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Member Since 06 Aug 2012
Offline Last Active Apr 21 2014 12:55 PM

Topics I've Started

Back up the truck

16 April 2014 - 08:32 PM



For those who are too young, "Back Up the Truck" was the mantra of Leo Durocher when he took over the Cubs.  He proclaimed they were not an 8th place team and he was right, they finished in 10th place.  By the time he got them going they strung together a series of +.500 seasons that had not been bested for many years.


His contention was if guys were not doing the job why not give someone else a chance and he was right.  So far Sweeney, Kalish, Barney, Valbuena and some others are pathetic.  I know it is a short sample but a month from now if there is little improvement the cries will be overwhelming.   


Pitching has not been our problem, it is not only lack of hitting, but timely hitting.  The pressure to bring up some of the kids from the minors is going to be a huge drum beat if things don't turn around soon.  Junior Lake was a surprise.  Many thought he was brought up too soon and so far he has done better than expected.  I wonder if there are any more down on the farm who might surprise us.


Hopefully we will find out soon.


I can forgive the first game loss to the Yankees but the effort in the second one was maddening.  They looked like they were more interested in getting out of the cold than playing baseball.  I said to my wife one of the biggest differences between the Yankees and the Cubs is the Yankees expect to win and the Cubs expect to lose.  And why not based on performance?






Saw the Daytona Cubs in Tampa last night

13 April 2014 - 09:37 AM



I will leave the minor league reporting to Luke, he does a much better job than I could.  At the same time, I will share some observations.


My first surprise was I got the starting time wrong.  On the schedule it showed 6:00 and I assumed that meant Central time.  No, it does not.  It looks like they are scheduling the FSL games earlier as the upcoming Lakeland series starts at 6:30 and 10:30AM on getaway day.  That is much nicer for us; particularly when we drive all the way to Tampa.  Good news is we got there in time for the start of the game and the usher gave us two free tickets that another customer just handed her because they could not use them.


Game time temperature was 88 degrees.  In the car on the way over we listened to the Cardinals announcer bitch about going to Milwaukee where the high temperature will be 44.  I hope they get the flu and give it to the Brewers........j/k.  Perhaps he forgets the stadium has a roof on it.


In any event, here are some random observations..


Albert Almora and Rock Shoulders are the two position players who are 6' 2"; the two tallest position players on the team.  Even though it was a one game sample, it sure looked like Almora was head and shoulders the best position player on the field.  (Sorry Rock) Almora had a home run, double and stole a base.  He also struck out with the bases loaded.  He is the only player on either team roster born in 1994 so somebody else has to buy the beer.  


Zastryzny started and looked very good.  Got into and out of a couple jams and got the job done.  They won 7-1 and he had one walk and 5 K's.  They come to Lakeland at the end of the month and I hope we get to see him pitch again.


Shoulders is listed as an OF but played 1B while Vogelbach was the DH.  With three catchers on the roster they have 5 IF and 5 OF.


Oliver Zapata played LF and butchered a couple of fly balls badly.  Had he not done so Zastryzny might have had enough pitches left for another inning.  In addition he K'd twice.  He is 5' 9" and 21 years old.  I don't get where a guy that small would play LF, that is supposed to be a power, RBI position.  I doubt his name will become a familiar one for Cub fans.


Both shortstops showed some real athletic ability in the field.  Ours, Marco Hernandez hit 9th.  He is currently hitting .346 with no extra base hits.


I suppose I should mention Vogelbach.  He has obviously lost weight, yet he appears to have a bit more to go.  He did look semi decent on the bases and I got the impression they were working with him on his leadoffs etc.   He is to the point where you can now easily see his belt buckle on his uniform so that is progress.  He did hit one of the highest popups I have ever seen in my life.  Just my 2 cents but the Cubs should trade him to an AL team if they can get any good value.


And finally, I was impressed with the smart base running.  There were several times they took the extra base and the trailing runner also moved up because he was paying attention.  


Just my thoughts, not the kind of things you would read in the write up or box score.  Almora has a bright future and I feel Zystryzny does also.




It is time to call it the way I see it

04 April 2014 - 05:50 PM



After four games of Cubdom in 2014 I have come to a conclusion.  


I love them and will follow them win or lose despite what happens to my blood pressure.


With that being said, I have come to realize what I think is the real problem and it is not easily solved in the short term.  Name one position player in the starting lineup that is truly feared by the opposition?   I define that easily, it is the player you would consider walking late in the game even if you are putting the tying run on base.  Walking him is the lesser of the two evils because he could just flat kill you like Pujols/Berkman and many others have done to the Cubs over the years.


Until this team has some boppers with high RBI's with runners on base, we will not be a real threat in close games. That is not an oxymoron.  Soriano had high RBI but at one point a year or so ago he had like 20 home runs and 35 RBI's or something.  He was the king of the bases empty (and generally insignificant) home run that year.   About the only time we will see intentional walks would be to take advantage of a lefty/righty matchup that might be favorable.


Now, how and when do we get these guys?  Pirates have McCutcheon and we pitched around him.  Unless Rizzo and Olt start picking up their game, or Baez and Bryant are immediate slammers, we have a long way to go.  


You all know what I am talking about.  When Santo or Banks came to the plate, or ARam too, we just expected good things to happen.  It was more than just hope.  These guys produced consistently in the past and the other team knew it also.  


Does that mean we should spend a couple hundred million on a guy over 30?  I don't think so.  At the same time we will not be the consistent winner or contender until we have 2-3 of those type hitters in the lineup.


Who are they?


Where are they?




Salary tidbit

27 March 2014 - 09:29 PM


I am hoping Brett can confirm this. I would swear I saw where the team payroll is $89 million. Who is the highest paid? Soriano. It seems we are eating $13 million of his deal this year.

So next year, even with the same payroll we ought to be able to extend Samardzija and have change left over. If the revenue stream allows it to go to $100 million it will make a huge difference.


Thoughts on todays Cubs-Angels game today

25 March 2014 - 09:32 PM



We took the two youngest grandchildren to the game today.  Had their pictures taken by the marquee with their names on them.  They are 10 and 5.


Some random thoughts on the game.


1.  I have always been interested in Vogelbach and he went to Bishop Verot HS where my youngest went her freshman and sophomore year.  He has lost a lot of weight and it shows.  I'm glad he did not try to score from second on a single because he is still slow; however he does look a bit more athletic and smooth at 1B..  They tried to send him on a hit and run and mercifully the ball was fouled off.  He then got picked off.


2.  I was telling my ten year old grandson that Almora was a "ball hawk" and explaining what that meant.  Shortly thereafter he demonstrated it with a heck of a catch in CF.  He came off the field after some delay and I hope he is OK.  Have not had time to check.


3.  Had a clear view of the Junior Lake HR, what a shot.  It cleared the LF glass and hit the concrete sidewalk behind it   I have seen a lot of hard hit balls and my guess is that ball has a flat spot on it.


4.  We left at the end of 8 innings because we wanted to go  to Fountain Hills and see the fountain.  I told the family I would just as soon leave with the Cubs winning as opposed to watching them lose.  Darned if Stewart did not hit a HR.  He is not my favorite player these days after the way he behaved with the Cubs.


Practice games are just that, but they are fun to build memories with the little ones.




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