Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cubs busy as baseball's Winter meetings end; Anthony Rizzo, Kerry Wood and David DeJesus' fundraisers

The Winter baseball meetings have ended and there was some activity on the Cubs' part.  First off, the Northsiders signed right-handed Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a 2-year, $9.5 million contract.

Kyuji Fujikawa posed for photos at Wrigley Field after his signing was officially announced (photo from @Cubs on Twitter)
WGN-TV and the Cubs agreed to a four-year contract with Jim Deshaies to be their TV analyst, replacing Bob Brenly and joining Len Kasper in the broadcast booth.  You can find them on Twitter as @LenKasper and @LenandJ.  Deshaies is a former Houston Astros pitcher and was their TV analyst since 1997.

Jim Deshaies is welcomed to the Cubs and Wrigley Field by Len Kasper
The Cubs also signed right fielder Nate Schierholtz to a one-year, $2.25 million deal.  David DeJesus will move to play center field from right field.

Third baseman Ian Stewart re-signed a one-year, $2 million deal with $500,000 in incentives with the Cubs.  However, the money isn't guaranteed and Stewart can be released if he doesn't make the team in spring training.  Stewart tweeted, "Glad to be healthy and back with the Cubs. The support from the Cubs organization and the fans has been incredible. Thank you all so much" on December 6th.  Even former Cubs starter Paul Maholm tweeted, "Congrats on heading back with the cubbies. Good luck."

The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon from the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 Draft on December 6th.  Rondon was Cleveland’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009.  The Cubs also lost RHP Starling Peralta, OF Michael Burgess, IF Matt Cerda and RHP Alvido Jimenez.

Former Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training with the Texas Rangers last week.  Wells underwent elbow surgery in July 2012 and didn't seem appreciated by the Cubs' front office and management. 

Randy Wells is now part of the Texas Rangers (Reuters photo)
Former Cubs starter Ryan Dempster rejected a two-year, $25M offer from the Boston Red Sox, as well as two-year comparable deal from the Kansas City Royals.  Dempster is reportedly looking for a three-year deal, possibly with the Cubs or Milwaukee Brewers.  I personally would love to have Demp back on the team.

Ryan Dempster could return to the Cubs (Chicago Tribune photos)
Anthony Rizzo hosted his first 'Walk Off for Cancer' 5K today in his hometown of Parkland, Florida this morning. Over 800 people participated in the walk, including Rizzo, who is a cancer survivor.  Rizzo was diagnosed with limited state classical Hodgkins' lymphoma in April, 2008 while he was in the minor leagues in the Red Sox organization.  Rizzo was able to beat the cancer and is now trying to inspire and help others in their battles against the disease. 

Hall of famer and former Cub Andre Dawson was also on hand to show his support.  "Beating cancer and overcoming everything -- it's all hitting me right now," Rizzo said, pausing to collect himself.  "It's crazy -- I'm usually never like this."

Hall of famer and former Cub Andre Dawson was on hand to support Anthony Rizzo's 5K for cancer (photo from @Cubs on Twitter)
Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is part of the University of Miami health system, as well as Livestrong, which also helped Rizzo when he was fighting cancer.

Anthony Rizzo held a 5K in Parkland, Florida to help cancer patients (photo from
Although it's the offseason, Cubs players are gearing up for their upcoming fundraisers which will be held during the week just before the Cubs convention kicks off.

Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will host his second annual "Woody's Winter Warm-Up" at Harry Caray's Navy Pier on Friday, January 18th, 2013.  Cubs players and local celebrities will serve as bartenders throughout the night and proceeds will benefit the Wood Family Foundation.  The night will also feature opportunities to meet and mingle with Cubs players, a silent auction, premium open bar, dinner buffet, and a raffle, as well as a concert, for which details will be announced soon,

I was at their inaugural event in January 2012 and it was definitely worth attending, so I hope to see some of you there!  Tickets are limited and can be purchased at: 

David and Kim DeJesus will host the inaugural "Strike a Pose" fundraiser on January 17th, 2013 at the River East Arts Center.  Current and former Cubs players and their spouses will walk the runway and the show will feature fashion by 900 N. Michigan Shops.  There will also be a live auction and raffle, as well as heavy appetizers provided by some of Chicago's hottest restaurants, including Chicago q, RPM Italian, Bull and Bear, Shaw's and Glazed & Infused.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cubs and Wrigley Field are officially decked out for the holiday season; Cubs roster changes; Spring Training schedule released

The Cubs were busy kicking off the holiday season today at Wrigley Field.  The day started early as Cubs outfielder David DeJesus and his wife Kim were at the Friendly Confines for a live broadcast on WGN-TV's morning show to support the Toy Drive.  The toys collected at Wrigley Field will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.

The Tree Lighting ceremony took place at 5pm under the Wrigley Field marquee and had a good turnout, as I was there to join in the festivities.  David and Kim DeJesus helped light the tree, which was designed by Christy Webber Landscapes.  The funny thing is that Webber mentioned that she's actually a Sox fan (which Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts later joked that she "could have left out that piece of information").  Webber said the good part about her rooting for the Southsiders is that she won't be asking Ricketts for any Cubs tickets.  Haha.

Also present at the Tree Lighting was Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, Todd Ricketts (Cubs Board of Directors), Crane Kenney (President of Business Operations) and lots of Cubs personnel.  There was also complimentary hot chocolate and cookies for attendees, which was a nice touch!

After the tree lighting, the Cubs offered free skating at the Rink at Wrigley, as well as free popcorn and hot chocolate and coffee.  The rink is located in the Cubs’ parking lot at the corner of Clark and Waveland.  For skating fees and hours, visit

Below are some photos I took at the Tree Lighting ceremony:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts addresses the crowd at the Tree Lighting ceremony (photo by Karen Burchell)

The DeJesus family at the Tree Lighting ceremony at Wrigley Field (photo by Karen Burchell)

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Wrigley Field kicked off the holiday season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Before and after the Christmas tree lighting at Wrigley Field on Friday night (photo by Karen Burchell)
In other Cubs news, the team decided to non-tender third baseman Ian Stewart, who is now a free agent.  Stewart's 2012 season was cut short after only playing 55 games due to a wrist injury, which he ended up having surgery for.  There's still a chance the Cubs will still negotiate a new contract with Stewart, especially since there isn't an abundance of available third basemen both in and out of the Cubs organization.

The Cubs decided to non-tender third baseman Ian Stewart before Friday's deadline (Chicago Tribune photo)
Right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week in order to make room on the 40-man roster for recently acquired right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman, who came to the Cubs from the Texas Rangers and signed a one-year, $6 million deal and is expected to be a part of the 2013 starting rotation.  Coleman was assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa today.

The Cubs signed a one-year contract with right handed pitcher Scott Feldman (AP photo)
The Cubs also signed right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to a one-year, $5.5 million contract on November 13th.  Feldman and Baker will join Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood in the Cubs' rotation, even though GM Jed Hoyer says the team may not be finished shopping for starting pitchers yet.

The Cubs signed a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Scott Baker
The Cubs hired 25-year old Scott Harris as their new Director of Baseball Operations on Thursday.  Harris spent the last two years with Major League Baseball as the league’s Coordinator of Major League Operations.  Harris also interned for the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and the Washington Nationals in 2008. 

The Cubs released their spring training schedule earlier today, which includes 17 home dates at HoHoKam Park, 16 Cactus League road games and two games in Las Vegas against the Texas Rangers.  The Cubs will open their schedule on February 23 against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe, AZ and end it on March 28 against the Seattle Mariners.

