Cubs News Round-Up: Maddux Hired, McGwire Admits 'Roid Use, Sky is Blue
The Cubs aren't doing much but a couple of nifty P.R. moves before the Cubs convention. The first is a rumor that if Cooperstown puts Andre Dawson in as a Cub, the Cubs will likely retire his number 8.
Dawson has been promised by the Cubs to have his No. 8 uniform number retired if he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Cub, a source close to Dawson said on Sunday.
The articles do say that if he goes in as an Expo, they still might do it, but it appears if it's as a Cub, it's a certainty. And this is where I unpopularly wonder out loud why they're going to retire Dawson's number in either case? I say he should be lining up behind Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace and even Rick Sutcliffe before getting his number retired, as all are far more identifiable with the Cubs than Dawson in my not-so-humble opinion (and no Sutcliffe should not get his number retired). And if Dawson is the Cub standard for getting a number retired, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez might as well send out their "set-the-date" cards for their eventual ceremonies.
*historical footnote at end of the post
- The Cubs have hired Greg Maddux as a special assistant to Jim Hendry, Bruce Levine spells out his role with the club.
Maddux's duties will include helping with instruction for both major-leaguers and minor-leaguers during spring training, as well as scouting duties throughout the season.
According to a source with knowledge of the signing, Maddux will be at the beck and call of Hendry during the season to evaluate minor-league affiliates and give thegeneral manger input when trades or free-agent signings are being considered.
Always good to have Maddux associated with the Cubs in some manner...time to start the Sandberg (manager)/Maddux(pitching coach) for 2011 campaign!!!
- Mark McGwire sent out a press statement today admitting to his steroid use over a 10-year period.
"I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again," McGwire said in his statement. "I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season."
Now if Sosa would just get it out of the way so we can move on to his number retiring ceremony.
- In spring training news, Crane Kenney is in Arizona today and the state is working on passing some funding referendums if a deal is struck.
- Condolences to Angel Guzman and his family...Guzman's brother was shot yesterday in Venezuela and passed away.
* It came to my attention that the NL didn't start wearing numbers until 1932, which would exclude most of the Cubs in the Hall of Fame from having a number retired except for Gabby Hartnett. So if the Cubs policy is indeed only players elected to the Hall of Fame that go in as Cub (and Ron Santo), then I'll pull back the reins on my rant. Of course, I think he should go in as an Expo myself, but if it as a Cub and that is their unstated policy, then might as well be consistent.
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.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.