Cub Fans, Go Have A Martini
Well after this last week of 2009 Cubs baseball, a week that included a double-header sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field the day after the Cubs were eliminated from even sniffing the playoffs, there's really only one thing to do.
Go have a giant martini.
Go out for it, to someplace worthy.
Don't have it on the rocks.
Don't have it silly.
"Apple", "Cran", "Dirty"...none of these modifiers should be used when ordering the martini I'm talking about.
Never order off a "martini" menu.
You can order "vodka shaken with ice and served up in a martini glass", but that's all it is and that's how you should order it.
A martini is made with gin.
My favorite is the original Bombay in the clear bottle with that weird woman on the label.
If you like, you can add dry vermouth, and maybe a twist (which would be lemon), or an olive.
But that's where it stops.
There should be no toying, at all, with this drink.
One time I was lucky enough to have one at the bar in the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.
The bar, the paneling, the tables, everything, I was told, was made from a single giant redwood tree (of course that would have been a looong time ago when such a thing wasn't so politically incorrect).
You don't want to be a dope in here.
The bartender was very distinguished and older - a man of the world.
I asked for a Bombay up with an olive.
He shook it with dignity and reserved panache, he poured it in the properly chilled glass, he set it down in front of me and turned his back.
When he turned around, he put another napkin on the bar.
Then he put the an olive on the napkin.
Now, I set myself up earlier in this post - you already know I'm the dope.
I said, "Hey, what's with the olive on the napkin?"
He crinkled his eyes.
"The oil from the olive. Kind of spoils the whole thing, doesn't it."
Now, you might take that as a put-down.
I took it seriously.
I have ever since.
And you should, too.
A toast to the 2009 Cubs season.
And then lets be done with it.
This illustration is a watercolor done from a "live" subject which was consumed after a re-shaking.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.