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According to the Daily Herald, the Blackhawks have discussed with the Cubs the possibility that the Hawks would play one of the NHL's outdoor games next season at Wrigley Field. The NHL would obviously need to give its okay and according to the Daily Herald story, the New York Rangers, who are hoping to host a game in soon-to-be-shuttered Yankee Stadium, might be more likely to get Gary Bettman's approval than the Hawks.

A-Ram Says He's Dedicated

Dedicated to cockfighting, that is.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramírez is prominently featured in a recent issue of a Dominican cockfighting magazine, En La Traba, in which he is pictured with several roosters that he raises for fighting. Of roosters, he said in the magazine, “When I’m in the Dominican Republic, I’m dedicated entirely to them.”

All The ???? That's Fit To Print

Chicago’s favorite former Chunichi Dragon gets the attention of the New York Times today. The article talks about how Fukudome played shortstop (badly) for his first three years as a pro, and the memory of that evoked this funny, self-deprecating description of what kind of shortstop Fukudome was:

“The kind that caused my pitchers great anxiety.”

Friday Notes

-- Dayn Perry’s anti-All Star list–the worst National Leaguers, position by position–includes no Cubs, but two exes, Jason Kendall and Juan Pierre.

Congratulations, men.

-- Riffing off of Friday's Stat of the Day feature at Baseball-Reference.com, a list of players who went an entire season without a BB or HBP, here’s a list of Cub hitters who achieved the feat, in descending number of plate appearances:

The Ryan Dempster Question

Today, Carrie Muskat asks herself, "Can Dempster make a successful conversion from closer to starter?"
Her answer:

After three seasons as the closer, Dempster is switching back to the rotation for the first time, full-time, since 2002. The right-hander has trained hard this offseason, but it won't be easy to go from one-inning outings to seven or eight. He'll be challenged with the addition of Lieber.

I think Dempster will mostly be challenged by the fact that he is not a very good starting pitcher.
Dempster's career numbers as a starting pitcher only, along with those of another guy who we often kick around:

No Love for Sam

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sam Zell’s plan to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is “alienating would-be buyers” of the ballclub, A member of one of the prospective ownership groups says, “Splitting (the team and ballpark) absolutely diminishes the value of the team and my interest level.”

Friday Notes (Late Night Version)

• There has been a lot of talk–some of it here–about how Milwaukee's signing of Mike Cameron and resultant shifting of Bill Hall to 3B and Ryan Braun to LF will improve the Brewers' overall defense. On Friday, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus (subscription req'd) tried to gauge what that improvement might be.

Playing Ex-Cub Roulette

Jerry Crasnick has a story up at espn.com about the significant number of free agents still looking for work. "The game's rampant unemployment problem," he refers to it jokingly.

It's a long list--more than 90 players are still unattached according to ESPN's Free Agent Tracker--but 12 of the names on the list caught my eye:

Has Bedard Finally Been Traded? Will Roberts To Cubs Follow?

mlbtraderumors.com flagged this story by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, reporting that Adam Jones of the Mariners is on his way to Baltimore in a deal for Eric Bedard. According to Baker, Jones is scheduled to be in Baltimore Monday so he can take a physical.

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    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.

    Rob G. 5 hours 8 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #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

    Rob G. 5 hours 13 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    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.

    Rob G. 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • great defense

    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.

    Rob G. 5 hours 30 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 5 hours 41 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 6 hours 7 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 6 hours 47 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 7 hours 59 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 8 hours 16 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 8 hours 20 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 9 hours 5 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 13 hours 56 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 15 hours 9 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 15 hours 13 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 16 hours 32 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 23 hours 44 min ago view