Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Win Two and Be One

Here's the beauty of things as they stand right now, if the Cubs win both games of today and tonight's doubleheader they will be in first place in the Central Division. The fact that the Cubs are close to first probably speaks more for the weakness of the division. But hey, even if you win a crummy division you get a spot in the playoffs.

At 8-8 plenty of interesting things have been happening with the Cubs. Like Monday night's 1-0 win in 10 innings as slumping Tyler Colvin comes through with a pinch-hit RBI double driving in Geo for the win. In my last blog I mentioned all the one-run games the Cubs lost last year, so a tough one-run win in near freezing conditions at Wrigley was especially satisfying. Big Z's 10K effort in that game was of the dominant Z variety, the type he's capable of every time out, the type we hope to see as the season goes on. Starlin Castro has started this season hitting like few 21 year olds in MLB history. The team's .500 record has seen inconsistent starting pitching from the top 3 guys, Dempster, Z, and Garza. If these three pick it up a notch, the Cubs may surprise people yet. We'll see if Garza can take a step in the right direction today,

Sure 8-8 may be considered so-so but as these 2011 Cubs are finding their team identity it's pretty nice to have a shot at first place today, even in a sluggish division.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Week One

The Cubs wrapped up the first homestand and week of  the season with a 3-3 record, which is about the pace many predicted for the 2011 team. Yesterday the Cubs were trying to finish a three game sweep of the AZ DBacks but were not helped by 3 errors (the first multiple error game of the year for the Cubs) and lost 6-4.  Sure they are at a .500 record we have seen some nice things in week one, Starlin Castro's continued emergence both offensively and defensively, good starts at the plate by A-Ram and Soriano, Darwin Barney looks like a keeper, and the pitching for the most part has been solid. The recent injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are unfortunate but don't appear to be anything major (fingers crossed).

The Cubs had a good chance to win 2 of the 3 games they lost (being tied or having a late lead), which would have made them 5-1 instead of 3-3. Yes I know, could-a would-a should-a, but as most of you will remember the Cubs lost a huge number of one run games last season, so the question going forward is - Can this team start winning the close ballgames and stay in contention? Tomorrow the Cubs take to the road for the first time travelling up to Milwaukee to play the Brewers. The early stage of the season is still very interesting especially to see which direction Q's team will progress - bring on week two. 

The Library of Congress this week picked among it's 25 selections for this year's National Recording Registry the 1908 tune, "Take Me Out to the Ball-game". The recordings were chosen for their cultural significance. As we know it was Harry Caray who really took the song from a nice baseball tune to a baseball 7th inning anthem. When Harry sang the song during the stretch at Wrigley Field he used the generic WGN broadcast microphone but that wasn't the case in spring training. At Old Hohokam Park I would introduce Harry and the 7th inning stretch, then Harry would sing it over my public address mic. So in the interest of cultural and baseball significance here is Harry singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" at Old Hohokam Park in 1994 as video-taped by me. If you listen real close you can hear the mic hit my camera as Harry swings it back and forth. I also added the lyrics to the video for "Play Ball - The Cactus League Experience" exhibit on spring training.