Individual tickets for home games at HoHoKam Park can be purchased starting January 4th at or by calling 1-800-905-3315.  Below is the 2013 spring training schedule, with all games beginning at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted:

 Date  Opponent  Location
 Feb. 23  Los Angeles (AL)  Tempe
 Feb. 24  San Francisco  Mesa
 Feb. 25  Los Angeles (NL)  Glendale
 Feb. 26  Colorado  Mesa
 Feb. 27  Los Angeles (NL)  Mesa
 Feb. 28  Oakland  Mesa
 March 1  Arizona  Mesa
 March 2  San Francisco  Scottsdale
 March 3  Milwaukee (ss)  Mesa
 March 3  Los Angeles (AL/ss)  Tempe
 March 4  Cleveland  Mesa
 March 5  Colorado  Scottsdale (1:10 p.m.)
 March 6  Texas  Surprise
 March 7  White Sox  Mesa
 March 8  Cincinnati  Goodyear (7:05 p.m.)
 March 9  Cleveland  Mesa
 March 10  San Diego  Mesa
 March 11  Arizona  Scottsdale
 March 12  OFF DAY  
 March 13  Colorado  Mesa
 March 14  Los Angeles (NL)  Glendale
 March 15  White Sox  Glendale (12:05 p.m.)
 March 16  Kansas City (ss)  Mesa
 March 16  Texas (ss)  Las Vegas (game time TBD)
 March 17  Oakland (ss)  Phoenix
 March 17  Texas (ss)  Las Vegas (game time TBD)
 March 18  San Diego  Peoria
 March 19  Texas  Mesa
 March 20  OFF DAY  
 March 21  Seattle  Peoria
 March 22  Milwaukee  Maryvale
 March 23  Los Angeles (AL)  Mesa
 March 24  Cleveland  Goodyear
 March 25  San Francisco  Mesa
 March 26  Cincinnati  Mesa (7:05 p.m.)
 March 27  Kansas City  Surprise (6:05 p.m.)
 March 28  Seattle  Mesa (12:05 p.m.)

Hope everyone enjoys the unseasonable 'warmer' weather in Chicago this weekend, as there's sure to be more Cubs news next week!  And for those of you not in Chicago, hope you have a great weekend as well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cubs busy making changes during offseason; Wrigley Field updates

Even though it's the off-season, there's still plenty of Cubs news going on.

First off, congratulations to Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart and his wife Susan, who welcomed their second child, Mila Rose Stewart, into the world on November 8th.  Here are a couple of photos that Stewart shared through his Twitter account:

Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart and his newborn daughter, Mila Rose Stewart (photo from
Ian, Susan and Mila Stewart (photo from
Stewart appears to have recovered from wrist surgery earlier this season and the big question will be whether or not the Cubs will decide to keep him and see how he plays when he's healthy.

The Cubs acquired right handed pitcher Scott Baker, who comes to the North Side after spending seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.  He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and missed the 2012 season as a result.  Baker is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA, 770 strikeouts, 224 walks in 958 innings pitched over 163 appearances.  Baker's contract is for $5.5 million for one year and includes another $1.5 million in possible performance bonuses.

The Cubs recently  acquired RHP Scott Baker from the Twins (photo from
The Cubs hired PJ Mainville as their new head athletic trainer.  Mainville was the former Diamondbacks assistant athletic trainer, a position he held for two years.

The historic Wrigley Field scoreboard is being rehabbed.  Here's a photo from Doug Padilla on Twitter:

The Wrigley Field scoreboard is undergoing renovations (photo from )

If you enjoy ice skating, the Rink at Wrigley is being prepped for the season.  The rink will be open starting 11/23 through 3/3/13.  Here's a photo that Wayne Buckner posted today on Twitter:

The Rink at Wrigley is being prepped for winter (photo from )

The Cubs activated Matt Garza, Ian Stewart and Arodys Vizcaino from the 60 day disabled list.  The roster now stands at 37. 

Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro are in the running for the GIBBY Awards.  You can vote as many times as you want until Sunday, 12/2 at 10:59pm CT at

Former Cub Justin Germano was picked up as a free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays.  He tweeted on November 9th, "Excited for the new opportunity with and getting to play with my buddy ! Looking forward to Spring and the 2013 season!" 

