Mailbag: Cubs' road woes a concern?
Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers Cubs fans' questions
The Cubs' road record, Rich Hill, Felix Pie and the All-Star Game are topics in this week's All-Star edition of the mailbag. In order to be more timely and handle as many questions as possible, the Cubs' mailbag will run every Monday, instead of every other week. Keep those emails coming.
Our condolences to the family of Dustin Eglseder, who died from bone cancer on July 16. Eglseder won a contest last year to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.
I'm worried about the Cubs' road record. With the American League winning the All-Star Game, should the Cubs make it to the World Series, they would not have home field advantage. What has history shown for World Series teams that have a losing road record, and do not have home field advantage?
-- Paul M., Louisville, Ky.
Since 1995, only three teams have won the World Series with losing road records. They include the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (34-47 road record); the 2003 Florida Marlins (38-43); and the 1997 Marlins (40-41).
What chance is there, if any, that Hill will be back up in the Cubs rotation this year?
-- Jeff S., Brookfield, Ill.
Hill won't be called up this month, and most likely not in August either. And the Cubs are prepared for the left-hander to spend the entire season in the Minor Leagues, if necessary, to get back on track. In two starts so far for Class A Daytona, Hill is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA, but has walked eight over 9 1/3 innings. He needs time to get his mechanics in sync, and having him pitch in the Minors is the best scenario.
Is there any update on Pie? He's been in the Minors for a while. Has his hitting improved?
-- Dan M., Omaha, Neb.
Pie was batting .278 in 56 games for Triple-A Iowa, with seven homers, 13 doubles, four triples, 36 RBIs, and seven stolen bases. After getting off to a slow start, he was batting .370 in July with three homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs. Yes, he's improved.
What time is the game on Aug. 10?
-- Cody T., Elgin, Iowa
The Cubs' Aug. 10 game against St. Louis will begin at 7 p.m. CT to accommodate ESPN. A reminder: the Aug. 4 game vs. Houston will start at 6:08 p.m. CT, and will also be broadcast on ESPN.
Have a question about the Cubs?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
I'm taking my son, Alex, to Chicago next month for the Houston and St. Louis series. It's been a lifelong dream to get to Wrigley, and we finally get to go on what may be the last year that it's called Wrigley Field. In your opinion, any must-see attractions for the off-day between games?
-- Bart B., Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
You didn't say how old Alex is, but among the many, many options are Navy Pier, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute downtown, Millennium Park, the Shedd Aquarium and the top of Sears Tower. Depending on your food interests, there's Chinatown, deep dish pizza, and many insist on dinner at Harry Caray's restaurant. Check out an Access Chicago book.
Who was the last Cub to steal home? Or has no Cub ever bothered to steal it?
-- Chuck P., Paraty, Brazil
On July 29, 2006, Angel Pagan stole home as part of a double steal with Ronny Cedeno against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the Cubs' first steal of home since Ricky Gutierrez did so on Aug. 10, 2001, against San Francisco. Frank Schulte holds the team all-time record for steals of home with 22, and Johnny Evers stole home six times in 1907. Joe Tinker stole home twice in one game -- June 28, 1910, against Cincinnati.
When was the last time the All-Star Game was played at Wrigley Field?
-- Phil R., East Peoria, Ill.
The All-Star Game was played at Wrigley Field on July 10, 1990, and the American League beat the National League, 2-0. Julio Franco hit a two-run double in the seventh, and was named the MVP. I've heard some rumors -- and they're only rumors -- that Wrigley may be the host for the 2014 All-Star Game.
In the Aquafina commercial where Lou Piniella comes out and "argues" with the umpire, is it an actual MLB umpire or an actor? If it is an umpire, who is it? I laugh every time I see that commercial.
-- Paul L., Mishawaka, Ind.
It's an actor, but the Cubs' Mr. Versatility, Mark DeRosa, also is in the commercial as one of the players.
What is the deal with Angel Guzman? Will he ever pitch again for the Cubs?
-- Justin C., Cambridge, Ohio
Guzman is making steady progress from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, which he had at the end of last season. He is throwing simulated games in Mesa, Ariz., at the team's facility, and has just started throwing breaking pitches. Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild was able to watch Guzman when the team was in Arizona, and said the pitcher was throwing so well, you wouldn't have know he had undergone arm surgery.
Clarification: In the July 14 Mailbag, Andy K. of Griffith, Ind., wanted to know what would happen if a player such as CC Sabathia or Rich Harden were selected to the All-Star team in one league, and then traded to the other league before the All-Star Game. My answer was that the pitcher would most likely not pitch for the other league's All-Star squad. A Major League Baseball official told me it had never happened.
However, in 2004, Carlos Beltran was named to replace injured Ken Griffey Jr. on the NL team. Beltran was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros in mid-June, and was voted by the players to make the AL All-Star team. The player voting began on the same day as the trade, so MLB was not able to switch him to the NL ballot. MLB announced that Beltran would be considered an All-Star and was invited to participate in the activities, but would be ineligible to play. However, he was eligible to replace an injured player.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.