Rambling About the Cubs as Javy Delivers the Hope

Do you know who is smiling right now? Tom Ricketts is smiling. Do you know who else is smiling? Theo Epstein is smiling. Do you know who else is smiling? A whole bunch of Cubs fans, that’s who.

Javier Baez has the hopes of an entire fandom on his shoulders right now, and while no one knows how this story will play out, the hope that has been created by a few sweet swings of a bat feels awfully good today.

The cynics remain, as they always will, but the future is clearer now. Castro, Rizzo, Alcantara, Baez as well as the man on the mound yesterday … the picture is in better focus.

While the record is bad, and another high draft choice is imminent, real excitement will return to Wrigley Field today. True excitement will be in those stands this afternoon, and that is wonderful. So let’s get down to it.

  • I know the Rockies are bad, but any start at Coors Field like the one Hendricks had yesterday is darn impressive. Nice pitching, young man.
  • Speaking of, in five starts, Hendricks has a 2.10 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. This includes the aforementioned start at Coors, as well as games against the Dodgers and Cardinals.  He might just be a viable 3 or 4 starter in the Bigs.
  • PrintLast week I went out of my way to mention that Castro had not hit a homerun in a long time. Over forty-some days I believe. He blasted one yesterday, and I hope he can get in a groove these last 50-plus games.
  • I have not been able to watch everything, but Javy has looked pretty comfortable at second base. This is a good thing. He hung in there and turned two very nicely the other night.
  • I said it last week, and I will say it again. I love the hope these prospects bring, but there will need to be a few veterans on this team. Ricky can only do so much.
  • I mentioned Coghlan as a possible veteran presence last week. He should play every day until the end of the year. In honor of Jerome Walton, here is to reviving a former Rookie-Of-The-Year’s career!
  • Speaking of Ricky, it is really nice to have a smart manager. Or better said, I really enjoy have a not-stupid manager. No one is perfect, but Ricky has done a very nice job.
  • Things like this are evident when Walt Weiss is employing a sacrifice bunt in the first inning at Coors Field.
  • There are a few former sluggers manning a dugout that don’t seem to have much of a clue at times. To be fair, I am no one, and it is easy for me to sit here and make these claims. But I am one heck of an arm-chair manager.
  • Before the All-Star break, the Cubs were in 29th in OBP, 21st in SLG and 27th in OPS.
  • Since the All-Star break, the Cubs are 10th in OBP, 4th in SLG and 7th in OPS. Improvement is fun.
  • I hope Chris Coghlan is really enjoying himself these days. There are a lot of great stories in sports, but redemption stories seem to be my favorite. I am rooting hard for this guy.
  • I love the play to get Jacob Turner. Theo and Jed have had their eyes on him for quite some time. Bosio has proven he can work some magic, so why not?
  • Samardzija, Arrieta, Feldman … If Bosio keeps this up, he might be mentioned in a close breathe to Dave Duncan one day. So why not try?
  • Also, if the reports are true, awesome work on claiming Hamels. We all know the trade won’t happen, but as David Kaplan said, this should show us something about Ricketts. They are ready to spend money.
  • And for the cynics who think this was all orchestrated to make it look like Ricketts is willing to spend money, but he never will, but this will buy him some time … I politely disagree.
  • Also, as I have said, if someone is going to argue that the Ricketts’ family has money issues, please prove it. Or, like with second-grade math, “show your work.” People keep throwing this claim around, but I have yet to see a balance sheet, or a checking-account balance, or simple proof.
  • For the record, I am not saying this is NOT the case, but I have yet to see tangible evidence.
  • I think it is fair to say that for the first time in a very long time, people are excited to watch Cubs games. I have talked with a fair share of Cubs fans the past few days, and there is an air of positivity I have not heard in years.
  • The future is not here, but it is getting closer every single day. And that is very exciting.

Many fans will pass through the Wrigley Field gates this weekend. Fans of all ages will take in a ballgame and enjoy themselves while being filled with hope. And this hope is something that cannot be measured. It can only be appreciated. Dare to dream.

With that, I hope everyone has an enjoyable, safe, productive and fulfilling weekend.

