So Many Autographs; So Little Ryne

Not as balmy as last year, but better than average Opening Day weather here last night as Des Moines tiptoes toward the Summer of Sandberg. For the record, the Iowa Cubs dropped Ryno’s Triple A managerial debut by a score of 6-3 to the Nashville branch of the Milwaukee Brewers.

 The paid attendance was listed at just over 6,000, about the average for a Pacific Coast League game last year, but there were way fewer than that many rumps in seats and suites. Last year’s home opener drew about 9,500, but it was on a warm Friday night later in the month [April 17th] after the team opened on the road. I’m still pegging last night’s official figure at roughly 1% of what the season total will be. The club record for season attendance is around 575,000 [2007]. Having Sandberg on hand to sign autographs before the games [Des Moines Register reported that he scribbled 75 last night] and flash signs from the 3rd base coaching box during the games should push the record beyond 600K, about what the Chicago Cubs drew as recently as 1966 [okay, that’s not all that recent, but I was 12 then and very interested in the Cubs when not nearly so many others were]. Of course, whenever Mother Nature is one of your business partners, projections can be hazardous. In the flooded summer of 2008 the I-Cubs actually played a game with a paid attendance of zero since their downtown ballpark was smack in the middle of a municipal evacuation zone at the time.


Sandberg was featured in all of the team’s winter marketing efforts even though he’s always been a pretty vanilla guy when not manning 2nd base during his HOF playing career. I’m anxious to see him go toe-to-toe & nose-to-nose with some umps, something he rarely did as a player.


His I-Cub uniform is #23, same as the flag flying on the foul pole at Wrigley Field. Just because no Chicago Cub will ever wear that number again doesn’t mean that the guy who retired it can’t slip it on if he wants to [The Register also reported $3,000 worth of Sandberg jersey sales in the stadium gift shop].


Whatever lies in store, he is to be commended for exiling himself back to the bush leagues after his induction at Cooperstown and giving the organization an in-house example of how far a healthy respect for the game combined with great talent can take you.


Ted Lilly’s rehab start has been deferred from tonight to Sunday afternoon which will enable me to watch. Jay Jackson goes tonight; I send my regrets…


Here’s a link to a photo gallery of Episode I of the R-Cubs:



"Whatever lies in store, he is to be commended for exiling himself back to the bush leagues after his induction at Cooperstown"

after the wimpy pushover he was as a player it's shocking to see the guy grow a pair and become a leader of men. he seems to have a thing for bunting, though...oddly.

Quiet isn't the same as wimpy.

Also didn't realize that one had to scream profanity in other people's faces to be a "leader of men."

I'm now going to begin a gender-focused critique of all comments. Masculinity Studies 101: Blogs About Sports Teams With Long Histories of Failure.

it'd help if sandy didn't become a joke to teammates everywhere but in the field and at the plate.

the guy was kinda walked all over by some teammates while he went out and played the game. it got to him enough that he took some time off.

just because you play the game right and know how it should be played it doesn't make you a manager of people.

He took time off because he was having a custody suit over his children... but do continue.

continuing...i wonder why he got divorced and what that had to do with the cubs.

Well it seems he's picked some managerial ability up along the way? He's had success in A, AA, and trying AAA this season?

And will be in Chicago by 2011 the latest.

yeah, he gets respect.

"success in A"

He may have managed well, but I don't know about success. Chiefs in '07: 71-68. In '08: 60-78. They got good in '09 after he left. Of course, that has a lot to do with the players.

just because you play the game right and know how it should be played it doesn't make you a manager of people.

If you quote someone, you should really attribute it.

"Dusty Baker is a lousy manager. just because you play the game right and know how it should be played it doesn't make you a manager of people." --Mister Whipple

Ah, that's better.

weird thing is that's the one thing dusty is a master of...

he rarely has an upset clubhouse and if you put some dickheads in the clubhouse (kent/bonds) he tends to be able to diffuse the assholes before it gets to the point you have to trade away your players to make others happy.

Two Words.

Sammy Sosa.

sammy wasn't festering in the clubhouse, though.

dusty did lose control over him. it seems sammy was kinda "checked out" of being a ballplayer at that point, though.

people were thrilled to see him go, but it didn't grind on anyone...well, his choice of music did.

Kent merker and the end of 2004 season. Say hi

merker didn't divide the clubhouse, didn't have to be traded, only pissed off an announcer who got shown the door, and had one of his best years as a cub that season.

That's your proof? That he kowtowed to Bonds and Kent while they were completely juiced out of their gourds? Interesting.

you got that out of what i said?

the guy is well known for being able to communicate effectively with people from different boys, hipsters, egomaniacs, spoiled brats, etc...

Crunch, you blasphemer! Lest you forget, he was once 'Kid Natural'[sounds like something out of Chip Hilton]...

Sorry to do this but it got too thin in last post to comment- In reply to Rob G and Mike C about odd man out with Sori and Colvin.

