Friday, September 30, 2005
Joe Aiello with the Dusty Baker "Full of Crap" post of the week. If not the year.
Here We Go Again
Jim Hendry gave a group interview yesterday where he began to outline his vision for the 2006 Cubs. He highlighted several points:
1) Felix Pie and his decaying, misdiagnosed, stump of a foot will be given a chance to be the starting center fielder next year. Trades for centerfielders will also be considered. "Things happen out of nowhere. We never went into the '04 offseason looking for a first baseman (and ended up with Derrek Lee from Florida)." Funny that Hendry mentions the trade with Florida at the same time he notes the possibility of a trade for a centerfielder. This will certainly upset SoCalBob.
2) Korey isn't even guaranteed a roster spot. "It doesn't mean Corey can't rebound from (a bad year). But it also means you address that he's going to have to get back on the track we hoped he'd be on." That implies that he could be sent elsewhere, either in trade, non-tendered, or to the minors again to work on his game.
3) Kerry Wood is not being counted on as a starter for 2006. "(Wood's surgeon, Dr. Timothy Kremchek) feels that Woody may well return to the type of guy he was at end of '03 and maybe be better than that. But we would look into (getting another starter) if we could... we need to augment the pitching." The daily Herald suggests that Kevin Millwood, AJ Burnett and Matt Morris are possibilities. Please, no, to AJ and MM.
4) Dusty Baker returns in 2006, but will be on a short leash. "Dusty will put a stronger emphasis in spring training of trying to get out of the gate better." So, a slow start could mean a departure for #12.
5) Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno will both "get a good look next year." That frees a lot of salary to be spent on the outfield and pitching.
6) Decisions on which coaches will return for 2006 will be made by early next week. Clearly, someone or someones is/are going. The question is "Who and how many?"
What Hendry failed to talk about was the bullpen. Now, maybe the brain trust that is the Cubs beat reporters didn't ask about that area of the team that Hendry has failed to fix during his tenure here. Maybe Hendry doesn't think it needs any fixing.
This team needs two outfielders, a middle infielder, a starter and two relievers AT MINIMUM just to be considered a contender. You probably need a second starter and a new catcher to beat St. Louis.
Jim has a lot of offseason work to do. Too bad he has no history of doing offseason work of this magnitude.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Anyone who thinks baseball isn't about money over winning, check this story out viaFishstripes (via Deadspin.com).
The New York Post reports that numerous Wall Street firms pitched to take Major League Baseball's Advanced Media public in an offering that could have been worth $3 billion, or $100 million a team. But it reported the baseball team owners couldn't be convinced that reaping a few billion dollars was worth it considering that the contract with the Major League Baseball Players Association is due to expire Dec. 19, 2006.
So, what we've learned is that keeping their financial details private is worth (on average) more than $100,000,000 per team. That's amazing.
And that's sick. Clearly if the books were open, all the taxpayer financing of stadia that's been approved would be shown for what it is: Welfare fraud.
Additionally, we'd see that payrolls of $100 million are cheap and still insanely profitable for the teams.
If this isn't proof that all baseball teams are cheap, then, short of becoming owners ourselves, there never will be proof.
I'm Just Sayin'
More pure brilliance from the Con Man of the Cubs:
"I've never seen that. (Nomar Garciaparra) hits the guy in the helmet, and they get two runs."
Ye of short memories.
"I think one of the primary obstacles (to winning consistently) is the element of the wind and its direction. That can change the outcome of the game. Some days the ballpark giveth, and some days the ballpark taketh away."
So, a coach should tell his guys not to swing for the fences, right? Or maybe Dusty is blaming the GM for getting him the wrong type of players? He'd never pass the buck onto Jim Hendry. Right?
"I think you have to be more disciplined. I think it's more conducive to clean-living guys with families than it is with single guys who like to hang out and stuff. … There would be some guys still here, not to mention any names, if we played more night games and they were more disciplined."
Solution. Move the club to New York where teams have been successful, certainly due to the lack of late night distractions.
"People say, 'Aw man, I wish you guys wouldn’t have given up those last 2 runs or whatever, the over-under is messed up.' No, it's true. Gambling is big now and it's affected, I think, the way people look at the game and think."
I did hear Mac, Jurko and Harry say they liked the Rockies with 7.5 paying 114 last Friday on "Who Do You Love!"
A lot of fans wouldn't come out in different place, especially with the two teams playing today. We're very appreciative.
This is the only true statement he made. If people didn't show up (I blew off Tuesday's game), he and his bosses would be launched.
It seems Dusty's not too dumb. He says innane things to take the focus off his record, yet still leaks out the truth when it comes to his own income.
He gets it. Too bad the bulk of 3,099,992 fans don't.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Sports Illustrated's web site has the bulk of its info available for free (unlike another popular sports site that's moved all its columnists behind a pay wall). Well, John Donovan starts the hot stove talk today by throwing out 20 names. Some are hot names, some are cold. Some are cheapies and some he thinks are busts.
Here are a few names that could help the Cubs next year.
Kevin Millwood - I like this guy. He's 31, not too old. He's been fairly healthy this year, but his history has a few injuries in it. Low walk totals. The .302 OBP against is a little high and his G/F ratio is sneaking up. Perhaps the new Wrigley bleachers will slow down the wind tunnel and make the park a little less homer friendly.
Rafael Furcal - Too drinky for me, but he's the best available. He fills two huge holes (leadoff and SS) and he's still plenty young. If were certain he wouldn't be another Kyle Farnsworth, I might be convinced to take a shot at him.
B.J. Ryan - Could be the perfect fit to tandem with Ryan Dempster. He's a lefty. He's younger than Billy Wagner. Sub-.300 OBP against. BB/K ratio increasing each of the last four years.
Johnny Damon - He's too old for me. At this point in a career, nagging injuries start to creep up and the legs start to slow down. I can't see a 4 year, $48 million dollar deal for this guy being a smart deal.
To summarize: Yes to Millwood and Ryan. No to Damon. Eeee-Yeee to Furcal.
I'm Six Today
Keep working that pitching arm. Dad needs a retirement plan.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Then again, if you aren't indifferent (and if you are reading this, how could you be), Rob Glowacki at the Cub Reporter gives some valid reasons to watch the Cubs this week. Rob says that he will be watching to see:
- That Jose Macias and Neifi Perez go a combine 0-50 this week at the top of the order. Anything that shows how poor these two players are and subsequently how replaceable, can only help the Cubs in 2006.
- That the Cubs DO NOT go 4-2. 4-2 means an 81 win season and the last thing we need is Dusty and the organization hanging their hat on another "winning season". This season was a failure and the Cubs need to make sweeping changes. Sure it's nothing more than an arbitrary number at this point, but I get this feeling, from Baker mostly, that finishing at .500 or better will somehow validate a portion of the year. Just say NO to .500!!!
Spot on. This team needs massive change. The worse they do, the better. If they lose for Maddux tonight, hope for brooms the rest of the season. The more embarrassment in 2005, the better 2006 may be.
Many people think that the opposite of love is hate. That's not true as hate still requires passion. To my Sox friends who hate the Cubs, I always ask them, "Why do you care? Or even know what the Cubs are doing?" The real opposite of love is indifference. Total lack of interest.
Well, the Suntimes reached the indifference level with the Cubs today. As well they should. Instead of puff pieces on how Nomar is willing to return to play short, second, left, or bat boy, the Suntimes publishes this minimalist piece on its web site.
No notes. No quotes. Just a few facts about this two game series.
I have a ticket for tonight and am supposed to go as a guest of the Brother In-Law. Unfortunately, I've also come down with the cold that the Three Year old and the Soon-to-be-One Year Old Little Girl has. And SHE, with her cold and incoming molars, kept me up until 1:30 AM.
Perhaps the best way to say good bye to this season is to blow off the game. Total indifference.
That would be appropriate.
Eh. I'll make up my mind after lunch.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Kyle Orton one upped Mike "Lotto" Tomczak yesterday. T-zak, when he wasn't outkicking his coverage by playing long snap with Julie McCullough, once threw four interceptions in a game. After that game, Dan Hampton nicknamed Tomczak "Lotto."
Well, the current wearer of #18 (Orton) one upped the old #18 yesterday as the Bears were embarrassed by the Bengals.
No biggie. What did you expect from a kid making his third regular season start? Duante Culpepper threw 4 last week. What's his excuse?
That said, the Bengals would have been beat with a decent quarterback yesterday. The Bears' defense is clearly ready for prime time. That there was no veteran backup at QB falls squarely on Jerry Angelo. A veteran could have led this team through the bye week while Orton interned, with Orton ready to take over for game four. That was the plan that would have been put forward by a smarter GM.
Wanna blame yesterday's loss on someone? Orton threw the picks. But Angelo left him out there to twist in the wind.
The Blah List
The Sun Times does their second piece on the 2005 post-mortem. Included is a list of the 2006 Potential Cubs. Here's the list of names:
RAFAEL FURCAL, Braves shortstop
NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, Cubs shortstop
MARCUS GILES, Braves second baseman
ALEX GONZALEZ, Marlins shortstop
MARK GRUDZIELANEK, Cardinals second baseman
ALFONSO SORIANO, Rangers second baseman
MILTON BRADLEY, Dodgers center fielder
JOHNNY DAMON, Red Sox center fielder
CLIFF FLOYD, Mets left fielder
JOEY GATHRIGHT, Devil Rays center fielder
BRIAN GILES, Padres right fielder
AUBREY HUFF, Devil Rays right fielder
TORII HUNTER, Twins center fielder
JACQUE JONES, Twins right fielder
CARLOS LEE, Brewers left fielder
KENNY LOFTON, Phillies center fielder
PRESTON WILSON, Nationals center fielder
What an underwhelming list. Only Carlos Lee would be a guy that I would really want off this list. Marcus Giles, while a great pickup, will not be available in any scenario that can be envisioned. And Johnny Damon? Right. Let's get Johan Santana, too, ok?
But, if you want the biggest danger signals for 2006, all you need to see is this line:
Hendry and Baker base their optimism for 2006 on a pitching staff that hasn't lived up to expectations the last two seasons.
This team goes nowhere in 2006 without, at least, one additional veteran starter. If DeLuca is right, and Hendry is optimistic because of Zamboni, Wood, Prior and Maddux, then it's time for Hendry to head back to Creighton.
Friday, September 23, 2005
A Load Of Crap
Chris DeLuca does his worst in trying to break down where the Cubs season went wrong. Check this graf:
Baker's biggest failure with the Cubs was the handling of superstar Sammy Sosa. In a battle between stubborn men with big egos, the player's manager outlasted the petulant icon. The fallout carried over into 2005 because Sosa's departure cost the Cubs valuable time and money last offseason.
While the Sosa auction stretched into overtime, the Cubs never landed a sorely needed leadoff hitter, an experienced closer or a big-name outfielder to replace their fading superstar.
Total garbage. They couldn't get a leadoff hitter because they couldn't get rid of Sosa on a timely basis? What would the excuse be if the Orioles hadn't taken Sosa? They needed a leadoff hitter for TWO years, not just one.
That writers pass off this company line to readers would be gross negligence if they were in, say, the hurricane warning business.
DeLuca gets better in this part:
Setup man LaTroy Hawkins never recovered from the disaster of being pushed into the closer's role during the collapse of 2004.
The power drain of losing Sosa and Moises Alou in the same offseason was too much to overcome. Baker hung with veteran Todd Hollandsworth -- a capable bench player -- too long in left field and heard from it loudly from critics.
Center fielder Corey Patterson, long removed from a remarkable first half in 2003, nearly has played his way out of the organization at 26.
The season was a mess long before the All-Star break.
Better, but still lacking. No comments about Dempster the starter, Rusch the reliever, Korey the leadoff hitter, Neifi in the two hole.
Then, this part gets goofy:
Baker and Hendry have had their disagreements, notably their divide about who should close. Hendry insisted all winter Ryan Dempster should be the man. Baker wouldn't budge from giving Hawkins another shot.
Turns out Hendry had the right call.
At times this season, Baker has griped enough about the team he was handed to indicate there might be a rift between the manager and general manager.
But Hendry stands behind Baker as much today as he did in November 2002.
This isn't DeLuca goofy, it's Hendry goofy. Hendry was smarter about the staff than Baker, but Hendry didn't force Baker's hand. Now, Hendry wants to give Dusty an extension? Either Hendry is nuts or this is all cover for massive post-season changes.
And, don't miss the teaser on the end:
Year 4 of the Dusty Baker era could prove to be the most challenging for the Cubs and their beleaguered manager.
One For The Books
1912 - The North Atlantic
1937 - Lakehurst, New Jersey
1979 - Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania
1988 - Boston, Massachusetts
2005 - The South Side
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Too Much Information
It seems that Carlos Zambrano has some cuts and bruises. How did he get them?
"I like to power shag. It's like my second workout." - Carlos Zambrano
It won't be long before we find Carlos showing up on this web site.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The Cubs lost, Houston won. If that repeats tomorrow, the Cubs are eliminated.
Yes, the Pathetic Number is now 2.
Two weeks left in your season? Heh! Maybe 24 hours.
In the comments of the "moon" piece below, the concept of space elevators was mentioned. Today, Glenn Reynolds talks about that very concept. His point, one that I agree with, is that using proven unreliable Shuttle components is not the right way to return to the moon. Or for spending $100 billion.
...space elevator technology promises drastically reduced costs to orbit (from which, as Robert Heinlein famously observed, you're halfway to anywhere in the solar system in terms of energy) and it looks as if we could build a working space elevator -- or several -- within the $100 billion pricetag and over the same time frame.
It's estimated that the price tag for one elevator would be between $6 billion and $15 billion. Once completed, no more launches (i.e. no Challenger explosions). No more re-entries (no more Columbia heat shields).
One could be built in the next 15 years. Fascinating stuff.
I just know my kids will want to go see it.
And push the "up" button.
Check today's Dusty Baker quote from today's Daily Herald:
"I look at ourselves as trying to win ballgames and finish above .500. I do owe it to baseball. I do owe it to the Phillies, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals. I owe it to them to put my best lineup out there. Everybody says, 'Play the kids, play the kids.' I’ve got seven games against Houston." - Dusty Baker
Anyone notice who is conspicuously missing from that list?
You owe it to "baseball"? You owe it to the people who pay your salary. That's the fans. Yeah, if Houston hasn't clinched, you should play your best players and not Ryan Theriot.
BUT YOU AREN'T PLAYING HOUSTON RIGHT NOW!!!! OR THE PHILLIES, MARLINS, OR NATIONALS!!!
If Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry allow this man to return to the Cubs next year, it's a big middle finger to the fans.
Remember that if and when you decide to buy tickets for 2006.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
If the White Sox do choke the division and the Wild Card it will be beyond huge. A Collapse for the Ages. Why? Because, with only 13 games remaining, the have, essentially, a 6 game lead on the Wild Card.
See, the Sox lead both the Yankees and the Red Sox by 4 LCGs. Those two team play each other the last three games of the season. I guarantee you that one of those teams will lose at least two of those games.
For the Sox to miss the playoffs, they have to finish behind BOTH the Yanks and BoSox. Lose 6 games off the loss column to two teams in 13 days? I can't see it happening.
But if it does...
Thank You Notes
I hear the guy at the other end of firstname.lastname@example.org has been getting a lot of hate mail. Cubs fans should write him and thank him. Tell him that we appreciate the embarrassment he's provided to our guys on the north side of town. Perhaps he can actually shame the Tribune Suits into making some changes.
I am reminded that Ozzie gave Cubs fans the choke sign before game 7 of the NLCS in 2003 when he was a coach for the Marlins.
Screw sending him thanks. Send him this picture:
Monday, September 19, 2005
With all the money we waste in this country, how I'd love to see some money be spent on this. Who knows what would come from a permanent outpost at the moon's south pole.
What's certainly true, even if you aren't in favor of renewed manned exploration of the Solar System, is these pictures are very cool.
Check out the first line of Mike McGraw's game story on yesterday's Cubs snoozer:
Before playing the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, Cubs manager Dusty Baker talked about his vision for next year’s club, assuming he returns to manage the Cubs for a fourth season.
When you read stuff like this, you wonder if the press is on to something or simply muckraking.
The rest of the article reads like a Dusty Baker laundry list of crap.
"I like everything — speed, power, defense, good pitching. Good balance with age: some youth, some veterans. That’s pretty difficult to find in today’s market. Sometimes the team you want is not necessarily available."
Baker is in favor of adding a leadoff hitter, something the Cubs have sorely lacked since Kenny Lofton was let go following the 2003 playoffs.
"I'd love that. I really, really would love that," Baker said. "I've always said this: It's harder to get a good leadoff man than to get anything."
Nice. I guess it's even harder than that to keep penciling in the worst leadoff man in the league into the leadoff spot?
This man cannot leave town fast enough.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Look and Learn
It's always nice to see a team clinch something at Wrigley Field. In 1998, it was the Cubs and the Wild Card. In 2003, it was the Cubs and the Division. It was also the Marlins and the pennant. This year?
The freakin' Cardinals and the Division.
There's only one possible good outcome from this: Anger at Tribune Tower for the sheer embarrassment of what occurred.
If at least one someone on the Cubs (read: Dusty Baker or Jim Hendry) doesn't get fired for wasting $100 million of Tribune earnings on payroll, there is no justice.
However, if Cubs fans don't demand change, then they don't deserve any justice.
On the other hand, perhaps, some of us deserve to get crapped on by the team we support with our interest and dollars. Sox fans are already lining up with their bile. You just know that if their team collapses there will be hate spewing from all 50,000 of them. There will be no fond remembrances of the 2005 team the way Cubs fans dote on the 1969 team. Cubs fans celebrate near winning instead of getting angry about losing.
If we are foolish enough to trust our dollars and time to Jim Hendry and the 22 new players he's brought in since the Cubs qualified for the playoffs and to Dusty Baker and his inane use of players, we don't deserve a winner.
If Cubs fans show up in January to that insipid convention and cheer anyone other than Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Greg Maddux, Mark Prior, Matt Murton and Carlos Zambrano, they deserve another season like this.
And many more pictures like the one above.
Friday, September 16, 2005
How Does This Work?
So, last night, Derrek Lee hits #43 in the ninth inning. The game is called for rain about two hours later. Doesn't that mean the game goes into the books at the conclusion of the last complete inning?
Doesn't that mean the Lee's dinger is wiped out?
Inquiring, minutiae-oriented minds want to know.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
On this date in 1964, here were the standings in the National League at the start of the day's play:
W L GB
Philadelphia 87 57 ---
St. Louis 80 63 6.5
Cincinnati 79 64 7.5
What were the final standings?
W L GB
St. Louis 93 69 ---
Cincinnati 92 70 1.0
Philadelphia 92 70 1.0
Why do I mention this? No reason....
Riding To The Defense
In that same Miles' article, Dusty Baker dismisses those who say that Michael Barrett's defense sucks.
"I've seen it improve," Baker said of Barrett’s defense. "Our staff isn’t easy to catch, really, when you've got guys like (Carlos) Zambrano, whose ball is moving all over everywhere. You've got Kerry (Wood), Mark (Prior) sometimes. New guys like Jerome Williams, a whole new bullpen."
You just have to love the "sometimes" that Dusty threw in. Why sometimes for Prior? Because Prior doesn't like to pitch to Barrett. Miles and the rest of the gaggle didn't ask Dusty WHY the pitchers don't like to ahve Barrett behind the plate.
The reporters in this town should be ashamed at the way they treat Baker: They refuse to ask him tough follow up questions when he says something insane. Then, they rip him in columns and on radio shows.
As this page has been counting down to 2006 for a few weeks now, it seemed obious to report this piece of insanity from Bruce Miles in the
Looking to ’06: The Cubs always are among the last teams to release the next year’s schedule, but word is they’ll open the season at Cincinnati. In addition to playing the White Sox in two series for interleague play, sources say the Cubs will travel to Cleveland and Minnesota.
"Sources"? Um... If the Cubs are the last to release their schedule, doesn't that mean that Cleveland and Minnesota already have? Couldn't you go check thier schedules?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Welcome To The Big Leagues
With the pronunciation of his name and my kids' favorite game, he shall forever be known as, Ryan "Hi Ho" Theriot.
Another Dumb Play
This is getting to the point of being funny. How long can a baseball team have a defensive incompetant at a position that touches the ball on every play? Michael Barrett may be able to hit, but he clearly doesn't understand the nuances of the game from the catcher's position. And, from this chair, I'd rather have a Henry Blanco, his game calling, his arm, and his glove, rather than the uptick in Barrett's bat.
And even Barrett's bat is schizo. Sometimes he comes to the plate with a patient approach. Other times, he looks like he's got a machette and needs to cut his way through dense jungle growth. Last night, with the bases loaded and two outs, it was Tarzan at the plate.
The problem of hoping the Cubs will get rid of him is that Barrett is a guy that Jim Hendry has coveted since Hendry was coaching at Creighton. I think this team is stuck with Barrett, and his dumb play, for the next three years (the duration of his contract).
Ah, well. At least some of the pitchers realize this and insist on pitching to Blanco.
Booed Off The Field - Yea!
It seems Dusty Baker has benched Korey Patterson, not because he sucks, but because he has the target of booing. Baker was asked if he takes that into consideration.
"Sometimes, yeah," Baker said.
So, if we cheer Murton with a standing ovation, does he get to start the last 17 games of the year?
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Stop Me If You've Heard This
From Today's SunTimes. I don't believe a word of this until I see him with two arms and no scars from limb reattachment surgery.
(Cubs player development director Oneri) Fleita also reported that highly-regarded pitching prospect Angel Guzman might yet overcome all his injury issues that have held him back and emerge in the mix next spring for a big-league job. Guzman is scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, which begins next month.
Monday, September 12, 2005
I'm 3 Today
Look at those hands. He's already better trained than SOME players we know...
As To That Other Sport
Dear Chicago Bears Offense:
When your rookie quarterback does fairly well, and only throws into double coverage a few times (one of which was due to his inexperience - how does a guy from Purdue know that NFL safeties have the speed to get over and provide help to corners on sideline routes), you don't have the O-line panic and start false starting on three straight plays.
Geez. You guys looked like Korey on a high fastball.
0-1 is right for this team. For the season, 6 to 7 wins is about right if Cedric Benson doesn't provide an upgrade from Thomas Jones.
As To The Insanity
Yes, the Cubs have moved to within 6 loss column games (henceforth, LCGs) of a playoff spot. Yes, TJ's scenario is playing out through three days. Yes, most Cubs fans would believe in the Loch Ness Monster if they thought Nessie could hit forty homers and play center field.
But, with Houston and Florida playing each other the next four nights, and the Cubs facing Cinci, you need to remember that even with a sweep the Cubs can only gain 2 games in the next three days.
Let's not revisit this topic until after the Cinci series, ok?
Which Is It?
In today's Daily Herald:
Baker was asked if the time has come to play Hairston in center field for the rest of the season. Patterson is batting .219 for the season. Since coming back from a month-long stint in the minor leagues, he is 14-for-86 (163).
"We’re on a day-to-day basis," Baker said. "So we’ll see. We won with Corey yesterday. The thing is to win. There are times when I need his defense out there, too."
The Cubs also have won with rookie Murton in the lineup.
"Murton hasn’t really faced a whole bunch of tough righties," Baker said. "I know what I’m doing matching up guys."
But then, today's Tribune:
Baker hinted he may start Jerry Hairston in center and Matt Murton in left down the stretch, limiting the at-bats of struggling Corey Patterson.
"Our primary focus is to win," Baker said. "Corey is not the primary focus right now. And if we can get Corey straightened out along the way, that's what we'll do."
Given how poor Korey has played since last August and how well Murton is hitting AND Dusty's managing style, I don't see how Dusty can legitimately bench Korey now.
I expect to still see Korey int he lineup as a starter no less than 2 times per week.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Well, lookie lookie here. An idea first suggested, to my knowledge, by 97 Years and Counting's Mike D. and expanded upon here and at Bleed Cubbie Blue, is getting some main stream media play.
It seems that Nomar Garciaparra isn't married to the short stop position.
"Next year, I don't know," Garciaparra said Friday about his future as a shortstop.
"I like playing. If it was all about shortstop, I'd be saying I just want to play shortstop. That's not the case."
So while Garciaparra is helping out the Cubs now as a starting third baseman because of Aramis Ramirez's injury, he could be auditioning for a job at that position or in the outfield for another club next season.
This page has long liked Nomar's bat. This page doesn't like his defense at short and his rebuilt groin having to do the pivot at second on the double play (2nd base makes the pivot even tougher on the groin).
Having his bat in left field next year makes the most sense on how to keep him on the team. While he has the arm strength for right, I can't see him sidearming a guy out at the plate.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Because You Begged...
Over on the Desipio board, frequent reader, occasional host a Wrigley, and fellow supporter of the Kohl Children's Museum TJ Brown goes off the deep end.
Before you read this, just so you know how criminally insane this man is, remember: He voted for me in a municipal election.
Because I'm delusional (and asking to be mocked), I thought I'd give you an answer to Pat Hughes' comment last night: "The Cubs, basically, are hoping for a September miracle."
Now, I'm not saying this is possible, but...
2-1 at MIL
2-2 vs. FLA
2-1 vs. MIL
3-1 at PIT
0-3 at Cubs
0-2 at the Urinal
2-2 vs. the Cubs
Final Record: 86-76
1-2 at Philly
2-2 at Hou
2-1 vs. Philly
1-2 at NY
1-2 at ATL
2-1 vs. Nats
2-1 vs. ATL
Final Record 86-76
2-1 vs. Fla
2-2 vs. Braves
1-2 at Florida
2-1 at Chip's place
3-0 at Cincy
2-1 vs the Mets
1-2 at Nats
Final Record 86-76
1-2 vs. Braves
2-1 at Mets
2-1 at Padres
3-0 vs. Giants
3-0 vs. NY
1-2 at Florida
2-1 vs. Philly
Final Record 86-76
3-0 at Urinal Cake
1-2 vs. Nats
3-0 vs. Braves
2-1 vs. Fish
0-3 at Nats
1-2 at Phils
4-0 at Rockies
Final Record 84-78
1-2 vs Houston
3-0 at Ariz
1-2 at Houston
0-3 vs. Cubs
3-0 vs. Cards
4-0 vs. Reds
3-0 at Pittsburgh
Final Record 84-78
And then, the Cubs
2-1 at SF
3-0 vs. Reds
3-1 vs. St. Louis
3-0 at Milwaukee
3-0 vs. Houston
2-0 vs. Pirates
2-2 at Astros
Final Record 87-75
In today's Tribune, Terry O'Bannon makes his first picks of the season for each NFL game. Under the Seahawks-Jaugars matchup, Terry writes that this is a "Matchup of two AFC playoff contenders."
Now, I don't watch nearly as much football as I used to, but even I know that the Seahawks are now an NFC team.
I Guess That Puts Dusty In the "Spike" Role
Saw about 5 minutes of last night's Cubs game from SBC Park. Any regular reader will know what part I just-so-happened to be lucky enough to watch. I see that there's this guy on first base taking a big lead. Since the camera angle was from above the thrid base dugout, the shot showed very clearly the runner, his lead off first base, and the pitcher.
This runner was also, very clearly leaning towards second. You could see his right knee bent so that his weight was shifted in a way to help him make his break.
Well, a quick throw over to first and this guy had his ass back on the bench. It so obvious that it was funny. Not in a pathetic way, truly funny. It was as amusing as the old Tom & Jerry cartoons where Tom is chasing Jerry and Jerry lays a rake on the ground. You know that five seconds later Tom's going to step on it a whack himself in the face. When it happens I still laugh. Doesn't matter that the joke has been telegraphed. Doesn't matter that I've seen the same cartoon over and over. I still laugh.
Laughing right at you, Korey.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
"Time of your life, huh, kid?"
It's been suggested that, since I don't think that many lines hold up from "Risky Business" ("Porche - There is no substitute." " I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp.") that I don't like the movie.
Far from it.
I love this film. It was the 80's all over. It was the first "Chicago" film that I really loved (I didn't appreciate the "Blues Brothers" until much later). It's still the best movie Tom Cruise has ever made.
To me, the best scene is still near the beginning. Joel and his friends are eating lunch at the high school. Joel is asking them about their post-college goals. All his friends say they want to make a lot of money. Joel says he wants a deeper, more meaningful adulthood. More than just money. All his friends call, "Bullshit!" and Joel laughs. He wants money, too.
Just because a movie's great lines don't hold doesn't mean the movie itself doesn't hold up.
I'm still waiting for the definitive DVD version of the film.
So little time this week and so much to comment on...
So, Todd Walker is now complaining about the OPPONENT'S broadcasting team? Must be a great gig to make millions of dollars and have time to watch TV while your job needs you elsewhere.
And if Jay Marriotti is a windsock, what is Rick Morrissey? He says, today, "Dump Patterson." He also notes how surprised he was to see the sun rise in the East.
Chris Spier is PO'ed that his players are missing signs.
"Why don't you ask those players? It happens because maybe my signs are too difficult. Maybe I need to make them a little easier for the players. So we changed them." - Chris Speier
Well, Chris, Todd Walker missed one of the signs. Maybe he was too busy watching TV. Jerry Hairston and Ronny Cedeno also missed signs. Cedeno got benched. Hairston said he didn't know he even missed a sign. "Nobody really talked to me about it," Hairston said.
Speier replied, "That's not true. I told him as soon as he came off the field that he missed a hit-and-run."
I think Chris doesn't understand that Hairston just called him a "nobody."
Hairston was punished by Matt Murton's benching.
TV ratings for the Cubs are way down. Now, it could be due to a change in how the ratings are measured - a switch from log books to people meters. It could also be due to the Cubs, you know, sucking. Remember, the more they go down, the more call there will be for change up in Tribune Tower.
Dusty Baker says Mark Prior's leg is hurt. Mark says it isn't. Sigh. Can't wait until spring training when Mark always goes on the DL?
WSCR shifted its lineup. They finally decided that having a 20 minute transition from Hot Dog Boy's show to Boers and Bernstein wasn't creating new listeners for Hot Dog Boy. See, they figured that, if you listen to B&B starting at 10, and Hot Dog Boy is talking with them until 10:20, maybe you'll listen to Hot Dog Boy at, say, 8:00.
Instead, they moved B&B to the prime afternoon drive slot (where they will get a bunch of my ear now that Roe is without Garry). Their lead in is now the lone Cub Fan on the station, Mike Murphy. If history and yesterday are any guideline, there will be no transition between the shows as Boers and Murphy hate each others guts.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Laboring To The Finish
Mike Kiley's piece in the Sun Times today will likely cause a lot of consternation around the Cub faithful. Before you all get in an uproar, read this very carefully:
Speculation around the Cubs is that general manager Jim Hendry and manager Dusty Baker will receive two-year contract extensions next spring.
Team president Andy MacPhail chooses his words carefully, so when he told beat reporters two weeks ago in Denver that contract matters for both men would be addressed in spring training, as a matter of organizational routine, it seemed a clear indication that extensions are forthcoming.
So, we have no quote, an blind attribution, just Kiley adding a couple of numbers thrown out by MacPhail and he assumes 2+2=4.
Well, just today in the Trib, the company that OWNS the team, we saw this:
Baker: Spread blame around
Hopes coaches won't take the fall; Williams leads way in shutout
With the Cubs finishing a disappointing 2005 season, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and hitting coach Gene Clines have to wonder if they'll be scapegoats for the players' lack of consistency.
Baker said it would be unfair to fire any of his coaches.
So, the paper that speculates extensions has no attributions. Ownership has direct quotes, and they discuss dismissals.
Until we hear more from other sources, Kiley's piece can be seen as meaningless.
This isn't just emotional investment in MacPhail et al getting let go speaking. This is factual analysis of the reporting.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Andrew Sullivan makes the point far better than I could:
THE MESSAGE TO AL QAEDA: I have to say that one of the worst potential repercussions of this calamity and the Bush administration's response is to show how utterly unprepared this country still is for some kind of terror attack, how little coordination there is between local and federal authorities, how evacuation plans are chaotic, how we have a president divorced from reality, and a Congress more interested in doling out pork than protecting the country. The message is this: come and get us. If al Qaeda had blown up the levees, can you imagine the chaos?
A lot of bile is being spilt by people all over trying to pin the blame for what's going on, or rather NOT going on down in New Orleans. The biggest complaint from the Angry Left seems to focus on the Bush administration diverting money from upgrading the levy system in New Orleans (SELA) to the war in Iraq.
While these people are trying to score political points, they really miss a larger point.
For the last 4 years, this country has spent billions of dollars to set up an infrastructure to handle a terrorist attack that destroys part, or even all, of a US city. That's what the Department of Homland Security was all about. In the event of a disaster, our government would have a prepared rapid response to devastation.
