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Victory over Milwaukee

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

These are the games you're not supposed to win. When the offense only musters four hits and two runs against the Brewers, but you hoist the win flag nonetheless, something has broken in your favor. Boxscore

Kudos to Carlos Zambrano who continues his rollercoaster season with an 8 inning shutout. He allowed only three hits and three walks while blanking the Brew Crew.

Kudos II: to Derrek Lee. He hit his 23rd home run of the year during the game. He's also within 60,000 votes of Albert Pujols in the all-star game. Voting ends at midnight eastern on June 30th. 2,400 * 25 votes = 60,000. So, if we could just get an extra 2400 Cubs fans to do their bit for D-Lee, we can still get him a starting spot in the All-Star Game.

Kudos III: to Jerry Hairston Jr, something I haven't done much this season. Hairston picked up just his 8th RBI of the season (in 175 AB) with a second inning single. Way to go Jerry.

Now go vote for the All-Star starting lineups. I just ask that you keep my guys D-Lee and A-Ram in mind.


Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 311: Ho Ho Kam park, the Cubs spring training complex opened in 1997. It has a seating capacity of 12,575 – 8,000 fixed seats, 2,000 bleacher seats, and room for 2,575 fans on the outfield lawn.

Cubs Spring Training Attendance
1997: 16 dates — 157,066
1998: 16 dates — 134,329
1999: 15 dates — 171,681
2000: 13 dates — 137,008
2001: 15 dates — 142,049
2002: 16 dates — 154,619
2003: 15 dates — 134,096
2004: 15 dates — 176,854

Update 6/29/05: The title was changed from Victory in Milwaukee to Victory over Milwaukee.

Posted by Byron at 11:14 PM | Comments (2) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

All-Star Voting: No Statistics Edition

Monday, June 27, 2005

Before I begin this, I have had a reader request Mark Prior's calf size. If anyone knows how big Prior's calves are, could you shoot me an email (byron@thecubdom.com)?

With only three days left before all-star voting is closed, I decided to wrap up my all-star voting series with a non-stats edition. I didn't look at any stats before voting, I just picked my favorite players, or guys who I know are having outstanding years. As a result, I chose not to vote for a few positions.

Position American League National League
First Base NO VOTE Derrek Lee, CHC
Second Base Brian Roberts, BAL Luis Castillo, FLA
Third Base Alex Rodriguez, NYY Aramis Ramirez, CHI
Shortstop Miguel Tejada, BAL Cezar Izturis, LAD
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, DET Michael Barrett, CHI
Outfielder Ichiro!, SEA Juan Pierre, FLA
Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, ANA Miguel Cabrera, FLA
Outfielder NO VOTE Jeromy Burnitz, CHI
Designated Hitter NO VOTE Our pitchers hit

You too can vote for the All-Star starting lineups. I just ask that you keep my man D-Lee in mind.

It appears that I have a weakness for speedy guys on the Marlins. I guess that 2003 NLCS has scarred me for life.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 253-254: The Cubs have reached the World Series 10 times. They have played the Tigers 4 times (1907, 1908, 1935, and 1945). They have faced the Yankees (1932, 1938) and the Athletics (Philadelphia) (1910, 1929) twice apiece, and the White Sox (1906) and the Red Sox (1918) once. The Cubs defeated the Tigers twice (1907 and 1908) but have lost their other eight attempts.

Posted by Byron at 5:00 PM | Comments (4) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

The Force of a Fastball

Saturday, June 25, 2005

If any one ever tells you there is no reason to suppress a memory, I ask you to kindly consider yesterday's ballgame. I'm working hard to forget it, but when the final score is 12-2, and you're on the losing end... thats pain. Well, at least Jason Dubois hit a homerun.

Speaking of pain, I call your attention to the top of the ninth inning. Luiz Vizcaino was pitching and he threw a 94 MPH fastball that barely ticked off AJ Pierzynski's glove and hit home plate umpire Greg Gibson in the face mask. Gibson fell to the ground and got up about three seconds later looking like he thought he was in Never-Never-Land.

The trainers brought out salts to help him wake up, but it took several minutes before he was apparently able to gain his wits. Admirably, he stayed in the game and finished up the last half inning.

When I saw the play, I immediately asked myself: How fast was that ball thrown? (94 MPH) and What must that feel like?

Deciding not to imitate Happy Gilmore, I've decided to call upon my physics class I took a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

Velocity = Acceletation * Time
Kinetic Energy = 1/2 * Mass * Velocity^2

A standard baseball, according to the rule book is supposed to weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces (or 142-149 grams.) LINK. For our purposes, I'll assume the fastball yesterday weighed 145 grams (5.125 Ounces).

A 94 MPH fastball is traveling at 42 meters/second.

KE = .5 * M * V^2
KE = .5 * .145 * 42^2 = 127.9 Joules (Units of Energy).

For Comparison, say you had a 20 pound barbell (9.07 kg) and you held it 57 inches above your foot (4'9" or 1.473 M), and then you dropped it. It would take .55 seconds to hit your foot (using acceleration due to gravity of 9.81 m/s^2), and would be travelling at 5.33 Meters per Second (11.93 MPH). Going back to our equation, we get:

KE = .5 * M * V^2
KE = .5 * 9.07 * 5.36^2 = 128.8 Joules (Units of Energy).

