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

Live from Cubs Convention 2015

Cubs Convention
Corey and Andy are at Cubs Convention 2015 in Chicago this weekend and you can follow all of the news, updates and shenanigans right here.
By the way, we are running a Cubs Convention sale on our tshirts and hoodies. Use the coupon code “CUBSCON” at The Ivy Envy Store.


Ted Talk: Justify My Love

My favorite Cubs player after Ryne Sandberg is Ted Lilly.  Believe it or not, I’ve gotten some grief for this Lilly-affinity over the years.  In fact, here is a recent Twitter exchange with a friend of Ivy Envy, Doug.

Since I get to see and perhaps meet Ted this weekend at Cubs Convention, I thought it would be interesting for me to try to justify my choice of TL as one of my favorites.  It can be hard to rationalize something that really is fairly irrational, but here are my reasons for liking him anyway–

1. The Ted Lilly Fan Club

The TLFC was a blog that followed Ted’s exploits throughout his Cubs tenure and treated him as though he were a demigod.  Follow this link, and read the brief article to get the flavor of the TLFC.

2. I enjoy crafty pitching.

The first video here shows (in slow motion) the great fade that Lilly had on his changeup.  The second video features Ted’s control, his devastating slow curve, his luck, and the voice of Vin Scully.

 

 

 3. Lilly was a great competitor and teammate.

Some of Ted’s actions could perhaps be construed as petulant (e.g. slamming his glove on the mound or the confrontation with Gibbons), but I don’t think anyone could say that he didn’t care.  He wanted to win, and he wanted his teammates to win.  He was ejected a couple of times for shouting at the umpire from the dugout because he didn’t care for his fellow pitchers getting squeezed.

He also could be pretty funny–I wrote a post in 2009 about a game I watched in which Lilly placed a giant moth on the cap of coach Gerald Perry.

4. This–

Image via http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Ted_Lilly

Image via http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Ted_Lilly

I think I’m feeling good about my choice.  I didn’t even get into stats, and it is true that there aren’t any really gaudy numbers there.  Still, he is a two-time All-Star, and he went 47-34 in his tenure with the cubs, including 15-win and 17-win seasons in 2007 and 2008.  TMFL!

 

Chicago Cubs Theater: Back to Brooklyn

Ebbets Field

Ebbets Field

Previously: The “first” Night Game at Wrigley Field

When I began scouring the Internet for full game videos for this series, this game was one of the first I came across and, though it’s not video, I absolutely bookmarked it. While it’s only a radio call – and the opposing team’s call, at that – it’s well worth it. That’s legendary broadcaster Vin Scully coming around the 6:30 mark to call the game. From the Dodgers’ final season in Brooklyn, the June 4, 1957 game features a slew of legends: Ernie Banks, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, and even a young Don Zimmer. But the bonus is the pitching performance by a 21-year-old Sandy Koufax.

Unlike last week, I didn’t annotate this game. To be honest, I had such a blast listening to the game, I stopped keeping track of what was happening. Instead, I’ve pasted the info from the game’s YouTube page below and you can always consult the boxscore linked in the paragraph above.

Vin Scully and Sandy Koufax early in their legendary careers! Original full radio broadcast from the Dodgers radio network, originally preserved by WOKO, Albany, NY. Tuesday night, June 4, 1957, the Dodgers return from a 9 game PA trip to come home to face the Cubs, with a young Sandy Koufax taking the mound. After the intro by Jerry Doggett, an also young Vin Scully (starts at 6:43) calls the first 3 innings, with some middle-innings work later; Doggett does the last 6 innings, along with some between-innings work also. Al Helfer also contributes between innings, and does the quick post-game at the end. Dodgers prevailed, 7-5, as Sandy got the win and Clem Labine got the save. Campanella hits a 2-run double off the scoreboard in the first, and also there were 4 home runs: Snider in the 3rd, Hodges in the 5th, Speake of the Cubs in the 6th and Ernie Banks in the 8th. Also, Joe Pignatano makes his major league debut (discussion starting at 1:07:14) after Campy is hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning. The sounds of the fans, vendors and Ebbets announcer Tex Rickards (first heard at 4:10) are heard throughout the game. A classic time capsule of the Dodgers’ last season in Brooklyn, enjoy!

