Archive for April, 2004

Pick to Click 4/30/04

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Get your pick in for the big competition. Just leave you full name and e-mail and your pick for the day in the comment section. You are allowed to pick the same player as someone else. Valuable Prizes for the winner. Entries so far are as follows:

Joe: Moises Alou

Dave: Aramis Ramirez

Shaun: Corey Patterson

Sloth: Sammy Sosa

D-Trick: Derrek Lee

James Crockett: Kerry Wood

Mike D (94YAC): Todd Walker

Brian Hipp: Moises Alou

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Southpaw Swap

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

The Cubs acquired Jon Connolly from Detroit in exchange for Felix Sanchez.

At first I thought they traded Jesus Sanchez and I was dancing the Marimba. I thought Hendry had polished a turd and traded it for a big fat gold nugget. The fact that they gave up Felix Sanchez made me explore it further. Looks like they traded big fat gold nugget-like objects which could still turn out to be pyrite. They’re both young lefties who were highly regarded in their systems.

Sanchez is 22, Connolly is 20.

Ted Nye ranks Sanchez #369 (#15 on the Cubs’ list). He puts Connolly at 116 overall, 3rd on the Tigers’ list.

TigersCentral has this to say of Connolly:

“Great Control. Led all minors in ERA (in 2003, 1.41)…can’t break glass with his fastball…more like Jamie Moyer than Jamie Walker.”

He K’d 104 in 166 innings in ’03, 50 in 85 1/3 in ’02, both A ball.

After looking at all that I’d say we made a lateral move. Younger, but with lower strikeout numbers, and minor league K numbers are a pretty good indication of whether a guy’s going to have success in the majors. If he improves his K rate this year, I will make a smiley face. If the numbers go down, I will make a sad face.

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Pick to click contest starts tomorrow

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Get your picks in now for the contest that starts with Friday’s game against the evil redbirds. There are prizes for the winner so make sure you get your picks in each day. If will just leave your full name and e-mail address in the comment section along with your pick for that day before gametime and I will make sure it gets entered into the contest. You cannot pick the same player twice and the winner will be the player of the game for that day. Good luck all. Get those pick in and go cubbies. In the event that my comment section fails when you try to get your pick in, just e-mail me.

Prizes

The first place winner will have his choice of the following: Autograph from Ernie Banks (Not in mint condition, but it’s the sentimental value that counts), Cubs Wrigley field plaque, or a $15 gift certificate to MLB.com shops. 2nd and 3rd place winners will pick in order from the remaining prizes.

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Pole 1-0 as Cubs Manager

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

The Cubs avoided an embarassing sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks with a 4-3 win.

On the plus side, Alex Gonzalez continued his mystifying ability to hit clutch home runs, Greg Maddux pitched six solid innings, leadoff man Todd Walker got on base three times and scored twice, and Joe Borowski got a Mitch Williams-esque save.

On the minus side, Steve Finley somehow hit three home runs, one of which was served up by LaTroy Hawkins in the 8th, the Cubs managed all of six hits, and Maddux allowed 8 baserunners and 2 homers.

Interim manager Dick Pole served in Baker’s stead while the latter served the suspension he received during the altercation with CB Bucknor. Does anyone know if that’s Pole’s first game as manager?

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Reflections of a tattered soul

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

The last two games the Cubs “played” have resulted in two losses and a run differential of -18. Both the offense and the pitching staff have struggled. Not too many good things happened (besides Hollandsworth upping his slugging percentage to 1.000).

The six game winning streak the Cubs rattled off just prior to–wait a minute, let me rephrase that–just before these last two games lulled me into a place where naked ladies floated by on pillowy clouds and cars never broke down. Suddenly, the naked ladies turned into harpies, the clouds turned dark and stormy, and all the cars were Edsels.

This morning I recognized the melancholia with which I was stricken; it was the feeling a puppy must have when a kindly new owner, pockets bulging with Snausages, takes it home from the pound, only to be stolen from its backyard the next day and sold to Mike Tyson. Hopes risen, hopes dashed. It was the same feeling I had last year after the Marlins series, and in 1998 after Trachsel’s departure in his best start in memory against the Braves in the playoffs. It was the feeling of hopelessness.

The circumstances were different this time, though; this kind of shoulder-sloper shouldn’t hit until the playoffs, right? If this is what being a Red Sox fan is like, I’ll take the Cubs.

Tonight, even if the Cubs lose 6-3, I expect I’ll go back to the feeling of cautious optimism I had entering the season. The Johnson/Webb games have ripped away my giddy euphoria, my hubris, and and replaced it with a grim realism not unlike a hangover. Hangovers go away with time, and so will my irrational fear that my unbridled JOY in watching the Cubs will be punished tenfold.

No stats on these last two games. They were played in Arizona; I’m going to pretend they were poorly scheduled spring training games and stare at this awful picture of Tuffy Rhodes.

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Death of a Hero

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

By now you’ve probably all heard about the death in combat of former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman. Half a year after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, he joined the Army to defend his country. He was killed in action in Afghanistan last Thursday.

SI.com ran this story on Tillman. It has a nice picture of Tillman in uniform.

This guy gave up one of the coolest gigs in the world–one that pays millions, to boot–to defend his country. He sought no publicity and didn’t duck combat like prior celebrities (including one of my favorites, Elvis). He joined the army because he felt it was the best way to keep his family and country safe. He did something I didn’t have the guts to do, and he left behind a salary several orders of magnitude greater than mine.

The NFL ought to retire this guy’s number.

