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The Cubs were shut out by the Cardinals today, marking the fifth time in seven games at Wrigley Field that the Cubs failed to score.

But that all played second fiddle to Dale Sveum benching Starlin Castro, mid-game, for a serious mental lapse with the bases loaded. Castro appeared to forget how many outs there were or was distracted/confused by the infield fly rule on a pop up to short, and Jon Jay tagged from third and scored.

aug 17 box

Full box.

  • waittilthisyear

    rebuilding: you post often and i respect your opinion. i think those of us who disagree with you about castro’s benching today disagree because of a different understanding of his actions. you think his actions were because he does/did not fully understand the infield fly rule. that very well may be the case. i, and i think several other posters, think it was more of a product of his cavaliuer attitude. and i like starlin. and i know he has been much better as of late re: focus and hustle. but i think, considering all the evidence, it looked more like he was happy just to catch the ball rather than he didn’t know the rules. hell, he fired it home as soon as he looked up

    • Rebuilding

      Fair enough. I appreciate a thoughtful response. You might very well be right, my point really is that it seemed like a gross overreaction by Sveum on a mental error. I can’t recall another player this year being benched mid-game for anything other than dogging it (Alexis Rios) and now Sveum has done it to Castro twice

      • waittilthisyear

        and, i responded to an earlier post of yours, i agree that it seems as though there is something personal between sveum and starlin although i (kind of) like dale, i think it is pretty obvious that he picks favorites, and starlin is not one of them

  • Dizzy D

    Wake up Cubs!!!! Trade Castro to NYY for Arod. This organization needs 2015.

  • Rebuilding

    I thought everyone who is so quick to be an expert on the infield fly rule would appreciate this link to Deadspin on how the MLB had on their site “We don’t understand the infield fly rule either” – http://deadspin.com/5949486/mlb-removed-the-phrase-we-dont-understand-the-infield-fly-rule-from-its-twitter-profile

    • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

      The rule is simple as I stated earlier in a post, I’ll repeat for you. The batter is out and runners can advance at their own risk. That is all that is necessary for the players on the field to know. As to when it is called , that is for the umpire closest to the batted ball to determine. It is his judgement that matters, no one else.
      If a fielder such as Castro does not understand the rule or even you the fan who watches every Cub game as you stated earlier then both you and Castro need to attend Baseball 101 and go back to the Little League you came from. Maybe they can hold your hand and walk you through it.

      • Rebuilding

        Thanks for the brush up, Lou. After playing baseball for 20 years and umpiring, scoring and coaching for 10 I think I get it. I also think I’ve seen mass confusion over the rule more times than I can count. Does that mean it wasn’t a mental error – of course not. Does it warrant a public humiliation (sorry carytidid) – I don’t think so

        • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

          Since you state you have coached , I’m curious to know your criteria for public humiliation as you describe it. If you managed the Cubs what would it take for you to pull a player from a game ?
          By the way I’ve managed, coached, played, and umpired for over 45 years and still am active in the game.

          • Rebuilding

            Name one other player that’s been pulled in the middle of a game this year for a mental error. Has there been one? I would say that’s the closest to public humiliation you can get

            • Jason P

              If Castro has anything to be publicly humiliated about, it’s the play itself — not the subsequent benching. I highly doubt this benching will be some “valuable learning experince” for Castro, but Sveum didn’t really have a choice. This board would be going nuts right now if he left him in after that gaffe.

            • waittilthisyear

              i can’t speak for the whole league, but sveum acknowledged thats the first time in his managerial career he has done that. starlin seemed genuinely apologetic. lets hope he rebounds tomorrow

            • jeff1969

              This year Alex Rios got pulled by Robin Ventura after failing to hustle on bobbled double play grounder that wound up costing the Sox a run.

            • BT

              Name one other player that’s let up a sacrifice fly on an infield fly. There is a reason Sveum reacted the way he did, and it would have been ridiculous if he didn’t do anything until after the game. That was a monumental mistake by Castro.

            • Rebuilding

              And as to the 2nd part of your question – as a coach I would and have pulled players for a lack of hustle. I would also do that as a major league manager. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled a player for an honest mistake that didnt include dogging it. And there is a huge difference in doing that in college ball and in front of 35,000 people when it’s going to be replayed over and over

              • DarthHater

                That play would be replayed over and over, whether he got removed from the game or not.

