Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Now that the white flag has officially been raised in Chicago and "Red States Randy" has the playoffs all to himself, us Cub fans have only two alternatives. We can wax nostalgic about the past (if we only had a past) or we can look to the future. Of course! What else have Cub fans excelled at since September of 1909 (possibly the first year of “wait til next year” after the only two World Series victories we have) ? So not to be outdone by my father’s before me, here is my attempt at recommending a course of action that is sure to end 97 seasons of waiting.

A while back Randy wrote about a rather unhappy childhood experience he had at Wrigley Field. It seems the place was overrun by the inebriated, the rude & the vulgar. Lee Elia would later agree with him and add ‘unemployed’ to this list of adjectives. Since I have never had the misfortune at Wrigley of being seated next to anyone in this condition (although a few people on the buses back to Peoria were a little scary) I didn’t put much stock in Randy’s story. However, I have come to realize that not only must Randy’s story be true, but the blame for 97 seasons of misery can be blamed on these people!

The fact that today Wrigley Field was packed with 37,000+ fans for a game in late August, when their team is 20 games behind the Cardinals, have lost 7 of their last ten, and the #1 pitcher is lying on a gurney in the hospital is only explained by one word – ALCOHOL. Yes, the four ingredients for packing Wrigley Field are the C-U-B-S: Caps, Uniforms, Beer and Sunshine. What is taking place on the field is of little importance at this point, so it must be the ambiance.

Folks, until this situation changes there will be no World Series flags flying over Wrigley or even a League Championship flag. It is evident that the ownership of Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc is quite happy, thank you very much, with the economic success of this franchise. All that is required of ownership is to appear to make an effort to place a competitive team on the field and then the loyal C-U-B-S (the above type) fans will pack the place day in and day out.

It is time for a change. The way I see it, true Cub lovers, who are in it for the baseball rather than the beer have only two courses of action. 1) either initiate that dreaded, but sometimes effective word, BOYCOTT ; or 2) Do something really, really, really drastic and work to change the ownership of the team. Yes, the ownership. I would like to see the ownership out on the curbs. The disaster that is the 2005 season is not the fault of Dusty Baker. Granted, he does some lame-brained things once in a while, but every manager does. It is also not Jim Hendry’s fault. I do not believe that this guy, who did a brilliant job of putting together the superb 2003 and the good, but under-achieving 2004 team suddenly turned stupid last winter. Certainly the Sosa debacle poisoned the entire winter reconstruction process, but I also think that ownership wanted to reign Hendry in. The payroll was really starting to cut into their profits. I believe that the present ownership is just very simply short-sighted. They worry that busting the payroll bubble will do too much harm to their bottom line. And it probably would for one or two years. But if they went all out to win like they should and achieved it, the increase in the value of this already (and inexplicably) wildly popular franchise would go through the roof!

So what should happen? It would be nice to see a group of investors come together to pool enough cash and securities to purchase probably what would be the most expensive franchise in history, save only the Yankees. The new ownership would then severe all ties with the Tribune Co and WGN-TV and Radio. This media machine has also contributed heavily, heavily, heavily to the continued misadventures of this franchise by successfully hyping an inferior product on a naïve customer base year after stinkin’ year. Heck, in my opinion their ownership of the team should be considered an anti-trust violation. The new owners should sign new broadcast contracts with independent media outlets with absolutely no ties whatsoever to ownership. The broadcast companies should have the right to sign the talent of their own choice for the broadcasts. (If they want to hire Ronnie, Stoney, or whomever that’s fine.)

I know this is radical. I’m sure most of you feel this is at best unrealistic and probably downright silly. But I am convinced that unless the fans either get serious about a boycott, or an ownership team is assembled that wants to WIN, not just compete for the profits, there will never be a World Championship on the north side. No, let's change the acronym C-U-B-S to stand for 'Cub Fans United for Baseball Success'!

I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m just a regular 9 to 5 schmuck, and an idiot with a keyboard. But if some people out there with the brainpower and the backing to lead this process would step forward, I would be eager to invest a couple thousand bucks of my retirement savings toward seeing this happen.

After all, what good will retirement be if I have to spend it enduring 20 more seasons of this crap?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

By the way, is that the Cubs I see in 5th place a half a game behind Cincinnasty. Who was the moron on this blog that was picking a Cubs/Cards NLCS, boy that guy is real idiot. Let me look that up...oh I am the moron. I guess I was giving the Scrubbies too much credit.

You know since last season, and the off season I have been listening to Cub fans talk about the Cardinals are a fluke, blah blah blah, but when looking back we have won the division 5 out of the past 6 years. Of course the only time we didn't was in 2003 when the Cubs won it. So 5 out of 6 is a fluke, what does that make 2 divional titles in the past 20 years.

Could the Pirates pass the Cubs putting them in last? What a treat that would be. By the way the magic number is down to 16. Looks like your "wait til next year" lasts for another year.

Well it looks like Hutchinson has joined the ranks of Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Craig Krenzel, Moses Moreno, Henry Burris, Jonathan Quinn, Dave Kreig, Peter Tom Willis, Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Goerge, Erik Kramer, Mike Tomczack, Rick Mirer, Steve Stenstrom. All have played the quarterback position so gloriously well in Chicago since Jim McMahon.

Somehow I think Chicago is like QB graveyard. You know if you can't find a real job playing QB in the NFL, you can always go play for the Bears. Pretty sad when you're a QB and get cut by the Bears.

I know I have missed some names, feel free to add to the list.

Monday, August 29, 2005

It appears that Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith does read the Northsidereport. Take a look at his quote from todays press conference introducing Cedric Benson, and announcing Kyle Orton as the Bears starting QB...

"Kyle, really from the Miami game on, every time we've given him the opportunity to play, he has come in and thrown the ball real well. I THINK QUITE A FEW OF OUR FANS HAVE NOTICED THIS AS WELL, atleast from what I'm told."

