Saturday, July 31, 2004


I'll let that one word sum up my thoughts. For all those of you crying over the loss of Justin Jones...

Shaddap! He's 19 and can't win you a pennant anytime soon. Brendan Harris? A loss, but Richard Lewis is essentially the same player. Francis Beltran? Until he learns to throw strike 3 before ball 4, I ain't losing any sleep.

Let's look to tomorrow and Greggie's attempt to get 300 (with Marigold Bowl closing a few months back, we're certain his best shot is at Wrigley). The key to tomorrow, and the rest of the season, is the lineup.

Where do you bat Nomar?

I've heard speculation anywhere between 1st and 7th.

This is a guy who hasn't struck out more than 63 times in a season since his rookie year. Where do you bat a contact hitter like this?


And you boot Korey Patterson's worthless ass to 8th. Aside: Nice month, Korey. 32 strikeouts to 23 hits. 3 walks in 102 at bats.

This lineup can survive Corey when he bats eighth. Go with:


Now, that looks sweet. In a perfect world, I'd put Lee 3rd and slide Sosa to 5th and Alou to 6th, but Sammy's ego won't allow for that.

All eyes on the lineup card for tomorrow. Then Greg.

Taking it Back

I've been on Jim Hendry almost as much as I've been on Korey. He's never made a gutsy, go-for-broke move.

Until now.

Massive applause on this one, Jim. One wonders if he held back on killer moves because he was still grooming the farm system. Or, perhaps Jim was slowly piecing together a real lineup first. Or the pitching staff. Or he was just building a reputation that had him seen as a guy who won’t rape you. Kinda like folding a few hands early in poker to make everyone think you’re a sucker.


Excellent, sir. Balls out.

You are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up... 15 minutes. Then get your ass back in gear. The Cubs are under a lot of pressure to win, you know, and you put them there. Nothing's riding on this except the last 100 years of failure, your reputation, the Tribune Corporation share price, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you don’t find a closer, I'm going to get mad.


(p.s. a free beer to anyone who can source that last paraphrased paragraph)

Friday, July 30, 2004

Sign Or Go F--k Yourself

From the Albuquerque Journal:

Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney's rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news:

Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes.


An endorsement form provided to the Journal ... says: "I, (full name) ... do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States." It later adds that, "In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush."

Boy. Not only are these guys afraid of a little dissention, but it seems Bush campaign operatives spell worse than I do!

Down with Romey

It seems that Jim Rome's radio show has been embraced in Chicago for what it is: Bad. No one is listening. Sources say his show will be off the air on September 1st with Jary Mariotti and Dan Patrick taking over the airtime. In the spirit of Rome's show, here's an e-mail Rome should be sent;

Dear Jim:

Congratulations on your successful talk show in Chicago.

Magic Johnson
Chevy Chase
Ryan Seacrest


Let The Game Go On

The Associated Press reports that Wrigley has had its cement shrouded and that today's game can be played as scheduled.

That's good, because today's game goes a long way in deciding if Nomar Garciaparra is coming here. The trade likely rests on Mark Prior's arm. If you think the Nomar for Clement and Gonzalez and Mitre deal is real, an I think it is, the only way the Cubs give up both Clement and Mitre is if they know Prior is healthy. If either Prior gets hurt or Clement is traded, Glendon Rusch in the rotation. If Clement is traded AND Prior is hurt, that puts Rusch AND Mitre in.

If Prior goes 7 today on 95 pitches and allows 2 runs or less, I think the Nomar deal will happen. If not, Orlando Cabrerra comes here two months too late. You want to trade A Gonz for his clone? Fine. Do it when A Gonz went out for the first time!

This is why I'm not a big fan of Jim Hendry the Trader. Cabrerra is a deal that should have been done in May.

Fun with Spell Check

I'm a horrible speller. Despite 13 years in some of the top public schools in the country, a four year degree from a Big Ten university and a masters from one of the nation's top 10 business schools, I can't spell worth crap. So I use Blogger's spell check function. It's fun to see what is suggests sometimes. Today, for example:

Nomar – Mammary
Garciaparra – Grasshopper
Mitre – Miter
Glendon – Glinting
Cabrerra – chafferer

Ah, what amuses!

Thursday, July 29, 2004


With Brian Urlacher carted off the field yesterday, the White Sox collapsing, and Kerry Wood unable to get the pitcher out, is it time to look to Spring training 2005 yet?

I fear a long, cold winter of discontent.

Getting One Right

Phil Rogers makes the Nomar case today. And he nails every point. A must read if you still think Matt Clement is too valuable to trade.

What's fascinating about all the chatter is that someone was clearly way off yesterday. WGN's David Kaplan said in his 5 PM newscast that Jim Hendry and Theo Epstein talked about Garciappara yesterday. Kappy then quoted the Desipio-to-Ivy Chat-to-Friend-to-Kappy rumor of Clement, Gonzalez and Mitre as the particulars. Then, Bruce Miles and Mike Kiley both shot this down like a stationary clay pigeon. Bruce went so far to say that this was an old story, basically quashing the story that Hendry and Epstein were even talking.

Someone is way off, folks. I dunno who it is.


I've watched little of the infomercial being broadcast from Boston this week. And, in fairness, I'll watch little of the next one in New York next month. But I have seen the highlights and read the articles in the paper and I'm impressed by one thing the Dems have done:

Keep their yappers shut on Bush bashing.

They've spun a positive, centrist message. My next senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, sure gave a message that speaks to the bulk of Americans. He said that we are not Dems and GOPs, but Americans. How refreshing. He embraced faith, but did not insult people who approach their faith differently from others. How refreshing.

John Edwards also focused on bringing people together. The Two Americas he talks about are not Evil America and Trampled America. It's Advantaged America and Unadvantaged America. There's nothing evil about having advantages. But wouldn't it be nice if people who didn't have all the advantages not be deprived of the chance to live the American Dream? And just maybe the government can make it a little bit easier? That's a phenomenal message.

Now, maybe the Dems a lying through their teeth just to regain the White House. And this is politics, so that is a strong possibility. But if you take people at their word (since you can't judge people out of power by their actions - they haven't had any actions), this is a solid message.

Besides, the party that currently runs the Executive and Legislative branches told us that they were the party of fiscal responsibility, anti-nation building, and were uniters-not-dividers. Well, four years of deficits, spending worthy of 1970's Democrats, nation building, mid-term redistricting and gay baiting shows that lying through your teeth to get elected is not just a one party methodology.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Done Deal?

Reports are all over the place. The Nomar Garciaparra-to-the-Cubs deal is clearly back on, at least as of 1:00 PM Central today. Current terms seem to be Matt Clement, Alex Gonzalez and Sergio Mitre or Nomar with Ryan Dempster joining the Cubs tonight in Milwaukee. I am working a source inside Tribune Tower to see if this is true.

In other news, the Chicago Bears signed their two unsigned draft choices, first-round defensive tackle Tommie Harris and third-round wide receiver Bernard Berrian. Both are expected in camp tomorrow. Harris got a five year deal while Berrian got four years.

Also, the Plastic Twins defeated the Plastic Sox last night. To view highlights, click here.

Bowling for Rockets

Last year, a bandwagon of press-types loaded up their caravan and followed Roger Clemens from city to city as he pursued his 300th career win. One of those stops was Wrigley Field where Kerry Wood's arm, Hee Sop Choi's head and Eric Karros' bat prevented the story from being written. Eventually, Clemens got the win and praise gushed out of the East Coast Sports Media Machine like suds from a washing machine on some old I Love Lucy episode.

Starting today, it's Greg Maddux's turn. What do we see from the national media on "Day One Of Greg Maddux's 300 Chase"? - Randy Johnson trade rumors.

Sports - Greg Maddux

Sporting - Joey Harrington (are you kidding me? Well, they are a St. Louis based operation)

CBS - Michael Young and the Rangers (Maddux does get a sub-headline and a picture)

I guess Greg Maddux's 300 wins aren't as good as Roger's. I guess 300 in New York is bigger than 300 everywhere else.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Things that make you go, "Hmm..."

Jason Giambi is being tested for entamoeba histolytica. Entamoeba histolytica is a parasitic infection that can lead to a potentially fatal infection called amebic liver abscess. Essentially, an area of the liver becomes filled with pus.

What are the risk factors for contracting such a condition? Good question. The factors can include malnutrition, old age, pregnancy, malignancy, immunosuppression, and alcoholism.

Oh, and steroid use.

To be clear, this page has no problem with an athlete's steroid use as this page has no problem with actors and actresses getting nose and boob jobs. Just don't come complain later if it blows up in your face and cuts your life short.


The Cubs are going to place nets under the Wrigely Field upper deck to prevent loose concrete from falling on fans. In a related story, the Cubs announced they will not be removing the nets preventing Cubs' runners from crossing home plate.

Note: Alex Kassberg was not involved in any way in this lame attempt at humor.

Monday, July 26, 2004

In Meaningless News

It seems that the wife, yes, the *wife* of the presumed Democratic Nominee for President told a reporter from a right wing paper to, "shove it." This is news. Four years ago the Republican Nominee for President -- yes, the nominee himself, not his wife -- called a New York Times reporter a "major league asshole" into an open microphone.

This is forgotten by the "liberal" media.

In other, less important news, through six innings the Cubs have yet to score in Miller Park. Why should they. They only have scored in one inning out of 33 played there this year. And one of the runs was driven in by a player with his first major league hit. A player who is no longer on the team.

The important stuff. Covered here on Ivy Chat.

Wanny Gets Smoked

I've hated Dave Wannstedt since the day he was hired. I told friends of mine that this guy was bad news. I started a faux organization called Get Rid Of Wannstedt (G.R.O.W.) that had members from as far away as Belgium. The guy remains the "waste of a moustache" I once called him. This guy turned me from Bear fan to Bear indifference.

Now, Ricky Williams would rather get stoned in Asia than make millions playing for Dave.


And it has the added bonus of screwing a rivial in my fantasy football league!

The Core for 2005

I look ahead to next year and I see, from the current roster, only a few guys whom I hope are still here. They are:

Derrek Lee
Mark Prior
Aramis Ramirez
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Whom else from this team deserves to come back? Barrett? Perhaps, but his glove is just mediocre. He's not a "build around" kind of guy. Sosa? Not a chance. Korey. Ha!

Sure, there are other guys who could be a solid part of the team. Matt Clement, Greg Maddux, Todd Walker, and Todd Hollandsworth all come to mind. But these guys are all older, role players, or probably replaceable by younger guys that would open money for filling huge holes in left and at short.

Those five are your core.

The good news? That's a very solid core.

The bad news? Too many holes.

Jim Hendry needs to get to work.

Nice Month

Not only have the Cubs won exactly two series this month (Sox and Reds), they've regressed offensively in so many ways. Look at Patterson's month:

77 10 19  4  1  1  5   2 23  4  0 .266 .364 .629 .247

He's got more strike outs than times on base.  And he continues to bat second!

What's next?  Some goof recomends moving Korey to third in the order?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

City of Brotherly Collapse

Nice offensive work this weekend in Philly. If you're a teetotaler and base hits are alcoholic drinks.

This team has no hope of achieving a post season berth as currently constructed offensively. On Saturday, the two, three and eight hitters killed the team's chance to win. Today, it was the whole team. They deserved to get no-hit. They needed to get no-hit. Jim Hendry deserved to be embarrassed for constructing this team the way he did and not improving it since February.

He's got 6 days to get a new top of the order. Then Baker needs to move Lee, Ramirez and Barrett up in the order. Move Sosa, Alou and Patterson down.

It's that or it's over for the year.

This Friday.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Bearing Up, Holding Out

Our first Bears news in months is that the first round pick, Tommie Harris, is likely to be a holdout. God, it's nice to know that there are some constants in the universe beyond Max Planck's.


Bruce Miles with a nice column today on what the Cubs will do next year. I don't like the idea of tying up $3 million for Alou next year at all with the need for a short stop. Bruce also skips the idea of letting either Brendan Harris or Richard Lewis play second next year to open up some more cash for the short stop and Carlos Beltran.

Moises Alou goes off on the media.

"They keep saying we can only score when we hit home runs ... I'm sick and tired of this team being a pitching-oriented team. Everybody talks about the pitching and when we score or we win, it's because of the home run. We can do it all. Today, we just happened to hit some home runs.

And you scored. And you won. Duh.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Please, No

Burried in the Sun Times today was this little nugget.

What Cubs fans must know is that no major deal is coming -- unless you really like (Orlando) Cabrera, who could sign the multiyear contract with the Cubs that he doesn't want to accept as an Expo.

I've got no problem in trading for Cabrerra. I have a big problem with signing him to a multi-year deal. With Nomar Garciaparra and Edgar Renteria coming on the market this fall, Cabrerra is by far the third best option.

Getting Renteria would be the best for the Cubs all around as he massively upgrades the offense and defense at the short stop position, and massively downgrades the position for St. Louis.

Jim Hendry! Go easy on Cabrerra!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


What do you make of this?

Boston Red Sox: Acquired infielder Ricky Gutierrez from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named or cash considerations; placed infielder Pokey Reese on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a rib cage strain; recalled third baseman Kevin Youkilis and pitcher Mark Malaska from Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); optioned pitcher Joe Nelson to Pawtucket.

Ok, Let's logic this out. The Cubs just released Rey Ordonez. Now they trade Gutierrez. That's all the backups to Alex Gonzalez.

And the Red Sox. They now have an extra backup at short. Why do they need an extra backup at short?

Who is the player to be named?

I have no idea if there's anything to this, but it is interesting. The Cubs dump their two backups, one to a team to which the Cubs have been rumored to be in trade talks for a short stop? A trade for Nomar Garciaparra.

Very curious.

College Bound

A fascinating piece in Peter Gammons' latest column on college baseball.

...what MLB needs to do is put life into college baseball, which has essentially become a white game. The Commissioner's Office should pony up funds to promote college baseball, help supply wooden bats and establish a scholarship incentive program for underprivileged kids. As it is now, colleges can't get the kids that go to football and basketball, because NCAA rules have left them with 11.7 scholarships for 30 players.

I think this is right on. I've always wondered why MLB didn't subsidize college programs with free bats and such. And with the Moneyball focus on college players and the difficulty in evaluating players with metal bats, this seems a simple and effective move to make.

That, and it would eliminate the PLINK you hear at the College World Series. I hate that sound.

Training Day

The Cubs sent Francis Beltran back to Iowa today and recalled John Leicester. Let's hope Francis learns one pitch (strike one) and unlearns another (ball four).

Back on Friday, April 16th, the Cubs won a game against the Reds 11 to 10. Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou hit back-to-back homers in the ninth to cap a comeback. The next day, Chip Carray was all over the team with praise. "If you haven't fallen in love with the 2004 Cubs yet..." was his tack.

Well, the truth is, I have not fallen in love with this team. And I don't think I can. And if you don't know why, all you need to see is these last two games.

This team has too many unlikable players on it.

My god, how they whine. My 4 year old whines and I despise it. He does it less than this team. From Kerry Wood going ballistic over marginal pitches. From Moises Alou whining over every taken third strike. From Corey Patterson saying how he doesn't need to change his game. From LaTroy Hawkins not talking to the media (and, effectively, his paying fan base) and going berserk over an incident from 2 seasons ago. To Carlos Zambrano whooping it up after being faced.

This is an unlikable group of babies.

I've praised Zamboni in the past for his fire. Specifically, last year when he told Barry Bonds to stick his home run stares up his ass. But Monday was way, way, WAY over the top. This guy needs to cool it. He has the capability of being a Cy Young candidate year in and year out. But not if he can't channel that energy on the field.

And where is Dusty in all this? His sole purpose is too keep these guys focused. His in-game skills are sub par. If he can't cool the players' minds, what good is he?

But the real issue was, is, and remains Jim Hendry. One of the reasons this team has failed is because he didn't do enough to prepare them offensively. A real leadoff hitter would work wonders for this team. And take some of the pressure off the offense to hit home runs each time at bat.

Even more, it's up to Hendry to go to Dusty and tell Dusty that Wendell Kim has served out his welcome. Moneyball had one thing dead on: From a busines perspective, the GM is the head of all operations while the manager is simply supervisor of production. If one part fo the line isn't making its production goals, the GM can and should tell the manager to make a change. Wendell Kim's continued presence on the team sends the signal the the Chicago National League Ball Club will tolerate incompetance. This flys in the face of everything that Hendry has been trying to change. Hendry need to step up and take some control.

Oh, and a note to any players. You think this is pressure? Try playing in Yankee Stadium for a month. Chicago is nothing by comparison.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Dead Cubbies Sketch

The cast:


The sketch:

A customer enters a pet shop.

Mr. Shlabotnik: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The Broadcaster Chip does not respond.)

Mr. Shlabotnik: 'Ello, Miss?

Broadcaster Chip: What do you mean "miss"?

Mr. Shlabotnik: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

Broadcaster Chip: We're closin' for lunch.

Mr. Shlabotnik: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this baseball team what I watched not half an hour ago from this very stadium.

Broadcaster Chip: Oh yes, the, uh, the Cubbie Blue...What's, uh...What's wrong with it?

Mr. Shlabotnik: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'Ere dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Broadcaster Chip: No, no, 'Ere uh,...ere resting.

Mr. Shlabotnik: Look, matey, I know a dead team when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Broadcaster Chip: No no ere not dead, ere, ere restin'! Remarkable team, the Cubbie Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Shlabotnik: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Broadcaster Chip: Nononono, no, no! 'Ere resting!

Mr. Shlabotnik: All right then, if ere's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the batting cage) ‘Ello, Mister Alou! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show...

(Broadcaster Chip hits the cage)

Broadcaster Chip: There, he moved!

Mr. Shlabotnik: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

Broadcaster Chip: I never!!

Mr. Shlabotnik: Yes, you did!

Broadcaster Chip: I never, never did anything...

Mr. Shlabotnik: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO PATTERSON!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes team out of the cage and thumps it on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Shlabotnik: Now that's what I call a dead team.

Broadcaster Chip: No, no.....No, ere stunned!

Mr. Shlabotnik: STUNNED?!?

Broadcaster Chip: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Cubbie Blues stun easily, major.

Mr. Shlabotnik: look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That team is definitely deceased, and when I watched it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged at bat.

Broadcaster Chip: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Mr. Shlabotnik: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did they fall flat on their back the moment I got 'em home?

Broadcaster Chip: The Cubbie Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable team, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

Mr. Shlabotnik: Look, I took the liberty of examining that team when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in First Place was that it had been NAILED there.


Broadcaster Chip: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that team down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its bat, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Shlabotnik: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this team wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'Ere bleedin' demised!

Broadcaster Chip: No no! 'Ere pining!

Mr. Shlabotnik: Ere not pinin'! Ere passed on! This team is no more! He has ceased to be! Ere expired and gone to meet 'is maker! Ere’s a stiff! Bereft of life, 'Ere rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'em to the perch 'ere'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! Ere off the twig! Ere kicked the bucket, Ere shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-TEAM!!


Broadcaster Chip: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (He takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of teams.

Mr. Shlabotnik: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Broadcaster Chip: I got a Cardinal.


Mr. Shlabotnik: Pray, does it play short stop?

Broadcaster Chip: Nnnnot really.


Broadcaster Chip: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Shlabotnik: Well.


Broadcaster Chip: (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?

Mr. Shlabotnik: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.
Thanks to Monty Python, John Cleese and Michael Palin for the source material.


This team has about two days to decide if it wants to be a buy or seller in the market. And in those two days, they have to win, oh, two games.

My expectations are minimal.

If you look at this team objectively, there are 5 position spots at which the team is under performing: Second, short, right, center and left. Sammy Sosa has been a major disappointment, both offensively and defensively (anyone notice he's done nada since the swing-and-miss first pitch of the home run derby?). Moises Alou is not only just about done, but has brain cramped so much that he should be in a Midol ad. Korey Patterson is the most fundamentally unsound young player I've seen in years to be a regular. Alex Gonzalez (welcome back, get lost) is 125 strike outs and 2 walk off homers. Tork Walkzielanek? The Todd part is the better part, but he's just serviceable.

That's five guys who need to go. Left field and short stop open in about 10 weeks. Right field opens in 15 months. Center could open at any time as Korey still has trade value.

