I’m sure I’m not the only one already antsy to see Jeff Samardzija’s next start. The tremendous results yesterday are one thing – lots of guys who go on to have crappy careers have a start with very good results – but he looked so impressive doing it. That is to say, it looked legit. So, yeah: I really can’t wait to see his next start.

  • Speaking of Samardzija, he certainly put his money where his mouth was, after years of pining for a spot in the rotation, and an offseason where he told anyone who would listen that he just wanted a chance to prove himself. “I really feel like I have a chip on my shoulders, because I’ve talked a big game about wanting to start and made it public,” Samardzija said. “I don’t want to look like an idiot.” You certainly don’t look like an idiot today, Jeff.
  • Dale Sveum says he didn’t want to leave Samardzija in for 110 pitches, but conceded that, with the way Samardzija was throwing (he was still in the high 90s late in the game), it was hard to take the righty out. Hopefully the high pitch count (in the first start of the season (for a converted reliever)) doesn’t leave Samardzija with any additional soreness this week.
  • Sveum is trying to preserve whatever confidence his closer has left after two straight horrible outings going into yesterday’s game. “With your closer, confidence is everything,” Sveum said. “Sometimes you can throw the ball great and blow a save. You can throw the ball great and give it up in the eighth inning whether they are bloopers or one strike called a ball. Anything like that changes a whole at-bat around …. You make a great pitch and there’s a blooper. Sometimes it’s not just the guy’s pitching bad either. There has to be some luck involved too sometimes.” Letting Marmol get the 27th out yesterday (after walking the tying run, natch) is as much about the next five months of the season as it was about believing Marmol was the right man to get that out.
  • Former long-time Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez returns to town today as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with whom he signed a three-year, $36 million contract this offseason. How will he be greeted by the Cubs fans? Ramirez isn’t sure. “I don’t know, that’s a good question,” Ramirez said yesterday. “I played there for a long time. I played on some good teams and some bad teams. I didn’t want to leave. If somebody boos me, I want to know the reason why.” That’s a fair question. Why would anyone boo Ramirez on his return to Wrigley (unless you boo every opposing player)? Whatever happened is past, and he was a great player for the Cubs. If I were there today, I’d cheer him when he was first announced.
  • As for Braun, Ramirez is pretty sure his teammate is going to be booed. “I think it’s going to be ugly for Braun everywhere we go,” Ramirez told reporters yesterday in Milwaukee. “On the road, it’s going to be tough for him. He knows it. That’s no secret. Plus, he got a taste of it in Spring Training. Everywhere we go, he was getting booed. But that’s a good player, and he’s tough. He’s tough mentally, and I think he’s going to be OK. He’s a good enough player to separate that from his game.”
  • The Cubs are squeezing every seating dime they can get out of Wrigley Field. From the Tribune: “The seating capacity at Wrigley Field magically expanded Saturday when the Cubs introduced a row of folding chairs behind a grandstand section used by wheelchair patrons, charging $32 per ticket, plus amusement tax. A Cubs spokesman said the row is usually for disabled people and fans that accompany them, though the fans sitting there Saturday were not disabled. ‘Those seats were opened up late [Saturday] to sell as the last seats we had available,’ [a team] spokesman said. ‘Whenever we do this our window staff explains what these seats are to fans and our stadium operations crew has chairs in that area and adjusts accordingly to the number of wheelchairs and non-wheelchair patrons.'” Fine with me.
  • You’ll see this reminder peppered throughout posts this week, but I’ll be heading to the game on Thursday (the 12th), and I’ll be sitting in the bleachers. Before the game, I plan to be at The Sports Corner, across from Wrigley Field (together with Cubs Den’s John Arguello), hanging out and getting the day started. I’m hoping to be there as early as 11am (it’s a 1:20 game). If you’re in the neighborhood or going to the game, come say hi.
  • MLBullets at BCB, relishing (only slightly) in the early-season misfortunes of the Yankees and Red Sox.
  • Ryan

    Jeff didnt look like an idiot today…unfortunately, Castro did and ruined his chance at a complete game.

