Archive for December, 2012

GirlieView (12/26/2012)

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

And there you have it. 2012 is all but in the books and we made it through another tough Cubs season … the worst since before I was born in fact. And yet we’re all still here, enjoying the banter and yes, just a wee bit excited already for 2013! I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your wit and wisdom this past year. And I wish all of you a wonderful 2013.

Some admin stuff … this is the final GirlieView of the year. Full 2012 stats are shown below, and include comments through December 24. The scoring slates were wiped clean on Christmas morning and the final days of 2012 will be rolled into 2013. Good luck to all!

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!

Lizzies

  • as bad as this last year or so has been for this team, you know for a fact that all of us will be super excited come opening day, even if it’s just for that day.
  • Bring on the Cubs and their dysfunctions!
  • In the article we are reminded that Alf vetoed a trade to the WS champs last fall. This may make him more receptive to moving on this year. A poll of patients in the waiting room yielded no solid majority.
  • Do you own any of his videos? The Shark Does Houston, Jugs and My Fast Balls- a cult classic.
  • Soriano to the Phillies. Joe, that was not very nice. You should say you’re Sori for that.
  • I think the Cubs should sign me. I just got a cortisone shot in my arm for elbow tendonitis. My upside is that I could become like the kid from Rookie of the Year. I’ll sign for the league minimum. No harm done.
  • In the word of Marv Albert: “Yesssssssssss!!”
  • In other words of Marv Albert: “I’m a biter”
  • Couldn’t sneeze, couldn’t cough, couldn’t blow my nose – that is snot any fun.
  • Doc, I’m just saying a quick goodbye to my son, my mansion, and my robot butler. Be there soon.
  • We got work to do Jeremiah.
  • …looks like I’ll finish in arrears to Butts
  • It turns out I’m not comfortable with a Johnson directly over my shoulder.
  • Beats being surrounded by Johnsons alone with Raker
  • Or having one in your arrears?
  • Lizzie seems to favor those that are short and quick.  You’ve got nothing to worry about.
  • Why thank you, you must have spoken with Raker.
  • Six inch BLT’s on Seymour! On tuscan rustic toasted.
  •  I am married so avoiding shopping at Christmas costs too much!
  • I thought Justin was already neutered.
  • I don’t really like 5-year deals for pitchers.  The injury risk is just too great.
  • Like in years 4 and 5 when Anibal becomes Annabelle
  • What? Is that Justin Bieber guy gonna neuter him too?
  • That Bieber thing was ill-conceived…whoever was collecting $2,500 per testis apparently isn’t familiar with the following equation: 0 x $2,500 = 0
  • What time is it? It’s hug time!
  • I am thankful my family is safe and healthy and I will say prayers to help those families struck by such evil.
  • I have a wife who doesn’t put up with my crap.
  • And, I am thankful for our VFTB family who because of and in spite of our differing views, add insight, entertainment, challenge, and laughter to my day, every day.
  • You can’t legislate away the crazy people, no matter how enticing that sounds.
  • if they miss the playoffs after starting 7-1 (and it seems likely that they will) I doubt Lovie Smith and his coaching staff will avoid the metaphorical guillotine.
  • ever notice how Lizzie’s avatar sort of looks like Carrie Muskat?   Huh.  Interesting…
  • Yes of course, One Direction. You dig them too?
  • Is that the band Drew Breeze is in?
  • Jim Rockford got himself into another mess with the police, with a little nifty PI work he was able to get out of it but not with many twists and turns. I think Jimbo should work in the Cubs front office. Jimbo would get some trades done.
  • You must do the honorable thing to save face Lizziesan.
  • You two should do a regular offering in which you argue about former Cubs.  I’d like to hear some bickering about DeRo…maybe a little Michael Barrett spat.
  • You want to moderate that?
  • Fresh out of gavels.  Sorry man.
  • Perhaps you’re confused about ‘top’ vs ‘bottom’ or is it just a healthy desire to keep that chip on your shoulder.
  • It sure would be a better world if we all could do a better job of not judging, criticizing or sending hate mail to someone who is simply expressing their feelings, whether you agree with them or not.
  • what can I do to make it a better world?
  • Be kind to people and handle your shit.  Nothing unreasonable…that’s it.
  • There is nothing offensive about exploring your own beliefs. The only thing that is offensive is the point of view that those who don’t share your particular brand of belief, is evil.
  • We should do onto others as you would have them do onto you because it is the right way to live.
  • A wise man once said two hours ago, “Be kind to people and handle your shit.”
  • I also want to thank Joe for allowing us this forum to discuss such issues. We will never all agree but the respectful exchange of ideas and views is much appreciated and cathartic for me. I am thankful for all my VFTB friends and wish you all a Merry Christmas and to Seymour a very Happy Festivus.
  • Great post and greater conversation.
  • I’m flying on the 21st, so if the Mayan’s are right, it’s been a pleasure to know you all. If they are wrong, more banter to follow.
  • Right or wrong, I’d be offended if you didn’t double up on the cheese and add bacon to your airport sub just in case.
  • Maybe even an E Jax
  • I don’t think E Jax is gonna fly as a nickname.
  • It didn’t feel right when I typed it.
  • It always surprises me how people who live in the Midwest can forget how to drive in snow even though it snows every year.
  • If you’re keeping score at home–and let’s face it, you’re reading a Cubs blog in the dead of the offseason on what’s likely your last day in the office before Christmas, so you probably are–that gives the Cubs plenty of options with which to craft their starting rotation.
  • I wish pitchers and catchers were reporting next week.
  • and yes, I did consider bolting from work and heading down there to stalk Garza and his family around the Happiest Place on Earth
  • I don’t think it has to be one or the other-nice person or winner.There is more than one way of getting something done. One can accomplish more sometimes BY treating others right. A small example is right here on this site. When trying to be a “winner” in a debate we can”not give a damn about anyone’s feelings”,or we can treat people right and actually have a better chance of the other person seeing our different point of view. We all can choose how we phrase our response when we click that reply.
  • you don’t have to be jerk to win.
  • I thought Lizzie was hitting the nog early…
  • #cantrationalizewithalyingfool
  • #exactlyhowifeel

Lizard

  • I heard the best answer to where was God when all this happened.  He was standing next to us accepting these beautiful children and adults into His loving care.

MVL

Congratulations to jswanson the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around, AND the Most Valuable Lizzie’er of 2012!

2012 Final Standings

1. jswanson – 135
2. Jeremiah Johnson – 125
3. Doc Raker – 124
4. Seymour Butts – 113
5. Jedi Johnson – 111
6. cap’n Obvious – 55
7. Buddy – 53
7. Joe Aiello – 53
9. Chuck – 45
10. Eddie Von White – 44
11. Josh Cornwall – 30
12. Doug S. – 28
13. Dustin Godsey – 27
14. Chet – 26
15. Katie – 21
16. gymjok – 20
16. Norm – 20
18. Noah – 15
19. wisconsinjpc – 13
20. Rich Beckman – 12
21. flyslinger2 – 11
22. Verncrowe5 – 10
23. Kris – 9
23. Timothy Scarbrough – 9
25. BLPCB – 6

The following folks had five points each:
Bryan
Cubs Future
Michael Jimenez
Sean_in_Blue
Tom C

These folks had four points each:
Allan
Christopher Allen
Doug Bagley
Jerry in Wisconsin
LVCubFan
mrbaseball2usa
Smitty

Three apiece for these people:
Aaron Camp
Dragon
Dusty Baylor
john

Two Lizzie’s each for these commenters:
Bigcubsfanintx
Bones
bonesinis
chris in illinois
CubbieDude
Darlin_Starlin
Josephine
Joshua Worn
Kizzfastfists
Mark W

And last but by no means least, a special shout out to these fine folks, each of whom contributed a Lizzie in 2012. Thank you for speaking up!
Aaron Yavelberg
Aisle424
Alfred Newman
Bill Mahoney
Bruce Miles
Danny B
David Beyer
Dick Hurtz
Eric Smith
Evan
FourFeathers
Gerg
Hardball Times
Jamie Giffin
Jeremy The Kid Johnson
Joe Janish
Lee
Lee Panas
Mark P.
mbg
Mike Oliver
mike_thoms
MJ
Randall Pennington
randy
Scared Hitless
Scott P
Stephanie Seymour
Tony LaRussa
Tony Soprano

Thanks again to everyone! I’m very much looking forward to 2013!

