Author Archive

Drive-By Blogging

Monday, November 13th, 2006

As long as I’m in the neighborhood, thought I’d share a bit of this n that and then move on before my next cameo.

Since I missed the official greeting somehow allow me to welcome the newest member of the VFTB staff, Nick Bettilyon! First Mastrick, now NBAD. Just goes to show, you comment enough, and sooner or later you get your own caricature and a key to the executive washroom. Helps if you can put two sentences, together, too. If you were a true Cubs fan, Nick you’d take that bag off yer head!

Recently visited the Louisville Slugger Museum – well, I saw the gift shop and picked up a small bat with the Cub logo on it that any 7-year old would be proud of. Also saw the Big Bat out front. What a spectacle that is.

big_bat_300_dpi_cmyk_4_colo

It stands (er, leans) 120 ft. long and 9 ft. diameter at the base; 3 ft. 6 in. diameter at the handle with a 6 ft. 6 in. diameter knob. The total weight of the bat is approximately 68,000 pounds. The hollow interior has a 30,000 gallon capacity. The bat is constructed of ASTM A36 carbon steel. Awesome.

Since we were visiting my brother and he was hungry and he was paying, we didn’t go through the museum and factory. I did however get my first Kentucky Brown which was delicious.

Congratulations to Greg Maddux for winning yet another Gold Glove and to Zambrano for his Silver Slugger. Those gloves are pretty good size. Wonder where The Professor puts them all?

In a less noteworthy vein, I see that Wood was re-signed. Why don’t they ever listen to me?

Over the week-end I attended Ball State’s season opener over Northern Colorado. Neither team looked that good tho the Cardinals showed some good hustle. I was more disappointed in the third full gym. I am used to SRO and not being prompted by the announcer when to stand up and cheer. Again, the tickets were free so I can’t complain. A day out with the guys was way overdue.

Tonight is IU’s first game of the season. Go Hoosiers! Only one year away from the big debut of Eric Gordon in the cream n crimson. Sorry, Joe. Couldn’t resist. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers.

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Johnny Callison 1939-2006

Friday, October 13th, 2006

56 days ago Joe asked the VFTB staff to list the top five sports figures we’d like to just go away. I listed Johnny Callison, I believe as my # 2 player I wanted to go away.

johnny_callison_autograph

Well, be careful what you ask for I guess. Johnny Callison died yesterday at the age of 67. In that Friday Five post, I commented “He took something away from me when I was just 13 years old that I can never get back my innocence. Before that I considered professional athletes as god-like. By his cursing out a Cubs photographer right in front of me, Callison opened my eyes. I would have preferred to remain in a state of naïveté a bit longer.”

Not wanting to dwell on one myopic isolated moment of my life, let’s pay him the proper respect he deserves. This was written 10 years ago by Don Bostrom. My sympathies with the family.

When it comes to stealing the show in the All-Star Game, the Phillies are batting 1-for-66. But, oh, what a glorious, majestic hit the one was. Johnny Callison’s three-run home run off Boston’s Dick Radatz in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the 1964 All-Star Game at Shea Stadium 7-4 on July 7 is the signature All-Star moment in Phillies history. That swing was also the defining moment in Callison’s often distinguished, sometimes checkered major league career. It was his Andy Warhol moment, except that those 15 minutes of fame had quite a shelf life…32 years, with no signs of fading away.

In fact, that homer off Radatz seems like only yesterday to Callison because not a day goes by that he doesn’t relive it for some adoring fan. Callison, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” repeats the same sequence of events, day after day after day. “I’ve seen that movie and I can relate to it a lot,” Callison chuckled. “Every day someone tells me about it. Good thing, too, because at my age, I’m having trouble remembering what really happened.”

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Tommy Declares for the College of Coaches

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Hey, just because it didn’t work before, doesn’t mean it won’t this time.

And I suggest the rotation be the gang from VFTB. We would provide balance (not too nasty, not too soft) youth and experience – at living! If we needed a Lee Elia moment, Mastrick is our man. Otherwise, Dave seems a natural to cover us with the media.