All that said, there are certain places on which this team should be a buyer. And that's for short stop and outfield.

Even if this team does not win a post-season birth this year, the Cubs should use the trading deadline to prepare for 2005. Players move at their cheapest and a team buys a 2 month window of exclusivity for negotitating a contract extnesion with the player.

Clement for Garciappara? Fine. Patterson for Beltran? Sure.

There are other moves you can make, too. Sosa to the Yankees for cash? I'm in. Alou for a bag of balls? OK, and keep the bag. With this pitching staff, it doesn't take a huge amount of offensive upgrades to make a contender. But it does take upgrades in several places.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Moving Day

So Ariel Sharon made a speech today in which he called on French Jews to emigrate immediately to Israel to escape what he called "the wildest anti-Semitism."

"If I have to advise our brothers in France, I'll tell them one thing -- move to Israel, as early as possible. I say that to Jews all around the world, but there (in France) I think it's a must and they have to move immediately," Sharon said.

French officials were outraged. A French spokesman said: "We have been informed of comments made today by Sharon calling on the Jews of France to emigrate to Israel."

"We immediately made contact with the Israeli authorities to ask for an explanation of these unacceptable comments."

Daniel Bernard, French ambassador to London, added, "Why would Frenchmen want to move to that shitty little country?"

And with civil war effectively going on between the PLO and anti-Arafat factions, Israel might be nice and safe. Suicide bombers are probably too busy in Gaza and Ramallah to target coffee shops in Tel Aviv.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Scrap Iron is Right

The Astros lost their second straight game today udner new manager Phil Garner. The Astros' record fell two games under .500. This team is cooked. They have to be the most disappointing team in the entire majors this season. That said, the odds increase every day that Carlos Beltran will be on the move, once again.

Work it out, Hendry.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Future is Now

While this team can still compete for a title, the absence of a pitcher as dominant as Mark Prior is clearly a hindrance. That said, teams have won with far worse staffs than Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood and Matt Clement. Oh yeah, and that old guy Greg Maddux. The California Angels best in 2002, Jarrod Washburn, would be the Cubs 4th starter today.

So how do you still compete this year? By upgrading the offense. What’s more, the team can compensate for the lack of Prior AND make the team even better in 2005 by going and getting some of the available players. Carlos Beltran is going to be available. Nomar Garciaparra is available. Eddie Guardado is available.

I have no doubts that these players would come here and resign once the season ended. Money is not a problem as over $40 million in salaries will clear in the next 18 months. And there are holes on this team. And the holes are not in the rotation. The holes are:

Second Base
Short Stop
Left Field

And there is a potential hole in Right Field after 2005.

Start filling them now. 2005 can be the year. And so can 2004.

14 Days Later

Nice move by the Cubs with Aramis Ramirez. It’s been reported that he might miss another 2 weeks. But that's not the issue. Guess what? Had they DL’d him, he’d be eligible to come of the DL tomorrow. Always fun to play with 24 guys when you could play with 25.

What's with Jim Hendry? Why is he afraid to make moves?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Mark Prior leaves the game tonight after 1 and 2/3 innings pitched with a sore elbow.  This is likely the same injury that really shelved Prior back in March.
People are going to be all over the board on what this injury means.
I'll take the alarmist route.

It's time to consider, NOT CONCLUDE, but consider that Prior may be another flash in the pan.  A Mark Fydrich.  That means radical things for the franchise.

Most importantly, Jim Hendry needs to approach his remaining 2004 and the seasons thereafter that Prior may not be as much of a lock as previously thought.

That may mean re-thinking things like the future of Matt Clement.  Not trading either of Brownlie or Guzman.  Which free agents need to be targeted.  And a raft of other issues.

The three year plan for this team was obviously based on the triumverate of Prior, Wood and Zambrano.  This needs to be re-thought, possibly in its entirety.

More later after we learn more on the injury.

That's One

Happy first birthday to Ivy Chat.

I'm still writing this crap? I need a real hobby.

House of Cards

Scott Rolen's sore left knee is in the news with "Cubish" press from the team doctor:

"Surgery isn't seen as a necessity now." - Cardinals' medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta

So it's not a necessity now. That means it could be a necessity soon. It also means that it is an option RIGHT NOW.

This is the bad news. Bad as in your new Mercedes just blew up. With your mother-in-law in the front seat.

Blah, Blah, Blah

So much chatter about Nomar, Randy Johnson, the Cubs and the White Sox. Some folkes over in Bean Town (a fabulous city - I lived in downtown Boston's Devonshire Place apartments in the summer of 2000) are even suggesting that the Red Sox have started making roster moves to create room on the 40 man roster for Randy.

I have no idea if any of this is true.

All I know is that this team needs an offensive spark at the top of the order. And Nomar Garciaparra is the best player out there. He's 31 years old at the end of the month. He's a top vote getting in the MVP balloting each year. And he's also another top name the Cubs should get. Here's who they've passed on in years past.

Randy Johnson
Jim Thome
Mike Piazza
Scott Rolen
Mike Lowell

I said earlier this year that if Carlos Beltran were dealt, the Cubs would regret it (he's hit all of his NL dingers against the Cubs while Korey Patterson has gone back into his funk). If Nomar goes, the Cubs will regret it even worse.

This team is going to need major offensive retooling over the next two years with no long term solutions in left, right, second and short stop. Garciaparra would fill a huge hole. Sure, he's a free agent after the year. You telling me that seeing Zamboni, Prior, Wood, Maddux and Guzman/Brownlie wouldn't encourage him to stay? And seeing how much better it is to play at Wrigley over Fenway (I've been there twice -- it's a cool dump, but a dump none the less)?

Sure he would.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Shameless Plug

Be sure to read James Taranto's Best of the Web column in the Wall Street Journal's online edition today.

Modesty prevents me from telling you why.

Wither Bobby Van

All the chatter that Mike Piazza was tipping Roger Clemens' pitches makes me laugh. If anyone was doing anything wrong, and I'm not saying they were, it was Roger. He kept shaking off Piazza, so Mike's off the hook. And how fast does the tin foil hat crowd go nuts saying Roger was grooving pitches if the Astros trade him back to the Yankees?

All The News That's Fit To Blog

The New York Times follows up on all the blogosphere chat on the Cubs / Nomar / Randy Johnson deal. From the article:

An American League team executive, who has been briefed on the trade discussions, said the Red Sox were talking with at least one team about using Garciaparra as a chip to help land the 40-year-old Johnson, who is a five-time Cy Young award winner. And that team is the Chicago Cubs, whose farm system is rich in pitching.

The article does seem to confirm what ESPN reported the other day, that Nomar is leaving Boston by July 31. "If the Red Sox cannot make a deal with the Cubs, they will try the same approach with other teams."

