A Contrarian View of the NL Central

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, March 31, 2011

I remember fondly throughout my childhood the February day in which my father would bring home a stack of baseball preview magazines.

I would devour those things and have continued the practice into adulthood. All of that reading material has helped me get through those final few weeks without baseball, but I learned long ago that such publications should not be believed as gospel.

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Talk About the Passion

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, March 3, 2011

While a portion of the Chicago media used Wednesday's spring training dugout spat between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez as a chance to recall every incident in recent history in which a Cubs player lost his cool, I choose to view the incident as a healthy expression of passion from a couple of players who are pissed off about the team's performance.

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Only 32 Days Until Opening Day

By Chris Rewers on Monday, February 28, 2011

The snow has melted, the days are getting noticeably longer, and the Cubs are playing spring training games in Arizona.

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Greatest Moments: No. 17, Big Z's Neutral Site No-Hitter

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, January 13, 2011

(Editor's Note: Fourteenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

It seems so long ago, but it's only been a little over two years since the Cubs, with the best record in the National League, clinched their second straight Central Division title with a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 20, 2008. My confidence in the Cubs was never - before or since - as high as it was in '08. And the highlight of that magical regular season came on Sept. 14 when Carlos Zambrano pitched the first Cubs no-hitter in over 36 years.

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Greatest Moments: No. 21, The Exclamation Point on a Magical Season

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, January 5, 2011

(Editor's Note: Tenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

On Sept. 18, 2008, the Cubs' magic number for clinching the NL Central appeared like it was going to be stuck at four. The North Siders trailed the second-place Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and nobody on base.

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Greatest Moments: No. 22, Eight-Run Lead Isn't Enough for Rockies

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

The Cubs were riding high when they played host to the Colorado Rockies on May 30, 2008. They had won their previous four games to improve to 33-21 and held a 1.5-game lead over second-place St. Louis in the National League Central.

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The Cardinals Can Have Theriot

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I will use a quote from the character of Rudy on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to express my opinion of former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot:

"Man, you're like school during the summer. No class!"

You would think that Theriot would be grateful for his experience with the Cubs. It was the organization that drafted and signed him and brought him to the majors in 2006. It was while with the Cubs, that Theriot was given the opportunity to become an everyday player in 2007 by manager Lou Piniella. Thanks to the Cubs, Theriot became a popular player on one of sports' most famous franchises. Thanks to the Cubs, Theriot became a millionaire.

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100 Worst: No. 92 Kosuke Fukudome

By Chris Rewers on Friday, November 26, 2010

Outfielder, 2008-10

.259 BA, 34 HR, 156 RBI with Cubs

(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series identifying the 100 worst Cubs of all-time.)

When the Cubs signed Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome to a four-year,$48 million contract before the 2008 season, the outfielder was often described in the media as a cross between Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. In nine seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, Fukudome hit .305, won a batting title in 2002, and was named the Japanese Central League MVP in 2006 after hitting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBI.

It's a shame, that his lasting image in the minds of many Cubs fans will be an awkward-looking helicopter swing and a miss.

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Rothschild Yankees Bound; How About Maddux as Successor?

By Chris Rewers on Friday, November 19, 2010

It was a surprise to learn Friday that longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild has left the Cubs after accepting the same position with the New York Yankees.

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102 Years and Counting... Why Us?

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My grandfather turned 90 earlier this year.

Pops is no saint, but I have always been struck by his ability to make friends. It's a testament to his talent for relating to others that a week does not go by when somebody in our neighborhood asks me how he's doing or tells me a story about a good time they had with him.

But the fact that he has been a Cubs fan since at least the 1930s has to be penance for something. The man has been subjected to more bad baseball in his lifetime than anybody else I know and has not even enjoyed the experience of watching his favorite team play in the World Series since 1938. He was serving in the Pacific while the Cubs participated in the 1945 Fall Classic.

"Wait 'til next year!" my late grandmother would mutter whenever she'd hear a Cubs fan speak those words. "It's always wait 'til next year with those Cubs!"

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Cubs Player Rankings

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, November 6, 2010

The improved play the Cubs demonstrated under interim manager Mike Quade during the season's final weeks (a 24-13 record) was encouraging but it doesn't change the fact that the 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster.

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Cubs Make Right Call with Quade

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry made the right call Tuesday in announcing that Mike Quade would manage the team in 2011.

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Quade Making Quite a Statement

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ryan Dempster's endorsement Tuesday of Mike Quade for the Cubs managerial job in 2011 is the final event in a long series of developments that has convinced me that Quade is the right man for the job.

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Cubs 1, Padres 0

By Chris Rewers on Monday, September 27, 2010

Hero: Carlos Zambrano (10-6) earned his seventh road win of the season after allowing just three hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking four. Zambrano, who is 7-2 in 12 career starts against San Diego, is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts since rejoining the starting rotation on Aug. 9. Big Z, who will make his final start of the season this weekend at Houston, has pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings.

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Where Have You Gone, Jeff Samardzija?

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, August 28, 2010

How do you know that you're in a room with somebody who went to Notre Dame?

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Colvin Has Shot at Cubs Rookie Home Run Mark

By Chris Rewers on Friday, August 27, 2010

He may not be the best rookie on his team, but Tyler Colvin has a great shot at breaking Billy Williams' 49-year-old Cubs rookie home run record. If Colvin avoids injury, plays regularly, and continues to hit home runs at his current frequency, the mark will belong to him.

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Castro A Hit, But Defense Needs Work

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, August 26, 2010

Starlin Castro, whose eighth inning RBI double snapped a scoreless tie in the Cubs' 4-0 victory at Washington on Wednesday, is now hitting .315 and is five plate appearances shy of qualifying for the National League batting championship.

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A Tip of the Cap to Barry Rozner

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I was glad that our publisher, Steve Rhodes, brought to my attention some of the recent work of Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner regarding the sad state of the Cubs.

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The Inside Story Behind Lou's Early Departure

By Beachwood Reporter on Monday, August 23, 2010

According to sources close to The Cub Factor.

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Braves 16, Cubs 5

By Chris Rewers on Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hero: Aramis Ramirez, continuing his tear when the games no longer matter, went 3-for-4 and hit a two-run homer in the third that gave the Cubs a short-lived 3-2 lead. After hitting just .207 prior to the All-Star break, Ramirez is hitting .317 in the second half with nine homers and 31 RBI.

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Sincerely, JCB

I founded Agony & Ivy about five years ago for two reasons. First...

Continued...

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