Author Archive

Game 38: Too Little, Too Late

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Phillies 8 @ Cubs 7

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What Went Right

  • David DeJesus continues to get on base. He collected two more hits tonight. Hmmm, a lead-off man who gets on base. What a concept! Now he just needs to pick his stolen base attempts a little more effectively.
  • Starlin Castro tied the game (briefly) with a sac fly in the opening frame. He also smacked a solo homer in the 7th.
  • Wellington Castillo went deep in the 8th and drove in three with a bases-loaded double in the 9th.
  • Former 16th-round pick Blake Parker made his debut after six seasons in the minors. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go as planned.
  • I was smart enough to turn the channel before the 7th inning stretch. Who was it tonight, Jim Belushi? Tom Dreesen? Marilu Henner? Richard Marx? Some bench warmer from the 1990s Chicago Bulls? A Baldwin brother not named Alec? (I heard it was the Sarge, but you get my point.)

What Went Wrong

  • Chris Volstad got knocked around early and often. Before I could even finish my first beer, the Cubs were already trailing. His final craptastic line was 2 IP, 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs. For the record, that’s 19 consecutive Volstad starts without a win. Anthony Young would be proud.
  • As if Volstad’s outing wasn’t painful enough, I had to sit through a few innings of Casey Coleman’s batting practice stuff. He actually turned in a solid performance, but I still hate watching him pitch. The bullpen allowed four runs, which made the Cubs 9th inning comeback meaningless.

Gonna Fly Now

I’m a Philadelphia fan. The city, that is. I saw Paul McCartney play at the old Vet on my 21st birthday, the food is tremendous, and of course it’s Rocky Balboa’s hometown. Aren’t there some historical attractions, too? In all seriousness, what’s not to love about Philly?

I’ll tell you what…the sports teams, and here are a few annoying reasons why:

  • Steve Carlton: Certainly a great pitcher, but generally regarded as a weird, cranky pain in the backside. And I really got tired of watching him stick it to the Cubs during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Pete Rose: Charlie Hustle wore a Phillies’ uniform from 1979 to 1983 and was given credit for “teaching them how to win.” What a bunch of crap. Rose played 1B for Philly, a position that demands offense, and turned in slugging percentages of .430, .354, .390, .338, and .286.
  • Lenny Dykstra: I hope you didn’t invest any money with “Nails.”
  • Ricky Bottalico: He singlehandedly ruined my 1998 fantasy team: 1-6, 6.44 ERA, 27 K’s, 6 saves
  • Allen Iverson: Yes, he played his tail off in the 2004 Olympics, but otherwise he was everything bad about professional athletes, in my humble opinion anyway. To be fair, I still enjoy watching his “we’re talking about practice” press conference on YouTube. Let’s call this one a push instead.
  • Michael Vick: Sorry, I like dogs.
Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 25: Another Lead, Another Loss

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Cubs 3 @ Reds 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What Went Right

  • The Bryan LaHair hitting show rolls on. LaHair smacked home run number seven in a losing cause.
  • Geo Soto went deep for only the second time this season. Starlin Castro touched ‘em all as well.
  • Ryan Dempster tossed eight shut-out innings. He certainly deserved a better fate.
  • No errors for Castro! That’s always good news in my universe.

What Went Wrong

  • I know this is shocking to read, but Carlos Marmol crapped the bed and gave up another lead. I’m not sure what else to say at this point. I didn’t enjoy watching Marmol pitch at his very best, so the 2012 version is like a swift kick to you know where. I can’t imagine another team has any interest in Marmol, which means it’s going to be a very long year.  I guess it was going to be a long year anyway, but you get the point.