Chit Chat

My mom used to (make us) do this thing at the end of every year where we would list the three best things that happened to us the prior year, and the three worst things. In most cases the three good things would be much easier to think of than the three bad things thus reinforcing her intended lesson almost every year. It’s a thought provoking little New Year’s tradition if you’d like to try it. But, I’m not here to ask you to share your private and personal 2012. Instead, let’s think of the one best thing about the 2012 Cubs and the one (yes, just one) worst thing. What are your choices?

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The Rotation Might be Different, but the Plan Looks the Same

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

The Cubs have been very busy in the free agent pitching market this offseason. They started by adding starting pitchers Scott Baker and Scott Feldman in November, followed by signing  Japanese relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa. The Cubs likely ended their major offseason pitching acquisitions last week, signing starter Edwin Jackson and swingman Carlos Villanueva to four and two year contracts respectively.

Of the group, Jackson was the only surprise, due to the longer commitment and $52 million total price tag.  But a lot people are talking about this added pitching depth as though the Cubs had no plan for this last year, and that the plan has significantly changed heading into this season.  I don’t think that’s correct.

The argument heading into 2012 was that the Cubs had 7 Major League quality starting pitchers: Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells and Travis Wood. There were of course question marks, particularly in the forms of Volstad and Samardzija. While Volstad could not have been more disappointing, Samardzija exceeded even the most bullish expectations. However, Volstad’s failure combined with Randy Wells’ ineffectiveness due to decreased velocity actually left the Cubs with only 5 legitimate, MLB caliber starters. Then the Cubs traded Maholm and Dempster, Garza went on the DL, and Samardzija hit his innings limit, leaving the Cubs to trot out the likes of Chris Rusin and Justin Germano for a large percentage of their final 60 games or so.

The Cubs again have 7 pitchers who could be viewed as legitimately worthy of turns starting games: Garza, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Baker, Feldman and Villanueva.

But is this a change? Baker and Feldman are clearly question marks, as Baker is coming off of Tommy John Surgery and Feldman has struggled match results to his peripherals (although leaving Arlington could help that). Villanueva has generally struggled as a regular starter, and is viewed by most as more of a multi-innings reliever who has the ability to start a few games here or there.

And how many of these guys are guaranteed to be Cubs on August 1? The current debate du jour in the Cubs blogosphere is if the Cubs should extend or trade Garza. It is also generally presumed that the Cubs will try to move Baker and Feldman for prospects if they succeed. You could very well see a rotation at the end of next season comprised of Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Carlos Villanueva and a question mark, and that’s if no one gets hurt.

Indeed, the only pick up the Cubs made that was different from their prior signings under Epstein and Hoyer was the Edwin Jackson signing, meaning they actually had to pay someone who didn’t appear to be undervalued by the market. I think only 3 things could be taken from that signing: (1) the Cubs think Edwin Jackson is likely to hold his current value as a 3/4 type in a good starting rotation over the next four years; (2) the Cubs think they will need a solid 3/4 starter over the next 4 years, a solid indicator that they intend to compete for the majority of those 4 seasons; and (3) the Cubs are concerned about their ability to develop middle to back end of the rotation starters in the next couple of seasons from the farm system.

But the Edwin Jackson signing should not be taken as a sign that the Cubs are going to shift away from their current strategy of prioritizing the farm system over Major League wins for thew 2013 season. If I had to guess, though, 2014 will be a different story.

On a final note, I hope all of you who celebrate it are having a wonderful Christmas.

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The Best and Worst Defensive Teams in 2012

Monday, December 24th, 2012

by John Dewan

First and most important of all, many blessings to you and your families in this most joyous of seasons.

Back in May, we took a look at team defense a couple of months into the season. Then, the Blue Jays and Rockies were, respectively, the best and worst defensive teams in baseball at that point. They held those positions through the end of the season. Otherwise, there has been a fair bit of shuffling. Let’s take a look at the ranking of teams defensively for the full 2012 season.

Here are the best defensive teams from last season:

The best defensive teams in 2012

Team

Defensive Runs Saved

Toronto Blue Jays

70

Atlanta Braves

70

Los Angeles Angels

55

Boston Red Sox

50

Cincinnati Reds

38

The five best defensive teams found several different ways to make it on the list. The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox played excellent infield defense. For the Blue Jays this included 20 Defensive Runs Saved by Brett Lawrie at third base and 14 by Yunel Escobar at shortstop. The Red Sox benefited from 14 runs saved by Mike Aviles at shortstop, 11 by Dustin Pedroia at second base, and 16 by Adrian Gonzalez at first base.

