Category Archives: Chicago Cubs

Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter Gem at Wrigley Field this afternoon

Cole+Hamels+Philadelphia+Phillies+v+Chicago+J055WjSt2LOl

Cole Hamels possible final Phillies appearance was a legendary one.

A Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field was the setting. He racked up 13 strikeouts in a no-hitter (he issued two walks) and a 5-0 Phillies win.

The latest reports have him in a flurry of trade rumors around baseball. If this was his last start as a Phillie; he’s sure to have given them a parting gift that Phillies fans will remember for life. It’s a special thing when a no-hitter comes to us all on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer, especially at such a legendary ballpark.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this. I was on daddy duty from 9 AM to 6 PM and Disney Junior graced my television screen. When I saw what Hamels had done, I had to get this post up.

Jay Bruce turns a Reds loss into a Reds win at Wrigley with his glove

Jay Bruce isn’t helping the Reds win games with his bat (currently hitting .218). He took one directly out of the loss column and put it in the win column to kick off the weekend at Wrigley Field yesterday with this play above. The Reds won the game 5-4.

It is so nice to see in a lost season; a guy going all out on a play where it would have been easier to call it a day. There’s nothing worse than when you aren’t hitting and you have to go out and play defense. Jay Bruce showed he’s playing with pride right now with this play.

Bryce+Harper+Chicago+Cubs+v+Washington+Nationals+99Qr6G-aEqql

Bryce Harper touches up Jason Hammel on a Saturday Afternoon in DC

It seemed like it had been a little while since Bryce Harper homered in a game – in actuality it had only been about seven games played. He’s still killing the ball, hitting over .330 playing every day. Today, Jason Hammel had his ‘A’ game and carried his start into the ninth inning at Nationals Park in DC.

The only other run in the game for the Nats to that point was a towering home run by Wilson ‘The Buffalo’ Ramos.

Harper led off the ninth inning and cut the lead in half, getting one out backside into the bullpen off Hammel and knocking him out of the game.

The Nationals lost the game 4-2. The Cubs have given them a run for their money this series. But Bryce Harper’s magical season rolled onward, with his 19th home run and an OPS that now sits at 1.192.

Bryce Harper’s Thunderous Opposite Field Home Run off Jon Lester at Wrigley Field

i

[Nationals 3, Cubs 0]

It was announced on Wednesday that Bryce Harper was the leading vote-getter in the National league for the first update of All-Star voting. On Wednesday night at Wrigley Field off Jon Lester, he hit his National League leading 18th home run of the season.

It was a shot to the opposite field that didn’t need wind, just like Harper said when the series started. It was his 18th home run of the 2015 season, this time he was the one tying Nelson Cruz (who earlier in the afternoon hit his 18th of the season as well) – how many times have these two guys homered on the same day this year?

We continue to marvel at the power Bryce Harper has to the opposite field. He’s now on pace for 62 home runs on the season.

Bryce Harper does not need the Wrigley Field Gail Force Wind; but it doesn’t hurt

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+Chicago+VJbH1l3VCHyl

[Box Score]

Bryce Harper said before yesterday’s Memorial Day afternoon match-up that with power like his, he didn’t need the 20-plus MPH winds that were being forecasted at Wrigley Field.

Winds were flying out at about 17 MPH on Tuesday night, when Harper came to bat against Kyle Hendricks who held a 1-0 lead. Harper gets a ball in the air with some backspin, it looks like your garden-variety pop out; and Harper shucks his bat aside in disgust. Except, look at Coghlan the left-fielder. He just keeps drifting and the ball keeps going.

It lands in the bleachers for Harper’s 17th home run of the season and 12th in May. It is referred to as a ‘towering home run’ by the guys doing the play by play.

This tied the game at 1-1, and the Nationals would add one on a Denard Span home run to make it 2-1. And then Kris Bryant hit one out to tie the game. From there, Addison Russell would win it in the bottom of the ninth with a gapper. Nice little ballgame with a couple homers from the young stars.

A Wrigley Start to a Weekend

Kris+Bryant+Pittsburgh+Pirates+v+Chicago+Cubs+lla_FZJNQudl

There is no better way to start the weekend than a matinee game at Wrigley Field. Sometimes when the Pirates and Cubbies lock horns, wild things happen. And today, the Cubbies Cubbie’d the shit out of things.

It certainly seemed like a given that Kris Bryant would get one off Jeff Locke today. And get one he did. His home run to left field was the talk of the afternoon, and this was a game that featured a lot of fireworks.

In this game:

  • Anthony Rizzo, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Josh Harrison all also homered.
  • Jorge Soler had FOUR walks.
  • Gregory Polanco had four walks.
  • Matt Szcur had three RBI, and Francisco Cervelli had four.
  • Edwin Jackson was the pitcher of record in relief.

