Friday, May 29, 2009

Come To Think Of It: Cubs' Zambrano Gets Suspended; So Should The Umpire

by Bob Warja

Bud Selig's enforcer crew, led by MLB's "Czar of Discipline", Bob Watson, have suspended Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano for six games. Big deal, he won't even miss a start.

But what is a big deal is the fact that, while Big Z's punishment was deserved, the umpires need to be reigned in. Yet baseball does nothing to address this issue.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Jake Fox Will Fit In with the Cubs

by Ryan Winn

The recent call-up of Cubs' power-hitting prospect Jake Fox has fueled plenty of speculation about how he will fit Chicago's mold. With Derek Lee and Micah Hoffpauir occupying his comfort zone at first base, it would appear that Fox is a square peg squeezing into a round hole.

However, there is one area Fox may cover perfectly while he enjoys his time in the majors—go-to pinch hitter.

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What Was Cubs Manager Lou Piniella Thinking Last Night?

by Mark Strotman

Last night, the Chicago Cubs fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field for their eighth straight loss. Ryan Dempster, Chicago’s starting pitcher, was roughed up for six runs in just four innings of work.
In the bottom half of the fourth inning, Bobby Scales pinch-hit for Dempster and flew out to right field.

That’s where things got interesting.

Relief pitcher Jose Ascanio came in to pitch the top of the fifth inning, where he was due up fourth in the next inning. Ascanio had a rough inning, giving up three straight one-out hits before getting out of the jam.

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Chicago Cubs' Reed Johnson tutors Milton Bradley


Milton Bradley credited Reed Johnson for a verbal kick in the butt that got him going Monday night.

Johnson said Tuesday that one of the things he told Bradley was to shrug off a bad call by the plate umpire.

"I told him, if you get behind in the count 0-1, you've got to believe in yourself that you're a good enough player to overcome one bad call in an at-bat," Johnson said. "If you fall behind because an umpire, you think, makes a bad call, that doesn't mean you have to shut down your at-bat and that at-bat is over."

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Forget the Hawks -- what's wrong with the Cubs?

Forget the Hawks -- what's wrong with the Cubs?

Rotisserie By the Numbers: Jake Peavy Peeves His Fantasy Owners

by Craig Rondinone

Jake Peavy has a lot of nerve.

Peavy would rather pitch in a ballpark spacious enough to host a Fielder family reunion than pitch at a place that sometimes turns simple fly balls into three-run homers.

He prefers to pitch against top-heavy lineups where light-hitting shortstops and lighter-hitting opposing pitchers make for easy outs. And he chooses to pitch against batters he is familiar with and knows how to get out instead of facing a league full of All-Star sluggers he knows nothing about.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicago Cubs Winter of Lies: A Better Bullpen and More Balanced Offense


The sensation is like finding out your girlfriend cheated on you, the gut-wrenching agony when you know something had promise until the underlying reality collapses the house of cards.

That's how Cubs fans feel every time Lou Piniella goes to the bullpen.

The implosion has actually become the event at Wrigley Field these days. It is no longer how the bullpen will lose the game, but how and who will carry the responsibility.

It's only Memorial Day, but hope on Chicago's North Side is starting to carry the mention of Jay Cutler more than October baseball.

But only the naive or insanely committed fans didn't see this coming. The moves Cubs GM Jim Hendry made were ridiculous this past winter, and now the play on the field is reflecting his empty attempts to reinvent the wheel.

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Iowa Cubs Insider: Cats' Patterson keeps eye on Cub organization


Eric Patterson doesn't hold grudges - he still checks up on his buddies in the Chicago Cubs' organization.

"You cannot imagine how happy I am for Bobby Scales," said Patterson, formerly with the Iowa Cubs and now a member of the Sacramento River Cats. "His call-up was awesome, just awesome."

Patterson played in the Cubs' organization, including Iowa, four seasons before being traded with pitcher Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton to Oakland for Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden.

"It was my first trade, and it was an eye-opener," Patterson said of what happened last July 8. "I didn't expect it at all, but what's done is done.

"The Cubs saw it as an opportunity to improve their team."

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Chicago Rivalry Extends Down to Double-A

By Josh Dorsey

There is no wind; Sevierville’s 14,788 residents wouldn’t fill half of Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field; and no one is confusing the Hampton Inn that overlooks Smokies Park with the historic Wrigleyville rooftops.

Nevertheless, the future of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry was on display on Saturday when the Smokies donned the colors of their big league affiliate during “All Things Chicago Night” at Smokies Park.

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Struggling Cubs forced to scratch Lee

Recently surging slugger falls ill before Sunday's finale

By Sandy Burgin

As if losing six games in a row wasn't bad enough, the Chicago Cubs lost their cleanup hitter on Sunday when Derrek Lee got sick and was scratched from the starting lineup just before first pitch.

Lee, who is sporting a seven-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .444 (12-for-27), was replaced at first base by Micah Hoffpauir. Milton Bradley, who was originally batting fifth, was moved to the cleanup spot and Reed Johnson, getting a start in center field, was moved from third in the batting order to fifth.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cubs slugfest with Phillies was a great game

By Mike Cunniff

The game was played on a Thursday.

With the wind blowing out to left.

No ... BLOWING out to left.

A day in Wrigley Field when the hitters stride to the plate with a big smile on their faces.

And pitchers, if they were smart, would all of a sudden develop a severe case of Mark Prior disease.

Chicago Cubs starter Dennis Lamp did not get out of the first inning.

In fact, Lamp got only one out while giving up six runs that included a pair of three-run homers by Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt and catcher Bob Boone with one out. Cubs reliever Donnie Moore got another out before surrendering a solo homer to Philadelphia starter Randy Lerch.

Lerch walked out to the mound with a 7-0 lead before even throwing a pitch. And then promptly wishing he could keep the ball in his glove. Lerch suffered the same fate as Lamp, being shelled from the hill as the Cubs scored six times that included a three-run homer by Dave Kingman. Lerch gave up five of the tallies before Doug Bird came on.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chicago Cubs might be the most valuable team in baseball

by Kenneth Zenger

The Chicago Cubs deal still isn’t done while the season continues ticking along. The Cubs are obviously a valuable baseball franchise but that value seems to be difficult to calculate. While experts try to calculate the actual value of the team, the Cubs sale is locked in a state of limbo. The key points still in question regard the fair-market broadcast value of the team. The pending sale, which includes the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball franchise, storied Wrigley Field, and a percentage of regional cable network Comcast Sports, is currently estimated to be around $850 million.

However, the two sides, the Ricketts Family and the Tribune Company, can’t find common ground on the multi-year agreement to broadcast Cubs games on the Tribune Company’s WGN television network. This disagreement is understandable as the Tribune Company has held the team as an asset since they purchased the team from the Wrigley family in 1981 and they do not have experience with the valuation of these rights. The Tribune Company’s agreement between the Chicago Cubs and WGN basically allowed for the Tribune Company to set the price at whatever level best suited their books. After the sale, WGN will need to be paying fair-market value which undoubtedly is much higher than what they are used to.

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Runs are scarce for Chicago Cubs


At least one thing is constant about the Chicago Cubs. If they don't score at least four runs in a game, they don't win.

The Cubs have tallied three or fewer in a game this season 14 times and have lost all 14. The last two nights, they haven't even come close to three runs, let alone more.

The Cubs have totaled only nine hits in the first two games of a three-game series with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. And one run in two games — that came in an aborted ninth-inning rally Wednesday — leaves manager Lou Piniella a very unhappy man.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chicago Cubs lose 2-1 to Cardinals

Milton Bradley frustrations mirror Cubs'

By Paul Sullivan

ST. LOUIS -- After the Cubs lost 2-1 to St. Louis on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, Derrek Lee asked the media not to blow things "out of proportion."

But after three straight losses and a grand total of one run over their last 18 innings, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he was close to making some changes, including sitting Lee and catcher Geovany Soto.

What can be done about the Cubs' offense?

"I don't know. I don't know," Piniella replied. "I've thought about it a lot. Believe me, while everybody is sleeping, I'm up. I've got to be as patient as I possibly can to give these people ample opportunities to shake out of it. But sooner or later ...

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Chicago Cubs get only 3 hits in 3-0 loss to St. Louis Cardinals

Winner Joel Pineiro throws only 92 pitches

By Paul Sullivan

ST. LOUIS -- Minutes after watching his team get shut out on three hits Tuesday night in a 3-0 loss to St. Louis, Cubs manager Lou Piniella was all dressed and ready to go.

It may have been a coincidence, but the whole team looked like it was ready to get out of the park, making Joel Pineiro throw only 92 pitches in a complete game.

"There were a lot of quick outs," Piniella said. "I don't think they had to make very many good plays. Made it look very easy."

So was it Pineiro, or was it the Cubs?

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Tom Ricketts Buys Chicago Cubs, Jake Peavy Next?

by Bullpen Brian

It’s taking three banks to help Tom Ricketts finance his purchase of the Cubs.

Think about that for a second. Not one, not two, but three banks. That’s some kind of coin.

The Cubs’ price tag is $900 million. Ricketts needs $450 million to close the deal—that’s where the three banks come in.

What can’t you buy for $450 million? Seriously.

Here’s a better question: What can the Cubs afford to buy at the trade deadline?

Word is, if the deal stays on schedule it will be completed in July. If all holds true, Ricketts becomes the Cubs’ new owner and top dog before the non-waiver trade deadline.

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The Five Best and Worst Things About the Chicago Cubs

By Aaron Schafer

The Cardinals are in full free-fall mode, having just been swept by the Milwaukee Brewers, and now they get to host the Chicago Cubs, defending division champs, as a reward. The longest streak without a championship continues into 2009 -- any drunk Cardinal fans can be heard squawking "1908!" during this series -- but is this the Cubs' year?

They've certainly not run away and hidden with the division so far the way many of the national analysts predicted; in fact, at the moment, they're not even leading the race. Of course, who is leading in May doesn't really mean all that much. So is Chicago still the team to beat?

Five Reasons Chicago Will Win the Central Division:

1. They're the Most Talented
The Cubs still have the best overall base of talent in the NL Central. Whereas the other contenders all have strong and weak points, the Cubbies are strong on both sides of the ball. They haven't shown it yet, but it's only a matter of time until that talent all starts clicking at once.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ricketts lines up backing to buy Cubs

Billionaire has agreements with three banks for $450M

CHICAGO -- Tom Ricketts apparently is close to lining up three banks to arrange the $450 million financing needed to finalize his family's purchase of the Chicago Cubs.

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Report: Cubs buyer set to finish deal

Tom Ricketts, who is buying the Chicago Cubs, has arranged $450 million in financing from three banks to finish the deal, according to the Sports Business Journal.

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Carpenter will start Wednesday for Cardinals against Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter(notes) will make his first start since leaving an April 14 outing in Arizona with a torn muscle in his left side. He suffered the injury hitting but insisted Sunday he is able to swing and plans to do so against the Chicago Cubs, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicago Cub Alfonso Soriano Gets Involved At WWE Judgment Day Pay Per View

Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano got involved at Sunday's WWE Judgment Day pay per view in the Windy City thanks to The Miz who made him the subject of his verbal tirades.

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Living the Dream: Long Journey Worth the Wait for Cubs' Rookies

by Pat De Marco

Last year at this time, Micah Hoffpauir and Randy Wells were beginning their sixth year of minor league baseball, while Bobby Scales was beginning his eighth year of minor league baseball.

Today, all three find themselves contributing to a championship contending baseball team.

With Aramis Ramirez out with a dislocated shoulder, 33-year old rookie Bobby Scales is hitting .381 with 1 HR and 5 RBI. On Saturday, Scales scored the game winning run after leading off the bottom of the ninth with a walk.

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Chicago Cubs Community Roundtable: April Cubs Analysis

by Bob Warja

At the end of April, I asked several of our top Cubs writers to give me their overall impressions of the team after about one month. I want to thank the following writers for producing this analysis: Tab Bamford, Pat De Marco, Ricky Butts, Ryan Winn, Kane Simmons, Paul Swaney, Brian Livingston, and Jacob Nitzberg.

I will list the questions asked of our community, first showing the overall results (where applicable) and then a break-down of some of the most intriguing comments received. Keep in mind that these comments were received between Apr. 30 and May 6, so some of the references may not reflect recent activity.

