Friday, October 31, 2008
Change of pace. Baseball season IS over, but it doesn't stop me from liking it more than the Whine-B-A. Even so, the Bulls head to Boston to play against the reigning champs...and I think they can win? Here's why:
#1. That guy in the picture above. Derrick Rose has provided the Bulls with the "star" player they've been waiting for all these years. Lots of guys with fundamentals is always good, but having one beast makes everyone that much better (see: Lakers). Interested to see what he can do against the champs - and you know he's got to be beating himself up over those four turnovers against the Bucks.
#2. The offense was spread and involved against Milwaukee. Yeah, I know it's only one game and one win, but the fact that the Bulls had six players with double-digits for points is always good (and directly a result of Rose's 9 assists the other night...). Oh, and Tyrus Thomas looked like the big rebounding machine we need him to be.
#3. Statistics. The Bulls lost every game against Boston last year, so you know they're going to try and get a bit more fired up this time around. Not only that, but Boston isn't playing that well - Paul Pierce is a one-man show to be sure, but if Garnett and Allen can't get their shooting percentages up, they may open themselves up for a beating.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
In a move that surprises no one, the Sox have officially cut ties with Ken Griffey Jr. I always liked Griffey as a "clubhouse presence," but you can only pay so much per year for guys like that (*cough* Thome *cough*). As such, the Sox dropped a cool $2 million to make Griffey go away, meaning the Sox have a (larger) vacancy in Center Field. Notable options include:
#1. Brian Anderson. He's got the "field the ball" part down - he just needs to stop taking so many pitches that happen to be right in the strike zone...and then swinging horribly at sliders way out of the zone. A better plate presence will help, as I still believe Anderson has the tools to succeed as something more than a replacement OF.
#2. Jerry Owens. Just like last year, right? Owens is Podsednik reincarnate, and that comes with the good and the bad. He's a good contact hitter with blazing speed, and when he's getting on base, he can make opponents pay. On the other hand, Ron Santo could outrun one of his throws from CF, and Owens gets hurt as often (if not more often) than Podsednik did when he played here. Will likely need to stay healthy for an extended period of time to be considered anything more than a reserve OF/pinch runner.
#3. DeWayne Wise. Well, I kinda ran out of options here. If, for some reason, Wise is still with the team next year, he'll have an outside shot of making the team as a reserve OF. He can get on a hot streak with the bat and make himself useful on the basepaths, and his fielding is above-average.
#4. Free Agent. Given Anderson's track record - and the fact that he's the front-runner for the job, you've got to believe that this mystery player is the best option for the slot. Any guesses as to who it's going to be?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
#1. He's young. Being 26 makes him younger than 90% of the team.
#2. He's an infielder! We can't have too many of those.
#3. He's coming off of a great year in the minors, posting a .303 average and .591 OBP over 303 at-bats.
#4. He reminds me of Iceman from Top Gun.
#1. He comes from the Colorado. Consider all those stats padded by at LEAST .050
#2. He lost the starting 2B gig...twice. This would normally not be a big deal, but he lost the job for the ROCKIES! They're awful!
#3. He got hit in the face by a pitch. Nice. Well, I suppose it's a plus that he was on the Olympic team...except when you consider all baseball talent in MLB is from Cuba or Venezuela.
Actually, as much as his stats may be padded, I like this move a lot. We get a relative nobody for 400k who can play the infield and is still on the right side of 30. If he's an offensive nightmare, we can see if he has the defense and speed necessary to make the team as a reserve. 400k to NOT have Juan Uribe is something I can look forward to.
Oh, and if he can hit? Hello starting 2B (or 3B, depending on Getz's progress)
Monday, October 27, 2008
As far as I'm concerned, Chicago is a three-sport town. We like our football, baseball, and basketball (probably in that order), but generally spend our time worshiping the same teams instead of the good ones. I'll bet more people can tell you about Dragan Tarlac than name a single player on the Chicago Fire (who just clinched homefield advantage for the playoffs). I'll bet there's a good chunk of you out there than can name the entire starting roster for the Cubs and Bears, including reserves, but can't name half the starting lineup for the Blackhawks (now 3-0 at home).
The difference? By season's end, if the Blackhawks keep it up, you'll care. If the Fire win the whole thing - again - well, life goes on. The Fire gets no media attention - newspaper or television. I understand that no one gives a shit about soccer, but when you have a team in your town that's dominating, you tend to give them some attention and ride the wave. See a game, cheer from your couch, or at least get to know the game a little better so that you can pretend you "know" the team or followed them (sounds a lot like a bandwagon fan...Chicago clearly has NONE of these...). The Fire deserve your time, and are generally one of the best soccer teams year after year.
The Blackhawks are doing as much this year to draw attendance as ever (new record set at a homegame last week), and not blacking out games on TV definitiely helps. The Fire? I think I've seen one game - by accident - on channel 3 before I switched over to AUX to watch the White Sox 2005 Championship DVDs for the 3000th time (where's the Blu-Ray release!?).
Do yourself, and your town, a favor. Get yourself to care about the Fire - talk about Chris Rolfe's 9 goals (three of them gamewinners), Jon Busch's masterful defense (10 shutouts with a 1.10 goals-against-avg), or Andy Herron's inability to score a goal despite taking so many shots (the Larry Hughes of MLS). Also, and much more importantly, soccer players date hot chicks. Get the Fire some media time, and the Chicago Tribune will be a daily subscription to Maxim.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Every now and then, I go through our site tracking information. Let me tell you right now, there are some sick fuckers out there who read this site. Some of the things people type in to Google and use to peruse our website are kinda weird. Here's 10 of my favorites from this past week:
#1. "dong dangerous"
I don't even know what the hell that means. It would be a cool detective name or something, I suppose, but you're probably in the wrong place.
#2. "what the hell happened to the badgers"
I clearly have no fucking clue. Stop asking.
#3. "dong the bounty hunter"
Dear lord, did someone actually search for this? Either someone really wanted to take part in our DVD giveaway, or there's a knockoff gay porno floating around somewhere. I'll ask Keggers later.
#4. "visual masturbation"
Yes, our material is JUST. THAT. GOOD.
#5. "fuck onion"
Somehow, that just seems messy...and probably a serious irritant to your man-parts.
#6. "dangerous creampie"
What is it with you people and the dangerous sex?! Am I missing something here, or does the danger get you off?
#7. "neckbeard contest"
Really a great idea...but we don't have one. Maybe when we get readership up, we'll give em what they want...right? And who actively LOOKS for a neckbeard contest, anyways? "Man, I haven't shaved my neck since '03...I'll bet I can win ANY neckbeard contest!"
#8. "cade mcnown sex"
Does anyone really actively look for that? He's going to missfire, and she'll put on her clothes and leave.
#9. "ohio basic peace officer academy curtis enis"
Oh, did you mean the Curtis Enis who went to the Ohio basic peace officer academy this year or the one who went to the Ohio basic peace officer academy last year? Please be more specific.
#10. "ditka on orton"
If not for the other 9, I would have assumed you meant commentary. Instead, you guys are fucking sick for wanting to see that (although, good call, Ditka WOULD be on top).
Derrick Rose is going to be nasty...
The Bulls are 3-4 this preseason, with a lot of big injuries (Hughes, Gordon, Thomas, Ruffin). Blah blah blah... everyone knows preseason scores are meaningless. The only important thing to keep track of is development of the young guys and for the Bulls, things are looking really good.
First of all, Derrick Rose looks fucking awesome. It's one thing for a rookie to make a few highlight-reel plays and score a few points but Rose is dropping a LOT of points (30 last game) and the whole team turns to him in the clutch - and he delivers. He's taken his college game to the next level, using ridiculous speed to blow by defenders and he's able to finish the most incredible shots... high glass, dunk, floaters... the guy is unstoppable.
Tyrus Thomas looked strong in the first few games before he rolled his ankle, Hinrich seems to be comfortable with his reduced role and BoGo is as streaky as ever. This team is going to have a lot of energy with Noah and Thomas and a crapload of talent on the court. If Thomas can learn a few offensive moves (instead of just logging 2-3 awesome dunks and a few ferocious blocks every game) we might be in business.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So, I did it for the Cubbies, and the White Sox also have their own problems. Here's 5 quick moves that make the White Sox much better in '09.
#1. Trade Josh Fields. He's a butcher at 3B, strikes out more than Sosa in his prime, and is more of the same old "home run or bust" mentality that gets us nowhere. His inability to draw walks magnified by his unacanny ability to get hurt means a full season of Fields kills whatever trade value he has right now. Deal him in a package for a vet, or deal him for some relief pitching. Honestly, I would rather have Juan Urine up there. Yeah, I said it. This goes double if the Sox re-sign Urine on the cheap.
#2. Re-sign Toby Hall and Bobby Jenks. This is a no-brainer. Hall filled in admirably for Pierzynski, and has shown full recovery on his shoulder. Also, we've been REALLY lucky AJ never misses time. Gotta hedge your bets. As for Bobby, he's going with more finesse over power these days, but he still has the heat - did you see the post-season radar gun? Triple digits!
#3. Find a way to deal Thome or Konerko to the Angels. This is probably the least likely thing to happen, but it's a necessary move to fix a major problem with this ballclub. Two slow sluggers past their prime? Yeah, not digging it. Supposedly, there's a chance the Sox could nab Chone Figgins as part of a Konerko deal, in which case, I'm all for it. High average speedsters with a glove (read: Pablo Ozuna pre-suck) are always welcome here.
#4. DON'T trade Javy Vazquez. OK, he's a turd in the clutch. We get it. He's also a workhorse during the season. He gets a lot of K's, and usually gets his job done. For a 5th starter next year (after Richard), you can't do much better. Besides, if we deal him, you had better believe we're eating his contract anyways. Javy is a big step over Broadway, so I'm OK with it.
#5. Give Swisher the keys to first base. He's a step down from Quentin and Dye in the field, and putting him in center gives me bad nightmares of Mackowiak. He's got a good glove for a 1B, and if Paulie or Thome goes, you had better believe that the guy who sticks around becomes DH. I would much rather Anderson hit .230 in CF than Swisher hit .250 there.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Bears "held on" against the Vikings on Sunday, and head into a bye week feeling pretty damned good about themselves. In case you missed Sunday's game:
- Orton. Again. Sure, he has one shitty underthrown pass every couple throws, but he definitely has the game smarts you need to succeed in the NFL. Hell, he's turning into a fantasy football option!
- Speaking of fantasy options - Greg Olsen is giving Keggers a reason to live. Also, he's making Orton's day easier, and made some niiiiiice catches Sunday. Oh, and Bears D? YOWZA.
- Booker's legwork to make a big TD for Orton. I guess you had to see it for yourself.
- Booker's HANDwork on the two dropped TD's. Gotta work on that - the way we cough up leads, 50pts may not be enough.
- Everyone is hurt. Tillman, Vasher, Hester, Lloyd, McBride (bicep, right?) and so on. We're going to be doing our scouting mid-season at this rate. Looking for work, si? Trabajo?
- Since we dedicated everyone to the run, you'd think we could at LEAST hold down Purple Jesus. Nope. 100+, 2TDs, and over 5.5 per carry. If not for Gus Frerrote helping our offense, this post would be a lot less lighthearted.
Monday, October 20, 2008
BLUE ASH, Ohio – Police in Ohio say an 89-year-old woman is facing a charge of petty theft because neighborhood children accuse her of refusing to give back their football.
Edna Jester was arrested last week in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash.
Police say one child's father complained that Jester kept the youngsters' ball after it landed in her yard. Police Capt. James Schaffer says there has been an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood over kids' balls landing in the woman's yard.
Jester said Monday she has received many calls and didn't have time to discuss the matter any more.
Jester is to appear in court next month. The maximum penalty for a petty theft conviction in Ohio is six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
I don't know what's funnier - the fact that this actually happened, or that this is the first time I've heard of it happening.
Oh, and, um, Chicago.
Could Mike Ditka, the former head coach of the Chicago Bears, have changed the course of U.S. history?
It’s not that farfetched a question. Briefly, in the summer of 2004, Ditka was being pursued by Illinois and national Republican leaders to step in and run for the United States Senate against a newcomer to the political big leagues: Barack Obama, an Illinois state senator.
Jack Ryan, who was expected to be the Republican nominee on the November ballot in the Illinois race that year, had dropped out, and his party was scrambling for a replacement. They approached Ditka; he gave it serious consideration, and then, citing family and business obligations, said no.
The Republicans, in a puzzling move, then recruited Alan Keyes to come to Illinois from Maryland to run against Obama. Obama trounced Keyes, and now, if everything goes his way, may be a few weeks away from the presidency.
But what if Ditka had chosen to oppose Obama four years ago– and what if he had defeated Obama and been elected to the U.S. Senate?
“It would have been interesting, I'll tell you that,” Ditka said over the phone. From our journey on the campaign road I had called him in Chicago, to see if he, too, had thought about what might have been.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I had run,” Ditka, 69, said. “I really don’t. Could I have beaten him? Maybe. Maybe not.”
A lot of people in Illinois thought Ditka had a pretty good chance to win, had he accepted the invitation to run. Remember: four years ago, Obama was a relative unknown. He was back in the state senate after having been defeated badly in a 2000 primary in which he sought to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ditka, on the other hand, was one of the most famous– and in many, many places, beloved– people in the state of Illinois. He was controversial, yes, but that’s what his admirers liked about him. He was instantly recognizable in every corner of the state– he would have drawn enormous crowds to rallies. Mike Ditka, the icon, against Barack Obama, the novice?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Since baseball season is over, and the Cubbie blue faithful need something to do in October (as usual), here are a few thoughts for next season:
#1. If it ain't broke (yet), throw more money at it. Dempster, Wood, and the gang are going to need new contracts. Until the Cubs are actually sold, it's safe to assume that the new owner won't have shit to say about footing the bill. Throw out some absurdly long and lucrative contracts and hope for the best, right? Wood never gets hurt...
#2. Brian Roberts. Do it or don't do it, but stop obsessing about it. The Orioles understand that their team is awful, and that Roberts is the last player of value they have to deal. For the Cubs, it would likely cost them Samardzija, Hill, and a boatload of other prospects. Is it worth doing? Probably. Cedeno, DeRosa and Theriot can only do so much without a leadoff man, although if the Cubs get Roberts, you can bet one of these guys goes bye bye.
#3. Go spend more money. In line with #1, if you're going to spend, spend BIG. Go after CC Sabathia and K-Rod. Both of these guys would dominate in the NL (see: Rich Harden), and Sabathia has already proven it - he was on pace for 15 complete games last season had he played a full season with the Brewers. Win or lose, someone else is footing the bill, right?
#4. Get over Fukudome. Say what you will, Fukudome has talent. Yes, he's now a public pariah, but the Cubs are on the hook for his rather massive contract (and yes, someone else will eventually pay for it). You can't send him to the minors, and you can't bench him. You can either trade him (does he have a no trade clause?), or let him patrol RF. And really, who else would you put there? Edmonds is likely gone, and Reed Johnson has to fill his spot in CF. Oh, and for those of you that think Fukudome plays CF while DeRosa plays RF? Dream on.
#5. Stop losing. Well, you gotta start SOMEwhere, right?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
From With Leather:
Remember when the bumbling Cubs got swept in the ALDS by the Dodgers? Well, Chicago fans can be even more ashamed of that performance now, because the Phillies finished off L.A. in just five games with last night’s 5-1 victory. Not surprisingly, Manny Ramirez’s solo homer (he hit .520 with 4 HR and 10 RBI in eight playoff games) provided the Dodgers’ only run.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Manny is only one-ninth of the lineup at any given time. That may be enough to beat the Cubs, but the Phillies were led by an outstanding pitching staff, most notably series MVP Cole Hamels, who pitched his third playoff gem last night.I couldn't have said it better myself.