This is a no-brainer deal from the prospect side so long as the names involved are not both Brownlie and Guzman. The other side is finances. Nomar is owed about $5.5 million for this year. Taking Nomar and not getting some salary relief would almost certainly prevent the Cubs from getting another bullpen player.

I'm also starting to hear chatter that the Cabrerra deal is dead. Bruce Levine, on ESPN 1000 yesterday, gave an interview that seemed to parrot what Jim Hendry might say. Levine said that scouts are worried that Cabrerra doesn't seem to be giving 100% effort and that you don't want a guy like that on your team.

Take all this, combined with the way the Cubs handled Mark Prior's injury last March, and it looks like this one is very much alive. I'm almost all for it.

The Sun Times' Mike Kiley puts a quash on all this speculation. He says that Cabrerra is the more likely target and that trading Nomar doesn't make sense for the Red Sox. Money graphs:

If rumors are true that the Red Sox are seriously looking into acquiring Arizona's Randy Johnson, then the Cubs can get Garciaparra if Boston wants to dump his salary to make room for Johnson, who has $16 million coming next season.

Dump is the right word, too. But then why would they dump Garciaparra if they got their man in Johnson? It makes no sense. Garciaparra is too valuable to be bandied about and moved lightly, even if he has struggled this season.

This doesn't jive. If Theo Epstein thinks that RJ puts him over the top and he doesn't have the prospects to get him, he needs the prospects. Given that the BoSox were gonna trade Nomar in March, why not trade him now? And get the prospects that get you Big Unit? And what about the backups in Pokey Reese? And even taking Alex Gonzalez as a backup?

This article seems to be a "new angle" spin. It doesn't make sense with everything else we've been hearing. Either that, or Kiley is right on and everyone else is off.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Changing Love

I used to love the All Star game. As a kid, I looked forward to seeing at least one Cub play along side the other, really good players inthe league. It was the one day of the year that I felt my guy was on par with the other guys' guys. Now people are trying to mess up the one All Star game that gets it right. It's already miles better than any of the other league's all star games. It's still a fun game, but people need to shut up and leave it alone.

- Baseball's game is the only one where every fan gets someone to cheer for. How fun is it to watch the NBA All Star game here in Chicago? It probably gets a TV rating of about 0.5 since Michael Jordan retired. Hell, until Brian Urlacher showed up, there was no local reason to watch the NFL's Pro Bowl for nearly 10 years. Baseball is different. Every city gets a reason to watcy. Little Bobby in Seattle needs to be able to cheer and Ichiro now just as Little Chuck loved watching Bruce Sutter get a save and a win in consecutive games back then. Each team should have one representative.

- Who cares that the game ended in a tie two years ago? IT'S JUST FOR FUN!!!! That Eddie Guardado could be on the mound tonight and could throw a fat pitch to Mike Lowell just to piss off the Yankees is crazy. The game should count for nothing.

- If it's an exhibition for the fans, shouldn't the fans choose who the want to see? Of course they should. The fans should vote for the starters.

Hey all you pundits, talk show hosts looking to drive up emotions, and Bud Selig (the Neville Chaimberlin of sports when it comes to TV execs). The game is fine. Leave it alone.

Rumor Mongering

Andy Dolan, over at Desipio, decided to wake up early this AM like the rest of us slobs and write something before the sun reached a 75 degree angle in the sky. He works up a few angles, including a New Jersey paper as a source to come up with this:

Now the rumor is that the Cubs are in a position where they could trade (Matt) Clement to Boston for (Nomar) Garciaparra and then trade prospects to the D'backs for (Randy) Johnson. Boston gets their pitcher (and more importantly to the Red Sox, the Yankees don't get Johnson), the Cubs get their shortstop and actually upgrade the rotation.

My only downside to this is taking on RJ's $14 million salary for 2005. I can't see the Cubs keeping both RJ and Nomar in 2005. Now, they can AFFORD to do that, I just don't think they will.

But there is one other problem.

Jim Hendry.

This page has called on Hendry to make a big deal, not just a safe deal. Safe is Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez, but not Mike Lowell. Safe is Orlando Cabrerra and not Nomar. Safe is Jose Mesa and not Randy Johnson.

Come on, Jim. Do this. I dare you. I double dare you. I triple DOG dare you!

(Yes, this was a breach of dare escalation protocol)

So Many Morons, So Little Time

The Chicago Tribune reports today that Mike North, one of the most unlistenable personas in all of broadcast media, may move his show from the afternoons to the mornings come September. Big deal, right? Yeah, but he’s gonna change his format. Instead of just tasteless racial jokes, endless self promotion for his house, money and celebrity friends, 73 uses of the phrase, “let me say this” each hour, and, oh yeah, some sports, he’s gonna add a new topic.


It seems WSCR will pair “Hot Dog Boy” with Rick Telander for the show. Now, Rick has a pedigree in writing and a degree from Northwestern. Hot Dog Boy knows that some people can write and he’s ridden the Northwestern train line. So how will Mike keep up? How will he prepare?

He’s been watching Don Imus on MSNBC.

Now, you may not like Mike Murphy and Fred Huebner. But at least they are sports fans that try to find a daily angle. North reaches for a least common denominator in listener. And adding politics to the mix? What’s next? Ditka for Senate?

And let’s not forget Carol Sleestak. In today’s Sun Times she goes after Pat Tillman and Tom Cruise. Cruise will present a tribute to Pat Tillman during this year’s ESPY Awards. Tillman quit the NFL, and millions on a contract, to join the Rangers and died from friendly fire in Afghanistan earlier this year. You remember Cruise, who in lieu of a box-office hit will happily reach millions of homes via ESPN. What does Carol the Hack say?

“Words I expect Cruise to use during the Tillman tribute: hero, courage, warrior.
Sentiments I don't expect Cruise to express during the Tillman tribute: unjust war, his poor widow, what was he thinking?”

Listen, Carol. I may not agree with the reasons for the war. I may not agree with the way in which it has been fought. But I understood what he was thinking quite clearly. Some very sick people have threatened our way of life. Some of us decided that the best way to ensure the safety of our families was to go kill them before they could kill us. Pat decided that he could better provide for his wife and family if he prevented those people from trying to kill them. Pat decided that keeping his family alive was worth more than a few million dollars.

Now, you and I may not have agreed with Pat on the potential danger his family faced. But if you don’t understand what he was thinking, spend some time talking to people who lost loved ones on 9/11. Talk to people who lost loved ones in Netanya, Israel. Talk to people who lost loved ones on the USS Cole. Talk to people who lost loved ones in Bali.

And don’t bash ESPN and Cruise for highlighting an example of courage and self-sacrifice. If there were fewer people like Pat Tillman, the Third Reich would rule the world and my ethnic group would be buried under the asphalt at Aushwitz-Gary, IN Division.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Trade Winds

ESPN 1000 in Chicago is reporting that the Red Sox have announced that they will trade Nomar Garciaparra before the trading deadline. They also report that the Crimson Hose are scouting the Cubs AA and AAA minor leagues for pitchers. The report ALSO states that any deal would have to include a major league infielder.

We know that A Gonz is on the block as 4 Chicago papers reported today in the Cabrera deal. How about A Gonz and Sergio Mitre for Nomar and a little cash? I don't give up a top prospect unless the BoSox provide enough cash to even out for Nomar's salary, which is double A Gonz's. Pony up $3 million (which allows the Cubs to make another deal) and the Sox can have Brownlie or Blasko.

19 days and ticking...

Bruce Levine is reporting that the names involved are Sergio Mitre and Francis Beltran. Where do I sign?

Movin' on Up!

Well, maybe just six feet under.

Korey's Back

He had a nice little run, but after last night Korey Patterson is back to pathetic. 3 strike outs and two feeble infield groundballs. But because he has speed, he gets credit for a hit and an RBI. So he saves three points on his batting average. In reality, he had a brutal game. At least he remains solid in the field on hard catches. Just look out for the easy ones.

Anyone think the Astros would take Patterson for Beltran?

Nah, me either.

It's the Intelligence, Stupid

Andrew Sullivan absolutely nails the point I was making last week. Republican Senator Pat Roberts was on "Meet The Press" yesterday. He was asked if the war resolution would have passed the Senate if Senators knew then what they know now regarding WMD.

"I think the whole premise would have changed, I think the whole debate would have changed, and I think that the response would have changed in terms of any kind of military plans. Very difficult to look in the rear-view mirror, 20/20 hindsight and say what you would have done under those circumstances. ... I think if we went back to the no-fly zones and the resolutions by the U.N. and an awful lot of talk, I doubt if the votes would have been there."

Sullivan concludes:

So if we had had accurate intelligence, the war would not have taken place. I reiterate: I'm still glad we fought it. But this remains one of the biggest government screw-ups in recent history. It has made future pre-emption based on intelligence close to impossible. And President Bush is ultimately responsible for this. Tenet has taken the fall, but it will take years and years before the U.S. regains the reputation for credibility that this president has destroyed. Even if you believe that Bush is still the best man to fight this war, you also have to concede that his record includes at least one massive error, and one that will cripple our ability to fight the war in the future.
If Bush had made the proper case for war, and not the "quick and easy" case, we wouldn't be facing these potentially crippling issues going forward.

News Roundup

The Orlando Cabrera deal is back to the forefront. Nice. Only about 6 weeks too late. I'm not a big fan of this deal: Alex Gonzalez and a high value prospect to the Expos for Cabrera? How about a mid-value prospect and Rey Ordonez. But the Sun Times chirps in with this scary thought: Cabrera would come with a 3 year extension. Nothing against Cabrera, who is a Whish List Guy, but with Nomar Garciaparra and Edgar Renteria available in the off season, I'd rather have either of those guys. And taking Renteria off the Cards would be choice.

The rotation is set for post break. Mark Prior, Matt Clement, Greg Maddux and Kerry Wood go against the Brewers. That means Carlos Zambrano will open the series against the Cardinals on July 19 with Prior to follow.

Nice. The Cards get Big Zamboni after a long rest and Prior.

Interesting trade proposal on WSCR this AM. Two prospects from the Cubs to Arizona. Randy Johnson from the Diamondbacks to Boston. Nomar Garciaparra from the Red Sox to the Cubs.

Where do I sign and when do I send the limo to O'Hare?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Media Review

While the game stunk, the broadcast team of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck was pretty good on Saturday. On the plus side, I find them entertaining, Buck more so. But Buck gets major kudos for calling out Korey Patterson. Buck suggested that Patterson better heat it up, or the Cubs would trade for an established leadoff hitter, possibly a centerfielder.

Now, I don't think Buck has any insight into the Cubs front office. But to was nice to hear someone say it like it should be said.

On the minus, the two of them spent 10 minutes bashing Dusty for bringing in Glendon Rusch. Why? Because you'd need him if the game were to go extra frames.

Hello? The Cubs were down 1. It was the 8th inning! If Rusch finishes the inning, he's in place to pitch the 9th and so on in a tie. If the Cubs take the lead, LaTroy Hawkins comes in!

Friday, July 09, 2004


To continue a thought started here and expanded elsewhere...

Assuming that the Cubs are 9 games out and each of the next three games count as two games picked up is not analogous to setting your clock 15 minutes ahead. It's what is called a "Downside Case" in projecting performance. Quite often, in forecasting, one will project a base case, an upside case and a downside case. The downside case tells the readers what the analyst thinks is the worst possible outcome. Sometimes, the downside case is accompanied by additional analysis stating under what conditions the downside case improves.

But anyway...

Here's the new game. The Cubs are 9 out and can pick up 4 games by winning their next two.

They can't pick up 6 anymore.

Blame Game

Go ahead and be pissed at Dusty or throwing up a white flag tonight by batting Rey Ordonez second. Be more pissed at Jim Hendry for still allowing Rey to be on a roster.

But be very scared about Sosa and Alou. Sosa looks lost and Alou looks old. You can recover from lost. You don't recover from old.

On the plus, Alou will NOT be back next year unless he rebounds higher than Jerry Garcia used to on the odd Saturday night.

Da Junior Senator And Coach From Illinois

It's come to this. Mike Ditka for Senate. The GOP here in Illinois, so thoroughly bankrupt of talent and organizational skill, may turn to Ditka to challenge for the open senate seat.

Please note that the seat is open because the state GOP didn't like the current holder of the seat who happens to be a GOPer himself. Why didn't they like him? He hired a US Attorney who was not afraid of investigating people like Mayor Richard Daley. So what that Daley is a Democrat. Daley runs the state and hands out cushy deals to rich folks trying to get richer. And many of those people are GOP voters outside of Chicago mayoral circles.

So, instead of trying to boost someone younger and more talented, the Republicans may turn to Ditka. For a race they can't even win! Barrack Obama is as much of a lock as a prom date with Jenna Jameson. The GOP could run some young 'un with an eye toward building said person's profile and targeting a gubernatorial run in 2008. A race that the GOP could easily with the stupidity shown by Rod Blagoyevich in lack of governing and the pissing off his own party.

Instead, they go after an orange-faced restaurant owner.

How novel.

How amusing.

How sad for people, like me, who would like their political leaders to be people actually capable of leading. And who don't get to choose from such types of candidates.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


This page has developed a solid relationship with Mike C over at Cubs Pundit. Now, this page does not endorse his whacko, far right wing, reactionary, blind-following-the-GOP-blankly political views, but then, who am I to judge? And he's definitely entitled to espouse whatever opinions he likes (as is everyone else).

A few days ago, Mike postulated about why a story about the discovery in Iraq of some missiles with sarin gas in them didn't get more play in the mainstream press. Well, here's the reason.

The Washington Post reported that the missiles contained no sarin. Big shock.

