Photo Gallery: 2014 Tennessee Smokies

One of our longtime readers, "Cliff1969", happens to be a pretty good photographer and he has recently attended some Smokies games in Birmingham.  He was kind enough to share a bunch of pictures with me that you will undoubtedly see me use from time to time as our featured image on the recaps.  But there are so many good ones that I decided to post some of them so that everyone can enjoy...

A side note: Another Smokies fan, "Aggbat",  is looking to organize a Cubs Den get together for a game in Knoxville this summer.  If you are interested, let us know in the comments section.

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Tags: Tennessee Smokies

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    Awesome pics Cliff!

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Indeed. I think my favorite is the Villanueva shot.

  • That whole area is awesome. From the mascot, to the park, to the smokie mountains, and the breath taking sunsets. Been so blessed to have the talent that has come thru. Few yrs ago we went to watch Colvin and Jake Fox. Last summer was Alcantra, Baez and Hendricks.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Huge change in talent there!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hopefully will for years to come

  • Schwarber with a walkoff HR tonight. Nice bright spot! EJax brutal yet again. Who has been the worse-performing Cub ... EJax or Marmol? I go with Marmol, but if someone takes Jackson off our hands in the next couple days, I may be doing cartwheels here south of I-80.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    I don't typically love discussing "who's worse" scenarios, but I'd have to disagree. You have to keep in mind the 4-year run that Marmol made from 2007-2010 where he was pretty damn good - he was about as dominant as a guy could be in '07 and the second half of '08. To me, he got a bit out of shape and wasn't able to throw quite as hard or keep the same command.

    Len and JD mentioned a stat tonight that said Jackson has failed to reach the 6th inning in 10 of his last 13 starts. Given the contract and importance as a veteran presence on a young team, I'd say that Jackson has been worse. I keep wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, but 105 pitches to get through 4 innings tonight is just not getting it done.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Yeah, I agree Sinister. Marmol was decent but then turned to Marmolade. As far as Jackson is concerned, you are absolutely right ... 105 through 4 is not going to get it done.

  • Great shots! My first thought: The other day a poster joked about replacing the lost hair of Russell if he gets moved at the deadline. Looks like McKirahan can fill in if necessary!

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    He fits right in :)

  • Thanks for the comments. The photos were taken at Regions Field in Birmingham, hence the "away" uniforms.

    I would definitely be interested in a Knoxville meet & greet. Talking future Cubs stars with some Cubs Den regulars (and a cold beer or two...) sounds like a great idea!

  • John, a question. Is Cates the second player that the Cubs got in the Rizzo/Cashner exchange? I think I've been confusing him somewhat with Cervenka (from Boston in the Theo swap)?

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    He is. Sorry, working on the recaps and missed the question.

    Cervenka was obtained for Marlon Byrd.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, John. I knew he was connected with Boston somehow.

  • Per multiple twitter sources the Pirates are very close to acquiring Lester saying it could happen tonight. As has been said, this would be one of the best case scenarios for the Cubs as it removes the possibility of a qualifying offer and draft pick penalty for signing Lester after the season if the Cubs are so inclined. It also hurts Pittsburgh in the long run as they lose top prospects for a short term piece, and unlike the Dodgers who could have easily signed Lester to an extension preventing him from hitting the market, the Pirates do not have the resources to sign Lester to a big deal. However Rosenthal just tweeted that the Cards and Dodgers are still in the running, in which case everything that applies to the Pirates goes ditto for St. Louis. Best case scenario: Cardinals pay a kings ransom for Lester's services, and then get knocked out early in the post-season....hey, I can dream can't I?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I got a text saying Pirates are the leaders about 8 or 9 hours ago but lately I have been seeing the Athletics are also involved. Not sure what they have left to trade.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've seen reports they want use Tommy Milone for another piece.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Interesting. Also Gordon Edes ‏@GordonEdes reporting...
    Six teams still in on Lester, according to source with direct knowledge: Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles, Athletics

  • I wouldn't be so quick to assume that the Pirates couldn't sign Lester to a long term contract.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Everything I have read and believe to be true suggests to me resigning Lester would be totally impossible for the Pirates. They are apparently not even interested in Burnett because of his expensive option for next year.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    lol @ Ruben Amaro Jr.. just LOL

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Amaro just never gets any better, for Hamels he asked the Dodgers for all 3 of Seager, Pederson and Urias

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    In reply to MendyMania7:

    While clearly crazy, I can't blame him.

    Like when we were trying to trade Shark, why not ask for the world.

    If Philly offered to pay a decent part of Hamela contract, it would be a slightly less crazy request.

    But yeah, Amaro is still a moron.

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    Hate to be critical of Ricky, but first two runner reach in top of 13th but he has nasty Nate swinging away who strikes out,

    Then he pinch hits w Jake the snake and has him swinging away until he has one strike, then the bunt is on. Wtf ? Even Len n JD are trying to figure it out while being nice saying " we sometimes don't know how the players are feeling down in the dugout ". Hahahahah ah

    Now Emilio comes up w the same two base runners at the same two bases.

    I get they may be trying to lose but if u can put your team in position to win, as it's last midnight, u have to try to win.........

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I was surprised the game was still on when I woke up, and I stayed at home as long as I could, hoping it would finish. Bummed I missed the 16th.

    Anywho, I agree with the comments on the 13th. I think it was JD who suggested letting Nate swing on the first pitch, since Colorado woud be playing bunt. OK, fine. But afterward, you just gotta make him drop it. If Nate doesn't like it, well, just remind him of his BA. He is (supposed to be) a Major League hitter, so getting a bunt down, even if he hasn't done it in years, should not a priori be that difficult for him, should it?

    But having a short bench tied Ricky Ticky's hands a bit tonight, I think. Regarding Arrieta's AB, I think it was a damned if do, damned if don't situation. You don't want him to hit into a DP, but you really don't need Castillo on 3rd, either.

    That and Jackson, only going four innings and 100 + pitches !?! But Jackson's performance is something others can rant about better than I.

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    It's almost to the point that you want Pedro to blow it if Ricky isn't going to try and manufacture a run.

  • Wow,my wife is hating this game.

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    Honestly, I am typically not a knee-jerk guy, but if I were Theo, I would ask Ricky what he was thinking in the 13th and quite possibly fire him if I didn't hear something that made even a little sense, which I doubt would be possible. I'm 53 and have been following baseball closely for almost 50 of those years and that may have been the worst strategy employed that I have ever seen. Why not use Wood and try to win the game. Absolutely inexcusable.

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    In reply to Terry Huebner:

    Right ? At least try to end the game, not only for the W but for the wear and tear on your players.

    Yes, Nate probably doesn't know how to bunt, but if your an automatic out at the plate, you need to try and help the team in other ways.

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    In reply to Terry Huebner:

    OK, I guess I missed them use Wood earlier, but my thoughts are the same. Try to win the game. That and I don't understand all the pitching changes that put them in that position in the first place. I really think I would fire Renteria. George Steinbrenner wouldn't have let him finish the game.

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    In reply to Terry Huebner:

    He didn't have many choices... Alright so let's say he has Nate but and he does it, now you expect Russell or the pinch hitting Arrieta to drive the runner in? No of course not, it was a tough situation and clearly not ideal but having Nate swing away was the only option

  • In reply to Gus Medina:

    If Schierholz bunts, you have 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, you let Baker pinch-hit and go for it, don't you?

    If Baker and Bonifacio fail to drive in the runner from 3rd (or Alcantara, if one of those two gets IBB'd), then you may well have serious issues later in the game. For example, Wood or Arrieta might have had to pitch from the 16th onward. If you are unwilling to play the risk of Baker and Bonifacio succeeding (for example, Baker gets IBB'd and Bonifacio hits into a DP), then yes, Ricky Ticky probably played it correctly.

  • In reply to Terry Huebner:

    If you would have watched the game, you would have known that Wood came in to pinch-hit for Edwin back in the 4th inning. He was ineligible.

    It was either a pitcher (like Arrieta) or John Baker left.

    Considering the fact that the game is still going on, and there are no available pitchers left (aside for Rondon who is being rested), it made no sense to have Baker pinch-hit back then and then have to use some other positional player as a pitcher.

    Renteria must have fore-casted ahead (as any good manager would), as John Baker just pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

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    I like baker as a pitcher. He's pounding that outside corner and mixing the speeds very well. Let's hope he can keep the Rockies confused for an inning or two.

  • So Baker is now a better pitcher than Jackson

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    Rockies bringing out a starter to pitch the bottom of the 16th.

    With tons of pitching a phone call away in Iowa, we throw in the towel w John baker

    At least baker has some fire left and doesn't want to lose this game

  • Walking the pitcher to leadoff an inning is never a good idea

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    Inexcusable Tyler Matex......you walk the pitcher to start the inning in a tie game.

    Tisk, tisk, tisk

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    I have watched the entire game save for a few batters here and there. Letting Nate S. swing then have Arrieta bunt was awful. Arrieta would have been better served to do what Hawkins did, which was also pretty bad. Hit and run. Do something to try and win. Between that and the nickle and dime LaRussa pitching changes all the time, I frankly don't think much of Ricky at all. This takes the cake.

  • In reply to Terry Huebner:

    There are some things that I don't like about Ricky's in-game management. I agree that he tends to make too many pitching changes, and really bunts much more than he should. However, his starting pitching post-trade has dictated that he overuse his bullpen, and he doesn't have a complete lineup. I think that you give him at least two years (like they did Sveum) and improve the talent before you can completely dismiss him.

    Hey, hell of an effort by that bullpen tonight, even if it is against another last-place team. 12 scoreless innings! John Baker is the most popular guy with the remaining 200 fans that stayed for the whole game tonight.

  • I can go to bed with a smile on my face now! Cubs win!!

  • In reply to DANTANA67:

    Haha! Me too. Couldn't stop watching.

  • It took almost 2 months for Samardzija to finally get a win in 2014, but just an innning for his now former battery mate

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