Others have said it better than me, so I won’t go on any longer. I tip my hat to a hero.

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Barry Bonds, Steroids, Etc.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

For the past few years all the buzz around the Major League Baseball and sports in general has been surrounding steroids. Players like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa have had their names thrown into the mix of the talks. Everyone looks at them when they first began playing and them now. They say that, “Oh, they are just so much bigger now.” As a result, they must be on steroids. I think that is just stupid. How can we as Americans treat people that way? It goes against everything that this country is founded on. People can work out and get the same size Bonds and Sosa are, the only thing steroids do is make the process easier and faster. From everything I hear, Bonds is a gym nut and works out all the time. He also has developed as a hitter over time. Players grow into HR power. Young kids tend to not reach their power potential until later. This could also be evidence in favor of Bonds. Now as far as if he is on steroids or not, I have no clue. I will make that accusation when I see his test results. Until then, my mouth is closed on the issue and others should be too.

Recently I posted a response to the Uncouth Sloth’s article about Bonds. Brian Hipp also chimed in on the comment section and on his own site with some great things to say. I was ridiculed in the comment section of that post for saying that someone should be considered innocent until proven guilty. I think this should apply to sports as well as the court of law. After all, sports take place in this country, so the same principles should apply. Hear me out now; I am not saying that I don’t think athletes–and specifically Barry Bonds–are not using or have never used steroids. No one is naive enough to believe that. What I am saying is that we cannot and should not base our opinion on nothing other than speculation and rumors. The only way it should happen is after a player has failed the drug test. To speculate on the idea discredits potentially innocent peoples’ accomplishments and brings negative press and publicity to a sport that we all love and enjoy very much. We must if we are writing about it and reading about it.

MLB tested players last year “anonymously.” The results of those tests revealed that steroid and drug use was a growing problem in baseball. I feel that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with quickly and strictly. The current policy for baseball is merely a slap on the hand for offenders. I wouldn’t be afraid if I was a player. You can cheat 5 times before you’re suspended for 1 year. What kind of punishment is that? Hopefully the results of the tests last year will make baseball understand that something needs to be done. Selig, who I happen to think is an alright commish, wants to implement mandatory drug tests for the players. There are two problems, however. The first of these is the players’ union. They are such bloodthirsty, money hungry pigs that they will not even dream about discussing anything that might infringe on “The players’ rights.” Screw that!!! What about players’ health? What about the employers’ rights to maintain a drug-free environment? What about the paying customers that want to see drug-free baseball? Do our opinions not matter? The fact of the matter is this: in life, a lot of times when you are in the application process for a job, that job requires a drug test as a condition of employment. Even more often than not, employers may at times test their employees periodically. Baseball is a job. There should be no exceptions to this fact. Owners should have the right to test their employees.

The second problem Selig has is that you can test the players all you want, but if you do not have a proper punishment in place, it does no good. Baseball and sports in general need to adopt the following policy. The first time a player is caught using, it calls for a mandatory one year absence without pay. That player is also required to undergo a drug rehab program and successfully pass that. Everyone should get the chance to be forgiven for a mistake. One time and one time only, though. None of this Dwight Gooden stuff where the guy gets busted time after time and is still let back into baseball. If you break the rule, fine, we’ll forgive you. People make mistakes. If you break it again, then the sport does not mean as much to you as it should. As a result, you should not be a part of it anymore.

By talking about Bonds and Sosa and other players without actual hard core test results it does nothing but bring potentially innocent people down. It also brings the sport of baseball down. That is something that I hate to see. People may ridicule me and call me naive, but I care about this sport very much. I love it very much and want to see it continue to be “The National Pastime.” So if you ask me if Bonds is using, I will say I don’t know. I will never say anyone is until I see test results. Ridicule me if you want, but it’s what I feel. I would love to hear your thoughts though.

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Picks to click for 4/22/04

Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

As I said in my previous post, we are going to start out on April 30th with the pick to click contest in an effort to give everyone the chance to play from the beginning. Until then, people can use these games as practice. Just post your pick in the comment section before gametime. The prize for the overall winner will recieve a nice Cubs plaque and a gift certificate to MLB.com shops. Get your practice in and have fun with this.

Joe – Kerry Wood

Dave – Todd Walker

James – Kerry Wood

Keenan – Sammy Sosa

D-Trick – Moises Alou

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New look and pick to click contest

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004

So there is a new look to the site. My buddy Chris designed our new banner for the top and I changed the colors up a little. All in all, I think it looks nice. Let me know what you all think of it.

At the beginning of this season, we started a pick to click contest. It started out as a friendly competition between the staff here. However, I have decided that it would be fun to open it up to everyone that reads the site and put a prize up for the winner. So here are the specifics:

- I will post each morning at it will say pick to click for whatever date the game is

- Everyone that is interested can post their pick in the comment section up until the start of the game

- Each day I will update the standings with the winning pick getting a point for whoever picked that person.

- You can pick the same person as someone else but bear in mind that if you get a point, they also do.

- No one can pick the same person 2 games in a row.

- Winning pick will be decided by me each day. (if it is close, we go by CBSSportsline player of the game)

That’s it. The contest will begin as of the game on April 30th. I figured what better place to start than the series with the Red Birds. Everyone will be at zero at that point. You’re name will not be added to the standings until you get a point. The contest will run up until the last game of the season (playoffs included). The winner at the end of the competition will get a prize. The prize for 1st place will be a gift certificate to MLB.com gift shop and a Cubs plaque. So, it’s a pretty good first prize. Make sure you remember to get your pick in each day or you can’t get a point. May the best person win.

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