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 ESPN.com 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.