Friday, June 30, 2006

Shake Hands and Come Out Swinging

So, before today's game, Michael "the Reptile" Barrett, apologized to A.J. Pierzynski. They are both still idiots.

Good to see that the Sox players look like Bridgeport softball players before games.

If You Keep Saying It, It Will Eventually Happen, Right?

... and fire all the players, save Zambrano and Derrek Lee, too.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Somebody Cares, and it is Not Dusty

The Cubs never looked worse than in Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Twins that marked Derrek Lee's return after missing 59 games.

They made three errors and misplayed two other balls, heating up talk once again about their lack of fundamentals and about manager Dusty Baker's job security.

Even Lee was surprised by how poorly the Cubs performed Sunday.

"I don't understand it. To me it's just a matter of coming to the yard ready to play every day and I don't think we showed up yesterday. That's not really excusable," he said.

"I think we understand we have to do a better job than that. Sometimes you lose, but you need to show up every day."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ozzie Doesn't Hate "Fags"

Good to know that Ozzie Guillen isn’t a gay basher .

Last year in New York, he referred to someone as homosexual and a child molester, equating the two.


Guillen defends himself by saying that he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago.

Well, in that case...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Dan Froomkin talks about Ron Suskind’s new book about the Administration and includes an excerpt from a review:

"The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled 'Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.' Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: 'All right. You've covered your ass, now.' "

Looks like I have a new book to read…

Victoria's Not-So-Secret

The Cubs win and Henry Blanco has a big game.

Congratulations! Let’s keep it up. However, as we get to The Longest Day of the Year, the fan of a close-to-last-place team’s mind drifts to women. Summer means bathing suits, sitting by the pier, and public displays of affection. Some are just more public than others. Or is the same “public,” just more affectionate? We report. You decide.

Either way, quite a display!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just in Time for Sunday

The Indianoplace Star is reporting that the restraining order against IU football player James Hardy is being lifted after being charged with domestic assault of the mother of their 7 month old.

Striped tie for Father’s Day or polka dots?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?

A few days before the Cubs announce a marketing tie-in so that the team can use the sponsor's silly walky-talkys, a move that would put an end to the good ol’ bullpen phone, a column appears in the Chicago Tribune by their technology writer, calling for a diamond vision to replace the venerable old scoreboard.

What is the connection? In order to defuse potential outrage of such a blatant and incongruous marketing and sponsorship tie-in by showing that the Cubs respect tradition, they put a bug in the ear of the Tribune technology writer (who may have heard about the Cubs-Motorola deal) to write a provocative article about replacing the scoreboard. Now, that story gets lots of play, and then when the Cubs come out saying they have no interest in changing the scoreboard, the purists will be satisfied, and therefore, not be as offended by the wireless phone charade.

The net effect is that Motorola gets to have an obnoxious product placement, a disgusting move made, admittedly, by the team to receive “another revenue stream for the Cubs organization in terms of a rights fee, and it should become a lucrative branding opportunity for the sponsor.”

Wonderfully, as the shills for the Cubs and their sponsor got the camera poised on Larry Rothschild and the bullpen coach, Juan Lopez, the phones failed. Or, at least, failed enough, that they had to go back to the archaic technology of land based phone lines. Not surprisingly, the cameras turned quickly away from the scene of the two coaches staring at the phones, hoping they would work, and then eventually giving up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Fork is With Us

Carlos "The Fork" Marmol has just finished his first major league start, and is line for the win.

Reminds me of the other Crazy Carlos on the staff, and I am sure more of the Fork's colorful past will come to light as his success grows.

Friday, June 09, 2006

When an Airplane Lands Safely, it is Not News

Likewise, when Kerry Wood goes on the disabled list .

If there had been any doubt, this is the crossing of the Rubicon for Your Humble Correspondent.

Sure, he will get A.J. Burnett money from somebody, so let’s trade him, or convert him to a reliever, and if we burn out his arm, so be it. Or, if we do, and he somehow becomes Dennis Eckersley, sign him and keep him in the bullpen.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Term, I Believe, is Crocodile Tears

There is now what may be irresponsibly described as irrefutable evidence that Golden Boy Albert Pujols is unequivocally a juicer.

The real tragedy is that Albert Pujols is to Cub fans what Brett Favre is to Bears fans: a player on the team’s biggest rival that kills us, but, up to now, earns begrudging respect from Chicago fans.

Now, they share, without any question, a love of the performance enhancing, or at least, the pain killing. At least Darryl Kile limited his use to a kinder substance.

All I know is that the toasted ravioli won’t taste as good tonight.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Close Enough

I love Carlos Zambrano. Always have. I like that he gets worked up about him pitching poorly or his team executing poorly. He cares. It isn't right to show your teammates up, but his hijinks are more a product of his own drive and passion than wantng to make others look bad.

He was brilliant last night, and his one-hit stuff through eight innings may not have been the most fun part of his night to watch.

His 3-2 3 run homer off of Tyler Buchholz was the culmination of a great at bat. He was fouling off all of his fastballs and then guessed right on what Brenly described as a "plus curveball." He plussed it onto the fence in right center, where it bounced harmlessly over the wall.

Zambrano looks so comfortable hitting and pitching at Enron that it makes you worry that he will end up there if the Cubs goof up and don't keep him.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Deep within the Transactions Column

The Cubs’ own Moonlight Graham was quietly released by the organization over this weekend. Adam Greenberg wore #17 with dignity and class, and is already a better announcer than any Cub to ever wear that number (except maybe John Mabry).

His Major League career consists of a single plate appearance against the Florida Marlins on July 9, 2005, in which he was hit in the head by a fastball from Valerio de los Santos while pinch hitting in the ninth inning. Consequently, his on-base percentage is a perfect 1.000, and, having zero at-bats and no chances on defense, he has no batting average or fielding percentage.

While many players have had careers consisting of a single at-bat, it is not yet known if any other players share the distinction of being hit with the only pitch every thrown to them at the major league level.

Listening to the game that July Saturday night, as we were, you kinda had the feeling that this was too odd NOT to be Adam Greenberg’s only appearance in the major leagues. His batting average never made it over .200 in AA and AAA. Makes you wonder what a ball to the noggin will do to you.

Good Luck to him.

A Star is Born

I go to watch The Sopranos on a Sunday evening, and I must say it was a good episode, but the reason I bring this up is that I was blown away by the stunning looks of A.J.’s girlfriend, played by Dania Ramirez. Tony was right, she is Dominican. And, apparently, an actress of some note. She was in She Hate Me by Spike Lee.

Elia / Dusty Parallel?

"We played pretty good in the beginning when we had our whole team. Most people have forgotten that. They just remember May, which we're trying to forget."... Dusty Baker June 3, 2006

Everybody associated with this organization have been winners their whole fuckin' life. Everybody. And the credit is not given in that respect. "Alright, they don't show because we're 5 and 14... and unfortunately, that's the criteria of them dumb 15 motherfuckin' percent that come out to day baseball. The other 85 percent are earning a living.” Lee Elia, April 29, 2003

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, But Not Good Enough

Carlos Marmol looked good, and it looks like he can throw the ball hard, but will he be able to keep it over the plate. And is his curveball real good, or did the hitters have no scouting report?

I know Jerry Hairston didn’t play much, but why is Phil Nevin not playing more? Dusty told Paul Sullivan in the paper today that he will likely only play against lefties. So that is a Womack/Nevin platoon? Is this what we want? Can’t we find out that he is no Gary Gaetti before we platoon him?

Friday, June 02, 2006

The World Series Ring Effect

Barry Rozner again pegs what Cub fans in the city itself are feeling these days, and it has seeped in, at even what must be a subconscious level, to Michael Barrett, who I don’t think has any conscious decision making ability.

Rozner, in part:

Ever since the White Sox won the World Series, there has been a consistent suggestion that a South Side title puts more pressure on Cubs management. So far, there’s no evidence to support that theory. It has, however, put more pressure on Cubs fans, and that might explain why they’ve been so edgy lately.

See, Cubs fans are used to the losing. It’s part of life. They’ve had so many bad seasons that “disaster’’ doesn’t even begin to describe the last century for their team. After awhile, the years and names run together, and it’s all just one big defeat. But it’s different now.

“It was totally one-sided. There was no respect there at all. But now, it’s all changed," my friend Jim, the longtime Cubs sufferer says. “When they say, ‘We won and you’ll never win,’ they have something we don’t. I never listened to them before, but it really (bleeps) me off. It’s irritating, and it’s embarrassing. “I’m not mad at them. I’m mad at the Cubs for being so bad right now when the Sox are so good.’’

What bothers him most is that he’s bothered. He never thought he’d pay any attention to his Sox fan friends and all the grief he gets, but now his ears are wide open and it burns deep down because the Cubs stink again. That’s the subtle change that has taken place since October 2005. Cubs fans, for the most part, still don’t care what the Sox do or when they play.

The difference is, when their Sox fan friends start thumping their chests and beating up the Cubs, the Cubs fans are listening, and it’s getting to them.

So if Cubs players, coaches and management wonder why the fans have become nastier this year, less patient, and perhaps even more dangerous, it has less to do with another rotten season than it does the timing of another rotten season. They’re booing more than ever because of the pounding they’re getting from White Sox fans at school, at work and on the train.

Let’s face it, the pressure on Cubs fans’ ears has never been greater.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A New Deckchair on Team Titanic

I suppose he’s right about the deal coming too late, but I am still skeptical that Phil Nevin would have been the answer, even in a deal-for-deal’s-sake kinda way, but I do like Rozner’s line about the current manager of the team:

Even a token deal can sometimes breathe life into a team and wake up a manager, but as the troops waited for the cavalry, no reinforcements arrived. The Cubs took on the personality of their manager, whose body language and postgame comments signaled the season’s end, and the Cubs bottomed out at 13 games under. 500.

Of course, the pride of Naperville, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and his anemic hitting and general lack of everything but excuses will be missed. Can Neifi be next?