Friday, October 31, 2003

$33 million in the Bank

Sammy has released a statement that he is staying with the Cubs.

"I have said all along I wanted to remain a Cub forever... We had such an exciting year in 2003, for both myself and for Cub fans everywhere. I am already looking forward to next season. I know with Dusty Baker as the manager and the direction our team is headed, it will be another exciting year." - Sammy Sosa

I can only think of one thing to say.


375 Feet Away

Speaking of privates, there's a new blog with a Cub look to it out there. Check out The View from the Bleachers. It must have some taint of alcohol on it, tho.

Thoughts for Chris

Chrisian Ruz, General of the Cubs Blog Army (of which I am a lowly private), lost his house in the San Diego fires. So did his dad. Everyone is safe and fine, but face an unbelieveable challange of starting over. Please think well of him, his family, and all the others who have lost their homes (over 2,000 destroyed).

Bean Town Gas

WSCR was all over a supposed story this morning that the Red Sox were trying to acquire A Rod from Texas in a 3 way deal that would send Nomar Garciopara to the Cubs with the Cubs sending a player to Texas.

Well, the real story says the BoSox would send Nomar to a west coast team, not the Cubs. The story DOES say that, "A-Rod would love to land in two other places: with the Mets; or with the Cubs, who have the kind of pitching that will make them contenders for the life of his current contract."

Let's even assume that the Cubs would take Nomar. Who whould Texas take? Simple. Wood. Bad deal. If Texas wants Wood, fine. The Cubs take A Rod. Other than that, pass.

But this whole kerfuffle is nothing. The Cubs ain't taking either of Nomar's contract (1-year left) or A Rod's (7 years left). And the BoSox aren't even talking to the Cubs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Better than Foyt at the Brickyard

The latest rumor ahs the Cubs acquiring A.J. Pierzynski from the Twins for pitching prospects. That would be huge. AJP is arbitration eligible after making $365,000 last year. He's probably due a raise into the $3 million range. He's 26, saw his OPS rise each year he's been a regular, and threw out 30% of 66 attempted steals against.

He doesn't take a lot of pitches, but he struck out only 55 times last year.

If he comes with Koskie, I'm all for it.

Thoughts for Ronnie

Ronnie Santo goes in for his bladder removal surgery today. If I had to guess at the number of people hoping he pulls through, it would be higher than what Pat would guess. Here's my good thoughts to the mix. Rozner has some thoughts as well.

No word on if Spike O'Dell plans on doing a live remote from the recovery ward.

Better Off Dead

Forbes has its third annual list of the top earning dead celebrities. Elvis, who died on my 10th birthday, comes in at #1 with $40 million in earnings in 2002. Charles "Sparky" Schulz drops in at #2 with $32 million. Others on the list include JRR Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Dale Earnhardt, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Kerry Wood's arm.

Monday, October 27, 2003

She Fit The Bra

Britney says she's not going to take any more topless / bottomless photos. Great. Now we only have to look forward to hearing the singing of this generation's female Johnny Bravo.

Mission Detonated

Since our President took a joyride on an aircraft carrier and announced that "All is well in Baghdad", people continue to get blown up in Iraq. And the body count ain't the half of it. The injuries that victims are sustaining are not just cuts and bruises. It's lost limbs and other body parts.

That said, the US decided to blow up Iraq and now we need to rebuild it.

But with the three coordinated attacks of last night, it should be apparent to even Ann Coutler that the war is just beginning over there. It's clearly apparent to Paul Wolfowitz who nearly got blown up in one of the attacks. But, then comes this gem courtesy of Walid Jumblatt of the Progressive Socialist Party of Lebanon.

"We hope the firing will be more precise and efficient (next time), so we get rid of this microbe and people like (Wolfowitz) in Washington who are spreading disorder in Arab lands, Iraq and Palestine."

Here's a better idea.

The Arab nations haven't invented a single thing since the zero. If they weren't sitting on a few trillion dollars worth of oil, the value of the Mid-East would be for the silicon in its sand to make glass windows.

Instead of being angry that the US is there, why not cozy up, get on the 21st century's Marshall Plan, build some industry, educate your people, and join the rest of civilization with some semblance of order, respect for human life, and a modern standard of living.

Or are you just so threatened that the people living under you will realize what a fraud Arab leadership has been since Moses left Goshen and that they will rise up against you making you live in the filth most of your countrymen live in?

Couldn't be that.

