I have three daughters. One that’s a couple weeks from
turning 13, an 11 year old, and a 6 year old. And like all sibling relationships,
they have their own hierarchy. The
oldest girl thinks that she should have certain privileges that the others don’t
get, and she does.
But as parents we try and do our best to keep everything as
fair as possible. Sometimes we have to step in and override the “Dad! We always
do it this way” or the “She always goes first” routine. Most times it works out
with little to no fuss. The girls are fairly respectful of each other even at their
relatively young age. But sometimes it doesn’t.
Eyes have been known to well up, arms have gotten crossed, and the occasional
walking away from the conversation with extra heavy footfalls has happened, and
those things are just from me, the girls can be worse.
This brings me to my point. I wonder how Carlos Zambrano is
handling the news that he won’t be starting on Opening Day. Carlos has been the
opening starter for the last six years and he is the longest tenured Cub.
During those starts he is 1-2 with an 8.26era.
I know he said that he’s happy for Ryan Dempster, Quade’s
named starter, and that Ryan deserved the job. But it still makes you wonder, especially
when you have a guy like Zambrano that has been prone to have emotional
outbursts. So for now everything’s ok, I
just don’t expect Carlos to be extra talkative on Opening Day as he waits and
watches someone else take his place in line.
Jim Edmonds announced his retirement today from Major League
baseball and the St Louis Cardinals. Jim is 40 years old and is retiring
because of an Achilles problem sustained last fall. In fact he injured himself
on what would turn out to be his last major league at-bat, a home run.
On Sept 21st last year Edmonds hit a home run off
David Bush to deep right-center. While he was running the bases he felt a pop
between second and third base, it turned out to be a right Achilles tendon
problem that ended his season, and now his career.
Jim Edmonds played all or parts of 17 seasons; 8 in St
Louis, 7 with the Angels and parts of other seasons with the Reds, Padres,
Brewers, and Cubs.
Jim was an 8 time Gold Glove winner and received MVP votes
in 6 seasons.
In 2008 he played with the Cubs. At the time I thought his
signing was a waste, he had just been released by the Padres and was only
hitting .178. But he ended up playing his way into the lineup and had an
excellent season, hitting 19 home runs and playing outstanding defense.
Jim will probably get minimal consideration for the Hall of
Fame in 5 years, and in truth I don’t think he is a HOFer. But some people have been put into the Hall
based on comparisons to other HOFers. Here is how Jim compares to recent
inductee Jim Rice.
(2011)- Rice (2089)
HR: E (393) - R (382)
RBI: E (1199) - R
OPS: E (.903) - R
Now that’s just cherry picking some stats, but hey, they are
what they are.
So a tip of the cap to Jim Edmonds, a solid veteran player
that made one of the greatest catches in the history of the game.
Side Note: This is my third Cardinals related post in a row,
which probably covers my St Louis quota for the year.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Tony La Russa.
The guy has a winning record over 32 years as a manager and
he’s done it with three different teams, with a .500+ record at each stop. He
has won 5 pennants and 2 World Series Titles. He’s been very loyal to his
players (see Mark McGwire) and he’s been known as a brilliant thinker inside
On the other hand, he’s managed both the White Sox and the
Cardinals, which makes him a natural foe for any Cubs fan. He might as well set
up a revolving door on the pitchers mound the way he goes through relievers.
And don’t even get me started with the pitcher batting eighth strategy.
Those things are on the field. Off the field I have the same
Tony has been generous with both his time and name for
charity. He is particularly active in the field of animal rescue and I
encourage you to go to his website when you get a chance. Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. My cousin works
with a pet rescue organization and my wife has taken our kids to volunteer at
an animal shelter, so I can really appreciate what he does with animals.
But unfortunately from where I stand, he also has done and
said things that I’m not a fan of. I
think his supportive stance on the ‘Show me your papers’ Arizona immigration law
is misguided. He is certainly free to express his opinion; I just believe that
he is wrong. In terms of politics, La
Russa has not been overtly active with his time, although he did attend and
participate in Glenn Beck’s Washington DC rally last August. The rally was not
political in nature, and Tony said he wouldn’t attend if it was, but it’s
fairly clear that Beck enjoys large support from the Tea Party and they made up
the vast majority of the crowd that day. I’m not a fan of Beck.
