Chicago Cubs second basemen Darwin Barney was awarded a National League Gold Glove Award last season for his superb defensive work.
Now, the Cubs are planning to commemorate Barney’s achievement by giving away 10,000 bobbleheads in his likeness on June 1 against the Diamondbacks. All of the bobbleheads will feature Barney wearing a golden mitt on his left hand, but only 1,000 of the figurines will be colored in full extent by gold.
The team will give away the limited-edition bobblehead on a random basis.
Maybe it was race driver Jeff Gordon’s shout out to the fans at “Wrigley Stadium.” Or Ozzy Osbourne, who decided the lyrics of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” were not nearly as interesting as the mostly unintelligible words he’d picked out for himself. Or perhaps it was actress Denise Richards, who brought along a little cheat sheet in case she forgot the words.
Whatever the reason, the Chicago Cubs have decided to make the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field, and more importantly, the microphone, off limits to the likes of Vanna White, Erik Estrada and Mickey Rooney. No more Kid Rock, who, as the story goes, knew it was customary to say something at the end of the song, but went with “Let’s get some lunch!” instead of the more traditional “Let’s get some runs.”
“It was a good idea at first,” Al Yellon, who runs bleedcubbieblue.com, said of the Cubs’ decision to allow celebrities to take over the job the late Harry Caray handled so famously for so many years. “But it turned into a celebrity fest with D-list celebrities.”
The song is played during the stretch around the major leagues, usually the ballpark organist leading the fans in song. Some parks have their own traditions, of course — Fenway Park and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning, for example. The Florida Marlins tried to skip “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” to go with dancers leading fans to Gloria Estefan songs, a tradition that lasted all of two games.
For a team that doesn’t exactly have a long history of embracing change, lights didn’t arrive until 1988, messing with a musical tradition tied forever to Caray might seem a dramatic step. But the Cubs have a new regime in place, with Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel trying to turn around baseball’s famous losers and chairman Tom Ricketts pressing for upgrades to Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in the majors behind Fenway.
Caray, then with the White Sox, is credited with singing the song first at a game. He was so bad that team owner Bill Veeck had the idea to secretly put a microphone in the booth so everyone could join in and, well, mask the warbling.
And join in they did, first at White Sox games and then at Wrigley, when Caray started his run with the Cubs in 1982. Fifteen years after his death, Caray is still part of the celebration, both inside the park where some guest singers still mention him, and outside, where fans can see a statute of Caray in his famous singing pose.
You probably don’t want to joke about shooting your boss on your first day of work unless you’re certain your boss is a pretty cool guy. And luckily for the Chicago Cubs players, manager Dale Sveum seems like a pretty cool guy.
Sveum, who was accidentally shot in his ear with birdshot by Hall of Famer Robin Yount while the two were hunting quail this offseason, fell victim to a team-wide prank at Cubs camp in Mesa, Ariz. on Sunday.
During Dale Sveum’s first full squad meeting with the players on Sunday, the Chicago Cubs manager was surprised to see them taking off their warm-up jackets at the same time.”Halfway into the meeting they all took their jackets off and they all had bright orange hunting gear on, and hats,” Sveum said. “Of course they gave me one with a target.”
According to pitcher Matt Garza, Sveum “laughed it off,” but the perpetrator of the prank is still unknown.
Sammy Sosa thinks he and fellow steroid-tainted star Mark McGwire belong in the Hall of Fame.
Slammin’ Sammy also said the Chicago Cubs should retire his number, and he left open the possibility of running for president of the Dominican Republic during an interview Wednesday on the website Ustream.com.
Asked if he thinks he or McGwire belong in the Hall, Sosa said: “I think so.”
“I’m not going to come here and say anything that is going to jeopardize my future,” he added. “But definitely time will determine everything. Right now whatever it is, it is. I am not (somebody who) is going to go out there and say anything I don’t want to say. I’m waiting for my time. … I don’t like controversy. Definitely time will determine everything.”
Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility amid suspicions their accomplishments were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs. McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, received 16.9 percent of the vote on his seventh try, far short of the 75 percent needed for election.
