Archive for November, 2005

Finally

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Here is a link to a very important story. I’ll give you my thoughts on it when I get home from work this evening.

Also, just in case you were holding out hope for Hideki Matsui this next year in LF, it looks like the Yankees are going to resign him.

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Paired in Fame, Joined in Shame

Monday, November 14th, 2005

A rather ominous sign that Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro are not long for the world of Major League Baseball: neither player can be accessed through the ìCurrentî player search engine for FOX Sports.

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It seems that these diametrically different personalities are meeting a similar fate. This happened this weekend as the Baltimore Orioles cut loose the once-vaunted dynamic duo following abysmal seasons on and off the field.

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Their lives and careers have taken a surprising number of parallel turns. Both played for the Cubs, Rangers and Orioles. Both grew up poor and Latin, Palmeiro from Cuba and Sosa from the Dominican Republic.

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Each player amassed career statistics that are on any given day worthy of Cooperstown. But on March 17, the two sat at the same table facing down Congressional queries regarding steroids. Palmeiro was eloquent and passionate. Perhaps too much so. Sosa just looked like a blathering idiot, faking a sudden loss of coherence and articulation.

Once paired in glory, Sammy and Raffy are now conjoined in shame in a pathetic end to careers and reputations that could have and definitely should have finished better.

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FA Tracker

Friday, November 11th, 2005

MLB.com has a free agent tracker out that is pretty good. They have a lot of sorting options. Check it out here

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Neifi and Two Raffyís

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

On the heels of his new deal (and by the way, congratulations) and the subsequent collective angst from the CBA (and its readers) Neifi Perez has gone out and committed a completely selfless act on behalf of the T E A M. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he has called friend Rafael Furcal and urged him to consider signing with our beloved Cubs for 2006.

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Now anyone can find nitpicky things to poo poo this deal but I’m not one of them. I like the 100 runs, the SB’s, the every day going out there and getting it done.

Back to Neifi. I call this selfless because if indeed the Cubs acquire the services of Mr. Furcal, who stands to lose the most? Probably Perez. But he understands the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few — or the one.

Spock Death

Something apparently not grasped by another Rafael, the one named Palmeiro. Finally he has come out and tried to explain how he flunked the steroid test.
“I have never intentionally taken steroids. But I must also acknowledge that Stanozolol, a banned substance, was found in my system in May. Although I do not know how this substance came into my body, it is possible that a shot of vitamin B12 I took sometime in April might have been the cause. ì

Folks, this is known as the ìCareless Idiotî defense. Gimmee a Break, already.

anabolic-st
raffy's finger

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Book Review

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Well, while we wait for the start of baseball’s free agent signing period, here’s something for Bears fans:

The Rise and Self-Destruction of the Greatest Football Team in History by John Mullin
If you read the title in the line above, and didn’t automatically think “1985 Chicago Bears” this book probably isn’t for you. But if you were a football fan in Chicago during the 1980′s, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot. It begins with a summary of how the major players for the team were assembled prior to 1985. It’s almost sick how well the Bears drafted in those years, as the 1983 draft alone yielded the following players: Jim Covert, Willie Gault, Mike Richardson, Dave Duerson, Tom Thayer, Mark Bortz and Richard Dent. We also get some interesting back stories on the players; Dent, for example, slipped into the 8th round of the draft that year because he had bad teeth. He weighed 227 pounds on draft day, but once the Bears paid to fix the nerve damage in his mouth that made eating painful, Dent put on 40 pounds and became a pass rushing force to be reckoned with. After taking a brief look at some of the Bears growing pains in 1983 and ’84, Mullin jumps to the 1985 season. Summaries are provided for each game, along with side stories, most chronicling the jealousy that divided the offensive and defensive squads, as well as the individual players. In fact, the ’85 Bears appear to be the poster boys for enormous talent overcoming a lack of team chemistry. The only thing that the team seemed to be united in was their total distaste for club president Michael McCaskey.

