You won’t hear negative feedback from baseball fans on the new proposed interleague scheduling plan that shortens ‘natural rivalry’ series from its current six-game format to four-games in most seasons.
What baseball fans want most in season scheduling is fairness, which is exactly the aim of the proposal to begin in time for the 2013 season.
I’ve never bought into the ‘natural rivalries’ anyway. The Cubs & White Sox are hardly rivals. Same can be said for the Mets & Yankees, Reds & Indians, Dodgers & Angels and so on…
Baseball fans have never confused these series as true sports rivalries, which can only be born from great competition among two teams on the playing field–not in the marketing department of MLB.
Rivalries develop over time, beginning most often during the regular season and then further progressing during playoffs series.
What they’re not is ‘natural’.
Serious reality check for the Cubs this past weekend.
Being swept at home vs. the White Sox was about the worst thing that could happen to a team struggling to draw spectators.
The cross town series has always meant more to the fans than the players. But losing in such pathetic fashion won’t sit well with a fan base whose patience is already being stretched thin.
Mike Quade is the Rod Marinelli of baseball, keeping continuous optimism despite long odds in the face of reality.
Marinelli’s Detroit Lions famously finished the 2008 season winless at 0-16. Quade’s crew is racing towards baseball’s equivalent of 100-losses.
Like Marinelli, Quade refuses to face the music, which is admirable to some degree, but the rest of us, including Cubs players, acknowledge this season is long gone…and has been for some time.
Quade’s denial of the real situation–the Cubs stink–is disheartening. And his unwillingness to address reality is reaffirming the notion Quade isn’t cut out for the job, which is tough to swallow for a guy who’s likeable, but seemingly in over his head.
So while Cubs fans discuss whether or not the team should hold a fire-sale, Quade talks about contending, the same way Marinelli stood at the post game podium and spoke of winning ways on Detroit’s horizon.
I’ve been torn on whether or not Quade will return as the Cubs skipper. And to a large degree, that has a lot to do with whether or not Jim Hendry returns as the GM.
However, Quade’s blind optimism has done little to inspire the Cubs play. They’ve followed up the season’s first three-game winning streak with two poorly played games in Milwaukee…the beat goes on.
Marinelli lasted three rounds before his dismissal in Detroit. Quade, however, won’t be as fortunate. His unwavering optimism appears to be the fatal blow to a one-&-done stint on the North Side.
How is it the Cubs pursue Jason Frasor for three years but the White Sox land him in a trade for Mark Teahen?
The hometown kid, Frasor, who grew up a Cubs fan mind you, is a very serviceable right-handed reliever. He’s posted a 2.98 ERA in 44 games…pitching in the AL East, nonetheless.
Teahen, meanwhile, has had trouble keeping up with his $4.75M contract hitting .203, 3 HR, 11 RBI in 51 games. And he’s due $5.5M in 2012!
At first blush, if Teahen was all it took to land Frasor it’s hard to believe the Cubs couldn’t make a better offer this season or in years past.
A real head-scratcher if you ask me.
Corey Patterson A Cardinal
The former Cubs outfielder was traded today from Toronto to St. Louis as part of an eight-player swap.
-Blue Jays get: CF Colby Rasmus, LHP Trever Miller, LHP Brian Tallet and RHP P.J. Walters
-Cardinals get: RHP Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, LHP Marc Rzepczynski and Corey Patterson
Patterson this season:
.252, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 13 SB, 89 games.
-First chance to boo Patterson at Wrigley Field: Friday August 19th.
The Cubs summed up its entire season in one game Thursday.
Good pitching, poor fielding and zero clutch hitting.
And have Cubs fans ever cared less about a loss against the White Sox?
- Sunday June 29th – U.S. Cellular Field
- Game (82): White Sox 5 – Cubs 1
- Record (49-33) – 1st place NL Central
The skinny: Talk about things not going the Cubs’ way, it seems half the lineup is on the DL and not a single call favored the Cubs Sunday night. And now it’s back to the bloody left coast starting in San Francisco tonight.
Home plate umpire Rob Drake’s decision to toss Lou during the second inning was well within his limits: you can’t argue balls and strikes, even if it’s a terrible call.
Although Lou’s first ejection of the year will be remembered for arguing Joe Crede’s checked swing, I believe it was the inning’s previous at-bat that got under Piniella’s skin.
