Thursday, June 30, 2005
The back and forth over Preston Wilson is kind of interesting. If you read through the articles, what's going on becomes clear.
The Trib's story throws cold water on the situation. The Cubs are "unwilling to meet the Rockies' demands," pens Paul Sullivan. Those demands are Todd Wellemeyer, Ronny Cedeno and the assumption of $4 million of Wilson's salary.
The Daily Herald makes it pretty clear that Colorado has leaked the particulars in an effort to raise Wilson's profile and drum up interest.
But the good stuff in both the Herald and the Sun Times' report is that Hendry is getting PO'ed that everything is becoming public.
Here's what's happened. Hendry called to see what Wilson's price would be. Colorado said, "Cedeno, Wellemeyer and 4 large." Hendry laughed and said that he'd call back at 2 PM on the 31st of July to see if that price was still the same. Colorado, worrying that the Cubs were the only option, told their beat writers that Cedeno and Wellemeyer were the names being discussed.
Bottom line: Don't worry about losing Cedeno for Wilson. Don't worry about Wilson batting with Korey to strikeout 9 times per game. And if Hendry wants to trade for a Wilson, I'd suggest this guy over Preston.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Today is the last day on the job for the superintendent of my school district, Harry Rossi. The Trib has a great profile of him (if you have the actual paper, the article is on page 1 of section 2, complete with his picture wearing his #30 Cubs jersey).
Despite graduating from the district in 1981, I never knew Dr. Rossi until I became active in the district's board. At the time I was in junior high, he was the principal at the grade school my sister attended. Right after I finished high school, he became the superintendent of District 30.
From what I learned while talking to board members from other districts when I attended the Illinois Association of School Boards training program, we are extremely lucky to have a highly successful and quiet district. No small part of that is due to Dr. Rossi's efforts.
He will be missed.
Stopping Terrorists Before They Can Be Born
From the Washington Post and the, "Where was his mind at" file:
(MSNBC's) Chris Matthews led a post-speech discussion that included assembled experts, most of whom leaned to the right or far right, and an audience made up largely of military families. Matthews got giggles from the audience when he asked one soldier's wife about "IUDs" being used by terrorists in Iraq. He quickly corrected himself; he meant IEDs, he said -- "improvised explosive devices."
A One and a Two. THUD!
Last four games for Korey and Neifi:
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
32 3 4 0 0 1 2 1 10 .125 .152 .219 .371
How much longer will Dusty Baker and Jim Hendry allow this abomination continue at the top of the order?
How long before Derrek Lee goes Mt. Vesuvius in anger?
With Ronny Cedeno back, speculation is all over the place as to how much playing time he'll get. The Daily Herald's Bruce Miles suggests that Ronny will only backup, but does use Dusty Baker's quote that, "the way (Ronnie's) playing, will be the shortstop of the future sometime."
Mike Kiley's Sun Times piece suggests that Cedeno will get more playing time than we all think. But Kiley has nothing hard to back up this guess. Well, other than the logic that, "(Neifi) Perez has appeared to be worn down a little lately, and the increasingly hot days will take their toll on him." And that Neifi has been in a slump that's seen his OBP fall to near-Pattersonian levels. But sometimes Dusty defies logic, no?
The Trib takes no angle, other than to remind us that Nomar Garciaparra is still under contract.
The other big "news" is Kerry Wood's return. While this page is happy to see anyone get healthy, Wood's history suggests that 6 innings, 71 pitches and 1 hit shout-out ball is not what's going to be on display. More like 4 innings of 3 run, 4 walk ball is what we'll get to see.
The real news related to Wood is, "who goes?" It's one of Joe Borowski, Mike Remlinger, Will Ohman, Sergio Mitre or Roberto Novoa.
My money's on Borowski unless a trade is swung for Billy Bob Remlinger.
WSCR is reporting that Joe Borowski has been released.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The three strikeouts and oh-fer prevent a full FYC, but gotta admit the guy made a helluva play to probably save the game.
Oh, and anytime Jeromy Burnitz wants to stop doing his Moises Alou imitation is fine by me.
Cross-posting some stuff from other sites.
The Cub Reporter has two tidbits that are interesting. First, the hot rumor of the day is that Ronny Cedeno is getting called up tonight and that Enrique Wilson is being released. Oh, were this to be true.
Confirmed via ESPN.com.
Second, it seems Korey Patterson has accrued enough service time to require him to clear revocable waivers to send him to AAA. No one is suggest that the Cubs will actually do this even though it would be a good move.
Lastly, Desipio's Andy Dolan reminds us that tonight is probably "Farewell To Sweaty Joe Night."
If you are at the game and happen to see Joe down in the pen, buy him a hot dog and slip it over the rail to him. He really helped for two years. It sucks that his arm no longer works, but his time is up.
Check this hilarious exchange between a fan and MLB.com's Carrie Muskrat... uh.... Muskat.
At last check, Ronny Cedeno was hitting .374 at Triple-A Iowa and has been named to the PCL All-Star team. He impressed in his previous MLB stint, and he can field the shortstop position well. Since the Cubs so desperately need improved offensive output from more than two or three players at a time, when can suffering Cubs fans expect to see Cedeno called up and Enrique Wilson given a diminished role? -- Serena S., Schererville, Ind.
Cedeno needs to play every day, so replacing Wilson on the roster isn't a good idea. Wilson is a bench player who has 22 at-bats in 15 games. Cubs manager Dusty Baker likes Neifi Perez's defense and experience, which is why he's in the everyday lineup right now at shortstop. Cedeno will be up to the big leagues some day, and hopefully as a regular.
Down On The Farm
That's Mr. Marshall's second start for the Diamondjaxx. I'd say Mr. Mitre is more than expendable.
PITCHER IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Marshall, S 6.0 6 0 0 0 6 0 2.45
Gallagher, S (W, 8-2) 7.0 2 0 0 1 5 0 1.43
OK. So, you figure that left field will still need to be filled next year. You'd like to see a guy there that can hit for average with decent to great power. How's this for an angle:
Great place for him to keep the stress off his groin (no Mia jokes, please). He never was the greatest defensive whiz at short, anyway. He has the historical batting numbers you'd like to see in the position. And, he's a great insurance policy at short should the guy I'd plug in fail.
And that's Ronny Cedeno.
Give Cedeno the job in 2006 with Nomar in left. If Cedeno can't break .250 while batting 8th, you can always send him down and slide Nomar back into short.
Crazy because it just makes too much sense.
An Offer You Must Refuse
Baseball's anti-trust exemption has always been an unfair advantage for MLB versus what the NFL and NBA can bring to the table. But now, the U.S. Congress is threatening MLB if unsavory types buy the Nationals.
You know who I mean. Democrats.
Yes, it seems Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), he of the district spurned by MLB when it came to site selection for the relocation of the Expos, is all in a tizzy over the possibility that the goofy billionaire, George Soros, may get his mitts on a piece of the Nationals.
[T]he very prospect that Soros could have a stake in the team is enough to irritate Congressional Republicans.
"I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes," said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. "I don't think they want to get involved in a political fight."
Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that if a Soros sale went through, "I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.
Davis is particularly disgusting. To borrow from Carpetbagger Steve, Davis is acting like the head of an organized crime family. Nice baseball league you have here. It'd be a shame if something happened to it...
Look, Tom. Baseball decided not to move in your area. You lost. Don't get huffy now because a private enterprise may selling your local franchise to a buyer you don't like. That's not very American of you.
Ironically, the removal of the anti-trust exemption would be a good thing for the fans. For example, removal would allow teams to relocate at will instead of at the Commissioner's approval. This would prevent the travesties that were the Expos and are the Devil Rays.
Monday, June 27, 2005
With the return of Mark "The Franchise" Prior yesterday, the Cubs can now focus on filling their #1 hole in heir offense. And they have a showcased piece of bait to use in trade.
If Sergio Mitre is still on this team by August 1st, it had better be because Jim Hendry made a move and was able to negotiate a lower ceiling prospect.
Mitre is a nice pitcher. He's more valuable to this team in trade than as a reliever / spot starter.
Even for Jay Mariotti, this is bad. Today, he goes with the "Korey" moniker for Corey Patterson in his waste of Suntimes allotted space. Not only does Jay plagiarize the term from the blogosphere, but his column is factually inaccurate:
"Did you see (Korey's) homer that gave Prior and Jerome Williams a cushion in the 2-0 follow-up win?"
Factually, Korey's homer was the winning hit as it opened the scoring to make the game 1-0 in favor of the Cubs.
Any of you think, like I do, that Jay discovered the "Korey" thing last weekend and planned to include it in today's column because it was "catchy" regardless of Korey's actual performance?
The rest of the column suggests not believing that a team 2 games over .500, 4-6 over their last 10 games, and winners of only 2 series out of their last six, is a playoff bound team.
Slow down, there Jay! Some of us will have sprint for a while to catch up to the original, unique, and fresh way of thinking!
Sunday, June 26, 2005
It's been 60 days since his last FYC moment. Even *I* didn't think it'd be that long a drought.
How must Jon Garland feel? Gives up a dong and a walk to the worst leadoff hitter in the league.
In case you are measuring, Korey won't be due again for another FYC until August 25th -- 60 days. Unless, his gap is measured by games played. If so, he's due on August 24th at Atlanta - 53 games from now.
Around the Minors
PLAYERS AB R H RBI W K AVG
Cedeno, R, SS 5 1 3 2 0 0 .381 - HR (7)
PITCHER IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
R.Pinto (W, 4-0) 6.2 5 2 2 1 11 1 1.63
D.Aardsma (S, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.73
Hot rumors that Cedeno might be in the mix for Preston Wilson.
I'll let Darth Vader comment on that.
If you saw the link below to Paul Sullivan's article, perhaps you read a very interesting discussion of the Cubs leadoff concerns. One very interesting quote from Todd Walker stood out:
"(Korey's asking to move to leadoff) was probably after they came to him first. If they come up to me... I don't feel like it's my job [to ask]. It's [Baker's] job. I give him a lot of credit for what he knows, and he has theories way beyond my opinions.
I've learned that even though you may have certain opinions on things, Dusty is more knowledgeable than most people give him credit for. I'm getting on base, and that's the important thing. Corey can flat out carry a team. He's a great player. But right now he's not playing like he's capable. (Friday's game with Scott Podsednik sparking the Sox) was a perfect example of the difference a leadoff guy can affect a game."
Knowing Todd's history, this borders on calling the manager dumb. And good for him trying to upgrade the team's lineup by calling out Korey in the media.
Makes me sick to think what the Cubs would have done years ago if only guys like Mark Grace were willing to say things like this.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
He's On Fire!
One of the nice things about Comcast Sports Net is their re-runs of the day's Cubs game. Tonight, I got to listen to the Harrelson-Jackson call of a portion of the game (it's still on as I type).
In the 4th, Korey drove in a run with a fielder's choice grounder. The next at bat saw Neifi Perez launch a drive to the warning track that Jermaine Dye caught (with a little unnecessary, Edmonds-esque leap for show) to end the inning. I saw this play this afternoon, live.
Tonight, on the replay, I got to hear Darrin Jackson's call of the play. DJ said that Korey ran back to the bag on the catch. "He didn't know how many outs there were!" said DJ.
This kid is so messed up, you begin to wonder if there's something off the field that's affecting him.
Paul Sullivan confirms this.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Yeah, I feel like piling on Korey. I haven't done so all year as I no longer need to sway the masses. They've finally figured out what this page knew years ago.
That said, Korey's been SO bad, it's time for some stats:
Batting Average: .245 - Places him 75th out of 84 qualified (minimum number of at bats) NL batters
OBP: .280 - 80th out of 84 qualified NL batters
Walks: 13 - Tied for 118th out of 118 qualified NL batters
Pitches per At Bat: 3.40 - 77th out of 84 qualified NL batters
This is the guy that wants to hit
Well, my oldest is only 5 and he has asked me on more than one occasion if he can drive the car. Dear, Dusty. Some advice from one parent to another: Sometimes it's the right thing to say, "No."
How to Do Interleague Play Properly
Let's get the stuff you expect out of the way:
1) The Cubs remain dead. They will not make the playoffs given their current roster.
2) Dusty is insane. If Carlos Zambrano asked to be a closer, would Dusty let it happen? If not, why is Korey leading off?
3) Korey sucks.
There. On to real talk.
Last week, we discussed the concept that interleague play is not only good, but there is more needed. MLB must have each team within a division play the same schedule each year. Without that, the races can be skewed by a few key games (like the Cubs swapping 6 games against the White Sox for the Cardinals six games against KC and Tampa).
As commenter TJ noted, this is not possible with the current 6 teams in the NL Central. True.
Here's how to fix it.
First, you move a National League team to the Americab League. This gives you 15 teams in each division. My choice would be to send the Diamondbacks to the AL West. Now, you have 6 divisions of 5 teams. Scheduling falls into place almost automatically.
Each team has 4 divisional rivals. They would play each other 18 times per season with 9 home games and 9 road games. This is, effectively, no change from the current schedule. It does eliminate some inequities where some teams actually play each other 19 times in an unbalanced home vs. road schedule.
Each team has 10 intra-league rivals. They would play each other 6 times per season with 3 home games and 3 road games. This is also, effectively, no change from the current schedule. It does eliminate some inequities where some teams actually face each other 9 times (eg. Cubs-Marlins this year) in an unbalanced home vs. road schedule.
Each team would face 5 inter-league teams, one whole division per year, on a set rotating basis. The teams would play each other 6 times per season with 3 home games and 3 road games. This is an increase from the current schedule and balances all inequities in the schedule.
So, how many games does 18 divisional games against 5 opponents, 6 intra-league games against 10 opponents, and 6 games against inter-league opponents add up to?
There is only 1 downside to this. Such a schedule requires inter-league play everyday. My response is: So what.
Every other pro-league faces this issue. Hell. Had the Jets and Rams met up in last year's Superbowl, they would have just played each other in the season finale one month earlier. In fact, the NFL had 4 inter-league games in Week 17!
Who would lose in this scenario? Jerry Reinsdorf as he'd only get sell outs every three years instead of annually. Other than that, no one.
Who wins? Fans in single team cities. Fans who want fair competition. Fans who want to see every team. And the league gets to build rivalries where some don't exist.
This makes so much sense. That means, Bud Selig will never do it.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
What Will he Say Next
"Basically, [the advice from Vince Coleman] was for me to take advantage of what I have," Patterson said of the advice. "Put yourself in the right situation to help yourself and this team, and go from there. Things don't always work out, but that doesn't mean you try to change anything or whatever.
"I came to the conclusion [based on] what we have on this team, and people stealing bases, bunting. I think I possess [these skills] the best to hit leadoff." - Corey Patterson
This guy is unbelievable. I want to hit sixth. I want to hit third. I don't want to hit first. I do want to hit first.
Guess what, Korey? You still swing at the first pitch. You have an OBP of .285! That's not even satisfactory for MAJOR LEAGUE SERVICE!!!!
Send him down, send him away, just don't send him to the plate first where he gets 4 to 5 plate appearances per game.
"Round up the usual suspects."
The next big list, AFI's 100 Greatest Movie Lines, is out. Two lines from Jerry Maguire but only one from the Marx Brothers? Please.
I'm curious as to other people's favorites. Personally, I'm partial to:
19. "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!", "Network," 1976.
20. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," "Casablanca," 1942.
35. "You're gonna need a bigger boat," "Jaws," 1975.
51. "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?", "Dirty Harry," 1971.
64. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!", "Dr. Strangelove," 1964.
67. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine," "Casablanca," 1942.
79. Striker: "Surely you can't be serious." Rumack: "I am serious ... and don't call me Shirley," "Airplane!", 1980.
Farm System Roundup
Provided by Dale John Allen vis the Eskimo.com Cubbie Listserve.
NAME POS RAT stdv+1 AGE LV AB BA SB OBP SA
1 PIE, FELIX, OF A+ 3.69 20 AA 240 0.304 13 0.348 0.554
2 Cedeno, Ronny, SS A 3.56 22 AAA 172 0.355 10 0.406 0.500
3 Moore, Scott, 3B A- 3.15 21 A+ 238 0.311 15 0.393 0.584
4 Patterson, Eric, 2B B+ 2.72 22 A- 202 0.361 17 0.434 0.540
5 Murton, Matt, OF B 2.60 23 AA 260 0.358 16 0.420 0.496
6 Coats, Buck, SS B 2.57 23 AA 203 0.330 10 0.398 0.453
7 McGehee, Casey, 3B B- 2.12 22 AA 224 0.308 1 0.362 0.451
8 Sing, Brandon, 1B C 1.60 24 AA 209 0.273 1 0.399 0.541
9 Fontenot, Mike, 2B C 1.59 25 AAA 180 0.300 1 0.403 0.500
10 Soto, Geovany, C C 1.40 22 AAA 149 0.262 0 0.385 0.342
11 Reyes, Jose, C C- 1.09 21 AA 167 0.240 5 0.298 0.275
12 HARVEY, RYAN, OF C- 1.03 20 A- 208 0.255 5 0.308 0.442
NAME RAT stdv+1 AGE LV IP H BB SO ERA
1 Hill, Rich B+ 2.85 25 T56 75 54 27 119 3.58
2 Gallagher, Sean B+ 2.72 19 A- 81 52 26 82 1.67
3 Nolasco, Ricky B 2.57 22 AA 75 71 26 84 2.51
4 Pinto, Renyel B- 2.12 22 T56 68 55 43 74 3.55
5 Pignatiello, Carmen B- 2.04 22 AA 80 67 28 77 2.68
6 Mateo, Juan C+ 1.86 22 A+ 40 34 12 51 2.70
7 Ryu, Jae-Kuk C 1.47 22 AA 85 85 30 59 3.57
8 Wells, Randy C 1.44 22 T45 44 44 10 46 3.25
9 Mitre, Sergio C 1.44 24 AAA 45 49 14 37 4.60
10 Marmol, Carlos C 1.43 22 A+ 72 60 37 71 2.99
11 Marshall, Sean C 1.38 22 A+ 71 64 26 63 2.79
12 Weber, Matthew C- 1.32 20 A- 82 91 12 47 3.05
Editors's Note: Eric Patterson only gets a B+, not due to personal bias, rather due to his age (22) relative to his league (low A).
Can We Have Willie Nelson Instead?
ESPN is taking SportsCenter on the road. They plan to do 50 broadcasts from 50 states at 50 different sporting events over 50 consecutive days. Chris Berman, who will be one of the hosts, chimes in, "So, just like the U.S. Senate, every state is represented equally on this tour."
Given that no one watches SportsCenter anymore, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that while Berman is technically correct, SportsCenter will not imitate the Senate and do *two* broadcasts from each state.
The tour will stop in Chicago on August 22 for the Cubs / Braves tilt. The Sun Times' Elliott Harris suggests that this will, "probably will send a few White Sox fans looking for their barf bags."
Hey, Elliott. Given that the Sox just quit ESPN Radio to go with rival Infinity, don'cha think ESPN isn't looking to do the Sox any favors?
On His Way
With Mark Prior all but certain to return on Sunday, the question is: Who leaves? The nominees are:
Now, your emotions will tell you to send Hill down because he's fresh or Wellemeyer because he often needs a GPS device to find home plate. But logic says that it has to be Sweaty Joe. He's got nothing left in the tank.
He got $4 million over the last two years as thanks for two terrific seasons and earning the Cubs their best seasonal success in 58 years.
That said, when the only type of hit you give up is of the 500 foot variety, it's time to get your Series 7 license and get your old teammates as clients.
Shed a few tears, Mr. Hendry. And let him go.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Now that Dave Miley has been fired as manager of the Reds, does this mean that all will be calm in the House the Pete Bet The Far On? I think not. While Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn may now fell better about coming to work (well, Austin might were he still in Cinci), the Reds still suck.
So, what to do about it? The Reds have a new stadium to fill. They need to give their fans some hope. That means that trades will still be made.
Couldn't it be Ryan Freel and not Kearns and his Greg Lougainis-style plate history?
Look Who's Back
No, not Mark Prior. Word on Mark's status for Sunday should be available around game time.
I'm talking about Trade Bait. Bobby Brownlie is off the Iowa DL and is flinging horsehide once again. No word on his velocity.
Inn H R ER BB SO ERA
2.0 1 0 0 1 2 5.65
Think You've Seen It All?
After Arafat went to his 9,000 degree eternity, things got a lot more peaceful between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Then you read this and wonder if it ever will be peace instead of peaceful.
Floaters and Sinkers
The Suntimes' Mike Kiley trots out a list of potential trade targets for the Cubs today. Most of them make little sense. The first name is Austin Kearns. Let me saw two words on Austin Kearns.
The stats on Kearns show a disturbing trend during his four years in the league. Check these stats out:
Kearns has lost points in all four categories each year. And not just a few points. He's lost close to 100 points PER CATEGORY! When you add in the high price the Reds would charge to trade him within the division, you come to one conclusion: Pass.
Moises Alou is also mentioned, but beyond having seen this act and no one wanting to shake his hand were he to be re-welcomed to the clubhouse, he also has a contract for next year at over $6 million. That won't fly.
Preston Wilson in the Trib gets a glossing over by Paul Sullivan. Isn't he just an older, more expensive, slightly improved Korey?
Let's hope Jim Hendry can do better than what the papers can come up with. After all, if he can't, he shouldn't have the job and the newspaper guys could do it.
Monday, June 20, 2005
So, the Talkback comments got me thinking. Who is the best looking "Catwoman" in TV/Movie history? The nominees are....
Halle Barry Julie Newmar Ertha Kitt
Micelle Pfeiffer Lee Meriwether
Personally, Halle Berry should be eliminated. Beyond the fact that she's the only one still under 40, her movie wasn't a Batman movie. Oh, and it was putrid.
Ertha Kitt gets bonus points for her natural "purr" and her name which fits the part. Michelle Pfeiffer is probably the weakest of the crowd. But, black vinyl is always welcome.
That leaves it up to Julie Newmar and Lee Merwether. While I like Lee, Julie was my first "Cat" love.
I saw her a few years ago with Adam West in a guest shot on some NBC sitcom. Still had the legs....
Word from an anonymous, but well placed tipster is that the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Sandy Krum against the Cubs has been dismissed by the court.
This page once speculated that Sandy was only doing this to make a case that the 2004 problems with the Cubs lack of health were not his fault.
I dunno if the problems were or weren't his fault. I just doubt this type of publicity will help him get his next gig. Any team that hires him will know in the back of their minds that when they do fire him (and they will) they could find themselves being deposed.
I'd be looking into free clinics were I Krum.
Must. See. Movie.
Now THAT'S a Batman movie. I won't bore readers with a plot recap and spoliers. What I will do is explain what this movie did right by comparing it to the terrible Tim Burton movies of the 90's.
First: The movie has a distinct and single tone. It's dark and serious. Burton's Batman was schizophrenic. Was it dark? (Bruce Wayne hanging by gravity boots like a bat) Was it camp? (Joker pulling a 3 foot long pistol out of his pants to shoot down the Batplane) Was it pop? (Joker and his thugs destroying art just for the sake of destroying art)
Second: The plot made sense. Sure, you has the typical "destroy civilization as we know it" plot line. But Burton's, "We'll have a parade, throw money at people, and gas them" was... something. I have no idea what. At least in Christopher Nolan's world, the bad guys plan fits with their motivation. I still have no idea why Jack Nicholson's Joker would have been able to attract henchmen.
Third: It was fresh. While Nolan acknowledged the comics, he didn't seem to rely on them. This pissed off the fan boy who sat next to me in the theater. I stood up praising it to no end. He was upset it wasn't more like the comics. "Spider-man got that right," he said. "That's why this was so good," I replied. The standard formula has been done so many times. Here was a fresh take.
The few flaws were the fighting scenes (shot too close and too frenetic) and the Katie Holmes character. Her ADA was cliche and, like in the Burton days, as the love interest, gets a peek under the cowl. Oh, and let me ask you this: If humans are 70% water, wouldn't a machine that vaporizes water turn the residents of Gotham into steam?
Blow off Star Wars and go see this.
Back To Normal
If you are still paying attention to the Cubs (I was sparred having to watch much of the snooze-fest the Cubs put on), it look as if several moves are in the making the next 10 days.
First, Mark Prior will likely be back by this time next week. The Cubs are clearly desperate for some mojo and plan to have Prior go in a simulated game, then be activated. No rehab stint at Iowa for him.
Second, Kerry Wood continues to perform to expectations in the minors. While he was up to 69 pitches, it only took him 4 innings to reach that level. He gave up two runs, four hits, walked three, hit a batter and struck out six. Yawn...
Third, there will be some roster moves this week. With Jerome Williams set to pitch Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, and Prior and Wood coming back, at least two guys from the bullpen need to go. Expect Cliff Bartosh to be sent down, and, it certainly seems that Joe Borowski will be released or designated for assignment. This is sad for Joe, but best for the team.
Summing all this up, what does it mean for a team that's 1 game over .500, has lost 8 of its last 12, and has only won one series out of its last four?
None of these moves fix the fundamental problems with this team. Until the combination of problems which include leadoff hitter, center field, and corner outfield are settled, the team will go nowhere (shortstop is quickly becoming a problem, too).
On the plus side, the calls for Dusty's ouster will start to grow. On the minus side, Jim Hendry still sits. 362 days ago, Houston acquired Carlos Beltran. In 1984, Rick Sutcliffe was acquired on June 13th. Dennis Eckersley was acquired on May 25th.
Early moves help.
Last year, Hendry snoozed until July. His Cubs lost.
Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat those mistakes.
Keep the faith until July 31? Please.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Now, HERE'S A Trade!
Why didn't I think of this earlier?
Dusty Baker for Lou Pinella! Lou gets out of his job, the Cubs unload Dusty. Tampa gets salary relief by getting out from Pinella's 2007 contract while only having to pay Baker through 2006.
Maybe add in Korey and Huff to the package and, hell! I'll drive the limo for everyone!
What Would They Give Back?
The Twins are desperate for a second sacker. The Cubs have an extra one in Jerry Hairston. Ron Gardenhire says that the Twins "like speed." Lil' Jer' is fast.
What do you all think the Twins would give the Cubs in exchange? Lew Ford, Jacque Jones and Shannon Stewart would be the targets (Torii ain't leaving). Which would you want and what would the Cubs need to package with Jerry to make a deal happen?
We Report, You Rectify
From Fox Sports (hat tip: The Cub Reporter)
"...if (Derrek) Lee is able to maintain his lead in all three categories, he’ll become the first hitter to (win a Triple Crown) since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. More notable, however, is that Lee would become the first National League hitter ever to win the triple crown."
Other than Paul Hines (1878), Hugh Duffy (1894), Heinie Zimmerman (1912), Rogers Hornsby (1922 & 1925), Chuck Klein (1933) and Joe Medwick (1937), Fox would be right.
Hines, Duffy, et al must be Democrats.
The Daily Herald's Bruce Miles gives us a look into what he thinks will be the eventual moves made by Jim Hendry. There's really, not one thing to disagree with in the column. Hendry makes moves in the middle of the summer. He's not afraid to give up younger players who don't seem to be rising to their potential (Hee Seop Choi, Bobby Hill).
What is not questioned in the article is: Why does Hendry only make moves mid-season? Why not make the moves before the season starts? Earlier moves would seem to add wins earlier in the season. And three wins in April of 2004 would have made the collapse last year against the Mets absorbable.
What got me thinking along this line was a brick-a-brac yesterday with Bleed Cubbie Blue's poster Scott (aka The Dumbass). I Googled myself and found this proposed trade I suggested in the alt.cubs newsgroup from January 2004:
"Anyone think a package of Clement, Patterson and one of Guzman/Ryu/Sisco gets (a trade for Carlos Betran) done?"
Now, let's ignore the fact that I pulled that suggestion out of my rear. Let's also ignore that, of the guys I suggested, 2 are gone for no compensation, 1 is perennially injured, and another is just plain bad. Finally, let's ignore the respondents who were wrong when they called this suggestion "ludicrous" and that this trade would get Jim Hendry "tarred and feathered" for "too rich" of a deal.
The real issue is this: Let's see a GM who makes these moves BEFORE the season starts. Right now, the season rests on whom the Cubs might be able to acquire at the trading deadline. Considering the Cubs are already 6 games out, doesn't it make more sense to make moves earlier?
Jim Hendry only gets beatification / canonization when he starts the season with the whole team, not when he pieces it together on the fly.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Better than Bon Jovi, not as good as the Star Wars geeks.
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Michael Jackson Trial, courtesy I-Film.
Off To New York
Finally, the Cubs get to play at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 1938. Given that we fans have had interleague play for, what, 9 seasons now? Let me ask this:
What the hell took so long?
Interleague play is a very cool, and proper, addition to Major League Baseball. It was the only major sport that sequestered 50% of its players from appearing in front of all of the fans of the sport. It used to be, if you lived in Pittsburgh and wanted to see Kirby Puckett play, you had to drive to Baltimore or New York or wait for the All Star Game.
Today, if you live in Colorado, you at least get to see your team play a few teams in the other league every year.
The problem with Interleague play is simple: There isn't enough of it, and what there is, is done wrong.
First and foremost, schedules between division rivals should be identical. There's no reason the Cardinals should get the Royals every year while the Cubs get the White Sox.
Second, given the number of games in a season, there's no reason that Interleague games can't include a home and home series in a year. The Bulls host the Kings and the Kings host the Bulls. Why can't the Nationals host the Angels and vice versa later in the season? Given the events of this week, wouldn't such a matchup be provocative?
