Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So, remember that earlier speculation about why Nick Swisher was unceremoniously dumped? It looks like the real culprit was Swisher's "attitude" towards the end of the season. Yeah, hitting .191 in the second half is a serious attitude problem.
Was he a bad influence on the clubhouse?
"You've got to ask the players about that," Guillen said. "To be honest with you, I was not happy with the way he was reacting at the end of the season. He wasn't helping me either."
"It was hard because when we brought him here, a lot of people were excited (that) he would have a great career with the White Sox," Guillen said. "But we got to the point that we went through the roster ... and we had a right fielder, left fielder, first baseman and DH. It was hard for us to find a place for him."
I was really expecting more vitriol from Ozzie, but I guess he sorta mellows out in the first months after the season ends.
In other news, a LOT of trade rumors with the Sox involving the Mets, Rays, and even the Reds. They include (but are not limited to), Jermaine Dye, Bobby Jenks, and of course, Javy Vazquez. More on this when something legit develops, but I would not be entirely surprised to see Jermaine Dye take a ticket out of town as part of a youth movement (Homer Bailey from the Reds, or Edwin Jackson from the Rays, knowing KW).
Here's hoping that rumor of Vazquez for the Mets' Pelfrey materializes.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So, the Bears seemed to have everything under control on Sunday. Orton was back to making every pass look easy, Forte ran for over 100 yards, and the defense was nearly unstoppable.
...against the Rams.
Playing against the Rams is like playing against a pee-wee football team. You can employ all sorts of tactics that wouldn't work in a real game, such as the classic "yell real loud and get them all scared," or "put your hand on their head as they run towards you, stopping them in their tracks as they hilariously flail their arms." The Rams just aren't a fair gauge of what works and what doesn't work.
The Bears could have done whatever they wanted on Sunday and gotten a win out of it. Our "new" defensive scheme isn't some sort of perfection incarnate - it's that the Rams have no offensive line so every play turns out like a blitz for the poor sap at QB. All those great blocks and picks by our secondary? Yeah, Trent Green really strikes fear into the hearts of man. He got benched for the 3rd string QB (who, remarkably, tore us to shreds on a quick drive downfield).
On offense, Orton was able to make those throws because he had all day to set them up. I don't think Kyle got hurried more than once. So give the line credit, right? I think John St. Clair's excess fat could have been planted in the turf and it would have held at both guard positions. The Rams are really just that awful - on the field, and with their coaching.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Bears. I'm happy we won. We "earned" it. But I don't want anyone else buying into that "the season starts now" bullshit. We got lucky to play a team as shitty as the Rams, and we didn't lose. With the Vikings coming up next week, I sense a more than humbling experience...
Monday, November 24, 2008
I really can't think of a better DVD set for a Chicago sports fan. This is a 3-disc set discussing all of the older torture/death mechanisms in history. We're talking about the well known historical misery inducers - the guillotine, the iron maiden, and the Cubs. There's also some stranger ones on there, like the Shame Flute. I mean, what the hell is a "shame flute?" Well, if you sucked at your instrument, they made you wear this thing around your neck and then jammed your fingers into it so you couldn't play...and then they heckled you.
When I think of torture, I can't think of a more sympathetic town than Chicago. Barring the Bulls of the Jordan era and the 2005 WS win for the White Sox, the last 50 years have been pretty bad around here. The Hawks haven't won it all since Wirtz took over (and subsequently died), the Bulls haven't come close since Jordan left, and so on.
Worst of all, each one of the Chicago team leads you into believing that, OK, maybe THIS is the year we can get something done. And then they choke (see: Cubs, Fire, soon-to-be Bears). Needless to say, these DVDs understand your pain, and can give you other ways to wish for death aside from living here.
TO WIN: Tell us your most torturous moment being a Chicago sports fan. Comment on this post, or E-Mail your entries to GepettoZHog@gmail.com. Winners will be announced later this week.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Dayan Vicideo comes from Cuba, is getting paid $11 million at just 19 years old for a six year contract, and is supposedly one of the best Cuban prospects...ever. The White Sox will likely employ Viciedo at 3B...blah blah blah. That's not interesting! That's just a bunch of data spewed out by normal reporters! As you all know, we are hardly normal - that's why you come here.
