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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gammons: Daniel Bard Is Willing To Endure The Frustration

The Cardinals last spring signed Bard to a two year deal which his agent Mike Milchin thought would give the organization time to see if they could ground him. His initial numbers with Palm Beach in the Florida State League (3 3 8 9 13 1) were not successful, but Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque and his minor league pitching staff decided to have him try a lower arm slot.

“In some ways, it’s a lot like what Andrew did—simply everything,” says Bard. In 2012, when struggling with his delivery, Miller, with the help of pitching coach Bob McClure, tried a delivery that was part slidestep, part of fire-the-ball-at-the-backyard wall step and fire.” Which, as we saw in October, helped him develop into one of the best relievers in the game.

Bard now just loads and fires from his low ¾ slot. On this video, shot by Woodard, one can see him registering 96 on the radar gun.

I’d love to see him return to his top form. Maybe not with the Cardinals…

villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, comebacks, control issues, cubs, daniel bard, pirates, rangers, red sox

Friday, March 24, 2017

Anderson wins spot in Cubs rotation

The world waits with bated breath to see how many starts Anderson actually makes; the over/under has to be, what—10?  (Also, the notion of Kyle Hendricks being the Cubs’ No. 5 starter is fairly absurd.) 

As long as Anderson can remain in the rotation, it’s probably a good thing for the pen to have Montgomery out there, though I like Montgomery’s chances of making more starts than Anderson this year.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jake Arrieta Jacks Longest-Ever Measured Dinger By A Pitcher

Jake Arrieta stepped up to the plate for the first time at spring training this afternoon and he promptly picked up where he left off last year, smashing a Zack Greinke pitch 465 feet off into the stands. This is the longest dinger by a pitcher in the Statcast-era. It would have been one of the 25 longest shots of the 2016 MLB season. Look at this dang dong.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:14 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dongs, jake arrieta

Fortune magazine crowns Theo Epstein ‘world’s greatest leader’

Theo Epstein is the world’s greatest leader.

So said Fortune magazine, which published its annual list on Thursday morning.

The Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations finished in the top spot, ahead of Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Pope Francis at No. 3, Melinda Gates at No. 4 and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos rounded out the top five.

In a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Epstein said, “Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball—a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

How many championship rings does Pope Francis have?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 03:18 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dallas Green, first Phillies manager to win the World Series, dies at 82

Dallas Green, the bearish, blustering, boom box-throated manager who in 1980 whipped a talented but complacent Phillies team to the franchise’s first world championship, died Wednesday at 82, a team official confirmed.

Mr. Green spent most of his long baseball career with a Phillies organization that signed him as a Delaware high schooler in 1955. Over the subsequent 61 years, with notable interruptions in New York and Chicago, he would pitch, coach, manage, scout, and fill a number of front-office positions for the team.

A commanding physical presence at 6-foot-5, with a thick mane of silver hair and a voice that could penetrate concrete walls, Mr. Green seemed born to lead.

As a spot-starter and reliever with the Phillies, Mets and Senators, he was a hard-throwing righthander who never mastered his control or his temper. Mr. Green compiled a 20-22 record and a 4.26 ERA in his playing career from 1960-67.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 04:52 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dallas green, mets, obituary, phillies, senators

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Will Jason Heyward bounce back from abysmal 2016 season? - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

I haven’t been able to watch him hit this spring. What do are Cubs fans think?

Joe Maddon is steadfast regarding his opinion of outfielder Jason Heyward’s swing makeover. The Chicago Cubs’ third-year manager insists he’s seeing improvement after a lackluster 2016 campaign, although rival scouts who have followed the Cubs this spring don’t necessarily agree.

Many showed no hesitation in stating the swing—and subsequent results—are very much like last year’s. Maddon, meanwhile, says it depends on whom you talk to.

“I had a scout sit in my office two days ago and say the opposite,” Maddon said over the weekend. “He thinks it’s entirely different. He kind of liked it. Regardless of what a scout says in the stands, it doesn’t really impact my feelings at all. I know what I’m seeing—a totally different swing. The guy that says it’s the same, I’m totally disappointed in the scout, actually.”oe Maddon is steadfast regarding his opinion of outfielder Jason Heyward’s swing makeover. The Chicago Cubs’ third-year manager insists he’s seeing improvement after a lackluster 2016 campaign, although rival scouts who have followed the Cubs this spring don’t necessarily agree.

Many showed no hesitation in stating the swing—and subsequent results—are very much like last year’s. Maddon, meanwhile, says it depends on whom you talk to.