    • Rcleven

      I think you are missing the point. It is not Castros job to interpret the rule. Castros job is to make the play and let the ump interpret the rules. It’s no different than a ground ball around the corner bases. You make the play first and let the ump make the call of fair or foul.

      I’m a Castro fan but Castro has many many mental lapses if not in the field on the base paths. Talking to has not seemed to work. If I was the manager I would sit him for a week.

  • Jason

    I am concerned by most of our infielders average being down and being towards the bottom in batting as a team. Barney and Castro have declined over last couple years and Rizzo is down from last year, 3B by committee isn’t performing either. Sveum was batting coach at Mil. and I also expected more from Rowson. I hope that if some solid additions are made next season that these guys are able to snap back.

    As a Cub fan I want so badly to see more money make it to the field. I understand one wants to make money but invest in and love the team you field.

    • Jason P

      Even at Barney’s offensive peak in 2011, he still wasn’t a guy you wanted starting for you long term, so I’m not too disappointed with his regression. In my mind, his role on this club for the future remains unchanged — he still fields extremely well, the intangibles are great, and he’s actually not a terrible situational hitter.

      Castro’s obviously had an extremely disappointing year, but I think it’s wrong to blame Sveum. If anything, blame the organizational philosophy.

      I’m curious, if you want to see more money spent on the major league team, who exactly do you want them so spend it on? The free agent market is old and weak.

      • Jason

        Wouldve liked to see more done last off season than this, it’s like we came to class without our materials. To be the fourth most profitable team in mlb but have the 14th payroll coming into the season doesn’t sit well with me. There are several pieces that make me hopeful that help is on the way and some young players I just don’t want to drop an older player in front of. You are right about the ’14 fa class. I would like to get one oufielder, maybe Choo, pence or Morse. A little pitching help with either Hughes or bringing back Maholm and either Hanrahan or Logan for the pen. I’m sure this can be picked apart but its best I could come up with. I get what you say about Barney’s defense but it makes it that much worse with other low batting averages on the team. Oh well, always hopeful and sporting the cubbie blue :)

  • jt

    Soriano, the listened to sage, the looked up to icon… he gone!
    Castro is a veteran SS. The center of the defense. The guy has been an All Star.
    Now, he can remain a rich kid and hang his head while collecting his check after swinging at another wish or a prayer…
    or he can man up and become a leader…. the leader!

  • Cheryl

    I didn’t see the play that Castro was pulled out of the game for so can’t comment on that. But Castro has made mental or lack of focus mistakes before and has still been called a core piece for the future. He may not fit that mold if the lack of focus continues . I do think Sveum is justified in pulling any player, including Castro, over a lack of focus that shows itself in a game. Castro is responsible for his actions and we can’t keep excusing him because he is young or because he has so much potential. Some action needs to be taken. If he can’t be sent to Iowa maybe a relegation to utility player status for a week or so may be the answer.

  • Rich H

    For all of the over reaction crowd did it ever cross your mind that because it was a national TV game Sveum was protecting Castro from himself?
    Castro has a tendency to make mental errors in bunches so Sveum yanking him may have stopped it in its tracks this time.

  • Michael

    This is pure speculation I haven’t heard this anywhere but do you think starlin may be suffering from some kind of mental aspect of the business part of baseball? He is the only player left from when he was called up! I’m not saying this is any excuse at all but you gotta feel for the kid. Almost everyone that he has known is gone and on other teams! Including mentor Soriano! Also the cubs need more Dejesus’, what he did with starlin after the benching was true leadership!

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Some of the stuff written about Castro is unfair. He’s not trash, just as he isn’t and hasn’t shown HOF talent. He’s somewhere in between and where depends on coaching and what you ask out of him. I’m a Theo guy, but think he’s made a huge mistake with Castro, he’s tried to change or remake him into a cerebral player and he isn’t and will unlikely ever be that. It put him back very dramatically. Further, the scuffling, that’s an understatement, by the 3 young hitters, Rizzo, Barney and Castro, calls glaring for a boot out the door for Rowson.. And even though I like Sveum, iif he stands in the way of that, his job should be on the line. This is a real flaw in what other wise has a lot occurring correctly. I think the coaching staff with so much young talent demands immediate attention.

    • wilbur

      That why you can’t win with a player like Castro. Whenever Castro makes a mistake, which is all too often, his defenders are out in force pointing fingers at rizzo, barney, the manager, the hitting coaches, the team president, anyone and everyone except their favorite little guy, Castro. All the others have to be scrutinized and criticized or it is somehow unfair to Castro, who just made a mistake. You hear this over and over and before you know it your team chances of winning are gone too. That kind of divisiveness is more erosive of team success than the original mistake, it tears a team apart. On a rebuilding team, that hasn’t won in one hundred years, has the weight of the world’s attention to beat as well as play championship baseball, you can’t have a player like that on your team. It’s not that he’s poison, or bad luck,, he’s probably just an oblivious kid with no clue what he’s doing to his team. The cubs front office knows and they aren’t going to intrust their entire rebuilding efforts around a shortstop who lets a cardinal player steal home on an infield fly. I’ll be interested to see how they repackage him enough to move him but to me it’s just one more unnecessary leftover Hendry headache this front office has to clean up. They’ve don a good job so far clearing the decks just aren’t fiinished yet.

  • BobbyMurcer

    Maybe it is just me, but I don’t think Casto loves playing baseball. I think he is physically gifted, but does not love the game nor does he truly understand the nuances of it. Obviously, he wanted to make all the money and get off of the island, but now that he has, he realizes that he just does not like playing baseball very much.
    Theo and Jed must now understand that he will never be the starting SS for a championship club. Let him go back to his old approach and trade him when his value is higher. Unless he has a major epiphany, he is destined to be what he currently is, a player that will never live up to his full potential and that is just good enough to break your heart.

    • GoCubsGo

      I’m sure you don’t know Starlin personally or have never met him. So you have no idea how much he loves or doesn’t love baseball. It’s not just that I disagree with everything you said. You just can’t assume he doesn’t love baseball.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        I think Castro loves butterflies and would like to have a butterfly net. I also think he loves baseballs, and doesn’t want to be cruel but striking them with a baseball bat.

        • MichiganGoat

          According to my source 80% of the time he loves baseball 100% of the time.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      I think Castro hates the FO for making him change his swing when he was doing just fine. He also hates Dale Svuem for many reasons.

  • Die hard

    When I criticized Castro over last 2 yrs everyone defended him—- when I did again early this spring same defense– when I raised same concerns over and over throughout this yr same defense— so now what?… Well you can’t jump on my bandwagonπŸš›πŸš›πŸš›πŸš›πŸš›πŸššπŸššπŸššπŸššπŸššπŸšš

    • Jimmy James

      Ain’t nobody jumping on something your driving ;)

      • MichiganGoat

        Idk going for a ride on the BellyFire Express would be a hellva ride.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

      You need to kiss ass Castro is playing in the MLB for the next 10 years! 23 washed up like LOU Br\ROCK!

  • cub2014

    Castro has to find some sort of focus. Lots of changes
    this year mentally and personally, he received his money
    came into camp overweight has been trying to change his
    approach its been a nightmare. He wasnt an all star by accident
    he didnt hit .300 in the minors by accident. But he cant
    continue to make bonehead plays. Next year is a new
    year if this carries over then FO will have to address
    the SS situation. So please he isnt changing positions and
    Baez wont be replacing him for next year but you never know
    he could hit .100 the rest of the way then all bets are off.

  • MichiganGoat

    Here’s an idea: Instead of talking in uncertainties about Castro’s desire, psyche, who he likes, and who doesn’t like him how about we stick to the stats. There are plenty of stats that show a decline in skills and some that show that he’s starting to turn things around let’s discuss those things instead of letting our emotions turn our discussion into an immature ESPNy “debate” about BellyFire, TWTW, and scrappy levels. This site is better than this unless immaturity.

    ***btw some of you have done an amazing job of supporting your beliefs with solid stats- thank you***

  • MichiganGoat

    Two words I’m sick of hearing: Focus & Hustle – these words are part of the Scrappy Family of NOT Stats.

    • Tim

      They’re called Intangibles

      • MichiganGoat

        Those are ESPN stats

        • cub2014

          I think we all agree that Castro is having a lousy year.
          But for us Cub fans we had better hope he turns it around
          next year and he probably will.

          • MichiganGoat

            I agree with that statement, there are plenty of measurable stats that concern me about his future success. This is exactly what I’ve been saying: there is plenty of reason to be concerned about but to throw around pseudo-stats is a poor way to display those concerns.

            • caryatid62

              Unfortunately, the minute fans try to get into the head of a player/coach/GM, it’s just a matter of time before “he’s a struggling player” turns into “he’s a bad/lazy PERSON.” And this is when fandom gets absurd.

              • MichiganGoat

                +1
                This is why I love BN as a whole we rarely become those fans but the comments I read through this morning we’re full of pseudo-psychological theories. This morning the discussion has been a nice return to the BN we all love.

                • Kyle

                  Sports fans’ obsession with pretending to know the psychology of athletes comes from a very interesting.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor%E2%80%93observer_asymmetry

                  It’s the actor-observer bias. We have a strong tendency to label the results that other people accumulate as being based on innate personality tributes rather than the combination of circumstances.

                  It’s why people want to believe in things like clutchiness and some people just being “winners.”

    • jt

      “Two words I’m sick of hearing: Focus & Hustle – these words are part of the Scrappy Family of NOT Stats.”
      –MichiganGoat
      *
      The value of PED’s is not to make a player magically better at game time. They allow the player to train harder and recover faster.
      There are a lot of physically talented folks out there. Often the difference maker is the time spent in preparation. Sure, a lot of that is during the winter before the season starts. But for a SS it can be going over tendencies of the batter and runners just before the play begins.
      Willy Mays is just great to listen to. While chasing the Vic Wertz drive prior to making The ’54 WS Catch he was trying to figure out how to get his body into position to make the throw. He never worried about making the catch. His concern was the throw. That is the importance of focus.

      • MichiganGoat

        Um where did PEDs ever come into my comments?

        • jt

          “Um where did PEDs ever come into my comments?”
          –MichiganGoat
          *
          Your comments mentioned that focus was not a factor. PEDs allow an increase in focus on conditioning and training. Greenies allowed for increased focus during games.

  • Oswego Chris

    I am thinking of starting my own blog that will only be about Castro…it is amazing to me how polarizing this guy has become…

    • MichiganGoat

      Sadly Cub fans will always need a goat to blame.

  • cub2014

    Sorry Goat, how about “maintain concentration”
    instead of focus. I like Castro his success was
    no accident. But mentally he takes plays off. I am
    hoping that changes because he is an important
    piece of this rebuild.

  • Oswego Chris

    Oh…and my girlfriend’s cousin’s brother’s sister has a friend who saw Starlin at 31 Flavors last night and he said “he loves baseball”

    • MichiganGoat

      Perfect – but I heard it was at Starbucks and since Startbucks is classier than 31 Flavors the observation has more sincerity.

      • rockoutjerseys

        once my friend was at a rain delay so he went to RiVERS FRIGGIN CASINO and Saw Starlin there he frickin gambling during the rain delay

  • cub2014

    Oh and Goat baseball success isnt in
    anyway totally relegated to stats. I know
    you know how important intangibles are.
    Statistically immeasurable but real nonetheless.

    • MichiganGoat

      Intangebiles are what fans throw around when they can’t or don’t want to look at and analyze science. There are plenty of science to support being down on Castro but its just easier for some to buy into Hawk’s TWTW to display frustration.

      • cub2014

        What statistical error did Castro commit when he
        forgot to throw home. What assist did Dejesus receive
        when he spoke to Castro when he was benched.
        Intangibles……….I am assuming you are kidding when
        you say your total focus is on stats.

        • MichiganGoat

          I’m not kidding when I’m looking at players value I don’t try to play psychologist- his stats are bad right now, focus on that because if his stats looked good we would be obsessing about this bonehead play.

          • cub2014

            His stats are bad but is it an erosion of skills.
            (highly unlikely) then what is it? His approach,
            his sudden wealth at 23 (from poverty to a multi
            millionare). We don’t know these are things that
            cant be measured.

            • MichiganGoat

              If finecto observe them, consider them, and attempt to measure them but until we can find a way to quanify them into a new sabermetric its foolish to make unfounded conclusions. His mistake cost is a run and that gets figured into stats but to try and use intangibles are the rationale is just lazy.

              • cub2014

                Somethings are left to the “eyetest”. Probably
                better served on letting the FO and managers
                handle that, they know what goes on everyday
                we don’t.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Exactly – that’s all I’m asking for us fans to consider before we start to throw out scrappy stats.

              • caryatid62

                While intangibles certainly do exist and surely do have an impact on a game, the idea the idea that we as fans can tell (a) what they are and (b) how they impact the game, by spending the equivalent of 20 minutes a day (which is roughly how much time we actually see a single player on television) with a person is impossible.

                When people write about intangibles, its a lot more about the writer (or the story they’ve constructed) than about the subject they’re writing or talking about.

                • MichiganGoat

                  I also say it’s lazy journalism when a writer starts to throw the intangible word around.

