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

Monday, June 30, 2008

49-33: Ugh

What a lousy weekend for baseball. I feel like I've been punched in the junk. After the previous week's sweeping of the Pale Hosers, they returned the favor by sweeping the Cubs out of the Cell. Christ, is interleague play finally over? I really hate playing the AL, not because the AL is so much better than the NL, but just because I've never liked the idea of interleague play at all and in fact dislike the American League rules. I really loathe the DH and believe such an abomination should never have been allowed to come to pass. I think pitchers should hit and anyone who hits should play the field. I'm looking at you Big Papi and Travis Hafner. Oh, sure, it elongates a few careers and I'm sure the Player's Union would cry like a buncha pussies were the rule ever changed, but I still think it's a stupid rule. You put nine players on the field, those nine guys should hit. What's next, softball shit, where you can pinchrun for a player and then put the original player back in? Come on.

Anyway, what a lousy series. The boys looked a little lackluster and the Sox were just better. They really pitched well to Aramis, especially after he made them his bitch the previous weekend. Oh well. Still in first, still best record in the bigs. Zambrano's coming back, Soriano's on the mend, and maybe, just maybe, God willing, C.C. Sabathia might be a Cub this year. Keep your heads up, kids. The Giants come to town, bringing Barry Zito and his enormous contract ERA with him. After dropping the last couple of series, it's good to see an NL West team coming to town.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

48-29: Streak Snapped At 14 Games

Wow, it's been a while since I posted, so I'll bet the three of you losers who read this site were pretty disappointed, huh? Let's just say that the family had a bunch of medical issues this week, both human and feline, but things seem to be back on the upswing. Since I've been gone a while, I have some shit to get off my chest:

First of all, the Soto-Rooter has been updated. The bad thing about that is his batting average seems to keep falling. Come on Geovany. If you really want Rookie of the Year, you need to hit, big boy. Of course, an All-Star appearance won't hurt the cause and that's looking pretty likely.

Second, Rod Beck's Mustache has a message for my brother in law, who predicted the White Sox would sweep the Cubs over the weekend. The message reads: "Seriously? You thought the Pale Hosers would sweep? At Wrigley? Dude."

Third, a message to the White Sox organization in general. When the fuck did the White Sox turn into the whiny kid from next door who hates you? This kid has all the shiny new stuff that you don't, and he brags about having the shiny new stuff, but he still is jealous of you for some reason and feels the need to rag on your broken down shit. I just don't get it. The White Sox won a WORLD SERIES in 2005. Their ballpark, although somewhat lacking in character, is newer than Wrigley Field. They currently reside atop the AL Central despite NO ONE even remotely thinking they had a chance to be there. And are they happy about it? Oh, hell no. (And White Sox fans, this isn't aimed at you. I know plenty of Sox fans who are happy as clams. That's cool. I'm not interested in dissing you guys, so don't freak out.) Instead, their douchenozzle of a manager talks about the rats at Wrigley being the size of pigs. AJ Eyechart asserts Cub fans are "idiots". Some rookie douchewad I've never heard of tells us Wrigley Field smells like urine. The GM even gets in on the act, by telling us he'd have to be desperate to take a job with the Cubs. Like we'd want him. Jim Hendry may be far from perfect, but he's made some pretty big deals. And no, we haven't won a World Series, but I don't understand why Kenny Williams is upset because Cub fans didn't really care whether or not the Sox won a Series. What did he think would happen exactly? Did he think that the second the Sox got the final out against Houston that Cub fans would suddenly decide en masse to throw their blue hats into the gutter, scream "I've been wasting my life on my bullshit team!" and just give up and become Sox fans? It doesn't work that way, Kenny. Sure, there are some bandwagon jumpers who will hop on and off as the team performs well or poorly, but those are the same nitwits you see walking around Chicago wearing Red Sox or Yankee hats when those teams do well. Do you really want those assholes anyway? Don't act like I owe you allegiance just because you guys ended your drought first. I'm proud to say that I didn't root against the Sox in 05 (They were playing the Astros, whom I loathe beyond all possible reason, so it was pretty much a no brainer.) but I'm never going to become a Sox fan. it just isn't going to happen, Kenny. Bears fans don't become Packer fans, Yankee fans don't become Red Sox fans, Dale Jr fans don't become Jeff Gordon fans, so I'm not sure why you have this unrealistic expectation of Cub fans. I wasn't upset that the Sox won in 05, but I just wasn't all that excited either. Sorry, but it meant about as much to me as when the Angels won in 02, the Marlins in 03, the Red Sox in 04, blah blah blah. The only WS I've given a shit about lately is when the Dbacks beat the Yankees in 01, and that was only because my childhood hero, Mark "Slumpbuster" Grace got an effing ring out of it. The Sox are just another team to me, Kenny. What does upset me is you telling me how I should feel about your team and thinking I'm somehow a bad baseball fan for not embracing the Sox like a long lost brother. To me the standings don't matter, the attendance doesn't matter, none of it matters save that the Cubs were the team I grew up rooting for, the team that I'm stubbornly loyal to. Shit, why don't you ask me to root against my alma mater too, because that makes about as much sense. So White Sox organization and players, stop the pity party. You have a loyal group of dedicated fans. Why do you need us to acknowledge you and why do you feel the need to take shots at our team? Show some class and realize that there are some people you just ain't gonna win over.

