Finally

So, I got back from Chicago this past Tuesday. We decided not to go with a baseball themed wedding, sad face. But, we did book the Reception venue, dj, cake lady, florist, and photographer. We managed to get a ton done in a short amount of time.

I am currently watching my first Cubs spring training game of the season against the Dodgers. It’s just the top of the sixth inning though. Marmol looked like his fantastic self in the fifth inning.

What was up with Silva and Ramirez fighting in the dugout the other day? It’s a little too early in the season for that kind of child like behavior. My patience has been thin going into this season, and this kind of garbage makes it thinner.

So, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is I got my new job as a service advisor at a car dealership. It’s five days a week from 7:30 to 6:00, and every other Saturday from 8:00 to 2:00.

The bad news is my post will be much less frequent and will most likely be late night entries and possibly my thoughts on series recaps. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to do it with these new hours. My first three days at the new job was exhausting.

Heres to a Cubs win today on this rainy afternoon in Charlotte.

Too much thoughts and ramblings

I need to start coming up with better titles, I need a copy editor I guess. But, thats all I’ve had lately are just thoughts and ramblings. I wish I was in Mesa for I could bring more depth to my blog than just speculation and assumption.

Just one more day until I go back to Chi-City. I have a second interview tomorrow morning for a new job, wish me luck. I feel pretty confident I’ll get offered the position right then and there, then a Wesnday evening flight! First stop is Portillos! I can’t wait to get my mouth on some good Chicago food. Thursday and Friday is going to consist of wedding cake stuff, banquet hall stuff, church stuff, photography stuff, and other wedding stuff. Friday night is going to be a fun one though, Rush and Divison with my friends, you Chicago people know what I mean.

With all this stuff, lets get to come Cubs stuff.

The bench is worrying the crap out of me. Chicago hasn’t had any depth off the bench the past three season. One difference between the 2003 Cubs and this years squad is depth. Why can’t the Cubs just sign Jeramine Dye, we are going to need a DH this year for interleague, plus he could provide some late inning pop into the bat. Just a thought I guess, I may be reaching and asking for a Dye signing. But, I think it makes good sense.

I would also much rather see a Matt Garza as opening day starter as opposed to Ryan Dempster, it’ll be a perfect time to show and tell our brand new shiney toy. Plus it’ll give the fans a chance to see what we traded the farm for.

Oh, almost forgot, since I’ll be back at the parents house this weekend, this guy gets to hear the first spring training broadcast of the season this Saturday. I’m pretty pumped up about that. I’ll try to check out the blogs during down time at my parents, if I have any. But my fiance will be too busy showing off her new toy: her shiney engagement ring.

More ramblings again

I’ve been pretty much dead to the world the past few days because our laptop decided to kick the bucket. We ended up getting a new one last night. I felt naked without a laptop, it’s kind of like forgetting your cell phone at home.

But, due to not having the laptop my girlfriend and myself were able to enjoy the extraordinary nice weather this past weekend. We went to the batting cage, and I pretty much still got it, that is to say that I could still make some decent contact to the ball.

I’ve read that Ramirez showed up to camp healthy. I guess he has to stay healthy and play well just because he’s in a contract year. Ramirez is a key to the Cubs success this year so we need him in there and not on the DL.

The Cubs line up could be very dangerous if you think about it. Pena, Soriano, Ramirez, Colvin, and Byrd could all drive in runs and go deep. But if they all catch a slump at the same time it would make a very long season of leaving runners on base and not executing to win ball games.

Besides the fact that they could all strike out a ton, what worries me is the bench situation. The Cubs don’t have a hitter that could come late into a ball game and get that base hit they would be looking for. The past two seasons the bench support has been lacking. I would like to see a bit more depth at 1b/3b. I don’t think I could take another season of Jeff Baker playing third base once Ramirez is on the DL.

Two more days until I go back to the cold weather in Chicago, I’m getting really excited. We have wedding cake testing in Naperville on Friday, so I’m really looking forward to that. My fiance gave the okay on a baseball themed wedding. Some ideas I thought of our having the flowergirl throw sunflower seeds instead of flowers down the aisle, have a vase full of baseballs as the table centerpiece at the reception, have the dj play Take Me Out to the Ballgame halfway through the reception, and end it with Go Cubs Go. I’m still trying to convince her that the main course should be hot dogs, but that isn’t going over too well.

Fantasy team

So, I decided to join a free fantasy league on Yahoo. Eh, hopefully it remains competitive throughout the season. It has 16 teams with four divisions, head to head. I’ve never played with that many teams, so basically slim pickings towards the end of the draft. I was able to draft a few Cubs though.

The league scores the following for hitting: Runs, Hits, Singles, Doubles, Triples, Homeruns, Rbi, Stolen Base, Batting AVG., OPS, and NSB (net stolen base).

The following for pitchers: Innings pitches, Wins, Saves, K’s, GIDP, Holds, ERA, WHIP, QS, and Net Saves.

I had 12th pick overall and was a snake draft, so here is my team, Santo for Hall, in the draft order I selected them in:

Adrian Gonzalez (Bos. – 1B)
Felix Hernandez (Sea. – SP)
Zack Greinke (Mil. – SP)
Jayson Werth (Was. – OF)
Starlin Castro (Chi – SS)
Mark Reynolds (Bal. – 3B)
Gio Gonzalez (Oak. – SP)
Jose Valverde (Det. – RP)
Mike Aviles (Kc. – 2B,SS)
Alfonso Soriano (Chi. – OF).
Carlos Ruiz (Phi. – C)
Matt Garza (Chi. – SP)
Rajai Davis (Oak. – OF)
Carlos Zambrano (Chi. – SP)
David Murphy (Tex. – OF)
Kerry Wood (Chi. – RP)
Magglio Ordonez (Det. – OF)
A.J. Burnett (Ny. – SP)
Jim Thome (Min. – Utility)
Bronson Arroyho (Cin. – SP)
Jeff Keppinger (Hou. – 2B, SS)
Jorge Cantu (Sd. – 1B, 3B)
Bobby Jenks (Bos. – RP)

I think my strong point in the league is my starting pitching. My team isn’t going to rack up in saves as I just have one closer, but I would get points in the holds with Kerry Wood and Bobby Jenks, as I see them both setting up their closers this year. My team also has a lot of power so I would get many homeruns and RBI, but would most likely lack in batting avg. and stolen bases.

Random thoughts and ramblings

So, I never did get around to finishing up my Cubs mancave on Saturday, however, my most perfect fiancee did get me the COOLEST present for Valentines Day. We stopped by a consignment store over the weekend and low and behold she found the most perfect piece for the Cubs mancave: an Old Style sign with a beer mug in it that bubbles. It’s so freakin cool. Who would of thought an Old Style sign would be right here in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I finished the book The Eastern Stars, it was really good. Towards the end of the book the author focused on Sammy Sosa (the book is about baseball in the Dominican Republic). Sammy has always been my favorite player of all time, and after reading a little bit of information about the guy, turns out he’s a real piece. After reading that book I put two and two together, remember when Salmon Torres drilled Sosa in the head? I think it was in 2003 or 2004, anyways it turns out that basically the Dominican Republic doesn’t think too highly of Mr. Sosa. Torres is also from the Dominican, I think that hit in the head was a little intentional, just because of how Sammy is perceived by his fellow countrymen.

Sosa was my childhood hero, he was to me what Ron Santo and Billy Williams was to my father, I feel a little cheated out of my childhood just because of the speculation around Sosa. I guess the topic of Sosa is good for another day, I’m not going to let him depress me because…..

SPRING TRAINING HAS BEGUN!!!

To gear up for spring training I began reading a new book, well its old, but its new to me. It’s by Bill James called What Happened to the Hall of Fame? I’m a few chapters into it, it’s a pretty good read so far.

I get to go back home to Chicago next week. My first time back to the Windy City since I moved in November. I finally get to meet my first baby nephew for the first time. I already brought him a couple of Cubs outfits and a little baby baseball glove. We’re also going to look at reception halls for the wedding and hopefully pick out a wedding venue, hope it all goes well. And I plan on stopping in the Wrigleyville area as well, should be fun to see my parents and my siblings and friends again.

(Still in need of a fantasy baseball league). 

Getting anxious

It is 20 days away until the first televised Cubs spring training day. So I was thinking of ways to make the time go by faster as I get more and more anxious:

1. Blog! It’s a fun way to write how you feel about baseball or your favorite organization, and could be pretty interactive, espically if your loved ones get tired of talking baseball with you.

2. Start your fantasty baseball team. I have still yet to find a league, if anybody has any extra openings please let me know asap! I don’t want to be stuck joining a yahoo league where more than half the people don’t keep up with it.

3. Read anything you can about baseball, reading is fun, more fun than watching Reading Rainbow (theres a throwback). Read blogs, books, magazines. I personally stick to blogs and books. I’m currently reading The Eastern Stars, it’s about Dominican baseball and also gives a pretty cool history lesson on the country as well.

