Thursday, March 31, 2005
Cubs, cubs, predictions, and headlines
As I briefly mentioned below, Wood threw for 5 innings yesterday. He was not super-duper sharp, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks (all bad numbers, btw) while throwing 92 pitches. However, it is hardly surprising that he was less than sharp given the time off he has had since last facing live hitters (of course, the Rockies are barely live hitters). I think this was a productive outing for Wood, simply because of the number of pitches he threw. His next start should be in the minors (I think on Sunday) and he will pitch a limited number of innings, and then he will be ready for the home opener. Whatever one may think of Wood (I'm looking at you, Scott), he is better than either Dempster or Rusch, and his presence keeps the Cubs from having to start both of that dynamic duo.
Lots of movement in the Cubs camp yesterday. Cliff Bartosh reported to camp and when asked if there was something he could tell people about himself, he replied: "No, not really." Ataboy, Cliff, way to be a ballplayer! Like the ebb and flow of the tides, in comes Bartosh, and out goes Randolph. You may remember Randolph was acquired this offseason from Arizona for a PTBNL and I was less than enthusiastic about his chances. A pitcher that walks more batters than he strikes out has little value to any team, as evidenced by his release. I'm guessing that the PTBNL will be a less than stellar prospect...or at least I hope so.
Will Ohman, the other lefty, was optioned to AAA and Calvin Murray and Angel Echevarria (two nobodies that were brought into camp with no chance of making the team) were assigned to minor league camp. And finally Cody Ransom, a NRI, was traded to Texas for a PTBNL. With this, the Cubs lose another player with a great name. (wait, I can do better. um, "it's going to be hard for the PTBNL to match up names with Cody...unless he is actually named "Later." Still not very good, eh?)
Hmmm...I pretty much just rehashed this article...not my most valuable post ever.
The Northside Lounge is having a contest that is open to both readers and bloggers. It is the 2nd Annual CBA Predictions Contest. Well, I have finally finalized all of my predictions (although I will reserve the right to update them up to opening day) and here they are. All are encouraged to head on over and submit predicitons also (oo, awkward sentence).
So, without further ado:
1- How many games will the Cubs win?
2- What place will the Cubs finish in the Central?
3- How many runs will the Cubs score?
4- How many runs will the Cubs allow?
5- How many Cubs will make the All-Star game?
Offensive Leaders (5 points for correct answer)
6- Who will lead the Cubs in batting average?
7- Who will lead the Cubs in OBP?
8- Who will lead the Cubs in SLG?
9- Who will lead the Cubs in HR?
10- Who will lead the Cubs in runs?
11- Who will lead the Cubs in RBI?
12- Who will lead the Cubs in stolen bases?
Who else? Corey Patterson
13- Who will lead the Cubs in caught stealings?
14- Who will lead the Cubs in stolen base percentage (min 5 attempts)?
Pitching Leaders (5 points for correct answer)
15- Who will lead the Cubs in IP?
16- Who will lead the Cubs in wins?
17- Who will lead the Cubs in losses?
Greg Maddux (but he will still have a solid season)
18- Who will lead the Cubs in saves?
19- Who will lead the Cubs in holds?
20- Who will lead the Cubs in ERA (min 100 IP)?
21- Who will lead the Cubs in K?
22- Who will lead the Cubs in BB?
23- Who will lead the Cubs in CG?
Fielding Questions (5 points for correct answer)
24- Who will lead the Cubs in outfield assists?
25- Who will lead the Cubs in fielding percentage among 2B, 3B, and SS?
Bonus Questions (10 points for correct answer)
26- Name a Cub that will make the All-Star team.
27- Name a Cub (majors or minors) that will be traded out of the
28- Name a non-Cub (majors or minors) that will be traded into the
29- Name the rookie that will get the most plate appearances for the Cubs.
30- Name the rookie that will throw the most innings for the Cubs.
Mom gives birth in car, police pull her over at gunpoint
Wow, tough town. But I'm of the opinion that if giving birth in a car is worthy of being pulled over at gunpoint, then talking on a cell phone and eating in the car should probably be a fine or something. You know, just for the sake of consistency.
50 cent happy in Suburbia
Man, everyone is moving out to the suburbs. 50 Cent, or Fiddy as he is know to friends, is a former drug dealer who has somewhat recently seen his posse engaged in a shootout with another rapper's (this actually happens pretty often with country music stars too, they just refer to it as a "shewt out"). And now, he has a mansion in Farmington, CT. Awesome. He is occasionally seen tooling down Main Street in his pimped out Chrysler Town & Country (the cadillac of mini-vans) on the way to the local high school's soccer game. Fiddy would like all his loyal fans to know that this changes nothing and he is just as "street" as ever.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Also, I forgot to mention below but, I saw "The Office" last night on NBC and thought it was pretty good. I'm not sure why people are so down on it. I think it has a chance to be an excellent show, given some time to grow.
Speaking of NBC, Zach Braf from NBC's "Scrubs" has a blog of his own. And you know what I noticed? One entry alone had 1500 comments. 1500! Now, I haven't even had 1500 visitors - total, let alone comments. So people either need to get visiting or get commenting. Because I may not be as funny as Zach Braf, have my own sitcom, or a critically acclaimed movie, but that is no reason I shouldn't be just as popular as him. So come on people, show the world that I am as beloved as Zach Braf.
What's that you say? Actual Cubs' news?
Anyway, I promised Cubs' content, so here it is:
If a Tree falls in the woods, and nobody's around to hear it, does it land on Kerry Wood's right arm?
A fantastic headline out of the Tribune: Wood lets arm talk for him. Well, I don't know how to say this, but so far his arm has been doing its best Marcel Marceau impression. Maybe this headline should have come out *after* Wood pitches today (you know, assuming he actually pitches today. Has anyone heard a report on his back?)
Transactions! Glorious Transactions!
The Cubs have folded another layer of butter into the croissant that is the Cubs' bullpen situation (that is: a lot of air, little substance). They have acquired lefty Cliff Bartosh from the Cleveland Indians for Minor League Righty Ronald "Bear" Bay. The scouting report on Bartosh indicates that he throws with his left arm, throws the ball fast, and makes it curve in the air. More specifically, his fastball is in the low to mid nineties, good slider, and throws nearly sidearm (or so I've heard, I haven't seen him pitch). He is certain to make the team as he is out of options, meaning he can't go to the minors without passing through waivers. The scouting report on "Bear" Bay indicates that he has an excellent nickname, one which will be sorely missed. Not a bad trade but not a great trade either.
Also, about a week ago, the Cubs acquired catcher Mark Johnson from Milwaukee for Travis Ezi. Mark Johnson is a terrible hitter in the tradition of all Cub backup catchers, but at least is willing to take a walk every now and again. He will start in AAA and probably be next in line should either Barrett or Bako get injured. This was a fine acquisition as the Cubs have very little depth in the minors at catcher. Travis Ezi is a pretty terrible hitter and has never made it above single A (and probably never will). Fine deal for the Cubs.
Prior to not pitch
I'm guessing this shocks nobody, but the Cubs are *not* going to pitch Prior against Seattle on Saturday. This gives them the option of back-dating his disabled list time such that, should he go on the dl (and he will, let's be honest here) he will be eligible to come off the dl and pitch April 12th. This is actually a reasonable decision, and it gives Prior more chances to pad his record with some more simulated wins. He will likely get his next start in the minors before pitching on April 12th (or July 12th...whatever). Actually, there was good news, as Prior felt fine yesterday after simulating 4 innings on Monday.
The Cubs won against the Brew Crew yesterday 13-7. Mitre sucked as he has all summer, but the interesting thing was that Will Cunnane pitched for the Cubs. The Cubs lost him briefly in the Rule V draft (that's V as in 5, not vee. The draft dates back to ancient Rome...like the Super Bowl) and then traded back for him. He then blew an elbow and disappeared for awhile. But, should he be fully recovered from surgery, he will be someone to keep an eye on for a mid-season call-up. In other news, Wuertz continued to impress, Chad Fox did *not* give up four runs, Lee and Hairston both had big days, and Burnitz went 3-3. Good day for the offense, blah day for the pitching.
