View From The Bleachers

July 16, 2008

Ramble On

Filed under: General — Matt @ 5:00 am

I started watching the All Star game tonight. I really did. The intros were cool, and made me feel old. Good grief, has Dennis Eckersley aged at all? After about six innings, my tre cool neighbor stopped by with a plate of cookies. Cookies win out over anything baseball. OK, maybe not anything baseball, but this stomach can’t pass up a plate of cookies!

After the visit, it was sayonara All Stars. I just can’t get into this game. I know I’ve said it before, in fact I ranted about it last year too. This game means nothing. Home field advantage. Whatever. Even George Brett’s impromptu speech to the American Leaguers seemed somewhat silly. It was certainly no “Win for the Gipper” speech, which incidentally also took place at Yankee Stadium. I blame Joe Morgan’s typical diarrhea mouth pronouncement last week, of the All Star game being meaningful to players of his era. Yeah, sure Joe. Can we put him and Tim McCarver on an island somewhere? Please?

Instead I’m sitting here, writing to you. The many legions of VFTB fans. Is that dedication? I think so. Or complete insanity. Trust me, that ball I took straight to the noggin in Little League messed me up.

In any case, the “official” second half starts in a few days. It’s do or die time for this squad of Cubbies. From where I’m sitting, I like what we’ve got, and I’m not sure I’d make any more changes. We’re deep, and god willing, we’re through the last of major injury issues. Everyone knock on wood, right now! I’m interested to see if Jimmy Hendry makes one more move to tinker with the bench or bullpen. But I’d stand pat.  Then again, I change my mind when the wind changes direction.

  • On a side note, Happy Birthday to my sister. Remember these words of wisdom from your older bro. Tylenol PM. It’s the only thing you need to know about after work sports leagues. Well, that and beer. Both kill pain. One just works better. I won’t say which.
  • Check out archie’s Diary entry on Carlos Marmol. Al over at Bleed Cubbie Blue had the same article up from Hardball Times. It really is an interesting read, and seems to be making the rounds through Cubdom.
  • Sadly I must tell everyone, I’m going to the darkside next week. My buddy is a season ticket holder for the White Sox (Gasp!), and has invited me to an closed event where we get to tour the park. I actually can’t wait. I’m going to try and throw some in the bullpen. Now the question is, do I wear my Cubs hat?
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Been blogging on VFTB since 2006. It's been a long silly run thus far. I still play baseball in the Chicago North Men's Senior Baseball League.

  • archie

    Maybe you should bury your Cubs hat somewhere in the stadium… :)

  • tommy

    Conspicuously missing from the introductions was one Ryan Theriot. He is as much to credit as anyone for the Cubs success this year.

  • dave

    The Marmol article is kind of a joke. The author attempts to make the data say something that it isn’t saying.

    Further… the author didn’t even know Marmol started in the Cubs system as a catcher.

  • ManInTheBox

    I’m probably one of the few here who actually ENJOY most of Joe Morgan’s broadcasts. He has always struck me as a guy who means well and isn’t necessarily trying to brow beat the fan with his insight.

    Now McCarver, on the other hand, can eat it. He spends so much time tripping over his own words to try to show the audience how much he knows, he often mutates the message and it barely makes any sense. Oh, and he comes off as an ass hat.

    I still love the footage of Deion Sanders soaking him in champagne (or water) in the Braves locker room. I could put that on a loop and giggle at it for hours.

  • Kris

    Did anyone hear the comment last night about how Yankee Stadium is our Colliseum?! Exaggerate much?

    Thanks for the birthday wishes and advice. I am sitting in my streamer-filled cubicle eating a birthday doughnut. (I love my coworkers!) Of course, my shoulder hurts for no apparent reason other than to remind me that I’m not 19 anymore. :)

  • dave

    He has always struck me as a guy who means well and isn’t necessarily trying to brow beat the fan with his insight.

    haha. that is because he doesn’t HAVE any insight. :)

    The extent of Joe Morgan’s insight is something like this:

    “I was the best 2nd baseman ever. And we didn’t look at stats then, so stats suck. I don’t need numbers to know if someone is good. Because I know what is good and what isn’t good. Because I am in the Hall of Fame. I don’t even need to watch these players play to tell if they are good, because watching baseball would just get in the way of my great Hall of Fame insight.”

  • ManInTheBox

    To each their own.

  • ManInTheBox

    I’m gonna rant:

    Incidentally, did anyone hear about Josh Hamilton’s troubled past and terrific comeback story?

    I’m being facetious.

    That’s was about 82 percent of the All Star broadcast experience in my opinion. Every time he came up to the plate, and seemingly with almost every home run, in the home run derby it was about how he fell into a drug problem. Every time they showed him hanging out it was about his drug problem…and “the tattoos he’s now (so) ashamed of”. We see a shot of him headed to the water cooler and it’s, “of course, some of you may not have heard about the tragic story of this young man…”. If Hamilton happened to walk into a shot just briefly, we got, “There’s Josh Hamilton who battled drugs and alcohol to get here blah, blah, blah…”


    Can we have a baseball broadcast that Hamilton happens to be a part of without the broadcasters mentioning his “troubled past” every 10 seconds? I can see two, maybe even three, references to his story. But after that, can we just call him “Josh Hamilton the baseball player”?

    SERIOUSLY people. I thought part of letting a guy get over his past is to STOP BRINGING IT UP every time his name is mentioned.

    I need some air.

    *END RANT*

  • 100yrs

    1. Wear the Cubs hat. You won’t be the only one.
    2. Totally agree with the J. Hamilton comments.
    3. Berman is the guy that bugs me as an announcer. Morgan is close but in second for now.
    4. I actually watched the whole game last night. Partly because I didn’t get home from work until 12:00. Ended up watching a solid four innings of baseball. The thing that keep me watching was the Cubs home/away record. You probably know where I’m going with this. Obviously the Cubs are a lot better at home. Should we make it to the WS that home field would be a huge advantage for our Cubs.

  • lizzie

    I like archie’s idea about buring the hat. Or hiding it somewhere. Just make sure your buddy takes a picture of you doing it with his cell phone camera or something. Gotta have it on film for posterity.

    Thoroughly agree with the Josh Hamilton stuff. First, I got to kind of feeling bad for the guy. I’m sure he’s sick of talking about it and remembering his struggles. Good for him, now let him be. Second, and maybe even more importantly, why is he made out to be a hero? Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled that the guy overcame his addiction and found spirituality that suits him and is having a super-successful year and I wish him the best. But what about the poor guy going to work every day to support his family who has opportunities to use drugs but CHOOSES NOT TO, just because it’s the right choice to make. You never hear about that guy. And he’s the true hero.

  • Billy H

    1) absolutely wear a Cubs hat! Why not? Represent!
    2) Always liked Berman (for every weak yuk yuk he does come thru with a zinger – He loves the game and face it folks he brought the fun into sports broadcasting…always disliked Morgan…he is a know it all and loves to tell fellow hosts how wrong they are.
    3) The Josh comments are all right on. Enough already.
    4) Yankee fans had the opportunity to show how classy they were and struck out big time. HOW/WHY do you boo Chase Utley!? Oh and for decades they do nothing but boo and despise Steinbrenner but suddenly they want him in the hall of fame. NY=classless, crass and moronic , disrespectfull band of idjiots a little too high on themselves.
    5) Somehow I just knew a pitcher who wears his hat “gangsta” would blow the game! Thanks dude! Cubs deserve a home WS this year for the fans, city and home winning %.
    6) Ugly Ugly Ugly Uggla….man did that D stink. On the flip side McClouth showed some great skill.

  • Brad

    McClouth’s throw was from short center. The throw wasn’t all that impressive, it was the fact he charged it hard and got rid of the ball quickly.

    On another note, Marmol looked better than he has in awhile. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.

    BTW – Wear your Cubs hat proudly.

  • tommy

    Leave it to me to make a Cubs related comment and get completely ignored No wonder I hardly come around anymore.

  • Billy H

    Tommy…The Riot didn’t make it …Fukodome’ did. The Lord giveth and the Lord Taketh.

    Record Number of Cubbies at the ASG none the less. Gotta be happy no?
    BTW Brad I saw at least three Excellent and accurate throws. Is it me or did this ASG have a mess of bad D? The throw from Left by AL ??? in which NL scored the go ahead was God awful and well…Uggla looked like a bad beer league guy out there double clutching etc.

    Oh… Marmol did look better then our last few outings. Dempster…geez …CY? Ya gotta hope he gets recognized.
    Lou also pulled Ramirez out fairly quickly i thought. ????

  • ddave

    The Riot didn’t make it …Fukodome’ did.

    Well… being that Fukudome is much better than Theriot, that would make sense.

    Dempster…geez …CY?

    Huh? He has been good… but he hasn’t even been the best pitcher on his team. Not sure how he would win the Cy Young.

  • ddave

    Lou also pulled Ramirez out fairly quickly i thought. ????

    Lou was managing? Since when?

  • Matt Jacobs

    McClouth was in fairly shallow, but I like him. He’s a gamer. Which means he’ll be long gone before the Pirates can turn it around.

    Any remember who drafted Hamilton last year? Wouldn’t it have been interesting having him roaming Centerfield this year? Or even last? Felix Pie, who? :P

  • dave

    He’s a gamer.

    What is a gamer?

    How about just saying he is a really good hitter, and a really good outfielder.

  • Billy H

    ddave…my point being Fukodome really didn’t belong. As for Dempster, again the point being he is on the fring of the top ten NL pitchers; it woudl be nice to see him get into consideration the second half of the year. He has the pedigre after all. And lastly (geez someone woke on the wrong side of the bed) Lou being in the dugout, to me, had a little something to do perhaps with the early pull.

    And Matt…I think “gamer” is a fine, acceptable and well understood decriptive word for a ball player that has been in the baseball lexicon for about 100 years. Milton Bradley (Not a gamer), Grady Sizemore (gamer).

  • Billy H

    Anyone recall what the Cubs got for Hamilton? All cash?

  • Billy H

    OH…let us know how it goes in the Southside stands won’t you?

  • Earl Scott

    Two of the best things I saw all nite were YOGI in the TV boothy and whe3n WILLIE McCOVEY stood up from his wheel chair to be introduced. Awesome!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Jacobs

    What is a gamer?

    Fine. He’s a really swell hitter. And a swell fielder to boot. Gosh golly gee.

    Quite finding things to complain about.

  • Dave S

    According to BB reference the Cubs got Hamilton from TB in the rule 5 draft and sold him the same day.

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