Archive for October, 2005

Hmmmmm….

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

So the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes that the time is ticking on talks to resign Furcal for next year. This would be an interesting chance for the Cubs to make a small splash in the FA market come offseason. Furcal would give the Cubs a leadoff hitter that have needed with speed at the top of the order. Dusty seems to like Patterson at leadoff because of HIS speed so here would be a way to take that idea out of Dusty’s head. Give him a speedy leadoff guy to prevent him from leading off Patterson.

Furcal has been a very solid guy to have on a team since winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2000. This year, he hit .284 with a .348 OBP, 12 HR, 100 Runs scored, only 78 K’s, 46 stolen bases. He’s a playmaker with the bat, on the bases and has made great strides to improve his fielding at SS by reducing his errors from 31 in 2003 to 24 in 2005 and only 15 in 2005.

Right now he’s making 5.6 mil and I would imagine he would be looking at a number around 7 or 8 per year for 3 to 5 years in length. I haven’t seen an exact number being talked about, but then again, I haven’t really searched very hard. So, should Hendry make a serious push for Furcal to be our 2006 Shortstop?

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Nothing Better

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

Nothin better than some good ole fashioned scaring!!!

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Heroes

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

nomar_cub

When Rick Monday rescued that American flag in Dodger Stadium many years ago, he was a Cub at the time. Not long after that he was wearing Dodger Blue. He had to. He was a hero.

Everyone knows by now of the heroic exploits of Nomar and his uncle in saving the lives of two women in Boston Harbor. It has been well documented. But no one has surmised what this means for Nomar’s future. The free-agent is a beloved icon in Beantown already. Might this incident be the lynchpin to get him back in the organization? Especially since Edgar Renteria didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

What do ya think?

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Dumb Things

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Yeah, I’m still here. I was trying regain my sanity, by not thinking about the Cubs for a while. But of course, they’ve decided to goad me into ripping them again, this time by announcing that Dusty Baker’s entire coaching staff will return for 2006. The team that was 28th in the league in walks is keeping its hitting instructor. The team thats “great” pitching seems to be regressing before our eyes (15th in ERA, 6 most HRs allowed, 7th most walks issued) is keeping its pitching coach. And a team that couldn’t get down a bunt, defend a suicide squeeze or remember the signs is keeping all of its base and position coaches. Which means that if Jim Hendry doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the coaching staff, then he must be preparing to overhaul the roster this offseason. And if he doesn’t do that, then he’s basically saying that this mediocrity is all right.

Speaking of mediocrity, I’d settle for that from the Chicago Bears right now. Jerry Angelo is vying for the title of most incompetent General Manager in Chicago. Prior to 2004, Angelo signed Thomas Jones to be the Bears featured running back. This year Angelo second guessed himself and spent the 4th pick in the draft on a running back, Cedric Benson. Now Benson can’t get on the field because Angelo may have actually been right about Jones in the first place. And I’m all for depth, but in an offense that features one legitimate NFL receiver, using that 4th pick on a wide receiver sure seems like a good idea now. Especially since our receivers are so bad that Mark Bradley, a rookie drafted as a project in the 2nd round is now starting. And then there’s the kicking situation. Angelo had been trying to run Paul Edinger out of town since he got here. Edinger finally obliged him with a lousy 2004 season and Angelo signed Doug Brien. Brien made 1 of 4 field goals and was released yesterday. Finally, the fact is, Jerry Angelo came to Chicago in 2001, and watched a team that he had very little to do with putting together go 13-3. He then decided to rip it apart and rebuild it, and the Bears haven’t had a winning record since. Oh, and let’s not forget Jerry’s insistence that no quarterback should be brought in to compete with Rex Grossman in each of the last two years. How does this guy still have a job?

Anthony posed an interesting question the other day, and I’ve been thinking about the answer for a while. Am I rooting for the White Sox? I guess there are several things to consider. Civic pride? Well, it’d be nice if a Chicago team won another championship before we all die. But what about Sox fans? Seemingly every time I switch on the TV, some loudmouth in black and white is telling me that they don’t want Cubs fans supporting the Sox. Of course not all Sox fans are like this. One of my best friends is a Sox fan, and he doesn’t seem to wish any harm to the Cubs (of course, that could be because he’s removed from the fray after living in Oklahoma for several years). Also, my mother is a White Sox fan, and she reads this, so I’ve got choose my words carefully here. I decided that the best way to figure out how I felt about the White Sox was to watch their first game against the Angels and see how I reacted. And this is it: I don’t care. Honestly. I never felt nervous during the big situations, I never pulled for the Sox to make a comeback, and I didn’t feel particularly good when the Angels won the game. I think the Cubs lousy season may have given me a bad case of baseball apathy.

Check back with me in November.

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Blessings & Other Stuff

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Inspired by Joe Aiello’s example, I have created my own personal blog for the off-season. An odd mixture of praise and satire, on one hand I want to remind myself often of how truly blessed I am. On the other hand, I have this deep need to poke fun at the world around me. Strange, I know but whatever appeals to your fancy, sugar or vinegar, you are bouind to find it in Blessings & Other Stuff!

