Archive for August, 2005

Goat of the Day Award (part 2)

Friday, August 12th, 2005

On the heels of the hidden ball trick…

billy-goat

Todayís dubious winner isÖ.

K Rod

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, Angels closer. With the winning run on third, ìK-Rodî missed the throwback toss from his catcher after a thrown pitch. Game over. The play dropped the Angels into second behind the Aís, who they were playing at the time.

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Thru Cub Eyes: Jamie Moyer

Friday, August 12th, 2005

Hard to believe the Cubs had Jamie (the Energizer Bunny has nothing over this guy!) not once but twice. No games were pitched the second time and was released in March of 1992. All of our Friday excerpts are from Carrie Muskatís compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Moyer begins with the day he and Dave Martinez were called up from Iowa. It is June, 1986.

moyertp

We were late but it was the first flight we could get out. We walk up to the gate and they say ìWhat are you guys doing?î

ìCan you tell us how to get in the clubhouse?î

ìWell, I canít let you in.î

ìWe were just called up from Des Moines.î

ìWell, who are you?î

ìDave Martinez and Jamie Moyer.î

ìWell, I canít let you in. Nobody said you could come in.î

So we finally talked our way in and unloaded the cab and just set our bags in the parking lot. We get inside and guys were out on the field. I got dressed quickly and went out on the field and didnít get much done.

We went back in the clubhouse, and one of the first memories I have of being on the team was going out for the national anthem ñ I was late ñ and we had to be in the dugout at a certain time. So Iím standing there, and I took my hat off and put it over my heart, and my hand is just quivering. And Leon Durham was standing beside me, and in the middle of the national anthem he goes, ìDonít worry kid, weíve all been that way.î It was just like a ton of bricks fell off my shoulders. Thatís a fond memory I have of him saying that.

I donít recall the date, but I know it was my first start in Chicago against what Iíll call my boyhood idol, Steve Carlton. I grew up outside Philadelphia, so I grew up watching the Phillies, not necessarily liking the Phillies. I didnít have a favorite baseball team as a young kid. I found it too boring to watch. I was hyperactive.

It was a pretty neat situation. It was my first major league start, first time being in the major leagues. I had never been to Chicago, I had never been to Wrigley Field and really had no expectations on getting to the big leagues. It all happened so quick. I donít think I grasped or understood where I was or what I was doing. Being able to pitch at Wrigley Field was pretty awesome , but also being able to pitch against my idol I think was then ultimate.

I came out of the game with a lead and we hung on and won the game, so it was a great day. I was able to have my first major league start and win it, and on the other side of the field beat Steve Carlton, so it was a very, very memorable day.

I think the biggest thing is, Iíve always believed I could pitch. I donít think I had the success that I would have liked to have had when I ws here, but I was a young kid ñ and thatís not an excuse, but I was feeling my way through it. After I had a couple yearsí experience, I believed that I could pitch.

When the Cubs did release me the second time, they offered me a coaching job. I was 29 and felt I could coach the rest of my life, but I still believed that I could pitch. Itís just being in the right situation and getting the right opportunities. Did I know I was going to get that? I did not know. But deep down, I really believed that I could still pitch and thatís what kept me going.

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Holy Crap!

Friday, August 12th, 2005


Cubs win!
Is it possible?
Did the Cubs snap their 342 game losing streak?
I told my wife tonight, “I’m actually surprised that they won tonight.” I’m a Cubs apologist at times and a fan all the time, but this season has tried my patience. In this year that Ryne Sandberg became a hall of famer and I reached Walter Payton years of age, it would have been perfect if the Cubs had won the world series. Instead I must content myself with the game that broke yet another losing streak.

I think the Cubs suck for three reasons:
1) The starting pitching suffered too many injuries. This is in large part because Baker/Rothschild pushed the starters too hard and in part because the relief corps didn’t get the job done.
2) No one was on base (especially for Lee). They could have turned AT LEAST 5 losses into wins if he had some Cubs on base when he was up. That goes for the whole lineup. Not enough Cubs on base.
3) The reliable members of the bench consist of the following: Hollandsworth. The rest of the bench includes Macias, Blanco, and Perez. Any time a regular has to sit (apart from LF/RF) the Cubs give up outs from that position. These guys carry no upside and no strategic advantage.

Forget about defense, pitching, Nomar, lackluster play, blah blah blah. The remedies to this team’s ills include fixing the bullpen so that starters don’t have to go 136 pitches at 24 years of age, having a competent player step in for an injured or tired starter, and finding players whose offensive approach is to first try not to make outs. That is what damned this season, which is, even by my lax standards, over. Lackluster play? If nobody’s on base, it’s hard to score. If you can’t score, it’s hard to win. If you get 3 outta 5 pitching outings which are quality you’re doing okay; the Cubs’ pitchers have been, for the most part, delivering that, but the hitters aren’t delivering.

I’m still gonna root for them to win every game and I’m still going to watch. But I am not going to fork over any more money to the Trib for this team.

Tomorrow’s my birthday, and I only schedule that thing once a year, so I’d like to see my Cubs beat the Cards. I hope, but I dare not hold my breath for a two game win streak for fear of suffocation.

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The Last Word on Joe Morgan

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

As many of you know, following the idiocies of Joe Morgan is a bit of a hobby with me. Well, I’ve always thought somebody could make a full time job out of it, and now somebody has. TJ Brown has set up shop over at JoeMorganWatch and is already covering Joe like a blanket. TJ’s a regular reader of this site (and makes the rounds on the CBA) and a huge Cubs fan (as well as a very good writer), so he’ll definitely provide a good look at Morgan through the eyes of a Cubs fan. On top of that, both Chuck and myself will contributing there from time to time. It’s definitely worth a look.

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Goat of the Day Award

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

billy-goat

Todayís dubious winner isÖ..

luis-terrero

Luis Terrero
, outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks for getting burned on the olí hidden ball trick yesterday. Mike Lowell of the Marlins was the mastermind and poor Luis is the GOAT! (He did go 2/3, however).

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Top 10 Fav. Fans (Part 1)

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

As I talked about yesterday, I mentioned that it has grown harder and harder for me to attend professional baseball and sports in general. every time I go to a game, I get so frustrated at the various fans around me. In response, i’d like to share with you some of the most annoying fan personality types I often encounter.

# 10 – Cell Phone Guy/Girl
This is one of the most frustrating fans for me. It’s not so much that they are annoying, but more that they are at the game and could care less about being there, regardless of how intense the game is. This is the person that no matter what the situation is during the game, whether it’s bottom of the 9th and bases loaded or midgame during a blowout, this person is on their cell phone either not paying attention or waiving to the camera behind home plate.

The last time the Cubs played the Cards, it was a tense situation right before Eckstein executed a perfect squeeze bunt to win the game. As he was up, I notice an idiot behind the plate waiving the the camera and talking on her cell phone. People like this should not be allowed in. All they do is buy up tickets so people who care can’t get them.

# 9 – Annoying Kid
I know I probably sound like a jerk for saying that a lot of kids at the ballpark annoy me, but there is a certain kind of kid that fits this rant. It is beyond annoying when a kid is sitting behind you or in front of you and they are being so obnoxious while the parent sits idlely by, doing nothing. Last year, I went to this game in Atlanta. It was a close game, 1-0 until the 9th. The Cubs just could not push across a run, which is the story of the team, and I was getting so frustrated. I was meticulously keeping score in the bleachers. There was a kid in front of me around the age of 10 or so. He had a foam Braves tomahawk that he continuously chopped back and forth. Each time he brought it back, he would hit me in the head as I bent over marking on my scorebook. I politely asked the kid to stop 4 times and each time he kept doing it. Then, he started to tilt his head way back over his seat and bump my pen. The parents could hear me ask the kid to stop. Not once did they do a thing about it.

So there you have the beginning of the countdown. Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of the series.

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Press Release

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

August 11th, 2005 – Chicago, IL

The Chicago Cubs have announced that, effective immediately, their logo will be changed from this:

to this:

The new logo will now be sewn onto all shirts and caps. Be the first on your block to get one.

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My descent into Hell? Quite pleasant, actually.

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

   Most of my life I have held a view of New York’s Shea Stadium as one of the wellsprings of all evil. I held an impression of Shea as a run-down cesspool which the foul Metropolitans called home; charmless, covered in ads like a minor league stadium, and impersonal.
   So when Mr. Joe Aiello approached me several months ago with the idea of meeting at Shea for a Cubs game I was reluctant. I had been soured the year before by an incredibly hostile treatment during a visit to Citizens’ Bank Park and I expected the same from Mets fans. I saw them as angry, hostile New Yorkers whose hatred for all things non-New York would rise to the surface when my Chicago ass walked into their park. So inhospitable was the Philly faithful that I projected even worse upon the engineers of the decline in ’69. So I agreed, but not without a secret dread.

   The reality was something quite different from my expectations. Mets fans were friendly. I didn’t hear a single insult thrown out to a Cub fan. And there were plenty of us; right in front of us were four young Cub fans, so I felt pretty much at home. The seats we had — upper deck, but right behind home — were reasonably priced and afforded quite a view. There weren’t nearly as many ads as I though, the bathrooms were much nicer than the troughs Wrigley Field offers up, and the usher was friendly and happy to go out of his way to help.
   So on that trip I put to rest an ancient hatred planted in me by my father, who lived through the catastrophe in 1969. For someone born about one month before Ernie Banks retired, his stories took on mythical and all-important status, and I always reviled the Mets. No longer. They have been elevated from 3rd-most-hated (Cardinals and Yankees) to somewhere in the middle.

The game? Oh, the Cubs sucked. 2-0. Only one legitimate scoring opportunity. But I was treated to one of the highlights of my life when Maddux stole 2nd base after a base hit. On top of pitching a great game, he was electrifying on the basepaths! Seo was getting ready to pitch as Maddux took his lead, then he just kept going! He got about halfway before Seo stepped off the mound. He double-clutched as the SS and 2B converged on second, then carefully–too carefully–threw to second. They’d have had him if the throw was to the second base side, but as it was, the throw was low and to the SS side and Reyes had to reach back to get it. Maddux slid as the ball rolled gently away (at least that’s how I remember it). SAFE!

On top of that, I got to meet Joe and Virginia for the first time. Good company goes a long way, and I think being there with the two of them and my wife made it much easier to stomach being in a place I hated for so long.

On the other hand, the hot dogs sucked and my cast was really starting to get gross and clammy and itchy (I broke my arm 3 weeks ago), AND the Mets moved the start time of the next day’s game from 1:20 to 8:05. My two doggies were in a kennel and we’d have gotten rooked if we’d kept them there another night, and I was feeling really uncomfortable in the heat, so I didn’t go to that game. Joe’s going to have to report on that 6-0 shelling.

As for the season, I’m back to the point I was in for most of the eighties and nineties: willing to enjoy what baseball gives me with only the occasional grumpiness about how much the Cubs suck, and mostly fortunate that, most days, a loss only hurts for 24 hours. Then they get to try again.

24×6 = almost one week of hurt…maybe today.

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NYC (Home of Salsa and Site of Bad Baseball)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

When I was a kid, I remember seeing commercials for Pace Picante Salsa. The commercials always featured rough cowboys from Texas enjoying salsa around a camp fire on the open range. The salsa was wonderful until it was revealed that it was made in New York City. At that point, everyone was disgusted at the thought of that location. That’s sort of how it went down for Dave and I this weekend. Here is the rundown of my baseball experience in NY.

Saturday
Dave and I travel to NY from PA. and arrive at Shae Stadium with about an hour to spare. As we wait for the game to start, the Mets treated us to a terrible quintet of imitation military singers. Once the game got started, Dave and I began to discuss how many homeruns Maddux has been giving up this year. It’s become a forgone conclusion that he’ll give up at least 1 in every start he makes. As far the game goes, you know the story. The Cubs made Jae Seo look like Pedro and the Cubs could not score. It was such a frustrating game.

Sunday
The game was rescheduled for a night game, so Dave could not go. Instead, my wife went with me to see what I hoped was a fired up team behind Carlos Zambrano. Instead, I grew more and more frustrated with the Cubs team. This game they made Victor Zambrano look like Pedro and only managed a measly run. It was so disgusting, we left after the Floyd homerun in the bottom of the 7th. One the bright side, the train ride home was not as packed as it was the day before.

Monday
With the Cubs out of town, it was time to head to Yankee Stadium to see the White Sox play. I know a lot of people hate the White Sox, and that is fine. As for me, I’ve never really hated them. Sure, I cheer for the Cubs to do better than them, but nothing in me hates them like most in Chicago. There are plenty of teams that I hate (NYY, NYM, STL, HOU, BOS), but the White Sox are not one of them. So, I went to Yankee Stadium cheering for the Sox. If it was not for the rain and the obnoxious Yankee fans, the game would have been great.

Three games in NY. Three losses in NY. It truly is the Home of Salsa and the Site of Bad Baseball.

Tomorrow, I’ll be doing a piece on NY fans and annoying fans in general.

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