Out of Rangers

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Yesterday was a great St. Patrick’s Day. We went up to see my folks and spent a great time there. Then when we came home and I flipped on the ol’tube(I guess they can’t call it that anymore)there wasn’t one, but two Cubs games on! Oh the stress of having to choose!

I didn’t get a chance to watch them all the way through but I did see a good chunk of the Rangers/Cubs match up!

The Cubs kept it close, eventually dropping an 8-5 decision to the Texas powerhouse. Who says that Spring Training can’t be exciting? After an amazing supper of steak and potatos, I caught the 9th inning when the Cubs tried a rally of a comeback to have the bases loaded, two out-now that’s a game!

Nate Sheirholtz got a home run and so did Tim Saunders making it their 2nd and 1st Home Runs this spring.

You know, since we got our Apple Tv, yesterday was the first time I actually had the chance to sit down and watch the Cubs on our screen and it looked great!!! Highly recomend for those who don’t own one.

The Cubs travel to Peoria to square off against the Padres today. The start of the season is only two weeks away!!!

—Mark

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What A Mess!

Here’s an interesting article by Rick Reilly from ESPN:

Wrigley Field loses about $30 million a year because it isn’t allowed to put advertising along its outer walls like other stadiums because it might block rooftop watchers outside the ballpark.

For the 97th straight year, the Chicago Cubs will attempt baseball this season in Wrigley Field. It’s historic, magical and covered in vegetation. Then again, so is Machu Picchu and nobody’s trying to win baseball games there.

I love Wrigley Field. But I’m not a Cubs fan. If I were a Cubs fan, I would despise Wrigley. I’d want Wrigley laid flatter than Wrigley gum.

There’s a reason the Cubs have never won a World Series at Wrigley. There’s a reason they’re 0-for-the-last-67 pennant races at Wrigley. The reason IS Wrigley.

Wrigley isn’t just the old family dog that needs to be put down. It’s an old family dog that probably costs the Cubs about $73 million a year. That’s three Prince Fielders!

Where do I get $73 million? Start from the outside-in — with the money-sucking rooftop mini-stadiums that metastasize outside the ballpark.

The owners of these annoying watchtowers sell tickets as though they were the Cubs themselves. They even sell season tickets! The city continues to protect these leeches, who pass themselves off as mom and pop entrepreneurs, but actually rake in an estimated $24 million a year, according to the club.

Of that, the Cubs get a paltry 17 percent, or $4 million a year. Any fair deal would give them at least half. (There’s $8 million they don’t get.)

Inside, the Cubs are prohibited from putting up advertising signs that could make them up to $30 million more a year (that would be $38 million) because the signs would block the views of the precious rooftop oglers and the city can’t have that.

You talk about a business being in your business. Can you imagine this happening to any other business?

Hey, H&R Block! We’re not going to pay you for your tax advice, but we ARE going to pocket the cash people give us to sit outside your window and listen to it!

If all this seems insane to you, you should talk to Bruce Springsteen. In the middle of a recent concert at Wrigley, he stopped, turned toward the rooftops and said, with a smirk, “Everybody up on the roof! Who’d you pay?”

You say, “Well, the Cubs aren’t really a business. They’re a city treasure, a kind of living museum.”

Fine, if they’re a city treasure, then the city should help support them, the way it did for this summer’s 30th anniversary of the Chicago Blues Festival, which received a $15,000 grant.

The Cubs pay 12 percent city “amusement” tax on every ticket (about $17 million a year — we’re up to $55 million), and yet the city doesn’t give them a dime. Very unamusing.

Tom Ricketts needs to run Wrigley Field like a business, not a historic landmark, if the Cubs ever want to win a pennant.

There’s more. You can open the doors of your business pretty much whenever you want, but the Cubs can’t. They’re allowed to play only 30 night games a year. And they can’t even pick the nights. When owner Tom Ricketts inquired if they might play a few Saturday night games this season, the local restaurants fumed, “It’ll kill our dinner business!”

