The Friday getting-caught-up blog

The Friday getting-caught-up blog

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 13:51
I've got a couple days off before heading out to Wrigley Sunday. You need a break every now and then from watching the Expansion Cubs. They're on pace to finish 66-96, which was the record in 2006. We'll get to a few things today, including a short remembrance of Bobby Thomson, who died earlier this week. The Cubs enter today 4-14 in August. They're rivaling the 1999 club, which went 6-24 in August and 11-17 in September, getting Jim Riggleman fired as manager. Things didn't get any better in 2000 under Don Baylor. The Cubs won 65 games that year. Hope you had a chance to read our story today on Jim Hendry's third attempt at a rebuilding job: http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=402124 This will be the third and final attempt at rebuilding Hendry gets. He's fortunate to be around for this one, and nothing short of a playoff appearance next year and sustained success in 2012 (the final year of Hendry's contract) will allow Hendry to stick around. There are a few looses ends to tie up with that story. --One reader wanted to know about trading Carlos Zambrano and also adding Tom Gorzelanny to the list of arb-eligible guys who will get raises. Good catch on Gorzelanny. On Z, who knows? He said again yesterday he wants to stay in Chicago. The biggest obstacle with Zambrano, who alternately says he would waive his no-trade and then says he wants to stay, isn't the no-trade itself. It's his $91.5 million contract, which runs through 2012. I don't think anybody knows how this will turn out. --Blogger Boozer asked on the comments part of the story that if we don't know the Cubs' payroll for next year, how do we know they'll have enough money to add pieces? Fair question. My answer to that would be let's see if Hendry can dump a contract or two. I suspect he'll move Fukudome and some of the money left on that deal. The second part of my answer would be that Chicago is a major market and that the new owners are going to have to spend money. If they don't, and they trot out another expansion team next year, look for plenty of good sections to be available for seating at Wrigley Field. --Another reader just asked me how many "four-year plans" I've seen. Well, I don't know if the Cubs are in a four-year plan, but I am old enough to have childhood memories of the College of Coaches. I began covering baseball in 1989 and the Cubs full time in 1998. So I've seen a few "plans." BOBBY THOMSON (1923-2010) I didn't want to let Bobby Thomson's death pass without a mention, even during a busy week that included the Derrek Lee trade. You students of history know full well about Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" on Oct. 3, 1951 that capped the New York Giants' incredible comeback over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Back in 1991, I got the idea of writing about the 40th anniversary of that homer. Bobby and Ralph Branca, the pitcher who served up the home run, were doing a card show in Rosemont, raising a little money for themselves and some more for old-time ballplayers left out of pension benefits. I met both men at the venue in Rosemont, and when I got there, they were unpacking boxes of memorabilia to sign. No handlers or anything like that. Just a couple of guys unpacking boxes by themselves. I wrote a big story about the 40th anniversary, but what impressed me most about Thomson was how unaffected by the adulation he received for hitting the homer. "I've been very much surprised all these years, except that you kind of get used to it after awhile," he said that day. "Just recently, more so than ever, it seems to me the thing has been talked about and the media show it. Kids see it and they write to me about it. "It's not been my whole life. I've been out working, earning a living since I got out of baseball in 1960, bringing up a family and being a plain old citizen. I was at my former grade school not long ago; I was asked to go to their graduation. I wasn't the main speaker, but I was asked to say a few words. This little gal that introduced me, I'm sure she never heard the name Thomson, introduced me as the home run hitter and a great American. "I couldn't help but tell her that's the nicest introduction I ever received, being referred to as a great American. The way I look at it, that talks about a person with a sense of responsibility for what's going on in the world, what's going on his community and what's going on with his family. "To me, that's what it's all about. More people should take an interest and take more responsibility in pitching in and making this a better place to live, a more peaceful place." Amen to that. MINOR-LEAGUE ROUNDUP Class AAA Iowa beat Sacramento 7-5 with Park Ridge's Brian Schlitter picking up the win with 2 scoreless relief innings. J.R. Mathes pitched 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, 2 earned. Micah Hoffpauir, the victim of the Great Call-Up Mix-Up, went 2-for-4, and he's hitting .418 for the month at Iowa. Depending on whether Tyler Colvin gets some time at first base, we may yet see Micah soon. Tennessee (AA) beat Tennessee 5-4 in 10 innings. The bigger news there was that pitching prospect Chris Rusin left after 2 innings. Rusin apparently left with an oblique or rib-cage ailment, and the Cubs say his removal from the game was precautionary. Newly acquired Kyle Smit (Lilly trade) won his third straight decision with 3 scoreless innings of relief. Daytona (A) lost 3-1 to Dunedin. Lefty Brooks Raley pitched shutout, 4-hit ball over 5.1 innings. DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to four games, and newly acquired Evan Crawford (Fontenot trade) has hit safely in four of seven games. Peoria fell 7-2 to Burlington. Brett Wallach (Lilly trade acquisition) got a no-decision. He is 6-1 with a 3.83 ERA as he worked 5 innings of 3-hit, 2-run ball. Down in Mesa (Rookie) rehabbing Cub Esmailin Caridad started and worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up 3 hits and 1 run as the Cubs beat the A's 6-3.
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