In the end, the Cubs prevailed 11-10 in 12 innings. It happened when Gregory Polanco tripped on a routine fly ball. A wild ending to a wild one.

Kris Bryant’s First Big League Home Run

We won’t document every Kris Bryant home run here like we do for say; Bryce Harper. But we’ll definitely run the big ones. And the first one of his career the other day off Kyle Lohse was definitely a milestone.

Who knows how many more he has in his bat before the final chapter is written. It would not shock us one bit if he’s a sub-400 home run guy by the end of his career. The guy he’s most commonly compared to is Troy Glaus, who ended up with 320 in his career. That would be a pretty remarkable career.

Jorge Soler was masked up today Wrigley

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 7.06.00 PM

This was a lot funnier until I saw the game-time temperature at Wrigley was 43 degrees. Still, by looking at Soler today you would have thought the Cubs were playing in 12 degree weather with some windchill.

This kid is from Havana, Cuba; where those tobacco fields he grew up playing on hit 88 on a cool day.

This was a magical little matinee for the Cubbies, where Kris Bryant was on base five times and collected his first big league hit. He got another key infield hit in the bottom of the 11th off Craig Kimbrel to keep the line moving. Cubbies walk-off with a win 7-6 in a game they blew a 6-2 lead in the top of the ninth. The winning hit came on a Starlin Castro single to left field. Anthony Rizzo stole two bases; baseball is odd.

The cold Soler went 1 for 6. He just wasn’t comfortable today out there. Now he can head across the street and rob the nearest convenience store.

It’s Kris Bryant Day

Kris+Bryant+Chicago+Cubs+Photo+Day+nHh2i5ZrX7_l

Baseball is in for a real treat today – because today – Kris Bryant is hitting cleanup at Wrigley in his big league debut. In a way, this era begins exactly as it should: in an afternoon matinee to kick off the weekend at Wrigley.

The miserly-for-no-reason Cubs get to save that year of arbitration eligibility and now Bryant is up for the long haul.

As we do any time one of the generational talents to be debuts, we have a post in his honor. Hopefully after nine innings, ‘Go Cubs Go’ is playing on the loud speakers at Wrigley and Bryant does something to make this day even more memorable. It’s going to be a good decade plus of watching this ’80’ scale power in afternoon slates at Wrigley.

harry-caray_sportscaster

It’s Easter, and there’s real, live, counting regular season Baseball at Wrigley Tonight!

First off, happy easter. Second off, HAPPY BASEBALL SEASON!

In just a few short hours, the standings will no longer be stuck on all those goose eggs. I keep thinking about how great it would be to be present at historic torn up Wrigley Field tonight. Getting to see two rivalry teams who I feel will be pretty solid kick things off.

Opening Night has always kind of felt like Christmas Eve to me – even though the first one I remember was Ray Lankford leading off the top of the 1st in 1994 with a bomb off Jose Rijo! How many Reds fans out there remember the Ray Lankford game? He ate them up that night.

And then there was my favorite Opening Night game of all-time, 1997 Yankees-Mariners at the old Kingdome (don’t try to tell me the Kingdome wasn’t beautiful looking on the inside). To an awkward 14-year old kid at the time, Ken Griffey Jr. was a God in baseball cleats. He hit two moonshots that night off David Cone to start the season on a nice even ‘2’ out of the gate. I remember doofus Chris Berman remarking ‘so Ken is on pace for a solid 324 home runs, decent’ or something stupid that Berman says and actually believing that Ken won’t of course get there, but he could hit 100!

Today, I’m sitting at my mom’s house celebrating Easter. I’m thinking about some of the things I like about tonight’s game; I’m pretty excited about Anthony Rizzo getting a piece of Adam Wainwright tonight and getting that rabid Cub crowd fired up. There’s a great read about Rizzo over on ESPN’s newly-designed baseball site that they’ve rolled out just in time for the new season.

I just can’t believe that; yes we’ve made it, and there will be a real game to react to and recap tonight. And every night following for the next six months. And tomorrow will be even better! But we still have tonight! And my mind starts to spin out of control from there.

So for those out there who are like me, enjoy Easter with your families and when that ends; enjoy tonight. Opening Night in baseball is really about celebrating the year to come in the sport that we all love. There’s nothing like it in any sport.

Chicago Cubs 2015 Team Preview

Anthony+Rizzo+San+Diego+Padres+v+Chicago+Cubs+bLZ2OkwunCBl

We continue the 2015 Team Previews today with one of our favorite teams in baseball for the coming year, the Chicago Cubs. They haven’t won a world title since 1908  – we just feel like this veil will be lifted at some point in the near future with this current core. And that would be good for the game of baseball and this poor tortured die-hards who follow this team as their first love.