The Braves and the Angels played excellent outfield defense. The Braves saw a combined 55 Defensive Runs Saved from Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, and Jason Heyward—each of them either first or second at their position in baseball—while the Angels saved 32 of their 55 total runs in center field because of Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos.

The Reds had the best defensive pitching staff. Reds pitchers saved the team 23 runs defensively, which was seven runs better than the Diamondbacks, the closest team to them.

In 2012, we changed the way we account for defensive shifts, giving credit to teams rather than individuals. Here are the teams that gained the most from shifts:

Most runs saved by shifts in 2012

Team

Shifts Runs Saved

Toronto Blue Jays

12

Tampa Bay Rays

10

Cleveland Indians

8

Baltimore Orioles

8

Boston Red Sox

7

The defensive shift is more popular in the American League, especially in the East, where four of the top five top teams reside. Some of that is specific to players. The Indians played in a division with Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder, and the Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox used a lot of defensive shifts against Carlos Pena, David Ortiz, and Mark Teixeira. Those five hitters were the most heavily shifted players in baseball. Still, there are players on every team that should be shifted, and certain teams are taking advantage more than others.

Here are the worst defensive teams from last season:

The worst defensive teams in 2012

Team

Defensive Runs Saved

Colorado Rockies

-87

Houston Astros

-66

Miami Marlins

-47

Cleveland Indians

-43

New York Mets

-42

The Rockies’ defense cost the team 87 runs, the most in baseball by a good margin. They were especially poor on the left side of the infield without a healthy Troy Tulowitzki. A collection of players including Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, and Josh Rutledge combined to cost the Rockies 56 runs at third base and shortstop. Despite their good use of shifts, the Indians were the only American League team in the bottom five.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com

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Morning News: Christmas Eve Edition

Monday, December 24th, 2012

NFL
The AFC participants are settled, seeding is all that’s left to decide. In some order; Houston, Denver, New England, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis are the AFC teams with a shot at the Super Bowl. The NFC picture is clearing up, but not nearly settled. Divisions have been won in Atlanta & Green Bay – the current #1 & #2 seeds. Seattle and San Francisco are both in, but after the Seahawks SNF beatdown of the 49ers in front of the 12th man, Seattle still has an opportunity to win the division. The NFC East is down to the Redskins and Cowboys, who will wrap up the regular season next week on Sunday Night. The winner goes to the playoffs, the loser watches from home (in all likelihood) – sound familiar Cowboy fans? That leaves one Wild Card spot, and it’ll be the Vikings, Bears (both at 9-6), the Giants at 8-7 and whoever loses the Redskins/Cowboys game vying for the single spot.

If the Vikings win they are in. But that’s where it gets interesting, the Vikings meet the Packers who are likely playing for a week off or a rematch with the Vikings in the Wild Card round. The Packers might also consider that if they were to lose, there would be a massive silver lining – a Packers loss eliminates both the Bears and Giants regardless of any other outcome. The Bears and Giants both have early 1pm EST games; the Vikings/Packers tilt is at 4:25pm – those teams might win and then get to watch the Packers roll over and eliminate them. And if the Vikings win, the SNF game between the Redskins and Cowboys is effectively the first playoff game. It’s setup to be a fascinating finale weekend…unless the AFC is where your loyalties lie.

Santa; And Why I Don’t Lie To My Kids
I’ll get right to the point. My kids have never, and will never believe Santa to be real. It’s not a conscious effort to ‘dis-indoctrinate’ them, mind you; but my wife and I remind our little ones from whom they’ve received their various gifts. Whenever our kids start favoring a particular toy, we quickly remind them where it came from and who they should be thanking. If all gifts have been received from someone my kid can identify, ‘Santa’ didn’t bring us jack. And that’s quite the way I prefer it; my kids are getting toys and gifts from friends and family that love them. You keep telling your kids that some fat guy broke into the house and left packages behind – when they have a complex about how no one loves them, or when they get old enough to realize you’ve perpetrated quite the lie don’t come crying to me. Merry Christmas!

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Go: Like a Kid at Christmas

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

What’s your favorite TV Christmas special?

Mine: The Year Without a Santa Claus!

Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to lizzie@viewfromthebleachers.com and she’ll see what she can do!

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