Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Thinking Brooms

It looks like the Mark Prior matchup for Thursday just got easier. The Astros' Wade Miller, who was scheduled to start, went on the disabled list after Tuesday night's game with a bad right shoulder. Jeff Kent also could be DL bound after gimping into second last night with a probably pulled hamstring. A win today over Clemens and Prior could put the Cubs in line for seventh consecutive win over the Astros. And THAT would make the Astros an even .500 team.

And THAT could put Beltran back on the market.

Doing the Box Step

OK. We're all agreed that Korey Patterson is hitting the ball better.

Are we also agreed that he's still plenty stupid? He gets erased on the bases so often he needs to be clapped out at the end of each series.

And he's such a dynamite fielder.

This guy is going to cost this team at least as much as he brings them. But at least he's not the 100% pure whirlpool of badness he was before. He's now two steps forward, two steps back.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Tuesday Ten

With the off day, here's a list of 10 movies everyone should see. And 10, that when High Def DVD is released, I'll be buying:

1. Maltese Falcon
The best gumshoe movie ever made. If you've never seen Humphrey Bogart, see this one. Sydney Greenstreet is fabulous as is Peter Lorrie. Get Casablanca if you are more of a "romantic" or want to impress your significant other.

2. The Graduate
Coming of age in the 60's. Great music, Katherine Ross, "Plastics!" and that last shot of the Ben and Elaine on a bus.

3. Jaws
A movie about three men confronting fear. It has as much to do with a shark as Field of Dreams has to do with baseball.

4. Star Wars
The Gee Whiz Kid from nowhere with long hair and a groovy car destroys the godless, monotone evil empire by relying on faith. No wonder Ronald Reagan won 3 years later.

5. The Sting
You can watch this movie 10 times and still pick up little tips on where the movie is going. Next time you watch it, listen to Salino's footsteps in the alley when chasing Hooker. That should tip you off to who Salino really is.

6. Dr. Strangelove
I almost went with Clockwork Orange for my Kubrickian choice. But Slim Pickens' "YEE HAW!" beats Malcom McDowell's "Singing in the Rain!" every day.

7. Rope
Gotta have Hitchcock in here. Rear Window and Psycho get more press, but this "play-on-film" is just brilliantly shot. And the way the murderers dispose of the murder weapon is priceless.

8. Usual Suspects
I still don't know if a single word Verbal Kint said to Detective Kujan was true.

9. High Noon
Like "Falcon," a must see if you've never seen Gary Cooper. The "Last Good Man" defeats the faceless evil that comes from the limitless horizon.

10. The Shawshank Redemption
Tell me this. Who gets redeemed? Andy Dufrense or Red? Only ruined by the final shot. It doesn't matter that Red finds Andy. It only matters that Red made up his mind to "get on livin'." "Good Will Hunting" has the same ending, but gets it right.

And five more for every guy to see before high school is over:

1) Fast Times at Ridgemont High
American Pie sucks compared to this. Would not get made today given the statutory rape scene and the "abortion without parental consent" scene.

2) Fletch
Vastly underrated. Just ask Dr. Rosenpenis.

3) Caddyshack

4) Animal House
Duh, again.

5) Stripes
"No, we're not homosexual, but we are willing to learn."

6) Blazzing Saddles (Bonus)
If you don't fall over laughing when Cleavon Little sings, "I get no kicks from champagne..." you have no concept of humor.

Monday, June 28, 2004

...But Is Drayton McClane Chauncey Gardner?

Why would Houston trade for Carlos Beltran BEFORE the Royals play the Cardinals? Why not wait until AFTER that series? Hell, Carlos could have won game 2 of the series in the 9th for the Royals and kept Houston a game closer to first. Instead of Beltran up with 2 on and one out, Mike Sweeney GIDy-yaPed to end the threat. Cards win in 10.

Yeah, they didn't want to take a chance that Carlos would get hurt. But should the Astros lose this year, like they did last year, the Astros will know that waiting 3 days to pull off their trade might have helped even more.