So, we could say that getting hit by a 94 MPH fastball is comparable to dropping a 20 pound barbell on your foot from 57 inches. Ouch.

Thus endeth the physics lesson. Disclaimer I am ignorant of a great many things in physics, probably didn't get the equations/math/concepts correct. Please excuse my shortcomings and feel free to be overly zealous in the comments pointing out where I screwed up.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 84: "Any game scheduled to start after 5 p.m. is considered a night game. If a game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and is delayed by rain or for any other reason, it is considered a day game. If a game is scheduled to start at 5:01 p.m., it is considered a night game."

Posted by Byron at 1:30 PM | Comments (4) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Surveying the Baseball Landscape

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Cubs are "on the road" this afternoon playing the team with the best record in baseball. I'm sure this is the lede in virtually every other Cubs/Sox story today, but seeing as I haven't read any of them, its pretty original don't you think?

Despite the fact that our natural rivals, the White Sox, are one of the best teams in baseball, the Cubs players at least get the advantage of sleeping in their own beds. This isn't true for most of the teams, like the Cardinals, who get softer natural rivals (the Royals in this case), but still have to travel.

Having never traveled like a pro ball player, I don't know if this makes much of a difference, but the announcers seem to think it does. So, perhaps there is some silver lining in playing across the city, rather than across the state, or across time zones.

Since I've been a basketcase this past week and have only loosely followed the Cubs games, while ignoring the rest of the league, I figured it would be a good opportunity to survey the baseball landscape.

If the playoffs were today:
The Orioles, White Sox, Angels, Nationals, Cardinals, and Padres would win their divisions. The Phillies and Red Sox would join as the wild-card entrants. The first round matchups would be as follows:
White Sox vs. Red Sox
Angels vs. Orioles
Cardinals vs. Phillies
Padres vs. Nationals

Prognostications: We're sneaking up on half-way through the season, but I wouldn't be suprised to see Baltimore, Washington, and the Phillies lose their playoff spots. I believe the Twins, Braves, and Cubs will fill out the playoff picture... but that is why we play the games.

In the NL East, the Nationals went on an extended winning streak and managed to put a few games (3.5) between them and the rest of the division. However, the four remaining teams are within 3.5 games of each other, and only the Mets who are 2 games below .500 are below the breakeven point.

In the NL Central, the Cardinals and Cubs are the only teams over .500, with the Cubs barely making that mark (36-35). The rest of the division is well below .500, and it looks like the NL Central is probably the weakest division in baseball.

The NL West looks like a lot of teams that didn't play as well during the first half as they might have expected. If Barry Bonds comes back, or the Dodgers make a good mid-season trade, there is hope for both the Dodgers and Giants, but their prospects are bleak.

The AL East has the closest race in baseball as the Red Sox have started playing well again, and are only half a game behind the Orioles. The Yankees have their heads two games above water... largely due to sweeping the Cubs this past weekend. However, the Yanks seem to have too many players performing below expectations. However, you can never rule out the Yankees because of their willingness to spend, and the star power they already have on their roster.

The AL Central appears to be a closed book. The White Sox are 27 games above .500 with a 9.5 game lead in the division. Sure, things happen in baseball... but not typically. The Twins are a good team however and are playing well enough to be 1.5 games out in the Wild Card race.

Finally, the AL West race is pretty much over unless Texas picks up a few studs at the trading deadline. They're going to be hard pressed to catch the Angels who have a 3.5 game lead, and a lot more talent.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 108: Entering the 2005 season, Greg Maddux has started 604 big-league games. He has lasted at least
6 innings 496 times (82%)
7 innings 371 times (61%)
8 innings 203 times (33%)
and has 104 complete games (17%)

He has issued 2 or fewer walks 484 times (80%) and no walks 180 times (30%).

Posted by Byron at 2:47 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs @ Brewers, June 20-23

Thursday, June 23, 2005

June 23, 2005 Record: 36-35, Box Miller Park - Milwaukee, WI
Reg #71 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 7
Milwaukee Brewers 8


June 22, 2005 Record: 36-34, Box Miller Park - Milwaukee, WI
Reg #70 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 4
Milwaukee Brewers 9


June 21, 2005 Record: 36-33, Box Miller Park - Milwaukee, WI
Reg #69 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 4
Milwaukee Brewers 2


June 20, 2005 Record: 35-33, Box Miller Park - Milwaukee, WI
Reg #68 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 5
Milwaukee Brewers 4
Posted by Byron at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs @ Yankees, June 17-19

Sunday, June 19, 2005

June 19, 2005 Record: 34-33, Box Yankee Stadium - New York, NY
Reg #67 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 3
New York Yankees 6


June 18, 2005 Record: 34-32, Box Yankee Stadium - New York, NY
Reg #66 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 1
New York Yankees 8


June 17, 2005 Record: 34-31, Box Yankee Stadium - New York, NY
Reg #65 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 6
New York Yankees 9
Posted by Byron at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Presented without comment

Thursday, June 16, 2005

This table shows the Cubs' offensive production from the three outfield positions.

Position
R
H
2B
HR
TB
RBI
BB
SO
SB
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS
36
68
9
10
107
22
15
57
10
.261
.303
.410
.713
Left
21
60
19
6
99
35
18
65
2
.252
.309
.416
.725
Right
39
72
16
11
125
40
20
45
3
.283
.335
.492
.827
Posted by Byron at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

What comes around goes around

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

You can see the series in review flags below, and I'll mention the 15-5 score in the loss today... but that is it.

Mr. Predictable, Greg Maddux, has suddenly become less predictable... leading to speculation about Greg Maddux' house party with Henry Blanco and Sergio Mitre. Frankly, I'm sure Die-Hard Cubs Fun could contact their sources and get us some pictures.

In other news: One of my papers was linked to by Baseball Prospectus today. I was thrilled. The paper is a Cubs Case Study that takes a look at the Cubs lobbying efforts prior to the 2004 season. If you've never wandered to the back-pages on my site, I strongly encourage you to. There's tons of interesting stuff on the non-blog portion of my site. Speaking of which, the Attend-O-Meter has been updated.

Now that the Marlins are out of town, let us not speak of this series again... so we'll start looking forward to the Yankees series that starts in New York on Friday. I'm guessing the Cubs haven't been to Yankee stadium since the 1930's.

The Blog of my enemy is my compatriot
Bronx Banter
Futility Infielder
Pinstripe Alley
Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
United States of Baseball

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 237: Hee Seop Choi is the only Cubs rookie to ever win the "Rookie of the Month" award. He did so in April 2003. However, several Cubs have won "Rookie of the Year" awards
Billy Williams — 1961
Ken Hubbs — 1962
Jerome Walton — 1989
Kerry Wood — 1998

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Cubs vs. Marlins, June 13-15

June 15, 2005 Record: 34-30, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #64 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 5
Florida Marlins 15


June 14, 2005 Record: 34-29, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #62 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 14
Florida Marlins 0


June 13, 2005 Record: 33-29, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #62 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 1
Florida Marlins 9
Posted by Byron at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Way to Go - Sergio!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So, I'm intermittently checking the gamecast every 10 minutes... and each time I check it, the Cubs have tacked on a few more runs.

It is currently 14-0 heading into the top of the ninth, and I'm going to predict a Cubs win! Woo!.

Well, since the Cubs are winning and its difficult to moan and groan about things when you've up by two touchdowns, I wanted to point you towards a few things.

First, I've been updating and adding some entries to the Cubs Calendar, and while doing so noticed that the Cubs will be 'celebrating' the 41st anniversary of the Lou Brock trade tomorrow.

Also of note, Beyond the Boxscore has an interesting article discussing Derrek Lee's chances of winning a triple crown. Check it out.

Sergio Mitre is the man! The game is over and Mitre has completed the game allowing no runs, five hits, no walks, and striking out three. Methinks Mitre sees Kerry Wood and Mark Prior both rehabbing and has decided he'd better pitch like Orel Hershiser if he wants to stay in the bigs. Mitre's scoreless streak has now reached 16 IP, only 43.1 more innings to go!

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 208: "Cubs Switch Hitter Information" - Entering the 2005 season, the Cubs have employed 119 position-player switch-hitters in their history, including at least one every season since 1960. The club has had six switch-hitting position players in a season four times, most recently in 1978 (Tim Blackwell, Mike Gordon, Steve Ontiveros, Rodney Scott, Joe Wallis and Jerry White).

The first switch-hitting Cub was player/manager Bob Ferguson in 1878. Don Kessinger, meanwhile, holds the switch-hitting longevity mark for the Cubs at 12 years (1964-1975).

Posted by Byron at 9:43 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

MLB Road Trip: Quantifying the visiting fan

Monday, June 13, 2005

As you know, the Red Sox and their legions of fans showed up at Wrigley Field this weekend. Like Cubs fans, Red Sox fans are known for traveling with their team to support their favorite players in hostile territory.

Although I wasn't in attendance at any of the games, quotes from bloggers who attended were pretty similar to this one:

"Where on Earth did all these Red Sox fans come from? I know they won the World Series and all, but there were probably more of them at the Yard today than there are Cardinal fans when the Redbirds come up from St. Louis... These people must have been the ones buying all the tickets at premium prices that Cub fans wouldn't buy." — Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue

All this got me thinking about a method to quantitatively estimate the number of visiting fans at a ballgame. What I have come up with, I will call Marginal Road Fans. The method to find the number of Marginal Road Fans a visiting team brings with them is a rough estimate, but it starts by summing up the announced attendance for a road series against a particular 'home opponent', counting the number of games played, and determining the average attendance at that series. For an illustration, I'll use the Cubs (visiting team) road series against the Diamondbacks (home opponent).

  • The Cubs opened the season with three games in Arizona. The total attendance for that series was 102,588. Therefore, the series average was 34,196.

After finding the attendance for the road series, and any other visits your ball club made to the home opponent in question, you have to find out what the total attendance for the home opponent has been this year, and how many games they have played at home.

  • The Diamondbacks have drawn 830,859 in 32 home dates (through Saturday Night)

You then subtract the total attendance for the road series from the home opponent's total attendance and divide by the number of home dates minus the number of games the visiting team has played there. This will give you the average attendance at the home opponents stadium in games where your team was not playing.

  • (Total Attendance - Road Series) / (Home Games - # of Series Games)
    (830,859 - 102,588) / (32 - 3) = 25,113

Finally, you subtract the series average from the modified average to find the differential in the number of fans attending the series versus what would have otherwise been expected. Then, multiply the differential by the number of games in the series to find the total Marginal Road Fans.

