Friday, February 29, 2008
Isaac Bruce was cut by the Rams today, and he might just be worth a flier with the Bears. Bruce runs great routes, and has good hands -- he may not be as agile or fast anymore, but he's still a threat. With Bruce available (and likely not too expensive due to his age), why not take a chance on him? Give him a 2 year deal, and let him teach our youngters what they lack -- route running skills and hands.
We know Hester can burn it up. So can Davis, and even Bradley. They're all speed demons. We have to assume that Berrian isn't coming back, and you can't just plug Hester in as the "leader" in a group of more experienced recievers. Let Bruce come in and lead the way, providing an example of work ethic and groin issues. Not only could he make the offense better just by showing up, but he might be able to turn Hester into a Torry Holt type player on offense.
If the price is right, Bruce should be here.
I posted some (mostly rhetorical) questions before yesterday's Sox/Cubs games -- things that are important, really. Here are some quick answers based on yesterday's games.
#1. Fukudome. Can he really hit (HBP so far)?
As far as I can tell, Fukudome seems to be OK. He got drilled on the first pitch of his first at bat, walked in his second at-bat, and got an RBI single in the third at bat. I think he'll be fine.
#2. Swisher. Ditto.
Swisher started leadoff (a move Jim from Sox Machine loves), with a solid performance of 1/3 with a walk and a 2-run double. He got behind in the count a lot, but he's a tough out. I don't think he should be playing CF, though -- he doesn't look too comfortable in the outfield. I say we trade Thome and let Swisher play 1B or LF (and let Fields play 1B with Crede at 3B). You heard it here first.
#3. Contreras going to rebound?
Apparently, yes! Contreras had three solid innings, giving up only one hit (which scored on an error). Low K counts can rise later on, so I'm not too worried. Keep it up, Jose!
#4. Dempster can start?
Apparently. A solid game from Dumpster, even though he let Randy Winn send one out of the park. I think the Cubs would be better off with him in the bullpen and letting Marquis or Marshall take the last SP spot.
#5. Brian Anderson fights for a roster spot
I officially have been a big BA supporter, and that doesn't stop now. BA went 2/5 with two RBI and one CS. I like that he's running -- that shows faith in giving him a green light. If he can keep up this pace, he might actually take Richar's roster spot (Ramirez looks absolutely incredible -- I can't imagine any other setup than Ramirez/Uribe at 2B).
#6. Crede's back
Yes, he is. Crede started at 3B, but really only had one play come to him, and he botched the throw (luckily Kornerko snagged it and made the tag). He needs to see more action to have a better idea of what's going on. He was 0/2 at the plate with a walk, though.
Notes for today's game against the Diamondbacks:
#1. Dotel. Let's see what you've got.
#2. Jerry Owens is back -- make us proud.
#3. Josh Fields -- can he bring the heat?
#4. Where is MacDougal?
#5. Has Jermaine Dye done anything?
I can't believe I'm doing this again. Go Cubs!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Cubs start Dempster against the Giants, Sox start Contreras again the Rockies.
Things we're looking for today:
#1. Fukudome. Can he really hit (HBP so far)
#2. Swisher. Ditto.
#3. Contreras going to rebound (after 2 innings, yes)?
#4. Dempster can start?
#5. Brian Anderson fights for a roster spot
#6. Crede's back
More on this after the games
The Bears have some problems. Our offensive line has more holes bigger than Paris Hilton's, we have a series of backup QBs competing for a starting job, and a lousy runningback who can't catch.
That said, recent speculation is that the Bears have shown interest in both David Carr and DeShaun Foster, two ex-Panthers released this week.
Dear lord, please no.
First, let's talk Carr. This guy spent years in Houston where the offense consisted of him airing it out within 3 seconds or getting sacked horribly. There was no running game, no inbetween. Carr never learned to use the short pass, something that the Bears have been trying to use more lately. Want to chuck the ball downfield? We've got that covered with Grossman. Want to just throw wounded duck passes inaccurately? Orton all the way.
There's just no room for him on this team. Carr could be better, and he has better wheels than any of our QBs (and Benson, sadly), but he just hasn't shown that he can perform -- especially after being handed the keys in Carolina. The Bears will likely be relying on tight passing next year (think 6 yard gains to Olsen), and that's more of Orton's territory. Carr just isn't worth the risk for a 3rd string QB.
As for DeShaun Foster, he's old. Period. DeAngelo Williams (finally) took his job in Carolina, and we already have our hands full with Benson. There's no point to having the young guy sit for an old guy who probably won't play more than a season or two for us. If Benson could catch, this wouldn't even be an issue. Foster is a short term solution, and the Bears are shooting to be a younger team. If we were in the playoff hunt with everything set EXCEPT for a running game, I'd say Go Foster. Instead, Benson is actually a SMALLER difficulty on this team. If/when the line gets its act together, Benson's gains will increase. If Benson establishes a ground game, the passing game opens up, etc etc.
Just say no to Carolina.
Let's face it -- we're at the point of no return. There's about 30 days -- 30 painful, miserable days -- left before baseball season starts. There's no easy way around it: 30 days is a long time. Here are 30 things that might be able to keep you busy enough to survive until opening day:
#1. Package yourself into a crate and mail yourself to spring training. Hey, it worked for this guy (well, temporarily).
#2. Invent a new MLB statistic and research it. If they can make up VORP, I'd like to see them stop my creation of MSPIP (Mullets Seen Per Inning Pitched).
