Tracking the Cubs through every peak and valley of the bane of their existence.
Packing My Bags
My life is one blessing after another. After toiling in relative obscurity for a couple of months, struggling with templates and other tech mishmash, I am humbled to announce that this CubTracker has been invited to bring his perspective to a well established and respected consortium of Cub Bloggers. Please check us out at View From the Bleachers. The link can be found to your immediate right just below the profile box.
I love to write and this is what I will be able to do over at The View. They already have someone who is actually qualified in all things computer. The Friday feature Thru Cub Eyes will continue as well.
Thank you for your support. See you at View From The Bleachers!
Grace and Law
My favorite t-shirt of all time boldly proclaims Christ is LifeEverything Else is Baseball Two passions intersecting at the nexus of my life. One faith. One team. This is an honest attempt to fuse the two. An epiphany. Cub fans can learn some pretty good theology if they pay attention to the lineup. I will explain in a bit.Writing to the churches in the region of Galatia, Paul pulls out all the stops to get the idea across that followers of Jesus Christ should live by faith and not by Jewish law the way they did before they trusted Christ as Lord and Savior. He reminds them that long long ago God made a binding agreement, a covenant, with Abraham.The Covenant was that God would bless the whole world thru him. This blessing is identified as salvation by Grace thru faith alone.No mention is made of the Law whatsoever. What does Abraham have to do in order to receive this special gift of God’s grace? Nothing. Just trust God that He will keep His promise. The moment Abraham had to do something to receive the promise, Grace would not be a gift but a wage and there is a big difference between the two.We struggle with this concept. We don’t like being beholden to anybody, including God. If we can feel like we worked for something, then it is truly ours.This is an ancient concept, this idea of Grace. The Law arrived on the scene in the days of Moses, long after Abraham. And I always thought Grace came way after law.This is where the Cubs really helped me to understand. Remember when the Cubs brought up a promising young first baseman named Mark Grace? We all do. We’re Cub fans.A couple years later, then they got a third baseman named Vance Law. Got it? Law at third, Grace at first. Law and Grace. If memory serves, Grace always batted before Law. Law came after Grace. I used to think it somewhat backward, that Law should bat before Grace to keep my theology straight. But it didn’t make good baseball sense and eventually I cam to realize that the Cubs had it right theologically all along. In baseball and the Bible Grace always comes before Law.Permit me, please to stretch this analogy a bit further. When Vance Law joined the team he did not try to take Mark Grace’s place. They were on the same team at the same time. Grace was there before Law put on a Cubs uniform. He was there while Law played as a Cub and Grace remained there long after folks forgot the name of Vance Law.What Paul is telling the Galatians in chapter three, verses 15-25 is that the Grace of God was alive and well long before the Law of Moses was in existence. The Law did not cancel out Grace, it did not take its place. And after the Law had served it purpose, Grace is still around and that is how God saves His children. We are saved by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ.Finally, I implore you to indulge me and allow one more parallel between these two passions of mine. If Vance Law could have carried the team to victory without Grace, the Cubs may have tried. But Law couldn’t. He didn’t even try. That wasn’t his purpose. Law and Grace shared a common purpose, to win the World Series crown.Paul in essence tells his readers in verses 21-24 that the purpose of the Law of Moses shares a common goal with Grace – spiritual victory. The crown of righteousness!Our Lord didn’t let Abraham down. He is a true and faithful God whose love for you is infinite. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place on the cross. Receive the gift of His grace today.Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and thank you for allowing me this time to bring together at one time and place these two loves of my life, Jesus Christ and the Chicago Cubs.[...]
My Mom & the Big Red Machine
Today is Mother’s Day so I thought I’d reminisce a little. Thanks for doing your best as a mother. You are only as good as the material you have to work with and I have to say you and Dad did great with us 5 boys.
Remember that time in 1975 when just the two of us went to Cincinnati for a couple of days? Dad and Brad went on a fishing trip and you knew how much I hate to fish so we set off and lo and behold we ended up at Riverfront Stadium for a double-header with the Cubs! I was 16 at the time and lived Cub baseball.