Well, look at what has actually happened. A city was leveled. New Orleans is, essentially, gone. Sure, the cause was the force of nature and not a terrorist attack, but the net effect was the same. This is what DHS is here for. Beyond FEMA, the whole point of DHS was to handle situations just like this.
So, how have four years of planning and billions of dollars spent helped?
There are two conclusions as to why DHS and FEMA have been so ineffectual:
1) Relief efforts on this scale are not possible in this situation.
2) Relief efforts have been ineffective because of incompetent planning.
Clearly, some of each of those is what's going on here. With roads underwater, even had these buses been staged out of the flood zone, there's no guarantee they could have reached everyone in need.
But there is also clearly a high level of incompetence going on here. Looking at disasters like the Kobe Earthquake, the tsunami victims, and other disasters around the globe, it's clear the response should have been better.
Option 2 gets the bulk of the blame in my book. Let's be clear that the blame is not just on the Bush Administration, but on the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans as well.
Bush is going to take the biggest hit, though. How confident are we all that DHS could handle a dirty bomb in downtown Seattle that goes off as a surprise as opposed to a Hurricane Katrina that gave us days of notice?
I'll tell you that I have none.
Your Tax Dollars At Work
Virginia McCaskey did a great job in firing her son Michael and promoting Ted Phillips to be the president of the Chicago Bears. Just two years after Phillips' negotiations led to the opening of a $450 million taxpayer-financed renovated Soldier Field, Forbes Magazine shows that the value of the franchise has increased to $871 million dollars.
Not bad for the daughter who wouldn't even be involved in ownership had her dad not been given the franchise for free by Colonel Staley and had her brother not died at far too young an age.
All I want to know is, since we paid for the stadium and gave the team the ability to generate their new cash flows, can we (the taxpayers) get a cut of the profits when the McCaskey's finally sell the team?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
People Are Staying Away
The Cubs / Dodgers series was the lowest attended series of the season with average attendance of 37,555 per game. Additionally, each game showed a decline in tickets sold from the day before. Beyond that, thousands of no-shows were documented by camera shots of the stands.
Of 73 home dates, the Dodgers series games ranked 68th, 70th and 71st in terms of tickets sold. Only a Sunday, April 24th game against the Pirates (which I attended as a guest of Mike D.) and a Monday, April 11th game against San Diego sold fewer tickets.
If this trend continues, it only bodes well for the exit of senior Cubs staff.
Oh, and in case you want to blame the lack of sales on "back to school" and not on performance, last August saw a low ticket sales day on August 26th with sales of 38,216. In fact, the team sold over 39,000 tickets on 10 dates last August.
There's nothing left to see and people are staying away. Good for them.
Cub Humiliation... HOORAY!!!
Many of you may have noticed the back-and-forth between this site and Bleed Cubbie Blue this year. To say that this site and that site view the Cubs and how to approach individual fandom differently might be a wee bit of an understatement.
But yesterday, Al had this in his post-game wrap up:
I was disappointed. Baseball history means a lot to me; sure, Cub wins do, but as we all know, Cub wins right now are pretty meaningless, so history would be just about as good. It has been more than forty years since the Cubs were no-hit at Wrigley Field, a ten-inning CG no-hitter by Jim Maloney of the Reds on August 19, 1965 -- the last extra-inning CG no-hitter thrown in ML history, incidentally.
So, Jeff, Brian and I wound up being pretty bored with it all; no suspense at all, since Hairston's single hit led off the game. – Al Yellon
Al has stated on numerous occasions that he is a baseball fan who loves seeing baseball at Wrigley Field.
That's fine. Who are we to say that this is the wrong attitude to have?
However, cheering for a team to win based upon circumstance rather than staying loyal to your long time love strikes me as saying something else about a person's fandom. To me, that says that a good time is valued first and foremost. Watching baseball is the primary enjoyment.
Seeing the Cubs win is second.
Now, I never want to see my team lose unless something positive can come from the loss. Those positives could be the firing of a coach, the replacement of a bad player, keeping the Cardinals out of the playoffs, etc.
But seeing the Cubs get no-hit is something I hope I never see. The Cubs have the longest ongoing streak of not being no-hit in all of MLB dating back to Sandy Koufax's perfect game back in 1965.
That's on Cub point of pride I don't want to see erased. I can't believe a Cub fan that "bleeds Cubbie blue" would put witnessing an opponent no-no their favorite team ahead of that streak.
The Cubs have so few points of pride over the last 60 years, who wants to see one of them erased for personal enjoyment?
The only good Cubs loss is one that results in the team making changes for the better. Unless one can honestly suggest that getting a no-no thrown against the Cubs would hasten the departure of MacPhail, Hendry and Baker, I fail to see how you can hope to witness your favorite team being further humiliated.
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