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 . 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:
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.