Archive for January, 2006

Need Graphic Work?

Monday, January 16th, 2006

Just a quick plug today. If you’re like me, your photoshop skills are severely lacking. I am OK with resizing and cut and paste type stuff, but when it comes to things that look cool and dazzle the eye, you’ll want someone else. Recently, I needed some icons done for the new writer Mark, and my wife. I turned to Michael Delgiudice, who runs his own site and does freelance work. His rates are reasonable, and he is very reliable with deadlines and details. Both icons he has done for me have been top notch. If you would like to get in contact with him, his website is: www.mfdproductions.com. He does not have a great deal of samples on there, but he has designed a number of logos for the Most Valuable Network as well. When you contact him, tell him I sent you.

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Mea culpa, mea culpa

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

As many of you know, the yearly winter pilgrimage to Chicago for the Cubs Convention has begun. As in the past, Cubs fans have been given a chance to ask the Cubs brass questions behind the closed doors of Cubdom. But unlike recent years, the questions this year are more pointed and seem to convey a greater sense of urgency. Here’s a sampling of the responses that Cubs President Andy MacPhail and GM Jim Hendry had for the crowds (courtesy of www.cubs.com:)

First Andy MacPhail gave us a rundown on the numbers:

“MacPhail pointed out that the Cubs led the National League in hits in 2005 but ranked 29th out of 30 teams with runners in scoring position. That seems almost impossible…the Cubs’ outfielders ranked 30th in production in the Major Leagues. The leadoff men combined were 29th in on-base percentage. The Cubs’ relievers issued the most walks and the most home runs.”

I thought this was a great statistical analysis of some of some of the problems the 2005 team faced, Mr. President. Do you think that your executive team has taken the appropriate steps to turn these indices around? I’d say yes to the leadoff problem and bullpen but probably no to the other issues…

Jim Hendry also had some interesting comments:

“We had a bad year and I should’ve done a better job myself,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry told a packed Continental Ballroom crowd during a question-and-answer session with manager Dusty Baker….”I don’t think you can do better than Juan Pierre,” Hendry said. “And Willie Mays wasn’t available for right”….”At a $100 million payroll, you’re more than capable of winning,” he said. “We’ve got to get the job done.”

Okay that was somewhat of an act of contrition Jimmy Boy but it was also smart aleck. First of all, what could you have done better; should you have been a better leader insofar as driving for results? Should you have made more creative moves to better improve the club’s chances? Unfortunately an Ichiro for Corey Patterson trade didn’t seem to make sense to Seattle’s GM but did you ever consider inking Brian Giles to a three year deal? Obviously not, it wasn’t even discussed. Thank goodness this wasn’t a confession Jimbo because the priest would have given you a bunch of novenas and stations of the cross.

More news to come I’m sure…

Updated 1/14/06 23:10:

Paul Sullivan (a writer whom I happen to like) and the Trib have now added their two cents. Some noteworthy comments from their article:

…the fan then accused Hendry of failing to address the team’s off-season needs, of overestimating Jacque Jones’ talent and having a payroll of only $75 million. Hendry’s equally long-winded response was that he beefed up the bullpen, has faith in Jones, acquired leadoff man Juan Pierre and has a $90 million payroll that could balloon to $100 million.

Jimmy Boy, have you been cooking the books? I thought we were already at $100M – whatcha gonna do with the other ten million, build momma a new house?

Not to be left out, it was Dusty’s turn next on the hotseat:

Baker’s awkward moment came minutes later, when a perturbed fan drew applause for criticizing the manager’s game strategy.

“I swear to God, I don’t understand why you’ve never heard of a squeeze bunt in your life,” the fan said. “A manager has a chance to have a direct impact on 10-15 games a season, and I don’t think we won one of them last year.

“Cubs fans make a commitment to you guys every year. It’s time you guys make a commitment to us.”

“Thank you,” Baker replied.

No additional comments are necessary here from me either, Dusty. At least we’ve got one thing in common.

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Batter up!

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Okay, here’s the deal – the Cubs are in a tight game in the seventh inning. You get called into the game to pinch-hit. How’d you like to have to face this guy?

Now we’ve all been up to our ears in rumors about Prior going here or Prior going there – I for one thank my lucky stars that this guy is wearing Cubbie blue. Sure he’s been hurt a coupla times, we’re lucky he didn’t get his career ended last year on a line drive. Anybody ever hear about what happened to Herb Score?

This guy is bad news if you’re a hitter – he has all the tools and he’s intense. Sometimes I think he gets ticked at Dusty for being too laid-back! There has been some conjecture that recent trade talks might have lit a fire under Prior’s fantails; others have said that he will bail at the first opportunity because of the rumors. Here’s what Prior had to say at the Cubs convention today: “I love playing here. I have no desire to leave,” he said. “I love playing in the city of Chicago; I love this town. I don’t think I could’ve been as fortunate as I was to fall here out of college. Not too many people get the luxury of coming to a city like Chicago. It’s a great city, a great town and I love being here. It’s a great town to play baseball in.”

I like this guy, he’s a gamer; I like his fire and zeal. IMO Mark Prior is a keeper. My only regret is that Mark Prior didn’t finish his collegiate career at Vanderbilt :)

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Strong Words

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Chris De Luca utters some strong words about the move to deal Corey Patterson to the Orioles. Apparently he is not a Baker or Hendry fan for this move, blaming the organization for bringing him up too quickly and then using him incorrectly. What I don’t understand is his need for the closing statement in his column.

Maybe that half-season in 2003 was a fluke. Maybe the Cubs over-hyped Patterson, and he was doomed to failure. Maybe this is a trade that won’t come back to haunt the Cubs — though I doubt it.
But the bottom line is the Cubs — Hendry and Baker — gave up on the next Lou Brock.
Now there’s something that should not be tolerated.

Chicago Sun Times – 1/13/06

I agree that Patterson COULD come back to hurt us by performing well as a stick it to the man type of season. What I don’t understand is how De Luca can be so positive that this will happen, when everyone around the situation, who are actually employed in the game of baseball feel otherwise. When I defend Patterson and say that I think he’ll rebound this year, it’s simply my blue Cubs heart wanting and wishing it to be true. Now, it will be my heart that will hope that it doesn’t come true. One thing is certain to me though. If Patterson gets to Baltimore and shines to the point that he goes to the All Star game, Hendry and Baker need to quietly turn in their cell phones and move along.

As this college basketball season heats up, make sure you do all your sports betting online.

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Backlash? What backlash?

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Well, I think my partners on this site feel intimidated and do not want to be the one that knocks my son off the top story. So, i’ll break the ice with a little snip that I found today while killing time at the hospital. While everyone in the CBA is ranting and raving about an article that was published today suggesting that Hendry and Dusty may be extended soon, I noticed an article that talks a little about what I mentioned about a week or two ago.

The story talks about the fact that Mark Prior is “peeved” about being involved in the discussions with the Orioles in an attempt to bring in Tejada.

Mark Prior is staying with the Cubs, although he’s peeved that they were willing to trade him to Baltimore.
The Orioles never came close to trading him, but they were besieged by telephone calls in the month since Tejada expressed his desire for a trade. At least eight teams made trade offers.

I mentioned earlier that perhaps this would be a motivation for Prior to step up his game in this next year and really show what he has. He has to understand that baseball is a business and that if his name was brought up, it was strictly business. Personally, I don’t think the trade was as close as people made it seem. I really do not think that Hendry would have parted with Prior or Zambrano. What happened, in my mind, was that Hendry was probably asking them what it would take, and they suggested Prior would need to be involved.

I feel that this incident will help Prior to be even more motivated this year. After bursting onto the scene as a legit starter in 2003, Prior has failed to equal his 2003 win total of 18 in the next two seasons. As he heads into arbitration years, I look for Prior to return to form. The knock on him was injuries, but aside from one actual pitching injury, Prior has been very healthy. 18 – 20 wins seems like a real possibility for this year, and we have Miguel Tejada to thank for that. Even if it isn’t due to his direct lineup production.

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It’s a Boy!!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Isaac Joseph Aiello
Born: 1/11/06 @ 1:20pm EST
Weight: 8lb 14 oz.
Length: 21″

See the rest of the pictures in the Photo Album

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What is MacPhail thinking?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Mike Kiley brought up the dreaded subject of contract extensions again today in the Sun-Times. It just baffles me how a team with a hundred million dollar payroll would want to make this kind of commitment with two executives who have questionable Chicago track records at best. What’s the hurry fer cryin’ out loud? Why not wait until some point in the season before making the moves?

When asked if Dusty and Hendry could get new contracts before the season started MacPhail responded: “It’s possible.” Further ellaborating he said: ”You know how I feel about the two of them…” It kinda makes me wonder if this is a fraternity or a business up on the North Side; if Andy MacPhail is willing to reward the kinds of performance we saw in 2004 and 2005 perhaps it is time for the Tribune to step in now and take a different route insofar as it’s front office exectives.

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A contrast of opposites

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

First, that famous last look after the big whiff!

Okay here’s a picture we like a lot more! Congratulations to Bruce Sutter, may you go into the Hall as a Cub!

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Zito in Cubby Blue?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

The Daily Southtown reports that the Cubs will still entertain trade possibilities before pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 15. There are rumors the Cubs are interested in Oakland pitcher Barry Zito. With the tenuous health of our starting 5, this is not a bad idea. With Prior and Zambrano doing the heavy lifting, Barry would feel comfortable in the 3 hole.

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