Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Got 4 Minutes?

If you have Real1 Player and enjoy catching politicians lying in the act, Click:


and then,


Homer Nods

This sheet has been very skeptical of Kerry Wood. My doubts about his ability to keep cool and keep his walks to a reasonable level are old news. And I still think that these weaknesses may make him the 4th best pitcher on the team.

That said, KW has had a wonderful spring. ERA of 1.25. Walks down to 0.38 per inning versus 0.47 from last year. WHIP of 1.06 versus 1.19 a year ago.

These are Cy Young candidate numbers. If KW can keep his numbers like this, then the money spent to keep him for an additional three years is well spent.

Prove me wrong, Kerry. Make me look like a stupid piece of diaper filler.

I dare ya'!

New Feature

In the list stack on the right I've added links to potential 2004 free agents that could be mid-year acquisition targets for the Cubs. I did this for my benefit so it's easy for my to see their stats as the season progresses. If you want to check them out, be my guest.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Who's Dumber? Kids or Schools?

This type of story makes you understand why I am trying to get on my local school board.
11 year-old Dominique Reed is a bully victim. She is the target of choice for the number one bully at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. She gets taunted, pushed and punched. Her hearing aid gets taken and thrown around the playground.

Three times Reed tried to show her tormentors just how tough she was. Acting against the advice of the school, she fought back. Each time she was suspended along with the attacker.

"There’s nothing I can do," she said. "If I tell, nothing happens, and every time I defend myself I get suspended."
My wife is the proud recipient of a cochlear implant. My 4 year old understands that his mom wears a "special ear." Were he ever to treat another kid like this, I'd tan his hide. But, how sick are these school administrators? What's their solution? They keep her alone in her classroom while the rest of her schoolmates (including her bully) go outside to play.

Do You Get It Now?

The Suntimes reports on Mark Prior's secret trip to serve turkey to the troops... ah... have an MRI on his achillies and elbow. Elbow!?!?! Now where did this come from?

But more directly. Is anyone shocked to hear that Prior was thourougly scanned by docs at Northwestern? Of course not. In fact, you were probably somewhat relieved to hear that finally some medical action was being taken instead of just allowing Mark to rest.

And the reason you were relieved is that the Cubs have slowly been telling you how badly Mark has been hurt through their media leaks. Imagine waking up today, hearing that the Yankees are already losers on the field of play, and thinking how wonderful it will be to watch Wood, Prior and Maddux mow down Redlegs next week. Then you pick up the paper and see "Prior Flown to Chicago for MRI."

You'd barf like a 17 year old at a frat house.

These media leaks are by design. And they work.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Follow the Reporters

Based on the Ivy Chat Rule ("Major Cubs' Events are Leaked Through the Media Far in Advance of When They Actually Occur"), it's getting tempting to project LaTroy Hawkins will move into the closer role in the near future. It seems Sweaty Joe Bo has lost a few MPH of his heater.

The Sun Times states very clearly that, "with setup men LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth both capable of trying to be closers with perhaps more electric stuff than Borowski possesses, he will be pressed if he doesn't succeed."

Now I like Joe Bo as much as the next fan. And Right Guard distributor. But what Hendry has done right is to have Hawkins in place as a bona-fide if Joe Bo can't cut it.

And if Kyle can keep his liver producing bile instead of oxydizing CH3-CH2-OH then Jo becomes a great addition to a pen and not the "must perform" piece of the puzzle for the cubs to succeed.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

That Darn Media

Are the Cubs at it again? Back in early March, Dusty tipped us all that Prior would be left behind for extended spring training. Today? Check the headline to this story:

"Talk of Prior return in June downplayed"

It seems that the press overheard a rumor that Prior's out until June. Both Larry Rothschild and Dusty baker "downplayed" the rumor. Key graphs:
"It's impossible to answer, but we don't anticipate that," Rothschild said. "I'm anticipating [Prior missing] maybe one or two starts, hopefully. The thing now is to build the arm back up and make sure we don't have any problems there. ... June isn't part of [the scenario] … I don't expect that."

