Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waiting for the other shoe

What do you mean "I get to play with Kerry again?"

Sending DeRosa to the Indians for a bunch of prospects?

Either:

A: Cost-cutting move. This is the Cubs - they don't do cost-cutting, especially when DeRosa was one of the better clutch bats (and gloves) for the team last year.

B: Getting a "premier player" with the freed payroll/prospects acquired. So who's it gonna be? (cough BRADLEY cough)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So Now What?

This vile apparatus prevents me from feeding. Please, put me out of my misery.

With the Bears finishing their season in style, it's time to dedicate our time to something else. Thankfully, the Blackhawks have dedicated themselves to winning this year, and are currently in the midst of a 9-game winning streak. The last time any team in Chicago had a 9-game win-streak? The Cubs, back in July. The last time the Hawks have done it? Never. Franchise record, baby.

Go Hawks! Tide us over until baseball!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Press Conference


Phew! It's awfully hot under these interview lights. Let me tell you, there is no excuse for the way we performed today. I was watching the same game you guys were, and there's no mistaking it: we deviated from the gameplan.

Did you guys see Kyle out there today? He had two passing touchdowns - two! - and no interceptions. We're not running some Peyton Manning-style bullshit out there, Kyle! I expect to see at least two picks. And that rushing TD? What the fuck was that?! That play was supposed to have you get mauled in the pocket while your receivers all run in circles! I don't care if the season is over - we're going to practice the ZJ-Right-66 until next season if we have to in order to get it right!

Oh, and don't get me started on Devin. I had such high hopes for this kid on offense. Did you see the way that he took our offensive scheme to heart and completely stopped functioning on kick returns? Hell, we had to give the job to Ladyname Manning. That's true commitment right there! So why am I seeing six catches for 85 yards? You know what that looks like to me, Devin? That looks like showmanship. You think you're better than the playbook? There's a reason that you don't run any routes that take advantage of your speed! Remember we tried that, and for a few times, it worked when Kyle would horribly underthrow you. But making catches in stride? Just who the hell do you think you are!? Respect the coach!

Phew...I'm sorry, it's just that gameday gets me all riled up. You know how it is. Uh, I guess what I really want to say here is that while this season wasn't perfect, we did still manage to lose enough games to miss the playoffs. You can't lose every game - the Lions just happen to be the best at what they do. I'm going to be studying a lot of their tape in the offseason as they are the team to be beaten by next year, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

These Bears didn't deserve the Playoffs

Where's your heart???

Well, that was fun. 

We can't guard a big time WR, our run defense is useless without Mike Brown and our run game is totally dependent on Forte's health.

Let's be honest, this Bears team did not deserve to make the playoffs: a mediocre offense and a slightly better than average defense. Sure, we were good enough to keep most of our games close enough to win and for 9 games our special teams and a few big plays put us over the top. 

Tillman can't stop a big-time WR (see 2008 stats against us from Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, Megatron, etc) and our secondary can't compensate over the top or against the run, especially without Mike Brown. Our OL is getting older and our LB's are weak except for Briggs. Our WR's are a joke and our best reciever, Greg Olsen, dropped 2 potential game tying TD's in the 4th quarter.


It's tough to catch passes in tough coverage!

So let's take an honest look at the team and tell it like it is... we are a 9-7 team that could easily have been 7-9 and  we have more holes than TPC's old boxers. 

Worst of all, we played wihout emotion today. There was no heart, there was no fire and no urgency. We didn't go down fighting and our defense quit in the middle of the second half. There is nothing worse than watching your team and feeling more invested than the guys on the field. Great call for the Texans not to post the other NFL scores during the game: our guys looked distracted and confused and probably contributed to our general sense of distraction. Come on guys, you own your own destiny, just win the fucking game. (Sidenote: Oakland and Philly won, and we would have moved on despite the Vikings win). 

On another note, I almost feel bad for the Patriots - a team that really deserved to go to the postseason and is playing better football than any team in the NFC right now. Hell, they should give points against any team outside the 1st round bye's. Maybe the Bears can overspend on Cassell?

-KEG

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Now on ESPN 2, 5, and 6!

Last night epitomized the 08 Bears


Somehow, after getting crushed for 4 quarters of a football game, the Bears managed to win in OT and stay alive in the playoff race. Honestly, we were outplayed and over-matched for the entire game - if I hadn't known the score and missed a few minutes of the game, I would have thought it was 28-0 Fudgepackers at halftime.

Which leads me to making a few observations from last night that more generally define our 2008 season:

1) Dan Manning is awesome. Not just on kick returns either, the guy is a standout on special teams (both sides of the ball) and is becoming a really good nickle back.  He started last season but is really coming into his own this year and it shows with his steadily increasing minutes. Because his kick returns have been so impressive, the rest of his growth has been overlooked. Lovie called him "one if not the best athlete on this team" in the press conference last night and I tend to agree.

2) Our recievers are better than advertised. We all saw the clip last night where our WR's ranked in the bottom 5-10 teams in the NFL for every conceivable statistic. I've gotta call bullshit on that for a few reasons. First, we don't go deep very often (likely because Orton's range is about 30 yards max) and most of our pass plays are designed for 5-15 yards in Ron Turner's scheme. Looking at our depth, we're not in bad shape: Olsen got over his early season case of the fumbles and is a dynamic TE, one of the best in the league; Hester has matured into a B+ receiver with decent hands, great speed and an open-field nightmare; Brandon Lloyd/Marty Booker/Rashied Davis are all solid options with their own individual strengths (although none of them are outstanding). Our WR's are fine for our scheme, and our scheme is designed for Orton. Questioning Orton is another issue...

3) Our defense is defined by big plays and takeaways. There is no doubt the Bears have a solid defense - great young talent, great veteran leadership, an excellent culture and real pride (you see anyone in long sleeves last night in the -3 weather?? Didn't think so.). However, we aren't on par with the Steelers or the Ravens or even the Giants this season. We're actually not even ranked that highly outside of our run D:
PTS
21.3
(14th)
YDS
326.7
(14th)
PASS YDS
235.4
(28th)
RUSH YDS
91.3
(4th)







Not that impressive. 

What makes us an elite unit is the recurring theme of big time clutch plays. When we need a turnover, somehow, we get one. We force a lot of fumbles, we get a lot of INT's and we make SMART plays. When we need a blocked kick to have a chance at the playoffs - TADA! Maybe we're not the most consistently dominant D and sure we give up some points and you can throw on us but in a close game on a key 3rd or 4th down late in the game, there is no team in the league I'd trust more to get the ball back than our boys. We're top 5 in INT's, defensive TD's and lead the league with 4 blocked kicks this season.



This was a huge win on a big time Monday Night game and we've got a tough matchup against a hot Houston team next week on short rest. We all know the playoff scenarios but to keep it simple: Root for the Giants, Eagles and Raiders next week.

BEAR DOWN!

-Keg


Bearing It

You can take my fantasy season, but you can never take our freedom!

Despite all of Ron Turner's best efforts to cost us this game, the Bears delivered an early Christmas gift last night, beating the Packers in OT. This was really one of those games where the Bears got a lucky win, because we didn't start playing until the second half. Our passing game was shitty, our running game non-existent, and our defense couldn't decide if they wanted to play or not.

Speaking of the defense, though, how about Lance Briggs and Corey Graham? I swear, every single play on defense involved one of these two guys. Briggs kept Ryan Grant from leaving the line of scrimmage, and Graham kept Rodgers from annihilating us with the pass. Without these two guys, this game is over before it even begins. Also, the usual props to Robbie "Good As" Gould with his clutch performance. Does anyone miss Paul Edinger?

But the real unsung heroes? These guys:

That's not orange paint - merely a few 2nd degree burns from setting themselves on fire to survive the gametime temps.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We Don't Suck!

"I too enjoy facial hair! Let us rejoice!"

And with that, the Blackhawks are officially a team worth caring about. Seven straight wins later, and the Hawks are looking like one of the best teams in the NHL. We've got Kane and Toews leading the charge, and the terrifying duo of the Khabibulin Wall and the Huet Hotel (OK - that's not nearly as intimidating).

Even so, I think it's safe enough to start giving the Hawks the attention they deserve. We haven't rattled off 7 in a row since 1981! We're on the road to taking the lead in the Central Divison in who knows how long. If this isn't the time to "Committ to the Indian", I don't know what is.

Thoughts?

Keeping The Faith

Bad touch - BAD TOUCH!

In an unusual piece of news that slipped past the rest of the universe, it seems that the White Sox have made the news yet again: we're providing an environment to lend a "helping hand" in the community. Most notably, we're helping Daniel McCormack, and two young boys looking for a new way to "connect" with the church:

The $1.2 million settlement, approved Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, involves allegations that the boy was sexually abused by McCormack at the school in 2004 and at a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field in 2005.

While there were a total of five victims of Daniel "Frisky Hands" McCormack, the majority of the molestations took place at the rectory, making this less exciting than I was hoping for. Still - at a Sox game? Where can you even do that at a game? Is there a booth to the left of the churros stand for that sort of thing? Or maybe that was the dark secret behind the new "Fundamentals" deck when it was first put in during the 2005 season.

Well, at least he had the common sense to molest the kids during the championship season - if you're going to leave a lasting impression, make sure it's really a lasting season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bill Simmons Gets The Bears

Bill Simmons updated his NFL Power Poll today and had this to say about our beloved Chicago Bears:

LINGERING LIKE A STALE FART

14. Chicago Bears
Chicago's new offense: "Throw the ball up to Devin Hester and hope he either catches it or draws an interference penalty." In other words, the Bears are using the same offense my buddy Geoff mastered in "Madden '96," only without the wrinkle of Kyle Orton running backward for 20 yards, scrambling around for eight seconds and heaving a Hail Mary downfield. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this fails.


First of all, this is so dead-on that I literally began nodding my head while reading it. Somehow, we are still in the playoff race, not good enough to close out the conference but not bad enough that you can rule us out against most teams in the league.  I would actually elaborate and describe the Bears as a lingering stale fart of your own - you know the smell, you know it's yours and you know it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

We also commented on the Orton to Hester playbook after last week here, but I'm still hopeful that Ron Turner can add some tricks to the offense (including teaching Orton to take ONLY 3 steps on a 3 step drop and using Forte for some screens once in a while). This probably won't happen.

Big game this week against the Packers obviously and with Minnesota nursing injuries, we've got a chance to make up ground.

-KEG

I knew I liked this guy

So, Jim at Sox Machine put up his latest batch of Christmas Cards from the Sox (and one off-kilter Hanukkah card obviously intended for Hawk Harrelson), but this one from Brian Anderson just stuck out in my mind. For the uninitiated, I have been a rather large BA fan, and have always wished he could start hitting the ball because, hey, he's a pretty entertaining interview when the reporters aren't asking questions like "why do you suck so much?"

Anyways, here's the card:
Outside:

Inside


Will post all the Kwanzaa cards we get from Carl Everett and Shingo Takatsu sometime next week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bring Him Back!

(Yeah thats right Adrian, sit on Poppa Brendon's lap)

The bears have been terribly inconsistent this year. At times they look amazing (opening day against Indy) or absolutely pathetic (the Green Bay debacle). For some time I have held back my opinion on why we were not able to take it to the next level but after much thought it has become obvious what we need to do: 

BRING BACK BRENDON AYENBADAJO.

Our special teams performance has dropped considerably since he left, just look at the numbers. Devon Hester has just ONE return all season, and has been replaced by a guy with a chick's name. Its not that he's gotten slow or magically stopped being awesome - it's that we dont have Brendon. 

Now the hard part is getting him back in a Bears uniform. We will need to pull out all of the stops, therefore I suggest, luring him back with straight up blackmail:






























(Serena or Venus, hard to tell)

Listen here Brendon:

Either you come back or we send this to every major news source in the country. 

Your balls are in your court.

Brother Up Fools!

-TPC

The Harsh Truth

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pro Bowl 2008

Archuleta And Lane Briggs Fashion Show


Lance Briggs fashion show: Video is from last season, although breasts are timeless...

The only Chicago Bear to make the Pro-Bowl this season is Lance "Lamborghini" Briggs who has 122 tackles and 3 INT's in his 4th consecutive appearance after another very solid year anchoring our feared defense.

Urlacher misses out for the second straight season, although I wouldn't call it a snub (Briggs has 40 more tackles this season) but it's still sad to see a city icon on the decline.

In more important news, Brother-Up star and my personal role model Brendon Ayenbadejo will make his 3rd straight appearence in Hawaii, this time with the Baltimore Ravens. The Bears have no special teams players voted on the team, as Brendon notes:

"I played them all," he said. "Special teams-wise, it lets me know they were missing their captain and their spark plug on special teams. I'm just happy I get to represent my players and coaches in Baltimore." (you can read more from Brendon here).

Here he is, petitioning his former fans for votes on Mouthpeice sports:





Damn right we miss him! The team lost a leader, a fashion icon and damn good football player.

Brother Up fools.

-KEG

Leaps and Bounds



This guy? This is Joey Gathright, the newest Cubs acquisition. Aside from hopping cars in his spare time, Gathright will serve as a cheap utility outfielder/pinch runner...when he's healthy enough to do it. Don't expect him to become the next Reed Johnson, but if he does pan out to something useful, just remember that we mentoned the possibility first.

Speaking of leaps and bounds, did anyone see the Hawks game last night?

What a merciless shellacking! 9-2! That's almost a football score!

Kane and Brouer led the charge as the Hawks took their 6th game in their last 7 attempts. I'm really not sure I'm ready to care about the Blackhawks, but they're really trying to get me interested. The goaltending has been great, we've been scoring points (unlike last year), and we're actually playing well overall.

Finally, getting leapfrogged again, is the Bulls.

This game was so depressing that there isn't even a usable pic from the web. We catch a break when Raja Bell gets ejected in the first 7 minutes, and what do we do? We let DJ Augustin drop 29 on us (to Rose's 6) and get burned on a shitty foul in OT. For those of you who missed it, Rose was called for touching one of Augustin's phantom limbs on a 3-point shot. To quote:

Rose: “I must have blinked too hard or something."

Augustin (smiling): “That’s what the ref called.”

Bullshit. Augustin sank all three FT shots, and helped put his team ahead for good. Okafor also dominated the backboard with 13 boards and 4 blocks - it was really only a matter of time.

In other news, Deng has menstrual cramps and missed most of the second half, just to come in and foul out during OT. Tyrus Thomas made himself useful off the bench, and Ben Gordon put in a solid showing, but the Bulls are still below .500 on the month.

Can it be baseball season yet?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nothing Happened

I fucking love Chunky soup!

Uh, nothing really happened yesterday. At all. The Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks all had the day off, and there really wasn't anything in terms of baseball news or rumors, unless you count the possible pursuit of Joey Gathright...and I don't.

Hell, I can't even make the "Donovan McNabb might show up in Chicago next year" throwaway post because, well, it's not gonna happen. McNabb is probably run out of Philly, but why would the Bears overpay for someone who's not getting the job done - especially when we have the cheap and effective Neckbeard?

Here's hoping one week from tonight has The Beard with a huge game against the Pack, and a crushing loss for the Vikings.

Go Bears.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't even think about it


Don't even think about it.

Today's new (well, not really new, but "restated with renewed vigor") rumor is that the Sox are actively pursuing Willy Tavarez. Aside from the fact that the guy's name is "Willy," I can think of at least two problems here:

#1. He's another high-speed low OBP guy from Colorado. If you wanted to see Podsednik return to the White Sox, this is the closest you're going to get. Tavarez is 26 (older than Brian Anderson) and coming off of a year where he stole a career-high 68 bases...and batted .251. When you're a speedster, having an on-base-percentage of .308 does not strike fear into the hearts of men. You can't steal if you can't get on base - it's as simple as that. Throw in the fact that he plays for Colorado (a homefield hitters paradise), and you should drop his batting stats about .30 to even it out.

#2. Why pay a new guy to hit .230. OK, this is a little mean, but adjusting Tavarez's non-Colorado stats gives him an approximate batting average of .230. You know what other center fielder can hit .230? Brian Anderson. Anderson plays much better defense, has a better arm, and is a very good baserunner. I don't see a reason to shell out more money for a similar player who is not leaps and bounds better - especially when we have Jerry Owens.

That said, Tavarez would likely bat 9th (not leadoff) if he came to town, and would block Owens, Anderson, and newly-signed DeWayne Wise from playing. He's not injury-prone (yet), and he would come relatively cheap, but being a one-dimensional speedster makes you no better than Jerry Owens.

Let's make another run at trading Konerko, shall we?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fuck you, NFL Network

GOULDEN BOOT

No time for a full recap but I will make the following observations:

1) Fuck the NFL Network. Seriously.  You start putting games on Thursday night (awesome!) and then tell everyone they have to PAY to watch (brutal!). It's like having your girlfriend offer to give you head and then halfway through ask for $50 to finish. I will continue to steal the feed online and continue to rip on this overt case of extortion.

2) The Bears are not exciting. Our two biggest plays were a FG and a pass interference call. Sure, the opening punt return TD was awesome but you can't claim real excitement when your best unit (special teams) is only on the field a few plays a game. But hey, Dan Manning is turning into a hell of a KR specialist and Hester is becoming a solid WR option (did you see how badly Orton underthrew him on that interference call? He had 10 strides on Jason David and the ball was 20 yards behind him. Nice work falling back and getting the call- it could just as easily have been an INT).

3) Reggie Bush is almost officially a bust. Pierre Thomas (hometown Chicago stud) is clearly the more complete back and has been a monster since Bush went down 4 weeks ago. The Saints still have Deuce to shoulder the short yardage if they need it and I could easily see Bush confined to 3rd down duties (ala Leon Washington). 

Kudos to the secondary for hanging tough against the best passing QB in the league and great defensive stand in the 4th quarter to get into OT. Big win, we've got a huge game next week and the playoffs are in sight.

GO BEARS!!

Keg

Rigged

So, I came across this gem the other day. This fine contest, Miss ILLINOIS USA, has finished selecting it's winner. See, you can already tell there's something wrong with this contest by the name: "Miss Illinois USA." That doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but they really wanted to make sure you didn't confuse it with "Miss Illinois Ontario."

Anyways, contest is over, and who wins?



Waiiiiiiiit a second. That can't be right! That's Ashley Bond of the Lovabulls! Man, those Bulls cheerleaders sure are gorgeous...we even dedicated a post to dissecting their beauty. So, now we've got this seemingly bogus contest awarding a beauty award to a LOVABULL!?!? What, we the Blackhawks girls out of town or something?

Bond's award was handed to her by last year's winner, shown below on the left.


Wait a second, she looks kinda familiar...

GAH! COLLUSION! Shannon Lersch (our highest ranked LovaBull, and leader of the MILF division, if that tells you anything) was the 2008 winner!?

This is so bogus.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Isn't Anyone Talking About This Guy

...whose left hand is that?

Everyone in Chicago seems to think that the Cubs and Sox are both in need of a lead-off hitter, and they'd be right. Soriano and his lead-off homerun needs to be batting further down, and the closest thing the Sox have to a lead-off hitter is Jerry "I sprained my ass taking a shit" Owens. Common consensus is that both teams are going to make a run at Brian Roberts.

Sure, we could go with that - overpay for Roberts dealing with the notoriously stingy Orioles, get one year out of him and then have to pay him the salary increase he's earned (or trade him). That doesn't really sound like the trouble it's worth, especially when you consider how many prospects it will take to pry him from Baltimore.

Instead, why isn't anyone talking about Ichiro?

Ichiro does a few things that Roberts doesn't. For one, he has hit over .300 every year with at least 30 SB - a remarkable feat. His "slap-hitting" style keeps him on the basepaths, and his ability to steal makes him deadly. He also comes with a contract that locks him up until 2012 (and pays him deferred money post-retirement...cool). Ichiro plays a mean RF, something that the Cubs and White Sox would both like to fill (Jermaine Dye is likely going to be traded, and Fukudome is likely going to be deported).

Most importantly, the Mariners would be willing to trade him. The common consnensus in Seattle is "oh dear lord, we suck." It is very much time to rebuild in Seattle, and Ichiro is probably past his prime (what, hitting only .301 next year?). The Mariners have already shown that they're not afraid to trade big names for youth in their latest trade with the Mets. Seattle traded away Putz (best closer they've had in a while), and Jeremy Reed in exchange for a boatload of prospects, Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, and a spunky young outfielder named Franklin Gutierrez.

If Seattle is maintaining their youth movement (and I see no reason why not), this is probably the best time to make a run for Ichiro. If the Sox offered a package of youth (Poreda and Getz?), they could probably get the job done. Likewise, the Cubs could offer to eat his entire salary and dump more failed talent (Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, et al). Oh, and did I mention that Ichiro fills seats (with Japanese reporters, but hey, seats are seats).

Frankly, I just want to see how Fukudome would react to Ichiro joining the team. It would be worth it just to see Ichiro try and "respectfully" take Fukudome's job in front of 100,000 rabid Japanese media.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stories We Missed

Just a quickie here - two gems about Chicago today that we totally missed:

#1. The Blackhawks have heart, soul, and Happy Meals.

#2. The Cubs are a scandal waiting to happen (I actually toyed with writing something about this today, but what can you do?)

Random Hockey Preview

Crossing the Blackhawks with the Senators gets you this guy

We spend too much time covering hockey as it is, but here's a quick breakdown of tonight's Hawks game.

- Two goalies once MIA will be seeing ice time. Khabibulin and Martin Gerber are both expected to start for the first time in a while. Khabibulin was out with an injury, but with Corey Crawford send back to the AHL, it opens a spot.

- The Hawks are (hopefully) still riding high after Sunday's slaughter where they scored seven goals in the first 28 minutes. Sharp, Kane, and Toews are all getting hot on the ice, going on consecutive point streaks.

- Likewise, the Senators have scored three or more goals in three straight games for the first time this season. With both teams riding hot, it looks like it's going to be a bad day to be a goalie.

Final Score: Hawks 3, Senators 2

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unreal

This neck-brace sucks!

News is trickling in that the Cubs may be involved in a three-way deal that would essentially net them Jake Peavy in exchange for Mark DeRosa. My two gut reactions are, "how the hell did the Cubs pull this one off" followed immediately by "oh yeah, it's the Cubs. Welcome to Chicago Nomar #2."

The trade would essentially send DeRosa to the Phillies, who would part with a few prospects (such as pitcher J.A. Happ) that would go to the Padres, ultimately sending Peavy to the Cubs. You already know my feelings on the Cubs acquiring Peavy, but trading your second-baseman doesn't do anything unless you're SURE you're going to get Brian Roberts.

Stay tuned.

Every Rose Has It's Thorn


Pop quiz - it's late, and you're hungry. Getting out of bed takes effort, and you bust your ass for the fans all week anyways, so none of that. Gotta stay in shape, though, so any bedtime snack needs to be healthy.

Do you:

A: Get drunk and go boating

B: Carve an apple and yourself in the process

C: Attempt to get up, walk two yards and collapse on the floor.

If you answered anything but B, you're obviously trying too hard to be Cedric Benson. The lone source of optimism for the Bulls, Derrick Rose, is 10 stitches richer after an apple-related incident.

Quote Rose:
"It was a silly incident," Rose said. "I was cutting up some food and I laid on a knife getting lazy in bed. I went to go get a bottle of water, came back, forgot the knife was there, then sat down and sliced my arm."

So Rose lays down in bed and snuggles up to a machete. Fucking brilliant.

Go Bulls?

Monday, December 8, 2008

T-Shirt Winner

Hey StalkingErinAndrews - E-Mail us your address and shirt size so we can send you something you'll never be able to wear in public.

Thanks,
The Management

Big win, still in the hunt

If I flex like this and hook up with my brother, can I also get my own brother-up website??

Bears win, improve to 7-6 and stay one game out of 1st behind the Vikings (8-5). Packers lose (surprisingly, actually) and likely won't make the playoffs.

Defense was solid, although stopping David Garrard and the Jags offense this season is nothing to write home about. It seems like when the Bears play well on the opening drive (offense or defense), we play with a lot more confidence for the rest of the game, win or lose. Orton was able to start off the day with a short TD pass (=confidence) and we had momentum for the entire first half. I don't think they got a first down in the first 45 minutes of the game.

The Jags D is clearly hurting from their offseason moves, missing Marcus Straud and Aaron Glenn. They were always a top 10-15 defense since I can remember... now they look like crap. Nevertheless, they did a nice job containing Forte, who "only" had about 110 yards from scrimmage. Israel Idonije got some pressure on Garrard moving in from special teams and obviously Dan Manning (can't keep calling him Danieal) had a huge day. Good showing from the Bears TE's too (Olsen and Clark both had TD's) and a really nice grab on Olsen's TD.

I will admit, Fred Taylor never ceases to amaze me. I remember a few years ago when he guaranteed 2000 yards (I think this was in 1999/2000) and everyone thought he was crazy. He subsequently got injured within 10 seconds and missed most of the next 3 seasons. I remember when he was "Fragile Fred" (he's only missed a handful of games in the last 5 years) and everyone hated him for being questionable every game, all the time. I think Taylor is one of the most severely underrated players in the league, as was his teammate Jimmy Smith, one of the greatest fantasy WR's of all time. Taylor finished the game with 53 yds on 13 carries and passed newly incarcerated O.J Simpson and Corey Dillon to move into 16th place on the NFL Career Rushing Leader board.

We get a tough matchup with New Orleans next week and GB the following week. Both are going to test our secondary. Minnesota goes to Arizona (tough) then home to play the Falcons (surprisingly tough as well).

We're still in this bad boy!!

P.S.  Brother up fools!!






Dodging a Bullet

Uh...not quite perfect form

So, all the talk yesterday was that the Sox were about to send Jermaine Dye to the Reds in exchange for Homer "Homo" Bailey. I'd been hearing rumors about it all week, and at one yesterday, it was even confirmed and waiting for league approval. I have never been happier to hear that a Sox trade has been hot air than I am today.

Now, this probably goes against everything I've been saying the last two weeks - I want the Sox to trade the older, more expensive players, and to pick up some young quality pitching. At first glance, the Dye for Homo trade has that in spades. Bailey was once touted as the best prospect in the Reds' system (and with as many years of losing and high draft picks that they have, that's certainly saying something), was untouchable in the minors, and is 22 with a cheap contract. Dye is 34 years old and making over $7 million a year. Win win, right?

Wrong.

Before I even rip into Homo Bailey, let's discuss Dye's real value. Dye not only comes through with leadership and post-season hitting (.438 in the 2005 WS and .375 in last year's ALDS), but he's generally the "rock" of the team. He's played over 135 games every year on the team, with at least 25 HR and is generally one of our best run-produces (including a monstrous 120 RBI campaign in 2006). Since leaving Oakland, he has shed his "injury-prone" label to play without far, making some plays in RF that helped bring back memories of Aaron Rowand. Dye is also a clubhouse presence and one of those guys that helps keep a team together. Not really someone you want to give up unless the package is going to be good.

Bailey, on the other hand, has slowly declined in value since an early debut in 2007. Once touted as the best prospect in the Reds' system in 2006, Bailey was brought up in 2007 to face the Indians and promptly fell flat on his face. Bailey never quite displayed any semblance of control, walking 28 batters in 45 innnings (which, sadly, is about on par for him, minors included). Still, he showed flashes of promise over the year with some quality starts, and gave Reds fans hope for 2008.

Fast forward to 2008, and Bailey gets decimated by the longball. Bailey gives up 8 HR in only 36 innings, and gives up 36 runs (32 earned) to compile a 7.93 ERA for the season with various demotions/callups. His strikeout rate has decreased every year since being drafted, he doesn't have much in the way of control (walks way too many guys, serves up a lot of junk), and while he mysteriously seems to thrive in the minors, he's a long way from getting this whole "MLB" thing figured out. He's no Clayton Kershaw.

This is the Joe Borchard/Brian Anderson of pitchers, everyone. A guy who destroys the minors but can't seem to get it together for the big show. For someone else, I would welcome Bailey as another promising project for Don Cooper, and wring my hands in anticipation of our future team. But for Dye? No chance. Besides, as much as Don Cooper loves pitching projects, he's already got enough on his hands with Richard, Marquez and company. Also, who would play Right Field? Or CENTER FIELD for that matter?

Here's hoping this rumor gets squashed and that if we DO trade Dye, we're getting another boatload of prospects (see: Vasquez/Swisher) with some major-league-ready help in the outfield. As much as I love prospects (or websites about prospects), this one creates more holes than it fills.

...I hear Joe Borchard is available.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holy Shit I Hate This Thing




OK. What. The. Fuck.

"You want to keep warm when you're feeling chilled
But you don't want to raise your heating bill
Blankets are okay, but they can slip and slide
and when you need to reach for something -- your hands are trapped inside
Now -- there's the Snuggie!"

The Snuggie? What the hell? Enjoy looking like a member of some sort of retarded cult with this backwards robe! I love the premise behind the ad, too - it's cold. Not only is it cold, but you're a spazz who can't sit still. Worse still, if you want to, y'know, DO anything, you need to take your hands out of the blanket!

What if I simply put on a sweater, or maybe some fucking pants? No...that's absurd. Why don't I get off my ass for 30 seconds and turn up the heat? No, that would be wasteful. I know! I'll spend my perfectly good money on a wizard's robe!

"It's a blanket with sleeves!"

Yes, we have a name for those in society. They're called "long-sleeved shirts." If you desire a shirt for colder weather, may I interest you in a "sweater." It's like a regular shirt, but WARMER. Profound.

"It's like a backwards robe!"

No, it IS a backwards robe. There is nothing magical about this, except for the fact that you get to wear a fleece hospital gown in the comfort of your own home.

"One size fits all!"

Yeah, that's the funny thing about wearing a giant tent - no matter what, it's going to drape over your body quite effectively. It's a really really big piece of fabric. You know...kinda like a blanket - BUT WITH SLEEVES.

"Wear it to sporting events."

No. This is where I draw the line. You want to live in a world where no-one invented sweaters? Fine. You want to have a family of cultist freaks who roast marshmallows like the blood of the "impure?" Go ahead. But you're going to wear that shit to a sporting event? You can't be serious. Unless I'm missing some information about teams like the "Jacksonville Jedi", I can't imagine you'll be allowed to live if you wear that outside your home. Hell, I'm surprised you haven't been sniped for wearing that IN your home.

"Available in Royal Blue, Sage Green, or Burgundy."

And now I know you're not wearing that shit to any sporting event because no team would have those colors. Not even for a book light. Fuck you, Snuggie, and fuck you Antonio Gates for assisting in the premature demise of my fantasy team.

Damn it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

OK, so now what

Men at Work

While it's probably very likely that the Vasquez trade is the one and only move the Sox make that's worth a damn, I'd still like to believe Kenny and Ozzie will continue the overhaul. I don't really know what else they would do, but let's take odds of what they can do.

2:1 - Do nothing else of note. Not surprising, really. Kenny likes to stand pat when he thinks he's made all the necessary tweaks to compete, and this might be one of those times.

4:1 - Seemingly worthless FA signing
. Why spend big money when you can "fill gaps" with wasted potential? We're talking Jayson Nix's of the world - oh wait, we did that already, didn't we? We can always find Timo Perez or Pablo Ozuna in a pinch, too.

7:1 - A no-name trade. These can actually be a blessing in disguise. It's the way we got Matt Thornton (bye Borchard!) and Carlos Quentin under the radar. The more of these the merrier.

9:1 - Relief help signed. This could be anyone from Juan Cruz to Troy Percival to Brian Fuentes. You can never have enough help in the bullpen, and we seem to like taking former closers and turning them into setup men (Linebrink, Dotel). With Boone Logan out of the picture, SOMEONE is going to have to have those critical 7th inning meltdowns for us.

15:1 - A "too late now" signing by Kenny Williams. Why spend the big bucks on a big name free agent when you can take an all-star name that rings a bell in the fan's mind....until they realize that the player has essentially been retired for the past few seasons. With Griffey gone, I can see Kenny taking a wild swing at Michael Barrett (pun intended), Mark Sweeney, Bartolo Colon, Corey Patterson, Sidney Ponson, Carl Pavano or even Jacque Jones. That's a whole lot of ex-Cubs to choose from. I can see some of those guys panning out (Pavano and Jones), but getting Barrett to languish behind AJ would be just the sort of thing KW would do (see: Toby Hall), not to mention it would be hilarious.

55:1 - Another big trade. With big boys like Paulie and Thome eating roster space and clogging the basepaths, Kenny might (finally) decide it's time to go with a sleeker and speedier lineup ala the Rays. The number of trade options is extremely limited, partially because of Thome and Konerko's various no-trade clauses, and also because you can't send Thome to the NL. There's also talk of Dye and Jenks going away as well as Kenny continues to free up cash and acquire youth.

300:1 - Big name FA signing. This is not going to happen. It's anti-Kenny, but there is the slim chance that the Sox say "screw it, I'm going deep" and shell out the big bucks for a top free agent. Dumping more of our big names will free up the money, and the market is going to be a little more reasonable this year due to the economy. Guys like Sabathia (yes, please) or Manny (yes) may be on the back of Kenny's mind. Hell, I'd be happy with signing Abreu or Alou to help out in a pinch (especially if Dye gets traded).

OFF - Kenny takes all the youth we just acquired and trades it for a washed up player like Chris Carpenter. Kill me.

Any other odds out there?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good News Keeps On Coming


So much good news at once...I just don't know what to do! I guess we'll take it from the top:

Announcement #1: Javier Vasquez is traded to the Braves. Mood: Pleased. Trading Javy means two things - it means that we're getting some talented youth (which the Braves have in spades), and it means that Clayton Richard is probably going to join the big boys in the rotation (hell yes). While Javy eats innings and strikes out a lot of batters, he is most decidedly the anti-clutch as evidenced last year. Plus, the Braves will eat his $23 million contract. There is a god.

Announcement #2: Boone Logan is going with him. Mood: Ecstatic. Boone Logan has two purposes - growing an awesome goatee, and pitching well in Spring Training. Any other task outside of those basic functions renders him deadly to the team. Case in point, any Logan outing after May. His value is probably at its highest, and trading both Javy and Logan practically guarantees a AAA prospect - not to mention saving some cash.

Announcement #3: Sox are rumored to receive John Gilmore, Santos Rodriguez and Brent Lillibridge. Mood: Happy, waiting for other shoe to drop. I don't give a damn about Gilmore. As far as I'm concerned, a young scrappy 3B is just icing on the cake. Lillibridge is going to fight for (read: win) a job in the infield in the next year or so, and may be a steal for the club in the longrun. If Rodriguez pans out, and Cooper has a tendency to polish turds, this is great news. Sox are also rumored to get another top prospect...

Announcement #4: Sox get Tyler Flowers. Mood: Feel like dancing. Flowers is legit. He's (currently) a catcher. We get a post-AJ backup plan and the guy (roids aside) can flat out rake. He was considered an untouchable for Peavy. We absolutely dominate this trade.

Announcement #5: This quote - "Teams also are being told the White Sox will take offers on first baseman Paul Konerko and DH Jim Thome." Mood: Pants soiled from joy. This was the real announcement I was waiting for. This is Ozzie saying "Hey, Kenny, screw this "win now" bullshit. We've got these tubs of shit on the basepaths eating our cash and they're just not getting it done." Not only does the initial trade free up money to make a move, but freeing one of these guys practically guarantees we make a run at a big name player (Manny or Abreu? Either one in a Sox uni is fantastic news). We can go young and compete for the next 4 or 5 years instead of giving another half-assed shot this year and then being screwed for a decade.

This is just so much good news...stay tuned for updates.

Edit: Also, I totally forgot to announce the winner of the DVD contest - Mordechai wins for his amusing yet pitiful recount of how he was present for the Cubs historic 2003 postseason collapse. I also seem to have lost the email with the full entry. Send me an email with your address before I sell your DVD winnings for smack.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Naaaaasty!

Derrick Rose is good.

These are some awesome highlights from yesterday, when Rose made Andre Miller look the fool for most of the game. These are better highlights than anyone on our team has had in their entire careers (except Aaron Gray).










Daaaaaamn.

-KEG

Happy Birthday To Us


Somewhere around this time last year, a stupid idea became a reality, and a really difficult-to-publicize name was attached to a heavily biased blog about Chicago sports. Since we've spent the last year giving you our side of the story, here's a little trip down memory lane.

- Remember where it all started?

