Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I find it really interesting that people are willing to essentially recreate themselves online. There is something inherently freeing (and depressing) about the ability to become a new person, identical in name only to the person one is in their day-to-day life. But many people, a disturbing number of them Cubs fans, would rather abandon all aspects of themselves and simply adopt the persona of someone they wish they were. And the internet is the means by which they pull it off.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tonight it begins. Two bitter rivals square off at the Corner of Clark and Addison. The Chicago Cubs and their nemesis from the north...the Milwaukee Brewers.
What are the spoils for said victors?
Why is the media so obsessed about a series in April?
When will I stop asking questions in giant fonts?
After reading countless articles over the past few days about how much this series matters, I kind of lost it a little bit. I mean, we get it. It's the Brewers. But do they really think we are gonna be swinging from the rafters at Wrigley tonight in anticipation of this epic battle? Seriously?
Let me give you a few reasons why this series isn't quite the season-defining juggernaut that media thinks it is.
1) 25 Games
That's it. We've played 25 games, folks. The 2008 season is a month old. By my math (and bear with me, I ain't so good with numbers), we have around 137 games left. So forgive me if I think there may be one or two more pivotal series between now and say...4 MONTHS FROM NOW! Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic about our 16-9 team, but when people start freaking out about a 3 game series when snow is still a realistic possibility, I think it's time to take a deep breath and back away from the ledge for a minute. For god's sake, at least wait until Prince Fielder eats his way up 5 sizes into a glorified pair of "fat-man sweats" before totally losing it.
2. Marquis v. Sheets
What's the over/under on this game? 35? Conventional wisdom would dictate that this will be a low scoring affair because of the weather, but with these two yokels on the hill, the score could be 42-41 after 3 innings.
Better question: What are the chances that EITHER of these guys is a factor down the stretch?
Marquis can probably keep up his "smoke and mirrors" thing until the All-Star Break and then either a) he'll be traded for a bag of balls and some sunflower seeds or b) he'll be taken behind the woodshed and put out of his misery. There is no middle ground here. Sheets? Last I looked, the line in Vegas on whether or not his arm will actually detach from his body is a "pick 'em," so best case scenario he's making a comeback as a lefty come August, worst case he's enjoying his 57th trip to the DL.
What I'm saying here is, this match up tonight isn't a playoff preview by any stretch of the imagination. Just remember that.
3. This is the Cardinals Division to Lo...
Damn, I couldn't even finish typing that without falling over giggling. Don't jinx them you say? Here's what I say. While they have had an AMAZING start, take a gander at who they trot out weekly to pitch.
Todd Wellemeyer (yes, that Todd Wellemeyer)
I don't care if Pujols hits 80 HR this year AND pitches 10 complete games, they've got no shot. That being said, I am fully aware that this post guarantees that the Cubs will get swept this weekend in STL. I can live with that.
4. We've got bigger things to worry about.
Like, for example, this:
Damn you SI. Damn you to hell.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Of the embarrassingly fun stuff that happened this week, these things were most amusing:
Saturday, April 26, 2008
There have been numerous cases in Chicago of young men between 18-35 getting drunk with friends at some bar downtown in Chicago, leaving to head home and going missing, only to be founds months later washed up on the shores of Gary or New Buffalo. Originally, it was thought to simply be cases of stupid young people getting too drunk, walking down to the near the Chicago river and falling in. However, a group of detectives from New York, on their own time, are attempting to piece together these killings in order to identify what they think is the work of a group of serial killers working throughout the midwest. Creepy stuff.
So what does this have to do with the Cubs? Nothing, really, except that I'm wondering when I can convince all the Cubs relievers (except for Marmol and Wood) to come out drinking near the Chicago river.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Figured that since the Cubs are on during the day today and I have some free time at work, it's the perfect time to throw out a live blog. That should successfully jinx this team, right?
2:46 PM 2 Outs Top 3, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
D Lee grounds out. Good start. If anyone can ruin this season, I know I can.
2:38 PM Bot. 3, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Marquis on the mound today. I swear he was pitching the last time I did this.
As great as this start has been, this pitching staff still scares the bajesus out of me. Has anyone looked ever at the lineup card and said:
"Shit, we've got Marquis today...we're screwed."
I doubt it.
(I may have made that exact joke before too)
2:52 PM 2 Outs Bot. 3, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Do announcers for other teams read faxes and emails during EVERY game? And speaking of which...why are they still taking faxes? It's 2008 for god's sake. If you don't have email by now, I highly doubt you have a question that is worth reading on the air.
