Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nationals Pass Time In Chicago

@
Fri. July 1, 1:20 pm CT: Mark Prior vs. Livan Hernandez
Nationals 4, Cubs 3

The Franchise was good, but not good enough. The crafty Livan Hernadez earned his 12th win in a game in which Burnitz had one of the most bizarre innings of his career. In the course of 2 minutes he took fans on an emotional roller coaster. He hit a game tying 2 run home run, W'HOO!... only to have the call reversed and ruled a foul ball..BOOO! But then, he then hit an RBI double.W'HEE! Moments later was picked off 3rd base by the catcher...Guh.
"I have to be more on my toes" Burnitz said.
...more on the base would be good...

Henry Blanco was visibly upset by the play.

See, look what you've done!
You've made Hank White cry.
Are you happy now?

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Sat. July 2, 3:05 pm CT: Jerome Williams vs. Tony Armas
Nationals 4, Derrek Lee 2

The good news is that Jerome Williams looks like he work out to be a decent 5th starter this year. The bad news is that even if Jerome Williams pitches like Josh Gibson, it won't matter in unless the Cubs do something about the horrendous top of the order. The Cubs have the best hitter in all of baseball bating third in Derrek Lee, yet they have somehow managed to put two players with in front of him with the worst combined on base percentages of any 1 and 2 hitters in the league. This makes Derrek Lee's RBI numbers all the more staggering.
In a post game interview, Dusty said he'd take Corey out of the lead off role
"as soon as I get a permanent lead off hitter." Putting Corey in the leadoff role is probably Dusty's stubborn way of forcing Jim Hendry to acquire Mark Kotsay.


" C'mon baby, throw out the first pitch, it's the least we can do..."

As Neifi Perez is plummeting back towards his depressing Neifi Perez-like numbers, Ronny Cedeno, a.k.a. Ron Cé, has been called up for part time shortstop duty. Meanwhile, Nomar Garciaparra is on the up and up and may be back sooner than expected, which is still not anytime soon, but, whatever...that's nice...I guess. Mia Hamm will throw out the first pitch on Sunday in honor of Mia Hamm Jersey Day and to remind fans that Nomar Garciaparra is on the Cubs.

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Sun. July 3, 1:20 pm CT: Carlos Zambrano vs. Ryan Dreese
Nationals 5, Cubs 4

Zambrano pitched well, but wasn't able to earn a win because the cubs didn't get the memo that Ryan Dreese sucks. Todd Walker's throwing error in the 11th was probably the most costly play in this heartbreaker. The Cubs managed to escape defeat twice with dramatic comebacks in the 9th and 11th innings. But they lost anyway.
It seemed like the Cubs were the better team for most of the series, but they just couldn't get the results. I have decided that the Nationals are now my least favorite team. They just keep winning when they don't deserve to.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Los Cerveceros y Los Cachorros



  • Tues. 7:05 CT: Carlos "El Torro" Zambrano- Doug Davis (the rematch)
  • Wed. 1:20 CT: Kerry Wood (tan rested and ready...we hope) - Ben Sheets
  • Thurs. 1:20 CT: Greg Maddux - Chris Capuano

What are we gonna do with you?


"Maybe I should lead off the bottom third of the order instead."

After publicly complaining and refusing to adjust to the lead off spot, Corey has "turned a corner." In a remarkable display of maturity and growth, Patterson approached Dusty Baker last week and asked to bat lead off. Gee, I'm so excitied. (Sarcastic Clapping)

Baker was thrilled by this, despite the fact that Corey hasn't made any changes in his hitting approach that would lead anyone to think that he could actually be successful in the role.
Just because he says he wants to lead off doesn't mean that he is ready to. It doesn't even mean that he really wants to. I suspect that this is less of a sign that Corey has changed, and more of an indication that he knows he is running out of time to prove himself. Trade rumors are running wild, and the fans and the front office are running out of patience with him.
But even if he has had a change of heart, the fact remains that Patterson's on base percentage and strikeout numbers are atrocious for a lead off hitter and are among the worst of any player in the NL. Even more atrocious is his walk to strikeout ratio of 1:5.

Teammate Todd Walker described it best when he said, "Corey just needs to learn how to do some of the little things better...
like not suck."

