Broadway Larry

Longtime Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, has joined the Bronx Bombers staff.  Rothschild was expected to be with the Cubs organization throughout the 2011 season, but was invited to interview for the vacant position left by Dave Eiland.

The mighty New York Yankees were beat out this post season by the surging Texas Rangers.  There is speculation that this may have contributed to the releasing of Eiland.

Rothschild had informed the Cubs that he would like to be closer to his home in Tampa Florida.

The move leaves a big hole in the team’s staff.  Rothschild had been with the Cubs since 2002 when Yankees manager Joe Girardi was with the team.

I’m not sure I like this move because pitching was an area that the Cubs were strong in.  Rothschild is known as a communicator and I think right now, Zambrano is on his way back and would have benefited well under Rothschild.

We’re going to miss you Larry at Wrigley.  Good Luck!

–Mark Gauthier

Felix Hernandez wins Cy Young

Felix Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners crafty pitcher won 21-28 votes to recieve the award.  Hernandez led the American League in ERA with 2.27.  He struck out 232 batters.

Hernandez’s won fewer than 16 wins this past season, but it was in other categories he excelled in.

Great job Felix!!!

 

–Mark Gauthier

Who’s on First?

This is the burning question at Wrigley Field this off season.  With the departure of Derrick Lee, the Cubs have some major shoes to fill.  A positive sign is Aramiz Ramirez will be back at third putting stability in that position.

Let’s take a look at the Cubs options at first.  There’s Adam Dunn, Lyle Overbay, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko and Carlos Pena.  All really good players that the Cubs will eventually choose one.  It’s going to be hard,   There’s experienced players there and I would take Lyle Overbay.  He’s reliable and maybe the Cubs can sign him to a one year deal because Fukodome is all but through with the Cubs.

The Cubs need rebuilding.  They also need a second baseman, but judging from the young talent like Castro and Colvin, I think the Cubs should spend less this year and dig into the farm system for more young talent to rebuild the organization.

–Mark Gauthier

Halladay wins Cy Young

 

Phillies’ pitching ace, Roy “Doc” Halladay has won his second Cy Young award for outstanding pitching.  Halladay had garnered a no hitter in his post season debut.  He is the fifth pitcher in history to win the award in both leagues and the only pitcher to have a perfect game and a no hitter in one season. 

Halladay finished the season with a 2.44 ERA and a 21–10 record with 219 strikeouts.

 

Way to go Roy!!!

 

–Mark Gauthier

 

Everything I learned about Baseball occured in Grade 7 English

First of all, congratulations is in order to Buster Posey and his Rookie of the Year award.  He did a great job with San Francisco and well deserved!!  As a Cubs fan I thought Starlin Castro would get it, but he was in good company.

It’s also good to see Ryne Sandberg with the Phillies Triple A team, Lehigh Valley.  Everything’s coming full circle.  Lehigh Valley moved from Ottawa, my home town and the San Francisco Giants while they were in New York used to have a triple A team in Ottawa called the Giants–cool eh?

I have a story.  It was September 1985 and I was entering my first year of high school.  I never had individual classes and so taking English as a class on its own was unusual.  Our teacher, Mr. M(for the life of me I can’t spell his last name) started talking about baseball.  He taught us about box scores and how to calculate ERA’s.  I was excited to not have to learn grammar.

The Royals ended up beating the Cardinals four games to three.  The day after the Royals won, we were in class and Mr. M handed out photo copies to everyone.  Here’s what he handed out:

Casey at the Bat
By Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Taken From the San Francisco Examiner – June 3, 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that —
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer has fled from Casey’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

After we finished reading this, Mr. M simply said,”This time, mighty KC didn’t strike out!” 

–Mark Gauthier

MLB Playoff Format

In 2012 there will be some major adjustments towards the playoff format.  We hope.  There is talk amongst insiders that MLB will expand the format by allowing more wild card teams into the Fall Classic.

You don’t need to be a Cubs fan to know what this will mean to the North Siders.  Perhaps even a Blue Jay fan will once again rejoice as the temperature outside the Roger’s Centre dips to -5 Celsius on an October night.

Major League baseball has long been an all boys club rigid in its beliefs and slow to adapt to the changing times. Alex Rodriguez might get into the hall of fame before Pete Rose does.

I still love baseball and apart from spending time with my beautiful wife, there is nothing more endearing on a summer’s afternoon or evening than watching the proud Cubs on WGN(start the jingle now).  However, once August comes and teams are seperated from the pack, fans tend to lose interest.  Seats are empty and NFL and NHL are on the horizon.

MLB has to make it exciting.  The current format only accomodates the league if it were 1970 and Ernie Banks was giving his swan song.

It’s a great game but make it better by letting more teams compete for the World Series. 

“Watching baseball is like watching paint dry” that is a quote my uncle says.  I disagree, but see his point.  He’s an NFL fan, but by expanding the playoffs, it’s a step in the right direction.  Magic numbers will be more magical and maybe just maybe a Cubs/Yankees World Series would be a true Fall Classic.

–Mark Gauthier 

Rookie of The Year

Thumbnail image for chicago-cubs-starlin-castro-major-league-debut-11.jpgWithout a question, the most exciting player in the Cubs organization this year is Starlin Castro.  He had a stellar debut against the Reds in May.  On the first pitch he garnered a home run which drove Ron Santo in a frenzy calling the play.  It was amazing.  He stares down pitchers like he was a seasoned veteran plus at 20 years old, he’s got a long way to grow.  Just check out his stats:

 

Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS  
 2010 CHC 125 463 53 139 31 5 3 41 29 71 10 8 .300 .347 .408 .755

 

Pretty impressive!!!!

–Mark

 

Cooperstown

Just over a year ago my wife Mary Beth and I, had the day off and it was a beautiful day.  We went to one of our favourite breakfast nooks called the Sleepless Goat and had an incredible breakfast.

While we were sitting there, we discussed the possible things that we could do that day like clean the apartment–naw! Go shopping? That was a possibility and could work.  So as i was reading the paper, Mary Beth just said,” Let’s go to Cooperstown.”  So off we went.

Cooperstown is roughly about 3 and a half hours from Kingston.  This was 10am so I didn’t think we had time but it was worth a shot.

We arrived at The Hall of Fame around 2pm.  Cutting it close but exciting.  I had no idea that the town was all a baseball theme.  Pretty cool!

Seeing Hank Aaron’s locker and the old Yankees ticket wicket was awe inspiring.  Doubleday Field was serene.  We practically had the whole town to ourselves.

The coolest exhibit and probably hands down the most numbing was seeing Babe Ruth’s bat.  I don’t know why, but it was chilling.

We wished we would have spent a little more time there and we’ll get back there soon.  It was a beautiful day spent with a beautiful woman and a beautiful game.  I can’t wait to bring our son Darcy!

I did notice something missing from the Hall.  We looked all over even in the room with the plaques, but somehow we couldn’t find Pete Rose.

Maybe he’ll be there next time, I hope.

–Mark

The Lead-Off Man

Who will lead off the Cubs in 2011?  It’s been a tough decision over the last few years and many have been through the position.

An early favourite has been Kosuke Fukodome, but to tell you the truth; I haven’t been a great fan of his.  He’s a good fielder, however his numbers have been declining since he arrived in the Windy City to such great fanfare a few years ago.

He’s got an awkward swing.  Maybe it’s the Japanese way, but look at the way Bautista swung the bat in Toronto this past year.  Now that was a thing of beauty!

Fukodome’s OBP is .371 but his AB is way down from .499 to .358

With the addition of Tyler Colvin, Fukodome is reduced to a bench warmer.  Once his contract is through, expect Fukodome to be traded.

Here’s my pick for Lead-Off Man–get ready for this:

Geovanny Soto. 

–Mark Gauthier

Remembrance Day

Today is not about baseball.

It’s so easy to forget during the long season about the men and women who gave their lives for our countries, for our way of life, but most importantly; our freedom.

Without them and the extreme sacrifices that they made, we might not be here today to enjoy this great game.

Ballplayers like Ted Williams who put their country before their passion will be honoured today.  Shopkeepers, Mill workers, accountants; everyone who gave up their lives for a dream will be honoured today.

Canada became a military force during World War 1.  An epic battle at Vimy Ridge defined our nation.  Here is a link:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008376

 

To all the soldiers and veterans across the world,

Lest we forget.

 

–Mark Gauthier