Wood will (maybe) take the mound against the Rockies today. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the bullpen will be on the edge of their seats waiting for Wood to pop a joint.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Need some optimism and CNN cracks me up
11-7 in a game started by Glendon Rusch and finished by Chad Fox. Rusch gave up three runs in only three innings, and Fox gave up 4(!) runs in his one inning of work. In between, Roberto Novoa also gave up four runs in a bit over an inning (but he is not in the bullpen running). It was sort of disappointing to see Rusch and Fox struggle so badly, but worse was seeing another Cub loss. I know the Spring Training record is unimportant, but I really would like to see a Cub win. Or maybe I just want the regular season to start.
Unfortunately, we are probably going to be seeing the season start with both Prior and Borowski on the DL and Macias not on the DL, but still. Lets go baseball! I'm sick of waiting.I find humor to be the best cure for the Spring Training blues and as we have found, CNN provides all the humor one needs on a daily basis. That being said...
Horse tests positive for Steriods
Medal-winning Ireland was apparently juicing which, unlike in baseball, is against the rules in horse racing. Ireland (the horse, not the country) is being stripped of his gold metal for injecting Mark McGwire testosterone into its buttocks. McGwire could not be reached for comment.
59 ex-U.S. diplomats oppose Bolton
...finally catching up with the rest of the nation as well all realized Bolton was a no-talent ass clown years ago.
Death sentence by Jury that discussed Bible thrown out
The jury that sentenced Robert Harlan to death for raping and killing a woman had their ruling overturned when it was revealed that they turned to the Bible for guidance in determining the sentence. The passage that lead to the decision? The ol' "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" ruling. Where have I heard that before? Where? Think, think. I've got it:
The Code of Hammurabi from the ancient civilivation of Mesopotamia (remember 5th grade Social Studies? Epic of Gilgamesh and all that?). The "eye for an eye" schtick popped up in those early writings in ~1780 BC, which (if my math is right) is about 1780 years before Christ. And well before the Judeo-Christians wrote down their own set of myths that included the "eye for and eye" passage. Now, how would people react if it had been reveiled that the deliberations had included the unrolling of the Code of Hammurabi to decide the man's fate? I'm thinking there would be much laughter followed by a smattering of public scorn. Especially since everyone knows that the only decent text to judge a person by is the Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude).
Monday, March 28, 2005
Trolling for News
Children brave rain for White House egg roll
I can't blame these kids, it's a well known fact that the White House has the best egg rolls. Not as good, however, as the White House Crab Rangoon or the General Tso's Chicken. I'm not entirely sure what egg rolls had to do with Easter, but maybe after the resurrection Jesus went out for some Sweet and Sour pork.
In keeping with the Easter theme...
Terry Shiavo receives Easter Communion
A single drop of wine on her tongue. Out of respect for the brain dead, I will refrain from making jokes relating to a drunk Terry Shiavo. I think they would be in bad taste. Speaking of bad taste... One group of protesters in support of Michael Shiavo was the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade. Hey, on behalf of all those in support of pulling the tube: we don't need your help. you can go home now. Why is the only group CNN could find to mention is a group of freaking communists? I guess the answer is that reasonable people don't go to these things to protest. Reasonable people leave the family in peace to sort out this private matter...privately. I'm looking at you, Rev. Patrick Mahoney.
And one last religion-related topic:
As gunman approached, teacher prayed
The whole school massacre was such a sad thing that I will make only one comment. Religion teaches that God helps those that help themselves. She probably would have been better off trying to do something to stop the gunman than just pray at him. That being said, I'm pretty impressed she go out a single word, as I would have been too busy peeing myself to speak.
White women earn less
More fuel for the Def Comedy Jam white women vs. black women schtick, as a new report indicates that college educated white women earn less than college educated black women. While this is just one more difference to note while doing standup, lets not forget to celebrate the similarities too. These include loving to shop and being "so crazy."
And finally, lest I forget, this was brought to my attention by the lovely wife...
Burger King unleashes Enormous Omelete sandwich upon the masses
Bigger than a Whopper, this is an entire two egg omelete, sausage patty, two slices of american cheese, and three strips of bacon on a bun. Total count: 730 calories and 47 grams of fat. And the report: yum-a-licious. This sandwich will be taking on Mothra for honor of "biggest threat to hit mankind since Godzilla."
Sunday, March 27, 2005
On to the Final Four or, the Final Fourth Starter
I would love to blog about how great the Illinois or Lousiville comeback was, or how Wisconsin played a great game, or how Michigan State hung right there with Kentucky...but I basically missed all the games. Damn. I watched almost all of the first two weekends and then I miss the Elite Eight. So, I will leave the game commentary to another and simply wish I had Tivo.
Dempster, Dumpster, Frumpster
Ryan Dempster, fourth starter in name only, continued to suck this spring. After getting knocked around for 5 runs in 3 2/3 innings sunday, Dempster saw his era rise to 11.19. Just to be clear, that is over 11 runs allowed per 9 innings. Yikes. For some reason, and I think it has something to do with needing another lefty in the pen, Dempster is being given the fourth starter role in the absence of a healthy Prior. But why exactly is he being assured of a role? His career era is lingering in the 5.00 range, and he has had exactly one decent season...four years ago. Well, whatever, hopefully his pitches will miss a few more bats when the Cubs head north.
Wood to pitch
...tuesday. No, wait - Wednesday. Is that supposed to be Wednesday of this week? This year? Are we talking slow pitch softball, or actual baseball? Well, I guess we get to wait one more day for Wood's triumphant return (barring a stiff back, tummy ache, hang nail, watery eyes...).
Returning to Glory
Scott Williamson, recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw 60 pitches at ~50% today (Sunday). He will not be around for awhile as he has to do the whole comeback thing, but once he is healthy (next year) he will be a great addition to the Cubs. He was truly an excellent reliever before he injured his elbow.
Cubs play monday at 2:05 with Rusch taking the mound again. Prior is going to pitch another simulated game pretty soon. That is the story of the Cubs vaunted pitching staff.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Stunning news out of New York
Mikalah Gordon, America's 17 year old musical darling, was voted off the popular talent show, American Idol. Let me just preface this by saying, I'm as shocked as you are. I really didn't see this coming. I mean, she missed her homecoming for that show! Homecoming! In the event of a tragedy such as this, I think it is important we all band together. I will be taking donations in her name. Just send cash to Jason @ the Corner of Grace and Wayne. It will find me and I'll make sure it gets to her.
Cubs Game Recap
Yesterday, as I noted last night, The Cubs won 5-2. In a game where Kerry Wood's triumphant return to form should have been the story, Rusch stole the show as Wood sat in the whirlpool popping muscle relaxers and looking on. Rusch pitched 5 scoreless innings, performing in the same emergency role that he consistently excelled in last year. It's nice to have *someone* to rely on in these dark times.
Nomar, Patterson, and Dubois all had a couple of hits, Barrett homered, and Hawkins recorded the save(!). Yes, that's right folks, Hawkins brushed aside his detractors' cold stares and dominiated in his one inning of high pressure work. A choker he is not, says I.
Today, unless he should get hit by a bus on the way to the ballpark, Zambrano will take the mound. I expect nothing less than perfection from Zambrano today, and you should feel the same way. Game time 2:05 against The The Angels Angels of Anaheim. Go Cubs!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Some quick finals
so far, Illinois has won, West Virginia has won (in your face Knight), and Louisville has won. I'm just waiting for the end of the Oklahoma St. game (go you okies).
If OK st. wins, then I'm feeling pretty awesome (about today).
Oh, and the Cubs won 5-2. Oh, and one dollar beers at Bernies are a good thing.
Let's go Cubs!
Damn, so close, but Arizona wins. I finished the night 2 out of 3 pick-wise.
I still have my final teams in it, but I guess tomorrow will tell the rest of the tale.
Sweet 16, Baseball, and more (exclamation point!)
The Sweet 16 is starting today, and what a sweet 16 it will be. Whole craploads of teams that nobody picked will be dueling against actual good teams in single elimination games, culminating with an entry to the Super-Duper (Elite, you might say) Eight. Let's take a look at the teams playing, and see if there is an mathematically feasible way to salvage my bracket, or if I will have to fill out an application for devine intervention.
