Archive for March, 2009

a question of ick.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

“The Cubs have five relievers still in camp battling for two spots. The list includes Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman, Jeff Samardzija, David Patton and Chad Fox. Piniella said he hopes to finalize that decision before the team breaks camp on Thursday.” Source

I guess the way you end a spring where there has not been much to talk about, is to come down to a battle for the bottom 2 relievers.  Patton is 25, has pitched well, but never above class A. Chad Fox is uninspiring to me, maybe as a lefty I’d find value there, but do we really need a one or two out righty? Guzman and Gaudin have major league arms, but have really struggled. And The Golden boy.

If I am choosing, I run with Guzman and Gaudin. I know they have maybe not earned it this spring, but it would be a shame to lose Guzman without seeing what he can do, and Gaudin can be an inning eater saving the bullpen during bad starts or Rich Harden 5 inning outtings. Chad Fox will be available in June, July, August… Patton as a Rule 5 would have to be returned unless something can be worked out. I don’t think you spend to much time worrying about losing a 25 year-old Class A pitcher.

About the Shark, if he’s meant for deeper water then he should start out as a starter in AAA.  It is much easier to bring him up to fill a hole later than to stretch him out if needed. The only caveat to that is if The Shark makes the team he is not a 5th inning pitcher, but standing next to Marmol in the 7th or 8th putting out fires.  So I guess I am reneging here.  Our bullpen with The Smear is much better than with any 2 or 3 of the other guys.  So I go, Shark and Gaudin.  That’s it. That’s my choice.Pursuit to Algiers hd

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The 2009 Cubs – Out of the Park Style

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Last year I undertook the monstrous endeavor of blogging about my entire OOTP Cubs season one week at a time over the course over the season. This was way too much because it put too much pressure on me to play the game just for the sake of trying to keep up with the season. This year I thought I’d provide updates on the season every 30 games for my team and let you know where we stand. That being said, here is where we stand after 30 games for the 2009 OOTP Cubs.

Record: 10-20 (8.5 GB behind the Houston Astros)

Fight Club dvd Stir Crazy dvdrip Interesting Transactions through 30 games

Mulan release

  • Jan 10th – Nomar Garciaparra is signed to a one year contract worth $1.46 million to backup Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. In 40 AB’s for the team he would hit .125 and would be traded to the Mets in a multi player deal that would net us Jenrry Mejia & Wilmer Flores
  • Jan 15th – Paul Lo Duca is signed to a 2 year contract worth $550,000 per season to backup Geo Soto. Lo Duca would be included in the Nomar deal with Paul Bako promoted from AAA to replace him.
    Ping Pong Playa hd
  • April 17th – Claimed Steve Trachsel off waivers from the Angels to pitch in AAA. He was on a minor league contract and he’s always been one of my favorites so I thought “what the heck!?!” He didn’t do too well in AAA out of the pen and has since been demoted to AA as a member of the rotation.
  • April 18th – Claimed Brian Dopirak off waivers from Toronto just because I know Mark hates him so much and that I knew he’d read this.
  • The Whip and the Body divx

    April 21st – In an effort to address the lefty need in the pen due to Neal Cotts sucking up the place, I moved Logan Watkins to the Astros in exchange for Chris Blazek. He’s still in AAA due to the trade for former Cub Andy Sisco, who was brought to the Majors after pitching great in AAA.

  • April 24th – Traded Aaron Heilman and Chad Fox to the Mariners for Ryan Rowland-Smith and Nick Adcock. Rowland-Smith slots in as the 5th starter and has been average, but a heck of a lot better than Heilman.
  • May 1st – Moved a hot hitting Jason Dubois to Cincinnati before someone figured out he sucks in return for Homer Bailey and Micah Owings. Both were struggling with the Reds farm system and I think they just wanted to give them a change. I’ll take em off their hands.
  • May 13th – Signed Rich Harden to a 3 year contract extension worth a total of $42 mil that includes incentives for 200 IP and a Cy Young award. He’s been my best starter and I can’t let him go. According to the owner’s budget, I didn’t have any money left for extensions, but he did approve the deal.

Who’s Doing What?

