Results tagged ‘ Rick Sutcliffe ’

2016 Cubs Convention: Cy Young Winners

The 2015 season was spectacular for Jake Arrieta, as he captured the NL Cy Young Award after posting a 22-6 record and a sparkling 1.77 ERA. Jim Deshaies hosted this panel with Arrieta and former Cubs right-hander Rick Sutcliffe (NL Cy Young 1984). Each former Cub great relived their award-winning seasons.

Cubs television broadcaster Jim Deshaies (who posted an 84-95 career record with a 4.14 ERA in 12 big league seasons) kicked off the Cy Young panel by informing people that Fergie Jenkins was unable to attend. So it will just be Sutcliffe and Arrieta. Both Sutcliffe and Arrieta get a standing ovation when they’re introduced.

Sutcliffe was in Cleveland before he came to Chicago and said he was pitching well, but no one noticed because the team wasn’t good. Once he came to Chicago, he felt like he had a 5-0 lead before he ever took the mound every game because the Cubs were so good.

Arrieta says there’s no better city to have success in than Chicago. He says it took a lot of failure for him to get to this point a a pitcher, but he worked hard until it all culminated in last season. He says he felt like there was a point last season around midseason where he kind of “blacked out.” He woke up months later a Cy Young winner.

Sutcliffe compared Arrieta’s 2015 season to Bob Gibson’s, after which they lowered the mound to benefit hitters.

Deshaies talks about the inevitability of Arrieta’s no-hitter. He says everyone saw it coming because of how close he’d gotten in the past. Arrieta said he wants the next one to happen at Wrigley Field.

Next up is the question and answer session:

  • Arrieta talks about how much pitching coach Chris Bosio, who also threw a no-hitter has helped him. Arrieta has been picking the brains of guys like Bosio and Sutcliffe to find out how they go about their business. Arrieta says in Baltimore he was trying to make too many changes and getting away from what was comfortable to him. He got back to being himself in Chicago.
  • A fan compliments Arrieta on his beard and asks for some advice on growing a good one. Arrieta says it comes from his dad (as does the back hair). He said his dad is a very hairy man.
  • Sutcliffe says he would have given away his Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards to win a championship here. Arrieta agrees. The goal is to win with 25 other guys and enjoy it with your team. But to be clear, they both loved winning the award.
  • Arrieta’s family knew he won the award before he did. They were bringing champagne out to the patio, and he didn’t know what was going on.
  • Sutcliffe says the only difference after winning the award is it takes longer to sign your name because people want you to put “Cy Young winner” and the year. Deshaies says that’s why he decided not to win one.
  • Sutcliffe says winning the Cy Young changed his life. He’s not sure ESPN ever would have called if that hadn’t happened.
  • Sutcliffe says one of the guys he surprisingly did really well against in his career is George Brett. He has no idea why he was so good against Brett. He jokes he did hit him with a few pitches. Sutcliffe also says Mike Schmidt killed him. Actually, both him and Lee Smith.
  • Sutcliffe says the hardest worker he was ever around was Trevor Hoffman, but Arrieta surpasses that. Sutcliffe has never seen anyone as physically prepared as Arrieta. Sutcliffe says all Arrieta does is work out.
  • Arrieta says he does about three hours of stretching and Pilates before a game starts to get his body as ready as he can get it.
  • Arrieta says the team is really like a family. And winning with that family is the most important thing. He says David Ross is like his granddad. Lester and Lackey are like his older uncles.
  • Arrieta says he thinks he will be a little less stubborn about coming out of games in 2016 so he can save more innings for October. Maddon is good about trying to save innings on his pitchers’ arms.
  • Sutcliffe talks about how the game has changed. There were 39 complete games in the majors last year. Fergie Jenkins had close to 30 in a single year. Sutcliffe wanted to pitch deep into games, but bullpens were not as specialized back then.
  • Arrieta talks about how he gave it to Pirates fans on social media before the Wild Card game, so he had to go deep into that game to back it up.
  • Arrieta says Pittsburgh and St. Louis are his favorite teams to play against because the stakes are higher. They’re always trying to beat those divisional teams. He also says he gets up a little more for St. Louis because Matt Carpenter is one of his closest friends (they played together at TCU). He can’t let Carpenter beat him.
  • Arrrieta says outside expectations are always lower than his personal expectations for himself. He feels like he should dominate every time out. He says he never second guesses himself. He does everything in his power to prepare himself. Inside the lines on game days is the fun part. They real work is the four days in between.
  • Arrieta talks about how good Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke were this year and how he knew it would be tough to beat them in Cy Young voting. Mind you, they already have multiple Cy Young awards between them. Arrieta thought he should get one this year since he didn’t already have one.
  • Both talk about how hard it is to pitch day games after a night game. It’s tough to wind down after night games or get to bed before 3 a.m. With travel, there are times the team doesn’t get home until very late and then has to play again that afternoon.
  • Both talk about the new clubhouse. Sutcliffe says he wonders where the Ricketts family was 30 years ago.
  • Arrieta says he developed his funky throwing motion as a kid. That’s when he started to throw like that and it just stuck. There are no perfect mechanics. People complain about how he throws across his body, but 80 percent of lefties throw that way. Plus, his delivery does help him create some deception and really hide the ball.
  • Arrieta talks about how important diet is to him. He works out a ton (obviously), but a clean diet really is the key. He says he started eating well at an early age. Training and nutrition were always important to him.
  • Arrieta says the mustache onesie after the Dodgers no-hitter was a little tight, but it felt good. He got it in Tennessee when he was there for a short rehab assignment a few years ago. He bought it then thinking he might need it someday. He says that night in LA was the first time he put it on.
  • Sutcliffe says his “I made it to the big leagues” moment was in 1976. He struck out Steve Henderson four times in a game in the minor leagues. The next day Henderson got traded to the Mets in a deal for Tom Seaver. It made reaching the majors seem more realistic.
  • Arrieta says his moment was a slower burn because he had a sense the call was coming. But when he made the drive from Norfolk, Virginia, to Baltimore for his first game, he realized he was facing the Yankees the next day. And the first batter up was Derek Jeter. That was the moment he really felt like he made it.
  • Sutcliffe talks about helping Chicago get to the playoffs for the first time in 39 years in 1984, when the Cubs clinched the NL East. He was pitching in Pittsburgh with a chance to clinch and saw a fan holding a sign that said “39 years of suffering is enough.” Sutcliffe was new to the organization and didn’t know what it meant, so he asked the fan. The fan explained it to him, and Sutcliffe says he didn’t mean it to be cocky, but he said, “After tonight, that’s all going to change. I promise you that.” After the Cubs clinched behind Sutcliffe’s two-hit complete game, they went out on the field and somehow they had piped in what was going on at Wrigley Field on the screen in Pittsburgh. He realized what it meant to Chicago then.