For some reason we didn’t get tickets ahead of time so we ended up sitting near the very top of the stadium and couldn’t tell a fly ball from a grounder. Remember how the sea gulls flew below us? The attendance that day was over 50,000. remember the lines to the bathrooms? So do I!
1975, wow. This was the year the Cubs had Bill Madlock, Rick Monday, Jose Cardenal, Manny Trillo and Pete LaCock. Meanwhile, the Big Red Machine was at full steam. Bench, Rose, Morgan, Tony Perez (as far as I know, no relation to Neifi) and just for kicks, Pedro Borbon.
Do you remember who pitched for the Cubs in game one, Mom? That’s right, Rick Reuschel, the ace of the staff. He almost won that game too, tossing a 4-hitter. He lost 2-1 on a Johnny Bench home run late in the game. The Cubs had bases loaded in the ninth but just couldn’t get that big hit when they needed it the most. I guess some things never change.
Mom, the second game was also a bust as the Cubs lost 8-5. the Reds’ bats woke up and smoked a tandem of Cub pitchers with names like Zahn (No, Mom, not Warren Spahn, I said Zahn) and Zamora and Watt and Frailing. I wonder what Oscar Zamora is doing today.
Well, Mom, I had a good time and I think that’s all you cared about. I’m sure it wasn’t your idea of an exciting way to relax and enjoy yourself but you were there for me and I will never forget it. In fact, don’t tell anyone but the best part was just being with you.
I love you.
Your Momma’s Boy,
Break Up the Brewers!
It’s not nice to toy with a Cub fan’s emotions like this. The only saving grace with Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Brewers is that it was played in early May and not late September with the division or wild card was on the line. Otherwise I’d be writing this post from a nearby trauma ward. Roller Coasters, Yo-Yos, what else gets jerked around, oh yeah, my emotional well-being while watching this game.Hey, Cedeno gets his first home run! Maddux surrenders runs in the first three frames.All right, Ramirez leads off the 6th with a double!Lee & Burnitz fail to advance the runner.Wow! Nice homer, Michael Barrett! Tied game.Uh oh. Helms first career at bat against Greg, home run. Brewers up 4-3.Two on, nobody out in the Cub 8th!Barrett’s sac bunt is just a fielder’s choice and Hollandsworth strikes out (and by arguing, gets tossed, giving Dusty the chance to put in Macias). Ben Grieve shines again, driving in Burnitz and the game is again tied!Weurtz gets hammered by Moeller. Brewers ahead by one.Down to their last out in the 9th, Aramis homers! Tied game again! Bottom of the 9th, LaTroy pitching, an infield hit, a sac bunt (paying attention, MB?) and a bloop just out of Hairston’s reach. Hit the showers, boys. Get ready for the Phillies.In retrospect, my feelings are more ambivalent than hurt. Guess I can now join the Todd Hollandsworth fan club.[...]
Thru Cub Eyes: Randy Hundley
Every Friday we peek into Cub History by selecting one player to tell us how it was in his own words. Banks, Kessinger, Beckert and Billy Williams have already been featured. These are excerpts from Carrie Muskat’s fine anthology Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Be sure to add this volume to your vast collection of fine Cub Literature.
My sense in ’69 was that we didn’t have enough pitching. I think, in retrospect – at the time we didn’t know anything about it – but I think Leo could’ve used his bench a little better. I think he could’ve used Paul Popovich at all the infield positions a little more to give all the guys a little break. He probably could’ve put somebody behind the plate for me a couple times. In ’69 I caught 155, 154 games. That’s a lot of ballgames. They’re not games I went in to substitute for. They were complete ballgames.
Todd had it on at a mighty young age. I don’t think he knew I was a player. I’ll never forget coming off a road trip in Cincinnati. It was like his fourth or fifth birthday, and my wife had signed him up for T-ball. I said, “What position did he sign up for?”
She said “He wants to be a catcher.” I don’t think he knew I was a catcher.
