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I’ve got a kickball game tonight, but I have Alfonso Soriano knee going on. I made a ridiculous, over-the-shoulder, diving catch (I can only assume I looked like this) last week, but landed hard on my right knee. I can’t really grouse about the pain because it’s a “kickball injury,” but man, it’s been giving me trouble this week. But, like Soriano, I can’t sit out. It isn’t in my DNA. I just have to resist the urge to dive again today.

  • Dale Sveum is rightly singing Shawn Camp’s praises after yesterday’s brilliant performance, and his season-long solid effort. “You can’t say enough about Shawn Camp this year,” said Sveum. “We put him in all these different roles and the way he gets out left handed hitters. The fact of the matter is he is probably our MVP up to this point …. He was always had a rubber arm and we are able to get him up and down and back to back to back days. Nothing really seems to faze him.” That sound you hear is Shawn Camp’s value on the trade market ticking up.
  • Jeff Samardzija offered a wonderful quote about winning yesterday on his own bobblehead day: “You don’t want to pitch bad and go outside and see your bobblehead smashed all over the pavement. You want to keep the game close and hopefully people go put them in their room now or something, instead of in the trash.”
  • The Cubs don’t really have a “closer” after the demotion of Rafael Dolis, and instead, save opportunities will be dictated by the situation, and spread out among James Russell, Shawn Camp, and Casey Coleman. One might emerge as a great option, but it’s also possible that Carlos Marmol will have a couple decent middle relief outings, and the Cubs will give him the closer’s job back. As they should: the only way Marmol is going to gain any value at all (enough to be dumped) is if he’s pitching well in high leverage situations.
  • Alfonso Soriano is finally getting consistent love from fans at Wrigley Field, as he should be. Not only does he continue to work hard and play improved defense in left field, but he’s killing the ball. His numbers parallel those of Albert Pujols this year, but Soriano’s actually been better than Pujols since the two have been on their respective hot streaks. That all said, the second the Cubs get an offer for a deal that would save them $5 million of the $48ish million they still owe him, they should take it. That remains the best they can hope for.
  • The folks walking from Arizona to Wrigley Field with a goat in an effort to “crack the curse” (and raise money for charity) arrived this weekend, and were at Wrigley Field yesterday.
  • Dillon Maples says he’s not necessarily expecting to be pitching in games until late July.
  • MLBullets at BCB discusses the Roy Oswalt signing, as well as the Roy Halladay and Roy Weaver, er Jered Weaver, injuries.
  • Nate Silver does his Nate Silver thing, and ranks MLB ballparks using data, and Wrigley comes in 10th.
  • From the Chicago Reader, an opinion piece titled “Hey, Mayor Rahm: Don’t give the Cubs our money!” Catchy headline. Don’t give the Cubs “our money” … you know, the tax money collected by the city and county on Cubs tickets. Yeah! Don’t give the lousy Cubs any portion of that money that they gave to us! Yeah!
  • Myles

    I still don’t understand how the Cubs can own their own stadium and still have to pay a luxury tax or whatever, we are like reverse double-dipping.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s a crummy situation for the Cubs, who’ve done a poor job of shouting that unfairness from the rooftops.

    • Joker

      Welcome to Chicago politics.

    • Still Love the Cubs

      I have only just barely learned this fact. It is unprecedented in MLB (according to the site I was reading) that a team owns their stadium and has to pay the government to use it and has restrictions (like landmark status).

      Normally it is one way or the other. The city owns the venue and the team leases it from the city and therefore pays city taxes, fees, etc. or the team owns the venue and pays not one red cent to the city. The Cubs have to do both of those things.

      As for the op-ed piece, that is obviously a person who doesn’t really understand how things work. The issuing of bonds for funding on special projects is not a difficult thing at all for the city to do. It is Federally insured (I believe), and tax exempt, and therefore people will buy them and they can get their funds without taking anything whatsoever from libraries, schools, and police department.

      And that type of investment keeps the city’s cash cow, that is the Cubs, in town. It is a win-win in reality but the public who doesn’t see the whole picture can’t get a really good grasp on this.

      • guy

        I think you misunderstand municipal financing. The city can definitely issue those bonds, and they will be bought, but it’s not free money. I mean if all municipalities had to do to pay for things without “taking anything whatsoever from libraries, schools, and police department” was issue bonds, well, you can see how that doesn’t make sense.

