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.

Comments

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:
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/index.html

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...

Word

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

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-ja...

    Ryno 4 min 47 sec ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 30 min 56 sec ago view
  • With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

    bradsbeard 32 min 58 sec ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 36 min 3 sec ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 39 min 17 sec ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 8 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 4 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 3 hours 33 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 4 hours 27 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 8 hours 7 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 9 hours 20 min ago view