Rambling about the Cubs as the Season Takes Hold

We are nine games into the season, and while 3-6 sounds bad, and well, is bad, there have been some bright spots and solid performances that have many Cubs fans slugging some light-blue kool aid right about now.

There have also been plenty of frustrating moments as well, which is a given with a 3-6 record, but that could easily be 5-4, and there are plenty of positives on which to focus. Feel free to tear me apart for my optimistic outlook, but I am going to enjoy some of this. So, let’s get down to the BRASS TACKS and have some fun …

  • I enjoyed Opening Day at Wrigley just as much as I normally do, but never I have ever been rendered speechless when I looked at the crowd. Sparse crowds happen in April at Wrigley.
  • They just never happen on Opening Day … until last Friday. Shocking.
  • Sorry, I didn’t mean to start playing a “drinking game” right there.
  • Brian Schlitter went to the mound Thursday afternoon … and remembered he was Brian Schlitter.
  • In all seriousness, I wish the best for him. Let’s hope Thursday’s outing can be classified as uncharacteristic by the end of the season.
  • A Chicago Cub leads the league in stolen bases. I don’t care if it is only nine games … when was the last time that happened?
  • Nine games and plenty of quality starts. The starting pitching will determine if this team will have a semi-respectable year, or another horribly disappointing one.
  • And apparently the bullpen will have a say in this campaign as well.
  • Fine and the offense will as well, but you get what I am saying. The starting pitching will set the tone for the team, and so far, it has been mostly decent. Yes, I am hedging my bet.
  • Seeing this team put up some runs the past few games has been encouraging, and well, relieving.
  • Mike Olt is the third baseman, and should play five or six days a week. Simple, over, done. Let the kid learn and see what he can do.
  • And Junior Lake should be playing every day. Case closed. At least ONE outfielder needs to be a regular. Let Lake and Schierholtz play every day and rotate the Kalish, Ruggiano and Sweeney.
  • This year is a chance for Castillo to make a statement. It’s been nine games, but nine games quickly become 30. And then 60.
  • Sure, Ryno used to have horrible Aprils and rebound, but Welington needs to step up and be heard. He is flying under the PR radar right now, and this is the perfect opportunity to put up and prove it.
  • It has been really hard for me to get this far without mentioning the batting averages a few players.
  • .371 and .342! Wow, how exhilarating is that?! I don’t care if it just nine games. I don’t care if it is just a short streak, and I don’t care if you all say it won’t last. It is happening now.
  • And it speaks volumes that I am this excited over batting averages on April 11.
  • Who else has spent the past four hours figuring out what a realistic haul for Jason Hammel will be on July 29?
  • I am so confused as to whether or not Edwin Jackson likes pitching at Wrigley. Can someone help me here?
  • This season is going to be about small victories, and one of those would be taking two out of three in St. Louis this weekend. So, here’s hoping something like that happens.

I hope everyone is welcoming spring, and enjoying baseball. And for all of you bitten by the unwavering addiction that I call “GOLF,” please enjoy the greatest golf weekend of the year.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

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  • BillyFinT

    This Debacle Cubs is not any different from its misery in 2011, in 2012, and in 2013. The Major League Cub is not going anywhere. The positive, if ever, will be for the veterans such as Starlin Castro to step up, gain focus. The veterans from the Cubs system who are already here needs to set an example, so the Future such as Baez and Bryant can look up to. Because right now, everyone is playing their own ballgame, and you have one or two spotlights. As a collective whole, they are not a real team. They’ve been here long enough, so they should know better. This will not work in a long season.

  • Tony_H

    Great Rambling! Plenty to be excited about so far this season.

  • laredo

    Observations: If the MLB owners had allowed Mark Cuban to buy this team you can damn well bet they’d be winning right now I’m confused – if upper mgmt. knows we’re not a winning team right now then why not give these ‘future Cubs’ as many at bats as possible? I understand some aren’t ready either by virtue of skill, maturity, or financial/control issues but we’ve got a couple on the team right now who aren’t getting regular playing time. Read: Mike Olt and Junior Lake. Personally I don’t give a damn what Nate Schierholtz does – he will not be a Cub come July. I would like to see Ruggiano getting those at bats and maybe Kalish. Sweeney? Come on. Shark will also be gone but so what? Let’s face it, he’s way overrated and it doesn’t matter how many guys you strike out if you give up 5-6 runs every outing. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh but this guy is not a number one pitcher for any other team in the major leagues. Not one. I’d say turn him into a closer but he walks way too many ppl. I’ve got a new slogan that I think all Cub fans need to shout from the (literally and figuratively) rooftops: Let the Kids Play!

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Mark Cuban has other investments and owns the Mavericks as well. There is no guarantee he’d be throwing money at the major league roster while handling all the other expenses that we currently have. We would maybe be marginally better but honestly I just don’t see much difference he would make for the product on the field. Where I think he may handle things differently is with the city and rooftop owners. He would be playing hardball and a stadium in Schaumburg might already be under construction if he was owner. Say what you will about Cuban but the man has a plan. For that reason as well I think the team would be similar to where we are. I think he would be a big fan of what Theo is doing and when he bought the Mavs he tore them down before building them back up. Guaranteed when he arrived in Chicago and looked at the franchise he would have said, “let’s push reset.”

