Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

Samardzija’s Stuff is Muy Picante

Cubs Carlos ZambranoThe Northwest Indiana Times reported that our old Z-Meter chum Jeff Samardzija – former Notre Dame football star and a short-term Bus Leaguer before his callup to the Cubs last year – has shored up his standing with the team by appearing in the Mexican Fall League.

Samardzija was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts with a club known as Mexicali (which makes me think of that corn with the peppers and pimentos in it), which was apparently enough to earn him a long look as a contender for the Cubs’ rotation in 2010.

“He threw well,” [Cubs GM Jim] Hendry said of Samardzija at the GM meetings Tuesday. “His command of his fastball was better. His secondary pitches were better. His command in the strike zone was better — not just throwing strikes, but location in the zone was much better. The slider got better. The (split-fingered fastball) obviously, he got back on track with a little better strike zone command of that, too.”

[Samardzija impresses Cubs’ brass with play in Mexico]

This is all very interesting news, but this article never told me what I really wanted to know. Considering how much difficulty American announcers have had with Shark’s family name, it would make my day to hear the Spanish interpretation. I’m guessing something in the neighborhood of “Samaryee-yah!!!!”

Odds are, he won’t be back in Mexico any time soon, so we’ll just have to guess.

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Why Don’t More Teams Hold Minor League Games At Major League Parks?

I’m not sure how common things like the “Futures at Fenway” and “Road to Wrigley” games are, but they’re the kind of events I would like to see major league teams sponsor more often.

What’s not to like?

–Players get the chance to ply their trade on a major league field.  For some guys, the prospects, it might be their first opportunity to check out the on-field atmosphere in the big leagues; for the guys that won’t quite make it that far, it’s a nice story just to be able to say they played in a major league park.

–Front offices get to see how some of the organization’s best players respond to the pressure of playing in front of larger crowds than they will see in the minor leagues.  More than 30,000 people were at Fenway on Saturday; you think Theo Epstein and Andy MacPhail weren’t keeping an eye on Lars Anderson and Jake Arrieta to see if they maintained their composure? (Official attendance for both games was about 16,000, but I’ve seen that 30,000 mentioned in more than one place.)

–Fans get the opportunity to visit a major league ballpark for slightly more than minor league prices, but certainly not major league prices.  I went to the Cape Cod League All-Star Game at Fenway a few weeks ago and it was amazing.  Not that I remember much of what happened (it was raining; the game was called after the top of the fifth) – it was just awesome to be sitting in great seats at Fenway Park for just $10.

Maybe the Red Sox and Cubs are special cases given the historic nature of the ballparks in which they play, but I’m not so sure.  I’d be willing to bet that many fans would be willing to spend up to ten dollars to see the future of their franchises in action in a major league ballpark.

Average Distance From Majors To Affiliates: National League Central

(A blog was nice enough to link to this post last week – I can’t seem to find the name – and one of the commenters noted that I had left out the Cardinals affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, which changes the team’s overall average but not it’s placement on the list. The new numbers are included below.)

Pittsburgh Pirates (average: 374 miles)
Pittsburgh to…
…Indianapolis Indians (AAA): 360 miles
…Altoona Curve (AA): 98 miles
…Lynchburg Hillcats (A): 353 miles
…West Virginia Power (A): 228 miles
…State College Spikes (A): 139 miles
…GCL Pirates (Rookie): 1,065 miles

St. Louis Cardinals (average: 630 miles)
St. Louis to…
…Memphis Cardinals (AAA): 284 miles
…Springfield Cardinals (AA): 217 miles
…Palm Beach County Cardinals (A): 1,136 miles
…Quad Cities River Bandits (A): 268 miles
…Batavia Muckdogs (A): 779 miles
…Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie): 593 miles
…GCL Cardinals (Rookie): 1,136 miles

Cincinnati Reds (average: 695 miles)
Cincinnati to…
…Louisville Bats (AAA): 106 miles
…Carolina Mudcats (AA): 538 miles
…Sarasota Reds (A): 977 miles
…Dayton Dragons (A): 49 miles
…Billings Mustangs (Rookie): 1,522 miles
…GCL Reds (Rookie): 977 miles

Chicago Cubs (average: 943 miles)
Chicago to…
…Iowa Cubs (AAA): 333 miles
…Tennessee Smokies (AA): 560 miles
…Daytona Cubs (A): 1,156 miles
…Peoria Chiefs (A): 166 miles
…Boise Hawks (A): 1,695 miles
…Mesa Cubs (Rookie): 1,749 miles

Houston Astros (average: 953 miles)
Houston to…
…Round Rock Express (AAA): 167 miles
…Corpus Christi Hooks (AA): 222 miles
…Lancaster JetHawks (A): 1,571 miles
…Lexington Legends (A): 996 miles
…Tri-City Valley Cats (A): 1,764 miles
…Greeneville Astros (Rookie): 997 miles

Milwaukee Brewers (average: 970 miles)
Milwaukee to…
…Nashville Sounds (AAA): 562 miles
…Huntsville Stars (AA): 671 miles
…Brevard County Manatees (A): 1,300 miles
…Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A): 107 miles
…Arizona Brewers (Rookie): 1,780 miles
…Helena Brewers (Rookie): 1,398 miles

Shark Week!

Who knew that the Discovery Channel cared as much about Jeff “Shark” Samardzija’s call-up to the Cubs as we do? Of course, he did help the long-suffering Cubbies grab first place in the NL Central outright, which is a pretty big deal.

[ChicagoSports.com]

Now Pitching For The Chicago Cubs…

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, baseball fans.  Jeff Samardzija is a Chicago Cub.

Well, maybe “all” is a bit of an overstatement.  For some reason, though, I get the feeling that Extra P is really excited about this latest development in The Shark’s career.  (Darnit, I just remembered that his nickname is Shark.  Samardzija’s, not Extra P’s.  That and Greg Norman’s success at the British Open last weekend should have been the perfect recipe for an opening line about it being “a good week for sharks” or something equally lame.  Oh well, not going back to change it now.  You’ll just have to deal with my usual lameness.)

Samardzija, who was drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, was called up to replace Kerry Wood and his blistered finger on the roster.  Although used primarily as a starter in the minor leagues, he could make his major league debut out of the bullpen as early as this afternoon against the Florida Marlins.