The Boo-Birds and Other Cubs News and Notes

When the players were introduced prior to Monday’s home opener, Carlos Marmol was greeted by a chorus of boos. Marmol seemed to take the welcome in stride but his teammates were not that happy about the reception that Marmol received from the home crowd twice on Monday.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Dale Sveum said getting booed on Opening Day is not fun for anybody and it is tough on everyone in the clubhouse. James Russell told ESPN Chicago, “You lose some respect for the fans. There is no room for it.”

Carlos Marmol understands the boos according to a report from Comcast SportsNet and doesn’t take them in a bad way.

Carlos Marmol

The Cubs are looking to work Carlos Marmol back into the closer’s role. The plan, for now, is the same as it was last season. Marmol will throw in less stressful situations, like Monday, in middle relief. The coaching staff is looking for a way to help Marmol regain his confidence.

Theo Epstein said Monday that he supported Sveum’s decision to remove Marmol from the closer’s job.

Night Games

Theo Epstein addressed the addition of night games at Wrigley on Monday. Epstein told the media that night games are more of a revenue issue than a competition issue. Epstein explained that more night games would help with a new TV contract.

News Bits

Matt Garza completed a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday. The Cubs are looking for Garza to complete at least two more throwing session before going out on a rehab assignment.

Darwin Barney is still not ready to have the stitches removed from his left knee. The Cubs hoped he would have the stitches out on Monday. Barney took infield and batting practice on Sunday and has been cleared to do all activities. The team is hopeful the five stitches can be removed by this weekend. The Cubs will decide the next course of action at that point, which could include a rehab assignment with Kane County. Barney is not sure where he will rehab, it will depend on the weather.

Dale Sveum knows patience could start running out with the fans quickly. Sveum told the Sun-Times that he realizes there is only so much they can take.

There were a couple of firsts down on the farm on Monday. Logan Watkins hit his first Triple-A home run and the Kane County Cougars posted their first victory of the season.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Tom Tunney sat together in Tom Ricketts’ seats during Monday’s opener at Wrigley.

The Rangers designated Jeff Beliveau for assignment on Monday to make room on the 40-man roster for Robinson Chirinos. The Rays designated Chirinos for assignment last week and the Rangers picked him up from Tampa for a PTBNL on Monday.

Jim Callis reported on Monday that the more scouts he talks to the more he is told that Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray are moving toward the top picks in June’s draft. Callis admitted that a lot can happen over the next eight weeks but right now the two college pitchers have separated themselves from the pack.

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Sonate

    So Sveum and Russell want to blame the fans? Shades of Lee Elia and, later, M. Alou. The fans are their CUSTOMERS! Maybe they’d rather play to an empty stadium. My reply? Quit whining and do your job!!!!

    • Jason Penrod

      I’ve never been big on booing your own players. How is a guy going to regain his confidence if everyone hates him? I’m sure he feels really bad about his performance, he doesn’t need to be reminded of his struggles on opening day. Chicago fans are earning a bad rep for this kind of stuff. Its not like the Cubs are going anywhere this year anyway. Give the guy a break. The more confidence he has, the better he will pitch, the better he pitches, the more we will get at the deadline for him.

      • GaryLeeT

        There weren’t boos in Atlanta (or none that I could hear) , just a walk off celebration. Think that’s good for his confidence?
        Any major market fan base which pays that high of ticket prices, would boo the crap that’s being put on the field. You think the Cub’s fans are bad? Try running a team like this out in New York or Philly.

        • Theboardrider

          What Philly or NY does is their business, it doesn’t make it right…

          • Dorasaga

            I concur; to quote my baseball coach: “There are thieves around the world; that doesn’t make stealing right.”Booing on Opening Day is never right.

      • BosephHeyden

        They’re millionaires. What’s more, they’re GUARANTEED millionaires. I feel not a single bit bad for them.

      • 07GreyDigger

        How are fans to express their displeasure other than booing? If he can’t handle the booing than he shouldn’t be an athlete. It comes with the territory.

        • Tony_Hall

          Stay home and don’t spend money on the team!

          If you go to watch your favorite team, you should cheer and support them, not boo what is suppose to be your favorite team.

    • Theboardrider

      Fans can do what they want and have that right. But have some class. The guy hasn’t played a game at home yet. He’s struggling, but he’s still a person. Do you think he’s throwing badly on purpose? Have some feelings for a fellow human being…

      • Ray Ray

        Boooooooooo! Sorry, you teed that up for me.

        • Theboardrider


      • 07GreyDigger

        He’s played at home for years and exhibited the same behavior. He should expect to be booed.

        • Theboardrider

          Behavior? You mean poor performance? I’m sure he’s smugly pleased about it, warranting booing…

  • Ripsnorter1

    I’m a Marmol supporter. But I always thought that he is miscast as a closer. He’s a setup man. Leave him in that role. Matt Thorton of the White Sox and Sean Marshall of the Reds are similar in that they seem to be much better in the setup role than the closer’s role.

    And I also think that part–maybe even most–of Marmol’s problem is Bosio. I do not believe Marmol “can’t get anybody out anymore.” I do not believe “he’s lost it.” He still throws 95 MPH fastballs. It’s the arm slot that has been changed. Plus Bosio also has him throwing not only the 4 seam fastball, but the 2 seam fastball. And Bruce Levine says that Bosio moved Marmol’s arm slot. His slider does not break as much as the throws in a higher arm slot. Bosio did it so that Marmol would have more control. But if you straighten out every pitch, you must not wonder if you get hit.

    • TinTin Rex

      I agree, The arm slot change is visible and his curveball is not a knee bender anymore. He had always been the heart attack kind of pitcher that could hit a batter anytime and/or strike you out. With that wildness he kept batters guessing, weary and vulnerable since the stuff was present…it’s not present anymore.

    • redlarczykg

      Good insight Rip. I’m not an excuse maker for Marmol, but he was sent down last year because all he wanted to throw was his slider. He came back and had a good mix between the fast ball and slider he was effective. This year you see the Cub bench having the catcher calling one fast ball after another. The other teams know this, so they go up there sitting on his fast ball. The other problem is that Marmol can’t spot his fast ball, If you throw 95 over the heart of the plate, your going to give up hits.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Hey everyone! The Rangers DFA’d Jeff Beliveau. I think that Jon Daniels is a terrible GM for doing so!

    • John_CC

      Awful! Doesn’t he know that Beliveau is a lefty? Terrible “roster management” as it is now known to the laymen…

      • Tony_Hall

        And I am sure you saw that he was DFA’d to make room for Chirinos to be the 3rd catcher on their 40 man behind AJ and Soto.

  • Ray Ray

    There will be plenty more boos this year. Ricketts has to put a better team on the field next year or it will get extremely ugly. I don’t think the fans will put up with another year like these last 2.

  • Ray Ray

    Paul Maholm is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

    • Tony_Hall

      Good for Maholm. Hope he keeps it up.

      • willie smith

        how’s are injured pitcher doing we got for him and reed johnson? ………..oh right; still at extended ST.
        hmmm……….oh jed……..
        (again; what was the point of your reply; if you wish maholm good luck; e-mail him; he won;t see it on this site. your like a 5 yr old that has to get the last word in everytime if we aren’t all kissing theo and jed’s buttox. please………..

        • Tony_Hall

          Vizcaino and Chapman, I would take that again and again.

          My reply was to Ray Ray and I am sure he understood and most likely was the up vote.

          If you want the last word reply. This is an open discussion. I have no control if you reply again, but if you do, I will assume you want to have a discussion about the topic.

          And Willie, you can be civil and disagree.

  • BosephHeyden

    I think Sveum’s comments pretty much solidify my thoughts as to why the Cubs don’t compete very often. Most people don’t seem to come here to win. They come here because it’s a destination. They come here because it’s as close to a paid vacation as a professional athlete can get. And that’s what Cubs fans need to change.

    During Lou Pinella’s run here, when the “boo birds” started up, not once did I hear him complain about the boos. He knew they were to be expected because they weren’t winning. Despite any complaints I may have about his choices or methods, he wanted to win. He wanted to earn the cheers. Heck, as much as I’ve blocked out his run, I don’t think Quade complained either, because he wanted to win (he just didn’t have managerial skills to do so).

    I’ve always maintained that a lot of Cubs fans are just as responsible for the Cubs losing for the past 100 years as the teams have been, because there’s never been any accountability. “Oh, we didn’t win this year? Well, better luck next year, guys, and thanks for the effort!” This is the only professional sports team I can think of that has a fanbase that maintains that type of thinking. It’s the reason so many past-their-prime players have wanted to play for the Cubs.

    I don’t necessarily agree with fans showing up, win or lose, because it tells the front office that they’ve got nothing to worry about financially. But if fans are going to show up, I am glad they’re booing a team that seems to want to fight for the #1 pick in the draft again this year. Booing for the sake of booing and just being a hostile crowd is one thing. Booing because players aren’t good or a team isn’t good is something completely different, and is the first step to forcing the front office to put together a winning team, manager on down. Because players that don’t want to win aren’t going to come to a team where they know they won’t be able to get away with it.

    • Ray Ray

      Look at the players who were signed in the offseason. 1. Scott Feldman- Did he have teams breaking down the door for his services to add for their rotation? Absolutely not….He was given a promise to be a starter for this year. 2. Scott Baker- Coming off TJ surgery. He knew he wouldn’t be rehabbed fully and knew he needed to go to a team like the Cubs to get an opportunity to prove that he is healthy to get a long term free agent contract next year. 3. Nate Schierholz- Was kind of an afterthought on the Giants team. Knew he had to go to a team like the Cubs to get more playing time. 4. Scott Hairston- Knew there was a good possibility Soriano will be dealt by all star game and would give him opportunity to play everyday. 5. Edwin Jackson- Cubs were one of the few teams to offer him a lot of $ and years(and I think the Cubs will end of regretting this contract)

      • Dorasaga

        All other things is a 50-50 foresight-hindsight. I like Feldman; more potential to eat innings than Volstad (different players throughout their career). But I understand where the criticism came from after one game.

        Now, as of Edwin, it’s a good sign; here’s a part of that conversation earlier; Enjoy:

      • Tony_Hall

        Feldman was actually wanted by more teams than the Cubs.

        Look at the date on the John Arguello article, he nailed this one.

        Schierholtz and Hairston are both good platoon signings. Not sure what your beef is with either of these.

        You really seem to dislike everything about the Cubs…

        • Ray Ray

          The offseason moves for a big market team were pathetic? Do you love and support all of this regimes moves? Do you not believe that they could put a better product on the field? They spent dumb money. Feldman 5 mil. Baker, Edwin Jackson was an overpay. Most people enjoy discussions on what else could have been done. You seem to love every move regardless if there were better options for the fans to watch their beloved.

          • Tony_Hall

            Please tell me which players you would have signed to make this team better? We can look at the contract they signed this offseason, add a little more (highest bidder wins, can’t count ties) and see if that contract makes sense.

            I know you will say Bourn, but not thanks, that is not what this organization needs. Yes 2013 would gain a few wins, but it would not have been a smart move.

            I understand their plan and what they are doing. You don’t like their plan. That is fine, but you act like you don’t understand their plan, and that is what I don’t get.

            Your way sounds like the Jim Hendry years. Go all out this year, even though it makes no sense and you are hurting the future years.

          • Ray Ray

            We have exhausted what moves I would have preferred. I would just appreciate that even though I totally totally totally get the plan. It is not the same plan that would be in place prior to the new draft rules. The beat writer for the Cubs Gordan wittemeyer said the exact thing I have been saying. You can compete and still rebuild. You have never answered that question. Do you believe you can put a better product on the field and still rebuild? Do you think you have to sign a Feldman instead of a McCarrhy? A Hairston or Schierholz instead of a Bourn? I would love to hear your answer?