"It's bad they're speculating on a timetable," said Baker.
What don't you see? Denials.

Prior's hurt worse than anyone is letting on. The Cubs are slowly leaking information to set expectations appropriately. I'm not arguing if this type of leaking is good or bad. Simply, Prior is not in good shape and the Cubs are tipping their hand slowly. If you read carefully, this is clear.

I now have my expected first Prior start in mid to late May.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

One for the Sloth

Here's Ivy Chat's contribution to the under 18 bare midriff set. She's no Jessica Alba yet, but, if you know where to look, you can see her in 3-D.
Alexa Vega

Cubs Trade Cruz

The Cubs acquired pitcher Andy Pratt and infielder Richard Lewis from the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Juan Cruz and Steve Smyth. Stats follow:
Andy Pratt:

Position: P
Born: Aug 27,1979
Height: 5-11 Weight: 160
Bats: Left Throws: Left
High School: Chino Valley (Chino Valley,AZ)
Drafted: Selected by Texas Rangers in 9th Round (263rd Overall) of 1998 amateur draft

1998 Gulf Coast 19 Tex 4 3 .571 3.86 12 8 0 0 56.0 49 25 24 14 49
1999 Savannah 20 Tex 4 4 .500 2.89 13 13 1 1 71.2 66 30 23 16 100
2000 Charlotte 21 Tex 7 4 .636 2.73 16 16 2 1 92.2 68 37 28 26 95
2000 Tulsa 21 Tex 1 6 .143 7.22 11 11 0 0 52.1 66 48 42 33 42
2001 Tulsa 22 Tex 8 10 .444 4.61 27 26 3 1 168.0 175 99 86 57 132
2002 Greenville 23 Atl 4 9 .308 4.26 20 18 1 1 93.0 92 54 44 5 44 67 6
2002 Richmond 23 Atl 4 2 .667 3.10 6 6 1 1 40.2 35 15 14 2 9 36 3
2002 Atlanta 23 Atl 0 0 --- 6.75 1 0 0 0 1.1 1 1 1 0 4 1 0
2003 Richmond 24 Atl 7 10 .412 3.40 28 27 1 0 156.0 146 77 59 10 77 161 14

Minor League Totals: 39 48 .448 3.96 133 125 9 5 728.0 697 385 320 276 682

Richard Lewis

Position: IF
Born: Jun 29,1980
Height: 6-1 Weight: 190
Bats: Right Throws: Right
College: Georgia Tech
Drafted: Selected by Atlanta Braves in 1st Round (40th Overall) of 2001 amateur draft.

2001 Georgia Tech 21 .398 65 274 79 109 17 3 4 52 10 4 24 34 .526 .464 990
2001 Jamestown 21 Atl .242 71 285 37 69 7 1 4 27 16 4 20 50
2002 Myrtle Beach 22 Atl .279 130 484 82 135 23 4 2 51 31 10 55 80 .355 .359 714
2003 Greenville 23 Atl .239 129 460 59 110 23 3 6 47 19 9 44 101 .341 .305 646

Minor League Totals: .255 330 1229 178 314 53 8 12 125 66 23 119 231

Signage Changes

Buried in the Busines section was this from Jim Kirk's marketing column. It sounds pretty coool to me.

It also sounds like it could pay for a Vidro, Kendall and/or another starter.

I also can't wait to see the new duds for the Andy Frains!
Advertising at Wrigley: Chicago Cubs marketing executives say that new LED signs in Wrigley Field are not, let me repeat not, permanent signage, and that the park is therefore still signage free.

The fans will likely be the judges of that.

But advertisers in Wrigley will be in heaven this season. New light-emitting diode, or LED, signs will run 70 feet down the right and left field facades. And a new LED sign will run 64 feet underneath the manual scoreboard in center field.

The signs will rotate more statistics on players and give advertisers their largest ever presence in Wrigley. Advertisers will have half-inning exclusivity in the park on the signs.

And though executives aren't saying so, the new signs are expected to pump several million dollars worth of new revenue into the coffers of the Cubs, which are owned by Tribune Co., as is this newspaper.

"We want to provide more content to the fans. It's very much content driven," said John F. McDonough, the Cubs' vice president of marketing and broadcasting. "We're upholding the integrity of the park. We opted not to display permanent signage."

"We needed to update without restructuring the architecture," said Jay Blunk, the Cubs' director of promotions and advertising.

Blunk indicated that advertisers jumped at the new opportunity. McDonald's Corp. and Exelon Corp. were two big advertisers that signed on for the first time. Sears, Roebuck and Co., Culvers, Southwest Airlines, Sportmart and MasterCard International also will have a big presence.

And after a one-year hiatus, Sears will once again have signs in the dugout. In addition, the retailer will have an even bigger presence on field and in the stands as part of its multiyear sponsorship.

All Wrigley personnel, including security guards and ushers, will be decked out in apparel from Lands' End, a Sears subsidiary. In addition, the grounds crew will sport, of course, Craftsman gear, also a Sears brand.

Narrow Focus?

It may seem that this page has had an obsession with the Mark Prior story. Well, for good reason. Mark Prior may be the most exciting athlete to come this way since Michael Jordan. Prior is captivating. His starts are appointment television. This is what it must have been like to be in Baltimore in 1965 when a young Jim Palmer came up. And now that he has a chronic foot injury (unlike the acute one suffered by MJ), there is a real fear that the problem will not go away.

Prior failed to make his scheduled throws on the side yesterday. That pushes back his first start to May 1 or later as I project. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.

But that isn't the point I want to make today.

The buried lede here is: Why did this team screw around waiting to sign Greg Maddux? Prior's injury was well known to team officials as early as last September. While I'm sure that the Cubs didn't think that Prior would still be hurt in March, any good business man makes contingency plans. Greg Maddux is an A-1 caliber contingency plan. It gets my gall even more to think that they didn't make signing Maddux a priority with the extra revenue the Cubs are receiving this year from the rooftop owners, additional stadium advertising in Wrigley and the 200 new behind-the-plate premium seats.

This team is a veritable Fort Knox and they screw around to see if Maddux can be had for the right deal? With the best young pitcher of a generation potentially hurt for the long term?

This team needs to make additional contingency plans right now. If that means unloading a few prospects for a bona-fide starter, you do it. The Cubs have a window to win a title this year. And that's the only title that's possible to win.

Let's see this team really go for it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Starting Schedule

ESPN reports that Prior threw 50 pitches on March 22, 35 off the mound and 15 on the side. If you take Ivy Chat gospel on 4 weeks from Mound to Majors, that puts a first start date for Mark likely no earlier than April 19th.

Looking at the schedule, the "fifth starter" (Mitre or Cruz) is scheduled to start on April 10, 16, 21 and 26. However, if Baker decides that off days make a 5th starter unecessary, no fifth starter is needed until April 19th. I think that's the earliest you could hope to see Prior.

My predicition: Prior starts one of the games of the Mets series. Give me a $2 bet on Saturday April 24.


Last summer, Carlos Zambrano faced Barry Bonds with the bases (and the batter) juiced. Zamboni got Bonds to line out for the third out of the inning and pumped his fists. "(T)hat kid will respect me. He will learn fast. You've got to show respect in order to get respect," said Bonds afterwards. Carlos retorted, "When he hit his 500th home run, he stood at home plate and watched it a little while, and then he runs. He has been doing that since he was a rookie, so I can do anything I want."

Well, there was a rematch last night and, as the Trib Reports, Bonds got the better of the matchup. Here's what's in the article that everyone is gonna focus on:
Was Zambrano thinking about their faceoff from last July?

"I don't want to talk about that," he said.

Did Zambrano think Bonds was thinking about it during his at-bat?

