Monday, February 28, 2005

Youth is wasted on this club...

It's tough to break into any big league lineup. It's that much tougher when your Manager is "Hard Bake". Reading between the lines I'd say Dusty has already decided that Hollandsworth and Burnitz will be his corner OF's. This from today's Daily Herald:

"No," Baker said Sunday when asked if Dubois was the front-runner for a job in outfield. "The front-runners are Burnitz and (Todd) Hollandsworth. So we've got a find a place for him to play somewhere out there."

Although it is clear to most Cub fans that Dubois has passed young Dave Kelton among Cub prospects. It does not mean that Dubois will start the year with the Cubs at Bank One Ballpark. Here's more from "Hard Bake":

"Really, it's kind of between him and Kelton," Baker said. "Both are in the same situation. We've got some decisions to make at the end of spring training."

The reason the Cubs may keep Kelton over Dubois has nothing to do with performance. The fact is Kelton will be out of options at the end of spring. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me why the Cubs have held on to Kelton so long. The guy is a hitter without a position. He needs to go to an AL team where he'll get the opportunity to DH.

A few years back the Cubs were gonna go young with Corey Patterson, Hee Choi, Bobby Hill, and Kelton as the core position players. How has that worked? Not as bad as you'd think. The Cubs were able to use Choi and Hill to acquire Lee and Ramirez. Some still think Corey has an upside. I think you might be seeing what you'll get from Corey--great defense, a little pop, but awful plate discipline and pitch selection.

Back to Dubois. Jason is now 25. He has been great the past few seasons in the minors. He was player of the year in the Arizona Fall League in 2003. It really is time for the Cubs to let Dubois earn a shot at starting in LF or RF. At 25 it's time for Dubois to sink or swim.

It is in Cubs best interest to see some young players from the minors make the team and play everyday. This way they can control this players contract for six years before he is eligible to make big cash. This would be beneficial to the Northsiders as big pay days are coming for Aramis Ramirez, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano(just to name a few).

"Hard Bake" likes veteran players. Veteran players are fine. You have to allow deserving young players a chance.

I'm rooting for Dubois this spring. I want to see him make the team and EARN(not be given) a starting spot in the OF. I think it will be good for the Cubs now and in the years ahead.

Friday, February 25, 2005

the central crown? a forecast

i like rozner as much as the next guy, but i have to say that he is out in left field right now on the cubs -- and it's better him than jerry hairston.

i have no argument with the pitching staff. they endured some injuries last year and still allowed only 665 runs, good for second-best (to the cardinals) in the majors. but, in fairness, they got amazing production from glendon rusch for 130 innings that they have no right to expect this year -- and, worse, they let matt clement go. the very tough spot lefty mercker is gone, replaced with questionable stephen randolph. farnsworth may well not be missed, though i doubt roberto novoa is any better than he was.

in short, the pitching might be in for a bit of a letdown, even if it is still very good. the problem is that this was a third-place club in 2004 with a very average offense. and the offense is likely to get significantly worse.

the infield should be okay for so long as it is healthy. that can be a question with nomar, but not unduly so -- for all the reputation he may have, he played 156 games in both 2002 and 2003. but i think one has to expect aramis to come back to earth a bit. his numbers last season (.318/.373/.578) were far out of line, and a reasonable expectation would be closer to his career averages (.273/.324/.467) if not a total regression. similarly, barrett hit extremely well last year, and can't be expected to hit .287 again. lee and walker round out an infield that can hit if not field.

the real problem is on the grass. the outfield may the the worst in baseball -- yep, you heard it here. the corners have been a team strength for the better part of a decade with sammy a stalwart in right and the waveland end filled by alou, rondell white, henry rodriguez, glenallen hill, luis gonzalez and even doug glanville (who at least hit .308 playing 120 games in left on the horrid 1997 team).

all that is done. some combination of burnitz, hairston, hollandsworth and patterson will torture cubs fans beginning april 4, turning the bleachers into an abu ghraib redux. unless dreams of aubrey huff suddenly materialize, or jason dubois transmogrifies into billy williams (or even makes the team), it's going to be a very trying season.

what's the significance? i'd expect the cubs run production to drop possibly into the lower third of baseball -- and no team that has that much trouble scoring is getting anywhere near the cardinals. barring dramatic moves to improve left field (and center and right) -- and this is already close to the highest-paid team in the NL, so you can't expect just too much -- i would not be surprised to see the cubs hover near .500 and third or fourth place. as terrible a disappointment as that might be for many, 82 wins looks pretty realistic.


Some people had suggested to me that the demand for Cub tickets would be down this year. If it is, I am not seeing it in my Virtual Waiting Room stay. I am not a rocket scientist but this is not the solution for keeping tickets out of scalpers hands. Somewhere a ticket broker has an office full of people snagging tickets online. Meanwhile Joe Six Pack either has to take a day off of work or he has to take a real long bathroom break to try and get tickets. I guess they call it progress...

Looking at the Cubs for 2005 a couple of things seem different. The Cubs could have an Opening Day outfield featuring three left handed hitters. When was the last time that happened? The Northsiders will finally enter the season with a lefty in the starting rotation(Shawn Estes didn't count in my world). Finally, the Cubs are getting some of the lefty/righty balance we complained about for years. Now if only they'd concentrate on OBP.