          • Tony_Hall

            They wanted McCarthy and also Sanchez. Didn’t work out. It takes 2 to make a deal. Bourn is just not what I want. I have explained this many times before, but I have no desire to pay 30+ guys whose entire game is based on legs. Imagine Soriano without the power. Even with his power, his game got ugly when he lost his legs.

            Compete and still rebuild. Compete for what, a better record or the playoffs? The playoffs not really. This team was terrible and needed to get rid of the bad, overpaid veterans. I think with the new CBA, it is more important than ever to build a proper farm system. Players that make free agency are just not the best. They are the best of what teams don’t want to extend. Filling a team with 30 something free agents will not win a World Series. Building a proper farm system, that can produce players is what is needed to get out of the middle ground that we were in for far too long. Too good to blow up and not good enough to compete. This is a 20 something game, now more than ever, as the greenies that were replaced with the steriods are all harder to do. Players in their 30’s slow down sooner and faster.

            So the question is whether you can put a better product on the field and still rebuild, of course you can, the question which way is going to be more successful and get this team to being a perennial playoff team. I feel that the path they have taken will get us to being a perennial team sooner. And that the path they have chosen will put us in position to win a World Series sooner, and that is the goal to win a World Series, not to try and win 80 some games and be respectable but still not good.

          • Ray Ray

            We disagree but that is ok. This perennial winner talk…..I don’t buy. Injuries play a huge part in baseball. I don’t believe you should ever throw a season away. Did the Red Sox when they unloaded Crawford AGon Beckett etc? Did they acquire Schierholtz instead of Victorino. They didn’t have to because they are a big market. The farm system needed to be overhauled. They can’t draft a Samadzija or Maples later in draft and overpay. It also takes aquiring better players so you can aquire better prospects thru trade. Feldman is worthless and you will see. Baker has no value. Marmol now has no value. Garza has less value. Theo held his cards too long and lost on those 2. Schierholz doesn’t have value and either does Hairston. It was a very poor offseason.

          • Tony_Hall

            Victorino….no thanks JH.

    • willie smith

      the players, theo, ricketts, sveum all need to understand that although they have contributed to only a few years of the 105 of futility; all the fans have 30-40-some 70-years of watching a team not win a championship. and now that they are losing on purpose while ricketts figures out his finances, cubs fans have done their part. they’ve filled the park to allow ricketts to make the most money in 2012; yet lose 101 games. this year will be 90 plus. if i’m marmol, and i lose my “job” but still stay employed for 9.8M, then let me do that job.

      • Tony_Hall

        Every person has the chance to play baseball and get that contract. All you have to do is beat out 1000’s of players to get drafted, then beat out 100’s of player in your organization to get to the majors, then make it 6 years to get to free agency with an arm still attached and then you can get that free agency contract that usually pays you for past performance as you are on the downside of your career and get booed for doing it.

        • willie smith

          what is the point of your reply? other than you reply to everyone since you think your opinion is the only one that counts? and is right? would you get booed at work for 9.8M? i think we all would; so again what is your point. i doubt marmol is staying up nites worrying about being booed, maybe to solve his pitching woes, but he knows the boos will be cheers when it comes to cubs fans. so again what your point?

          • Tony_Hall

            What is your point? Your point is to say I don’t have a point.

            You stated to let you do that job, my guess is you are not qualified or else you would be playing not posting here.

            I think booing is ridiculous if it is your team. State your displeasure with your pocketbook and stay home and don’t buy their souveniers. You are right, I am sure Marmol is laughing at guys like you all the way to the bank.

    • John_CC

      I can agree with a lot of what you said…but…are saying that Sveum does not care about winning? I don’t think that is the truth.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    In my opinion the booing at the games in uncalled for. Marmol is trying and wants to do a bette job but he just isn’t good right now. Booing him will not help his mental state and make him any better.
    However, the what I wonder is why the booing Cubs fans go to the games?? The way to show that we will not put up with the on the field product is by not attending the games and feeding the organization more money. What is the motivation to put a good product on the field when we all keep showing up and filling the seats every game? Cubs fans need to make a stand that this will not be tolerated year after year and stop showing up until we have a team worth watching and cheering for. If I want to watch a bunch of minor league caliber players (besides Castro, Rizzo and Smarzji) then I’ll go to minor league games and avoid the ridiculous ticket prices.
    Sorry for the rant. Just already disappointed I will once again not enjoy a full baseball season.