Which brings me to today when I read an article about La
Russa and his assertions that the Major League Players Association, the union,
was attempting to “beat up” Albert Pujols and his agent to sign a record
contract. He offered no evidence of his claim. But he used words like “arm-twisting”
and gave the general assertion that the union was more interested in what was
best for the union and not Albert Pujols. The union has said there is no truth
to such claims. You can read the full article with quotes here.
Now I don’t think players the caliber of Albert Pujols need
the union, but the players in general do need one. And whenever I hear a member
of management, like Tony La Russa, criticize the union; I always wonder what
the motivation is.
Is he against unions in general, like Glenn Beck?
Is he just trying to give his best player an out to sign
with St. Louis for less money?
Is he covering for Cardinals ownership because they haven’t
been able to sign Albert and he wants the fans to blame the union and not the
Only La Russa knows the answer. But I just can’t agree that
blaming a third party is the right thing to do.
Today one of the greatest players in the history of the game
will receive the highest honor that the President of the United States can
confer to a civilian of our country.
Stanley Frank Musial (Stan the Man) will receive the
Presidential Medal of Freedom award.
of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who
have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national
interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other
significant public or private endeavors.
a White House press release announcing the award.
Congrats to Stan the Man.
I’ve always felt that Musial is one of the ten best
players to play the game. And amazingly to me, I think he is one of the most
underappreciated players in the game.
Why? I don’t know. Is it because of the time period he
played in? Is it because he played in St. Louis, not New York, for his entire
career? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t do much TV. But for whatever reason, when
bar discussions take place and guys start throwing out the names of the
greatest players to play the game, Musial’s name takes a while before coming
You can find all of Musial’s stats here:
But I will point out a few that should be highlighted.
Stan won 3 MVP’s and finished second 4 other times.
Stan was a 24 time All-Star.
He is fourth all-time in hits (3630); he was second only
to Cobb when he retired.
He’s still 28th on the all-time home run list;
he was number 8 when he retired.
Stan is top 20 all-time in hits, RBI’s, doubles, triples,
total bases, base on balls, slugging %, and OPS.
If nothing else, I hope today’s award gives Musial some
long overdue acknowledgment. (Hopefully
I can post a picture of Stan receiving the award sometime later today)
Side note: The St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols
agreed to extend the deadline to reach a contract agreement for 24 hours until
Weds out of respect for Musial receiving today’s award. If no contract is
signed, Pujols has said he will end all talks with the team so that his status
with the team is not a constant distraction. All that means to me is that
Albert doesn’t want to be answering questions about the contract. This issue is
not going away. There will be distractions. There won’t be a day all season that fans won’t be reminded
that Pujols is a free agent at the end of the year. Every time Albert drives in
a run or hits a bomb into Big Mac Land, fans and players will be reminded that
this guy is the best player in the game and nobody knows what team he will play
for in 2012.
Update: Thanks to MLB Blogs for
linking my blog from the home page. And thanks to all that have stopped by. You
can read my most recent posts about Tony La Russa and Stan Musial here :http://mlblogswrigleyregular.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/dsc_57801.jpg
So today is the day.
The day we wait for all winter.
The day when the Sun feels just a little warmer.
Ok, wait. I mean pitchers and catchers report.
No, actually I mean both.
I have a very lucky life.
I have a great wife and 3 wonderful kids.
I have a dog named Wrigley.
I share season tickets to one of the oldest franchises in
And now we don’t have to ‘Wait til next Year’, it’s here!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Now let’s talk baseball………………….
I see that my post has been linked
from the front page. Thanks to all that have stopped by to visit. Read my most
recent posts here. Including one about the great Stan Musial.
1: Pete Rose ($7.1) and
Tom Seaver ($5.8) combined to make approximately $12.9M during their playing
career. Kosuke Fukudome will make $13.5M in 2011. The value of money changes over time of
course. But to put this in perspective, Roses’ largest single season salary was
$1M in 1986. In today’s money that would be approx $2.1M.
2: The Cubs open the
season on April 1st against the Pirates. Ryan Dempster will probably
be the Cubs starting pitcher. In 45 career appearances against Pittsburgh, Ryan
is 6-10 with a 5.63era.
3: I really think
George Clooney is one of the best actors making movies right now. But even a
great actor can’t save a bad movie. I watched The American a couple of days ago, you shouldn’t bother.
