Cubs Charm Snakes

The Cubs are on a roll, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5. It was a close one, but the Chicago Cubs came back in style launching a comeback to tie the game in the 6th inning at four a piece with a two run homer by Wellington “The Duke” Castillo–Awe, c’mon you’d give him that nickname too, wouldn’t you? Heck, Jeff Samardzija hit a home run in this one.

Ok, in odd Cubs news, During a bunting tournament last Sunday, Cubs Video Assistant Nate Halm reached the final befor succumbing to David DeJesus.

As Dale Sveum put it:

“Oh, c’mon,” Sveum protested. “Oh, we’re really worried about that … He’s a professional player. He played overseas, and in college.”

I know it was a bunting contest and is supposed to be more fun than anything, just as Spring Training is more intended for practice than competition but let’s face it; if I were in a situation(which I most likely will not) to go up against a pro ball player, even if it were in a bean bag toss and manage to get to the finals. I’d brag about it. That would be my Facebook status for the next decade.

The Cubs are off today before playing the Rockies on Wednesday. Game Time 3:05

–Mark

Cubs Prayers Are Answered With Win Over Padres

Soriano watches a two run shot go.

Soriano watches a two run shot go.


So, being the patriot that I am, I was watching that thrill ride of a game over in the World Baseball Classic that was Canada vs USA. Yes, up until the 8th, it looked like Canada was going to beat the US and advance to the next round, but then the funny thing happened and the States bats came alive and they fired back to beat Canada. In the Canadian tradition of,”Well, at least the Canucks put up a good show against the US” doesn’t cut it here. Both teams played amazing and it was one of the most exciting baseball games I’ve ever seen(next to that Tampa Bay/Yankees game a couple of years ago which sent Tampa to the playoffs-look that one up)Congratulations to the US for advancing, and cheers to Canada for making everyone believe there’s more than hockey in this great land.

After I was sulking in the loss to the US, my wife tells me that at least the Cubs won 9-3 over the Padres. It’s the only time I’ve ever said,”It’s only Spring Training”

What do you mean,”It’s only Spring Training?” All right, this cheered me up because I think it’s been the first time this training that the Cubs showed the flashes and sneak peeks of the years to come(with the exception of Anthony Rizzo playing for Italy)

Alfonso Soriano hit a Two Run Double and Christian Villanueva homered and what about Jorge Soler? He hit one out of the park. Great job guys! Up next is the Diamondbacks today at 4:10.
–Mark

Committed

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The Chicago Cubs new 2013 advertising campaign is called, “Committed”. The marketing campaign is designed to focus on dedicated Cubs fans like you and I and Billy Bob in Saskatoon.

What it’s going to do is to promote Cubs fans loyalty by having them share their experiences about the Cubs. Online and Social Media will allow videos, essays and photos. It’s sounds neat on paper, but I don’t know whether I like this or not.

The folks at Michael Waters Advertising have spent a lot of time coming up with this campaign but here’s a few reasons I don’t think it’ll work.
• Are the fans to be “committed” for 105 years of waiting for a World Series championship?
• We the people at,”The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field” are committed to ensuring no barnyard animals will enter these hallowed grounds.
• Philip K Wrigley’s” College of Coaches” are committed to bring quality managerial ideas to the organization.
I love the Cubs and display my colours proudly. Sure, history hasn’t been kind to the North Side, but Committed? No.
Cubs fans are dedicated, loyal and we take our share of ribbing from other team’s fans. The Chicago Cubs have the longest drought in professional sports history. That doesn’t take commitment to follow a team with that kind of record that takes compassion, empathy and hope.
“This has been a dream assignment for our agency,” said SCC president and managing partner David Selby of the “Committed” campaign. “The emotional relationship that exists between the Cubs and their fans is truly unique, and our campaign celebrates this mutual commitment by telling the remarkable stories of real fans with humanity, humor and authenticity.”
Committed has connotations of fans being crazy for loving this sometimes hapless team.

All The Way
By Eddie Vedder

Don’t let anyone say that it’s just a game
For I’ve seen other teams and it’s never the same
When you’re born in Chicago you’re blessed and you’re healed
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field
Our heroes wear pinstripes
Heroes in blue
Give us the chance to feel like heroes too
Forever we’ll win and if we should lose
We know someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way

We are one with the Cubs
With the Cubs we’re in love
Yeah, hold our head high as the underdogs
We are not fair-weather but foul-weather fans
We’re like brothers in arms in the streets and the stands
There’s magic in the ivy and the old scoreboard
The same one I stared at as a kid keeping score
In a world full of greed, I could never want more
Than someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way

And here’s to the men and the legends we’ve known
Teaching us faith and giving us hope
United we stand and united we’ll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all

Ernie Banks said “Oh, let’s play two”
Or did he mean 200 years
In the same ball park
Our diamond, our jewel
The home of our joy and our tears
Keeping traditions and wishes made new
A place where our grandfathers, fathers they grew
A spiritual feeling if I ever knew
And if you ain’t been I am sorry for you
And when the day comes with that last winning run
And I’m crying and covered in beer
I’ll look to the sky and know I was right
To think someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way

I am a Cubs fan, hear me roar!
—Mark

Spring Ain’t Over Yet

Rockies-vs_-Cubs
The Cubs fell to the Rockies in Spring Training action yesterday at Salt Rivers Field in Arizona. The score was 6-3  and the Cubs record slides to 5-7.  Brad Nelson got a home run for the Cubs.

It’s clear that there is still some work to do with just under a month left in the spring training schedule. Now, Scott Feldman is pencilled in as the 3rd starter in the rotation behind Jackson and Samardzija but after giving up a couple of home runs yesterday, i think he’s got a long way to go yet.

To be fair to him, nobody is pushing panic buttons yet. Anthony Rizzo is playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Practice makes perfect.

Now, for the surprises this spring:

  • Brian Bogusevic is batting .444 and leads the team in hits.
  • Nate Schierholtz leads the team in runs with 6
  • Dioner Navarro has 6 RBI’s

I think it’s going to be real hard deciding the positions. other than the Rotation, and Castro, Barney, Soriano and Rizzo; I really don’t see anything set in stone. At least, I think Sveum should experiment this year as much as possible and get the kids playing more. I’m tending to put Christian Villanueva at 3rd base. I like his numbers better than Valbuena’s at least for now. maybe even alternate untill Stewart returns.

The Cubs are playing the Rangers today. Gametime is 3:05

—Mark

Beating the Angels is the Shih Tzu!

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When I was a kid, there were a series of books that the 8th grade students wrote called, “Good News, Bad News” I don’t know why I remembered that but ok, the good news is the Cubs beat the Angels in one of their split squad games yesterday, the bad news is they lost to the Brewers in the other game.

So, there I was sitting in the kitchen watching Angels and Cubs on the laptop(still no Apple TV), eating peanuts  there was a shot of a man stroking his Shih Tzu. Who brings a Shih Tzu to a ball game? In front of an announced crowd of 7100? A Schih Tzu? C’Mon!!!

If there is any questions as to what Carlos Marmol needs to work on to retain his status as the Closer it is this:  Bottom of the 4th, bases loaded, nobody out. He’s done that a lot in the last few years. So, maybe it’s time to go?

It was nice to see Josh Hamilton play and a test for the Cubs against the big hitters.

Christian Villanuava is excellent. He’s got great arm power and can really toss it across to first base. I’m becoming a big fan of him. Oh, yeah, congratulations to Brian Bogusevic going 3 for 3 and a homer over the Halos. Nice work! I was excited to hear that Jeff Samardzija is getting the Opening Day start, not so excited for Matt Garza to be out for a couple of months. –Mark

Marmol, Soriano and Hey, Hey The Cubs Win!

The Cubs continued their winnining ways with a 5-3 defeat of the Oakland A’s yesterday. Junior Lake and Darnell McDonald went 2 for 3 and the Cubs rocked 12 hits on route to the victory.

It’s going to be tough at third this year if Lake keeps knocking in the runs. Although he strike’s out a lot, Lake has shown some promise even though 3rd base is beyond his reach this year. Who knows,eh?

Ok, what to do with Carlos Marmol. listen, I’m a big fan of the guy and love his pitching stance and let’s face it; there’s no denying that when he’s on his game, there’s very few closers out there who can pitch as well as Marmol-Ade can. That’s his problem, he hasn’t been on his game in quite a long time.

Carlos was brutal last year. He hasn’t had a great season since 2010. I think it’s time to deal him. With the signing of Kyuji Fujikawa, the future for the erratic Marmol is numbered unless he proves that a great spring training can win back the closer spot.

In the continuing saga of Alfonso Soriano, Will he, or won’t he? I’m feeling a deal in the works here. The Yankees need help, Soriano has said that the Yankees are on his list of teams and once his 30 million plus contract is free from the Cubs, they can continue with this World Series quest that Theo Epstein is trying to bring to the good people of Chicago. I think it’s going to be done, folks.

—Mark

Not That Steep of a Mountain

The Cubs are off to a great start, they continued their winning ways by defeating the Colorado Rockies yesterday, 4-2. Christian
Villeneva and Dave Sappelt hit two homers. Starlin Castro got a hit and the rest of the Cubs were firing on all cylinders.
It’s an encouraging sign that the Chicago Cubs are in first place in the National League, going 3-1. Not bad indeed.
Looking through the spring training stats, I don’t see the Cubs near the top of the standings, but they’re still trying to find ways to win. Ok, I’m a realist in thinking this trend will not continue into the regular season once other teams big bats get swinging, but this is a very encouraging sign.
Wellington Castillo has been real impressive. His OBP is .429 and although it doesn’t lead the team, he’s shown to be the most consistent player so far.
So yeah, the Cubs aren’t doing anything flashy but chipping away and as the cliché goes, “Doing the little things” and getting the job done.
I wouldn’t want Dale Sveum’s job deciding who to cut.
Today, the Cubs take on the Dodgers. Game time is 3:05
Play Ball!
–Mark

We Believe

CT ct-spt-0226-cubs-spring-training-chicago-036.jpg

I met someone on the weekend who has season seats for the Cubs. Now, you might think, “So what?” but to this baseball fan I thought it was really cool that I talked to someone who has actually sit in the Friendly Confines. You know what he said to me? “Two in a row, brother.”
He called me brother. Then I began to realise that maybe that is what Cubs fans mean to each other. We’re some form of family that stretches across nations and seas and continents. We share a belief that someday we’ll be there when this drought of a championship ends. Yup, we believe.
I’m a little disappointed with Apple TV. We bought it thinking that we could watch every Spring Training game, or at least the ones that are broadcast. Apparently we can’t. It’s available on the X-Box but not Apple TV. That sucks. I feel like I wasted my money. Not that it matters too much. We’ll have the regular season and I can watch the spring games online, but disappointed by it all.
In other news, The Cubs lost a close one to the Dodgers but the good news is that they continued to show the emerging talent pool with Wellington Castillo, Nate Shierholtz and Darnell McDonald all hitting home runs. Up next they play the Rockies today at 2pm.
Alfonso Soriano could be a Yankee. I think it would be a great fit and you know that would open up some cash for the Cubs. I think it’s inevitable.
Play Ball!
—Mark

A Beautiful Day in the Desert

Cheers all around after Luis Valbuens hits a Homer

Cheers all around after Luis Valbuens hits a Homer

Ok, ok; Don’t get too excited, it’s only spring training. The Cubs just walloped the future World Series Champions Los Angeles Angels 11-2. Luis Valbuena hit his second Homer in two days-Holy Cow!!!

I knew there was a catch somewhere. The Angels weren’t playing, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols. It’s still an encouraging win and a true sign that baseball is back and the groundhog was wrong-there’s only two weeks left of winter.

It’s kind of like David vs Goliath here, but if there is any reason for being optimistic is the fact that the Cubs rising stars shone through and showed Cubs fans everywhere that there are good things coming in the years ahead.

Jorge Solar showed signs of the great player he will be. He got a hit,run and an RBI. Heck, Brett Jackson had a pair of triples.

Today, the Cubs play the Giants at 3:05

Nobody cares about what happens before April but today the Chicago Cubs are number 1.

—Mark

Cubs vs Angels

hohokam-spring-2010-97

The Cubs kick off their Arizona league schedule with a match up against potential AL favourite and Josh Hamilton’s new residence, LA Angels.
It’s going to be a tough outing, but also a chance to see future stars like Jorge Solar, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson.
I’m disappointed that it’s not available on MLB.TV but there is the Blue Jays game on.

The Cubs will play 39 games this spring including one against a WBC team on March 15th. This also is the final year at HoHoKam field. The Cubs will start playing at Mesa next year.

The Angels and the Cubs are playing three times during Cactus League play. Travis Wood gets the call to the mound for todays game.

So, some of the things to watch for is
• Starlin Castro reducing his errors
• Where will Velbuena end up at?
• Can Darwin Barney continue with his Gold Glove season last year?
• Anthony Rizzo can turn into the Bat for the Cubs
• Do the Chicago Cubs call up Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson, keeping them in the lineup?
• What about Jorge Solar?
Game Note: Ian Stewart will undergo an MRI after an injury due to a mild strain. Results are expected Saturday.
Every Cubs fan knows this is a rebuilding year, but we do expect to see their stars of the future shine this year. It all begins today.

Ian Stewart is out for 10-14 days with a mild quad strain. At least he’ll be ready for opening day.
Play Ball!
–Mark