Cubs

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts to be next featured guest on CSN's "Inside Look"

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts to be next featured guest on CSN's "Inside Look"

CHICAGO CUBS CHAIRMAN TOM RICKETTS TO BE THE NEXT FEATURED GUEST ONCOMCAST SPORTSNETS MONTHLY INTERVIEW SERIES, INSIDE LOOK

Inside Look presented by Cadillac, hosted by Comcast SportsNets David Kaplan -- featuring Tom Ricketts to debut Christmas DaySunday, December 25 at 4:30 PM

CSNChicago.com to provide additional web-exclusive coverage of Inside Look, including extended video clips

Chicago, IL (December 20, 2011) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, continues to delve into the lives of some of the biggest names in Chicago sports with its candid, monthly, one-on-one interview series Inside Look presented by Cadillac.

Debuting Christmas DaySunday, December 25 at 4:30 PM, Comcast SportsNets David Kaplan hosts an exclusive one-on-one interview with Chicago business mogullifelong Cubs fan and now Chicago Cubs Chairman TOM RICKETTS. Ricketts discusses everything from his days of rooting for the Cubs as a fan, to becoming the owner and chairman of one of pro sports most popular franchises, bringing Theo Epstein to the northside to run the baseball operations, his thoughts on the 2012 Cubs and much more.

In addition, viewers are urged to check out Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, for additional interview content never before seen on TV. Fans will also be able to watch every Inside Look guest interview online after it debuts on Comcast SportsNet. Comcast SportsNet will also re-air Inside Look with Tom Ricketts on the following datestimes: Sun, Jan. 1 at 5:30pm; Sun, Jan. 8 at 9:30pm; Fri, Jan. 13 at 11:30pm; Sat, Jan. 14 at 7pm; Thu, Jan. 19 at 8:30pm; Sat, Jan. 28 at 7:30pm and Mon, Jan. 30 at 7pm

Note the following quotes from Inside Look with Tom Ricketts presented by Cadillac, premiering Christmas DaySun, Dec. 25 at 4:30 PM exclusively on Comcast SportsNet:

RICKETTS on if he would have changed anything when he became Cubs chairmanwith the knowledge he has now:

I dont think we wouldve done much differently. If you go back to those first couple of days, a lot of people wanted some quick decisions, particularly with baseball. I think they expected an owner to come in and change out the GM and go in this new direction and have some kind of bold plan, and in our case, it was my decision that I think whats best for us is to really get to understand what our strengths are in a baseball organization, what our weaknesses are, be fair to the people that are here, and really get to know the baseball organization better.

RICKETTS on the much-publicized Theo Watch, in particular, the Starbucks sighting:

Well, the funny part is that it was part of our Secret Agent Man-type stuff. He (new Cubs President, Baseball Operations Theo Epstein) was sneaking in for the weekend, and we were very careful about who picked him up from the airport and all these things, and, of course, no plan survives that much secrecy. His wife wants an ice coffee and he hops out to get it and, of course, bumps into someone who recognizes him, so I guess we didnt have to be that secret because everybody found out anyway. Thats just the way it happens, just kind of a funny thing.

RICKETTS on his public perception and staying true to his goals:

I dont really follow too closely what the perception is. All along, we started off with this day one is square one for everybody in the organization. Jim (Hendry) had that ruleCrane (Kenney), whos running the business side had that ruleon the business side, weve done well. Im talking to Crane about extending his contract. Were going to have him as part of the organization for a long time, locking down our business side. On the baseball side, we werent getting it done. We think we gave Jim a fair shot, but when it looked like it wasnt going to be where we needed it to be, we had a great conversation and just decided to part ways and that got the process started.

The period between when Jim left and when Theo came in was a little awkward, because you couldnt really tell people what you were doing, but there was never a moment where I didnt really feel like we had it under control. I think the only moment when I was a little nervous was when if we could ask the Red Sox for permission, and its entirely likely, its possible they could say no, and then wed have to go on and look for another candidate, and thats embarrassing because that candidate obviously wouldnt be the first choice and you cant keep those kind of requests secret. But we just hung tough, consistentand played through it, and I think wed done as best as we could.

RICKETTS on if he believes the 2012 Cubs will be competitive:

Well, absolutely. You look at a lot of the turnarounds in baseball over the last few years. Teams that have lost 90 games and have come back and won 90 games. You get the right 25 guys in that clubhouse with the right manager and everyone stays healthybaseball, its a lot of parity, you come back and you stay healthy, you get off to a good startthen absolutely were back in the hunt.

Cubs ride unconventional pitching performances to 8-6 win over the Reds

Cubs ride unconventional pitching performances to 8-6 win over the Reds

Before Thursday’s game against the Phillies, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon was asked if, given the current state of their bullpen, Tyler Chatwood could see some innings as the closer. 

“I think he’s amenable to it...” Maddon responded. “... the big thing with him is throwing strikes. If he does that -- his stuff is that electric -- we’ll use him any time. As he gets well from [throwing 4 innings on Wednesday night] it’ll probably a solid two days, maybe three, before he’s ready to go again. We’ll see - we’ll see that night needs. I’m not afraid of it by any means.

“I would say that the first time he got a chance with us, it would be because the other guys aren’t available that night.”

