Road to Opening Day: #2

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First things first…the big news out of Los Angeles of Anaheim re: Mike Trout:



The reactions were pretty immediate, but my point of view is that he’s still going to be fucking stupid rich and he’ll get to set a record when he becomes a free agent in six or so years, so whatever. Yeah yeah, he left money on the table, but if he somehow blows through $140MM (or whatever it is after taxes) in those six years, then there’s something wrong with the guy that has nothing to do with baseball.  Now we get to dream about Trout becoming a Cub at the ripe old age of 29.  He’ll probably want all of the billion dollars he will deserve at that point, though, so better start saving up the loose change.

Anyway, the Cubs played in Chase Field on Friday night, and Starlin Castro took a scheduled rest after playing a 9-inning minor league game the day before.  Edwin Jackson flashed some decent velocity while keeping the Diamondbacks scoreless.

The starters were lifted by the 7th inning so we got to see a bunch of prospects play, that was fun.  The Cubs held on to win and play one more before flying to Pittsburgh for Opening Day. Here’s a bit of a shocker:

So they dumped Alberto Cabrera (possibly in a pre-trade move?) in favor of Brian Schlitter, who isn’t exactly terrible.  But casting aside a guy with obvious value like Cabrera seems weird unless the Cubs simply know something we do not know…if Cabrera passes through waivers then maybe they can work out a trade without losing him but I don’t see how they can get all the way to stashing him in Iowa.

The last preseason game is on Saturday at 3:10 PM Central Time.  The game is broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago and you can listen to Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer on WGN Radio.  The game can also be streamed for free on  Starlin Castro is in the lineup for this one:

Looks like the Opening Day lineup, or something close to it.

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Ryan Theriot and the TOOTBLAN

TOOTBLANIt takes a special kind of player to get a statistic named after you.  It’s even better when that unofficial statistic becomes so commonplace that Urban Dictionary has an entry for it.  Such is the case with former Cubs legend Ryan Theriot, master of the TOOTBLAN, aka “Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop.”

Ryan Theriot once got picked off of first base so badly that it made Ron Santo question his mental faculties.  I wish I could find the video but alas, it is only in my memory.  Being so bad at a specific baseball skill (while being unspectacular at all the other aspects of being a baseball player) that he routinely just walked into outs (as pictured above) was certainly deserving of the recognition/ridicule he received.

Although Theriot left the Cubs and stumbled into two World Series championships (won mostly without his help), the Cubs still had issues with baserunning.  According to the TOOTBLAN Tracker (where you can get a nifty shirt!), the Cubs were 12th in TOOTBLANs in 2013.  I’m not sure if it was residual baserunning stupidity, over-aggressive sends from third base, or what, but it just kept happening and it was annoying.  Thankfully the Cubs of 2014 have some actual speed on the basepaths with newcomers Emilio Bonifacio and Ryan Kalish.  With a better success rate at stolen bases and hopefully more competent coaching, the TOOTBLAN rate should decrease.

We’ll always have our memories and frustrations of the great Ryan Theriot, though.  He was truly special.

TWO more sleeps!

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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