Tag:Wrigley Field
Posted on: January 14, 2012 8:50 pm
 

Cubs adding 70-foot LED scoreboard at Wrigley

Wrigley Field

By C. Trent Rosecrans


We're in a time when HD scoreboards the size of an aircraft carrier barely registers a shrug, but make a change at Wrigley Field? That's news.

It's not as if the Cubs are doing anything revolutionary, they're just doing it at Wrigley, adding an LED scoreboard in right field that will be able to display player pictures and statistics -- by computer, not by hand.

The 70-foot LED board will be built in right field in an attempt to make Wrigley's own Green Monster seats in a party deck section that groups can rent out for as many as 150 people. The area had been premier box seats.

I love Wrigley Field and enjoy watching games there as much as the next guy, but there's certainly room for moves like this to allow Cub fans to enjoy games at their park just like fans at the game's other 29 stadiums. Wrigley Field is different, but it's not a museum, it's a ballpark and ballparks evolve over time -- although some at a slower rate than others.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:37 am
 

Man arrested after trying to steal Wrigley ivy



By Matt Snyder


In your best "Soup Nazi" voice, let's hear it: No ivy for you!

Yes, a 24-year-old man was arrested in Chicago on New Year's Day for trying to steal some ivy off the outfield wall in Wrigley Field (CBS Chicago). That's a no-no. For two reasons.

First of all, the man had to break into Wrigley Field and tresspass to get a piece of the ivy. He reportedly did so by working his way through a construction area about 7:30 a.m. on the 1000 block of Clark Street (which runs along Wrigley's third-base line). The problem, of course, is he was caught on a security camera. So the theft of the ivy would not stand.

Secondly, even if you purchase a ticket and attend a game, the Cubs do not allow fans to take a piece of historic ivy. I've personally witnessed fans from the bleachers reach over and grab some ivy, only to have it snatched away by the usher almost immediately. That is if they even get far enough down to reach the ivy. It makes sense. If you allow fans to just reach over and tear off ivy, where does it end? It's the slippery slope theory.

But in this case, the dude trespassed. He's been charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. I'm sure it was worth it, though, just to try and get a vine of ivy.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Marlins' new home could bring makeover



By Matt Snyder


While it certainly doesn't necessarily mean on-field success, the Florida Marlins are about to finally have their own home. After sharing a park with the NFL's Miami Dolphins since first taking the field in 1993, the Marlins will begin 2012 with a baseball-only facility in Miami. Wednesday, local media were given a tour of the facility and the Marlins took the opportunity to sing their own praises.

"This will be the first ballpark to come in on budget and on time in a long, long time," team President David Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com). "There will not be overruns in this building. This building will come in at the $515 million mark, not one dollar over budget, [and] not one thing taken out of the building. As a matter of fact, we have been able to add things because the workers have been so efficient and it has been built so well."

Samson also noted that he's personally sat in every single seat and went with the proverbial "there's not a bad seat in the house" sentiment.

So the Marlins' fans will finally have a place that seems like a real home instead of some rental where a baseball game seems foreign and unwelcome. Attendance will surely increase (the Marlins average less than 19,000 fans per game this year -- and that's paid, not how many actually show up), but what about the problem that has plagued the Marlins for years: Payroll?

"I know it will be at levels previously unseen," Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

Interesting.

The time might be now to start ramping up the baseball excitement, south Florida.

Real life 'Wild Thing:' If you like baseball and don't love Charlie Sheen's character -- Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn -- in "Major League," well, you might have as many screws loose as Sheen. In the movie, Vaughn earned the nickname after loading the bases with walks on 12 straight pitches and then later set a record for wild pitches in an inning. Embattled Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett didn't do it in an inning, but he has now joined rare company with his wild pitches. With three Wednesday, he became the first pitcher since 1919 to have eight games with at least three wild pitches (Baseball-Reference blog).

A better Johan? Mets ace Johan Santana has been sidelined all season after having a surgical procedure in 2010. But he's getting closer and closer to possibly seeing some relief work this September, just to get him back on the mound for an inning or two. And get this: Mets' pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana's stuff is better right now than it was last season (when he had a 2.98 ERA in 199 innings). "Better velocity," Warthen said (NYDailyNews.com). "The arm was in the same slot each and every time. He wasn't searching for a place that didn't hurt."

Emotional season: Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos came to America in 2004 to chase his dream of playing Major League Baseball. But through the long visa process, his family had never been able to get here to see him play in person ... until this season. His parents recently secured a 10-year visa and finally got to see their son play a big-league game in person this homestand (Washington Times).

Rock and a hard place: "Moneyball" is coming to theaters soon, as I'm sure most of us have seen the previews during commercial breaks on TV by now. For those uninformed, it's a film adaptation of the book about A's general manager Billy Beane trying to build a team without the resources of a large-market club (or even a middle-market one). Beane hasn't really said anything about it, and Wednesday he explained why: "The hard thing for me has been figuring out how to walk this fine line," Beane said (Mercurynews.com). "If I embrace all this movie stuff, it looks like I'm really digging it. But if I put my hand up and say, 'No,' I look like I'm distancing myself from it. There's no playbook for this."

Old Style at Wrigley: Pabst brewing company nearly nixed a deal with Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans have been consuming Old Style beer since 1950, but tradition won out -- as the contract was extended through 2013. As a Cubs fan I can tell you that it's tradition to buy one and suck it down each time you attend a game -- even if it tastes like crap (it kind of does). (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Milwaukee loves 'Tony Plush:" Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan has become an unlikely popular player this season, and the T-shirt depicting his alter-ego -- "Tony Plush" -- outsells all other Brewers' T-shirts three-fold (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). I wonder if Chris Carpenter wants one (click here if you don't get it)? I kid, but it would at the very least be a funny prank for a teammate to get him one.

Wild beats Man: A squirrel broke into the Indians' bullpen Wednesday night and closer Chris Perez attempted to capture it with his jacket. He lost, as the squirrel ran up the bullpen wall and jumped into the center-field bushes (Detroit Free-Press).

Happy Anniversary: On this day 25 years ago, Rafael Palmeiro made his major-league debut (Hardball Times). He'd go on to accumulate 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, nearly 2,000 RBI, a Gold Glove in a season when he only played 28 games in the field and one embarrassing display in front of Congress that has now been immortalized by Larry David.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:38 am
 

Pepper: McKeon supports replay



By Matt Snyder


The instant replay debate in baseball will likely never go away, so long as umpires continue to miss close calls (which is inevitable) and it's not expanded as much as it is in, say, football (which it never will be). While fans of all ages differ on the subject, one thing I think is generally true is that people against expanding replay are older and people for expanding replay are younger. There are obvious outliers, but the age divide makes sense.

Then again, baseball's oldest manager since Connie Mack -- who was born during the Civil War and was managing in 1950, by the way -- wants to expand it. Marlins' skipper Jack McKeon, 80, actually believes Major League Baseball should use instant replay more often. The trigger point was an umpire ruling Saturday night that a Mike Stanton catch was actually not a catch -- replays were pretty definitive that Stanton made the catch. Albert Pujols followed with a two-run home run and the Cardinals ended up winning 2-1.

"We all thought he caught it. Like I told the umpires, 'You've got four guys out here and four guys can't see it.' Maybe that's another reason why we should have instant replay," McKeon said (MLB.com). "No question it's the difference in the ballgame. You're not going to criticize the umpires, because it's a tough job, but on the other hand, we've got to get these calls right."

I agree 100 percent. I just don't understand why there's technology available and baseball refuses to use it to improve the game.

Heat sidelines umpire: Home-plate umpire Paul Nauert was unable to finish the Cubs-Reds game Sunday, as the heat knocked him out after 7 1/2 innings (MLB.com). I'm not sure what the answer is, but in these dog-days-of-summer day games, the ump with all the gear on behind the plate is the one who never gets a break. The catchers each get a chance to recharge their batteries in the dugout every half-inning. Meanwhile, the umpires just get a quick break between half-innings. Let's hope it doesn't take a death before we find some way to better protect the guy behind the dish.

Course reversal: A few days ago, the Angels announced they were going to honor Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter when the Yankees visited Anaheim later this season. Apparently, enough complaints arrived to change the minds of Angels' brass, because now they're saying there are "no plans" to honor Jeter. (OC Register)

Leyland responds to complaint: Jim Leyland received what he described as a "brutal" letter from a fan. So he reached out to the fan and had a good conversation, which even culminated with the fan and his family receiving tickets to a game from Leyland. It's a credit to what a good guy Leyland is, but the story is actually quite aggravating when you go deeper into it. The fan's complaints were that his kid didn't get to meet any players or run the bases, due to the circumstances of the day. In fairness, the fan did say he was "embarrassed" to accept the tickets from Leyland because he was rewarded for bad behavior. Yep. So, basically, the letter was exactly the type of thing he should be teaching his son to avoid doing, and he was rewarded for it. (Big League Stew)

Boras impact: Is Scott Boras the key to the Royals' possibly bright future? The super-agent is still negotiating for his client -- first-round draft pick Bubba Starling -- to sign with the Royals and holds a lot of other power with the Royals, and every team in the bigs for that matter. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a long, detailed look at Boras. It's a highly-recommended read.

Memorable first homer: Well, more memorable than usual. A major-leaguer's first home run is always likely one of his fondest memories when he reflects back on his career. Trayvon Robinson of the Mariners, however, had one he certainly won't be forgetting any time soon ... because he stopped at second base. Robinson said he thought the ball bounced over the fence. He's likely to be subject to playful mockery from teammates for much of the near future for a gaffe like that, but it could obviously have been much worse. He still hit a home run. (MLB.com)

Zito's rehab start: Injured Giants starter Barry Zito will take his first rehab start Monday afternoon in San Jose and is expected to throw four or five innings (MLB.com). Take your time, Barry. It's doubtful the Giants will have an open rotation spot when you get back.

He's strong: Mark Reynolds might be a butcher with the glove and strikeout a ton, but, man, does he have power. Sunday, he uncorked the sixth-longest home run in the history of Camden Yards -- 450 feet. Darryl Strawberry hit one 465 feet in 1998 to top the list. (School of Roch)

Moneybags, meet Uber-Moneybags: It's no secret most big-league baseball players are pretty rich. Sunday, the Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz met a man who wipes the sweat off his brow with what they make. Carlos Slim was in the Red Sox locker room before their game. Slim is the richest man in the world, as he's worth a reported $64 billion. Yes, 64 billion dollars. (Boston.com)

It's just one baseball: A foul ball went into a trash can at Tropicana Field Saturday night, but that didn't stop a pair of fans for sifting through the trash to find it. While I think it would be cool to catch a ball at a game, I just don't understand the lengths people go to get one. I mean, watch the video on MLB.com. Two dudes dive in head first and even get into a minor fight. Really, guys? Really? (Big League Stew)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 23 years ago, Wrigley Field finally caught up with the rest of baseball and played a night game. It's pretty easy to remember, being 8/8/88 and all. Still worth a mention.

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: May 10, 2011 10:58 am
 

Pepper: Aces meet in Florida



By Matt Snyder

WEST AT IT AGAIN: Another game, another ejection by Joe West's awful excuse for an umpiring crew. Monday night, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins was West's victim. MLB Network studio analyst Larry Bowa said MLB executive Joe Torre needs to find a way to get West under control. You know I agree, and here's a link to my rant from last week on West's crew.

UH ... REALLY? During Justin Verlander's no-hitter in Toronto, Blue Jays' outfielder Juan Rivera ran by the mound and told Verlander he was just "getting lucky." Verlander even confirmed this after the game. "He was probably just trying to get under my skin," said the righty. (sportsnet.ca ) I know sometimes things are said due to frustration, so maybe Rivera backed off the comments later. Only he didn't. Instead he stood behind the remark. Look, there are certainly times where a run-of-the-mill pitcher has everything break his way and throws a no-no, but Verlander now has done it twice and is one of the elite arms in the game. There's no other way to spin the situation than to say that Rivera was just jealous.

QUITE A LEAP: From running a small hot dog stand to the Wrigley Field public address announcer within a few days? Yep, that's what Andrew Belleson did. Pretty cool story. (Chicago Tribune )

OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: The Twins have had a putrid offense pretty much all season. Before Monday's game against the Red Sox, a reporter asked manager Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano's next start, saying "you don't need another no-hitter." Gardenhire's reply? "We don't? Who are you kidding?" (Twins Now via Twitter)

MONEY MATTERS: While Chris Young's season -- and maybe even career -- hangs in the balance, the Mets still have money woes. Thus, it's worth looking at Young's contract. He has a base salary of $1.1 million with incentives that could have pushed the deal all the way up to $4.5 million. He obviously hasn't reached any of those yet, so it's looking increasingly likely the Mets will only owe the initial $1.1 million. (ESPN New York )

MAD MILTON: When Milton Bradley was clipped by the Mariners Monday, the reaction across the baseball-loving world was anywhere from jubilation to relief to mockery. The always-great Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog (Seattle Times ) offers up a very thoughtful piece on Bradley, in that now he should be trying to figure out what makes him happy and get himself straightened out. It's very fair. While pointing out that Bradley has never been accountable for his actions, Baker also points out that teams continuing to sign Bradley have been enabling his behavior instead of forcing him to solve his personal demons. Meanwhile, Jerry Brewer of the same outlet discusses that Bradley's career is probably over. I tend to agree. When he was productive, it wasn't surprising that teams would give him a shot. But, to put it succinctly, he sucks now. There's no reason for anyone to give him a shot.

TURNIN' BACK THE CLOCK: Hanley Ramirez has had an awful beginning to the 2011 season. Back in 2009, he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting. So Hanley went back into his storage closet and found his bats from 2009. He started using them Sunday and has since gone 3-9 with two runs scored. He also scorched a pair of balls Sunday that didn't work out (one was a foul ball that easily had home run distance, the other was a line drive double-play that was right at the shortstop). Hey, if he thinks that will help, it very well might. Baseball is such a mental game, any little adjustment could get things on track. (Fish Bytes )

THE ROAD BACK: Josh Hamilton has been out several weeks with an injured shoulder, but he's going to take batting practice Friday (Evan Grant via Twitter).

MASKED MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN: "We are constantly looking for ways to connect and engage with our great fan base," said Angels vice president of sales and marketing, Robert Alvarado. And Tuesday night in Anaheim, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest gathering of people wearing costume masks." Specifically, everyone in attendance is going to get an Angels wrestling mask. Sorry, this is stupid. Can't the fans just go watch a baseball game? (MLB.com )

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pepper: Johan's return on horizon



By Matt Snyder


When Mets ace Johan Santana underwent surgery on his left anterior shoulder capsule last September 14, the thought was he might return to the mound in the majors in early July of 2011. He's still not far enough along in the process to make an accurate call on when he might suit up for the Mets again, but he's definitely progressing and has had very few setbacks so far.

Tuesday afternoon, it was reported Santana was making "firm" throws from 120 feet. Remember, a pitching mound is roughly half that distance from home plate. He reportedly might back up to 150-foot throws before getting on that mound to feel things out from there, but he might be ready now to start the process on working himself back onto the hill. (ESPN New York)

Even if he did get on the hill within the next few days, Santana would need several bullpens and a minor-league rehab stint before rejoining his team.

Still, after an abysmal start, things are looking up for the Mets. They've won five straight games and now can at least think about getting Johan back at some point in the first half of the season. Santana is 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 496 strikeouts in 88 starts for the Mets.

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Andre Ethier keep his hitting streak alive? Can the Red Sox rebound with Josh Beckett on the mound? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to fill you in.

ABOUT THAT STREAK: I had some thoughts on Ethier's streak and hitting streaks in general yesterday. In case it got buried in the Everett/Dykstra madness, here it is .

ZIMMERMAN/HAMILTON DOING BASEBALL THINGS: Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Hamilton are two of the big names early in the season who have gone down with injuries. Both resumed what are terms as "baseball activities" Tuesday. Zimmerman did some light throwing and running, while Hamilton took some fly balls in the outfield and lightly tossed them back. Hamilton isn't anywhere near a return to the Rangers, though. Zimmerman was supposed to be at least close to back by now, considering the initial prognosis was three weeks -- and that was April 9. The Nationals are taking extra precautions with their star third baseman, so things are going to move slowly. He is expected to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before returning to the big club. (Nationals Journal )

MATUSZ PAIN-FREE: It's been a rough 2011 for promising Baltimore pitcher Brian Matusz. It seems like he's only suffered setback after setback in his attempt to return from an intercostal strain in his shoulder. Tuesday, however, was a good day. Matusz threw long-toss (120 feet) and some light tossing off the mound and did so without pain.

"I felt really good. I felt good health-wise and I felt good mechanically," he said. "The pain's gone. I want to keep it that way. I've just got to be able to build my way back up as possible without taking it too far too fast."

Matusz and the Orioles are looking at a mid-May return. (School of Roch )

SAVE SKEWERING: Matthew Leach of MLB.com wrote a great column on how managers have been taken out of their best mindset simply by one stat: Saves. The simplest way to put his point is that the highest-leverage situation in a game for a relief pitcher could come in any inning, and if it falls somewhere before the ninth inning, the manager refuses to use his best reliever, simply because it's not a save situation. And this could actually cost teams games. A highly recommended read. (MLB.com )

MR. APRIL: Kosuke Fukudome is an elite player in April. Seriously. This is his fourth April. In 343 April (or March) plate appearances in his career, Fukudome is hitting .358 with a .466 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 43 RBI and 53 runs. His 1.015 OPS absolutely dwarfs his next highest total for any month (.834 in August is next, while June and September are below .640). Fangraphs.com notices that this April, where he's almost hitting .500, is different than the past three, however.

SQUEEZE PLAY SANDWICH: There won't be a middle ground here. You'll either think this "sandwich" looks awesome or disgusting. I fall in the former camp. (This is why you're huge )

THE THREE-(BLACK)HOLE:
The Red Sox are getting nearly nothing out of the third spot in the batting order. Considering the three options coming into the season to hit there were Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, it's a bit puzzling. Good analysis here, and -- much like the writer -- I'd expect the Red Sox just leave Gonzalez there and he will come around. (WEEI.com )

OLD-SCHOOL VS. NEW-SKOOL: Here's an interesting piece about a fan taking his young son to both Miller Park and Wrigley Field and how much more kid-friendly Miller Park is. No, it's not the typical -- and played and over-played -- assault on Wrigley Field fans and the so-called party atmosphere. He points out all the activities for kids to do, Bernie Brewer going down the slide, the fact that there is a roof when the weather is bad and that there is a playground. His broad point is that getting kids to love baseball starts with getting them to have fun at the ballpark and it's not fun for a six-year-old to sit in frigid weather at a place like Wrigley. Even as a Cubs fan, I'm OK with that logic. At least it wasn't another uncreative attack on Cubs fans. (Platoon Advantage )

HIS NAME IS TREY: Of course it is. The grandchild of Ken Griffey and son of Ken Griffey Jr., Trey Griffey, is looking to break into the collegiate sports world. Only he wants to play football. He's in the 2012 recruiting class, but unfortunately he's only been offered by Florida International. Still, the wideout does still have his senior  year and some pretty enticing bloodlines. (Dr. Saturday )

UBALDO THE ROCKS' WORST STARTING PITCHER? Say what? Beyond the Box Score measures this question with some data. I don't think anyone would predict this would be the case for the entire season, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez is completely healthy. The broader point is that with Esmil Rogers, Jason Hammel and Jhoulys Chacin coming into their own while Jorge De La Rosa throws well, the Rockies' rotation is pretty deep. It's a big part of the reason the Rockies are off to a franchise-best start and have done so pretty much without the help of Jimenez or Carlos Gonzalez.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 4:36 pm
 

Pepper: Contentious homecoming



By Matt Snyder


Lance Berkman played in parts of 12 seasons for the Houston Astros. When he joined, he was the new member of the "Killer B's," along with Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. He was a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of MVP voting four times. The Astros' career leaderboard is peppered with Berkman's name. He's first in OBP, second in slugging, fourth in batting average and second in OPS. Only Biggio, Bagwell and Jose Cruz played more games for the club. He ranks third in runs, fifth in hits, third in doubles, second in home runs and third in RBI.

Or, put more succinctly: Lance Berkman is one of the greatest Houston Astros of all time.

But things aren't exactly peachy now. Berkman was having the worst season of his career in 2010 -- still a 122 OPS-plus, by the way -- before being dealt to the Yankees. Now, Berkman is playing for Houston rival St. Louis.

As a Cardinal, he's back to his old mashing ways. He's Big Puma again, hitting .377 with a 1.173 OPS, six home runs, 15 RBI and 19 runs through 19 games. He leads the NL with a .725 slugging percentage.

The big start drew the ire of a Houston-area sportscaster, who suggested Berkman didn't work hard his "last few years" for the Astros and now he was back in shape. (Eye on Baseball )

Tuesday night, the Cardinals visit the Astros at Minute Maid Park for the start of a three-game series. Needless to say, Berkman isn't exactly looking forward to it.

"I'm not crazy about going back in there. I felt like I've kind of turned the page and part of me just wants to be done with it. But I know I'm going to have to go back in there and face a lot of questions."

"I guess it's inevitable. When I signed here, I knew we were going to go in there three times, so I'm ready to go and to get all the hoopla, if there is going to be any, out of the way." (stltoday.com )

For whatever it's worth, Berkman did note he's in better shape, though he pointed out it was because his knees are finally healthy again.

It's certainly going to be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives and how he plays.

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Andre Ethier extend his hitting streak tonight? Will Roy Oswalt and Aaron Harang remain unbeaten? C. Trent Rosecrans joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

FEAST OR FAMINE GUYS: When you think of guys who either hit home runs or strikeout -- the Rob Deer All-Stars, if you will -- the names Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn are among those who come to mind. Carlos Pena, too, though he has been only famine thus far in 2011. Who are the ultimate feast or famine guys in the young season this time around? Beyond the Box Score took a look at the guys who are striking out or collecting extra base hits at the highest percentage. At the top? Jorge Posada, Kevin Youkilis and then ... Reynolds.

Rangers ROTATION UPDATE: The Texas Rangers have gotten pretty good starting pitching this season, other than from Colby Lewis -- who certainly isn't going to be removed from the rotation. Thus, they're pretty close to having an embarrassment of riches. Brandon Webb threw two hitless innings at an extended spring training game Monday. Scott Feldman is slated to throw three innings in extended spring training Thursday, while Tommy Hunter is going to throw in an extended spring game Saturday. Collectively, the Rangers' starters have a 3.56 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 103 strikeouts to 43 walks. The one expected to lose his rotation spot when someone comes back from injury is Alexi Ogando -- the guy who is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA and astounding 0.79 WHIP. So are the Rangers going to remove him? Or Matt Harrison (3-1, 1.88, 0.94)? Or Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson or Lewis? It's quite a log-jam, once Webb, Hunter and Feldman return, particularly if Harrison and Ogando continue to throw the ball well. (Star-Telegram )

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FOR OZZIE: On the heels of a 1-10 stretch, the White Sox got a close win Monday night in Yankee Stadium. It had to partially lift a big weight off their collective chests. Still, Guillen had recently put a target squarely on his own back, by saying if anyone should get canned, it should be himself. It was a noble move by Guillen, playing shield for his hitting and pitching coaches. Regardless, general manager Kenny Williams has now said it wasn't necessary. "The coaching staff is not throwing the baseball and not hitting the baseball," Williams said. "They’re doing what they’ve always done." (Chicago Sun-Times )

Mariners FUTILITY: The always-solid Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times discusses how bad the Mariners' offense is, and why it's going to get even worse. In fact, he argues there's a legitimate shot they'll score even fewer than last season's record-low 513 runs.

JAPANESE CONNECTION: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki go back a long way. In fact, they first met in high school when Matsui committed a breach in bathing etiquette -- and Ichiro questioned him about it a decade later. Yes, seriously. There's a lot more in there about the relationship between the two, and it's definitely worth a read. (ESPN's West Coast Bias )

LA RUSSA IN OAKLAND: No, not Tony. His daughter, Bianca, has made the Raiders' cheerleading squad for the upcoming NFL season. (Shutdown Corner )

MANNY IN HIGH SCHOOL: Manny Ramirez hit .650 with 14 home runs in 22 games his senior year in high school. Oh, and check out this description of him in high school: "He was the shy, happy-go-lucky boy with the perfect swing who everyone knew was going to the major leagues. The boy who loved to hit more than anything else. The boy who worked harder than anyone else. The baby-faced boy who never drank anything stronger than the nonalcoholic Puerto Rican eggnog from the corner bodega he chugged to bulk up." The writer begs the question, which is the real Manny? An interesting quandry. (New York Times )

HEAT MAPS: NESN is using heat maps for Red Sox's broadcasts. I like the general idea, but there are a million possible variations. What would be best? Personally I'd want OPS by pitch location. (Baseball Analytics )

ATTENDANCE WOES: We're going to hear about this all season if things don't significantly pick up during the summer when the weather gets better. Yahoo! columnist Jeff Passan writes about how bad it looks for several teams and the league as a whole. A lot of numbers look really bad, but it's important to note the drop across the entire league through April 24 was only 1.77 percent. You could easily use the economy and some pretty awful weather to account for that. I'll stick with that for now. Let's revisit the topic in late July. Now, if you're down more than 20 percent (like the Rays and Mariners are), that's a problem. A big one.

A VISITOR'S TOUR OF WRIGLEY: page/COL">Rockies%3A+Blog%29" target="_blank">Troy Renck of the Denver Post took video to give fans a tour of the visitor's dugout at the historic Wrigley Field. Obviously I'd much rather experience things of this nature in person, but for now this'll do.

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Posted on: February 1, 2011 9:55 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Pieces of Wrigley Field's roof torn off in storm

The Vikings first felt the pain of snow overload when their roof collapsed and forced them to play two home games at other venues.

Now, the Cubs are feeling the pain as part of its roof has blown off in the blizzard that has attacked the Midwest as CBS Chicago reports. The debris is part of a structural panel above the press box, as ChicagoWeatherCenter.com relays.

The streets around the field have been closed to protect vehicles and passengers (the ones willing to brave the elements, anyways). Police confirmed they were informed that pieces of the roof were blowing off, as someone tweeted a photo of the damage, which you can see in the image.

Wrigley

Chicago is shutting the city down, with two major highways being closed and a major street -- Lake Shore Drive -- also being shutdown, with drivers reporting gridlock that has trapped them in their car for over three hours. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen just chimed in on the destruction, tweeting that "Lake short [sic] drive is a parking lot my god". Guillen had earlier expressed excitement for the blizzard, saying it would be the first one he ever experienced. Now? "I touht this was fun now I know sorry to al u people I feel very bad now sorry". Yeah, sounds about right. Nothing shuts down a city like a snowstorm.

Police are attempting to clean up the debris. Anyone else think they should just give up and wait out the blizzard? Not like the roads will be navigable anyways...

-- Evan Brunell

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