He knew he wanted to be a ballplayer when he was two. He constantly had a ball and glove in his hand. I was that way as a kid myself. My blood cells and Todd’s blood cells have baseball written all over them.
Todd and I used to work on a lot of fundamentals in our backyard. I used to throw balls to him in the dirt and he’d cry. I said to him “You told me you want to be a ballplayer, and if you do you’ve got to learn this stuff.” He worked hard at it as a kid.
Physically, I think people understand, but mentally I don’t think people comprehend what it’s like being behind the plate and trying to get a pitcher through a ballgame. Some days you just say, “This is going to be a long day,” and somehow or another you get through it. All the pitchers get all the glory for it.
C’mon, Let's Everybody Sing - - -
Twas beginning to look a lot like Christmas
On Wednesday night
A wild pitch scores Lee,
the Brewer one, you see
Now bases full in the bottom of the ninth!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Without all the fun.
But what does Dusty care?
“Let’s throw the kid out there!
So what if he walks in the winning run?”
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
For Milwaukee town
But Cubby fans are sad
This team can’t be this bad!
Please oh please, do not let us down!
Best Kept Secret – Victor Santos
Why haven’t I heard of this guy? Tonite’s Cubkiller (Yes, I am predicting a 4th consecutive loss sending the CBA to an even deeper level of despair and disgust) is Brewer hurler Victor Santos. He has been flying below the radar screen all year. Cub fans should salivate if somehow Hendry could pull off a deal that puts Santos in Cubby Blue.
If he was in the American League I would snatch him up on my fantasy team faster than Dusty Baker can say “Macias, grab a bat!”
I’m not looking at anything but this year. If I considered every other season’s performance I wouldn’t be touting Neifi so highly. Players can improve from one season to the next. So far Victor has had several quality starts. Only a miscue against the Cardinals (and they tend to mar a pitcher’s record) blemishes his 2005 output.
After four starts this year (and one short relief stint), Vic is 1-1 with a snappy 3.25 era. He is also holding batters to an anemic .200 average, good enough for 5th in the National League. His 1.01 WHIP ranks 6th in the league.
Santos faced the Cubs on April 10th and outpitched Greg Maddux but neither got a decision as the game went 12 innings, Cubs winning 6-5. He surrendered 3 hits and 4 walks. Hollandsworth, Burnitz and Ramirez were all hot that day.
I hope I am wrong. But Santos is going to do very well this evening, I suspect.
All-Star Write In SS Neifi Perez
I've been driving the Nifty Neifi Bandwagon from the start unlike other CBA soldiers so this campaign came out of the blue, Bleed Cubbie Blue & The Cub Reporter that is. I am including Rob Glowacki’s post in its entirety. Let's do it, Cub fans. Make Neifi an All-Star!A Call To Arms: All-Star Neifiby Rob Glowacki“There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what’s possible.”— Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) actually quoting Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) in “Field of Dreams”I think we as Cubs fans are in the midst of such an extraordinary moment of time. A moment none of us expected, a moment in which we can embrace and unite to do something so extraordinary that our children’s children’s children will one day speak of us glowingly.I am, of course, talking about writing-in Neifi Perez as shortstop on the National League All-Star team.The Cub Reporter, in partnership with Bleed Cubbie Blue, would like every single Cub fan out there to write-in Neifi Perez as the starting shortstop of the National League. Apathy is not an option here folks. This is a call to arms, a call to all Cubs fans to rise and be heard, to flex our collective muscle and rock the baseball world.Some of you may think that this is one of the greatest reversals of direction since Moises Alou was last picked off of second base, as we here at TCR have been (how to put this delicately), a bit critical of Neifi at times. Well to that we say a) lighten up and b) sponsorship of the "Write-in Neifi" campaign in no way shields Neifi Perez from future scorn. We all need a bit of levity in our lives and this is one such opportunity.Some simple guidelines to follow when entering your ballot:1) If you want to save time, skip over the AL Ballot.2) Do not choose a SS by accident from the NL list, leave it blank. Sorry, Nomar!3) Voting for other Cubbies