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iowa cubs mascotMiLB.com is holding a minor league food contest, and I am not happy about it. Actually, it is the ballot I’m not happy about, not the contest itself. With the exception of the Jumbo Pork Tenderloin served up by the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs’ farm system is completely unrepresented. Someone get Theo on the phone; this is unacceptable.

The Cubs farm system not only features some of the best players in the minors, it has some of the best organizations, stadiums, and fans in the game. From Daytona to Boise, from Kane County to Tennessee, the Cubs farm system is wonderful blend of great stadiums, great history, and (usually) some great baseball.  And as for the fans – awesome across the board (especially the ones that read Bleacher Nation).  These are the fans that host Cub prospects in Boise every summer, that hung out with Rod Beck by his RV in Iowa, and that helped the Smokies be recognized as the best franchise in the minors.  Everyone knows that Cubs fans are the best in sports and that concentrated awesomeness extends all the way down the farm system.

So why aren’t fans at the Cubs’ minor league franchises rewarded with food that is equally awesome? Just check out the competition and you’ll see how badly the Cubs have fallen behind.

  • Fans of the Corpus Christi Hooks get cheddarwurst wrapped in a hamburger and covered in bacon.  Paramedics are hopefully standing by.
  • Have a sweet tooth? Charlotte Knights fans soothe theirs with deep fried moon pies.
  • How about New Hampshire Fisher Cat fans! They get a pulled pork on pretzel roll sandwich with a bacon Swiss burger stacked on top, topped with turkey and ham, and finished with a pickle. That’s a five meat sandwich!
  • Akron’s Three Dog Night consists of a hot dog inside a bratwurst inside a keilbasa and topped with sauerkraut.  That’s only 100(ish) miles from Brett.  We need a scouting report! [Brett: Except I hate almost all of those things … *ducks*]
  • The Myrtle Beach Pelicans serve up something called Chicken Bog Balls. I’m not sure what that is (and I’m not sure I want to know), but it made the list.
  • Delmarva will put a crab on your hamburger.  Not crab meat, a crab.  Seriously. This is happening.
  • Arkansas kicked up the hot dog by wrapping it in a funnel cake. The idea alone deserves a statue in Cooperstown.

I could keep going, but I’m getting hungry.

Now this is not to say that the Cubs farm teams have ignored ballpark cuisine altogether. As I mentioned, Iowa does make the list with the pork tenderloin sandwich (and rightfully so). I can also confirm that the barbecue nachos served up by the Smokies are quite tasty (thanks for the tip Brandon) and I’m looking forward to dining on them again in August.  I’m sure the other teams have some quality options as well (be sure to list your favorites in the comments).  But when I see that the Sacramento River Cats are serving a hamburger that has been molded into the shape of a hot dog with the help of a home-run hitting baseball bat, I feel like the Cubs minor league fans should be more awesomely fed.

The best fans in the minors deserve the best food in the minors. Jed, get to work! If the front office can’t think up something tasty that includes six different meats, or is deliciously deep fried, or involves a small mountain of cream (or all three!), I’m going to be sorely disappointed.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – A ninth inning rally fell just short.  The Cubs lost 9-8.
Saturday – Iowa fell behind right away and never recovered. They lost this one 4-2.
Sunday – With two big innings they salvaged the weekend. The Cubs won on Sunday by a score of 7-3.

Tennessee
Friday – Four runs in the second was all the Smokies needed in this 4-3 win.
Saturday – Despite three errors, the Smokies moved three games over .500 in this 7-5 win.
Sunday – Thanks to the rains, this game was not played.  All those barbecued nachos were sadly uneaten for a day.

Daytona
Friday – A Friday doubleheader turned into two Cub wins. Daytona took Game One 5-1 and Game Two 7-4 in twelve innings.
Saturday – After this 6-5 win the Cubs were back to .500.
Sunday – Another day, another win. The Cubs pulled ahead late for a 5-4 triumph.

Kane County
Friday – It took twelve innings, but the Cougars lost anyway. The final was 4-3.
Saturday – Revenge came in the form of a 4-0 shutout win.
Sunday – And then another loss. This time the final was 8-7.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins both homered and doubled over the weekend. His average remains depressed, but the rest of the numbers are there.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson finished Friday 4 for 5 with a double and just one strikeout. He singled and walked in Sunday’s game, and finished the weekend with a total of three strikeouts. Maybe those swing changes made a difference after all.
  • [Iowa] Also having a good day on Friday was Josh Vitters. The third baseman finished 3 for 3 with a double. He did not play on Saturday or Sunday, though.
  • [Tennessee] Kyle Hendricks was the star again on Friday. In seven innings he limited the damage to 3 runs on 6 hits while walking one and fanning 3. He is definitely the early leader for the Cubs Organizational Pitcher of the Year.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Szczur had a five hit weekend that included another double. His SLG is still just .386 for the season, but that climbs to .479 over his last ten games.
  • [Tennessee] Two of the four hits provided by Christian Villanueva this weekend were doubles.
  • [Tennessee] He has not gotten a lot of playing time in Tennessee this season, but Anthony Giansanti is taking advantage of it when it comes. He doubled and tripled while playing right field for the Smokies on Saturday.
  • [Daytona] Jorge Soler is back to turning the pitching-strong Florida State League into his own batting cage. On Friday he was 4 for 4 with a home run in Game One and 3 for 6 with a double in Game Two. On Saturday he had two more hits in four at bats before going 0 for 3 on Sunday. Sunday aside, that’s 9 hits in two days. This guy needs a sandwich named after him, pronto.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez had a pretty good weekend himself. He finished the four games with seven hits (including a double and a triple) and only one strike out. He has only 7 strikeouts in his last ten games and has hit .310/.341/.524 in that stretch.
  • [Daytona] The winning pitcher, indeed the only pitcher, in the Cubs first win on Friday was Yeiper Castillo. Through 7 IP he allowed just 4H, including a sole home run.
  • [Daytona] The Game Two win went to the bullpen. Austin Reed (2 IP), Sheldon McDonald (4 IP) and Frank Del Valle (3 IP) combined to toss nine scoreless innings.
  • [Kane County] The heavy lifting in the KC shutout on Saturday came from Pierce Johnson. He scattered six hits and struck out nine in six innings of work. Justin Amlung and Jeffry Antigua wrapped up the shutout.
  • [Kane County] Dillon Maples had a nice start on Friday. He only pitched five innings, but he struck out five while giving up two runs on two hits.
  • [Kane County] Bijan Rademacher is staying hot. Three hits on Friday and two more on Sunday have raised his average to .343.

Other News

  • Not only did Hendricks pick up the win on Friday, he also out dueled noted Dodgers pitching prospect and Cubs trade rumor favorite Zach Lee. It could be tempting to read volumes into that outcome, but it would be a mistake. Lee is still a class above Hendricks as a prospect, but I don’t think that gap is quite so large as it appeared at the beginning of the season.
  • John Andreoli leads the Florida State League with five triples. Javier Baez is right behind him with four. The tops spot in walks belongs to Zeke DeVoss (26), but Andreoli trails him by just three free passes. Dustin Geiger checks in at number five in total OPS (.925), two spots ahead of Jorge Soler’s .894.
  • Rock Shoulders is the home run leader in the Midwest League with 10. Jeimer Candelario leads the league in doubles with 15, and Gioskar Amaya‘s three triples leave him tied for tenth. Shoulders is third in OPS at .945.
  • ssckelley

    I noticed Rock Shoulders started in left yesterday, any word on how he looks out there?

    • Jp3

      Maybe Rock gets bumped to Daytona and slides into Soler’s spot in the lineup when he moves up?

      • ssckelley

        Possibly, honestly I think he has a better shot at reaching the majors than Vogelbach especially if he can play a corner outfield position.

        A name like Rock Shoulders has got to get to Wrigley!

        • Jp3

          Rocky Cherry didn’t make it😞

          • ssckelley

            He played in 12 games back in 2007, he even got an at bat but I don’t know if it was in Wrigley or on the road. But a name like that should be a Ben & Jerry Ice Cream flavor.

        • Blublud

          I like Rock, and he might get there first, but Vogs bat will have him as guaranteed starter in the majors, even if it is only as a DH.

    • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

      He took a bad route on a fly to start the last of the ninth. It fell for a double. That ended up as the winning run.

  • Jp3

    Luke, I’m sure I’m reading too much into this but is there a chance Soler was pulled from the game Sunday because he’s getting bumped to Tenn? If he’s not going now I would assume soon anyway, going to be interesting to see how Baez responds in the lineup without Soler hitting right behind him. I guess Geiger would get bumped to #4 in the lineup.

    • Kyle

      No. He did not get pulled from a game for a promotion. Why would they do that? They aren’t going to take away playing time in the middle of a game when they could just promote him at the end.

      His was pulled from the game after hitting a pop-out. So either he tweaked something on the popout or he didn’t run it out.

      • Jp3

        I hear you, I know they often pull guys from AAA when they are promoting them to the big squad but wasn’t sure what the protocol was just getting bumped up a league. That’s why I asked Kyle, knew someone would have an answer. Thanks

      • Frank F.

        Or he spear-tackled the 1st baseman for S&G.

        • Jp3

          That’s not his MO, he takes the bat to his throw downs.

  • MichiganGoat

    Interesting to see the West Michigan Whitecaps still getting notice for the 5/3 Burger. It was one of the founding items that started all this heart attack minor league food when it came out 3-4 years ago and got a ton of press. It is really unexciting burger (and not tasty at all the bread is stale, the burger meat is cheap, the toppings are quite basic) and after splitting it with a couple people a few years ago I promised to never have another one.

  • terencemann

    I’ve yet to read enough glowing reviews about Lee to make me believe he’s something other than a guy who throws hard with a good fastball at this point.

    • terencemann

      Which is not to say he’s not a better pitcher than Hendricks, just that there’s some serious disparity in his write-ups.

  • JG

    Dustin Geiger left out on the performances of note?

    • JoeyCollins

      Had the same thought. Kid had a monster weekend.

    • Blublud

      The kid is 13 for his last 21. He has 2 HR, 1 triple and 5 doubles over that stretch.

      Saying the guy had a monster weekend could actually be considered an understatement. ;)

  • Frank F.

    Any news on why Soler was pulled? What drives me nuts is that in the majors, even if the most useless of players has a hangnail, it’s immediately known to all, but in the minors, a player can be out for days before we know what happened.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’ll know at some point today, most likely. But you’re right – minor league injury information is much less widely disseminated, sometimes by design.

  • Blublud

    Baez has 0 strikeouts in his last 3 games, 1 in his last 21 at-bats and 0 Homeruns. This is what I want to see from him and what I suggested a few weeks back. The guy is strong, and has plenty of bat speed, he will hit HRs naturally without trying. He should focus on having good at-bats and getting hits, not homers.

    He also has 2 walks in his last 13 at-bats(gotta start somewhere) His SO rate has quietly dipped down to 27% and is steady dropping, and he is hitting over .300 in his last ten games.

    Watch out to all the Haters, Baez just might be making his adjustments.

    • Dynastyin2017

      You could be right, Blublud, he could be working on things. We have to remember that these changes take time and we can’t get down on him when he has a few days of regression.

  • oswego chris

    Any idea on the kind of stuff Kyle Hendricks has…velocity?…sink?..etc

  • ruby2626

    Agree Baez appears to be making hitting adjustments. One question, what’s with the fielding, doesn’t he have an absurd amount like 19 errors on the season including at least 5 this week alone. What’s the reason for the high amount, bad bounces on a Minor leage infield, a first baseman that can’t pick up a less than perfect throw or is he just not fielding well. Probably a combination of the 3.

    • Cedlandrum

      They don’t have a legit first baseman on the roster, so that could be a part of it. It could be that he is taking his bat onto the field too. I am sure that you are right that it is a combination of things. Either way the errors are a bit concerning.

  • CubbiesOHCubbies

    Hello guys. I will be attending the Kane county game Sunday night. Do we have any idea on what the deal is with Albert Almora. I’m hoping to be surprised with an assignment to Kane county for him but as each day passes a little piece if hope dies off. Does anyone have any info on him.

    Thanks in advance gents.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Teeny, tiny chance he’s in KC by then. He’s playing in Extended Spring Training again after (what appeared to be) some kind of small setback.

    • Dynastyin2017

      Don’t know if this will help you, but Almora has played in 5 extended spring games, and 5 intrasquad games. That may equate to about half of a typical ‘spring training’ so I’m hoping he makes to Kane about June 1st.

  • North Side Irish

    Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 3m
    My piece on ESPN Chicago: checking in on some intriguing talent in the Cubs farm system. http://es.pn/115baWZ

    Good stuff…

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    I just read that Baez already has 19 errors on the season. I know it’s common for a young SS too make mistakes in the field, but 19 seems like a lot… Lets hope he can make adjustments with the glove as well as the bat.

  • Rcleven

    Trey Lang ‏@T23Lang 10m

    @albertalmora good luck in Kane County mijo! #AHuevo #NoMoreSushiDates
    Retweeted by Albert Almora

    News pretty much speaks for it self.
    Welcome to KC Cougars Albert.

    • ssckelley

      Good news! It will be nice to finally see his name showing up in the box scores.

  • Katie

    I can attest to how awful the food is at the Iowa Cubs facility but there’s a walk in beer cooler so that makes up for it a bit. Was also at the Fri and Sat night games for the losses. Sat I unveiled my very own Dick Tidrow tee shirt. Be very jealous.

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