A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Friday Headlines: Offensive Juggernaut Awakes, No Timetable on Return to Slumber






Don't look now, but the Cubs are only 10 games under .500 and only 10 games out of first in the NL Central. They put themselves in this prime position with a 12-6 win over the Phillies last night. They hit well, they pitched well (except Bob Howry) and they ran the bases well.

They managed to couple a good pitching performance from Ryan Dempster along with 16 hits, including 3 homers as they got the unofficial second half of the season started with a bang.

"This is what we hoped for," said manager Lou Piniella, whose team improved to 40-50. "This is what we talked about. We got it tonight. Lot of hitting, the longball, extra-base hits. Good ballgame for us."


In between all the homeruns and doubles was the Cubs' first straight steal of home since 1996 by Brian McRae.


There was more than just power. The Cubs got a single, a double and a triple from rookie shortstop Starlin Castro, who also stole home in the second inning on a failed suicide-squeeze attempt by pitcher Ryan Dempster.

That was a first for Piniella.

"I never have in the second inning," Piniella said of calling that play. "Never have. It wasn't hunch. We figured we'd try a few things different. No, I never have. Hopefully, I never will again."



Before the Cubs put themselves back in the division race last night, Jim Hendry had a private chat with Ted Lilly.

Ted Lilly met with general manager Jim Hendry to discuss his future before Thursday night's game with the Phillies.
Lilly is on the block and is considered the Cub with the most trade value. Lilly has said he would like to stay in Chicago and has a limited no-trade clause. Hendry would like to keep Lilly, but he doesn't know if the Cubs can meet his free agent demands in November so he has to consider getting something in return.

Hendry said he doesn't discuss trade possibilities, while Lilly declined comment.

"I don't know if I have the right to discuss that," he said. "Write whatever you want."

I hope Ted said that with the perfect blend of nonchalance and disdain. Even though our time with Ted might be drawing to a close, some good news was released yesterday.

Hendry said John Grabow won't be able to return from the disabled list until the end of July.
If that isn't worthy of a cheer, I don't know what is. Except maybe Grabow not returning till the end of September. Speaking of pitchers returning, Carlos Zambrano took his first step back to the mound yesterday in Mesa.

Carlos Zambrano arrived Thursday at the Cubs' training complex in Mesa, Ariz., throwing 25 pitches in a side session in his first step toward returning to the team.

Zambrano, who has been on baseball's restricted list since shortly after his dugout outburst June 25 at U.S. Cellular Field, will be in Mesa on a throwing program designed by pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Mark O'Neal.

General manager Jim Hendry said Zambrano has been throwing on his own, ''but you have to monitor that. He needs to get work in, and when our pitching people there communicate to Larry that it's time to get in games, we'll send him somewhere [in the minor-league system].''


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20 Comments

gravedigger said:

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No. Fuck that.

Doc said:

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Joe Girardi will be Cubs manager...

...in 2028, when he is old and completely out of touch with the game. The Cubs have a knack for hiring people when they are not in their prime. Girardi will be the same.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Very true. By the way, that Wiffleball '79 video was classic!!

gravedigger said:

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"I hope Ted said that with the perfect blend of nonchalance and disdain."

Every time I read a quote from Lilly, I think about the time Flyball said that he always has the "Oh, you're out of risotto? Oh well" look on his face, no matter what the emotion.

gravedigger said:

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Also, this is a bit weird, but Lilly is the only guy I have ever heard my mom say was "hot". It creeps me out a bit.

Edelweiss said:

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And you think creepy Theriot is hot.

Doc said:

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It was a good game last night...too bad the 5000 people in the bleachers missed it.

plamorte said:

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i had great seats and decent crowd surrounding me, except for the kid next to me who thanked me when I got there because I was able to cover him a bit while he poured booze from his flask into a lemonade. Oy.

Doc said:

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Where were you at?

plamorte said:

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section 130, first base side, section up from Phillies dugout

Doc said:

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nice!

Edelweiss said:

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Did you see those creepy guys with telephoto lenses taking pictures of players' private areas while they are bending over or stretching? Wait, are you one of them?

gravedigger said:

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Sec your former mayor is at it again:

"A correctional officer observed him touch the wife on her breast," being the high point of the article.

secdelahc said:

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I saw that. I just wish all the drama would end. I'm tired of hearing about him.

Edelweiss said:

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A few years ago, the mayor, and several prominent men from one Chicago suburb were discovered in the forest preserves, participating in "down low" activity with one another. They are all straight men with families. The kids from the nearby high school were prohibited from going in the woods, even after school and weekends, or would face expulsion. Families picknicking there were rousted from the area, and threatened with arrest. A prominent Cub official lives nearby, but was not involved.

secdelahc said:

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Carl, you've been on fire lately with the titles of your headlines and gamethreads. I love this one, too!

Andy-Kid said:

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You thought the pitching was good? I thought it was garbage.

AndCounting said:

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It's funny that reporters keep referring to that steal of a home as a failed suicide-squeeze attempt. How is scoring a run without surrendering an out deemed a failure by the offense? I know Demp was trying to bunt the ball, but it was a curve in the dirt and about two feet outside. There was no way he could have made contact and no need for him to do so.

Edelweiss said:

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It is called a failed squeeze attempt because Quade had signalled for one, and Dempster missed the ball. Castro made the best of the situation by getting a good jump after the call was made. The same thing happened last year, with different results. Milton Bradley was at third, and did not run when the signal was given. When Fontenot missed the bunt, Bradley was only a few feet from third, and was put out.

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