Archive for September, 2010

Game 143: Just Give Me Some Truth

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

First, the good (and interesting) news. As Darrell told me a few days ago, today’s starter, Casey Coleman, is a third generation big-leaguer.  Now for the bad news. Coleman is way too hittable to be a useful ML pitcher.

Even if his dad was a genetically engineered combination of Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and Tom Seaver, Coleman would still be nothing more than a dime-a-dozen, AAA arm. How did the Brewers not crush some of those meatballs today? In his defense, he did battle and keep the Cubs in the ballgame (here’s where Len usually says “swagger” or “moxy” or “grit”).

I don’t mean to pick on Casey Coleman, but the next time you’re on baseball-reference.com, check out his minor league strikeout numbers. I’m no scout or pitching coach, but that looks like big trouble to me.

How about some more brutal honesty? After all, it’s always better to know the truth (or at least my warped version of it):

1)      Today’s 2-0 loss to the Brewers is yet another reminder of this team’s major weakness. Unless the Cubs significantly upgrade their offense, 2011 will be just as unpleasant as 2010. In case you forgot, the Cubs are currently 10th in runs scored and on-base percentage. Even the lowly Diamondbacks have generated more firepower.

2)     The offseason MUST include a bullpen overhaul. Check out this collection of gas cans:

  • James Russell (43.2 IP, 10 HR, 5.36 ERA)
  • Justin Berg (35.1 IP, 18 BB, 5.60 ERA)
  • John Grabow (25.2 IP, 5 HR, 7.36 ERA)
  • Thomas Diamond (23.2 IP, 15 BB, 7.23 ERA, before the bomb to McGehee)

Even though he’s been awful, I’m not listing Andrew Casher for two obvious reasons. First, there is a 99.9 percent chance he’ll be on the roster next year. Second, unlike the pitchers mentioned above, Cashner actually has significant upside. Hopefully he’ll improve his command, which has been dreadful in 2010 (26 BB in 44 IP).  My fingers are also crossed for an Angel Guzman recovery.

3)      I’m not one of those Cubs fans who hates Kosuke Fukudome. Although he’s been less than originally hyped, Fukudome is a useful player vs. RHP. Having said that, it was still a little frustrating to watch Gallardo toy with him today. High fastballs and breaking balls in the dirt made Fukudome look like a drunken lumberjack. At least he learned his lesson and drew a walk later in the game.

4)     I know that radar guns are usually cranked up for television broadcasts, but come on! There is no way on Earth that Casey Coleman was throwing 93 mph. Maybe his cousin works for WGN.

5)     As much as we all love Starlin Castro, he has to improve the glove work.  That third-inning throw to Yao Ming was his 25th miscue in 108 games.

So the Quade caravan moves on to St. Louis. Maybe the Cubs can play spoiler and finish off the Cards once and for all.

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Cubs notch second shutout in a row

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

If your idea of a good baseball game is lots of runs scored tonight’s ballgame wasn’t for you.  The Cubs only scored one run, that being a towering homerun by Nady off the left field foul pole.  But tonight’s game did have a lot of positives for me – Dempster notched his 100th career win with an expertly-pitched seven innings – Cashner came in and got in a little trouble but made his pitches count when he got Ryan Braun, then Sean Marshall came in and made Prince Fielder look clueless on some offspeed pitches before finishing him with a fastball.  Marmol did not make the game exciting as he so often does and just like that the Cubs improved their record to 11-6 under interim manager Mike Quade.

I really think that Quade deserves a fair look and I think that’s what Hendry is going to give him.  Right now it looks like a two horse race with Quade and Sandberg looking strong and Fredi Gonzalez and Bob Brenly looking like dark horses.  A lot of people are going to pooh-pooh Quade but were this the beginning of the season he would be on pace for 105 wins.  So to say that he’s done a good job since taking the reigns from a tired Lou Piniella is an understatement.  The club looks purposeful, they don’t seem to making the mental mistakes and attitudes look good.  My personal favorite is Ryno but I’d still like to see Mike Quade get the chance that he has earned to show us his stuff.

