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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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 5 hours 24 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 5 hours 36 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 5 hours 45 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 5 hours 50 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 6 hours 8 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 6 hours 45 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 7 hours 2 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 7 hours 4 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 7 hours 22 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 7 hours 29 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 8 hours 25 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 8 hours 43 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 8 hours 47 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 9 hours 57 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 10 hours 36 min ago view