baseball

Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are in the Post Season for the first time in six years and if it weren’t for the local news and social media no one in Chicago would know.   I blame two factors:

  1. The Mayor:   Rahm claims to be a Cub Fan, viagra even during his reelection campaign he promised a Cubs Championship ”Imagine the joy! The excitement! The economic boost to very specific neighborhoods in our great city, viagra sale ” said an unblinking Emanuel at a news conference this morning. “It’s important for voters to know that only I can make this happen.” Rahm Emanuel at a News Conference on March 11, sovaldi sale 2015

But, where is his support? Why isn’t the antenna lighting on the Willis Tower and John Hancock Blue? Or even alternating Blue and Pink lighting #BreastCancerAwareness ? Why isn’t there a scheduled viewing party for the Wild Card Game by the City Park Districts? Surely, the city could bring out the screens from Movies in the Park? Chicago is forecasting  70+ degrees on Wednesday night!  And, Why don’t the Lions at the Art Institute have Cubs jersey’s on?  #LetsGo

  1. Chicago’s lack of appreciation for the game of Baseball:   Until Jackie Robinson West’s appearance at the Little League World Series Chicago barely acknowledged Baseball as a game which could bring the community together.  Baseball is not only a game where kids can strive to succeed on the Diamond, but a game kids can watch with their family and friends on a sunny day at the Ballpark.  Especially at a time when Chicago needs to come together to stop violence, the city should turn to Cubs Baseball.  Beyond the unique beauty of every Home Run at Wrigley Field, Chicago Baseball teaches fun long standing rivalries #HateTheCards.  Baseball, a game of math illustrates the simplicity and sophistication of statistics and regulations ranging from three strikes to fascinating batting algorithms.  And for adults, Baseball has the most attractive male and female fashion in all of sports, who doesn’t look good in a ball cap or Cubbie Blue?!?  Finally, at any age, nothing is more rewarding and joyful than watching a young Major League Baseball team come together over 162 games in a single season.

I’ll be in Pittsburgh rooting for the Cubs on Wednesday, so Bring it Chicago!!  #TurnOnTheBlue #FlytheW #GoCubs #WeAreGood

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The weather has finally warmed up, sildenafil but we’re still having a mediocre baseball season in Chicago. One sure-fire way to fix those blues? A new HAM of the Week—and this week, we’re putting the spotlight on Chicago Cubs’ rookie Arismendy Alcantara.

Arismendy Alcantara HAM

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.chicagotribune.com

After the Cubs designated former Golden Glove winner and second baseman Darwin Barney on assignment, Alcantara, who took over for Barney while he was on paternity leave, moved in his place.

If Alcantara’s name sounds like a mouthful (pronounced AIR-ES-MEN-DEE AL-CAHN-TRA), that’s because it is—just look at his stats:

The 5’10”, 170 pounds Dominican Republic native already crushed a homer onto Sheffield Avenue past the bleachers last week in a win versus the San Diego Padres, and has gained experience playing at second base and center field.

He’s given the team some much-needed energy in the second half of the season, with five RBIs in his first five games.

As most rookies are up in the majors for a two-game stint, Alcantara has taken advantage of his time and continues to put on a performance. Since being promoted to the majors on July 9, Alcantara has a .255 batting average, seven RBIs, four stolen bases and two home runs—and he may not be sent back to Iowa just yet. He’s been playing in almost every game, and continues to prove why he deserves to stay in the majors.

Alcantara signed with the Cubs at shortstop as an international free agent in 2008, playing in the Dominican Summer League that summer. He moved throughout the minor leagues starting in 2011 with the Peoria Chiefs in Class-A, followed by the Daytona Cubs in Class A-Advanced in 2012. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in the Class Double-A Southern League with former HAM of the Week Javier Baez in 2013, where he had a .284 batting average, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. That year, Alcantara represented the Cubs at the All-Star Futures Game, where he had a home run, and a name to be reckoned with.

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Prior to his call-up, Alcantara began the 2014 season with the Iowa Cubs in Class Triple-A. But even before the season began, his name was starting to gain buzz. According to the Chicago Tribune, while Alcantara was regarded as a “second tier” behind the “Big Four” prospects (including Baez, former HAM of the Week Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora), he had a chance to get to Wrigley before them, just to show them how it’s done.

With the second half of the season in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before we see more fantastic rookies come through for the organization.

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Even though we don’t have the greatest baseball teams, doctor we are tried and true dedicated Chicago fans—and that was noted by our “Windy City Sweep” in selecting the NL and AL winners, buy cialis the “Fan Vote” that would send White Sox’s Chris Sale and CubsAnthony Rizzo to join the best of the best at the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis on Tuesday.  Rizzo’s stellar performance throughout this season (and All-Star cred) is one to be noted, which is why we’ve named him our HAM of the Week.

I made my first trip of the summer to the friendly confines for a beautiful Sunday Funday, and I was ecstatic to see our HAM of the Week in action. Win or lose, the 24-year-old first baseman is definitely one of the stars of the team, and it’s easy to see why he’s such a fan favorite.

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.bleacherreport.co

Rizzo was first drafted by the Boston Red Sox at 17 following his senior year of high school in the 2007 MLB Draft. Theo Epstein was the-then manager of the team, but when Epstein was called in 2011 to be the Cubs’ current GM, he brought Rizzo in with him.

We first profiled Rizzo two years ago when he was first called up by the organization. Unlike a lot of Cubs prospects, he shined in his rookie season and is one of the club’s most celebrated prospects. During that season, he had three game-winning RBIs in his first five games, the first player in the team’s history. He hit 7 homers alone in July, and was named the NL Rookie of the Month.

So far this season, he’s had 20 home runs and 49 RBIs over 92 games with an average of .277 and is climbing the ranks among the top first basemen in the National League.

He’s the face of an All-American boy: Born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, he seems to have the “boy next door” charm and humble personality. He’s 100% Italian, though, but I’m sure he can make a mean spaghetti with marinara:

Besides his impressive accomplishments, Rizzo is also a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma not even a full year into the minor leagues in May 2008, he was successfully treated with chemotherapy. Rizzo is a big advocate and his charity, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, hosts annual “Cook-off For Cancer” and “Walk Off For Cancer” events.

What else is there to know about the smiley baseball stud?

Anthony RIzzo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

According to the ladies of “A Drink With”, he would be willing to trade places with Bears’ linebacker Brandon Marshall for a day, and we think he’s got the skills to mesh with Cutty and the crew.

He’s also revealed he is very much single, and is willing to call girls to ask them out. You heard it first—chivalry isn’t dead!

We already know this year probably isn’t “the year” for the Cubbies (shocking), but maybe Theo and Rick should start bringing up more prospects and giving them a chance to hone their skills in the majors for more than a few days—former HAM of the Week Mike Olt is climbing up the ranks and showing signs of the “Rizzo” effect—who is going to be next?

Catch this hottie with teammate Starlin Castro on Tuesday during the All-Star Game at 7 PM on FOX, and on Friday and Saturday versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Follow Anthony Rizzo on Twitter at @ARizzo44.

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wrigley-100

What are modern day fans really doing at Wrigley?!?  Can there be a happy correlation between the faithful Cubs fans who actually watch the game and endure the losing and those that just show up for the party?  On behalf of the true baseball fans out there, pills I am often surprised when Chicagoans (mostly fair-weathered fans or transplants) say they don’t love to watch the Cubs, seek but they do love going to the largest beer garden in the city.  wrigley100I’ve always thought that Wrigley is the best ballpark and baseball experience in the MLB, regardless of whether the Cubs are winning. But this weekend at the Pirates/Cubs series, I paid particularly closer attention to some ‘other’ fans at the Friendly Confines.   tripadvisorThere are even reviews of Wrigley Field on Trip-Advisor, good and bad, and while I am still dreaming that the Cubs will reach .500 before the All-Star break, I thought I would give some perspective on what (not so hopeful) fans are doing at Wrigley… After the torrential downpour Saturday night the Cubs began to play around 8:15 pm and I witnessed some younger guys participating in an online dating game of sorts called Tinder.

The beauty of this online dating site is that it is based on finding a match that is in your immediate radius.  So if you happen to not be watching the game you could potentially meet your next date with few swipes and a stroll to the hot-dog stand between innings.  Interestingly enough a minor league ball park in Minnesota had the same idea…Get Your Beer Goggles Here! Baseball Team Hosts Tinder-Themed Game Along With $1 Brews  – The Saint Paul Saints helped their fans get on base with “Tinder Loving Care Night,” featuring a live on-field version of the dating app plus prizes for in-stadium hookups.

Wagering always keeps fans entertained at the game;  all kinds of bets from the over/under of how long it takes to sing take me out to the ballgame to one of my favorite activities to partake in while watching is a little side betting game call “DIRT NO DIRT”.

Also referred to as “Moundball”, this is the game played when everyone in your row takes out about five or six dollar bills, someone donates their cap and at the end of every inning everyone puts a dollar into the cap and whoever’s turn it is will call “Dirt” or “No Dirt” in reference to where the baseball is left by the fielding team or umpire at the end of the half inning.  I think I once collected $27 from this endeavor. Moundball has become so popular the MLB has its own Moundball twitter account complete with prizes and rules – Check it out Mounball MLB.

Finally, what about those of us who actually watch the game and learned to keep score as kids?  Keeping score on a #Wrigley100 scorecard is a great way to pass the time and have a souvenir for years.  Maybe if we all took a little more time reading about the players and keeping score, one of these days the Cubs would surprise us with some consistency.  This year is the 100 year anniversary at Wrigley …

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/wrigley/chi-140312-wrigley-100-fans-pictures,0,1608556.photogallery

Wrigley 100 Fan photos from the Chicago Tribune

Celebrate the ballpark, Celebrate the fans and Celebrate the team! GO CUBS GO!

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He may not be a big name (yet!), see but there’s a few reasons why you should know White Sox prospect Scott Carroll.

As our HAM of the Week, diagnosis Carroll gave up just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings in his MLB debut in yesterday’s 9-2 winner versus the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s the first rookie to pitch a win in the past four years and the second Sox starter to win in his first major league game in the past 14.

The 6’4”, 215-pound Carroll was called up earlier last week from the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, where he was 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 13 strikeouts in four starts, to fill in for the injured Chris Sale.

Scott Carroll, http://www.chicagonow.com

The Kansas City, Missouri native attended Purdue University to play football, serving as the backup quarterback to former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton. Carroll transferred to Missouri State University, where he was the starting quarterback and top pitcher on the baseball team. Carroll entered the 2006 MLB Draft and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 16th round, but did not sign. He was selected by the Cincinnati Reds the following year as the third round pick.

The 29-year-old RHP spent the past eight seasons in the minor leagues, where he is 27-38 with a 3.95 ERA and has 385 strikeouts in 138 games and 107 starts. He moved from the Class A Dayton and Class A-Advanced Sarasota in 2008 to Double-A Carolina in 2010 before being released by the Reds.

He was drafted to the White Sox as a free agent in July 2012, and was sent to Double-A Birmingham before being promoted to the Triple-A Knights. He pitched in the 2012 winter league in Venezuela but nearly quit the sport after blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Carroll returned to the mound in July and had a 3.29 ERA in 11 combined starts between Rookie-Bristol and Birmingham. He wrote on his journey to recovery in the most sincere and respectful way.

He’s persevered, and it’s clearly paid off. The White Sox are on their second replacement pitcher (after LHP Charlie Leesman struggled against the Texas Rangers the prior weekend), and with Carroll’s win, I’m guessing the organization is heading in the right direction while we wait for Sale’s return.

In addition to his pitching skills, he has serious comedic chops:

At first glance, we think Carroll’s looks are very similar to those of former HAM of the Week and Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy. The chisled jaw, the scruff, the brown mullet, the hotness, they both play for a Chicago sports team…We could go on and on.

He’s witty on social media, too:

Given his age and his athletic ability, I think it will take some time for Carroll to adjust to the majors, but quite simply, he has the will to win and is definitely someone to root, root, root for.

Follow Scott Carroll on Twitter at @Scotty_Carroll and Instagram at @Scottalexanderc.

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We’ve been constantly complaining about our never-ending winter in Chicago, ailment but things are looking hot in Mesa, sildenafil Arizona for Spring Training. With the first day of spring this Thursday and two weeks until Opening Day, cialis it seemed fitting we turned our attention to baseball.

Both the Cubs and the White Sox are busy narrowing down their teams, and there’s one player we’ve had our eye on for a while: Cubs prospect Javier Baez, our HAM of the Week.

The 21-year-old Puerto Rican played shortstop with the minor-league Tennessee Smokies in the Double-A leagues, but his strong performance at Cubs Park throughout the past two months could earn him a spot in the major leagues someday.

He’s been ranked as the 4th overall best prospect, and the buzz surrounding him and former HAM of the Week (and another Cubs prospect) Kris Bryant is unimaginable, although it’s likely that both players will not be on the team’s roster until next year.

Baez, meanwhile, has hit 37 homers and 111 RBIs with the Smokies last season. With all the media hype surrounding him, it could also be a good move for the team that is looking to rebuild its organization.

Javier Baez, http://www.mlb.com

Javier Baez, http://www.mlb.com

Baez moved to Florida in 2005 and played baseball on his middle and high school teams. The Cubs selected Baez in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and he began his professional career playing shortstop for the Rookie Class Arizona League Cubs.

After floating from a few other teams, Baez was back with the Cubs for spring training the following year, and followed up with the Peoria Chiefs of the Class A Midwest League and the Daytona Cubs in the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. Baez led the latter with 17 home runs.

Baez ended the 2013 season with the Smokies in the Southern League, and was named both the FSL and Sothern League All-Star teams. The Cubs named him their Minor League Player of the Year, closing the season as the team’s top-ranked prospect and third in the Southern League.

He was also awarded the 2013 MILBY Award, given to the best Minor League Game of the Year, for his four home run and seven RBI game this past June.

Baez has seen more regular playing time in this year’s training camp since Starlin Castro’s injury, and is expected to play at second and third base to close out spring training. And there’s no doubt he’s got a lot of power:

 

Baez has a tattoo of the MLB logo on the back of his neck, which he says is because of his love for the game and his goal to get to the big leagues. The love for the sport runs in the family—his brother Roberto Baez plays shortstop for the San Diego Padres.

We’re definitely on Javier Baez Watch. And we think you should be too. Here he discusses his spring training progress with MLB.com:

Thankfully, Baez is pretty active on Twitter, posting in English and Spanish. Follow him at @javy23baez 

The Cubs plan to send Baez down to Triple-A Iowa for the 2014 season, but we think it will only be a matter of time before he takes center field on the North Side. Keep this one on your radar, ladies.

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