And until next time … Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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  • triple

    As far as the whole “what is Kyle Hendricks’ ceiling” debate, one thing that has been lost in the conversation is how cerebral of a pitcher he is. How often does a kid get drafted while still in college and continue to pursue his degree while playing minor league baseball, much less at Dartmouth University? I think that just shows how motivated, intelligent, and driven to succeed he is. He is not lazy and resting on his laurels. He isn’t overflowing with size or talent, but he’s got those intangibles that even pitchers with size and more talent wish they had. I remember reading someone’s comment in the “talkin’ Cubs live” thread about Hendricks making a nice play in the field and not making a bad decision or throwing the ball away. Apparently he’s good at getting sacrifice bunts down too. His poise is the kind of thing that can’t be taught. Just look at his ML debut. He got squeezed by the ump and got hit hard as a result. What would Carlos Zambrano do? Next inning, that was wiped from the slate and out of his memory. Something tells me that Hendricks figured out on his own a long time ago how to pitch, how to stay under control, and remain cool and calm under pressure. I’m just saying that he has looked very natural doing what he has done so far. Yes it’s a small sample, but he is doing all the things that can’t be taught. It seems all he needs his coaches for are to continue refining fundamentals and developing a professional routine. I bet he already understands the game plans that Bosio is imparting on other pitchers on the team. All those little things I mentioned are the difference, IMO to him reaching the level of a guy like Tim Hudson, rather than Matt Garza.

    • woody34

      Everytime I see Hendricks pitch, the same guy comes to mind every time. Greg Maddux. Fastballs both similar in velocity. Total control of the strike zone. Intelligence. I’m not saying he is Maddux, but he has to be a decent comparison.

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

        I don’t see why the comp can’t be made. He plays chess, he controls the zone and hitters are completely guessing up there. Not necessarily about the pitch type, but his control is so good, they have no idea where the ball will be located. Add in that killer change and it’s a chore to hit him.

        • mutantbeast

          you mentioned Hendricks killer change. Mad Dog was 8-19 his ist 2 big league seasons. Then he mastered the circle change Dick Pole taught him and became great. What was it Don Sutton once said, hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing?

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

            Dang Beast…that is probably the single best, most thought provoking post I have read in a while. Thanks man…

          • John_CC

            This is true to an extent, but it sounds like you making a claim that without Dick Pole Maddux would have been average. I cannot agree! The reason some of us do not like “the comp” is because Maddux was a superior athlete, not just to Hendricks but to probably 90% of the players on the field any given day. His fast ball had movement and a hard break that simply baffled the best hitters. He had “out” pitches he could use when needed.

            I hate to sound like a naysayer because I really like Hendricks but I guess I’m just not good at leaving well enough alone. So far Hendricks is walking only 2 per 9 innings, but he also only Ks 5 / 9. So he pitches to contact and he’s good at it with a 52% ground ball rate. But his babip is a way too low .245, his minor league career average was closer to .300. He isn’t going to continue to fool ML hitters the way he has. The ERA in the 2’s isn’t sustainable, but the good news is his xFIP is still just 3.69. He is a dang good pitcher right now, but is performing over his head.

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

            In the minors his K/BB was over 7. I believe in time his MLB average will even out near the rate he consistently put up in minors.

      • Bredboy

        I hate to agree, because I certainly don’t want to imply that Hendricks is the second coming of the Hall of Famer. But I absolutely do see the similarities when I watch him. I really think triple’s assessment is spot on. A good pitcher is not ALWAYS about throwing 97mph.

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

          When making the comparison, we are by no means saying he’s the second coming, or will be a HOF’er, or will end up anywhere near the career of “the name which I must not say.”

          All were saying is that he is similar in style, approach, and so far effectiveness. Will he end up as good? 85% no chance. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t similar. I can’t think of one other pitcher that fits that same velocity and control. “The name,” was always known or the way he worked the player and kept hitters guessing and off balance. In 25.1 of 26.1 innings, with an emphasis on most recent 12 or so, that’s exactly how Hendricks has pitched.

          • Bredboy

            Exactly right. I was 100% agreeing… apparently it didn’t come across that way. Some on this site jump at the chance to put those words in people’s mouths, so I was attempting to clarify that none of us were saying that, but the visual “reminds me of” is very noticeable.

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

            I understood buddy. Was just trying to agree and back you up. Guess I phrased it ambiguously.

          • daverj

            Try 99.99% chance he won’t end up as good as Maddux … :)

          • SirGladiator

            You’re forgetting an important detail, Maddux never had Maddux to work with, get advice from, etc. while Hendricks does. Not on a day to day basis of course, but he’s around, so there’s no reason to believe that Hendricks can’t learn from, and ultimately even surpass, Maddux one day.

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

            99.8%? ;)

        • triple

          Thanks. I actually had typed this up as a reply to Board in a previous thread, but my laptop lost power just before I fininshed typing and I lost it. I had a couple other tidbits in there, but couldn’t remember. Anyway, this one ended up a little shorter and probably more to the point. I had a hard time thinking of another pitcher who was not so big, and Hudson came to mind, and while he never had a good change up, he did have great control and managed over 200 wins in what has been a very solid career for himself. But I think those intangibles I mentioned easily have to do with the differences between Hudson’s career 3.41 ERA to Garza’s 3.81 ERA. And for those that don’t know, Hudson is listed at 6′ 1″ / 175 lbs.

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

            I made the comment a while back that I remembered when Mulder, Zito and Hudson were all in Oakland. ESPN was analyzing them and was picking which of the 3 would have the longest career and best chance at 300 wins. The report settled on Hudson! And at the time I was like, “man he’s the worst of the 3.” Turns out they were right.

            I think that the way Hendricks pitches he can have a long career and avoid a lot of injuries. He’s an easy thrower and has great mechanics.

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

            Hendricks is 6’3, 190 currently. I still say he can add 30 lbs and probably a couple MPH. But it’s irrelevant really. With his approach speed isn’t all that important.
            There will be days when he isn’t at his best, just like “the exhaulted name which I must not dare utter in comparisons to a hack like Hendricks,” did on occasion. But overall his approach is repeatable and should be consistent.

          • triple

            I think he doesn’t need to add too much weight. Maybe 10-15 lbs wouldn’t hurt. But as long as he can just ramp it up to about 95 or 96 every once in a while in a critical situation, that will be very effective. If he’s got guys off balance throwing different pitches between low 80’s and low 90’s, they won’t be looking for heat, and they won’t catch up to that when it catches them by surprise, and as long as he’s got control of that pitch, that’s the kind of thing I’d rather see him keep just an inch or 2 off the plate so guys likely won’t square it up.

      • daverj

        Maddux is a once in a generation pitcher. There is no comparison to him. There are lots of guys like Hendricks out there. Some find a way to be succeed in the majors as more than a #4 or #5, most don’t … but many have early success in a small sample size.

        • mutantbeast

          Indeed Maddux was, but lets not forget, Mad Dog had a losing record his first 11/2 seasons he was in the bigs. Hendricks is having a better start to his career. Heres to hoping he is at least 90% of Maddux.

          • daverj

            Maddux was very young when he had those losing seasons in the majors … much younger than Hendricks. And, Maddux was great in the minors while always being one of the youngest in each league he played in.

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

            I don’t know if Hendricks was among youngest, he went to college. But he was great in the minors. Everywhere he went.

            And dude went to Fordham! I just think he’s smarter than most guys and with his control, it’s a potent combination. That’s something that is tough to factor. But it is certainly something that “the name,” had as well.

          • John_CC

            See this is what is ridiculous. In ’86 Maddux was 20 years old and started 5 games. His first full season he struggled, indeed, at the age of 21. Can we give Hendricks as much time before making blanket predictions and comparisons?

            By the time Maddux was 24, Hendrick’s age, he had won like 60 ML games, had one All Star game, and had finished 3rd in Cy Young voting.

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

          I don’t see many guys with his control, and way if keeping hitters guessing so effectively. To trivialize his game is completely wrong. Hudson, Hoffman, Hamels, who else executes that way so effectively?

          • John_CC

            Executes what way? With great control or what are you asking?

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

            Pretty much. Just his gameplam. Hitters can barely guess what and where the next pitch will be. Inside, outside, high, low, harder, softer…just pitching fundamental. Hendricks mixes it up and puts the ball exactly where he wants it. His control is such that he rarely throws a bad pitch. He’s not a guy that will “leave one hanging,” or “get too much of the plate.” He’s pinpoint. And for a guy as intelligent and a student of pitching as he is. It’s dangerous. Reminds me of….

    • J Daniel

      And on the other side you can have a guy like EJax who has outstanding stuff but can’t get it done. Some guys have “it” and it looks like Hendricks has “it”

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

        Good points galore this morn…Ramblings always bring out the smartest of us it seems.

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

      Outstanding analysis. One of the better I’ve read, even amongst the “pros.” Objective too, unlike some people here that just seem to have a man crush in the guy….not saying any names….er, but it starts with The and ends with Der…and he lives in my house ;).

      • triple

        Haha, thanks Board, but “man crush” is an understatement. I say it’s a full on Bromance!

        :)

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

          Look Trip, Kyle and I have a special relationship man. And it’s not really your or anyone else’s business what we call it or how we feel about each other. We’re unique and some people wait their entire life looking for what we have!

          LOLOLOLOLOL!