Stupid is as Center Field Does

Frankly, I don't care that Corey Patterson has been "playing better" as of late. Sure, he has been hitting the ball a little better and his average is rising. But he is still, fundamentally, as unsound of a ballplayer as I have ever seen for a regular. His baserunning screw up late in the game yesterday only further cements the notion: Corey Patterson is a stupid ballplayer.

This is a guy that has not learned how to play the game. Trying to steal down 5? With your core hitters coming up? This guy gets erased on the basepaths so often you'd think that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams were on base with him. At Friday's game, Corey nearly de-leg-itated Sosa on a ball that was Sosa's to play.

How long will Jim Hendry put up with Corey Gump?

Left Out

As to where to upgrade the offense, the answer may be somewhere other than center or short stop. Moises Alou has been "reverting to the mean" lately. Maybe a leadoff hitter could be acquired and Alou could be dumped? Salaries would clearly be an issue, but Alou could go to an AL contender as he can DH if need be.

Look at these numbers. Not pretty.

April 83 15 30 8 1 7 20 6 10 0.400 0.735 1.135 0.361
May 113 15 34 4 0 6 15 5 11 0.331 0.496 0.826 0.301
June 99 16 20 4 0 5 12 7 16 0.255 0.394 0.649 0.202

They should not be saying "Alou!" anymore.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Big Zamboni Goes Down

One bad inning from Carlos Zambrano. But that's not why they lost.

3 runs against a pud with an ERA of 11.42?

Carlos Beltran is gone, but this team needs to seriously upgrade the offense. Sammy's not doing it and Alou has cooled. Alou is also unlikely to pick it back up. The team has been shut out 10% of the time.

Let's go, Hendry. You're 4 back.

Time's a wastin'!

Friday, June 25, 2004


Just wanted to publicly thank Grace at ESPN 1000 for the tix to the White Sox Skybox yesterday. The Wife, Oldest Son and I got there three pitches into the game. We leaned out of the box to take a look around and saw Darrin Jackson gabbing into his microphone. He saw us and gave the Oldest a waive and a smile -- while on the air. Very nice, and much appreciated by the Oldest.

Lastly, a belated "TYVM" to Barry Rozner for printing a little e-mail I sent him in Wednesday's Daily Herald.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Huge Loss

Did you hear the news? The Cubs acquired Carlos Beltran in a three way deal tonight and the cost was so minimal so as to be a joke. What was the cost for one of the top 15 players in all of baseball? Kyle Farnsworth and a minor league third baseman.

Oops, I'm sorry. The Astros got him for Octavio Dotel and a minor league catcher. The A's later took Dotel and sent the Royals a third baseman ("Moneyball" Mark Teahen).

The A's must have really wanted Dotel over Farnsworth. I mean, Dotel is three years older, has double the salary, has the same amount of major league experience, and has comparable stats.

This trade makes me sick. This is Scott Rolen all over again. This is Cubs' GM Jim Hendry not doing what's needed: The huge move.

Yeah, the Cubs don't have a quality catcher in their minors. Use some of your backlog of starters and get one from somewhere else!

Well, Beltran will be in Wrigley the next time the Cubs get there. And the Cubs are going to regret this move. In a huge way. The Cubs still have 10 games left against Houston. The Cards now get three games against the Beltran-less Royals, and don't see Houston again until September 14th.

Good thing the Cubs don't need the offense. They did so well tonight.

Oh, wait...

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Please Stay

When the Cubs acquired Aramis Ramirez, I thought it was a good deal. I also liked several third basemen who were to become available at the end of 2004 much better than Ramirez. Guys like Koskie and Glaus. As such, I could not endorse a long term extension of Ramirez.

No longer.

I've been meaning to do this for quite a while. Koskie and Glaus are off the Wish List and Ramirez is invited to stay, at least by this sheet.

Get a deal done, Hendry. the longer you wait, the more he's gonna cost you.

Ryan's Disgusting Hope

Here's where Illinois Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan crosses the line from "kinky dude who cost himself a marriage" to "scumbag." The story goes that Jack tried to get wife Jeri Ryan (gratuitous picture of ‘ole 7 of 9 follows) to go to a few sex clubs in New York, Paris and New Orleans.

