Author Archive

Morning News: Samardzija To Start April 1

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Matt Prior Garza On The DL
I’ll be honest, I hate the news today. The Cubs put Garza on the DL. Garza says, “it’s not a setback.” Really? How is that possible, because I would say that missing the season’s first month when you’re a free agent at season’s end is kind of a big setback. And that’s what I like about this least; even if you accept the optimistic ‘he’s not really that hurt’ storyline that the Cubs and Garza are pimping, it means he’ll make maybe 10-15 starts before the trade deadline rolls around. So no matter what the Cubs choose, it will be based on very little current information.

Jeff Samardzija Starts
It also means your Opening Day starter (unsurprisingly) is Jeff Samardzija. If you told any Cubs fan 12 months ago that Jeff Samardzija would be your 2013 Opening Day starter, no one other than Jeff’s mother would expect that to be a good sign. Thankfully, it’s not as crazy a proposition as it would’ve been 12 months ago-but still. Also, it’s just the Pirates and probably AJ Burnett…so the game isn’t lost…yet.

For Doc
The Blackhawks still haven’t lost.

NY HS Basketball Game Miracle Finish
Can’t really describe this video in its fullness.

Dennis Rodman Fancies Himself A Modern-Day Dalai Lama
Predictable friends. A crazy person and Kim Jong-Un.

If This News Is Correct…
Conan O’Brien and David Letterman should retire on the same day as Jay Leno so as to guarantee great ratings for Jimmy Fallon (and/or Jimmy Kimmel) and preempt another Leno coup attempt at NBC in 18 months.

New Pope Soon, New Royal Sooner?
Conclave of pederast protectors in Rome, the British monarch is sick in the hospital.

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Northside Archives: Catching Up With Quade

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The other side of the phone goes silent, the starter’s pistol fires, and immediately I know it’ll take about a minute for the greyhounds to cover the nearly 900 meters that separate me from the answer to my question.

“Never shoulda bet on Baker’s Dozen, he doesn’t do well from the fourth position,” is the next thing I heard over the phone. “What was the question again?”

Getting to Mike Quade, a little more than a year after his tenure as Cubs’ manager ended, isn’t the hard part; it’s keeping his attention that I find elusive. I’ve connected with Quade while he was on an outing to Mardi Gras Casino in the Miami area, one of the few places he can get to “watch the doggies turn left during winter,” he tells me. A noted horse racing enthusiast, it’s little surprise to me that he fancies racing of most any kind.

“Well, that could’ve been worse, I had my beard bet the back marker to show so at least I’ll get that.” It’s a phrase that doesn’t mean what I think it means, and it wouldn’t be the last. Quade seems comfortable in retirement, a man at peace with the fact that he is no longer part of the game that’s consumed his life. “Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I’m Alan Potts or Terry Ramsden nailing the trifecta at the derby.” There isn’t the hint of the man who faced the Chicago media on a daily basis, forced to explain away the struggles of a club mired in mediocrity.

My question is if Quade misses the game, I repeat it. He says, “look kid, I’m headed over to Hialeah later today, and I’m gonna buy the rack. I’ll probably end up getting shut out because some lug-in coughs up a furlong lead to a miler. It doesn’t matter, the worst day at the track is better than any day as manager. I got ulcers in Chicago…no one’s second-guessing how I managed to buy three straight colts that spit the bit. Losing isn’t so painful here.”

I hear the starter’s pistol again. It gives me another minute to ponder what I’m beginning to understand. Quade loves the competitiveness, especially when the losing doesn’t gnaw at him night and day. He’s a baseball lifer and yet I can’t get him to say two words about it – he has a single focus, the game at hand. Racing.

As he gleefully explains his victory (I think) on the latest race, I ask him what he disliked the most about his time in Chicago. “They gelded me.” (I look it up later, it seems unlikely he means that literally.) “I was thrust into the block when Lou left, and no one bothered to look at the sorry bunch of nags they left me with…I was responsible for the losing even though I’d been saddled with a team of wash outs and maidens. It was a long shot from the start.” It seems to be the furthest he’ll deviate from horse-racing speak. (It wasn’t until I’d transcribed it that I realized how wrong I was).

