Archive for May, 2004

Good things come to those who wait

Monday, May 31st, 2004

I am a big fan of a hard candy called Mega Warheads. For those of you who have never had these before, the way they work is when you first put them in your mouth, you get this blast of, well, nastiness. It’s like a spicy pepper taste. It’s really quite unpleasant. This taste lasts for about 10 seconds. If you can stand the nasty taste, a wonderful flavor begins to fill your mouth. I personally enjoy the blue raspberry flavor. Once you get past all of the nasty pepper taste, that fruit flavor is just plain great.

What’s my point to all this candy talk? Well, with May now in the books, the Cubs record is definitely not what I figured it would be. While it hasn’t been “nasty” in the beginning, it hasn’t been down right pleasant either. We have suffered major injury blows, “closer troubles” (even though I don’t worry about brows), and have had guys play under their potential. Through it all, we’re not too bad. It feels like the nastiness is finally starting to wear off and the good flavor should be coming soon.

How can I be so optimistic when Aisle 528 (a clueless member of the Cub Blog Army), seems to want to pack it in? Well, here is why.

1) MARK PRIOR is back in a week

2) Derrek Lee is going to catch fire. As of yet, we have not seen his best and we’re still pulling out wins.

3) Alou is having a career year

4) Dusty Baker is our manager

5) Hendry always finds a way to fill the holes we have. (Maybe that means Beltran)

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World Series of Blogs

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

It’s arrived. The 2004 World Series of Blogs. These are the rules. Dave and I have narrowed the finalist down and have placed them in their appropriate divisions. Voting will run until mid-June or so. Vote as many times as it will allow. The 6 polls will appear randomly each time you visit the site, or you can refresh each time. Make sure you check out the sites and be an informed voter. All the sites are linked on the right side, near the bottom.

The winners from each division as well as a wild card from each league will advance to the semi finals. The winners from there face off in the World Series of Blogs. Good Luck everyone. Campaign hard.

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The Friday Five, Special Monday Edition

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

The Friday Five (Special Monday Edition)

The Cubs have been low on nicknames recently, with names like “Woody,” “Gracey,” “One Dog,” and other poor excuses for nicknames filling the lineup card. However, when Dusty Baker tagged Derrek Lee with the nickname “Rodan,” it gave me hope that this team could have one of the great all-time nicknames. Here are the top five Obscure-But-True MLB Player Nicknames:

5. Abraham “Sweetbreads” Bailey: Born Abraham Lincoln Bailey, he got the nickname “Sweetbreads.” Somehow. No source I’ve been able to find can explain why. He was 6’0 and 184 lbs, so he probably didn’t eat too much, but he only lasted 3 years. One can only hope, with such a short career, that he found a career elsewhere. With a name like Sweetbreads, let’s hope it was in the baking industry.

Update: My wife informed me that sweetbreads are some form of innard consumed as food. Sure enough, I looked it up in the Oxford College Dictionary and it defined “sweetbread” as, “the thymus gland (or, rarely, the pancreas) of an animal, esp. as used for food.” The baking industry would be an inappropriate place for Mr. Bailey, then. Perhaps he had an oversized thymus gland…

4. “Pebbly” Jack Glasscock: This 19th century player was an excellent shortstop.

I don’t know what a guy needs to do in order to earn the name Pebbly, but combined with this guy’s last name, I don’t think I want to know.

3: Mike “Superjew” Epstein: Superjew flew through American League Parks, fighting crime with his bulletproof yamaka and Menora of Lightning. He was a pretty good player in the late sixties and early seventies, and presumably the best Jewish player of his particular era. This name makes me wonder if there will ever be a “Supermuslim” in baseball’s future.

2: Jeffrey “Old Penitentiary Face” Leonard: I can’t find any other reference to this nickname except in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, but that’s good enough for me. I remember Leonard, a 1970s/80s player, as a very unpopular player who would do a “chicken wing” maneuver as he was running the bases. I don’t remember anything about his face that would make me think of long-term imprisonment, however.

1: Lou “The Nervous Greek” Skizas: In 1957, the Nervous Greek hit 18 home runs while striking out only 15 times. This would, unfortunately, be his only starting season. He finished his career with 30 homers and 37 strikouts, which almost makes him the Greek Joe Dimaggio. Perhaps it was comparisons like that which made him so jumpy.

We want to hear your favorite nicknames. I have an aversion to names that include “dog,” so no Fred McGriff or Lance Johnson or Mo Vaughn or any of the others.

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It’s Two, Two, Two sites in one

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

I am very excited to announce that Dave and I have been offered the opportunity to write for Most Valuable Network. Now don’t be afraid. The View From The Bleachers is not going anywhere. I wouldn’t want to lose our few fans. This site will continue to try to bring amusing and humorous content to you, while Cubbies Corner (man, I hope we can get THAT name changed) will bring game recaps and other Cubs commentary. Each game we write a recap for, we will put a link to it on this site in the post somewhere. Feel free to check it out.

The reason we have decided to go with MVN as well, is because it offers us a wider chance of getting our content noticed. No matter what anyone says, they would love to “do this for a living”. It would be so much fun being a real life “Cub Reporter”. Who knows.

Game Recap 5/30/04



The Franchise pitching in Iowa

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How much longer?

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Each time I watch Sergio Mitre come to the mound and get shelled, all I see is his trade value becoming less and less. When we first called him up, he was one of those prospects that was mentioned often in various trade discussions. Now, each time he gets killed on the mound, the chances of someone taking him off our hands and giving us ANYTHING for him at all becomes smaller and smaller. Everytime he is pitching, I feel like we will lose that game.

I am so thankful that the Cubs are not really counting on him being a part of this rotation in the future. With Prior, Wood, Zambrano all locks to be good to excellent starting pitchers in the Major Leagues, Hendry should lock up Matt Clement and have a very strong foursome. The fifth spot can be a battle between Rusch, Guzman, Brownlie, & Ryan Dempster. We can then cut ties with the annoying Mitre and still have a rotation that is in the top 5 in the majors.

I know that I probably seem like I am very harsh on the young kids: Mitre, Patterson, etc., but the way I look at it is this. The Cubs are so high on all of these kids. They are unwilling to trade anyone for fear that we’ll get Matt Karchner for Jon Garland. This has just never made sense to me though. The Cubs are not a small market team that is unable to get the proven free agent talent, so they do not need to worry about relying strictly on the development of their minor league system as teams like the Pirates, Brewers, and Reds do. So, why not trade a few before they have the chance to show the world that they can’t play well at the Major League level. Don’t trade all of them, but you can afford to trade some of them. I have always looked at prospects as nothing more than a crap shoot anyways. There are like 400,000 rounds in the Major League amateur draft so all of those players can’t possibly be scouted as high as the players in the NFL and NBA drafts. These are high school kids more often than not who may or may not have what it takes at the big league level. It’s easy to pick first every year and not get anything for your money. It’s also easy to pick late and get a steal in the 50th round. The Dodgers did this awhile back when they picked Mike Piazza. No one figured he would be anything special in the Majors, but now he is perhaps the greatest offensive catcher that has ever played the game. My feeling is don’t be afraid to use this minors to get proven talent. There are plenty of teams that have players that they will not be able to afford to keep (Kansas City). Get these guys with the talent we have.

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Time vs. Curiosity, or, How I re-installed my OS and all software without ever knowing what was wrong

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Last week my computer locked up and, after a fair amount of research, I determined that I needed to re-install my OS. The fun part was that I’m still not sure why I needed to do so; I know just enough about computers to know it had to be done but not enough to explain why.

Other time constraints made devoting a lot of time to this problem difficult, but last night at about 3:15 a.m. I restored the system to the state it was in before the mystery problem occurred. Now I’m back in action.

My first action in my return is to apologize for there being no Friday Five. All of the time I’ve been able to devote to this blog was eaten up by restoring my PC, so I wasn’t able to coordinate with Joe. I usually try to slack off at work and devote some time to the site, but next week is our “Celebration of Achievement,” which, when you’re working at a grant-funded adult education center, is the only time of year that the students get acknowledged for their voluntary hard work, becomes pretty important.

My next, and much more important, action is to voice my anger about the last four games the Cubs have played. Getting swept in a doubleheader by the Sucs on the heels of a two-game sweep by the Laugh-stros made my shoulders sag.

It made me think about where we are in the season. This weekend I’m going to post an individual and team evaluation in order to see if 25-22 is what we can expect, or if the Cubs are playing above or below their ability level. Later in the week I’ll get into the other teams in the division.

My gut feeling (and I’ll see if the numbers bear this out this weekend) is that, despite the injuries, the Cubs’ season has been disappointing considering how much money they’re spending, but probably appropriate given their offensive philosophy.

One thing I’m worried about is that, given the last four games and the fact that about 40 percent of the roster is on the DL, under Jim Riggleman the Cubs would give up. Baker is supposed to be a guy who makes his bench believe they’re very useful so they can contribute when needed, and he is supposed to be a guy who makes teams in general believe in their own abilities. It seems to me like the ultimate test of that reputation is how the team performs when a significant portion of the team is injured.

So far, Baker’s boys have failed, due in no small part to the type of players Baker prefers — guys with low secondary averages.

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Gone for the weekend

Friday, May 28th, 2004

I probably won’t get a chance to write anything over the weekend. I will be gone. The Friday Five will be appearing in full on Monday morning. Sorry.

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You All Make Me Sick!!!!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

What does it mean to be a true fan of a team? Does it mean that you know all about the players and try to watch as many games as you can? Does it mean that you follow the team from city to city to catch some road games in addition to the home games you go to? Does it mean buy TV packages or radio packages so you can follow your team wherever you live? I’m not sure if being a true fan of your team includes any or all of these things. One thing I feel it does mean is to stick with your team and not give up on them a month and a half into the season. Lately, all I have read about or watched on TV is people saying how they are packing in the season. It’s over, lets give up now because the team is going down the toilet. Normally it is the easily swayed, Uncouth Sloth that feels this way, but this year, our first wimp of the year is Aisle 528. Well, if you’re “officially giving up on the season, as of today”, quit writing this year so we don’t have to waste our time reading it. What in the world is the matter with you people? Are you Cubs fans or are you fans because it’s “the thing” to do. I’m sick of this. Either get on the bandwagon at the beginning and stay on all year or don’t get on in the first place. I hate driving long distances and having a million people all needing us to stop and let them off cause they have to go to the bathroom. Hold it until it’s time. Same thing for you Cubs fans. If you’re gonna get on the wagon, stay on cause we’re sick of stopping every five games to let one of your butts off each time.

The fact of the matter is this. The Cubs play in one of the most difficult divisions in baseball. I personally think it is the second best behind the AL east. Right now, they are walking wounded. It seems as if every player is getting hurt. However, to give up on the season when not one of these injuries are going to keep the guys out longer than July is stupid. Sammy will be back soon. Also, he was out a lot last year and we did fine. Prior will be back in a week or so. He was also out last year and we did fine. Wood will be back in a few weeks. Alex Gonzalez is out. Big deal. Ramon Martinez can hit .230 just as good as Gonzalez can. No loss there. Grudzielanek is out. So what!!! Todd Walker is a better player anyways. Todd Wellemeyer is hurt. So what, we can bring up someone from the minors to come out of the pen and pitch maybe 15 innings before Wellemeyer gets back.

It’s decision time Cubs fans. Are you on or are you off. Decide now and stick to your guns. Please tell me which way you are going. I need to know before the bandwagon pulls out of the parking lot whether or not you’ll be aboard. There’s plenty of room, but only for people who truly believe in this team. If not, have fun regretting your decision come October.

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Any Requests?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Please leave your requests for the Friday Five in the comment section. We would like to make sure we are covering this that interest the readers so please make some suggestions.

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