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Effectively Wild is your place for mediocre coverage of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, Arsenal FC, and FC Kaiserslautern.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

16-10: Cameron's Curse

Tough loss last night to the Sausage Slingin’ Brewers. Mike Cameron came back and punched the Cubs right in the nuts. Ben Sheets wasn’t very good, but neither was Marquis. The Cubs had a hard time scoring late and Eric Gagne was able to wiggle off the hook the Cubs snared him on in the 9th. The Cubs move into a tie for first with the surging Cardinals, who continue to win with guys on their pitching staff left for dead by other organizations. I have to give cred to Dave Duncan, who continually seems to be able to weave shit into gold. Why couldn’t Walt Jockety have taken his ass along when he left St. Louis? Why can’t we get this guy to come to Chicago?

Meanwhile, the Cubs have dropped four of their last five, just as I was beginning to get used to the whole winning thing. Ah, well. Even with a possible loss tonight, the Cubs will take a winning record out of April, a much better situation to be in then the miserable funky suckiness that was last April. So I’m putting my blue Kool-Aid back in the fridge, keeping it chilled, just in case May turns out to be just as tasty as April.

Geovany Soto was back last night, after a miserable series in DC. The Soto Rooter has been updated accordingly. Hopefully those home run totals will start to rise as the season progresses. Ryan Dempster takes on Jeff Suppan tonight. The game’s on WCIU, so I’ll have to try and catch it on the radio.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CC Rider

Watching Baseball Tonight last night, the talking heads there were pondering whether or not beleaguered Indians ace C.C. Sabathia should hit the trading block this year or if the Indians should try and retain his services. Should Cleveland fail to lock up the big lefty, they could receive only a draft pick upon his departure.

Supposing that Cleveland did put the big guy on the market, would the Cubs have any interest in trading for him and if so, what do they have to offer the Indians? Let's take a look.

Any deal for Cleveland would have to include some starting pitching coming back to them. The Cubs have lefty Rich Hill, who's struggled a little this year, but has proven major league stuff. Also falling into this category would be fellow southpaw Sean Marshall. Down on the farm we have Sean Gallagher, who's supposed to be pretty good. Also in this category are hurlers Donnie Veal and Jose Ceda. Ceda in particular has some nasty stuff and would probably be a foregone conclusion in any serious offer the Cubs were to make.

As far as position players go, the Cubs really have a lot of enigmas. Micah Hoffpauir punished the ball in spring training this year before suffering an injury in the minors. If he's healthy and raking he could be a vital part of any deadline deals. Felix Pie would undoubtedly be an attractive chip as well. He's still raw, but his name still has enough buzz to generate some interest. With the emergence of Reed Johnson, the Cubs aren't required to keep Felix around, so he could be dealt. There's also the younger Patterson brother, a fairly competent second baseman with speed. The Cubs also possess a young outfielder named Tyler Colvin, who's supposed to be a stud in the making. We all know how that goes, though. Colvin's best use might be as a trading chip, given that we have Soriano in left for the next six seasons and Fukudome in right for the next three. Not to say Johnson and his emo beard can stay this hot all year or next year, but so far I like what I see from the guy. He hits and plays defense, what a concept.

If C.C. does become available, I think the Cubs have to make a play for him. Sabathia would give us a solid No. 2 starter to team with Zambrano. A dynamic 1-2 punch is essential if the Cubs are going to compete in the playoffs, should we reach this year. While I like Lilly, and the Dempster to the rotation move thus far seems to be working, I wouldn't really classify either of those guys as a number 2 starter. Both are solid threes at the moment, provided Lilly's early struggles are at an end. Hill is a four at best and Marquis can range from a three to a five depending on the day and time of year. Sabathia may have had his struggles earlier this year, but he seems resilient and his last couple starts have been promising. I don't think he's suddenly going to fall prey to Barry Zito disease any time soon. I think his biggest concern would be staying in shape, but I think he and Carlos might make good workout buddies. Getting Sabathia would give us the kind of pitching dominance we enjoyed in the 2003 playoffs, before the wheels fell off.

That said, I would offer the Indians a package for Sabathia built around Rich Hill and Sean Gallagher. Doubtless the Indians would insist on Jose Ceda as well and I would include him only if excluding him would be a deal breaker. I would offer Felix Pie, Eric Patterson, and Micah Hoffpauir, offering Tyler Colvin only as a last resort. I'm not sure I'd want to include both Ceda and Colvin in the same deal, but again maybe the Indians would insist on having both. I think Sabathia might be worth the cost. I know you don't want to decimate your farm system, but if the Cubs are truly in Win Now mode, this deal might be the difference maker.

To close this ridiculously long post, let me just say that if C.C. Sabathia does become available, I feel the Cubs need to do everything in their power to get him. If they locked him into a long term deal similar to El Toro Loco's, we'd be looking at Big Z, C.C., Jeff Samardzija, Ted Lilly, and possibly Ryan Dempster in the rotation for the next couple years. That ain't bad folks.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Soto Rooter

Here at the Shooter's Lounge, we're quite taken with our young catcher, Geovany Soto. He's got fielding smarts, a cannon for an arm, a great eye at the plate, some pop in his bat, and balls of solid rock. Plus he's sexy as hell. This is the guy who had the temerity to grab El Toro Loco by the front of his jersey, forcing Big Z to pay attention to him. This would be the same El Toro Loco who earlier in the same season rearranged his catcher's face. Unlike Barrett, Geo Soto has the physique and the attitude to stand up to the Crazy Bull. Pinella is trusting Geo to call the games behind the plate this year and the big man hasn't let us down. He struggled with his throws to second early on, but put the time in to correct his issues and has shown marked improvement. He struggled in the series against the Nationals, but is hitting a more than respectable .316 this season. He was also one of the few Cubs whose bat didn't take the 2007 NLDS series off against the Diamondbacks.

With all the hoopla surrounding the acquisition and performance of Kosuke Fukudome, the injury to Soriano, and the struggles of our left handed pitching, it's easy to forget the importance of Soto on this team. So here at the Lounge, we're adding The Soto Rooter, a handy little extra in the sidebar on the right side of this blog. I'll try to keep it as up to date as possible over the course of the season. It will show the Soto Rooter's batting average, home runs, and RBIs, as well as his caught stealing, SBs allowed, and overall fielding percentage.

It's a Geo. No matter what.

BallHype: hype it up!


Wow, what a weekend. Just when you get ready to drink the blue Kool-Aid and believe, the Nationals take the wind out of our sails. Wow. Losing Game 1 of the series was pretty tough. That homerun by catcher Nieves was Vladimir-esque. The game Saturday was brilliant, with some excellent mound work from El Toro Loco. Game 3 the Cubs ran into John Lannan, who's quietly having himself a helluva year. Still, there was no real reason the Cubs shouldn't have taken 2 of 3 from the Nationals. Wouldn't you know the Cubs would hand the Nats their first series win in their new ballpark. I'm sure that'll be grist for the Marrottis of the world who seem to live for when the Cubs fuck up in some sort of historical sense. I can already hear him urging Jim Hendry to trade for a "real" catcher, preferably a veteran. No thanks.

All is not lost, though. The Cubs remain a 1/2 game in front of the Cardinals, who got into a little hissy-hissy fit with the Astros over the weekend.

The Cubs are off today, hopefully giving Geo Soto a little time to take some batting practice. The Soto Rooter had a particularly tough series at the plate, but his catching more than made up for it. You still the man, Geo. Lay off some of those breaking balls and things will get better, amigo. The Cubs welcome the Brewers to town tomorrow for a three game affair before heading off to St. Louis. Nobody stand too close to Albert Pujols. He's sensitive.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, April 25, 2008

DoucheNuggetof the Week: High Gas Prices

Took me most of the week to really build up a good head of rage on this topic. Gas prices in my area have currently hit around $3.57 for a gallon of gas. Since I commute and cannot give up my car at the present time, I can only pontificate uselessly to the three people who read this website.

The oil companies are greedy cocksuckers who have bent us literally over a barrel and are fucking us up the ass with a 2x4. This not only hurts, but causes splinters. They continue to reap massive profits and reward executives with bonuses equivalent or exceeding the GNP of several third world countries. When called on the floor by Congress each year, they plead expenses while giving the senators the finger. And where is the federal government in all this? Where is an energy policy that will stop the madness and decrease our reliance on these motherfucking fossil fuel pimps? Is there a leader who has the balls to stand up for the people and say enough is enough? Where's Teddy Roosevelt with the trust-busting stick to beat the shit out of these people? Not in our government, the heads of which are deep in cahoots with Big Oil.

Not that average people are helping out. My wife and I have been carpooling for over a year now, forced to by the price at the pump. Every day, I seed douchebags driving around in SUVs the size of space shuttles, alone. Enough space to transport two little league teams and equipment and usually these monstrosities carry one self-absorbed human. Thanks a bunch. We apparently learned nothing from the Oil Embargo when auto companies began manufacturing compacts and more fuel efficient vehicles. The Me First generation has had just enough of that bullshit, thank you very much. My SUV needs to have a fucking helicopter pad on it. I don't even have a helicopter, but I need it. Just like I need four wheel drive even though the biggest mountain I'm gonna climb is the speedbump at the local Kroger. Or a chrome brushguard in case I get a wild hair up my ass to drive through the neighbor's hedges. Sweet Jebus, is this really what it's come to?

Now, I'm not advocating giving up the automobile. The car is a tried and true symbol of Americana. But here's the problem. It used to be any goober in high school, whatever, could buy a crappy car and drive from Point A to Point B and afford to buy gas on a fast food salary. Cars are freedom, man. Now they've become symbols of the establishment, a fancy bauble used to show off to the world just what a complete fucking narcissist you are. That's not cool. That's Un-American. So is squeezing the middle class out of its right to drive. We NEED to drive to get to work. We need to drive to get out of our parent's houses. We don't need SUVs. Buying an Escalade does not make you Tony Soprano. It makes you a victim of the hype machine.

Back to the gas companies. I really don't believe their reasons anymore for gas price spikes and valleys. Supply and demand has gone out the window. All their excuses are bullshit. These people are raising prices because they can. Someone needs to step in and smack these fuckers down. Teddy's dead and George Bush is getting profits under the table. Who's gonna help us? Remember The Road Warrior? That's where we're going, people.

Deep breath. I'm sure there are people who will disagree with some of this. Some of it is incoherent and childish. But hey, it's my blog. So there.

BallHype: hype it up!

15-7: All Good Things Must Come to An End

The Cubs’ winning streak came to an end last night at the hands of the Rockies. Aaron Cook pitched a pretty good game and the resilient Rockies made it stand up. Not to fear, the Cubs are off to the nation’s capital next, where hopefully the Nationals’ woes will continue. The Cubs will send Ryan Dempster to the hill in pursuit of his fourth win of the year. He’ll square of against Odalis Perez, who’s 0-3 on the season. I’m looking forward to getting another look at the Nationals’ new ballpark, which looked pretty spiffy in the opening day game televised by ESPN. The Nationals still suck as bad as they did when they were the Expos, but hopefully they’re moving in the right direction. I think it would be great to have a healthy franchise in the nation’s capital. I still think they should have called the team the Senators, but what can you do? They don’t play in our division, so here’s hoping they get really good really quick. After we leave town of course!

In ex-Cubs news, Michael Barrett still hasn't gotten over the elbow injury he sustained after an all night goat-porn orgy. And apparently Mark Prior has suffered a setback in his rehab that the Padres aren't calling a setback. He's supposed to start throwing again soon. No word if it involves real or simulated baseballs. Or balls of any kind for that matter. The only person paid more to do nothing is Paris Hilton and even she has bigger cojones than Prior.

BallHype: hype it up!

15-6: 10,000 Wins and Counting

Is it blue Kool-Aid time yet? The first 21 games are in the book and the Cubs are off to a surprisingly hot start, led by a resurgent Derrek Lee, import sensation Kosuke Fukudome, and genuine ace Carlos Zambrano. Add in great performances from Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster (?), Ronny Cedeno (!?), and Reed Johnson. I missed the game last night, as it wasn’t televised in our area, and skipped the radio broadcast to give my wife a baseball breather.

The never say die Cubs took the lead on a Ramirez homerun only to see the Rockies bounce back against Kerry Wood. Not to be deterred, the Cubs came back in the 10th, taking the lead and Carlos Marmol made it stand up.

With the win, the Cubs reach the 10,000 win mark as a franchise, a number much ballyhooed by ESPN last night, but essentially meaningless. Only the Giants currently have more wins as a franchise, both clubs reaching these milestones more due to longevity than to any actual talent. Not that it’s not kinda cool, but I’d rather be discussing a World Series win before I get a chubby about how many total wins this team has posted in its history. Just a thought.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

14-6: Ronny “Boom-Boom” Cedeno

The Cubs train just keeps rolling. Fukudome was perfect at the plate, but no one’s clicking like Ronny Cedeno. Wow, did this kid need some games like this. All of a sudden, the Brian Roberts trade falling apart is not looking like a bad deal for the Cubs at all. Cedeno is swinging a good stick and we still have all the pitchers we might have sent over to Baltimore in exchange for Roberts. If Cedeno keeps this up, Sparky McScrappy Ryan Theriot might find himself relegated to utility duty, which might not be the worst thing in the world. If Ronny’s defense turns the corner as well, we might have a legit shortstop on our hands, friends and neighbors. I know, I know, it’s only been a couple of games. Still, Uncle Lou seems to have had the magic effect on this team, guys who have been crappy suddenly seem to be turning it on and performing. If Ronny does end up having a good season, I’ll be the first in line to get a Cedeno T-shirt, with a healthy mea culpa for all the bad things I’ve said about him. I hope it continues to go well for him and for the Cubs, who are hotter than I’ve ever seen them in April.

On another good note, it sounds like Ted Lilly pitched pretty well today. If TR can reclaim the form he had last year and maintain the rest of the way, things are going to look up. I really am digging that we still have Sean Gallagher, Jose Ceda, and Jeff Samardzija waiting down in the minors. They might all be a year or two away, but some of them are going to look awfully good in the rotation behind El Toro Loco.

I’m gonna enjoy this while it lasts and try not to gnash my teeth too much when the winning streak comes to an end. Right now it’s all sunshine and roses, bitches!

142 to go!

BallHype: hype it up!

13-6: Ronny Cedeno is Clutch?!

It's been a wacky season thus far, boys and girls. The Cubs are in first place in April (!?), Carlos Zambrano is Mr. Cool Cucumber, and Ronny Cedeno is clutch. That's right, I said it. Ronny Cedeno is clutch. Let that sink in a moment. Digest it. His last four plate appearances with the bases loaded, Cedeno is 4 for 4. How the holy purple fuck did that happen? In the 8th inning last night, the Cubs loaded the bases with no one out. DeRosa and Soto Rooter both struck out, bringing Cedeno to the plate and at that point I believed Aaron Heilman was going to wiggle off the hook the Cubs had snared him on. Not so. Cedeno had an impressive at bat, fouling off several pitches before finally notching a 2 run base hit, extending the inning for Felix Pie, who deposited one in the seats. Nice.

Now I've bagged on Cedeno in the past. Will probably bag on him again if he continues to make mental mistakes. But it was nice to see the kid work the count, foul some pitches off, and be rewarded for the effort. After DeRosa and Soto both flailed away, Ronny's patience stood out in stark contrast. Nice job, Ronny. Stop airmailing first base and I'll give you more love, brother.

El Toro Loco was up to his usual tricks on the mound. He looked really sharp, allowing just one run through seven. This guy truly is an ace now, people. Has maturity finally caught up to the Bull? It's starting to look that way. He's still fiery, but it's a focused intensity now. He's working through jams without beating himself. Whatever it is, it's awesome to behold.

Another nice note was Felix Pie's home run that broke the game open. Here's a kid who's struggled, but Lou Pinella and Gerald Perry have worked hard with him. Hopefully that'll pay off. The coolest thing was the shot of Lou in the dugout, almost jumping out of his skin with excitement when Pie hit the ball. That's the kind of passion I love to see, passion Dusty never seemed to exhibit. If there was any doubt that Lou Pinella sparked this team and made them better, that clip erases it all. We may not win it all this year, but I have faith that this team will play their asses off.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, April 21, 2008

12-6 or Holy Shit, We're in 1st Place

Wow, that was quick. It's April and the Chicago Cubs are in 1st place. I know it's early, and I know we're a mere half game up, but I'm still shocked and awed by how well this team has started off. Last year, I was wondering just what the hell these bozos were doing and this year, everything seems to be clicking with the exception of our left-handed pitching. What's really impressive is that the Cubs are 6-0 against the Pirates. Ordinarily, the Cubs tend to struggle against teams that they should easily be able to take a series from, teams like Pittsburgh, who have been a royal pain in the butt the past couple of seasons. Suddenly the Cubs look good. Shocking.

Now I don't know if Reed Johnson is gonna keep putting up a .300 plus batting average. I don't know if ClownBoy is going to keep pitching well in the rotation. Jason Marquis's second half swoon is still on the horizon. Rich Hill is still a question mark and Ted Lilly hasn't thrown a good game all year to this point. Ryan Theriot could hit a little better. Ronny Cedeno still scares the fuck out of me. But . . .

