Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

I received a great Christmas gift last Wednesday the 16th when I went up to Milwaukee to see the Lakers play the Bucks.  I finally got to see an NBA buzzer beater win in person with Kobe Bryant delivering the win.  Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving

Here’s to hoping everyone has a relaxing, safe, and wonderful Thanksgiving.


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My son is so smart

Under the heading of, “I can’t make this stuff up”, comes this little nugget.  My wife, my son and I were having dinner Friday night while the TV was on.  My 27 month old son was sitting in his high chair facing the TV.  The news was on and they were showing the Yankees victory parade. Without cue or either of us saying anything, upon seeing the parade footage, my son dropped his head and started shaking his head in disgust.  I then just said,” That’s right, Josh.  Good boy.”  I think we can learn a lot from the kids.

Time to Pony Up

Well, last Saturday I paid off the Cubs/Cardinals wager.  

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I’d say, “I can’t believe I lost”, but that doesn’t make much sense when you’re referring to the Cubs.
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Well, congratulations, Dad.  Let’s hope the Cards bring back Matt Holliday.  Next year we’ll wager on the over/under of Matt Holliday dropped fly balls.
The week before, my wife and I were invited to a suite for the Cubs last game on October 4th.
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The Bears won 48-24.  The Cubs?  I’ll let the Diamondbacks tell the story.
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Yeah, the Cubs lost.  No one was actually watching this game.  We were all watching the Bears. 
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The last image of the 2009 Cubs season.
“Wait till next year!”

It must be great to be a baseball player

This week Rich Harden told the Cubs that he doesn’t want to pitch any more this year.  I don’t believe any reason was given, meaning it’s not an injury issue.  I guess he just doesn’t want to waste the energy for a team not going to the playoffs and go out there and earn the money the team is paying him.  When Harden made his request, the Cubs just said, “O.K.”  While Milton Bradley made some idiotic comments recently, he was right when he said that there are reasons why this team hasn’t won in so long.  What a joke.  Being a teacher I can only imagine what would happen if I went into my principal’s office in May and said “I don’t want to teach for the rest of the month, the school years just about over anyway.  Oh, and by the way, keep my job for me in September.”  I’m sure someone else would be in my classroom come September.  I wonder if Rich Harden is giving back his salary for the last two starts or so that he will miss.  Somehow I doubt it.  If the Cubs wanted to grant his request, fine, but they should have also told him where the door was, take Milton with you, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  If he’s back next year, it will be 102 years and counting for the Cubs. 

So, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the season.  That’s about three months too late.  Eat his salary and get him out of here.
The wager will be collected sometime in October.  I don’t know what Cardinal gear I will be wearing, yet.  I’ll have to have something blue under it so that the St. Louis stuff doesn’t touch my skin, right Dad?  By the way, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the NL Central last night.  They’re my pick to go to the World Series, but watch out for the Rockies.  I’ve been watching a lot of Rockies games this month, and let me tell you, that is a TEAM.
I’m very happy that my son is really starting to get into baseball.  Of course, there’s the fear that he will become brainwashed into being a Cardinals fan, but if that’s the case, then so be it.  Joshua has been throwing everyone through the loop be his identification with the Boston Red Sox.  As I’ve mentioned before, we have the MLB baseball package on DirecTV, so we spend evenings with baseball on TV.  We’ve pretty much been watching the Red Sox games on NESN and the Rockies games after 9:00.  We switch back and forth to the Cubs game, but it’s been painful.  Without being prompted, Josh correctly identified the Red Sox when I asked him who was playing.  Did he hear it on TV, did he notice the bright red Sox logo on the sleeves of their road jerseys?  Whatever the reason, if Josh is asked if he wants to watch baseball, he always says the Red Sox.  I was at Target recently and bought him a Red Sox hat, which he loves.  He now knows who Big Papi is.  I even gave him my old Starting Lineups of Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs to play with.  Hey, he likes baseball.  On my iTunes, I did have the song “Dirty Water”, by the Standells.  I played it for Josh and told him they play this song when the Red Sox win.  He went nuts.  Yesterday, I filmed him listening to this song.

Fly the “L” Flag

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Congratulations, Dad.  You’ve been spared the embarrassment of wearing Cubs gear down at Wrigley Field.  And to think, you actually did not want to take this bet out of fear the Cubs would actually win the season series against the Cards.  You had nothing to worry about.  I’d like to make this photo op of me in Cardinals gear happen sooner than later.  Let’s get it over with.

Photo Credit:

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

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                              Charles Rex Arbogast – AP
Enough said.
Photo Credit – Associated Press/Charles Rex Arbogast

Good Bye, 2009

I do not want to see the 2009 Cubs succeed.  To do so would be to go against every baseball sensibility I have.  It would be to go against any sense of justice and fairness in this world.  To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would be a slap in the face of the baseball gods (sorry, Dusty Baker).  To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would validate stupidity. When a G.M. takes a 97 win team and needlessly overhauls them in the offseason with head-scratching, nonsensical moves, it should not be able to win.  I want to see the Cubs win a World Series, but my God, not this team.  Cub fans deserve better than this ill-conceived team Jim Hendry has put together and Lou Piniella has watched over.  I’ve heard people say the Cubs will actually make the playoffs because they play most of their remaining games against sub .500 teams such as the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.  Sure.  I’m so glad that we have the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV so I can actually watch real baseball this September. 

Why is Milton Bradley still on this team?  I don’t care if the Cubs buy out his contract and cut him tomorrow, it is painfully obvious that he cannot remain on this team.  Hey, he even said he does not feel comfortable at Wrigley Field.  Who actually thought Milton Bradley would behave differently on the Cubs, a team that has no obvious leaders?  No, to root for the 2009 Cubs to succeed would mean Milton Bradley succeeding.  It may be juvenile, but I can’t do it.
Good luck to Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman after being claimed off waivers.  Hopefully for them, they will indeed end up someplace else so they don’t have to ride out this train wreck.
Now that the Cubs have new owners, the Ricketts family (Isn’t that the name of a disease?  Maybe it’s fitting for the Cubs), we should expect a lot of moves.  At least I hope so.  Do they really know what they’re getting into?  Will they completely sever all ties with the Tribune and start anew, or will it just be business as usual?  The new owners have a lot of work to do.  I wish them well and hope that they can deliver a Cubs World Series with a team that would live up to the image of a champion.

Take me to your leader

Today’s trade of Ivan Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers reminds me of a missed opportunity for the Cubs.  After Rodriguez’s Marlins stunned the Cubs in the 2003 NLCS and went on to win the World Series, he became a free agent.  At the time I thought it would be a good idea for the Cubs to bring in Rodriguez.  I felt the Cubs could use a strong, smart catcher like Rodriguez to work with the trio of young pitchers the Cubs had, Wood, Prior, and Zambrano.  Rodriguez is also a winner and would quickly become a team leader the Cubs also needed to put them over the top in 2004.  Well, it never happened.  The Cubs went cheap and signed Michael Barrett instead.  We all know how Michael Barrett worked out.  Let’s just say I think it was no coincidence that the Cubs took off in 2007 after Barrett was shipped out.  All this led me to think about the Cubs of the past three years.  Who is the team leader or leaders?  I don’t think the Cubs have any.  The Cubs have a good collection of talented players, but they don’t have any leaders.  You know, the kind of player that will push others, get in others’ faces when need be, driven with a passion to win.  The Yankees have Derek Jeter.  The Red Sox have Jason Varitek.  The Cardinals have Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina.  The Cubs don’t have any such players.  Derrek Lee is a great talent, but watch his body language after a strikeout or an 0-4 performance.  Head down, walking slowly back to the dugout, dejected.  Not inspiring.  Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs most important offensive weapon, seems shy and doesn’t say much.  Soriano and Bradley are all about themselves.  Zambrano is a headcase, who admits his recent injury problems are due to his being out of shape.  Great.  Soto’s a mess.  The Cubs should have signed Pudge this past offseason.  He could have mentored Soto.  Maybe then Soto wouldn’t have become the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  Ivan Rodriguez to the Rangers leads me to believe we might in fact see the Rangers in the postseason.  Pudge now gets to work with the young pitchers over there as well as Mike Maddux, who is quickly becoming one of the elite pitching coaches if he isn’t already.  The Cubs seem to lack a team leader.  Maybe that’s one reason the Cubs have disappeared in the postseason and are quickly disappearing from this years pennant race.