In other Cubs news Aramis Ramirez indicated today that he is not certain as to whether or not he will opt out of his contract as he is entitled to do after this year; it has also been rumored that Aramis doesn’t see himself playing too many years before he hangs it up.  Said Ramirez:  “If you want to talk about the numbers, I have 400 at-bats and 22 homers, and that’s not bad, and 70-plus RBIs.”  I’m glad that he’s somewhat satisfied with this year’s numbers; I am somewhat satisfied with the fact that he’s sitting right where he belongs.  He’d be crazy to opt out of the $14.6M that he’s due for next year and the $2M buyout that he’s due in 2012 but crazier things have happened.  Assuming that he comes back next year the Cubs need to make one of their 2011 needs a third baseman to play all of the games that Aramis won’t play.

Also in the news Tennessee Smokies defeated West Tennessee to take a 2-1 lead in their best of five series.  Given the fact that there’s been a lot of promotion from within this year in the Cubs organization it’s nice to see that our kids can still get it done.

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GirlieView (09/10/2010)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Well here we are, September 10. How did we get here? Day before 9/11, NFL opening weekend, chilly mornings, honeycrisp apples, my time of year save for the fact that our team forgot to show up this time around. For lack of anything better to talk about (and in lieu of talking about our team since we do that every day), let’s get to know each other better with our GirlieSurvey (named as such because no man would ever be asking you these questions unless he wanted to date you):

1. Where were you born?
2. Where do you live now?
3. What was your favorite baseball team as a youngster?
4. And, your favorite player back then?

I’ll go first:
1. Northeastern Pennsylvania
2. Northwestern Indiana
3. NY Mets and NY Yankees. I can’t help it. That’s who you rooted for when you lived in NE PA, they were our closest teams.
4. Ron Guidry

On with the Lizzies. Pickens are slimmer but that’s to be expected at the end of a (losing) season. Wait til you see how we amuse ourselves around here in the off-season. If you haven’t yet experienced it, should be a real treat!

Lizzies

  • Anything to keep us off the topic of this pathetic professional baseball team.
  • Padres announcer Jerry Coleman, he of the famous garbled speech: “(Dave) Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It’s rolling all the way back to second base. This is a terrible thing for the Padres.”
  • Coleman means camping.
  • I don’t think a mountain should be made of this molehill.
  • His is another interesting “Silva lining” (ha, do you see what I did there? I’m so sorry) story to follow.
  • You gotta believe he fired up his laptop and updated his resume after that announcement.
  • If you just joined us, and props to you for starting your VFTB reading career in a season full of suck …
  • Five new questions that will burn like the Monday after a weekend trip to Tijuana gone wrong;
  • At some point in the off season ( which began 3 months ago), we could have a discourse on the subject of how does Wrigley affect the Cubs and their chances for success on it’s surface. Just because it’s mecca, doesn’t mean it’s not a hindrance.
  • the 1978 Gator bowl…actually the guy Woody punched wore number 58 though.
  • Really not smart to punch a guy with a helmet and facemask, 45 years younger than you…
  • And since I’m on a roll and tired of the D Lee hate: Last year after a slow start he ended up hitting .306. AND was 9th in MVP voting. Even though the same crowd here lamented on how he was washed up all year long…..until he started hitting. Then. Crickets.
  • A good defensive 1B makes the rest of the infield better
  • and before anyone says it, let me say that no, bringing Soriano back to 2B is not a viable option, unless for pure comedic purposes.

Lizard

  • Sigh … the sad, waning days of a losing season.

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In the News: Catching Up With the Recently Traded

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

‘sup, ‘sup, Cubs fans? Whew. Did our boys get pwned last night or what? OK, raise your hands: Who was kinda/sorta hoping Brett Myers would pitch a no-no just so it would make the game more interesting? Don’t be ashamed. C’mon, get ‘em up there.

YOU TRAITORS! GET OUT!

Ha, just kidding. I had mixed feelings throughout the first five innings. One major factor was, well, I just don’t like Brett Myers or his caveman hunter shtick, so I was more than happy to see the walk followed by Soriano’s line single. Would’ve been nice to score at least a run off of him, though. Sigh … the sad, waning days of a losing season. In any case, let’s get on with the news:

How is Derrek Lee doing? Not too well. Click on that link and you’ll find that Braves manager Bobby Cox is already fielding questions as to why DLee is in the lineup at first base over Troy Glaus or rookie Freddie Freeman. In 18 games (69 plate appearances), Derrek is hitting .250/.348/.350 for a .698 OPS. He’s grounded into three double-plays, including the rally killer mentioned in that article. And, of course, the Braves have now fallen out of first place — they’re a half game back of the Phillies as of this writing.

Of course, DLee still has time to turn things around and finish the season hot. But that particular trade is looking good for the Cubs. A couple of questions come to mind, too: 1) Is this the end of Derrek Lee’s career? 2) Should the Cubs invite him back on a one-year deal if they intend to pursue one of the Big Three in the 2011-2012 off-season? The Magic Daver 8-Ball says, “Seems doubtful,” in both cases.

Derrek’s struggles also got me wondering about how the other recently traded Cubs are doing. Let’s find out:

Ted Lilly. He’s probably gotten the most press of any of the Cubs’ recent tradees. Lilly was lights out in his first four starts for the Dodgers. He struggled a little bit in his fifth one against the Brewers (who’ve seen him a lot over the last few years) but still got the win. It was in his sixth start vs. the Rockies that Ted hit a wall, getting lit up for seven earned runs. But he bounced back this past weekend, going seven strong (in a loss) against the Giants. Overall, his Tedness has a 3.18 ERA over 45.1 innings pitched for L.A. with a 8.5 K/9. I’m predicting right here and now that he signs on to stay in L.A.. His flyball tendencies make the NL West a good place to wind down his career.

Ryan Theriot. In 35 games (147 plate appearances) for the Dodgers, The Riot has played a touch better than he did in the 96 games (412 PAs) he played for the Cubs this season. Unfortunately, a “touch better” doesn’t mean “good.” He’s hitting .281/.354/.344 for a .698 OPS. OK, that is a decent OBP and, interestingly, he has hit a home run for L.A.

Meanwhile, Blake DeWitt has hit .271/.326/.398 for a .724 OPS in 35 games (129 PAs). Blake does have four home runs, however. I still think this particular trade was a break-even at the least, with the Cubs still in line to come out ahead if DeWitt can flourish under Rudy Jaramillo.

Mike Fontenot. Lil’ Babe Ruth is a lil’ ole bench player for the contending San Francisco Giants. He’s appeared in only 11 games (35 PAs), hitting .281/.343/.313 for a .655 OPS. The good news is I got a few amusing tweets from the minor leaguer, Evan Crawford, whom the Cubs got in trade for Fontenot, before, inexplicably, he blocked me. Let’s call that trade a break-even, too.

An Adam Dunn update. According to one report, the Nationals won’t be re-signing the Big Donkey — mainly because of his poor defense. This clears the way for the Cubs to sign him, which ESPN’s Bruce Levine is predicting (in this live chat) to happen. So if the idea of Dunn in a Cubs uniform excites you, get excited (at least a little bit). And if it worries you, get a bit concerned. Assuming Hendry either has no interest or confidence in acquiring one of the Big Three, Dunn on a three-year deal would be a relatively acceptable pickup (uh, assuming one can live in denial about his defensive shortcomings, which aren’t as pronounced at first base as they are in the outfield, though still present).

Call-ups, Caridad and Grabow. You’ve heard about the Cubs’ September call-ups right? Say it with me: Berg, Samardzija, Fuld, Scales (!!!) and Snyder. Shameless self-promotion: I wrote about Samardzija and Scales here. (Warning: Contains White Sox content.) Berg we’ve seen plenty of. Fuld is, um, speedy. Snyder has had only one at-bat that I know of – his MLB debut. I happened to see it on TV and let’s just say he struck out on three pitches, looking awful against Astros LOOGY Byrdak. Honestly, Brad looked like a local college student who’d won a contest. I’d be curious to know what the team intends to do with him. Bruce Miles also notes in that article that two notorious ’10 no-shows, Esmailin Caridad and John Grabow, have been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Joe Giradi: All but out. Well, Joe was, in an ideal world, my top choice to take over as Cubs manager. But I’ve read a couple items recently that have led me to believe that what was unlikely initially is now all but impossible.

First, recently I read something from a New York writer (can’t remember who or where, sorry) that Girardi is on excellent terms with Yankees management. So not only is he being well compensated to manage a winning team, but he likes his boss. (And that wasn’t the case in Florida.)

Second, buried in this Bruce Levine post, is a mention that the Cubs want to be settled on a candidate by Nov. 2, and the Yankees could very well still be playing the World Series by then. So, perhaps if the Yanks are eliminated earlier in the postseason, Girardi may take a little more time to reflect and maybe even interview for the Cubs job. But, odds are, he’s going to be too occupied to even consider it.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Enjoy this day off from the agony. We bid adieu to the NL Central this weekend and next week with two series against the Brewers and Cardinals, respectively.

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Odd Man Out

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The complete title of this one is: “Odd Man Out – A Year On The Mound With A Minor League Misfit”. It was written by Matt McCarthy and was published in 2009.

Author Matt McCarthy was an Ivy League student-athlete, a left-handed pitcher who majored in molecular biophysics & biochemistry at Yale University. He mentions in passing that the tuition at Yale was $40K per year, which is one reason I didn’t go there.

At the time he was writing “Odd Man Out”, Mr. McCarthy had washed out of minor league baseball and was a medical student at Harvard Medical School.

I have to say there are obvious similarities between “Odd Man Out” and the movie “Bull Durham”. Both are about minor league baseball, but “Bull Durham” is a movie about a fictional team with fictional characters, while “Odd Man Out” is a book about the real minor leagues, with real characters.

In “Odd Man Out”, author Matt McCarthy names names: He played little league ball with Tim Raines, Jr. and Corey Patterson. He played high school ball with Khalil Green. He played minor league ball with Bobby Jenks, Mike Napoli, Casey Kotchman, Prince Fielder, and others.

The author describes his tryout with the NY Yankees, and he describes draft day and being drafted by the Anaheim Angels.

One of the first things which confronted the author upon his arrival in the minor leagues was the two-party system: “You’ve got your Dominicans and you’ve got everybody else….They’re loud, they don’t speak English, they don’t have no respect for nobody,….” etc.

Later, the author presents a different view of the Dominicans: “Aw, man, those guys get a bad rap. They’re good kids….Plus, they liven things up around here….Keeps everyone from being so uptight.”

The Angels assigned Mr. McCarthy to their Provo, Utah farm team, where the author learned a lot about Mormons and the Mormon culture in Utah, including the Mormon family who took him in.

McCarthy describes how he learned to “pitch by color”, and how to break out of a slump with the help of a “slump buster”.

Mr. McCarthy details steroid usage as he encountered it, including discussions about usage vs. non-usage.

My favorite quote from the book is the following:

- “Do what makes you happy, son.”

I enjoyed reading “Odd Man Out”, and I recommend it to anyone who has any interest at all in our national pastime.

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Five Burning Questions!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

That’s right folks, they are back!

Five new questions that will burn like the Monday after a weekend trip to Tijuana gone wrong; five new questions that feel like inner thigh chafe after a long walk on a hot day (the big people know what I’m talking about); five new questions that will make your nipples bleed like you just ran a marathon….. it happens, look it up!

Five Burning Questions!!!!!!

1) Are some of the flags that fly on the roof at Wrigley ridiculous?

While some of the flags that adorn the rooftop ringing Wrigley Field have a nice place in Cubs lore there are a few that are a bit of a reach.  Since we are erecting statues to true Cub heroes maybe we can tear down some of the fluff?

I personally would start with Sammy’s 61 flag that flies high over home plate and move along to Kerry Wood’s 21 flag.  I am not trying to belittle these accomplishments, more or less just trying to put them in their place. They tied records! They didn’t set them, they tied them!

Just a thought.

2) Mike Quade is 9-5 in his first 14 games, is this a big deal?

In the grand scheme of things is this really that huge?  One look at the competition tells me, no!

He has racked up this record with wins against the Mets, Astros, Pirates, and Nationals.  This is a “who’s who” of teams that not only flounder but manage to do it in a style all their own.  Very much like the Cubs they are teams struggling to find the next step……hell, they are trying to find the stairway, forget the next step.

Yes, he did have the one win against the Reds but they lost the series.  If memory serves me correctly, which it rarely does,  it was not pretty either.

I need to see some contenders. The whole thing reminds me of that scene in Rocky III where Micky tells Rocky that all of his title defenses were a joke, that they were all setups and chumps.  Well, Clubber Lang is coming later this month in the form of St Louis (twice), San Francisco, and San Diego. Enjoy it while it lasts Mike.

3) What is stopping the Rickett’s family from buying out all of the rooftops?

(Do you feel the burn? It’s coming on like a Taco Bell nightmare!)

I have this dream that flutters about in my brain like a butterfly on acid. It goes something like this; I envision bridges that cross Sheffield and Waveland connecting the bleachers to the rooftops.  I know it is crazy, but if you are at the ballpark anytime soon look how the bleachers and rooftops seem to sit on the same plane as if somebody has ideas to connect them at some point in the future.

There has been talk in back rooms and alleys that the Ricketts family’s recent investment in the rooftop market is a lead up to a bigger deal.  I have no official source, just talk. Like they intend to buy them all at some point and this is just giving them that inside look.  Remember, these are business people, it would not shock me if their line of thinking was, “why take 17% when we can get it all?”

Also remember this thought zips around my brain like a butterfly on acid…..take it for what it’s worth.

However, I am pretty sure they have the cash and why bother investing in the first place if you were not going to make a bigger splash?

4) Who will be the poster child for sophomore slump in 2011?

It could be one of our own Cub rookies from 2010, or maybe someone from another team.  What rookie for 2010 is going to fall from grace in 2011?

My bet, Tyler Colvin struggles in 2011.  I don’t want to see it happen but I can just smell it.  It wreaks of promise. Anybody? Anybody?

5) What is your favorite Wrigleyville meeting place?

So the game is about to start and you have a group meeting up for some eats and beverages pre-game, where do you go?

Is there an establishment that holds your heart or is it a crap shoot?

The Wrigleyville watering holes are growing by the season and the old standbys are constantly upgrading.  Do you have a favorite? Share with us!

I hope you enjoy the questions……until next week.

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Game 139: Batman Returns (Sort of)

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I joked at the beginning of the season that Carlos Silva was Batman. If you just joined us, and props to you for starting your VFTB reading career in a season full of suck, you missed the reason why. From April to June, he was simply mind boggling in his ability to get wins and keep his ERA low. He was a completely different pitcher compared to the player Seattle thought they were getting rid of. It reminded me of the first Batman movie where Michael Keaton completely baffles the criminals and one asks him who he is. He responds as follows:

Yesterday we saw Batman Returns, which wasn’t quite as good as the first go round. Lots of rust on Mr. Silva that needs to be knocked off. I still believe he can be a productive member of the rotation in these final weeks. It would be in the Cubs best interest to see that happen to allow Jim Hendry something to work with this off-season when he tries to trade him.

In other news, two arms were added to the pen and neither saw action. Jeff Samardzija and Justin Berg were recalled. I’m a big fan of building a bullpen from within, so the innings the kids have seen this year are useful. It’s been a pretty ugly year from a bullpen standpoint, but sometimes you need that rough experience to give you something to build on going forward. Of all the young names we have in the bullpen right now, there are two that I believe in strongly and I believe both should get a legit shot at a spot in the rotation next year. I’m probably going to take some crap in the comment section, but I believe Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija are guys that have a legit future in this league. Yes, you heard me right on the second one. He’s 11-3 as a starter in Iowa this year. The biggest thing he needs to work on at this point is the command of the strike zone. If he can shore up the walks, he can be a member of this rotation. In my mind that’s his best role, which is why we haven’t seen him since early this year. The Cubs seem to have figured this out as well and let him get time starting in Iowa instead of bouncing him back and forth between roles in the Majors and Minors.

Not much else Cub related to talk about from this one. Dave talked a little yesterday about why Castro sat, so no need to rehash that. In a non-Cub related note, Trevor Hoffman picked up career save # 600. He’s the leader in saves and has roughly the same save % as Mariano Rivera. For some reason, he’s not looked at nearly as high as Mo and I can’t figure out why.

That’s all I’ve got. Enjoy the day today. We’ll get right back at it again tonight.

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In the News: Are the ’10 Padres the ’69 Cubs?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Good day, Cubs fans. Well, I seem to be suffering from an acute case of the post-Labor-Day blues. Despite the fact that the Cubs have, overall, played decidedly well under manager Mike Quade (whom I’m liking more and more with every postgame press conference), winning three of the four series they’ve completed thus far and, dare I say, in position to take yet another from the Houston Astros, I feel … edgy, dissatisfied, irritable, sad. (Wow, was that a ridiculously long sentence or what?) Nonetheless, I shall forge ahead with another “In the News” broadcast:

Schadenfreude, indeed. It’s been with some bitter, acrimonious delight that I’ve watched the downfall of the San Diego Padres as of late. Oh, I know; “downfall” is a bit strong with another three weeks of baseball to be played. But the young fathers have been the darlings of the NL all season, outperforming many, if not most, pundits predictions.

But then, from Aug. 26 until yesterday (Sunday) Sept. 5, they went on a staggering 10-game losing streak. The San Francisco Giants are now a mere game back in the standings. So I ask you, Cubs fans of a certain age as well as historical buffs: Are the 2010 Padres the modern day equivalent of the famous 1969 Cubs? Will the Padres crash and burn in the waning weeks of the regular season as that legendary North Side team did? (And in this day and age of carefully regulated playing time and pitch counts?!) Do you want them to fail (because of lingering bitterness over 1984, perhaps, hm?) or don’t you care either way?

I don’t possess the wherewithal at the moment to do an in-depth comparison of the two teams. ‘Twould seem an imposing task. But it’s a storyline worth following as September winds down, and we head toward another Cubs-less postseason.

Interestingly enough, much of the Padres’ success can be attributed to our own wonderful NL Central. The Padres are 16 games over .500 vs. the Central (23-7), while being two games below .500 vs. the East (16-18) and just one game above vs. their own division (29-28). They’re a perfect 4-0 against the Cubs so far. But there’s the rub: Our guys finish the season with a four-game series against the Padres. Could we knock them out of postseason? Or at least the NL West? Like I said, it’s an interesting storyline to keep an eye on.

The Castro question. Don’t look for rookie phenom Starlin Castro in tonight’s (Tuesday’s) game against the Astros. Mike Quade is letting young Starlin serve as an observer rather than a participant for at least a couple days. A certain contingent of Cubs fans are up in arms over this decision, mainly because of the public way the team seems to be punishing young Castro for some recent missteps on the field.

Although the hearts of these fans may be in the right place — hey, I miss seeing his name in the lineup, too — I don’t think a mountain should be made of this molehill. The position of shortstop on a major league team is a huge responsibility. It’s referred to as a “premium” position for a reason. And while Starlin can surely handle the workload physically, he may be struggling to keep up mentally. And I certainly don’t blame him for that. I have trouble remembering my keys in the morning.

So let him rest for a day or two, maybe get him back in there against the ‘Stros in the series finale — especially if the Cubs lose today — and let that be the end of it. I personally like seeing Darwin Barney out there. Again, we probably shouldn’t expect Barney to be a starting player anytime soon, but he appears to be a strong defensive backup that could bring some nice depth to the Cubs 25-man for several years to come.

Hi-ho Silva, away! No, it’s a home game! Tonight (Tuesday)! And the other Carlos will be back on the mound! His is another interesting “Silva lining” (ha, do you see what I did there? I’m so sorry) story to follow. He’s thrown 108 innings and his ERA sits under 4.0 (as does his FIP and xFIP). Can he finish the season strong, making the Milton Bradley trade perhaps one of the most remarkable deals in our respective lifetimes? (I guess that depends on the lifetime, eh?) I’m rooting for Carlos, for sure.

It’s good news/bad news for Ryne Sandberg. On the plus side, he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year last week. You gotta believe he fired up his laptop and updated his resume after that announcement. On the downside, his Iowa Cubs dropped a heartbreaking “play-in” tiebreaker game yesterday (Monday), losing 7-6 to the Memphis Redbirds. That effectively ends the Iowa Cubs excellent 2010 season, which means two things: 1) Ryno can now presumably concentrate on winning the heart (um…?) and mind (yes!) of Jim Hendry for the Chicago Cubs managerial job, and 2) We may actually see some September call-ups in the next day or so.

Mark Prior Update No. 6,450.  I feel like I’ve been doing Prior updates in every post but, in case you missed the news, here it is: Mark has been signed to a minor league deal with Oklahoma City RedHawks, a Texas Rangers farm team and has already made his “affiliated” debut. Check out the photo in that article — Prior’s “crafty vet” status is absolutely cemented by that beard.

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Game 138: What’s In A Name?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

I have to admit, today’s write-up was a struggle for me. Two bad teams, although the Astros are playing much better baseball lately, plus a Labor Day hangover for yours truly. What’s a grumpy writer to do?

Suddenly, the answer is obvious! Since I know next to nothing about Casey Coleman, let’s talk about a few of my favorite Colemans.

Vince Coleman: Yes, he was overrated, as his career on-base percentage of .324 tells us. However, watching Vince run the bases was truly mesmerizing. This member of the Coleman clan swiped 100+ bags three times in his career.

Choo Choo Coleman: C/OF for the Mets and Phillies from 1961 to 1966. Career batting average of .191. Bad baseball player, great name. The world could use more guys named “Choo Choo.”

Marcus Coleman: This defensive back from Texas Tech played an impressive 10 years in the NFL. In 2003, he racked up seven interceptions for the Houston Texans.

Dabney Coleman: The star of “9 to 5” and “War Games” was in just about every movie that came out during the 1980s. Who could forget his performance in “The Man with One Red Shoe?”

Gary Coleman: Let’s all say it together… “What’chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” A funny side note, recently a friend saw a t-shirt that read “I’m what Willis was talkin’ ‘bout.” Sounds like a great holiday gift to me.

Lucious Coleman: I once saw Lucious eat 52 cocktail wieners at a company cookout. OK, I made that one up.

The Coleman Cooler: I’ve owned mine for about 20 years. Many a cold beer has been safely stashed in this trusty companion.  Speaking of cold beer, it’s time to start knocking the edge off this hangover.

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