April 2010

So Many Autographs; So Little Ryne

Not as balmy as last year, but better than average Opening Day weather here last night as Des Moines tiptoes toward the Summer of Sandberg. For the record, the Iowa Cubs dropped Ryno’s Triple A managerial debut by a score of 6-3 to the Nashville branch of the Milwaukee Brewers.

What Would Tyler Colvin Do

It's your first start of the season, chance to impress the manager and the fans...Cubs need a pick-me up. Tommy Hanson, ace-in-training on the mound just struck out the side in the first. He unleashes a 95 mph fastball down the middle of the plate, might be the best pitch you see the entire at-bat. You calmly let it go for strike one. Bravo. Make him think you know something. Next pitch is another fastball but Hanson misses well inside. 1-1 now, and Hanson mixes it up with a slider but it's outside. A hitter's count and you know the fastball is probably coming. The catcher sets up away and Hanson rears back and fires. He misses his target...badly, ball is right in the lefty sweet spot down and low. You bring the hands in, uncoil the swing and *crack*, you know you hit it good. You're a rookie though, put your head down and start running. A muffled cheer and the ump twirls his finger, time to break out the home run trot but don't show up anybody or you'll get one in the ear next time.

Jesus Heyward ain't got nothing on you Tyler Colvin...well other than probably having a much better major league career. As for rookie theatrics, you're neck and neck.

Game 3 Thread: Cubs @ Braves

A battle of two of the better rookie pitchers from 2009 as the Cubs try to avoid the sweep.

CHAT | TV: CSN, Direct TV 737 | RADIO: XM 175, WGN

Cubs Braves
Theriot SS #Cabrera LF
*Fukudome RF Prado 2B
Lee 1b # C. Jones 3B
Ramirez 3B *McCann C
Byrd CF Glaus 3B
*Colvin LF Escobar SS
Baker 2B *Heyward RF
#Hill C *McLouth CF
Wells P Hanson P

Wrigley Field: Less Affordable Than Ever

According to a study by Team Marketing Report, the Cubs have the highest average ticket price in baseball just ahead of the Boston Red Sox ($52.56 vs $52.32) with the New York Yankees third at $51.83 and the White Sox fourth at $38.65 (I guess shirtless fan attack insurance is expensive). The average ticket price in baseball is $26.79. The Cubs are second in Fan Cost Index (the price of taking a family of four to a game) to the Red Sox ($329.74 vs. $334.71). The Cubs also raised ticket prices by 10.1%, the second highest increase in baseball behind the Twins and their new stadium. The bulk of that increase being due to the addition of 12 platinum games to their tier-pricing schedule. There is no economic crisis for Cubs fans apparently.

While this is unfortunate news for anyone trying to raise their kids as Cubs fans, I don't think it's a coincidence that Boston and the Cubs lead the pack. Two of the more popular teams that play in old stadiums with limited capacity and amenities. Say what you will about the Cubs whoring out Wrigley with things like the Toyota sign, but it's a drop in the bucket to what most stadiums do, especially with their fancy jumbotrons. The economic laws of supply and demand certainly contribute, the Cubs can charge so much because people will pay so much and the cycle continues. Nonetheless, when going to a baseball game takes as much planning and budgeting as a family vacation, it's a sad reality that kids will be limited to their exposure to Wrigley Field as they grow up. Of course, with the typical crowd that seems to now take in a Cubs game, that might not be so bad.

PS - Thanks to Rob Richardson in the comments for the link, but Rob Neyer has his take on this article and explains the Fan Cost Index which includes: 2 adult tickets, 2 kids tickets, 4 soft drinks, 2 beers, 4 hot dogs, 2 programs, Parking and 2 Adult-size caps. So yeah, that's an insanely bogus little metric they've invented.

Soriano Slider Watch

Theories have been abundant on the rapid decline of $100 million dollar man Alfonso Soriano, from age, to bad legs, to just a bad season in 2009 because of bad legs and his age.  As our man Transmission showed last year, as well as Joe Posnanski and a few other articles, part of the puzzle was teams throwing more sliders to Soriano as well as Soriano not doing his normal damage on fastballs.

So let's see how Opening Day went for #12 with the caveat that Pitch F/X and its pitch recognition isn't 100% accurate.

Game 1 Recap: Cubs 5, Braves 16

I Returned to TCR to recap THIS?!?!

 

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs, Photos

 

W-  Lowe (1-0), calls for instant replay, people making their team or career debuts

L- Zambrano (0-1), dignity. 3 hours of my life

 

Things to Take from This Game

1.  Not So Good: Zambrano, Samardzija

Zambrano got knicked by a series of softly hit singles before giving up a 3-run home run to Neo Heyward.  Some throwing mistakes and a McCann homer in the second chased Zambrano from the game, having given up 8.   The fourth reliever in, Samardzija, walked three in a one third of an inning.

2.  Good:  Byrd, Marshall, Russell.

Byrd gave the Cubs a very early and short-lived lead with a 3-run homer in the first.  Marshall and Russell gave the Cubs a chance to get back in the game with a Ramirez 2-run Homer, as they pitched 4 and 2/3 of scoreless relief, before turning things over to Samardzija, Berg, and Grabow

3.  McLouth Lies like a Dog.  And Fakes It.  And Just Isn't Very Nice. 

Down 8-5 with Ramirez on 1st, Byrd smoked a liner to left center.  McLouth made a diving catch with the ball popping out on contact with the ground.  But McLouth faked the catch, threw it in, and the umpires, missing the call, declared Ramirez doubled off of first.   We went from having the tying run at the plate with no outs, to no on and two outs.  After Soriano predictbly ended the inning; it was all downhill from there.


