Baseball Card Episode – Episode 6.59

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Welcome to the last episode of our sixth season of podcasting on the Cubs, which is our 296th episode. If you are looking for our usual Cubs talk, you won’t find much of it on this episode. The three of us have the opportunity to record in the same room about twice a year, so you’ll have to excuse the “hangout” vibe this episode has.

Michael from Galesburg (and The Awesome 80’s Podcast) joins us and earns the title of the official Ivy Envy Regular Guest. Thanks to Rory from San Francisco for providing the delicious Pliny the Elder.

If you’d like to hear the first baseball card episode we recorded, all the way back in 2009 (our 1st season of podcasting), you can listen to it here: Podcast #26 – Baseball Cards. We were very excited to pull out the 1980s baseball cards from our childhoods. In the episode, we do a contest of sorts, determining who has the best card in specific categories such as: Most fitting and ill-fitting names, best hair, ugliest, best card from a Cubs rival team, best card with a non-baseball item in the photo, etc.

Prior to the recording of this episode, we got this tweet.


If you’d like to watch the video of this episode and see most of the cards we talk about, here it is:

You can support The Ivy Envy Podcast through Patreon for just $1/month. Check out the Patreon campaign and perks at http://patreon.com/ivyenvy

Pray Tell – Episode 6.58

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastWelcome to the 295th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast.

Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Mesa this week and we start the build-up to Cubs Spring Training by discussing the list of non-roster invitees. We also tell you where you’ll be able to hear and watch Cubs Spring Training games this year.

The Cubs battle with the rooftop continues and Kurt gets us up to speed with the latest developments in the story.

We also answer several listener questions on various topics:

  • MLB.tv vs. MLB Extra Innings
  • Tom Tango
  • Which is better at Wrigley: Cubs more likely to win or a game vs. a rival?
  • Shrinking strike zone
  • Cole Hamels or free agent next off-season?
  • Chances a Cubs rookie wins 2015 NL Rookie of the Year
  • Last time we had this much hope for the Cubs headed into Spring Training.
  • Lester gets a hit vs Baez walks 50 times?

Talking Cubs with Sahadev Sharma of Baseball Prospectus – Episode 6.57

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sharmaWelcome to the 294th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast.

This week, we have an interview I did with Sahadev Sharma of Baseball Prospectus. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and I think you will too. We touch on several topics in this discussion and Sahadev provides valuable insight.

We start things off by talking about the PECOTA projections and what these projections say the 2015 Cubs could look like. We know that we’ll most likely see Kris Bryant up with the Cubs fairly early in the season. What’s not as clear at this point is when other prospects will get the call and I ask Sahadev if he thinks we may see Addison at Wrigley in some point in 2015.

Joe Maddon will be a management style we’ve never seen before with the Cubs, from his on-the-field philosophies to how he deals with the media and fans. Sahadev talks about the previous two Cubs managers and describes what the team will look like with Maddon at the helm.

Edwin Jackson was the first bigger free-agent this front office signed and things have definitely not gone as planned. Sahadev talks about where Jackson’s head is right now and he has a pretty good explanation of what went wrong with Edwin.

Javier Baez’s strikeouts are a big concern right now. For Baez to realize his potential, his strikeout rate needs to significantly drop. If you were looking for the strikeout rate to drop for Baez over winter ball, that didn’t happen. Sahadev does have a good explanation that should make step back from the ledge a bit.

We also look ahead to the 2015 trade deadline and Sahadev predicts what the Cubs mindset will be in regards to selling off prospects if they are in the thick of things later this season.

If you’d like to follow Sahadev on Twitter, you can find him at @SahadevSharma. You can read Sahadev’s written pieces on baseball at Baseball Prospectus

Click here for information on the Ivy Envy Cubs Bus Trip.
Click here to support The Ivy Envy Podcast through Patreon.

Stepping into yesteryear: home video of a 1930s Cubs game

Here’s a fun one that’s been making the rounds: home video from some attendees to a Cubs game in the 1930s. It’s fantastic footage, a glimpse into a time when men attended the games in full suits and smoked cigars in the stands. DNAInfo Chicago ran the footage yesterday, noting that it came from a slew of film donated by one family to the Chicago Film Archive. There’s so much to love about the video: a cleaner Waveland Ave skyline, the old scoreboard in all its glory, and the way Wrigley looks like it really hasn’t changed all that much in the almost 80 years since this game was filmed (though the trees lining the scoreboard and upper center field bleachers would be fun to have back).

