Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’
Could Theo Epstein leave the Red Sox and become the Cubs’ next GM? He has one year left on his contract in Boston but has yet to deny interest in the Cubs. The Boston Globe quoted Major League sources as saying: “The Cubs are obviously interested in Theo and the talk is not going away. I think it’s possible.”
In San Diego last Wednesday, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts would only say the process is ongoing. That was before Boston manager Terry Francona left on Friday. According to the Globe, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said he wasn’t prepared to answer whether the team would grant Epstein permission to interview with the Cubs. Then, there was this tweet from national baseball writer Joel Sherman: “I am shocked, but in last 36 hrs every exec [I] talk to says [they] believe #RedSox will give permission and Theo will go to #Cubs to be GM”
Epstein, who turns 38 in December, was able to end the curse in Boston, putting together a World Series team in 2004. Could he do so with the Cubs, who have not been to the World Series since 1945 and have not won since 1908?
– Carrie Muskat
If pitching and defense are keys to a winning season, and most baseball experts say they are, then the Cubs are headed in the wrong direction. They rank second in the Major Leagues in batting, trailing only the Cardinals. But they are 28th in the Majors in pitching with a 4.72 ERA, and 28th in fielding with 33 errors. The Astros are the only National League team worse than the Cubs in the latter two categories.
Before Friday’s game against the Red Sox, GM Jim Hendry sounded encouraged by what he’d seen in Florida in the two wins over the Marlins.
“I’m hopeful that a lot of our failures early (are over),” Hendry said before the Cubs’ 15-5 loss to the Red Sox. “When you play well against a good team like the Marlins, and in a place until last year we never had any success … What we have is a lot of really solid guys, team-oriented guys, that are trying to hard to be ‘the guy’ and get something going that maybe they’ve pressed themselves into some failures.
“Hopefully, they proved the last couple of days they could relax, play good baseball against a good team, and hopefully we’ll carry that over here and in a big homestand before the end of the month.”
This has been a long, tiring road trip that started in Cincinnati with two losses to the Reds, including a 7-4 loss Monday that prompted a team meeting by manager Mike Quade.
“We gave away a few games,” Hendry said. “Everybody has them. The two in Cincinnati were probably as hard to take as any ones all year. … I think they’re going to grind their way through it and play good baseball.
“The last couple of days [against the Marlins] should show you something because [the losses to the Reds] … were two we really should’ve had. It’s hard to get off the plane the next day on the road, and they really played good baseball for two days [in Florida].”
Unfortunately for the Cubs, that good feeling didn’t last in Fenway Park. They still have not been able to win three in a row.
– Carrie Muskat
Here’s a great last-minute gift idea — give someone a road trip with the Cubs. The 2011 Cubs Destinations packages provide fans a behind the scenes, VIP experience. The 2011 Cubs Destinations road schedule includes:
* Fenway Park, Boston. The Cubs will play the Red Sox May 20-22 for the first time in Boston since the 1918 World Series.
* Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, June 10-12.
* Busch Stadium, St. Louis, July 29-31.
All standard packages includes tickets to two Cubs games, first class hotel accommodations, a private pre-game reception with a current Cubs player, a VIP tour of the ballpark, a gift bag with Cubs merchandise, dedicated service from our on-site staff and more. You can also choose to include tickets to a third Cubs game, upgrade to a Majestic Replica Cubs jersey, or add additional discounted hotel nights. For more information, call 617-226-6550, e-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.cubs.com/cubsdestinations.
* If you can’t wait for the regular season, Cubs Destinations can help you get to Mesa, AZ, for Spring Training. The package includes hotel accommodations, tickets to Cactus League games, and a special Cubs event with select players. There will be a new program for Cubs Seniors and the exclusive VIP Batting Practice which allows you to take the field. To make reservations or get more info, call Cubs Destinations at 800-892-7687 or go online at cubs.com/springtravel.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Harvey, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2003, has signed a Minor League deal with the Red Sox, according to FOXSports.com. Harvey is trying to convert to pitching after eight Minor League seasons. This year, Harvey batted .213 with 11 homers, 36 RBIs in 68 games with the Rangers’ Double-A Tulsa team.
