Getting to Second

With one day away from Opening Day, the Cubs haven’t settled on second base.  I’m giving the nod to Darwin Barney.  Blake Dewitt has more experience, but I think putting a rookie on Opening Day will send a message that the Cubs aren’t going to rely on experience to win ballgames. Take a chance this year.  Expect the unexpected and add other cliches.

Tomorrow is going to be exciting.  One day away.  My jersey is hanging, creases out.  You know what?  It’s not really as much about the game as it is about a new season, new dreams and a chance for the title.

Opening Day is also about the end of winter and celebrating the “Boys of Summer”.  It’s about families and about that”pop” of the bat as the ball flies over the wall.

I hope the Cubs have fun this year, I hope every team plays hard and players remember why they started playing the game.  I hope rivalries bring out the best in every player.

I hope the Cubs win the World Series.

—Mark Gauthier

Cactus League is Done

Cactus League play wrapped up on Tuesday with a 15-8 victory for the Diamondbacks.  Matt Garza finished Spring Training with a 10.38 ERA.  Although, under ordinary circumstances that would be a disastrous number, this is Spring Training.  As I’ve said in previous posts, it’s a chance to get the kinks out(Carlos Silva), see the new players like Matt Garza and Carlos Pena and watch the rookies strut their stuff.

So, what am I looking forward to this year?

Andrew Cashner will join the rotation this year.  I’m excited about this rookie who compiled a 4.41 ERA.

Starlin Castro will follow up his stellar rookie season and become a great leader for the club.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he competes for MVP honours this year.

Marlon Byrd will anchor the club in the outfield.

Overall, I think the Cubs are in great shape for the season.  I’m predicting they’ll finish second in their division.

Ok, Let’s play Ball!!!

—Mark Gauthier

 

 

 

Carlos Silva Released

I’m sure everyone else is weighing in on the Carlos Silva situation.  I might as well too.  I like Silva and thought he pitched well last year, but as Spring Training 2011 has shown, there has been a lot more pitchers that are better than him.

Here’s the thing:  Carlos criticized the Cubs for the way they’ve handled him this spring.  Last year, Milton Bradley was made an example.  History repeats itself.

The Cubs have a business to run.  They have a World Series to win.  They have to provide quality entertainment for the millions of fans who lineup at the gates, tune in to the radio and tv and purchase all the memorabilia that their basements can fill.  That’s professional sports.

Carlos Silva is not acting professional.  There are plenty of kids who attend spring camps with hopes of wearing the same uniform as one of their heroes.  In this case, Silva was out played and underachieved.  Get over it, move on and play somewhere else.

I would rather have a young kid up on the mound proving to everyone and himself why he should be there.  If he loses, who cares?  As long as he tries, he will get better and he will earn the respect of the fans.

In this case, we have Cashner, Mateo and Coleman who want that job more badly than Silva and most importantly, they’re not whiners.

Jim Hendry said it best,”He seems to make a continual habit of blaming everybody but himself”

—Mark Gauthier

PS I Love You

I’d like to give a shout out and a plug to my brother in law, Paul Saulnier.  He’s playing in Chicago tonight.  The name of his band is PS I Love You  They’re a great band and they’ve just played the South by Southwest Festival. 

You can check out their new video, Get Over on their Myspace page.  I’ve included that in their link.

They’re playing tonight at the Empty Bottle.

—Mark Gauthier

Don’t start the BBQ

Sunday was a relaxing day.  Sure, we had lots of housework to do that still has to get done.  Hey, it was Sunday, traditionally a day of rest.  Who am I to break with traditions?

Mary Beth asks me if I would like to go downtown.  Why not, eh?

We went downtown.  It could have been Chicago.  Kingston is now the windy city.  I knew there was another reason to be a Cubs fan.  it’s all about the connection to living on a Great Lake.

It was cold.  We got a few feet from the car and turned around.  So, we went shopping and on our way to grocery shopping I casually slipped, the Cubs are on.

What? 

So Mary Beth went shopping and I went home with Darcy. Diapers had to be changed, bottles had to get made, but the payoff was worth it.

Dempster was great in his final warm up till Opening Day!

Later, Mary Beth prepared some burgers and I went out to fire up the BBQ.  I was looking at her through the kitchen window and she mouthed three words.  At first I thought it was,”I Love You” but no, it was more like,”Want some Ham?”

Then I clued in—

“A Grand Slam!” dropping the spatula and running inside only to see the hilights.

The lesson? Don’t start the BBQ when Tyler Colvin is up.

