Happy New Year

As 2010 winds down and New Year’s wishes are a plenty, I’m sure that there is a big wish come 11:59 tonight:  The Cubs winning the World Series.  They have the team to do it and starting tomorrow, Opening Day’s countdown has unofficially begun. 

Starlin Castro will experience his first Opening Day.  Mike Quade will be at the helm for the full season.  Matt Garza might be in the line-up it’s going to be a great year!

 

Happy New Year everyone!!!

—Mark Gauthier

 

Brandon Webb signs with the Rangers

2006 Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, has signed a one year deal with the Texas Rangers pending a physical.  The Cubs were rumoured to be in the hunt for Webb along with the Washington Nationals and Cincinatti Reds.

It makes sense for Brandon Webb to sign with the Rangers since Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies sending the Rangers into panic mode. However, signing a pitcher who hasn’t played in over a year is sort of odd for the Rangers.

The good news for the Cubs is that Matt Garza is still in the mix. Garza will make close to 6 million this season and although it is pricey, I’d love to see Garza in the rotation come Opening Day.

—Mark Gauthier

A Winter Reflection

There’s a certain peacefulness to the game.  It wouldn’t happen if baseball was played indoors, all domed parks aside.  It’s a calming game that never relies on clocks.  There’s a reason that baseball is played during the summer and not in winter besides the obvious reasons, but when you’re at a ball game on an 80 degree summer day when the sun is warming your beer moments after you take the first sip, you can hear the conversations from the dugout(if you’re close enough), the smacking of the ball as it lands snuggly into a player’s mitt during warm-up.  The pop of the bat when the ball is hit at the “right” spot and watching it soar into the stands.

A friend of ours went to a Yankees game last year and caught a foul ball.  He was so excited and watching his eyes light up when he was telling the story, well it was as if time were erased from his face and he was a kid again.  He caught a ball at Yankee Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium! on national television!

That’s one of my favourite baseball stories.

—Mark Gauthier

Looking at Tyler Colvin

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, stuffed with lots of turkey, peacefulness and joy. 

Tyler Colvin had an outstanding year.  The 25 year old from Augusta Georgia hit 20 HR and 56 RBI’s with a batting AVG of .254.  Now, last season was his rookie year and it was very impressive.  In fact his stats are decieving because he played 135 games and really he wasn’t used to full effect because of the rotation of Kosuke Fukodome.  I agree whole heartedly with Strictly Cubs Baseball, let the kid play.

Fukodome has a huge contract and the Cubs I think, are obligated to let him play, but expect Mike Quade to get full effect out of Colvin this year.  Late last season, Colvin was hit by a stray bat and the injury looked worse than it was, but he did take the remainder of the season off giving the injury time to heal.

So, this season the outfield is going to look a heck of a lot like Soriano, Byrd, and Colvin.

In the immortal words of a famous broadcaster,”Holy Cow!”

—Mark Gauthier

Baseball Cards

Everytime we visit the States, I like to pick up a few packs of baseball cards.  You know, to keep the collection going.  There’s not too many places in Canada that have baseball cards anymore except for specialty shops.  It’s not really about the value of the card I’m interested in although this year we did buy a Stephen Strasburg card, but the connection to the card and the moment they played.  I listened to the Syracuse game when Strasburg was making his debut and all the hype surrounding the kid.  ESPN was there and a lot of other networks.  It was pretty big stuff and exciting.   

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl.  We wanted to keep it that way because there aren’t enough surprises in the world.  Either way, the child was going to be a Cubs fan. Ok, if he ends up a Yankees or Cardinals fan we’ll still love him. 

My intention was to collect a couple of rookie cards to commemorate the year of his birth. I ended up getting Neftali Feliz and Buster Posey.   It didn’t matter if they failed this year or it won’t matter if they never live up to their hype; what matters is that in 2010 we had our own rookie of the year and we wanted to have these rookie cards to show that there was that part in time that was big.  Getting Starlin Castro’s card was important because hitting that Home Run on his first At Bat was special because I listened to Ron Santo get all excited.  It was pretty neat.

That’s where the true art of collecting lies.  Not about completing sets, the dollar value or what condition the card is in.  A Reggie Jackson card doesn’t have the same value to me as Starlin Castro’s card because I was there in the moment.

In a few years time when our son is bigger and we want to argue stats I can whip out those baseball cards and feel really old. 

  —Mark Gauthier

 

Solving 2nd Base

First off, Thank you MLB Blogs for featuring The Cub Den on your homepage.  Thank you to every blogger who has joined in on the banter and making The Cub Den a success.  This is fun and allows me to wake up in the morning and enjoy my baseball fix.  Thank you so much!

 

Ok, 2nd Base.  There are a lot of available second basemen on the market.  Orlando Hudson still hasn’t signed and he’s one of my favourites.  He made $5 million last year, so he could be out of the Cubs range unless they move Fukodome, however I could be wrong.  His OBP is .338 and he got 6 HR with a .268 AVG so I think he might be over priced but he is reliable.  He probably won’t get $5 million this year, I think he would fit into a Cubs uniform quite nicely.   Then again he had 37 RBI’s which is a great stat to have!!

 

—Mark Gauthier