Playing Today (my pick in brackets (I probably didn't have to say "in brackets"))
Louisville v. Washington (Louisville)
Illinois v. Wisc.-Mill (Illinois)
West Virginia v. Texas Tech (Indiana)
Arizona v. Oklahoma State (Ok St)
and Playing Tomorrow
Michigan State v. Duke (Cubs in 6)
N.C. State v. Wisconsin (Jeremiah was a bullfrog)
Utah v. Kentucky (was a good friend of mine)
North Carolina v. Villanova (UNC)
Sadly, I mostly only have reason to root against popular picks in a hopes of backing into a victory. Odds are slightly against that happening. But I will be heading over to Bernies to have a burger, some brew, and watch many TV's at once. I will be rooting for the Big Ten by default.
The Cubs won yesterday 11-6 on an unlikely grand slam from Rick Bell. Who's Rick Bell? I thought you might ask that. He was picked up by the Cubs as a 6 year minor league free agent and is the Grandson of Gud Bell, son of Buddy Bell, and brother of David Bell. In case that does not help, just be assured that these are all actual current or former major league players. Rick, however, got the short end of the genetic stick, and will likely spend the year as minor league filler for the Cubs.
Neifi Perez and Derrek Lee also homered (Lee's homer was apparently quite the blast) for the Cubs. The big news was Angel Guzman getting the start, but he struggled with his command a bit. Those that watched report that he has filthy stuff (great fastball with movement, big curve, unhittable changeup) but that he was getting everything up, and it was getting smacked around some. He could use some more time in the minors, but did receive a great compliment from Maddux, who told Guzman that he would be Maddux's replacement. The rest of the staff pitched well and Wuertz pitched especially well.
The Cubs play today at the usual time (2:05) against Oakland, with Wood taking the mound and hopefully he will be leaving the inflammation in the dugout.
--Oh wait, wait no. Wood will, in fact, not be starting today because he woke up with a stiff back. Are you freaking kidding me?!? He does plan to pitch again at some point, right? I guess he might pitch a simulated game tomorrow, but unless he plans to simulate the season, he is going to have to pitch to real batters. It is getting real hard to be a Wood apologist. (cue Scott's comment)
Alright, enough sports...
In an act of sheer stupidity, "The Office" on NBC premieres tonight. Either NBC doesn't believe that The Office will succeed, or they just weren't thinking things through. Why would you send a show that, judging from the previews (I have never seen the British version), is marketed primarily toward young to middle aged men up against the NCAA tournament. It just doesn't make sense. I for one will be missing the premier because of basketball, and I find that pretty annoying. Stupid, stupid, stupid. That being said, how awesome is it that Daily Show Alum Steve Carell will be getting his own show (answer: pretty damn awesome).
Protesters stormed the Kyrgyz government offices demanding the resignation of president Askar Akayev. He was accused of many transgressions, not the least of which was hoarding all of the nation's vowels for his name.
In a story that made me pee a drop it was so funny (well, funny to me), Roger Clemen's Hummer was stolen. He received this Hummer from the Yankees for his 300th win. Some of the best parts of this story: His son left the doors unlocked after driving it to school (hell of a gene pool there, Roger), Clemens was offering a $10,000 reward for its "safe return", and his son was driving this orange Hummer instead of the crappy old black one because it matched his school colors. So, just to recap, Roger Clemens was offering $10,000 for a Hummer. Earlier in the season, Denny Neagle was released from the Colorado Rockies for paying 40 bucks for a hummer - just such an unfair double standard.
Ahhh, it's funny when bad things happen to Roger Clemens.
(I apologize in advance for posting this)
Human finger found in Wendy's Chili. (*vomits*) Nothing much to report here except that the finger was actually inside the person's mouth before they spit it out. (a bit more vomit, this time just in my mouth) Wendy's, of course, is the third largest hamburger chain. Wait, no, now fourth. Wait, fifth...sixth...seventh...just passed "Burger Delights"...eighth and still falling. I'm glad Dave Thomas isn't alive to see this.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Cruising the Newsing
Two out of Three judges are anti-tube. No word yet on whether they recommend Trident.
"American Idol" contestants are getting a second chance. Apparently, the 800 numbers for voting were incorrectly displayed and this lead to some problems. The mis-vote ended with Kerry carrying Ohio's fourth district with Buchanon coming in a distant second. Senator Kerry could not be reached for comment.
Perhaps my favorite headline of all time: Arabs to 'Better market peace plan'. Honestly, I'm very nearly speechless (but not quite). Some of re-marketting plans include:
- Upping number of eagerly awaiting virgins from 80 to 93
- Replacing Osama Bin Laden as spokesperson with more lovable figure
- Renaming "car bomb" lighter, more desirable sounding "martyr maker."
(*note* for the offended: I do realize there is a huge difference between the Arab community and radical Islamic terrorists. But it is funnier this way. Just realize the above is all just a joke and nobody needs to be offended. I have nothing more against Islam than any other religion (which is to say: plenty).
Good News you say?
Well, sort of. Word out of Mesa is that Prior will likely be a fifth starter to start the season, but will probably not be needed until mid-April (April 12th?). This will give him plenty of time to rest that achey elbow of his. I guess he worked yesterday (throwing 30 pitches) and felt "fine". I don't know, this is sort of good news, and sort of lame news. But it is not bad news. However, in the good news for sure department:
Kerry Wood will start tomorrow against Oakland, probably going 3 innings, maybe four. He seems to be feeling fine and should pitch the home opener. That should mean that we won't have all of Mitre, Dempster, and Rusch in the rotation at once (thank god). That is for real good news. Especially since that means I won't have to watch Dempster at the home opener.
The starting five will be, in order: Zambrano (declared the opening day starter), Maddux, Dempster, Wood and - eventually - Prior. Zambrano thoroughly deserved the opening day nod as he has been lights out this springs and was the Cubs' best pitcher last year. The downside of all the injuries (is there an upside?) is that Prior is the guy getting skipped instead of Dempster. Dempster getting the start also means that we know who the second lefty out of the pen will be: Rusch. And that means that Ohman and Randolph will be starting out the season in the minors. I think that sets the bullpens at:
LaTroy (defacto closer, according to Dusty)
Wellemeyer (unless Guzman makes the team for some reason. He is getting another start today)
Not a bad pen, I think, assuming LaTroy is servicable until JoBo bursts back onto the scene.
In other news, the Cubs won yesterday 5-4. The pitching staff did well except for Fox, who was rocked for 5 hits in his one inning of work. John Koronka, who will not be making the team, pitched four strong innings in place of Maddux, who was bumped from his start to get him in the correct rotation to pitching April 5th. Nomar continued his abuse of opposing pitchers with another homer, giving him 6 on the spring. I think National League pitchers should be very, very afraid of Nomar this year.
That's all from here. The Cubs play at 2:05 CT against Arizona today, with Guzman taking the mound again. Go Cubs!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Everything you ever wanted to know
(note: If you want to know that Borowski broke his hand, scroll to the next entry)
My thoughts on the Bullpen
Here is what I think will happen(not what I think should happen). With the breaking of Borowski's hand, we are going to see some shifting in what I thought would happen. I had this whole entry worked up, and now this. What I would have said is: Borowski to close, LaTroy to not and this gets LaTroy out of the perceived pressure situations where he has proven himself woefully inadequate and into actual pressure situations (things like bases loaded, tying run at the plate rather than starting the 9th with no one on base and a 3 run lead). Now what I will say is: LaTroy will close barring a trade, and god help us all <*LaTroy wets himself*>. The main setup man will be Remlinger, and he will serve to get lefties out despite the fact that he isn't any good at it. But let's not let facts get in the way here. Chad Fox will make the team along with Leicester, forming a potent right-side combo. Dempster will not win the 5th starter position, and will be long relief/setup man depending on how he finishes the spring. The last righty will surely be Wuertz, making the team because of Borowski's injury. The final bullpen spot will be given to Randolph for the same reason Macias has a position - Hendry went and got him, so they have to play him.
Here is what I think should happen: Same thing, except instead of Randolph I would go with either Ohman. It's not like Randolph can get anyone out, so the lefty-ness of his arm hardly matters.
My thoughts on the Lineup
What will happen (not what should happen): 2/3 of the outfield is set, with Corey Patterson getting the go in center, and Burnitz will jog out to right. That is just the way it is going to be, and given the horses Dusty has, that is fine. In left, Hollandsworth will get all of the starts against righties and will also start against lefties he has had "success" against (small sample size be damned!). Dubois will get the other three starts that year with the occasional start going to Hairston. But expect Holly to get the vast majority of AB's in left, a la Karros in '03.