Looking For Silver Linings

Do the 9-16 Cubs have you singing the blues? Fear not! Here’s a half-full glass of positive energy for you to choke down:

  • As of this writing, no Cubs have been killed in action.
  • Marlon Byrd is playing for another team. If that doesn’t cheer you up, nothing will.
  • To the best of my knowledge, Dale Sveum hasn’t used the words grit, grinder, gamer, moxie, clutch, or chemistry.
  • Giant chunks of Wrigley Field haven’t fallen on unsuspecting fans this year.
  • The towel drill is now a distant memory in Chicago.
  • Joe Carter isn’t a member of the broadcast team.
  • I haven’t heard Mike Ditka, Jeff Gordon, or Ozzy Osbourne sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” yet.
  • Koyie Hill isn’t the Cubs backup catcher anymore. Another fine example of addition by subtraction.
  • Bryan LaHair is slugging .821 (not a typo) through May 3rd.
  • James Russell is finally being used properly, which means only as a situational lefty reliever.
  • Lil’ Tony Campana got permission from his mom to attend the field trip to the zoo. I hope he remembered his milk money.
  • The Cubs don’t own the rights to Delmon Young or Carl Crawford.
  • The Houston Astros are still members of the National League Central, so last place isn’t a lock.
Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 13: It’s Not Getting Any Easier

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Cubs 3 @ Marlins 5

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game


  • Not very much. Darwin Barney drove in three runs, which probably hasn’t happened since Little league. Geo Soto and Ian Stewart each picked up two hits in a losing effort.
  • Starlin Castro didn’t make an error!
  • The bullpen did a nice job mopping up for the Shark.
  • I was stuck in the office today, so I didn’t have to watch this mess.


  • Jeff Samardzidja looked more like the pitcher I remember. Five walks and eight hits in 3.2 IP led to an early shower.
  • The offense continues to struggle. If you’re playing along at home, the Cubs have scored just 43 runs and hit only five dingers in 13 games.
  • Marlon Byrd…What else can I say?


I think most of us agree Miami Marlins’ manager Ozzie Guillen outdid himself with the recent Fidel Castro comments. Instead of rehashing the past, here are a few handy statements he might consider next time around:

1)      I eat breakfast 300 yards away from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.

2)     I’m taking my talents to South Beach.

3)     (Singing) The rhythm is gonna get you.

4)     We’re talking about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game. Practice.

5)     I know it was you, Fredo.

6)     I’m going to turn this team around 360 degrees.

7)     Coming up after the ballgame, it’s “Red Sonja” on “Dinner and a Movie.”

8)    Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin. Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin. Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin.

9)     To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit.

10)  Did anybody catch “Mad Men” last night? I just love that Don Draper.

11)   Pete and Repeat were sitting in a boat. Pete fell out. Who was left?

12)  There’s only one other place I’d rather be…French Lick.

13)  (Crying) He’s my teammate. Sniff, sniff. He’s my quarterback.

14)  Soon I defeat real champion. If he dies, he dies.

 You stupid *%$@#*$% writers can just #$@!*&#$*%#!!!! Also, I don’t like dictators. Never have. No sir, not me. USA, USA, USA!

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

Game 7: And Then There Were Two

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Brewers 0 @ Cubs 8

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game


  • The third inning. Steve Clevenger led off with a double. Reed Johnson followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0 good guys. After a one-out hit by David DeJesus, Darwin Barney drove in the Cubs’ second run with a knock to CF.  Starlin Castro came through with another single to make it 3-0. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third. Alfonso Soriano broke it open with a two-run blooper to RF. He even managed to steal second! Ian Stewart brought home run number six with a single the other way.
  • Matt Garza took advantage of some rare run support and cruised to his first win. Garza went 8.2 innings, punching out nine Brewers. By the way, did you see his throw to 1B in the ninth? Yikes!
  • DeJesus covered a ton of ground and made a fantastic sliding catch down the RF line. Did I mention how much I like the DeJesus acquisition?
  • The Clevenger show continued in the fourth as he collected his second double of the game. An odd play between 1B and 2B allowed DeJesus to reach and Clevenger to score the Cubs’ seventh run. Barney actually drew a base on balls (not a typo), and Zack Greinke’s day was done. Castro greeted reliever Manny Parra with an RBI single to make it 8-0.


  • Very little. Not even Len and Bob could mess up this day. However, they gave it their best shot with a painful discussion about “the Strasburger.” The Dickey Simpkins seventh-inning stretch didn’t help much either.


Many of my Cub fan friends hate the Milwaukee Brewers. For some reason I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Brew Crew of yesterday. Maybe it’s just another nostalgic leap back to the 1980s (kind of like when I watch reruns of “WKRP” and listen to Loverboy “Get Lucky” on cassette).