          And yes, of course he knows who I am :)

          • triple

            Restraining order? :o

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

            No, I don’t mind if he stops by. As long as he calls first…:)

  • BillyFinT

    Brian, “I said it last week, and I will say it again. I love the hope these
    prospects bring, but there will need to be a few veterans on this team.”

    That sounds like what I said. You must be reading a lot of comments these days. ;-)

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

      I think the Coghlan point is a good one. We’re not quite ready to promote more outfielders, outside Soler, so Coghlan is a perfect vet to play and be the veteran presence until a rookie has to have his spot. And by then, Rizzo and Co. will be more like veterans. I ha agreed we should bring in a guy like Melky in offseason, and it woul be a nice luxury. But at this point in their careers, I expect Coghlan to have a better 2015 than Melky.

      • Chris K.

        Coghlan is having a great season without steroids! I think that beats out Melky.

      • BillyFinT

        Another screw-up relying on dose later in his career, once he enjoyed all the success being a Big leager? No, thanks. I have no idea why I would want Manny R. down there either. “Baseball people,” as I quote the Dollar On Muscle, they are forgetful. They forgot that Cubs fans don’t forget.

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

          From what I have read Manny has been awesome.

          People can change. If I wasn’t given second chances and forgiven for mistakes is be in big trouble.

          • BillyFinT

            No, not really. The environment changed, and it affects the person to control one’s ego. Unless, of course, Manny went through a life-changing experience. Which he did not (or we’ve heard via news).

            Manny was given a second then third then fourth chance and nothing changed. He screw over. This is just “baseball people” making use of his talent more than of his character.

            Nothing wrong. Business as usual.

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

            I disagree. It takes what it takes. I got chances plural before I finally decided I couldn’t get any lower and was sick i the way I lived. Gotta hit botom before you can put your ego aside and realize your a dumb-a$$ and need to learn to live a different way. Seeking a spiritual life is a great way to go about that change and I believe to an extent it’s required. Whether it’s Allah, Jesus, Buddah or just a Higher Power. But you’ve got to undergo a psychic change brought in by a spiritual experience. Manny found God supposedly.

            Did you see the article from Wesneaday I think in Daily CCO? Quotes from AAA about what Manny has been like and his approach and willingness to help.

            I don’t know exactly what it was, but something got Mannys attention and humbled him.

          • BillyFinT

            You should check out how many times he took PED. What he said publicly against his team. The Red Sox. With the Dodgers, with the Rays. He fled from punishment by retiring. Next thing he did? He came back to baseball! But nobody wanted him other than Minor League.

            Don’t get me wrong. Despite his character, Ramirez was a great hitter before he proved himself guilty. Later, I followed him for amusement, plus I’m always interested at the int’l scenes. (Baseball is Global.)

            He signed a contract with Taiwan’s C.P.B.League, arrived late (like a week?), then guess what? Being a bigger asshole than when he was with the Red Sox, he left without advance notice!

            He signed with the Rangers, with the Rays, COUNTLESS events that proved one thing–He’s a jerk for life. Seriously, don’t lower yourself by comparing with Ramirez. He’s an ass who broke the law numerous times. I don’t think you are.

            It’s a shame for the Cubs to sign him. Shame.

          • triple

            I disagree. People have alot going on between drug/alcohol addiction and mental illnesses, that they become someone other than themselves. One day they see the light and they can actually make a change.

          • BillyFinT

            Read my reaction to T.B.D. above (or below, depends on your disqus setting).

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

            I hate to say it Billy and I understand where you’re coming from. And for someone that hasn’t made those type of mistakes and whatnot it’s probably hard to imagine. I don’t want to get into all the details and make anyone uncomfortable or anything. But I will say I used to be a complete, self-centered, maggot. I would steal from my friends and then start a fight with them if they accused me of it. I made my mother think she was crazy because of all the stuff i did to her. When my daughter was born and my wife had a c-section she ran out of her pain killers before we left the hospital because i stole them all.

            So yes, Triple below is kind of getting at the point. People forgave me and gave me chances, and I screwed it up over and over. Until I finally gave up and asked someone for help. And I was directed to a new way of life and to rely on God to help me learn to live in a way I never had before. It took 1 years to get to that point.

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

            *15 years of living like that to get to the bottom and become ready to change for real.

            It’s now been 3 years and people that knew me barely recognize me anymore. I haven’t changed my looks, but I just exude a different aura that actually has had a large physical effect.

            And life is great! No big deals. And I live everyday to focus on others and what I can do to be of service and try to please God and help take care of His children.