What have we learned about Iraq and WMD in the past 18 months?

1) While Iraq had, and used, gas weapons at one time, they had little or none when the war started in 2003
2) If Iraq did have gas weapons, they were in no shape to be used against US citizens on a moment's notice as had been postulated.
3) Iraq's nuclear program was non-existent and probably effectively destroyed by the Israelis in 1981 when the IDF destroyed the French-built, Tammuz 1 reactor.

Were there plenty of reasons to go get Saddam and remove him from power? Sure. Were some of them valid for starting a war? Sure. Were the valid reasons the ones that our government articulated? No.

The war was started by selling the US public a bag of fear. Why? Fear sells. If only this administration had trusted the public enough to tell us why we needed a war with the real, more difficult to understand reasons: Democracy needs a seed to grow in the Middle East; Saddam is smuggling oil through Syria which is used to finance terrorists; Liberating Iraq would allow us to stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia -- the REAL source of financial aid to terrorism; Saddam was a brutal dictator who needed to go as badly as Milosovic did.

While those reasons were articulated, they all took a back seat to the fear mongering of, "He'll sell WMD to terrorists and they will use them on US soil." Americans are smart. We'll get it. Tell us the hard reasons and we'll support you. Choose the easy-but-shady route and we lose trust. And that's why Bush is in trouble for re-election and John Frankenstein Kerry actually has a chance.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Nine Back

That's the reality. The Cubs are now 9 games out of first place. They have a day off tomorrow then start a series against the Cardinals in which every loss is meaningless and every win counts as a two game pick-up. With only 2 more games against the Cards, this series is effectively for the division (not the playoffs). Anything less than 2 wins, and it's just about over.

What's fascinating is that everyone has stopped hitting. Alou continues to look like he's aged 3 years in 1 month. Sosa looks like he's taken it to heart that he is on a three year death spiral of performance (OPS of 1.174 in 2001, then .994, .911, now .908 and .800 since the injury). Patterson is back to doing nothing. Lee is in sharp April performance.

What's MORE fascinating is the fascination with ump arguing. Here's a tip. You cannot argue more strike three calls than your team gets hits. And not at the 5 to 1 ratio like tonight.

The problem is offense. Were the Cubs to score above their median runs per game (4), they'd have won their last 8 in a row.

This is Jim Hendry's team. Go fix it, Jim. You have plenty of bullets to shoot with in terms of money and minor leaguers available to trade. If this team loses, it's all on Hendry. Not Baker. Sosa. Patterson. Or even Andy's whipping boy, Paul Bako.

Jim Hendry.

To borrow a "Desipioism", Jar Mariotti put down his doughnut and ripped off Ivy Chat for his column today. Hey, Jay. Wanna share a piece of your paycheck with me for the just-short-of-plagiarism effort?

Four Words

So much blather on the radio about bunting lately. The Cubs should have bunted Aramis Ramirez last week. The Cubs should have squeezed Korey Patterson from third with Derrek Lee up last night. To all of you who think that, I have something to tell you:

You are all idiots.

Ramirez has not had a bunt attempt in 4 years. So you idiots want him to try to bunt now? What do you want next? Howard Stern to do prop comedy? Lee would have driven in Patterson with any sort of contact. If he misses the bunt, Patterson is dead! Better to have Lee try to make contact with a swing -- which he often does -- an possibly drive the ball for a double.

What the hell is wrong with Cubs fans these days? The problem with this team is Jim Hendry doesn't have a top of the order that can consistently get on base! Dusty Baker lack of bunting is as much the problem with the Cubs as anorexia is for Ashley Olsen!

More is Less

Last night's venture into Cheeseland was unsuccessful on multiple levels. Mark Prior lost again (I've witnessed one of his wins, both of his losses and Carlos Beltran's no decision), which was bad enough. But then I had to endure Miller Park. My thoughts?

A $400 million waste of space. With lousy food.

For those of you who have never been there, don't bother. Let's start with the good:

1) The field of County Stadium has been converted into a little league park. How cool would it be to bat at the same exact spot where Hank Aaron and Robin Yount hit? And there was an actual little league game last night before the main event.

2) There is a designated scalping area. If you stand between two signs, you can sell extra tickets for face or less. But everyone scalps anyway. We were able to get great seats on the 200 level on the first base batting circle for less than we expected.

Thus ends the good stuff.

Now for the bad.

1) Food was atrocious. The kosher dog was bland. The pizza was dry. Choices were too few. This is Wisconsin, right? Shouldn't there be lotsa cooked cow and pig varieties? With fresh CHEESE to slather on? Nope.

2) The architecture was bland: Brick and glass, open in the back and arch-shaped trusses supporting the roof. But inside was a maize of exposed air ducts that made me think, "Why not a few ceiling tiles to cover this mess?"

3) In game entertainment was minor league quality. Everyone knows the sausage races. They are (obviously) much better on the 4 second replay than the actual event. But every other half inning was some not-so-hot babe on the centerfield screen talking to fans and doing trivia contests. I haven't seen that gimmick used so much since I went to a Delaware Blue Rocks game. Here's a hint. Play music and do nothing with the chick. Either that or much, much, MUCH more cleavage.

4) Scoreboard updates for away games? Every three innings. On the plus side, we didn't learn the Cards had taken the lead until nearly 10:00.

5) Parking we circled the whole park to get to our space. Which was "Preferred"! Then again, it was only $12, so, at least it was cheap.

There's more, but that's enough. Save your bux. Go see the Cubs at Wrigley. Don't line Bud Selig's pockets any more than we already do.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

But It's Hard To Get Jose Bautista In Your Spokes

The Chicago Tribune ran a story last Saturday about one Martin Abramowitz who created a set of baseball cards of every Jewish major leaguer on them. The Cubs tie in was that the set had one error. It mis-identified Cubs' pitching coach Larry Rothschild as Jewish.

The kicker is that on August 29th and 30th, the Baseball Hall of Fame will host a celebration of Jewish major-leaguers. Some of the 143 living players, including Ken Holtzman, have said they will attend. The 10 active Jewish players will not attend (i.e. no Shawn Green).

Having read the Sandy Koufax book, I wonder if he'll be there. And I wonder about Rod Carew as well. I wonder if converts count. My guess is yes. I'd pay to see Koufax hurl a matzo ball at Carew on Doubleday Field. Hell, my grandmother made some Passover matzo balls harder than anything Spaulding ever made.

The 10% Solution

It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes

The Cubs hadn't been shut out in a while. And for a team that gets held to zero offensive output every 10 outings, they were due in their 82nd outing for their 8th such futile attempt.

Ben Sheets supplied the fuel. The Cubs supplied a lot of whiffs.

The answer remains in upgrading their offense.

Winning and Losing

Wanna know why picking John Edwards is a good VP pick for John Kerry and why it's a terrible pick? Well, the reason it's great is that Edwards can smoke both of George Bush, Dick Cheney in a debate. His well honed trial lawyer skills can make mince meat of the two of them.

