Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick Hits with Spring Training Underway

A few news and notes from Cubs camp!
  • The Cubs do not plan to make any roster cuts until March 16.
  • The first full squad workout for minor leaugers will be March 10 and their first spring games will be March 19.
  • Quade does not plan to hit his pitcher any spot other than ninth.
  • Angel Guzman tossed 30 pitches in a side session on Sunday.
  • The 13th annual toast to Harry Caray will take place tomorrow at 5:55 with a special tribute to Ron Santo. Coverage will be on ESPN 1000 for 3-6.
  • Tyler Colvin is expected to play first base on either Thursday or Friday.
  • Former Cub Bob Howry has retired after 13 seasons in the bigs.
  • Bruce Miles wrote about Baseball Prospectus yesterday.
  • The Cubs have dropped the first two Cactus League games. They play the Giants tomorrow on

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Game Preview: Cubs VS A's

The start of the baseball season is here at last! Today the Chicago Cubs take the field for the first time in 2011 as they battle the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park in the Cactus League opener.

The Cubs will get a look at four different pitchers today. Carlos Zambrano will start the game and is expected to pitch two innings. Matt Garza will pitch for the first time in a Cubs uniform after Z leaves. Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija will also work in the game.

Marmol is preparing for his second full season as the Cubs closer, while Samardzjia is trying to earn a job in the bullpen. Since Jeff is out of options, it is likely that he will end up with a spot in the 'pen. If Samardzija makes the pitching staff then five bullpen spots are locked up. Marmol will close, Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall will setup and John Grabow will pitch in middle relief. Whoever does not make the rotation between Andrew Cashner, Carlos Silva and Randy Wells will likely fill the sixth spot. The seventh rotation gig will probably belong to James Russell, but Scott Maine is also in the mix.

Other guys trying to earn a spot on the pitching staff include Todd Wellemyer, Braden Looper, Casey Coleman, Robert Coello, Thomas Diamond, Justin Berg and Esmalin Caridad.

Rain is expected in Mesa this morning, but it is supposed to clear up by game time. The weather is better than it is in the Chicago land area, but it is not hot. The high is just 53 degrees.

This game marks the start of a new era of Cubs Radio. Veteran play-by-play Pat Hughes enters his 16th season as the voice of the Cubs on WGN Radio. For the first time, Ron Santo will not sit next to Pat. Keith Moreland, who has filled in on TV and radio several times in the past, will start his career as the Cubs color commentator.

It all starts with Cubs Insider, hosted by David Kaplan at 1:00. Judd Sirott has Cubs Central Pregame at 1:30 leading up to the first pitch at 2:05. Trevor Cahill, who was an all-star last season, will start for the A's against Zambrano. Brad Ziegler, Joey Devine and Danny Farquhar are also expected to take the hill for Oakland.

Mike Quade starts his first full season as the manager of the Chicago Cubs today. Here is the lineup that he will run out there.
1. Kosuke, RF
2. Starlin Castro, SS
3. Marlon Byrd, CF
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Alfonso Soriano, LF
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Blake DeWitt, 2B
9. Carlos Zambrano, P

I cannot wait to hear Pat Hughes say the words, "Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!"

Today I will be thinking about Ron Santo.

And for the first time this year...

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!" -Bert Wilson

Friday, February 25, 2011

Countdown to Cactus League Baseball: 2 Days

Chicago Cubs baseball will be on the air on Sunday! David Kaplan starts it off with Cubs Insider at 1:00, Judd Sirott has Cubs Central Pregame at 1:30 and Pat and Keith will have the call at 2:05.

Mike Quade has announced his starting lineups and batting orders for the first three Spring Training games.

Sunday VS Oakland
Kosuke, RF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Geovany Soto, C
Blake DeWitt, 2B
Carlos Zambrano, P
Also playing Sunday: Darwin Barney (SS), Fernando Perez (CF), Bryan LaHair (1B), Tyler Colvin (RF), Brett Jackson (LF), Jeff Baker (2B), Josh Vitters (3B). The starters are expected to play five innings.

