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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mustache Rides: July 30th, 2008

What's up, cock-knockers? It's your old buddy the Mustache, back for another round of bullshit and broads. The boys look pretty good so far, taking down Sabathia and Sheets the last two nights. And the Poet was worried. Pussy. Wisconsin may be shit for sports, but they do make good fucking beer. I've been 'faced since Sunday night. Me and the Closer Beard took a drive up north looking for some action and came across this place:

Yep, it's a strip club with a giant badger head outside, plus a storage shed with a squirrel . Only in Wisconsin, motherfuckers. It wasn't too bad, except for the dancer with the wooden leg. At least the beer was cold. Anyway, here's some more weird shit the ol' Hairball found this week:

Dougie Glanville finally got around to answering his fan mail. Nice.

The Mustache might know this chick.

This is why The Mustache is agnostic. This too.

Hey, what can Brown do for you? If I were a UPS driver, the last thing I'd fuckin' want would be a last ride in one of the turd mobiles I spent my career driving. Just sayin'

I think I found my new favorite restaurant.

All of the Mustache's teachers looked like the ass-end of an ugly mule. Where was this broad when I was a lad? And this one? Makes me wanna go back to school. With a video camera.

Sheesh. Just when I thought the Cubs-White Sox rivalry would never sink to the level of Yankees-Red Sox, this three asshats come along. It's a kid's game, you jerks. Lighten up.

The Mustache was never this hard up. Not even when I was just a pussy-tickler.

Someone’s got his panties all in a twist. Jesus Christ, drink a beer, get a blow-job, and shut the ever loving fuck up.

And now, for your leering pleasure . . . The Mustache is feeling his inner geek this week, so here's some shots of Kari Bynum from Mythbusters. Redheads, man. Can't get enough of 'em. And this one blows shit up. Hotness . . .

Disclaimer: The Mustache's viewpoints are not necessarily those of The Shooter's Lounge. If you're offended by anything The Mustache says, please remember you're taking umbrage at fiction generated by an equally fictitious strip of talking hair.-LoserPoet

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

62-44: Wolverine Power

Jim Hendry amazes me sometimes. Not only did he snag Rich Harden from the A's, he somehow managed to convince Billy Beane to throw in Chad Gaudin as insurance. Gaudin gave up a homer to the first batter he faced as a Cub, but he's been pretty tough since then. Last night, he earned his second win in two days, pitching through the toughest part of the Brewer order. Plus his nickname is the Wolverine. How fucking cool is that?

Ted Lilly was pretty good last night, too, matching up well with CC Sabathia. Lilly did get knocked around in the sixth, giving up back to back homers to J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun. Since both of these guys are currently blasting the shit out of everyone, I'm not too upset. Lilly gave up another run in the inning, but it could have been much worse. Considering he was basically lights out for five, that's a quality start, kids.

Marmol was pure filth in the ninth, which was nice to see. He did walk one, but the way his fastball and slider were working, it almost wasn't fair. If he can continue to pitch like that, the Cubs will be just fine until the return of the Closer Beard.

Derrek Lee was the main offensive force last night, along with Alfonso Soriano, who's starting to look like the 136 million dollar man again. The Secret Weapon made an appearance in the 9th and drew a walk, scoring on a DeRosa single. Lou rewarded him with some ale and pipe weed. No word on whether it was Longbottom Leaf or Old Toby.

Tonight's game features another pitcher's duel as El Toro Loco takes on Mr. Glass. Should be a good one, folks.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, July 28, 2008

61-44: The Secret Weapon

The Cubs were on their way to losing another game to the Marlins on Sunday, but luckily the offense came to life. (Apparently, somebody remembered to set off the explosive mixture needed to appease Jobu and wake up the bats). Soriano seems to be finding his groove after returning from the DL and DLee found the power stroke as well. Jason Marquis was sucky in the early going, coughing up 2 homeruns to Mike Jacobs and 1 to Dan Uggla for a total of six earned over six innings. Not so good, Jason. However, he did coax a walk from VandenHurk to bring Soriano up with two on. Mostly, this game was about the slice of awesome that is Mike Fontenot. The little hobbit came up big yet again, hitting a bases loaded double to give the Cubs the lead. Gaudin replaced Marquis and gave the Cubs another solid inning of work before Lou brought in Jeff Samardzija to close out the 9th.

I may have to eat my words on Samardzija, if he continues to pitch as he has in his first two appearances. Two games don't make a career or even a season, but the Shark does look very good. If Marmol continues to show his ineffectiveness is behind him and Wood comes back blister free, our pen should be nasty down the stretch. Of course, an acquisition like George Sherrill would further stabilize one of our main assets. The Orioles are said to want a shortstop. We still have Ronnie Cedeno. I would doubt that would be enough, but hell, you never know. The emergence of Mike Fontenot sort of makes Cedeno expendable in my mind.

The Cubs head to Cheese Country tonight to take on CC Sabathia and the Brewers. The Killer better bring his good shit and let's hope the Cubs bring their bats with them as well. CC's 4-0 since joining the Brewers and is looking Cy Young-esque. On the plus side, the Series with Milwaukee will be Marquis free.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hero Worship: Buck O'Neil

The Hall of Fame righted a wrong by awarding Buck O'Neil a statue and naming the Lifetime Achievement Award after him today at noon. This was first announced during the World Series last year, but made official today in Cooperstown. O'Neil missed the HOF by one measly vote, despite a long, milestone filled career and his ambassadorship for the game. Congrats, Buck. Too bad you didn't live to see this moment.

