The Olympics are underway, and in the early going it seems London is doing a great job hosting the events. Unfortunately, thanks to the International Olympic Committee, they are missing one event that should absolutely be there.
Baseball is widely played and is wildly popular on parts of four continents, is a sport in which many smaller and less wealthy countries have enjoyed success, and, at last from where I sit, seems to be in the middle of some significant international growth. Currently the Cubs alone have players from North America, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa playing in the majors or in the farm system. There are not many major sports that enjoy that breadth of an international presence.
So why is there no baseball in the Olympics anymore? I suspect the real reason comes down to the location of the IOC: Switzerland. Europe is the one continent on which baseball has had a very tough time gaining much traction. There are some players who come out of Europe, but not many. If baseball wants to break back into the Olympics (and I sincerely hope it does), then it needs to find a way raise its presence in Europe. Maybe instead of doing a season opening series in Japan, MLB should consider sending three or four season openers across the pond. That approach seems to be working for the NFL. Londonites still don’t seem to get American football, but they show up anyway. Maybe the citizens of Munich, Moscow, Milan, and Madrid would do the same for baseball. Maybe that approach would open the door to the return of Olympic baseball.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa fell in a pitchers’ duel 2-1.
Tennessee – Tennessee lost 8-5, but I’m not sure the game was actually that close.
Daytona – Four errors cost the Cubs dearly in this 9-7 loss.
Peoria – This game got out of hand early and resulted in a 10-4 Peoria loss.
Boise – Boise’s 1-0 win propelled them into a tie for first place.
Arizona – Saturday’s game in Arizona was postponed.
Performances of the Day
- [Iowa] Brooks Raley struck out eight over six innings. The six hits and four walks he allowed are less encouraging, but he did limit the damage to just two runs.
- [Iowa] Marcus Hatley, lately up from Tennessee, gave up a hit and a walk while striking out four in his two innings of relief.
- [Iowa] The Cubs did not have a lot of offense in this game. Their lone run was the result of Brett Jackson‘s 15th home run. Jackson also stole his 23rd base in the game. Josh Vitters chipped in with his third steal and by reaching base twice on a hit and a walk.
- [Tennessee] If it weren’t Justin Bour hitting a seventh inning grand slam for his 11th home run, this game would have been a blow out. Bour actually drove in all five of the Smokies’ runs.
- [Tennessee] Matthew Szczur reached base twice on a hit and a walk, and he also picked up his first Double A outfield assist.
- [Daytona] Hunter Cervenka pitched two more scoreless innings of relief, striking out three. He has now opened his Daytona career with five straight scoreless innings.
- [Daytona] At least for the time being, Ronald Torreyes has solved High A pitchers. He finished 3 for 5 in this game with his 18th double and his 5th home run.
- [Daytona] Timothy Saunders finished 2 for 4 with a double. This was his second consecutive multi-hit game for the Cubs.
- [Peoria] Jeffry Antigua pitched two hit-less innings in relief, striking out two.
- [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss reached twice on two walks and stole his 28th base. Pin-Chieh Chen stole his 26th base.
- [Boise] Taylor Scott allowed four hits and three walks in his five inning start, but he also struck out four and kept those runners from crossing the plate.
- [Boise] Hayden Simpson followed that up with three innings of one hit relief.
- [Boise] The Hawk’s offense was thin in this game, but it was just good enough to pull out the win. Carlos Escobar had the only two hit game, and the only extra base hit (a double) for the Hawks. Escobar was driven in Jeimer Candelario for the game’s only run.
Other Minor League Notes
- The starting pitcher Iowa faced on Saturday, and the pitcher Jackson tagged for a home run, was none other than Jacob Turner. Turner, as I’m sure you remember, had been linked to the Cubs in trade rumors of various degrees over the past seven months before he was finally sent to Miami.
- Interestingly, Hayden Simpson’s GO/AO ratio was 7-1. When he was in Daytona he was said to be working on a sinker that would result in that sort of ground ball disparity. That sinker, if he is getting it working, would give him five pitches he can throw for strikes.
- Junior Lake sat out this game with a sore wrist. I don’t think the injury is severe, but we may know more in a day or two. Lake has quietly put together a nice little hitting streak that stretches back to July 15. The last six of those games have all featured multiple hits.
- According to Bruce Miles, recently freed from pay-wall purgatory, Tennessee outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha did in fact suffer a concussion in his violent collision with the outfield wall.
Farm System Standings
AAA – Iowa Cubs : 42 – 66.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Fourth Place: 21.0 Games Behind.
AA – Tennessee Smokies : 15-20
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 6.0 Games Behind
High A – Daytona Cubs : 15-21
Florida State League North Division – Sixth Place : 6.0 Games Behind
Low A – Peoria Chiefs : 14-20
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 7.0 Game Behind
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks : 3-2
Northwest League East Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Behind
Rookie League – AZL Cubs : 20 – 9
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead