A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins 1:20 CT/2:20 ET WGN

Canopygirl salutes the effort she effort she expects the Cubs will make before the game. She was sorely disappointed.

 

This diary is going to serve three purposes this morning: LOHO get-together recap, morning headlines, and game thread. In these rough economic times, efficiency is key.

LOHO get-together began in the pouring rain at Murphy's, where I was greeted by a chipper Baby Saffron, all in pink, and an even MORE chippier Doc Blume. I think Jenga's play the last few days have really cheered Doc up. After collecting canopygirl, millertime, umbra, and summerguy (who pathetically had to stand outside the fence at Murphy's even though we tried to pass me off as his legal guardian), we braved the cold and rain and headed over to the bleachers.

Let me just say that this game was more packed with fans of the opposing team than I have ever seen. Twinks fans travel well. I would say they made up at least 45% of the crowd at Wrigley, and the bleachers might have been 50-50. They definitely won the day at Murphy's.

If you were watching on TV, you know that this game didn't go according to LOHO Day specifications:

Consider how badly things are going for the Cubs: After he threw seven shutout innings against them Saturday, the Minnesota Twins sent starter Anthony Swarzak back to the minor leagues.

It shows how commonplace it has become to shut down the Cubs' offense.

Swarzak was the latest to lower his earned-run average while facing the Cubs as the Twins won their second straight -- this one 2-0 -- before a home-style crowd of 40,899 at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs' offense is broken, and no one knows how to fix it.

"What am I going do?" manager Lou Piniella said while trying not to explode. "I've changed the lineup, I've basically played everybody we have. I don't know what else to do."

While staring into space, Piniella ended his postgame interview with this:

"I don't know. I really don't. I just don't have an answer for you people. I'm sorry."

And honestly, that's about all any of us can say at this point. The game yesterday was embarrassing. The LOHO crowd found itself cheering for baserunners rather than runs, good ABs rather than hits. I was jealous of how much Twinks fans love Joe Mauer. I don't love anyone on our team.

Thankfully, the Twinks fans sitting next to us were full of good cheer, letting us know how much they OTHERWISE cheer for the Cubs. In the end, we comforted oursevles in knowing that, while we suck, at least we were helping to screw the White Sox.

There was plenty to be seen at Wrigley yesterday, including a chick in a Mark Grace jersey signed (only) by Ronnie Woo-Woo (rolls eyes), a guy in a Henry Blanco jersey, and this:

 

The undisputed highlight of the game, though, was Baby Saffron, who giggled, squeaked, and wiggled her way through the rain and the game, charming everyone around her, including a large number of Twinks fans (who played and took photos with her) and even Alfonso Soriano himself (who tossed her a ball in-between innings). Photos of LOHO's new rallybaby to come.

Other highlights of the game included really wet feet, Umbra and Millertime trying to get a "Mark De-Rosa! (Clap, clap, clapclapclap!)" chant going (at my request, of course), watching Fukfudome try to corkscrew himself into the ground every AB, and the bleachers errupting in cheers the first time Milty held up the correct number of outs. Hee--that one still makes me laugh. Summerguy and I noticed that Milty never came out for pregame warmups, as he undoubtedly knew the reception that was awaiting him.

As for me, I was lucky to have summerguy on one side of me and this Twinks fan on the other:

 

Despite a penchant for spitting dangerously close to my open-toed shoes and the decision that taking a photo of my cleavage was a good idea, he proved to be a lovely game-time companion and I hope he had fun at the Kenny Chesney concert last night (snicker. . . lame! . .snicker).

In the end, perhaps the presence of so many LOHOers made the Cubs nervous and proved to be their ultimate undoing. We make another go of it today, as Ted Lilly (7-4 and RIPPED) takes on Scott Baker (4-6). Baker seems to be a chamring young chap. . . I almost regret the buzzsaw of offense he's about to run into.

The game hits WGN at 1:20. Lineups to come.

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54 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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Erroneously omitted from the headlines:

Down to four extra position players, one of them the backup catcher, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Carlos Zambrano would be an early-inning pinch-hitter.

Piniella was left with little choice Saturday after infielder Bobby Scales was sent back to Triple-A Iowa to make room for starting pitcher Rich Harden, leaving the Cubs with an almost-unheard-of 13 pitchers.