Fourth, Aramis Ramirez. Don't ever change baby. I love you just the way you are. Does that make me gay? Nobody tell my wife. Seriously though, this weekend was badass. Stay a Cub forever, Rami. You keep hitting like this and I'll buy you some fucking chickens.

Fifth-how could we blow our fourteen game home winning streak by losing to the Orioles? Bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, down two, no outs. Three straight Ks for Sherrill. Holy Shit. I'm still shocked at how bad he made Fukudome look. Still, you can't win 'em all. Take the next two, we're still golden.

Sixth-What the shit is this hottest Cub fan/hottest Sox fan bullshit on the Sun-Times website? Isn't it enough that we have to play six games against the Southsiders? Just keep stirring that pot motherfuckers. Maybe a real news story will sneak up on you while you're looking for baseball fans in thongs.

That's enough for now. See ya on the flip side.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

45-27: Aww Shit

The Rays took the series with the win last night, but the worst news was that El Toro Loco experienced what was described as right shoulder discomfort. The Big Moose has been a tank for the Cubs the past several seasons, so hopefully nothing terrible will be revealed when he has his MRI in Chicago. Zambrano did report that the shoulder was feeling better, so hopefully this all turns out to be nothing. Regardless of whether Zambrano is okay, the Cubs need to seriously try to acquire C.C. Sabathia from the Indians. Peter Gammons doesn't think the Cubs have what the Indians would want to make the deal happen, but I think that depends on what the Indians are looking for. If they want some major league players who are ready now, then I seriously doubt we can pull the deal off. However, if they want some decent prospects, I think the Cubs can accommodate them. It might take a healthy chunk of our farm system to accomplish, but I think they could pull it off. Guys like Ceda, Veal, Patterson, Cedeno, and a few others may be enough to get this done. If however, the Indians are adamant about receiving some serious major league talent, I think the Cubs will be shit out of luck. From Sabathia, the talent level drops considerably. A.J. Burnett is intriguing, but he's a little too Prioresque for my taste. Plus, he seems like kind of a dick, but what the hell, we already have Jim Edmonds and the douche factor hasn't seemed to alter the mood in the clubhouse to this point. What's one more nozzle in the scheme of things when you have Uncle Lou around to bust balls? Rumors also tie the Cubs to the carcass of Erik Bedard, which does sort of worry me a little since he's pitched like mule shit for Seattle. The return of Maddux would be good PR, but not really the upgrade over Gallagher/Marquis that would put us over the top.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DoucheNugget of the Week: Hank Steinbrenner