4: 76 players have
made 10,000+ plate appearances in MLB history. Jim Thome (9803), Manny Ramirez (9757), and
Chipper Jones (9654) should join the list this year.
(Bill) Veeck was born 97 years ago today. As the owner of the Cleveland Indians
in 1947, Veeck signed Larry Doby to be the first black player in the American
League. One year later he signed Satchel Paige at the age of 41. Paige went 6-1
in 1948 and went on to play parts of 5 more seasons.
When I listen to sports radio and hear some fan come on and
start proposing trades, more times than not I start cringing.
OK, were talking about what the Cubs might need to improve.
Give us a call at 555-1234 and let us know what you think. Bert in Plainfield, you’re
Yeah how ya
doing? Long time listener, first time caller.
Good Bert, go ahead with your plan to improve the Cubs.
Well first off we
should call the Phillies and make an offer for Halladay.
Why would the Phillies trade Cy Young winner Roy Halladay?
Well they just
signed Cliff Lee and they already have Oswalt and Hamels, so they don’t need
Halladay. Plus they lost right fielder Jason Werth over the winter to Washington.
So I say we give them Fukudome for Halladay.
Ummm, ok Bert, thanks for the ca……
Wait! I have one
more. The Yankees need starters, so let’s move Silva to them for second baseman
Oooookay Bert, we have lots of people waiting to get in.
Thanks for the call. Ernie in Aurora, you’re up.
These people are calling radio stations and making goofy
trade proposals on the air with thousands of people listening. And they really
mean what they say. And after they get hung up on, they wonder to themselves
what was wrong with their trade. Meanwhile, sixty thousand listeners all rolled
their eyes at once and the radio station lost another fifty thousand listeners when
they changed the channel.
This is where I come in. Luckily for me only four or five
people are reading my posts (probably only two of you made it this far for this
entry) and I can make trade proposals without embarrassing myself across the
Chicagoland area or costing radio stations ad revenue.
The Cubs should contact the Rangers and make an offer for
Michael Young. I would offer Alfonso
Soriano and cash ($20M over 4 years) for Young. Young is due $48M over the next
3 years, Soriano $72M over 4. The Cubs would get the second baseman and leadoff
hitter they need, the Rangers would get a DH that can play left field when
Hamilton needs to DH.
Ok Russel, thanks for the call………
I’ve always been a fan of whoever plays the Green Bay
Packers. It sort of goes with the territory if you’re a Chicago Bears fan, and
of course the feeling is mutual from them.
That’s the way it is with most fans, love your team and like
whichever team plays against rival. I don’t really care for the Detroit Lions,
but when they play the Packers I’d want them to win.
People feel this way all the time. Dodger fans root against
the Giants, Mets fans against Yankees and Cardinal fans against Cubs. Hey, presidents
have been elected this way. “I don’t care much for candidate ‘A’, but I really
don’t like candidate ‘B’.”
And so naturally today I will be rooting for the Pittsburgh
Steelers to win the Superbowl. But I also have a second reason. I’ve always
been a distant second hand Steelers fan.
I grew up on the southeast side of Chicago, and for most of
the twentieth century that area was dominated by steel companies. From the late
1940′s until the late 70′s as much as 20% of the nations steel was produced in
that area, and my dad was a steel worker. He worked for Republic Steel.
Now the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t always the Steelers, at their
inception in 1933 they were the Pirates. It wasn’t until 1940 that owner Art
Rooney changed the name. And for the first 30 years the Steelers wore leather
and then gold colored helmets. But in 1962, Republic Steel of Cleveland
suggested that the Steelers use the American
Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) logo as their logo. Art Rooney loved the
idea and Pittsburgh incorporated the AISI logo for the Steelers.
And so my dad who worked for Republic Steel was a Steelers
fan, which made me a Steelers fan. When other dad’s were buying Bears wear for their
kids, my dad bought me Steelers stuff. Which was great when the Steelers
started winning and going to Superbowl’s and I was the only kid around that had
a Pittsburgh hat on.
Here are a couple of pictures of me from around 1976.
This first one is of my dad and me on a golf course wearing
matching Steelers’ caps.
This second picture is of my grandpa and I. I’m wearing a
different style Pittsburgh hat. And yes, full green warm-up suits were in.
In this last picture I’m wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers coat.
I don’t remember where that picture was taken (maybe Busch Gardens in Florida)
but now I know why the St Louis Cardinal scares me, that and Albert Pujols.