Sosa, who finished with 609 home runs and ranks eighth on the all-time chart, received 12.5 percent of the vote. He was among those who tested positive in Major League Baseball’s 2003 anonymous survey, The New York Times reported in 2009. He told a congressional committee in 2005 that he never took illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
Meanwhile, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said at the team’s fan convention last weekend that the club might try to re-establish a relationship with Sosa, who left on bad terms following the 2004 season. The organization had different ownership and management back then.
Sosa said he was aware of Ricketts’ comments.
“They know where I am,” he said. “If they want to find me, they have to call me. I’m always available.”
Would he run for president of the Dominican Republic?
“You never know,” Sosa said.
Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum nearly had his ear shot off by former teammate and Hall of Famer Robin Yount. In a recent quail hunting excursion in Arizona, Yount “got the bird” but also got part of Sveum’s right ear.
“The bird was in front of him and I was about 50 yards up on a hill,” Sveum said Tuesday at baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville. “He got the bird up and lost track of where I was. He pulled the trigger and was like, ‘Uh, oh.’”
Sveum said it was a bloody scene, but was not hurt.
“I got drilled with pellets in the back and then one stuck in the ear,” he said.
The two are hunting partners and were teammates with the Milwaukee Brewers in late 1980s.
“We do it all the time,” Sveum said. “Not that close all the time, but we do get BB’s fall on us.”
Chicago Cubs fan was in attendance for a recent game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park and when third base coach Pat Listach tossed the $8 souvenir towards the stands, humiliation ensued as he fell over the railing head first.
If that wasn’t bad enough the Cubs fan left a chunk of his scalp right there on the field. Best part of it all was cameras caught it all. The guys in the booth had a field day with it and kept replaying it.
Texas Rangers pitchers Derek Holland and Ryan Dempster can deliver impressions with the best of them, especially for one pretty famous broadcaster. Holland and Dempster have both given spot-on impressions of longtime Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray before, and with the Rangers in New York last week, MLB took full advantage of that.
The duo of Texas pitchers dropped by the MLB Fan Cave to hang out and also put their best Caray on display. In fact, they teamed up, giving dueling impressions in which they critiqued each other’s pitching skills.
Actors/comedians Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis are making the promotional trail for their upcoming movie The Campaign. This included the two stopping by Wrigley Field to introduce the Chicago Cubs startling lineup before taking on the Miami Marlins yesterday.
Not all of the facts they read off were accurate with the exception of Darwin Barney’s and Luis Valbuena and Ferrell chose to recycle the Cha Chi dog joke again. The real home run of the night came from Galifianakis as he outshined Ferrell especially when he delivered the Alfonso Soriano bio.
In the aftermath of the heated pine-tar war between Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper, the team presented him with an autograph baseball bat.
The teenage phenom however had no knowledge of the exchange presented Guillen. Nationals Adam LaRoche and his teammates pulled a prank on their All-Star outfielder.
LaRoche later added “To my hero, Ozzie, love you” and his teammates smeared it in pine tar.
“It was funny,” Guillen said in Chicago before playing the Chicago Cubs. “I’ve got a few friends on their side. All those guys were making fun of me. I found out later they made the kid sign the bat. They put the rest.”
Everything looked to be in order for Chicago Cubs Travis Wood’s uniform when he took the mound for Monday night’s game against the New York Mets but with the Cubs that’s only half of the story.
When he stepped into the batter’s box the nation took notice of the ’C’ in the Cubs logo was turned upside down into a horseshoe and was placed in the wrong spot on his batting helmet.
Over the weekend Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford blew a save against the Chicago Cubs and snapped his team record streak of 49 consecutive converted saves.
Naturally all of the media after the game would want to get a soundbite from the Axe man seeing as it was his first blown save in over a year but Axford dipped out of the locker room without talking to a single reporter.
However Axford did leave behind a note explaining his quick departure and why he wasn’t around to answer any media questions. The reason was simple as his wife was going into labor with their second child.
During a charity event called, Red Cross Evening of Stars, Joe Buck gave Chicago Cubs fans some hope with this World Series call.
103 years and counting is reality.
This Milwaukee Brewers fan does not one bit like rivals Chicago Cubs, so much so they had a tattoo artist make innocent Bernie the Brewer into a gun wielding mascot who took a piss on a KO’d Cub.
Chicago rapper Serengeti is a wise man and creates a the rap song “Don’t Blame Steve.” That would be not to blame Steve Bartman for thew Chicago Cubs collapse in the 2003 NLCS.
