Opening Day 2013.

First of all, I want to leave an open apology to Jeff Samardzija. I have been a huge critic of him for a while and when I found out he was going to be our opening day pitcher, I was very antsy. I didn’t know what to expect and to be honest, I figured Shark would blow it. Guess who was very, very wrong? Yup. He was fantastic. 

I missed Darwin Barney a lot. Lilibridge improved quite a bit after his boner of a fielding error, but it just wasn’t the same. I was impressed with Anthony Rizzo and even Welington Castillo to an extent. Starlin Castro looked great. In a lot of ways, the offense looked great. Our fielding could stand some improvement.

Which brings me to the same problem I’ve had with the Cubs for a while now. Our bullpen. Specifically, the Marmollercoaster. You never know which Carlos Marmol will show up. Will he look like an ace, or will he look like a horse’s ace? No lead is safe from Bad Marmol, but nobody can touch Good Marmol. It is godforsaken infuriating. Sveum has already been quick to announce that for the time being, Marmol remains the closer – even though he was yanked for Fujikawa, who looked decent himself. 

There were moments of “same Cubs, different season” and moments of hope. I’ll save my judgment until mid-April. Maybe.

2013 Dingers.

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! We have bats! We have dingers! We have a dude on our team named Welington Castillo, which sounds like a saucy steak dish! I’m so excited for baseball 2013, especially since we are currently beating the Angels and I get to go to three spring training games this year.

Wavy Bear says hope is still alive

BEISBOL.

I’m back, and I’m boycotting the Nats.

I’m a big old history dork, so when I found out the Nationals had announced William Howard Taft of all people as their new racing president I had to side-eye a bit. I mean, clearly he was a very interesting man who did a lot of cool things in Washington and went on to be Chief Justice of the United States. That’s an amazing accomplishment, but I have to wonder why they picked Taft of all people to be part of the racing presidents. Or why they needed a fifth one in the first place.

Robber Baron Taft.

This is the creepy Commodore-from-Boardwalk-Empire-lookin’ Taft they’ve introduced in Washington. It makes me weep. Part of Taft’s charm and mystique is his place in folklore as a pretty corpulent dude! As in, he was so fat that he literally got stuck in the White House bathtub and had a special one commissioned and installed.

You’re thinking of him naked right now.

The man was about 6′ and ~340. He was not a slim man, as far as I’m aware he didn’t like being called “Bill,” and would probably have loved being part of the racing presidents. That said until you make your Taft a large dude who ‘runs’ the race by rolling, I’m not watching.

Actually, I can see why they picked him, and via DC Sports Blog, this is why:

While the team considered all sorts of presidential options, this was actually an inspired choice. Taft avoids all the messy political subtext that virtually any post-war president would have created. He has an intimate connection with baseball, having
started the tradition of ceremonial first-pitch tossing with a 1910 delivery before a shutout win by Walter Johnson at Griffith Stadium. He’s also widely credited with having accidentally created the seventh-inning stretch.

That makes a heck of a lot of sense, and I agree. There’s no way you could have Kennedy, Reagan, either Bush, etc. And even Eisenhower would be controversial in today’s idiotic political climate.

Welcome aboard, Taft!

Rob Dibble, Shut Up.

I haven’t blogged at all this season because honestly there’s not much to blog about besides Zambrano’s tantrum (vented on Twitter and LJ about that) and consistent failure.

This, however, I felt the need to blog about. I’ve been watching baseball for my entire life, and I’ve never been told that girls know nothing about baseball. On the contrary, my father, brother, grandfathers, and male friends support and appreciate my love of the game and always made me feel more than welcome to offer analysis and opinions on baseball. Imagine my surprise when I came across this garbage from Rob Dibble, then, who should know better. Even if you still subscribe to the antiquated notion that women at baseball games are just there to ogle and yap about “woman things,” you are a sportscaster. You do not say those things on air. Unfortunately, my experience is not universal, and many women that I care about have faced discrimination because of their gender and love for the game. It’s people like Dibble who keep these archaic and utterly disgusting stereotypes going.

And if you do believe those things? I pity you. Women have been going to, enjoying, and understanding baseball games for longer than Dibble’s been alive. My own future mother-in-law used to sit in the Astrodome with a pad of paper, writing down every possible statistic, because she loved the game. That’s beside the point, however – even if the ladies in front were talking about “Desperate Housewives” or whatever other stereotypically feminine thing that Dibble created in his own mind, does it really matter? We here of the xx chromosome do tend to have varied interests. Why, we might even discuss them at baseball games! And you know what really freaking bothers me? NOT EVERY MAN AT THE GAME IS DISCUSSING THE INTRICACIES OF BASEBALL FOR THE ENTIRE GAME, YOU JERK. But no, let’s rail on the women at the game… for what, exactly?

Women are forty-five percent of the MLB fanbase. Forty-five percent! None of us are exactly the same, but we are united by a love of baseball and an understanding of how it works. We all feel the ups and downs, the excitement and the frustration, just as the male fanbase does. Why would Rob Dibble choose to alienate all of those people? His apology was just as infuriating as his original comments, and basically amounted to “I’M JUST GOING TO SAY THIS RIGHT HERE AND IF YOU GET OFFENDED IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT. OH, SORRY.” He took no responsibility whatsoever for remarks that were incredibly offensive to a large chunk of MLB fans, and it’s disappointing. I don’t think he knows the gravity of what he said; I doubt he cares. I have to wonder, does he have a daughter? Would he be upset if some man made some misogynistic comments that made her feel like human garbage simply for being a woman?

Over the past couple of seasons, I have grown to adore a group of dynamic female bloggers I met via Twitter. Each of them has her own strengths, her own convictions, her own team, but they all know baseball inside and out and are absolute joys to converse with. I dare Rob Dibble to even try to talk ball with them in a condescending manner – he would be destroyed in a matter of seconds. They have all posted responses to Dibble that are far more coherent than mine, and with permission, I’d like to link them.

The incomparable Julie DiCaro, from A League of Her Own: here
The wonderful Amanda, the OCD Chick: here
The amazing Dana from Edge of Brooklyn: here
and last, but certainly not least, the fantastic Caryn from metsgrrl.com lets it rip: here

Wrigley should stop selling beer for a while.

So, everyone knows that some idiot dumped beer on Victorino’s head while the Phils were up by ten last night. That was shameful, embarrassing, and disgusting to be perfectly honest. For the better part of twenty years, I’ve defended myself from the “********* fan” label and tried to explain that not all Cubs fans are obnoxious, that every team has its jerk fans and blah, blah, blah.

I put the video up on YouTube earlier (here) and ugh. I’m just irked. Why should the rest of us, good fans who enjoy baseball, have to get reputations because of these morons? I said last night that I’m much more embarrassed by this stupid fan than by the loss, and I stick by that.

Apparently, others agree:
via Yahoo
via LJ
via ESPN

Seriously, forget how bad our pitching is right now. Forget the slim chance of the playoffs, forget the fact that inexplicably Aaron Miles is still on the team while Micah Hoffpauir got sent down. No, the Cubs are in the news because one stupid guy chunked beer at an All-Star player and his stupid friends defended him when the wrong guy got taken out of the bleachers. That’s cowardice and it’s getting annoying that the real fans have to deal with it. So I agree with the ‘Duz. Ban beer at Wrigley for a while. Let everyone know that one idiot ruined it for everyone else. There’s been a lot of shame in being a Cubs fan over the years but this is seriously ridiculous and embarrassing.

(I will probably get into our horrible pitching/mediocre fielding situation during or after the game today.)

Just a few things

I’m a little sad about Shea being gone. My grandfather was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and when they left – and all through my childhood – he was a HUGE Mets fan. Whenever we’d go visit him, we’d go to Shea to watch the Mets play. I had the great pleasure of watching the Astros play the Amazins in 1986 – what a fantastic year for baseball. I still remember being three years old, and Grandpa telling me that Mets fans would dump beer on my head for wearing an Astros shirt.

(this picture is from September of 1988, but still slightly relevant!)

astroskids.jpg

My big brother is the kiddo with the controller, I’m (of course) the only girl. He, unlike me, is lucky enough to have a birthday that falls during baseball season. There were many, many times growing up that my mom would load up her huge Chevy van full of my brother, me, and god knows how many of our friends and hit up the Dome for some baseball. As we got older and kind of got our own lives, ballgames were one of the very few things we did as a family anymore.

When I was sixteen, I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school in California. I got to go to Edison and see the Angels play the As, which was amazing. Yet when I came home to Houston, even my dad showed up with my mom and brother (who was in college at Maryland at the time) to pick me up and haul me over to the Dome to see the Astros play the Dodgers. This was 1999, the last year of the Dome. It was freaking amazing. Baseball has been such an important part of my life, ever since I was a little kid.

Even now, with my brother in Phoenix, me at Oklahoma, and my parents not speaking, baseball is huge among all of us. I talk to my brother at least once a week about baseball – we talk about the Cubbies, the Dbacks, the Astros, and the good old days. My mom and I are planning on going to Minute Maid during a Cubs/Stros series this year. My boyfriend has gotten over his “baseball has sucked since the strike” attitude. Some of us are in a fantasy league together; some of us chat online or talk smack on Facebook.

I feel so lucky to have gotten to go to Shea with Grandpa, but I feel even luckier knowing that when I have kids, I’ll be able to pass down all of these awesome stories and memories to them. So thanks, Grandpa, Mom, Ryan, Dad… you guys are amazing.

Gameday, 04/11/09

That was a hell of a nailbiter.

First things first. OUR BULLPEN SUCKS. We need help, badly. Marmol is looking awesome, and may I please start a petition for him to be our closer? Pretty please? I also liked how in the seventh, it was a battle to see which pitcher could suck more. I guess the Brewers won, I don’t know. The thirteen-pitch walk to Fontenot followed by a one-pitch Theriot grounder made me want to stab things. STAB STAB STAB. But we won, somehow.

The Brewers looked good, actually. I was pleasantly surprised. They looked great last night, as well (I wasn’t able to write about the game, don’t think it’s just cause the Cubs lost haha.)

NL Central predicitons, week of 4/11:

Cubs
Cardinals
Brewers
Astros
Pirates
Reds

Cubs vs Astros, 04/08/09

Welp, that was bonkers.

Starting off with the fact that it had the attendance of a Marlins game (which is sad; Milo Hamilton has a part of the street named after him now!) and continuing into the first inning jaw-dropping WHAT of Moehler… what the heck happened in the first three innings?

I’ve got the flu + a mountain of homework, so I couldn’t go to the game. I did watch it from my deathbed, however, and it was just ugly. I love Ted Lilly, but he looked a bit shaky out there. I was very impressed with Astros pitcher Russ Ortiz. There was nothing he could really do about the three-run homer, but after that he was quite solid.

Carlos Lee sucks. I will continue to say that until he does something of note.

Fukudome – wow! Look at him go. It’s almost as if the Cubs of early 2008 are returning. A girl can dream of the playoffs, right? Ah, well. For the most part, we looked great out there – a lot better than we looked last night. It was almost like we were playing with something to prove. Hmm!

I’ve been following the #cubs hashtag on Twitter, and it leads to some pretty funny stuff. I suggest you try it with your favorite team.

All right, I am hopped up on NyQuil and making no sense, but great job Cubbies! First opening series win since that fateful year…

Marie Olbermann, 1929-2009

I just wanted to say a few words about the passing of Marie Olbermann, world class Yankees fan and mother of Keith Olbermann. I was what, seventeen years old when the Knoblauch incident happened, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Mr. Olbermann gave a touching tribute to his mother on  Countdown:

;

I can only hope that in 2052, I will be front and center at Cubs games come hell or high water. In Mrs. Olbermann’s name, I’ll be donating to the Susan B. Komen foundation and hope that someday, this horrible disease will not be as horrible as it is today.