No other sport has a day like today. Not the NFL. Not the NBA. Not that sport on ice with sticks. Only MLB has an Opening Day that means something.
Today, the very young, the very old and the very drunk gather to pay homage to the greatest game, America's game. Baseball. It doesn't matter what team you root for, hope springs eternal today. From the Yankees and Red Sox all the way down to the (Devil) Rays and Pirates, fans of EVERY franchise flock to parks (and whatever the Cell is) across the country thinking the same thing...
"This could be the year."
It usually isn't, but on this day is doesn't matter. On this day everything is special. The grass smells fresher. The crack of the bat sounds louder. The chalk looks brighter. The floor under your seat feels less sticky. On this day everything IS perfect. Throw in a Air Force fly-by, a ceremonial first pitch by a hometown hero, a national anthem belted out by an ACTUAL professional singer and you can begin to understand why Opening Day is so remarkable.
So take a moment today. Forget about Z's struggles on baseball's first day. Disregard your fears about the rotation or the bullpen or the lack of a true lead-off hitter and just soak in the game. If you are lucky enough to attend a game today, just stand in the concourse for a second and feel the electricity. If can't attend, turn on the TV or radio and let the sights and sounds just wash over you.
This is it. The wait is over. Opening Day is here again and for at least an afternoon, everyone is rooting for a first place team.
It's time for the two greatest words ever uttered.
For those of you who have been with us since the very beginning (thanks Mom and Jeff!), you are no doubt well versed in my unhealthy love for a certain monster-thighed young outfielder named Mathew Henry Murton.
Well, all off-season and most of Spring Training, YOURChicago Cubs have been trying to trade him...mostly because he wasn't left-handed (or because he's a redhead, I can't remember which).
For a lot of us, this made no sense since a) he's basically a career .300 hitter
and b) anyone they could get to replace him would be basically a downgrade (I'm looking at you Marlon Byrd and Reed Johnson). Well, despite these these clear-as-a-bell concerns, YOUR Chicago Cubs went out and signed ANOTHER right-handed outfielder leaving Murton to twist in the wind.
So basically, after never really getting a full season to put his above-average skills on display, YOUR Chicago Cubs gave Matt the finger and are now trying to decide whether to trade him for 10 cents on the dollar or send him back to AAA without a shot of returning to the Show.
As of right now, Murton is the only player in the Cubs Organization, outside of who is in the starting lineup, who could step in and play outfield on a full-time basis and not have the offense take a dramatic hit. Sure, Murton doesn't run as well as Soriano or have the same power, but he does have the ability to get on base much more than Soriano which leads to....more runs being scored.
I am actually spitting now.
So Matt can't play center. Big friggin' deal. Can't Fuku do that? Wasn't that the plan when Pie couldn't sniff .200 in the Bigs? Why go outside the organization to fill this "need"? Couldn't DeRosa fill in for Fuku if need be? What about Ronny? What the hell?
For those of you not recovering from the worst flu imaginable followed by four straight days of hardcore drinking and college basketball, you are probably already aware that Lou answered a bunch of lineup-related questions yesterday.
I don't know if I should be excited, relieved or worried. I'm gonna go with worried.
In honor of the tournament, we’re putting together the “Tournament of Cubdom,” which will consist of the sixteen moments we’ve determined are most emblematic of what its like to be a Cubs fan. Every day (or couple of days), we’ll announce a new matchup and you will get to vote on which moment says more about what it’s like to be a Cubs fan. That moment will progress until its determined which moment does the best job of summing up what its like to be a Cubs fan. So, without further adieu, we introduce the brackets: Read More...
Chalk this one up to poor fantasy drafting. Just the thought of having to root for Johnny Damon's old, washed-up ass for 150ish games this summer caused me to acquire nasty bug that ranked somewhere between complete organ failure and really bad cold over the weekend.
Note to self: You CANNOT drink away a fever with beer. DO NOT ATTEMPT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
Needless to say, my sickness and stupidity left me incapacitated over the last few days, so I apologize for the lack of posts. Marty and I have a special NCAA Tournament themed series of blogs coming soon. Check back later today for part one!
During our time down in Arizona, we came up with a “10 things we don't need to see at Wrigley Field” list. Given the response to that post (which, by the way, will be the basis of the very first “Five Outs to Go” merchandise-woo hoo), I thought it might be a good idea to begin a set of rules that govern our existence as Cubs fans. As the year goes on, we can publish weekly additions to the rules, so please send in all your ideas.
On to part one of what we hope will be many, many more...
Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. We are gearing up for our big fantasy draft tomorrow and I've been locked in my room glued to ESPN.com trying to find out how Marty's all-time favorite manager is going to f#@@ up another fantasy season.
This quote from ESPN.com fantasy expert James Quintong's article sends shivers down my spine:
"If I were relying on Votto and/or Bruce to make a significant impact in the majors this year, I'd be downright terrified. I would also feel somewhat uneasy about Harang, Dunn and Bronson Arroyo."
I wish I could draft a team of ALL players ruined by Baker over the years and then just sit back and watch the wins pile up. What? You're telling me a team anchored by Prior, Wood and Patterson (just to name a few mentioned in the article) wouldn't destroy everyone? Oh, that is what you're telling me? Never mind then.
I hope to post something more substantial later tonight or maybe Marty and I can live-blog the draft (because nothing gets everyone excited quite like reading how someone else's fantasy draft went, blow by tedious blow).
So, I was talking to Marty the other day about the blog and he mentioned that I was coming off as somewhat bitter in my posts. An asshole if you will. I was offended of course. I have nothing but the best of hopes for not only the Cubs, but mankind as well. BUT, since he has already pigeon-holed me into this role, I thought...what the hell, let's run with it.
