Is “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” Sacred?

Some Cubs fans think that some of the guest conductors for the 7th Inning Stretch – most recently actress Denise Richards – are ruining a sacred Cubs tradition and that it is about time that real Chicagoans take back the 7th inning stretch before it is too late.

William Kelly, of “Sportsaholic,” on Comcast Sportsnet has officially thrown his hat into the ring to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and is taking singing lessons to show his true commitment.  He will be recruiting other Chicagoans to step up and show these guest conductor “outsiders” how it is done.

“Sportsaholic” will be tracking Kelly’s unruly 7th Inning Stretch campaign and his Chicago sports fan recruitment successes and failures at www.sportsaholictv.com. Interested Chicago Cubs fans interested in showing what it takes to sing the 7th inning stretch and making Harry Caray proud can email Kelly at sportsaholictv@gmail.com.

The Quintessential Cubs Game

ESPN needs to begin airing this one on ESPN Classic ASAP–this is Cubs baseball. The Cubs’ 11th loss in their past 15 games is an early contender for “game of the year” for a team that’s slipping from first (in ’08) to worst (in ’09) in the NL Central.


cubslflag.JPGInjured Milton Bradley?

Check.

Soriano homers…and then goes cold for his remaining five at-bats?

Check.

Marmol enters in a key spot and walks two?

Check.

A no-hitter through seven turns into a loss?

Check.

Kevin Gregg turns in his best LaTroy Hawkins impression?

Check.

Pitching to the reigning NL Batting Champion with first base open?

Check.

In a post-game interview, Wells said, “It stinks not getting the win. But stuff happens. That’s baseball.” No, Wells, that’s not baseball–that’s Cubs’ baseball.

Who Remembers Corey Patterson?

The Nationals have just sent the ex-Cub down to the minors. Patterson, who was 5-for-40 in March, batted only .205 last year for the Reds. (Cincinnati also demoted Patterson to AAA at one point in 2008.) The Nationals and the Reds are the bottom of the barrel in the National League, so it doesn’t look good for another team to make an offer before the season starts.

Cubs fans don’t have the fondest memories of Patterson. In six seasons with the Cubs, the former 1st-round pick never lived up to expectations. He was frequently praised as being “gifted with tools”, but lacked the drive to utilize those tools to their fullest.

Derrek Lee Finally Goes Deep! It’s a Rare Spring Training Miracle

Lee just hit a home run against the Oakland Athletics. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a homer (or any offense, for that matter) from the Cubs’ everyday first-baseman. The last time that Lee connected for a long ball was almost six months ago, on September 22nd against the Mets.

Not to be outdone, the Man Who Would Be Cubs’ First-Baseman, Micah Hoffpauir, hit his second double of the day following Lee’s homer. Hoffpauir is hitting .273 with four home runs this spring.

Since returning from a wrist injury in 2007, Lee has hit fewer than 22 home runs in each of the past two years–just half of the total of his career high 2005 season, when he hit 46 home runs.

Fukudome Sits in Japan’s Win Over Korea

Kosuke Fukudome, who’s batting just .235 in the World Baseball Classic, sat out last night’s win over Korea. He may have to get used to being on the bench if his offensive numbers don’t improve once he eventually joins the Cubs in Mesa.

Last April, Fukudome was the Cubs’ offensive MVP. He brought a new style of playing to the team: patience. He led the majors with most pitches seen per at-bat. He looked the best $48 million that Jim Hendry had spent. As the year dragged on, however, his performance sagged, to the point Piniella effectively benched him for the last few months of the season.

Commentators pointed fingers at the “long US baseball season” for Fukudome’s slide. That explanation always struck me as condescending, like American baseball is uniquely difficult and grueling compared to the “baseball lite” that is played in Asia. Whatever the reason for the downward spiral, Fukudome ended the season with a dreadful 1-for-10 performance in the Divisional Series.

“He probably learned a lot last year,” Piniella has said. Let’s hope he’s right. Unfortunately for Piniella and Cubs fans, Fukudome is a question that may not get answered until the season starts.