Friday, October 29, 2004

Billy Buck

Yesterday, I caught part of an interview on the Dan Patrick Show with Bill Buckner. Obviously, he was on to talk about 1986 and his feelings now that the Red Sox had finally won a title. Buck was clearly non-plussed about the Red Sox win. “This is a different team now,” he said (I paraphrase). Winning now doesn’t make up for 1986. The 1986 team still blew it.

What was really interesting was what Patrick asked next. Dan asked if Buckner would now be willing to accept an offer to throw out the first pitch at a game in Fenway next year. Buckner said that he would NOT. He loves visiting the cities he played in and named LA and Chicago, specifically. But he also said that he does not like visiting Boston and that he really would not want to go there.

That’s very sad. Here’s a guy who, in 1986, drove in 102 runs for Boston, and then played a World Series on one leg. He made an error, but only after Bob Stanley and Calvin Schiraldi blew the game. Buckner gets the goats horns for life because of the video of the error, but Stanley and Schiraldi deserve them. All that, yet Buckner doesn’t feel welcome in a town to which he helped bring a pennant.

The Boston Red Sox and their fans owe it to Bill Buckner to reach out and make amends to this man. He was one of my favorite players because he gave his all for his team and the paying customers. For him to feel unwelcome in any city in which he played is wrong on so many levels.

I lived in Boston for a summer. It’s a great city. I’d live there again in a minute. The city owes this man.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Steve Stone has resigned. No details as yet other than an audio statement he gave played on CLTV and possibly other sources. Interesting that he "resigned." Steve was under contract for 2005 at the club's option, not Steve's. Clearly a mutual parting of the ways.

This is a bad thin. Not because Steve was a quality broadcaster, but rather it shows that the inmates were running the asylum. Not a good sign for Jim Hendrey's stewardship of this franchise.

Follow the link to Steve's resignation latter.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh, please, please, please...

ABC News has learned that Yasser Arafat has been taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ramallah. His health is described as "deteriorating."

I want to send my wishes to Yasser for a speedy deterioration. We're pulling for you, Big Guy!

Schedule This!

The Cubs’ schedule is out and, frankly, it sucks. Why are the Cubs playing the AL East again? It’s AL Central time. And why do the Cubs host the Red Sox and have to Go to Yankee Stadium? Why can’t it be like the White Sox series and be a home and home affair? It’s time for the Cubs to play the Twins and Indians. We just did the Yanks a year ago.

The MLB schedulers need to pull their heads out of their rectums and make schedules that are not only balanced between divisional opponents, but fair to the fans as well. It’s very simple. There are 30 teams in the major leages. That yields six divisions of 5 teams. Each team plays the other 4 teams in their division in 3 home-and-home series (18 games) per year. The other 10 teams in the league get played in one home-and-home series (6 games) per year. That leaves interleague. You play one home-and-home series (6 games) per year against all the teams from a single division (5 teams). Do the math. 162 games.

MLB was the last league to allow fans in every town to see the players from all the other towns. But they do it half-assed.

Get rid of the “rivalry” games, which are already getting old. Playing the White Sox 6 times per year is now a novelty. Playing the White Sox 6 times every THIRD year would be an event. Same with the Red Sox, Mariners and Angels.

And don’t give me any crap about the lousy matchups created when Pittsburgh plays Kansas City. All that does is replace some of the games Pitt plays against Washington.

Betting Line

The new chart below ties into one of the web-based futures markets. Once I get it exactly figured out, I'll incorporate somce of the sports futures as well. Keep an eye on the "Bush" line. He was north of 65 last week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

1000 > 670

Ted Cox does a superb job of culling all the Arbitron radio data out there on the ESPN vs. WSCR war. Like dissecting a presidential poll, the only way to truly understand the numberes is to look at the internals.

And looking at those, WSCR is getting roasted alive by ESPN. For the first time, Murph and Fred were beaten by Mike & Mike / Jay Mariotti, both over all and by demographic breakdown. Hot Dog Boy got pummeled by McNeil/Jurko/Harry, losing 3.2 to 2.2 in the "all male 12 and over" demo.