We are all motivated and have a true appreciation for the history of this organization. Some of us would regularly start the kids and none of us I know of mind the bases getting clogged up. I’d even let Prior and Wood clean the uniforms after the game (since Yosh is retired).

I think we should try it for a month anyway. OK, two months, 10 games for each writer. At the end we could come back with a healthy dose of reality and admit it’s tougher than it looks from our lofty perch.

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Pre-Season Prognostication (NL edition)

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

As we patiently wait for the divisional playoffs to give way to the more exciting League Championship contests, itís time for the VFTB crew to beam with pride or eat crow as we revisit our pre-season National League projections. None of us will be quitting our day job anytime soon.

WEST

ìWatching the NL West this year should prove as initeresting as watching grass grow.î So stated Mark (Mastrick) at the end of Spring Training. And if he made that statement last year he would be right. But this year was more entertaining, especially after Greg Maddux traded Cubby Blue for Dodger Blue. San Diego and L. A. each improved over a year ago and they ended up tied 14 games over .500 and both landed a spot in the playoffs. Technically the Padres finished ahead as they won the tie-breaker in head-to-head play so credit Dave as he was the only one to choose them. The rest of us liked the Dodgersí chances.

EAST
The Mets ran away and hid early with the division so the real question was if the Phillies could pull off a wild card berth even tho they jettisoned their best player half way through. Ooops, I mean their second best player. Ryan Howard put this team on his back and almost succeeded grabbing the wild card. Fans in Philadelphia will be muttering ìwhat ifî all winter long. And the Marlins surprised us all.

I was the only one to guess the top three finishers in the East and to his credit Chris also picked the Mets. Joe and Mark were still drinking the Atlanta Kool-Ade and Dave obviously felt the Phillies would keep Abreu the whole season.

CENTRAL
Well, that Brewers dynasty didnít quite take root this year so Mark and I were left looking kind of foolish (and more me than he for choosing Pittsburgh second!) My only saving grace was that I was the only one of our blessed fraternity who correctly predicted that the Cubs would finish in the basement. Am I proud of that? Hardly, tho I kept bragging about it to anyone who would listen. Is that sick or what? Joe, Dave and Chris correctly picked the Cardinals to win the division but Chris was the only one to also predict Houstonís second place finish. None of us saw the Cincinnati surprise as we unanimously chose them 5th.

Unofficially, Chris won the Central, I won the East and Dave won the West. Chris said he would cover the American League. Now Iím off to think good thoughts about The Professor as he tries to stave off elimination against Delgado and the Mets..

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What Really Matters

Monday, September 18th, 2006

“You break your wrist and you think that’s a big deal. Then something like this happens and it kind of slaps you in the face of what really matters.” Derrek Lee

Our thoughts and prayers for your family at this time, Derrek.
Everyone at View From the Bleachers.

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Underdogs

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Instead of leaving a really long comment (Parting Shots), I decided to make this a separate post. I’ve had some time to do a little soul searching about what I wrote and what you all said in response..

Go ahead and throw out all of the miniscule samples I gave in the post below . Newman is right about the RISP, I inadvertantly looked at the line above. Mea culpa.

What bothered me the most I guess is the piling on of Neifi and not at Baker. Some did say he was misused but in more than one instance then went on and had a smart-ass crack about Neifi.

I grew up a Cubs fan for many reasons but one of those is that I always root for the underdog and Neifi certainly fit that role. When I see piling on it makes me get in that guy’s corner that much more. Maybe it’s a reflection of growing up as the short, fat kid in school. I was the underdog and a couple people stuck up for me.

When I had to run the mile in gym class, I could barely walk it. About 10 minutes into the stroll, sides aching, with another 1/3 mile to go, I saw two kids from class coming towards me. One on my right, the other on my left, they had finished their run and came back to go the distance with me.

There were kids in our school who we were cruel to, did horrible things to. I was too much of a coward then to come to their defense. I am ashamed of that.

Neifi Perez is a decent player when used correctly. So, say that. Blame the manager for batting him second in the order (tho his career splits aren’t any worse in that place than furthur down.) When Nomar went down last year Neifi stepped in and stepped up. How quickly we forget.

I remember writing a post last year entitled “That’s Corey With a “C”. I received similar response for that post as well. That’s OK. I will probably keep on keeping on til Joe throws me off the blog. Call me illogical, unreasonable, unrealistic, stupid, oversensitive, sentimental and naive, I don’t give a rat’s behind because this is who I am and I’m not apologizing for it.

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Parting Shots

Monday, August 21st, 2006

The Neifi era is over and the Cubs Blog Army canít resist getting in their last digs on a player who admittedly was no David Ortiz but on many occasions busted his tail with positive results.

nifty neifi

Proud to say one of the more gracious send-offs came from Mastrick, our own lovable curmudgeon, ìI wish Neifi the best of luck, nothing against him, he’s an adequate utility player and he always seemed to have a positive attitude as a Cub.î I think Iím tearing up.

Famine (Jason) from Goat Riders tried to be conciliatory as well, ìIf used properly, Neifi could actually help a contender like Detroit and so everyone should be happy.î But he couldnít help himself with this crack, ìHe could have been traded for a box of Frankenberry cereal and I’d be just as happy.î Some folks just canít resist temptation.

Chuck at Ivy Chat also seems to want to be somewhat mollifying when he writes ìIronically, Neifi is actually a valuable player if used properly.î But alas he canít seem to help himself, either, by adding ìIt sure seems that the injury to Placido Polanco has improved the Cubs for 2007 by getting the Cubs to unload an overused and underqualified player.î Chuck titled his post ìDonít Let The Door Hit You In The Butt On The Way Out.î Nice.

ìI find it somewhat remarkable that Hendry was able to convince another team that Perez had enough value to trade for,î so says our friend at CubsNet.com. Not too assuaging, if you ask me.

Baseball Toasterís Derek, one of the better writers in the CBA, chimes in lock-step with this little nuggett. ìthe disturbingly overvalued Neifi! was sent to, of all places, Detroit, for A-ball catcher, Chris Robinson. That Perez was dealt at all is surprising enough, but that he brought back someone who could conceivably see time in the Majors within the next five years, and perhaps even be of some use, is nothing short of miraculous.î ìDisturbingly?î I am disturbed by the decline of moral values and political unrest in the world. Neifiís contract doesnít even register in the top 100 with me.

But no one has been more vicious than Rob from The Cub Reporter. He undoubtedly had to change his trousers when he heard the news. In his ìChristmas in Julyî post he gushes ìAs for Neifi, donít let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance! I really donít want to spend another moment on his worthlessness. Good luck Tigers, youíll need it.î

Oh I donít know, Rob. Seems to me the Cubs need a guy who hits over .300 with runners in scoring position (The Cubs are only hitting .255 in these situations). Add in Neifiís night-time average of .320 (Cubs .263) and his average in June-July was also over .300 so where do you get off excoriating Neifi Perez?

Well, who will the next whipping boy be? Corey is history, Hawkins is gone, Macias is but a memory. Ah, yes. Mabry. My guess is John Mabry.

Let the mudflinging commence.

As for me, my World Series Dream Series is set. Dodgers and Tigers. Maddux and Neifi. I’m ready for October.

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Web Gems

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

One of the vital moments of the game on Saturday was the breathtaking catch by my guy Juan Pierre, up against the ivy, make that high off the ivy late with bases jammed with redbirds and Sir Albert launching the ball.

pierre

The catch was so worthy, ESPN bobble heads made it the # 1 Web Gem of the night. This isn’t that catch but it’s the only one I can find of JP making a defensive play of like caliber. Just imagine him in Cubby Blue and the wall covered with ivy and it’s close enough.

Speaking of web gems, Baseball Tonight showed their top three web gems of all time – by a player in a Cub uniform. (They are showing a different team every night) Immediately they admitted that no good film was available for Tinkers or Evers or Chance so they decided instead to list the top three they have video for.

But Juan’s catch yesterday was also very special.

That’s my guy!!

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Rumour Has It…..

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

According to the Rocky Mountain News

Atlanta third base coach Fredi Gonzalez is getting strong consideration for the Cubs managerial job if a move is made with Dusty Baker.

I have never even heard of the guy. Should we be impressed or worried?

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