    • Theboardrider

      Well said…

    • Tony_Hall

      That’s right, if you have an issue with what is going on, don’t go to the games. This is common sense.

  • John_CC

    I love these still-frame swing break-downs that Arguello has been doing at the Cubs Den. If you haven’t seen them, check out Candelario:

    I like this kid. I might try to make a trip to Boise to see this team play this summer, it’s only 7 hours!

    • Tom U

      A trip to Boise may be nice, but Candelario is playing for Kane County.

      • John_CC

        I realized that after I posted, Tom. I should have gone last year! So Boise is short season, is that what some refer to as “rookie ball?”

        We have a short season team here where I live but they don’t play Boise. I have seen some MLB players when they were just breaking in though… Paulie Goldschmidt’s power was on display here just a few years ago.

        • Tom U

          Short season is a step above rookie ball. A lot of college players that are drafted and sign right away end up playing there.

  • Ray Ray

    I watched Jonathan Gray pitch this past weekend and he didn’t have his best stuff but he has all the physical tools needed to be a top of the rotation starter. The talk is that Appel and Gray will be the first 2 pitchers taken in the draft. I have a hard time believing the Astros will take Appel due to signability. Gray is an Oklahoma kid and is more than likely an easier sign. Below is the scouting report on Gray.

    Physical: He is a Big Pitcher with a strong lower and upper body. He
    has rounded shoulders and a frame that can handle a heavy workload.

    Mechanics: Gray positions himself in the middle of the rubber. In
    the windup he stands at a 45 angle off the rubber. He takes a small
    side step before he rocks into his delivery and drops his hands to his
    belt and up to his chest before positioning himself to make the pitch.
    He has a high leg kick with a good drive from his back leg. He gets
    good extension on his landing and lands with a slightly bent knee. He
    keeps his is lead shoulder closed allowing him to hide the ball longer.
    Gray shows a nice clean arm action from the ¾ arm slot. He also shows
    good arm extension on his release of all of his pitches.

    Fastball: Gray’s fastball is easily a plus pitch. His fastball
    sits comfortable at around 95 to 97 and hits triple digits at times with
    good tailing action.

    Secondary Pitches: Gray’s slider is an above average pitch now but
    could be a plus pitch later on. It sits 85 to 87 with a tight hard 11
    to 4 break. He can sometimes leave it up but it shows a ton of

    Change up: Gray’s Change up is at best an average pitch right now.
    It sits around 84 to 82 with tailing action and it shows some promise.

    Command: Gray shows great command of his fastball moving the ball
    all over the zone. His command of his other pitches isn’t as good but
    they aren’t that far behind.

    Summary: Gray has all the tools to become a pure #1. He has the
    type of arm that doesn’t come around very often. I believe that he
    could be ready to come out of the pen in Sept 2013 but I also believe
    his future is as a starter.

    • SuzyS

      RayRay, thanks for the in-depth scouting report on Gray. It gives great insight to a potential pick.
      IMO I don’t believe Appel will be a “signability” problem as he really has no leverage anymore. He either signs with the team that selects him…or plays outside the mlb system. The clock is ticking and he can’t go back to college….This does not mean that he won’t command top dollar within the system….But he really doesn’t have the option of going home with his bat and ball IF he wishes to play ball for a living.

    • Dorasaga

      Thank you. Looks interesting. I found his landing foot problematic:

      He couldn’t stay same for a finish position; that usually translates to consistency problem in pro ball, not good for starting pitchers who need to sustain 6+ innings. He might tweak that. But if the scouts think not, then he might end up an expensive reliever as most projected him drafted first round.