I-Cubs Will Go Head to Head With J-Rob in Home Opener

Long time, no post.


While the I-Cubs are opening the season in Albuquerque and getting the Isotopes off and running, finishing touches are being put on their headquarters here in Des Moines. Yesterday was Open House and a parking lot full of fans came to walk the warning track and tour the remodeled clubhouses. Too bad Chicago and their Cubs don’t get along as cozily as Des Moines does with ours. The city helped rebuild the ballpark back in the 1990’s, replaced the playing field not long ago and kicked in on this latest project too, despite that we can’t keep the libraries open a rightful amount of hours.


Besides peeks behind the scenes fans were lured by promises of a free hot dog/chips/soda lunch and a GA ticket to a 2013 game. While the facilities were easy enough to get in and out of, the line for the eats was surely the longest one there’s ever been there without a ballgame at the end of it, so I fasted.


Does it surprise any of you that there is a sign posted in the clubhouses forbidding the consumption of any alcoholic beverages on those premises? It did me.


Besides the free ticket handout I cashed in a Groupon that netted me 20 tickets for 50 bucks - @ $2.50 per that’ll make for a good time some just right evening this summer when I’d rather go with friends than alone as I usually do.


The home opener is set for next Friday, a date that coincides with the opening of ’42’ starring Harrison Ford as the grandfather, I think, of the PCL president. I’m anxious to see it and will let the weather make the decision as to whether I go to the ballpark or the movies that evening.


My streak of seasons with at least one visit to Wrigley may be in jeopardy this year. I’m not sure how long it is but it’s fairly lengthy and right now I have nothing planned. 


It’s good to hear that a renovation detente may have been achieved in Wrigleyville and the organizational pipeline seems to be filling with fuel, most of which is pretty far downline from Des Moines. I may make a cheap trip or two to catch Kane County when the Cougars road-trip into Iowa. As for what I’m anxious to see right here, I guess I’m curious about this Loux kid and hopeful that Jackson won’t be such a strikeout artist now that his swing’s been Tinker-ed to make the most of Ever-y Chance (sorry).


Sorry, too, for any errors. I’m kinda rusty, like Pat Hughes, who called Rizzo’s Opening Day blast to the back of the right-center bleachers in Pittsburgh “playable.”


I’ll be in touch.


Nice to hear from you Well-Man!

I'll be looking forward to your reports on Rusin and Raley during the year. I think as the year goes on I'd rather see one of those guys pitching for the big club than Feldman.

And, of course if anyone in Iowa can hit with RISP, that's a bonus.

I hate the idea of Harrison Ford playing the grandfather of anybody. Makes me feel older, if not necessarily bluer.

Marlon Byrd with game-winning hit bottom 9th:

Michael Brenly signed on with the Diamondbacks.

Marquez Smith was released by the Rangers organization.

"Michael Brenly signed on with the Diamondbacks."

dad must have some connections (again). seriously, though...supposedly he's a good defender...but that bat is nearly inexcusable and it's not like he's got a rocket arm to match the glove work.

AZ Phil,
I see on your depth chart that Matt Loosen and junior Lake are not listed. Are they AWOL?

Jr. is on the DL with rib fracture. Not AWOL. He's out 6-8 weeks.

I know Junior is on the DL, but he isnt listed on AZ phils rehab list.

Anybody want opening day tickets?

Any new start times announced? Is there going to be ANY rain breaks this afternoon? Last I heard (7:20am) they said there may even be sunshine this afternoon for a wee bit. But plenty of rain too...

If it gets delayed long enough, I may be able to make it. I have to be daddy until at least 1:30. My wife set up a spreadsheet to track how much money we are losing, I think she is going to poison me.

2013 is making 2012 seem like 2009. Every single ticket holder is going to get killed this year. I don't know anyone who wants to watch this team, either. Here's to a sunny summer, it's our only hope.

Oh man. That is terrible. I can't even look until years' end. I refuse to give box tickets away for $10 and would rather give 'em to Miseracordia, etc., and take a full tax deduction.

Wtf is with the early stubhub cutoff? That hurts.

I know, right? I tried to adjust the 7am cutoff yesterday. Maybe they have club agreements?

How do you donate them? I know I've seen that somewhere on the shitty ticket manager site, but I can't find it. My wife loves her some deductions, she's been threatening to make me cut back to two tickets, maybe that would convince her to keep them.

I asked last week and they don't have it together yet. You still have to physically convey tix. However, I was told you can use your STH user/pw (you see it on your invoice) and electronically get tix to those you wish through the STH portal. This apparently works, although I have not tried using it.

Children's would be close? Oh wait - they moved Downtown...

I wish I itemized. =(

Sending sick kids to a Cubs game? Are you trying to finish them off?

I had to go (way) below face value just to get relief from mine. Oh mercy.

It's barely raining now and last I heard, it was supposed to be done by noon.

Thank you. Any addendum re downpours in the PM?

It's sunny in the west burbs right now.

The weather.com hourly forecast has 0 percent chance of rain until 4:00, when it goes to 20 percent.

For whatever that's worth.

Wow. Thank you!

Partly sunny downtown right now, too. Guessing this game will get played on schedule.

Hmmm...in checking wunderground.com, they have 90% probability of rain all afternoon. Which says, "Its gonna rain..." Fwiw.

the wrigley field organist is off his meds...

big pops from the crowd for fuji, garza, ninja (huge), castro, rizzo (huge)...boos for marmol (stay classy cubs fans).

Having a WHIP higher than most pitchers ERA will do that to a guy. :)

How do they like Jackson walking in a run in the first inning?

i think the crowd is mostly numb at this point...scattering of boos, but mostly a "well, that isn't surprising" reaction.

5-0 cubs now...top 2nd, 1 out. the crowd is numb...

"5-0 cubs"? That is one amazing comeback.....

doh. yeah...5-0 mil/chc...

also, derp and another doh for good measure.

hey, 5-2 now...welly HR.

this game already sucks...MIL up by 4, top 1st, 2 out.

welcome to wrigley, e.jackson.

Through 6 games and one AB -- Starlin Castro has yet to walk. Just what you want in a #2 hitter ahead of Rizzo.

It would not shock me if Castro was traded.

Depending on the return, it's hard to imagine the organization wouldn't be in a better place. But after the season might be more likely, and certainly not before July.

Of course we need to get value in return, but I think Theo and Jed value Castro's assets less than others might.

They value him so little that they (a) refer to him as a cornerstone of the rebuilding and (b) extended his contract.

He's what, 23? Come on.

Show me that he can play defense reliably (and I mean a track record) and we can talk about potential. Until then, I could give a shit what they do with Castro or what kind of batting numbers he puts up.

Doesn't a track record require some time? The flip side is true also: Show me a track record of bad defense, which also requires some time. Castro has had his issues, but he's also a dude who has worked his butt off to get better at his defense and showed it last year.

23 and a week into the season seems a bit early to throw in the towel on a guy who has shown improvement.

Jed/Theo gave Starlin a $60M contract extension. Something tells me they value his assets pretty highly.

I think the Castro defenders are perhaps missing the point. Castro is a "young pro" who's going to be a major league starter for years to come and has a ceiling as a perennial All-Star. He's signed to a team-friendly deal. He has to be huge trade bait for an organization looking for that type of player and can certainly fetch multiple talented players in return. This organization also has a SS prospect who seriously needs to be discussed as one of baseball's best prospects at this point, and he will probably be ready to break in within two years.

His defense got called out by someone else, but I'm not talking trash about Starlin. I'm still saying he's a guy you want ... until something better comes along.

Agreed. You don't trade Castro because he is bad, you trade him because he is good, others think he is better than you do, and you have strength in the organization at his position.

I don't disagree with anything you said.

My comment was in response to the idea that the Cubs management doesn't value Castro's assets. I fail to see how such an assertion could be true, considering the deal that Cubs management gave Castro.

FWIW...I'm not a Castro defender. I think he has a ton of talent, and I think he hasn't figured out how to put it all together yet. And I think that, in the right deal, I would absolutely trade him. Then again, I don't think there are many players that I would define as untouchable in a trade.

