At intervals; I'll be adding profiles of some of the folk in the Cub's camp, trying for spots on the roster....
6 foot 4; 215 pounds
Vegas is a 34 year old pitcher who's been around the track a few times.
He began his career as a starter, mostly for losing teams, till at age 26 he blew out a elbow and required Tommy John repair. Coming back; he was turned into a set-up man. After a series of consistent if unspectacular seasons, at age 30 his elbow seized up again and it was Tommy John, round 2. He fought back to set-up again but his last couple seasons have been all over the place: he just hasn't been able to find consistency.
Rumor has it manager Gavin is going to go against the grain in his use of Vegas. He's wondering if he can use him in the long-reliever/spot starter role, though outside observers see this as a looming disaster; being as the cub's minor league system has pretty much run dry with top-notch pitching.
They will not have much wiggle-room if injuries begin....
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-11-2012 at 11:56 AM.
Cap Gavin calls Myth into the office and states till Myth shows better progress; he'll be confined to the short-squad team. Myth makes no protest: this is by far his worst spring-training.
Another player profile:
6 foot 0
From the Philippines; his mother is a retired U.S soldier who taught him to pitch.
He features a good mix of cutter/forkball/circle-change but has very little on-field competition.
He has been brought on-board because the bonus cash was low.
Has some work ahead if he's to make the roster.
Preston Shaw had a very observable role when he was with the A's: leader. He liked it, came to the majors expecting it and was good at it.
When the chance to come to the cub's arose back in December(Mostly from a chance meeting with Cap Gavin....Gavin managed Shaw in the minors one season and they're friends ever since) Preston couldn't sign-on fast enough...he saw this as a role he'd been understudy for for a good 3 years...leader of a world-champion baseball team. And a leader is what he expects to be on the cubs and it's getting under his skin that the 'Two-Ringer Club'(His title) isn't jumping onto his coattails. It's like owning a custom-made, precision racecar but noone will hand him the keys.
Well, Shaw decides he's going to take over the job of handing out nicknames. Surely; this'll be the first step to getting the other's behind him....
Bon-Bon has had the job of handing out nicknames since before Cheeto(Myth) arrived. It's a tradition and he hardly intends to step aside.
Shaw announces henceforth Jhrzai will be known as 'Kiwi'.
Bon-bon states Jhrzai will, in fact, be known as Jar-Jar Zinks.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-14-2012 at 05:01 AM.
Today, after a practice, Zeke runs onto a unpleasant scene: Lemonkrump is conversing with a young lady(a reporter, Zeke guesses) outside the stadium but he is being anything but helpful. He keeps creeping up as close as he can to her; forcing her to back away and his language and suggestions are not those used by anyone within shouting range of a gentleman. Zeke goes over and breaks the display up without ceremony.
As the female scuttles away, Myth lets newby Lemonkrump know such behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated on this team. Lemonkrump, who seems to enjoy putting on the airs of a Hollywood movie street thug, states Zeke isn't his boss: he can't tell him what to do. Zeke repies that he should then go to whoever IS his boss and explain what he's been doing and see what he'll be told.
They part and Myth is hoping when the regular season finally starts, all this nonsense will be behind them.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-15-2012 at 05:50 PM.
The Sabr analytics conference runs from the 15th of the month thru the 17th--- in Mesa.
Zeke is invited to speak; as he's well-known in Sabr circles as a player who candidly pays mind to statistical analysis.
His speech/presentation is on how stats and their interpretation enrichs the experience of baseball.
It collects a very positive response from those present.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-21-2012 at 12:44 AM.
The 'nickname war' as the media had labelled the clubhouse storm is at last confronted by Cap Gavin.
Calling everyone together; he then asks Jhrzai: what does HE want to be called? Kiwi or Jar-Jar Zinks?
Jhrzai quietly, sensibly states he wants to be known as Jhrzai; Douglas Jhrzai.
Then that's the end of it; Gavin declares. He's Jhrzai, period. The nonsense of nicknaming is now officially over and it will remain so as long as he's managing this team. There's grumbling from a very few; but settled it does appear.
It's part of Gavin's managing style to let the players work such things out for themselves. Plainly; this wasn't possible in this circumstance.
Has the culture changed in the clubhouse from the last two seasons? If so; how will it effect things in the proceeding months and how does Gavin intend to deal with such?
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-21-2012 at 01:31 PM.