  • 34,196 - 25,113 = 9,083 * 3 = 27,249

You can then interpret this to mean that when the Cubs played the Diamondbacks in April, 27,249 more fans came to watch the series than would have come if an 'average' (average is a composite of all the Diamondback's other home opponents) team had been playing.

Below are my results for both the Cubs and the Red Sox.

Cubs Road Attendance:

Home Opponent
Games Played
Total Attendance
Cubs Road Attendance
Non-Cubs Avg
Cubs Avg
Per Game Differential
Marginal Fans
D-backs
3
830,859
102,588
25,113
34,196
9,083
27,249
Pirates
5
694,550
125,298
21,894
25,060
3,166
15,830
Reds
2
770,241
50,722
23,210
25,361
2,151
4,302
Cardinals
2
1,267,970
90,974
40,586
45,487
4,901
9,802
Astros
3
959,464
120,861
32,254
40,287
8,033
24,099
Brewers
3
688,571
87,192
23,130
29,064
5,934
17,802
Nationals
3
976,833
123,517
30,475
41,172
10,697
32,091
Dodgers
3
1,527,049
135,569
44,886
45,190
304
912
Padres
4
1,052,121
155,762
33,198
38,941
5,743
22,972
TOTAL
28
 
992,483
 
36,084
5556
155059

Red Sox Road Attendance

Home Opponent
Games Played
Total Attendance
Red Sox Road Attendance
Non-Red Sox Avg
Red Sox Avg
Per game Differential
Marginal Fans
Yankees
6
1,356,284
330,274
44,609
55,046
10,437
62,622
Blue Jays
6
615,080
185,926
21,458
30,988
9,530
57,180
Orioles
2
920,466
76,897
29,088
38,449
9,361
18,722
Devil Rays
3
404,551
93,986
11,502
31,329
19,827
59,481
Rangers
3
896,088
137,389
29,181
45,796
16,615
49,845
Detroit
4
638,278
84,783
21,288
21,196
-92
-368
Seattle
3
977,697
136,908
32,338
45,636
13,298
39,894
Oakland
3
659,995
102,480
22,301
34,160
11,859
35,577
St. Louis
3
1,267,970
144,694
40,117
48,231
8,114
24,342
TOTAL
33
 
1,293,337
 
38,981
10994
347,295

As you can see, the Red Sox' Marginal Road Fans are nearly twice that of the Cubs. On an average road game, the Red Sox have played in front of 38,981, which is 10,994 fans more than would be expected if a league average team had come to play. (Similar in some respects to VORP).

The Cubs on the other hand have played in front of 36,084 fans during their average road game, but that is 'only' 5,556 more fans than would have been expected.


Weaknesses of the Marginal Road Fans Method

This method of determining the number of fans a road team brings with them is flawed in many ways. Two of the most obvious limitations are that the method does not account for the day of the week on which the series is played, and it does not take into account stadium capacity restraints.

Day of the Week: For most baseball teams, there is a significant difference in the number of fans which attend during the week, and those that attend on the weekends. Therefore, if a series is played during the middle of the week, when home attendance is down by 5,000, then the road team would have to have 5,000 marginal road fans before actually registering any in our count. However, this deficiency can be dismissed if road games were evenly distributed among the days of the week, and all home teams had the same difference between weekend and weekday fans. Of course though, this isn't the case. But, the alternative of trying to use the day of the week extends already tedious calculations into a nightmare, and virtually ensures small sample sizes that distort the method.

Capacity Limitations: The capacity of a stadium tends to distort the Marginal Road Fans attendance method. When the attendance capacity is reached, rather than increasing the number of tickets sold, ticket prices increase. A perfect example of this is the recently concluded Cubs vs. Red Sox series. When Red Sox nation descended upon Wrigley (which has been filled to 97.6% capacity this year), the number in attendance didn't increase so much as the Red Sox fans paid increased prices to purchase seats from Cubs fans.

  • The 3 game series had an announced attendance of 117,449, for an average of 39,149. The Cubs have averaged 38,635 for their other 29 games, creating a differential of 514 fans per game and 1,542 Marginal Road Fans over the three days.

Watching the games on TV, it was pretty obvious that there were plenty more than 1,542 more Red Sox fans than a typical visiting team would bring over a three game series. So, the common sense test is strained quite a bit... but I do believe that the Marginal Road Fans method is a great start to quantifying the number of road fans.

So, thats my theory, warts and all. I'd love to hear any comments and ideas on a better way to quantify road attendance.

Posted by Byron at 6:09 PM | Comments (9) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, Monday... its just that way

The good news is that this is the final Monday of my undergraduate career. Woo! The bad news is that the Cubs lost Sunday. I, with the rest of Cubdom, was hoping to post a picture of my Nimbus 2000 at the top of the series wrap-up post, but an 8-1 loss to the Red Sox finished off that hope.

Just some quick thoughts that are floating through my mind to start off the morning.