BallHype: hype it up!

DoucheNugget of the Week: Julio Castillo

Julio Castillo, a pitcher for the Cubs' A Club, the Peoria Chiefs was arrested following Thursday night's game in Dayton after he threw a ball into the stands, injuring a fan. Apparently, Castillo took umbrage at Dayton's pitcher hitting a Chief player in the first inning, so he followed suit, hitting a Dayton Dragons player in the head and another in the arm. The second player hit, Angel Cabrerra, slid into second with his spikes up, and Castillo then threw high and tight to another Dayton batter. This prompted some comments from Dayton manager Donnie Scott, which in turn brought out Chiefs' interim manager Carmelo Martinez, who proceeded to shove Scott. Castillo then threw gasoline on the fire by hurling a fastball at the dragon's dugout. Then as they say, it was on. Full out bench clearing brawl and a 69 minute delay to get everything sorted out. The umpires ejected 15, but were later overruled by the league office after both teams whined and complained that they would have to use pitchers in the outfield to finish the game. (You can watch the brawl erupt here on Wrigleyville23.)

As for Castillo, he whipped a ball at the opposing team's dugout, but being a Cub prospect, missed by a mile and the bail sailed into the stands, injuring a fan, who had to be taken to the hospital. I'm perfectly fine with pitchers protecting their teammates. One of your guys gets hit, you hit one of their players in retaliation, preferably on the butt or some other padded area. Firstly, you don't hit guys in the head. Secondly, as soon as you hit one guy, it's over. You hit a second, we have problems. Don't get all bitchy and whiny when the second guy hit goes in spikes up. He earned the right when you plunked him as you are no longer even at that point. Thirdly, don't compound the problem by throwing in at the next guy up. And finally, regardless of what happens, you don't heave a 90mph+ fastball into the other team's dugout.

Julio Castillo, I'm embarrassed that you're in the Cubs organization. The Cubs should immediately terminate your contract and the other teams should blackball you. The Cubs should also pay for the fan's medical bills and hopefully settle any lawsuits he/she might file. Castillo should also be held accountable for any damages over what the club is willing to pay out. This was a shameful display by nearly everyone involved. The managers did nothing to restore any semblance of calm for their players and the umpires should have taken control of the game and kicked Castillo out after the second plunking, issuing warnings at that time. Maybe that would have prevented the complete, utter bullshit that followed. This is the Delmon Young bat-throwing temper-tantrum times a thousand and the league and the Cubs need to take appropriate action.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

59-42: Escape from the Desert

Well, the Cubs suck on the road, but mercifully, the road trip is over for now, the Cubs managing to avoid another sweep. Alfonso Soriano returned last night, but the real hero turned out to be Reed Johnson, who smacked his second grand slam of the year. Apparently, the physical and mental strain of partying with the Shooter's Mustache and the Closer Beard caught up to Reed, forcing him to shave his awesome Fu Manchu. Some solid pitching and hitting from Ted Lilly was another difference maker as the Cubs won 10-6. Also a good sign was another scoreless frame from beleaguered pitcher Carlos Marmol, who looks to be the closer until Kerry Wood's Closer Beard eats the blister on his pointer finger. No word if Marmol plans on growing facial hair to deflect attention from his enormous elephant ears.

In more disgusting news, CC Sabathia twirled another complete game for the Brewers. Fat Bastard is now 4-0 since moving to sausage country, while our own Dick Hardon has two no decisions. Swell. Now there's talk of the Blue Jays shopping Roy Halladay and that St. Louis might be one of the teams interested if such a thing were to come to pass. Fanfuckingtastic. I'm not panicking by any stretch of the imagination, but can't we just have one year? One lousy fucking year where the Cubs could dominate the division and win the whole enchilada? One year where other fans would just have to say "Hey, the Cubs were the best team in Year X?" That's all I want. I don't want the Cubs to win so I can act like a douchebag. I just want them to win before my old man dies, before I'm too old to actually enjoy it, and so the number 1908 ceases to have any significance. Besides, I really like this bunch of goobers and I'd to see them be the team that finally ends the drought. I want to see Carlos Zambrano in the World Series wearing Cub Blue, dammit.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mustache Rides

It’s your old pal the Mustache again. The Cubs sure look shitty since the All-Star Break, don’t they? This whole no offense thing is pissing me off. On the plus side, Kerry Wood’s Closer Beard and I have a new drinking buddy: Reed Johnson’s Fu Manchu. Now instead of looking like some random Staind fan, he looks like the gay biker from the Village People, and I mean that in a good way. Welcome to the club, Reed. I'd shoot you a pic, but apparently Reed hasn't done anything meriting a photo since he grew his fine facial foliage.

By the way, The LoserPoet said I can start doing this post once a week. We'll see how motivated I am during the stretch when the hardcore drinking begins. Your dose of random weirdness starts here:

With friends like this, who needs enemies? Not the meaning of FireCrotch the Mustache is fond of.

How come I can't get a hot chick to do this on any of the flights I'm on? Or this while I'm driving? Step up the crazy ladies, the Mustache is bored. Speaking of which, whatever happened to this chick? If you're gonna go to the trouble of getting arrested, you might as well bare it all. Wuss.

One less place for the Stache to visit when the Cubs swing through New York. Good times.

If you were a 13 year old boy, why in God's name would you turn this in? Are you on crack? Go back to the PlayStation, son.

And on that note, here's the object of my affection this week, the lovely Alyssa Milano. No one looks better than her in Cub Blue. Or out of it. Plus, she actually digs baseball. Bonus points.

Disclaimer: The Mustache's viewpoints are not necessarily those of The Shooter's Lounge. If you're offended by anything The Mustache says, please remember you're taking umbrage at fiction generated by an equally fictitious strip of talking hair.-LoserPoet

BallHype: hype it up!

There's a Snake in My Boot

Ugh. What a crappy pair of games in the desert. According to Yahoo Fantasy, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and The Soto-Rooter are a combined 4 for 60 on this roadtrip. What the hell has happened to our offense in the second half? Watching the turd of a game last night after the 48 hours I had made me want to throw something heavy at the TV. Not to whine, but here's how annoying things were after leaving work Monday.

My wife and I live about 25 minutes outside of the city where we work. We carpool to save gas, so we're driving home when we blow a tire about halfway between work and home. We're on a country road at rush hour and it's about 95 degrees plus as wet and nasty as Lindsay Lohan's cooter. I jack the car up while other motorists whiz by at well over the 55mph limit. Nothing like trying to change a tire in a breakdown lane the size of a postage stamp. I get the lugnuts off okay, but the fucking tire WILL not come off. No amount of beating it, kicking it, or cursing it will separate it from the car. Now I'm hot, sweaty, and angry. A county cop shows up. He tries to remove the tire and fails. He is able to call a tow truck from our little town for us before zooming off to another call. Luckily for my wife and I, another motorist stops and offers to let us sit in his car while we await the tow truck. I won't embarrass him by posting his name, but on the off chance you're a Cub fan, thank you good sir. The Poet and his wife were on the verge of melting out there. Tow truck arrives and using the donut tire as a club, the driver knocks the tire off with one blow. Score. Donut goes on, the day is saved. Or is it?

The wife and I head home, tired and sweaty beyond belief. The tire is completely shredded, beyond repair. We figured we got off lucky that we hadn't taken the interstate home that day as that tire would have launched off the car at a higher speed. But we're good to go, because we have another car. We get home and I happen to look at my car as we go in the house. The front right tire on it is fucking flat as a pancake. So my bad back and I get to put another donut on. At least the wheel on my car slid off like butter. No worries, we can still drive to work the next morning, the day is saved, part 2. Before we go to sleep, my wife says: "Boy, we got pretty lucky. Usually bad things come in threes." On that note we fall asleep whilst a thunderstorm is going on.

We awake the next morning, my wife showers, I go upstairs to shower and before I can turn the water on, I hear my wife (who normally does not curse) go "SHIT!" at the top of her lungs. Repairing downstairs, I look in the basement and the cats are doing water ballet in the five inches of water accumulated there. You've gotta be fucking kidding me right? Two flats and a basement flood shouldn't allowed to occur in the same 24 hour period, right? Wrong. We did get everything cleaned up, although our efforts could mostly be described as comic at best.

Now I know is is all small potatoes shit. No one was hurt, no one died, Thank God. But Holy Hannah, this was just a little much to take in such a short period of time. Then the Cubs played last night and royally sucked it up, which didn't help my mood any. Kevin Hart was embarrassing at best and Sean Marshall wasn't much better. And the offense? What happened, boys? Mike Fontenot can't do it all himself, fellas. This team has got to start playing better on the road or we're gonna piss this division away. You guys are too good for this crap.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Some Changes

The whole black background thing was starting to give me eyestrain, so I'm going to be screwing around with the template for the next few days until I find something I like better. Bear with me as I try my best to fuck everything up.

BallHype: hype it up!

58-40: Bats Find Life as Cubs Avoid Sweep

The Cubs' Cajun Connection of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot came up big yesterday, helping the Cubs post a 9 run advantage for Ryan Dempster, who proved to be the stopper. The Cubs lost the series to the Astros and some ground to the Cardinals and Brewers. It was nice to see some signs of life from the Cubs' offense, especially the man from Japan, Kosuke Fukudome, who's looked lost at the plate over the past couple weeks. He still had some at bats Sunday where he didn't look real comfortable, but he doubled and scored twice. The final double was hit with authority, the swing more like what we'd become accustomed to from #1 Slugger in his brief. MLB career. I'm not giving up on the Fukker, as he's been too good in the Nippon leagues to suggest that he's going to continue to struggle. You don't win a couple batting titles without knowing how to hit and I'm sure he'll continue to make adjustments.

Saturday, the Big Moose wasn't as sharp as he had been before the break and the Astros took advantage. El Toro Loco did provide the lone Cub run, homering to set a new franchise record for home runs by a pitcher. What's Spanish for "Babe"? Ted "The Killer" Lilly pitched well on Friday, but received no run support save an Edmonds homerun.

Why can't this team win on the road? I thought we were supposed to be cursed at Wrigley. not the other way around. We're running out of time to figure this shit out. Hopefully, Soriano's return will provide a spark and the Cubs can get on another solid run of baseball. We've managed to hold onto first, but the Cardinals and the Brewers are both playing better ball of late. This team needs to win on the road if we're going to win this division. I don't know what they need to do, but they need to do it fast.

In other news, Milwaukee decided the Rickie Weeks experiment is a bust, trading for Ray Durham to solidify their infield. Durham's a veteran, currently hitting .293. This seems like a solid move for the Brewers, getting a veteran presence to stabilize some of the youth on their ballclub. Judging by the average, he can still hit a little bit as well. All this tells me is that Brewers aren't just going to quietly pack up their tents and fade away and neither are the Cardinals. God forbid anything should ever be easy. Such is life, such is baseball.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hero Worship: Mark Grace

The Hero Worship posts are a series of posts in which I hope to explain my infatuation with the Chicago Cubs. My father was in the Air Force and we traveled the country and beyond during the first fifteen years of my life. Aside from the three years we spent in Germany, WGN and the Cubs were our connection to our relatives back in Illinois.

