Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Margaritaville in Wrigleyville?

You have to hand it to the Cubs. They sure seem to be taking a look at as many ways to raise additional revenues as possible. Today's rumor comes from Crain's Chicago Business . Crain's reports that Andy MacPhail and the Tribsters are looking into having concerts at Wrigley Field. Alderman Tom Tunney has not said yes or no to this idea.

Jimmy Buffet might be singing more than the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley in 2005!

Springsteen had a few dates at Fenway last season and the reviews that I heard from Boston were outstanding. The Cubs are looking at an act like Jimmy Buffet. Buffet has been a guest conductor of the seventh inning stretch several times through the years. Buffet is a Cub fan and a big baseball fan.

My favorite Wrigleyville resident Charlotte Newfeld had to chime in: “I can’t think of them doing a more stupid thing at a time they’re trying to have a warm and fuzzy relationship with their neighbors. People are going to go ape.”

There is not another team in sports that puts up with this much garbage from "friendly neighbors". Charlotte will rip any idea that comes out of the offices at Clark & Addison. MacPhail could find the cure for cancer and stop world hunger and Newfeld would complain. Charlotte has not actually tried to work with any idea proposed by the Cubs in years.

If this means more money for Jim Hendry's payroll in 2005 bring on the ParrotHeads!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Cubs & the City Play Nice!

The Tribune is reporting that the Cubs and the City Planning Commision have agreed on replacing the 48 folding chairs down the RF line with 32 permanent seats. The Cubs are gonna make these seats similar to the 200 seats behind home and build a shorter brickwall around them. No word yet on the seats pricing but I'd bet it'll be the same as the Premium seats behind home. The rotating ad board behind home plate was signed off on by the commision at the same time.

This proposal will go before the Landmark Commision on Thursday. If it is approved there it will go before Chicago City Council for final approval. This is Chicago people. It can't be that easy, can it? Stay tuned, this could still get ugly!

Cubs showing interest in Jeff Kent

Take this one with a grain of salt. According to the Houston Chronicle, the Cubs have interest in 'stros 2B Jeff Kent. Part of me thinks okay, Kent has been a good player and put up some good numbers this past year. The other part of me hates this guy. He would be a cancerous presence in an already questionable locker room. I don't know. I guess the Hendry is looking at all his options.

Can you imagine a Cub clubhouse with Sosa and Kent? Hide the Boombox.

In that same Houston Chronicle article there is some Carlos Beltran news. Nothing we didn't already know.

Staying in Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Todd Walker visited the Rangers over the weekend. The Rangers have Walker atop their list to increase offensive production.

SI named the Red Sox their Sportsmen of the Year.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Cubs Expose Sisco & Other Young Arms to the Rule 5 Draft

Andy Sisco has been considered a top prospect in the Cubs since the Cubs selected him with their second round pick in 2001. Sisco's stock looks to be falling in the organization. According to Rotoworld the 6'9" left handed pitcher was left unprotected for the upcoming, December 13, Rule 5 Draft. Other Cub pitching prospects(of note) that were left unprotected include Chadd Blasko, Luke Haggerty, Ricky Nolasco and Jae-Kuk Ryu.

Here's a look at the numbers each of the players put up in 2004:

Andy Sisco (Class A) Daytona
4-10, 4.21 ERA, 26 G, 126 IP, 118 H, 64 R, 59 ER, 65 BB, 134 K, 11 HR

Chadd Blasko (Class AA) West Tenn
5-4, 5.67 ERA, 13 G, 66.2 IP, 77 H, 45 R, 42 ER, 24 BB, 65 K, 12 HR

Luke Hagerty (Class A) Boise
0-2, 12.00 ERA, 4G, 9 IP, 15 H, 13 R, 12 ER, 9 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Ricky Nolasco (Class AAA) Iowa (through June)
2-2, 9.17 ERA, 8 G, 35.1 IP, 58 H, 36 R, 36 ER, 14 BB, 27 K, 6 HR
(Class AA) West Tenn (June to end of season)
6-4, 3.70 ERA, 19 G, 107 IP, 104 H, 50 R, 44 ER, 37 BB, 115 K, 13 HR

Jae-Kuk Ryu (Class A) Boise (through July)
0-2, 2.57 ERA, 5 G, 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 0 HR
(Class AA) West Tenn (August and September)
0-0, 3.52 ERA, 12 G, 15.1 IP, 21 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 10 BB, 13 K, 0 HR
(Class AAA) Iowa (one game end of season)
0-0, 40.50 ERA, 1 G, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR

It is my opinion that the chances of the Cubs losing one of these prospects is very slim. According to the Rule 5: The drafted player must remain with his new club for the full season or be offered back to his original club for $25,000. It sure doesn't look like any of these guys are ready to spend all of 2005 on an MLB roster.

Recovering from the Turkey Hangover

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. Like most of the American population I ate way too much. I was lucky to miss most of the second half of the Bears game because we had a late dinner. I guess the orange jerseys will go down as a bad experiment!

Watching the Bears and Bulls is just painful. It makes the wait for Spring Training seem longer. Here's hoping the Bears and Bulls can win a few before the Cubs report to Mesa. I can't wait for the winter meetings to see how Hendry is gonna build the '05 Northsiders.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cubs Find More Revenue

The Cubs are really gonna be different to watch next year. Not only will you have new voices, but you will notice something behind the batter in shots from the WGN centerfield camera. In today's Trib, Paul Sullivan writes that the Cubs are expecting approval on a rolling advertising board behind home plate. Yes, the Cubs are finally gonna put an ad board on the legendary bricks behind home plate.

