Sox fan Frank Kaminsky trolls the Cubs

This is hilarious. White Sox fan Frank Kaminsky trolls the Chicago Cubs and their fans by wearing a Steve Bartman jersey as he comes into his game tonight. Haha!!

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Fans go crazy for the Cubs

There’s nothing like a grand slam home run to take the lead in the eighth inning during the playoffs. The Chicago Cubs are the favorites in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and scenes like this from their crazy fans make you think this just might be the year when the curse if broken.

Cubs in talks with Scott Boras about Prince Fielder

Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Prince Fielder sits in the dugout before a MLB spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Phoenix, March 5, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Whoever had Prince Fielder going to the Cubs in their MLB free agent office pool should have an extra spring in their step today.

No, the North Siders haven’t signed the big money free agent to a contract but according to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine, the Cubs are indeed in talks with Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras. Manager Dale Sveum and team president Theo Epstein told reporters on Friday that they haven’t had direct contact with the first baseman but the lines of communication definitely seem to be open.

Ken Rosenthal said on Friday that the Cubs were the favorites to sign Fielder, although the FOX writer was speculating more than reporting. Rosenthal feels as though the Cubs make “far more sense” than a club like the Mariners because Epstein is expected to eventually build a winner in Chicago, even if it takes a few years. Reports state that the Cubs prefer to sign Fielder to a shorter deal than the 10-year contract that Albert Pujols received from the Angels, which could make it difficult to sign the soon-to-be-former Brewer.

In related news, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is speculating that the Cardinals could make an attempt to sign Fielder, but only if it were to a short-term deal. St. Louis has also emerged as a potential landing spot for Carlos Beltran, who is finally starting to receive interest from multiple clubs. (The Rockies are reported to be in pursuit of Beltran as well.)

Predicting where the big-name MLB free agents will land

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols comes to bat for the first time to a standing ovation during the last game of the regular season, against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 25, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Here are a couple of predictions sure to be wrong this winter. (It’s not that I lack confidence in my prediction abilities. I just have complete confidence that they won’t be right. But hey, let’s have some freaking fun anyway, huh?)

Albert Pujols: St. Louis Cardinals
Do the Cardinals really have any choice but to work out a deal with Pujols? He is their offense, period. Matt Holliday, David Freese and Lance Berkman are all nice players but their games are enhanced with the mere presence of Pujols, who remains the best hitter in baseball. St. Louis is coming off a miraculous World Series run and just lost icon Tony La Russa to retirement. Turning around and losing Pujols to the Cubs or Dodgers is simply unacceptable. I also believe that St. Louis is the only place Pujols wants to play. But he’s already said that he’s not going to take a hometown discount, which he shouldn’t. That said, considering the Cardinals have allowed him to essentially run the clubhouse over the last decade, he might find that the grass isn’t greener on the other side if he decides to leave. This is a marriage that should stick because it works for all parties involved.

Prince Fielder: Chicago Cubs
Seeing as how I don’t buy into the idea of Pujols leaving the Cardinals, the Cubs make the most sense for Fielder if they’re willing to spend. Signing Fielder could be the start of Theo Epstein’s rebuilding project in Chicago. While the Cubs have a couple of bad contracts on their books, Epstein could build his team around Fielder just like he did with Big Papi in Boston. Management would have to approve a $150-plus million contract for this deal to happen, but it’s clear the Cubs want to win. You don’t acquire Theo Epstein and then tell him to sit on his hands. Could you imagine how many home runs Fielder could hit at Wrigley? I think he just hit one deep while typing this…

Jose Reyes: New York Mets
There are plenty of suitors for Reyes, who is young and productive. The Marlins, Giants, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Reds, Twins, Rays and Cardinals could all get involved in the Reyes sweepstakes but in the end, I think he’ll return to the Big Apple. He’s a fan favorite and seemed willing to re-sign with the Mets during the season last year but the situation never played itself out. Trading Carlos Beltran during the deadline last year made sense, as does re-signing Reyes to a new long-term deal.

Carlos Beltran: Boston Red Sox
A return to San Francisco certainly makes sense for Beltran. The Giants obviously need hitting and GM Brian Sabean might want to save face after he inexcusably gave away his top pitching prospect for a three-month rental that didn’t even help San Fran make the playoffs. That said, the Giants still have Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito’s awful contracts on their books and once they get done paying Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, they’ll either be unable or unwilling to sign a big-name free agent. Boston, on the other hand, seems like a perfect place for a guy like Beltran to land. They’re always willing to spend and have a void in right field. Plus, they don’t shy away from risks and seeing as how Beltran is a 34-year-old injury concern, he qualifies as a risk. He’ll be their first free agent signing in the post-Epstein era.

C.J. Wilson: New York Yankees
I had the Rangers listed next to Wilson’s name but I have a feeling that the Yankees will do everything in their power to land the top pitcher on this year’s market. They need a top-of-the-rotation arm to complement CC Sabathia and while Wilson struggled mightily in the postseason this year, he still racked up 250 innings over 39 starts and was Texas’ best pitcher. The Yankees have deep pockets and after missing out on Cliff Lee last winter, they’ll pony up for another Ranger this time around.

Other Predictions:

Jimmy Rollins: Phillies
Aramis Ramirez: Orioles
Edwin Jackson: Nationals
Roy Oswalt: Rangers

Wrigley Field empty to start the season – are the fans boycotting?

T-shirt’s are sold outside of Wrigley Field before the Chicago Cubs Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day game in Chicago on April 1, 2011. The Pirates won 6-3. UPI/Brian Kersey

It was rather surprising to see a half-empty stadium when I turned on the Cubs-Diamondbacks game today (a 6-4 Arizona victory).

If these two teams were playing in Arizona and the D’Backs were 20 games out of first place, then this obviously wouldn’t have caught my eye. But Wrigley Field? That place has been jam-packed for decades, regardless of how miserable the Cubs have been. Going to a Cubs game might as well be like going to the movies for many Chicagoans – it’s viewed as pure entertainment.

As it turns out, the announced attendance for Monday’s Cubs-D’Backs game was 26,292, the lowest attendance the ballpark has experienced since 2002. Granted, the weather has been cool in Chicago and with other sporting events to watch (the NCAA finals, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the White Sox, etc.), it’s not a stretch to think that fans are waiting until May or June to show up to watch their “Cubbies.” (That nickname, by the way, makes me want to punch myself in the kidney.)

But Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times hopes that the empty seats are a sign that Cub fans have finally had enough.

Not showing up to the ballpark is the only power fans have. I’m not sure if they fully understand how much influence they have. When they come to the ballpark in droves year after year, they have no say in whether ticket prices increase or whether the player payroll declines. Their collective voice is heard only as a whisper when the conversation turns to publicly funded stadium renovations.

When fans don’t show up, owners get very, very nervous. Cubs fans rarely flex that muscle. But now? Is that a bulging biceps I see?

Imagine if this were a win-or-else ultimatum from the fan base. Think the Cubs might feel some urgency?

Eh, maybe. The only question I have is: Why now? Why after decades of losing would Cub fans pick this year to finally put their foot down? The Reds have started off strong, but the injuries in St. Louis and the slow start in Milwaukee gives Chicago fans a sliver of hope that their Cubs might be able to do something in the NL Central. I think most true fans are realistic about the Cubs’ chances but even the biggest doubters will still attend the games.

It’s early. Once the weather warms up, Wrigley will be jam-packed again. Besides, even if the fans were boycotting the organization, what is the front office going to do? Thanks to all the bad contracts that they’ve acquired over the years (Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Silva, etc.), they couldn’t change the situation even if they wanted to. This team is stuck right now whether the fans like it or not.

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