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I have accomplished many things in my 30 years. I have enjoyed many great moments. But never before did I feel that my life truly had meaning. Until last night. We have been selected to be a Nielsen household. Take that, guidance counselor.

  • As discussed yesterday, the Cubs will have to make a couple roster moves today to open up spots for lefties Chris Rusin (who starts tonight) and Alex Hinshaw (whom the Cubs claimed on waivers this weekend). Carrie Muskat says we can expect to see reliever Jeff Beliveau demoted, as well as infielder Adrian Cardenas. The former makes sense because Hinshaw is essentially taking his spot. The latter makes sense because he isn’t getting any playing time and, since Rusin is presumably coming up for just one start right now, it would be silly to demote another pitcher. That said, when the Cubs do send Rusin back down, they’ll presumably bring back up a position player, and it can’t be Cardenas (for 10 days). Tony Campana, perhaps?
  • The Cubs fan (yes, Cubs fan – it was in Milwaukee, after all) who caught Josh Vitters’ first home run had an unusual trade request for the ball. You see, it’s tradition that, if you catch an historic or memorable home run ball, the player will give you a signed bat or jersey or tickets or something like that in exchange for the ball. This time, however, the fan asked not for stuff – he asked for the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Wrigley Field. That’s awesome. I hope he gets his shot (his name isn’t in the article, but he’s a pastor; so, if you see a pastor singing the national anthem at a game this or next year, it’s probably this guy).
  • Speaking of which, Vitters talks about his up-and-down night (he struck out twice in ugly fashion), and about using the last six weeks to show what he can do.
  • Speaking of using the last six weeks, among the many evaluations going on as the season winds down is taking place behind the plate. While the Cubs are likely to go into 2013 with an expectation that both Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo will share the catching duties, they undoubtedly prefer that one of the two claim the nominal starting gig. If both fall off significantly, however, Dale Sveum concedes that the Cubs might have to look outside the organization for a catcher this offseason. I’m thinking Castillo, assuming he improves slightly on his game-calling and his receiving skills, will nail down the job.
  • Matt Garza hasn’t started throwing yet, and might not until after another x-ray and evaluation on September 1. The odds that he pitches in a game again this year are minuscule.
  • Dale Sveum says something Mike Quade never would have: “Valbuena got hot again and is really swinging the bat. But my priority is still going to be getting Vitters quite a few at-bats. He’s here for a reason.” Sveum understands what this point in the season is about, and it’s not about *only* trying to win games.
  • Tom Ricketts is doing his annual pilgrimage among the Cubs’ minor league affiliates, and last night visited with the Iowa Cubs. While there he spoke to the media, and met with fans throughout the stadium (including BN’er Hawkeye, who got the chance to chat up the Cubs’ owner for a solid 15 minutes).
  • Jim Callis talks about Javier Baez’s prospect status, and gives him a whole lot of love.

Meanwhile, on a beach in South Africa …

Wait. What is that mysterious message written in the sand with the beautiful Indian Ocean in the background?

We’re everywhere. (Thanks to an anonymous (and awesome) BN’er for the pictures.)

  • JB88

    Love the site Brett, but I have to admit if I were on a beach in South Africa overlooking the Indian Ocean, the last thing I am doing is scrolling Bleacher Nation in the sand. Methinks you have an international stalker ;)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    i once saw those same markings in a very strange place. it is a world where the prairies mingle with sun. where mystery and enchantment sway into the glory of the night. an odd place of this world it is. and all those who know it never speak on it. this place i know and love and risk everything here and now to tell it. you will hear it now only in whisper to never repeat again……..is Indiana.

  • Curt

    Thts awesome Brett bleacher nation is international but if u could get someone to write bn on mars that would be historic . You know anyone on the robot rover team?

    • TWC

      This is a total aside, but your comment, Curt, reminded me of a short (15 mins) radio play from The Truth (heard on NPR) called “Moon Graffiti”. It has nothing to do with the Cubs, but it’s really brilliant, and it’s recently been my goal to get The Truth more widely known. If any of you have a spare 15 minutes, it’s well worth a listen.

      • TSB

        I just got back from the Sante Fe (NM) Opera. They did a great production of “Tosca” and “The Pearl Fishers.” Let’s all go off topic and plug what we like!

        • TWC

          Glad you had a great time at the opera, TSB. I sure hope it helps your disposition.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I recently watched ‘Zombieland’ for the third time. Great flick.

        • miggy80

          The Iowa State Patrol sucks! Make sure your license plate light is not burned out.

          • TWC

            Migs, baby, where you been? Just got outta jail?

            • miggy80

              What up T-Dub! I’ve been meaning to say hello. Been laying low since BN has blown up, but yeah just got out of the slammer. Only had to do one night, and it was a long one. Not for the choclates, but because I’m a Bud Man and a Cubs Fan.

              • TWC

                Hippie.

                Glad to see you back in the fold. Stay safe, kiddo.

                • Drew7

                  you

                • miggy80

                  Thanks T-Dub. BTW like the new profile pic. I need to update mine to reflect my true hippie-ness

          • J. Edwards

            Yesterday I went to Disneyland and had a corn dog for lunch. True story.

            • college_of_coaches

              For lunch at D-land, ya gotta go with the monte cristo at the Blue Bayou!

      • J. Edwards

        TWC, just for the record, I thought the show was great. Wow! I’m going to raid the archives.

        • TWC

          Cheers, J! I’m glad you liked it.

  • Hawkeye

    Still got goosebumps as I tell people about meeting Ricketts last night. From the small time I had to talk to him, he seemed like a pretty good guy.

    Brett, thanks for the mention in the bullets today. In the last 12 hours I have met Tom Ricketts and was mentioned on the BN daily bullets. My bucket list just got shorter.

