Monday, May 30, 2005

Cubs Lead Balloting for Simulated All-Star Team.


Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Nomar Gariciapara led the voting with their impressive record in simulated games. Todd Walker, Joe Borowski also received top votes.
____________________
Dusty's Latest Gem:
"We have to urge our guys that this is a business trip, not a pleasure trip, and stay away from Sea World, Disneyland, Tijuana and Universal Studios," Baker said. "We're there on a business trip. Too much pool action -- they are some of the perils that have haunted the Cubs for years."
Right fielder Jeromy Burnitz who "really wanted to see Shamu!" was disapointed when he heard Dusty's road-trip strategy.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Derrek Lee a.k.a. Cubs Offense Beat Rox Again

Cubs Only "Mostly-Dead"
With 4 home runs in the last two games, the Cub's offense (a.k.a.Derrek Lee) was able to beat the mighty Colorado Rockies for the second day in a row. It was also encouraging to see Glendon Rusch step up big once again, begging the question: Is he on your fantasy team?

Quotes of the Day:
photophoto
"One thing is for sure, these guys are very resilient," Baker said. "Hopefully somebody else will emerge a la Neifi Perez when Nomar went down. You have to stay focused, stay positive and realize you have a job to do."
You know your season is cursed when you are crossing your fingers for "the next Neifi Perez."

``I love to listen to everyone dwell on the fact how many times I've been on the DL,'' Prior said
This is Prior's fifth trip to the disabled list since he made his debut in 2002, and second this year...Oh wait...Sorry Mark, was that sarcasm?
_________________________________
Player PhotoThanks for the memories.
LaTroy Hawkins was traded today to the San Francisco Giants for 2 young pitchers, David Aardsma and Jerome Williams. Sure, you could argue that LaTroy is a prime example of somebody that could benefit from a change of scenery. But how about a change from the 9th to the 7th and 8th innings? Before giving away their best relief pitcher, and a beloved teammate, I would have liked to see the Cubs use Hawkins more as a set up man-- the role he was supposed to play in the first place. On the other hand, this may turn out to be a good deal in the long run. The Cubs picked up two very talented pitchers. Aardsma could easily be the Cubs closer in a year or two if he lives up to his hype, and Williams if he can stay healthy could fit nicely into the bottom of the rotation. But thats alot of ifs. We'll see.
Oh and by the way, Matt Clement is now 6-0 and appears to be having a breakout season as Boston's ace.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I'm Ba-a-a-a-ack!

3 PICTURES ARE WORTH 3,000 EXPLITAVES

Mark Prior grimaces in pain.
F#@**K!
Prior moments after being hit.
Mother F**$*&%@#KER!
The Cubs surround Prior.
SON OF A F$%#@ing *&*$K&%*+!!#SH!@! D@#$#@B!T$$!!@#*&!T!
______________________________
UPDATE: OK, I've calmed down a little. The x-ray results are negative, so it's probably not the apocalypse just yet. Still no details on exactly when Prior will be back. We'll have to wait for the MRI results, but it's not as bad as it could have been- there was no fracture.....
New Update: there was a "slight fracture", now you can all go tie yourselves to a torpedo.
New New Update: According to Cubs.com
"an MRI revealed a compression fracture of the lateral epicondyl of Prior's right elbow, not a hairline fracture as earlier reported."

___________________________
Quote of The Day:
"I'd love to go get Allen Iverson, I think he'd be perfect," Baker said in reference to the NBA star. "I'm serious about that. I think he would be the perfect leadoff man -- him and Steve Nash both."

This latest quote from Dusty is so absurd that I figure it has to be one of those things he says to draw criticism to himself and away from his players. Well, It worked. Dusty sounds like an idiot.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Carlos Zambrano Banned From Computer Room


Carlos Zambrano in his Computer Room

Cub's pitcher Carlos Zambrano left his last start early complaining of pain in his upper forearm. The injury was later diagnosed as computer related tendinitis. Carlos apparently spends several hours a day surfing the internet and communicating with friends in Venezuela online.
According to trainer Tim O'Neil, his tendinitis is said to be the "caused by an excessive ammount of typing, and, um, maybe batting left handed too much...or something"...(couldn't possibly have anything to do with the 136 pitch complete game he threw in his previous start).

