Thursday, December 28, 2006

This Is the Way It Is?

For reasons that need not be expouned on here, I receive emails (mostly fundraising) for the Drug Policy Alliance, and I was blown away (to put it bluntly, pun(s) intended) by who I recently got a missive from the Most Trusted Man in America:

Dear (my name here),
In my career as a journalist I knew how to recognize a good story and jump on it. When opportunity knocks, we must respond.
That's why I wanted to make sure you knew about a special opportunity to support the Drug Policy Alliance -- your tax-deductible gift today will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donor. That means your investment in national drug policy reform will go twice as far toward building a new foundation of reason, compassion and justice. But please hurry - the dollar-for-dollar match ends December 31.

As part of the DPA community, you already know that we are at the forefront of efforts to expose the waste, brutality and civil liberties invasions of the war on drugs. We are also among the leaders in advancing creative alternatives and new policies, solutions that work and help people, rather than suppress our personal freedoms and swell our jails.

There is hope for significant reform in 2007, and the Drug Policy Alliance will press forward to tell the American people the truth - "the way it is." That's why I strongly urge you to renew your support or become a member today.

Americans are paying too high a price in lives and liberty for a failing war on drugs about which our leaders have lost all sense of proportion. The Drug Policy Alliance is the one organization telling the truth. They need you with them every step of the way.

And that's the way it is.

Walter Cronkite

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What Would You Say?

According to the Associated Press, the Dave Matthews Band is hoping to play Wrigley Field July 8 & 9. They are getting clearance from the City Council before they announce.

Sign. Me. Up.

Though Wrigleyville will be overwhelmed with people, like it was 2003 again, most of the DMB fans will be hard-pressed to get into the bars…

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Even though they played a Western Michigan team that seemed as spirited and hard working as Indiana, the sheer level of talent and shooting allowed Indiana to escape with an eight point victory.

Indiana was coming off what I will call a quality win over Southern Illinois, and Western Michigan has more Indiana natives than the Hoosiers, so they were playing with extra gusto.

Now, two games against the bottom feeders in the fictional Hoosier State Conference, IUPUI and Ball State, where Indiana holds a 1-1 record, before the Big Ten opener against the intimidating Greg Oden.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh Lilly, Lilly, Lilly, Lilly, Legs, Lilly, Lilly

$44,000,000.00 for four years.

That is a lot of money.

More in one year than his combined lifetime earnings.

He was on the 2004 American League All-Star team, though he did not pitch. Carlos Zambrano did pitch for the National League, and Alfonso Soriano was the MVP.

Still a lot of money for a pitcher one game over .500.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let's Get Him a Hanky that Says "World Champions" to Cheer Him Up

Apparently now that Albert Pujols has won a World Series, he can dedicate the remainder of his career to playing for a team of one, himself.

Taking a cue from once-pouting superstar Frank Thomas, the 13th round pick bitches at a Dominican sports conference, whatever that is, that he didn’t win the Most Valuable Player award. He thinks that only players from playoff teams deserve it.

He also went on to start a campaign for the Hall of Fame. This appears to be a safe bet, and therefore, simply another self-serving, unnecessary, me-first move.

Unless, of course, the whispers a la Mark McGwire grow louder.

I used to actually kinda like Pujols, who seemed to be a solid team guy and totally clutch, even if the team happens to be those filthy Cardinals. Now, he may as well be Jim Edmonds.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There Are No Moral Victories

It must be karma.

Because the painters are in the house, and my pregnant wife cannot handle the fumes, and because a radiologists convention took most of the hotel rooms in the city limits, I had to DVR (not TIVO, as will become obvious) the IU-Duke game while I was getting the Missus settled into her suburban hotel. Don't ask. It is a long and painful story.

Last year I watched the game on TIVO, but only after a long drive, and fast-forwarded through most of it.

In 2002, I had shattered my kneecap the morning of the Sweet 16 game, so I listened to nurses in the recovery room update me with the score. I spent the remainder of the Final Four on vocodin. Not a bad tradeoff.

This year, I got home and switched the game on. Nothing. The DVR, or as I called it then, that piece of shit, had screwed up and I couldn't watch it. Same with the last five shows I had set to record.

I turned on ESPN, and got to watch the last two minutes. I was heartened to see IU was very much in it, but beyond frustrated that I missed the first 38 minutes. Coach Sampson seems to have the guys busting their asses, though nine days of practice can make you ready for any opponent. Being at Duke doesn't hurt when it's time to get adrenaline.