Next Week: A young fireballer’s historic performance at a dank, damp Wrigley.

“Look at Deno/Norf…Sickest Playerrr” – Episode 6.53

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastWelcome to the 290th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast. You could say that Cubs Convention signals the beginning of the upcoming baseball season and the event is this upcoming weekend. Andy and Corey will be going to Chicago for the convention and we talk about what we’re expecting this weekend. If you aren’t able to attend the convention, follow us on Twitter – @IvyEnvy. If you don’t use Twitter, the live stream of our Twitter feed will be displayed in the first post displayed on our website, IvyEnvy.com

Spring Training is also coming up and we’ve decided that we will be doing a meet-up at the Cubs @ Diamondbacks game on March 19th. If you will be at Spring Training and would like to join us, you can purchase the general admission lawn seats from Diamondbacks.com.

More concrete details on the TV broadcasts of Cubs games. Kurt shares the latest info, which is exactly what we speculated would happen. There’s a lot of concern with Cubs fans in the midwest outside of Chicagoland. If you are outside Chicago and worried that you won’t have access to Cubs games on tv in 2015 and beyond, listen to this episode to hear how you can do your part in making these broadcasts available in your local market.
If you are in Indiana, DeRose has started this Facebook group: Let Indiana Watch the Chicago Cubs

The Cubs added a veteran right-handed hitting platoonable outfielder in Chris Denorfia. The real debate in this conversation is whether his nickname should be Deno or Norf. Either way, you need to look at him. He’s the sickest playerrr.

Sporting News created a little buzz this week by predicting that the Cubs will win the World Series in 2015. We comment on this and call it what it is.

We have several questions from listeners, including conversations such as whether or not there’s a nickname that rhymes with Lester that isn’t “molester”. There’s a question about Samardzija’s performances later in the season. We talk about the future of Welington Castillo and what the Cubs may get in return for their extra catcher. We also compare Cardinals fans and Reds fans.

If you’d like to support this podcast, you can do so at Patreon.com/IvyEnvy

Chicago Cubs Theater: The “First” Night Game at Wrigley


Cubs Pitcher Al Nipper waits out the rain on August 8, 1988. (Sun-Times Photo)

We’ve moved past the most exciting part of the post-season – the Hot Stove, the Winter Meetings – and now we’ve settled in for a wait. We’re still about six weeks out from pitchers and catchers reporting (February 19!) and it’s not quite time to start delving into fantasy baseball projections. So, during this seemingly interminable wait, maybe it’s best to enjoy some sights and sounds from Cubs’ games past (well, some of them, anyway). To hold us over until Spring Training, I’ll be scouring the Internet for Cubs games to share and annotate and, really, just enjoy.

Up first: 8-8-88, The First Night Game That Never Was

The long-time battle to bring lights to Wrigley Field finally came to fruition on 8-8-88, a hot and humid August night on the North Side (there’s no other kind, really). But the baseball gods threw a little wrinkle into the Cubs’ plans: throughout the pre-game festivities and the early innings, you can see the sky growing darker not because of the setting sun but rather thanks to an approaching summer thunderstorm. And it was one big boomer, raining out the Phillies-Cubs game that should have gone down in to the history books. The next night, they tried it all again versus the Mets and this time got away with it, a 6-4 win over the Mets. But it lacked the pomp and circumstance of the previous night’s ceremonies: the TV reporters (and Steve Stone!) in tuxedos, Bill Murray slamming a Budweiser on camera with Harry, the Jack Brickhouse-led ceremony in which live-long Cubs fan Harry Grossman pressed the button to light the skies around Wrigley. The video cuts out pretty much the entire rain delay (over two hours), but comes back to include the players sliding across the tarp.

Somewhere, in the labyrinth of my parents’ storage unit, there’s a box that contains a video that holds both this and the next night’s game that I taped off TV as a kid. Fortunately, though, YouTube has come to the rescue with full coverage – bad commercials and all – from that first night, that first attempt to play baseball under lights at Wrigley. Enjoy and find below the video an annotation of some of the bigger moments from the video for your viewing ease. If you want more archive fun for the game, here’s a round-up of links to old stories, video, and photos I prepared for the 25th anniversary in 2013 while I was at the Sun-Times.

