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I’m sure you’re not at all sick of hearing about my travel plans, but you’re going to have to hear about them one more time. I’m headed back from Chicago today, so you can expect my absence for a bit. And then, almost as soon as I get home, The Wife, The Little Girl and I are headed to Northern Michigan to spend a week with her family (when your spouse is a teacher, you can expect to take a cluster of short trips in the Summer). Coverage will be normal this week, but things might be a bit choppy between now and tomorrow morning.

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says, no matter how well the Cubs play these next couple weeks, the sell trades are coming. “As far as the moves we make, we made our bed really in May and June to where we aren’t going to compete for a wild-card spot this year,” Hoyer said. “But it doesn’t mean we aren’t happy with the way we are playing. It’s nice to see us play more clean games and be much better offensively. It’s amazing how much the vibe around the team has picked up.” And that’s, of course, the right attitude. Even with the Cubs winning 11 of their last 15, the math on them getting to .500 by the end of the year – let alone getting to a playoff-caliber record – just doesn’t work. We can enjoy the wins, but the trades are coming.
  • Hoyer, on being a seller: “It’s not a position you want to be in,” Hoyer said. “Certainly there are ways you can improve the organization by being in that situation but it’s frustrating because that means your record isn’t that good. It also means the players that are being asked about are good players and neither one is a positive. When you are in this situation, you think you have to do the best thing you can for the organization and you hope you aren’t in this position very often …. People probably look at where they are differently depending on what they expected at the beginning of the year. I think that is sort of like the draft stuff. We’ll see how that plays out at the deadline, we’ll see how that plays out in August. It is really jumbled. It’s definitely keeping a lot of teams in the race which was the intended purpose.”
  • Hoyer also complimented his manager: “When the team is struggling as we did for a month and a half or so, it’s hard to be upbeat and be the same person. I think [Dale] did a great job of being the same person. Our success over the last few weeks is a result of that and I think that bodes well for the future.”
  • Ryan Dempster’s 33 inning scoreless streak tied the longest for the Cubs since the 1930s (Ken Holtzman had a 33-inning streak in 1969, before that, the longest was Bill Lee with 37 innings in 1938). It’s actually his second streak over 30 innings – he went 30.1 scoreless between 2005 and 2006 as a reliever. “It’s pretty crazy,” Dempster said, according to Doug Padilla. “I think as a reliever when you do something like that it seems more realistic because you’re going out there one inning at a time. But to go out there start after start and not give up any runs, it’s pretty humbling. I’m just trying to get outs and win ballgames. I’m not expecting that.” Both streaks are pretty incredible.
  • Hoyer offered high praise of Dempster, as you’d expect him to. “He’s fantastic,” Hoyer said. “He’s a top notch clubhouse guys and really a leader. He wanted to come back so badly from that injury. It showed us a lot. We could have taken it slower with him. He wanted to get back on the mound really quickly to compete and obviously pitched well in New York. He’s a guy that loves the competition on the mound and he wants to be out there and wants to be a part of it as much as possible.” In other words: hey, teams, Dempster is definitely as good as you think he is. Plus better.
  • Jay Cutler “sang” the Seventh Inning Stretch yesterday, and it was hard to tell if it was actually as bad as it seemed from the seats, but apparently, it was. Not only was he completely monotone when “singing,” he knew only a handful of the words. I know it’s probably not easy to get up there and do that, but, like, have a cheat sheet handy if you think it’s going to be an issue.
  • Javier Baez gets some love in a MILB.com article, and in the BA Hot Sheet. The short of it is: Baez is killing the ball right now, does everything well at a young age for his level, and is learning every day.
  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

    Baez is doing really well and it will be interesting to see if he keeps this up over the rest of July if he forces Theo and Jed’s hand and gets bumped to Daytona for a late season playoff push.

    • King Jeff

      That’s what I’m banking on. I’m really hoping to be able to watch him in person in August for the D-Cubs.

  • Katie

    Cutler is a smarmy douchenozzle.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Don’t care. Really his performance is just fuel for my quest for the guest conductor nonsense to stop.

