Site news

Effective immediately, Joe Aiello of "View From The Bleachers" is
joining us here at TCR. Joe started his blog back in October of
'03--the "Dark Time"--and over the years he turned VFTB into one of the
true stalwart Cub blogs.

We're thrilled to have him.

Well it was nice knowing you all, can't say enough about each and every reader...you guys are the best, really. But now that The Cub Reporter has gone national, well, see you losers. Please send media requests to Rob G., I hear Arizona Phil and Transmission are particulary photogenic.

All kidding aside, we did get a mention in USA Today yesterday, well actually reader "DC Tom" did for one of his comments on Ron Santo missing the Hall of Fame. Who and how they unearthed that comment I'm unsure of, but we'll take it. 

I'm 98% sure that I won't be able to keep up with the rumors today as I'm fighting a nasty cold and honestly, if I read one more headline saying the deal is "close" or "closer", I'll  beat the offending reporter with their own keyboard.

Hopefully Arizona Phil or someone else will cover the Rule 5 draft today.

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UPDATE 2: Bah, issues...will have to wait a couple of days on the archives.

UPDATE: I'm going to try and start importing our archives from the all-baseball.com and MVN days tonight. It may crash everything.


I'm not gonna be able to muster anything coherent about the Cubs this week. The organizational meetings start October 19th and I'm sure we'll start hearing some rumors around then about what the Cubs offseason plan might be. I think we can all pretty much guess it now anyway, left-handed bats, Dempster or another starting pitcher and filling out the bullpen.

That all being said, I'll probably be spending a good portion of the offseason working on improving the site and while I'm never at a loss for ideas, I would love to hear what things you guys would like to see. Just throw as much spaghetti as you can at the walls and we'll see what sticks. There's no such thing as a bad idea...except the really stupid ones. Now this sort of thing has a tendency to just lead to a bitchfest about everything that we don't currently offer or what sucks, but try to keep it positive and offer ideas on additions and improvements if you can.

And to help your brain get going, some topics to think about:

  • Content - what more would you like to see of? What less would you like to see of? Ideas for regular features? Anything you'd like to come back that seems to have disappeared.
  • Site Layout - Fuck that logo is big, make it smaller! Needs more advertising, etc.
  • Site Functionality - Pop-up comments, Searches, etc...
  • Community - Rate comments, posts, more chat oppurtunities, ban one commenter per week?
  • Merchandising - Is there an 8x10 photo of Arizona Phil you want for your desk? Let us know..

And whatever else you'd like out of your Cubs site of choice....

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This all still sucks donkey balls, but I'm starting to look at the positive. The only one being that my October is suddenly going to have a lot more free time.

I moved some stuff around on the right sidebar and there's a handy payroll cheat sheet to help you plan out the 2009 Cubs team.

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In a move that will surely change the landscape of Cubs blogging, one-time TCR writer Christian Ruzich announced that he was moving back to Chicago. A new job has necessitated a call-up from the minor leagues (Harrisburg, PA), and Ruzich and his family should be back in the city before the playoff roster deadline.

Scouts question what, if anything, Ruzich can bring to a Cub Reporter team without any glaring weaknesses. Known for his wit and insight in the early '00s, Ruzich has not been a regular fixture on the TCR scene in years, appearing only occasionally to offer a web link, off-hand remark, or occasional comment post.

Unnamed sources within the TCR organization have questioned whether Ruzich has anything left, but are quick to say they're happy Ruzich has returned home: "If all he does is hang out at the TCR clubhouse, telling stories about the Don Baylor days, that would be great. I'm just worried that, if he tries to write again regularly, he might upset the team's chemistry down the stretch." When asked if he saw this as an opportunity to re-establish himself in
the Cubs blogging world, Ruzich mentioned that he has been doing towel
drills for months, and hoped to be able to contribute to the team in
any way possible.

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I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I will be doing a very minor security upgrade to the site at 2:30 PM CST today.The whole process shouldn't take more than twenty minutes. Once finished, I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to keep Chad out of the site permanently.

I kid because I care.

Otherwise, I added a link to our mobile site in the upper navigation bar or you can enter your phone number in the box on the lower right and have the link sent to your cell phone. I've also added a brief shout-out to those who were are top givers during our April donation drive in the lower left sidebar. Finally, reader Wiscgrad provided us with a wonderful resource that lists how the Cubs have faired in All-Star games, award balloting, the Hall of Fame and much more. You can find the link via the "TCR Junk Drawer" in the navigation bar as well.

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...returns after a one week break.