– Carrie Muskat
Team Marketing Report’s exclusive Fan Cost Index, which is the total price for a family of four to attend a game, ranks the Red Sox first in the Majors at $334.78, $5 more than the Cubs and $18 more than the New York Yankees.
But the Cubs have the most expensive ticket in MLB, with an average price of $52.56, passing the Red Sox ($52.32). The Cubs had the second-highest increase of 10.1 percent, according to TMR. The Cubs divide their tickets into four pricing levels. This season, they have 26 games in the most expensive tier and 30 in the second-most expensive. In 2009, the team had 14 games in its top category and 34 in the second.
The Cubs do have the lowest percentage of seating classified as premium at 1 percent, according to TMR. This doesn’t include the auction seats, sold on a season or game-by-game basis. The Cubs also added the PNC Club of Chicago this year, located on the mezzanine level.
The cheapest average MLB ticket can be found in Arizona. The Diamondbacks have that distinction for the fourth straight season at $14.31.
– Carrie Muskat
Kevin Millar is the first to admit he’s not a five-tool player.
“I don’t think I have a tool box,” Millar said Friday. “That’s not what made me. What made me is I’ve always loved it more than anybody else and that’s always the big thing.”
Millar, 38, signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs and is battling for a spot on the bench. He’s excited about being in Arizona — it’s his first Spring Training in the state. He’s also reunited with former Florida teammates Ryan Dempster and Derrek Lee.
“We lost a lot of games together,” Millar siad. “I think we lost 100-something games a year. But you learn from those times and now you look at the success these guys have had and just to be back is awesome.”
Millar isn’t really what the Cubs are looking for. They’re already overloaded with right-handed bats.
“When you sit back as a player and look at the numbers and right-handed, left-handed, obviously it’s it’s not a great fit on paper,” Millar said. “My role is to come in here and have a good camp and hopefully win a spot on the bench. That’s the main thing is just to be a veteran and have some leadership qualities and do the best you can. You get caught up in numbers and stuff as a player and it’s tough and it doesn’t make sense at times. It always works out so we’ll see what happens.”
He does have a reputation as being a great clubhouse guy. The Cubs had some discord last season, primarily created by Milton Bradley, now with the Mariners. Millar talked to Dempster before signing with the Cubs.
“[Dempster] feels this is a good spot, being that I’ve played in a place like Boston and went through a lot of the same things — there was a huge curse there and it was a huge thing and 86 years [without winning a World Series] and it was almost like ‘This is this year’ – every year is the year,” Millar said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Millar batted .297 in 2004 when the Red Sox ended their so-called curse and won the World Series. The main thing, Millar said, is to have fun.
“You go out there and you compete for three hours and play the game hard, play the game right, but you can have fun,” he said. “I think guys forget that sometimes. I think there’s such a pressure and you have to act like somebody you’re not. Be yourself. It’s a game.”
He joked that he begged GM Jim Hendry on his hands and knees to let him play for the Cubs. This is the second straight year Millar has signed a Minor League contract. He made the Blue Jays last year and batted .223.
“Last year was the first time I had to be a role player and it was a learning experience,” Millar said. “The American League is tough. Once you accept it, it’s a lot easier. In the National League, I think have a chance to be involved a lot more than in an American League game. We’ll see what happens.”
Somewhere deep in his locker were six or seven gloves. He couldn’t find any of them Friday.
“But I’m 50 years old,” he said. “I might only be able to pinch hit. Shortstop is out, center field is out but I can catch. I can play the corners and catch.”
Geovany Soto shouldn’t worry about his job. Millar is well known for his clever ability to come up with nicknames — he labeled the Red Sox “idiots.”
“We might have to think of something around here,” he said. “I have to make the team first. [Idiot] is my nickname back at the house.”
If Millar didn’t make the big league club, would he accept a Minor League assignment? He didn’t want to consider that.
“When you look at your paperwork and it says ‘Iowa Cubs,’ you just have to close your eyes when you fill that stuff out,” he said. “I’m thinking ‘Chicago.’”
– Carrie Muskat