April 2010

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.

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.

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

We had some laughs, some good times last year, you milked $7.5 million out of Hendry despite a rather pedestrian major league career because you throw from the left side. Let's just part ways now before anyone gets hurt any further.

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.

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.

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: 

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

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:


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.

The Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA squad) defeated the Iowa Cubs 6-1 at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in Mesa.


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.

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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