  • Ben

    I really hope our fans don’t make an embarrasment out of the org. and boo a longtime Cub who contributed lots to the team despite what he might have said or done in the last 12months…I would hope they surprised people and cheered him (I know that will not happen)

    • MichiganGoat

      There will always be some that boo, but the majority will cheer. I’m curious to see how many crowd shot ESPN shows tonight since him sure there will be some colorful posters in the stands about Braun.

      • King Jeff

        I am curious to see how many of those signs will be, in some way, about herpes.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You guys are too funny, and we’ve all clearly taken on each other’s personalities – I’ve been drafting the Series Preview this morning, and, let’s just say we’re thinking alike.

          • MichiganGoat

            Just look at the game day thread, there’s a great picture to caption. I almost name the thread “aka Herpes is coming to Chicago”

          • Ron

            For the series she view you need to use the chick from the acyclovir commercial, pamela Anderson or some other chick with an std.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That’s cold, Ron. Ice cold.

        • Spencer

          I’m going to the game tonight and honestly hadn’t thought about Ramirez. I think I’ll probably just remain silent when he’s announced. As for Braun…I’m specifically sitting in left field so I can chat with Ry Ry and hear what other fans have to say to him :)

  • Robert

    I can not wait for tonight’s game. I hope Rami gets cheered, I really do. But theres the a part of me that thinks it may be about a 70-30 cheers to boos. As for braun…. I wouldn’t be surprised if fake needles get thrown on the field.

  • Eric

    “Everywhere we go, he was getting booed. But that’s a good player, and he’s tough. He’s tough mentally, and I think he’s going to be OK.” Hmm, well he took drugs to make him better at baseball, maybe he can take drugs to make him tougher mentally. Strong antidepressants might work.

    • DocPWimsey

      I suspect that the outbreaks probably interfered more with his post-game playing than his on-the-field playing….

  • Fishin Phil

    I hope Rami gets cheered, and then goes 0-4.

    • Smitty

      Good call Phil, but I was thinking 0-12 throughout the entire series!

    • 160 and 2

      Hell no. Pitching stays hot and he only has the chance to go 0-3

    • Beer Baron

      If memory serves me, one thing that was a constant over the past 8 years was Ramirez crushing the ball every April, particularly in cold, night games at Wrigley. So I’m sure he’ll have a huge series…

      • Spencer


      • Joe


  • CubFan Paul

    More fun with selective quoting – “I played on some good teams and some bad teams. I didn’t want to leave…”

    Aramis opted out of his $16M 2012 club option that Theo&Co exercised ..that’s called wanting to leave

    • King Jeff

      I agree Paul. Ramirez chose to leave, chose to sign with one of the Cubs biggest rivals. If he’s an opposing player, he should expect to be booed. I can see giving ARam a nice cheer when he is introduced for nostalgia’s sake, but his ass should be booed relentlessly every time he is announced at Wrigley from here on out.

  • Cub Style

    I won’t boo ARam. Brenly publicly voiced my frustration with him, so I got what I wanted.

    • Joe

      Good point.

  • Steve

    Jeffs HR he gave up to La Roche, was literally that. Everybody and their great gradmother knew a fastball was coming. I think a lesson was learned there.
    That being said….WOW. What a great game by Samar…Jeff. If he IS that good, combine him with Garza and thats a duo I’ll pay to see ( 32.00 and a folding chair??????)
    Of course, that was ONE game, but I think we all knew the kid was talented…. maybe the “lightbulb” went off???????

    • King Jeff

      If the fastball was in the right spot it would have been another strikeout. I saw Clevenger trying to get Samardzija to climb the latter with his heater on several occasions late in the game where Samardzija subsequently left the pitch down in the zone. LaRoche caught one of them and took him deep.

      • Smitty

        Did the coaching staff call that game, or did clevenger basically do it? If that was Clevenger, he did a heck of a job.

        • Joe

          That’s a stellar question. Anybody know whether Clevenger called the game?

        • JustSwain

          He was looking over to the bench about every other pitch

      • Steve

        True, but Jeff knew he had to through a strike…so did La Roche. No knock on Jeff… Professional hitter looking for one pitch.

  • UrbanTed

    TBH, I’m not sure if I’ll boo or not. I think it’s partially his fault that he’s not back this year, but the new regime wanted to move on anyway, so it wouldn’t really be about that. I think the recent revelation that bugged me more than anything else was what we found out in the Bartman doc. The fact that he and Alou purchased tickets back to the DR right after they lost Game 6 (which would have them home immediately after game 7) is unforgivable. The Game 6 loss was a heart breaker, but they still had Prior on the mound for Game 7. Their “job” is to win games, and they get paid millions of dollars to do so. Quitting before Game 7 of a playoff series, in a winnable game that would have sent the Cubs to the first world series since 1945, is outrageous. And then having a guy with that kind of attitude in the clubhouse for the next 8 years (who was supposed to be one of our “veteran leaders”) – of course we got swept in ’07 and ’08. So, Booo?

    • Pat

      First, Wood pitched game 7. Second, I’m not sure how making tentative travel arrangements qualifies as quitting. I suppose Aluo’s two run shot to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead was accidental and he was really trying to ground weakly to the pticher. Aramis was the best player on the team over the course of their most successful era in 50 years.

      Yeah, he should be booed.

      • UrbanTed

        Fair enough, and thanks for clarification on some of those details. I knew it was either Prior or Wood in game 7, and didn’t bother to go back and look at the box score. I haven’t thought about that series much since it happened, and that documentary brought some of it back. It just bothered me that they got those tickets after that loss with 1 game still to play. If you want to make tentative travel plans after every series, go for it, but why wait until it’s 3-3? I didn’t really care for the way that Alou handled that whole Bartman situation, start to finish, and when he lumped Rami in w/ him on those tickets, I guess that just left a sour taste in my mouth.

        I’ll save my boos for Braun :).

        • Joe

          When you’ve got the kind of money these guys do, you can afford to get plane tickets “just in case”. Much as a lot about Aramis rankles me, that one doesn’t get to me, not after the initial response of WTFDOOD.

          • Kyle Mayhugh

            It was one of those weird media hatchet jobs where the local Chicago media takes something that is very common inside baseball and makes it sound as if their personal scapegoats are the only ones who have ever done it.

            • Shawon O’Meter

              Agreed 100%! As much as I LOVE Chicago, the media coverage borders on embarrassment. You have the Cubs beat writers fanning the flames of negativity all the while the Bears can do no wrong…ever! Almost to the point where they actively root for the team. So much for objectivity in the big city. Unfortunately the lemmings stand in line like sheep and consume everything as if the writers words are gospel and don’t stop to question the source, angle or motive behind the story. Like the old Calgon Soap commerical, I find myself saying “Bleacher Nation, take me away” Thanks Brett and Luke!

  • LouCub

    I too was excited about Smardijia’s performance but am equally excited to see what Chris Volstad does tonight..

    • Eric

      I agree, Shark and Volstad are the only 2 really exciting guys in the rotation. Before you stop me, Garza is awesome. But will he be given a large contract? We don’t know. Shark and Volstad are the 2 young guys with big potential, and they could big parts of this rebuild. So could Garza. Demp and Maholm are nothing more than placeholders. When we watch the other 3 pitch we are potentially seeing the next Cubs core develop before our eyes.

  • johnbres2

    Marmol just plain sucks–he has completely lost the talent he once had, and for some reason neither Q-Ball nor now Sveum can see that. Marmol got fat–he is much physically heavier than he used to be. He needs to re-obtain that wiry frame to generate the torque he needs to be effective. Why are they sticking with him? The only thing he has going for him is the law of averages that some of the balls hit off him will be caught. He has nothing, and that is plain and obvious from watching him. They need to throw someone else out there. If Samardzija can control himself mentally he will be fine. He needs to lose that late inning mentaiity he showed of trying to blow people away in the 9th. He has to pitch the 9th inning like it is the 5th inning. That is the best start by a Cubs’ pitcher than I have seen in a long, long time.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Anyone going to the Cubs game today, it is your duty to get a “Herpes Hammer!” chant going today for Ryan Braun.

  • rich

    BOO the HELL out of the ME aram!

  • Spencer

    I should probably read Cubs Den between now and Thursday so as to not look like a complete fool.

