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Three Strikes – Welcome to Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Joe is still under the weather so although I’m not able to devote as much time here as he is I can at least give us a place to chit chat each day. I know you guys will keep the conversation rolling. (Thank you for that!)

  • Strike One – The Cubs beat the Pirates last night 7-2 at PNC park in lovely Pittsburgh, PA. Jason Hammel (4-0) got the win and Gerrit Cole (2-3) took the loss in the Cubs first trip to Pittsburgh since that great Wild Card game last year! Full coverage here.
  • Strike Two – Jake Arietta was named NL Pitcher of the Month for April. Yay Jake! Details here.
  • Strike Three – Smack dab in the middle of an impressive time for him, Matt Szczur pulled a hammy. MRI results are pending. Details here.

Tonight we’ve got Jake Arietta going up against Jonathon Niese at 6:05pm CT. Enjoy your day, enjoy the game, and let’s all send up some good thoughts for Joe. Thanks everyone!

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Recap and Look Ahead

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Last I spoke to our Big Toe Joe he was a bit under the weather, and since I’m not sure who’s assigned to write what I thought I’d at least get something posted until he’s back! Let’s take a brief look back at the weekend’s baseball and a look ahead to the coming week.

Friday, April 29: Cubs 6, Braves 1

  • Jon Lester battled with Aaron Blair but neither got a decision. Tied 1-1 in the 8th inning, Matt Szczur hit his first career grand slam which put the game out of Atlanta’s reach.

Saturday, April 30: Rainout. Makeup date not yet scheduled.

Sunday, May 1: Braves 4, Cubs 3 (10 innings)

  • Addison Russell sent the game into extra innings with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, but Hector Rondon couldn’t hold the lead and the Cubs lost a close one in 10.

Monday, May 2, 6:05 pm CT: Cubs @ Pirates

  • Probable starters: Jason Hammel/Gerrit Cole

Tuesday, May 3, 6:05 pm CT: Cubs @ Pirates

  • Probable starters: Jake Arietta/Jonathon Niese

Wednesday, May 4, 11:35 am CT: Cubs @ Pirates

  • Probable starters: Jon Lester/Juan Nicasio

The Cubs head back home on Thursday for a four game series with the Washington Nationals.

Please chat among yourselves while our fearless leader is MIA. :-)

 

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GirlieView (04/28/2016)

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting 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 the 2016 Season = 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.

Lizzies

  • I’m going on record right now and predicting 20+ home runs from Addison this year and a potential gold glove award.
  • Munenori Kawasaki reminds me of Tony Campana without the motorcycle goggles
  • I’d take Kow’s goggles over Campana’s giant goddamned helmet. I guess.
  • he was the great gazoo from the Flintstones.
  • Who takes a day off on Tuesday?
  • The Moody Blues.
  • Outstanding. That would be a Lizzie if it weren’t for the fact that you just proved us to be very old.
  • has Len come up with a pithy nick name for him yet? Lame Cub fans need to know.
  • Eggs De La Cruz
  • Pablo Cruz…………rock on Len!
  • Motley Cruz for rough outings
  • Cruz Control
  • Grimm and Ross = Gross
  • Lackey’s hugely pivotal performance in moments such as these – of which there were others sprinkled throughout the game – proved to be the hinges on which the game ultimately swung.
  • They scored nine runs in 40 degrees.
  • The Cubs are 7-0 thus far in games they have won. I fully expect them to remain undefeated when outscoring the opponent.
  • That’s the kind of insight I come here for.
  • You say, when they bat around it really f’s up your score card.
  • The teams we have beat may not be that good, but we’ve beaten them very badly. When we get to the good teams, we’ll beat them, maybe just not quite as badly.
  • With high walk rates, lower strikeout rates, and lower chase percentages, the Cubs offense is going to be a nightmare for pitchers throughout the 2016 season.
  • I’m running out of things to say about Jake and his crazy good pitching.
  • A non-Cubs fan asked me the other day if I “really thought Arrieta is *that* good.” I hesitated both because I don’t want to sound like a giant homer, and because I’m waiting for things to regress a bit back to the mean. The longer he continues to pitch like this, though, it’s going to get harder and harder to say anything but “yes, he really is *that* good.”
  • Maddon said he let Jake bat in the bottom of the 8th because he wanted him to get on base so Wood could pinch run.
  • Wood pinch runs hard, presumably.
  • Wood is good, but when you really want to swing it hard, it takes a Johnson.
  • This team needs to work on some fundamentals…but it’s nice to be winning early.
  • It’s nice to see we can screw up a simple run down, but still win the game. That’s something new.
  • It was a great night to be Lackey.
  • Hammel nutted up when he needed to – both on the mound and at the plate, and that was great to see.
  • 10:45 AM start today for us on the west coast. Unfortunately there’s a Microsoft webinar with mandatory attendance starting around that time that could go for 3+ hours.
  • I would plug in my headphones and try to listen to the game on the radio while pretending to pay attention.
  • Picture in a picture. Just remember not to react if you have a camera on you.
  • blah blah start button blah blah bing blah excel
  • That’s the advanced stuff covered in the next webinar.
  • Enjoy this team. Savor the moments. Have a disco-ball-and-champagne party after every victory!
  • I have so many questions for him about Leonard and Penny.
  • Prince just canceled all his concerts in North Carolina
  • Dropped the game off my phone to tell you bozos to tune in.. Jake’s close and it’s a slaughterhouse
  • First David Ross no hitter.
  • well, of that nature
  • I had that weird feeling last night down deep in my loins and it wasn’t an STD.
  • It’s incredibly important to dominate this division so we’re not relegated to the wild card. We’re off to a good start.
  • And then Len said, “I never saw Prince live in concert, I can’t believe I never will. Today sucks.”
  • Cincy needs a mercy rule
  • Thanks Jake for making me question my sexuality.
  • One of my favorite plays in all of baseball is the squeeze bunt.
  • JD will have some insight into pitch selection which Len will completely ignore and go on to tell you about the Don Earl Band he saw at a Honky Tonk across the river in Kentucky after last nights game.
  • I wear my Cubs boxers every game day.
  • You wear underwear?
  • Raker is not Matt Murton.