This is a photo of Candice and Richard Lombardo of Palos Heights. Long story short, the duo went to the Sox final regaular season game (163) and bought scalped tickets...only to find out that they were fake. Down $150, the two of them shivered out in the parking lot as they listened to the roar of the crowd.
Eventually, the church-going parking attendants (that first part is important) went over one at a time and gave her $20 each out of pity amounting to (at least) $60 in goodwill. Hooray.
First of all, thank you SOMEONE for going against the grain of the public perception that all Sox fans are redneck retarded assholes. We're not. Some are actually "good people."
Second, just because I can't resist - what are the odds of something like this happening at Wrigley? First of all, she doesn't lose $150 on two tickets to game 163. She probably loses somewhere close to $300, and the tickets most likely were printed on crackers. Second, "Wrigley Field Parking Attendants?" I don't think so. I'll bet she breaks down and cries out on Waveland, and Ronnie Woo Woo brings attention to her ("Woo! Sad! Woo!") but pockets all of the cash that his shennanigans bring in.
Little did they all know that her son would grow up and change his name to Henry Rowengartner...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
LUOL'S DONG: So, where did you get the idea for Soxman? It's not every day that you decide to put your dirty laundry on a Batman suit.
SOXMAN: On a cold night during the 2005 ALDS, I tucked two “rally socks” that were walk-in give-a-ways under the ear portion of my Sox cap to keep my ears warm. That night, at least 50 people must have asked me where I “bought” that hat. Picture a cartoon with the light bulb going off above the person’s head. That was me.
Second, shortly after that game, I bet a friend, who is a die hard Cubs fan that if (when) the White Sox made it to the World Series, I would do something to prove to the city—heck to the world, that Sox fans are the most dedicated, passionate, and yes crazy fans around.
The morning after they clinched, the idea came to me in the shower of all places to create a Sox super hero. I made some initial sketches, knowing I had to work the “sock ears” into the concept somewhere. I literally put the first costume together with safety pins and glue in less than 24 hours.
The best experience as of late was the night the White Sox clinched the AL Central, Jim Thome walked over to me along with Dewayne Wise. I got a champagne shower and a high five. Jim Thome gave me the cork to his champagne bottle.
LD: What was it like "working" with Ronnie Woo Woo? Aside from the demented playground shennanigans, some people would call this an act of treachery! There's no escaping your past - we have access to streaming video!
SM: (laughs) Working with Ronnie Woo Woo has been without a doubt the number one factor that has caused Sox fans to question my loyalty to the team. The sappy side to the WGN piece also made people question my sanity.
In 2006, WGN morning man Pat Tomasulo and I had been trying to collaborate on something creative for the Sox\Cubs series. The original concept was going to be a “showdown” between fans. Then the AJ-Barrett fiasco occurred. As the series was moving to Wrigley, city officials and MLB were paranoid that an already heated rivalry might lead to chaos.
Tomasulo asked if I’d be willing to go in another direction with the taping to promote unity for the love of the game and to make people laugh. I knew the perception dangers it would have to many, but I agreed and signed on.
Ronnie was actually a pretty nice guy and could share many baseball memories back before I was born. Remember, we filmed in Wrigleyville, where Soxman was not very popular, or wanted. At times, the film crew had to contain Ronnie’s energy, but we got through most snippets with one or two takes.
After the filming, he wanted me to hang out all day with him in costume, promoting places we could get a free lunch or meet with former players, but I did not have the time (Ed's Note: Ronnie? Free food? What?). He did introduce me to Jim Hendry though, which was pretty neat.
I’ve since worked with Ronnie a couple of other times for charitable causes. We also had a “face off” in an eating contest during the Chicago Wolves “Hungry Hump Day” promotion. I won.
FOR THE RECORD: I admit the WGN piece was sappy and silly, but I did it for a specific purpose or a greater good. If that makes me a traitor, so be it. So if having Cubs and Sox fans united in agreement that I was a dork (or worse) eliminated one fight, it was worth it.
LD: Speaking of Woo Woo, he was apparently let into the Sox ALDS home games by some "less than scrupulous" Sox fans. They even got him a Sox jersey that said "Woo Woo" on it. I would probably equate this to Hitler being given a presidential pardon.
SM: That’s just wrong (laughs). While I would congratulate the Cubs if they were to ever break the now-101 year curse, you would NEVER see me transform into “Cubs Man.”
That said, Cubs fans are frustrated and many have deleted their “Go Cubs Go” ring tones, thrashed their A-Ram jersey’s, and ditched the Bud for Miller Light to be part of the blackout on the south side. Maybe Ronnie has had enough as well? Well they’ll always have Jim Belushi.
LD: Woo Woo aside, what's the strangest request you've ever gotten from a fan?
SM: Aside from pictures and autographs, the most common request by females is to remove my mask. Of course I won’t do that.
Strangest request? I was offered $100 for charity to re-create the “upside down kiss” from Spiderman at a charity appearance with a girl. She was cute as well, but I declined as my heart belonged to another at the time.
LD: At least she didn't ask you to drug her and drive like a psychopath at high speeds down the Dan Ryan like Batman normally would.
