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I’ll try not to inundate you with fantasy football stuff this year, but this space in the Bullets is usually reserved for random thoughts, so … well, it’s the first Tuesday of the NFL season … deal with it. In my two leagues this week, I lost one by less than one point, and tied in the other. Do you know how hard that is to do? The odds of that happening are astronomical, and it was one of those weeks where, if I were playing virtually any other team in the league, I would have won both games. At least the Cubs won last night, AMIRITE?!

  • The Cubs will decide on whether to continue their current short season Low-A ball affiliation by tomorrow, according to the Idaho Statesman. Currently, the Cubs are affiliated with the Boise Hawks, and the affiliation is expected to be extended by two years. That comes after some heavy talk from Tom Ricketts about the Hawks upgrading their facilities earlier this year. Those upgrades haven’t yet happened, but the Cubs must believe they’re coming. Obviously the big decision/change is expected to be at the A-ball level, where the Cubs are going to switch their affiliation from Peoria, IL to Kane County, IL, about 30 miles west of Chicago.
  • That article focuses on Boise hitting coach Bill Buckner, and the positive effect he’s had on the young hitters there. I certainly liked hearing things about “patience” and “don’t be afraid to take a walk.” Obviously you’d hope kids would already know and appreciate that stuff by the time they are professionals, but I guess sometimes we forget what high school ball (and some college ball) can be like. If you can hit .500, why would you even consider taking a walk?
  • Alfonso Soriano continues to get extreme love from Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “[Soriano’s] work ethic is unmatched by anyone,” Sveum said, per Patrick Mooney, “the way he goes out to left field and tries to make himself a better player. He goes to the cage, he’s got a routine. He’s not that typical (36)-year-old that makes millions and millions of dollars and just comes in and might play cards and sit around and do nothing all day. He’s always trying to make himself a better player, which is something young guys should be watching, because he’s one of the better veteran players I’ve ever been around.” I’ve mentioned Soriano’s intangible additions before, particularly in reference to a younger team, learning how to be professionals, but it merits stressing again: this is among the reasons that not trading Soriano this Winter wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
  • Sveum added that he hopes Soriano reaches 30 homers and 100 RBI, and that it would be one of the better stories in baseball if Soriano could do that. In other words, you can expect Sveum to put Soriano in a position to reach those figures, to the extent he can control it (which isn’t much – I guess it means Soriano will get plenty of starts). Soriano is at 28 homers and 94 RBI.
  • Jaye Chapman, the 25-year-old reliever the Cubs got in the Paul Maholm/Reed Johnson/Arodys Vizcaino deal, has appeared four times with the big club, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two walks, and striking out six. It’s the smallest of sample sizes, and could be entirely meaningless. But it’s an interesting debut for a guy whose minor league numbers generally supported the consensus of him when the trade went down: “just a guy.” He’ll get a look next Spring for the Cubs’ bullpen in 2013, but his ceiling is probably that of a solid middle reliever, rather than a late-inning type.
  • Don’t expect to see Roger Clemens facing the Cubs this year. Although Astros owner Jim Crane clearly still wants it to happen with Clemens, he says they won’t pitch him against a contender, and obviously he doesn’t want to pitch Clemens on the road (that defeats the whole purpose). So, since it’s not going to happen in the next two days, and it won’t happen in the season-ending series against the Cubs, it’s pretty much this weekend against the Phillies or bust.
  • Pat Hughes and Ron Santo are up for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the Hall of Fame for excellence in broadcasting. Do yourself a favor: don’t look at the rest of the list.
  • Brett Jackson could return to the lineup today, depending on how his knee feels, and how he looked in batting practice yesterday.
  • Now THIS is a hardcore Cubs fan.
  • It feels wrong not to say anything in this space about it being September 11. Never forget, I suppose. And then read this story.
  • Nebraska Cubs

    When does Des Moines/Cubs contract expire? I hope it is the same year as the Omaha/Royals contract expires!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I don’t see the Cubs leaving Iowa.

      • hansman1982

        ya, it is just too good of a fit with the fan base…

        • Melrosepad

          Love going to games in Des Moines. The part is very nice. Haven’t been able to get to the new park in Omaha yet, but loved going to see games at Rosenblatt. Of course the last game I saw there was David Cone’s last minor league start, so it has been a while.

          • Melrosepad

            ugh, writing too fast at work. Park, not part.

      • hogie

        Love me some I-Cubs! I grew up taking trips accross town to go to a game with my dad or uncles, and still love to go to a game every time I go visit family in Des Moines. It was cool to be able to see some classic cubs before they came up. Grace gave me a pat on the head with his glove on the way out of the dugout in ’88. Turk Wendell, on rehab, announced to the waiting crowd that my glove would be the last autograph of the day and gave me a high five that I thought would break my arm! It is cool memories like those that got me hooked on this game, and I would be extremely dissapointed if the Cubs moved that team.

    • Andrew

      I guess it’s always a possibility, but the Royals and Omaha have been affiliated since 1969, and the Cubs have been affiliated with Iowa since 1981. I doubt any of that changes any time soon. Any rumors would probably just be negotiating ploys more than anything else.

      Possibility, but probably not.

    • http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com Josh

      Both Iowa’s contract with the Cubs and the Royals contract with Omaha expire in 2016. However, I can’t imagine either of them switching. The Cubs Triple-A team has been in Des Moines since 1981. As far as the Royals and Omaha go, they’ve been in that city since 1969 or for the entire existence of their franchise. Both contracts will likely be extended long before they expire.

      The Cubs contract with Tennessee is up in 2014, however I’d expect that one to be renewed well before then as well. The Smokies seem to love their Cubs affiliation and would probably would only trade it for a Braves affiliation, which will never come since Atlanta owns their AA franchise in Jackson. The Smokies are also one of the best run franchises in all of minor league baseball, so the Cubs would certainly have no incentive to move.

  • Spriggs

    Interesting Buckner piece. I hope he stays on (at Boise for now). I wonder if he is at all a consideration for the hitting coach with the big club. He didn’t walked much as a player, so I was kind of surprised to read about his approach with the hitters today. That is encouraging. Always a favorite of mine.

    • http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com Josh

      Buckner had a quote somewhere saying something like “I could have walked if they wanted me to back then.”

      Now you tell us, Billy Buck.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Crazy as it sounds, even 10 years ago there were people who felt that “middle of the order” guys were letting the team down by taking walks. They needed to “put the ball into play.”

        Of course, it was a two-faced criticism for players disliked by the media: if a guy like Buckner took walks, then he was selfishly (or even cowardishly) trying to protect his batting average at the cost of driving home runs; if he made outs on pitches out of the strike zone, then he was selfishly going for RBI instead of trusting his teammates to pick him up.

        Heck, didn’t Gordon Ash recently call Adam Dunn an apathetic player for taking so many walks?

        • Flashfire

          10 years ago? Dusty Baker was saying 5 years ago. (“Clogging up the bases.”) And, yes, the grief Adam Dunn has gotten over his career is just sad. We’re talking about a guy with a career .872 OPS/126 OPS+ (BR). That guy can play for me any day of the week.

  • Carew

    I’m sorry, I looked at the list. Teenage rebellion I guess. How in the hell is Harrelson nominated for this stuff??

    • cubchymyst

      From Brett’s warning I figured he had to be on there. I also looked and saw Joe Buck who I’m not the biggest fan of either.

      • Fishin Phil

        After last year’s Frick Award, I place no meaning at all in that award. I believe Stephen Hawking could win it.

        • Spriggs

          Was “Red” McCarver last year?

          • Fishin Phil

            That is correct Spriggs.

            *vomits*

    • Spriggs

      Buck, Harrelson, and thom Brennaman. I knew I shouldn’t have looked. The sad thing is that all 3 of these guys will someday be selected. I can’t think of any one announcer in all my life that nauseates me as much as these 3… Milo Hamilton is right up there (and he’s already in).

      Surprised that Enberg is still on the list.

      • Carew

        I honestly have no problem with Buck. But Harrelson..*shudder* blech

        • swaz46

          If Hawk wins, I give up on life.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Two things: (1) “This is among the reasons that not trading Soriano this Winter wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.” Thanks, Brett. My sentiments exactly! (2) To Nebraska Cubs: If you think the I-Cubs will fold without a fight, you fail to understand that fans in Des Moines are every bit as rabid as fans in Chicago. Plus, our facility at Principal Park (although I still like to call it Sec Taylor Stadium) is second to none. It ain’t gonna happen, boyo. Luke – step in here, will ya?

  • OlderStyle

    Billy Buck was my favorite player as a kid. I copied his batting stance by standing in front of the hallway mirror with a plastic bat. Hope he can have more success with the club.

  • BD

    How am I supposed to not look at the list when you link right to it??!

  • aCubsFan

    FYI. The Kane County Cougars are nearly 40 miles west of downtown Chicago.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      … ?

      Which is colloquially described as about 30 miles west of “Chicago”? I can’t tell if you’re correcting me, or updating info. All I meant was, as the crow flies, the start of Kane County is “about” 30 miles west of the end of Chicago. And it is.

      Edit – Ok, I see that you’re talking about the stadium. Still, it’s “about” 30 miles.

      • aCubsFan

        No I’m correcting you because 40 miles is not about 30 miles.

        • Spencer

          lol, i miss reading the comments.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I see. Well, I stand by my original statement as plenty correct.

          • DarthHater

            By this logic, it would be plenty correct to say that the Cub’s W-L record this year is “about” 73-68, Castro’s OBP is “about” .425, Soriano has hit “about” 37 home runs, and Rizzo’s batting average is “about” .393. ;-)

        • TWC

          Where did Ace say “about 30 miles from downtown Chicago”? Oh, right. He didn’t.

    • TWC

      Right. And the stadium is almost exactly 30 miles straight down Roosevelt Road from the city limits. What’s your point?

  • Curt

    I couldn’t help it Brett I
    Looked omg not hawk and joe buck , buck is annoying and so is hawk but hawks behavior this yr is embarrassing to the sox and baseball he should b fired but he’s so much of a homer he won’t be I do feel bad for Stoney working with tht clown

  • aCubsFan

    The Frick Award has some interesting names on it. Some of them have worked in Chicago and for the Cubs in the past. Steve Stone is probably one of the brightest if not the brightest analysts on TV. Too bad his is with that idiot Hawk Harrelson. I also liked Skip Carey and Thom Brennaman when they were working in Chicago.

    • hardtop

      stoney sounds brighter because he works next to harrelson. next to pat hughes he’d be average at best ;)

  • Stinky Pete

    I would love to piggyback a Cougars game on a trip to Wrigley and see all the wonderkids from Boise.

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