Nova Scotia, here we come!!

All right, tonight we leave for the east coast.  We’ve been gearing up the last week so I haven’t spent too much time watching the Cubs, but on with the latest being Kosuke Fukodome traded to the Cleveland Indians for some prospects.  The funny part is while I’m writing this post, I’m listening to Billie Holiday’s All of Me. 

The Cubs picked up Outfielder Abner Abreu and pitcher Carlton Smith.  The Cubs will have to eat a few bucks in the process but I think it was the right thing to do.  Kosuke came to the Cubs with great fanfare a few years ago but there hasn’t been too much room in the lineup for him.  Tyler Colvin will get some more playing time and that’s a good thing.

So back to Nova Scotia.  We’re going to take a two week vacation and drive across.  At least 16 hours, but probably closer to 18 with stops for Darcy to get fed and changed.  It’s going to be exciting seeing friends and relatives and of course seeing the beautiful Cape Breton.  The car is almost packed and the tunes have been loaded.  We’re ready to go!

I’m going to take a break from baseball for the two weeks but I’ll post our trip diary and catch the Cubs highlites from the road.

Go Cubs Go!

—Mark Gauthier

Leading Off With a Promise

Kosuke Fukodome promised Cubs fans something great after leading off with a home run.  However, things kinda fizzled out afterwards.  It was a beautiful day for baseball and our son Darcy and I had a great nap throughout most of the game while Mary Beth was out and about doing errands.

The funny part was I woke up just around the same time that Aramis Ramirez got beaned at third base.  Looking at the recap, I don’t know why Kerry Wood was pulled so quickly.  He was doing all right.

So, Matt Garza comes back next week and I think in the next two weeks, we’ll see some more guys coming off the DL and hopefully the Cubs will be able to put up some more wins.

Next weekend, we’re going to Toronto to see a Blue Jays game against the Red Sox.  It’s an early Father’s Day present and we’re planning to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame as well.

If the Hockey Hall of Fame is anything like Cooperstown, we’re in for a treat.  We’ll be staying overnight in Toronto and hang out at the Hall.  Saturday is the Meet and Greet with the players and maybe we might get to shake hands with Jose Bautista.  It’s always great to witness greatness and in light of the scandals that have happened in the last years, seeing Bautista make a run for the record is truly inspiring.

I’m also looking forward to posting some pictures of the game and the Hockey Hall of Fame.  I’m a history buff and when we were at Cooperstown and standing a few feet from Babe Ruth’s bat was incredible.  Now, imagine being a few feet from Wayne Gretzky’s stick?  Wow!

—Mark Gauthier

Garza a Hit

Another tough loss yesterday.  However, Matt Garza got his first hit.  In the end, it was a tough loss to take.  Nobody needs to know the importance of division rivals.  These are the games to win.

Everyone can say that everyone did their jobs but in the end, they just didn’t win.  Now, Tyler Colvin isn’t playing the best but Mike Quade says,”I need to get him involved but can’t do it at the expense of players who are playing well.”

You know what?  The kid’s gotta play.  Put him in coach.  Even if you have to bench one of the guys who are playing well.  The only way a player will end his slump is to play.  It’s that simple.  Put Fukodome on the bench for a game.  Tough love, but confidence in a young player will grow.

I would also love to see the Cubs steal more bases. 

Actually, I’m going to sit back and see what happens.  The sun is coming out, it’s a beautiful Saturday and the Cubs are going to win today!

—Mark Gauthier

A Stinging Defeat

I was excited yesterday to watch the game.  I wasn’t that excited after the first inning.  Ryan Dempster was chased from the mound after the first inning as the D Backs racked up the score 7-0.  Eventually, the Diamondbacks went on to win 11-2.

Frustrated, dissapointed and confused after the month of April.  They should have won last night and Ryan Dempster had the worst April of his career.  It’s not that it’s unnacceptable, after all I still have high hopes for them this year, but there is definetly some changes that have to be made.

I’d put Castro back in the lead-off, Barney in second and Fukodome in third.  I also agree with Strictly Cubs Baseball in saying that Quade is leaving the pitchers in too long.

The team has a lot of positives.  Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney will find their place on this year’s all star team and I can’t stop raving about Kosuke Fukodome’s play.  If I ever met him, I’d buy him a beer for harping on him.  The guy is having a good season.

The best thing Quade can do with Dempster is keep playing him.  Stick to the game plan and encourage Ryan.  After all he’s been around baseball for such a long time that he knows he’s having a rough start so anything to shake his confidence would be disasterous. 

Hang in there Ryan, April showers.  That’s all it is.

—Mark Gauthier


A Little Rockie

So, it was a busy weekend and I hope everyone had a great Easter.  How does the theme song go?

“You take the good, you take the bad, you have them both and there you have…”

I think that kind of sums up last night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.  The thing is I hope this marks a turnaround for the Cubs.  They’re blaming themselves for the mistakes.  Starlin Castro commits three errors in an inning?  I know he’s young, but he’s in the big leagues so that can’t happen and I don’t think he’ll do that again this season.

Darwin Barney hit his first home run!  That’s exciting and signs of things to come.

Mike Quade said,”You can’t gift wrap it to the opposition”  That’s exactly what the Cubs did last night.

Alfonso Soriano continues to be a leader this year by giving a sacrifice fly to get the Cubs up 3-0 in the first.

Fukodome has been a welcome surprise this year.  Just when i was getting ready to pack up my Fukodome action figure, I had to dust it off again.  He got 5 hits, a career high.

Even though the Cubs lost, I’m confident that they’ll take the good and the bad and look to the future.  There’s plenty of baseball left and like I say, this team is good.  They have all the tools, just putting it together, that’s all.

—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

Fight Night!

Yesterday, Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez mixed it up in the dugout  during the first inning after three errors were committed. 

Whether it was nerves, frustration or anger, this has to stop.  They won’t be playing ball in October if this keeps up.  I mean, I know that tensions can get up there at times but these guys do get paid a lot of money so acting professional is a good step in the right direction.

Mike Quade will address the situation today.  Let’s hope they’ll get over it.

Ok, and the Cubs lost.  I’m not worried, in fact a 12-5 loss to a divisional rival is a good thing at this stage.  When they get back to Wrigley, they’ll be polished.

Let me breakdown the game:

I’m eating crow.  I admit I was too harsh on Fukodome.  He’s doing really well in the lead-off with 2 AB and 2 R.  I apologise Kosuke!

Castro has been great with 3 RBI’s

Soriano’s stepping up and Pena’s been finding a groove.

Oh yeah, Welcome back Reed-we missed you!

—-Mark Gauthier

Fukodome to Lead-Off

It looks like  Mike Quade has chosen Kosuke Fukodome in the lead-off position.  Although, he’s going to mix it up a bit and put Reed Johnson in the position on Monday then Fukodome will be back on Tuesday.

Hey, this is what spring training is about and I completely forgot about Johnson in the Lead-Off.  That might work, you know?

I don’t know.  Something tells me I don’t trust Fukodome’s bat.  Is he erratic?  We’ll have to wait and see.


—Mark Gauthier

Two Days

It’s almost here.  In two days, the Cubs will kick off the 2011 Cactus League season.  Mike Quade will announce today what the line-up is going to be.  The only certainty is Aramis Ramirez will bat fourth.

Who will lead-off?  My guess is Fukodome.  It’s hard to predict what the order is going to be yet because it’s Cactus league play, however I’m excited spring training is set to begin.  It’s been a long winter and somehow, once spring training starts, the snow melts quicker.

Even though, Mike Quade has said he doesn’t want to put Starlin Castro in the lead-off because he’s still too inexperienced, I’d say Why Not?  Now’s the time to experiment.  Castro is hungry enough and he had a hell of a season last year.

Play Ball!

—Mark Gauthier


Trading Fukodome

I’m still holding out hope that Kosuke Fukodome will get traded before the end of Spring Training.  I doubt he will and he’ll have limited time this year playing.  There are plenty of free agents still available and decent players waiting for a trade.  However, it probably won’t happen and don’t get me wrong, he might fit in well with another team, but he just doesn’t fit with the Cubs.  Then again, he could have a great spring and surprise everyone, but i saw a T-shirt of his in the bargain bin and that my friends is not a good sign.

—Mark Gauthier