I am still really concerned with the lack of a leadoff hitter. I don't think Patterson is suited for that role. Patterson is a #6 or #7 hitter right now. He's a great defensive CF. But you don't have to leadoff just because you are fast and play CF. With the current Cub roster the best option to leadoff might be, errrr should I say it, Wo... I mean Todd Walker. The guy is not the speed man you would like at the top of the lineup, but he can hit. As the roster is configured today Walker would be my choice. Now don't get me started on his defense...

I still think Jim Hendry is gonna make a move to bring in an established closer. It may not be in March. Come June, Oakland will probably be pretty far back in the AL West. That's when the Dotel deal will happen. That will give Dempster and Borowski Spring Training, April, and May to show if they can close big league games. If one is succesful the Cubs will pass on the Dotel deal.

Every Spring, I hear the same thing about training in Arizona. It's hard to judge hitters because of the altitude. (Remember the spring that Mark Bellhorn put up Maris-esque numbers?) You can't judge pitchers because the ball doesn't move like it will back in the north. If these are both true why do the Cubs train in Arizona and not Florida? Some will tell you the weather, it never rains in AZ so the players get their work in. El Nino has taken care of that this year. Would the Cubs be better served training in Florida? In the Cactus League you can't judge hitters nor pitchers. Can you judge young hitters and pitchers talent better in the Grapefruit League? If you can why are the Cubs still training in Mesa?

Anyways, I'm heading back to the VIRTUAL WAITING ROOM

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Waiting all night for tickets in the good ole days...

This Friday is ticket day at the Friendly Confines and around the country many Cub fans will take their shot with the website or the 800 number. I have no real trick to recommend. Just have high speed internet service and cross your fingers.

Back in the late nineties gaius marius, VeHere and I used to make ticket Friday a holiday. Of course back in those days there were no wristbands. This was first come, first served, only the strong (or really drunk) survive. It all began one Thursday night when we were out at local establishments way to late. On our way home we walked by the ballpark and noticed about 75-100 brave souls in front of the park. We jumped in line and met a ton of nice people. We would sneak a few drinks and fight the chilling temperatures that make a Chicago February.

It's funny, but through the years I have met more great people in lines at Wrigley Fd. I was never quite smart enough to bring a chair or blankets. But someone was always nice enough to lend me a seat for an hour or two. These are complete strangers who you may never see again, but on these nights we shared the cold and the bond that this year might be the next year we keep waiting for.

The most memorable line for me had to be '98. It was a warmer but rainy night if I remember correctly. Harry Caray had just passed away and fans were putting flowers and pictures on his plaque in the Cubs walk of fame. Fans were taking pictures in front of this make shift shrine. This went on all night. By morning I was in great Cub spirits and very optimistic for the coming year. When I made it inside to fill out my ticket form I bought almost twice the amount of tickets I had planned. That season I was able to see 50 games at Wrigley (still my high water mark for games). I'll never forget watching Kerry Wood as a rookie or watching Sammy's HR's. The best part was the one game playoff against the Giants to win the Wild Card. (that's a whole different line story)

Now the Cubs do the whole wristband thing and make a big to do out of it by announcing the winner on WGN radio. It's a shame. Waiting in line all night made for some great memories.

Good luck to all in your pursuit of tickets

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What a jerk...

I happened to be in the car this afternoon and got to listen to the Barry Bonds press conference. The press conference didn't answer any questions regarding his use of steroids -- it was actually useless. The press conference just reaffirmed that Barry Bonds is a jerk who can hit a round ball. The guy went off on the media blaming them for everything, he went off on Canseco, he also pulled the race card regarding his pursuit of Babe Ruth's HR record.

I was really surprised that the Giants and/or Bonds' agent had not coached him better for this press conference. A less puffy Bonds(hmmm) was unnerved throughout the press conference.

When Bonds gets close to the record and the media discusses why the public does not like Bonds, I hope people remember this press conference. It's a real shame that such a miserable fellow is going to capture Henry Aaron's record. Barry Bonds is a bad sound bite and a poor ambassador for MLB. Baseball fans deserve better from the games marquis player.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sammy/Dusty soap opera -- the last round

Dusty and Sahm had a conversation this past week. Dusty called the Cubs ex-slugger and asked him about why their relationship soured last year. Here’s Dusty: “I got hold of him, and we had a short conversation. I wished him well. I did ask him, I said, ‘Hey man, I’m still bewildered about what happened and why,’ and he didn’t really have an answer.”

Please help me out folks. Why is Dusty concerned about what Sammy thinks now? Why is Dusty calling Sammy now? Shouldn’t he have called him the day after the season ended and asked him this question? Would this have saved us from Jer0my Burnitz?

Blame is easily spread out on this one. Sammy was wrong for what he did and said, the Tribsters were wrong for allowing this to get out to the press, Johnnie B. Baker was wrong for not doing anything…“I don’ know, dude.” It’s really sad that nobody in the tower was smart enough to stop this from happening.

Thing's Change, Move on...

I know you’re all probably as sick of that soap opera as I am. That’s the last I’ll talk about Sammy vs. Dusty as a lead on the site.


The Cubs franchise RHP had some great stuff in “my hometown paper” the USA Today on Friday. In an article concentrating on ‘roids Prior offered: “I think ever since my second year, this cloud of steroid use has been hanging over us. What are we going to do about it? What are we not going to do about it? Who’s involved and who’s not. It has definitely painted a darker picture than what it used to be.” This guys a young jock(but an ‘SC grad) but he really makes sense.

The Cubs franchise pitcher added (on Canseco’s book): “The only problem is the source. What are his motives and is he telling the truth? Canseco has had such a sporadic lifestyle over the last few years.” Spoken like a veteran ballplayer and a player rep. Young #22 is saying what I wish more ballplayers were.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Good Day for the Cubs

Happy Pitcher and Catchers report day everyone. Next Year is finally upon us. There are many questions surrounding the Cubs as they beging Spring Training. My main questions are:

1. The bullpen. Who is gonna close? Is he on the staff? Who will fill the 8th inning slot?

2. The outfield. Is Dusty Baker really gonna put Burnitz and Hollandsworth out in the OF? Will DuBois get a shot?

3. Health of the starters. Wood and Prior are obvious concerns what about the aging Maddux and the workhorse Zambrano?

4. Who will Hendry add to the mix? This could help resolve questions one, two and possible three.

Enjoy Spring Training everyone. It's great to have the boys back. Let the games begin.

The Cubs and City are putting the final touches on Bleacher Expansion!
I cannot believe it has only been four years. In today's Bright One Fran Spielman reports that the Cubs and City of Chicago are wrapping up a sweet deal that will have the Cubs rebuilding the bleachers at the end of the 2005 season. No news on when the Wrigley campus next door will be complete.

According to Spielman's column the Cubs will pay:

It calls for the team to pay Chicago taxpayers $3.1 million up front while also contributing roughly $250,000 toward the cost of the park and $400,000 over eight years to install the traffic light at a Clark and Waveland intersection that would get a whole lot busier if the Cubs proceed with plans to build a restaurant, a 400-space parking garage and a Cubs Hall of Fame.

This deal should be good for both the Cubs and the city. The city gets some much needed cash (the Mayor's wife needs a new pair of shoes) and the Cubs get a revenue generators that will make Wrigley Fd. more viable in the coming years. Hopefully we the fans will see a competitive team for years to come.

Hats off to Tom Tunney for working with the Cubs and making this a reality. In years past Bernie Hansen would have went on radio and tv ranting about how bad the Tribsters are for Wrigleyville. Not Tunney, he worked out an agreement that was beneficial to both sides. Thanks Alderman.

Feds warned Uncle Bud 10 years back

According to the NY Daily News Feds warned Major League owners about steroid use by players 10 years ago. Here's part of the article:

Special Agent Greg Stejskal, who oversees the Bureau's Ann Arbor, Mich., office, said he told baseball security chief Kevin Hallinan that Jose Canseco and many other players were using illegal anabolic steroids. Stejskal's warning was based on evidence gathered during a far-reaching steroid investigation he conducted in the '90s, but the agent says the lords of the game did not act on the information.

"I alerted Major League Baseball back in the time when we had the case, that Canseco was a heavy user and that they should be aware of it. . . . I spoke to the people in their security office. Hallinan was one of the people I spoke to," Stejskal told The News.

Hallinan "seemed interested," Stejskal said, but the agent says there was little baseball security could do about the problem. Major League Baseball and the union did not agree to a steroid testing program or disciplinary sanctions until 2002. A proposal during negotiations preceding the 1994 players' strike went nowhere. The FBI investigation focused on dealers rather than users.

Baseball officials denied yesterday that they were informed of steroid use, and angrily denounced Stejskal's charges.

"It did not happen," Hallinan said. "Not with this guy, not with anybody else."

Well, well, well, here comes the truth and it's uglier than many suspected. The Major League Owners and Uncle Bud new about the steroid problems for years and simply ignored the issue. Another quote from Agent Stejskal is telling:

"There's little question the use of steroids was very widespread in baseball," Stejskal said. "And Major League Baseball in effect, they didn't sanction it, but they certainly looked the other way."

Why was MLB not willing to take a look at the steroid problem? The answer is as basic as they come -- dollar signs. According to Team Marketing Report(TMR) MLB prices have risen 45% since 1998 and 86% since 1994. Here's how the owners have taken our cash since '94.

YearAvg Tkt% changeFCI










1995$10.731.20%$ 97.55

1994$10.608.90%$ 96.41

Following the devastating strike of 1994, which stole the World Series from the fans. Baseball owners were desperate to find something that would capture fans. Along comes steroids and "Chicks dig the longball". Puting their heads in the sand and ignoring the problem of steroids was the easy thing for baseball owners to do. Balls were sailing out of the park and the fans were paying record prices to see games.

Don't lie to us Commissioner Selig. You have allowed these juiced up players to make a mockery of the baseball record books.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Loose lips sink ships

Barry Bonds' mistress of nine years is writing a tell all book about her affair with Bonds. Just like the Canseco book there will be an allegation of steroid use. Bonds' mistress Kimberley Bell claims to have had a relationship with Bonds for nine years. During those years she noticed a change in Bonds' body...imagine that. Here's a transcript from an interview she had with Fox News' Geraldo Rivera (Jerry Rivers).

Every baseball fan, who is not in denial, realizes that MLB has a real problem on their hands. Many knew this back in the late 90's. The media is pounding the sport. Every player is now guilty until proven innocent in the land of public opinion. Bud Selig needs to take a major stance. He must show that MLB's new drug policy has some teeth. More importantly he has got to put the public and the media at ease that this scandal will be dealt with and not ignored.

