MLB

There isn’t anything better in March than the Hot Sun, Beer and Baseball in Arizona (The Cactus League).  New friends and old friends come together to cheer on our home town teams. Also known as “Adult Spring Break” for Baseball fans.

In three quick hours and thanks to the two kind gentleman sitting in front and behind me at the newish Sloan park I learned all I need to know for opening day @Wrigley.  So, amid all the Vegas odds and Chicago’s premature parade planning…

What decisions remain for Joe Maddon and the Cubs before we crack open the champagne?!? Three come to mind:

Where in the world do we play Jorge Soler?
He would be a great DH but we only play 18 games at American League ball parks!  He has been used out in LF and RF and other than having one of the best arms in baseball he has shown to be a defensive liability anywhere you put him .  It looks like he will play the outfield in a platoon with Schwarber when lefties are on the mound.

Do the Cubs have a seven  or eight man Bullpen? 
With Lester, Arrieta, Lackey, Hammel and Hendricks already ticketed for the rotation, that sets up options left for the bullpen.  
For that matter how many pitchers are on the roster ????  Let’s go with the for sure spots taken with Rondon, Strop, Grimm, Wood, Cahill and Richard.  That leaves Neil Ramirez on the bubble with having no options left to go to Triple A.  His velocity seemed down throughout camp but he has been productive in most of his outings. 

And Finally who gets the coveted Bench Spot?
Kawasaki has played well throughout all of camp and provides a great clubhouse personality that can’t be overlooked.  The Cubs already announced that Shane Victorino won’t be going North with the team due to his reoccurring leg issues and Matt Szczur had the same problems with his oblique injury until his recent his recovery.  So, it seems that Szczur would have the advantage as an outfielder because the Cubs have LaStella and Baez who can do what Kawasaki would do in the infield. It’s nice to have quality options.
Cubs

The Cubs 2016 season is a guaranteed can’t miss with tons of media attention and fan support, here at Reverse the Curse we encourage feedback and ideas.  Most importantly what is going to be branded this year’s hashtag?

#wrigleyhustle #weareready  #northsidemagic #gocubsgo

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Spring training is virtually hours away while the Cubs front office is working to make all our dreams come true on the field, sildenafil who is in charge of our destiny along side the Master – Joe Maddon(under contract for four more seasons)…

Theo announced in late October the Cubs will invite back their entire coaching staff next season!  Except one jokester of course….

Will Ferrell had a busy day with the Cubs, here coaching third base last year at Spring Training.

A few coaches to watch:

John Mallee (pronounced May lee) plays the role of the Cubs of primary Hitting Coach.  Mallee recognized around the league for his techniques and expertise in instruction came to the Cubs in 2014 , formerly with the Marlins and Astros.   This Chicago native is also somewhat an Entrepreneur with his training DVD’s, “Teaching The Professional Swing” and “Teaching Hitting Drills”   Check out a little of this preso by Mallee…the Moneyball approach to hitting…

On the corners….Brendon Hyde formerly head of Cubs Player Development moved to 1st Base Coach last year, and Gary Jones, a 24 year veteran coach, takes the place of 3rd Base Coach.  There was a little drama last year when it was announced that Gary wasn’t returning due to Rick Renteria’s departure, but shortly thereafter Maddon announced he will be retaining Jones.

Coach Mike Borzello & Chris Coghlan chat

Behind the plate, Mike Borzello Catching Coach (Godson of Joe Torre) was a member of four World Championship teams with the Yankees: 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.  And, in 1999, appeared as John C. Reilly’s catching double in Universal Pictures’ “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner …

Former Cub David Martinez came to the Cubs as an outfielder in the 1983 MLB draft, but didn’t come up to the Majors as a Cub until 1986 and served as an injury replacement for the beloved Bobby Dernier.  David Martinez also coached with Manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay.

Fitting with the Cubs platform of giving back former 16 season MLB Player and now Bullpen Coach Henry Blanco participates in the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, helping develop and implement innovative concepts that generate funds for the benefit of children’s charities.  This is only almost half of the Cubs talented staff which can be found at http://m.cubs.mlb.com/roster/coaches/.   With all the media hype and player excitement it is sure to be an exciting season.  Tune in next time to learn the inside scoop on the progress of the Wrigley Renovation!

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Category: Cubs, MLB, Reverse the Curse

The Cubs haven’t had any trouble stealing the spotlight from the Bears, prescription Bulls or even the Blackhawks in the off-season. Whether it be through their aggressive player acquisitions or good natured goofing around this young team is giving back to the community and having fun in the process.

Here is a recap of some funny moments and new player highlights of potentially the most improved team in Baseball.

Speaking of the Blackhawks this goal by Cubs Pitcher Jason Hammel at the UC was pretty cool especially after Anthony Rizzo missed his shot a week prior!!

Look for additions to the Cubs Pitching Staff this fall;  The Cubs signed two relief pitchers in November; right-hander Andury Acevedo who spent the last four seasons with the Yankees AAA organization and lefty Jack Leathersich from the Mets known for his strikeouts. In total the Cubs added seven new pitchers to their minor league system but this seems to change daily.

The move that got most fan attention was when Theo brought over starter John Lackey from the Cardinals, capsule Lackey also played four years with John Lester in Boston.

Watch this most hilarious interview with John Lackey and John Lester at the Cubs Convention(Ryan Dempster’s talk show).  John Lester talks about being the “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” in the recruitment of John Lackey.  A friendship bonded in Fried Chicken and Beer.

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/8878538/v538964983/dempster-lackey-and-lester-provide-some-comic-relief

Notable transactions in the Infield and Outfield include; the Cubs edging out half the league by signing Jason Heyward for 8 years at $184 million.  Fun fact Heyward’s MLB debut was against the Cubs and his first MLB plate appearance – and first swing – Heyward hit a three-run home run, estimated at 471 feet off starter Carlos Zambrano.

The Chicago Cubs also agreed to terms with free-agent infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist from the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals while trading second baseman Starlin Castro to the Yankees to make room for Zobrist at second base.

Community Involvement lead by Joe Maddon and the great work he did a couple of weeks ago for the homeless with his program “Thanksmas”   Checkout Maddon in a recap grocery shopping and preparing food with the Cubs Team…

Stay tuned to Reverse the Curse as the Cubs Off-Season excitement continues to ramp up with less than a month until pitchers and catcher report to spring training (2/19)or follow me on Twitter at @NancyTiano

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cubs higgins

Any good adventure needs a villain and sometimes even two.  Superman was never left to live a happy life after the defeat of Lex Luthor.  If the Cubs can defeat the Cardinals in four games, viagra we can surely get past the New York Mets, sickness and we will.  Lets take a moment to look into the future.

What does a Cubbie Comeback look like?  Can we dye the Ivy blue? Will Chicago pass out W towels  to everyone getting off the “L” stop at Addison? Do the White Sox finally move to Gary, cialis Indiana? Or better yet is this the making of the best Baseball Movie of all time?

And, who would portray this young Cub squad on the big screen? Here are a few ideas for “FLY THE W” the movie …..

Kris Bryant – Jake Gyllenhaal

Anthony Rizzo -Channing Tatum

Kyle Schwarber – Jonah Hill

Jake Arrieta – Christian Bale

Derek Fowler – Don Cheadle

David Ross -George Clooney

John Lester -Vince Vaughn

Joe Maddon – Jack Nicholson

Theo Epstein – Andy Cohen

New York Mets Pitching Staff – 90’s Boy Band Hanson – washed up , not around very long and horrible by their third show.

Special Appearance by Eddie Vedder as himself.

Tonight is a big night, we will face Mets’ Ace Jacob deGrom.  deGrom started as a shortstop in College, the Cubs have been able to get under his skin in the past.  deGrom isn’t afraid to lose his cool, this summer he used his pitching hand to punch the Gatorade cooler after allowing four runs in just five inning against the Cubs.

The Cubs are a great team prime for a comeback, one game at a time.    #LetsGo #WeAreGood #FlytheW

 

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The ALCS has been finalized as both ALDS series went to game five yesterday. The Kansas City Royals eared their ticket to the ALCS beating the Huston Astros 7-2. And in the earlier game, viagra Texas Rangers faced the Toronto Blue Jays at home. Before we talk about who won the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game, did anyone happen to see the 7th inning? This by far was the CRAZIEST inning of baseball I had ever seen. I had just gotten home from work and I turn on the game to see a 57-minute inning I would define as a cluster-you know what!

The game was tied 2-2 heading to the 7th inning. The Rangers were batting at the top of the inning when Rougned Odor was on third base and Shin-Soo Choo was at the plate. The Blue Jays’ catcher Russell Martin was throwing the ball back to the pitcher Aaron Sanchez, when the ball accidently hit Choo on the hand, causing the ball to travel to the infield. Odor on third base decided it was a live ball and ran home to allow the Rangers to take the lead 3-2. During the play, the home plate umpire ruled it a dead ball and shouted “no-no” issuing Odor to go back to third. When all the umpired convened to chat about the play, they ruled it was a live ball and Odor’s run counted.

After reviewing the footage, (and what I think was a horrendous call), the Blue Jays’ fans went ballistic! Throwing beer cans and cups on the field, yelling at the players and umpires. One item apparently even hit an infant sitting near the field. The coaches and players were all in an uproar over the call that a few players were ejected for arguing with the umps. Between cleaning the field, reviewing the call and the players/coaches arguing, the game finally resumed after an 18 minute delay.

When the bottom of the 7th began, tensions were extremely high in the stadium. Good thing the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus did not bring his A-game to the field. Andrus caused THREE back-to-back-to-back fielding errors to load the bases for the Blue Jays. With the bases loaded, Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson hit a single to tie the game. Still in the bottom of the 7th, Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista hit a three run homerun to the delightful roar of the Blue Jays’ fans. The Blue Jays had taken the lead 6-3. When Bautista hit the home run, he flipped his bat and stared down the Rangers’ pitcher Sam Dyson before running to first. According to CBSSports.com, “While Bautista was rounding the bases, the fans again threw stuff — beer, bottles, etc. — on the field, which, again, is bad. Don’t do that. Encarnacion stood next to the batter’s box and waved his arms to try to get the crowd to stop throwing stuff. (Rangers’) Sam Dyson, who just gave up the home run to Bautista, apparently misconstrued Encarnacion’s message and starting barking. The benches cleared.” The Blue Jays ended up winning game by a final score of 6-3.

That inning was exhausting as baseball fan. To be honest, I was embarrassed to see how poorly the Blue Jays’ fans were behaving in their own stadium. While I understand the passion behind being a fan, who really benefits from trashing your own field and potentially hurting another fan because of your lack in judgment and basically having a temper tantrum. When the police have to get involved to calm down fans to let a game of baseball resume, it is really fun to watch anymore? My hope is that Blue Jays’ fans behave slight better in the next series and don’t ruin the game for everyone else trying to enjoy baseball, controversial play or not.

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Category: MLB, Uncategorized

It’s October, doctor ampoule Baby!

As this White Sox beat blogger loves to give digs to the Chicago Cubs fans chanting my loudest “1808” during the crosstown classic.  But today I’m happy to report that I watched the National League wild card game last night as the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 and I was pleasantly surprised.  This team looks like they really want it this year and I think 2015 will be a great year for playoff baseball!

The American League Playoffs start today with the Texas Rangers vs. the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros vs. the Kansas City Royals.  During the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday night, find the Astros beat the Yankees 3-0 in New York to advance to the ALDS again the number one spot in the America League, prescription the Royals, who finished their regular season 95-67.  Here’s an overview on how these two series will match up.

Texas Rangers vs. the Toronto Blue Jays

Under the new management of Jeff Banister, the Rangers won the AL West with a record of 88-74.  A player to watch on the Rangers is third baseman Adrián Beltré with a batting average of .334 in the regular season.  The Blue Jays, they ended their 2015 regular season with a 93-69 record and my pick on a player to watch is pitcher David Price who will be taking the mound today with a regular season record of 18-5 and a 2015 season ERA of 2.45, the best in the American League.

Side note: Many White Sox faithful will remember Mark Buehrle who most recently pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays.  This past Sunday, rumors started swirling around about Buehrle retiring from the game of baseball at the end of the 2015 season.  Here’s a great ESPN article discuss the details of Buehrle potential retirement. Could the Bench Coach spot for the White Sox be in his near future? 

Houston Astros vs. the Kansas City Royals

Later this evening the Astros and the Royals will face-off.  The Astros ended their regular season with an 86-76 record while the Royals were the best team in the American League with a 95-67 record.  As for player to watch, expect the Astros Jose Altuve to have a big series with 200 hits in the 2015 season and a batting average of .353.  The Royals have a pretty deep roster of players who are up for the postseason challenge as well and are not strangers to this stage.  Center fielder Lorenzo Cain had a .361 batting average during the regular season and when he hits October, his postseason career batting average is .388.

While the local media will heavily cover by the National League Playoffs, I look forward to see how the American League shakes out – especially with two teams from Texas in the postseason.  I can guess what their fans are rooting for in the ALCS.

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Category: MLB, MLB, Uncategorized
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