Archive for May, 2006


Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Man I love watching those plays! About the only play that’s more exciting is a straight steal of home. The Cubs looked great again tonight in another convincing victory over the Nats, and Woody takes the hill tomorrow. Jacque Jones is flirting with an .800 OPS now and there was even a sign in right field that said “no more boos!” The Cubs pitchers have only given up five hits in the last two games as Sean Marshall et al combined for a one-hitter.

No roster move was announced but Freddie Bynum hit a homer and Theriot pinch-hit so I assume Jae-kuk Ryu was sent down. Theriot will go down tomorrow unless Ramirez is headed to the DL, which I don’t suspect to be the case. When will Ramirez and Prior get personal trainers and begin to condition themselves like athletes?

In the minors, Adam Greenberg and Brandon Sing were sent down from Iowa to West Tenn and Micah Hoffpaiur and former Cubs #3 overall pick Luis Montanez were promoted to Iowa. Montanez hit .369 for the Diamond Jaxx and also had 25 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Third baseman Scott Moore is hitting .298 7 HR 27 RBI for West Tenn and Eric Patterson has compiled a .303 4 HR 17 RBI record thusfar with 14 stolen bases. Bobby Brownlie appears to be in his final throes as a Cub prospect; his ERA is 11.05 after getting hammered at Iowa. West Tenn’s bullpen features three pitchers with ERAs under 2.00, including closer Clay Rapada who has 11 saves.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Winning isn’t everything…

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

But it sure beats the heck out of losing. Amazing how much difference even one win makes. Cubs fans finally had a chance to scream and holler…and even ignore another bonehead baserunning blunder by Jacque Jones. Carlos Zambrano looked like Carlos Zambrano again and I saw a lot of line drives, even on outs. The Cubs still need a hitting instructor to teach them how to work counts though, Hernandez even managed one five-pitch inning for the Nationals.

BTW Jones is now hitting at a healthy clip, he’s sporting a .775 OPS and his trend is upward. Now he has to get his head back into the game when it comes to baserunning and hitting cutoff men.

Today’s Chicago Tribune poll shows that only 34% of Chicagoans favor Dusty’s immediate dismissal. In fact, Chicagoans seem to be evenly divided as to whether or not Dusty should be clipped now, given till the end of the season, or re-hired. This surprises me because Chicago is typically not a city that sits on the fence.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

I’m sorry I can’t help it

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Brought to you courtesy of Check out the “freefall” graphic at that site – funny stuff!

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Suggestions Please

Monday, May 15th, 2006

It’s getting harder and harder to write about blowout losses day in and day out. So, I want to make sure we keep the content entertaining enough to stay with the team and the site through this tough time. What i’d like for you to do is sound off with some ideas for things you would like to see. Here are a few of my ideas. Let me know what you think and add some of your ideas.

1. Predict the future – Basically, what this feature would be is a way for us to dialogue about the future of various things related to the team. For example, I am working on one now that will be a discussion on the future of a couple of the Cubs prospects. It is something that they do on John Sickel’s site a lot.

2. Remember me? – This is a segment where we focus on Cubs of old that have since faded off to obscurity. It’s fun to find out what happened to fringe players once they left the Cubs. We can share our memories of them and see what they did in their short career.

3. Meet the prospect – These will be discussion threads revolving around various players in the farm system. One of the most exciting parts of being a fan is watching the players in the system slowly work their way up to the big leagues.

Those are the ideas i’ve been kicking around right now. What do you think?

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

“The world’s greatest pool player”

Sunday, May 14th, 2006

Some months ago I wrote a short piece about the only pro baseball player I ever knew, Billy Martin. But there was one other sports figure whom I knew even better. Rudolph Wanderone, Jr., known to the rest of the world as Minnesota Fats.

Minnesota lived in the Hermitage Hotel on Sixth and Union in Nashville, TN and spent most of his nights hanging around the Bull Pen Lounge in the basement of the Stock Yard Restaurant. Minnesota loved crowds and he loved to be recognized; in fact, he’d go home and go to bed early if he didn’t get recognized. He carried with him a little rubber stamp which he used for autographs; he was bothered by arthritis and claimed that the stamp was more genuine anyway.

Minnesota never claimed to be “the world’s greatest pool player.” In fact, he really didn’t seem to like playing pool at all. Rather, he was a card shark, what is known in the casino world as a “card reader.” He had a very categorical memory and could keep track of the cards that had already been dealt. Or so I’m told.

At one time Minnesota Fats Enterprises had an office in the Sears Tower, he once told me that a couple of employees and bankrupted the company and disappeared with their pockets bulging. When I knew him he was not a wealthy man at all; each month he signed over his social security check to the hotel and, in return he got to live and eat in a luxury hotel. I was always grateful to the Hermitage for doing that and always recommended their fine hotel because of that.

As time went on Minnesota began to have health problems as we all do. A hostess at the Stockyard that I knew as Teresa Bell took Minnesota in and took care of him in his later years. I’m told that they eventually married. But during most of the 1980s Minnesota was a permanent fixture in the Nashville community; every day he’d be seen sitting in his chair in the Hermitage or feeding the pigeons in the back alley behind the hotel. Minnesota never seemed too concerned about his advancing age; rather, he was more worried about what would happen to the pigeons.

During the rest of this season Mastrick intends to write occasional offbeat pieces about sports in general or Cubs history. These articles may be a bit off-topic but are meant as a ray of sunlight in an otherwise cloudy season.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: