Tuesday, May 31, 2005


What's wrong with the Cubs?!?

oh, wait, sorry. Reflex. Turns out, I don't really have anything to bitch about regarding the Cubs right now. I feel like I've lost my purpose. I'm adrift in a sea of Cubs' success.

Tough pitching matchup tonight (tough for the batters, that is) as Big Z goes for the Cubs against Big P (Brad Penny, that is). Game time 9:05 and, although that is well past my bedtime, I will try and catch some of the game.

Great article over at Goatriders as Tyler Blezinski of Athletics Nation reveals why Billy Beane is the great GM ever. Check it out and get back to me with 200 words on why Jim Hendry is still better (although "just because and stop asking so many questions" is just as acceptable an answer here as with parenting).

If you haven't checked it out yet, go ahead and take a look at History of the Ancient World, Part I. If you have read it, you should probably read it again as you may have missed something. I will post Part II when that is up.

Other than that, I have nothing much to say. Things are happy with the Cubs and I hate to jinx that, so I'm not going to say anything about any inning-way reak-stay, even if it has reached four games.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I wash my hat of this team

I've had the same Cubs' hat for four years, the only hat I wear. It's one of those dark blue ones with the words "Wrigley Field" written across it; my now wife gave it to me when she was my then girlfriend. Over the years, it has accumulated a lot of dusty, dirt, and oil from almost daily wear. Frankly, it had begun to look like a Craig Biggio model, which just isn't really a good look. The blue had turned to an odd yellowish-blue, but not green. It was what we call a "gamer."

I think the time had come, though, to wash the hat. It was just too gross. So the Wife poured some Woolite into the sink and went at the hat with a brush (before you think we have some sort of 1950's relationship, I was doing dishes at the time). If our neighbors heard gagging noises, that was her reaction to the color the water turned once my hat hit the water. I can't believe that just a day before that hat was on my head. Simply disgusting.

So now the hat is getting a new start. All the dust of past Cubs' failures has been cleansed from my presence and I will no longer be wearing memories of 2003, 2004, or this past month. So, with that, I declare a new start. We have no Prior or Wood. This is Zambrano's team, and he will have to carry them to victory. It is time for this Cubs team to rally.

Hey, maybe the hat was bad luck. Maybe now that I've washed it things will turn around. I guess you never know.

And four years from now, I'll probably wash it again. Hopefully I will be rinsing out happy memories...memories of a championship.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Prior leaves game after liner to the elbow

I saw the replay on TV and it looked tremendously bad. The line drive was absolutely scorched, but the clear indication that it can't be anything good was written all over Prior's body language as he writhed in pain. Also, seeing him walk off the field not moving his elbow was pretty much reminiscent of Chad Fox: don't move the arm because bad things have happened.

I know this is going to be on 30 other blogs using the same words but let me just say, what are the freakin' odds. A liner that just happens to smack him right in the elbow (technically just above the elbow, but still). Just the most incredible bad luck. I try and I try to not believe in the curse, but man I'm very nearly a believer.

Still awaiting word on the injury, which I will post here. Just a shame.

(update: 30 seconds later) Oh, ho ho. X-Rays negative. Moderate swelling and inflammation. Things may not be so bad.

(update: like, 5 hours later) MRI reveal hairline fracture in elbow. This may heal in a month, but that is the minimum. Then rehab will have to follow that. Sweet.


It's more than just Good versus Evil, It's...

[queue music]

Nerds! Softball
has begun and the evil
Isotopes are taking on the
forces of good, the d0nuts. It is
The ultimate Battle of Good Versus
Evil and it all takes place on the diamond.

[slowly pan down to softball field, where we find the d0nuts taking the field. One Isotope heads to the plate while the rest line the sideline, all puffed up and squishy with the Dark Side. It's all quite dramatic, I assure you]

I head out to third base, pretty much by default. I would much rather head out to the outfield, but like any good Jedi (if the whole Star Wars thing is too much at this point, you might want to stop reading. It just gets worse) I am selfless and only care about the collective good. I'm practically a communist. To my left is the shortstop...the force is strong with this one (i.e., he throws really, really hard). The Wife (wo)mans second and everyone else is pretty much filler (unless they are reading this, in which case they are all really, really special people).

First batter, strikeout! The forces of good are off to a good start but shortly after there is a small surge in the Dark Side, and the Isotopes scratch out a run. Here's a transcript of one of the plays:

[the pitch]
pitcher: "Here comes the pitch, evil Isotope"
evil batter: "Ha! I've hit the ball to your third baseman!"
Me: "The ball is coming at me, I must use all of my training to make this play. No! I've thrown the ball away. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (arm falls off; is quickly replaced by mechanical one)

The next half inning belongs to the d0nuts. It's line drive after line drive and the mighty d0nuts plate 3 runs. Triumph is ours and this inning belongs to the forces of good. [cue happy music] Joy abounds, and so this seems as good a time as any to interrupt the action with an uncomfortable love scene*:

Me [speaking to wife]: Hey there babe, you looked really hot over there at second.
theWife: That's just because I'm in love with you.
Me: No, it's because I'm in love with you.
theWife: So, what your saying is, I'm only good looking to you because you're in love with me. Is that what you're saying? To anyone else I'd be a troll?
Me: No, that's not...wait, um, let me start over. [gazes into eyes] I hate the infield dirt, it's so rough. Not like you, you're...not rough. You're smooth and pretty.
theWife: [swoons]

But the Forces of Darkness are no so easily cowed. The Isotopes extract their revenge, spraying line drives about the field, and eleven Isotopes cross the plate. The d0nuts are shaken and badly weakened. I feel a great disturbance in the force...but that might also be heartburn. At this point I'm really hungry. After the Revenge of the Isotopes (get it? Isotopes=Sith) things continue badly for our heroes. Hits are hard to come by and the Dark Side weighs down on the d0nuts like something heavy weighing on something light (sorry, I'm not doing similies today. Today is Star Wars).

Futility continues for the d0nuts and we arrive at the top of the fifth with the Isotopes at bat and d0nuts down 16-3. The Isotopes load the bases with one out...and up steps Darth Hit-the-ball-far. The d0nuts resistance starts to crumple. Why? because...

"You don't know the power of the Dark Side"

...but we do now. With one might swing, ol' Darth sends the ball beyond the reach of all that is good (our outfielders, in this case) and clears the bases with a grand slam. After a pathetic bottom of the fifth for the d0nuts, the Isotopes revenge is complete. The mercy rule is invoked, and the d0nuts are scattered off into the night, vanquished by the Dark Side. Sucks to be us.

But evil will not prevail in the end. Despite the fact that I'm 90% sure the Isotopes are building a Death Star, good will win out. One day, after our heroes collect their strength, we will see a Return of the D0nuts, and somehow there will be Ewoks involved.

Until next week, when our hereos take on the Final Force. (What are the odds?)

*how the love scene in Revenge of the Sith would really have gone:

Anakin: You are so beautiful
Padme: No...I hate the way I look. This stupid gown makes me looks fat.
Anakin: I don't think so, I think you look great
Padme: whatever, you never notice anything. I really wish I could lose 10 lbs

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Please, someone divert my attention from the Cubs

No team can be this bad. Luckily, there is more to life than baseball (not really, but I don't want to be the cliche from Fever Pitch); in fact, life existed before baseball.

