2011 Chicago Cubs Thread
Go Cubs!!! Cubs Game Day: Garza makes Cubs' debut
Matt Garza makes his Cubs' debut today against Pittsburgh, hoping to shake off a subpar spring training that he blamed on the dry air of Arizona.
After a scoreless first, Garza gave up an RBI single to Ronny Cedeno in the second to give the Pirates the lead.
On Saturday, a demonstrative Garza was on the top step of the Cubs dugout almost the entire game, cheering on his teammates like it was a playoff game.
"I was thinking about sending him out," manager Mike Quade cracked. "He was driving me nuts, as he's known to do."
Quade couldn't recall watching a starting pitcher do so much cheerleading from the dugout.
"I've had some utility guys -- (F.P). Santangelo, Frankie Menechino -- these were good players, understood their role and were great cheerleaders," Quade said. "But it was sincere, and that's the thing with this guy. He likes to have fun, but he wants to win, and it's original and genuine, and I like that about him."
Asked if Garza ever sat down, Quade said he wasn't paying attention.
"Look, I've got my own issues at the other end," he said. "It's like when I was here with Lou (Piniella), I stayed down here because they had plenty of issues going on down there. Whatever is going on down here, as long as there's enthusiasm and I can feel it, I'm good with it."
Cubs embarassment shows. Manager Mike Quade must travel to ballpark incognito!
Just kidding guys. As a former "Southsider" and lifelong Sox fan I must uphold the tradition of giving you all a little good natured shit from time to time. It's expected right?
Good Luck to the Cubbies since I could never hate on a Chicago team, even the Cubs. Here's to a city series in 2011.
I'm not sure what to make of the Cubbies this season. New manager issues aside, I'm not at all thrilled with the roster. I've always, always felt for a ball-club to be strong, they have to be -first and foremost- stout 'up-the-middle,' and I don't see that here. What I'm talking about (for those who may not know) what 'up-the-middle' is; strong catcher (they're set), strong staff (meh... it's workable), 2nd base and Centerfield. And at those last two positions, I don't see much.
Overall; they're slow, the age mix isn't right, they're slow, too much salary in less-than-productive players, they're slow, haphazard use of the farm system, they're slow, some seriously piss-poor drafting, they're slow, and they're really slow.
Last edited by matsellah; 04-03-2011 at 10:34 PM.
Smallest Wrigley crowd in 9 years sees Cubs beat D'backs
The newest challenge facing the Cubs isn't an opposing pitcher or hitter.
It's trying to return to the days when lousy weather wasn't a deterrent in filling their ballpark.
Playing in front of their smallest crowd in nine years, the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 4-1 Monday behind strong pitching by Randy Wells, a pair of RBIs by Alfonso Soriano and some clutch pitching out of the bullpen.
The attendance was announced at 26,292, or about double the number of actual fans at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs confirmed it was the smallest crowd at Wrigley since 20,032 showed up on Sept. 26, 2002, when interim manager Bruce Kimm's team was playing out the string against the Reds and rookie Carlos Zambrano was on the mound.
"It's a little strange seeing empty seats," Kerry Wood said. "It's our job to change that."
Wood and Zambrano are the only players from that '02 team and were part of the reason for the attendance boom that followed. Dusty Baker's 2003 playoff team ignited the fuse, and near-sellouts became the norm, continuing throughout most of the Lou Piniella era.
But last season's fifth-place finish, combined with the third-highest average ticket price in the majors, apparently has led to a wait-and-see attitude among fans.
"It surprised me today, but Monday, and cold weather — people don't want to come out of the house," Soriano said. "But I think when it (starts) getting warm, people will come to the game."
The smallest announced crowd the Cubs had in 2010 was 29,538 on Aug. 30 against the Pirates, Mike Quade's home debut as manager. Before that, they hadn't fallen under 30,000 since 27,105 came out to watch another Cubs-Pirates game on Sept. 7, 2006.
The sight of so many empty seats at the end of '06 was "jarring" to former team President John McDonough, who vowed when he took over to end the malaise.
That led to general manager Jim Hendry's offseason spending spree that netted Soriano and Ted Lilly, among other free agents. Piniella, then at the peak of his popularity, led the '07 team to the playoffs and helped the Cubs draw a record 3.2 million. The 97-win team in '08 broke that record with 3.3 million fans.
Attendance dropped in each of the last two seasons, and now the lure of Wrigley Field is no longer enough to convince fans to turn up no matter what the weather is like. The Cubs introduced a 13-game partial-ticket plan over the winter, using marquee series against the Yankees, Cardinals and White Sox to sell tickets to less popular matchups against the likes of the Pirates and Diamondbacks.
But fans didn't respond to the plan, and there were even empty seats Friday on Opening Day.
Quade said he's too busy managing to pay attention to the empty seats.
"It was a cool, lousy Monday day (game)," he said, adding that a crowd of 26,000 was "not bad" when considering those factors.
"They're never dull and they're never quiet," he said. "So that's a good thing no matter how many of them are here."
Think I'm coming around... I think I'm more of a Chicago sports fan than anything. So I'll root for the Cubbies, but when the day comes to a crosstown showdown. It's the White Sox =) Hell.. think one of my first baseball games I ever went to was at Wrigley.
High Fives / Like - 2 High Fives, 0 Dislikes
Well they're hear in Denver filling up Coors Field. I'm only a couple of blocks from the ballpark and from the looks of people walking to the game there's just as many Cubs fans in this town as Rockies fans.
Originally Posted by little bear
I don't hate the White Sox at all. I hope they go 156-6 every regular season and 7-4 in the post season every year.
LOL, well your Cubbies kicked some ass last night didn't they? Looks like Soriano and that kid, Castro, got the best of them. Benji you should make a trip to Denver next season when the Cubs play the Rockies and we'll catch the series together. This was a geat weekend for baseball. Partly cloudy and windy but temps in the 70's and dry as a bone.
Originally Posted by The Benjamin
If I can work it in, it is a plan!
Originally Posted by soulman
and yes, Castro is looking very impressive
Zambrano in control as Cubs beat Sox
This Cubs- White Sox showdown Monday may have lacked the pre-series hype — and the capacity crowd — of the previous 26, but not the drama.
With Ozzie Guillen kicking a field goal with Geovany Soto's mask and Carlos Zambrano licking his U.S. Cellular Field meltdown history, with Starlin Castro proving the future is bright and Paul Konerko providing more history, Game 1 on Monday was another for the books.
It may have taken a year, but Zambrano redeemed himself for a first-inning tirade that cost him a suspension and time in an anger management class with a 6-3 victory.
"Thank God I made it through the first day at U.S. Cellular Field," Zambrano said with a smile afterward.
In fact, he made it through eight innings, with three-RBI help from Castro and Carlos Pena, both of whom homered to offset Konerko's 15th against the Cubs in the last 46 games.
"So much has been made of his emotional stuff," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Zambrano. "He was relaxed and really went to work. He deserves so much credit."
By the time Zambrano turned the game over to Carlos Marmol for the ninth inning — a shaky one with two singles — his buddy Guillen had been banished.
Home plate umpire James Hoye ejected Guillen in the bottom of the sixth for arguing whether Alexei Ramirez's tap by home plate was fair or foul. Before leaving, Guillen booted Soto's mask to the Sox dugout.
"Twenty years ago I might have broken my toe," Guillen said, "but they make the mask so light now I didn't feel anything."
Guillen said that Hoye "was right and I was wrong," but mostly for fear of being fined even more than he most likely will.
The ejection had the crowd — a less-than-capacity 36,005 — rocking.
So did Konerko in the first inning, when his two-run liner to left field gave the Sox a 3-0 lead. In fact, the Sox fans probably smelled blood from another Zambrano meltdown.
But the Cubs score twice in the third inning on Castro's single and then four times in the sixth on Castro and Pena homers that chased Floyd, who had entered the game with an interleague-best 1.71 ERA.
"After that home run to Konerko — and I have to tip my cap to Mr. Konerko — I said, 'This is my game and that's enough,' " Zambrano said. "Let's be in control and be aggressive."
The Sox had only four hits in the next seven innings, none after the fifth, as they watched their all-time gap against the Cubs closed to 41-38.
Konerko returned Zambrano's compliment, saying "I didn't see many pitches twice in a row in the same location. He pitched great. You got to tip your hat to him."
Pena, playing in his first City Series, deflected conversation about his game-winning home run. In the Chicago battle of free agents, Pena now leads Adam Dunn 12 homers to seven.
"The real story here is how Zambrano was able to settle down," Pena said. "He was able to stay focused and kept on coming. It was quite impressive."