Cox suggests that Hot Dog Boy was moved to the AM to kill off any possible audience build for Mariotti. Pardon me, but isn’t that just putting rats in your kitchen to keep away cockroaches? The way to kill off Mariotti is not to drag a tired old act into a new slot and give him new material. The way to kill off competition is to reinvent your self. Go a new way. Hot Dog Boy is old and tired. What was needed was Roe Conn & Garry Meier. Or, say, Garry & Bruce Wolf.

At least Boers and Burnsy are still kicking ass. While they get overly condescending at times, they are still the best sports show on the air. If these guys would take a few extra seconds and assume that their callers have a point when the call starts (too often they assume “dumbass” from the second they click on the phone), the show would be much less haughty than it comes off now.

Monday, October 25, 2004


About 6 weeks ago, on another Cubs site that I frequent, I wrote the following under a silly pseudonym:

"In a market with Nomar Garciaparra, Orlando Cabrerra, and Edgar Renteria in it, Nomar’s market value is going to be lower than it was a year ago. And he'll be lower in market value than Renteria. In fact, should Caberra have a hot fall, Nomar could be third in terms of market value."

Looks like that was dead on. Paul Sullivan and the Boston Globe combine to shed some light on what may happen to Nomar. It looks to be a one year deal for him with either the Cubs or the Dodgers. The Dodgers would have to move Cesar Izturis to second to make room for Nomar.

For a one year deal, I see Nomar coming back to Chicago. That has huge ramifications for the Cubs. All of a sudden, committing huge dollars to Nomar doesn’t stand in the way of signing a Carlos Beltran.

But there are these continuing little snippets that Hendry wants Cabrera and Renteria more than he wants Nomar. And what we do know about the Cubs is that they regularly tip their hand through the media. Even though I see Nomar returning for a 1-year deal here, I’d say that it’s 50-50 at best that he actually returns.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Blue & Orange Flu

The Bears have hit the big time. Even Drudge has gone with the story on how some Bear players go flu shots. The PR that this team gets could only be worse if they renamed themselves the Chicago Edsels.

Ecstacy and Agony

ESPN 1000 reported this AM that Moises Alou had been formally told that his option for 2006 had been declined by the Cubs. Editorial Comment: YEAH!!!!!!

ESPN went further to say that Alou could be back, depending on what happens with Sosa. If Sosa leaves, Alou could return at a drastically reduced price. Editorial Comment: AUUGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Sully Speaks

In Paul's Tib column today, burried at the end is this little nugget:

Surely Sosa must realize he has no future in Chicago, and neither does his boom box; a teammate is said to have taken a bat to it after Sosa's disappearing act on the final day of the season.

NOW this happens? This shoulda happened years ago. Hell, poor Joe Girardi nearly got cold cocked by Sosa for just turning to volume down.

Goo-bye Sammy. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's Not Like I Was Born Yesterday! Oh, Wait...

I guess you could also say that yesterday, was the first day of all of her life.

Ashley Brooke.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Thy Will Be Done

Will Carroll plays Guess the Free Agent. He comes up with this:

Armando Benitez (Cubs: 2x7)
Jeff Kent (Cubs: 2x6)
Carlos Beltran (Cubs: 7x20, backloaded)

I don't see it, but I like it.

No more posts for a day or two. You'll find out why no later than Thursday.

She Said, She Said

We’ve examined John Stewart making a mockery of Tucker Carlson (and Paul Begala) on Crossfire. The video from tonight’s Daily Show show should be up on the Daily Show web site some time in the next few hours.

But what many of you may have missed is the pissing match between Anna Marie Cox (Wonkette) and Matt “I’m Gay Like Mary Cheney But I’m Outraged” Drudge. Any time some one shoves something unlubricated up Matt’s sphincter, it’s fun to watch. Check Wonkette and Drudge to see the latest sparks. If it wasn't Matt, I'd think Anna was in love!


LaRooosa is gonna lose. And the Cubs are gonna regret the Beltran trade and Barrett's outburst for years and years and years and years and years....

Addoptive Position

Alan Keyes is at it again. Today, he goes and bashes the Cheney family stating that gay couples who have children will lead to incest.