At 49 years old Jamie Moyer has made it back in the big leagues. Moyer earned a spot in the Colorado Rockies rotation and will start the team’s second game of the season.
“It is still Jamie Moyer. It’s the Jamie Moyer that was pitching prior to the arm injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. It’s the same guy,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
“It’s the same worker. It’s the same professional. It’s the same stuff, same velocity, same pitches. When he’s right, same type of effectiveness. You’re going to venture into this.”
Moyer, who is entering his 25th major league season, posted a 2.77 ERA this spring and beat out 22-year-old Tyler Chatwood and 28-year-old Guillermo Moscoso for a rotation spot.
Moyer will start April 7 against the Houston Astros. He can become the oldest pitcher in major league history to earn a victory. The last player to play in the majors at 49 years old was infielder Julio Franco, who finished out the season with the Atlanta Braves in 2007 after turning 49 in August.
Moyer will be 50 in November and has a career record of 267-204 with a 4.24 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2003 with the Seattle Mariners, and he made his major league debut on June 16, 1986 with the Chicago Cubs.
The St. Louis Cardinals will be on the road in Mimai to help the Marlins opening their new ballpark but when the Redbirds arrive back home they will be donning a new pair of caps and jerseys.
On April 13 the Cardinals return home to play the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series in 103 years, the ring ceremony will commemorate the Cardinals 11th World Series championship.
St. Louis Cardinals Lance Berkman says baseball Commissioner Bud Selig used extortion to get new Houston Astros owner Jim Crane to change leagues as a condition for the team’s sale in November.
Berkman told ESPN.com and CBSSports.com in an interview at Kissimmee, Fla.: “I feel basically like the commissioner extorted Jim Crane into moving the Astros.”
Although a key figure on last year’s World Series champion Cardinals, Berkman still has a soft spot for the Astros and Houston, where he played for 12 seasons.
Four months ago, Berkman termed it a “travesty” that the Astros were being forced to move to the American League in 2013 to facilitate baseball’s scheduling realignment. And Berkman said he’d feel comfortable using the word “extort” in face-to-face conversation with Selig, should the opportunity present itself.
“If he called me, I would tell him,” Berkman said. “I think that’s exactly what it was. To tell (Crane), ‘We’re going to hold the sale of the team up until you guys agreed to switch?’ It just happened that the Astros were being sold at an optimal time for that to happen.”
It’s not the first time Berkman has kicked sand Selig’s way. In September 2008, after MLB determined an Astros-Cubs series should be played in Milwakee after Hurricane Ike, Berkman said: “Major League Baseball has always valued the dollar more than they do the individual, the players and their families.”
Selig took out a two-page ad in the Houston Chronicle to justify the move. Crane agreed to buy the Astros for $680 million last May but sought to renegotiate erms after the Players Association and the commissioner’s office agreed on a realignment plan that would place 15 teams in each league.The Astros were reluctant to switch leagues because of increased travel costs and increased short-term costs to produce a designated hitter.
Crane told ESPN.com that he did, in fact, receive a price reduction to $615 million with former Astros owner Drayton McLane and the other 29 MLB teams making up the difference. Crane isn’t complaining about the settlement and, apparently, not looking for sympathy from Berkman.
“I think it was a good deal for baseball,” Crane told ESPN.com. “I think it was a good deal for our owners. Would we have preferred to stay in the National League? Probably, yeah. But that wasn’t the deal that was presented to us.
“Lance can say what Lance wants to say. He has great ties to the Astros and was a great player there for years. We certainly understand that he’s opinionated, but I wouldn’t use that strong a term (‘extort’). I think it was just a business deal that got renegotiated.”
While it may be all fine with Crane, we’ll see if there might just be a fine from Selig.
Glad to know the Fat Elvis listens to the show since I’ve been saying this exact same thing since the notion of the Houston Astros being moved into the American League was brought up.
That’s about as close as the Chicago Cubs will ever get to winning the World Series.
Theo Epstein laid down the law at the Cubs Convention, stating firmly the organization would no longer tolerate players who enjoy the nightlife at the expense of getting a good night’s sleep.