      • MaxM1908

        How about this? They audition die hard, average-Joe Cubs fans to be the guest conductor. They get to throw out the pitch and be the guest color commentator in the bottom of the 7th. I think it would be higher quality singing and analysis than anything they’ve found from these guest conductors.

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          I think the novelty might last as long as the guest conductor did. I get that they make money off of it so it isn’t going away. But my thought is you get Bill Murray to do it on opening day and postseason and then forget about it the rest of the year. Don’t televise it and play a tape of Harry or something those other days.

          • Patrick G

            Yes. I am not sure why they don’t do a tape of Harry. Instead of people who don’t know anything about baseball or don’t even know the words(see: Jay Cutler, Ozzie Osbourne, Muhammed Ali), play a tape of Harry to excite everyone and bring back tradition. I go to a lot of Yankee games and they still play Kate Smith “God Bless America” and she passed away even before I was born.

          • Tommy

            They use to play a tape of Harry. It was just creepy. I’m glad they stopped that.

        • Carew

          Can I please be the last one to ever to do it? THatd be so cool, yet terrifying

    • SirCub

      +1

    • King Jeff

      I prefer to think of him as an asshole who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.

    • JulioZuleta

      Jay Cutler is a God.

  • Kevin

    Why don’t the Cubs just play a recording of Harry signing during the 7th inning stretch? Nobody can possibly replace Harry so why even try? Show him singing on the new right field jumbotron. In return, the Cubs can help promote “Harry Caray’s” restaurant chain. It’s a win win for all parties.

  • oswego chris

    How can MLB trade rumors not have anything new since last night?…do they open at 9 am central?..if you are going to replace my morning paper up have to be up and going early

  • StayFrosty

    Cutler actually did know all of the words (it kind of seemed like he had rehearsed it quite a bit before getting up there) he just kept moving the mic away from his mouth. I have a feeling he knew how bad it was and was trying to defer to the crowd.

    • SirCub

      Did it almost sound like he was trying to pay homage to Ditka?

      • King Jeff

        I think he was so worried he’d end up the next Ozzie or Ditka that he just tried to let the crowd sing the whole thing. I’ve read interviews with celebs who said the best strategy was to let the crowd do all the work, but who knows? I think, as cool as it might be, that this is one thing I would never do in my life. I can only imagine how horrifying it is to try and sing in front of all those people, and I’m not sure why more people don’t do it while they’re drunk.

      • StayFrosty

        That’s EXACTLY what I thought when he first started. It was almost like he tried to half-ass it for the first verse, saw it wasn’t working and totally bailed.

  • Kevin

    Bud Selig looking to help Cubs get public funding to get renovations started.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0715-rogers-wrigley-field–20120715,0,2933983.column

    $500M total bill …….. Ouch! Will triangle building actually add value?

    That type of money should get you a new state of the art stadium, just saying!

    The Cubs need to play hardball with Wrigleyville and demand to have all restrictions lifted.

  • Tony

    1..If there is a viable A-list celeb, let them sing. Otherwise, play a recording of Harry. I’m tired of seeing the 2A state badminton champs from East Bumstumble high school on a Tuesday afternoon game.

    2…Loved the Baez blurb. Kid could make Vitters expendable before he’s 21 years old.

    3…Love the seller mentality right now. Max those assets!!

  • Tony

    Oh yeah, Cutler can act however he wants as long as he’s winning Super Bowls. AJ Prickzinski is a cocksmoke and nobody on the south side cares.

    • hcs

      Hell, they idolize AJ here on the South Side. When at a bar, there is an 80% chance that the girl who is trying to get her sleeveless, neck-tattooed boyfriend to fight you is wearing a Pierczynski jersey.

      • Katie

        Don’t forget upper arm barbed wire tattoos. Chicks dig those.

        • hcs

          Is that how douches sort each other out these days, by tattoos? ” Oh, she and I would never work out. She’s got a tribal band, and I’m straight up barbed wire, baby!” I’ve often wondered about their mating rituals.

    • Jim L

      I like everything about Jay’s rendition, it proves what a joke the singing has become and further proof that Jay doesn’t give a crap about how he is perceived by the media. Refreshing in an athlete, prefererable to a Peyton Manning who talks in cliches and whores himself out to every promotional offer.

      Looking forward to the Bear season, it’s going to be Jay’s coming out party with the new receivers a healthy and happy Matt Forte plus the end of the Martz experiment.

      Let’s hope the defense doesn’t show it’s age and has one great season left.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What bothered me about Cutler is he wears a Cub jersey to throw out the first pitch, takes it off to sit in the stands, and then puts it on to sing in the 7th. Then takes it off again and goes back to his seats. Like it would kill you to wear the jersey for one whole ballgame Jay?
    He obvioulsy didn’t give a rat’s.

    • Colin

      Who cares.

  • Karena

    It’s nice to see us play more clean games and be much better offensively. It’s amazing how much the vibe around the team has picked up.”

    No matter the record of this team. the fact that they are playing good fundamental baseball is huge. It’s all about giving Jed/Theo/Dale the opportunity to get this thing turned around.

  • Cheryl

    saw two sites that mention a postential trade but no further info given. Just more rumors?

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      All we have right now is rumors. The juiciest probably came from Offman who said the Cubs have two offers on the table for Dempster from the Tigers and Dodgers.

      • nkniacc13

        yeah all they are would be rumours. Ive read where they think Gould could be in offer from dodgers, and maybe Crosby in an offer from Det

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          Gould is a name that has popped up in multiple places (Offman, Goldstein). Crosby I think is a stretch for Dempster, but it would be awesome haul for a couple months of a mid 30s SP.

        • Cheryl

          Wondered because they mentioned trade was to be confirmed. usually they just say rumors.

  • True(ly) Blue

    I just don’t understand why some posters are so against singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch and also “Hey, Hey, Holy Mackerel” after a Cubs win. Look around the stands at that time and see that literally thousands of people are having fun and singing along. It’s not the quality of the singer that matters at all. In fact I’ll bet that most people remember Ditka’s incredibly funny rendition much more that some real singer’s rendition. People go to a ball game to have fun. For some it includes sing and dancing. For others it means calculating stats during the game. Let’s all have fun!

    • mudge

      There are a lot of singers in Chicago who can sing on pitch. voice students, gospel singers, whatever. I can’t stand heaeing these luminaries butcher music.

      • Mrp

        Maybe you should go see something other than a baseball game if you want good music? I don’t understand what the big deal is, just relax and have some fun.

        • Cyranojoe

          The trouble is, as drunk and slurry as Harry might have sounded at times, he still felt like a part of the game, a part of the experience, someone integral to the sport of Cubs baseball. These random-ass folks who can’t sing, don’t know the words, don’t *feel* or appreciate the words, and who aren’t even funny at least, they throw a wrench into the whole “we’re all at a ballgame” vibe. The 7th-inning stretch at Wrigley used to be one of my favorite points in the game; now I skip through as fast as possible so as to avoid another embarrassing rendition.

          Bring on the comedians, especially the ones who can sing, and at least that’s entertainment!

  • mikaylaaa

    don’t know if anyone else saw this, but at the end of one of levine’s articles, he said some players are assuming (off the record) that dempster will come back at the end of the year as a free agent. so maybe it actually would happen.

  • nkniacc13

    well he loves chicago so its a posiablilty that could happen

  • nkniacc13

    Outside of Dempster who is the most likely to be traded?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Next most likely is Camp, I’d guess.

  • Bric

    It’s refreshing to hear the realism in Jed’s take on the status of the team. For the last couple of years Hendry would be all over this win streak talking about how “If we can just win a couple more in a row we’re right back in this thing”.

    Interesting how much change 3 months can make without any real trades happening yet. The questions concerning Byrd’s huge biceps has been answered (duh…), the statistical analysis explaining Soto’s up year-down year thing has finally gone away, LaHair’s an all star (kudos to all you, including Brett, who were right on with that one, because I wasn’t), Joe Mather’s disapeared from the radar (again, Kudos), Marmol’s still Marmol,and Rizzo’s looking awesome. You gotta wonder what their record would be if these issues were addressed in March.

    • leroy k.

      absolutely. I got so tired of the “band-aid” mentality. It got really annoying as Hendry was very fond of doing.

      Jim Hendry: We’re fine, we’re making a few moves, but we are still in this (record would be like 41-55. or something to that effect.

      Give me a break. At least Hoyer is honest. I think we could win every game in July, and still be sellers. But at least with this team, I think we have a chance to win. I just can’t fathom that one person can change a lineup so much.

  • Dustin S

    It was good to see Hoyer’s comments about still sticking to the rebuilding plan. This is about the time Hendry would have given in to the Chicago pressure and traded Jackson and Baez for a vet in the hopes of making the wild card.

    • Ted

      What would you say to soler, almora, lake, and vitters for upton right now?

      • Mrp

        I almost threw up a little to be honest. No thanks, there is something going on with Upton (maybe a lingering injury that we don’t know about). The Diamondbacks definitely seem to know something though. Also, we need pitching and lots of it right now so Upton just doesn’t make much sense.

        • Shawn H

          On MLBTraderumors.com they had a link to Heyman or Rosenthal or somebody saying their was some speculation he has a chronic shoulder injuy.

      • Bric

        I’m pretty sure Almora can’t be traded for at least a year after he signs (I think Baez isn’t even eliglible to be traded yet). I’m also not sure about Soler. But Lake and Vitters are and would probably garner some interest, but probably only as a complimentary part of a bigger trade with a veteran.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          This.

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          Baez could be a PTBNL at this point.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        I think they would laugh at us. I wouldn’t want to do it, but two players haven’t even played a game yet, and the other two aren’t exactly world beaters. I would think they would want two major league ready players and then the upside. They are closer to competing than most.

      • djriz

        soler and almora can’t be traded for a year. plus, if the reason upton is on the block is his attitude, he should come cheaper than that.

        • Crockett

          Why can’t Soler be dealt?

          He can. Wasn’t a draftee or a major league free agent.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            I believe that applies to any amateur once they become professional regardless of how the team acquires them.

          • Cedlandrum

            Can’t be traded for a year after signing

            • Crockett

              You’re all wrong.

              http://www.thecubreporter.com/cubs-40-man-roster

              Go to “Restrictions on trading player”.

              Amateurs signed are NOT treated the same as players drafted.

              • Bric

                Any posting that starts out “You’re all wrong…” is definitely one worth reading. Well done! But I don’t think it would’ve been over the top to add an exclamation point or maybe go all caps.

                • Crockett

                  I was trying to be classy. You know how it is.

                  • Bric

                    I’m just messing with you, bud. But I still just think it was a classic way to start a posting.
                    I’ve often considered ending all of my responses to other postings with a “you jackass”.

                    Example: “That’s a good point you make about not rushing Vitters, you jackass.”

                    You know, just to shake things up a bit.

      • ferrets_bueller

        I would say….thats stupid.

        • Ted

          Funny to me to see the resistance to this deal — if anything I agree with evenbetternews above that they’d laugh at us. Clearly the FO isn’t high on vitters (no secret we want a 3B prospect even with him and Baez in the system), lake is probably a sell-high, and I would think MVP candidate by 24 is the best we could imagine from soler/almora (and really were probably too optimistic if we’re expecting both of them to someday be perennial all-stars, sorry to rain on the party). If anything, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw in a few more prospects to make this happen (though I still have my doubts that we’d have enough MLB-ready to get AZ to bite).
          A core of rizzo, Castro, and upton — all 24 or younger and capable of performing all star level (for rizzo: so far) — would be great for years to come, and our only risk is that soler and almora both turn out to be all-stars.

    • Scotti

      Hendry just did not have a history of trading top prospects.

  • Whiteflag

    Speaking of PTBNL, did the cubs ever compensate the Padras for Hoyer?

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