Recent News

Kane County Cougars Win MWL Championship

September 16th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

We have been following the Kane County Cougars’ playoff run for the past week and on Saturday they won the Midwest League championship thanks to a 7-2 victory over the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians affiliate) in game two of the three-game series. The Cougars finished the playoffs with a perfect 7-0 record and finished the year with a cumulative record of 98-49, the most wins by any major league or minor league team in 2014, and a 43-win improvement over their 2013 mark. On top of setting a new franchise wins record, the Cougars set new franchise records for: longest win-streak (13 games), team ERA (2.85) and home record (54-17). Additionally, the Kane County Cougars became the first class A team to reach 10,000 fans in the history of minor league baseball. The mark was reached this season due, in large part, to the 415,571 fans who came through Fifth Third Bank Ballpark during the regular season this summer (the 23rd most in all of MiLB and more than most AA and AAA ball clubs).

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New Place, New Man: the Emergence of Felix Doubront

September 15th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

For Chicago Cubs’ fans who are familiar with Felix Doubront, these last two weeks have been excruciatingly nerve-wracking. Doubront has gotten off to a hot start with the Cubs and many of us are waiting for it to hit the fan, but he has showed no signs of slowing down. Doubront picked up his second win of the season with the Cubs this weekend when he threw six shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and snapped the Cubs’ seven-game losing streak.

Since making his Cubs debut on August 30th, Doubront has resembled the man he was during the Boston Red Sox 2013 playoff run rather than the man he was for most of 2014.

Year

W-L

ERA

WHIP

IP

K/BB

2013 Post-Season (BOS)

1-0

1.29

0.86

7.0

4/3

2014 (BOS)

2-4

6.07

1.60

59.1

43/26

2014 (CHC)

2-1

1.50

1.11

18.0

6/4

(Stats per Cubs.com)

Doubront’s success still feels a bit surreal but he wouldn’t be the first pitcher do a complete 180 after finding a new home. Here are some other pitchers who have had notable turnarounds after a mid-season trade:

Pitcher

Pre-Trade

Post-Trade

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Chicago Cubs Fact Pack, September 15th

September 15th, 2014 at 12:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

1. The Chicago Cubs are hoping that, first baseman, Anthony Rizzo will return to the starting lineup tonight against the Cincinnati Reds. Rizzo has missed time due to a back strain and last played on August 26th; the Cubs went 6-12 in his absence.

2. When the Chicago Cubs open their final home stand tonight, fans will be greeted with metal-detector screening, in addition to the usual bag check, before they are allowed to enter Wrigley Field. The addition of metal-detectors is part of an attempt by the league to standardize security procedures.

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Top Five Excuses to Get Out of Work

September 15th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Chicago Cubs rookie, Jorge Soler missed the team’s three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend so that he could be present for the birth of his child. Soler is expected to rejoin the scuffling Cubs’ today when they take on the Cincinnati Reds at 7:05 at Wrigley Field.

When you are a professional athlete there are very few reasonable excuses that you can use to get out of “work”, and the birth of a child is one of them. Reasons such as, “my son has a T-ball game” or “I have a dentist appointment” don’t quite cut it. But that doesn’t mean that athletes never miss time for unprofessional reasons. Here is a list of the top 5 silliest reasons for missing a game that athletes have actually used in recent memory!

1. “Forgot my passport”: Earlier this year, Golden State Warriors’ big man, and 17-year NBA veteran, Jermaine O’Neal, was forced to miss a game against the Toronto Raptors because he forgot to bring his passport. The Warriors lost 104-98.

2. “I Sneezed”: In 2004, former Chicago Cub, Sammy Sosa landed on the 15-day disabled list because of back spasms. Sosa’s back spasms were induced by one heck of sneeze.

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Sunday Spotlight: Javier Baez is Showing Improvement

September 14th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Things may finally be turning around for, Chicago Cubs’ rookie, Javier Baez. Baez snapped a 17-game homerless streak on Friday when he hit his eighth bomb of the season off of, Pittsburgh Pirates starter, Gerrit Cole. The Cubs 21-year-old shortstop kept in rolling again last night by hitting a laser over the leftfield wall off of Jeff Locke for his ninth of the season.

Baez’s batting average hasn’t rebounded the way that his power stroke has as he is still hitting well below .200 on the year (.174) and is hitting just .143 in his last ten games. However, the numbers indicate that his average will soon be on the rise. Baez’s biggest problem this year has been his free-swinging mentality. After about a week of being in the big leagues, pitchers realized that they could easily get Baez to chase off-speed pitches in the dirt and fastballs at the eyes, particularly in two-strike counts. It took Baez until his 13th game with the Chicago Cubs to draw the first walk of his career and finished the month of August with a grand total of just four. But he is learning; Baez has drawn six walks in his last 11 games and has raised his on base percentage to .229. Granted, no one should be proud to have an OBP of .229, but the point is that he is showing improvement. Javier Baez has been able to restrain himself from chasing bad pitches in two-strike counts more frequently and looks like he has become a (slightly) more mature hitter than he was a month and a half ago.

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