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On an Off-day in April with the Cubs in 1st Place

The 2016 Chicago Cubs media guide is 384 pages long.

Very little of it has to do with the World Series. Surprise, surprise. In fact, in the T of C, there’s no listing for that topic, though there is one for “World Baseball Classic and Cubs.” There’s even one for “Clark the Cub” on page 218. Who knew that he’s a direct-line descendant of Joa, his “great grandbear,” the team’s original live bear mascot back in the halcyon days of the early 20th century?  Joa was retired to the Lincoln Park Zoo where he…never mind.

Tale of Two Javys

Five innings were enough tonight.

At one point the I-Cubs trailed 5-0 and the Vice-Cardinals from Memphis had all of one hit, that being a single. Rarely is so much made from so little. When Carlos Pimento was excused from further duty he'd thrown 80 pitches in three innings, only 35 of them strikes. I think he walked eight.

The Night the Lights Went on In Bushville

Like an obedient child emulating a revered parent the Iowa Cubs are at work on the installation of a new state-of-the-art HD video board in time for their home opener on April 17th.

At 24x64 or 1,536 square feet the magic screen will pale in comparison to the 42x95, 3990 sq. ft. colossus that’s being erected to tower above Wrigley Field’s left field bleachers and Waveland Avenue. It will be less than half the size but is certainly imposing enough to be viewed, let us say, as a Triple A scale model.

It’s high time for an upgrade. Depending on the vantage point and the mood of the sun the new board’s predecessor could be effectively invisible and in recent years has displayed more marketing and promo filler than, for instance, player stats. Not that that trend’s likely to change.

Speaking of trends at America’s ballparks, you know of course that all of this modern malarkey traces directly back to an event that happened right here in Des Moines, long a baseball hotbed, on May 2, 1930, right?

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Attack of the Soler Powered Headlines

 

Well, he passes the eyeball test with flying colors. Entering the ballpark in the top of the first you know something new has been added to the home team as soon as you fix on the leggy right fielder. Clear from the mezzanine behind home plate you can’t help but notice that pair of long, thick Cuban stogies as he lopes under the game’s first out.

Ho-Hum Bryant Takes #5 Out to Lunch

 

So I packed a PB&J and an apple this morning and planned to take my lunch break at the ballpark. Beautiful day here in Des Moines. It took forever to weave through pregame traffic and get into the lot where I park right next to the main gate. Just in time for the first pitch I slid into a spot and enjoyed the sandwich while I listened to the game on the radio.

Bryant Says Hello & Bye Bye in Des Moines Debut

 

Having waited half a season, I thought as the deluge pounded the car in the Principal Park lot, what’s another hour or so?

When the rain relented and while the grounds crew did its pregame thing I went to check for Superman capes and the like in the Backstop Store. No, the notice of Kris Bryant’s arrival in town had been too short to allow for restocking. Nevertheless, I expect there will be a hastily arranged bobblehead night added to the promo slate ASAP.

I-Cubs' Summer Begins With Lake Stay

For the first time this season the best farm system in organized baseball comes to town as the suddenly first place Iowa Cubs scoot home from Omaha for a three-game set with the Memphis Redbirds that culminates with a pyrotechnic exclamation of patriotism on Independence Day Eve.

Almora v. Buxton: Showdown at High Noon

Here’s a grab bag from recent days in the Iowa bush leagues:

 

*Junior Lake looks like a ballplayer but needs polish. He’s been getting on base a lot but his hits have included a swinging bunt here, a deflected ball there, a well-placed bloop, etc. With the glove his best game was in right field where he made multiple good plays. At 3B he’s made some diving and leaping stops but the arm’s erratic to the tune of five errors in less than a week. Still, he looks the part of a prospect.

Garza's Better Balls Win Battle of the Rehabbers

Matt Garza looked all tuned up and ready to go tonight at Principal Park as he tossed six scoreless innings that required only 75 pitches by my count. Maybe it was the balls. More on those later. He also fielded his one chance with the glove flawlessly.

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  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs

    link

    Arizona Phil 11 hours 28 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 16 hours 46 min ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 16 hours 47 min ago view
  • And...now that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 16 hours 59 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 17 hours 21 sec ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 17 hours 28 sec ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 17 hours 8 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 17 hours 21 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 17 hours 54 min ago view
  • ...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.

    he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.

    ...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.

    crunch 17 hours 58 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this season...so it's a slight improvement.

    but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.

    crunch 18 hours 10 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 18 hours 29 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 18 hours 49 min ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 18 hours 50 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 21 hours 50 min ago view
  • "home field advantage through the playoffs?"

    Except for the away games.

    VirginiaPhil 22 hours 3 min ago view