Author Archive

Happy Birthday, Mr. DeRosa!

Monday, February 26th, 2007


If anyone has a decent picture of Mark in a Cubs uniform, send me the link and I’ll switch it.

He does have nice teeth.

Anyone else see a resemblance to Ron “The Penguin” Cey?

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Monday, February 5th, 2007

Sometimes, nice guys finish on top.

Congratulations to the Colts. And Lovie, if you would have won, Leo would still be wrong!!

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Instant Classic

Monday, January 22nd, 2007


Thatís how Peyton Manning described the game of his career, a 38-34 come-from-behind thriller over his nemesis Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the game that sends his Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in two weeks to face the Chicago Bears. ( Mastrick’s Bears’ Super Bowl preview here)

Witnessing their Colts fall behind 21-3 early in the 2nd quarter, the home crowd seemed shell shocked as fears of repeat disappointment of past AFC Championships loomed on the horizon.


This time it was different. Manningía final drive before halftime revealed a chink in the Patriotís armor, a tendency for the big defensive line to get tired. So instead of calling a myriad of timeouts which would have given the Patriotís D a chance to recover between plays, Peyton and company trudged on in a relentless pursuit of history. They settled for a field goal, cutting the lead to 21-6 with the prospect of getting the ball first in the second half.

Just after the intermission, the Colts picked up where they left off, establishing a rhythm that would result in 32 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters against a Patriot defense that ranked among the elite in the NFL this year.

But it was the Indy defense that would come up big. With time running out and leading 34-31, all Brady had to do was get a fresh set of downs or two to ice the victory and the 4th Super Bowl appearance for his Pats in the last 5 years. Bob Sanders, perhaps the Colts MVP in the playoffs, tipped the ball on 3rd and four, forcing a punt and giving Peyton one more chance to exorcise a few demons that have plagued him for his entire professional and collegiate career.

With a minute left on the clock, rookie Joseph Addai waltzed into the end zone, giving the Colts their first lead of the evening. It was all they needed as another defensive gem, an interception, sealed the deal and kept Brady from one of his patented miracles.

Tony Dungy and the Colts will be joining close friend Lovee Smith and the Bears in Miami, a historic moment as no black coach has ever been in The Game. And to think, now there will be two. Both classy gentlemen. Both classy organizations.

This is definitely going to be something special.

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Somebody, Please Let in the Dog (The Bulldog)

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Soon we will know who the newest inductees of Baseballís Shrine in Cooperstown will be. Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn are shoe-ins and may be the only ones to receive 75% of the required votes by the Baseball Writers afforded the honor of choosing.

It is my hope that Andre Dawson and Lee Smith get their due this year as well.

OK having satisfied my Cubs quotient for this post, let me move swiftly to the real reason I have broken out of my hibernation here at VFTB. Let me suggest one more name for the Hall.

Orel Leonard Hershiser (IV).

Bulldog garnished but 11% last year, his first year of eligibility. If that figure doesnít increase significantly today, I have my doubts whether he will ever make it. But thinking like that would be counter-productive and it is certainly not the way Hershiser thinks.

The case for his inclusion is well documented by The Baseball as well as MLB.comís Ken Gurnick.
Hershiser was the unanimous winner of the National League Cy Young Award in 1988 after leading the Dodgers to a World Series title with an NL-best 23 wins, 267 innings, 15 complete games and eight shutouts. His biggest personal achievement was his incredible streak of 59 consecutive scoreless innings to end the regular season, a stretch that broke Don Drysdale’s 20-year record.

He was sixth in the voting for NL Most Valuable Player in 1988, when he was named Major League Baseball Player of the Year and the Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News. The awards kept coming in that spectacular 1988 season for a player who kept rising to the occasion, as he also was named Most Valuable Player of the NL Championship Series against the Mets and of the World Series against the Oakland A’s.

Against the Mets, Hershiser picked up a save on no days’ rest and threw a shutout in the Game 7 clincher. He also pitched the World Series clincher. In 12 career post season series, he was 8-3 with a 2.59 ERA.

A three-time All-Star, Hershiser led the NL in innings pitched three consecutive seasons. He finished among the top five in ERA five times. He also finished third in Cy Young voting in 1985 and fourth in both 1987 and 1989. His career mark was 204-150 with a 3.48 ERA, 2,014 strikeouts, 68 complete games and 25 shutouts. His 2.69 earned run average was second only to Dwight Gooden for the decade of the 80ís, besting the likes of Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan.

And Hershiser could do more than pitch. He won a Gold Glove in 1988 and a Silver Slugger Award in 1993.

“Being on the ballot is a lot different than getting in,” Hershiser said. “Only the cream of the crop gets in, and that’s the way it should be. It’s a special place for special accomplishments. It’s one of those places — like Augusta, with the Masters, or the Indy 500 Speedway — when you walk in, you can cut the air with a knife. You know there’s greatness in those places. I’m humbled and honored. It’s the kind of thing you can’t believe has happened to you.”

Faithful readers of this site know full well of my fondness for Greg Maddux. I feel that same affinity for Hershiser and hope some day he will have his plaque hanging in Cooperstown as well.

Note from Mastrick: CNN/SI has a poll today where you can vote for Hall of fame induction. Interestingly, only two players will be inducted if this straw poll matches the real vote.

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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.


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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