Of course, a large part of Rise’s story is devoted to Head Coach Mike Ditka. The case is made that Ditka’s strong personality and hatred of losing spurred the team to its Super Bowl win, but also burned the players out, possibly costing them multiple championships. While giving lip service to the concept of treating all the players the same, Ditka hardly put this philosophy into practice. He let Jim McMahon do what he wanted, while his constant harping drove 3rd string QB Mike Tomzack into therapy. Ditka had Doug Flutie over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner, but he constantly disrespected one of his best defensive players, referring to Dent as “Robert” in the press. However, for some reason, Mullin doesn’t really go into detail on the Ditka’s main conflict that season, his rivalry with defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan.

I do have a few other complaints about Rise. First, it seems to give short shrift to the best player on the team, Walter Payton. Possibly because Payton was overshadowed by the more outgoing personalities on the team, along with the fact that his untimely death meant Mullin could do no interviews with him. Alsoy, there is an entire chapter devoted to the “Super Fans” skit on Saturday Night Live. While the purpose of this chapter is to show the lasting cultural impact that the team had, it really seems to be tacked on to the rest of the narrative. Finally, the book really does require you to have some previous knowledge of the team and players to fully appreciate it.

In conclusion, if you remember and love the 1985 Bears, I recommend this book to you. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to pass.

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Oh no…

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

While innocently reading Ken Rosenthal’s rumor column today, I came across this little nugget:

The Cubs are talking about re-signing infielder Neifi Perez to a two-year deal even after exercising second baseman Todd Walker’s $2.5 million option for 2006. If the Cubs sign Furcal, they can trade Walker and allow Perez and Ronny Cedeno to compete at second base next spring. Perez, 32, sports a paltry career .301 on-base percentage, and he grounded into 22 double plays last season, third most in the NL. His nine homers and 54 RBIs, however, represented his highest totals since 2000, when he was with the Rockies

No, no, NO! Why on Earth would Jim Hendry even consider this scenario? Give a 2 year contract to a guy the Cubs pulled off the scrap heap in 2004, and then hand him the starting job (yes, I know it says compete, but who do you think is going to win that competition with Dusty Baker at the helm?) despite the fact that he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should not be a starter (.681 OPS, including a laughable .298 OBP)? If this is a part of Jim Hendry’s master plan, then I don’t want to see the rest. Hopefully, this is nothing but speculation that Rosenthal came up with to scare Cubs fans during the down period between the World Series and the start of free agency.

Incidentally, there’s another item in that column that caught my attention:

The White Sox could shift Jermaine Dye to first and play rookie Brian Anderson in right field if they lose free-agent first baseman Paul Konerko. Anderson, 23, also is an option in center field, giving the White Sox the flexibility to trade Aaron Rowand …

Now that’s interesting. If the White Sox are seriously considering trading Rowand, the Cubs need to give Kenny Williams a call. Rowand’s not great offensively, but he’s light years ahead of the guy we had in CF last year, and his defense is outstanding.

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In Defense of Carrie Muskat

Friday, November 4th, 2005

On October 21, Joe posted an article with relation to Joe Girardi. In the comments section an unrelated series of opinions surfaced regarding Carrie Muskat and her journalistic integrity. I found the opinions to be somewhat libelous and so I wrote Miss Muskat for her side of things. Today I heard back from her.

First of all, here are a couple things said about her.

ìThe Cubs website is currently sporting an article entitled ‘back to basics for Patterson.’

I translate this propaganda to mean that the Cubs have flown Corey down to Arizona on an all expenses-paid trip to see his younger brother Eric play in the Arizona Fall League. I am also curious as to which Atlanta area bar the ‘baseball camp’ will be conducted in – surely they aren’t going to let Corey Patterson teach young kids the fundamentals of baseball!

I usually appreciate Carrie Muscat’s articles but this one was pure horse-hockey. It makes me wonder if she’s on the take.î

Then we have this comment from another person.