Tough loss, but one to grow on, as they said on Saturday morning. And Illinois, with their loathsome, cheap imitation of the Duke student section, lost.

Beat Charlotte!

Monday, November 20, 2006

And He Wears #12, Just Like Shawon Dunston!

Soriano CF
DeRosa 2B
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
Jones RF
Barrett C
Murton LF
Izturis SS
Zambrano P

Or, Murton leads off and Soriano bats second. It really doesn’t matter. The Cubs added a 40-40 guy in his prime, and who brings energy and excitement to the game.

There will be nit-pickers, of course, but this was the best everyday player available, and they got him.

His contract, big at 8 years and $136,000,000.00, but that is OK, as it is actually where the market is and was. Sammy Sosa averaged $16M for four years on his last contract, so this is not entirely outlandish. Scary, but true.

Best line from Phil Rogers of the signing:

You knew the Cubs were serious about upgrading their roster when they talked Piniella into replacing Dusty Baker, who must want to strangle someone these days.

Tough break, Dude.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Beware the In-State Rival (2006 edition)

So, Indiana got beat. They looked terrible at times, especially on offense, and played an inspired tea. The team looked like they were not used to playing with each other and in this new offense. Also, it looks like the offense will come to a standstill without D.J. White, and even when he is in, the guards seemed to have a real hard time getting him the ball.

Skip Myslenski either drank the Kool-Aid or found some bright spots, and he is not an Indiana guy:

There is bound to be a toughness about a guy forged by these types of experiences (crazy road trips), which is just the virtue Sampson now is busy force-feeding his Hoosiers. They don't have it yet. That was proven Tuesday when they were undone by some ludicrous officiating, by their inefficiency down the stretch and by unyielding Butler, which grabbed its victory in a second-round game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

So, no trip to New York, and a real sense of urgency against Indiana State and Chicago State (how dare they play at the same time as the Bears?!).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Cub-Centric Assessment of the Cy Young Voting

So, Brandon Webb, he of the 16-8 record and 3.10 ERA, wins the NL Cy Young Award. More interestingly, to me, is where Big Z ended up. Fifth!

Webb, 27, finished the season with a 16-8 record and 3.10 ERA in 33 starts. His 16 wins tied five other pitchers -- the Reds' Aaron Harang, the Dodgers' Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, the Braves' John Smoltz and the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano -- for the most victories in the National League. Webb's win total marked the lowest for a starting pitcher who won the Cy Young in a full season. Sutcliffe won 16 in 1984, but that was after a trade.

Now, I suppose Webb deserves it as much as the other 16 game winners, but I do not understand those that came in 2nd through 4th.

Trevor Hoffman – This appears to be a Lifetime Achievement Award, as the two times I remember hearing his name this season were for BAD outings. First, in the All-Star Game, which he coughed up for the National League (don’t tell me he wasn’t under pressure like a regular season game), and against the Dodgers on September 18, when he gave up the last two of four consecutive home runs in blowing a 4 run ninth inning lead on the way to a 10-inning loss.

Chris Carpenter – Pitches for the Cardinals. I hate him.

Roy Oswalt – I just don’t like him, but I have no rational reason for saying he didn’t deserve the nod over Zambrano, except that Zambrano won the Silver Slugger and overcame a winless April, when he went 0-2 with a 5.35 ERA in six starts, to earn Pitcher of the Month honors with a 6-0 July.

Lafayette, We Are Here

Though they started like a house of fire, they were slowed down by a bunch of over officious jerks, and then had to scrap there way through it before hitting some shots and beating a likely-lousy Lafayette team.

Apparently Notre Dame is bad too, as they lost to Butler, so IU plays Butler tonight for a trip to NYC, and likely a game against Tennessee.

Dick Vitale was doing the game, so he parachuted in with his typical “the Assembly Hall should be named for Robert Montgomery Knight” prattle. Knight, meanwhile, was his typical self in his first game.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back from the 70s

The Cubs added Ivan DeJesus to Lou Piniella’s coaching staff. They say special assistant to the manager, so I don’t exactly know the difference.

Traded with Bill Buckner from Dodgers to the Cubs for Rick Monday, he was the biggest stolen base threat the Cubs of the late 70s had. He was also in the lineup every day.

He was traded to Philadelphia for Larry Bowa, and, oh yeah, Ryne Sandberg.

