Fight on: Cubs move past Silva-Ramirez dispute


Fight on: Cubs move past Silva-Ramirez dispute

Thursday, March 3, 2011
Posted: 12:05 p.m. Updated: 6:37 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney

MESA, Ariz. Alfonso Soriano walked into the clubhouse during Thursdays game with a big smile on his face.

Fight? Fight? he said. No? Ok!

Soriano is relentlessly upbeat, so you knew he wouldnt be shaken by any of this. But the Cubs have a first-year manager and are coming off a 75-87 season. Only four games into spring training, they already had what might be a defining moment.

The Cubs closed their clubhouse doors on Thursday morning to address the altercation between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez and the mental lapses that have plagued the entire group.

Manager Mike Quade ran a team meeting that wasnt aimed exclusively at Silva and Ramirez. The day before, the two teammates had to be separated in the dugout after Silva complained about the defense behind him.

Sometimes a little revolts not bad, Quade said. Im glad people were pissed off. We need to channel that anger at the opposition and within ourselves. (You) handle it the way (youre supposed to). I think we put that to bed. As far as Im concerned, we did, and then we move on.

If we were going to have everybody fighting that has made mistakes this spring, wed have the cage match of all-time.

Quade said Silva does not have any physical issues and will continue on his normal throwing schedule. The pitcher is trying to make the rotation but was sabotaged on Wednesday by three errors, including one by Ramirez, which led to a six-run first inning during a 12-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix.

Quade didnt want to go so far as to say that Ramirez was sticking up for his teammates, or that it showed flashes of leadership potential. But of all the crazy things that could happen to the Cubs this spring, Ramirez getting into a fight with a teammate would be one of the last things youd expect.

Its just the heat of the moment, Ramirez said Wednesday, sweeping it aside. I guarantee after you shower, you sit down and realize you made a mistake and that it shouldnt happen. Were going to be together for a long time in here, so we should be ok now.

It is part of a much wider problem. The Cubs had committed 14 errors through their first four Cactus League games. And it wasnt just anonymous players youll never see in Chicago. It was major pieces to the potential Opening Day lineup: Starlin Castro; Tyler Colvin; Carlos Pena; Blake DeWitt; and Jeff Baker.

Its not just about saying we need to clean up some of this stuff, Quade said. Its offering solutions and ideas that may help clean them up. And it doesnt mean it happens overnight, but we want to make damn sure people are committed to the work theyre doing.

Reinforcing the idea that the issues run deeper than just Silva and Ramirez, Quade did not meet with the players individually.

My sense was that things had settled down between the two of them, Quade said. I didnt feel it was that big an issue that I needed to have them both in the principals office. Theyre both veteran guys. They know whats going on. Im counting on them (to be) professionals. Theyll put it behind them. Lets go back to work.

Quade counted only one mistake during Thursdays 8-7 loss to the Texas Rangers in which the Cubs generated 14 hits, Carlos Zambrano threw three scoreless innings and Braden Looper pitched in a game for the first time since 2009.

Earlier Quade had stood on a hill beyond right field at HoHoKam Park and watched the practice fields. He noticed a more focused approach. He had seen too many missed cutoff throws and base-running mistakes to let it go.

That little blow-up notwithstanding, it was time for me (to) say something about the sloppiness, not just the physical errors, but some of the mental errors, Quade said. I dont you think you walk through spring and then magically expect to turn it on and be a sharp club in these areas when the season starts.

PatrickMooney is's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Joe Maddon has specific plans to rewatch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

Joe Maddon has specific plans to rewatch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

One of the joys of life is basking in our past accomplishments. There’s nothing like recalling great memories with a fond appreciation for what once was.

Joe Maddon’s biggest accomplishment as a big league manager is leading the Cubs to their first championship in 108 years. We’re nearly four years removed from the 2016 World Series, and by now, Maddon has to have watched the series’ grand finale, right? Heck, MLB Network just reaired Games 5-7 two weeks ago.


On the latest Baseball Tonight Podcast, Maddon told ESPN’s Buster Olney he has yet to rewatch Game 7 of the ’16 Fall Classic all the way through. However, the now-Angels manager already is envisioning when that moment will ultimately come.

“It’s one of those things that I think when I’m done, totally done (retired)…when I get settled in and I’m hanging out in Pennsylvania somewhere,” Maddon said, “I’ll get this 95-inch television by that time, with the great surround system. 

“I’ll pop it up there and sit there with a really good glass of red [wine], some kind of delicacy from a local hoagie shop and watch the whole thing.”

Sounds like a plan, Joe. Let us know how your viewing goes.

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Javier Báez catches for Twins' starter José Berríos, looks like a natural

Javier Báez catches for Twins' starter José Berríos, looks like a natural

You gotta think wherever Javier Báez plays on defense, he’s going to succeed. The Cubs infielder has emerged as one of the best shortstops in the game, but we’ve seen him flash the leather at second and third base time and time again.

Heck, if the Cubs put Báez in the outfield, it’d be unwise to bet against his ability to succeed. Based on one video, the same can probably be said about El Mago behind the plate.

MLB Puerto Rico tweeted a video Monday of Báez catching for Twins All-Star starter José Berríos, his brother-in-law. Unsurprisingly, Báez — who played catcher in high school — looks like a natural.

Báez has never caught a big league game, but he was the Cubs’ emergency catcher in 2016 when Kyle Schwarber was sidelined with a knee injury.

The Cubs will never put Báez behind the dish due to the risk of injury, and there's a lot more to the position than catching and throwing. Still, it sure would be fun to see how he’d look back there.

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