Wednesday, January 28, 2004

All in Agreement

Looks like the Cubs will get another cash windfall compliments of the City of Chicago. A deal landmarking the ballpark, but allowing for specific expansion was okayed yesterday. Terms include three rows of seats behind home plate stretching from dugout to dugout. These 200 seats will go for $200 to $250 apiece, generating $3.2 million in annual revenue. Additionally, a deal for 30 night games a year is pending with a small possibility the four night games could be added in 2004 schedule.

Add this to the $2 large that the Cubs will (rightfully) get from the rooftop owners. Now, why aren't Pudge and Maddux here?

Stupid is as Stupid Does

How does a 22 year old, Arican-American male with a collegiate 3.75 grade-point average in a double major in Social Studies Secondary Education and sociology who was a Rhodes Scholar nominee, inducted into the Mensa society in May 2001, and named to the National Dean's List for three consecutive years get turned down for a job?

Simple. Apply to be a teacher in the Atlanta Public School system.

Now, you say, there must be some other problem. Was he applying for a PE job? Were the district's social studies positions filled? Nope. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a letter from the applicant where he says that the rejection letter he received said, "your demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become. However, it is highly recommended that you seek employment at the collegiate level; there your intellectual comportment would be greatly appreciated. Good luck."

Nice. He was gonna be too smart for the kids. I've got to get on the school boards of every school my kids will attend.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Best Game Going

No, not the Superbowl, rather the New Hampshire Primary. Where else do you get intrigue and jockeying for position among individuals with as much book smarts and as little real world experience as in presidential politics? There are only two teams that I get interested in when the Superbowl comes about: The Bears and Packers. I want the fromer to win, and the later not to even get there. As neither are there, I root for good commercials. And a good pizza and maybe a beer or two to wash it down.

New Hampshire has gotten all tossed up. Kerry leads, Dean seems to be rising and there's a three way tie for third among ClarkEdwardsLieberman. All sorts of tracking polls are out there. ARG and Zogby are the easiest to find and read.

If you are one of the 50% of the population who actually votes and are interested in the process, it's hard not to find this facinating, regardless what party you call yourself.

Besides. Who hasn't seen the YEEEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! from the former Gov of Vermont? Don'tcha wanna see how that turns out?

Friday, January 23, 2004

Kangaroos and Gooses

My childhood gets slowly killed off by the ravages of time. First, Ray Raynor yesterday died. He was the Chicago morning kids show host on WGN. Sportswise, he's most famous for showing Cubs, Sox and Hawks highlights while wearing a double billed Cubs/Sox hat.

Today, Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshin goes. I guess Mr. Green Jeans gets the Moose to himself.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Failing Spirit

The Mars Rover, Spirit, has not transmitted anything to earth in 24 hours. Normally that's a bad sign, but just maybe Spirit got a bad burger at a Martian McDonalds drive thru. Get your updates here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


It seems that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology annually asks people what inventions they hate, a riff on my list of things that piss me off. The "winners":

Cell phone - 30%
Alarm clocks - 25%
Television - 23%
Razors - 14%
Also receiving votes: Microwave ovens, computers and answering machines

The only two that make sense are alarm clocks and razors. Who likes waking up in the morning or shaving?

I don't know anyone that hates cell phone. Now, hating people who refuse to turn their phone to vibrate in a movie theater or such place, that I can see.

I love my TV. With young kids, it's almost the only way I ever get to watch a movie. My microwave is huge. Who wants to have your kid scream for 5 mintues while his dinner cooks when it can be nuked ready in 30 seconds? The computer is about the only way I ever communicate with anyone outside of work.

I think MIT needs to rephrase the questions it asks.

New Hampshiring

Given how wrong every pundit has been about the Democratic nomination process, what can it hurt to add my two cents in?

Howard Dean is toast. He's going down as the New Phil Gramm. He's got a lot of money and he's mean. All he has that Gramm didn't have was early support.