This whole fax thing has baffled me for years. Who is sitting at work and thinks, "I was wondering why they don't just call it the 'fair pole.' Let's send a fax to the Cubs radio announcers and get an answer."
3 up 3 down.
2:57 PM 1 Out Top 4, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Pat gets way to excited about a warning track fly ball from Fuku. He must have a clause in his contract that stipulates that he is allowed to toy with the listener's emotions at least 5 times per game.
3 up 3 down.
I sure picked a winner of a game to live blog.
3:02 PM 1 Out Bot. 4
Pat and Ron are doing their best Len Kasper impersonation...trying their darnedest to put a hex on Marquis.
Example: Last night, Len made a point to refer to Tulowitski as "the struggling Tulowitski" right before he drilled the homer that gave the Rockies the lead. I love it when he does that.
Marquis gets the double play. 4 up 3 down.
3:09 PM, 0 Out Top 5, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Where does Pat go every 5th inning? Cigarette break? BM? Daily drowning of a puppy? I need to know these things.
3 Up 3 Down. Again. Riveting.
3:15 PM, 0 Out, Bot. 5, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Fantasy Note: In the history of fantasy baseball has anyone fallen off as fast as Andruw Jones?
That fat bastard is killing my fantasy team. It's never good when you get the player updates and for Jones it reads:
"Jones turning into a joke."
3:20 PM 2 Out Bot. 5, "Pods" on 2nd, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
I'm not really sure how I feel about Todd Helton. I mean, yes, he's a great hitter. I just can't get over the fact that he looks EXACTLY like this guy in college I knew who used to wear his boxers inside out to get an extra day or two out of them. I find myself dry-heaving every time he comes to the plate. It's distracting.
3:25 PM, 1 Out Top 6, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
I think Theriot just struck out. Not sure, because Ronnie was babbling about a fax or something.
3 UP 3 Down. Can you feel the excitement?
3:29 PM. 0 Out Bot. 6, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Watching the game last night, I couldn't believe that their closer had blown 3 straight BEFORE he blew the save against the Cubs. There would have been burning effigies of Lou all over Wrigleyville if that happened here. I'm not saying that's good or bad. I'm just saying.
Marquis gives up a walk and then Pat gives me a heart attack with his call of another warning track fly ball (for those of you score at home, that's the second one today).
Make that three.
3 Up 3 Down. The tension is palpable.
3:36 PM, 0 Out Top 7, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
Len/Pat just called this a "winnable" game, which ironically makes it a "loseable" game now.
2 straight fly-balls with "Unnecessary Pat Hughes Excitement" distance by Aramis and Fuku. He is apparently bored or easily excitable today. Judging by the game, I say it's the former.
3 Up 3 Down. Cook has sent down the last 16 he has faced. Super.
3:42 PM 0 Out Bot. 7, Chicago 1 Colorado 1
That's all we hear from Pat as we come back from the break. 2-1 Rockies.
Time to get someone up, Lou.
3:47 PM, 1 Out Bot. 7, Chicago 1 Colorado 2
Cubs utilize the popular 1 (ricochet) to 5 to 3 putout at first.
2 outs. "Backwards Boxers" is up with a man on.
"Marquis is pitching a very good ball game," says Pat.
Sure, if you don't count that tater he just gave up.
3:52 PM, 0 Out Top 8, Chicago 1 Colorado 2
Pat and Ron are going with the "pitcher had to run the bases so he's tired now" theory for this inning.
And...they're right. Soto singles.
The suddenly pinch-runner crazy Lou Piniella takes out Soto for Cedeno. 1st and 2nd, 0 0uts.
Pie gets another hit. Maybe there is something to this "tired pitcher" thing.
D-Ward batting for Marquis. He walks!
Bases drunk for Fontenot and I have to pee.
3:58 PM, 0 Out Top 8, Chicago 1 Colorado 2
Fontenot grounder to 2nd, run scores. Runners on 1st and 3rd. 1 Out. 2-2 game.
Theriot up and I can't breathe.
Theriot lines out, Fontenot doubled off. It's deja vu all over again.
At least the game is tied AND I can go to the bathroom.
3:58 PM, 0 Out Bot. 8, Chicago 2 Colorado 2
Corey Hart is in...facing Holiday. I will no cease breathing.
Groundout. Holiday to 3rd. 1 Out.
Must not breathe.
Intentional walk to Hawpe to face...Tulowitski? O.....k.....
Len/Pat just said Tulowitski was "struggling." What is wrong with him?
Side note: When he is up, the fans do this "clap-clap-clapclapclap-TULO!" chant. It's neat-o (not sure if that is sarcastic or not).
E 6 on a potential double play. Rockies up 3-2.
I blame Pat...and The Riot, obviously.
4:18 PM, 1 Out Bot. 8, Chicago 2 Colorado 3
Hart gets the K.
Pat just informed us that we have Lee, Aramis and Fuku up in the 9th. Any chance they trot that closer back out there?
Hart is now in trouble. 3-0 on made-up player Spilborghs...base hit. 4-2 Rockies.
4:18 PM, Between Innings, Chicago 2 Colorado 4
I've decided to not post this inning in order to try and lift the jinx I put on the Cubs.
4:28 PM, Chicago 2 Colorado 4 Final
I am now officially banning live blogs.
Please send all hate mail to Marty as I will be hiding in a cave for the next few days.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Wow. Wow. Wow.
I am at a loss at this point. After ANOTHER dominating performance by the Chicago Cubs, I have no idea how to handle what I am seeing from this team on nearly a daily basis. Do I nitpick and talk about the men LOB base today? Do I play the Mariotti card and talk about how Lilly looked less than stellar today? Or do I just enjoy another win and relax?
As a Cubs fan, that last one seems insane to me.
So, I surfed the interwebs looking for answers and I came across this little ditty over at BCB:
7 wins in 8 games, scoring 67 runs (average: more than eight per game).
That settles it.
I'm gonna enjoy this moment while pondering one more unbelievable number...14-6.
While feeling something strange this morning after last night's game (joy with a solid helping of confidence), I was perusing the interwebs and found something about the history of the Cubs that successfully ruined my good mood.
The World Series the Cubs (maybe) gave away.
You've got to be kidding me.
The article states (bold added by me):
Now, it cannot be said for certain that gamblers got to the '18 Cubs. But Eddie Cicotte, pitcher and one of the eight White Sox outcasts from the '19 World Series, did say in a newly found affidavit he gave to the 1920 Cook County grand jury that the Cubs influenced the Black Sox. Cicotte said the notion of throwing a World Series first came up when the White Sox were on a train to New York. The team was discussing the previous year's World Series, which had been fixed, according to players. Some members of the Sox tried to figure how many players it would take to throw a Series. From that conversation, Cicotte said, a scandal was born.
I should have stopped reading at this point, but as a Cub fan, I didn't feel quite crappy enough so..
The article goes on to say:
The Cubs were 84-45 that year and serious favorites. Cicotte is not alone in suggesting they had been paid off. The lost diary of Charles Comiskey's righthand man, Harry Grabiner, supposedly indicates that the 1918 World Series was fixed. The reporting of baseball columnist Hugh Fullerton -- the man who eventually blew the whistle on baseball's gambling problem -- also suggested that something was afoul in 1918. Fullerton's accounts of those games repeatedly point out bizarre baserunning mistakes and defensive flubs.
The box scores support his descriptions. The Cubs were picked off three times, including twice in the decisive Game 6. That game was lost, 2-1, on a 2-run error by Cubs right fielder Max Flack. Game 4 had been tied, 2-2, in the eighth inning, when Cubs pitcher Shufflin' Phil Douglas gave up a single, followed by a passed ball, followed by an errant throw on a bunt attempt that allowed the winning run to score.Well that's just super.
What's funny is I can close my eyes and see any of the modern day Cubs teams making those kind of boneheaded mistakes. In fact, I swear I've seen that exact play at least 5 times in my lifetime.
Regardless, I hope the national media picks up on this. We really need some more bad karma.
(Thanks to Chicagoist for the link.)
Monday, April 21, 2008
1) Marisa Miller is smoking hot.
I mean, wow. Just...wow.
2. D-Lee is NOT in fact DOA.
Coming off a "down" season last year and a shaky spring, there were some rumblings that maybe Lee had lost a step or two. The wrist injury had seemed to sap some of the power he displayed when he first joined the Cubs. Three weeks into this young season, let's take a look at how his numbers stack up so far.
I believe that could be qualified as a HUGE middle finger to his doubters.
Overall, he's 2nd in HR (only after Utley cranked out 2 on Sunday), 5th in Runs, 7th in RBI and 8th in BA. Not in the National League, mind you, in all of baseball. Yes, I am aware it's early, but its good to have D-Lee back.
3. Marty Brennaman IS in fact bat-shit crazy.
Busy week for Marty B. First, he called out Cubs fans for being obnoxious. Then he refused to back off of those statements by talking more shit about the Cubs.
"I said how tough it is to root for the Cubs. I think a lot of people feel the same way I do, but they won't articulate it. I'm not afraid to say what I think. [Compared to Cubs fans] Cardinals fans are hands down the best in baseball. They respect the game. They don't go to the game to do stupid stuff. The Cubs have some great baseball fans. But the ones who act like idiots (ruin) it for people like me."
And I'm sure all of you agree, I hate it when we ruin it for self-righteous windbags.
THEN, M to the B decided to take it up a notch. Tired of bashing a whole organization for the acts of a few drunken morons, he took out his "crazy old man" frustrations on his own broadcast partner.
Yep, I can totally see why he received the Ford Frick Award for “for major contributions to the game of baseball.”
I truly wish I was making that up.
4. Reed Johnson is the second coming of...Kenny Lofton? Craig Biggio?
Talk all you want about the "Pie Situation," but all this guy has done is rake since he was given the starting job.
Ok, so those aren't All-Star numbers, but add to that the fact that he apparently doesn't EVER get out of the way of inside pitches (3 HBP in the last 3 days) and you have at least a serviceable player in center instead of say...a corpse.
5. Aramis is heating up with the weather (again)
(yes, I wrote this AFTER he just homered against the Mets, whatever)
He's gonna have another great year. So, for the love of God, stop talking about his lack of "hustle" or his occasional lapses in the field. He's a lock for 30-100 EVERY year. Enjoy it.
5a. Mark DeRosa is Mui Caliente!
My wife called me from home when DeRo took that header over the bullpen on Sunday and said:
"Is my boyfriend OK?"
Yep. I guess I should be happy she was at least watching the game. Right?
After the film, the girls were asked “if your best friend were in a situation like Belle’s, where she was locked in a closet, not allowed to eat, and screamed at by her boyfriend, what would be your advice to her?” Every kid said a variation of the same thing: “I’d tell her to stick it out because he may be mean to you now, but underneath is a prince.”
Let me make this clear, as my explanation may not have done this justice. The message of the film, according to five year old girls, was put up with spousal abuse, because eventually if you allow him to destroy your life for a long enough time, the prince that is underneath will emerge and you'll live happily ever after.
This study scares the shit out of me.
It also tells me that imagery created by media images of any kind is much more pervasive and insidious than we think it is.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Alas, Brennaman the Elder decided to up the ante one more time on the Reds broadcast because Jeff Brantley (he of the “Edwin Encarnacion is simply NOT clutch” fame) decided to correct the fact that Grumpy Old Man missed a strike call. Here's a brief paraphrasing of the exchange:
Marty: there's a ball
Jeff: no, strike
Marty: Fuck You! DON'T YOU EVER CHALLENGE ME ON THE AIR AGAIN! FUCK YOU and FUCK THIS!
Marty: (leaves booth)
Jeff: So the next hitter up is...
So in a single week, the Reds announcer not only loses his mind on air and paints all Cubs fans with a broad brush based on the actions of 15 idiots in the bleachers, somehow linking the fortune of the team on the field to the behavior of the fans, but also curses out his color guy in a manner that is likely to get the team a significant fine and may get him suspended. In doing so, he not only reinforces the fact that Joe Buck does not, in fact, have the most ridiculous high horse of any announcer, but also that he's an incredible hypocrite who clearly feels that throwing baseballs on the field in jest somehow makes someone a worse fan than, say, someone who drops multiple F-bombs on television simply because someone had the audacity to correct his mistake. As a Cubs fan (as well as someone who loves to revel in the misfortune of people who have wronged me, or just douchebags in general) I guess I have only one thing to say:
Saturday, April 19, 2008
M-Squared is with the big boys now.
And all is right with the world.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Marty Brennaman: "This is what makes you want to see this Chicago Cubs team lose. Among all baseball fans -- I can't attest to the Yankees and Red Sox because we don't see them with any degree of regularity unless it's interleague play -- but far and away the most obnoxious fans in baseball in this league are those who follow this team right here. Throwing 15 or 18 balls on the field, there's absolutely no excuse for that and that is so typical of Chicago Cub fans. It's unbelievable."
"Throwing the ball back, that's great, that's a Chicago Cub tradition that other teams have picked up on, and that's fine."
"It's ridiculous, it really is ... You simply root against them. I've said all winter, people talk about this team winning the division, and my comment is they won't win it because at the end of the day, they're still the Chicago Cubs and they will figure out a way to screw this whole thing up.
Brantley: "And then they'll have no one to boo but themselves.
Brennaman: "Well, they never blame themselves."
Brantley: "They'll blame that old billy goat."
Brennaman: We'll be right back after this with more out-of-touch, over-the-top, self-important sweeping generalizations from an old, crotchety jagweed.
Ok, I may have added that last line, but you get the point. I'll let that soak in for awhile as I try to get some actual work done. Angry response forthcoming.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
So Matt Murton, who hit .400 in Spring Training and has done nothing but post a .800+ OPS in every season, gets sent down at the end of Spring Training. Fast forward to last night: Soriano goes down with Martin Grammatica disease. DL stint likely. Everybody in their right mind says the same thing: “Well, at least Murton will get his chance now. With his OBP offsetting his lack of SLG, the Cubs should still be okay even without Soriano for awhile.”
But Jim Hendry is not in his right mind.
Eric Patterson will get the call up today, and they’ll go with DeRosa/Johnson in left and Babe Ruth Fontenot at second base.
I’m fairly certain Jim Hendry bet the over on the 100 years between World Series victories. Between his ridiculous inability to trade Marquis and open a spot up for Marshall, to sitting idly by while Rich Hill gets moved to 5th starter, to banking on a guy who put up a Juan Pierre-like .382 SLG against righties (Johnson) and a guy who has had exactly three weeks of good play in his entire career (Fontenot) instead of a guy who is guaranteed to put up a .370 OBP and .800 OPS, I think he’s actively trying to lose games.
I hate Jim Hendry.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
No, not the baby-faced SS.
It couldn't have been his fault.
No, not the kid with the "golden arm" and "perfect mechanics."
Of course, he shouldn't shoulder (zing!) the blame.
Not the "fan that remains nameless" either. Only a moron would point the finger at that poor bastard.
There is only one person so amazingly inept, so completely clueless, so totally void any redeemable qualities who could have been responsible for ripping that World Series trophy right out of the hands of our Chicago Cubs.
Who is this evil spawn of Satan you ask?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
But then the stupid Brewers had to go and have a stupid road game on Friday in stupid New York against the stupid Mets and ruin my plans for an evening of self-destructive behavior. I don’t care that the team has nothing to do with making the schedule…I’m officially bitter.
So, in celebration of my specious reasoning, here are ten equally irrational reasons to hate the Brewers in 2008, other than the fact that they’re, you know, the Cubs’ main rival.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Instead of melting down, he got the next 3 batters on 12 pitches.
Strike (swinging), Ball, Strike (looking), Strike (looking)—Strikeout Looking
Strike (swinging), Strike (swinging), Ball, Ball—Ground Out to 3B
Ball, Strike (swinging), Strike (swinging), Strike (looking)—Strikeout Looking
It was impressive. So much so that I yelled at the TV...
That IS how he's supposed to "drive." That's what we all expected from him. No messing around. Just nasty fastballs on the corner and sick sliders that make the hitter pee themselves a little bit. Wood showed me something last night. Now let's see if he can bring that kind of nastiness to EVERY batter, not just the ones after he gets faced. I for one think he can.
More thoughts after the jump.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The column today by Melissa Isaacson is one of many puff pieces about Baker that the media likes to trot out during a season (by the way, if Baker’s team finishes anywhere near .500, be ready for the avalanche of “screw those stat-head geeks! Dusty Baker wins!” columns). Its annoying, filled with whining from Baker and Chris Speier, and generally the kind of drivel that most columnists pull out on days when both the home teams have off days. No harm, no foul.
However, the shot that Paul Sullivan takes at Chris Speier in response to Speier’s unnecessary whining is ridiculous.
Reed Johnson looks like he's ready to become the everyday centerfielder, even though it would give the Cubs eight right-handed hitters. It's early, but Felix Pie's .235 on-base percentage just isn't cutting it.
Felix Pie is 3-16. Reed Johnson is 4-13. I think removing Pie from the centerfield job after 16 at bats is the least this team can do. They should demote him to rookie ball, make him pay to remain in the organization, and cease to serve any types of pie at the craft services table in the clubhouse. Because 16 at bats is more than enough time to prove that a guy who is 23 can’t contribute to a major league team. Let’s ignore the fact that he’s torn up every level he’s been in. And the fact that he’s had less than 200 major league at bats, given without any consistency whatsoever over the course of a season and a half. And the fact that Reed Johnson has never shown any ability to hit right handed pitching in his career. Screw all that-Pie, you’re done. What a bust. He’s destined to go through a career like this bust, whose numbers through his first 200 ABs looked like this:
AVG: .224, OBP: .259, SLG: .355
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
As usual, many have taken the opportunity to bring out their “jump to conclusions” mat one week into the season. Among the wonderful truths we’ve learned from the experts: