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A Chicago Cubs Fan Community Since February 9, 2005



Updated: 2017-11-17T14:00:01-06:00

 



2017 Cubs victories revisited, April 6: Cubs 6, Cardinals 4

2017-11-17T14:00:01-06:00

Kyle Schwarber’s power won this game. And Yadier Molina lost a baseball in a weird place. The Yadier Molina baseball stuck to the chest protector incident launched a thousand memes. And Kyle Schwarber launched a home run that gave the Cubs the win. They were 2-1 and tied for first place in the N.L. Central with the Reds. ST. LOUIS — This team, man. This team! Just when I had my head down at Busch Stadium thinking sad thoughts about losing the season-opening series to the Cardinals, the Cubs come up with one of their patented crazy rallies and beat their division rivals 6-4, taking two of three in a playoff-intensity type of series. The big blow was Kyle Schwarber’s three-run homer, and of course you’d like to see it again! Say hello to my LITTLE FRIEND. pic.twitter.com/FinXciykBY— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 6, 2017 The Cardinals batted around and had a 3-0 lead and Lance Lynn was setting down Cubs hitters. The Cubs had only one hit through the first four innings, a single by Lackey. Lackey singled again in the fifth — the fifth multihit game of his career — and that helped lead to the Cubs’ first run. Jason Heyward had singled earlier in the inning, and he went to second on Lackey’s single and scored on a single by Jay. Jay got nice applause from the Cardinals fans who remembered the six good years he gave them. (Not on that hit, though.) This was Jay’s first start of the year and he made the most of hit, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Cubs’ other run happened in the sixth. Rizzo led off with a double, went to third on an infield out and scored on another infield out. Once the Cubs had their rally and two-run lead, it was up to the pen. Lackey managed to get through six innings decently enough. Hector Rondon threw a vintage Hector inning in the seventh, 1-2-3 on just seven pitches. That’s a really good sign, I think. Pedro Strop started the eighth and was lifted for Carl Edwards Jr. with two runners on base and only one out. The second runner reached when Strop dropped a throw from Javier Baez, who had made a good stop on a ground ball headed to right field. CJ did his job, striking out Randal Grichuk and Jedd Gyorko. I can see CJ becoming Joe’s principal setup man by the end of this season. And then it was Wade Davis time in the ninth. Davis had done a good job Tuesday night posting his first save of the season, but Kolten Wong smashed a long double to center field leading off the ninth. But Davis got Stephen Piscotty to ground out, with Wong taking third. Then he struck out Dexter Fowler -- who struck out five times in 13 at-bats in this series. That left it to Aledmys Diaz, and on Davis’ 23rd pitch Diaz lofted a lazy fly ball to Heyward in right and the Cubs had the game and the series. Attendance was announced as 44,039 but there were maybe 30,000 in the house on a bright sunny day that was quite chilly if you weren’t in the sun (I was, and it felt pretty pleasant). More than half the crowd was Cubs fans, as you probably heard when Schwarber hit the home run. Wow, three games into the 2017 season and I already feel drained. The Cardinals are a very good team, but the Cubs always, always seem to find ways to win. Two of three from these guys is a very satisfying result. The Cubs move on to Milwaukee for a three-game set with the Brewers beginning Friday night. As you might have heard earlier, Jake Arrieta will throw the Sunday game with Jon Lester moving to Monday so that the Cubs can have two lefties face the Dodgers next week. To start off Friday night, Brett Anderson will face Jimmy Nelson. Games and series like these remind me how much I love baseball. You too, I’d think. [...]



Wrigley Field construction update: November 17

2017-11-17T12:00:06-06:00

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A few notes on the work happening on Friday morning.

It was chilly with the sun peeking out from some clouds Friday morning when I went over to Wrigley Field to see what kind of work was happening.

There was quite a bit of activity on Waveland as there was an excavation going on by Peoples Gas near the left-field corner. During the 2017 season there were reports of odors in that area from outside the ballpark; perhaps this work is an attempt to fix whatever was causing those odors. (And no, it wasn’t the play of the team.)

The Hotel Zachary work is continuing at a pretty good pace and now you can see the building in almost complete form. There still isn’t a date for the official opening, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were open by Opening Day.

The ice rink that’s now being set up at the Park at Wrigley (over the grassy area) will be open next Friday, November 24. More details, pricing and hours here. There will also be a tree-lighting ceremony at the Park Tuesday, November 28 at 6 p.m. — details here.

As you know, most of the work is not visible from the street and there have been aerial views from @WrigleyAerials that show some of the work inside. You can see some of it here in photos 9 and 10.