Monday, May 16, 2005

CUBS CARE Announces New Suicide-Prevention Hotline

a reason to go on living is just a phone call away

Here's what Peter Gammons had to say about the Cubs season so far:


Bad, bad times for some

By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com


May 15

The regular season isn't even at the quarter pole yet, but you can be sure there will be plenty of turnarounds for teams similar to what the Yankees have experienced over the last nine days (or what the Giants accomplished after this point last year). On the other hand, there are holes dug that makes one wonder when and if they can be filled in.

The Cubs are only five games off the National League wild-card lead but are seemingly mired in some haunted house. "I'm asking my friends to pray for me," says Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, "because I must have done something terribly wrong. I can't believe all that's happened to us. We just have to battle through it, stay close and get our pitching together."

Mark Prior and Kerry Wood both opened the season on the sidelines, and while Prior is rounding into form, Wood is on the disabled list with a bizarre bruise of the rotator cuff, something few doctors have ever seen. Nomar Garciaparra was the best player on the planet in spring training, went down with a torn groin muscle on April 20 and may not play again this season. Todd Walker got hurt as well, injuring his knee on April 10.

Joe Borowski was throwing well late in spring training but broke his right hand after getting hit by a line drive and hasn't pitched since. They wanted Ryan Dempster to open the season as their closer but forced him to become a starter again because of the injuries to Wood and Prior. And, finally, when Dempster went back to being the closer following the implosion of LaTroy Hawkins, he also got hit by a line drive.

All this, and Carlos Zambrano flew from Washington to Chicago on Sunday to have an MRI on his right elbow. "The trainers don't think it's serious," says Hendry. "But considering the way this season has gone ..."

After letting Moises Alou walk and being paralyzed while waiting to see whether they could move Sammy Sosa, the Cubs had to count on Garciaparra being a major part of their offense with Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Without Borowski, they had to have the Prior-Wood-Zambrano-Greg Maddux foursome hold the staff together.

So while Hendry was leaving spring training trying to figure out what to add by using his deep farm system, now he's holding his shield to the blame being fired at manager Dusty Baker. With two frontline starters and an All-Star shortstop out and a bullpen in ruins, they're probably lucky to be four games under .500.

"They really miss the power at the corner outfield positions," says a rival GM. "But that's easy to say when pitching is their strength and it's offline (the Cubs starters' ERA after Sunday was 4.35, ninth-best in the NL)."

"But no matter how many injuries we've had, we're still a disappointment," says Hendry.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Mr Burnitz Goes to Washington



Jeromy Burnitz and the Chicago Cubs travel to the nation's capital for a weekend series with the team formerly known as the Expos.
  • Fri. 5/13: 7:05 ET (Glendon Rusch/Estaban Loiza)
  • Sat. 5/14: 7:05 ET (Z-Man/Livan Hernandez)
  • Sun. 5/15: 1:05 ET (GregMaddux/John Patterson)

quote of the day:

Baker hasn't given Dubois any key advice. "He doesn't really say anything. He says, 'Go get 'em, good luck, and have a good time,'" Dubois said, laughing.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Clammy on the DL

Sammy Sosa has conveniently gone on the disabled list just in time to miss the upcoming series in Chicago.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Baltimore Orioles all-star outfielder Sammy Sosa has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with nagging foot problems.
Sosa is batting .269 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 27 games. He has not spoken to reporters since his injury.

Sosa, who has an abscess and infection on the bottom of his left foot, has not played since May 4. He complained of discomfort before Friday's game with Kansas City and was scratched from the lineup.

The decision means Sosa, a former Chicago Cub, will not be in Chicago for the weekend series with the White Sox.


dude, I really think you have a drinking problem...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The "New Mets" come to Town


Mon. 7:05 CT: Aaron Heilman / Jon Leicester
Starter Jon Leicester was called up into the rotation after Ryan Dempster was moved to the closer role in order to help Cubs loose 7-4. The rearranged bullpen faltered and Leicester was promptly sent back to the minors and Sergio Meat-Tray was called up. I don't mind Dempster being used as a closer at this point. If nothing else, it will spare LaTroy further damage to his psyche. He is a good pitcher ya know.

_______________________
Tue. 7:05 CT: Kris Benson / Greg Maddux
Mad Dog and the Cubs were on last night. Maddux delivered anther vintage performance. He shut out the Mets on only 3 hits and 10 Ks over 6 2/3 innings. After the game, the Mets realized that Greg Maddux is the same Greg Maddux that they had heard of.
"Everybody knows who Greg Maddux is" said Jose Reyes, "I just didn't know that the 'Greg Maddux' on the Cubs was the same guy."
Veteran Mike Piazza was equally suprised. "People always talk about Wood, Prior and Zambrano. I figured I would have heard by now if the Cubs also had,like, the best pitcher of all time" said the catcher, "I thought Maddux retired or was a pitching coach or something..."
In addition to stellar pitching, the Cubs' bats finally came alive last night. Corey hit two solo shots and Short Bus hit a 2 run homer. The Dew Boy also had a home run and 2 RBIs, though this didn't impress the manager who plans to take him back out of the staring lineup after this failed experiment.

"Listen dude, don't think I'm going to let that guy [Dubois] start just because he hits a home run every time we play him"
said Dusty Baker

_______________________
Wed. 1:20 CT: Victor Zambrano / The Franchise
I just got done watching Derrek Lee's walk off homerun over and over. I must have seen it about 10 times now. I couldn't get enough of it. I highly reccomend trying this. It will bring a smile to your face. For the full effect, watch the entire at bat a few times as well.

This guy is my hero. He CRUSHED that ball. After falling behind 0-2, he worked it to a full count and on the 11th pitch he destroyed the ball. He hit a line drive directly into the wind and straight into the left field bleachers. Just awesome.
I haven't seen anybody carry the Cubs like this since Sammy in 1998 or Hawk in 1987. We may have the next MVP on our hands here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A-Ram missed the game due to back spasms (a.k.a. fat spasms), and Dempster is now getting precautionary x-rays after fielding a line drive with his forearm. So far he's outlasted Chad Fox in the closer role by one day.
________
AL News: Octavio Dotel blew the save for Oakland by surrendering a 2 run walk off home run to Boston for the seecond day in a row. Sounds like he just might make the perfect Cub closer after all.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

CUBS WIN!


Thank You Z-Man


________________
Ryan Dempster
has been given the closer job.
"I'm honored to be part of such a great legacy" he said.

______________________
Osvaldo Update: Octavio Dotel was in for his haircut yesterday with Osvaldo. He said that there have been some talks with the Mets about a trade involving Dotel, but nothing serioius. Octavio is certain that he will leave Oakland sometime before the start of next season.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Cubs Shave Heads, Drop 7th Straight

The Cubs Kerry Wood played the part of clubhouse barber yesterday and shaved the heads of several players including Glendon Rusch, Michael Barrett, Mike Remlinger, Todd Wellemeyer, Carlos Zambrano and Mike Wuretz. He convinced the Cubs that a new clean shaven look would give them a fresh start and help them break their current loosing streak. But Wood's intentions may not have been entirely noble. It appears that this was his idea of a joke.


"I was just getting so bored sitting there on the DL. I thought that it would be funny to tell the guys that shaving their heads would help them win...and they believed me." said Wood chuckling.
The Cubs did buy into the idea; for a while. It wasn't until after the team dropped its 7th straight yesterday that players suspected that Wood was having a little fun with them.
"It didn't work," said Glendon Rusch after the defeat, "I can't believe I fell for that. I look like an idiot."
"I didn't think Kerry's little prank was funny at all" said Michael Barrett, who now looks like a giant toe. "I should have known it was a hoax when he called it a "rally head."
Cubs utility player Jose Macias found the prank amusing. "I love it when white guys shave their heads, they get that funny tan line."