is strongly encouraged.4) In the write-in section of the online ballot, ‘Neifi’ for First Name, ‘Perez’ for Last Name, ‘Chicago Cubs’ from the Select Club drop-down list, SS from the Select Position drop-down list. Do not enter Neifi at second and shortstop as you risk getting your ballot rejected.5) The online ballot auto-fills your picks based on your last picks, which should make it go by real fast. I entered 25 votes in about 10-15 minutes.6) Do it from work, home, friends computers, public libraries, etc. Spread the word, carry signs into Wrigley (and if you do, get a picture and we’ll put it up on the site), force family members, co-workers, whatever it takes.There you have it, go vote and once you do, drop a note in the comments or send an email as I’ll keep a counter on the site somewhere. So far I voted 49 times (screwed up once), plus what appeared to be another 100 votes from others when I mentioned this on Friday, added to whatever Al got over at Bleed Cubbie Blue. There are at least 2,000 visitors here a day which would get us to 50,000 votes right there. And yes we expect everyone one of you to vote. Then we expect you all to vote again when you go to the ballpark and tell everyone within hearing distance to do the same. Then do it again from either home or work depending on where you first cast your ballot and then continue to spread the word until there’s no one willing to talk to you anymore. And for those who think it’s impossible and a waste of time, Steve Garvey and Rico Carty were both write-in starters in the 70's and I think with the advent of the Internet, a write-in campaign is even more feasible nowadays.To (sort of) quote Arlo Guthrie:"You know, if one person, just one person goes to mlb.com and writes in Neifi Perez for shortstop, they may think he's really sick...if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people clickin' in, voting for Neifi, a[...]
Lamb Chops Up Prior
In a meltdown reminiscent of the Bartman game, Mark Prior proved Sunday that he is indeed human and does not have a big “S” plastered underneath his uniform.
Fifth inning (the Fifth Third Bank fifth inning?) Bases full of Astros, but with two out and an 0-2 count on Mike Lamb, Prior grooves one right down the middle which Lamb promptly deposits for his first grand slam of his career.
Rattled by the developments, Mark walks the next two hitters. That’s all Adam Everett needs as he smacks a three run homer en route to a 9-3 rout and a game that resurrects Houston’s hopes that this season can be salvaged after all.
All they have to do is play the Cubs ninety more times or so.
Todd Hollandsworth’s loyal if not misunderstood fan club had one moment of mirth as their guy nailed Jeff Bagwell at the plate for his first assist this season.
(image) Church Youth Lock-in. Too much pizza. Too Little Sleep. Caught the score between movies. Ugh. 3 innings? Soreness again? Ugh. Why didn't they unload this guy this winter? Never mind. I gotta get ready for church.
Most Important Victory Thus Far
For many reasons, Friday night's 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros was the most significant.ltem - Mad Dog beat the Rocket. Even tho it was pointed out in yesterday's blog that Maddux's record against Houston was more exemplary than Clemens' against the Cubs, Roger had been almost perfect in his previous starts this year. While neither had his best stuff, each were able to pitch through some tough spots and Maddux was a hair better. The psychological implications of beating the best cannot be dismissed. Reflected Maddux, "Looking back, years from now, it will be a special game. I was going to do whatever it took tonight to win this one.'' And he did.Peter Gammons speculated earlier this week that if the Astros keep up this anemic pace, we could very well see Clemens back in pinstripes by August. Item - Credit Dusty Baker in his handling of pitchers, knowing when Greg's night was finished. Garner wasn't as astute with Clemens. He also lifted Ohman after his only walk and wasn't afraid of putting Hawkins in at a crucial moment, despite his many detractors. If I was Dusty, I wouldn't read the papers and I would definitely stay off the internet.Item - LaTroy Hawkins was splendid. If he needed a confidence booster, this was it. Hawkins earned his fourth save of the season in a tight one-run game. For the year this fellow Hoosier (he's from Gary) has a whip of .90 and has 9 k's compared to 3 walks. It was reported during the telecast that Carrie Muskat, reporter for Cub.com, asked the number crunchers at STATS to compare