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’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

A Slice of Baseball History

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Excited as always about heading to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, I make the hour and a half journey via I-90. Cubs and Phillies. Arrieta vs. Hamels. The Cubs are in playoff contention, the Phils own baseball’s worst record. What could go wrong?

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Well, we all know how that worked out.

Having had a day or two to digest the historic game when soon-to-be ex-Philly Cole Hamels twirled the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax was perfect against them in September of 1965, two things are forefront in my mind. First, if my beloved Cubs are to lose a game that I go to, witnessing history is a pretty good consolation prize. Second, with Philadelphia still dangling Hamels, he came up with a hell of an audition. [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…]

Kris Bryant…For Those Paying Attention

By Joe Hines
PSDC Rock Star

Do you know what you do when the Blackhawks are getting outskated by the inferior Columbus Blue Jackets? If you are like me, your mind wanders to the Cubs, and more specifically, the often debated subject of whether the Cubs should break camp with Kris Bryant on the roster or send him down to AAA Iowa to start the 2015 season.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

As usual, I try to think outside the box a little and pay attention to what the principals are saying. Just play along with me while I lay out a case that I haven’t seen yet from anyone. Not national, not local. Just here. [Read more…]

Chicago Cubs Prospect Kris Bryant is on the Clock

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

One would think that after 107 years, 11 days wouldn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to explain why they do in the world of the Chicago Cubs and us fans of the moribund crew.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

You see, among many highly-touted prospects in the employ of the Chicago National League franchise, none comes with more promise than slugger Kris Bryant. Here is the reason those 11 days matter for Cubs Nation and for Bryant. During the course of a major league baseball season, there are 183 service days on average. If a player accrues 172 of those days in a season, you have a full year of service time in the eyes of MLB…171 and you don’t. The significance lies in the fact that six full years of service time gets a player to free agency, and ostensibly the huge contract that surely awaits for even the most mediocre player that is serviceable enough to have lasted six years. [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…]

From a Chicago Cub Fan: Dear Theo…

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Dear Theo, I bought into the plan when you arrived. I understood what you were trying to accomplish. Get rid of onerous contracts, i.e. Soriano, Ramirez along with others from the Jim Hendry era. You offloaded the contracts and began trading for prospects. You have turned my farm system into the envy of 31 other teams.

theo-epstein

Here is what I’ve seen this year so far. My team was bad, inexplicably bad to begin the season. I longed fondly for my son’s little league championship team. They knew fundamentals. They backed up each other and hit cutoff men. They choked up on the bat with two strikes to control the at bat better when it was the pitchers count. Fast forward to a month ago, the first of June roughly. My team began to resemble an actual professional baseball team. [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…]

Another Twist in the Chicago Cubs’ Future

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Occasionally something pops up and grabs my attention.

Here’s a snapshot into my day. I do a lot of work online, writing, applying for work. I have a monitor on with the sound down, which currently has the Cubs death spiraling to yet another defeat. I have the radio on tuned to my favorite sports talk station out of Chicago. I’ve been in and out all day, working on a column or two, trying to get back into the swing of regular writing.

During the course of my travels, I think I hear, though I’m not sure, that Joe Girardi, manager of the evil empire, is in line for the Cubs managing job for 2014. A Chicago Tribune baseball writer floated the leak, and the several writers and talkers that I listen to each day confirm that it’s more likely to happen than not. President Theo
Epstein, messiah in charge was asked the question at a news conference at Wrigley Field today and of course denied it. But, the thing that intrigues me is this; the Cubs offices are located about three buildings beyond iconic Waveland Avenue so why was Theo at the ballpark today? He is not there often, and the weather today isn’t exactly postcard worthy here in the Midwest. No Theo was there for a reason, and my antennae tell me it ain’t to catch up on the minor league season.

Joe-Girardi

Here is how it would play out according to my sources…Sveum would be freed of the last year of his contract, not a reach after watching the  last two years of pathetic baseball. The idea has always been for him to mind the club while Epstein, Jed Hoyer and company blew up the major league product and retooled from square one. Cutting fat payroll obligations, eating a bulk of the outstanding cash has trimmed the roster from overblown Soriano’s, then trading and drafting the future core, AKA Javier Baez, Alberto Almora and Kris Bryant as the centerpieces. [Read more…]