Monday, February 27, 2006

Moving Up

In the past, I've used Kevin Goldstein's minor league report to post stats on some of the Cubs listed on the Future Watch. Well, Kevin's writing attracted the attention of Baseball Prospectus. BP has hired him. He starts Wednesday.

Kevin has assured us that someone will be taking up his e-mail service. We can only hope they will be as good as Kevin was.

Well, at least I can hope that. God forbid I actually have to create my own stats for this site.

Interesting Record

What are we to make of last week's single-game ticket sales at Wrigley Field? There are all sorts of data from last week’s sale and very little analysis of what it all means. The date include:

- The Cubs set a record for most tickets sold in a single day
- Fewer people stood in line outside Wrigley for the purchase lottery wristbands (anecdotally)
- Far fewer games are sold out now than there were at this time last year

The reason what this means is important for all of us is because the financial success of the team may have a direct bearing on what this team does in the middle of the year for player acquisitions, player divestments, and, ultimately, the possible sale of the team by the Tribune.

The first thing we have to consider is that there are about 1,500 additional bleacher seats available for each game. This should clearly lead to fewer sellouts simply because the total supply of seats is greater.

But, given what demand has been in the past for tickets, shouldn’t that level of demand been sufficient to absorb a 4% increase in available seats? Isn't it beyond possible to even probable that demand is now lower than it was in the past? And how does that make sense in light of the record single day ticket sales?

Well, our friend Jimmer over at the Cubbie / listserve had an interesting angle. He suggested that the Cubs improved and increased their capacity to service ticket sales this year in order to set that single day record. Such increased capacity would also account for the fewer people in line for wristbands (as of yet, there is no report of how many wristbands were issued this year compared to previous years).

But why would the Cubs really want to set that single day record? Well, there are two good and obvious reasons, both of which have to do with public relations.

First would be the fact that a ticket sale record would likely quash any story of diminished demand. Given that the Cubs would have an advance indication of the demand level given season ticket renewal / attrition rates, they would have the lead time to prepare the necessary means to set that ticket sale record.

The second reason the Cubs would want a story about record ticket sales is a little over 8 miles south of Wrigley Field. That would be the White Sox. Don't underestimate the Tribune's desire to spin as often as possible and even in the tiniest way that the Cub product hasn't been tarnished by the White Sox.

If demand is really down, and the Cubs are spinning like crazy to hide this fact, the probability of a team sale increases all the more. The last thing the Tribune needs is ANOTHER declining strategic business unit.

There were a lot of empty seats last September. Keep your eyes on the number of fans dressed as green seats this year if the team gets off to a slow start.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Back In Dangerous Waters

Cue John Williams: ''Theme from 'Jaws'!''
Mark Prior throws off the mound for the first time since the Wilson Administration.

But, before everyone gets all excited, his first Spring Training start has been delayed a week. I guess missing spring training starts is good practice for Prior to miss regular season starts.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Stupid Is as Governor Does

How said. And how obvious. It seems Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was featured on "The Daily Show" a few weeks back. On the segment, focusing on the morning after pill and Blago's executive order forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions for the pill regardless of the pharmacist's ethical or religious perspective, Rod was asked some pretty silly questions.

Seems everyone was in on the joke but him.

I guess our Guv doesn't have the testicular virility for political comedy.

Even the Six Year Old, when hearing the name "Jon Stewart" said, "Isn't he the funny one?"

Anyone want to nominate him for Governor? Maybe Matt Murton can help finance the campaign.

A Brief Laugh

Anyone see this quote in the Sun Times today?

(Chicago Cubs Pitching Coach Larry) Rothschild explained that Mark Prior has done well enough in his flat-ground preparations that he will be throwing off the mound on Friday or Sunday.

"There's a good chance he will get on the mound Sunday," Rothschild said. "But if he feels real good Friday, we might venture that then."

"If he feels good"? Pardon me, but why wouldn't he feel good? I thought he already felt fine. Just two days ago, Jim Hendry said:

"I haven't seen any signs of him looking weak or sick," (Hendry) said. "There is no controversy, no problems. There is nothing wrong with him."

These guys just think we are so stupid.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Uproarious Applause

Chris De Luca encapsulates the 2006 Mark Prior controversy quite nicely this AM. And Mark Prior throws out the victim card and shows that he still doesn't quite get it.

