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.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.