Monday VS Brewers
Reed Johnson, CF
Darwin Barney, SS
Tyler Colvin, RF
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Caros Pena, 1B
Jeff Baker, 2B
Marquez Smith, 3B
Koyie Hill, C
Randy Wells, P

Tuesday VS Giants
Kosuke, RF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Geovany Soto, C
Blake DeWitt, 2B
Reed Johnson, LF
Bryan LaHair, 1B
Ryan Dempster, P

Other Updates
  • The Cubs will moved down to HoHoKam Park after today's workout. They will practice there tomorrow.
  • Angel Guzman will face hitters in a live BP session next Wednesday.
  • Today would have been Ron Santo's 71st birthday.
  • Mike Quade likes Kosuke in the lead-off spot.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Countdown to Cactus League Baseball: 3 Days

The Cubs and the Oakland A's in Mesa, Arizona this weekend! As most of you know, the big Spring Training opener is Sunday in 2:05 and will be broadcast on WGN Radio. Here are a few quick hits as we count down!

Pitching Schedule

Sunday VS Oakland: Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol

Monday VS Brewers: Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner

Tuesday VS Giants: Ryan Dempster and Casey Coleman

Wednesday VS Rangers: Carlos Silva and James Russell

Monday, February 21, 2011

Breaking News: Ryan Dempster to Start on Opening Day

Updated 3:20pm CT with Spring Training Rotation Info

Today, Mike Quade named Ryan Dempster his Opening Day starter. Demp will take the ball against the Pirates on April 1 at Wrigley Field. This choice is very popular among Cubs fans.

Carlos Zambrano got the nod for six straight years as the Cubs Opening Day guy. The last time he didn't start on Opening Day was when Kerry Wood took the ball for Dusty Baker in 2004. Matt Garza was also in the mix to start the opener.

Quade made the decision this early on because he want to be able to set up the Spring Training rotation accordingly. Zambrano will essentially be the Cubs No. 2, starting the second game of the season. Garza will pitch the final game of the series with the Pirates on April 3.

Update: The Cubs also announced today that Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano will both pitch in the Spring Training opener against the A's on Sunday. The first pitch is at 2:05 with Cubs Central Pregame on WGN Radio starting at 1:30. It is almost here!

Mike cited Zambrano's hot finish as a reason why this decision was so tough. Dempster status in the clubhouse was not a factor in the decision.

Shifting gears, the MLB Network has released its full 83 game Spring Training broadcast schedule. The first game will be on Saturday at Noon CT as the Phillies take on the Yankees. They will air a tape delayed version of the Rockies/D'backs game on Saturday night at 10:00. Next Sunday, the Angels and Dodgers will battle on the network at 2:00.

The Cubs will play on MLBN on March 11 against the White Sox, March 21 against the Angels, March 22 against the Dodgers and March 25 against the Mariners. The channel will air its "30 Clubs in 30 Days" series for the third straight year. The Cubbies will be featured on March 11 at 6:00 (after the air the Cubs/Sox game).

More to come...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Training Preview: Position Battles

Second Base
Second base is one position on the diamond where they Cubs have some flexibility. They are not locked down with a big contract, so if someone at the minor league level gets hot they could find themselves starting in the bigs. Last year, Blake DeWitt came over in the Ryan Theriot trade and took his spot in the middle infield. DeWitt hit .250 in 53 games with the Cubs and .261 for the season. Jeff Baker, a left handed hitter, will compete against DeWitt in Spring Training, but a platoon situation is the most likely. Baker hit .272 in 2010 but is not quite the all-around player that Blake is. Youngster Darwin Barney (.241 in 30 games) and non-roster man Augie Ojeda (.190 in 59 games) could also be in the mix, but will most likely battle for a spot on the roster, not in the starting lineup.

Lead-off Man
Some of the same candidates for the second base position are possibilities for the top spot in the lineup. Once Mike Quade took over in August, Blake DeWitt saw a lot of time there. Q has said that Kosuke Fukudome is probably the guy that makes the most sense there when he is in the lineup. There has been some speculation about Starlin Castro moving up a spot, but most likely he'll stay second. There have been reports out of Mesa that Marlon Byrd is also in the mix. Chances are, there will be no set lead-off man, giving Quade a chance to tweak the lineup and find out what works.

