Archive for December, 2007

From Right Field – Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Monday, December 31st, 2007

To scare everyone, I was going to post a picture of myself drinking champagne, while in a diaper. A creepy Baby New Year, if you will. You’ve all been spared. There’s no way I could convince my wife to take such a picture, and I’d have needed to start drinking about a week ago to get the courage up to do so. Although, being a Cubs fan does lead to drinking quite often…and heavily.

For the New Year, here’s a short list of what I’m happy about, and what I’m going to piss and moan about next season.

Happy Items:

1.) The signing of Kosuke Fukudome. No matter what we put out in right field last year, surely they could not be any worse than this unproven Japanese maestro of the On Base Percentage. I’m looking forward to seeing if his OBP is a Japanese baseball enigma, or if it will measure up to the levels of the MLB. I’m confident that he’ll continue the trend of quality Japanese players joining the ranks of the MLB.

2.) Another notch on the belt for some of our young arms. Rich Hill now has two years to build off of, as does Sean Marshall. It’s time to turn the corner gentlemen and prove yourself as number three to five starters. Remember the days when the Cubs had all righty starting rotations? We could have a southpaw majority in 2008

3.) Carlos Zambrano. Oh, I know I beat you down, lift you up, and then smack you around here. BUT, this is it big man. It’s time to pony up to the bar and get your talent and head on the same page. Heck, I’d be happy if you could get them on consecutive pages. I don’t want to hear any more proclamations about how you’ll win the Cy Young. Just go out and do it.

Sad Items:

1.) Ryan Theriot love. I just don’t get it. He’s scrappy, I get that. But he sucked at the plate all year long, and really didn’t show much range at SS (which would explain why the organization had moved him to Second Base in the minors). I’ll be honest, the whole SS position scares me this year. The idea of Ronny Cedeno possibly manning that spot scares to p-o-o-p out of me as well.

2.) The loss of John McDonough. If there’s one thing the Cubs did (or do) right, it’s marketing. Good grief, is there ever a game you go to that doesn’t have some sort of a giveaway? They’ve packed the seats for one reason, John McDonough and his marketing staff. Let’s hope his departure doesn’t let this marketing machine falter. Kudos John, and good luck with making the Blackhawks relevant in Chicago and the NHL again.

3.) The unresolved bullpen. Dempster is a closer… wait, he’s a starter……no wait, he might be the closer. Holy shakalakadingdong, make up your mind Lou. It’s January and the guys don’t know their roles yet…..or is it still? I’m not sure, with the exception of Marmol, any of them really knew when they were going to go in. Is Dempster the greatest closer known to man? Of course not. But, is he serviceable with Marmol and Howry in front of him? Hot damn, yes. Let’s leave that three man end of game rotation in place.

I could go on, but honestly, there’s chilled champagne in the fridge, numerous morsels to snack upon, and dwelling on the Cubs can lead one to thoughts of suicide. One more year down, another year ahead to look forward too. At least April…maybe May, and June. Then we’ll see where we’re at from there.

Happy New Year everyone!

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

Sunday Morning Webtopia

Sunday, December 30th, 2007
  • Yesterday I posed a trivia question and the response was staggering. Actually, the response was four guesses, all good, but all incorrect. Who was the the last Cub to get six hits in a game? The answer may surprise you. Click Here for the box score of the game, so as to not give away the answer.
  • I found some interesting driving laws on Who knew that in Montana, it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone? – (View Story)
  • Jeff Passan, one of Yahoo’s signature baseball writers, checks in with a column entitled “New Year’s Major League Baseball Resolutions” that has some humorous resolutions for various people associated with the game. Brian McNamee’s made me chuckle. – (View Story)
  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune weighed in on his feelings regarding a Wrigley Field name change. – (View Story)
  • Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

    Saturday Morning Trivia

    Saturday, December 29th, 2007

    This is going to be a new feature on Saturday’s during the off-season and on a semi-regular basis during the season. Sometimes it will be Cub focused and sometimes it won’t even be baseball focused. No matter what, web searches are discouraged. Leave all guesses in the comment section. Have fun, and feel free to send me other trivia questions for use on the site.

    Q: Who was the last Cub to get six hits in a game?

    I’ll post the answer Sunday morning in the comment section.

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

    A Graphical Look at Baseball History

    Friday, December 28th, 2007

    I’m not sure where I found the site, A Graphical History of Baseball, but after browsing it a bit yesterday, I found it amusing. It’s interesting to see the numbers broken down into a graph. It helps to identify trends fairly easily. Here were some that I found noteworthy, from a National League point of view.

    Despite all the cry of OBP being the key to winning, we really haven’t seen that major surge upward since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball. Perhaps teams have figured out that while OBP is important, it was simply something undervalued and available cheap for Billy Beane, which was the whole premise of the book. 1913 or so looks like a tough year for hitters, reaching just a tad over .290. It’s interesting to note major spikes in the data as well. Take a look at the spike in 1920. Here is the reason:

    The Joint Rules Committee voted to ban the use of all foreign substances (saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin) as well as any other alterations (shine or emery) to balls by pitchers. As a result, the American League opted to allow two pitchers from each club the option to use a spitball for one more season. The Nationals set no limitations as long as all “practicing” pitchers were identified and any other pitcher who was caught cheating would be suspended for a minimum of ten days.

    Baseball Almanac

    Are stolen bases really dying? If you look at the trend in the NL, which is widely considered the stolen base league, you notice that they declined consistently in the 20’s till the 70’s. If we take that trend, we should see the rise of the stolen base right around 2060. I look forward to that.

    I wish the teams would stop building small parks. These small ballparks with little to no foul territory is killing off one of the most exciting plays in all of baseball, the triple. Really, is there anything more entertaining than watching that hitter round second and dig for third only to slide under the tag and look up to the umpire, his helmet flopping over his eyes, to see him wave “safe”. Bring back the triple.

    Fielding in the beginning years of baseball…bad. Fielding in the modern era…good.

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

    The Day After the Day After Christmas

    Thursday, December 27th, 2007

    I don’t like shopping. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I hate shopping, despite the fact that everyone says we shouldn’t say hate. It’s too crowded and I can’t seem to find the patience to wait in long lines to return items I received that either don’t fit my body or my wants. Instead, I’m waiting until the day after the day after Christmas. It should be shorter lines and far less stress this way. The same goes for the Cubs. I’m sure we all have things they’ve given us over the year that we would like to return. It’s easy to be non-creative and say you want to return the time spent watching futility all these years, but what fun is that. Instead, let’s talk about things more creative. I’ll give you some of my returns and hopefully that will spark your ideas and allow you to reap the benefits of this new return day.

    Mark Prior – With him signing with the Padres, officially parting ways with Chicago, I’d like to return him. I’d like to return all games pitched by Prior for the Cubs. I understand that it means we probably don’t get 2003 and the memories involved in that year, but I think I’m willing to forget that as well. It was a tough draft overall in 2001, but I think I would have settled for David Wright, who was picked by the Mets in the supplemental first round at number 38.

    Michael Barrett vs. Carlos Zambrano – I’d like to return this one because it meant the exit of Barrett from the team. I was a big Barrett fan. I would love to have him back for this year in case Geovany Soto doesn’t pan out. I’m not sold, just yet on Soto. In seven minor league seasons, he had a high batting average of .273 before last year. I understand guys can finally figure things out and have a breakout year, but it sure would be nice to have someone else in the mix beside an aging Henry Blanco who could handle the everyday catching duties should Soto fail.

    Manager Excitement – After being burned by Don Baylor and Dusty Baker despite incredible excitement over their signing with the team, I’m returning my excitement over Lou Piniella. I’m not saying I want Piniella to get fired or that I think he’s doing a bad job. He’s doing a great job, but I know that eventually, like every manager before him, he’ll fall from grace and have to go elsewhere. I’d like to return my excitement over a manager and pour it into individual players instead.

    So there you have it. Those are the Cubs things I stood in line to return. What are yours? Be creative.

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