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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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.