GO CUBBIES GO
Count your blessings, Cubs fans: It’s not all gloom and doom on the North Side.
OK, some gloom may be in order on a rainy off-day like Thursday. But certainly a 15-20 start in the parity-stricken National League, where no one is seemingly capable of running away with the wild-card spot, does not spell doom.
Looking for positives in a season as agonizing as this one is as difficult as finding enough quarters to fill your parking meter. But it can be done, and here are 15 things to be thankful for in 2010, or one for each win:
Photo: Erstwhile ace-turned-middle reliever Carlos Zambrano leaves Wednesday's game. (Brian Cassella/Tribune)
15. Lou Piniella has not opened a Twitter account.
14. MLB Network is not filming a documentary of the Cubs’ season.
13. No player has jumped over the Cubs’ dugout railing and immediately gone on the disabled list.
12. The team psychiatrist has not been seen leading the fist-bump line in the clubhouse tunnel since the opening homestand.
11. No one has been Tased on the field at Wrigley Field, or in the Captain Morgan Club or PNC Club for that matter.
10. Pirates starter Charlie Morton, who 1-0 against the Cubs and 0-6 with a 10.66 ERA against the rest of the league, will miss the upcoming series at Wrigley Field.
9. No Cubs player has asked to take a leave of absence for “emotional stress,” or left during the middle of a game after being taken out.
8. No Cubs player has been caught sleeping in the clubhouse since Kyle Farnsworth was fingered as an alleged serial napper in August of 2002. (Sleeping on the field, however, is another story.)
7. Carlos Zambrano has not suffered any cramping issues since moving to the bullpen.
6. John Grabow has not allowed a run since receiving a cortisone shot in his sore knee. (Of course, he hasn’t pitched since, either).
5. The center-field bleacher brawl from Wednesday’s game at Wrigley has not shown up on “You Tube” as of Thursday morning.
4. No Cubs pitcher has made a head-first slide into second on a steal attempt since Ted Lilly’s base-running adventure last month during a rehab stint at Class-A Peoria.
3. The Cubs play 12 of their 15 games against St. Louis after the All-Star break, when the Cardinals presumably will be resting Albert Pujols for the postseason.
2. Crane Kenney has not been spotted roaming the outfield at Wrigley before games this year.
1. The Blackhawks’ playoff run will divert attention from Aramis Ramirez’s strikeout rate for at least a couple more weeks.
Cubs’ Samardzija on comeback trail at Iowa
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports: Former Notre Dame football star Jeff Samardzija has struggled with the Cubs, but he’s keeping a positive attitude since being demoted to Triple-A Iowa.
“I put a lot into spring training this year to be a starter. I worked hard in the offseason,” Samardzija said a day after allowing one hit in 1 2/3 innings to beat Las Vegas and improve to 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA. “To go to the ‘pen and not pitch how you wanted, it’s not fun, so I’m down here working on what I need to work on to get right.
“My arm feels good. That’s the biggest thing. It’s really coming around to midseason form,” he said. “I’m just going back to the basics, really. Every time I come here, I seem to get right.”