The infield is set: Ramirez, Nomar, Walker, Lee with Barrett catching. No problems there.
What should happen: DuBois has proven himself at every level, in the Fall Leagues, and in Spring Training. What more is there to say? Throw him out there for 140 games and you have a rookie of the year. Hollandsworth should play against tough righties and be the super-lefty off the bench. Without Holly on the bench, we won't have a good lefty to face all of the right-handed closers in the league. Hairston would get the occasional start.
The Infield: A no-brainer. The Cubs can't screw this one up.
My Thoughts on the Bench
What will happen (again, not my idea): Macias, Niefi, Hairston, Blanco, DuBois/Holly off the bench.
What should happen: I should take a trip down to Arizona with my trusty friend Mr. Crowbar and open up a few spots on the bench. Mr. Macias and Mrs. Perez? Your spot on the DL is ready (Next!). Besides, I hear Phoenix is lovely this time of year.
My Thoughts on the Rotation
For another day. I don't want to compare what will happen with Wood and Prior versus what should happen. Too depressing. I'm afraid the words: "Out until June 1st" will slip out accidentally.
My Thoughts on Movies Coming out
Ice Princess - You may think I'm crazy, but hear me out. It's about a girl who has to choose between being a Champion Figure Skater and a scholarship to Harvard in, get this, Physics! It is like my life story...except that I can't skate, I could never get into Harvard, and my bosom is a couple cup sizes smaller. But still, it just speaks to me. (excuse me, I'm getting emotional)
The Ring Two - Twice the scaring power equals twice the fun! There should be lots more creepy shots of the little girl with the hair in front of her face and the creepy walk. Can't wait.
Miss Congeniality 2:Armed and Fabulous - This is a must see in the sense that I will probably end up seeing it. The first one wasn't too bad. Some pluses: William Shatner is in this one (big thumbs up on that), Sandra Bullock is quite cute, and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore from Ghostbusters) also has a roll.
Would like to see
Robots - Looks funny, CGI looks good, and Robin Williams is a hoot (a hoot I say!). Plus, when Robots act like humans, wackiness is sure to follow. However, odds are I end up not seeing this until video.
Hitch - Will Smith at his best: teaching White people to look cool (when they clearly are not). I'm a big Will Smith fan, dating back to him Fresh Prince days. This roll is perfect for him, and he new song Switch (rhymes with...wait for it...Hitch!) is actually very good.
Can't Wait for
War of the Worlds - Lots of exploding stuff, Tom Cruise at his most dramatic, and the little girl that was so good in Man on Fire. They've waited a long time to make this movie...hopefully it won't suck. Then again, they waited a long time to make The Phantom Menace, and that bit hard. So, youneverknow.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - This has to be good. The trailers look fantastic, it has another guy from the British version of The Office, and...well, it just looks good. I have lots of confidence that they will not screw this up. On the other hand...
Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith - ...also looks very good, but I have no faith in Lucas not to ruin this. I will go see it like the loser I am, but he is going to find some way to destroy it will a maudlin script and hammy acting. Oh well (*tear*).
I have now completely emptied my head of all thoughts. Carry on.
No Mo JoBo
This is obviously terrible news and I am really sad to see that Borowski is going to miss so much time as I was counting on him closing things out for us. Now, with Hendry will have to make a trade, or Dempster/Latroy will have to take over and neither option excites me. I think there is a pretty good chance that we will see a trade before the season starts.
I will post an update when/if this story is corroborated in print.
Sorry everyone...the hits just keep coming
(9:20 AM) Aaaaaaaaaand...confirmed!
Monday, March 21, 2005
...I couldn't resist (updated @12:30, and @5:30)
Lord of Evil?
you be the judge...
In other religious news:
Dozens of Worshippers sickened by Carbon Monoxide
An interfaith worship group was sickened by a Carbon Monoxide leak while praying and chanting and whatnot during their interfaith service. I think it is pretty obvious what is going on here. God is not having any of this interfaith service crap. There is one true faith and that's it, dammit. Interfaith, indeed. Sheesh. (oh, and the one true faith? Scientology)
Sweat and Urine to be converted into useful drinking water
Scientists have been developing a system to convert sweat and urine into drinking water for the space station, but it should also be able to be used for third-world countries that are unfamiliar with clean drinking water. This is great news for those that are worried about the finite-ness of water on earth and the fact that it is so rapidly being polluted...and also for those of us that like to drink our own pee.
Embattled Professor won't back down
I'm a little troubled here, because I'm not quite sure I understand all the facts. Apparently this professor, Ward Churchill (which, you will see, is an interestingly coincidental name) called the victims of 9/11 "little Eichmans." If I understand correctly, he is claiming that they are/were as bad as Eichman (one of the architects of the Holocaust) , and they suffered their fate because of years of American oppression of the likes of genocide. Now, I'm not saying America has always been perfect, but come on. This guy may not deserve to be fired for this, but he certainly warrants a smack upside the head. Just an absurd, absurd thing to say. What he should have said is "little Mussolini's"...people don't have such a sore spot about Mussolini. But he is going to fight till the end to retain his right to be a complete jackass. Good luck buddy, you're gonna need it.
Hopefully during these last few, dark days of NCAA madness, people have been heading over to Bleed Cubbie Blue to follow the Cubs' action. For those who have, click away quickly lest you receive redundant news (quickly I said! click faster!). Let me explain what has happened in the last few days - no, there is too much, let me sum up (anyone know the movie? hint). DuBois hit another homer, solidifying his position as poorly used right-handed half of platoon, Zambrano pitched 6 shutout innings, striking out 9, and Angel Guzman had a solid 3 innings of 1 run ball. Also, Nomar hit 3 homers(giving him 5 on the spring), Chad Fox and Leicester have excelled, and most of the runs in relief have been given up by nobodies.
That was the good...now the not-so-good. Rusch has been absolutely rocked recently...so has Dempster...and so has Mitre. Other not so good news, the recent Cub scores: 11-9 loss(vs. Sox), 11-4 loss (vs. Oak), 4-2 win (vs. Mill), and 9-5 loss (vs. Padres). This leads one to the conclusion that it would be just great if Wood and Prior decided to, you know, pitch this season. On that note...
Wood getting better, Prior discovers mound
Wood seems to be feeling pretty good recently, having thrown a simulated game, and is planning on pitching a real game any time now. Prior, apparently, successfully threw off the mound. That is the actual headline, although it seems to me that it should not be news that he successfully threw. I mean, I can throw off a mound successfully. I would like to hear that he threw well. But he threw 10-12 pitches off the mound (shouldn't they know the exact number?), including curveballs, and felt "pretty good." It seems the swelling has subsided (in his elbow), and he might be pitching a simulated game at some point. It would be just swell if these two pitch a non-simulated game as soon as possible.
Regarding the poor spring by Mitre and Rusch, finess pitchers tend to have a hard time of it in Spring Training due to the dry air causing the breaking balls not to break so well. Rusch had a terrible spring last year as well, enough to get cut by the Rangers, and we all know how well he pitched last year. So I wouldn't fret too much about that. I would, however, fret if we start the year with Mitre, Rusch, and Dempster carrying the backend of our rotation.
All that being said, I don't understand what is going to keep these injuries from re-ocurring just as soon as they start pitching again. I will remain cautiously optimistic right now, but I am very concerned.
Dempster is going for the Cubs today at 2:05 CT versus Kansas City. KC has had a way of making our pitching staff look good, and hopefully that will continue.
If I said something above about Dempster *not* getting completely rocked by the Royals, I take it back. The Royals scored 7 in the second. Gak.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
What's going on?
- Lousiville is underrated, I should have taken them further
- Syracuse was a good pick...I just ran into bad luck
- Gonzaga was overrated (by me especially) and I should have listened to the experts saying Kansas was a bad pick
- With all the upsets, I think we are seeing the affects of parity in college basketball...or the people seeding these teams are idiots. I'm going with parity.
- Why the hell couldn't Bobby Knight make it to the sweet 16 while I was in school.
- I stand by my final game: Illinois v. UNC with Illinois winning 73-63
Congress battles for "Terri's Law"
Leave this poor woman alone to die. She is a vegetable...if she didn't want to live like that, she shouldn't have to. Between this and steriods, you would think there was nothing important going on for Congress to legislate on. (*warning* bad joke ahead) It turns out Terri Shivo is in this state because of an eating disorder...isn't it obvious that she would want the feeding tube removed? She must be in her own personal hell.
Every grey cloud...
The December 26th Tsunami has reveiled some ancient ruins - animal faces carved into faces of rocks and such. So, it turns out the Tsunami wasn't all bad, despite the bad rap that it has gotten. I thing people just need to learn to look on the bright side of life.
Alright, back with baseball tomorrow.
Friday, March 18, 2005
- Just gotta love it when your last long-shot pick starts out down 18-4. The bile is rising in the back of my throat.
- (11:50) Oh-kay...now Florida's building a lead. Maybe Dick Vitale can swing over here and just rip the heart right out of my chest
- (11:55) What do I see? My newly beloved N.C. State is climbing back into this game. N.C. State's hands-down best player Hodges is starting to heat up. I'm a big fan of picking a team with a big, talented guard to go far. If the ball is in his hands, he can always take over the game (did that make sense).
- (12:20) So how are we doing at the half? Not so well, but I'm optimistic. N.C. State is down by eight, but they owned the second half of the first half (you heard me). Florida is up by eight at the half - not good news, but Ohio tied it once today, so they could do it again. And finally, Minnesota has trailed all game. Typical Big Ten not showing up in the tournament. What a joke. Oh, and OK St. is winning pretty easily. This next half is going to say a lot about my bracket...and I'm guessing I won't want to hear it.
- (12:50) With my Ohio and Minnesota picks hopes evaporating, I have begun to rest my entire self-worth on N.C. State...and they are winning!!
- N.C. State wins it and now I turn my attention to Minnesota while keeping a watchful eye on and OK St. game that is a little too close.
- But wait, what's this? Ohio has come out of NOWHERE to tie it up. Good Golly Miss Molly we got a barn burner
- Spoke too soon. finished 2-2 on the morning, not great...not great at all. But, I dodn't have my two losses moving on, so I will survive
- (3:00 PM) I quick run and shower and I'm back, and so are my teams. All my teams are winning right now (UConn, S. Ill, Villanova, and UNC). I hate to jinx it by saying that, but those aren't the hardest predictions ever.
- (4:10) UConn having a nasty second half. That would kill many a bracket. But so far, all my picks are hanging on
News and Notes
I not going to bother to try and recap yesterday's 6-5 win over Oakland. Al Yellon over at Bleed Cubbie Blue was actually at the game in Arizona (my jealousy is boiling over) and has a recap that involves actual observations and not just numbers (what, there is more that baseball than stats?!? Heresy). Head on over and check it out. He is one of the best Cub Bloggers and I definite daily read.
Just to summarize the game a bit, though: Maddux was not as bad as his 4 runs in 5 innings appeared, as the defense was bad behind him (Hairston had some outfield problems. Let's just say sunlight was involved and leave it at that). The Cubs hit the ball hard and the bullpen was great, blanking Oakland for their four innings of work. Pretty good game for the Cubs. (holy crap! Postive news about the Cubs!)
The Cubs have another Cross Town Classic today, taking on the White Sox at White Sox Park (Arizona edition), with Grace and Wayne favorite Angel Guzman starting for the Cubbies. Hopefully he can impress, because the way things have been going there is a pretty solid chance that he will get a few starts in the majors (even if he is not a rotation regular). The way thing are going, of course, he could be hit by a bus on the way to the ballpark. Of course, the game is on WGN and I am at work. There is something seriously wrong with this picture. That being said, Lets Go Cubs!
The Madness Continues
...and I clearly must have been mad to take Iowa and Pittsburg to the Sweet 16. I have only called two games wrong so far (out of 16), and those two losses are going to completely screw me. In my defense, I just really hate Cincy and maybe my Big Ten pride took over a bit in picking Iowa...but there is just no excuse to take Pitt over Washington. I just wanted to be "That Guy," the only guy who called it. Well, I still have a chance, as I have N.C. State in the Sweet 16. There is a pretty good chance that I'm going to go 0-3 on long-shot calls. poo. However, I would like to point out that I called UAB & UW-Mill., so I did have some success.
The early games today and my prediction in ()'s:
N.C. State v. Charlotte (N.C. State)
Ohio v. Florida (Ohio)
Iowa St. v. Minnesota (Minnesota)
SE Lousisiana v. Oklahoma St (OK st)
Central Fl. v. UConn (UConn)
New Mexico v. Villanova (Villanova)
Oakland v. North Carolina (UNC)
St. Mary's v. S. Illinois (Souther Ill.)
Lots of Steriod Talk
...for another blog to handle, not mine. I am very much disinterested in the whole mess.
Anyone who has read my blog in the last couple of weeks probably is aware that I am strongly against the drilling in Alaska. I think that is serves no lasting purpose and can only do harm. Unfortunately, the measure to keep drilling in ANWAR in the budget passed 51-49, so we may very well see the drilling begin this year. There should still be lots of opposition, and not just from environmentalists, I hope. Hopefully rational, forward thinking people everywhere will oppose this wasteful spending on yet another short term solution to the oil problem.
Bikes on Metra
It looks like they are going to allow bikes on the Metra (the Metra is the chicago->suburb line) although it is not certain yet. It has passed in the Illinois house, but Metra officials still must allow it. If you are interested in this passing, which will allow many people to use the Metra as a form of transportation rather than driving, please sign the petition here. Anything helps.
Okay then. That all for now. I will be following the NCAA tournament in brilliant Blog-o-vision later today.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
My Final Four: Illinois, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Syracuse
Some Upsets: Wisc.-Millwaukee, Pitt (sweet 16 team), Ohio, Iowa (sweet 16)
Championship game: UNC v. Illinois with Illinois winning.
- (12:10) That Pitt pick isn't looking so good. They may make a poor Cinderella pick.
- (12:30) Apparently Niagra has forgotten that they are...NIAGRA! Geez. And Pitt is killing me. What a terrible pick.
- (12:40) Crap. Alabama's making a comeback
- (1:15) Eastern Kentucky will...not...die
- (1:25) ESPN won't update, but I think I'm officially calling it for Kentucky. Oklahoma is pulling away, Pitt and Alabama are holding tough
- (1:37) Alright, I'm calling it. Wisc.-Mil over Bama. So far 2-2, but my Pitt pick it tettering. Oklahoma is winning in a walk
- (1:45) Could someone explain to me how I could be stupid enough to take Pitt over Washington? Anyone?
- (1:50) Okay...as soon at Pitt finishes losing, I will be 3-1. Not a bad start.
Yesterday was an off day
I have yet to offer an opinion on this whole pitcher-gate thing. Of course, that is sort of the theme of this blog: shallow observations, little actual content. But without a game recap to bouy me, I need to find something to write about and so, in the grand tradition of socialites everywhere, I'm arriving late to the party.
Let me first off say that I've traditionally been a Wood apologist - if it can be called tradition only dating back to 1998. I have defended the fact that he never had more than 14 wins, the fact that he goes too deep into counts, and the fact that he is from Texas. So now I am going to defend the fact that he shut himself down with bursitis - defend him to a point, that is. I completely agree with the fact that he shut himself down at this time. It is Spring Training. Let me say that again: It is Spring Training. This is not the time to be a man like old man Kaufax (who, I might add, pitch a whopping 12 years before retiring due to pain) and pitch through any and all pain. It just doesn't make sense. These games count for nothing. And more importantly, shoulder injuries are serious, serious business. There is no magic, Tommy John-like cure for shoulder pain. So, as long as we are in exhibition time, let's take it easy.
That being said, if this reoccures during the season, Wood has to pitch through it. He has to, unless it is actual serious pain and not just tightness. The reason I think this is so important is because this really, for real, can be the year. And I'm not just saying that from a place of hopeless optimism. This is a very talented team, and everyone should suck it up and play hard and with pain.
Which brings us to Prior. Oh, Mark. Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark. I don't know what to think about Mark. On one hand, he seems to feel a little twinge and burst into uncontrollable sobbing. On the other hand, he was pitching the entire last half of 2003 with a damaged achilles, and he dominated. I mean, right now he doesn't have actual pain, just stiffness and some sort of weird numbness. However, if I was pitching and felt any kind of numbness in my elbow, I would absolutely freak out. So I can see his side on that too. And one more thing to remember is, in 1999 Wood had a sore right elbow in spring Training and pitched through it. Until, that is, the tendon ripped and he missed the next season and a half. So caution is not a bad thing.
