Monday, March 11, 2013

Loyal Fans Featured

As we all know, us Cubs fans all share a passion for baseball and our Boys in Blue. If you have not already heard, the Cubs are launching a new campaign featuring those committed fans.

The "Committed" campaign began the other day and can be found through the newspaper, television, radio and more. Featured will be people who were engaged at Wrigley, people with awesome Cubby tattoos, and possibly some extremely bizarre things.

I assume that this advertisement campaign will be similar to one that the White Sox launched a couple years ago. I believe it was during the playoffs because I remember commercials with fans that grew out playoff beards.

The Cubs seem like they are doing a good job in marketing, but is this really just a lure to distract us from what we might see this season? I certainly hope not. This year I would like to see a season somewhere around .500. I know we are not going to win a championship, but maybe they can give us a reason to watch..

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wrigley Renovations

As Cubs fans, we have grown up to know and love Cubs baseball at one place, Wrigley Field. We know it by the marquee, the ivy, and the scoreboard. We also know it by the neighborhood and the rest of the ballpark too. It is the best place in the world to enjoy a baseball game.

All of the ballparks in the MLB have had renovations or remodeling in some fashion done within the last 10 maybe 20 years. Even the oldest and the best, whether it meant a new Yankee Stadium, or some renovations to Fenway. Speaking of Fenway, Theo Epstein was in Boston when they underwent the colossal project of Fenway. Coincidence that the Cubs also have an aging ballpark? Probably not.

A concept of the new entrance to Wrigley. One of the renovations
will include changing the outside brick back to its 1935 look.

I am open to a little bit of change and curious to see what Ricketts has in mind. The changes do not seem to be extremely dramatic either. Some renovations could include larger concourses, party decks in the outfield, new restaurants, new and improved clubhouses, a jumbotron and more.

As I mentioned above, new clubhouses are in store. I imagine that this is probably towards the top of the list. the new clubhouse should contain batting tunnels, a workout and training room and more. This is great news for the players and the for the entire Cubs organization. The Cubs have been said to have the worst facilities in the league, so this is very good news.

The total project will take place during the off-season over the course of five years. It has an estimated cost of 300 million dollars. This is more than the renovations at Fenway, but hopefully will be worth it.

To see pictures of the plans click the link below.

Hairston Here in Chicago

Yesterday the Cubs announced the signing of outfielder Scott Hairston. The Cubs have added another outfielder after mentioning the possibility at last weekend's Cubs Convention. Jed Hoyer had discussed the need of depth in the outfield. It seems that the Cubs did not delay in signing.

Last season Hairston hit 20 homers and posted a .263 average with the Mets.

The deal was made for 2 years and now only depends on a physical.

Scott Hairston is the newest addition to the Cubs roster.
Hairston will hopefully be a good addition, but some might be wondering where he will play. Soriano is in left, DeJesus is in center, and Schierholtz is in right. So where does that leave Hairston?? Well the Cubs and Hoyer have said that with Soriano now 37 they would like to give him some time off. Soriano says that the Cubs said the same thing last year, but he played the most games since coming to  the Cubs. It seems likely that Soriano will retain his position in left along with DeJesus in center. I would expect to see Schierholtz take  turns with Hairston.

If the name Hairston sounds familiar to you, it should. Scott is the younger brother of Jerry Jr. who played for the Cubs from 05-06.

To be honest, I do see the value that Hairston can bring to the Cubs, however I am a little scared that he could just be another at most average player. His numbers are not terrible but they certainly are not anywhere close to being great, or even good. I hope that Scott can bring better numbers than last year, and in the following season, because the Cubs did sign him for two years. I wish him the best of luck with his time with the Cubs.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anibal Playing Chicago-Ball Update

Earlier I wrote about the Cubs pursuit of Anibal Sanchez.

MLB Trade Rumors has reported Sanchez will not make his decision tonight. They have received the information from a tweet by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

It should be interesting to see when the pitcher will make his choice, along with what his choice is. He has already spent a year in Detroit, but the Cubs may have a better offer. I would love to have the addition of Sanchez to the Cubs. I can see him as a key player in strengthening our pitching.