“I had a scout sit in my office two days ago and say the opposite,” Maddon said over the weekend. “He thinks it’s entirely different. He kind of liked it. Regardless of what a scout says in the stands, it doesn’t really impact my feelings at all. I know what I’m seeing—a totally different swing. The guy that says it’s the same, I’m totally disappointed in the scout, actually.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2017 at 06:28 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why Joe Maddon and The Geek Department think this Cubs lineup could be more explosive than last year’s team | CSN Chicago

The Geek Department has spoken, reaffirming Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s belief that Kyle Schwarber should be the leadoff guy atop another monster lineup projected to score more runs than the 2016 World Series champions.

“I’m all about the geeks,” Maddon said. “Everybody should have their own geek.”
...
“I talk to the guys upstairs: ‘This is what I’m thinking. Tell me where I’m wrong,’” Maddon said. “Like I said a couple years ago when Schwarber finally came up, I thought of hitting Schwarber first there and Dexter second. But they insisted the other way around. They were right.

“So, listen, I have no problem with that stuff. Believe me, that’s the one thing I have learned: You can have all the great feelings in the world. It still might not be the right thing. Like a guy comes up to me and says: ‘I have a good feeling about today.’ Oh my God, I want to run.

“How do you know? There are so many times I’ve come to the ballpark, felt like crap, and we’ll play the best game of the year. That has no correlation. You can feel all you want. (But) they gave me some solid information. I’m open for all that stuff.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2017 at 06:47 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Kyle Schwarber’s blue-collar roots keep him grounded in Chicago

Some background on Kyle Schwarber.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2017 at 10:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cubs’ Pipeline Spring Training report | MLB.com

Cubs farm director Jaron Madison beams when asked about the organization’s seemingly never-ending supply of impact position players.
“We’re fortunate in that regard,” Madison said. “We’ve done a really good job with guys who can swing the bat and bought into our approach. That’s made it a lot easier to integrate them into what we’re doing.”

Chicago doesn’t have enough room in its lineup to accommodate all of its worthy hitters. Jimenez needs at least another year in the Minors and Happ could use another half-season, but corner infielder Jeimer Candelario has nothing left to prove in Triple-A and is hopelessly blocked by Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Outfielder Mark Zagunis, an on-base machine, could challenge for a big league job on many clubs but is destined to return to Triple-A.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 16, 2017 at 08:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, prospects

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Joe Maddon wants Cubs relievers ready for any situation - Chicago Tribune

Sorting out the bullpen.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2017 at 07:12 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cubs, Kris Bryant Agree To Record Pre-Arb Deal

The Cubs have agreed with star third baseman Kris Bryant on a record-setting pre-arbitration salary, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports. Fresh off of a year in which he won the National League’s Most Valuable Player award, Bryant will take home $1.05MM.

Chicago also shared some of its World Series wealth with righty Kyle Hendricks, who’ll earn a hefty $760,500, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hendricks was another key performer for the Cubs, turning in an outstanding campaign that saw him land third in the N.L. Cy Young voting. Larger-than-usual salaries are also on tap for Addison Russell ($644K), Javier Baez ($609K), and Kyle Schwarber ($565,500), per Wittenmyer’s report.

Meatwad needs baseball Posted: March 10, 2017 at 08:17 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant

Is Kyle Hendricks a No. 1-quality starter? Maddon says not yet – Chicago Sun-Times

Maddon believes a “slight regression,” at the least, on Hendricks’ part is likely just because his 2016 numbers were off-the-charts good. But the 27-year-old Hendricks isn’t wired to think that way. He doesn’t really think about numbers at all.

It isn’t just talk when Hendricks says he’s about commanding his pitches and thinking one step ahead of the hitter, and let the numbers fall where they may. It’s entirely how he approaches the game, and what makes him so good.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2017 at 07:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle hendricks

Orient resident, MLB 20-game winner Bill Hands dies at 76

RIP, and glad you got to enjoy the Cubs winning it all.

QLE Posted: March 10, 2017 at 12:10 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: 1969, bill hands, cubs, obituaries

Tuesday, March 07, 2017


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Inside the complete overhaul of Jason Heyward’s struggling swing | FOX Sports

“He may be better than (he ever) was,” Mallee said. “I’m very happy for him. His mind is in the right place. He has done a lot of mental stuff. It’s really special what he has put into this.”

Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, agreed.

“I’ve never seen a veteran player work as much as Jason did this winter, let alone right after winning a World Series and having already signed a long-term deal,” Epstein said. “It shows how much he cares, his dedication, his pride and his character. He’s the ultimate pro.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2017 at 09:41 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

He can do everything: David Ross to compete on ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Now, the world of dance will soon know the full extent of Ross’ athleticism as he will be appearing on the 24th season of the hit reality competition show “Dancing with the Stars.”...

While Ross will be the first baseball player to appear on the show, there has been a connection in the past: Volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, who is married to former big league catcher Matt Treanor, competed on the show after winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Will Ross be the first baseball player to win DWTS? After helping end a 108-year World Series drought, we wouldn’t put it past him. Besides, everyone knows Grandpas have the best dance moves.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 01, 2017 at 09:48 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dancing with the stars, david ross

Sunday, February 26, 2017

With Each Hit, Rockies’ D.J. LeMahieu Shows Cubs’ Epstein What He Gave Up On - The New York Times

“Sometimes, you show up somewhere and you can make a mistake in your first off-season by not being as familiar as you should be with a player, because you haven’t seen him yourself in person,” Epstein said.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 26, 2017 at 09:44 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, d.j. lemahieu, rockies

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cubs Addison Russell ready for power breakout | MLB.com

Mike Petriello puts Addison Russell 2016 season under his analytical microscope.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2017 at 09:07 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: addison russell, cubs

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pump The Brakes On Kyle Schwarber? Well, Actually…

This week, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN asked fans to pump the brakes on Schwarber, citing a few reasons why there should be concern surrounding the hulking catcher that the Cubs have moved defensively from behind the plate to out in left field. The last time Cubs fans were told to “pump the brakes” on a player was late June of 2016 with Kris Bryant, and well, we all remember how that turned out. But tempering expectations on Schwarber might be a good thing.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:06 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Why Joe Maddon sees Kyle Schwarber as the leadoff guy in Cubs lineup | CSN Chicago

The Geek Department still needs to send more information to Maddon, but the Cubs are toying with the idea of again hitting the pitcher eighth, in front of the Jay/Albert Almora Jr. platoon.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:05 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, kyle schwarber

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Vindictive President Destroys a National Institution

A story of a bombastic, vindictive man who brooked no challenge to his authority, had no tolerance for weakness, and hated whom he saw as “losers.” We’re speaking, of course, of Ban Johnson, founder and president of the American League.

gehrig97 Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: ban johnson, cubs, frank chance, yankees

Friday, February 17, 2017

Joe Maddon’s new normal for Cubs: A team people love to hate? | CSN Chicago

“I don’t know if the word’s ‘hated,’” Maddon said Thursday at the Sloan Park complex. But making a sense of swagger or arrogance part of this team’s identity? That’s Cub.

“It’s all about that,” Maddon said. “Just go back in history. I’ve often talked about the Dodgers when I came up in the minor leagues (with the Angels). Their uniforms were whiter than everybody else’s. They thought they were better than everybody else. And then they went out and they won all the time.

“I hated it, but I liked it at the same time. I think the Yankees have developed that kind of a culture. (With) teams that win — whether you even want to talk about the Patriots in football — it’s part of it.

“It’s not that you feel as though you’re just going to show up and throw your gloves out there and you’re going to win. That’s not the point. You gain this confidence based on winning — and there’s something to be said for knowing how to win.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2017 at 08:47 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kris Bryant gets pranked by Cubs great Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux disguised himself as a bearded, scraggly TV sound man for a Red Bull commercial and zipped a few pitches by the unsuspecting National League MVP while hurling some zingers at him, too.

“This sound guy has got a good curveball. What is this?” Bryant said after taking one of Maddux’s pitches. “He’s pretty good.”...

Maddux came on the mound when the practice pitcher suddenly got a call to “run study hall” on campus. “I seriously doubted you,” Bryant said. “I need to get one over the fence.”

Maddux let Bryant in on the gag when he asked the Cubs third baseman to autograph his bat for “Greg Maddux.” Bryant smiled and threw up his hand. “See? See? I told you,” he laughed to the crew.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 16, 2017 at 11:36 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, greg maddux, kris bryant, prank

Theo Epstein of the Cubs shares his 20 percent rule for getting ahead

If you do 90% of your boss’ work, he will like you even more.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 16, 2017 at 09:06 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cubs will use restraint to ease Kyle Schwarber into limited catching role - Chicago Tribune

The current plan is for Willson Contreras to catch Jon Lester and start four or five times a week, with Miguel Montero serving as a backup. With Montero in the final year of his contract, Schwarber — who was drafted as a catcher — could move into Montero’s role in 2018 in addition to playing left.

For now, Schwarber will be part of the catching group each morning but will perform physical drills only once or twice a week with coach Mike Borzello, known for his creativity in keeping catchers sharp despite age or injury limitations.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2017 at 06:59 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

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