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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Loretta’

Ike Spikes Chicago Cubs

Posted by sportsmaven on September 12, 2008

It’s Friday night and if we were playing by the rules, the Chicago Cubs would be in cozy Minute Maid Park shooting for some payback from last week’s sweep by the Houston Astros.  Once again, due to a “Cubby Occurance”, the Cubs are stymied by another hurricane, this time the venerable Hurricane Ike.  The Cubs were affected by a hurricane in Florida in 2004, forcing them to take 4 days off in a heated playoff race.  The result was the Cubs playing 26 games in 24 days to end the season.  That contributed mightily to their losing 7 of their last 8 games to miss the wild card.

Ike is preparing to hit shore sometime Friday night/Saturday morning starting at Galveston, Texas.   Despite everyone on the planet knowing that Ike was due to hit Houston, the braintrust at Major League Baseball somehow missed it, with no plan in place on backup sites for this critical 3 game series, thus the potential of 3 days off for both the Cubs and Astros.  Of course, the only thing worse then letting MLB come up with a plan to play the games is to let the Houston Astros come up with a plan.

When Milwaukee was suggested as an alternate site, the Astros response was pointed:

Astros player representative Mark Loretta said the Cubs had asked to play the series in Milwaukee’s Miller Park, where they would be close to Chicago and assured of playing because of the retractable roof.

“We didn’t think that was a very good idea, to try and evacuate our families and take off [or] leave them behind,” Loretta told the Houston Chronicle. “Of course, Milwaukee is kind of a Cubs home game.”

So playing a game at a neutral site out of the path of the hurricane while taking the opportunity to have your family along for the “road trip” in a comfortable evacuation is not a very good idea?  This is all about playing these games in Houston and nothing more.  Understandably so, as the Astros have been baseball’s hottest team and three games at home are priceless, but at the expense of potential danger and backed up with less than intelligent comments like the one above clearly doesn’t make sense.  This should have been resolved days ago by MLB and they dropped the ball.  Someone please help Bud Selig’s crew find the Weather Channel on cable TV.

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The Mental Aspect Of Baseball

Posted by sportsmaven on April 4, 2008

The Chicago Cubs played their 4th game of the 2008 season today and already, it seems that destiny’s team is off to a slow start for the second year in a row. Cubs manager Lou Piniella stated early this spring the importance of the Cubs to get off to a strong start this season because the 2008 schedule is front loaded with early home games and light with home games in September. Four games into the beginning of this season, the Cubs have seemed to pick up where they left off last season. Lack of hitting, timely hitting, scoring runs, timely pitching, and poor execution and fielding have contributed to the Cubs 1-3 start.

Against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs salvaged the final game of the opening series, but looked overmatched by the bold, dynamic play of the youthful Brew Crew. The most surprising part of the beginning of this Cubs season is how mentally unprepared the Cubs appear.

The Cubs possess all the physical skills to be World Champions, but mentally, the Cubs have so far come across as the 90 pound weakling. P Kerry Wood imploded in his first game as Cubs closer. He hit a batter, gave up hits in a tie game, in the 9th inning. Game 2 of the season looked like something you would expect from a team just starting spring training. The defense was terrible, the situational hitting was atricious. The pitching was abominable.

Today’s game was lost by an 8th inning fielding error by Cubs 2B Mark DeRosa, booting a ball hit right to him with nobody on base, and then 2 batters later, Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano badly playing a Miguel Tejada double into a triple, on a play that should have been an error, but was gifted as a triple by Tejada, scoring Lance Berkman. In today’s post-game press conference, Cubs P Rich Hill admitted a lapse in concentration in the 4th inning, walking Mark Loretta then giving up a home run to the 8th hitter, Astros C J.R. Towles.

Mental mistakes and lapses in concentration are what held the Cubs back last season. Yes, the Cubs won the National League Central Division last season with an 85-77 record. The favored Cubs were then promptly swept out of the playoffs by the underdog Arizona Diamondbacks. For the Cubs, the series was punctuated by what we have seen so far this season: lack of situational and timely hitting, poor defense, and huge mental lapses at critical moments. The mental aspect of baseball is perhaps the most difficult of skills to master. If the Cubs do not grasp this concept immediately, next year will be 101 years of championship futility.

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