Jeri didn't wanna go into a place featuring "cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling." I guess she wanted to go to sex clubs in LA. Why else be an actress best known for skin tight spandex and silicon implants other than for the sex?

So what. Big deal.

It gets a little dicier when you see Jack parsed his words with Clintonesqe skill. Jack Ryan said in a court filing. "I did arrange romantic getaways for us but that did not include the type of activities she describes."

All that means is that he didn't plan sex club trips as part of the getaways. Then again, once they were on the getaway and a club happened, just by chance, to be on their tour route, why not stop in! Purely spontaneous! And no perjury!

Again, so what. Big deal. It's lying, but politico lying.

Here’s where the big deal comes. Jack says that he wanted the records kept sealed to prevent his 9-year old son from suffering. “The first job of a dad, of any parent is to protect your children," he said to reporters.

What utter crap.

Raise your hand, anyone moronic enough to believe that Jack wanted to spare his CHILD from the embarrassment of having a kinky dad.

You want to hide behind privacy? Fine.
You want to hide behind parsed statements? Fine.
You want to hide behind your nine year old son?


Mazel Tov to Jeri for dumping this piece of filth. And I hope the parents of the students where Jack teaches high school all learn the right lesson from this "teacher."

Just the Stats, Ma'am

The only disappointing thing about where the Cubs are right now is that they should be no worse than tied for first. They've dominated the Cardinals in just about every facet of the game so far this year. The bullpen's worst game of the year, followed two days later by the offense's worst day of the year is all the separates these two teams. Out of the first eleven games between the teams, the Cubs won 6 while the Cards won 5.

But the offensive stats tell the whole story.
Team    Average   Runs/Game   Home Runs   Strikeouts

Cubs .296 5.2 16 52
Cards .214 3.9 16 90

The Cubs, who have been shut out 6 times this year (i.e. quite often they can't hit), have pounded the Cards' pitching.

Well, the Cubs are hiting better now than they have all year. The realist in me says 1 win is sufficient and two wins would be ideal, the stats tell me that a sweep is not out of the realm of possibility.

And a sweep could launch the "Summer of Cubs."

Monday, June 21, 2004

Quote of the Day

"(Derrek Lee)'s from Sacramento (Calif.). It's hot where we're from. Most of the time the good hitters get hot when the weather gets hot. That's how it was for me." - Dusty Baker

This is news. Derrek is playing well because he's from Sacramento? I thought the hot weather made Derrek play better because Derrek was black.

Admit It

The best pitcher on the Cubs, right now is Carlos Zambrano. When everyone on the staff is perfectly healthy, he's no worse than the second best (to Prior). In fact, Cub fans would be drooling over this kid were he ever to throw a 20 strikeout game. If Carlos Zambrano got the kind of press that Kerry Wood gets, Carlos would be getting Cy Young talk right now. In fact, a few more losses by Clemens, and you could see Carlos taking the Juice Box mound for inning #1 of the Mid Summer Classic (This Time, It Counts! Again!). When reporters talk of having two #1 starters, they better mean Prior and the Big Zamboni. Anything else is insulting.

Note to Desipio: He's not a lawnmower. Z's much more powerful than some half horsepower Toro. While he may not be a Zamboni (after all, Zamboni's are Italian), Z's at least a steamroller.

Deja Vu, All Over Again

Allow me to be retrospective again. Saturday's game was another replay from 1989. Back then, Cubs vs. Cards. Cubs lose game 1 of the series. They trail late and tie the game in the 8th. In the bottom of the tenth, Dawson walks with one out. Luis Salazar doubles down the line. Dawson gimps all the way in to score from first into the leaping hug of Shawon Dunston. Pandemonium ensues, inluding a great move by Don Zimmer. Instead of running to hug Dawson, he heads to second to congratulate Salazar.

Now, Saturday's game was missing several factors: Rain, September, and a division rival battling for first place. But after the game earlier in the week in Houston, 1989 is fresh in my mind. The Cubs won 93 games that year and won the division by 6 games. They keep playing like this and 6 games might be nothing.

