Friday, August 15, 2008

E-mails, we get e-mails...

I got this e-mail from Raul Sierra. I thought you might enjoy it...

"Believe it or not, I'm a long time Cubs fan! I'm 30 years old, and live in Guatemala city, and have been a Cub fan, since cable TV came to us! We had only a few channels including Atlanta Braves TBS, and of course WGN TV Chicago, were I watched every noon cubs game coming from school every day, an watched Harry Caray sing take me out to the ballgame! Back in those days you remember those great players, Andre Dawson, Ryno, Mark Grace, Greg Maddux, Shawn Dunston, Damon Berryhill, and the best manager Don Zimmer!!! I still remember all of then winning the Division agaist the Montreal Expos, when Mitch Williams struck out Mike Fitzgerald! I think it was 1989!

Those were nice days, and still now after all that time, a huge cub fan!

I cried with Steve Bartmans play, and have been praying for this season! THE TEAM IS IN GREAT SHAPE! My dream is to go to Wrigley Field once in my life! Go Cubs Go!!! This is our year! Greetings from Guatemala!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

1908 vs. 2008: Leftfield

1908: Jimmy Sheckard

Sheckard was the final piece to the Championship puzzle when he was acquired before the 1906 season to play left field. He was known for his speed (he led the league in steals twice), his good eye (he was in the top ten in walks nearly every year), and his rascally sense of humor. Unfortunately for Sheckard, that sense of humor rubbed his teammate Heinie Zimmerman the wrong way. Early in the season they got into a fight in the locker room, and Zimmerman threw a bottle of ammonia at Jimmy--nearly blinding him. If the ballpark wasn't located just steps away from Cook County hospital, he almost certainly would have lost his sight. As it was, it cost him several weeks of playing time. (It also cost Zimmerman several weeks...he was beaten to a pulp by his manager and teammates)

Sheckard's hitting never really returned in 1908 (he ended the year hitting only .231), but he still managed to make an impact at the top of the order (mostly batting second) with his speed (18 steals) and his walks (he finished in the top 5 that year). He played with the Cubs for four more seasons and retired in 1913.

2008: Alfonso Soriano

Like his 1908 counterpart, Soriano missed several weeks of the season with an injury, and is a bit of a hot dog--just like Jimmy Sheckard. He also hits at the top of the lineup and has good speed--but that's where the similarities end.

Alfonso Soriano is a power hitter who can carry the team on his back when he is hot. He is the marquee player on a team full of marquee players. He is likely to make a mistake in the field that will seemingly lose the game before making up for it by getting the game-winning hit.

Historically his hot streaks have not coincided with his appearances in the post season. If those two forces coincide in 2008, he could take the Cubs to the promised land.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

E-mails, we get e-mails...

I got the following e-mail from Nancy Berg...

"Rick, I love your website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As a true Cubs fan, born in Logan Sq, and my dad was a baseball scout as well, I cannot tell you how happy I am that Lou Pinella is making my lifelong dream come Cubs domination. I was at all 4 Cubs vs SF Giants games (i live outside of SF), as were a million other CUBBY fans.

When I saw your youtube site, and then went to your website i felt AT HOME (plate)! I have forwarded both to at least 50 people! My dad knew Jack Brickhouse (to me he IS the voice of the Cubs) and to see the interview with his wife was great. I enjoy your fan interviews and stories. Thank you so much. I really miss Chicago.

My son, who is 11 and born in California is finally catching Cubs fever. Last night he wove a story worthy of preservation, about the Cubs winning the Series, while subconsciously dressed in CUBS BLUE! Rick, we came home this year to see the Cubs for my birthday (april 3) and my son ended up at Children's ER with a terrible flu. It would have been his first game at Wrigley. No Cubs, but my die-hard friends in Chicago rallied around his bedside (and missed a game as well). True Cubs story. We entered the tickets contest! I'm going to order a shirt today. Rick, YOU are Mr. Cub 2!

I am moved to poetry about the Cubbies:

Oh, Mighty Cubs
The legends say
The fans will never see the day
When Cubbie hitters slam the ball
o'er sacred ivy covered walls
of Wrigley Field
taking the series in 4
In 2008 we'll wait no more
As our Mighty Cubs even the score
As history is made
As bleacher bums rejoice
Oh Mighty Cubs hear our voice
Our year
Is here

Monday, August 11, 2008

104 year old fan

The Chicago Sun Times has a great article today about a 104-year-old man who hopes to throw out the first pitch at the World Series for the Cubs. It's written by Stefano Esposito. I highly recommend it.