El Toro Loco has turned into Z-Money. Derrek Lee took a time machine trip back to 2005 before DUI Furcal ran into his arm, ruining a season and a half of hitting from our big 1st baseman. Even if it's only temporary, Reed Johnson is easily outhitting Felix Pie and playing solid D. Carlos Marmol is still sick. Woody looks damn good as a closer. Kosuke Fukudome is an on-base machine, as advertised and he's the best fielding RF the Cubs have had in my lifetime (Not that his predecessors provided much competition for that title). DeRosa keeps proving his 06 and 07 batting stats weren't a fluke and he's solid as a rock in the field, no matter what position he's playing. Geovany Soto is picking up where he left off at the end of 07. And Matt Murton is back in the majors where he belongs. Aramis Ramirez is warming up with the weather.

Is it all a mirage? Can we really win back to back division titles? I know it's early, but we've got depth this year. The Cubs seem hungrier than ever before and they're showing it on the field. The swagger Lou wanted seems to be there. This just feels weird, kids. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but part of me is starting to wonder What if it doesn't? I know it's April. I know it's just half a game. But suddenly I feel the possibility. Dare I say it, I'm starting to feel confidence and pride in this team. Scary.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

9-6: Our Lefties Suck

Well, once again, we put a lefty on the hill and again we lose. Big shock at this point, right? Yeah, not not so much. The Cubs didn't help their karma any by letting sack o'crap Tom Arnold throw out the first pitch. Seems like once a year, we have to put up with this jerkoff. No one person has ever gotten more from marrying an obnoxious fat chick then this guy. He was never funny and the nineties are over. Can we stop paying attention to Tom Arnold yet? Please?

The game wasn't much better than looking at Tom's ex-wife in a thong bikini, so I won't go into great detail. Suffice to say, Lilly once again couldn't get past the fourth without coughing up the lead and Shooter's Lounge favorite Jon Lieber was roughed up by Joey Votto later in the game. Lilly did draw a walk with the bases loaded, forcing in Aramis Ramirez. That has to count for something, right? Right? Guess not.

Tomorrow's another day, kids. Time to head on home, make sure the new sump pump is working, and get loaded.

BallHype: hype it up!

9-5: Holy Cow, There's A Swimming Pool in My Basement

When my wife and I got home from work yesterday, the cats were swimming in the basement in about an inch of water. Apparently, the sump pump had decided to go the way of Felix Pie's batting average. Needless to say, we had to get a plumber out to our place and repair the crappy sump pump, then we spent quite some time sucking up all the water that had leaked out during the day. So by the time we turned the game on, it was already 11-1 Cubs. Still, it looked like Zambrano was dealing and the offense stayed hot, especially Manbeast, Derrek Lee. El Toro Loco wasn't too shabby at the plate himself, helping his own cause. Let's hope the boys can pull off the sweep today and send Dusty packing winless in his first return to Wrigley.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jackie Robinson: A Real Hero

Major League Baseball finally got something right. Allowing players to wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 on the anniversary of the day he broke the color barrier is a fitting tribute to both the man and the ballplayer. There was no other ballplayer like Jackie, who was the perfect choice to be the first African-American in the game. He was the perfect mixture of talent and toughness that Branch Rickey needed the both stand out and stand up the world of whites only baseball. An intelligent, driven man, Robinson showed the world that African-Americans were more than equal to whites, both on the field and as human beings. That he was able to perform at the level he did, while enduring death threats and racial epithets is a testimony to his character and strength of will. If you ever get a chance, read the book Jackie Robinson: A Biography by Arnold Rampersand. If you don’t know anything about Jackie other than just sound bites and grainy footage, this book does an admirable job of revealing the man behind the legend.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s and many of my favorite ballplayers over the years have been African-American or foreign born players. It saddens me to think that years ago, talented people like Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn, Lee Smith, and Derrek Lee wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to play baseball in the majors simply because of the color of their skin. Additionally, millions of black Americans were denied the rights that whites enjoyed. Jackie’s breaking of the color barrier in baseball helped break other barriers as well, putting a face and a name to a culture, awakening many whites to the reality of what was going on. The issues of equality and race continue to trouble our country, but as long as there are heroes like Jackie who refuse to accept the status quo, then we will continue to make progress.

The Shooter’s Lounge salutes you, Jackie Robinson. Thank you for making the game of baseball better for everyone. Thank you for your courage both on the field and off. You really made a difference and opened the doors for others with your bravery and conviction.

BallHype: hype it up!

8-5: Stop the Hop

First, a personal note to Alfonso Soriano. Oh, Alfonso Soriano. You know, the hop was cute for a while. Everyone had a good laugh, it looked like you were having a good time, blah, blah, blah. Then last night you do your little goofy hop, land funny and have to be helped off the field with a calf strain. For doing something completely unnecessary to catch the ball. I like you, Soriano. I really do. Some people said you were a selfish player. I really think Frank Robinson might have beaten the last of that out of you in DC. You seem to really enjoy playing the game and seem to genuinely enjoy the attention of the fans in left field. So here’s a piece of advice, my Dominican friend. Let me tell you about another young man, also Dominican. He also liked to hop, although he would do his after each home run, and his always seemed more like a fuck you, slap in the face to the other team, as well as a hey, look at me cry for attention. I would implore you to drop the hop upon your return, Alfonso. I know you’re just having a good time, but it be construed by the other team and fans as showboating and I don’t think that’s the image you wish to present. After all, showboating only leads to hurt feelings and hurt feelings lead to fastballs in the ribs. You seem like a good guy to me, a guy who really loves the game. Please don’t go the route of that other Dominican. I think you’re better than that.

On to the game. The Cubs pulled this one, due to some intestinal fortitude by Ryan Dempster, who gave up some runs, but still looked pretty damn good out there. In addition, Derrek Lee’s beard went 3-5 with a home run and 3 RBIs. Why don’t all the Cubs man up and grow some facial hair already? Couldn’t hurt. DeRosa hit a home run that wasn’t foul and Ryan Theriot somehow managed to shoot one over the fence as well. Gotta love that wind, baby. Mike Fontenot and DBeast turned in some fine defense as well as the Cubs beat the Reds 9-5, moving them to 8 and 5 on the year and into a tie for 2nd with the Sausage Slingers of Wrigley North.