Friday, June 18, 2004

A Wild Thing Thought

This sheet has suggested, among others to do so, that an upgrade of the bullpen would be nice. How's this for a fresh take on an old angle. Kerry Wood for closer. Glendon Rusch has been lights out. He's a lefty, which the rotation lacks when Wood returns. Bobby Brownlie and Angel Guzman will both be rotation eligible in another few months. Wood is better the less time he's in a game (less chances for him to lose his cool over a marginal call).

Now, Wood would want his new contract restructured (he gets bonuses for pitching a certain amount of innings). And it's as realistic a supposition as the Cubs trading for Randy Johnson.

But it's fun to think about.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A comparison:

Starts  IP     H    R   ER   HR   BB   SO   ERA

6 34.6 36 14 13 5 9 27 3.38
6 42.2 28 13 12 3 13 50 2.56

The top is Glendon Rusch. The bottom is the first 6 starts for Kerry Wood.

Nice job, Glendon.

The Point

Barry Rozner's column today focuses on Father's Day. He talks about several families and how they cope with loss on that day. One of the families profiled involves an old friend of mine. It was a nice tribute to him and his family. And it also shows what's really important.

Last night, my oldest (he turns 5 in late September) and my wife and I were watching the ninth inning of the Cubs game. I had just explained to him why each half of an inning is called the "top" and "bottom." The mind of the 4 year old jumped tracks and asked what I wanted for Father's Day. Now, I'm not a gift guy. I make most of the money in the household so any gift I get means I just bought myself something. What I told him I wanted was a card with his and his brother's hand prints on it for my desk at work. The Wife loved that idea.

People always joke about why people keep pictures of their families on their desks. "What? Are you gonna forget what they look like? Ha ha ha!" The reason is to remind you why you are sitting pounding the phone and scouring financial statements. The two red headed boys behind me are the reason.

Make sure you have your reasons in mind this Sunday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Random Thoughts

Sammy finished his rehab stint in Jaxxon, TN last night and he's scheduled to play Friday in Chicago. How cool would it be to see Sosa sneak into Houston and play tonight? I mean, what else is he gonna do for 2 days?

How does Dusty handle Sosa's return? Tough choice. It's almost impossible to bench Todd Hollandsworth. So whom would you bench? Korey is the obvious choice. Todd hits much better, has a better arm, is better overall defensively, and is a far better baserunner (not in terms of speed, rather in terms of smarts). I could live with Alou, Hollandsworth, Sosa. I just don't think Hendry and Baker will allow the prize prospect to rot on the bench.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

This page usually looks forward. But last night’s game reminded me of a game I’d seen 15 years ago. The comparisons of this team to 1985 have been many. Injuries after the division win, etc. But this season has reminded me more of 1989. That year, the Cubs entire opening day outfield (Dawson, Walton, Webster) was out at the same time. Grace separated his shoulder. Paul Kilgus started more games than Mitre. Despite the injuries and losing streaks, the team stayed close and in the hunt all year. Same with this year.

Last night’s game proved it. The game was almost a duplicate of August 17, 1989. Cubs vs. Cinci. Sutcliffe takes a shutout into the eighth, but gives up a two-out, two-run bomb to Eric Davis. In the top of the ninth, with John Franco pitching and after two quick outs, Vance Law walked, Dunston singled and Lloyd McClendon walked. Jerome Walton came up and singled to left scoring two (McClendon was thrown out at third to end the inning). Sutcliffe got win 13, Mitch Williams got another save. And the Cubs started to believe.

Last night’s game was just such a game. You can see the game log of 1989 here (hat tip to Retrosheet).

This was the biggest win of the year.

One final note. The 1989 game was followed by a 6 game losing streak. If this team goes in a tailspin now, blame me.