Roger Maris has already paid for MLB's steroid binge by losing his single season HR record. Now the juiced up Barry Bonds takes aim at Hank Aaron. 755 is a sacred number to most baseball fans. Many consider it the greatest record in american sport. Now Bonds, already the single season record holder, is within 52 long balls of Aaron's mark.

Selig and Alderson need to take their heads out of the sand. Take a long look at what is happening to the sport. They need to do baseball a favor and protect Hank Aaron's record from Bonds, Sosa or any other "'roid slugger". Selig could use his"best interest of baseball clause" to suspend Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield for their part in the Balco scam. A more media friendly option might be to see if Bonds will "voluntarily" retire. This would eliminate the controversey that will follow the suspension of Bonds. Either way, Selig needs to protect Aaron and his 755 homeruns.

Bud Selig faces another major test as Commish. Will he show the back bone Judge Landis did in Black Sox scandal? I don't expect he will.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hey-O's ...He's all yours! (Good Luck!)

Here is an excerpt from an article Rick Morrisey wrote about Sammy last Friday.
I think it is funny how people change, I don't think Sammy was arranging limo rides when he was with the White Sox, or his early Cubbie days.

"In a report from the Baltimore Sun that provides another peek into what one of those players is all about. Consider it a "jumping-off point" for a discussion about some of the scoundrels from last year's team.

It seems that when it was time for Sosa to take his physical for the Orioles last week, a team employee arrived in a personal vehicle to transport Sosa to the facility.

Sosa didn't offer a heart tap or even blow a kiss. He wagged a disapproving index finger. He said he doesn't do personal vehicles. He would require a limousine. The limo arrived about an hour later, delaying the physical and the ensuing news conference.

Sun columnist Peter Schmuck referred to it as an apparent "diva moment" by Sosa. Some of us here in Chicago would refer to it as bigness as usual for His Samminess."

Just a bit outside,


Thursday, February 10, 2005

What a difference a year makes...

Going into last year, the entire North side was a buzz. We got Derek Lee! We got Maddux back! We signed Walker, Barret, Hollandsworth, Hawkins, Dempster...The signings and deals last off-season painted the picture that the Cubs were making moves to better their position in the race for the pennant, and eventually the World Series.

This season, Sammy's gone, in a lop-sided, whacked out, BAltimore has nothing to lose, what do the Cubs get trade. We sign the Burnitzaplyse, which now he can officially be considered a MLB journey-man. Farnsie is gone (Well that one is very arguable as to who made out) Clement, Alou, all for not. This off-season seems like anything but a valiant effort to better our position, and make a run for the championship.

I have always been an eternal optimist, and I probably always will be, being a cubs fan you have to be. Yet even I have an extremely hard time seeing the positives going into this season. Yeah, we still have the 'Aces on the Hill', and our hitting may not be that bad, but laying out a were gonna do what we can to field a team mentatlity, in the off-season sure make this fan very weary of what the '05 season is going to bring.

Just a bit outside,


The Farns...a six year roller coaster

It's a shame Kyle Farnsworth came to Chicago prior to the television craze that is reality tv. Some cable station missed out on a chance to have a hit. Cameras could have followed the young hillbilly from Georgia around the big city in the north Chicago. This series would have had the three D's. Drama, Drinking & Deception. The three D's make a reality tv show work.

Farns spent 6 up and down years on the Northside. At the end the Wrigley faithful booed him regularly. Anyways, here are my TOP SIX Kyle Farnsworth moments while he was on the Cub:

6. In 2004 in a puff piece in the Tribune, Kyle's Dad cannot understand why Dusty gave Borowski the closer role in 2003 and not Kyle. The same article shows a picture of Kyle's #44 proudly hanging behind the bar at Tai's 'til 4. Maybe that was the reason.

5. In 2003 Red's Pitcher makes the mistake of charging the mound against the Farns. The Farns beats the snot out of Wilson.

4. In 2004 The Farns kicks a giant fan in the clubhouse injuring his foot and landing him on the DL.

3. Guess who came in and put gas on the fire in the 8th inning of Game 6 versus the Marlins?

2. In 2002 Manager Bruce Kimm has so much control of the team, that it is leaked that a relief pitcher was sleeping during a game in the clubhouse. While many suspect it to be public enemy #1 Antonio Alfonseca it is later determined that it was our hero good ole #44.

1. Any late nite you saw the Farns bartending, howling at the moon or sleeping at Tai's 'til 4.

It's been said many times. But I'd like to write it one last time: "Million dollar arm, ten cent brain." Good luck Kyle, I hope you find what you are looking for in Detroit, I'd suggest you look in Greektown.

License Plates

I found this on the rivals website...

The Missouri legislature with a great idea! We kicked some of these around and came up with the following vanity plates for the rivals(note these are not in good taste):

Puhols - STIL 23
LaRussa - GENIUS
Ankiel -- BACKSTP
Edmonds - JUCED
Bo Hart - 1YRWUNDR
Mulder - SAVIOR?

For equal time, below are some ideas for the Cubs if the Illinois legislature wants to follow Missouri's idea.

1060 WEST

If you want a Redbird plate here's the link. Tell 'em 1060west sent ya'.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

farnsie gone!

well, so much for our bar circuit report -- kyle farnsworth (and a player to be named) is traded to the tigers for midseason callup righthanded reliever roberto novoa and class a'ers infielder scott moore and speedy outfielder bo flowers.

the tigers landed magglio the other day, and farnsie looks to be another move to build a bullpen around new acquisition troy percival, where he can move into estaban yan's old spot. less pressure for farnsie, one would suspect, with both percival and urbina in place. someone is sure to show sleepy the way to greektown in the next few days, but perhaps the more limited selection of ballpark pubs will help improve performance. comerica park will help him keep it in the yard as well.

novoa is a 24 y/o 6-foot-5 dominican righty who looked very good at double-a erie in 2004 as a reliever and was brought up with the late-season roster expansion. he is projected to be a decent major-league reliever, and was considered something of a hot prospect by the tigers. but this is also definitely a case of buying high.

moore was the 8th overall pick of the 2002 draft and played 2004 at lakeland in the class a florida state league, where he hit just .223 over 391 at-bats, popping a respectable 14 homers from the left side. like many 20-year-old hitters with a bit of pop, he has a discipline problem -- 125 K last year, obp of .322. novoa is something a typical reliever, but moore would be the potential upside in this trade. something of a fallen star in the tiger system for his difficulty in adapting to pro ball, the kid is just 20 and was considered just last year to be part of the tigers' "infield of the future" at third base. time will tell....

flowers was a 2002 fifth-rounder with little pop and 16 stolen bases in 25 attempts in 246 at-bats in the class a new york penn league. he's considered to be top-shelf talent, but still years from the majors.

Loyalty to a fault

If you had a pitcher who has had great success in one role and repeatedly failed in another role, which role would you put him in? It seems pretty simple, put him in the role that he succeeds in. This will be best for both the player and the team. Somehow Dusty Baker does not see it this way. In today's Bright One Chris De Luca writes that Dusty Baker favors LaTroy Hawkins for the closer role. WHAT??? Did Dusty miss the disastor at Shea last September? Did Dusty miss LaTroy's 3 blown saves down the stretch last season?

LaTroy looks to the ground after Clemente H.S. Grad Victor Diaz takes him deep at Shea. This loss triggered the 2004 Cubs death spiral.

Hawkins failed in the closer role and he did the same on the Northside in 2004. That being said, LaTroy has been great in the setup role throughout his career. He was the Twins bridge to Everyday Eddie Guardado during two of Minnesota's AL Central title runs. If the Cubs don't use LaTroy in the 8th who will they use? Mike Remlinger? That worked well last year. Why is Dusty Baker sticking with Hawkins. Baker has always been loyal to veteran players (remember him putting Lenny Harris on the field in 2003?) he's also very hesitant to play a young player (good luck Jason DuBois) or change an experienced players position or role.

The fact that Dusty may use LaTroy in the closers role again weakens the Cubs in two spots. It weakens them in the eighth inning and the ninth. Dusty needs to put Hawkins into the role he is comfortable with and has succeeded at. Give Hawk the 8th and find someone to work the ninth -- either from within (Jim Hendry's choice Ryan Dempster) or via a trade.

RUMOR MILL: Speaking of the Cubs bullpen and a trade, ESPN 1000's Bruce Levine continues to insist that Hendry is trying to acquire Octavio Dotel to close for the Cubs.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hey Jose....Get Hosed!

"Juice: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big,"

Jose Canseco's new book soon to be released points the finger at teamates around the league as using and abusing steroids, what a crock. Be careful 1060 westers on who you listen to. This one-time part, of the 1-2 punch called the "bash brothers" is in my humble opionion, trying to take monetary advantage of the flavor of the day in MLB.

When I was 14 years old my old man took me down to Old County for a Brewers/A's game. We went early for BP to see the players, get autograph's and hopefully get a ball. Steinbach signed my hat, McGwire signed my hat, Weiss signed my hat, but when I asked for Canseco's, a gentleman named Ozzie Canseco asked for $5 and he would get his brother to sign the hat. Just a little insight as to what is motivating Canseco right now.

I have no Physical proof that Canseco's claims are false, nor will I put togheter an investigation that provides eveidence of false claims. I will trust my instincts and refer back to that July day in 1988, where my run in with the Canseco family was anything but what baseball is about.

We all make choices in life, good or bad, we live with the consequences. Perhaps Canseco would have chose earlier in his career to not be such a primadonna and he wouldn't have to write a book about steroids to make a living. People who abuse fame, will only find that what ever hole they think they are in, that hole is only going to get deeper and deeper, unless you fec up come clean, and actually try to become a good person. The thing that really doesn't sink in for Hose-A is he hit 40 homers and stole 40 bases in one year, a feat only accomplished by a few. Why didn't he choose to write a book about "How I accomlished my 40/40 year"? I would have read that...Not anymore!

Feel free to comment on your thoughts of Mr. Canseco. And I would be very eager to hear if anyone else has ever met his brother Ozzie, or Jose and what there meeting was like, (Good or bad)

Just a bit outside,


Brewers to increase ticket prices for all 10 cub games

Thanks to Cubsnet's blog for the heads up on this stroy. If you have not made the pilgrimage over to, take some time to check out the site. It has a ton of good Cubs stuff. Any Cubs fan will enjoy.


Your trip to Miller Park's gonna cost you a few more bucks in 2005. I'm not even talking about the speed traps going up I-94.

The Milwaukee Brewers intend to raise prices for 13 games in 2005. 10 games with your Chicago Cubs and 3 with the Bombers from NYC. The Brewers are going to a tiered pricing program similar to the one the Cubs started several years back. The Milwaukee Business Journal gives us all the details. According to the column ticket prices will go up from $3 to $9, depending on seat location, for the 13 games.

