August 2010

8/30 The Hawk & the deal

Most Cubs fans know the story about how Andre Dawson joined the team. He offered general manager Dallas Green a blank contract. Does Dawson think there will ever be another player who will do the same?

“No, absolutely not,” said Dawson, who needed to get out of Montreal and the artificial turf because of the strain it put on his knees.

He felt the Expos “slapped him in the face” when their best offer was a $200,000 cut in pay after 10 seasons. When the Cubs offered $500,000, he knew it was something they expected him to turn down. But he didn’t.

“They made the mistake of making me an offer,” Dawson said of the Cubs, “because I was going to stand up to it. If [GM Dallas Green] had put $100,000 in, I would’ve played that year for $100,000 because it was a situation where I wanted the game to be fun for me again. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the game going back on those terms.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 The Hawk & Ryno

New Hall of Famer Andre Dawson was honored in pregame ceremonies Monday at Wrigley Field. He entered from right field, where he played from 1987-92, and bowed to the fans in the bleachers.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts commended Dawson, presenting him with a No. 8 from the Wrigley scoreboard. One thing that has changed since Dawson was last at Wrigley is that his teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg, is now managing at Triple-A Iowa and being considered to take over the big league club.

“I’m still amazed that he wants to do it at this level,” Dawson said of Sandberg. “It’s different at the Minor League level when you’re doing more evaluating and working with the kids and trying to get them to the next level. Here, it’s egos and attitudes and business and you’re under the microscope more.

“Ryno, I never envisioned that as a player,” Dawson said. “He was more laid back and quiet. Maybe there’s a different animal now. I wish him well. I think he’d do a good job at it. He’s respected in that manor. He played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He knows how to win the respect of his peers and individuals he’d be over and above. I think he’d do real well at it.

“I think he’ll groom himself into an individual who will do a better than average job at it.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Opening night for "Q"

It was Opening night for Mike Quade Monday. The new Cubs manager, a Chicago area native who was a Cubs fan as a kid, made his home debut at Wrigley Field against the Pirates.

“I guess it’s an Opening night,” Quade said. “Opening night is great wherever you’re at. We open in Washington and that’s great and the kids played great but now emotionally, we have to find a way to beat [the Pirates] because they’ve been tough on us, that’s first and foremost.

“I try to take a minute every game, even at third base, to go, ‘My gosh, how lucky am I,’ whether it’s [look at] rooftops or whatever that brings stuff back to you. You want to keep some perspective. There will be a really nice glow until the first pitch is made and then we have to get after it.”

The Pirates have been tough but Quade had family and friends expected at Wrigley Field.

“To be honest, I wish I was playing for somebody doing what I’m doing because I’ve always
wanted to play here,” Quade said. “I’ve been a sports geek my whole life. Even when they told me no more playing, I was given an opportunity to stay in the game. Did I think it would come to this? I had always hoped I would someday manage at this level. This is more than my mind can handle.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Soto/MRI update

An MRI of Cubs catcher Geovany Soto’s right knee revealed no structural damage and his status was day to day. There was some minor swelling and Soto will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. Soto doubled on Sunday against the Reds and stayed in the game, but apparently woke up Monday with some discomfort. Koyie Hill started at catcher Monday night. Teams can expand their rosters on Wednesday, Sept. 1, and the Cubs most likely will call up another catcher.

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 LIneup vs Pirates

Geovany Soto is not in Monday’s lineup vs. the Pirates. We’ll check to see if he’s hurt. Here’s the lineup vs lefty Paul Maholm:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
LF Soriano
RF Colvin
C Hill
P Zambrano

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Minor matters

Brad Snyder had three hits and two RBIs to lead Iowa to a 8-7 win over Omaha on Sunday. Snyder now has 95 RBIs, most on the team. Jason Dubois also had three hits and two RBIs. Jeff Gray picked up the win in relief, although he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. Jeff Stevens converted the save.

Tennessee lost 16-1 to Birmingham but still clinched the Southern League North Division second-half title because Huntsville lost. The Smokies also won the first half title. Russ Canzler hit his 21st homer for Tennessee.

Brooks Raley gave up one run on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings in Daytona’s 6-1 win over Lakeland. DJ LeMahieu had two hits and one RBI.

Brett Wallach gave up four runs on four hits and four walks over two innings in Peoria’s 6-2 loss to Clinton in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Corey Martin picked up the win in relief as Peoria edged Clinton, 2-1. Justin Bour went 4-for-7 in the two games.

