Cub Fan Dads: Happy Father's Day

I figure there are a number of you who have this same "my dad was a Cub fan, taught me everything I know..." story.
One day, probably still a long time from now, we'll be able to write a different joke without the sarcasm.

Okay, probably a long, looooong time from now.


Parachat tonight, be there!

and be there early in case it's a blowout...

Happy Fathers day to the Dads among us! My Dad passed Cubdom down to me. I'm passing the same affliction onto my daughter. Hopefully we all see a Banner while all three of us are still kicking?

This is my first Father's Day as a dad. Our daughter is 9 months old now. It's been pretty great so far. More fun than I ever thought possible. If all goes well we'll have another in December/January. I'm really hoping it's a boy simply because of the relationship I have with my dad. If not we'll be delighted and I'll try again (and again).

Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there. I'm glad to have joined your club

Congrats Jumbo, and future congrats on the coming rug rat.

yes, indeed.

Ah, a daughter. That's great. ENJOY those first eleven years Jumbo, After that, just hang in there. It all gets better again when they turn 25!

Congrats Jimbo!

Remember the best part of kids (according to Rodney Dangerfield)?

Congratulations Jumbo! Sons, daughters, they're all wonderful! And they will be what they are going to be. Enjoy the ride!

Reed, Castro, Baker, Ramirez, Soriano, Soto, Montanez, LeMahieu, Wells


Gardner, Granderson, Teix, ARod, Cano, Swisher, Martin, Nunez, CC

be there...

So who thinks the likelihood of the Cubs signing Pujols just went up now that he injured his wrist and may have permanently lost some power?

I can see Hendry negotiating it now:

Pujols: I think I'm worth 6/150

Hendry: we'd be more comfortable at 10/350

Pujols: Uh.....ok

Henry: Fine! We will throw in a 11th year player option at 40 Mil. But you gotta say yes!!!!


...then performs at career lows.

Thanks Navigator as one with a 14 year old daughter i was hoping things got
easier at 18 or at least 21.

I will throw the darts for Quade tomorrow.


For some reason I am picking Dewitt for DH.

LeMath or Soto with Koyie Hill catching will be the Quade plan.

Anyone else hear Buster Olney making excuses for Jim Hendry today on ESPN? Has a GM ever been held less accountable?

Yep. It was sickening.

I made a Yankee fan upset in Wrigley bathroom tonite, to tired and drunk to report.

/remind me in the morning

Why does Ken Rosenthal always sound stoned?

He and the other Fox people were laying on the hype about NYY SS Nunez with a freaking trowel on Saturday. Nunez then did nothing special except of course last night's Very Awesome Shortstop Ball-Spike. I'm thinking some kind of substance abuse had to be involved in the whole thing. #overdosin'onYankeelove

What is he Jeter's heir apparent or something?

Anyways, they just had Rosenthal on WSCR, and he just seems stoned. Like his speech is broken and somewhat incoherent. It's either narcotics, or he was playing call of duty while conducting a telephone radio interview.

Didn't he throw out Castro from deep in the hole last night? I thought it was a for sure hit.

he did and later in the game Castro took way to long to set up and made a bad throw on almost the exact same play.

Flashing his superior arm?

I wasn't listening to the broadcast last night. Did anyone explain what happened to the three MPH on Well's fastball? It's like watching a 39 year old Maddux pitch without the command.

Nunez had his back foot on the grass and his front on the dirt. Castro was about 4 steps on the grass. Part of the reason for that was his inability to stop himself quickly enough after catching the ball, but the ball hit to Castro was a bit deeper.

point I was making was Castro took about 6 hours to try and set up there and then still made a bad throw. If he's gonna take the time to set up like that, you nail the throw.

If you're just gonna fucking bounce it, you take the one and half steps and pivot off your foot and jump in the air.

Yeah, I know didn't mean to bounce it of course, but 2 seasons running now and Mr. Coachable hasn't improved one bit on his throws.

That needs to be said every time Q-Bald tells the media "Cassy" is young and will improve.

Castro is 21. Nunez just turned 24.

52.4% of all runs scored in the major leagues last year were scored with 2 outs.

Pooholes with a broken left forearm. Out 4-6 weeks...
The moment I saw the replay of him getting hurt, and saw the wrist flapping around, I knew there was something broken....

Hopefully his signing hand is okay.

/points and laughs

Yeah, from a guy who has played a season with plantar fasciitis and a torn UCL, to see him roll around on the ground like that, let's you know something's really wrong.

$50 million injury?

TRN-Where have you been?

I'm sure he will bounce back, but you never know.

Peru. I was vastly disconcerted to discover that Quade/Hendry were not relieved of dootying on the Cubs while I was out of the country.

Thomas Diamond signed a minor league deal with the Twins.

In other ex-Cubs news:

"Marlins recalled RHP Jose Ceda from Triple-A New Orleans.
Ceda, 24, has registered a sparkling 0.89 ERA and 40/10 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings this season at the Triple-A level and should do well in middle relief."

What was the field distraction 7th inning that espn mentioned but didn't want to show?

Love that JacMac is back in FLA. That is awesome

Just looked like a fight in the stands.

I'm rooting for Ceda. So far his recovery from labrum surgery has been remarkable. Hope it's a trend in sports medicine.

The procedure that Bartolo Colon underwent seems to be even more "game changing". I've heard that he's throwing 96 again.

Is that why you were in Peru? Lol.

Can't wait for the Real Neal "Locked up Abroad" episode!!!

Funny, I had never heard of that until about 1:30 AM Sunday chatting with a newlywed couple at the airport, who had just finished doing some good deeds with the locals in the Amazon... they traded that TV show for my description of End of the Spear.

Pretty amazing: the Cubs are last in the MAJORS in BB drawn (176) and first in BB given up (284) - a differential of 108. Sad, sad, sad.

Free swinging assholes. Enjoy your stupid batting averages and 90+ losses.

Just messing around with runs created formulas, that 108 walk differential looks like it might account for around 37 runs of the Cubs -71 run differential so far.


RF Fuke, SS Castro, LF DeWitt, 3B Ramy, 1B Pena, DH Soriano, C Soto, 2B LeMahieu, CF Campana


pierre7, omar4, q9, pk3, dunnDH, ram6, aj2, rios8, teahen5, gavin1

Congrats, Ozzie... a lineup that looks worse than the Cubs.

Our starting pitching is so bad, we're going without one?

q9 and pk3 sound like professional FPS players. Ur gonna get /pwned!

The BABIP twins are hitting back-to-back. Nice to see LeMahieu get an XBH yesterday so that his slash stats are no longer identical.

DH day, Z is pitching


That begs the question - who does Z think gives him the better chance to win as DH, him or LeMahieu?

says Maddux is extremely loyal and don't expect him to stick around with the Cubs if they fire Hendry. Says Hendry would have to go for Sandberg to come back and then it would be up to new GM.

I thought Maddux was supposed to be loyal to Ricketts.

The beat writers are loyal to Hendry. Hence to constant excuse making and impending doom articles about his departure.

that's gotta be it

Soto has gotten worse offensively each year since his rookie season and we know that Koyie Hill is also offensively challenged.

Luckily, I am not a writer, and only loosely follow the Cubs, so I am not obliged to point out that your premise of Soto getting worse each year is incorrect.

The prediction of Castro moving to third to make room for Barney so the Cubs could sign a FA second basemen is equally priceless... though 250 PA's of 86 OPS+ hitting probably has got the Cubs brass convinced that Barney is a the real deal.

The Cubs LOVE hollow batting averages! Cubbie advance scouting books only have 4 separate statistics. Avg/Hr/RBI/sb

Yep, LeMahieu is probably one more week of empty .300 hitting from clinching the 2012 3rd base gig... Only the Cubs could get excited about the next Vance Law.

At least he looks the part. And he has a baseball face. That's what matters to the Hendry regime.

"At least he looks the part. And he has a baseball face. That's what matters to the Hendry regime."

It should matter. It has always mattered in baseball that somebody "suits up well."

Anyway, thanks for noticing that LeMahieu looks like a ballplayer--for using your eyes, that is, for something other than scanning stats.

Babe Ruth doesn't get a contract if VA Phil is scouting him.

Or David Ortiz, or Ryan Howard, or Prince Fielder...

Sheesh guys...let's let LeMahieu get a few hundred at bats before relegating him to the scorn pile....

We're really bitching that he was promoted over more deserving candidates like Vitters and Flaherty, because the Hendry institute doesn't offer a class in BABIP.