"The big reason is all these extra innings we have had with our pitchers and also the fact a couple of them have been a little tender," said Piniella, who declined to elaborate which ones. "So we're just giving ourselves a little protection. I don't know how long we can stay this way."

Hooray! Less hitters, more crappy pigpen pitchers.

summerguy said:

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(HEAD EXPLODES)

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

What 13 freaking pitchers!!??

PITCHING IS NOT OUR FUCKING PROBLEM!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Ok I'm done.

Off to the Cubs game where it'll be another 47/53 Twins/Cubs fans day.

I will end with this: I want the head of Jim Hendry.

FrankS said:

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I wish they would either send Patton back to the Rockies or trade a prospect to them so they can option the kid to the minors. Lou hardly ever uses him so its doubly wasteful as the kid is not getting a chance to develop as a pitcher by facing hitters at the appropriate level. For as much use as he is getting, he might as well be in a hospital bed somewhere.

summerguy said:

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THANK YOU FrankS.

That is what I have been saying since his previous monthly appearance. I doubt his former team would want him back.

Doc said:

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Holding on to rule 5 draftees is a dangerous game...

A friend of mine who is a cardinal fan told me that the cardinals bullpen woes last year were in part due to the fact they were hanging on to a rule 5 pick...I don't remember which of the guys it was, but don't expect the cardinals to make that mistake again.

summerguy said:

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I will upload the photos I have from LOHO day as soon as possible... including the much talked about Saffron photos.

Um... should i email them to you Julie?

JulieDiCaro said:

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yep, email them to me!

summerguy said:

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Ok... now I must find my lost camera. I probably won't get around to uploading them until after the game today.

FrankS said:

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Here I sit on a Sunday, not feeling like doing anything productive. I just posted an observation over at IvyChat that this Cub team seems very reminiscent of the 84 White Sox. They were coming off a 99 win season, then proceeded to only win 74 games the next season.

While I was mostly paying attention to the Cubs as they won the division, Sutcliffe won a Cy Young award and Sandberg was the league MVP, I did read enough articles about the Sox to know that the players kept claiming the season was still young, the team was going to start hitting, etc., etc., up until August. Does that sound anything like what we've heard from Cub players? At what point do these guys start understanding that the season is rapidly slipping away from them?

Oh, I was so bored that I was doing some searching over at Baseball-Reference.com and learned that the Sox had 17 consecutive winning seasons between 1951 and 1967 which is pretty damn impressive. Too bad the Yankees owned the AL during most of that span.

Meanwhile the Cubs haven't had more than two consecutive winning seasons since a six year string between 67 and 72. This year was the Cubs chance for 3 in a row, but I'm having serious doubts at this point.

Umbra said:

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The absolute adoration of Joe Mauer was a sight to behold. I was told he was the all-State basketball, football, and baseball star, a hometown hero who speaks humbly, a Minnesotan Messiah who hits .412.

Those Twins fans were very nice, including the guy who gave Saffron the ball, as well as the guy who hated Alex Kangas as much as I did.

Perkins said:

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Joe Mauer is a fucking beast. Shame the Twins picked before the Cubs in 2001.

Also having David Patton and Aaron Miles on the roster at this point in the season is inexcusable. I'm starting to laugh at how comically bad this season is going. No reasonable person could have predicted it!

I have a feeling this will be like the 2003 team: average for most of the year, but with one really hot month that gets them into the playoffs. Fortunately for them, 87-89 wins is probably enough to win the NL Central.

J Pep said:

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Changes being made...http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports_hardball/2009/06/cubs-fire-hitting-coach-gerald-perry-promote-von-joshua.html

JulieDiCaro said:

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that's scapegoating bs.

gerald perry has done wonders with this team. anyone remember what our team obp was when he came in?

boo. booooooo! fire the players!

flyball said:

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secdelahc said:

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It's just a ceremonial sign that the Cubs are trying to change something. Although I agree it's BS, to the bulk of the fandom it looks like they're taking action.

JulieDiCaro said:

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might as well have changed the clubhouse attendant. perry can't go up there and hit for them.

Doc said:

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I completely agree with everything you are saying...

but I believe Gerald Perry was well liked by the players, and his firing might be a bit of a wake-up call for those players...I hope. If this doesn't do any good, well, I'm not sure what they would do. Von Joshua is, without a doubt, a downgrade for the cubs. But, like I said, I hope this is motivation...and if this team can't get motivated by this, then the only thing left is a fight.

JulieDiCaro said:

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actually, i'm not sure it's a downgrade. . . a lot of our players hit far better at AAA than they have here.

flyball said:

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he gets fired because the players like him? here's hoping his severance pay is really really good

Doc said:

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yes...in a way...

I believe the hope is that his firing is actually a wake up call for the players because a person they like was fired because of their performance.

Doc said:

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I'll tell you this,

Playing Aaron Miles in not an answer to this team's problems. Gerald Perry should have taken Miles with him when he was fired.

Doc said:

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Milton almost screwed up that fly ball. I hope he DH's during interleague away games.

JulieDiCaro said:

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he totally did--with another stupid flashy play.

HoboHanson said:

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This girl is not good at singing. How the heck did she get this gig? Maybe she's Wayne Messmer's kid or something. Oh...awful...

JulieDiCaro said:

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stupid joe mauer.

word from the great white north is that he bought a ton of tickets for this weekend and gave them away to random twinks fans.

jerk.

JulieDiCaro said:

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ha. the crowd does an exaggerated cheer ever time milty does something right.

flyball said:

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anyone have faith that a new batting coach is really going to make a difference?

yeah, me too

flyball said:

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why do i have a feeling that I'm going to not like this game

JulieDiCaro said:

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i can't remember the last time i liked a game. . .

even nick punto got on base. blech.

Doc said:

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That first game versus the Astros I liked...

But I think that was the last time in about month.

Umbra said:

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Ted Lilly tackles the guy on the suicide squeeze. I don't think he'll try that again.

JulieDiCaro said:

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of course, i didn't start soto today.

sigh.

Umbra said:

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"It's hard to do play by play when you're eating a gator stick"

That's what she said, Len.

Doc said:

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um...

Glenn Cook?

And the cubs actually have faith that their minor league system could teach this guy to play baseball? Sounds like a wasted pick to me.

FrankS said:

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Is that pick any more wasted than Kenny Williams picking his sons? Or Ron Schuler drafting his daughter? It was a 48th round pick. The guy is a good athlete. You don't see many 48th round picks making the majors, so why not take a flier? Maybe they should have drafted one of Ozzie Guillen's kids instead?

JulieDiCaro said:

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this is why baseball drafts amuse me. you can draft people who don't even know they're up for drafting.

Doc said:

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you are probably right...it was the 48th round...that's Mike Piazza territory I think. Still, I think I would have still used the pick on a baseball player.

FrankS said:

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Piazza was a 62nd round pick, but he's a very rare exception. This kid went to a try out, the Cubs liked what they saw so they spent a pick on him. I suppose they could have waited until after the draft, hope that he went undrafted, then signed him as a free agent. But when you start listing all the various mistakes that Cubs management has made, this draft pick is about dead last in importance.

Doc said:

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On a positive note...

The cubs seem to be hitting the ball a lot harder than they have all week today...too bad the wind is blowing in about 100 mph.

Doc said:

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I made note of this yesterday...

Has anyone considered switching Fontenot and Theriot in the infield?

Fontenot seems like he has a much much stronger arm then theriot and might be more effective at short. It seems like Theriot would be a much more natural second baseman.

Umbra said:

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hellosoto

flyball said:

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hey look! they're winning! I stop watching the game to chat with mom, return and they're winning, and Geo is on base again, wow my mom should call more often

flyball said:

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yay marmol for getting out of that inning, I was nervous

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Are they gonna break through?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Hooray! Cubs win!

canopygrl said:

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HOLY COW! Glad to hear that, just got home to a sweltering 95 degrees. Had a blast- Umbra, Millertime, DocB, C-J, and Summerguy, Glad to have spent the rainy day with ya. Find your camera [Summerguy] and post those pics!

Umbra said:

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This team is like heroin. When they win a walkoff like this, it's thrilling. I don't even remember the last 4 games.

Gerald who?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Absolutely... Von Joshua for president!

Umbra said:

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of Iran!

flyball said:

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too bad Von Joshua doesn't arrive til Tuesday

yay for a Cubs win!

secdelahc said:

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Stop ruining our fun, flyball!

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Why does it take him 2-3 days to get from Des Moines to Chicago?

Doc said:

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He's not a very fast runner...and swimming across the mississippi isn't easy either.

summerguy said:

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Hey we won without the pitching coach... maybe we don't even need one?

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