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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  • Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.

    Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).

  • Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.

  • Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.

  • BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left. 

  • K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A. 

  • His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.

    He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.

  • "KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?

  • Baez is looking like a pretty special player.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.

  • bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...

    felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size

    13ip 4h 3bb 20K

    remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.

    this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.

  • Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...

  • nice.

    also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.

    also also, the wsox are 19-8.

  • Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.

  • Fully agree on Addy -- hope he is our SS for a long time. I'm just surprised he has 4 errors already -- the last 2 on routine plays.

  • Guess how many Carlos Correa has?

    3

    I would still rather have Russell, right now, than any shortstop the team has had in many years. The future is bright enough to wear shades.

    EDIT: Gonzo WOULD have been my favorite, 'cepting a certain error of a double-play ball...

  • Hi Phil, made it home tonight safely. Looks like Cease is getting better each outing. I see Crow did ok today too. I will be reading your write_ups everyday. Great seeing you while there!