If you enjoy my Cubby News blog, please "like" the Facebook page at:

You can also become a follower of my blog on the right hand side, if you scroll down a little.  Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for the latest Cubs news!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Join David and Kim DeJesus at Bite Nite on November 12th to benefit the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter and fight Lou Gehrig's disease

Cubs right fielder David DeJesus and his wife Kim will be hosting the inaugural Bite Nite this coming Monday, November 12, 2012 to help fight Lou Gehrig's disease.  The event will take place from 6:30-9:30pm at Kendall College at 900 N. Branch Street in Chicago.

From the event website:

Bite Nite is an evening of haute cuisine sponsored by The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter.  This extraordinary, inaugural chapter event will bring together ten of Chicago’s finest chefs who will showcase tasting-size portions of their exquisite culinary delights. 

The evening will feature a specialty vodka bar, along with a range of imbibements and refreshments. In addition, musical rhythms will be spun by DJ Opio and an exquisite selection of fine art, displayed for silent auction, is sure to please your visual senses. 

Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds will benefit the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, which supports research, advocacy, awareness, community and local care services for those affected by Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Darwin Barney wins the Gold Glove award

One of the brightest spots in a tough season this year for the Cubs was when the announcement came on Tuesday night that second baseman Darwin Barney won the NL Gold Glove award for his position.

Darwin Barney's 141-game errorless streak earned him the NL Gold Glove award at second base for 2012 (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Barney had an incredible season as he played in 141 error-free games and tied a Major League single-season record at second base, which had been set in 2007 by Placido Polanco.  Barney was just three outs away from setting a new record when he was charged with a throwing error in the eighth inning on September 28th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Barney is the first Cub to win a Gold Glove since first baseman Derrek Lee in 2007.  He is also the first to win a Gold Glove at second base since Hall of Fame member Ryne Sandberg, or as some like to call him, "Ryno," won his ninth and final Gold Glove in 1991.

Ryno and Barney are well acquainted, as Sandberg was Barney's manager in the Minor Leagues for three seasons and had a big part in working with and training Barney for second base, since he originally played shortstop.  

"I'm extremely thrilled," Barney said.  "It's something you came into the season working towards, but it's not something where I thought the results would be there as quickly as they were.  I'm extremely happy about it.  There's a lot of good competition.  I'm really surprised it ended up happening for me.  It's an exciting night for me."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "It goes without saying he's Gold Glove material.  I've been in the game 30 years, and I've never seen anyone play second base like [Barney] has."

Every Major League manager and up to six coaches on each staff helped determine the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glose Awards.  They chose from a pool of qualified players in their respective league and couldn't vote for players on their own team.

Even though Barney is thrilled about winning the award, he isn't letting it get to his head.  "From top to bottom, you have to continue to work on your routine plays and being consistent," he said.  "You know you're not going to run into a streak defensively every single year -- or I guess not very often at all.  You want to be as consistent as you can and keep working.  You can't be satisfied."

He also said, "Winning Gold Gloves doesn't satisfy me for the future.  It makes me proud of my season.  It makes me hungry to work and try to get another one someday.  It's been a long path.  It's a big accomplishment for me."

Darwin Barney shakes hands with teammates after scoring the winning run in the last game of the season on October 3rd (photo by Karen Burchell)
Congratulations to Darwin Barney - I'll always have a soft spot for you since meeting you in January of 2011, when you weren't even sure if you'd make the big league team out of spring training, but you were extremely nice and down to earth and I could tell you would soon make an impression in the baseball world!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cubs busy making roster moves and staffing changes

Even though it's the off-season for the Cubs, the team has been busy making roster moves and looking for a replacement for former Cubs TV broadcaster Bob Brenly, who accepted a job as the TV analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month.

Bob Brenly has accepted a job with the Arizona Diamondbacks
Brenly said, "Working here in Chicago was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career.  The Ricketts family, everyone associated with the Cubs and WGN and, most importantly, Cubs’ fans everywhere, will always be in our hearts, and Joan and I wish nothing but the best for the organization moving forward.  I was very blessed to have the best play-by-play man in the game as my partner for eight years and Cubs’ fans are very fortunate to have Len Kasper as the voice of the Cubs.  I’ll miss working with him and we look fondly toward returning to Chicago in the future."

The Cubs outrighted Joe Mather, Justin Germano, Manuel Corpas and Blake Parker to the Iowa Cubs today.  Corpas then elected free agency.

The Kansas City Royals claimed right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad off waivers on Friday.

On Thursday, the team assigned infielder Adrian Cardenas and right handed pitchers Miguel Socolovich, Jason Berken and Marcos Mateo to Triple-A Iowa. 

The Cubs also claimed right handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.  In a corresponding move,  catcher Anthony Recker, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets.

The Cubs claimed RHP Carlos Gutierrez off waivers from the Twins (photo from
On October 23rd, the Cubs named David Bell as their third base coach and removed the interim tag from hitting coach James Rowson.  The 2013 coaching staff is now set.  Bell & Rowson join Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Dave McKay (1B coach), Jamie Quirk (bench coach) & Lester Strode (bullpen coach). 

On October 16th, the Cubs acquired right handed pitcher Marcelo Carreno from the Detroit Tigers to complete the 8/5 trade for Jeff Baker.

On October 14th, Blake DeWitt, Randy Wells and Alex Hinshaw all elected free agency.

The Cubs' 40-man roster currently stands at 33.  I'm sure there will be many more roster moves to come!  Meanwhile, Cubs fans all over the world are happy the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated by the San Francisco Giants from winning the National League division.  It was fun tweeting with fellow Cubs fans while cheering for the Giants (or against the Cards, depending on how you look at it!)

Are you rooting for the Giants or the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series?  The Giants are currently two games up on the Tigers.  Game three will be played in Detroit on Saturday.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bryan LaHair leads Cubs to walk-off win to end the season

The Cubs ended their rough 2012 season with a walk-off win against the Houston Astros as Bryan LaHair's RBI single scored pinch runner Darwin Barney for the exciting 5-4 win at Wrigley Field on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon.

Darwin Barney and teammates congratulate each other after ending the 2012 season with a win (photo by Karen Burchell)
I was at the game when I saw the @Cubs tweet "We've got two dugout box seats for our final seat upgrade of the season. First person at today's game to send their full seat location wins."  I then immediately tweeted them my seat location and was pleasantly surprised to see Kevin from the Cubs show up to tell me that I had won the seat upgrade!

My daughter and I then moved to the dugout box seats right by the Cubs dugout for the rest of the game.  It was definitely the highlight of my year, as we sat not even ten feet away from Dale Sveum and could always what he was doing to our left.  We were also sitting amongst Todd and Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney.  Was I dreaming?

Our upgraded seats in the dugout box, thanks to the @Cubs on Twitter! (photo by Karen Burchell)
Our day was topped off with a walk-off win to end the season.  After the Cubs celebrated on the field, Darwin Barney entered the dugout and came out by where we were sitting and gave his bat to someone sitting behind the dugout.  He then looked around and took his batting glove off and threw it to my daughter, who was so excited!  We also came home with Matt Garza's bag and a baseball.

Darwin Barney's batting glove, Matt Garza's bag and a baseball (photo by Karen Burchell)
I would like to give the Cubs organization, especially Kevin and his social media team my biggest thanks and appreciation for making the last game of the season such a special and memorable game for my daughter and I.  It was an experience we will never forget.

I am so impressed and love how the Cubs social media team is so diligent about interacting with fans and making each one feel special.  I was also touched by the tweets from fellow Cubs fans on Twitter congratulating me for winning the seat upgrade.  It really meant a lot and shows just what kind of people Cubs fans really are, no matter if we have ever met in person or not.

If you're not following the @Cubs on Twitter and you're a Cubs fan, you really should follow them at  Do it now!  And if you're looking for other Cubs fans to follow and the latest Cubs news, please follow me on Twitter at and tweet me to say "hi!"

Anyway, onto the game recap:  Travis Wood started for the Cubs and had a good outing as he allowed one run on three hits while walking five and striking out four batters over 6.1 innings pitched.  Wood also had a hit and two RBIs.

The lineup consisted mainly of players that don't usually get to start, with the exception of shortstop Starlin Castro, who became the first shortstop in franchise history to play all 162 games in a season.

The Cubs ended their season with a 61-101 record, which was the third-most losses in franchise history.  The Cubs lost 103 games in both 1962 and 1966.

Here are some photos I took at the game:

Cubs players during the National Anthem before the final game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Cubs players during the National Anthem before the final game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Cubs players during the National Anthem before the final game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Cubs players during the National Anthem before the final game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Cubs players during the National Anthem before the final game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Bryan LaHair in the on-deck circle (photo by Karen Burchell)

Dale Sveum during the last game of the season (photo by Karen Burchell)
Travis Wood congratulates Dave Sappelt after he scores (photo by Karen Burchell)

Dave Sappelt after crossing home plate (photo by Karen Burchell)

Dave Sappelt by the dugout after scoring (photo by Karen Burchell)

Travis Wood batting with Tony Campana in the on-deck circle (photo by Karen Burchell)

Darwin Barney between first and second base during the 9th inning of the season finale (photo by Karen Burchell)

Cubs win! (photo by Karen Burchell)

The 2012 Cubs walking off the field after ending their season with a "W" (photo by Karen Burchell)
The Wrigley Field Grounds Crew sang the 7th inning stretch (photo by Karen Burchell)
In other Cubs news, the organization fired third base coach Pat Listach after Wednesday's finale. "This is hard for me because he was one of the first people that really saw what I had and believed in it and voiced his opinion for me a couple of years back," Barney said.  "It's tough.  He's going to be fine.  He has a place in baseball and will find work for sure, but it's hard to see him go."

Shiraz Rehman, 34, was promoted to Assistant General Manager alongside Randy Bush, both reporting to GM Jed Hoyer.

It was announced Thursday that Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson will be sent back to Triple-A Iowa to start the 2013 season in order to give them the time to better prepare for the majors.

Theo Epstein held a press conference Thursday and said, “I’m not going to sit here and say, 'Don’t worry about 101 losses because we have a magic plan to win the World Series in 2013, (that) it’s gonna happen, so be there now.  That’s not the case.  There is a plan, there is a vision.  It might be a little bit longer turn than we all want it to be, but that we’re committed to it and that there is a great reward at the end.”

Cubs President Theo Epstein held a press conference Thursday (photo from
Epstein did say they would still focus on starting pitching.  The team went through 30 pitchers this season, of which none won 10 games.  The pitchers that won the most games were Jeff Samardzija and Paul Maholm.  Joe Mather finished with the best ERA after the team had to use him in September as a last resort.

The Cubs received approval to add an additional row of 56 seats behind home plate by moving the brick wall forward three feet.  They also received ap proval to reconfigure a 12-foot section of the wall along the third base line so that it would be movable by forklift so that it could be a larger buffer between the playing field and the brick wall.  This would make the Friendly Confines more suitable to host college football games.  In 2010, Northwestern and Illinois played against each other at Wrigley Field, but the NCAA required the offense to use only the west end zone.

It's always a little sad once baseball season comes to an end, but on the bright side, the Cubs will have the #2 draft pick in 2013, due to their won-loss record in 2012.  Now it's time to enjoy the cooler weather, the holidays (which are really right around the corner) and start counting down the days to the Cubs Convention, which will be held at a new location (the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers at 201 East North Water Street in downtown Chicago) on January 18-20, 2013.  Go Cubs Go!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Volstad strikes out six, but Cubs offense missing as they lose 3-0 to Astros in final night game

The Cubs lost 3-0 to the Houston Astros in the second to last game of the season, which was also the final night game of 2012 on Tuesday night.  I was at Wrigley to witness the non-eventful game, but was lucky enough to sit in the 2nd row behind the Cubs' bullpen.

