Archive for November, 2012

Morning News: Broken Streaks, Coaching Vacancies, and Cargo Shorts

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Cubs hired a guy named Scott Harris to be their director of baseball operations. Harris formerly held a similar position with the MLB, where he assisted teams with transaction support and analysis. He’s also twenty-five years old, which is equal parts impressive and frustrating.

As you may have heard, three of the key lightning rods of the steroid era are now eligible for Hall of Fame voting. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and our own Sammy Sosa are about to face the wrath of baseball writers everywhere. While there is little doubt that any of them will be voted into the Hall–at least not on their first ballot–ESPN Chicago’s Jon Greenberg makes a case for their eventual admittance. He has a point; it would be virtually impossible to completely ignore that era of the game. So while they might not make any trips to Cooperstown in the near future, my guess is that at least Bonds and maybe Clemens gets in eventually. As for Sosa, I think he’ll be shocked by how few votes he gets this January, breaks some of his Cubs gear out of storage, and tries to get back in our good graces. We’ll see if Theo and Tom Ricketts have any interest in helping rehabilitate his image.

Drew Brees’ record-breaking streak of games with a touchdown pass died Thursday night, along with the Saints’ postseason hopes. Brees did manage to throw a whopping five interceptions to the Falcons’ defense, losing in Atlanta 23-13.

LSU head coach Les Miles was able to leverage a rumored offer from Arkansas into a substantial extension of his current contract. With several big jobs open–and probably more to come–expect more football coaches to follow suit. (Along those lines, here’s a great article about what Texas needs to do about their Mack Brown-sized problem. It’s actually several weeks old–written in the days following the Longhorns’ de-pantsing at the hands of the Sooners–but in that time I’ve read it and reread it frequently. And frankly, it’s the kind of thing that’s so well-written, it makes me jealous.)

Also in LSU football news, it seems Honey Badger don’t care about finishing school.

Wouldn’t you assume that Michael Jordan could pretty much wear whatever he wants, wherever he wants? You’d be wrong. Jordan fell victim to the pretentiousness of golf–specifically that exposed pockets somehow tarnish the dignity of the game. I’m all for the Miami country club’s ability to have and enforce whatever dress code they like–for all I know, it’s actually good for business. But you know what’s not good for business? Running off one of the biggest names in the sports world because he wore the wrong shorts.

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GirlieView (11/29/2012)

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, or whatever you like to celebrate around this time of year. I’m impressed with the wit this time around, best out-of-season collection of Lizzies we’ve had in awhile. And our top 10 is getting tight down the stretch! Enjoy.

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks)
  • Top 10 of 2012 = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims. Let’s go!


  • Yikes! Lizzies come out tomorrow…must think of something worthy…
  • A Baker Gets His Dough
  • If you didn’t see it, and that’s entirely possible due to the massive amount of other news that came down the MLB news portal,
  • This is a regime that has expressed to fans that the rebuild is going to come primarily through the farm and supplemented with smart free agents that make sense for the long term plan.
  • If you look closely, you can see the exact point where someone pisses in Strick’s Cheerios
  • Patience is in order.
  • Seasonal depression.  Get some sun.
  • I do laugh at the fact that $5.5/year has become “low risk”….if I had a son I would tie his right arm behind his back and make him do all his chores left handed.
  • Despite the fact that they would not have been my first choices, kudos to both Price and Dickey, who had great years on the mound.
  • Drinks on Raker!
  • My sincere congrats on pandering done well.
  • Chuck shut out of the Lizzies!  This make Chuck sad.
  • I’ve been in the limbo also known as LackofLizzieLand for a long time.
  • 1) Leftovers, 2) Being dismissive regarding Black Friday shopping stories
  • Unfortunately, I will be dragged to Black Friday sales with my wife so I can serve the role of “stand in line guy” “lifter of heavy objects guy”.  Only the vague promise of happy fun time keeps me going…
  • Been there…
  • Honestly, if I wasn’t married and had kids I would have no idea what to do with myself.
  • Deep dish pizza on Thanksgiving…you know that’s how the Pilgrims would’ve preferred it.
  • Great Black Friday deals were had in colonial Plymouth for three-corner hats, breeches, and shoes with giant buckles.
  • There was a run on candles.
  • What a great idea. The traditional Thanksgiving Lou Malnatis. I just received a 6 pack yesterday. Cheese and sausage. I believe Seymour refers to this product as “job security.”
  • While watching a football game, every time the announcer says that a player “plays the game hard”, we throw a turkey leg at the person to our left. If there is mention that a player “has come to play”, the gravy boat is emptied down the pants of the 3rd eldest person in the room. Mention of “a gamer” results in dinner rolls being thrown at the screen. That used to be the gravy boat, but Uncle Stinky got tired of replacing TV sets.
  • I have been watching the Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the Dick Van Dyke Show and the Rockford Files on the metv network. Great shows- just don’t make TV shows that way anymore Jimbo. I am having Mr Peterson and Elliot Carlin over for Thanksgiving, that is if Captain Howard Borden flys them in on time.
  • Are you inviting your brothers Darrell?
  • Big fan of the Rockford Files. Very under rated show.
  • There may be hope for you yet.
  • I love the Mary Tyler Moore show theme song.
  • The Golden Girls.  Hands down.
  • My wit-well has run dry.
  • What specifically makes Bud Selig so bad?
  • 2) allows the designated hitter
  • I’d say any business plan hinging on the selling of inedible sugar dough is in peril.
  • Not in America.
  • Camp tied for the league-lead in appearances last season with 80, in which he provided middling relief most of the time, with flashes of spectacular incompetence.
  • I hope you, Jedi, and Jermajusty have a nice time in OK.
  • The real reason for this move sitcom revenue.  LaHair will share an apartment with Bobby Scales and Matt Murton, in the hit new program “Strike Three.”  All three play for the Ham Fighters, obviously, and have the wackiest of neighbors.
  • The hilarity of big man Bryan LaHair fitting into the small booths at the local Johnny Rockets with his 4’8″ dates will be must see TV.
  • By date you mean prostitute, and by booth you mean shallow grave at the meadowlands.
  • Happy Thanksgiving VFTBuds… enjoy some turkey, be it baked, fried, or on a footlong wheat roll atop pepper jack triangles.
  • Thankful they don’t play home games in a war zone like Chavez Ravine.
  • Thankful they aren’t so insignificant as to be shuffled between leagues while no one notices.
  • Thankful we weren’t crippled by Bernie Madoff.
  • Thankful not to be affiliated with Philly in any way.
  • Thankful we didn’t nickname our stadium after a prison so the nightly attendance would feel more welcome.
  • Thankful we didn’t have this conversation in jorts while cursing our beloved superstar of last year.
  • Thankful you managed to work jorts in there.
  • I’m thankful for the folks who write for and comment on this blog.
  • Andre Johnson continued his miraculous return from the grave, which gave my fantasy (or as my brother Jermajesty calls it, “fairytale football”) team an unexpected boost.
  • Giancarlos Marmol for Giancarlos Stanton.  Get right on that.
  • I’d trade Samardzija for Stanton in a heartbeat
  • And just for clarity’s sake, that’s less of an actual comparison of an assistant hitting coach and a first-ballot Hall of Famer than it is an unnecessary-but-cathartic shot at the still-reigning King Weasel of Passive-Aggressive Mountain.
  • How come Katie and I are the only one’s on this site with actual photos of ourselves on our Gravitar?
  • I like Katie’s much better. No Butts about it.
  • Hey Seymour, how about we narrow that down to Katie only?


  • Chasing skirts in bars can only entertain one so long. Raising children with a beloved spouse is as fullfilling as life gets, everything else is just filler to keep one busy.


  • Congragulations to jswanson, the Most Valuable Lizzie’er once again!

Shout Outs

Congratulations to these commenters for their first 2012 Lizzie! Thanks for joining us, we love having you here!

  • FourFeathers
  • Tony Soprano ;-)

2012 Top Ten YTD

1. Jeremiah Johnson
1. jswanson
3. Doc Raker
4. Seymour Butts
5. Jedi Johnson
6. cap’n Obvious
7. Buddy
8. Joe Aiello
9. Chuck
10. Eddie Von White

Chit Chat

Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin on Monday in Nashville. Come on, lemme year the wild roar of excitement! Last year’s meetings were quite prolific with the Angels’ signing of Albert Pujols and Florida’s wild spending spree. We know neither of those things will be happening again this year. Let’s hear from you. What do you expect to come of this year’s meetings as far as the Cubs are concerned? (“Nothing” is the anticipated response here. Props-in-advance to anyone who can come up with something other than that!)

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Morning News: Coleman DFA’d, Kyuji Fyujikawa News, $500 million Powerball

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Casey Coleman Designated For Assignment: When the Cubs signed right handed pitcher Scott Feldman to a one year deal on Tuesday, the one piece of the puzzle that had not been announced was who would be removed from the 40 man roster to make room for Feldman. The two most likely candidates were RHP Casey Coleman and 3B Ian Stewart. Today we found out that it was Coleman. Coleman gained favor near the end of 2010 season, when he had a lucky stretch of several starts where he posted an ERA just over 4 despite walking nearly as many players as he struck out. He never found similar success again in the Majors, either as a starter or reliever. However, it’s fairly unlikely that Coleman will be leaving the Cubs’ system, as most doubt anyone else would be willing to pick up Coleman and give him a 40 man spot.

The curiosity with this is that the Cubs have to decide whether or not to tender Ian Stewart by the end of the day on Friday. While I doubt the Cubs are going to be willing to pay the $2.5 million or so Stewart would get in arbitration, this would indicate to me that the Cubs are at least talking to Stewart about bringing him back at a discounted rate. If that’s the case, I’m sure there will be much gnashing of teeth across the internet.

Kyuji Fyujikawa News: For those of you who don’t recall, Fyujikawa is the Japanese relief pitcher who is coming over as a true free agent this offseason, and the Cubs have been rumored to be pursuing him for a couple of weeks now. Fyujikawa has apparently indicated that his top choices are either the Angels or the Cubs. This is actually a pickup I’d be a little confused by, because Fyujikawa doesn’t look like he is going to be a bargain. And I kind of doubt Fyujikawa is looking to go somewhere to be traded midseason. I’d rather have the Cubs put that money towards a solid center fielder this offseason, or another starting pitcher.

$500 Million Powerball: Someone (if not multiple people) is probably going to be a lot richer tomorrow. It is, unfortunately, unlikely to be any of us. With that said, I’ll at least be glad the media blitz will end. Whenever a lotto gets so huge, the news seems to be inundated with the stories of people who won the lotto and then had their lives go to crud. Then again, if you didn’t win the Powerball, you can always drown your sorrow and buy this new car.

Via: Scion Fr-S

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Morning News: Another Low Risk Starter Joins the Fold

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


  • Scott Feldman inks a one year deal, giving the Cubs another low cost, low risk arm to plug into the mix for a rotation spot with the hopes that he pans out as part of the future or trade value to bring pieces for the future. Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs had a post on Feldman, calling him the “Poor Man’s Brandon McCarthy” that was edited to even include McCarthy’s impressions of Feldman. The deal is valued at $6 million with incentives. Feldman will join Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Scott Baker, and a cast of thousands for the five spots in the rotation, including dark horse candidate, Michael Bowden
  • According to Buster Olney, the Cubs are one of a few teams kicking the tires on outfielder, Jeff Keppinger, who recently broke his leg but should be ready by spring training. Eh, I’d rather have Giancarlo Stanton.