At this point normally I'd go off on some rant on my favorite commissioner Uncle Bud Selig. But Dammit, Selig doesn't own the Brewers anymore. I don't know who the new guy is. It's hard to blame him though. All of the Cubs games in '04 drew more than 40,000 and nearly doubled the Brewers average single game attendance figure. It's supply and demand. The popularity of the Cubs is really hurting the average fan in his wallet.

The Fourth Base in Milwaukee is a great place to stop by before or after Cub games at Wrigley Fd. North. (Get your picture taken with Harvey Kuenn's peg leg!)

I used to always count on an affordable ticket in Milwaukee along with a good party in the parking lot and "Milwaukee prices" on beer inside the park, followed by some good eats at the Fourth Base. I guess that's all out the window! What will they do next? They'll probably make the guys with Illinois driver licenses pay "Chicago prices" for beer. Are you sure Selig sold the Brewers? Somewhere Uncle Bud is lurking, somewhere...

Serie Del Caribe

The New England Patriots were not the only team crowned Champions on Super Sunday. In Mazatlan, Mexico the host team from Mazatlan were crowned champions of the Carribean World Series. Mazatlan defeated Aguilas from the Dominican Republic 4-3 on Sunday to clinch.

While Aguilas had 18 players with Major League affiliation, including Sahm's new teammate Miggy Tejada, Mazatlan were led by 2003 Cub Trenidad Hubbard, Cub killer Vinny Castilla, and Erubiel Durazo.

Here are the Results
Feb. 1
Mexico 4, Venezuela 0
Feb. 2
Venezuela 7, Dominican 5
Mexico 7, Puerto Rico 5
Feb. 3
Venezuela 6, Puerto Rico 5
Mexico 7, Dominican 1
Feb. 4
Dominican 8, Puerto Rico 3
Venezuela 5, Mexico 4
Feb. 6
Dominican 5, Venezuela 1
Mexico 4, Puerto Rico 0
Puerto Rico 4, Venezuela 3
Mexico 4, Dominican Republic 3
Feb. 7
Dominican 3, Puerto Rico 1

I have always loved the Serie Del Caribe. It used to be broadcast in the states on Telemundo. It was pretty fun to watch while listening to the Spanish speaking announcers. For about a year or so it was on Fox Sports World. But since that time Man. U, Arsenal, Chelsea and the rest of the English Premier League have taken over that network. So now the Serie Del Caribe has been relegated to Fox Sports Spanish or some network that I don't have. You'd think with all of the garbage on tv these days, that one of the U.S. cable stations would broadcast these games back to the states. I'd love to watch some live baseball in early February.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Dusty Baker of football

Nice job, Coach!

Dusty Baker

3/13/2002 Todd Hundley Article

Do to the recent requests of Tawd watch, I thought I would throw out an archived Todd hundley article, notice the title of the article is "back in top shape". Yet the person wrote about how Tawd was hot-boxing cigarettes in the club-house, in the same article! God Bless the media!



Hundley back in top shape — physically and mentally

By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Baseball Weekly
By Barbara Jean Germano, Baseball Weekly

The only active catchers with more career home runs than Hundley are Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez.

Todd Hundley

MESA, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs' clubhouse is nearly vacant. The carpet is vacuumed. The uniforms are folded. The shoes are polished.

The clubhouse attendants, who watched the players leave 2 1/2 hours ago, still wait for one last man before they can lock the doors for the night.

They sit. They wait. Finally, walking in with his body covered with sweat and grime, is the same guy that has kept the clubbies late all spring.

It is Todd Hundley.

Hundley arrived in camp having shed 12 pounds, down to 195, and feeling the best he has since 1997. He's on a mission. Hundley not only is trying to regain the form that made him one of the finest power-hitting catchers in the game, but he's also trying to erase the demons of last season.

Hundley stops to get a couple of bags of ice for his knees. He heads for the laundry room, and for the next hour, sits slumped on a stool, smoking one cigarette after another, trying to make sense of the anguish that ravaged his body and spirit.

It had been not only the pressure and distractions of coming home, the expectations of being a high-priced free agent, but also playing in the shadow of his father, former Cubs catching great Randy Hundley.

"Man, what I experienced last year, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy," Hundley says. "It's like my whole life was ripped out from under me. It was a nightmare. It was the second-worst summer of my life.

"The worst was the previous year.

"When my mom died."

Hundley stops talking, takes a long drag on his cigarette, and shuts his eyes. It's as if he is allowing all of last season to flash through his mind. The benching on Opening Day. The .187 batting average. The 83 games missed.

And the booing — the constant booing and taunting by his hometown fans.

"I wasn't myself last year," Hundley said. "I wasn't even close to being the same person. I apologized to (manager) Don Baylor and (president) Andy MacPhail. That wasn't me. I'm embarrassed by what happened."

What happened, Hundley and his friends now believe, is that he still had not emotionally recovered from the death of his mother, Betty. While the rest of the Hundley family was having counseling and therapy just four days after her death in August 2000, Hundley still was playing baseball for the Dodgers.

It wasn't until he signed three months later — a four-year, $23.5 million contract with the Cubs — that it finally hit him. He had been away from home for so long. When he spent time at the house he grew up in, and saw his family and longtime friends, he was overcome with grief.