Prior to the start of todays game, Sabr presents Myth with what it's named 'The Golden Beanie". It's a batting helmet spray-painted gold with a silly little plastic propeller on top. Myth fully goes with the gag; modelling for the pack of media in the thing.
In the game that follows, Myth has one of the few decent games this spring: runs down a foulball right at the stands and dumps a picture-perfect bunt late to get on base then steals 2nd standing. The cubbie fans in attendance are most appreciative.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-21-2012 at 03:48 PM.
"PROPELLER HEADS BRAINWASH MYTH"
(Jerrod Callaway's latest headline--- Myth later asks "Is this guy on work-release?)
In the split-squad game Myth gets it together---mostly. He looks poor early on during a clumsy, unsuccessful pick-up on a bunt but nabs a total of 4 bases from two hard-earned walks. In the final inning, the bench-coach Carlos Alvarez(Pancho, as the players call him) has to shuffle the lineup to get everyone either a at bat or a inning on the field; so Myth is sent to centerfield to finish. He thereupon makes a flashy running catch that raises the crowd to it's feet.
Gavin let's Myth know he's impressed as well: he's now off the split-squad.
He'll be on the field with Shaw now: Myth at 3rd; Shaw center.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-22-2012 at 07:18 AM.
Player profiles continue----
Blain 'Bluto' Spinoli
6 foot/ 220 pounds
Blain is a 33 year old, stocky, ungraceful power hitter from the American league(Where he's DH'ed the last 2 seasons) who's basically a 'retread'.
Most of his previous career has been a case of: if he's confined to DH'ing, he does alright. When he's had to take the field(1st base....left field if his lack of range is excused) he's been a much less clear benefit to a team.
The last couple seasons another specter of doubt has appeared: both seasons he failed his roid-test. Two strikes against him; the cubs were pretty much his last chance.
'Bluto' at this point in his career can only do one thing with anything bordering on consistency: hit homeruns. Cap Gavin's desire to have power off the bench gives Spinoli a role: will he be able to take advantage of it and maybe even claim some redemption?
Note: his nickname ;'Bluto' stems from his remarkable resemblance to the cartoon character of the same name.
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-22-2012 at 03:27 PM.
The cubbies don't have a game today. But things get a bit nutty anyhow.
The morning papers have a Preston Shaw quote; he'd been asked what he thought of Myth's Golden Beanie.
"I don't see how standing behind a podium for a bunch of nerds improves your ability to field bunts but if there's one thing I've learned: Myth runs his own program so that's all I'm saying."
By afternoon; Shaw is furiously denying he'd ever made any such statement. "Someone in the media wants me removed from the Chicago Cubs equation; but they need to get quiet then they need to get wise. I am the final part in what will become the greatest team in baseball. These are Preston Shaw's cubs and there is history ahead. Buckle up, fools. I'm behind the wheel."
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-23-2012 at 01:02 AM.
The morning papers in Chicago let Shaw know exactly where he stands and the consensus amoung windy city sportswriters and fandom is that it's in a pile of something brown and runny.
The wriers now stir the pot by going too far into presenting Myth as everything a ballplayer should be "#15," as one paper prints "Is a number that'll be remembered in cubdom forever...." ect, ect, on and on.....
(#15 is Myth's uniform number)
There's a game today and it's played and the cubs win and both Myth and Shaw have pretty fair games. Myth keeps up his baserunning ventures: stealing 3rd with ease during the rally that puts the game away.
Myth is pleased: he's finally having a spring worth having and the regular season where things finally count isn't that far off.
Reality can play rough, though.
Cap Gavin calls him into his office; where a poker-faced Shaw is sitting. Myth and Gavin take seats of their own and they get to business quick.
Myth isn't to steal bases anymore. Not while Shaw is batting.
In the game Myth had been in his customary 3rd spot in the order; Shaw at clean-up. And those leads Myth was taking when he got on base weren't to Shaw's liking.
They're too distracting, Shaw claims. He can't concentrate with Myth hopping back and forth in his line of sight. "I can't bat that way," Shaw finishes, "And if I'm clean-up, I need everything as right as right gets."
And Gavin thinks along the same lines. Myth can do his thing when Shaw's not at the plate. Otherwise: stay put. Shaw's gonna drive you in anyway; why take risks that aren't required?
Myth nods; then stands and leaves without a word.
Myth can't recall the last time he's been so affronted.
I'm a baseball player and I'll do what my manager says, he tells himself...
Last edited by Iowanic; 03-30-2012 at 05:06 AM.