Flaherty I would absolutely agree with. 100%. Vitters wasn't hitting that well at the time, you can use whatever measure you want. LeMahieu hit at Daytona, and was on fire at AA.
Unsustainably, of course.....and if they were going to bring him up to mostly sit, then they just should have brought up Bobby Scales or something. LeMahieu sure looks like he's punchless at the plate though....hit the weight room kid, or his swing needs work..or something.

He needs to not be swinging from the dugout. The same affliction that Colvin, Vitters, Barney, Castro, Soriano and almost any other Cubs prospect of note has.

If you have to hit .280 to get on base 30% of the time, then you aren't a long term MLBer. At least not in any other organization.

good point Dr....

"If you have to hit .280 to get on base 30% of the time, then you aren't a long term MLBer."

Funny you mention .280, that's what Flaherty and Vitters have hit in the minors. LeMahieu is .325.

You think LeMahieu is a .325 hitter? Does it even matter?

What would VaPhil rather have 325 hitter with a 350 OBp


A .280 hitter with a 400 OBP?

A run producer--someone who scores runs and/or drives in runs. Fukudome does neither. What difference does it make what his OBP is? Runs are the currency of baseball, not OBP.

LeMahieu drove in 73 runs last year as a #2 hitter. I know you guys are reading from the same script and it doesn't mention RBI, but I still like to look at the runs column and the RBI column.

Who has a better chance to score more runs?

Player A) who is on base 200 times in 500 at bats


Player B) who is on base 150 times in 500 at bats

I think you're asking the wrong question. The question should be who has a better chance to score more runs, the guy with the higher runs scored/PA ratio or the guy with higher OBP?

Look, anecdotally, at Tony Campana. In limited action with the Cubs he's scoring runs at around a .131 R/PA clip even though his OBP is 150 points lower than Kosuke. Over his career he's around .144 R/PA with a 25 point lower OBP than Fukudome.

Fukey so far this year

.397 OBP .109 R/PA (career .372 .123)
(-- on base more and scoring less)

Average of all plate appearances in NL this year

.318 OBP .107 R/PA

Kosuke has scored 0.4 more runs than the average hitter has with 200 PA's

Could that be a function of a shoddy cubs supporting lineup?

Does Kfuk score more with his 397 OBP if he is in a real MLB lineup?

Well, the Cubs as a team are scoring runs at the same rate as Kosuke (.109) but with an OBP of only .318!

Doesn't seem like that falls on Kfuk though? Could it be the result of every other non Kfuk hitter having inferior On Base #'s than Kfuk?

The guy isn't really a slug on the bases or anything?

Maybe Ivan DeJesus has a communication problem with Kosuke?

3 things with Fukudome...

one, his numbers actually leading off an inning aren't very good

.326 OBP

that means less chances to score

second, he's not a very good baserunner

third, the Cubs deplorable numbers with RISP and Runners On

"Could that be a function of a shoddy cubs supporting lineup?"

Barney and Castro have the same supporting lineup, plus Fukudome gets on base ahead of two hitters who have been around .300 all season.

Barney's runs-per-PA is .128 (34/265), Castro's is .131 (42/319). Fuke's is .108 (26/240).

In the Yankee series, the network announcer was upbraiding Fukudome for not going from first to third on a routine single to center (by Castro, I think). Fukudome was running on the pitch, but stopped at second. He should have been around second with a full head of steam before the CF touched the ball. A good runner (Barney, Castro, Johnson, Byrd) would have made third without drawing a throw.

There's a reason why leadoff hitters are usually speedy. The Cubs are squeezing the most out of Fukudome, and for once he is being mildly productive, but not to the extent that the OBP indicates. (Don't mention this to prospective trading partners.)

I'll also add Campana probably scored a few runs coming in as a pinch runner which would inflate his R/PA.

Soriano has been a long time MLBer

He was also a perennial 850+ OPS 2nd baseman. Those will ALWAYS have value.

He's still the Cubs best offensive player. Just a target for fan bile because he is overpaid.

No one thought he was a 2bmen even when he was playing 2nd base.

But back to the original point, there's 100's of examples of "freeswingers" having decent major league careers.

If a free swinger can put up 550 slugging%'s then yes. You can overlook some flaws.

When the free swinger has a slugging % in the 300's. You got yourself a problem.

Okay, well now you're moving the bar.

I'll bring it back.

Yes a free swinger can buck the odds and have a career. An MLB lineup can support having a free swinger penciled in.


1) The odds of making it in MLB baseball greatly diminish if you are a free swinger (Even Soriano has 50 points from career Avg to OBP)

2) A lineup isn't going to be consistently good if you have a bunch of free swingers in it

The thing that is dumbfounding is how Jim Hendry and Co haven't yet figured this out?

The 2008 team had 98 wins and conversely led the league in OBP. Yet instead of building on that success, they got caught up in handedness and a playoff series defeat.

There just isn't any rhyme or reason in how this organization conducts business? And it permeates through all levels of the organization.

you don't mean conversely do you?

Yet instead of building on that success, they got caught up in handedness and a playoff series defeat.

Not really... their big pickups since 2008 have been Bradley, Pena, and Byrd. 2 of the 3 are very good OBP/plate discipline guys.

Then why does every ML prospect have terrible plate discipline? Why did Sam Fuld say that it wasn't pushed in the organization. Why did they have an A ball manager punishing guys for K's looking?

If it's something the GM cares about, he sure isn't stressing it through the ranks?

If it's something the GM cares about, he sure isn't stressing it through the ranks?

That is a fair criticism, but one that is very different than what you originally said (i.e. "they got caught up in handedness and a playoff series defeat").

All we heard about was the handedness that whole offseason. All Lou wanted was "A left handed Right fielder who can bat 5th"

Also got a left handed backup middle infielder and a left handed backup catcher.

Right...and the "handedness" had nothing to do with OBP/plate discipline, but he brought in one of hte best OBP/handedness guy out there (Bradley).

1 guy who had a good OBP. However he moved out 6 guys with good OBP's to make room for him.

However he moved out 6 guys with good OBP's to make room for him.

If you say so.

Edmonds, DeRosa, Replaced Fontenot with Miles, Replaced Blanco for Koyie Hill

Obviously I fudged a little. Point was that we downgraded all over the roster for Handedness, over production. It's all we heard from the brass that whole offseason.

Which brings back the point that it wasn't important to Management.

DeRosa's OBP in 2007:.371
in 2008:.376

So they replaced him with Milton F. Bradley, the king of OBP, and nothing else? WHo was also known throughout the league as a clubhouse cancer? Worked out great as I remember.....

Well, it's not like Hendry moved against OBP after 2008.

He got rid of Pie and Cedeno, which would do nothing but help OBP. Miles was signed as a back-up coming off a .355 OBP season.

DeRosa was shipped out, which hurt OBP, but Bradley was signed with OBP in mind.

So there wasn't a shift in doctrine after 2008, mostly because I doubt there was much of a doctrine before 2008 to change.

The team dropped 22 points in team OBP from 2008-2009, despite Lee, Ramirez, and Fukudome all IMPROVING in OBP.

The main reason for the 22-point drop was:

Soto -43
Theriot -44
Soriano -41
Fontenot -94 (with more ABS)
And the bench was all around much worse.

So it's not like Hendry said "screw OBP," he basically ran the same lineup out there with Edmonds-DeRosa swapped out for Fontenot-Bradley. Fontenot was coming off a .394 OBP in nearly 300 PAs, and Bradley is know for OBP.

I wish that Hendry would have somehow acknowledged the root of that clubs success.

It just doesn't seem to be an organizational priority?

The way I see it, OBP is the effect, not the cause. The cause is knowing the strike zone and not chasing bad pitches. There are free-swinging hackers and then there are those that work a count. This might seem nuanced and/or hair-splitting, but I'd take a guy that knows the strike zone before I would look at guy's numbers.

Also, a couple free swingers are a good thing in the lineup. The problem is this lineup is chock full of hackers and guess hitters.

Just speaking about Josh Vitters only, I can tell you that he is a laid-back Southern California dude where nothing seems to phase him (a lot like ROB G), and if there was ever a personality who you would think would (by nature) take a lot of walks, it would be Vitters.

But I think if you asked him he would tell you that with his bat speed and plate coverage, he believes he can hit any pitch close to the strike zone, and that if he does strike out he would be just as likely to get called out on strikes as strike out swinging, and so all things being equal, a double or a HR is better than a walk. He thinks like an old school RBI guy. D. J. LeMahieu has a similar approach.

But then there are other guys who don't walk much because they are "dead-red" fastball hitters who struggle to hit breaking balls (like Nelson Perez, for example) and who know that the most likely pitch where they will see a fastball is the first pitch they see, and so they sit on it and are always anxious to swing at the first pitch.

And then there are other "toolsy" guys who maybe have power and/or speed but are not particularly good hitters (like Tyler Colvin, for example), and they know they are dead meat once they get two strikes, so they try to avoid that by swinging at every opportunity early in the count.

Somehow the Cubs seem to find all of these guys.

But one more thing to note is this. The Cubs Player Development Department likes guys who are aggressive and display passion on the field. (This is true for pitchers, too). The players know this, so they tend to be transfer some of their aggressiveness to their Plate Appearances (Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney do this), when actually they should limit the hyper-activity to areas where high energy is actually useful (like playing defense and running the bases). The Cubs Player Development Department needs to improve communication in this area, not just to the players but to the minor league managers and coaches, too.

Thanks for this AZ Phil.

In your opinion what needs to happen for this culture to change? Is the current regime willing or capable of change. or do we need a complete house cleaning?

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 06/21/2011 - 1:57pm.
Thanks for this AZ Phil.

In your opinion what needs to happen for this culture to change? Is the current regime willing or capable of change. or do we need a complete house cleaning?


DR AARON: I don't think a house-cleaning is needed. Just better communication about what being aggressive means and how it really does not relate to hitting.

The main problem I've noticed is that I don't think the Cubs have a real specific overall organizational hitting philosophy, per se. Rather they tend to accept each hitter for what he is, and then try to maximize that particular hitter's stengths, whatever they may be. Which is not a bad thing, because you can't make somebody be something they aren't. But it also means you don't ask your scouts to look for certain types of hitters (like those that already have plate discipline, strike zone judgment, etc). Instead the scouts will look first for hitters with the raw tools you can't teach, like power, bat speed, etc.

BTW, Tom Beyers is a good Organizational Hitting Coordinator. But of course he can't be everywhere at the same time, so he has to rely on the individual team hitting instructors to do the day-to-day season-long work with the hitters, and I'm not sure that all of them (and their managers) are necessarily aware that there is a problem. A couple of them might be more concerned with developing the player's hitting skills than with the player's overall approach to each AB, perhaps seeing that as something the player will pick-up later in his career as he matures and gains experience.

One of the problems with a hitting instructor at any level (and this is true for any organization) is a tendency for the coach to identify with players who remind the hitting instructor of himself, and then they might tend to bond more with those guys than with some of the others on the team.

If I ran a team, I would be more-inclined to sign a Rudy Jaramillo type of hitting "guru" to be the Organization Hitting Coordinator rather than just be the MLB Hitting Coach. Then I would put the Organization Hitting Coordinator above all of the individual team hitting coaches, including the MLB hitting coach.

Sorry, but if you're not striking out and hitting home runs, you're doing fine.

From Jim Callis at BA:

I was having an email exchange about third-base prospect Josh Vitters with Mark Peel, who knows more about Cubs prospects than anyone this side of the Cubs, when something crystallized for me: Projecting plate discipline and patience for a high school hitter may be the most difficult job in scouting......

Especially in an organization that puts Less Than Zero importance on it.

A piece of evidence to the contrary:

Matt Cerda battled off several tough pitches by Frerichs to earn a walk ahead of Ha's heroic at-bat.

"How about Matt Cerda's great at-bat in the eighth inning? That does not go unnoticed in this locker room," [Michael] Brenly said. "That was huge for (Cerda) to get on in front of Ha. We knew something special was going to happen there."

I didn't know this either, but it turns out Michael Brenly is the son of a former big league player.

I looked at the Cubs roster today and any AA/AAA players to see who (in my opinion) could hold down a major league job next season. I came up with:

Castro (at a position to eventually be determined).

Dempster, Z, Garza (SP)

Marmol, Marshall (RP)

Barney (Utility IF)

Byrd (OF - if not traded)

That was about it unless the NL implements the DH and then add Soriano.

Colvin, LeMaheiu, B. Jackson, Vitters, Flaherty, Castillo, Carpenter - who knows?

Am I missing anybody? And if this is close to reality, how do you trade or sign enough FA's to make this team a competitor before 2014-15?

Soto can't hold down a big league job next year?

Michael Brenly for Cubs GM!


The players might notice that. Unfortunately the Cubs brass doesn't seem to understand it.

The story AZ Phil told us last year about Jody Davis taking guys out of the game for called strike 3 was absolutely harrowing. Where is the organizational oversight to allow that to happen? How can Hendry be considered anything OTHER than incompetent when he made that hire?

