If you aren’t tuning in to Chicago Cubs games to check out The Junior Lake Show (with Special Guest, Junior Lake!), you are really missing out on some fun baseball these days. The bullpen is not as much fun, but that’s completely beside the point:
With 12 hits in his first five games, Lake has more than any Cubs player since 1916, and one more than Andy Pafko had in 1943.
“He’s playing as good as anybody can imagine for coming up after five games,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Every at-bat has been quality. He’s getting good pitches. The only pitches he’s been swinging bad at are great pitches… He’s one of them guys that look like he likes his stuff and performs better at this level.”
Sveum said he wasn’t sure if Lake would lead off again on Wednesday.
I mean, he’s only got a .565 on-base percentage. Why would you leave him in the lead-off spot with David DeJesus coming back? Come on, Dale. Try to keep up with the rest of the herd.
Here’s the best thing about Junior Lake: For every 2-3 brilliant plays he makes (and there have been some real beauties), he makes one hilariously boneheaded play. Usually, said play manifests itself in the form of a Willie Mays Hays TOOTBLAN, but not always. Last night, for example, he chased a ball into the wall, leaping like a ballerina (seriously, toes pointed and everything) IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WALL. Of course, the first thing to hit the wall was his foot, which made the rest of him fall down in true Benny Hill fashion. It was pretty special. But he’s just SO GOOD, you can’t even get mad at him, you just laugh.
Laughing at Junior also helps distract you from the fact that the bullpen gave up 6 runs.
In Wrigley renovation news, it looks like we have a tentative deal between the Cubs and Tom Tunney, which could be approved by the City Council as early as today:
After months of public posturing and private arm-twisting, Chicago aldermen are poised to sign off today on a Cubs plan to remake Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood following last-minute tweaks to the $500 million project that brought on board a key alderman who had opposed it.
All sides will be able to claim some measure of victory.
Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney got the team to agree to remove for the time being a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street. Rooftop club owners who have threatened to sue if their lucrative views are blocked saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel announce a 10-year halt to new outfield signs beyond the two already planned. The Cubs win much of the revenue-generating advertising that owners have long coveted. And the mayor can boast of a huge stadium renovation project that doesn’t rely on public financial support.
Because, you know, pedestrian traffic around Wrigley works so well as it is, why would you want to mess with it? I mean, you have to admit. the current system of enormous herds of people ignoring the cross walks and police officers and crossing Addison wily nily is pretty perfect. A bridge that would lift people ABOVE THE TRAFFIC and get them out of harms way is one big safety hazard, right Tom?
There’s also the question of how long the Clark Street pedestrian bridge will be off the table. Tunney, who sees the bridge connecting the Ricketts hotel to the ballpark as a safety concern and a giveaway of public space for the private use of a small group, sought to make the case during testimony that the team will be hard-pressed to get it built soon. “This motion will be deferred indefinitely about the bridge over Clark Street. So that is for a very, very long time,” Tunney said. “Nothing is forever.”
A Cubs source said the organization has no timeline for bringing the bridge back to the city for consideration but indicated the team would expect “some kind of a trade” in exchange for permanently scratching the bridge off its wish list.
So as soon as Tom Tunney is out of office, the bridge is back on the table? Let’s make it happen, Wrigleyville.
And was the Alfonso Soriano deal a figment of the trade deadline’s imagination? Not if Jon Heyman has anything to say about it:
Various sources have been suggesting throughout the day that the Yankees and Cubs aren’t necessarily all that close to a deal involving Alfonso Soriano, and that’s very believable.
They are surely haggling over the money, and since there’s a lot of money involved they may still be haggling for a while.
But that doesn’t mean a deal won’t get done. It simply makes too much sense for Soriano to return to the Yankees.
Word is, the Cubs will wind up paying more than half the $25 million remaining on Soriano’s deal through next year when they are done bartering (and assuming they can reach a deal). Soriano is still a productive power hitter, but he’s been overpaid since signing that $136 million, eight-year deal at the height of the market.
The Yankees wouldn’t appear too have other great options. The Padres told them Chase Headley can’t be had (at least by them). The White Sox would want the Yankees to pick up allAlex Rios’ $12.5 million salary, the Mariners aren’t selling (at least not yet) and Norichika Aokidoesn’t provide the type of power they seek.
The Yankees have checked in on Justin Morneau. But it shouldn’t be a surprise they prefer Soriano, who’s showing way more power and is also righthanded.
The Cubs will try to redeem themselves tonight at Chase Field. First pitch is at 8:40 pm CT.