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.