Archive for June, 2005

Thru Cub Eyes: Jody Davis

Friday, June 24th, 2005

I can still hear the crowd chanting, 40,000 voices in unison; “Jo-dee, Jo-dee, Jo-dee.” He was one of the Cubsí most popular players in the mid 80ís. And Harryís parody of the Davy Crockett song didnít hurt, either. This excerpt is from Carrie Muskatís compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Look for it. Makes a great gift for that special Cub fan in your life!


Honestly, the day games never bothered me. When I came out of the minor leagues, I came up with Chicago, so as a rookie, you just got used to it and thatís the way it was. In the eight years here, I never even thought about itÖ. In fact, I kind of liked them when I was here. I would rather get up and go to play. Thatís the mind-set that I had.

The thing I remember the most about í84 was the way the whole 25-man team came together. There was nobody who had an attitude, there was nobody out there playing for themselves. It was 25 guys trying to win a game every day.

I couldnít say a favorite pitcher. Sut was so good in í84. as a team, we pretty much knew we were going to win that day. There were so many individual moments of the í84 season and it was always somebody different. It was Sandbergís home runs off Sutter, and Sutcliffe wins 16 in a row, and Gary Matthews, the things he did and Bob Dernier. Every day it was somebody different. When we got in losing streaks late in the season there, Steve Trout came up and won nearly every game he pitched.

I heard ëem [chanting]. Thereís no way to not hear that. You canít imagine. It was great. It definitely got me fired up. Youíve got to relate to a crowd. When you get in a situation in a game, your concentration has to be at its highest level.

The one grand slam I hit, they were walking Ron Cey intentionally ahead of me and they were chanting it while Ron Cey was still hitting. You got to hear that ñ youíre on deck. It was just unbelievable.

I grew up 50 miles from Atlanta and the Braves and played two years for them, and still to this day Iíve never felt I was a Brave. I guess Iíll go down as a Cub.

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Buying or Selling Conventional Wisdom

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

No sooner than Chris Trojaís Triple Crown post yesterday (once again, proving to be on the utter cusp of public discourse), the Around The Horn producers prompted their panelists to pontificate on the possibilities of Derreck Lee procuring the prize. In case you missed it, here is that discussion.

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Tony Reali: Next up, D-Lee and his dee-licious stats. Another game, another home run for the Cubs first baseman. For the season, hitting .390, with 20 homers and 60 rbiís, good for first in all of the Triple Crown categories. Guys, buy or sell a Triple Crown year for Derreck Lee.


Jay Mariotti: Why, Iím gonna sell that. First of all, this has been a phenomenal run for Lee and heís a great guy as well. Hereís the problem, Reali, he may win the batting title, he has a 60 point lead. But home runs, Pujols is right there, rbiís, Carlos Lee and Pujols are right there. The Cubs just donít have the line-up to allow Lee to win an rbi race. So Iím gonna sell that.


Woody Paige: Jay, Iím a nice guy, too. Iím not going to win the Triple Crown and neither is Lee. Thereís not a chance heíll win the Triple Crown. Itís not something thatís done every decade or even every 25 or 30 years in Major League Baseball. Youíve got Pujols who going to pass him in home runs and with rbiís in that strong St. Louis club.


Michael Smith: Iím gonna sell this as well. Weíve had a Triple Crown in horse racing more recently than weíve had a Triple Crown winner in baseball. Itís probably the hardest thing to do in all of sports. Heís a great guy and a great year but heís not going to do it.


Bill Plaschke: Iím going to sell this since itís been 38 years since Yaz did it. Thirty-six guys have gotten 2 out of 3 since then but itís too hard to get all three because of the whole way the game is structured now. If Lee keeps his batting average up, heís not going to get the home runs or the rbiís because he has to hit to move the runners along. Itís all about the team these days. Itís a whole different world now. No way.

Readers, Buy or Sell the conventional wisdom of this panel of prognosticators.

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Good God!!!! Can You Imagine The Pain?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

CARSON, Calif. — A man was struck in the head by a shot put on Wednesday during warmups for the U.S. track and field championships.

The man was rushed to a hospital, and his condition was not immediately known, according to Jill Geer, director of communications for USA Track and Field. It was not immediately clear whether the man was a meet official, Geer said.

The injury occurred about 4:15 p.m. at the Home Depot Center, where the championships will be held Thursday through Sunday.

An Associated Press photographer at the track said the man collapsed about 20 feet from the shot put ring. Geer said a doctor was on site and immediately began treatment. Athletic trainers also ran to the man’s aid. Emergency medical technicians arrived within about five minutes and took the injured man away.

Geer said she had no other details, and that the man’s identity was being withheld pending a further evaluation of his condition and contact with his family.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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Interesting Story from Joe Buck

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

Everyone knows I am ga-ga for Joe Buck. I ran across an article he wrote on the Sporting News. Give it a look. It’s a really good story.

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Magic Numbers

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

With his two run homer last night, Derrek Lee is now hitting .390 and leads or is tied for the league lead in the three Triple Crown categories. There’s been a lot of talk about Lee possibly winning the Triple Crown for the first time since 1967, but I haven’t heard anybody mention the other magic number that Derrek is currently sniffing around; the .400 batting average. So I wanted to put forth a question to everyone who visits View from the Bleachers: which do you think is harder, winning the Triple Crown, or hitting .400 for a season?

At first glance, the Triple Crown looks tougher. It demands that a player be able to hit for both power and average and it also is heavily dependent on his teammates reaching base in front of him. And the .400 batting average has been accomplished 35 times to 16 for the Triple Crown, although to be fair, 11 men hit .400 or better during the 1887 season, when walks were counted as hits. But a player chasing the Triple Crown can also benefit from a weakened league, or a certain era; for example, Ty Cobb wasn’t a power hitter, but won the Crown in 1909 with a total of 9 home runs. .400 on the other hand, is simply the hitter vs. the pitcher every time, trying to grind out a hit 4 out of 10 times. And while the Triple Crown seems to be more demanding, then why, in this era of watered down pitching and the designated hitter, hasn’t anyone hit .400 or better since 1941?

I actually think that Lee has a good shot at hitting .400. In the past, most players that have chased that milestone in recent times have come with insane April and May numbers, and then petered out towards the end. While that may happen to Lee, his June numbers are actually much better than the ones he put up in the first two months, and Lee past statistics have shown him to be a tremendous 2nd half hitter. Combine this with Lee’s home run power, and if Dusty Baker wakes up and actually bats someone in front of him with an on base percentage of more than .300 and Derrek could accomplish the rarest of feats: hitting .400 AND winning the Triple Crown! Is it a long shot? Of course. But that’s what baseball’s regular season is about, the teams’ chase for the playoffs, and the individual’s chase for the magic numbers that most of us have known since we were kids. Whether Lee accomplishes both, either or neither, we’ll likely remember this summer for a long time.

And if Derrek hits .400 and wins the Triple Crown, he’ll stand atop the record books in the company of only 3 other men. Well, maybe two others, since Rogers Hornsby managed to do it TWICE.

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The Best 2-6 Pitcher in Baseball

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

On May 4, just a week or so before joining The View team, I wrote a piece on CubTracker gushing over Victor Santos, tonightís Brewer starter. I feel stronger now than I did then. He has to be a most frustrated ballplayer. It is downright criminal that his record is 2-6. It should be more like 7-3.


Vic has started 13 games this season. If a Quality Start is a game in which the starter pitches 6 or more innings and allows 3 or fewer earned runs like it says in Sports Mogul Inc. then Vic has nine quality starts out of his 15 starts. Very impressive. How many Cubs have nine quality starts this year? Give up?

One Cub pitcher, the one named Maddux. With a stable effort last night Greg earned his ninth quality start. And he left with the lead.

Carlos has eight, oooh, so close.

Mark Prior is the most proficient with seven out of nine starts defined ìquality.î

Glendon has five QS out of nine attempts.

Before being tagged as the official closer of this team, Ryan Dempster started six times, four for quality.

Half of Sergioís six starts qualify.

Kerry Wood has five starts. Any guesses how many are quality? zip, none, nada

Ditto for John Koronkaís three starts and Jon Leicesterís single attempt.

Poor Victor Santos. He deserves better. His earned run avg. of 2.87 is nothing short of amazing. Good enough for ninth in the NL. Jon Garland, 11-2 for the White Sox? Tied with Vic with nine QS and his era is 3.61.

The Astrosí Andy Pettitte is about the only one who can empathize with Santos. Andy is 3-7 with 10 QS. The leader with 13 QS is Mark Redman of the Pirates and he is just 4-4, so he might be feeling a bit frustrated as well.

So what am I saying? A couple of things. Victor Santos should be selected by Tony LaRussa to represent the Brewers in the All Star game. And after tonight, I hope Vic wins the rest of his starts. What I would really like, as I have stated before, is to see Victor Santos in Cubby Blue. Santos

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Wiffle Twins

Monday, June 20th, 2005

Every once in a while a player comes along that seems like a great acquisition to the Cubs. Guys like Turd Hundley, Rey Ordonez, and Anthony Young. However, not one of them is more my favorite than the two guys currently on the team. Every time Enrique “Wicked Cut: Wilson and Jose “Big Bopper” Macias step to the plate, the crowd goes into an eerie hush. Everyone wants to see the AB by these guys. Inevitably, it ends in a weak groundball to either the pitcher or SS each and every time. For the longest time, I could not figure out why that was, until recently. I ran across this website called Online Sports and was amazed what I found. Behold the following picture, which is a link to the actual size picture. Pay special attention to the product and the testimonials on the far right.

So there you have it, Macias and Wilson are too poor to buy real bats, so they are stuck using wiffle bats. No wonder they are not able to hit the ball out of the infield. I have decided to anoint them the official View From The Bleachers superheros. They shall be called “The Wiffle Twins”

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News, Notes and Complaints

Monday, June 20th, 2005

Mostly complaints. Man, what a terrible weekend showing by the Cubs. So many things went wrong, I guess I’ll start with

What went right:
Derrek Lee: Do I even need to elaborate? He was 6-13 against the Yankees. Unfortunately, Dusty Baker’s interesting strategy of batting the two regulars with the worst OPB in front of Lee didn’t pan out.

What went wrong:
The bullpen: for the most part, these guys were awful. Will Ohman gave up a big 2 run homer to Hideki Matsui on Friday and Joe Borowski put Saturday’s game out of reach by giving up Derek Jeter’s first career grand slam. I like Joe, but his slider doesn’t seem to slide any more, and it’s going to be tough for him to be effective when his only 2 pitches are an 88 MPH fastball and a hanging slider.

Neifi! has turned back into Neifi. The first two months of the season, he had shown decent plate patience, and a knack for being able to hit the ball where it was pitched; going the other way when behind in the count, driving the ball when he was ahead and dropping down bunts to keep the infield honest. That Neifi! seems to have suddenly dissappeared, leaving us with a guy who swings at everything (his bases loaded double play on Sunday was a killer) and is a black hole in the leadoff spot.

Dusty Baker. Dusty had a bad series this weekend. Whether he was starting Enrique Wilson on Friday (thus leaving two far superior hitters to languish on the bench) or feeding a steady diet of lefthanded pitchers to Hideki Matsui (who is killing lefties this year) this was not a banner series for Dusty.

Carlos Zambrano. For a second straight game, Zambrano was extremely wild, walking 6 hitters and just not looking comfortable out there. The Cubs are now 9.5 in back of the Cardinals, and desperately need to go on another roll. To do that, they’re going to need Carlos at his best.

Corey Patterson. Patterson just looked bad against the Yankees, particularly in the field where he appeared to be wearing ice skates. Maybe Dusty should have started Enrique Wilson in center, he’s probably familier with the Yankee Stadium outfield.

The good news is, the Wild Card is not yet out of reach. The bad news is, this team can’t wait until the trade deadline for offensive reinforcements. Jim Hendry needs to get on the phone now nd overpay if it means getting the right player. The Cubs need to take 3 of 4 from the Brewers this week, and with the White Sox looming, a sweep would be a good idea. Let’s hope they have it in them.

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Father & Son

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Dad has been gone now almost five years. God, I miss him. Iíd love to say there were no regrets but Iíd be lying. I regret a lot of stuff that was said as well as stuff that should have been said but wasnít.

You see, we rarely communicated. Oh, there was talk but little listening. I didnít hear him and he wouldnít hear me. We were so different, my Dad and I.

And yet, when we could never discuss the Lord or politics (two of my favorite topics) there was always baseball. This was the one common bond where we could have a meaningful dialogue. I remember meeting Orel Hershizer and buying two of his books for him to autograph, one for me and the other for Dad. Orel has a strong testimony in terms of his faith and this was the best way I could think of communicating spiritual matters with Dad.

When I visited Wrigley for the first time in July of 1970. Dad was right there with me to take in my very first ballgame. We saw a few more after that and he always reminded me of the big lead the Cubs blew and tho I could never recall the details. Dad did.

Dad was a purist. His era was the great players of the 50ís. I donít think he especially liked or followed one team but I often heard him speak of Bob Feller. He hated the modern era with the money and everything. When he died, it was of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Like I said, a purist.

And smart? Dad was phenomenal when it came to his knowledge and memory of the game. A key highlight from my childhood was waiting for our monthly issue of Baseball Digest. The first thing we would do is the quiz. I asked the questions and my Dad usually knew the answers.

He kidded me relentlessly about the Cubs, pretending he didnít like them but Mom told me that even when I wasnít around she would catch him watching them. Would he ever admit it? Not likely. He rolled his eyes when Jack Brickhouse or Harry Carey would make a routine fly sound like a sensational play by a Cub outfielder.

A couple of years ago I realized a lifelong dream by going to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame. It was a bittersweet day. I loved all of the exhibits and everything but something was missing. Someone to share it all with.

My Dad.

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