The nomination is John Edwards' to lose. I figure all he has to do is crack the top 3 next week to all but seal it (barring gaffes down the road, of course). Figure John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Wesley Clark are right now in the top 3 in NH. Dean has to win or he has to drop out. Kerry needs to be no worse than second or he's toast for losing badly in his backyard AND blowing momentum. Kerry also will get smoked like a cheap bong in South Carolina one week later. He could finish behind Edwards, Dean, Clark AND Al Sharpton down there. Clark needs to finish ahead of Edwards, but probably also needs to be no worse than #2 or he loses the expectations game based on skipping Iowa.

Edwards has a nice SC setup going for him. Loads of Dick "Cardinal Fan" Gephardt endorsers are now free to help him. Money isn;t an issue as trial lawyers have millions to donate to him (Edwards was an early fundraising leader). He also has a positive message. Hell, even Rush-xycotin sounded scared of him yesterday. "Trial lawyers are always the heroes on TV and movies. ... He's Clinton without the baggage."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Karros Money

That's what the cost is for the guy who wins the Cubs a title. Carlos Beltran agreed Tuesday to a $9 million, one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. Beltran is a free agent after this year and the Royals have said its unlikely they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

Sign Maddux for $6 million, trade Patterson, Clement and a top minor league pitcher for this guy. $93 million would be the payroll.

Given the cash that rolled/is rolling in, it's a no brainer.

Would KC do that deal? I dunno. They get a $3 million savings, two hot youngsters (well, one if you count out Korey), and a solid starter that will help them win a division.


Well, that should just about be the end of Howard "Terrorists are Soldiers" Dean. Good riddance. I'd bet that John Edwards faces George W. Bush in November.

In more important news, Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee signed 1 year deals with hopes high for long termers to come soon. Decent news. I wouldn't break the bank for either of these guys, but anything under $10 million per year for Wood and $8 million per year for Lee would be fine.

But the REAL news is that the Cubs budget right now is $84 million. That's a WHOPPING $1 MILLION INCREASE FROM 2003!

Horse hockey!

This team stands to get $2 million extra per year from the rooftop owners, ALONE!!!! Season tix sales are up to about 25,000 packages sold. Ratings were up last year for TV and radio! And they spend THE GRAND SPANKING TOTAL OF $1 MILLION MORE THAN LAST YEAR?!?!?!?! WHAT HAPPENED TO A HIGHER BUDGET IN 2004?!?!?!?!?!

What a load of crap. I'm very glad that I did not buy season tix as I had contemplated.

No Maddux. No Pudge. Just more in the Trib's pocket.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I'm Bored

I'm not going to the Cubs' Con (as in conned out of $50 bucks) this weekend and Maddux won't sign anywhere until next week. So there's no baseball news. The Bears are done making news for a while. The Iowa caucus is too close to call. So now what? I guess I'll steal another Sloth idea and make a list.

10 Things That Piss Me Off
1) People who turn left at a 4 way stop sign and cut off a person going straight
2) Not raising the seat on a men's public toilet before you piss
3) Bitching about the cold weather in Chicago in January
4) Alex Gonzalez not getting more heat for a gaffe that could have landed Mody Dick
5) Steve Alford being unable to make a winning team yet still allowing felons to remain on the team
6) Reality TV and the lack of creative entertainment now available on the networks
7) Glenbrook North's (my alma mater) answer to the Powder Puff incident -- a touchy, feely, full of crap task force that solves nothing
8) Nine figure lottery winners
9) Wendell Kim
10) $1 trillion in debt my kids are gonna be taxed to pay off

Thursday, January 15, 2004


I was a student at the U of Iowa back in 1988. The Caucus process was a remarkable experience. I got to meet and greet a fair number of candidates: Pete DuPont, Paul Simon, Dick Gephardt, etc. That kind of made me the sidebar political junkie I am today.