"If we do not know who the mother is, who the father is, without knowing all the brothers and sisters, incest becomes inevitable," Keyes told a Marquette Park rally held to oppose same-sex marriages.

You know, he's absolutely right. If you have kids and don't disclose who the biological parents are to the kids, it's possible that said kid could one day marry his or her sibling unknowingly. Ergo, incest.

I'm glad this is only a problem for gays who have kids. It's not like heterosexual couples could have children who face this problem. Unless they adopt, of course. And, of course, the biological parents of the adopted child wish to maintain their privacy.

So, now I'm confused. Perhaps Mr. Keyes is now bashing anyone who adopts! Or, maybe he wants to change the Constitution to force parents giving up children for adoption to disclose themselves, their child-bearing history, and make future public declarations of any and all children they ever have.

I look forward to hearing the Cheney's, James Taranto, and the cabal et al express their outrage.

Penny Pinching

The biggest news of the weekend for Cubs fans was the news from Anaheim that the Angels are looking to cut payroll. Phil Rogers has quotes from Bill Stoneman, the GM of the Angels. It seems that they could be contracting salary instead of expanding it. That's huge for several reasons.

First, it takes a potential target for Nomar off the table. If he wants to go to the West Coast, it has to be the Dodgers now. San Diego is not benching Kahlil Green for Nomar. Hell, I'd rather have Green than Nomar right now.

Second, it removes a potential destination for Sammy Sosa. That stinks. It looks like the Yankees or Mets will be the only options (I'll believe the Rangers are a target when the trade is announced). And, given fewer suitors, the Cubs will have to eat more of Sosa's salary than with more competition for his services.


I dream of this...

Yet I awake to see this...

More on this later, but remember this, Cubs' fans. If Carlos Beltran resigns with the Astros for 2005 and beyond, the Cubs will be picked for no better than third place in 2005. Maybe that will be a good thing, to have the pressure off, but the on-paper-level of talent the Cubs will have vs. the Astros and Cardinal will make them a projected third place team.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Cause and Effect

Some might say that the reverse of what was said before hand was true.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Must Watch Download

Coattailing nicely with my last post, Jon Stewart carves up political pundits on an appearance on CNN's Crossfire. The best part is when he calls the hosts "hacks." These guys, Carlson and Begala, are. They accuse Stewart of not asking hard hitting questions on a comedy show?!?!

Stewart nails this. Instead of fomenting actual debate in this country, shows like Crossfire are simply outlets for the GOP and DNC to spout their propaganda. And these hosts facilitate it. If you have ever watched any of these shows, watch the video and see how Stewart carves them up. The links below all should work.

Oh, and don't miss the end when Stewart calls Tucker Carlson a dick.
Random Foo


Media Matters


BitFlood (need Bit Torrent to view)

Friday, October 15, 2004


I like following politics. It’s, in many ways, just like sports. There are favorites and underdogs. Old time heavyweights and young up-and-comers. Guys just trying to hang on to their jobs with one solid hit versus. The guy with all the talent in the world who blows it off for lack of focus. Blowhards who love the spotlight and get more of it than they deserve.

The election coming up in 19 days features almost all of these. Barack Obama, Alan Keyes, George Bush and John Kerry all fit these archetypes to some degree. I don’t think much will change, regardless who wins. I am hoping that we end up with a divided government like we had under the bulk of the Clinton years. Government seems to work best when it’s paralyzed. When the feds ignore you and me and worry about the small box that is Washington D.C., the rest of the country gets to work and we do very well.

If Bush wins, fine, even though I’m not a big fan of his. Should that happen, I hope that the Democrats can somehow manage to retake the Senate to make the division possible. If Kerry wins, I’m cool with that so long as the GOP keeps the House of Reps.

What I do know is this: Bush gave a speech the other day saying how amazing it was that there were actually elections in Afghanistan. What’s more amazing is that we have had that right in this country for 215 years (since the Constitution was ratified) and only about half of us exercise that right.

That’s sick.

Whatever you do on November 2nd, try to make sure you vote.

Politicians could make it easier to vote. They could declare a national holiday on Election Day. Hell, move Columbus Day to the first Tuesday in November and double our pleasure. They could get rid of voter registration and allow anyone with a social security number to vote. They don’t do this for their own petty reasons. Many politicians don’t want you to vote as they think that will favor their opponents. Screw that.

Piss off a politician this year. Vote.

And if you like to scoreboard watch, try some of these links. Fun stuff.
LA Times EV Calculator
Wall Street Journal Poll Tracker

Thursday, October 14, 2004


When George Bush said that Americans should save flu shots for the young and the elderly, was I the only person who thought of Jimmy Carter and his "turn off the lights and wear a sweater" response to the energy crisis?
Jim Hendry seems to have reasserted his control over the Cubs. Don't look at the firings of the training staff as firings of meaningless guys. Look at it combined with the firing of Wendell Kim. All the guys fired were Dusty's guys.

It looks to me that Hendry went to Dusty and said, "I backed you on the Steve Stone controversy. Here's what that costs: Kim and Groeschner."

The way Hendry fired the trainers was even classier. The guys were let go on Tuesday. The media didn't get wind of it until Wednesday, by then too late to ask embarassing questions of the men fired and of Dusty.

Bottom line: Dusty has a short leash. It's win or gone in 2005.


If you don't read the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web" blog daily (link to the right), you should. Yesterday's was excellent.

Modesty prevents me from telling you why.

Disclaimer: Ivy Chat is not affiliated with AMC Theaters in any way.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Various sources are reporting that "Wavin'" Wendell Kim has been dismissed from the Cubs' coaching ranks. Gary Matthews will move from hitting coach to first base, while Gene Clines is now the hitting coach. No new 3rd base coach has yet been named.

One year too late.

Maybe Kim can coach the Dolphins when Wanny gets canned?

UPDATE: Verified.

And Another One's Gone...

Yeah, Chris Reeve was great, but I want to talk about Ken Caminiti. I have yet to read the obits on him yet, but if I see the word "tragic" used in describing his death I'll puke blood.

This was a man who chemically enhanced himself to become a "better" ball player. The benefit of which was millions of dollars. The offsetting side effect is a predilection for health problems. It's an interesting choice. To paraphrase "Blade Runner," would you be willing to burn out a candle twice as fast if you could burn twice as bright? Ken was an athletic entertainer. He made his choice to burn twice as bright.

There's nothing tragic about dying young when a person makes these types of choices. Sure, it's sad. I'm sure his family mourns his death and my thoughts go out to them. Moreover, I hope Ken's life becomes a template on which today's young athletes learn the penalties that can occur if you try to have it all the easy way.

Ken Caminiti. Lyle Alzado. That's two.

There will be others. Many others.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Rooting Interests

On which team should the prodigious Cubs’ fan throw their hopes on in this post-season? Ranked from most want to lose to most want to win, I see it like this.

Houston – Yeah, I know the Cardinals are more hated, but Houston will have tremendous pressure on them to retain all their players should they win. That means facing Carlos Beltran 18 times per year. No, thank you. The Cardinals tried this on us with Scott Rolen and look how that worked out. Should the Astros bomb out, Drayton McClane will likely cut a bunch of payroll and effectively eliminate themselves from competing in 2005.

Cardinals – Beyond the obvious, a Cardinal collapse would lessen the pressure to bring back Edgar Renteria. Renteria should be the Cubs #2, or maybe even #1 free agent target. A World Series win would make Renteria be a "keeper" in the eyes of St. Loser management. I don’t want to see that happen.

Yankees – I don’t really hate the Yanks as much as I hate the Mike Greenberg chattering class that thinks the world loves the Yankees. We don’t. We like the Red Sox much more than the Yankees (although not as much more now as we did a few years ago). The real reason we want to see the Yanks lose is Sammy Sosa. Nothing gets the Big Stein to spend like losing. With Jason Giambi possibly done as a player, the Bombers may need a new power hitting DH. Any ideas where there may be one available?

Red Sox – They’ve become as obnoxious in the last 12 months as the Yankees. While they haven’t become as smug, they are becoming unlovable. Besides. Who wants WSPN to stop producing outstanding television like "Who is Cursed Worse?"

Dodgers – I don’t really have a problem with the Dodgers. It’s just that Los Angelinos don’t care about sports. They care about media events. LA residents already have the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys. They don’t need the World Series. And they probably don’t know the difference.

Atlanta – Well, there needs to be an NL team in the Fall Classic. These guys are the least loathsome. By default.

Angels – Anaheim isn’t LA. And the Angels are fun to watch. Also, winning for them might encourage the new owner to spend a little more money. And that could be a destination for Sammy.

Twins – If Aramis Ramirez hadn’t emerged like he did, I’d be all over the Cubs trying to get Corey Koskie. I love watching that guy play. His team plays hard and smart just like him. How can you not want to see this guy win? And Johan Santana may be the best pitcher in the Game not named Prior or Zambrano.

Go Twinkies!

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Everyone sees where Sammy Sosa was fined $87,400 for missing a game. That’s one day’s pay for him. Now, I’m not one to begrudge players their money. Far from it. Get whatever you can. This is a capitalistic society. We don’t need the anti-labor socialism of the NBA and the NFL. Free markets reign!

Here’s the issue with the fine. It’s nothing more than a publicity stunt. So Sammy lost 1/162nd of his salary. To a guy making $50 grand per year, you know what the equivalent is? Yup. $308.64. Before taxes.

All this does is hurt Sammy in the public’s eye. He deserves it. But don’t let me hear any beefing about how this is a huge fine. It’s all relative to his base salary. It’s meaningless in terms of any financial harm done to him.

It’s just another punch in the same eye socket to which Sammy has been getting pummeled for a week. It’s also making it harder and harder for the Cubs to unload him.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

24 x 4

Here's some good news for fans of Jack Bauer. It seems that FOX is going to showcase a 2-hour season premiere of "24" on Sunday, January 9th. The plan is to build audience off of that day's late NFC Wild Card playoff game.

Then, the next day, Season 4 of 24 settles into its new regular time slot. That gives Bauer fans three hours over two days to start the season.


Bad news for Sloth. No Elisha Cuthbert.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Flat One Liner

When I was born, the doctor told my mother, "I did everything I could but he pulled through anyway." - Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield didn’t pull through today. He died of complications that arose after having heart valve surgery. This 82 year old man was the first comedian of who I became a fan. I used his one liners many a time. He was brilliant. He’s gone.

This guy respected you, Rodney. Millions of others did, too.

Dumbass Departing, Gate 14

Chip Caray was class on the way he left Chicago. But his comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution continue to show the real inards of this man.

"I have a little trouble understanding why [WGN] decided not to match [the Braves' offer] because they had the best ratings they've ever had this year. ... But I'm glad they didn't."

Yeah, the ratings were best because you were there. Not because the team had a ton of talent to watch. Not because they came off a good year last year. Not because expectations were high.

By the way, Chippy. What were the ratings like your other seven years?

The Dailies

If you aren't watching the Daily Show, you are missing high quality television. Take last night. It seems Dr. Phil sat down with George and Laura Bush last week. Phil told viewers what the interview would cover. It seems viewers would learn not about world issues, but about a girl sticking her tongue out at the press, who plays "the heavy," and "Do they (George and Laura) believe in spanking?" Stewart's reply?

"Does he believe in spanking? He believes in executing the retarded. Of course he believes in spanking!"

11:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 PM Central on Commedy Central.

Lost Horizon

I see no way Sammy Sosa returns to the Cubs next year. Just think about what’s going on. Sosa is publicly calling out the manager. Dusty Baker is saying that Sosa needs to be in, "tip top shape mentally and physically next year," thereby implying that Sosa wasn’t in tip top shape all year. The general manager goes out and says that, "There’s no excuse for (not dressing for a game)."

But the topper: The Cubs released information that their security cameras caught Sosa leaving at 1:35 P.M. Sosa told the Suntimes that he left in the seventh inning.

For a media company to release to the media proof that one of their media stars is lying is huge. Oh, and they did it on Page 1 of the Chicago Tribune. Not Page 1 of the Sports section, Page 1. Right next to pictures of car bombs in Iraq.

This is Trib hard ball, and they play it better than just about anyone. Sosa has no idea what he’s up against. The Trib took down a commissioner. Sammy Sosa is small potatoes. If the Trib wants Sammy gone, he’ll be gone.