"That was by far his biggest problem, not having his mom here," Randy Hundley says. "He just didn't have the time and the opportunity to grieve his mom's death like the rest of us did. And they were so close. I don't think even Todd realized how much he depended on her.

"He spent almost the entire season fighting depression. He was in depression all through spring training. And when he didn't start on Opening Day, that put him in a deeper state of depression. That was very, very upsetting to him.

"And then he lost his confidence, started doubting his own ability and started pressing.

"You know what the ironic thing is?

"If his mom had been alive, she never would have allowed him to come to Chicago. She always felt like the pressure was too much for him to come play here."

Hundley, remembering that his mom always told him never to come back home to play, says he had a dream one night that she actually gave her blessing. It was now OK to play for the Cubs. He still had tons of friends and family back home. He remembers former teammate Darryl Strawberry telling him about the difficulties of returning home to play.

And he knew that he constantly would be compared to his father.

Still, Hundley believed enough time had passed. He thought he was mentally prepared for the challenge.

"Man, was I ever wrong," Hundley says. "It started in spring training and went downhill from there. I started bad, started pressing, and never recovered. I mean, I love baseball. I'm usually one of those guys who just likes hanging at the ballpark after games.

"But last year, I couldn't stand going there.

"And I couldn't wait to leave."

It was hard to blame him. Nagging injuries plagued him all year. He was reduced to a platoon role. He hit only five home runs until September. He was unmercifully booed at Wrigley, louder than any Cub in memory.

Hundley, 32, did everything possible this winter to ensure that he returns to his All-Star form. He hired a nutritionist, changed his diet and stopped drinking. He went to bed early each night, then was back in the weight room and batting cage in the morning.

"I worked out this winter on the little things. I worked on my stomach muscles, hamstrings and shoulders. It helps so much. I started losing weight, but I had more energy, and was quicker. I had three workouts a day, but now I feel 100% better.

"The only trouble is I'm constantly hungry."

Hundley sits back and laughs, watching the smoke disappear into the air.

It feels good to be back.

"I'm telling you, the way he looks, his whole attitude, is completely different than last season," Baylor says.

"Really, the difference is like night and day. He looks so much more comfortable now. And he's relaxed.

"He could be a big key for us."

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Too Close for Dusty's Comfort

What is Dusty gonna do? This week the Cubs thought they had rid themselves of all of the excuses for the 2004 collapse. Guess what folks, this soap opera get's even better.

Steve Stone is going to return to Chicago. He's gonna return to Wrigley Fd. (along with Comiskey Pk.). He's even gonna be in the press box. Dusty thought he had chased the Stone Pony out of town. But as Ed Sherman reported yesterday Stoney will be in the press box reporting for the Score Sports Radio 670.

This is classic. We all know how sarcastic Stone can be when he has an axe to grind. Well he has a big axe to grind with Baker. I wonder if Stoney will be attending Dusty's postgame press conferences asking him questions. The gloves are off for the Stone Pony. I cannot wait to listen. I guess I'll have to reprogram 670 into my car radio.

According to Sherman, Stone is looking at broadcasting some national games possibly for ESPN. I really think FOX should hire Stone and pair him with Joe Buck. Stone is such a good analyst he deserves the national stage of the playoffs and world series.

I would not be surprised to see Stone one day back in the Cub broadcast booth. Once Dusty is fired and Brenly is in the dugout it'll be time for Stone to return to the job that he has mastered. In the meantime Stone will keep the heat on Baker. I can't wait to listen.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Aramis avoids arbitration

According to reports the Cubs and third sacker Aramis Ramirez have avoided salary arbitration. Ramirez has signed a one year deal worth around $9 million. Ramirez had asked for $10.25 million, the Cubs offer was $8 million. The Cubs and Ramirez will agree to an extension during Spring Training.

Sammy Says!

Here is what Sammy was most recently quoted as saying, about his recent endeavors...

``All the problems I had in Chicago, it's in the past. What happened, happened,'' Sosa said. ``Just like a marriage, sometimes you just have to get a divorce. We're all smart guys. We know it was time to move on.''

I am curious to see the 1060West faithfuls reaction and comments on Sammy's infinite wisdom!


Thursday, February 03, 2005

the new cub outfield

let's talk a little bit about deflating expectations. for all the hopes and fears about magglio, the cubs are now stuck with jeromy burnitz on an everyday level -- and managed to actually lose money in the process.

yep, lose money. as news comes out, it is being confirmed that the cubs are paying $12mm of sammy's $17mm due in 2005, as well as hairston's $2.5mm, as well as burnitz's $5mm, as well as $3.5mm in severance and the $4.5mm 2006 buyout (now assignment bonus) -- a total of $27.5mm.

had they kept sammy, they'd have paid him $17mm and $4.5mm to buy him out of 2006 -- a total of $21.5mm. uh-huh. a net $6mm loss -- for a massive talent downgrade. how's that for motivation?

i hate to revisit covered ground, but the cubs are faced with trying to replace alou and sosa for a team that, whatever you can say about its pitching, chalked up 89 wins and third place in the NL central -- in doing so, scoring a very middle-of-the-pack 789 runs.

what has been lost?

alou: .293, 106 R, 39 HR, 106 RBI, 78 XBH, .557 SLG
sammy: .253, 69 R, 35 HR, 80 RBI, 56 XBH, .517 SLG

poor jerry hairston has all the makings of miggy cairo, and would on a good team be the second guy off the bench -- which is hopefully the role he is assigned, despite the team's pride. so, in reality, this burden now falls to burnitz and todd hollandsworth.

burnitz's numbers away from coors in 2004, projected over his actual at-bats:

.244, 26 HR, 54 XBH, 84 RBI, 134 K, 58 BB, .327 OBP, .448 SLG

his split year in 2003:

.239, 31 HR, 53 XBH, 77 RBI, 112 K, 35 BB, .299 OBP, .487 SLG

his 2002 year:

.215, 19 HR, 34 XBH, 54 RBI, 135 K, 58 BB, .311 OBP, .365 SLG

i think it is hard to overestimate the disastrous falloff in talent between sosa and burnitz. sammy had a weird year in 2004 to be sure -- arguably just a one-off in a hall-of-fame career -- but this is a man who averaged 41 homers over these same three seasons and was reliable to get on base at a .340-.360 clip. even last season, his OBP was better than any of the lines above for burnitz. burnitz will remind a lot of folks of tawd hundley in pretty short order, i think.

into the other corner goes hollandsworth -- who has in the last three years accumulated 139 hits. alou slapped 176 hits in 2004 alone. hollandsworth hasn't reached 300 at-bats in any year since 1996, and has never hit more the 12 -- twelve -- home runs in any year.

i say this all to clear the sleep from the eyes of many cub fans who watched hollandsworth hit .318 over 148 at-bats last year and think he can do that for 600 at-bats this year. a catagorical prediction from yours truly: it will not happen. hollandsworth will not play for at least half the year, and he will disappoint in the games he does play.

these two will flank corey patterson, in all likelihood, rounding out what has suddenly become the sorriest outfield in the entire NL.

there's no two ways about this one folks -- forget what the stupid punditry of chicago sports has to say about their new favorite punching bag in a slow time of year for chicago sports news. the cubs were utterly raped in this one, providing a capstone to what has been a catastrophic offseason that saw sosa, alou, clement, mercker and grudzielanek leave to be replaced with stephen randolph, hairston and burnitz.

UPDATE: as was pointed out in the comments, the most recent information looks like the cubs will pay not $12mm but $8.15mm of sammy's $17mm 2005 salary -- changing the total outlays post-trade to $23.65mm. the cubs loss versus their pretrade commitments is then $2.15mm, and not $6mm.

Another Take on the Sammy deal...

Let's look at this from a fan's points point of view, a business point of view, and a personal (Sammy view)

To the fan (most of whom are sheep) they just roll with what the media tells them. In Sammy's early years, eclipsed by the '98 season, the media made Sammy out to be the second coming of Christ, he could do no wrong, and at that point a Sammy trade would have been suicidal.

Last Season Sammy walks out early on the last game, the media makes a big deal of it, Sammy acts like a bafoon, and the media spins it's wheels and what the fan gets...Sammy is bad, get rid of him.

Let's look at it from a Gibby-esque fan point of view who has an undying love for the game, forms their own opinion free of media persuasion (if that is possible) no one can take away from Sammy, The Cubs, MLB, fans,et al, what he has done for the game. All the years he put in were quality years in baseball form, entertainment form, and even at a personal level, he gave a lot of people someone to look up to. The years the cubs sucked, and he was there, he ran out to right field, smiling cheek to cheek, every game. That was awesome, inspiring, and motivating, not just to me, but to others as well. Basically, it is sad to see that kind of personality leave any organization, but this trade isn't when it left. It left when Sammy decided to leave the Clubhouse early, and hence the media took over.

What are the Cubs thinking? Obviously they are not getting what they are giving, sure there is an outside shot that Hairston stays healthty,and he has a breakout year as a Cub. Ask Todd Hundley how that works out. The Cubs were merely trying to save face with the PR Gods, so they don't have the public listening to guys like Mariotti brow beat them on a national level daily. As the media goes, so goes the public. The Cubs want to remain looking good, and not have the negative energy effecting their marketability.

As for Sammy. His actions speak for themselves. He wasn't happy anymore, and when you aren't happy, nothing good can come from it. He is still getting paid. He is still playing, and honestly good for him! I hope he is able to find a happy place in Baltimore, and return to his former smiling, knuckle kissing, running out to right field self!

Ignoramus no more!

Hello Cub-dom!

Thank you Gibby, for releiveing me of my ignorance and making it possible for me to post!
Stupid username. Stupid password.

I am back, and I will begin the posting...



Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Jeromy Burnitz

Jim Hendry has received more than his share of praise since he became the Cubs GM. Hendry's not like the "other" GM's we had grown accustomed to. Ed Lynch, Larry Himes, Jim Frey, Bob Kennedy, Salty Saltwell... Why this winter has he started to act more and more like the former Cub GM's?

If you sit in the General Managers office at Clark and Addison, I guess you turn into a combination of the brilliant GM's who came before you. While most agree it was time for Sammy to go. This replacement is an absolute joke.

Jeromy Burnitz.

Burnitz's numbers are what they are. Outside of Coors Fd. they are not good. This is a classic Cub move in the great history of Cub Free Agent Signings. This move ranks up there with the great signings of Jose Guzman, Danny Jackson, Dave Smith, and Mel Rojas.

I'm not quite sure what the one time genius Hendry is thinking. I guess he's just starting to think like his predecessors. That's a scary thought.