Lizard

  • Getting on base is everything.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Bryan, Ben, Bruce Fritz, Bryan, CAPS, Chris O’Reilly, Luke Jett, and Sean Powell for their first 2016 Regular Season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Eddie Von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time around for the second time in a row! Way to go EVW!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Eddie von White
2. Doc Raker
2. jswanson
4. Sherm
5. Joe Aiello
5. Seymour Butts
7. cap’n realist
8. Doug S
9. Brad Lyerla
9. Sean Powell

Chit Chat

I wanted to re-cap our chit chat from last time, where I asked you who your favorite Cubs were now that you had seen a few games. Here are the results of that highly scientific poll, player name followed by how many overall votes. Just like the election. By the way for those who asked, I was in Washington DC last week. Pleasure, not political. It was amazing! Anyway here are the results.

  • Rizzo = 6
  • Arietta = 5
  • Fowler = 5
  • Russell = 3
  • Bryant = 2
  • Epstein = 2
  • Hoyer = 1
  • Maddon = 1
  • Zobrist = 1
  • Rondon = 1
  • Schwarber = 1
  • Strop = 1
  • Wood = 1
  • Lizzie = 1
  • Raker = 1
  • Seymour = 1
  • Jedi Johnson = 1
  • Jeremiah Johnson = 1
  • The old perv who asked CAPS for pics from his lifeguard days = 1
  • Sue = 1
  • The Ball Dude = 1
  • The guy who invented protective netting = 1
  • Ernie = 1
  • Ronnie = 1
  • Billy = 1
  • Doug Dascenzo = 1
  • Carlos Silva = 1
  • Adam Dunn if we would have signed him in 05 = 1
  • Dusty = 1
  • Quade = 1
  • Sveum = 1

Enjoy the rest of your week! (One last thing, I had to wrap this up on Monday this time around. No worries, as usual I will pick up right where I left off so your mid-week wit won’t be for naught.)

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GirlieView (04/14/2016)

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting 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 the 2016 Season = 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.

