Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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Man, that sure was quick. The Cubs came into the playoffs with the best record in the National League and left after just three playoff games in a sweep at the hands of Dodgers. The Cubs scored a grand total of just six runs in the series and while that’s never going to cut, when you combine it with 20 runs given up, you have a pretty fatal situation.
Last nights game was particularly ugly because I thought we had the best pitching matchup. Rich Harden had been very sharp for us since we traded with him and while he got the job done, the offense didn’t. The Cubs actually outhit the Dodgers but we all know how much that counts. The lone run came in the eighth inning when Daryll Ward singled home Derek Lee but even that rally was cut short when Mark DeRosa struck out to end the inning with the second run left sitting on second base.
Still, it’s hard to argue too much with the season. Most of the primary players will be back next year and there’s no reason why the Cubs shouldn’t be in contention in 2009. Still, the whole 100 year thing made for a great story, it just wasn’t to be. The Curse of Wrigley Field lives on.
I’m headed down to Florida for a couple of weeks of relaxation and in the process, I’m hoping to get some BP in for my son. He needs to break in some of the gear we picked up at Rampage Sports, which is a very cool baseball equipment store. They have a great site online and the last time we were there, we scooped up a new baseball bat and some batting gloves. Next time I’m driving through Ohio, I’m hoping to swing over to Columbus to check out their store.
Anyway, see you next season. Spring training is just four short months away.
After Ryan Dempster so boldly predicted a World Series title during Spring Training, Cubs fans the world over collectively stuck their heads into a pillow and screamed. Surely the team’s fate was sealed because, well, it’s the Cubs and they just don’t win World Series.
Well, four months later and Dempster doesn’t seem so crazy. Granted, St. Louis and Milwaukee aren’t going away and two and a half months will feel like an eternity after the break. But if there is any Cubs team that could … you know … it’s this one.
Urgh, I just woke up and it’s about an hour before game time, so I will keep this short and sweet.
Aramis Ramirez is nothing short of an animal. He’s hitting over .400 with 16 RBI in close and late game situations this season and three of those RBI came last night when he broke a scoreless tie with a three-run jack. San Francisco elected to pitch to Ramirez rather than face Derreck Lee. Hey why not. Ramirez was only hitting over .400 in situations like this. But this is a Cubs blog, so I should just be thankful that someone’s coaching decision backfired in a big way.
The Cubs went on to win the game 3-1 and kept their four and a half-game lead over the Cardinals in the Central. Milwaukee lost last night, so they are now five games out.
The big news today is they Rich Harden makes his Chicago debut at the Friendly Confines. He lucked out making his first start against a struggling squad who has lost five in a row instead of division rivals St. Louis or Milwaukee. So he may not get any sympathy if he gets hit hard.
So Rich, no pressure or anything.
I will also leave you with this video clip from Deadspin. Hey, if your child wants a beer, give him what he wants.
Are you afraid of being one of those lame people who are put into a coffin and buried after you die? Fear not old Cubs fans, Dennis Mascari has come up with a way to guarantee that Alfonso Soriano’s awful fielding will continue to haunt you into the after life.
He’s going to have you interred in Wrigley Field’s center field wall … kind of. Via the Chicago Tribune:
A Chicago man and Bohemian National Cemetery on the city’s North Side are joining forces to build for Cubs fans a final resting place that looks a lot like the spot where they saw their dreams of a pennant die year after year.
Called “Beyond the Vines,” the 24-foot long ivy-covered wall is designed to look like the one in dead center at Wrigley Field.
Ha! Dead center field. Who knew death would be so funny.
Now if you find this a tad ridiculous, Mr. Don Rood says, “Phooey to you!”
“What else are you going to do, lay in a box next to loved ones?” he asked. “It would symbolize what your passion is, what you enjoyed about your life.”
Exactly. Family and friends are really a waste of time and they do keep you from your true passions: Cubs baseball, alcohol, porn, you name it. In fact, if you’re a single Cubs fan over the age of 21, then now is the best time to kick the can before obstacles like loved ones ruin your life.