Lotsa hubub today of the White Sox new marketing campaign. It's not bad, until you realize that the ad is an admission that the White Sox are second fiddle to the Cubs. When you have to rely on a competitor to sell your product, you are already in trouble. See, Coca-Cola sells that Coke is part of your lifestyle. It's Americana. Pepsi sells that they are better than Coke. Coke is lifestyle? Well, Pepsi is a "cooler" lifestyle. Pepsi doesn't stand on their own, they're just better than Coke.

That's the White Sox all over.

In that light, Ivy Chat presents the thinking person's response to the White Sox ad.

Us: Ivy on the walls
Them: Who knows?

Us: Prior, Wood, Sosa
Them: Who knows?

Us: Sunshine
Them: Who knows?

Us: Fans all over the country
Them: Who knows?

Us: Calls Chicago home since 1876
Them: Who knows?

Us: The Babe's called shot, the Homer in the Gloamin', Sandberg takes Sutter Deep
Them: Who knows?

I know, I know. Cute. But in reality, the proper response is no response. The Sox organization is losing and they know it. I, for one, don't offer a drowning man a glass of water. Well, if you sit in Wrigley's upper deck, you can see about 1 mile east all the water the White Sox need. If you sit in Comiskey's upper deck, you have to duck when Sputnik flies past....

Monday, June 14, 2004

"I Just Kill Me"

In a story I'm sure our friends over at Desipio will have a field day with, the Sun Times writes a story on Chip Carey's contract. It seems Chip has what is known as an "Evergreen" clause in his contract. Normally, that means a contract renews automatically on a certain date unless the Cubs expressly cancel the contract. Chip's works in reverse. If Chip isn't notified by the end of June that he's being retained, it cancels automatically at the end of the year.

Everyone is hush hush. That can only mean one thing: Chip is on his way out.

What I want to know is, "Who's on his way in?"

Bob Costas' name will get bandied about. Dunno if he'd give up his cushy HBO spots to do 162 live broadcasts. But, if it were up to be, DeWayne Staats should be brought back. He was a great talent, had chemistry with Stoney, and I've heard his voice on local radio gabfests lately. Could he be trying to raise his profile? One can hope.

Habla Ingles?

Sammy tries some revisionist politicing today. Check this quote:

"Last year I had a tough time getting back into my groove," he said. "I thought, 'This time, I'm going to the minor leagues ... so I can come back ready to go."

Right. Two weeks ago he was saying that he didn't need to go. Solid marks for Baker and Hendry for getting this moop to do something for his team (although there is no "I" in team, there is a "me").

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

KC has announced that the bidding may commence for Carlos Beltran. Will Carroll writes up his analysis and concludes that, without a big offensive upgrade, such as Beltran, the season will not end with an extension of play. This sheet agrees.

Carroll further puts together a package of prospects that will get the deal done.

A) Corey Patterson
B) David Kelton or Jason DuBois
C) one of Sisco, Blassko, or Nolasco
D) Sergio Mitre

Again, this sheet agrees that such an offer is met with a handshake.

All that said, such offer is never made unless Beltran agrees to an extension prior to the trade. That's a steep price for 3 months of work. Without an extension, I see the offer is a max of:

A) Corey Patterson
B) One of David Kelton, Jason DuBois, Sisco, Blassko, Nolasco, or Sergio Mitre

Now, this sheet would make said deal, regardless of the extension status. Other than Korey, I don't see any of the other names cracking the Cubs lineup in the next 3 years. As such, the price is not steep, regardless.

The key is, I don't think Hendry has the stones to make that big of a move. This is a guy that's passed on Rolen and Lowell, and Lowell was passed upon because of the price.

Show us your willingness to win, Jimmy. Get the guy.

ESPN has an article ranking the teams likely to acquire Beltran. The author ranks the Cubs as the 6th most likely. The better part of the article is the blind quote from a baseball GM:

" know it's strictly a rental situation. With another player, maybe, you could make him feel really comfortable after you get him, give him a feel for your clubhouse and your city, and then you can negotiate a long-term extension before he hits the market. If you went after a player like that, you might be willing to give up an extra prospect, or give up one of your best young guys. ... But there's no hope with [Beltran]. Boras is not going to sign, and that's going to affect what you're willing to give up."

