More Sponsorship News
Christian here (well, sort of -- more on that in a sec). I was supposed to wait until later this afternoon to announce this, but I had to jump the gun a bit and I hope the other writers don't mind. When the Motorola deal was announced, Rob hinted at other sponsorship deals, some of which have already been mentioned.
Take a second and check out the "Our Writers" page, and then come on back. I'll wait.
OK, are you back? A few weeks ago a major Chicago corporation approached me with an unusual offer, one that could change more than just the way the site runs. As you all know, there has been a lot of news recently about the possiblity of Sam Zell selling off naming rights to Wrigley Field. Lots of speculation has been bandied about concerning who might buy those rights, would whoever bought them keep the name of the park the same, etc. One of the possibilities that had been mentioned was the possibility that the Wrigley company would buy them and keep the name as it is.
As it turns out, that possibility was discussed at the highest levels of the Wrigley Company. Ultimately, though, they decided that they could not justify the cost to the corporation. The usual reasons were cited -- the impending downturn in the economy, off-shoring pressures, increasing raw materials costs, etc. However, the Wrigley Company wanted to make sure that their connection to the Cubs, which extends back nearly one hundred years, continued.
In early March I got an email from someone claiming to be an assistant to Wrigley Company CEO William Perez. She said that the company was interested in discussing sponsorship possibilities with The Cub Reporter Presented by Motorola. After a few emails back and forth to determine that she was in fact who she said she was, I emailed Rob G. Presented By Motorola to let him know about the contact. It was at that point that Rob let me know that of all the companies we had approached about possible sponsorship opportunities, Motorola was looking the most promising. What followed was a frenzied week of phone calls and emails between me, Rob, Cubnut Sponsored by "Nuts On Clark," and the various emissaries of Wrigley and Motorola (and a few others).
The final outcome was two-fold. First is the site-wide sponsorship from Motorola, the beginning stages of which you're seeing today. The second is a much bigger deal, at least to me personally:
I'm announcing today that, as a result of one of the most unique sponsorship deals in corporate history, I am officially changing my name from Christian Ruzich to Wrigley Field.
Yes, you read that right. I am actually on my way to a Pennsylvania courthouse later this afternoon to file the papers. I'll be going back through the site over the next few days and doing a global search & replace, and any posts or comments from this point on will be made under my new name (no middle name, by the way). In addition, instead of using the nickname "Ruz" (which no one ever pronounced right anyway), I'll be known as "Extra" (or, possibly "Big League Chew," I haven't decided yet).
By the way, this is one of those situations where it was a good thing my wife didn't take my name when we got married. She doesn't need to change her name at all, which she's happy about. She's also happy about the lifetime supply of Wrigley's products which will be heading our way. Personally, I'm happiest about the season tickets to my namesake stadium and the free airfare from Harrisburg to Chicago whenever I want to go see a game, though the money is nice too.
This deal allows the Wrigley Company to remain associated with the Cubs without paying what surely would have been an exorbitant naming rights fee. It also moves them into the 21st century and establishes themselves as one of the most forward-looking corporations in America. Seriously, how many companies have made a deal anything like this? Other than that online casino that pays boxers and streakers, I can't think of one.
On a day to day basis, not much is going to change. It certainly won't cause much of a Hubbabubba around the site. I'll be posting a bit more (I'll probably Doublemint my output), and I'm only contractually obligated to mention the company once per post or comment, which means I have plenty of Freedent to post what and how I want. I certainly won't let the sponsorship deal Eclipse my desire to tell it like it is.
Anyway, that's my big news. Now, if you'll excuse me there's a box of Altoids with my name on it (literally -- look for the Cub Reporter Presented By Motorola branded Altoids to go on sale in Chicago in mid-May).
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.