I-Cub Jabs Outpoint Round Rock Roundhousers

Tuesday night I endured a local school board meeting. It comes with the territory of my day job. I sat glassy-eyed in the gallery, my mind drifting ahead 48 hours at which point I would be sitting in the stands on Opening Night at Principal Park, cracking open peanut shells instead of stifling yawns.

After work on Wednesday I went to the ballpark to collect my media credential. The I-Cubs were starting to assemble on the field for an informal meet-the-public workout. It was nice out and the diamond sparkled under the hoses and mowers of the grounds crew. It was technicolored and I wanted to hang around but couldn’t.

Then yesterday at lunchtime I parked beneath a flowering crab apple tree to enjoy a sandwich while I listened to the pregame goings-on at Wrigley Field. It was another nice day and a breeze blew a flurry of petals through my downed window like ticker tape about the time Keith Moreland and Dale Sveum were laboring through their interview like a junior high couple at their first dance. They’ll, you know, get, you know, better as the season unfolds. Perhaps their Cubs will too.

As for the ones here in Des Moines…

Last night was a great one for baseball and the I-Cubs played accordingly.

After falling behind early they raced ahead, literally, in the middle innings by which time a full moon was hanging over the park like a fat, hit-me slider.

Wells allowed but two hits in his six frames and both were homers. At one point the game was tied at three and Rolling, I mean Round Rock had landed their two uppercuts while Iowa had jabbed eight singles. I had Wells for first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 22 hitters he faced and a 9:3 GO/FO ratio. In the first inning every ball put in play went to Adrian Cardenas at 2B who had seven assists all told.

Other first impressions of what appears to be, pending call-ups, demotions, etc. a hustling team as per the New & Improved Cub Way:

*Brett Jackson - Made a slick diving catch in center. Fanned on three pitches his first trip before walking on four his second. Later beat out an infield hit and lined a single on a 3-0 pitch. Also stole a base.

*Anthony Rizzo - Singled twice, drove in a run, stole a base and looked very smooth defensively.

*Tony Campana – He looks like a little leaguer and races around the diamond like it was little league-sized. Had to fly to work at the last minute yesterday and never stopped flying all night. Had a bunt single, a stolen base and even muscled up for a sac fly to center, though that poke would not have been deep enough to score anyone other than Dave Sappelt who looks like a black Campana with muscles. In other words, he too is tiny. But the play of the game happened with Campana on second and two out in the fourth. Jackson bounced one to third and while he was beating it out Campana wheeled around third without hesitation and scored rather easily.

*Wellington Castillo – Kept getting in the way of things. Twice hit by pitches, cited for catcher’s interference and also threw out a base stealer who had a great jump on Wells.

*The bullpen – Manny Corpas looked strong in two scoreless innings and Scott Maine fanned two while notching the save.

The only base-running gaffe happened when Josh Vitters belly-flopped around second while going first to third on a single and was erased. Had he not stumbled he would have made it.
Edgar Gonzalez hit third and DH’d for the I-Cubs. Apparently he’s the brother of Adrian. The other notable name of the night was Mark Hamburger, RR’s starting pitcher. I’ll just leave that one to your own imaginations.

Vitters hit eighth, ahead of shortstop Matt Tolbert who also tried to bunt for a hit and was nipped on a close play. In one of his AB’s Jackson too attempted to lay one down in a non-sacrifice situation but fouled it off.

I’m planning to go back tonight. Coleman’s slated to pitch.



Thanks, Mike!

btw, one holdover of the OLD cub way is that all of the i-cubs wear their pants tucked just below the knee; rr's were all pj style...


“I think he’s a smarter guy than you’d think form across the field,” Epstein said. “And I don’t mean that the wrong way. You watch him and how energetic and extroverted and fidgety he can be looking at him from across the field, you get a certain impression about him that maybe he’s not always thinking things through. But the reality is that he actually has a method to his madness.

“He knows himself really well and he understands the game really well. He knows how to prepare and I think there is a lot more going on upstairs than people give him credit for.”

Because I'm sure people care a great deal about the going-ons in my life, I went to our Fort Wayne Tincaps opener yesterday evening with my two daughters. Baseball is a great sport and a great tradition.

Also, beer and hot dogs.

Nice! And cheap for you! What affiliation are these Hubcaps?

I have never been to a minor league game I am ashamed to say.

Maybe this year.

Hubcaps... hah. San Diego Padres. Had Matt Bush playing here several years ago. :)

Ha! I was also Midwest League-ing it last night, Lansing Lugnuts v. MSU. It is nice out for only being 39 degrees.

I'm hoping to take my two daughters to the Silverhawks when Peoria comes to town for a three game set.