LaTroy's figures against the league for the last ten years and he is right where everyone else is in terms of blowing a one run lead (the average is less thn 50% saves) and Hawkins is better than the league in saving 2 and 3 run leads. But Cub Fans are fond of imitating Chicken Little. We wouldn't be Cub Fans if we didn't. Well done, LaTroy.Jeromy Burnitz came through big time as he needs to do early and often this year if the Cubs are going to be a serious threat. Three big hits, including the decisive home run in the 7th, capped off a 5 game surge that has seen him hit .368 with three home runs and nine rbi's and only one strikeout.. Item: Todd Hollandsworth put smiles on his loyal if not misunderstood fan club by slamming two doubles and a run batted in to increase his BA to .250. Item: Player of the Month Derreck Lee (if he doesn't get it, I demand an investigation) walked, doubled, scored and was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Willy Taveras. If this kid ever learns how to hit, he will wear out batteries all over baseball. He is fast, even beating out a pitchout and what an arm to gun down Lee. I am also impressed with Astro rightfielder Jason Lane who had two sensational catches. The Cubs have caught him and the rest of the team at a good time. Lane was hot at the plate early but has cooled off, going only 2 for his last 22. Item: The team rebounded from lost opportunities. An irritating tendency so far has been so many missed chances to capitalize on men in scoring position with less than 2 out. Second inning. The first four batters reach safely. Two runs are in and there are men on second and third with nobody out. Clemens settles down and it looks like the second inning is going to cost the Cubs dearly again but Jeromy's clout in the 7th takes care of that. Item: Aramis Ramirez collected 2 hits and scored. Good to see him starting to get back in form.Item: Nifty Neifi and Hairston Jr. contributed with a snappy double play to get Maddux out of a spot in the 6th.Item: A solid game from Kerry Wood tonite will close off April on a high note. And then we have Prior for Sunday. Houston is a shadow of its former self. This should be a sweep on the road. [...]
Prelude to a Classic
The hype is strong on this one. Two future first ballot Hall-of-Famers square off tonight as Greg Maddux faces off against Roger Clemens.
Clemens has given up but one run in 2005. Four starts, 28 innings and his record is 1-0? His ERA is a microscopic 0.32 and his record is 1-0? In his last three starts (each a no decision) his team has lost 1-0.
On the other hand, Maddux is 0-1, giving up 12 earned runs in 24 innings. So score one for Clemens?
Not so fast. The Astros are pathetic this year (5 game losing streak including 3 shutouts) and the Cubs are on an offensive tear, winning 3 of 4 scoring 32 runs in those games. This game will not end 1-0. Maddux is also historically better against Houston than Clemens is against Chicago.
If the Cubs can somehow best the Rocket (Is his nickname a reflection of his roots in Dayton, Ohio?) and the ‘stros, this could be the ummpphh they need to enter May with some momentum with Prior and Wood going in the other two games this weekend.
OK I'm Gloating
Excuse me, but I believe I was the first CBA member to laud the Derreck Lee start by submitting a post entitled Turning History On Its Head way back in the first week of April.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Thru Cub Eyes - Billy Williams
Every Friday we peek into Cub History by selecting one player to tell us how it was in his own words. Banks, Kessinger and Beckert have already been featured. These are excerpts from Carrie Muskat’s fine anthology Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Be sure to add this volume to your vast collection of fine Cub Literature.
It was a tough time. You go to different cities and they call you all kinds of names. Half the time you’d get a base hit, and they were pissed off because you got a base hit, and they called you “nigger” or “jigaboo.” You hear that -- you can’t help but hear it. You try to brush all that away from your mind. You don’t want anything to take away from what you were doing. Your goal is to play hard and be a good player, and you wash all this [stuff] away. I heard all this until I got to Triple-A.
The game hasn’t changed. You still got to catch it, you still got to throw it, you still got to hit it. Whether or not you’re Tampa Bay or the New York Yankees, or the Chicago Cubs, you could add one or two players and that’s all you need to win a pennant.
We never played [Doug[Glanville in center field. I knew what he could do because I’d seen him play, but he was always playing left field because we went out and got Brian McRae to play center field. But we wound up trading Glanville and now he’s an outstanding player. So this is how the game has changed.
I often tell them, your playing career goes by so fast. Give all you’ve got while you’re on the field. Don’t walk in the clubhouse and say if I coulda, woulda, shoulda. Try to leave it all out on the field. You’re only out there three and a half to four hours. Make sure it’s all done.
next week, Fergie Jenkins
Everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy was shot (if you are that old, that is.) And 9-11 is still too fresh for people to forget their whereabouts when they learned of the Towers.
If you are a Cub fan, a third date is indellibly etched in your memory.
The First (supposedly) night game in Wrigley Field. I hated it. I am a traditionalist. But reluctantly, I had to concede. The networks had messed with the natural order of things in '84 when the Cubs were supposed to have three home games in the playoffs. But the networks intervened and said that they needed the extra revenue that prime time would bring so they made it so the Padres got the extra home game and as a result, the Cubs lost the series 3-2.
Each team won at home.
So Dallas Green and others rammed lights down our throat.
I was living in Chicago at the time, actually, studying to be a minister. But my TV was on the blink. Actually it had died. So I called my cousin who lived in the burbs and he let us come out and watch it at his place.
Then the heavens opened with a deluge so strong that a just and holy God let everyone know precisely what He thought of the idea.
I am thinking of that night as the Cubs play their first night game this year. Who knows? It just might snow. And if it does, I will smile.
Go get 'em, Lord
It is about time for all those who have crucified or at the very least disrespected Mr. Perez for the last three weeks to finally give the man his props. He and Lee have carried this team on their backs. Not Burnitz. Not Ramirez, certainly not Kerry Wood. Others have contributed. Jason Dubois has done well. But Neifi for me is the emotional center of this team. And it is time for Cub fans everywhere to get behind him.
The 4-3 loss to the Pirates today was not his fault. Neifi got on base four times with a walk and three hits. He is doing the job in the field as well, turning fine plays when he has to.
Well done, Mr. Perez. Keep it up or Cub fans (and especially the Blog Army) will eat you alive.
A sad feeling has hovered over me for several days now. One morning as I checked the waiver wire, I thought my eyes were deceiving me, for the name I beheld before me was none other than
Rafael Palmeiro.Now, before you get too excited, it wasn’t the Baltimore Orioles who had put him on waivers but rather one of my fellow Fantasy Mates. How could he? Not Raffy, not one of the most popular and productive men to ever cross the chalk line?!
And yet, my feelings of bewilderment and consternation were engulfed by shame as I realized that I could not in all good conscience pick him up on my team, either.
Palmeiro is 64 hits shy of becoming just the fourth man in history (joining the likes of Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray) to slam 500 home runs and collect 3,000 hits. He is a lock for Cooperstown. Or should be. He was one of the few who testified on March 17 at the steroid hearings who left with his integrity intact.
Integrity will not win you any fantasy games, however. So Raffy, good buddy, your .226 average isn’t gonna cut it today, I’m afraid. I’ll keep one eye peeled, tho and good luck. I still wish the Cubs would have kept you and let the Wild Thing stay put in Texas. But with Mark Grace ready to anchor down first base, there was just not enough interest, I suppose.
Dempster Haunted by Clement's Ghost
I hate few things in life. Horror movies is one of them. But there is a horror movie being played out on the Cubs in their first tenth of the season. In Amityville Horror, the house was haunted. Anyone living there would be terrorized and dished up misfortune.
For the Cubs, the house has a name. 5th starter.
Last year Matt Clement was the victim. He finished the year 9-13 with an ERA of 3.68. on more times than not, on the days he pitched, the baseball demons would take possession of his teammates bats and he lost many decisions when he pitched really well.
Clement started 28 games in 2004 and the Cubs managed to lose 17 of them. In those games a total of 36 runs were scored by the good guys. Two runs a game and change.
Matt is gone but his ghost remains behind to haunt the Cubs new 5th starter, Ryan Dempster.
