Archive for August, 2004

Happy Anniversary

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

On this day, 2 years ago, I got married. I want to take the time to say that I love my wife very much and I am so glad that you are in my life. I look forward to growing old with you. You’re my best friend.

She is a great person. She is a great cook, as much as she thinks she isn’t. She is a great friend. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart.

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Just Plain Ugly

Monday, August 9th, 2004

I have to admit, I was pretty excited about last night’s game. I felt with Kerry Wood on the mound, and a young kid as his opponent, we would roll over the Giants on national TV. Instead, the Cubs simply rolled over, and died. There was not one part of this game that was pretty. The baserunning? Awful!!!! Corey Patterson gets picked off on a non move to first base, then, instead of at least trying to force a bad throw, he simply stops in place and lets the guy tag him. Why not at least try to get to second before the throw? Alou also made horrible mistakes on the bases. He did not go in hard at second to try to break up a double play ball that Sammy hit, and he was doubled off first on a ball that was caught. Ramon Matinez hit a ball to Barry Bonds that scored a run, but instead of being safe at second on a bad Bonds throw home, Martinez was out. Even the horrible Joe Morgan knew why, he didn’t hustle the whole way. I’m sorry, but if you don’t want to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, get out of there so we can put someone else in.

The throws were bad as well. Alou decided to throw home on a play that should have went to third. Tightpants threw tried to threw to first, but instead, changed his mind and tossed one to a hot girl sitting in the front row in an attempt to hook up that night. It was just plain awful. I sat on the couch wishing it was over. I kept thinking to myself, if we win this game, we do not deserve it at all.

Hopefully this was as bad as it will get. I didn’t even mention the pitching, because it was just that frustrating. We have a series with the the Padres, a team that I picked to win the West. I think we really need to concentrate on sweeping this team and making the proper statement. Hopefully at the end of the series, a picture of a pretty woman will be gracing the site, instead of that ugly old hag. We’ll just have to hope.

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300 Club

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

I am not going to write a long, drawn out post on this. All I can say is congratulations to my favorite player. I am so glad we were able to see this picture in February. You’ve made us all proud.

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Let’s cry about it until it’s not true anymore

Friday, August 6th, 2004

As I was browsing the links to writers we love and hate, I clicked on one of my favorites, Rick Morrissey. Ever since I can remember, I have always heard people who talk about curses in baseball link the Cubs and the Red Sox together. When they mention one, inevitably the other comes up in some way or another. Red Sox fans identify with Cub fans, and for the most part, it seems to be vice versa. I personally have always hated the Boston Red Sox, along with the Yanks, Mets, Cards, and White Sox. I hate that every time they mention the Red Sox, we have to get mentioned.

Anyways, I am getting off topic. As I was reading Morrissey this morning, I enjoyed the fact that he pointed out something that I have been thinking all along: The Red Sox got screwed in that deal with the Cubs. Everyone has been mentioning the Twins, who received one player, or the Expos who basically got Brendon Harris (yawn) since K-Chip founder Alex Gonzalez is a free agent after this year. No one had been mentioning the Red Sox at all, including the Red Sox themselves. All the Red Sox fans have done is try to tear down a player that did nothing but good for them for a long time. Morrissey mentions that now that they realize they got screwed in the deal, they are going to do everything they can to make it as if Nomar is not happy in Chicago, Nomar lied, Nomar is hurt, Nomar is a traitor, Nomar is a cancer, etc. Why is it that the Sox fans can’t just quit their complaining and admit they made a bad trade? The funniest thing about the whole situation is it seems that the Boston fans are brainwashed into believing that they are now better. All of them seem happy to have Cabrera, which means we probably could have given them Gonzalez and they would have been happy. Cabrera is extremely overrated. He is not the hitter they think he is, and he is especially not the hitter that Nomar is.

I would like all this complaining by the Sox to end. They brought it all upon themselves, and now they want to blame it on Nomar. What do you expect when you dangle a player out on the market to see if anyone wants him? Did you not expect his feelings to get hurt? Did you not expect his loyalty to a team to be re-evaluated? Then, to make matters worse, they dangle him again around the deadline. You guys made your mess, so sit in it and have fun missing the playoffs. We’ll send you a postcard from the World Series.

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Welcome to Bizarro World

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Top 9th B:1 S: 3 O: 1

Derrek Lee strikes out swinging.

Top 9th B:2 S: 3 O: 2

Todd Walker strikes out swinging.

Top 9th B:2 S: 1 O: 2

Paul Bako singles on a line drive to shortstop Royce Clayton.

Top 9th B:0 S: 0 O: 2

Glendon Rusch doubles (1) on a line drive to center fielder Jeromy Burnitz. Paul Bako scores.

Top 9th B:4 S: 2 O: 2

Corey Patterson walks.

Top 9th B:2 S: 2 O: 3

Nomar Garciaparra pops out to second baseman Aaron Miles.

So let me get this straight. Lee, Walker, and Garciaparra look helpless, but in between Bako singles and Rusch drives him in with a double? Then Corey Patterson walks?

Next up…O.J. Simpson stabbed by enraged wife!

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Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indeed!

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

This is how the Cubs’ starting eight (nine if you count the two-headed monster at second base as individual entities) now looks with Nomar there (update–I’ve been having trouble with the geocities site this chart is posted to, so it might be gone when you look at it. If it’s not there and you’re still interested, click here to go to the chart):



VORP (Value over Replacement Player) and EqA (Equalized Average) are from http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ (link to stat glossary).

Win Shares is the Bill James brainchild; it can be found numerous places including here.

P/PA: Pitches/plate appearance…from http://www.espn.go.com/

K/AB: Strikeouts/at-bat. Each field from http://www.espn.go.com/

GIDP: Ground into double play. From http://www.espn.go.com/

What’s that chart tell me?

1) Sosa’s having a pretty good year.

2) The Cubs have several old players, but not as many as I thought.

3) No reasonable case can be made for starting Grudz over Walker.

4) The Cubs only have three guys with good plate discipline. One of them is now a bench player.

5) The new shortstop averages less than 3 pitches per plate appearance!!!! Unlike the other free swingers on the team, however, he puts the ball in play and hits ‘em where they ain’t.

6) Looks like the Cubs starters ground into more than their fair share of double plays.

7) Nomar in the 2 hole makes good sense. Walker leading off would make even more sense now, since Nomar doesn’t take a lot of pitches and Walker’s not going to steal. Maybe Dusty has tricked himself into making the right decision for the wrong reason; he thinks Corey will hit well with Nomar behind him and thinks Nomar will be forced into a little patience every now and then so Corey can steal.



Looking at the lineup the rest of the year, I think we’ll see a definite improvement in consistency and regularity of runs scored with Nomar in the lineup. Though I think we can expect Ramirez and Barrett to play worse down the stretch than they have (simply because their numbers are so very far above their career numbers) and Grudz to drag the offense down a bit, Garciaparra’s presence alone will offset that. We have the pieces in place to win the wild card. I think the Cubs can survive losing one impact hitter or pitcher, but not two. As usual, it all boils down to people staying healthy.

And now, at least, the REAL reason for the start of the NLCS unraveling has taken his bad mojo elsewhere.

P.S. I just ran a spellchecker through this post and it suggested that I replace “Nomar” with “mammary.”

P.P.S. Ivy Chat noticed this before I did. So I win the silver medal.

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Underachievers

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

As the Cubs entered a series in Colorado, where scores at times are in double digits, the bats looked very promising in the early going. We scattered a few hits, and had a 5 run inning. Then, the offense decided to leave the building quicker than Elvis Presley himself, not scoring again in the game. This is worrisome to me. The addition of Nomar is supposed to help our offense put up the runs we need. Five runs in Coors field isn’t enough. That translates to like three runs somewhere else. This team should be able to put more runs on the board consistently if we expect to get to the post season. I really believe the reason this team has yet to really catch fire is because of the batting order that Dusty keeps trotting out there. We need to get Patterson out of the leadoff spot. The lineup should be as follows.

1. Todd Walker – Makes good contact, takes pitches, and is better than Grudzielanek with the bat.
2. Nomar Garciaparra – Swings at the first pitch, but makes great contact. With no speed before him, his early swinging won’t be a problem.
3. Sammy Sosa – Most power on the team. This is his spot, and he doesn’t like batting anywhere else.
4. Aramis Ramirez – Cleanup should be your RBI guy. Who better for this role than A-RAM? Alou? I think not!!!
5. Derrek Lee – Better hitter than Alou, who is in the waning stages of his career and should be treated that way.
6. Moises Alou – If Corey didn’t strike out as much, I would put him here. Instead, Alou gets # 6 spot
7. Corey Patterson – Even though Barrett hits for a higher Avg, Corey’s speed would be wasted in the # 8 spot. Give him a chance to run here with Barrett behind him.
8. Michael Barrett – Needs to focus on letting Corey run, and making contact.

By using this lineup, it puts us in the best possible position to put up more runs. Let me know what you guys think though.

A great link suggestion:

Recently, a reader commented on a post and suggested the following link: The First Baseball Game. I have to admit that I watched it and laughed pretty hard. I recommend it, especially if you’ve had a hard day. It will put a smile on your face. Thanks to the reader for suggesting it.

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New Job Jitters

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

One of the most awkward experiences a person can go through is the experience of starting out at a new job. As you enter the building on that first day, knowing few, if any people, you are filled with excitement as well as sheer terror. Thoughts race though your head like “Will they like me?” “Will I fit in?” “How is the environment here as compared to other places I have worked?” For the most part, that first is filled with a great deal of handshakes, introductions, and questions. It really gets to the point where your hand in beginning to go numb from the ungodly amount of people who have shook it. Throughout the day, you have this strange feeling of confusion. Where is the bathroom? Where do I go now? Where is that? Who is that again? It’s really quite scary. Slowly, after a few days, you begin to find your niche in the workplace and begin to know your role in the grand scheme of things. Getting through those beginning stages, however, can be extremely difficult and stressful.

I imagine yesterday was an awkward one for Nomar Garciaparra. As he entered the gate to one of the most historic ballparks in all the land for the very first time, I wonder if he felt a case of the jitters. It was his first day on the job, but unlike the usual first day for an employee, which is filled with anonymity, Nomar came in and was immediately thrust into the spotlight. Even before arriving, the office was buzzing about the brand new employee who would showing up for work the next morning. To make it even tougher, Nomar’s first day on the job was at home with Greg Maddux, a favorite son of the team going for his 300th win. Tough first day, huh?

I am excited about the idea of Nomar in the windy city, but I think it’s important to remember one thing. Nomar is not Jesus. He can’t just make this team a lock for the World Series. If we learn anything from the hated Astros, it should be that a great team on paper doesn’t mean a great team on the field. I love everything that Nomar brings to the table, but don’t get your hopes up so high that it hurts even more if we lose this year. Does Nomar put us in position to win? Yes, most definitely. Does Nomar guarantee a win? No, no player can do that. The fact is, this team still has struggles. We all know we can’t decide on a second basemen, no leadoff hitter, and a closer problem. If we can figure out 2 of these, we will be fine.

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