Let’s hope he gets his #11 jersey, and that his thigh muscles are as huge as I remember them. Or was it that his waist was so small?
Bonus on the picture: notice the empty upper deck. It truly was a different era.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Turn Back the Clock Day

It’s always interesting to see what people you knew or were acquainted with in college are doing now:

When I was a freshman at IU, we shared phones with our next door neighbor, and at Foster Magee, there were lots of athletes, and two football players lived next door, and my roommate, Doug Skonicki, and I were often taking turns taking messages for the fellows.

Thanks to a Google search, I find that Doug, who was last seen by me getting piss drunk (literally) and playing Molly Hatchett and Mountain on his turntable, is a graduate of the Harvard Arts & Sciences East Asian Languages and Civilizations program and winner of a seemingly prestigious
award. Kudos to him.

But, one of our neighbors eventually played in the NFL. So, just as a goof recently, I Google searched him. Turns out Ian Beckles parlayed his football days, mostly with the Buccaneers and
Eagles, into a radio career. (that's him at right guard agaisnt the Bears, #62) I thought I would just get info about Ian’s stats, and was pleasantly surprised to see him still out there working in sports. I remember I told my sports agent friend to sign him up…

The story I heard about Ian that I always doubted was that, in junior college in Kansas, after a night of drinking, he went into a McDonald’s, sat down next to someone, and began eating his meal.

My only real humorous (to me) story involving Ian was during Little 500 week when an intoxicated me was given the shaving cream treatment by the aforementioned Harvard grad Skonicki and some others. I was pissed. As I left the bathroom after having cleaned up and puked up some black stuff, Ian just laughed long and hard. I responded with a sneering “Fuck You.” His face went immediately blank, and then a bit angry, before laughing even harder than before.

Ah, memories.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A World Series Ring Doesn't Make the Town Any Less Wretched

OK, the fact is that the Cardinals won the World Series, making Mark McGwire’s pal a genius again. I cannot change that.

But, look at these Cardinal fans and their tattoos. Yeah, if it means looking lioke that, I will do without my championship.

Thanks to
Joe’s Sports Page for finding these monstrosities. Let’s hope they do not reproduce. Or vote.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Save December 29 on your Calendar

That's when Indiana will most likely go bowling, most likely in Phoenix or Orlando, after thrashing the hapless Michigan State Spartans. Already, it appears too rich for my blood to go to either place, but I have an Orbitz deal detector in place just in case.

Unlike the team, I can put the cart before the horse. IU must win one of its next three, and its games are at a bad Minnesota team, home for a Michigan team that should be looking ahead to its game agaisnt Ohio State the next week, and at Purdue, a team that has scored a total of 3 points in its last two games.
I must admit, I was skeptical of the rah rah stuff from Coach Terry Hoeppner, but I have bought in. The guy had brain surgery, and the team lost the two games he missed, and then they come back agaisnt an admittely awful Illinois team, but beat a ranked Iowa team. I mean, whipped them. Kellen Lewis, a Florida guy who only was offered a scholarship to play QB at Indiana, is making the most of it, and looks better each week. And, he is only a freshman.

If they play in the Insight Bowl (6th place in Big 10), it wil be a Big 12 opponent, if it's the Champs Sports Bowl (5th Place) in Orlando, it will be the ACC. Miami? Florida State? Boston College?

Let's just beat Minnesota..., but if we come in 4th, the Alamo Bowl! Against Nebraska?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Girls of One Tree Hill

As I see who comes to this site, it is almost always someone looking for nude photos of Danneell Harris. Well, turns out the girls posed for Maxim. The show itself is pretty wretched. But does it really matter?

Here are the photos I found…still no nudes, so if google brought you here, sorry!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"We’re going to win here. That’s the end of the story."

"Uncle" Lou Piniella was introduced as Cubs manager today. Now, I won't say he is my first choice, I do think it means that there is a REAL sense of urgency. Some of my favorite quotes, besides the one up top:

I’m a fiery manager. I want to have fun, but I do make it demanding.

Player talent wins.

On On-Base Percentage:
My philosophy is to get 8 midgets and walk all the time.

Some names that have already been mentioned, as the Cubs will undoubtedly increase payroll (it had to be a part of Piniella's willingness to take the job): Moyer, A-Rod, Lee Elia, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano.


How Great Was That Game?

Thanks to and Elias, we know:

• The Bears' comeback from 20 points behind was the largest deficit overcome by any NFL team in a win which advanced a perfect start to 6-0 or better. The previous largest was 17 points by the 2005 Colts against the Rams to bring the Colts to 6-0, and also by the 2003 Chiefs vs. the Packers to go 6-0.

It was the first game in NFL history in which the winning team came back from a deficit of 20 or more points by means of three touchdowns on returns.

It was the first win in Bears history in which they trailed by at least 20 points in the second half.

• The Cardinals are the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games in one season after leading by at least 14 points at the end of the first quarter in each game.

• In Monday's loss to the Bears, Matt Leinart became the first player in NFL history to throw at least two first-quarter touchdown passes in each of his first two career starts.

Rex Grossman completed only 14 of 37 passes (38%), threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles on Monday and the Bears still won!

The last time a team won on the road while committing as many as six turnovers was almost 20 years ago: on Dec. 21, 1986, the Bears won in Dallas, 24-10, while throwing three interceptions and losing three fumbles.

The last time a team won on the road while completing less than 40 percent of its passes and throwing at least four picks was almost 22 years ago: on Dec. 2, 1984 the Cowboys won in Philadelphia, 26-10, despite Danny White going 8 for 25 with four picks and Tony Dorsett throwing an interception on his only pass.

Devin Hester had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown on Monday night after having an 84-yard touchdown on a punt in the Bears' first game. The only two other rookies in NFL history who had at least two 80-yard punt-return touchdowns in their rookie seasons were George Atkinson for the 1968 Raiders and Craig Yeast for the 1999 Bengals.

• The Bears are only the second team in NFL history to score at least twice on fumbles and at least once on a return of either a kickoff or a punt in one game. On Oct. 25, 1964 the Browns beat the Giants, 42-20, behind fumble-return touchdowns by Paul Wiggin and Charlie Scales and a punt return by Leroy Kelly.

Edgerrin James had a key fumble in the fourth quarter and gained only 55 yards on 36 carries. That's the most carries in one game in NFL history by a player who did not average at least two yards per rush. The old record was set way back on Nov. 25, 1951, by the Giants Eddie Price, who ran 32 times for 47 yards.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Undoing a Mistake Before It's Too Late

According to the Chicago Tribune, top-ranked high school senior Eric Gordon is opting out of his verbal commitment to come to Indiana.

Now, the Cryin’ Illini will bark that Coach Sampson has broken an unwritten rule about (verbally) committed players, but I would suggest to you that this is the exception. Gordon is from Indianapolis, and has always said he wanted to play for Indiana. However, when the UAB coach failed to recruit him, he looked elsewhere, and that elsewhere was Illinois.

Now that Indiana has a new coach, it was Gordon, by all accounts, that first showed interest in IU. Then the dance began. The dance that ended with today’s announcement.

If nothing else, it will rekindle the rivalry that was largely dormant (outside of my family) since Henson and Knight were on the sidelines.

My favorite Henson quote from that period:

Well, what do you expect out of Knight? What do you expect out of him? I mean, he's a classic bully. I was in the -- I was in the locker room, and he jumped on me. I wanted him to come outside. He's a classic bully, I'll tell you. But he comes in and rapes our state, takes our players, then comes back in and treats the people of Illinois like he's treating them. I think he runs over everybody in his path.

Probably true, and stronger than anything you will read in the aftermath of this. Maybe. Here’s a quote from Coach Weber:

“In football, it's always been known to be open game, but that hasn't been the case with us," Weber said this summer when Gordon was getting attention from Indiana. "If you have a kid [verbally] committed, then for that eight or nine months you don't recruit anyone else. So you lose all that time recruiting other kids, because you have one committed. Ask 98 percent of the coaches, and they'll tell you that they stop calling kids once they [verbally commit]. We do. Most do it."


Maybe Gordon got the letter from the Illinois faculty ripping the Chief…

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How many days until November 13?

Now that Indiana football has ended its one-game season undefeated after beating the hapless Fighting Illini, it's on to basketball:

I guess it is to be imagined that in the first story about the team as it begins to prepare for practice (the myth that they cannot yet “practice” but can do “conditioning” is one I will perpetuate here) there will be some attention paid to the differences between Coach Sampson and the current UAB coach. But I did not expect it to be so, well, unsubtle.

But as Ben Allen told the Indy Star, “The big difference this year is there's a lot of discipline and a lot of structure.” Quite an indictment, I would say.

Big Ten Player of the Year (to be) D.J. White echoes those sentiments, even if he was a fan of the old coach, “"It's just the energy," White said. "Everything we do is at the highest level. Whether it's conditioning or individual workouts, it's just at a fast pace at all times.''

A-Rod to the Cubs? Depends on What We Give Up...

Meanwhile, Paul Sullivan makes noise about the Cubs going after A-Rod, and while I have often been a proponent, I cannot make that trade at the cost of Rich Hill. Seems to me that the Yankees need him to go more than the Cubs need him to come. And, you just cannot trade good starting pitching. You can’t. Look at the Tigers.

Felix Pie and Scott Eyre? OK. But not Rich Hill.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Even if it is Lip Service, it is Good to Hear

Paul Sullivan, the wonderfully skeptical (if not cynical) beat writer for the Tribune interviewed new Cub President John McDonough and addressed my situation directly, along with telling us that no jumbotrons were in the “immediate future.”

As a guy who splits 81 game season tickets, I ate probably all four of my tickets for 3-4 games in late August and September, which meant losing a bunch of money, but the fact is, I saved money I would have spent on beer, etc..

The exchange:

Q. Did the empty seats in September jar you, and did it have any affect on the organization?

A. Yes, it did jar me. To me, when you see empty seats that are sold, which most of them I think were, it speaks to apathy and indifference that in some ways they might have given up hope, and for whatever reason they chose to do something else. That has to be changed. It will change.

I hope he speaks the truth, and I tend to believe him, as he is a marketing guy, and knows that empty seats are bad for PR. He was also interviewed on WGN last night, and he left the door wide open to having Steve Stone come back in some capacity, from broadcaster to front office guy.

The only down side to McDonough is his friendship with the disloyal Mark Grace. The buzz is that he wants to come back into the fold, since his Arizona buddy, Thommy Brennaman, is heading to Cincinnati. I sure hope he is not going to replace Bob Brenly if Brenly takes a manager job.

Today's Great Garrison Keillor Column

I would not send my college kid off for a semester abroad if I were you. Last week, we suspended human rights in America, and what goes around comes around. Ixnay habeas corpus.

The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty, decided that an "enemy combatant" is any non-citizen whom the president says is an enemy combatant, including your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to a court of law to examine the matter. If your college kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected of "crimes against the state" and held in prison, you'd assume that an American foreign service officer would be able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer, but this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned.

The Senate also decided it's up to the president to decide whether it's OK to make these enemies stand naked in cold rooms for a couple of days in blinding light and be beaten by interrogators. This is now purely a bureaucratic matter: The plenipotentiary stamps the file "enemy combatants" and throws the poor schnooks into prison and at his leisure he tries them by any sort of kangaroo court he wishes to assemble and they have no right to see the evidence against them, and there is no appeal. This was passed by 65 senators and will now be signed by President Bush, put into effect, and in due course be thrown out by the courts.

It's good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this would have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964--Goldwater, Dirksen, Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright--and you won't find more than 10 votes for it.

None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Ideal. Mark their names. Any institution of higher learning that grants honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor. Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Burr, Carper, Chambliss, Coburn, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeMint, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Frist, Graham, Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Isakson, Johnson, Kyl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Lott, Lugar, Martinez, McCain, McConnell, Menendez, Murkowski, Nelson of Florida, Nelson of Nebraska, Pryor, Roberts, Rockefeller, Salazar, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stabenow, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Thune, Vitter, Voinovich, Warner.

To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott: Mark their names and mark them well. For them, no minstrel raptures swell. High though their titles, proud their name, boundless their wealth as wish can claim, these wretched figures shall go down to the vile dust from whence they sprung, unwept, unhonored and unsung.

Three Republican senators made a show of opposing the bill and after they'd collected all the praise they could get, they quickly folded. Why be a hero when you can be fairly sure that the court will dispose of this piece of garbage.

If, however, the court does not, then our country has taken a step toward totalitarianism. If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it's no longer the United States as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.

I got some insight last week into who supports torture when I went down to Dallas to speak at Highland Park Methodist Church. It was spooky. I walked in, was met by two burly security men with walkie-talkies, and within 10 minutes was told by three people that this was the Bushes' church and that it would be better if I didn't talk about politics. I was there on a book tour for "Homegrown Democrat," but they thought it better if I didn't mention it. So I tried to make light of it: I told the audience, "I don't need to talk politics. I have no need even to be interested in politics--I'm a citizen, I have plenty of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years away from being eligible for military service." And the audience applauded! Those were their sentiments exactly. We've got ours, and who cares?

