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Bud
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(Sorry Tim...if this is too "hot" for CB, just delete and I'll understand) I just realized...I missed the NBA Championship, won tonight by the Lakers. I'm watching a good Vikings @ Seahawks game. And I'm switching off to watch the Rays vs. the Ass-tros. Our team (that would be anyone playing the Ass-tros) is up 2-1 after 7 innings. Two good ballgames. Then my phone just "dinged" to alert me that the Lakers won the NBA Championship. I never watched - and the NBA playoff ratings have cratered, so it's not just me. I just wasn't interested. Now some people would accuse me of some anti-BLM motivation because I prefer to watch MLB and NFL. Sorry, but that's BS. Sports fans just want to see good games (ANY sport). Sports fans who are social activists also want to see good games. But social activists who are NOT sports fans want to turn sports into a soapbox for activism. It'll never work. Let me give you an analogy: If Donald Trump bought the Cubs and then made the players all wear MAGA hats (and the league was dumb enough to allow it) as much as I love the Cubs, I wouldn't watch. And a lot of Trump supporters would also not watch. We watch the games to ESCAPE the angst we encounter in our everyday life. It's not that we don't care about the pressing issues of everyday life. It's just that we want more (or maybe less?) from the games we watch. The NBA will make changes...I guarantee it. So will America.
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Thanks Tim... Your take on this season is the same as mine, and I suspect most of the Cubs fan base. We all needed this "season" as an escape from all the other negativity in the world today. I would have loved for our team to advance deeper into the playoffs. But I can't tell you how grateful I am to have been able to watch or listen to those 62 games that somehow transported me back to a simpler, less angst-ridden time. As for the future of the team, I'm not sure I buy into the recently proposed criticism that our bats can't handle today's pitching velocity. Just because some 22 year-old phenoms (see Tatis,Jr., Soto, Robert, et al) have faced more 99 mph pitching does not mean that gifted athletes like Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, et al can't adapt to different pitch selection and strategy. Besides, if you want to be overly-ready to jump a 97 mph 2-seamer, I know some guys like Hendricks and Darvish and Kershaw who can still tie you up in knots. Do we need different ballplayers? Maybe. Do we need a different offensive strategy? Probably. Will I be back next year to watch my Cubbies? God willing - yes! Thanks Tim...and now go Bears (with their new U-of-A QB)!!!
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2020 on Poof. There went the Cubs season. at Cubby-Blue
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OK...I'm baaaack!!! The comments section is open for business! I have no time this morning for any in depth comments, other than that I've never felt so confused about our Cubbies as I am right now. How good (or how bad) is our offense, and now our bullpen? Injuries? / Wacky season? No fans? Maybe we can win the strangest WS Championship ever? Guess what? I'll take it!
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2020 on What the heck is going on, Cubs? at Cubby-Blue
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OK question #1: How happy are we to see the Cubs performance so far? Answer: The word ECSTATIC comes to my mind! OK now, how about question #2: How the heck are they gonna end this season and declare a champion if they don't even know how to START this season? Answer: I don't think they know. You want weird? Look at the standings today in the NL East. Miami is 2-1 in the THREE games they've played so far. Atlanta is 7-4 in the ELEVEN games they've played so far. Will Miami be able to play a "full" 60 game season? If not, how do they construct the final standings? Right now in the NL East, Miami is listed in FIRST place but is 1 game BEHIND 2nd place Atlanta...huh??? I kid you not...
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Ok...I'll say it. What in the hell is wrong with Craig Kimbrel??? Either he's still injured or after 10+ years as an all-star caliber closer he's converted himself into a batting practice pitcher. On second thought, a BP pitcher is supposed to be able to throw the ball over the plate. Oh well...so far he seems to have a better personality than Milton Bradley.
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Kyle...how good was that? I don't know that I've seen a guy step up as dramatically (and effectively) as what Mr. Hendricks delivered tonight. 1st place with just 59 games to play! Go Cubs!