The Cubs have now extended their loosing streak to 7 straight games, which is their longest in almost 3 years.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Osvaldo Report

I got my haircut today, and you know what that means: It's time for the Osvaldo report!
Osvaldo, my barber, is from the Dominican Republic and like many of the Dominicans in my neighborhood, he is a baseball fanatic. He is very proud to be the barber of many baseball stars whenever they come through New York. His clientele list includes Moises Alou, Miguel Tejada, and Albert Pujos.

Osvaldo the Barber giving Albert Pujos a trim

Yesterday I ran into Osvaldo on the street and he told me that he was going to give Octavio Dotel a haircut today. I told him to make sure ask Octavio what he thought about comming to the Cubs, and to report back to me when I get my haircut.
In the past, Osvaldo has been a good source for insider info on Dominican players (he knew Pedro was coming to New York well before it before it went public, and he swears that Sammy Sosa is at least 3 years older than he claims to be, which makes sense.)
But Osvaldo did not really come through for me this time. He went out drinking with Octavio last night and the two got totally wasted for the Cinco de Mayo. He said he forgot to ask him about the Cubs, but they did talk about a trade that would send Octavio to the Mets along with Eric Chavez in exchange for Mike Piazza. This is of course, ridiculous. The Mets don't need a third baseman, Chavez is Oakland's best hitter, and Piazza is semi-retired.
But hey- you heard it here first.
________________________
Comming Soon: Doctor Dale explains the Disabled List.
Get the Down Low on the DL from Dr. Dale.
The great emergency room physician and part-time Wrigley Field game doc breaks down the injury report in laymans terms and answers your questions like "What is a the hell is a supraspinatis muscle?", and "Can Nomar still...you know...with Mia?"
_____________________________________
Quote of the Day:
"I still believe I can get back before end of the season, I don't know exactly when that is or what month, but I do believe that." Nomar Garciaparra
So, you think you will be back before the end of the season...whenver that is. Sounds reassuring.

Wait...What Just Happened?

So, to review: Mark Prior pitched his ass off for 8 innings giving up only 1 run on 4 hits and striking out 10. Derrek Lee hit a clutch 2 run homer in the bottom of the 8th to take the lead. It was a beautiful game for the first 8 innings before it took a turn towards the tragically bizarre. In an attempt to give Cub fans a heart attack, LaTroy Hawkins entered the game in the top of the ninth. His success rate with 1 run saves is just over 50%.
"I like those odds!" Said Dusty Baker.
He gave up a single, then an infield single (which bounced off his glove), walked a batter, and struck out the next.
"One for four" Said Dusty "not bad!"
He then caught a line drive hit back to the mound, for the second out, but he wasn't finished. He looked to third, and then turned back to first and threw a bullet directly at the Phillies Jose Offerman's helmet in a futile attempt to turn a double play. The ball bounced into the stands allowing two runners to score, and the Phillies wound up winning 3-2.


Does it count as an earned run if the run scores on a pitcher's error?


"A lot of people forget how versatile I am." Said Hawkins after the game. "I have many different ways of blowing a save. I can do it with pitching and with defense."

_____________________________________
After complaining of a toothache, Todd Hollandsworth got his teeth inspected by the homeplate umpire yesterday.

"lemme see there, say ahhh...oh yeah, you got yourself a cavity alright"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Well, That Sure Sucked

Cubs were swept by the Brewers. Thats right, The Brewers.
While watching the series, an old familiar feeling crept over me. It was that "the Cubs just aren't that good " feeling. I had forgotten about that real hopelessnes for the past few years.
It's something that most of us have felt for the better part of our lives. This is nothing new. We are all very familiar with disapointment, and infact often very proud of our ability to cope with it. It's part of being a Cub fan.

