Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cardinals Sign Puerto Rican Mark DeRosa

If I am reading fan reactions correctly on the interwebs, the Cardinals' signing of Felipe Lopez just guaranteed them a World Championship and the Ricketts are stupid horrible people who deserve to die for letting him slip away.  Felipe Lopez must be Spanish for Mark DeRosa.

I'm guessing Cubs fans will give him a standing ovation every time he comes to the plate when the Cardinals come to town too.

I know Cub fans want to have a league leader in something, but I'd hope we can agree that a guy that led the league in outs made for two straight seasons (2006-07) is probably not someone whom we should be pining for.

He has exactly two seasons out of nine where he finished above league average in OPS+.  Yes, one of those seasons was last year.  Remember the last time the Cubs signed a middle infielder coming off a career year?  His name was Aaron Miles.

I understand being pissed off about the suckiness of Mike Fontenot.  I even get why there may still be some doubters about the awesomeness that is Jeff Baker.  But, seriously?  Felipe Lopez was going to make you feel better about the Cubs' chances this season?

In a fit of pure optimism, I'm still far more apt to ignore one bad season from Fontenot when he played a large chunk of time out of position as he tried to replace Ramirez than I am to ignore seven and a half seasons of crap baseball from Felipe Lopez.

As far as I can tell.  Felipe Lopez is above average at having tattoos and a hot wife. 

But he is below average in baseball skills that actually help teams win games.

If we want below average baseball players to come in and replace Mike Fontenot just because we don't believe in him anymore, surely we'd rather see Theriot move to second and give the huge potential of Starlin Castro a shot to actually make a difference.  Felipe Lopez won't make a difference one way or the other for the Cubs or for the Cardinals.  But they have to pay him $2 million and the Cubs don't.  I'm fine with it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brett Jackson is Team Edward

The Cubs have had their share of weird guys over the years.  Ryan Freel claimed he had a midget named Farney living in his head, Julio Zuleta performed voodoo on bats, Turk Wendell brushed his teeth after every inning and chewed black licorice while he pitched (hence all the tooth brushing, I guess), Moises Alou peed on his own hands before games, and Glenallen Hill went on the disabled list because he smashed into a glass coffee table as a result of a nightmare he had about spiders.

Now, it seems that Brett Jackson, the Cubs' first round draft choice last year has a quirk of his own.  He really enjoys having blood drained from him.

Gordon Wittenmyer shared this little nugget in his piece today about how Jackson and Vitters would not oppose testing minor leaguers for HGH:

''I like it,'' said Brett Jackson, the affable center fielder from the University of California. ''I was telling [teammate Josh Vitters] when they were sucking my blood out [for annual physicals], I kind of liked it. Isn't that weird? That's weird. I enjoyed it. I like blood.''

I guess that would put him on Team Edward?

Hopefully he can play baseball as well as Edward and the rest of the Cullen family.

By the way, you have no idea how sad it makes me that I was aware of this scene's existence.

Monday, February 22, 2010

75-80% of Cubs News is About Soriano's Knee

Nothing pushes Ted Lilly's gimpy shoulder, Angel Guzman's secret knee surgery and personal family tragedy, and the anticipated battle for world domination between Ryan Theriot and Starlin Castro to the back page like a little sky-is-falling panic created by a comment from Alfonso Soriano.

The news of the day surrounds Alfonso Soriano's knee and how it is still not 100% after season-ending surgery last September.  As Bruce Levine reports:

"I don't feel 100 percent because I'm not running 100 percent," Soriano said on Monday. "I'm just running 75 to 80 percent, and I don't feel nothing that hurts. When I start running 100 percent I want to know how it feels."

Way to kill the happy buzz left over from the MOST TREMENDOUSLY TREMENDOUS HOCKEY GAME EVER PLAYED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!!!  Now, when people ask where I was during the Improbability on Ice, all I'll remember is that it was shortly before I found out that Soriano didn't report to camp ready to sprint around the bases at full speed on his first day after five whole months of rest and rehabilitation.  I am barely able to type as I lie here in a fetal position.

Meanwhile, Carrie Muskat is reporting that the Cubs asked Soriano not to fully run on his knee during the offseason to avoid setbacks.  So if he hasn't run on it, how is he gauging that percentage of recuperation?:

"I say in my mind I'm 80 percent but that's because I'm not doing anything like playing in the field," he said. "When I test it, I hope my knee feels better than I think. I think it's 85 percent. Maybe when I test it, it's 100 percent."


When I read that, my brain processed: "Blah blah blah blah blah blah," he said. "Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah blah blah, it's 100 percent."  So, there you have it.  All better.

That was close.

Up next: Flipping out about Aramis Ramirez's shoulder.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting to Know: Tyler Colvin

Name: Tyler Colvin

Position: Outfield

Bats/Throws: Left/Left

Opening Day Age: 24

Uniform Number: 21

Do these two guys look at all alike?:

A man named Matthew Van Meter walked into a Utah dealership, said his name was Tyler Colvin of the Chicago Cubs, and expressed an interest in buying a $50,000 Dodge pickup truck.  He signed some papers as Tyler, took the keys and drove off after promising he would return to pay for the truck the next day.

The story is unclear how long it took for them to figure out that it was, in fact, not Tyler Colvin, but the authorities eventually caught up with Mr. Van Meter and he spent some time in jail.

He's lucky he didn't pretend to be Aaron Miles.  That surely would have gotten him killed.

Is Tyler Colvin going to hell?: If the folks at Oral Roberts University have anything to say about it, probably.