It's gonna be a small offer, at best.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I Love You, Now Change

Now that Interleague play is upon us, it’s time to make clear a few things about the concept.

1) It’s needed and should stay a part of the game
2) It should be radically changed

Major League Baseball was the only sport that, for the first 90 years of its existence, prevented many of its fans from seeing many of its players. I mean, it’s a good thing that the Pirates made the World Series in 1927 or no one in that part of Pennsylvania would ever have seen Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. The nature of the two leagues lack of in-season play meant that many fans could never see all the stars of the game. Interleague play solves that inequity.

So what if it goes against “tradition.” Every other sports league allows their star players and teams to be seen by every fan at some point. The Bears hosted Elway. The Bulls hosted Cousy. The Red Sox never hosted Sandy Koufax. That’s a crime. Chicagoans and New Yorkers are lucky – we have two teams and can see all the stars. Minnesotans and Kansas City folk are not so lucky. They need Interleague play to see Mark Prior. Major League Baseball needs this.

Where it needs to be radically changed is in the schedule inequities. What the NFL does right is that each team in a division plays, essentially, the same schedule. The Bears and Packers both play the Colts next year. Shouldn’t the Cubs and Astros both have to face the same opponents? There is no way the Cubs should face the White Sox 6 times per year while St. Louis gets the Royals for the same 6 games. Schedules need to be balanced.

Here’s how the schedule needs to change.

1) As is done now, each division will play teams from one of the other league’s divisions in a given year with the divisions rotating over a 3-year term.
2) Each team will play an interleague opponent six times per year consisting of two 3-game home-and-home series.
3) Specific rivalry matchups will be eliminated, except when naturally occurring.

To handle this schedule, several other changes need to be made:

1) Each league must have 15 teams in it comprised of 3 divisions with 5 teams in each division.
2) Each teams’ schedule would be as follows: 18 games against each of the four divisional opponents; 6 games against the ten in-league, non-division opponents, and 6 games against the five rotating interleague opponents.

Do the math and add that up: (18x4) + (10x6) + (5x6) = 162

3) The Expos need to be sold and moved to the American League and the Reds need to move back to the NL East.

That’s it. A perfect setup. Now to get Selig to see the light.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

21 Gun Salute Soon. Six Feet Under Sooner

In November 1980, I won a landslide election at Maple Junior High running as the faux Reagan in the school's mock election. I studied the man and wrote my own speach based upon his proposals. Suffice to day, I was a fan when he assumed the presidency. Now, after his death and 23 years to observe what he left behind, I've got plenty of thoughts about Ronald Reagan. Some are good, some are bad. Here's what I'll write about.

Get the man's body in the ground!

The fawning over a 93 year old man whose brain had long ago melted away from Alzheimer's is pathetic. This is not a man cut down in the prime of his life, this is man who lived a life that was greater and larger than most people who have ever been born. Enough already. No more tributes and 24 hour news coverage and weepy politicians and candidates trying to appropriate his image and resolutions to put his picture on the $10 bill. The guy was a good president, but he was no Washington. Or Lincoln. Or Roosevelt.

Reagan is dead. Bury him. NOW!

Ellipses... could tell from my seat, about 25 rows off the visitors batting circle, that Prior didn't have it. I don't know exactly who was the first one to do so, but there were very few swinging strikes. If Prior can't make you miss, Prior doesn't have it.

...with the team 0-2 when Prior starts scoring a total of 7 runs, it's obvious to just about everyone that the offense that needs upgrading.

...and Sammy seems to have "decided" to take a rehab assignment in the minors. Bully for him. Anyone think he changed his mind? Or is it more likely that he was told, "You go!" by Dusty/Hendry? Put me down for option two.

...with more Prioresque leaking coming out of the Cubs on Wood's arm, you have to think that he'll be back no earlier than late July. All of Wrigley's bellwethers suggest Wood will be ready 10 to 12 days after starting to throw again. Then, the Trib sneaks in this line at the end of the story, "the Cubs believe they can afford to bring (Wood) back slowly, as they did with Prior, although Wood still is feeling some discomfort." See you in August, Kerry.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Cleared to Launch

Sammy hit a live ball today (insert Cindy Sandberg or corn cob joke here). And launched it. And several others. Sosa took live BP Tuesday for the first time since going on the DL. He hit seven home runs, including a Waveland Avenue Bouncer and a camera shot to center.

Looks like he'll be back, possibly as soon as next week. Nice. He'll be striking out from the 3 hole for the last two games of the Houston series. I mean, we all know he won't sully himself with a short stay in the Des Moines Embassy Suites (for which I can personally vouch as a very nice hotel).

I mean, it's good enough for Grudz. And it was good enough for another shlub who spent a few days there. Here's what that classless moop left behind:

Just in case you all missed it, the preceding sentence is called, "ironic."

Wishing Again

I've modified the Wish List again. I've erased the starting pitchers and added a reliever. With Sweaty Joe out, the bullpen is short. The Cubs need another live arm. It seems that a certain solid such closer becomes a free agent at the end of the year. He also happens to be toiling away for a team twelve games under .500 on a team 11 games out of first.

He also used to have as a setup man a certain current Cub closer.

He's on a team the Cubs have been scouting.

Lastly, he's got an ERA and a WHIP both under 1.

Come on over, Eddie.

How To Oust Wendell

It's really pretty simple. FOX Sports was able to get MLB to modify the schedule to get Cubs/Cards matchups in the May sweeps period to boost ratings, and the money FOX makes. Well, we all remember how solid the ratings were in the playoffs last year. Due in no small part to the Cubs (and Red Sox) presence. If Wendell Kim stays as the Cubs' third base coach, there will be no playoffs given the current offensive makeup.

FOX? We need you to get MLB to get rid of Wendell for us. Perhaps arrange a promotion to the league office. Make him a TV analyst. Have him start a 5'2" and under baseball league for Fox Sports Net. Something!

FOX! HELP! It's your ratings we need you to save!

Friday, June 04, 2004

A Dose of Ivy

Good 'ole Andy Dolan focuses today's Daily Dose over at Desipio on something written by this sheet. He raps me for suggesting that Patterson's 2003 wasn't as good as the numbers state.

What? Never head of the score not truly reflecting the game?

Let's look at the O Korey gave his team in 2003.

AVG .298
OBP .329
SLG .511
OPS .839
HR 13
RBI 55
SB 16/21

Looks good on the surface. And only in half a season.

But when you break it down by month, the numbers aren’t so good. His May was huge. April was pedestrian. Ok, it was worse. More strikeouts than hits. Average of .277, OPS of 789. June also sucked. On the plus, two more hits than strikeouts, but his average was under .270 and his OPS fell to .771.

In short, inconsistent. Really mediocre hidden by a huge May.

Ah, but his defense? Zone rating in the middle of the pack. Rage factor of under 2 which would make him the worst regular center fielder in the league (Lofton’s was 0.5 better – which is huge). Doubling his assists would place him in the bottom third of starting center fielders.

To summarize: Terrible.

But here’s the real gist of what I wrote. There are a lot of players that did better in the minors who weren’t given as long of a shot as Korey. And there are really 2 reasons why Korey keeps getting sent out to guard the yellow 400 sign: He has a big bonus and he has a physique. He gets a lot of looks for the same reason John Thierry played for 9 years and 4 teams. He looks like he can play.

Well, Mr. Dolan. He can’t. He won’t. And he’s a bigger problem than short stop since A Gonz leaves as a free agent in 4 months. Korey heads to arbitration after the year. The Cubs think they can keep him on the cheap for another 3 years. Here I quote the greatest losing baseball manager of all time.

“AAUUGGGHHH!!!!!” - Charlie Brown

My Kingdom for some O -- Any O

Do you start to see it now? Even the most rose colored bleacher bum now understands why I wrote that getting Prior back won't help. Try this axiom on for size:


While I still think that D Lee will come around, the brutal reality is that there are only 3 names on the roster that can be counted on for offense.


