Archive for September, 2004

I can’t lie

Sunday, September 19th, 2004

I would love to say that I watched the game yesterday and then proceed to break it down for you. However, I was unable to see the game. It wasn’t on WGN, so I didn’t get it. Instead, I spent my afternoon listening the to the Bears win against the hated Packers (sorry Andy). At one point, I pulled the score up on CBS Sportsline and saw we were down 1-0 in the late innings. We hadn’t hit all day and I was feelin a little grim. It would be horrible to drop 2 in a row against a team that we are capable of sweeping. I think it would have sent us into a tailspin with the double header tomorrow. Then, I checked a little later and see we put up 5 runs and win the game. Not bad. Maybe I shouldn’t watch anymore!!! Tomorrow, it’s very important to at least win 1. Most double headers are split, so anything less than that is unacceptable. With Prior pitching against Pavano in the first game, I think the game to win would be the second game. Matt Clement vs David Weathers to me sounds a little more appetizing. We’ll just have to wait and see. No matter what, I am beginning to get a little confidence in this team.

Fan Mail Part II

I love me some E-mail from the readers. I love to hear peoples questions, opinions, requests, praise, and criticism. This weekend, I was privileged to hear from fellow Cubs fan, Dan Kummer

Greetings I just discovered your blog recently and have been checking it daily…along with numerous other baseball resources. I’ve been a cubs fan my entire life despite growing up on the Southside. Thanks for giving me that added Cubs fix.

Wanted to bring a topic up and get your reaction to it. Last night I’m hanging out with a couple Sox fans. Why is it that sox fans go out of their way and put so much energy into hating the cubs? I know a ton of fan for both the sox and the cubs and it seems like a very 1 sided rivalry. Of course a lot of the cubs fans don’t like the sox and like to see them make fools of themselves… but they just don’t seem to go to the extent that the sox fans do to wish evil on their cross-town rival. I agree that there’s nothing like a good rivalry to fuel more excitement into a ballgame, but is there some deeper animosity that sox fans have for the cubs? It’s like, If you ask a Cubs fan what they think of the sox the answer seems to be “who cares” But if you ask a Sox fan their feelings of the cubs the answer is a long and violent spewage of obscenities that continues long into the evening. It’s even gone to the point of Sox fans buying tickets to Wrigley just to cheer on their opposition. What would make a person go to so much trouble and spend top dollar (hottest ticket in town) just to radiate negative energy?

I do have some theory’s on this behavior, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts..

Daniel
age 29

This is a great thing to bring up down the stretch as the Cubs are again in the thick of the hunt for October and the White Sox have yet again fallen short. Personally, I fall into the belief that White Sox fans are bitter at the Cubs and their fans for some reason. I can’t figure out why though. It’s not as if we win World Series after World Series and they are stuck with nothing. These two teams never win the World Series, they play in different leagues, and have two completely different areas in which they play. If anything, the two teams and their fans should get along. It would be nice to root for two baseball teams in Chicago. After all, right now, we have a 1 in 30 chance of winning each year. If we had 2 teams, our chance would be 1 in 15.

I think the reason for all the hostility from Sox fans is because of the attention that the Cubs receive from the city and the nation. Sox fans know that the Cubs are no better than they are and yet they have a big TV deal, national attention, and fans that pack the ballpark from far and wide. The Sox have essentially the same product over the years, but do not get the attention the Cubs do. To use an example, think of it as a kid who gets a new brother or sister. Now, he is stuck playing second fiddle to someone that doesn’t bring anything more to the table. The baby gets all the attention and the older brother or sister is reduced to complaining. That is the only thing I can think of to explain it. I have to admit though, Sox fans annoy the crap out of me.

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In My Mind

Sunday, September 19th, 2004

Let’s say, hypothetically, that Windmill Kim didn’t send Mark Grudzielanek to his doom at the plate. Even though it’s really a stretch to do this, let’s reconstruct the inning based on the next few Cubs at-bats (both in the 8th and the 9th) to see what might have been:

* * * * * * * *

Ben Grieve singles on a ground ball to center fielder Wily Mo Pena. Mark Grudzielanek to 3rd. Tom Goodwin to 2nd. (now based loaded, 1 out)

Corey Patterson hits a sacrifice fly to right fielder Austin Kearns. Mark Grudzielanek scores. Tom Goodwin to 3rd. (now first and third, 2 out, score tied at 6-6)

Neifi Perez singles on a line drive to right fielder Austin Kearns. Tom Goodwin scores. Ben Grieve to 2nd. (now first and second, 2 out, Cubs lead 7-6)

Aramis Ramirez grounds into fielder’s choice, shortstop Felipe Lopez to second baseman Ryan Freel. Neifi Perez out at 2nd.

* * * * * * * *

Yeah, it’s easy to see in hindsight and it’s kind of “out there” but oh, what might have been…

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Survivor Update

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

As the time drew closer to another season of Survivor, my excitement began to build. Fresh off Survivor All Stars, which in my opinion was the best season yet, I needed to get my fix. This season takes place on the islands of Vanuatu, which are known as the fire islands. Something about that appeals to me. I’m not sure why fire adds to the drama, but it just does for some reason.

This years castaways are divided into 2 tribes, which is different from All Stars, which had them divided into 3 tribes. Personally, I enjoyed the three tribe idea better. I thought it added to the strategy of the game. Castaways did not get a chance to get to know as many people before there was a merge. Instead, they are back to the two tribe idea. They are divided into men and women, which is an idea that I like.

The show started out really interesting. As the castaways were brought to the island, all of these natives began paddling out to meet them in boats. They had spears and were screaming and raising their spears. That would scare the crap out of me. Even though I would know it was staged, the thought of the whole situation would be very overwhelming I think. The looks on their faces seemed to show that. They all kind of stared in amazement. From there it was on to tribal initiation. They had an elaborate ceremony in which they killed a pig on the spot. They didn’t just slash it’s throat, they hit it on the head with a sledge hammer. It scared the crap out of the ladies in the game. Half of them gasped out load. It was pretty funny to watch.

Eventually, the real game began. Tribes found their camp and it was time to compete in the first immunity challenge. It was nothing too exciting. A team obstacle course. The guys team pretty much could have won easily had they not had one tribe member. This big highway repair worker named Chris could not get across the balance beam if his life depended on it. He tried doing it on his belly, on his feet, with shoes, without shoes, etc. Nothing worked, no matter how how he worked. The rest of his team just had to sit and watch their lead be blown. In the end, the girls won the challenged and were rewarded with not only immunity from tribal council, but also some much needed flint for fires.

I really thought that Chris would be voted out because of his failure, but when it was time for the council to meet, Brook was voted out due to his intimidating strength. I think the guys will come out hard next week and will win immunity.

Fearless Prediction for Next Castaway eliminated: Scout Cloud Lee

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Fan E-mails

Friday, September 17th, 2004

Every now and then, I get the privilege of receiving an E-mail from a Cub fan who reads the site and decides they want to send me a question or a comment. It’s always nice to receive some love through the E-mail. I try to take the time to reply to them right away because I know if I took the time to write, I’d appreciate a reply. It always makes me laugh that someone would actually write in the first place, to be honest.

Last night, we had a power outage and I was not able to see the conclusion to the game. When my power left me, the Cubs were up 5-4 in the 8th. with 2 Cincinnati at bats to come. You can imagine my joy when I wake up to an E-mail from a reader that not only told me the Cubs win, but that he had a great question, which gave me something to write about. I’d like to take the time to share with you not only his E-mail, which asks an intelligent and legit question, but also another E-mail I received yesterday from a lady named Deb.

Intelligent E-mail

I’m a diehard Cubbie fan, but I’d like to bring to your attention, if I
may, an oft-overlooked Cubs issue.

Tonight, the “Cub of the Day” was obviously Aramis Ramirez. The man
batted in our first three runs singlehandedly. The other day, the “Daily
Hero” was Patterson, who had multiple longballs. Recently, Sosa had a
now-rare “Supergame” where he had a Grand Slam and a solo shot.

Does it concern you at all that, although we’re pulling off some wins,
the team seems to be dependent on one player? The player varies from day
to day, but it seems that one player per game takes the game for us.
Tonight, again, while Ramirez stole the spotlight, Patterson, Lee,
Walker, and Alou didn’t do much (if anything).

I wish the entire lineup could be consistent more regularly: How about,
Ramirez gets his three homers, but Corey gets a double and a single, and
Todd Walker got a solo shot? (Or something along these lines).

In any case, I very much enjoy View From The Bleachers.

Sincerely,
Thirteen-year old Andrew Quinn

PS: How amazing is Hawkins’s closing becoming? My only complaint is: “If
only he could have been doing this all year!”

Not only does this E-mail ask a good question, but the writer is 13 yrs old. Not too many 13 yr olds can put together that kind of coherent thoughts on paper. He uses paragraphs and punctuation. Andrew, I salute you for being a good reader. Now, I suppose you would like an answer to your question. It worries me more that this team continues to live and die with the homerun. All the Cubs writers have been beating this issue to death this year. This team reminds me of the Colorado Rockies when they first came into the league. The had a lineup similar to the Cubs, which was filled with huge sluggers and tried to just beat you with their offense. There are some differences between this team and the Rockies, however. First, we actually have a pitching staff, something the Rockies have yet to put together to this point. Also, the Cubs offense plays in a park that is not as conducive to hitting homeruns on an everyday basis. Due to the wind being incredibly fickle, the Cubs have issues at home. If the wind in blowing in, the Cubs just don’t seem to win as consistently. Andy pointed out in an earlier post that the Cubs record is affected by the wind.

Wind Blowing In: 15-15
Wind Blowing Out:24-12

That tells me that the Cubs rely on the longball at home. When the wind is blowing out, their offense takes charge. When it’s blowing in, their glaring faults are revealed. They don’t move runners. They don’t run the bases well, and they don’t play fundamental baseball. Each game they try to out slug their competition. This is what worries me more than one player taking the game on his back each game.

Strange E-mail

Can you send me pictures of derrick Lee, especially a side view…BUTT!!!!
Thanks,

Deb

Why would I have pictures of this? Deb, I will do my best to get you some Derrek Lee pictures, but cannot promise any erotic ones for you. Sorry to disappoint.

Thanks for the emails guys. I appreciate it. Keep em coming. In the meantime, check out ChicagoSports.com and see fellow Cub blogger Kurt Evan’s opinions on Advertising at Wrigley Field.

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Cub Confidence

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

The Cubs go out and get the job done this series. The do what they needed to do by sweeping a weak team down the stretch. Now, how do you and I feel about this team? What is your Cub Confidence level? I think a simple 1-10 scale should serve us well. What I would like for our readers to do is simple. Make known to the world where you stand on this teams chances to win it all for this year. With 10 being completely confident and 1 being terrified and despondent, declare if you’re on or off the Cub bandwagon. Anything 6 and over declares your on, but to what extent. 5 and under declares that you’re off, and to what extent.

Let me take the rest of my time to post my number and reason. This preseason, I think the majority of us would have said that at this point in the year, their level would probably be in the neighborhood of 9 or even 10. After all, this is a team that ESPN and Sports Illustrated both predicted would win the World Series. I really felt this year would be a great year for this team. Instead, I am left disappointed and clinging to the hope that this team is better than they have shown. Clutching the possibility that this team is about to hit it’s stride at just the right time. If I had to put a number on it, I will give this team a 6, with a little, green up arrow next to it. I think this sweep goes a long way toward convincing me. Sammy Sosa has been hot the last 3 games and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. With injuries to Nomar and A-Ram, we need Sammy to deliver in a HUGE way. If he continues to do so, my Cub Confidence level will continue to rise.

What’s your level? Let us know.

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Any Way The Wind Blows

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

As Corey’s pop fly sailed six miles up into the “jet stream” towards left center field and into the basket in the eighth, loyal Cubs fans everywhere leapt off of their sofas, shouted with excitement, and spilled their adult beverages on their pets. Well, maybe that was just me.

While it could be said that all of the Cubs’ offense tonight came off the bat of Patterson, it could also be said that the game would never have gone to extra innings without that friendly outgoing breeze at the Friendly Confines. That made me wonder, over the course of the season, does the wind help or hurt the Cubs? And if the wind is that big of a factor, just how many games at Wrigley Field are decided by which direction the wind is blowing?

I dug through the box scores on MLB.COM and recorded which direction the wind was blowing for each game and whether the Cubs won or lost. I know that the wind can change directions many times during a single game, but for the sake of simplicity, I decided to stick with the info the box score had to offer. Here’s what I found.

First, there’s just nothing more exciting than looking at box scores for weather data.

Second, the wind at Wrigley does appear to affect the Cubs’ record. Take a look (games where the wind was blowing right-to-left or left-to-right weren’t considered)

Wind Blowing In: 15-15
Wind Blowing Out: 24-12

So this season at home, they’ve split their games with the wind blowing in. With the wind blowing out, they’ve won twice as many games as they’ve lost. Draw from that what you will.

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A bad Win?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Is there such a thing as a bad win? I mean, when a team wins but has a costly injury, we call it a costly win. When a team wins, but didn’t deserve it, we call it a gift win. But, is there a term for when a team wins a ballgame by playing a style that has not led to consistent success all year. That was the case last night. So, while it was a big win, an important win, a nice win to watch, the fact of it is, this was a “bad win.”

From the home office in Cullowhee, NC. We present todays top ten list. Topic: Top 10 ways to know that last nights win was, in fact, a bad win.

10. When my wife notices that Sammy Sosa swings too hard and asks if he gets embarrassed.

9. The win blows out and the Cubs can’t manage more than 3 runs, despite swinging for the fences

8. Moises Alou is still our Left Fielder

7. Mark Grudzielanek is still in the starting lineup consistently, despite the fact that Walker is a better option

6. Our announcers on WGN keep thinking that the Cubs have been clutch with runners in scoring position

5. Some fat kid with no shirt painted up for the game. It must be that time again. Welcome back fair weather & Clueless fans

4. We were forced to listen to Paul Edinger do a dreadful job with the 7th inning stretch. I guess it’s just been a rough week for him.

3. Alou singled-handedly broke the record for most check swings in a single game with 23,482 in one game. Way to go Mo !!!!

2. All our runs once again came via the homerun

and the number 1 reason I worry that last nights win was a bad win……………….

1. Corey Patterson hit 2 HR’s in one game.

Now, for the casual fans that were chanting “Corey!!! Corey!!!!” as he slowly trotted around the bases in the 12th, this was a great sign. Corey Patterson is great. The Cubs are great. We’re on our way. But, for the fan that has an ounce of Cub intelligence could tell you that seeing Corey hit two HR last night is the worst thing we could possibly see. We will once again see Corey swinging for the fences tomorrow. Hopefully, when Baker pulled Corey aside as they were celebrating the first thing he said to him was…”Good job tonight, get me some singles and doubles tomorrow.” If not, we could be in store for a brutal day tomorrow and a horrible stretch run for Corey Patterson. I hope i’m wrong, but if this season has taught me anything, then I am pretty sure this prediction will ring true.

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Welcome

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

Welcome to the new look site. Please show us some love and let us know what you think. Leave some comments.

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Home Plate in Space

Monday, September 13th, 2004

Home Plate in Space is a new Astros blog. Give it a look.

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