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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baseball's Back, Sorta

The Cubs played their first spring training game of 2009 yesterday, defeating the Dodgers 5-3. Micah Hoffpauir hit a go ahead grand slam in the 5th, which I'm sure will bring out the "Trade Derrek Lee" whiners in full force. I could see Hoffpauir making the team and taking on the role of Daryl Ward, only with a bit more playing time.

It was nice to hear some baseball being played again, even if the game was meaningless.

Ron Santo's birthday was yesterday. Happy birthday, Ronnie!

Did anyone else feel a little bitter that the Cubs played the very first spring training game against the Dodgers, who depantsed the Cubs in the NLDS last season?

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hockey, Eh

This is ostensibly a Cubs blog, but lately I've discovered, or rather, rediscovered a sporting passion. Namely, Blackhawks hockey. Now, I haven't been into the Hawks since Tony Amonte, Eric Daze, and Chris Chelios cruised the ice, but ever since the Winter Classic, I've found my interest in the fastest game on ice rekindled. With a mix of young talent, like Jonathon Toews, Kris Versteeg, and Patrick Kane, and wily veterans like Marty Havlat and Nicolai Khabibulan, the Blackhawks are very exciting to watch. At the very least, its been nice to have some distraction from the seemingly endless drought of the baseball offseason. I've been somewhat reluctant to post on the Hawks, simply because of a lack of comfort with the intricacies of the game. I'm much more familiar with baseball, the current players and the lore of the past. As far as hockey goes, I know the guys the Blackhawks have now, some of the guys from the time period I mentioned above, and almost no knowledge of the history of other teams. At least I know who Wayne Gretzky is. He coaches the Phoenix Coyotes, right? He must be fabulously endowed, otherwise why would they call him 'The Great One'?

Anyway, to make a long story short, you may see some Blackhawks posts start popping up here. Don't be alarmed. And if you know more about hockey then I do, feel free to snicker and laugh at the newbee. That's okay, I understand.

The Hawks won last night, 5-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. I wonder if Jonathon Toews can bat lefty.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bonehead Moves: Backup Catcher Brouhaha

All right, here's the deal. Tattooed tough guy Hank White wasn't offered a deal and signed with San Diego for only 25 grand more than the Cubs paid for retread Paul Bako. That sucks. Firstly, Hank White rocks. Granted, the backup catcher is hardly the most glamorous of positions, but Henry Blanco had a solid season behind the dish for the Cubs and managed to bat a respectable .291. I wouldn't bet he could do that two seasons in a row, but I would be willing to bet that Blanco outhits Paul Bako this year. Or any other year.

Secondly, the reason Bako was signed was because he bats lefty. I know we're looking for balance and everything, but just because the guy stands in the left handed batters box, doesn't mean he's going to hit the ball. This is a ridiculous reason to sign a backup catcher, unless he's really good. The words "Paul Bako" and "really good" are mutually exclusive. You're telling me that Lou would really consider pulling Rookie of the Year Geo Soto for this goober to play pitching matchups? Highly doubtful.

With Soto firmly entrenched as our primary catcher, the only reason for the backup catcher to play is to give Geo a breather. The nature of the schedule isn't always going to allow Lou to play the matchups. Geo's workload and stamina are going to play a bigger role in what days he gets to rest. Thus I submit to you that the Cubs wasted $725K on Gabor Bako, when they already have the answer on the roster.

Koyie Hill is the best option at backup catcher because not only is he good behind the plate, but he can hit from both sides of it. He's useful in all matchups, so you don't have to worry about giving Soto an offday when there's a crappy matchup for your backup. There are two more reasons why Koyie Hill must suceed Blanco as the BC.

Only Hill has a sufficient legend of his own to match that of Hank White. Hill severed the fingers of his hand in a tablesaw accident and had them surgically reattached. After grueling therapy, he returned to the game and kicked ass last year for the Iowa Cubs, posting solid numbers. That's pretty damn cool, making him well worthy of assuming Henry's mantle.

The second reason is that Hill named his daughter Phoenix Ray. Giving your daughter a built in porn star name elevates you to legendary status in my mind. Here's hoping he beats out Bako for the job that should rightfully be his.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hill Sent to Baltimore

Well, folks, Rich Hill is gone. The once promising lefty hit the Sammy Sosa trail to Baltimore, joining former elite prospect Felix Pie. At least the Orioles seem to like our prospects. Hill had a great little run in 2007, but his head seemed to get in the way. At the very least, this is a low cost investment for the O's, who have to hope Hill pulls a Greinke and gets his head screwed on right. This was a "has to happen" move as Hill was out of options and the Cubs didn't have the luxury of giving him a starting job and hoping he could perform a "head from ass-ectomy". Good luck, Rich. May you be more like Oakland Barry Zito than San Francisco Barry Zito.

BallHype: hype it up!

Super Bowl Monday

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of either team. (My NFL loyalties are mercenary at best, usually tied more to players who help my fantasy team than to actual franchises.) Still, as Super Bowls go, that was one of the best I've seen in a while. Since I didn't really care who won, all I was looking for was a solidly played, exciting game and the Steelers and Cardinals delivered. Santonio Holmes and Kurt Warner were both money in the 4th quarter, with Holmes emerging victorious. His catch to seal the deal was Highlight City, as was teammate Harrison's 100 yard interception. Warner and Fitzgerald delivered some fireworks of their own, but they weren't enough.

Was it my imagination or did all the commercials suck complete ass this year? The only time I remember laughing was the Bud Light commercial where they throw the guy out the window. The only other time I chuckled was during the Alec Baldwin Hulu.com commercial. And that wasn't much of a chuckle. Everything else was pretty unremarkable. More dancing lizards, whatever. If you're going to spend that much for a Super Bowl ad, you really need to try harder. And only a one second ad for the Miller High Life guy? Come on Miller. I love this guy and you tease me by only giving me a second of air time? Oh well.

BallHype: hype it up!