I was born in Las Vegas in '76 and after a short stint in Germany we had returned to Vegas in '83. I rooted for the Cubs in '84, but being 8, I had no idea how devastating it was that the Cubs had lost as I had no sense of the history at that time. For a time I became infatuated with Steve Garvey (!) and the San Diego Padres, as Las Vegas had the AAA club for the Pads at the time. Over the next few years, I saw guys like Benito Santiago and John Kruk play for the Stars before moving on up the ladder. In 86, we moved yet again, this time to Michigan. While rooting for the Padres, I did continue to watch Cubs games with my old man, and it was thus that on May 4th, 1988, I saw the man who would bring me once more into the tumultuous arms of Cubdom once and for all. Ironically, I was watching the game because the Cubs were playing the Padres, but a young, fresh-faced first baseman for the Northside stole my heart, going 1-2 with a homerun, 2 walks, and a couple runs scored. He'd made his debut a few days before, but this is the first game I remember watching. Ironically, the homerun was what caught my attention, and Grace was never a power hitter. As the years passed, his skill on the field and his uncanny ability to rack up clutch hits cemented my affection. The next year, my family watched breathlessly as Gracie put on a show in the playoffs, eclipsed only by Will Clark. After every win, I'd retire to my room and play my "Go Cubs Go" and "Men in Blue" 45s on my old Goldstar stereo. It wasn't enough, unfortunately, and the Giants met the A's in the World Series that year.

Mark Grace remained one of the few bright spots over the next nine years. Sure Sammy came, but I was never really a Sammy guy. Mark was the steady one, rapping out doubles, keeping shortstops and second basemen from committing too many errors, enduring many jokes from Harry and Steve about his speed (or lack thereof). Plus he was smooth and cool during interviews, and he made the ladies swoon. Man, I would have killed to have been Mark Grace. There was another chance in 1998, the year I graduated college. I found new heroes that year as I prepared to leave college behind for the uncertain future. Kerry Wood with his flamethrower arm and this site's namesake, Rod Beck, The Shooter. The greatest game I have ever seen was the one game playoff against the Giants to clinch the Wildcard. Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept by the Braves.

But there was always Mark Grace. I kept watching, hoping against hope that the Cubs could score a World Series title and a ring for my hero, Mr. Everyday, the man who coined the term 'slumpbuster'. And then disaster. After the 2000 season, another dismal Cubs debacle, Mark Grace was a free agent. And the Cubs declined to resign him.

I was angry and heartbroken. The 2001 season started and manning first base was the less than inspiring combination of Ron Coomer, Chris Stynes, and Matt Stairs. Later, the sulky Fred McGriff was acquired. I still was a Cub fan and I still watched the games, but not as many as I had before and nor with as much enthusiasm. When the Dbacks reached the playoffs, I watched every game, rooting for the goateed one. When they reached the World Series, I was ecstatic. In the 9th inning of game 7, Slumpbuster himself came up against Mariano Riveria and was Captain Clutch once more, blooping a single and starting the game winning rally. My dad and I watched that game and I swear, the old man (who's about as emotional as a teaspoon) had a tear in his eye. My mom was crying for Crissakes. It was the next best thing to actually seeing a Cub World Series win. Mark ended his career two years later, but he remains my favorite Cub of all time. I did finally get over losing him to the Dbacks, since guys like Wood, Ramirez, Zambrano, Lee, Fukudome, and Soto have come along. '01 and '02 were pretty rough, though.

Mark always seemed like a team player who loved the game. I'll never forget how excited he was at the conclusion of Kerry Wood's 20K game, or his genuine appreciation of Mark McGwire when the bulky slugger hit his record breaking homerun. One of my favorite moments came in September of 2002. The Dbacks were getting crushed by the Dodgers, so Mark Grace came in and pitched the 9th. He gave up a homerun, but got great comic value for his performance, imitating teammate Mike Fetters's distinctive windup and head gestures.

Now Grace is a commentator for the DBacks and for Fox Sports. Personally, I'd love to see him in the booth with Len or Bob calling games for the Cubs. From his games on Fox, he seems like a candid, no bullshit kind of announcer. Here's to you Mark. You'll never be a Hall of Famer, but someday, I hope to see #17 on a pennant shaped flag flying high atop Wrigley Field.

Mark was a 3 time All Star (1993, 1995, 1997), and a four time Gold Glove Winner (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996). He might have won some batting titles had he not played during the same time as Tony freaking Gwynn. Mark Grace's Career Stats.

BallHype: hype it up!

R.I.P. Dustin Eglseder

Dustin Eglseder, the fan who won the the Sing The 7th Inning Stretch competition last season, succumbed to his bone cancer this past Wednesday. Dustin seemed like a pretty good guy and his victory in the contest raised it well beyond the farce it could have become. So today is a sad day for Cub Nation as we mourn the loss of one of our own. We'll throw some Coors back in your honor during the game tonight, Dustin.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Star Shame

Sorry for the lame post title, but I'm sure bloggers and legitimate journalists alike are pulling out this hoary old chestnut this morning. I stayed up and watched the whole freaking thing and I just have to say the whole business leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When the opening ceremonies are more compelling than the entire 15 inning game, then we have problems. Just a few of my beefs:

1. The All-Star Game should not count. All because of a bunch of panty-waist whiners bitched and moaned about the tie game a few years ago, Bud Selig overreacted and decreed the All-Star Game would determine home field advantage in the World Series. Until then, home field was earned by the team with the best record. I still believe this is the way it should be. Having the best record should entitle you to something and what better than home field advantage in the most important series of the year? Basing home field advantage on the results of last night's game is just pathetic and wrong.

