Archive for January, 2013

Go: What’s in a Name?

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

There have been so many great baseball names over the years, some past and some present: Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Razor Shines, Coco Crisp … the Cubs even have a few of their own right now: Rebel Ridling, Trey McNutt, Austin Bibens-Dirxx (oh nevermind, he’s moved on.)

Today we’re going to each create our very own baseball star names, among others. As examples I also created my own names (in parentheses.)

  • Baseball Star Name = Brand name of your favorite beer + action verb. (Coors Biking)
  • TV Weather Anchor Name = Any relative’s name + a major city starting with the same letter. (Joan Jacksonville)
  • Hippie Name = Favorite flower + favorite tree. (Daffodil Dogwood)
  • Movie Star Name = Grandmother/Grandfather’s first name + something celestial. (Olga Moon)
  • Stripper Name = Favorite cologne (perfume if you’re female) + favorite fruit. (Lovely Lime)
  • Exotic Foreign Alias = A favorite spice + last vacation spot you visited. (Parlsey Mackinac)
  • Rock Star Name = Any car you’ve ever owned + the color of any wall in your home. (Pinto Brown)
  • Porn Name = Any pet’s name (current or former) + any street you’ve ever lived on. (Twilight Kidder)

Your turn!

This week’s Go column was inspired by an idea submitted by Seymour Butts. Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to and she’ll see what she can do!

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GirlieView (01/24/2013)

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

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 2013 = 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!


  • In short, this year’s Hall of Fame vote is a joke, and the BBWAA needs to do something to fix it in the future, or the BBWAA’s power in voting for postseason awards and the Hall of Fame needs to be made much more limited.
  • The problem is that writers are the voters.
  • But the best way is numbers driven, and leave the voting out altogether.
  • Some guy named Buss, D got 13 votes. Played in Kansas City back in the 60’s when they wore those heavy wool uniforms, he wouldn’t shower after games no one would room with the guy. He was the first big leaguer to have his own room on the road. Crazy like a fox that Buss, D was.
  • The devil bowed his head because he knew that he’d been beat.He laid that golden keyboard on the ground at Jswan’s feet.Jswan said: “Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again.”cause I told you once, you son of a gun, I’m the best Lizzie that’s ever been.”
  • I try to come in 7th in everything I do.
  • Don’t forget about the little guys on your way to 7th
  • “I sure miss Koyie Hill.”
  • “And Carlos Marmol slams the door in the ninth.”
  • “You give me nine Jeff Bakers and I’ll give you the pennant.”
  • “Jeff Samardzija’s hair looks fine the way it is.”
  • “The fans did a super job with this year’s All Star Game voting.”
  • “Man, these guys are fun to watch!”
  • “Starlin Castro plays focused, precise defense.”
  • “That 1908 was a great year.”
  • “Raker was right”
  • “Thanks for dinner Seymour, you didn’t have to pick up the check.”
  • “Thanks to the Astros, at least we’re not the worst team in the NL Central”
  • “Why isn’t Dan Vogelbach starting in LF today?”
  • “I’m sure getting my money’s worth with this Old Style”
  • “Wow – the beer’s cheap here at Wrigley”
  • “Pennant winning Chicago Cubs”
  • “Is it Hisanori Takahashi or Kyuji Fujikawa bobble-head day?”
  • “Theo seems to be ahead of schedule”
  • “Man I’m only doing this for the Lizzies!”
  • “The Cubs are currently the most-feared team in the NL Central Division.”
  • Lizzie and Katie- their baseball acumen and grasp of my genius makes them very attractive.
  • Anything to be awarded a Lizzie. :)
  • we’re now just one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to camp.
  • Kosuke signed on with the Matt Murton Bryan LaHair sitcom, Kosuke will play the knowledgeable local to Murton’s and LaHair’s antics of hilarity. He will deliver zingers much like Murray delivers with Ted Baxter of WMJ News of Minneapolis.
  • That episode where Murton fills the Gatorade cooler with green tea is a classic.
  • The other guys who do long division by hand all day and I were just talking about that at work.
  • Lose your slide rule?
  • I left it in my other pocket protector.
  • the difference between a Disney worker and a Carney is what?
  • Valid point.  Carneys may not have health and retirement, but at least they get to choose which bitchin’ tunes blast through the tilt-o-whirl sound system.
  • A Carney is art.
  • Here you go.  When someone references isotopes of carbon, you can nod your head knowingly instead of acting like a toddler and questioning the usefulness of something you don’t understand.
  • Former Cubs outfielder headcase Milton Bradley faces up to thirteen years in jail if he’s convicted on domestic abuse charges. “Wow. Never saw that coming.” said absolutely no one.
  • Armstrong cheating? You could have knocked me over with a bulldozer.
  • If I had a quarter for every time I saw a proposed trade for Justin Upton this offseason that involved the D-Backs receiving a return approximating the other team’s fourth, seventh and twelfth best prospects, well… I’d have a wide array of quarters.
  • don’t expect the Cubs to be able to get a pitcher like David Price for Dan Vogelbach, Robert Whitenack and Matt Szczur.
  • But if by some miracle the Cubs start out scoring 4-5 runs/game…
  • things more likely than the Cubs making the playoffs: 6.  Milton Bradley as the next “Bachelor”
  • 10) Seymour drops weight by switching to toasted subs
  • Good read. I will be happy with 75-80 wins. Anything over that I am going to check to see if Lance Armstrong is on the team training staff.
  • Note to Lizzie (and other gals): A number of guys do carry tape measures around. Though this peters off as we age, having a measuring device to dick around with is common. Our tools are important.
  • My first thought was, “stop giving at bats to automatic outs like Barney and Valbuena,” but in all honesty, what other options do they have? Vitters? Stewart? Lillibridge?
  • Bring back Reed Johnson to play hard.
  • it’s nice to have an owner–one of the first in quite a while–who doesn’t have his hand out begging for money from the local government.
  • There aren’t any condos available in Del Boca Vista.  They went like hotcakes.
  • These wives need to understand that everything they say or write is on the record. Not bad advice for everybody.