Why is it a bad pick? Because Edwards can smoke Kerry in a debate, too. Edwards will remind everyone one what Kerry is not: Young. Good looking. Exciting. A great speaker. Connected to the common man.

This is a huge move for Edwards. He becomes the defacto alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2008 or the sitting VP in 2012.

But I'm at the same place I was in most elections. Wishign that the VP candidate would be the presidental candidate. Lloyd Bensten, Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle.

OK. Not Quayle. How the hell did THAT guy get to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Additional Randomness

Sweeping the Sox does a couple of things. In reverse order of importance:

3) Takes the season series from a tough opponent.
2) Gets my White Sox fan friends to shut up for a year.
1) Keeps the Cubs three games out of first.

In reality, only #1 matters. When are the Cards gonna cool off? Jeez.

The Cubs are now 11 over .500. I've always felt that, unless you are 10 over or better, you are a pretender. I guess I officially move the Cubs to "Contender" status.

So Moises Alou makes the All-Star team. Given his June, this is based on April and May performance, only (which was phenomenal). I also wonder if Alou has an All-Star bonus clause in his contract and, if so, how much lobbying Dusty Baker did on his behalf. One of the things players supposedly love about Dusty is that he helps them maximize their earnings. This smells like case-in-point.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Prospect Update

Cubs prospects
    NAME        POS       RAT stdv+1 AGE  LV  AB    BA   SB    OBP    SA

1 PIE, FELIX, OF A- 3.02 19 A+ 275 0.316 22 0.363 0.455
2 Dopirak, Brian, 1B B+ 2.95 20 A- 292 0.312 3 0.372 0.613
3 Cedeno, Ronny, SS B+ 2.82 21 AA 203 0.286 3 0.329 0.443
4 Craig, Matt, 3B B 2.65 23 AA 174 0.287 1 0.383 0.546
5 Sing, Brandon, 1B B 2.61 23 A+ 255 0.290 1 0.424 0.659
6 Lewis, Richard, 2B B- 2.18 24 AA 278 0.320 5 0.368 0.514
7 Hoffpauir, Micah, 1B C+ 1.86 24 AA 224 0.317 1 0.363 0.522
8 Harris, Brendan, 2B C+ 1.78 23 AAA 206 0.311 0 0.349 0.515
9 Soto, Geovany, C C+ 1.71 21 AA 182 0.247 1 0.318 0.368
10 Dubois, Jason, OF C+ 1.67 25 AAA 180 0.294 2 0.377 0.644
11 Collins, Kevin, OF C 1.58 23 A- 255 0.298 1 0.354 0.627
12 Weston, Aron, OF C 1.50 23 AA 238 0.307 6 0.358 0.424
13 McGehee, Casey, 3B C- 1.30 21 A+ 287 0.275 1 0.333 0.380
14 Chirinos, Robinson, 2B C- 1.29 20 A- 273 0.227 7 0.292 0.407
15 Johnson, J.J., OF C- 1.16 22 A+ 235 0.311 6 0.357 0.421

1 Pinto, Renyel B 2.34 21 AA 80 66 41 96 3.59
2 Marshall, Sean B- 2.02 21 T35 77 66 16 74 2.91
3 SISCO, ANDY C+ 1.91 21 A+ 80 71 40 85 4.39
4 Connolly, Jon C+ 1.84 20 A+ 88 96 20 57 2.75
5 Koronka, John C 1.55 23 AAA 88 95 40 71 4.06
6 Petrick, Billy C 1.52 20 A- 78 70 27 63 2.97
7 Bay, Bear C 1.51 20 A- 93 95 20 77 3.38
8 Hill, Richard C 1.47 24 A+ 79 66 38 94 3.30
9 Marmol, Carlos C 1.47 21 A- 84 72 25 79 3.42
10 Nolasco, Ricky C 1.44 21 T56 73 98 31 57 6.27
11 Leicester, Jon C 1.41 25 AAA 60 57 34 55 4.01
12 Vasquez, Carlos C 1.34 21 A+ 49 49 17 34 3.31
13 BROWNLIE, BOBBY C 1.34 23 AA 95 78 24 70 2.94
14 Pignatiello, Carmen C- 1.22 21 AA 85 98 24 64 5.06

Friday, July 02, 2004

Eating Oranges

Marlon Brando

The Wiz

More in Barry's column today? Thanks for the mention, Roz. But I wrote that a week ago. And the way you printed it lacks the context of WHY I wrote it.

The seats I sat in yesterday were 4 rows off the visitors' batting circle. So close I could see the sleep rings under Gene Lamont's eyes. When Carlos Beltran launched his second dinger, all I could say to him when he went back to the dugout was, "You shoulda been a Cub!"

Big Zamboni needs to return to form today. The bullpen is still taxed, despite Mark Prior's good outing yesterday. And with the Sox capable offense (somewhat muted by the lack of a DH) followed by a trip to the Miller Park Bandbox, a nice 8 full innings is what the doctor ordered.

One final note on yesterday's game: How many runs did the Cubs score yesterday and what was their median runs per game?

Up the offense, Hendry.

USS Intrepid

This site should hit 10,000 hits today. Thanks to all three of you for visiting 2,000 times each and my home computer for racking up the other 3,999 hits. And also great thanks to the reader who visited from Desipio yesterday. If I can inspire you to rest soundly and achieve regularity, the purpose of this exercise in futility will be complete.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Off to see my fourth game of the year today. Two at Comiskey and now two at Wrigley. Prior will have pitched in three of them. What I'm really juiced about is sitting 4 rows off the field.

When I called Korey a stupid player, I was being too kind. This is a stupid TEAM. Other than Todd Hollandsworth, is there a player on the team that knows how to run the bases? How to hit a cutoff man? Anything?

Carlos Beltran's homer. Some people get angry at LaTroy Hawkins for throwing the pitch. I get angry at Jim Hendry for not getting Beltran into a Cub jersey.

While the chatter has been to get Eddie Guardado, John Smoltz, Joe Table, or some other bullpen help, the real need is for offense. Let's look at some numbers.

The Cubs are averaging 4.8 runs per game. But averages are deceiving. Score 10 runs in game 1, score 2 runs in game 2 and get shut out in game three and your team averages 4 runs per game. They probably also lost two of three.

Median RPG is a better measure. While the Cubs average is 4.8 RPG, the median runs they score in a game is 4. And over 40% of the time they score 3 runs or fewer. Check this chart on the distribution of runs scored per game and the number of games in which they've scored various totals:

This isn't enough. Look at the Cards. They average 5.2 RPG, less than half a run better than the Cubs. But their median RPG is 5 and they score 3 or fewer runs only 33% of the time.

Now, who has the better pitching?

Kick up the offense. A small boost would propel this team. It's obvious.

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