Sunday, September 30, 2007
Who to Cheer For
Bears over Lions
Brewers over Padres
Mets over Marlins
Phillies over Nationals
Mets or Phillies to play 18 innings.
Loser of Monday's Mets-Phillies tilt to beat San Diego.
Such a scenario makes the Mets play the Phillies tomorrow with the loser playing the Padres on Wednesday. That would mean, on Wednesday, the Cubs would either play the Diamondbacks or a very weary Phillies or Mets team.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Hey, Chicago? Whadaya Say?
This one may get credited to a lot of people, but there's no one that gets more credit for this win than Lou Piniella. Not just the Manager of the Year for winning with a roster lacking in many areas, but Executive of the Year, too for changing the roster mid-course.
This is four divisions and five post-seasons in a lifetime. So, this is what it was like to live in the 1930's, eh?
[History of Go, Cubs, Go here]
I'm 8 Today
10 years from being the first father-son combo in major league history that is not related.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
And It's Also For Cubbie
Another song to get stuck in your head.
The Bile Also Rises
The distaste for Alfonso Soriano continues to reach new levels. The latest source of ire is the insipid little hop this guy does when he makes a catch in the field.
Beyond the fact that this is showboating by a guy without the defensive resume to back up such, it's pretty stupid showboating.
Just Sunday, Soriano made a leap and nearly played an out into a triple by leaping too soon.
Tonight, it certainly appeared Soriano did the same thing on Jeremy Hermida's double in the seventh. He clearly misplayed the ball and should have had an out. But it also looked like he made a leap when no leap was needed. The replay didn't show a good angle.
If that's what happened, this guy need to sit a game. His offense isn't good enough to offset giving the other team free runs.
Given his play the last two days, the team wouldn't miss him.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
After The On Demand - Bionic Woman
As the Cubs decide one 2004 isn't enough, we might as well take a peek at the most hyped show of the year.
That's Michelle Ryan burying her British accent to play the updated version of Jamie Sommers. The show premiered tonight, but was available on Comcast On Demand for previewing the last few weeks.
The show seems to be standard fare for these days. Take an old idea, modernize it, and throw in the series long story arc of "what's really going on here?" Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Prison Break and many other shows all use this formula, or variations thereof to differing levels of success.
This show has the "Who is really behind the bionics," "Why did the first Bionic Woman become evil," and, "Who is the father of the surgeon" as the mysteries to solve. The show also has the bizarre side story of Jamie having a kid sister with an attitude problem to watch over in a new spin on the "youthful ward" angle. it also has a pretty bland actress in the lead role.
This will be the show's fatal flaw. Of all the characters, Jamie is probably the least interesting, and probably the worst acted. Someone suggested that Katee Sackhoff, who plays the Evil Bionic Woman, should be the lead. Not a bad idea.
Not adding this one to the DVR list.
Ivy Chat rating - routine ground out.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Well, That Looked Familiar
One of the consequences of caring for multiple children is the high probability of missing out on early evening baseball games.
Tonight, that was a huge plus.
So, instead of waxing rhapsodic on the lousy approach of the team's highest paid player and discussing about how, if he were willing to play a fielding position where he would be of the highest value to the club the game would have been a 2-1 Cub win, we will go with more YouTubes discovered by the aforementioned children.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Mah na mah na...
A Good Sunday
When someone asks on a Thursday afternoon and asks if you want three tickets to section 429 for the last home game of the year, for free, you say "Yes!"
Winston Zedmore aside, that was a crowd that we ready for some fun. The clear highlight was when the portion of the crowd that was WAP enabled discovered that the Brewers had blown a three run lead, tiny pockets of cheering erupted from the crowd.
And when the white "4" was inserted into the Wrigley Field scoreboard in the Atlanta section of the 7th inning, 40,000 fans started Tomahawk Chopping. This delighted The Seven Year Old and caught The Wife by complete surprise. As she grew up a Yankees "follower" (fan is too strong) and had high ties to the Los Angeles California of Anaheim Near Disney Land Across From The Pond Not Far From John Wayne Airport Angels, she was rather unfamiliar with The Chop.
About the only disappointment was the refusal of the Cubs to come back on the field and thank the 3.25 million fans who attended this season. While I certainly understand Lou's reluctance to pre-celebrate and his almost certain unfamiliarity with the events of 1984 and 1989, the fans were clearly waiting for them.
I guess we need to wait until October 6th.
While there's no team in the NL that appears dominant, the team you least want to play in a five game series is the Jake Peavy's. The Brandon Webb's would not be fun to face twice in five games, they are less threatening on offense.
The Mets seem ripe for picking.
What's certain is that no one wants to play the Cubs. Certainly, they will be expected to lose to whoever opposes them given the way they played this year. But, with Carlos Zambrano capable of outpitching even Peavy, with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and even Alfonso Soriano now appearing locked in, they are also the team most capable of blowing out the Mets, Diamondbacks, and Padres.
Gonna be an interesting week. And be ready to party Thursday or Friday.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Bip Goes Boop
In memory of this great entertainer, we ask you all to please observe a moment of PRIMORDIAL SCREAMING!!!!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Picking the Venue
The National League Central crown will be awarded next week, no sooner than September 26th. The only remaining question is, "Where will the champagne be served?" There are three possibilities. One location is Miller Park in Milwaukee. Let's just say that, should th locker rooms there be covered in plastic, there will be much nashing of teeth in Chicago, and many toothless grins in Milwaukee.
The other two locations possible are Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida or The Great American Ball Park in Cincinatti, Ohio. The most likely scenario for the Cubs is in Cincinatti, but Florida is a definate possibility.
With the Cubs now +1 on the Brewers in the "only thing that matters" loss column, this weekend's slate of games will probably decide everything. The Brewers have the task of beating Tim Hudson tonight, John Smoltz tomorrow and winning Sunday likely without the services of Ben Sheets. Three is not out of the question.
The Cubs get two of Pittsburgh's also rans and Tom Gorzelanny. Two wins is mandatory and three is not out of the question.
Expect the Cubs to leave Chicago on Sunday with a magic number of 5 with 6 games to play. That means a celebration most likely to occur in Cinci next Friday or Saturday.
Just Yom Kippuring
Barry Rozner was on WGN last night musing with Dave Kaplan about Alfonso Soriano. "There's not a proper position for him on the field and there's not a proper place to bat him in the order, but he produces," said Rozner. That's not exactly true. The proper place for him in the order is 2nd or 5th and the proper postion for a guy with good wheels and a lazer arm is right field. Of all the negatives on this guy, the one thing he's is outstanding at is throwing to the plate. Only Andre Dawson did it better in a Cub uniform. And he wasn't wasting that in left field.
Too bad A Sor's mental limitations are such that placing him where he'd be most effective eliminates his productivity.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Toasting Slats After 10 Years
Paul Sullivan pens a nice piece about his old boss, Mike Royko. Hard to believe that it's been 10 years since Mike headed for the Billy Goat Tavern in the sky.
There was an interesting part of Paul's article. It had to do with Royko's reaction tot he 1985 edition of the Cubs:
Royko ... really thought '85 would be the Cubs year.
So he purchased a season-ticket package with the intent on getting postseason tickets in October. Naturally, the entire Cubs pitching staff went down and Royko had little interest in going out to Wrigley to watch a fourth-place team.
I always knew that man was smart.
I am taking a client to the game tonight. He's never been to an MLB baseball game as he hails from Sao Paolo. We'll have a toast to Royko at some point.
And we'll probably be as pissed at this team as he would have been.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Why did the Cubs win tonight? Simple. Because Ryan Theriot understands the game of baseball.
His ninth inning at bat was a thing of beauty.
Pitch 1 - Ball
Pitch 2 - Ball
Pitch 3 - Strike (looking)
Pitch 4 - Ball
Pitch 5 - Strike (looking)
Pitch 6 - Foul
Pitch 7 - Foul
Pitch 8 - Ball
That's how to work a count. That's how to get on base. Theriot refused to make a mistake. He forced David Weathers to throw strikes and did Weathers no favors by swinging until he had to.
This page has been accused, often correctly, of not focusing on the positive. Well, with these Cubs, there's plenty of negative to dwell on. In doing so, this page has often failed to acknowledge that which is right and good on the Cubs.
Ryan "Hi Ho" Theriot is one of the things that is very, very, right about this team. This is a guy who was buried in the minors by the Cubs front office.
Well, he kept the team in first place tonight.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
After Devin Hester's second long return of the day, this one to the Chief 19 yard line, I said to the gathered in the room, "He's just devastating."
The Seven Year Old got this excited look on his face. "The Devastator!"
This page tends to dwell on the negative for numerous reasons, but Devin Hester is not one of those. He is excitement incarnate. He is Christmas Morning. The first night of Hanukkah. Advance to Boardwalk. Your teacher canceling a test. A winning lottery ticket. Mark Prior in 2003.
The hurdle he made on a defender on the touchdown run was great. It's even more amazing he even attempted the hurdle when you realize he made it to avoid the grasp of someone behind. Behind him in a position that was likely out of Hester's field of vision due to his helmet.
Do not take your eyes off the screen when the latest great Chicago athlete to wear #23 is on it. You are likely to miss something special.
And spread the nickname around. Unless someone thinks of something better, it beats the hell out of the name Jeff Joniak has tried to pin on him.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I'm Five Today
We call him Smiley for a reason.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It's really gotten easy to hate Alfonso Soriano. It's almost as easy to hate him as it was Corey Patterson, just without a sheer level of bile.
See, Corey was not only a fundamentally unsound player, not only was he stubborn and unwilling to be coached, not only was he shockingly dumb about the game he chose to play professionally, but Corey was a jerk, too.
Soriano clearly isn't a jerk. So he's got that going for him. Which is one thing. Other than that, his approach to the game, especially batting, is grossly irritating. Take tonight. Eighth inning. Jason Kendall on second and Daryle Ward at the plate. The Astros, knowing how bad a player Soriano is, walk Ward intentionally. DARYLE WARD!
This guy gets a free pass to get to the $17 million man? The guy with 40 homer power? Why would anyone do this to intentionally face a good player?
The answer is that Soriano is like Dave Kingman. With those two, it's a home run or an out. Given that Soriano only hits the homer about 7% of the time, easy choice.
Soriano pops out of the first pitch.
What really kills is that he hits ahead of a guy like Ryan Theriot who actually has more than a clue about the game. The result of Lou's lineup is that the Cubs basically lead off a game with Theriot, but with one out.
Watching this guy flail as a Cub for the next seven years is going to be very painful, especially as he ages and his skills erode.
When Jim Hendry is holding a radar gun with Ed Lynch down in Daytona as an advanced scout for the Royals in 2009, his legacy is going to be a bunch of "And, with one out, here comes Ryan Theriot to bat," calls by Len Kasper.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Is It Over?
If this story is true, then what should have been a fabulous career may be over.
The view on this page is that Mike Brown was the best player on the Chicago Bears defense. Tommy Harris would be the only player that we would agree might be better. And, had these two players not missed the 2007 NFL post season, Peyton Manning would be a ringless Master Card pitchman.
If Mike's career is over, he will leave with a highlight film roll that many Hall of Fame players would envy. As a fan of smart football and the Chicago Bears, it's impossible not to hope Brown is only acting emotionally and is not as good a doctor as he is a safety.
But, if it is over, he will be missed greatly.
Midway Chat - 2007 Edition
Just how good is this Bear defense? Well, it gets worse without Brownie (he was doing a heckuva job), but it certainly seems to be on par with last year's edition. It also begs the question, "How bad is this Bear offense?" Well, it looks to be on par with Glenbrook North. Strike that as GBN upset the 3rd ranked team in the state, Maine South, 13-10 on Friday.
Jerry Angelo has done a very good job as GM of the Bears and his hiring, along with Mike McCaskey's firing, is the primary reason the Bears are now a respectable football organization. The 2007 edition of the team rides on two high draft picks that Jerry used. Those two are Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson.
Jerry knows that, despite the Tommie Harris' and Lance Briggs' that he's brought the team, his legacy here is going to be decided on the starting backfield. After watching Rex and Ced perform yesterday, the legacy doesn't look to be a good one.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Hot Labor Day
While this writer was sweating away in 114 degree heat in LA, Carlos Zambrano was melting down under the heat of Cub fans in Chicago. First, Carlos let a Derrek Lee error rob him of all concentration. He followed that mistake with three walks and four runs, two of which came off a hit by a pitcher who had spent the bulk of his career in the American League. Oh, did we forget the barreling through a stop sign at third to get thrown out at the plate?
Then, after having stunk as a pitcher for the last month, Carlos heard boos. What was Carlos' conclusion from hearing that? Try harder? No. Understand the criticism? No. Call us all assholes?
"I don't accept that the fans were booing at me," a seething Zambrano said afterward. "I can't understand that. You know, I thought these were the greatest fans in baseball. But they showed me today that they just care about them, and that's not fair, because when you're struggling, you want to feel the support of the fans.
What a dumbass. They booed you because you played, and have been playing, like an idiot!
It's just too bad that there wasn't a time in recent history that Carlos called someone an idiot who deserved it. Gee, if only there were picture or videos of such an incident to show Carlos what the fans were feeling when the booed his sorry ass off the field?
Anyone have any idea of an incident what could be used to show Carlos?
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Capt. Underpants and the Four Flushers
If you take a peak over at the Desipio Message Boards, there's a constantly updated thread with a rather R-Rated name. In that thread, many well learned Cub fans let lose with piles of bile after each and every Cub loss. That made someone ask the question, "Are you going to scream after every loss? They are going to lose some... And they are still in first place!"
Well, there's a pretty good reason why they scream. Our eyes. We see a team in first place, but we also see a team that seems to be doing it with mirrors.
Take today. First inning and Professor Poopypants, aka Rich Hill, takes the mound and lays a 34 pitch turd right next to the rosin bag. The Cubs come back in the bottom of the first and quickly get runners on the corners with one out. Not only do Aramis Ramirez and Cliff Floyd go down quietly, but the whole inning ends with Woody Williams throwing only 16 pitches.
Rich Hill, a guy Jim Hendry told us was untradable because oh so many 27 year old first year pitchers with only 2 pitches do so well in the majors, ends up soft tossing the Astros to 5 runs in 5 innings on 108 pitches.
You see things like this and you want to scream. You see dumbasses like Alfonso Soriano unable to help their team most effectively because of mental weakness. You see the physical weakness in A Ram. You see some of one, and perhaps both in Carlos Zambrano. And you see Derrek Lee, a shell of the player he was two years ago, and question just what has happened to him?
Since Jim Hendry was unable to improve this team significantly via trade, the season will come down to how strong his hand-picked, 4 highest paid players finish the season. Will they finish strong and be the Four Tops? Perhaps. But so long as we see the 2007 Cubs play like idiots, this group of eight-figure salaried players will be known as the Four Flushers.
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