Arrieta and Apiary – Podcast Episode 6.36

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastThe 2014 season begins to wind down on this, the 273rd episode of the Ivy Envy Podcast. Right now, about the only thing that excites Cubs fans is Jake Arrieta near no-hitters. We talk about his pitching performance against the Reds, his performance this season and his chances at being the #1 starter for the 2015 Chicago Cubs.

The anti-Arrieta has been Edwin Jackson. He comes back from injury and lasts 2/3 of an inning against the Dodgers. We talk about where things stand with Jackson and look at the Cubs’ options with Jackson in 2015.

This week brought a slew of changes in the Cubs minor league system. Boise, Kane County and Daytona were replaced by Eugene, South Bend and Myrtle Beach. The constant theme through these moves is the available facilities.

We answer listener questions, Kurt gives us a scary stat of the week and we read two internet muscle flexes.

If you enjoyed the outro music from Henhouse Prowlers, check them out here: Henhouse Prowlers on Facebook

Making Waves – Cubs Heading to Myrtle Beach

cubs logoToday the Cubs announced that they are moving beaches as they take the High-A club from Daytona to Myrtle.

After two decades in the Florida State League, the Cubs are headed to the Grand Strand and the more hitter-friendly, less rainout-prone Carolina League. The clubhouse at TicketReturn.Com Field has been home to current Cubs such as Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, and CJ Edwards over the years and is located just a mile from the fun of Ocean Avenue.

After a dominant run to the Midwest League title, many of the Kane County Cougars of 2014 seem poised to call South Carolina home next season. Myrtle Beach is a worthy host; certainly a player-friendly (and fan-friendly, while I’m at it) place to spend a season with the Boardwalk just around the corner, food and drink aplenty and a more than bountiful collection of golf courses for the rare day off from the minor league grind.

Pelican’s Chairman Hank Greenberg was once a part of the Nolan Ryan ownership group of the Texas Rangers and saw Myrtle Beach switch affiliations from Atlanta to Texas four years ago. As Bleacher Nation reported earlier today, Greenberg’s son is now a part of the Cubs baseball operations department.

The move seems like a win for both parties, not to mention Cubs fans looking for a new vacation spot. The Cubs had a good run in Daytona, but a move away from the soggy Florida State League summers was surely a huge selling point for the development-first thinkers of Chicago’s front office.

A September to Misremember – Podcast Episode 6.35

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastA few weeks ago, we had high hopes for the month of September. The prospects were coming up and we were going to get a good glimpse at the 2015 Cubs. Things haven’t gone as planned and it’s been downright miserable. On this episode, we discuss where our heads are with the 2014 Chicago Cubs.

The Kane County Cougars are the 2014 Midwest League Champions and the Daytona Cubs come up short in the Florida State League playoffs. We talk about the impact this minor league post-season experience can have on players. We also briefly discuss the future of both of these teams in the Cubs organization.

We answer a handful of listener questions, Kurt gives a scary stat of the week, we read some internet muscle flexes and we pick a winner for this week’s photo caption contest.

If you’d like to support our Patreon campaign, check it out at http://patreon.com/ivyenvy.

“Pretty Un-Olt-adox” – Podcast Episode 6.34

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastWe haven’t had any significant injuries to discuss in a while and on this episode, the 271st of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we talk about the injuries to Castro and Rizzo. September looked to be real exciting as a good portion of the line-up was comprised of players that could be long-term pieces for the team. While we still get to see some of the young players, it is a bit disappointing that we won’t get to see a line-up with them and the “veterans”, Castro and Rizzo.

The rosters expand in September and we discuss the players that the Cubs have called up. Two Cubs minor league teams are still in the post-season and we check in on their runs for championships. We also can’t avoid talking about Mike Olt in this conversation.

It’s common to hear people talk about the Cubs being a dangerous team because they are “playing loose.” We talk about this idea and explain why we don’t really buy it. We also spend some time talking about the popular opinion going around baseball that the Cubs are the surprise team for 2015. Is it good to start putting premature expectations on this extremely young team?

Of course, we check in on Baez and Soler. We go through a handful of listener questions, Kurt gives us a Scary Stat of the Week and we read some internet muscle flexes.

If you’d like to support our podcast through Patreon, check out – http://patreon.com/ivyenvy

The First Interesting September in Years
– Podcast Episode 6.33

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastAndy joins Corey in the studio for this, our 270th episode as Kurt is not on this episode as he is on his way to Chicago to take his son to his first Cubs game.

Jorge Soler has made quite an impact in the first week of his MLB career. We talk about the week, looking at Soler’s performance, but also discuss how much more interested we are in Cubs baseball this September than we have been for a very long time, even though the team is in last place in the division.

Starlin Castro made a mental mistake in the Reds series that brought out a variety of emotions from pundits and fans. We explain our immediate and then more measured reactions.

Corey talks about the Cubs hiring of Jason Parks and Andy looks at the rotation for the rest of the 2014 season. We answer listener questions and read some internet muscle flexes.

Jorge Soler! – Podcast Episode 6.32

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Jorge SolerAfter news broke Monday night that the Cubs were promoting Jorge Soler to the big league team, we knew we couldn’t wait until Sunday night to talk about it, so here’s a bonus episode of the podcast.

We talk about what Soler has done in the minors, why his call-up is different and what our expectations are, this year and beyond for Soler.

The list of Cubs prospects that will be participating in the Arizona Fall League has been released and we briefly talk about these players.