        In reality, those bonds (and basically all municipal bonds) will have to be paid back over a certain number of years (it varies and can change over time). Debt has priority when it comes to the city’s expenditures; in other words, the city has to pay it’s debt obligations first and everything else comes after. So for the next few years or decades the city will have to pay back money it borrowed to give to the Ricketts instead of using that money for services, public servants, etc. (Technically, the plan is to pay for the subsidy through revenues from the existing amusement tax, but the impact on the budget and the likely need to issue bonds to make up for that loss of city revenue mean that essentially the city will just be issuing debt.)

        And the Cubs aren’t going anywhere, no matter what happens. The alternative to giving the Ricketts money is…nothing changes, and the Ricketts pay for upgrades themselves and can maybe afford one less ivory backscratcher.

        And lets not forget that the plan (as reported, which obviously could be different than the plan that passes) includes a perpetual kickback of tax money over 6%, and nobody knows what that will come to. Also, a credible estimate of giving the team rights to the streets immediately surrounding Wrigley comes to a value to the Ricketts of around $75 million – per year! Now this is what I call the “whole picture.”

        http://www.fieldofschemes.com/news/archives/2012/04/4924_emanuels_wrigle_1.html

        • Kyle

          “And the Cubs aren’t going anywhere, no matter what happens. The alternative to giving the Ricketts money is…nothing changes, and the Ricketts pay for upgrades themselves and can maybe afford one less ivory backscratcher.”

          The alternative is that the Ricketts do not significantly upgrade Wrigley Field.

          That means lower property tax values from the building itself. More importantly, it means less taxable economic activity in the Wrigleyville area.

          Don’t pretend like the city doesn’t stand to gain from the arrangement. The details may need to be worked out, and they have to decide if the gains outweigh the losses, but it isn’t completely one-sided.

          • guy

            “Don’t pretend like the city doesn’t stand to gain from the arrangement.”

            Luckily for me, I don’t have to pretend. There’s a 0% probability that increased revenues will be sufficient to put more money in the general fund than is being given in subsidies. That’s without even mentioning that the deal as reported means the city will be giving up all revenues from growth in the amusement tax above 6% in perpetuity, which doubles the already existing certainty that the city won’t come out ahead on this deal.

            Also, the Ricketts are rich enough to upgrade Wrigley themselves. No reason they can’t do it, literally no reason at all.

            Edit – excuse me, I made a mistake. The Cubs will get half of all revenues from growth of the tax, not all of them. My bad…

            • Kyle

              Show your work.

            • Still Love the Cubs

              Guy,

              You seem like a lot smarter person than I am, but I do want to say that I think there are several things that you are not taking into account here.

              1)There is already a ton of debt load that came with the purchase of this franchise.

              2)The monies that the city has to pay back on those bonds are at future times which will be (as inflation goes up) less than today’s dollars.

              3)The city is not going to do this deal if they aren’t going to come out ahead of what they are at right now. They’re not doing this deal out of the kindness of their hearts. The question now is, how good of a deal are they going to get?

              4)The Ricketts are an extremely wealthy family. That does not mean that they have a vault somewhere with 400 million dollars sitting in cash that they can take out and do the transaction. They have their wealth tied up in assets. One of them being the Cubs. It isn’t very good business practice to liquidate diversified assets and put more money into one asset. Ideally, the asset they own that is the franchise of the Cubs can self sustain on its own so that they don’t have to use other assets (which ideally are doing fine in their own right) to pump money into it.

              I’d like to hear your comments if you are still on here. I enjoy the intelligent conversation

              • Drew7

                I agred, especially w #4. Just because ones net worth is $500k, it doesnt mean they can afford to buy a $250,000 home without a loan.

      • Wilbur

        The inequity is obvious to those who know it.

        My simple third grade mind says to win the PR battle on this issue you educate the populace and their reps (which means tell them once, tell them again, and then tell them again and that won’t be enough) on the nature of the inequity. Then you propose the more equitable solution, hopefully one most people see as a win/win scenario.

        Don’t recall the details on how the Cubs got this issue rolling, but per my preference may have had the cart before the horse. Not a fatal mistake, Cubs just need to repeat the point on the inequity until everyone says enough already we get it.