I wonder if Sammy’s 2006 option vests if the Cubs waive him and another team picks him up? That might be the way around the no trade clause. Cubs release Sosa. Mets claim him off waivers. Three weeks later, Mets trade Cliff Al Leiter to the Cubs for Kyle Farnsworth.

All clean, all done.

Hello Carlos Betran.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Sunday Night Viewing

What has ABC gone and done now? They've seriously turned up the tasty quotient on their Sunday night TV shows. First, I saw the Wife watching that new show, Desperate Housewives. I guess it's "Sex in the Suburbs With No Nudity Because This Isn't HBO." Well, the show boasts previous Ivy Chat looker Teri Hatcher and the "Sure Thing" aka Nicolette Sheridan (who hasn't aged very well).

But it also boasts a newbie to these eyes. Meet Eva Longoria.

Then, at 9:00, comes the spinoff of "The Practice," "Boston Legal." This show is kind of Ally McBeal with some decent boobs. Inlcuded are Rhona Mitra, who was the first real-life Lara Croft:

Oldie but goodie Monica Potter:

And mediocre face but nice low cut shirt each week Lake Bell.

If they are aiming shows for women but trying to attract men's eyeballs, it worked in this house.

Final Korey Stat of the Year

On August 23rd, I declared that Korey was dead. Boy, did I jinx him.

Since I decided to stop riding him like a "$2 whore" nas a poster suggested, here's Korey's stats:

In 161 at bats: BA - 0.205; OBP - 0.251; Slugging - 0.398; OPS - 0.649; HR - 7; RBI - 17.

Oh, and 53 strikeouts.

Extrapolating to a 631 at bat season (as many has he had in 2004), he projects to 27 homers, 66 RBI.

And 208 strikouts.

And in case you are wondering, 161 at bats is over a quarter of the season. Unacceptable from a major league hitter.


Here's your reading list for today:

Barry Rozner
Jay Mariotti
Ron Rapoport
Trib on Caray
Trib on Replacements
Dave van Dyck and Paul Sullivan
Why strikeouts are tiring

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Post Mortem

While this page looks forward the bulk of the time, this post will look back.

It’s funny. I took some sort of sick pleasure in watching the Cubs blow another game, and their season, today. The events of the past few days are just so fitting a conclusion for this team. They were focused on everything but winning. That’s why I took pleasure in their being eliminated. I wanted this team to win more than they did. And it became abundantly clear that they stopped being interested in winning when at last gasp, they had to have a meeting with Steve Stone.

It turns out that, according to Saturday’s Trib, the problems with the media and Stone started a whole year ago! On May 24, 2003, Stone "criticized" Dusty Baker for not having a reliever warming up when, in the 7th inning, starter Shaun Estes started to falter. That was overheard in the clubhouse and relayed to Dusty. That started the snowball that ended up distracting this team for almost another whole year.

While I haven’t invested this much time in a Cubs’ team since the 1991 edition that signed Danny Jackson and George Bell. That team has nearly as much hope behind it as the 2004 edition. The real difference was the 1991 team had players on it that made them lovable. Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Greg Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe were all guys that I liked. I even liked Mark Grace back then.

This team was full of puds. They didn’t care about winning. Why should I care that they lost?

At the end, I didn’t. It serves them right that the Cubs finished in third place. Houston was 7 games behind the Cubs until Michael Barrett opened his yapper at Roy Oswalt. Now, they, along with this page’s must have player, Carlos Beltran, are my pick for the World Series.

Good riddance to the 2004 Cubs.


Here’s what we know. Sosa didn't arrive in the Cubs’ clubhouse until 12:10 p.m. for the 1:20 p.m. game, and would not talk with reporters. Baker said Sosa was excused from the game because he was "ailing." We also know that Sosa left the park before the National Anthem was sung. He did this on Fan Appreciation Weekend.

We also know that Dusty started Jason DuBois in his place. Not Ben Grieve, but DuBois. Message to read there is that Sammy can be replaced by a cheap rookie.

My read: Sammy is done here, at least with Baker. Can Hendry find a buyer? One can only hope.

More tomorrow on Chip Caray’s exit. Good for him that he gets to work with his dad. Good for Cubs’ fans that we don’t have to hear him anymore.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Reader Alert

As of 1:30 PM CDT today, it is possible that Steve Stone will not be broadcasting today. This is potential fallout from comments that Stone made last night on WGN radio. Steve may have been fired. 2:00 PM CDT the broadcast begins on WGN TV. Must Watch TV.

And Comcast Sports Net goes live tonight at 5:30 PM. This joint venture, which is partially owned by the Cubs / Trib Co., has promissed not to pull punches and tell the truth. If Stone is fired, a major first-day test.

Steve Stone will be broadcasting today. He did not answer a press throng asking if he was leaving. His only response: "Things are fine." My guess is he's leaving.

Hot Rumor!

The latest Rumor has Sammy Sosa going to the New York Mets and rejoining GM Omar Minaya. Sammy was first scouted by Minaya back in the late 80's in the Dominican.

This would be tremendous.

Losing Sammy would be the best thing that ever happened to this team. Look at this:

Salaries gone for 2005
Moises Alou - $7 million ($9mm base or $2mm buy out that I'm counting in 2005)
Matt Clement - $6mm
Alex Gonzalez / Nomar - $6mm.

Raises are due for several players in 2005. Maddux gets a $3mm raise to $9mm per year. Aramis Ramirez is gonna get about a $4mm raise to about $10mm per year. That means, of the contracts being cleared, only about $12mm is free for free agent spending. If you figure that Trib Co. may increase payroll, my guess that it may go up another $3mm to $5mm. Best case, $17mm for free agents. That gets you one of Beltran and Nomar/Renteria. Not both.

Now, add in $17mm from Sosa. all of a sudden, there's at least $29mm to spend AFTER PAYING RAMIREZ AND MADDUX.

Hello New Outfield. The money is now there for all three of Beltran, Drew AND a short stop. And looking at 2006, salaries for Remlinger, Borowski, and Mercker drop off. As does Maddux if he doesn't pitch 190 innings in 2005. There's plenty of ways to revamp this whole offense.

Go Sammy Go!

To the Big Apple!

Here’s What We Know

Dusty Baker has officially seen his honeymoon end. I’m not calling for his firing. Hell, I was on the radio two summers ago just before Don Baylor was fired suggesting that the Cubs hang onto Baylor until the Cubs knew if Dusty was going to be free to negotiate. But the luster is off. It’s not even the in-game strategies that are the problem. Dusty was hired to keep an orderly clubhouse. In 2004, he failed. From Kerry Wood going off on the umps in April, to Moises Alou going off on Steve Stone, to Kent Mercker doing the same, to Nomar Garciaparra whining about being tired, this was a loathsome group of men. Dusty’s job was to keep them in line and keep them happy. He didn’t. If Dusty is a mediocre-at-best game manager, he’d better be the best locker room manager ever seen. He wasn’t in 2004.

The lineup needs major overhauls. Korey Patterson is not a leadoff hitter. I heard Peter Gammons on the radio this morning. He was saying that Adam Dunn’s strikeout record would be broken in the next few years. I’d venture that #20 on Chicago is a good candidate. If Korey comes back to this team in2005, it should be at a position in the order lower than 6th. Moises Alou needs to leave. So does Sammy Sosa. Michael Barrett? His bat disappeared lately. And he was calling pitches in all the extra inning losses. I don’t know what to do with him. I’m torn over Nomar. While the Cubs need one of Cabrerra, Nomar or Edgar Renteria, I’m leaning towards Edgar. Something makes me think that Nomar is now a chronic disabled list guy.

The starting pitching staff is fine. Mark Prior is back. Carlos Zambrano is an ace. Kerry Wood, while not a #1, is an excellent #3. Maddux can be #4 and a rookie (see list at right) can be #5. That’s a winning starting staff. A genuine closer is needed. Korey may be your best bit of trade bait given the availability of Carlos Beltran and the grooming of Felix Pie.

2004 is over. It’s been over for quite a while, but it’s now about to be official. Jim Hendry has a lot of work to do. Dusty Baker has a lot of soul searching to do.

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