The Rundown: Wrigley Renovation Groundbreaking, Royals Keep Winning

Saturday was one of those perfect Fall days in Chicago, and it provided an ideal backdrop for the Cubs to host their Wrigley Field ground-breaking ceremony.

The renovation, known as the “1060 Project” in reference to Wrigley’s address (I guess that name isn’t going anywhere — I still don’t like it), is now officially underway.

In addition to Cubs brass, the event was attended by commissioner Bud Selig and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“I think when you look back at the history of the Cubs in the future, 2014 will be a year that everyone could point to where things really changed,” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said at the ceremony.

Ricketts also mentioned that he hopes the Cubs can host an All-Star Game once the renovations are complete. The last time an All-Star Game took place at Wrigley was 1990.

I can’t believe it has been that long; I remember the game well. (Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson started, but the National League lost 2-0.)

You can follow along with updates on the renovations at

Royals up 2-0

The Kansas City Royals won again. Shocking, right? They are just clicking on all cylinders at the right time.

The only part that was surprising about the Royals’ 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles was that the game did not go to extra innings. Although, the Royals did push across the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth.

The win featured the Royals’ typical timely hitting and strong bullpen pitching.

Reliever Wade Davis has been an interesting case this year. Davis came over from the Rays along with James Shields for top prospect Wil Myers last season. When starting for the Rays (and last year with the Royals), Davis was mediocre. But as a reliver, he has been outstanding.

This season out of the bullpen, Davis had a 1.00 ERA (1.19 FIP) with 109 strikeouts in 72 innings. He has continued to dominate in the playoffs as well.

We have seen the Cubs recently have success taking a couple pitchers who were starters and insert them in the bullpen: Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm. It would be great to see those two have the kind of success that Davis is having this season.

Giants win, JABO broadcast

The Cardinals’ black magic couldn’t defeat Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS. Bumgarner is having himself a hell of a playoffs.

The 3-0 Giants win was relatively uneventful, which has been rare lately.

One interesting aspect of the game was Fox Sports 1’s “JABO” broadcast, which featured a panel of analysts discussing the game, along with advanced metric graphics. Folks on Twitter seemed to have a mixed reaction toward how it turned out, but I enjoyed it.

Probably wouldn’t want to watch every game in that manner, especially if it were the Cubs playing. They even seemed to be taking feedback into account in the midst of the broadcast and changed a few things up on the fly (such as not using as much split-screen).

I hope to see more of this, and not simply because the name “JABO” reminds me of the Simpsons’ “Gabbo.”

AFL update

No Addison Russell again on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League, but the Mesa Solar Sox had two Cubs prospects in the lineup: Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a stolen base and run scored) and Jacob Hannemann (0-for-3 with three strikeouts). Ivan Pineyro pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, but gave up two hits and two walks. Pineyro came to the Cubs last year in a trade for outfielder Scott Hairston.

The Sox’s lineup also featured Blue Jays prospect Dwight Smith Jr. His father came up with the Cubs in 1989 and was the Rookie of the Year runner-up (behind the Cubs’ Jerome Walton). 1989 was a great season. It was probably the year in which I really began following the Cubs closely.IMG_1527.JPG

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