 

The gory details, below

 

Tags: 

Game 1 Thread/Cubs @ Braves

And we do it again. Here are the lineups for Opening Day 2010. Parachat is up and running as it will throughout every game of the season(you can access it via the menu bar above). You do have to register and it is a different registration than your TCR account.

Cubs Braves
Theriot SS #Cabrera LF
*Fukudome RF Prado 2B
Lee 1b # C. Jones 3B
Ramirez 3B *McCann C
Byrd CF Glaus 3B
Soriano LF Escobar SS
*Fontenot 2B *Heyward RF
Soto C *McLouth CF
#Zambrano P Lowe P

Easter Lilly in Full-Bloom at Fitch Park Sunrise Service

Ted Lilly threw 5.2 IP (66 pitches – 46 strikes) for the Iowa Cubs this morning against the Angels AAA squad (Salt Lake) at Fitch Park Field #3, allowing one run on three hits, no walks, with four strikeouts.


Lilly was supposed to throw four innings/60 pitches, but he was so efficient with his pitches he ended-up working into the 6th inning before he hit 60 pitches, and even then he ended up going slightly over his pre-arranged pitch limit.


Lilly retired the first nine men he faced, and he generally threw strikes (he didn’t walk anyone, and he went to a three-ball count on only two of the 20 men he faced). While he had outstanding command of his fast ball and had a really good change-up today (same as last time), he had some difficulty commanding his curve, bouncing three in the dirt.


Here is Lilly’s INNING-BY INNING LOG:


Once Upon a Time, When the Cubs were Bought by a Family

The Ricketts Family owns the Cubs. That sentence has a certain lasting ring to it. We've all followed the travails of how the Cubs ownership has transitioned from the now bankrupt Tribune company and was midwived through the gnarly fingers of real estate magnate Sam Zell, finally getting delivered into our proud new Papa's (Tom Ricketts) loving grasp. To celebrate this rite of passage, I decided to learn more about the events that took place over 90 years ago when the last dynastic family came into control of our Chicago National League franchise.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1916.

Predicting the Divisions

Because it's fun to make myself look like a fool by the end of the year...

AL EAST

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

The Yanks, Rays and Red Sox match-up pretty well in my opinion and I could see any of the 3 finishing at the top. All 3 teams have excellent rotations, with the Rays and Red Sox having the defensive advantage over the Yankees. BP is particularly optimistic about the Red Sox offense, but I'm having trouble going along with that projection. The Yanks might be getting older, but too much elite talent on the offensive side of the field for me to pick against them. But per usual, who can stay healthy will probably be the determining factor. Good news for the Cubs is Jason Frasor will still be available in about a month.

Soriano Blast Is All Cubs Need

Alfonso Soriano had three hits including a two-run HR and Carlos Silva threw five innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs blanked the Colorado Rockies 2-0 before 10,005 fans in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in breezy & (mostly) sunny Mesa, Arizona, this afternoon.


 

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Stockpiling young talent isn't only for trading for someone like Chapman though. Even with an elite closer winning the World Series is basically a crap shoot so the key is to get to the playoffs as much as possible and not just mortgage everything on one year. Once you get there an elite bullpen certainly helps but the playoffs can be won by one hitter or starting pitcher getting hot (Murphy, Molina, Baumgardner) and a closer might not be able to stop that.

    johann 2 min 26 sec ago view
  • I'm also not crazy about press convictions. As the police report noted, there were no marks on the lady in question. There's a TMZ link (of course) to her police pictures, as well.

    I think the only way this trade goes real bad is if Cubbery intervenes and Chapman is suddenly bad for some reason.

    Old and Blue 5 min 47 sec ago view
  • I am right there with you closing in on 60.

    I don't care that much about "mortgaging" one player who is not only blocked by two guys, but is not ready to hit the majors for at least a couple years.

    There is no reason why this team, this year, can't have a real shot at something NONE of us have experienced.

    Further, I don't feel that even if they fall short that they have ruined their farm system.

    I have made my opinion clear here, with others, Warren was shit on the Cubs save one spot start.

    The E-Man 1 hour 35 min ago view
  • Trading for Warren, Warren sucking, getting Warren back for Chapman plus 3 prospects, sounds like Revenge of The Yankees on the former Boston executive. Old rivalries never die.

    I pray to the heavens above Chapman doesn't suck for some reason, or he'll be booed out of town faster than a Todd Hundley revival meeting.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • I'm kind of nostalgic for the Schwarber-for-Miller rumors.

    Brick 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • This offseason, after some ridiculous playoff run and Chapman saving every game from here until the end of the postseason striking out 27/9innings, I welcome anyone to quote this thread and call me a dummy: I hate this trade, and my hate is 2 parts Chapman makes this team less likeable and 1 part that's a ridiculous overpay for 30 regular season innings and, at tops, 10 postseason innings. Already hoping they don't extend him.

    Charlie 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 2 hours 28 min ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 3 hours 22 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 25 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 45 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 3 hours 48 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 3 hours 50 min ago view