As part of this, can the annual regional rivalries. They are unfair and diminish the rivalry. Cubs-Sox has become far less interesting that even Cubs-Brewers. Make those games part of the regular divisional rotation and the luster will return.
Third. Interleague schedules should rotate divisions on a set three-year schedule just like the NFL. NL-Central vs. AL-East this year, fine. AL-Central next year and AL-West the following. Stick to this. Right now, the schedule seems to be dictated by FOX TV.
Now, to make this all work, some drastic changes need to be made. We’ll get to that later.
Bottom line is the: Cubs and Yankees should play every three years, 3 times in Wrigley, 3 times in Yankee. There’s no reason that it should have taken nine years to see this event take place.
Court of Dreams
Carol Slezak scribes a nice piece on the whereabouts of William Gates and Arthur Agee. The two were featured in the outstanding documentary, "Hoop Dreams" that releases on DVD. The piece is standard, but it reminded me of just how good this movie was.
If you haven't seen the movie, put it at the top of your Netflix cue, rent it at Blockbuster, or even pick it up at Costco or Target. It's an absolutley amazing film. Camera crews follow these two from their pre-high school days to the high school graduation. The story plays better than anything that could be conceived by the best writers in Hollywood.
When the film was originally in the theaters, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with two of the films' three directors over at "Hoops the Gym." The film started as an NEA supported project on inner city recruiters for high school basketball teams. They figured they'd spend a few months on the project, tops. 15 years later, they are still engaged in it.
I'm going to rent it just to hear the yak-track of Gates and Agee that are on the film. These guys are now in their 30's. What will they say about a time capsule that takes them back to when they were 14?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"Good Bye" to John Koronka (and your girlfriend's enormous forehead), and "Hello" to Rich Hill.
Prior to the game, Hill was asked what major league pitchers he compared himself to.
Sandy Koufax and Barry Zito was the reply.
Now, I like confidence in young players. But this is beyond confidence and approaches arrogance.
Let's see you make your first major league pitch before you compare yourself to a Hall of Famer and an All Star.
1 inning, 3 doubles, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts.
Let's keep the Koufax comparisons to ourselves from now on, ok, Rich?
If you don't read Andy Dolan's Desipio, and you read this page, I have to ask you, "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Today, Andy pens a great, logical, rational piece on the Sheffield rumors, trading Sergio Mitre, and Jim Hendry's penchant for making deals.
What's also fun is that he finally comes clean on taking the same position on Korey that this page has since its inception. We've come a long way.
If you listened to any of the post-game shows last night, you'll know why Derrek Lee didn't go for the cycle by trying to extend his second double into a triple.
Bascially, Lee said that he wasn't really aware that he was a triple short of the cycle. He also said that he's been nursing a minor injury and that he saw no need to risk aggravating the injury in a 14-0 blowout to only boost his personal stats.
Informed of Lee's statement, Sammy Sosa said, "Dumbass."
What Does THIS Mean?
Hidden under a headline about Jerome Williams, Dusty unleashes this curious nugget:
Although Kerry Wood is expected back in the rotation by the end of the month and Mark Prior could follow a couple weeks after that, Baker said it's not a given Sergio Mitre will be taken out of the rotation after both pitchers return.
"He knows and we know that if he pitches well, whether Prior and Wood come back or not, we'll try to find a spot for him," Baker said.
Now, Paul Sullivan suggest that it could mean that Glendon Rusch could be headed to the bullpen. That sounds wrong to me. I'd think that Dusty would want to keep one of his most effective, and only left handed, starters in the rotation.
Could Dusty be sending a signal to someone in the rotation that you are on notice? If he is sending a signal, who could that be? It's not Z or Maddux. It's not Mitre because he's the guy that for whom room is being created. If Rusch stays in the rotation, then it's gotta be either Prior or Wood that would leave the rotation. I'd venture it's obvious which one of those guys would go. And that would be via trade, I'd think.
Then again, Dusty had Rusch in the pen to start the season. I suppose he could put him back there. Still, very curious.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The Surge with a game that some pitchers never have in their entire career.
Nine hits from the Lee-Burnitz-Ramirez triumverate.
Everyone starter in the lineup with at least one hit and either one RBI or one run scored.
Well, almost everyone.
Here's The Story
According to my source that has a source high up in Tribune Tower, the trade talks for Gary Sheffield are, indeed, legitimate. The Yankees have supposedly offered Sheffield in exchange for Sergio Mitre, Korey Patterson, and Todd Wellemeyer.
That's a heavy price considering you need to make another move to replace centerfield. Wellemeyer's been pitching well. You need him considering half the bullpen is useless (Bartosh, Remlinger, Borowski).
And Mitre's value just went through the roof.
The source also claims that the centerfield replacement would be Kenny Lofton.
Now, this I doubt. Philly ain't giving Lofton up cheap. Unless you can pry Lofton away for a Mike Remlinger, I can't see the second half happening.
Line of the Night
The Five Year Old's response to A-Ram's Waveland Avenue contribution.
The Rumor Mill
WSCR and XM Radio's Larry Bowa both carry a NY Post report of a trade brewing between the Yankees and the Cubs. The particulars are Sergio Mitre, Jason DuBois and Korey for Gary Sheffield.
Where do I sign?
The financials are easy. Shef is in the books for $13 million per year through 2006. A 2007 option for $13 million also is in place, but I don't know who has the option (team, Shef, or mutual). Even if the Yanks gave the Cubs zero dollars back, with the Cubs clearling north of $30 million next year, this is aslam dunk deal.
How good would this lineup look?
Wanna make it a winner? Go get Kenny Lofton one more time and move Neifi to 8th.
Post-game last night on WSCR had raving assbag George Offman going back and forth with Joe Bartosh about the future of Korey Patterson. Offman said that their was no way the Cubs would trade him due to his potential (what are your appraisals of John Theirry and Alonzo Spellman, George?). Mike Murphy and Bartosh avoided calling him loony by respectfully disagreeing.
Bartosh then cited the "trade rumor that I know you've (Offman) heard about." Offman dismissed this. Murph pressed for details. Bartosh then chimed in that there were Juan Pierre rumors afloat.
After my mini-coronary from excitement, I had another from the depression that set in. I realzied that Offman was right.
Pierre's going nowhere until after this year.
But it is interesting that the Pierre's name was floated, even off the record.
Now, the Daily Herald and the Cubs' broadcasters get in on the Korey bashing. From Barry Rozner's column:
Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly on Corey Patterson catching a ball Monday in the sun, with his sun glasses resting on his head: "The logo on his hat is protected from the ultraviolet rays."
It's time to say good bye to Joe Borowski. I like Joe, and I thank him for his service in 2003. The Cubs wouldn't have gone as far as they did without him. And I'm glad he banked some coin as a result of that brief success.
But, despite contributing to a
So long, Joe. And go in peace.
Oh, and take John Koronka with you, please.
Like A Piece of Glass
Let's be very clear about where this team is right now.
They don't win enough at home to be a real factor in the race.
They have a losing record on this homestand. They can do no better than 5-4 on the homestand, although the pitching matchups make a 2 game winning streak less likely than a 4 game losing streak. They were 6-4 on their last homestand when they should have been no worse than 7-3. The road trip success masked a bunch of flaws with this team and got its fan base all riled up.
Pyrites, I tells ya'.
They are still well within range to make a run at this. Until the offense can be upgraded, the only hope is that the other teams in the Wild Card hunt don't take off and run away. It's unlikely that they will. The ball is in Jim Hendry's wheel house. Will he swing and make contact?
