Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

Wrigley and Wrivalries

May 7, 2012

Like that impressive spelling? Let’s just call it klever. So this weekend I was in Chicago (that’s why Jam Shots took Saturday and Sunday off). Among bars, pizza, sightseeing and all that jazz, I went to the Dodgers vs. Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

This was a milestone for me. First of all, it was the tenth ball park I’ve visited. That puts me in double digits! Just 20 more to go. Besides Wrigley Field, I’ve gone to games in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, New York (Yankees), Boston, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

And let me tell you, Wrigley was one of the best so far. It’s a classic stadium with wide open seating, and one of the better post-game atmospheres. I guess if you’ve lost for 103 and a half years (and counting), every day better be a party.

Way to be optimistic, Cubs fans. Anyway, the game was absolutely fantastic, especially because the Dodgers won 5-1. There isn’t a ton to see at the actual stadium, but the bleacher boys in left field sure put on a drinking show, and I felt like I was sitting in a ball park for a game in the 1950’s.

And yes, the ivy is exceptionally luscious.

Now on to a little more baseball news. I hear there were a couple little tiffs? I’ll give my take on the two young guys and the two old guys feuding and who is in the wrong.

So apparently Chipper Jones, he of the 2012 victory lap, and 49-year-0ld Colorado staff ace Jamie Moyer (now that Jeremy Guthrie went down) are upset at each other. Apparently, Chipper cheated at shuffleboard the other day and Jamie is not happy about it.

Or something to that effect. More like Chipper was accused of stealing signs by Moyer. Well, I hate to break it to the old(er) man, but that’s part of the game. It’s not like he was in center field with binoculars, picking off the catcher’s signals. This is something everyone tries to do, and rarely succeeds at. When the runner IS successful, it’s often the catcher’s fault.Winner: Chipper

And then there are a couple of guys who don’t even combine to equal Moyer’s age. Cole Hamels beaned teen phenom Bryce Harper the other day, and then admitted he did it on purpose. He said it was “old school” and welcomed the rook to the bigs. Hamels wins this argument (five-game suspension resulting be damned) for multiple reasons.

First of all, he’s right. It IS old school. When a young kid like Harper comes up and displays over-swaggage, he is taught a lesson by opposing pitchers. Bud Selig is a huge, wet, sopping…nevermind. Because a five-game suspension hardly affects a starting pitcher. But suspending him anyway was just stupid. Two decades ago, it was accepted. No. Expected, for Harper to get beaned. I’m surprised it took that long. Winner: Hamels

Thanks for reading, and tune in again tomorrow! Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

 

 

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The Windy City

May 3, 2012

I really got the travel bug last summer when I went on Semester at Sea (to date, the greatest experience of my life!). I feel that after these past few weeks, I’ve now hit nearly every major city in America. Still missing are Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.

But today, I arrived in Chicago. I like it already, but I’ve yet to fully explore what it has to offer. As I told my girlfriend earlier, I’ve never met a place I didn’t fall in love with, whether that be for ten minutes or ten years.

Luckily for me, the Dodgers are coming into town to play the Cubs this weekend! So I’ll definitely be looking for tickets. Okay, so I sort of already did. A million times. WHY the hell are bleacher seats at Wrigley Field nearly $60?

Is it because it’s a Saturday afternoon? Doubtful, considering the same tickets on Sunday are under $25 a pop. Is it because the Cubs are winning so much? HAHAHAHA. No.

So, I’ve come to the only logical conclusion – that it’s because they are playing the epic, talented, first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. And yes, while I’ll probably pay the higher fees to see Matt Kemp shred Matt Garza in the Chicago wind, it’s still annoying.

Maybe I need to come home, where the A’s offer $2 tickets to anyone with a pulse. Granted, it’s a much worse baseball experience, but at least it’s easier on the wallet.

Check back in after the game to see what I thought of my experience in the legendary Wrigley Field bleachers!

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.

A Spring Training Tragedy

February 25, 2012

No, I don’t mean that I’m not going to Spring Training next week. Would y’all get off of that? I’m over it. *Takes another sip of beer*Just kidding it’s barely past noon*So takes another sip of mimosa*.

What I’m really talking about is the only time I have been to Arizona to hit up some preseason baseball. I went with my Dad when I was in 8th grade. It was one of the best, most generous gifts I’ve ever received. And one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

So why a tragedy? Shakespeare wrote tragedies (or did he…) and he’s famous for them, so quit your bitchin’ and just read on!

There was the infamous fly-fried-in-our-Safeway-chicken incident. The missed opportunity to get inside the A’s clubhouse because of Adam Melhuse wracking his ankle on second base. And my inevitable sunburn. But those are nothing compared to what happened when I went to see the A’s play the Cubs in a split squad game.

I’ve sat mere feet away from the bullpen in a big league game. I got a ball handed to me by Robb Nen. I sat two tables away from Mark McGwire at California Pizza Kitchen. But those experiences are hogwash. Because at this A’s/Cubs game in Arizona, I sat about ten rows up from the field with my Dad, waiting for the game to start.

I’d already exhausted myself running around getting autographs from all the A’s players I could and was acquiring the aforementioned burn while the teams took their final warm ups. I was ignoring a large crowd of Cubs fans at the fence below me, trying to get some old coach to sign their stuff. Pft…silly kidsWasting your time.

Then I glanced again. And it hit me. I squinted, and made out the clear face of Ryne Sandberg as he lifted his head to answer an autograph-seeker with a laugh. I can tell you, I’ve never moved that fast in my life.

There was no doubt about it – that was the future Hall of Fame second baseman. I had completely forgotten he was coaching with the Cubs and would therefore be at this game. I found a blank ball, dove across my Dad to grab my pen and  I’m pretty sure just time-warped down the bleachers to get to the fence. I was completely okay with bowling over 5-year-olds in order to get this signature.

But like a heart-wrenching Hollywood script, I watched from my epic mid-air jump, in slow motion, as Sandberg finished signing a ball, waved a thank you to the crowd and turned to retreat to the dugout. The last thread of his jersey disappeared into the dugout as I landed at the fence.

Have you ever been so disappointed, shocked and ashamed of yourself that you just wanted to sit in a cold shower and cry? That’s how eighth-grade Jeremy felt watching one of the best second baseman of all time stride away, just out of reach.

To this day, missing Sandberg haunts me. It was a fabulous Spring Training trip. One of the best experiences a baseball fan could ever ask for. But I’ve vowed from this day forth to get that damn autograph. And I imagine when it happens, I’ll be able to shake Ryno’s hand and we can laugh about my previous swing-and-a-miss.

And probably get a beer together. And then he’ll ask me to play for his team. And I’ll help the Cubs to their first World Series title in a million years. And Sandberg (who I will probably be playfully referring to as “Sandy” by then because we’ll be so tight) will introduce me at my Hall of Fame ceremony.

And…what? Hey, anything is possible at Spring Training. Just don’t be a doof like me. Be prepared. And don’t buy fried chicken from the Glendale Safeway.

That’s some real talk. Welcome back, baseball. I missed you!


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