Archive for February, 2004
The Cubs signed Derrick Lee to a 3 year deal today. This was Hendry’s last main goal of this offseason. I knew he would get it done, but it is nice to see that it happened before spring training got into full swing. It’s always nice to wrap up contract talks before the games so players don’t have to worry about that crap in addition to playing.
As this season quickly approaches, I am reminded of the year that Harry Caray died. I was going to school downtown at the time and my dorm room was not more than 4 blocks from the massive cathedral where his funereal took place. Growing up watching the Cubs, Steve Stone and Harry Caray were all I ever knew. I never had the priviledge of watching the greats that came before. In fact, I remember my first Cubs game as a kid at Wrigley Field. I went with a church group in 1987, the year Harry had a stroke and was out for a while. I remember how disappointed I was when he wasn’t there to lead us in take me out to the ball game. I felt as if my heart had been broken. When I heard the news on February 18th, 1998 I was very sad. As bad as Harry’s announcing had gotten over the years, he still lived and died with Cubs baseball. That’s what made him great, and that’s why we loved him.
Not too long ago I read a book that really in my mind told the story of Harry the way it was meant to be told. The book is by Steve Stove, his long time partner and friend. In the book, he paints the picture of Harry the way he remembered him. The book allows the casual fan the opportunity to spend some time in places where they normally wouldn’t be able to, like the booth, restaurants, etc. Steve tells it how it was. I spent hours reading the book and literally laughing hysterically outloud at all the crazy things Harry did. If you call yourself a Cub fan, then you need to read about one of the biggest ever.
I am also including some clips of Harry Caray announcing. I highly Recommend you listen to them all. It’s well worth your time.
The man had a heart of gold. I miss you Harry. Cub’s baseball just isn’t the same without you.
1914 – 1998
I am pleased to announce that there will be a new writer here on the site. A good friend of mine from high school has signed on to write and update the site with me. I don’t know what flavor he will be bringing to the site, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you ever need to contact either of us, our mailboxes are on the right.
I am home from school today because of snow. It’s an annual leave day and I am bored to death. I have been sitting in bed watching Cold Pizza on ESPN. I’ve never really watched this show before. It’s kind of boring, but better than watching the same sportscenter 5 times in a row. I really wish my cable provider offered me ESPN News. Oh well, what can you do? Anyways, I am not really sure where this post will go, but I have a feeling it will be long. I’m just in the mood to write for some reason.
It looks as if I will be making some changes to the site in the next weeks or so. I am looking to add another writer to help me with posting more consistently. It seems to work for the Northside Lounge, so why not try it? I e-mailed a buddy of mine who lives in Wisconsin and he said that he was interested. Now it is just a matter of getting things ironed out. Hopefully, it will make the site more fun. I am also trying to find some people who could help me with a new look for the site. There have been some new looks to some of the sites in my links. I am growing tired of the way mine looks. I am definitely going to be adding a View From The Bleachers logo soon.
Lately all the buzz has been about players coming into camp looking “thinner”. Everyone has now jumped on the idea that those players must have been on steroids. Why? Just because they look like they have lost some weight? For one, some players like to slim down in the offseason. Two, the random tests last year revealed that only 5-7 % of baseball players tested positive for steroid use. The way I see it, out of roughly 750 players in the Majors, that means about 53 players tested positive. It just seems to me that all of those players would not be big stars. I am not saying that there are not big stars that do steroids, but more often than not, I would think that the majority of the users are those guys who need a leg up to get noticed or have that career year around contract time. So, what I think the fans and the media should do is keep their mouths shut about who they think uses and who doesn’t until it’s actually proven. It does nothing but bring negative press to a sport that is finally winning back some fans. We don’t need to have any negative. Keep you mouths shut people unless you have more proof than just two stupid pictures. Idiots!!!!
Apparently the Cubs are close to locking up Kerry Wood to a long term deal. I am happy to see this. Now they need to nail down Lee and I will feel really good about this offseason. A lot of people are critical about this years team saying it might not even make the playoffs. I feel like we have upgraded a lot. I think Todd Walker was a huge addition that is going very much untalked about. There is no way that he will be a bench warmer this year. I really think that if Gonzalez screws up, Grudzielanek will be moved to short and Walker will be at second. I really believe the Cubs can get to the World Series this year.
<img src=”http://animatedtv.about.com/library/graphics/homer_small.jpg” align=”left”One of my favorite shows, when I actually have time to watch it is the Simpsons. Homer just cracks me up. Well about a week ago I saw one of my favorite episodes where Homer goes on a hunger strike because he sees that the Springfield Isotopes are moving to Albuquerque. He proceeded to go without food until the team promises not to move. None of the fans believe him and so he starves himself. Eventually the owner gets caught in his foolish game when he gives homer a hot dog with all kinds of ingredients from the Southwest. He ends up saving the day in typical fashion. Springfield lives happily ever after, right? Wrong!!! Check this out!!! Poor Poor Homer!!!
For the last few months, my fellow bloggers have experimented with putting pictures on their sites. I, being a computer moron, did not know how. Well, thanks to one of my 8th grade students and some viewing of source codes from other sites, I think I have finally figured it out. I think pictures add a little flair to the site. I don’t know how often I’ll use them, but I am glad that I now have the option. One thing that I am definitely going to do this year is post each morning or late night who the player of the game was and their stats. For now, you can look at my picture of Mad Dog.
In other news, I have 3 spots left for my fantasy keeper league. I know you guys are probably thinking that if it’s not full by now, give up. Well, actually, it’s the 3rd league I have started. So, if you want in, let me know by leaving a comment or e-mailing me. Also, there was someone who voted in my poll that said they have season tickets. If that person reads this, leave me a comment.
A while back, I ran a Best Blog of 2003 competition. I had mentioned that the site that was voted the winner would be interviewed. I want to first take this chance to congratulate Scott Lange and Dennis Goodman over at The Northside Lounge for winning the competition. It has taken a long time for us to get our interview done, but now that it is, I am very excited to take this opportunity to tell you a little about their site and why it was very deserving of the honor. Because the site is run and written by two separate people, I e-mailed both and asked them a series of questions. I will try to profile both as best I can.
The first thing that I found out about these two is that neither of them live in Chicago. Actually, it’s pretty interesting to see that a good portion of Blog writers and readers of the Cub Blog Army is not living in the state of Illinois. Dennis, for example, is a 27 year old statistician living in the heart of Pete Rose country – Cincinnati, Ohio. I have to admit, I feel sorry for him. It has been excruciating hearing about all the Pete Rose crap since the fool admitted he bet on baseball. I can only imagine what it must be like where Dennis lives. He has been married for about three seasons now, and has a dog who’s name is Wrigley. Talk about your understanding wife. I know my wife wouldn’t let me name a pet after something dealing with the Cubs.
Though Dennis currently lives in Ohio, he is not a sheltered man in terms of places he has lived. Growing up in North Central Indiana, he began playing baseball in ’85 and fell in love with The Cubs, day baseball, and Harry Carey. From there he attended the University of Tennessee and received a MS degree.
Recently, I asked him the following questions and here were his responses.
The View From The Bleachers: When did you start your Cub’s Blog and how did you get the idea?
Dennis: I started it around the beginning of last season after reading the Clark and Addison Chronicle daily. I “knew” Jason from a weblist and we always had sort of the same take on the Cubs (not enough OBP, etc.), so I decided if he could write, I could write. I also felt that I had some things to say that were not covered in the major papers. Lastly, it felt good just to write. I like being able to discuss the Simpsons or Survivor somewhere. I was in a bad job at the time and the blog served as an outlet.
TVFTB: What does your blog offer that no one else’s offers? (why should people read yours?)
Dennis: I am not really sure. Bragging about myself is not one of strong suits. I guess with my training in stats, I would like to think that I can present a numerical argument in an easy to understand way. I think I have a decent conversational writing style. Also, some of the topics are fun. A lot of the blogs cover the game accounts and what was said in the paper. While we predominantly do that as well, we have some other topics which makes it a fun read. I would also like to think that above all else, we are smart. Intelligence in all forms is nice to soak in and whether it be with our analysis or our humor, I think our site is smart.
TVFTB: How long have you been writing in general?
Dennis: Well, I was editor of the high school newspaper and a member for four years. That is about it. Otherwise, I do not write all that much. Heck, being a number guy, I just started reading for pleasure a few years ago.
TVFTB: Do you have any favorite posts that you have written in the past?
Dennis: I did one a while back looking at how bad a decision it was to bat Goodwin leadoff. That is one of my favorite analysis ones. I also did a satire on Pete Rose earlier this winter which I enjoyed writing. I suppose my favorite posts are the ones that garner the most response from people even if they have nothing to do with the Cubs. My 24 recaps when I was more diligent with them were somewhat popular.
TVFTB: How did you guys decided to write together? How does that work?
Dennis: For the day to day stuff Scott and I will usually email each other or IM the night of the game and ask who wants the recap. Otherwise we just post as a piece of analysis or dumb media quote sparks off the
creative process. Our only rule this far has been if someone does a really nice long analysis piece that took a long time to produce, the other will let it sit at the top of the page for a day or so in order to get exposure. I think we have done some interesting pieces and we try not to bury them.
TVFTB: What is your favorite Cub’s memory?
Dennis: Beating the Braves this season in the playoffs was a good one. I was a big
Sandberg guy so his last game in Wrigley when he roped a single off Schilling and left to the Natural theme and a standing O holds a place in my memory. I was at the game this season when Dr. Tightpants slammed Wilson in Cinci, so that was also fun.
TVFTB: What is your prediction for this year?
Dennis: As long as the phrase Tommy John stays out of the headlines, I think we have a good chance of repeating as the Central champs. Houston has made some moves, but their offense is led by some old people. I am anxious to see how Pettitte does in Houston. He gives up more baserunners than an ace should
but keeps the ball in the park. That will be difficult to do in Houston. Also, I hope he sees more umps that will have the guts to call a balk since that is basically his move to first base. St. Louis’ big moves have been Tavarez and Jeff Suppan. Plus their manager could overplay a royal flush in poker. Given that, I think they can win the division, the rest of the playoffs in an exercise in small sample sizes – a crapshoot.
TVFTB: Do you have any other sports interests besides Cubs?
Dennis: Being from Indiana, I like college basketball and especially the Hoosiers. I root for Tennessee Volunteer football since I spent two years of my life there. I also root for the Colts. The NBA and NHL could go away and I would not blink an eye.
The other writer for the Northside lounge is Scott Lange. He is 27 and lives in downtown Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Georgia Tech in ’98 and has been working as a structural engineer for Southern Company ever since. Scott took a long time to get back to me. However, I am glad that he did get back to me because as it turns out, he lives 2 hours from me. I usually try to go see the Cubs in Atlanta every chance I get. I have my tickets for this year, and Scott and I are probably going to be meeting up for some tailgating outside Turner Field. NICE!!!! Anyways, Scott had this to say.
TVFTB: How long have you been a Cub fan and what made you choose them?
Scott: My father grew up a Cubs fan in Chicago. I suspect I was paying attention to scores before 1984, but the
first things I specifically remember were from that season. Marietta Georgia’s own Jody Davis was my favorite player and I’d run out to my Dad’s car when he got home from work each day to find out if the Cubs had won. In September, he’d tuck me in each night and tell me what the magic number was down to. In October, I watched game five on the black and white TV in the kitchen and cried my eyes out.
TVFTB: When did you start your Cub’s Blog and how did you get the idea?
Scott: I wrote for the college paper and always toyed with the idea of writing about the Cubs, so when Dennis e-mailed and asked if I wanted to help him I agreed right away.
TVFTB: What does your blog offer that no one else’s offers?
Scott: We both like to fool around with statistics (he’s even got a degree!) so I like to think we can provide some special content there. Plus, we undoubtedly cover the US men’s soccer team and the television show 24 better than any other Cubs blog out there.
TVFTB: Do you have any favorite posts that you have made?
Scott: I got a big kick out of taking the laptop and blogging from Chicago last September. My trip happened to coincide with the beatdown we put on the Cardinals, so it was loads of fun. I have no idea if my posts were even coherent, but I sure enjoyed making them.
TVFTB: What is your favorite Cub’s memory?
Scott: There are so many its hard to choose. I’ll go with giving my dad a huge hug in the upper deck at Turner Field while the Cubs celebrated after Game Five last October.
TVFTB: What is your prediction for this year?
Scott: I am afraid I am not as optimistic as some. We made a lot of acquisitions, but we didn’t do much with the positions that were our biggest weaknesses coming into this year (catcher, short, left, even second). Furthermore, I am not convinced our big get is going to be anymore than a league average pitcher. If I had to guess right now, I’d say 86-76, four games behind Houston.
TVFTB: Do you have any other sports interests besides Cubs?
Scott: Dad follows the Dodgers a little bit (long story) so I mildly root for them when the Cubs aren’t playing. I follow the local teams in the other sports (Hawks, Thrashers, and Falcons), and the alma mater in colleges. I do also like the San Antonio Spurs. I was rooting for them early in David Robinson’s career because of his military connections when they went and choked away a playoff series. I thought “they are the Cubs of basketball!” and have rooted for them ever since. Hopefully the Cubs can become the Spurs of baseball now…
TVFTB: Anything else about you that the readers should know?
Scott: Yes, I got run over by a transit bus five years ago. The first doctor put my leg back together with a 15 degree kink in it. I couldn’t walk without a severe limp for two years until a new doctor rebroke the bone, put a dozen spokes through it (an Ilizarov device), and pulled it to the right position. I still limp a bit, but I can run and play softball and basketball so I am happy.
I can’t tell you how fun this has been to interview these two guys. I am looking forward to meeting up with Scott in April. I feel like they really deserve the honor of Best Blog 2003 and I look forward to spending my summer waste deep in stats courtesy of THE NORTHSIDE LOUNGE!!!!