Archive for July, 2008

What Would You Do?

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Boy it’s good to be back. I’ve had a tough week with a death in the family and car related issues and I’m ready for some baseball. I wanted to pick your brain though.

If you were commissioner for a day, what would you do to determine home field advantage for the World Series? Would you keep things the same? Would there be any other changes, in return, to the All Star Game?

I have thought about this a good deal over the last few days as I prepared for the podcast yesterday and I think I’ve narrowed down what I’d do. The first step would be to assign home field advantage to the league that had the better record in the regular season for interleague play. I’m not a big fan of assigning the home field advantage to a league on a rotating basis because it seems arbitrary. At the same time, assigning it based on one game, which is what we currently have in place. Assigning it based on a full season seems to make more sense.

I’ll be back later this evening with scouting reports for the series with Houston. Until then, let’s brainstorm.

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Is it Friday Yet?

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Yeah, so I’m filling in for Joe a lot this week, if you haven’t noticed. I think I’ve posted more this week, than I have in months. Not to fear, he’ll be back, and constructive, meaningful posts will return shortly. I tip my hat to him because, it’s tough work coming up with stuff that will generate discussion on a daily basis. It sucks even more that I can’t check up on things while at work anymore. I love, love, loved the discussion on the All-Star game, and take note, I will be wearing a certain blue hat next Friday evening. The real trick will be getting my buddy to take my picture!

With one more day to pass before the Cubs take on the Astros Friday, tomorrow is the last day of the “1st Half” of the season. Well, for eight teams, that would be today. But who’s that anal? I must say, that I’m very excited to get this half of the season going. We’ve made it up the hill, will the decent back down be a peaceful trek, or the Cubs tumbling head over heals down the mountain side? Only time will tell. Last year at this time, I remarked that I wasn’t so scared of the Brewers, as I was of the Cardinals. I’ll be honest, I said that kind of tongue and cheek, but it proved to be partially correct down the stretch. Just a little tickle in the back on my brain that needed a scratch.

That tickle has come back. Why won’t that team just go away? There’s no reason at all for them to still be sticking around. Todd Wellemeyer? Rick Ankiel? Cesar Izturis? You must be joking. I loved Tony LaRussa as a kid. I also loved the A’s. Nevermind my strange penchant for the Expos as well. I was weird. Mr. LaRussa has done quite a job down there in the land of white polyester pants and red. Never count that team out. I fear them, more than I fear the Brewers.

That’s not to say that I’m not scared of the Brewers. I am. Sheets and Sabathia make a lethal 1-2 combo, the stack is, however, stacked against Ben Sheets. That arm has to give out soon, right? I mean how long can MacGyver keep that thing together? Then there right back to only one superior starter. And he’s a rental. The pressure is on the Brewers, if they don’t win it this year, there’s a good chance they lose Sheets and Sabathia at the end of this year in free agency. That’s one small window to get things done up north. Either way, this looks to be a three horse race, in which I believe, and I’m going to somewhat contradict myself, that the Cards are going to fall out of it by late August. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Brewers will be 2 games out going into the last weekend. Which just so happens to be in Milwaukee. Gosh, those schedulers are good!

  • The Princess of Nebraska release Completely not baseball related, but I’m totally psyched (did that sound hip?) for The Dark Knight’s opening this weekend. Chris Nolan is awesome, and has brought one of the best superheros to the silver screen. If you haven’t seen Batman Begins, go rent it NOW!  It’s a must see before the sequel opens this weekend.
  • Tommy, we still love you. Come back!
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Ramble On

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

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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Heading To The Break

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Today I had a  of things I needed to get done around the house. An online test to take (I passed, thank you very much), some painting, and final touches on a bathroom renovation, that took entirely too much time last weekend. I didn’t figure to get any time to watch the game, especially since I had pissed away yesterday drinking, and eating, and drinking some more. The gods were with me, and I managed to finish up my honey do’s in short order, and watch the game. Sort of. I napped through some of it.

 After Friday and Saturday’s win, I really just hoped the Cubs would sweep, and go into the break on a winning note. At least, that’s what I thought would be nice especially after the meltdown from Saturday, ahem Carlos. It’d still be a series win, which is all you can ask for, but I like to see teams hit the break on a winning note.

Alas, it was not to be today. Dempster did not have his “A” stuff and really struggled with his command. I got the distinct feeling that he was thinking too much about getting to 11 and 0 at Wrigley. It’s a part of the mental game that gets taken for granted too much. As I’ve said before, the grey matter can really mess you up, in the long term and from game to game. Ahem, Carlos. The short rally in the bottom of the ninth was not menat to be. I really thought the best chance they had to make the game interesting was after Edmond’s double, and then in the eighth, when A-Ram hit that weak grounder to Castillo for the DP.

I kind of had the feeling the whole team was already mentally in the break. Oh well, it happens. As long as they get back to business when they get back.

  • Carlos Marmol was named to the All Star game today in place of Kerry Wood. I really hope Clint Hurdle keeps him out of the game.  That arm needs serious rest. Lou if you’re reading this (yeah, right) please tell Hurdle to keep Carlos on the bench.
  • Did anyone else notice Edmonds drop a four letter word after his double? I did. He knew he missed a homer. That would of changed a 3-1 game to 3-2. Had he gone yard, I think the Cubs would of won. 
  • Just a mini-rant. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get to VFTB from work the past couple of days. I mean seriously, how am I supposed to kill time? I guess, take it as an FYI, if I’m not posting, I’m not ignoring anyone. I can’t get here.  Grrrrr.
  • Would anyone be interested in a series of articles/posts pertaining to items like how a balls spin, fade, hook, when they’re hit? Defensive positioning? Does anyone have a question that no one on TV ever seems to answer?
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Wha…wha…what Happened?

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Yesterday, my wife and I headed into Libertyville, for the sole purpose of having a nice lunch, drinking some tasty beers, and most importantly, watching Rich Harden make his debut. Our second date was watching Fred McGriff take the field as a Cub, so it’s kind of a silly ritual.

 After the seventh, the Cubs were clearly not going to lose. Up 7-1, we decided it was time for a walk to clear our heads of the beer, enjoy the fantastic weather, and hit some of the shops. A fantastic Chipoltle dip was calling my name!

 I woke up this morning and saw the score. 11 innings? Holy crap! What happened? It’s clear that Carlos Marmol is suffering, either physically, and most definitely mentally. He’s been overused, and brought up to think he’s unhittable. Um, not so much. Thank god for the All-Star break, although I think he may need a little longer to get him right in the head.

In other news, Kerry Wood is suffering from a finger blister. Good gosh, remember his rookie season, and that was his biggest problem? Are we reverting back to 1998?

Hey, things could be worse. Did anyone see the Cards lose last night? Yikes!The Princess of Nebraska move007 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service trailer

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