#3. Go visit your local science or architecture-based museum and complain about their lack of an adequate baseball exhibit.
#4. Take up college basketball. Yeah, I know it sucks, but we need SOMETHING to bet on.
#5. Write a letter to Darren McFadden claiming to be one of his children. If you play this right, you could take up all 30 days AND make some cash.
#6. Send some cell-phone pics to Sean Salisbury. Clothes optional.
#7. Play the extra $348,500 a year to your local cable
#8. Go to your team's ballpark and start camping out near the ticketbooth. You're going to be first in line, just like that guy at the Star Wars movies who complained the whole time. Depending on your team, it will likely be a similar experience.
#9. Grow a goatee, shave your head and work parties as Billy Koch. Horrific skin condition aside, you should be passable.
#10. Sail 3/8ths of the way around the world. Depending on which direction you go, this could be the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere in Asia, or if you're a complete moron, Venezuela. This would be a different story if we had 80 days before baseball, but only because I might have killed myself.
#11. Spend all 30 days laboriously perfecting time machine only to finish in the 2nd inning of opening day. Damn it.
#12. Freeze yourself in a block of ice, enlisting an 8-year old boy to wake you up when the 30 days have passed. Oh, wait. Nevermind.
#13. Create a coalition for a majority bid to buy the naming rights to Wrigley Field. Nothing says baseball like "Kotex Field."
#14. Track down Bud Selig and give him your lunch money. He was going to get it eventually -- might as well get it out of the way.
#15. Take up a sudden interest in the NHL. It worked for Pittsburgh, didn't it?
#16. Go to your team's message board and post your idea of a "fair trade" every day up until Opening Day, each more ridiculous than the last.
#17. Track down the asshole that does #16 and give him a beatdown for me. I fucking hate it when people do that.
#18. Go partying with Kyle Orton. This may take longer than 30 days, but it'll be well worth it.
#19. Contact Jose Canseco with "insider information." This should make the next 30 days very interesting.
#20. Write Frank Thomas an apology note for ignoring that he is the best non-roids hitter of the 1990's. Take him out to a nice dinner, maybe.
#21. Stalk David Beckham. Hey -- everyone else is doing it.
#22. Practice your Japanese to greet Kosuke Fukudome with an accurate "Good Morning! I Am A Badass" ("Ohio-Gozaimasu. Boku Ga Warui") so he will TOTALLY want to associate with you after that.
#23. Feed John Madden. Didn't you ever wonder what happened to Pat Summerall? The offseason. That's what.
#24. Track down Mo Vaughn and call him fat. Someone's gotta do it.
#25. Shave Baron Davis. This may take 30 days.
#26. Get to know your Chicago Matadors.
#27. Pronounce the name Zydrunas Ilgauskas correctly. May also take 30 days.
#28. Watch the first two "Major League" movies (not that shitpile Major League: Back to the Minors), and then send Bob Uecker a bottle of scotch. He's earned it. Then go watch some other classics like Bull Durham and The Natural. Then complain that your team doesn't have an endearing sports movie.
#29. Prepare a feast to commemorate the Cubs' 100th year without a world series title. Make plans to get humble pie. ashes, hardboiled eggs, saltwater, Moises Alou lemonade, and LaTroy Hawkins as a guest speaker. No matter how long this takes to plan, it will be worth it.
#30. Make a really long list on your website that no one reads. Oh wait.
The 8MM clips of Sayers are hard to follow, but fuck can that guy run. I think TJ has earned a spot up here as well, although I'm open to comments. Enjoy
I'd argue that the unceremonious dumping of TJ last year will go down as one of the dumbest and heartless things the Bears have ever done. How much more confident would we be with Jones/Benson again next season? Fuck.
Just a few snippets from yesterday's exhibition against the Rockies:
-- John Danks actually looked good out there. Granted, his first inning was shaky because he wasn't locating the cutter, but after that, it was smooth sailing. 3Ks in two innings, and a lot of broken bats. I like this.
-- Josh Fields cannot play 3B. I'm not saying Joe Crede should be playing there (OK, yes I am), but Fields showed little or not improvement at the hot corner. If he can't learn to field, we might have a problem (although he can certainly DH when Thome has his May DL trip)
-- Dewon Day is terrible. I don't know how he even made the ST roster. He doesn't have the command to nibble at the corners, so he fires it right down the middle. At 88 MPH. This kid is begging to be taken deep (and gave up some runs really fast).
-- Brian Anderson looked good. I'm rooting for him. A double off the wall, a walk, and a K on a nasty pitch. Also played in LF for some reason.
-- Ed Farmer likes Sgt. Slaughter. I have no idea why, or how this came up during the broadcast. It just did.
-- Bobby Jenks has a beard. And he's lighter. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. Only the velocity will tell.
-- Wassermann looked a little shaky, but it's still early.
-- We still can't produce. SO many runners left on base. That's gotta improve.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Today is the first Cactus League Sox game (against the Rockies, at 1 PM). Here are the top 5 things that we're looking at:
#1. John Danks. Does he actually have a cutter? Is it as good as Josh Fields made us all hope it was? Please let it be a nasty pitch -- I don't expect a forkball, but something to keep your fastball looking, well, FASTER.
#2. Alexei Ramirez. Apparently takes grounders well enough to impress Guillen, but needs to show that he can pound the ball. It also doesn't hurt that Richar is still stuck in the DR.
#3. Kenny Williams. If he does this on a regular basis, he might just get more press than Ozzie. Let's hope he gets on someone else's case today.
#4. CF. Can Nick Swisher actually play CF? Will Owens be playing here after tweaking something the other day? Will Brian Anderson get a shot?
#5. Jim from Sox Machine. Bring us all the dirt that we want and can't afford to fly out to Tucson to get. Ask Jim to bring back things here.
That said, LET US WELCOME THE CHICAGO GRUDGE MATCH OF THE DAMNED!
Interesting Fact: His business card often described him as a "used furniture dealer."
Strengths: Coming up with booze on short notice, killing people, Al Pacino, Paul Muni and Robert De Niro. Cheering for the Sox, Cubs, and rodeos (?).
Weaknesses: Geraldo Rivera specials regarding his vault, knives at various establishments, cardiac arrests, stroke, dementia, "The Man."
Wow: His grandson is gay. Wow.
Interesting Fact: Holds the record for Academy Award nominations with 64 (and 26 wins).
Strengths: Rodents, underage kids, turning doodles into profit. Enjoys controlling all of your favorite childhood movies and vacation plans.
Weaknesses: Jews, the original Grimm brothers fairy tales. Computerized art.
Wow: He was rejected from the army, so he tried driving an ambulance around in France instead. Wow.
Vote for your winner (or leave suggestions for next week) in the comments!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Patriots released former Bears superstar Rosevelt Colvin today, ending speculation that he would actually kill an opposing QB during a live game.
Colvin will best be remembered for his dominance in the 2001 and 2002 seasons as a Chicago Bear, posting 10.5 sacks a season while under the hypnotic trance of Dickie Jauron. He was actually so good, that the Bears kept trying to play Urlacher at random other positions becuase they didn't need him at MLB.
In his last words before leaving the clubhouse, Colvin was quoted: "the Pats are gay, fuck you Belichick you fucking cheater and surprisingly, go Bears." It's all documented right here.
Yesterday, someone mentioned our good friend, Dalibor Bagaric. Frankly, I didn't remember him at first -- it's one of those names that stands out as unusual, and vaguely familiar, but no memory. Thankfully, I am unable to recall Bagaric sucking horribly alongside -- who else -- Dragan Tarlac.
Today isn't a "What The Hell Happened To," though, because Bagaric is still playing (which disqualifies him). However, PRAISE THE LORD, Bagaric has made the news (Link is in Croatian, good luck with that).
Using the power of Babelfish, intuition, and two types of cheese, I can decipher the majority of the article. Apparently, after "gracing" the Bulls in 2000 with his obscenely good 3 points and 3 REB per game (as a CENTER), Bagaric jumped around Europe (with Tarlac, interestingly enough). Most recently, though, he signed a one-year deal with Fortitudo Bologna (roughly translated: Fortunate Lunchmeat) and then refused to play.
"Centar Girone, Dalibor Bagarić od prošlog ljeta je u sukobu s Repešom kada je izbornik prijavio Bagarića FIBA-i jer je samovoljno napustio pripreme pa prije svega u tomu treba tražiti razloge otkazivanja."
No, I didn't fall asleep on the keyboard -- that's the important part of the article.
According to this gibberish, Bagaric is in deep shit. He got in trouble with the team back in 2006 for leaving camp because he felt like it (or, according to the translation "Was in mood to feel"), and in 2007 refused to report to the Croatian national team for Eurobasket 2007 because he didn't like the coach (Jasmin Repesa), who also happened to be the coach that chewed him out for leaving camp without a reason.
I mean, we'll always remember Bagaric for NOT doing things like this:
But most recently, we have this video. This is a fan (likely not Bagaric) who has put his love of the center into song. "Daliboooor Bagariiiiic, Lalalalalala." As you can see, his date is obviously mortified.
Hi there, I'm Bears QB Kyle Orton.
I just wanted to let all of Chicago know that since I signed a recent extension, I'm going to be "in the huddle" for the starting QB job next year.
And then when I don't get the job, I'm going to get absolutely tanked at every nightclub in Chicago.
Cut! Cut! Kyle, what the hell are you doing!? Read the script!
Oh, I guess I let my mind wander a bit then -- sorry.
Orton Commercial, Take Two!
Hi, I'm Kyle Orton. I just wanted to let all of Chicago know that I'm going to be bringing my "huge package" to the offense --
Cut! Jesus Christ, Kyle! I can't help you if you don't concentrate!
What was wrong with "huge package?" It's like a formation, get it? You don't want me to say "Shotgun" and scare kids and parents do you?
Just read the script! We don't have enough film or time for you to be screwing around.
OK, fine, sorry about that. I've got it now.
Orton Commercial, Take Three!
Hi, I'm Kyle Orton. You may remember from such seasons as "2006: that year the Bears almost won everything" and "2007: the year that was all Rex's fault." Well, I'm here to tell you that after my recent contract extension, I'm going to be making whoever does start look great. Isn't that what teamwork is all about?
Cut. Sigh...print it.
NFL season? 8 months away. I love the Sex Cannon too, and I would love to sit around and wax poetic about the pros and cons of keeping Briggs and Berrian.
Folks we are almost suckling at the teet of the 2008 baseball season. And if you're like me, and I know you all want to be, you are looking forward to the upcoming season for one reason:
Monday, February 25, 2008
The Bulls play the Mavs tonight at 7:30pm CT.
Fuck the Jason Kidd story (he's old, beats his wife and immediately after trading him, my fantasy team has jumped 5 spots), I've got a better headline for you:
Tyrus Thomas Dominates.
That's right, i'm making the call right now. From this point forward we are going to see a totally new Tyrus. Not the spark off the bench when Wallace was tired, and not the athletic freak who couldn't fit in the offence. We're going to see a mature true PF who can bang in the post and keep a posession alive after the first shot (in addition to his tenacious D).
Sometimes a player needs more than teaching, he needs a situational change that allows him to be more effective and gain confidence. I think this trade opens the door to a very balanced offense, and one in which Tyrus can be the centerpiece.
Now that Wallace is gone, Tyrus is being given the space to operate with Gooden/Hughes pulling off double teams and BoGo nailing 3's. I'm sure this was also in the back of Pax's mind when he pulled the trade last week.
I'm excited to see this guy finally emerge... I'm sick of the 1st round disappointments.
While it probably wasn't easy growing up with the name Dragan Tarlac, that's still no excuse for the false hope he gave the Bulls. First of all, we drafted in him in 1995, but he played his first game for us in 2000 when he was done in Europe. Tarlac wasn't even a young or inexperienced player when he came to the Bulls. Dragan first got into professional basketball in 1990 (albeit not the NBA), so you'd think he'd have gotten some experience. Dragan shot above 57% for the first ten years in Greece before he came to the Bulls -- you'd think it would be safe to expect some sort of success, right?
Wrong -- Enter the Dragan.
In 2000, Tarlac "boasted" an amazing 39.4% shooting percentage, averaging 2.4 points a game (compared with 9.8 the year before in Greece). In fact, every major statistic went downhill except for shooting from the line, where he annihilated Ben Wallace's dream numbers by shooting 75.8% from the line. He went to the Olympics that year, too. Somehow. At the end of 2001, Tarlac was simply a bad memory in the mind of Bulls fans.
What the hell happened to Dragan Tarlac?
After the "wonderful" 2000 season, Dragan quietly went back to Europe...where he rebounded quite nicely, averaging 10 points a game. What the hell. Tarlac played for Real Madrid (not Soccer) from 2001 to 2004, finally retiring after playing for CSKA (Moscow) in 2004. With basketball behind him, Tarlac did what any other Ridica native would do.
That's right -- in 2005, Tarlac teamed up with USAID, an organization that helps farm towns like Ridica. Here's a USAID news blurb from 2005 that says it all:
"They remember when he returned home for a visit...he and several fellow players that he’d brought along, rolled up their sleeves to unload coal for the local school."
What a hero, that Dragan Tarlac. He's been with USAID since 2005, and most recently was part of a story in Dekani where they collected money for Decani Monks.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I don't care what anyone else thinks, this is the best move the Bears could have made this entire offseason. Everyone knows I've got wood for Rex, but there is actually some logic behind this gay crush (and not just "he let me pitch once").
We just cut Moose, we're going to draft/sign some O-line help and our D has another good year (at least) in em. What makes more sense? Bringing back Griese? Starting Orton? Signing a rookie? A free agent? I'd rather take my chances with someone who knows the offense, has the talent and is young enough to hold the job for a few years if he can prove himself. Oh yeah, I almost forgot that he also happened to take us to the Superbowl not too long ago.
The best part is that he's only costing us $2M, leaving room to use Orton as the 2 string and STILL potentially sign McNabb (although he is looking increasingly unavailable- which may have spurred this move in the first place...).
This also justifies bringing Berrian back (who is 10X more valuable with The Cannon under center). Rex also has experience with Mark Bradley while being playing with the second team who has the size and hands to replace Moose as a great possession and short yardage receiver.
Grossman's contract is also incentive laden, so if he sucks, we pay almost nothing and can go another direction next year. It also removes the safety net he played with the last few seasons and forces him to produce under pressure, which is essential to his success anyway.
This is a great move by Bears management, and in 3 years we can all look back and joke about how close Rex was to getting cut. I can barely fathom the number of throwgasms we have yet to experience!
Aussie Take: "Cheeky bastards!"
Translation: About time. Less money to pay for another body on the field. We can do better for cheaper.
#2. Bears don't extend franchise tag to Berrian.
Aussie Take: "You're all coat and no trousers, you are!"
Translation: Stop thinking you have the upper hand on contract negotiations and put your money where your mouth is. Show him the money before he shows us the door.
#3. Bears re-sign Grossman
Aussie Take: "We're going to put the skitters in your Alan Whickers you plunker!"
Friday, February 22, 2008
#1. Gotta have hustle in this town. It got Podsednik two extra years of suck, didn't it? Props for remembering that Gault existed. [Top Ten Chicago Sports]
#2. Finally! I can support Obama AND my love of baseball attire! [Big League Stew]
#3. Swagger-watch is officially in full swing. Let's see if AJ and Swisher try and get the stooges back together. [Sox Machine]
#4. The cheapest franchise in baseball upgrades...to this? [On 205th]
#5. The Bulls made some trade yesterday or whatever, but Toma Ohka!? WOW! [Foul Balls]
#6. If this is a common response to showboating, Tiger Woods had better watch out. [Deuce of Davenport]
#7. Sick, twisted, and unusually thought-provoking. Tough call. [Chicago Bull]
The girthily titled Cavs blog Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots needs our help. You see, their namesake recently got shipped off to our corner of the internets and they is asking their readers (if you are not included in that group, you should be) for some help in figuring out what the next step is.
My vote is to change the name:
Chicago: Where Larry Hughes Happens.
My arm acne makes me a more attractive mate!
OK -- you win. The Bulls asked me a lot of questions for my bio, and told me that it was best to make as many fat jokes as possible (for "I feel sexiest when:" I answered "When I look down and have a food stain on my shirt"). Do you think I enjoy being made into a public joke? A laughingstock? I have man-boobs like David Hasselhoff! I actually broke an elevator in Greece because of my weight! It's embarrassing!
I eat because I'm depressed, and I'm depressed because I eat. I always wanted to be a dancer -- the sort of guy who could meet Alyssa Milano and live happily ever after. Instead, I'm this fat slob who can't even fit into a pair of underwear with a giant red Mohawk that I use to draw attention away from my shriveled penis.
I used to have such a beautiful face -- people would marvel at my deep blue eyes and boyish looks. I wonder what they'd say if they could look at me now. I have a keg for a stomach, a picture on the "wall of fame" at the Buffet City on 87th and Cicero, and hand permanently stained by BBQ sauce remnants.
The Bulls like us to dance, you know. They like to make us act fools, wear stupid hats, and tap dance. We're at constant risk for heart failure, diabetes, and more, but the Bulls insist on raking us over the coals "just to see what happens." I think Krause is in with some of the players on a "Death Pool" to see which one of us passes out from heart failure first. Just look at me in this picture:
That's the life of a Matador. We're all breathing heavily, just struggling to stay alive. If we lose weight from dancing, they make us eat twice as much to put the weight back on! We're just maxed to capacity out here. I have to eat a polish sausage and a beer before and after every halftime show (not to mention whenever a fan asks me to eat something -- I'm required by contract to always eat food when presented).
I'm not allowed to let my weight dip below 300 lbs, and so I eat. We're human, you know. Sometimes I don't WANT an El Gallo steak burrito at midnight. I just want to sleep, and forget that I've become a monster and a slave to my own corpulence.
Please -- don't feed the hungry red-headed matador.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
According to ESPN, the Bulls have sent Big Ben, his fro, and his inability to rebound to Cleveland for Carlos Boozer wannabe Drew Gooden. Wally Sczhkasdjfhlnskjhagnerbiak was involved with the trade also, going to Cleveland.
Gooden is averaging 11 pts and 8 rebounds a game, which is not bad when LeBron is almost averaging a triple double every damn night. Based on numbers alone he looks like a vast improvement over Wallace who averaged a paltry 5 pts a game and not quite 9 boards on 2 less minutes than Gooden. Gooden averages 1 block less per game, but shoots almost 30% better from the charity stripe.
I don't know what this does to the lineup. I don't think Noah is ready to start at center (oh GOD PLEASE START....SO MUCH MATERIAL.....), but Gooden is a forward (at an inch taller than Wallace).
So I guess this is it, Ben. I didn't like having you around in the beginning, you underachieved from the get-go, and I'm glad that you're leaving. I hope you do not deliver the pox on LeBron's house like you did Chicago's.
Bulls Give: Wallace, Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin
The Sonics were also involved in the trade, but no one cares about them since Shawn Kemp stopped dunking over people.
UPDATE: The Bulls also send Joe Smith (Joe, we hardly knew you) to Cleveland, while acquiring underachiever Larry Hughes and reserves Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons. The Sonics, also involved in the trade, send away Wally World and Delonte West, while getting Adrian Griffin from the Bulls and Ira Newble from the Cavs. Newble, owner of one of the most disgusting contracts in the NBA, is the namesake of the brilliant Ira Newble All Stars.
20 minutes to go, J-Pax. Show us why you were good with the buzzer-beaters.
This, dear Chicago friends, is 6 minutes of the future. Sure his given name is Joe Flacco, but around here he will be known as The Future -- unless of course you people come up with something else. Sometimes the funny escapes me (Ed's Note: The Flaccid?). The Future is a 6'6" hulking piece of man meat for whom the Bears (and Keggers) have a sizeable hard on. The announcers take turns felating him as he throws the deep ball (74 yards), and he has a charming interchange with Michigan dwarf Mike Hart.
Whether or not he can throw a 10 yard out pass does not appear to be of much concern to the fine folks at ESPN, and I have no idea whether he is mobile or if he even has feet. Past injuries? Personality issues? Not important. What I do know is that he can launch that pigskin.
I say get him. It's not like we've had trouble with this before, right?
In part of a $300 million offseason overhaul (which is being paid for by the morons who agreed to the $300 box seat tickets PER GAME this season), the Cubs figure to be more than just the default winners of the pathetic NL Central. They've upgraded at every position available...but wait, the Cubs aren't done yet! The Cubs apparently have an interest in Coco Crisp of the Boston Red Sox -- you know, the guy who lost his job to Jacoby Ellsbury?
"In the offseason, Crisp said, he heard trade rumors involving Minnesota, Texas and the Cubs."
So...where are they going to play him? Last I checked, the Cubs have a much cheaper version of Coco Crisp in Felix Pie (until they trade him to the Orioles, anyway), and Crisp didn't exactly play well last season in one of the AL's fattest lineups. Then again, as the Cubs offseason motto goes: "Even if you don't have a spot on your team for a major-league player, that doesn't mean you shouldn't acquire them."
That's right: the Cubs are putting together an entirely separate AAAA team and making you pay for it.
Look at their rotation: Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Lieber, Dempster (don't forget, he's being moved into the rotation this year), Marshall, and Angel Guzman. For those of you that lost count, that's EIGHT starting pitchers that are supposed to be vying for five spots. Hell, even the Cubs.com depth chart has seven starting pitchers listed!
The outfield (with the addition of Crisp) would put Pie on the bench along with the perpetually benched Matt Murton -- two guys that can (and should) be playing. Infield? The eventual addition of Brian Roberts pushes Mark DeRosa to the bench (unless he can play shortstop, which pushes Theriot to the bench) along with Cedeno, Fontenot and Ward.
Oh, and the bullpen? Please. Kerry Wood, Howry, Eyre, Marmol and Weurtz were the expected, but how many bullpen guys do you need? The Cubs also have: Ascaino, Pignatiello, Hart, Lahey, Gallagher, and Shingo Takatsu. I don't know about you, but I sure don't bring 11 relievers with me when the season starts.
For those of you keeping score at home:
C: Blanco (OK, the only REAL bench player here)
RF: The Ghost of Jacque Jones / Sam Fuld
SP: Myers (Acquired from Mets for Pagan)
If the Cubs get Crisp and Roberts, then they're only about four players away from finishing their master plan.
I wonder what they'll call their new AAAA squad...
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
If he hadn't, he probably wouldn't have gone all Paul O'Neil on Byung Hyung Kim and blasted off one of those side arm joints into the upper decks. I like Kim's good-old-boy response to the Dome's home run, as he plunks the next batter deliberately. It's really hard to let a pitch "get away from you" directly into the batter's groin. I imagine it would have been more honorable for him to commit seppuku right there on the mound.
I think I speak for all Cubs fans when I say, 'KOSUKE BLAST ROUND AMERICAN BASEBALL INTO SPACE AND BRING RUNS AND PRIDE TO AMERICAN LAKE CITY! JOY AND HONOR ON THE FAMILY OF FUKUDOME! LUCKY KOSUKE MAKE CHILDREN SMILING AND BANISH TROLL CURSES WITH MAGIC WOOD!'
That said, let us welcome the CHICAGO GRUDGE MATCH OF THE DAMNED!
Interesting Fact: Set 116 different records in five different sports. 60 still stand. None of them involved Curling.
Strengths: Mountain climbing, Skiing, Sailing, balloons, aviation, and endurance events. Also enjoys being filthy rich. Actually, none of those are pussy sports. Way to go, Steve.
Weaknesses: Cook County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Malak, Civil Air Patrol, single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon airplanes, and "The Flying-M Ranch." Has been missing long enough to be declared legally dead.
Wow: His real name is James. Wow.
Interesting Fact: Went on the ill-fated flight with Fred Noonan, but no one talks about him at all. Sucks to be Fred.
Strengths: Flying solo over the Atlantic. Sinusitis, inventing diseases to sound cool. Giving feminists ammunition.
Weaknesses: Applying makeup while flying, talking about latest episode of Grey's Anatomy instead of checking the weather implements. Refusing to use Morse Code to call for help for fear of breaking a nail.
Wow: Was called "Lady Lindy" much like how Charles Lindbergh was called "Lucky Lindy." Wow.
Vote for your winner in the comments!
With a little help from the Spanish department at Luol's Dong, it seems that the Sox have come to terms with Bartolo Colon (pending physical).
No, no, a thousand times no!
When we had our first Colonoscopy in 2003, things were different: we were the strongest team in our division (on paper, anyways...damn Twinkies), and Bartolo weighed 30 metric tons LESS. Our offense was one of the best in the majors with Ordonez, Lee, Thomas, and Konerko, and we were poised for a pennant run. Chubby Checker was younger then, and pitched 242 innings with a 3.87 ERA...in games that didn't matter. I still remember those important games where he gave up 8 runs in the first two innings only to go and shut out the Royals in his next start. He was a workhorse, but not a consistent one. It's amazing what pitching 9 innings every outing can do to lower your ERA.
Fatty McGee topped out in 2005, going an unthinkable 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA for the Angels. Unfortunately, after some rotator cuff damage in the playoffs, he spent almost all of 2006 and 2007 on the DL. The terms of our deal with Lard Lad are undisclosed, but most likely, it's a 2-year deal, which means that the Sox could be in for a huge loss if Bartolo is hurt this year as well. Not exactly the workhorse we need nowadays.
More importantly, we're not really in a position to be competitive this year. I admire Ozzie and Kenny's commitment to winning, but this is not the time to be bringing an old cripple onto the staff. This is the time to be going forward with Danks, Massett, Floyd and any other youth we have that can throw a ball. Get the kids out there to play -- bringing in Colon almost certainly sends Danks to the minors, and probably has Massett DFA'd (terrible idea).
I really hope this isn't true -- most importantly, because there isn't room on the "fat-cart" for Colon and Uribe.
Update: Ozzie says he hasn't spoken to Colon in weeks...but Impacto was right about Castillo AND Dotel weeks before they were announced...
Excuse me, miss?
Hi there! Couldn't help but notice you try and slam the door in my face, there. I'll just pry this open...there we go. Ah, much better! No more inconvenient protective slab of wood between us now, is there?
Ma'am, do I have the deal of a lifetime for YOU. Tell me, have you seen the other girls on the block? Do they look so smug and happy? I was just at another house on this very block, and they were talking about you. They're braging because they all have a brand new Paul Edinger!
it's just looking for a good home.
You say you don't know what a Paul Edinger does? Well, is that your dog over there? Hey Paul! Pet the nice doggie!
Edinger walks five feet past dog, then quickly turns and kicks dog out the window.
Uh...um...that's just a little glitch in the software right now, but did you see the accuracy on that kick? Right through the window! That's no large window, Ma'am -- that's a tiny slat in the wall! And did you see the solid dog-shaped outline Rover left in the window? I'll bet that Spanish terrier is shitting glass enchiladas for weeks!
So whaddya say? Can I interest you in an Edinger?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Look, I'm happy that the Bears have cleared about 20-30 million from their cap, and that there's more savings to come, but you're surely on crack if you think that money would be best spent on Randy Moss.
Let's look at some quick facts that keep Moss off this team:
#1. Personality. The Bears of the 1980's were all about flashiness and style, things that Moss would have excelled in. However, the current Bears team is very much about teamwork and selflessness (see: universal hatred of Cedric Benson for his holdout). If Moss continues to be his usual entertaining self, he may find that he doesn't have an audience for it.
Oh, and then there's all the crime and anti-team behavior. You know: not playing games when you don't feel like it, marijuana, and, of course, the Straight Cash Homey incident.
#2. Oakland. I cannot stress this enough. Bringing in an A+ receiver does not a good team make. The Raiders brought in Moss to give their team a legit receiving threat (to go along with LaMont Jordan on the ground) in what seemed like a surefire move to get the Raiders back into contention. Well, except that the rest of the team still sucked, and Moss didn't see why he should put himself on the line for a bad team. This says it all.
Moss flopped around like a dead fish, and underperformed for a team that likes to throw the deep ball. Heck, they even had a speedster (Porter) to take some heat off of Moss on the deep routes. It just doesn't matter if Moss doesn't care. If Moss can turn his back on Oakland (which had a much better run game than we do), why not Chicago?
#3. Money. As much cap room as we've saved, I find it hard to believe that the Bears would go after the top WR available with so many other holes to fill. Moss had a 2007 performance that nets him the big bucks, and it's not likely that the Bears would blow all that cap room on just one player (Unless his name is Lance Briggs).
They dumped Muhsin Muhammad and Darwin Walker?
Aw shucks...I really liked those guys. I really have to wonder about what direction this team is going -- Walker was only due $5.0 million next year, and he was a good friend. And while Moose wasn't at his best last year, he was a team leader for all of us. This is a sad day for us Bears --
They cut Fred Miller, too!?
Oh hell yes! I'm finally starting! They got rid of that tub of shit in the way! Yes! Yes! Yes! You hear that, Freddie-boy? I finally got the nod, you waste of sperm! You remember that TD I had last year? That was just a taste of things to come! I am ver-sa-tile, and the team knows it. We all know why your play dropped off this year -- it's because of ME. Ex-Lax in your milk, thumbtacks under your seat, and holding your sister hostage were all me, baby. You were so frazzled out there you made Archuleta look useful. Adios! So long! Farewell!
Oh man, I cannot WAIT for this year. This is going to be so fucking sweet -- it's going to be like "The Year of the Dragon," except they're going to be talking about ME. "The Year of the St. Clair?" Nah, that sounds gay. What do you think we --
"John St. Clair is next on the depth chart at right tackle, but the Bears will look to upgrade in free agency and the draft."
Oh, fuck you guys.
I was fighting off a bout with the flu yesterday and missed this one. Apologies all around. Yesterday marked a decade to the day that Cubs fans lost Harry Caray. I say Cubs fans, even though I know that he did announce for another team in Chicago, the team that divides the Windy City, and even those of us who write here. Like anyone with half a brain would do, Caray migrated North to the Friendly Confines in 1981 where he went from local yokel favorite to national celebrity. He went on to bring joy and laughter to baseball fans all over the country with calls like, 'Holy cow!' and 'Holy Christ I'm drunk'. Ok, so I made that last one up.
In any event, Cubs fans are now stuck with Bob Brenly and Len Kasper, who aren't half bad when placed next to other local announcers, but no one will ever be like Caray again. 10 years gone, but not forgotten.
So...I guess Vin Scully is next, huh?
If you didn't already hear the news, Muhsin Muhammad was released yesterday. This clears the Bears of nearly $4 million dollars that Moose would have gotten by staying with the team through 2010. This is, however, only half the story. If Moose were a "clubhouse cancer" or "me-first" type player, I would understand the move. Likewise, if Moose were on a team filled with younger players that could outshine him, it would also be logical to move an older player.
The problem is, none of these things are true.
Moose was one of the lone defenders of Grossman during his struggles, and took the work ethic of the receiving corps to new heights. He took most of the blame for any loss upon himself, and finished 2005 and 2006 as the team's leading WR (Berrian took those honors in 2007, but with the offense as dismal as it was, that's nothing to cheer about). Not only was Moose a solid player amid a mess of inconsistencies, but there really isn't anyone else on the squad who can overtake him as the WR1 or WR2 on the depth chart (and they don't want to risk running Hester every play, so don't even try telling me that).
The real reason, I believe, is to better allocate his salary (much like the cut of Fred Miller) into one of three places:
#1. Re-signing Lance Briggs. This is the correct move, as Briggs proved last year that he can be everything Urlacher is and more. With Urlacher having the dreaded neck surgery, Briggs will be more valuable than ever. Give him every penny because, hey, he's earned it. This also allows the Bears to use the unrestricted free agent tag on Berrian (more on that here), netting them some return instead of just letting him walk.
#2. Re-signing Bernard Berrian. While not the best move, it would certainly explain the willingness to part with Moose so hastily. The Bears could then bring in Marty Booker on the cheap, and have a similarly potent 1-2 WR corps for half the price of Moose and Berrian. This, of course, allows Briggs to walk -- not my favorite resolution.
#3. Letting both walk and using the money on something else entirely. Very possible. The Bears have a few players that are now on the chopping block because of money (Griese and Darwin Walker just to name a few), and have expressed interest in bringing back players such as Grossman. It's very possible that a lot of players get shiny new restructured contracts, and the Bears sign only Marty Booker just to fill the gap Moose left.
However this turns out, I think the Bears may have gone into "double edged sword" territory. As much as I won't miss Moose dropping the easy catches (above) or his slowing routes, I will miss his work ethic and consistency.
Here's hoping this one doesn't come back to bite us in the ass...
Monday, February 18, 2008
I did not see that coming.
The Bears have decided to part ways with Mushin Muhammad, ending what was a very sub-par run with the Bears. Moose was under contract through 2010, and knowing how much it would cost to keep Briggs around, every penny matters. Although, even if we weren't in a money situation, I would say that this is still the right move.
Moose is getting slower, older, and dropping catches. He came nowhere near his Panthers totals, and didn't do much to take pressure off of Berrian. With both Berrian and Moose gone next year, I expect Rasheid Davis, Mark Bradley and Devin Hester to step it up considerably as our "youth of the future." Also, we may be following through on that Marty Booker signing after all (who managed to outperform Moose in Miami, AKA receiver hell).
In other news, we gave Fred Miller the boot, and we signed Alex Brown to a contract extension. Whoop-de-do.
Julian Tavarez is doing juuuuuuuust fine...away from Chicago. [Center Field]
The 22 WORST DUNKS EVER. I especially like the guy who gets his leg stuck in the hoop and all of his friends abandon him [On 205th]
Ozzie's just being Ozzie -- which is another way to say batshit insane. I love it. [Foul Balls]
Possibly the Best Prank Ever. [With Leather]
Will Leitch came to visit our great state for (at least) his third stop -- and did you even say hi? [Deadspin]
Alex Cintron, post-surgery noodle-arm and all, is headed to the North Side this season. It's kind of mean that the Cubs waited this long to sign him -- he probably had to get all of his belongings out of Chicago when he was cut by the Sox, just to have to move them all back. That is, if he's staying in Chicago...
When you think about it, the Cubs have absolutely no use for Cintron. They already have four wannabe SS/2B's (Theriot, DeRosa, Cedeno, Fontenot) -- what's the point of adding a 5th? Cintron is hardly a starter, and certainly not an upgrade over the "established" players at his position. What Cintron is, though, is a major-league ready player that the Cubs can throw into a certain Orioles trade.
The Cubs will likely make yet another effort to snag Brian Roberts from the O's (who are probably leaning back in their chairs and cackling over how far the Cubs are bending over to get him), and they'll probably be successful. Cintron was actually on their list of FA targets this offseason, but the Cubs would much rather pay his salary and trade him to the O's anyways. Roberts, when healthy, is a phenomenal player. I think the Cubs signed an entire extra team this offseason just to try and get him (how many pitchers do you they think can start in a season?).
So good luck to you Cubbies -- get Neal Cotts a temporary playmate, and then send your entire minor league roster to get a 2B who will surely get hurt when you need him most (joining A-Ram on his annual DL trip).
100 years...so close I can taste it!
LuBara Dixon Simpkins, AKA "Dickey," was a reinvention of the NBA 6th man -- he was twice the player of any Ben Gordon. Why? He was, essentially, the 12th man.
Dickey played for the Bulls from 1994-1997, and amassed only 513 points in 167 games. He was left off of the playoff rosters for both the '96 and '97 championship years (although, much like Jack Haley, he did get the rings). After the 1997 season, the Bulls traded him to the Warriors for Scott Burrell, but were able to re-sign him for the 1998 season after the Warriors cut him.
Dickey stuck with the Bulls from 1998-2000, but it was only after 1999 that he really decided to shine. After getting rid of those "roadblocks" Pippen, Jordan, Rodman, and Longley, Simpkins was able to move into the role of a part-time starter. You take four starters out of the equation and you still don't get a starting job? Ouch. He's also apparently a really good Dad, "or my name isn't Dickey Simpkins."
In 2000, Simpkins was let go and went to play in Europe.
What the hell happened to Dickey Simpkins?
Dickey got around more than the village bicycle, playing for over 13 teams in 6 years. He only made it back to the NBA once (in 2002) for a brief one-game stint with the Hawks, but mostly spent those six years hopping around in Europe. His final game was played in 2006 for the Bramberg (Germany) Brose Brackets. He was seen shooting around at the Bulls facility in 2006 (sparking news of a Chicago comeback), but nothing came of it.
With professional NBA play behind him, Dickey decided to open his own training facility, called "Next Level Performance." The big D himself serves as head trainer, and has four facilities in various parts of Illinois. He currently lives in Buffalo Grove, IL, where he gets in touch with his glory days by putting on his old shorts and sitting on the bench.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
These are the opening lines straight from Phil Roger's column -- no editing necessary:
"It was a cold January night, and the Cubs' starting shortstop had something to do.
"I'm going to hit some balls," Ryan Theriot said.
Not so long ago, had these words been uttered by a Cubs regular, he would have been talking about balls with dimples, not seams."
I mean, I always knew Rogers was a Sox fan, but this is taking your loyalty to extremes.
I'm not going to harp on Rogers too much because I know he's doing what any good Sox fan would do, but really: wow.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Actually, we really have nothing to report today, other than Tribune Spring Training pictures that write their own captions.
Javier Vazquez AKA Mike Sirotka adjusts to life outside The Matrix