2015 Cubs Convention: 30 Years of Cubs Convention Memories

This year, the organization is celebrating the 30th consecutive Chicago Cubs Convention, dating back to “The First Ever Die Hard Fan Club Convention” from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 1986. This panel gives fans a chance to visit with some of their favorite Cubs of the past as they tell 30 years worth of stories and talk about what it’s like to come back to Chicago each January. The panel, hosted by Wayne Messmer, is comprised of convention regulars Bobby Dernier, Gary Matthews, Lee Smith, Rick Sutcliffe and Billy Williams.

This panel was actually more about reminiscing with a host of Cubs favorites from the 1980s than celebrating the Convention, but it was enjoyable hearing players recount stories about everything from Harry Caray to Ryne Sandberg the prankster.

The event started with a thank you from the players for the fan support and some recollections from Cubs Conventions past.

One of the highlights included when Sutcliffe explained how being a Kansas City guy, his lifelong dream was to play for the Royals. But after his first half season with the Cubs in 1984, his mindset changed largely because of the fan base. Sutcliffe then said he was part of a video that was used in the recruiting of Jon Lester. After the two talked at the convention, the newly acquired free agent said Sutcliffe’s portion about Cubs fans sold him.

Sutcliffe recalls the first Cubs Convention. ‘The phone call came from John McDonough, and this was really John’s idea. This was before sports-talk radio, this was before autograph sessions. … He really wanted to break down the barrier between fan and player.”  He also talks about Harry Caray being the first honorary chairman of the convention.

“Something that’s so awesome for me is that everyone remembers me as a Cub,” Smith said.

The panelists start talking about Smith in his playing days. A favorite story from Sutcliffe: After Smith beaned an opposing Mets hitter after a brawl, Smith puts down his glove and offers a challenge to the Mets’ dugout, and they back down.

Sutcliffe talks about the Cubs Convention. The people are still here. “For me, you just get another little piece of what Cubs fans are all about. They keep calling him the big red head, but you take that cap off and there’s no red hair.”

“We’re always in first place at the Cubs Convention,” Messmer said.

All of the panelists agree that what makes playing for the Cubs special is the fan base, and that really came alive when they played in 1984. “I played for a couple of ballclubs, but when I came through here, I have so many fans I remember on a first-name basis,” Smith said.

Next comes the question-and-answer session with fans:

  • A fan thanks Dernier for spending time with her kids years ago in the lobby and talking for hours.
  • Dernier told a story about a time they were in Montreal and Harry Caray said to him: “Even when ya stink, you look like you’re trying.”
  • A fan asked about the panelists’ time with Don Zimmer, and Sutcliffe recounted a story about how Zimmer, who had a tough time as a manager in Boston, emotionally thanked the 1989 team for their efforts. He said he was so disliked in Boston he couldn’t go out to dinner with his family. In Chicago, he was loved because of those guys.

That’s it. Down on the Farm with the Cubs minor leaguers is next on the schedule, and that will close out the 2015 Cubs Convention.

1000 Words: Fergie and the Red Baron

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The day got off to an exciting start on Tuesday as Cubs legends Fergie Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe addressed the team before morning workouts. They talked about their time with the Cubs, setting goals and having a long major league career. Jenkins’ goals were fairly lofty; he said he always strove for 250 innings, 20 wins and the league lead in strikeouts. Jenkins posted 20 wins seven times in his career, logged 200 innings 13 times (and 300 innings five times), and was in the top 10 in strikeouts 11 times.

Cactus Notes: Fergie stops by the park and the Cubs prep for game action

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Cubs prospect Jorge Soler takes a swing at Cubs Park Tuesday.

The day kicked off Tuesday with Cubs legend Fergie Jenkins addressing the 66 players in major league camp and about 50 others from the minor league mini camp. The Hall of Famer talked about his time as a player and what it takes to survive in the major leagues.

In 10 years with the Cubs, Jenkins posted six consecutive 20-win seasons (1967-72) and four consecutive seasons with more than 300 innings (1968-71). During his Cy Young season in 1971, Jenkins went 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA and threw 325.0 innings with 263 strikeouts versus only 37 walks. Jenkins was joined by fellow Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe, who is in camp all spring as an instructor.

“I thought Fergie was good,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. “I don’t know that he’s ever spoken to the group like that, so it was nice to have him out there to talk to everybody. Here’s a guy who’s a Hall of Famer, who’s worked from a different era and brings in a different perspective … gives them a perspective of the things we should all appreciate about where we’re at.”

After about two weeks of practice, the Cubs will finally crank things up to game speed for the first time Wednesday in a six-inning exhibition game at Cubs Park. The contest will start at 1 p.m. local time, with Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch facing off against one another.

“It’s a whole different atmosphere here,” Jokisch said. “You get to meet all the big league guys and the big league coaches and learn from them. I’m excited to get the games started.”

Other pitchers slated to see action are Marcus Hatley, Chang-Yong Lim, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero, Brian Schlitter, Arodys Vizcaino and Tsuyoshi Wada. Renteria has not yet decided on the lineups, but he said he plans to mix it up so both veteran players and prospects can see some live pitching before the Cactus League campaign kicks off Thursday.

“We’re looking forward to playing the game. We’re excited. They’ve been working hard, and they want to put their work to use. We’re looking forward to letting them play and finding out what things we’re going to have to continue to improve on,” Renteria said. “It’s going to be good for me and for the staff to see the guys just put themselves out there between the lines with a little bit more of a competitive aspect to the game. [They can see] where they’re at as far as timing, and pitchers obviously [will see] where they’re at with hitters in game-type situations, which is what we’re building up to do.”

Renteria also mentioned that Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, who underwent Tommy John surgery last June, threw a side session off the mound Monday. He threw some long toss and about 20-25 pitches off the mound, and it went very well.

“He gave me the thumbs up that it came out well,” Renteria said. “Like all our guys that are improving their health, we’re just going to take it one day at a time and continue to be patient and hope that they continue to progress.”

29 Years Ago Today: Cubs clinch NL East

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Leon Durham (left) celebrates with Rick Sutcliffe.

It had been a while—a few decades really. Thirty-nine years after the Cubs lost a seven-game series to the Tigers in the 1945 Fall Classic, the North Siders finally made it back to the postseason in 1984.

Twenty-nine years ago today, Chicago powered past the host Pirates 4-1 behind starter Rick Sutcliffe’s two-hit complete game, clinching the NL East title. Gary Matthews scored Ryne Sandberg on a single in the top of the first; Sutcliffe helped his own cause in the second, singling to right to score Larry Bowa; Keith Moreland scored Sandberg on a bunt single in the third; and Matthews scored on a Jody Davis double-play in the fifth.

The game is best remembered for Sutcliffe’s utter dominance. He was in control the whole game, fanning nine batters and walking none to pick up his 20th win of the season. Aside from a Joe Orsulak triple in the bottom of the fourth—he’d later score on a groundout—no Pirate reached second base for the duration of the game.

Sutcliffe picked up 16 wins—and an NL Cy Young Award—as a member of the Cubs in 1984 after being dealt from Cleveland in June.

The postseason run lasted another week, with the North Side falling to San Diego in five games in the National League Division Series.

Living the dream

fantasy camp anthem.JPGThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgLee Smith was puzzled when Joan Janssen needed to take a timeout from a bullpen session to grab something from her purse.

“Wait a minute,” Smith said. “I got a relief pitcher with a purse?”

Mutual interest between Cubs legends and everyday fans defined the inaugural Chicago Cubs Fantasy Camp that took place Aug. 8-9 at Wrigley Field. On the 8th, campers had signed one-day contracts with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.

fantasycampcontractsign.JPGSmith joined Randy Hundley, Billy Williams, Rick Sutcliffe and Ernie Banks to show 32 camp participants the basics of hitting, pitching and fielding before the campers split up into four teams and faced off tournament-style.

“There’s a lot of ability here,” Sutcliffe said. “There are some guys out here that are ready to get after it.”

Team Williams beat Team Banks 15-3 to take the day’s crown. Frank Cascella (below) was Team Williams MVP and Overall MVP.

cacella2small.jpgCascella, who moonlights as a Wrigley Field tour guide on the weekends and won his ticket from a radio show contest, was nevertheless blown away when he stepped “between the foul lines” on Monday morning.

“I didn’t want to say this to my wife, but it was up there with my kid being born for sure,” he said. “One of the best feelings ever… I had to fight back some emotion.”

The camp’s youngest player, 11-year-old Brian Brady (above with Hendry), was named the Defensive Player of the Day. 

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AJ Karstens, who hit the day’s only homer, was Team Banks MVP and the Long Ball Award winner. Josh Silver was Team Sutcliffe MVP while Chris Donaldson took the award for Team Smith.

Chatting with and learning from old pros was a treat for the campers.

“It feels so easy,” participant Chris Donaldson said. “The staff just makes us feel like we’re ballplayers. That’s all we could ask.”

Members of the triumphant Team Williams squad all were rewarded with bats engraved with their names. Tim Creed wrapped up his experience with a phrase uttered many times during the day: “It’s a dream come true.”

–Joe O’Donnell

Ahoy, Captain!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgA little rain doesn’t scare a captain. Captain Morgan himself was standing on tables, chanting and throwing out free t-shirts as fans packed into his new club at Wrigley Field this morning.

Located down the rightfield concourse where the Friendly Confines Caf used to be, the Captain Morgan Club is a state-of-the-art garden establishment boasting the best amenities the stadium has to offer, including indoor/outdoor seating, removable windows, and more than 25 wide-screen TVs. The club opened today and is the Cubs’ first year-around operation.

“What we heard over and again was there isn’t a great facility [other than the Stadium Club] for me if I’m a business season ticket holder to bring clients and find a place to eat and make it in the ballpark before the national anthem is finished,” said Cubs President Crane Kenney. “And wouldn’t it be great if
dormers.JPGthere were public
spaces [Wrigley Field]? We have the Stadium Club, but it is a members club. But there isn’t really a place for the public to gather, and that’s what we’re trying to offer.”

It all started back in late-January when workers were beginning the process of removing and relocating all the dedicated brick pavers in the area along Addison Street near the Day of Game Tickets windows. Not many of us in the front office actually knew what was going on, frankly.

But when news of an establishment being created started to circulate, Vine Line decided to inquire. Indeed, Kenney was quite forthcoming about what was going in and when we asked him to elaborate it was the first time we were made aware of the Captain Morgan Club.

“Go up and down Clark Street and you see that this is the entertainment zone for a certain age group. It is an exciting place to be on game days and even non-game days, when we

girders.JPGdon’t play,” Kenney said. “So now we’re going to actively participate in the buzz that in a way, we’ve created and a lot of these businesses have smartly capitalized on. We’re getting into the game.”

After the brick pavers were relocated to just in front of the main entrance under Wrigley Field’s marquee, the construction crew began installing the wrought-iron fencing, girders for the dormers–see above–(they look a lot like the one’s at the top of Wrigley, don’t they?) and they even gave the old tree a little trim, removing some of its more extended branches.

The Club is run by Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group.

I am told that the Captain himself is wandering around the Club with his “Morganettes.” It should be an interesting debut for Wrigley Field’s first year-round establishment.

Just heard behind me in the hall way, a meeting of Cubs legends, as Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and Rick Sutcliffe bumped into each other. It’s always interesting to hear Cubs heroes chat with each other. Players always talk in this sort of mutual admiration type-speak. You can really understand that they appreciate each other and the business of baseball.

–Mike Huang and Kelsey Peters