De Luca wrote:

It's not so much what Prior said Tuesday that raises eyebrows. It's what he didn't say. For a guy who was not going to validate rumors, he sure spent a lot of time on the topic. What all of us are waiting to hear is Prior saying: My arm feels great. I have no pain. End of story.

Instead, he said: "It's a process to get ready for the season. It's not just show up and go to work."



Then how do you explain a long row of pitcher's mounds at Fitch Park, all with Cubs pitchers doing their work off them? Show up and go to work? That's what most of the Cubs pitchers have been doing in recent days -- most everyone except Prior and Kerry Wood.

Bingo. If there's no smoke here, why hasn't ANYONE said, "Mark Prior has no pain in his shoulder." That's all it would take to get everyone to shut up. But when Prior himself says:

"Everybody wants to find something wrong. ... I'm not going to sit here and defend or validate anything. There have been a lot of rumors in my career. There's really not much I can say about it. That's people's opinions."

Well, if you aren't defending or validating, that's non-denial denying, right?

But the quote from Prior that should make Cubs fans angry is this one, only printed in the Trib:

"I'm not naive," he said. "I know what my history has been. … Donovan McNabb said it best a couple of weeks ago. Some people like you, some people don't like you and, for whatever reason, a lot of those people have voices."

Time out, Mark. No one is reporting this because we "don’t like you." Far from it. We are COUNTING on you to provide us a summer’s worth of high quality athletic entertainment. We are counting on you to try to put a check box next to 1908 after 1918 and 1917 were filled in the last two years.

Cut this crap out, Mark. You aren't the victim here. In fact, if you are healthy, there is no victim. Perhaps if you were throwing off a mound like every other Cub pitcher not named Wood and anyone were willing to give a straight answer about your shoulder, this line of discussion would already be over.

The blame here is only on you and your team management. Don't blame us.

That's one sure way to get us not to like you.

It is unbelievable how this franchise under Andy MacPhail treats its fans. They must think we are all stupid lemmings with no memory of what's been said (or not said) in the past.

Well, here's one fan who doesn't fit that mold. Anyone else with me?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cover Story

Over in the Daily Herald, Jim Hendry confronts Will Carroll head on:

"Mark Prior is exactly where he told you he was the other day in his first-day press conference," general manager Jim Hendry said Monday. "I haven't seen any signs of him looking weak or sick that was written today.

"After talking to Larry (pitching coach Rothschild) yesterday, I think Larry felt he (Prior) threw the ball real well."

To borrow a phrase, non-denial denials. And, then there's the big twinkie in the room that Hendry avoided. Notice that there were no denials of shoulder problems, Will's key accusation.

And no statement that he's ready to pitch.

This regime has earned no trust with the public. And, with ticket sales for single games starting Friday, they have every reason to obfuscate right now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Terrible Towels

Once again, rumors abound that Mark Prior is injured once again. Will Carroll, who correctly predicted Kerry Wood's injury probability for 2005 and Mark Prior's foot in 2004, lays this nugget:

You can't have spring training anymore without pitcher problems or at least rumors of said problems. Those usually start with the Cubs, and this year is no different. Reliable sources--the same ones that tipped us early to Mark Prior's Achilles problem--now tell us that Prior is having shoulder problems. The Cubs deny this and point to Prior's work on the mound. Prior was doing towel drills on Saturday, but this is the same type of work he was doing last year when there was a problem. According to our best sources in Mesa, Prior looks "weak and sick." Until he throws, we just won't know, though I'd like to believe Larry Rothschild.

What have we warned you about articles mentioning Prior and towels?

For positive spin on this and why you should ignore this article, why it's irrelevant, and why flowers are still in bloom, please visit another website.

The News is Just Gushing In

In lieu of new news as to how a sore throat can have Mark Prior behind schedule, we must look elsewhere for stuff on which to converse and commiserate.

Marquis "Gus" Grissom seems to think he can get some playing time substituting for Juan Pierre and Jacques Jones:

"With Juan and Jacque being left-handed, I'll pick those guys up whenever I get a chance," Grissom said. "Just come off the bench and do what I have to do, whether it's pinch-run, defense, pinch-hit. Anything to help the team win. When I get a chance to start, I want to produce and put up some numbers."

While the sentiment is nice, let's hope he's not subbing for Pierre too much. Pierre has a habit of not missing games. He hasn't missed a game in 3 years. Let's hope he doesn't start now.

And a nice dose of reality from Derrek Lee:

"I don't think we jump out at you as a great team on paper," first baseman Derrek Lee said, "but we're balanced enough to play well over a period of time."

Sorry, Derrek. While I agree in theory, unless the period of time is 162 games, it doesn't matter too much.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

That One...

How quickly the minimizing of expectations starts....

Mark Prior had a simulated pitching drill on the mound Friday, throwing with a towel in his hand rather than a baseball.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Prior also threw a little on flat ground and will do so again Sunday. After that, Rothschild may have a better idea of when Prior can throw a ball off the mound in workouts.

Rothschild stressed that Prior is completely healthy and that the intention is just to ease him into spring.

"I don't have a plan yet for games, but he could pitch by the fourth or fifth one [in March]," Rothschild said.


Rothschild emphasized that being cautious with him is just smart and not the sign of anything being wrong.

The only thing that dies faster than optimism for the Cubs is the #2 guy for Al-Qaida.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Is He Good For? HUAH!

Dusty Baker opened his yapper yesterday and you have to wonder what Jim Hendry is thinking. When asked by WSCR's George Offman what Dusty can do to correct the shockingly poor, and continuously deteriorating, fundamentals his teams have displayed since his arrival here, Dusty said:

"We'll re-stress it (fundamentals) with some of the older guys who should know better. You can't do much different. They are what they are."

So, he can't do anything about it. Let's summarize Dusty's managerial skills:

He cannot teach fundamentals.
He cannot teach hitting (case-in-point Korey Patterson).
He makes out poor lineup cards (Neifi's X Abs in the two-hole last year).
He doesn't identify players in their roles properly (Glendon Rusch, Ryan Dempster,
and LaTroy Hawkins; Korey leading off).
He ignores large portions of in-game strategy (squeeze plays).
He overuses others (double switches).
He doesn't control his players (Kent Mercker, LaTroy Hawkins, Moises Alou, Sammy Sosa).
His teams have won fewer games and finished lower in the standings each year he's been here.

What the hell can he actually do?

Well, he can lead the BALCO Giants and their 'roid monsters to high win total seasons. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, that era is over.

So, too, would seem to be the era of Dusty as an effective manager.

Also, unfortunately for Cubs fans, the era of Dusty's contract still has 162 games to go.

If Jim Hendry is stupid enough to offer this man a contract extension, the first question Hendry must be asked is, "What criteria did you use in determining Dusty Baker deserved a contract extension?"

As of today, I cannot see a single criterion that would suggest Dusty be retained.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Ellipses...

Give me meat!  MORE MEAT!!!...Sammy Sosa is retired. Until someone offers him a job. Last you'll hear about this here.

...and with Kerry Wood almost certain to miss the first two weeks of the season, when does the MSM start asking if the two weeks missed now could have been saved if Wood hadn't wasted time pitching in relief last August for a team going nowhere? who thinks Jim Hendry's prediction of "30 starts" for Wood sounds like it needs the Steven Wright punchline, "Not in a row!"

...and with Carlos Zambrano going Atkins, we have to say, "Smart move." solve Dusty Baker's issue of "I don't know what a lame duck is," I suggest he walk around with a picture of President Bush in his pocket. Or a mirror.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What To Watch

First spring training practice is tomorrow with games two weeks out. Here’s what we all should be on the lookout for.

Any news of Kerry Wood containing the word "setback." He's already expected to miss two weeks to a month. Add a week of missed time for each time that word is used along with Wood.

Any news of Aramis Ramirez containing the word "leg muscle," "hamstring," or "quadricep."

The two-hole in the batting order. I really don’t care about spring training stats, but Dusty Baker's lineup construction is worth watching. Will Todd Walker get the bulk of at bats? Will Ronny Cedeno? Matt Murton? Or will the 2006 surrender flag be waived in the form of Neifi Perez?

Mark Prior and reports of his towel drill. Frankly, given Prior's creaky springs the last two years, any news about towels and not about mounds will be words to fear.

Angel Guzman sightings. If he is healthy, he becomes prime trade bait for a team that really needs another right fielder to platoon with Jacque Jones and his Mendozaish batting average against left handers.

Buffet lines and Jerome Williams proximity thereto.

Cubs catching. With Henry Blanco and Michael Barrett wasting time at the World Baseball "Classic", it will be interesting to see if Cubs pitchers fall into some poor habits because they are unfamiliar with their backstops.

Left field. Marquis Grissom may spend time out there. The more time he spends, the more likely he will platoon with Murton. To be clear: that would not be a good thing.

Back To The Wish List?

Barry Rozner ruminates on the possibility that Miguel Tejada might still be on the block.

Rozner makes note of the same issues that Ivy Chat did two years ago (re: chemical enhancements) and adds what he calls, "Sammy Sosa disease" (no doubt Chip Caray thinks this is a kind of surgery).

Frankly, he's worth the risk. If the Cubs only had to give up the likes of a Todd Walker and an Angel Guzman to get him, I make that deal. For Prior? No. For dregs and prospects as part of an Orioles salary purge? Go get him.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Mandatory Visit

The President brought his A-Game to the White Sox photo op today. It wasn't surprising to me how comfortable President Bush sounded talking baseball as opposed to how uncomfortable he sounds talking policy.

He also mentioned the Ozzie situation and handled it very nicely. What was curious was that Bush failed to mention that Scott Podsdnik, currently on his honeymoon, also skipped the trip.

Why aren't people bitching that Scotty Pods skipped out on Bush?

Perhaps that's because Podsednik isn't exactly skipping any.
Slide, baby!  SLIDE!

Thus, It Starts

Spring Training camps open this week, and optimism for Cubs fans is a high as the current status of Chicago's new Trump Tower.

So what do the papers do? They run lists of questionmarks for each team. Mike Kiley does a nice job summarizing the mistakes from last year and points out something this writer has felt for 15 months: 2006 rides not only on the health of Wood and Prior, but on getting Walton and Smith-esque performances from Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton. Kiley also notes:

Murton and Cedeno have promise, but they have to deliver. Otherwise, general manager Jim Hendry will be scrambling to find trade replacements.

If they don't deliver, Hendry will be scrambling to update his resume.

Over in the Trib, Phil Rogers Paul Sullivan is back to near incoherence:

All-Star first baseman Derrek Lee remains the team leader but isn't very vocal.

Doesn't that, by definition, remove Lee from potentially filling that role?

Rogers avoids a lot of speculation and, instead, focuses on quotes from Dusty Baker. Here's what made my morning lox nearly resurface:

Baker played Murton against left-handers early and he struggled a bit against right-handers, hitting only .261.

"I'll probably still protect him against extreme righties, but this guy has shown the ability to hit tough pitchers too," Baker said.
Baker said he believes Cedeno potentially is a No. 2 hitter.
The Cubs lacked a fiery presence in the clubhouse last year, and Baker suggested veteran outfielder Marquis Grissom could assume the role Eric Karros played in '03.

So, from this, if Baker has his choice, it looks like Murton will platoon with Grissom; Cedeno will bat in the two hole over Murton (the two hole is reserved for middle infielders in Dustyland, I guess); and Grissom is a must-have clubhouse leader.

Be afraid of 2006. Be very afraid.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Easy Choice

From the comments, there was some back and forth over Nancy Kerrigan...
This is the horniest thing I've ever done.

And Michelle Kwan...
Justice served.

Big deal. We all know who is the best Olympic skater:
The worst picture of me on the 'net.
All hail, Katarina Witt.

Shotgun Response

By now, many of you have heard that Vice President Cheney was involved in a hunting accident. It seems that Cheney inadvertently sprayed a member of his hunting party with shotgun pellets. That person, Harry Whittington, is in the hospital and expected to be AOK.

What gets me to post this is not to make any comment about the Vice President, or gun control, or what James Brady said (stupid), or anything else about the incident.

What happened tonight, prior to my learning about the incident, was that at 6:58 PM I received a Caller-Id blocked push poll from Wayne LePierre, president of the National Rifle Association. Ok, he called, but it was a recorded call. For the life of me, I could not figure out why the NRA was a push polling me. I don't donate to political parties and there's no election coming up in my area where guns are going to be an issue.

But, then you may recall my position as a school board member. I guess being a minor (ok, the minor-est) elected official makes me a candidate for the NRA to target this message.

If this is how the NRA needs to control this incident, that's their issue. It's just funny, to me, how quickly they've reacted to a story that will only be fodder for Jon Stewart by this time tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Quick Thought

Something came to mind today what I thought about all the trouble stirring in Europe over the "Muhammad Cartoons".

