Summing Up Sandberg
Jim Hendry says that he is in no rush to settle on and name Lou Piniella’s successor as the Cubs’ manager. Really? Then why travel all the way to Albuquerque to have lunch with Ryne Sandberg as Hendry did last week? Just to break the news gently that Ryno wouldn’t be called up to Chicago to peer over Mike Quade’s shoulder once Iowa’s season ended? I have a feeling that Sandberg believes, whether he’s been told so or not, that his laidbackness as a player has been a perceived weakness while he’s earned his managerial chops, so he’s sought to demonstrate that he can be fiery on an as needed basis. One of the things he may have been working on during his apprenticeship is the art of the timely ejection. As for Quade’s self-serving auditional mystery tour in Chicago, I’d be more inclined to give him points for a grandstand benching of Alfonso Soriano than the recently ballyhooed one of young Mr. Castro…
It looks like The Sandberg Effect was more pronounced on the PCL road than it was at home in Des Moines. The I-Cubs did go over the half million mark for the seventh time in franchise history, but fell well short of their all-time attendance record, partly because of the loss of a few dates to bad weather. The team also drew more than 500K on the road, something it did not do last year, to top the million mark with all games considered. Too bad for the team ownership that there’s no gate split in Triple A as there is in MLB…
How many autographs did the patient hall-of-famer sign? Well, here in Des Moines a fair estimate might be roughly 10,000. Here’s the math: Approximately 15 minutes per home date while the starting pitcher warmed up x approximately 70 dates = 1,050 minutes [17.5 hours] @ 10 autographs per minute [one every six seconds] = 600 signed per hour x 17.5 = 10,500. Throw in his road show and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandberg’s signing hand needs an off-season scoping to be ready for spring training…
Sandberg told the Des Moines Register that he thoroughly enjoyed his summer here and seemed to leave the door open for a possible encore depending on decisions made elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how much curiosity other teams with managerial openings have about Sandberg if he doesn’t get the job in Chicago. He’s said more than once that the Cubs are his preferred job but not the only one he’d take given other opportunities. It’s fair to say that the body of his work over the last four years stamps him as more than a pretty name. He deserves serious consideration and it would seem inevitable now that he will manage in the big leagues whether the Cubs hire him or not. Given that likelihood, do they dare let him get away now? Besides earning his bona fides as a teacher of young players, handler of pitchers and in-game tactician he also would be a gate draw, the turnstile numbers in Iowa notwithstanding, at a time when sellouts are no longer a foregone conclusion. And he knows the territory in Chicago! The fact that he will never be quoted as saying that he didn’t realize what he was getting into may be decisive in combination with all of his other credentials. If Hendry doesn’t get some back channel smoke signals that Girardi wants to talk when the Yankees are finished I can imagine him moving quickly to name Sandberg after the Cubs’ season finally and mercifully ends so the organization will have maximum time to huddle up and plot a course toward 2011. If he waits on Girardi and can’t get him he may come back to Sandberg and find him already gone to another team. Sandberg isn’t begging for a chance now, as he effectively was when Piniella was hired. He’s managed, if you will, some leverage since then.
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.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.