When Colvin was a member of the Clemson Tigers in 2006, he hit a dramatic walk-off grand slam that completed a come-from-behind victory against Oral Roberts.  ESPN was broadcasting the game, so you can check out the blast below:'s Most Similar Batter: None (too small a sample size)

Why We Might Like Him:

  • We've been reading about him in Vineline for a few years and chances are good the current Cubs outfield isn't going to make us forget about his existence.
  • He was a #1 draft pick of the Cubs in 2006 and it stands to reason a first round pick should eventually pan out, right?  Right?
  • His first AB resulted in a sacrifice fly RBI, his 2nd was a single, and his 3rd was a walk.  The kid can do it all!
Why We Might Hate Him:

  • He doesn't like to walk much and he strikes out a lot and we've seen too much of that shit before.
  • Playing time given to Colvin will undoubtedly come at the expense of Sam Fuld and we f---ing LOVE Sam Fuld.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "TORN IVY CELL" or "LILY CONVERT"

What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • The Cub Reporter - "He has plus-speed and plus-power with the potential to hit 20+ HR, 30+ doubles, and 10+ triples. He has been working on being more patient at the plate over the past couple of seasons, and he actually takes a fairly normal number of walks and doesn’t strike out much versus RHP, but against lefties, he never walks, and he strikes out with much greater frequency."
  • Another Cubs Blog - "Tyler Colvin has gained 25 pounds this offseason and with that increase I'm becoming a bit more optimistic about his future. Colvin was a very skinny man before this weight gain and did manage to slug over .500 last year at AA. He needs to be able to hit for some power at the big league level. He's never going to walk a lot."
  • Cubby Blue - (2009)  "How about that Tyler Colvin catch?  Ho hum, I'm just a kid up here for the first time and well, take THAT Ryan Braun.  Like it was nothin'.  I feel for Reed and Sam, since Tyler's probably gonna get most of center field for the rest of the year.  But any talk about Tyler being the starting center fielder next year?  Lotta weird stuff's gotta happen before I can think like that."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting to Know: Esmailin Caridad

Name: Esmailin Caridad

Position: Relief Pitcher

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 26

Uniform Number: 33

What did he do to fall off the radar as a top prospect for the Cubs?: Nothing at the major league level, but he didn't put up world busting numbers in Iowa either.

In 2009, he was rated as the Cubs' #11 prospect by and #15 by Minor League Ball.  Arizona Phil had him ranked #10 at The Cub Reporter.  This year, he doesn't make Phil's top 15 and I don't see him on any other lists either.

Last year, he went to AAA and his ERA jumped a run to 4.17 and he posted a WHIP of 1.405.  But the injuries on the Cubs' major league staff and the lack of a pennant race to push the veterans back on the field got him a call-up and he appeared in 14 games out of the bullpen for the big club.

In that role, he posted a 1.40 ERA and a WHIP of .931.  He allowed 2 runs in his first appearance, a five and a third inning outing in relief of Tom Gorzelanny getting shelled in Colorado.  He gave up one more run the rest of the year including an 11 game, 12 inning scoreless streak to close out the season.

Not too bad.  You can check out more analysis of Caridad's pitching here by Harry Pavlidis on Cubs f/

Was he ever on a team named for a hardy freshwater fish?: Yes.

Caridad played briefly with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and was a teammate of Kosuke Fukudome in 2007.  So there is still a chance that a free agent signed from the Hiroshima Carp will end up being useful for the Cubs.  Probably not the one we had originally hoped.'s Most Similar Pitcher: None (too small a sample size)

Why We Might Like Him:
  • It's hard not to like someone with a name like Esmailin Caridad.
  • He looked pretty good out of the bullpen at the end of last year.
Why We Might Hate Him:

  • His fastball is not over-powering and he pitches up in the zone a lot, so he may be giving up some homerun balls.
  • We are going to want him to be a strikeout pitcher and he isn't one.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "SEND ACID AIRMAIL" and forbiddingly "SEMI CARDINAL AID"

What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • The Cub Reporter - (from last year) "Caridad is 25 years old and he's only 5'10, so there may not be much more there than what's there right now. But from what I've seen of him, he will be pitching in the big league within a year or so. He has a full array of pitches, with a solid fastball, curve, and change-up."
  • Cubs f/x - "His stuff is not hard to figure out. Labeling his breaking ball is rather subjective. Caridad's bread-and-butter is 93-95 mph fastball. He also employs a sinker, thrown more to lefties, and the aforementioned slider. The slider is really the out pitch to lefties, but will be used early in counts against righties."
  • Cubshub - "Commonly, someone with Esmailan’s size and throws as hard as he does with not an ideal delivery, has had injuries to their shoulder girdle at this point in their career or is a severe risk. Not Caridad though, and most scouts put that on being raised through the Japanese system. In Japan, more focus is placed on building arm strength, throwing more pitches, and setting up counts with their secondary rather than their fastball. While in the States, a big emphasis is placed on revamping youngster’s deliveries, fastball velocity, establishing the fastball and going for the strikeout rather than going deep into games, establishing secondary pitches, and locating pitches. Esmailin has what many scouts and analysts call a rubber arm, in fact he’s often more effective on shorter rest than long breaks. Caridad doesn’t concentrate on striking out the hitter but rather letting the hitter get himself out."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bud Doesn't Want the Cubs to Have Nice Things

I expect Jerry Reinsdorf to be a hypocritical dick.  Afterall, it's been 22 years since he threatened to move the White Sox to St. Petersburg in order to force the state to come up with public money to pay for his new Comiskey Park.  Hardly anyone even remembers that he even went so far as to have St. Petersburg build a domed stadium for the Sox that was left to house exciting (and surely lucrative) monster truck rallies and other nonsense for years until the Tampa area got their own team.  He always cried a little as he wrote out checks to Michael Jordan that were well under market value and he practically destroyed baseball out of greed in 1994.  Of course he's against having a "Cubs Tax" tacked onto his teams' spring training tickets. I would expect nothing less from him.

I expect the owners of the other teams training in Arizona to be similarly irked about it and say so.  Nevermind that they would sell far fewer tickets per year if the Cubs were training across the country.  It is natural to not like having a tax levied on your product when you had no say in the matter.  We started a whole new country on that very idea.

I even expect Bud Selig to be a mealy-mouthed weasel in the hours in which he is awake, but he has somehow managed to surprise me with his latest back-tracking on where the Cubs train in the future,

If you remember, the Ricketts had hardly finished signing the documents completing the transfer from the Tribune when they made sounds about how they wanted to move the Cubs Spring Training facility to Naples, Florida.  They had a pretty sweet deal in the works that would have allowed them to create and profit from a mini-Wrigleyville while the team got in shape at a state-of-the-art training facility.  Cubs fans, a group that doesn't like change much when it comes to playing night games, having games televised on higher-revenue cable channels, putting advertising somewhere in Wrigley, or anything that would make it easier to win a World Series, were upset about it.

At the Cubs Convention, it was rare to have someone dressed in a Theriot jersey approach a microphone and not somehow work the Cubs staying in Mesa into their question: "Um... Lou?  Do you think that Starlin Castro will be able to perform well enough in spring training in MESA, ARIZONA to move Theriot to second base?"