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So what's worse? NO baseball? Or the Cubs dropping two meaningless "summer camp games" to the hated Sox? Well...I guess I'll take the losses compared to the last 4 months of suspended animation. But, watching Eloy Jimenez hit the grand salami off Yu in the first inning hurt pretty bad... especially when the guy we got for him is out of action trying to heal a severed nerve in his pitching hand. Prediction: the Jimenez trade will displace a certain Cubs / Cards trade made 56 years ago that is often cited as the worst trade the Cubs (or any team?) has ever made. Then again, maybe the Gleyber Torres trade will be in the running? After all, at least we still have the guy we got for Eloy (maybe).
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Yeah...that Conforto "oops slide" was probably preceded by the thought "Holy shit! I can't believe that sumbitch made that throw?!!!". Conforto made an all-star team in 2017. But when all is said and done, I think the Cubs drafted the right guy in 2014. Time will tell. How cool if they could end up as teammates?
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2020 on Cubs baseball games start in 10 days. at Cubby-Blue
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60 games...ANYTHING can happen! It's like you're playing 15 3 or 4-game playoff series to see who advances. All you need is for a pitcher to get hot (like Yu did at the end of 2019) or for a hitter to get hot (like Schwarber did at the end of 2019) and next thing you know, you've won 10 out of 12 games and you're sitting pretty! Speaking of Schwarber (and Michael Conforto) it's interesting to read that the Cubs had Conforto on their radar before they went with Schwarber in the 2014 draft. It's a small world, isn't it? Here's a video clip of Schwarbs throwing out Mr. Conforto at 2B a couple years ago. Pretty cool: https://www.mlb.com/cubs/video/schwarber-throws-out-conforto-c2104244683
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2020 on Cubs baseball games start in 10 days. at Cubby-Blue
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Half right...you guys should be detectives! Last hint: my guy was a higher draft pick. And he's younger.
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Sorry guys...he's not a Cub (yet). I'm just not sure his teammates would appreciate me "outing" him here as a guy who "loves to play at Wrigley". Suffice to say, I doubt any of us would be displeased to see him in a Cubs uniform! If you guess incorrectly, I'll tell you you're wrong. Hint: he had 33 HR's last year.
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A couple weeks ago I met an honest to goodness active MLB player (not a Cub, unfortunately). I won't mention his name here because I don't think our conversation was meant to be "on the record". But I'll just say he's one hell of a nice guy, friendly, easy to talk to, and absolutely zero attitude for a starting MLB star. So,I looked him in the eye and asked him "are you guys gonna play ball this year?" He replied "Yes, I truly believe we will...the guys all want to play". (This was just one day before Manfred declared the season would be 60 games, etc., etc.) Why do I post this? Well it's because I asked him when he'll be a free agent (2-years) and I told him I'd love to see him in a Cubs uniform! He just smiled...and then he said... "Wrigley is my favorite place to play...the fans are incredible!" Who knows?
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Is there a better day in a kid's life than when his hometown MLB team drafts him in the 1st round? I hope young Mr. Howard realizes how blessed he is - not 1 out of 10,000 kids who ever played baseball could come close to the skills that he was given by God (or whatever you believe in). As for MLB and the players impasse, we need someone more level-headed than what either side has demonstrated to step up and say:"look, we are gonna lose a shitload of fans if we piss away this season" (pardon my French). This is a tough time. Our country has been blindsided by this coronavirus, the economic meltdown that resulted, the horrible killing of George Floyd and the protests / riots that followed, and the now the potential loss of the one place we can escape from the ugliness that the world has to offer: baseball. Most of us remember the canceled 1994 season. All I can say is that I pray that, this time next year, we will be past all of our 2020 nightmares. I want to just come to Cubby-Blue again, with nothing to discuss but how well our Cubbies are doing. Play ball!
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2020 on Cubs #1 pick Ed Howard at Cubby-Blue
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I've washed my hands so much that the answers to my 7th grade history test showed up!
