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.
Vegas Baby, Vegas! Cubs versus Mariners in the desert at Cashman Park. Ted Lilly versus Miguel Batista. Which of these Cubs is most likely to have spent the whole night gambling, drinking and hitting the strip joints? A) Carlos Zambrano B) Cliff Floyd C) Ryan Theriot D) Henry Blanco E) Scott Eyre
As Christmas Opening Day approaches, time to put on the prognostication hats and have some fun with the Cubs season. Reader Bryan has offered to tabulate the results and I'll come up with the prizes at some point (still owe chifan3887 for his Free Agent Frenzy win, I didn't forget about you). So predict away... Five points for a correct answer. 1. Who will have the most plate appearances in the #2 spot of the lineup? 2. Who will have the most plate appearances in the #8 spot of the lineup? 3. Which player will end up playing the most defensive positions? 4. Which pitcher will start the most games for the Cubs? 5. Which pitcher will end up with the most appearances for the Cubs? 6. Which Cub(s) will make the All-Star team? (5 points for each correct name, subtract 2 points if you name someone who doesn't make it) 7. Which Cub(s) will finish in the top 10 in MVP voting? (5 points for each correct name, subtract 2 points if you name someone who doesn't make it - None is an acceptable answer) 8. Who will be the first Cub promoted from the minors? 9. Who will be the first Cub on the Opening Day 25-man roster to land on the disabled list? (that means Kerry Wood, Buck Coats and Juan Mateo are excluded) 10. Where will the Cubs finish in the division (1 through 6)? 8 points for a correct answer on the following 2 questions, subtract one point for how many places you're off. So if you predict they'll be 5th in runs scored and they end up at 3rd or 7th, you get 6 points. We won't get into negatives though, so if you're off by more than eight, you'll get zero points. 11. Where will the Cubs rank in team runs scored among National League teams? (1 through 16) 12. Where will the Cubs rank in team runs allowed among National League teams? (1 through 16, 1 meaning the least amount of runs allowed) 15 points for the correct answer on the following questions, subtract one point for how far you end up off the final answer. For example, if you predict 90 wins for the Cubs and they end up with 88, you get 13 points. We won't get into the negatives though, so if you miss by 15 or more you get a zero for that answer. 13. How many wins for the Cubs in 2007? 14. How many total home runs by Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano combined? 15. How many home runs and stolen bases for Soriano combined? (If you think he'll end up at 40/40, please put 80 as your answer) Tie-Breaker #1: How many innings pitched in the majors for Mark Prior? (closest answer wins) Tie-Breaker #2: How many innings pitched in the minors for Mark Prior? (only used if there happens to be a tie for the first tie-breaker question) To make it easy for Bryan, please use the following format to answer. Please use a separate comment if you care to add your two cents beyond your answers. I'll close the comments on Monday, April 2nd around 11am CST. 1. Name 2. Name 3. Name etc, etc, etc... UPDATE: In my attempt to make things easier I foolishy separated the wins and losses question earlier. Just ignore that and I'll fix the comments on those that answered already.
For the second time this Spring, Micah Hoffpauir stroked a game-winning HR, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 before an all-time single-game Cactus League record crowd of 12,917 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon. box score
The last game at Hohokam Park for the year and Arizona Phil tells us that they're cutting it off after nine innings even if it's tied so everyone can pack up and head to Vegas for the weekend series versus the Mariners. Wade Miller goes for the Cubs against a split-squad DBacks crew led by Doug Davis on the mound.
For your morning's amusement, a sampling of search results that have brought people to TCR.
Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez homered, and Mark Prior got his final 2007 ST start before being optioned to AAA Iowa, as the Cubs and Rockies battled to a ten-inning 4-4 tie in front of a capacity crowd of 12,716 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park today in Mesa. box score
The Cubs optioned Mark Prior to AAA today along with Angel Pagan and Rocky Cherry. That leaves 28 warm bodies in camp and Buck Coats, Juan Mateo and Kerry Wood will all head to the disabled list. So your 2007 Chicago Cubs:

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