The First of our 97 Wins

Game Center Box Score Play-by-Play Box Score Game Chart Photos W - Lilly 1-0 L - Arroyo 0-1 S - Dempster 1 Not much to report here. If you missed the game, Lilly looked every bit as dominant as his box score suggests. 7 IP, 1 run, 1 BB and 9 K. To my untrained eye, he seemed to be throwing both a hard and a slow curve, each one with excellent control, while mixing in a fastball, also with terrific command. He started to labor a bit in the seventh, but even the obnoxious-even-by-MLB-Broadcaster-standards Reds' announcers had to credit Lilly with a masterful performance. Dempster looked shakey in the 9th. After walking Encarnacion with one out and going ball one on Griffey, we had our first Lou Piniella Moment of the season. LouPa stormed out of the dugout, barked about five words at Dempster, and stormed back to the dugout. As best as I could tell, the remarks ammounted to (translating, since we're a family-friendly blog) "Gentle fireman, if I might be so humble as to suggest, would you please consider directing the baseball over home plate, with your next toss? Thank you, kindly." Ryan then threw the next pitch (another ball) before Lou had made it back into the dugout, before settling down (somewhat) for the save. Offensively, the middle-infielders provided the pick-me-up, with run-scoring singles by Izturis and DeRosa. With the Cards dropping their third straight to the Mets, the Good Guys are already one and a half games up on the pre-season favorites. Life is good. Reminder- early game time tomorrow, 11:35 AM Central
Game Chat (Please donate for the ad-free version and read up on registering your user name)
   
T. Lilly B. Arroyo
Lineups:
Soriano CF Freel CF
Jones RF Phillips 2b
Lee 1b Dunn LF
Ramirez 3b Encarnacion 3b
Floyd LF Griffey Jr. RF
Barrett C Conine 1b
Derosa 2b Gonzalez SS
Izturis SS Ross C
Lilly P Arroyo P
A couple months back, I put together as many of the Cubs prospect lists as I can find. But those all focused on how the Cubs ranked amongst each other. Now it's time to see how the Cubs prospects rank in the grand scheme of baseball heading into 2007. We have a variety of sources here and their methods of evaluating are all a bit different. Most of the sites I imagine everyone is familiar with and for those you haven't heard of, feel free to read up on them. Some of the links will get you to the entire list, many of them will only get you to a portion of the list and some navigating is necessary to access the full lineup. The current Scout.com 300 list is only available in their prospect magazine.
Parachat. Somehow we got 72 votes although there's no way in hell we've had 72 different people go through the chat room. Fraud!!! The good news is that we were able to embed the chat into our web design which makes us happy. What also makes us happy is if you go to the chat page, you'll notice right below the "Connect" button a link that says "Free User Name Registration". If you guys wouldn't mind taking a moment and registering your nicknames it would help. Basically go through their registration process and then everytime you enter Parachat, enter with whatever nickname you registered and it'll ask you for a password once the page loads up. Sweet and simple! If you prefer the floaty window version of Parachat, that's still available. Once you enter the site, there's a button at the bottom that has four arrows pointing to each corner of the box. Click that and you get the popup window version. The only problem I've encountered so far is that once I enter Parachat, it won't let me minimize Firefox. Can't have everything I suppose. TCR donate The final order of business is the annoying ads. We certainly don't want to take your money, but if we could get about fifteen to twenty of you to donate $5 a piece (we need $75 total), once Paypal skims off the top, we'll have enough for the advanced room which eliminates the ads and gives some administration features. You can of course donate just to show your appreciation for the site and all amounts are welcome. Donations of $100 or more get you a date with Transmission. $500 or more you get a happy ending.
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The old adage is that the memory is the first to go as the years start to add up. And apparently the years start to add up sooner than I thought. The genesis for this article began with the idea that during Lou Piniella's tenure with the Devil Rays, the ill-equipped DRays started most of those three years off pretty well only to fade eventually. So I decided that I would take a look at all the teams Lou has managed in the past to see if there was some sort of trend with Lou's ballclubs starting off the season. Of course I discovered that there sure were some, just not with the Devil Rays.
An incomplete, almost entirely speculative list of people identified by various sources as possible purchasers of the Chicago National League Ball Club: Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks Owner Donald Levin, Chicago Wolves Owner Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix Suns Chairman Pat Ryan, Founder and Executive Chairman of Aon Corporation Bill Murray, Actor George Will, Journalist Tom Begel, Chicago businessman William Marovitz, former Illinois state senator Larry Levy, restaurateur Bruce Rauner, Chicago private-equity investor Crain’s Chicago Business quotes Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports industry consultant as saying, “(The price for the Cubs) will go north of $800 million, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for more than $1 billion.” Crain’s continues, “Mr. Ganis predicts the eventual buyer will be a private-equity firm that will stay under the radar until a deal is announced. He says he’s fielded inquiries from two such firms.”
Baseball is back, Baby! Cubs vs. Reds, Zambrano vs. Harang, 98 years of demons vs $130 million payroll. The 2007 season begins in a few short moments and we'll find out if the team is ready, there's no doubt we as fans are for the season. A few site notes before we get started. Don't forget to get your vote in on your chat program of choice. Whatever is ahead tomorrow morning when I check will be the winner for the year. Also, the detailed previews of years past is a thing of the past. Sorry. Too much time looking up lineups and stats that could be used for writing more in-depth articles. So welcome to preview-lite, a simple open thread with the starters for the day and if the lineups are out when I do these, you might get those as well. As for game, the Cubs started out the last few years blowing out their Opening Day opponent and then finding ways to disappoint us for the rest of the season, so if today is a close game or if we happen to lose, not the worst thing that could happen. ------ Chat (We'll use Geesee for today, log-in in the bottom right) Carlos Zambrano vs. Aaron Harang Soriano CF, Murton LF, Lee 1b, Ramirez 3b, Jones RF, Barrett C, Derosa 2b, Izturis SS, Zambrano P Freel CF, Dunn LF, Phillips 2b, Griffey Jr. RF,  Encarnacion 3b, Hatteberg 1b, Gonzalez SS, Ross C, Harang P
UPDATED: APRIL 3 Here is the 2007 Opening Day Organizational Depth Chart for the Chicago Cubs and their four "full season" minor league clubs, Iowa (AAA), Tennessee (AA), Daytona (A+), and Peoria (A):
I'm having all kinds of fun trying to get in contact with our web administrator, so my apologies for the delay on deciding this. We basically have the old stand-by with dolphin sounds, Parachat. Everyone who cares about this issue is familiar with it so I won't get into it much. The other option is called Geesee which some have been using during the preseason. The web administrator sort of just put it up there for us a long time ago, but I've grown to appreciate some of its features. - Seems to load quicker - Less obstrusive ads - Embedded into our site design - You can register your nickname The biggest detriment to the program is that anyone who visits the Geesee home page can find our chat and we end up with some folks who are a bit baseball challenged. They do have a new password-protected chat room which we can set-up which would eliminate that problem and which also allows some admin features where we can boot troublemakers and such not. I'd probably prefer the Geesee program for the reasons outlined, particularly the faster loading and nickname registering. But we shall do whatever the masses decide. So go vote, we'll give it until Tuesday. And don't forget to enter our preseaon prediction contest which closes at 11am CST tomorrow. Trans - Viva la Parachat! Viva la Resistance!
It was caviar, champagne, wheat toast, and strawberry marmalade for breakfast, as the Iowa Cubs and Salt Lake Bees (LAA) met at Fitch Park Field #3 in what is the final ST game for both AAA clubs before they leave Arizona. A Throng of Three (including your ol' pal Arizona Phil, who had nothing better to do) was on hand when the first pitch was thrown at 9 AM (MST), with Rich Hill (CUBS) facing Jered Weaver (LAA). It was the final tune-up for Hill before his first scheduled start next Friday at Milwaukee, while Weaver is trying to increase his pitch count and innings while recovering from biceps tendinitis. First the Good News: Rich Hill pitched today. Now, the Bad News...