"Mr. Ricketts, I have a concern about ticket prices because since they keep going up, I find it harder to be able to afford a vacation to MESA, ARIZONA to see the Cubbies stretch on the outfield grass during Spring Training."

"This question is for Jeff Samardzija.  How do you keep your flowing locks so shiny and bouncy?  Is it something they have in the water in MESA, ARIZONA WHERE THE CUBS SHOULD ALWAYS TRAIN FOREVER AND EVER SO BE IT?"


The days looked dark as the Ricketts appeared ready to yank out our still-beating hearts and whack them off of practice tees in Naples.  Then, when it seemed like there was no hope at all, a knight in shining armor and a red necktie came to our rescue: Bud Selig said it was his preference that the Cubs would stay in MESA, ARIZONA!!!  Oh happy day!

Cubs fans rejoiced!  Nothing was changing!  We can go to the same restaurants and stay in the same hotels we have every year!  "Bud is great!  Gave us the chocolate cake status quo!"

Now Bud doesn't want the money to be raised by adding a dollar or two to ticket prices of other teams training in Arizona.  How exactly did he think Mesa would come up with the money to able to afford the Cubs staying in Arizona otherwise?  I've been to Mesa.  That town isn't raising $84 million any other way.  Scottsdale might be able to figure out a way to tax the hell out of their upper-class population and Tempe could probably whore out the ASU co-eds to raise the money, but Mesa can not.  The money almost had to come from the fans that flock from all over the country to see spring training in Arizona.

Maybe Selig wants the Cubs to keep training in their dumpy facilities because keeping the Cubs from winning the World Series is good for the game of baseball.  If the Cubs reach the top of the mountain, the baseball story loses its tragic hero.  As the Baseball Gods themselves once told me, nothing beats a good Will They/Won't They storyline to really keep people interested. I can't think of any other reason why Selig would practically force the Ricketts to stay in Arizona and then try to prevent them from completing the monetary side of the deal that would make it possible.

It makes less sense than having home field advantage in the World Series decided by an exhibition game played by winners of a popularity contest.

Same (Stuff), Different Year

The official reporting day for pitchers and catchers has arrived and with it the yearly return of unfounded optimism.

If you are from the school of thought that places high value on intangibles and team chemistry contributing heavily to the success of a team, then you are probably pretty optimistic today.  Milton Bradley will soon be discovering how racist the Pacific Northwest is, Aaron Miles will be screwing up everything he touches in Cincinnati, Aaron Heilman is somewhere else I have forgotten and don't care enough about to look up, and Kevin Gregg will be giving up crushing homeruns that travel deep into the night lit by the Aurora Borealis.

Meanwhile, Ted Lilly has come to camp to talk about how motivated this team is by the failure of last year. I guess the two previous wildly successful seasons had apparently made the Cubs too cocky and their "Cubbie swagger" got the best of them, but not this year, by golly.  This year following a giant letdown to the fan base will be different than all the other years following a giant letdown to the fan base.  That's their story and they are sticking to it.

Of course, those who like to look at statistics to determine player value are not so enthused about the upcoming season.  Rich Harden will be replaced in the rotation from a group consisting of Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzellany, Carlos Silva, and Jeff Samardzija.  As if that is not worrisome enough, we'll need another one of these guys to fill in for Ted while he recovers from his bum shoulder.  The estimations from the Cubs seem to indicate he will be out most of April while Phil Rogers is talking about June.

Geovany Soto is thinner, so that should help, but there are no guarantees he doesn't continue down the Rick Wilkins Memorial Highway of declines.  Theriot will be at shortstop, which might be livable if the second baseman was a better fielder than the Fontenot/Baker combo that will be there this year.  Then there is our current out-of-place corner outfielder playing in centerfield, Marlon Byrd.  The Cubs' defense up the middle is not going to appear on Baseball Tonight's top plays very often this year.

All the different projections systems that I've seen have the Cubs at least finishing behind the Cardinals with a win percentage around .500.  Of course, the projections had the Cubs running away with the Central last year, so who the hell knows?

The main takeaway is that I don't think anyone has any idea what to expect this year.  I don't expect that every Cub that had an off year last year will continue to suck, nor do I think that they will all magically rebound.  On the flipside, I figure there has to be some regression on guys like Angel Guzman, Randy Wells, Jeff Baker, and/or Derrek Lee.  I'd be shocked if they all maintained their levels of production into this year.

But today is supposed to be about optimism.  Maybe the ownership situation finally being resolved will have a positive effect.  Maybe playing for a tangible boss like Tom Ricketts will be easier for the players to rally around than playing for a big faceless corporation.  The Ricketts have already made efforts to improve the facilities for the players, so maybe the players will take it up a notch in appreciation of their new boss.

Maybe Rudy Jaramillo will fix everything that was wrong with the Cubs' offense last year.  Maybe Alfonso Soriano can still actually be an impact player instead of just being paid like one.  Maybe they really are that pissed about not making the playoffs last year.

We can only hope.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting to Know: Andres Blanco

Name: Andres Blanco (Andy White)

Position: Middle Infielder

Bats/Throws: Switch/Right

Batting Order Position: Bench (maybe)

Opening Day Age: 26

Uniform Number: 13

Why don't the Cubs give this youngster a chance to start?:  For one, he's not really a youngster anymore.  He's going to be 26 soon and he made his major league debut six years ago with the Royals.  He's pretty much shown that he isn't a great hitter in both the minor and major leagues.  He doesn't have any power and he doesn't get on base enough to make up for that.

He also has made an awful lot of errors while playing shortstop in the minors.  I'm not good with fielding metrics, so I won't even try, but he topped twenty errors in the minors four times (basically every year he played even close to a full slate of games), which leads me to believe he may not be the fielding wizard we seem to have given him credit for in his short time with the Cubs.

Can he provide rehab advice to Aramis Ramirez and Ted Lilly?: Yes.

Blanco underwent serious shoulder surgery to repair his torn left labrum while he was with the Kansas City Royals in 2006.  He had the surgery in September and was still unable to swing a bat from the right side the following Spring.  This information has little to do with Blanco's abilities right now, but it scares the hell out of me when considering both Lilly and Ramirez have recent shoulder issues.'s Most Similar Batter: None (too small a sample size)

Why We Might Like Him:
  • Based on what we saw last season on plays like this, he seems to be a slick fielder and could serve well as a late-inning replacement for Fontenot/Baker at second and give Theriot an occasional day off at shortstop.
  • Cubs fans love scrappy middle infielders that aren't actually all that good.
  • He helped us get through our Hank White withdrawal last year.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • We like him a little too much and his OPS in the .600s is going to be like a sobering slap in the face this season.
  • He might also not be as good a fielder as we think (though it will help that he should be throwing to Derrek Lee instead of guys like Hoffpauir in the minors).
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "END ALBA SCORN" and "CARNAL BED SON"

What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • Hire Jim Essian - "...he’d look like Babe Fucking Ruth next to Miles. He can also cover shortstop, second, and third. Also, this team has not made the playoffs under Lou Piniella WITHOUT a player named Blanco on the roster. Think about it."
  • Waxpaperbeercup - "The fans are wishing upon young players like Jake Fox, Andres Blanco, Sam Fuld, Micah Hoffpauir and Bobby Scales like they are going to carry this team to the playoffs. LMAO. The reason the fans are doing this is because the veterans have been so bad. It really reminds me of the days when Cub fans longed to see more of Ozzie Timmons, Kevin Roberson or Derrick White."
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse - " go out to the Fielding Bible and some of the other Bill James-esque publications, and you find that defensively there is very little difference between Blanco and Theriot at shortstop, as far as the statistics go. Blanco would NOT save us bushels of runs over Theriot."
  • Desipio - "If Miles, Fontenot and Baker aren’t going to hit (and they’re aren’t) you might as well play Blanco, since he has a skill that the Cubs need. He’s a great defensive player. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to play him at short every day and move Theriot to second. I don’t think that will happen, and this offseason the Cubs have to find a second baseman who can actually play. It’s not Fontenot, Miles, Baker or Blanco, either."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting To Know: Justin Berg

Name: Justin Berg

Position: Relief Pitcher

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 25

Uniform Number: 64

Who the hell is Justin Berg?:  Oddly enough, he may be the only good thing to come out of the Matt Lawton Era for the Cubs.  Berg was acquired in 2005 from the Yankees in exchange for Lawton, who somehow managed to go on to perform even worse for the Yankees than he did for the Cubs.

You may remember Berg from the end of the season last year as the guy nobody recognized coming out of the bullpen and getting almost everybody he faced out.  He didn't pitch much, but he was effective.  He pitched in only 11 games (12 innings), but had an ERA of 0.75 and a WHIP of .917.  He should get a real shot at joining the big club out of Spring Training if he can still get people out effectively in Arizona.

Will he keep doing what he is doing this Spring?:  Yes.

In his own words: "I'm pumped, ready to go, just looking forward to the season you know I'm just gonna go down there and have fun and keep doing what I'm doing. You know I had a pretty good September callup last year, and I'm just gonna try to build on that and keep moving forward and not try and control anything outside my circle and just keep doing what I'm doing and have fun."'s Most Similar Pitcher: None (too small a sample size)

Why We Might Like Him:
  • He could be a useful and cheap option out of the bullpen.
  • We like anybody that can come out of the Cubs' system and produce at the major league level.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • Despite his glowing pitching line in the majors, his minor league numbers are pretty pedestrian, so it seems unlikely he can come close to the pace he set last year.
  • He walked 4.3 batters per nine innings in his minor league career.  We hate walks from bullpen pitchers more than anything.  Ask Neal Cotts.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "JUG IN BREST" also "BUN REST JIG"

What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • Bleacher Nation - Berg, 25, has been absolutely dominant out of the pen at AAA Iowa this year - as have many of the Iowa relievers - to the tune of a 2.06 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Until this year, Berg was a starter. He isn’t an overpowering sort (just 20 Ks in 35 innings), but he is very efficient and generally throws strikes.
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue - [The trade of Aaron Heilman] also gives Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg a better shot at making the 2010 bullpen; I like both those guys.
  • Desipio - You could still have a bullpen of Marmol, Angel Guzman, Grabow, Gorzelanny (or you could start him and put Marshall in the pen), Caridad and Berg or Stevens. They’ve had worse (Daniel Garibay or Courtney Duncan ring any bells?).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My God, Wrigley Field Will Be Freakin' Sweet

The Ricketts have been taking a few hits during a fairly lackluster offseason for the roster, but it appears they actually plan to back up some of their flowery words about enhancing the game experience at Wrigley Field for their customers.

Dave Kaplan posted a number of improvements the Cubs plan to make on his blog.  Most of them have been discussed around the Cub blogosphere quite a bit, but a couple points that Kaplan points out struck me:

"9) The Ricketts family has stressed that they want to make the Cubs experience the best in sports. Much like Disney World being exceptionally clean that is what the Ricketts family is demanding Wrigley Field be kept like."

There are really too many things grammatically wrong with that last sentence to mock succinctly, so I'll just praise the spirit of the idea presented.  Say what you want about the Disney Corporation, but they know how to get customers to come back to repeatedly spend insane amounts of money and be absolutely thrilled to do so.  Part of that equation is keeping their facilities clean.

Wrigley Field is a beautiful park as long as you keep your eyes set squarely on the field itself.  For all the hemming and hawing about not changing the essence of Wrigley, the reality is that the exterior of Wrigley is probably the ugliest facade in the National League Central and the interior is old and dirty.

I don't know how often that place gets power-washed, but it is not nearly often enough.  It may not even be possible to get the years of nacho cheese, mustard, beer, and (let's face it) puke completely out of the park since the aromas have probably seeped into the concrete itself, but it sounds like the Ricketts are set on trying.

I would suggest having a pre-game wipe-down of the seats (weather permitting).  It is not uncommon to return to the park after a road trip and find that the seats have been fairly well covered in spider webs over the dormant week.  Please note that I am not advocating the extermination of the spiders.  As much as spiders give people the willies, it wouldn't surprise me if their presence in the park keeps other insects (like mosquitos) to a minimum.  But despite spiders being our ecological friends, it doesn't mean people want to find a web in their seat when they paid $60+ for it.