- There was a brief discussion in the comments about who should be the Cubs All-Stars. I think the deserving candidates are Carlos Zambrano (leads NL pitchers in VORP), Carlos Marmol (leads NL relievers in WPA), Geovany Soto (leads NL catchers in VORP) and Aramis Ramirez as a backup at third base to Chipper Jones. Ramirez is just a few notches behind Garrett Atkins in VORP for the backup spot, but he has a slight edge in home runs, RBI's and huge lead in OBP...and the Rockie kind of suck right now.

On the outside looking in, are Kosuke Fukudome(12th among all NL outfielders), Ryan Dempster (12th in VORP) and Derrek Lee (4th in VORP). And don't be surprised if Soriano gets himself back into the mix before too long.

- I noticed today that you can view Iowa Cubs highlights from their home page. Neat.

...just a few notes promoted from the comments and other site fun.

- Rich Hill will get his next start skipped with the day off Monday. 10 or so days off should really help him with his control problems.

- Another gem from ex-Cub, now blossoming writer Doug Glanville; that includes this gem:
And I recall seeing an electric young pitcher, Kerry Wood,
when he was the ripe old age of 19. He had yet to set foot in a major
league stadium when we watched him pitch in an instructional league
game in Arizona. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me and everyone else
from realizing that he was a man among boys. Years later, he would set
the record for most strikeouts in a game. He just had something that
made his blank sheet of experience rise to the top of a pile of
bullet-point-riddled résumés.

- As one astute reader noticed - replacing the big bat of Alfonso Soriano with Mike Fontenot has all the makings of replacing Derrek Lee's bat in 2006 with Neifi Perez. After today's showing, it's hard to see if Eric Patterson is much better.. But with two lefties scheduled after today, I think it's time to (wait for it)....Free Matt Murton!

- A quick shout-out to a new member of the Cubs Blog Army. One of our readers has started Harry and Hawk, which covers both Chicago baseball teams. You can stop by and read half the articles.

Some site notes after the jump...

...Friday's game thread is below...

- As you've probably heard by now, the Cubs received 25-year old outfielder/first basemen Doug Deeds from the Twins today as the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal. A ninth-round selection of the Twins in 2002, the lefty was an honorable mention on John Sickels top 20 Twins prospects before 2007, but didn't make the cut in 2008 after a rough year in AAA. His scouting report on Scout.com before the 2007 season sure had some encourging notes:

Deeds is one of the more polished hitters in
the Twins’ organization, and each year he seems to grow at the plate.
He has the ability to hit to all fields, and has shown the ability to
hit at every level he has played at during his Minor League career.

Deeds is a great defensive outfielder, and
should have a future as an everyday corner outfielder in some
organization, hopefully the Twins. He makes all the plays in right
field, and has a tremendous arm that enables him to scare potential
base runners from advancing a base. He uses good closing speed to get
to balls that most outfielders do not get to, and has had his fair
share of outfield assists throughout his Minor League career.

His career line is still a solid 291/374/463 and hopefully a change of scenery will benefit him. I imagine he'll be headed Mike Wellman's way and on to Iowa.

So we've escaped the clutches of MVN, poked fun at Sam Zell's misguided attempt to sell naming rights to Wrigley Field and we have Arizona Phil. You're probably asking yourself right now, how can I help support this amazing website and make sure it lasts longer than Jason Marquis will as a Cub? Well, you can dress up in a Cubbie Bear costume, put on a sandwich board that says "Visit the best Cubs site on the web, THECUBREPORTER.COM" and stand outside Wrigley Field during each game of the next homestand. Be sure to get pictures if you do indeed go that route. We suspect that might not be your style, so if you're looking for a simpler alternative, you can just send us a bit of pocket change.

We're starting a little donation drive this month and we hope all that can help us out, will take a moment to do just that. This site did cost us a bit out of our own pockets to get started and now we have expenses such as domain names, server costs, Parachat and potential lawyer fees when the AngelFan Wife finally gets fed up with me burying my nose in a laptop. We'll take whatever you can scrounge up from the bottom of your couch cushions, whether it's a dollar or forty (or more if you have really deep couch cushions). If you're looking for a little guidance on an appropriate amount, if we could get 100 people to donate $20 each, that should cover our costs for the year (including Parachat) and leave a little left over for site improvements and advertising. We're even offereing some wonderful gifts to the top givers.

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Your transaction has been completed, and a receipt for your purchase has been emailed to you. Thank you for your donation, we appreciate the support!  We promise not to spend it on Cubs tickets!
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I can't believe it has gotten to the point where I feel compelled to say this, but...

 

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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).

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