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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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  • Over 100 pitches, only the 5th.

    Brick 46 sec ago view
  • coghlan out...got his cleats stuck in the wall attempting a play (failed, but looked great doing it). walking off on his own, precautionary/day-to-day looking stuff...hopefully not worse.

    also, jake arrieta is literally worse than hitler. 1-5, bottom 5. ...make that 1-6, bottom 5. ...make that 1-7, bottom 5.

    crunch 1 min 39 sec ago view
  • Coghlan crashes into wall and comes up limping, looks like left knee or ankle. Leaves game...

    Arrieta inspiring no confidence yet again.

    Rob G. 7 min 44 sec ago view
  • from a sun-times article that I won't link to so you don't have to bear the ad-loading that will crush your browser

    When he left Boston after nine years as general manager, Epstein said he believed in the philosophy espoused by legendary football coach Bill Walsh: essentially that 10 years is a natural shelf life for a high-stress job.

    Rob G. 9 min 47 sec ago view
  • Despite a somewhat slumping September for Bryant (233/310/411), he still leads the NL in WAR by a healthy margin in both fWAR(8.4 vs 7.6 for Seager) and bWAR  (7.6 to 6.5 for Freeman...Seager is tied for 3rd with Arenado at 6.2)

    If you just want to look at offense, Bryant is 4th in the NL in wRC+ behind Votto, Murphy and Freeman with Rizzo in 5th (and possibly ahead after tonight).

    Rob G. 20 min 45 sec ago view
  • hey everyone, this guy...this is the guy we blame.

    have fun in chicago.

    crunch 21 min 30 sec ago view
  • I hate to put the jinx on, but I just bought a plane ticket to Chicago for the last weekend in October. 

    CTSteve 22 min 49 sec ago view
  • Glove-gate? bottom 4th, Rizzo-Zobrist and I don't get it. Is it 3-4 or 3-4 putout. Rizzo gets 2nd base qualification in fantasy leagues?

    Cubster 23 min 4 sec ago view
  • a.rizzo now playing 2nd in a lineup position switch because c.hurdle bitched about rizzo changing gloves and slotting to 2nd on an anticipated bunt play.

    now he's got a PO playing as a 2nd baseman. neat.

    crunch 24 min 9 sec ago view
  • dfa jake arrieta.

    free tim federowicz.

    vaccines kill.

    9/11 was an inside job.

    crunch 28 min 29 sec ago view
  • rizzo #32...ties career high.

    crunch 1 hour 36 min ago view
  • The team, farm and scouting system were barren when they arrive.
    They punted two seasons, third season 73 wins which is what happened about 75% of the time in last 50 years

    jacos 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • OKAY! COOL!

    crunch 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • there was more than one way to get there

    Nope.

    Rob G. 3 hours 17 min ago view
  • supposedly jed "who?" hoyer, too

    crunch 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • same...i just happen to not like sitting through shit sandwich meals for multiple years. baseball is kinda boring when you're punting on 1st down for a slew of years in a row.

    i fully understand why it was done, but i didn't enjoy it. there was more than one way to get competitive and this was the chosen way.

    crunch 3 hours 21 min ago view