Thanks for the Memories...
There are more than a couple hundred players enshrined at Cooperstown and they are paid homage by something like 350,000 annual visitors to baseball’s Hall of Fame. At Wrigley Field a mere three Cubs have been immortalized in statuary and only half a dozen’s numbers flutter atop the foul poles. This Mecca draws in excess of three million pilgrims per season. Maybe Ron Santo was on to something when he listed the corner of Clark & Addison in Chicago as the address of his personal HOF.
Wednesday night my two sons and I were at the fringe of the mob assembled in the street to witness the unveiling of Santo in bronze, caught in the act of making an off-balance throw to nip a runner in a close play at first. I am no critic of the sculpting arts but I think the rendering of #10 is exquisite. The blue casts to the socks, cap and numerals; the facial likeness, the stitching on the ball about to be thrown – all are vivid. Justice was done to the fans’ memories.
An hour before the ceremony the three of us took a few meandering, strolling laps around the square block of Wrigley. On Waveland we staged a brief reenactment of the ritual game of catch we used to play there while ballhawking during batting practice on trips to Chicago when they were little leaguers. Now Max is 20 and Ben is 17. On Clark we detoured into McDonalds where the clubhouse attendant used to fetch a pair of Big Macs for Sammy Sosa after BP on game days. On Addison we tossed a few coins in the pail of the wheel-chaired beggar who’s been as permanent a fixture on our past visits as the statuary will be on future ones. On Sheffield a ball arced over the bleachers, ricocheted off of some landscaping ironwork and bounced directly to me with a small band of ballhawks in pursuit; a fitting memento of the occasion that I received in the spirit of a child opening a gift.
From our vantage point the remarks of the assembled dignitaries were mostly muffled. I did make out Pat Hughes repeating a laugh line we’d heard more clearly on the car radio as we drove into town that afternoon. He and Santo’s HOF teammates from the fabled ’69 team had keynoted a sold-out luncheon downtown that was broadcast by WGN. More importantly we did manage sightlines to the statue. After it was revealed and roundly approved we went inside and took up seats in the right-center field bleachers. While the Cubs fashioned one of their occasional victories we enjoyed dollar hot dogs and reminisced. Even cheaper was the glowing sunset that rang down upon the day's stage.
We left after eight, me and a couple of the grandsons of the guy I used to listen on the radio with when Santo was routinely making plays like the one immortalized now on the street corner. As we passed by on our way to the redline depot I was able to touch the cleats of someone who autographed mitts and caps for us when he was still able. The cheers boiling over the rim of the stadium just then reported on Carlos Marmol’s progress towards a fanning of the side in the 9th but I imagined them for someone else, some other time.
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer
-0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...
-3 WAR projected over the course of a season.
the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.
Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.
i'll take him over frandy since it's unlikely he'll progress as a SS (and 2nd isn't looking much better).
i hope patton's delivery deception skills play well in the bigs over time. cubs need pitching options that are MLB-ready and dude fits the bill for a MLB/AAA mix...both needed.
I'm not saying he's great, but can we agree on the word "decent"? Became a pro at 23, called up at 26; nothing wrong with that trajectory, he hasn't been knocking around. Even in the majors his SO9 is 9.7. In the minors it's 12.2, so he's always missed bats, and without being a wild man: his walks are low. He cost the Cubs an unheralded A-ball middle infielder and a roster spot.
he's a righty (a 27 year old one that's going to be 28 before spring training starts) that throws low 90s with a low-80s slider. that's as ordinary as it gets for a righty reliever.