Archive for August, 2006

STL 4 CHC 5 (F)

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

+ =

‘Nuff said. (Sorry about my crappy HTML skills, what would we do without Joe!) BTW I hope we can come to terms with Nevin for next year as our primary bench player, he adds a lot more value than Mabry does.

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VFTB on the Radio

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Today on Sports Talk Cleveland, I was able to be a part of the Up All Night Marathon for the third year in a row. The topics covered are: What is going on with the Cubs? Should they deal Aramis Ramirez? Should they rebuild the team? What is the status on Kerry Wood and Mark Prior? A special report on host Rick Morris favorite Bobby Brownlie as well as a brief look at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and their future. If you want to listen to the previous years or any of our audio files in the archives, head over to our Radio and Interviews section of the site. All media is in MP3 format.

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Rumour Has It…..

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

According to the Rocky Mountain News

Atlanta third base coach Fredi Gonzalez is getting strong consideration for the Cubs managerial job if a move is made with Dusty Baker.

I have never even heard of the guy. Should we be impressed or worried?

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What a sight it was to see!

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Not the ballgame of course, the Cubs lost their first game in five today, they stunk. Dusty went to the pen after Marmol gave up 3 earned runs in 60 pitches, funny how he has such a short leash with youngsters. He pulled Mateo after 68 but he has no issue whatsoever leaving a veteran in there for over 120 pitches. The bullpen came in and stunk it up – it’s truly puzzling why Roberto Novoa was brought in during a close game but he did what he often does – he gave up more runs. And David Aardsma had a poor game giving up three homeruns and five earned runs. Aardsma has been pitching well as of late but today simply wasn’t his day. We also saw some very poor fundamental play which proves that the manager is TOTALLY WRONG – professionals have to practice the fundamentals too. You can’t just pay lip service, you have to do it Dusty!

The highlight of today’s game was of course the air show. It sounded like the game was being played in Shea with all of the jet noise, one thing’s for sure, the US sure has some nice toys and they’re neat to watch. It’s comforting to know we’ve got those guys, we haven’t had to defend our own borders since the War of 1812 but I suspect that will one day change. Next year if I go to Chicago I’d love to time it with the airshow, it would be neat to get some Wrigley shots with the airplanes in the background!

Update: reports that Marmol was pulled early due to a sore bicep, his next start is in question. Marshall pitched poorly yesterday in his second rehab start; now he might have to come up and pitch in Marmol’s spot. The other alternative would be to bring up Miller and my understanding his that he’s throwing in the high 80s.

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Friday Five – Make Em Go Away

Friday, August 18th, 2006

This week, we take a look at five “sports figures” that the staff wishes would just go away. We feel that life as a fan would have been much better had these folks never existed in the sports scene at all. Enjoy the list, and as always, leave us some of your choices in the comment section.

Tommy’s Five

Tough category this week as I generally try to not dwell on negative energy. Some of my choices may not fit the criteria exactly.

1. Joe Morgan
Because he is redundant, self-absorbed and blasphemous the way he denigrates Ernie and Ryno.

2. Johnny Callison
He took something away from me when I was just 13 years old that I can never get back my innocence. Before that I considered professional athletes as god-like. By his cursing out a Cubs photographer right in front of me, Callison opened my eyes. I would have preferred to remain in a state of naÔvetÈ a bit longer.

3. Rafael Palmeiro
I believed the SOB.

4. Billy Packer
He is redundant, self-absorbed and is obviously biased against the Big Ten.

5. Bartman
No explanation necessary

Mastrick’s Five

1. Pete Rose – I used to dread it when the Cubs played the Reds but I respected the hard-nosed intensity that he brought to the game. I could have easily forgiven him for his gambling transgressions but I’ll never forgive him for being a pathological liar. Pete Rose is where he needs to be, out of baseball and dishonored.

2. Ty Cobb – Tyrus Raymond Cobb may have been one one of the most prolific players in the game’s history but he was a scumbag and a sorry excuse of a man. He treated the people around him like dirt, went out of his way to try to hurt his opponents with his spikes and was a terrible racist. He was truly one of the most sordid characters in baseball history.

3. Todd Bertuzzi – His cheap shot against a Colorado Avalanche player should have earned him a financial bankruptcy and banishment from organized hockey.

4. Jack Tatum – They called him the Assassin but he should have met an assassin. Another cheapshot guy with no respect for his sport or his teammates, may he burn in Hell for what he did to Darrell Stingley.

5. George W. Bush – Former owner of the Texas Rangers, I cringe when I hear his name being mentioned in conjunction with the commissioners position. Everything this guy touches turns to stone; it took years for the Rangers to recover from his ownership and it will take years to undo the damage he has done to the United States and it’s prestige.