We will just have to see what he does.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

College Reunion for the Best

I am giving my input on an article from
To read the article, click here.

Raley is happy the Cubs are
 bringing aboard Loux.
Loux cannot wait to meet up
with former college teammate,
Brooks Raley.
Current Cubs pitcher, Brooks Raley, was elated to know that he would once again get to share the clubhouse with former teammate Barret Loux. The duo played together down at Texas A&M for two seasons.

What I Think:
I think the addition Loux is crucial. Okay, maybe not that crucial. But still, it is a big deal. From reading about their days at A&M it looks like they were great friends, and cannot wait to share their company with one another. Being able to warm up, practice, play, and lounge around together is going to make a difference. I think that we should be able to a difference in Raley this season. He is going to be more relaxed and play the game he loves while having a lot more fun. When I am with one of my best buds things are much different. We all around just have a good time. Hopefully this feeling will spread beyond the pitching pair and spread unto the rest of the team. Last season was painful to watch, but you may have noticed that whenever the Cubs won, they were having a lot of fun. In this game I believe a good attitude is important. Scratch that. A good attitude is important for all sports. You are going to enjoy yourself and perform better. Let's hope I am right and the Cubs enjoy this upcoming season.

I would just keep an eye out this year, especially during spring training. If both make the roster, I would take a look at them then as well.

The article can be found at

Wrigley Field History

This is just a short tidbit in Cubs history.

December 13, 1970
Just a short 32 years ago, the Chicago bears played their final game at Wrigley. The Bears played here starting in 1921.

In their final game here the Bears beat the Packers handedly.

A long time ago the Bears were known as the Staleys. They changed there name shortly after moving to Wrigley in order to associate themselves with the Cubs.

Aside from the Bears, Wrigley was once Northwestern's field. It has also hosted U of I games and the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.

Anibal Almost Ready to Play Chicago-Ball

The Cubs are getting very close to making a deal with the free-agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez, only 28, went 4 and 6 with a 3.74 ERA last year with the Tigers.

He has said that his choices of who he will be playing for next season have been narrowed down to the Tigers and Cubs. Currently, the Cubs have presented the best offer and Detroit is taking their last shot to top it, reports

The addition of Sanchez to the Cubs would only be one of many pitchers that the Cubs have thus far signed during the off-season.

We will see how this all pans out, and if the Cubs continue to strengthen their rotation.

Dempster off to Boston

It was a sad moment for Cubs fans last season when talk of Dempster being traded started to arise. Fans became ever sadder when they found out he was for sure off to Texas.

At the time of the trade, many analysts speculated that Ryan, the 35 year old pitcher, could possibly return to the Cubs this season, which makes a lot of sense. The Rangers were in need of someone who could throw the ball, and Dempster was not truly needed here in Chicago because our season was not going anywhere. It  would be a win-win situation for the Cubs. We trade Dempster for some decent prospects, and then after the season, pick back up from free agency. Plus, we were giving him to win a ring with a team that had a chance.

Well anyhow, Ryan Dempster will be wearing red and blue next season, just not for the Cubs. He has signed a deal with the Red Sox for $26.5 million over two years.

Ryan is one of the guys I wish we could get back. He is one of the absolute nicest players you will ever meet. He always has makes time for his fans. A few years ago I was at the Cubs Convention, where at the very beginning is a large presentation of the attendees and new players. Dempster walked out carrying his baby in his arms, and signed for every fan that was there. I forgot to mention that his baby was crying, not the happiest thing around. He signed and signed as he tried to calm his child. Any player that is willing to do that cares about his fans.

Dempster will be continued to be missed by me, and I am sure by Cubs fans everywhere.

More Change with Chang

Reportedly the Cubs have come to an agreement for a deal with 36 year old Korean Chang-Yong Lim. The right-armed relief pitcher has played for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for the past five years, putting up respectable numbers.

Over his career with the Swallows he has a 2.09 ERA, 231 strikeouts and 138 saves. 

Just last season, the pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for the second time. Maybe it is just me, but it really does seem like the Cubs have a thing for guys who have had the Tommy John operation. I am really hoping that all these pitchers can bounce back from their surgeries and create some strong pitching for the Cubs. Lim did say that he and the Cubs would not expect him to pitch until 2014.

It is estimated at the moment that the deal is worth $5 million. 

The Power of 12

Sorry this is late, but...
As you know yesterday was December 12, or better written as 12/12/12. With this unique date, I'll look back at some Cubs who have worn 12 on their back.

Dusty Baker
During his first year with the Cubs, he proved to be a huge success. He had a great team, but a large amount was thanks to Dusty. He led the team the 2003 NLCS where they fell short to the Marlins. I remember how excited my Mom was when she went down to Miami for those games, yet she came back devastated. Baker was able to coach some good players such as, Wood, Prior, Sosa and Moises Alou. Sadly, Baker was never able to take the Cubs to the playoffs again. In 2006 the Cubs added manager Lou Piniella, and Dusty headed off to Cincinnati where he has since done quite well. I would have liked to have kept Dusty around, but maybe it just wasn't right for the team. I am glad to see that he is doing well because he was such a nice guy. I had the privilege to "meet" him a couple a times. Once at a Cubs-Sox game at the cell, I had first row seats right next to the Cubs dugout. Dusty gave my siblings and I each a ball and was very friendly. Overall a great man.

Shawon Dunston
Right out of high school, he was selected number one by the Cubs in the 1982 draft. Dunston would spend three years in the minors before beating out Larry Bowa for his starting spot for the Cubs 1985 season. Shawon did not preform up to expectation and was sent back down. He came back later that season and stayed. He quickly became better and was named an All-Star with his buddy on the field, Ryne Sandberg, during the 1988 and 1990 seasons. Dunston put up good numbers in 1989, contributing to a division title. He remained with the Cubs up until the 1995 season. After that he joined San Francisco and a couple of teams after that. I am too young to have been able to remember Dunston play, however from what people say and the videos I have seen, his ability to perform double plays was quite unique.

Alfonso Soriano
Now, a current player. Soriano signed with the Cubs back in 2007, an eight year contract worth $136 million. During his first two season he got off to a slow start, and injured himself in 2007. He would come back and help the Cubs win their division in '07 and '08. The following season was extremely productive for Fonzie. He started the season off by belting a homer on the first at bat. Soriano did well before undergoing surgery later in the year. In years to follow his statistics dropped at the plate and in the field. However, this past year his fielding increased dramatically. Throughout his career he has been named an All-Star seven times, won a Silver Slugger four times, and won a title twice. I know that there are a lot of Cubs fans that dislike Soriano, however I cannot find myself in that position. Sure, there are plenty of times where the guy gets me ticked off but I think he does his job. However, I am not even going to get started on what the Cubs pay him. This past season Soriano stepped up and improved his game, which hopefully he can continue to do, if he stays with the Cubs that is. 

Thee number 12 has seen some good moments, but more importantly some good people to wear it on their backs. 

Happy Birthday Fergie!!

Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins turns 70 today. During his career, he had an ERA of 3.34 and struck out 3,192 batters. Ferguson is one of only sixteen pitchers to punch in over 3,000 strikeouts. Jenkins was a three time all-star and won the 1971 NL Cy Young Award. Happy 70th to one of the best Cubbies of all time!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Theo Thoughts

I am sure know why the Cubs brought in Theo Epstein just a year ago. He has proven that he can make things happen by breaking the curse of the Bambino. This past season wasn't the best, but it was his first year here in Chicago. Epstein and the Cubs made some great moves right away by bringing in Hoyer and Sveum and a slew of others. Obviously this game is not something Theo is new at, so why didn't things turn out better? Consider what he started with. He came in with a team that had just finished 71-91 (not that bad) and 25 games out of first place. Obviously we did "slightly" worse this past year to be nice. You have probably heard everyone and their mother say it but the cubs ARE rebuilding. And it is not a process that is going to happen in a couple months right before the season starts. The bottom line is that it is going to take some time. Theo and crew are bringing in some new talent which will hopefully catapult the team into a good position. When you analyze the talent and potential that some of the youngsters on the team possess, the future looks pretty good. In all reality, I think sometime within the next four seasons, a championship will belong to the Northside. It has been proven that Theo can, and so Theo will- just give him a little bit of time.