- Remember Brad, The TPC, and Bloomerang back when they contributed to the site (and before our Cubs coverage was entirely one-sided)?

- That time we tried to quit abruptly.

- Our various experiments in boredom: Fun with sign generators, and other randomness.

- That time we won an award for best logo (link is apparently busted).

- When Fisting Andrew Golota joined the crew.

- The clusterfuck "Free Shit Month."

- Our logo contest.

- Our first piece of breaking news, and our first article to be linked to by Deadspin.

- The first revelation of Aaron Gray's true identity.

- The still uncompleted mission.

- Former site mainstays "GMOTD" and "WTTHT"

It's been a hell of a year, and hopefully the next year is even better. We really appreciate all of our loyal readers - all two of you. If you've been sticking around and reading us regularly, you've probably developed a tumor in your brain. We're sorry.

As an added bonus on our anniversary, anyone who comments on this post gets a chance to win a free shirt. I'll pick one of the comments at random and send a shirt out, and because I'm a nice guy, you can get your pick of the logo.

Long live the Dong.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Slander!!


Watchu talkin 'bout willis...

Football tough guy Brian Urlacher dresses his son in pink Cinderella diapers and paints the 3-year-old's toenails blue, the child's mother charged in Will County court Tuesday. The mother, Tyna Robertson, threatened to block Urlacher from seeing the boy if the beefy linebacker keeps it up. Urlacher's attorney, Anita Ventrelli, filed a motion trying to stop Robertson from keeping 3-year-old Kennedy away from Urlacher. Robertson, in court for a hearing on the motion, said she would allow the visitation, as long as Urlacher puts away the Bears-blue nail polish and puts their son in gender appropriate pull-up diapers. After the hearing, Robertson claimed her son has become confused by the toenail panting and wearing pull-ups designed for little girls. "He pulls down his pants and says, 'Mommy, look how pretty they are,' " she said. Robertson also said Kennedy told her, "Big boys paint their nails," and said he refused to take a bath for two days to keep the blue polish on his nails from washing off. "He'd say, 'Mommy, I don't want to get my nails wet. I don't want to mess them up,'" she said. "It took two hours to get him in the bath." Robertson said her pleas to Urlacher to get him to cease the toenail painting and Cinderella diapering went unheeded. "He says he can do whatever he wants," Robertson said. "[Urlacher said], 'It doesn't make him feminine. It doesn't make him gay.' She said, "You're confusing him, if he's a boy or a girl." Asked to comment on the toenail and diaper claims, Ventrelli shot back, "Typical Tyna, talking to the press, as in virtually every other instance." He declined further comment. (http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/78992)


What kind of bullshit is this? Look lady, if you want to get paid more for child support, at least put some effort into making up a believable story like "he's hung like a moose and I can't take it" or "he forces our 3 year old son to wear Old Spice and tackle random strangers."

This is cleary taken out of context. Sure, maybe Urlacher paints his kids toenails Bears Blue. That's cool, no big deal, kind of like a fan who paints his whole body blue. Whatever... not gay, possibly awesome. Now, the diapers confused me at first, but then I realized what's going on - Brian Urlacher is a man-beast. The only way he knows how to discipline is to maim, cripple and/or destroy. I'm sure someone gave him this idea about punishing the kid with having to wear pink diapers - ultimate shame in the presense of such manliness.  

Regardless, this slander must not tarnish the living legend. His ex is clearly just trying to get some press and misses the beef. Urlacher is the epitome of testosterone and his kid would have to have 6 or 7 X chromosomes to offset his manliness. Stop dragging the kid into your sad life, you filthy whore.

Sidenote: Urlacher could easily be Bruce Willis' son:

"You should have heard your brother squeal when I broke his fucking neck."

-Thanks to ShaimsterMcRaim for the tip

Shedding Some Light

Not quite the sparkplug we were looking for

So, remember that earlier speculation about why Nick Swisher was unceremoniously dumped? It looks like the real culprit was Swisher's "attitude" towards the end of the season. Yeah, hitting .191 in the second half is a serious attitude problem.

Was he a bad influence on the clubhouse?

"You've got to ask the players about that," Guillen said. "To be honest with you, I was not happy with the way he was reacting at the end of the season. He wasn't helping me either."

"It was hard because when we brought him here, a lot of people were excited (that) he would have a great career with the White Sox," Guillen said. "But we got to the point that we went through the roster ... and we had a right fielder, left fielder, first baseman and DH. It was hard for us to find a place for him."

I was really expecting more vitriol from Ozzie, but I guess he sorta mellows out in the first months after the season ends.

In other news, a LOT of trade rumors with the Sox involving the Mets, Rays, and even the Reds. They include (but are not limited to), Jermaine Dye, Bobby Jenks, and of course, Javy Vazquez. More on this when something legit develops, but I would not be entirely surprised to see Jermaine Dye take a ticket out of town as part of a youth movement (Homer Bailey from the Reds, or Edwin Jackson from the Rays, knowing KW).

Here's hoping that rumor of Vazquez for the Mets' Pelfrey materializes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do Not Get Excited

Hey Kid!

So, the Bears seemed to have everything under control on Sunday. Orton was back to making every pass look easy, Forte ran for over 100 yards, and the defense was nearly unstoppable.

...against the Rams.

Playing against the Rams is like playing against a pee-wee football team. You can employ all sorts of tactics that wouldn't work in a real game, such as the classic "yell real loud and get them all scared," or "put your hand on their head as they run towards you, stopping them in their tracks as they hilariously flail their arms." The Rams just aren't a fair gauge of what works and what doesn't work.

The Bears could have done whatever they wanted on Sunday and gotten a win out of it. Our "new" defensive scheme isn't some sort of perfection incarnate - it's that the Rams have no offensive line so every play turns out like a blitz for the poor sap at QB. All those great blocks and picks by our secondary? Yeah, Trent Green really strikes fear into the hearts of man. He got benched for the 3rd string QB (who, remarkably, tore us to shreds on a quick drive downfield).

On offense, Orton was able to make those throws because he had all day to set them up. I don't think Kyle got hurried more than once. So give the line credit, right? I think John St. Clair's excess fat could have been planted in the turf and it would have held at both guard positions. The Rams are really just that awful - on the field, and with their coaching.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Bears. I'm happy we won. We "earned" it. But I don't want anyone else buying into that "the season starts now" bullshit. We got lucky to play a team as shitty as the Rams, and we didn't lose. With the Vikings coming up next week, I sense a more than humbling experience...

Go Bears.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giveaway: Surviving History

We love the History Channel, and the History Channel loves us.

I really can't think of a better DVD set for a Chicago sports fan. This is a 3-disc set discussing all of the older torture/death mechanisms in history. We're talking about the well known historical misery inducers - the guillotine, the iron maiden, and the Cubs. There's also some stranger ones on there, like the Shame Flute. I mean, what the hell is a "shame flute?" Well, if you sucked at your instrument, they made you wear this thing around your neck and then jammed your fingers into it so you couldn't play...and then they heckled you.

When I think of torture, I can't think of a more sympathetic town than Chicago. Barring the Bulls of the Jordan era and the 2005 WS win for the White Sox, the last 50 years have been pretty bad around here. The Hawks haven't won it all since Wirtz took over (and subsequently died), the Bulls haven't come close since Jordan left, and so on.

Worst of all, each one of the Chicago team leads you into believing that, OK, maybe THIS is the year we can get something done. And then they choke (see: Cubs, Fire, soon-to-be Bears). Needless to say, these DVDs understand your pain, and can give you other ways to wish for death aside from living here.

TO WIN: Tell us your most torturous moment being a Chicago sports fan. Comment on this post, or E-Mail your entries to GepettoZHog@gmail.com. Winners will be announced later this week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Fat People!

Dayan Viciedo, Age 13. 228 lbs.

While it's not 100% official, it is safe to say that the Sox have signed super-Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo! To make a long story short, this kid is "the new guy" for the White Sox. Keep those Cubans coming!

Dayan Vicideo comes from Cuba, is getting paid $11 million at just 19 years old for a six year contract, and is supposedly one of the best Cuban prospects...ever. The White Sox will likely employ Viciedo at 3B...blah blah blah. That's not interesting! That's just a bunch of data spewed out by normal reporters! As you all know, we are hardly normal - that's why you come here.

Here's what you really need to know about the kid:

#1. He is FAT. Like the "holy shit you made it to America only because fat floats" kinda fat. At 19, he weighs more than 230 pounds. There's talk that his weight has ballooned recently, and that he's "getting out of shape" because he's unmotivated. If he's getting fat, that's on track to make Mo Vaughn look like Alexei Ramirez. I cannot wait to see the hot dog eating contest between him and Bobby Jenks. It's gonna be wild.

Will this affect his ability to field? Well, the whole "can't clap my hands over my stomach" thing seems to be working out for Miguel Cabrera, so we'll just have to wait and see.

#2. He supposedly has a cannon arm, and can field 3B, SS and OF. This is a good thing, and will make him all the more valuable for inheriting Juan Uribe's spot at 3B. After all, Uribe was just some fat utility guy with a cannon arm and...uh oh...

#3. He has pop in the bat. Like, serious pop. That's about all I can say because information is pretty damned scarce at this time (or not in English). Babelfish tells me that "Viciedo ball striking with beauty down grassed plains." Unless Viciedo is wearing a dress, I have no clue what the hell that means. I would say it's safe to assume that Viciedo first lures the ball into his own personal orbit before slingshotting it out of the park. At 16, he hit .337 with 16 HR. Yeah, that says something when some of your oppponents haven't even hit puberty yet and you're just using the inertia of your fat to pound the ball.

#4. Viciedo is probably going to make the Opening Day roster. Yes, he's young. Yes, he's unseasoned. However, much like Alexei before him, Viciedo is going surprise and earn a roster spot. I mean, really, who is going to compete with him? Josh Fields is a crappier version of the current Viciedo, and Dayan has a much higher ceiling. If Viciedo puts in a good showing, I wouldn't be surprised if Fields gets traded.

#5. He has all the support from established...Cubans. You know, it doesn't mean shit to me when someone endorses how good Viciedo is if they're his agent (Jaime Torres) or someone who is represented by Torres (Alexei Ramirez, Jose Contreras). This tells me nothing, other than that you're a ring of protection among one another. This practically garauntees that any new Torres/Cuban prospect is looking at the South Side in the future, but how the hell can we trust any of you if no one that speaks English knows if the kid is any good?

#6. His name is actually Dayán Viciedo Pérez. See those accent marks? Forget about it. I'm not going to look for the two freaky-ass accent marks every time I want to write about him. He should consider himself lucky I didn't just abbreviate his name to "Evita" or "VD" ...although there's time for that later.

#7. I'm not sold on him. This has bust written all over it. Kid is good at making contact, but is putting on massive weight. Can drive the ball with power, but can't run the goddamned bases because his chubby legs rub together making that sound like when you run your hand along saran wrap. I'm sensing a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of "let's swing for the fences." Unlike Ramirez, who is getting paid less and has the speed to be versatile all around, Viciedo seems very very one dimensional. I'm envisioning an unproven Paul Konerko playing third base. This strikes me as especially bad when you consider how he does NOT fit into future plans of "let's stop relying on the long ball and try and get the job done with speed and clutch hits." This kid IS the long ball.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unlikely

"Scarecrow, I'll miss you most of all!"

Somewhere along the line, the Mets lost their closer and started hunting for a capable body to put there. With a bevy of available Free Agent talent such as K-Rod or Fuentes, it would seem silly for the Mets, rich with money, to try and make a trade for a proven player.

And yet, here we are.

Really. Omar trading for big bad Bobby? What the hell can the Mets possibly offer us? We always like to think that we're in the playoff hunt with KW's perpetual "compete now" motto, so it seems unlikely that we would trade the anchor of our perpetually weak bullpen. If we do trade Jenks, you had better believe that it would be to get something else to "compete now."

If I'm the White Sox, I'm thinking either a starting 3B, or CF. Seeing as those two positions are occupied by big names Carlos Beltran and David Wright, I can't see that happening. Maybe Daniel Murphy, their young 3B, but who dumps talent like that? Stupid.

Expect the Mets to sign K-Rod to a three-year deal with lots of incentivies for future years. He'll mow down the pitiful NL, even in his current "less than 100%" form, and everyone will be happy.

And we'll keep Bobby, thanks.