Alvaro Ramirez homered in the first inning but it wasn’t enough as Boise lost 5-4 to Spokane. Dustin Harrington had two hits and two RBIs.

Mesa beat the Athletics, 11-4, scoring seven runs in the eighth inning. Brian Shields had two hits and scored two runs.

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Andre Dawson day

Cubs fans will have a chance to bow one more time to “The Hawk” on Monday. Andre Dawson, 56, recently enshrined into baseball’s Hall of Fame, will be celebrated prior to the Cubs’ game Monday night against the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

Dawson played right field for the Cubs from 1987-92, winning the National League Most Valuable Player award in his first season in Chicago when he hit .287, 49 homers and drove in 137 runs. Although he was inducted into Cooperstown wearing an Expos cap, Dawson acknowledged the Cubs fans and how special they were to him when he roamed right at Wrigley.

“You were a true blessing in my life,” Dawson said in his speech about the Cubs faithful. “I didn’t know what it was like to be loved by a city until I got to Chicago. … You were the wind beneath the Hawk’s wings.”

The Cubs are not retiring Dawson’s No. 8, which is currently worn by manager Mike Quade, but they will present him with gifts to commemorate his days with the team. In addition, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has officially proclaimed Aug. 30 as “Andre Dawson Day” in Chicago. The first 10,000 fans entering the ballpark will receive a commemorative Dawson cap.

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Cubs' 4-2 trip not good enough

There’s something you should know about new Cubs manager Mike Quade. He’s a little greedy. A 4-2 road trip wasn’t good enough, even though it was the team’s best of the season.

“We’ve gotten some big hits on this road trip and needed a couple more,” Quade said after Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Reds. “The kids played and it was a good road trip, today not withstanding, because I am a greedy guy.”

Kosuke Fukudome hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth but also made an error in the Reds’ eighth that led to Cincinnati’s victory over the Cubs. It was the Reds’ 37th come from behind win, and they closed the season series against the Cubs at 12-4.

Quade will put on the home whites for his first game at Wrigley Field Monday night as the Cubs manager. He’ll have the tough assignment of beating the Pirates (the Cubs are 3-9 so far) and finding enough tickets for family and friends.

“I look forward to every day,” Quade said, “but [Monday] will be something special. Opening Day, when I first got the job with Lou [Piniella] was special.”

That was in 2007 and Quade was the third base coach. Now, he leads the team home after its first winning road trip since July 5-11 against Arizona and Los Angeles. Quade has brought some energy to the Cubs, although it could simply be because he moves in fast-forward.

“We’ve taken it upon ourselves [to finish strong],” Cubs rookie reliever James Russell said. “We would’ve liked to have done it for Lou and it just didn’t work out.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Lineup vs Reds

Mike Quade has tweaked his lineup for Sunday’s game, inserting Jeff Baker into the leadoff spot. It’ll be only the sixth game Baker has led off in his career. He’s 1-for-4 with three Ks but also has a career .339 average leading off an inning. Baker does have a .321 average against lefties and the Reds are starting a left-hander. Hmmmm. Here’s the lineup:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
LF Soriano
C Soto
RF Fukudome
P Coleman

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Minor matters & Silva

Kudos to Carlos Silva, who not only paid for the postgame spread for the Class A Peoria team after his rehab outing Friday but also took care of the visiting team. Silva also stuck around to talk to the Minor League players.

Back to the games. Bryan LaHair hit his 21st home run, a two-run shot in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as Iowa lost 5-4 to Omaha Saturday night. The Iowa Cubs now have a half game lead in the PCL Northern Division. Austin Bibens-Dirkx took the loss, giving up five runs on five hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings.

Trey McNutt gave up four runs, two earned on six hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 8-7 win over Birmingham. It was manager Bill Dancy’s 1,600th win. Russ Canzler hit a walkoff homer in the ninth for the Smokies. Brandon Guyer had four hits and four RBIs.

Nicholas Struck gave up one run on three hits over four innings but took the loss in Daytona’s 3-0 loss to Lakeland. The Cubs were held to four hits.

D.J. Fitzgerald had four hits and four RBIs in Peoria’s 7-1 win over Clinton. Anthony Giansanti had three hits and one RBIs and Hak-Ju Lee had two hits and an RBI.

Alvaro Ramirez had two hits and one RBIs in Boise’s 3-2 loss to Spokane. Brent Ebinger took the loss, giving up three runs on six hits over five innings.

— Carrie Muskat