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Thoughts and tears.

#10. Third Base-MAN. Love of Wrigley Field. Putting his favorite charity, JDRF and Juvenile Diabetes on the map to show that athletes can deal with the disease. Ron's partner, Pat Hughes (Ron's been in the booth since 1990). Brant Brown, that gut wrenching, "oh-no" overlapping Pat's "he dropped the ball".  Aw, Jeez.  Entrepreneur and Restauranteur. Ron Santo Pizza. Acapulco Taco Pie. Williams-Santo-Banks. Rebel pal Randy and the real highlight of fantasy camps. Roomie Glen Beckert. Flaming Gamer, Pat: "there's smoke billowing out of the top of his head" (audio link). The classic Jack Brickhouse call was music to my ears: "back, back, back, Hey-Hey, a homer by Santo."  Harry Caray asking Ron, "when you go to bed at night with your lovely wife do you wear your toupee?" Cub captain.  Leo Durocher. Don Young. Belly flop slides into second base. Clicking Heels. Pat Hughes broadcast introduction: "Along with nine time All-Star, five time Gold Glove winner and Cub Legend..."

Ronnie's gone. He slipped into a coma Wednesday and passed away in the early hours of the morning on Friday reportedly due to complications of bladder cancer.

Paul Sullivan has one of the earlier confirmations online but I've listened to WGN radio interviews with David Kaplan and Spike O'Dell reminiscing. Overnight host on WSCR, Les Grobstein clearly struggled with his sadness when he heard the news.

In one of the greatest tributes a son can give his dad, Jeff Santo's movie "This Old Cub" gave us the insight as to just what made Ron tick. Ron Santo was what loving the Cubs is all about.

Thank you to Ron. We are honored that you shared so much of yourself with us.

UPDATE: Rob's thoughts after the jump, just trying to keep all this in one place.

Tags: 

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 mlb.com 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.

MAJOR NEWS UPDATE:

Lou Piniella will resign after today's game vs Atlanta. His mother's health has not improved and instead of going the medical leave of absence route again, he's handing over the managerial chores to...THE FORMER IOWA CUB MANAGER... drumroll, please...[[[Mike Quade]]]. Pfffft.


There is a segment of the news reporters who actually cover medical meetings and try their hand at using medical lingo on their readers. I found this article online (and several other sources picked it up including the LA Times) but it originates from a news feed that the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine provided after their 2010 annual meeting from Providence, RI.

This is clearly an epidemiologic study. I'm thinking medical sabermetrics is a better term.

The study was based on data from MLB's disabled list published online data from 2002-2008, so it didn't really need a doctor to do this, it probably was done by a doctor who is a baseball junkie. Hmmm.

Dr. (and Major) Matthew Posner took the raw information and tabulated the frequency and distribution of injuries by anatomic site, position, AL vs NL and time of season (before or after the All-Star break). Nicely done. Clean and simple.

"Even though baseball is a passion of many people and our national pastime, there is very little information about the epidemiology, characteristics or distribution of injuries in Major League Baseball,” said Maj., Matthew Posner, MD, orthopaedic surgeon at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. “This study attempts to evaluate Major League injuries over the period of six years.”

On to Dr. Posner's findings after the jump...

Manager Ryne Sandberg's Iowa Cub lineup SCORED 4 runs in 9 minutes? I LOVE THIS STAT! That translates to 26.6 runs per hour. Thankfully, they suspend games in triple-A rather than just wash them out and make it a do-over. The RPH just might go up when the game resumes in a month.

Manager Lou Piniella's Chicago Cubs GAVE UP runs at a similar velocity. After last night's 17-2 debacle vs the Rockies in an 8th inning that saw 11 consecutive hits (13 total hits but 11 hits with 2 outs) and 12 runs score...that's what I'm talking about, RUNS PER MINUTE. The only problem is that the Chicago National League franchise's role model has been Captain Peter Wrongway Peachfuzz. It was too painful for me to use a stopwatch on that fiasco. The last time the Cubs gave up 12 in one inning was Sept. 24, 1985 vs the Expos. The Expos won that game 17-15 and Expo hat wearing Andre Dawson went 4-6 with 8 rbi and 3 homers. Oddly, a pitcher named Ray Fontenot took the loss for the Cubs. At least those Cubs scored 12 runs over the last 3 innings, which is more than this inept group could claim.

Why can't the I-Cubs just play out their schedule at Wrigley and hide the lame ducks in Des Moines?

As far as the trading deadline ending later this afternoon, the Saturday morning latest says Lilly is still on the block with the Dodgers, Twins, Tigers and Yankees for some reason showing interest. "Minor sniff's" on Xavier Nada and Little Babe Ruth are out there per Ken Rosenthal. Something about interest in DBack Kelly Johnson too. If they wanted him now, it seems they missed the boat since he would have come for less when he was a free agent nobody wanted last off-season. Did Jim Hendry misread the saying as buy-high and sell-low? I hate it when we get stuff bass-ackwards.

and a bit more detail on runs-per-minute after the break...