Got it. Everybody gets to compete for customers except the Cubs.

Any idea how much more the Cubs could get for a TV package with 55 night games, which is what many teams play and when most fans watch? Me neither, but let’s guess $5 million. (We’re up to $60 million.)

God forbid they’d want to put up a decent video replay board, which is ad gold for most teams and, by the way, a place where Cubs fans could actually tell the score of the game without having to do the inning-by-inning math themselves, as they do now on the old hand-lettered relic in center. ($7 million? Total so far: $67 million.)

Plus, can you imagine the frogs that would rain down if they tried to sell the name of the stadium? They could never do what the White Sox did, which is to sell Comiskey to U.S. Cellular for $68 million over 20 years. The Cubs could probably get $100 million. There’s another $5 million a year. (That’s $72 million.)

And forget about how long it takes you to get up and get a hot dog at Wrigley (two innings sometimes), or get to the restroom and back (often three). Hell, by the third inning, the Cubs are on their third reliever. No wonder so many people sneak food in. What’s that total in lost concessions? A million? (We’re at $73 million.)

And that’s just the money they don’t get. Imagine the players they don’t get — because of their weird start times, their rotting training facilities, their wimpy weight room, their nonexistent in-game batting cage, their backachingly small clubhouse and their 104-year ringless streak.

Can you imagine what a genius like Cubs GM Theo Epstein could do with another $73 million a year? He’d be Theo, Unchained. He’d have the fourth-highest payroll in MLB instead of the 15th (2012). One of the biggest draws in sports shouldn’t be 15th in anything.

The Red Sox finally stopped treating their little neighborhood park like it was a Faberge egg. They started putting up signs everywhere at Fenway, maxed out revenue anywhere they could, and won two of the past 9 World Series. You hear Boston fans complaining?

And yet Ricketts doesn’t want to raze Wrigley. He was practically raised on Wrigley. He lives close enough that he takes the “L” to most games. And because he loves it, he has offered to pour $500 million of the family’s money into renovating Wrigley — $300 million for fixing the joint and the rest into a proposed hotel/fitness club across the street.

And what does Ricketts want for plowing no government cheese into the Wrigley rat trap? Not a dime. He just wants the city to relax some of the restrictions that make the Cubs a kind of crippled Carnival cruise ship with foul poles. And STILL aldermen such as Thomas Tunney are gumming it all up. Tunney wants more parking, more cops and to extend the sleazy rooftops deal, all of which he doesn’t want to pay for. “You’re talking about one of the richest families in America,” Tunney told reporters the other day.

Not at this rate.

Epstein really didn’t want any part of this column, but he did email to say, “We’re focused on doing everything we can with what we have available to us now to make the baseball operation as healthy and successful as possible.”

Too bad there’s so little available.

It’s simple, Chicago. You can either have your creaky, quaint, vine-covered crypt, or you can win. But you can’t have both.

Do the math. You’re used to it.

—Ok, He might have a point but I think Wrigley Field is one of the last few treasures in the sports world and perhaps, it is time for a change, what do you think?

—Mark

The Return of Starlin Castro

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This kid is awesome!It’s no secret that besides all the errors Starlin Castro gets, I think he’s a damn fine ball player. It’s great news that he’s returned from a hamstring injury which spring training is the best time of year to have one. He went 1 for 1 in a losing cause to the Rockies 2-0. This was the third and final time the Cubs play the Rockies this spring.

“I want to keep playing because I’m feeling good,” Castro said. “I can move pretty good. When I took ground balls earlier in BP, the coaches kept a close eye on my backhand and I felt pretty good when I moved quick.”

I’m expecting big things from Starlin this year. He’s got to improve on his errors and overall defence. Nobody has any problems with his plate appearances, but his lack of discipline should improve this year.
It’s good to have you back!

Today, the Cubs will go up against the Dodgers. Gametime is 3:05
–Mark

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