A toast to Don Zimmer

As far as dirt kicking and arm flailing and eyes bulging and just overall knowing how to get in an umpires face, there was nobody more entertaining than Don Zimmer.
Just the other day I was talking about how charm left the game when instant replay became a baseball reality.
Zim was the first guy I thought of when I imagined what IR would do to the game.
How it'll erode that passionate baseball sideshow that I enjoyed so much - the manager freak out.

This season, when I watch Ricky Renteria (or any manager) run out onto the field not to argue, but to waste time while some guy can watch the replay and tell Ricky that he should either appeal or not, well you know.. that's the price of technology.
Bland.
Video gamish.
Reduced to arguing balls and strikes.

Anyway, Zim was the absolute best at... displaying passion. 
Lou Piniella?
He mostly lost that particular fire by the time he came to the Cubs.
Zim also managed the '89 Cubs, the year they played the Giants in the NLCS.
Joe Girardi's first year as a player.
Andre, Grace, Dunston, Sandberg, Luis Salazar, Vance Law, Sutcliffe, Scott Sanderson, Assenmacher. 
Mike Bielecki won 18 games that year and had a 3.14 ERA.
That other guy Maddux had 19 and 2.95.
Mitch Williams on the mound with the line shot bouncing off his temple and the noise even out in the bleachers making me want to hurl.
They lost to the Giants in the NLCS.
But what a great year to be a Cub Fan.
Zim got canned a couple years later, and never really left the game.

Anyway, here's to Don Zimmer, pretty much a Cub immortal.

(the watercolor is from a photo I found online from some memorabilia site)

Comments

nice one.

...and MLB really needs to do something about managers coming out to stall while someone else in the dugout calls their video room to see if they should protest or not. it's leading to many "uncounted" delays of games whether they do or do not decide to challenge a call.

Capt Happy got tossed again last nite for arguing strikes

ugg...ready for this draft to be over with...well, round 1/2/3 anyway.

the amount of round 10+ talent linked to the cubs #4 pick is kinda scarey...a lot of light hitting guys and fat LF/1st (maybe RF) types that most people wouldn't pick #4 in this draft class. if they do go with some guy like this i'll care a lot more about what's going on in rounds 2/3.

i'm still in a bit of self-imposed disbelief believing they're going to go for aaron nola if they dont get aiken/rondon/kolek.

I agree. Kyle Schwarber? Seriously?

From May 17-June 1 Olt started and played 9 innings in 11 of 14 games. He responded with a .114/.195/.257 line and struck out in nearly half of his PAs (19/41). Meanwhile Valbuena has an .815 OPS which is second on the team to only Rizzo. I'm still holding out hope that Olt will adjust and become a serviceable starter, but if I were the manager I would be getting Valbuena at-bats too and trying my best to play matchups with Olt to get him some confidence somehow.

What's Barney's #'s vs Olt?

Put Valbuena at second

Barney over the same time has a .154/.179/.192 line. He has just fallen off a cliff the last two years. 2011-2012 were solid and I was hoping he'd fill the position decently for a few years, but I'd have to imagine he's a candidate to be released at some point. Alcantara is putting up solid numbers at AAA so far and they are almost identical to his AA numbers last year, with a bit more power and better defense. I expect if he keeps everything up he will be called up later this summer.

^this

Well put Wiscgrad! I like Olt...and I hope he can be serviceable at 3B...but he's got to make some contact.

the power is there...the D is decent...the walk rate isn't bad...the lack of quality contact and Ks are horrid.

olt needs to play everyday to see if he's worth playing, whether at AAA or the majors. valbuena is under club control for 2 more seasons and i still don't understand why he's not seeing a majority of playing time at 2nd with a great need there + a pipeline full of 3rd basemen stretching from A ball to the majors. valbuena isn't a GG 2nd, but he seems to play better than average/passable 2nd...seems to be good enough to be a regular there.

Barney is robbing Olt's chance, not Valbuena.

Thanks for this perspective, but now I'm confused...I thought we were supposed to hate "Capt. Happy" 50-whatever games into the season because of the crap team he's trying to manage and how he's treated Olt.

In all serious, I like Olt, too, but those numbers don't lie.

send him down or play him if you don't think he has anything left to learn

Once they're done trading Samardzija and Hammel (any mayber Sureouts), I want to see Baez and Bryant and Alcantara called up on the same day, Barney will be gone by then, Olt can be sent to AAA and Villanueva demoted to AA.

#pieinthesky

Olt batted around .278 in spring training with 5 HR and seemed confident and in a groove. Granted it WAS spring training. That said in April he was allowed 3 magical stretches of being able to play 2 days in a row and 1 three day stretch in the final week of the month. (He had 1 HR and 3 RBI over those three days.)

In May 2014 Olt was allowed an almost unheard of 6 days in a row starting at 3B. From May 7-12 he of course hit 4 HR had 8 RBI and 7 K's. The last day of this stretch he hit his team leading 8th HR and tied for the team lead in RBI. He was benched the next day. The next time he started 2 days in a row was the 17th and 18th ... he homered on the 18th and was benched the next day.

On May 20-23 he was allowed 4 precious starts in 4 days. He had 4 RBI against the Yankees (3 in the victory against Tanaka). Two ofers against SD and he was benched. The 27th and 28th he started back to back against SF and has been riding the pine since even when Bonofacio started at 3B when Valbuena was injured.

The above constitutes all instances where Olt played back to back days or more. It seems to me that the numbers DO kind of lie. I can't see where this kid was allowed to get into a rhythm and he was arguably benched on 5/13 when he was the hottest he's ever been ... Certainly at the MLB level.

1.Lake, LF
2.Ruggiano, CF
3.Rizzo, 1B
4.Castro, SS
5.Valbuena, 3B
6.Schierholtz, RF
7.Barney, 2B
8.Whiteside, C
9.Wood, P

yet another in a series of "well, then...whatever" lineups thrown together from the collective vomit pile of talent known as the 2014 chicago cubs.

Callis mock draft from today;

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/mock-draft-jim-callis-picks-for-the-...

OF Michael Conforto

The Cubs covet pitching, but if Aiken and Rodon aren't available, they likely will take a position player over Kolek or Nola. The Cubs would bypass Jackson to take Olympia High (Orlando, Fla.) shortstop Nick Gordon if they consider only talent. They're also mulling a discounted deal with one of four college position players, then using the savings to sign pitchers taken later in the Draft. Conforto and Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost are higher in Chicago's pecking order than Indiana catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber and North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner.

Caliis, Law and Baseball America have Conforto, Mayo says Schwarber and a few have Gordon

Navin (Pasadena, CA)
You mentioned the Cubs are the floor for Aiken. About how likely would it be he falls to 4?

Klaw (2:06 PM)
20%.

Recent comments

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 14 hours 54 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 15 hours 15 sec ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 15 hours 5 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 15 hours 16 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 15 hours 28 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 15 hours 53 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 16 hours 33 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 17 hours 45 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 18 hours 2 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 18 hours 6 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 18 hours 51 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 23 hours 42 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 56 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 59 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 9 hours ago view