I have an unhealthy addiction to media in all its forms, but especially to movies. My ability to memorize random quotes, characters, and facts from relatively irrelevant movies may serve a purpose in some sad way at a future date, but unless someone starts paying people for being able to recount the lyrics to the Dirk Diggler song in Boogie Nights (You got the Touch! You got the Pow-errr! Yeah!), it’s not doing me a whole lot of good. Until now. Read More...I Could Have...
Every time I get worried about how the Cubs are going to do this year, I remind myself of the joke that is the National League Central. The following are actual stories about teams in the NL Central this week: Read More...
Because no one was dumb enough to demand a starting position after a year in which he had a 5+ ERA, there wasn't much to write about this week. So, of course, being as lazy as I am, I'm going to take the easy route and throw together a number of random thoughts from throughout the last few weeks, with no connections or thread. Impressive, huh? Here goes: Read More...
Sean Marshall's wife was on the WGN broadcast today talking about a Cubs Care event the wives are hosting in AZ. Wow. This pick doesn't even do her justice. Someone is playing above his head, apparently.
The guys over at serafinisays were quick to the draw in giving her a little backstory.
Remember the good old days? When you could go to a bar and get in an argument about some random sports-related fact and not actually settle the fight until someone got home and looked it up on the Internet? You could yell at your friends for hours, screaming about how much Charles Barkley weighed coming out of college or what number Doug Flutie wore in the CFL without having to worry about being proven wrong that night. It was a great feeling. You could say outlandish things like:
"I believe Vinny 'The Microwave" Johnson led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio in 1986."
and while your friends could argue with you, no one could prove you wrong. Good times.
Not anymore. With the advancement of cell phones and/or the frequency of laptops being at the bar increasing tenfold since someone got there very own Macbook, all the answers are now a few clicks away. Arguments are over before they even get started. Screaming matches turn to Google searches and we all die a little inside. Sad.
That being said, I thought I'd just take you through the arguments we had last night at the bar as the Google searches that ended them. No explanation, just a list of what we looked up to settle an argument of some sort. If it appears like we were either a) drunk or b) talking about random topics with no segue, well...I guess both are probably true. Sad thing is, these "arguments" came one after another without pauses for nearly 2 solid hours. Needless to say the Illini-MSU game was not holding our interest. Enjoy.
I like to read the “Q & A” section of Parade magazine, simply because the questions are so obviously canned. They all end up some variation of the following: Q: “I remember that Frank Stallone being a pretty solid actor. Where is he these days?” A: “WHAT A COINCIDENCE! He just happens to have a movie opening up this weekend. He's doing great, by the way.” This is why the questions to Carrie Muskat at cubs.com enthrall me so much. The questions are usually so ridiculously inane that they certainly couldn't have been thought up by actual fans who, you know, actually watch the team. So, in an effort to adhere to my role as sarcastic observer of all things Cub, I am going to reproduce the most recent mailbag received by Ms. Muskat at cubs.com and replace her answers with answers I think are more appropriate, given the question. And so...
I happened to turn on the TV a few nights ago just in time to catch this great exchange from Major League.
Rick Vaughn: What's that shit on your chest? Eddie Harris: [wiping his finger across his chest] Crisco?Eddie Harris: [wiping it across his waist line] Eddie Harris: Bardol? Eddie Harris: [wiping it along his head] Eddie Harris: Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I'll rub a little jalapeo up my nose, get it runnin', and if I need to load the ball up I just... Eddie Harris: [wipes his nose] Eddie Harris: ...wipe my nose. Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball? Eddie Harris: I haven't got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.
That little gem usually has me rolling, but then I had a horrible realization...
This is what happens when WGN isn't broadcasting the game. Everyone's favorite former boy band member, Nick Lachey, is being interviewed by the Mariners play-by-play guy. Not sure why. He did provide quite a boost for the Cubs as they scored 3 times while he was rambling on about how he was an average baseball player. Cactus League Baseball, it's fantastic!
In case anyone cares, I DO have the Cubs game on at the bar today. Thank the lord for small miracles. Unfortunately, I don’t have sound thanks to the sudden appearance of 2 billion Louisville fans.
I realize that I have been complaining about fans of college basketball the last few posts, so I wanted to mention that I do love college basketball. But with it being a “down” decade or so for my Missouri Tigers and the only other team I actually follow being just a hair above “so bad it hurts to watch” (I’m looking at you, Illinois), I’ve had a bit of disconnect with this year’s teams. However, what I am fully connected to, mostly because of my drinking problem, is fans in sports bars. 90% of them are annoying on a level that makes me wonder how they function outside the sports bar crowd at all. Some of my “favorites.”
So, I made it to the bar to watch my Cubs on TV for the first time. I ask my bartender, who I know quite well, to turn it on and he says he can't. Why? Because this douche bag at the bar "wants to see basketball on every TV in his viewing area." I wish I was making that up.
For all our regular regular readers (well, both of our regular readers), I thought I'd point out that we have a new address here on the internets. So if typing out that .blogspot address has just become too arduous and time consuming, and you need your dose of our hard hitting analysis NOW, you can simply type:
First Cubs game on TV today. Woo-hoo! I’m sure either Jason or I will have plenty to say about it (if it’s Jason, you can count on plenty of vaguely sexual references to Geovany Soto’s catching position), but since I haven’t posted in awhile, I thought I’d throw some thoughts down about my new kinda-sorta-favorite-no-not-really TV show.
While in Arizona, I watched at least four episodes of season three of “Pros versus Joes” on Spike TV. The premise is essentially that three washed up athletes get to beat the piss out of three wannabe athletes for a few hours in various sports. All of this is “narrated” by quite possibly the most annoying sports-related television personality I’ve ever seen. Yet the show is incredibly compelling, and it has a lot more to do with the “Joes” than with the “Pros.”