“It’s been a factor in ruining some careers,” the team president said. “And I’m sure it’s been an impediment to the Cubs in winning. … The approach we’re going to have is the opposite of laissez faire. We’re not just going to say, ‘Oh, that’s the way it is. This is Chicago. Boys will be boys. I’m sure they’re going to get enough sleep and I’m sure they’ll show up the next day ready to play.’
“That’s a failure on the organization’s part. We have to take a very proactive approach in setting a high standard.”
“It’s important for young players to recognize that you need to get your sleep,” veteran outfielder Reed Johnson said. “This is your career. This is what you do for a livelihood. You need to treat it that way, especially in our park. You don’t have that extra 10 hours when you wake up in the morning to get ready for that 7 o’clock night game.”
Some Wrigleyville bars have become famous for certain players who frequented them in wee morning hours till 4 am.
Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Jeff Samardzija took perhaps the best media photo I have seen in quite sometime. Samardzija looks like he’s ready to take your carnival tickets to knock over a milk cartoon so you can win your girl a teddy bear.
Jamie Moyer has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with an invite to the Colorado Rockies spring training, pending a physical.The 49-year-old lefty didn’t play last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.
Moyer has played 24 major league seasons, starting with the Chicago Cubs in 1986. He went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for Philadelphia Phillies in 2010.
Moyer is 267-204 with a 4.24 career ERA.
Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro reportedly is wanted for questioning by Chicago police after a woman accused him of sexual assault, CBSChicago.com reports. No criminal charges have been filed.
According to WBBM Radio in Chicago, a woman in her 20s told police she and a friend left a bar on the night of Sept. 29 and went to Castro’s apartment at 3 a.m. The woman said she blacked out and awoke to find Castro sexually assaulting her. She screamed and yelled and eventually got a ride home from a friend at about 5:30 a.m.
CBSChicago.com reports the woman went to a hospital about 12 hours later, at which time police became involved. Castro is believed to have been en route back to the Dominican Republic for the offseason by that time. Because of that, Castro likely hasn’t been questioned by police.
The Cubs released this statement: “We are aware that a police report was filed regarding an incident involving Starlin, but we have received limited information. While this is something we take very seriously, there is not enough information to make any further comment or take action at this time. We are hopeful when the facts are brought to light, Starlin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
Castro’s attorneys, Jay K. Reisinger and Michael P. Gillespie, also issued a statement Friday morning: “We are aware of certain allegations that have been made against our client, Starlin Castro. We have thoroughly investigated this matter, and we are confident that these allegations are baseless. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.”
Castro, 21, hit .307 with 10 homers, 66 RBIs, 91 runs and 22 stolen bases this past season. His 207 hits led the National League.
The owners of the Chicago Cubs are in the process of redevelopment to the surrounding areas of Wrigley Field. In that process of what the Cubs owners are calling a “mixed use entertainment” project they needed to make a purchase of one of their tenants land to make it all possible. That tennant however is McDonald’s and had to come off $20 million for the one-acre property.
Past owners of the Cubs have been second-guessed for failing to purchase the rooftops across the street from Wrigley and cash in on their bird’s-eye view of the landmark stadium. That oversight set the stage for a bitter battle that saw the team put up windscreens to obscure rooftop views and file a copyright-infringement lawsuit designed to put the private clubs out of business. Rooftop owners ultimately agreed to pay the Cubs 17 percent of their gross revenues for the next 20 years. In exchange, the Cubs agreed to market the rooftops and adjust the compensation downward if a 2006 bleacher expansion hurt their views, which it did not.
The land deal comes as Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is trying to revive his stalled plan to use 35 years’ worth of city amusement-tax growth to finance a $210 million Wrigley renovation.
A taxpayer-subsidized stadium renovation plan would keep the Cubs at Wrigley for at least 35 years and pave the way for the Ricketts family to invest $200 million of their own money in the triangle building, the Cubs have said.
Former New York Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella is in negotiations to rejoin the organization as an analyst for the YES Network and as a spring training instructor, the New York Daily News reports. Piniella, 68, would work a limited number of games as an analyst.
Since retiring as Chicago Cubs manager in August of 2010 to care for his sick mother, Piniella has worked as a scout/special consultant for the San Francisco Giants.
Piniella spent 11 of his 18 season in the majors with the Yankees, hitting .295 with 57 homers and 417 RBIs in pinstripes. He had two stints as the team’s manager in the 1980s, compiling a 224-193 record in three seasons.