Archive for June, 2006

Rest In Peace

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

In other news, I am looking for someone to take over a team in a 14 team fantasy football keeper league in year 2. It’s not a good team, but since it’s keeper, it would be temporary. If you’re interested, the league is on Yahoo. Please contact me for details.

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I Too Received the E-mails

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
.!.

WELCOME to anyone arriving from Deadspin. If you’re a cub fan or baseball fan, add us to your News reader using the links to your right.

In response to Teddy Greenstein’s article and Kurt Evan’s article on Goat Riders, I would like to post that i too received the e-mail asking me to “feel free to BOO Dusty”

Here are the e-mails and my responses:

My name is Jackea Chan and I am an Assistant Associate Audience Producer for ESPN2s sports talk show Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith.First, I want to thank you guys for allowing me to post here when we had Andre Dawson on the show. It was quite the success. The reason I am contacting you again is that we have just been notified that on Monday, July 24th, Current Chicago Cubs Manager Dusty Baker is scheduled to appear LIVE in studio!

We would like to extend to you and your website FREE tickets to attend the show. We realize that this would be a great opportunity for some of your forum members to get together and meet up for an exciting sports show. You guys can definitely feel free to BOO Dusty if you so please. The tickets are open to your all interested members, family members, friends, and co-workers.Our studio is located in the heart of New York City, across the street from Madison Square Garden. Again the show date is Monday, July 24th at 11:15am with a 9:30am check-in.If you or any of your members are interested in attending the show, please call me at 646-708-7150 or email Jackea.X.Chan.-nd@espn.com. Please provide your first and last name, telephone number with area code and spell your email address. Someone from Audience Services will contact you if your reservation has been accepted.

In addition, please feel free to post this information on your website for all Dusty Baker and Cub fans located in the New York or tri-state area.Thank you.
Jackea Chan
Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith
Assistant Associate Audience Producer
646-708-7150
Jackea.X.Chan.-nd@espn.com

My Response:

Your feel free to Boo comment seems a little mean spirited and childish. Are you having Dusty on just to set him up to be bood?

Her Response:

Joe-

First and foremost thank you for any help that you can provide us with. The booing comment was an attempt at a joke which obviously didn’t fly. I do apologize if you were offended by it in anyway. Baker is certainly scheduled to be there on Monday though.

Having done research to tailor the audience to the guest though, I have seen many Cub fans who want him to be fired. They don’t think he has a clue this season. I am certainly NOT a Cubs fan, but you cannot deny that this seems to be the growing sentiment. If they want to boo him, they certainly can.

In terms of having Dusty setup to be boo’d or jeered, that is totally up to the audience on a given day. We want as many Cub fans in the audience as possible. If they want to boo, it is up to them. If they want to cheer him, it is up to them. Thank you.

Jackea Chan
Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith
Assistant Associate Audience Producer
646-708-7150
Jackea.X.Chan.-nd@espn.com

The Stephen A. Smith show has denied that this e-mail has taken place, but I received it as have every member of my writing staff along with numerous other Cub blogs. They ought to be ashamed and Miss Chan should show some integrity and own up to what she said.

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The gang that couldn’t shoot straight

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

I love how the Cubs’ brass always minimizes the severity of injuries that Cubs players incur. Last year we were led to believe that Kerry Wood just required a little arthroscopy to “clean out” his shoulder area of some scar tissue; now we’re finding out that Kerry is having trouble due to the very same type of scar tissue. In fact, last year Kerry’s labrum was frayed and required three pins to keep the labrum in place. Said the Tribune’s Dave van Dyck recently in an article entitled “Wood’s and Miller’s injury: ‘Nothing minor about it’”: “Kerry Wood is coming off labrum surgery. So is Wade Miller…the sad truth is that neither likely has seen the end of his problems. If history is any guide, neither may be the same double-digit winner again…”

Van Dyck went on further to elaborate on the extent of shoulder injuries by quoting Slate writer Will Carroll: “If pitchers with torn labrums were horses, they’d be destroyed.” Since then Carroll has recanted somewhat in his dire comparison, but it is nonetheless clear that some pitchers are able to rebound from labrum surgery and to others it’s career-ending.

So first we find out that Wood didn’t need a little clean-up, he had a tear in his labrum. And now we’re finding out that Prior had a tear in his labrum and guess what – we went out on the free agent market and got another pitcher with labrum surgery! What ever happened to Jim Hendry’s interest in pitchers who had Tommy Johns?

The Tribune should act and compel the Cubs leadership to use the same standards of integrity that they hold their writers accountable to. It is also high time that someone over in Tribune Tower yell some sense into the Cubs’ brass about their apparent fascination with wounded pitchers. Let’s try getting some healthy ones, okay?

Update:

The Tribune is reporting that Kerry Wood’s season might be over.

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Thoughts on the Championships

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

We’ve arrived. It’s now totally baseball season and I couldn’t be more bummed about it. To be honest, I didn’t really follow the NBA or the NHL this year until the playoffs, but now that they’re done, I wish I had. I tried watching the Cubs last night and found myself so frustrated that I turned the game off in the 2nd inning. This team just doesn’t know how to play championship baseball. It’s to the point now that I actually wonder if we will end up more futile than the Pirates and the Royals. It’s certainly turning into a distinct possibility. So, with that being said, I’d like to give my thoughts on two champions.

The Miami Heat

You’ve got to admit, it’s kind of nice seeing Shaq get himself a championship without the help of crybaby Kobe. I’ve never liked Kobe Bryant and I’ve always liked Shaq so for me, it was cool to see Shaq sort of validate his superstardom by winning one without Kobe. Granted, he did have the help of the best player in the game today, Dwyane Wade. After the Heat went down 2 games to 0, I really thought they were done. But, they came back to Miami, swept all three and then finished it in Dallas. It was an impressive run for them and I don’t think the Mavs know what hit them. There are two sub stories that I would like to rant about though.

1) Why is the 2-3-2 format of home games still in effect? To me, this is the most unfair format for scheduling ever. When you have home court advantage, you should have played more home games as of every odd numbered game during the series. For example, under the current format Dallas, who had home court advantage, after 1 game had played more home games. As of game 3, Dallas had still played more home games by a margin of 2-1. As of game 5, because of the 3 straight games played by Miami, the Heat had played more home games by a margin of 3-2. That means, that even though Dallas protected their home floor as of game 2, they still found themselves trailing in the series and on the brink of elimination as of game 6 when they return home. That is not fair. This schedule system needs to be changed. I don’t hear many people complaining about it, but I think it needs to be addressed and I am glad baseball doesn’t use it.

2. What do you do with Mark Cuban? I like Mark Cuban. He’s a passionate owner who makes things happen. However, when you go and trash the league you’re in by calling it fixed, you’ve gone too far. I understand that he was fined $250,000 but it really can’t be allowed to continue.

Jay Marriotti wrote a column about three weeks ago mentioning that Cubes was interested in buying the Cubs if they ever came up for sale. I’m torn on how to feel about this. On one hand, it would be nice to have an owner that was passionate about winning AND treating the fans right, but on the other hand, we can’t have a guy bashing baseball in ownership can we? Remember Marge Schott? I guess I’d sacrifice bad publicity for consistent winning baseball at this point. It’s gotten to that point.

The Carolina Hurricanes

This team annoys me. They play hard, they play together as a team, and they get the job done. Annoying, right? Wrong!!! What is annoying about this team is their fans. In case you don’t remember, I live in North Carolina. 15 minutes from Raleigh to be exact. This is college sports country and everyone knows it. People don’t care about Pro sports here. That is until this year. It has been incredibly annoying to watch thousands of fair weather fans crawl out from under their rocks to suddenly become a die hard Canes fans. Caniacs as they call themselves. Nothing is more annoying to me than a fair weather fan that professes to be a die hard fan. I hated it when the Cubs were winning in 2003 and I hated it when the Sox won in 2005. It’s annoying. Pick a team and stick with them, win or lose. So enjoy your Stanley Cup North Carolinians because next year your team will be back to mediocrity and you’ll once again litter the sports air waves with talk of Carolina basketball in the middle of June. If nothing else, you could always cheer for your basketball team. Who is it again?


Cub News Anyone?
  • Kerry Wood does not appear likely to start on Sunday as had been previously rumored. I look for Wood to start later next week, perhaps Thursday or Friday
  • The Yankees are interested in trading for Jacque Jones to help fill a void in their outfield. They have had injuries to Sheffield and Matsui and could use a healthy body in the field. ~ New York Daily News
  • Derrek Lee is close to returning and has taken batting practice. Hooray, now we can make our run at the championship, right Dusty?
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Book Review – Wrigleyworld

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Recently I was sent a copy of the book Wrigleyworld by Kevin Kaduk to review for the site. The basic premise of the book is that Kaduk, a writer for the Kansas City Star, decides to quit his job and move to Chicago to live without a job for the entire baseball season. His goal is to watch as many games as possible and soak in the feel of Wrigleyville. At first, I was a little skeptical because of the season that he chose to spend watching the Cubs. I did not know what it would be like to read about a horrible year in Wrigley in which the Cubs totally bombed out. I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. I don’t write enough book reviews to have a regular style, so I’ve decided to try something a little different. I’d like to give you three reasons to read this book.

1. It’s fun to relive a Cubs season – What better way to get your mind off the current batch of losing than to read about a different year of ineptitude by our lovable losers. Kaduk takes the reader from opening day 2005 straight through the home season by telling it through his eyes. Those eyes are not always at the park, but at times are frequenting bars, outside with the ballhawks, and crashing rooftop parties. Because of that, the book allows the reader to see the nontraditional side of what goes on at Wrigley during the year. While you get those experiences, you are also taken through the various events going on with the team, such as the enormous season by Derrek Lee, the booing of Latroy, the Red Sox come to Wrigley, etc. Sometimes we forget about those events from year to year and this book gives you a chance to relive them.

2. It’s not a happy ending – One of the things that I am always getting annoyed with in movies and books is how everyone feels like a happy ending is the way to go. Granted, the author had no way of knowing how this year would go, but it’s nice to know that it doesn’t end like a fairy tale. I think this adds realism to the see Kaduk’s view as he has to endure giving up his job for what turns out to be a terrible season.

3. It’s not your typical baseball book – Because it’s written by a member of the younger generation instead of a 80 year old writer reliving the Cub glory days, the book reads as more of a journal from a college experience. Kaduk is constantly talking about bars, babes, and even a little baseball. Throw in some humor, and even some funny experiences with the rooftops and you’ve got a very entertaining read.

Star Rating out of 5

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Inside the Outside of Wrigley Field

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

I received an e-mail yesterday promoting a new video that takes a look at what goes on at Wrigley on the day of a game. Coincidentally, I just finished a book with a very similar topic that I will be reviewing later this week. With that being said, take a look at the video and let me know what you think.

PLAY VIDEO

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From 1992 to 2006

Monday, June 19th, 2006
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Today at work I was glancing at Rotoworld and there was speculation that the Mets might have some interest in Greg Maddux (and vice versa.) Heck, nowadays it seems you hear Maddux’ name in conjunction with many different trade scenarios – the Brewers (God forbid, I remember when we used to fleece them,) the Dodgers, D-Backs and Angels have been mentioned. Then I got to thinking: “Why are we going through this again? Didn’t we learn last time?” Why isn’t somebody just saying: “Wait a minute, is this really necessary?”

Granted, this is not the Maddux of old. His pitching days appear limited and until he pulls the pin he’s going to lose about as many as he wins. I wonder though why we aren’t talking to this guy about what he’s going to do after his playing days; something tells me that baseball is in Greg’s blood and he’s going to be somebody’s Leo Mazzone.

So why not give him a chance to be the Cubs’ pitching coach and part-time pitcher? Why not tell him that he’s an integral part of the franchise, a “heart and soul” guy? Does it really make sense to have Larry Rothschild teaching our Sean Marshalls and Carlos Marmols instead of Maddux?

It’s going to be a sad day when the Cubs let Maddux walk away a second time. Perhaps Greg wants out, but I doubt it.

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Crap

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Here’s something from the Tribune today that made me mad:

The Cubs are unlikely to eat Glendon Rusch’s contract, which runs through 2007 and has more than $3 million left on it.

Why would that make me mad? I mean, sure Rusch gives up more runs per game than the Bears defense gave up points, but still, you can’t expect a multi-million dollar organization like the Cubs (which is backed by a multi-billion dollar corporation) to simply cut it’s losses on a $3 million dollar contract, right?

the Diamondbacks designated (Russ) Ortiz for assignment. They are preparing to pay him the remaining $22.5 million on the four-year, $33.5 million deal they gave him after the 2004 season.

This was also in the Tribune, in Phil Rogers column. Rogers goes on to mock Arizona’s management crew for their free agent spending prior to the 2005 season, when they acquired Ortiz, Javier Vasquez, Troy Glaus, Royce Clayton and Craig Counsell. Of this group, only Counsell remains with the team. I’m not sure what Rogers point is here. Did the Diamondbacks make some dumb moves, yes. But the fact that they’ve recognized that the moves were bad and taken steps to correct them is part of the reason why they sit only 1 game out of first place in the (admittedly bad)NL West.

Meanwhile, the Cubs assure us that they can win by staying the course, waiting for Lee, Wood, Miller and Prior to return to the lineup and to pre-injury form. Maybe somebody should explain the concept of “Plan B” to Jim Hendry and co.

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Cubs on the verge of signing new pitcher

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Although details have not been finalized, Cubs GM Jim Hendry appears on the verge of signing a new pitcher. Known affectionately as “the Cannon,” this new machine has been developed to take the place of Cubs pitchers at a fraction of the cost. “It’s a no-brainer,” Cubs President Andy MacFail said, “and it’s even made in America!” GM Jim Hendry chimed in next: “This machine can deliver with more accuracy and will give up fewer homeruns than our present starters do.” Although the Cannon can throw tirelessly, it is reported that it needs constant attention from the equipment manager and it has an insatiable thirst for power. It is also unable to cover first and cannot hold baserunners.

Dusty reacted positively to the news, noting that it made double switches easier and also eliminated the tiresome work of keeping up with pitch counts. “It’s just like having a healthy Glendon,” Dusty was reported as saying. Neifi Perez chimed in next: “What’s good for Dusty is good for the team. So I’m all for it.”

In unrelated news, the Cubs signed Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija to a 5 year, $7.5M contract. Apparently the deal is predicated upon his choosing baseball over football. Samardzija will report to short-season Boise, but his future with the Cubs will depend on whether or not he plays injury-free for Notre Dame this year and how well he does in the NFL draft. Also, Bob Brenly was quoted today as saying that “the Cubs have earned their spot in the standings.” Can’t says I disagree with him.

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