Topic for Discussion

With the rumor that the Cubs are interested in Keppinger, I’d like to know what you see as the starting outfield on opening day as well as who will make the team as the reserve. Let’s discuss the position because my guess is there are a lot of people with differing opinions.

Joe’s iPod Song of the Day

Just in case you were not aware, I’d like your opinions on the songs I post here. Come on people, get with it.

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Morning News: Deer, Coyotes, and Manatees

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

The Cubs hired Rob Deer as an assistant hitting coach for James Rowson, who replaced Rudy Jaramillo during the season. Disenchanted Cubs fans on Twitter and across the Internet were quick to point out that Deer holds the dubious honor of posting the all-time lowest single season batting average in MLB history–a .179 in 1991 for the Tigers. And while I agree he might not immediately wow us with his credentials, I’d also like to point out that Tony LaRussa was pretty lousy as a player, too. (And just for clarity’s sake, that’s less of an actual comparison of an assistant hitting coach and a first-ballot Hall of Famer than it is an unnecessary-but-cathartic shot at the still-reigning King Weasel of Passive-Aggressive Mountain.)

Hide your kids; hide your wives–coyotes were spotted wandering around outside Wrigley Field. For reals.

Former Cubs pitcher and baseball savant Greg Maddux is the new pitching coach for the United States team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. It’s a shame Maddux parted ways with the Cubs organization–I think it’s only a matter of time before he extends his legend with great success in either a coaching role or front-office position (he’s currently serving as a special assistant to the Rangers’ GM, a role he previously held with the Cubs under Jim Hendry).

ESPN’s Buster Olney projects which teams are most likely to land free agent slugger Josh Hamilton. Since it’s an Insider article, I’ll give you the bullet points: in descending order of likelihood, Olney says it could be the Rangers, Brewers, Red Sox, Mariners, Orioles, or (surprise, surprise) some mystery team. Way to hedge those bets, Busty!

Have you heard of Fireman Ed? He’s the Jets’ bald, angry-faced super-fan who leads the J-E-T-S chants and has received increasingly more and more face-time during Jets’ broadcasts over the years. Anyway, he retired over the weekend. Well, “retired”–he’s still going to attend the games and root for the Jets. He’s just ditching the fire helmet and the unofficial cheerleader role that gained him his modest notoriety. Fireman Ed–or Ed Anzalone as he’s known outside the Meadowlands–is fed up with contentious and pugnacious Jets fans, so much so that he’s taken to leaving the games early. You can read his whole earnest explanation here. To some degree, I sympathize with him in what surely feels like futile fanaticism for his beloved team. But frankly, I’m not sure the retirement of his super-fan persona isn’t for the best. It would like spotting a subdued and street-clothed Ronnie Woo Woo out in the Wrigley bleachers one sunny afternoon–unusual, but not altogether unwelcome.

On Sportcenter last night, Scott Van Pelt described Monday’s Panthers-Eagles game as having “fantasy implications.” Well played, SVP. To be fair, it also had implications for both head coaches and their respective hot seats. In the end, Cam Newton did his thing; the Eagles’ defense didn’t do theirs (or did, depending on how you look at it). Panthers win, 30-22.

Nick Saban is a jerk. On Sunday he was complaining about the BCS; specifically that it wasn’t fair that the Florida Gators would likely get a better bowl game than the team that loses the SEC championship game this coming Saturday (you can read Florida head coach Will Muschamp’s response here). How quickly Saban forgets that it’s that same flawed BCS system that paved the way for the Alabama-LSU rematch and his second national championship just last year. Stop whining, Nick Saban. (Full Disclosure: I haven’t liked Saban for several years. His cowardly act of voting my Oklahoma State Cowboys as #4 to keep them out of the national championship game last season only confirmed what I already thought of him.)

If you had much time yesterday in the midst of your feverish Internet shopping to browse the web for sports news, you might have seen reactions to some bizarre statements made by ESPN’s Tom Jackson about Jay Cutler during Sunday’s pregame show on ESPN. Rather than rehash the details, let me instead point you to this excellent article from Awful Announcing that breaks down Jackson’s illogical and unfounded assertions about Cutler’s character, and looks at the media’s increasing tendency to lazily revert to “the narrative” rather than give, you know, actual facts and intelligent opinions informed by those actual facts.

Lady, you’d keep your hands off that manatee if you knew what was good for you.

Finally, a fan won basketball tickets from Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Drew Gordon Gooden for tweeting a picture of his Kirk Hinrich Bulls jersey in a toilet. The Twitter-based contest was devised by Gordon Gooden, who regretted that the winning jersey belonged to his former Bulls and Kansas Jayhawks teammate Hinrich. I doubt any baseball players will make a similar offer, but I’ve got a Neifi Perez jersey marinating in the can just in case.

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Morning News: Football, Black Friday Carnage & More

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Obligatory Cubs ‘News’
Reports have the Cubs, along with virtually every other deep-pocketed MLB franchise, chasing down Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton of the Miami Marlins. Stanton took to Twitter with his frustrations immediately after news broke that the Marlins had off-loaded the valuable parts of their roster to the Blue Jays – the valuable parts not formerly known as Mike Stanton. Rampant speculation that he desires a new employer, immediately. Facing the proposition of historic losing, mediocre (at best) teammates, and zero fan interest it’s understandable why Stanton might want out. In 2013 he’s a cheap at roughly $500k; in 2014, that figure likely balloons to several million, but still incredibly affordable considering the talent. He is under team control for two more seasons beyond that, through 2016. I’d expect the Marlins to off-load Stanton, though not perhaps in the immediate future. Several of his former teammates seem to think that Stanton would prefer to head back to California, where he grew up. In any case, good to know the Cubs have thrown their proverbial hat into the ring. Maybe nothing will come of it, but it’s a nice thought at least…

The Bears destroyed the Vikings 28-10 in a game that wasn’t really that close. Jay Cutler returned from his concussion and turned in a steady performance. But the win came at a high cost – Devin Hester (concussion), Charles Tillman (ankle), Matt Forte (ankle), Chris Spencer (knee), and Lance Louis (knee) all suffered injuries of varying severity. Louis’ injury came at the hands of what Mike Pereira believed to be a dirty hit. None have been ruled out for next week currently, but any of those five starters sidelined with injuries isn’t exactly what the Bears need when they host the Seahawks next Sunday. The first link in this section above includes this bit about Brandon Marshall cresting 1000 yards for the season, “In the third quarter, I leaned over to Jay and said, `That catch puts me at 1,000 yards for six seasons in a row.’ And he looked at me and said, `You’re disgusting,” Marshall said, laughing.

The win also put the Bears back in charge of the NFC North for the time being; the Packers were yet again embarrassed by that inferior team masquerading as the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Remember Clay Matthews says the Giants didn’t beat the Packers last year in the playoffs (even though the scoreboard disagreed). Jarrett Bush parroted a similar line after another loss. On Sunday night, the Packers got revenge, ‘not losing’ to the Giants by an even wider margin. The 38-10 Giants win put the Packers behind the playoff eight-ball. They desperately need a win over the Bears in Week 15, or a total Bears collapse. Winning the division is still a good possibility, but they probably won’t avoid playing on Wild Card Weekend if they make it that far. The Giants (also at 7-4) and the 49ers (8-2-1) both hold head-to-head tie-breakers for the #2 seed; the Falcons seem destined for the NFC’s top slot (10-1).

Notre Dame v. SEC Champion for the BCS Championship. 42 days away. Brian Kelly wins that game, he can write his NFL contract. Nick Saban wins that game, a lot of Bama boosters will be wondering how long before Saban bolts back to Sundays. Mark Richt wins that game, he won’t have to listen to questions about the hot seat for another 18 months (maybe). Oh, and millionaires are being routinely added to the unemployment rolls. Auburn. NC State. Purdue. Colorado. Boston College. Arkansas. More to come I’m sure.

I Want To See This Made Into A Movie ASAP
‘Target, we’re not sure if it’s robbery or a business transaction.’

When Grown Men Fight Over Shoes
I’m anti-Black Friday (I’m making that a thing now)…so this story makes me laugh. People are so stupid. At least fight over something important, like if Aaron Rodgers is one of the top 4 QBs in the NFL (I couldn’t resist).

But This Speaks Well For Humanity
YouTube’s most watched video of all-time had been Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’…until the South Korean sensation PSY eclipsed that mark with the ubiquitous ‘Gangnam Style’ (I’ll link to that). PSY’s hit video is up over 823 million views at this point. So not only has his horse-riding dance helped us to forget the Macarena, but he’s eviscerated Bieber’s records as well. Not that PSY is necessarily the height of culture, but he’s a clear step up from the Macarena or Bieber- surely even Kim Jong-un can agree with us about that!

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Morning News: Tryptophan Hangover Edition

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

I’m writing this from the tent city of a waiting line that wraps around our local Best Buy. In less than a hour, I’ll start strapping on my catcher’s gear and psych myself up for the inevitable stampede once the doors open. If I can avoid any of the compound fractures that plagued me last Black Friday, I ought to be able to make it to Target before sunrise and Walmart before 10am.

None of that is true. I’m not a proponent of Black Friday, or the shopping feeding frenzies it encourages. Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for saving money whenever possible. I just don’t think it should come at the cost of human safety and dignity. I don’t care if K-Mart is selling microwaves for $30 between midnight and 1am–it’s not worth stomping another shopper’s throat to secure you get yours. And the joy of giving my nephew the train set he wants would be severely diminished if I had to punch a few moms and dads in the face to snag it. But since none of you came here for my thoughts on the runaway materialism of Black Friday, I digress…

Bad news, Ham Fighters fans: the Cubs sold Bryan LaHair to the Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. Chicago received a whopping $950,000 in the deal, and they still have Anthony Rizzo. LaHair signed a two-year, $4.5M deal. Everybody wins.

If the NFL is your thing in the fall, then Thursday was a good day for you. The “early” game went down to the wire in overtime, with Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz making a key error that opened the door for Houston’s game-winning field goal. Schwartz threw his review flag on Lions’ scoring play–a big no-no in the No Fun League. I didn’t turn this one on until just before the winning field goal, so feel free to include other worthwhile game notes in the comments below. I do know Andre Johnson continued his miraculous return from the grave, which gave my fantasy (or as my brother Jermajesty calls it, “fairytale football”) team an unexpected boost.

Well, there was one other notable thing from the Lions’ game. Ndamukong Suh caused some more trouble with what is at best a very unfortunate accident. As he was falling down at the end of a play, he kicked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the nether regions. Now, an accidental groin shot here and there is to be expected. But given Suh’s track record, you can understand why many people suspect this was more than accidental contact. Watch the replay (linked in the article above) and decide for yourself. My take: I think if he really was aiming for the store, then that’s some Matrix-level mobility at work. That said, the flick of his ankle is undeniable and unnatural. So while he might not having been aiming, he was definitely taking a shot.

Thursday’s other two NFL games had some weird similarities to one another. Both started out pretty lopsided, thanks to frequent turnovers and rampant ineptitude. But while the Cowboys managed to claw back and make a game out of it against the Redskins, the Jets never really posed a threat to the Patriots. Love ’em or hate ’em, New England’s 35-point second quarter was one of the more impressive displays of the season.

I think I’ll cut it short there. Enjoy your Black Friday, ICU Saturday, Leftover Sunday, and we’ll see you again on Oh Crap, It’s Monday.

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Northside Archives: Thankful We’re Not Them

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

No, it’s not the most important thing I’m thankful for…probably not even in the Top Ten. But I’m thankful for my Cubs; especially for what they’re not.

Thankful they don’t play home games in a war zone like Chavez Ravine. Thankful the franchise hasn’t become synonymous with the local laboratory co-operative owned and operated by a convicted felon. Thankful they’re not merely a cash poor feeder team with an emphasis on community pandering to stay occasionally competitive. Thankful their traditionally porous pitching staff doesn’t have to deal with Coors Field 81 times a year. Thankful Wrigley doesn’t need a roof to provide fans relief from 100 degree summer days of the Arizona desert…

…or the summer monsoons of Seattle. Thankful they’re not a Billy Beane experiment. Thankful they aren’t the Schaumburg Cubs of Chicago. Thankful their lineup cards aren’t casually dusted with cocaine. Thankful they aren’t so insignificant as to be shuffled between leagues while no one notices.

Thankful they aren’t the hated, free-spending whores in the Bronx. Thankful they aren’t owned by Peter Angelos. Thankful they didn’t trade half their roster to the Dodgers; or take on half the roster of the Marlins. Thankful Cub fans don’t need to be coerced to show up at the park…

…or that when they do, it’s not to a publicly financed stadium occupied by a team with zero financing. Thankful we didn’t just reduce our best player to a spectator, only to join him after defeat, left wondering ‘what if?’ Thankful we weren’t crippled by Bernie Madoff. Thankful the predominant cheer isn’t a ridiculous gesture that some have interpreted as racially insensitive. Thankful not to be affiliated with Philly in any way.

Thankful our fountains in the outfield aren’t more famous than the team. Thankful our heyday didn’t involve a womanizing CF who routinely jumped into outfield trashbags. Thankful not to be identified geographically as ‘the mistake by the lake.’ Thankful we didn’t nickname our stadium after a prison so the nightly attendance would feel more welcome. Thankful we don’t have a flamboyant and almost universally hated closer like Jose Valverde…

…or a former owner as incompetent, unlikable, and needlessly foul-mouthed as Allan Huber Selig. Thankful we’re not still employing Dusty Baker. Thankful Sister Sledge didn’t write our victory anthem. Thankful we didn’t have this conversation in jorts while cursing our beloved superstar of last year.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

by John Dewan

Life is short and we should always be thankful for all that we have. Those of us who work on Stat of the Week are thankful for all of you, our loyal readers. Here are some numbers in the baseball world that we are also thankful for.

42,990 – That is the number of games played in Major League Baseball since the last labor dispute ended in 1995. MLB is enjoying its longest stretch without a work stoppage since the MLBPA formed in 1953.

6,200,000 – That is what perennial backup catcher David Ross will earn with his new two-year contract with the Boston Red Sox. In four seasons with Atlanta, Ross accumulated close to a full season of at-bats and produced well offensively. His .816 OPS is comparable to some of the better hitting catchers including Carlos Santana and Miguel Montero, albeit in a third of the plate appearances. However, it is defensively where Ross stands out. Ross has saved the Braves 11 runs with his defense, buoyed by throwing out 47 of 127 potential basestealers. His 37.0 caught stealing percentage barely trails five-time Fielding Bible Award winner Yadier Molina, who threw out 37.6 percent of runners over the same time period. Hopefully, his new contract is an indication of an increase in playing time. Ross definitely deserves it.

45 – That is the number of years it had been since a batter had won a Triple Crown before Miguel Cabrera managed the feat in 2012. From 1922 to 1967, also 45 years, there were 11 Triple Crown seasons turned in by nine different players: Rogers Hornsby (twice), Chuck Klein, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Joe Medwick, Ted Williams (twice), Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, and Carl Yastrzemski. Cabrera is between a couple of his Triple Crown predecessors, Mickey Mantle and Frank Robinson, with 3,177 total bases before age 30, which is eighth-best all-time. With continued health and production, Cabrera is on track to be one of the best hitters in baseball history.

1 – That is where I rank the team that helps bring you Stat of the Week. These articles may have my name on them, but they would not be possible without all of their hard work. Thank you Charles Fiore, Ben Jedlovec, Amanda Modelski and Scott Spratt. You guys are fantastic!

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,”

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