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Arizona Fall League

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

A few days ago, the Cubs released the names of the players who would represent them in the Arizona Fall League. Those players are:
Matt Murton – OF
Buck Coats – SS
Eric Patterson – 2b
Brandon Sing – 1b
David Aardsma – RP
Angel Guzman – SP
John Koronka – SP

In case you are not familiar with the AFL, here is the breakdown of how it works, taken directly fron the AFL website.

Eligibility Rules

The eligibility rules to play in the AFL are simple.

The roster size is 30 players per team.

Each Major League organization is required to provide six players subject to the following requirements:

* All Triple-A and Double-A players are eligible, provided the players are on at least a Double-A level roster no later than Aug. 1.
* One player below the Double-A level is allowed per Major League team.
* One foreign player is allowed, as long as the player does not reside in a country that participates in winter ball, as part of the Caribbean Confederation or the Australian winter league.
* No players with more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31 are eligible, except a team may select one player picked in the most recently concluded Major League Rule 5 Draft.
* To be eligible, players on Minor League disabled lists must be activated at least 45 days before the conclusion of their respective seasons.

Hall of Fame

2001

Nomar Garciaparra
The Boston Red Sox shortstop played for the Scottsdale Scorpions in 1994. He went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1997, and won batting titles in 1999 and 2000.

Derek Jeter
The Yankee shortstop and captain played in the 1994 AFL season for the Chandler Diamondbacks and won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1996. He won both the All-Star Game and World Series MVP Awards in 2000.

Mike Piazza
Piazza was a part of the first AFL class, in 1992, playing for the Sun City Solar Sox. He became the first of 10 AFL alumni to win Rookie of the Year honors, earning the NL award in 1993. The perennial All-Star won the Midsummer Classic’s MVP Award in 1996.

Dusty Baker
The first manager enshrined in the AFL Hall of Fame, Baker got his managerial feet wet with the Scottsdale Scorpions in 1992. The following year he took the helm of the San Francisco Giants, the team he guided to the 2002 World Series before leaving to take over the Chicago Cubs.

2002

Jason Giambi
Giambi played on the 1994 AFL champion Peoria Javelinas. He has gone on to win the AL MVP in 2000 with the Oakland A’s and wsa just the ninth player in MLB history to increase his batting average in six or more consecutive seasons.

Jerry Manuel
Managing in 1994, Manuel led Maryvale to an Eastern Division crown. He served as Felipe Alou’s third base coach from 1991-96, then was Jim Leyland’s bench coach on the 1997 World Series-winning Florida Marlins. He took over as the Chicago White Sox’ skipper in 1998.

2003

Shawn Green
Green spent time with the Scottsdale Scorpions in 1993. He spent his first full season in the majors in 1995 and has since gone to two All-Star Games, won a Gold Glove and hit 40+ homers three times.

Todd Helton
Helton played for Peoria in 1996. He finished second to Kerry Wood in NL Rookie of the Year voting and has hit well over .300 ever season in his career, driving in 100 or more runs for five consecutive seasons.

Mike Scioscia
Scioscia skippered the Peoria Javelinas to a championship in 1997. The team set an AFL record with a .317 batting average and led the AFL that season in ERA. After one season of managing in the Pacific Coast League in 1999, Scioscia took over as manager of the Anaheim Angels in 2000, leading them to a World Series Championship in 2002.

2004

Garret Anderson
Anderson played for the 1993 Tempe Rafters as a standout outfielder. In 2003, Anderson became the first player ever to win the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game Most Valuable Player at the same Midsummer Classic. He also led the Angels to the 2002 World Series Championship.

Albert Pujols
Pujols played for the 2000 Scottsdale Scorpions as a stellar third baseman. He has been selected to the Major League All-Star Game multiple times and has finished in the top five in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player voting in each of his first four seasons.

Tony Peña
Peña managed the Maryvale Saguaros club in 2000. The team was comprised of top prospects from the Astros, Brewers, Expos, Phillies and Yankees organizations. In 2003, Peña was named the American League Manager of the Year as skipper of the Kansas City Royals.

2005

Troy Percival
Percival pitched for the 1992 Scottsdale Scorpions as a stellar closer. He holds the distinction of being the first former AFL pitcher to record over 300 saves at the Major League level. Percival is the first former AFL pitcher elected to the AFL Hall Of Fame.

Terry Francona
Francona has served the AFL twice: First as a Coach of the 1992 Grand Canyon Rafters and his second stint as Field Manager of the 1994 Scottsdale Scorpions. His 1994 Scottsdale team showcased notable players such as Nomar Garciaparra, Joe Randa, Michael Tucker and Michael Jordan.

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Fantasy Results for the Cubs Blog Army

Friday, October 7th, 2005

With the Playoffs rolling along letís take a moment to acknowledge the winner of the 2005 Cubs Blog Army Fantasy Baseball Challenge. Drum roll pleaseÖÖ.

Trophy

ME!!

All right, call me self indulgent if you must but you must understand after several attempts over the years of trying without success of winning one of these things, it finally happened this year! This was an all AL fantasy league.

Final Results

Points…..Moves…….Draft…………..Team
16,717 …….60…………7………CubTracker
16,592…….26………….5…….. Zambrano 4 President
15,846……12………….2……….Bleed Cubbie Blue
15,544 …….39…………9………Clark St. Can Openers
15,365………22………..3………The Big Lowitzki
14,539……..13…………..1……..TheCubdom
13,347………none……..6……..Watered Down Old Style
12,683……….1……………8……..Goatbusters
12,384………3……………4…… Behind the Ivy

Excellent job by Z4P, otherwise known as PB (CubbiePalooza). In the final week he closed the gap to less than 50 points and I fully expected him to overtake me but in the end my guys prevailed, thanks in large part to pitchers Aaron Small, Joe Blanton and Ervin Santana. PBís performance is even more impressive as this was his very first team that he has managed. Good sport and excellent blogger, too.

The victory is kind of embarrassing in that it took me 60 transactions to pull it off in the end. I dropped a lot of guys after having them a week or two, in some cases a day or so. Hey, I thought, as long as there was no cap on the number of moves we could make, why not? Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue managed to capture 3rd place with but 12 moves. Very impressive.

At the beginning of the season I wondered what difference, if any, draft position would make. It doesnít appear to have had any difference.

There are those who must be mentioned because they affected the final tally directly or indirectly. Early in the campaign I actually tried to trade Nathan for Foulke. Had that deal been accepted, PB would have won handily. My fellow GMís of course who helped to make the season fun and my wife, who back in the 90ís gave me one of the best birthday presents any husband could ever want, my first team. Back then I was Hoosier Daddy and we had a live draft in our Kansas town. All of the owners came and I ordered a pizza delivered to the draft. I was pretty popular that night!

Two things made this mediocre if not dismal season bearable. First, blogging at CubTracker & View From The Bleachers and secondly, playing fantasy baseball with my fellow bloggers. It has been a pleasure.

Thanks for letting me gloat a little. Seriously, I would have written this post even if I had not won.

But I did! Hallelujah!!!!

Top Batters
Ortiz………..1733……Cubtracker
Teixeira…….1672…….Watered Down Old Style
A. Rod……..1655……..The Cubdom
Manny R…….1614………Clark St. Can Openers
Sheffield….1536…….The Cubdom

Top Pitchers
M. Rivera……..1386……Goatbusters
J. Santana…….1359…..Zambrano 4 President
J. Nathan……..1358…….Cubtracker
B. Colon………..1296…..Zambrano 4 President
R. Johnson……1242……Goatbusters

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Hockey’s Back, eh?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

So the NHL returned from it’s long slumber with a full slate of games. That means the return of Cold Steel on Ice. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am a Blackhawk fan. Something about listening to Pat Foley call games on the radio just gets me fired up. My question to you guys is this. With the Cubs out, the Sox winning, and Bears still trying to determine if they are good or bad, that leaves the Blackhawks. So are you excited about Hockey being back or not? I have to admit that I am. The rule changes seem to have opened the game up a little more which seems to yield a lot more end to end action. That should make some exciting hockey.

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The Ex-Cub Playoff Preview

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

For those of you who subscribe to Ron Berler’s theory on the Ex-Cub Factor* (which was publicized and popularized by Mike Royko) I am providing a quick and possibly not-quite comprehensive list of ex-Cubs who are on the rosters of the various playoff teams. If you do some intensive research and find that I’ve left someone off this list, you probably need to get out more often.

St. Louis Cardinals
Ray King – RP
Julian Tavarez – RP
Mark Grudzielanek – 2B

Atlanta Braves
Kyle Farnsworth – RP
Todd Hollandsworth – OF

San Diego Padres
Damian Jackson – SS
Eric Young – OF

Houston Astros
Jose Visciano – IF

Boston Red Sox
Matt Clement – SP
Bill Mueller – 3B
Jeremi Gonzalez – P

Los Angels Angels of Anaheim
Josh Paul – C

Chicago White Sox
Ross Gload – 1B/DH

New York Yankees
Tom Gordon – RP
Tanyon Sturtze – RP
Mark Bellhorn – 2B
Tony Womack – Utility
Rey Sanchez – Yes, Rey Sanchez
Matt Lawton – OF

So there you have it. From the looks of things, the Yankees, Cardinals and Red Sox are done for. And I don’t like the idea of having any ex-Cub in your bullpen(especially Farnsworth), so I’m counting Atlanta. So that gives us: San Diego, Houston, LA and the White Sox. I’ll take Houston over San Diego, and the Angels over the White Sox. That leaves LA and Houston in the World Series, of which I’ll take LA, since Josh Paul is a 3rd string catcher so there’s a chance he won’t even be on his team’s playoff roster.

My unscientific pick for World Series Champion: The Los Angeles Angels of Disneyland.

*The Ex-Cub Factor states that since the Cubs last World Series appearance in 1945, any team with three or more ex-Cub players on the roster will not win the World Series. Since that time, only 3 teams with 3 or more ex-Cubs have won the Series. An ex-Cub is any player who has played at least one game with the Chicago Cubs major league team.

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