Cubs Not Kidding Around

The Chicago Cubs season is just over 24 hours over and I’m all ready missing baseball Northside style. Wrigley Field has started the renovations over a few years but like any great Hollywood script, it’s part of the plot to a much bigger story.

The Cubs fit their namesake. They’re young and they’re hungry. Next season when they come out of hiding, they won’t be looking for berries or Mama Epstein, they’ll be searching for a championship.

“Not all of the prospects work out, but we like these players quite a bit and they have a chance to play together for a long time at Wrigley Field,” Epstein said. “When you put that together with a couple of 24-year-old All-Star caliber performers like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, you can’t be but excited about our future.”

These young prospects haven’t heard about curses, shoot Castro and Rizzo were thirteen when that “incident” happened out in left field.

So let’s wipe the slate clean, start fresh. It seems to be the belief in the organization. Next season, the Cubs will have a lot of depth in the lineup. Of course, they still need pitching because if I were Epstein and Hoyer, I’d dump Edwin Jackson’s salary. I’m not being mean when I say he’s a lame horse. Swallow up that salary because if there were a missing piece to that puzzle, it’s that spot in the locker room with the piece of tape reading,”JACKSON” He has to go.

I was so impressed with Neil Ramirez this season that maybe he could fill that spot, but then again I agree with Bleed Cubbie Blue, Neil Ramirez is best used in the relief spot.

The offence should be bolstered with Kris Bryant coming up next season and the maturation of Jorge Soler and Javier Baez as well.

“One of the hardest things to do in the National League, and what we want to do, is have a good lineup one through eight,” Hoyer said. “When you do that, it’s hard on the pitchers over here. The more we can eliminate the easier outs and the lack of depth lower in the lineup, I think the better our offense will be.”

Believe it.

—Mark

“Let’s Root, Root Root For The Cubbies!”

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It’s a bittersweet moment this time of year. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs finished the year with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2. Most importantly though, they won with the fans.

The offseason will be filled with renovations, roster moves and renewed hopes for 2015. Did the Cubs live up to expectations in 2014? Yes. Fans said good-bye to fan favourites Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija but ushered in with high expectations Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks. Suddenly, even the passing Cubs fan is taking notice on how good this team is looking.

First year manager Rick Renteria brought a renewed excitement for the game that wasn’t always there under the tenure of Dale Sveum  or Mike Quade. Admit it, you couldn’t help but smile every time Rick got tossed out. One thing is for sure, next season will be Rick’s team. You can see it all ready taking shape with the return to form Starlin Castro and the “Yes, I just hit 32 home runs” Anthony Rizzo who quietly became the Cubs leader in the locker room.

“It takes a lot of work and we have a very tough division and teams aren’t going anywhere in it, it’s only getting better,” Rizzo said. “That’s our expectation, that’s the message we want to send.”

So there you have it. The Cubs are sending the right message to critics and fans alike. In fact, it’s poignant that the Cubs did win on the last game of the season. Could it be foreshadowing? Could it be a sign of the dismal Brewers and the tough road they have? Or could it be that the 2014 Cubs proved something to us that we take notice.

Today, the Cubs clean out their dressing rooms and say good bye to their teammates and friends. Us fans applaud them on a season well done and wait through what the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting to be another brutal winter. We wait for spring to be eternal again. We wait to hear the Opening Day roster and we wait for the seventh inning stretch when some celebrity sings,”Cause it’s one, two three strikes you’re out—”

Well we know what we’re waiting for.

Believe it.

—Mark

PS: This Canuck Cubbie won’t be hibernating. Stay tuned.

Cubs Lay Down Ordinance In Milwaukee

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I’m going to do something special with the Canuck Cubbie, let’s give a round of applause to the Kansas City Royals for making the post season for the first time since 1985. That’s a special year for me because I was just starting grade seven and my English teacher wanted to teach poetry to some eager young minds so he brought out that age old poem, Casey At The Bat.

I learned a lot about baseball that fall and poetry, but I also learned that the mighty KC didn’t strikeout. So hats off to you guys, you’re going to go far.

In New York, take a bow Derek Jeter, you deserve it. Congratulations to an awesome career.

Now, without further adieu, the Cubs.

I have to snicker just a bit at the decline of the Milwaukee Brewers. I thought for certain they would be barrelling their way through the post season, but never expected them to trip over their own kegs going down the stretch.

Last night, the Chicago Cubs showed the Brewers that they’re going to be a tough team to beat next year by beating them 6-4.

What can I say about the Cubs rookies? Eric Jokisch is going to be back next season.

“I was a lot more nervous than I thought I would be,” Jokisch said. “I was actually pretty calm in the relief appearances. I think sitting around and having it in my mind got to me a little bit. I was definitely nervous, I’m not going to lie about that. Hopefully, there are a lot more better ones to come. I’ll take it, and it’s good to win.”

So, today marks the final game of the season for the Cubs and you better believe that there isn’t a Cubs fan around that isn’t chomping at the bit for next April. It’s going to be a long winter waiting for Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks to come back to Wrigley Field.

Believe it.

—Mark

The Duke Wins It For Cubs

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How great is it to record a walk off against your rivals? Just ask Welington Castillo about that. Castillo hit one in the tenth to send as the Cubs beat their nemesis St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

But that’s not all. He also hit a two run homer in the second inning. Yes folks, that’s how great it is.

“That pitch — thank God for ‘Welly’ for winning that ballgame because I was not going to be able to live with that one,” Kyle Hendricks said. “I think [the count] was 2-2 [to Holliday], and I was trying to pitch around him. If I walk him, I walk him. I know that, that’s my mindset, and we talked about that in the [pregame] meeting.

Let me tell you folks, Kyle Hendricks is going to be one exciting player to see next year. I only wish the season started next week.

Wait, it does start next week.

With the last home game of the season tonight, the Cubs will try to finish the year above .500 at home. Is that a huge accomplishment? You better believe it. The Cubs are looking for momentum going into the off season. There might be some changes in personnel but I think only minor ones. Did you catch that double entendre? Minor ones?

It’s been a long time since fans were this excited at this time of the year for next year to get started. There’s hope in the dugout. Faith in the bullpen and trust with the managers.

Now, that’s something to believe in.

“Everybody thrives on the fan base, every team does, and we’re finally giving them a little bit of something to cheer for, and it’s nice to hear them when we do come through,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Say Good Bye To Day Games For The Year

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The Cubs were outmatched in yesterday’s defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This time next year? There might be a different outcome but yesterday the Dodgers peppered the 5-11 Jacob Turner in front of the last day crowd of the season at Wrigley Field. Final score 8-5

The difficulty with losses like these to playoff contending teams is that some teams are shutting it down while others are using it as batting practice.

“They’re trying to clinch a division, and we’re trying to show everybody who we are,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “I think all things being equal, we fell behind early in a few games and we kept coming back and fighting. I think our guys are showing a little bit of heart and just fell short.”

Well, heart won’t get you wins. I like this time of year because it gives me the chance to sit back and admire the other teams like the Dodgers. The underachieving club with the highest payroll and the competitive manager, Don Mattingly. The team that just can’t quite take the next step towards a successful playoff run. Could it be this year?

When guys like Matt Kemp make home runs look like tee offs, ask Turner.

“It just shows that you have to execute,” Turner said. “There were times when I was able to, especially in the fourth and fifth innings, I felt a little better. The two-run home run to Kemp in the third was a fastball trying to go away, and it caught too much of the plate. In the first inning, the two-out hit by Hanley Ramirez was a breaking ball that stayed up a little bit.”

For the fans of the Cubs, it was bittersweet to bid adieu to another season at Wrigley Field. At least for the day games. However, rest assured that the series against the Cardinals is going to be an exciting finale to another year at the Friendly Confines before the Cubs’ eventual return to the post season next year.

Believe it.

—Mark

Why Doesn’t Bryan Cranston Like The Cubs?

One of the many things I love about baseball is that when it comes to playoff time, teams have to be good. There’s no “Bottom Feeders” sneaking into the post season and cruising their way to a World Series championship, all right, sometimes it happens but in most cases it is el supremo of supremo. That’s why I love baseball.

Why does #BryanCranston love baseball? Just watch:

Now, you notice the absence of the Chicago Cubs? Yeah, so did I. That won’t happen next year.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Boost The Dodgers Ego

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Let’s be honest with ourselves, the Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t exactly the same as the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers have a higher payroll and they have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Last night, what seemed like the Chicago Cubs might have taken the game away from the mighty western team, Logan Watkins made a crucial mistake in the seventh inning and then well, everything went wrong from there. The Cubs lost 8-4

“Uribe hit a pretty hard ball, right up the middle, and the first instinct was to knock it down and keep it in front of me, and it kicked to the left,” Watkins said. Which is fair enough Logan, but your first instinct should have been to try and catch it. However, it is what it is and that’s why the Dodgers are as good as they are.

Chris Coghlan made a great catch near the wall, proving that he’s becoming that great player.

So you see, it wasn’t all that horrific. In fact, I’ve been preaching that this year has been more of an audition to the now much hyped season where the young kids will shine. Just like Neil Ramirez getting lit up last night.

At this point in the season, we’re going easy on the kids because

A) The season’s almost done.

B) The year’s been a success. Rick Renteria has proven he can guide the youth movement into the future.

“They know they have to make those plays,” Renteria said. “The last thing I need to do is pounce on [Watkins]. … He wants to make those plays, and I’m sure he’ll tell you that he should’ve made those plays. The next time, hopefully, he will make those plays.”

Believe it.

—Mark