I believe my point was that I believe that other teams may value Castro's MORE than the Cubs do. Because of this, I wouldn't be shocked if Castro was traded.

i'd rather see him as a long term solution at 2nd with baez pulling time at SS.

both could be fixtures through 2019+...

btw, baez is off to a slow start in high A this season...but it's only been 4 games.

The Rangers designated lefty Jeff Beliveau for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for newly-acquired catcher Robinson Chirinos.

soto will be lucky enough to get 200ab's as it is unless m.moreland/l.berkman gets injured.

I should have mentioned that Chirinos was optioned to AAA.

Don't they also have Baker and Wells?

Baker has one AB. Wells is at AAA.

JD says "word" a lot when he's impressed by something...i approve.

"Word" is pretty 90's actually.

which is why i love it...i'm ready for this 80s revival to end already...


6ip 8h 5bb (2ibb) 6k 5er for e.jackson...102 pitches

For those who missed Big Z, they must be joyful of this salute to Zambrano by EJax today.

cubs need to reconsider this "shift on everyone" thing...

along with past games, it's been exploited 3 times in this game (twice in the 7th) for hits.

marmol comes out to a chorus of boos...after a leadoff double you'd think he was milton bradley.

btw, even though he may not enjoy it, he seems unfazed by it.

9th inning rally in progress...

7-4, 0 outs...men on 1st/2nd.

bases loaded, 1 out...wind starts blowing in like mad for the 1st time today...wtf

K followed by a warning track out...damn you wind...damn you.

If my math is correct -- Cubs fall to 75 games under .500 in the Ricketts era (209-284).

The Ricketts family must have a good shot at the "fastest to 100" crown.

Something to watch from the rooftops -- that, and the date of Castro's first walk in 2013. Stay tuned!

they'll make up for it 2015-2020 when they're a 110+ game a year winner with a $80m a year payroll.

I can guarantee they will have higher than an $80m a year payroll. They've shown a complete willingness to sink money into all phases of the team and so this whole "Rickets are cheap" meme gets more and more silly.

I guess instead of sinking money into the minor leagues, scouting and the park they should have appeased the fans and spent it on overpriced and average free agents so we could again be spinning our wheels in slightly above average play burdened with ridiculous contracts and never actually winning a World Series. Or in other words our entire history.

Rickets spends money. Stop pretending otherwise.

I'm curious if people who are complaining about the Ricketts' era will feel it was worth it if they are a well oiled machine by 2015-2016? It seems obvious the current ownership and front office have a plan and are renovating a VERY long term dysfunctional perpetual-crap machine on every level. I really don't get the complainers. Like picking on a newborn pony for walking funny. Oh well.

so...only 2-3 more years of baseball not worth watching before the 1st game of the year is even played? sweet.

well, "if" they are a well oiled machine by then.

i don't think anyone's rooting against them...but this is a hard product to watch right now...and last year...and besides that, the owners are f'n billionaires 4-5 times over.

more TV money is coming soon at least...that's visible profit in the fan's faces.

"the plan" is nice and all, but i'm ready for a few offseason signings that aren't followed by "damn, that should be good trade bait in june!"

we should have b.jackson due next year...baez knocking on the door if he has a good stint in the minors...vogelbomb making rizzo expendable in another couple of years...castro's locked down for many years...welly isn't a superstar, but he's here for good amount of years on the cheap...it should get better if they get some support.

Also I would maybe give it a few weeks and let the weather warm up before panicking (that's very un-dude!). I think this team will play a little better than right now. There is some decent pitching and obviously Soriano and others will hit when their knees have a chance to work out the rust.

I think poeple will be fine if/when the 2015/2016 plan comes together. But, that will mean 5 years of very lousy baseball -- tough to develop kids into fans when their parents don't want to waste their time/money on a very bad product. Trades like Colvin/DJ for Ian Stewart don't give me warm & fuzzies about "the plan".

Dj and Colvin are both in AAA, so Rockies don't think much either about them.

That's like blaming the recession on Obama.

Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.

  • most likely cost sharing + the league is short on players anyway. not many teams are chipping in on 'advanced instructional.'