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Another comment worth considering (from my son): "Zoom might be interesting, but the best way to get the feel of a game is to have players mic'ed up". I agree...a ballgame with players, coaches and fans reactions artfully intermingled into the broadcast would be spectacular. The only caveat (for me) would be that I DO NOT like it when a ballgame broadcast cuts away from the action on the field and the camera is trained on the announcers, their witticisms and snappy banter with one another (can you say ESPN?). C'mon MLB...let's play ball... I'll watch!
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The Zoom idea has merit, Tim. It might look strange in the ballpark itself, but we fans wouldn't be in the ballpark itself, we'd be home watching on TV. In that case, a split screen with an inset of the Zoomers would give some sense of fan reactions and noise. And, on TV they can put in a 10-20 second delay of both the game and the Zoom-feed to weed out the creeps. Let's do it! And on a more somber note, for me the whole "testing" conundrum ignores one reality that's NOT being discussed. A negative test today does not prevent someone from contracting the virus tomorrow (especially after attending a sporting event). We'll NEVER have enough tests to repeatedly test everyone. We need therapeutics (treatments) and ultimately a vaccine. Bottom line, even with ten times the testing capacity that we have now, people are going to be paranoid about sitting in a tightly packed stadium or arena. This is gonna be a long haul. And even when it's supposedly "over" it won't be the same.
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Thanks Tim...great artwork (as usual). I love the pet paintings too! It's unbelievable, this frightening boat we're all in right now (call it "DC" - during corona). It WILL pass, but how much of what we once thought was most important will disappear along with it? As for baseball, did you read that they're playing in Taiwan in empty stadiums with cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats...I kid you not! Here's the story: https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29095335/baseball-full-swing-taiwan-even-empty-stadiums Strange times...stay well!
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Remember studying "Maslow's Pyramid" in Psych 101? There were 5 levels of human needs, and you're supposed to fulfill all the needs on one level before you can focus on the next higher level. The highest level, #5 was called "Self-Actualization" - some sort of state of transcendent nirvana. But it's a long climb to the top. Anyway, the bottom - lowest level included the "you can't live without it things" - like breathing, water, food, sex, sleep, shelter, safety, etc. It's all pretty fundamental but abstract stuff, until a time like this when you start constructing your own personal pyramid of needs. And you add a few things to your personal bottom level, stuff that YOU cannot live without. I had just two additions: Baseball and Toilet Paper...
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How will we know when this is over? I can distill it down to one thing - baseball. Sure we'll have experts reporting on the DJIA, GDP, Trade deficits / surpluses, Unemployment rates. There will be countless charts, graphs, trend lines, etc., etc. Talking heads will do what they do best - talk. But I'll know when America is back when I see 30-40,000 people sitting at Wrigley watching a ballgame and not afraid to be standing 6" away from other human beings in a beer line. We need to get lost in the joy and escapism of baseball again. It'll happen... and not too soon for me.
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Yesterday morning at 9:30 AM I was at the will-call tcket window at Sloan Park picking up tickets for Cubs ST games. Then 30 min. later MLB pulled the plug on Spring Training. This is surreal. All I can say is keep safe. And eventually we’ll get our beloved baseball again. Life is all about priorities. Always has been. More so now
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I know it's "just spring training", but one word comes to mind... Enigma. How to feel about (let alone explain) this performance so far in ST by our Cubs? Out of 30 MLB teams, Cactus and Grapefruit leagues combined, here's where our Cubbies stand; Offense: Batting Avg,: .283 (1st). Runs scored: 125 (2nd to Oakland w/ 128 (but they've played one more game than the Cubs). Pitching: ERA: 5.75 (tied for 27th) Runs allowed: 127 (30th = worst in MLB) You could argue that we are the best offensive team and the shittiest pitching team so far, based on spring training. Like I said...I know - it's OST (only spring training). But it's OST for everyone else too. I guess we'll know more starting a few weeks from now. Prediction: Happ and Almora will not both be in a Cubs uniform at the end of this year. Do we really need two 25 year-old promising players vying for the same regular starting CF position? You'd think that either of them could bring us a promising young pitcher? Oh, by the way, why not give Hendrick's the ball for opening day? I think he's earned it. Let's see if David Ross has the managerial chutzpah to tell his buddy Jon Lester that Kyle's getting the ball on day one? (And if he does, Lester will probably respond by shutting out the Brewers in game 2 on 3/28!)