We’ll have more photos coming up here soon. The Cubs’ Opening Day game against the Pirates is 140 days (20 weeks) from next Monday.




Buying or renewing Cubs season tickets is an emotional choice as well as a financial decision

2017-11-17T10:00:07-06:00

Deciding to buy or renew your season tickets? Here’s some data you’ll want to look at. Thursday, the Cubs sent out season-ticket invoices and I wrote this article detailing pricing. Some prices have gone down — bleachers are down about five and a half percent — and some are up as much as nine percent. These prices appear to have been set to gain the maximum number of season-ticket renewals. With the bleacher pricing down, I would guess most bleacher season-ticket holders will renew. Others might stop and think, especially those with a nine percent increase in 2018 on top of significant increases a year ago. The decision to renew season tickets isn’t just financial, of course. Many people (myself included) have held season tickets for decades. 2018 will be my 26th as a bleacher season-ticket holder. I’ve held tickets through really bad years, and of course during a World Series-winning season. Others spent a long time on the season-ticket wait list before finally getting their chance to buy tickets within the last few years, and many of those people aren’t likely giving them up unless they simply can’t meet the cost anymore. Which brings me to the remainder of this article, written by BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan. In it, he weighs several factors involved in buying season tickets — cost and emotional attachment to the team. It’s not just as easy as adding up the dollars, especially if you as a STH go to only a portion of the games in your season-ticket package. It’s interesting analysis and thoughtfully done. I will get straight to the point: For a large majority of individual season ticket holders (not companies or brokers), renewing your season tickets for 2018 is very likely to be a poor financial decision. For most of you on the season ticket wait list who get a call to purchase season tickets, choosing to sign up for tickets is an even worse decision (as you are likely presented some of the least desirable seats for a given section). This is even with season ticket costs going down in 2018 for some sections (and only increasing 1 percent overall). Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I will devote much of the rest of this article sharing the points that will support the statements above. But before I do, there are certain situations where it is ok to renew: If the season ticket invoice is less than three percent of your gross income (or 0.25 percent of your net worth if you are retired), it is a luxury you can afford, renew at your leisure. If you have a partial plan that you share with as many other parties as there are tickets, it is fine to renew as your risk is mitigated. For a Nights and Weekend package, four seats to approximately 14 games is much better than four seats to approximately 56 games. If you go to almost every home game, like to get to the ballpark early, like to sit in the same location every game, can write off the cost of the tickets on your tax return, and write a blog on all things Cubs, then sure, go ahead and renew (If you go to 60+ games a year you fit in this category as well). If you have some of the best seats in the following sections (as secondary market demand is still strong relative to STH price). It is not a coincidence that some of these sections saw the largest price increases in 2018. Upper Deck Reserved (Infield and Outfield) Field Box Infield Terrace Box Infield The ‘New Best’ Club Box Infield (near the edges of the new Club Seats) If you own your own business and the goodwill you would lose with customers/suppliers that use your tickets is greater than the cost of the tickets, then it would be wise to renew. There are likely many STH’s and those on the waitlist who do not fit into one of the above categories. Below I outline the facts that explain why I feel this way and provide additional context to support. Though I give the Cubs some credit in how they priced tickets for 2018, in my opinion, they would have gained more political capital with STH’s by decreasing tickets [...]



Ticket exchanges: 2018 season tickets

2017-11-17T08:03:06-06:00

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This post is for BCB readers who have season tickets and are looking for partners to share part of their package, or for people looking to get into a season-ticket package as a partner.

Please post your information here. A reminder, that any tickets posted for BCB readers or by BCB readers should be for face value only.




MLB Bullets hits a snag

2017-11-17T07:00:08-06:00

The union is holding up Shohei Otani’s cross-Pacific journey. The Cy Young and MVP Awards were named and one may be traded. Good morning Friday. The sale of NPB star Shohei Otani to MLB has been postponed because of a lack of a current posting agreement between the two leagues. It was reported that the two league had agreed to extend the last agreement by one year, but Jon Heyman reports that the Players’ Association is making demands before they will sign off of the deal. Many feel that the MLBPA is upset that Otani will only be able to get a bonus in the range of $3 million and that he will be paid the rookie minimum. They reportedly would prefer Otani to wait two more seasons when no team would be limited by international signing fees. Mike Axisa notes that if the union is upset about the deal Otani is going to get, they only have themselves to blame for trading away the rights of amateur players for bigger salaries for current ones. Commissioner Rob Manfred remains optimistic that a new posting agreement will be reached. He also said that new “pace-of-play” rules will be in place for 2018, with or without the union. He prefers “with.” Despite MLB denying all season that anything about the balls had changed, the commissioner has appointed a committee to study whether the balls are actually different over the past two seasons. There is also a report that the Braves are facing “severe” penalties for violating the rules in signing international free agents. Those penalties include a major fine and having several prospects declared free agents, including shortstop Kevin Maitlin, the top prize of last year’s international signing period. The Pirates have fired Rene Gayo, their director of Latin American scouting, for violations of MLB rules, including the improper receipt of payment from a Mexican League team. If you’ve seen the documentary Pelotero, Gayo is the villain who fans rumors about Miguel Sano’s age in order to drive down his price so the Pirates could afford him. Instead, he just drove down the price enough for the Twins to afford him. Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve were named NL and AL Most Valuable Player for 2017, respectively. Stanton beat Reds first baseman Joey Votto by only two points in the voting. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant finished seventh (with one first-place vote) and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was 13th. Despite winning the MVP, Stanton remains on the trading block and R.J. Anderson notes that he could become just the third reigning MVP to be traded the season after winning the award. The Marlins have admitted that they want to shed salary this winter and Stanton’s contract (and the Marlins need to get rid of it) means that it will be close to impossible for the Marlins to get the top prospects they want and salary relief. But Eno Sarris makes the case that teams should be interested in trading for Stanton, contract and all. Yankees outfielder (and Rookie of the Year) Aaron Judge finished second to Altuve in the AL MVP voting and Judge warmly congratulated Altuve for his win on Twitter. The Indians’ Corey Kluber and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer were the AL and NL Cy Young Award winners. Mark Townsend wonders that with Scherzer winning two straight Cy Young Awards, has Scherzer passed Clayton Kershaw as the best pitcher in the game? Joe Posnanski calls up retired Orioles ace Mike Boddicker to ask him about what Boddicker and Kershaw have in common. (Mike was stumped too until Posnanski pointed it out.) If you had the Mariners making the first trade of the offseason, well, you and pretty much everyone else. The Mariners acquired Athletics first baseman Ryon Healy for RHP Emilio Pagan and a minor league shortstop. Dave Cameron breaks down the deal and says his evaluation of this trade is a sign of the way the game has changed in the past couple years. (If you don’t want to read it, Camero[...]



Cubs release 2018 season-ticket pricing

2017-11-16T12:45:05-06:00

Some prices are up — but the price of a bleacher season ticket has actually gone down for next season. Cubs season-ticket holders received their invoices for 2018 by email Thursday and there was good news, at least for bleacher season-ticket holders. My 2018 price per ticket is $3,920. That’s about a five and a half percent decrease from the price for 2017, which was $4,161.84. Here’s what the Cubs said in their email about pricing for 2018: On the heels of our third consecutive NLCS appearance, there continues to be significant demand for Cubs tickets. For the 2018 season, we’re largely maintaining pricing levels with an average increase under 1 percent across the ballpark. Following careful review and thoughtful analysis, pricing in some sections of the ballpark will decrease while other sections will increase up to 9 percent. Our goal is to ensure all Season Ticket Holders continue to experience tremendous value on their investment in our team. It would seem to me that the pricing in 2017, which went up considerably from 2016 (about a 20 percent increase, at least for bleachers), was the cost of winning a World Series championship. But in 2017, with inconsistent play from the team over the first half of the season, market pricing for tickets was well below season-ticket levels and far below what tickets were selling for at the box office, and that trend lasted much of the season. This new pricing level appears to be an attempt to do exactly what it says in the quote: give STH “tremendous value” while also pricing single-game tickets at a realistic level. About single-game pricing compared to season-ticket pricing, the Cubs say: ... you will again receive a lower price per ticket compared to single game buyers and access to postseason tickets. Along with championship-caliber baseball, you will continue to enjoy an enhanced gameday experience with more space, amenities and concessions as part of the ongoing restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field. Here is the game split and pricing (not including amusement taxes) for bleacher season tickets for 2018: There are 19 other similar splits shown on the customized web page the Cubs sent to all season-ticket holders, far too many to show here, and since I don’t have previous years’ pricing levels for anything other than bleachers, I can’t specifically tell which types of tickets have gone up and which have gone down. If you’re a season-ticket holder somewhere other than the bleachers and know the difference between your 2017 and 2018 pricing, please post in the comments. Here is the complete 2018 schedule showing the six pricing levels and which level is in effect for each date. You’ll notice that unlike some previous years, pricing is the same for all tickets. In some years past, bleacher tickets have been in a different pricing tier than bowl tickets for some games. For comparison, here are the schedules showing the dates for the combination plan and double play plan: The combination plan has had more than 60 dates in recent seasons. For 2018 there are only 56 dates listed, as there are more weekday afternoon games next season. This should result in a price decrease for almost everyone who holds a combo plan. The double play plan is no longer being sold, but those who are in it were grandfathered in and permitted to keep it. There are 25 dates listed above; in some recent years there have been only 18 or 19 dates in the double play plan, thus some holders of this plan might see a price increase. BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan, who’s done great work with pricing on the various attendance posts over the course of the season, is working on something regarding ticket pricing looking forward to 2018. When he sends that to me I’ll be making another post regarding 2018 ticket pricing. [...]