SM: When filming an interview for the Best Damn Sports Show in 2007, I had a girl grab my, er, “sock” on camera. She said, “thanks, I had to know and knew you wouldn’t let me if I asked.” When doing an interview for NBC earlier this year, I had an attractive female ask me to sign her breast in front of a reporter. I also declined.
LD: Aw...come on! Live a little! Does the missus at least get lucky with the costume? Has she ever asked you to wear the whole getup to bed?
SM: (laughs) Yes, on more than one occasion. Now whether I did or didn’t, a super hero doesn’t kiss and tell.
LD: OK, so what about NOT wearing the costume? Doesn't it get miserably hot and itchy inside that thing?
SM: Heck yeah. Especially, in July and August. Aside from the Sox\Cubs series, I try to avoid day games during those months at all possible costs. Most nights after games, I’m usually saturated in sweat and often stop off at a 7-11 on the way home to buy Gatorade.
The latex rubber Soxman costume is by far the worst. I think I lost five pounds last time I wore that one. It is no wonder why I have only worn it like 3-4 times. To the flipside, it is nice and toasty during those spring night games.
LD: Random question: who would win in a fight to the death - the Empire Carpet guy, or the Menards guy?
SM: 588-2300 EMPIRE. You just have a feeling he’s a ball of fire. Besides, even if he lost, you would still get to keep the free Bissell carpet shampooer.
LD: World goes down in flames - only one Sox player and Cubs player survive to live in your bomb shelter. Who've you got?
SM: Well, you would have to think about survival first, and entertainment second. My White Sox pick would bring the best of both worlds: Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle is an avid hunter, which would bode well for rounding up food when we left the shelter. He is also a prankster and could think up entertaining things to do to pass the time like turning a piece of tarp into a slip and slide.
As far as Cubs players go, maybe Alfonso Soriano. First, if there was a society left after the bomb, went off his millions would come in handy. Second, even if there was a fight, he’d likely swing and miss. Third, he pretty much bombed as a free agent signing for the Cubs and still managed to survive, so he has experience in this area. Fourth, he plays for the Cubs and survived the great disaster of the 2008 play-offs. If he could survive that…
LD: Ouch. That hurts worse than listening to Ken Griffey Jr's, at-bat music.
SM: You don’t really believe that “Soul Glow,” the product commercial theme song from Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America really motivates Jr. to knock the cover off the ball do you? Maybe it makes him laugh, which in turn makes him looser at the plate. Well if the song is any indicator of batting average, it might be time for a change.
LD: Wow. Bonus points for actually knowing what the hell that monstrosity of music is.
SM: Give me Paulie’s Harvester of Sorrow or Bobby Jenks' Boom any day.
LD: Paulie was certainly harvesting sorrow with his performance this year - caused me enough agony on my fantasy team. You play fantasy, or do any gaming at all?
SM: I’m a fantasy sports junkie first and foremost. In my opinion many of the video sports games today are the same.
The best ever in my opinion is 3D0’s High Heat Baseball 2004 for the PC. OK, the graphics do not even come close to rivaling the worst baseball game on the market today, but the developers purposely left “open code” with the game making in easy to tailor it as you see fit.
There were gamers who offered hacks for it all over the net. You could program in unique better walk-up music, so Thome could actually walk-up to “The Beautiful People.” You could even program yourself into the game with your actual photo, build historical stats, etc.
LD: That...that's awesome.
SM: I even had an edit for the game where Hawk would shout “You can put it on the Board …YEASS” after a White Sox homer.
LD: ...holy crap. Hate to cut this short, but I've got a date with BitTorrent.
Soxman writes regularly for the Chicago Red Eye, and thesportsbank.net. He can be reached at thesoxman.com. Got a question for Soxman? E-Mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org (or if you're illiterate, ask us and we'll do it for you).
Friday, October 10, 2008
With Chicago baseball season officially over, we can go after the cutting-edge interviews that fans REALLY want. We could talk to the players, coaches, and even the grounds crew! But let's be realistic here - those guys have families they haven't seen in 167 games, and some probably have some prison time to serve (Juan Uribe).
Instead we could get in contact with someone who is likely far more interesting (and much more likely to talk to us without a bribe). He is our city savior - a man who swoops in from darkness to steal your socks from your dryer and leave no trace as he attaches them to his person.
Coming soon to the Dong, an exclusive interview with SOXMAN (pictured above).
What was it like to be in the same proximity as Ronnie Woo Woo? What inspired the outfit? How many sexual proposals do you get daily? Pressing questions like these (and more!) will be answered for your enjoyment.
Do you have a question for Soxman? Comment or E-Mail it to us and we'll be sure to ask for you (no, he will not reveal his secret identity).
Some people think that the Falcons are a good team. A kind team, even. They try to repair their image after the whole Michael Vick fiasco, but don't be fooled! Any team that faces Chicago must have a dirty side, and we're here to expose it!
Pictured above is Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughell. He had visited Trevor Hurst in MCGHealth's children's hospital. At time of this photo, Trevor was 9. In Ovie's left hand is a paper and pen - surely an autograph for a fan in need. In an awkward photo taken by a fan just moments before Trevor's untimely death, it seemed that Ovie was simply going out of his way to visit a fan in need.
Awww. How nice.
Except something was wrong. Ovie's smile was that of pure evil. Little did they know - the paper in Ovie's last hand had someone's John Hancock on it, but it was actually Trevor's. Little Trevor Hurst had been forced in duress to sign over all of his worldly belongings to the Atlanta Falcons - Ovie threatened to pull the plug to Trevor's life support.
Ovie took everything: Trevor's favorite teddy bear, his insulin, inhaler, and various medications would now be headed to Atlanta, where they would be broken down into their base chemical agents and then resold on the streets of Detroit to keep the Lions in the gutter. Ovie waited until everything was signed, and then realizing Trevor had seen too much, promptly pulled the plug on Trevor's life support. Trevor died slowly as Ovie walked out of the room.
As a result, Ovie was named the 2007 Atlanta Falcons Man of the Year.
Let's take these fuckers down a notch, shall we?
FINAL SCORE: 21-17, BEARS.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
So, baseball season is done. Over. Finished. No more Sox and Cubs until Spring Training next year in, well, the SPRING. Hockey and Basketball aren't my thing, and haven't really started yet anyways.
That's a ways away! With the Bears only playing once a week (as ordained by the NFL - we could totally go for 3 or 4 a week), we've gotta find something else to obsess over. We all know the Bears are amazing and going to win the Super Bowl - it's not even worth discussing at this point.
Here is some suggested daytime viewing material to tide you over during the week:
#1. Sanford and Son
#2. Air Bud 3: Euthanize The Court
#3. Judge Judy
#4. Judge Mathis
#5. Judge Mathis doing Judge Judy (PPV only)
#6. The oddly named "ABC World News at 3:18 PM"
#8. Slightly more racist cartoons that they don't show anymore, but are totally much funnier than the crap on right now (where the hell is Speedy Gonzalez?!)
#9. Your neighbor taking a dump with the window open
#10. Softball SLAM on CSN (the commercials make it worth it)
Seriously, I don't know what I'll do if the Bears don't make the playoffs. The months leading up to the pain are just too much!
I won't get into the "plot" of this movie because it makes my head hurt, so let's just say that if you've ever seen any JCVD movie, you get the idea. Yes, he's a spy/CIA agent/whatever. Yes, he's on "one last mission." There's an evil criminal mastermind. There's the goofy sidekick. The only difference is that in this film, the sidekick is a really tall transvestite who is also an arms dealer, obviously played by Rodman.
I was initially skeptical of Rodman's acting abilities, but he is easily just as terrible as Van Damme. Rodman comes off as a natural in his role -- you almost get the feeling that maybe he dresses flamboyantly, goes to S&M clubs, and carries guns in real life too. A part of me wants to believe that the filmmakers just followed him around with a camera as he went about his usual day-to-day activities, not even informing him that they were making a movie.
But there's one area where he has no chance against JCVD: martial arts. Rodman's fight scenes are edited and chopped together to a ridiculous degree, most likely to disguise the fact that he cannot do any cool fighting moves. (Speaking of which, this movie is edited so poorly that Rodman's hair often changes colors during the same scene.) However, the already-homoerotic nature of this film is given a certain intensity due to the fact that Rodman might actually enjoy sex with men. There is one part in here where JCVD pins Rodman against a wall, and I fucking swear to god, it looks like they are about to start kissing passionately. In other action flicks, you know there's no chance of actual man-on-man action, but with Rodman's presence, this film keeps you wondering. Also, there's a lot of basketball in-jokes and lingo in here ("I'm taking you out of the game...for good!!!"), even though Rodman's character has nothing to do with basketball.
Also noteworthy is that the "criminal mastermind" is played by none other than Mickey Rourke, at the height of his fucked-up-ness. After 90 minutes of extremely shitty acting, Rourke's character is killed by a tiger. And a landmine. At the same time.
This movie definitely rates high on the "so bad it's good" scale, and I strongly recommend it if you have Netflix or some other way of not actually paying money to see this.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Just a quickie - Kyle Orton is better at beating up on the Lions than I am. This is not saying much, but at least it gives us another week to gloat about how good he's playing. He honestly looked like he thought he was redshirted, because he was setting up his plays like he had no pressure and it was just another practice. Accurate deep balls, stepping into his throws, and lots of poise.
Make us proud, Kyle, keep winning, and I'll have to find more things to add to this photo.
So, OK, the Sox lost. Am I heartbroken, crying about another loss in the playoffs? Am I beside myself with anguish?
Keep in mind, that anything that the Sox did this year was a pleasant surprise. Quentin and Ramirez produced far more than anyone thought, and the Sox pitching staff went above and beyond the call of duty. We were projected to finish last in the AL Central by almost every single sporting publication.
And yet we persevere.
MAKING the playoffs was already ridiculous, because let's face it, we were not worthy. Losing to the D-Rays doesn't upset me at all. They played great baseball, showed that speed and OBP are more important than the long ball, and were ultimately a class act (see: John Danks' fist bump with the enemy after colliding with the runner on a pop up).
That said, I'm pretty stoked to see what the Sox do in the offseason, and what the team looks like next year with an impressive core of starting pitchers that will be around for years to come (Buerhle, Danks, Floyd, Richard). There's no crying in baseball.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Rather than go on about how the Cubs choked (again) or WHY they choked (inexcusable defensive errors along with miserable outings from Ramirez, Soriano and Fukudome), let's talk about something else. We get a lot of flak here for being anti-Cubs. It's not so much that we're anti-Cubs as much as we're anti-Cubs-FANS.