Right Field
Another battle where we may not see a winner declared at the end of camp. Kosuke has more experience, the bigger contract and the better glove. Tyler Colvin's numbers were far better than his Japanese teammate in 2010. Colvin has more power, puts the ball in play more and hits for a better average. Kosuke is known for his hot starts, so he may see the bulk of the time in right to start the season. If he experiences his usual June swoon, Kosuke will become the fourth outfielder and Colvin will start.

Fifth Outfielder
There are a lot of names in the mix, but it looks like it will come down to Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez. For the first time in years, the Cubs can carry five outfielders because they don't have a pinch hitting specialist like Daryle Ward or Micah Hoffpauir to take up a roster spot. Perez, who came over in the Matt Garza trade with Tampa Bay, has great speed but is trying to come back from an injury. Reed Johnson's number at the plate declined in 2010 with the Dodgers, but he is a clubhouse leader and a fan favorite. If Johnson does not beat out Perez, he will be released. Perez still has an option remaining so he could be sent to Iowa, which could be the deciding factor in this battle.

My Take: I would lead-off with DeWitt and Kosuke depending on who is in the lineup, platoon Barney, DeWitt and Baker at second base, start Colvin in right every day and give Reed the nod as the fifth outfielder.

Tomorrow I will preview the battles on the pitching staff.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Radio Recaps: Bruce Levine's Latest on Talkin' Baseball

Bruce Levine talked baseball on ESPN 1000 today. Here are some of the things he had to say about Chicago's North Side baseball team.
  • Randy Wells and Carlos Silva have not been guaranteed a spot on the Cubs roster.
  • Andrew Cashner will be given a shot to start. He that does not work out, he will be in the pen.
  • Since James Russell is the only lefty in the mix, he will be given a fair chance at the rotation.
  • One fan called in to complain about a surcharge that is put into effect when someone tries to buy tickets early. If a team can make some money by doing something, they are going to do it.
  • Fred does not want to hear about Albert Pujols. Levine agrees that this story has not legs because it is ten months away.
  • Bruce says that it is certainly possible that the Cubs could bring in a Field or a Pujols, but the guys agree that it may be too much to spend on a 33-year old that you will be stuck with for ten years.
  • Levine thinks that GMs need to pay players for what they think they will do during the contract, not what they have already done.

Tom Ricketts joined the guys to talk Cubs baseball:

  • Ricketts wants the team to build on the momentum that they had at the end of last season.
  • He wants the Cubs to use this next 40 days effectively to get ready for April 1.
  • Jim Hendry has 100% support from the Ricketts family. Tom thinks that Hendry had a terrific offseason making the most of what little flexibility the team had going into the offseason.
  • Ricketts is excited to have Carlos Pena on the ballclub. A contract extension late in the season if he is having a good year could be an option for Hendry.
  • It is true that the Cubs will have a lot more flexibility next offseason. How they decide to put that money to work will be decided late in the season.
  • Fans will see more food options that the concession stands this year.
  • Levine asked Tom where he stood on a second wild card. Ricketts can see both sides of it and does not have a hardwired opinion.

That's it for now, I'll have more later on the first day of full squad workouts!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Notes from Cubs Camp

Position players are in camp and we are set for the first full squad workout! Here is the latest from Spring Training!
  • Carrie Muskat reports that Kosuke Fukudome has arrived. The only players who have not been seen in camp yet are Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Lou Montanez and Alfonso Soriano.
  • Mike Quade will have a team meeting with his players today at 11:30 central time.
  • Ron Santo Day in Mesa will be March 10 when the Cubs play the Indians at HoHoKam Park.
  • Kosuke, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker are the three leading candidates to lead-off this season.
  • Mike Quade was impressed by Welington Castillo last September. He will give the young catcher a long look this spring.
  • Roberto Coello, who came over in a trade with the Red Sox, has already thrown a side session.
  • The Cubs new spring facility is not expected to be ready until 2014.
  • Quade says that the team will probably break camp with 12 pitchers.
  • Bruce Miles is impressed by young RHP Trey McNutt, one of the top pitchers in the Cubs system.
  • Carlos Pena is not ready to talk about becoming a free agent at the end of the season, according to a report from Bruce Levine.
  • Tom Ricketts is expected to be in camp today. He will meet with the media tomorrow.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always! Much more to come this weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breaking News: Keith Moreland Joins WGN Radio Broadcast Team

The Cubs and WGN Radio announced today that Keith Moreland take over for the late Ron Santo as Pat Hughes' partner in the WGN Radio broadcast booth. Moreland played for the Cubs in the 1980s at a variety of positions, mostly third base and outfield. Keith filled in for Bob Brenly and Ron Santo several times past few years.

Pat and Keith's first game together is just over a week away. It will be Sunday Feb. 27 at 2:00 as the Cubs meet the Oakland A's in the Cactus League opener. Moreland was a broadcaster for the Texas Longhorns, but he says that he will be fully committed to the Cubs.

According to the poll on the right sidebar, 70% of you were hoping for Dave Otto. Moreland's contract is for three years.

I think Keith will do a fine job. It is going to be tough all season hearing someone else work with Pat. The Pat & Ron Show was something very, very special that will never be duplicated. I will continue to miss Ron Santo for every day the rest of my life.

Keith joined Pat, Dave Eanet and Mike McConnell on WGN Radio today:
  • Moreland is very excited, but he hates to be sitting in this seat because he cannot replace Ron Santo.
  • Pat congratulated his new partner.
  • Keith says that this is a day that he will never forget. He is excited to come back to the Cubs.
  • Hughes told Moreland that the new guy pays for lunch until the All Star Break.
  • Moreland started his broadcasting career on WGN Radio doing a show with Bob Collins and doing some Bears talk.
  • He explained how his nickname Zonk got started when he was in the minor leagues. He was called Zonk after Larry Zonka because nobody could tackle him when they played games at the hotel pool.
  • Moreland feels like he is a Cub. Playing as a Cub was an incredible experience for him.
  • The love affair with the Cubs started in 1984.
  • Zonk will never forget the Ryne Sandberg game. That is one game that stands out from his career.
  • He believes that the Cubs will win the World Series in his lifetime. "It's going to happen," he said.
  • Hughes is looking forward to the start of the new season, which is just 11 days away.
  • Pat thinks that the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers will be considered the favorites, but the Cubs could surprise a lot of people.
  • Moreland is also optimistic about the team's chances.
  • Leaving Texas and going to the Cubs makes it feel like Keith is going from one family to another.
  • Keith wants to have fun in the booth and bring his Southern style to the booth.
  • He called Pat a Hall of Fame broadcaster.
  • Hughes expects Cubs radio broadcasts to continue to be fun. If Moreland spills his soap on his pants, Pat will have to report it.
  • A couple years ago when Keith subbed for Bob Brenly it was his first night game at Wrigley.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Radio Recaps: Perez and Quade on Sports Central

Update: Robert Coello traded to the Cubs. More info at bottom of post.

Cubs outfielder Fernando Perez joined Judd Sirott and Glen Kozlowski on Sports Central this past weekend:
  • Perez had to learn how to simulate baseball in some very odd environments playing baseball at Columbia.
  • He got kicked out of the gym at one time in college for PE tennis. Fernando was trying to get some extra hitting in just before the draft.
  • "Garza was the throw in," Perez said (referring to his trade to the Cubs).
  • When Fernando called Matt to talk to him about the trade, Garza had no idea that he was included.
  • He is excited to train in Arizona for the first time. He hears that it is a big upgrade over Florida.
  • Perez was excited to meet Carlos Zambrano. He is a huge Zambrano fan and his entire family loves Alfonso Soriano. Perez wore 12 for Sori for a year in college.
  • He met most of the guys at the convention very briefly.
  • Fernando does not have a lot of autographs, but at some point he may ask for Alfonso's.
  • Perez does not plan on singing during Cubs Idol.
  • Carlos Pena is very kid friendly. He is a guy "you really, really root for."
  • Having two teammates come with him will help ease the transition. He is looking forward to meeting a bunch of new teammates this spring.

Mike Quade joined Koz and Memolo on Sunday to preview Spring Training:

  • Quade is hoping for more of what he got for his team the last two months of 2010.
  • Mike's job is to continue to build respect for himself as a manager and make his expectations clear to his players.
  • He does not care whether or not there is a huge following at the start of Spring Training. He is fine with things being more quiet around the team, but he is not sure if it helps or not.
  • Q thinks that this team has a lot of improvement to make before the start of the season.
  • Mike thinks that chemistry matters. The Cubs have added two good people in Pena and Garza.
  • He called Perez "a sleeper" who he is excited to see play.
  • Fernando is a bright kid, and Mike would like to think he is a hungry kid. Koz is pulling for this kid to make the team out of Spring Training.
  • Guys who can have success in a division like the American League East should be able to handle the atmosphere of Wrigley Field.
  • Quade has not idea where players will hit in the batting order at this point. Mike is not sure how many at-bats Tyler Colvin will get this season.
  • He is expecting big things from Colvin this season. He would like to see improvement on his solid 2010 season.
  • The Cubs are going to give Tyler some time at first base so that they have a backup when Pena needs a day off.
  • If this team is going to have success, it will have to pitch well. Garza, Dempster and Z all need to have really good years. Those three guys are going to anchor the rotation.
  • The Cubs need Aramis Ramirez to flat out hit.

Update 5:00 pm

Add another name to the competition for spots in the Cubs bullpen. The Boston Red Sox have traded right handed reliever Robert Coello to the Cubs. In return, minor league infielder Tony Thomas is sent the other way. Coello made his big league debut last season, pitching in only six games. He will be added to the 40-man roster, which will stand at 39.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 2 in Mesa: Marmol Signs, Bruce Miles on WGN Radio and More

Happy Valentine's Day Cubs fans! More importantly to most of us, pitcher's and catchers worked out as a team for the first time today!

The biggest news of the day was that the Cubs have signed Carlos Marmol to a 3-year, $20 million deal, avoiding arbitration. Marmol is penciled in as the Cubs closer for at least the next three seasons.

Some random notes from today
  • Check out Tim Sheridan's post over at BOS for some great pics.
  • Carlos Zambrano would like to start on Opening Day.
  • Tyler Colvin will see some time at first base this spring.
  • Angel Guzman is a long shot to make the team and is still not 100% healthy.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that Guzman threw off the mound today.
  • Carlos Silva went home today with a 103 degree fever.
  • Branden Looper, Trey McNutt, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Andrew Cashner, Kerry Wood, Jay Jackson, Marcos Mateo, Justin Berg and Todd Wellemyer are all scheduled to throw off the mound tomorrow.
  • Mike Quade on Ron Santo, "We'll win one for him and I'm not talking about Opening Day."
  • Santo's patch is already being sported on the Cubs uniforms.
  • According to Bruce Miles, Randy Wells says he lost focus at times last season.

Cubs beat writer Bruce Miles was on WGN Radio Sports Night with Noonan and Koz tonight. Here is what he had to say:

  • The Carlos Marmol signing is a very, very good one. This is a nice deal for Marmol and the Cubs and everyone seems very happy about it.
  • This salary figure is more of a discount for the Cubs.
  • Marmol did not want to go to arbitration. That is not something that the Cubs like to do.
  • Carlos is not worried about his control, he is only worried about getting three outs before a run is scored against him.
  • Carlos Zambrano would love to start on Opening Day, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen.
  • The first day of Spring Training is a lovefest that is all about optimism.
  • It is a big spring for Carlos Silva, who is fighting for a job.
  • There was a lot of stretching, throwing and bunting practice today.
  • There are a lot of position players in camp that have reported early.
  • The hitters that have reported early work with Rudy Jaramillo and work on conditioning.
  • Miles likes going to Spring Training because it is the start of a new season, you get back into the routine.
  • Baseball is a sport where you develop a rhythm.
  • There are about 18 guys competing for 12 spots on the pitching staff. Those decisions will go down to the very last day of camp.
  • Bruce thinks that this team is capable of winning 85-90 games.
  • Mike Quade is a guy who cannot sit still that lays the law down in a very nice way with his players. He is a "hands on" manager that brings a certain energy.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers Have Reported

We can officially say those five magical words, "Pitchers and catchers have reported!" Baseball is right around the corner as the Cubs and the Oakland A's meet two weeks from today at HoHoKam Park. Everything Cubs blog will have you covered throughout Spring Training.

Tomorrow will be the first official workout and the first full squad workout will take place on Saturday. Mike Quade and Jim Hendry are both scheduled to meet the media today. I will update this post throughout the day with more information that comes from the Valley of the Sun.

Here are some tidbits to start us off!
  • It is expected to be 77 degrees and sunny in Mesa today.
  • Reed Johnson has reported early, according to a tweet from Bruce Miles. Johnson says that his experience with the Cubs was the best of his career. He does not mind fighting for a job this spring.
  • Carlos Marmol has already taken his physical and is close to a multi-year deal with the team.
  • Tim Sheridan's most recent post mentioned that Marlon Byrd has been working with Tyler Colvin and showing him some tips.
  • Carrie Muskat writes that Jeff Samardzija will have a shot at the rotation, but Bruce Levine and Gordon Wittenmyer have reported that the Shark will only be looked at for the pen.
  • Wittenmyer told David Kaplan yesterday on Cubs Insider that Casey Coleman will most likely be sent back to Triple-A to start the year.
  • Levine continued his Spring Training previews yesterday with a look at the outfield. Mike Quade will have to decide who his starting right field is (Kosuke or Colvin) and who his fifth outfielder is (Perez or Johnson).

I'll keep you posted throughout day one of the 2011 season!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting Set for Camp Quade

First of all, I apologize for the lack of posting during the second half of this week. Things have returned to normal and we should be able to be a regular posting schedule leading up to the start of Spring Training. Don't look now, but we are only 2 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting! Infact, many Cubs players are already in camp.

Let's catch up on the latest from Mesa and more!
  • The Cubs regular season TV broadcast schedule has been released. Opening Day on April 1 against the Pirates will be on WGN!
  • Bench coach Pat Listach will plan and run the day-to-day activities during Cubs camp, starting with the first workout next Monday.
  • Bruce Miles reports that Mike Quade and Jim Hendry will meet with the media on Sunday (tomorrow).
  • Brett Jackson does not have a good chance to make the club out of Spring Training, but he could get an opportunity later in the season.
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue has had an in depth interview series with Tom Ricketts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
  • Buster Olney reports that if Albert Pujols becomes a free agent, the Cubs could be the top bidders for him.
  • HoHoKam Park public address announcer Tim Sheridan has been blogging daily from Mesa.
  • Jeff Samardzija will not compete for a spot in the rotation. His only chance to make the team will be in relief, according to ESPN Chicago.
  • Bruce Levine previewed the Cubs pitching staff on his blog. The fourth and fifth spots in the rotation are up for grabs with Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Todd Wellemyer, Braden Looper, Casey Coleman, Andrew Cashner and James Russell all battling for them.
  • Both Chris Carpenter and Jay Jackson will get long looks this spring.
  • Levine also previewed the Cubs infield. During Spring Training, Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney, Jeff Baker and Augie Ojeda will all see time at second base. The Cubs would love for DeWitt to win the job outright. Ojeda and Barney will battle for a roster spot.
  • It doesn't sound like Levine thinks that Max Ramirez or Welington Castillo will have a shot to challenge Koyie Hill for the backup catcher's job.
  • Guys that have already reported to Mesa include Carlos Marmol, Marlon Byrd, John Grabow, Carlos Zambrano, Steve Clevenger, Ryan Dempster, Tyler Colvin, Matt Garza and Casey Coleman.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted with all the news out of Arizona this weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Full Spring Broadcast Schedule Released

For the first time ever, a Cubs Spring Training game will be available every day that there is a game on either the radio, TV or will broadcast everying Cactus League game except for a few split squad dates.