            Not to get sappy, but that’s the way I feel today. If I stop living my life for others I risk going backward. And things are too good for that. I live a life today beyond my wildest dreams and it took me a long time to even accept that I deserved it. But I don’t regret the past. It took what it took for me to change. If one thing is different maybe it wouldn’t be enough.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Hey Board it’s been almost 8 years for me. One day at a time.

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

            Heck yeah Pareick! That is a miracle man. Congratulations! There’s been a few times I almost mentioned something but I really didn’t want to call attention to myself ya know. And I don’t know if Manny has gone through anything remotely like we have. But I do know people can change. I didn’t used to think so but now I know.

            Man 8 years is a long time! But that’s what we have newcomers for right?! To remind us what we don’t want to go back to. An to give us opportunities to pas in what was freely given to is.

            Thanks for letting me know. Kind of awkward on here to ask somebody “you friends with Bill and Bob?” :)

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Agreed lol I’ve met people friends of Bill w. In some of the funniest ways. Sitting on the bench bored of watching my try on clothes at the mall an hour from where we live this older gentle man sat down and we started talking about the weather and then we were talking about recovery.

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

            So have I! I was at corporate training in Itasca actually. And the VP of the company was talking to our class. He’s this super dapper guy, dressed to the 9’s in Armani and a Sub-Mariner on his wrist. And while he’s talking he mentioned meditating every mornign and prayer. He also mentioned how in college he was a poor student and barely graduated because he spent too much time having fun. Then he started talking about St. Francis. He ended his speech with a comment about the serenity prayer.

            I know all three could be said by anyone and it by no means was a guarantee. And he was an executive of the company I had just started working for. So I decided I’d just have to wonder.

            Later that day I ran into him in the breakroom getting coffee and a donut. It was just us two. So I went to him and told him how much I liked his talk, and related to some he said. He then replied, and this is no bull “Most of the time I hear a person speak I hear something I relate to.” Well that was the final straw and I was like screw it…but I kept it vaguer and just said “do you know BIll and Bob?” He smiled and nodded at me. Then said to come by his office at lunch. He showed me his 21 year chip and we ended up talking the whole hour!

            Another guy during training did the same thing to me! He’s from Pittsburg and he overheard my boss, who was also at the training, ask me if I had found a meeting the night before. The group from my company went out and I did my own thing and told them I was going to find one. So this guy from Pitt asked me if I knew them and then we made fast friends. We ended up going to meetings together a couple other nights I was in town.

            No matter where you go, if you’re in recovery you’ve got friends. Kind of like being a Cubs fan in some ways :).

          • BillyFinT

            I don’t know why you are trying to expose your personal life on CCO, and I don’t think it’s serving your purpose of proving Ramirez a valuable asset overall, unless you are selling it as a living (not to say that you are, nor to say that it’s wrong).

            Ramirez is a typical example as the biggest character flaw of pro. sport. Greed. His actions broke the law and hurt people who placed expectation of his professionalism. If one has kids old enough and ask: “Daddy, why is this guy being an ass and did all those wrongs but still hired?” I would not want my kid to learn from him and believe in him.

            Because that means believing baseball allows more wrongs than rights. Baseball allows people who break laws and hurt others, just because they have a few limited skills that make the show look good for a while.

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

            Well I’m sorry you don’t like me exposing it or understand. And I’ve been a poster here for a long time without saying word one about it. But I don’t think its fair to label people based on their past for life. They can change, and a changed man is a wonderful example for anyone. Someday my kids will know all about what I went through. Maybe not every detail. But it makes a great cautionary tale and lends credibility when discussing their own actions. I think Manny can do the same for young Cubs.

            I have many good friends on this site. And to be honest Id like to know more about them, and I’ve grown comfortable enough for them to know more about me. There’s not one thing I’ve done or been through that I won’t share if it can help someone else. In this case I hoped it might open someone’s mind. And I’m not saying your a bad guy or closed-minded. If you don’t have people in your life that have been through a self-imposed hell that they were powerless to stop alone, but eventually come out better because of it, then it’s probably hard to appreciate or grasp what can occur. I didn’t understand until I had some friends change before me, and they set the example and became my heroes.

            Again, I’ve been here a long time and never said a word. But as I said ive got good friends here, te CCO is my home. And if you can’t be honest at home where can you be?! And I’m sure you’re not the only person bothered by it snd who doesn’t really get it. And I tske no pleasure in making someone uncomfortable. But if it makes one person think twice its worth it. And really, what anyone else thinks is not my problem.

            People change. I used to not know that. And those change people can be extremely powerful and heavily impact others around them for the better. I don’t know if Manny has or not. But he says he has found God. And the stories and results from Iowa are nothing short of outstanding, as they relate to him.

          • BillyFinT

            People change. I already said that. Not Ramirez. And you don’t need to point out what I understand and not. None of your business what I know or not. Just like it’s none of business how you lived your life.

            This is a baseball site. We are not really discussing the same matter now, I see… No point of discussing further to spoil this weekend.

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

            Jeez man, sorry to ruin your weekend. I guess we get different things from here. I enjoy getting to know people beyond baseball and learning more about them. I didn’t say what I did because I want you to know about my life. But I did because I felt it could prove a point that people, anybody, is capable of change. And it may take several tries.

            If you show an understanding of something, or lack thereof, than it is my right to attempt to show you a different viewpoint. Why you’d be so offended by that is beyond me.

            But hey man, I do hope you have a wonderful day and weekend. If my comment got you off to a bad start I am sorry and will pray for you to be able to get past it. Not my intention to get anybody upset.

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

            And in my experience. I’ve appreciated when someone has been willing to share intimate detail about them-self with me, particularly to help me understand something I may not have before. Not saying you don’t. For all I know you have redeemed people all around you and a family member or two in recovery. I sincerely didn’t mean to upset you or spoil your weekend. I thought you might find it interesting. When I’ve been on the other side of details like that, I’ve been flattered and honored to be trusted and that someone felt comfortable enough to share with me. That was all I was trying to accomplish. Wasn’t trying to judge you or put you down or anything remotely like that.

          • BillyFinT

            My bad. I meant to say that it’s better for me to privately discuss, rather than bang these experience out here in public. I’ll love to email you and talk about God, but nay. Preachers and politicians do that. I don’t.

            The initiation for Brian was to ramble for “Hope.” It’s a good thing. Good to see you keep that connection (Cubs to your own life).

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

            Thanks for replying Billy. I felt like we got off somewhere there and maybe both misunderstood the others intent. I’ve always thought you seemed like a pretty good guy, and probably I wouldn’t have gone into all that in a reply to just anyone on this site. Like I said, I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. But I don’t want to draw attention to myself and seem like “hey everyone look at me and I’m so wonderful!” I just wanted to offer some perspective and I guess lend myself some credibility.

            I do really appreciate you taking the time to reply and diffuse things. Like I said, I’ve always thought you seemed like a good dude and I think my assessment was accurate.

            Have a good weekend brother! Go Cubs!

  • triple

    26 years since the first night game at Wrigley – 8/8/88

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

      Never forget that one! 25 years since the rainout or the actual game? The anticipation of that first night game, them rain, probably qualifies as a “Cubbie Occurrence.”

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

    I think Ricky has done a much better job than any of us anticipated. As recently as May people were still saying he was a joke as a hire. He’s proven he knows what he’s doing and is great with the youngsters.

    I’d love to see a real behind the scenes profile of Bosio. Like a SI type spread, with interviews and a few days spent with him and some of these guys he’s salvaged. Whats his secret? How’s it compare to Duncan? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Boz is from the same school. Boz is doing what Duncan consistently did for over 10 years.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Travis Wood has regressed. Veras was a disaster. He is not Dave Duncan yet. Who gets credit for Zambrano’s great 6-year stretch, Marmol (in his prime), Dempster’s career resurgence? I hope that doesn’t mean Larry Rothschild is also Dave Duncan. I am glad we have some young pitchers doing well in bullpen and in Arrieta/Hendricks, but let’s not extrapolate that to mean more than it does.

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

        It means we’ve got a dang good pitching coach. One of the best around currently. And with Turner, Doubront, Straily signed for pennies. Then Edwards, Black, Sands, Cease, Pinyiero, Steele, Johnson and others coming up in the next few years we’ll have lots to work with.

        Given what happened with Maholm, Feldman, Hammel, Arietta, Hendricks, Ramirez and Grimm. I think it’s a great chance that we’re going to maximize quite a few of these guys.

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

        I don’t understand the need to focus on only the worst possible aspects of the team. I, or someone else, point out positives about our favorite team and then people want to come along and drag everything down and go beyond even being devil’s advocate.

        What does Zambrano or Marmol in his prime, or Dempster have to do with our current success with pitching? Those guys aren’t even in the system anymore. I don’t understand that reference. We had some great years in the mid 2000’s and came oh so close to a title. I would argue with anybody that we were the team in 2003, and that if the Bartman play doesn’t happen we get that title. We had some other fun years too, we may have underachieved a tad a few times in there and for whatever reason not made the most of our chance. But we were fun and had a championship chance for a decent stretch in there.

        But what does that really have to do with now?

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

          We were good then. Well put together and some good coaching at times. But most of the discussions I see on this site are about now, and the future. I didn’t see any mention in the ramblings of those days, or pining for yesteryear. I have fond memories of those days as we all do. But we’re in a different era now. Not really too much holdover except Crane Kinney. Is that the connection you’re trying to make here? That Kinney is the guy that has been the key to success then and now?

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

            He’s a pretty good business type in our management I suppose. I’ll give you that…

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

    I imagine ovations for the starting lineup will be impressive today in Chicago. Baez with loudest, but Rizzo, Castro, Alcantara and, the feel good story man, Chris Coghlan, should also get a good roar.

    Coghlans actually may rival Baez, but not as sustained. Cubs fans appreciate guys in the Coghlan mold.

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

    I hope everyone gets on today. Not just this group. We still need the devil’s advocates, definitely during Rambling! I look forward to these discussions all week long.

    • chadman07

      Avid reader on this site but 1st time poster, I think, and I appreciate reading your positive outlook on this site Boardrider. Don’t change sir.

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

        Thanks a ton Chadman! Great to meet you…

    • Chris K.

      Where are the naysayers? I haven’t seen much of them lately. :)

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

    Where is everyone!? C’mon it’s the Ramblings! And we’ve got a world of positives to discuss. We’re always hearing how nobody is excited because the team isn’t winning. We’re 7-3 in our last 10 games with impact coming from exciting young players.

    Baez, Rizzo, Castro, Coghlan, Hendricks, Arietta (before most recent), Alcantara.

    Let’s talk about some excitement and also hear why enthusiasm should be tempered!

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

      I want to read “all day sucker,” at least once in the thread today! C’mon…

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      I would like to thank Jim Hendry for drafting Javier Baez. That makes 2 core pieces (Castro, Baez) gift-wrapped for Team Theo. Now we need to see Theo and his prospects come thru. Arrieta and Hendricks (so far) look good, but Wood has badly regressed. Rizzo is a stud. Alcantara seems servicable, if not a star.
      If Soler and Bryant come up before next Summer and prove to be legit, you are a C and 3 SP’s away from having a playoff team. Hopefully they sign/acquire at least 2 of those SP’s this offseason.

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

        Yep. Totally agree. Jim dis a hood job on those two and the Garza trade which has netted us Edwards, Ramirez, Grimm and Olt.

        I think we’ve handled Baez very well and he’s now in a position to succeed. With Rizzo, Alcantara, Arietta, Hendricks and Castro we’ve got a great foundation. I think Castillo is serviceable. The signing of Coghlan has been wonderful and he is a presence we will need in the coming years. Wada has even been good.

        We do have a few more open spots. And between Almora, Russell, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Hanneman, McKinney, Olt, Zagunis, Villanueva and Catarini, I think we will fill those spots sooner than later, probabky have a feet idea by en of next season who will be here for the first wave of playoff runs.

        Followed by Young, Jimenez, Torres, Burjs, Mitchell, and others to follow.

        Add in Edwards, Black, Johnson, Stinett, Cease, Sands, Steele, Zastryny, we have pitching depth to come up before too long. With Edwards, Blak, Oinyeiro potentially making an impact within 18 months.

        We have a great plethora of players in the minors. We finally don’t have to depend on just a couple guys.

        And to think, just a few weeks ago, Baez was this big question mark! With Russell, Bryant and others being seen more as “can’t miss.” What good problems to have!
        So thanks for nt trading these guys and getting desperate! And we are lucky to have the best front office in baseball that have played all the right cards and turned most everything they’ve touched to gold. Shows tht when you hve a plan, execute that plan, anything is possible.

        3 short years ago, Castro and Baez were all we had! And now we are overflowing with potential. And with te way we are handling these younger guys, we are putting them i positions to succeed an have minimal pressure despite the weight of Cubs nation in their shoulders. Tough to accomplish. But patience has paid off. We made some desperate moves in those final years before Theo came but we held into Baez and Castro. An the foundation was laid for these layers a and layers of future stars we now have. It’s a great time to be a Cubs fan!

        Oh yeah, and thanks Rick Renteria. You seem to be the right man to manage tese young guys. With the men we have in charge. And the young studs we’ve filled the system with. The future has never been brighter and we are poised to have a run that will last, hopefully , at least until my 7 year old is of to college. Unbelievable…

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

          Dang phone is sucking right now for text! But you get the gist. We’re loaded for the future. And it looks like the future, is coming quite a bit sooner than we anticipated. I sincerely believe we will be competitive next season. And if we sign one of the big FA pitchers we will be in the playoff hunt. Even if we don’t I still give us an outside chance at a wild card.

