A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Weekend Headlines: All Cracked Up


Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

 The Cubs continue with the unintentional metaphors for the 2010 season, having cracked the beloved Harry Caray statue in the prep for the Big Northwestern/Illiois game:

First came the move of his statue, and now comes the news that the Cubs accidentally damaged it while making over the ballpark for the Nov. 20 Northwestern-Illinois football game.

As Caray would say: "Boy, oh, boy."

Less than three months after moving the Caray statue from the corner of Addison and Sheffield to outside the bleacher entrance at Sheffield and Waveland, the base was severely damaged, with a y-shaped crack that runs diagonally from the lower left corner to the upper right corner.

The Liberty Bell-like crack goes straight through the inscription, "Dedicated by the Chicago Cubs, April 12, 1999," running through the "H" in "the" and the "L" in April.

It's really a shame this didn't happen during the filming of "Undercover Boss."

As I wrote on Thursday, the Ricketts have been having a tough go of it with the fans lo these past few months. Now it looks like the PR department is fighting back:

The owner of the Chicago Cubs has a public relations battle on his hands.

A Chicago Sun-Times editorial Friday blasted the Ricketts family's proposal to have the state issue up to $300 million in bonds to pay for Wrigley Field renovations. Callers on sports-talk radio programs and anonymous posts on online chat boards also questioned why Illinois should help fix up a privately owned baseball stadium for one of the most valuable franchises in professional sports.

Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts tried Friday to calm the uproar. In several radio interviews, he said Cubs fans are on the hook, not the at-large taxpayer on the South Side, in Peoria or in Carbondale.

"The dollars are only coming from people who buy Cubs tickets, and only the increase over what they pay today," Ricketts said on WGN-AM 720.

You can listen to Tom Ricketts' interview with The Score here.

In coming the battle between Darth Selig and Empire and the former owners of the St. Louis Cardinals, who will you side with?

NEW YORK (AP)--Anheuser-Busch sued Major League Baseball on Friday in a dispute over the brewer's decades-long sponsorship.

The maker of Budweiser contends MLB is improperly trying to back out of an April agreement to extend the company's exclusive sponsorship deal.

The St. Louis-based company said it had a signed renewal agreement in hand for weeks when baseball's licensing entity abruptly asked for more money and refused to sign a formal contract.

Anheuser-Busch said an MLB official demanded an "exponentially higher" fee because there had been a "change in marketplace dynamics."

Before discussing the back-end of the rotation, Bruce Miles begs us to leave him alone for a week while he prepares for the Winter Meetings:

Going to take a week's break here, and then I'll be back for the run-up to the winter meetings. Thanks to all for continuing to make Chicago's Inside Pitch the best mainstream media baseball blog in the Chicago area.

Jim Hendry will head to Orlando next week for the GM meetings. The winter meetings will be there next month, and yes, I do plan on attending. Those are long days, but you see everybody who is everybody in baseball at the winter meetings. Maybe between now and then, we'll have a few new faces to talk about. I'm sure Jim will try to lay the groundwork for a deal or two next week.

Now, the bad news:

Samardzija is out of minor-league options, and he's heading into the last year of a major-league contract Hendry signed him to so Samardzija would give up football. The deal hasn't really worked out for anybody thus far. If Samardzija never makes it, Hendry will be left to explain another bad contract. (There are club options for 2012 and 2013 for Samardzija.)

If it weren't for his horrible, horrible contract (he has to be one of the highest-paid minor leaguers in the history of the game), we might be able to foist Samardzija on one of the usual suspects: the Orioles or Reds. Unforunately, Jeff's inexplicable contract, complete with a full no-trade clause, makes him nearly impossible to move.

Finally, this "news" is now 4 days old, but it still has me shaking my head:

1:55pm: The Astros may make a run at Lee, in the opinion of SI's Jon Heyman (Twitter link).  He names the Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, and Phillies as other surprising suitors.

Hmmm. Maybe we'd have more money to give Cliff Lee if we didn't give it to people like Jeff Samardzija and John Grabow.


Happy Weekend, Everyone!




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flyball said:


so how much of a ticket increase masquerading as a tax are we going to see next season?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:


It's for your own good!

ddevonb said:

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"Unfortunately, Jeff's inexplicable contract, complete with a full no-trade clause, makes him nearly impossible to move."

It's maybe unjustifiable, but not inexplicable. His choice was playing football or playing for the Cubs. He would have chosen football had he not signed with the Cubs. He grew up a Cubs fan and didn't want to play for another team... so a no trade was important for him. He also had the leverage of playing football. In hind sight the Cubs have overpaid unless he becomes very good. This year will be the year of decision.

Doc said:


What the Samarzija contract showed was for a very brief moment in time the Cubs were willing to do something the have almost never done in the past and that was to paying top dollar on potential high reward talent but at the risk of it being a complete flop. You will often see high revenue teams take risks like this as a way for them to compensate for the fact they often don't get high draft picks.

Anyone can say what they want about this year, but Spellcheck is a complete flop. It is over. Of the last year and a half, F7 has shown quite a bit of improvement, but he, honestly, still just 'throws' the ball up there and after 4 years is only just showing signs of being able to actually 'pitch' the ball. Anyone that has watched him evolve over the years will notice that significant change.

For the Cubs...they screwed up this kid as they have with so many players in the past. As I said, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to see them take the risk at giving him a big contract like that, but part of taking a risk on a raw talent like him is that you must have patience in the process. Instead, the Cubs rushed him to the big leagues and have moved him back and forth so much that he is now out of options and must either stay on the 25 man roster or be placed on waivers.

Personally, after seeing Samardzija throw immediately after they drafted him, I really didn't think he'd work out and a year later when they gave him that contract, I thought it was a huge mistake. I liked the fact that the Cubs were willing to take a chance on someone like Spellcheck, but if they actually watched the kid throw, I think they would have realized that they were going to take a risk on the wrong player.

My guess is that the Cubs will leave him on the opening day roster and he'll be DFA'd by the end of May.

JulieDiCaro said:


I understand where you're coming from, but, unfortunately, until the Cubs become much, MUCH better at drafting and developing players, I'd rather they stick to spending the big bucks on proven players.

It's not so much that I don't think a prospect is NEVER worth big money, as I just don't trust the Cubs judgment to pick the right guy.

flyball said:


perhaps they need to have their hands tied in order to learn how to draft and develop players

Edelweiss said:

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Hey!!!!! Burn ointment costs money. If a player burns his ass in the clubhouse, the Cubs have to pay into the Workman's Compensation fund.

sloan peterson said:

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Maybe the cracks in the statue are do to Harry Carey rolling in his grave...

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