Archive for November, 2012

Morning News: Road Trip Edition

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

You’ll have to forgive he lack of detail (not that you’d necessarily notice)–I’m on the road this week for a family reunion/Thanksgiving celebration in Oklahoma. If I’ve overlooked something interesting or worthwhile, it’s not negligence–I probably just don’t know about it.

The Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract with relief pitcher Shawn Camp. Hooray? 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.

As I write this Monday night, I’m actively ignoring the Bears vs. 49ers game debacle. I know our readership is fairly divided when it comes to football loyalties–some of you may just want to jump ahead (and feel free to petition some of our other writers to devote some space to your favorite team). In simple terms (for the sake of any Packer fans still reading–zing!), the 2012 Bears of perhaps the most all-or-nothing team I’ve ever seen. When it’s all going right, hey look like hyper-dominant world-beaters. But toy with their delicate recipe in even the smallest way, and it results in a complete and total meltdown. Could we rally and still win the NFC North? Absolutely. Could we have already enjoyed our last win of the season? Certainly seems possible. I believe we can beat anyone in league, but there’s not one team I’m absolutely sure we’d beat every time. Schizophrenic is not how you want to describe your teams. It seems to be a constant with the Bears. The final score on the pantsing, 32-7. Woof.

Some small good news for Bears fans: Mike Ditka is back home after suffering a minor stroke. He was even able to appear on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown.

Big news for Big 10 fans: Maryland and Rutgers are joining your beloved “Legends and Leaders.” That will take the Big 10 up to fourteen teams, so look for more additions in the near future (sixteen is kind of the magic number when it comes to super conferences). Any guesses as to who the next additions will be? And for you Big 10 fans, is this good news?

Ed Reed received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Steelers’ receiver Emmanuel Sanders. I didn’t see the hit, so I can’t say if the suspension was earned. What say you?

The NHL might have a proposal soon. Full disclosure: I didn’t read this story. I have very little hope left that there will be a season in 2012, and stories like this just seem like a tease at this point.

David Beckham is hanging up his shinguards, at least stateside. Yawn.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Morning News: NCAA BChaoS, Potty Mouth Bud, and Scarf This Down

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Let’s start here and perhaps avoid some of the ugliness from the Cubs Only crowd. At the end of last week, the Cubs agreed with Dioner Navarro on a 1-year deal that effectively makes him no worse than our backup catcher. Former MLB pitcher and current AAAAstros announcer Jim Deshaies is one of the few remaining names that hasn’t withdrawn from consideration as the Cubs new TV analyst (to replace the Arizona-bound Bob Brenly). He interviewed with the Cubs over the weekend. Rumors have the Cubs interested in Kyuji Fujikawa, a true free agent from Japan (no posting fee). Fujikawa is a reliever, and it’s my opinion he’ll likely wind up elsewhere. But if all of that still is not enough, Fat Dan Vogelbach gave Carrie Muskat an interview – reportedly in return he was provided with a crazy amount of buffalo wings and Ho-Hos.

Total carnage in NCAA football this week, #1 (Kansas State), #2 (Oregon) both lost. That means the remaining undefeated teams are Notre Dame and The (Ineligible For Postseason Play) Ohio State University. Notre Dame gets the sputtering Trojans of USC; a win and they’re in the title game. Alabama crawled up to #2, but they’ll have to vanquish Georgia in the SEC title game. It seems as if the winner of that game will be Notre Dame’s foe, but if the BCS has taught us anything it’s that we have no idea what next week brings.

Overtime reigned supreme on Sunday, three of the early games went to OT (with the Cowboys, Texans, and Buccaneers picking up wins in those games). All of the late afternoon games were beatdowns. The Bears need a win on MNF in San Francisco without Jay Cutler in order to stay a game up on the Packers (who won in Detroit in spite of Mason Crosby’s right leg).

Allan Huber Selig
You know how when you did something wrong as a child, your parents would call you out by your full name to let you know you were in it deep? I’m looking at you Allan Huber Selig. Reportedly, Bud was recently asked again about the prospect of the Oakland A’s moving to San Jose. It’s a question that Bay Area residents know well – kind of how Los Angeles residents have a constant dialogue about which NFL team they’d to send moving trucks for, or Vegas residents who continue the fantasy of a professional sports team taking up residence in the city sometime during this millennium. Bud doesn’t really like the Oakland to San Jose question because it’s one that makes him look rather impotent and incompetent. He hasn’t the power nor the acumen to resolve the situation to anyone’s satisfaction; he’s been unable to secure any type of permanent (and adequate) facility for the A’s in either city. Well Bud was particularly testy when asked, he replied to the reporter that he’d ‘be disappointed if you didn’t ask’ but that the reporter ‘wasn’t going to get a f****** answer.’ I’m not sure he necessarily needed that kind of answer, just a normal answer probably would’ve been good enough. (Since we’re talking about Selig, it’s incredible to me that he’s NOT the worst active sports commissioner. Gary Bettman of the NHL has him beat by a mile, and that’s really saying something.)

A Scarf You’ll Want To Eat
Now if they can somehow make pieces of bacon that big, create someway to cook them, and then install said cooking device in my backyard/kitchen/bedroom (all of the above?)…I’d be happy.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Morning News: Healthy Pitchers, Spare Catchers, and a Lesser Affleck

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Good news here: Matt Garza’s return is on schedule, and he’s been cleared to resume his regular off-season regime. Unless another trade partner emerges for Carlos Marmol, Garza remains the Cubs’ most valuable and most likely candidate for a mid-season trade. If he can bounce back from an injury-shortened season, he ought to bring a nice haul somewhere around the trade deadline.

