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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  • I am right there with you closing in on 60.

    I don't care that much about "mortgaging" one player who is not only blocked by two guys, but is not ready to hit the majors for at least a couple years.

    There is no reason why this team, this year, can't have a real shot at something NONE of us have experienced.

    Further, I don't feel that even if they fall short that they have ruined their farm system.

    I have made my opinion clear here, with others, Warren was shit on the Cubs save one spot start.

    The E-Man 59 min 36 sec ago view
  • Trading for Warren, Warren sucking, getting Warren back for Chapman plus 3 prospects, sounds like Revenge of The Yankees on the former Boston executive. Old rivalries never die.

    I pray to the heavens above Chapman doesn't suck for some reason, or he'll be booed out of town faster than a Todd Hundley revival meeting.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • I'm kind of nostalgic for the Schwarber-for-Miller rumors.

    Brick 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • This offseason, after some ridiculous playoff run and Chapman saving every game from here until the end of the postseason striking out 27/9innings, I welcome anyone to quote this thread and call me a dummy: I hate this trade, and my hate is 2 parts Chapman makes this team less likeable and 1 part that's a ridiculous overpay for 30 regular season innings and, at tops, 10 postseason innings. Already hoping they don't extend him.

    Charlie 1 hour 20 min ago view
  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 1 hour 52 min ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 2 hours 46 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 49 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 3 hours 17 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 3 hours 19 min ago view