Monday, June 13, 2005
Dateline: Des Moines
Kerry Wood pitched three innings and hit a triple for the Iowa Cubs before a 57-minute rain delay Monday night at Principal Park. Wood — on a rehab assignment from the Chicago Cubs — started the Pacific Coast League game against the New Orleans Zephyrs.
He threw 46 pitches (28 strikes). Wood allowed three hits, one earned run, walked two and struck out three. Wood led off the bottom of the third with a triple and scored the Cubs' first run to tie the game at 1-1.
The Guy - Offense
If there's one guy the Cubs could get that would make this team go from mediocre to good, it's Ichiro Suzuki.
He's not young (he'll be 32 come October). He's not cheap (He's due a base of $13 million in each of 2006 and 2007). He's probably not even available (I think that Hiroshi Yamauchi, former chairman of Nintendo, would not only be able to afford him, but might want him for personal ethnic reasons).
But if you could put together a package that the Mariners couldn't refuse, say Jason DuBois, Rich Hill, Jae Kuk Ryu and Brian Dopriak, you do that deal to get this guy.
The Cubs are about to be overloaded at starting pitcher. Good starting pitcher. The core of the offense is awake. A lineup of:
...works very well.
Anyone think they know a package that gets it done for Seattle?
Pie Charting #7
He seems to be perking up from his slump. From Saturday:
AB R H 3B SO AVG
Felix Pie 4 0 2 1 1 .307
Last 101 ABs for Korey Patterson:
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
101 9 26 7 0 2 7 4 27 6 2 .257 .272 .386 .658
Since June 1, he's at .175/.214/.250/.464
Yet, Dusty continues to bat him SECOND!
Todd Walker better be in the two-hole tonight.
Quotable and Noteable
"I've got an ERA of infinity in the World Series. Between that and having the record for the most homers allowed (9) on Friday the 13th, I'm famous." - Cubs Coach Dick Pole
Uh, your name might be another reason you're famous.
No Days With Jay?
Last Wednesday, Jay Mariotti published a column going over the resolution of the Scott Skiles fiasco. Now, I know what you are saying. "Who is Scott Skiles?" As hard as it is to believe, there is a professional basketball league and Scott Skiles is the coach of the Chicago team. Rumor has it that the championship series for the league is going on right now, but there seems to be no evidence of this via the local TV or newspapers.
Anyway, back to Jay. In that column Jay said that Skiles, "(met) downtown with Reinsdorf, face to face, without his agent." That's a bold statement in stating for a fact something about a meeting at which Jay was certainly not present.
Turns out, everyone is now denying that such a meeting took place. Jerry Reinsdorf went so far as to call Jay a liar. Jay threatened to sue Jerry with the taunt of "(he'll) be hearing from my lawyer."
Jay usually pens a column just about every day. Even Saturday's, a day when most people don't get the paper. In fact, going back to May 16th, Jay's only missed filing on two days: Saturday, May 28th and Saturday, June 4th.
Funny thing. Since his piece on Skiles, Jay's been MIA.
It certainly looks like he's been suspended. Could we Chicagoans somehow be lucky enough to be rid of Jay? And do we need a new verb to describe what's happened to Jay? I'd suggest "Albomed."
Saturday, June 11, 2005
After Two Complete, Frustration
If the Cubs lose to the Red Sox today, look no farther than the bottom of the second.
Bases juiced. No outs. Two runs in. Zamboni coming up.
Red Sox get out of the inning allowing only 1 more run. On three measly pitches.
Way to let Wade Miller off the hook, guys.
And to make it worse, in the third, the Cubs go down in order on 9 pitches. How bizzaro is it that Korey saw 6 of them?
And So It Continues
More Korey bashing in the Trib today. Paul Sullivan now takes the angle that the fans are starting to get on Patterson. The key graphs:
The fans at Wrigley Field have cut Patterson little slack, unlike most young players coming up with the Cubs.
The harsh reception is likely to make Patterson consider leaving the organization when he becomes a free agent after the 2007 season, unless things change drastically in the next two years.
This is so wrong in so many ways.
First, the fans have given Korey a ton of slack. They've forgiven him for surliness, strikeouts, and slumps. Sure, they booed him last year when he was in the tank, but when he hit August and hit everything in sight, they adored him. Even this page gave him his props.
But that he hasn't built on his sporadic success and shows no signs of ever "getting it" is what's causing the bulk of fans to tire of his act now.
The second graph, in which Sullivan states that the fans' reaction to Korey may make him leave is such crap. First: If Korey was any good, he'd be offered a long term contract well before 2007 ends. That hasn't happened and the chance of it ever happening are more and more remote.
Second: This sure seems like one of those statements that a Jim Hendry can lean on when the eventual trade of Korey is made. "We wanted to move Corey Patterson to a place where he can focus on baseball and get away from the outside pressures he faced as a Cubs."
The stars are aligning to make the upcoming trade more palatable to the fans. Now, if Korey could only get into a 3 week hot streak and boost his value a little.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Next, The Trib Releases The Video Tape
It seems the Trib web site saw fit to print an e-mail from a fan in their, "View from a Cubs Fan" segment in which Korey Patterson blows off a 10 year old kid who waited patiently for an autograph.
Now, anyone over age 7 who gets autographs is just stupid. But what does it mean that the Trib is publishing articles disparaging Korey?
It means Korey's on his way out of town.
The Trib seems to be unleashing its character assassination squad on Korey that they unleashed on Sammy Sosa last fall.
Were the season to end today, Korey would be traded, offered a low-ball contract, or non-tendered if he and his agent asked for the 5-year arbitration average salary.
On The Outs?
Mike Kiley tells it like it is in the SunTimes today. The Cubs' outfield is bad. Although Jeromy Burnitz hasn't been terrible (his D is OK and he's on a 25 HR / 100 RBI pace), his performance isn't acceptable with Korey and Toddson Hollandbois in left.
Kiley then goes through the littany of abuses that Korey's been allowed to foster on the Cubs and their fans. There's nothing new here if you read this site.
What makes the article so interesting is this passage:
What makes a Patterson trade scenario so intriguing is seeing what has transpired since LaTroy Hawkins was traded to San Francisco last month. Can it be only a coincidence that the bullpen has reacted with a sigh of relief and improved performances?
Clearly removing the nightly implossion that was LaTroy made everyone feel better - the guy who would destroy our hard work was removed.
Is Kiley implying that Korey is a distraction to this team, just as Hawkins was? If true, this would be the first published report that the team is geetting as sick of him and his "I wanna be a #3 hitter" crap that the fans are now sick of.
Gaius Marius over at 1060 West chimes in an says what I was trying to say in greater detail and with better style.
Rick Quits. "Quits What?" Says Chicago
Rick Telander announced at the end of his 2PM to 6PM shift on WSCR that he was quitting, effective immediately. Why? To focus on his column (which has been unfocused for years), work on his book (isn't everyone working on their book?), and the dreaded "to spend more time with his family" excuse.
There are a lot of rumors going around about what happened behind this scenes. What is clear is this: The show sucked. He was getting trounced by MacNeil, Jurko and Harry over at WMVP. His show had generated no staple segments. He was being out "energied" by Mike Mulligan, a recent addition to the show.
All bad mojo for a guy who only succeeded in radio when he was the fourth banana on a pre-recorded round table show, WGN's "The Sportswriters."
That show existed even before Chet Coppock had the first nightly all sports show on the old WLUP AM-1000.
