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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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 9 hours 39 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 12 hours 37 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 12 hours 49 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 12 hours 58 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 13 hours 4 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 13 hours 22 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 13 hours 58 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 14 hours 16 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 14 hours 18 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 14 hours 36 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 14 hours 43 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 15 hours 38 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 15 hours 56 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 16 hours 1 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 17 hours 11 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 17 hours 50 min ago view