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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  • Harry Caray video for 7th inning at etch today! I support this completely.

  • Would hope so. Don't think the Cards can activate a retired player for the playoffs.

  • I'm curious. In your experience watching prospects at the lowest and more instructional level, what do teams teach their young players regarding takeout slides (for instance, would they teach guys to do the Coghlan/Kang type slide, discourage late slides like Utley's and Holliday's, etc.), and has what they teach changed at all in recent years?

  • Phil, now that instructs are over, did you see any players worthy of the title of breakout?

  • Yeah Schwarber would have still gone out I think. Fowler's was aided but hey if the wind is blowing out nothing wrong with just trying to get the ball in the air.

  • Schwarber's was hit hard, into cross wind

    Fowler's was straight up, heyward followed it until it went out

  • Mama Schwarber wants to have a word with you.

  • Mrs Fowler would like a word with you.

  • It seems to be blowing a bit out to right but far less than yesterday and much cooler so shouldn't be too much of an effect.

    Only one of our hrs last night was out because of the wind though I think.

  • Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.

  • I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.

  • Benji Molina is out of lineup

  • Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.

    Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.

    If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.

  • No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.

    I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.

  • Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!

  • BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.