Cubs Week in Quotations
Commence the Season
"Hey, it's Opening Day. We've got some things to find out about this group, and we'll find them out relatively quick.'' - Lou Piniella
''Words can't describe how it felt. Just awesome.'' - James Russell on his major league debut.
Quote You Only Hear from the Losing Team on Opening Day
''Opening Day don't mean anything. You want to win ballgames early in the season. The more games you win now, the less you have to win later. But it's just a game.'' - Aramis Ramirez
Is There a Draft?
"We need Zambrano to shut the door." - Lou Piniella
"This Spring Training for me is very special. To have Greg Maddux around, he's my guy. ... I was asking him the other day, 'How can I throw a backdoor sinker to a lefty?' It's unbelievable -- you ask him something, and the way he answers is ... wow." - Carlos Silva
"When Greg's on your team, you're better in any role. He's got a great way about him, and he's the most successful, non-promoting person I've ever met. We can all learn from Greg." - Jim Hendry
"In every sense of the word, he's someone I aspire to be. It's just how he's so personable and knowledgeable and doesn't try to force it on you. It's almost like he breathes excellence. It's pretty cool and pretty special having him around." Randy Wells
Except Steal Their Hearts
"I haven't done nothing for them." - Greg Maddux
A Land War in Asia?
"Those things shouldn't happen." - Lou Piniella on Chad Tracy getting doubled off first on Opening Day
I Want Answers!
''We've just played two games, sir. 'We're not in our 22nd game or our 42nd. We've played two games, for God's sake. What do you want? Roles changed in two games? - Lou Piniella
Once You Lose That Trust, It's Gone Forever
"Demp pitched a heck of a ballgame, and I kind of let everyone down. But you've got to come back tomorrow and go at it again. Once you leave this place, it's over.'' - John Grabow
The Other is Where to Hide Soriano's Body
''We're going to have to sort some things out here, period. I said that coming out of spring training. And one of them is the youth that we have in the bullpen.'' - Lou Piniella
Quicksand Jesus or Jason Heyward?
''I don't want to be more impressed than I was the first day. He's impressed me enough.'' - Lou Piniella on Jason Heyward
Maybe 3 Feet
“...2-0 you’re on top of the world; 0-2, you’re six feet under. - Lou Piniella
Like How I Forgot How to Throw Strikes Last Year
"We learn from our mistakes. We have tomorrow. He needs to forget stuff."- Carlos Marmol on Esmailin Caridad
And Make Routine Catches
Control yourself, and that's all you have to do."- Alfonso Soriano on Esmailin Caridad
Lies, Damn Lies
"We have a good bullpen. We just have to trust them." - Carlos Zambrano
Someone Should Hang a Green Jacket in Fukudome's Locker
"He's a Masters player. That's when they play the Masters -- in April, right?" - Lou Piniella on Kosuke Fukudome
"This is the year I feel he'll break out and have a nice solid offensive year. We know he can play defense."- Lou Piniella on Kosuke Fukudome
"The country guys play country music, the Latin guys play Latin music -- Kosuke's on the team so he should be able to play his music." - Carlos Zambrano letting Fukudome choose the music the day he starts. It's customary to let that day's starting pitcher make the choice.
Can Lou Make It Anymore Clear that He Doesn't Like Soto's Defense?
''I like Koyie, the way he calls a ballgame. He's a really good defensive catcher. When a team isn't scoring many runs, the more defense that you have on the field, the better. Is he going to catch more? We need Soto to hit. I've said that before. That's the key to this whole thing, how well Soto swings the bat. And we'll leave it at that.'' - Lou Piniella
18 Million Excuses
"I took a couple steps then hit the grass, and as soon as I hit the grass, I thought I had two more steps. I took little steps, because I didn't want to hit the wall. You know, full speed into the wall can be very dangerous." - Alfonso Soriano
"But at the last moment, I take my eyes off the ball and just think about the wall. One second, I took my eyes off the ball, and I dropped it." - Alfonso Soriano
"I've got to have a little stop, because I don't want to go into the wall. If you go full speed into the wall, it can be very dangerous." - Alfonso Soriano
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Castro, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
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.