Cubs Legend Lee Smith Sees a Lot of Himself in Dodgers Kenley Jansen

Lee Smith heads into the Hall of Fame this weekend as a man who pitched for all four teams involved in the two biggest rivalries in all of baseball: Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals (his grandfather’s favorite team), Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

He also pitched for four more teams on top of that quartet, during a Major League career that saw him strike out 1,251 batters in 1,022 innings and make seven All-Star appearances. For what Lee Smith means to the history of baseball, it’s less about what team he played for and more about what position he held. The group that he’s a member of, which matters more right now, is the fraternity of closers.

[Read more…]

Cubs Badly Need Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels to Fully Heal

If the Chicago Cubs are going to actually pull away from the Milwaukee Brewers and the rest of the NL Central, they’ll need their pitching staff to come correct. Here at the MLB All-Star break, the only true assessment of the Cubs is to label them as meh so far, and that fits in perfectly with the rest of the extremely mediocre division.

What’s the key to the Cubs snapping out of it and claiming the division crown?

[Read more…]

Chicago Cubs Midterm Report Card Grade: Meh, M-E-H Meh

It’s still 11 days to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but the actual numerical midpoint arrived yesterday, when Cookie Monster led the Chicago Cubs a thrilling coming from behind victory over the Atlanta Braves. The high scoring victory gave the Cubs a series (2-2) and home stand (5-5) split, perfectly befitting how the first half of the season has transpired.

The Chicago Cubs are 81 games in, 44 up, 37 down, 29-16 at home, 15-21 on the road and one game over arch-rival Milwaukee for first place in the National League Central. At this point, the Cubs are right where you thought they would be once all the MLB off-season transactions were completed: on pace to win about 86-89 games.

[Read more…]

Cubs Catcher Willson Contreras is the Kind of Guy Baseball Needs

willson-contreras

Last night’s 8-3 Chicago Cubs win over the Atlanta Braves saw a major beef between the two catchers, Willson Contreras and Tyler Flowers, ensue, followed by the emptying of both benches. In other words, even the most strident “baseball is boring” kind of person would have found this game, in which tempers flared on both sides, riveting.

ICYMI, and you’re trying to catch up via media coverage today, just make sure you consider the source of what you’re viewing/reading. While there are some out there approaching this with a journalistic, fair and balanced approach, the Chicago media is largely taking a pro-Cubs slant while most of the Atlanta media is on Flowers’ side here.

[Read more…]

Bicycling a Good Wrigley Field Commuting Option for Cubs Home Games

Whether the Chicago Cubs win or lose, just about everybody who drives to Wrigley Field will indeed take a L. Wrigley Field is located in the heart of a residential area, making parking options scarce and egregiously expensive. Add to that the ramped gentrification surrounding the ballpark, the closed-off streets that accompany it and overall nightmarish commute, and well, any option but driving is a good one.

If you must drive, park in one of the Cubs faraway lots that include a free shuttle bus. Better yet, take advantage of the Cubs free bike valet service, available for all home games in the alley just east of the main entrance to the CTA station adjacent to the ballpark.

[Read more…]

Revisiting Two Baseball Prophecies made in 1990 Futuristic Films

If you’re doing classic Americana summer word association, then “movies” and “baseball” would probably be right at the top of anyone’s list.  So when these summer staples combine, sometimes the result can be sublime. Other times, the result is something on par with the 1985’s “The Slugger’s Wife” or 2001’s “Summer Catch.”

In 1990, two science fiction films were released that foretold a future World Series result, and today we look at how those prophecies panned out. If that seems like a lot of effort wasted on analyzing something trivial, well, this isn’t the first time we’ve done something specific to this wheelhouse.

[Read more…]

Liverpool FC Legend Ian Rush to Throw First Pitch at Cubs vs White Sox

ran rush

Liverpool FC legend Ian Rush will soon have yet another plaudit to add to his already lengthy list. The 57-year-old Welshman is Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer, having accumulated 346 goals across all competitions at the Merseyside club.

He scored a record 25 in the Merseyside derby against Everton alone. He was the all-time leading scorer for Wales as well, until 2018, when Gareth Bale surpassed the total of 28 that he accumulated between 1980 and 1996. And now Ian Rush will throw out the first ball when the Chicago Cubs host the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night in the second of the two teams’ four clashes this season.

[Read more…]

Pat Fitzgerald Will Back the White Sox When the All-Chicago World Series Happens (Exclusive)

pat fitzgerald

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald believes we will see a red line World Series in our life times, and when we do he’ll be sporting the silver and black of the South Side. Fitzgerald, who grew up in suburban Orland Park, held court with the media at the end of NU spring football practice, and then, after other reporters dispersed, we hung around a bit longer to talk Chicago baseball.

The Chicago Cubs brought Fitzgerald in this offseason to talk to the coaching staff, due to his expertise in communicating with college and soon-to-be college players. Northwestern is very intertwined with the Cubs as they share some corporate partners, and until recent years, broadcast partners.

[Read more…]

Chicago Cubs Ace Jon Lester Named to Forbes Top Earners List

Yesterday saw Forbes release their annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes in the past year, and Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester made the cut. The Cubs ace checks in at #97, having earned $25.3 million in total ($25m in salary, $300k in endorsements) during the past year. Lester is one of the thirteen Major League Baseball players on the list, led by the Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout at #17 ($50.6 million). At #68 you’ll find a former Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta, who is now with Philadelphia and earned $28.8 million last season.

[Read more…]

Pat Fitzgerald on His Chicago Cubs Consulting Gig this Past Offseason

Although Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald would never actually use any of these following terms himself: gen-Xer, millenial, gen Z, the Chicago Cubs deemed him an expert in bridging the generation gap. 

The Cubs brought Fitzgerald in this offseason to talk to the coaching staff, due to his expertise in communicating with college and soon-to-be college players. “We all learned a little something from that talk,” Cubs GM Theo Epstein told the Chicago Tribune a week after the consultation.

[Read more…]

Baez, Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras: Stellar Quartet Leading Cubs to First Place

The Chicago Cubs enter Wednesday night’s home game against the Colorado Rockies leading the NL Central division and just one game behind Philadelphia for the second best record in the National League. The Cubs overcame a very slow start, but are hitting mid-season form now, largely due to a very balanced offense.

Led by Javier Baez, who leads the team in batting average (.309), hits (72) and slugging percentage (.588), the Cubs are scoring runs aplenty, and looking like a team that could be dangerous all season long and into the postseason.

[Read more…]

Chicago Cubs Make Risky Reach with Ryan Jensen at #27

ryan jensen

As the MLB Network talking heads pointed out in reference to the Chicago Cubs drafting Ryan Jensen out of Fresno State tonight: “from #99 to #27?!?!” The draftniks certainly did not see this coming; at all. It’s a bold move to be sure, only time will tell if it pays off for ’em.

Yes, it’s a reach to say the least, but time will tell if Ryan Jensen falls into the Mike Harkey, Ben Christensen, Lance Dickson, Ty Griffin, Kevin Orie category, or the Kris Bryant, Kerry Wood, Javier Baez classification. Or somewhere in between those two extremities.

[Read more…]