Speaking of life before baseball (see that? that's a segue), over at jamierieger.com there is a new article up titled A Brief History of the Ancient World, Part I. It has the benefit of being very informative while at the same time being real damn funny. If you like this blog (and I know at least 3 or 4 people do) you will most certainly also like that article unless you really are only interested in baseball (which I can understand).

So check it out and once you've read it get back to me on whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that life evolved from pond scum to eventually produce a team as bad as the Cubs (see? I tied it all back together).


So. Bitter.

Watching this game unfold is sort of the equivalent to the old Chinese water torcher (can I say that? That's still okay to reference, right?) . As Tom mentions in the comments below, nothing but first pitch swinging (well, he alludes to it anyway).

So far through 6 innings, the Cubs have seen 61 pitches. I don't care how the rest of the game goes, that is obscene. That is an abomination to humankind. This "pitcher" has more walks than strikeouts on the season, something that is not easy to maintain this deep into the season. He is a special kind of bad. And we currently have 1 run and zero walks. He's one of the worst pitchers in the league. Gah! (mere typing can't convey the rage I am feeling)

The Cubs see 3.6 pitches/AB, the fewest in the league. And hey, guess what, the Cubs are 14th in the NL in runs scored despite being 3rd in homers and 2nd in Slugging. For that matter, they're 8th in BA. They seem to all be capable "hitters," but the name of the game is to not make outs (actually, the name of the game is "Baseball", but you get my point). There is some sort of fundamental disconnect going on when these "baseball people" hate their pitchers giving up walks, but don't see the need for their own players to get on base.

(btw, Tom says many of the same things over at A Season with the Cubs.)

The problem is not a lack of clutch hitting. The problem is not pitching. The problem is not that homers are bad (home runs are not bad. repeat that to yourself many times). The problem is that the Cubs are making more outs than all but two teams. And if a player makes an out, he can not score. Is it really that complicated? I mean, seriously.

Unless something changes (which it won't) the Cubs have no chance of winning more than (maybe) 90 games, and that is going to have to be good enough. The offense is just too bad to get this team very far.


Inept offense

Let me just say this...if the Cubs don't score against the 1-6, 7.05 ERA Jason Jennings today, I'm buying stock in all things "Fire Dusty." This offense is absolutely, unbelievably incompetent. And it makes me sad.


The Cubs have Carlos going on the mound for them today. The Rockies are 3-20 on the road. Todd Walker is back in the lineup. Everything is lined up in the Cubs' favor (and I mean everything). If they can't pull out this game, well, I don't know.

There is an interesting debate over at Goatriders as to whether one should be optimistic or pessimistic about this team. Famine (me) supplies evidence that the apocalypse really is upon us, so we should be happy, and Bob uses facts and reason to point out that the Cubs suck. My faith-based argument wins out by virtue of the fact that I incorporated Spam into the discussion.

Another interesting point that was unearthed over at Bleed Cubbie Blue is that the Cardinals have been getting fat on the dregs of the central divison. They are a combined 18-4 against Central divison opponents and 12-2 against the Reds, Pirates, and Astros. Only 11-12 against the other teams in the world. Anyway, those were the numbers when the post was made. Go over an check it out.

So, a little optimism and a little pessimism cancel out to make this a neutralistic post. Seems about right for a team hovering around .500.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


This post was supposed to be about Spam

...but I am experiencing some technical difficulties, so I will discuss the Cubs instead. My reasons for this are threefold: this is a Cubs blog, the Cubs won last night, and the won in dramatic fashion...against arguably the best closer in the game.

I managed to catch 3 or 4 of the innings that Mitre pitched today, and his stuff looked really sharp. His fastball had tremendous downward movement and when he kept the ball down, hitters just pounded it into the ground. I was very, very impressed since he was less than stellar last year. Granted, these are the Astros (oh, it feels so good to say that), but he still looked very sharp. And kudos to the bullpen for two excellent innings. After a bit of shakiness from Ohman, Wuertz came on and was brilliant, striking out the only two men he faced. Naturally, now that the Curse of the JoBo has ended, Dempster was lights out. Sometimes it hurts to always be right.


Except when I make predicitions. So far my prediction of a sweep is going exactly as I figured it would. I am so tremendously bad at making predictions, I figured predicting the Cubs getting swept would ensure a few Cub wins. So far, so good, although I imagine I just jinxed them by mentioning this, and now they will lose tonight. It's a lot of pressure having so much control over the universe.

At this point I would like to point out that I've just written the typical useless, rambling sort of entry that gives blogging a bad name. There is no hook to this, nothing amusing, and no insight that you couldn't find a hundred other places. For this, I apologize, and I will maybe try to write up something interesting later. Until then, I offer this up as a symbol of how sorry I really am.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Trade Rumors

I love trade rumors. I actually love trades, but the rumors leading up to the trades are quite nifty as well. Unfortunately, I have nothing to add with regards to the potential outfield+pitcher swap that many teams are rumored to be discussing with the team. Let me just say this: If Aubrey Huff is the answer to the question "who did the Cubs acquire?" I will be a happy puppy. If the answer to the question "how did the Cubs trade" is Corey Patterson, I will be making this face :(

My ideal? Assuming the rumor is Outfielder & reliever for outfielder, reliever, and 2 prospects, I would wish for:

Dubois, Wellemeyer, 2 grade B prospects for
Aubrey Huff and any random middle reliever

But that may be just a dream, I don't know. Actually, it probably is just a dream. For more trade talk, take a look at Goatriders where there is a bit more of an extended analysis (not that that would be difficult).

Monday, May 23, 2005


News and Notes

The Cubs managed to take one out of three from the very impressive (and yet frighteningly evil) White Sox. Odds are this is not news to anyone out there, but I thought it made a nice lead-in for this post. Elegant even. So, without further ado (adu? adieu? doo-doo?), I give you all things Cubs.

BatGirl rides again

Over at Goatriders.org, BatGirl has taken a swing at defending her GM as the best...in brilliant Lego-vision. I have to admit, the lego-tastic representation lends a certain weight to her arguments, despite the pointy heads and claw-like hands. So, go over a check it out, because everybody like Legos (except communists. You don't want to be a communist, do you?).

Bleacher Bums

Seriously, there were some real idiots up in the bleachers (and I'm not even counting myself). Now, for the good folks at Bleed Cubbie Blue and View from the Bleachers, the bleachers are nothing new. But for this Cub fan, most games are attended in either the cheap seats or the really cheap seats (i.e. my couch at home), and so this was a rare experience for me. So, let me just say thanks again to Chris for the tickets, and share a few examples of really stupid people. And most of them weren't even Sox fans (but some were).

On the Sox ledger: a few die-hards made the trip up from the South Side after apparently having started drinking on, oh, tuesday maybe? They were super nice fellows and one Sox fan kept telling me how he knew for sure that the Cubs would win...which was fine until about the 100th time he repeated it. But in general they were all fine until that same Sox fan, in a fit of excitement over Wuertz's beating, jumped up and came down right on The Wife. Granted, she's pretty tough and more than held her own, throwing the guy off of her, but I was still pretty annoyed. I became even more annoyed when the guy apologized to me about 87 times in the course of the next 5 minutes. The fact that the Cubs had just given up four runs didn't really help. That was a trying 15 minutes or so.

On the Cubs side: This was worse. I expect bad things from Sox fans, but always get disappointed by Cubs' fans when they exhibit poor-fansmanshipitude. A couple of the worst cases:
I give the bleachers high points for entertainment value...and the game was alright too.

Internet related wrist injuries

...are certainly common, but not usually due to typing too often. I think they are really reaching when they start to blame AIM for Zambrano's wrist problems. Swinging too often I could maybe see, but typing? I'm sure many of us type pretty often at work (I certainly do), but it is not keeping any of us from throwing complete game shutouts, now is it? (for that, I blame genetics)

Prior == good

Enough said. Now that he seems healthy, I can resume my non-sexual man crush (and the women of Chicago can resume their other kind of crush. Yes, yes, he's on your "list", I get it.)

Bullpen == bad

bullpen makes Jason==sad.


...is flying off the shelves. Goatriders of the Apocalypse is quickly becoming the #1 selling goat/apocalypse related clothing line on the market. Get yours now before your friends all shame you for having no goat-clothes in you wardrobe.

And finally, Houston is coming to town this weekend. I am predicting very bad things as Houston has been stuggling terribly (lost 6 in a row), are 2-19 (!) on the road, and are starting a rookie in his ML debut. All these things spell disaster for the Cubs and they will be lucky to not get swept.

Game time 7:05. Go Cubs!

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Things I learned in the bleachers

Stupid Cubs. Stupid Bullpen.


Friday, May 20, 2005


The Next Step up (or maybe over) from Moneyball...

It's less about finding new and innovative ways to use limited fiscal resources, but rather more about finding acceptable ways to use limited physical resources without humiliating one's self.

It's about all those kids who were picked last in gym class moving to the front of the line...because there is no better choice.

It's physicists playing softball.

10 players on the field. One 14 inch softball. Winner takes all ("all" being beer, in this case).

The mood on the field is grim, grim like the grey, cloud-filled skies above. A few, stray raindrops dot the ground, like the tears of vanquished softballers past. Our heroes, the d0nuts (seriously), drink in the atmosphere as they size up their worthy adversaries.

The d0nuts are to bat first. I am to hit third in an attempt to take advantage of my natural opposite-field stroke (read: slow bat). It is an important position in the lineup, and I search my heart, attempting to find my inner clutch-god (my inner Derrek Lee, if you will). Once play begins, an out is followed by a hit, which brings me to bat with a man on.

I gaze out coolly towards the pitcher, sensing his fear. My icy stare pierces through to his very soul, reducing him to a quivering mass of Shawn Estes. I take one pitch, but on the next offerring I make contact, riping a line drive into left (or at least, that is what it reads in the boxscore. It actually dribbled about 10 feet and I reached first by virtue of my panther-like speed). And with that, I was on base.

The next batter drives the ball into deep left and I'm off, expertly cutting the bases (not unlike Sid Bream in the '92 NLCS), coming in to score right on the heals of my teammate. Pride washes over me as I know that I have done my job, and I take a cool drink of water. It tastes sweet, sweet like the very essence of glory.

The bottom of the inning sees the d0nuts take the field. I pull on my mit slowly and respectfully, knowing that I must honor it so that it will serve me well at third. Trepidation fills my heart. This is unfamiliar territory, but I know I will prevail. The whole team is counting on me, and I am a clutch god. The first baseman doles out practice grounders like a charity worker at the Salvation Army, one for each position around the horn. After I deftly field my slow grounder and rifle it back to the first baseman, it is balls in and time to flash some leather.

I crouch down into my defensive stance, silently willing the ball to come to me. The desire to prove my defensive worth fills my very soul. And what's this? My eyes light up as the first batter hits a grounder right to me! I charge the ball, fielding it cleanly. I am infused with triumph. I am Brooks Robinson! I am Mike Schmidt! I am a defensive wizard. I go to transfer the ball to my throwing hand, but wait. I can't get a clean grip. It as if my glove doesn't want to part with its new-found companion. I double, then triple clutch and finally I wrap my hand around the ball and fire it to first. But the throw is a bit high, and it glances off the first baseman's glove, rolling out towards the parked cars.

My heart sinks as I watch the runner trot into second. I have let my team down. I have failed.

But I must rally, and rally I do. Because this is life. This...is Fermiball.

And so the game continued. I had one more dribbler to third for a hit and a Corey Patterson-esque strikeout (oh the shame) before I managed to calm myself and reclaim the stroke that made me a batting practice all-star. With my fourth at bat, I managed to drive the ball over the first baseman's head for a triple, driving in a run.

My defense inproved slightly, although my highlights included one more wild throw over the first baseman's head and another bobble. But I also managed to record a couple outs at third. I'm looking forward to the first time I successfully field the ball and throw a runner out at first.

The Wife is our favorite sort of player around the CBA. After a rough first at bat, she attained a zen-like patience, and proceeded to take walks in both of her next two at bats. Her final at bat yielded a hit, although I shouldn't have bought her the "Moises Alou Guide to Baserunning" for Christmas, as she was unfortuantely doubled off of first on a line drive.

The final tally? I'm sorry to report that we lost 15-10. However, this team is brimming with potential and will notch a few wins before the season is out.

The stats? I finished 3-5, 3 runs, 1 RBI, 1 Triple, 82 errrors. The Wife finished 1-2, 2 walks, and 2 nice defensive plays.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of Fermiball when we see how the d0nuts fair without their team captain and shortstop, against the evil Springfield Isotopes of CFD. Be assured, the drama will be intense, the competition fierce.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Series Preview: Cubs at Sox

I suppose I should say that interleague play in May is taking away the magic of interleague play, except that I've always found interleague play to be less an exciting mid-season event but rather more an unfortunate byproduct of the Selig years.

This subject will be exhaustively covered elsewhere (feel free to peruse the links to the left), but I will quickly put in my 2 cents Re: the White Sox.

The White Sox Suck. Alright, now that I put that out there, let's get into the reasons why that is a stupid thing to say and why the White Sox certainly do not suck (as much as it pains me to admit).

The Hitting

The White Sox are not actually much of an offensive juggernaut. I mean, they aren't terrible, but they aren't exactly tearing the cover off the ball, either. Actually, I take that back; their starting lineup is extremely mediocre. How do they have the best record in baseball again?

Just to highlight a few players:

Cubs killer Paul Konerko is struggling this year, despite showing excellent power. When you're only hitting .211, you need more than 10 homers to justify your existence. Especially for a first baseman/DH. Of course, not to worry, the Cubs are just what he needs to get back on track.

Tadahito Iguchi has gotten off to a decent start here in his first trip around the States. A .304 BA with middling power and middling patience is enough to get by when you are a middle infielder (get it?). The Sox have to be pretty happy with him.