149 more of these to go. If most of them are like this, the Cubs should be looking pretty good at season’s end.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome Back

The Reds come to town for three games starting tonight, bringing shitbag Dusty Baker, whiffer extraordinaire Corey Patterson, and Mendoza line backup catcher Paul Bako with them. They also sport a nice collection of young talent, as well as some capable veterans. No matter the personnel, the Reds always play the Cubs tough, so I expect a hard fought series. Aaron Harang takes on Cubs funnyman Ryan Dempster in a no holds barred rubber chicken shootout tonight. Dempster will need to pitch like he did in his first two starts, as Harang will likely hold down the Cubs' offense.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, April 14, 2008

DoucheNugget of The Week: TV Ads That Suck Ass

I’d intended for the DoucheNugget of the week posts to run every Wednesday. However, since I spent a good deal of time watching baseball this weekend, I was subjected to numerous commercials and just can’t wait any longer. I HATE commercials with a blind, all-encompassing rage. I understand that in order to see the shows and games I want to see that they need advertising in order to survive, but as commercials grow ever more insipid, the more my anger grows. I recognize the need for commercials, but refuse to believe they need to be this retarded.

1. The Free Credit Report commercials. If I have to see this “band” of hosers one more time, I’m gonna kill someone. I hate all of them and I hate the annoyingly catchy music they play in each commercial. I want to punch each and every one of the doucherockets in these videos in the face over and over. These commercials are neither funny nor clever. I need my brain cells to hold MY music, motherfuckers. I shouldn’t ever have to wake up in the morning with any of this crap stuck in my head.

2. The Geico Cavemen. Hey assholes-this wasn’t funny last year. It’s not funny this year. The original commercials sucked, the TV show sucked, the new commercials mocking the TV show suck. Enough with the cavemen. If I have to see the commercial with the caveman on the airport automated walkway with that elevator music pop song in the background one more fucking time, I’m going to the nearest pet shop and poison all the geckos they have in stock. Consider yourselves warned.

3. The Geico Celebrity Ads.-Holy Jesus, as if the cavemen ads weren’t enough, the geniuses at Geico give us these 30 second wonders. Little Richard, Peter Frampton, and James Lipton should be ashamed of themselves for even participating in this nonsense. A double dose of ‘fuck you’ to Geico for subjecting me to Joan Rivers. Thanks a lot, assholes.

4. The Esurance commercials. What, you couldn’t find an attractive enough actress to whore for your company, so you had to draw one? The insurance company of choice for losers not brave enough to talk to real people. Extra hate points for having SO MANY goddamn commercials. I guess not having to pay actual actors helps keep production costs low.

5. The new Volkswagen commercials with the talking Beetle that has a talk show. This is seriously the best you’ve got? What the farfegnugen?

6. Girls Gone Wild-Whenever I watch late night Comedy Central, I’m subjected to these almost every commercial break. Every few months they change, but it’s always the same fucking commercial on any given night. I’m not even a woman and this shit embarrasses me. Just buy some porn if you’re that hard up. This stuff is truly sad. I find it hard to believe there are that many slutty teenage girls out there, but apparently there are. Anyone who appears in one of these videos should be forced to watch it with their parents in the room. Especially their fathers, who probably already have their own copies. I love the female form as much as the next guy, but there’s something so desperate about this crap that I just have to pass.

7. Valtrex Commercials. Do I really need to hear about genital herpes? (Herpes, herpes bo-berpes, bananafanafoferpes-herpes) Especially during a ball game? These commercials air incessantly during Cub games. Keep your VD to yourself, thank you very much. Which leads us to . . .

8. Smiling Bob. The Enzyte spokesperson is another asscastle I’ll punch in the mouth if I ever encounter him in public. People who have big cocks have big cocks. People with little dicks buy Corvettes. That’s the natural order of things, stop screwing with it. We can’t cure cancer, but if you want to add an inch or two to your rod, we’ve gotcha covered.

9. Viagra/Cialis, et al. I don’t want to think about senior citizens knocking boots. I’m happy they found a pill to solve this age old dilemma, but no one gets to use it for very long before they fucking die of cancer. Thanks a lot, science. And Viagra? Talk about the irony of using an Elvis Presley song to advertise prescription medication.

10. Any of the Burger King commercials with the King. What the hell ever happened to just putting up a picture of the fucking sandwich? I’m an American, dammit. You show me a picture of a barbecued cow in patty form and I’m there. I don’t need a creepy guy with a plastic suit and mask showing me the food. Makes me feel like I’m watching some kind of bizarre fetish video. And the new ones with the robotic king are just plain weird, in a stupid kind of way. The breakfast wrap burrito thing looks like somebody blew chunks in a tortilla. Mmm, regurgitated breakfast snackage.

11. The lizards dancing to 'Thriller'. Who writes commercials anymore? Hey, we're too lazy to actually tell you anything about our product, so here's 30 seconds of pop culture nostaglia coupled with clever animation that makes absolutely no fucking sense and has nothing to do with the product we're selling, which apparently is water. And as Lewis Black has pointed out previously, what the hell happened to water? You turn on the tap and fill a glass. It's free, bitches! Free! All you can drink. (Provided you paid your water bill, anyway).

12. The Verizon Commercials with the people walking, talking about who they're gonna call and how often, etc. The guy with the teenage daughter comes off as a clueless dad sterotype and the woman leaving the office building is just another in a long line of women who think they're special because they look hot. When you tell your sister what you think of her boyfriend I hope she pops a cap in your ass. And if I had a teenage daughter who ever talked to me like the way the one in the other commercial does to her dad, she better be running when she says it.

13. The Taco Bell Melt Commercials. Every so often, commercial writers find a song everybody likes, find a way to tie it in to the crappy product they're selling, thus ruining the song for all time. I used to like "Melt With You." It's been used in commercials before, but this one has totally killed the song for me. Watching people eat with food hanging out of their mouths is not something I want to see, especially not 400 times a fucking day. Every channel, every show I watch, this commercial is there. Shame on you, Taco Bell.

I'm sure there's more. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

BallHype: hype it up!

7-5: Avoiding the Sweep

Is there anything Carlos Zambrano can’t do? He’s our ace, the man with the million dollar arm and fiery temper. He can pitch left handed, switch hit, play shortstop and first base, and he’s a helluva soccer player. If El Toro Loco were a research scientist looking for a cure for cancer, cancer would have no chance. Yesterday, he busted his Venezulan ass down the line, staying out of the double play, and gave the Cubs the win, aided by a throwing error from Chase Utley. Unfortunately, I missed it, but I’m sure it was spectacular. Too bad Carlos can’t pitch every day, or at least play shortstop on the days he doesn’t pitch. He’s crazy enough to do it. This is the cat who’d like to play winter ball as a DH. I half expect him to switch pitching arms in the middle of an at bat, just to fuck with opposing hitters. Is that even legal? Would it matter?

Let’s review what we know so far. Zambrano is money. Dempster has been really good and that scares me. Can it last all year? We better hope so, because Ted Lilly, Rich Hill, and Jason Marquis have all been pretty woeful thus far. TR got rocked for the third straight start, a far cry from the Iceman he was last year. Rich Hill apparently forgot everything he learned in 2007 AND 2006. Maybe he needs a new self-help book. May I suggest Zen & The Art of Throwing Strikes? And Marquis had strep throat, so the jury’s out on him. Meantime, Jon Lieber and Sean Marshall are waiting in the wings for their chance to steal a piece of the rotation. If things continue as is, they won’t have to wait much longer.

In the meantime, Dave Duncan continues to weave shit into gold in St. Louis and the Brewers keep on trucking. I know it’s early, but the rotation is not living up to expectations.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Lieberated: 6-3

Anyone want to start the official Jon Lieber for the rotation drive? Rich Hill was fugging awful last night, lasting only three innings before Uncle Lou gave him the hook. Lieber by comparison was nails. Even when he did allow runners on base, he buckled down and didn’t allow any of them to score. In the meantime his battery mate, Geovany Soto, only went 4 for 5 with a long ball. The Soto Rooter was a triple shy of the cycle. And Mighty Mouse-er, Mike Fontenot also contributed a home run as the Cubs swept the Pirates 7-3. This was a pretty good game as soon as Hill departed, taking strike zone challenged Felix Pie with him. I like Felix. I like him a lot. He drove in the winning runs on Wednesday night. But this guy needs to cut down on the Ks or he’s gonna be watching Reed Johnson and his emo beard take over the center field job.

On a sadder note, Kerry Wood ditched the rocking beard he was sporting, opting for the vintage Kid K goatee. Rod Beck’s mustache is heartbroken, but relieved Kerry didn’t choose to go completely bald. No one needs to see the 1998 Kerry Wood baby face again, unless it brings another 20K game with it. Wood pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, a nice bounceback from his first blown save. I’ve got no worries about Kerry. Blown saves happen, even to the best closers. I really believe as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be money in the 9th.

The two left-handers in our rotation currently scare the fuck out of me, though. Lilly has looked shitty in both of his outings and Rich Hill has been worse. Has someone seen fit to remind them that Ryan Dempster is out-pitching both of them at the moment? Ryan Dempster. The red headed guy, from Canada. Likes practical jokes. Yeah, him. He’d be 2-0 right now if not for the blown save the other night. Suck on that. He was supposed to be the weak link, not TR. He keeps up and his nickname is gonna be the Rough Rider. And Hill? Hill apparently thinks it’s 2006 again. Or 2005. You know, when he was a AAAA pitcher. Not so good.

Cubs at Philly tonight, looking to continue the Pennsylvania Punishment tour. El Toro Loco takes on Brett “I Told You to Shut Up Bitch” Myers. I wonder how Carlos feels about wife beaters? I hope he hates them enough to throw some inside heat to Mr. Myers. He can always blame it on caffeine withdrawal.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

About Fucking Time

On Tuesday, the Red Sox had Bill Buckner throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park. Buckner, instead of being remembered for a career that spanned 20 plus years, was instead vilified for one lousy play. Boston has now won 2 world championships, so I guess the Red Sox brass felt now was the time to be magnanimous and let Buckner off the hook. The Boston fans and the media have pretty much made Billy Buck's life a living hell over his error in the 1986 World Series, forgetting that he'd hit 8 home runs in September, driven in 22 runs, and carried a .340 average. He drove in over 100 runs that season and in the ALCS, singled to key the ninth inning rally that saved the Sox from elimination. So Boston wouldn't even have been able to lose the World Series if not for Billy Buck. One could just as easily blame the manager for not removing Buckner for a defensive replacement, as BB had been bothered by an ankle injury that had made him more of a liability in the field.

This treatment of Buckner has always bothered me, especially since he was my late grandfather's favorite Cub player (and thus mine when I was very young, long before Mark Grace was called up and before my favorite Fu Manchued closer joined the ranks). Billy Buck played for the Cubs from 1977-1983, plus 21 games in 1984 before being dealt to the Red Sox. Buckner won the batting title in 1980 with the Cubs. He was a great ballplayer with a great mustache whose career was tarnished by one bad play. That is a damn travesty and the Red Sox and their fans should have opened the door for Buckner a long time before they won two world championships.

Maybe now that the Red Sox have gotten over their little pity party, the true greatness of Buckner can be recognized.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for some of the info on Billy.)

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Wow, another barn burner at PNC Park. Thanks to the magic of CLTV I missed the game. Sounds like Dempster actually pitched pretty good. Unfortunately, Rod Beck’s mustache had the night off and Kerry Wood blew his first save chance of the year. I can hear the doom criers already. “Wah, I want Carlos Marmol to close. Wah.” One blown save. Big whup. Doesn’t change the fact that Wood has been filthy thus far. These things will happen. Most importantly, the Cubs outlasted the Pirates and notched the win. Last April, we’d have lost both of these games. This ballclub seems like a leaner, meaner, tougher unit than the one that walked on the field in April 07. That’s a full season of Uncle Lou, coupled with the jettisoning of most of our dead weight in the off-season. While one major chunk of flotsam remains (Do the initials RC mean anything to anyone?) the fact remains that this is a much improved ballclub. The early errors are a little frustrating to be sure, but I think that’ll stop. These guys are simply too good to play that poorly and they have a manager who won’t stand for the kind of sloppiness for too long before he explodes. It’s been a little shaky thus far, but it’s a far cry from the outright suckiness of last April. This keeps up and Uncle Lou won’t have to kick any dirt around to fire this club up. Ramirez’s slumbering bat is awakening, Derrek Lee thinks it’s 2005 again, and Fukudome is showing why he was pretty much Hendry’s only target this year. DeRosa and Soto have been solid. Once the weather warms up a little, Soriano’s bat should thaw. If we get all these guys working, hopefully they can cover for Theriot and Pie.

Let’s hope the boys can rip off a nine inning win tonight with Kerry getting right back in the saddle. Rich Hill needs to go deep into this ball game, folks.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

DoucheNugget of the Week: Dustin Diamond

For a time last year, my wife was addicted to a couple of reality shows: America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, and the complete fucking disaster that was Celebrity FitClub. Since our cable in the bedroom was busted, I often read a book while my wife would watch this stuff. I happened to be flipping channels a few days ago and saw to my dismay that they've begun a new season of this wretched crap and for whatever perverted reason (ratings) they brought back perennial dickhead Dustin Diamond.

Do you remember this hosebag? If you're my age, you remember this:
We Actually Watched This Shit?
I Didn't Even Actually Do Any Drugs in the 80s

He's the skinny little douchebag on the right. While the other guys on the show were screwing the cheerleaders, he was home with his science kit, jerking off to pictures of the token black chick. While no one on this show has done much after it folded, loser boy was hit harder than most:

Aw, Screech So Sad

Unbeknownst to the world was that behind the sweet, dorky exterior of Screech, there lived the soul of a truly awful human being. This guy is completely repulsive. How after playing nothing but Screech on TV that this guy can be so incredibly arrogant just floors me. If you're Pacino, DeNiro, then you've got cred. When your biggest role was in Saved By the Bell: The College Years Goes to Vegas (and the sex tape you probably leaked yourself) then you've got no right to throw your weight around. Your ass shouldn't even be on TV at this point, you should be bagging groceries at the A & P and thanking Jesus you got that much. Smile when someone recognizes you and always doublebag the eggs. I had to sit through this crap last year and listen to this little pussy heckle a Marine Drill Sergeant. Are you completely out of your fucking mind? And then VH1 brings this dingleberry back for this season. Oh, he's 'changed'. He 'deserves' a second chance. Not with the Drill Sergeant, fuckwit. He ain't buying it and neither am I. This year, luckily for me, I don't have to watch it. (Nobody tell my wife there's a new season, please!) My only hope is that the Marine finally loses it and runs over Screech with a tank. I don't think I've seen anyone in more need of a serious beating. I mean look at this guy:

Fuck You, America

He thinks he's better than you, America. This guy. Seriously. Well, guess what chump. Your fifteen are up. Kindly shuffle aside for the next loser from some ancient TV show so America can get on with its lives. We don't need your kind around here.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

4-3 or The Anatomy of How NOT to Win

Man, that was an ugly win yesterday. The Cubs did their best, but try as they might, they just couldn't lose that game. The only think I can think of is that they were trying to be kind to Pirates fans and allow them a win on their home opener. Double digits in men left on base, plus three bone headed plays, and the inexplicable loss of control by TR all conspired to turn an easy win into a 12 inning slog through the lineups. The only consolation is that we won the game thanks to some clutch pitching by Mr. Jonathon Lieber, who deservedly got the win. Jon, we couldn't think any more of you, unless you grew a really wicked Fu Manchu. Personally, I think all of the Cubs need to take after DLee and Kerry Wood and grow the full beard this year. Or barring that, a really rocking goatee. Some of these guys need some facial hair so I don't mistake them for 12 year olds. I'm looking at you, Ronny Cedeno. Maybe a nice mustache will help your aim. Nice throw, dickhead. There are some guys who need less facial hair. Hey, Reed Johnson: the nineties are over, pal. Either grow a mustache to go with that mouse you've got clinging to your chin or shave it all off.

Another day basking in the glory that is Kosuke Fukudome. I think he needs a little devil goatee. On second thought, K-Fuk, stay just the way you are. You're beautiful, baby. Geovany Soto had an excellent day as well. Starting to look like last year was no fluke for the big catcher. Take the day off, boys. Go to one of Pittsburgh's fine museums. Bang a few coeds. Anything to erase the spectacle of yesterday's, urm, victory. I hope it's all out of your system because I saw a bunch of guys who looked suspiciously like the 2004/06 Cubs out there. Let's not go there again, fellas.

155 to go.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

3-3: Welcome to The Wonderful World of .500

Howdy kids. I missed the game on Saturday as it was my five year wedding anniversary. Luckily, I was able to get an update on the game from our waiter, a Cardinal fan named Fabio. Seriously. You can't make this shit up. Nice enough guy for a Cardinal fan, but Fabio?!? Holy shit.

Anyhoo, Cubs won that one thanks in no small part to the efforts of Kosuke Fukudome. Oh and Derrek Lee might have played a small part as well. I love that DLee has turned it up a notch. Must be the beard.

As for Sunday's game, DLee put his stamp all over this one as well. The biggest thing was El Toro Loco, who pitched his ass off for the second straight start. God Almighty, he looks good early. The Soriano home run was a nice sign as well. The bats seem to be warming up, which is good.

Who the fuck would've thought the Cardinals would be 4-1? This is a joke, right? Their pitching can't be this good all year, can it? And Dusty has the Reds playing good baseball. And Corey Patterson is hitting! The baseball! WTF?

And of course, the Brewers have been good.

Stay tuned. 156 nail biting games left to go.

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Friday, April 4, 2008


Crap. So much for the first winning streak of 2008. At least the bats seem to be warming up a bit. Is it too early to say that Fukudome is an absolute beast? I think I'm turning Japanese over here. I really think so. If you get that reference you're as old-and as lame-as I am. Soto seems to be shaking off the early rust as well, impressive given that he has to master the pitching staff and play the most challenging position on the field. I think he's gonna be a good one. Once Lou gets the lineup ironed out and everybody swings into season form, we're gonna look pretty good. It'll be nice to string some consecutive wins together here in the first month, God willing. No panicking allowed here. Would The Shooter panic? Hell no, kids. He'd stroke his mustache, suck down a post game beer, and come back the next day. 158 games left to go. See ya Monday, suckers.

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Holy freaking shit. if you'd have told me Ryan Dempster was going to notch the first win of the year, I'd have thought you were crazy. Surprisingly, the Canadian Carrottop pitched pretty well. In other news, Aramis Ramirez remembered how to hit the ball (Thank God. Rami, you were killing me, dude) and mustache-enhanced Kerry Wood tallied his first of many saves to come in a Cub uniform. The Brewers leave with the series win, but at least the Cubs didn't get swept. The Astros come into town for a three game set and the Cubs send Rich "Where's My Curveball?" Hill to the bump to take on Chris "Who the Fuck is That?" Sampson. Scintillating. 159 games to go, kids.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Well, shit. Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee hit bombs for the Cubs, but Jeff Suppan and the Sausage Slingers proved to be too much for the boys today. TR didn't have it today, plus the Brewer offense just rolled over the bullpen. So the Cubs are 0-2 to start the season and we're sending Ryan "Oh Shit" Dempster out there tomorrow to try and put a happy face on the series. 160 more to go. Hope they're better than today's effort.

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DoucheNugget of the Week: Jose Canseco Part 2

Jeez, will this guy ever shut up? The more media attention this shithead gets, the longer he's gonna hang around. The asshole went on Letterman and said he doesn't believe Clemens used steroids. Since I'm pretty much going on the principle that the opposite of everything Canseco says is true, that would then imply Clemens in fact did do steroids. Case closed as far as I'm concerned. The has-been ballplayer again asserted that ARod nailed his wife. He also got himself involved in a pissing match with right wing lunatic Curt Schilling.

You might ask, why give this ass castle another DoucheNugget of the Week post? Primarily because I had to agree with Curt Schilling about something. Thanks a lot Jose, you creepy bastard. The other reason is because I found this picture of Jose molesting a Cub fan. I'm not sure who to be angrier at: Jose for being such a complete fucking moron or this poor kid's dipshit parents for allowing the SyringeStallion to touch their child.

Jose, I hope your dick shrank to the size of a Tic Tac. Could explain why your wife left you. Just a thought.

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The Mustache Lives!

Rod Beck may be gone, but his memory lives on in the hearts of millions of Cub fans across the world. So does Rod Beck's mustache. A good mustache never dies, and The Shooter's is no exception. In fact, Rod Beck's mustache has a full time gig with the 2008 Chicago Cubs. The mustache's job is to hold Kerry Wood's shoulder tendons in place while Kid K pitches. Rod Beck's mustache is thrilled to be back in the big leagues after kicking around in the minors last year. The mustache's fondest minor league memory was the night it drank a 12 pack of Coors, won an arm wrestling contest, ate seven hot dogs and a plate of extreme nachos, shagged two coeds from Iowa State, and still threw more pitches the next day then Mark Prior threw all season.

The mustache is enjoying its new job, as it relishes working with Kerry Wood again. In fact, the mustache increased Kerry's testosterone levels to the point where Wood broke out in a full beard. Don't blame the mustache for the performance in Game 1, though. It's just there to hold things together. The mustache also wanted to give a shout out to its peeps: Rollie Fingers's handlebar mustache, Goose Gossage's Fu Manchu, and Bruce Sutter's neck beard. All hail the mustache, bitches!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Day or Banzai!

Welcome to the 2008 Season Opener, boys and girls. what did we learn today?

1. Kosuke Fukudome can apparently hit major league pitching. The stud from Japan was 3-3 with a walk in his first official MLB game. I don't think he's gonna bat a thousand the rest of the season, but he introduced himself to Chicago in a big way.

2. Is there anyone else in the game of baseball with as much class as Ernie Banks? Maybe Hank Aaron, who made some nice comments during Ernie's statue unveiling.

3. People are already ignoring Bob Brenly's comments following Kerry Wood's bad outing. People like this guy. Get off the ledges, people, it was one fucking game. There's 161 to go. If Wood posts several bad outings this month, I fully expect Lou to make the change to Marmol, who was simply electric yesterday. Until then, everyone calm the fuck down. In case you missed it, Eric Gagne also blew goats yesterday as well. Somehow I doubt Ned Yost is going to pull HIS plug after one bad game.

4. Carlos Zambrano is money. Z-Money. El Toro Loco pitched like the off season never happened, picking right up where he left off in 07. If Zambrano continues to pitch this good, he'll hit 20 wins this year easily. Plus he looked absolutely filthy.

5. Even the Cubs can't win on Ernie Banks Day. Damn, that sucks. Everyone else can worry about Wood as closer. I choose to worry about the offense picking up where they left off in the playoffs. Granted, they ran into a Ben Sheets who had all his good shit working, but the Theriot/Soriano one-two combination scares me more than Wood as closer.

Still, it was just one game. I refuse to push the panic button after one game. There are 161 of these fuckers left. The division is still wide open. Our Japanese import rocked the house in his debut. Our ace lived up to his status, even if he did leave with forearm cramps. I can't wait for Wednesday. TR's up next and let's hope for clear skies and a Cub victory. Banzai!

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