Archive for June, 2009

Northsiders

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I was browsing in a Chicago Public Library branch when this new book jumped off the shelf at me. It is titled “Northsiders – Essays on the History and Culture of the Chicago Cubs”. The editors are Gerald C Wood and Andrew Hazucha.

It is a collection of 19 essays. Topics include, but are not limited to, superstation WGN, Cub players as icons, Wrigley field, media coverage and a historical perspective.

I especially enjoyed the essays on the history of Lake View and Wrigleyville; on Ernie Banks; on scorecards and scorekeeping in the bleachers; and the views and opinions of Mike Royko.

The essays turn out to be extremely prescient. Here are some excerpts from the book:

  • “I’d always thought of Wrigley Field’s bleachers as the place where real baseball fans go when they close their eyes and click their heels three times.” Lonnie Wheeler

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  • “Being a Cubs fan is like getting married for the second time – hope wins out over experience.” One Devout Cubs Fan

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  • “In a very real sense, Wrigley field is a ‘hand-me-down ballpark’, intimate and passed on from one generation to another.”
  • “Without ivy and sunshine and apartment buildings on every side, people had just thought of Comiskey as an old ballpark rather than a sacred institution.” Wheeler
  • “(P.K. Wrigley) was not a baseball person. His approach to the Cubs was like being the main sponsor of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was a Chicago resource to be maintained, but you don’t waste a lot of money on it. It’s entertainment, you keep it in business. That was his approach.” Chuck Shriver
  • “It seemed like when Wrigley owned the Cubs, the feeling was it would be super if you won the pennant, but if not, no big deal.” Glen Hobbie
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  • “Ed Prell of the Chicago Tribune wryly remarked that Vedie Himsl, the man Wrigley designated to start the 1961 season as head coach, would be long remembered as the first baseball coach who was appointed and given two-weeks’ notice at the same time.” Discussion of PK Wrigley’s rotating coaches concept

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  • “Character is more important, Banks gently reminds us, if you are a Cubs fan. Winning, whether on the field or in the accountant’s office, is secondary.” Ernie Banks
  • “In Royko’s world there are two constants: the Cubs will flounder and their fans will suffer.“ Mike Royko
  • “In 1945, with World War II still raging, the Cubs won a pennant with a team made up of some 4-Fs. When the war ended, P.K. Wrigley, the Cub owner, apparently reasoned that the way to win a championship was with 4-Fs. So while other teams began putting healthy athletes on the field, Wrigley continued hiring players who walked funny and had strange physical infirmities.” Mike Royko
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  • “Yes, it is a new era. The only thing that remains the same is that the team stunk then and the team stinks now. And the biggest difference isn’t the lights. It’s that in those bygone days, nobody was stupid enough to pay a grand to watch a bunch of losers.” Mike Royko

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  • “Many Cubs fans today are from the suburbs, brought in by busses. It’s like going to an air show or ‘Cats’ – something tourists do. After the game, you ask them: Who did the Cubs play? What was the score? They shake their heads. It’s not about baseball, it’s about having been to a place to be.”
  • “The Yankees aren’t real. Nobody goes around triumphing over everything (…) most people don’t triumph over anything. The Cubs help teach us that life is rough.” Mike Royko

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“Northsiders” is a must read for anyone who knows about or who wants to know about the Chicago Cubs. I recommend it highly.

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GirlieView (06/19/2009)

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Before yesterday’s come from behind win, the best part of the week for me was the rain out. That’s not saying much.

Date

Opponent

W/L – Score

Notes

A Smattering
of VFTB Chatter

Friday
06/12

Minnesota

L (7-4)

Bad day for Bradley … lost one in the sun, running error, tossed ball into stands with only 2 outs … he did have a 2-RBI double, but all in all not a good day for Bradley or the Cubs.

Saturday
06/13

Minnesota

L (2-0)

Harden did ok but the offense didn’t.

Here

Sunday
06/14

Minnesota

W (3-2)

I think everyone felt good after this walk-off win. And, everyone hoped it was the start of something big. It wasn’t, but it did feel good for a little bit.

Here
and Here

Monday
06/15

Off

Confessions from a Holiday Camp

Tuesday
06/16

White
Sox

Rain

Wednesday
06/17

White Sox

The Amityville Horror the movie

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L (4-1)

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Dempster struggled, but not as badly as the Cubs offense. Same old same old.

Here

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Thursday
06/18

White Sox

W (6-5)

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Any win feels good these days, but this late-inning come from behind victory felt particularly sweet. Again everyone hopes this is the start of something big.

Here
and Here

The scary part of this season for me is that even when the a win comes along, it never seems to look very good. Yesterday’s win looked fine to me. The sole other win this week not so much. I’ve got my fingers crossed that just showing themselves they could come from way behind late in the game may have given them enough confidence to carry them to some other wins. Fingers crossed.

Alas, though, barely 40 minutes into today’s game and already down by 6. Might have to turn this one off and go out for dinner or something fun. This Cleveland series is bittersweet for me. I had confidence in Kerry Wood and I loved Mark DeRosa and although hindsight is always 20/20 I don’t feel what was gained in exchange for them (or, rather, in exchange for the dumping of their salaries) made up for what was lost. Kerry Wood might not be having a fanastic year yet I felt much more confident with him on the mound than with Kevin Gregg. And DeRosa being gone bothers me even more … I liked his flexibility and personality and oddly enough he and I had the same heart condition (although I had mine fixed about five years earlier than he did) so I felt a school-girl-crush sort of connection to him. The Cubs might suck with Wood and DeRosa on the team too, but I still wish they were here.

That’s it from here. Enjoy your weekend!

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Trivia Time

Friday, June 19th, 2009

As always, highlight the 2nd and 3rd clues to reveal them. Thanks go out to Sherm for this one.

Clue # 1 – only player to hit a grand slam on opening day…twice

Clue # 2

was involved in the trade that sent Ozzie Smith to the Cards

Clue # 3

Enemy Mine filmhas the best name in baseball history

Answer

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I Hate….

Friday, June 19th, 2009

It seems a little buzzkillish (if that’s a word) to write this rant fresh off a come from behind win of the rival White Sox, but it’s on my mind and maybe it will make me feel better.

I HATE…

…the fact that we have a leadoff hitter that has an on base percentage of less than .300 and yet we have an organization that insists on leaving him there.

…the fact that we seem content with leaving Mike Fontenot as the answer at third base and are basically convincec that the return of Ramirez will solve all of our problems, despite the fact that his shoulder has the ability to pop out again even easier than before.

…the fact that we carry 12 pitchers routinely and yet never seem to give that 12th man consistent work.

…the fact that the sale of this team is taking forever, which is adding to the embarrassment for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in over a century.

…the fact that our starting CF is a corkscrew and his backup came off the scrap heap (though I like both, I hate that I don’t trust either)

…the fact that AAron Miles is still on the ballclub, for what reason I have no idea.

…the fact that Jake Fox isn’t just a little bit better in the field so we could see if he could hit at this level with consistent at bats.

…the fact that Sean Marshall gets the shaft every time we need a lefty in the pen. He’s a starter, not a releiver.

…the fact that we fired a good hitting coach because our players suck.

…the fact that our SS has begun to take the attitude that he’s a power hitter and isn’t going the other way near as much as he used to.

…the fact that we can’t ever seem to develop a first round pick of any significant value.

…the fact that Tony LaRussa routinely has the Cardinals play good baseball despite a lot of the crud he’s given to work with by the ownership and that we can’t.

…the fact that we’re a .500 team with the 3rd highest payroll in baseball.

…the fact that, as hard as I try not to care and let it all bother me, it does.

…the fact that Milton Bradley has been an overall dissappointment, despite his current streak, because I really want to see him be the impact bat we need.

…the fact that we give so many no trade contracts

…the fact that, as much as I try not to let it all bother me, it does.

Be back at lunch with some trivia, courtesy of Sherm

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How about that!

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I’m doing my Snoopy dance right now because I’ll take victories any way we can get them. Particularly against the Sox, my least favorite teams are Cincinnati, the White Sox, Cards and Mets (in that order.) This team has shown that it can win when it scores four runs – that is the litmus test and we all know that the Cubs have lost 14 of the last 25 games when the’ve scored two runs or less.

On a less significant (and more concerning) note, former Cub Mel Hall was given a very significant prison term for pedophilia. Although I don’t have any children this really irritates me; I’m not disappointed in the Cubs or MLB because there’s no way they can test a player to see if they are a pederast. I remember this sort of thing when Cleon Jones got convicted, BTW I have one of his bats. I’m just disappointed that some people can’t let kids be kids, they need our hope and guidance, they are entering an increasingly difficult and complicated world (see Joe Aiello on this subject, Joe does something I really respect, he teaches, he cares.) Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish “rational man” from “suidical animal.” Kudos to Ayn Rand for pointing that out; I disagree with her often but she had some valid points. Sorry for venting readers.

That having been said we go into a Cleveland series where we should dominate, we need our bats to produce.

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Name That Ballplayer

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Since yesterday’s question was too easy, now I bring a little tougher heat for ya. As always, highlight clue # 2 and 3 to reveal them. I think we’ll make this a lunchtime staple from here on out, but since we sucked yesterday and I hate this team, you get to eat this up for breakfast instead. Feel free to send me your own trivia questions and I’ll be sure to use them. Here’s hoping the trivia questions are not the most fun topic we have discussions about all year.

Clue # 1

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– This left-handed power hitter, a member of the 500-home run club, was once involved in a brawl at third base, his position, with Frank Robinson. Robinson had complained that the man in question applied a tag on him with too much force. The third-sacker hauled off and slugged Robinson, then asked, “How about that tag?”

Clue # 2A teammate of Hank Aaron’s for many years, he later managed Aaron.

Clue # 3This Hall of Famer has the initials “E.M.”

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Answer

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When is enough enough

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Please forgive the title, for it portends a post that is reactionary in nature. There is plenty of time in this season to get things turned around.

Granted, I’m not exactly thrilled about the outcome of today’s Cubs/Sox game. The better team won, we are the team that left runners stranded on first and third twice, we are the team that scored only two runs. This is an ongoing saga, let’s face it, this Cubs team can’t hit! Their stats show it, Von Joshua must feel like he’s dealing with kindergartners. Why is a multi-millionaire like Soriano looking like an average outfielder at the plate? For Alfonso to make the All Star roster with his lame .749 OPS would be a travesty, how could I vote for this guy? I’m using my 20 votes for players that deserve to be in the game, even if they aren’t Cubs. I understand that Lee had a career year when he hit 46 homeruns but why can’t he hit 28? And why does Fukudome always look like a dradle at the plate after May 31st?

Lee isn’t a problem but he isn’t a superstar either. We have issues at catcher, second base, third base, left field, periodically in center and almost always in right. How many quality games does the starting staff have to pitch before somebody that plays a position does their job?

I’m fed up with our offense and hopefully the Cubs’ brass is too. I’m not asking for changes in the management but I am hopeful we will have changes in the diamond. We might have to give up a quality pitcher for a quality hitter because right now we don’t have one.

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Name That Ballplayer

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
.!.

I got this book in the mail at the beginning of the season and hadn’t had a chance to play with it. From time to time, we’ll play a quick round of “Name that Ballplayer“. I’ll give you three clues. The first clue will be visible, with the 2nd and 3rd clues being ones you need to mouse highlight over to reveal. If you are able to get the correct player on the first clue, give yourself 3pts. If you’re able to get it on the second clue, 2 points. Third clue, 1 point. The first few times we play, we’ll go real simple. The key is to not cheat and look up the answer. Really, what fun is that anyway? Post how many points you got in the comment section. We’ll start off with a nice fat pitch for you to knock out of the park. Trust me, though. They won’t stay this easy. I’d also like to know if you think this is something you would enjoy seeing more of.

Clue # 1 – This Hall of Fame flamethrower of a pitcher was traded along with three other players from the Mets to the Angels in December of 1971, when he was just 24 years old, for Jim Fergosi (who would wind up with a .265 lifetime batting average) in one of the most lopsided trades ever engineered.

Clue # 2 (Highlight to reveal) – The first player to earn $1 million in a season, he packed fans into ballparks across the nation with his 100+ mph fastball; fans knew that the possibilities of a no-hitter occuring and/or a strikeout record tumbling were palpable every time he took the hill.

Clue # 3 (Highlight to reveal) – This ageless wonder broke Sandy Kofax’s single-season record when he wiffed 383 batters in 1973, one of the 11 times he led the league in K’s. In fact, he was still fanning 200 to 300 hitters when he was as old as 44.

Click to reveal the Answer

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NY Times says Sosa juiced

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Today the New York Times Dark Water movie download Enemy Mine the movie reports that Sammy Sosa allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. If true Sosa would make yet another player who was snared in the original tests which were supposed to have been kept secret (but were not destroyed by the players’ union.) Sammy could face possible perjury charges for lying to Congress and also join the ranks of Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez. All of these players have put up Hall of Fame numbers but may not get the 75% vote necessary to gain admittance to the Hall.

Now I don’t want to bring up the whole “should PED users be banned from the Hall” controversy again because nobody at this stage is going to change his or her opinions on the subject (and few if any of us are likely to vote anyways.) But it is a newsworthy story, particularly to Northside baseball fans and really makes some of us wonder whether or not Sosa is mocking us when he tells us that he is patiently waiting for his call to the Hall. Sammy never has even expressed regret to Chicago for the way he dishonored his teammates, organization and fans when he left in 2004. Yet I suspect that he thinks Cubs Nation should support his induction the way we have former Cubs such as Santo, Dawson and Sandberg. Perhaps Sosa should have kept quiet about his hopes for baseball’s highest honor, today’s story has all the appearances of a purpose pitch to me.Fright Night trailer Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban download Good download Final Exam release

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