In Sully's article John McDonough says: "...the money generated from that(advertising) is going to the payroll, and it's going to be deployed, as it has been, extremely well with what Jim Hendry has done with the additional budget he has."

These are not the Cubs I grew up with. Taking additional revenues and using them on payroll was never an option. I think Mr. Wrigley used to take all additional revenues and spend them on repairs for his Lake Geneva estate.

This move will offend many of the traditionalists and prompt some letters to the editor in our Sunday Trib. At one time I was one of the complainers. Remember when the Cubs tried to put up lights in the 80's? It was such a bad thing. Now a night game at Wrigley Fd. is a great way to spend a summer evening in Chicago. Even at Wrigley Field time never stands still.

By 2006, when St. Louis opens the New Busch Stadium, every team in the NL Central will have a new ballpark, except the Chicago National League Ballclub. Wrigley Fd. does not generate the advertising revenue nor the 365 days a year restaurant/gift shop revenue that the new ballparks do. If the Cubs want to keep the payroll high playing in Wrigley Field they have to make these changes, they have to modernize.

While I understand the saddness in seeing the ballpark change, wouldn't it be sadder to watch the Cubs play in Schaumburg?

Fight with City Hall Awaits
This is Chicago and nothing happens for free. In the ongoing feud between Mayor Daley and the Tribune, City Hall will probably have the Landmark Commision make this difficult for the tower. The Cubs will probably have to promise to put out more portable johns or something. That's how things work here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Random Cubs Boxscore 9/9/99

I had forgotten that Bobby Ayala ever pitched for the Cub

Cincinnati Reds 5, Chicago Cubs 3
Played on Thursday, September 9, 1999 (D)
at Wrigley Field

CIN N 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 1 - 5 14 0
CHI N 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 3 9 0

Cincinnati Reds
Reese 2b 6 0 0 0 0 1 6 6
Larkin ss 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 1
Casey 1b 3 1 2 0 2 0 9 0
Vaughn lf 5 1 2 2 0 1 3 0
Young rf 4 1 1 0 1 0 4 0
LaRue c 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Taubensee c 5 1 3 0 0 0 3 1
Robinson pr 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Graves p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cameron cf 4 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Boone 3b 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
Williamson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tucker ph,rf 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Harnisch p 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Sweeney ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Sullivan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
White p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lewis 3b 2 0 1 1 0 1 0 0

Totals 41 5 14 5 5 4 27 8

DP: 1.

2B: Casey (38,off Farnsworth); Taubensee (18,off Myers).
HR: Vaughn (36,7th inning off Farnsworth 1 on, 1 out).
IBB: Tucker (2,by Myers).

Chicago Cubs
Johnson cf 4 0 1 0 1 0 3 0
Morandini 2b 4 1 0 0 0 0 3 2
Myers p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brown ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sosa rf 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 0
Grace 1b 4 0 3 0 0 0 12 0
Rodriguez lf 4 0 2 1 0 0 1 0
Porter pr,lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Blauser ss,3b 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 3
Reed c 3 1 2 0 1 1 4 0
Gaetti 3b 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 4
Meyers pr,2b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Farnsworth p 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Ayala p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Heredia p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alexander 2b,ss 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

Totals 33 3 9 3 4 4 27 12

2B: Reed (14,off Harnisch).
3B: Grace (3,off Harnisch).
HR: Sosa (59,5th inning off Harnisch 0 on, 2 out).
SH: Farnsworth (3,off Harnisch); Blauser (2,off Williamson).

Cincinnati Reds IP H HR R ER BB K
Harnisch 5 7 1 3 3 1 1
Sullivan W(5-3) 1 1 0 0 0 0 1
White 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0
Williamson 1.1 1 0 0 0 2 1
Graves SV(21) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 9 9 1 3 3 4 4

Chicago Cubs IP H HR R ER BB K
Farnsworth L(3-9) 6.2 11 1 4 4 3 3
Ayala 1 1 0 0 0 0 1
Heredia 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Myers 1.1 2 0 1 1 1 0
Totals 9.0 14 1 5 5 5 4

WP: Williamson (11), Myers (1).
IBB: Myers (2,Tucker).

Umpires: Kerwin Danley, Jim Wolf, Tony Randazzo, Ed Montague

Time of Game: 3:04 Attendance: 34976

Monday, November 22, 2004

It's time for these guys to shut up

It's another slow day in Cubville. Here's the latest version of "When Athletes Talk":

Mo Alou and Kent Mercker decided to start yapping again over the weekend. These two made the second half of the Cub season unenjoyable. One of the best parts of opening the paper, the last month and a half, has been that there has not been any idiotic comments from either one of these clowns. Both seemed to make a habit of making crazy comments directed at announcers and others this past summer.

Yesterday Alou decided it was time for him to stick up for Sammy in the Boston Globe. Following criticism from Wood, Prior, and Todd Walker, I guess it's good to know that somebody on the team could tolerate Sammy. Is Alou simply sticking up for his countryman and teammate? or is he laying the groundwork to ease Sahm's return to the Northside? I don't know. I have no idea why Alou ever says anything.

Former Cub reliever Kent Mercker decided it was time for him to clear the air on what happened with the Stone Pony. The stories that were told by Stone & Chip seem to be pretty different than Mercker's. I guess the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I have a real problem with Mercker being so concerned with comments by tv broadcasters. But Dusty allowed it to happen.

These two guys were part of the problem in 2004. The whole season was painful enough. Time to move on. It sounds like neither one of these guys will be back in 2005. I'm okay with that.


Other Baseball Stuff

Gabe Kaplar is going to play in Japan in 2005.

It's pretty dead out there. Maybe one of these days the hot stove will begin heating up.

Washington Nationals

About 22 minutes ago they made it official. Les Expos are now the Washington Nationals. The Cubs will play the Nationals at RFK May 13-15, 2005. The Nationals will visit Wrigley Fd. July 1-3.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

What the market will cub...

The Cubs announced that ticket prices will rise across the board in 2005. This will be the third straight season that prices have gone up. The lowest increase will be in the $1-$2 range, the highest increase will be 20%.

In addition to the increase you will see an increase in the number of "Prime" dates and a decrease in the "Regular" and "Value" dates. This will mean more revenue for the Cubs in 2005. Here's the comparison between 2004 & 2005:

Game Type20042005
Prime Games2840
Regular Games4535
Value Games86

For a more detailed breakdown check out Byron Clarke's post at The Cubdom.

The easy thing to do right now, is to go into a rant about ticket prices. As a fan, that spends too much of my disposable income at Wrigley Field, I am really tempted. The fact is: if I choose not to go to a game, because of price, there are plenty of Cub fans who will take my ticket. Simple economics tells you the increase is the right decision.

Demand for Cub tix has never been higher. Selling out every game in 2004, for the first time in franchise history, guaranteed a ticket price hike for 2005. They won't have any trouble selling the seats at the increased price. Looking ahead we should probably expect another increase before 2006.

The Cubs are in a great position right now. The team on the field has a nucleus that will make it a winner over the next several seasons. Recently the Cubs have found the following new revenue streams: rooftop surcharges, ticket scalping, $250 seats behind home plate, scoreboard advertising down the lines and underneath the scoreboard, forming Comcast Sports Net with the Sox, Hawks and Bulls. Bleacher expansion and the Wrigley Field campus construction west of the ballpark will create even more revenue. All of these revenues will provide Jim Hendry with the money needed to build a winning franchise.

Creating Revenue: The proposed Wrigley Fd. campus and bleacher expansion

As much as I'd like to complain about the price increase, I won't. If Jim Hendry invests this money wisely, my checkbook will never notice.

Other Stuff...

According to the Trib the Cubs are going to offer Matty Clement salary arbitration.

Phil Rogers writes a piece on the great job Jim Hendry does.

ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that MLB is providing teams with a "Free Agent Advice Form". Take a look at a sample of the advice form.

Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are close to landing Tony Womack to play 2B.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Time to turn down the sound, the Cubs hired Len Kasper

The Cubs must really want to push fans over to the radio broadcasts of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. The Pat and Ron Show is very popular in Chicago each summer. It should only grow in the coming year as many fans will turn down the tv sound and turn up Pat and Ron. How come they didn't do this in the Cub clubhouse?

On Friday, the Cubs hired Len Kasper to fill the television play-by-play spot. I have listened to Kasper for several years. He was a sports show host on WTMJ in Milawaukee. The past three years I heard Len while I watched the Marlins on satellite. Kasper may end up being a fine partner for Bob Brenly, but in my opinion he does not have the experience Cub fans deserve to sit in the chair that has been occupied by hall of famers Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse.

What the Cubs get in Len is another cookie cutter young broadcaster. He's not gonna get excited and raise his voivce very often like Chip did. But Len is flat out boring to listen to. Len lacks an on-air personality. Maybe partnering with Brenly will change that. If it doesn't change the Tribsters are gonna be bombarded with complaint letters, just like they were on Chip the past several years. I really thought the Cubs would do better finding a replacement for Chippy.

Why did the Cubs "settle" for Kasper? To most Cub fans the play-by-play tv voice is important. After Chip Caray quit the Cubs brass repeated that this was considered one of the premier jobs in sports broadcasting. If that is the case why did the Cubs hire a lesser name to fill the position? There are several reasons, but two standout. First off money, Kaspar is cheap. Second the Dusty factor. The Cubs are not regarded very highly in media circles right now. People know that the clubhouse was out of control. Why would an experienced professional broadcaster subject themselves to the treatment Stone and Caray received. The answer is cash.

There has been a real shift in the Cub braodcast booth since Harry passed away in February 1998. As long as the Cubs had been on television Jack Brickhouse or Harry Caray was the lead broadcaster. These two had personalities that were bigger than life in and around Chicago. Both of them have statues in Chicago. When the Cubs brought in a "green" Chip Caray, to replace his Grandfather, the star in the booth became Stone. Stone carried the Cub broadcasts. With the departure of Chip and Stone, and the hiring of a new team it is obvious that the Cubs new formula is have a star in the analyst seat and a caretaker calling play-by-play. No offense Mr. Kasper, but the Cub fans deserved better sitting in Harry and Jack's chair.


The Cubs signed swing man Glendon Rusch. Rusch was a great pickup by Hendry late in Spring Training. He served every role Dusty asked him to in 2005. My hope is that the Cubs still find a fifth starter and keep Rush in the swingman role in 2005.

Have a great weekend! Go Badgers!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I am set up

I will begin using this blog to bash as well as celebrate the great rollercoaster ride we cub fans know all to well.

It's called the cubs season. I am sure you are all well aware it is now the off season, so if you are still at Casey Moran's with your face down in a cold frosty one. I am sorry if you just found out how the great collapse of 04 unraveled.

Book your hotel reservations for the Cubs convention, its right around the corner, maybe you can save me a seat...I will be at Casey Moran's.

Waiting for another glorious year....


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Random Cubs Boxscore 6/3/87

Look at the Score on this Cub random boxscore. This may have been Dayett's "career game"! Cubs homered 5 times in a rout of the Western Division Astros. I also love the fact that the Cubs almost scored in every inning.

Chicago Cubs 22, Houston Astros 7
Played on Wednesday, June 3, 1987 (D)
at Wrigley Field

HOU N 2 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 - 7 9 2
CHI N 9 2 2 1 2 4 2 0 x - 22 21 0

Houston Astros
Hatcher cf 3 2 1 4 1 0 4 0
Andersen p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Doran 2b 5 1 3 2 0 0 3 2
Garner 2b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Walling 3b 3 0 0 0 2 0 1 1
Davis 1b 5 1 2 0 0 1 3 0
Bass rf 4 0 0 0 1 1 5 0
Cruz lf 4 1 0 0 1 1 1 0
C. Reynolds ss 5 0 1 1 0 1 1 2
Bailey c 3 1 1 0 1 0 6 0
Knepper p 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Meads p 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Householder ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Solano p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Puhl ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jackson cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 35 7 9 7 7 5 24 5

DP: 1.
E: Davis (4), Knepper (1).

2B: Davis 2 (15,off Sutcliffe,off Noles).
HR: Doran (6,1st inning off Sutcliffe 1 on, 0 out); Hatcher (5,4th inning off
Sutcliffe 3 on, 1 out).
HBP: Hatcher (4,by Noles).

Chicago Cubs
Dernier cf 6 1 3 2 0 1 0 0
Sandberg 2b 5 4 3 3 1 0 1 5
Dawson rf 5 2 2 1 0 0 1 0
Noce ss 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
J. Davis c 1 5 1 0 4 0 5 1
Sundberg ph,c 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 0
Dayett lf,rf 3 3 2 4 3 0 2 0
Moreland 3b 5 2 3 7 0 1 1 0
Dunston ss 5 1 1 0 0 1 2 0
Martinez lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Trillo 1b 5 2 3 0 1 0 10 1
Sutcliffe p 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 2
Matthews ph 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0
Lynch p 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Noles p 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
Totals 44 22 21 21 9 6 27 10

DP: 1.

2B: Dayett (6,off Meads); Trillo (3,off Meads); J. Davis (6,off Solano).
HR: Dayett (4,1st inning off Knepper 3 on, 1 out); Moreland 2 (6,1st inning
off Knepper 0 on, 1 out,6th inning off Solano 3 on, 1 out); Sandberg (10,1st
inning off Knepper 2 on, 2 out); Dawson (19,3rd inning off Meads 0 on,
2 out); Sundberg (2,7th inning off Solano 1 on, 2 out).
SF: Moreland (3,off Meads).

SB: Dawson (6,2nd base off Knepper/Bailey).

Houston Astros IP H HR R ER BB K
Knepper L(2-6) 1 7 3 9 9 2 1
Meads 3 7 1 5 5 3 2
Solano 3 7 2 8 8 4 2
Andersen 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 8 21 6 22 22 9 6

Chicago Cubs IP H HR R ER BB K
Sutcliffe W(8-2) 5 7 2 7 7 6 3
Lynch 2 0 0 0 0 1 2
Noles 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 9 9 2 7 7 7 5

WP: Meads (1).
HBP: Noles (2,Hatcher).

Umpires: Doug Harvey, Dick Stello, Eric Gregg, Steve Rippley

Time of Game: 3:22 Attendance: 19725

Random Cubs Boxscore 5/15/95

Chicago Cubs 6, San Francisco Giants 1

Game Played on Monday, May 15, 1995 (D) at Candlestick Park

CHI N 0 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 - 6 13 1
SF N 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 1 3 1

Chicago Cubs AB R H RBI BB K PO A
McRae cf 4 0 2 0 1 0 5 0
Sanchez 2b 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 2
Sosa rf 5 1 2 1 0 1 3 0
Grace 1b 3 2 1 0 2 0 10 1
Wilkins c 4 1 1 1 1 2 4 0
Dunston ss 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 2
Buechele 3b 3 0 1 0 1 1 2 4
Bullett lf 4 1 3 2 0 0 0 0
Trachsel p 3 0 1 1 0 1 1 0

Totals 36 6 13 5 5 6 27 9

DP: 1.
E: Buechele (4).

2B: Bullett (1,off Leiter); Grace (8,off Bautista).
3B: McRae (2,off Leiter).
HR: Sosa (6,7th inning off Bautista 0 on, 0 out).
SH: Trachsel (2,off Leiter).

SB: Sosa (4,2nd base off Leiter/Manwaring); Grace (1,2nd base off Frey/Manwaring).
CS: Sanchez (3,2nd base by Leiter/Manwaring).

San Francisco Giants AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Lewis cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Patterson 2b 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 3
Bonds lf 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 1
Williams 3b 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 3
Hill rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
Clayton ss 4 1 1 0 0 0 5 2
Phillips 1b 3 0 0 0 0 0 9 1
Manwaring c 3 0 1 1 0 0 5 1
Leiter p 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 1
Bautista p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Lampkin ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Frey p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dewey p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 30 1 3 1 3 3 27 13

DP: 2.
E: Manwaring (1).

Chicago Cubs IP H HR R ER BB K
Trachsel W(2-1) 9 3 0 1 1 3 3

San Francisco Giants IP H HR R ER BB K
Leiter L(1-1) 5.2 10 0 3 3 2 3
Bautista 2.1 3 1 2 2 2 1
Frey 0.2 0 0 1 0 1 1
Dewey 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 9.0 13 1 6 5 5 6
WP: Dewey (1).

Umpires: Mark Hirschbeck, Frank Pulli, Joe West, Larry Poncino

Time of Game: 3:01 Attendance: 9096

Cub Happenings & a Quick Word for Mr. Paul Tagliabue

Not much is going on in Cubdom, but alot is going on in Cubdom...
First off Dave O'Brien will not be the Cubs new play by play man. ESPN has decided not to allow him out of his contract. O'Brien will remain with ESPN and he'll call 50 games for Sammy and the Mets in 2005.

Speaking of Sammy, a couple of other teams have popped up with interest in number 21. The Devil Rays (Straightup for a youngster named Joey Gathright) and the Marlins are looking at La Pantera. Maybe there is a market for Sammy and his big contract. Stay tuned...

Here's the latest on Cubs never ending battle with city hall: the Cubs are taking another shot on bleacher expansion. According to the Trib they want to move the outside bleacher wall out to the curb on Sheffield and Waveland. Thus they would eliminate the sidewalk next to the park.

I have so many questions and maybe a comment or two on this:
Why is blocking the sidewalk better than "El-like" posts over the streets?
Don't people walk and drive underneath the "El" throughout Chicago?
If public safety is the worry, just have Daley install a few more cameras.
Didn't the Trib just sign lucrative agreements with all the rooftop owners; how will this screw up their views?
If you owned a rooftop would you ask the Cubs to lower their fees if the view is less?
How can a city that built "The New" Soldiers Field critique any teams plans for their stadium?

Paging Mr. Paul Tagliabue

I don't usually comment on social issues nor the NFL on this site. But this whole "Desperate Housewives/Monday Night Football" controversey is great.

Read what Dan Rooney (Steelers Owner) said:

"I couldn't believe it. It's a disgrace. When they have a football player and they're in a dressing room and they're selling our shield, our product, they've got to have some idea of correctness. It's insensitive. It's inconceivable.

"The Janet Jackson thing was bad--I'm not lessening that. This thing was worse."

These comments don't look good Mr. Rooney.

Hey Dan and Paul be careful what you say. The NFL more than any other league has marketed T&A for years. T&A and the NFL Shield go together like PB & J.

This league and their shield bring the Raiderettes, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and several other teams dance squads into your living room on a weekly basis. Several preseason publications have pictures of cheerleaders in their centerfolds. Have you seen the camera shots of the cheerleaders during games? Take a look at the women who have been featured in beer commercials for years, remember the Coors Twins? Do any commercials have more sexual innuendo than all the new male enhancement drugs? What about all the good looking female sideline reporters, were they the best journalists available?

The more the NFL makes a big deal of this, the more they look like hypocrites. The NFL makes alot of money from networks like ABC and commercial spots that sell sex. Give back the beer advertising money, get rid of the cheerleaders, no hotties on the sideline. C'mon. T&A is a BIG part of the NFL presentation. It has been since the 1970's. Everybody over at the NFL needs to take a deep breath and worry about something that matters.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Mets clearing room for Sosa by dealing Piazza to Angels?

The Sammy-to-the-Mets (for Cliff Floyd) rumor seems to have legs. Here's the latest from NYC. Another NYC rag has the Mets dealing Piazza to the Angels to make room for Sahm. The Mets have also declined the $10.2 Million option on Al Leiter. (Note: Leiter might fit in great with the Cubs he could be the fifth starter and sit in the TV booth the other 4 days with Brenly. Brenly would let him talk more than McCarver and Joe Buck did during the ALCS.)

So the Mets are clearing payroll, meanwhile Adam Katz wants the players union to allow Sammy to restructure his deal so the automatic option for 2006 will not kick in when he is dealt(yes, I said when). This article in the Bright One says that the players union is leaning towards allowing this to happen. If the union will allow this, it looks to me like the trade is a done deal.

Another rumor that I heard this evening has Hendry bringing back Womack to play 2b and leadoff. This probably makes sense due to the lack of production at the top of the lineup in '04.

I cannot help but wonder what the Cubs would have looked like in '05 had they won the Wild Card in '04. Hmmm.

Monday, November 15, 2004


With Omar Vizquel signing in San Fran it's time to look at who will lead the Cubs 2005 infield.

Nomar said all the right things while play SS for the Cubs. The injuries were just too much. Nicknamed "Glass" by his Georgia Tech teammates, Nomar lived up to that billing down the stretch. That being said Jim Hendry knew he was getting an injured player when he traded for Garciaparra. The Cubs GM has to figure out if Nomar will ever have another healthy season. When he's healthy he's a great player.

Renteria has always been a favorite of Jim Hendry. Signing the Redbird SS would add to the Cubs and more importantly take away from the rival Cards. One thing is sure, Renteria is gonna make alot of money this off season. How much are you willing to pay a Gold Glove SS who hit .287 with 10 HR, 72 RBi, 84 R, & 17 SB?

Who is the real Orlando Cabrera? The one who played in 2003 with Montreal, the one that played in Montreal this year, or the one we saw in Boston during the playoffs. One thing is sure, Cabrera can pick it. If he ever plays up to his potential he'll be an All Star SS in the NL.

Other FA Shortstops:

Christian Guzman - switch hitting SS the Twins are going to let test the FA waters. Hit .274 in 145 games, 576 AB, 84 R, 158 H, 31 2b, 8 HR, 46 RBi, 10 SB, 5 CS, & a .693 OPS. Rumor has it he'll end up on the Southside.

