Next Year is Here

Cub-related Rants and Raves

8.4.07

Ok, I know that I vow every season to try and keep up with this thing more...and I'm really gonna try!

So you all know about the things that went on in the offseason (Soriani, resigning Ramirez, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, Mar DeRosa...and more) and unless you live under a rock, you know that the Tribune Company is being sold as well as the Cubs when the season is over. I hope Mark Cuban buys them, that would kick ass.

So yesterday, I went with a friend up to Milwaukee for the Cubs/Brewers matchup at Miller Park. Now, normally I love going up there but lately their fans have turned into complete assholes. Maybe it's because of the fact that they can't fill a ballpark on their own? Or maybe because their team usually sucks more than the Cubs? Or maybe because they live in Wisconsin and are a bunch of drunken cheeseheads!?? Who knows. But what I DO know is that the group of people we were sitting by were definitely drunken bastards, and it kind of ruined my friend's first time at Miller Park.

I think I might write a letter, expecially since one of the guys in that group brought in glass bottles of his own liquor.

In any case, the Cubs did indeed win 6-3 behind a pretty good performance by Carlos Zambrano. A couple of Gold Glove plays by Derrek Lee definitely helped :)

Star of the game: Derrek Lee. Simply because of his glove, and he also was 3/4 with a double, and RBI and a run scored.

Daily Suck: Henry Blanco. He was 0-3 with a sac fly/RBI. He's the only one in the lineup that didn't have at least one hit. Sorry Hank.

22.4.06

Hey everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted in about a week, week and a half...I've been busy with school and I was involved in a car accident yesterday (lady ran a red light and T-boned me...with my bro in the passengers seat) Anyways, just a tiny update til I feel like sitting here and blogging more.

Wednesday night in LA was a really bad night...Derrek Lee broke two bones in his right wrist when Rafael Furcal (we all hated him already, since he stiffed the Cubs in the offseason) ran inside the baseline and into Lee, knocking him over onto his wrist. He's going to be in a cast (up to his elbow) for up to 6 weeks, and they say that he will be out 8-10 weeks. Meanwhile, the Cubs have looked horrible in two games without him, losing 9-3 last night in St. Louis, and 4-1 today. Let's hope Maddux can be the stopper tomorrow and pick up a win on getaway day.

12.4.06

This isn't going to be a long post, because I really don't feel like talking about it much! Yes, it was that kind of game.

It was a re-match of Glendon Rusch and Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds. Glendon ended up giving up 4 homeruns in 5 innings, including ANOTHER one to "slugger" Bronson Arroyo...who before last week when he homered off ot Glendon the first time, hadn't hit a homerun since high school.

What makes it even worse was that this was my first game of the year...I had to witness this! Oh well, another game tomorrow for the boys...and for me! YES!

Star of the Game: Michael Barrett was 3-4 with 2 singles and another homerun.

Daily Suck: Glendon Rusch, "no doubt about it" lol..he went 5 innings, gave up 4 solo homeruns in each of the first 4 innings on 5 hits. He hasn't looked good in either start. Hopefully better days are to come for him.

FYI: Derrek Lee signed a new contract with the Cubs yesterday, $65 million over 5 years. VERY EXCITING!!!!!

6.4.06

Yesterday's game was not pretty in the least bit. The Cubs ended up losing to Cincinnati 8-6, in a game where Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo hit his first career home run off of starter Glendon Rusch.

Rusch did not have a real good outing, going only 4 innings, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits. He also walked two and struck out two. This was the second game of the season, and already the Cubs' starting staff has not looked at all good. This weekend's series against the Cardinals will feature Greg Maddux against Jeff Suppan in the home opener tomorrow afternoon, Carlos Zambrano against Chris Carpenter Saturday (if Carlos is on his game, this could shape up to be an excellent pitching duel) and Sunday night on ESPN rookie Sean Marshall will make his ML debut.

Some of the highlights of yesterday's game were the following:
1st inning: Todd Walker singles, Aramis Ramirez hits a 2-run homer
6th inning: Juan Pierre doubles, Derrek Lee hits a 2-run homer
7th inning: Ronny Cedeno doubles, pinch-hitter John Mabry hits a 2-run homer

So while the Cubs showed a bit of power yesterday, their pitching was pretty bad. In addition to Rusch, the pitching lines were:
Jerome Williams: 1IP, 2H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 0K
Will Ohman: 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
Scott Williamson: 1.1IP, 1H, 1R, oER, 1BB, 2K
Scott Eyre: .2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K

Michael Barrett also had a throwing error, the Cubs' second error in as many games (Lee had one in game one of the season, dropping a throw from Ramirez at first base, allowing the runner to be safe)

On to the Star(s) of the game, and the Daily suck. We'll start out with the bad first, get it over with.

Daily Suck: I nominate a few guys for this "award". The winner would have to be Glendon Rusch, with the runners up being the 5-6-7 spots in the lineup. Those guys would be Jacque Jones (0-4, K) Michael Barrett (0-4, K and a throwing error) and Matt Murton (0-4, 4 groundouts -- sorry Matt, had to do it)

The Stars of the Game are: Aramis Ramirez (1-4, 2-run HR), Derrek Lee (104, 2-run HR) and John Mabry (1-1, pinch hit 2-run HR)

Next up is the home opener tomorrow afternoon from Wrigley at 1:20pm against the St. Louis Cardinals.

4.4.06

Well kids, today was one of the best days of the year. That's right, Opening Day for Major League Baseball!! It was an exciting day, as the Cubs were in Cincinnati for the first game of the 2006 Championship season!

President Bush was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, with the secret service men all over the ballpark, including the roof. There was a funny story that was posted by the Tribune, so I'll post it here for you to read:

Bush's regards not a hit for 'Tom' Walker

By Paul SullivanTribune staff reporter

April 3, 2006 CINCINNATI -- The presidential visit to the Cubs' clubhouse before Monday's game was a memorable experience for everyone, though for some the memories will be bittersweet.President Bush greeted every player and tried to personalize every greeting. It didn't always work, as with Todd Walker."I said, 'Hey, how ya doing, my name's Todd Walker,'" he said. "He said, 'Hey, Tom, how are ya?' So I don't guess I made too good of an impression. But it was a neat thing."

Bush asked Cubs first-base coach Gary Matthews about his son, Gary Matthews Jr., who plays for the Rangers, who Bush once owned. The president briefly discussed his faith with left fielder Matt Murton, who is a born-again Christian.Murton said the meeting compared favorably to a clubhouse visit from Vince Vaughn, one of his favorite movie stars. "It was the coolest thing ever," Murton said. "To get a chance to meet a guy who leads your country."

The only snafu from the presidential visit occurred beforehand. Manager Dusty Baker and relief pitcher Bob Howry had knives taken from their bags at Great American Ball Park as security tightened for the visit from the president.

"It's the first time they took it at the ballpark," Baker said. "They've taken it at the airport when I forget [it was in the bag]."

Asked why he had a knife, Baker said: "It's a pocketknife that you use for stuff cutting apples, doing whatever, tighten a screw or cut some tape off a box, cutting string, anything."Baker and Howry were given their knives back after the game.

LOL Tom Walker...poor Todd!

Ok, on to the actual game!! Carlos Zambrano was the starting pitcher for the Cubs against Aaron Harang. The Cubs scored 5 runs in the first inning when Juan Pierre tripled to lead off the game and Todd Walker doubled him home. Derrek Lee walked, Jacque Jones reached on an error by left fielder Adam Dunn and then Matt Murton hit a 3-run homerun to put the Cubs up 5-0. In the bottom half of the inning, Murton also made a fantastic catch against the wall. Web Gem!

Carlos Zambrano didn't have his best stuff today, and left the game after 4.2 innings pitched. The pitching lines from today's game:
Zambrano: 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 5BB, 5K, 2HR
Will Ohman: (w, 1-0) .1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, oK
Scott Williamson: 0IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 0K
Scott Eyre: 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 3K
Ryan Dempster: 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1K

Onto the offensive side of the game. The Cubs scored 16 runs in this game, yet the only homer was Murton's in the first. Even through this one game, I can already see that this team is going to be more of a "small ball" type of team. Evidence of this can be seen in the 6th inning. Michael Barrett led off the inning with a walk, Murton had an infield hit, Ronny Cedeno had a bunt hit, Angel Pagan singled for his first Major League hit and RBI scoring Barrett. (Congrats to PAGAN! He's such a nice guy!). Juan Pierre had an infield hit that scored Murton from third, and Todd Walker knocked Pagan in with his third hit of the day.

I'm going to go back to the Star(s) of the game, and also the Daily Suck. Today's Stars of the Game were Matt Murton, who as I said was 3/5 with a 3-run homer, 3 RBI and a great catch in the field. Todd Walker is the other star, going 3/4 with 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Honorable mentions go to Michael Barrett (2/5, 2 RBI, 1R) and Juan Pierre (3/6, 1RBI, 3R).

The very first Daily Suck of the 2006 season must go to Zambrano. Clearly not his best stuff, as he gave up 5 runs on 7 hits, walked 5 and K'd 5 in 4.2 innings. Let's hope for a better start 5 days from now.

The Cubs are going to need to play ball like this more often this season if they want to score some runs. Granted, we do have some guys that will hit the longball such as Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, but I don't see this team as a whole hitting a monster amount of home runs.

Stay tuned for an exciting season!

30.3.06

Well well, how time has flown by!

It has come time for the Major League season to start this next week, and let me just say that I am as excited as anyone to finally have the Cubs and baseball back in my life! Before I get into anything here, I just want to say, as I have in the past, that I'm really going to try and keep up with this thing more this season than I have in the past...it's just a matter of remembering that I have this thing (my internet time is primarily consumed by the devil that is Myspace! ARGH!)

Anyways, to anyone out there that is actually reading this, I had the opportunity to FINALLY make it down to Arizona for Spring Training just a few short weeks ago and it was simply AMAZING! I went with two of my friends and had just a fabulous time. To anyone that has thought about going down there for some Cactus League action but has never done it, I strongly urge you to do it! It was nothing like seeing baseball in a major league park...I actually think it is a bit more fun. Everything is so laid back down there and the players are MUCH more accessible for autographs, pictures and flat out conversations.

Ok, so getting a little bit into this coming season...Kerry Wood and Mark Prior will open up the season on the DL...wow, what a surprise. Kerry Wood is coming along from the reports that I have heard, and he SHOULD be ready by mid April. Until both Prior and Wood are ready, guys like Jerome Williams and possibly Sean Marshall will be filling holes in the rotation.

As far as hitting and fielding go, I've got just a couple of thoughts here:

Second base -- Todd Walker SHOULD be the starting second baseman, end of story. Now, I'm a fan of Walker yes, but I don't hate Jerry Hairston and Neifi Perez. Walker is a guy who is going to hit .300 of close to it, drive in a bunch of runs and hit you 15-20 homeruns. Granted his defense isn't the BEST, it isn't poor either. Hairston and Perez have a little better range than Walker, but if I were manager I would want the guy that is a much better hitter (Walker is close to a career .300 hitter) in the lineup rather than a guy in Hairston that's a career .270-something hitter.

Outfield -- I really like the way that our outfield has shaped up since last season. Juan Pierre is a HUGE addition to that outfield. That guy can flat out play. He's usually the first one at the ballpark in the morning and the last one to leave at night. He's going to be a great addition in the leadoff spot and in the outfield as compared to a guy like Corey Patterson, or Jerry Hairston playing out there.

I like the addition of Jacque Jones, as well. This guy has been a pretty good player in the past with Minnesota, but had an off year last season. He has worked hard this off-season to get back into his old form, and I look for him to put up the number that we're all used to seeing from this guy.

In left field, I love Matt Murton out there. I am a huge fan of his, and I think that this has all the potential in the world to do great things in a Cubs uniform. Last season, he hit .321 with 7 homers and 21 RBIs in the 5 weeks or so that he was up in the majors. He has hit at every level he has ever played at, and hit well. As of the beginning of the week, he was leading the Cactus League in batting (I think it was batting) at something like .486 and had an OPS of over .525

Although the starting rotation is in a bit of disarray at the moment, the Cubs have a ton of talent on the team and I still look for them to have a great season. BRING ON BASEBALL!!!

18.1.06

Wow, it has been an INCREDIBLY long time since I last posted at this blog. I got some email reminder about something linked to my blog here that reminded me that I even HAD this still.

So, since this is all about my Cubbies, I suppose I shall chat a bit about this past weekend. It was Cubs Convention weekend at the Hilton here in Chicago, and as usual, it was a total blast being there with my friends!! A handful of new players/first timers were there this year, including Matt Murton (my absolute new favorite on the team!) Jerry Hairston, Jr., Scott Eyre, Juan Pierre, Bobby Howry, Rock Sutcliffe to name a few. It was great to see the new guys so excited about this team for this year. I'm very excited as well, as this weekend always pumps me up for baseball!!

Speaking of baseball, I am FINALLY going to Spring Training this year!! YESSSS!!! Very exciting!

You'd think that I would have absolute TONS to talk about since I haven't written on this thing in more than a YEAR but hey...whatever! I'm not sure if I will continue to update this or not, but hopefully I will if I have the time (and remember) haha

GO CUBS!!!