Can Corey ever learn? Maybe. He's far from being a lost cause. He does have the tools (so long as you don't consider plate discipline a tool), and he is still only 25. He has the ability to do great things for years to come. But what he can't do is learn how to be a lead off hitter by tomorrow which is what the Cubs are asking of him. This doesn't seem fair to Corey, or the the rest of the team, and least of all, fans like me. It's not unlike forcing LaTroy Hawkins to be a closer. Forcing Corey into the lead off spot is a recipe for failure. The problem is that Cubs need a lead off hitter and they need one now.

So do we trade him? It's hard to say. It would have to be a really sweet deal (which will be unlikely after he struggles in the lead off spot and lowers his trade value even more). He's too young and too talented and does too many other things well to just get rid of, especially since he's home grown. Personally, I think the Cubs should just use him in the middle or bottom of the order and acquire a lead off hitter from somewhere else, like, say getting Mark Kotsay from Oakland. That would be saweet.

Having the right guy at the top of the line up would make the difference between the Cubs being a good team and a great team. They would finally start to gel as an offense, and score runs more consistently. The great teams all have a guy like Johnny Damon, Juan Pierre, David Eckstein, or (as we saw this weekend) Scott Podsednick. Corey is not that guy for the Cubs, at least not this year.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

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The Cubs may finally have a their starting rotation back...and then some.
Mark Prior emphatically silenced critics and skeptics with a dominant performance in his return from the DL. Prior is back with a vengeance. He gave up one hit over 6-shutout innings to earn the win over the White Sox.
Perhaps a little rest was just the thing Prior needed. He looked the best he has all year, (which is saying a lot). His fastball was hitting the mid nineties, and he had great command of his curve and wasn't afraid use it in any situation. This win could mark a positive turning point for the Cubs who have struggled with more than their share of setbacks this season.

It still remains to be seen weather Kerry Wood will return to top form, but we should find out very soon as he is slated to start this Wednesday against the Brewers. His track record would certainly suggest that he we haven't seen the last of his arm troubles. But at least this time it seems that the Cubs have been more cautious about rushing him back too soon so maybe it will be three months before he goes back on the DL as opposed to the usual 3 weeks.

So with Wood and Prior coming off the DL, the Cubs suddenly have 3 starters to fill one spot: Glendon Rusch, Sergio Mitre and Jerome Williams. One will get the job as the 5th starter and the other two would move into the bullpen. They are all quality big league pitchers who could be great assets in the bullpen. Rusch has the most experience as a reliever, which is to say he has more than zero experience as a reliever. It seems like wherever you put Rusch, it's not a bad decision, so he’ll most likely be designated to do just that, be a swing man and pitch everywhere. Mitre seems to be able to draw ground balls at will, which could make him very useful for getting out of jams, especially since he seems to thrive under pressure. But the Meat Tray has had some awesome starts recently and it seems a shame not to use him as a starter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used as a trading chip.
Williams is still a bit of an unknown quantity to the Cubs, but as far as I know, he has always been a starting pitcher. While the bullpen may be a good place for him to ease into things, he seemed to do OK in his last start and his stuff is probably the nastiest of the three. I would expect that the spot in the rotation is his to loose.

The cubs now have perhaps the best rotation in baseball, and a good amount of both talent and depth in the bullpen; they just need to figure out how best to use it. I'd still feel a lot more comfotable with one more stud back there, like Urbina or Baez. That stud may be stashed away on the cubs DL in the form of Scott Williamson, who was a dynamite reliever before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Reports are that he is ahead of schedule, and could be healthy enough to pitch for the Cubs as soon as late July.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cubs Go Slumming

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  • Fri. 3:05 CT: Sergio Mitre / Freddy Garcia
  • Sat. 3:05 CT: Greg Maddux / Jose Contreras
  • Sun. 2:05 CT: The Franchise / Jon Garland
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cubs to Milwaukee, hope to exploit home field advantage

  • Mon. 7:05 CT: Greg Maddux - Tomo Ohka
  • Tues. 7:05 CT: Jerome Williams - Victor Santos
  • Wed. 7:05 CT: Carlos Zambrano - Doug Davis
  • Thur. 1:05 CT: Glendon Rusch - Ben Sheets
After a disappointing road trip to Yankee Stadium, the Cubs are happy to return to Miller Park where they will have the home crowd behind them.
__________________________________________

Just how good is Derrek Lee?

I know I keep repeating the same question on this blog, but it still fascinates me. It seems like the longer the season goes on D-Lee just continues to play baseball about as well as humanly possible. He is now batting .390 with 20 HRs 60 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. Here's some interesting notes from Cubs.com. about his latest accomplishment: 100 hits in 68 games.

The Cubs first baseman now has 100 hits in 68 games. It's the fastest a Cubs player has reached 100 hits, dating back to 1960. Records before that year are incomplete. Bill Madlock held the previous team mark of 70 games, set in 1975. Last year, Lee collected his 100th hit on July 18 in his 90th game.

Ichiro Suzuki and Joe DiMaggio hold the Major League record, totaling 100 hits in 61 games.
________________________________________________________________


guess who's back...

That "Woo!" Sucked "Woo!"


I just went to three Cubs games at Yankee Stadium and highlight of the weekend was meeting Ronnie Woo Woo.
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Jerome Williams "Less Fat", Ready To Pitch

The young righty recently acquired from San Francisco in the LaTroy Hawkins deal is now reportedly "slightly less fat," and is ready to join the Cubs starting rotation. He was asked to loose 20 pounds only a few weeks ago. Though it is doubtful that he has done so, Dusty Baker and the Cubs feel he is close enough.
"Look dude, I don't have a lot of options here." (Dusty is once again inexplicably overlooking Caramis Rambrano)
Williams is scheduled to start this Tuesday against the Brewers.
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Quotable Cubbies:


Jim Hendry on Jerome Williams:
"He's done everything we've asked him," Hendry said. "I don't know how much weight he's actually lost."
"...but, let's be honest, who am I to be asking anyone to loose weight?"

"I feel fine out there" Borowski said. "It seems like if I do make a mistake, I have to pay for it."
...yeah, funny how that happens...

Mark Prior on his Simulated Start in Yankee Stadium:
"When there are no fans -- it's like being almost at HoHoKam [Park in Mesa, Ariz.]. I'm sure when the fans fill up, you'll get more of a sense as to what it's like to play here."
Yeah, it's sorta different with people, plus you don't typically face Jose Macias 20 times in a row."

"I'm not going to speculate as to why we've given up 'X' amount of runs," Ohman said.
Willie Ohman now using roman numerals to describe his pitching performance

"Zambrano has great stuff," Alex Rodriguez said. "It's one of those things where you battle for your life and I was fortunate enough to get some good wood on it."
If A-Rod gives you that kind of endorsement, you know you're a badass.

Taming the Bull; Henry Blanco on catching Zambrano.
"We're trying to keep him in control. I don't know what's going through his mind when he's on the mound."

"yo quiero lo sangre de los yankees!"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Can't Wait to See The Tarp at Yankee Stadium

I've been waiting for this for years. Tomorrow is the day I finally get to see the Chicago Cubs as they stare at tarp in Yankee Stadium. I get to put on my Mark Prior jersey, my cubs hat, (the road hat with the red brim) and hop across the Harlem river to see the tarp in person, as the Cubbies sit in the dugout and watch it with me.

I didn't know if I was going to get the opportunity untill I heard on the news that they are expecting severe thunderstorms tomorrow evening from about 6pm through 11 pm. It's a 7:00 game, that should allow a good 2 1/2 hours of tarp watching.

above: the legendary tarp at Yankee Stadium being rolled out for another historic viewing.

Cubs players are excited about the opportunity as well. This will be the first time the Cubs have been to Yankee Stadium since the 1938 World Series, and the first time they have seen the tarp since 1932 .

"You think about the history of that ballpark, and all the great players who seen that tarp during rain delays...it's exciting" said manager Dusty Baker. "You are connecting with so much history even if you don't play any baseball at all!"

Right fielder Jeromy Burnitz added, "This is the same tarp that Joe DiMaggio used to stare blankly at...Mickey Mantle, Lou Gerhig...it's amazing. I can't wait to see the tarp myself."
______________________________________
  • Fri. 7:05 pm ET: Carlos Zambrano / Carl Pavano
  • Sat. 3:10 pm ET: Glendon Rusch / Chen Ming Wang
  • Sun. 1:05 pm ET: Sergio Mitre / Mike Mussina

cubs go down again in the bronx
(thanks for the caption forklift!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fish

Cubs vs. Marlins
  • Mon: John Koronka/Dontrelle Willis
  • Tues: Sergio Mitre/Josh Beckett
  • Wed: Greg Maddux/A.J. Burnett

Those matchups don't look too promising for the Cubs.


---------------------------
On this date, June 14, 2005 , I hereby declare "Sweaty-Joe" Borowski finished. Stick a fork in him. He's done. He had one good year, and we appreciate that, but thats over now. In 2003, his one good year, he barely got by with a combination of luck, cajones, and decent stuff. Now he has suffered tw0 more injurys, gotten two years older, and has even less stuff. His fastball isn't fast, his sinker doesn't sink, and is hardly an intimidating presence on the mound. All he has left is his trade mark "grit."While he may still be fearless, Cub fans should be very afraid whenever he takes the mound. I hope that Jo Bo doesn't have to blow 5 more games for the Cubs to accept this.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Welcome Idiots


  • Friday, June 10 1:20 PM CT (Bronson Oy-yoy-yoy / Mad Dog)
  • Saturday, June 11 2:15 PM CT (Wade Miller / Z: El Toro )
  • Sunday, June 12 7:05 PM CT (Tim Wakefield / G-Unit)
__________________________________________________________________

"Those guys really are idiots" said Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux "I can't believe they were dumb enough to pitch to me. I can rake!"
Greg Maddux earned the win and hit a solo homerun in yesterday's 14-6 romp.


-----------
Boston center fielder Johnny Damon told the Globe that Chicagoans should appreciate how fortunate they are to be able to watch Cubs games in an environment like Wrigley Field.
"These fans should be very proud of what they have here," Damon said. "Boston fans are enjoying life more now, and hopefully Cubs fans will find it soon."

Shut up Johnny. We thought wrigley field was a pretty cool place before you came here, and we are enjoying life just fine. Take your ring and go home....idiot.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Exclusive BDCBP Interview: Cubs top Prospect Caramis Rambrano

Last week while I was in Des Moines, home of the AAA Iowa Cubs, I had a chance to sit down and talk with a young man who is creating quite a buzz in the baseball world. Though you may not have heard of him yet, he promises to do very great things in the near future. He is the cubs top prospect, Caramis Rambrano.

CARAMIS RAMBRANO
At 7-foot 5-inches tall and 362 pounds, the young phenom burst onto the scene last year, his first with the AA Daytona Cubs. Caramis throws a 99 MPH fast ball and a-knee buckling slider which usually clocks in at around 92. He put together a 17-2 record last year as a starter for the Daytona Cubs, and boasted an ERA of 1.18. Equally impressive is the fact that he batted .385 hit 48 HRs last year, playing at 3rd base between starts. Scouts are already labeling him as the most talented player since Babe Ruth. But the most amazing fact is this: Rambrano just turned 14 last week. Here's what he had to say to us in a candid BDCBP interview.
Best Dan Cub Blog Period: Hey Caramis, Thanks for sitting down with us today.
Caramis Rambrano:
My pleasure, Thanks for having me
BDCBP:
You know, as I look over your minor league stats, one thing in particular stands out to me. I see here that you averaged 3.2 strikeouts an inning. How is that possible?
CR: That's funny, I get asked that a lot. It's mostly because some of the minor league catchers here have had trouble handling my stuff, especially my breaking ball. A lot of baserunners reached base on me after striking out because the catcher couldn't hang onto the ball. I would often have to strike out like five or six guys in an inning just to get three outs.
BDCBP:
Wow, that must be frustrating.
CR:
It's cool man, I like to pitch as much as possible.
BDCBP:
Your arm has been compared to that of Cub's starter Carlos Zambrano. Comparisons have also been made with cubs 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez with regard to your hitting.
CR:
Where are you going with this?
BDCBP: Well, I just though that it was ironic that your name....
CR: This interview is over.

.............to be continued..............

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cubs Draft High School Stud

Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say about the Cubs 1st Round Draft Pick Mark Pawelek.


"Scott Boras made me get my braces off before the draft."

With their first pick in the 2005 amateur draft the Cubs selected high school LHP Mark Pawelek of Springville, Utah. Pawelek is a 6'3", 190-lb. starter who was ranked by numerous draft authorities as the number-one high school pitcher in the country. In 63 innings of work his senior year Pawelek didn't allow a single earned run and notched 132 strikeouts (18.6 K per nine IP!)--in his four years of high school he shattered the state strikeout record with a grand total of 476 Ks. Pawelek works with a mid-to-low 90s fastball that he locates superbly, a strong curve, a change-up, a hard slider, and an occasional split-finger fastball.
Pawelek was advised in the draft by Scott Boras, who often advises high-school draftees to use extended hold-outs to increase their leverage in contract negotiations. Thus it was a surprise yesterday when in their third-round selection the Cubs announced that Pawelek had already agreed to a contract for an undisclosed amount. He should begin the year in rookie ball but with his superb command and electric stuff it's not impossible to picture him moving as high as Single-A ball this year.

I case you missed it that's 18.6 K per nine innings pitched!-No misprint.. This means if he only strikes out 2 batters in an inning, it brings down his average. That is absurd.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

TBDCBP Blog Receives Top Honors at CBA Website

Congratadulations, The Best Dan Cub Blog Period has moved up in status. The Cubs Blog Army Website has officially moved us from the "newbie" to the more selective 'daily updated' category, joining the company of such favorites as The Uncouth Sloth, and Cubs for Breakfast.
Credit for this honor goes to the entire crack staff of one at TBDCBP, and to the half dozen folks who posted comments.
In order to deliver 'daily updates' as advertised, I could use some help. I would like to recruit anyone interested in joining the staff of TBDCBP to post a comment or send me an email(go to the contact page).

Winning Streak Ends; Confidence is Back.

The Cubs 7 game winning streak, which began when Mark Prior got beaned on the elbow, came to an end last night as the Cubs fell to Adam Eaton and the San Diego Padres. It was a joyous week for Cub fans who needed it more than ever.
Nothing builds confidence better than an extended winning streak, though Todd Walker still seems to be down on the team.

"We're obviously not going to win the rest of the games all year long," Cubs second baseman Todd Walker said.
Well, not with that attitude we're not!

We learned a lot about the cubs over the streak, and most of these things were positive.
It inspired me to list why I believe that the Cubs are going to be at the top of the wild card race if not the division race.

Here's the top 10 reasons why:

  1. The Central Division Sucks: (Besides us and the Cardinals of course) The Cubs Play 72 games against the Brewers, Pirates, Reds and Astros, all inferior teams. Given the division schedule alone, it's very hard not to be in the wild card race if you are the cubs or the cardinals
  2. The NL East has too many good teams. As of today, every team in the east is above .500. The Braves, Marlins, Mets, Phillies and Nationals will likely beat up on each other so much that the division winner may only win 88 games, a number which the cubs should be able to reach this year. Even if you argue, (and you are probably right) that the Marlins and Braves are both better teams than the Cubs, they are both flawed, and are in a much tougher division.
  3. The NL West has no wild card contender.The Padres are a very good team, and I predict they will win the division easily. I can't see Arizona, San Francisco or the Dodgers making a serious run at the wild card come September, they are simply not good enough.
  4. Key players for the cubs (Wood, Nomar, and The Franchise) will come back eventually. It seems like they are never going to come back right now, but we are still less than 1/3 of the way into the season. There is a long time between now and September. Sure, recent history warns us not to expect much, but it's fair to say that we will be an important part of the 2005 season. It's not just wishful thinking to say that Wood and Prior will come back in enough time to give the cubs a push for the postseason. I don't expect much from Nomar, but it is possible, and that's worth something, when you are talking about a guy of his ability.
  5. Jim Hendry: Jim Hendry is perhaps the best in the business at pulling off great mid-season trades. Look at his track record: Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Michael Barrett, Nomar Garciapara...If anybody can acquire top talent in the middle of the year, he can. He is not afraid to be aggressive, and he has the means to do so. The Cubs have ample flexibility in their budget due to the big moves they didn't make in the off season (no benthic, Percival, Alou, JD Drew, Beltran etc.)
  6. The Cardinals are overrated. Granted, the Cardinals are the heavy favorites to win the central division at this point, and they are a very good team. But they are not nearly as strong as last year. The hot start coupled with the Cubs slow start made things look worse than they are. The Cards are without Renteria, Womack, and now Rolen for who knows how long. Mark Grudzalawnmower will not continue to be awesome. Larry Walker is always an injury waiting to happen, and Matt Morris, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis just aren't that good, I don't care how many games they won last year. Their bullpen is mediocre;The cubs still do have a shot at the division. I will say this though, that Pujols kid can hit.
  7. The Cubs bullpen is...what?...Good? That's right, you heard it here. It's starting to look like the Cubs bullpen is going to surprise a lot of people this. The cubs bullpen is indeed good, and it looks like it keeps getting better each week. They have a lot of talented young arms, not unlike the Texas Rangers of last year. Wuertz, Wellemeyer and Novoa have great stuff and now that they are getting big league experience and finding their roles, things are starting to click. Dempster looks like he belongs in the closer's role. I like his presence on the mound in save situations. He looks like he belongs there. I would still argue that LaTroy is the better pitcher (especially command wise) but I feel better about our chances of winning when Dempster is the closer. The Cubs are only one piece away from a great bullpen, and you can be sure that Hendry is working on that as we speak. Don't forget about the secret weapon of Scott Williamson slowly but surely making his way off the DL.
  8. Aramis Ramirez will hit: While we have to assume that Derrek Lee won't hit .380 all year, (though he just might) we also have to assume that Aramis won't hit .250 either. If he can stay healthy, he'll be back to his .300 30Hr 100 RBI form very soon. He's just too good not to make a difference. Historically, when Ramirez hits well, the cubs win. He's starting to find his stroke again and this is a very good thing.
  9. Middle infield: Nomar who? Neifi!? has been one of the best suprises of the season. He has much better range on defense than Nomar and can hit (it's not pretty but he gets the job done) from both sides. He has been hitting over .300 and added some power as well. He has become a team leader and is one of the main reasons the cubs are where they are today. (DONT FORGET TO WRITE HIM IN YOUR ALL STAR BALLOT) Now Todd Walker is back and he doesn't look like he's missed a beat. It's easy to forget that this guy can really hit both for average and for power (did you see how far he hit that home run in San Diego the other night?) He's the guy that makes just enough of a difference to make a good team a winner. He pushes you over the top with an extra rbi or key hit every other game or so, and he's very clutch. The Cubs have been very close in most of the games that they have lost but couldn't quite get it done on offense. Walker is just the type of guy in a lineup to push the cubs over the hump. Because he has a bad reputation as a defender, he has never been used enough to put up the numbers that would get him the recognition he deserves. But his defense is fine, and if he's in the line up every day, I think he'll prove that he's one of the top 5-10 second baseman in the league capable of a .300/25/85 type year.
  10. The law of Averages: Given all of the things that have gone wrong for the Cubs this year, the law of averages says that things will start to have to go wrong for other teams eventually. Maybe the next time lightning strikes it will be Jim Edmonds not Mark Prior.


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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Can this guy possibly be any better?

Total Badass!
photo
What else can you say about the year this guy is having?
How about this?
He is the first player in over a decade to lead the majors in all 3 triple crown categories this far into the season.
Throw in his gold glove defense and 9 stolen bases and you're looking at the MVP.
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Congrats to Nomar who led all NL shortstops in all star votes after playing in only 10 games and batting .157. Meanwhile, Neifi Perez was left off the ballot.

"I'll go for Nomar. I'll represent Nomar," Perez said.

No you wont! You'll hold your head up high and go for Neifi Perez! (But better bring your i.d. just in case the bouncer gives you a hard time.)

VOTE NEIFI! '05
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LaTroy Hawkins gave up a game winnig grand slam to the Phillies' Chase Utley in his second outing as a Giant.
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

z

Winflagz
8 innings, 1 hit, 0 ER