Scott Podsednik has roughly as much power as I do, but he is a bit faster than me (which is why he is in the majors and I blog). So far he is getting on base at a .380 clip and has stolen 24 bases, which puts him on pace for about 95 steals. Wait, let me try that again: which puts him on pace for 95 steals!!!

Finally, A.J. Pierzynski has hit very well for a catcher, and has the only OPS over .800 of anyone in the starting lineup. Like I said, the Sox are all oddly average offensively.

Add all this mediocrity up and what do you get: an insight into the fact that their pitching has obviously been quite good. Speaking of which...

The Pitching

Impressive. Most Impressive. (that was my Star Wars moment for the day).

The only starting pitcher for the Sox with an ERA over 4 is Freddy Garcia, and he clocks in a 4.02. We all know about Jon Garland, who apparently has put it all together (whatever "it" is) and is an impressive 8-0 with a 2.44 ERA. Nifty, indeed. Mark Buehrle has also been quite good, and clocks in a 7-1 with a 3.33 era. He's what Andy Pettite was supposed to be for the Astros (sorry guys, didn't work out).

The Cubs are going to face Garcia, Contreras, and Orlando Hernandez to which I say: Lucky us. We managed to dodge their two best pitchers. We should have a chance offensively this weekend against the Sox. (must...keep...straight...face. Gah, I can't do it!) As usual, the joke's on us, as our offense is clearly pitcher independent; Sean Estes would have no trouble shutting this team down. Jose Mesa, on the other hand...well, we like facing him. Maybe our real offensive talent is taking down perfect closers, which brings us to...

The Bullpen

Okay, this is just stupid. What sort of bizarre ass deal did Dustin Hermanson strike with Ol' Fire and Brimstone to get this far in the season and be the owner of a 0.00 ERA. I mean, my god, he is just not that good a pitcher. He's not a bad pitcher, but he's not good either. It's funny (more funny in a "sucker punch" sort of way than funny "ha ha") how our should-be awesome pitchers (*cough* LaTroy *cough*) suck and their would-be mediocre pitchers (I'm subtley implying that Hermanson is mediocre) end up setting the damn world on fire. I swear, sometimes I feel that the Cubs are cursed.

Most of the pitchers in the Sox bullpen are doing pretty well, with the exceptions being Shingo Takatsu (a.k.a Mr. Zero) and Luis "don't call me Jose" Vizcaino, who have been smacked around pretty well this year.

The Analysis

Um...Comiskey Sucks!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


So many good things

...and all in spite of Dusty.

I mean, seriously. He let Burnitz run? In the 9th? With nobody out? What sort of piss-poor decision making is that? I mean, if it was Corey, it would be a highly debatable decision. As it was, it was a terrible decision. What makes it worse was that the pitcher had already thrown to first twice, making it clear that he thought Burnitz might run. Otherwise, why throw to first more than once when the runner is not a likely threat to steal. Somehow the Pirates read the signs and Dusty should have picked up on that. To add insult to injury, Barrett followed that up with a would-be-RBI double.

But hey, who cares? We won. No matter how much Dempster wanted to lose, he didn't manage to, and the Cubs won. And I am happy.

More good things? Have you heard the expression "marrying up." And do you know what the very definition of "marrying up" is? To put it quite simply, it is having your wife's cousin e-mail you offering bleacher tickets to Saturday's Cubs-White Sox game. That's what we mean when we say "he's good people." If any reader out there is going to be in the bleachers for that game, drop me a line and wear your "Fire Dusty" organic cotton Tee.

Other good news? Today is the first day of softball here at work. I finally get to ply my skills between the chalk lines (and hopefully not shame myself). But I think I should do fine, I mean, I blog about baseball all the time. That should translate nicely onto the field.

So, today has been a good day. Hopefully that will hold up through the softball game. I would hate for crushing humiliation to bring the day down.


Today's game isn't going well

...as of inning number two, so I thought I might wax poetic on the subject of Derrek Lee.

Derrek Lee is like Superman, except that he doesn't wear his underwear outside his clothes

Derrek Lee is like Mighty Mouse, except much taller.

Derrek Lee is the Ying to Neifi's Yang

Derrek Lee represents all that is good in the world (except Sour Patch Kids. those stand on their own).

We like Derrek Lee.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Series Preview: Cubs vs. Pittsburghs

Once again, the dawn of a new series falls rather conveniently after an off-day, and so there is nothing of interest to report regarding the Cubs (unless Zambrano comes back from his MRI with a torn elbow before I publish this. editors note: nothing torn.). So I will preview the hell out of these here Pirates.

The "Hitting"

The Pirates are pretty terrible with the bat. As a team, they hit like your average shortstop, which is not good. Not good at all. But they obviously score some runs, so who are the big hitters?

Jason Bay - Last year's Rookie of the Year has picked up right where he left off last year (I guarantee one of the annoucers will make that exact same statement when Bay first comes to the plate) and is hitting almost .300 with 7 homers and a decent number of walks. In fact, the only Pirate that has hit better than Bay is...

Daryle Ward - who, when he hits the ball, makes it go a long way. His 9 homers pace the Pirates, and he also leads with a .928 OPS. Granted, that OPS is pretty slugging heavy, so maybe I shouldn't say that he has been better than Bay, but he has definitely been better than the Pirates final good hitter...

Craig Wilson - the Pirates model leadoff hitter (except for the fact that he is supposed to be their model slugger). Wilson, who knock 29 balls out of the park last year, has exactly one homer this year but is showing amazing patience at the plate. He is getting on base at a .436 clip despite slugging under .400. However, it doesn't really matter, as the Cubs aren't going to be seeing Wilson this series; he is on the DL with some sort of finger injury.

Rob Machowiak, Matt Lawton, and Jose Castillo have also been pretty decent for the Pirates but they are most certainly off-set by the crap-tastic Jack Wilson (hitting .173), Ty Wiggington (.192), Tike Redman(.145), David Ross (.220), and Humberto Cota (.217). These guys aren't just rounding out the roster, either; they have all received significant playing time for the Pirates.

The reason the Pirates have been winning of late is definitely not because of the offense, but rather...

The Pitching

The Cubs are getting lucky this series, as they are not encountering Pittsburgh's best pitcher, and Cub killer, Mark Redman. He has been great, posting a 2.44 ERA, despite only having a modest 2-3 record (blame the offense). Here's who they will be getting:

Josh Fogg - in general has been smacked around pretty well by the Cubs. He is a typical soft-tosser (not many strikeouts) but without the control that is necessary to make a soft-tosser successful. He has been pretty decent this year (3-2 with 3.96 ERA) but I don't really see that lasting all year. He just doesn't have the peripheral numbers to back up an above-average ERA. Hopefully the Cubs will bring their hitting shoes (you can purchase them at Foot Locker) and smack him around. I said the same thing about Livan Hernandez last series, so I'm predicting a 3 hit shutout. He opposes Mark Prior and so this should be an easy win for the Cubs. I predict we lose 3-0. After the losing streak grows to three games, we face...

