A League of Her Own

Reasons for Optimism

Grand Prix de'Europe
I think a restart is in order


You might remember that last year Ryan Dempster had a horrible April. You also might remember that his wife had a baby about the same time, and their baby was born with DiGeorge Syndrome. We didn't know about it at the time, but it may have helped explain why Dempster's pitching wasn't quite what we expected. But we have something to look forward to: Dempster's daughter is doing well, and he's focused on baseball and pitching well.

"This year I feel I have the opportunity to just pitch. I know she's doing so well and the family is doing so well.

"I worked really hard this offseason and worked hard in spring training. I want it to carry over into the season. I want to do what I feel I'm capable of doing and that's (to) be an All-Star caliber player again."

One veteran baseball analyst gave the unsolicited opinion during spring training that Dempster had a chance to be among the handful of the National League's best pitchers "because his mind is completely clear and he has that total dedication back."

Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild agreed.

"The way he worked this winter and the way he's throwing this spring, he has put himself in a good position (to succeed)," he said.

Gordo shows us how much Dempster improved last year:

Ten starts into the season, the former All-Star was 3-3 with a 4.99 ERA. But as Riley was able to come home and things improved, Dempster's season did, too (8-6, 3.05 the rest of the way).
Now?

''Knowing that she's safe and that we're out of the hospital now and the strides she's made -- you don't have to worry about those kinds of things anymore,'' he said, adding that he thinks he should have performed better, even under the circumstances, and that he learned a lot. ''I think mentally it's made me a lot stronger.''


You want another reason for optimism? The schedule makers smiled on the Cubs:


Once the Cubs escape the clutches of a loaded Atlanta Braves team, the softest part of their schedule starts - with 29 consecutive games against teams that had losing records last season.

''That don't mean anything; that was last year,'' Aramis Ramirez said. ''You don't know how they're going to bounce back.''

No, but near the end of that stretch, the Cubs have 10 in a row against 2009 last-place finishers Washington, Arizona and Pittsburgh -- the first seven of those at Wrigley Field -- and there's not enough bounce on the planet to make that look daunting. By May 10, the Cubs either will be in first place or in trouble.


This is a short diary, because after a 16-5 drubbing and a day off, there's not much room for optimism. But here's to hoping the Cubs can change that today.

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65 Comments

secdelahc said:

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I've had my Kool-Aid and am ready to begin again. Hopefully today's game plays out better than Monday's, else I'm hitting the bottle tonight.

abe frohman said:

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May 10, huh? Okay. I'm circling the date.
Who wants a t-shirt?
5-10-10
In First
Or
In Trouble

Cubs Psychologist said:

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I'm all about a t-shirt. I hope for in first,but unfortunately used to in trouble.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm going to miss the game tonight, as I'm going to an event with a couple of Bears and a Bull. You guys will have to post the score update so I can follow on my phone.

Doc said:

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awfully demanding, isn't she?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Look alive over there, Derek! I require more comments on this thread.

Doc said:

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Yes, ma'am.

Max Power said:

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You have no idea.

gravedigger said:

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I suggest following on ESPN or MLB mobile sites instead.

Max Power said:

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You're a hell of a team player.

AndCounting said:

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Until the Cubs win, I'm calling every game of the season, Game 1. Marketing-department-generated fresh starts FTW!

JulieDiCaro said:

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My buddy Rock Mamola posted a diary directed at Cubs fans over at his site:

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/rock-report/2010/04/a-plea-to-cubs-fans-relax-its-only-one-game-from-your-best-pitcher.html

Basically, he's telling everyone to calm down over Z's horrible start. I haven't really seen anyone freaking out, have you? I think more people just rolled their eyes at Z's perennial terrible Opening Day performance. Frankly, I was more alarmed by Spellcheck and Berg than anyone.

DKT said:

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Yeah, I think I'm more worried about the defense and Spellcheck.

I want to believe that Z will bounce back and I have every confidence in the starting pitchers (until they prove me wrong, which I hope they don't)

Doc said:

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Despite it all, the defense is better than it was last year. Period.

Z will bounce back.

Spellcheck needs to be demoted and turned into a real relief pitcher.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Agreed, Spellcheck scared the hell out of me. Z is Z and he will bounce back. But, like most of our discussions, the major concern is the pen.

AndCounting said:

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I don't think we can base our projections for F7 solely on his performance on Monday. That would be an injustice to all his other craptastic outings over the years.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I feel confident that he'll live up this outing over the course of the season.

Doc said:

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I just want the cubs to decide once and for all if Samardzija will be a starter or a reliever...and keep him in that role.

As a reliever, he's been horrible. But if they want him to be in that role, let him work on getting the velocity up on that fast ball, and control a slider or split finger. That's it.

If they want him to be a starter, then send him down to the minors to work on a change up and to throttle back his velocity a bit.

Stop jerking the kid around, though.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Why would the decide on Spellcheck? Marshall is still YTBD!! That seems to be the new trend with talent...Ask Joba.

DKT said:

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Maybe I should say the defense needs to concentrate more. Or else get Castro up here now and have a SS who has range and move Theriot back to second.

Right now, they look like AAA players, not Major Leaguers

Edelweiss said:

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I noticed that most of the balls hit up the middle, and over decond base came from left handed hitters. Theriot, the infield captain, had everyone shifted toward the right, so much that Fontenot and Lee could have almost touched hands. Theriot was just to the left of 2b, but couldn't range far enough to get a ball hit over the base. This happened repeatedly, and Theriot never figured it out that the lefties weren't pulling the ball. That is the kind of shift put on for Prince Fielder. Those idiots who think he should move to 2b apparently never noticed his poorer range to the left than to the right. The Cubs know it, and don't even give him grounders at second. If Castro comes up for good, he will play either 2nd or short, but Theriot will not move to 2nd.

Edelweiss said:

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Correction - I meant to say, they were shifted towards first base. It is Theriot's left, but the hitters right.

Dmband said:

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The Dempster story is one of two interesting stories on the team this year as it relates to the perfomance of a player. No matter how many new "stats" are invented WARP, BURP, YELP, whatever, sometimes you just cant numerically prove everything. It will be very interesting to see Demp, and Silva (which may prompt a new stat, "Wins after Mom returns to the United States").

abe frohman said:

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Last I checked, Felix Hernandez was leading active pitchers in WAMRUS with 16. But I think Luis Tiant has the record with 113.

Dmband said:

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Of course we would also be remiss if we didnt include ARod's contribution to the statisitcal community:

"Wins with new Girlfriend in the stands" WWNGIS

I dont blame him, If I knew Penny Lane was watching my games, I would step it up too!

Dmband said:

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ps. That documentary on Luis Tiant was awesome.

nfljersey said:

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hi,nice to meet you here,welcome you to view our website www,salefootballjerseys,com
any questions pls contact email: salefootballjerseys,hotmail,com

plamorte said:

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I just visited 10 times and sent you 18 questions via email! I love jerseys! So perfect for you to find us here!

gravedigger said:

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I tried to do the same but for some reason the URL and email address didn't work?

Karen said:

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go away troll

plamorte said:

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people around downtown, snag me a copy of Redeye, got into the 5on5, thanks Julie!

Dmband said:

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football jersey's on a baseball blog?

Apparently the concept of "target marketing" escapes you.

AndCounting said:

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I particularly like the use of commas instead of periods in the links. You know, so spammers don't pick up the URL/email address and bombard them with unwanted advertising.

Doc said:

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I had yankees ticket added up on my for a while...that's what I get for putting picture of yankee stadium on the site.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm afraid to even LOOK at my fantasy teams.

Teebob2000 said:

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Just some friendly unsolicited advice -- you need to move Ian Stewart out, I think. Trade him if you can. You've got too many position bench-sitters and not enough arms.

I happen to know Madson from the Phillies is available off waivers...

abe frohman said:

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Okay. Deep breath.
It really has only been one game.
I don't know for sure it's time to blow this team up.
But I do think that if you stand on your tiptoes you can almost see the time to blow this team up from here.

DustyBaylor said:

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No no cj....you're doing a good job...a gooooooood joooob.....

JulieDiCaro said:

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If any of the editors have some free time between 2 and 5 today, plesse shoot ,e an email!

Dmband said:

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Saw the Lolla Lineup today...Cypress Hill? It made me think of this...

"Did someone order a symphony..........possibly while high...... Cypress Hill Im looking in your direction.."

Arkansascubfan said:

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Cops come and try and snatch my crops....these pigs wanna blow my house down!

Doc said:

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Banners of players are going up around the front of Wrigley.

Looks weird.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Is there a banner of Spellcheck? If so, 5000 LOHO points to whoever can take that puppy down.

Doc said:

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The webcam didn't have a good angle, I saw Ramirez, Dempster and Soriano.

secdelahc said:

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What do I get for these points?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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You can trade in 30,000 for an Old Style.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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New ownership, new practices!! Nice entry on your blog by the way.

Doc said:

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Thanks.

JulieDiCaro said:

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stop encouraging him.

secdelahc said:

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Today has been a good day for class. We've talked about gambling, sports and alcohol. Yep, I made a good choice...

FrankS said:

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Even better would have been to be playing games (tiddlywinks, bean bag toss, table tennis, whatever) and betting on the outcomes while drinking while having class. Multitasking at its finest!

secdelahc said:

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There was a game going on during the presentation I had to give, but no actual drinking happened, sadly.

Doc said:

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That reminds me of the time we were doing the chapter on food and drink in my German class in college, and the professor let us bring in beer to drink during class.

Did you at least get to play a little bit of poker or blackjack?

secdelahc said:

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Sadly, no. Our presentation was on "search engines." Because apparently MBA students don't know what they are or how to google things like "Search engine presentations."

DustyBaylor said:

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Milk......was a bad choice!!

Doc said:

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it usually is.

JulieDiCaro said:

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TeeBob,

You are not exactly an unbiased voice here.

Teebob2000 said:

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Huh?? Oh, that? Yeah, well... I said unsolicited, not unbiased.

(But seriously, don't start Piñeiro tomorrow against the Twins. Might as well be starting a piñata.)

Dmband said:

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I wonder if the Soriano banner does look good enough, will they consider replacing it with a Tyler Colvin banner?

Teebob2000 said:

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Yeah, when one of the lines holding it up inevitably breaks around mid-May or so...

gravedigger said:

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Is this season over yet?

Doc said:

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It pretty much is over.

DKT said:

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And here I thought it was a brand new day... full of optimism.

(It can only get better, it can only get better) As I mutter to myself

Doc said:

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*snort*

The banner of Soriano looks like he's swinging (and missing) at a curve ball that was 2 feet outside.

DKT said:

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Ah... his normal swing. So glad they got his true essence.

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