Sunday, February 29, 2004

Valley of the Sun

It sucks beiung on vacation AND still battling the flu. But, if you have to do it, at last I get to do it in Palm Springs, CA where short sleve shirts are the norm. What's tough is following the Cubs remotely as I tend to rely on radio and TV for the bulk of my news.

On the plus, the first game from Mesa will be braodcast here on ESPN2 on the 3rd.

If I can get the in-laws to watch the boys for a few hours.....

Friday, February 27, 2004

Hard Wood

Kerry Wood signed a three year deal today. Press conference in about 10 minutes. Hat tip to Weeghman Park. They earn the title of First Blogger to break the story.

I've gotta see the terms on this. I'm of the camp that Wood just got big money for one game against the Astros. He could be the 5th best starter on the team this year, although he'll probably end up being third (behind Prior and Zamboni). I'm not a huge fan of this.

The Lighter Side

President Bush calls in the head of the CIA and asks, How come the Jews know everything before we do?"

The CIA chief says, "The Jews have this expression - 'Vus titzuch?'

The President says, "Hell, what's that mean?"

Well, Mr. President", replies the CIA chief, "It's a Yiddish expression which roughly translates to "what's happening". They just ask each other and they know everything."

The President decides to personally go undercover to determine if this is true. He gets dressed up as an Orthodox Jew (black hat, beard, long black coat), and is secretly flown in an unmarked plane to New York, picked up in an unmarked car and dropped off in Brooklyn's most Jewish neighborhood.

Soon a little old man comes shuffling along. The President stops him and whispers, "Vus titzuch?"

The old guy whispers back: "Bush is in Brooklyn.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Wanted vs. Desired vs. Available

I wanted to make a list of all 29 lead-off hitters and see who was most likely the guy that the Cubs will acquire before July 1, but, alas, I cannot find such a list today. With the Cubs all warm and fuzzy and not much to talk about, I scanned for other subjects. I don't really care about the Bartman ball, although I'll probably have the TV on.

That leaves the gay marriage fiasco. Here's a take you probably haven't seen. I'm all for gay's been able to pick a spouse. Why should I care who one person chooses to be their legal beneficiary of life insurance, or work provided health care, or be able to make "pull the plug" decisions in the event of a catastrophic illness? Go ahead and have such a person in your life. And let the state recognize that person and confer all such rights.

But the gay community should beware. They might just regret getting these rights. Why? One simple word.


I can see the lawyers lining up right now to litigate divorces. Estimates are that 3 to 5% of the US population is gay. That means about 10 million adult homosexuals in the US and the potential for 5 million marriages. If 50% end in divorce, like the heterosexual population, that's an additional 2.5 million divorce cases for shysters... uh... lawyers.

Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. But if you really, REALLY want it, go right ahead.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sourced at Ivy Chat

ESPN has a story about how the Cubs are doing special, limited give-a-ways that will only reach 3% of fans in attendance.

I wonder where they got the idea for the story?

Juicy Talk

There are so few issues with the Cubs right now there's not really much to write about other than a roundup of news articles or critics of the critics. Yeah, I could wax rhapsodic on amending the constitution to protect marriage (the best way is, of course, to outlaw adultery and divorce). Kerry vs. Edwards is pretty boring right now. I guess Botox guy will wrap it up next week and leave us with no real choice for the fall.

But the one issue that seems to be burning everyone's veins right now is 'roids. Here's my take.

Ballplayers of all sports: TAKE ALL THE JUICE YOU WANT.

I watch you to be entertained and I don't care how you do it. You are no different in my eyes from actors in terms of your value to my life. You serve as a break from the reality of life. It bothers me not one iota that you would enhance yourself to earn more money and put on a better show. If Jason Giambi wants to load up on dianabol to get a bigger rise out of ball is the same as Pam Anderson loading up on silicon to get a bigger rise out of a few million men's balls. Let Barry Bonds do HGH and make $20 million per year and risk becoming dead like Lyle Alzado. Let Lil Kim make big bux while constantly undergoing the knife and risk looking like Joan Rivers.

And don't give me any crap about what athletes on drugs are as statements for kids. I have 2 kids (more on this soon!). Statements for my kids come from me and my wife. If they do 'roids it's a failure on me, not Sammy Sosa.

Play the games and make my $35 ticket worth the price I paid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Comments Spring Eternal

Ivy Chat, now with comments.

Monday, February 23, 2004


That's what I woke up to Sunday AM. No, not the radio, rather my body temperature. Next year, I get the flu shot. I'm getting old.