"10) The Cubs will soon announce the hiring of a Chief Hospitality Officer or Director of Game Day Entertainment and that person's job will be to make sure that every aspect of a fan's experience is held to the highest standards of excellence. There will be uniformed "team ambassadors" who will be monitoring every part of the "Cubs Universe" on game day. Whether a fan takes the train, parks their car in a surrounding lot, rides their bicycle, or takes a bus to the area surrounding the stadium there will be Cubs ambassadors monitoring everything that a fan experiences and trouble shooting any problems that are brought to their attention."

This certainly sounds Disneyesque.  This might even be taking it a bit far, but I'm happy to let the pendulum swing the other way for once.  I am quite content to go to my seat, have the seating area not covered in half of what the previous games' fans left behind, and not have to get into an argument with a douchenozzle who doesn't know how to read a ticket and insists he is in the right place.  But if the Cubs want to make the park more like this:

I'm not going to object.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting To Know: Jeff Baker

Name: Jeff Baker

Position: 2nd Base/Utility

Batting Order Position: 7th?

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 29

Uniform Number: 28

Is he content being behind Mike Fontenot on the depth chart?: No.

Carrie Muskat reported that he has been working on his hitting since December near his home in Virginia.
"I always prepare like I'm going to be a starter," Baker said. "I believe I can play every day in the big leagues and I can be productive and help a team win. It doesn't really change how I go about my business or my offseason.”

In Colorado, he was blocked by guys like Garret Atkins, Matt Holliday, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes, and Todd Helton.  It's hard to imagine why he doesn't seem overly concerned about competing with Mike Fontenot.

Can he ever run for President of the United States?: No.

He is a United States citizen, but he was born in Bad Kissengen, Germany when his father was stationed there while in the Army.  So, he'll have to settle for Congress or a cabinet position when he is done playing baseball.  I would think he would make an excellent Secretary of Being Awesome.'s Most Similar Batter: Willy Aybar (cue Sad Trombone)

Other Similar Batters That Don't Make Us Want to Cry: Ben Zobrist, Ian Stewart, Ben Francisco

Why We Might Like Him:
  • He is not Aaron Miles or Ryan Freel.  
  • He is the only middle infielder the Cubs have who meets the minimum height requirements for riding the rollercoasters at Great America.
  • He actually hit better than Mark DeRosa did last year after the All-Star Break.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • He is not Mark DeRosa.
  • Fast starts are not his thing.  He is a career .194/.241/.326/.566 hitter in March and April.
  • The Cubs traded someone named Al Alburquerque for him, thereby denying the ability to make easy Bugs Bunnyesque "missed that left turn at Albuquerque" jokes in the future. (This is probably only important to me.)
  • He gets hurt a lot.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "FAB FREE JERKY" (from Jeffrey Baker)

What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:

  • The Cub Reporter - "He's Jeff Baker, he basically had one great month for the Cubs last year and isn't going to keep up that .374 BABIP he had for the Cubs last year...."
  • Hire Jim Essian - "On the other hand, Baker doesn’t have five-o-clock shadow, and your wife (probably) wouldn’t eagerly take him into her mouth while you were standing there, watching and sobbing."
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse - "Defensively, Baker seems to be pretty close to league average at 2nd base. He can also fill in at third, as well as the corners in the outfield. Put it all together and you come back to that s-word I used a few paragraphs ago: serviceable. Hit him 7th or 8th, maybe slightly higher against lefties, and you'll be fine. Better than wasting $18 million over two years on Orlando Hudson or some other old free agent, right?"
  • Another Cubs Blog - "It is likely [Baker and Fontenot] platoon. While Baker isn't nearly as bad against righties as Fontenot is against lefties, Fontenot's advantage vs righties is huge. He's also a good fielder so you're not only gaining offense, but you're improving your defense too. Assuming Baker doesn't exceed expectations by a great amount, these two will end up platooning."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Crazy Old Lou is Exactly Who the Cubs Need

I hesitate to start a post inspired by a tweet from Paul Sullivan, but here it goes anyway...

"Red Sox. White Sox. Saints. Who's next? Clippers or Cubs?"

While I certainly hope that the Cubs manage to somehow reach the top of the mountain before the Clippers, I've often thanked my lucky stars that "At least I'm not a Saints fan," because they seemed too hopeless an organization to ever win a championship any time soon.  Shows what I know.

The Saints went into the game yesterday as universal underdogs.  Despite many football experts admitting that the teams were pretty evenly matched (and some even admitted the Saints might be better overall on paper), the presence of Peyton Manning and the confidence from the knowledge that they had been there before would be the difference-maker in the Super Bowl.

Additionally, the psychological impact of players playing a game that they all felt was bigger than simply the final game of the season had to be a factor.  The Saints had the weight of an entire city on their shoulders and it showed in the first quarter.  Passes were dropped, Brees had happy feet, and the Colts' offensive line was blowing holes open in the Saints' defense that Joseph Addai used for gaining yards in almost 10-yard chunks.

It was looking like it would be another devastating loss for the Saints franchise.  Even when they looked like they would claw their way back to a tie score, they got tripped up by bad turf on 3rd down from the one, and then stuffed on 4th down from the two.  They managed to get a long field goal to finish the half, but the Colts would get the ball to start second half and, surely, Manning would march them down to an answering score and put the Saints right back into catch-up mode again.

Well, that isn't what happened, and don't call me Shirley.

If going for it on 4th down before the half was ballsy, the onside-kick call to start the second half was so daring that Evel Knievel would have been impressed with the size and weight of Payton's cojones.

To call that play at that time in the game was brilliance bordering on insanity, and it caused me to get out of my chair and applaud before I even knew if the plan even worked.

That onside kick changed the momentum of the game completely.  Suddenly, despite the Saints still being behind, they were the aggressors and the Colts were on their heels.  The Saints offense was also moving along as well since the Colts' defense now clearly had to be ready for anything at any time.  Off the top of my head, Sean Payton made three unorthodox calls: going on fourth and goal in the 2nd quarter, running a reverse when they were in the gray area of field goal range, and the onside kick.  One of them worked, but they all served notice that the Colts would have to be ready for anything from the Saints.  I was half expecting to see the Statue of Liberty play.

If that onside-kick had failed, I highly doubt the Saints end up winning the game.  They would have handed the Colts almost a sure field goal, and they could have very easily gone up by eleven before people had returned to their seats from their halftime bathroom break.  Sean Payton knew the repurcussions if the kick had failed and he decided to go for the jugular of his opponent anyway.