Longtime Employee Present at Defining Moments in Cubs History

I am saddened to report that one of the most historically obscure, yet significant members of the Chicago Cubs family has passed away. Although very few are familiar with the name, Heinie Massman held a unique place in Cubs history, with an up-close view of some of the defining moments in Cubs lore. I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Heinie last summer, at his home in Bluffs, Illinois (population 748). Due to his position inside the Cubs organization and the sometimes remarkable nature of his claims to Cubs fame, he asked that I not release the content of his interview until after his death. That interview, along with the press clippings he saved from the now defunct Bluffs Sentinel and Belgium Standard newspapers, are testimony to a life intertwined in almost unbelievable ways with Cubs history.

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Recently, Virginia Phil has been poring over minor league stats at The Baseball Cube, trying to build an argument that Felix Pie is as ready for the majors as he'll ever be. In the process, he has turned up some numbers that illustrate how other teams have managed to bring some of their brightest prospects to the big leagues and done so successfully. This is a cooking article. It's about "seasoning," about how long various promising players are left to marinate in the minors before getting called up to the majors. I think the data itself is interesting, and I think I've found a visually effective way to present it. The data is too sketchy, I think, to support any conclusions or even to formulate the right questions about how players should be evaluated before being summoned to the parent club. What follows is a list of nearly two dozen players who, in the last ten years, won starting jobs in the majors while in their early twenties and seem to be enjoying successful careers. (Also included are a few players with Cub ties whose long-term success is yet to be determined.) I am interested in the minor league careers of these players, which I have summarized in a unique way. Take the Red Sox' recently anointed starting second baseman: Dustin Pedroia (23) 308/392/454 (21hr) 270: 011122222223333333333333333 Here's the code: the 23 in parentheses is his age when he made the big club (and not just for a late season call-up). 308/392/454 are his cumulative minor league numbers taken directly from the bottom line of the offensive stats on The Baseball Cube. I also tack on the number of minor-league home runs (21). 270 is total minor league games. In the string of numbers that follows, each digit represents ten games and the level at which the player participated. To be specific, 3 means AAA, 2 means AA, 1 means A+ (High A). Everything below High A is represented by a 0. College seasons are not represented here, as Baseball Cube does not include them in the cumulative stats. I've done some rounding off, so, for example, Albert Pujols' three-game cup of coffee at AAA doesn't appear. Sometimes a player may go back to the minors for a brief rehab assignment, and those numbers get thrown into the Baseball Cube stats, but I try to ignore those stints in my variable-length digit strings. The list:

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse held a terrific roundtable concerning the relationship between sports bloggers and sports journalists earlier this month, featuring Paul Sullivan, Bruce Miles, Will Carroll and Paul Lukas.

GROTA invited me, Al Yellon, Joe Aiello, and Chuck Gitles of Bleed Cubbie Blue, The View from the Bleachers, and Ivy Chat, respectively, to contribute to the follow-up round table, which you can now read, here. It's more serious than entertaining, but I have to say, I was pretty proud of these two lines:

Looking for good reporting in the sports blogosphere is like when you played spin the bottle with the high school band: You might get the hot saxophonist, but more likely you get stuck with one of the woodwinds.

and

Regarding some of Paul Sullivan’s comments: I’ve already discussed at length his remark about how “most newspaper reporters have to actually go to college and get a degree” and pay their dues, and so forth.

But I wonder if Paul is aware that he split an infinitive in his sentence about the necessity of getting a college degree? ~grin~

My previous TCR commentary on the state of sports blogs and sports journalism can be found here.

Dr. Joseph Hecht returns with a new recurring column, a breakdown of injuries to our Cubs and some of our division rivals. --------- Under the Category: Break out the Blue Duct Tape. Kerry Wood’s latest ache is apparently proximal triceps related. He is officially on the DL and back to slow rehab mode although there has been no word on when towel drills will begin. So far no MRI has been ordered but who knows since we’re not getting much information. Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll has said: “What’s not so bad is that sources tell me that pain is not in the back of the shoulder, but rather nearer the triceps where Wood has already had problems this spring.” I commented on the situation a few days back on this TCR thread. Included is a nice link to triceps anatomy. Godspeed Woody… -----
Fun game if you're watching today's game, see who's napping at the game or didn't even bother to show up from too much partying in Vegas. Marquis vs. Horacio Ramirez and then down with the NL starting on Monday.

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