Head East, Mon!

Sammy gets to make up his mind in the next few weeks on whether or not he likes the Cubs' $33 million guarantee or if he should throw it all back and shoot for bigger bux as a free agent. Well, the Yanks 3.9 RPG in the World Series, Steinbrenner's ego, and Karim Garcia may make that calculation lean to the "throw it all back" side.

Let's hope so.

The Hannukah Cubs' wish list includes Vlad Guerrero, Jose Vidro, Miguel Tejada, Javier Vasquez with a side of Luis Castillo if Vidro isn't available.

Shopping starts in 15 days.

Thursday, October 23, 2003


Brian Urlacher, quickly becoming the most overrated athlete in sports next to Kerry Wood, tells fans that they can't tell the difference between a zone defense and a man-to-man defense. I've gotta agree with Brian, here. I mean, when you watch as few Bears' games the last few seasons as most of us have, you probably don't recognize anything.

Well, other than the oft-repeated touchdown dances of the opponent's offense.

No Longer Happenen'

Rerun is dead. Fred Barry died at age 52 after a life of sitcom fame, drugs, shopping mall appearences, and minister work. Sounds kinda like my wife.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Night Dumping

The Cubs are trying to coax (cough.. couch.. bribe) the city into allowing up to 12 more night games per season. The Suntimes reports that as the 12 night games are phased in over 3 years, the 2:20 p.m. Friday games would be phased out.

In order to smooth along the process, the Cubs have offered up to $1 million to provide such things as one year of free remote parking, extended shuttle-bus service, an study on an Addison Street entrance ramp to Lake Shore Drive, and supplemental trash collection efforts on major streets in and around Wrigley Field.

They'll start by emptying Shaun Estes', Eric Karros' and Antonio Alfonseca's lockers.


Crain's is reporting that Hi Tops has been closed by city inspectors "for failing to correct a serious rodent infestation problem." This problem included "mice droppings in a walk-in cooler where food and beer are stored." My guess is that Todd Hundley had something to do with it.

He's Back

The Cubs' web site is reporting that Moises Alou decided that $9 million was a good deal more than he was likely to get as a free agent and has exercised his option to stay with the Cubs.

Gee. The week was off to such a good start.

Only 1 Week to go....

No, not in the baseball season. With the Marlins unable to win behind Josh Beckett, I see the series ending tomorrow. But in one week, Jack Bauer is back in the Jack Bauer Power Hour. And, more importantly, what does Kim wear this season?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Thinking about Next Year

Have you ever seen a team that got so close to a World Series on which you'd like to see so many players leave? Out of the 8 position players, 5 starting pitchers and the closer, I'd like to see changes to at least 9 of those. They break down in two categories: "Will not be back" and "Should not be back."



So, the entire infield, save Ramirez, should be sent packing. And I'd upgrade from Ramirez to either Lowell or Koskie after 2004. Same with the outfield. Alou is gone at the end of 2004 when his contract expires. Sosa could do everyone a favor and exercise his option and walk. Lofton could stay as a fourth outfielder, or CF if Alou could be dealt and let Patterson play left and bat 6th.

Borowski should be moved from closer to prime setup man. Veres might be back if his arm gets healthy.

And the Cubs should consider trading both Wood and Clement. Yes. Both are not dependable and cost big bux.

Here's the lineup I'd love to see in 2004.

CF Lofton
2B Vidro
C Rodriguez
RF Guerrero
SS Tejada
3B Ramirez
LF Patterson
1B Choi

Wood or Clement


That's a 100 win team right there. $55mm projected salary for position players. $20mm for starting pitchers. $6mm for closer. That leaves about $14mm for the remaining bench. And $10mm gets freed if Wood is gone.

Free agency starts in 2 weeks. 2004 starts 5 minutes later.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Will he Drop the Paycheck?

Looks like Steve Bartman will make some money out of his infamy. CNN reports that a movie is being planned about Bartman's faux pas and that King of Queens star Kevin James will play Bartman.

If Bartman gets to sleep with Leah Remini, I'll be sick.


''I let my teammates down. I let the organization down. I let the city down.'' - Kerry Wood

All true, Kerry. But I don't blame you and you shouldn't blame yourself. There is no blame for someone for trying their best. The problem is that your best just wasn't good enough. Kerry Wood is just not a big money pitcher. In two NLCS starts, he failed to hold leads twice. Did Dusty overuse him? Perhaps. More likely is that the pitcher we saw in September was playing above the mean.

Kerry Wood is going to be the number three pitcher on this team behind Prior and, most likely, Big Zamboni.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


That's a wrap. Big decisions ahead for this team -- contracts for Kerry Wood, Shaun Estes, Mark Grudzelanek, Antonio Alfonseca -- and my opinions on them will follow. While I've always tried to keep this blog forward looking, I need to say something.

I sat here in tears, tonight. My wife, my 4 and 1 year old sons were asleep. I was by myself. The 4 year old... he badly wanted the Cubs to win. He already knows the words to Go Cubs Go and Dying Cubs Fans last Request. But he doesn't understand what losing is and that the Cubs won't be back for 6 months. He doesn't understand how close they were to something special. How do I explain to him that they lost and they may not get this close again for 20 more years.

Back in 1984 I was mad that they lost, but I was 17 then. I thought they'd be good for a while. I was wrong. Tonight, I'm empty. I now understand that these events don't happen very often. They could, but management of the Cubs doesn't allow it. You have to grab on to what scraps you are given.

My dad tought me to be a Cubs fan. He died 9 years ago this Halloween. He was 5 when they last were in a World Series. He couldn't remember it. My son is named for him. He won't remember this. Lucky for him.

One was 5. One is 4. I'm 36. I was mad in 1984. I'm empty tonight. How do i explain it to him? How do I explain that I want better that the mediocrity that is Kerry Wood? How do I explain? I guess I teach him a new saying.

Wait until next year.

It Ends Tonight

I turned down tickets to the game tonight in section 223, about even with the skyboxes. Why would any Cub fan do that? Simple.

I didn't want to be at a funeral.

I fully expect August Kerry to show up tonight and walk 13 batters and have a temper tantrum when a pitch 4 inches outside is called a ball.

But even if I'm wrong, last night sucked any joy of winning this series right out of me. It's the anti-Ditka. Expect losing. If they lose, so be it. That's what I expected. But a win tonight would fill me with relief, not joy. This team gave away 3 games in the post season: Game 2 against Atlanta, and Games 1 and 6 against Florida. They should have swept Atlanta and should have beaten Florida in 5. Instead they got two Win-or-go-home games. They won the road game behind Wood. But based on his last outing, I fully expect to see Juan Cruz in by around inning 6.

Thanks for the ride, Cubs. If you keep on driving after today, I'm still along. But I won't be as excited. The joy has been sucked out by a sucky performance by a team and a few of their fans.

Yeah. The Smoking Gun may have released his name, but several fans reached for the ball. They are all culpable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

While I was Away....

So much news and no time to write. Here's some musings on the eve of what I expect to be a 3-1 win that puts the Cubs in the World Series. There. I said it.

- So Chip Carey can't get a seat on the plane to Florida or a room in the team hotel. One year left on his contract. This message shall self destruct in 5 seconds.

- Ron Santo had his surgery delayed to fix some heart issues. Please hang on for a few more weeks, Ron. Oh, and a big FUCK YOU to Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan for keep Santo out of the Hall.

- Going into Prior's game tonight I feel like a high school kid going to prom. With Jenna Jameson as my date. Nervous, but highly confident of scoring.

- If the Cubs win, what a great night to be a Cubs fan's wife. Imagine the sex with nothing on your hubby's mind besides baseball.

- My 4 year old is looking forward to the game and wearing his Cubs Mardi Gras beads. I may douse him with beer after the game.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Love Shack

Sammy's bomb landed about 20 feet to my right and about 6 rows below me. But the bombs that mattered were those of A Gonz. If Alex can hit like this for about 12 more games, the sign will read AC000000. He's a bonus right now compared to what fans expected. And he's also needed. And maybe ARam got off the snide, too.

And a word to Sammy: It's the second inning in game 2 and you trail in the series 0-1. Big jack to put the team up 5-0. With 21 outs to get, NO CAP DOFFING! Take your cues from Prior and Wood, showboat.

Zamboni Iced?

Dusty let slip mixed signals on who starts game 5. Maybe Z, maybe not. I start him with a warm Cruz ready like an Alert 1 F-18 on the deck of the Nimitz.