  • Carlos Zambrano – he’s been terrible as the ace. In six starts so far, he’s thrown 36 IP with a record of 1-4 and an ERA of 6.25. Particularly alarming to me is the fact that his WHIP is a stunning 1.94. He really needs to step up his game. His lack of success was the major factor in my decision to re-sign Harden. Ryan Dempster is also getting rocked and needs to step up his game immensely.
  • Rich Harden – His record is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.68. He has 47 K’s in 37 IP over 6 starts.
  • Kevin Gregg – He’s been my setup man and has an ERA of 0.75 in that role. I’ve been very pleased with his performance and I’m perfectly happy with keeping him in that spot.
  • Chad Gaudin – He’s been about as bad in this game as he has this spring. I’ve got him on the waiver wire so hopefully someone will take his $2 mil contract off my hands.
  • Joey Gathright – He started the year on my bench, with Kosuke Fukudome getting the start in CF. Fukudome screwed himself into the ground and found himself in AAA where he is still stinking up the joint. Gathright has taken the job, and while not running with it, has been effective and has stolen 9 bases so far. He’s on pace for 59 on the year.
  • Aramis Ramirez – He’s been very quiet and hasn’t driven many runs in. If his bat gets going, I think we’ll start winning a few more games.

That’s where we stand to date. Hopefully at the 60 game update, I’ll have better news for you. The goal is to be back to .500 at that point. Feel free to give me your comments or questions on the league as a whole. Let’s have some fun with this.

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Who's Your Closer

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Lou Piniella announced yesterday that Kevin Gregg would be his closer to start the season, with Carlos Marmol getting the setup role. So I ask, who is your

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closer if you had the choice?

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Bleach: Memories of Nobody film
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Buying or Selling Fukudome?

Friday, March 27th, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — He looked a lot like Kosuke Fukudome and wore the same uniform number.

But the Kosuke Fukudome who showed up at HoHoKam Park on Thursday didn’t sound at all like the Japanese star who fizzled in the second half of his debut season in Chicago.

Appearing relaxed and confident after missing the first six weeks of camp while playing for Japan in the World Baseball Classic, Fukudome was at times self-deprecating, boastful and a bit introspective.

What caused him to have so much trouble adjusting in the second half?

“My stupidity,” he said, through his new interpreter.

Fukudome then laughed, something he rarely did in public last summer.

He said he had learned from last year’s struggles and worked out all winter to be in better shape for the long season.

“If I can be the player that Lou [Piniella] wants me to be, I should be playing a lot better,” he said.

Only one Japanese reporter was on hand for Fukudome’s arrival, in stark contrast to last year’s hoopla. ~ Chicago Tribune

Adam Resurrected video

(03.27.2009)

Are you buying or selling this? Is Fukudome going to be the player we paid for? I’m buying. I really believe being a player from another country is a big adjustment for a player. Think about that time you took a new job or filled in somewhere. It’s a tough adjustment. You’re learning new things and couple that with the fact that he had a language barrier and a wife and new child overseas. That’s a tough season. This is the year we see the player we paid for.

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Contrary to Popular Belief, I am not an A-Hole

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Those of us that have been following the comments in Sherm’s latest post know that it’s gotten into a heated battle about autograph hounds.  Those that haven’t read it should, or read this Cliff Notes version:

A Father and his son were at Spring Training.  The morning before their flight they headed over to Cubs camp just to see what was going on.  Carlos Zambrano, was out riding a bike, and the son approached him with a jersy to sign.  Carlos rode past them without acknowledgement. 

Classy move? Definitely not. Acceptable? Absolutely. I don’t see anywhere in any of these players contracts that state they must sign autographs at whatever time someone deems appropriate.  Carlos was at an early morning workout, and most likely didn’t expect an autograph hound.  I certainly wouldn’t.  Nor would I want to be approached at that time in the morning. 

I was raised with the idea that these professional athletes are people.  People with personal lives, that most of the time they’d like to have.  I distinctly remember eating at Chi-Chi’s on Lake Cook Road, shortly after Superbowl XX, and Mike Singeltary walked in with his wife. I was beside myself, Samarai Mike was eating at the table across from us.  I asked my Dad if we could say hello, and he told my sister and I, “No. Let him eat dinner with his wife. This is not the time to bother him.” Within minutes a man and his son walked up and asked Mike for a autograph.  His response? “Please. I’m trying to have a quiet dinner with my wife. If you must have one, wait for me in the lobby.” It struck a chord with me, and I’ve been respectful of athletes and their personal space ever since.

I’ve been pretty blessed with one on one encounters with pro athletes. I’ve hung around many Bulls players during their hayday while sipping coffee at Barnes and Noble. I personally attended to Phil Jackson while he shopped for hobby gifts for his sons. For a few years, I followed my friend to a local restaurant where WWE wrestlers hung out after shows. Same thing, we would wait around and just watch. Many times they’d start to talk to us. Partially because they recognized my buddy for the years he’d been doing the same ritual. The only autographs I’ve ever asked for, was Mickey Morandini, and that was at the post 9-11 game where that was why he was there. And the fact that everywhere I go Mickey seems to be there, so it turned into a running joke with a friend of mine. I’ve never understood the excitement over obtaining autographs. Maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe, I know how much I like my personal space, so I let them have theirs.

Knock Off move

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Thanks, Guys!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

The title of this post? Dripping with sarcasm. Here’s why.

Good friend of mine just got back from spring training where he and his fourteen year old son decided to spend their vacation this year. They are both big Cub fans. Huge. Can you remember being 14 and having the chance to see ball games with your Dad? How it felt to actually see a big league ball player in person and maybe even get close enough to ask him for (gulp) an autograph?

Well, one day after the game at Hohokam, they go to dinner and as they are driving back past the park later, they see a very small crowd still standing, waiting. So they park and walk over to see what’s up. Moments later, out comes Lou. Gruff as could be. Doesn’t want to be bothered. Tells the two men there to take a hike. Now this doesn’t really bother me, because it’s these guys who ruin it for everyone…these guys who are there everyday for autographs that they can later sell. So, now it’s a small group of just kids. And a reluctant Lou signs a couple of hats and balls and leaves. Signs my buddy’s son’s hat. Upside down. So you can’t read it looking at the hat. Think that’s the first hat Lou has ever signed? I don’t. But whatever. Thanks, Lou. For taking three minutes out of your schedule on your way to the Hometown Buffet to sign a couple things.

But this story gets better. Ready? Here goes. Next day they are heading home and the son says “Dad, can we drive by Hohokam just one more time on the way to the airport?” So they do.

This is fairly early in the morning and no one is there. They park just to get a last picture by the sign and “feel the feeling” before they leave. And then…Carlos Zambrano comes riding out of the tunnel on a bicycle. My friend tells his son not to bother him…let him ride. So they watch him ride off down the culvert near the park and get in some work. He disappears and they wait a little longer to see if anyone else comes out. Did I mention the kid is wearing a Zambrano jersey? He is. Twenty minutes later and they are ready to go…but here comes Carlos on the bike. Kid pulls his new Carlos Zambrano All-Star Jersey from his suitcase and walks over to the area where Big Z will be riding back in. Zambrano rides up and the boy says “Mr. Zambrano will you please sign the jersey?”

New paragraph. Because the guy didn’t sign the jersey. Didn’t even stop. Slowed down and looked at the kid and the jersey — but then kept peddling and went on in…without saying a word.  No one around. Not a single person anywhere. Would it have killed the guy to sign the kid’s jersey? Thanks, Carlos!

What is it with these guys? Don’t they know who really pays their outrageous salaries? I can wholeheartedly understand blowing off the trolling piece of garbage autograph hounds — 45 year old men who live in their parent’s basement and sell the signed stuff on eBay. But kids? Come on.

On the flip side, since I am fair and balanced — they said that Ryan Theriot would stay and sign until everyone was gone. Good for you, Ryan. It is appreciated and will win you a ton of young fans.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so deeply addicted to baseball because the players, the owners, the agents and their collective behavior turn me off.

To make things right, I will be sending some right side up autographed “The Sherm” gear to my friend’s son. Not all kids are as lucky as this one, however.

Sherm

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The Opportunists film
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Does this worry you?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Chris Carpenter is having a pretty darn good spring training this season. To date, he’s sporting an ERA of 0.00 in five starts that span 19.0 innings of work. In that time he’s struck out 10 and walked just four.

So I ask you: Does Carpenter, who is coming off of ulnar nerve transposition surgery on November 4th, 2008, and his success this spring worry you that perhaps the Cardinals may be able to give the Cubs a run at the NL Central this year? Do you believe in Carpenter enough to take him in a fantasy draft?

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Baseball America Trivia

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

In my newest edition of Baseball America, there was a trivia question I thought I’d share:

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Name the only two starting pitchers currently on big league rosters who have spent at least 10 seasons in the big leagues and never gone on the disabled list.

I thought I had one of them, based on one of the other trivia questions we ran recently, but I was wrong.

Answer

: Derrek Lowe & Javier Vazquez

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Fun with the Box Score

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I stumbled across this game and I was amazed that I don’t remember a thing about it. May 26, 2003. Kerry Wood starts the game, goes seven strong while allowing just 1 hit and striking out 10. He leaves the game down 1-0. The game would end 10-0 in favor the Pirates.

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Anyone remember this game? (view the box score)

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