Good positive perspective on the Cubs lost yesterday.

The Cubs Aren't Rocket Science

While a daily recap of games won’t be a regular feature here on TCARS, I did want to discuss the Cubs opening day game versus the Washington Nationals and festivies that went down at Wrigley Field yesterday.  I had the privilege to take in the game at work via MLB TV (I promise that I got some hose whip simulations done in between pitches).  Thankfully, the web feed had all the pregame ceremonies.  It was great to see the full team introduced and Wayne Messmer sing the National Anthem, as well as Bill Murray psych up the crowd by running the bases.

I’m not going to give a recap, since all of you either watched the game or have seen highlights.  Instead, here are some observations from the opening game:

  • The Cubs aggressiveness was apparent from the start, though unfortunately it wasn’t all successful and they ran themselves out of 2 runs.  Alfonso Soriano…

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Opening Day Still Fun Despite Loss

Great Recap from Bullpen Brian of the game we attended.

Stay Classy Cubs Fans…

I was fortunate to attend Cubs’ Opening Day for the start of the 2012 MLB season (a great recap of the game can be found here). While driving back to Fort Knox, I listened to ESPN 1000 to catch highlights of opening day from around the league. Instead, what I found myself listening to was disheartened Cubs fans angry and bitter about the Cubs opening day lose. I had to turn off the radio, I felt so betrayed.

Fans commented on many aspects of the game: stating this was typical Cubs fashion, a sign of things to come throughout the season, terrible pitching from the bullpen, poor decisions from Sveum, a lackluster ball club, Theo should become accustom to these events and many others. These were not the same Cubs fans I have read and listened to throughout spring training. Where was the excitement, the hope, the understanding that the organization is in a revamping stage?

Consider the following factors:

1)     Before Wood/Marmol gave away the Cubs’ lead, Dempster pitched an impressive game (7-2/3IP, 2H, 3BB, 1ER, 10SO). However, it took Dempster three innings to adjust to the weather conditions (explained in my next point) and to the home plate umpire’s strike zone. Dempster struggled with his command early (his three walks were in the first/third innings) and gave up two big hits (which could have resulted in seven runs for the Nationals, but thankfully the wind was blowing into Wrigley). Wood had 25 pitches and Marmol had 16 pitches to make adjustments; it took Dempster 54 of 108 pitches to make these same adjustments before he ultimately gained his composure and retired the next 11 batters. Wood also had 41,000 fans chanting on opening day with a 1-0 lead, which would shake any vets’ nerves.

2)     The drastic change in weather conditions between Mesa, AZ and Chicago was evident for Dempster and Wood. Granted, the weather in Chicago has been above average this spring, the average temperature throughout March in Mesa was 77 degrees (84 degrees the last 10-days of March). Yesterday’s high temperature was 49 degrees with winds bellowing between 17-22mph during the game. The cold was obviously hindering Dempster and Wood’s grip and control of the ball as they both blew hot air on their pitching hand in attempts to warm-up.

3)     Yes, the Cubs have struggled with base running and the coaching staff indicated they worked on this area throughout the spring. Joe Mather’s performance yesterday has fans scratching their heads in wonderment, thinking “Really!?” Understand, Mather came into the game as a pinch runner, standing on third, representing the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning, on opening day. Should he have run? No. Why did he run? More than likely the excitement got to him. This is in no-way shape or form an indication of unimproved base running.

Granted, Cubs fans have every reason to be disgruntled with the organization throughout the past 103 seasons. However, if I felt that the true blue Cubs fans were betraying their team after just one game (the first game) of the season, I’m sure the Cubs players/organization feel the same way. My advice to Cubs fans: remain loyal to your team; don’t go off the deep-end after the first blown game of the season (it happens in 162 games!); and have hope, understand the organization is revamping and look forward to the next few seasons – we’re moving in the right direction.

IN THEO WE TRUST!

What’s in a Name?

After creating this blog with the mindset to discuss all things from the past, present and future of our beloved Chicago Cubs, I have had a few readers question the web address title. The address contains the title The Chicago White Stockings, and it appears that a majority of Cubs fans are unaware of the founding history of our Cubbies. What better way to first post “Historic Facts” on this blog than to discuss the founding of our Chicago Cubs!?

The Chicago White Stockings was the founding name for the professional baseball team that would later become known as the Chicago Cubs. The team was founded in 1870. This was before the National League or American League had developed, thus the White Stockings competed against a small, limited number of teams. The team was governed by the National Association of Professional Baseball Players and competed to have the best overall record by the end of the season.

In 1876, the league was re-organized into the National League. The league still held a limited number of teams; eight in the inaugural season, six teams for the second and third seasons, and then back to eight teams until 1891. The World Series had not been created yet, and neither had the post-season, but the team with the best overall record at the end of the season was awarded the National League Pennant. The Chicago White Stockings are credited for having won the first ever pennant in the history of organized professional baseball with a record of 52-14.

The White Stockings best players were infielders Ross Barnes, Deacon White, Adrian “Cap” Anson and star pitcher Albert Spalding. In the inaugural season of the NL, Barnes led the league in batting average with a .429 and Spalding won 47 games. Albert Spalding is also the founder of the Spalding sports equipment chain, which every sports fan knows this chain makes balls for a variety of sports. (This author was also surprised to learn that Spalding was born and raised in Byron, IL; which is the author’s hometown.) Spalding would later take ownership of the ball club. Anson was the first player in history credited with collecting 3,000 career hits and became the first “super star” of baseball. The White stockings would later three-peat as champions, winning the National League Pennant from 1880-1882, becoming one of the top teams of the league.

In 1882, the American Association was formed as a second major league baseball organization to rival the National League. This ultimately led to the creation of the first World Series games starting in 1884. Although unofficially recognized and largely seen as an exhibition match, the games pitted the top team from each league against one another. The Chicago White Stockings competed in two of these matches in 1885 (resulting in a tie with ST Louis Browns) and again in 1886 (losing to ST Louis Browns). In total, the Chicago White Stockings won six National League Pennants and appeared in two World Series games between 1876 and 1886.

In 1890, the Chicago White Stockings changed their name to the Chicago Colts or better known as “Anson’s Colts.” When Anson left the team in 1898, the team name changed to the Chicago Orphans due to the loss of the teams’ super star. The team name was once again changed in 1902 when Spalding sold the Orphans to new ownership and the team became the Chicago Cubs.

So here in a brief historical lesson is the development of what is affectionately known as the Chicago Cubs. I hope this clarifies some confusion as to why the web address for this blog is thechicagowhitestocking.wordpress.com and I hope I provided some interesting insight for our Cubbies.

Can’t Make Opening Day? Don’t Worry, We’ve Got You Covered…

Do you have “opening day blues” because you are unable to attend the Cubs 2012 home opener at Wrigley Field? Are you hoping for some “opening day miracle” to occur with tickets falling into your lap (like the author of this post; having won two tickets from Paul Maholm)? Are you chancing catching the game by scalping tickets in front of Wrigley Field April 5th? If you feel as if all hope is lost and your 2012 MLB season is ruined, don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Having been a Navy brat, and now enlisted in the Army for the past 10 years, I have moved frequently and often. I have had many different opportunities to experience baseball on TV. But no broadcast equals that of a Cubs game live on WGN.

One of my fondest memories from my youth, and still occurs to this day, is summer time baseball. Having the windows open in my house, a warm/humid breeze blowing around me, the smell of hotdogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill, opening a cold beverage of my choice (a few additional choices became available once I came of age) and watching Chicago Cubs baseball recreates a romantic nostalgia that many fans look forward to after a long cold winter. Especially if you’re from Northern Illinois.

Len and Bob (Twitter: @LenandBob) conduct a very entertaining broadcast for our beloved Cubs. They talk of past, present and future Cubs, the current game, upcoming games and MLB news. They discuss game day events from around the ballpark, respond to emails live on TV and even encourage “tweets” from followers during live broadcasts. Their commentary is upbeat, joyful and clever.

The production staff does a great job of showcasing not only the game, but the players, the fans, the atmosphere and Wrigley Field. Each and every game I have watched, I have felt as if I was at the ballpark without even leaving the comfort of my home. They really do an amazing job of highlighting the entirety of Cubs baseball.

So I encourage you to hold your head high if you are unable to attend the Cubs Opening Day at Wrigley Field. With the unseasonably warm weather around the nation, invite friends over, bust out the grill, open a few cold beverages of your choice (responsibly), bring out the Corn Hole boards/bags and tune in to WGN on April 5th at 1:20pm CST to experience the beginning of the Cubs 2012 season. You’ll be happy that you did.

And if all else fails, you can follow this author on Twitter @Helms83 as I will be at Wrigley Field for the home opener and posting tweets/pictures. I’m just saying…

Go Cubs, Go!

Cubs Announce Opening Day Lineup

Cubs revealed the Opening Day Lineup for the teams home opener on April 5th:

David DeJesus, CF

Darwin Barney, 2B

Starlin Castro, SS

Bryan LaHair, 1B

Alfonso Soriano, LF

Ian Stewart, 3B

Marlon Byrd, CF

Geovany Soto, C

Ryan Dempster, P

(Source: ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla)

Cubs Announce Portion of 25-man Roster

The Cubs organization met on Wednesday evening to determine the Opening Day 25-man Roster. On Thursday, the organization announced their decision:

Fielders:

Jeff Baker

Darwin Barney

Marlon Byrd

Starlin Castro

Steve Clevenger

David DeJesus

Blake DeWitt

Reed Johnson

Bryan LaHair

Alfonso Soriano

Geovany Soto

Ian Stewart

While the fielders have been announced, Cubs beat reporters have stated that the bullpen is still undetermined. However, the Starting Roatation has been set and the Opening Day Pitcher has been announced. Here are the pitchers still in contention:

Pitchers:

Lendy Castillo

Gerardo Concepcion

Ryan Dempster (First in Rotation)

Rafael Dolis

Matt Garza (Second in Rotation)

Paul Maholm (Fifth in Rotation)

Calos Marmol

Marcos Mateo

Jeff Samardzija (Third in Rotation)

Chris Volstad (Fourth in Rotation)

Kerry Wood