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The Family and I just drove overnight to North Carolina to meet up with The Extended Family for a week at the beach, an annual family vacation thing. For me, “vacation” is loosely used, as it really only signifies a transposition of the physical location where I “work.” Yes, fear not, while I will still try to enjoy some waves and some family time, I’ll be here as usual, obsessing about all things Cubs. In theory, you won’t notice much of a difference content-wise, but you’ll probably see me a little less in the comments, on Twitter, and on Facebook. You may also notice a modest delay if there is breaking news or rumors, as I check my phone periodically, scramble to my room from the beach, and frantically start typing (and cursing the crappy Wi-Fi in our rental). July is, of course, a terrible time for me to take a “vacation,” but this is when families vacation. So I’ll make due. Enough meta? Bullets…

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the possible uptick in trade deadline activity for sellers this year: “With the new Wild Card format, things change day-to-day, week-to-week and it doesn’t take much of a hot streak to get in the race now. One hot streak or a couple injuries to a team that’s leading and everyone feels like they’re back in the race. It’s hard to characterize how it’s going to play out this year. We don’t really know, but in theory, there should be fewer sellers and there are going to be a lot more teams that are looking to add as we get closer to the deadline.” Let’s hope so.
  • Dale Sveum was the one who got to tell Bryan LaHair that he’d made the All-Star team, and it sounds like it was pretty awesome. “I think he was pretty emotional about it,” Sveum said. “It kind of caught him off guard a little bit. That was one of those times as a manager, a special time, when you can tell a kid who’s 30 years old that he’s making an All-Star team after spending so much time in the Minor Leagues. It’s one of those special stories. That’s what we live for in this game is one of those special moments.”
  • And from LaHair, himself: “It gives you chills,” he said. “You get a chance to quickly reflect, and I’m sure I’ll reflect more later on, but you think about all the work you put in and the adversity you’ve been through and the different adventures you’ve had along the way to get your first opportunity in the big leagues and now an All-Star Game is just incredible …. It was a dream as a little boy to be an All-Star, but to think it would happen this fast or if at all — it’s really tough to get into that game. It’s not something I play for — I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m thankful the players voted me in. I’m extremely thankful for that.”
  • Alfonso Soriano was arguably snubbed, though he says there are so many good left fielders that he wasn’t disappointed. Dale Sveum was a bit: “The outfielders who are going obviously deserve it and the players voted. But what Soriano has done for us and gone out there every day on those legs, to come back and lead all Major League Baseball in home runs since May 15 is a tribute to a wonderful guy. You wish somebody else would appreciate it once in a while.” We appreciate it.
  • After tossing 7.2 scoreless yesterday, Travis Wood now has a Ryan Dempster-esque scoreless inning streak going at 18.2 innings.
  • Dave Kaplan, who’s been one of Starlin Castro’s harshest critics, offers a very positive take on the Cubs’ young shortstop.
  • The MLBullets at BCB discuss notable All-Star snub Johnny Cueto, who offered his thoughts thusly: “I see that I have great numbers. I thought the way I pitched this year, I’d have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. I don’t know what happened. I don’t if know the manager of All-Star Game is pissed at me because I went out with one of his girlfriends.” I … I see. Ok.
  • ETS

    I read Carlos Lee vetoed the trade. Any chance they’ll come after sori?

    • Diesel

      Little to none. Leaning more toward none.

      • ETS

        Darn. What am I missing here. If you are willing to trade for an aging slugger like Lee, why wouldn’t you trade for an aging slugger who has lead all of mlb in HRs since may 15? The money is different but by all accounts the cubs would be more than willing to make the money the same as they’d have taken on in the Lee deal.

        • Cedlandrum

          I think they wanted Lee to play 1st base. I don’t know if Sori can play there. They could use a LF though as well.

          • Quintz

            What about Lahair? He is an All-Star (cough, cough). Moving him and Dempster together seems like a logical enough move for the Dodgers. If we could just somehow destroy all of LaHair’s “split” stats.

          • art

            well, that leaves sori out.

        • Diesel

          Playing left has more of a negative effect on soriano than it does on lee. Soriano at this point is better off being a dh and everyone knows it so unless the nl adopts the dh no nl team will want to trade for him. Not that lee is a better fielder than Soriano, just that playing defense doesn’t bring his bat down as much as it does to Soriano which he has to do for the dodgers.

          • ETS

            Fair point all around. Too bad the Orioles already got a bad. :(

  • ETS

    Kaplan needs to lay off the Castro hateraid.

    • Diesel

      He made himself look kind of stupid with the comparison of Castro needing to change positions due to size in the future to why Alex Rodriguez changed to third base. Rodriguez changed positions because he was traded to the yankees who had jeter at shortstop and there was no way in hell they were moving jeter in favor of Rodriguez. He needs to get the facts right.

      • ETS

        Agreed.

      • art

        Diesel, agree, so i emailed him yesterday with basically what you’re saying and this was his email reply.

        “No, it was his size. He was moving to 3rd wherever he was traded to including Boston where he was originally dealt but that deal was overruled by the player’s association”.

        I appreciate you writing but you are incorrect on this.

        Kap
        Have a great day!

  • Jp

    Brett,
    Which beach are you going to in NC? Wrightsville area? Just curious I’m from Wilmington. Small world out there.

    • Carew

      How bout Emerald Isle? That place is beautiful

      • Jp

        I’m actually from Topsail beach which also can be really nice in some spots. Either way it’shard to go wrong on the NC coast

        • Carew

          I love it out there. Did you go to Wilmington for college? just curious

        • Jp

          No went to ECU for a bit but spent many a night on front street wandering from bar to bar. UNCW was about 65-70% female. Definitely nice place to visit PREmarriage

          • Carew

            Really that good of a ratio huh? Circle that on my list…
            Im a fan of ECU, mostly cuz i got friends there and the football team haha

            • Jp

              Yes, ratio at UNCw was that good. Wrightsville beach has a few nice bars and such if he’s staying in that area of Wilmington. It also has a really nice theater in Mayfair shopping center right across the street from wrightsville beach. Great shopping area for the wives where you can hang out at the Fox and the Hound sports bar to catch up on your espn… And beer…

              • jga6718

                I went to App State for undergrad and attended UNCW this past year for grad school. Let’s just say I was happy with my decision.

                • Carew

                  I might go that route too. App St is one of my top choices

                  • jga6718

                    App State is a great school. The football games are definitely a good time. I majored in accounting, so if it’s the business school you are interested in, I definitely recommend going there or UNCW.

    • Beer Baron

      Nice. We’re heading to Wrightsville Beach next week too. Luckily the insanely hot Chicago summer has me prepared for the south in July. Anyone from the area know anything about the Wilmington Sharks (I think its a collegiate/semi-pro league )? Specifically is it fun for kids?

      • jga6718

        I have attended a couple Sharks games. They have $1 beer on Thursday nights and have a decent selection. I recommend giving the Sweetwater Blue a try if you’ve never had it. They are a summer team made up of college kids. The team runs a lot of great promotions so it’s good for the whole family. They play 7 innings instead of 9 but for $6 admission and $1 beer I’m not complaining.

        • Carew

          So its pretty much like the semi-pro teams in the midwest like the Madison Mallards?

          • jga6718

            Yeah after checking out the Mallards website they look to be pretty much the same, except the Mallards definitely have the better ballpark.

            • Carew

              Its been a long time since ive been but i remember it being really, really nice for semi-pro

  • gratefulled
    • Stinky Pete

      Geez. I will start the reactor when I get a minute. Stop hassling me!

  • Cedlandrum

    Good article by Kap except when he says, “if he grows like ARod.” Wait, wha? ARod didn’t just grow, he roided.

    • Diesel

      That Arod did. But he roided in Texas first where he continued to play short until he was traded to the yankees.

  • magilljl

    Enjoy the Vaca. Hope its a good one.

    • ETS

      Enjoy the spanish cow? I assume Mexican beef is worse than American (dryer climates and such).

  • fester30

    As long as you’re not selfish enough to allow your vacation to intrude upon our Cubs obsession, we’ll allow you to take one. The moment we catch you slacking, however, we’ll call you back.

  • Carew

    Oh Brett, If you are indeed in the Wilmington area, check out the battleship. That thing is cool as hell

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yup, we’ve been – pretty awesome.

  • MightyBear

    I would absolutely love to see the Cubs trade Dempster/LaHair for some of the Dodgers young pitching.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Thanks for those who’ve asked – we’re at Wrightsville Beach. I just took a two hour siesta after the drive, and will hopefully see the sun at some point today.

    • Jp

      Yes Brett my parents live in that area and told me there were some rough looking thunder storms brewing last night. If it’s raining Mayfair shopping center is pretty much right next door where the wife can shop and you can watch espn, shoot pool, and work all at the same time (Fox & the hound). The place is great though the staff is really ugly;););)). I’m winking if you didn’t catch it.

  • PRcajun

    You know that’s only a 7hr drive to Turner Field (if you leave now you can still make the 1st pitch)…just saying

  • Jp

    PRcajun, I live in atl after moving from the Wilmington area and I’m going to try and make tomorrow nights game. Which one’s are you going to?

  • PRcajun

    I’ll be there for Tuesday’s game for sure (Volstad vs. Jurrjens) and hopefully Wednesday depending on how the wife and kids are holding out (lots of stuff going on Wed.).

    We have seats on the foul side of LF (section 126L) for Tuesday’s game.

    Go Cubs!

    • Jp

      Kids always like the Ga aquarium if you guys have some down time to explore. My wife is about 5 months pregnant so she can’t do these games in 100+ heat. Bad for the baby and the saying always goes if momma ain’t happy nobody is happy. I’m sure all the married men on here know that one.

      • PRcajun

        Same here…my kids are 2 and 5 so we’ll def be going to the aquarium!

        Thanks!

  • KC

    I keep looking on mlbtraerumors and I keep seeing how all the other teams are signing international free agents today on the last day to sign them. I hope we sign some other international guys. I know we have the money.

  • clark addison

    When Valentine reamed Castro last year, it wasn’t about Starlin. It was about Bobby angling for a manager’s job.

    Unfortunately that label has stuck on a then 21 year old kid on his way to becoming a superstar. Let’s put that behind us and appreciate what we’ve got: the best shortstop we’ve had in Chicago since Ernie Banks.

    • calicubsfan007

      Clark: In risk of showing major ignorance here, I thought Ernie Banks played third only. Did he play shortstop early on in his career?

      • Colin

        he played first half career at short the next half at firstbase. Dont think he played third in any regular way.

      • Beer Baron

        yes, Ernie played SS for about half his career, including his back-to-back MVP seasons, then moved over to 1st when he got older. Was probably the best hitting shortstop ever, at least pre-steroid era. I don’t think he ever played third – Santo had that covered for the majority of Banks’ career.

      • Jim L

        A two-time MVP at SS in the late 50s, I don’t think he played third for the Cubs.

      • calicubsfan007

        Colin and Beer Baron and Jim L: Thanks. I knew the first base thing, my brain is just turned off. I still feel pretty stupid about not remembering Banks play short.

      • Ogyu

        According to baseball-reference.com, Ernie played the following positions in his career:

        1B – 1259 games
        SS – 1125 games
        3B – 69 games
        OF – 46 games

  • Jeremy

    Dave Kaplan is one of Castro’s harshest critics but he is a big fan of Castro as well. I really like the piece he wrote on him and he is 100% right IMO.

  • Josh

    Phillies are looking to trade Hamels. Now Garza is the 3rd best pitcher available. But I was wondering if he would still be the most highly touted pitcher because he is cheaper and under control for another year. Thoughts?

    • Cubs1967

      actually there is an arguement that garza is still the best option if the team getting him and IF he is traded wants more than a year out of him; as garza is signed thru next year via arb; where hamels and grenike are not NOR does the new team get to acquire a draft pick if not signed after 2012……..pending FA really are rental players with nothing to show for it if NO world series won.

    • nkniacc13

      yeah and the phillies asking price is a bit higher I think for Hamels than the Cubs for Garza in the fact that they want quicker ready players

      • Toby

        I also believe the Cubs could offer more in terms of adding a prospect or two in order to bring back a better package.

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