History Lesson

2003 NLDS - Game 3: Chicago 3, Atlanta 1
1998 NLDS - Game 3: Atlanta 6, Chicago 2
1989 NLCS - Game 3: San Francisco 5, Chicago 4
1984 NLCS - Game 3: San Diego 7, Chicago 1
1945 WS - Game 3: Chicago 3, Detroit 0
1938 WS - Game 3: New York Yankees 3, Chicago 1
1935 WS - Game 3: Detroit 6, Chicago 5
1932 WS - Game 3: New York Yankees 12, Chicago 6
1929 WS - Game 3: Chicago 3, Philidelphia 1
1918 WS - Game 3: Boston 2, Chicago 1
1910 WS - Game 3: Philidelphia 12, Chicago 5
1908 WS - Game 3: Detroit 8, Chicago 3
1907 WS - Game 3: Chicago 5, Detroit 1
1906 WS - Game 3: Chicago (AL) 3, Chicago (NL) 0

What do we see? The Cubs have won game 3 of a postseason series 4 times out of 14 attempts. Two of the times they won game 3, they won the series. Only once have they lost game 3 (1908) and won a series.

Must win tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Whadija Expect?

The most worrisome thing about this series is knowing that Zambrano is getting 2 starts. He's either gassed, hurt, too emotional, or a combination of all three. The second most worrisome thing is worrying that the Kerry Wood of July shows up and not the one from September.

While last night's game was one for the ages, it kills me to know that this team has now let games in each playoff series get away from them. I didn't expect the Cubs to win games 2 of the NLDS or 1 of the NLCS due to Big Zamboni. But in both games they were served the game on a platter -- and failed to belly up and devour the meal. The Cubs had Beckett on the ropes. Down 4 on a 19 pitch first inning. then, they let him off the hook. A 4 pitch third inning with Sosa and Alou making outs on their first pitch allowed the Marlins to avoid their bullpen and stay close. That's where the loss game from.

Prior has his hands full. 8 innings, minimum. And the Cubs need to get past Penny fast. Gotta get him out by the end of the 6th.

Friday night is the series. Kerry Wood gets 58 years of weight on his shoulders.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Step Three

Haven't had much time to write with the two holidays and some travel to California in the mix. Game 4 was great to attend until the final out -- after which, depression set in. After Sunday's pick me up, we take a brief look ahead at the NLCS.

I think it's as simple as Games 1 and 3. If the rotation has Prior in games 2 and 6 and Wood in 3 and 7, then Prior and Wood's first two starts are must wins. My confidence level in Prior is complete. I see no way the Cubs lose tomorrow (I'll be in the bleachers!). My confidence in Wood has never been higher, but I still remember the Wood from the middle of the year. I see that as a likely win, but not a lock.

That leaves Zambrano and Game 1. While I like him more than Clement, I worry about youthful exuberence. I think this is the most likely game for a letdown.

So here it is. If the Cubs win tonight, they win the pennant. If they lose (as I suspect they will), then Wood is a must win in Game 3 or it's Marlins in 5. If Big Zamboni loses and Prior and Wood both win, Cubs in 7. Big Z wins tonight and it's Cubs in 5.


Is it just me or are champaigne celebrations after a first round playoff win stupid? I don't recall any NBA teams cutting loose after reaching a division championship series, much less the NBA finals. Keep that stuff on ice until you win the league or the whole thing. For that matter, there'd be no cutting down the nets in the NCAA Tourney for a Regional Final win. No celebrating until you win the whole enchilada.


While our hopes are with the Cubs, our prayers are with Ron Santo. While I am not a fan of Santo the broadcaster, I am a huge fan of Santo the person. Get well and come to Wrigley soon, Ronnie. We need to see you throw out the first pitch on October 18th.


I've been informed that this phrase attracts more readers: Kerry's Wood's wife is hot.


Did anyone see *David Wells'* wife? Talk about overmarried. He musta met her where Phil Mickelson found his wife.


Yankees over Red Sox in 6.

Thursday, October 02, 2003


Seems Rush Limbaugh stuck his foot in his mouth and suggested that the media overhyped Donovan McNabb because the media wants a black QB to succeed. What Rush did was not racist on its face, but he implied a racial motive to the behavior of McNabb's supporters.

What really needs to be asked is: How would Rush know if the positive media for McNabb was racially motivated? Does Rush have contacts in the media who say that? Or does Rush just assume that? If it's the second case, then there is racial issues with Rush himself.


Last night's game turned on a single at bat in the first inning. Mike Hampton was on the ropes. He'd walked two, allowed two to score, nearly gave up a bomb to Sosa, had just reloaded the bases and had fallen behind 4 of the 5 batters faced. What's next?

Todd Hundley. Uhhh.... I mean, Eric Karros.

This guy was the worst .280 hitter I've ever seen. GIDPs as far as the eye can see (9th worst in MLB on a DP per opportunity basis - source Baseball Prospectus). Terrible BAwRISP. Horrible RBI totals.

So, with Hamp on the ropes and not throwing strikes, what does Todd... Eric do?

Swing and miss.
Swing and foul.
Swing and miss.

Hampton wakes up, the Cubs go to sleep.

Now, most are saying that the cup is still half full as to their chance to wqin this series, and I agree. But last night was on a platter. And teams that don't feast when served to tend not to win.

The glass is half full, but it's tilting and could spill.

On the bright side, I now have usable tickets to game 4.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Sing Along

Our friends over at The Cub Reporter talk about some great Cubs songs. They leave out the best. It's a sad one, but it is so spot on, and so touching given its history, that it deserves publishing here. A history of the song can be found at the Baseball Almanac. Let's hope that no more Goodman's pass on being able to think that the Cubs are still the perenial doormat of the National League.

A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request
by Steve Goodman (1983)

By the shore's of old Lake Michigan
Where the "hawk wind" blows so cold
An old Cub fan lay dying
In his midnight hour that tolled
Round his bed, his friends had all gathered
They knew his time was short
And on his head they put this bright blue cap
From his all-time favorite sport
He told them, "its late and its getting dark in here"
And I know its time to go
But before I leave the line-up
Boys, there's just one thing I'd like to know

Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away,
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy covered burial ground
When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
But now they only bring fatigue
To the home of the brave
The land of the free
And the doormat of the National League

Told his friends "You know the law of averages says:
Anything will happen that can."
That's what it says.
"But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan"
The Cubs made me a criminal
Sent me down a wayward path
They stole my youth from me
(that's the truth)
I'd forsake my teacher's
To go sit in the bleachers
In flagrant truancy

and then one thing led to another
and soon I'd discovered alcohol, gambling, dope
football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis
But what do you expect,
When you raise up a young boys hopes
And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups.

Year after year after year
after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
'Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
for the pigeons beneath the 'EL' tracks to eat
He said "You know I'll never see Wrigley Field, anymore
before my eternal rest
So if you have your pencils and your score cards ready,
and I'll read you my last request
He said, "Give me a double header funeral in Wrigley Field
On some sunny weekend day (no lights)
Have the organ play the National Anthem
and then a little "na, na, na, na, hey hey, hey, Goodbye"
Make six bullpen pitchers, carry my coffin
and six ground keepers clear my path
Have the umpires bark me out at every base
In all their holy wrath
Its a beautiful day for a funeral, Hey Ernie lets play two!
Somebody go get Jack Brickhouse to come back,
and conduct just one more interview
Have the Cubbies run right out into the middle of the field,
Have Keith Moreland drop a routine fly
Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt
And I'll be ready to die

Build a big fire on home plate out of your Louisville Sluggers baseball bats,
And toss my coffin in
Let my ashes blow in a beautiful snow
From the prevailing 30 mile an hour south west wind
When my last remains go flying over the left field wall
Will bid the bleacher bums adieu
And I will come to my final resting place, out on Waveland Avenue

The dying man's friends told him to cut it out
They said stop it that's an awful shame
He whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of Fame
He said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,
So its just what I'm going to do
He said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,
So its me that feels sorry for you!

And he said, "Ahh Play, play that lonesome losers tune,
That's the one I like the best
And he closed his eyes, and slipped away
What we got is the Dying Cub Fan's Last Request
And here it is

Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away,
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy covered burial ground
When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
But now they only bring fatigue
To the home of the brave
The land of the free
And the doormat of the National League

Cubbie Chop

That's what Wood laid on Atlanta last night. And the Cubs' fans gave the same thing to the Braves fans with their Cubs' hats. Personally, I like my Cubbie Chop cooked medium with sauteed mushrooms and a little broccoli on the side. But if it comes in the form of post-season wins, I'm fine with that.

Tonight's game is bonus. If Big Zamboni can pull down a win, I see no way this doesn't end in a sweep. Prior is a lock for Friday. I worry about Clement and Wood again on Sunday should the Braves realize that Wood is beatable if you take pitches. But not Prior.

Big Z comes up huge and it's time to have either a fish fry or to "fe fi fo fum" some giants.

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