Anyway, having the, uh, priviledge of being interred at Beyond the Vines will set you back some. Buying a seat in one of the “eternal skyboxes” as they’ve been dubbed, will cost as much as $5,000 according to the article. But, if you’re lucky enough to already be dead and cremated, it will only cost as little as $1,200. So, you know, die and be cremated before this thing gets built.
When the Cubs are playing ugly, I have to think of something nice. Marrisa Miller in a Cubs jersey doesn’t get much better. In fact, every time I look into her eyes I lose my train of thought. Wait, what just happened? Where am I? Woah.
Oh, that’s right, there was a game yesterday afternoon and the Cubs didn’t win it despite scoring seven runs. Really Chicago? Seven runs and you still can’t sweep the series? Was it because you didn’t get a few more insurance runs? Or maybe it was the seven home runs you gave up for the second time this season … to the Reds.
But you’re going to have those kind of nights every once in a while over the course of a 162-game season. I mean, I’m not perfect every day of the week. Take this morning for instance. I woke up expecting to enjoy my bowl of Fruity Cheerios this morning, only to be disappointed by the sight of an empty gallon of milk in the fridge. Why? Because I was the one who finished the gallon last night and was too lazy to buy more. Frankly, I’d much rather give up seven home runs. Not having cereal in the morning sucks.
I planned to write a piece about how the CC Sabathia deal would effect the Cubs the rest of the season. I even had nice charts and graphs made up to prove my points. OK, so maybe I didn’t have that, but I was prepared to make the argument that Chicago needed to do something, anything, to counter the Brewers’ heist.
Then I turn on my TV yesterday and see at the bottom of the screen that the Cubs had acquired Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for next to nothing.
So it would’ve taken a lot to make me sad Tuesday night and, fortunately, I had nothing to worry about as the Cubs rolled over the Reds, 7-3.
Ryan Dempster continues to impress, even if he hasn’t won a game on the road. Winning ten straight at home makes one forget about that. Seven innings and one run off two hits is what we in the business call a quality start.
As for the offense, two two-run home runs from Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot provided enough runs for the win while Aramis Ramirez also drove in an RBI.
A Mighty Wind film It’s difficult to put into words what it’s been like following the Cubs this season (yes, I may have died here on this here site, but I have been watching everyday). It’s not that you get used to the losing seasons or that you’re expecting the other shoe to drop.
But, seriously, it’s been 31 years since the Cubs were this good. How the hell is a Cubs fan supposed to react? I’m not exactly sure but until then I’m just going to revel in Sunday’s 7-1 drubbing over the Cardinals.
The Cubs continued their Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, this time in Tampa, after an 8-3 loss.
It was the first time this season that Chicago had lost three straight games, so the losing streak isn’t that alarming. It’s actually impressive that the team went this long before its first three-game losing streak.
What’s alarming, and has been all season, is the Cubs’ inability to resemble anything close to a competent ball club away from Wrigley Field.
On Tuesday, Cubs manager Lou Piniella decided to tweak the lineup and insert Kosuke Fukudome into the leadoff spot.
Fukudome promptly grounded out on the first pitch of the game.
It’s been that kind of week for the Chicago.
The Cubs won another game, 7-2 over the Braves, in front of a friendly crowd at Wrigley. Ho hum.
The real news of last night’s game was the loss of leftfielder Alfonso Soriano, who broke his ring finger after being hit by a pitch in the second inning. All estimates point to a six week absence for Mr. Soriano.
So, for those of you who can’t stand Soriano I ask you this: are you really comfortable going six weeks without him leading off?
Let’s cut to the chase. The Cubs are really good this year, at least record wise. Thanks to a 9-6 win over the Padres Tuesday night, the team’s ninth straight win, Chicago has the most wins in the Majors and leads the central division by 3.5 games over St. Louis. The Cubs haven’t won this much since 1908 and we all know what happened that year.
But manager Lou Piniella wasn’t a happy camper last night, and for good reason. His starting pitching sucks. OK, that may sound a little harsh but it’s not top of the line.