Let’s face it, the Cubs season is on life support right now with a weekend four game series at Dodger Stadium while the Cardinals have a four game series against the Padres.  The Rockies keep winning, putting the Cubs further out of the Wild Card race.  Now the Cardinals seem to be ready to sign John Smoltz.  I’m sure LaRussa and Duncan will work their magic and get the most out of him whether it be as a starter or in the bullpen.  I believe Smoltz is a pretty good team guy as well.  Oh, and he knows how to help a team to the postseason and win once there.  Good luck, Cubbies.
On another note, I was happy to see that Shane Victorino filed a police report against that imbecile who threw the beer on him.

Mythbuster

It’s only August 11th, but the Cubs are well on their way to being C.U.B.S. (Completely Useless by September).  Sure, the guys that tow the corporate line on TV will say the Cubs are only three games behind St. Louis and they have the best NL record since the All-Star break (well they did before this weekend; they may not have that distinction anymore), but anyone watching the games can’t be fooled.  I feel a need to debunk five common myths about the Cubs right now.

1.  The Cubs are 15-9 since the All-Star Break.  They’re playing their best baseball of the year and are the hottest team in the NL since the All-Star game.

If you watched the Cubs on TV this weekend you would have heard something like the above statement.  Really?  Out of their 15 wins, 9 of them are against the Nationals and the Reds.  The Nationals are an abomination and the Reds completely quit after the All-Star Game.  The Cubs have lost a series to the Phillies, the Marlins, and the Rockies and have looked horrible in each of these series.  The Cubs are better than the Nationals, Reds, and the Astros.  They are much worse than the Phillies, Marlins, Rockies, and Cardinals.  If the Cubs did make the playoffs, who would they be playing?  Not the Nationals or Reds.  The Cubs can not compete with the Phillies, Rockies, or Cardinals.  Can you actually see them winning a playoff series against the Phillies?  No.  I don’t event want to see them make the playoffs if that’s the case.  Another three and out like the last two seasons.  Why bother?  The White Sox are in the same position in their division that the Cubs are.  But at least if the White Sox make the playoffs, it is conceivable that they could reach the World Series.  They just beat up the Yankees and Angels.  For the Cubs, winning the Central would just be a booby prize.
2.  Milton Bradley is now red hot and has brought his average up to .266 and his on base percentage to .401.

It seems like we should be excited about Bradley.  I’m not.  He’s been a bust.  It seems like Milton goes 4-5 only in games that the Cubs are losing 11-1 or winning 11-1.  His hits are completely meaningless.  It’s kind of like when Juan Pierre led the league in hits in 2006.  You couldn’t find 200 more meaningless hits than that.  Yeah, Bradley has raised his average to .266.  Do people think he needs a medal?  If the Cubs lose 2-1. I’ll bet Milton was 0-5.
3.  The Cubs minor league system has saved their season with stand outs like Jake Fox and Sam Fuld.

These two guys are middle aged minor leaguers.  If the Cubs are depending on them this year, GOOD LUCK.  Aside from their ownership questions, the Cubs could not pull off a decent trade this year because they have nothing to move.  How many of the Cubs minor league prospects are coveted by another team?  Ryan Theriot is the best position player the Cubs have produced in I don’t know how long.  Teams like Boston and Philadelphia can orchestrate big trades because their farm systems are loaded.  The Cubs can’t.  The minor leaguers the Cubs have will produce for the short term, but over the long haul they won’t once teams get their scouting reports on them.
4.  The Cubs will win the division because the other teams are not good.
St. Louis has re-energized their team with the additions of DeRosa, Lugo, and Holliday.  Pujols will always be the man, but now he really doesn’t have to be the man night in and night out.  Someone tell me the Cubs now have a better lineup than St. Louis, with or without Aramis Ramirez.  I don’t see it.  The Cardinals pitchers have quietly put together a great season.  They’ve found a closer, something they haven’t has the last two years.  Dave Duncan is probably the best pitching coach in the business.  Tony LaRussa will out manage Lou Piniella any night of the week.  Right now, as much as it pains me, I’m seeing visions of 2006.  It would not surprise me if the Cardinals won the pennant.
5.  None of the Cub injuries right now (Zambrano, Ramirez) look that serious.

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.
I couldn’t end this entry without a comment about Patrick Kane.  I don’t think too much of him right now.  20 cents?  Really?  No tip?  I do have one question for Mr. Kane, where was all that toughness in the playoffs against Detroit?
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