I mean, really, when it comes right down to it, I can think of a multitude of reasons that Cub fans drive me insane. I'm not going to say that ALL Cub fans are assholes - there are a select few of you that know your shit and follow them as someone should follow any baseball team. No, the people in question are those explained below.
The First Circle of Hell:
This issue really affects REAL Cubs fans. These are the people that I can tolerate talking to, and don't want to kill immediately. The Cubs have a history of losing. Therefore, it drives me insane when halfway through April I start seeing "This is the Year" signs. This isn't the year. Neither is next year. Or last year. The Cubs ARE LOSERS. It's a terrible business model. Just ask Stormin' Norman. The best way to say "I don't like when you lose" is to stop buying tickets to games. You can still root for the team and drink Old Style as you watch the game on WGN, but don't give them your money to sit in the nosebleeds until they put out a contender. This point has dulled in recent years (the Cubs have actually had some decent regular season teams in the past 10 years), but they also have one of the top-5 priced seats, and still sell out every game. I understand bandwagon fans to an extent, but the fact that the Cubs are the "cherished" and "loved" team of Chicago for winning nothing in the past 100 years baffles me.
The Second Circle of Hell:
Who are these people that are buying seats? Are these "die-hard I love the Cubs in good times or bad" people? You wish. Tourists, drunks, and people that come to see the hot chicks on a hot day (nothing wrong with that). Let's face it - half of the crowd at Wrigley wouldn't know a DeRosa from a DiCaprio. I'm willing to bet that if I just showed movies on a big screen at Wrigley I could sell out the stadium for at least a month. People don't come to watch the Cubs as much as they come BECAUSE it's Wrigley. Sit around, drink beer, get a tan, look at hot chicks, piss in a trough, and call it a day. Frankly, I'd hate the Cubs a lot less if they built a new stadium (it's not quite right to make your fans pay extra to watch out for falling bricks).
The Third Circle of Hell / Halsted and Belmont:
Where the hell is the rivalry? Part of the reason that many Sox fans hate Cubs fans is because it gives us something to do. The season is long and drawn out, and many times both teams are completely awful. That city series gives us two big "playoff-style" series right in the middle of the year! We get a chance to play with something on the line, and cheer like it's the end of the world. And what do I get from some Cubs fans? "Oh, we wish the best for you guys. I'm a Chicago fan."
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
No. I refuse to allow that. Want me to translate that phrase? "I am a total fucking pussy who refuses to ally with any one team so that I can always be happy and never have to feel bad about losing." You people make me sick. You're not only a bandwagon fan in the worst regard, but you either don't give a rats ass about sports or have a secret allegience to one team. I know damn well that if the Sox advance after the Cubs get swept, you'll be telling all your friends you were "a Sox fan from the beginning" while you still have an apartment filled with Cubs memerobilia. It's not allowed. You're not "better than us" or "taking the high road" by not picking a team. No, you're a disgrace to fandom.
Worse still, I can't think of a single Sox fan that would go and root for the Cubs in the playoffs. This is partially because I have personally murdered every known offender. I have (and do) see Cubs fans doing this for the Sox, though. Go back to your shitsquad of losers. We don't need you wasting space in our stands. I'll bet you'd shell out big bucks to go to a Sox playoff game without even wearing black, you sonofabitch. I hate you. I hope you move to New York and get stabbed for attending a Yankees/Mets game while wearing unafiliated colors.
So, for you Cubs fans that do any of the above, please tell me why. Why do you insist on punishing yourself year after year by rooting for these losers? Why do you give them your money? Why do you allow yourselves to be affiliated with a team known as "The Loveable Losers?" What the hell fills you with an amazing feeling that you couldn't get after 13 beers on the beach and save $50?
I just don't get it, and probably never will.
I'm going to keep this relatively short, since I only saw half the game:
1) Kyle Orton is a legitmate starting QB.
2) Matt Forte is a top 10 RB
Not much needs to be said here. If you have him on your fantasy team (As we suggested a few months back) than kudos to you. If you don't, you have also enjoyed him picking up the pass protection scheme and selling the play actions. The kid is already very well-rounded and has made our offensive line look better than the group of semi-retired 40 year old vets that it is. First round pick Chris Williams also comes back in a few weeks to shore up the line, so more good things to come. Sidenote, did you know we have 3 Vanderbilt guys on our team right now (Williams, Hillenmeyer and Earl Bennett)?
3) The Bears D is in top form
Even with the injuries (Vasher, Tillman), Suspensions (Harris) and youth (Graham, Dvorceck, Payne) the unit looks very very good. We've got a ton of depth and Briggs/Urlacher make it impossible to establish a run game against us. Like in 06, we are hitting hard and creating a lot of takeaways, which speaks well for Big Bad Bob Babich and reflects well on Lovie's general defensive focus.
4) Our WR's aren't as bad as we thought:
Exhibit A: http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80b5d6fc
Lloyd and Booker are solid B WR's and Hester is a B- but gives us the speed factor that the other two lack. As a whole, we have a pretty good unit right now and both Booker and Lloyd own 4 of the best hands in the entire league.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I'm not going to talk much about the Cubs here. Why? Frankly, I don't want the world to think that we're only pro-Sox around here - when the opportunity presents itself, we generally DO cover the Cubs. Expect a Cubs roundup later.
For now, let's talk about a team with more playoff wins in the last two years after last night's Sox victory.
