Baseball Magazine

Chicago Cubs: Monday News and Notes 1/30/12

By Cbr66 @JKries

Chicago Cubs: Monday News and Notes 1/30/12With the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox unable to decide on what compensation the Red Sox will receive for the Cubs luring team president Theo Epstein away from Boston, commissioner Bud Selig will be making the final decision on the matter. Epstein’s departure at the end of last season came on the heels of an epic collapse by the Red Sox, who failed to make the playoffs after leading the AL wild-card race for most of the 2011 season. Epstein, who won two championships during his tenure as GM in Boston, left the Red Sox on undoubtedly rocky terms, and the two teams’ failure to decide on proper compensation should not come as a surprise. Hopefully, Selig will make an equitable decision, one not based on favoritism or random folly. Last season while the Dodgers were struggling to stay afloat due to owner Frank McCourt’s financial woes, he denied the Dodgers a television deal that would have helped them out financially in the short term. Selig had approved a loan for the Mets and similarly troubled owner Fred Wilpon last season, however. The seeming inconsistency in Selig’s decisions should be concerning to the Cubs as Selig and Major League Baseball eventually rule on the matter.

Chicago Cubs: Monday News and Notes 1/30/12
Slugger Yoenis Cespedes successfully filed for free agency with MLB this past week, paving the way for a potential bidding war for the recently defected Cuban. Cespedes, who last year set the Cuban-league record for home runs in a season, is reportedly being courted by no less than six major league teams, including the Chicago Cubs. Other teams showing interest are the White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, and Cleveland Indians. The Detroit Tigers had previously shown interest but are likely out of contention for Cespedes following last week’s big signing of former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Fiedler is now under contract with the Tigers for nine years, and is owed $214 million. While the Cubs have been silent on their supposed interest in the 26-year-old outfielder, Cespedes himself had told reporters that the Cubs were the most interested, as Cubs officials had supposedly dined with him on two occasions.

Chicago Cubs: Monday News and Notes 1/30/12

Dale Sveum

For baseball fans in the Midwest who followed the game in the 70′s and 80′s, it’s hard to forget the Milwaukee Brewers’ roller coaster 1987 season. Five years removed from an American League pennant, the Brewers started off the ’87 season with 13 consecutive wins, still an American League record today. The Brewers would also suffer a 12-game losing streak during that same season, but finished with a fine 91-71 record, good for third place that year. During the 12th game of that season, the Brewers trailed the Texas Rangers 4-1 at old County Stadium while going into the bottom of the ninth. With two men on and one out, slugger Rob Deer launched a home run over the left field fence, tying the game 4-4. After Rangers reliever Greg Harris struck out B.J. Surhoff, he walked Jim Gantner. With two outs, the Brewers would extend their winning streak to 12 with a two-run bomb to right field off the bat of none other than current Cubs manager, Dale Sveum. Sveum’s blast sent County Stadium into delirium after the Brewers put up five runs in the ninth to overcome the Rangers. Sveum, who had an unspectacular career as a utility infielder, easily had his finest season in ’87 with the Brewers, smashing 25 home runs with a .454 slugging percentage. Check out a neat video of that dramatic final inning here, and also look for a brief cameo by relief pitcher, Mitch Williams, of future Cubs notoriety. It is my duty to warn anyone who chooses to view this video that viewer discretion is advised due to the graphic nature of hairy, shirtless Wisconsites basking in the sun that day, and a Brewers’ victory.

Chicago Cubs: Monday News and Notes 1/30/12
Something interesting that popped up on the internet over the weekend was an old photo of the 1908 World Champion Chicago Cubs, posing with a rather menacing looking mascot. In a Yahoo! Sports article featuring the photo, David Brown aptly and humorously compares the mascot’s appearance to “a giant squirrel, or Frank from Donnie Darko.” I would go one step further and say the “Cub” mascot might be a distant cousin of the mysterious guy in a bear costume in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick horror film, The Shining. Whichever way you choose to describe it, the photo of ’08 Cubs players, such as Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance posing with the mascot at West Side Park is a fantastic find for fans of the old game. The photograph is courtesy of John Chuckman’s personal collection, where other snapshots of Chicago’s past can be found. In light of this discovery, I am awaiting Cubs brass to either track down, or duplicate the frightening looking Cubs suit, and possibly have the annoyance of Wrigleyville, Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers don it, in hopes of the Cubs returning to championship glory, as the ’08 team did that year.

-James Kries

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