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.
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)


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.


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.


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;


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)

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • 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.