I guess if it came down to it, I would have to say that I do not object to either pitcher shutting it down now. Let's try to start the season off right. But once the games get going, I want everyone on the team (*everyone*) to play through all the pain they can and I want to win it all this year. Who knows how much longer I'll be living on the Corner of Grace and Wayne. I want to win it while I'm so close to the action.
Cubs play today against Oakland. Let go Cubs!
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Lots of Important stuff to report
Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
6-1, no less. Of course, it was against the hapless Royals, but a win is a win is a win in these trying times. Mitre started, and while he was not magical, he was certainly decent. He walked a few too many (3), but he only gave up one run in his four innings. Borowski pitched a strong inning (no runs, no walks, one strikeout) as did LaTroy, Ohman, and Leicester. Wellemeyer didn't allow any runs in his inning of work, but he walked three...which is a lot. But the race for last lefty has accelerated, as both Ohman and Randolph have had decent (not stellar) springs. I'm rooting for Ohman (which means you should be too). On offense, nothing too interesting to note. Patterson knocked in a couple and Nomar and Ramirez continue their hot springs. Other than that, nothing too special.
Toss and Catch
Wood is planning to throw from the mound today while Prior throws from flat ground. Cubs.com reports (see link above) that Prior and Wood will be ready for the start of the season, even if Wood does not actually start opening day. And why shouldn't be believe news from "The Official site of the Chicago Cubs." I mean, they wouldn't have any kind of conflicting agenda, would they? More importantly (I may have already addressed this), how does this affect me? It may not have a negative affect on me, as Wood/Prior may be pitching the home opener if they are pushed back a couple of spots. How great would it be to tell my kids that I was there the very day Wood's arm detached at the shoulder and fell to the grass, flopping on the ground like a fish out of water, gasping its last breath.
A few notes from skimming the news
Cardinal (the other kind, i.e. neither baseball nor bird) blasts Da Vinci Code as absurd. A "gross and absurd" distortion of history. *Gasp* *sputter* it's like, total fiction...oh wait.
sort of related - flowing the link above, we see that Dan Brown looks like a total tool.
At least in my opinion(and that's all that counts here), there is a very important vote today on ANWAR drilling. I'm very concerned about the amount of oil that our country uses, and it only increases with each giant vehicle Americans purchase. Nothing is more wreckless (vehicle-wise) than the purchase of a Hummer, for example. And they are just coming up with newer, bigger vehicles. How about we think outside the box a bit.
An example: In a great step for Chicago, the Metra (the city to suburb train line) is now allowing bikes on the train in June. This will allow people to ride their bikes to the train, take them on the train, and then ride them to work. The wife and I are going to start doing this in June, if not earlier. It is a great opportunity to stop burning money and oil at such a rapid rate (we were going through two tanks of gas a week). At the very least, it will help me feel less like a hypocrit.
Bush is currently holding a press conference on various topics: Social Security, Iraq, Iran, World Bank...and Steriods. Which one of these is not like the other? Why the hell does Congress care about baseball when there are all these - slightly - more important issue at hand. A couple things I noted during the press conference:
- Bush, for all his flaws, is very good at turning a question from the press corp into the question he wants to answer.
- He seems to be taking a good stance on Social Security. I don't understand the liberal organizations that say that Social Security works, don't try to change it. I don't know the long term solution to S.S., but let's try to be proactive here. I don't see anything wrong with that.
- He still makes me slightly nauseous
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I haven't had access to the internet for awhile
Monday, March 14, 2005
Hey, how about making stupid comments about stupid headlines!
Tiny Robots used for Cancer Diagnosis
No word yet as to when or if these tiny robots will be sent back in time to kill humanity's savior before that savior is even born. Or if that tiny robot will have an Austrian accent.
Condi Rice to *not* run for President in 2008
Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have the first smart thing Ms. Rice has ever done. Who had March 14th in the pool? Word is had she decided to run, she would have selected here hair as a running mate.
Tiny Robotic Surgery Patient Recovering
Hmm, I wonder how the performed surgery on the tiny robot? Do they use other tiny robots? Once tiny robots can perform surgery on other tiny robots, what hope does humanity have? And if I hear one more time about how great a nanoprobe is for me...well, I'll just scream.
Child Obesity grows faster in Rural Areas
Well, yeah. I mean, if I lived in rural pennsylvania (for example), I'm pretty sure all I would do is eat. The real reason for rural obesity can be explained by this simple flow chart.
Rural Obesity Flow Chart: Town like Windber, PA->Overpowering Boredom->Pot Smoking->Munchies->Fatties
Hey, you can't argue with science.
SpongeBob video going National, American Family Association in a Tizzy
American Family Association continues their long, proud fight again diversity. Let's all hope they keep up the struggle! I mean, what is with all this acceptance of others and promotion of diversity that's been going on lately. I mean, dammit, if the founding fathers wanted all men to be created equal, they should have made some sort of Declaration about it. I mean, next we are just going to get all these immigrant types coming over...stupid tired and huddled masses. In related news, The American Family Association is considering changing its name to The American White Protestant Heterosexual Family Association
Easing off the Gloom and Doom
In other news, the White Sox beat the Cubs 9-5 and Dempster and Rusch (from what I heard, I haven't seen the box score) were both rocked. I should have just stayed in bed today.
Good news, as Wood threw off flat ground today. No word on what he threw, but it was believed to be a baseball. He threw well, and he should be throwing off the mound on Wednesday. That is likely to be the springboard into a Cy Young season (it is proven that all Cy Young winners have thrown off the mound at some point in the season).
It's the End of the World as We Know It
ESPN 1000 is reporting (which I found about on the Cub Reporter) that Prior is being shut down because of complaints of elbow pain. If you had March 14th for your "Cubs Out of Contention" pool, you are the winner.
Where's a bridge...
(note: this is pending confirmation, but I prefer to panic first and ask questions later)
*note* This radio report has been confirmed by two independent sources as, at least, being a real radio report.
*update #2* It's March 14th, Mark Prior is being shut down and it's snowing. It's barfing snow at an absurd rate. That sound you hear is me sawing at my wrists with my car keys.
And comfirmation, thanks to the wife. link
In the interest of intellectual honesty, the doctors stated that the MRI showed nothing wrong with the Ulner nerve or or Elbow parts. In the interest of realism, the Cubs are a bunch of liars and I keep my guard up if I were you. Last year was an amazing exercise in dishonesty on the Cubs part, and I see no reason not to expect more of the same. They are still spinning this that they expect neither Wood not Prior to miss a start...but seeing is believing, my friends.
The Good, the Bad, and the Somewhat Disconcerting
Kerry Wood now might not even make his Opening day start, opening the possibility that Dempster will have to take his place which, of course, opens the possibility for third place (don't say open). Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Why do I get the feeling that Wood wakes up every morning in Spring Training to Sonny and Cher's You Got Me, Babe? (Too obscure a reference? click here). This is a pretty big concern as, despite some peoples protestations (Scott), Wood is a hell of a pitcher when he's healthy and Dempster is not. I would, of course, root for Dempster, but he has only had one good season in his entire career. And if you think Wood walks a lot of batters, just wait until Dempster gets going. I'm really, really frustrated right now. Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch, and Dempster doesn't have the same ring, does it? And more importantly, this means Zambrano probably won't be pitching the home opener (most important, really, because this is all about me).
Now, the Good
Jerry Hairston has been excellent this Spring, standing out defensively at multiple positions. He has mostly started at second, but also spent time yesterday in center (racking up two assists), has played left, while also has been taking grounders at third. Will he be our version of Jose Valentin, the White Sox super-sub? I would be happy if he rotated through several positions, leading off when he plays. That would keep everyone fresh and give Hairston his fair share of ABs.
Also in that article is a mention of Jason DuBois's prodigious right field power, a valuable trait and one that is hard to teach. If you can hit them out to all fields, the power numbers are going to climb quickly, and given most pitcher's preference for pitching outside, right field power is especially useful (that is a long sentence...I'm thinking probably a run-on).