I was surfing the DesMones Register's web site today and I came across this as part of a quiz on candidate profiles. It seems Dennis Kucinich actually does or has ALL of the following:

- Sign in office says polka, bowling and kielbasa are hallmarks of civilization.
- Sings spontaneously at funerals and other public events.
- Bars staff from parking foreign cars in congressional lots.
- Likes matzo and drinks hot water, rather than coffee and tea.

And this guy got elected to Congress? And he later made these.... Idiosyncrasies.... known to the public?

Fiddling on the Roof

So much bandwidth wasted on the talk of the new Bears' coach and how he nods to Bear tradition. Hard Hitting! Tough D! Dick Butkus! Bronco Nagurski!

All crap. Here's what Lovie should have said when asked about Bear tradition:

"What I know of the Bears is that we are losers. We've won, what? 6 post season games since 1963? That sucks. That's not tradition, that's the Bengals. Oh, well maybe not them. They've been to a Superbowl since the Bears have. We can't win if we try. We had both Butkus and Sayers and never made the playoffs. It took Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and Jim Covert to get us to win even one playoff game. Payton was the best running back in the history of the game. And he won 4 playoff games, all after he was 30! This team hasn't had a great quarterback since Jews in sports were athletes, not owners! Our tradition is for our fans to cling to one title, 1985, and cling to it like it was the Holy Grail. Well, 1963 to 1985 is almost the same gap as 1985 to 2007. And no one clings to 1963!

If the Bears had any real tradition worth honoring, I wouldn't have been hired. Singletary would have been the coach. I'm here because our tradition sucks. I'm gonna make a new tradition.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Right on the Money

Sidney Ponson signs with the O's for $22.5 million over 3 years. That's $7.5 million per year for a guy that posted 17 wins, 216 innings, a 3.75 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

So what do you pay for 16 wins, 218 innings, a 3.96 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP?

Oh yeah, and the second guy is 10 years older?

$14 million over 2 years is right on. And right on the line with the "$7 million and $9 million per year" that I sited yesterday.

Sign the deal, Greg.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Rocket Update

Details of Clemens' deal were announced today. He gets $5 million this year and another $3.6 million deferred and interest free in 2006. That ups the number that will be needed to sign Maddux. He now costs between $7 million and $9 million per year to sign and for a minimum of 2 years. Although Rozner reports that an offer will be made today, Phil Rogers has either an angle or a negotiating point in one of the worst blind quotes of all time:

(Maddux's agent Scott) Boras declined to comment, but a source said the Maddux negotiations parallel the ones that led to his exit.

"This is like 1992 again," the source said. "He felt like he was forced out of Chicago. He wants to come back, but he doesn't know if Tribune Co. will pay him."

As that quote has a 97% probability of coming from Boras, my guess is "negotiating point."

Monday, January 12, 2004

Is "Cubs Fan wears Ozzie Gullien Jersey to Opening Day" Next?

Now the ACLU is backing Rush Limbaugh! Seems that the ACLU agrees that Rush's medical records should be private. I probably agree, unless the records hide a crime.

What's funny is that the defense rides on the notion of a constitutional right to privacy. It'll be interesting if Rush accepts or rejects such support as privacy is not a right directly granted in the Constitution and has been a bashing point for many of the conservative persuasion.

The Hot List

Courtesy of The Yanks and D-Rays get to report on Valentines Day due to their series in Japan. When will MLB dispense with that nonsense?

Jan. 5-15: Salary arbitration filing.

Jan. 14-15: Owners meeting, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jan. 18: Exchange of salary arbitration figures.

Feb. 1-21: Salary arbitration hearings.

Feb. 19: Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players.

Feb. 24: Voluntary reporting date for other players.

March 2-11: Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players.

March 2: Mandatory reporting date.

March 17: Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days.

March 30-31: Opening series, New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay, Tokyo.

March 31: Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2004 salary.

April 4: Opening day for other teams. Active rosters reduced to 25 players.

June 14: Hall of Fame game, Atlanta vs. Minnesota, Cooperstown, N.Y.

July 13: All-Star Game, Houston.