Radio changed. You need to be funny and high energy. You need to berate the stupid callers. And you need an angle.
Rick had none of that.
Replacements? The usual suspects will be trotted out. Steve Rosenbloom. Jay Hood. Mike Mulligan may take over.
How about a Score Blog show? Have the Sloth host. Sports bloggers sit in with him for a one week rotation?
Something makes me think the FCC won't approve.
I traded some e-mail with Robert Feder of the SunTimes. He claims that the SunTimes article on what happened is, "all true."
I'm not sure I agree. In the article, WSCR program director Mitch Rosen said that the new hosts have already been determined. Mike Mulligan and Doug Buffone will host the show and it will be called "The Afternoon Show with Mike Mulligan and Doug Buffone."
This seems fishy to me. Despite the spur of the moment change, Rosen already has decided the hosts and even the name of the show? Hell, it took Coke 6 weeks to come up with Coke Classic.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Kerry Wood tossed 45 pitches in Wrigley yesterday. A rehab assignment is next for him if he's pain free on Friday. Barring setbacks, expect him back in a major league uniform for the series at Miller Park vs. the Brewers that starts June 20th.
And, if all continues as expected, by the All Star Break Wood should be back on the disabled list.
Mark Prior continues to throw long toss in the outfield. No schedule for him will be set until the fluid in his arm goes away. Maybe Mark can use the towel from his practice sessions to wipe up the fluid?
From Today's Trib:
Boston center fielder Johnny Damon, who comes to town with the Red Sox on Friday, will be a free agent in November and is the type of leadoff man the Cubs have been lacking. Damon's only drawback is his lack of power—he had one homer through Tuesday. He doesn't think that should hurt.
"I'll be all right either way," Damon told the Boston Globe. "They know what they'll get—a winner. I can do a lot of other things."
Is this just Paul Sullivan stirring the pot? If so, why not wait until Johnny Damon got to town and ask him directly about his impending free agency? Why go to the Globe and pull a quote?
Could this be more meddling by the Cubs themselves? Could a Jim Hendry say to Sullivan, "We need a guy like Johnny Damon," thereby causing Sullivan to go snarf any quote he could find and avoid being scooped?
One thing's for sure. Conventional wisdom now accepts the fact that the Cubs need a leadoff hitter.
It's bad enough it took the CW 18 months to figure that out. Why the hell hasn't Hendry?
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Wood or Wire Coffin? They Have Both
Hopefully, she doesn't go through eternity vacuuming naked.
Skiles Signs, Hot Dog Boy Thumps Chest
Normally, I listen to Roe Conn on my drive home. Yesterday, during a commercial break, at around 5:20 PM, I flipped over to ESPN 1000 (WMVP). Dan McNeil was just annoucing that sources had told them that Scott Skiles had just agreed to a four year extension of his contract with the Chicago Bulls.
I flipped over to WSCR to see if they already had the news. They were playing, for what had to be the 293rd time, a replay of an interview Skiles did with the Score's morning host. Hot Dog Boy was going on and on, bashing Skiles for not taking the deal. I don't listen to that guy so I flipped back to ESPN.
For the next 10 minutes or so, I kept flipping back and forth to see how long The Score was going to be scooped. The replayed interview just kept going and going. Finally, it ended and on came the afternoon hosts... with the morning guy!
Hot Dog Boy was told, "I guess you woke him (Skiles) up." The pride was oozing from Hot Dog Boy's voice. "I wear my heart on my sleeve" and other crap spewed from his facial orifice. He was actually taking credit for this!
It couldn't be that Skiles read the newspapers that morning, which also bashed him mercilessly. It couldn't be that he listened to radio callers on three stations the night before. It couldn't be that he realized that his agent is the brother of the agent representing Larry Brown and Skiles saw all the bad press that Brown got.
No. Had to be Hot Dog Boy's work.
What's worse? The listeners to his show will probably actually believe it.
WSCR has pieced together a promo for the morning show that attempts to reinforce this false belief. This cannot become a little Score Meme.
Hell. Hot Dog Boy probably got his talking points directly from Jerry Reinsdorf as there's been newspaper reports on how the Bulls want to move their radio rights to WSCR. Hot Dog Boy may simply have done Jerry's negotiating in a public forum!
Dollars to donuts bet that WSCR lands the Bulls' rights rather soon.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
You're WAY Off!
Someone please tell me again why I'm wrong to think that the nice little road trip was less indicative of the future performance of the 2005 Cubs than is the first 48 games?
After the Jays complete the sweep tomorrow, the benefits of the road trip will have been wiped out.
And Hendry continues to fiddle while the pitching staff burns their arms.
I Hate Reality TV, But...
Remember the Bud Light Cat Fight? It's nothing compared to what's instore in "The Real Giligan's Island." Check this pie fight out from TBS.
Korey thinks that he will one day develop into the best hitter on the team according to an article by Tim Sassone in the Herald.
Patterson's long-term goal is to be the Cubs’ No. 3 hitter.
"It's my personal opinion that any position player should want to bat third because generally that’s usually like the best hitter on the team," Patterson said.
Well, Korey, that's a debatable statement at best. It could be argued that the best hitter leads off because he gets the most at bats.
Could it be that the hitting-third-bling is brighter than hitting-first-bling? Well, Johnny Damon is 4 months away from proving that theory wrong.
Now, that's how to kill a buzz.
Much of last night's loss can be blamed on players who looked like they had just returned from a 13 day, 3-10 road trip. Hopefully, after a full night's sleep in their own beds, they'll look less sleepy...
and more alert.
But a good chunk of the loss can go back on Dusty Baker's shoulders. See, when a team, is hitting, a manager looks good because he doesn't have to do anything. When a team isn't hitting, sometimes a manager panics. Like, when trailing by three in the eigth, you pinch hit for a high OBP guy (Jerry Hairston) with a low OBP guy (Korey Patterson) just because of the lefty-righty advantage. Sometimes a manager forgets that a leadoff three run homer is much harder to accomplish than is the leadoff walk.
What made this move worse was that it depleted the bench in the ninth inning. Jose Macias was forced to remain in the game and Todd Walker was left holding his shileighlieh in the on-deck circle. Too bad Korey couldn't have pinch hit in the 9th with 2 on. That would have resulted in either a strikeout (and given Walker a chance) or a three run, game tying homer (and FYC #2 - it's been a long drought since #1).
Gotta win tonight or the good mojo is all gone.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Coasting Doesn't Work
On May 13th, the White Sox were 27-9 and had won 11 of 13 games. They were crusing, playing great baseball. Their manager, Ozzie Guillen, was the toast of the town. The Trib was running stories on how the Sox might just get more press than the Cubs this year.
All the talk was that they just had to play .500 the rest of the way and the division was a near lock. Tough to disagree given that the Sox would accumulate 90 wins should they only go .500 for the remaining 126 games.
A funny thing has happened. Everyone forgot about the Minnesota Twins. Now, they haven't exactly been world beaters. On the same May 13th, the Twins were a respectable 20 and 14. Since then, the Twins are 13 and 8 and have moved within 3 games (loss column) of the Sox.
What have the Sox done since May 13th?
Yes, they are 10-10.
If the Sox play .500 for the rest of the year, their year will effectively be over by mid-August.
A cautionary tale.
Anyone who thinks that the Cubs don't need to get better than they are right now is a fool.
I can Name These Jews in Five Notes
Anyone recognize any of these names?
Love Michelle Harrison
Click here to found out their more familiar monikers.
Is It Alive?
I still don't think that the Cubs have been reanimated. Hell. Look at the NL East. Every team is over .500 and the Nationals are in first place. Without Jose Vidro!
This team is still fundamentally flawed and is not a playoff team as currently constructed.
That said, this road trip was the first time all season that the Cubs outplayed reasonable expectations (another reason not to believe - play over expecations a few more times and show that you are serious). In fact, coming off a 6-4 homestand (where 7-3 would have been what was expected from a solid ballclub), the 6-1 trip covered a multitude of sins.
So, whom do we owe for this mini-resurgence? Is it Derrek Lee? Is it Neifi Perez? Is it the now alive bat of Aramis Ramirez?
I give the credit to Padres manager Bruce Bochy.
In Saturday's game, the Cubs were ahead, but you just weren't confident that they could keep the lead. Greg Maddux is usually good for 3 or 4 runs to an opponent. In the 5th, the Cubs started with Lee, Burnitz and A-Ram all getting hits. With first base open, what does Bochy call for? An intentional walk.
To Korey Patterson.
Instead of throwing Korey nothing by backstop-high fastballs and getting a probable strikeout, Bochy decides it's better to face Michael Barrett. Six runs later, and the Padres are shell shocked. They die a slow death Saturday and then phone in Sunday's game.
It's going to be tricky to improve this team. With so many teams close to first place and/or the Wild Card, the trading partners are going to be few.
Don't be fooled by how good they look right now. This team is a leadoff hitter and an RBI guy away from being dangerous.
But with St. Louis not that good and a lot of bad teams to fatten up against, there's no reason for Jim Hendry not to make some moves and make a run in 2005.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
What to Think?
Many of you have, by now, seen the article in today's Tribune.
Corey Patterson had a meteoric rise to the major leagues, earning a September call-up in 2000 after only one season in Class A and one season in Double-A.
Cubs center-field prospect Felix Pie (pronounced p-AY) appears to be on the same fast track at Double-A West Tenn. Pie's manager, Bobby Dickerson, told reporters this week he wouldn't be surprised to see Pie in a Cubs uniform later this season.
Now, in general, I'd see an article like this as priming the pump for a Patterson exit. Given that the source is the Jaxx's manager, I'm not so sure.
But the general rule with the Cubs is that they leak their intentions well in advance so that the fan base isn't surprised by moves. Perhaps this is more a signal to Pie to be ready? He's back in a mini-slump again.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Eight Isn't Enough
I believe Derrek Lee's 8 straight hits ties a Cub all-time record set by Andre Dawson in 1989.
It may be a major league record. Watch the various sports-news sites in the coming hours.
Sammy Sosa holds the team record with 9.
Turnabout is fair play.
Last night. Cards lead the Rocks, 7-5 bottom 9. Here's the inning.
Isringhausen in to pitch.
Preston Wilson - single
Clint Barmes - single
Desi Relaford - walk
Todd Helton - single scoring Wilson and Barmes, Relaford to 3rd.
Matt Holiday - intentional walk
Randy Flores replaces Isringhausen
Brad Hawpe walks on 5 pitches.
Rockies win, 8-7.
BWAA!!! HA!!! HA!!! HA!!! HA!!! HA!!!
Pie Charting #6
The Jaxx pounded out 20 hits last night. Pie and Murton combined for 8 of them. Felix's bag of tricks included 5 for 6 with a double, dinger and 2 RBIs.
Nice way to break out of a slump.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Felix Pie 6 3 5 1 0 1 2 0 1 .321
The Sun Times chimes in with the latest Danny Graves rumors. The rumors state that the Cubs will give him a look and then pass.
I suspect Graves' arm will be examined by the same people who are examining Emmett Till.
I fully expected this to be a diatribe about Korey again and the shameful at bat he had with runners on second and third and less than two outs. I was gonna go on and on and on about how this had cost the team the game. That even a ground ball to the right side or a sac fly would have given the Cubs seven runs for the game and salted away a sweep. I fully expected the bullpen to give up a 6th run and ruin the evening (or early morning as it had become). I expected a heartbreaking loss in the 9th or in extra innings.
Why do that when you have this man to praise?
More importantly, the Cubs did something unexpected. They played beyond expectations. Expectations were for the Cubs to win one game in the Dodgers series. Instead, they won two "extra" games.
This is what good teams do.
I am not yet ready to revive the parrot, despite the Cubs now being only 1 game (in the loss column) out of the wild card slot. Expectations for the road trip were 3 wins. So far, they've met expectations.
Knock off the Padres twice and perhaps we can find a way to reanimate dead tissue. The biggest problem is that the Cubs best pitcher (Zamboni) is going to face Jake Peavy on Sunday.
This is gonna be a tough series. And it may be the defibrillator for the season.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Missing Football Season
The Coors Twins are one thing. The 49'ers training video is another. .Quicktime 6 required.
Pie Charting #5
Our favorite minor leaguer is suffering right now. He's mired in a 0-19 slump. It's only mire that he's in, no muck. As he does have one walk and a run scored in that span, he avoids being in muck and mire.
This is a good thing. Let's see how he responds to a little adversity. He's lost 25 points off his batting average.
Kick it back into high gear, kid.
This Just In...
From: "Uncouth Sloth" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: "Korey Hater" (ivychat-at-comcastdotnet)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 15:24:38 +0000
Subject: I don't post until the Cubs lose again
A simple plan, no?
Anyone wondering where the Sloth is, he's holding his breath.
Love That Vin
"Patterson was holding the bat at the knob and swinging from the heal. He paid the price for that." - Vin Scully on Patterson's 9th inning at bat.
As recorded by Chris over at Yarbage
The Secret Is Out
Deep Throat has been revealed to be W. Mark Felt, the #2 man at the FBI back in the Nixon days. Now, many others can comment better than I on what this all means. What I do know is that Pat Buchanan has already labeled Felt as a "traitor"
Given Buchanan's past statements and Felt's ethnicity, how long before Felt is labeled a "modern day Judas"?
Dusty's Youth Problem
No, this is not a Michael Jackson joke.
When Dusty Baker came to Chicago, he sat in his office with reporters for an interview. In the background, his office radio played a song. I don’t recall the exact title, but I believe the lyrics were something like, "Who's got your cheese?"
The implication was that Dusty Baker was the man to watch out for his players' cheese. And by that I mean their incomes. How does a manager do that? By making sure that players have every incentive to achieve their bonuses. Supposedly, that’s the real reason players love to play for Baker – he makes them more money.
Who am I to argue? Sounds good to me. But there is one downside to this type of managing. It effectively prevents such a manager from playing younger players. Pre-free agent / arbitration eligible players generally have very few bonus clauses in their contracts. For example: LaTroy Hawkins has a clause in his contract that paid him $50,000 if he finished 20 to 25 games and $250,000 if he finished 60 games.
A manager who has LaTroy’s cheese isn't going to use Ryan Dempster as a closer. He’s going to give LaTroy every possible chance to succeed.
When you realize this, you then see why Todd Hollandsworth got playing time ahead of Jason DuBois. It's not that Dusty hates using young players, it's that his tie to his players is through their wallets and the young guys don’t have that tie.
What's the answer? Well, two possibilities. One would be for the GM to put his foot down and tell the manager who to play. This also gives the manager cover ("Blame Hendry that you didn't earn your incentives."). The other would be to minimize the number of manager-influenced incentives. That means more Cy Young / All Star / MVP bonuses and fewer plate appearance / games played incentives.
This strategy has worked well for Dusty for over 10 years. He won't change. It's up to Jim Hendry to work within the strategy of the man he hired.
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