Harry Canary Unmasked
Knowing the end of his reign here is near, I braved the heat and the Zooperstars today and went to Principal Park in search of something to remember Anthony Rizzo by.
Normally I perch behind the plate in the shade of the mezzanine. Today I transplanted myself to the rightfield bleachers where I'd be positioned to fetch long balls aimed in that direction. There's a fountain out there that was spraying those young enough to frolick in it without drawing stares. I was tempted.
Rodrigo Lopez retired the first 11 hitters he faced but a scoreless tie was broken when Round Rock's Brad Nelson connected on his 12th career homer against the I-Cubs in the top of the 6th, this one a granny. Despite that it wasn't Rizzo who hit it, I gave chase out the rightfield gate just to test my route of pursuit. Homers to center at PP are automatically out of there since there are no seats in that area. Sure enough, when I arrived at the scene the ball was waiting for me just shy of the street that runs between the wall and the river. Unfortunately, a couple of young ballhawks who watched me from their seats in right center beat me to the ball when Brett Jackson brought the home team within two with a solo blast to the same area in the bottom of the 7th.
Jackson's day was a synopsis of his scouting report. He drew a walk, stole a base, hit a homer and fanned, among other things. His walk came after getting down in the count 0-2. He doesn't whiff so much because he's a chaser. He just misses a lot of strikes he swings at.
Alas, Rizzo was hitless for the second consecutive game. Today was the first time I've seen him that he didn't hit at least one ball hard. He did draw a walk in his first trip.
Before I segue to the dreaded Zooperstars I should mention that Josh (JV) Vitters hit third today and singled once to extend his modest hitting streak to seven games. Earlier in the year he'd dropped as low as eighth in the lineup. He's been on a steady burn this month but I still ain't buying.
As for the extra-curricular entertainment, the dressing room for those zany inflatables was beneath the section where I was sitting. When I saw Shark McGwire, Mackerel Jordan, Tiger Woodchuck, Harry Canary, et. al changing costumes between innings I felt like a kid watching Bozo have a smoke. They're really just young guys, carneys working the summer circuit. Oh, the disillusionment!
I've got another day off to use up before the fiscal year ends next week so I think I'll cash it on tomorrow's matinee. Will Scrabble Rizzo be in the lineup? All I know for sure is the Zooperstars will still be in town. They're worth the price of admission only because there is none, not counting the last of my discretionary days. I can't imagine that I'll end up wishing I'd gone to the rock pile. Until tomorrow afternoon...
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.
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.