Here's what you really need to know about the kid:
#1. He is FAT. Like the "holy shit you made it to America only because fat floats" kinda fat. At 19, he weighs more than 230 pounds. There's talk that his weight has ballooned recently, and that he's "getting out of shape" because he's unmotivated. If he's getting fat, that's on track to make Mo Vaughn look like Alexei Ramirez. I cannot wait to see the hot dog eating contest between him and Bobby Jenks. It's gonna be wild.
Will this affect his ability to field? Well, the whole "can't clap my hands over my stomach" thing seems to be working out for Miguel Cabrera, so we'll just have to wait and see.
#2. He supposedly has a cannon arm, and can field 3B, SS and OF. This is a good thing, and will make him all the more valuable for inheriting Juan Uribe's spot at 3B. After all, Uribe was just some fat utility guy with a cannon arm and...uh oh...
#3. He has pop in the bat. Like, serious pop. That's about all I can say because information is pretty damned scarce at this time (or not in English). Babelfish tells me that "Viciedo ball striking with beauty down grassed plains." Unless Viciedo is wearing a dress, I have no clue what the hell that means. I would say it's safe to assume that Viciedo first lures the ball into his own personal orbit before slingshotting it out of the park. At 16, he hit .337 with 16 HR. Yeah, that says something when some of your oppponents haven't even hit puberty yet and you're just using the inertia of your fat to pound the ball.
#4. Viciedo is probably going to make the Opening Day roster. Yes, he's young. Yes, he's unseasoned. However, much like Alexei before him, Viciedo is going surprise and earn a roster spot. I mean, really, who is going to compete with him? Josh Fields is a crappier version of the current Viciedo, and Dayan has a much higher ceiling. If Viciedo puts in a good showing, I wouldn't be surprised if Fields gets traded.
#5. He has all the support from established...Cubans. You know, it doesn't mean shit to me when someone endorses how good Viciedo is if they're his agent (Jaime Torres) or someone who is represented by Torres (Alexei Ramirez, Jose Contreras). This tells me nothing, other than that you're a ring of protection among one another. This practically garauntees that any new Torres/Cuban prospect is looking at the South Side in the future, but how the hell can we trust any of you if no one that speaks English knows if the kid is any good?
#6. His name is actually Dayán Viciedo Pérez. See those accent marks? Forget about it. I'm not going to look for the two freaky-ass accent marks every time I want to write about him. He should consider himself lucky I didn't just abbreviate his name to "Evita" or "VD" ...although there's time for that later.
#7. I'm not sold on him. This has bust written all over it. Kid is good at making contact, but is putting on massive weight. Can drive the ball with power, but can't run the goddamned bases because his chubby legs rub together making that sound like when you run your hand along saran wrap. I'm sensing a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of "let's swing for the fences." Unlike Ramirez, who is getting paid less and has the speed to be versatile all around, Viciedo seems very very one dimensional. I'm envisioning an unproven Paul Konerko playing third base. This strikes me as especially bad when you consider how he does NOT fit into future plans of "let's stop relying on the long ball and try and get the job done with speed and clutch hits." This kid IS the long ball.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Somewhere along the line, the Mets lost their closer and started hunting for a capable body to put there. With a bevy of available Free Agent talent such as K-Rod or Fuentes, it would seem silly for the Mets, rich with money, to try and make a trade for a proven player.
And yet, here we are.
Really. Omar trading for big bad Bobby? What the hell can the Mets possibly offer us? We always like to think that we're in the playoff hunt with KW's perpetual "compete now" motto, so it seems unlikely that we would trade the anchor of our perpetually weak bullpen. If we do trade Jenks, you had better believe that it would be to get something else to "compete now."
If I'm the White Sox, I'm thinking either a starting 3B, or CF. Seeing as those two positions are occupied by big names Carlos Beltran and David Wright, I can't see that happening. Maybe Daniel Murphy, their young 3B, but who dumps talent like that? Stupid.
Expect the Mets to sign K-Rod to a three-year deal with lots of incentivies for future years. He'll mow down the pitiful NL, even in his current "less than 100%" form, and everyone will be happy.
And we'll keep Bobby, thanks.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
For some reason, players are expressing loyalty to return to the Cubs. Not only that, but they are expressing a desire to return to a team with a "storied history" for a discount! On Tuesday, Ryan Dempster signed a 4-year contract to return to the equivalent of baseball purgatory - at a discount.
How much of a discount, you ask?
Dempster technically signed a $52 million contract, but he could easily make far less than that. Throwing his signing bonus into next year's salary, Dempster earns $12 mil in 2009, 1$2.5 mil in 2010 and $13.5 mil in 2011 with an option for $14 mil in 2012.
To put that in perspective, Buehrle's extension (signed in 2007, when players were slightly cheaper) gives him $14 million for all four years (more than Dempster makes in any year), no trade rights in 2008 (something Dempster does not have) and a clause that if he does get traded, his salary bumps to $15 million a year and adds a year to the contract (keep dreaming, Ryan).
Now, I'm not saying that Dempster is a better or worse pitcher than Buehrle, but I am saying that they have had close enough numbers where their contracts would be indicative of their value (Buerhle has plenty of "implode in the second half" seasons). For a guy who posted the best season of his career - and as a starter, no less - the Cubs definately got a relatively safe passage.
For the Cubs' sake. let's hope his career path doesn't mimic Carl Pavano's.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Mark Cuban, accused of insider trading (with Mamma.com of all websites! How could you!?), will likely not be buying the Cubs any time soon. Aside from the $750,000 that he likely saved by selling off all of his stock early, he likely will have to pay many millions in the resulting civil suit. For a man with a net worth of $2 billion, that's a rather sizeable chunk of change. However hilarious that this may be (and I especially love Cuban's blog post), I don't give a rat's ass about Mark Cuban's finances.
What I do care about is if Cuban is still going to be a front-runner to purchase the Cubs. As of this precise second, I have two quick reasons that say "NO."
#1. Moneeeeeeh. Aside from all the money Cuban is going to lose for "damages," the economy is in the shitter as well. This is HARDLY a buyer's market, and Sam Zell wants to get every penny...including the ones that they threw at Kosuke Fukudome to warm the bench.
#2. Selig. Bud Selig spent the last few years trying to wipe away the shitstain on baseball that is steroids. After some careful work (investigations, upped steroid rules, blackballed Barry Bonds), the mess is "mostly" behind us. Still, that was a lot of work just because one thing slipped through the cracks. I really don't think Selig is in a hurry to bring in an owner with the possibility of illegal activity - and he does have the power to vote against him as an owner.
Cuban would really have been a good fit for the Cubs - deep pockets, cares about winning, and is a "man of the people." Hell, I'll bet he would have even found a way to force Nowitzki to play in right field. Not only would he have been a face on a franchise that has long been "faceless," but he would probably have given Chicago fans the vitriol we secretly crave.
Alas. He coulda been a contendah.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The image really says it all.
Orton never took a downfield shot after taking that hit to the back of the leg, leaving the Bears to try and manage using only the short game. Forte worked as a runner and receiver, but we ultimately got too many short gains that left us wanting more. Hell, we put in Grossman! Do you have any idea what kind of strain it takes to put in Grossman!?
On the flip side, we couldn't stop the run (giving up 5 YPC total, not just to Ryan Grant), and let Aaron Rodgers have his way with us with quick, accurate passing. The holes in our defense only look smaller when the offense is getting the job done. When the Bears are trailing, the whole "one-dimensional" defense thing just gives opponents more options.
Yes, the fumble by Orton and other "big" plays hurt as well, but thoa
I meant to touch on this Friday, but I really wanted to make sure that Kerry Wood wasn't coming back. I mean, Wood is kinda like that hobo on Taylor street who comes up to your car with a spray bottle and a roll of paper towels. You tell him, "no, I'm great, don't need the window wiped. I don't have any money for you. Thanks anyways." Kerry Wood knows better, though. He proceeds to muck your window up anyways, and because you always do have the money, you pay him out of guilt. Rinse and repeat.
This time, it seems that the Cubs are really rolling the windows up and driving away, as every comment I've seen essentially says, "Kerry deserves more money and a longer contract...somewhere else. [Please go away, I just had my windows cleaned.]" They even went out and got another player to fill Wood's role - just to show they were serious.
Most people know that Wood's agent contacted the Cubs for a multi-year deal, and was turned down for "financial reasons." But did you know Kerry tried to come back to the Cubs for a one-year contract? That's right - like a loyal dog, Wood wanted to help the team and come back on the cheap. He wanted to keep trying to make up for all those years of medical failure.
And the Cubs still won't have any of it.
While Kerry sits outside on the porch and scrapes at the door, the Cubs have brought in Kevin Gregg and let him eat the table scraps. Gregg just had his best year in baseball...at 30 years old. There's also that whole "coming off of surgery" thing that's never good news. Couple this with the fact that Gregg is a bit of a slow starter, and he might become the Cubs' new whipping post by the end of May. Does anyone remember how "fun" it was to torture Jacques Jones and Juan Pierre? Yeah, I thought so.
I wish Kerry the best...and the path of Mark Grace: get shunned by your team after giving them almost 10 years of service just to go on and win the World Series the following year with another squad.
Friday, November 14, 2008
This NFC North showdown means a lot to both teams, but especially the Packers. Despite a horrific offensive performance, they nearly knocked off the Vikings last week. For their part, the Bears played well in Week 10 but fell just short of picking off the undefeated Titans. QB Kyle Orton(ankle) may play against Green Bay, but how effective will he be? And can Chicago win with QB Rex Grossman if Orton isn't able to go? The Packers have concerns of their own. With LB Nick Barnett having suffered a season-ending knee injury, the Packers' sagging run defense could have more trouble containing stud rookie RB Matt Forte. A great rivalry game with huge division and playoff implications.
This is a HUGE game. Whoever wins on Sunday is going to take the division - either Green Bay or Chicago has won the NFC North since it was created in 2002 when the NFL switched to eight divisions.
With Barnett out, the Packers should have a tough time stopping Forte. He's leading the NFL rookie class in rushing with 713 yards and GB ranks a crappy 28th against the run.
"To play Green Bay, to play your division rivals in November," Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton said. "We're in first place, and these are huge games from here on out. This is what I put the effort in for, so I can do everything I can to be out there."
Well, it was a fun idea while it lasted, but it looks like Nick Swisher and his incredibly friendly contract are headed for a different monochromatic ballclub.
Kanekoa Texeira (I was so excited when I thought I saw Konerko and Texeira mentioned in the same sentence as the word "trade")
The initial reaction I have is "damn it, we got fleeced." I think that Swisher is absolutely going to rebound from last season - Walker said something about there being a glitch in his swing that would take a whole offseason to work out of his system. If it would take Walker a whole offseason, you've got to figure that a competent hitting coach could probably fix it in less than a month. Likewise, Texeira pitched well in the minors, and has a good change to come up as a reliever, or maybe even get stretched out as a starter.
In return? We get Betemit, who is Swisher Lite. Betemit is a switch hitter and a utility infielder, but is much much cheaper than Swisher - and his career stats are on par with Swisher's worst season. In addition to Betemit, we get Marquez and Nunez, two unproven players in the minors. Marquez is already 23 and looks like he'll have a shot at being Nick Massett part deux (long relief, spot starter). Nunez, though, looks to be much more interesting, with a greater propensity for keeping the ball on the ground and not sucking.
Any way that you look at it, this deal means:
#1. The Sox want to free up some money. This is not surprising - money is nice to have. It may also pave the way for a FA signing this winter that may cost a little more than Jerry and Co. would like to spend, or maybe just to save some money. Who knows - maybe we could get some more of our guys under contract.
#2. Something was wrong with Swisher. This actually seems pretty likely the more I think about it. Swisher was in Ozzie's doghouse for the second half of the season (benched in the ALCS says something, doesn't it?). Even if it's not something between Oz and Swish, I still get the impression that it's an organizational difficulty of some sort. Maybe Swish was on 'roids? I hate to say it because I like the guy. I know Jerry and Kenny don't like to have users on their team, and maybe the writing was on the wall. I suppose only next season's stats will tell.
Stay tuned for more exciting off-season baseball!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
So, we lose Hinrich, and now we (likely) lose Rose while he recovers from being a badass and playing hurt for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. This is bad.
Get ready to see a lot of Thabo, because our listed depth chart is starting to just look funny. Take a look at this chart pulled after Hinrich's injury:
Backup PG: Thabo Sefolosha
Backup SG: Thabo Sefolosha
Backup SF: Thabo Sefolosha (Nocioni is still reeling from imaginary bullets)
Backup: PF: Thabo Sefolosha (Joakim Noah is an idiot)
Backup C: Aaron Gray (Irreplaceable)
And the sad part is, I only made up two of those. If anyone else important goes down, we may want to look into signing Jack Haley. I hear he makes everyone else around him play better...or is it that everyone else around him DID play better and simply made him look useful?
Look, I don't care about the logistics behind it as long as we win. Mavericks, coming to town.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
|Bears QB Orton practices in limited fashion|
Highlights from 11/8 Cavs game. Check out the move at the :58 mark... (you can get it in high quality on youtube).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Hawks come to town to play the Bulls tonight, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. Not because we're going to lose (per se...) but because it's going to be a really REALLY boring game to watch.
The Bulls really like to play two kinds of teams - teams that are one-dimensionally offensive, or teams that are just plain bad. These kinds of teams bring out the best in the Bulls, and make them watchable. The Hawks are neither of these, as they have what could be considered the most staunch defense in the NBA (and are all about "fundamentals"). Their average opponent score is somewhere around 85 (they held New Orleans to an embarrassing 79 points!).
Worse, their offense isn't quite "there" as Mike Bibby can only do so much, and their big new force in Josh Smith will probably miss the game with a high ankle sprain. Joe Johnson will do his best to fill in, but you really can't expect them to break 85 tonight.
As for us, we all know Hinrich is out for a few months which means Rose will be seeing a LOT of playing time from here on forward. Here's hoping that we get it down tonight, and win in some sort of exciting fashion (I hope).
Also, here's a pic of a Hawks cheerleader because it's Tuesday...or something like that. Any excuse, right?
Monday, November 10, 2008
I want to rip on Rex Grossman SO BADLY for yesterday's loss, but I can't. Really, in all fairness, he didn't let the team down in any way. He performed tolerably for what he is - the backup QB. He kept the mistakes to a minimum (1 INT), and while he was completely useless on 3rd down (3-14...ugh), we WERE playing the best team in the NFL.
So I won't rip on Rex just yet.
I will say that Rex definitely changes the dynamic of the offense. If you look at the involvement of players like Rasheid Davis or Marty Booker (guys that Orton uses to move the ball in a hurry or get that quick pass off over the middle), you'll notice that they - combined - had one catch. To contrast, Grossman dumped the ball to Forte to give him 7 receptions to go along with his 20 rushing attempts. That doesn't really scream confidence to me.
Speaking of confidence, I have little to none in the Bears next week against the Packers. As much as I would like to spout how "we're gonna win" and "Rex can do it," I'm starting to realize the gravity of our situation. Every Friday before gameday, they pull Orton out of the iron lung and say, "hey, we could really use you this week. Try playing. Please. Can you start yet? How about now?"
My prediction is that the Bears do their one defensive trick (stack the box, and force the opposing team to throw the ball), and get burned badly. Even a QB with a bum shoulder (Rodgers) could beat out our cornerbacks right now. Expect big games from Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Donald Lee, and even Ryan Grant (short passes) that keeps us going down the slide.
Projected Score: 27-10 Packers.
Projected Grossman line: 210 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble lost.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I should know better than to second-guess KW's wheeling and dealing after the success of his last few moves (Ramirez, Quentin, Danks, Floyd...etc), but I can't help feeling that something bad is about to happen (Chris Carter part deux).
The Sox are reportedly shopping Javier Vasquez and Nick Swisher this winter. Swisher apparently had a "problem with his swing" that wasn't discovered until midseason and would take the offseason to work out (read: he will hit better this year). Hitting aside, Swisher is versatile, switch-hits, plays most of the field relatively well (and would be a fine fill in at 1B if Konerko goes to the Angels after all), and sees a lot of pitches. He could be much better next season, and could show more of the promise he had in Oakland - especially in our hitter-friendly ballpark. Oh, and did I mention that his contract is fantastic?
Vasquez, on the other hand, is on the downslope of his career. You can't expect him to turn in a Cy Young performance next year, but at the same time, he gets 200 IP and 200 K every year. That's really, REALLY consistent performance from someone who would likely be our #4 or #5 starter going into next year (Contreras may be back, and Richard showed he can play).
Well, we've got to do SOMEthing, right? This is Kenny we're talking about!
Here's my itinerary (call me crazy if you want):
#1. Trade Josh Fields. This guy is an accident waiting to happen. Low walk totals, high K's, bad fielding, and one-dimensional power are NOT what the Sox need right now. If he starts next year, imagine Brian Anderson on roids, but without the fielding ability. The few times he fully connects with the ball will probably leave the park, but how many times will he K on the breaking ball? Fields' value is probably the highest it will get barring big-league success, and he may net us something useful. As long as it isn't Willy Taveras...
#2. DO NOT GET WILLY TAVERAS. I cannot stress this enough. What the hell would Willy do for us? Yeah, he's fast. Whoop-de-do. He's not exactly a consistent hitter or particularly great CF. I would much rather let Anderson try and develop another year than have Willy get out at the top of the order every game. Hell, let DeWayne Wise play. Just please, please, PLEASE don't overpay for this sack of shit. Years of Fantasy Baseball will tell you all you need to know about Mr. 1-Dimensional.
#3. Let Paulie for Figgins Happen. I love Paulie as much as the next completely heterosexual baseball fan, but he's not the same guy anymore. Assuming that Texeira is gone, the Angels will need another big bopper in the lineup. Chone Figgins plays the infield (we need a 3B or 2B), has great speed (we like that), gets on base (yay), and would probably work out well as a leadoff hitter. Granted, he has an injury history (and gets hurt with regularity), but he could be a big change to the team dynamic. Risks were made to be taken, right?
#4. Get More Bullpen Help. We need to do this every year, don't we? The only consistent members of the bullpen were Jenks (consistently Jenks-y), Thornton (consistently beasty, but can't go more than 1 inning), Linebrink (consistently hurt when we needed him most), and Dotel (consistently gave up the long ball in clutch situations). After those four, it's a crapshoot. Wassermann doesn't really impress me, and the concept of Boone Logan or any of the other temp fill-ins starting next year terrifies me. Get help!
Godspeed, Kenny. Godspeed.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
This Commercial Needs to Die. And I thought I was the only one!
Save us from 'Saved by Zero,' TV watchers complain
By DAN STRUMPF – 21 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Any car shoppers left in this brutal market are sure to cheer Toyota's decision to extend zero-percent financing for another month. But another decision may have them hitting the mute button: The automaker will keep airing a television ad for the deal that has sparked some serious ire among TV viewers.
Maybe it's the giant floating red zero in the middle of the screen. Maybe it's the way, one by one, the 11 vehicles included in the incentive zoom into the foreground. Surely, the cheery, twangy "Saved by Zero" jingle has something to do with it, along with the way Toyota Motor Corp. has saturated prime-time sporting events with the 30-second spot.
Whatever it is, Facebook groups, bloggers and other TV watchers have risen up against the Japanese automaker's ad with gleeful rage.
"It's pretty much unanimous that everyone I've talked with thinks it's very annoying," said Colin Anderson, a 19-year-old freshman at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He created the Facebook group "Stop Playing Toyota's 'Saved by Zero' Commercial" after first seeing it a week and a half ago. The group has since swelled to more than 1,200 members and is growing.
Anderson said the ad alone isn't what irritates him — it's the way it dominates the commercial breaks during sporting events. During Monday night's NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins, Anderson counted five or six airings during the first half.
"We changed the channel," he said. "We couldn't watch it."
Others put it even more bluntly. The auto blog Jalopnik.com called the ad "wrist-slitting" in a recent post. And Peter Schrager of Esquire magazine's football blog recently wrote that the ad "has penetrated the nation's consciousness in a way political candidates only dream of."
The zero-percent financing incentive was set to expire this week, but Toyota said Monday it would extend the deal for another month after the company's October U.S. sales fell 23 percent from a year earlier.
And "Saved by Zero" will keep adding to viewers' misery.
The ads will continue airing nationally through Sunday, Toyota marketing spokesman Joe Tetherow said. After that, dealers will have the option to continue airing the ads on a local level.
Tetherow said the campaign has been a hit with dealers, and whatever the reaction from the public, it has been effective in getting the program's message across. Toyota is even extending the incentive to a 12th vehicle, the subcompact Yaris, he said.
"I think the fact that it's being talked about is good, because the message is out there," Tetherow said. "The dealers like the program, and customers do too."
Tetherow didn't know how much negative feedback the company has received, and he declined to say how much the ad campaign cost. According to the media agency TargetCast tcm, however, a season's worth of advertising on ESPN's Monday Night Football alone likely would have cost Toyota $8 million to $10 million.
Sam Craig, a marketing professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, called the ad's jingle "haunting." (It's a cover of a 1983 song by the rock group "The Fixx.") But he said the ad may be reaching a point known in industry lingo as "wear out," when an ad campaign so inundates the target market that it begins to backfire.
"The danger of running the same basic ad over and over again is that as soon as people recognize that, they tune it out," he said.
Whatever the ad's impact on viewers, the ire it has provoked seems contained to Internet carping. Anderson admits his campaign against "Saved by Zero" has been fairly limited despite its online following. He hasn't even written to Toyota to complain, he said.
"Zero-percent financing — that sounds pretty good to me," he said. "The commercial, I think, is just poorly done."
The Bulls just got LeBron'd plain and simple. We just can't stop him. In his last six games against us, LeBron has put up a minimum of 30 points. If that doesn't put up some red flags about our defensive scheme for stopping him, coughing up 41 last night should definitely help put things in perspective.
The Good: Ben Gordon put up 31 of his own to try and help out the Bulls' cause, and Rose piled on 20 of his own. Both Rose and Gordon also kept the ball moving, with 7 and 5 assists, respectively. Even Luol Deng looked solid, putting up 18 after a miserable showing on Monday. Also nice was that Ben "Assface" Wallace didn't score a single point (more on this later).
The Bad: There's a lot. The Bulls got beaten soundly when it comes to ball control. Wallace and LeBron, and Ilgauskas had 33 combined boards. I have to assume Wallace didn't score because he was too busy standing in place and catching the ball off the backboard. The entire Bulls team (bench included) had 35. Same with steals - their startes had eight (LeBron with 4), our starters had 4.
The Ugly: There's two things worth mentioning. One, LeBron rolled his ankle and still schooled us. Two, did anyone see Ilgauskas nail that three-pointer? UGLY.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Hey, glad you could make it.
Yeah, I'm a little exhausted right now. You know how it is, the whole "election" thing. So, apparently I'm the first "black president." That's pretty cool. Look - I didn't call you over so I could talk politics. I've heard enough about politics to last me a whole four years. The reason I called you here today is because I'm part of a much bigger agenda.
Sure, I'm the president of the United States, but do you know why I pushed to be here? Do you think I wanted to inherit this mess of an economy that we have? Not a chance. I did it, because as I always said, We Deserve a Better America. It was true then, and it's true now.
(puts out cigarette, leans back)
I'm not a man to beat around the bush. I'm all-Chicago. I love the city, but it has a problem. A serious problem that no mere senator would ever be able to handle appropriately. In my first act as president...
...I want to make it illegal to be a Cubs fan. Not just illegal, but punishable by death.
What, did you think I became president to just sit around in a fucking office all day? I fought to be here, and I'm not going to let down all my loyal supporters. The REAL supporters, not some fair weather fans. I'm a White Sox fan. It's not just "tough" to be a fan of the minority team. It's miserable! Putting up with that "Go Cubs Go" bullshit every year just to wade my way through sob stories? No, that's an Obamanation - yeah, that's right, I made that up. Look at this fucker who managed to sneak into my celebration shindig last night:
The only time I want to see a Cubs fan in that pose is if I've jammed a cattle prod into his scrotum. Worse still, that douchebag Ronnie Woo-Woo got an Obama jersey. Me, associated with that waste of sperm? I'm tired of this. Last night, I ordered that all Cubs fans on the premises be shot. Shot! And not a single fucking person "bled Cubbie blue" that night. Well, let me tell you, as president, that shit is going to change. As president, I now have access to America's greatest resource. Oil? Please.
Please, step outside. I want to show you something.
Do you see recognize this man? That's right, Superman. Go ahead, laugh. He is the symbol of everything this country stands for - patriotism, truth, justice, and the American way. While he may look like a simple wax puppet at the moment, I assure that he will be much more useful to my cause once I inscribe these Hebrew symbols into his forehead. Every president recieves the talmudic inscription to bring the golem to life. However, due to Bush's illiteracy, the golem has sat unused and forgotten for over eight years. Now, it is MY turn to do what is right!
(inscribes Hebrew; golem groans)
Yes, that's right! LIVE! Listen to me, SuperGolem - I am your new master! Cleanse the world of Cubs fans! Bring me the legs of Ron Santo and the blood of Ronald "Woo-Woo" Wickers!
Man, I fucking love this country.