Well where else could Lovie have gotten the feelings of the fans on the play of the bears QB's, right here at the Northsidereport. Ok, well maybe he got the picture hearing all the boos raining down on Chad Hutchinson Friday night in Soldier Field. But I can dream can't I. What a novel idea, someone from the Bears acknowledging the fans who support their team, and pay the salaries. I like it Lovie, you're the man.

At any rate it is refreshing to see that atleast Lovie does listen to the fans somewhat, and realizes that sometimes fans do know what they are talking about. Not to say that he made this decision based on fan input, but he atleast notices the football smarts of Bear fans. I don't get that feeling from Jerry Angelo, from him I just get the impression that he thinks he is the greatest GM since buttered popcorn, and that those around him are morons, and they should shut their piewholes, and stand in awe, in the presence of his glorious football wisdom.

Ok Lovie, maybe next week we fans can have some input on your gameplan against Washington.

FROM THE RED STATES

Well the Bible says that "what so ever a man sows, that he shall also reap", how true these words are, and proven yet again.

If you follow this blog with some sort of regularity you will recall in May, when I tragically, and shamefully attended a Cubs game at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Even ignoring the sure sign from heaven that God was not pleased with my actions, by sitting through the 4 hour rain delay to watch the game. Going to a Cubs game when they aren't playing the Cardinals, is borderline treason for a proud member of Cardinal Nation. However, in my defense it was to please a woman. Truthfully, what guy wouldn't have done it to please a certain young lady he is interested in. I mean for years women have been dragging the man in their life through certain torture like shopping, or a ballet, or a play (not a movie guys, a play with live actors and everything), or what guy hasn't watched a movie on Lifetime to make his woman happy.

So in May I sowed, yesterday I got to reap. You see this woman who I was dating and currently am not works for Wachovia, which is a big sponsor of the Nationals I guess, because she got killer seats for free. I sowed a rain drenched Saturday of Cub baseball, and reaped a glorious day watching my beloved Cardinals. I made her promise in May when we went to the Cubs game that we could see the Cardinals as well. To be honest I had forgotten about it since we are just friends now, but she did not, and got great seats for yesterdays game. What a woman. Almost makes me want to reconsider this relationship, if only she would convert. Although the original promise was for two games, one is good enough for me.

Anyway, just wanted to give a little lesson in the Biblical principal that is sowing and reaping. So think about that the next time your wife/girlfriend drags you shopping on a Saturday afternoon, when the Illini/Bears/Cubs/Cardinals are on tv.

Well I guess Lovie Smith is indeed a reader of the Northsidereport, because I see he took our advice and named Kyle Orton the starter. I think that is clearly the best decision he could have made. Although rookie mistakes are certain, and I'm sure you will see posts here asking the question what in the @#$% is he doing? He clearly is the best QB we got at this point. He could sit over there for 3 years holding a clip board, getting Hutchinson some water, and then when he finally gets in there he is still gonna make those same mistakes that just come with learning. The way I see it Rex Glassman has only 6 more NFL starts than Orton does at this point. I'm glad Lovie agreed, throw him in there and let's see if he is any good.

Well thats about all for now, just keep in mind Cub fans, the Cardinals magic number is now down to 18.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Well, I have no proof that professional coaches and athletes read our blog, but I also have no proof that they don't either. So in case Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith follows the horthsidereport, a letter to Coach Smith...

Dear Lovie,

Listen dude, I really like you as a coach, in fact I think so highly of your coaching ability that it makes me wonder why you settled for coaching the Bears, when you could have had a job coaching in the NFL with a real NFL team.

You must understand that you are an intelligent man amongst football idiots, that is your biggest problem coaching the Bears. The man you work for is a clown, who has no business as a GM of a professional football team. In case you doubt my opinion, lets look at some of Jerry Angelo's moves since taking over the Bears in 2002 following a 13-3 playoff season. Well first he figured that Ted Washington, Roosevelt Colvin weren't good enough for the Bears. Ok, but I guess they were good enough for Bill Belichick and good enough to win 2 Super Bowl rings. Warrick Holdman, Keith Traylor, Tony Parrish, Marcus Robinson and Anthony Thomas are also gone from that team, not good enough for Jerry. He did however, replace these guys with the likes of Justin Gage, and Joe Odom.

His draft picks have left alot to be desired as well. Especially his first round picks, Marc Colombo in 2002 was his first. He then followed that fiasco with two first round busts in 2003, Michael Haynes and Rex Glassman, oops I mean Grossman. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, proof of that in 2004 when he picked Tommie Harris. I suspect it was because you told him to pick Harris. Then this year is just ridiculous. He ignored everything and everyone and went with Cedric Benson, this after releasing A-train. Even though Cedric idolizes Ricky Williams, apparently so much he plans to sit out a season to find himself and puff on that magic dragon all year. Were the first team in 20 years not to be able to sign their #1 pick, what a joke. That pick is right up there with Michael McCaskey trading our number one pick in 1996 for the Hall of Shame QB Rick Mirer. It's safe to say that you have alot going against you, most of all the organization you work for. A friend would say to get out before it's too late and you find yourself black balled as a head coach like your predecessor Dick Jauron-the-way-out. Look at your offensive coordinator, he was so desperate for a job after leaving the black hole that is the Bears and ruining the Illinois program, that he had to come back to the Bears. I guess it was either that or pumping gas in Idaho somewhere.

Amidst all that you have assembled a solid defense, with no help from your boy Jerry. A defense I believe is capable of winning. Learn from your contemporary across town. Dusty Baker, it takes a team to win, not just a solid defense, or a solid pitching staff. It takes a team. It takes smart play, effort, hustle, determination. It takes players believing in themselves, and it takes leaders.

That's why I beg of you to go with Kyle Orton as your QB. I know he is a rookie and lacks experience. But he is clearly the best QB on the team. Hutchinson may have experience, but what experience, he is experienced at telegraphing his passes and watching the defense intercept them and take them the other way for a score. He is experienced at losing confidence. Jeff Blake is about 3 years away from Social Security, as you will be if you go with him. Kittner, well he played at Illinois, what a program that has become, nothing further needs to be said about that.

Orton is clearly the best QB, and gives the Bears the best chance of winning. I can live with the occasional rookie mistake, but that's still better than watching Hutchinson make the same mistakes over and over again.

The Bears do not need Peyton Manning to win, all we need to win is someone that won't lose the game by turning the ball over. Maybe occasionally pick up a first down or two to give that defense some rest. Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie last year, and he won his first 13 starts. All while his numbers were not all that impressive. He just played for a team who had a solid defense, and a strong running game. He played smart and didn't lose games, and they were within one game of the Super Bowl.

Orton will make mistakes, but he clearly is the best QB we got, even better than Jerry's boy Glassman, oops I mean Grossman. This is your team, and the season is when you shine. Jerry had all off season to get a decent back up, he failed. You can over come that by putting the best player out there, who gives the Bears their best chance to win. Clearly Orton is that guy right now. Just throw him out there and take your chances with that running game and that defense.

Sincerely,
Your friends at the Northsidereport



Tuesday, August 23, 2005

If you thought blowing up the Bartman ball was cool...

Would this be great or what?

How cool would it be to be able to truthfully say, "I personally blew up Busch Stadium"?!

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- It sounds like a Chicago Cubs fan's dream come true: a contest with a chance to trigger the implosion that will take down the St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium.

As construction continues on the new Busch Stadium just south of the existing ballpark, plans are in the works to demolish the Cardinals' current home. The new red-brick stadium is scheduled to be ready for opening day next year.

The St. Louis Cardinals will begin selling $10 raffle tickets on the team's Web site Friday. The raffle tickets also will be available at home games starting Sept. 6. Proceeds will benefit two charities, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Cardinals Care, the team's charitable arm.

From the drawing, 250 winners will be invited to a Busch Stadium "Implosion Party" on the morning the stadium will be taken down. That date will be set after the season ends.

Out of those 250, one winner will be picked to trigger the implosion of Busch Stadium. The contractor conducting the stadium implosion, Ahrens Contracting Inc., and the general contractor for the new stadium, Hunt Construction, are cooperating with the raffle.

People can buy as many raffle tickets as they like, but they must be residents of either Missouri or Illinois and age 18 or older.


I'm serious about this - I am going to buy some of those raffle tickets. A Cubs fan could reach Steve Bartman levels of notoriety with something like this!

Monday, August 22, 2005


39,152 Drunks in the Stands


According to Randy "Wrigley Stadium" is full of nothing but drunks. Well the paid attendance the day that Chris and Bill were there was 39, 154.

Is this a picture of a drunk? Nope. Just a thirsty "ledgie". And the guy taking the picture was reportedly sober too, so there must have been just 39, 152 drunks in the stands.

In case you haven't already seen this...

Andy Dolan, from Desipio, absolutely cracks me up!

Since he correctly points out that the only things we have to root for now are someone spoiling the White Sox and Cardinals seasons in the playoffs, we need a bandwagon of convenience to promptly jump on.

And his criteria in this regard is too funny - which of the teams in the hunt are the least objectionable!

:-)

Well, I am in agreement with him - the Phillies are the least objectionable team for the truly cursed of the earth to jump on the bandwagon and root for during the remainder of this season (although I think the Braves are an acceptable option as well).

Randy, don't you wish that you could join the ranks of the truly pathetic? Instead of rooting for your team to do well and make the playoffs, you could be reduced to hoping for the worst for your main adversaries year after year!

A little schadenfraud now and again is just what the doctor ordered to cure the melancholy that plagues Cubs fans annually.

Was that the Rockies the Cubs just lost that series to?

Shameful.

That's the only word I can use to describe the Cubs performance over the weekend. In fact, as a result of this stellar performance, they have now fallen into fourth place in the division.

Folks, it doesn't matter if every one of the 6 teams ahead of the Cubs in the WC chase begins to suddenly lose consistently - the Cubs would still need to win consistently (something they have proven themselves unable to do over the course of the season).

It's gotten so bad that even the folks at Fantasy land have finally come to realize that the playoffs are nothing but a pipe dream for this team this year.

So what to do? Here's what needs to happen at this point.

1) Shut Wood down and schedule his surgery immediately. This team doesn't need him to start next season on the DL recovering from surgery - get it done now and let the healing begin. The sooner he's recovered, the better. Then pray that Wood returns to the form we all saw back in 2003.

2) Get the youngsters up in the bigs and give them regular playing time to see who can play over an extended period of time. Bring back Murton - call up Cedeno, Kelton, and Greenberg - stick Hill and Van Buren in the bullpen and let's see who can actually play. Stick Mitre back in the rotation and let's see if he can recover the mid season flash of brilliance he displayed back in June.

3) Hendry needs to upgrade the offense in the offseason as his number #1 priority. I don't want to hear any more nonsense about "being satisfied with the team [he's] got." This team as currently assembled has some major holes (even at full strength) - chief among them a lackluster offense. There's no other way to say this - this team was simply pathetic offensively this year - and as bad as the bullpen was and is - the area of greatest concern is the offense. Over the course of a season, you just cannot rely on only one or two players to consistently carry a team as the Cubs have tried to ride the shoulders of Lee and Ramirez this year. The entire outfield needs to be retooled - and that either needs to happen by pursuing the very few free agent options available (like Damon) or by engineering an offseason trade. The Cubs have one of the lowest offensive producing outfields in the majors and that is just unacceptable for a team that spends $100 million and hopes to compete.

What it essentially boils down to is that this organization needs to start seriously thinking now about how it can prevent a reprise of the miserable 2005 season.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wasted opportunities…

That about sums up last night after the Cubs lost to a team that is 31 games below .500. What wasted opportunities you ask? Where to begin…

1) How about the very first inning, where the Cubs had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out – typically they failed to score after both Ramirez and Burnitz flied out to center field.
2) Top of the 2nd – Michael Barrett leads off with a double – and advanced to third after a Neifi Perez ground-out. A runner on third with one away – and yet once again the Cubs failed to drive the run in after Patterson and Rusch each lined/grounded out – typical.
3) Top of the 4th – Burnitz singled to center and then advanced to second after Michael Barrett’s single to left – runners on 1st and 2nd – no one away. Then Niefi grounds into a double play and Patterson (of course) flies out to left field. Once again, runners were in scoring position with no one away and the Cubs couldn’t get it done.
4) Top of the 8th – After Lee scored on a Ramirez single – Ramirez advanced to second after Burnitz singled (and don’t even get me started about Dusty pinch running for Ramirez in that situation). Michael Barrett then drew a walk – bases loaded and only one out. Can the Cubs cash in? You know better than that – Niefi weakly popped out and then (who else) Corey Patterson ended the inning with a ground out to second.
5) And to top all of this off – three of the teams ahead of the Cubs in the WC lost last night – Houston, Florida, and Washington. All of them lost last night, giving the Cubs a chance to pick up a game on each of them.

More wasted opportunities.

Wasted opportunities - from start to finish. That’s why I continue to believe that it will be a miracle of biblical proportions for this team to make the playoffs. Even when the teams ahead of them lose, and they are playing what is essentially Colorado’s AAA team – they still can’t manage to play fundamental baseball and win the games they are supposed to win.

Pathetic.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

OK, OK - I've become a Cardinals fan...

No, not a true Cardinals fan mind you - I could never root for Satan's minions (as Desipio has so humorously referred to them) for any sustained period of time - but I am, nevertheless, going to be purposefully rooting for the Cardinals in the very near future.

Am I a traitor, perhaps, or even a fair-weather fan?

Let's think about this for a minute - the Cardinals have a very interesting road trip coming up immediately after this meaningless series at home against San Francisco (a series in which it is apparently taking last minute heroics against a pathetic SF team to pull out victories - and surely by now you have come to expect me taking swipes at the Cardinals at every available opportunity :-).

In any event, after the San Francisco series, the Cards open up a four game series at the newly named Four Rivers Stadium - but then, my friends, it gets interesting. The Cards then open up a 3 game series against the Nationals, and then a 3 game series against Florida, and then a 3 game series against Houston.

Right after those 9 games they come to Wrigley for 3 games against the Cubs, which should be just about the right time for them to cool off after a [hopefully] torrid 9 game win streak.

Then, the Cardinals host the Mets for 4 games, and then they still have 2 home games left at the end of September against the Astros.

So that means the Cardinals have exactly 15 games left against four of the five teams ahead of the Cubs in the wildcard chase. It's just too bad that the Cards are done with the Phillies (although the Phillies have been handling the Cards just about as easily as the Cubs have this year so maybe it's just as well that they're done with them).

It's sad and pathetic - but we've been reduced to rooting for the deadbirds in the near future - especially on this upcoming road trip where they play 3 of the 5 teams ahead of the Cubs in the wild card chase for 9 consecutive games.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...

GO CARDINALS!!!!!

Let it never again be slanderously said that I have never charitably wished an adversary well.

MUSIC TO A CARDINAL FANS EARS...

"THE FIRST PITCH TO HIM, EDMONDS SWINGS AND DRILLS IT INTO DEEP RIGHT FIELD, IT'S OFF THE WALL AND THE GAME IS TIED. HERE COMES NUNEZ, HE'S BEING WAVED HOME, AND THE CARDINALS WIN IT."

Yeah baby, living in NC now I don't get to see many Cardinal games and it sounds like I missed a classic comeback last night. Down 4-0 in the bottom of the ninth only to score 5 runs to win. Great call by Dan McLaughlin, and great job by my beloved Cardinals. Am I the only here getting excited about the Cardinals chance in the post season. I suppose so. But this may be our year, with all the injuries to still be playing this well, only makes even better once we get everyone healthy.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson."

Well it appears that maybe my boy Jerry Angelo does have a hair on his backside. It seems he has played Cedric's games long enough, and I for one couldn't agree with him more. That's a scary thought since I have maintianed for a few years now that our beloved Bears won't win jack until he is fired, but on this one I am with him 100%. It's apparent to me, with the published offers the Bears have made, that they offered a fair and reasonable contract. Virtually splitting the difference between the contracts that Braylon Edwards got at #3, and the contract Cadillac Williams got at #4.

It seems the Benson camp is wanting a contract more like the contract the Chargers gave Philip Rivers, the number 4 pick, last year. Cedric, heres some advice, you're not a QB, and traditionally QB's always get more money than RB. I highly suggest that you remember your agent, Eugene Parker, works for you, not the other way around. Order him to get the deal done, and sign it. Otherwise you may sit out and re-enter the draft next year. Good luck with that dude. Good luck getting picked this high next year, especially when you have sat out for the entire season, and would then have the reputation as a player that can't be signed. You claimed on draft day that you didn't want to be labled as a Ricky Williams clone, but from what Bear fans, players and management have seen, is that you are exactly like Ricky Williams.

Personally, I say to heck with him. Time to move on. We haven't had a decent running back in the past 12 years and we can manage another season without one. Three things are perfectly clear to me...

1) Crying on draft day. At first I thought it showed alot of heart, and was overcome with emotion by realizing a childhood dream. Clearly that's not the case.
2)Any drafted player that could possibly have affected the outcome of his contract has already signed, some weeks ago, the numbers are what they are.
3) It is clear to me that Cedric Benson has no desire to play for the Chicago Bears.

So to this I say we give him his wish, and let him sit out the season. Good luck Cedric.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ha Ha!

Looks like things have taken a turn for the worse for our pals down in St. Louis with their gimpy third baseman:

Rolen's shoulder worsens
By Joe Strauss
Of the Post-Dispatch
08/17/2005

Five days after Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen sought a second opinion about his problematic left shoulder from a Cincinnati orthopedic, general manager Walt Jocketty sounded a more pessimistic tone Wednesday about the All-Star's availability for the team's final 42 regular-season games as well as the postseason.

Rolen was examined Friday by Dr. Timothy Kremchek and presented with "a series of recommendations" that includes immediate season-ending surgery, according to a source familiar with Rolen's case.

"I think we still don't know where he is physically," Jocketty said. "We know he's not anywhere close to coming back (or) whether he will be back before the end of the season. We're getting to a point where he's going to have to start playing to be ready to play the rest of this year. It's really hard to determine at this point."

Still unable to take batting practice, Rolen admitted Wednesday his condition had "regressed" and was unable to offer a timetable for graduating to more intense baseball-related activities.

"I have a decision to make," Rolen said. "It's a very personal decision and something I prefer to handle in private rather than publicly."

Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds medical supervisor and chief orthopedic physician, reviewed Rolen's case at the recommendation of the Cardinals medical staff. Kremchek also reviewed video of Rolen's surgery in May to repair his damaged left shoulder. Rolen declined to discuss specific recommendations, but a source familiar with Kremchek's findings said surgery appears inevitable.

"I don't want to get into all that," Rolen said.

"Can he play with it? When he was playing, I said if it's bad enough, the alternative is next spring," manager Tony La Russa said. "I don't see this as representing a change."

Asked if the past several weeks had left him most pessimistic about Rolen's return this season, La Russa said, "I don't know how to answer that."

Rolen's options appear to be clear: Undergo immediate surgery to repair his torn labrum and ensure his availability to open next season, or attempt to build up the area through exercise, play through this season, then have surgery after an anticipated postseason run. That approach may jeopardize his availability past spring training.

"I know what I said during the road trip: He can swing and feel real good and take a couple steps forward. Then something can happen and there be a setback. It hasn't been real smooth for him," La Russa said Wednesday. "That sounds to me a lot like what I was thinking before we left for the road trip. I don't think anything's changed, except it's a week-plus later."

For the first time, however, Jocketty suggested Wednesday the window is closing for Rolen's return. The team's full-season minor league teams conclude their schedules by Sept. 5, precluding a rehab assignment after that.

"If we get to the point where there's only one or two weeks left in the season, and he hasn't played, I'm not sure that's going to work," said Jocketty, referring to a second surgery as "something that eventually may have to be considered."

"The healing has gotten better but he's still sore enough that he's not capable of playing the way he used to playing," Jocketty said. "It's going to take some time.


Does this mean more lame excuses from Randy are imminent?

What would be more beautiful than seeing both the White Sox and Cardinals tank away the best two regular season records in the first round of the playoffs?

Yes I know - it's sad to have to resort to rooting for other team's misfortunes - but that's what we've been reduced to here since an absolutely horrible offseason last year produced the predictable results of the Cubs being out of playoff contention this year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I stumbled upon some of these quotes Cub fans might be interested in:

"It's hard to put your finger on it. You have to have a dullness of mind and a spirit to play here. I went through phsycoanalysis, and this helped me deal with my Cubness." Jim Brosnan, former Cubs pitcher.

"Noise poluttion can't be that much of a problem, theres nothing to cheer about at Wrigley Field" Stae Rep. John F. Dunn, debating for the instalation of lights at Wrigley Field.

"If I managed here, I would be an alcoholic." Whitey Herzog, former Cardinal Manager.

"There's nothing wrong with this team that more hitting, more pitching, and more fielding couldn't help." Bill Buckner.

"You get tired of looking at garbage in your own backyard." Former Cubs manager Lee Elia, in 1983 when asked about management replacing so many players, Elia was fired later that season.

"The only bad thing about being released by the Cubs, was they made me keep my season tickets." Ken Reitz, ex-Cub 3rd baseman.

"One thing you learn, as a Cubs fan, when you bought your ticket, you could bank on seeing the bottom of the ninth inning." Joe Garagiloa, former broadcaster.

"The Cubs took batting practice from a pitching machine today, and the pitching machine threw a no-hitter." Bob Uecker

"Would the lady that left her 9 kids at Wrigley Field please pick them up immediately, they're beating the Cubs 4-0 in the bottom of the 7th." Bob Uecker.

"The Chicago Cubs are like Rush Street, alot of singles but no action." Joe Garagiola.

Three Rivers Stadium?

Oops…better make that Four Rivers Stadium:

PITTSBURGH -- A broken water main flooded Downtown streets and left much of the Golden Triangle with low water pressure or none at all Wednesday afternoon.

Thousands of gallons rushed from a ruptured 36-inch main at about 10:45 a.m., covering Fort Duquesne Boulevard and flowing to nearby avenues, Channel 4 Action News reported.

Hours after the break, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority crews were still trying to close all necessary valves and shut off water to the affected line, which officials believed was located somewhere on Penn Avenue.

Guy Costa, director of the city's Department of Public Works, said the task of closing valves was a difficult one. Most of them had not been turned in years, and some were obscured by bushes or small trees.

No injuries were reported, but hundreds of cars were flooded in underwater parking garages, including the one at 625 Stanwix St., Channel 4's Sheldon Ingram reported.

Furthermore, I am screwing around trying to find out if the Bears are ever gonna get Benson to decide if he wants to play football or not, only to find out he is the last first round pick holding out. Training Camp for the Bears ends today, so he has successfully held out for the entire training camp of his rookie year, this can't sit too well with the veterans on the team.

Two things need to happen...first of all if Jerry Angelo had a hair on his back side he would take the contracts of Ronnie Brown, and Caddillac Williams and split the difference since Benson was drafted between the two. He should present this to Benson's agent and say "look here dude, this is our last, and final offer. Take it or feel free to go play for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian league, the Arena League or wherever you can find someone that is gonna pay you this ammount of money for an unproven running back." Secondly, if Benson was the team player that he appeared to be on draft day when he was balling to Andrea Kramer, whining how he ain't Ricky Williams, then he should tell his agent to get the deal done so I can play football. Because from where I'm sitting this guy is just like Ricky Williams, greedy me first, with no emphasis on team. So maybe he should sit out a year, like Ricky, and go to Timbuktu and smoke weed until he gains about 50 pounds from the munchies.

Who in the world does this guy think he is?

Being a die hard Bears fan, I know what you guys go through every baseball season. With Grossman hurt, yet again, were doomed to failure. Another season of 3 and out being a productive offensive drive. Hey atleast on a 3 and out they don't turn the ball over. The season ain't even started and were toast already. Oh well since I prefer to look at the positive side most of the time, I have some good news. No I didn't save a bunch of money by switching to Geico, but I did save a bunch of money on the Direct TV with the NFL Sunday ticket that I was considering buying so I could watch my football team. No point in it now, as I said I can't take another year like last season. I say to heck with it, forget Hutchinson, just throw Orton in there and take your lumps. Were screwed anyway, and 1 of two things is gonna happen, we will either find out that Orton is pretty good and we have our long lost QB of the future, or two we might just play bad enough to get a shot at drafting Matt Leinart next April. Well I guess something else could happen, Orton could get killed playing behind this miserable excuse for an offensive line. We got Kruetz, and a couple of guys that were good 10 years ago (Brown and Miller), and the very over rated Tait. Frankly I am sick of watching Grossman on the sidelines holding a clip board, and it is clear to me that he aint the answer. So go with Orton.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

That was a nice win tonight...

Maddux pitched well (for the second time in a row - the old devil might make 15 wins yet!), the offense was productive (although the 1-2 slot went 1-10 for the night), and the Wood-Dempster combo was once again effective.

In fact, I was thinking at the time that Dusty should have put Wood in during the seventh and left him in for 2 innings - but as it turned out, Maddux pitched an uneventful seventh and with Wood warmed up in the pen and a three run lead, you just felt that the game was as good as in the bag (when was the last time you could feel that way when the bullpen took over?!). And indeed it was - Wood looked as good as ever, and after Dempster gave up a single to Berkman with one away, he induced Morgan Ensberg to hit into a game ending double play!

I just wish this ball club could have played this way earlier in the season! This is entertaining baseball to watch.

In any event, with Zambrano pitching tomorrow against an Astro offense that is about as pathetic as the Cubs - the Cubs have a good chance to take the series - even with Roy Oswalt pitching.

And even though the Cubs season is over, it's still nice to see your team play good baseball, and it's even better to see them play the role of spoiler to teams that are still in it. Besides - the only other thing we have to root for around here are for the teams with the best records in the American and National leagues to choke their seasons away in the playoffs (and both of them look primed to do just that).

And memo to Zambrano - near the end of your outing tomorrow - feel free to drill Oswalt in the back (like you did so splendidly with Jim Edmonds) as payback for him drilling Michael Barrett.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Well that was satisfying...

When your playoff hopes are in the dumper (the folks at fantasy land even seem to have finally realized this) - at least some measure of satisfaction can be had from sticking it to the Cardinals.

In spite of some miserable defensive lapses (e.g., Ramirez' poor decision to try for a double play instead of throwing home to prevent a run in the 6th; Garciaparra's error in the 9th...) the Cubs still managed to make this one look pretty easy. That's 5 of the last 7 the Cubs have taken from the deadbirds - a team that will make it to the playoffs, but will probably have a pretty difficult time against a solid Braves team.

Anyway - the Prior-Wood combo was exciting to watch. In fact, I thought Dusty should have left Wood in to pitch the ninth since he was only around 20-some pitches and was mowing down Cardinal hitters easily. Dempster made it somewhat interesting after the Garciaparra error eventually led to a score - but fat Albert weakly grounded out to Walker to end the game and the Cubs pulled out a nice series win.

Even though the Cubs are not in contention, it would be nice to play the role of spoiler against Houston. Although their pitching has been solid, their offense has been almost Cub-like as of late. Roger Clemens pitched a 2-hit shut-out for 8 innings Saturday night but, nevertheless, ended up with a no decision, and the Astros still managed to lose by a score of 1-0 after Jack Wilson hit a homer off Astro closer Brad Lidge in the 9th.

Sounds like the Cubs (except with better starting pitching).

Lets see what kind of heart this team has. A 3 game sweep would be just what the doctor ordered after a miserable sporting week in Chicago (and don't even get me started about the Rex Grossman/Jerry Angelo debacle).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Adam Dunn on the Cub's Annual Collapse

From the Red Reporter:

"Every year they fold at the end, every year," he said. "Why? I believe they get tired. It's all those day games they have to play. It's like spring training. Players like to sleep in, but they can't do it here. That takes its toll."

Grace in the News

Since there really isn't much to talk about in terms of the Cubs playing decent baseball, I figured I'd post some ex-Cub news. Arizona Diamondbacks colorman and former Cub Mark Grace fell victim to a faulty "talk back" feature during a broadcast between the Diamondbacks and Marlins. Apparently Grace thought his comments were not making it to the broadcast, but his words got through to all people watching the Fox Sports broadcast. Grace uttered three expletives, but isn't likely to face any disciplinary action.

I wonder what would make it to the air if we put a mic in Jim Hendry's booth or the Cub dugout for that matter. For all those Bear fans, I remember a Bear game when I was only about 12 or 13 where one rather large expletive was said. I was watching a Bear game on local TV with my dad and the camera panned over to a lone Alonzo Spellman who was resting on the bench. He took one look at the camera and screamed the mother of expletives at the top of his lungs. Needless to say, I haven't seen that happen very often.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Remlinger to the Red Sox

From ESPN:

The Boston Red Sox tried to bolster their bullpen with yet another left-hander, getting Mike Remlinger and cash from the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday for minor league pitcher Olivo Astacio.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Official Declaration

Given the Cub's recent performance and yesterday's putrid loss, I am officially declaring today Bear Season.




Hebrews 11:1 tells says:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

And now we've come too close to the end of the Cub season and I'm convicted of things I am seeing: terrible baseball. I'm going to move my faith over into something I haven't seen (yet): terrible football after 10 games. Or better yet, maybe we should transfer our faith over to the Blackhawks!

Friday, August 05, 2005

There goes another series down the drain...

[flushing sound]

After another series loss (the 2nd in a row), the Cubs can now reach 91 wins if they somehow can dramatically turn things around and win every one of their remaining series.

[Cavalry charge sound]

Garciaparra, Wood, and Williamson to the rescue!

[sound of cricket chirping]

Now, according to some, in order to be a true fan, you have to blind yourself to reality and hope against hope (and all possible evidence to the contrary) that things are peachy swell in Cubland and that we're still on the verge of the playoffs.

Evidently, my firm attachment to reality and my aversion to hallucinogenic drugs will no doubt keep me from the ranks of true fandom indefinitely.

If one wants to live in a fantasy land, oblivious to facts which suggest an underlying reality that is considerably more grim - there are blogs that will cater to such a perspective.

Inexplicably, some of these blogs continue to declare every game a “must win,” and yet after the Cubs drop each of these “must win” games, hope is, nevertheless, still dangled out like some ephemeral chimera.

How continued hope can coexist with repeated losses in “must win” games is beyond me.

And now for something completely different...

From the world of the completely bizarre and twisted, an Oregon High School coach has been suspended for literally licking the bleeding wounds of his players:

BEND, Ore. -- An Oregon high school teacher has gotten a tongue-lashing for his wound-licking.

Oregon's teacher standards board has voted to publicly reprimand the science teacher and football coach, who was accused of licking the bleeding wounds of several students.

The board also voted to place Scott Reed on two years' probation.

Reed agreed with the "stipulated facts" of the case: that he licked blood from wounds on a runner's knee, a football player's arm, and another student's hand.

It's not clear why he licked the wounds. But several students said it seemed like Reed was "just joking around."

The county sheriff investigated the case last year, and no charges were filed. The sheriff called the behavior "bizarre" but not criminal.

Reed resigned this spring as a track coach, but remains the school's football coach and dean of students.

He will be attending a class on the risks of blood-borne pathogens.


How in the world did this guy end up as the dean of students in the first place?

Was the school board unsuccessful in their earlier recruitment efforts at the circus freak show? Did they have to finally resort to pulling candidates from the local Gothic convention?

Apparently, the guy in the Dracula costume must have been more appealing than the Marilyn Manson clones in attendance.

And this gentleman needs more than a class on “the risks of blood-borne pathogens,” he needs to be instructed that the phrase “licking one’s wounds” has always been intended to be taken metaphorically.

Now, excuse me while I go throw-up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Michael Barrett.....

I've got one thing to say to Michael Barrett following that idiotic blunder that led to tonight's Phillies win:

RUN THE RUNNER ALL THE WAY BACK!!!!!!!!!

If you're going to make a mistake in that rundown situation, don't risk the game on trying to make the play at home. The batter is automatically out in that situation. With less than 2 outs and first base occupied, the catcher does not have to make a legal catch on that third strike to get the batter out. With this in view, there was no force at home possible, so Barrett would have been better off running the runner on third back and attempting to make a play at third instead of giving him the opportunity to score easily.

It was the supplements dude!

The recent 10 day steroid related suspensions of Baltimore slugger (and former Peoria Chief) Rafeal Palmeiro and Seattle Pitcher Ryan Franklin have produced the expected responses in our truth challenged era.

To no one's surprise, of course, both players denied having ever taken steroids.

Well - to be precise - in Palmeiro's case, he has moved from the Bill Clinton approach (strong and convincing original denial of illicit activity) and he seems to have taken his latest statements right out of the Barry Bonds playbook.

Palmeiro has since modified his original statement that was delivered to congress ("I have never taken steroids[!]"), so that he's now saying: "I never intentionally took steroids."

You see, empirical evidence has a way of changing stories rather quickly so that those original stories eventually become subjected to the death of a thousand qualifications.

“This is want I really meant when I said…”

Perhaps it was flax seed oil Raf.

Anything (and I mean anything!) to avoid the consequences of bad (or even illegal) decisions. Cheap commodities [like truth] are easily sacrificed on the altar of expediency in such situations.

Now, in Franklin's case, he's suggesting that nutritional supplements were behind his recent positive tests. He never actually intentionally took steroids either – it’s all just been a big and unfortunate misunderstanding – now can we just get back to the game?

What do you want to bet that we'll be hearing more and more about those villainous nutritional supplements from suspended athletes in the future?

GNC is in for a beating in the coming months I'm afraid… a convenient whipping boy for players desperate to escape accountability.

And if you think about it, the current situation in major league baseball is somewhat analogous to the situation in prison - no one in the lock-up is actually guilty either.

Since our country seems to have lost its moral compass - things like this are judged to be relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, or so we're told.

In the case of our former truth challenged President, it's what he lied about that's important, and since the matter was private and (allegedly) unimportant in Bill Clinton's case, the significance of the lie was marginalized.

After all, if he lies with regard to "small" matters, he probably wouldn't lie with regard to more substantial matters. He would do the honorable thing and tell the truth with regard to more substantial matters, even if it was at great personal cost to himself – right?

Remember, a person's fundamental character doesn't matter - it's more substantial matters like what they do with the economy - stupid. And those were glorious economic years, so who really cares about the peccadilloes of an admittedly irresponsible commander-in-chief (and besides, he looked so charming dancing with those cute little African kids on international television).

In the same way - who really cares about steroids or lies or outdated concepts like the integrity of the game. We’ve had some glorious years in baseball – we’ve seen records shattered and fans have flocked back to the game in record numbers. Get over it!

And besides, these guys are only hurting themselves - so what's the big deal?!

:-/

All of this is simply the natural consequence of an artificially constructed ethic that judges the propriety of actions based solely on the significance of the activity and the effect(s) those actions have on others. If it’s a minor matter and only hurts the person involved – what’s the big deal?

In the final analysis, the steroid scandal (dare we even call it that?) in major league baseball is really only symptomatic of a much larger malaise that has infected this country – moral laxity and permissiveness that prevails at a societal level.

