23 Oct 2010 @ 7:27 AM 

This week, the Cubs announced that they had made their choice, Mike Quade, for their new manager for their major league team. Towards the end of the 2010 season, Pinella left the team early to go home for “family” reasons. I can’t blame him for not finishing the season as the team was an embarrassment. Mike Quade became the interim manager once Lou left. Interestingly enough, the bench coach, Alan Trammel, was not even considered for the job. When Quade was named interim manager, Jim Hendry, the Cubs GM, stated that Trammel was not made interim manager because he was not going to be considered for the job of manager. Never mind that Trammel is the second in command and takes over when the manager gets ejected. Quade had started the season as the Cubs’ 3rd base coach. He had been the 3rd base coach for the Cubs since 2006, and was the manager for the AAA Iowa Cubs for 3 years. He has spent a total of 17 seasons as coach and manager in a number of baseball organizations in the minor leagues. Quade finished the 2010 season going 24-13.

A number of prospective managers put their hat in the ring for the managing job of the Cubs. Many fans seemed to think Joe Girardi was a prospective candidate for the job, I really doubt it. Granted, he’s an Illinois native, a former Cubs catcher, and really likes the Chicago area. He even applied for the job back when Lou was hired. He has been a successful manager and is currently in the last year of his contract with the New York Yankees. I don’t see him wanting to leave a job with a championship calibre team like the Yankees to try and bring a losing Cubs team a World Series that has eluded other managers for the last 102 years. That and he would come with a large price tag.

Many folks seemed to think that Bob Brenly was a good candidate. He is currently one of the broadcasters for the Cubs television games. People point to his World Series Championship with the AZ Diamond Backs. I personally don’t think that means anything. He came into that team after Buck Showalter built it from its first year as an expansion team, and walked right into a well built team for it to win the world series. He didn’t win any more World Series after that first year.

Perhaps the most notable name that was interviewing for the Cubs managing position was Ryne Sandberg. Yes, Ryno, the Hall of Fame second baseman for the Cubs. A player that has a very large following amongst not only Cubs fans, but baseball fans in general. Personally, I believe he’s the best second baseman to ever play the game, but I’m also a little biased because he was my childhood hero growing up. Ryno not only was a great player in his skills, but the way he carried himself was also really good. He has often been described as a class act.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing, but overall I am disappointed, which is the same word Ryno used to describe how he feels about the decision. That link has a radio interview with him about an hour after the decision had been made. I’ve read much more negative feedback from fans about choosing to hire Quade instead of Ryno.
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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 23 Oct 2010 @ 07 34 AM

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This Spring, Wendy and I decided to go to Phoenix, AZ for a short trip, mostly because I wanted to go see my beloved Cubs at Spring Training. I had never been to Spring Training, but I had wanted to for quite a while now. We were there from 3/28-3/30. It was a great time to go as the weather was on the verge of being too hot, but still nice, and it was towards the end of Spring Training, so the regular season players would be playing more and be taking it more seriously.

Our first stop after getting our rental car was to grab a bite to eat. We drove around downtown Phoenix a bit, but had difficulty finding reasonable parking near the pizza place we wanted to try. Wendy found a soda fountain (thanks to google maps on the cell phone) called MacAlpine’s nearby that we ate at for lunch. It was a nice little place. It was set in the 50’s. The food was good and the strawberry cheesecake milkshake we had for dessert was even better. According to their menu, they are the oldest operating soda fountain.

From there we headed to the Hall of Flame Fire Museum which was located next to the Oakland Athletic’s spring training field where they were playing a game as we drove by. The museum was great. It had a very impressive collection of old fire equipment and history. It had lots of hand drawn and horse drawn wagons as well as old motor driven fire trucks. It was very interesting to learn about the history of firefighting through the years. They had a section dedicated to wildland firefighting as well. I would recommend it to anyone who has the chance to go see it. Pictures

Next we went to the nearby Desert Botanical Garden. Wendy was excited to see wild flowers. I thought it was silly to have a botanical garden in the desert, but they had a lot of cool plants after all. Pictures

After the gardens, we went to check into our hotel. Wendy managed to find a great deal for us at The Hilton Phoenix East. Normally above our price range, but we got it for a great price. It was a nice hotel with large and comfortable rooms. The pillows on the bed were really soft.

While we were out that night we had stopped at a Target so I could get a baseball and sharpies. I hoped to get some autographs at the game. For dinner the first night, we ate at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. It was some great pizza. You have to build your own pizza, and it was a bit pricey. We got a pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and onions.

Next day, we decided to try to get to the Cubs game early in hopes to get autographs. For breakfast we went to a nearby place called The Good Egg. Really good breakfast with lots of choices.

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs, Vacations
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2010 @ 10 43 PM

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 08 Jan 2010 @ 9:45 PM 

From http://www.gettyimages.com/

It’s been 9 years, but former Cub great, Andre Dawson, has finally made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I am very happy about the news. Last year, I posted about my disappointment that he didn’t make it.

Dawson’s numbers were not staggering, especially when compared to the juiced ball era that we are coming out of. His lack of any dominating category explains why he wasn’t a first year Hall of Fame player. He got in by how he played.

Dawson began his career in Montreal with the Expos, now the Washington Nationals. Early in his career, Dawson was known for his speed and great hitting. He and Tim Raines were a lethal pair. Unfortunately, the artificial turf in Olympic Statium destroyed his knees, and he was unable to run like he did in his early years. Throughout the rest of his career, his knees bothered him. Dawson’s problems with his knees started from high school football. He added power to his skill set to offset his lack of speed.

After playing on the turf for 11 years in Montreal, he had to move. Montreal was not going to resign him as they were afraid of the condition of his knees. Most teams were unsure of his knees and were hesitant to sign him. Dawson also knew he had to get back onto playing on the grass. He talked with the Cubs to ask if they would sign him, and they did. He just wanted to play, and he told the Cubs he would play for what ever they wanted to pay him. He got paid $500,000 that year, compared to $1.2 M the previous year. That season (1987), he then went on to turn in his MVP season for a Cub team that went on to be last place in their division that year. That year he led the league in Total Bases (353), HR’s (49) and RBI’s (137). MVP’s typically get picked from winning teams, but Dawson played so well, he was able to secure the honor despite his team’s lack of success.

I can remember watching him play on WGN as a kid. He was a great player, a steady clean up hitter. He struck out a lot, but could hit. My favorite thing about Dawson was watching his fielding. He played right field in Wrigley. The winds in Wrigley make it one of the toughest right fields to play. I remember watching him throw runners out with is powerful arm. My favorite was when he would charge a hard hit single and throw out the runner at first because the runner wasn’t hustling. The Wrigley faithful respected him. The bleacher bums in right would bow down as he would take his position.

Dawson’s teammates spoke highly of him. Although his knees hurt constantly and limited his potential, he didn’t complain and he didn’t let his knees stop him from giving 100%.

Dawson played for the Montreal Expos (76-86), the Chicago Cubs (87-92), the Boston Red Sox (93-94), and the Florida Marlins (95-96). His highlights are as follows:

His career numbers:

Batting Average: .279
OPS: .806
HR: 438
RBI: 1591
SB: 314
Fld%: .983

Now, to find out what cap he is going to wear when he is inducted this summer. I’m hoping they chose a Cubs hat. Way to go Hawk!

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 09 Jan 2010 @ 09 31 AM

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