July 25: Hall of Fame inductions, Cooperstown, N.Y.

Oct. 5: Playoffs begin.

Oct. 12: League Championship Series begin.

Houston, they have a Rocket

Roger Clemens signed a 1 year, $5 million deal with the Astros for 2004. That means that this career AL pitcher, who threw inside knowing he had no chance of getting the same served back to him, will now have to hit off Mark Prior et al. Good. LEt's see if he has the cohones to stand in. Fearless prediction - Clemens charges the mound at least once this year.

It also has the added benefit of setting a price for Maddux. The Cubs should offer about $11 million over 2 years with $4 million paid in 2004. And Maddux must travel with the team and be at the park on off days. I'd like Maddux to be Wood's defacto pitching coach. That can't happen if he's golfing in Vegas while the Cubs are playing in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Impaled by Angels

The LA Angels have signed Vlad for $14 mil per times 5. That's $4 million less than Sammy and at least 5 years younger. In other words, more salary contraction.


Plus, he's out of the NL.

And Viagra Boy signed with Baltimore again. BFD. Just something to write about.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Now There's a By-Line

Peter Schmuck writes a story about Peter schmuck. This is a joke, right?


Lotsa Cub news in the Suntimes today. Mike Kiley has info on Kerry Wood, Pudge and Mad Dog. KW's agents have a negotiating session setup for next week in advance of the Cubs Convention. 3 and 4 year deals are being discussed with salary ranges between $9 million and $11 million per year. Given Kerry's history of inconsistent pitching and bad backs (since high school) combined with the lack of contract insurance for contracts of greater than 4 years in length, I give this guy no more than 3 years.

Kiley adds more in that Pudge and Maddux's agent Scott Boras and GM Jim Hendry continue to talk low level. Kiley guesses that Maddux WILL sign with the Cubs and Pudge won't. That would be great as it would create the ability to trade either Wood or Clement with Clement being the more likely trade.

As Clement will be a free agent at the end of 2004 and Maddux with a 2 year deal, I see no way Clement returns in 2005. Therefore, trade him and use Cruz or bring up one of the youths.


I've never understood the appeal of the Cubs convention. I get to pay to sit around a hotel and do a rah rah thing? Indoors in January? Isn't a big part of the appeal of baseball is that it's a competition that's held out in the summer sun? I get to have a drink with Luis Salazar? I dunno, but it seems to Star Trekish to me. I liked that TV show, but that's it. No fake ears and such. Just a TV show. I'd as soon go to a Hughley's Convention as a Cubs convention. It's all entertainment. You'll never catch me at one. Seems just as interesting as waiting outside the hall where the Oscars are to catch a glimpse of Naomi Watt's cleavage.

Golf Juice?

In a little chart in the Trib today, they show the driving distance of some golf pros and compare their tee driving distances in 2000 to 2003. Tiger is now driving 1.5 yards fewer yards off the tee now. Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are an incredible 24.4 and 22.0 yards longer now than 3 years ago!

Anyon seen Mark McGuire's bottle of Andro anywhere?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Blog Battle

Seems that Ivy Chat was somehow deemed a finalist in the Best Cubs Blogs of 2003 contest held over at View from the Bleachers. Well, I guess discussing car rides in snowstorms, how the Cubs were finished back in July, mini Lord of the Rings reviews, Levitra, Egypt looking for reparations from the descendents of the Hebrews, and fish farting all count for something.

Then again, I did read the tea leaves correctly and predict that Hee Sop would not be on the Cub major league roster in 2004.

Vote early, vote often. And if you don't vote for me, at least vote for the Sloth. Maybe a win can trick him into buying beers all night some Friday.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Explaining to a 4 year old

The Rose thing is simple. And any people who don't get it are just stupid. Sorry, but that's it.


By betting on games, he makes what is supposed to be an exhibition of athleticism be transformed into a game of chance with profitability for one of the participants. This is also known as fraud.

Now, some say, "Cheating is cheating" and that Sammy's corked bat is no different. By that mentality, jaywalking has the same punishment as murder. Pete Rose did the baseball equivalent of baseball murder one. Premeditated gambling on the outcome of games in which he was involved.

My 4 year old and I were in the car today listening to Mike & Mike ramble on about this. My kid asked what this was all about. I said that a man cheated on baseball. I used that word "cheated" to see what his response was. The 4 year old said, "Just like Sammy Sosa?" "Good!" I thought. He remembered.

I explained that what this guy did was worse. That Sammy cheated and he got punished. And that this guy was also being punished.

Pete Rose needs to be punished with what the law says. And that says a lifetime ban. I wouldn't want my kid to think that he can get away with murder if he just waits out public opinion.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Wait until next year

Sandberg and Sutter must wait another year while Eck and Molitor get in. Ryno got 309 votes, or 61.1% of those cast. That's up from 49.2% last year. 71 more votes is all he needed. Ryno's tracking for enshrinement next year. On The Score, Ryno was completely magnanimous. That's what we've come to expect from him. Class, class, class.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Slide Show

Not much more than a nice slide show (Hat tip American Thinker:). Worth watching. The choice in music needs work, tho. The song of choice is used in the post-Seinfeld days as a sad song. It's really a totally sarcastic song.

Winter Update

----------- Dominican Winter League Playoffs ------------
Friday, 1/2
TM  PITCHERS             IP   H   R  ER  BB   K   ERA

CHC J.Cruz 6.2 2 0 0 2 4 0.00

Nice outing. Can eh do that from April to October?

Happy New Tax Year

Perhaps this column was right. Seems the Yanks signed Javier Vasquez to a contract extension on Monday. Included in the $45 million deal was a $2 million signing bonus. Javy saves a few grand off his 1040 by waiting to sign this until today.

Pudge and Maddux will drop soon. Just keep them outta St. Loser.

For Pete's Sake

Question for Mr. Pondscum: You say that betting on your team to win isn't a problem. Can't you tip off a bookie on a game (aka fixing) if you *don't* bet on your team on a given day?

Friday, January 02, 2004


So on New Years Eve afternoon, I was attempting to forestall a heart attack and lose some weight by actually making use of my Bally's Health Club membership. Wandering among the Cybex machines, looking for one that can hid the fact that I can bench press any weight under that of a large canary, I see this familiar looking guy. Black hair, glasses, etc., but I can't place his face.

He sees me looking at him and kind of shoots daggers at me out his eyes for an instant. Then, he kind of turns away, but keeps glancing back at me. Almost like he knew I recognzied him, but then realized I didn't know WHY I recognized him.

As I set the leg lift machine to an appropriate weight, it clicked. Now, this club was located in the north suburbs of Chicago. Northbrook / Deerfield border. Once the location of where I was set in, I had the guy marked. I left him alone. Hell, I had nothing to say to him. I wasn't trying to be mean, just figure out the connection.

Well, I sure hope Steve Bartman doesn't think I had a nasty look on my face.

A Moment of Silence

Brian Carstens's blog, the Untitled Cubs Page, is going dark. Seems the daily drag of making his personal opinions known to the 7 people with enough time to waste to read them was too much drudgery. Meanwhile, those of us who DO have enough time to waste writing will continue espousing our self serving opinions on everything from Juan Cruz's facial hair to the Atkins diet.

Brian, you will be missed.

Uncouth Sloth Signs with Padres

While my lunch buddy has the corpyright on that name, the Fair Use Doctrine allows me to purloin the name to talk about David Wells. And the fact that Wells truly fits the name while Sloth Rob only evokes the image. The contract's terms are inconsequential. The big deal is that this means that the Pad's rotation probably can't fit Greg Maddux.

The stars are aligning to land Greg with the Cubs, along with Pudge. Now sign Greg, then package Abe Lincoln and Strikeout Korey over to KC for Beltran.

And while I'm dreaming I'd like a pony, too.

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