Cubs missed opportunity to showcase City Series

Random takes on Wrigley video board, Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Kyle Schwarber, via @pwsullivan

It was nice to see the Cubs and White Sox honor Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso Sunday by wearing throwback uniforms.

But the Cubs dropped the ball when it came to showcasing the City Series on the new video board, which basically showed the same videos we've seen throughout the first half.

I understand the Cubs want to promote their charities and Clark the Cub every chance they can get, but how difficult would it have been to throw together some clips from old Cubs-Sox games for one of their between innings “memories”?

When the Red Sox played host to the Yankees a few years ago, they made a brilliant video tribute to the storied rivalry, using the Beatles' “A Day in the Life” as background music.

There were enough highlights from Cubs-White Sox interleague games to choose from, and you could even add White Sox prospect Michael Jordan's single off Cubs pitcher Dave Otto in a Crosstown Classic exhibition game at Wrigley.

I'm sure they wouldn't want to rile White Sox fans by showing the famous clip of the brawl precipitated by Michael Barrett punching A.J. Pierzynski, though the Red Sox had no problem showing the clip of Pedro Martinez throwing Yankees coach Don Zimmer to the ground in their video.

The Cubs' video board has been a nice addition to the ballpark, but if they want to make it interesting, they need to show some more imagination. Check out the Blackhawks' videos at the United Center to see how it's done.

Star burst: How many White Sox fans would have watched the All-Star Game before AL manager Ned Yost and Robin Ventura agreed that only Sox representative, Chris Sale, would pitch just one innning.

The thought behind resting Sale makes sense, but it's a hard to sell to fans who'd like to see one of their players, particularly one as brilliant as Sale, participating in the game. He is, after all, the hottest pitcher in baseball, and the game is supposed to mean something.

I was even hoping Yost would even let bygones be bygones and let Sale start. How silly an idea that turned out to be.

Sale played the good soldier Sunday, saying it's Ventura's decision and he “respects” it. But I find it hard to believe a competitor like Sale wouldn't be disappointed to sit there and watch in Cincinnati.

An inning in the All-Star Game is a nice reward for his recent strikeout streak. Sale said Sunday he feels “as good as I ever have” and he sure looks like he could get through an inning of work without risking his career and the Sox's hopes of contending.

Oh, well. As Ventura said, it's easy for me to say.

Deadline desperation: Jeff Samardzija's preferred destination in a deadline deal is unknown, but the idea of pitching in Toronto behind that lethal Blue Jays lineup has to be enticing.

The Blue Jays came back from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Royals on Sunday with an eight-run fifth inning, even without their best hitter, Josh Donaldson, who sat out with flu symptoms. But the relief pitching couldn't hold the Royals, and the Jays lost 11-10.

The Jays are desperate for pitching, and have been trying to get Samardzija since he pitched for the Cubs. Ex-Cub Felix Doubront, who pitched so well against the White Sox last week, was rocked for seven runs on 10 hits over five innings on Sunday.

It's a tough decision for general manager Rick Hahn, whose team is still on the edge of contention in the watered down wild-card chase. But if he's thinking long term and Samardzija is not in the picture, he has no choice but to pull the trigger on a deal.

Catch 22: Triple-A Iowa catcher Kyle Schwarber was the Futures Game MVP on Sunday and the Cubs continue to say he'll catch in the majors. If that's the case, why not bring him up and let him catch, or at least share duties with David Ross, until Miguel Montero returns from his jammed left thumb?

It would probably only be another cameo, like the one last month when he was DH in Cleveland and Minnesota. But it could help Schwarber's development if the Cubs showed they trust him enough to take the job for a few days. He threw out a runner in the first inning of the Futures Game and has caught 15 games in Triple A.

He may not be ready to catch full-time in the majors, but if he's going to be a catcher, let him catch.

Unfriendly Confines: The Cubs have lost eight of their last 11 series against the White Sox at Wrigley Field since 2005. The only series they've won at home since 2005 came in 2007 (2-1), 2008 (3-0) and 2013 (2-0).

Ventura now has a 2-1 City Series record against Joe Maddon, after going 3-1 against Rick Renteria in 2014. Ventura was 4-2 against Dale Sveum in 2012, but 0-4 against Sveum in '13. The second round of the City Series is Aug. 14-16 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Will Samardzija still be around to pitch against his former team?

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
30°