Kip Wells - who has been worse than Fogg. Wells's control has been awful and he has given up a decent number of long balls, which is never a good combo. He comes in with a 3-3 record and 4.53 ERA. I expect him to have no problem with the Cubs' lineup. I will, however, make no prediction here. It is too depressing. Getting swept by the Pirates would be the final humiliation and should that take place, I'm planning on committing Harry Carey (no, not the ritualistic suicide, but rather the "drink self into insensibility by way of Budweiser").

The Bullpen - is really, really good for the Pirates. Really good. I'm not going to list all the pitchers of theirs that are doing well but, suffice to say, they most all have good ERAs and their stupid closer has 13 saves. It find it all very annoying.

The Analysis - For the first times since 2002 the Pirates are better than the Cubs. Hearing this, I can't understand why you haven't bought your Fire Dusty T-shirt yet. Only $10.99. Go. Buy one. I'm actually quite serious. It is wrong for you not to own one. &!#@*%& Dusty.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Steadfastly ignoring the Cubs

...although it is worth noting that my one out of three prediction for the series was right, I just figured the wrong game. As usual, all the facts, none of the details. I hate being right.

Now, since it has become clear to me this last weekend that the Cubs represent all that is evil in the world, I will take a look around the world to find all that is good. And as usual, all roads lead to Star Wars:

'Star Wars' fans celebrate in London

In what could only be described as a nerd orgy (what kind of google ad will that get me?), throngs of Londoneers conveened at the Odeon cinema in downtown London, many arriving at least 12 hours before showtime. To which I remark: Twelve hours?!? What kind of lame as fans are you? You should have been lined up months ago! I hereby strip you of your Official Replica Jedi Lightsabers.

What do I really love about articles regarding the true Star Wars fans? It's tidbits like this:

"Episode III is what it's all about, the fall of Anakin Skywalker. It's the main part of Star Wars. That's why we are here, to be part of the day," said Yvonne Horrocks, who arrived at Leicester Square at 7:30 a.m.

Horrocks was dressed as Princess Leia and her husband, Matt, as a Jedi knight in costumes Yvonne Horrocks spent 18 months making.

18 months? Really? I'm thinking she could have shaved about 17 months off of that production time had she simply gone for the Princess Leia gold bikini from Return of the Jedi. But then I pause and consider the average body type of a Star Wars super-fan, and decide that it was time well spent.

The day of "Star Wars" celebrations began at 6 a.m. with a dawn parade of the 501st UK Garrison of Storm Troopers.

Fans fled in terror from the armored clones, apparently forgetting that Stormtroopers are pretty much incapable of hitting a target, moving or not (unless, of course, the blaster is set to stun). Many fear that the quite installation of stormtroopers in the London streets is just the first step in Lucas's eventual overthrow of the current British monarchy. Many have suspected Lucas of drifting towards the Dark Side for years now, as evidenced by his casual destruction of a once-proud franchise and the adoption of some sort of plastic face-cover over his old face (ala Darth Vader). If you take a look at the picture below, it is clear that his natural face is long gone and all that remains is some sort of hideous mask.

To end this post on a positive note, Star Wars fans will be relieved to hear that early returns on the movie have generally been positive. Of course, it is worth noting that the "generally positive" reviews are coming from Star Wars super-fans, who are under the control of the Lucasfilms Mind Control (tm).

For the three people that made it all the way through that post, please stay tuned for the upcoming preview of the epic Cubs vs. Pittsburgh series, the battle for fourth place!

(if you do stay tuned, be sure to hit refresh every 10 seconds or so)


Regarding Jim

I will have some actual "content" on this site again at some point today, but I just wanted to point everyone over to GoatRiders where the excellent Derek Smart of Cub Town has put in a guest-column entry explaining why Jim Hendry is super cool (my words, not his). Derek is a great writer and the column is really excellent, so go check it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Hey Look!

Stuff to buy (and it has a nifty goat logo thingy on it!)

Over there


Click on the link. Buy lots of stuff. Be happy.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Why I'm a "Big Hall" guy

I heard on CNN this morning that Pope John Paul II was on the "fast track" to sainthood. I guess this is becoming common practice as they also fast tracked Mother Teresa, waiving the mandatory 5 year waiting period.


Did everyone here that? A 5 year waiting period. What does that make me think of? What should that make everyone think of? All together now...that's right, the baseball Hall of Fame. So naturally the first thought that came to mind, upon hearing that the former Pope was gonna be saintitized was, how hard is it to be sainted as compared to getting into the Hall? Should I be more impressed with JP2 or another Cardinal, like Ozzie Smith (or maybe Enos Slaughter)?

Like I do with everything, let's break it down. The Grace and Wayne way.

A little googling revealed what my quasi-Catholic education left out, and that was the rules for sainthood. And let me tell you, it is tough stuff. At least on the surface, I can see why people want to be saints. Here are a few of the rules (there are more):
  1. The afforementioned 5 year waiting period after "retirement", after which one can be considered for sainting
  2. The candidate must live a life of heroic virtue and asceticism and be a model of Catholic virtue (I know I said virute twice, but it is a good word)
  3. Must perform not one, but two posthumous miracles (i.e. the miracle must occur after the candidate died as a result of praying to the would-be saint) and these miracles must be scientifically verified.
  4. Or one can scratch all that if the person is a martyr.
Now don't even get me started on the whole "scientifically verified" miracle thing. And it has to be posthumous. That seems about as iron-clad as the "character clause" in the baseball Hall of Fame requirements. Speaking of baseball requirements, what does one generally need to be elected to the Hall?
  1. 300 wins or
  2. 500 homers or
  3. 3000 hits or
  4. glaucoma
Now, call me crazy, but I don't see any sort of requirements for miracles or death there. And so it follows to reason that there would be more people in the baseball Hall of Fame than the Christian Hall of Fame, right? Oh, but that is not so.

Including baseball pioneers (like Daniel Boone) and umpires and all that, there are 260 people in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, just looking at the "A"'s in the Saints index, I get almost 1400 saints. If we assume 1400 candidates for all 26 letters, that is roughly 36000 saints! Even if we acknowledge that letters like "X" probably don't have an many saints listed (after Xavier and Xylophone I got nothing) there are still probably 30,000. That is 100 times more saints than baseball HOFers!

But wait, you say, baseball has only been around for 140 years and sainthood includes all of Christian history. Well, Christians have been around for about 2000 years, and so that only explains a factor of 10, and so there is still the one order of magnitude left unaccounted for. Hell, even if we go back to the beginning of time, that is only about 5000 years, and so that definitely doesn't make up for it either. I think we are all going to have to face the fact that there are many more saints than HOFers, and that might just be a sign that they need to loosen up the voting a bit (*cough* Santo *cough*).

So, come on voters, let's do like the Catholics do. Beautify those players that deserve it, like Santo and Blyleven, Sutter and Goosage, and of course, the Hawk. I mean, seriously, those men may not have all been saints, but they sure were great ballplayers.

--------Update (2:30 PM)---------------

As Publius was kind enough to point out in the comments section, the actual numbers are as follows:

6.33 Saints per year
1.93 HOFers per year

so you are over three times as likely to become a Saint than a Hall of Famer. This is why steriods are such a popular option (for the ballplayers, not the martyrs).

Thursday, May 12, 2005


The New Kids in Town

Hey Everybody! Let's meet the Washington Nationals! (or: Meet your new team, same as the old team)

Just last year the Nationals were a team with no home and no future. They were a hair's bredth away from being contracted and were the political whipping boy of MLB (now the Twins have that honor. Get those boys a new stadium, stat!) . Now they are the darlings of the National League and are selling merchandise by the truckload. Not only are they popular, but they are 20-18, which is a far-sight better than our beloved Cubbies.

The question for this quasi-preview is, why are they so above average? Well, let's take it piece by piece.

The Pitching

According to the Cubdom, the Nationals have very solid starting pitching and not much bullpen. They rank fourth in starters' ERA, but the bullpen ERA is fifth to last and actually worse than the Cubs (gasp!). Unfortunately, the Cubs are running into the Nationals' best pitchers in Esteban Loiza, Livan Hernandez, and John Patterson (the pitcher, not the writter) who have ERAs of 3.69, 4.02, and 2.65 respectively. Are they as good as their ERA's indicate? Well, there is nothing obvious to suggest that Patterson or Loiza are figments of small sample size, but Livan is a ticking time bomb. He has given up almost as many walks as strikeouts and is striking out less than 5 men per 9 innings. So, if the Cubs are going to scratch out a win in this series, he will be their best shot. The bullpen ERA has been marred by a few truly horrendous outings, but they have some excellent pitchers in the 'pen. Chad Cordero, Hector Carrasco, and Gary Majewski have all three excelled out of the pen, so I wouldn't read too much into the high bullpen ERA.

The Hitting

The Nationals have a few hitters that have been doing very well, and defying all the laws of physics, Vinny Castilla is one of them. He seems to have forgotten that he was a product of Coors Field would is in his decline phase (lucky for us Burnitz seems to have forgotten the same thing). The Nationals' best hitter is Nick Johnson (BA: .328, OBP: 441) who has yet to end his season with an injury (just give him time). Until he gets hit with his annual injury, there is no reason to think that Johnson is going to fall off of his pace appreciably. He has always been a good hitter with excellent patience. The big power threat on this team is Jose Guillen with 8 homers and he's batting over .300 to boot. Whatever progress he made as an Angel, he has carried with him to Washington. Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson round out the good part of the lineup and are having solid seasons. The only major hole in the Nationals' lineup is Christian Guzman who has picked up where he left off in Minnesota...and sucked. He is playing like Neifi (but not like Neifi!).

The Analysis

The Cubs have drawn the Nationals' three best pitchers and are playing on the road (in a pitcher's park). None of this spells good things for the Cubs offense, so the pitching is going to have to be on the ball. The Nationals have a very solid lineup and have been playing good ball of late. I'm afraid the Cubs will struggle to win more than one game in this series, but I'm naturally hoping for 2 out of 3. Even if the Cubs can only manage one win it will still be interesting to see the new stadium and uniforms and all that, so all will not be lost.

Cubs play tomorrow at 6:05 CT. Go Cubs!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


News and Notes

The Cubs had a tremendous game last night, winning by a score of 7-0 on the back of great pitching by Maddux and many homers from various Cubs (two from Corey!). So, given this, it seems only fitting that I ignore the Cubs and see what else is going on around the world.

Reid doesn't back down from calling Bush a loser

As noted on the Drudge Report, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was not particularily apologetic about calling Bush a frickin' loser (the "frickin'" part is mine). While he did not sound particularily contrite following his remark, he did call Karl Rove to apologize, at which point Rove grudgingly scratched Reid off his "To Kill" list.

Dell chairmen puts $99.5 Million in Red Hat

...a move I would have advised against. I keep all my money in a big building called a "bank." Ha ha, just kidding folks! You see, I was just making a pun about the fact that Red Hat, the biggest distributor of Linux, sounds like red hat, a hat that is red. It would be silly to put your money in a hat! It's just silly fun, guys!

Actually, it is a big deal that Dell, the largest manufacturer of computers, is investing in Linux, Microsoft's biggest competitor. Sort of a slap in the face to ol' Bill, if I do say so myself.

...and with that, Gates quietly adds Michael Dell to his "To Kill" list.

Blogger's conference emphasizes tools of reporting

CNN's sub-headline reads: Bloggers -- those Internet-based writers without rules -- are fighting back against criticism that their work is unreliable, libelous or just poorly done.

One blogger scoffed at the idea that blogs were a poor excuse for journalism, noting that response had been very positive to his recent post detailing how his neighbor was using his weed-whacker before 7 am which was clearly against the rules set down in his sub-division's bylaws.

According to the article, more than 8 million people write blogs. A recent survey indicates that only 7.5 million of those were either unreliable, libelous, or poorly done. I think today's entry here at the Corner of Grace and Wayne has hit all three of the above categories. In describing today's post, I would also throw in "trite" and "unoriginal." I pride myself in aligning myself with the majority, I just pity all you fools that read this post all the way through (fools!).
I would have attended the conference myself, but being held accountable for one's writting is hard, and I much prefer being libelous and unreliable. Blogging is much more fun than actual journalism.

That's all from here, folks. Sort of a weak effort from me today. What can I say, slow news day. Oh, I know, maybe a picture of a puppy in a lounge chair would help:

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Steroid Update

Todd Jones, defender of the poor, oppressed, white, straight male has ventured his opinion on whether he thinks steriod testing has had an affect on baseball:

"Unfortunately I do. I hate it, but there has been a correction made in the system, and the numbers are going to suffer for a couple of years," he said Monday. "I hate to admit it because I didn't want to. I'm as disappointed as any fan would be that it's going to end up showing to be the truth. But it's got to be good for the game to get back to an even playing field. I just didn't realize how deep it was."

The evidence? The evidence lies in the fact that home runs are down 8.8% from last year. In 460 games this year, players have hit 1.97 homers per game as opposed to 2.16 homers per game through the first 459 games last year. Clearly this is a big difference, right? ESPN and many other news organizations have grabbed these numbers and nestled them in between comments from concerned former players. The only voice of dissent:

"I think five weeks is too short a statistical sample to draw any conclusions," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

Is Bob DuPuy right? Is this too small a statistical sample to draw a conclusion? Well, we are all scientists here, so let's find out. It is easy enough to figure out the statistic error in all of this (figuring out any other errors would be nearly impossible). Taking the square root of the number of games played to be the statistical error, we get about a 4.6% statistical error on the games played. This is pretty conservative, but better to be conservative when steriods are on the line.

So, if we factor in the statistical error, we get: 1.97 +/- 0.09 hr/gm in 2005 as opposed to 2.16 +/- 0.1 hr/gm in 2004. In case anyone at ESPN.com is reading this...you shouldn't quote a number without its error or we will all call sample size on you.

So those are the new values we are considering. But the question is still out there, is this significant? Is this likely a statistical fluctuation or is it something real? Well, if we subtract the two numbers we get 0.19 hr/game difference and the new error becomes 0.13 hr/game. The significance is given by just dividing these two numbers and we get 1.46. This is known as a 1.46 sigma significance. In science, we don't really consider this anything more than a statistic fluctuation until we hit about 3 sigma. So, Todd et al., there is a long way to go before you or anyone else can call this anything more than a random blip in the home run continuum. Call me at the end of the season and we'll see if there is anything real going on.

