Archive for December, 2007

San Diego…Where Cub Castoffs Go To Die

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Michael Barrett, Greg Maddux, Glendon Rusch, Shawn Estes, and now….Mark Prior (Source).

The Cubs non-tendered the former first round pick earlier this month and the Padres have signed him to a one-year deal with a $1 million base and incentives. Prior and his agent made it clear that they didn’t want to sign anything more than a one year deal and the Cubs weren’t willing to invest any more money in him without the promise that he would come back in 2009 if they paid for rehab in 2008. San Diego appears willing to take a chance on him. I admit, when it was all the rage to trade Prior for Miguel Tejada a few off-seasons back, I was not willing to take that chance. I have to say, I am not worried that he will come back and be a star. We probably should have moved him when we had the chance. Now, we have to let go and move on.

From a Padre standpoint, if Prior can come back mid-season and pitch the way he once did, the Padres would have a heck of a rotation with Peavy, Young, Maddux, Wolf and Prior.

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VFTB Christmas Giveaway

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

As a way of saying thanks to the readers, I’d like to play Santa Clause with a couple of people who comment on the site. All you have to do to qualify to win is leave a comment using a valid E-mail address so I can find you. The comment should answer the following question:

I’ve been reading this site since ___________

I’ll pick some random winners tomorrow. The prizes are as follows:

1. a $15 What If Sports gift card (

2. a Todd McFarlane Toronto Maple Leafs three pack figurines similar to the one in this photo (View Photo)

3. a Copy of Reel Baseball DVD / Hardcover book set (View Amazon Page)

4. a Copy of the 2008 Hardball Times Baseball Annual – (VIew Checkout Page)

5. a guest post on the site to rant about something that irks you about the Cubs or baseball in general. Subject to editing for grammar, prose and language.

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Matt Claus

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Wow. It’s Christmas Eve. Jeez, next weeks column falls on New Year’s Eve. How lucky am I? It seems like months ago we were all commenting back and forth about the Cub’s run to the playoffs. Perhaps the sight of the ivy turning red. Now I’m looking out my back window at twelve inches of snow. Again, the Cubs fell short in their annual quest to reach the World Series. 32 years for me, and 99 for them. Good grief.

About this time last year, I was a relative lurker here at View From The Bleachers. I posted a comment here and there, and typically only when something really got me fired up. It wasn’t long before the mention of an essay contest for a writing position at this establishment popped up, that I decided that more people needed to hear my voice on all things, but mostly the Cubs. I know of you might actually enjoy this column, and some of you are positive it’s a waste of cyberspace. I thank the first half of you, the second half of you just have to learn to love me, and my round about way of expressing my heartbreak of being a Cubs fan all these many years.

Oddly, the essay that scored me this lucrative position (we’re paid in Disney Dollars, and sometimes love), was about our favorite whipping boy, Carlos Zambrano. Carlos pretty much epitomized the Cubs season into one large ball of energy, or some of you might call fat. He started slow, got aggravated, popped a dude in the mouth, declared his season was “restarting,” got on a roll, almost faltered in the stretch run, and fizzled when he was needed most (Joe doesn’t agree with the fizzle part). We had great expectations that were met with mediocrity, saw the fire we were waiting for, the team that on paper finally showed up in June, almost ran out of gas during the stretch run, and with high hopes, disappeared faster than a storm in the Arizona desert.

Throughout the year, I kept thinking back to the pre-season picks Joe had the writers of VFTB do (Joe apologizes for misplacing them). Would they make me look like a baseball genius, or a laughing stock? I think I had the Cards winning the NL Central, and the Cubs winning the Wildcard, with the Phillies and Padres filling out the bracket. Not too shabby. For awhile, I thought the Cards were going to catch the Brewers and the Cubs. Oh to be a genius just once. I didn’t have the highest hopes for the Cubs, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the last time a new manager came to town, they exceeded my expectations. I never quite got too excited, and always had the sinking feeling that this was not the year, no matter how things were going. There just wasn’t the magic….something just didn’t fit.

As I look at this year’s team, I’m not sure I feel that much different. Granted the addition of Fukudome is probably better than anything we had in Rightfield last year, and yes, I know Mr. Hendry probably has one more move up his sleeve, I’m fully seeing a team that wins the Central, and probably gets left off the dance floor one more time. It’s too fitting for them to win it on the 100th anniversary. I for one would find it a bit too convenient. I know, it’s my cynical mind at work again, but mass marketing would benefit so hugely from such a amazing set of circumstances, the conspiracy theories would be flying for years to come.

So, then again, maybe this is the year. It’s all falling into place, and I for one, would love to be proven wrong. Not like that’s a marginally tough thing to do. Hopefully, I’ll be sitting here the same time next year, wearing a nice Chicago Cubs “2008 World Champions” sweatshirt.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

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Sunday Morning Webtopia

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
  • Sam Fuld was the subject of an article written on by Jonathan Mayo concerning his life as a role model. – (View Story)
  • MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the 2009 MLB Free Agent List. Obviously it’s not set in stone because a good amount of these players will negotiate a contract with their team. Still, it’s fun to look ahead and see what is out there. – (View Story)
  • Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus has a video about Kosuke Fukudome – (View Story)
  • JC Bradbury posted his solution to “Rid MLB of HGH”. I don’t know that I agree with his thoughts, but it’s interesting. Here is a snip. Be sure to read the whole article at his site.

    The second and most important step is to pull human growth hormone off its list of banned substances. This sends a credible signal about the efficacy of growth hormone in improving athletic performance. Education alone won’t do it. As a public school student during the “Just Say No!” era, I am well aware that propaganda serves only as comedy to the target audience. As long as human growth hormone remains on the banned list, players are going to assume there is a reason. It is a waste of resources to search for a urine test to remove it from the game. Instead, tell players, “This stuff doesn’t work. If you want to use it, go right ahead and be an idiot. But, don’t complain when you experience pain and swelling and that you have to buy new hats, shoes, and gloves.”

    December 20th, 2007

  • Mitchell Lichtman poses the question “Does reliever over-use lead to poor subsequent performance?” – (View Story)

    Every Sunday morning, we’ll highlight some good writing around the web and beyond. Feel free to send me submissions of things you run across, whether it be good YouTube videos, sports related blog posts, or good columns. Send all submissions to:
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    Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

    We are on vacation visiting my family in Chicago and I had the chance to visit with Rob last night. We were talking about what we think will happen before opening day. It got me thinking about how much of a difference there is between our thinking. In the spirit of Jacki’s wish list yesterday, I decided to post my un-Christmas list of sorts. It’s more a list of what I do not think will happen. Sorry to burst your bubble, guys.

    1. The Cubs Will Not Get Brian Roberts – I’ve mentioned this one before and I’ll bring it up again. With Miguel Tejada’s exit to Houston, Baltimore has two major commodities that are in somewhat of a demand. Because of that, they have to make sure they get the most they can for the few products they have to sell, especially after the pathetic package they got for Tejada. If we were to get Bedard it would take a lot more than he would really be worth. It’s not happening.

    2. The Cubs Will Not Get Dan Haren – Rob mentioned this one to me last night and it made me laugh a little. Haren is younger than Eric Bedard and Johan Santana. He’s won at least 14 games over the past three years and plays for a team overseen by the thrifty Billy Beane. That has the makeup of a huge price tag. Good luck with that.

    3. The Cubs Will Sell The Naming Rights on Wrigley Field – This one pains me to say it, but doesn’t bother me enough to really make a stand against it. We live in a sponsorship age, this site is no exception, and the Cubs will continue to maximize their revenue with any means possible. I don’t know when it will happen, but I can see something to the effect of “Cialis Park at Wrigley Field”. Would it bother you? Would you quit going all together? I don’t think it would both me, but I tend to stay far away from Wrigley already due to cost.

    4. The Cubs Will Not Sell The Team Before Opening Day – Sam Zell went on record this week to say that the team would be sold before the start of the season. Considering the fact that no bids have been taken at this point, and the public doesn’t even know who officially submitted paperwork to the league, and the fact that MLB wants to make sure this sale is the right fit, I do not see it happening in three months. I go on record right now to say it’s not going to happen.

    Rob’s side of the story:
    I did not say the Cubs will get Dan Haren, I said the Cubs will make a run at Joe Blanton. However,my main point is that I completely disagree with Joe’s premise that the Cubs do not need another starting pitcher. Joe said that he does not like a potential trade for Erik Bedard because it might also involve giving up Rich Hill and that Erik Bedard is not really a great pitcher anyway. To which I responded that Erik Bedard consistently is near the top in strikeouts every year and that a rotation that begins with Zambrano, Bedard,and Lilly is pretty good. Joe makes good points about comparing our four and five pitchers to other teams four and five pitchers, but I would like to see the Cubs go get a two or three not a four or five. And I will go on record saying that I think the Cubs will go get another pitcher.

    I do think the Cubs will get Brian Roberts because when they are so intent on something they usualy do it. I just don’t know if they need to.

    Finally, I do have passionate feelings about the Cubs selling the naming rights to Wrigley Field. Here they are: DO IT!!! Sell the rights and put the money back into the team. Anyone who thinks that it matters is too nostalgic to be running the team. For the Cubs losing is nostalgic. I would like to see that change.

    Merry Christmas everyone. I hope I did not ruin your holiday completely by getting down off my usual optimistic horse to feel the real ground.

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