What is the Cubs most valuable and marketable asset? That would be youth, right? Promise. The future. Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner and probably mostly Starlin Castro.
Deep down in your Cub Heart, do you believe the Cubs are going to seriously contend in 2011? I mean, it would be AWESOME if something unexpectedly great happened next year, but... I sure don't expect it.
It's the same with Carlos Pena's bat - it would be AWESOME if something unexpectedly great happened, but it's a bonus if it does. We've all read about the one-year contract and how Carlos' motivation for a giant contract with any team in 2012 will be based on what he does with his bat with the Cubs in 2011. So really, who knows - he's a placeholder at first and maybe the allure of a mega-Boras contract'll get him waay back.
But what I like about getting Carlos is his glove, or his gold glove I should say.
Last year Starlin Castro had an eye-popping 27 errors in 123 games, a significant amount of them with Derek Lee at first (he left the Cubs in mid-late August). Now, I don't know how many of the 27 were throwing errors, but from watching the games I think we can all agree that there might have been more errors had D Lee's excellent glove not been at first.
A good glove can help a kid while he's learning. Keep the confidence up there so the young Sundance Kid can keep going with all of his acrobatic dives and tosses, keep the good reviews coming, and that in turn helps Castro at the plate because it's confidence that makes the mojo world go round.
And in 2011, while I'm hoping for a bunch of Ws, I'll be watching the kids and thinking about their promise. The worst thing that could happen is Castro going backwards, and it seems that with Pena at first the chances of that happening go waaaay down compared to if the Cubs had signed, say, Adam Dunn.
So, a nice pick-up with Pena I think.
For a year.
What else? Oh yeah, you know I'm sort of out of the loop, out of town and all. The Cubs got a new pitching coach. It seems like I saw the news maybe 4 times, but it was never a headline. It was always "in other news, the Cubs hired a pitching coach..." So whoever that guy is all I gotta say is Good Luck, Buddy!
Lastly, here's a picture of Guess the Manager Contest - Bud - proudly displaying his first place prize, which would be that Wrigley painting from a couple posts ago. The painting that's probably worth a couple mil.
Thanks again to all who participated, and congrats Bud!
Well, I think we all know one GM who's pretty thrilled about passing the magic hat to Washington Nat's GM Mike Rizzo, who is paying 126 mil for 7 years of Jayson Werth. Jason will be 38 when he pockets that last 18 million dollars 7 years from now.
In 2006, here's what Jim Hendry said about signing Alfonso Soriano to his 8 year, $136 million dollar contract: "We won 66 ballgames. We darn sure better be aggressive," Here's what Rizzo said yesterday: "I don't apologize for signing Jayson Werth. I'm glad we have him in the fold. We're a better ballclub today than we were yesterday."
Here's what the ESPN article said about Jim Hendry in 2006: "General manager Jim Hendry earlier had made it clear that the Cubs, who finished 66-96 last season for last place in the NL, were going to be major players in the market. Here's what the Washington Post article said about the Nats yesterday: "It lets everyone know the Nationals are serious about winning, said one agent..."
Of course, another agent said Werth's contract is, "The stupidest thing I've ever seen."
All I gotta say is, just wait til ohhh, about 2015 and see how it feels, Nat fans.
You know what? I see these weird stories online, and I see the weird weather, and I know something worldly-weird is going on, and I think, "If the Cubs don't win the World Series before the world ends I AM GONNA BE SO PISSED!"
Just... look around on the net - there's some true weirdness going on...
Have you heard about methane leaking out of the melting lakes and permafrost in Siberia? I only know about methane being bad because cows fart methane. Cows fart methane and people who know about the global climate actually talk about cow farts affecting the climate. Methane is worse than carbon dioxide, which is what your car farts, and it's real bad for the atmosphere. Anyway, I guess if the permafrost melts and this methane is let loose, it'll be like billions and billions of cows farting all at once. What happens after that one can only guess. But what if we all walk outside one day and it smells so bad THE WORLD ENDS?
There's also this new life form they found in California that's different from any life form ever found before. You know what arsenic is, right? It's what creepy people in old black and white Alfred HItchcock movies use to poison Ingrid Bergman. It's real poison that'll kill anything alive. Until now. This new life form they found is some kind of germ that EATS arsenic and INCORPORATES IT INTO THEIR DNA! How long til these germs mutate into millions and millions of living dead Ingrid Bergmans who walk around kissing innocent humans who have no idea they're kissing the arsenic infected Zombie Ingrid, everyone dies AND THE WORLD ENDS?
What about global warming? THE WORLD ENDS!
What about ebola? THE WORLD ENDS!
SO CUBS - YOU JUST RE-SIGNED JEFF BAKER! THAT'S BRILLIANT, MAN! BECAUSE HE'S AWESOME! SURELY HE'LL HELP BRING THAT WORLD SERIES BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS.
And we'll hopefully get to keep Carlos Zambrano around, because I LOVE it when he TAKES MY FACE AND RUBS IT IN SOME SIDEWALK DOGCRAP LIKE I KNOW HE WILL. Seriously, ILOVE that guy. AND I'M SO GLAD WE'RE TAKING CARE OF ALFONSO SORIANO in his old age, because he might STARVE if he had to live ONLY ON THE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS I'VE HELPED PAY HIM ALREADY.
So... I started this post awhile ago, and as with lots of mine I try to mix a little funny with the real and not so funny.
After I found out about Ron Santo's death, this post got even more not so funny.
The guys from Vine Line called, and asked that I do a Ron illustration.
Oh man, what a shame. You know 1969. You know the Hall of Fame disappointment. You know his diabetes story from playing with the disease to the amputations. Ron Santo could easily have been a bitter man hiding in his house somewhere. But instead he turned into one of the most positive guys you could ever meet, and we all did get to meet him every time we turned on the radio during a Cubs game. The banter between Ron and Pat often went way beyond what was going on on the field - those personal stories were one of the reasons we love to listen. But Ron was also perhaps the biggest Cub Fan out there. He was sort of the voice of our Cubs' Emotions, you know?
Well, it's just a really sad day.
Here are some of the drawings I've done of Ron over the years.
So, please indulge me. Here's a simplified lesson on how to paint a Wrigley Field watercolor.
#1 Go to the park and take an AWESOME photo and print it out. Then lightly draw it on some watercolor paper.
Since this photo has the Wrigley lights, I use a masking fluid to block out where the lights are. Really, "masking fluid" is just expensive rubber cement, and it blocks the paint so the white of the paper will show through later. This stuff will ruin a brush, so either use a real cheap one, or I just use the brush handle.
Then I put in the sky, painting right over the masking fluid (you gotta make sure that stuff is dry before you do this). I use a little Windsor Newton watercolor set - they're under $20 and come with a travel brush and make a fabulous gift if you know any potential artists. That plus this big John Pike palette I've had for 20 years.
There's probably a tool for this, but I peel off the masking fluid by rubbing it off with my finger.
If you look back at that original photo, the crowd part is very dark except for the bottom near the field. So I painted the whole part really dark with some fresh indigo, and then you watch it for a little bit. You can hold the painting up to the light and see the paint drying - the sheen gets softer. Just before it gets all the way dry, I dip the brush in plain water (no paint), and touch it to the paint down at the bottom. The water forces the pigment away, and gives it that nice gradation. Then I put in the details on the field part.
I'm going to use a splatter technique to fake in the crowd. You generally want to save the splattering for last - once the little dots of color are down, you can't really change that part. Before splattering, I need to mask where I don't want the splatter to go. You can buy this sticky clear plastic (it's for airbrushing) and cut the mask exactly, but I'd rather be not so perfect. I take a piece of thin layout paper and trace the masking line (the playing field), cut it out and tape it down. Then I just put a couple pieces of paper on the sides.
I use an old toothbrush to splatter by loading the front of the brush with paint and then bending back the bristles and lettin em go. For paint it's titanium white (acrylic) with some water, and then I've found if you just splatter with the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) you'll make it feel like there are the many different colors in a crowd you'd really see.
Take off the mask and poof. A painting.
You may recall our Guess the Manager contest? Bud won. Somewhere in the middle of that contest, I looked at the painting/prize I was offering and thought maybe it wasn't for everybody since it was kind of twisted. So I offered to do a Wrigley painting if the winner didn't want the other one, and that's what Bud chose.
Bud, this one's in the mail, and thank you again for participating in that contest. Sorry it took so long but brother, I've been busy.
is a sports and art blog following the Chicago Cubs with cartoons, gifs, animations, and illustrations by Chicago artist Tim Souers.
I began the illustrations in 2003 - you can find the links to the 2003 - 2006 seasons below.
2007 - present is in the regular archives.
Feel free to contact me at CubbyDashBlue(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thanks for visting, and go Cubs.
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