Blog Archives

The Cubs Future is Present

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo struggled as a Padre last season hitting just .141 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that our long national nightmare is over and Anthony Rizzo is making his Cubs debut Tuesday night at Wrigley Field the pressure is on for him to live up to the lofty expectations.

Burdened with the task of saving the Cubs and rising from the basement of the National League is no small feat for the 22- year old first baseman. Having raked in the minor leagues to the tune of a .343 average with 23 homeruns in 70 games, many Cubs fans are expecting the second coming of Albert Pujols.

Thus is the life of a prospect in the Cubs organization.

An organization that has failed to produce a successful Major League hitter since Mark Grace came to the show 25 years ago.

Corey Patterson, Bobby Hill, Hee- Sop Choi, and Felix Pie are a who’s who list of recent flops that failed to live up the soaring expectations that preceded their call to the big leagues.

Throw in a litany of failed first round draft picks such as Louis Montanez, Ryan Harvey, Ben Christensen, Brooke Kieschnick, Earl Cunningham, and Derrick May, and you see how Cubs fans have seen their share of flops, busts, and disappointments before.

I have been preaching patience when it comes to Rizzo, and there is a contingent of the fan base that realizes he needed more seasoning with the Iowa Cubs based on his failures when called up with the San Diego last year. He hit .141 with the Padres last season with a single homerun.

With the Cubs in year one of a massive rebuilding mode it didn’t make sense to rush Rizzo and risk the potential long-term damage an early promotion can do to a player’s confidence, (Corey Patterson). A revamped hitting approach for Rizzo, one where he lowered the starting point for his hands, and led scouts to believe a more polished and refined Rizzo will not experience the same struggles he had as a Padre.

Fans of the Cubs will be happy if Rizzo shows continued development and provides a spark to a club that has been struggling to find many bright spots in a season that sees the club languishing in the cellar of the National League Central with a record of 25-48, the worst in the Major Leagues.

The Cubs career for Rizzo begins with a start at first base against the Mets as Cubs cross their fingers and hold their collective breath hoping to witness a new face of the franchise, and not the next in the long chapter of unrealized potential among former Cubs prospects.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Trading Starlin Castro

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs wa...

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs waits to bat in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rumors that Theo Epstein and the Cubs were shopping Starlin Castro in a trade swirled amid a USA Today report that the club is shopping everyone on the roster with the exception of Jeff Samardzija.

My initial reaction to this article was shock, because I don’t think Theo Epstein would be that foolish to trade a shortstop that is the only legitimate bat in the lineup and represent the very player that Epstein should be building around.

At 22 years old and under team control until 2017, trading Castro should not even be a consideration for a team that needs more players of his ilk to contend in the National League Central division.  Trading him for a bundle of prospects would further alienate a fan base that’s grown tired of waiting til next year.

Having made his ML debut just over two years ago Castro has already eclipsed 400 career hits while hitting over .300.  Far from a finished product he has started to drive in more runs, he is tied with Boston’s Mike Aviles for the lead among shortstops in runs batted in with 32, and is on pace to steal over thirty bases which would eclipse his career high of 22 set last season.

His defense is a work in progress as he has been prone to errant throws and mental lapses, but that’s just par for the course in the developing of a 22- year old in pro sports.

The closest thing the Cubs have to an untouchable, if there is such a thing in pro sports today, is the All-Star shortstop that should be patrolling the left side of the Cubs infield for the next decade and will be a fixture in the line-up when the Cubs are back on top.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports fan and an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here.

The Sports Corner

With a décor fitting of an upscale restaurant The Sports Corner does not look like your typical sports bar from the outside.  That’s just fine with the people at the Sports Corner, located at 952 W. Addison Street in Chicago, because people have been piling in since the location was revamped a few years ago.

Offering plenty of outdoor seating to soak up the sun on a glorious Chicago summer day patrons can sip on a frosty cold beer before they make it across the street to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, for an afternoon matinee.

You don’t need to have tickets to the game to come to the Sports Corner however, because the atmosphere outside the park on game days is electric and you can watch on one of the many televisions inside the bar while you sample their everyday specials and every Wednesday is trivia night.  During trivia night you can take advantage of $10 domestic pitchers, $15 import pitchers, and $5 Ketel cocktails.

To learn more about The Sports Corner Bar & Grill, schedule a private party, or peruse their everyday specials, visit their website here.

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports fan and an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here. And read more of Patrick’s blogs here.

The Cubby Bear

The Cubby Bear

The Cubby Bear (Photo credit: voteprime)

The next time you’re taking in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field you need to step into The Cubby Bear for their daily specials and live music.  Live music emanates out of this establishment right next to the historic ballpark that’s home to the Cubs and has live music playing nearly every Friday and Saturday night.

The musical acts range from local bands playing original work to cover bands to the likes of George Clinton who just played the venue May 10th to Ziggy Marley who will bring is act to 1059 W. Addison July 2nd.

If live music isn’t your thing, then have no fear, because the Cubby Bear has a menu that will make everybody’s stomach growl and mouth salivate.

For starters you need to try their award winning bacon wings that you can drown in ranch or bleu cheese dressing if you can’t take the heat. The appetizers don’t stop with the wings as they offer mozzarella sticks, mac and cheese bites, nachos, and more.

The appetizers are enough to fill you up, but be sure to leave room for their variety of mouth watering burgers. I recommend the half- pound cheddar bacon burger with the Cubby Bear garlic fries. In addition to the variety of burgers, this Cubs fan hangout features, sausages, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, bbq pork, Italian beef, and the best smoked brisket you’ll find in Illinois.

Whether you’re stopping in before, after, or during the Cubs game, scheduling a private party, or just want to see some of the best live music in the city, then the Cubby Bear is the place to be. You can also check out their Lincolnshire location at 21661 N. Milwaukee for the same great food and hospitality at their Chicago location.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports fan and former football player from Chicago and is the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10. View his show’s website here. And read more of Patrick’s blogs here.

Baseball’s Civil War in Chicago

For as long as there has been two professional baseball teams playing in Chicago the two sides have despised each other that would make the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s proud.

As the City of broad shoulders prepares for another Civil War between the Cubs and Sox, I have already grown tired of the sophomoric and ignorant stereotypes that both fan bases throw back and forth at each other.

I have often found it humorous for one to be a fan of both teams, and I have yet to wrap my brain around having two favorite teams in any sports. However, is it possible to be a Cubs or Sox fan and not have the urge to throw the same tired insults at the other team, their fans, and their ballpark?

Denigrating one team does not make your team superior, it makes you look foolish.

I am a Cubs fan and support them through good times and bad. In many ways it is a marriage and as many times as I get disappointed or angry with the team, I always come back to them and believe that next year is right around the corner.

I am as loyal as they come concerning the supporting of my team. This is something that many Chicagoans pride themselves on. This trait is what makes Chicago fans the greatest in the world. This is not a biased opinion.

This fact is backed by my viewing Yankee fans boo Derek Jeter, Philadelphia fans boo Santa Claus, Los Angeles fans lose a football franchise on more than one occasion, and countless other cities struggle to fill their stadiums and arenas. Have you seen the empty seats in Miami during Heat games and the thousands of empty seats in Atlanta during the Braves decade of dominance in the ‘90’s?

This series brings out the worst in Chicago fans and a sample of what you will hear in any bar this weekend will go like this:

Cub fan: “The White Sox fans don’t care about their team and that’s why they can’t sell out their stadium.”

Sox fan: “Sox fans are just smarter and we don’t support a bad team unlike Cub fans who just go to Wrigley to get drunk. They don’t even pay attention to the game.”

Cubs fan: “At least our park is a historical monument and full of history and beauty unlike that monstrosity named after a phone company.”

Sox fan: “Well our park is clean and you don’t have to worry about concrete falling on your head or walking a mile to use the bathroom.”

Cubs fan: “No but the umpires and first base coaches need to worry about being assaulted.”

Sox fan: “Well your announcers are awful. All Ron Santo did was moan and groan. He was just a fan in the booth.”

Cubs fan: “Have you heard Hawk Harrelson?!”

Sox fan: “At least we won a World Series.”

Cubs fan: “That’s right; you have now won as many as you’ve thrown in the last 100 years.”

Tell me how many times you have heard this exact conversation?

I am willing to bet the answer is far too many.

My plea for Cubs and Sox fans this weekend is that we all get along. I pray no fights break in or around the stadium. The past few years have seen an increase in hostility, aggression, and drunken belligerence. Let us remember this is the city that brought us affable and players who personified class in guys like Ernie Banks, Luke Appling, Ron Santo, Minnie Minoso, Ryne Sandberg, and the man in the White Sox dugout this weekend, Robin Ventura among many others.

For three days I urge the fans of both sides to represent the best the city has to offer and not act like Albert Belle and Milton Bradley.

I am rooting for three well played competitive games and if the Cubs lose Friday afternoon, you better believe I will have my Cubs gear on for Saturday night’s game under the lights.

You will not see me bashing the White Sox if they beat the Cubs in every game this year, sure I will be disappointed, but more than if the Cardinals came into town and swept the series. That is the team’s real rival. I would think the best White Sox fans would agree in the same vein agree that they are more concerned with gaining ground on Detroit and Cleveland in the standings.

I am concerned about the fans on both allegiances that do not recognize this fact and have a distorted sense of reality. These are the fans that participate in conversations like the one I wrote about earlier and get tossed out of games and bars for engaging in buffoonery.

Both have great fans but it is the clowns to the left and jokers to the right who ruin it for the true fans.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago. Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks from birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC. Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

Murphy’s Bleachers

The first in a series featuring the sports bars in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.

When looking for the perfect pregame refreshment before attending Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field one must look no further than Murphy’s Bleachers.

Conveniently located across the street from the Cubs famed park patrons can visit the establishment for a few refreshing beverages before walking 20 yards across the street to enter the ballpark and head toward your seats in the world’s largest outdoor beer garden in the Wrigley Field bleachers.

With a selection of beers that will make one’s head spin figuratively when perusing the menu, and then literally once you sample the selection. The unofficial pregame meeting spot has long been a Wrigleyville institution as fans adorned in their Cubbie blue t-shirts and baseball caps filled the bar inside and out.

A fan friendly atmosphere greets as you approach the park fans are littered along the corner of Sheffield and Waveland Avenue well before the first pitch on game day. This is the place to hang out for a brew and a burger before the game, but also for the fan that can’t get tickets to the game that want to enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie of Cubs fans from the area.

Murphy’s offers daily specials, features a new beer every month, showcases local musical talent, hosts private parties, and for a fan experience you cannot find anywhere else, Murphy’s Rooftop Company has seating available to watch a Cubs game high atop the infamous rooftops. For a vision that will surely dazzle the eyes and a view that one can only get from Murphy’s rooftops is the ideal setting for bachelor, graduation, and birthday parties.

When attending a Cubs game at Wrigley be sure to check out all that Murphy’s Bleachers has to offer, and if the Cubs don’t win, drown your sorrows in one of their fine beers, wines, or palatable whiskies.

Murphy’s Bleachers

3655 North Sheffield
Chicago IL 60613

Tel: 773-281-5356

 

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America. Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks from birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC. Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10. View his show’s website here. To read more of Patrick’s blogs click here.

Raphael Dolis Saves the Day for Cubs

The news coming out of Wrigley Field on Friday morning was about the ninth inning and the recent struggles surrounding Carlos Marmol, prompting Cubs Dale Sveum to make a move at the back end of the bullpen and insert rookie reliever Raphael Dolis as the man in charge of recording the final three outs of the ball game.

As fate would have it Raphael Dolis would get a save opportunity in front of the Wrigley Field faithful on a sun soaked Friday afternoon vs. the Dodgers.

Entering the ninth inning with the slimmest of margins one could just picture the collective tightening of chests among Cubs fans.  Witnessing the high wire act of Marmol this season, the ninth inning has been anything but a walk in the park.

Dolis recorded the first two outs without breaking a sweat but after hitting the Dodgers A.J. Ellis on a controversial call that led to the ejection of Sveum, Cubs fans had to be saying to themselves, here we go again.

This is the mindset of the Cubs fan this year.  They know it is not going to be a year with title aspirations but they want to win the games they hold a lead in the ninth inning.  Nothing is more demoralizing to a young rebuilding team than back breaking losses after busting their hump for eight innings.

After falling behind Bobby Abreu, Cubs fans quickly grew restless and when Abreu drilled a pitch to right field.  At this moment I wonder how many Cubs fans closed their eyes as if waiting for the impending bad news as the fly ball rolled to the warning track and tied up the game.

Today would not bring any impending doom and gloom for the Cubs fans across the country as Cubs right fielder, David DeJesus, who was on base four times today, camped under the fly ball and closed his mitt around the ball, recording the 27th out and preserving the win for cubs starter Paul Maholm as Dolis earned his second career save.

Maholm was crisp for his third straight win after failing to win any of his previous nine starts dating back to last season as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

The former Mississippi State bulldog was efficient in pitching six innings of three hit ball, only giving up a solo homerun to former Cubs utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr in the third.

The Cubs offense was led by DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano, and Starlin Castro.  The trio reached base safely in nine of 14 plate appearances, recording three runs and, four RBI.

The Cubs added a pinch hit homerun from Joe Mather, which proved to be the difference in the Cubs eking out a 5-4 victory over Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, and the Dodgers.

You can follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

I am a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America.  Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks from birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  I am the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10am.  View the show’s website here

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals: April 24 Recap

Last time the Cubs faced Cards right hander Adam Wainwright 11 days ago the Cubs lit him up like a pinball machine to the tune of eight runs in three innings of work dampening the mood of the Cardinals home opener as Jeff Samardzija grinded through five innings of work to notch his second win of the young campaign.

In a matchup of the two tall right-handers on a brisk April night, runs were at a premium as both starters sawed off bats much of the night. Wainwright gave up one earned run on a Castro sac fly in the first over six innings of work. Meanwhile his counterpart on the other side was one out removed from seven innings of shutout ball.

With the Cubs up on the Cardinals 1-0 with two outs in the top half of the eighth inning in front of the Wrigley Field faithful first year manager Dale Sveum called upon struggling Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for the four out save. Marmol quickly got ahead of Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday 1-2 as the Wrigley crowd rose to their feet in anticipation of the third out Matt Holliday got just enough of a Carlos Marmol. A high slider later evened the count before Holliday took advantage of a hanging slider and deposited it into the first row of the centerfield bleachers as Cubs centerfielder Tony Campana could only leap so high before watching the ball turn into a souvenir.

Marmol walked off the field to end the top portion of the eighth to a healthy smattering of boos from the restless natives.

When it appeared the Cardinals had the game in the palm of their hands, Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair took the first pitch he saw from Jason Motte into the open arms of the fans in blue in the left center field bleachers, tying up the game.

LaHair rounded the bases with his right forearm in the air reminiscent of Padres first baseman, Steve Garvey whose homer beat the Cubs in the 1984 playoffs.

LaHair’s homerun was the first by a Cub in nine games since he hit a grand slam off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.

With the game now in extra innings, Cubs bat boy, I mean centerfielder, Tony Campana singling up the middle and stealing second with one out, the Cubs were in position to send the Wrigley Field faithful, which included Michael Jordan on this night home happy.

With the much maligned Alfonso Soriano up with two outs and down to his last strike he hit a bullet to second base that ate up cards second sacker alive. Tony Campana raced around third and scored the winning run in the tenth giving the Cubs their second walk off win in as many nights vs. the Cardinals.

The 3-2 win brought the Cubs record to 6-12 as the Cardinals fall to 11-7.

The Cubs look for the sweep Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch at 1:20.

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