    • MichiganGoat

      It’s a good one

  • Dustin S

    Will be at the game Thursday as well in the bleachers. Thought it was just me and 1 other person going, but it turns out a bunch of my friends and family coincidentally have tickets for that game (and they’re all in the bleachers) so we’ll have a caravan going to Chicago that day for the road trip. We’re @3 hours from Wrigley so it’ll be an early start. But I’ll stop in and say hi if I get over to the Sports Corner while we’re making the pre-game rounds. I may have to have at least one over at the Cubby Bear too.

  • Beer Baron

    By the way, anyone going to the game tonight note that the start time is an hour earlier than a normal night game. First pitch at 6:05 (Thank you ESPN). Of course the games don’t really get interesting until the 8th inning, so feel free to show up at the normal time and you probably won’t miss a thing…

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    If I were at the game tonight I’d give Ramirez a standing O.

  • RoughRiider

    I’ve never booed a Cub player, ex-Cub, other team player. What’s the point ? Other team players don’t really care. It actually gives them a boost. Booing a player on your own team serves no good purpose. And booing ex-Cub stars is classless. To really make a statement keep completely quiet. There is nothing like 40,000 people making no noise at all.

    I have however booed Manager and Umpire decisions.

    • Joe

      Dead silence would be cool.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Agree with RoughRiider. I only boo umpires – mostly home plate umps. Obviously because I can differentiate between a ball and a strike from my seat along the first baseline MUCH better than the guy standing right behind the plate! But only when a Cub is at bat…

  • gratefulled

    Ramirez was paid millions of dollars to play hard and be a leader. He didn’t do either. There’s two reasons to boo Aramis, and there are many more. F*ck that dude. It would not bother me if Volstad planted one right in his side.

    Go CUBS!

    • Hansman1982

      No he was paid millions of dollars to hit hOme runs and close to .300 both of which he did. Lee was the leader. Not ever superstar has to be a leader

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Ramirez was the Cubs best player of the past decade. Others may have had better single seasons, but Ramirez was the most consistent. Year after year he was good for 25 to 35 homers and 85 to 100 plus rbi’s.

    That deserves applause.

  • Joshua Edwards

    I want to be excited about Spellcheck, and I think he’s clearly taken a step forward. But he’s still the same kid we’ve been watching out of the bullpen, too, so maybe we should temper expectations.

    While I’m encouraged (ecstatic and exuberant) about yesterday’s start, I can’t pretend that’s going to be the standard outcome this season. It does show what he’s capable of, and there were glimpses he can be even better, actually, but I don’t think that’s the new normal.

    That said, sometime over the next two years I hope to look at a pitching line like yesterday’s and call it par for the course. If he grows into THAT kind of pitcher on a consistent basis, that’s a lot of wins.

  • Packman711

    I see my bid for Rebel lost. What a shame. I’ll save you a seat.

  • PeterG

    Aram was a good player for the Cubs. I have no ill feelings towards him. I would stand up and cheer for his 8 years of production. He was arguable he best 3rd basemen offensively in that time frame.

  • Shawon O’Meter

    My sentiments exactly. I hope the fans at the game give him the proper respect for the quality years of service and exciting moments he provided. Seeing players on a daily basis will always expose the warts, but considering his complete body of work in a Cubs uniform he should be revered! Let’s not lose sight that ARam is arguably one of the top 5 3B in Cubs franchise history.

    • PeterG

      I agree totally. ARam deserves respect for his services in the last few years.

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison


    Santo, Ramirez, Hack,

    There’ s a big gap to the next group, which had one or two great years with the Cubs, but not the sustained excellence of the first three.

    Madlock, Zimmerman, Steinfeldt, English

    • TWC

      Kevin Orie?

      • Joshua Edwards

        Lol, hadn’t heard that name in a while. Here’s another blast from the past: Gary Scott.

        Tough to argue Ron Cey shouldn’t be in the conversation about that second tier at third base. Maybe Steve Buechele–mostly because he wasn’t awful.

        Frankly, the Cubs were bad at third for so long that when Gary Gaetti played there in 1998 I remember wishing he was four years younger. And he wasn’t all that great, except for the one game playoff against San Fran in 1998.

    • PeterG

      Hack before Aramis? I understand where your coming from but Hack had so many great seasons. I will disagree in my drunken state haha!

      • Frank

        I’d go with Hack before Ramirez–for a decade Hack was probably the best 3rd baseman in the NL.