And it ain’t getting better any time soon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

MY BOSS IS A CUBS FAN

The other day, while in an employee meeting, my boss announced to everyone that he was a Cubs fan. He then asked everyone to give their names and whether or not they were Cub fans too. Well most people didn't even care about baseball, but wanting to suck up to the boss they all said they were Cub fans. Everyone that is, but me. It came to me and I said "my name is Randy, and I am a Cardinals fan". My boss was kind of stunned at this, and asked me why I was a Cardinals fan. I said, "well sir, my daddy was a Cardinals fan, his daddy was a Cardinals fan, so I will always be a Cardinals fan too." My boss was furious, and said "well thats a stupid reason to be a Cardinals fan. If your daddy was a homo crackhead pedophile, would you be one too." "No sir", I said "then I would be a Cubs fan."

Monday, August 01, 2005

I have never used steroids - Doh!

Rafael Palmeiro made headlines earlier this year when he vehemently denied ever using steroids. In fact, Palmeiro read the following statement before members of congress that day:

"Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false. I am against the use of steroids. I don't think athletes should use steroids and I don't think our kids should use them. That point of view is one, unfortunately, that is not shared by our former colleague, Jose Canseco. Mr. Canseco is an unashamed advocate for increased steroid use by all athletes."


As it turns out, that statement turned out to be Clintoneseque with regard to its veracity. In fact, it seems that Mr. Palmeiro is just as truth-challenged as our former president.

You see, Mr. Palmeiro is at pains to describe exactly how the steroids he just tested positive for ended up in his body.

Doh!

Too bad the other [alleged] steroid abusers who also appeared before that panel (most especially Mark McGwire) won't be tested to prove that Jose was telling the truth with regard to all of them.

AT LEAST CANSECO IS HONEST

Well, in a shocking development, ESPN.com is reporting that Baltimore Orioles slugger, former Cub, and 1 of only 4 players to have 3,000 hits and 500 HR's, Rafael Palmeiro will be suspended 10 games by MLB for violation of the leagues steroid policy.

Yes, the same Rafael Palmeiro who sat before Congress in March and denied ever using steroids. Say what you want about McGwire, atleast he didn't out right lie, he just refused to answer the question. Palmeiro, on the other hand, flat out lied. What does this do for his HOF bid?

Well in my opinion he should still get in, as should McGwire, as should Sosa, and Pete Rose for that matter. In my humble opinion, if a President of the United States can be an adulterer, and lie about it, "I never had sexual relations with that women", a man with 3000 hits and 500 HR's can be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If known drug abusers such as Ferguson Jenkins, and Orlando Cepeda can be in, so can these guys.

I try to live my life by the teachings of God's Word, the Bible, and try to be more like Jesus Christ each and every day. The Bible I read teaches me that it is not my place to judge any other man, and when Jesus would say "let he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Well Cub fans I don't know about you, but I would have to lay my stones on the ground, just as the Pharisees did. I have a log in my own eye, so how can I judge the speck in someone else's eye. I am not perfect so I have no moral authority to judge the personal life of any player. The only judgement that should be made when considering the HOF, are a players stats and clearly Rafael Palmeiro deserves to be in. As does McGwire, Sosa, and even Pete Rose.

It is a sad state in baseball when the one coming out of this smelling like roses is Canseco. Say what you want about the man, but he spoke the truth. How serious of a problem is this in baseball. Thus far there have been a couple of no name guys get caught, but man Raffy, especially just a few weeks after reaching the milestones he reached.

This cast shadows on a few players currently who are having bad years, and clearly their body styles have changed. A few names that come to mind of course Sam-me, but what about Javy Lopez, Ivan Rodriguez looks like a shell of the players he was just a year ago. And even my boy Scott Rolen. I mean is he so fragile to injure his shoulder on a seemingly minor collision with Hee Seop Choi. All tests show no damage to his shoulder, yet he still struggles. It goes without mentioning the year of Barroid Bonds. Canseco also mentioned other names such as Miguel Tejada.

Well if Chris' boy Bud Selig was looking for a "star" to hang his hat on he got it today. After what he did just a few weeks ago, there is no bigger star in baseball right now than Palmeiro.

It appears Canseco wasn't lying in his book.

After the Cubs lost that 4 game home series...

against a sub .500 team, they can now reach 92 wins - if they win every one of their remaining 18 series. Here's how it would look for them to win out their remaining series and get to 92:

win 2/3 vs. PHI
win 2/3 vs. NYM
win 2/3 vs. CIN
win 3/4 vs. STL
win 2/3 vs. HOU
win 2/3 vs. COL
win 2/3 vs. ATL
win 2/3 vs. FLA
win 2/3 vs. LAD
win 2/3 vs. PIT
win 2/3 vs. STL
win 3/4 vs. SF
win 2/3 vs. CIN
win 3/4 vs. STL
win 2/3 vs. MIL
win 2/3 vs. HOU
win 1/2 vs. PIT
win 3/4 vs. HOU

That gets them to 92. For every 4 game series they split or 3 game series they lose, however, the total possible wins decreases by one (unless they make it up by a subsequent series sweep). I've also bolded the series that will be particularly challenging for them to win. I think they will be challenged to win more than those series, of course, but at a minimum, those series will be particularly challenging.

I hope everyone realizes how hot this team will have to be to get to 92 wins. They will have to be extremely hot - they will have to play .684 baseball (i.e., they will have to go 39-18 from here on out). And in case you are wondering - the White Sox currently sport the best record in all of major league baseball, and they currently have a .660 win percentage for the season - a record that is .024 below what the Cubs will need to play from here on out to get to 92 wins.

And, to top it off, they need to hope that the 5 teams in front of them in the Wild Card chase don't go on a similar tear.

Isn't it nice to see where the highest salary in the National League has left us this year?!

Now, rather than end on a depressing note, here's a post about one Cub fans' experience in 1989 that hopefully will make you laugh as much as it made me laugh!

His experience that day (especially how it started off so promising and ended so painfully) is a perfect metaphor for the miserable existence we all endure as fans of the only truly cursed team in baseball!