If Colvin hits lights out, I mean ROY stuff, the Cubs will have to try and trade Dlee. I know he has no trade clause, but he would be easier to move then Fuku (ntc and another year on contract) and put Sori at first base where he's going to end up any ways.

your theory is the Cubs will try and trade Derrek Lee if they're in the race and put Soriano at first base where he's never played in the middle of a season?

Don't see the Cubs being completely out of it on July 31st this year, at least not by Hendry standards. He refused to let Harden go last year and save a million bucks when they were 5 games back in late August.

Fuku's NTC might be a problem, as I don't know how willing he is to waive it, but there are teams that value OBP and defense and he has it in spades. Cubs might not get much in terms of player talent and probably have to pay some of his 2011 contract, but I don't think he's that unmovable at this stage, with the caveat he's closer to his 2009 numbers than 2008 in 2010.

better odds are that someone just ends up getting hurt sometime during the season anyway...

I doubt Lee waives his NTC, but he might, to maybe go to the Dodgers or the Angels.

Fukudome has OBP "in spades"? He does walk a lot, though. Teams are going to have the same problems with Fukudome that the Cubs do - too little power to play in RF.

Giants would probably be the most likely for Lee, but Cubs aren't even going to entertain the idea of trading Lee to get Colvin more AB's, unless they're completely out of it...which I certainly don't foresee.

IF Fukudome is hitting at his 2009 levels, than yeah, he has OBP in "spades", .375 would have been 8th best in the majors for qualified RF'ers. We're already know 2-4 teams that liked Fukudome since the Cubs signed him, Cubs just aren't giving him away yet. If they reach the point that Tyler Colvin is the future, and can get some salary relief, I could see the Cubs to start making some concessions on what they expect back for him.

Imo, Colvin has 3 option years left and either worse or as good as the other 3 options. No reason to do anything unless they can completely get out of a contract or bring back something they need more of (like a second basemen). But considering the contracts, more likely they'd just dump someone and hurt their organizational depth.

15th in OBP among outfielders with 400 PAs, his HR's would tie him for 21st among right fielders. He'd probably be the worst hitting RF on a contending team - if he got traded to a contender or if the Cubs contend.

15th in OBP among outfielders with 400 PAs

15 of 86 is pretty damn good, especially when it's not BABIP inflated.

that being said, I assume a team looking at Fukudome might have an injury they're trying to replace, or maybe a team like the Nats that are hoping to contend next year.

his BP comps sure don't suck...
D. Dimaggio, G. Matthews Sr., B. Murcer, C. Lemon, F. Lynn, G. Woodling, R. Maris, B. Gilkey, JD Drew, R. Greer

the problem is he's a $6-8M player getting paid $12M

still think he's the player the Cubs would have the most luck trading and want to trade out of Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome or Lee.

Look at that list of players again Rob. It's pretty much a who's who of guys whose careers dropped off a cliff.

5 (if Drew keeps it together this year) guys maintained their high 700's/800's OPS through age 34 which is what Fuku's contract runs through.

more importantly, the Cubs will never be able to get rid of Soriano's contract without just waiving him, won't consider trading Lee unless 2010 is a repeat of 2006, which leaves Fukudome or Byrd on the block.

my money would be on them moving Fukudome if it gets to that.

Yes, all these teams will be tripping over themselves to take on a one dimensional platoon player with $15 million left on his contract, instead of a well rounded offensive player with $6 million left. Sorry, Rob, I am going to have to go with history and logic on this one.

is Lee the one with $6 million left? You think the Cubs are gonna trade him this year if there anywhere near the playoffs?

and fuku's got at least two dimensions....

ss theriot, cf colvin, 1b lee, 3b ramirez, rf nady, lf soriano, 2b fontenot, c hill, p silva

Koyie Hill wins games...I guess.

Lou do you really Nady in the lineup?

I believe he would be trying to put more than 2 runs on the board. The dude certainly can hit.

It seems only two people know where they will be hitting on a day-to-day basis. I'm not complaining, I'm just making an observation.

Colvin WALKS and scores on an ARam SF

Wooooooooooooooooooooooo.....Colvin OBP to the Moon, Alice!

This is completely off topic, but here's Stephen Colbert's view of the new Tiger Woods Nike ad. Very funny...



Maybe the offense will have a big day tomorrow. That'd be nice. A big lead late in the game (and, preferably, at the end of the game).

Glad to see the bullpen is performing as good as expected. Whose brilliant idea was it to go into the season with basically no proven relievers.

What a great way to start the weekend. But hey, at least we don't have Dusty as our manager.

how can one hate a guy nicknamed "Smiley"

(put a Kevin Gregg mask on him next time he goes to the mound)

Cubbie rules:

- Let Chipper Jones beat you
- Walk bottom of the batting order with a 2-run lead in the 8th
- Never, ever hit with men on base

Cubs are now 1-2 when leading after 7 innings -- champonship stuff, that.

Yep. We knew what the deal was with this bullpen of youngsters and Grabow.

This is what happens when the boss says, "Don't spend any money."

Levine has said on three occasions I have heard that they were $500,000 shy on Capps, and not much more shy on Park.

When the team finishes below .500 at the end of the year, Hendry should be gone anyway (one can hope).

Recent comments

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  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.