Royce Clayton - yuck!

A-Gon - Botched the DP in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. He'll never be back.

Barry Larkin - old and injury prone. Dusty loves veterans.

Pokey Reese - not a starter but he's a good glove man.

Jose Valentin - This guy is AWFUL! Don't even think about it Jim Hendry.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The FA Market is Now Open...

Let the bidding begin. Take a look at this list. This list creates alot of possibilities for teams that have money to spend like the Cubs.

Scott Boras is licking his chops. While Carlos Beltran prepares to break the bank other Boras clients J.D. Drew, Maggs Ordonez, Adrian Beltre and Derek Lowe look to do okay. Most fans hate Boras. As a Cub fan, I have hated Boras since maddux went to the Braves. That being said the guy is a tremendous agent. The fact that he was able to get Tom Hicks and the Rangers bidding against themselves in the A-Rod negotiations still amazes me. If you were a ballplayer, why would you have anybody besides Boras represent you?

We will see how serious the Cubs are about Beltran. We will also find out if they can get a leadoff hitter from this crop. Who will be the SS? The waiting is over or is it just beginning?

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is pushing instant replay. Although a 15-15 vote at the General Managers meeting means nothing will happen in the coming year, mark my words instant replay in the grand old game is just a matter of time.

For the record I do not like instant replay in the NFL nor the Big Ten. I'm not really sure how instant replay is used in the NBA and I quit following the NHL when Gretzky left Edmonton. The major reason replay is so important in football is gambling. Betting on baseball is no where near that of the NFL or College Football. So why does baseball need instant replay? I don't think it does.

In the playoffs you saw Umpires huddle up and change calls. In each case they got the call right. That will not always happen. Bad calls are part of sports. Many instant replay calls are still called incorrectly--rememeber Don Majkowski's pass against the Bears. Jeez that brings back bad memories.

Finally here's a link that will tell you more about the Cubs soon to be named play by play man Dave O'Brien:

Sosa to the Mets Rumors Continue

The NY Post is reporting that Omar Minaya has interest in bringing Sammy to the Big Apple. To get this deal done the Mets would have to unload their garbage: Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd. The Cubs can take Floyd and play him part time in the OF. The guy's never healthy. Piazza is a different animal. The Cubs don't have room for him at 1B and he can't catch anymore. Hendry will have to find an AL team to get involved in this deal. Time to call Theo!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Bruce Levine with ESPN 1000 is reporting that the Cubs are looking at Placido Polanco or Craig Counsell as replacements for Grudz and Walker in 2005.


Polanco is 29 years old. In 2004 he played in 126 games, hit .298 with 17 HR, 55 RBi and 7 SB. Polanco had 27 BB and 39 SO, his OBP is .345. Polanco is right handed hitter who had a .995 fielding percentage at 2B in 2004.


Counsell is the other option, Bruce is reporting. Counsell is 34. The former Golden Domer struggled in 2004 with the Brewers. In 140 games he hit .241 with 2 HR's, 23 RBi and 17 SB. His OBP was .330 with 88 SO and 59 BB. Craig had a .983 fielding percentage in 2004 playing all but one game at SS. Counsell hits left handed and has the most disturbing batting stance in baseball.

Another Candidate:
The Louisiana Lumberjack

The Louisiana Lumberjack! Todd Walker had a good offensive season with the Cubs. In 129 games he hit .274 with 15 HR and 50 RBi. His OBP was .352 he had 43 BB and 52 SO. The problem for Lumberjack is that there are two parts of the game. Walkers defense is not good. He had a .981 fielding percentage at 2B in 2004. Walker was a pretty outspoken member of the team this year.

Other Free Agents
Robbie Alomar - Just kidding
World Series Hero The Horn -- Never
Miggy Cairo - Don't laugh, he is just as good if not a better option than all of the clowns on top.
Grudz - I don't see Grudz coming back. He didn't like the paycut he took last year.
Jose Hernandez - Not again
Jeff Kent - Another jerk. This guy would fit in great in the Cub clubhouse!
Desi Relaford - Please no
Tony Womack - Womack was the sparkplug for the Cards offense this past season. He is the only guy on this list that could leadoff. His age and injury history are an issue.

Say it ain't so...Lil' Thom back with the Cub

Nothing, I mean nothing, runs cold chills up my spine in the middle of August like having to listen to Lil' Thom Brennaman giggle like a little school girl. Thank the good man upstairs that he has seen fit to place Thommy out in Arizona. The D-backs have become so irrelevant in the NL that I never turn to FOX Sports Ariz. in the summertime. The two or three times each year that he shows up in Chicago covering a National Game for FOX is more than enough for my tastes.

So with Lil' Thom long out of my mind (besides when he holds the NLCS hostage each year) I turn to read Barry Rozner today and I get this headline "Brennaman now seems a possibility". I spit up my Cap'n Crunch.

I don't care what lame mid-market announcer the Cubs pull out to sit next to Bob Brenly. Please, please don't let it be Brennaman. I was under the understanding that this guy had burned so many bridges leaving Chicago that there was no way he would ever come back. Keep those bridges burned Trib Exec's! It was bad enough that he called the Cubs in the NLCS in 2003. 7 games of Brennaman was hard to take, imagine 150+.

I have been pretty down on this franchise for sometime now. One way to bring me back will be to hire ANYBODY, BUT THOM. I PROMISE I WILL BE A POSITIVE CUB FAN IN 2005 IF THEY DON'T HIRE THOMMY BOY.

Keep him and his "silent h" out in the Arizona heat.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


This thing is getting funnier by the moment.

In today's Tribune Kerry Wood, when asked if he destroyed Sahm's boombox, said: "I don't have the balls to do that". If this is true, and who wouldn't believe Kerry, it probably means that we have another 1060 West scoop--reported by our Wrigleyville "Neighborhood Sleuth" Vehere. Vehere told me right after this story broke that Mark Prior did it. Even after I told him ESPN1000 reported it was Wood, he told me his sources said Prior.

If Kerry's telling the truth, I think we have our guy Inspector...

Who Broke Sammy's Boom box?

Mark Prior
1060west's Vehere is reporting that Mark Prior did the damage.

In real Cub news--well kind of-- Bob Brenly's gonna sit next to the play-by-play man to be named later in the Cub tv booth. Brenly is a good announcer, with network experience at FOX. I'm happy for Brenly, he won't have to sit next to lil' Thommy anymore.

What I really find interesting about this move is the Cubs now have a TV analyst who has managed more World Series wins than Dusty Baker. I have no inside contacts, like Vehere, but I find it very interesting that the Cubs added Chris Speier (who coached for Brenly on the 2001 World Champion D-Back team) to be Third Base Coach and now Brenly to be the TV analyst. Either one of these guys could be the next Manager of the Cubs. I am not saying this is going to happen. But if the Cubs get off to a mediocre start in '05, Dusty may want to take a look over his shoulder.

Wouldn't either Speier or Brenly be a better replacement than say Bruce Kimm or Jim Essian?


As I'm sure you've heard by now Roger Clemens one his 100th Cy Young today. Big Deal. Congrats to Carlos Zambrano for coming in 5th place!

Here is the voting:
Player, team 1st 2nd 3rd Tot
Clemens, Hou. 23 8 1 140
Johnson, Ari. 8 18 3 97
Oswalt, Hou. 1 3 5 19
Schmidt, S.F. - 1 10 13
Zambrano, Cubs - 1 5 8
Pavano, Fla. - 1 3 6
Gagne, L.A. - - 3 3
Lidge, Hou. - - 1 1
Sheets, Mil. - - 1 1

Carlos had a great year. He was 16-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 209.2 IP. Prior and Wood were on the covers of all the magazines, but Zambrano was the Cubs best starter.

GM Meetings

Quiet as expected. FA activity will pickup after the 12th.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Mo Alou Update from Japan

Fresh off his Horse Farm in the Dominican Republic, Mo Alou homered for the MLB All Stars today in Japan. No word on how many times he checked his swing and argued with the home plate ump. Without Stoney to kick around Alou has few excuses on this trip to Japan.

Making this story even more interesting is the fact that Alou tells MLB.com he wants to play for his Dad in San Francisco. Can you imagine an OF with two bigger malcontents than Bonds and Moises? Due to the fact that Bonds plays LF, Mo would have to play RF and hit fifth. Hitting Fifth in the Giants lineup would not be the issue. Playing RF... Teams will run all day on the Giants with those two in the corner OF positions.

GM Meetings
Jim Hendry heads to the GM Meetings this week. I don't expect any major moves at these meetings. The Cubs may add a bench player or middle reliever. The real needs: offensive players with high OBP, a leadoff hitter,& a closer will take more time to solve. These meetings will hopefully pave the way for several deals over the next few weeks that may clear some salary(RF?).

In other news ExCub backstop Damian Miller will not be back with the A's. He is now a Free Agent. This too from Oakland reports have Billy Bean interested in trading one of the big three Mulder, Zito or Hudson. Hmmm

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Random Cub History: 1995 Player Salaries & Ticket Prices

1995 Chicago Cubs Player Salaries
the '95 Cubs finished 73-71 (3rd in the NL Central)

'95 Ticket Prices

Club Box $19 $15*
Field Box $19 $15*
Terrace Box $15 $11*
UppDeck Box $15 $11*
Terrace Rsv $12 $8*
UppDeck Rsv
Adult(14+) $9 $6*
Child(-13) $6 $4*
Bleacher $10 $6*
Family Sctn $15 $11*
Handicapped $12 $12*
SRO $8 $6*
* Weekdays in April, May & September

'95 Salaries
Mark Grace $ 4,400,000
Sammy Sosa $ 4,300,000
Randy Myers $ 4,233,334
Shawon Dunston $ 3,775,000
Todd Zeile $ 3,700,000
Mike Morgan $ 3,375,000
Brian McRae $ 2,650,000
Luis Gonzalez $ 1,500,000
Rick Wilkins $ 1,475,000
Jaime Navarro $ 1,300,000
Rey Sanchez $ 675,000
Bryan Hickerson $ 400,000
Anthony Young $ 380,000
Mike Perez $ 340,000
Scott Servais $ 340,000
Mark Parent $ 330,000
Howard Johnson $ 325,000
Chris Nabholz $ 300,000
Frank Castillo $ 250,000
Willie Banks $ 240,000
Todd Pratt $ 215,000
Jim Bullinger $ 187,500
Steve Trachsel $ 180,000
Larry Casian $ 160,000
Kevin Foster $ 140,000
Jose Hernandez $ 135,000
Joe Kmak $ 130,000
Mike Walker $ 125,000
Scott Bullett $ 115,000
Turk Wendell $ 112,000
Terry Adams $ 109,000
Matt Franco $ 109,000
Rich Garces $ 109,000
Todd Haney $ 109,000
Mike Hubbard $ 109,000
Roberto Rivera $ 109,000
Ozzie Timmons $ 109,000

Saturday, November 06, 2004

More Cubs Rumors from the LA Times & Beltran Stuff

When I think of Cubs hot stove news, I think LA Times. Earlier this week they had Hendry interested in Angel closer Troy Percival. Now they have the Cubs sending Sahm to Chavez Ravine for Shawn Green. Jim Hendry already dumped Todd Hundley on the Dodgers, why not Sahm?

