Ricketts can find example in Blackhawks owner, Rocky Wirtz

The time for Tom Ricketts to take action is now. Tom Ricketts and his family purchased the Cubs in January 2009 for almost 1 billion dollars. Without a World Series title in over 100 years the Cubs fan are becoming extremely impatient. The Cubs organization and Tom Ricketts can simply look at the local Chicago Blackhawks for the blueprint of how to win.

In Oct.2007, Rocky Wirtz became the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks after his father(original owner) passed away. Wirtz took action immediately and made it his goal to bring a championship to Chicago as soon as he could. A month after taking over, Wirtz hired former Cubs president Jon McDonough to become the president of the Blackhawks. By making this move, Wirtz brought in an experienced guy who knows how to create a successful franchise.

A year later in October 2008, Wirtz made a tough decision to fire head coach and former Blackhawk, Dennis Savard. The Hawks brought in Joel Quenneville to take over the head coaching position. Quenneville had a lot of experience of coaching in the playoffs. This was a tough but necessary decision for Rocky Wirtz. The Blackhawks were fastly improving and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2009 with a very young team.

Wirtz’s final move was the hire Stan Bowman as general manager. Bowman and his father have won mutiple Stanley Cup championships. Stan made an impact right away signing big name free agent, Marian Hossa. With a core of Kane, Toews and Keith already in place, the signing of Hossa added veteran leadership to the young team. Bowman then added more pieces to make the Hawks an elite contender for the title.

After 3 years of being owner, Wirtz accomplsihed his goal. The Blackhawks won in Stanley Cup in 2010.

This is what needs to be done in the Cubs organization. Tom Ricketts needs to make tough decisions and bring in experience guys who know how to get the job done. With lots of young talent in the organization, such as Castro, Barney, Jackson the Cubs have a solid core in place. Ricketts will be faced with the oppurtunity this offeseason to sign Huge name free agents, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. Either of these players could quickly make the Cubs a playoff contender. In order to bring in one of these players, The Cubs will need a good manager, NOT Mike Quade.

If Ricketts can follow The Hawks blueprint, the wait for Cubs fan might not be to much longer

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Cubs, Dempster win despite Marmol’s struggles

After an embarrassing performance Thursday night, Cubs closer got another opportunity to save today’s game in the 9th inning. Once again, Marmol struggled but this time the Cubs escaped with a victory snapping the Marlins 6 game win streak.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster pitched a terrific 8 scoreless innings allowing just 4 hits while striking out 9. To start off the second half of the season, Cubs starters(Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster) have combined for 15 scoreless innings allowing just 10hits. Unfortunately the great starting pitching has been over shadowed by the struggles of Carlos Marmol.

After Marmol’s 9th inning meltdown on Thursday night, Quade decided to give him another chance after talking it over with the rest of the coaching staff. Quade stated before the game “We need him,” manager Mike Quade said. “When you talk about the bullpen, he’s a pretty big part.”

Marmol again entered the 9th inning Friday with a 2-0 lead. Quade’s decision to give Marmol the ball in the 9th soon backfired. Marmol started off the inning by walking Omar Infante on just 4 pitches. Then Cubs centerfielder Marylon Byrd came to Marmol’s rescue by throwing out Hanley Ramirez, who was trying to stretch a single into a double. The next hitter for the Marlins, Logan Morrison, lined a basehit to right scoring Infante and making the score 2-1. Quade immediately pulled Marmol out of the game and put in lefty Sean Marshall. Marshall struck out the final batter to end the game and give the Cubs their first win of the second half.

The Cubs only 2 runs on the day were scored when Marlins 2nd baseman, Omar Infante miss played Soriano’s pop fly. Carlos Pena and Byrd scored on the play.

Cubs try to make it 2 in a row against the Marlins satruday afternoon. Carlos Zambrano will be making his first start since being placed on the DL, July 1st.

Marmol blows another one, as Cubs fall to Marlins, 6-3

New half, same result. Marmol blows a 2-0 lead in the 9th and Cubs fall 6-3 to the Marlins.
Everything was looking good for the Cubs Thursday night until the 9th inning. Cubs starter Matt Garza threw 7scoreless innings allow just 6hits while striking out 6. Another outstanding outing without a win for Garza. Byrd got the Cubs on the board with a solo home run in the 2nd inning. It was Byrd’s first long ball since returning from the disabled list. The Cubs then added one run in the 7th when Darwin Barney was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. But the Cubs failed to add more runs leaving the bases loaded. Soto was the best Cubs hitter on the night going 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles.

After failing to add more runs on in the 7th innings. Cubs reliever Shaun Marshall pitched a strong 1-2-3 8th inning. With a 2run lead going into the 9th inning, everything was going well for the Cubs. Until Carlos Marmol entered the game..
Marmol did not have his stuff from the beginning, walking the first 3 batters. On a 3-2 count, Marlins pinch-hitter, Dobbs, lined a doubled into the right field corner. 2runs scored easily on the play and then Wise scored on a throwing error on Darwin Barney. Adding to the terrible night, Marmol failed to backup the throw on which Wise scored. Marlins then added 3 more runs. Marmol stats for the night were 0IP, 1H, 5ER, and 4BB. It was just a brutal outing for the Cubs questionable closer. In Marmol’s last three appearances, he has recorded just 4outs, giving up 7 earned runs on 3hits and 5walks. His ERA in those three games is a unheard of, 47.30

Cubs added on one run in the bottom of the 9th to make the final 6-3.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Cubs first half

The Chicago Cubs posted a very disappointing 37-55 record in the first half of the 2011 MLB season. Only a few bright spots leave Cubs fans with hope for the future, but the bad spots are much more noticeable.

What could possibly be good about the Cubs first half? A few bright spots give the suffering Cubs fan some hope. First of all, youngster Starlin Castro (21years old) made his first All-Star game. Castro continued to impress the Cubs organization, fans and even former Chciago Cubs players. Cubs legend, Ernie Banks, gave high praise for the young shortstop by saying, “He’s a great player. He can cover a lot of ground. He’s got a great arm. He can throw, he can hit. I’m happy for him. He’s better than me.” Castro led the Cubs batting .307. He also drove in 39 runs and stole 10 bases.
Another bright spot for the Cubs was the emergence of Darwin Barney and the re-emergence of former All-Star, Aramis Ramirez. Barney was expected to split time with Jeff Baker and Blake Dewitt. However, Barney has earned himself a starting spot in the Cubs lineup. Barney led all rookies with a .306 batting average.
After a terrible 2010 season, third baseman Aramis Ramirez has come back strong. Ramirez started the season off slow, but a recent surge almost got him a spot in the All-Star game. The Cubs slugger finished the first half with a solid .298 average with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs.
The Cubs ranked 6th in the Majors with a team average of .264

Now for the bad…
The Cubs finished 18 games under .500 and 12 games out of struggling NL Central. The Cubs are 5th in the divison, right above the Houston Astros who are the worst team in the MLB. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they are 2-4 aganist the lowly Astros. The Cubs average attendance has dropped every game between 2,000-4,000 and understandably so. The Cubs .402 winning percentage in the first half is the 5th worst in the Cubs last 50 years.
Some of the first half stats are just embarrassing for the Cubs. The team Earned Run Average(ERA) ranked 28th(out of 30) in the Majors. The pitching staff led the majors in walks issued(233). The Cubs only received 9 victories from starting pitchers whose name is not Garza, Zambrano or Dempster. To add to the problems, the team led the majors with 77 errors.

Brace yourself for the Ugly..
The Cubs suffered a heart breaking 16 losses by just one run. If the club would have won around half of those games, they would be in the thick of the division.
After an impressive 2010 rookie season, Tyler Colvin had high expectations. But Colvin was sent back to the minors after batting a brutal .105. Fortunately for the Cubs, Colvin is not costing the Cubs 17million dollars a year. Which leads us to one of the biggest bust in Cubs recent history, Alfonso Soriano. After a strong April in which Soriano hit 10 homeruns, he has hit just 4 long balls. And his .265 average with 1 stolen base does not help his case. Soriano still has 3 years left in his 8 year 136million dollar deal.

To top off the UGLY season for the loveable losers, the dreaded number will more than likely reach…
104

Cubs promote top prospect Jackson to Triple A

Chicago Cubs top prospect, Brett Jackson, was promoted to Triple A Iowa. Jackson received the exciting news after Monday’s game with the Tennessee Smokies. Brett Jackson was the Cubs first pick in the 2009 first-year player draft.

Jackson started of the season very strong, batting .317 in the month of April, but a hand injury slowed him down. But a recent hot streak has landed him in Triple A Iowa. In his first 11 games in July, Jackson hit .273 with 3 home runs, one double, and two stolen bases.

With the recent struggles of the Cubs, it is a possibility that Jackson could see some playing time in August or September. Jackson was recently rated the #32 prospect and #7 outfield prospect by Baseball America.

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Szczur raising eyebrows

Matt Szczur was drafted in the 5th round on the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs. Besides being a great baseball players, Szczur was a standout wide reciever at Villanova. However, in January Szczur decided to give up football and focus on baseball and the Chicago Cubs.

Szczur was sent to the Peoria Chiefs, the lower single A affiliate for the Cubs. During his time there, Szczur hit an impressive .314 with 5home runs and 27 RBI. Also, Szczur also impressed with his base stealing ability. He stole 17 bases while being caught only 5times.

These impressive numbers in his first year in the Minor leagues, caught the attention of the Cubs and those around baseball. First, Szczur received news that he would be promoted to the Daytona Cubs, the higher level of single A for the Chicago Cubs. Next, Szczur was chosen to represent the Cubs in the Future’s game. When asked about his decision to stop playing football, Szczur said he has no regrets and is enjoying focusing on baseball.

Szczur was recently rated the #48 prospect by Baseball America