Thursday, April 23, 2009

Of Cubs and cats

Did you see that cat get on the field during Tuesday's Cubs game? It wasn't a black cat, so it's OK, but where the heck did it come from? Did someone sneak a cat into the stadium? If so, why?

But my favorite part of the whole thing is that the groundskeeper who was forced to get rid of it practically took one of its nine lives in the process. This guy has clearly never had a pet of any kind. First he loses control of it and then catches it a la Barnum and Bailey, then he drops it and opts to pick it up by its tail. Don't get me wrong--this had to have been the last thing he expected to have to do at work that day, and I certainly wouldn't want the responsibility of ridding Wrigley Field of a cat on national television. But nonetheless, this is funny stuff.

Tuesday's game also featured a foul ball eerily close to that place where someone once reached for a ball during a playoff game vs. the Marlins, though in this case Soriano wasn't going for the ball as he didn't get there in time to leap for it.

But most importantly, the game featured two firsts in MLB history:

1) a Micah vs. Micah batter-vs.-pitcher matchup
2) a home run by a Micah off a Micah

This all occurred when Micah Hoffpauir hit his third career home run off Micah Owings in the second inning.

Micah Owings, by the way, is essentially the second coming of Rick Ankiel, except that he hasn't yet given up his dream of being a pitcher. Since last May, Owings is 0-9 with an ERA hovering around 8.00. In his career, he's 14-19 with a 4.99 ERA.

On the other hand, he's a career .317 hitter with five HR and 23 RBI in just 121 AB. If we projected his stats into 413 AB, which is the number Ankiel had last year, here's how they compare.

Ankiel (2008): .264 25 71
Owings (proj.): .317 17 78

Not too shabby. As Trevor Sierra said, he just needs to throw a few to the backstop and he'll be on his way to a multi-million dollar contract as a slugger.

-On a separate note, MLB All-Star ballots came out on Wednesday. Are they serious? It's 18 days into the season! The Cubs have played 13 games, which is eight percent of the season schedule. That's like voting for NBA All-Stars after six games, or NFL Pro Bowlers after just one football game. How can the votes possibly be based on this season's results when the ballots are out this early?

Rookie of the Year
It's official: Derrick Rose is the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Rose led rookies in assists (6.3) and minutes played (37.0) and finished second to Memphis' O.J. Mayo in scoring, averaging 16.8 points per game. Mayo averaged 18.5.

Rose is the third Bull to win the award, following Michael Jordan and Elton Brand. Rose is the first #1 overall draft pick to win the award since LeBron James in 2004.

Cubs notes
-The Cubs drew seven walks Tuesday, and have drawn the third most in the league and have the fourth highest on-base percentage. Not only did the Cubs see ball four a lot, but they had a lot of long at-bats in general. They forced the Reds to throw 178 pitches in eight innings, compared to 146 by Cubs pitchers in nine innings. Owings, the starter, threw 94 pitches in just 4.2 innings.

-Alfonso Soriano is tied for the league lead with five HR, and he leads the league with 15 runs scored.

Samardzija watch
Well, this may be the final installment of "Samardzija watch" for the year, because Jeff is being called up today and will reportedly replace Luis Vizcaino, who is expected to be traded or designated for assignment (i.e. let go). This will give the Cubs two legitimate 7th inning guys--Samardzija and Heilman--before Marmol and Gregg. Cotts will stay with the big club, and Marshall will stay in the rotation for the time being.

MLB notes
The Giants' Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam Tuesday, the 19th in the majors this season in just 17 days of action. By comparison, there were 124 slams in 2008 in approximately 180 days.


  1. While I do wonder where this cat came from, I'd really like to know where it went. Didn't it seem like the groundskeeper threw the furious feline onto unsuspecting fans?

  2. Any word on why we would move Vizcaino instead of Cotts or Guzman? I just think it is odd to get rid of a guy with a 0.00 ERA even if he has only pitched a couple innings.

  3. Sounds like it came from the knothole in right field. And yes, it seemed like the member of the grounds crew came up with a new promotion--one fan gets a free stray cat!

    To Andrew's comment, I haven't read anything, but two things:

    1) I think Piniella would rather have Marshall in the rotation instead of Samardzija, which means if Cotts goes, then we have no lefty relievers.
    2) Guzman has been a highly touted prospect for years, and it seems like he may finally be coming into his own. He has no more options, so I don't think they wanted to lose him just to bring up Samardzija. Strange situation either way, though, since we just gave away a decent reliever and a few million dollars.