After not feeling so hot over the weekend I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and there’s not better time than now to pick up where I left off. The Cubs proved once again that you can go home again and that it’s probably a good idea to do so. Chicago finished up its seven-game homestand undefeated, capping it off with a 5-3 win over the Rockies Sunday afternoon.
Sean Gallagher was impressive yet again, going 5-2/3 innings and striking out a career-high eight batters while giving up just three runs off six hits. Methinks he’ll remain in the starting rotation for awhile.
You know you’re getting old when you start putting lame things like family first in your life. Take me for instance. I’m a young, strapping young man at the ripe age of 22. I love my family, but if I had the opportunity to, say, work at the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune, I’d pick up and leave in a heartbeat. Hell, I’d even leave in the middle of the night while my family was sleeping if they told me to.
But I’m young, and since I have no children of my own, worrying about nonessential things, like having a job, is alright.
Jim Edmonds, on the other hand, is much older than I am and he has no qualms with admitting to others that baseball isn’t exactly priority numero uno. Via the Chicago Tribune:
Kosuke Fukudome has had a rough May. Going into Tuesday night’s ball game Fukudome was hitting a pedestrian .256, down from his .305 average during the first month of the season.
But the power of his very own bobblehead day inspired Mr. Fukudome to blow up, going 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI during the Cubs’ 3-1 win over the Dodgers. He also found some time to make a solid diving catch in right field.
If only all of us could have at least one bobblehead day.
The Cubs were back where they belonged, playing an afternoon game at Wrigley Field. And as they’ve done 19 other times this season, they won a game, this time a 3-1 win over the Dodgers.
Chicago is now 20-8 at home this season and its no surprise the Cubs played so well on the first game back from a poor 2-4 road trip.
AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem move The way things have been going between the Pirates and the Cubs you’d thing the more they’d play, the worse off Pittsburgh would be. But that wasn’t the case Saturday night when the Pirates edged out a 5-4 win over the Cubs in 14 innings.
Kerry Wood blew his fourth save of the year and it comes as no surprise that he began his ninth inning by hitting Doug Mientkiewicz on the third pitch of the at bat. Several hitters later, Mientkiewicz scores the game-tying run and fans are sent on a five inning journey of extra innings.
Claude McKay may know a thing or two about the Cubs’ troubles. They still haven’t figured out this whole winning on the road thing. Following an 8-2 homestand, Chicago had a great opportunity to use that momentum to win its first series on the road since the second week of April. Instead, the Cubs dropped two in a row to the Astros, capping the series with a 5-3 loss on Wednesday night.
Why does Ryan Dempster look so stressed? He’s probably upset about giving up a fourth-inning grand slam to Houston’s Hunter Pence. Or that he walked two batters leading up to the grand salami. Or that his potent offense disappeared in a park made for an explosive offense. Regardless, he’s upset after a 4-2 loss to the Astros on Tuesday night.
Outside of the four-run inning, Dempster was solid and finished the evening giving up the four runs in six innings and striking out five. One less run and Dempster would’ve had a quality start … and still lost.
I never hit an inside-the-park home run in my baseball playing days, but I did hit a triple once and as I rounded second, the sight of third base was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It wasn’t because I was excited about getting my first triple. I was just so damn happy to be done running.
So I can only imagine what was going through Geovany Soto’s head when, as he was heading toward third base in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game, he saw his third base coach waving him in.
Aside from eating, sleeping and playing videogames there aren’t too many things I loved to do six years ago that I’m still doing now.
Baseball? Like most, my career ended at high school graduation. Hanging out with my freinds? Gas is much to expensive to drive around and no friend is worth more than $4 a gallon. Blogging? Unfortunately it didn’t exist six years a go, but I’d like to believe I’d still be doing it.
So give credit to Micah Hoffpauir, who has spent the last six years in the Cubs’ minor league system before being called up to the show Sunday afternoon.
The lefty struck out against a left-handed pitcher during his pinch-hit appearance Sunday, but I like to believe he’ll carve out a niche for himself and, whether it be in Chicago or somewhere else, he’ll stay in the Big Leagues for a while.
After a 10-game homestand, North Siders must say goodbye (sniff) to their team for seven whole days while they make two road trips to Houston and then, yes, Pittsburgh. But before the Cubs left for the week, they made sure to end the homestand on a good note with a 4-3 win over the Pirates.
Chicago went 8-2 over those ten games and in both losses fell by just one run. The Cubs began the homsetand two games back in the National League Central. Now, they’re two games ahead. So it’s safe to say playing at Wrigley is a good thing for the Cubs. That and playing the Pirates.
The “cut Soriano” faction of Cubs Nation is getting quieter with each passing day. Chicago’s No.1 hitter led off Friday afternoon’s game with another home run (his third lead off home run in four games) and jacked a three-run home run in his second at bat during a 7-4 win over the Pirates. Better known as the Cubs’ whipping boys.
This is the tenth straight game, going back to last season, that Chicago has beaten Pittsburgh. At least Pittsburgh fans have the Penguins.
I could go into Ryan Dempter’s impressive 12 strike outs in 8-1/3 innings. Or the Cubs’ sixth win in seven games, a 4-0 shutout over the Padres, Thursday. But who cares about all that. It was the first day of the Jim Edmonds era in Chicago.
So, what did we learn from Edmonds’ first day on the job?
I’m new to Cub fandom, so I’m pretty indifferent to the Jim Edmonds deal. While I’ve always hated the Cardinals, I never had a problem with Edmonds. In fact, I sorta-kinda respected him as a defensive player. But I’m not going to defend the Cubs’ decision to go after the guy.
First and foremost, Cubs fans hate him. My crack staff at The Curse has compiled a computer simulation of what may happen if Edmonds becomes a Cub. Here’s a screen grab from that simulation:
The Cubs stormed out of the gate but then stumbled along the rest of the way during a 4-3 loss to the Padres.
Chicago scored three runs in the first two innings thanks to a leadoff home run from Alfonso Soriano (his 4th career lead off dinger) and a two-run double in the second inning from Reed Johnson. But apparently that was all the Cubs thought they needed because they were cold the rest of the evening. Making matters worse, was the fact that Shawn Estes was pitching for the Padres.
Shawn Estes. The one that was popular in the mid-freakin-90s.
The only thing more surprising than the Cubs sweeping Arizona this weekend was Jay Mariotti writing something positive about the team. Well, sort of.
While Mariotti downplays the whole idea of revenge (I say screw it and play it up big time!), he does grudgingly acknowledge there is a pretty good baseball team on the North Side. The same way a child grudgingly apologizes for hitting someone.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. So it was fitting that a chill hung over Wrigley Field while the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the Diamonbacks with a 6-4 win. In case you forgot, (which is highly unlikely), Arizona was the team completing a three-game sweep in October during last year’s National League Divisional Series. So Cubs Nation must be feeling pretty good this morning.
It’s just May, but this slump busting series is better than any inflatable doll Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox can come up with.
The Cubs started their longest home stand of the season (10 games) Friday afternoon and it didn’t take long for them to get comfy.
A Few Good Men rip After Arizona’s Chris Young went yard off Ted Lilly, again, to give the D-Backs a 1-0 lead, the lefty starter was lights out and Chicago went on to win 3-1.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Alfonso Soriano has the second-worst on-base percentage of any playing leading off in the National League. On the Cubs alone, Soriano has the third worst percentage. But that means nothing to GM Jim Hendry.
On Wednesday he publicly defended Lou Piniella’s decision to keep Soriano in the lead off spot:
Welcome back to the starting rotation Jon Leiber. You’ve been missed by fans and Major League hitters alike.
Lieber probably needed a hug after giving up four home runs in the first inning to the Reds. Even if that hug came from a giant flesh-eating wild animal.
But give him credit. He lasted one more inning than most of us would have had we given up four home runs in one inning. Unfortunately after Lieber’s two innings of ”work” (five runs off seven hits), the Reds continued to pound the Cubs en route to a 9-0 drubbing. The next two pitchers weren’t much better.
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