Archive for February, 2006

Kerry Wood & 2006

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

As I was talking to Joe last night on the phone, I gave him a heads up. This season, the gloves come off as far as Kerry Wood is concerned. For some inexplicable reason, he seems to get a pass by Cub bloggers. There will be one villifying article after another with regards to Neifi, Corey and Jose (Macias.) but Kerry? Nary a peep.
Wood close-up smiling

But for my money (I mean the Tribís) there should be more scrutiny, more introspection and more expected. The production just isnít there and hasnít been for some time. Now comes word that Wood will probably miss the first two weeks of the season. Iíd be surprised to see him pitch before May Day.

So, the rest of you, have a field day ripping Neifi at every whim. His paycheck pales in comparison to the ìaceî of this staff. Did I say ace? According to Pat Hughes, thatís exactly what Kerry Wood is. Just listen to his interview with Joe. The first two or three minutes in he says it. Prior is second, Zambrano third.

Howís your partner’s Kool-Aid, Mr. Play-by-Play man?

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He gone…sorta

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

According to ESPN and Fox Sports, close confidantes of His Samminess report that the Sultan of Sulk has decided to retire. Said agent Adam Katz: “We’re not going to put him on the retirement list…[we] decided that [not putting him on that list] was the best thing to do. But I can say, with reasonable certainty, that we’ve seen Sammy in a baseball uniform for the last time.”

Katz went on further to elaborate by saying that: “[It] basically came down to this: He has such high expectations for himself, and last year was absolute misery for him, the way he underperformed. Sammy just didn’t want to put himself through the possibility of going through something like that again. He still thinks he can do it. But there’s some doubt there.”

Well if there’s some doubt then it is indeed time to hang ‘em up. Unfortunately for Sammy he will leave the game with bridges smoking behind him. His retirement hasn’t been caused so much by a degradation in his play (although that certainly played a part.) The big reason for his exit before the curtain call was that no team in the league wanted Sammy in their clubhouse. In this writer’s opinion, Sammy didn’t honor the game, it will be curious to see if the game eventually honors him.

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Interesting Reading

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

It seems like I am subscribed to so many different feeds on my bloglines that I wonder how I have the time to read them all. I’d like to highlight just a few interesting ones for you to read and discuss.

Who Will be Selig’s Replacement? ~ The Hardball Times

Golden Arms vs. Golden Bats ~ Rob Neyer (Insider Required)

Top 25 Baseball InnovationsJason Stark

A look at unearned runs by pitcher typeBaseball Analysts

Reds signed outfielder Tuffy Rhodes to a minor league contract.
Probably Wayne Krivsky’s most interesting addition so far, even if Rhodes is well past his prime at age 37. The two-time 50-homer guy in Japan battled shoulder problems and slipped to .240/.337/.478 in 101 games last year. In 2004, he hit .287/.378/.577 for Yomiuri. He might be able to help some teams as a reserve outfielder, but the Reds probably aren’t one of them.

UPDATE: Sammy Sosa has informed the Nationals that he does not intend to accept their offer of $500,000, thus paving the way to his possible retirement.

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Plenty of Love to Go Around

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Awhile back we featured the five athletes we hate. Nasty stuff but I joined in cuz it gave me another chance to burn Palmeiro in cyber effigy.

Enough hate, already. This is Valentineís Day and so I wish to offer the ten figures in sports I love, respect, support and cheer for. The list is expanded to ten because these selections cover my lifetime. Feel free to chime in with yours.

1. Ernie Banks ñ His entire demeanor exemplifies why I love sport, baseball and the Cubs. Met him when I was 13. The picture of his arm around me will always hang in a place of honor.

2. Ryne Sandberg ñ Pure class & his HOF speech ranks # 1 of all sports speeches.

3. Orel Hershiser ñ Should be in the HOF but will never make it. Great deportment and knows his stuff. Good witness for Christ as well.

4. Freddie Patek ñ My favorite non-Cub growing up. A champion for all of us short guys. Once the 5í 4î Royals shortstop was asked what it felt like being the shortest player in the majors. Without missing a beat he retorted, ìA lot better than being the shortest player in the minors!î

5. Steve Alford ñ Clean-cut kid who led the Hoosiers to the championship in í87. An expert free-throw shooter, the crowd would chant his routine as he stepped to the line ìSocks, shorts, one,two, three (bounces), swoooosh!î

6. Steve Stone ñ Not as a baseball player but for his announcing, his wit and his intelligence. Have I mentioned recently how much I miss him?

7. Don Kessinger ñ The first Cub I ever met in 1970. With quiet efficiency, he got the job done. Was a Christian athlete long before it was ìcoolî to be a Christian athlete.

8. Eric Kirchner ñ Benchwarmer for the General in the late 70ís, but he risked getting thrown off the team when he gave me, his fellow journalism major, an interview for a class project.

9. Mike Singletary ñ Those piercing eyes continue to haunt every offensive lineman he faced at the line of scrimmage.

10. Kevin Hoyer ñ High School seniors normally donít let sophomores hang with them. Kev was all-everything in our school. Jock, well liked A-list all the way. And he let me, a short, fat waterboy for the Junior Varsity team run around with him. That meant a lot to me then as I struggled immensely with self image.

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More chutzpah from Carrie

Monday, February 13th, 2006

In this week’s “Cubs mailbox” Carrie Muscat gives us another interesting piece of information. Says Carrie: “[Neifi Perez] also hit .280 in the No. 2 spot in the order, and was second in the NL in fielding percentage.”

Hold your horses for just a second. Second in the NL in fielding percentage? For what, NL bench utility players born in the Dominican Republic? Here’s Neifi’s stats for 2005, courtesy of baseball-reference.com: Shortstop – .982 in 1063.3 innings. 2B – .975 in 160 innings. 3B – 1.000 in 6 innings. Now those aren’t atrocious numbers but I wouldn’t exactly classify them as “second in the NL” either…

Reading the “mailbox” occasionally reminds me of an experience I had as a sophomore at Vanderbilt. I heard that it was real easy to BS a particular economics professor on essay questions. Then one day I got a test back from the professor with a big fat “D” on the top and an admonishment that said: “Next time use a bigger shovel.”

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Is Sammy a 2006 version of Rodney Dangerfield?

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Reports are that Sammy might retire instead of taking a $500,000 contract with Washington; apparently the Nationals are the only team interested in him. According to ESPNdeportes.com: “Sammy doesn’t think of himself as someone who has to beg for a spot on a big-league roster…he feels that the lack of interest in his services constitutes a humiliation.”

Give me a break…His Samminess “don’t get no respect?” I’m glad they used the word “humiliation” because humility is one personal attribute that Sosa doesn’t have.

UPDATE:

Also from Rotoworld:

Nationals GM Jim Bowden has told MLB.com that Sammy Sosa has rejected his club’s one-year, $500,000 offer.
Sosa wanted at least $1 million to sign with the team, but Bowden was not willing to increase the offer. “We respect Sammy and what he has accomplished in the game,” Bowden said. “We wish him well and hope that he is able to come back and perform like he did a couple of years ago. As long as he is not in our division, we’ll be rooting for him to win Comeback Player of the Year.” He’d have to find another team with any interest at all in employing him for that to happen. The Nationals are likely better off without him. Feb. 15 – 1:17 pm et
Source: Nationals.mlb.com

And so apparently ends an era, His Samminess appears to be done at 37.

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Faith in Hendry?

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Sometimes it’s fun to look back at previous writing and see how your opinion has changed over the years. After 2003, everyone was on not only the Cubs bandwagon, but the Jim Hendry bandwagon. People wrote columns about why Jim Hendry was the best GM in baseball and everyone was buzzing about the upcoming World Series appearance that the Cubs were bound to be making. Even Sports Illustrated picked the Cubs to win it all.

Now, as the Cubs have failed to meet expectations over the past two seasons, Bryan from the Baseball Analysts takes a look back at what he wrote about Hendry. It’s an interesting look back and one that I think is dead on. His main premise is that Hendry is still one of the five best GM’s in the league when it comes to making trades, but one of the worst when it comes to managing the 40 man roster, losing players to the Rule 5 draft, and off season free agency.

Here are some of the highlights of the article.

Like his manager, Hendry enters the 2006 season in a place where no one would have thought just a year and a half ago: on the hot seat. Recently, I had a reader e-mail me asking for updated thoughts on Jim Hendry. “My question is, do you still feel the same about him? He’s not looking that smart anymore,” the reader questioned. Today we’ll breakdown the last two winters to see if Hendry has indeed taken a step back as a General Manager.

Jim Hendry has never traded away a prospect worthy of any real value in the end. In fact, in almost every trade he has made, he gets the better end of the bargain. Eighteen months later, I still think that Hendry is one of the five best GM’s in the game at making trades.

This year could be the make or break year for Jim Hendry. I really think that if he does not show something this season, it could be the end of the line. The fact that he has not been extended to this point has to be a clue that McPhail is watching.

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TWENTY QUESTIONS

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

In light of the recent scandal that has derailed hockey and the reputation of its premier personality, in view of the increasingly popularity of gambling on television (Poker) and especially at the college level, in view of this nation’s obsession with sports betting, I offer you the following:

Gamblers Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a gambling problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

To get help…

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And then there were none…

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Just a quick note to let you all know that yes, I’m still here and that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Carlos Zambrano by signing him to a one year, $6.5 million dollar deal.

Read about it.

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

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