ìSince the Cubs pay her salary, I’d say she’s definitely on the take. Pravda was more objective during the Soviet years than Carrie is now.î

These are pretty serious charges. Ones that usually command some sort of verification before being lodged. After all, Miss Muskatís professional reputation is at stake.

Her reply to this tripe is short and to the point:
ìfor the record, Patterson went to Arizona on his own. And I am not paid by the Cubs.î

Letís be careful out there, guys. An apology would be nice, donít you think?

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It’s Getting Ridiculus

Friday, November 4th, 2005

When will people quit giving this guy so many breaks? What’s wrong with our justice system?

TAMPA, Fla. — Former baseball star Dwight Gooden was sentenced to three years’ probation Thursday after pleading guilty to speeding away from police following a traffic stop last August.

The 40-year-old ex-pitcher will remain for an indefinite time at a drug treatment facility where he has spent the past month and a half.

“I’m very sorry for these actions,” Gooden told Judge Nick Nazaretian. “And I thank the state for giving me the opportunity to get along with my life.”

Gooden pleaded guilty to a felony count of fleeing police, misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and obstruction and to an unrelated charge of hitting his girlfriend.

“You have a lot of situations in your life going on, but you look a whole lot better than you did before,” Nazaretian said. “You should be commended for trying to keep things straightened out in your life.”

The 1984 rookie of the year and the 1985 NL Cy Young Award winner must complete his drug treatment, get a full-time job afterward and spend 100 hours speaking to 100 schools, Little League teams and other youth groups about how drugs affected his life.

“This is a person who children and young teens respect and has the potential to make a tremendous difference in kids’ lives,” prosecutor Pam Bondi said.

As part of his probation, Gooden must stay away from alcohol, drugs and bars, and submit to a minimum of three random urine screens a week, Bondi said. Probation can be terminated after two years if he has no violations.

Gooden also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from a March dispute with his live-in girlfriend. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and given credit for time already served. He also was ordered to take an anger management class.

Gooden, who is from Tampa, was pulled over for driving erratically in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, police said. Slurring his words and smelling of alcohol, he twice refused to get out of the car for a field sobriety test and bolted while the officer was still holding his driver’s license, police said. He surrendered three days later and has been in custody since.

Gooden was an instant sensation after debuting with the New York Mets in 1984. He went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA before retiring in 2001. He also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Gooden was arrested by Tampa police in 2002 on a drunken driving charge but later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and received a year probation.

Gooden was suspended for 60 days in 1994 for testing positive for cocaine while with the Mets. He tested positive for cocaine again while on suspension and was sidelined for the 1995 season. He recently worked for the Yankees as a special adviser but quit in April.
AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

I can’t stand Dwight Gooden. He’s a waste of human air.

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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Lots of “juicy” Cub and ex-Cub news this morning. Let’s see what’s cookin.

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The Good
Congratulations to Greg Maddux and Derreck Lee who each picked up another Gold Glove for their stellar defense in 2005. For Mad Dog, itís his 15th, a National League record and one shy of Jim Kaatís 16 in the AL. For Lee, itís his 2nd. His other one was earned in 2003 with Florida.

The Bad
Sammy Sosa is a man without a team and you just have to wonder who in their right mind would have this pariah on their squad? Kudos to Stephen A. Smith for ragging on Hip-Hop Sammy Wednesday on his show, Quite Frankly. In Smithís mind, Sosa lost a lot of respect on March 17th when the ordinarily articulate Dominican suddenly needed an interpreter. Rope-a-Dope hasnít been executed so adroitly since Ali himself. When did Sammyís slide toward the bottom begin? About the time MLB started making players pee in a cup. Coincidence? Hmmm, I wonder.

The Ugly
Speaking of the Juice, ex-Cub Matt Lawton has been busted for using. Jody Gerut, we should have kept you.

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