An Early Sunday Rainout, so it's TIME TO RANT

They called the sunday (almost) finale of the Giants series early enough that a fan from Kenosha driving to Wrigley didn't have to get much past the Illinois border before turning around and calling a sports talk show to say thanks for the game cancellation update. Postponing the game early was the right thing to do. Playing last night in similar weather was not. I guess a national Fox broadcast causes funny decisions to be made.

Today's rainout has been rescheduled as a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, June 28th. It's a quirky schedule that has the Giants coming to Wrigley Field twice this year otherwise they would have lost a scheduled day off to make up this game.

I need to vent some frustration and reflect on the week just past...

Without a sunday Cubs game, I have time to rant. Sure, yesterday's game was played on nearly unplayable conditions...but watching just gave me more credence to the running TCR commentary on Koyie Hill having blackmailing evidence on Hendry and Quade to keep his roster spot. He can't throw out runners anymore, he doesn't call a good game and now add to the list he can't think and field at the same time. Hopefully he wasn't chewing gum as his excuse. What's not to like when he gets the majority of playing time over prospect Wellington Castillo (Piniella redux) when Soto goes down.

Former Cub OF (well it's unlikely it's good old #21 from the 1962 Cubs) George Altman posted on the last thread...

I really feel it is 'brain-dead' decisions like keeping Koyie Hill on their 25-man roster (let alone moving him into a starting role with Geo on the DL) that takes my enthusiasm for being a Cubs fan and crushes it like a bug crawling on your picnic table. Using a convenient roster move instead of being concerned for Castillo's development as their 'top catching prospect' is just more visible evidence that inmates are running this asylum.

Back to last night's game when Koyie Hill makes a dumbass decision on the field.

On Murph and Fred's  Sunday morning show (ESPN, AM 1000), Murph's latest rant from Saturday's night game is the throwing error by Hill that lead to the second run. Two outs and bases loaded, Cody Ross hits a squibber between the plate and the pitcher that Hill goes out and makes a tough (and wild) throw to try to get the batter. It would have been a lot easier to have Davis come in and get the force out at home for the 3rd out,  considering the man on third was the pitcher. Not a thinking player's move but given the talent of the baseline coaching staff (Bob Dernier and Ivan DeJesus), Koyie may have just earned a lifetime management position (tallest midget argument).

This team is a good watch if you like to watch Cub catchers muffing good throws from the OF or conversely, see Cub runners getting thrown out at the plate. Wavin' Wendell Kim, how we miss those glory days.

My  own rant is from earlier in the week, involved Tuesday's game (click on the Cubs game and play-by-play) vs StL The Cubs lost 6-4 after tying it at 4 in the 7th.

The Cards got a run in the first and the Cubs come back to score two  before the Soriano almost hits into a triple play, grounder to third, force at second. That quiets a big inning but this one base at a time, singles hitting team ( Fukudome walk, Barney single, Byrd single, Ramirez single, Soriano DP, Pena single, Castro walk, and...) still  manages to load the bases again. We find out Soto who started and played the top of the first, had injured his groin and can't bat in the bottom of the inning.

Bags loaded, two outs and Koyie Hill comes up. I was yelling for a pinch hitter since Hill wasn't actually in the game yet but I've yet to see Quade out manage the opposing manager (even a LaRussa substitute manager). The first inning rbi makes as much of difference  as a 7-8th inning pinch hit rbi can. Hill quietly pops out to the third baseman on the first pitch 88 mph cutter (barf).

Fortunately, it's a long season and the pitching could get more interesting in a good way with Davis showing his slow but crafty lefty stuff. Cashner and Wells are soon back in minor league rehab stints and should upgrade the pitching.

The really bad and almost hopeless feeling I get is from  this offense. Outside of the Barney, Castro combo the remainder of the team has shown horrible hitting skills especially with runners in scoring position.  Soriano is worth watching about 10% of the time, clearly he's better with the bases empty and the remaining 90% is painful both at bat and in the field. The team other than Soto, Pena and Fukudome can't take a walk (worse than 1 walk for 30 at bats for Soriano, Castro, Barney and Byrd) but rbi hitters taking walks seem to load the bases for Koyie Hill.  Pena's bat may be waking up a bit but we're talking a wakup call to become a .240 hitter in a perfect world?

