Results tagged ‘ Sports ’
Thanks to everyone that has been stopping by Wrigley Regular for the past 10 days, the whole year actually , I’ve been on vacation with the family and haven’t had a chance to add any new posts.
I will be back after the All-Star break, but until then you can read my post from last year on how to fix the All-Star Game, they implemented part of one of my suggestions for this year.
Or you can enjoy this number from Jimmy Buffett………….
If you are reading this post, you are most likely a fan of baseball. Maybe you’re a Cubs fan, or an Angels fan, or the Cardinals or Rangers or DBacks; it doesn’t matter the team, you are a fan.
Unfortunately with times such as they have been, it’s hard to just be a fan, now we find ourselves being judge and jury also.
We all watch the game through the window that sits in the middle of our living room. We don’t “know” the players, but we watch what they do. And we watch with a suspicious eye. We don’t want to, but we have to.
For a “baseball generation”, steroids have been a prevalent part of the game. Based on some estimates, upwards of 40% of the players used steroids. Ken Caminiti famously claimed back in 2002 that 85% of the players were using steroids. However, other than just a handful of admitted cases, the list of players that we know without doubt that took steroids is very small. Even the players that have been suspended for failing the leagues banned substance test have refused to admit taking the drug.
And so we watch through the window, looking for the Thorwald in the crowd, which I hate doing because it taints all the players. I particularly hate it when a great player like Jim Thome gets traded.
Yesterday Jim Thome was traded from the Phillies to the Orioles. Here is a player that has 609 career HR’s. He is tied for seventh on the all-time list. It should be headline sports news when a player of his caliber is traded. Think of Aaron going from the Braves to the Brewers, or Mays going from the Giants to the Mets. Yes these players were in the twilight of their careers, but it was headline news.
And no, I’m not saying that Thome is an equal to Aaron or Mays, but his trade deserves more of a mention than two sentences in the transaction column of the local paper. Yet that’s all he gets because he has played his entire career during the steroid era, even though he has never been implicated with steroids as far as I can remember.
So we are ambivalent to his 609 HR’s. And the thing that makes it worse, he’s actually tied on the all-time HR list with Sammy Sosa, a player that almost everyone assumes did use steroids.
I for one though, even if it’s just for the day, want to take a moment and just be a fan.
I want to acknowledge the great player that I’ve had the privilege to watch on tv and to see play in person. I want to think about all the home runs that Jim Thome has hit and not have to think about how he hit them.
Tomorrow I can be Mr. Jefferies again; today I just want to watch without suspicion.
You can watch this 2 minute video reviewing some of Thome’s career.
Good Luck in Baltimore Jim!
One of the most eye-roll worthy comments that a nightly baseball anchor desk reporter can make is “He was just a triple short of a cycle”. Why do they say it? Why? You don’t have to answer, I know sometimes they just talk to talk, or they grew up hearing the phrase, or whatever the reason may be; I just wonder if they ever stop to think about it.
Let’s start with “just a triple”, the most exciting play in baseball.
1003 different men have come to plate this season at least once, less than 25% (232) have hit a triple at any point during the season. Last year the numbers for the entire season were similar (339 of 1284, 26%). The numbers drop even further, approx 12%, for players with more than one triple. But you don’t need to hit multiple triples for the cycle, you “just” need one.
So for argument sake, let’s say that just 1 in 4 players even really have a realistic chance at a triple. Rod Barajas has over 3000 career at-bats, with 1 triple. To ever suggest that he “just” needs a triple for anything, let alone a cycle, would take quit a leap of faith to expect it to happen. Hitting a triple is not easy.
But here’s the main thing about the “just a triple short of a cycle” comment that drives me nuts……. It’s not an event rare enough to be worthy of mention.
The 2012 baseball season is 85 calendar days old; each team has played around 78 games. So far this season, “just a triple short of a cycle” has happened 86 times. 86!! Something that happens on average every day is not something that is worthy of mention.
Hit for the cycle like Aaron Hill did last night (his second of the year and only the second time in the last 100 years that a player has had two cycles in a season) and it’s worth mention. It’s worth more than a mention actually. There have been 5 no-hitters this year and just 3 cycles.
If the anchor guys really want to make a big deal about almost getting a cycle, how about — “Just a single away from a cycle”.
A player having a double, triple, and HR in one game without getting a single has only happened 4 times this year.
Show the video of the guy coming to the plate just needing a single…………
Here’s Johnson with a chance for the cycle. He just needs a single. Third baseman back. Maybe he could lay one down the line. And the pitch. It’s a line drive into left-center for a single. It’s a cyc…..wait Johnson is hard around first….he’s going for two. Here’s the throw. Safe! It’s a cycle-stealing double for Johnson. If he would have just shown less hustle or had been called out at second he would have had his cycle.
Now that would be worth watching.
The Cubs may have hired Theo Epstein last October, but the real era under his management begins tonight. Just two months after taking over the Cubs organization, Epstein and new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer made Anthony Rizzo the center piece of a trade with San Diego that sent Andrew Cashner to the Friars. It was the first major move that signaled a new philosophy to build the Cubs from the ground up.
Last season Rizzo dominated in AAA Tucson, hitting 26 HR’s in just 93 games. He struggled though after being called up by the Padres, hitting just .141 in 153 plate appearances. This year he has again crushed AAA pitching. Playing for the Iowa Cubs, Rizzo is hitting .342 with 23 HR’s in 70 games.
So tonight he gets called up to start at first base and hit third. Barring injury, I expect Rizzo to be in the lineup everyday for the remainder of the season regardless of how he hits.
Cubs fans are hoping that tonight is the first of twenty-five hundred or so that Rizzo will play at first over the next two decades. **No Pressure**
The Sox made a nice trade Sunday afternoon. They traded Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart to the Boston Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis and cash. Considering that the White Sox were getting the worst production of any team at the third base position, Youkilis just has to be on the field for him to be a major upgrade for Chicago. Of course that has always been an issue for Youk. Youkilis has played just 136, 120, and 102 games the last three years. This year he played in 42 of Boston’s 72 games before the trade.
One interesting thing about the trade of Youkilis, it feels like Boston was sort of dumping to the White Sox. After all, Boston is last in the AL East and the White Sox are in first in the AL Central. But here is the crazy thing, both teams have the same record, 38-35.
Sometimes you get into a rut; Taco Tuesday, cut the grass Wednesday, sleep in late and pretend you can’t hear the kids yelling for breakfast Thursday , watch the Cubs lose Everyday; sometimes though you have to try something different.
Sometimes you have to look in the back of the cupboard to see what’s in there. Then you remember it. You used to serve it all the time back in 2007 and ’08. Are there any cans left? Are they beyond the expiration date? Surely there must be at least a few remaining……….and then you see it, and what a perfect night to serve it.
Cubs 12 – Sox 3
Lost in the excitement of Wednesday night’s perfect game by Matt Cain was the fact that we also got our first 10 game winner of the season. Actually two pitchers reached 10 wins that night.
Lance Lynn, STL, had one career win coming into the 2012 season. He started off Spring Training as a “sixth” starter but moved into the rotation when Chris Carpenter went to the DL to begin the year. Lynn won his first 6 starts and now stands at 10-2 through 13 starts after his dominating 12 strikeout, no runs victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
The other 10 game winner is R. A. Dickey. Dickey’s performance Wed. night was almost as good as Cain’s; R. A. faced just 29 batters. He allowed only 1 hit, a first inning infield single (The Mets appealed to MLB to change the ruling to an error but were denied), and he struck out 12.
Dickey is baseball’s only pure knuckle-ball pitcher still in the majors. I don’t know if Dickey is as particular about his nails as some knuckle-ball pitchers in the past, but I wouldn’t want to have the locker next to his. I can imagine it might be something a little like this………………..
1945 World Series Edition
- To save money on travel during WWII, the first three games of the series were played in Detroit and the last four were played in Chicago.
- The Tigers hit 2 home runs during the series; Hank Greenberg hit both of them. Phil Cavaretta hit the Cubs only homer in the 7 games.
- Detroit pitcher Virgil Trucks was released from the Navy just weeks before the end of the 1945 season. He threw just 5.1 innings in the regular season before starting Game 2 of the WS, a complete game 4-1 victory.
- The 1945 World Series was played as a back-drop to the ending of WWII. I haven’t seen every war movie made about WWII, but here is my top 8 in no particular order.
The Longest Day
The Great Escape
Saving Private Ryan
The Dirty Dozen
Bonus: The 1945 WS was a 10-year anniversary/rematch of the 1935 WS that saw the Tigers beat the Cubs 4 games to 2. Four players played in both series. Hank Greenberg and Tommy Bridges for the Tigers; Phil Cavaretta and Stan Hack for the Cubs.
With the Cubs on the road, I had my second opportunity of the season the head over to the south-side of town to see the White Sox play the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field.