The whole thing is broken. Someone competent needs to be brought in to rebuild from the foundation up.

you can't teach plate patience.

they either get it or they don''s a personal journey.

some people, most people, are swingers. you can have a guy look at sliders all day, but the pitchers who throw them do it in so many different ways with so many different breaks that you can't just sit them in front of a machine and toss them in for practice. arm slots...picking up spin and actually doing something about it...deception in's gonna look different.

also, jody davis was a horrible manager for many reasons...he's been dealt with.

To some extent I agree its a born with tool. However general plate approach can be taught and adjusted. Guys coming up in good organizations tend to have better plate approaches.

most people who can "learn" how to tinker with their plate discipline...not counting those who suddenly click something in their game...are people who can already see what's being thrown and the only real hurdle is mentally locking down on only swinging at certain pitches in certain counts...using a 2-0, 3-1, or etc. type count to your advantage.

that said, to even sharpen this skill you have to know what's being thrown at you and guess correctly where it's going when it leaves the pitcher's hand.

there's other stuff, but this seems to be type of approach to plate discipline that organizations work on across the board.

I dunno, the OSU coach (I think) used to dominate the NCAA by forcing all of his batters to take two strikes.

What the Cubs don't get as an organization is that a walk is a good outcome... it's like their entire organization is of the "you can't walk off an island" DR school of hitting.

I agree with the general consensus here that plate approach is a key to hitting, and even that "a walk is a good outcome," although I don't think you should be trying to get a walk, which is what I saw from Bradley when he was a Cub, and what I see from Fukudome every day.

When you have two strikes on you, the object should be to get to 3 and 2, because otherwise you're not going to get a pitch to hit, so why bother? Nobody is a good hitter on 0-2 and 1-2. So if you're trying to get to 3 and 2, you're going to get some walks, but that's just a by-product of trying to get a hitter's count.

I've seen guys who figured this out in their thirties. I don't know why it wouldn't be teachable. It doesn't strike me as a "tool" that you look for in younger players, unless the tool we're talking about is intelligence. You have to be able to think like a pitcher, which takes brains. Don't we generally think pitchers are smarter than hitters?

When I look at Colvin hitting, all I see is dumb, dumb, dumb. Doesn't he realize that a pitcher would be stupid/crazy to throw him a strike on 0 and 2? Short answer: No.

I think the problem with a lot of Cubs hitters is that they don't employ much of an approach other than to try to put the ball in play. I don't think a lot of our hitters are going to the plate with the idea of making the opposing pitcher work to get them out, and if the pitcher can't throw the tough strikes to produce an out then often you earn a walk - examples: KFuk, Soto
Another plate approach would be to take a few pitches to wait and see if you get the pitch you're looking for in the location you're looking for - examples: Cubs might not have one, maybe Castro, but not really. Maybe Pena
Yet another approach would be to swing at any ball that you think you can hit, regardless of whether or not you can drive the ball. This last one is used by a lot of Cubs and other big leaguers and minor leaguers. These hitters are playing checkers against pitchers playing chess.

I totally agree about plate patience and the strike zone. Players either have it or they don't. And it doesn't help when the Cubs have historically encouraged patient hitters to swing away more often. Very poorly run franchise no matter who seems to be in charge.

"I totally agree about plate patience and the strike zone. Players either have it or they don't."

Is Sosa the exception that proves the rule or proof that this is not true.

Sosa doesn't really prove the rule. He is an exception, as he became a feared hitter so pitchers threw fewer and fewer strikes to him.

Not completely true. He always hit homers and was dangerous.

However in 98 he became a much better hitter. He started going to Right Field. He started laying off the face high fastballs and sliders in the dirt. His whole approach really tightened up. As a result his production went way up as well.

I don't think that is true, Sosa changed his approach in 1998, and became a feared hitter when he started to take walks. Prior to 1998 teams pitched around Grace to get to Sosa. In April/May 1998 Sosa walked 27 times giving him a 400+ OBP. In June, pitchers figured out that Sosa would take a walk so they threw him strikes instead, and the rest is history.

And the roids

True enough, but I don't think roids gave him a better command of the strike zone, which is kind of my point.

Sosa is an example of a player that improved his plate patience, which is rare. Is this because Sosa is some kind of fluke or because you can in fact learn to improve your approach at the plate.