        Then start cutting a deal …

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Agreed on all fronts. I can’t tell if they maybe felt like the inequity argument was too nuanced for the public, but it’s always been their strongest.

          • hansman1982

            I think it would be a tough battle to win when you have rich owners debating that something isn’t fair for them when you have the “Occupy” protests fresh in people’s minds.

            Maybe I am wrong but isn’t the city getting paid back their $150M with the amount collected for Amusement tax above what is collected now then once that $150M is paid back the Cubs get to keep that amount?

            • Wilbur

              I know this sounds like a non-starter for the PR campaign, but you start the PR with something along the line, “our rich guy is at a disadvantage to their rich guy.” We need to even the financial playing field, before we can make a permanent evening of the athletic playing field.

              As these negotiations can take months to years, you can go a year or two being the “good” Cub owner trying to rectify the inequity. If the restraints or taxes, pick your poison, aren’t adjusted then after a 12 to 24 month campaign explaining the inequity you move to the dreaded Hoffman Estates Cub option.

              Just a thought on one way to proceed …

              • Sandberg

                I agree with this. After plenty of PR showing the inequity of the Cubs’ situation, they will eventually be forced to make a legitimate threat to leave the city. Chicago needs the Cubs way more than the Cubs need Chicago. Find a location in the ‘burbs close to an interstate exit and train station and you’re golden. A complex by Arlington Park would be ideal, assuming there aren’t any restrictions on mlb teams being in proximity of a track. ;)

  • https://www.facebook.com/chris.siuty Chris84

    Fact: The only thing the Reader is good for anymore is checking to see who is playing at them Metro/Empty Bottle/Subterranean/Beat Kitchen etc. With this new-fangled internet thing, I haven’t picked up a copy of the Reader in years.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      Don’t they have the Straight Dope anymore?

  • Cheryl

    What would it take for the cubs to actually leave Chicago?

    • Joker

      Never going to happen. Might take a threat like with the Bears situation (Gary, Indiana? Really?) but in the end, the club and city need each other.

      • Cheryl

        They do need each other but Chicago acts as if it can do anything to the cubs it wants and there will be nothing the cubs can do about it.Maybe that’s the case, but when the stadium is redone and the cubs have to play elsewhere they might not be so anxious to return

      • cjdubbya

        Couldn’t the ChiSox block a move to the South?

  • hansman1982

    I would take $5 of relief for Soriano. Maybe they will workout a buyout agreement this offseason.

  • Joker

    Call me crazy, but if a) Soriano stays consistent with his current level of production and b) his knees don’t blow out before the trade deadline, I think the Cubs will find a taker.

    • Tim

      fonsy has been this type of player the last couple years. he goes through streaks in which he can completely carry the offense, but then he starts to decline. im sure the rest of the league has noticed this

      • hansman1982

        ya, just his hot streaks used to be 10 homers and a .400 BA over 2 weeks,..now we get .325 with 5 homers.

    • AD

      Youre crazy haha. Maybe if this was the last year of his contract. Regardless, Id like to see him continue his great play in the month of May.

    • rcleven

      You are crazy. Well you asked.
      Sorri is Sorri. He is hot hot hot right now He is capable of carrying a team for weeks at a time. He is also capable of disappearing for a month. The cycle repeats.
      Moving Al is not a talent or health issue. Purely financial. 6.8 million average DH salary. To move him Cubs must be willing to eat all but 8 to 10 million over next two years. No problem there. Problem will be finding a willing trade partner.

  • Ian Afterbirth

    As much his eventual departure will benefit the Cubs, I sure have been enjoying watching Soriano. His skills may have eroded but his positive attitude is amazing (along with a few of his catches in the outfield). To see a guy who could easily be bitter and earning his money on the DL playing his guts and heart out (and with a smile on his face) is just plain fun for me.

    Of course, I would have made the defensive switch for him a bit earlier in the game yesterday. It IS painful to watch him hobble after balls in the corner.

  • ETS

    Opinion pieces are always terrible. That’s my opinion.

    • Greyfury

      I c wat U did there!

  • AD

    Anybody think that Lake will get promoted to Triple-A around the All-Star Break?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If the Cubs really want to challenge him, sure. I guess he’d have to keep playing a lot of shortstop.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Vitters could split time with him at third, filling in the rest of his ABs as a first baseman (after Rizzo is promoted).  It’s not ideal, but it wouldn’t hurt either players’ development too much I don’t think.

        • rcleven

          Would love to see Lake split time between SS, 2nd,and third. See what kind of hitter he develope’s into and make decisions from there.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, wasn’t thinking about what will change post-Rizzo promotion. Good point.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Nate is a sharp puppy, but he missed a good opportunity with Wrigley to make a couple of important points about statistical distributions.  Wrigley averages 4.25 / 5 stars with a standard deviation of 1.15. That means that 68% of the scores were between 3.1 and 5.4.   However, I’m willing to be that exactly 0% of the scores were between 5.0 & 5.4, as 5 is the highest score.

    That means that the skewness of the votes must be very high: the mean is being dragged down by a larger proportion of very negative scores than is the mean for Coors Field, Safeco or Busch.  And that means that the median score (i.e., the typical one, where 50% are higher and 50% are lower) is probably at least as high as those stadiums.

    So, the typical attendee probably ranks Wrigley 7th or 8th.  But, then, Nate’s a ChiSox fan……

    • @cubsfantroy

      You lost me… V.V

      • DocPeterWimsey

        OK, think of your prom date then and at your 25th reunion.  The standard deviation assumes a distribution matching (half of her) figure then; a quarter of a century and 2 kids later, you get the skewed distribution…….

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          That is without a doubt the strangest explanation of any aspect of statistics I have ever read.  Well played!

        • Joe

          ?

        • Joe

          What if she didn”t have kids and worked out everyday? There would be no skewed deviation.(LOL)

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Then: 1) I suspect PEDs and 2) the average person still like Wrigley more than Silver’s summary suggests!

    • Joshua Edwards

      Many of the other stadiums also have a Std. Dev. that only makes sense if they received a rating of more than 5 (which we know isn’t possible). And that includes every team ahead of Wrigley on the list.

      I’m not a stat guy, so I honestly don’t know, but it seems that if the other stadiums were also measured in the same way, aren’t they still comparable?

      So is it fair to move Wrigley up the charts when we don’t adjust other teams’ stats, too?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There is a huge difference between a SD that is 23% of the total range and one that is 16% of the total range.  Yes, there is necessarily some skewness to the higher ranks, but given the means, the skewness must be much lower for the stadiums in front of Wrigley.  So, those places were getting a far smaller proportion of really negative votes.  So, there will be a much more drastic difference between the reported mean and the unreported median for Wrigley than for those other stadiums.

        Just some rough numbers: basically, a bell curve would put over 25% of the Wrigley votes greater than 5, whereas it would put less than 20% for the 3 teams in front of the Cubs.  We know that the skewness in all cases is towards the negative end, but this means that it must be much stronger for the Cubs, and thus that the difference between the mean and median is greater.

      • THEOlogical

        I know one stadium that has an STD….Milwaukee!

  • Patrick

    Looking at the reviews, it looks like Safeco got hit a little hard because of an opening day ATM/Credit processing disaster (couldn’t buy food with either for half the game… Mariners gave out replacement tickets to upcoming games) otherwise it would rank higher. I really like that ballpark. Can’t argue with PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It is a great ballpark. The Wrigley reviews on Yelp seem to be just about right. If you love the Cubs you love the park, if you love baseball, you like the park, if you love yourself, you are indifferent.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    This is a great source to help learn more about players in this upcoming draft

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/

    I have questions about correa the young SS people think the cubs might take. They don’t make him seem like he will be a flat out star in this analysis. To me they make him sound like he’ll be a good player but not a SS like Tulo who has the all around package with having serious pop.

    I’m not high on the catcher Zunino either, just because catchers have a hard time panning out and their longevity of a career doesn’t last that long because they get beat up behind the plate. Bryce Harper came in as a catcher and they moved him to the OF for that reason.

    I really like Bruxton, and the high school RHP Giolito. He’s a power pitcher, with other good pitches. Major star qualities with him. But his injury history scares me but sometimes you need to take risks.

  • Stephen

    I want to go on record saying I want Zimmer or Wacha with or 1st pick. After that, I have done hours of reserach and with our next 3 picks (which are all high picks) I truly feel we are going to get some major talent. This is not a top heavy draft talent-wise, but there are scores of very intriguing guys we can choose from.
    Im no scout, but I have read up on some kids that have me really looking forward to the draft on Monday.

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