So what in hell does this have to do with the Cubs?

As Sullivan's tweet reminded us (as if we needed reminding), the Cubs have yet to reach the top of the mountain despite setting out with a sherpa over a hundred years ago.  Considering the Jews only wandered in the desert for forty years with Moses, the quest has attracted more than its share of media attention as the fan base angst has risen with every season. 

We have seen what happens when they get close.  Crazy shit happens.  Balls carom off some poor fans' hands.  Alleged routine double-play grounders are botched (I still maintain that Gonzalez would not have turned two on that ball no matter what).  Balls go through first basemen's legs.  Black cats run around the Cubs' dugout.

The psychological weight of the championship drought has to weigh on the players to a degree.  Whether they worry about screwing up a chance to win, or they try too hard to be the heroes, the focus from the game is drawn away by the sheer magnitude of the quest before them.

This is why I want Lou Piniella to manage the Cubs until he doesn't want to anymore.  Lou is the kind of leader that is willing to try crazy things just to throw off the other team.  He has the balls to make a decision that could get him crucified in the media if it fails.  We've already seen him do it with the Cubs.

Last year before the All-Star break, Lou was shuffling Sean Marshall out to left field so he could play match-ups with the Cardinals' batting order and still be able to bring Marshall back to pitch to the lefty hitter following the righty in the batters box.  It was sheer brilliance.  Even The Genius in the Cardinals dugout admitted he was impressed.

He had the stones to flip-flop Dempster and Zambrano in the rotation in the 2008 NLDS because he thought that gave the Cubs the best chance to win the series.  He had faith in Fukudome.  He had faith in his bullpen in Game 1 of the 2007 NLDS as Zambrano came out in the 6th inning of a tied game.  He made the big calls and he got killed in the press for making decisions that didn't work.  He also took the blame instead of passing it onto the real culprits in those decisions failing: the players who didn't execute the plan.

When a team with a history of losing reaches a point of breaking the cycle of failure, the team needs a disregard for convention.  It helps to have a leader that is ballsy.  It is good to have a leader that can care less what people write about him after the fact.  It is absolutely essential that his players believe in his decisions.  It might even be necessary to be a little crazy to get past normal convention and forcibly push a team past its own tradition of losing and into the history books.

If you can tell me a better manager than Lou Piniella for the Cubs to do just that, I'd like to know who it would be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Bad

I never really understood how people like Palestinians and Jews could carry on a hatred of one another for so long.  Doesn't time eventually numb the rage?  How is it possible that any group of people could go on hating another group of people (and vice versa) for generations with no end in sight?

I used to think those people had to be the craziest-ass lunatics on the face of the earth.  I know now that people who strap bombs to themselves and have their children carry the loaded AK-47 so that they can carry the shoulder-mounted missile launcher themselves on their trip to the grocery store, are perfectly sane when compared to the Cubs blogosphere.

The hatred flowing into the interwebs from the fingers of Cubs fans that is aimed at other Cubs fans is depressing the shit out of me.  We should not be hating each other.  We should be united together in a hatred of the St. Louis Drunk Drivers.  We should be hating that shiny-shirt douchebag, Ryan Braun.  We should be hating Dusty Baker, scourge of young pitchers' arms.  We should be hating Aaron Miles.

Sure, some Cubs fans think that RBIs and Wins are useful stats in evaluating a players' value.  Some Cubs fans make you wonder if they wouldn't flush a crap down the toilet if someone could convince them it had a high enough WAR.  Some Cubs fans ask stupid-ass questions at the Cubs Convention.  Some still can't get over Mark DeRosa being gone.  Some won't shut the hell up on Twitter during games. You get my point.

We are all insane.  We cheer for a team that hasn't won anything of significance since before the Titanic was built and it is causing us to lose our minds.  In reality, the most balanced and reasoned Cubs fan is far more bat-shit crazy than Ryan Freel with the midget Farney living in his head.

Clearly, things have been said in the last couple of days (and years apparently) that can not be unsaid because there they all are on archived posts of blogs with a hell of a lot more readers than this one.  The only thing that can be done is to go forward with a sense of forgiveness and move the fuck on.

I'll start.

I'm sorry, Paul Sullivan.  I never should have implied to my 700 spambot followers that you are an idiot.  It shouldn't have mattered whether your tweet was meant as a personal tweet or a representation of your job as a beat reporter.  Two wrongs do not make a right and I should not have reacted so childishly to being blocked from a twitter feed.  I thought it was funny, but I now realize that it was wrong to call you an asshole for the sake of entertainment.

I'm sorry, Bad Kermit.  I'm sorry you have been forced to change Paul's bedpan as he has been incapacitated by the sharpness of my wit.  At least I assume that is why you reacted as strongly as you did.  Whatever the reason, I attacked one of your friends and drew your ire and that has resulted in other Cubs bloggers attacking you and calling you some nasty names.  I'll buy you a beer sometime and then we can be friends.  Oh hell, pizza too.

Then there are the bystanders that jumped in front of bullets or spoke out in support of my right to call Paul an asshole.  I'm sorry this incident has drawn so much fire on you and that old wounds have been re-opened because of a stupid post.

Lastly, I'm sorry to all the companies in this struggling economy that lost far too much productivity over a tweet.  I'm hoping this does not plunge us back into a recession, or God forbid, a world war.

I'd apologize to President Obama too, but you know what? He's a Sox fan, so fuck that.

I'm not telling anyone how to be a good Cubs fan or how to run your blogs or twitter accounts.  I am BEGGING you to just stop hating each other.

Go Cubs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cubs and Theriot Disagree About Value of Scrappiness

It's a little difficult to sit down to write a post today because of all the swelling and bleeding caused by friends of Paul Sullivan (who knew?) but damn it, I'm dedicated and not terribly bright, so I shall push on.

If we can't agree that Paul Sullivan is lame then can we at least all agree that the Cubs are not good at many things?

Don't get me wrong. They are good at some things. They are good at raising ticket prices. They are good at marketing lousy teams. They are good at creating propaganda intended to make us believe that prospects like Hee Seop Choi are good at playing baseball.  They are also good at not taking their players through the horrible process of a baseball arbitration hearing.

They have not actually gone into one of these hearings with a player since 1993 with Mark Grace.  The reason for this is pretty simple.  The Cubs seem to understand that going to an arbitration hearing with a player will rarely end well.