Finally, we see that I was wrong in stating that Zambrano had 12 shutout inning this spring...he has nine (hmm...that should probably go under The Bad as in: my bad)
The Somewhat Disconcerting
Dusty Baker praised Garciaparra for his hitting, which definitely makes sense. I mean, he can absolutely rake. But the disconcerting part is in how Dusty went about praising Garciaparra: "Derrek Lee said he doesn't know how Nomar does it. He saw four pitches and got three hits. You get a good pitch to hit, you hit it hard, and that's what he did. That was some fine hitting."
Now, I totally agree that it was fine hitting...for Garciaparra. Most people can't do what he does. I watched him hit and the first two pitches he took to right field were not easy pitches to handle. For a player like Derrek Lee, it wouldn't make sense to go for those pitches. Now, to me, this sounds like a subtle dig at Lee. "Look how aggressive Nomar is, if only you could be more like him. He's dreamy." Last year Lee's OBP dropped 30 points. Was this due to the influence of the Baker/Matthews/Cline trio, or was it just a minor career blip? It is an interesting question, because a lot of Lee's value is tied up in OBP, and to lose that would be to lose a lot of the player we traded for.
In other baseball news...
Ozzie Smith's son, Nikko Smith, has been bumped back into the American Idol finals after fan favorite Mario Vasquez withdrew from competition. Note: those are their words, not mine. I only watch quality TV.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
However, if we ignore the offense's poor showing this afternoon, it was an otherwise successful day despite a 3-2 loss. Zambrano went 4 scoreless inning, extending his spring shutout streak to 12 innings. How excited am I for the season to start and Zambrano to pitch? (very). Will Ohman had an impressive outting, striking out the only two men he faced. Non-roster invitee Chad Fox was equally excellent, striking out the side to close out the game.
And very exciting was another shutout inning for Borowski. I don't know about his velocity, but the effectiveness seems to be there.
On offense, the Cubs had a whopping 3 hits. One for DuBois, one for Hairston, and one for Blanco. All very exciting hits, I'm sure. Happily we don't have to face the Angels in real-life.
So, for the final lefty position, I think it is between Ohman and Randolph with the wildcard being Hendry and his wheelin'-dealin' ways.
The Cubs will play the Sox tomorrow on Comcast Sports Net, although the broadcasters will be the White Sox announcers Hawk and DJ. If you watch, I would recommend WGN radio for the audio.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
A few quick observations
(*removes capslock and settles down*)
I know it's just spring training, but someone might want to tell Nomar to put his damn sunglasses down. Nomar loses an easy pop in the sun and Garrett Anderson follows that up with a homer. Cubs down 2-0.
Watching Maddux pitch, it is clear that his stuff is just a lot different then back in the day with the Cubs/Atlanta. His fastball used to not only sink, but dive left and right. Now he still has a decent amount of sink, but the ball has much less movement. I guess that is the difference between being one of the two best pitchers in the last 50 years (and it is only a debate between Clemens and Maddux. Kauffax and Pedro did not/has not have/had the career longevity, same for Johnson (he started getting great too late). The only truly debatable point is Seaver. Okay, back to the main sentence) and a solid 3.50-4 era pitcher.
Derrick Lee - 4 pitch walk. Gotta like that.
After a fielder's choice, a double by Barrett brings the Cubs to within one run. He tomahawked a high, outside pitch off the right field wall a-la the Hawk.
Oh, and I love Nomar (sorry Mia). He hits everything hard, goes to all fields, and gives every big-nosed guy hope for a successful life.
Steve Finley murders the Cubs - I'm very glad he has gone away.
As far as the announcers go, I like them. Or more specifically, I like Len Kasper. He is controlled (I have yet to hear "BELTED"), intellegent sounding, and seems to get excited about good plays happening. Alex Ciepley over at Cub Town has a very nice interview with Kasper and he seems a decent enough fellow (I mean Kasper, although Alex also seems nice).
Okay, time to hit the road.
Looks like I left just in time as the game got ugly real fast with a final score of 8-3. Eddie Oropesa, you just wrote your own ticket to the independent leagues. But other than Fast Eddie, all the pitchers did nicely - 2 innings of scoreless ball for LaTroy Hawkins, and one scoreless inning apiece for Wellemeyer and Leicester.
DuBois hit another homer, making it harder and harder for Dusty to ignore him (not impossible, I'm sure, but harder) and Nomar went 3-3 with a double, single, and homer. Not bad for a shortstop, eh?
The Cubs will once again face The The Angels Angels of Anaheim for a 2:05 CT matchup. Also, Wood is scheduled to throw on Monday and surgery has been scheduled for the following day.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Funny Suntimes article...
The revelant bits:
The Cubs sent Kerry Wood back to Chicago for tests on his tight right shoulder Thursday. The word from the team is it's not serious. Cubs fans heard that several times last season, only to find out later the injury was severe.
Injury: Mark Prior arrives in camp with right Achilles tendinitis.
Cubs claim: ''I'm not that concerned,'' Dusty Baker says. ''It's a minor thing,'' Prior adds.
Reality: Prior's first outing is June 4.
Injury: Mike Remlinger arrives in camp still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery the previous fall.
Cubs claim: ''We don't know for sure Rem won't be ready [for Opening Day],'' Jim Hendry says.
Reality: Remlinger's first outing is May 25.
Injury: Mark Grudzielanek's right Achilles flares up April 10.
Cubs claim: ''If he can fight through the initial irritation, he can get used to it,'' former trainer Dave Groeschner says.
Reality: Grudzielanek doesn't play until June 19.
Injury: Kerry Wood leaves May 11 game after two innings with tightness in his right triceps.
Cubs claim: ''It just got tight and stiffened up,'' Wood says. ''It didn't kill me out there.''
Reality: Wood doesn't pitch again until July 11.
Injury: Todd Hollandsworth fouls a ball off his right leg June 27.
Cubs claim: Doctors tell the team Hollandsworth should be fine after taking a couple of days off.
Reality: Hollandsworth misses the rest of the season.
Injury: Aramis Ramirez injures his groin running the bases July 2.
Cubs claim: ''Hopefully, this is going to be just three to five days,'' Hendry says.
Reality: Ramirez doesn't play again until July 18.
my comments: awesome.
Oh, and a word on the Fav-o-Track-o-meter. I know it is sort of screwy on some platforms, but I'm working on that. So if you tune in and see the meter in the center of the page over-top of all the text or something, be assured it is only temporary.
News and Notes
The Cubs pulled out a 5-3 victory today over the Seattle Mariners. Of note: Prior finally pitched, slinging the hardball for 3 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits. I blame myself for the runs. I listened to exactly 10 minutes of the game today, tuning in with 2 outs and nobody on in the 3rd only to hear 3 straight ground-ball singles for a run. So, I offer up my apologies. (*frowny face*) But, some good news, as it sounds as if Prior was in good shape today, not giving up too many hard hit balls.
Other than the Prior extravaganza, the homer was the play of the day. The outfield tandom of Burnitz and Dubois both had solo shots, and Cody Ransom won the battle of the brilliantly named, homering off of Cha-Seung Baek. Thus Dubois continues his power laden spring, hopefully catching Dusty's eye. You Go Doob!
Finally, for JoBo, there was some good and some bad. But you take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and then what do you have? That's right, the Facts of Life. The Good: Borowski struck out two and pitched another inning. The Bad: He also gave up a homer. The Good: That guy won't be in the majors this year. The Bad: That guy won't be in the majors this year. The Good: JoBo had good command of his slider. The Bad: Fastball topped out at 88 mph. and of course... The Facts of Life.
The Cubs will take on Arizona today at home. I think Remlinger will be getting his first action today. But more exciting is that tomorrow the Cubs will take on the The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or translated: The The Angels Angels of Anaheim) on WGN. It will be the first chance to take a look at the new broadcast team of Len Kasper and Bob Brenly.
In other news:
Wood sees Doctor, Panic in the streets of Chicago
If you saw someone running around in circles over by Wrigley screaming like a girl, that was me. Actually, that had nothing to do with Kerry's shoulder, but I thought I would mention it. Apparently he has some inflammation, some bursitis, and this will end his season. Granted, that isn't what the article says, but I think I can read between the lines. I have definitely decide not to get a Wood jersey though, as I'm pretty the right sleeve would tear off after a day of wear.
And it's not baseball, but...
