Sunday, January 25, 2004

Choi Watch

I will probably look in from time to time to see how Hee Seop Choi is doing. I still think he will be a very productive major leaguer, and i grew attached to him over the years.

In Winter ball for the Magallanes Navigators in Venezuela Choi batted .271 with 4 HR's, 13 runs, 14 RBI's, and a .347 OBP. For a top prospect you might expect better. He has only had 85 AB's. Not exactly enough to get a rythm but he has flashed good power and good RBI ability in that limited time. Though he still is striking out way to much, with 25 punch outs in those same amount of at bats. Which means he is struggling still, probably on those curves.

What draws me to Choi is that when he is struggling his numbers arent horrific. Which is the sign of a good hitter who hasnt put it together yet. I know some never do, Choi might be one of those. You never know. But you know something is there that is very special.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

No News is Good News?

Like a lot of Cubs blogs their isn't much to talk about lately. Ryan Dempster? I will comment on him in 2005.

For the past half year I have gotten interested in politics. Before the war in Iraq I didn't know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat. Or much less care there was a difference. I didn't really notice a lot of things going on in our own media that is supposed to be fair and balanced reporting but end up becoming the story themselves. I don't have a fancy degree, but isn't that the first rule of journalism? Don't become the story?

Anyways I quickly found out the hard truth when every major media organization not named FoxNews was reporting Iraq as a quagmire or another Vietnam just 10 days into the war. So many of these respected news papers and media organizations were hoping and praying for our failure. I tried to understand why, and I soon found out some of these organizations were basically on the democrats side. They appointed Liberal writers, editors, and slanted the news to what it wanted us to hear.

The most famous of the lies spread is of, "President Bush lied to us! He said Iraq was an immanent threat! He lied to the American People when Iraq posed no immanent threat!"

Any idiot with a brain can go online and look up every single State of the Union speech back to Lincoln I believe. And President Bush said, "We must stop Iraq BEFORE they become an immanent threat"

Which brings me to what I watched on 20/20 last night. John Stossel had an excellent report on Myth busting called, Lies, Myths, and Stupidity. They covered a lot of far ranging subjects. The most interesting was the DDT one that could save literally millions of peoples lives a year, but because of left wing environmentalists DDT has long since been banned for use. The problem was back in the good old days it was sprayed to heavily. Now they have figured out that in very small quantities it can work just as well.

But the one that really got me thinking was the, "Do the Rich pay their fair share?" Every single democratic candidate says that Bush gave tax relief to his rich buddies, that he isn't looking out for the middle class worker, the rich should pay more. The funny part was when Stossel was interviewing Al Sharpton and Sharpton was going on and on about this. He asked Sharpton how much do the top 1% of income earners in the US pay in taxes? First he said no more than 10%, then dropped it to, "I am sure they pay no more than 5%" Stossel asked what should they pay then? "Atleast 15%" was Sharptons response.

So Stossel whips out the IRS official chart of which income brackets pay the most and the top 1% of Americans who make over $300,000 a year pay 34% of all income tax. And the top 5% of Americans who earn over $100,000 a year make up 52% of all income tax paid.

I didn't know this, and I was shocked. I was like damn, they do kind of need some tax cuts up their. Sharpton was caught way off guard and tried to change the subject, and it makes me question do all these democratic candidates even know what they are talking about when they say the rich don't pay their fair share? Are they just stupid? Or just spinning hoping the people will believe them?

So think about that the next time you hear John Kerry saying, "The Rich don't pay their fair share." They pay more than enough. And this is a guy that will repeal the tax cuts and tax the rich even more.

I am not rich by a long shot but when the top 5% are paying 50+% of all income tax they don't need to be taxed more. I think the rest of the population, the other 95%, can cover the other half just fine.

Now lets pray to god the Cubs get out of hibernation for some real news!

Monday, January 19, 2004

I Dont want Maddux Back If........... costs a chance to get Ivan Rodriguez. I liked Maddux in 1992 also. He was one of my favorite Cubs then also. Not anymore. This is the year 2004. I moved on, and i think the rest of the Chicago Cubs fans should move on also. The organization is different than it was in 1992, the team is different from what it was in 1992.

We no longer have a horrid pitching staff. We are lead by 3 young arms named Wood, Prior, and Zambrano. We have a stocked minors with guys named Sisco, Brownlie, and Guzman. Why do we need Maddux again? Because it will correct the mistakes of the past? Big deal. What is done is done. Yeah it would be nice to see him in Cubbie Blue again, but I don't dream of it.

Its like having not enough water, but you got a lot of food. You know you need more water to live, but food tastes soooooooooo damn good. Like an idiot you chose more food and end up dead in a week. But hey you died happy and full right?

For a team that struggled mightily on the offensive side you would think they would try and do a bit more to improve itself in that area instead of choosing more food. Which is what baffles me the most about the "Maddux Love in" going on. We know we need more offense but people cant get off the Maddux kick.

We laughed at Texas when they got A-rod, because we know they needed pitching. But Cubs fans are funny when the tables are turned on them. When it happens to them, its ok. So now we sit and wait to add more food to the table, completely forgetting that we will die without some water.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Wood Signs 1 year Deal

The Chicago Cubs locked up Wood to a one-year, $6.1 million contract on Wednesday. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry had talked this offseason about trying to reach a long-term deal with the right-hander, who was eligible for arbitration, and both said that was still a possibility.

"Both sides are very interested in exploring that," Hendry said Wednesday. "We've made it known to 'Woody' that we'd like to look into that. I think it was a case that both sides wanted to get (the contract) done before we had to exchange arbitration numbers."

That was last year. Look similar to........

The Chicago Cubs signed Kerry Wood to a one-year contract worth $9.75 million on Friday, the highest ever for a Cubs pitcher, with the intent of locking him up in a multi-year deal before the start of Spring Training.
"It's not the usual, 'We'll give you a one-year thing' and then keep tabling the negotiations on a multi-year,'" general manager Jim Hendry said Friday in making the announcement at the Cubs Convention.

"We have a one-year deal in place, but we're working toward a multi-year deal," Hendry said. "We feel confident something will be done by the end of the month."

I don't want to cause alarm, but Hendry atleast has been trying for some time to get Wood locked up long term. Though this little blurb makes me feel better that Wood is going to sign.

"Chicago's been great to me, the fans have been great," Wood said. "I love the stadium, I love the team. More importantly, I love the fact that we did what we did last year and we want to make a habit out of it. I'm not going anywhere. We have a winner here and I'm not going anywhere."

I have always said that we needed to win last year in order to keep Wood long term. And in Wood's remarks, last year was extremely important to him, as it most certainly made up his mind to stay with the Chicago Cubs. If we lost last year that probably would of cemented for Wood to move on. Glad to hear he says he isn't going anywhere.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Want to get rid of Pujols?

I like reading The Redbird Nation. Its always interesting to see what one of your rivals thinks.

Anyways he had this on Pujols...

AGEGATE REVISITED: The other day we mentioned Albert Pujols' disputed age -- officially he's 24 years old, but people have been dubious about his real age from the moment he entered the league. Well, now the stakes are higher than ever before. At the quarterly owners' meeting that concluded yesterday, players who falsify their age "or other material facts on their contracts" will face a one-year suspension.

So if it turns out that Pujols is really older than he says, he'd lose not only a couple years off his reported age, he'd lose a year playing in the major leagues. If I was an NL Central rival, I'd do some poking around in the Dominican Republic.

I am sure once the Uncouth Sloth see's that he will dispatch secret agents to the Dominican Republic ASAP. Or we can just start that the 1st blog to get proof, real or fake, that gets Pujols suspended for a year gets season tickets to the Cubs. Good luck in the annual, "Lets get rid of Pujols" sweepstakes.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Kerry Wood Files for Arbitration

Now i am not at all clear about arbitration. I dont know if Wood can still agree to a multi year deal if he files for arbitration. But everyone is saying Wood is expected to sign a multi year deal. I am still not entirely sold on that.

On the other hand Oswalt, Wade Miller, and Dotel filed also. I know its not terribly big news, but what Wood agrees to, a multi year deal or another 1 year deal, will determine whether he is trade bait or not for 2004.

Cubs Show Some Love

Today the Cubs did a good deed and signed Joe Borowski to 2 years at $4.3 million. I consider him our team MVP for last year. No other pitcher in baseball has done more with less. Its not a knock on Joe, its more to do with heart and determination. I have seen far more gifted athletes throw away their talent because they believe everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. That they dont need to earn anything, or to try their best.

Joe Borowski is a player who kids can look up to and see themselves. Not the best pitcher by most standards but he more than makes up for it with a never give up attitude. Any thing is possible if you just try your best.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Cubs make offer to Maddux

Maddux, who turns 38 in April, was seeking a two-year deal worth around $20 million. The Cubs' offer is unknown, but is believed to be in the range of $14 million to $15 million over two years. Maddux earned $14.75 million last season before becoming a free agent.

I kind of like the deal if it really is around $7 million a season. Lets see what Maddux does now.

A bit of a history lesson also of 1992......

He later said that he had accepted a five-year, $25 million deal, but Tribune Co. management "declined to sign it" only two days later. Boras broke off contract talks with the Cubs after a heated negotiating session in July, and Maddux announced on July 16 that he intended to file for free agency.

"I've given them two opportunities to sign me," Maddux said. "I really felt it should have been taken care of."

Thats what you get when you think money 1st, winning 2nd. Signing Maddux is a classic Cub move. We are trying to get a player we should of had 5-10 years ago. Now he is pushing 38. And you will never get back what he once was.


The Sun-Times and Daily Herald have more.

Phil thinks like me

I missed Phil Rogers column from Monday and wanted to comment on a few things.

It's time for general manager Jim Hendry to do what he should have done after Pettitte bolted New York to join the Astros a month ago: shake enough money out of his Tribune bosses to sign Ivan Rodriguez or Greg Maddux.

Yes he should be.

For a franchise that hasn't had back-to-back winning seasons since 1972, there has been a sense of arrogance about the Cubs and their fans since they did the unthinkable and won a playoff series. It's as if Dusty Baker just has to snap his fingers and they're right back in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, another five outs away from the World Series.

I cant agree more, I read a lot of sites and the general consensus is the Cubs are going to have a easy skip thru the tulips on the way to a division title. Forgetting that Houston only finished 1 game back with a shody injured rotation. And they added 2 dependable work horse pitchers who are capable of winning 12-15 games each on a down year. Hello, time for a wake up call.

This might be a good time to point out that St. Louis and Houston outscored the Cubs by 152 and 81 runs, respectively, last year. The Astros have certainly narrowed the pitching gap that allowed Baker to eke out a Central title. They might have eliminated it altogether.

Indeed they have. Are you listening Hendry?

Maddux is 11 wins away from 300, which increases the box-office appeal of a possible return to Wrigley Field. That could make it an easier sell to Tribune Co. Chairman Dennis FitzSimons, a ratings man.

Box Office appeal? BOX OFFICE APPEAL? Are you friggin kidding me? We are gonna sell out every damn game of the year whether Maddux pitches or not. This is why I hate the Tribune, they want to make money first, win second.

You know what Mr. FitzSimons do yourself a favor and sign no one. Why? Because putting Maddux back as a Cub for $8-$10 million isn't going to attract anymore fans to an already sold out ball park. So why pay for something you already are getting, its just more money in your pocket. And that's what its all about right?

Read the whole article.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Maddux and Cubs talking

"We've always had interest in Greg," Hendry said Monday. "Who wouldn't want Greg Maddux on their ballclub? Hopefully he'll consider coming with us."

Maddux, who turns 38 in April, earned $14.75 million with the Atlanta Braves last year. Hendry does have a budget, and Maddux would have to accept less to sign with the Cubs. Sources said the Cubs have not made a formal offer to the right-hander, who was 16-11 with a 3.96 ERA with the Braves.

I have softened my stance on Maddux if the Cubs sign him. But i will not be happy if they blow $8-$10 million a year on Maddux and then not sign Pudge. I am sorry but getting Greg Maddux is not a NEED. Its a luxury.

Some special announcement is schedule for the convention this week. I can only pray its Pudge not Maddux. But even if it is Maddux, it certainly doesnt hurt.

Clemens to Houston, Check or Check Mate?

Wow Clemens in Houston. We all kinda saw it coming for weeks but now its official and out in the open. Some other bloggers are calling for the Cubs to make their own deal to get us some players we need. And i cant agree more.

Derek Lee and Todd Walker are nice, but they arent enough to cure our inconsistent offense. Houston a team held back only by drastic starting rotation injuries last year finished only 1 game back and comes in this off season and adds a 21 game winner and a 17 game winner? This forms a very good 1-4 of Oswalt, Miller, Pettite and Clemens. Throw out Jeriome Robertson, and Ron Villone, shove Tim Redding to the #5 slot and you got probably the best staff in the NL.

Dont send your hate mail, just sit back and look. While Pettite and Clemens are old crusty veterans, they can still pitch and they pitch well enough to win ball games. While alot of us will hope and pray they both suck so Houston cant contend, i wont. I never think in terms of, well they are old, the chances of them getting injured are greater, and i will pin my hopes on that so my team can compete. If you think that way, you have already lost.

Because if you think that way, and do nothing to improve your team to counter that, and they dont suck, your screwed. Your screwed big time. I am not willing to bet against Pettite or Clemens, i am not that foolish. While i understand that Clemens cant do it forever, their is no better pitcher on the planet i would trust to win my team 15 games a year (ok well maybe Prior is the other one, lol).

Every bit of offense we can add to this team ups our chances of being better. The more runs you put behind Zamb, Prior, and Wood the better your team is gonna be. Which is why i dont understand the lack luster approach to the offense for the 2nd year in a row.

We kinda need a leadoff man - Check, Hendry gets Lee? huh? Cant really make fun of Lee he is a good player.
We need a new 2nd baseman - Check, we bring back Grudz for $3 million. Ohhh wait we got Todd Walker for $1.75 million, why did we sign a worse hitter for double the price again?
We need a new Catcher - Check, out with the sucky Damian Miller, in with the sucky Michael Barrett. Oh shut up about Michael Barrett its an upgrade. He is younger. Sureeeeeeeeee whatever makes you sleep better at night sweetheart.
We need a new SS - Check, sent Agonz back to little league to figure out the strike zone for 2004.
Need a 5th starter - Check, smartly looking inside the organization. Though i heard Kevin Appier or Aaron Sele can be had for the "right" price. -nudges Hendry to pull the trigger-
Need a Lenny Harris replacement - Check, traded. OMG WE TRADED. I still cant believe that. Traded for Jose Macias.

More can be done to fix our poor offense than what is being done. Pudge is a step in the right direction and should be a no brainer for the GM of the Chicago Cubs. If you let Pudge slip away for the 2nd straight year, you really need to quit and find another job. Houston has us in Check, are we just going to let them get Check Mate?

Monday, January 12, 2004

Cubs Photo Story

Cubs Photo Story

Its so damn difficult to post your files to the web if all you use is free accounts, lol. The link is to a page on Angelfire i made that i hope you can download the file from.

Its probably pretty cheezy, but i liked the results for the most part. If nothing else the song is good, lol.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Pudge to Baltimore?

Wait didnt they already sign Javy Lopez? WTF is going on?

With Vladimir Guerrero waiting for a more attractive offer, the Baltimore Orioles are again considering the possibility of signing catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

If the Orioles were to sign Rodriguez -- who rejected a three-year, $28 million offer from Baltimore last month -- he and Lopez would share the catching responsibilities, with both also sharing time at designated hitter. This would reduce the workload on both, and within the Orioles' organization, there is a line of thought that the extra rest could make Rodriguez and Lopez more effective offensively, and give the team extraordinary depth in the event of an injury to either.

Nooooo say it isnt so. The Orioles can more than match what Pudge wants. Now it just comes down to, does Pudge want to take market value and go to a questionable team such as Baltimore. Or take a pay cut and try and win a World Series with the Cubs? I think if the Cubs offered 3 years $28 million, Pudge would take it.

But i just dont like the idea of Baltimore being back on the radar flashing the cash again. Especially when they have Javy Lopez and we have Michael Barrett, Ugghhhh.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Hendry on Wood

Mike Kiley has a column up talking about signing Wood long term......

General manager Jim Hendry has scheduled an important negotiating session next week with Wood's agents, Pat Rooney and Greg Landry. The sides hope to move closer to resolving whether the deal will be for three or four years and how much money it will take to persuade Wood to commit long-term to the Cubs rather than pursue free agency after the 2004 season.

Well thats good to hear. Lets not try and be cheap and insult Wood with a low ball offer. Time to man up Hendry/Tribune.

For fans waiting to hear whether Hendry will sign free agents Pudge Rodriguez and/or Greg Maddux, it will come as no surprise to learn he has been talking to agent Scott Boras about both players.

Boras is trying to convince Hendry they would be good fits, but the Cubs' under-the-radar position on both players hasn't changed. While they privately contend that they still have interest in both, they also are quick to temper any expectations by downplaying the chances of signing either one.

Well atleast they are talking. Though i dont like the Cubs stance of luke warm interest.

Because so many players now want to play for them, they can be choosy. Maddux may yet become a Cub -- if he wants his old team so badly that he is willing to give them a discount and forget about a two-year, $20 million deal.

This has to be the funniest line in the whole article. Where are all these players that want to play for the Cubs? I dont see anyone beating down our doors, like ohhhhhhh say Jim Thome tried to do but got rejected with a nice push out the door.

Yeah Maddux wanting a 2 year deal for $20 million is equally as funny. I dont see Boras ever getting anyone to pay that.

Personally signing Maddux would be a major blunder by our management. While i would love the home coming for him, he doesnt fit into our future plans. We are stocked in the minors supposedly with pitching talent. All Maddux would do is block some of those players from finding a rotation spot. Now if we were talking Curt Schilling or Randy Johnson. By all means bring them aboard. Their best days arent behind them, Maddux's are.

I want Gold Glove winner Ivan Rodriguez as our backstop blocking all those nasty pitches in the dirt for SO's. Plus he is know for his clubhouse leadership. Last i checked we have no one in our clubhouse that would fit that profile. Not even Sammy Sosa.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

No Better Friend Plan

I just want to call some attention to the 1st Marine Division.

The "No Better Friend" Plan
The redeployment of the 1st Marine Division to Iraq in February and March comes at a critical juncture. The Marines returned from southern Iraq in September. This time they are going to Al Anbar Province and will be responsible for half of the 'Sunni Triangle' including the city of Falluja which is one of the most volatile in Iraq. Relations between the current Coalition forces and the people there are strained. The Marines success in this region will play a crucial role in Iraq's transition to a stable and prosperous society.

A key element of the Marines plan is to build trust by demonstrating there is "no better friend" than a Marine, as the saying goes. Officers feel it is imperative to "show an immediate improvement" over current conditions to the local people. They know much of their success rides on the impressions and relations built in their first 30 days. As one officer says, "it's important to not go in empty handed." As they say, there is only one chance to make a first impression. The items they need - medical goods, school supplies, etc. - will be used immediately to assist the people of Iraq, establish better relationships and help win the "battle for hearts and minds."

I just recently read the book they mention in the article, "The March Up : Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division" and its a great book if you want to know what really took place on the ground. Instead of being spoon fed big media half truths.

I am a full supporter of our military actions in Iraq. And anything to help them out and possibly save some of our soldiers lives the better. I know a lot of people don't read this site, but the more sites that spread the word the better.

Being a former U.S. Army M1a1 Tank Crewman, I thank all of our soldiers for the job they are doing. And salute the ones who have fallen to spread the voice of Freedom to a repressed land.

Signing Wood long term

With Javier Vazquez getting a 4 year $45 million dollar deal from the Yankees it virtually sets the market for Kerry Wood. The question is do the Cubs have the balls to sign Wood to a deal worth more than $10 million a season? For the most part the Cubs have been pretty good at keeping fan favorites.

The concern I have always had is Wood hasn't been interested in a long term deal yet. Because if he was, Jim Hendry would of locked him up a long time ago. Wood is a fiery competitor, and wont accept year after year of losing as his good friend Mark Grace went thru. And I am sure Mark Grace said don't believe what management says, only the product they put on the field.

For me we had to win last year. If for nothing else than to keep Kerry Wood. That's why I wanted them to get Pudge, Colon, and Kent. Funny thing was, they won anyways. Not the way I think they should of, as they rode the pitching staff extremely hard, and showed virtually no offense at times. But none the less it was good for the prospect of signing Kerry Wood long term.

Every year everyone wants to talk about other teams stars as being on the Cubs radar because they a) they cant afford them b) he will not resign with them. The reality with Wood is, if he signs another 1 year deal, he is gonna walk after this year probably. Then we as fans and Hendry as management has to run the gauntlet of fears. Trade him and get something in return? Or pray and hope he changes his mind and returns.

We sit here and say Milwaukee cant keep Sexson. It would be stupid for them to keep him and then run the risk of getting nothing in return. Well as Cubs fans if Wood signs a 1 year deal, you have to think along those same lines. But my guess is most fans would be more than willing to run that risk, because its now one of our players. If its someone else's players they have to trade them. But not if he is a Chicago Cub. The rules are different. No they aren't. Just some fans want their cake and ice cream too.

Personally I think Kerry Wood will sign a multi year deal this year with the Cubs. I would be shocked if he didn't. We have a great core of pitching, the offense and bullpen are upgraded. If he needed signs that the Cubs are trying to win, he needs to only look at his roster. While it still can be improved upon its a very good start.

In the end the Cubs have to be willing to offer the big money otherwise this is all mute.

Not this year Ryno

Its a shame Ryne Sandberg wasn't voted in during his 1st year. And I think its even worse he didn't get voted in his 2nd. One of the greatest 2nd baseman to ever play the game is being over looked.

Let me just run a few offensive stats by you:

Top 10 in Batting average - 4 times
Top 10 in OPS - 6 times
Top 10 in Runs - 8 times
Top 10 in RBI - 2 times
Top 10 in HR - 5 times
Top 10 in SB - 1 time (9 seasons over 20 SB's)
Top 10 in Hits - 8 times
Top 10 in Total Bases - 6 times
Top 10 Extra Base Hits - 6 times

The reason I mention this is because Sandberg was not only hitting well for his position but he was also among the league leaders during this time also. I think alot of people forget that in the time Sandberg played, getting 100 RBI was considered an MVP year and hitting 30 HR you were a premier power hitter.

Unlike in today's game where doing that is a dime a dozen. 29 players hit over 30 HR's last year. And 34 players knocked in 100+ RBI.

Throw in Sandbergs defensive numbers, Gold Gloves, fielding percentage, numerous error less streaks, and to me it looks like a slam dunk. Sandberg was the total package at 2nd base.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Want to play for the Cubs? Fat chance

New White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was a coach on the Marlins last season, said Rodriguez wants to play for the Cubs. "He's looking to go there. He wants to go there," Guillen said during baseball's Winter Meetings. "He knows they have a good team."

Wanting to play for the Cubs and actually getting your foot in the door are two diffrent things. Maybe if Hendry actually sat down with Pudge before flying off the handle at getting replacements Pudge might accept a 3 year deal as long as his agent Scott Boras is tied up in the corner.

I know, Boras is the anti-christ himself. Fat chance of that happening.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Pudge Sweepstakes part Deux

ESPN has a good article on Pudge and what he is looking for.

According to sources, Rodriguez turned down three years at $8 million a year both with Florida before filing for free agency and then with Baltimore, which eventually signed Javy Lopez instead. Boras was insisting on a guaranteed fourth year, which neither of those teams would offer.

Me personally? Give Pudge his fricken 4th year, let him retire and wear a Cubs jersery into the Hall. Provided he wins a championship during his stay, otherwise the Hall will tell him to go in as a Ranger.

I know its not my money, so what do I care. But Ivan Rodriguez is not Todd Hundley.

The Cubs seek offense from their catcher and saw Rodriguez's impact firsthand during the NLCS. But they have bad memories of the last time they gave a free agent catcher a four-year deal.

Rodriguez is everything Todd Hundley is not, yet the Cubs somehow position themselves as being willing to go with a combination of Michael Barrett and Paul Bako at catcher.

I hope we don't miss out on him for the 2nd year in a row.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year

Now that 2004 is upon us, i will return to blogging and doing some new things to the site.