Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What The Fukudome

In the midst of the offseason boredom the Cubs have somehow managed to snag a 30 year old Japanese man to play in the outfield. That may not sound exciting at first, but apparently he's really good and a lot of teams wanted him and he batted .351 last year in Japan. Read more here.

While this is actually huge, it's just hard for me to get excited right now. Probably because it's the middle of December and the Bears are sucking. Talk to me again in March and I'll probably be bouncing off the walls about it.

Also, we essentially traded Jock Jones for a double-A pitcher the other week. At least Fukudome makes up for that mindboggling transaction.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Breaking News: Cubs Not as Impressive as Hockey Team

John McDonough left the Cubs today to become team president of some hockey team named the Blackhawks. You can read the official press release here.

Here's what I wanna know. What kind of voodoo magic did the Hawks work to get someone to leave a team that he's worked with for 24 years and is one of the most popular sports teams in the country to go work in the stinking pile of refuse that is the Blackhawks? We almost had a World Series John, and you played a big part in that. Why the hell would you want to leave?

"...the opportunity that Rocky presented to me -- and this came together rather quickly -- was something I was quite impressed with."

More impressive than the Cubs? Whatever. We don't need you John. Lou can be the manager and the president, and then that's one less last name that I have to double check to make sure I spelled right. Good riddance.

Monday, November 12, 2007

See Ya Jacque

The Cubs traded Jacque Jones today for a utility infielder from the Detroit Tigers. No, we didn't get Neifi back. We did however obtain the services of Omar Infante, a 26 year old who hasn't had a regular starting spot since the 2004 season. His name quite literally means Baby Omar. I think. He shall be referred to as this for the rest of the season.

Baby Omar is a career .271 hitter who batted .264 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs in 2004. As much as I don't like Jacque Jones, and I rank him right up there with Neifi and Roberto Novoa, I would like to think we could have gotten a little more for an outfielder who managed to hit .285 last year. Sure his arm sucks, he whines a lot, he cries about the fans not loving him, and he couldn't hit a home run to save his life last year, but it seems like we got the raw end of the deal. Maybe we did it to save money, as Baby Omar only made $1.3 million last season compared to the $5.5 million Jones gets this year, but you don't spend $300 million one offseason and then start pinching pennies the next. Jim Hendry, you have disappointed me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Baseball Never Sleeps

It's been a month since the crushing disappointment that was the playoff game, and something came up in the papers recently to remind me that there's always hope for next year.

Ryan Dempster will no longer be the Cubs' closer.

This news isn't quite as amazing as it sounds, as the idea is that Lou will move the Harry Caray impersonator to the starting rotation. But he can't possibly be worse as a starter than he is as a closer, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

This means that Sean Marshall and Jason Marquis would be competing for the final spot in the rotation, which basically means either Marquis gets the spot or we trade him and Marshall gets is. Of course the three other spots in the rotation go to Zambrano, Lilly, and Hill.

As for who has to fill the abnormally small shoes that Dempster is leaving behind, Carlos Marmol would be the obvious choice, considering he only gave up 11 runs in 59 appearances last year. Bob Howry is a solid pick too, as even though his ERA is considerably higher and he only converted 8 of 12 save opportunities last year, he was still the second best relief pitcher the Cubs had last year. His added experience in save situations might mean at least a platoon between him and Marmol.

And then there is the wild card, Kerry Wood. Coming in late in the season he posted a nearly identical ERA as Bob Howry and there is speculation that the Cubs could use the lure of a closer spot to convince him to re-sign with the team. That might sound appealing to a player that is used to a high profile spot in the starting rotation.

Whatever Lou decides, I just have one request. Please, please never let Dempster pitch a complete game. I don't care what kind of lead he has in the 9th, take him out. Heart attacks kill enough Americans every year as it is.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

All Others Are Just Pretenders

There is only one true curse that you need worry about, and that is this: The Cubs will always, always choke after getting your hopes up, ripping out your heart and whatever happiness you had in the process. This is the feeling I have right now. I may find time to actually recount my experience of the game sometime tomorrow, but then again I might be spending time watching yet another Chicago sports team fall far short of expectations.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Now Might Be a Good Time to Start Panicking

I think the only way to describe last night's game would be horrific. Nothing went well for the Cubs, and they've fallen into an 0-2 hole that will be extremely hard to climb out of. Hopefully playoff baseball at Wrigley on Saturday will get them fired up, because I wasn't planning on going to the last game of the season. Tomorrow has the potential to be the most depressing Cubs gane I've ever been to.

I know this might be a bad time to ask, but did anyone get NLCS tickets? Because I didn't. And I still have a slight glimmer of hope that they will be of some use.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Aquafina Commercial featuring Lou Piniella

Alright here it is everybody, the commercial everyone is talking about. An intrepid reader emailed me with the information that the video was on the Aquafina website so I worked some computer magic to rip it off of there and upload it to a video site. Here you go.

Alright that's it for me tonight. Go Cubs.

Cubs NLDS Game 2 Live Blog not happening. I'm going over to a friend's place to watch the game, and this friend still has dial-up internet. And he might live with his parents. So no mid-game updates for me. Basically every Cubs related blogger on the planet is live blogging these games, so I'm sure you'll have no problems finding a replacement for me.

We've gotten a lot of traffic today from people who are searching for the Lou Piniella Aquafina commercial and whoever the guy was with the blinking Cubs light in the 9th inning. If you are one of those people, I am sorry but I do not have either of those for you. Yet. To anyone out there that does find the video for the commercial or whoever that guy was with the light, please let me know. For some reason I'm showing up high in the Google search results, and the people demand answers.

I'll be back late late tonight after the game with my thoughts for you all to read bright and early Friday morning. So until then, go Cubs.

EDIT: We have the video now. Look up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cubs NLDS Game 1 Live Blog

Alright everyone, this is where the magic is happening. I'll be updating this with my thoughts on the game, and I'm expecting anyone reading this to chime in with some comments. Don't make me feel lonely people.

EDIT: Alright on second thought I take back what I said about Lou. He explained it well at the postgame conference, the bullpen has been solid and Zambrano is coming back on three days rest. Marmol has been lights-out all year so Lou was confident bringing him in. It's easy to second guess the decision now that we see how it turned out, but at the time it was probably a good choice. And we can't win games only scoring one run, it just isn't happening.

11:42 -- No Ron Darling, this game did not show how the DBacks managed to win 90 games. You do not win 90 games by having Lou Piniella manage like he's drunk. Unless Zambrano has a horrible unknown injury, that decision is unexcusable.

That's it for me tonight. I might be doing this again tomorrow, if I think I can handle the agony. All that excitement Cubs nation had about the playoffs? Gone.

11:38 -- "Help me Alfonso Soriano. You're our only hope."

11:33 -- There's a guy behind home plate with a flashing Cubs light. Yup, the umpire just caught him. At least someone is trying to win this game for us.

11:32 -- Wow, this is it. Ninth inning. We're screwed.

11:28 -- I vote that Bob Howry pitches every inning for the rest of these playoffs. You may think he doesn't have the stamina, but if people can run marathons I don't see why he can't pitch 36 innings in four days.

11:23 -- The superstitious part of me just gave in and I put on my Believe bracelet. Two of them actually. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

11:19 -- Why can't we get the ball over the wall? We've hit three balls to the warning track in recent memory, and they all fall short. The DBacks hit two fly balls and they go over the wall. I'm prepared to start making wild accusations about turning on the air conditioning to simulate wind blowing in at this point.

11:14 -- So the question on everyone's mind right now is, why the hell did Lou take out Zambrano? I know Marmol is supposed to be amazing and all that, but Big Z was on fire! If he was cramping up, give him a damn IV and tell him to drink some water, and if you're saving him for Game 4 then you are retarded Lou. We have to win a game before we even get a shot at a Game 4.

(I'm a little upset at this if you couldn't tell.)

11:09 -- This would be a really bad time for Marmol to tell everyone that he's not actually a wunderkid, he's just been getting really lucky all season. Now we're down by two. Lou, get a handle on your pitchers!

11:01 -- I'm considering stopping talking at this point. Carlos Marmol, you're fired.

10:59 -- It's Carlos time! Of the Marmol variety, that is. This kid is amazing, so much so that I kind of wish we were saving him for the closer role.

10:53 -- I guess Piniella is taking Zambrano out. Did no one remind him to drink water tonight? Seriously, how hard is that. You work hard, you get thirsty, you drink water. A two year old knows that.