Orioles President Andy McPhail, of the royal baseball McPhail lineage (grandpa Larry, dad Lee) had a chance to snag another ex-Cub and went another direction today by hiring non-nonsense manager, Buck Showalter.  Recent speculation by Tribster, Steve Rosenbloom, had Sandberg on Andy's speed dial but it seems it wasn't so. The O's beat writer for mlb.com said the short list was former O's catcher Rick Dempsey, former Indians manager Eric Wedge and Bobby Valentine, who has recently volunteered his services as the next Cub manager.

It's official. I've double-dared (if I were Ryan Theriot, it would be a single dare) the Baseball Gods to invoke their wrath. All I can hope for is that they won't think about reversing reverse psychology.

My spouse loves to travel. I love baseball season. This has lead to 30 years of negotiating the avoidance of travel during just a few parts of the year. Early April and September-October.

I'm serious losing this battle. Last year we took a 3 week trip to China, breaking my string of being at Wrigley Field for opening day, a streak of over 30 years (I've been back in Chicago since college days).

The one absolute taboo was that we wouldn't take a major trip in September or October because that was the wrapup of the baseball season and playoffs. Her argument was September/October is the best weather for travel to many of her favorite places. For years, she checks in every so often asking that if the Cubs were out of contention, could we take a trip in September or October.

After taking this seasons beatings and holding out hope as long as I could, I've given in. The plane tickets are booked to southern France and I'm daring the Baseball Gods to beat me up, invoking the 1935 Cubs as my lesson on what I'm about to miss...

 

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner, eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum...

Just to take our minds off the train wreck that the 2010 season has become, I'm going to tangent into just what made Aramis Ramirez so miserable this year. His left thumb injury (diagnosed as a deep bone bruise) may or not have been related to his season long slump or it just may have prevented him from coming out of it as the weather warmed up. He's been 'missing', even when present for most of 2010 which is somewhat different than his absence last season, starting on May 9th, 2009 from what happened at a similar point in the season, when he dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball on May 8th in Milwaukee.

From a Gordon Wittenmeyer, Sun-Times article:

Ramirez, mired in a two-month slump, first hurt the hand on a swing-and-miss May 9 in Cincinnati. When it got worse two weeks later, the Cubs considered putting him on the DL, ''but I didn't want to do it because I thought I was good enough to play,'' said Ramirez, who got a cortisone shot instead. Manipulating his bat handle to take pressure off the top of the left hand also didn't work because it was uncomfortable, he said.

''This is the right time to do it. This is the right thing to do,'' he said.

He'll be eligible to return June 23 in Seattle, but a return then is anything but certain considering the down time that'll require before he is even allowed to resume normal baseball activities.

Supposedly, his injury was a deep bone bruise. I have not read any reports about an injured ligament. He has tried to play through the soreness but his thumb kept getting re-traumatized from his attempts at hitting. He didn't want to go on the DL until it was clear he couldn't shake the injury.

A collective cheer can be heard in that state of mind known as Wrigleyville...

UPDATE: (tweet from Gordon Wittenmeyer) Grabow to DL, Cashner called up.


I wrote this piece before the update. Sometimes things just make sense.

Randy Wells, aka Buzz Lightyear "To Infinity and Beyond" (5 runs and no outs is an ERA of ∞) gets a DO-OVER. After Randy Wells failed on just about all of the 16 pitches (and 5 runs) he threw in the first inning 'bullpen' tryout on friday vs the Cardinals. He gets to show management that he actually can once again go deep into a game with a quick return to the first inning on the holiday-day game against the Pirates. His competition for that bullpen spot, Tom Gorzellany won the battle to the bullpen. Gorz matched Wells with five quick runs vs the Dodgers on Wednesday's game which was so disappointing that Com-Ed pulled the plug on the Wrigley light grid.

Wells also is returning to the scene of the crime from May 6th, his other ugly outing. As we recall, he also gave up 5 first inning runs in the first on two walks, two singles and two doubles. Lou didn't have quite the quick hook that day as Wells stayed in to give up two more runs in the 2nd inning in what was to be an 11-1 blowout to the Buccos.

Oh, oh Domino. Tom Gorzellany will be in the pen, ready to pitch mop up in the first few innings if history should repeat itself. Gorz, the newest long reliever supplants big Z in the bullpen. Zambrano is supposed to start Wednesday in Pittsburgh, although Z never did get stretched out in a game even as the opportunity presented itself in Wells "oopsie" friday.

With all the roster shuffling soon to occur, the questions are who goes away when Andrew Cashner arrives this week and why isn't Cashner coming today? Is it management indecision or can't they get the radiologist who read John Grabow's MRI  to review it again to see that there IS something wrong, very wrong.

From today's Sun-Times:

Grabow already has undergone an MRI on his left knee after experiencing discomfort, but no injury was found.

Shoe? He don't need no stinkin' shoe

more after the break...

The Ricketts Family owns the Cubs. That sentence has a certain lasting ring to it. We've all followed the travails of how the Cubs ownership has transitioned from the now bankrupt Tribune company and was midwived through the gnarly fingers of real estate magnate Sam Zell, finally getting delivered into our proud new Papa's (Tom Ricketts) loving grasp. To celebrate this rite of passage, I decided to learn more about the events that took place over 90 years ago when the last dynastic family came into control of our Chicago National League franchise.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1916.

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