another four-plus months.

10. Sunshine is a known cure for Ricketts.

Enough with Thanksgiving. What about a Christmas list?

1. A .648 winning % [aka, 24 -13].

2. A bullpen made up of one year contracts.

3. An honest year's work out of Zambrano.

4. A decent year's work out of Soriano.

5. Above average grades for the sophomore C's.

6. Another home[y] for Fukodome?

7. Hi-ho Silva! Away?

8. A pulse for Len; a muzzle for Bob.

9. A new sweater for Pat; a clue for Ron.

10. A once-in-a-lifetime season for all of us!

November 21st

Synonyms for Purple:     amaranthine, amethyst,  bluish-red, burgundy, grape, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, magenta, mauve, mulberry, orchid, periwinkle, perse, plum, pomegranate, puce, reddish-blue, violaceous, violet, wine.

I had to see it in person. For some reason the pictures of the Wrigley Marquee looked more Fuchsia than Purple when I saw Cubs reporter, Carrie Muskat's Twitpic.  Any camera or maybe just the wrong lighting can play tricks on you and so can photoshop (tee hee, I rule too!). But in person, sitting in the McDonalds parking lot with my trusty iphone camera and my eyes, there it was...In glorious PURPLE.

Per Wikipedia...

The marquee was installed circa 1934. The sign was BLUE until the 1960s, and originally used changeable letters similar to the scoreboard to announce upcoming games. It originally read "Home of "The Cubs" but was changed to "Home of Chicago Cubs" by 1939. This was also changed during football season to reflect the Chicago Bears. In 1982, the two line announcement board was replaced with an electronic message board and a backlit advertising panel was added below

Of course, the Red Marquee just might be searching for it's Blue Roots.

November 20th

He just wanted to be closer to his family.
That's all. 

(click on the thumbnail)

November 19th

I can't find a good link for this, but it's all over the twitter-sphere that Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild has accepted a 3-year deal to join the Yankees in the same capacity. Allegedly the motivation, besides the Cubs sinking ship, is his family and the Yankees training in Tampa where he resides.

So the quest begins and the first name to come up will be Greg Maddux. I think almost all Cubs fans would want that and probably Cubs management. But from what I've read, Maddux is more interested in an upper management role eventually and isn't all to eager to take on the responsibility of a major league traveling schedule quite so soon. I'm sure some names will come up soon enough, but I'd love to see Maddux's old coach Leo Mazzone get the gig.

The other news is the Cubs added pitchers Chris Archer, Kyle Smit and Alberto Cabrera along with outfielder Brandon Guyer to their 40-man roster. And Hoff-power cleared waivers and will indeed be a Ham Fighter.

November 17th

It was hola to one old friend and sayonara to another today, as the Cubs signed minor league FA INF Scott Moore to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training 2011, and placed Micah Hoffpauir on Outright Release Waivers so that he can sign a contract with the Nippon Ham Fighters (NPB Pacific League) of Sapporo, Japan, where he will be playing on the same team as Japan's #1 pitcher, RHP Yu Darvish. 

With Hoffpauir being released, the Cubs now have 35 players on their MLB Reserve List (five slots open) as they continue to consider which players they will add to the 40-man roster by the 11/20 pre-Rule 5 Draft roster-filing deadline.   

- Despite the claims of the Illinois speaker of the House that the bond deal was dead, Tom Ricketts is pushing forward with union leaders in hand about how the Wrigley improvement project will do magnificent things for everyone. The drawings sure are pretty.

- The same link has Hendry's annual offseason quote that the trade market looks good this offesason.

- At, Hendry says a lot without saying anything about first base. He does seem to indicate they'll take their time since there are so many options which is code for going on the cheap. He also indicates that adding pitching depth (relievers and starters) is the focus so don't expect any big names, if for some reason you were. Looks like the Cubs are gonna be dumpster diving this offseason for players, which certainly can work out...or not.

- Heyman says the Cubs and just about the entire National League isn't very interested in Adam Dunn.

- Harry Caray's in Wrigleyville is closing down, bad mojo between the resteraunt and landlord. They are seeking another Wrigleyville location.

- The BP Cup - given to the winner each year of the Cubs vs. White Sox interleague series - earned the honor of one of the lamest sport trophies...well done everyone involved.

BONUS LINK: Jayson Stark has his take on the Cubs and that take is that Mike Quade can turn water into wine.

How much difference did Quade make? Well, the Cubs went 24-16 in the 40 games he managed -- after going 24-42 over the final 66 games Lou Piniella managed. And the changes didn't just show up in the standings.

Scouts who followed the Cubs said they saw young players and the bullpen crew, in particular, relax and perform without the high-strung Piniella around. And Fukudome was also a different guy, hitting .277/.390/.482 (with more walks than strikeouts) from Aug. 20 on -- after hitting .258/.365/.425 before that.

He goes on to say that Hendry isn't all that motivated to move  Fukudome and Carlos Zambrano now because of the work of Jesus Quade, or at least the improvement seen under Jesus Quade's leadership. Stark also echoes that it's Dunn's glovework, or lack thereof, that is going to keep him out of Chicago and the Cubs would like someone that is an "above-average defender" to chase down all of Castro's bad throws.

(pounds fist on keyboards, feigns anger over Cubs rumored thought process)

- BONUS JAPAN NEWS: Micah Hoffpauir has signed a deal with the Nippon Ham Fighters. How the hell he didn't become an Oriole, I'll never know. And if you missed the news, Scott Moore is back in the Cubs organization after his tour of duty with the team that Ripken built (and MacPhail is trying to destroy).


November 16th

I have no clue who the Cubs are going to get this offseason. I do think they'll try and move Fukudome and maybe Silva (good luck on both counts). Since the Cubs aren't going into the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the only pitcher I find remotely interesting would be Javier Vazquez, but by no means is he a certainty to land with the team.  But here's a possible 2011 Cubs team, how many wins do you think they'd be worth? (remembering they won 75 last year and their expected win-loss was 73 wins).


November 10th

On the heels of the eight Cubs minor leaguers opting for free-agency this week per MLB Rule 55, the Cubs have outrighted 28-year old OF Brad Snyder to Iowa.

Because he was outrighted previously in his career, Snyder is eligible to be a free-agent immediately per CBA Article XX-D. And he has in fact exercised his right to be a FA (he is not signed for 2011, so there was no point in deferring his free-agency until the end of the 2011 MLB regular season).

15 Cubs minor leaguers were eligible to be Rule 55 minor league free-agents post-2010, and nine ended up choosing to leave.

November 8th

My god, it’s nearly 70 today in the Midwest, a great day for a ballgame. But there won’t be one for several more months. Still, the weather gets an old guy’s mind on baseball…

So it’s official. Ryne Sandberg won’t be back in Des Moines next year to reprise his role as the skipper of the Iowa Cubs. One and done. No matter; no surprise. Baseball fans in minor league outposts have been used to the transience of ballplayers since way before free agency came to the big leagues.

November 7th

It's that time again, although I'm a little late getting this up. Hopefully no one will sign immediately in the next couple of days. I added 3 names to the MLB contest to keep it at 15 like years past. Click here if the embedded form doesn't work.

Several Cubs minor leaguers who can be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YMiLFA) or who are eligible for selection in next month’s MLB Rule 5 draft are making noise in the Venezuelan Winter League (VWL).  

November 4th

The Cubs reinstated RHP Angel Guzman from the 60-day Diabled List today, and then outrighted the 28-year old righthander to Iowa. Guzman missed the 2010 season after undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of Spring Training, and spent most of the past seven months rehabbing at Fitch Park.

November 3rd

99% of the precincts in Mesa have now reported:

Prop 420 - 63% YES.

So the Cubs WILL be staying in Mesa, and a new Spring Training & Minor League HQ and "Wrigleyvile West" will be built at Riverview Park.

Somewhere Two Ton Baker is riding the Bobs and laughing his ass off.    


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