10:50 -- I'm very impressed right now about how well Zambrano pulled it back together after that solo home run. Something like that would usually rattle him, but I think he's pitched even better since that happened.

We're tied at 1 after six innings, so let's take a page out of Zambrano's book and imagine this as a new game. We're tied, Soriano is leading off, and we've got three innings. Let's make something happen, because I can't stay up all night watching baseball.

10:40 -- Zambrano needs to make better choices on when to get hits. That double he got earlier? Would have been great right now. I guess I can't complain too much, at least we're not losing anymore.

10:38 -- START THE RIOT!!

10:36 -- Webb is starting to lose it. This just got really interesting.

10:34 -- Wow. Two men on base. I guess miracles do happen.

10:30 -- Uhhhh, anyone know why Aramis didn't run to first base on that strikeout? He just kinda looked at the catcher and thought "Well I could run, but then I might start to sweat and the ladies don't love that".

10:25 -- Brandon Webb gets a taste of his own medicine, Zambrano is fired up, and the heart of the order is coming up to bat. We need something big right about now.

10:22 -- Augie Ojeda is like an electric blanket? Who needs an electric blanket in October? Pansies.

10:19 -- Beautiful play by DeRosa. Derrek Lee wasn't kidding when he said Mark could be considered for the team's MVP.

10:16 -- Five straight innings we have gotten a baserunner on, and five straight innings we have scored nothing. Would it kill us to get two hits in an inning?

10:12 -- So whoever lubed up Reynolds' hands during the commercial break, I would like to buy you a beer.

10:08 -- Alright everyone...I was just about to say something about us not panicking, but that Aquafina commercial just blew my mind. Holy Crap. Lou Piniella is pure comedy gold. Somebody please throw that up on YouTube and send me the link.

10:04 -- That was NOT what I meant when things had to change.

10:02 -- Webb has thrown just 49 pitches through 4 innings. At this rate he'll be pitching a complete game shutout. Something has to change.

9:59 -- Webb just hit MarkyMark. This means WAR!

9:57 -- So Aramis didn't get the home run, but at least we know someone on the offensive side of this game is awake other than the pitcher.

9:52 -- Alright Zambrano is starting to lock it down. I think the big guy deserves some run support this inning.

9:46 -- DLee just watched two beatiful pitches go by and he left Zambrano standing all alone at second base. Something is not right here.

9:40 -- Zambrano! This guy wants to win this game singlehandedly.

9:37 -- Theriot and DeRosa team up for a beautiful double play, and Zambrano survives through another inning. If he can tighten up his control a bit this could be a long, low scoring game for both teams. Still 0-0 at the end of two.

9:33 -- Yes Dane Cook, there IS only one October. And you're ruining mine. Go back to describing common uncomfortable situations with ridiculous sound effects and leave my baseball alone, please.

9:30 -- Well that part of the inning didn't go that well. It's alright though, Big Z gets to lead off the third. I think Lou should seriously consider using him in the clean up spot one of these days.

9:27 -- DeRosa pulls through with the first Cubbie hit. Expect to see a full recap of the at-bat on his blog early tomorrow.

9:22 -- Thank you so much for that strike call Mr. Umpire. I wasn't sure if Zambrano was getting out of that inning with his sanity intact. At the end of one, we're still at 0-0.

9:16 -- Blanco could have thrown him out. When Big Z doesn't have a good start, things get scary.

9:12 -- Lee and Ramirez go down without incident after a Jock Jones walk. Not the best start to a game, but I hear this Brandon Webb guy is pretty decent. No worries...yet.

9:07 -- Annnnnd we're underway, with a paltry Soriano groundout.

9:02 -- Dick Stockton and Ron Darling? Really? This is all you can pull together to announce a playoff game?

Also, Henry Blanco is apparently not on the playoff roster. Geovany Soto has some big shoes to fill.

8:57 -- The game hasn't even started yet and they have to bring up the Zambrano-Barrett fight. We got rid of Barrett, problem solved, I don't know how that's even relevant.

Cubs Playoff Bonanza

Tonight is the night we've all been waiting for during the last four years. It's playoff time! Since I have nothing better to do and no reason to wake up early in the morning I'll be here live blogging the whole thing. Feel free to join me and give me crap in the comments, the more the merrier. Or you could add some actual useful commentary, that would be a pleasant surprise. See you at 9 PM.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mark DeRosa Wants My Job

Famous people writing in blogs is nothing new. Gilbert Arenas has a very popular one, Mark Cuban has one that makes me hate rich middle aged men who can't dance, and I have one. No, I'm not exactly famous, but if you're reading this then at least you know who I am.

Ever wished that a Cubs player had a blog though? Well call me Robin Williams, because here you go.

"I'll be wearing my regular road pants. They've been sewn up [after getting ripped in the seat] and they'll be worn tomorrow and throughout the course of the postseason."

Ohhhh MarkyMark. Some things we just didn't really need to know. With all honesty though, it's a good read and I'm excited that he's writing it. And he's getting paid more than me, so more power to him.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Unemployed Cubs Fans of the World UNITE!

In case you didn't already know, today was "Rally Monday". At noon today, 20,000 excited and presumably jobless Cubs fans converged at Daley Plaza to celebrate the fact that our team had the least amount of losses in a terrible division this year. But I'm just bitter because I have things to do during the day and can't drop everything at noon to party with Billy Williams. Trust me I wanted to, but it could not be done.

Apparently Rally Monday is a tradition started by Major League Baseball in the past few years, and we just never knew about it because we haven't made the playoffs since 2003, and nobody cares about the White Sox. You can read the official account of the proceedings here, and I tried to find an unbiased view of the events but I couldn't find any Cubs bloggers that went and wrote about. Sorry.

The schedule for the first round of the playoffs finally came out yesterday and one thing is certainly clear: If you do not have cable or have to work in the morning, MLB does not wish you to watch playoff baseball.

Gm 1 CHC @ ARI Wed Oct. 3 10 pm TBS
Gm 2 CHC @ ARI Thu Oct. 4 10 pm TBS
Gm 3 ARI @ CHC Sat Oct. 6 6 pm TBS
Gm 4* ARI @ CHC Sun Oct. 7 1 pm TNT
Gm 5* CHC @ ARI Tue Oct. 9 10 pm TBS

Sadly, my parents fall under both of these categories. I have not asked them their opinions yet, but my mom always liked Santo better anyways so I'm sure she'll cope. TBS does realize that the Braves didn't make it this year, right?

NLCS tickets go on sale Thursday morning at 10 AM. I will be online with at least 50 windows open, maybe 100 since 50 only got me one ticket for this series. So here's the deal: If you found out about tickets going on sale from here and you manage to get one, help me out. I'll do pretty much anything to go to an NLCS game, assuming we make it.

Cubs playoff baseball is two days away. Can you feel it yet? Eamus Catuli.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Say Hello To Your 2007 NL Central Division Champs!

Greatest. Birthday present. Ever.

This is the first time the team has gone to the playoffs twice in five years since sometime in the 1930's. Wow.

Everyone be sure to send a thank you note to Greg Maddux tomorrow, and one to Jim Hendry because it turns out he knew what he was doing all along.

Oh and then, buy a t-shirt to celebrate the moment. Come on, you know you want to.

We'll be ramping up the Cubs coverage here as the playoffs begin, because you only get a chance to cover something like this once every ten years or so. And by the next time we make it in, blogging may be out of style for all I know. So check back later and see what we've got going on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Even Massive Thunderclouds That Can't Pitch Have a Silver Lining

The Cubs gave up 7 runs to the Marlins tonight, of all teams. You may have already noticed this. Apparently the pitching staff knows something we don't and has decided that we don't need to win any more of our games this season to make the playoffs. One of these expanded roster call-ups better be clairvoyant, because if we keep drowning and the Brewers don't lose at least 3 more games my single playoff ticket is useless. And you don't want to see me angry. Actually, that would probably be slightly funny. What you don't want to see me is crying in the corner because I didn't get to go to the playoffs. That would be both sad and depressing.

Anyways, the Brewers miraculously lost to the Cardinals tonight. Pitching staff, get back on your horse. I want this thing wrapped up by Friday. That would make a pretty spectacular birthday present.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A-Rod Wants to Own AND Play For Your Team

The Cubs just destroyed the Pirates, virtually locking up the Central Division. But that's not the big news of the day.

ESPN reports that not only is it possible that Alex Rodriguez could play for the team next year, but he may receive an ownership stake as well in the potential contract. Read the full report here, and try not to wet yourself with excitement.

Can You Feel It?