  • The Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley Field for three games this week. I'm concerned. The Cubs will be starting John Koronka, Sergio Mitre, and Greg Maddux. The Marlins will be starting Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett, and AJ Burnett. The only one of those matchups that could be conceivably viewed as favorable for the Cubs would be the Maddux vs. Burnett contest, and I'm not drinking that Kool-aid.
  • The Marlins are sandwiched between the Red Sox and Yankees series. Now, I'm sure this Cubs team is taking it one-day-at-a-time, but I'm guessing the media may overlook the Fish. Here's hoping the Baby Bears remember they are supposed to eat the fish.
  • I don't think this is the case, but I would not be suprised if Saturday was the high-water mark for this team. Again, I don't think it will happen... but in case of a "June swoon" we hit +6 this weekend.
  • The Blog of my enemy is my compatriot: FishStripes
  • Hee Seop Choi, 6 home runs this weekend, 3 on Sunday. Derrek Lee, MVP.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 215-216: Because of the timing of his Cubs career, and its longevity, Steve Trachsel led the Cubs in several pitching categories for the 1990s.
Victories: 60
Games Started: 186
Innings Pitched: 1146.1
Strikeouts: 829

Posted by Byron at 7:00 AM | Comments (1) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs vs. Red Sox, June 10-12

Sunday, June 12, 2005

June 12, 2005 Record: 33-28, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #61 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 1
Boston Red Sox 8


June 11, 2005 Record: 33-27, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #60 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 7
Boston Red Sox 6


June 10, 2005 Record: 32-27, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #59 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 14
Boston Red Sox 6
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O-meters Updated

A long night at work gave me the chance to update the Attend-O-Meter and the Hey-Hey!-Holy-Cow!-Belted!- Outta-here!!!!-O-meter (Home Run-O-Meter)

Just the highlights:

  • The season attendance stands at 1,198,750 which puts the Cubs on pace for 3,093,548 fans in 2005.
  • The average attendance this year has been 38,669
  • The Cubs have hit 77 home runs this year.
  • The Cubs have hit 17 home runs in the sixth inning alone (22%)
  • Derrek Lee leads the team in home runs hit, 17, and the number of times on base when a home run was hit, 11.

I'm still working on the pitcher home run-o-meter, but I'd like to hear suggestions for the name.

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A win is a win

Saturday, June 11, 2005

This afternoon, the Cubs defeated the Red Sox for the second consecutive. As it turns out, most of the country was unable to watch the game because Fox decided that fans elsewhere were more interested in the Cardinals/Yankees or A's/Braves.

Fortunately for me, the Indianapolis affiliate aired the Cubs game and I was treated to a rollercoaster victory. In the first inning, Carlos Zambrano allowed a three run homer to Trot Nixon. In the second inning, Zambrano allowed a solo shot to Bill Mueller.

But then, in the bottom of the second, the Cubs offense started working its magic. Jeromy Burnitz, Aramis Ramirez, Todd Walker, Todd Hollandsworth, and Henry Blanco all singled in succession to score two runs and load the bases. Unfortunately, Zambrano grounded into a double play, scoring Walker. However, a quick Neifi Perez ground ball finished the inning.

In the fourth, Todd Walker tripled with one out and then scored on Todd Hollandsworth's ground out. This tied the game at 4. In the sixth, Walker reached on a single and scored two batters later on a Henry Blanco sac fly.

In the eighth, Jeromy Burnitz singled to begin the inning and then scored on an Aramis Ramirez double. Ramirez then scored when Todd Hollandsworth singled him in.

Going into the top of the ninth, the Cubs had a 7-4 lead and Ryan Dempster came in to get the save. He was shaky... very shaky. He gave up doubles to John Olerud and Manny Ramirez, a single to Edgar Renteria, and threw in a wild pitch for good measure. Although he allowed two runs and had Manny Ramirez standing on second, Dempster got the save when he induced a Trot Nixon pop-up.

The game was a nail-biter and included Zambrano leaving the game after five innings. He hurt himself trying to break up a double play by sliding hard into second. However, according to Cubs.com, he has had his foot examined and will not miss his next start.

In other news, also on Cubs.com, Kerry Wood will be pitching in Iowa on Monday, and Mark Prior has graduated from the towel drill to actually throwing off a mound.

So, as I wrote in an email to a Cardinals blogger today:

"I am looking forward to the second half, because this team is starting to get me excited. I think we're better than we thought!"


Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 260: Frank M. 'Wildfire' Schulte holds many of the Cubs all-time postseason records, including:
Most Games: 21 (tied with 4 others)
Most Games Started: 21 (tied with 3 others)
Most At-Bats: 81
Most Hits: 26
Most Total Bases: 34
Most Singles: 19
Most Doubles: 6 (tied with Jimmy Sheckard)
Most Extra Base Hits: 7 (tied with Ryne Sandberg)

Posted by Byron at 8:08 PM | Comments (1) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Chicks dig the Long Ball

Friday, June 10, 2005

Seven Home Runs! Today was a wild one at Wrigley as the Cubs defeated the Boston Red Sox 14-6 (Boxscore) in the Red Sox first visit to Wrigley field.

The score should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the game, but to give you a more complete understanding, I'll post five facts.

  • #1: Greg Maddux hit a home run, his first since 1999.
  • #2: Greg Maddux pitched 6.2 innings, notching victory #310.
  • #3: Bronson Arroyo recorded 12 outs, it took him 97 pitches to do so.
  • #4: The Cubs had 20 hits, 10 were for extra bases, including 4 home runs.
  • #5: The Red Sox bullpen allowed seven runs in four innings.