I can't wait until Soriano (4 friggin' more years), ARam, Pena  and Byrd move on. Time to break out Washington Irving's, Rip Van Winkle,  if I have to keep watching more of this. Wake me up in 4 years when Soriano's GONE. Bringing up some kid hitters for the rbi spots of the lineup and watching them struggle has to be better than this. Rebel Yell Ridling, I'm waiting on you.

To quote Ronnie up in heaven...Jeez.  I'm up for reading more ranting, so just dig in.

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Comments

I'm tired of effin' free swingers. Can we get some batters that know the strike zone and can work a count?

Milton Bradley's available

Yeah! This Bradley fellow led the AL in OBP in 2008, and I bet his attitude has cleared up since being released by the Mariners. He'd fit perfectly if we could sign him to a long term, back-loaded contract, with a no trade clause. He'd even help keep Brett Jackson in the minors.

What's a good Sunday rant without a little sarcasm?

Who's being sarcastic?

whoever else is on cubs bullpen chart duty...c'mon...step up a little.

I updated it after Wednesday's game, but that's all I've done. For every five updates I make I'll ask for a Moononite post

TCR weirdness, Rob. When I return to the homepage it logs me out (seemingly)...no listing of new commments. I try to log in, but it says access denied. I have to click log out, then log back in.

Also, anyone notice that the Cubs suck?

the didn't lose today

Yeah, it was a good day.

I didn't have to use my MK.

Or in Cubs lingo, "It was a good day, I didn't have to watch Koyie play."

AK, as in AK-47.

Yes, AK. MK is Marty Klein.

try emptying your cache and logging in again?

doesn't seem to be an epidemic yet, so hard to say what it could be.

fwiw, at the moment one of the ads is running a toxic script

I'll give it a try.

I'm going to GAB tonight to watch Z v Bailey so at least I won't have to rant about how the game is on WCIU and I can't watch it. I'll be in the moon deck seats, so if I get to a Jay Bruce home run ball, I'll be sure to throw it back and subsequently throw beer on him.

I'll be wearing Cub gear, I hope I won't be "asking for it" when I get physically assaulted.

As of everyone that goes to GAB for Cubs game I have one request...shoe Marty Brennaman in the nuts.

Thank you.

Is this the Reds home opener? Are the Cubs their arch-rival and coming off of a World Series win?

Whew. I will avert hospitalization and a coma because I went in mid-season.

I can't think of a time I've been less interested in this team. Oh, yes I can. That was when I was about 8 or 9, when I wasn't yet a baseball fan.

About my only involvement this year has been to peruse this forum a few times a week and look at the box score to see if Castro is getting some hits, and then fire up my MLB.TV phone app and watch him bat a few times. That's pretty much it.

I think the reason is that the future just doesn't look at all bright. I've never been a fair weather Cubs fan but I think I'm turning into one, finally. I would have found that sacrilegious a couple years ago. I don't see the Ricketts family as being a particularly inspirational ownership group, and any time something is so heavily leveraged as was the buyout of this team -- well, that raises red flags for me. We all know how Sam Zell worked out.

I can't offer an opinion because I haven't seen him manage enough games, but it's starting to look like Quade was another Hendry mistake, based on this post at least.

I get the feeling I'm not alone here, with my apathy, considering what I've read about fan turnout. If the heavily leveraged Ricketts remain as uninspired as they seem to be, the attendance figures are going to start looking like the ones AZ Phil posts every day.

What would be inspired, to me? Gah, I have no idea. The team needs to be ripped apart and rebooted from top to bottom, both organizationally and roster-wise, and I am pretty convinced the Ricketts aren't the right people to do that. Sadly, they're probably best off keeping Hendry around, and hoping some of the kids finally pan out. I just can't imagine this ownership crew tearing things down and making them better.

I am just as frustrated. But I don't think the roster needs to be blown up.

I really like Castro and Barney. They are young, cheap, hustle, play good defense, run the bases well, hit to right field, etc.

Soto has had a down year, but has some of the best at-bats on the team and does well enough behind the plate.

Garza-Dempster-Zambrano-Wells-Casher is a solid rotation, if it can stay healthy, and should do well next year too.

Marmol-Marshall-Wood is a killer back-end of the bullpen.

I also really like Colvin. Yes, his rate states were weak, but as a rookie he had 20 HR, 56 RBI and 60 Runs in under 400 PAs. Carried out to 600 PAs he has the potential for 30 HR and 85-90 RBI. How you give a 25-year old with that potential so few at-bats is just stupid. He's on pace for under 275 PAs for the season. You have to at least see what he can do.

Byrd is also fine with me. He plays OK defense and gets on base well enough, and for fairly cheap.

I also don't mind Pena. He is overpaid, yes, but he plays good defense, takes charge in the infield, and I was impressed with him bunting with 2 strikes just to get on base and start a rally. I could not imagine Ramirez or Soriano doing that - could you?

And that's my main rant. I am tired of those two. Just tired of watching them. Tired of watching them go slowly around the bases. Tired of watching them play poor defense. Tired of watching Soriano flail at sliders 2-feet outside with men on base. When I watch them, I just don't feel like they care anymore. I wish you could take Reed Johnson's spirit and inject it somehow into both of them.

So I would love this team infinitely more if Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Hill, and Grabow were gone.

God willing, unless Hendry does something stupid (which he might), 4/5ths of that should come true next year.

"But I don't think the roster needs to be blown up."

The lineup is being blown up, just really slowly. Over the next two seasons the Cubs will be dumping a large percentage of their payroll, which is a good thing.

Not sure why it's OK Pena to swing through fastballs and not for Soriano to K on sliders, but I get the overall point.

I think Jackson K's too much to come up and be able to play like Castro did last year, but it would be more entertaining to watch the team were he in center, with Colvin in right and Byrd playing his natural position 4th outfielder.

Based on what they're doing so far - there's a decent chance that LeMehieu, Vitters or Flaherty could be ready next year (Smith is heating up at Iowa as well).

Three more years of Soriano though...

"Three more years of Soriano though..."

If the only "bad" contract remaining is Soriano's, I have hope that they will eat it and move on at some point (read after 2012). Of course this has not been the Cubs standard operating procedure in the past.

Nope, their SOP is to bad mouth the player in the media, and then try to trade him.

There's not much a difference really. But as a fan when I watch I feel less sick when I say "Pena should have hit that, how did he swing right through it?" vs. "WTF, why did he swing at that? It was in the dirt in the left handed batter's box."

Nice post, Wisc. I agree with every single thing you say.

I know not everyone is willing to try this, but for disgruntled fans, I highly recommend channeling some of your Cub devotion into a couple of other teams in the organization, Daytona and Tennessee. Daytona is a better team, but with Tennessee, it's highly entertaining just to watch their line score every half hour or so during an evening. After you've been tracking them for a while, if it happens that they fall behind, say, 3 or 4 to nothing in the second or third inning, your attitude is, no worries, they haven't gotten going yet, just wait a few innings, something big will happen. And (almost) invariably it does.

To a Cub fan, when has a three-run deficit ever not seemed insurmountable? You mean it's possible for a team to routinely overcome a deficit like that? Don't all teams start to choke the minute they fall behind?

No, they don't.

Tennessee's won-lost record could be better, but they are a dominating, scary team.

I wanted to give Quade a chance, even knowing this was a .500 ballclub at best and that I (and many others, I'm sure) would remain more interested if Ryno were the manager. Maybe Hendry knew something about Quade that would make him a great manager, I hoped. Maybe that short tryout last year was not the normal bump a new manager gets, especially with a team playing for nothing, but a sign of superior leadership.

So he plays Koyie Hill. A lot. Even more so after Soto goes down, over the rookie who has potential and will probably benefit from a taste of the majors.

He continues to bat the singles-hitting CF 3rd, and the team's best hitter from last year 8th.

Then Quade lost even the last little bit of respect I had left for him with his treatment of The Colvin Situation. Maybe Colvin was just a flash in the pan, maybe last year was just luck, maybe with more playing time he'd play more like Tyler Perry or Steven Tyler or Shawn Colvin. BUT YOU HAVE TO FRIGGIN' PLAY HIM TO FIND OUT.

So last week Quade comes out and says he's "very concerned" about Colvin's lack of playing time. Like it's out of his hands! WRITE HIM IN THE LINEUP, FER CHRISSAKES! Penciling in DeWitt ahead of Colvin -- ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

One of the jobs of a leader is to make unpopular decisions for the good of the organization going forward. Playing Koyie Hill does not do that. Not playing Tyler Colvin, ditto.

I want a do-over.

/rant

Ed Sherman's column today:

"We have an exciting young team"

"Once we get some spring weather, people will want to be at the park.

"Our ticket prices did not go up this year. This might be an issue from years past."

"I can't stand it when I hear someone say they can't afford to go to a game. It might be hard to get tickets for a Yankees or Sox game, but there's no reason why they can't afford to go to another game. We want to get more fans in the park"

$100 box seats, $58 bleachers for a Pirates game...very affordable. $28 for an upperdeck seat behind a post...same game.

Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?...

You don't want to take your family of four to see a Pirates game (speaking of young exciting teams) for $300? What's wrong with you?

"Once we get some spring weather, people will want to be at the park"

"I can't stand it when I hear someone say they can't afford to go to a game."

Ricketts then pulled out a $ 100.00 bill and blew his nose into it.

"Damn allergies"

Nice, jacos.

ricketts gets angry when folks say they can't afford the wrigley experience?! he's that out of touch? be very afraid...

here's an idea: by all accounts soriano is a great guy/teammate...make him a roving host in the ballpark the last 3 years of his contract; let him buy beers & hot dogs for folks; kind of a rich man's ronnie woo-woo - that way he'll be making fans happy instead of pissed & the organization will be getting SOMETHING in return for the $18 million per...think he'd go for it?

okay, how 'bout they put him in a dunk tank instead of the lineup?

Info on Vitters from First Inning

http://firstinning.com/players/Josh-Vitters-a/

Year Team Age AVG OBP SLG k% BABIP
2008 Boise 19 324 361 494 16.2% 378
2009 Peoria 20 316 351 535 14.6% 330
2009 Daytona 20 238 262 344 11.8% 258
2010 Daytona 21 291 350 445 18.3% 341
2010 Tennessee 21 223 291 383 18.1% 247
2011 Tennessee 22 236 282 415 5.3% 216

I'm pretty happy to see his K% down, although he's not having a great season. It's nice to see that he can avoid the strikeout at the very least. His BB% is still pretty low.

He's got a miserable BABIP, so we can only hope that he'll start squaring up a little better and crank up those rate stats. His GB/LD rates are pretty much in his normal range. Hopefully some of his current season is just bad luck and he start looking like a nice prospect again.

optimistic take: low BABIP, doesn't strike out much, he'll come around

pessimistic take: if he'd stop trying to swing at everything, he'd probably be making better contact and have a better BABIP

after a hot week or two to start the season, he's tailed off badly over the last month.

Scott Moore 2.0

if we're just naming Cubs prospects, sure...

I meant more so as a high pick HS 3rd baseman who busted in the Cubs org.

Billy Rowell 2.0?

To be similar to Vitters, someone would have to be drafted by the Cubs, wouldn't he?

Not really?

Then yesterday he hits a single and a 2-run homer.

I did a piece about Vitters recently, in which I noted that his strikeout rate is actually lower than anybody's in the National League, and it is particularly low considering that over 40% of his hits are for extra bases. I tried to milk those two facts for all they were worth.

Also it's hard to draw walks when you tend to put the first decent pitch into play.

Without walks, you get four official at-bats every day, and that makes it hard to raise your BA. A hit a day makes you a .250 hitter, which is about normal for Vitters these last couple of seasons. Think of the difference in BA between 1 for 4 and 1 for 3.

it also gives you a .250 OBP

It's not really informative to say that a guy who has hit for some power but has a low batting average is going to have a high ration of XBH/Hits.

It would be a little more infomrative, in the BABIP sense to look at XBH/Balls hit.

His LD rate is down a little, so weak contact may be a cause for it, but I think sample size is about 90% more likely to be the main culprit.

Maybe someone will get a chance to see some of their games and we can get a real impression.

Unfortunately that same theory applied to LeMaheiu (of the .392 BABIP) turns him into a .280 singles hitter.

Hopefully some of his current season is just bad luck and he start looking like a nice prospect again.

He's probably having a better "process" season than LeMeheiu, sadly he's trapped in an organization that focuses on minor league results. The one thing he needs to add now is that a walk is a favorable result.

If he keeps up his contact rate and power for another month, I'd be OK with him moving to AAA, and open up room for the other two third basemen to play their natural position. Smith, at that point could get promoted, or focus on being more of a utility player.

so...

we're already at the point where non-polished prospects and non-prospects are somehow either awesome or it's worth burning their service time to have something similar or worse to what's already here.

neat. it's gonna be a long summer.

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