—Mark Gauthier

Castro is Ready

It’s been a few days since my last post and sure enough, there’s been quite a bit of news and happenings.

Randy Wells is the fourth starter, Johnson’s made the Opening Day roster, Castro is ready and so is Robert Redford.

First of all, let’s talk about Starlin Castro.  Sophomore Jinx and Starlin Castro probably won’t be in the same sentence.  Although, I’m jinxing it by saying it.  He’s had an outstanding preseason.  Yeah, he’s made some errors but he’s batting .351 this spring so yeah, he’s ready to go!

Yesterday he had a great game against the Mariners, hitting a three run double.

It’s a “Natural” to have Robert Redford throw out the opening pitch seeing he knocked out the Wrigley scoreboard.

I’m glad Randy Wells made the line up.  He’s pitched hard. 

Hey, what about Reed Johnson?  Arguably the best pick up the Cubs made in the off season, now before everyone says,”What?” Matt Garza and Carlos Pena excluded.

Reed Johnson is the best bang for your buck player in baseball.  I’m not making any bold predictions, but Starlin Castro and Reed Johnson are going to be two reasons why the Cubs will be in the post season this year.

now you can say,”What?”

—Mark Gauthier

 

Alls Wells

Ok, I know I’ve mentioned before that I thought that Carlos Silva would get a spot instead of Randy Wells, but I change my mind.  In fact Prose and Ivy gave me the equivalant of, “Are You crazy?”

So, let me look at Randy Wells.  He played really great against the Giants the other day retiring 18.  Not bad.  I think I’m understating the performance.  Also, it was a good game and they beat the champs.

Last year, Wells lost confidence.  I think that’s important because unlike a hitter, you can go to the batting cage, work on the eye and timing, but with pitching-it’s all mental, you can be the best pitcher in the game, but when the confidence isn’t there, it’s done.

If Wells keeps up playing the way he’s doing, he’s going to have a standout season.

—Mark Gauthier

Working Out The Kinks

So, I missed yesterday’s ballgame.  We had company, but It looks like I didn’t miss much.  Spring Training is a time for working out the kinks, clearing the dust and cobwebs  from the corners and finding out just where things go.  Spring cleaning works pretty much the same way around our house.  I love cleaning.  I love spring training.  People think I’m crazy,”It doesn’t count.”  or,”What’s the point?”

So, I after seeing the score against the Padres (and for those of you not in the know, it was 14-4) a pretty bad score by any other standard but this being Cactus League play, let’s break down the Box Score:

Fukodome got one hit and a run. He continues to shine in the lead-off position.  Let’s keep him there. 

Marlon Byrd wasn’t in the lineup.

One word:  TYLER COLVIN.  ok, that’s two words but he got one hit, one run and two walks.  He’s going to be a star this year.

Reed Johnson is his usual best with a hit and a run.  The Cubs did a great job getting him back.

Pitching is still a little shaky.  Matt Garza is struggling but he got off to a rough start but you know, the best players bring their game come the regular season.  I’d give him some rest.

Despite yesterday’s loss, the Cubs are in good shape for Opening Day.

—Mark Gauthier

Two Weeks!

Two weeks until Opening Day!  We’ve got our menu together, Darcy fits into his Cubs uniform and there will be cake.

I think we’re going to go with hot dogs and sausages this year.  It’s simple and tastes great.  I don’t know what kind of beer to get though.  We don’t have Old Style up here so I’ll probably get tried and true Labatt Blue.

Now, for the pre game snacks, I’m thinking nachos with cheese sauce.  That’s always a fan favourite.

I hope there’s going to be some kind of pre game show on WGN.  There usually is I think.

 

—Mark Gauthier

The First Cut…

Well, you know the song.  The Cubs have trimmed their roster by 18 players.  Most of the cuts haven’t been a surprise but young players like Josh Vitters, Bret Jackson and Jay Jackson have been somewhat of a surprise at least this early on.

A DAY OFF

So, what’s my verdict on the Cubs this spring? I think they’re doing all right.  A convincing win over the A’s and I’m confident that Cashner will secure a spot with the club this year.

I’m also really surprised with the play of Fukodome.  He must have been reading our blogs.  He’s still got to work on those strikeouts second with 11.

Starlin Castro has 2 stolen bases and although it’s only spring, I think this is a great sign and I’m hoping we’ll see more base running this season.  He also is leading the team in RBI’s with 9.  I love that stat.  So, I don’t think Castro will suffer any sophomore jinx this season and will lead the team.

Go Cubs Go!

—Mark Gauthier