The Chicago Cubs—Your 2008 NL Central Executioners

Out of the corner of my eye last night, the one corner that wasn't marveling at how grotesquely obese Prince Fielder has become, I noticed what was happening to a couple of our National League Central friends:

The Cardinals, who were officially eliminated from the division race last night, were continuing to get their brains beaten in (six straight losses, five straight road losses, and 10 road losses in their last 11 tries), and the Astros were continuing to not hit (a 5-1 loss at Florida, which means Houston has scored two runs in three games).

Most everyone agrees that the Cards overachieved all season long and that they haven't been viable contenders for quite a while. However, if LaRussa & Co. had any flickering hopes, the Cubs went a very long way toward snuffing them out with their series win in St. Louis last week.

As for the Astros...

well, we all know about the Astros. They were baseball's hottest team, a fairy tale in the making, until Hurricane Ike, No-Hit Carlos, and One-Hit Ted got hold of them. Now they've lost three in a row for the first time in 56 days, and they find themselves three games behind the Wild Card-leading Mets. Suddenly their season is a lot less sunny.

All of that is to say nothing of how the Cubs have contributed to the Brewers' misery. While Milwaukee's September tailspin had nothing to do directly with the Cubs, their spirits couldn't have been lifted by watching the events taking place on their own home field Sunday night and Monday afternoon. Then, when they do go face-to-face with the Cubs, their previously untouchable pitching ace gets beaten, and now they get to read about how much the Cubs enjoyed using their lockerroom and even THEIR WHIRLPOOL TUB!

Yes, life in the NL Central is beautiful.

Just beautiful.

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Comments

Actually I guess the Brewers' spirits were lifted a bit by watching the Cubs beat the Astros Monday, they certainly weren't saddened by it.

Practically speaking, you're right. I was referring more to the indiginity I imagine they felt seeing the Cubs celebrating on their field.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the Cubs magic number to clinch home field advantage is 5.

Right?

for once, you are correct about something.

zing

I hadn't noticed this posted elsewhere, but Cubs 2009 Schedule is out.

They open the Season at Houston and at Milwaukee. The home opener is against the Rockies.

They play Milwaukee 7 times and St. Louis 3 times in September. The regular season ends with a 6 game homestand vs. the Pirates and DBacks.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_i...

AL Central next year..

ROAD TRIP...to Detroit. Wait, maybe I'll skip that one.

That would be great. Sure, Detroit is s***, but Comerica is the balls.

They go to SD twice unless its a misprint for one to be SF.

And weekday series against Sox at Wrigley

shows a 4-game set @ SF in Sept, strange to have 2 road series vs Padres, but Padres schedule shows the same thing.

You know I have never been too keen on the idea of the Cubs building a new ball park but i think that article about how the Cubs really like Miller park probably changed that.

Who knows if having a bigger clubhouse, with more space for weights and spa's is more beneficial to a team? I think it could very well help with strength and conditioning and keeping players on the field. Just an opinion though.

I really like the idea's of tearing down Wrigley and building a replica in the same spot only with all the bells and whistles. The only other thought would be where do the Cubs play for the next 3-4 years when it is being built? Because I don't think they can do it over the Winter, lol. And i think with a newer park the rooftop people would be out of business.

probably work out something where they share Comiskey and Miller Park. It would probably cost them 2 seasons, possibly just one.

Relaxed players probably are better players.

I would imagine they could gut Wrigley and play a year at Comiskey.

Especially if Cuban is the owner.

im one of those people that could care less about wrigley.

it's pretty to look at and that's about it for me.

as long as they keep the organ and/or don't start having "intro/batting" music or blasting rap and 80s rock between innings i'm happy wherever they're playing.

Me too.

But I think to be profitable they need atleast two more rows of skyboxes from pole to pole (on roof and below) to make the money they will need.

Also I would want a replay score board on each side of the roof by the poles encles the stadium around the poles.

Just ask me I have the drawings on a cocktail napkin.

I like poles.

But not Dick Pole.

yeah...to be fair i really enjoy the OF view...the scoreboard, the ivy, the bleachers (very classy/transparent impact upgrade), and the backdrop of the buildings behind it.

ultimately, i could care less if they stay or go, but i guess i should stick with what i know to be good if i truly don't care. i'll ponder that one some other year.

i could talk about the impact of not getting players based on the cruddy clubhouse, bullpen waiting/warming area, training facilities...but really, things like all the day games have more proven impact on that it seems.

Wait, you could care less...so you DO care? That's not what go onto talk about, though. I'm so confused.

i do have the emotional capacity to care less if so desired.

also,

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hehe...

I was harboring a secret expectation (desire?) for that response! I'm p'sychic.

And this is why we love you.

I think he should be the mascot for the 2008 World Champion Cubs. That's right, I said it.

Whatever happened to the plan to build a new building between the current park and Clark - where the players currently park? I thought a couple of years ago they were talking about building something there that would have given some extra clubhouse space and other facilities for the team.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/ballpark/expansion...

I remember Kenney saying they would hold off until they could get more funds and probably until the sale was done. I also thought it was just retail space and more corporate office stuff rather than anything for the players.

They could always play a season at the University of Illinois... oh wait -- that's been done...

so when the cubs make the world series in 2009
and some team takes us to game 7 according
to espn that game is played on november 5th
brrrrrrrrr

Don't worry. Games 6 and 7 will be in sunny Anaheim, CA!

I don't know much about the inside of Wrigley, but isn't there a cheap way to build an awesome state-of-the art clubhouse for the players without tearing the whole thing down?

I realize it's old and there is not a lot of space inside, but you'd think you could knock down some walls inside and expand the clubhouse at the expense of other places, or build some sort of extension on one of the sides or something. I don't know.

Surely they could just put some of those troughs in the clubhouse and fill them with hot water for a jacuzzi when they're not being used for their main purpose.

They've pretty much maxed out the space in Wrigley.

Take the media interview room, for example. On TV, it looks like it might be your standard, maybe even nice, room. It's a dungeon. It's in this little crevice off the walkway to the field/clubhouse where they keep excess grounds crew crap. And the room itself is about the size of a condo's master bedroom.

Actually on TV it still looks like a dungeon. a really nice dungeon.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • I think while I get what you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.

    Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.

  • The players are required to perform with minimal thinking, relying on reflex, reaction, and muscle memory (or, as you say, rhythm). I think this point of view doesn't lend itself well to changing things up. Wearing Zany suits, on the other hand, does sound like fun and definitely keeps things interesting.

  • Scared me for a minute with your anagram for "Almora".

  • KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.

  • Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?

    It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.

    In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.

    I hope Maddon can keep it going.

  • (It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)

  • 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.