“Sure, I can answer that, but then I need to be on my way. I gotta settle up and get to the taxis before Margaret and Dolores.” What he says next explains it all, “some guys need to be in charge, it’s an ego thing. That’s not me, I was happiest standing in that 3rd base box sending signs in before the pitch. And after I took a few months off, it was obvious that I was even hap…wait Clem, I’m coming hang on.” I heard a bit more, Clem and Mike swapping victory stories of races from their last outing, fighting over who ate the last candy bean and wondering if they could get some more before the first race at Hialeah; Mike had neglected to hang up and I was listening from his pocket. All I heard was the joy of a man without a care in the world, except for the starting time of the next race. He was happy.

*Apparently it’s not as funny as I thought; or maybe just a bit too believable. THIS IS NOT A REAL INTERVIEW.

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Morning News: The Undefeated!

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Spring Training!!!
In those ever-important meaningless games, the Cubs vanquished both the reigning World Champions and the team with a trio of superstars and crazy expectations. On Saturday the Cubs battered the Los Angeles Angels, while Sunday it was a more competitive matchup with the San Francisco Giants. They’re 1-1 in Pythagorean wins though…so that’s kind of a bummer. (note to humorless Bill James defender, it’s a joke…I realize they wouldn’t be 1-1, it’s a freakin’ joke)

Yankee Pain
The Yankees aim to contend this year. They also wanted to move Brett Gardner to CF and shove Curtis Granderson over to LF. Sucks for them. If you’re looking for a team to implode like the Red Sox did last year, keep your eye on the Yankees. A-Rod PED drama again, Jeter’s ankle is healed up but the rest of him continues to age rapidly, now they lose one of their best players for all of Spring Training and the first month of the regular season. They’re a CC Sabathia high ankle sprain away from seeing how Steinbrenner’s kids (mis)behave in crisis.

Something Else, Everything Else
Well that was too much baseball in February for me too…some kid from Texas ran really fast at the NFL Combine. Some NASCAR fan got confused about the horrific crash this weekend, I don’t think ‘war zones’ have flying car engine and tires. Maybe he’s from Detroit. The Oscars were last night; remember, that’s when we listen to a bunch of uppity rich people tell us how hard this world is and which movies of theirs we should go and watch. This guy is more difficult to find than the Chupacabra, more difficult to kill than John McClane, and more filthy rich than even Oprah. And don’t forget, they’ll start the process to find a new Pope this week.

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Morning News: A Smattering of Sports ‘News’

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Garza ‘mildly’ injured again
The Cubs are out in full force downplaying Garza’s latest ailment, a mild lat strain. Sure it doesn’t sound serious now, but let’s just say Cub pitchers seem to have a way of not staying healthy. Garza claims he wasn’t even giving maximum effort – 80-85% at the most, but he’ll be re-evaluated Monday and hopefully sometime soon the Cubs ace will be back to normal…wait and see.

Jeter’s ‘terrible’ offseason
Try to feel bad for the multi-millionaire who is the defacto mayor and most eligible bachelor of the nation’s biggest city. He had a rough few months recuperating.

Two stories you SHOULD’VE heard about by now…
Races have officially been canceled for the legless man who killed his supermodel girlfriend; can’t imagine the starter’s pistol will sound the same to that guy ever again. Whether you believe the bits and pieces of his story as the eek out, there seems no doubt that she’s dead and he’s to blame.

But fighting for the news on Friday and over the weekend was the Russian meteor that proved all those Cold War movies were a crock…the Russians didn’t have eyes on the bogey that blew out windows all over Chelyabinsk. So Spies Like Us was closer to reality than we thought!

Ryan Braun, the dirty, dirty cheater
Plenty of places around the internet haven’t yet seen fit to condemn the obvious PED user, Ryan Braun. They are fools. Braun’s name continues to show up on lists that ONLY include other users. Just like many other users, Braun has more than a few barely plausible excuses for each new list that contains his name. Even if by some miracle Ryan Braun has the worst luck of any honest individual…never mind, not possible.

Roger Clemens’ Mistress Dies
Just a weird story all the way around.

NBA All-Star Game
Best thing about the game last night (besides the fact that it’s over)…this picture.

It’s easy to survive the Australian Outback if you have some contact solution and are willing to drink your own pee. No word on if either of those would help you wash down the Bloomin’ Onion at the American Outback.

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Morning News: Campana gets the boot…at least for now.