Chris’s Five

1. Barry Bonds – Probably the biggest jerk in sports today. It’ll be a shame if he hangs on and breaks Hank Aaron’s record.

2. Anna Benson – What a great story: ex-stripper marries mediocre starting pitcher and becomes full-time media whore. Why does the media keep talking to her?

3. Bill Wirtz – Old Man Potter retires from the bank to run a hockey franchise in Chicago.

4. 1972 Miami Dolphins – I’m sick of seeing these guys and their annual champagne toast. The ’85 Bears would have clobbered them.

5. Terrell Owens/Bill Parcells – I think that both of these guys, while talented, are egotistical jerks. Since they won’t disappear, I’m going to enjoy watching them torment each other in Dallas this season.

Dave’s Five

1. Larry Himes – Since his time with the Cubs I have been disgusted by the thought of this jerk. My hero, Sandberg, quit because he hated the guy so much. If there were any guy I’d want to disappear from the sports timeline, it’d be this guy.

2. Brett Favre – As a Bear fan I can respect his greatness while bemoaning his very existence. No one football player has caused more grief to the city of Chicago than this guy. My life would be better without Favre on the planet.

3. Jerry Glanville – What a weenie.

4. Bud Selig – He has profited greatly from the things he has done “in the best interest of baseball.” (Recall the sound and fury about the total re-org of baseball which resulted in what he wanted anyway, his Brewers in the NL again.) He has forwarded the business interests of baseball. Frankly, as a fan of the game and not the business, I don’t give a damn how much better off baseball’s financial interests are now. He has presided over the steroid era, the rabbit ball, the all-star fiasco, and other foibles. The GAME of baseball has been hurt by Bud.

5. Cap Anson – You can blame racism on the times or ignorance, but I don’t buy it. He was a magnificent player, but it embarasses me to have a man who wished so much ill on so many people be a part of Cubs history. Cobb and others could possibly have been worse, but Cap stained the Cubs cap with his hate.

Joe’s Five

1. Barry Bonds – I hate everything about this guy. He’s an arrogant liar and I can’t wait to see him rot in jail. He has shamed the game I love and I can’t help was hope he is removed from baseball and sports existence.

2. Kelvin Sampson – I hate this guy with a passion. Why is it that coaches who break the rules are allowed to not only coach, but coach at top notch programs. I’ve always hated Indiana University as an Illini fan, but seeing Kelvin Sampson not only get the job there, but watch as he tries to lure Eric Gordon away despite his verbal commitment disgusts me. I hope recruits and fans boycott this loser and turn IU into what it should be, a wasted piece of land. Go Illini!!!!! (Sorry Tommy)

3. Bill Wirtz – How can an owner possibly be allowed to not show his team’s home games in their own city? It’s nuts.

4. Darryl Strawberry – I’m all about giving a guy a second chance, but this guy has had way too many chances. Like i’ve said before, he’s a complete waist of perfectly good air.

5. Chris Berman – I literally turn events off when I hear him announcing them. He’s that bad.

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Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Apparently the Texas Rangers and the Angels just can’t get along. We all saw the little tÍte – ‡ – tÍte that the Cubs and Houston Astros had earlier in the week – Roger Clemens’ glove sustained a threatening injury when he returned to the Astros’ dugout and there’s no telling what got damaged in the clubhouse.

Things have been heating up for the Rangers and the Angels and this is not the first time that blows have been exchanged. According to the TV announcers Laird and Kennedy had some issues a coupla years ago. In fact, both Vlad Guerrero and Juan Rivera were nailed the previous day by Texas pitcher Vincente Padilla, so this apparently is an ongoing thing between the two teams.

The whole incident took place because Adam Kennedy got plunked in the rear after Kevin Gregg had thrown behind Ian Kinsler; he then proceeded to nail the next batter Michael Young and both dugouts were warned. Brenden Donnelly came in after the Angels’ manager and pitcher were ejected and immediately hit Freddy Guzman. The icing on the cake was when Donnelly stared into the Texas dugout after his hit batsman, as if to say: “Take that!”

Texas sidewinder Scott Feldman threw the offending pitch that caused Adam Kennedy to charge the mound, apparently he boxes sidearm as well. Look for both Feldman and Kennedy to get some serious time off, hopefully scheduled to coincide during some of the six games remaining between the two teams.

Update: MLB disciplinarian Bob Watson layed the smack down on both the Rangers and Angels for Tuesday and Wednesday’s events. Rangers manager Buck Showalter got four games, five for Vincente Padilla and six for Scott Feldman. The Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia got three games and Adam Kennedy, Kevin Gregg and Brendan Donnelly all got four games in the street. I suspect that both teams will attempt to drag out the appeals until September callups take effect.

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Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Among the heralded Cub prospects in the last 10 years we see these names: Wood, Prior, Patterson, Guzman, Pie. Impact players in the past week have included unheralded players like O’Malley, Theriot, Murton, and Zambrano (an unheralded prospect in his day). Obviously this is a selective list; I’m sure I’ve left off a few heralded prospect successes and cast aside the hundreds of unheralded guys who went nowhere.

All the same, it makes me wonder what’s in management’s head that they keep picking the wrong guys to get excited about. Felix Pie is a dead man if he doesn’t learn to get selective at the plate (he’s no Vlad Guerrero). He can look to C-Pat for his future. Guzman and Wood are big question marks and, well, Prior is just bad luck. BUT…

O’Malley, juco product and undrafted, maintained a more than 2:1 K/BB ratio in AA and AAA(although 9+h/ip), rare among starters on the Cubs. Does he have a future? Could he throw 6 innings and give up 3 runs 20 to 25 times a year? Unlikely.

Theriot never gets a breath of hype — and rightly so, given his inability to hit for power OR average, but he takes walks and appears to have a little speed. How much worse can he be than Delino DeShields’ cub days, or — DARE I SAY — Neifi?

I still believe in Rich Hill. He’s gotten some hype recently, but mostly he’s been ignored over the years. Give him time and he’ll make us forget lefties like, um, let’s see….Steve Trout? Greg Hibbard? Not much tradition here.

Since we’re 16 below .500 and only hard math gives us even a possibility of making something of this season, here’s for giving a shot to these unheralded players:
1) Mike Fontenot. .374 OBP in Iowa. Now 27, but again, if Neifi and Ronny are the baseline, how can you go wrong?
2) Micah Hoffpauer. Crap, it’s not like Nevin’s our future. 26 years old — past prospect level — but .362 OBP/.594 SLG in AA and .350/.450 in AAA means he’s not Nevin, but just as productive.
3) Mike Restovich. He’s only 27? He seems like he’s 35. Anyway, if he can play LF and RF he should be a major league backup. .371/.550 in AAA. Why not?

I, for one, would like to see Dusty flouder with a roster made up of these guys:

C: Barrett, Blanco
1B: Hoffpauer, Nevin
2B: Theriot, Fontenot
SS: Izturis because there’s no other option (Neifi)
3B: Ramirez (Neifi)
LF: Murton, Pagan
CF: Pierre, Pagan
RF: Restovich/Jones platoon

SP: Z, Marmol, Hill, Mateo, O’Malley/Marshall
RP: Wuertz, Aardsma, Williams, Howry, (EYRE DL), Ryu, Dempster (can’t get rid of him)

With this club you’ll see what you have. Take the other crapsuckers I don’t have on the roster and sell them for scrap metal. If they don’t help next year, they don’t play. The Cubs have already avoided being the worst team in history. If they play .333 ball the rest of the way they win 66 games. Good enough.

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Oh Baby! O’Malley!!

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Great debut today from Ryan O’Malley, the charismatic 26 year old from Springfield, Illinois. Mom and Dad were there, beaming, so proud. “See that guy? He’s our son!” He got shaving cream all over them after his interview with WGN but they didn’t seem to mind one bit.

Eight innings, no runs. Cubs pitching has now blanked the Astros 19 straight innings, and 34 of the 36 in the series sweep.

Barrett’s home run in the 6th was all the offense necessary to help entrench the Astros deeper in the Wild Card race and propel the Cubs to the series this week-end in St. Louis, who are struggling right now and who the Cubs have beaten soundly and often so far this weird season.

Earlier in the week Ryan Theriot cam ethrough big time. Maybe Stats Inc can come up with the last time two Ryans shined in the same week. Probably Nolan Ryan, back to back shutouts or something.

Cue up Chuck Mangione, boys and girls cuz I feel so good.

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A Good Kind of Tired

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I am so tired that I can hardly write. That’s because I lasted til the 14th inning of the marathon between the Cubs and Astros.

I wimped out, set my VCR to catch the end and when I got up to watch the outcome I realized that I didn’t set the timer long enough and missed the winning hit by Matt Murton.

This was my birthday game. I was so glad Novoa wasn’t tagged with the loss cuz it was his birthday as well. No one should lose on their birthday.

Izzy helped his avg by going 4 for 8 but a number of his teammates only went 1 for 8 or so and saw their averages dip.

Loved Clemens’ meltdown in the dugout.

Can a sweep be possible? I honestly expected the Astros to mop up the floor with the Cubs but we’ll see what happens this afternoon. Could go the other way depending on Hill.

When my wife had a birthday two weeks ago we rented a chick flick and I watched it with her as a good husband should (brownie points for the Dr. Phil in me).

Now it was my turn so we watched the game. I didn’t make her stay up tho. What kind of selfish pig would that have made me? Cubs won and that’s all that counts. Now it’s to the shower I go.

Maybe I can wake up.

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