                  • cub2014

                    Intangibles cant be measured, everyone
                    is different. One person could face 5 years
                    in jail and they are calm and cool another
                    person may freakout if they have to go to
                    traffic court. But they do exist and they do
                    affect individual and team success. But the
                    casual observer can only speculate on what
                    they are.

                    • cub2014

                      We should speculate on something more
                      fun like what our AAA and AA rosters will
                      look like to start 2014. Lots of talent headed
                      that direction.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Then why try to measure them? Anytime you have to speculate you’re on a dangerous journey into ESPN Land of stupid “debate.”

                    • Kyle

                      Whether people are calm or not can be measured.

                    • jt

                      “Intangibles cant be measured, everyone
                      is different. …they are calm and cool another
                      person may freakout .”
                      –2014
                      *
                      But guys don’t make it to the show if they freak out because they have seen a spider.
                      Guys do tire both physically and mentally at different rates. That you can measure by consistency of performance.

          • jt

            “I’m not kidding when I’m looking at players value I don’t try to play psychologist- his stats are bad right now, focus on that because if his stats looked good we would be obsessing about this bonehead play.”
            –MichiganGoat
            *
            I don’t look at his psychology either. I look at his game logs. Lots of columns that translate to straight lines shows a guy that steadily playing either up or down to his abilities. If the columns translate to sine curves… well then there is a problem somewhere.

  • Cubbie in NC

    I think that it has to come down to Baez. Is he good enough to stick at short? If he is you talk up Castro for the rest of the year, and trade him for pitching in the offseason. If Baez cannot stick at Short then you stick with Castro. If he puts up the numbers next year that he is this year, on offense and defense you are going to lose value if he is not your guy long term.

  • cub2014

    Every one relax on the trade Casto movement.
    If Castro has success and you trade him then you
    are looking at having 2B-SS-3B as all unknown
    quantites. (yes these rookies look good) but who
    knows what their future success will be.

    • MichiganGoat

      Agreed, just because he frustrated people doesn’t mean we should just fire sale his ass.

  • caryatid62

    I think there’s more than enough material to discuss how Castro’s season, from strictly a PERFORMANCE standpoint, has been an unmitigated disaster. Jumping into his head is utterly unnecessary.

    • MichiganGoat

      +1

      • cub2014

        This is my last comment on intangibles….
        (I know you will all be happy) they are REAL
        and they greatly contribute to success or
        failure.
        (confidence in your ability, is possibly #1)

        But we can only SPECULATE in each individual case
        Thus part of goats argument in a nutshell.

        • True blue

          I agree intangibles are very important. I think the Cubs management would agree with you. They are looking for players who have good character.

  • True blue

    In my opinion, management has made the mistake with Castro. We had a young 22 year old shortstop that was on pace to have 200 hits a year. They thought so highly of him, that they gave him a large contract when it wasn’t warranted yet. Instead of focusing and developing his strengths as a hitter, the Cubs focused on his weaknesses. This will always impact a persons strengths. You can choose any profession. Of course we want to minimize and improve a persons weakness but it shouldn’t happen at the expense of their strengths. I understand the Cubs Way but Castro was not going to fit that mold as a hitter. Management should have accepted that or not signed him to a long term contract as they looked for our future shortstop.

  • Die hard

    The smartest player Cubs has is Barney– for the umpteenth time going back 2 yrs if they move him to his natural position SS then they can afford to carry his light bat by putting hitters all around him– the way Castro excels at fly balls again for the umpteenth time he belongs in CF which will then alleviate pressure so he can start hitting again—

  • True(ly) Blue

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could put Barney’s baseball acumen and situational awareness into Castro’s brain!

  • SenorCub

    It’s going to be a very long 7 years with Castro. You thought people wanted Soriano out of here, just wait another year with Castro and it will be unbelievable unbearable to watch him. The kid is completely lost out there. He is always 0-2 as he swings at anything. Just looks completely foolish. The mental lapses have been well documented.

  • Since 58

    Disagree with Castro’s issues centering around “mental lapses.” He looks slow and sluggish even w/o the mental lapses. For a 23yo with major league tools and physique he just looks more like a tired 35. Don’t see how Sweum or Rowson or Theo for that matter can be accurately evaluated until the team is more competitive. But Castro looks like he’s fallen into that same old Cubbie comfort zone as dozens b/4 him. Well paid and fundamentally unsound. My sense is he’s not “getting his rest” to use the cliche and mgmt. knows it and is not happy.

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