Archive for July, 2006

Finally…A Confession

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

There is finally some closure in the Steven A. Smith saga.

TV host Stephen A. Smith took on a new role Friday–investigative reporter. He said he found that an assistant producer on his ESPN2 show, “Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith,” had deceived him about a memo relating to an episode with Dusty Baker. “He lied to everybody,” Smith said. “Then he tried to cover it up.” The aide had e-mailed an invitation to several Cubs blogs offering free tickets to the taping of the show and adding: “You guys can definitely feel free to BOO Dusty if you so please.” After learning of the memo, Baker pulled out. Smith said the assistant producer admitted Friday he had lied. “I apologize for any unethical behavior from a member of my staff,” Smith said. “He will be dealt with.”

Chicago Tribune

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Cubs lose in a seesaw affair

Friday, July 21st, 2006

This was not a “bad Cubs loss.” Prior came in and did his usual job of poor pitching – his ERA is now flirting with 9 and it’s pretty much a guaranteed loss every time he takes the hill. No more excuses for this guy, it’s time for him to do his job or be a long reliever. He can’t be counted on as a starter from what I can see; if he’s not hurt he’s getting shelled. Personal note to Prior: “Sorry Mark but you’re gonna have to train during the offseason, you’re a professional athlete, it’s your job. It’s unfair to the rest of the team to do your spring training in July.”

Glendon Rusch pitched well in relief and Aramis Ramirez hit two 440 foot-plus bombs to get the Cubs back into the game. The offense played scrappy ball and gave the team a two-run lead going into the eighth; Scott Eyre had to leave the game with a sore lower back (he’ll be day to day) and Howry couldn’t get the job done. Cedeno also made a fool out of himself on a relay throw to home which cost the Cubs the winning run; I’ve been a big Ronny supporter but it’s now time to tell him that his throws might cost him his job if he doesn’t improve by the end of the year. Sometimes you just have to be direct.

Tomorrow the Cubs will be blacked out in most markets, Sean Marshall goes to the mound against Livan Hernandez. Marshall has thrown better this year than Livan but that guy has given us fits with his offspeed stuff and different looks. The Cubs are now 8 out of their last 15 so I’m not complaining.

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And we think we have it bad!

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

I’m not going to denigrate this site putting Shea Hillenbrand’s picture on it. Nor am I going to attempt to explain his reasons for what he did. Two short years ago we watched Sammy Sosa commit the ultimate act of Cubs treachery on Fan Appreciation Day. But Sammy’s actions pale to insignificance compared to what Shea did.

Mind you I don’t mind the actions that Toronto’s manager took – there’s no excuse for a player doing what Hillenbrand is alleged to have done. Rather, I fault Toronto for not handling the problem right – when you have a real attitude problem like this guy you have to do what the Angels did with Guillen. Suspend him for the rest of the year and show some backbone. Lay the smack down!

The Cubs aren’t stupid enough to trade for this clown and hopefully other teams will use some common sense too. Hillenbrand is another Jon Rocker, he’s just stupid in another way. Baseball will be better off without him.

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Who else?

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Well if you’re the Cubs and you’re looking to a starter for a win then look no farther than Carlos Zambrano. This guy continues to amaze me from start to start; every time you look around he’s flirting with a no-hitter. Regardless of how things are going you can count on Z Man to deliver the goods; I would suggest, however that the Cubs ask him to pass on the World Baseball Championships the next time they come around. Z started slow but has been a rocket ever since; today’s victory came replete with 10 strikeouts and improved his record to 10-3. His ERA is now at 3.11 so he’s in the thick of the race for the NL Cy Young.

Tomorrow Prior takes the hill against the Nats and I’m not feeling so confident. I’d like to see Prior finish strong so that he has some trade value. Now I know that the Cubs have two years of club control left but how can we continue to count on this guy? He’s been to the DL seven times in less than five years fer cryin’ out loud. Trade him while he has some value left and keep Maddux – at least Greg wins more than 8 games a year. Sure, that sounds preposterous but if it’s wins and quality starts you’re after I’d much rather have Maddux back.

In unrelated news most of you know that Chris Speier has taken a leave of absence after his DUI. I’m not going to be pious and sanctimonious about that – I had one in 1992. But I don’t put myself in those situations anymore and I learned some awful hard lessons as a consequence of my actions – including the loss of a high-paying job. I just thank my lucky stars that no one except myself got hurt – hopefully Chris will come out of this a better person, unfortunately some people never do.

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Hello Nomar?

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

This snip comes from Barry Rozner today in the Daily Herald. Apparently there is a rumor of Maddux going to the Dodgers in a trade before the trade deadline along with Aramis Ramirez.

Not only is Dodger Stadium the best ballpark for Maddux, it might be the right destination for several other Cubs.

The Dodgers are the perfect trading partner because they need Maddux, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and any of the veteran arms at the end of the bullpen.

They’re also loaded with young players, and if the Cubs want to improve quickly, that’s one place they’ll look.

I can’t decide what I think about dealing a guy like Ramirez. On the one hand, he appears to have topped out valuewise and now would be the time to trade him. On the other hand, that would once again leave us with the infamous Ron Santo hole at third again for who knows how many years. The Dodgers do have an intriguing farm though. Here are some names for you to chew on:

Chad Billingsley (SP) – He’s been in the bigs this season and would give a great young arm. The chances of him moving are slim.

Andy LaRoche (3b) – Now this guy has the makings of a great replacement for us at 3b. He’s close to major league ready and will be a player very similar to Ryan Zimmerman.

Scott Elbert (SP) – This is a young lefty who has the potential to hit the mid 90’s with his fastball. He has made two starts for Double A Jacksonville and has an ERA of 0.82. He was promoted after pitching 88 and 2/3 inning of 2.37 ERA ball while striking out 97

One thing is for sure. If the Cubs do decide to work with LA, Jim Hendry better scrape for all he can get. It could be his last run at glory.

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