Ahhhh, late September. It begins to get cooler, my birthday is coming up, and the smell of playoffs is in the air. Wait a second, did I say playoffs?

That's right everybody, the playoffs are rapidly approaching and with a 2.5 game lead this late in the season I am no longer afraid of jinxing the team. We will make the playoffs, and guess who's gonna be there. That's right, ME.

This is the part where I should try to drive up traffic by offering someone a ticket to go with me so everyone would compete for it, but there's a slight problem with that. First of all, it's 60 bucks a ticket and I don't know if I love you all that much. Secondly, I only got one ticket. I woke up at 8:30, got about 50 tabs open in Firefox, and by the time I got through all that was left was single seats for the first home game. I could have waited for standing room, but I just wanted to make sure I got into the game. So that's that. I'm going to the game alone, and I don't care. These opportunities only come by once every 5 years or so.

Looking at Craigslist I could probably get 300 bucks for my ticket, but what kind of fan would I be if I did that? If you think that's bad, you should see what people are charging on StubHub for the World Series. Anyone got $2,400 lying around?

I guess I can only pray that I get the opportunity to drain my bank account to see a Cubs World Series game. But let's take one step at a time here. Go Cubs.

EDIT: Looks like the gap will be 3.5 after today. Remind me to thank the next Braves fan I meet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jacques Jones is Dead to Me

Look JJ, can I call you JJ? Is that okay? Because the whole french thing just isn't doing it for me, and I'm gonna assume that you don't approve of being called Jock. So JJ it is. Anyways, here's the deal JJ. I want to like you as a player, I really do. Then again, I also want to win the lottery, date Jessica Alba, and own a small island nation. Some things just weren't meant to be.

Ever since you first came to this historic ballclub in 2006 you've had some issues. First of all you called out the fans for booing you. I don't know where this idea came from that fans aren't supposed to care how well their team is playing and they should always cheer, even if their 50 bucks just went to waste to watch a crappy performance. I know you ended off the year well and you feel that your complaints were well-founded, but the fans weren't booing you at the end of the year. We were booing you when you were batting .219 through your first 21 games. And that was a vast improvement over the .091 you were sporting after your first 8. You were the first of the recent string of Cubs players who feel like the fans should happily accept someone getting paid millions who sucks at their job *cough* Big Z *cough*. And for that, I cannot like you.

And then there are nights like tonight. At first glance it looks like you had a good night, going 3-for-6 with a run. But you just can't pull through in the clutch. You're not the only one by far, the team left 15 men on base in this game and only scored 4 runs with 10 hits and 10 walks. But it seems like every time you come up to the plate when the game is on the line, I'm reaching for the OFF button on the remote before they throw you a pitch. Because I know what's going to happen. It is for this reason that my friends and I have dubbed you "The Human Rally Killer". And now, thanks to the magical powers of the internet and Wikipedia, the whole world shall know you by this name.

Hey, at least you'll be remembered for something. My best shot right now is "the guy who pretended that he got Wade Miller fired".

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Calling out Carlos

That's right Big Z, I'm talking to you. I know you're an avid reader.

Tonight is a must win for you. Go out, earn your money, and let's get a W. I know you got it in you.

It's the (expletive) Pirates.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Uh Oh...

Recently reacquired Cubs Steve Trachsel faces off against the stellar Brad Penny and the Dodgers tonight. I don't see this going very well.

Also, the Cubs players have all decided to start crying about the fans actually expecting decent baseball. More on this later when I've settled down and I have time to fully vent my well deserved frustrations.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

We May Have a Real Shot at This

Sorry that the updates here have been few and far between as of late, it's been busy for me the past couple of weeks but I hope to get back into the swing of things as this division race really heats up. In case you want to know what's been going on during the last two weeks, the Cubs have been up by a game and a half practically the entire time.

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a free Cubs game. If you haven't done this before, I highly recommend it. A friend of a friend had a ticket that he couldn't use, so he gave it to my friend who couldn't use it, and my friend gave it to me. It was the best seats and I didn't have anyone else I knew going, but none of that matters when you can be at a Cubs game for less than 20 bucks and watch them inch their way towards a division title. The rundown of what I spent for the game:

  • Ticket for Aisle 224, Row 19, Seat 10: Free
  • Upgrading to Row 13, Seat 1: Free
  • Gas for the 75 mile round trip to where I parked: $9
  • Parking: Free
  • Riding the L to the stadium and back: $4
  • Refilling my bottle of water at the drinking fountain by the bathrooms: Free
  • Slice of pizza from Bacci's Pizzeria after the game: $4.39
  • Total: $17.39

I'd say paying that much is well worth seeing a thrilling Cubs win.

By the way, I highly recommend Bacci's Pizza. You get a slice of thin crust pizza the size of Montana and a pop for $4.39 after tax, and it's about 20 feet from the L stop. As you're leaving the stadium, you will see a cute college girl in a tank top trying to get you to go to a bar that has $3 jello shots. Right next to that bar is Bacci's. It's on the left, you can't miss it. Tell them I sent you.

All that being said though, I wish I had gone to today's game instead. I thought we didn't have a chance of winning, I was actually dozing off when Lee came through with the big homer. Not a great time to fall asleep. I just hope the team can get some kind of momentum going, because I'm not really comfortable with a 1.5 game lead on the Brewers. Let's get it to a 4 or a 5 game lead and maybe I'll be able to breathe again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Question for the Masses

Looking back at our recent games played, apparently the Cubs have taken 2 out of 3 against their last two opponents. That is actually pretty good, considering if they could keep it up all year they would be the proud owners of a .666 win percentage. But for some reason my gut seems to tell me that the team has been rather lackluster as of late, even knowing that they still lead the Central. Does anyone else feel this way, that we've been playing badly and still winning? I'm sure Soriano's return will straighten things out but this still worries me.

And from a blog that I had not read before yesterday and that puts a lot more thought into these matters than I do, Jacque Jones may have saved the Cubs season. And the collective cynics of the world say: huh?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Welcome Craig

Cubs picked up Craig Monroe from the Tigers today. Read more here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The man is back.

With a perfect suicide squeeze on a 3-1 count in the 10th inning, Mr. Blanco let Cubs Nation know that he is back and better than ever.

To quote the Giants color announcer, "He got the job done."

That's how Henry rolls, ladies and gentleman. That's how this team rolls.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Where in the World is Henry Blanco?

Despite an injury to world-class backup catcher Henry B., the Cubs have somehow managed to get themselves into first place. It looks like Blanco is rehabbing in AAA and could be back very soon though, giving this team a much needed boost coming into the final months of the season. Koyie Hill, your days are numbered.

Go Cubs.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Big Z: "Not Everything is About Money"

Looking for the banned Fukudome shirt? Click Here.

Carlos Zambrano is a good pitcher. A great pitcher even. When he is on his game, he is probably one of, if not the best pitcher in baseball. Apparently Jim Hendry is in some dreamlike state where Zambrano is always on his game, as he just handed Big Z the most lucrative contract for a pitcher in all of baseball. $91.5 million over 5 years is a lot of money. Did you ever stop to wonder how much that comes out to per game, or even per inning? Well we made a shirt so you don't have to:

These numbers were meticulously calculated assuming 32 games and 215 innings per season. If he gets injured the numbers go up a lot. You thought Kerry Wood earning $13 million for rehabbing all year was bad? Then pray to whatever god you wish that Zambrano doesn't spend too much time chatting online over the next 5 years.

Daryle Ward is a Golden God

Ward just blasted a grand slam in the 3rd inning to give the division leading Cubs a 5-0 lead over the redbirds. Assuming Sean Marshall can keep it together this will be a magnificent day.

Crap. Juan Encarnacion just made it 5-1 as I'm writing this. Is it too early to get a pitcher warming up in the bullpen?

All things considered though, I'm still amazed that we're 1st in the division after the horrible baseball we've been playing since Soriano was out. He can't come back soon enough.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Michael Vick Does Drugs in School Zones

I know I haven't written anything recently, and I apologize for that.

But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, read this (PDF file).

That link leads to a three page handwritten lawsuit filed by a Mr. Jonathan Lee Riches, an inmate in South Carolina. Riches is attempting to sue Michael Vick for 63,000,000,000.00 Billion Dollars. Yes, that's 63 BILLION Billion Dollars, or for the mathematically disinclined, 63 Quintillion Dollars. I don't think that amount of money even exists.

I know this isn't a football blog, but when someone accuses Michael Vick of joining Al-Quaeda, buying missiles from Iran with the money made from selling dogs on eBay, and hurting their feelings and dashing their hopes, that's newsworthy for all sports fans.

In other news: the Cubs are drowning without Soriano. Funeral arrangements are being decided on and will be announced sometime in September.


EDIT: Apparently this came out three weeks ago when everyone but me was paying attention. My bad.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Congrats Barry


You may have the Derosa-Bonds HR Challenge all but wrapped up and be MLB's All-Time Home Run leader, but at the end of the day, you're still Barry Bonds and you still play for the Giants.

Stew on that.

Go Cubs.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

It Was Too Good to be True...

Soriano left tonight's game with a strained right quad. Not sure how serious it is, but him limping off the field doesn't sound very good. More details later when we know more.

UPDATE: Yahoo Sports says 2-4 weeks. That sound you hear is the sound of millions of Cubs fans' hopes and dreams dying. With 52 games left in the season and the team being a single game out of the division lead, this couldn't really have come at a worse time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Neifi Perez Needs Serious Help

Looking for the banned Fukudome shirt? Click Here.

We all remember Neifi Perez. Mediocre utility infielder, terrible batter, and not exactly handsome. So when he was busted a month ago for stimulant use I thought he must have just been hanging out with the wrong crowd and had slipped up once, because there's no way that anything he was taking was enhancing his performance in any way. If you need drugs to put together a .172 batting average, you've got some issues.

As it turns out, you can add ridiculously dumb to that list of adjectives describing Neifi. Today Neifi became only the second player to be suspended for the use of stimulants, himself also being the first player to receive such a ban. This one is for 80 games, and picks up right where the last ban left off on Saturday.

I find it hard to believe that even Neifi would be dumb enough to keep taking stimulants after getting caught, so I came to the only logical conclusion: He was framed.

In order to right this terrible wrong I did what any self-respecting not-very-well-known sports blogger would do. I made a t-shirt. This shirt shows support for Neifi and his fight against injustice. By being suspended for the rest of the season the Tigers are able to avoid paying the last half of his $2.5 million contract, an enticing proposition considering his dismal stats. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that just maybe the manager slipped him a stimulant-infused smoothie. Three times. Also, I have a tendency to dislike anything Detroit related, so I simply want what's worst for them. In this case that would be having to pay Neifi the rest of his contract. Join me in this noble cause to clear Neifi's name and bring down the Tigers.

Back Spasms Anyone?

After today's game, I've come to the conclusion that Ryan Dempster needs to go the way of Wade Miller and come down with a sudden case of back spasms for the rest of the season. I know Ryan has his good moments, but it seems like every time I see him take the mound he puts two men on base and makes me shout angry things at my television. Put in Carlos Marmol, he could be twice the closer that Dempster ever was. With the addition of Kerry Wood to the 'pen we can use Marmol to close, Wood can be our setup guy with Howry helping out, and the rest of the relievers can fill in as needed. Either way, Dempster cannot be allowed to close games if I'm expecting to live past 50.

Cubs are a game back from the Brewers now. That was a lot shorter than I expected.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Uh Oh...

I think the Brewers have finally figured out the secret to the Cubs' success. They've begun fighting amongst themselves.

When the half-inning ended, Estrada and Yost got into a heated dispute in the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse. Infielder Tony Graffanino stepped between them while pitcher Ben Sheets and pitching coach Mike Maddux stood in front of Estrada.

The next inning, Yost motioned with his finger for Estrada to come talk with him, and they disappeared out of sight down the tunnel.

Now as far as I know it did not come to fisticuffs, but especially with the manager directly involved this could light a fire under them just like the Zambrano-Barrett incident did.

On the other hand...never fear, Wood is here!

No Love For Slogan Creator

As I mentioned last week, the slogan that has seemed to stick during the Cubs' exciting drive for the playoffs is "It's Gonna Happen". I mentioned at the time that the "It" was ambiguous, and the original Sports Illustrated article makes this very clear as it was originally trademarked with Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics in mind.

If you've been watching the Cubs all summer and you haven't really noticed this slogan, you're not alone. In an article today in the Tribune about our friend Brent Kowalowski, the writer mentions that the Cubs have kindly asked CSN and WGN to not show these signs during broadcasts of Cubs games. Are the Cubs just trying to keep the fans watching at home from getting their hopes up? Not exactly. This policy is due to the slogan creator's similar past to Kowalowski's.

In 1995, a Cubs fan named John Murray attacked reliever Randy Myers on the mound and was taken down by Myers. Murray was banned from Wrigley Field for one year, but now is trying to get publicity for his Cubs slogan, "It's Gonna Happen," which is printed on T-shirts, signs and wristbands.

The Cubs are aware of Murray's history and have asked Comcast SportsNet and WGN-Ch. 9 not to show Murray's signs during telecasts, according to team sources.

Now I know that incident happened 12 years ago and you're supposed to forgive and forget, but I don't really appreciate someone like that trying to profit off of the success of this team. So from this moment on I am shunning the use of the phrase "It's Gonna Happen" and I am calling upon you, the readers, to come up with something better. Leave any and all ideas in the comments, and maybe I can use my limited internet influence to make it stick.

UPDATE: The Sun-Times had a more in depth article on the topic about a week ago that I missed at the time. The article makes it seem like there's nothing wrong with the guy trying to make a quick buck, but I respectfully disagree. And here is a picture of what happened to Mr. Murray when he was dumb enough to charge a Major League baseball player 12 years ago.

Apparently umpiring has come a long way in the last 12 years. Back then you stopped a fight by sticking a baseball and a radio near the pitchers head.

Photo Courtesy of: Out of Right Field

Well That Was Short Lived

The Cubs grabbed the outright division lead for a solid 39 minutes before matching the Brewer's shoddy performance and earning a loss of their own. Tomorrow, the two teams switch opponents yet again as they've been doing for the past two months or so. If anyone knows why their schedules are set up like this, could you let me know? It's getting kind of weird and I'm not sure how much I like it.

Again, technically the Cubs still have a slight edge over the Brewers. But technically Carmen Electra has never told me she doesn't want to date me. A victory in both cases, yes, albeit a rather small one.

NL Pitcher of the Month Zambrano takes the mound against the Mighty Mets, one of the few teams in the NL that worries me. Zambrano had a 5-1 record in July with a 1.83 ERA, which is pretty incredible. Then you realize that Ted Lilly, who I until recently may or may not have hated, also pulled off a 5-1 record with a slightly worse 2.52 ERA in that same month. With pitchers like these, I'm kind of disappointed we're not actually ahead of the Brewers.

Cubs Take Division Lead

With today's exciting win, the Cubs have finally taken the NL Central Division lead for what I believe is the first time all season. So I might have been off with my prediction by 3 days, but I say that's close enough to be right. And I'm sure many of you out there are looking at the standings and thinking hold the phone, we're still tied with Milwaukee. NOT.

Yes, technically the Cubs and Brewers are both 8 games over .500 at this point, but we've played two less games. This gives us an all important .001 lead in winning percentage, which places us squarely at the top of the standings.

The team had a lot of help getting there tonight, with Thunder Matt's heads-up baserunning and Brett Myers control problems at the end helping secure the W and the Mets taking care of the Brewers for us. I don't need to spell it out for you though: this team is hot. I think I'm perfectly justified in getting overly excited about today considering this is the best position we've been in since 2004.

And in case you were wondering, Minnesota was hot and dry this past week, contrary to popular belief that there is always snow on the ground. It's nice to be back to a place where I can watch the Cubbies every day. Here's hoping Marshall can lock it up for tomorrow and we can start to increase this lead.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Updates are in Order

Well it's been awhile since I've updated here, but I have an extremely solid excuse.

I'm lazy.

Well actually, it's because I've been working all day every day, which makes me tired at the end of the day. This translates into laziness.

Anyways, since the last time I popped my head in here, the Cubs have been tearing it up. People are finally starting to notice that we've got a real good team here, and the Brewers have been sweating like crazy as we inch closer to that elusive division lead.

There was an article in the most recent Sports Illustrated that I can't seem to find online about the slogan that has been attached to this team recently: "It's Gonna Happen".

People seem to assume that "it" is winning the World Series, but no one knows for sure what the original holder of the sign meant. Perhaps someone on the other side of the stadium called him and asked if it was going to rain anytime soon. And then the person's cell phone died. So maybe this "it" is actually rain, and not a World Series win. Far fetched, yes, but I'd be a little more comfortable if people didn't start making postseason declarations this early in the game. We've had enough jinxes over the years as it is.

I'm leaving for the cold, desolate plains of Minnesota tomorrow, for the sole reason that I know people there who are related to me. Seeing as my grandparents live on a farm, updates will be unlikely unless I can find a Panera somewhere. At least this time I'll have a good excuse. Normal operations will hopefully resume on Wednesday.

EDIT: Found the slogan article.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Barry Bonds: Perjury Alright, Lying BAD

After Bonds hit his 2 home runs back on Thursday, he decided to call out the Cubs fans that didn't throw back his home run balls because they lied. And then two days later he says that he's not at all worried about possibly being indicted by a grand jury for perjury.

In other news, Bonds claims that people with knee injuries are wussies and people with incredibly large heads look funny.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Two HRs for Bonds...

...and three wins for the Cubs.

I'll take that and sleep well tonight. Granted, the DeRosa-Bonds HR rivalry is becoming more and more one-sided. But at least he didn't break any records against us.

Go Cubs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You Won't Like Us When We're Angry

I'm sorry, what was that Mr. Zito? You beat us yesterday? And Barry Bonds is still too much of a pansy to play a game at Wrigley? How about this: You keep pretending that Bonds has abnormally sore knees and that you are good enough to qualify as a team, and we'll just use our backup catcher to destroy you 12-1. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Oh yeah, and we won't hit a single home run during this massacre. Those are overrated anyways.

Welcome to the team Jason...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For the record...

My colleague on this site seems to think that I believe Mark Cuban is going to magically bring a World Series win to the Cubs. Erroneous.

I believe that we're going to win it this year, so it won't be magic when we win it next year with Cuban.

I also believe that regardless of his fan affiliations growing up, Mr. Cuban is an exciting prospect for owner compared to some of the ho-hums that have turned in their papers. He has a personal flare that is hard to find in a land full of Bud Selig wannabes. He has proven that he is dedicated to greatness in all that he has got involved in (just ask Dirk) and I think that his is a face that would be a welcomed addition to this already fine organization.

And I don't even care that he probably would secretly root for the Pirates. They suck, and I fully expect them to continue doing so for at least the next decade.

Should the Cubs Be Sold to a Man Who's Not a Cubs Fan?

If you've been reading this blog for a while, and by a while I mean before I started writing about pitchers doing comedic routines and my traffic started spiking, you have probably heard our feelings on Mark Cuban. RFS feels that he would magically help us win a World Series. I disagree. And as it turns out, so does Mike Downey.

After all of this bull that the Cubs won't have the wherewithal to increase payroll for a serious run at the pennant, there they were Monday, making a midsummer pitch to a catcher who makes about $13 million a year.

And after all of this bull that they need Cuban to buy this team and show them how things should be done, the Cubs have added a high-priced star to a roster that already is being paid hundreds of millions of dollars.

Yes, that same Mark Cuban who once said it killed him to sing "root, root, root for the Cubbies" at Wrigley Field and wished he could sing "Pirates" instead. That's the guy you want to own this team?

He goes on to explain his thoughts even more, but that's not important. What really matters is that someone who spent four years in college learning how to write and actually makes a living watching sports and writing about them agrees with little old me. In fact, he feels so strongly about it that he's willing to use a dirty word like "bull" to make his point. Before you know it, he'll be moving on to "bull-poo".

Also: Barry Bonds is still a huge pansy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Donde Está Barry Bonds?

The Cubs won a solid game against the Giants tonight, which was largely overshadowed by the roided-up 8 foot gorilla in the room that was surprisingly good at hiding. But let's all stop kidding ourselves and admit that we knew all along Barry wasn't planning on playing tonight. If there's one thing we know about Barry it's this: He's a huge douchebag. While that may not apply to him not playing tonight, the second thing we know about him does. Barry wants everyone to love him, no matter how much he yells at the media. He wants to pretend that people don't know about his steroids and that the world is throwing flowers and palm branches at his feet. Barry is not stupid, so he knows that if he hits a monumental home run anywhere but the Bay, he will be booed for a solid 15 minutes. Therefore, Barry does not wish to play at our historical stadium. And that suits me just fine.

I considered compiling a list of things I hate about Barry Bonds, but I realized he is not deserving of the amount of effort that would take. Maybe I'll come up with something later if he actually plays and I have a lot of free time.

On a wholly unrelated note, Erin Andrews was at Wrigley tonight, reporting from the street where I stand in line to wait for good bleacher seats. All I need now is a red Ferrari to take to the game and a ticket for me and Ms. Andrews, and then my personal genie can retire in peace.

Jim Hendry Never Sleeps

Rod Bowen must have had a busy and slightly confusing day. First off, the recent acquisition from the Padres was designated for assignment after batting only .065 in 10 games with the Cubs. While that is a very poor average, I don't think the Cubs ever really gave him a shot to settle into a groove. But no matter, for about an hour later he was being sent to Oakland instead of Iowa, a much more pleasant and sunny destination.

What? A catcher who gets in fights? Really?

Bowen was traded to the A's along with minor league pitcher Jerry Blevins for catcher Jason Kendall. You probably remember Kendall as the former catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he was very, very good. A career .298 hitter, Kendall has had a few extremely good seasons when it comes to batting average, including .325 and .319 in '03 and '04. To put that in perspective, remember when people thought Michael Barrett would have a shot at the batting title, except that he didn't have enough at bats? That was last year, when he ended up with a measly .307. Pansy.

Essentially what this all boils down to is that somehow Hendry traded Michael Barrett straight up for Jason Kendall, because the Cubs received a minor leaguer along with Bowen in the trade for the Padres. Even without taking into consideration Barrett's considerable Look at those stats and tell me that wasn't an incredible deal. Not only does Kendall have a high average, he gets on base enough that he is usually used as a leadoff hitter and he averages about 150 games played a year. Even if he's having a crappy year so far, I give a tip of my hat to Mr. Hendry for finagling this deal.

Jason Kendall a Cub?

ESPN is reporting that we are near a deal that would send Rob Bowen to the Athletics for Jason Kendall in search of a catcher that can hit (where is Henry Blanco when we need him?).

This is awesome.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cubs Sweep Astros; D-Lee Flips Off the Haters

This game defined how Cubs baseball has been recently. Normally when you go down 5-0 in the 2nd inning to the Astros you start planning ahead for tomorrow's game. Maybe you'll be able to mount a comeback by the time you get to the 8th inning. Not these Cubs. They fought back with a 6 run 2nd inning to take the lead, and took it for good on Ryan Theriot's solo shot in the 4th. I think that was Ryan's personal way of showing his distaste for the 2nd base umpire, who was clearly on the Astro's payroll when he called Hunter Pence safe at 2nd on a stolen base. Or maybe he could just use some bifocals.

And for all the people saying Derrek Lee is doing something wrong because he isn't hitting home runs, how about these numbers today. Lee went 3-for-3 with a 3-run homer in that 2nd inning. The man is batting .335 and people are complaining that he isn't hitting enough home runs? I think he just likes to save up his homers for when the team really needs it, there's no need to embarrass other teams every game when usually a double will suffice.

The Cubs are 25-12 since June 3rd, best record in baseball over that time. I'm predicting we take the division two weeks from today.

Rich Hill Will Not Be Shown Up

The Cubs crushed the Roy Oswalt and the Astros today, but that's not really that important or surprising. Bigger news would be that we're suddenly in the heat of a division race, trailing the struggling Brewers by only 3.5 games, but again, that is not the story of the game. No, what really matters today is that the Cubs have another pitcher who moonlights as a comedian/impressionist.

During today's FOX intro for the Cubs lineup, Rich Hill went with a solid imitation of the character Kip Dynamite from the movie Napoleon Dynamite. At first, when I had no idea what was going on, I thought maybe he had been stung by a bee on his tongue. It was that good, and definitely gave Ryan Dempster and his Harry Caray impression a run for his money. I can't find any video of the intro right now, but if I do it'll be up here faster than you can say quesadilla.

(I didn't like that movie, by the way. Supposedly it gets funnier the more you watch it, but by the time I did see it I had already heard all the jokes. And why would I watch it again if it sucked the first time?)

EDIT: Here's another video of Dempster's Harry Caray impression, still can't find the one he did for FOX though. If you find a link to the FOX videos for either Hill or Dempster, I'll send you a dollar. For real. Do it.

EDIT x2: Brilliant reader skr found the video and gave it to me for free! How thoughtful.

Via Texas Gal's baseball blog Center Field

Friday, July 13, 2007

When Memorabilia and Bathrooms Collide

I don't own much in the way of Cubs souvenirs. I happen to have a hand that shook Harry Caray's hand once, and a baseball that Will Ohman threw to me on my birthday, but that's about it. My meager attempts at getting an autograph from a Cub have been woefully unsuccessful. So if you're like me, but you happen to have $2,000 burning a hole in your pocket and you enjoy awkward conversation starters, you're going to want to take a look at this auction. Being sold at a starting price of 2 G's is a urinal that was formerly in the Cubs clubhouse and was signed by every member of the team. I don't know when every member of the team signed it, so there's no way of knowing who took part in this disturbing autograph session, but how about one of you buys it and lets me know? I'll even do a full series of stories on it for the whole internet to see. Deal? Deal.

great news

Mark Cuban has officially ended the long speculation by submitting his application to buy the Cubs.

I know SITI here might not think this is great news, but I do so I'm posting with great hopes to see him in charge by next season.

After seeing what he did with the Mavericks, I think he obviously knows what he's doing when it comes to running a sports organization -- at least more than some of the other potential buyers that view this team as simply an investment.

More on this later. Go Cubs.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Well That Explains.....Nothing

Today came the sad yet hilarious news that a former Cub has been busted for steroid use. As you read that sentence, I'm sure a number of different names started popping up in your head. You probably started off by thinking Sosa, Nomar, or Gary Matthews Jr. I can tell you now that you are thinking in completely the wrong direction. Think worse, much worse. Worse than Corey Patterson? Absolutely. Jose Macias? Fo-Sho. Even worse than Jacque Jones?? Sweet Jesus yes.

That's right, Dusty's Golden Boy was banned for 25 games for testing positive for a banned stimulant. I'm surprised they even bother to test people with a .172 batting average. That's like testing a Mormon for alcohol, or Mike Tyson for sanity. You just figure you're not gonna find any, so why bother?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Start TheRiot

Much has been made of the French Connection, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot teaming up for double plays just like they did back at LSU. Today though, it was the Theriot-Lee combination in the lineup that did it for the Cubs. Theriot had 3 doubles and 3 runs, and each time he got a hit DLee followed up with one of his own. Lee scored the other 2 runs for the Cubs as they rebounded from yesterday's tough loss to take the series from the Brewers with a 5-1 win. Marquis pitched 7 solid innings while only giving up one solo homer, and Carlos Marmol continued his blistering pace by pitching 2 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.13. Everything just seems to be clicking for this team right now, as we've won 8 of our last 9 games, and 6 of those games were at home where the team has not played well in the past. But most importantly, the team got back to .500 and we're just about halfway through the season. Did anyone expect that two weeks ago? Not me.

Riding the Iowa Merry-Go-Round

Yesterday, the Cubs made yet another move, calling up the delightfully named Rocky Cherry from Iowa and sending Billy Petrick back down to the minors. Now I know what you're thinking, Billy who? Apparently we brought this guy up on June 26th and his major league debut was lost in the three-ring circus that was the Rockies series. So the only thing that surprised me about yesterday's move was that I had no idea Billy Petrick even existed.

But Billy didn't even have time to unpack his bags when he got to Iowa, as Cherry was placed on the DL today with a "right lat strain". I'm not sure exactly what that means, but as long as it's not his groin he should be alright. Either way, losing Rocky Cherry is never a good thing, as the guy has worked his way to a 2.38 ERA in the bigs, despite only being able to pull off a 6.75 ERA at Iowa.

EDIT: Turns out Billy didn't even make it back to Iowa. He drove home to Morris, IL, which is about an hour and a half from Wrigley, and was still there when he got the call. At least he's saving the Cubs some money on airfare.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Channeling Harry Caray

Even while he's on the disabled list, Ryan Dempster shows he's still got talent.

When the Cubs first came up to bat in today's game, Dempster had the task of introducing the Cubs batting order for FOX. He did so in a near-perfect imitation of Will Ferrell's Harry Caray skit from Saturday Night Live. I'm not a big fan of the original skit because it shows Harry as a delusional old man who loves Budweiser, even if that may not be too far from the truth.

Apparently this is not the first time Dempster has done this impression, as I found this video from Mesa in 2005 where he does a short rendition of it. I'll try to find video of today's introduction, as it will probably be the best part of the game with the Cubs down 9-2 in the 3rd at the moment.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Say Cheese

Look at how high Soriano can jump. Bulls should sign him instead of Noah.

DeRosa looks like he could win a team limbo contest.

Carlos' face...priceless.

Holy. Cow.

Aramis just capped off an amazing comeback, and the Cubs have hit the .500 mark due to a 7-game winning streak we have going on right now. What a great way to start off the weekend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sam Zell Can Go Screw Himself

As we reported earlier today, the Cubs had finalized a deal with the Marlins allowing us to finally dump Jacque Jones off on another team. rfs found details on the nearly finished deal and posted them here. Well, it turns out that incoming Tribune owner Sam Zell wanted nothing to do with the trading of someone so disliked that he has not had a single at-bat in 6 days.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the deal was complete and signed off on by the commissioner's office, and was going as planned until Mr. Zell, who is also a part owner of the White Sox whom the Cubs just swept, stepped in and vetoed the cash transaction that was included as part of the deal.

According to a high-ranking baseball official with direct knowledge of the talks, they even had a commitment from the Cubs' front office to cover roughly $6.6 million of the $7.2 million remaining on Jones' contract through next season.

The deal collapsed, however, when incoming Cubs owner Sam Zell – who is in the process of purchasing a controlling interest in the Tribune Co., which publishes the Sun-Sentinel – vetoed the hefty cash exchange.

The Sun-Sentinel also mentions that it was Zell who personally decided that the talks for Zambrano's long term deal should be delayed until "a later date".

I'm assuming that Mr. Zell is making decisions solely based on profit margins, but I don't see how having Jacque Jones and not having Zambrano locked up could possibly increase the value of your team. Whichever person or company this team gets sold to, it needs to be one that won't interfere with doing what will help us win. And it definitely can't be a Sox fan.

Breaking News

For all of you that read this blog for up to the minute Cubs info (who the heck would actually do that is beyond me), the word on the street is that we have...


While there is nothing official that I can find at the moment, it sounds like we sent him to the Marlins and pretty much got nothing for him. I'll be back later when I dig up something solid.


Found something decently solid.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rod Beck, You Will be Missed

Former Cubs closer Rod Beck died Saturday at the young age of 38. I'm sure most Cubs fans remember his phenomenal season in 1998, when he compiled 51 saves and only 4 losses. Ryan Dempster could learn a thing or 12 from him. First step Ryan, grow a phenomenal mustache.

In all seriousness though, we extend our sincerest condolences to Rod's family. The big guy will be missed.

Awesomest. Game. Ever.

Wow. Just wow. This was probably the greatest game of the season so far. The offense held their own, with Soriano hitting his third solo home run in this three-game series. The defense was stellar, with Izturis and Fontenot both making diving catches, Derrek Lee pulling off a ridiculous play at first, Pagan diving on the warning track to make a catch, and Soriano nailing the runner at home. The pitching was equally phenomenal, as Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Will Ohman, and Bob Howry combined to shut out the White Sox. Combine that with the confusion surrounding the interference play and Ozzie getting tossed, and this game cannot be matched for fun and excitement. Unless you're my White Sox fan brother, that is. He likes to yell angry words when things don't go his way. My house hasn't been very quiet for the past month.

Oh yeah, and we SWEPT the White Sox. At the Cell. Booyah.

We've got Jason Marquis up against the Rockies tomorrow. Let's see if we can keep some momentum going for once.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cubs Take the Season Series

Today's close game clinched this series for the Cubs, along with the season series. Once again both starters performed very well, and once again all it took was two runs to beat the White Sox. I almost felt bad while listening to their announcers on WGN today, as they spent most of the time discussing how bad the Sox are and why they are having the worst month or two in baseball. They've now lost 21 of their last 26 I believe. They even went so far as to try and find a statistic that the team is doing well in, to try and look on the bright side of things. Sadly, no such statistic exists.

The dominance that is Sean Marshall takes the mound tomorrow against Jose Contreras. Given the White Sox's dismal record against lefties this should get interesting. I'm refusing to say the 'S' word though, because a jinx is the last thing this team needs.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Deep in Enemy Territory

The Cubs easily took the first game of the series against the White Sox today, winning 5-1 behind a pair of solo home runs, some solid play in the 9th inning, and another great game from Zambrano. Maybe he was being serious about this whole being a new season thing.

Today also marked the triumphant return of Aramis Ramirez, who hit one of those solo shots to send a clear message to anyone who doubts the strength of his left knee. Never mind that almost no running or use of the knees is in any way involved in swinging a bat.