I wonder where all the people condemning the US media for failing to print the cartoons stand on flag burning? Same thing, right?

This is about free speech, isn't it? Or are we just concerned about "our" scared symbols and not "theirs"?

Just curious.

Just Shoot Me

Yes. I like the Olympics. Specifically, the winter variety.

Ok, now that the eye rolling that occurs when reading this site has been joined by outright laughter, let me tell you why.

It's different.

Despite the enjoyment I get from watching baseball, football, and college hoops, they do tend to drag from time to time. Hell, this year's Superbowl was one of the worst executed football games ever by both teams. The 2005 MLB Playoffs had more focus on blown calls by umps than on the games themselves. And college hoops, despite still being compelling, have lost a tremendous amount of talent and star power to the NBA with players now going to play professionally directly from high school.

So, why not give the Olympics a chance?

Many of the events are worthless. Nordic Combined? Modern Pentathlon? Cross-Country Skiing? Curling? Not exactly must see TV.

But what's wrong with watching a little luge every four years? Bobsledding is very cool to watch. Speed skating isn't bad. Ski jumping, so long as it excludes Eddie the Eagle, gives me vertigo. And the downhill is usually the highlight of the games. Given I watch these events every four years, why not like it?

What's really gone wrong with the Winter Olympics is the hockey. I used to love Olympic Hockey. The openness of the rink (wider than in the NHL) and the lack of fighting made the game about passing and skating, not the nightly brawl that is the NHL. That team in 1992 with Ted Donato and Ray LeBlanc was probably the last fun team to watch.

It's all been killed now by the advent of "Dream Teams." Now, instead of some pure competition, what we get is marketing for a league no one cares about.

Yes, I'm looking forward to the Winter Olympics. Just bring back the non-NHL hockey players, ok?

Oh. And hope that Michelle Kwan and her "special exemption" falls on her dumpy ass.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who's On Second?

The hot rumor de jour is back to Jose Vidro. Now, this is a guy first mentioned as an Ivy Chat Wish Lister as far back as 2003 (along with Miguel Tejada, Juan Pierre and Jim Thome -- all of whom were subject of "heading to Chicago" rumors or actual trades this winter -- so nice that logic is followed years later).

It would seem to this viewer that taking a flyer on Vidro would be a smart thing for the Cubs to do. The upside is a Todd Walker bat with a Neifi Perez glove. Then again, the upside is only there if Vidro's leg is cured of Magglio Ordonez disease.

The downside is if you trade for Vidro and he remains on crutches, Neifi Perez is going to get 60% of the starts and Jerry Hairston will get the other 40%.

Oh, wait! That's what's going to happen even if Todd Walker isn't traded so long as Dusty Baker is making the lineup card! Well, Neifi will get 55%, Hairston 35%, and Walker 10%. Therefore, this is a risk-free move.

The scary move would be to trade for Alfonso Soriano. That would be essentially re-acquiring Corey Patterson and giving him a $9 million per year raise.

In two words, no thanks.

Go take a flyer on Vidro. Why not? The Cubs aren't winning anything with Wlaker benched and Neifi starting.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Between The Lines

Barry Rozner reminds us that Greg Maddux was the Cubs' only pitcher to make every start the last two years. Stop and consider how pathetic that is for a team supposedly built around pitching.

Then, Greg plain disses Dusty:

Cubs manager Dusty Baker tried to imply last August that Maddux was considering retirement after the 2005 season, though Maddux says that was a figment of Baker’s — or someone’s — imagination.

And to know Maddux is to believe it was total nonsense.

"I don't know where it came from. (Stuff) happens, you know?" Maddux said. "I think what I always think when people say stuff. They're entitled to their opinion.

"I never waste my time worrying about someone else's opinion. I went about my business, and I'm not going to waste a lot of time trying to change people's minds."

So, Dusty was full of shit and Greg isn't going to listen to him.

That a hell of an endorsement by a Hall of Fame pitcher who doesn't exactly have the "Joe Montana" reputation.

I hope the suits in Trib Tower remember this when they are asked to approve a contract extension for Jim Hendry.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Irish Mazel Tov

Hands off the girl, Sloth!Congrats to Mike D. over at 97 Years and Counting on the birth of his new little girl. Hard to believe that 17 minutes after the little banana loaf came out he had the time to text message Ivy Chat's mobile phone.