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Cubs News
Dale Sveum is holding another bunt tournament this year; the intrigue for 2013 is that a member of the Cubs’ front office (potentially Theo or Jed) will be the 64th participant in the manager’s tourney.

Also, Campana was DFA’d to make room for Hairston. The deal with Scott Hairston is for two years, $5 million.

Much of the roster has already reported to camp in Mesa; even Carlos Marmol was scheduled to report on Sunday after dealing with his domestic abuse charges in the Dominican.

Canada Sucks
I’m not really a dog lover at all, but outlawing pit bulls is just ridiculous. However, more ridiculous is splitting your family up or driving multiple hours to work each day just so you can keep a dog. It’s a freakin’ dog. No word on whether Buerhle has asked for boarding references from Michael Vick.

Sorry CAPS…
Disneyland has become the most racist place on earth. Allegations of racism in the last few days have people wondering if the White Rabbit and Donald Duck intentionally spurn some of Disney’s guests. For clarity sake, I should note that the White Rabbit cast of the Black child, while Donald Duck turned down the White child…though both kids were black. Perhaps The Onion has gone mainstream?

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Morning News: Super Brownout

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Super Bowl!
The game swung wildly from blowout to interesting when half the lights in the Superdome suddenly shut off just after the Ravens had taken a 28-6 lead in the 3rd quarter. Baltimore had all the momentum and the 49ers clawed back scoring 23 points in roughly 12 minutes of play. They got as close as 2 points, or a defensive holding call that’s sure to leave half the Harbaugh family disappointed. On what would be the 49ers final play from scrimmage, Colin Kaepernick threw a ball past the outstretched arms of Michael Crabtree. Whether Kaepernick overthrew the ball or Crabtree was egregiously held probably depends on your allegiance. Ultimately the Ravens held on for a 34-31 win.

Ray Lewis leaves the game a champion for a second time, firmly securing his spot in Ravens lore and punching a ticket to the Hall of Fame in four years. Move over OJ Simpson, it’s time for another HOFer who beat a murder rap.

It wasn’t the prettiest Super Bowl that was ever played, of course the 34 minute power outage had more than a little to do with that; a handful of people likely woke up this morning wondering if that outage will cost them their job. Not since Bud Selig presided over the ASG tie in Milwaukee has a major American sports league seen such an unnecessary bungling of a marquee event. Surely in 2013 our arenas and stadiums have better backup plans than to sit around for 30+ minutes waiting for everything to come back to life. CBS’ coverage of that particular portion of the night was hilariously awful. James Brown ‘the lights have gone out here, down to Steve Tasker for more on the field’ – Steve Tasker ‘the lights are out James, and it’s going to take some time to get them back’ – James Brown ‘John Harbaugh looks furious on the sideline’…ya think James? His team is sporting a 22-point lead in the Super Bowl and they are forced to take a second halftime because the stadium can’t stay lit. Marino and Cowher bickering only made it more laughable.

The Commercials
I don’t understand some of the Super Bowl advertisers. Does McDonald’s really need a Super Bowl commercial to stay in our conscious? Does a commercial about a stain on a jersey really make a guy say to his old lady, ‘you know I think we should start using Tide as our primary detergent’? And do commercials for alcoholic beverages do any good after halftime? Because either you’ve already been drinking (in which case, the commercial isn’t leaving an impression) or you’re not going to be drinking. Isn’t Carl’s Jr. just throwing money down the toilet? I’m not leaving with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter to run through the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru.

Anyway, the Audi commercial seems to have received the greatest reception; and I must concur that the GoDaddy commercial was simply nasty; because when I’m knuckle deep in guacamole the last thing I want to see is the overweight, afro’d nerd making out with a supermodel.

Cubs’ News
If you’re headed to Mesa for Spring Training, you’ll get a good look at Javier Baez. He, along with 22 others have received non-roster invites from the team. Casey Coleman secured one of them too…sorry, Buddy.

Rich Indians
I need to trace my heritage, maybe I can still get into the tribe.

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Morning News: Everything’s Gay

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Artie Lange successfully targeted 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver during Media Day at the Super Bowl. Lange, professional offspring of Howard Stern, managed to get Culliver on-the-record with ‘anti-gay’ statements that are sure to have the NFL and the 49ers recoiling into crisis mode. Perhaps they can do a last minute switch and get Elton John in for the halftime show.

Katie Couric has Manti Te’o on the record as not gay, in fact, ‘far from it’ so he says. But Dr. Phil had Te’o’s catfisher (is that the proper term, someone who watches MTV needs to help me out on that one), Ronaiah Tuiasosopo on his show yesterday. Tuiasosopo came to the conclusion that he was ‘deeply, romantically in love’ with Te’o. Tough days ahead for Manti in whichever NFL locker room he winds up calling home; he’ll be the only guy who 1) was in love with a fake girlfriend 2) created by his male stalker and 3) thus people wonder if Te’o is gay. That’s a LOT of baggage.

Rudy GAY was traded to the Toronto Raptors. To my knowledge, Gay is not gay.

Apparently Ghandi might’ve had a thing for a bodybuilder…a man.

Cubs Related
So this is where the gay journey ends and we turn to male chauvinism. As Lizzie, and a few others have noted in recent comments, Dave Sappelt has spent the off-season building a reputation as a Twitter bomb waiting to go off. Just peruse his Twitter feed and you’ll notice he’s not real big on courtesy or diplomacy. I’m not sure how popular that’ll make him in Chicago Iowa.

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Morning News: Fat-Free Edition

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The Closest We Will Get – Fat Dan has Dan Vogelbach rated as the 8th best first base prospect in the minors. To which I say, if Dan is a 1B prospect, then Soriano really might play 3B for us this year. In reality, Vogelbach needs to get traded to the AL or hope the DH is instituted in the NL – and quickly. Most talent evaluators have him rated as a 1B strictly because the Cubs keep trotting him out there – not because he’s capable of fielding the position. When you’re 6′ 250lbs (and if he’s only 250 someone should check and make sure he didn’t cut off a limb) there isn’t a lot of hope for your longterm prospects as a fielder.

It’s Been A Slow Weekend For Sports
Novak Djokovic won the Australia (Tennis) Open. The sputtering Lakers & Celtics each scored big, regular season wins. Tiger is likely to run away with the tournament at Torrey Pines when it finishes on Monday. The NFL Pro-Bowl was on Sunday…no one cared.

Travel Tips
Don’t go to Brazilian night clubs. Or Egyptian soccer matches. Or Venezuelan prisons. Or Compton. Or the Isle of Wight.

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Morning News: Another Fat Lady!!

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Oh Wait, Was She A Great Big Fat Person?
I’m eschewing decency and leading with the punchline. The Brits are awesome, this woman lives presumably within minutes/hours of me, but the story comes to us from across the pond. Stop what you’re doing, watch the video at the bottom. Enjoy your Monday.

*I cannot promise any fat people in the news next week; I’ve not sought this out, it’s just fallen to me. Three weeks and counting…

A Tough Act To Follow, But…
If the fat person doesn’t entertain you, perhaps this will. Short story, a Bulgarian politician was nearly assassinated on Saturday. When the gun jammed, the would-be assassin was nearly beaten to a pulp (even an old guy with an umbrella/cane got into the fray). Of course this is Eastern Europe which means there is fantastic video of the event (bottom of the page from the above link).

Enough Frivolity, HarBowl Time
Having two brothers myself, as well as being father to two sons, the Super Bowl sounds like a miserable family event this year. One brother will have the most euphoric day his profession can provide, padding his credentials and building a legacy…all at his brother’s expense. Two parents will be exultant with the winner and crushed for his brother who came so close and was denied. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the 49ers came back to beat the Falcons in Atlanta and advance to the Super Bowl; meanwhile the Ravens thwarted the heavy home favorites in New England. San Francisco is coached by JIM Harbaugh, Baltimore is coached by JOHN Harbaugh. They’ll likely spend the next two weeks trying to distance themselves from that particular aspect of the matchup, but the Harbaughs cannot deny that after the game one of them will have been elevated at the cost of his brother. Still, I imagine they probably both prefer this outcome to last year when each team lost in the league championship game and neither one of them made the Super Bowl.

The Cubs convention took place this past weekend. As with basically everything else related to the Cubs these days, a lot was said and none of it was terribly important. Ricketts gave parenting tips to a dad from San Francisco, Theo promised a contract to a kid upon his 18th birthday (presumptuous). Oh, and they settled all their arbitration cases. So what, big deal.

Back Where We Started
Maybe it’s the Excedrin talking, but you REALLY need to watch the video from the fat lady article.

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