Lizzies

  • Cost me the equivalent of 80 Subway sangwiches for those seats, but when it’s your 7 year old daughter’s first Cub game, you kick down.
  • A cursory review of this week’s Lizzie’s leads me to believe that she never saw the Princess Bride. She should find a way to see it. Good, clean comedy.
  • I used to take little girls to ballgames. The restraining order put a stop to that.
  • I agree about the west coast, though I do like opening week in a warm weather venue.
  • The older I get, the more I prefer watching games on television. More comfortable. Better food. Better booze. Freakin’ PAUSE.
  • I love seeing St. Louis UNDER .500 already
  • I was at the game on Sunday. A few observations. There were some foul balls that were very dangerous, I think MLB should consider more netting for fan protection.
  • I have thought that about foul balls before as well. I wonder why no one ever makes an issue of it.
  • I’ve been too busy trying to figure out how to ban bats since Colvin was impaled.
  • A bat can do a lot of damage, I think bubble wrap would be helpful.
  • After the strikeout to end the 7th, Federowicz tossed the ball to mini-me Realist in the stands. This made her year. He is my new favorite minor league Cub, and I hope he makes the club next season, or later this season when Ross has a grabber legging out a triple.
  • [Fowler]’s the catalyst for this beast of a lineup. If he’s getting on base, this order is going to have a monster year.
  • How fun was that last night? Everyone contributed. A satisfying way to get started.
  • My first cup of coffee in the new season was sensational this morning.
  • If only the game had been on at a reasonable hour (for those of us in the EST time zone), as I was disappointed to have been unable to watch any of it.
  • Mark_in_Alberta has a decent ring to it.
  • But then I would miss any of the EST games which would start while I was still at work. Guess I can’t win either way
  • Split the difference in Winnipeg… Mark_in_Manitoba
  • Simplify – Markitoba
  • Somebody really should track down Jedi now that we’re good.
  • Just imagine what would come of this team if it played at Coors.
  • David Ross clearly spent the winter with Ponce de Leon in Florida.
  • Soler has a huge hole in his swing down and away- he has Sorianocantrecognizetheslideritis
  • Sort of looks like Raker is photobombing Cap and Alec
  • Looks like some holding-my-gut-in action taking place.
  • I am the one closest to the camera, don’t be that guy closest to the camera, not flattering. The Capn is in the middle holding his gut in and Alec Berg is in the grey Santo jersey.
  • I hope you were paying attention to flying objects leaving the field of play as well. Turning your back on the field of play can be hazardous.
  • Not to worry, Raker Jr. was wrapped in bubble wrap as was Mini-Me Cap’n.
  • Jr Raker smelled really funny when we took the bubble wrap off
  • that jersey is 10 years old…who among us wouldn’t have some tightness in the belly in a 10 year old shirt?
  • I am in Phoenix on business, but cruelly will not be able to see any of the games because of other commitments.
  • Call in sick. Head to the ballpark w/ a fake mustache and Goldie jersey. Problem solved.
  • Make a cardboard cutout. No one will know the difference. She has already described you to her co-workers as “dry as dust.” They will be amazed at her apt description in the desert.
  • I was going to suggest his and hers fake mustaches, but okay.
  • There’s gotta be a way to scam 1 game out of the series. Promise her you’ll paint a wicker chair with her, row a boat for her, hug her on a bench, dance with her, sit in a bathtub and watch the sunset with her……am I forgetting anything?
  • Ipecac. It’s over the counter and will make you vomit. This will get you out of the evening engagements.
  • I see an opportunity – “Ask Seymour – Marital Advice for Cubs Fans”
  • Bring your dollar bills.
  • that uppity prick from Texas
  • Nicely written and reasoned. I will, however, be profoundly disappointed if the Cubs fail to go all the way nonetheless.
  • As will Chris, regardless of what he says here.
  • I haven’t read your book, but it’s not bad luck or a curse that has kept the Cubs down. They’ve been a very poorly run team with no vision for a LONG TIME.
  • Fowler re-signing looks genius today.
  • Despite his quick bat, Schwarber going out for the season probably will have the least impact. Last year when Russell got hurt, the whole team suffered.
  • Strop – It’s difficult to take someone seriously when he wears his hat like that – and then loses the lead.
  • We all knew somebody was going down…Thought it would be Cindy Sandberg, though…
  • We can go 161-1 now, still can be a pretty good season
  • now we go home to the cold and windy April Wrigley were manufacturing runs will be paramount. Let’s see if we can win that way also.
  • I would think the emergence of Arrieta as the clubs ace makes life for Lester a lot easier, it takes the spot light off of Lester and allows him to work and make adjustments without the media and fans over reacting.
  • Back to Chicago… hope they didn’t misplace their muffs over winter.

Lizard

  • Good morning. It is Opening Day!

Shout Outs

  • It was the first 2016 Season Lizzie for everyone who had a Lizzie this time around! Big shout outs to Adam Peters, Brad Lyerla, cap’n realist, Confused in Cali, Doc Raker, Doug S, Eddie von White, Joe Aiello, jswanson, Mark_from_Toronto, Seymour Butts, and Sherm! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go EVW!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Eddie von White
2. Doc Raker
3. jswanson
4. cap’n realist
5. Seymour Butts
6. Sherm
7. Brad Lyerla
8. Doug S
8. Joe Aiello
8. Mark_from_Toronto

Chit Chat

  • (Just a quick fyi … I had to wrap things up early this week because of some travel commitments. But never fear, I’ll pick up exactly where I left off next time.) Now that you’ve been able to (hopefully) see a few games, who are your favorite Cubs right now? Let’s go with top 3!
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GirlieView (03/31/2016)

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting 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 the 2015 Off-Season = 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.

Lizzies

  • I just want to thank my supporting cast for serving up some serious Lizzie assists. Although most of my Lizzie comments come from my genius some of them are assisted by others which I believe put me into the MVL category this fortnight.
  • What you are not seeing is that this is Spring (nee Winter) Training for Lizzies as well. We see a lot of obvious Lizzie pandering from those who will likely be in DesMoines come opening day. Established Lizzie veterans are just stretching out the fingers with the odd dick joke
  • Hey man, I added some insightful commentary around Trey McNutt’s camp.
  • Unsurprisingly, Johnson pitched hard tonight. Hit hard too.
  • Joe [Maddon] will have his hands full managing his lineup and keeping everyone sharp and focused during a full season. I cannot wait to see it unfold.
  • The Cubs are looking to be a playoff contending team for the next 3-6 years. That is something I have not seen in my lifetime.
  • We have 8 games in AL parks where the Schwarber question is easier to answer.
  • I’ll take an overcrowded outfield over an “undercrowded” any day. I think Maddon is smart enough to get the most out of it.
  • my phone autocorrected Maddon to Aladdin, granted Aladdin would make a damn fine manager too (he’s always one step ahead).
  • This year, Montero faces the pressure of seeing his job hang in the balance if he doesn’t produce.
  • Watched him yip from great yip seats … Got to see Lester dominate and then look like a toddler trying to field a ball. Dinner and a show.
  • It seems like every other day some Cardinals player, coach, front office member, or someone affiliated with the Cardinals organization has said something like, “Everyone needs to stop talking about the Cubs”, then they go on to talk about the Cubs.
  • The Cubs showed the world last year that they are capable of beating the birds when the playoffs are on the line and that means something to us the Cubs fans but it even means more to the Cardinals fans
  • St Louis has a chip on their shoulder , a smaller city less noteworthy than Chicago, Boston, New York, LA or even Peoria. Losing to the Cubs in the playoffs and then losing Heyward to the Cubs has got to really increase the size of that chip. Enjoy it Cubs fans, enjoy it.
  • Cardinals fans claim to be the greatest fans in baseball, yet they care more about their rival than they do their own team.
  • I do not care to speak about nor think about the Cardinals or their fans this season. Let’s talk about Cubs baseball, and let them talk about the Cubs and how classy and well informed the Cub fan base is.
  • I agree with the cap’n. If it doesn’t make your life better, ignore it.
  • I love when the scoreboard tells the fans to make noise. How dumb are your fans when you need to tell them when to cheer.
  • the Cubs are projected to have the third most valuable rotation in baseball this season
  • Rooting for Johnson and McNutt.
  • Did you try your shorts?
  • Still one short of Trey.

Lizard

  • Our problem, if we have a problem, is not too many outfielders, but too many good hitters and not enough at bats to go around.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout out to Noah for his first 2015 Off-Season Lizzie!!!! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to jswanson, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go jswan!

Final Standings of the 2015 Off-Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard) – Next time the standings will start fresh for the regular season! Congratulations Sherm! (There is no prize. LOL)

1. Sherm
2. jswanson
3. Doc Raker
4. Doug S
4. Eddie von White
6. Seymour Butts
7. Jared
8. Bryan
9. Brad Lyerla
10. Nate Usher
11. cap’n realist
12. Bartz
12. Joe Aiello
14. Sean Powell
15. Jerry in Wisconsin
16. Bilyuds
16. Elijah Knepper
16. Jedi
19. Buddy
19. Nate Head
19. Sue Draper
22. Adam Peters
22. Chet West
22. Chicago1908
22. Chris O’Reilly
22. Dork
22. Noah
22. theguz7

Chit Chat

  • We’re very close to regular season baseball! The Cubs are in Las Vegas to take on the Mets in their final two pre-season games. How ironic, huh? Both games will be televised, tonight’s on CSN at 7:05pm (central) and tomorrow’s at 3:05pm (central) on WGN. They have an off-day Saturday before Sunday’s opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers (this game is currently not scheduled to be televised live, though it’s set to be re-played on ESPN2 at 9:00pm central). I am not a fan of opening the season on the west coast. I mean no offense to my wonderful PDT friends. This is a direct function of my age, since I don’t make it much past 9:30 on any given night. I probably won’t see a regular season game until Saturday the 9th. Mid-season west coast trips are fine with me, because I’ve had my fill and can stand a few days Cubless. But I’ll feel left out next week. How about you?
  • Correction: The Cubs aren’t playing the Dodgers to open the season, they’re playing the Angels. And, Sunday’s game is considered a Spring Training game. First regular season game is on Monday, April 4 vs. the Angels and it is televised on ESPN2 (and ABC7 in Chicago.)
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