Carlos Marmol warming up in the bullpen Tuesday night (photo by Karen Burchell)
It was pretty amazing to be watching the game right by James Russell, Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol and the rest of the relief pitchers.  The highlight for us came in the 4th inning, when Alfonso Soriano's foul ball was hit to Andrew Lane, the Cubs bullpen catcher, who picked it up threw it to my friend, who had her one-year old baby with us at the game. 

Shawn Camp actually came over to us to tell us that he saw us on TV because we were holding the foul ball.  It was also my friend's first foul ball ever, which was perfect since it was also her birthday!

Glove, towels and Gatorade cooler in the Cubs bullpen (photo by Karen Burchell)
Anyway, back to the game.  Chris Volstad made his final start of the season and was impressive as he gave up two runs on five hits and struck out six batters, which was the most since his first start on April 9th, when he also struck out a half dozen.  Volstad said, "It did feel good to finish that way, just being myself.  I could've used a few more of those.  It felt good to have one that way, especially to end [the season] and go into the offseason with a positive."

Chris Volstad finished on a strong note, as he struck out six batters on Tuesday night (photo from
Too bad the Cubs couldn't get their offense going to back Volstad, as they only had four hits during the game, which came from Soriano, Castro (2) and Jackson. 

Today the Cubs will face off in their final game of the season against the Astros, who will play their final game as a NL Central team.  Travis Wood will start for the Cubs and try for his seventh win of the season.  I will be at Wrigley for the finale and hope to sing "Go Cubs Go!" for one last time as this tough season comes to an end.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cubs lose 3-0 to Astros and reach 100-loss mark for the first time in 46 years

The Cubs lost 3-0 to the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field Monday night, which means that the team has reached the 100-loss mark in a season for the first time since 1966, when they went 59-103.  This is only the third time the franchise has had 100 or more losses during a season.

The silver lining in the Cubs' won-loss record this season is that the team has secured the #2 draft pick position.  Gotta look at the positives, right?  That's the spirit of a true Cubs fan!

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "(We're) definitely going the right direction.  There are some growing pains with that, as well.  We're all confident in the plan Theo (Epstein), Jed (Hoyer) and their guys are putting together.  We understand where we'll get to.  Sometimes it just takes some time, but we're all confident in the procedures of it.''
Jason Berken pitched for the Cubs Monday night and allowed two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two batters over 4.2 innings pitched.

Jason Berken pitched against the Astros at Wrigley Field on Monday night (photo from
In other Cubs news, their 7-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Chase Field was their first win on the road against a NL West team this season.

Tomorrow Chris Volstad will start for the Cubs and try to end his season with a 4-11 record. 
The Cubs and Astros will play the second game of the three-game series at 7:05pm CT at Wrigley Field.  I will be at the Friendly Confines to hopefully witness the team's 61st win of the season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cubs lose 10-5 to Rockies after game called early and are in No. 2 draft position

The Cubs were losing 10-5 to the Rockies after six innings when the game was delayed due to the constant rain that had been coming down at Coors Field.  48 minutes later, the game was called. 

The Cubs still need to win four games out of the eight remaining this season in order to avoid a 100-loss season.  On the flip side, the Cubs are currently in the No. 2 draft position.

Dave Sappelt was in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career and also hit his first career home run. 

Dave Sappelt hit his first major league homer against the Rockies on Tuesday night (photo from
Ironically, Sappelt also was the only one to post photo evidence of the Cubs rookie hazing costume tradition when he tweeted a photo of himself dressed in costume.

Dave Sappelt tweeted this photo of himself in his rookie roadtrip costume
Chris Rusin started for the Cubs and was tagged with the loss.  Rusin allowed six runs on seven hits and walked one batter over 3.2 innings pitched. 

One personal highlight (or should I say reward) for watching the game was that Len Kasper and Bob Brenly actually mentioned my name on the WGN-TV broadcast because of a tweet I had posted that said, "I think are getting wacky!"  Here's a link to a video clip of the broadcast.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Rockies will play the second game in the three-game series at 7:40pm CT.  Jason Berken will start for the Cubs and try to earn his first win since coming to the Cubs.