Archive for August, 2005

Dawn of the Dead

Monday, August 8th, 2005


This is getting a little old, don’t you think? The Chicago Cubs went down 9-4 to the Reds tonight, and many of the players seemingly couldn’t even be bothered to feign an interest. The Cubs managed a sickly two hits against Brandon Claussen, and could not score until somebody named Randy Keisler came into the game to raise their self esteem a little. If I sound angry, it’s because I am. It’s not just the losing that gets me, I’ve seen plenty of Cubs losses, it’s that few of the players seem to care anymore. This team is starting to remind of the putrid 2002 squad, which featured Delino DeShields sulking his way out of town, and Hee Sop Choi stuck on the bench so that a well past his expiration date Fred McGriff could chase the phoney-baloney record of hitting 35 homers with 6 different teams or something.

I’d give you the positives from tonight’s game, but even those seem like negatives. Kerry Wood managed another scoreless inning of relief, but to be honest, it’s ridiculous to pretend this helps at all. With no leads to protect, having Wood in the bullpen isn’t really a strength, and with the Cubs now 6.5 back in the Wild Card race, every day that Wood puts off shoulder surgery, is another day that he’ll miss in preparation for next season. Matt Murton had a nice game, going 1-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI, but it’s frustrating to know that Dusty still probably doesn’t trust the kid.

I’m probably making the whole situation sound worse than it is. I’m sure others can find some sort of silver lining in my dark clouds (and no, I won’t count Dusty’s firing if it happens, not after he’s already been allowed to trash this season), but let me give you what I feel is the ultimate example of how fed up I am with this team. Yesterday, I was offered a ticket to the game this Friday afternoon. An afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals. And I declined it. Am I nuts? I’m sure a lot of you think so, especially those who live outside the area and can’t attend games regularly. It’s normally a chance that I’d jump at, and I would have gone had circumstances been better. You see, I’ll be off work on Thursday for a doctor’s appointment, so I’d have to take Friday off too, in order to go to the game. That’d force me to ask off work at the last minute, juggle some scheduling conflicts with my coworkers, and try and cram 5 days worth of work into 3.

In other words, I’d have to put a lot of effort into getting to that game.

But if the Cubs can’t be bothered, why should I?

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All Right Folks, Here She Goes

Monday, August 8th, 2005

FatLadySings

See ya in ’06

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Oh Please no…

Saturday, August 6th, 2005

Maybe Mike Kiley was just bored, and wanted to stir the pot. That’s what I’m hoping, since he’s the only person I’ve seen with this story (under the Remlinger part) today. If the Cubs do sign Marquis Grissom, then Jim Hendry needs to have his head examined. Grissom was once a good player, but at 38 he’s past his prime, and has been injured most of this year. When he has played, he’s put an ugly line of .212/.248/.285. The Cubs would be better off with Jose Macias playing center everyday (and sadly, that appears to be the current plan). I’m not sure what a Grissom signing would prove; Marquis is nowhere near good enough to make this team a contender again, and his presence would only take even more playing time away from Matt Murton.

And when is Murton going to get more playing time? The “I don’t trust a rookie in a playoff race” excuse won’t cut it. Only mathematics are keeping the Cubs in the Wild Card and Division races, and the way they’re playing not even math will help them much longer. And if the Cubs still consider themselves to be in the playoff hunt, isn’t this a good time to get Murton some of that “big game experience” I hear so much about? It’s not like anything else is working.

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More Joe Morgan Idiocy

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Travis (Indy): What did you think of Ryan Sandberg’s induction speech? I thought there was a good message for players of this era.

Joe Morgan: (10:06 AM ET ) I actually didn’t get to see the speech but I saw all the reaction to it. Sometimes we have to be careful, myself included, in how we approach today’s player and how we deliver a message to them. Sometimes they take it the wrong way and take it as pure criticism as opposed to constructive criticsm. We’ll have to wait and see how they take it.

Let me ask you something, if you worked as a baseball analyst for the largest sports network in the world, and somebody not known for being outspoken gave a pretty scathing speech upon his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame (of which you are an elected member and the Vice Chairman), and that speech became a pretty prominent story in the baseball media, wouldn’t you make it your business to seek out and read the transcript of this speech as soon as possible, on the off chance that someone might ask you your opinion on it?

Joe Morgan must go.

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Thru Cub Eyes: Shawon Dunston

Friday, August 5th, 2005

One of the more colorful personalities who have played for the Cubs over the years is Shawon. If Sandberg was quiet, reserved and to a point, boringly efficient, Dunston was animated and at times, unpredictable with his throws to first base. As he says ìI made Mark Grace a Gold Glove.î Enjoy this excerpt from Carrie Muskatís compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace.

Dunston

Nolan Ryan was the most intimidating pitcher I ever faced. If everybody pitched like him, there wouldínt be no $15 million players, or $12 million or $10 [million] or even $5 [million]. I was making $200,000 and Andre was making $2 million. He threw a couple balls at Andreís head, and he fouled it down the line and fouled it down the line, and then he hit a home run and I said ìThatís why he makes $2 million and I make $200,000. I was happy to make $200,000.

To face Nolan, thatís a hard day at the job. The first game, everybody said ìShawon, heís going to knock you down, so just be aware.î He knocked me down. He had a curveball that comes like a fastball, and Iím batting and I fell down to the ground. The umpire calls strike three and Iím walking back and Iím mad and moaning and groaning, and I put my helmet back in. and heís staring at me.

When I got my first hit off him, I got a base hit up the middle and I rounded first. I was happy and I got back to first and Vuk said ìGo look at the third base coach for the sign.î Nolan looked at me and I put my head down.

Vuk said ìPut your head up and look for the sign.î

And I said ìNo, thatís OK. I know theyíre bunting me over.î

He was staring me down. He was intimidating.

I remember one game, it was í86, Gene Michael had taken over for Jim Freyand everybody thought Nolan Ryan was doctoring the ball. Iím up at bat and everybodyís screaming ìCheck the ball, check the ball,î and Iím in the batterís box and Iím not moving. Charlie Williams calls ìTime out, check the ball.î

I said ìDonít check that ball. Donít move. Letís play.î

Heís staring at me.

I said ìDonít check that ball. Letís play.î

I knew he was going to hit me. He threw three straight fastballs outside and I struck out looking. I go back to the dugout and Gene Michael says ìWhy didnít you check the damn ball?î

I started cursing. I said ìThat man donít care about me. Iím not checking no damn ball. Why donít you ask Andre or Ryno to check the damn ball? Donít ask me to check it. You donít care about me.î

No player would check a ball. You couldnít swing hard at him. No, no, no. You get a good swing, and heíll wait for your next at bat and heíll tell you to hit this while youíre on your back. He is so intimidating. I think every player who ever faced him has a Nolan Ryan story. He was the toughest pitcher I ever faced. Dwight Gooden was the second.

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A Good Mariotti Column

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

I came across this column in the Sun Times today written by Jay Mariotti. It’s worth a look.

UPDATE: Here is the column by Scoop Jackson that has Mariotti angry.

UPDATE # 2 Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to Scoop in response to his article.

Scoop,

What about Mariotti’s column even hints on race? The fact of the matter is this. Dusty Baker has made bonehead moves since the magical run of 2003. How else can you describe the stubborness of batting Patterson & Perez in the 1 and 2 spot for so long when both had OBP under .300? He put Hawkins as the closer of the ballclub despite extensive history of failure in that role. He is repeatedly out managed on plays like the squeeze bunt, and then refuses to try it with this team.

You mention that he takes a crappy team and keeps it playing .500. Maybe he is taking an above average team and bringing it down to .500. Before you go playing the race card, why not give people some credit. Mariotti was simply stating what the fans believe. Dusty has not done a good job here. We do not care if he’s black, red, white, or even an alien. We simply want, and deserve a World Series and are tired of being patient.

Joe Aiello
www.viewfromthebleachers.com

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Ghosts

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Tonight I saw a ghost. In death his face had changed, and he even changed his dominant arm.

He was the ghost of this man.

Cubs win! They’re still a long way back, but with Nomah on the way, Lawton and Hairston in front of Lee, and Z pitching like he did today, I like their chances!

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Cubs Over/Under

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Ok guys, awhile back, we played this game and we received a good amount of participation. So, here goes. I am going to give you some numbers to watch for during the game today and you tell me what you think will happen. Will it be over that number or under that number. It’s a simple game, really, but it makes for a fun little act of prognostication. So, here are the numbers which, today, are almost push proof.

1. OVER/UNDER – 120 pitches thrown for Carlos Zambrano

2. OVER/UNDER – 5.5 runs scored in Hendy’s new and improved trade lineup.

3. OVER/UNDER – 2.5 wins for the Cubs in this 3 game series vs. Philly

4. OVER/UNDER – 2.5 times for Matt Lawton reaching base

5. OVER/UNDER – 2.5 runs given up by our non-fixed bullpen today.

So that’s it. Leave your bets in the comment section. Enjoy the win tonight.

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Pros & Cons

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Trust: the most precious of commodities.

Whether it be in politics

clinton

or business

YE MARTHA STEWART

or religion

swaggart

or entertainment

glove3

or even baseball

raffy's finger

Put not your trust in princes.

Psalm 146:3

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