Sean Gallagher was sent back down to Iowa, and most Cubs fans probably won't notice a difference. Sean had a 9+ ERA in 5 and a 1/3 innings this season.

Rich Hill gets the call tomorrow against Javier Vasquez at noon. A month ago, I would have put the easy money on Hill, but nowadays I'm not so sure. Prove me wrong buddy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What Happened While I Was Away...

In case you've noticed, and the list of people that would is probably very short and only includes the name Jason, I haven't written anything in 5 days. I'd love to be able to come up with an impressive excuse, something like 'I was feeding starving children in Zimbabwe', but the rather less impressive truth is that I started a summer job and can hardly stay awake long enough to write anything. My apologies.

So here's a list of things I missed while I was napping:
  • Derrek Lee was handed a 5-game suspension. Personally, this is slightly lower than I thought considering the 10-game one Barrett got last year. On the other hand, directly charging the mound is only 3 games, and Young did approach Lee on the basepath for some reason. Next time he'll stay on the mound if he knows what's good for him. Lee is of course appealing the decision, which should keep him around long enough to hit another grand slam off the Sox.
  • A large number of people have been doing a Google search for the phrase Zambrano Belt. Well the truth came out shortly after the fight, his belt was off because he was in the middle of changing in the clubhouse when the fight started, not because he wanted to whip somebody. Sometimes the truth is funnier than fiction.
  • Lee has not yet apologized for swing at Young's pretty face, which I find interesting. Normally people apologize profusely after a fight to show remorse and try to reduce the coming suspension, but Lee is doing no such thing. Young must have said something along the lines of "Next time I'll get your eye, natch."
  • The Cubs lost the series to the Padres, unsurprisingly, and have gone 1-4 ever since Lee flipped out.
  • Sammy Sosa took a short break from amassing strikeouts and hit number 600 off of Marquis on Wednesday. There was a big sign in the outfield showing his home run tally, and it had a star in front of the number 600. Looked an awful lot like an asterisk at first glance.
  • I won't lie to you, I used to like Sammy Sosa. That feeling faded right around 2000. When you walk out on the team, I will walk out on.....your mom. And then I'll take her out to a nice seafood dinner, and never call her again. Then I will proceed to despise you for the rest of my days.
  • We lost the series to the Rangers in boring fashion.
  • Barrett got traded, which is probably the biggest news of the week. Some people were unhappy with that, but here's how I see it: A catcher is supposed to catch, and well. Rob Bowen works very well with pitchers, doesn't allow many passed balls, and can throw base-runners out. Barrett...well he doesn't do much of anything well, except hit. But Bowen is hitting better than him this year anyways. As long as someone not named Koyie Hill is the main catcher, I'll be happy.

That was a busy 5 days. The Cubs-Sox series on the dirty side of town starts tomorrow, and this time I won't be going to every game. I won't even be able to make it to one game unless you, our intrepid yet sporadic readers, happen to have some extra tickets. rfs and myself would love to hit up Sunday's game, but I can take Saturday too. Heck I'd probably skip work tomorrow if I got tickets. So if anyone out there would like to sit with a couple of struggling bloggers at the game, or if you just need some extra protection from the rabid White Sox fans, hit us up at the e-mail on the right. I promise not to disappoint.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I knew this would happen.

Sosa just hit 600 off us. I called it.

The craziest part of all this is that he hit it off Marq, who now wears the 21 that Sammy made famous.

I hate to say it, but stupid motherf***er.

...We better win this game.

Peace Buddy

Michael Barrett, we hardly knew ye.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And in This Corner, Weighing in at 245 Pounds...

Today should have been about Carlos Zambrano. The headlines should tell about a heartbreaking loss, where Big Z flirted with a no-hitter but ended up losing while pitching a 2-hit complete game. It should have been about the stellar defensive plays that were made, and how many times the Cubs infield pulled off double plays to get him out of a jam.

But no. Today's game was all about Derrek Lee taking offense at something that Chris Young said, and then taking a swing at the 6'10" behemoth. It was about something that Jake Peavy said yesterday regarding Soriano watching his home run sail over the wall. It was about Peavy, Young, and Lee all getting ejected after the rumble.

And this isn't the end of it. There will be repercussions. There will be suspensions. Greg Maddux is pitching tomorrow, and he's old school enough that I would expect retaliation if it wasn't for the history he has with this Cubs team. Tomorrow's game just got very interesting.

All I have to say right now is that Chris Young must be a huge douchebag to get DLee that riled up. Lee knows what's up, he's a good guy and he doesn't start throwing hands for no good reason. After getting beaned in what was almost the face, Lee said something to Young which I couldn't make out. Young's response looks like it must have been completely out of line as Lee's reaction was instant, stopping dead in his tracks. "What?". And then everything exploded. In the midst of the ensuing fight, somehow Zambrano's belt came off. I like to think he was planning on beating someone with it.

I'll probably be back tonight with more thoughts on the topic. Until then if you need more details, every sports show in the country will have them.

Sosa Watch

Sammy hit home run 499 today for the Rangers. Why do I feel like he is saving 500 for us next week?

Multiple Bartman Sightings In Cubs Win

What a wacky game today. It's hard to believe, but Cubs fans (not the bullpen) almost blew it for the boys today.

With two balls "interfered" with due to leaning over the baskets, I was starting to get nightmarish flashbacks to the Bartman game. After that second one, Floyd pulled an "Alou" and I truly felt like he was going to rip that guy's head off.

Luckily, we didn't bend over after the altercations and got the Win.

Funny thing: I'm almost positive I personally know the guy that messed with D-Lee's double. I think I met him in the bleachers a few weeks back and talked with him -- pretty sure he has nothing more to do with his life than wear camo pants and chase fly balls that leave the field of play. So I obviously had a good laugh when I saw his mug on the TV today.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cesar Izuseless is....Useful

Picture this scenario. I'm relaxing on the couch watching a Cubs game. We're losing by one run, which is not surprising in the least. So naturally, I dozed off. I awoke to the sounds of my mother yelling at me that the Cubs scored and they were winning. When I opened my eyes I found this to be true. But then she told me that Cesar Izturis hit a two-run double to take the lead. This left me no choice but to call her a bold-faced liar and denounce her as my mother. Oops.

That's right, Izturis came through in the clutch to put the Cubs ahead, and they actually won a series. Against an AL team. With a winning record. I know, I find it hard to believe too.

Also, Koyie Hill got another hit, raising his average up to .182, or 6 points higher than Jason Marquis. At least now I will almost feel comfortable about the Cubs using him as a pinch hitter.

But of course, when the Cubs finally win 2 in a row, so do the Brewers. We're still 5.5 games back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

About this Clay Fella

There isn't much information available on Clay Rapada as far as I can see. I was able to dig up this photo however, and by dig up I mean it was the first thing that came up on Google Image Search:

That's right. He throws sidearm, and he's a lefty. Apparently that's a rare combination. Let's just hope the Mariners aren't used to it tomorrow.

[Image courtesty of a 3 year old article from The State News]

Thunder Matt Gets on the Bus to Iowa

Well, you knew something had to happen soon. The Cubs outfield was way too overcrowded and with the emergence of Felix Pie as the everyday center fielder there was only right field open each game, with four players looking for playing time. They either had to send down Pagan or Murton, and it looks like the fiery redhead chose the short straw.

We were expecting this move to happen once Aramis rejoined the lineup, but with the recent sub-2 inning starts by Lilly and Marquis, it looks like Lou decided he needed another arm in the 'pen, and quickly. So the Cubs called up left-hander Clay Rapada, a reliever that I've never heard of. Hopefully he can help us keep the momentum that the team has had over the past week or so.

So with this development, new questions arise. Does Clay stay when Aramis gets back, or do we just send him right back to Iowa? How hard will it be to dump off Jacque Jones on an unsuspecting team? Any chance we can get Farnsworth back so he can get in a fight with Barrett and put him out of commission? Hopefully we'll get most of these answered soon enough, and if we could manage to trade Jones straight up for Farnsie that would answer all three. Brilliant.

If you wish to pay your respects to the memory of Matt Murton in the Majors, head on over to Thunder Matt's Saloon. They're acting tough about all of this, but I'm sure they could use some comforting.

Today Was a Good Day

Tonight the Cubs won a one-run game, Sean Marshall pitched extremely well, Ryan Dempster didn't blow a save, and Michael Barrett didn't get into a fight with a pitcher. I am pleasantly surprised. Keep it up boys.

More Trade Talk

NOTE: This is pure speculation by the staff here at RTWF.

Today on ESPN's Around the Horn the panel discussed Michael Barrett's place on the current team. A few points against his behalf were brought up.

EDIT: The Pardon the Interruption guys think that there is either a 65% (Tony) or 0% (Wilbon) chance that Barrett will back next season. Hard to believe we're making this much news on a Red Sox/Yankee heavy network.

1) The Zambrano Fight: Both guys claim to have put this behind them, but there is speculation that bad blood still could be lingering. This is fueled by the fact that he hasn't caught Carlos since the altercation.

2) Catching Big Z: Probably the more relevant reason for Barrett's absence when Z is on the mound is the fact that Carlos simply has better stats when Hill or the illustrious Henry Blanco catches him. Much better. I can't determine if this is pure coincidence or deeper than that.

3) Rich Hill: Though small, Barrett and the young Hill had sharp words for each other in last night's game. This begs the question as to what Mikey is doing to piss off all his pitchers? People might argue that the catcher-pitcher relationship is a huge part of the game of baseball, I have no idea...but it makes sense.

4) Terrible Defense: Everyone knows Mike is an offensive catcher, and as long as he is scoring more runs than his terrible defense is giving up, I think no one should give a flying ****. However, right now that is not the case. He is struggling and his defense is staying constant at horrible. I've been screaming for Henry Blanco to get more playing time, hopefully he will get some after he gets back.

So there you go, I'm not sure where I stand on this whole thing right now. I love Mikey, but I love the Cubs more. As much as it hurts me to say it, if he can't do the job, maybe we should move him while he still has some good value. I dunno.

Hit us up with a comment if you've got a view point on this.

Go Cubs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bases Loaded

Maybe it's just me, but lately (ala the last week or so) I've been more nervous when we've had the the sacks juiced than in any other situation. Even runners on 2nd and 3rd gets my heart pounding.

Only the Cubs can figure out how to get everyone on (most of the time with no outs) and fail do drive them in.


Koyie Hill? Really?

The Cubs just lost in the 13th inning. This doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is that Lou used Koyie Hill as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and the game on the line. I understand that it was a long game and we had already gone through 19 players, but this was a poor decision. We still had Sean Marshall, Ted Lilly, Scott Eyre, Michael Wuertz, and Jason Marquis available to hit. Of those 5, Lilly is batting .115 and Marquis is hitting an impressive .188. You may not think that is impressive, but you will once you consider that Koyie Hill was batting .067 before today. Now it's down to .063. Lou, come on, using your grandma would be a better choice than using Koyie. Marquis would have gotten the job done.

Trade talk

I'm not really sure there is any, so let's start up some rumors.

The casual observer would figure that the Cubs need to bolster their bullpen if they aim to make a run at the post-season. I concur. As much as I love every player on this team, nothing gets the heart beating faster than when Lou makes the call to the boys down the foul line.

To rectify this, I naturally look to the one area where the Cubs seem to have plenty of help: the outfield.

J. Jones (aka Mr. Rally Killer), could hold some value when it comes to picking up an extra arm in the bullpen. He has really yet to play up to his contract, so we'd probably have to take a net loss in getting rid of him, but with Floyd begging for (and deserving) more playing time, this seems like a logical choice.

I still consider Matt Murton a prospect at this point, because even though he's been playing with us for a while, he still plays like a AAA call-up. Dropping flies is just unacceptable, not to mention he isn't getting enough at-bats to get into a groove. I for one wouldn't lose sleep if we moved him.

That's all I have for now. Comments, as always, are welcome for discussion.

Watch your back Izturis.

If you haven't been keeping up with the team lately, then you haven't heard about the newest double-play combo this season.

If you bother to read the link, you'll figure out that Fontenot and Theriot have quite a bit in common (including silent "t's" at the end of their names).

Here's to more of what they achieved last night (a couple of nice double plays and half of the Cubs scoring). It's going to be tough for Lou to break this duo up when Aramis finally is ready to go. And I hope he doesn't,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Write In Game

Big Z is finally starting to pitch up to his Cy Young predictions, thank goodness. AND he and Mickey shared a heartfelt hug in the dugout after his homerun (sniff sniff).

I'm sick of everyone sticking a fork in this team. With so much time left, and the Brewers tanking, I'll take the Cubbies any day of the week.

AND With Ichiro coming to town tomorrow, I like our chances at gaining a few more games on the central lead this week.

So yeah. Go Cubs.

So About This Braves Series...

So what I missed yesterday was the big picture of how everything went down. But now that I have collected all the facts, this is what actually happened.

On Thursday, Rich Hill tore the Braves apart with his pitching. This did not make Bobby Cox happy.

On Friday, Soriano hit three home runs. That's more than you, me, and everyone I personally know will hit in a lifetime. That is a big deal.

Saturday started off with Soriano getting beaned with the first pitch of the game by Hudson. Both benches were warned. A few innings later, Sean Gallagher was beaned by Peter Moylan. The umpires did nothing.

Sunday, Ted Lilly got the first two batters out, then beaned Edgar Renteria. The benches emptied, nothing major happened, and Ted Lilly was thrown out of the game. Wait, what? The umpire tossed Ted Lilly with no warnings in the first inning? Then Edgar Renteria stole second and clotheslined Mike Fontenot.

There's a few things I notice about that picture. First of all, he's sliding and his leg is past the bag at this point. I'm sorry Mr. Renteria, I'm sure you're extremely stupid, but I don't believe that you're that bad at sliding into a base. Secondly, one of your arms is around Mike's neck, and the other is behind your back grabbing his glove. Either you are practicing your contortionist routine, or you are an enormous douchebag and I hate you. I now wish you to lay in a deep, dark hole and die, Mr. Renteria. Thank you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Questions for Ryan Dempster

What are you doing pitching in the 8th inning? Did you ever think that maybe wild pitches are bad for you? Have you ever seen yourself in the mirror and broken down crying because even you hate Ryan Dempster? You can send your answers to these questions to the e-mail on the right. Thank you.

Alright so maybe that's a little extreme. I know it's still a early to be freaking out, and we're making progress and all that, but what the heck? Two straight come from ahead losses against the Braves? What is wrong with you people?

If we can't take the one game series from the Astros tomorrow I'm gonna have to start throwing things.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pitches to the Man...and BOOM goes the dynamite

From the Book of Cubinnisess, Chapter 12, Verse 3:

And on that day, the 8th of June in the year 610398 AC, in this the 59th game of the season, there shall arise one amongst you who shall do great things. Three times he shall step up to the plate, and three times he shall launch a ball over the wall. There will be much rejoicing amongst my chosen people, and much gnashing of teeth amongst the Atlantean hordes. This will be a sign to you. You shall find him in left field, wearing the number 12, and you shall call him Soriano.

Rich Hill: Fighting Political Incorrectness since 2006

Political correctness has invaded the world of sports in recent years. First, way way back in 1994, Marquette University changed its mascot from the Warriors to the much less offensive Golden Eagles. Subsequent polls showed that (surprise!) students and alumni preferred Warriors, but because the administration felt that the mascot and logos used along with the Warrior name was offensive, the name was instead changed to the Marquette Gold. This is the most retarded name in all of sports, so it went back to Golden Eagles where it currently sits today.

Then last year some shady deals were made to disband the Chief Illiniwek mascot at the University of Illinois. Many alumni pledged to withhold donations as a result of this decision. This hit close to home for me, not because I go to that school but because I live in the state. It's about three hours away from me, so literally it's fairly close. Not that I would give any money to my alma mater either way, I've already given them enough.

Personally, I think that removing a mascot because it offends an imaginary tribe is silly. And who said a warrior has to refer to an Indian warrior? If we're going to go this far, then I say everyone from Greece needs to protest the Michigan State Spartans, because they're no longer around to defend themselves (stupid Persians). And comic book fans from across the world should be knocking at Michigan's door to protest the Wolverines (I'm not a big fan of the state of Michigan, if you can't tell).

This political correctness has not made its way to the professional sports world yet, which is where Rich Hill comes in. Hill has obviously noticed how politically incorrect it is for the Atlanta Braves to exist, and for their fans to wave their tomahawks about. If no one else is going to do something about this, he will.

Over four starts against the Braves in 2006 and 2007, Hill has pitched 28 and 2/3's innings, giving up only 3 earned runs and compiling a 3-0 record. That's a 0.94 ERA over 4 starts. Now all the Cubs have to do is convince him that calling a team the Cardinals is an insult to the peacefulness of the state bird of Illinois and getting to the playoffs should be a breeze.