In the game of the day the cubs lock up in a back and forth affair; with roster spots up for grabs and a steady parade of all level of players being shuttled in and out nearly from the first inning. It's close late when Myth leads off and raps one hard off the end of his bat; the ball ricochets off the Padre's 1st baseman's glove and heads for short centerfield. Myth; out of the box like a dragster seeing a green light, sees a chance and takes it: sliding in clean at 2nd base.
Shaw is up next and the Padre's decide to pull their pitcher and bring in a lefty.
The conspicuous point being: Shaw is a switchhitter....but he has horrid splits. Batting lefty, Shaw is the 2nd coming of Albert Pujols(Or at least close). From the right side, Preston Shaw is barely above the Mendoza line. He fills in the rightside of the box and Myth takes a very temperate lead off 2nd; hoping hopelessly Shaw will drive him home.
Then his eyes fasten on 3rd.
Ohh....it's just sitting there! The 3rd baseman hasn't even glanced over his way.
If I wanted; I could take that right now. I won't, of course....I can't, afterall. That's the rule now, right?
Shaw misses the first pitch by 8 inches. He pulls his head so much off his swing, he might as well be closing his eyes. So Myth thinks: it's a weird thing. Shaw has a text-book swing from the left-side...
And there sat 3rd.
Just sitting there.....no one paying attention.
Could he take it?
I can take it...if only they let me....WHY WON'T THEY LET ME??!
Strike 2. Shaw missed that one by 10 inches. He steps out; wanders around. Frustrated, clearly. He wants to win the game, too.
Heck with it. I'm going down, next pitch.
And Zeke does; drawing a throw from the catcher but he's in there and happy.
Preston has struck out.
A sac fly later and the cubs have won and everyone's pleased.....
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-02-2012 at 05:57 AM.
Zeke is hardly in the clubhouse when Preston flys in front of him; face twisted in rage.
"Why did you disrespect me in front of thousands?!?"
Myth should have expected something, of course. He really hasn't any suitable alibi. But he tries one, all the same.
"I thought it would help us win the game..." "You aren't even old enough to drink! You're still learning how the game is played. I KNOW what winning is! And I know what respect is and I ain't seeing it from you. Today was the last time you disrespect me, Myth."
The clubhouse is as quiet as a tomb; everyone is watching. And Shaw has more to say: he acts like the fact Myth sits there in front of him is a insult; a challenge. A threat.
"You want to butt heads with me, then bring a batting helment. You will lose and you best backoff before you make yourself a fool." Preston knows everyone is staring. He sends out glares and words.
"You....all ya in here! Is going to have to learn...this is MY team now! I will lead and I will lead to heights undreamed. But noone can disrespect me and stay on the same airplane. So I hope you know where the parachutes are, Myth."
Jeez-zuzz, Zeke thinks. Did he just threaten me?
Zeke found his voice. "Shaw...you're a .200 hitter righty. My aim was to try to make something happen. Produce runs..."
"What the hell is going on on here?! What's the yelling!?"
Cap Gavin stumbles in; face red; eyes darting about for answers. No one speaks; prompting him to do so.
"Someone speak up!! What's the fuss?"
Still, no repies.
Shaw is already heading to his locker; to change to street clothes.
Myth strips; heading to the showers.
Silently; the clubhouse empties. Cap Gavin is left standing; players flowing out around him: a lone rock in a swift river.
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-02-2012 at 02:33 PM.
Preston Shaw shines. Zeke Myth stinks; peppering Bon-Bon at first with lousy throws all game.
Mason 'T.T' Cloxs (Lefty)
Imposing flame-thrower; seems to have arms that reach all the way to the plate. Aggressive, sometimes too much so. Wouldn't mind replacing Smore as closer and has said so. Was a easy pick-up for the cubs; story is that he's more concerned with 'I' and 'Me' and not enough with 'Team' and 'Win'.
Another day; another game and Myth's throws are as scary as yesterday--- but Spinoli is at 1st today and he keeps the ball from getting away. He's been having a very good spring training at the plate; leading the team with homeruns. It's going to be hard to keep him off the roster.
In the 5th; Myth's rough day dive-bombs to the bottommost pits. Myth gets on with a walk. Preston tries to bunt him over. It's not a bad bunt, really, but the pitcher pounces on it like a ice-cold beer and wheels and gets off a fine throw to 2nd. Myth is called safe and the 2nd baseman is most upset. He gets in the ump's face and the ump returns fire. Myth doesn't much care for the ugliness and steps off 2nd; trying to keep the two from getting physical.