Once a player and a team pass the point of no return and go to the hearing, the arbitrators who hear the case do not decide on a compromised salary.  They pick a winner and a loser.  So the hearing consists of the player and his agent talking about how awesome the player is and how much he deserves the salary submitted by the player, and then the GM and his team present evidence to prove, that no, that player is not awesome and he should only get paid the low amount submitted by the team.

The Cubs and Ryan Theriot are heading down the road to that very scenario.  He'll sit there and his agent will point out that Theriot has led the league in singles the last two years, that he has stolen more than 20 bases for three staright years, he has been difficult to strike out, and that he has started at shortstop since 2007 for a team that couldn't find a shortstop to save its life for years.  They will go on and on about how scrappy Theriot is and how he is the first Cubs prospect to manage to stay relevant on the Cubs' major league roster since Mark Grace.

Then Hendry and his boys will bring up Theriot's lack of baserunning instincts that have led to his crappy stolen base percentage, his rising number of strikeouts because he mistakenly now believes he is a power hitter, his complete lack of range, arm strength, or decision making ability at the shortstop position, and his inability to be a normal sized person.

It won't be pretty.

Even if Theriot manages to win the case (and the consensus seems to be that he will lose), it makes for some awkward moments afterwards.

It seems odd that the Cubs would choose to go to war with a player during their year of rebuilding a happy, clappy clubhouse atmosphere again, but it is also odd that Theriot somehow thinks he is worth $3.4 million. 

My guess is that the two sides will come to some sort of agreement.  They managed to work out a deal with Zambrano a couple of years ago on the way to the hearing room right before the case, so they won't get bothered by the deadline of a hearing date that will happen on February 8th at the very earliest.

But if both sides keep their heels dug in and they do go to the hearing, Theriot's days as a Cub could be numbered.  A soured relationship with management combined with a rising star shortstop in the minors could end up getting Theriot traded.  Maybe not this year, but let's face it, he is one of the few Cubs with any value that doesn't have a no trade clause, so it's not out of the question if this season goes south early on.

Like most of the time he is running the bases, I'm not quite sure what he is thinking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting to Know: Marlon Byrd

Name: Marlon Byrd

Position: Centerfield

Batting Order Position: Fifth

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 33

Uniform Number: 24

Has he ever fallen on his face while playing baseball?: Yes. 
Apparently, last September, he knocked himself silly while running out a ground ball.  According to ESPN:

"The Rangers' cleanup hitter fell flat on his face behind first base after failing to beat out his inning-ending ground ball to shortstop. Byrd got up gingerly and walked toward center field, but nearly collapsed while the Rangers' training staff attempted to help."

Is Victor Conte in his contacts list?:  Yes.
A very interesting story by Steve Henson at Yahoo! Sports revealed that Marlon is a current customer of the former BALCO owner, who now does business under the name Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC).

"Byrd’s daily regimen normally doesn’t waver. He takes Aerobitine before batting practice, then again shortly before the game along with two or three Vitalize pills. He takes ZMA when he returns to his hotel room for the night.

An hour before games, Byrd also takes a special formula Conte calls a pre-competition packet that includes six capsules, two powders and a sublingual dosage of the cell fuel adenosine triphosphate (ATP) obtained from a lab in the Ukraine."

Conte has strenuously pointed out that no customers of SNAC have ever tested positive for PEDs currently banned by the MLB.'s Most Similar Batter:  Reed Johnson (weird, huh?)

Why we might like him: 
  • He is really similar to Reed Johnson.
  • He has had three straight seasons with an OPS over .800
  • Doug Glanville says, "Marlon is a battler. He's got a great work ethic. This is a guy who I worked with tirelessly in spring training. We talked a lot. He can run it down (in center field). He makes his routes. He's very precise, goes hard after everything. He's a grinder."
Why we might hate him: 
  • He is really similar to Reed Johnson and will be playing every day.
  • He has never had a season OPS over .800 when not playing home games in the exremely hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington.
  • Keith Law says, "He replaces Milton Bradley and Bradley's replacements, but even with the off year Bradley was more productive for the Cubs on a rate basis than Byrd was in Texas."
If you rearrange the letters in his name you get: "LARD BY NORM" also "MARRY BLOND"

What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • The Cub Reporter - "Decent offensive production for center fielder, terrifying home/road splits over the last 3 years including a major drop in power, walks way too little and at best an average center fielder.  Feel the excitement."
  • Another Cubs Blog - "There were cries from a majority of Cubs fans about Byrd's contract, which is only 3 years and $15 million. I was disappointed to see such a reaction to not only a very small amount of money these days, but to a contract that was obviously a good one for the Cubs... He's worth nearly $10 million in 2010 and paid only $3 million."
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue - "He wasn't my first, second or third choice. All we can do is hope that the next three years will be a repeat of Byrd's 2008 and 2009 seasons. Otherwise this is a waste of money."
  • Desipio - "It’s not that Marlon Byrd is a terrible player, he’s not. He’s also not that good. He’s not a guy you need to sign in December, and he’s sure as hell not a guy you need to give a three year contract to."

Moving On

I'm not sure about anybody else, but I'm pretty tired of talking about Paul Sullivan and whether he is good at his job or even at being a normal human being with common decency.  The fact of the matter is that without access to his Twitter feed, I will rarely know what he has written and will therefore probably never end up on his Trib stories, and he won't get the three members of my family that would go to his stories from links that I may have placed here.

It isn't a tragic loss to my world nor his, but it does make one wonder: If Paul Sullivan bitched about Milton Bradley in a forest and everyone was blocked from hearing it, would anyone give a shit?

More importantly, the time for an unfounded sense of hope and faith in the Cubs is upon us.  This is the time when it is most reasonable to believe that Alfonso Soriano can come close to earning all that cash Hendry shoveled at him.  This is the time when we can believe with all of our hearts that Randy Wells is not a one year wonder.  This is the time when we can visualize Jeff Baker becoming a productive every day player.

Marlon Byrd can patrol centerfield.  Theriot will start to take walks again.  Rudy Jaramillo will fix everyone's swings.  Marmol will throw strikes.  Samardzija will emerge as a legitimate member of the pitching staff and not just a hairdo that makes the ladies blush and giggle.  Lilly's shoulder will be fine.  Lee will not stop hitting like he's twenty-eight years old.  Ramirez's arm won't fall off again.