One of my co-workers set up the outing for about 20 of us. It was a scheduled 7:10 start, but we started meeting a little after 5:00 in the parking lot for some pre-game tailgating. Not all ballparks are accommodating to tailgaters, but the Sox are fairly lenient when it comes to fans setting up grills and making room to play “corn hole/bags”. The Sox have several big parking lots around the stadium and they let people start parking about 2 hours before the game. (I brought my camera but forgot about it. Pictures would have told the story better……….maybe next time)
Tailgating is not something that happens around Wrigley. There are a few small “official” lots located in the area, but most people that go to Cubs games are taking public transportation, parking on neighborhood side streets, or parking in a local’s garage for a “rental” fee. The pre-game activities around Wrigley mainly constitute going to one of the many local bars and having a drink and some lunch.
So it was fun to get to the park early and grill our own food and drink our own drinks.
Our seats were in the left-center field bleachers. I’ve sat in the bleachers at US Cellular at least a dozen times and I think they are one of the best seats in the house, especially when the weather is nice. When an evening game starts, you still get that late-afternoon Sun that slowly transitions into an early-evening dusk and then on to a open star-filled sky above you. The concourse behind the bleacher seats are wide and provide plenty of room for people to get up, stretch out their legs, yet still have a great view of the field to watch the game.
As for the game itself, Toronto was in control most of the time. I don’t really want to bother with the details other than to say Colby Ramus had a great game (5 for 5 w/HR) and 2011’s biggest disappointment, Adam Dunn, continued his 2012 resurgence by hitting his 18th HR of the season.
Dunn’s HR did give me a chance to get one good photo. The White Sox shoot off fireworks just to the left of the center field scoreboard for each Chicago HR. I wasn’t ready to take a picture when AJ Pierzynski hit a HR earlier in the game, but when Dunn hit one I took a decent photo of the fireworks going off just behind me.
Long story short……….Toronto 9-5
Yesterday Johan Santana threw a no-hitter for the NY Mets. As most people now know, it was the first no-hitter in the 50 year history of the organization. Despite some close calls by Tom Seaver and others, the Mets had gone 8,019 games without holding another team hitless.
The new current streak for games without throwing a no-hitter resides with San Diego. The Friars have gone 6,895 games without throwing a no-hitter. In fact, that number is equal to the number of games that the Padre organization has played and they are now the only current team in MLB to never throw a no-hitter.
As amazing as the Mets and Padres streaks are, there is one more streak currently active that should also be noted. There is one team that has gone 7,390 games without having a no-hitter thrown against them. The team with that current longest streak is the Cubs.
The last time the Cubs were no-hit was September 9th, 1965 in Los Angles by the Dodgers. You wanna talk about a great pitchers duel, check out this game.
Starting for the Dodgers that day was Sandy Koufax. All he did was throw a Perfect Game. Koufax struck out 14 Cubs that day, including Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo a total of 6 times.
Almost as good that day was Chicago starting pitcher Bob Hendley. Hendley allowed just 1 hit to the Dodgers in the complete game 1-0 loss. The one hit didn’t even factor into the only run scored that day.
Hendley was matching Koufax and was perfect through 4 innings; then in the bottom of the fifth he walked the lead-off hitter Lou Johnson. Johnson was then sacrificed to second on a bunt by Ron Fairly. With future Cubs manager Jim Lefebvre at the plate, Johnson made an attempt to steal third base. Rookie catcher Chris Krug threw the ball away and Johnson scored the only run of the game on the error.
The only hit of the game came two innings later when Lou Johnson got a two-out double.
And that was the last time the Cubs were no-hit. The second longest current streak belongs to the Reds at 6,497 games.
Watching the Cubs get shutout by Madison Bumgarner and the Giants for 8 innings tonight, I was reminded how anemic their offense is.
The Cubs are below league average in runs, home runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and extra-base hits.
The only things the Cubs do better than the rest of the league……….ground into double-plays. They lead with 50.
Then they gave me hope. A single by Starlin Castro, a single by Joe Mather, then a 3-run homer off the bat of Alfonso Soriano. In just a matter of a couple pitches it was the Giants 4 and the Cubs 3. Unfortunately, despite teasing me with 2 more base runners, the Cubs were unable to score the tying run and Chicago’s modest 3-game win streak came to an end.
Soriano’s home run was the 40th that the Cubs have hit this season. It’s not the fewest in baseball (25th of 30), but it’s pretty sad. The 40 homers through 51 games puts the Cubs on pace for 127 HR’s, that would be the fewest dingers the Cubs have hit since 1997. In ’97 Sammy Sosa lead the team with 36 homers, Mark Grace was second with 13.
Speaking of Sosa, it was 14 years ago today that Sammy started the greatest home run month in the history of baseball. On June 1st, 1998 the Cubs were playing the Florida Marlins. Sosa hit the first two of his record 20 home runs. He hit the first one in the first inning off the Marlins pitcher that was making his first career major league start, that pitcher was Ryan Dempster.