The voice of the Tennessee Smokies Mick Gillispie will be at the mike for the internet broadcasts. Len Kasper will join Mick in the booth on days that he is not doing TV. The games will be availabe for free if you register for a account.

I posted the WGN-TV schedule yesterday, but here is the full TV schedule for Spring Training.

  • Sunday March 3 VS LAD WGN-TV
  • Saturday March 12 VS Reds (Las Vegas) WGN-TV
  • Saturday March 19 VS Padres WGN-TV
  • Sunday March 20 VS Giants CSN
  • March 24 VS CWS CSN & ESPN2
  • March 25 VS Seattle WGN-TV
  • March 26 VS Texas ESPN2
  • March 27 VS Rockies WGN-TV

Click here for the WGN Radio spring schedule.

It is only a matter of time!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cubs WGN-TV Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

While my Green Bay Packers prepare to battle the Steelers in the Super Bowl, the Cubs are getting set to report to Mesa, Arizona. Pitchers and catchers report a week from today! A quick programing note- Cubs Insider will air on WGN Radio with David Kaplan today at 3:30.

Now, here is the WGN-TV broadcast schedule for Spring Training. Comcast Sports Net has yet to release its Spring Training schedule. All times are central.

  • Sunday March 6 (ss) VS LAD 2:05
  • Saturday March 12 (ss) VS Reds 3:05
  • Sunday March 13 @D'backs 3:10
  • Saturday March 19 @Padres 3:05
  • Friday March 25 VS Mariners 3:05
  • Sunday March 27 VS Rockies 3:05

According to, it looks like almost all of the Cubs Spring Training games will be available on Gameday Audio on this year.


"I don't care who wins as long as it's the PACK!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Radio Recaps: Lou and The Riot on Talkin' Baseball

Bruce Levine had a slew of guests on for his 20th anniversary edition of Talkin' Baseball on ESPN 1000.

Here is what Ryan Theriot had to say:
  • "As players we don't really have a choice of where we play until we get to free agency. Right now, I'm excited to be a St. Louis Cardinal."
  • Ryan thinks about his arbitration hearing a lot. He doesn't think he would still be a Cub even if he didn't go to arbitration, but there is no answer to that question.
  • The sky is the limit for Starlin Castro.
  • When Fred asked him what he thinks the reaction will be for him when he comes back to Wrigley, Ryan said that he hopes to get one like Mark DeRosa received when he returned.
  • Theriot think there will be an extra edge when he plays his former teammates, but he knows they respect him on the field and off. Ryan knows exactly what every one of the Chicago Cubs is all about.
  • "There is a big respect factor," he said.
  • Bruce called Ryan "a classic overachiever" during his tenure in Chicago.

Levine thinks that Carlos Marmol will have a deal in place by the time pitchers and catchers report.

Another ex-Cubbie, Lou Pineilla, joined Bruce and Fred:

  • "It's a nice opportunity. I don't have to travel. I look forward to working with the Giants, but at the same time I have a special affinity for the Cubs in my heart. I wish Mike Quade, Jim Hendry and the rest of the guys the best of luck."
  • It was very difficult for Lou and the players because of the health of Piniella's family last season. He wasn't there to give them the 100 percent support that a manager should give.
  • Sweet Lou's mother is in the hospital again right now. She has been there the last 12 days.
  • He thinks that the Ricketts are the right owners to lead the team.
  • Piniella will be scouting the American League for the Giants. He will be doing AL Spring Training and then the Tampa Bay Rays during the regular season.
  • He had chances to join a few organizations to do some work on TV, but this made good sense to him.
  • Lou gets a chance to get out of the house a little bit, but still come home every night.
  • The last five years of his career, Piniella worked for five different owners.
  • "I wish the Ricketts family nothing but the best. They're good people, they're genuine people. I'm sure that they're going to bring a championship to that city in the near future."