On October 12, 2011, the face of the Cubs franchise became forever changed. That was the day that Theo Epstein was named the President of the Chicago Cubs. You ask the common fan what Theo Epstein is up to, and they’re going to probably say ‘he’s the General Manager of the Cubs’. He’s not. He’s actually the GM’s boss, the GM is Jed Hoyer. Theo is making the overriding calls of this roster, and since he’s taken over they have an absolute haul of good young players and have made steady improvement.

The questions remains: are the Cubs ready to take the next step from respectable and lovable team to contenders in the National League Central? We believe they are, and if you click ahead we’re going to tell you why.

Continue reading

RIP Ernie Banks 1931-2015

EBanks3

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks passed away last night at age 83, meaning another timeless legend has left the earth forever. At a time when it seems like these generational talent ballplayers from our father’s youth are becoming extinct like dinosaurs, it’s important to remember that guys like Banks were more than just a guy with gaudy numbers.

So let me begin with the numbers

Banks played in parts of 19 seasons, compiling 512 career home runs and a 67.5 bWAR. When you ask someone what position Banks played, they’re going to tell you shortstop. But Banks actually played the second half of his career primarily at first base – something I didn’t realize until I took a look at his numbers thoroughly. In fact, he appeared in 1259 career games at first base compared to 1125 at short, mixing in 46 sporadic appearances in the outfield. This was an exceptionally versatile slugger whose best overall season came in 1959 when he had a WAR of 10.2, hit .304 with 45 home runs and 143 RBI. He won the MVP award in back to back years in 1958 and 1959.

More than anything – Banks signified a culture – known as “Mr. Cub” he was possibly the most beloved of a fan base who has been known as the most loyal and die-hard in the rich history of the game.

Banks played in an era of innocence, when players weren’t as selfish. They played for less, and they probably gave more of their time. His most famous quote was at it’s very core, about his love for the game and playing it:

“It was about 105 degrees in Chicago,” Banks told the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Dean. “And that’s a time when everybody gets tired. I came into the clubhouse and everybody was sitting around and I said, ‘Beautiful day. Let’s play two!’ And everybody looked at me like I was crazy. There were a couple of writers around and they wrote that and it stayed with me.”

If guys today are honest, they probably loathe double-headers at the present day. Double headers are loved by fans; they’re loved by kids who are in little league. They’re not loved by guys who are being paid to play the game who have other things to do when their five hours at the park are done. But Banks became known for this quote because it said everything about him by saying so little.

He also once said that digging for gold was more important than the gold itself. The reason he’s so heralded and beloved isn’t because of the exceptional numbers he put up – though they certainly didn’t hurt things – it’s because he was a great player who loved the game at his core and was approachable in a sincere manner. He’s a reminder of how innocent and bare bones the game used to be. When it was truly the soul of the country, a player like Banks was one of the reasons our fathers and grandfathers loved the sport.

News to us: Harry Caray once went out 288 consecutive nights

3384

I got to talking with a buddy at work today who somehow mentions that Harry Caray went out 288 consecutive days back in his heyday. They knew this because they found the legend’s diary, he said.

There’s an internet to prove my friend wasn’t lying. Harry Caray drank the fuck out of 1972.

Highlights that need documented:

Jan. 16 something unusual happens. Caray is in Miami, yet there are no expenses, just one enigmatic word, “Super.”

After that break, if indeed it was, comes 288 consecutive days in bars, not only in Chicago, but New York City, and of course on the road with the Sox, beginning with spring training in Sarasota.

The unbroken streak pauses Nov. 3, when all we get is “to K City @310.” The only completely blank day is Monday, Nov. 6 — what must THAT have been like? Then off to the races again.

[snip]

“I was out with Harry Caray a couple of times,” the Tribune’s Rick Kogan said. “It was always at the Pump Room. He was one of the most charming people in the world.”

How so?

“Drunk but joyful,” Kogan said. “It always wound up being a joyful, laughter-filled time.”

[snip]

But give Caray credit. As old-fashioned, and perhaps even pathological, as the bar-crawling seems today, there is another truth worth mentioning: Harry Caray could have taken his drinks at home. He went out because it was his job.

“He felt the bartender and bar people were his fans,” Rittenberg said. “He felt he was responsible He would stop in 10 joints. He was just a gregarious guy.”

I think I just wish that one time in my life, I could have enjoyed beers with Harry Caray. Hell, at this point I would just like to have met someone who enjoyed a drink or two with the guy.

Some things really are just larger than life. And 288 days in a row would suffice as that. I don’t know if I could handle 10 in a row right now.