      • BigJonLilJon

        But Cuban would give us some funny quotes!!!

    • JasonPen

      They also have to market those guys for future trades.

    • BosephHeyden

      It would definitely be a lot more entertaining than…this, that’s for sure.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I want to say Kalish should play everyday but he really can’t yet. Needs to work his way and prove he’s healthy. Gonna be tough for him though to really develop if he doesn’t hit everyday. But even at AAA he’d need the occasional break because of that neck.

    By midseason if he’s fully healthy I think he starts getting the everyday nod over Schierholtz. Hopefully Nate gets hot and we can trade him.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Come on, Boardrider!

      Kalish is a RUN SCORING MACHINE! Don’t you ever forget it…He’s a RUN SCORING MACHINE!

      LOL…that’s what you said a few weeks ago.
      Did you forget that?

      No, he’s an OF with no power and he might hit .250 or less and he can’t break into the everyday lineup of a last place team.

      LOL…which one is he really?

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I haven’t changed my opinion on him at all. When fully healthy and playing full time I believe he is a potential 30/30 guy, who will hit around .300 with an OBP close to .400. It’s two weeks in and he has played back to back games once. Give him a few months at least. But even then I think this is a bounce back season and the numbers I’ve quoted above will begin next year.

        This is not a unique opinion. Ask anybody that followed the Red Sox. The sky is the limit for this player.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          :))))

          Just to make sure I just called my Red Sox fanatic friend and threw out the above stats. He said “absolutely,” he is capable of that. Said every Sox forum predicted he’d be similar to Ellsbury with a little less speed, little more power and a better OBP. I know you don’t know him but this guy is a fanatical baseball and Sox fan and I trust him.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            And he’s not the only place I’ve read and heard that.

  • John G

    Anthony Rizzo makes his big screen debut today in Draft Day.

  • cubtex

    Impressed with the way the Brewers have come out of the gate. They look like this years Indians team. 74-88 last year and look like a playoff team this year. Not a top farm system but a few key trades the last couple of years and couple of really good free agent signings…Lohse last year and Garza this year to go along with Gallardo and Perralta. The offense is exciting with Segura,Gomez,Braun and ARAM with others. Still a long way to go but I expect them to be there all season. Another example on how quickly you can go from losing close to 90 games and have a playoff type team the following.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Depends on if Aram can stay healthy.

      • BosephHeyden

        Also depends if Aram decides to stay motivated. The Brewers lose a few games in a row, and Ramirez may decide to take it easy until late June/early July.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Bruce Levine keeps saying that Ricketts doesn’t have the dough to give to Theo to buy some players for the ML club.

      We have a $75 million payroll–$90 million since we are paying Soriano to play for the Yankees–and Levine says the dough isn’t there because of the deal he signed with Sam Zell. Levine said that the Cubs cannot sign a big time FA–no dough for it due to restrictions placed on the team by the purchase contract with Zell.

      All of this seems to shift the blame off of Theo onto Ricketts and Zell.

      The result: we get another last place team for 2014.

      Ricketts’ plan: you pay some of the highest ticket prices in the land to sustain this “winning” formula.

    • JohnnyVee

      Doesn’t matter, no team with Aram will ever win. Come on really? The Brewers?

  • John_CC

    I still feel like the bullpen is going to become a strength, not a weakness. Neil Ramirez and lefty Rosscup have started strong in Iowa. Vizcaino is reportedly hitting 98 with wicked “stuff.” Armando Rivero(?) is at AA throwing 97 mph heat. Plus there is Parker and Rusin. And if Arrieta comes back to the rotation then Villanueva goes to the pen.

    So even if Grimm is promoted to the rotation mid-summer (replacing Hammel is the assumption) there are quite a few live arms not far away.

    I am actually excited by the prospect of the pen of young guns that all bring serious heat.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      agreed…the Wright/Russell/Veras ilk feels very similar to the Sweeney/Ruggiano/Schierholtz/Barney ilk…you know they aren’t the future, and you can’t wait for them to be supplanted.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    I am just thrilled to see so many empty seats at Wrigley during every home game so far this year. Finally the fans are making a statement to ownership that if your going to put a minor league product on the field, we will give you a minor league size crowd.
    I am also thrilled Castro and Rizzo are looking like they should and are playing like stars… and it is a joy watching Bonifacio play so far. Olt and Lake should be playing everyday… The future of this team will not involve S-holtz and Sweeney.

    • laredo

      Exactly what I’m saying. There comes a time when even as a long suffering Cub fan you say enough is enough. At least before there was an effort to put a winning team on the field but now I am truly, genuinely embarrassed by our product. Opening day: empty seats galore – when did you ever see Wrigley so empty on opening day? Fans are fed up and feel like there’s just no point in going to games. The Rickets are business people and feel they can make money off fan loyalty – no more, it’s time to show we don’t want owners who are ‘just’ interested in bottom line profit. Say what you want about George Steinbrenner but he wanted to see his team win and was rewarded by Yankee fans for it. Let. The. Kids. Play.

      • laredo

        I turned on the game, saw Valbuena, Schierholtz, and Sweeney in the lineup and promptly turned it off. Why would I go pay good, hard earned money to see this team play?