Re-discovering the odd name on one of baseball's most famous lists.
As you've no doubt seen by now, the Brewers' Ryan Braun had three homers and a triple last night at Petco Park, piling up 15 total bases in the game. His triple was a gapper to right-center that wasn't especially close to going out of the park. In his first at-bat, he flew out to medium center field on a well-struck ball. It was a career night for the reigning MVP. His first three-homer game was also the first at Petco.
There are a lot of differences between the two parks in Chicago, especially for those trying to cover games.
CHICAGO -- In order to pick up a few extra bucks, I cover games for outlets like MLB.com and the Associated Press, in addition to representing Baseball Prospectus at the ballpark. Sunday was one of those days, and when I'm doubled up, I'll have to post my ITP entry before postgame access begins. If you want to read my words on the actual game, just pull up the write-up from ESPN or a billion other places. That's me, even if stringers don't get bylines.
White Sox unveil their new manager for his first home opener, Jim Leyland isn't saying much but Kenny Williams is, and something is askew around home plate.
CHICAGO -- Friday marked Robin Ventura's first home game in uniform as a member of the White Sox since Sept. 20, 1998. He was asked if he remembered his last game at then-Comiskey Park. He didn't. But of course, we can look it up. He went 1 for 3 with a walk against the Red Sox, batting behind Frank Thomas and Albert Belle.
On teaching patience, a nice old lady and a hilarious inning to a near-gem.
CHICAGO—One-four-four-five-four-one. No, that's not a Tommy Tutone update, it's the game-by-game run totals for the Cubs in their first six outings of the season. They broke out with eight runs off Milwaukee ace Zack Greinke on Thursday, but questions still abound about Chicago's offense.
Is the Nationals' great right-handed hope Stephen Strasburg really limited to 160 innings this season? To find out, BP goes straight to the source.
It’s Opening Day at the Friendly Confines, and another six-month party is on in Wrigleyville. Bill Murray is on hand to throw out the first pitch, but he's an improv guy, so he instead lights out around the bases and slides theatrically into home plate while flipping the ball to Kerry Wood. Beer, brats, and celebrities hamming it up—another Cubs season is here.
One guy is all business. Washington wunderkind Stephen Strasburg is getting ready for his first season opener at the big-league level. It’s been a long time coming. If you want to see a concrete sign that the Nationals have turned the corner as a franchise, there it is toeing the rubber on the mound at Wrigley Field, six-foot-four, a right arm like Zeus, only with a wider repertoire and better command.
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Baseball has a way of turning the routine into something unforgettable.
CHICAGO | On a perfect summer Saturday afternoon in July of 1995, my girlfriend and I were walking down Clark Street about an hour before a Cubs-Phillies game with no plans to actually go inside the park. We hadn't planned ahead and figured we'd have to pay scalper's rates, so we were just out strolling around the Wrigleyville neighborhood, which we lived in at the time.
News and notes from Sunday's Nationals-Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO | The Nationals have a pair of projected regulars rehabbing at Double-A Harrisburg in Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel. With both expected to return within the next week or so, Washington has some roster decisions lying ahead.
If you can figure out Davey Johnson's bullpen philosophy, you're smarter than I am.
Yes, there is a big yellow tube that says, "You know you love it" on it, located in front of the new Cubs-owned merchandise mart. That's what the club has done with the southern part of the McDonald's lot across Clark Street from Wrigley Field. The Ricketts family purchased the property over the winter and pledged to do great things with it. If that means getting rid of that infernal McDonald's, I'll consider it progress.
Some news and notes from Opening Day at Wrigley Field.
Newness is the theme of every Opening Day, and this year is no exception at Wrigley Field. This is my third opener at the Friendly Confines. Two years ago was memorable because it marked the beginning of the Cubs' era as wards of the Ricketts family. Thomas J. Ricketts was the face of the franchise from that day until last fall, when he hired Theo Epstein away from the Red Sox.
Adam Dunn's 2011 season was painful to follow first hand, but there are a few reasons for hope.
"He spent hours fretting whether to ask for help or wait it out. Some day the slump was bound to go, but when? Not that he was ashamed to ask for help but once you had come this far you felt you had learned the game and could afford to give out with the advice instead of being forced to ask for it. He was, as they say, established and it was like breaking up the establishment to go around panhandling an earful. Like making a new beginning and he was sick up to here of new beginnings. But as he continued to whiff he felt a little panicky. In the end he sought out Red Blow, drew him out to center field and asked in an embarrassed voice, 'Red, what is the matter with me that I am not hitting them?'"
We all know wins aren't a good way to judge pitchers, but we'd miss them if they went away.
"My choice for the front-runner is Welch, but I know a lot of people say Clemens. I know what Clemens has done for Boston, but now is not the time to change the rules. The guys who won it the last three years won the most games and had good stats. If Bob Welch continues to win at this pace, and he doesn't get it, something is terribly wrong with the judging." | A's pitcher Dave Stewart, in a 1990 Sports Illustrated story on that season's Cy Young voting
Bob Welch had just won his 20th game when his Oakland teammate was asked about the voting, and it was just Aug. 17. It was his 13th season and the first and last time that the 33-year-old Welch would win 20 games.
The Cubs finished fifth last season, and the White Sox finished third, but the moods of their respective fan bases don't mirror their showings in the standings
You don’t really meet a serious baseball fan, native to Chicago, who roots for both the White Sox and the Cubs.
This is the only two-team town in which I’ve resided, so I don’t know if there is a similar divergence in New York, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area. I have a Chicago friend who is a transplanted New Yorker—he loves the Mets but absolutely despises the Yankees and everything Derek Jeter stands for. (Winning?) My own mother lives in central Missouri and roots for both the Cardinals and Royals, which might not be quite the same thing but shows a certain generosity of spirit. Undoubtedly there are many in Chicago who root for both teams, who grew up in some neutral suburb or West side neighborhood and just like their baseball however they can get it. Those people, assuming they exist, are a decidedly silent minority.