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Browsing posts from November, 2010

Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - November 15, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Managed two seasons in Chicago.
Posted a 127-158 (.446) record with the Cubs.
Was born in Philadelphia.
Also skippered the Phillies for two seasons.
Recently named a special assistant to Braves GM Frank Wren.
“85-percent of the fu**ing world’s working, and the other 15 come out here…”
Name that Cub!

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Cubs Hot Stove Poll

By bullpenbrian - November 12, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.
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Those Cookie Cutter Ballparks

By bullpenbrian - November 11, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

This week I watched Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning documentary for the second time. Seeing the old cookie-cutter ballparks hit home for me.

In today’s age we dump on places like Riverfront, Three Rivers and The Vet. But those were the baseball cathedrals I dreamed of playing in one day. And those were places where some of my fondest baseball memories occurred.

But that doesn’t mean I’d trade the new retro-style ballparks for yesteryear’s cookie-cutters. In a nostalgic way, however, I miss the days of Astro Turf and symmetrical parks!

Baseball relies so heavily on its history, which is why the wave of new ballparks over the last 20 years has advanced the game for generations.

Whereas most of the ballparks of the 1970s lasted for 30 years, today’s diamonds are likely to last for twice as long, if not longer.

And that means more baseball fans will share the experience of a Wrigley Field or the old Yankee Stadium. Places where the greats once shared the same field as today’s players, and where fathers, sons and daughters made wonderful summer memories together.

The stadiums are as much a fabric of the game as is the fastball. And maintaining those deeply rooted emotions that stir within our summer shrines is of great importance.

All baseball fans deserve a Fenway Park, a Jocobs Field, and an AT&T Park. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Cubs Hot Stove – Adrian Gonzalez & Lyle Overbay

By bullpenbrian - November 10, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Two names keep resurfacing around the Cubs this offseason: first basemen Adrian Gonzalez and Lyle Overbay.

While it’s true the Cubs have a void a first base, neither guy should be of any interest to Chicago.

No question Gonzalez is an all-around stud. He hits to all fields, he hits for power and plays a good first base. But he also becomes a free agent after the 2011 season and is expected to fetch a new deal in the $15-$20M range.

If the Cubs are trying to shed payroll and build for the future, why part with 3-4 top-prospects in exchange for another very expensive contract?

Lyle Overbay turns 34 in January. He hit .243 with 20 HR and 67 RBI for Toronto –numbers Tyler Colvin matched in his rookie season–.254, 20 HR, 56 RBI–and in 19 fewer games played, nonetheless.

Overbay has a decent glove, but moving Colvin to first couldn’t be any worse. Such a move also opens an outfield spot for prospect Brett Jackson, who has the look of an everyday big leaguer.

Any money or young talent that goes towards landing Gonzalez or Overbay is much better spent pursuing another starter or quality bullpen arm.

The Cubs need pitching, pitching, pitching! Forget the high-priced first basemen.

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Crawford, Pena & Soriano

By bullpenbrian - November 9, 2010 - 12:36 am 5 comments.

Below is a list of some of the top free agents. Three names I hope the Cubs would target are Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano. Coincidentally, they’re all former Tampa Bay Rays.

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Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - November 8, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Played one season with the Cubs hitting 1 HR and driving in 7 RBI.
He was released after 75 games in Chicago and signed with Florida.
Was the last Cub to play 3B before the arrival of Aramis Ramirez.
At age 37 he hit .305 in 122 games with Milwaukee.
Holds the MLB record for most career pinch-hits.
Name that Cub!

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Who’s On First?

By bullpenbrian - November 5, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.
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Pitching Greats At Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - November 4, 2010 - 12:01 am 6 comments.

I was excited to be back at the United Center Wednesday night. Mainly, I was thrilled to get my first look in the flesh at Marty Brodeur.

To see one of the greats of all-time between the pipes is like seeing a Pedro Martinez or Greg Maddux pitch.

Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships, is a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, a two-time gold medalist and a 10-time All Star. To say he’s the best ever in goal is no stretch.

Brodeur, unfortunately, left the game in the second period with a bruised right elbow. And to make matters worse, the Hawks lost 5-3 to a New Jersey team that ranked dead last in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, I’ve been fortunate to see numerous greats pitch at Wrigley Field.  Just in the past few seasons I’ve caught Pedro, Glavine, Oswalt, Lee and Halladay. But a few others I’d like to see remain.

Here’s my list in no particular order: Johan Santana, David Price, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez. Who else should I add?

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Cubs Need Power Arms

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2010 - 12:01 am 3 comments.

Nine out of the last 13 World Series have lasted no more than five games. A big reason is the significance power-arms played in October.

Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain underscored the importance of such talent again this year. Despite a meager offense, the two dictated the postseason by shutting down the opponent with swing-and-miss stuff.

The Diamondbacks did it with Schilling & Johnson in 2001. Boston had Schilling and Pedro in 2004 and added Josh Beckett in 2007. The White Sox used Mark Buehrle & Jose Contreras in 2005. And Philly went with Cole Hamels & Brett Myers in 2008.

The Cubs, meanwhile, lack a true power arm, let alone a dynamic duo. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano are good enough to win the division, but shutting down a postseason lineup is questionable.

With all the talk of signing an Adam Dunn or Carl Crawford, more attention should be paid to landing that true ace–that power-arm built for October.

Without one, the Cubs are no better off winning the title than San Fran was before the arrival of Lincecum and Cain.

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Freak Show In San Francisco

By bullpenbrian - November 2, 2010 - 11:30 am 2 comments.

This wasn’t the World Series I was looking for six days ago. The two teams I  wanted were there, but the five-game series was largely dominated by San Fran.

Other than the Giants’ brilliant starting pitching, neither side played well. There was a lack of drama and the big-ticket pitching match-ups never fully materialized. Just wasn’t a very memorable Fall Classic, unfortunately.

I still believe having two teams that were not expected to be league champions is good for baseball, despite the low TV ratings.  A competitive six or seven game series would have been better, of course, better  for the fans, and yes, better for television. But for me, this series was still better than watching New York vs. Philly.

Lots of praise was heaped on Cliff Lee, and rightfully so, but Tim Lincecum  reminded us he’s an ace, too. Lee loss both his starts. ‘The Freak’ won both of his. I think most fans, including myself, thought Lee would nab at  least one victory. Lincecum’s performances, however, was the deciding factor in the series.

Tim Kirkjian said it best about the Giants: “They’re not always pretty to watch, but they win.” Curt Schilling said on ESPN that he believes “the best team always wins.” For certain, the Giants had the better pitching, and better pitching usually wins.

Looking back, I think the Giants would have toppled either New York or Tampa Bay. The Yankees pitching is on par with Texas, and the Rays’ lineup is sub-par to Texas–not that such speculation really matters.

You could see Edgar Renteria’s three-run homer coming from a mile away. Lee was looking tired having allowed back-to-back singles to Ross and Uribe, which marked the first time a Giant reached second base all game.

When Lee missed badly on his first two pitches to Renteria, you knew a strike was coming next. Renteria didn’t miss it, clubbed the winning home run and pocketed the MVP Award. I understand Lee’s mentality to go-after hitters, but the decision not to pitch around Edgar will always be questioned.

Here’s to wishing Lee doesn’t sign with the damn Yankees this offseason. He’s a good fit for the Rangers, or any team for that matter, but anywhere other New York would suite me fine. St. Louis, however, would be tough to swallow!

I’m very interested to see were the Giants turn. Do they keep their castoffs that just won the title or start moving again in a younger direction?

And after watching San Fran’s starting pitching end 56 years of frustration, remind me again why the Cubs dealt Ted Lilly?

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