The four Cubs home runs bring their team total to 77, tops in the National League. They have had 42 solo shots, 22 two run homers, 13 three run blasts, and no grand slams.

In contrast, the pitching staff has allowed 61 home runs, which is right in the middle of the NL. The Florida Marlins staff had only allowed 30 home runs entering play today.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 217: Ken Holtzman holds the Cubs' single season record for wins without a loss. In 1967, Holtzman, a southpaw, started 12 games and went 9-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 92.2 IP.

The record for most wins without a loss by a righthander belongs to Mike Harkey. Harkey, who was drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 1987 draft went 4-0 in 1992. He was plagued by injuries in his disappointing career with the Cubs, but for seven starts between DL visits in '92, Harkey never lost a decision.

Posted by Byron at 9:43 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Plugs

Man Alive! I have no creative energy. I've been having a hard time coming up with original ideas for posts around here. For that I apologize, but the show must go on.

So, I figured I would go with a disjointed stream of consciousness post:

Joe Aiello of View From the Bleachers went to see the Diamond Jaxx, if you haven't seen it yet, go check it out.

Alex Ciepley writes something that I can only describe as disturbing... but worth your time to see. Facial hair was never better analyzed. Its one of those things that could have only been published on a blog.

The Blog of My Enemy is my Compatriot: The big Red Sox series is starting today... and I'm already tired of thinking about all the media hubbub we're going to have to listen to. Here's hoping Len & Bob don't think they have to compete with ESPN for the most BS-in-a-telecast award. Anyhow, check out these Red Sox Blogs for a view from the enemy.

I normally stick to baseball, but Jay Mariotti and Jerry Reinsdorf are having a pissing match.

Excerpt from: Reinsdorf rips Mariotti's 'lies' in column
by: Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, June 8, 2005

"I could care less if Jay Mariotti doesn't like me if he tells the truth," Reinsdorf said. "If he wants to say I'm dumb, he's got a pretty good case he can make for that. But when he starts to lie, I find it very, very offensive."

Mariotti, reached late Wednesday, said he used information "provided by my newspaper" and said Reinsdorf will "be hearing from my lawyer."

Who would you hope wins that suit? Both guys have serious PR problems and are about as cuddly as a cactus. For my money though, I'll be rooting for the Chairman.

Finally, on my recent visit to Wrigley, I acquired my 2005 Chicago Cubs Media Guide. It sure is a shame that they are not available online. Anyhow, I'm going to attempt to include trivia nuggets with most of my posts for the rest of the season.

Chicago Cubs Media Guide Trivia Nugget of the Day:
Page 260: "The Late Show" - On April 30, 1998, the Cubs' Wrigley Field night affair against St. Louis did not begin until 9:17 p.m. due to a lengthy rain delay — the latest starting time in Wrigley Field history. The contest ended at 12:15 a.m. — on May 1.

Posted by Byron at 2:57 AM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Money Grubbing w\ Harry Potter

Thursday, June 9, 2005

This post is a commercial advertisement. Baseball coverage will resume soon.

Hello Loyal Readers!

I told my younger brother, whose birthday is July 17 that I would buy him the new Harry Potter book for his birthday, which will be released July 16.

The latest Harry Potter book is titled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It is #6 in the series, and the first five books have been fantastic.

If you are planning to purchase the book, but don't wish to wait in line for the midnight release, Amazon.com has promised July 16 delivery, or your money back! So, consider supporting The Cubdom and buying your Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book through me.

We'll now return to our regularly scheduled Cubs programming.

Posted by Byron at 2:30 PM | Comments (2) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs vs. Blue Jays, June 6 - 8

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

June 8, 2005 Record: 31-27, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #58 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 2
Toronto Blue Jays 0


June 7, 2005 Record: 30-27, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #57 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 4
Toronto Blue Jays 6


June 6, 2005 Record: 30-26, Box Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Reg #56 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 1
Toronto Blue Jays 4
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Bleacher visit #2: Am I bad luck?

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

I went to the game this evening with two of my brothers and my mom. We sat in the bleachers near Al Yellon's band of merry men. The weather was magnificent, if not a little warm. The wind was blowing out to left field, and the breeze was cool. In short, perfect baseball weather.

The game itself was a little disappointing. The Cubs only scored one run, and that came in the ninth inning on a solo shot by Aramis Ramirez. This was followed by a feable attempt to rally, but Miguel Batista closed the game without allowing another run to cross home plate.

On the Blue Jays' side, they scored early. After pushing across a run in the top of the first off John Koronka, they came back for a three run shot in the second. Although Koronka settled down after that (his primary problem was that he wasn't throwing strikes), the damage was done and the Cubs offense couldn't muster a comeback.

In the fifth inning, the Cubs gave the Blue Jays five outs as Aramis Ramirez and Jerry Hairston Jr. both committed errors (While fact checking, I noticed that Ramirez was not assessed an error, but he still should have made the play). However, to his credit, Koronka escaped without allowing a run to score.

In a hypothetical world where Mark Prior pitched tonight, I'm not sure if the Cubs would have won the game. But I certainly think they would have had a better shot. Once they were down by four runs, there wasn't too much fight left (especially after a GIDP in the second with the bases loaded.)

