Archive | February, 2010

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Cubs Television Broadcast Schedule Unveiled

Posted on 06 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs have announced the television broadcast schedule for the 2010 MLB season.  WCIU will carry the Cubs season opener against the Braves in Atlanta on April 5th.  WGN will carry the Cubs home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on April 12th.  WGN has broadcast Cubs games since 1948 and will broadcast the most Cubs games again in 2010 – at least 58 right now, with the potential to go ub to 64 if ESPN and FOX don’t pick up certain Saturday and Sunday games at the Friendly Confines.

FOX tentatively has the Cubs slated for 8 games in 2010 – 4 home games at Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 29th, the Chicago White Sox on June 12th, the Atlanta Braves on August 21st and the New York Mets on September 4th & 4 road games at the Texas Rangers on May 22nd, at the Chicago White Sox on June 26th, at the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 10th and at the St. Louis Cardinals on August 14th.  The Cubs will also appear on back-to-back ESPN Sunday Night Baseball braodcasts in July – against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on July 11th and the Philadelphia Phillies at home on July 18th.

Comcast SportsNet has been broadcasting Cubs game for 6 years now and Len Kasper and Bob Brenly will continue to broadcast all Cubs games on television during the 2010 MLB season.

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Cubs, Millar Agree to Minor League Deal

Posted on 05 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Kevin Millar agreed upon a minor league deal on Thursday as we previously speculated earlier this week.  Millar is a long shot to make the team – he will battling Micah Hoffpauir and Chad Tracy for the back-up role at 1st base behind Derrek Lee.  At 38 years of age, coming off a down year in which he hit just .223 in 78 games with the Blue Jays, he has his work cut out for him.

Millar will certainly be an entertaining presence in Mesa this Spring Training.  Millar is a goofy, affable guy like his former Marlins teammate Ryan Dempster.  Both mouthed off to each during Spring Training 2008 when Millar was with the Baltimore Orioles, so there should be some funny pranks to write about over the next 2 months.

One funny Millar-fact – he hit his 1st major league home run at Wrigley Field – of the inside-the-park-variety – on May 24, 1999.  Maybe we’ll see him hit a home run at Wrigley Field during the 2010 MLB schedule…

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Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Closer Carlos Marmol

Posted on 04 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Closer Carlos Marmol have agreed upon a 1-year, $2.125 million deal for the 2010 MLB schedule.  The signing keeps intact GM Jim Hendry’s record of never going to arbitration with a player during his tenure as the club’s general manager.  Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and had asked for $2.5 million (the Cubs had countered with $1.75).

The move makes sense – why prolong it any longer?  Marmol has been the closer-in-waiting after competing for the job in each of the 2008 and 2009 MLB seasons.  He finally got promoted at the end of the 2009 campaign when it became clear that Kevin Gregg could not get the job done on a regular basis.  After Marmol took over in August, he was 11-for11 in save opportunities the rest of the season and he led the team with 27 holds.  Not bad.

The major concern with Marmol is his increasing walk statistics.  In 59 appearances in 2007, Marmol had a 1.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, with 96 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 69 1/3 innings. In 82 appearances in 2008, Marmol had a 2.68 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, with 114 strikeouts and just 41 walks in 87 1/3 innings.  Those were phenomenal numbers for a young player like Marmol.  But everything changed in 2009 as Marmol struggled with his control right from the start.  In 79 appearances in 2009, Marmol had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP, with 93 strikeouts and a whopping 65 walks in just 74 innings.  The fact that Marmol has the talent to work his way out of 2 even 3-walk jams, helped keep his numbers respectable, but it has to be a little concerning for Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs.  When you have a 1-run lead heading into the 9th inning, the last thing you want to do is walk a batter.

Let’s hope the staff can work with Marmol this Spring to get him back on track and ready for being the Cubs closer during the 2010 MLB schedule.

On a side note, Ryan Theriot is the final Cubs aribitration-eligible player that Hendry has to deal with before Spring Training.  Look for a deal to get hammered out very soon.  Can’t wait to see Marmol and Theriot lighting it up at Wrigley Field in a couple of months.

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Lou Pinella Honored with Legend Award at Munson Gala

Posted on 03 February 2010 by Lou

Cubs Manager Lou Pinella was honored with the “Legend Award” at Tuesday night’s annual Munson Awards dinner.  It has been 30 years since New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson died in a plane crash and the annual gala has been going strong now for 30 consecutive years.  Munson’s widow Diana Munson was in attendance as usual – “For 30 years, I’ve been syaing that I’m sure the dinner is going to phase out.  The fact that it keeps going on and gets stronger is a true testament to the people of New York and the memory of Thurman.  To know that New York never forgets is overwhelming for my family.”

Pinella was a teammate of Munson’s on 2 World Series Championship teams in 1977 and 1978.  He had the highest of praise for Munson – referring to Munson as “a wonderful, wonderful young man, husband and family guy.  A great player, leader and true friend.”  Pinella had previously won a Munson Award that he still keeps in his office and he was honored with the Legend Award for his meritorious service to baseball for the long span of his career.

Others receiving awards were Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain for his philanthropic work in the Omaha, Nebraska area; former New York Mets and Yankees great Darryl Strawberry for his Darryl Strawberry Foundation endeavor; and New York Knicks guard Chris Duhon for his work with helping the people of Lousiana in their continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The Munson gala has raised over $10 million over the years to benefit children and adults who suffer with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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Xavier Nady Right @ Home @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 02 February 2010 by Lou

New Cubs outfielder Xavier Nady has had great success at Wrigley Field during his career.  He has played 28 games at Wrigley Field and he has a career .304 batting average at the Friendly Confines – including 3 separate 4-hit games.  Nady has hit 2 HR’s and 8 doubles with 15 RBI’s in his career against the Cubs at Wrigley.  That bodes well for his return to Wrigley Field in 2010 – this time in Cubbie blue.

Nady has also performed well against left-handed pitchers during his career  – he has a career .308 batting average against lefties.  That means when Manager Lou Pinella picks his spots for Nady to spell either Alfonso Soriano or Kosuke Fukudome, you could see Nady facing lefties early and often in 2010.

Nady is a great veteran presence in the clubhouse as well.  Assuming his surgically repaired arm is healthy – a big if at this point – Nady could provide some production both at the plate and in the field for the Cubs during the 2010 MLB season…

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Cubs Could Add Veteran Utility Man Kevin Millar

Posted on 01 February 2010 by Lou

It looks like the Cubs are close to offering veteran Kevin Millar an invitation to Spring Training 2010 in Mesa, Arizona.  Millar played in 78 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 and he batted just .223.  Millar has played 12 major league baseball seasons with the Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Blue Jays.  Millar has a career batting average of .274 and he has clubbed 170 HR’s.

Millar has a little bit of history with 2 current Cubs – Ryan Dempster and Derrek Lee.  The trio were teammates on the Florida Marlins. Millar had this to say about the whole free agency landscape in the current economic climate: “It’s been a very slow market as you have seen this offseason, but things have worked out.  I’m excited to have a chance to compete for a spot with the Cubbies.  I have a lot of buddies on that team.”

Not sure what Millar would offer to the Cubs.  He is 38 years old and doesn’t look like he can hit anymore.  We’ll keep you posted if he officially gets the invite, but it is unlikely that he will have any major impact for the Cubs during the 2010 MLB schedule. On the other hand, if he does make the club, he will quickly become a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field because of his goofy demeanor and clubhouse comraderie…

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