VFTB Movies

Eyes of Laura Mars – Doc becomes smitten with a new patient named Laura who has recently moved from her native planet filled with women only,to a new planet populated by men only.

Mr. Magoo – Seymoor(nicknamed Butts for his creative excuses about his woeful hitting)discovers the real reason for his Mendoza line problem and goes to see his teammate for an exam.

The Curse of Lizzie Borden – Lizzie eats some bad ice cream and becomes obsessed with tracking down and butchering the cow that produced the bad milk.

Jeremiah Johnson – Jeremiah becomes delusional and wanders the wilderness thinking he’s Robert Redford.

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father – Eddie becomes jealous when his father is courted by the Wisconsin cola girl.

The Buddy Holly Story – Buddy’s neighbors become annoyed when at Christmas time Buddy discovers a unique talent for singing Klingon opera.

Napoleon and Josephine – Josephine falls for a short French guy who has a rash on his abdomen.

Star Wars:Episode VI Return of the Jedi – Jedi loses his receipt and has trouble returning his defective 11 inch light saber.

Noah’s Arc – Noah gets sued by an animal rights organization.

The Fast and the Furious – In this romantic comedy, Katie becomes furious when she finds out her fiance is running around with other women.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Joe,over root beers with his writers,wrestles with the idea of adding color to his amazing website.He ultimately rejects the idea realizing that many of his posters are already color commentators.

Child’s Play – Chuck believes predicting baseball is child’s play and tries to kill anyone who disagrees with his predictions.

VFTB Upcoming Attractions

DougS – In this new movie from the Science Channel we follow the life of Doug and his clone.

Cheers:The Movie – From the Syfy channel the old gang from Cheers is reunited.Norm becomes trapped in a repeating time loop where he walks into the bar and everyone calls out his name.He finally frees himself using statistical data.

Jswanson – From the animal planet station we follow the life of Jay,the male offspring of a swan family living on lake Michigan.

Cap’n Obvious – From the Discovery Channel we follow the explorations of a ship’s captain who gives orders to a crew who already know what he’s going to say before he says it.In the highly dramatic final scene the captain nearly runs over a family of swans.

In this new psychological thriller from Disney(untitled as the name keeps changing)we keep track of this Disney worker as he polls people in line at Disney with fasinating questions such as:Can you choose your own nickname or is it given to you? Is science useful?


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

Shout Outs

Congratulations to the following folks who contributed their very first 2013 Lizzie! Aaron

  • Allan
  • Josephine
  • LVCubFan
  • Mark_from_Toronto
  • mrbaseball2usa
  • wisconsinjpc

Top Ten of 2013 (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Doc Raker
4. Buddy
5. Eddie von White
5. Gymjok
7. Jedi Johnson
7. Joe Aiello
7. Noah Eisner
10. Verncrowe5

Chit Chat

If you were forced to turn in your Cub-fan membership card and pick another team to follow, which would it be?

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Morning Update: All Your Uptons Are Belong to Atlanta (Maybe)

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

We’ve approached that time in the offseason when things generally seem to slow down. Most of the significant free agents have already signed, and those that have not signed could be unclaimed until late into February in the hopes that Scott Boras was correct when he told Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse they would get big money this year. But there a few pieces of fairly significant news that happened over the past couple of days.

Justin Upton to Atlanta? The big rumor yesterday was that the Braves and D-Back are close on a deal that would ship Justin Upton to the Braves. Who the Braves would give up has not really been hammered down, but it has been reported that young stud shortstop Andrelton Simmons would not be a part of the deal. However, odds are that at least one of the Braves elite pitching prospects (I’d bet on Julio Teheran being a part of the deal) would go to the D-Backs.

The Braves already picked up the elder Upton brother, B.J., in free agency to play center field. Picking up Justin would give the Braves what would probably be the best outfield in baseball, at least considering offense and defense together, and would give them an offense that would rival anyone in the National League. I’d still give the edge in the NL East to the Nationals because I like their pitching staff more, but it would not be by much.

Delmon Young ends the Alfonso Soriano to the Phillies Rumors. The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one year, $750,000 deal on Tuesday. While the money is nothing, the thought that Delmon Young could play enough in the field to be worth a roster spot at this point is almost comical. However, this does mean that the Phillies probably would not be looking at Alfonso Soriano, at least to start the season.

The Bulls have been playing well despite not having Derrick Rose available for a single minute of game time thus far. With Rose nearing a return, the Bulls could be better off in the long run for not having had Rose. At this point, the Bulls are only a half game behind the Pacers in the division and one game out of the 2 seed in the East. And a couple of players have really taken Rose’s absence to step up the game, most notably Jimmy Butler. Butler, who was the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, could end up being the best value pick of that draft.

Late Update: The Cubs have signed right handed outfielder Scott Hairston to what is reported to be a two year, $6 million deal. This likely means that the Cubs will be running strict platoons in both right field and center field, with Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus batting against right handed pitchers and Dave Sappelt and Hairston batting against left handed starters. Those could both be above average platoons, and all three of Schierholtz, DeJesus and Hairston would be easily tradeable if they put up solid showings.

Although this will put a crimp in the style of the Tony Campana lovers. Barring trade or injury, he will almost certainly be heading back to Iowa. As I’m of the mind that Campana will never do enough at the plate to take advantage of his speed, I don’t mind the Cubs deciding they don’t want to use the 25 man roster spot on Campana.

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Who Would You Invest In?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013


Last week we looked at the players who were arbitration eligible and we talked a little about what I would do with each of those scenarios. None of the three got long term deals, but all are in the fold with one year contracts. That, coupled with an article (subscription required) by Jim Bowden has me thinking about which of the players in the organization I’d be interested in locking up long term. I qualify that by saying that I look at these players in a vacuum without regard to current contract because there is no telling what the future holds in regards to players acquired via trade, draft or free agency. I’m simply looking at these guys based on what we know and deciding who I’d invest in if everyone was a free agent going forward.

Starlin Castro – Note that Castro is already locked up to a long term deal, so this is assuming he wasn’t. I believe he can be a top five shortstop in the Majors as he continues to develop. I think the power will continue to blossom, eventually leading to a season along the lines of .300 / .350 / .480 with 25 HR, 35 doubles and 15 steals. That is great production out of a shortstop, especially considering his age. I also don’t believe those numbers are more than two years away. The time would be now to put your chips in and invest in Castro as a building block of the future. The only downside I see is that I don’t project him as a 3-4-5 hitter in the lineup, so it’s a lot of capital to invest in a guy that may hit 2nd or 6th, but I’d act on it.

Anthony Rizzo – If Jed and Theo, particularly Jed, believe that strongly in Rizzo, and it’s obvious they do considering they picked him in Boston, traded for him in San Diego and then traded for him in Chicago, then take the production we saw last year (particularly that of AAA) and lock him in as the biggest run producer on this team going forward and surround him with pieces in a quest for a title.