Well, having concluded my second trip to the bleachers in the last 11 days, I must report that I have witnessed two of the previous three Cubs losses. Furthermore, while I was present, Scott Lange's perfect streak at Wrigley ended. The following day, when Scott attended and I didn't, the Cubs won. With that in mind, Al and I have concluded that I might possibly be bad luck when sitting in the bleachers. It doesn't quite seem right, because I really do Bleed Cubbie Blue, but I think I'm done taking chances until at least September.

Posted by Byron at 2:22 AM | Comments (7) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs @ Padres, June 2 - 5

Sunday, June 5, 2005

June 5, 2005 Record: 30-25, Box Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Reg #55 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 4
San Diego Padres 0


June 4, 2005 Record: 29-25, Box Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Reg #54 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 11
San Diego Padres 5


June 3, 2005 Record: 28-25, Box Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Reg #53 Losing isn't Lovable Chicago Cubs 2
San Diego Padres 6


June 2, 2005 Record: 28-24, Box Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Reg #52 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 5
San Diego Padres 0
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Weekend Update, With Byron Clarke

I love weekend update on Saturday Night Live, even if it was a little off this year. Man, I miss Jimmy Fallon.

Well, I'm at the permahome for the second weekend in a row, and as I have discussed earlier, I feel completely removed from the broader world while I'm here. So, it should come as no suprise that I was unable to watch the game today. But, the Cubs won 4-0! This gave them one swell roadtrip out west, returning with a 6-1 record, and the lead in the wild-card race.

On Saturday night, I attended the Indianapolis Indians game at Victory field. As with my other visit, it was quite enjoyable. Although I made the mistake of paying for cheap tickets and then sitting in my seat, I rectified the error three innings later and enjoyed myself immensely mid-way down the third base line.

In the cheap seats, I was stuck next to many young families with kids who were annoying, didn't know baseball, and more interested in cotton candy than allowing me to enjoy or even see the game. In the pricier seats ($12 vs. $8) the kids were all a few years older, and knew things like strikeouts, walks, and outs.

In a completely freak occurence, I also ran into some of my sister's friends and sat with them for the last few innings. During that time, we started several chants (Let's Go Indy-ans... to the tune of Let's Go Cub-bies) and cheers. At one point we got the entire stadium doing the 'three claps and a rest' cheer and the scoreboard operator picked up on it.

So, it is with complete honesty that I tell you that I won the game for the Indianapolis Indians on Saturday night (wrap box log) by leading the fans in cheering, and spurring the team to victory... but Jose Leon helped me out with a walk-off three run homer to cap a comeback.

Otherwise, the defense on both sides of the ball was atrocious. There were five errors awarded throughout the night, and a half-dozen more plays that could be considered candidates. No one was too terribly impressive, although I noticed that Cesar Crespo looks a lot like Marcus Giles. Kirk Bullinger also pitched again, and picked up the win.

I should also mention that the Indians (Pittsburgh's AAA affiliate) were playing the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox AAA affiliate. I recognized many of the players because of their stints in Chicago, or previous trips to the big leagues. Of note, Ricky Gutierrez, and Roosevelt Brown were both playing for the Knights, as well as Jaime Burke, Ross Gload, and Joe Borchard.

Three at-bats were memorable for me. In the top of the sixth, Felix Martinez hit a ball 415 feet... which would have been a homerun in any spot in the ballpark except for where he hit it. The ball basically bounced off the 418 mark in left centerfield.

Half an inning later, Graham Koonce hit a ball 405 feet which really did bounce of the wall in the other odd angle in the ball park. Both of these blasts would have been home runs if they had been hit five feet to the left or right of where they were.

The third at-bat was of course Jose Leon, whose home run (425 ft) to left field, sent myself and 10,999 other fans home happy.

All in all, it was a good night at the minor league ballpark. Victory field is a great place to enjoy yourself, but its not exactly a hot-bed for radical (or even involved) fans... but I'll change that if I end up moving to Indy and becoming a season ticket holder.

Well, in Cubs News, Jon Koronka is pitching in tomorrow's game, which I will be attending. Here's hoping for a win!

Posted by Byron at 11:57 PM | Comments (2) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Speed Bump

Friday, June 3, 2005

I'm watching our hard won winning streak disappear, and I can't say I'm too suprised. A few notes:

  • I knew the winning streak was in serious jeopardy when Brian Giles scored in the fourth. He had reached first on a single, but advanced to second on a wild pitch. Over the last week, the Cubs were stranding those runners rather then letting them score.
  • I thought Dusty should have pulled Sergio Mitre one batter before he did. The bases were loaded and the previous five at-bats ended up negatively. Sergio had just thrown 8 of 9 pitches for balls... and it was clear he was done. I'm not criticizing Dusty here, just pointing out that I would have done it differently.
  • All of the singles getting through the hole between Aramis Ramirez and Neifi Perez reminds me of the first game against the White Sox a few weeks ago. In that game, the Sox singled us to death with ground balls through the left side.
  • Neifi! Perez has a 12 game hitting streak. Derrek Lee is mired in an 0-5 slump.
  • Todd Hollandsworth started for the second straight game today. While I'm a huge Dubois fan, this is the perfect series to get Holly some at bats. Dubois' main attractive quality is his power... Petco seems to mute that particular aspect of the game, and so I think its been a good two game decision. (That and the fact that Holly is hitting over .500 against Adam Eaton.) Anyhow, its time to get Dubois back in the lineup.
  • Forgot to mention this: If you'll notice the verb tense at the beginning of this post, I started writing before the game was over. The reason I did so was because I was spitting mad about Adam Eaton's triple. It wasn't the triple that bothered me as much as the following two things: 1. Todd Hollandsworth was lazy in throwing the ball back into the infield, thus turning a double into a triple. 2. Bob Brenly and Len Kasper failed to call him out on the play. Now I really like Len Kasper as a play-by-play guy (see this interview for a good reason why) and Bob Brenly is OK... but I really wished Stoney was in the booth because I know he would have said something.

Well, I'm heading back home again this weekend. Saturday night I'll be attending the Indianapolis Indians game and will post about that on Sunday. On Monday, I'll be back in the bleachers to watch the Cubs and Blue Jays while celebrating my younger brother's high school graduation.

Posted by Byron at 11:45 PM | Comments (1) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

D-Lightful-Lee

Thursday, June 2, 2005

I know this isn't news to anyone, but it ought to be documented again. D. Lee is D. Man!

In last night's game, Lee went 5 for 5 with 4 RBI's and 2 runs scored while belting a 3 run shot to put the game away. Nice night.

Tonight, Lee has made his fifth appearance and has reached base all five times. He's 3 for 3 with 2 walks.

D-LEE's stats Seven days ago:
.352/ .448/ .685/ 1.133 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)

Add One Exceptiona-Lee good week.
+.037/+.030/+.047/+0.077

Year to date:
.389/ .478/ .732/ 1.210

In short, UnbeLEEvable.

Props to Glendon

In all of the hoopla surrounding Derrek Lee and Neifi! Perez' seasons, one guy who hasn't gotten as much press as he deserves is Glendon Rusch.

Rusch just completed a nine inning shutout of the Padres, and has lowered his ERA to 1.96, the best on the Cubs starting staff. If he can keep it up, he ought to make the All-Star team. Just think, Neifi Perez and Glendon Rusch on an all-star team... and they're not their team's sole representatives... unbeLEEvable?


There is an absolutely wonderful article at Baseball Analysts on the Yankees strategy for signing free agents in 1976. Its long... but you won't spend a better 20 minutes the rest of your day.

Posted by Byron at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Cubs @ Dodgers, May 30 - June 1

Cubs Sweep the Dodgers in LA!
June 1, 2005 Record: 27-24, Box Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Reg #51 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 9
Los Angeles Dodgers 5


May 31, 2005 Record: 26-24, Box Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Reg #50 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 1


May 30, 2005 Record: 25-24, Box Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Reg #49 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Chicago Cubs 5
Los Angeles Dodgers 3
Posted by Byron at 11:10 PM | Comments (1) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

One-hitter, Cubs Win!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Oh Goodness! I just got finished watching the Cubs squeak out a 2-1 win in Los Angeles... and what a pitcher's duel it was. Carlos Zambrano pitched eight innings, allowed only one hit (a bloop double that Jason Dubois possibly could have caught) and one run. Although it took ten innings for the Cubs to score two, they picked up their 26th victory of the season.

So now, a few short observations before I call it a night.

Jason Dubois frustrated me tonight. He took some weird lines to a few balls, including, I think, Cezar Izturis' hit that fell in for the Dodgers in the third.

Izturis hit would have been meaningless had Hee Seop Choi not reached base on a dropped-third strike right before him.

The Cubs got jobbed on a few calls by the umpires tonight. In the fifth, Carlos Zambrano fouled a ball off his foot, but the umpires called it a fair ball. When Dusty Baker asked for an explanation, the umpire pointed to his ear... but didn't check the ball for blue shoe polish.

Later, in the seventh, Corey Patterson was ruled out on a stolen base attempt because of batter interference. On the 2-2 count, Patterson was stealing as Dubois struck out swinging. When the Dodgers' catcher Mike Rose double clutched, he fell into Dubois and was awarded an interference call... but I didn't think Dubois was out of place or that the catcher could have thrown out the runner after double clutching.

Of course, Dodger fans might point to some questionable strike calls against Jeff Kent in the seventh and ninth innings. In the seventh, Zambrano struck out Kent on a pitch that I initially thought was a ball (the replay showed it was a strike.) After an argument, Kent went back to the dugout. In the ninth, Kent was called out again on strikes by home plate umpire Ed Rapuano. This time, the ball was a good foot out of the strike zone. I'm guessing Kent earned himself that strikeout with whatever he said in the seventh.

I mentioned the Jason Dubois batter interference play. When Dusty came out to argue, he did so in his typical fashion of getting right up into the umpire's "personal space," but then not looking at him? I'd love to hear thoughts on why Baker doesn't look at an umpire when he starts talking about their Mommas.

Finally, I want to point you over to Goat Riders where I have posted a "You be the Manager" Scenario from today's game.

Update 1:08 P.M.
I also forgot to mention a few things. Neifi! Absolutely wonderful glovework tonight... and a game winning hit on the road.

In the ninth, I would have liked to see Derrek Lee attempt to steal second base, rather than having Jeromy Burnitz attempt to sacrifice bunt. I thought that decision cost the Cubs a run... which probably also cost Zambrano a win.

Wait... is that Mike Rose going out to the mound AGAIN to get the signs straight?

Posted by Byron at 12:24 AM | Comments (2) | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

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