A Cool Hobby

If you're the kind of person who likes memorobilia  and autographs, you should try TTMing. TTM stands for Through The Mail. Essentially you send an item to a player for him to sign and they send it back. It is a very cool thing considering you are only paying postage, which really beats paying a fortune to get an autograph. Many players and coaches sign free of charge, while few request a donation to their charity. There are many websites that you can use to find the addresses of the people you want to get in contact with. My personal favorite is Sports Card Forum. Users update their successes and failures all the time so you can know who is signing and who is not. If you have a couple extra stamps laying around you should consider giving it a try. You never know what might show up in your mail box. Once I get more readers I would love to give some of the autos that I have received away.

2013 Cubs Convention

If you are a true Cubs fan, this is the place to be. The convention is an annual event hosted by the Cubs, where various coaches, executives, announcers, and players, current and former, come out for a weekend filled with fun and entertainment. The Cubs have changed the location to the Sheraton towers for this year. The convention will take place January 18th through 20th. This is a great opportunity to get autographs, attend conferences, and visit many great vendors. I have been attending the convention since I was young and have always had a blast. Some of the notable attendees for this year are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo, and Alfonso Soriano. Whether you have attended before or not, I would highly recommend going. It is a great experience that has something for all Cubs fans. For more information visit
I would get your passes and hotel rooms asap because they sell out fast!

Hall of Shame

As you probably know ***Sammy Sosa*** is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year. Sammy was a great player but how can he receive credit after what he did? I think it is a given that most Cubs fans liked Sammy during most of his time here in Chicago. He could hit the ball well and wasn't a God awful fielder. Sammy helped the Cubs have some good seasons, but obviously not good enough ones. Sammy hit 609 home runs during the span of his career putting him eighth on the list. That is pretty impressive when you look at who he passed up. We're talking Mantle and Mr. October. Anybody else would have a guaranteed place in Cooperstown, but Sosa on the other hand not the case. I am not sure that I want his name in the hall with the absolute best players in the history of the game. Being in the hall is a prestigious achievement, so really people, let's not turn it into a joke. Oh and yeah how could we ever forget? He did get caught using a corked bat. If I had the opportunity to cast my vote, it would be a no go for *Sosa.

Fujikawa is For Real

Friday officially marked the addition of Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fukijawa to the Cubs. Fujikawa formally played for the Hanshin Tigers and put up 220 saves in just 12 seasons. It was speculated that with the addition of the Japanese star, Marmol could lose his spot.
Jed Hoyer made the comments:
"Our goal is to have the best bullpen possible. Kyuji certainly adds to that. He's had a great career. If you look at his career, he was a dominant setup guy first and a dominant closer. We know he can do both roles. We look at it as adding a great arm, and we don't worry about the role."

It is now said that he will be used as a set up man for Marmol. I really hope that it works out because I really do like Marmol. He would be a phenomenal closer if he could keep himself under control. Sometimes games get just a little bit too exciting. 

The Cubs and Fujikawa agreed to $9.5 million over two years and a signing bonus of $1 million. The pitcher also has options to receive more based on the number of his starts etc. 

Fujikawa has said that he feels at home at Wrigley, plus he even likes it here. Hopefully the ace can add a little something to our bullpen and help the Cubs take the next step.

Here is a quick video from about the addition.

Square One

My name is Ryan and I am a die hard Cubs fan. I want to share my passion for the game and the Cubs with others, thus Past The Ivy. I intend to post frequently with up to date, relevant, and quality content. This blog will have everything from rumors to trades to news and giveaways. I hope I can share my knowledge and love for the Cubs with you!! If you like what I have to say, subscribe to stay on top of things or share the page with your friends. Thanks and Go Cubs!