On the plus side, the 4 year old can't wait to get home each night from daycare to see the Cubs highlights of spring training. What's even cooler is that he's doing this on his own. I've only slightly encouraged this. His two hobbies seem to be movies and the Cubs. He got into my cabinet of video tapes two days ago. All that's been on the tube ever since is, "The Boys of Zimmer."

Too cool.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Best New Catch Phrase

I'm not a reality TV fan (like our friends at Desipio), but the wife watches The Donald's new show. And each week, when he fires someone, the survivors get to go up to their suite and fight on for another week. The person fired gets sent down to a cab and off to the airport. Donald closes with a line that is every bit as good as, "Is that your final answer?"

(Pointing to the survivors, then to the fired one) "Up to the suite, down to the street."

So help me I love that line.

Movie (non)Review

So much talk over the Passion, Mel Gibson's film depicting the final 12 hours of Jesus' life. I had a long talk with a friend of mine who is my window to the Catholic world. We discussed if the movie was going to be anti-Semetic or not.

Now I have friends in my circle who refuse to even see the film on those grounds. I confronted one of them and asked how could they be against something that no one they know has even seen? I asked my friend if someone who neve met a Jewish person should automatically assume that all Jews were cheap?

This movie must be judged on face value. Will I go see it? Probably not. I'm just not that interested to take the time and get a baby sitter and spend $20 to watch it. I would probably rent it once it comes to DVD. What I do know is that it needs to be seen and judged, not judged and boycotted.

There is one thing I heard that gives me pause. WGN TV had a report on the film. They said that a scene in the film shows Jesus being taken to the Romans by a small group of Jewish elders. The elders throw Jesus off a bridge. Supposedly this event is not biblical in origin, but comes from a 19th century commentary written on the Passion. Mel Gibson has said that this movie is supposed to be true to the original gospels. How can this be true if a modern commentary is included? And given that the scene supposedly depicts "Jews Behaving Badly," I get a little nervous.

Regardless. Don't avoid the movie because what others who haven't seen it have said. Go see it or avoid it because of your interest level. You see, you decide. Fair and balanced.

Great. Now both Al Franken and Bill O'Rielly will sue me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


With the glut of starting pitching, the Cubs have a golden opportunity to make a huge deal. The candidates for trade include Matt Clement, Juan Cruz, Angel Guzman, Andy Sisco, Chadd Blasko, Justin Jones, Bobby Brownlie and Jae-Kuk Ryu. With Maddux locked in for the next two years, three of the 5 starters are locked in for 04 and 05: Maddux, Prior and Big Zamboni. Wood will likely get a 4 year deal at some point this year. That's 4 slots. Clement is a free agent at the end of this year. Maddux just got Clement's 2005 money and a bunch of young talent is brewing, so he's got 162 games to audition for a job elsewhere. That means the Cubs have 7 young studs competing for 1 spot in 05 and 06.

You must use this talent to improve the club and that means trade some of them. And you do this now because tomorrow may never get here.

There are three obvious areas in need of upgrade on this team: Short stop, catcher and center field. SS is the #1 area with Alex Gonzalez's pending departure ofat the end of the year and his overall suckiness. The only way this position gets upgraded this year is if Alex gets traded away with his $5mm salary. I'd love to see it. Maybe to Texas with one of the kids. Don't know what you'd get back. Grudz might have to play short.

#2 is center field. I'm not gonna like Corey Patterson until he gets a lot smarter and starts taking walks. He plays a scary center, overruns bases, strikes out too much. In short, he's Shawon Dunston. This team needs a leadoff hitter and that guy has to play middle infield or center based upon the roster. Corey would still make great trade bait. Package him and one of the yoots... uh... youths... and go get Carlos Betran and his .911 OPS. Now, KC won't make this move in April. But if they fall out of the running by June, they might. That means, for the Cubs to get a guy who can bat leadoff (yeah, he's really a #3, but his speed and OBP say that he can bat leadoff), you want to see the White Sox or Twins crush the Royals early.

As to catcher, I'm not a Kendall guy. I think we fans are stuck watching Barrett. And Bako when Maddux pitches.

Interesting Note


"Cubs get desperately needed left-handed bat in Todd Walker for one year, $1.75 million, just a few weeks after Walker had turned down a two-year, $8-million offer -- from the Cubs."

That's new. I never heard that the Cubs had offered Walker anything prior to his signing. Anyone know if this is true or agent snipe hunting?

The ellipses...

So many things. We'll try to touch them all. Maddux is coming back. I'm not a big fan of this deal. 3 years, $24 million. $6mm in 04, $9mm in 05 with a $9mm payout for 06 if certain targets are hit (innings, wins, Jeff Bagwell). I would rather free the money up to spend on third base and CF. Then again, were the Trib to start spending like Steinbrenner, then this is a great deal.

...Maddux should pitch between Wood and Prior. That would guarantee Wood or Prior to pitch in every three game series the Cubs would play.

...the talk is that Zambrano will benefit the most from Maddux, but I'm hoping that it's Wood. Maddux is a very efficient pitcher at just over 13 pitches per inning. Wood was at almost 17. Go teach, Professor.

...Roz breaks down how the Maddux deal came to be.

...with Maddux in the fold, the only worries now are center and catcher. And center worries me most.

...if I were John Kerry, I would not like the look in my rear view mirror. The man that can beat you and move into 1600 Penn. Ave. just rubbed your back bumper. And Dubya can't be too happy either. His guys just spent a week tearing into Kerry. And it worked. Bush may just have screwed up in reverse like Hawkeye and Trapper in the first M*A*S*H episode, ever.

...and a quick Kudos to Rooftop Report for getting not only a mention, but a link in Mickey Kaus' blog. I've only been blind quoted in his rag. Nice work!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

It's being reported....

WGN TV just reported that Maddux is a done deal. ESPN carries an Atlanta Journal report that doesn't say singed, rather "closing in."

It's done.

Now don't suck.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Conn Job

What do I listen to in the afternoon? WLS and Roe Conn and Garry Meier. These two always put a great spin on the topics of the day ranging from politics to media to sports (Roe's Sonia Sosa bits are priceless). Lately it's been an unmixed bag do to the absence of Garry from the lineup. WLS pulled Garry from the air as a contract negotiation tactic (Garry's contract expires Wednesday).

Roe has soldiered on, hosting the show by himself. He's categorically stated that the two will be reunited either at WLS or at another station (rumored to be WGN or WSCR(!)). Roe's contract expires sometime this summer.

I, for one, would love to see them boot the afternoon show at WSCR into oblivion. While Doug Buffone is marginally listenable, his counterpart is not. All I ever hear is Hot Dog Boy saying, "I will tell you this!" screaming at the top of his lungs and words coded for the bed sheet and hood crowd. It's sickening that such a show still has an audience here. Isn't Mancow and Stern enough?

Gome back soon, Gar.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

ARod makes opening for AGonz?

Bully for the Yankees on landing A Rod. All I care about is what this means for the Cubs. Texas now needs a shortstop. The Cubs have one that can't hit and killed the team in the field at the most important moment since 1945. What I want to know is how can the Cubs unload AGonz on Texas, and who the Cubs can get back in return. Do they have a leadoff-type CF who can sub for / replace Patterson? What do the Cubs need to throw in to sweeten the deal in terms of minor league pitching?

AGonz and Osprey Boy (Ryu) for a hot prospect? Dunno. I don't know the Rangers system at all.


Saturday, February 14, 2004

...and so it goes

Now WSCR is reporting that Maddux has turned down San Fran's offer and that the Cubs have upped theirs.

Along with that, I'd also like to pass on an "up theirs" to Maddux and Boras.

Updating: is reporting the same thing. Too funny. Their headline says that Maddux rejected the Dodgers but the article says the Giants.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Bay City on Maddux

The Giants have made an offer to Maddux. And it's less than the Cubs have offered. From this article is this key graph:

... the Giants are banking on the 37-year-old pitcher's desire to extend his career with them even if they don't offer the biggest contract because of the ballpark and their consistency in reaching the postseason.
Boras' history is to make his client sign for the most money, regardless of situation (aka Pudge). That means the Cubs are still in the driver's seat.

I'm getting less and less excitec about Maddux for 2 years at $7 mil per. I'd much rather go with Cruz / Guzman, lose Clement, Ramirez and Alou at the end of the year and make big bids on Beltran and Chavez next year. Using $7 large on Maddux would wipe out either of those guys playing in Wrigley. And both would be upgrades to Patterson and Ramirez.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

St. Loser on Maddux

No, he hasn't signed with the Deadbirds. has a chat posted with Card GM Walt Jocketty.
----- What are the chances of the Cardinals landing Greg Maddux?

Jocketty: It's always a possibility until he signs, but it's very remote. I'm not clear that we're really a priority for him. I think the West Coast is a priority for him. Are there ongoing discussions with Scott Boras about Maddux?

Jocketty: We don't talk every day but we have discussed it with him recently
The key here is the west coast thing. Now I don't get it. Unless he signs with San Diego (where his new house is), what difference does it make where he plays? He can't go home each night from Pac Bell to see the kid's tee ball game any more than he could from Yankee Stadium! If he does, it's only if Maddux has a deal where he only spends 3 days a week with the team.

And if that's allowed, the Maddux-as-pitching-coach benefit is severely mitigated. And I wouldn't allow that if I were in Hendry's place.

There are no other offers. Greg's starting to become Fred McGriff.

Good-But-Bad Odds

Rozner has a line in his column today on the odds to win the NL Central (no source given). Cubs (1-1), Astros (7-5), Cards (3-1), Reds (30-1), Brewers (30-1) and Pirates (30-1).

1-1!?!?! Too many snowbirds out in Vegas dropping a $25 bet on the Cubs which drives the odds down. Chicago teams always have odds lower than their true odds because of people who make small wagers on the teams. Vegas slides the odds down to comensate.

I still think the Cubs are the division faves, but I wouldn't take 1-1 even with a rotation of Gibson, Feller, Carleton, Lemon and Prior.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Be Gentle

Please welcome the Rooftop Report to the Cubs Blogroll (link on list at right). Scary to think what he might write about given the line about what will dominate his thinking this season.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Battle of Initials

After tonight, it looks like the opponents in the Battle for the White House will be finalized. It's gonna be GWB versus JFK. If only it were the JFK and not the one who looks like Boris Karloff.

I really want to have a president that I can trust and admire. In the last few elections, each of my top choices (both GOP and Dem) has gotten eliminated at the primary level. Looks like a Kerry sweep tonight will result in that again.

Why can't people who are honest and full of integrity and positive in message get elected anymore in this country?

A few weeks back, I wrote that the nomination was John Edwards' to lose. He lost it in New Hampshire by 2,000 votes. He needed to finish third to get a gaggle of press saying how he kept beating expectations. He finished 1,000 votes behind Wesley Clark. Because of this, the story was all on Kerry's huge win and Howard Dean's collapse. Well, Edwards can look forward to either the VP slot or 2008 or 2012 when he runs against Hillary.

Edwards spent too much time in South Carolina. He needed 2,000 votes in New Hampshire. For the lack of that, an Oval Office shot was lost.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Schedule Marking

The papers ran the first full page ads with the Cubs' schedule on it. The only choice promotional event is the May 21st Floppy Hat Day. That sucks! Sure, there are two hat days and a few lapel pins and key chains. Also there are a few kids days like the growth chart and the Build-a-Bear (fine, so long as they are better than Brian Urlacher). BFD. I want stuff for me! All the other events are the drawings for things like Kerry Wood jerseys (100 to be awarded), Mark Prior baseballs (500) and Sammy Sosa faux toenails made from genuine cork.

Pretty crappy year for give aways. They better win. No self serving fan is gonna be placated by Precious Moments Mother's Day Figurines.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Triple Play

I have three stories to record for posterity today, all have a tie to baseball, all are about my personal life. If you don’t care about my personal life (and why should you), come back another day. If curiosity gets your goat, read on McDuff!

The first occurred at about 1:30 today. I’m stuck at home today with two sick boys. The youngest, age almost 17 months, has a fetish for books of all kinds. His faves are the touch and feel types. You know, a picture of a basket has some wicker glued on to the page so a kid can touch it. Well, one of the books we have in that series is about baseball (link for Christian!). He picks up the book, walks over to me and says, “BAY BAHH!” Very cool.

The second, occurred last Sunday. I told the 4 1/2 year old that this was the last football game of the year. He said, “What comes next? Oh yeah. Baseball!” This is with no prompting from Dad. Very, very cool!

The third is not cool. Last Friday morning, I got a call from a old high school friend. She told me that a mutual friend had a sudden, massive heart attack that morning and had died. He was 38. Now this was a guy that I hadn’t seen in years. I was friends with him back in the early 80’s and was very close friends with his sister. He had three kids: 11, 9 and 5. He was a TREMENDOUS sports fan with a heavy heart for the Cubs. He vended at Wrigley back in high school. After he graduated he spent his summers at Wrigley. In 1984, he told me he went to 40 games. All between May and August.

This one hit me hard. It can happen to any of us at any time. I think back to Monday evening at my friend’s house after the funeral. I saw my friend’s eleven year old son as the Rabbi led evening services. He had a faraway look in his eyes, but gently rested his head on his mom’s stomach. I look at my boys and those two little very cool things that happened.

They aren’t little things. I hope I get as much time as possible to see these little things. I hope we all do. I don’t want any of us to miss this little stuff – the little stuff that’s unbelievably important when you really get down to it.

BAY BAHH!!! You said it, kid.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Maybe He Thought Osama was Under There

Have you seen Justin Timberlake's excuse for exposing Janet's sagging right boob? Turns out it was a "wardrobe malfunction"! Who writes this stuff? President Bush's speech writers? Maybe it was a wardrobe of mass destruction-related program activity.

It was intentional. My kids didn't see it. If they did, I don't care.

Football's over. Move on.

Now that Pudge has signed, when do we hear about Maddux?

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