New Star Wars installment to be "dark"
Personally, I would be happy if it was "good". (*note* I wouldn't come to this site for any sort of insight into Baseball, or world events. However, I would take my word on Star Wars.) It is common knowledge that the "first" three Star Wars movies were pure genius - three of the best movies ever made. However, the next two: The moderately crap-tastic, Jar-Jar infused Phantom Menace was not so good and the second one was decent, but still had horrible acting. I blame nobody more than Lucas for writing a positively atrocious script. I could go on, but I won't. I wouldn't want to come off as "uncool" or "a big loser" or "a hideously unattactive Star Wars fan-boy troll-like cretin". All that being said, this had better be good, or I will be selling off my #1 issue Star Wars: A New Hope comic book.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
News, Notes, and the Eternal Struggle of Good vs. Evil
The Cubs played yesterday afternoon and tragically fell to the Texas Rangers by a score of 6-5. Despite this setback, there were plenty of good things to report. Jeromy Burnitz went 2-2 with a couple of RBI's, Todd Walker went 2-3, and Patterson, Barrett, and Hollandsworth all had a hit. Todd Wellemeyer and Eddie Oropesa both threw a shutout inning. As far as bad news, nothing interesting to report (don't look at the previous entry). Nope, nothing to be concerned about. Going to keep my head firmly in the sand.
Who's Eddie Oropesa you might ask, seeing as how he has yet to give up a run this spring. He's a lefty who pitched for San Diego last year, and Arizona before that. During his 4 years of Major League experience, he has complied era's of: 4.74, 10.30, 5.82, and 11.00. That is correct, he has had two separate years of double digit era's. But he's a lefty, so he will always get a chance. Going back through Cubs' spring training history, they have broken camp with Dan Serafini, Danny Young, Ramon Tatis, and Angry Andy Pratt all for one reason: they're lefties. Looking through that list of names, it is one sorry, sorry set of performances. But every team does it; a few good innings of spring training supersedes a career of poor performance and the player breaks camp. My early vote is going in for Crazy Eddie Oropesa.
Prior is going today for the Cubs, in his first start of the spring. A press conference has been scheduled for immediately after the game where Prior will announce that he is, in fact, not injured.
Bush Pushed for Drilling in ANWAR
I'm conflicted on this (not really). On one hand, the completely unbiased American Petroleum Institute tells me that this would give enough oil to sustain us for decades. On the other hand, the complete unbiased Sierra Club tells me it would be less that a years worth of oil and would kill the environment. On someone else's hand (I only have two hands), the President, who has no ties to oil, says that it would have virtually no impact on the environment. I don't know who to believe!!
But then I calm down and realize it doesn't matter. Either one could be right about how much oil it would supply, and it wouldn't matter. Let's say it gives us thirty years of freedom from foreign oil. That is one generation worth. Then, thirty years later, that well has (literally) run dry and Americans are still tooling around in their stupid SUVs sucking up oil at an absurd rate. And guess what! (what?) All that money that could have gone into alternative energy sources was wasted on a short term solution and we are still screwed. Real effin great, George W, well done. And as an added bonus, ANWAR is irreparably damaged. But hey, enjoy your SUV, because surely there is no way that a 12 mile/gallon behemoth could be tied to our dependence on OPEC - the same oil countries that fund terrorist organizations.
In other news...
Dan Rather signs off
In honor of this, some fun What's the Frequency Kenneth? facts. The man who pummelled Rather shouting, "What's the frequency, Kenneth" currently is residing in jail for killing an NBC stage-hand. In case it is not clear, the man was insane and thought that the media was beaming signals into his brain, and that he might be able to block them if only he could figure out the frequency.
R.E.M. wrote a song about this (appropriately titled: "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?") and if you listen carefully, you will note that the song slows down at the end. This is because the Bass player started to experience great pain at the end of the song and slowed down his play. The band, rather than stop, just followed him. It turns out he had to be rushed to the hospital for appendicitis and they never bothered to re-record it.
Bet you didn't know that. And finally, as promised...
Good vs. Evil
"There are two sides to every Schwartz, an up side and a down side." -Dark Helmet
Throughout time, the world has been pulled between two opposing forces, good and evil. Often it is hard to see the difference, but sometimes it is very clear. At the Tevatron at Fermilab there are two main experiments, D-Zero and CDF. Each is equal in its abilities and each is an excellent experiment. But, if you were to have to decide, which would you say is evil? And mind you, I'm not expressing any opinion here, just posing the question. Take a look at the two logos below and decide for yourself, which one of these looks good, and which looks evil. And remember, there is only one correct answer. Cast your vote in the comments section.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Not one word, Scott
Wood leaves game early with shoulder tightness
Let's Play Two!
Good Cubs - Won. Whee! Of course, it was against the Kansas City Lack-o'-Talents, a team with less ability than 90% of Triple-A teams. Final score: 4-0. Glendon Rusch, Sergio Mitre, Jermaine Van Buren, and Michael Wuertz combined on a shutout. The Box.
Evil Cubs - Lost. Boo! But, however evil these Cubs may seem, even the most evil Cub team can't be all bad. You see, the game wasn't actually too bad. The people that might actually break camp all did find, with Johnny Anonymous (a.k.a. R. Rohlicek) giving up four runs to blow it. Carlos Zambrano continues to embarrass the opposition (although he did walk a pitcher that was publicly instructed not to swing the bat. oops) and threw 3 shutout innings. Angel Guzman also threw two shutout innings and Will Ohman and Stephen Randolph both did fine. The Box.
But the real story of these two games was that it was like a Future's game. The Cubs minor league All-Stars were out to play, and play well they did. Let's take a look at some of the performances of note:
Angel Guzman - Rapidly becoming my favorite pitcher in the Cubs' system. 95-97 mph fastball and fantastic control. The breaking ball still needs some work, but this sounds and awful lot like Zambrano except with better control albeit less movement on his fastball. Each of them only had a decent breaking ball when they broke with the club. So far this spring he's given up exactly zero runs and has wow'd scouts. Unfortunately, he is recovering from a shoulder problem from last year (for those that don't know, shoulder problems are about the worst problem a pitcher can have) and so he will be very limited this year. About 150 innings tops. So, he will certainly start the season in AAA, but we could see him in the 'pen by mid-season.
Felix Pie - That's pronounced pee-yay not 3.14159. He is a favorite with the scouts ability-wise, but has yet to develop any power. However, he is really fast, really young, and really advanced for his age. He strikes out out a lot, but his plate discipline is not really that bad (.358 obp last year) , especially for a 20 year old. He scored a hit in (i think) his only at bat this spring, and drove in a couple of runs. Watch for him while he moves up the system. Even without power, he will have lots of value just by his amazing defense alone. Hoo-ray for pee-yay!
Brian Dopirak - Power stud from single-A, making an impression in spring training. He was the Midwest League MVP after having a very impressive season in A ball. He has great power (39 hrs!), good eye, and hit for a good average (.300+). The scouts all rave about this guy, and he was 1 for 2 yesterday, for a spring training average of .500. If he can just maintain that average for a full season, I'm pretty sure it would be a record.
Adam Greenberg - He's a speedy, 5' 9" white guy, so by baseball law I'm required to call him scrappy. He's gotten a few chances this spring and has hit .375 so far in his limited opportunities. I think he is a great guy to root for because he is a perfect example of a legitimate fourth outfielder that is freely available. He can hit a little, get on base a little, and play all three OF positions. The perfect bench player. In the minors, he hit .290 with a .380 obp (good eye) in A ball, and then when moved up to AA, he held his own, hitting .277 with a .366 obp.
And finally, I've discussed Jermaine Van Buren before, but it bears mentioning again. He came up from the Independent Leagues (like JoBo), snatched up by super-scout GaryHughes, and just gets people out. None of his stuff is amazing (although he must have some sort of trick pitch) but he has simply dominated the competition. So far this spring he has a solid 2.25 era but more impressive was in the minors, were he sported a 2.08 era in AAA, a 1.87 era in AA, and 1.80 era in A. He climbed the full ladder last season. He will probably start the season in AAA as the closer.
Thing are still looking fine this spring. The pitching has been very encouraging, and the offense has not been neither discouraging nor encouraging. It has done nothing to courage either way. The Cubs stand at 5-2, and play today against Texas at 2:05, with Wood taking the mound. Go you Cubs!