First of all, I'm still on target for my projection of "Sox in 5." I almost EXPECT to win today's matchup of Gavin Floyd versus Andy Sonnanstine (13-9 record with a 4.38 ERA). I'm not saying that just because Gavin has been lights-out as of late -Floyd has produced in the same clutch-itude as Danks, but can be completely awful at times with poor control.
I'm saying the Sox will win because:
#1. It's a home game. We love home games (54-28 at home, 3rd best in the AL). We get to do the whole "blackout" thing, we get to eat elotes (trust me, try it), and we get to sing the White Sox fight song. It just works.
#2. We've seen Sonnastine. This is a guy who went 0-7 his last seven starts of the season, and isn't new to White Sox hitters. We saw him on April 19th (3-hit shutout I would like to forget), Jun 1 (10H, 3ER in a no decision where we let him off the hook) and August 24th (9H, 4ER, no decision). I'm not saying I expect us to be on the ball, but Sonnanstine has been coming at batters more, getting more K's and cutting down on walks...and seeing more balls in play. We do remarkably better as a team once we've seen a guy, and we've definitely had some success in the hitting department.
#3. Sonnastine loves to give freebies. This is probably going to be the make or break thing for the White Sox, but Sonnanstine has a nasty habit of helping out free-swingers as he looks to get ahead or finish a hitter. The White Sox, however, have a few ridiculous free-swinging players (Uribe, Ramirez, Anderson, Cabrera) that refuse to walk and can really come up big if they get some early pitches over the plate. Sonnanstine's line on first pitch (opponents hitting .354) and on an 0-1 count (opponents hitting .305) will help these guys out more than any experience can.
So, that said, here's my optimistic projected outcome:
SOX WIN, 6-3.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
In typical Cubs fashion, I spent a long time building up fiber only to take a really amazing shit later. Much like my bowels, the Cubs had a whole season of buildup just to shit the bed in the playoffs. It's really quite astounding how quickly they have put themselves on the brink of elimination.
To recap last night's game:
- Zambrano pitches well enough to only give up 3 runs, but winds up with 7 (only 3 earned) thanks to some "clutch" defensive errors. The box score says there were only (only?!) four, but there were at least 6. Needless to say, the "Wrigley Faithful" had turned into their usual Boo-Bird selves by the 4th inning.
- Billingsley tears apart the Cubs order without mercy. There's not much else to say other than that he was nigh-unhittable and I enjoyed watching him crush the Cubs lineup.
- Fukudome is quickly becoming a Chicago pariah. He's getting booed before his at-bats, and leaves the batter's box with a slow walk back to the dugout that gives the fans more reason to keep booing. 0-4 with 3 K's? I'm so glad the Sox "settled" for Quentin - you have no idea.
- The Cubs "threatened" by bringing the game as close as 10-3 before having their hopes crushed gloriously. Perhaps I was a little too kind when I said the Dodgers would take it in 4 - here's hoping the Cubs can manage to choke in 3.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Can we take a second to talk about how ridiculous this is? The Sox take three MUST-WIN games in a row to the house and secure a playoff spot against Tampa. We live and die by the home run, and when it works, it WORKS. Oh, and if anyone saw the "Blackout" on TV, how ridiculous was that crowd? Creepy as hell if you ask me.
The Sox play their first game today against the Rays, with SUPERCLUTCH Javy Vazquez going against James Shields. I'm thrilled that the Sox aren't playing the Red Sox or the Angels, but the Rays are no pushovers. They're actually a lot like Minnesota - a bunch of role players that come together to make a great TEAM, rather than individual dominators and some dead weight (I'm looking at you, Boston).
That said, these are the four immediate questions on my mind as a Sox fan:
#1. Can Javy turn it around? When Ozzie said you choke in big games, he wasn't kidding. The last two starts where we needed you the most, you cost us both games singlehandedly. Against a team like the Rays, a 7 ER defecit spells defeat and some costly bullpen fatigue. Also, Shields has been particularly filthy at home, with an ERA under 3 (and he got stronger as the season progressed). Javy needs to keep the ball down, or we've already lost.
#2. How tired are Buerhle, Danks, and Floyd? All of them pitched late into their games on three days' rest - probably not ideal when you have to give them short rest AGAIN. Not much to say here, other than that Buerhle has been our best starter in the second half and is a total beast. I have the utmost confidence in him, and Danks/Floyd can take the homestand. Hopefully, there are no ill effects from the playoff push.
#3. Why don't we have the right backups? I mean, I know WHY we don't have an infield - Getz got hurt, Crede is out, Ozuna got cut, and Fields is a butcher in the field (who will likely make the roster for this sole purpose), but we really should have SOMEONE to play utility infield. To contrast, the outfield has Owens, Wise, Griffey, Anderson, Dye, and Swisher if need be. Griffey turned in a great throw that Anderson followed with a spectacular catch, but there's no reason to have 5-6 outfielders on a playoff roster. Likewise, why hasn't Swisher played...at all? Wise is nice for speed, but he's hardly an everyday player. Hopefully Swish gets some time in LF to show he still has some pop in the bat.
#4. Bullpen...? Not much to say here. If Linebrink and Dotel do what they did this past week, we're going to coast after the 7th. If they regress or get hurt, Matt Thornton will have his work cut out for him. At least Boone Logan looks to (finally) be headed back to the minors. Go work on that goatee, Boone.
SERIES OUTLOOK: SOX IN 5