As for when the game that’s filmed took place, there’s no certainty, but there are some guesses. From the DNAInfo story:

One commenter suggests the footage comes from the home opener against the Cardinals on April 22, 1938.

The bleachers were built in 1937, 23 years after Wrigley Field was erected at 1060 W. Addison St. in 1914. Bill Veeck planted the ivy in September of 1937.

Though originally marked as from 1937, the 1938 date could be correct, according to the Chicago Film Archives, as the film date comes from the stock code, and may not be when the reel was actually used.

What appears to be a grand pregame processional seems to back this theory up. And, if it is the April 22, 1938 game, then it ended in true Cubs fashion: with the Cubs blowing a three run lead in the ninth to lose 6-5. The more things change…

As for the Ricketts sign? No relation to the current owners: it was the name of a local chain of restaurants in the city at the time. It’s also nice to know that, judging by the overcoats, April day games were freezing back in the 1930s, too, climate change be damned.

You can check out the whole catalog of the family’s film here, which includes more footage at Wrigley and even a winter sports event at Soldier Field before it was made to look like a spaceship (worth it just for the old car driving through A WALL OF FLAMES at the 1:10 mark).

“I also find the optimism of children to be completely invalid.” – Episode 6.56

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastWelcome to the 293rd episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast. Our plan was that this would be an episode with Michael from Galesburg and we were going to talk about baseball cards. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not work with us and a blizzard shut our plans down. The baseball card episode will be rescheduled, probably later in February.

PECOTA projections are out for the 2015 season. Those projections say the Cubs will end the season with an 82-80 record and miss the playoffs by one game. We talk about those results and the individual player projections to get them to that 82-80 record. Some of the players we discuss are: Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson and more.

In case you didn’t know, the Cubs have a highly-touted farm system. I think you’ve probably heard about this. MLB.com released their Top 100 Prospects list and the Cubs have six players in the top 57. Keith Law also identified the Cubs as the top farm system in baseball. We talk a little about the players on the list and the timing of their impact on the major league team.

Major League Baseball has a new Commissioner and we talk about some of his comments since taking over. This opens up a discussion on the state of the sport of baseball and the issues impacting it’s popularity with the youth of today. Do you think the pace and length of games is an issue?

We answer a handful of listener questions and read some Internet Muscle Flexes.

Congrats to Patreon Associate Producer, Matthew Maser for winning the Iowa Cubs Javier Baez t-shirt jersey.
If you’d like to support The Ivy Envy Podcast, check out our Patreon campaign.

General tickets for our 2015 Ivy Envy Cubs Bus Trip go on sale this Friday, February 6th. You can buy tickets here: Ivy Envy Cubs Bus Trip.

Shecap: Thoughts From a Female Fan at Cubs Convention

Cubs Convention 2015If you can’t tell by the play on words in my post title, I’m Andy’s wife. I know the guys did their recap podcast on our train ride home, and it was just as much a success as the train’s happy hour! Since Tawny (Corey’s wife) and I both tagged along at Cubs Convention this year, I thought I would give you a little “shecap” of what that was like. Let me begin by saying I am a legitimate Cubs fan. I didn’t marry into this mess; my love for the Cubs has grown over the past thirty ::cough:: plus years. So it wasn’t as though Andy had to drag me to convention. I was already on board. I honestly had no idea what to expect. The conferences I have attended in the past are more for creative types, or design trade shows, so nothing sports-related or specific to one brand. I was curious what I would see.

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Cubs Convention was far larger than I expected. People are pretty interested in this upcoming 2015 season, and they showed that anticipation with their attendance at the Convention. Not sure what the overall amount of tickets sold for the “sold out” event was, but I am not being dramatic when I say they sold about 1,000 too many. For serious. It was more crowded and stinky than the Addison station after a July extra-inning game. We did not have guaranteed access to see the panels we wanted. In some cases, we couldn’t even make it into the doorway of the room a session was in.

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The Convention itself was really incredible as far as what was available to see and do. There was adequate staff and signage, and the programs and conference packs provided were great. Truth is, give me a free koozie and you have my heart. I struck up a conversation with one of the conference staffers who I found out was actually an usher at Wrigley. She was an absolute doll to talk to and sincerely full of questions about how we were enjoying CubsCon and our trip to the city. I pretty much wanted to  have her be my aunt after about 20 minutes. The panels that I was able to attend were fantastic, and I am now even more excited for the 2015 season.

goat_check

The only question I had ahead of time was “will there be a coat check?” CubsCon is in January after all, and we would be traveling there. I emailed the general info email address via cubs.com, and blammo! I had an answer the same day that yes, coat check would be available. We were even able to check our luggage for $10 on Sunday morning when we had checked out of our hotel and headed to the Convention. Some other general FYI for female attendees would be that there were plenty of restrooms with no long lines. I am sure the men’s rooms may have been more crowded (but at least there is no trough). For new moms, I did notice there were changing tables and some of the restrooms had a small lobby outside if you had nursing baby or even were in need of a “time-out” spot for a small child.

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I was very surprised at how many players and staffers we saw over the weekend just walking the conference floor(s). Keep your eyes open and a Sharpie handy because you just never know who you will run into. We saw plenty of the newer players but I even spotted Demps, Wood, Fergie, and Tom Ricketts among the crowds. Collecting autographs is really not our thing, so we saw very little of those lines but did see the racket outside the hotel anytime a player pulled up or away from the Convention.

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We left our kids at home this Convention, but I did have to take a look at what activities were made available for all the “small-sample-sized” Cub fans. I have to give a huge thumbs up to the Cubs for not compromising on this element of the Convention. There was a TON for kids to do and see! Even with all of the crowds and jam-packed events, the kids activities were amazing and not crowded. “Clark’s Clubhouse” was in a large room of the hotel and there were batting cages, balloon animals, face-painting, coloring stations, pitching games, and a ton more!

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I would have been very happy about our son’s experience had he joined us for the weekend. We did get to meet Clark the Cub who is already a household name in each of the Ivy Envy homesteads. I was able to bring home lots of Clark freebies, including an arms-length of Clark stickers. You know Clark is a big deal when his sticker earns a a spot on our son’s bin of favorite Legos!

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I always have a giant “mom-purse” at events like these, but having it does pay off. Bringing your own bottled water and snacks is always a smart choice. There were water coolers on each floor, so it wasn’t necessary to buy water. I do admit I did some day-drinking and purchased an $8 beer (or two), but that is really to be expected at any event. The Convention itself spanned 4 floors of the hotel and was not really in the best location to make a quick run outside for a meal or even a beer. Tawny and I did manage to make the short trek out mid-day Saturday for an opportunity to boost the local Chicago economy. By this I mean of course we shopped like crazy for about an hour. There were plenty of dining options within Cubs Convention–even a veggie burger for Tawny and Corey.

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Overall we had a pretty great weekend together, and I left the Cubs Convention exhausted and convinced that perhaps it’s not the right event for us. Perhaps in a few years Andy and our son can journey back to CubsCon to see the signs and snag the signatures of his favorite players. I see that as a wonderful way to experience the Convention, and I believe it to be evident that the Cubs Organization loves carrying on that tradition. I don’t know how many times I heard “I used to come with when I was a kid and now we come and bring ours” throughout the weekend. Many thanks to those who planned this event and to the Cubs Social Media team for the great photobooth (I love a good photobooth). Cubs Convention was full of females, and I am excited to report they weren’t all girlfriends in bedazzled Victoria’s Secret “Go Cubbies” tank tops. It is a great place to meet other fans and ticketholders.

RIP Mr. Cub – Episode 6.55

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The Cubs lost a legend this week with the passing of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. On this, the 292nd episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we talk about Ernie’s on-the-field accomplishments and what he meant to Cubs fans after his retirement.

This week, the Cubs traded Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily for Dexter Fowler. We talk about how our opinions of Valbuena changed over the last few years and what the trade means for the outfield and infield for the 2015 Cubs.

We check back in on Javier Baez, who is playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. Baez has not figured out his strikeout issue and his spot on the opening day roster seems to be in question.

We answer several listener questions and read some internet muscle flexes.

If you have not yet nominated Ivy Envy in the sports category of the 10th Annual Podcast Awards, you can do that here – PodcastAwards.com
Check out our Patreon campaign here – Patreon.com/IvyEnvy

The Latest on 2015 Cubs Out-of-Market TV Broadcasts

WLS broadcast areaAs we get closer to the most interesting Cubs season in recent years, the tv broadcasts of the games is still up in the air. We have discussed this several times over the last few months on The Ivy Envy Podcast. Listen to Episode 6.53 of the podcast for the run-down.