48 hours later, with the Cubs white knuckling a two-run lead, it was Chatwood coming out of the ‘pen in the top of the 9th. Two singles, a double-play, and a Yasiel Puig flyout later, Chatwood had closed out one of the Cubs’ more unconventional wins of the season, a 8-6 nail-biter that featured a little bit of everything.  

“It was a little bit [surprising],” Chatwood said. “But I kept myself ready. I was able to get loose in the pen and luckily I got that double play right there, and we won. So it’s good.” 

On a day when the Cubs’ cobbled together their pitching performance, it was Yu Darvish’s 7 innings -- the first time he’s gotten that deep into a game since 2017 -- that kept Chicago in punching distance. The line itself isn’t particularly flattering; six runs on 12 hits is an eyesore. His performance may not have played well on Cubs Twitter, but those inside the clubhouse could not stop talking about it. 

“That was huge. I thought he was really good today,” Albert Almora, who already surpassed his 2018 home run total (5) with a solo homer in the 2nd inning, said. “I didn’t think he was going to come back out, so I said ‘good job’ to him in the 7th. I saw him back out in the 8th and was like ‘all right, he wanted it.’” 

“It looked like he emptied the tank against Puig in the 7th with a big strikeout,” Chatwood added. “But he still went back out there and battled and pitched into the 8th. That’s huge. We didn’t have many people available today, and I think he knew that. I thought that was one of the best games he’s thrown the ball.”

Darvish managed to strand eight base runners, though, and only walked two. He’s now gone three straight games while walking three batters or less, something he’d failed to do at any point prior. 

“I knew that the bullpen was going through a little struggle, and didn’t have much rest,” Darvish said. “So my main goal was to go more than 7 innings today.” 

On a warm day, with the wind blowing straight out at 16 miles per hour, Wrigley played as small as it has all year. The Cubs (and the Reds, for that matter) went deep three times, which brings their homestand total to 11. 

“The wind was a friend to both sides today,” Maddon said. “But really, you’ve got to give Yu a ton of credit for getting deeply into the game today. He still had his good stuff in the end. The stuff was still there, but it’s 107 pitches, and it’s just deflating when all that happens.” 

Not to be outdone by the guy who started the game or the guy who finished it, recently-called up pitcher Dylan Maples was the winning pitcher of record. He and Tim Collins came in from Triple-A Iowa that morning, and Maddon wasted no time throwing Maples into the fire. After walking his first batter, Maples got Reds’ rookie Nick Senzel to strikeout on a 91mph fastball to end the 8th. 

If it hasn't seemed easy of late, that's because it hasn't been. Of the Cubs’ first 50 games, 16 have been decided by one run (9-7). Over their last 12 games, eight have been decided by two or less runs. 

“They seem to all be like that,” Maddon said with a laugh. “Especially recently. We’re seeing a lot of good pitching. 

“That’s entertainment, guys. Woah.” 

Joe Maddon on MLB's absurd home run rate: 'The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird'

Joe Maddon on MLB's absurd home run rate: 'The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird'

Cubs manager Joe Maddon usually isn’t one for conspiracy theories, but even he’s wondering what’s going on. MLB teams are hitting home runs at an absurd rate, including the Cubs, who are hitting them at a historic rate for the franchise’s standards.

Entering Saturday, here’s where MLB teams stand in average home run rate and total home runs in 2019 compared to recent seasons:

2017: 1.26/game, 6,105 total
2018: 1.15/game, 5,585 total
2019: 1.33/game, 2,009 total

While the MLB season is just over 30 percent finished, teams are on pace to hit a combined 6,483 long balls in 2019. This would absolutely obliterate the 2017 total, which, like the 1.33 home runs per game figure, would be an MLB record.

The Cubs are no exception to this home run wave. Including Saturday (game No. 50 of the season), the team has hit 80 home runs (and counting) in 2019. Only the 2000 Cubs (83) hit more home runs in their first 50 games in franchise history.

“We’re having home runs hit here into some firm breezes, which has not happened before,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters before Saturday’s game against the Reds. “That’s the thing that stands out to me. It’s been crazy.

“Even [Kyle] Schwarber’s home run, I know that was hit well, but dang, that wind was blowing pretty firmly across at that point.”

Schwarber absolutely crushed his home run yesterday, a 449-foot blast that needed little help getting into the bleachers. However, Maddon has a valid point regarding home runs being hit despite the wind. Entering Saturday, 54 total home runs have been hit at Wrigley Field this season, 29 of which have come with the wind blowing in.

By the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, the Cubs and Reds had hit a combined six home runs, one of which appeared to be a routine fly ball hit by Jason Heyward that wound up in the left field basket thanks to the wind. At the same time, Yasiel Puig hit one 416 feet onto Waveland Ave. that had a 109 mph exit velocity. The wind blowing out at Wrigley Field helps, but it isn’t everything.

MLB players have questioned time and time again if baseballs are “juiced,” including Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester. And while Maddon didn’t flat out say that he thinks the baseballs are juiced, he notices a difference in how they're flying off the bat.

“I don’t know, I’m normally not into the subplot component of all of this and the conspiracy theorists, but I’m telling you right now, it’s jumping,” he said. “It’s absolutely jumping.

“Nobody is ever going to admit to it. The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird.”

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