I think my wife works that weekend, so it would be me versus them to be able to actually watch the game (they'll be 6mo and 21mo by then). Wish me luck


Yikes. My kids are 5 & 6. They are a bit easier to contain and placate at this age.

Beer and hot dogs will do that.

Mike - Thanks for this!

I was hoping to see your wrap last night as I wanted a 1st person account to read, But I'll take what I can get!

As several have said already, the better show may be where you are living this year.

Good work, Mike! Looking forward to your updates this year with the best AAA team Iowa has had in as long as I can remember.

Also, I'm making my first-ever stop at Principal Park in late July. However, I believe a lot of the talent will be in Chicago by then.

walk, K, HR so far today...

lou pinella doing TV for YES Network vs TB...badly

countdown til he quits on that job...

also, lol sabitha....c.pena grand slam.

Dunn and Pena both starting for my fantasy team. I'm just that awesome. Also, I don't have any actual good 1B.

I take back anything nice I said about The brewers. Seem to think batting Alex Gonzalez 6th is a viable option.

m.rivera fail @NY...this game has been good. screw you winter. go spring.

also, c.pena had a great homecoming with a walkoff hit + grandslam for TB.

Thanks Mike. Excited to see the I-Cubs when they arrive here in Austin/Round Rock next weekend. As a former Des Moines resident, I do really miss Sec Taylor/Principal park located downtown. Driving thru traffic all the way out to the edge of Round Rock suburbia is a real pain.

I heard this today, didn't realize it was an interview from last year. It's a long listen, but it's a pretty awesome interview about the art of catching.


It's also worth mentioning that all the sports radio stations today were talking about football ... during opening weekend in early April! Only NPR had my baseball talk hook-up.

I heard that on the radio, too... it was really good.

AA and AAA Active List roster limits have been increased from 24 to 25 this season, and both Tennessee and Iowa have 13-man pitching staffs.

And, Concepcion has been added to Daytona to make 26.

Can Theo Re-write the MiLB rules?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 7:36pm — Childersb3

And, Concepcion has been added to Daytona to make 26.

Can Theo Re-write the MiLB rules?


CHILDERS: Immediately after being optioned to Daytona, Gerardo Concepcion was placed on the D-Cubs 7-day DL. He is still at Fitch Park, and he did throw 3.1 IP in an intrasquad game on Wednesday.

So the Cubs could have placed Concepcion on their MLB 60-day DL instead of trying to sneak John Gaub through waivers. Then Concepcion could have spent a month or two at EXST (which he's going to do anyway), then go on a 30-day "minor league rehab" at Daytona, and then be reactivated from the 60-day DL sometime in June or July (or whenever a 40-man roster slot becomes available later in the season).

Remember, placing a player on the 60-day DL doesn't mean the player has an injury that will sideline him for two months. It just means that the player can't be reinstated to an active list for 60 days. If a player is placed on an MLB 15-day DL or minor league 7-day DL with a sprained hangnail, he can be placed on the 60-day DL with the exact same injury.

It will be interesting to see what corresponding roster move is made when Rodrigo Lopez is added to the Cubs 25-man roster (and 40-man roster). There also is the mystery of why the Cubs did not add Lopez to their 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) prior to Opening Day to avoid paying the $100,000 retention bonus that post-2011 Article XX-B free-agents like Lopez get if they are not released by the 5th day prior to Opening Day or added to the MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day.

Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, Blake DeWitt, and Ian Stewart are the only position players presently on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster who have options left and who cannot refuse an optional assignment to the minors, so unless Marlon Byrd gets traded, DeWitt will likely be optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez. And if DeWitt does get optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez, why was DeWit added to the 40-man roster (instead of Lopez) if DeWitt is only on the 25-man roster for one game?

If DeWitt is optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez on the 25-man roster, who gets dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Lopez?

Lendy Castillo could get dropped from the 40 (especially if the Cubs work out a trade with the Phillies to keep L. Castillo), but then who replaces L. Castillo on the 25-man roster? Players on the 40-man roster who are optioned to the minors during Spring Training must remain on Optional Assignent for the first 10 days of the MLB regular season unless the player is recalled to replace another player on the 25-man roster who is placed on an inactive list (Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity Leave List, etc), so a pitcher like Scott Maine, Casey Coleman, or Randy Wells cannot be recalled until April 13th unless he replaces a player who is moved to an inactive list.

Bryan LaHair could be placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to last Saturday (meaning he could be reactivated as soon as Sunday April 14th) and go to Mesa and hit in some EXST games next week, and then a pitcher (like Maine, Coleman, Wells, et al) could be recalled, but it sounds like LaHair is ready to return to action tomorrow.

And now, Iowa has 14 pitchers on their roster. Lopez, Caridad, Cruz and Corpas.

At least one of those will go east to CHC. Another will be cut more than likely.

Recent comments

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  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.