What I also find sort of funny is that their little sidebar graphic also shows that from 2001-2002 the number of homers per game dropped from 2.31 to 1.93 when supposedly everyone was still juicing. Where is the explaination for that? 71% of ESPN Nation disagree with me and agree with Todd Jones, according to the poll on their page. A few well placed numbers can be a dangerous thing.

So, in conclusion, there is no evidence that steriod testing has had any effect and I am a huge nerd. I'm glad we settled that.


Reader Mail

Periodically I get reader mail, and although I read everything, I couldn't possible respond to all of it. So, C1Alis and ViAGrrra, I didn't ignore your questions regarding Wood and his lasting power, I have just been busy. But one of the questions I commonly receive concerns the health of the Cubs. Given the importance of health to the Cubs this year, let's go to the mailbag and see what we see:


What really irks me about baseball is the fragility of players. It just seems that baseball players get injured a lot more frequently than athletes in other sports which I can’t understand because the sport is not as “intense” as football or basketball or hockey. Is it that they do not train adequately? Furthermore, it seems that when a baseball player is injured, he spends more time out than athletes in other sports. In fact, many athletes in other sports continue to play even when injured.

I can understand a pitcher being injured because of the stress a pitcher’s body is under. But, there is no excuse for any other position player to strain hamstrings, tear their groins, etc. These people are athletes and should be in shape. Hell, I go out and run and lift weights and play sports informally and I don’t constantly injure myself. I just can’t understand it. It seems like everyday a player becomes injured. It drives me wild and it seems to have gotten worse over the last few years (although I have no evidence to back up that assertion). These people are being paid to take care of themselves and they simply don’t.

What do you think?


Alright, Joe, let's break it down. After all, you came to me to access my wealth of knowledge, and access you will. So let's get accessing.

Do I think that baseball players are more fragile than players in other sports? Probably. After all, hockey and basketball are pretty tough sports and there are less injuries in basketball and hockey. The NHL has had exactly zero injuries so far this year and the Pacers were the only team to have significant injuries this year in the NBA (or so it seemed, at least). For this study were just going to look at the NBA and ignore the NHL because, as we all know, hockey is dumb.

Googling "injury reserve list" and "NBA", I pulled up an injury transaction report from 2001. Nice work google! (speaking of google, did you notice the google ads? I don't think I'm allowed to encourage you to randomly click on them, but I've heard that if you do, candy comes out of the computer screen. I'm just saying...) What this injury report revealed to me was that, on a given day, each team had between 1 and 5 players on the injured reserve list and between 0.5 and 2.5 of those players were actually injured. This crop of injured players consisted of between 8.3-41.7% of the NBA roster. Clearly this is a large number of players, thus demonstrating that NBA players are pretty much weenies.

But the question was really about baseball players. Does it really take nothing more than a hangnail to send a baseball player crying to the bench? And why are they always tweaking their muscles (hamstrings, mostly)? And what is a hamstring? Mmmm...ham. Sorry, I'm getting sidetracked. Where was I? Ah yes, the eternal question: why are baseball players always getting injured when they rarely move more than 4-8 feet at a time?

I have many theories, and all are steeped in science, so you are not permitted to argue with them (you can't dispute science). My first theory has to do with the flow of the game. Baseball players spend 95% of the game standing around and re-adjusting their cups (at least that's what I think they're doing) and 4.5% of their time trying not to get caught picking their collective noses. The other half a percent of their time involves running at full speed (or if they are really scrappy, at 110% of their top speed). Muscles aren't meant to go from rest to full speed without a proper warm-up and stretching (and, if possible, pilates). The players do stretch before the games but, as I can attest to as an elite athelete, the muscles quickly retract back into little muscle-wads. NBA players don't have quite the same problem as they tend to keep moving throughout the game and their muscles stay warm (no wads for them). I would say this is almost certainly the reason for the majority of little strains and tears that are so common...that and steriods.

Another thing to consider is the way baseball players are selected. Baseball scouts look at a players athletic ability as only a part of their "make-up." Other factors include their swing, hand-eye coordination, and their "make-up." NBA players are only drafted if they are excellent athletes (or 7'6") while baseball has drafted John Kruk, Cecil Fielder and his son, and Hector Villanueva (we aren't selling jeans here, people). Hand-eye coordinating is the most important thing in hitting and throwing hard is the most important thing in pitching and none of these require the ability to touch one's toes (or see one's toes, for that matter). So, yes, the caliber of athlete is probably lower in MLB than the NBA and that could lead to more injuries.

A final reason why players could be injured more often in baseball than in the NBA is the consistency of the baseball season. Rarely does a player get a day off (unless that player is managed by Dusty Baker) simply because there are very few off-days in baseball. The NBA rarely has two games in a row. Muscles generally require 48 hours to recover after physical activity, but in baseball you don't get that sort of time to recover. It is a grind. And in the course of a grind, one is bound to get tweaked on occasion. That's just the nature of a grind (or at least any grind I know).

And so, Joe, there is the exhaustingly researched answer to your question. To summarize: most baseball players are not actually girls. Just Jim Edmonds.

and they are all on steriods. except Jim Edmonds. He's on estrogen (horse estrogen, but estrogen nonetheless).

Thanks for the e-mail, Joe, and to all the readers out there: I'm always here to answer your questions on baseball and life. I have all the answers you seek. Go Cubs (please).

Monday, May 09, 2005


Hello, hello, hello...is there anybody out there?

Just nod if you can hear me. (don't really nod, I can't actually see you and you will just look like an idiot)

Now that my rather pointless musical reference has put us all in the mood, I can finally get to writing. With my legion of loyal fans dwindling (which is probably better than what they normally do), I thought that it might be a good idea to finally write something to attempt to reclaim my title of "King of all Media" (I'm pretty sure that's what everyone calls me. King of something, anyway). Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've started to babble again. The point is I'm back to writing again. I was sick last week, the Cubs were losing, and none of that made me want to write but I'm better now and so are the Cubs...so let's get on with it already.

Cubs Win

I think the heading above says it all (Cubs win). When you really, really need a win, you call on Carlos. Carlos is also the guy to call when you need to move a wagon, because he is clearly strong as an ox (or so everyone says). Hopefully this proves to be true. He threw many pitches yesterday and we all have to hope that he recovers nicely from his extended stay on the mound and feels no ill-effects. Just to be clear, I don't think the 130+ pitches he threw yesterday were out of line - that was a must win game. There was no way that anyone in the bullpen had better potential to close that game out than Z, especially since he was still chucking it at 96+ mph. Just a super-duper performance by Big Z.

Cubs' Closer

Maybe I should just get a rotating banner that cycles though all the names in the bullpen. Apparently, today the closer will be Dempster. He is very excited by this and thinks he has the mentality for the role. My personal favorite mentality for the role? The "I'm not going to give up an runs" mentality. Dempster claims that walking people doesn't bother him and that shows he will be solid in the role. I don't follow the logic. Oh well, good luck Dempster and hurry back Borowski.

Cubs' Starter

The starter today will be Jon Leicester which should make the closer discussion a moot point. Because, you see, a closer is only really important when one has a lead (and those type of insights are why you've all come to this site). I'm sort of hoping for rain so that we don't have to use Leicester in a role he has not excelled at this year (pitching) and can move right on to Maddux. Then again, I still have to ride my bike home today, so maybe the rain can hold off. Either way, someone is going to have to suffer - better him than me.

Cubs' Rookie

It looks like Jason DuBois is finally going to get his shot. The Cubs have officially stated that they are sending Holly to the bench, and DuBois into the starting lineup. I'm not exactly sure how this will work out (it will work out well), but DuBois can't do any worse than Hollandsworth's .220 BA and no power. He should hit pretty decently, field pretty poorly, and run pretty slowly and all these will add up to an average outfielder...and that will be nice. DuBois is Free!!

Cub Scout

Sorry, I got carried away. Ignore this section.

Reason for Hope

There is a definite reason for optimism (which only the lucky few that read the whole entry get to experience) going into today's game. While I was riding the el a few days back, I noticed a hard-water stain in the form of a Star-Belly'd Sneetch.

I think we are all on the same page here...this is no coincidence. Hard-water stains don't just "happen" to look like lovable Dr. Seuss characters. This, my friends, is a miracle. It took me awhile to figure out the exact meaning of this miracle. How did this apply to my life? Did it mean that I should look to get a Star on my belly? (that would be so sweet)

But then it all became clear to me. Dr. Seuss's real name is Theodore Seuss Geisel. Theodore is the first name of the GM for Boston. Boston won the World Series last year. And the rest is obvious. Clearly this miracle was put there to re-affirm my faith (and all of our faith) in the Cubs. Oh, the Goat has challenged our faith recently, no doubt. But we must hold strong. This is the year, and the proof is before us. You just have to have faith.

Someone get me a candle and a goat...I'm building me a shrine.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


What's that? Cubs? What?

Ooo, look! Shiny Object!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Strained Wood

Great name for a band or not, this is unfortunate for the Cubs. Sort of.

Wood was clearly not feeling too well. He had been shelled recently and it wasn't just because of poor control. He was getting hit too, which is pretty rare for Wood (and a bit of an indicator of the problems to come). Now we are not going to see Wood pitch for at least 5-6 weeks which, if I understand my calendar, puts his return at mid-June.

I find it hard to be too broken up over this. Rusch is likely to be much better than an injured Wood and for the next three weeks we are only going to need four starters anyway. That means only 2-3 weeks of a rotation including both Rusch and Dempster/Mitre (which will be a pretty ugly rotation).

The real key isn't going to be what Rusch does, or Dempster, or any of the other filler players the Cubs run out there. The key is going to be the performance of Prior, Zambrano, and Maddux over the next few months. Prior has been exceptional except for one flukey inning, but Zambrano has been far too mercurial for my taste. I've come to expect nothing but sustained excellence out of both of these players, dammit, and it's about time they deliver. Maddux has been okay this year, and I'm just hoping he has something left in the ol' tank.

The final point worth noting regarding the Wood injury is that it is a strain to the rotator cuff. That, I'm sorry to say, is bad mojo. There is no Tommy John equivalent for a rotator cuff injury and such an injury can be quite perilous to one's career. So all we can do is hope that rest helps out the shoulder injury and he doesn't need surgery at any point. A Kerry Wood that doesn't throw hard is hardly a Kerry Wood at all.

The Cubs are at Milwaukee today. Game time 7:05. Hopefully the Cubs can win a couple of these games.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Only one word for the Neifi! for All-Star campaign


Neifi! has one month of good play under his belt. The All-Star game is in July. If somehow the Bleed Cubbie Blue and Cub Reporter write-in campaigns succeed, then the NL is going to be trotting a .250 hitting journeyman shortstop out there alongside Scott Rolen. I'm as happy as anyone that Neifi! has been so good (actually, it totally annoys me) but people are kidding themselves if they think it will continue. He is just not a very good player.

There. That entry should be enough to propel Neifi! to another month of .300+ baseball. I do what I can.


Looks like I picked the wrong season to quit sniffing glue

The faint haze of a slight cold has its advantages: everything feels somewhat like a dream sequence. It gives me a chance pretend that this last month was only a product of too much falafel before bedtime rather than a result of Dusty's pixie dust.

Wasn't this team supposed to sport one of the best pitching staffs in the National League? Wasn't that supposed to make up for an anemic offense? Well, the offense has been better that expected (thank you Derrek Lee), but the pitching staff hasn't kept up its end. And frustration is starting to set in for this poor goatrider.

But change is in the air my friends, and it smells like Wood is heading to the DL. He is sure to miss a start at first, but once it is clear that he needs further bedrest for his weary right arm, he will be shuttled off to the DL. Unless the upcoming MRI shows actual damage, I would expect Wood to stay on the DL for the minimum 15 days, and then return to the rotation (which not long ago would have been a good thing).

You want to hear something amazing? Wood is only 27. I find that amazing, as it seems like he should be at least 29. Actually, given his brittleness, it seems like he should be 49 (but that is neither here nor there). I'm thinking if he can make it another couple of seasons without a career ending surgery we are going to see Wood have a huge season...right about the time he signs with the Braves.

Speaking of bad pitchers with arm problems, Dempster should be seeing some bullpen time pretty soon. The Cubs might plan to possibly install Dempster as the closer d'jour with Rusch maybe moving into the rotation (even for this intrepid reporter, it is hard to get straight answers out of the Cubs). Would Dempster be good as the Cubs' closer(s)? Probably not, but he can't really be worse than Hawkins. Plus, Hawkins will move back to his happy place and Rusch will get to start, where he would offer the Cubs the most utility. All this is made possible by a very generous schedule where the Cubs will have 3 off days in the next three weeks, which allows them to release Wood back into his natural habitat (the DL, naturally. But that was obvious, right?) and go with four starters.

So just to recap, here is out new pitching staff if everything I mentioned above comes to fruition (never gonna happen):



Could be worse, actually. I feel better with Rusch in the rotation than Wood right now, and when Wood is healthy (ETA:2007) he can slide into the fifth starter role.

The Cubs have an important 3 game series against Milwaukee coming up (as it turns out, they are all important) and have a decent shot at taking 2 out of 3 against Milwaukee. Lyle Overbay should be questionable for the series as he required 17 stiches after taking a header into a wall, opening a new orific on his face. That will lead into a six game home stand against Philly and New York, two teams that have stuggled slighly more than the Cubs. We have a chance to have a decent next 9 games, but I always say that and it never really works out that way. So I will make no predictions and rather just say that I hope things start to turn around. The Cubs are just 3.5 games out, so it is not like all is lost. It just seems that way sometimes.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


This is getting eerie

...I've gotten all the scores but none of the details right. I've got the forest but not the trees.

oh well, get 'em nxt time.

Happy Saturday everyone and Go Cubs!!!

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