Paid Attendance Vs. Paid Attention

It’s not supposed to be like this.

First your Opening Day/Night gets rained out. Then the following day/night is cold and windy, but dry, so you go through the ceremonial motions with no one there to watch and clap. Player introductions with some guys just staying in the dugout and others shivering and huddling together along the baselines like penguins. A video tribute to Bob Feller on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the only Opening Day no-no in big league history to go along with the Bob Feller bandanas handed out at the turnstiles that folks are using as windbreaks on their cheeks, looking like stagecoach robbers. The silly hat-head contest atop the home dugout that’s supposed to be decided by the applause-o-meter except it’s out-of-order; no power. Saturday night there were probably more people in the skyboxes than the stands. Then the game had barely started when Tony Campana, who looks about as batboyish as his predecessor, Sam Fuld, used to before he donned a cape and became ManRam’s replacement, lofted a blooper to left-center leading off the bottom of the first. Memphis’ left and center fielders, Andrew Brown and Shane Robinson, respectively, collided in pursuit of it - no skid marks; full-tilt. Poor bastards; 15-20 minutes later they were both scraped off the turf and ambulanced to the hospital with concussions [Robinson also sustained some facial fractures] and the players and fans re-thawed and resumed. Eventually the I-Cubs prevailed, long after I’d taken my media guides and gone home.

Sunday afternoon was better; still chilly but less breezy and the sky was blue. Oneri Fleita was in attendance and sat outdoors, for which I’ll give him credit. The Chicago and Iowa Cubs announced that their three-decade long affiliation has been formally extended through 2016. Everyone seemed glad to hear it. I certainly was. Ramon Ortiz started for the I-Cubs and pitched quite a bit better than his line suggests. His arm seemed lively and his command fairly sharp but he fell victim to the limited range and quickness of Bobby [Godblesshim] Scales in the 3rd when Memphis breached the right side of the infield defense and aimed a series of grounders through it. Combined with a couple of flares that dropped gently between IF and OF, one of them off the bat of Fast Freddie Bynum, the bleeding of Ortiz couldn’t be stopped until he’d thrown about three dozen pitches in the inning that would be his last. I thought he looked about as good as a guy can while suffering death by a thousand cuts.

Doing my best to simulate conditions more LA-like, I excused myself early again to head home and watch the local club’s parents play on television. A foul ball followed me out of the park, landing maybe ten yards behind me in the parking lot and rolling practically right to my car. I picked it up and inspected. It was still pristine except for a small bat-inflicted blemish and the abrasion that resulted from its crash landing on the asphalt. I drove home contemplating the difference between the baseballs we used to play with and the professional ones. Ours usually were dirty, waterlogged and frayed by the time we lost or discarded them. The one in the seat beside me yesterday may have lived only a pitch or two.

The season’s start felt false here, but there are plenty more where that ball came from, starting today at noon in the series finale. The forecast includes a good chance of rain and temps below normal. I’ve gotta work.

Comments

Bobby [Godblesshim] Scales

That's gold Jerry, Gold!!!!

so was the paragraph about the baseball

Thanks, boss...

Yes, nice article, Mike.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Wells, Cashner exams today, would start throwing if they get the green light, says Wells would be back sooner.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Chicago-Cu...

nothing at all interesting about Castro and Barney from Rosenthal.

McNutt off DL, Ty Wright goes on for Smokies

Cubs due for a win, they've been 1-game up, even or 1-game below .500 all season.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/2...

Want to take a moment to thank the volunteers who have taken over the Bullpen Spreadsheet.

paul noce, jumbo and crunch...

thanks indeed.

I have yet to ccontribute to the spreadsheet, but I have a good feeling that I will at some point. Fear not, I'll announce it to board when it happens. Until then, praise be to paul & crunch

Venable 9, Headley 5, Hudson 4, Cantu 3, Hundley 2, Ludwick 7, Maybin 8, Bartlett 6, Stauffer 1...

vs.

Castro 6, Barney 4, Byrd 8, Ramirez 5, Pena 3, Soriano 7, Fukudome 9, Soto 2, Zambrano 1...

What a pitiful lineup... and the Padre's isn't any good either.

I guess this makes Byrd the 2nd worst #3 hitter in the majors.

pardre lineup is f'n pathetic.

Tonight, Zambrano is realistically a better hitter than anyone in the Padres lineup :)

All this confidence will produce a Cubs loss, I'm sure of it. So sayeth the baseball gods

Says fans of the cat to the kettle.

...if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Sometimes I hate always being right.

try to get back to the recaps this week...

Robert Whitenack with another good start yesterday

6 IP, 1 unearned run, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K and the win

Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 2:05pm.
try to get back to the recaps this week...

Robert Whitenack with another good start yesterday

6 IP, 1 unearned run, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K and the win

====================================

ROB G: An interesting thing about Rob Whitenack (besides the fact that he skipped AZ Instructs and went back to school after each of the last two seasons) is that he has a very effective sinker that he uses to make hitters get themselves out (hence the extreme GO/FO rate), but once he gets to strike two, he throws a wipeout knuckle-curve for the punch-out. That's why his strikeout totals vary wildly from start-to-start.

Cubs with 3 quality starts so far this year, tied for worst in the league with Mets

Yeah they were talking about that on the broadcast yesterday... QBall's stupidity cost Dempster at least one, though, didn't it?

weren't they one of the NL best last year?

pen last year was so so so so ass. it made the team look worse than it was, really. but hey, the pen is part of the team.

Too bad we don't have a sucky pitcher named sword... then the pen would be mightier than the sword.

Or at least smarter than Mike Leake.

"The Cubs led the NL and ranked second in the Majors with 96 quality starts in 2010"

damn.

pen was even worse than i thought...bats had to help with some low/no score games, too.

also...

"The Cubs finished with 94 quality starts (three or fewer earned runs over six or more innings) in 2009, tied for second in the majors with the Rockies. Only the Braves (99) had more."

What wasn't broken the last two years?
..starting pitching depth

What's broken beyond belief now.

Redefining success.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110418/S...

He refused bail stating his future was brighter in the joint rather than pitching for Dusty.

What a moron.

wow...$425K don't go as far as it used to i guess. this is pretty solid proof the rich need more tax breaks, imo.

Wow. I make about 10% of the salary that he does and I wouldn't blink an eye to drop $60 on six T-shirts. What a dirt.

Not to mention the $2.3 million signing bonus as a 1st round draft pick in 2009. Entitlement attitude, perhaps?

Maybe he was just going to joy-ride them like Sean Estes did that police bike 20 years ago.

Once I bought a pair of pants from there and they didn't remove the anti-theft tag. I didn't notice until a couple days later - so I took it back, but they thought I was trying to steal it... after some discussion they removed the tag for me.

It makes me think that something similar may be involved - like they didn't exchange something for him so he decided to take matters in his own hands.

Weird story.

"Employees at Macy's called police after they said Leake removed the tags from six American Rag T-shirts, valued at $59.88, and left the store with them.

The incident was captured by security cameras, police documents state."

Looks like he was caught... RED handed.

Looks like he was caught... RED handed.

win.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/04/19/...

had $250 in cash and credit cards with him, lawyer gonna try and get him through 1st time offender program and get record cleaned.

funny thing is he's probably been doing this for many many many years. guys like this that are paid, not junkies, etc etc...a lot did it while young, never got busted bad, and just keep doing it for the mild rush. known a few people like this...one guy who didn't even get popped (where he couldn't talk his way out of it) until he was in his late 20s.

Klepto

Good thing he's not living in late 18th century England -- he'd probably be sentenced to death with an option to be transported to Australia. In England back then, the most severe penalties were for property crimes -- usually targeting the lower classes. Gotta keep them in their place, you know.

Recent comments

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  • Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run

    For the first time in a year, 33 starts.

    /nervous
    //not really

    jacos 33 min 23 sec ago view
  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-ja...

    Ryno 1 hour 11 min ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 1 hour 37 min ago view
  • With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

    bradsbeard 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 3 hours 6 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 11 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 4 hours 40 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 5 hours 36 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 6 hours 26 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 9 hours 14 min ago view