In other Cubs news, the team signed former All-Star catcher Dioner Navarro Thursday. A little veteran pressure for Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger isn’t a bad thing. For now I’ll assume that either one of them will be the starter, with Navarro as the back up.

The MVP awards were announced Thursday. Buster Posey won, making him the first catcher to win the NL award in more than four decades. And in what’s sure to be a controversial decision, Triple Crown slugger Miguel Cabrera won for the AL.

Casey Affleck–real-life brother of Ben Affleck and fake brother of Scott Caan in the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies–has signed on to write and direct a film based on the life of Josh Hamilton. The movie will be based on Hamilton’s autobiography, Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back.

My hopes for any kind of hockey season this year are fading fast. It can’t be a good sign when the league commissioner’s plan is to completely halt talks for the next two weeks. It’s like he’s trying to prove the crazy conspiracy theory that he was put in place by David Stern to ensure the NHL never becomes more popular than the NBA.

Another Thursday night, another uninspiring NFL game. The Bills held off the Dolphins in a slap fight, despite some late charges from Miami. Ryan Tannehill killed both late-game drives with untimely interceptions–a trend he brought with him from his college days. I think Miami fans have good reason to expect big things in the future from their rookie QB. But right now, with a porous line in front of him, it might be too much to expect consistent late-game heroics from him.

O’Hare Airport is an awful, awful place.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

GirlieView (11/15/2012)

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

A nice slow week around these parts.

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!


  • Ian Stewart proved he is not an impact hitter
  • Ian Stewart proved he is not a hitter.
  • Your ideas are obviously well-thought-out.  Not sure you belong here.
  • I would love to be a fly on the wall at Brandon Phillips house- I bet he used curse words when he found out Barney gets the Gold.
  • Oh no.  Please disregard everything we say.
  • I’m just relieved you didn’t take Seymour’s advice with respect to your Halloween costume.
  • Live a little.
  • Any relation to Jeff Baker?
  • Distant cousin from a small Mediterranean island.  They shared an apartment.
  • Do Laverne and Shirley stop by?
  • They were pulling the cool Baker in a speedboat when he ski-jumped over Smarja.
  • I think I’ve identified the problem. You still get your news from the papers.
  • I understand they now allow newspapers on airplanes as well.
  • I’m outraged.  A rolled-up newspaper is nearly as lethal as a box cutter.
  • Major League Baseball continues to move toward expanding instant replay at a glacial pace.
  • After namining one of his sons Jermajesty, Jermaine Jackson should have had his naming liscense taken away.
  • Jer, Jedi, and Jermajesty Johnson.
  • Funny story–my parents almost named me Jermajesty, but then they stopped huffing paint.
  • Imagine trying to get a job interview if your name was Jermajesty Johnson…probably not going to happen.  You’d have to change it to something more professional, like Jermajusty Johnsun.
  • Do the Hanson Brothers still play for the Chiefs?
  • I think they started a band.
  • I’d need to get the prospect I think is number 4 in the system to pull the trigger at this point.
  • I’ve always had the feeling that they and Dale know what button to push to motivate Sori.


  • Now that the 2012 season is officially over (remind me to send God a thank you note on that)


  • Congragulations to jswanson, the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around!

2012 Top Ten YTD

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

Chit Chat

I can’t believe we’re only one week from Thanksgiving. What’s your favorite aspect of the holiday? Food? Family? Football? Some other F word I’m not remembering to mention? Tell us your traditions.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Morning News: Cy Young Awards and Marlins Fire Sale

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Cy Young Awards- The Cy Young Award winners were announced on Wednesday, with David Price winning in the AL and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey nabbing the award in the NL.  Both of these guys were very, very good pitchers this year, although I’d argue that both of the 2011 award winners, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, should have repeated. Sweet Spot guru David Schoenfield posted an excellent piece on regarding why Verlander should have won.

The short version is that Price beat Verlander because Price’s win-loss record, which is not a strong indicator of how good a pitcher is or is not, was 20-5 while Verlander’s record was 17-8. Verlander pitched 27 more innings and had the better strikeout and walk rates.  However, Price had an excellent season in his own right, so you can’t spite him the award, although I can be annoyed that more attention was paid to win-loss record than statistics that are more indicative of success.

Dickey and Kershaw were in a similar situation. Dickey had a great season, Kershaw’s was slightly better. But Dickey had the incredible narrative. A former fireballing top prospect, Dickey has found his greatest Major League success in his mid to late 30s as a knuckleballer. And this season Dickey put up previously unheard of strikeout rates by a knuckleballer.

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

The Marlins Fire Sale- The Marlins have been heavily criticized in the past 24 hours, and I generally see why. First, Jeffrey Loria has a long history of cost cutting moves like these. Second, the Marlins have an even longer history of it. Third, Loria made promises to Miami that he would run the franchise differently upon receiving a sweetheart deal for public financing of the Marlins’ new stadium, even by the standards of the sweet public financing deals most teams are getting for building new stadiums.

I do think, however, one element is left out of this story: the Marlins generally spent stupidly last offseason. Jose Reyes’ deal could be a good one if he stays anywhere near healthy, but that’s not a strong bet. And if his legs go, his value could fall through the floor. I like Buehrle and advocated the Cubs trying to sign him last offseason, but the Marlins significantly overpaid him. And the Heath Bell signing was just stupidity.

Let’s say the Marlins hadn’t traded anyone over the last 12 months. Let’s say they still had Anibal Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and everyone they just traded away to Toronto. Where would you predict the Marlins would have finished in the NL East in 2013? My prediction would be fourth.

This isn’t to say that the Marlins shouldn’t be criticized. But, just as much as they should be criticized for the fire sale, they should be criticized for spending stupidly on a $100 million team that needed far too much to go right in 2012 to legitimately expect to compete.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: