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Today in Cubs History: 12-12

12-12-1999 - Traded a PTBNL (Brian Stephenson), Terry Adams and Chad Ricketts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Ismael Valdez and Eric Young. 12-12-1999 - Traded Manny Alexander to the Boston Red Sox. Received Damon Buford. 12-12-1997 - Traded Miguel Batista to the Montreal Expos. Received Henry Rodriguez. 12-12-1903 - Traded Jack Taylor and Larry McLean to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Mordecai Brown and Jack O'Neill.

Remembering Ryno

Phil Garner, Davey Lopes, Steve Sax, Glenn Hubbard, Tommy Herr, Bill Doran, Bobby Grich, Chico Lind, Manny Trillo, Willie Randolph, Damaso Garcia, Johnny Ray, Lou Whitaker, Frank White, Juan Samuel, Julio Franco, Harold Reynolds, Jose Oquendo Running through these names is all that needs to be done to understand why Ryne Sandberg is a Hall of Famer, and should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. For a decade, Sandberg was unarguably the elite second baseman of the Major Leagues, both offensively and defensively.

Pre-Season Predictions, Revisited

Remember that TCR Round-table at the very start of the Season, where the staff all made predictions on the upcoming season? Well, neither do I. Which is why I figured that with one-third of the season complete, it's time to look at some choice selections of the questions and our answers. There isn't a lot of new commentary, below, just an edited synopsis of our answers, and a few flags for the truly ridiculous predictions (mine on Todd Hollandsworth, anyone?) and the truly inspired (Rob's on Derrek Lee.)

Neifi Needs You.

MLB gave their first update on the state of NL All-Star Balloting yesterday. For everyone that had any reservations about the Neifi Write-in campaign, I have a bit of information that should remove any lingering moral scruples... Nomar Garciaparra is the top NL vote-getter at SS. The totals: 1. Garciaparra, N. Cubs 235,899 2. Eckstein, D. Cardinals 212,209 3. Furcal, R. Braves 212,160

Happy Birthday, Z!

Carlos Zambrano turns 24 today. So here's a birthday wish to our favorite web-surfing, muttering, gesticulating, switch-hitting, complete game-throwing, goateed behemoth of a perpetual-Cy Young Award contender. We Love Ya, Z. For some birthday reminiscences, how about these.... Remember when we wondered who would be better, Zambrano or Cruz? Remember the first time we discovered Z was a switch-hitter?

Young Guns

GAME 48 PREVIEW COLORADO ROCKIES (14-33) at CHICAGO CUBS (23-24) Wrigley Field, 1.20pm CT, TV: CSN
SP Sergio Mitre SP *Jeff Francis
SS Clint Barmes 2B Jerry Hairston
2B Luis Gonzalez SS #Neifi Perez
1B *Todd Helton 1B Derrek Lee
CF Preston Wilson 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF *Brad Hawpe LF Jason Dubois
LF Matt Holliday RF *Jeromy Burnitz

Tough Times

Unfortunately, we here at TCR have had to close the comments indefinately. Please be assured that we, the team of the writers, are working towards resolving the problems that certain and specific individuals are causing, have been causing and intend to cause in the future through flagrant abuse of the right we give everyone here to freely express their views on what we write, on the Cubs, and on baseball as a whole. We freely acknowledge that this creates considerable inconvenience for the vast majority here who use the comments responsibly, and we apologise profusely for that.
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  • In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST  
    Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex 
    4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes) 
    Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)  

  • There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?

  • Heyward getting the night off.

    Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd

  • Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.

    Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.

  • It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.

    I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.

  • I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.

    This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/making-too-much-of-...

  • Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!

  • Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.

  • Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.

    Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.

  • Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.

  • Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.

    Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.

  • He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.

    He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.

  • Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.

    Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.

  • That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible

  • I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.

  • rollercoaster loss...ugg.

    at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.

    anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.