2. The All Star Game used to be fun. Gee, Bud, remember that? I don't want the game to count. What I want is for the guys to have a good time and not take it seriously. I want more moments like Big Z's lazy curveball in on Manny Ramirez. That was awesome and to me, the best point of the night, aside from Aaron Cook bailing out Dan Uggla. Nice moments, but I still had more fun watching the celebrity softball game the night before. Why can't the All Star Game be like that? Sure, it's cheesy, but it's fun. I think we seem to be missing the point of all of this. Can't we just have the best players in baseball goof around for 9 innings without trying to win so nobody gets hurt or overextended? Which brings me to point 3.

3. If a guy pitches the Sunday before the All-Star Game, then he has no business pitching in the All Star Game. I don't care about pitch counts or any of that other bullshit. He shouldn't even be warming up. I about shit myself when Ryan Dempster came into the game yesterday. I'm sure the Rays and Dbacks were real thrilled to see Kazmir and Webb enter the game as well. Francona and Hurdle both handled things very carefully and diplomatically, but the potential for disaster is simply to great to risk throwing these guys out there.

4. The whole thing is just silly and never lives up to the hype. Last night, the game went 15 innings. Both managers emptied their benches and the game mercifully ended on a sac fly. Blah. What if Lidge had managed to get out of the inning? Would Francona have allowed Kazmir to pitch? How would the game have been decided if he didn't? Would the AL have forfeited? All of this is unanswered, but again, completely silly. Just make it an exhibition game again. Please? If it has to be the MLB's version of the Pro Bowl, so be it.

My complaints aside, the opening ceremonies were very nice. I thought it was cool how they positioned the Hall of Famers at their respective positions to greet the All Stars. Very classy. (One question: Where was Joe Morgan? Not that I missed him, but he called the Home Run Derby Monday. Too good to rub shoulders with Sandberg et al?) I really do enjoy the hoopla of the event, but the game itself is always disappointing. Come on Bud, just make it fun again. I'll still watch, I promise. It's the only frigging game on until the break is over and I needs my baseball like some people need their crack.

Highlights for me:

Carlos Zambrano-Pure filth, plus a touch of humor. His lazy curve over Manny's head had me rolling. That's the kind of thing I want to see. Guys goofing on each other, having a good time. They should have let the El Toro Loco hit. Game would have been over in 9.

Aaron Cook: Cook pitched 3 strong, bailing out Uggla in his first frame by inducing three outs while the bases were loaded. No wonder the Rockies won't make this guy available, he's nails. Fuck J.D. Drew, here's your MVP bitches.

Ryan Dempster: Ryan Dempster came in in the 9th after pitching on Sunday. He struck out the side in a display of pure nastiness. If he pitches as effectively in the second half, the Cubs will be money. Demp is legit.

Russell Martin: Martin replaced The Soto-Rooter and was all kinds of good, blocking the plate and throwing out baserunners. He personally extended the game a couple innings by himself with his great D.

I would have liked to see our offensive guys contribute a bit more, but hell, no one really did much offensively last night. Soto allowed two steals, but I think those were mostly on the pitcher. Not much Geo could do.

Selig needs to sit down and rework this game. Go back to record determining home field advantage and make the game about fun again.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, July 14, 2008

57-38: All Star Relief

The Cubs have reached the All-Star Break and remarkably remain in first place. Even a depantsing by Tim Lincecum and a near meltdown of epic proportions by Carlos Marmol on Saturday can't dilute my enthusiasm for this Cubs team. Do we still have issues? Hell yes. Are they insurmountable issues? I don't think so. I do think the second half of the year will be challenging for the Cubs. Let's take a look at some pluses and minuses.

Minus: The Brewers will have CC Sabathia the rest of the way, and he's already looking good in two starts for the Sausage Lovers. This is a legit concern. Sabathia is a beast and coupled with Ben Sheets, the Brewers have a really solid 1-2. I see this mostly as a wash with our own rotation, placing Zambrano in the Sabathia role and Harden as Ben Sheets. Both teams now have a solid, reliable, generally healthy starter plus a guy who's freaking awesome if he can stay healthy. It may come down to just that down the stretch. One thing in the Cubs' favor: despite Marmol's recent struggles and Kerry Wood's blister, our bullpen is still better. Now if the Brewers could get guys like Fuentes or Mahay, that might be some cause for further concern. As it stands, I see the pitching fairly even, with a nod toward our bullpen.

Minus: Kosuke Fukudome. Right now, the Japanese sensation looks a little worn out to me. He's finally hit a wall and is struggling. That said, I'm not panicking yet. Fukudome may be a MLB rookie, but this guy knows himself and knows how to play this game. Joe Morgan may not think shit of the Nippon Leagues, but I think they're a notch above Triple A. I think Fukudome's too good to struggle like this for long and he'll get back to stroking base hits and working counts like a fiend before too long.

