Archive for April, 2005

Welcome Back

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

I suppose it’s about time for me to get something written before I lose all of my readers. My apologies go out to all that have stopped by only to be greeted by the same post leftover from Tuesday. It’s been a busy week at school as we prepare the kids to take the EOG’s next week. I’ll be extremely glad when those things are over and done with. In the meantime, I’ve been able to watch all the games, but just haven’t had the energy or desire to put my thoughts in the world of cyberspace, Until Now.

  • Maddux – It was good to see the Cubs pull out the game for Maddux last night. He’s been hard up this year to get a win. I did not have much confidence coming into the game against Clemens, but the Cubs did the right thing and got on the board early. Against pitchers like Clemens, you have to get them early otherwise they settle in and are usually untouchable. I am beginning to think that this will be the year that Maddux does not reach the 15 win mark. I know it’s a horrible thing to say, but his April win mark, coupled with his increasing age and hitability leads me to believe that this may be the year it ends. No matter what happens, Maddux continues to be a fiery competitor in the right way. I wish he would work hard with Carlos Zambrano to help him harness some of his emotions. When Maddux was not getting the calls he felt he should, he simply adjusted the gameplan and pitched well. Carlos, when put in that same situation seems implode Jose Lima style each time. At the beginning of the year, I said that was my biggest fear about Carlos Zambrano. He’s at a crossroads in his young career. He can go the path of Maddux or can go the path of Lima. I hope to God that the he enrolls in the professor Maddux class entitled Controlling your emotions 101.

  • The King – He has reclaimed the throne from Mr. Sly, whose reign was somewhat abbreviated. His return was triumphant as he pitched a 1,2,3 ninth inning with relative ease. Long Live The King!!!!
  • Willy Tavares – Man that guy is fast. He stole 2nd easily on a pitchout. Granted it was Maddux, who does not regard the runners with much attention, that was on the mound. Either way, he was in well ahead of Barrett’s throw.
  • Kerry Wood – This is my favorite Cub and I will stick by him. He needs to step it up tonight and get the Cubs their first 3 game win streak of the year. We’ve had a couple of opportunities this year and have not been able to make it happen. With Woody and Prior closing out the series, there is no reason the Cubs can’t sweep the struggling Astros in their own park. I feel like Wood and Prior will both pitch quality starts, which is all you can ask of your starters, and the Cubs will sweep the series.
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Stupid Night Games

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

I was so tired last night after the game that I just went to bed. So now I have 5 minutes before I have to leave for work to put my thoughts on the site. So, here they are in abbreviated form.

  • Macias was in the lineup (always a bad thing)
  • Neifi Perez was hitting .727 before the game in his last 3 games. Who needs Nomar?
  • It seemed to me that Paul Wilson balked about 30 times. He would a runner on and would not come to a full 1 second pause before throwing. I was always taught that doing that was a balk. Maybe i’m crazy.

  • My MLB hitting streak ended at 7 with Ramirez going 0-4. I knew I should have picked Neifi!!!!
  • Prior = AWESOME
  • Mr. Sly = NOT AWESOME

There are a few more thoughts I wanted to talk about but I’ll add them tonight after what I hope is another win.

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The Debut of Mr. Sly

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

I am not happy with the series against the Pirates. This was a series that the Cubs could have easily won. Instead, we get a rainout, a blown save and a win. Before the game, Dusty was asked about the closer role and had this to say.

It’s time to make some changes. At least until whatever is happening stops happening and we get it straight. Right now, we have to make some changes. It’s not very pleasant on us, or him, or Cubs fans, or anybody.

Here are the thoughts from todays game:

  • Kerry Wood was less than dominant today, despite only giving up 2 runs. He allowed walks to start each of the first three innings to start the game. Only one of the three came back to hurt him, but on a normal day, that ratio would be higher. He came out of the game early because he arm just wasn’t feeling perfect. The cold weather was affecting him. I was impressed with his performance after I heard that he was not feeling well. It wasn’t the best performance, but we’ll take it. At least he toughed it out and didn’t leave the team high and dry after 2 innings.
  • Michael Barrett has continued to gun down runners with remarkable improvement. If he can keep this up for another month or so, people may just stop running as much on him. He’s not the kind of catcher that can put an end to a teams running plans, but if he can keep this up, you certainly have to believe teams will begin to think twice before running.
  • After Michael Wuertz came in during the 8th, I began to get worried about who Dusty was planning on using in the 9th. I started to get angry at the TV just thinking of Remlinger or The King coming in to pitch. In the end, Dusty brought in Mr. Sly to get the job done. He looked fine to me. I’m really not picky about the closer role. I tend to follow the Bill James philosophy that says there are times other than the 9th inning where you should use your “Closer”. The ninth inning should be treated as any other inning. If you have the meat of the order coming up in the 8th, bring in the best guy in the pen during THAT inning instead.
  • My hitting streak in the MLB Beat The Streak game has increased as a result of Ramirez getting a hit in todays game. If you’d like to play, let me know and I’ll send you an invite.
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God Dang Cubs

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

I am so frustrated with the team. I never thought I would say this, but I am officially Anti Baker. He has no business being the Cubs manager anymore. I’m tired of his crazy pinch hitting decisions. I’m tired of his bullpen decisions. I’m tired of his pathetic excuse for managing. The time has come to make a change. It’s time to get a guy with some fire that will challenge his guys to meet their expectations. As much as I hate to say it, the guy over on the Southside is doing just what we need. Take this for example:

“He’s a [bleep], that’s what he is,” Guillen continued. “He’s another Venezuelan [bleep]. [Bleep] him.”He has an enemy. Now he has a big one. He knows I can [bleep] him a lot of different ways. He better shut the [bleep] up and play for the Detroit Tigers.”

Guillen on Mags Ordonez

I don’t know what this team needs to do to start winning, but having a guy like Dusty obviously is not the answer. His flaws have been exposed big time since coming to a big market and I don’t like what I see anymore. It’s like a horrible carnival ride that is getting you sick, but just doesn’t seem to end. Stop the ride, I wanna get off.

I’d like to introduce you to my pick for the next manager of the Chicago National League Ballclub.

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That’s a winner

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

One of my least favorite things about baseball is the rain delay. I turned on the TV tonight ready to watch some baseball only to find that it was raining in St. Louis. Once the game got started, I began my new routine of jotting down my thoughts as it played out in front of me. Here are the observations from last night.

  • Be Honest, were you worried when it was 2 outs and the king trotted out of the bullpen to close it? Like I said before, “All Hail The King”
  • I had planned on bashing Nomar’s poor fielding and hitting in this post, but I guess that would be kind of unclassy of me seeing that Nomar was cursing in pain after what seemed to be a gruesome injury. Anytime you injure yourself near the manhood, you have got to receive a night off from the criticism of Cubs bloggers. I have not heard what happened to him as of yet, but I would assume he tore his groin and will be headed for the DL tomorrow or the next day. I would not be surprised to see Ronnie Cedeno get called up to replace Nomar should he need to hit the shelf for awhile. Cedeno has a slick glove and is hitting the ball well at AAA Iowa. A prospect report had this to say:
    “Cedeno easily has the best glove in the system…Still, he doesn’t draw a ton of walks, and his slugging percentage is buoyed only by occasional doubles.”

    Smith & Stroh Report
  • St. Louis looked awful on the defensive side of the ball, which was surprising. At times, I had to ask myself if I was actually watching the Cardinals. Whenever you have guys like Eckstein, Rolen, and Edmonds in your defense, you expect perfection. St. Louis was anything but perfect, especially Diaz, the young catcher, who was absolutely brutal behind the plate.
  • Why is it that every time Zambrano is pitching, he feels the need to try to knock line drives down with his bare pitching hand? Does he not know that he uses that hand to win games? If it were me, I get my hand as far away from a line drive as I possibly can to avoid having it knocked off my wrist by a Pujols line drive. Maybe once he grows up a little, or gets shelled in the wrist, he’ll wise up. Let’s hope it’s the former and not the latter.
  • Are you as annoyed by fans who reach into the field of play to try to catch baseballs that are IN PLAY. This annoys the crap out of me. Are these people not watching the game? Did you not just see the ump signal fair? I think that any fan reaching into the field of play and affecting a ball that is currently in play should immediately be ejected from the stadium. I know it’s harsh, but their actions could and often does affect the outcome of a baseball. I don’t think a real life example is needed here, right? Fans need to stop acting like idiots over a $5 baseball. If you want a ball that bad, come to my house and I’ll give you a whole box of them. Until then, quit sticking your hands where they don’t belong.
  • Last but not least, I was very excited to be able to listen to my favorite baseball announcer. I know Joe Buck is a Cardinals guy, but I can’t help but love him. I spent a year at Western Illinois University and when I was working, I would listen to the Cardinals games on the radio in the van. I loved listening to Joe and Jack Buck call the games. It actually made me look forward to Cardinal games because of how good the two of them really did. What I would give to hear a 3 game series broadcast by the following: Harry Caray, Jack Buck, and Pat Hughes. One per game. That would be heaven.
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Gameday Snack

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

As I sit here watching the elevator music that is on the Extra Innings package right now due to rain delay, I’d like to take this time to promote a snack product that is excellent!!! If you love salsa and you like peaches, you’ll love Newman’s Own – Peach Salsa. It is the perfect blend of sweet with salty. It is so good that when I ran out of chips just now, I wanted to just eat the salsa with a spoon. In addition to the wonderful taste, all of Paul Newman’s food products go to a great cause. Paul Newman, as sole owner of Newman’s Own®, donates all his profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes. Paul Newman has given over $150 million to thousands of charities since 1982. I highly recommend you march yourself to the store and pick up a bottle in time for the first pitch, whenever that may be tonight. Just tell em THE VIEW FROM THE BLEACHERS sent ya. And please, if you do go out and try it, let me know what you think.

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All That Glitters

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Excuse me, waiter? Garçon? Could you please fetch my friend Corey here a Gold Glove?


image from MLB.com

Prior got hit hard in the first inning, but thanks to the spectacular defensive efforts of young outfielders Dubois and Patterson he got out of it unscathed. Patterson made two fine catches at the wall, the second being a Torii Hunter-style bounce off the padding in right-center. I’m certain that if Corey played center field in a stadium with a short outfield fence, he’d have a fistful of over-the-wall Web Gems on Baseball Tonight.

Corey had a fantastic season in the field last year and left many wondering, “Hey, where’s the golden leather?”

Defense is such a hard thing to measure, particularly because there’s so few meaningful statistics out there to use. Putouts? Assists? Errors? The two big stats that come out of these are Fielding Percentage and Range Factor. Fielding percentage doesn’t tell you anything about a player’s range, and despite its name, neither does Range Factor.

I’m partial to Defensive Win Shares for measuring defense because I absolutely believe in the methodology behind it. It looks at team defense first, and then divides the credit up among the individual fielders. That, and I’m a Bill James nut.

Last year’s Gold Gloves went to Andruw Jones (duh), Jim Edmonds (duh), and … Steve Finley (what?). Last year’s defensive win shares for NL outfielders went like this:

1. Andrew Jones (7.4)
2. Jim Edmonds (6.5)
3. Corey Patterson (6.3)

The stats would give Corey the Gold Glove, but the tall brick wall at Wrigley limits those eye-popping, highlight-reel catches. Maybe he should slow down on those hits into the gap and just DIVE instead of cruising underneath them. Anyhow, I’m glad he’s patrolling the outfield for the Cubs.

Joe’s Notes:

As I watched the game tonight I decided to write down thoughts as the game progressed. Normally, I just sit and watch or keep score and then post comments as I remember them. As I jotted down some notes I was excited about this new method of watching the game. Here are my bulleted thoughts on what took place tonight.

  • Would it be too much to ask for Nomar to take a pitch once in a while? I’m not asking for every AB, because I know he’s a first pitch hitter, but does that mean you swing at EVERY 1st pitch? Tonight with the bases loaded, you would think he would see if he could work the count a little in his favor to give himself something good to drive.
  • More harping on Nomar, but did he seem out of it tonight? The whole game, he seemed to be out of the game mentally. He had a bad throw to first when he had plenty of time to make a good throw and put up a solid 0 for 5 with a bigtime bad 5 individual men left on base. What happened to the guy on fire in spring training?
  • Jason Dubois got the start today and did nothing to impress me. If he didn’t impress me, he sure as heck didn’t impress Dusty “Anti Kids” Baker. The one thing that irked me about Jason tonight was a ball he fielded off the wall with his bare hand. It was an easy standup double off the leftfield wall that had no chance of going for a triple. Instead of just playing the ball into his glove, which is the safe thing to do, Dubois barehanded it off the wall and made the throw into the cutoff man. No harm came of it, but you wonder what could have happened had he dropped the ball. There is no need to play fancy when it’s uncalled for. There are times to barehand and times when it’s simply being careless. Tonight was an instance of the latter that could have hurt us.
  • The TV feed on the Extra Innings package tonight was a Red feed. It was interesting to hear them call the game. I thought they did ok. One thing they said that made me laugh was how this team was more of a Dusty Baker kind of team than the year before. They noted that this team gives Dusty more opportunities to “make managerial decisions.” I don’t know your thoughts, but is that really a good thing? Personally, I’d rather Dusty have to make LESS decisions. This picture from Die-Hard Cubs Fun says it all.
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Competition

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005


One of my favorite games on MLB.com is Beat The Streak. Each day you get to pick one MLB player and if they get a hit, your hitting streak continues. I have been playing it each year for 3 yrs now. I have set up a league that is free to play in. If you would like an invite, please shoot me an e-mail, IM, or comment on here with what address you’d like it to go to and I will get that out to you ASAP.

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Keepin it short and sweet

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

After 4 series, we are at a pathetic 6 and 6 record. This team should be able to win 2 of 3 every series. Do that, and you win 108 games. Obviously it won’t take 108 to get to post season, but you really don’t want to play around too much with that cushion or you end up missing the playoffs. With that being said, I think as a fan, I will do my best to look on the bright side of every series as long as we take 2 out of 3.

Losing the first one to the Bucs this weekend hurt. When you lose with Zambrano on the mound, the chances of winning the series with Dempster and Maddux are slim. I was worried, but the Cubs took care of business. Even THE KING got in on the action recording 2 straight saves. He is perfect in that role since I crowned him. Now, as we look ahead to the Reds, there is no reason we cannot sweep. Wood and Prior, our supposed 1,2 will pitch in the series. This is the perfect opportunity to make up a game that we lost in one of the first 3 series.

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