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Chicago Cubs beat Houston Astros after Kevin Gregg blows 4-run lead

Alfonso Soriano knocks in Bobby Scales in 9th inning for 5-4 victory

By Dave van Dyck

When he was returning to the Cubs' dugout after pulling Kevin Gregg in the frightful ninth inning Saturday, Lou Piniella stopped long enough to have an animated "chat" with a fan.

"He wasn't very happy I kept Gregg in the game for as long as I did," the manager said. "And I told him just to please enjoy the game and let me manage ... in a little stronger words than that."

But all's well that ends well -- even if your name is Randy Wells and Gregg denied you your first big-league victory -- because Alfonso Soriano saved 40,548 other fans from hurling their own insults with a game-winning hit.

Soriano singled home Bobby Scales in the bottom of the inning for a harder-than-necessary and odder-than-ordinary 5-4 victory that went to starter-turned-part-time-reliever Sean Marshall even though he faced only one batter.

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Carpenter could pitch Wednesday against Cubs


ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter could throw a bullpen session Sunday that likely would be his final tuneup before he returns to the St. Louis Cardinals rotation.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Saturday that Carpenter is a candidate to pitch Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, which would then put him on a schedule to face the Milwaukee Brewers in his next outing May 25.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Houston Astros at Chicago Cubs

Season series: Cubs lead 4-1.

Friday: 1:20 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9.

RH Brian Moehler (0-2, 8.44 ERA) vs. RH Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00).

Saturday: 12:05 p.m., CSN.

RH Roy Oswalt (1-2, 4.50) vs.

LH Sean Marshall (1-2, 4.06).

Sunday: 1:20 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9.

RH Felipe Paulino (1-3, 6.93) vs.

RH Rich Harden (4-1, 4.54).

Who's hot: Bobby Scales has hit safely in his six games as a Cub, batting .444 with five RBIs. Milton Bradley is hitting .320 with a .600 slugging percentage in his last seven games. Astros outfielder Michael Bourn was 17-for-49 in May (.347) entering Thursday.

Who's not: Derrek Lee is 0-for-7 since returning from his neck injury. Oswalt has a 6.00 ERA over his last three games.


Randy Wells not content just to be on Chicago Cubs

He wants to prove his worth further to manager Lou Piniella

Randy Wells knows no matter what happens Friday in his second start, he still will be on the team when Carlos Zambrano returns from the disabled list next week.

Manager Lou Piniella has said Wells either will remain in the rotation or move to the bullpen.

"It's comforting, but at the same time, I don't want to take any edge off," Wells said. "I'm not going to look at it as if I pitch badly Friday or don't have a good start that I'm still going to be here. I'm pitching every day like it's my last day and I'm fighting for a job.

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Chicago Cubs beat San Diego Padres in 11-3 rout

By Paul Sullivan

Milton Bradley unknowingly may have coined a new slogan for the 2009 Cubs after his two-game suspension was cut in half Thursday:

"It figures."

Bradley was referring to his belief Major League Baseball holds him more accountable than other players because of his reputation as a prime-time instigator.

But he may as well have been referring to the unpredictable Cubs, who completed a sweep of the Padres with an 11-3 victory at Wrigley Field.

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Bradley suspension reduced to 1 game

Milton Bradley's suspension was reduced from two games to one by Major League Baseball on Thursday, but that didn't make him any happier. The Chicago Cubs outfielder still feels he was a victim of his reputation as a hothead.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blog Offers Gear and Accessories to Enhance Your Experience When Watching MLB Games

MLB fans all over the country love their MLB teams so much that they virtually fund a whole sub-industry over and above supporting the game of MLB – that is of course the retail of MLB Shop, related merchandise. MLB memorabilia, gear, and accessories is a billion dollar a year industry – that’s a lot of money for a game to generate.

When fans watch MLB games, it’s obvious that people enjoy the experience quite a lot. What’s there not to like? There are hotdogs, soda, peanuts, candy, beer, pretzels, and a whole lot more treats to be had. Then of course there’s the MLB game itself, the players, the action, the adrenaline rush of watching your favourite team and cheering yourself hoarse to try and will them to victory. All those things are enough reason to love going to MLB games, but of course, there’s more out there that can enhance the experience for you as a fan. That is where MLB merchandise comes in.