(NOTE: This first game, the one that didn’t count, was aired on hometown SuperStation WGN but, if memory serves, NBC actually aired the next night’s game against the Mets as a Game of the Week (if I’m wrong, let me know). I wish I could double-check this with the old videotape. Alas. Anyway, the advantage is the run of great local commercials that air during the WGN game, including a few of the usual Cubs hawking local goods spots.)

ANNOTATIONS
0:00:00 – 0:29:00 – The pregame festivities, mostly anchored by some WGN reporters in tuxes, including a few live shots inside Harry’s restaurant. Some good flashback stuff in here and general reflecting about WHAT IT ALL MEANS.
0:06:30 – 0:10:00 – The actual lighting ceremony, hosted by Jack Brickhouse and featuring Harry Grossman, as I mentioned above. The leading the fans in the “let there be light” chant is pretty great.
0:29:25 – 0:47:00 – The Leadoff Man begins and it features Steve Stone in a tuxedo so what more could you ask for?
0:40:00 – A back-to-back set of fun Cubs commercials: Andre Dawson hawking (GET IT???) cars and The Zim pitching a bank.
0:52:40 – The famous Bill Murray appearance in which Harry toasts Bill with a beer, they joke about Bill’s mom, and Bill even gives promotion to an upcoming film he just completed called “Scrooged.”
0:57:55 – First pitch from Rick Sutcliffe to the Phillies’ Phil Bradley
0:59:00 – Bradley goes yard, a leadoff homer
0:59:30 – As Bradley celebrates in the dugout, you can hear Murray in the background of the booth screaming, “TURN THE LIGHTS OFF!”
1:06:50 – Morganna The Kissing Bandit going after Ryno! There’s also a scrolling note of a severe thunderstorm watch for the Chicago area. Foreboding.
1:08:15 – RYNO GOES DEEP! A two-run shot to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
1:16:00 – Murray sticks around, calling the game with Steve and Harry.
1:16:35 – Video of Billy Williams and Ernie Banks throwing out the first pitch.
1:22:12 – Murray takes a great shot at Peter Uberoth over the 1984 NLCS.
1:22:35 – The (in)famous “I’m A Bud Man” commercial with Harry.
1:25:15 – OMINOUS CLOUDS
1:26:10 – An honest to god Bleacher Bum!
1:33:15 – Governor Thompson. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (Murray gets some great political joke cracks in, if you’re into Chicago politics, particularly his joke about Richard J. Daley giving him a special voting pass.)
1:42:23 – Damn, that wind.
1:46:49 – Ah, when the rooftops were actually rooftops with residents and their friends hanging out and it didn’t cost $100 to get up there.
1:53:25 – Stolen base for Ryno. Love Murray’s continued heckling. I completely forgot about this, or just didn’t pay attention as a child.
1:58:45 – Palmeiro drives in Ryno to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead only to get caught stealing less than 60 seconds letter.
2:01:55 – I forgot Harry used to duck over to the radio booth.
2:03:40 – BRICK. HOUSE.
2:09:29 – Just as the severe thunderstorm warning scrolls across the screen, there’s a bit of thunder causing the crowd to “ooh” and “aah.”
2:10:28 – Mark Harmon, promoting “Stealing Home.” Wow.
2:13:18 – And we hit the rain delay – for a second. The video then jumps the 2 hour, 10 minute rain delay I mentioned above and wraps up with WGN’s final moments of coverage.
2:17:18 – The sliding players! Zim was PISSED about this.
2:19:10 – This concludes our broadcast.

NEXT TIME: A throwback classic with all sound, but no vision.

Pitch Framing with Harry Pavlidis – Episode 6.52

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We have an interview episode for you this week on the podcast. Harry Pavlidis joins me to talk about pitch framing.

castilloWith the addition of Miguel Montero and the seemingly inevitable departure of Welington Castillo, it’s obvious that pitch framing is important to this front office and there’s nobody better to talk about pitch framing than Harry Pavlidis.

In this discussion we’ll start at the basics….what is pitch framing. We’ll also talk about how this statitstic is measured, it’s value and we’ll talk about how good Miguel Montero is at it and how bad Welington Castillo is at it. And most importantly, what does the change from Montero to Castillo mean for the 2015 Cubs?

Harry is with Baseball Prospectus and Pitch Info and you can follow him on Twitter – @HarryPav