In his first four starts (1-3) his run support is seven, three while still pitching, four after his departure. All three were scored in his sole victory April 16th in Pittsburgh. In his 3 losses, Dempsters teammates have failed to score while he was still in the game.
A rough first outing explains the 4.57 ERA. In his last three starts Ryans ERA is an even 2.00.
Somewhere the goblins and ghouls are rolling on the floor laughing.
Last night? Matt Clement won 1-0.
Thru Cub Eyes: Glenn Beckert
Carrie Muskat compiled anecdotes from several players and team officials in her fine book BANKS TO SANDBERG TO GRACE. Enjoy this feature every Friday (Ernie Banks and Don Kessinger have already been featured) and buy the book at your finest bookstore featuring Chicago Cub literature. These are just excerpts. Each player has alot more to say than what you see here.My favorite Cubs moment, the all-time game -- and I probably had better stats in certain games – but my parents were from an agricultural background from western Pennsylvania. We were playing Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field and they weren’t much for traveling. They got the box seats in the front row. In the game in the ninth inning Kess [Don Kessinger] Kess got a hit and I think I got the key hit, first and third, nobody out, and after Billy Williams knocked in the winning run or whatever, I went over to my parents, and my dad and mother had tears in their eyes. You could see the pride. You could just see their happiness radiating from them. Being from Pittsburgh, beating them, it was just nice.
I think when we played there was a lot more team concept. There was no free agency and guys stuck together. You knew who was on he Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis. Now, one or two guys stay there five or seven years. I think that’s one of the good points of the game when I played. I think that’s why they remember our team, the ’69 Cubs. The nucleus was together nine years. There were seven, eight of us. It seems like yesterday. Just to be remembered for not winning is amazing. It’s the Cubs charisma or whatever. I’ve been very fortunate. We were able to set up great friendships, not only with the players, but the wives. As I look back, it’s a great treasure.
Down Goes Nomar! Down Goes Nomar!
Call it Eli’s Revenge.
On May 11, 2003, Cardinal right fielder Eli Marrero’s season was ruined when he ruptured ligaments in his right ankle when he slipped on the rain-soaked grass at Wrigley Field.
A game that should never have been played in the first place.
I’m not saying Busch Stadium’s conditions were comparable last night or even that Nomar Garciaparra slipped on wet ground outside of the batter’s box. But the bottom line may be eerily similar.
Nomar’s season could very well be ruined.
At least we won't have to have that insipid argument pitting Neifi Perez against Jerry Hairston Jr. for awhile. Both will have ample opportunities to prove their supporters/critics claims.
Happy Birthday Todd Hollandsworth!
You put smiles on your loyal if not misunderstood fan club's faces by snapping out of your 2 for your last 20 slump with 2 hits, including a double.
A scary night. The Cubs dodged imminent tragedy thanks to another stellar outing by Zambrano. Those 13 stranded baserunners usually spells gloom and doom for the Cubs, especially on Cardinal turf. Patterson stranded five as a lead-ff hitter! Are we sure we want him hitting in the middle of this order?
Been There, Dunn That
All right, Adam, that's enough of that! Why? That's all I want to know. Why do you have to beat up so on Cub pitching?
Isn't it enough that you pummeled Chicago in the series at the end of September during their downward spiral? You remember, don't you Adam? On Sept 27 8th inning, BAM! home run against Todd Wellemeyer. Next day, BAM! home run against Greg Maddux. Next day BAM! home run against Glendon Rusch. Finally, in the 4th game of the series, you whiffed 3 times and didn't go yard.
But yesterday, twice against Kerry Wood, BAM! BAM! Either you have a fondness of the Flintstones or Emeril Lagassi, I'm not sure which.
Why, Adam? Did you get a bad pack of Wrigley's gum as a kid? Did you get bad service at Harry Carey's bar and grill? Did Steve Stone offer some constructive criticism? Did Dusty Baker's kid kick you in the shins?
Why the Cubs? You have not shown the same power proficiency facing any of the other clubs in the Central Division. In 115 at bats vs. current Cub pitching, you have gone deep 13 times! Against St. Louis and 100 times at bat you have hit only 4. Houston, 86 ab and 2 dingers!