He's tagged out by said 2nd baseman instantly. When he gets back to the dugout; Cap Gavin stares at him; arms crossed and that's all Zeke needs: He hasn't felt this low in....well, since he's begun playing baseball.
Gavin looks on; then finally appears to weaken a touch.
"You've put in 5 innings, Zeke. Take the rest of the day off." "Thanks." And Myth is and does.
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-03-2012 at 05:48 PM.
Myth is back, ready to go: hey! Todays another day! It's baseball! And he loves to play baseball. Man, people are paying me to do this?!? Unreal!
Then up comes Gavin; eyes sparking.
"Cheeto... did you leave early yesterday? People are saying so. That'd be a first for you. Not a good one, either."
If Gavin had come up and thrown a dead cat in his face, Myth couldn't have been more surprised. "What...Cap...you said..." "Said what?" "I could take the rest of the day off. So I..." "When did I say that?" "End of the 5th. After that play at 2nd..." "You're saying I told you to go?" "You said....well, yeah. I could go; I was done for the day." "I don't remember any such thing, Myth."
Myth's jaw hits the dirt. What is going on?
"Cap...I swear... there must be some mistake.....a miscommunication somewhere..." Zeke doesn't know what else to say: it's just crazy! Cap Gavin, accussing me of walking out of a game?
Gavin's arms are crossed again; but his face gives a twitch and at last he waves a hand.
"Maybe I'm just mistaken... but no leaving early, right?" "Oh, right! Of course! I know the rules, Cap..." "Good." And with a abrupt spin, Gavin walks away.
It's too early for April's fool, Myth tells himself.
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-03-2012 at 07:16 PM.
The game goes well today: with most of the pack of big show-hopefuls well-picked thru; the starting rotation pretty well set and now it's mostly about the bench and those last few bits of fine-tuning by the starting line-up. But before the game gets underway a tsunami of media descend on the cubbies. Apparently some version (or two) of the clubhouse issues have seeped out and it's now the big story.
Myth is 'no comment' from the first but Preston is feeling his oats and holds court and says more then enough for the entire team. The other players(especially the two-ringers) are mostly amused. Bon-Bon nicknames Preston "Modest Mouse."
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-03-2012 at 08:39 PM.
Preston's take on things is out in the morning papers and he's outdone himself. Some excerpts to get a flavor:
".... this team needs a leader and that's me. I was borne to lead. Myth was borne a follower. That's Okay; we'll get to where we goin' faster once we know these things...
"....I don't think Myth understands the game yet. He a kid and thinks like a kid but to win; you gotta think like a man. He won't hear it, though. That'll change. I'll see to that..."
"... this team is stuck in the past. They talk all the time about what they've done. That's not my approuch: I talk about what I'll DO. I'm the future of this club."
Modest mouse indeed, thinks Zeke. Is the nightmare ending.....or beginning?
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-03-2012 at 10:10 PM.
With the 'Shaw-out'(As in fallout) still dropping; a new rumor makes the cactus league rounds: the cubs are trying to shop Bon-Bon. He's got a no-trade clause but the story persists. With Spinoli's fine spring; has one of the clubhouse fixtures become expendable? The two-ringer club grumbles all the more.
A good game today: Big Z bops a pinch-homer and perhaps the passionate Z let's it go to his head. With the media hanging on his every word, He rambles:
"Shaw's batting is gonna win us more games then Cheeto's stolen-bases? Who's thinking up this B------t, anyway?"
Cub's management at last proclaims the 'Bon-Bon-Bye-Bye' rumor is nonsense: they never considered passing him to someone else.
No one believes them, naturally. Least of all the two-ringer club.
ROSTER-----2012 Chicago Cubs---
1. Smoke (L)
2. Big Z (R)
3. Piper (L)
4. Ryder (R)
Alternating in the 5th spot:
T. Wink (R)
Jhrzai (R) (Jhrzai is the only rookie to make the team)
Little S (R)
2B-- Lemonkrump (Sw)
SS-- Hector (Sw)
3b-- Myth (R)
LF-- Jemson (R)
(Inf)-- 'Evo" Darwin (R)
(1b)-- Bon-Bon (R)
Last edited by Iowanic; 04-04-2012 at 03:21 AM.
Jeez, I've gotten so far behind on this! I may have to do a 'short cut' update....