I guess that makes getting her a gift in order now.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Mirror Has Two Faces

It's always fun to be accused of wanting something so much that you look for any reason to think it will be possible.

But the fun subsides when the accuser is a serial perpetrator of just that mentality. I mean, when you read:

"the Cubs go on a tear starting the 2nd half (of 2005)"
"Even Chuck will have to stop and give Jim Hendry credit for (signing Rafael Furcal)"
"Good things are coming."
"My sources say that Jim Hendry is indeed working on a "couple" of deals"
"Keep the faith"

...all you can figure is that a mirror hasn't been used in years or that irony is something we don't get here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony's not really a, a high priority. We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.
Look. I have no idea if the Cubs will be sold or not. I do know the conditions are more aligned for a sale now, than they ever have been in the preceding 24 years (and fellow reality-based Cub blog 1060 West nicely summarizes the conditions -- including noting that other media companies have been shedding sports investments left and right). I also know that a sale would bring hope to Cubs fans for a real chance to use all the resources at the team's disposal to bring a winner.

(As an aside: Don't the people who say the Cubs are a cash cow for the Trib see that those profits could instead be plowed into the team's payroll? Aren't these are the same people who said that spending $13 million for Furcal was insane?)

Yes, I hope this team is sold. So should everyone. Those that defend the status quo aren't really Cubs fans. They are probably more, "Cubs GAME fans," in that they love going to the game first, and hope the Cubs win second.

What these people really fear from a sale is that a new owner won't like a stadium with only 40,000 seats, minimal (and cramped) skyboxes, and minimal sources for in-stadium advertising revenue.

They fear the end of Wrigley Field.

And that would destroy being a Cubs Game Fan. After all, what's special about going to Landmark Theater Park in Barrington? These fears are baseless. Wrigley is going nowhere. Sure, it may need to be shuttered for a year to redo the upper deck's concrete before there is a $75 million payment to a fan who ends up in a similar situation to the people who were outside the Hancock a few years back.

But a new owner is either going to have the bucks to afford Wrigley's limitations, or is going to need the safety that Wrigley provides -- 1 million tickets sold annually to tourists.

Relax. You have nothing to fear but fear itself. A sale may or may not be coming. If it does, we fans are no worse off than we are right now.

The greater likelihood is that the new owner will have something the Trib lacks - egomania.

The real problem with the Trib as an owner is that there is no Ted Turner running the Trib. There's no guy who looks at the Cubs as a plaything. As their yacht. Dennis FitzSimmons is attempting to run a global media company for his shareholders (and if he doesn't start doing it better, he won't be running it much longer). And to milk the Cubs is the right thing for him to do.

That's not in the fans' best interest.

The greater likelihood is that a new owner will want to be the guy that breaks the curse. He wants to be the guy who is smarter than Theo Epstein. He wants to be the guy who wins more often than George Steinbrenner.

Let's hope we get that owner. Most of us deserve it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Building the Cubs One Brick at a Time

I hear that the Cubs are selling message bricks via their web site for $160 per brick. The bricks will likely be placed around the outside of the park near the parking/restaurant/museum structure to be built.

The guidelines are: Three lines of text with no more than 15 characters per line. Given those parameters, here are my suggestions for some possible bricks.

Which is first?
A Cubs title or
Brick erosion?

TRB stock is
Now worth less
Than this brick

Walk on this brick
Like MLB walks
on the Cubs

This brick is
made of crushed
sand clay&dreams

Cubs suck! From
a Southsider
??? Sox won? ???

X Boston 1918
X Chicago 1917
_ Chicago 1908

I'm sure many of you have much better ideas. Care to leave any of them in the comments? Maybe, if there's a really good one, I'll use it to replace the Andy MacPhail/Kevin Bacon picture at the top.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Smart Market

Results are in:

Tribune Co., one of the nation's top newspaper publishers, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 38 percent, hurt by a spate of charges related to work-force cuts and the shutdown of a production plant.

In listening to the conference call, the Trib kept talking about increasing TV ratings on their stations

I guess that's why they want more night games for the Cubs to not broadcast over CW programming.

The other area focused on was acquisitons. After spending lots of money on a big share repurchase program, anyone have any ideas where the Trib might come up with some cash to finance new acquisitions?

No mention of the Cubs, specifically. Also, nothing to suggest that the Cubs are key to future corporate growth. In fact, lots to suggest they aren't.

Still sounds like things are set for a sale. Sometime soon.

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