MLB merchandise’s sole purpose is to enhance the fan’s feeling of connection with the game, most especially their favourite team. Good thing there’s a place online, like that can provide you with accessories, gift items, and even jewelry, that is dedicated to MLB.

MLB Accessories

What makes MLB accessories fun for people? For one, it makes fans feel like part of a group, a community. It gives them a sense of camaraderie when they are together with fellow fans. And nothing makes a fan happier than displaying their team allegiances for everyone to see. Fortunately, you can get a whole range of MLB accessories from the site.

Here are a few samples:

You can add a dash of team spirit when you come to the office wearing a tie that features your favourite club. Why not drive down to the office wearing officially licensed team sunglasses with matching soft carry case? If you’re more on the techie side, there are even team color-coordinated iPod and mobile phone protectors available. And for the ladies, there are nice little velvet pouches with team logos where you can organize and carry all your girly stuff, and then safely tuck it into your bag.

To complete your ensemble, there are all sorts of cool MLB accessories such as belt buckles, key chains, lighters, and even stationery such as pads and penholders. Not only will you be getting quality accessories, you’ll be showing everyone just how much you love the game and your team.

MLB gifts

MLB related items are great as gifts too. For a Die Hard Fan, nothing beats getting MLB gifts, no matter what the occasion is. Imagine this, a team themed holiday tree, with MLB game related presents!

For the kids, there is back-to-school gifts such as lunch boxes with their favourite ball club or favourite player displayed up front. For the MLB fan with a flair for interior decorating, there are some nice decorative items available such as 3D tabletop ornaments of team logos, bobble-head dolls of your favourite players, and even some nice and sparkling fiber-optic laser ornaments. And of course, for the MLB fan who loves collecting memorabilia and collectibles, there are a host of choices that will make you salivate with glee. You can have everything you can possibly think of, from mini replica helmets to trinket boxes with logos. For more serious collectors who would like to invest in high value memorabilia, there’s a fine collection of minted items such as commemorative coins, championship coins, and photo mints of your favourite players. These last items come in limited editions that will surely be more valuable after a few years.

MLB jewelry

If all that is not enough, then maybe you’d like to take a gander at the available jewelry – yes there is a jewelry section on the site and it offers a rich assortment of items that can be used to accent most anything you can find in your wardrobe. You’ll be surprised to find our MLB jewelry encompasses toe rings, bracelets, necklaces, and even classy leather and silver watches for both men and women.

If you want to impress your girl, who you know is also an avid MLB fan, a pair of earrings that bears her favorite team’s logo is sure to impress. You can even tell her that in fact, the pair you gave is made from authentic jewelry grade silver (in some cases at least). Or better yet, get a complete set - everything from toe ring, bracelet, necklace, and watch to complete her team look when you go to that next game you have planned for the weekend. There’s also a great selection of watches for the guys, in almost all styles imaginable.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who Are These Guys and What Have You Done with My Chicago Cubs?

by MGb Chicago

When evaluating the Cubs lineup this year, one has to start with this one inescapable fact—every move that Jim Hendry made from last October until this April was pretty much a complete disaster. From the lefty obsession to the dismantling of the bullpen, Jimmy did not do well.

As much as we’d like to believe that Milton Bradley is the answer it’s just not the case.

Yes he is a switch hitter, and yes he did lead the league in OBP and OPS and POU (Pissed Off Umpires) last year, and yes he’s a hot head, but not one single analyst in the offseason could get past all that to get to one simple fact—he played 20 games in right field last year. 20. Because he was injury prone.

The only reason he hasn’t been on the DL this season is presumably so that Jim Hendry does not have to acknowledge the extremely large mistake he made in signing a guy to play 70 games for 10,000,000 dollars.

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MLB: Chicago Cubs 4, Milwaukee 2

Alfonso Soriano's two-run third-inning homer Sunday keyed a 4-2 win by the Chicago Cubs over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The victory helped Chicago avert a three-game sweep at Milwaukee's Miller Field.

The Cubs scored all of their runs in the third, with Milton Bradley hitting an RBI single and one run scoring on Jason Kendall's two-out throwing error.

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