Amazing. The jackass apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, does it? We've already witnessed Hank mouthing off about Joba in the rotation before Joe Giaradi was ready to make the move and now the Baby Boss is calling out the entire National League. Apparently, the National League needs to "grow up and join the 21st Century" by hiring either washed up losers who can't field anymore or young guys who couldn't field to begin with to hit for our pitchers, who must just be a little bit more athletic than their AL counterparts. I do agree that the Majors need some parity with the rules between the two leagues, but I say the AL needs to man up, drop the DH rule, and start playing some real baseball. You know, if you teach your guys how to run the bases and practice it, maybe they won't get hurt like Wang did. Personally, the whole idea of interleague play makes me want to puke anyway, but don't be blaming the senior circuit because your guys are a bunch of pansies who don't know how to play the game. It's pretty simple, Hank. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, and you hit the ball. If a guy is on the field, he should be required to bat, it's as simple as that.

And if you somehow succeed in this quixotic quest to install the DH in the NL, be forewarned, Son of Steinbrenner. A large, crazy Venezuelan man will be waiting for you in your driveway one morning. He'll have a baseball bat and a wicked gleam in his eye. Don't Mess with The Zambrano. If you take away his at bats, it'll only lead to more battered teammates and water coolers.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

45-25: Canadian Bacon and Hall of Farce Game

The Cubs went to the land of the Great White North (ey), and took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays, including a nice game against ace pitcher Roy Halladay. While for some blessed reason the game wasn't televised on Friday, I got plenty of Len and Bob goodness Saturday and Sunday. Over the past couple of years, Len and Bob (especially Bob), have really grown. Harry's been dead for ten years now, which still amazes me when I stop to think about it and Steve Stone has turned into a smugger douchebag than when he was an announcer for the Cubs, which was too bad. With the Cubs, he was on that borderline, but never quite crossed the line. Oh well. There's always my memories. But anyway, I was talking about Len and Bob, who have evolved into a very likable duo behind the mics for the Cubs. I especially love Bob's disdain for all things umpire and his insights as a former player and manager always interest me. And Len Kaspar might be a cornball, but at least he honestly seems like he's having a good time and he seems to be learning from his baseball savvy partner. Any way, enough knob slobbering.

Today, the Cubs are forced to take part in the annual dog and pony show that is the Hall of Fame Game. Instead of getting a day off to rest between this series and the next, which comes against the suddenly toothsome (Devil) Rays, the Cubs will instead be in Cooperstown playing a game that doesn't matter at a time where we can least afford to play games that don't matter. Too bad the tradition had to end this year and not a season earlier. Lou Pinella has expressed his general disgust with having to play this game, so I won't go too deeply into this, aside from pointing out there are some so called baseball purists who not only want this goofy tradition to continue, but who have the gall to suggest that Uncle Lou and the boys need to show a little more respect for the National Pasttime. I personally would prefer the Cubs skip this farce and proceed to win the division and then the World Series. I think that would honor the game a lot more than parading around Cooperstown on what should be an off day. Let's just pray no one gets hurt who might be essential for our potential success this year.

If this tradition must continue, let me suggest that the game be scheduled for the last week of September and that teams be selected at that time from the teams already mathematically eliminated from competition. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with this game being in the middle of a tough road trip , eliminating a day Lou could have used to give the Cubs some much needed rest. Those off-days are hard to come by during a 162 game season and to lose one for no good reason is frustrating. Hopefully, that one day won't come back to bite us in any way.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

42-24: Bad Break

Ryan Dempster pitched a complete game, the first of the year for the Cubs, who really needed it to give the bullpen a much needed night off. The Cubs may have won the game, but they lost Alfonso Soriano, possibly for six weeks to a busted finger. The only good thing I can see about this is that it means Micah Hoffpauier and possibly Thunder Matt Murton will be coming back up to the bigs to wreak some havoc for six weeks. The more time goes by and it's starting to look like a stroke of luck that some of the trades the Cubs had looked into in the offseason didn't pan out. We could have lost Murton and a pitcher to Texas for Marlon Byrd. Hopefully, the Cubs can continue to put runs on the board without Sori and just keep the wagon rolling until he returns.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

DoucheNugget of the Week: Cody Ross

I saw this story about Ken Griffey's 600 HR ball on MLBTradeRumors.com and it set me off. Cody Ross says: "Just give it to the Hall of Fame, get to meet him, get an autograph, whatever," Ross said. "But people get greedy. They want to make some money. I guess the whole Internet thing kicked all of this stuff off. It didn't used to be like this, but it's a different era. People get money hungry now."

Money hungry? Seriously, Cody? You , a grown man who gets paid millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) per year to play a child's game, are gonna call out some dude who caught a baseball and hasn't even decided what he's going to do with it yet? We know nothing about "Joe", the anonymous man who caught the ball, but I'm guessing he's not making millions. The ball could be worth between 15 and 100K. That's a pretty hefty sum. I love baseball as much as the next guy, but I'm sorry, if I caught that ball, it's already up for sale. If Griffey wants to buy it, I'll give him first dibs on it, but this is a once in a lifetime deal for a lot of people. And Griffey can afford to fork over 100 grand for said ball if he really wants it. with the money Griffey has earned over his career, what's a measly 100K? One less Bentley in the garage? A smaller boat for Kenny Jr Jr? And if Griffey doesn't want to pay that much, someone will. With a hundred thousand dollars, I could pay off my mortgage or put it aside for retirement. That's a lot of bread for the average man on the street. "Joe" is perfectly entitled to ask for fair market value for the ball if he chooses. I don't see that as greedy at all. I'm sure that if Cody doesn't get what he wants in terms of salary from the Marlins next season, he'll go to arbitration and won't consider that greedy in the slightest. And even with inflated salaries, I don't really see ballplayers as greedy. The owners are willing to shell it out, so why not try and make as much as you can? I don't know what "Joe's" real life financial situation is, but one could hardly blame him if he took advantage of the market and collected a windfall from this ball. Not all of us are so blessed as to make millions or even the league minimum. Next time you're cashing a paycheck, think about that, Cody. Douchenugget.

BallHype: hype it up!

Viva La Mustache

We haven't heard from Rod Beck's Mustache in a while. Turns out he ended up in a Tijuana prison after an all night bender with Kerry Wood's Closer Beard in LA. Apparently there was some property damage at a donkey show and some farmer's daughter ended up pregnant or something. There was gunfire involved, but it was all directed skyward. Par for the course for the mustache. Not to fear, Cubs' brass have paid the fines and arranged for an adoption in nine months, so the mustache is currently winging his way back to Chicago. He was not, repeat, not in Austin and has never spent any time with Cedric Benson.

BallHype: hype it up!

41-22: Return of the Soto-Rooter

Geovany Soto's 3 run shot put the kibosh on any kind of Braves comeback and allowed Uncle Lou to sit Wood's Beard last night, even though Kerry did warm up twice. The big catcher had been struggling a little bit, battling a sore ring finger, but he muscled one out to give the Cubs a five run lead which Jon Lieber was able to preserve in the 9th. In case you haven't noticed (which you'd have to be blind and stupid not to have), the Soto-Rooter has been having a solid rookie campaign and currently leads NL catchers in the All-Star Voting by some 200K votes. Not too shabby. Soto is also the early favorite for Rookie of the Year. If he can maintain this pace or even regress a little, he'll end up as one of the best catchers in the game by the time the season is over. Some voters may be swayed by Jay Bruce's big splash, but even if Geo finishes with lesser numbers than Bruce, I hope the voters keep in mind the relative wear and tear of the catcher position and adjust accordingly.

The Iceman struggled in the first inning, but then proceeded to shut the door on the Braves. The Killer even threw one high and tight after serving up a three run shot to Greg Norton. If your reaction is "Who the purple fuck is Greg Norton?" you are not alone. Both benches were warned and Len speculated that there might still be bad blood between the Cubs and Braves over the Soriano HBP and the subsequent Renteria HBP that earned Lilly an ejection and Mike Fontenot a cheap shot to the neck last season. Methinks Edgar should feel lucky to be in Detroit. Ted Lilly doesn't forget, Edgar. There's a mental fastball imprinted with a picture of your ribcage spinning in his diabolical mind, so I would enjoy the American League and thank your lucky stars the Cubs' interleague schedule doesn't include Detroit this year. Just know that you are on borrowed time. You WILL meet the Iceman again.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Guilty Pleasure: Ice Road Truckers

Ordinarily, I want to watch reality TV as much as I want to see Ray King in Jason Giambi's tiny gold banana hammock, but there's just something about this show. Big rigs have always fascinated me, even though I can barely drive a standard transmission equipped automobile myself. The idea that some moron would actually risk life and limb driving a massive vehicle overloaded with heavy equipment over frozen water intrigues me. My wife and I watched the entire first season of said show and I actually find the show so compelling that I skipped an hour of the Cub game Sunday night to watch the season 2 premiere. That descion was made fairly easy by the fact that the game was on ESPN and listening to Joe Morgan and his personal ballwasher Jon Miller makes me physically ill.

This season, four of the drivers from the first season are off to a different location to transport supplies to a natural gas operation. They're even further north this year, which means temperatures are colder and not only will they drive across frozen lakes, but they will actually drive over frozen portions of the Arctic Ocean! Holy. Fucking. Shit. You have to admire a guy who's willing to drive a truck over frozen ocean. That's a pretty scary thought. In fact, they show a couple of the guys heading north to the natural gas refinery and they're driving next to boats that are frozen in place. That's pretty messed up.

Not to recap the whole episode, but one scene struck me as completely retarded. One of the guys from last year was this pissant whiner named Drew. He didn't make it through last season and this year he signs up to drive, hoping to prove himself and get some retribution on one of the other guys, who fired him during the first season. So you're going up to the frigid north, where's it's like 50 fucking below or some shit and this nozzle leaves his jacket at home. He misses a chance to go on a run because he has no jacket or cold weather gear and the guy he was hoping to show up is set to go. I'm no trucking genius, but if I'm heading above the Arctic Circle, I'm bulkier than the Michelin Man. I've got long underwear, coveralls, a parka, and as many layers as I can cram under said parka. I'm wearing all that shit indoors too, cuz you never know man. What a choad. Then selfsame nozzle sits around for the first day and because he doesn't get a load he quits. Without ever even driving mile one. What a douche. At least last season you made six trips before being a little pussy and getting fired.

I'm sure the NASCAR crowd watches this in the hopes of seeing someone fall through the ice and die, but I can't really give you a good reason why it fascinates me. Only one of the guys, Alex, is really likable, although maybe some of the guys they'll show in season 2 will be as well. Maybe it's just the idea that someone would do something so dangerous to make a living and it makes me count my blessings that although my job might suck, at least it's not going to kill me in an instant if I fuck up or just have a spat of dumb luck. Or maybe it's the rugged individualism of the men who do this for a living and I'm really queer for that. Hell if I know. Still, a guilty pleasure to watch.

BallHype: hype it up!

40-22: Even Joe Morgan Can't Stop The Cubs

In what was surely a disappointment for long time Cub hater Joe Morgan, he and sycophantic douchenozzle partner Jon Miller were treated to a Cub victory over the Dodgers last night. As far as I know, there were no Albert Pujols references, although I'll confess to missing an hour whilst watching the season premiere of Ice Road Truckers. Per usual, there were at least a couple innings in which Morgan and Miller ignored the action on the field, droning on about unrelated matters. No worries, though, as the Dastardly Duo are much easier for me to swallow when the Cubs come out victorious. Now if only we'd beaten the Cardinals during the last Sunday night broadcast. That would've been sweet. Morgan must secretly have been gnashing his teeth over the fact that the Northsiders have the best record in the bigs at the moment. Of course, he did say the Cubs would win the division this year, which probably totally jinxed us. Kerry Wood's beard notched it's 18th save and was last seen drinking Coors' Light with the Shooter's mustache at an LA strip club. Mustache rides for all!

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, June 6, 2008

39-22: Hair of the Beard

The Cubs pulled off another late victory last night in LA, courtesy of a go-ahead RBI by Kosuke Fukudome, who also contributed his first homer away from Wrigley Field to the cause. Ryan Dempster ended up with a no decision, thanks to my least favorite ballplayer of all time, Jeff "Ump Choker" Kent, who hit two solo home runs in the game. Prick.

Most impressive though was the hard as nails 9th pitched by Kerry Wood, who surely needs a better nickname then Kid K now that he boasts a startlingly manly Closer Beard. Hitting yet another left-handed batter, Wood loaded the bases before striking out Matt Kemp with some wicked stuff to end the game. Somewhere Rod Beck is grinning at you Kerry. Wood now has 17 saves, the most in the National League and despite his proclivity to nail left-handed hitters, he looks remarkably comfortable in his new role. No surprise, TSL loves closers and to see Wood, a fan favorite for many years, thrive in the role is especially rewarding.

Other TSL favorite Geo Soto is struggling a bit, as the Soto-Rooter has dipped to a .283 average on the season. Still not bad for a rookie catcher. Add in the home runs, RBIs, and superb defense and Geo stands out as one of the best catchers in the game, rookie or no. One of the things that I really like about Geo is that he seems to bounce back after struggling for a bit, so the Poet anticipates a resurgence in the near future. The absolute bomb he hit at PetCo was certainly a good sign, but fewer strikeouts would be nice. still, it's hard to complain too much. Catcher is such a demanding position and Geo certainly seems mature beyond his years at handling the pitching staff. Much better than eggplant-brained Michael Barrett whom we foisted off on San Diego after his brief career as a punching bag last season. Who did we get back in that deal? Does it matter?

The Poet will be a lot happier once the West Coast swing is over as it's getting harder for me to stay up past midnight. Thank God the game last night didn't go into extras. Another late one tonight before things get a little more reasonable over the weekend. Unfortunately, the game on Sunday is on the Eastcoast SPorts Network so perennial douchenuggets Joe Morgan and Jon Miller will be in the broadcast chairs. Gee, I wonder who Joe will be pulling for? Any guesses on how many times he'll bring up Albert Pujols? Maybe they'll replay the whole interview Morgan did with amazing Albert the last time the Cubs were on Sunday Night Baseball. The Cubs are playing the Dodgers you say? Like that matters. On average, Miller and Morgan spend only about three innings per game actually calling the game they're watching anyway. Oh well. TV on mute and Pat and Ron on the radio. If it weren't for that damned TV delay . . .

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

38-22: What a Ride

Hey kids. I haven't posted in a while, content to enjoy the 9 game winning streak without commenting upon it. Plus I hurt my back a week or so ago and haven't felt like doing much on the ol' computer. Never fear, though, with a steroid injection yesterday, the Poet is back, The Soto Rooter has been updated and we're back in action here at the Lounge. The other reason I didn't post was pure superstition. The Cubs were doing so well while I wasn't posting, I'd promised myself I wouldn't post until they lost.

The Padres managed to squeak out a 1-run win over the Iceman, Ted Lilly last night. Ted didn't pitch too badly at all, aside from a shaky first. Nice to see the boys win a road series. Hopefully the trend will continue in LA. Aside from beating up the bullpen quite a bit over the course of the streak, the Cubs looked pretty good, rallying back to take the lead in several of the games. The Cubs' starters need to start going a little deeper in these ballgames if we're gonna last til the end of the season. At least they didn't win 10 games, so I'd have to see Bob Brenly's naked face and Len attempt to grow a little pussy-tickler of a mustache.

I'd also be remiss in not mentioning the Friday night comeback the Cubs made against the Rockies. Truly memorable, from the shots by Fukudome, Hank White, Jim (guh) Edmonds, and Mark DeRosa, the night was truly a night for heroes, not to mention the superb bullpen stylings of Mr. Marmol and Mr. Wood. Kid K is looking truly rugged these days, with a nice thick closer's goatee that would have made the ol' Shooter proud. The Mustache approves!

And while I don't usually like to throw out any kudos to the players on opposing teams, a salute to Heath Bell of the Padres. Heath's inspiration for his stance on the mound and steely determination comes from #47, Rod Beck. He's even got the little arm swing. You're okay, Heath, even if you did pick up the win last night. Have a Coors' Light on us and don't ever fuckin' do it again. Cheers!

BallHype: hype it up!