Archive for February, 2005

New Baseball Rule

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

One of the main complaints people have about baseball is that it is too slow. MLB is one step closer to potentially significantly speeding up the game. It appears that the minor leagues will adopt a new batters box rule this year. The rule calls for a batter to keep 1 foot in the box at all times or risk a strike being called on them. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.

# The batter swings at a pitch;

In all seriousness, this is a good idea. Get the game moving, so more people may be interested. Maybe then, it can win over some of the people that can’t take the current slow pace.

Now, if MLB can just get this strike zone enforced.

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The Closer We Get

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

As the season draws closer by the minute, the burning question on everyone’s mind is who the closer will be. This offseason there have been a god awful amount of names that have been thrown around. I’d like to offer some opinions on the names that were and are being considered.

LaTroy Hawkins

If I could choose anyone on the Cubs to not be the closer, he would be tops on my list. Plain and simple, he can’t get the job done in that role. Something happens when Latroy steps on the field in a save situation that makes his head implode. It’s not to say that he isn’t a good reliever or late inning guy, because he truly is. It’s just something about that “Closer” title that fouls up his whole mental game. Hawkins should not be considered for the closer role. With that being said, it is obvious that Dusty Baker either does not read this blog or reads but doesn’t regard my opinions. I tend to lean toward the former, but you never know. Dusty will give Latroy every opportunity to win the closer role in spring training.

Ryan Dempster

This guy is the other major candidate for the job this year, and I’m not really sure why. He’s a starter by trade, until he encountered a cluttered rotation last year. This year, I would rather see him compete for the 5th starter job with Glendon Rusch. In 2000 and 2001, Dempster won 14 & 15 games respectively in the starting role. Those are Kerry Wood numbers in the win department, and he’s our opening day starter. Rusch was impressive last year, but will we see a return to the previous year in which he posted a 6.42 ERA? It’s tough to say, but why not at least have a competition for that role. I would guess that Dempster, if given the choice, would rather start.

Kyle Farnsworth

I would have loved to see him get a shot at the role, but so much for that happening. Good Luck in Detroit.

Joe Borowski

If I had my choice, this is the guy I choose. He was great in the role before he tried to be an ironman and pitch hurt. Suddenly, no one remembers those days. He says he’s healthy, so should the job technically go back to him? I think it should. He earned it by pitching well. If we had a better option, that would be different, but seeing that there is not one, give the job to average Joe.

Conclusion

The competition has apparently been restricted to LaTroy Hawkins and Ryan Dempster. Hawkins is the incumbent, but not many Cubs fans have forgotten that he blew three saves down the stretch last fall. Dempster has saved exactly two games in his professional career, both of them last September.

What makes this particularly interesting is that general manager Jim Hendry seems to favor Dempster, while manager Dusty Baker seems to favor Hawkins. My guess? One of the starters gets hurt in spring training, and Dempster gets tabbed for the rotation. And at 32, Hawkins finally enjoys his first 30-save season.

I think Neyer smokes some good stuff to think 30 is the number for Hawkins, but it is interesting to see that Hendry and Dusty do not see eye to eye on this one. We’ll see how THAT plays out.

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Opinions Please

Monday, February 14th, 2005

Yesterday I was browsing some of the “legit media sites”, as if blogs were not included in that, and noticed this article about players / executives on the hot seat for 2005. One name that was mentioned was Dusty Baker. I was curious to see what my readers thought about that. So, please express your opinions. Don’t be lazy, just click the comment section and post if you agree or disagree. If you want to put why, all the better. There is no reason why if we get 150-200 readers today that we can’t have at least 50 comments on this post.

I will share my thoughts when I get home from work at 4 EST, so check back. In the meantime, fill that comment section up please.

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Mr. Sosa

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Mr. Sosa’s initial business venture in Baltimore is a vineyard in the hills of western Maryland. On the bottle of Sosa Vineyard Select: “The growers provide the finest grapes, and I provide the cork.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That said, I’d like to say that I don’t think the Tribune Company ran a malicious anti-Sosa campaign for nothing. Though they blew some things out of proportion, Sosa had been acting like an ass since the Larry Himes era, and somebody finally got so sick of it that they got rid of him.

Good riddance — the time had come — but I will, on two levels, miss Sammy. He was, after all, an excellent hitter for several years; that’s #1. #2 is that Sosa fits the same mold as Mike Ditka and Dennis Rodman in Chicago sports history. They were all strong personalities who couldn’t carry a team on their own, but if surrounded by quality, their strengths would make their flaws bearable. Granted, Ditka and Rodman won championships and Sosa did not, but he did have several great seasons for us.

It is with that in mind that I say good riddance and I will miss you all in the same breath, Sammy.

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Stockpiling?

Thursday, February 10th, 2005


The last two Hendry trades make a fellah like me wonder if Mr. Hendry is stockpiling players some other team covets for an early June trade. Farnsworth’s trade value was high enough to get a former #1 draft pick (who, admittedly, hasn’t set the minors on fire) and garnered a replacement. The Sosa deal was motivated by getting anything back for the franchise’s leading jonron hitter, but apart from Hairston they just got a couple of turds which didn’t seem to fit their particular toilet bowl.

Perhaps Hendry has made inquiries and knows what some other teams are looking for to unload a big bat, and he’s making sure he can fulfill those requests…because it doesn’t do a lot of good for the Cubs to win 92 games and miss the playoffs for the next 3 years while keeping all of their prospects if they can keep a few and push the team into the playoffs…

I’m crossing my fingers that Scott Moore or Novoa was high on somebody’s list of players to have and that Hendry now has the cards to replace Sosa’s bat.

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