It Is Still Baseball Season

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Hi everyone, my name is Joe and I’m a Cub fan. (everyone) Hi Joe.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

By now you are all familiar with the history. 107 years without a World Series championship. The black cat. The billy goat. (Which is an awesome Chicago tavern if you are ever in town)

Bartman. Poor kid. It wasn’t his fault. Get over it Cubs fans. The error on the double play ball by Alex Gonzalez opened the floodgates on that chilly October night. And Mark Prior’s weak mental makeup. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball Quarter-Pole Report

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Memorial Day is roughly the quarter pole of the Major League Baseball season, and along with July 4 and Labor Day, holidays that not only mark progress for your favorite team, but offer All-American encouragement to eat copious amounts of food and to drink until death. So assuming you haven’t taken the last suggestion literally, you can read here my observations of the first quarter of baseball season. Please keep in mind I am a Cub fan so therefore distracted with visions of Bryant and Lester leading fantastic post season charges, culminating with topless women in the streets of Chicago. I may not be completely objective.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

One overriding observation from the beginning of the season is that in the wake of the retirement of Derek Jeter, the game is in good hands of youngsters such as Mike Trout, Joc Pederson, Anthony Rizzo, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. It’s difficult for me to remember an era when such a plethora of young, accomplished star players has taken a toehold in the majors. Each of the names I mentioned is appointment viewing for fans. If you are more a fan of dominant pitching, Matt Harvey and a couple of his mound mates in New York should satisfy your appetite. Big free agent signees Max Scherzer and Jon Lester squared off yesterday at Wrigley with Scherzer getting the better of it. This time. Compelling matchups abound in baseball this year. Chris Sale of the White Sox faced off against reigning AL Cy Young winner Cory Kluber last week in one of the most fun and interesting pitching duels I’ve ever seen. Though the Indians lost 2-1, Kluber was dominant and left me to wonder, how the hell did he start the season 0-5 as he did? There hasn’t been a better time in recent history for baseball fans. Do yourself a favor and catch a few of these matchups. [Read more…]

Slow down. You move too fast. MLB wants to pick up the pace.

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

I understand the motivation behind MLB’s efforts to speed up games. Like everything else, it’s about money. The idea is to keep younger, ADD afflicted kids who need stimuli every second of every day in order to keep their attention. A younger fan base keeps the game fiscally healthy for generations to come.

speed-up-mlb

Here’s a thought…slow down. I’ve preached this before, and will continue to until someone listens. Baseball is a beautiful, nuanced game that requires appreciation. The poetic rhythm of a 6-4-3 double play, and the ability to notice the symmetry and the way each game and ballpark, while unique, are lost on most of today’s youth. [Read more…]

Jon Lester to Cubs with a Twist

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staffer & Chicago Guru

Prior to the big decision relative to baseball’s hot stove season; which team will “win” the Jon Lester sweepstakes, I have a reason other than making the Cubs an instant contender in a very winnable division for them to be interested in this year’s free agent diamond.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Teams have varying, often unique reasons for throwing truckloads of cash at that player that will move them from average to elite, or to help carry on a dynasty, a word I use loosely. A key bat in the middle of the lineup, a solid closer or a top of the line starter all are worthy reasons for expenditure of the filthiest kind in the world of Major League Baseball. [Read more…]

Top 10 MLB Players Set for a Breakout Season, National League Edition

By Andrew Voght
PSDC Contributor

The 2014 baseball season is full of story lines. Derek Jeter’s last stand. Can the Pirates and A’s repeat last year’s success? Will Tanaka be the next Yu Darvish or fizzle like Matsuzaka? The most interesting stories of each year is always who will break out and finally get there. For obvious reasons I left guys such as, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Joey Votto etc…off of this list.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

#10 Dee Gordon, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Gordon has the wow factor even in a star-studded lineup with the dodgers. The fastest guy, who can get on and make things happen is always due for a big year. Playing in only 38 games in 2013, Gordon compiled 22 hits, .314 on base percentage and 28 total bases. Sure it’s a small sample size and playing in triple a Vegas isn’t quality pitching, but think about his .314 OBP. If he can produce just a little more, you now have someone to set the tone in Los Angeles at the lead off spot. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Chicago Cubs

By Bobby Roberts
AmericasWhiteBoy.com

The Chicago Cubs are in the middle of a long-term rebuilding plan. They are building the team through the draft and their farm system is now one of the best in baseball. Many of those prospects are still a year away, so many Cubs fans are already looking ahead to the 2015 season.

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Expect the Cubs roster to looks drastically different by the end of the season. Jeff Samardzija may even be traded before the All-Star Break.

New manager Rick Renteria takes over a team of mostly cheap role players keeping seats warm until Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant are ready to appear in the Majors.

Can Starlin Castro regain his All-Star form? Will Anthony Rizzo make a leap forward and become a better all-around hitter?

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Chicago Cubs.

[Read more…]

2013 MLB Team Preview: Chicago Cubs

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mid-season call up Jorge Soler homers on the first pitch he sees in a Major League game to lead the Cubs to victory over the Cardinals, vaulting them into first place in the National League Central. They would not look back as the unlikely 2013 season comes to a close with the Cubs in the playoffs, completing the greatest worst to first comeback in history.

Wait! What? I was dreaming? Oh OK, maybe so, but this small scene in a quiet moment of reflection epitomizes Cubs President Theo Epstein’s vision for the ball club going forward. Young talent gleaned through shrewd trades and the draft have left the Cubs with about half of a Major League lineup and youngsters such as Soler, Javier Baez, (no relation to Joan) Albert Almora along with a plethora of left and right handed arms give Cubs fans hope. Not “lightning in a bottle” hope, but the foundation of a solid, top to bottom organization where everyone is on the same page. Why they are even considering auditioning folks before sticking them in the booth during the seventh inning stretch rather than having Jeff Gordon up there referring to Wrigley “Stadium.” And I still say the Ozzy Osbourne version of “Take me out to the ballgame” is the best ever.

[Read more…]