2018 Cubs attendance watch

2017-11-16T12:40:48-06:00

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Here, you will find all the stories connected with attendance, ticket sales, etc. for the Cubs at Wrigley Field during the 2017 season.

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Cubs Heroes and Goats 1984 edition: Games 15-22

2017-11-16T12:00:02-06:00

Cubs embark on a three-city road trip. The April 22 home game against the Pirates was rained out, the third such rainout of the Cubs first homestand of the year. The following day, the Cubs embarked on a three-city, eight-game road trip against National League East foes. Following a 5-2 home stand, the Cubs were 8-6 and just a game out of first place. Game 15, April 23 - Cubs beat Cardinals 6-2 (9-6) Superhero - Ron Cey (.203). Ron had four plate appearances on this day and reached base four times. He singled in the second, walked in the fourth and scored, doubled in the sixth and had an RBI single in the eighth. He scored later in the eighth as part of a three run inning that busted open a 3-2 game. Hero - Larry Bowa (.192). It was a two-hit, three-RBI game for Larry. This game was his biggest RBI day of the season. Even more unusually, he drove in the three runs with an RBI single in the second, a squeeze in the fourth, and an RBI ground out in the eighth. Sidekick - Scott Sanderson (.181). The big righthander threw seven innings allowing just two runs on two hits and two walks. He allowed a home run and didn’t strike anyone out. Billy Goat - Henry Cotto (-.072). With a nod to Scott Sanderson who had a (-.083), Henry ends up on the top negative podium. Henry lead off on this day and was hitless in five at bats. Goat - Ryne Sandberg (-.060). Ryne had five plate appearances and reached just once on a hit by pitch in the ninth inning. Kid - Keith Moreland (-.020). The man they called “Zonk” had five plate appearances and just one walk to show for it, though he did manage to score a run. Ron Cey was 36 years old in 1984. He made two brief cameos for the Dodgers in 1971 and 1972 before becoming a regular in 1973. Ron had 12 seasons out of his 17 year career in which he appeared in over 140 games. Ron finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1973. He appeared in six straight All Star games starting in 1974. Known as “Penguin,” Cey was traded to the Cubs in January 1983 for two players, the main one being Vance Lovelace. In 1984, he appeared on MVP ballots for the fifth time in his career, finishing at 17 in the MVP voting. He had over 1,100 RBI in his career. He was fifth in the NL in home runs in 1984 with 25 and fourth in RBI with 97. Game 16, April 24 - Cubs defeat Cardinals 3-2 (10-6) Superhero - Richie Hebner (.416). Despite not starting the game, Richie ends up on the top spot. He batted for the first time with two outs in the seventh inning and singled (.024). He remained in the game and got to bat again with the game tied in the ninth inning. With Bruce Sutter in his second inning of work after blowing a save in the eighth, Hebner took him deep (.392) to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Hero - Ryne Sandberg (.244). Ryne had two hits on the day, the first was a two out RBI single in the fifth (.170) and the last being a lead off double (.152) off of Sutter in the eighth after which he scored the tying run. Sidekick - Leon Durham (.228). “Bull” had an RBI single in the eighth off of Sutter to tie the game (.213) as part of a two hit game. Billy Goat - Jody Davis (-.345). Jody had one walk to show for four plate appearances, but lands here after grounding into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning (-.286). Goat - Ron Cey (-.103). Ron also had four plate appearances and just a walk to show for it. Kid - Larry Bowa (-.103). A fifth inning single after which he scored the game’s first run wasn’t enough for Larry to stay off of the podium on a one hit in four tries day. Richie Hebner, like Ron Cey, was 36 years old in 1984 when he played for the Cubs. Richie signed as a free agent with the Cubs in 1984 and played two seasons with them. He wasn’t much of a player by the time he came to the Cubs and was used as a pinch hitter most of the time, but earlier [...]