    • Brandon – AA Correspondent

      I got to meet Mr. Ricketts when he was in TN last week too. Great guy. Took time to meet with me and a few other season ticket holders. It was great talking to him and feeling like he actually cared about our impressions of the minor leaguers. He even went as far as asking who our favorite Smokies were. He sat in the stands and talked to fans, and even drank a beer and ate hot dogs right along side us. GOOD STUFF. Side note….throughout the season I have collected the signatures of EVERY player that has played for the Smokies this season. When Mr. Ricketts was here….I asked if he would sign and without hesitation he did. Pretty cool. I think the Cubs are in good hands (ownership wise) and as a fan of one of his minor league affiliates, it makes you feel good that he cares enough to visit every year.

      • MoneyBoy

        Thank you for sharing that Brandon!!

        Very cool about the autographs. With the recent crop, you never know if you’ll wind up with a future HOF’er!!!

  • ssckelley

    That pastor must be able to sing the anthem pretty well in order to make that request. I hope he gets that chance.

    The catcher bullet is kind of a no brainer, if the Cubs are down to using Brenly at catcher then they are in trouble. I think the only issue with Castillo is him being able to stay healthy.

    I am glad to see Sveum committing to using Vitters at 3rd. I would like to see Valbuena used a few more times at 2nd base. Not because I think he is better than Barney but if Valbuena has a future with the Cubs it will be as a backup infielder (3rd, SS, and 2nd).

    • Melrosepad

      Would rather see Cardenas get a shot at 2nd rather than Valbuena. He has around 1000 at bats in the Majors and a career BA of around .220. Give Adrian a shot to see what he can do since Valbuena has shown he is more of a defensive replacement with some pop.

      • Myles

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but a player with 898 AB that bats .227 has a 95% confidence interval that his “true” BA is from .200 to .254 (99% interval is .191 to .263). If he hit the absolute top of that, congratulations: you’ve got a utility backup. Anything else is org. filler.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That is about right: if you use 2 units support instead, then you get an upper bound of 0.256, which is all of one hit per season. (And, no, it probably won’t be the hit that “wins” a pennant, either!)

          Valbuena probably has some use as a utility infielder because he can play positions and he can also draw a walk. I can sort of see the paradox: I can understand why Valbuena on the roster over Cardenas (you need guys who can play infield positions adequately), but if both are on the same roster, then I cannot understand why Valbuena starts over Cardenas (Cardenas looks to be a much better hitter than Valbuena).

        • Melrosepad

          Having no clue what you are talking about with Confidence Intervals so I’ll just have to take your word for it. For me, personally I just want to see Cardenas given a shot. Valbuena is good at what he does, but why not let the player 2 years younger have a chance.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Confidence Intervals are a pretty important concept for evaluating sports performance. Let’s say that a batter is (somehow) a purely consistent 0.300 hitter: that is, it does not matter who he is facing, in what ball park he is playing, who the fielders are, what the weather is like or what his physical condition is like: in every AB, he has a 30% chance of getting a hit. In a sequence of 10 ABs, the probability of him getting X hits is:
            0 hits: P= 0:03
            1 hits: P= 0:12
            2 hits: P= 0:23
            3 hits: P= 0:27
            4 hits: P= 0:20
            5 hits: P= 0:10
            6 hits: P= 0:04
            7 hits: P= 0:01
            (There is less than a 1% chance of him getting 8+ hits, so I omitted those.)

            Now, say he gets 1 hit, as he should in one of 8 reps. He is not “owed” a 5 hit sequence to make up for that. As such, the batters average (an observable statistic) can wander from his actual rate (a hypothetical probability). So, if a guy has 204 hits in 898 ABs, we want to know if he’s actually worse than a guy who has 225 hits in 898 ABs (i.e., a 0.250 BA). In this case, we would not be comfortable saying that the two batters really are different. As such, management should not treat one as better than the other, at least not if they are using BA as the metric.

            (The should use OBA and/or slugging instead, but that is an entirely different issue!)

      • ssckelley

        I am pretty sure Cardenas got sent back down to Iowa.

  • Curt

    Very cool Hawkeye we should all be so lucky as you have been recently wtg!! And go hawks.

  • Leroy

    I would give anything to sing the national anthem at wrigley.

  • Tammy

    That’s my Pastor!!! Pastor Bender http://peacesussex.org/

  • Wester

    It seems like Castillo has had a huge bat when he’s been in there. I’ll admit that my 10 month old daughter has taken more of my attention than his ability to call a game. But do you guys think that is more of his issue, or more of an issue of our terrible pitching staff? I really like Castillo so far…of course that is just based on the eyeball test.

  • art

    “my priority is still going to be getting Vitters quite a few at-bats. He’s here for a reason”.

    i have to see it to believe it.

  • steve

    I would tend to agree. Vitters should have been playing from day one, like jackson has done. I actually think that had josh had the same chance to play as jackson has gotten, vitters would like be doing. Better by now do to his making adjustments. At the worst it would’ve give the kid as solid a shot as possible so we could better evaluate whether Josh has a chance to be the starter at 3B in 2013, or if we need to go outside the org. To find a 3B to play everyday. Also valbuena has had some moments here & there, but at this point we know what he is, & its not a starter. So start Vitters every game from here on out, let him struggle, & see if he can work out of it. I don’t want to see Valbuena on the field any more this year unless its late innings defensive work. Also i’d really like to see what Cardenas has over this last month. I know the guy can hit, he’s younger than Valbuena, & IMO, he has a lot more upside. Let the 2 fight it out for the rest of the year in a possible utility infield competition for the 2013 team.

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  • Halley

    Ha! I understand, they are fairly remarkable!

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