"Oh yeah, I remember what this feels like"
But in the post Dusty era (say what you will about him) the Cubs don't seem lovable when they loose. It just sucks. They are too close to being really good, and they loose games in the most frustrating and annoying ways. Walking in the winning run, a walk off bloop, a blown save, and stranding thousands of baserunners...
I know it's way to early to panic, and that the Cubs have way too much talent to give up play-off hopes, but they aren't going to win any pennants by playing like this. There are still plenty of reasons to be hopeful, and it is only May. But right now the team is clearly heading in the wrong direction. The two key problems I see are an unreliable bullpen, and poor hitting with runners in scoring position. If they don't address these issues, mediocrity here we come!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

While you were wathcing the Bulls Game...

Cubs vs. Brewers
Ryan Dempter and Victor Santos will start as the Milwaukee Brewers host the Chicago Cubs (and about 15,000 Cub fans) at Miller Park a.k.a. Wrigley North. If it's anything like last nights game, the highlight will be the great sausage race.


Above: The giant sausages showing more hustle than Aramis Ramirez.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Hank White Day

henry!woo!blanco!woo!henry!woo!blanco!woo!


Today, May 3 2005, will forever be remembered as Hank White Day, in honor of cubs hero Henry Blanco, who scored the only run in a boring and depressing loss to the Brewers.
He also made two great plays at the plate, threw out a runner at third, and did a superb job of handling the firey Carlos Zambrano, who pitched a great game, despite recieving the loss.
Hank's solo shot was his first as a Cub, as well as the first in recent memory.


"I know I hit a home run in spring training this year," Blanco recalled, "but the last time I hit a regular season home run...jeez, I can't even remember."


Well Hank we'll never forget this one.
It wasn't enough to win the game, but it was enough to win you over in our hearts forever.

To join in the love fest, check out the Hank White Fan Club brought to you by our friends at Desipio.



Monday, May 02, 2005

Prior not Himself; Imposter suspected.

Mark Prior for the first time in his entire life got hit hard in yesterdays loss to the Astros. But he didn't just get hit, he got shelled; I mean the guy got rocked.
The image “http://espn.starwave.com/i/magazine/new/mark_prior.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
"That's never happened to me before," said Prior, "it was like an out-of-body experience."

It certainly seemed at the very least out-of-character for a pitcher who entered the game with a record of 3-0, an ERA below 1.00, and had not given up two home runs in the same inning his entire career.

"I wasn't myself out there today" Prior admitted.

He sure wasn't. Cubs fans cringed in disbelief as the starter give up a grand slam and a three run homerun in the fifth inning.

"I knew it was going be a tough outing for Mark, going against Oswalt and everything, but I had no idea he was going to go out and suddenly suck" Said a stunned Dusty Baker

It is even more suprising that Prior, who many predict will win the NL Cy Young this year, was tagged by the Houston Astros. Houston does not exactly have the most formidable offense these days. With the absence of Jeff Kent, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman, they have one of the least productive lineups in baseball this year. Yet Prior gave up 7 runs to the Astros in one inning; all with two outs.

"It's hard to believe Prior could suck that bad even if he wanted to" said Ryan Dempster, "I'm still not convinced it was really him."

Some Cubs suspect it may have been a case of identity fraud.
Catcher Michael Barrett claims that it was actually actor Jason Biggs on the mound dressed as Prior.
The image “http://sportsmed.starwave.com/media/mlb/2002/0522/photo/a_prior2_vt.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Prior (left) explaining that it wasn't "The Real Mark Prior" out there.
Actor Jason Biggs (right) stealing Prior's uniform from the Cubs laundry room.


"Prior would never pitch like that," Barrett added, "and I think I saw [Biggs] running out of the club house with a laundry bag."
Officials are currently trying to determine weather or not Prior's uniform was in that bag.

"I mean, Mark said he wasn't himself" said Dusty Baker, who is open to the idea of an imposter. "Maybe he really meant it. Maybe he was someone else."
_______________________________
Kerry Wood, on the other hand, does not seem to be acting out of character at all. The Cubs just announced that he will be out for at least 3 weeks with a strained supraspinatis muscle. That's doctor-speak for "you don't want to know."