And with one of those out taking muscle relaxants and Allegra, the team won't score runs. And they could have a starting 5 of Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax and they won't win. More bases loaded choking. They get two hits in those situations, no one's blaming Borowski (they'd be right in wanting him out, but they wouldn't incorrectly blame him for the loss).

The season now rests on this: Will the Reds / Cards / Astros stay close enough to the Cubs until other teams start making trades.

I dunno. That's still about 4 weeks away. Eight games is the max I see this team making up.

Now, this can all be mitigated by Walker and Barrett hitting at a high .290 clip and Lee pulling his head out in the next 37 seconds. I have my doubts.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Centering In

I took a look at all the centerfielders in the NL. I grouped them into three categories:

A) Better than Korey
B) Worse than Korey
C) Korey

Let's look at who's in which group in reverse alphabetical order.

Group C is obvious who's in it.

Group B consists of Endy Chavez, Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd, and Tyke Redman.
Yup. Only 4 centerfielders worse than Korey.

Here's all of group A. I'd take any of these guys, right now, over Korey regardless of age, injury history, haircut, whatever.

Craig Biggio
Milton Bradley
Jeromy Burnitz
Jim Edmonds
Steve Finley
Ken Griffey Jr.
Marquis Grissom
Andruw Jones
Jay Payton
Juan Pierre
Scott Podsednik

That's 11 names. That means that the real story is: Korey is no better than the 12th best center fielder in the entire National League. And the 4th best in his DIVISON!

The 4 guys worse? Montreal, Mets, Philly and Pittsburgh. 2 last place teams, a 4th place team and a 2nd place team.

That's the story.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

If only trades were so lopsided

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs sent right-hander Sergio Mitre to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday, clearing the way for the team to activate Mark Prior from the disabled list.

Prior is to make his first start of the season Friday against the Pirates after being on the disabled list since spring training because of a sore Achilles' tendon and elbow.

Mitre made nine starts for the Cubs and was 2-4 with a 6.51 ERA.

Saw this little blurb in my e-mail from Baseball America:
N.Garciaparr SS 3 0 2 0 .333 - BB

Oh, yeah. There was a word after BB: REHAB

I guess Sammy's too big to go to Iowa for a few days. Instead, he'll strike out 8 times and make his teamates and the fans pay for his arrogance. Just like last year.

Only one and a half seasons until we no longer have to watch this guy. I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Saddle Up

A belated Happy Memorial Day to everyone. I usually don't think too much about Memorial Day. Usually it's a bar-b-que / wedding weekend. The Wife and I had the latter in Long Island for her first cousin. The wedding was at the clubhouse at Bethpage State Park, home of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open. I guess if I golfed, that would be a big deal. Instead, it was a nice piece of filet and some amazing carrot cake and chocolate covered strawberries.

But while this event was unfolding, the dedication of the World War II memorial was taking place in Washington. What a bland slab of stone to commemorate the nearly 410,000 Americans who died so that we, today, could waste time blogging about millionaire athletic entertainers. Tom Brokaw called those who served, "The Greatest Generation." Of that, I have no doubt. Were at Hitler to arise today he'd probably win because we're too complacent of a people to do anything about it (unless, of course, that Hitler is sitting on oil and isn't threatening to us). I guess I just really wanted to acknowledge and thank, in my own nearly-meaningless way, those who sacrificed between 1941 and 1945. I can only hope what they gave is never forgotten and that future generations deserve the opportunities they provided.

But, back to the Cubs. It looks like the wounded list is going to start to thin out. Prior goes Friday (5 days later than this sheet suggested on April 14th). Merker will also be back Friday. Sosa will take BP starting today (no minor rehab stint for Sammy who should do just as well without one as he did last year). Grudz heads to Iowa. Wood is three weeks away.

None of that will really help. Yeah, Prior is as big of an upgrade of Mitre as A-Rod would be over Ordonez, but the starting pitching was very strong without him. The middle of the order continues to strike out and go deep. The bullpen remains shakey. In short, a nice upgrade, but not filling the gap that really exists.


This season will be made or lost when Hendry starts to trade. It's June 1. We'll have a better idea of where this team goes in 45 days.

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