Speaking of Houston, you have 40 at bats against Roy Oswalt and cleared the fences once. Against Kerry Wood, 8 hits in 29 ab, four of which were homers. You have only four hits against Greg Maddux out of 21 abs, but 3 of the 4 are home runs.
So what are you going to do today for an encore, Adam? You are facing Mark Prior. You are batting .111 against him (1-9) and no homers, YET. I sure hope Remlinger doesn't get in the game. You are 6-7 against Mike with one homer.
So, Adam, show a little mercy, man. As for hitting Cub pitching, you can say you've been there, Dunn that!!
Not a Total Loss
Going about my day, I catch bits and pieces of game #10, the first of 3 at Pittsburgh. A critical moment comes early in the contest when the Cubs load the bases with one out and the meat coming to bat. Aramis strikes out (he used to obliterate his former club) and Big D grounds out. The score remains tied and I have that sinking feeling that this will come back to bite the Cubs big time.
I'm right. Although with the collapse of Remlinger and Fox it might not have made that big of a difference in the end. Pirates win 8-5.
Pssst. Neifi Perez is hitting .400. Don't tell the other bloggers. I loved it when I heard that he went yard.
The day isn't a total loss. David Ortiz hits a grand slam (fantasy points for me!) and while in Waldenbooks, I spy a gem in the bargain bin. What Baseball Means To Me, a compilation of over 100 essays from prominent politicians and personalities in and out of sports reflect upon the tie that binds us all, the love of our national pasttime. George Will, Bob Costas, Ernie Banks, George Bush (and his daddy) Charlie Sheen (and his daddy) and over 100 others. Beautiful hardback coffee table book full of vintage photographs. All this for (drum roll, please) $6!!
The first essay I read is from Pat Hughes, radio announcer for the Cubs. All he writes about is the '98 season with Sammy & Mark chasing some guy named Roger. Some day I will write of my memories from that year.
But today I'm just hoping that Mr. Dempster will repeat his earlier stellar performance and that tomorrow Greg Maddux can follow Derrek Lee's lead and have a good April for a change.
Thru Cub Eyes: Don Kessinger
Every Friday we look back at some Cub history. Carrie Muskat compiled anecdotes from 60 different players and team officials in her book BANKS TO SANDBERG TO GRACE. Enjoy this feature every Friday (Ernie Banks was featured last week) and buy the book at your finest bookstore featuring Chicago Cub literature.
Don was the first Cub I ever met. I have always liked him because he was a Christian athlete before it was "cool" to be a Christian athlete.
Let me tell you truly, that group of guys -- I was so fortunate to come to the Cubs at a time when we had such great role models. I was a young guy. Beck [Glenn Beckert] and I came up the same year. We had guys like Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and Ron Santo and George Altman. These were great guys. Not just good players, but great guys. It was great for us to be around a group like that.
Beck and I used to go out early, especially when Alvin Dark was the coach that first year. We used to go out 20 minutes before other people to take ground balls and work on double plays; so yeah, we did become close, and I think we're good friends today. That whole group of guys were good friends. That's the thing that people don't understand. That was the great thing about that group that stayed together for so many years. We really cared about each other. There was a unique relationship between the players and between the players and the fans with that group of guys that in all my16 years we were never able to emulate. It was really a unique deal.
We were bad in 1965 and worse in 1966 and Leo took over and said "I guarentee this is not an 8th-place ballclub." He was right, because we finished 10th. we were bad. But then in 1967 we went from 10th to 3rd. In June or July of that summer, we won a ballgame that put us in first place, and from that moment on there was this deal with this group of people and the fans. 1968 was better. We were really good and we finished third again but we were good, and '69 was just a magical year that didn't end right. I don't know how it could've been more wild than having won it.
NEIFI BASHERS, TAKE THAT!
Is 6 for 9 in yesterdays double header good enough for you? Now that you have kicked Dusty and Neifi from here to the curb, how about a little humble pie? Give the man his props.