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ernie Banks' Annual Cubs Slogans

Cubs legend Ernie Banks celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this week! Each year, Mr. Cub unveils a rhyming slogan for the Chicago Cubs season. Here is the one for this season.

"Santo's in heaven, so we're going to win in '11!"

Will this finally be the slogan that comes true? It all started with "The Cubs will shine in '69" and since then Banks has gone through a lot of slogans. Here is the list of some of the slogans. Add any that I missed to the comments.
  • The Cubs will be devine in 2009!
  • The Cubs will sour in 2004!
  • The Cubs will glow in 7-0!
  • The Cubs will be thunderous in 71-derous!
  • The Cubs will be heavenly in 67ly!
  • The Cubs will come through in 72!
  • The Cubs will be great in 68!
  • The Cubs are going to win in 2010!

This is a short list, but one thing is for sure. When Ernie's slogan comes out, it means baseball is right around the corner.

11 days until pitchers and catcher report... 24 days until Cactus League Baseball!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cubs Radio Analyst Breakdown: Dave Otto VS Keith Moreland

According to multiple sources, the Cubs are down to two for their new radio color guy. Either Dave Otto or Keith Moreland will join Pat Hughes in the booth in 2011.

With the first Spring Training broadcast only 25 days away, the announcement will have to made soon. Most likely, WGN Radio and the Cubs would like to give whoever gets the job a chance to prepare for the season before the season starts. I would expect this to be over with in the next two weeks.

Keith Moreland
  • Age: 56
  • Birthday: May 2
  • Grew up: in Texas
  • Playing Career: 1978-1989 (Phillies, Cubs, Tigers, Orioles)
  • Cubs Career: 1982-1987
  • Positions: OF, 3B, C
  • Broadcast Experience: Color for Texas Longhorns baseball and football broadcast, filled in for Ron Santo and Bob Brenly several times during 2009 and 2010 seasons.
  • Pre/Post: Has not done any interviews yet on the Cubs broadcasts that he has been on.

Dave Otto

  • Age: 46
  • Birthday: Nov. 12
  • Grew Up: In Illinois
  • Playing Career: 1987-1994 (A's, Indians, Pirates, Cubs)
  • Cubs Career: 36 games in 1994
  • Position: LHP
  • Broadcast Experience: Has been doing fill in work on radio for over ten years... Joined Chip Carray during Steve Stone's two year absence on TV from 2001-2002... primary fill-in for Santo on WGN Radio... occasional fill-in for Brenly on TV
  • Pre/Post: Good interviewing skills... often does pregame interviews when he fills in on radio... host of sessions at Cubs Convention... occasional fill-in for Todd Hollandsworth on CSN pregame

Vote for who you would prefer on the right sidebar of our mainpage!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Levine's Latest Before the Snow

Here's the latest from Bruce Levine's popular weekly chat, which takes place every Tuesday over at
  • Jay Jackson has a live arm and could make the club out of Spring Training.
  • Bruce thinks the White Sox have a better chance at the playoff than the Cubs "at this point."
  • The Cubs have no plans to switch Sean Marshall to the rotation. James Russell will be given a chance.
  • Starlin Castro leading off for the Cubs is within the realm of possibility. Baker, Kosuke and DeWitt are other candidates.
  • The Cubs will continue to be one of the slowest teams in the majors.
  • The Cubs will not trade Geovany Soto, but if they are having another bad season Carlos Marmol could be dealt.
  • Levine does not think Samardzija has been handled very well.
  • Bruce does not expect a sophomore slump out of Starlin Castro. He should be much improved on defense.
  • If Aramis Ramirez plays well, the Cubs will consider picking up his $15 million option. Otherwise, they'll have to pay a $1 million buyout.
  • Mark Riggins is a new voice but he has lots of experience. Bruce expects him to be a good fit.
  • The Cubs see Brett Jackson as their leadoff man and center fielder of the future.
  • The consensus in the organization is that Trey McNutt has more upside than Chris Archer.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted!