Saturday, September 27, 2003

What a Time to Go On Vacation

Greetings from Palm Springs. It's 107 degrees here, but clearly cooler than in Wrigley. I was able to see Game 1, but got constant cell phone contact re: Game 2. Fantastic!

While my hopes are thin given the poor pitching lately, I think this is the start of a streak of division wins.


Management upgrades in the offseason and doesn't do a 1999.

A preview of the Atlanta series will be forthcoming.

Mazel tov, Cubs!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Post Time

Just finished being wined and dined at Arlington's Gevernor's Room. Broke even on my bets - lost a $6 exacta box and won $18 and a $12 exactat box on 3 horses. Heard news in the car that's not on the other blogs.

Prior goes Friday.

My money is on now more than 1 Houston loss, maybe even a sweep. Cubs must win 3 to pay on Monday. I think that happens in the least.

Given I broke even at Arlington, you can take where my money is going as far as you like.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Win... Then Clean House

Had an amazing tought this AM as I sat in traffic. The thought was of how few of the Cubs current starters I hoped would return next year. Amazingly, I came up with one. The other 7 slots, I'd love to see upgrades.

Catcher Damian Miller has been disappointing. Perhaps he could stay, but I'd be happier with an upgrade.

At first, out with Simon and Karros. Let Choi play.

At second, bye bye Grudz, Hello Jose Vidro or Luis Castillo.

On to short. Hello Tejada, adios AGonz and your sub-Mendoza-since- the- break BA.

Third? Ramirez will do. I'd prefer Corey Koskie, but that won't be until 2005.

In left, I'd dump Alou and, hell, even let Kelton play as his cheap salary vs. Alou would allow the Cubs to get Vidro and Tejada.

Center belongs to the overrated Patterson and his cheap salary and potential. I'd take Lofton as a backup. Or even let Patterson play left and keep Lofton in center with Alou gone to Tampa.

And, it's time for Sammy to move on. Get Vlad the Impaler to replace him in both position, cost and output.

I hope this team wins. Then they all get out of town.


Dow Jonesing

Ron Rapaort with this delicious blurb in his column today:
Intrepid Los Angeles Times reporter T.J. Simers, whose paper is owned by Tribune Co., called president and CEO Dennis FitzSimons in Chicago to ask if he should be rooting for the Cubs or the Dodgers. "I would hope you're rooting for the Cubs,'' FitzSimons said. "It would be good for everybody's stock price.''

Monday, September 22, 2003

Fit to be Tied

I love the White Sox. Back-to-backs by Felix then ex-South of Madison Streeter Ray Durham put the Astros down tonight. Although the Fish won, leaving the Cubs 2 losses out of the Wild Card lead, the Division is all knotted.

I still say 5-1 puts the Cubs in. But 4-2 became much easier to live with.

The Rundown

Here’s the sitchy:

Of the Cubs, Houston, LA, Phlly and Florida, two are playing in October. Here are the records of those teams, ranked by fewest losses.

FLA 85 70
PHI 85 71
Hou 84 71
Chi 84 72
LA 82 72

Florida hosts Philly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after wrapping up with Atlanta today. That means, one of those teams has to win at least 2 games. Assume a Florida win today (worst case). Florida then finishes with three versus the Mets. I see a Florida sweep of the Mets as Lieter is scheduled to pitch the season finale and Glavine and Trachsel will not pitch. Oh, and the Mets have lost 16 of 17. That moves the Fish to 89-70. The Fish need to be swept by the Phils, in Miami, for the Cubs to have the Wild Card outright, or lose two to force a playoff.

Philly has three in Miami and then closes by hosting Atlanta for three. It’s possible that Atlanta will still be fighting for home field advantage. Again the Cubs need help for the Wild Card. Assuming the Phils sweep the Fish, the Bravos would need to take 1 for a Wild Card tie and 2 for the Cubs to take the Wild Card outright.

Oh, yeah. That all assumes the Cubs go 6-0.

LA has 8 games in 7 days. I’m counting them out for now.

Houston looks at their next 3 games throwing:
Villone (6-5) vs. Williams (7-4)
Miller (14-12) Schmidt (16-5)
Oswalt (9-5) Ponson (17-11)

The best one could hope for is 1 loss here. And that might be today. That leaves 4 against Milwaukee. They’d go Redding, Robertson, Miller, Oswalt (on 3 days rest). The best case here is also 1 loss.

Once again, 6-0 for the Cubs wins the division.

My guess is a 5-1 week gets the Cubs playing a 1 game playoff while the Bears are desecrating the lakefront in their new abomination. 6-0 gets them in as either Wild Card or NL-C Champs. 4-2 and it’s Wait ‘Til Next Year.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Colangelo to Close Spiggot

Phil Rogers has a blurb on the D-backs finances today. Seems Colangelo lost $136 million over the last four seasons and plans budget cuts in the future. Expect the D-backs payroll to drop from $94 million this year to $80 million in 2004 and $55 million in 2005.

Looks like one bidder for Kerry Wood's services has been eliminated. As this blog said.

I knew that MBA in finace was worth something.


Saturday, September 20, 2003

Prior's Brilliance

"I dislike the Cardinals so much that I will not even root for them. I hope that Houston beats their brains in and just sends them all the way back to whoever is in fourth place now." - Mark Prior

Brilliant! Goading the Cards into trying to win! This guy's a better motivator than Tony LaRooooosa.

Reb Bird Nation, a Cardinals' blog, totally eats up Prior's comments and thinks he doesn't want the Cubs to win. Well, that's the kind of cogent thought you get from a fan base that held 9/11 type memorials for a guy who played in only 82 games for them.

Prior may supplant Sandberg as my all-time fave Cub by, oh, 6PM tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2003


Bugle time for the Sux. Now, I don't truly hate the Sux, I just hate their fans who don't leave me a alone when the Cubs lose. That, and I have a bet with my soon-to-be-step-father that the Cubs will have a better record than the Sux. How appropriate that this writing occurs on the 1 year anniversary of Bill Ligue's chat with Tom Gamboa. Rick Telander does a great job of reminding us about this puke today.

Throw or Throw it?

Matt Morris goes tonight against Roy Oswalt. Is Morris gonna pitch or is he gonna tank intentionally? After all, Morris wants Houston to win the Central. Let's see if there's any integrity in Morris' failing body or does he do a Pete Rose and lower the game to Pro Wrestling standards?

Storm Warnings

I se the Cubs with a clear 2 wins vs. the Pirates. I worry about Clement and Cruz. Gotta take at least one of those. I'm counting on Prior and Big Zamboni to lock down. I'm Mr. Mom for the weekend. I hope the Boys give me a chance to watch. Hell, I gave them a party for 28 kids last weekend, the least they can do is let me watch Karros GIPD as often as humanly possible.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Go Hit

Looks like Woody is happy with Baker. Woody, who almost didn't start, almost didn't finish yesterday's gem. He was sitting down and Goodwin was due to pinch hit when Wood asked Baker if he could hit.

"I asked him, and he said go hit," Wood said. "It gives me all the confidence in the world. It shows that he has confidence in me."

Bruce Miles has the scoop.

Good For Soemthing

WSCR reported and the Daily Herald kind of confirmed that after yesterday's game, the Cubs bullpen threw a simulated game. The starting pitching has been so strong of late that they pen needed some work. Shaun Estes, Todd Wellemeyer, Felix Sanchez and Antonio Alfonseca threw to Hee Sop and Augie Ojeda and a few others.

Julie Sweicka reported that Ojeda hit a dinger off Alfonseca. Surprised?


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Merced Goes Down

Not a new porn film. Orlando made the final out in Houston's 7-5 loss to Colorado a few seconds ago. Is there hope?

Well, the Sux lost.....

Lumber Yard

That little headline refers to what Kerry Wood brought to the table today. If he'd only do that more often.

ow, off to the hurricane. (If it's named after a man, shouldn't it be a himicane?)


Rob Neyer says that the only compelling race in the NL-Central and that the Cubs/Astros are basically a dead heat. I'd love to agree.

Izzy Coming

The team heads to Pittsburgh this weekend for four games with the Cubs' feeder system, also known as the Pirates. But all eyes are on the eye of Hurricane Isabel. With a double header scheduled for Friday, Isabel's spin off rain storms could cause mulitple double headers to be played. Both the Cubs and their AAAA afiliate the Pirates have Monday off. At this point, would it be dumb expect some sort of activity on Monday?

Worry Wart

Is it just me, or does it sure seem that the season may have died with a dropped ball in Puerto Rico and a 1-0 loss to the AA-Reds?

And on the other side of town, the Sux trail the Twinkies by 1 in the loss. Minny Ha ha, with 11 games to play, has 7 with Dee-twah and 2 with the Tribe. I see them going 7-2 in those games. That means the Sux would have to go 10-2 in their last 12 games including 2 wins over the Twinks today and tomorrow to win their division, 9-3 to tie. As the Sux face the Yanks for 3 and KC for 7, I see 2 losses there for sure.

One win by Minnesota today or tomorrow and I think September 29th becomes the start of the "Dick Jauron Death March" as there will be no competing sports story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Caraying On...

Andy Dolan does a nice job carving up the Chipster today. One of the things he misses on annoying Chip-isms is, when a batter has a 3-0 count and he takes the next pitch for a strike, Chip blurts, "He was taking all the way."


"Taking all the way," means taking all the way to a full count, not just the next pitch.

To bad he doesn't cut up the radio guy the same way. I guess having your number retired earns you some slack despite onfield and broadcasting performance being quite separate animals.

The daily Herald reports on how Santo found out his number was going to be retired. The gist is they callde him into an office and suggested that they were going to be firing him. Instead, they took down his number.

Now that the Hall requirement is gone, it's time to start retiring some other numbers. Ryne Sandberg's 23 is obvious. Bruce Sutter wore Jackie Robinson's retired 42, but make it official. Lotsa others.

Go Rockies.


Monday, September 15, 2003


Ron Santo will have his number retired tonight. While this is a nice move by Cubs' brass, I'm not sure I agree with it since it changes the Hall of Fame precedent that had been the requirement for number retirement.

I wonder if this means something else. I wonder if this means Ronnie is not long for the booth. His health is OK (at least that'w what he told us at our lunch), but the lack of legs and the sheer amount of travel has to be taking a toll. With the presence of the superb Dave Otto, could this be a farewell gift? Time will tell.


Friday, September 12, 2003

Quick Tic

Due to a phone call a few minutes ago, I find I'm off to Wrigley today. What a great way to spend your kid's 1st birthday. Me at Wrigley, him at daycare!

Plead the 5th

No announced starter for tomorrow, yet. The papers say that the Cubs are dropping hints that it will be Cruz over Estes. Don't drop a hint. Drop Estes from the rotation.

Other notes:

Prior looked gassed yesterday. A human Prior = Astros 2003 Central Division Champs. Might be a good idea to get a 5 day rest cycle for the rotation.

A Gonz - Biddle went: Ball, ball, single to Karros. TAKE A PITCH!!!!! TRY FOR A WALK!!!!! (pleasepleasepleaseTejadapleasepleaseplease)

Now 2 games below High Water. Need a Reds sweep to get back above. A 2-1 series only gets you 9 over. And St. Loser is prime to get swept by Houston. St. Loser needs to take at least 1.

"There is a war going on in the Middle East, and members of Hamas are soldiers in that war," presidential candidate Howard Dean said Wednesday.

"Soldiers?" Even the EU voted last week to brand Hamas a terrorist group. The EU even proved this with actual action and froze Hamas bank accounts. What the hell is Dean thinking? I'm thinking he's as viable a candidate for me to vote for as Sharpton, Kucinich and Braun.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Never Forget

I woke up this AM planning to write all sorts of pithy things about last nights' game. And Moises Alou. And the Cards and Stros wins. Then I looked at the calendar.

Reality check.

Then I looked at my 364 day old son and saw him smile up at me and waive. He's starting to talk now. He says, "Mama", "Dada", "baaal" (ball), "nanana" (banana), "baahhuuhl" (bottle), and a few other things. It's a skill he's come up with in the last few weeks. He starts downing cheerios and I turn on the TV. His older brother, who turns 4 in a few weeks, asked me about the "splosions" on TV. ABC was showing a new tape showing both planes hitting the World Trade Center. I sloughed it off as I was in no mood to try to explain terrorism, hate, and death before he ate oatmeal.

We're getting on a plane in a few weeks to go see the kids' grandparents in California. I used to love to fly. At my last job, I was on a plane 2 or 3 times a week. Now I get on a plane with my kids and I think of the parents on those hijacked planes and what they told their kids that morning. Did they slough it off like I did? Did they hug them? Did they cry? Did they try to hide their fear? Were the kids crying? Did the kids know what was happening? I can't even imagine.

All I do know is that this morning is not a time to talk baseball. It's a morning to be greatfull that air is filling your lungs. That you have kids that can look up at you and smile. That we're having 28 kids over for a party on Saturday.

And that today is to remember all those that aren't able to enjoy these pleasures (along with some fun baseball) because a group of men decided that the answer to their miserable, unfulfilled lives was to take these pleasures away from 3,000 other people and all their loved ones.

A dropped pop up? Not today.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

High Water

The Cubs have reached 10 games over .500 (an 86 win season were a team 10 over on September 28th) for the first time this year. Ten over is a defining moment. It separates contender from pretender in my book. I was genuinely unimpressed by the Cubs because they never reached this point. Because they'd approach it and fall back down like George Bush's poll ratings. Because the otehr teams competing for a World Series were all multiples past 10 over.

Where am I now?

On board! With 18 games left, the Cubs have games left against teams that are 1, 13, 20 and 20 games under .500. That seems an easy path.


And I'll get back to bitching about dumping Alou and Simmons in November.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Opening Day Blues

Now, I know my buddy the Sloth is just venting, but I hear no one outside of sports radio talking Bears anywhere. And WSCR is doing so because they are part of the same corporate nippe that the Bears suckle off of and WSCR has to promote the Dick Jauron show for this evening.

No one cares about the Bears, Sloth. Baseball is ruleing the roost.

.500 or Worse

That's the record of the opponents the last 19 games. And St. Loser and the Enroners play each other 6 times. Three losses to one of those teams, minimum. Might this "when is the half full, half empty glass gonna spill" Cubs fan get excited?

Mayyyyyy beeeee!!!!!!!!!!

The Rotation Equation

Bruce Miles says that Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Clement will start four times each down the stretch with Cruz/Estes getting 3 starts. Prior goes in Thursday's series finale against Montreal on his normal rest. Kerry Wood goes Friday at Wrigley Field against the Reds, with the No. 5 man going Saturday.

Miles also says that Ron Santo did not accompany the Cubs to San Juan. Dave Otto will fill in alongside Pat Hughes in the WGN radio booth. Good and good. Stay healthy, Ron. Now fans have a choice. Listen to the Ace in Stoney or the Ace Lite in Otto?


Thursday, September 04, 2003

Otto Subs for Santo

Now, I love Santo the player and the man. But his broadcasting skills exceed only that of . Ronnie had to miss half the game today for a doc appointment, and all of us wish him nothing but health. Dave Otto subbed for Ronnie. And was excellent. Cogent thoughts on pitches and base running. No asides to read faxes while a 3-2 pitch is being readied. He's not Stoney, but he's a solid analyst.

Dave Otto for everyday radio analyst, 2004.

Prior Reward

Mark Prior - Pitcher of the Month for August.

More Night Games and School Profit

Looks like an agreement to add 12 more night games is in the works. Also, a Wrigley area school is renting extra parking spaces for Cubs game attendees. As usual, local area residents are upset of extra traffic. Fine. Are they willing to pay extra taxes to replace the lost revenue for the school? Doubtful. Let the people park.

Stop or I'll Get Thrown Out At Home

Ramon Martinez, with his 5th baserunning mistake in about as many innings, got nailed at home yesterday. Shockingly, Waivin' Wendell had the "stop" sign on. So Wendell gets a pass, right?


He's been so bad that the players are likely conditioned to ignore him. They figure their guess is no worse than Wendell's. So was Wendell correct yesterday? Yes. Blameless? No.

Don't know much about history...

Desipio with the obersvation of the day. Tony LaRoooosa is upset about Cubs pitchers throwing inside. Desipio observes, "Who was the greatest pitcher in Cardinals' history? A guy named Bob Gibson who used to plunk guys in the head if they even thought about getting a hit off of him."


