Archive for March, 2005

Discuss among yourselves

Friday, March 18th, 2005

Hmm, not sure what to make of this one. It appears that maybe Baker is already planning on jumping ship if the Cubs do not win a championship this year or next year.

PHOENIX — San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins wrote recently Dusty Baker would not return when his four-year contract ends after the 2006 season.

Asked if he’s happy with the Cubs, Baker said he’s just “happy to be breathing” after beating prostate cancer in 2002. He didn’t care to respond to Jenkins’ column, which he said he hadn’t read.

“That’s Bruce’s column, his opinion,” he said. “I like Bruce. I haven’t talked to Bruce but one time since I left [San Francisco]. … I can’t comment on what somebody else says.”

Baker pointed out he has two years left on his contract and didn’t want to speculate on his future in Chicago after that.

“I have a lot of winning to do—a lot of winning,” he said. “If you ask me about something two years from now, I can’t answer that.

“This is the first time I’ve been on a contract longer than two years since I’ve been managing. … I wouldn’t have signed for four years for the first time in my career if I didn’t have that [championship] goal in mind.”

Lately I have been liking Baker less and less. He’s on my hot seat list.

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Mitre Wants A Shot

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Sergio Mitre has said that he wants to be the 5th starter this year. Maybe it’s just me, but the way our pitching staff’s health looks, good ole Sergio may be in the rotation by default.

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Forgive me for panicking…

Monday, March 14th, 2005

…but this could finally be the sign that it’s time to kill myself.
From Associated Press:

Cubs ace Mark Prior will be out indefinitely because of inflammation in his right elbow, the latest injury to one of Chicago’s star pitchers.

Has anyone ever written a suicide post on a blog before? I’m sure it’s been done, but if Prior’s out for an extended period of time I’ll be the first on this blog to do so.
“Maybe it’s nothing.” That phrase is the only thing keeping me alive right now.

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Golden Ticket

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

As I was watching the television five minutes before the selection show, they showed a good amount of NCAA tournament highlights. I had watched a few of them live on TV as they happened, but I was not at any of them. All of the people that were in attendance were treated to a site they would never forget. Who knew that when they bought that ticket, that it would turn into a ticket almost as valuable as the Wonka ticket. That got me thinking about the greatest moments in sports that I have ever been present for, in the stands. When you buy the ticket, you always hope for a historic event, but in my case one rarely happens. Here are my top 3.

# 1 – Chicago Cubs beat Atlanta in game 1 of the NLDS (Sept. 30th, 2003)

This was a great game and I was so glad I was there. I sat in traffic far longer than I had anticipated and missed the top of the first inning, but in the end, it was worth it. Nothing is more fun than going to a visiting park and talking trash as your team wins.

# 2 – Jose Valentine Hits for the Cycle (April 27th, 2000)

This one is a funny one actually. I usually enjoy going to the White Sox games in Chicago because the tickets are cheap and easy to come by. This particular day was nice because I got to see Cal Ripkin Jr. play for the first time. On the way home, as I was totaling up my scorecard, I realized what I had actually seen.

# 3 – Cubs beat Atlanta in 15 innings (April 9th, 2004)

This game made me incredibly angry for 8 & 2/3 innings. Then Holly stepped to the plate and jacked one right over our head in the RF bleachers. Eventually, the Cubs would go on to win it in 15.

Well, that’s it. Those are my top 3 games I have been in attendance. Now, it’s your turn. Please share the best games you’ve ever been at.

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It’s all a bunch of crap

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Don’t forget how meaningless spring training numbers are. It’s encouraging to see the way the pitchers are going, but there are so many possible things that the batters they face are trying to do and that they themselves are trying to do at this point in the spring that the results are unimportant. They are also not predictive of success in the regular season (Scott McClain, Tuffy Rhodes, etc.).
I poo poo on the idea of getting excited about what’s happening so far this spring. That said, this year is no different for me than every other year since I turned six years old: I believe the Cubs are going to win the World Series.

Granted, I’m 0 for 27 so far on that prediction, but one right prediction equals about a thousand wrong predictions when it comes to the World Series!

Here’s how they’re going to do it:
1) Jim Edmonds will get injured in early July, forcing the Cards to play Rick Ankiel in CF. He’ll hit like a solid hitting pitcher: .210 ba, .245 obp, .315 slugging. He’ll also miss the cutoff man 3 times out of 4. This LaRussian decision will cost the Cardinals 5 wins over the remainder of the season.
2) Jeromy Burnitz’s frequent strikeouts and .188 average in late May will be forgotten when a bolt of lightning (perhaps from Zeus himself) will strike him in right field before a game, causing his brain to become scrambled. He will see it as a sign from Zeus and will call himself the Oracle of Zeus. He’ll retire from baseball and build a weird Greek-style temple in Milwaukee. Cheeseheads will flock to him and form an Olympian Revivalist movement culminating in a goat-and-cheesehead orgy in Dionysian fashion during Octoberfest.
3) Burnitz’s departure allows Dubois to play full time. He ends up with a .267/.340/.465 line, which tops Sosa’s numbers.
4) Hollandsworth will inflate his value with a high batting average thanks to a couple of hot months and Hairston will fill in effectively at LF, CF, RF, and 2B. Near season’s end he’ll rotate through the positions, playing 4 out of every 5 days, and lead off. It allows him to get 350 at-bats, steal 25 bases, and put up an un-Cub-like .370 OBP. He is seen as the second coming of Bob Dernier.
5) Aramis Ramirez will hit 40 homers. Ron Santo will fall in love with him the same way he fell in love with Gary Scott and spend time tutoring him on the finer points of defense. His range will increase.
6) Nomar Garciaparra, happy in Chicago and healthy again, will put up a .350/.385/.525 line and return to the offensive force he was in his mid-twenties.
7) Carlos Zambrano will establish himself as a Cy Young Award winner.
8) Greg Maddux and Michael Barrett will become roommates on the road. Their close proximity allows Maddux to work with him and trust him. Maddux lets Barrett catch for him. Happiness rains down upon them both and they get tattoos of each other on their ankles. Maddux’s will get infected and, like Schilling during the ALCS last year, we’ll see blood seeping onto his sock during a crucial game in September.
9) Corey Patterson will show considerable growth by only striking out 125 times. His .290 BA pushes his OBP into .345 range, making him bearable as an everyday player, but the world will say his combination of 31 stolen bases and 27 homers are the reason the Cubs are good.
10) Ronnie “Woo-Woo” Wickers will lose his voice once and for all. The ensuing peace will allow the Cubs to better concentrate during home games, allowing them to go 52-29 at home. Their 44-37 road record will give them 96 wins, edging the Cards by a single game.

The playoffs go like this:
Stomp the Dodgers in 4, Crush the Braves in 5, Obliterate the Yanks in 4! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

And why not? 1 for 28 is lookin’ pretty good right now.

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Tourney Time

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

I figured I would throw this out there. Here is a chance to pick your bracket against other readers of the site. So, if you read this site, and want to see how you do, go here, sign up and join private group # 19769. The password is: prior

I’d love to see at least 20 people in.

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Doubt It

Monday, March 7th, 2005

Apparently Bud Selig believes that steroid use will soon be eliminated. His statement in the New York Times is this: “This year I believe we will clean that up,” when referring to the drop from 5% positive tests to 1% positive last year. I’m not even going to go into how absurd the statement is. Just know this. The MLB commissioner’s office will be cleaned OUT before steroid use is cleaned UP. Players are always going to find some new drug that is untested. Doesn’t he realize this by now? Why even make this statement for a PR move? It simply makes him sound naive.

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Friday, March 4th, 2005

I have a dream. It goes a little something like this:

It’s the 8th inning of Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field. Cardinals vs. Cubs, the Cubs are down 2-3 in the series, and down 0-3 in the game. Cubs at the plate, two on, two out. I’m sitting in the first row along the left field line, baseball glove in hand. A pop fly off the bat of Aramis Ramirez soars high into the air and Cardinals left fielder Reggie Sanders runs over towards the stands, alternating his gaze between the ball and the approaching wall. The pop fly is coming straight at me. Sanders leaps up to make the catch, the ball is just about to land in his glove, over the stands, when…

…it lands in my glove. I sit back down in my seat. Sanders throws his hands up and mutters something at me, but I can’t hear him over the raucous cheering of Cubs fans and the small smattering of boos from the visiting Cardinals fans. Sanders then pleads with the umpire to call fan interference, but the ump keeps making the sign of “safe.”

Ramirez finishes his at-bat with a three-run homer onto Waveland and the game is tied.

Later in the ninth inning, still tied, two outs, Hollandsworth on third, Corey Patterson is at the plate and has dug himself into an 0-2 count against Julian Tavarez. Tavarez touches his cap (of course), looks in for the sign, and sets himself on the mound. He throws a fastball that catches a little too much of the inside part of the plate, and Corey hits a slow dribbler down the first base line. Albert Pujols shuffles to his left to scoop up the ball, and it goes right between his legs and rolls onto the Wrigley Field outfield grass. Hollandsworth touches home plate and the Cubs win Game 6.

Of course, they go on to win Game 7, and the next four games against the Yankees in the World Series. Steve Bartman and I share a parade float.

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Insert Asterisk Here – Part II

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

So now the question that is begging for an answer is that of what to do with the MLB record book. Baseball, more than any other sport, is a sport of numbers. It’s records are the most cherished of all professional sports. More people know baseball records by heart than any other sport. Now, in this time of uncertainty in regards to what should be done, I would like to offer up a case AGAINST the asterisk in all regards. I have two reasons in which I base my decision.

Reason 1MLB is a game of non-absolutes

There is a comedy routine by the legendary George Carlin that compares Baseball with Football to point out their many differences. Carlin could not have been more correct. Baseball is far different than any of the big 4 sports in this country (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey). Of the 4, baseball is the only one without a set time limit. It’s scheduled for 9 innings, but on any given day, a game could last 15-20 innings. Of those 9 regularly scheduled innings, none of them are on a time limit. At any given time, a team could send 30 batters to the plate before ending an inning.

Not only is their no time limit, but these is no absolute when it comes to stadiums either. Baseball is the only sport in which teams do not all play with the exact same dimensions. Basketball, football and hockey all have very specific rules as to how big their playing are is. Baseball does not. As a result, we have teams playing in ballparks that are tiny, and teams that have played in parks whose CF wall was over 440 feet away. How can this be? Sure you might argue that this is what makes baseball unique, but I would argue right back that this is what makes the record book inaccurate.

If Baseball is going to cherish the record book, then is should be a way of comparing players of all generations who have played the game in the same type of circumstances.

Reason 2MLB has changed it’s own rules over time

Whether it was adding more games to the regular season (i.e. – 154 to 162) or changing the way the game was played, MLB has always had no problem changing the rules. I laugh as I hear Fox announce when people have broken playoff records for things like hits, HR’s, RBI’s etc. Well, of course they have. Now that we have a 3 round playoff system, how could they not? If you’re going to keep these records, you can’t just go and change the rules. By doing so, you render the old records inferior.

MLB has lowered the mound, added the DH, and lengthened the season, just to name a few changes. By doing so, they have widened the gap between the players of old and the players of today. It’s almost impossible to ask the question “How would Babe Ruth do against Randy Johnson?” based on the records put up by both men. Baseball has simply made too many changes to the rules for the records to have any warrant in deciding the answer.

Summary – So where do steroids fit into this whole asterisk question. I believe they fit in just like any other change. They are just another strike against the record book. With that being said, it is impossible to assign asterisks or award MVP’s to players based on assumptions of the public. You cannot assume that Mark McGwire used steroids and thus place an asterisk by his records. MLB did not test and as a result cannot penalize the past. What’s done is done. Asterisks? Get rid of them all.

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