Of course we all remember Yount, Molitor, Cooper, and Oglivie. However, my Milwaukee favorites tend to be less celebrated. Here’s a snapshot of “old pals:”

  • Moose Hass, 1976-1985 (as a Brewer)—You gotta love a guy named Moose. OK, his real name is Bryan, but what’s fun about that? In 1983, the Moose racked up a 13-3 record with an ERA of 3.27. The Fonz would be proud!
  • Rob Deer, 1986-1990—And you thought Alfonso Soriano struck out too much? In 1987, Deer whiffed an astounding 186 times in 474 at bats. The good news…he hit bombs. Deer was the text-book definition of “all or nothing.”
  • Greg Vaughn, 1989-1996—Another power hitter, Vaughn was fun to watch and frustrating to watch, often in the same game. He would club a light-tower homer in one at bat and look completely over-matched in the next. His best season (50 home runs in 1998) came in a Padre uniform. I don’t have a soft spot in my heart for the Padres (see NL playoffs, 1984).

Jeff D’Amico, 1996-2002—D’Amico’s injury-plagued career lasted only 784 Major League innings. In 2000, he was reasonably healthy and went 12-7 with a 2.63 ERA. I have no idea why I rooted for this guy. Maybe he pitched for my Diamond Mind Baseball team back then. Maybe I’m just a sucker for players with odd names. Maybe he’s a distant cousin. Maybe he owes me money. Maybe they’ll bring back “Saved by the Bell.” Maybe Twitter is just a fad. Maybe Oswald acted alone. Maybe aliens have planted some sort of mind-control device in my brain. Maybe it’s time to end this article.

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

A Few To Forget

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

It’s OK if you’re feeling optimistic about the Chicago Cubs. I know I am. The fact that current leadership actually understands the value of on-base percentage is like a gift from the gods.

But what’s the fun of living in Cubblieland if you can’t share some misery? Recently I was knocking back a beverage or two with some fellow fans, and we stumbled upon the subject of our least favorite squads.

The master list of crappy Cubs teams is long and legendary, but here are a few of our stomach-turning favorites:

  • 1994 Cubs, 49-64, 5th place: The only good thing about the 1994 baseball strike was that we didn’t have to watch this team for 162 games. Led by Tom “Cubs Tree” Trebelhorn, the ’94 Cubs were especially unlikeable. Catcher Rick Wilkins followed up a 30-home-run campaign with a stat line of .227/.317/.387. Automatic outs like Derrick May and Tuffy Rhodes got way too many at bats. Mike Morgan turned in an ERA of 6.69. Willie Banks and Anthony Young made 42 starts. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Ryne Sandberg announced his retirement (for the first time).
  • 1997 Cubs, 68-94, 5th place: Nothing wrecks an offense like tons of playing time for Scott Servais, Rey Sanchez, and Brian McRae. Throw in Shawon Dunston’s usual out-making antics and a .300 OBP season from Sammy Sosa, and you’ve got a team that can’t score runs. The starting rotation committed its fair share of sabotage as well. Kevin Foster, Steve Trachsel, and Frank Castillo were especially awful in ’97. And who can forget the “contributions” of Mel Rojas? If you did, you’re lucky!
  • 2000 Cubs, 65-97, 6th place: This season was so painful that it actually makes me laugh. I swear, this part isn’t made up…Damon Buford in CF, Willie Greene at 3B, Joe Girardi at C, Ruben Freakin’ Quevedo  in the rotation (to the tune of a 7.47 ERA), and Rick Aguilera closing. The final kick in the nuts? Don Baylor at the helm. No wonder I drank so much back then.
  • 2006 Cubs, 66-96, 6th place: In Dusty we trusty? No thanks. Hard Bake ran the Cubs ship into the ground, and he did it with authority. His final year in Chicago saw lots of injuries, craploads of at bats for rotten baseball players, and the usual array of excuses (the heat, the park, the fans, the media, killer locusts, etc). The Cubs were 15th in runs scored and 14th in ERA that year. I’ve never been so happy to see a season end.

This little trip down catastrophe lane isn’t mean to take the air out of our current balloon. Rather, it’s a nice lesson in perspective. 2012 likely won’t be a great year for the Cubs, but no matter how bad it gets, it can always be worse!

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