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Vine Line Tid-bits, February 2005

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

This month's Vine Line came in the mail last Tuesday. So, having had an opportunity to sit down and read it this weekend, it is time to extract the tid-bits.

The cover this month has a smiling Ryne Sandberg wearing a blue shirt, tie, sportcoat, and Hall of Fame hat. The headline says "Call from Cooperstown, Ryne Sandberg, Class of '05," It also has something that is supposed to look like Ryno's HOF plaque.

The Roster Tracker on page 4 makes note of the fact that Jose Macias signed for $825 K and Todd Hollandsworth for $900 K. Otherwise, there are no changes except that the 'Arbitration Eligible' category was re-titled 'Offered Arbitration.' The list still includes Barrett Patterson, Farnsworth, (who have since signed) Ramirez, and Zambrano.

The rest of the 'ShortStops' spread on pages 4 and 5 have several useful nuggets of info.

  • There are a few paragraphs about a time when Herman Franks let a few sportswriters set the starting lineup one day in 1979.
  • "The Cubs have hired Ed Halbur as their assistant athletic trainer. Previously, Halbur was the trainer at the Cubs' Class-AAA affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa."
  • The headline reads "12 invited to camp" for Spring Training: Adam Greenberg, Casey Kopitzke, Jose Reyes, Raul Valdez, and Jermaine Van Buren from the minors. Danny Klassen, Eddie Oropesa, Chad Fox, Peter Bergeron, Angel Echevarria, and Rene Reyes are minor league free agents. Jimmy Anderson and Calvin Murray are also invited... OK, count the names. That would be thirteen.
  • If your child is born at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, or Illinois Masonic Hospital in 2005, they will get a newborn Cubs cap courtesy of the Cubs. The Cubs think they will add 13,000 Cubs fans this year.
  • Official word that the names won't be on the back of the Cubs home uniforms in 2005.
  • Chuck Wasserstrom, the Cubs former media relations guy is the club's new 'stat guru' ala Bill James.
  • 572,705 tickets were sold on Feb 27, 2004... the most ever in a single day.

The Letters to the editor section informs us that the Cubs had seven consecutive weather related postponements in 1935. There is also a great picture of a little kid, Lane Hanzel, with his horse. Both are completely decked out in Cubs gear. The horse, Bonnie, is even sporting a glove.

On page 9, Jim McArdle gives a brief history of the Cubs farm system, some well deserved praise for Oneri Fleita, and a rationale for how the top Cubs prospects were chosen for the 'Minor League Prospectus.'

Page 12-13 has a spread titled "Ryno" Gets in!. I read the article... there was absolutely nothing new in the article. Completely rehashed.

Page 16-17 is 'The Spotlight' spread. This month's player under the beam is Jason Dubois. Not only do we learn that his name is correctly pronounced do-BOYCE, but we also learn that he is from Baltimore and grew up admiring Cal Ripken Jr. He likes to play golf, and he played in Comiskey Park when he was 14 for a youth league tournament. Otherwise, there are a few boyhood pictures and a paragraph about his brother Kyle who pitches for Old Dominion. Furthermore, we find out that Dubois was drafted in the 14th round by the Cubs. This fact is turned into its own article, which among other things lists numerous other late round picks who went on to successful careers. The list includes Mark Grace, Mike Piazza, Ryne Sandberg, Kenny Lofton, Richie Sexson, and Paul LoDuca.

In this month's edition of 'The Inside Pitch,' Bruce Levine and Joel Bierig drop some numbers which I have been interested in for a while. An excerpt:

Excerpt from: "The dog days for Hendry, GM remains patient as hot-stove action plays itself out."
by: Bruce Levine and Joel Bierig
Vine Line Magazine, February 2005, Vol. 20, No. 2

"Sources say the board will net $5 million in new revenue this year. Because Wrigley is the majors' only ballpark without a wide-screen electronic video board, advertising dollars are lost. (The Red Sox, with a similar plant dating to 1912, reap $25 million in ad sales from their video board.)

The Cubs plan to add 1,800 new bleacher seats by 2006 or '07, pushing Wrigley Field's capacity up from 39,547 to between 41,000 and 42,000. With the average ticket price at $30 and the average per capita another $30 (money spent on ancillary items such as food and merchandise), the Cubs could realize another $10 million to $12 million annually from the new seating.

Revenue from local TV and radio advertising for Cubs games is at an all-time high. Moreover, sources said Comcast Cable will pay the Cubs in excess of $20 million for a 75-game package - $5 million more than they received last year from Fox Sports."

The Centerspread this month is an ode to Ryno titled 'Class Act' that is pretty light on info. Its got pictures of a bunch of Ryno's baseball cards, the nine gold gloves in a row, some historic dates in Ryno's career, and his places on various leaderboards.

Other than the second installment of the 'Fade to black series' (which wasn't very good), the rest of the magazine is the minor league prospectus with short blurbs on interesting prospects from the minors. I might give this section its own post later this month, but you ought to go get the magazine if you can.

More Vine-Line Tid-bits Please!

Posted by Byron at February 1, 2005 8:37 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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