Results tagged ‘ Koyie Hill ’

The Buzz: What’s your favorite cookout food?

The upcoming June 2011 issue of Vine Line features Koyie Hill and Sean Marshall grilling up High Plains Bison steaks and burgers for a group of Cubs minor-leaguers. So with Memorial Day and cookout season right around the corner, we asked four other Cubs what they’ll be grilling this year. Subscribe or give a gift today.

Casey ColemanCasey Coleman, RHP
“My girlfriend’s from Tennessee, and her grandma cooks a whole meal by herself: ham, turkey and sweet, fried corn. In Florida, the only time we would cook out like that is Thanksgiving.”

John Grabow, LHP
“Carne asada tacos. I usually make homemade salsa, guacamole. I love to grill. That’s one of my favorite things to do in the off-season, especially on football Sundays.”

Jeff Baker, IF/OF
“I’m a hamburger-and-hot dog-on-a-grill guy. It’s about the only thing I can cook. Ketchup and relish, the more relish the better. Then go jump in the pool.”

Alfonso SorianoAlfonso Soriano, OF
“In the Dominican, it’s tropical food: rice and beans and chicken. So that’s what I like in the summer. And mangoes, too.”

Cubbie Blues

Justin drumssmall.JPG

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 Last night, about 250 people showed up for a Vine Line “boutique” event at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, right across the street from the Chicago Hilton, where the 26th annual Cubs Convention will be held this weekend.

The event’s proceeds benefitted the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation and most importantly created awareness of DiGeorges Syndrome amid a new audience. For more information on DiGeorges/22q deletion, visit

But the star of the show? Cubs pitcher Justin Berg, who wailed on the drums with Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. Though he also plays the guitar, the band allowed Justin to sit in with them on two sets for about 30 minutes each. The 26-year-old from Antigo, Wis., –population 8,560–was a little nervous at first. But once he got in the rhythm of it, with the help of Chicago blues legend Lil’ Ed–Berg helped all the Cubs fans sing the blues. A reporter with Blues Revue thought Justin had a possible career after baseball.

“That was probably the best experience of my life,” said Berg, smiling like the Cheshire Cat. “Unbelievable. I practiced with my brother at home, but honestly, I was coming in cold. So I was just going to wing it.”

Teammate Randy Wells, who was on the Cubs Caravan with Berg, attested to the aspiring musician’s nerves.

“Justin was talking about it all day,” Wells chuckled. “He said he was really nervous.”

Originally, the event simply began as a content idea for Vine Line and its “Cubs CrossOver” feature. But with no Len and Bob bash this year and Cubs fans needing some musical outlet, Vine Line turned up the volume on the event. Ryan Dempster even sent a video thank you to everyone at the club. He wasn’t able to make it because his wife Jenny was due with their third baby.

 The Cubs CrossOver places a Cubs player in a non-baseball situation. It’s your typical “fish-out-of-water” story. However, Berg looked anything but out of place.

“The longer I was up there, the more I got comfortable,” said Berg, who got to jam classics like “Sweet Home Chicago.” He even got to meet Lil’ Ed and the band in Buddy Guy’s personal office.

“I was more nervous about going on stage than I was in my big-league debut,” Berg laughed. “But Lil’ Ed and the band helped me through it.”

The foundation offered a silent auction of various autographed items as well as a live auction that featured a two Gibson guitars autographed by the band and Justin.

Of course, who was the highest bidder? Justin’s teammate, catcher Koyie Hill, who was celebrating a newly minted contract for 2011.

-Mike Huang

Football Sunday

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgDes Moines–An overcast day at Principal Park today. I was commenting to Andrea Breen, Iowa’s manager of media relations that the clouds covering Iowa will most likely meet me in Chicago when I return tomorrow.

It was business as usual for these farmhands, most of them strolling into the clubhouse around 10:00. Poker chips lay strewn across a table in case an impromptu game might just break out during a rain delay. Clubhouse manager Cleo Welch was busy cooking breakfast–big fluffy pancakes, some eggs.

Five guys were taking early cage work with hitting coach Desi Wilson. Utilityman Matt Matulia, catcher Chris Robinson, and infielders Darwin Barney and Bobby Scales were all taking their hacks.

Andrea told me that when she asked the players to fill out a questionnaire at the during the season, the player teammates voted as the “most intense” was Scales. In the cage, that was evident.

Always quick with a smile and a guy who loves to talk about college football–especially his alma mater the University of Michigan–you’d never think Scales was that intense given his usually cheery disposition when we last saw him in Chicago. But there he was, talking and muttering to himself, motivating himself, trying to talk himself into squaring up the ball better and not swing a bad pitches. He takes his job very seriously, and after getting his first taste of the big leagues this year, he desperately wants to return.

Outside, the pitchers started throwing long toss; Jeff Samardzija looked relaxed, as did lefty James Russell. Playing a different kind of long toss was Micah Hoffpauir and Matt Craig. They were throwing the pigskin around a little bit.

DesMoinesDay2small.jpgAs a guy who was with the big-league club most of the season, Hoffpauir is in the awkward position of being a strong consideration for a call-up but he has put up mediocre numbers at Iowa.

“I don’t have any control over what happens in Chicago,” Hoffpauir said. “My numbers aren’t what they should be, but I’ve been working things out, trying to right the ship here.”

He has tried to prevent the impending Sept. 1 date from hovering in his mind, despite his eagerness to return to Chicago. Like Scales, when you get that taste, you want more. There’s something special when the skipper calls you in on that day.

“For younger guys, they probably aren’t even thinking about [Sept.1]; they’re just happy to be in Triple A,” Hoffpauir said. “But for some older guys, they might be a little more disappointed. But I remember when me and Koyie Hill went up at the same time. Pat [Listach] called us in. We both had been up once already, so he told us together. But Casey McGehee hadn’t been up yet. So when it was his turn, they called him in by himself to make it a little more special.”

It was Chris Robinson’s last game, too, chipping in a single for good measure. Afterward, he shook hands with every one of his teammates and coaches and set off to the Great White North and Team Canada. To a man, Iowa personnel and the team all said Robinson was one of their favorite players this year.

The I-Cubs took down the Redhawks again, 2-0, behind some fine pitching from Mitch Atkins, John Gaub and Blake Parker.


–Mike Huang

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Happy Labor Day

… and welcome, September call-ups! Sept. 1 marks the expansion of the major-league roster limit to 40 players. The Cubs expect to add far less than the 15 they are allowed and so far have added hitters Micah Hoffpauir, Koyie Hill and Casey McGehee and pitcher Michael Wuertz from Triple-A Iowa. Pitchers Jon Lieber and Angel Guzman were activated from the disabled list.

Both Koyie and Angel seemed especially happy to be back in the Cubs clubhouse, with plenty of pats on the back and smiles to go around. Both those players have faced some fairly traumatic injuries in the past year:

Koyie severed two fingers on his right hand in a carpentry accident during the off-season. But immediate surgery reattached the digits, and he came back to hit .275 with 17 homers and a .350 on-base percentage in 113 games with Iowa.

Angel had a great April and May in Chicago last season but ultimately went down with a right-elbow injury that necessitated reconstructive surgery Sept. 6, 2007. He had a 1.59 ERA in 17 innings over seven rehab appearances this year before finding his nameplate right next to Carlos Zambrano’s this morning.

Who will it be?

The winner of the Ultimate Seventh-Inning Stretch competition will be presented before today’s game and lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” this afternoon.

Impact players

Cubs players and coaches will be making special visits to several area schools and hospitals tomorrow morning. Ryan Dempster, Neal Cotts, and Mark DeRosa and Jason Marquis will be opening up three different elementary school.

Rich Harden, Jon Lieber, Daryle Ward, Larry Rothschild, Geovany Soto, Henry Blanco, Mike Quade, and WGN-Radio’s Cory Provus will be visiting Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

— Sean Ahmed