We answer a slew of listener questions, most of the Soler in nature. We wrap the show up with a few Internet Muscle Flexes.

If you’d like to help support this podcast, check out our Patreon campaign.

Bryant-Baez Flavored Joy – Podcast Episode 6.31

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WINNER (12)Welcome to the 268th of The Ivy Envy Podcast.

Who would have known that the biggest story of the week in Cubs-land would involve the grounds crew? We talk about this situation and use it as an opportunity to talk about the (negative) attention that the Cubs, ownership and the front office receive.

Corey went up to Wrigley for Social Media Night and talks about this event and tells you why you should attend next year.

Edwin Jackson continues his poor performances and has ended up on the disabled list. We talk about how wrong we were in predicting he would play well this year and look at his future…both with the organization and the type of pitcher he could become.

There is about a week of the minor league baseball season left. We use this opportunity to go through the system and look at the playoff chances for Boise, Kane County, Daytona, Tennessee and Iowa.

We answer listener questions, Kurt gives us a scary stat of the week, we pick a winner for this week’s photo caption contest and we read a few internet muscle flexes.

“Welcome to the Dardanelle Club”
– Podcast Episode 6.30

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There were lots of Chicago Cubs roster changes to talk about on this week’s episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast. Dan Straily gets called up for a Cubs spot start. Matt Szczur comes up and brings some speed to the team. We’ll talk about what the future may hold for Szczur as a member of the Chicago Cubs. If you’d like to hear an interview that I did with Matt Szczur in the spring of 2012, you can listen to it here.

Junior Lake was demoted and we talk about the struggles he experienced and discuss where he may start in 2015. The Brett Jackson era has ended for the Cubs. We talk about his career with the Cubs and use it as an opportunity to compare the top prospects of a few years ago and the top prospects of today.

Kris Bryant is day-to-day with an injury and we talk about the grind of a full season of professional baseball and later in the show, muscle flexes call Bryant out for being “injury prone.”

We answer several listener questions that involve pitching, offense, radio broadcasts and beer. Kurt’s Scary Stat of the Week involves strikeouts.

During the episode, someone in the chat asked for our personal Twitter handles. If you’d like to connect with us on Twitter and other social networks, check out our Bio page.

“Javier Baez is OK” – Podcast Episode 6.29

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastOn the 266th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we talk about Javier Baez’s first two series in Major League Baseball.

We comment on what we’ve seen in the first six games of his career. What is he doing well? What does he need to improve on? Are the Cubs letting him be who he is? When will adjustments and the tinkering with his approach begin?

We also look at the final two months of the 2014 season for the Cubs. We talk about our expectations, what we’d like to see and how the Cubs can build on these few months for 2015 and beyond.

The Cubs added a new pitcher to the staff by acquiring Jacob Turner from the Marlins. Kurt tells us how this deal happened and that Chris Bosio looks to get another reclamation project.

There were rumors flying after the Cubs claimed Cole Hammels off revocable waivers, but Andy tells us why the deal didn’t happen and we speculate as to what it would have taken for that deal to go through.

Nate Schierholtz was DFA’d and we look at his horrific 2014 campaign and find comfort in that these place-holders like Schierholtz and Barney are being moved away for the more talented players coming up through the system.

One player that will not be moving anyone aside in 2014 is Kris Bryant. Theo Epstein says that Bryant will not be promoted to the Cubs this season. We talk about this issue, look at the timing of the inevitable call-up and look at a few scenarios that the Cubs could face.

We have a slew of listener questions to answer, Kurt gives us his Scary Stat of the Week and we read a few Internet Muscle Flexes.

The Excitement Inside Wrigley Field for Javier Baez’s Debut

I was lucky enough to get tickets to Friday’s game. As soon as they announced Javier Baez was getting called up, I immediately looked for tickets. I ended up settling for 500 level tickets. When I got to Wrigleyville, there was just a different vibe around the park, one I had not felt in sometime. I cashed in my 500 level tickets for some bleacher seats and got in as soon as batting practice started.

With my First Night Game Rick Sutcliffe bobble-head in hand, my buddy and I found our way out to the left field seats. As perfect as the timing was, Baez was taking batting practice. He, in a group with Arismendy Alcantara, Starlin Castro, and Luis Valbuena, was peppering the bleacher seats. One of his moon shots actually hit a light post that is over the bleachers, probably 10 feet over the top row. Everyone filed in to see the 21 year old hit balls on to Waveland.

Before the game started, the loudest ovation during the lineups was, you guessed it, Javier Baez, playing second and batting second. He got more applause than All Stars Anthony Rizzo and Castro behind him. As he stepped up to the plate in his first at bat, the crowd was electric. Here is a vine I took when he stepped up to the plate for his first Wrigley at bat.  


Pretty crazy huh? The place went nuts. When Baez broke hit bat and deposited the ball into left field for a single, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Every time the second baseman came to the plate, he got a standing ovation. With every violent swing, the crowd gasps while waiting for him to make contact so they can see how far he can hit it. Unfortunately, after his first at bat, he went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts. Obviously, we all know strikeouts are part of Javy’s game.

The thing I took away from this game was the excitement for the future. Scattered across Wrigley were Baez #9 shirt jersey and actual jerseys. I couldn’t go into a store in or around the park without seeing a Baez jersey, front and center, ready to be sold.

Being active on Twitter, I knew the excitement around Javier Baez, but it was awesome to feel the vibe around the park yesterday. Everyone knows what is coming in the next few years, and this is just the start of something great.