This is the biggest mistake many people make about the 'roids era and it's effect on the game. Roids do give you better plate discipline, because they increase your bat speed, allowing you to wait longer to determine whether it is a strike or a ball... and then you get the chicken-egg thing of "does power create discipline, or does discipline create power".

As an observer it just seemed that his whole approach matured during that 98 season. Even before he went on that power surge when the weather warmed up.

He started using Right Field (which he NEVER did before)

He started laying off the obvious bad pitches that had traditionally hurt him (face high fastball, breaking ball in the dirt)

Maybe the roids helped the bat speed and the overall On base skills. I just think the overall maturing of his approach had just as much to do with it.

Well, he was leading the majors in HR's in 1996, if memory serves, and he didn't really walk that much more than in 1995. It was 2000 and 2001 in my mind when he really became an elite hitter.

I don't think it's that black and white, almost all players walk more as they get older (some of that is the elimination effect), and some like Sosa have rates that increase more than others.

You're not going to turn Shawon Dunstan into Wade Boggs, but coaching and batting philosophy can definitely have a positive influence.

You all are forgetting that back in the "Roids Era" the game's big stars were given preferential strike zones by individual umpires (my guess is that had to come from the commissioner's office but who knows?). It got so bad, and so obvious, and baseball games got so long that the commissioner decided to announce that the strike zone would be enforced evenly across leagues and no more favortism for certain hitters would be allowed. (I remember Sammy Sosa saying that he thought the ruling wouldn't last the season and sure enough, in 2001 he set a personal high for walks and OBP).

USA TODAY, 2001 - No longer will the American League strike zone be smaller than the National League strike zone, and the commissioner's office won't tolerate any longstanding grudges between individual umpires and players or preferential treatment of star players.

"Major League Baseball doesn't feel that players should have to adjust to different umpires," Nelson said. "Teams should not have to adjust to individual umpires and take three innings to have a feel where each strike zone is. Whether the player is an MVP or a pitcher is a Cy Young winner, a ball is a ball and a strike is a strike."

Said Diamondbacks ace Randy Johnson, who already has won three Cy Young awards: "Hitters have had a lot of advantages in this game. To have a strike zone that has been with the game of baseball for 100 years ... it's not like we're getting anything back, it's something that was supposed to be there initially and hasn't been in a while."

Certainly, spring training games have gone at a quick pace this season, averaging about 2 hours, 40 minutes compared to 3-hour games during the regular season. It's unknown whether the high strike zone is responsible for the quickened pace.

Yet, while hitters can complain about the strike zone, they also will be protected. Umpires have been told that they can freely issue warnings or ejections if they feel that a pitcher intentionally threw at a batter.

Gone will be the days of pitchers feeling free to drill hitters after giving up back-to-back homers or being upset at a home run trot.

yeah, the only thing that changed was they called the high strike for about 2 months.

Barry Bonds still got every corner call and so did Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux on the pitching side.

I think never being able to differentiate Frank Thomas's strike zone from Joey Cora's was the thing that really bugged me.

Rob's recollection pretty much matches mine, and by 2002 Bonds' strike zone was not only small it was also pitch-type specific... it was an embarrasment on par with the treatment Jordan got and proffesional wrestling officiating.

Mark Peel knows more about Cubs prospects...,

Is that Arizona PHil's real name?

That's really flabbergasting. How could he not know that?

Any parachat for tonites Crosstown Crappic?

probably not for me unfortunately

Selig rejects Dodgers TV deal

After court documents revealed that the McCourts had used more than $100 million from team revenues for personal purposes, baseball officials have asked McCourt to ensure any upfront payments from the Fox contract be used exclusively on the team. The settlement terms announced Friday call for an upfront payment of $385 million, with up to $173.5 million reserved for the McCourts and their attorneys

At least the Ricketts aren't the McCourts?!!!

Could always be worse.

Lot of empty seats

woo...csn chicago len/bob on the HD feed of EI.

The secondary ticket market can suck it.

well this game started sucking real quick.

0-3 and 1 out in the 1st...awesome.

comiskey hr, 10 feet off the ground

Nice of the Cubs to be upfront about not having any reason to watch this game. Hmm, what else is on TV tonight?

hendry in the booth in the 3rd...ricketts coming up in the 5th...

it's damage control, state of the cubs union night.

Say anything important?

Nope, not Ricketts.
Hendry called Castro safe when he stole second against a pitchout. That was the highlight. Also said he expects Castro to have 20 HR power someday

nope...hendry made a comment about getting all the starters back so he could get quade the team they were supposed to have...meh.

ricketts was mostly just talking to hear himself speak and it was mostly "get to know me" stuff more than "we're gonna do this with the cubs" stuff.


Castro punishes a mistake.

Pena. Not a mistake pitch, just nice work by Carlos Pena.

And he caught a break on the chopper to first base that went just foul earlier in the AB.

Excitement level just went from 5% to 10%. woo.

And now 3 outs on 5 pitches... sigh.

oh ozzie...

also...soto is a really reasonable newschool dude laughing rather than raging at ozzie after seeing his mask getting kicked 20 yards by pissed off ozzie.

Soto should have pummeled Ozzie.

That wouldn't solve anything. Ozzie is just giving his fans some entertainment value.

A manager shouldn't be kicking the opposing player's equipment, period. He could have pushed the mask out of the way to have room at home plate to point where he thought the ball went, there was no need to kick Geo's mask 20 feet. Ozzie is a loudmouth punk who deserves to get his ass whipped, and I'm tired of him being passed off as "Ozzie just being Ozzie." That's enabling negative behavior. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourselves, and Geo laughing about Ozzie kicking the mask is not the proper reaction. In any league I ever played in that would have started a fight, and rightly so.

While I agree that in many situations, a fight would have started, I couldn't disagree more with "and rightly so". There is NO place in baseball for fighting. Trying to offset the other manager doing something stupid by doing something stupid in response just doubles the stupidity... Geo's reaction was about as classy as it could possibly have been.

Violence never solves anything, except when the other person is an ass treating you with disrespect, in which case, it's perfectly acceptable to clock them in the face. :)

All I can do is laugh at this, whether it was your intention or not...

Especially if they are wearing the other team's jersey.

Did you get the idea that Ozzie kicking the mask was directed as an insult to Geo? It seems more like he was just upset and kicked the mask because it was there. I don't see where the provocation for a fight is.

When Lou through the base, did you think the 2nd basemen should have walked up and slugged him?

When Lou through the base, did you think the 2nd basemen should have walked up and slugged him?

I actually agree with you, but this is an absurd example. The 2nd baseman doesn't own the base, nor is the base is part of the 2b's equipment.

I agree with you, but you don't know what "absurd" means.

but you don't know what "absurd" means.

Nope... your example meets this definition: "ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous."

Now you're just plain wrong. It's "imperfect". Soto doesn't own his mask anymore than a second basemen owns a bag. They're both owned by the team.

Remember the big stink that A's pitcher made when A-Rod walked over the mound last year? You don't think he attached the same level of "ownership" to that rubber that a catcher might to his mask?

Soto doesn't own his mask anymore than a second basemen owns a bag. They're both owned by the team.

Actually, pretty sure that the catchers own their own equipment. Hell, high school catchers own their own equipment these days.

This discussion is absurdly imperfect. Or perfectly absurd.

Well played.

"Soto doesn't own his mask anymore than a second basemen owns a bag. They're both owned by the team."

I guess the home team owns the base, so only the home second-baseman should react if the base is abused.

This particular discussion has gotten pretty funny. Thanks, guys.

(BTW, a couple of girls here once in a while -- other than Angelfan wife -- might be kind of fun. We really are a prototypical sausage-fest.)

"Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon said that Hanley Ramirez is not in Monday's lineup because he "didn't like the way he was running yesterday.""


Good for Trader Jack.

Man, when Barney gets off the DL have we got a shortstop the Marlins will love!

Didn't like the way he was running? Was he just dogging it or did it look like he was playing through an injury?

He was late to the ballpark too:

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  • lester puts 2 on and is taken out at 96 pitches. oh well.

    edwards in.

    crunch 10 min 18 sec ago view
  • 2 out in the 7th, lester at 84 pitches, ross taken out for the standing O.

    it's possible contreras will catch lester for another inning+.

    crunch 16 min 41 sec ago view
  • What a weird day.  Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, but then Scully and, on a much more modest level, Ross....

    Transmission 50 min 12 sec ago view
  • d.ross gets his 2nd standing O on the night (last home game of the season)...hits HR #10...curtain call. baseball.

    crunch 52 min 40 sec ago view
  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 4 hours 37 min ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 5 hours 2 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 7 hours 30 min ago view
  • crunch 9 hours 12 min ago view
  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 13 hours 4 min ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 1 day 6 hours ago view