Jeff Samardzija – I wrote it in the piece linked above and I’m going to write it again. I’m all for a four year deal for Samardzija. I believe in his talent and I think we’re going to see more improvement this year. There were times last year he was flat out unhittable and I think that’s just the tip of the talent he has. It’s so important to remember how little he focused on baseball in college. It was his second sport. Now it’s his primary focus and we’re seeing the light go on. I’d lock him up.

That’s my three. I want to hear from you. Am I crazy? Am I missing someone? Let’s hear it.



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Morning News: Rising Taxes, Angry Wives, and Violent Lemurs

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

How was your Martin Luther King Jr. Day? I hope it went better for you than it did for these people.

Let’s start with a little Cubs news, shall we? During last weekend’s Cubs Convention, the team revealed the broad strokes of their long-awaited plans to renovate Wrigley Field. The $300M project would take five years to complete, working during the offseason so as not to cost the team any home games. The renovations include ripping out the concrete in the lower seating bowl to gut and reconstruct the existing clubhouses, as well as adding underground batting cages, training and weight rooms, and generally updating the players’ facilities. They also plan to remove the roof and alter the upper deck, expanding the luxury boxes and press areas, expanding the roof deck above the marquee, widening the concourses, and expanding the concession area to ease pre- and post-game congestion in and out of the park. The team would also like add another LED scoreboard in left field (similar to the one they installed this year in right field) and add a standing room only deck above the bleachers down the third base line. You can see some early renderings of their plans here.

The plan is to accomplish all that without any public money–it sounds like they’ve officially abandoned the idea of an extra amusement tax or some other way to get the city or the state to pick up the tab. In return however, the Ricketts have asked that the city ease some of the restrictions placed on Wrigley Field under its designation as a historical landmark. The team has taken umbrage–and I believe rightly so–that the oversight of the city directly inhibits their ability to use their stadium to generate revenue. It’s a good deal for the city–rather than further wringing funds from an already cash-strapped community, they can simply ease back on the oversight and let the Ricketts’ foot the bill. And while I’m not eager to see Wrigley Field swathed in advertising, I don’t believe Tom Ricketts wants to see that either. And whether you like the plans or not, it’s nice to have an owner–one of the first in quite a while–who doesn’t have his hand out begging for money from the local government.

Speaking of money, Phil Mickelson has hinted that the new tax increases are forcing him to make some drastic changes, which he will announce later this week. Some people expect he plans to move from his home state of California, since we Californians doubled down on our tax increases this year. Others think he might be considering retirement altogether. You’ll remember it wasn’t all that long ago Mickelson was considering buying an ownership stake in the San Diego Padres–he confirmed Sunday that he backed out of the deal because of the same concerns about the changes to his tax situation.

After all my grousing in this space about the many failures of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, you can imagine how relieved I was that this past weekend saw the return of hockey and my beloved Blackhawks, who kicked off the season with not one but two convincing wins, trouncing the reigning champion Kings 5-2 after they raised their Stanley Cup banner on Saturday, and holding off the Coyotes 6-4 Sunday night. It’s legitimately hard to put into words how much I hate basketball, so the timely return of hockey is a welcome reprieve from what looked to be a bleak winter of sports.

You may remember that after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl last year, Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen made some disparaging comments about his teammates lack of effort, with one particular barb directed at receiver Wes Welker. This year, it was Welker’s wife’s turn, as she posted some criticisms of Ray Lewis on her Facebook page. Her post has since been taken down, but you can read the quotes in this article, along with the apology she issued today. Here’s the thing–I don’t understand why she had to apologize. She probably could have been more tactful or clever, and she probably shouldn’t have cited Wikipedia as a source. But she’s right that Lewis is a sketchy dude with a shady past, and it shouldn’t be out of bounds to say as much, even in the heat of a poorly chosen moment. Also, let’s congratulate her for not returning the favor and throwing Brady under the bus after another season ends with a loss.

That wasn’t the only bad news for the Patriots Sunday. During the game, New England safety Derrick Martin’s Colorado home was invaded and robbed. Several of Martin’s family and friends were gathered in his home to watch the game, and were held at gunpoint by the robbers.

Finally, keep your lemurs locked up and your loved ones out of harm’s way.

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