My Pick: Pittsburgh
If the Cubs are to do anything this year in the NL Central,
Aramis Ramirez will have to be a large part of the equation. Last season
Ramirez struggled during the first half of the year with a thumb injury that
eventually landed him on the DL. In fact, 2010 was the third time in the last
four years that Aramis played in 132 games or less.
Let’s look at Ramirez’s split numbers:
Apr-Jun: 201AB, 6HR,
23RBI, .179BA, .550OPS
Jul -Oct: 264AB, 19HR, 60RBI, .288BA, .893OPS
Clearly the injury was effecting his power in the first half,
couple that with a much lower than normal(30) H%
of 20 and Aramis saw his batting average take a dive.
During the second half of the year his H% was 28 and his
So what should we expect for 2011?
Well the first thing to hope for is that he stays on the
field. When Aramis is healthy, he hits. And although it seems like he has been
around for a long time, he will be just 32 years old when the season starts.
The generally accepted range for players prime seasons are ages 27-32.
I’m not sure what the lineup is going to be, but I kinda
expect Aramis to hit 4th behind Marlon Bryd and in front of Carlos
Pena. Pena should provide some protection for Ramirez.
My Projection for Aramis:
148G, 590PA, 29HR,
The “I didn’t know that!” stat – Aramis Ramirez is 7th
on the Cubs all-time home run list with 213, he is 11th on the RBI
list with 713.
Well it’s February 1st and Chicago, along with
the rest of the Midwest, is being hit today with huge snowstorm. Projections from
TV forecasters range from 12 to 20 inches of snow. That’s a fairly wide window
in order to be correct. Being a weatherman is one of those jobs were nobody
expects you to be perfect in your performance, in fact most people expect you
to be wrong more often than your right…. and yet everyone still wants to hear
what you have to say. And the best part about it is they get a chance to come
back tomorrow and try it again.
Baseball “experts” make their projections also. Each spring
fantasy players, which I’m one, read all the projections that are published. To
some extent, great or small, we rely on these projections to help us put
together what we hope will be a championship winning fantasy team.
Unlike weatherman that get results to their predictions in
one day, baseball results take 6 months to come in, by that time your fantasy
magazines have long since gone in the recycle bin. You’ll know that the players
you picked may or may not have had a good year, but will you remember the
actual projection that you read before you picked each guy.
Well I saved one of the magazines I bought last year and I
thought today would be a good day to go back and look at some of the
projections that were made for Cubs players last spring.
The magazine is Fantasy
Projected: 16HR, 58 RBI, .258Avg
Actual: 17HR, 53
RBI, .280Avg (Close on power categories, about 8% off on
P: 27HR, 98RBI, .299Avg
A: 19HR, 80RBI,
.260Avg ( Way off the mark, 30% off on
HR and Avg, 20% off on RBI. You can’t be 30% wrong on your power hitting first
baseman if you plan on reaching HR targets)
A: 463AB, 3HR, 41RBI, 10SB, .300Avg (Great rookie year but he was an unknown to
anyone only reading this mag)
P: 435AB, 22HR, 78RBI, .300Avg
A: 465AB, 25HR, 83RBI,
.241Avg ( Again close of power numbers, but way off on Avg)
P: 483AB, 25HR, 81RBI, .255Avg
A: 496AB, 24HR, 79RBI,
.258Avg (Many people weren’t happy with Soriano’s year, but maybe their hopes
were set too high as Soriano hit numbers that many “experts” predicted)
P: 16W, 187K, 3.69era
A: 15W, 208K, 3.85era
(Dempster has been very consistent the last three years which makes projections
easier to make)
11W, 117K, 3.33era ( A crazy season for Zambrano, projections never could
factor in a bullpen stint)
So some picks were good, but others were as much as 30% off.
If the weather people are 30% off today, we could get buried under 28 inches of
snow…….. or get just 4.
Here is a picture of me at 4:00 this afternoon next to a
yardstick stuck in the ground. Let’s see how much snow we get.
Update Picture: It was really windy last night and there was a lot of The above picture was from Tuesday afternoon, this next
drifting of the snow, but when it was all said and done, we got about 12 inches
picture is from this morning (Wed) around 8am.
It was really windy last night and there was a lot of
The above picture was from Tuesday afternoon, this next