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I just watched a MLB Now panel discussion hosted by Brian Kenny and a guest, Joel Sherman had an interesting idea as to how to stop this video sign-stealing for good. He called it "Amish baseball". Amish baseball simply means no electronic technology available to either team at any time during the game. The main objection was that managers rely on a phone connection to the video room to decide whether to challenge a play (while we wait). The answer given was right on the money!... The BEST thing about "Amish baseball" would be that the manager would have to rely on his own eyesight and his player's reactions to INSTANTLY decide whether to ask for a review. And we would lose the replay reversals I hate the most...the play where a runner's foot bounces 1/4" over the bag while the tag is being applied, or perhaps the hit by a pitch call where an ultra slow-motion replay shows that the pitch made the hitter's jersey sleeve move in a way that the human eye cannot detect. I could go on and on. Suffice to say that "Amish Baseball" sure sounds better than what we have right now. That's the easy stuff. The hard decision is what to do with the WS titles stolen by the Astros in 2107 (and perhaps the Red Sox the next year)???
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Seriously??? I'm sorry, but I'm just too much of an old school, old fogie baseball fan to base my hopes and expectations for a new season on something called: "Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm" I prefer a different acronym. I call it my: Good Old Commonsense Unnbending Belief Statement! (That's G.O.C.U.B.S.) Besides...isn't "Pecota" the hot sauce you put on your Mexican food?
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Yep...and of course we're all back, ready for this new season. Here's how I get past the anxiety that comes with so many unanswered questions. It's the same method that David ross and our 2020 Cubs lineup will employ. Just play ball Cubbies... That's right. Put on the uniform, go out there and play the games. Focus on staying healthy, doing your job and winning and all the other drama and questions will take care of themselves. Cliche? You bet. But every sport, every game is decided by how the competitors perform...not by what the sportswriters say, not by what the front office and the agents and the prognosticators would like. We'll win games one pitch, one play, one inning, one game and one dedicated teammate at a time. Screw the drama. Enjoy the season (one game at a time). Play ball...I'm ready.
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So we'd trade KB for Nolan Arenado? Really??? I'll try not to bore you with too many stats, but just compare the 2 guys: Bryant: Age: 28 / 5 year averages: .284 / 32 HR / 92 RBI / OPS .901. 5 yr. WAR: 25.1 (avg. 5.0 per yr) Contract: 18.6M for 2020. (2021 and beyond - ???) Arenado: Age: 29 / 7 year averages: .295 / 36 HR / 115 RBI / OPS .897. 7yr. WAR: 38.7 (avg. 5.5 per yr) Contract: 7 yrs. @ $34M / yr. avg. But wait, here's the real story. You have to consider the hitting advantage at Coors Field. It's mind-boggling...let's just look at OPS: Arenado: Home - 1.057 / Away - .866 Bryant: Home - .897 / Away - .909 Yep, that's right. Bryant is BETTER than Arenado on the road. The Coors Field hitters' advantage is indisputable. 2019 the Rockies hit .300 at home and .262 away. So since we already know this stuff (there's not a big difference in skill level. In fact some might argue Bryant is better?) - why would the Cubs do this? Simple. If they could convince the Rockies to cover some of Arenado's contract (like maybe $7-8M / yr.) the Cubs might come up with a guy with SEVEN more years of control for less net payroll than KB will command in 2021, and in his free agent contract to follow. I don't see it happening (bad financial deal for the Rockies). And I don't see a clear winner in terms of improving either ballclub. But, as with everything from here on forward, the analysis is not about skill levels...it's about money.
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