After Jermaine Dye leadoff the bottom of the second inning with a single to left, Sean Marshall battled back to apparently strike out Sox slugger Jim Thome on a fierce curveball that appeared to cross dead over the heart of the plate.
However, Rob Drake (home plate umpire) surprisingly called the pitch too high.
Thome, given a second life, singles to center field on the next pitch sending Dye to third.
Even ESPN’s Sunday Night telecast showed that its “K-Zone” technology placed Marshall’s strikeout pitch right over the plate.
Thus, in the following at-bat Joe Crede’s checked swing prompted a terrible no-call from first base umpire Chad Fairchild: Lou erupted.
And Sweet Lou was well within his limits too of arguing the two missed calls in back-to-back at-bats.
Unfortunately, Lou’s departure still didn’t swing the calls into the Cubbies favor.
Later in the fifth inning Fairchild blew another call (although, this time it was a bang-bang play) by signaling Ronnie Cedeno out at first base, which killed a Cubs rally while trailing the Sox 1-0.
But even as the Cubs put together a late ninth inning rally, things just didn’t go the Northsiders way; Edmonds crushing a Bobby Jenks pitch right at Nick Swisher who then doubled Mark DeRosa off second base. Geez.
Anyway, outside complaining about the calls, where was Aramis during this series?
Against the Sox last weekend Ramirez went 6-for-13 with 4 HR, 8 RBIs and four runs scored.
One week later, and eight miles south of Wrigley Field, the third baseman slumped into an 0-for-13 performance at U.S. Cellular.
And more, Aramis is out of the lineup the next three days due to family issues in the Dominican.
So, here we are, smack dab in the middle of a four-game losing streak, the Cubs longest drought of the season.
Plus, the Cards are 2 1/2 games back and the Giants are playing its best baseball of the season.
So who knows what this week has in store for the Cubs, let’s just hope it’s some health more than anything.
W: Buehrle (6-6) – Jenks (19)
L: Marshall (0-2)
- Notes: Here’s who’s out for the Cubs: Ramirez, Johnson, Eyre, Zambrano and Soriano.
- With Aramis not expected back until Thursday, it’s likely DeRosa and Eric Patterson will split time in left field and second base.
- Reed Johnson is scheduled to return Thursday as well.
- Big Z is on track to start Friday’s game in St. Louis.
- The Cubs finished its interleague schedule with a (6-9) record.
- Friday June 20th – Wrigley Field
- Game (74): Cubs 4 – White Sox 3
- Record (46-28) – 1st place NL Central
The skinny:At work this morning I hedged a bet with the boss, loser of the cross-town classic series buys dinner.
Of course, I’ve got the Cubs and the native Southsider is taking his Sox.
I don’t have one betting bone in my body, never have never will.
Las Vegas you say, I’m not interested – except for the food.
Super Bowl bets, nope.
March Madness: one time I bet a single dollar; call it peer pressure from the rest of the office.
Even during last year’s Kentucky Derby fellow employees became so frustrated with my lack of betting interest that they gave me their own money to squander.
So obviously, it’s not like me to settle on a sports wager.
And, the first six innings of today’s ballgame reminded me why I don’t bet in the first place; no one ever knows for sure who’ll come out on top.
Plus, with the Cubs trailing 3-1 heading into seventh I had my doubts about a comeback win.
To this point John Danks only allowed five Cubs to reach base, and he also had the Sox’s solid bullpen in the waiting.
Needless to say, the Cubs needed some help at the plate, especially with the flags flying limp in center field.
Who ever thought ‘luck’ would turn out to be the Sox’s Octavio Dotel, a right-handed reliever who’s allowed just two home runs in 33-plus innings this season?
And just when I thought the game reached its climax during the seventh with Lee and Ramirez’s back-to-back jacks, Aramis goes walk-off in the ninth! Awesome!
Okay, one more Cubs win and both my wallet and belly is a little fatter.
W: Wood (4-1)
L: Linebrink (2-2)
- Notes: The Cubs are 30-8 at Wrigley Field.
- This is the first time both the Cubs and Sox have held a first place lead in their respective divisions while meeting during interleague play.
- D. Lee and Aramis hit back-to-back jobs earlier this season in Philadelphia (April 11th).
- Ramirez’s last walk-off home run came nearly one year ago against the Brewers at Wrigley Field on June 29th.
- Aramis smashed a two-out, two-run game-winning home run against Francisco Cordero.