Deep down we know that at least half of those things will not come true, but we have a whole season to come to grips with harsh realities.  We feel there is plenty of time to wait for the first debilitating injury or inexplicable slump of death.  We do not want to believe that major failure by at least one of the key members of this team is almost inevitable.

The Spring is a time when fans can prepare themselves for the rigors of the season much as the players, umpires, and announcers do.  We can gear up for the rollercoaster ride of emotions that awaits us as the season unfolds with its many twists and turns.

We, here at Aisle 424, will endeavor to provide some useful tidbits over the next few weeks about the members of our 2010 Chicago Cubs to help prepare for the road ahead.  We will attempt to highlight the reasons we could end up loving a player enough that we would agree to name our unborn children after him, and we will also investigate why we could end up hating a player more than Paul Sullivan hates spinach. (See what I did there? I went the other way.)  We will also attempt to stop writing in the third person and coming off as an arrogant ass.

I'm hoping to have the first post up sometime tonight or early tomorrow.  Until then, please enjoy two random pictures that have no relationship to each other in any way.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It Is My Subjective Opinion That Paul Sullivan is an Asshole

Today started like any other day.  I came to work, I started running down my to do list and checking some items off, which is always nice.  I had some lunch and checked out my Twitter feed to see what was going on.

Let's see, something about the NCAA letting every basketball team that exists into the final tournament, the Bears managed to find someone too arrogant to realize that the offensive coordinator position in Chicago is a death trap, some coach with an apparent anger management problem drills one of his own volleyball players in the head with a volleyball during a match (from @JerodMSF at, and Joe Mauer is about to sign a deal to stay with the Twins for the rest of his life.

Then I saw a tweet from Mr. Paul Sullivan, the Chicago Tribune's beat writer for the Cubs:

"One idiot gone, one idiot en route. Former leader of Boston's '04 "Idiots" signs minor league deal with Cubs. http//"
Obviously, the idiot that is en route is Kevin Millar, but the identity of the idiot that is gone was left to our imagination.  Of course, the most likely candidates for the identity of the idiot would seem to be departed Cubs: Kevin Gregg, Aaron Miles, Jake Fox, Neal Cotts, Reed Johnson, Rich Harden, or Milton Bradley.

I checked out his Twitter feed and looked for references to any of those players.  Milton Bradley was referred to nineteen times in the last two months with such phrases as "deadbeat," "really bad idea," and "overpriced" peppered into his descriptions.  Aaron Miles was mentioned once, two months ago.  None of the other departed players was mentioned even in passing, so it seems we have a more than likely target for Sullivan's name-calling.

Still, there was one other possibility, so I thought I should make sure Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wasn't engaging in petty name-calling of a player that he covered as an objective sportswriter. I thought some due diligence was required before accusing him of being more of a child than my girlfriend's three-year old niece.  So, to be sure he wasn't just being self-deprecating, I tweeted back to him:

"Did you go somewhere? RT @PWSullivan: One idiot gone, one idiot en route."

Within a couple of hours, I noticed that Sullivan's tweets had disappeared from my feed.  I checked and found I had been blocked.  I guess Paul didn't like being mistaken for an idiot despite the fact that he had absolutely no problem at all in publicly calling another person an idiot.

Maybe Paul doesn't understand that there is a difference between being a columnist and a beat writer. Maybe he doesn't get that a beat writer needs to stay fairly objective.  Maybe he thought he was free to go off on a rant on one of the players if he so chooses. 

No, that's not it.  I found an interview did with Paul back in 2005 (The interviewer calls himself The Heckler, so its possible there is some copyright infringement with the real Heckler, but that is for another day):
[The Heckler]: Does being the beat writer for the team instead of a columnist affect you as far as the questions you ask the players, since you see them everyday?

[Paul Sullivan]: I don’t think people understand the difference between a columnist and a beat writer. A beat writer is supposed to be fairly objective. Obviously if I was totally objective it would be pretty boring, but I think most of it is based on the premise of objectivity. A columnist can say whatever he wants. He can go off on a rant against one of the players. I’ve got to deal with the players, so I try to get along with everyone if I can. It’s not always possible, but I think I make an effort.
That's one hell of an effort you made last year, Paul.  I'd hate to see what kind of poisonous bile would get published if you weren't making such a valiant effort to be objective.

There is one last possible scenario where Paul Sullivan has remained objective and not resorted to petty name-calling.  I looked up the definition of "idiot" and found that there are indeed two accepted definitions:

1. an utterly foolish or senseless person.
2. Psychology. a person of the lowest order in a former classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.

Accepting the first definition would require that the user of the word would have made some subjective conclusions about the person they are referring to. The second is an objective (though outdated) term reserved for those with extreme mental handicaps and a measured IQ under 25. Maybe Paul has some test results that show that Milton Bradley actually is a severely mentally disabled individual.

That would indeed be news. If it were true. Otherwise, it is libelous. Or he was just being a subjective dickhead and calling someone names disguised as journalism when he knows that person isn't going to read what he writes. I'll miss his classy words of wisdom.


Another fine blogger and fellow Paul Sullivan-blocked tweeter, Wrigleyville23, asked Paul Sullivan's editor, Mike Kellams about Sullivan's latest tweet.  Specifically, he asked if Kellams felt it was acceptable for a beat writer to refer to the people he covers as idiots.

Mr. Kellams did respond via an e-mail to WV23:

I believe a lot of things.
I believe Chicago is a big place with tough people – or least I thought we were – and this is pretty tame.
I also believe a guy who can’t keep track of outs, a guy who was sent home by his GM (who was then applauded for his actions by the player’s former teammates), a guy who checked out early on his rent, might well fit the description.
I also believe readers who don’t sign their names yet demand publicly accountability by others might also fit the description.
Not saying. Just saying.
Have a great day, Mr. Ville23. Is that a family name?


So, it is OK to insult people as an objective journalist as long as the insult is tame and also, Bradley really is an idiot.
It is also OK to insult people who write under a pseudonym because they are obviously not decent human beings themselves.
Well, Mr. Kellam and Mr. Sullivan, my name is Tim McGinnis and I think you are both cheap hacks who are desperately trying to hold onto jobs in a dying medium by being dicks to the players they cover and the few readers they have left.  You can find me in Aisle 424 on most game days.