4. Organize your baseball card collection. I personally collect high end Cubs auto card and serial numbered cards, as well as Cuban baseball players (fun fact: I’m a quarter Cuban and a quarter Mexican).

5. Get your mancave started/reorgainze it. I’m still in the process of organizing mine, getting the finishing touches done this Saturday, I’ll post pics of it. It’s all a Cubs themed.

6. Baseball movies. My personal favorite is Field of Dreams, it always brings a tear to my eye. But my fiance got me the Ken Burns Baseball series and am currently about to pop in the first DVD.

Once again anybody who has any extra fantasty baseball openings let me know! And if anybody also has any other fun ways to pass the time until Spring Training gets going feel free to comment those ideas.

pretty cool

I made the mlblogs front page, well at least my picture did with Ernie Banks, it’s kind of funny that my fiancee was cut of it. I wont show her that, she might get upset. But anyways, I couldn’t update it over the weekend, we had some friends visiting, and I got dragged to a baby shower, a very painful two and a half hours, worse than a Cubs loss.

I saw that Michael Young demanded a trade from the Texas Rangers. Hmmm, I did propse a trade idea that involved him a couple weeks ago. Hopefully he’ll be a Cub sooner than later and Soriano would be gone. You could find my trade proposal a little down the page.

I just want to say a quick thanks to everybody to stop by my blog. My blog comeback debuted in the top 50.

Closers role

I like to think outside the box when it comes to baseball, and I don’t know about you but I get my best baseball ideas when I’m using the facilities. So, on that note, why don’t most baseball managers use their closers more often, other than just the ninth inning role?

More often than not I find myself yelling at managers like Dusty Baker, Lou Pinella, and now this year Quade, for not using Carlos Marmol in what would most likely be the most crucial situation in the game. If the Cubs are in the fifth or sixth inning and Dempster is out of gas, and the tying or winning run is in scoring position with less than two outs, why not use the back end of the bullpen and go to Marmol, instead of using a front end guy?

There isn’t a set rule on “Kerry Wood is just your set up man” or “Sean Marshall is your lefty specialist”. I just think it makes the most sense when the game is on the line that you should go to your best pitcher in the bullpen to get the sure out that the team needs to execute in order to win the game.

Pet peeves

The following are pet peeves of mine that pertain to baseball, particularly the Cubs:

1.)    A so called good club house doesn’t make a baseball team any better.  I’ve been reading from other fans that Pena is a good clubhouse guy. Sources please!! Where are you bloggers getting your information from?! What makes a good clubhouse guy in the first place? Having a good clubhouse doesn’t mean a player like Ramirez is going to not be injury prone this season or hit more than 25 homeruns.

2.)    Arrive to baseball games on time. Time after time I find my seat usually being blocked by people who just stand around and coming to the games late. Most of the time these people look like idiots.

3.)    Get off your cell phones, leave them in the car. You’re there to watch a game and interact with the people around you while cheering your team on. I really don’t care where the guy next to me is going drinking after the game is over.

4.)    Cub fans who are guys, the chicks aren’t impressed how much Old Style you could pour down your throat during a game, nor is it attractive.

5.)    Most importantly just act as if you’ve been to a professional baseball game before. Don’t get in fights with the opposing team fans, and don’t throw objects on the field. People who do this just dumbs down the fan base.

6.)    Read my first one again.

Competing or rebuilding?

I don’t have an idea what to make of this year’s team. The Cubs have to make up their minds on if they’re rebuilding this year or competing for a championship. If they’re rebuilding, then like I’ve previously said the Garza trade doesn’t make much sense, on top of that Soriano, Ramirez, Fukodome, Zambrano and Pena should be used as trade bait. I know that’s all easier said than done.

I’ve always been a proponent that the Cubs should never be in a rebuilding mode because it’s a major market franchise, and Chicago is always making money. But, the Cubs are going to have to accept the fact in order to unload the heavily paid players; they are going to have to eat up some of that money.

The Twins or the Rays are both the ideal model franchises the Cubs should follow. Being successful all starts with scouting, the Cubs aren’t really known for bringing players up and developing them. Just up until recently we’ve been seeing come up through the system, particularly Marmol, Soto, and Cashner. Usually just end up busts like Corey Patterson or Felix Pie. But, I think the key to success is having the right amount of talent acquired through trade or free agency, and a good amount of kids coming up through the system.

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