Geovany Soto: the Cubs' Bronx Bomber

In Friday's New York Times, Alan Schwarz profiled Geo
Soto, and we learn that despite being born in Puerto Rico and attending
high school there, Soto played his first "significant game" in New
York. The Cub catcher lived with his family in the Bronx from the time
he was four until age eight.

Soto remembers it very clearly. It might have been just
below the reservoir. Or maybe down near that ice rink. But it was
definitely in Manhattan's Central Park.

"It was awesome," said Soto... "You go with your dad to
the practice field, but never in my life I'd ever put a uniform on and
played with other kids. I felt like, 'Wow, it's really happening—I'm
going to play baseball.'"

Schwarz also writes about Soto's rapport with the Cubs pitching staff.

In part of because of his excellent English, Soto handled
the veteran pitching staff with such aplomb that many Cubs considered
him the team's backbone and most valuable player—despite the presence
of established stars like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso
Soriano. Soto knew when to talk and when not to.

Regarding Soto's hitting prowess, Schwarz mentions
Soto's significant weight loss leading up to his monster offensive season at Iowa
(.353-26-109) in 2007.

[Soto's weight] ballooned to as much as 250 pounds. It was only after losing weight that he began to emerge...

"Nobody was high on him after 2006, myself included,"
said Gary Hughes, a special assistant to the Cubs' general manager, Jim
Hendry. "But there was a different Geovany Soto out there."

The new Soto had more flexibility through his midsection,
allowing him to turn on pitches, and the stamina to keep calling them
deep into games and seasons.

Soto is hardly the first player to see a correlation
between his weight and his baseball numbers. Still, with all the stats
sites and baseball reference books out there, I can't ever recall
seeing one that tracked changes in a player's weight from season to
season. Maybe it's not possible to get legitimate numbers anyway: teams
in all sports are notorious for fudging those figures to effect.
(Basketball teams, of course, are also known to misstate their players'

But if it was possible to gather this data, I think we
would be able to establish some interesting connections between
particular players and particular performance levels.


In part of because of his excellent English, Soto handled the veteran pitching staff with such aplomb that many Cubs considered him the team's backbone and most valuable player—despite the presence of established stars like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. Soto knew when to talk and when not to.

Did the paper of record end a sentence with a preposition on a paragraph talking about excellent English?

I'll show myself out...

Maybe they were trying to rhyme "not to" with Soto.

Actually, ending a sentence with a preposition is considered proper. See Chicago Manual of Style 5.169: "The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction. As Winston Churchill famously said, 'That is the type of arrant pedantry with which I shall not put....' The 'rule' prohibiting terminal prepositions was an ill-founded superstition."

pedantic restrictions like a motherfucker.

*goes around giving out lots of high-5s*

I saw the Pedantic Restrictions play a great show at the Whiskey A Go Go in LA back in 81 or 82. Wall of Voodoo opened IIRC.

it's not that I really care, but it's what you always I thought the rule was it was okay if it was part of verb.

something like..."not that he was aware of..."

Anyway, I was just busting balls...I certainly don't have the right to be correcting other people's grammar.

I'm not the greatest with my grammar rules, but my sense is that at this point split infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions is more a matter of style than of grammar rules.  I try not to end a sentence with a preposition because A. it usually doesn't have a good ring to it and B. it's become a silly social convention that people notice, even on baseball blogs. The NYT writer should have avoided it for both of those reasons, as much or moreso than for any questionable grammar...  




 Ok, back to work here.  woo.


Oh, and Nice Article.

i wonder what god of graphic design made that patch on Team Italy's jersey...

bright white text on bright/light neon green...brilliant. i still have no idea what it says.

I think it's a sponsorship patch...puerto rico had a best buy logo.

yeah...i just have no idea what it says, though...the color scheme on it (and the glossy material it's printed on) makes the whole thing a neon blur.

don't worry, there's a bunch of ad agency dudes in Italy right now arguing about it...

"Vito, wtf? Neon Green? Anyone fucking bother to see how this would look on TV?"

Why's he got to be named Vito, huh?


Why's he got to be named Vito, huh?

First Godfather name that came to my mind...Fredo, Michael or Sonny were also acceptable.

You're right about Rob, btw. I know for a fact he IS a racist. He hates white people with a passion.

i've met some white people, they're not all bad. some even live in my neighborhood and no one's said a bad word about them that i know of.

I'm definitely not a racist. I've got some white friends even.

I'm not a racist, I voted for McCain.

Wittenmyer proves useful...

great article on Mark O'Neal, Cubs almost didn't get him as Cards originally refused to let Cubs interview him.

Phil Rogers on how Chicago White Sox Dr. Anthony Romeo repaired CURT SCHILLING'S SHOULDER. (and he could return to baseball the second half of this season)

Says, this procedure, biceps tenodesis, could make shoulder injuries as fixable as elbow injuries.

Navigator, you misread that article...Dr. Craig Morgan did Schilling's surgery. He was assisted by one of Dr. Romeo's associates. They apparently used Dr. Romeo's technique. The operation isn't new it's just a minor variation on technique that is "new".

Yeezus, I was just steering you to the article.


No, you were steering and summarizing. You summarized wrong.

Phil Rogers sunday article mentions Dr. Tony Romeo (he's officially on the WSux payroll as one of their team physicians, he's a shoulder specialist from Rush) in the context of the operation that Curt Schilling had (biceps tenodesis). Even though the surgery was done in Boston (by Dr. Morgan).

This operation removes the biceps from where it originates above the glenoid (shoulder socket) because it's frayed or partially torn and takes the tendon where it rests more proximally on the upper humerus (arm bone) and re-anchors it there. The frayed origin can then be removed. This keeps the tendon from completely rupturing and gives the long head origin of the biceps a secure origin again. The short head origin of the biceps attaches at a different location (coracoid process) and usually doesn't tear.

Biceps tenodesis has been around a long time and the techniques have improved modestly with smaller incisions. The improvements due more to technology advancements such as suture anchors and interference screw fixation options than anything (at least for that operation). These tools have developed in response to shoulder arthroscopy which has seen many advances in the last decade. The Knee joint was the area that had the first wave of advancements before the shoulder became the "hot" area. Now the hip is in it's early development stages...hence the on and off decisions regarding whether ARo-d should have his hip labral tear fixed.

On WSCR sports update they said ARod WILL have surgery tuesday.
Expecting 6-9 weeks for recovery.
This is most likely what Utley had in the offseason so I'd expect if he does return that quickly it will be as a DH.

I was just steering you to the article.
not intending to pick...after all you are the Navigator and steering is your specialty.

there aint nothing on TCR but steers and queers and i don't see you wearing a rainbow flag with matching spats and clogs. oh my...smashing!

This was wrong on so many levels. I'm just gonna walk away from it.

Oh dear god...

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.