Fairie Dust From San Fran?

Bruce Miles with a small scoop today. Seems Dusty was dusting the infield:
Dusty: Before he put on his uniform Wednesday morning, Dusty Baker walked around the infield and into the short outfield with a bag in his hand. From the bag he took out some substance and spread it around.

When asked what it was, Baker declined to say.

"I'm not telling you," he said.

When asked if it was a good-luck substance, Baker replied: "Yes."
Let's hope it wasn't fertilizer since I fear that plenty of fertilizer will be spread by Shaun Estes today.

Speculation running rampant that Dusty was spreading ashes of Bobby Bonds.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

My Dinner With Tony

In the top of the third, heat explodes between Dusty and Tony. With lessons from my wife, i have become a passable lip reader. I think Dusty invited Tony to have dinner with him down at Harry Carray's. Certainly looked like Dusty also invited Tony to bring his "mother" down to Harry's restaurant on "Hubbard" street.

Oh yeah. If Eric Karros ever bats again in a game situation, I'll hire the Ligues to nail his ass.

Chalk Talk

Yeah, it was a fair ball. Yeah, Poo-holes caught the ball in game 1. Not even an NBA ref's make up call could even this one out better.

Mike Kiley reports on the required LaRussa's mind games. This time, Tony goes after Kerry Wood. "He likes to scare people,'' La Russa said. "I've heard he likes to hit people. His team will straighten that out because nobody takes that. Not the Cardinals. No team in baseball takes that.'' Smart play by LaRoooooosa given Kerry's mental makeup. Dumb because the Cards don't see Wood again this year.

Grace Less

Kiley goes on to ask Sammy Sosa about 1998 vs. 2003.
Sosa was vague with the comparison, but he sounded as though he was happier with this team.

''We got great chemistry in the clubhouse,'' he said. ''Everybody is happy. Everybody is together. We don't point fingers at nobody. We're like a family. That's what I really like.''
I wonder who he's talking about? Girardi?

No starter announced for Thursday. If it's Juan Cruz, on three days rest, over Estes, then Dusty Baker needs to do some 'splainin on why the kid was left in the minors all year.

A freaky story courtesy of Drudge. This one is right out of 24. Seems a pizza deliver guy robbed a bank with a bomb. The bomb was around his neck attached to a locked collar. FBI investigators are trying to determine if he was acting as a hostage of a third party.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


He's on the hook for $9.5 million next year. He's also hitting crap since the break, .140 with no RBIs over his last 10 games. He's clogging the lineup. As much as I dislike Korey Patterson and Eric Karros, my distate for Moises Alou is rising faster than Mark Prior's Cy Young chances. This team has $14 million tied up for next year on Alou and A Gonz. Dump those two and you get enough money for Vlad the Impaler or Tejada and Luis Castillo. Can Hendry pull off another Hundley-like deal? One that not only dumps a guy not needed but also free up salary? Cubs fans should hope.

Water Tourture. That's what this game feels like. The Cubs should be shut out through 11 innings. A gift error is the difference between a 2-0 blanking and a 2-2 extra innings game. The longer it goes on, the more you feel the edge of the Earth creeping up. That said, it could have been won. But good 'ole Alou blows the game in the 9th with a junior high-level mistake in the 9th. This guy used to break your heart as an opponent. Now he does it as one you cheer for.

At least he's consistent.

Who Goes in Game 5?

All the speculation is on who will pitch game 5 of the current series (ignoring that the question is irrelevant if the team loses the next 3). Estes? Cruz? Sergio "You know Sergio?" Mitre? Felix Sanchez? The Herald and the SunTimes all speculate. It would be Cruz except for the fact that he'd be on a 3 day rest instead of 4. Shoulda pitched Cruz Saturday and moved Estes to Sunday.

In a much more important story (cough, cough - leak), the SunTimes lays the ground work for A Gonz to be A Gone. Tejada seems to be the likely option. Given the money freeing up, that's very affordable. If they can find a team (cough, cough - sucker) to take even a dollar of A Gonz salary, that can only help.

Claude Passeau, who pitched a one-hitter for the Cubs in the 1945 World Series, died Saturday. He was 94. This remvoed another veteran to start ahead of Juan Cruz.


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