Here’s what we know:

  • About 90 Cubs games in 2015 will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago.
  • About 45 Cubs games will be broadcast on WGN-9 (NOT WGN America, but the local over-the-air WGN).
  • About 25 Cubs games will be broadcast on WLS-7 (ABC over-the-air).

Obviously, this topic came up at Cubs Convention this last weekend. Fans from around the Midwest traveled to Chicago and their ability to watch the Cubs was brought up around the convention frequently.

Here’s what we heard from the Ricketts Family and Crane Kenney at Cubs Convention:

The Cubs are looking to syndicate games outside the Chicago local market.
This is something we talked about on Episode 6.53 of our podcast. The WLS-7 games could be syndicated to your local ABC affiliate, most likely (though not necessarily) through their digital subchannels. The WGN-9 games could be syndicated to your local CW affiliate (or a station/network owned by the same media partnership).

On Episode 6.53, I said that I have talked with one ABC affiliate in Illinois and outside the Chicago viewing area and they are “in negotiations” to carry Cubs tv broadcasts in 2015. They did not specify if they were negotiating for just the WLS-7 games or all non CSN Chicago games.

If you live outside of Chicago, I would suggest emailing or calling the station manager or programming director of your local affiliates. It sounds like the Cubs may be initiating some of these discussions with affiliates, but it would not hurt to let your local affiliates know that you’d like to have access to these games in 2015.

By the way, if you live in Indiana, DeRose has started a Facebook group called “Let Indiana Watch the Chicago Cubs!” If you live in Indiana, join that group for updates on local affiliates.

If negotiations with affiliates are unsuccessful, the Cubs will ask MLB to lift the blackout in those affected markets.
If you live in the midwest, you’re familiar with these blackouts restricting your ability to watch the Cubs on MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings. If you’re hoping this is what happens, I wouldn’t hold your breath. I just can’t see MLB changing this policy because of a team request. That would open up a huge can of worms and probably demolish the blackout policy. Which brings us to the next point.

The Cubs expect in-market streaming pretty soon.
This idea of the blackout policy going away was mentioned in the Bloggers Forum with Crane Kenney that I attended. At the Bloggers Forum, Kenney stated that he believes the blackout policy will be gone by the time the Cubs are ready to ink their next tv deal, which will be after the 2019 season.

Media is changing and content delivery is changing. At Cubs Convention, Tom Ricketts said that this issue is something that he and Crane Kenney bring to the table at MLB ownership meetings. I would love to see the blackout policy done away with so that fans can watch the Cubs and other MLB teams how they want, where they want on the device they want.

Since we are in the midwest but outside of Chicago, we will keep you updated on this situation through the blog and the podcast. I’m optimistic that, for most of us, things are going to work out.

 

Nominate Ivy Envy for Podcast Awards

Last year, our podcast was a finalist in the Sports category of the 9th Annual Podcast Awards. It was incredible to represent our podcast and listeners at the Podcast Awards ceremony in Las Vegas last January. We lost to ESPN, but it was incredible to be listed next to the biggest names in sports broadcasting.

The nomination period is underway for the 10th Annual Podcast Awards. Nominating us is very easy and we’d really appreciate it if you took the 30 seconds to do it.

Simply go to http://podcastawards.com and enter “Ivy Envy” in the show name at the show URL is http://ivyenvy.com.

We would also love it if you supported the following podcasts by writing them into the nomination form.

Mommy’s Cocktail Hour – Food And Drink Category

http://mommyscocktailhour.com

QC STEP Podcast – Education Category

http://qcstep.com

I Hate Critics Podcast – Movies/Film Category

http://ihatecritics.net

Cubs Convention 2015 – Episode 6.54

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Photo Jan 17, 11 05 02 AMWelcome to the 291st episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast. This episode is unlike any other episode of our podcast in that it was recorded on an Amtrak train.

On this episode, Andy and Corey recap Cubs Convention 2015. From the opening ceremony to the final session, we have you covered.
Sessions described:

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Ricketts Family Forum
  • Meet Cubs Baseball Management
  • Joe Maddon and His Coaching Staff
  • Cubs Business Operations Update
  • #CubsSocial
  • Down on the Farm

There were lots of topics covered in those sessions and we discuss many of them.
If you’d like to help support The Ivy Envy Podcast, you can do so through our Patreon campaign.

Photo Jan 18, 4 03 40 PM