Minus: Carlos Marmol. This is really the issue that gives me serious pause. Marmol has been absolutely filthy, a beast, ever since his conversion from starter to reliever. Many had anointed him the closer before the season began. The last month, he's been positively stinky, blowing leads, saves, and umpires. I love Marmol. He's one of my favorite guys, but I think we all know the dude's been used too much. This is how he looked in the playoffs last year. Not good considering we're only halfway home. This kid needs some rest, so we need to see more of Bobby Howry and Chad Gaudin for the next month or so. I really think the kid can bounce back, but his arm ain't made of rubber. Lou needs to mix it up a bit more.

Plus: Ryan Dempster. Who the hell saw this coming at the beginning of the year? Not me, I thought he would suck harder than a girl named Starla at a hooker convention in Pittsburgh. Thus far, you have proven me wrong O Canadian Comedic wonder. Even when Dempster loses, he doesn't look terrible, save the one game against the Pale Hosers on the South Side. Be nice if we could win some road games for the redhead during the second half.

Plus: Carlos Zambrano. Z-Money. What is there really to say? He's awesome. This is what an ace looks like, kids. Sit up and take notice. The big fella's been good the past few years, but he's taken it to new heights this season.

Plus: Wrigley Field. Over the past few years, I've listened to know nothing assholes denigrate the proud lady of the Northside. Enough is enough. I don't know what the deal is this year. Maybe it is the passing of the 100th year, the decorative safety netting, or the completely revamped field surface, but this year, the Friendly Confines have never been friendlier. It's like the team finally figured out this was their house, not just the fans.

Plus: Jim Hendry. Yeah, I said it. Ol Jimbo may have an eye for the pastries, but his shrewd wheelings and dealings have made this team, more in the past two years than in his previous tenure. He's made mistakes, but he's looking like a genius this season. He won the Fukudome sweepstakes and the Fukker's patient eye has spread throughout the lineup. He pulled Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds off their respective scrap heaps and watched both players become integral parts of the Cubs' success. He and Lou moved Dempster from the bullpen into the rotation and entrusted a rookie catcher to lead our pitching staff. They made Kerry Wood the closer. When the Brewers made their move and got Sabathia, he returned us to equal footing less than 24 hours later by acquiring Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. Even if Harden's arm falters down the stretch, just the fact that Jim made the move speaks volumes. Hendry is a big part of why the Cubs are legit. He found the guys in obvious and less obvious places. If the Cubs go down, it won't be from lack of effort on Jimbo's part.

Plus: Chemistry. A weird one. This is the coolest bunch of Cubs I've ever had the pleasure of watching. They hit, pitch, and field, but more importantly, they do things as a team. D-Lee and A-Ram have an off day? Here's Mighty Mike Fontenot hitting a homer out into the bleachers. Carlos Marmol struggles? Here's Sean Marshall, two scoreless and a basehit to start a rally. This is how it's been all year. Different heroes everyday. These guys are solid, they're fun to watch, and I don't hate any of them. Not even Jimmy Edmonds. We've purged the selfish ghost of Sammy Sosa for good and it shows.

The Cubs are halfway home now. Will it be easy? It never is. Still, I can't wait to watch these guys play. Win or lose, I really like these guys. If they continue to play well and if St. Louis and Milwaukee stay just a little bit behind, the Cubs should be all right. And if we make the playoffs this time, I don't see these guys going down in three.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mustache Rides Pt. 2

I'm back bitches! The Mustache has been pounding them back with the the Closer Beard and the new guy, Chad Gaudin's sweet Neck Beard. Just hanging out, checking out some tail, exchanging grooming tips. The Closer Beard got the save today. I remember when I used to pitch hungover. Guh. Never again. Since I'm on an out and out campaign to offend someone, here's another episode of Mustache Rides. This week's entry: Keira Knightley. Sweet Jesus, this lil gal is fine. Ordinarily, the Mustache likes a little more meat on the bone, but for Keira, he's willing to make an exception. For your viewing pleasure:

Disclaimer: The Mustache's viewpoints are not necessarily those of The Shooter's Lounge. If you're offended by anything The Mustache says, please remember you're taking umbrage at fiction generated by an equally fictitious strip of talking hair.-LoserPoet

BallHype: hype it up!

55-37: Zambrano Sizzles, Lilly Fizzles Against Reds

On Wednesday, Carlos Zambrano held the Reds to 1 hit, a HR shot from the Big Donkey, Adam Dunn. Other than that, El Toro was dealing, a man possessed on the mound. Carlos really seems to be on a mission, taking this team on his big, brawny shoulders. The antics have been reduced, what's left is the solid starting pitcher, the team leader. The man. Carlos Marmol was a little shaky after getting the first two outs, but the Beard came in with the bases juiced and nailed it down on a foul out to DLee.

Thursday's outing from Ted Lilly took the opposite route as he was unable to escape the 3rd. The Cubs and Reds played slugfest all day, the Reds eventually triumphing 12-7. The Reds hit 7 homeruns in the ballgame, including a mammoth Dunn shot in the rain that probably still hasn't landed yet. It might have beat those fuckers back to Cincinnati for all I know. J.M. Riccardi, you sure you wouldn't want to have Adam Dunn? Yeah, he can't hit for average, but holy freaking crap can he hit that ball far. Guy's a DHing wet dream.

Still, we took the series from the Reds, always a good thing to send the Dustbag out of town the overall loser. The Giants come to town today for a weekend series. Hopefully, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum won't be as sharp as they were in the Bay area and we can rattle off another series win.

Dick Hardon starts tomorrow for the Cubs and I'm pretty excited. Even if his arm does blow up, at least the womenfolk have a new stud in town to watch. That whooshing sound you heard was panties blowing off all across Chicago. Those eyes, that come hither crooked smile, that five o'clock shadow . . . wait, does that come off gay? Fuck, I don't care. Mark DeRosa better watch out, there's a new sweetie in town!

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

54-36: Keeping Up With The Johnsons

In a sweet move, Jim Hendry sent Eric Patterson, Thunder Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, and catcher Josh Donaldson to the Oakland As for Rich Harden and reliever Chad Gaudin. It's a move that doesn't cost the Cubs too much and makes the rotation and the bullpen that much stronger. It also answers the Brewers excellent move to acquire CC Sabathia. If Harden can stay healthy, he and Zambrano form an effective 1-2 punch atop the rotation. Throw in excellent work from Dempster and Lilly and the Cubs' starting four are as good as any in the game. Marquis? Maybe Marshall takes his spot in the next week or so. Hendry also accomplished the trade without mortgaging too much of the team's future and also leaving himself some room to make a few more deals. (Cedeno/? for A.J. Burnette. perhaps?) This doesn't guarantee us a playoff spot, but well done, Mr. Hendry.

Overshadowed by the move, Ryan Dempster picked up his 10th win at Wrigley this year. The Canadian funny man is unbeaten in the Friendly Confines this year. The Soto-Rooter knocked in three and added another homerun to give him 16 on the year. Holy Crap, is this kid good or what?

In other news, CC Sabathia looked really good for the Sausage Slingers last night, tallying his first National League win. Makes me glad we got Harden sooner than later. Hopefully his arm won't fall off.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, July 7, 2008

53-36: Cubs Win Road Series in St. Louis, Sabathia Lands in Brewer Country

The Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Cardinals over the weekend, with Kerry Wood's Closer Beard blowing Saturday's game. Unofficial word was the Beard was hungover after tearing St. Louis a new one Friday night. The Shooter's Mustache and the Beard decided to take Jim Edmonds out on the town and "make a man out of him". Apparently, it's working as Edmonds and former boss Tony LaRussa traded barbs in the media during the series. Jesus, no wonder Scott Rolen wanted out of St. Louis so bad. I'm still on the fence about Jim Edmonds, but this goes a long way towards making him actually somewhat likable. I think if the Cubs ever hired Mr. Sunglasses to run the team, I just might have to kill myself. What a fuckin' nightmare that would be.

The worst news of the weekend is that C.C. Sabathia is apparently destined to become a Sausage Slinger this weekend, which really blows ass. C.C. and El Toro Loco could have been the best pound for pound 1-2 punch in the bigs, but alas, it's not meant to be. Is this LaPorta kid really that good? That leaves the Cubs still looking to add some rotation depth, although the big kid, Sean Marshall, certainly looked good yesterday against the Birds. Some options that appear to be available:

A.J. Burnette-nice stuff when he's healthy, seems kind of churlish for a guy who's been disabled much of the past few seasons. The Blue Jays supposedly want a shortstop upgrade. would Cedeno be considered an upgrade? Over Eckstein? Maybe.

Greg Maddux-Certainly the feel good, warm n' fuzzy trade option. I'd love for Greg to finally finish out his career in the blue pinstripes, but I'm not sure he's a legit upgrade over pupil Sean Marshall at this point. I love the Mad Dog and he's a competitor, but PetCo is helping him an awful lot.

Erik Bedard-I remember when the Cubs were trying to get the Orioles to trade us Tejada and Bedard for Prior and some other crap. The Orioles decided to pass, but did offer Tejada for Prior straight up, I believe. One of Jim Hendry's rare miscues there, the other biggie being Nolasco, Pinto, and Mitre for Juan Pierre. I don't know about you, but Nolasco would look pretty effing sweet in our rotation right about now. And Pierre? He still sucks. But Bedard is an intriguing possibility, although he seems a little inconsistent to me.

Randy Wolf-I like Randy Wolf, he's recovered well from his injury, but like Maddux, his value is inflated by the park he pitches in. He gives up too many gopher balls for me to be comfortable bringing him to Wrigley.

Aaron Cook-would be awesome, but he's apparently not available. Not even for Matt Murton and a couple minor league pitchers if Holiday is traded? Rockies would be crazy not to at least listen.

Zack Greinke-The boys at Thunder Matt's Saloon posited this one the other day and I love it. Completely hypothetical, since the Royals thus far haven't mentioned his name as being available, but Greinke is freaking filthy. His head finally seems screwed on straight, although one wonders how he'd handle pitching in a pennant race. Be nice if there'd be some way to squeeze Lahay out of the Royals as well. That'd bolster the rotation as well as give us a lefty out of the pen who can, you know, get guys out and stuff. Kind of important.

The Cubs roll on to Cincinnati for the next leg of the punishment tour. Seven Cub All-Stars include: El Toro Loco, Canadian Bacon, The Soto-Rooter, Fukkake, ARam, The Beard, and No Show. Rock on.

BallHype: hype it up!

Happy Hank Mobley Day!

In addition to being a Cubs fan, the Poet is also a huge jazz fan, specifically the genre known as hard bop. My favorite jazz musician of all time is tenor sax player Hank Mobley. He was born July 7th, 1930 and died May 30th, 1986. He was labeled "the middleweight champ of the tenor saxophone" and never really got his due while he was alive, despite a tenure with Miles Davis. Mobley boasts an incredible tone on the saxophone, very warm and fully rounded. His ear for melody was second to none. Check out albums such as : Roll Call, Soul Station, No Room for Squares, and Miles Davis: In Person Friday & Saturday Nights at The Blackhawk Complete. If you love music, you won't be disappointed.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

51-34: I'm a Little Worried . . .

I'm a little confused, and not in the good, college freshman girl meets the older more experienced lesbian roommate kind of confused. Specifically, I'm confused about Jim Edmonds. Edmonds hit another homerun last night, a two run shot that gave the Cubs the lead for a time. Edmonds has now hit 9 homeruns, 8 with the Cubs and is batting a robust .292 since leaving the spacious eyesore that is PetCo Park. He is proving to be the left handed power bat Lou Pinella craved in spring training and throughout the month of April. Like many others, I derided this signing when it first took place. I totally believed Edmonds was done, nothing left in the tank. Christ, I was hoping he was done, just to avoid the quandary I now find myself in. This would be the uncomfortable position of rooting for Jim Edmonds and being happy when he does well. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I'm glad that he's helping the team, but at the same time, I've despised the guy for so long that it's been difficult for me to cheer when he comes to the plate or makes an awesome catch. Last night, I caught myself doing a fist pump as Edmond's homer sailed over the wall between the lame-ass cars and immediately felt dirty. I feel like I watched my freshman year roommate shower and discovered I had a boner, if that makes any sense to you. I just feel . . . disturbed. I mean I still don't feel the need to go out and buy a Jim Edmonds T-Shirt or jersey, but I feel the hatred slipping away.

Anyhoo, the other thing that worries me is Carlos Marmol. Marmol was filthy for the first two batters he faced last night before he reverted to the form he's shown over the past week or so. He walked a guy, gave up a hit, and then laid a fastball over the sweetspot of the plate, which Ray Durham proceeded to massacre, tying the game, and destroying the ERA of two of my flipping fantasy teams. The quick work he made of the first two batters gives me hope that he's figuring out his issues, but he still seems to have some control issues, as well as a tendency to give up the long ball. Hopefully, Larry and Geo can get his ass straightened out. I love the kid, but it's obvious that Lou made the right choice by making Kerry and his beard the closer.

Speaking of which, not even a triple by Jose Castillo could stop the Beard from notching his 21st save of the season. Where are all you punks calling for him to be replaced now? That's what I thought. The Beard and Rod Beck's Mustache threw down in the Lounge last night and there's broken Coors bottles and panties all over the fucking place. Sean Gallagher takes on Tiny Tim Lincecum tonight. Let's see who's taller, Mike Fontenot or Lincecum. We already know Fontenot's got the bigger stick. Mighty Mouse is clutch. See you all Monday after the Cardinals series!

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mustache Rides

Rod Beck's Mustache here. This is my first visit to this craphole. I think Rod would have liked it, but where's the action? Where's the beer, the booze, and the broads? It's a fucking sausage fest in here. Well, I'm here now, bitches, fresh from my stay in a Mexican jail (big misunderstanding, not the Mustache's fault). Here, have a Coors Light and sit back. The Mustache is goin' Hollywood, specifically actresses he'd like to give a free mustache ride to. Whaddya mean this a baseball site? Fuck you. The Mustache does whatever he wants. Before we talk chicks, check ME out here. Ain't I sexy? Your girlfriend thinks so. # 6 my hairy ass.

First up is Anne Hathaway. Holee Shit, did she come a long way from Disney flicks. And all without ending up a drug-abusing, no pantie-wearing, rehab entering, head-shaving, career floundering psycho bitch. Hey, those are usually the kind of chicks the Mustache hangs with! Anne's probably too classy for me, but the ol' hairball can dream, can't he? I might be a notch above her last boyfriend, heh heh.

I gotta go. I'm meeting Kerry Wood's Beard and Reed Johnson's Emo Patch to try and scare up some chicks who aren't dudes dressed like chicks in Frisco tonight!

Disclaimer: The Mustache's viewpoints are not necessarily those of The Shooter's Lounge. If you're offended by anything The Mustache says, please remember you're taking umbrage at fiction generated by an equally fictitious strip of talking hair.-LoserPoet

BallHype: hype it up!

50-34: Adam Raised a Cain

Damn, that was a brutal game last night. Matt Cain was very sharp and only needed 2 runs to beat the Cubs last night. Nobody looked very good against Cain, who appeared to grow stronger as the night wore on. The only run the boys were able to squeeze out came against former Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who struck a flu-dazed Riot out to finish off the save. Not good, especially considering the Cubs still have to face Tiny Tim Lincecum tomorrow night. Hopefully, we'll be able to tee off on Kevin Correia tonight, but since the Cubs have probably never seen this dude before, that prospect seems unlikely. At least we have the Canadian Comedian going tonight in what will hopefully be a bounceback performance from the Crosstown Catastrophe last Friday.

The good news is that the man, the legend Reed Johnson and his emo beard will be back tomorrow and El Toro Loco returns Friday against the hated Cardinals. Will he be any good? Christ, I hope so.

Monday night's game against Barry Zito was a laugher that the Cubs desperately needed after the egg they laid at the Cell. Thanks Barry, your check is in the mail. Mark DeRosa continues to be one of the most underrated signings the Cubs made in the offseason last year. I had him on my fantasy team when he was a Ranger in '06, but even I was surprised that he's been able to string together this many good seasons. Plus he excels at multiple positions, which seems to titillate the ladies. I'm sure his wife was less than amused by the video of him cannoodling with cute country crooner Juliana Hough. Long as you keep it in your pants, big boy!

BallHype: hype it up!