Archive for March, 2013

Morning News: One Week To Go

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Seven Days Away
Next Monday the Cubs take the field in the season opener against Pittsburgh. Dale has Castro penciled in as the No. 2 hitter. And Rafael Dolis was eliminated as a contender for the final bullpen spot; that is now down to Zach Putnam, Cory Wade, and Hisanori Takahashi.

Not A Good Sign…
Your high-priced 1B is in a steep decline. Your high-priced 3B is embroiled in yet another PED scandal. Your high-priced SS is old, has no range, is coming off a broken ankle, and you are forced to trot him out there until he willingly quits. Your high-priced CF was hurt in his first spring game and probably won’t return until May (or later). Your closer, returning after a year off from injury, is 42 years old and in his final season. So what do you do Brian Cashman? Acquire the AL’s albatross, Vernon Wells. What’s amazing is that the move probably makes the Yankees better, at least until Granderson returns. If I was a betting man, I’d expect Girardi to retire in late-July/early-August only to be replaced by a hairless no-name who likes to bet the ponies.

Brackets Busted
Did you know that Florida Gulf Coast was younger than you (well maybe most of you) – established in 1997? Did you have them in the Sweet Sixteen? They are the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet Sixteen. For good measure, there’s a 12 (Oregon), a 9 (Wichita State) and a 13 (La Salle) all crashing the tournament’s second weekend as well.

Useful Shot That
Play the ball where it lies; and Sergio Garcia did exactly that…after he climbed the tree, located his ball, and hit it back into the fairway while facing the wrong direction and hitting one-handed.

Spectacular Wreck
I think it’s totaled.

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Go: Dinnertime!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

You have the opportunity to dine with any Cub, past or present. Who do you choose? Where do you go? What do you eat?

This Go question was submitted by Allan (thanks Allan!) 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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Morning News: Friday Mop Up

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Not a ton of news coming out of Cubs camp lately. Expect another round of roster cuts sometime today. Bruce Levine says Matt Garza is pain free and about ready to start throwing off the mound again. Alfonso Soriano thinks the Cubs have as a good a chance as anyone, provided they get off to a hot start.

Noah covered the rumors nonsense about the Cubs possibly moving from Wrigley out to the suburbs. Rest assured, it’s not going to happen. However, if you find yourself in the pro-relocation camp, you can find some reassurance from Rick Reilly’s recent “column.” Reilly has long been a champion of shallow thought and sloppy research, but this entry represents a new low. Never mind the ridiculous conclusion he leaps to–probably in service of his hackneyed one-liners–the “math” he employs to get there would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. Honestly, I know I linked to it but it’s really not worth your time.

Montgomery Burns’ Bud Selig’s World Baseball Classic Waste of Time and Talent has claimed another victim. Dodgers’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez will miss the next eight weeks after an injury to a ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery.

Elsewhere in Chicago sports, the Bears bid a fairly unceremonious goodbye to the face of their franchise Wednesday when they announced they would not be resigning Brian Urlacher. While it’s true Urlacher was hobbled by injuries last year, the defense was still noticeably better with him on the field. Better enough to merit more than a low-ball offer ultimatum. While I’m not sure it wasn’t the right decision, I know it could have been handled much better. Michael Wilbon wrote a nice article about the unsentimental nature of the NFL. And just for fun, here’s an article I wrote last year on sports divorces.

Also in ex-Bears news, former receiver and aspiring drug kingpen Sam Hurd has been re-indicted on even more charges. If convicted, he faces a couple decades in the big house.

Yesterday was the first day of March Madness. I have no idea what happened, other than that my Oklahoma State Cowboys got pantsed by twelve-seed Oregon. I’m not a basketball fan, and I don’t even partake of the “fun” of filling out a bracket. But if you’d like to see how wrong your picks were, you can check the day’s scoreboard.

Finally, if you live in Idaho, keep an eye on your dog.

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GirlieView (03/21/2013)

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

We’re on the home stretch now. Yesterday was the first day of spring and even though in my neighborhood it’s still feeling mighty wintery, I know meaningful baseball is right around the corner and that makes me happy. I have a feeling it makes you happy too!

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.


  • Midway through spring training and we have 5 people vying for the last three spots in Lizzie’s Top Ten. It should be quite the race.
  • For a guy who has no use for science, you certainly have a lot use for science.
  • I, like my Montana based friend, try to say something funny every time, thus fewer comments to cull from. Damn my high moral fiber.
  • we need all the third basing we can get.
  • TGIF, no news and we all know no news is good news, particularly for us Cub fans who are afraid to find out who comes up lame next.
  • If I was a gambler, I’d put my money on Norm being busy being a dad who is tired of our bullshit. I’d also wager that Tommy got nabbed by Chris Hanson.
  • Talked to Norm today. He’s been busy searching for Chris from Illinois.
  • And I highly doubt that Lizzie is Carrie Muskat. Lizzie is much more thoughtful than she is
  • One game this year, one of the coaches fed the machine due to a lack of healthy bodies. Bastard actually fielded the position.
  • It’s a weekly.
  • I’d like to say Happy Birthday to my mom. If it weren’t for her, this post would be impossible.
  • Does your Mom read this Blog? Is She Lizzie?
  • I believe Joe learned how to blog from his mom, the beat writer at Whether or not she and Lizzie are one and the same has yet to be determined.
  • Lizzie’s frisky, but not THAT frisky
  • Indiana is not that far from Kentucky…
  • Brett Jackson making the opening day roster would be a huge mistake. You refine skills by playing every day in the minors, not riding pine in the majors.
  • Was this Norm’s scheduled day to write? Perhaps we should get a kickstarter going to hire a P.I..
  • Seymour may be a culinary bore but at least he doesn’t start fights with pitching machines and 70 year old stock brokers which is a plus in my book.
  • 3B is a soul-sucking vacuum this year.
  • The state of 3B throughout baseball is a sad state of affairs.
  • [Ramirez’s] overall body of work easily places him among my favorite Cubs since I’ve been conscious enough to follow them.
  • It’ll probably be something more prospecty than MLB rostery. And yes, I did just invent two words.
  • Welcome Joe to the Ian Stewart bandwagon. There is now a grand total of 2 of us.
  • Yesterday we talked about the return of Ian Stewart, who was scheduled to make his spring debut. How did it go? It didn’t. Dude didn’t play.
  • I have essentially no optimism that any of the Cubs’ 3B options this season will work. I think that Stewart will fail over the first 2 months, then Valbuena will fail over the next month and a half, then Vitters will fail over the next month and a half, then Lake will fail over the final month and a half. But, considering I flat out don’t think Vitters or Lake are ready yet, I think the Stewart option presents a higher potential upside, no matter how minimal the odds of him are to reach that upside, than the Valbuena option does.
  • Well said. You should get a job in the organization.
  • We should pool our talents and take a run at this thing.
  • I’ll whip up a resume for a Mr Senoah Whiteswan. Sounds native american, may have a leg up.
  • Can I get in on this action? Every party needs a pooper and that’s why you invite me.
  • Yes you can. You will be Noah-Swan’s adviser. Kind of like Jed is to Theo.
  • You don’t need a resume, everybody on VFTB is already an expert.
  • My Baby got back
  • I’m sexy and I know it
  • Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
  • The ladies haven’t been digging the chauvinism so Dave Sappelt provided a long ball but the Cubs lost. And the ladies still don’t dig him…
  • Stand back…I know science.
  • I love hitting in the desert, the ball goes farther, post game steaks are juicier and Seymour look so funny with SFP50 spread all over his face.
  • That’s probably mayo.
  • I’m confused, are Spring training stats meaningless or do they mean something?
  • You use stats from spring training when it helps you make your point and disregard them when it disagrees with your view.
  • I’m putting my money on HeRo to make the team.
  • Pretty much spot-on regarding the bullpen, as much as the idea of Carlos Coleman continuing to work as a starter makes me sort of nauseous.
  • Last season, we had Volstad (very tall) and Campana (very short) who weren’t very good at playing baseball.
  • So we should just line everybody up according to size, like when we took our school pictures, and choose our lineups. Small guys bat first large guys last
  • That’s what she said.
  • Thanks for the summary. I enjoy reading the articles you guys post, and the peanut gallery of commenters to the articles are both funny and intelligent.


  • Bazinga

Shout Outs

A big shout out to the following readers who submitted their first 2013 Lizzie. We’re so happy to have you here!

  • Darlin_Starlin
  • Still Curious


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

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

(In honor of the coming of spring, I’ll post the full 2013 standings this time.)

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Doc Raker
4. Eddie von White
5. Jedi Johnson
6. Joe Aiello
7. Chuck
8. Gymjok
8. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy
11. cap’n obvious
11. Katie
13. Jerry in Wisconsin
14. Verncrowe5
15. Doug S.
16. Dusty Baylor
16. Jeremiah Johnson
16. Tom C
19. CAPS
19. LVCubFan
21. Bones
21. Bryan
21. Mark_from_Toronto
22. Aaron
22. Allan
22. Darlin_Starlin
22. Dous Entendre
22. Hugh Hefner
22. Josephine
22. Josh H
22. Just Curious
22. mrbaseball2usa
22. Norm
22. Still Curious
22. wisconsinjpc

Chit Chat

I’ve been soliciting suggestions all off-season long for our Saturday morning filler Go column, and I’ve received more than I can use. That column will be coming to a close once the season starts, so I thought I’d use one of my favorite overflow submissions for my GirlieView chit chat today. This is from our pal gymjok! Have fun with it!

  • Which Cub (present or former) do you most resemble?

Enjoy your weekend!

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Wrigley Field Drama

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

A couple months ago you may have heard that the Cubs came to Mayor Emmanuel with a plan to massively renovate Wrigley Field without any financial assistance from the City or State. The renovation would include a massive overhaul of Wrigley and the immediate surrounding area. In return for being allowed to spend a few hundred million dollars in the neighborhood, the Cubs want three things: (1) more advertising in the outfield; (2) more night games; and (3) more concerts. I know, it sounds crazy, that the Cubs have to bargain to spend their own money on this, but such is the world of municipal politics.

The main snag in getting a deal done has been the rooftop owners. For those of you whose familiarity with the rooftops is solely seeing them on television, the rooftops are not owned by the Cubs. Several years back, the Cubs, who were owned by the Tribune at the time, made a deal with the rooftop owners to get a portion of the proceeds from the rooftops in exchange for not blocking their views. The Ricketts are still bound by this deal, and are for the next several years.

On top of that, the Cubs need the approval of Alderman Tom Tunney, or the deal isn’t going to get the go ahead from the City. And to get Tom Tunney’s approval, the Cubs need to come to a deal with the rooftop owners. For full disclosure, the reports I’ve seen indicate that the rooftops contribute about $140,000 per election to Alderman Tunney’s campaign.

Yes, this is Chicago politics at its worst at many ways. But it’s going to get done eventually. One idea that gets floated around the internet every time Alderman Tunney unwisely opens his mouth on the issue is to just move the Cubs to the suburbs. The mayor of Roselle (which, by the way, has enough of an organized crime presence it couldn’t get a casino) indicated that he has 25 acres set aside for a new ballpark, if the Cubs want it. A DuPage County Executive also stated that the west suburban county would get involved if the Cubs decided to move.

I’ll make this very simple. The Cubs aren’t leaving Wrigley Field. This has nothing to do with tradition or ivy covered walls or scoreboards, and everything to do with money. Look at last year’s MLB attendance numbers. The Cubs, who had the second worst record in all of baseball last season and have one of the highest ticket prices in the game, had the tenth highest attendance at 35,590 per game. The cross town White Sox, on the other hand, had the seventh worst attendance, 24,271 per game, despite spending the majority of the season in first place in the AL Central.

Might all the fans follow the Cubs to a shiny new suburban stadium in the middle of a giant parking structure? Sure, they might. But Wrigley is a guaranteed windfall. And it’s just as possible that the Cubs in the suburbs would just become a suburban version of the White Sox, as far as attendance is concerned: a team that can’t draw in a town that is much more a football city than a baseball city.

The Cubs are staying at Wrigley. A deal will get done. Tom Tunney is being a pain in the you know what. These are the birth, death and taxes of the Wrigley Field renovation discussions.

In more directly baseball related news, Joe pointed me to an interesting article in Baseball America about how players can have four minor league options instead of three. Typically, after a player is added to the 40 man roster, he can be optioned to the minor leagues in three separate seasons. So, for example, a player who is in the Majors for two-thirds of the season before being sent down uses up one option. A player who is called up and down several times over the course of a season also uses up one option. However, once a player’s options are all used up, he must clear waivers before being optioned to the minors, allowing other teams to claim said player.

Baseball America points out, though, that rare situations exist where a player may have four options instead of three. This generally effects Latin American players due to the young age at which they sign. Two Cubs fit this description: Rafael Dolis and Hector Rondon. However, as Rondon is the Cubs’ Rule 5 pick he must stay on the active roster and/or do the disabled list dance this season to not be offered back to the Indians.

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