It would seem that the Cubs have interest in Jake Peavy, a beast of a starting pitcher who is young and has spent his career in San Diego. This immediate interest comes as a result of Ryan Dempster declaring free agency, and is without a doubt one of the worst things that could happen to the Cubs.
I know I'm out of my groove when I'm trying to help the Cubbies, but acquiring Peavy is just a recipe for disaster. Sure, Peavy is only one season removed from a Cy Young Award, and had yet another year with a sub-3.00 ERA. He's a good pitcher, no doubt, but let's look at the intangibles, shall we?
#1. Injuries. Whenever the Cubs are looking at a pitcher with an injury history, I see a red flag. When the injuries are a result of being overworked at a young age or mechanics issues, I see two red flags. When I see that he's fragile enough to break a rib from celebrating a postseason berth, I get a whole red quilt. Match this up with a team that has a bad reputation when it comes to taking care of their pitchers (Wood, Prior, and soon to be Zambrano), and I smell a season of DL time. In the last two years, he's had a myriad of injuries - most recently, a 15-day DL trip for an elbow strain. If I'm a Cubs fan, the prospect of getting someone with that much of an injury history is terrifying (and you guys haven't even seen the dark side of Rich Harden yet!)
#2. Playoff Presence...of which Peavy has none. Part of the Cubs' problem this year was not their regular season performance, but their absolute choke-job in the playoffs. Peavy is the equivalent of CC Sabathia when it comes to baseball - amazing pitching during the regular season, and an awful showing in the postseason. Peavy's got two playoff starts in the last three years, and has given up a total of 13 runs in 9 total innings, going no further than the 5th inning of any playoff start. If you're looking for someone to hold the reigns for Game 2, Peavy probably isn't your guy (although Dempster's 7-walk 1-ER performance was rather miraculous).
#3. Money. Probably not that big of an issue, as Zell is in a "make money now, let some other guy foot the bill later" mode, but Peavy is going to command more money on the market than Dempster. Unlike Peavy, Dempster is older, has been less dominant in a pre-Cubs era, and would come with a cheaper price tag than Peavy (who is probably looking to cash in big time over his current $6 mil contract). Oh, and Dempster probably would merit a 2-3 year contract, while Peavy would be looking closer to 4-5. Hmmm...a four-year contract on an injury prone pitcher...does that sound like anyone we know? (Hint: I didn't link to Kerry Wood out of pity)
#4. Biased Stats. Not ripping on Peavy, he's a great pitcher, but PetCo park is seemingly endless. His 2008 ERA was an impressive 2.85...until you look at his 2008 Home/Away splits. Home ERA: 1.74. Away ERA: 4.28. Guess which one of those Wrigley qualifies as. Peavy has a respectable 3.68 career ERA at Wrigley, but when the wind is blowing out, no amount of pop-outs can help you.
#5. Attitude. Last, but not least. To make it in Chicago, you need to have cajones. You can't be some wuss West-Coast player who whines about every possible ailment. The media here is merciless, and can turn on you in an instant no matter who you are or how much you make (Hello Kosuke!). Some players never recover from the initial shock and expectation. Off the top of my head, Nick Swisher, Fukudome, Aardsma, and Gaudin. Hell, I hear that Will Cordero became a wife beater when he -- oh, what's that? Nevermind then.
Long story short, show Dempster the money - he's a shorter investment, and he's the smarter one too.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So, we lose one Neckbeard for at least a month, and now we get this one. Rex just doesn't have the same "I got stoned in the bathroom and then someone told me to put on this helmet" look, but he seems to know how to wear The Beard properly.
That said, just how fucked are we?
The Bears can actually still take the division if Grossman tries not to unleash the dragon every three plays (did anyone else see him overthrow Hester on that fly route? That's hard to do). With next week's matchup being against the conservative (but defensively monstrous) Titans, the Bears certainly have their work cut out for them. Grossman won't get many open recievers, and the Titans will surely stuff the box to keep Forte busy. Even so, if our defense can shut down Chris Johnson/LenDale White, there's a good chance we can win this game with some conservative drives for the FG.
This Sunday will really be the determining factor for this team. A win against the Titans can boost confidence (especially for Rex), and will help us take down the Packers the following week to lock up the division. A loss to the Titans, or excessive exploitation, spells doom and gloom for the Bears for the next four games until Orton is back.
Come on, Rex - prove you've got something left in the tank. It'll also help Keggers' case when he has to print that retraction about how Orton is better than you.