The Cubs Have Synergy

Addison Russell

The Cubs were in split squad mode yesterday, walking away with a couple of losses. The Rockies beat them 4-2 and the defending World Series champions Kansas City Royals defeated the Cubs 3-2.

Some more rust came off the now waking up baby bears as Jason Heyward rocked a shot into the crowd for a take home souvenir and Anthony Rizzo did the same to break the goose egg of home runs for them in this early spring training.

”I’ve had good at-bats the last couple days,” Heyward said. ”I know what I have to do get myself ready and the Cubs let each one of us do that as players. It’s been fun, a great atmosphere to come into every day and come to work.”

However, the real surprise so far this March, and well, it’s not really all that surprising is Addison Russell crushing his second homer.

”I took imitative in the offseason and took it pretty serious and stayed in the gym,” Russell said. ”I listened to the body and my swing feels fine. I am not trying to generate more power. It’s the (timing on the) kick or I am barreling the ball more often.”

It’s funny, this winter there’s been a lot of talk about Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr and his quest to beat father time. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. He passed Gordie Howe on the points list. He’s 44.

They say the last thing to go in hockey are the hands. This is true in Jagr’s case. However, I challenge everyone that baseball is much different. It’s a game about timing and swing. After a long winter, a player’s timing could be off. It doesn’t matter if you’re Giancarlo Stanton or Addison Russell, a player can know the fundamentals of the game but they need that month of spring training to get their swing back.

Maybe that’s why the Cubs youth movement is so much more impressive. Their bats are connecting with that raw talent and synergy that the game of baseball hasn’t seen in quite sometime.

Someone I’m glad is back in a Cubs uniform is Ryne Sandberg. There was a guy that I always looked forward to watching and although I was a bit young to appreciate the game, I remember seeing the highlights shortly after it happened. He was a legend and I know the players are going to learn a lot of stuff from him in camp.

“He’s got a really contemporary sense,” Joe Maddon. “He doesn’t miss anything. I could throw something out there thinking it’ll bounce off the walls, and he gets it. He sees things, he’s very sharp.”

This is going to be one of the most important seasons in Cubs history. Expectations are high but realistically the Cubs might not win the big championship. As Cubs fans we have to accept that. What we don’t have to accept is the Cubs playing exciting baseball this season and keeping it competitive. It’s going to take all kinds of Synergy to make that happen.

Today is International Women’s Day to put things into perspective, the last time the Cubs won a World Series championship, women weren’t legally allowed to vote.

Wow.

Believe it.

 

Cubs Win! Junior Lake’s Wardrobe Malfunction and Partying Like It’s 1914

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The Cubs win! Emilio Bonifacio did it again. He’s become a force to be reckoned with. I was a little skeptical having him hit leadoff, but Starlin Castro hasn’t found his groove yet and well, Emilio Bonifacio has just taken over and gone above and beyond all expectations.

“He’s on fire and hopefully he continues,” Rick Renteria said of Bonifacio, now 11-for-16 for the season. “We’re seeing a lot of guys have good at-bats. We had some balls hit well. We’re on the right track.”

He’s gone to bat 16 times and 11 hits. Wow!

Third baseman Mike Olt grabbed his first home run of the season. Expecting many more, Mike.

So, Junior Lake looked funny yesterday wearing the other Cubs road jersey instead of the one he was supposed to be wearing. No, he wasn’t charged with an error.

This is it! The day Cubs fans rejoice, the home opener has arrived and let the festivities begin. Dust the barbecue off and grab your favourite steak, beverage and snacks. Today, the Cubs face the Phillies and there’s a bit of awkwardness happening. Ryne Sandberg will be sitting in a Phillies uniform probably going to tip his cap to the fans as they celebrate one hundred years at Wrigley Field.

“Wrigley Field is a special place to me and my career, so going back there and going back in this capacity [as Phillies manager], I’m very anxious and excited about that,” Sandberg said.

Anyone have any opening day traditions? Do you skip work and invite friends over? Tail Gate? This is a great day because it herald’s in spring and the return of baseball to Wrigley Field. It’s been a long winter so this is as sweet as it gets.

“It’s not so much the eagerness to get there, but the season is moving forward, and it’s going to be nice to be in our home ballpark,” Renteria said. “It’s going to be an exciting moment for all of us. Like I’ve said, it’s still baseball.”

So polish up your,”Go Cubs Go” and “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

Holy Cow!!!

Believe It!

–Mark

Cubs Shutout The Cardinals

Jake Arrietta

What do you mean the Chicago Cubs shut out the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0? What do you mean? This has got to be the best time of year if you’re a Cubs fan. I know they should be playing spoiler and if they keep this up against the Cardinals, anything can happen. However, the Cubs are in the position of “Nothing To Lose” That’s right folks, the Cubs have nothing to lose and yet, in some strange way, they’ve got everything to prove.

This is the time of year when baseball becomes irrelevant if you’re at the bottom of the standings or not even close to a wild card spot. “As God is My Witness, I thought The Cubs had a chance”

So then we have yesterday’s game against the Cardinals. A walloping by the Cubs and a great game by Jake Arrietta, who was grabbed in the Scott Feldman trade to the Orioles.

“For me, there’s no question that this change of scenery and this trade was huge for me and my career, and not only for me, but for the Cubs as well,” Jake Arrieta said. “I couldn’t be more excited to be here.”

These are exciting times for the Cubs indeed. Yesterday’s game perhaps, was a glimpse into a crystal ball as to the future of this storied franchise.

One player who can’t wait for the end of the season is Starlin Castro. He was shut out yesterday with four at bats and has struggled this year. I feel bad for the kid, but now’s the time to take the lumps. He should be able to come back next year better than ever.

Now, there hasn’t been much of a rivalry against these two clubs in some time, but who knows? maybe yesterday’s game was a turnaround in the right direction?

“We’ve played some of our best baseball against them,” Dale Sveum said. “Even in some of the ballgames we’ve lost, we’ve played good ball and come up on the short end. We’ve played these guys really well.”

In other exciting news, it’s great to see Ryne Sandberg back in the Major Leagues, albeit in a Phillies uniform.

The Cubs will try to extend the shutout when Travis Wood gets the ball today at 4:05 eastern.

—Mark

Not in the Cards

Well, Cubs fans have seen this one coming all season.  It’s been a rough season and changes have to be made.  in the wake of Hendry’s release, Tyler Colvin’s walk-off single in the 10th inning propelled the Cubs to an important win over the Cardinals.  Not that I’m dreaming of a miraculous playoff this year but beating their rivals and really putting an end to Jim Hendry’s career with the Cubs is somewhat poetic.

it’s a new beginning for the Cubs.  Jim Hendry had 9 tumultuous years with the organization and he made some good moves and some not so good moves.  I’ve been saying all season long that with the highest pay roll this side of Manhattan and not being able to secure a World Series spot; there’s bound to be some changes.

Nobody can blame it on curses, Black Cats, winds blowing in or blowing out–Hell, being the “lovable losers” will only draw fans in for so long(Yesterday was their biggest attendence since 1978-was it for Hendry or the Cards?)The question at the end of the day is, Can you win any ball games?

Jim Hendry’s record with the Cubs was 749-748.  That’s an ok record if it were some other team, but the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 103 years so that record should have been better.

Next year starts today.  No more bullshit(yes, that’s what it is).  The Cubs will make the post season next year, Albert Pujols will lead the team in HR’s and Sandberg will be back.

—Mark Gauthier

All Star Break Report

So, it’s a little early.

The Cubs lost their third straight game against the up and coming Washington Nationals.  I don’t know what else to say except to spew out some cliches.

‘Close isn’t good enough”

“We’ll get better after the All Star break”

“We’ve had some injuries”

Something’s not working within the Cubs organization.  They can keep saying that they’re rebuilding but what started out as a somewhat promising season has quickly turned into a disastrous outing by a proud organization.  Carlos Pena was supposed to be their saviour and for what it’s worth, he’s done an outstanding job this year.  I would go as far to say that he’s surpassed all expectations.

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Tony Campana have all shone for the Cubs but what’s quickly becoming apparent is Mike Quade is not the right person for the job.  He’s done ok, but not great.  You can’t be a “player’s” manager before long when multi million dollar players walk all over.

Kosuke Fukodome has done way better than I expected and I’ve apologised a lot about my harsh criticism.

I think the real reason the Cubs aren’t doing great is they have too much money tied up in wasted areas and that might clear up at the end of the season or it could continue through until next season.

Jim Hendry and Mike Quade need a break.  They’re not the right people for the organization.  Hell, Mike Quade managed my hometown Ottawa Lynx years ago and I still think he’s got to go.

Ok, Ryne Sandberg where are you?

—Mark Gauthier

 

Sandberg or Quade?

I’m happy that Mike Quade was chosen to manage the Cubs next year.  It was a wise choice over Ryne Sandberg.

Before everyone starts to chew my head off or ban me from the seats at Wrigley, here’s my reason:

Quade led the club to a winning record after he took over from Lou.  Which is great.  He had big shoes to fill.  Which leads me to my argument against Sandberg.

Ryne Sandberg is a legend at Wrigley Field.  No matter how many wins the Cubs get, nothing short of a World Series ring would suffice under Sandberg at the helm.

The Cubs don’t need that right now and neither does Sandberg.  He’s a good manager and maybe in a few years he’ll be the right fit for the Cubs.  Just not now.

It happened with the Phoenix Coyotes when Wayne Gretzky coached the club.  They didn’t win the Stanley Cup and it was a disaster.  However, it didn’t tarnish his reputation and look at the Coyotes this year, they’re doing very well.

I only wish that Sandberg didn’t walk out on Iowa.

 

–Mark