The Beltran Derby
The easiest money to spend is money that is not yours. Almost everyday a hack in Chicago suggests that if the Cubs don't sign Carlos Beltran they are not committed to winning.

Mariotti has been trumpeting this idea since the playoffs. You see how easy it is for Mariotti to spend the Cubs money. If the Cubs don't get Beltran, they are "cheap" and "don't want to win". I have a couple of problems with this type of reasoning. First of all, as great as Carlos Beltran is he is only one player. We have seen teams like the Rangers sign A-Rod and have so much money tied up in him that the rest of the team was a bunch of utility and triple A players. Secondly the Cubs are finally getting close to being out from under the monster contract of Sammy Sosa. I would be real careful how quickly I got involved in another contract like this.

Scott Boras wants a 10 year contract for Beltran. Unless Big Stein loses his mind this will not happen. In ten years Beltran will be 37, the same "age" as the Cubs current RF(and possibnly the Cards 1b). The numbers I am hearing are 7 years, $140 million. Still this is a ton of cash. I would be real careful giving this type of money to any ballplayer. What hacks like Mariotti forget is the Cubs are still going to have to worry about big pay increases for their core players Ramirez, Prior, Zambrano, Wood, Lee & Barrett. There is no way the Cubs will be able to keep these players with Beltran inked for $20 million/year.

In MLB if you sign a player you are stuck paying that contract. This isn't the NFL where you can sign a player to a bad contract and rip it up once his performance dclines. The Cubs have to be real careful when you start looking at a long termn contract like this. A contract like this can really limit the other moves you will be able to make over the next several seasons. Something to think about as you dream about Beltran in CF tonight.

ExCub Factor News:
The Yankees declined the option on Jon Lieber. Liebs pitched great down the strech for Yanks. He and Mussina were there only decent starters in the playoffs. IMO Lieber would be a quality replacement for Matty Clement.

Finally! Football Saturday Picture of the Day:


As Vehere reminded me earlier this week the Axe has been held hostage the last 363 days. Bring it home to Madison. GO BADGERS!

Have a great Football Saturday!

Friday, November 05, 2004

A Rant on the City of Chicago vs. The Cubs

More news on the never-ending dispute between the Cubs and City Hall:

Today the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Tribsters owe the city $3.3 Million for the land that lies underneath the players parking lot just west of the ballpark. Interesting that in 1981 the Tribsters bought this land from the railroad company that had the land.

This whole thing is typical of Chicago politics. The city of Chicago which brought us the New Soldier Field at taxpayer expense, is now telling the Cubs what they can and can't do on their property at their own expense. The city does this in the interest of "the neighborhood" and "public well being". Where was the interest of "the lakefront" when they Bears stole city money to rebuild Soldier Field into a flying saucer?

The $3.3 million is just the start of a negotiation between the city and Trib on what the "legalized payoff" to the city will be for the Cubs bleacher expansion--funny how the city in a major budget crunch decides to call in this "found debt". As is always the case in Chicago you can break any code or law if you grease the right politician. In this case the stakes and rules are no different. The only difference is that Wrigley Field has a larger profile than even the Mayor.

I would love to see the Cubs fight this. That won't happen. They are desperate to get the bleacher expansion and Wrigley Field campus complete in this century. So they'll play the games and get it done. The Tribsters plan to build an entertainment complex on the land west of the ballpark. This will only enhance the value of the franchise and help bring in more revenue for the team. All the city is asking is "Where's mine?"

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Maddux is Golden & Cubs Hot Stove Stuff

Congrats to Cub Greg Maddux on winning his 14th Gold Glove.

Ahhh the joy of the off season. Hope Springs Eternal! I'm sure Jim Hendry is going to build a World Champiuonship team this off season. Anyhow, here's some news from around the Majors concerning the Northsiders:

Nomar is telling friends he'll move to 2B to play with his friends Jeter and A-Rod in the Bronx. What will the BoSox fans do if Nomar is part of the Evil Empire?

The LA Times is reporting that Jim Hendry and the Cubs are among 6 teams with interest in Troy Percival.

Rozner tells us that Chris Speier is an interesting choice as 3b coach. It looks to me like he's Dusty's replacement should 2005 go poorly.

I'm sure if I could read the Spanish papers I'd find more controversey surrounding the Cub RF. But here's what Phil Rogers wrote for ESPN about Sahm. Another ESPN.com story by Mark Kreidler details what a pain in the a$% Sammy was this year.

Another ESPN hack predicts that "Reverse the Curse" will become a cottage industry in Chicago like it was in Boston. Ahhhh you have gotta love the East Coast bias of ESPN.

Finally, in the story that will never go away. The City of Chicago is telling the Cubs what they can and can't do with the proposed bleacher expansion.

Grenade found in RF at Wrigley

I'm not sure if this is symbolism or something. But they found a grenade in RF at Wrigley on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

ELECTION DAY: Blog coverage

None on this site! For the BEST coverage of the Election on the web goto:


Monday, November 01, 2004

Tax Loophole for Professional Sports Teams

In Sunday's Trib Bob Verdi discusses a tax loophole that will add dollars to the bottom line of all sports franchises. Will the Cubs add this money to their 2005 payroll? Hmmm.