          But after 2015 ends, and 2016 begins, we will be like a comet in the sky! But with no flame out coming for the foreseeable future. Layers upon layers, of talent backing each other up and if a guy doesn’t pan out…”next man up!”

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

            And Bredboy makes a great point below. 3 years ago we couldn’t throw enough money to make FA’s sign here. Now guys all over the league are stopping and saying “I want to be a part of that.” Confidence exists in what is being done in Chicago.

  • daverj

    Cubs now need two top of the rotation pitchers … how about Lester and Scherzer? Might take 7 years and $175 million each to sign them, but it’s looking like the Cubs will have a very inexpensive lineup for a few years.

    • John_CC

      I anticipate that this winter is going to be very interesting. We know they are going to make a very serious play for Lester, and while its way too early to speculate, I think they have a leg up.

      Unlike last winter and the Tanaka Saga, the Yankees do not have the edge with Lester. I’m sure someone will argue that everyone wants play for the hallowed Yankees and why would any FA want to come to the Cubs and all that garbage, but I’m not buying it for a second.

      • SirGladiator

        I agree 100% with the second part of that, the part about Free Agents wanting to play for the Cubs, that’s 100% true, even Cole Hamels wants to come here and sadly he’s not even a FA. However, I’m afraid the first part is overly optimistic, the part about the Yankees not having the edge with Lester. The Yankees literally have the edge over anybody on anyone, because, as we saw with Tanaka, they can come in and overpay by as much as it takes to get them, as they have unlimited money. That doesn’t mean I think they ‘want’ Lester, there’s no sign of that just yet, and we clearly are the favorites to get him as of right now. But if there’s a player the Yankees want, they ‘will’ get him, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. We just have to hope the Yankees focus on somebody else, certainly they have a powerful tendency to focus on over-the-hill guys, hopefully that trend will continue this off-season also :) .

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

          From aha I’ve read an heard about Lester. I don’t see him ensnared with NY. He’s very loyal and beloved to Boston. It’s happened before but I think he would take slights less to come here or another desired location over NY. The Yanks would have to make him an offer that blows everyone else away IMO.

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

          I will predict now that of the Big 3 FA pitchers, we get at least one.

          • triple

            If the Cubs are gonna be in on one of the the big FA pitchers, I think they need to strike fast and set the market like they’ve done the last 2 years with mid-season trades. That way they get their man at a fair price. And I use the word “fair” very loosely. Because at some point when the Yankees pull out close to $200M to sign one of those guys, then all the following pitchers to sign will profit largely as a result.

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

            I totally agree. I think Theo likes doing that. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve signed Price or Lester before Thanksgiving.

          • JasonPen

            Or 2…

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

            Hopefully 2!

      • mutantbeast

        Stankees have what $300 million committed to Tanaka and CC, and both of them are hurt? If Lester is about winning,he comes here. If hes about $, he chases the almighty $.

      • Bredboy

        I think the tide has turned with the Cubs. 3 years ago, I could completely see why the top FA’s didn’t even consider coming to the Cubs. With the prospect talent arriving and the baseball world taking notice now though, I think this offseason is the very first time that getting on board will be a desireable destination. Who wouldn’t want to be on the team that finally breaks the drought? If there is true belief that this could indeed happen in the coming few years, I would think any FA would jump at the opportunity to be part of the biggest story baseball may ever see.

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

      Price is my first choice. Youngest and I think he can be good as velocity decreases.

      • Bredboy

        He’s not available until the following offseason though, correct?

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

          No, he is ready after last game of 2014! He signed a 1 year deal in off season with Rays…

      • daverj

        He would be my first choice too, but I suspect that by the time Price is a free agent after the 2015 season, the Tigers will have him locked up long term.

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

          I’m pretty sure he signed a one year deal before this season…

          • daverj

            2015 is his last arbitration year

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

            I just reread the article I found that information on and you sir…are correct!

            I shouldn’t say “reread,” it was more like went back and continued reading past the first two sentences where I saw “arbitration on 1 year deal.” With the article dated December of 2013.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    We’ll know this offseason what Ricketts financial situation looks like. But it’s a well established fact that the revenue steam is extremely tight due the rebuild and lack of a broadcast partner.

  • triple

    Just noticed in the CCO twitter column that the Cubs have acquired Jacob Turner for a couple minor leaguers!

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