"I don't care about him," Zambrano said.

But, here's the real story:

"I had a little back problem and then I just made an adjustment and threw the way I'm supposed to throw," Zambrano said.

He said he had a bad night sleeping before the game, which contributed to his bad back.

Urk! Another leak of an injury through the media? What has this page been warning about?

Just YESTERDAY?!?!?!?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It's Official

Mark Prior. 15 day DL this afternoon.

Again, this is no surprise. And as soon as Prior throws off a mound, it's even less of a big deal. WSCR reported that Prior threw in "the bullpen" today. I'm not sure if this was off the mound, but it sure sounds like it.

That targets him to make a start before the end of the Cubs' first homestand.

That's cool.

Dating Advice

The Chicago Sun Times uses the release of information related to an insurance fraud trial to give the man-on-the-street some tips on how to bag that $300 per hour call girl. It seems that Chicago insurance magnate and Highland Park-based tax cheat (at least according to John Kass' May 30, 2001 column) Mickey Segal used to hire $400-an-hour prostitutes.

Just in case you don't know how to find such women, the Sun Times tell you how.

We walk down Rush Street and talk to Boris Avramenko, a valet for a couple restaurants. At night, he said, hookers are all over. Most work the streets and look cheap, but every so often a really high-class number will walk by.

How can you tell she's a prostitute?

"Everyone can recognize a prostitute," he says.

What does she look like?


Actually, not everyone can recognize a prostitute, not the truly high-end ones. Looking good, but not too obvious, is their style. Spotting them is an acquired skill, well developed only among trained professionals, such as cops and bartenders and conventioneers.

But you can find them in Reader classifieds, under "escort services." Or in the Yellow Pages. Or online.

Or you can strap a Rolex on your wrist and walk into a Rush Street bar and they'll find you.

"You're an older guy and the high-class girls, who are very good-looking, come up and talk to you," said Chicago Police Vice Officer Roger O'Brien. "The next thing you know, she's charging $300."


Chicago has at least 16,000 hookers, according to a nonprofit group, the Center for Impact Research. Most work the streets. Only about 2,000 work for an escort service.


Now we all have something to focus on until Prior's Achilles is all better.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I'd Rather Be A Moran

The smartest thing about this person is that they hid their face.

Mazel Tov!

I just wanted to wish a hearty congrats to Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed on reaching a body temperature equal to that of the room. It's a shame it took so long for him to join the countless youths he ordered to do the same thing on a volunteer basis. Great work by the IDF for assisting him in making this transition.

Soo-prise, Soo-prise!

The Suntimes gets on the Ivy Chat train with a story on Mark Prior and his nearly certain trip to the DL. Key line:

"(Prior) seems likely to stay back in Arizona for extended spring."

Those of us not distracted by Dusty Baker's impression of Greg "Sacks Don't Matter" Blache saw this coming a few weeks back. Dusty told us that Prior was staying for an extended spring training, but did so with a Welch analogy.

As this blog has always tried to use today's news and provide forward looking analysis, here's what to watch for on Prior. Three to four weeks after he first throws off a mound is about when you can expect him to pitch in a game that matters. I'd say look for Prior to start sometime after we all pay our taxes.

What's also key to watch from the Cubs is what they talk about in the media. They continually drop hints about their long term plans in the press so as to desinsitize an issue. They did it with Choi. They did it with Prior.

They'll do it again.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

License, Registration and your Weapons, Please

The Associated Press reported from Gaza City that a Hamas "militant", who ran a red light in an unregistered car, threw a grenade at police rather than accept a traffic ticket.

Those wacky Palestinians. Don't they have AAA cards over there?

Yeah, baby!

Mark Prior is sore from his first workout in three weeks. But it's normal, stretching out the muscles. But on an ominous note, the article in the Trib today still hints at a DL / extended spring training stint:
If Prior did start the season on the disabled list, it's likely he would remain in Arizona to pitch in simulated games rather than start out with a rehab assignment in the minors.
Until the papers stop hinting at Prior having a delayed start to his season, I'll stop thinking he's injured worse than they say.

But the real news for today is this buried lede. Mark's bored. And why? The Cubs are preventing him from doing almost anything!

"They won't let me do anything," Prior groused. "They don't want me running around. They don't want me to take [batting practice] because of the rotation [of the right foot], having to push off on it. They don't want me to aggravate it. They won't let me play golf, either."

But the worst?

"I can't even shag," says Prior.

Now that's hitting below the belt.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Looks like Eric Chavez will sign with the A's for $11 million per year for 6 years. Option #1 for replacing E-ramis is off the table.

Bonus points if you get the title of this post. Hint: it's clear and present.

Soft Toss

Prior threw about 30 pitches off a flat surface (no mound) yesterday. That means he's about 3 to 4 weeks behind as he should have been doing this just after Valentine's day. At least he's throwing and I have no reason to think that he's hurt much worse that just an owie on the ankle.

But if Baker makes some news about McCarthyism or how players of Latin descent are better adapted for dome play or some other non-sequitur, my Mark Prior Injury Distraction Alarm will go off.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Messiah Complex or Dumb as a Post?

A man tried to commit suicide by nailing himself to a cross.

The man took two pieces of wood, nailed them together in the form of a cross and placed them on the floor. He attached a suicide sign to the wood and then proceeded to nail one of his hands to the makeshift cross using a 14-penny nail and a hammer.

When he realized that he was unable to nail his other hand to the board, he called 911. It was unclear whether the man was seeking assistance for his injury or help in nailing down his other hand.


The Cubs announced their first series of Spring cuts Monday. They are, in alphabetical order:

INF, Ronny Cedeno
RHP, Scott Chiasson
LHP, John Foster
RHP, Angel Guzman
INF, Brendan Harris
RHP, Jon Leicester
RHP, Renyel Pinto
LHP, Felix Sanchez
LHP, Carlos Vasquez

More details here.

Good Line / Bad Line

Check out these two pitching lines from yesterday's spring training games:

4 2 0 0 0 4 0
1 3 4 3 3 0 0

The first is the Cubs' Kerry Wood with a $12 million outing.

The other?

Atlanta's newest bane.

Antonio Alfonseca!

Primary Event

It's election day here in Illinois. The big race is to see who gets to replace outgoing Senator Peter "anti-business Republican" Fitzgerald. Yeah, this guy did a great thing in appointing a US Attorney who isn't beholden to Mayor Daley, but he's done as much else as Scott Ruffcorn did for the White Sox.

The hot choices on the Dem side are Barack Obama and Dan Hynes. Barack seems like a decent guy. Hynes isn't bad either, but his did is Tom Hynes, a former Cook County Dem big shot. I'm all for stamping out nepotism and the perception of an imperial governing class. You know, people who's parents are life long politicos. Like Bush, Gore, Blagoyevich, Lisa Madigan. Governing shouldn't be the family business. A third option is super-rich millionaire Blair Hull. But he gets disqualified for beating his ex-wife. Yes, you read that right.

On the GOP side, the top dogs are Andy McKenna (son of the former Cub president), Jim Oberweiss and Jack Ryan. McKenna seems harmless and might actually be a good choice. Oberweiss has run one of the most dishonest, racist campaigns I've ever seen. This includes a commercial in which he flies over Soldier Field and claims that enough illegal aliens are crossing the boarder from Mexico every WEEK to fill the stadium. Even if that were true, that seems more of a Texas / California problem. I'm so disgusted I may stop buying his ice cream. The front runner is Jack Ryan. He's not the guy that is in the Tom Clancy novels, rather he's the guy that is also divorced and has hidden the sorid details of why (I guess that makes him smarter than Hull). Who's he divorced from?

He couldn't stay married to that and now you want to be a Senator? You lost my vote.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Buried Again

Trib Headline: "Maddux sharp in 2nd start, striking out 8"

But the story is in paragraph 5: Prior sidelined indefinitely.

Cubs trainer Dave Groeschner said after Friday's game that Prior's first bullpen session in two weeks was postponed from Saturday to an undetermined date. Groeschner said there had been no setback with Prior's Achilles' tendon injury, but the Cubs thought he should rest his arm after three days of playing catch.

One of the oldest political tricks in the book is to release a story on Friday. That's because no one reads the Saturday papers and by Sunday the news cycle has moved on to other things. And Trib/McPhail sure know the political game.

The key words here are "undetermined date." That means "indefinitely." That means he's possibly hurt worse than anyone is telling.

The Suntimes goes a little better moving the story up to paragraph 2 and has a non-quoted quote from Prior.

Prior admitted that until he gets on the mound and starts slamming that right foot on the ground, there is no way to know if he can possibly be ready to make his first scheduled start of the season April 8 in Cincinnati. And time is running out with Cubs camp set to end in 22 days.

This Mark Prior story is not going away. Just no one is looking at it. At least, not in the professional press.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Halls of Power

This is one of the coolest maps I've ever seen.

The following is the key to the office occupants:
1: Linda Gambatesa, Deputy Assistant to the President for Management, Administration and Oval Office Operations
2: Personal Secretary and Personal Aide to the President
3: Scott McClellan, Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary
4: Pamela Stevens, Assistant Press Secretary
5: Erin Healy, Assistant Press Secretary
6: Steve Hadley, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor
7: Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
8: Richard B. Cheney, Vice President
9: Jonathan Burks, Special Assistant to the President for Policy and Veronica Vargas Stidvent, Special Assistant to the President for Policy
10: Joseph Hagin, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations
11: Harriet Miers, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
12: Andrew H. Card, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff
13: Dan Bartlett, Assistant to the President for Communications
14: Mike Gerson, Assistant to the President for Speechwriting
15: David Hobbs, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
16: Eric Pelletier, Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
17: Steve Friedman, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
18: Keith Hennessey, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
19: Suzy DeFrancis, Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications
20: Dina Powell, Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
21: David Leitch, Deputy Counsel to the President
22: Margaret Spellings, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
23: Kristen Silverberg, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
24: Karl Rove, Senior Advisor to the President
25: Israel Hernandez, Deputy Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Senior Advisor
26: Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President

Too cool.

Ankle Biters

It seems that my fellow mates in the Cubbie Blog Army have fallen into a neat trap. They've spent the whole day talking about Dusty Baker and "do walks matter." Baker diverted their attention from the real Cubs' news. Mark Prior might miss his first start because his achillies is still hurting him.

This is the real story of the day.

If he misses one start, no biggie. But like last summer when the Cubs set the table through the media for the exit of Choi, they are doing the same thing with Prior's injury. From today's Trib:

Baker said it's too soon to know when Prior will be ready but added there's no need to panic if Prior doesn't make his scheduled start April 8 in Cincinnati.

"I'm not saying that's the case, but we used to leave Bobby Welch behind every year in spring training," Baker said, referring to his old Dodgers teammate.

"It's an unfortunate situation. [Prior] hurt his Achilles' and it got him behind. If you're behind, you have to catch up at the normal pace. You can't catch up at the accelerated pace or something else may happen."

This is not a promissing sign. Cruz and Guzman better be ready. They might be needed before Tax Day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

High Places

That's a double entendre title. It stands for Clement's level of earned runs this spring. It also alludes to a certain batter that LaTroy faced today.

Yes, LaTroy issued the free 90 foot trot to Garth Brooks.

That's worth a giggle.

Once Around

We've seen the Cubs rotate through their rotation one time now (sans Prior). It's early, but safe to say that the first go around is pretty much what I expected to see.

Wood - 2 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 K.
An extra hit and a strikeout or two less, but lotsa walks. That's KW all over.

Maddux - 2 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 Ks.
Yes, I remember it well.

Zambrano - 3 innings, 3 hits, 0 walks, 7 Ks.
I'm in love.

Clement - 2 innings, 4 hits, 1 walks, 0 Ks.
When I went to Game 4 of the NLDS and saw Clement walk on the mound I felt like a Woody Allen at junior prom with a condom in his pocket that he bought in 7th grade. I had no idea what was going to happen, if this was going to work, and had a feeling I'd be nauseous when it was over. Clement's not bad, he's just inconsistent. He's the Weakest Link. Can Angel Guzman be ready by June 1?

I'd expect that this is a reasonable preview of the Cubs rotation. Yeah, Maddux and Zambrano were better than expected and Wood and Clement were worse. But in terms of whom I expect to be the best performers, what we saw is what we're going to see more often than not.

Expansion is Back

No, silly, not in professional sports. Rather at the Ivy Chat homestead. Yes, the Wife will add a third small baseball fan to the household sometime in late October. Actually, the due date is Game 3 of the World Series.

One can only hope my conversation with the wife goes, "Push! Push! ... Slide! SAFE!!! ... I''m sorry, dear. Is it a boy or a girl?"

Monday, March 08, 2004

Must Watch TV

The Sopranos started last night with a typical opener. All the characters got some screen time to say hello. The plot lines are being setup. An "out of the blue" murder (that was pshawed off by the characters "the cops don't know us down here"). All in all, a solid, unspectacular start.

But then.....


If that wasn't the best 9/11 humor tied into the best Holocaust humor ever, I don't know what would be ("Springtime for Hitler" comes close). Now some of my faith-tual persuasion seem to be chirping that the "survivor" plot line was over the line in terms of taste. Those who think that, they just don't get anything.

Then again, how many people have laser beams in their eyes? Much less octogenarian Jews?

Back in the Saddle

California was not so sunny and not so warm. And the youngest was sick along with the eldest (me). In short, not much of a vacation. Welcome back to Chicago and 40 degree weather.

Also back is Greg Maddux. No walks. 15 strikes, 8 balls. Were you watching, Kerry?

The Adventure Begins

Mikey Remlinger has a bad shoulder. The LOOGYs are dropping like flyballs between the pitcher and second. With the schedule front loaded with Cardinals, I'd rather have Remo early than late. Get well soon.

Or get Fred Ward to substitute?

Friday, March 05, 2004

Walk This Way

I don't take much stock in spring training results, especially the games of the first two weeks. But this one stat caught my eye from today's game.

K Wood: BB - 3

3 walks in only two innings? KW correctly said that 14 wins is not sufficient at this point in his career. Well, the same goes for 100+ walks this season.

This guy still scares me. And probably always will.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Juice gets Named

The San Francisco Chronicle published a story naming names of who received steroids from Balco. The named includes Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Marvin Benard, Benito Santiago, and Randy Velarde.

All of them were players in the Bay Area when the received the steroids.

Additionally, Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski also was said to have received performance-enhancing drugs.

The story doesn't list the dates on which the steroids were received by the players. I'd love to cross check those dates with their career statistics before and after that date.

Let's remember that if these guys have taken steroids, all they've done is break the law. MLB has no real punishment for taking steroids. Remember that MLB wants these guys on the juice. And if they understand that it could kill them, yet they still provide entertainment, why should I care?

All entertainers enhance themselves artificially. Until they eliminate plastic surgery from Hollywood, then juice in baseball is fine by me.

Just don't expect me to shed a tear when Bonds gets diagnosed with brain cancer.

Cubs' Pundit chimes in on my statement comparing actors to athletes.

"(A)ctors don't become better actors if they get a boob job or a better looking face," he writes.

They may not become better, although making herself uglier sure made Charlize Theron better. But they do become more successful. And that's the name of the game. Jason Giambi is to first base sans-roids as Pam Anderson is to T&A TV sans-implants.

Entertainers look for an edge that will place them in the spotlight and make them more money. Athletes are entertainers.

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