The Methodists of Dallas can be fairly sure that none of them will be snatched off the streets, flown to Guantanamo Bay, stripped naked, forced to stand for 48 hours in a freezing room with deafening noise. So why should they worry? It's only the Jews who are in danger, and the homosexuals and gypsies. The Christians are doing fine. If you can't trust a Methodist with absolute power to arrest people and not have to say why, then whom can you trust?

Where We Are Now by Tom Tomorrow

Monday, October 02, 2006

"The Clock on the MacPhail-O-Meter has Run Down to Zero"

If you are at this site, you know that the Cubs organization is being razed. Andy McPhail resigned in a bit of a surprise, and Dusty is likely to find out he will not be brought back. Not a firing, technically, as his contract has expired. Neither is McPhail a firing, as he offered his resignation in mid-summer, and Tribune people only now took the opportunity to accept it.

I appreciate the efforts McPhail made, and I applaud his willingness to fall on his sword. If nothing else, it rids the fans of a punching bag. A quote from McPhail:

"It's not just that we had a terrible season. I've been here 12 seasons and only two postseason (appearances) and to me that's not what I came here to do. Obviously, I've not been as effective as I wanted to be."

I am curious about the idea of interim President / marketing guru John McDonough bringing in Steve Stone, as Rozner ponders here.

If nothing else, it would answer the question of how Stoney would do with his money where his mouth is. Apparently McDonough and Stone are close.

Would Hendry survive if Stone came in? I would have to doubt it.

Elsewhere, I took the pregnant wife to her favorite comfort food place, Chili’s (at Ontario and State), on Friday. We saw Juan Pierre there. As he passed I told him I hoped to see him back next year. He kinda mumbled “thanks.” He is certainly not coming back, making that trade even worse.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bottom...As In Last Place, Dude

Asked to compare his current situation and the one that precipitated his departure in San Francisco when he and owner Peter Magowan had differences, Baker said it was obvious.

"Well, I was there a lot longer, you know. I thought I'd be here longer. You always think that," he said.

"It's different because at the end in San Francisco I was negotiating from strength on top and here I'm negotiating from a weaker position from the bottom."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Writing about All Things Bloggish, as they say...

Ø Rich Hill deserves to be in the rotation next year. Since he was called back up, he has been good. Very good. Especially last Saturday, as he threw a shutout as his alma mater trounced the Irish last Saturday.

Ø Ryan Theriot deserves a shot at second next year, assuming lack of power is made up for in other places. Rozner quotes an e-mailer who suggests the Cubs go after Andruw Jones in center, which would allow Murton and Theriot to bat one and two in the lineup. The writer says that the Cubs would have to take Tim Hudson and his big contract as well, but that would just fill another spot in the rotation. Intriguing.

Ø Zambrano’s back must have gotten better fast. I always suspected that he wanted to take a few starts off, but then realized that he still had an outside chance at the Cy Young. Plus, he wanted to pump up his offensive numbers.

Ø A-Ram is playing like he wants Scott Rolen money, and he will likely get it somewhere, including here in Chicago. If he does go, though, he will need to be replaced, and A-Rod might be available. Despite the love for Scott Moore, ask Kevin Orie and Gary Scott about being a rookie third baseman for the Cubs.

Ø October 7 will be the biggest day in the Big Ten season, as that is when Indiana will play Illinois for the 11th spot in the conference. With Illinois losing at home to a team that had lost 12 in a row, and Indiana losing to a 1-AA school (albeit a good 1-AA team), it really will be the unstoppable force against the immovable object.

Ø Super Bowl, Super Bears!

Ø Just got an HDTV, and it is fantastic, especially for sports. Even the Cubs look good. Run right out and get one. Now!

Ø Love the null signs for bullet points, don’t you?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who Wants to See This Woman Naked?

The chief of police in BFD, Oklahoma had to quit because you could see this mess nekkid.

Turns out it is his wife. Poor Bastard.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Super Bears, Super Bowl

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Random Cub Thoughts as the Season Peters Out

> Carlos Zambrano had a bad start on Monday, and, realizing he would not win the Cy Young Award, chose to take himself out of the game, and likely for the season. I don’t really mind saving his arm, but it kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And this is coming from the biggest Zambrano fan you will ever find.

> Love the empty seats and no-shows at the ballpark lately. The best message is an announced crowd that is 8000-10,000 more than it looks like in the ballpark.

> Bad List: Freddie Bynum (both at second and at the plate), Juan Pierre getting caught stealing at third, Ryan Dempster, Michael Wuertz, Ronnie Cedeno brain-dead defense and baserunning, Dusty (obviously)

> Good List: Rich Hill (see you in ’07), Matt Murton (a young Ryne Sandberg who will also eventually hit for power) Joe Girardi, Scott Moore, Ron Santo killing Cedeno over his poor play.

> Apparently, this is not about Dusty Baker.

> Stacey Dash was in Playboy, and is very hot. You can see all of the pics here. No charge.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Saint Louis is Still a Sad, Pathetic Place

So, I checked into the Holiday Inn on the south side of Saint Louis, and because I am a member of the exclusive Priority Club, I was given a free drink ticket at the attached bar-staurant, which is part of a chain, I guess.

The place was empty, which I understand as it was the day after Labor Day. There was an older guy who looked like he was on the road like me, and he was watching the Cardinals' game.

I ordered my free drink, a Rum and Diet Coke with a lime, and I took a sip. It was a combination of flat pop and bad booze. The bartender, maybe 55, asked the guy down the bar if he had ever see the TV show, "House." He hadn't. Apparently, the season premiere was that day, and since her boyfriend had died the week before, she was now without a TiVo, and she couldn't run the VCR.

Yikes. Very sad, I thought, and, if asked, I would have told her to put "House" on. I may have been asked, but didn't stay in the bar long enough. I left half of my drink there, and returned to my room, where it was not so sad.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Deck Chair Tossed Over Side of Team Titanic

When we traded for him, I was not aware of the reputation of Phil Nevin. I then read him described as peevish, which is synonomous with petulant, irritable, snappish.

Bad for the clubhouse, as there were reports that he told the younger players to be a jerk to the media. For a #1 overall draft pick, he sure has been traded a lot.

As the AP tells us: The Minnesota Twins acquired first baseman Phil Nevin and cash from the Chicago Cubs on Thursday for a player to be named, a deal made on the final day players must be in an organization to be eligible for postseason play.

He will NOT be missed.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nice Hustle, Fool or You Can't Help the Team on the DL

I suppose nothing should surprise me about Sox fans. The LHPDW and I were in the bleachers last night and about ten Sox fans, most in some form of Aaron Rowand outfit, though one had his #13 Garcia jersey(?), were there so they could cheer on their team, the White Sox.

Well, not exactly. They were there to cheer on a single player who was traded by the White Sox to the Phillies, yes, Aaron Rowand. The guy who is this generation’s Jim Edmonds, you know, a guy who will dive for every ball, no matter if it means him getting hurt and costing his team by being out of the lineup. The type of guy who dives when he doesn’t have to, and gets the crowd excited, but the bottom line is he is a good, but not great, major leaguer.

So, I was very confused when I saw some (alleged) Sox fans in the right center bleachers, dipping and/or spitting sunflower seeds (because he would!) and cheering for their beloved Aaron. Me? If I were a Sox fan, I would be watching the White Sox, as they are playing a fairly big series against the team in first in its division. I would not be at Wrigley Field.

Last year, I bought tickets at Comiskey on the night Sammy Sosa was supposed to be back in town with his new team, the Orioles. But it was a night the Cubs were off, and they certainly were not in a pennant chase. I was not wearing any Sosa stuff, or even Cubs wear. Of course, Sammy failed to materialize.

So, last night, once the Rowand fans showed their allegiance, the other bleacher fans railed on them about the Sox score. Rowand walked and singled, but they were not memorable. He did pull up on a ball to center, which allowed us to hoot at the fans who came to see Mr. Exciting.

In the eighth inning, we got what we came to see. On a blooper just behind second base, Rowand came flying into short center, where he colliding with second baseman Chase Utley, and both went flying. Rowand lay motionless for a second, and eventually had to come out of the game, with at least a sprained ankle. The Rowand fans quickly and quietly left after the half inning.

Utley had the ball all the way, but no matter, Rowand will get there. He got there, but he didn’t get the ball.

Update: Rowand broke his ankle. He's out 4-6 weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Good, Bad, and Ugly (Uniforms)

So, the Cubs only went 8-2 for the season at home against Saint Louis, but the best news yesterday is that Neifi Perez was traded. This could not have happened if Dusty were coming back next year, could it?

What is disconcerting for me are the quotes from the other infielders like Cedeno and Theriot about how much they learned from him and how sorry they are to see him leave.

Beyond the $2.5 million the Cubs saved off of next year’s payroll, it is good that Neifi won’t be there to share the insights that have made Ronnie Cedeno one of the most brain-dead young players I have seen in a long time.

Also interesting today is Paul Sullivan’s assertion “that the Cubs still believe Aramis Ramirez won't exercise his opt-out clause after this season and leave $22 million on the table to become a free agent.” Does he realize that he cannot hack it as the guy, or does he realize that scouts around baseball see through his all-of-a-sudden willingness to hustle? I hope they are right, but I don't see it.

Finally, the traditionalists lose: names are coming back to Cub home jerseys. I never liked the red trim on the blue numbers (on the 2006 jerseys, preferring the 1976 style below), but I guess the random fan “can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” Oh well. Better that than a Jumbotron.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ryan O'Malley?!?!?!?!

He was only called up because of last night's 18-inning game, and the undrafted free agent lefty who grew up a Cubs fan in Springfield, Illinois throws 8 (count 'em) shutout innings, showing that right now, he is better than Roger Clemens. I do believe he is Irish.

8 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 2 K

Sure, the Astros might be a little groggy from last night, especially when they cannot take the amphetamines anymore.

Roger Clemens is Bad at Hitting Batters

Clemens is a gutless loser. He tried to hit Jacque Jones in the first and barely hit him. Then Jones hit a 3 run 450 foot homer against him. This all started when Big Z hit Aubrey Huff in the back rather than go through the traditional process of pitching around him the night before.

Mateo (7 career innings coming into the game) hits Clemens, not on purpose it seemed to me, and the next inning, Dusty (also gutless) pinch hits for Mateo with Ryan "The Riot" Theriot. Though Baker denied saving Mateo from a beanball, the fact is that Mateo pitched real well, two runs and four hits over five innings, and looked strong in the fifth.

So, in the 6th, Clemens misses Theriot on the first pitch, and the crowd roars. He drills Theriot on the next pitch and both benches are warned. Clemens leaves the game to a standing ovation, down 3 runs. He gives up 5 runs in 6 innings and gets a standing ovation. Pretty knowledgeable fans, eh?

Baker’s decision means that the woeful middle relief came in, with Will “Bad” Ohman and Michael "From Bad to" Wuertz giving up the lead, making Clemens in line for the victory.

Until Matt Murtha (sic) homered off the closer-formerly-known-as-Brad Lidge in the ninth. That satisfied me to no end, as Clemens would get his ND. I love that Clemens came back to pitch for this relentlessly mediocre team. I hope he bounces around like Steve Carlton, and people only remember the crappy Roger Clemens.

Why I stayed up until 1230a to watch the end is beyond me. Maybe to see the Cubs run through their entire 25 man roster? Maybe to see Murton claim the everyday spot in left field?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Too Bad He's Dead - Bruno Kirby

Bruno Kirby was always one of my favorites…he always had small roles, but was great in them.

He died of cancer.

In This Is Spinal Tap, Kirby has a quick cameo as the limo driver for the band, but his rant about the perceived lack of respect for Frank Sinatra’s genius is one of the classic scenes. After Nigel raises the divider, he calls the band, "Fuckin' limeys" and concludes, "But it''s a passing's uh.... I mean I would never tell them this but this is uh...this is a fad."

Or, in When Harry Met Sally, doing the wave at Giants Stadium with Harry.

So I asked the movers, "When did this woman book you for this gig?" And they're just standing there. Three huge guys, one of them was wearing a T-shirt that says, "Don't fuck with Mr. Zero." So I said, "Helen, when did you make this arrangement?" She says, "A week ago." I said, "You've known for a week and you didn't tell me?" And she says, "I didn't want to ruin your birthday."

You're say Mr. Zero knew you were getting a divorce a week before you did?

Mr. Zero knew.

I own a t-shirt that says "Don't Fuck with Mr. Zero."

Bruno was also great in The Freshman, The Godfather, Part II, and Good Morning Vietnam. He was also Bill Murray's (as Hunter Thompson) boss in Where the Buffalo Roam.

Cancer Sucks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Me? I Like Dodger Dogs

Some great, light writing by a guy around my age about his love of going to Dodger games in L.A., which contain certain parallels with my own experience at Wrigley.

Happy Friday.