Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Odds and Ends

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/managed/grota/drupal/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Blogging with my feet on

I'm visiting the States this weekend and my brother has set up a wireless network so finally, at long last, I have a speedy internet connection (illegal MMA fight video websites, here I come!)

I've chosen to celebrate this highspeed windfall by blogging in my old bedroom, the laptop on a dresser drawer, me standing and typing away as if I was Hemmingway but without half the talent and with twice the sanity.

It would appear that, in my absense, absolutely nothing has happened.  I choose not to comment on that any further, except to say that something will happen sooner or later.  Until then ... how's your weekend?

I'm tired, full, and ready to relax.  Time to take my feet off.  See you guys tomorrow.

Announcing Cubs Basement Upgrade - Version 1.3

Many people have been pestering me the past couple of weeks about the condition of the Cubs Basement.

That's a lie.  NOBODY has asked me about the condition of the Basement of Love, North Central Illinois' largest collection of Cubs parenphenalia!!  As you may recall, I was forced to miss Senor Holy Shit's no-no in Milwaukee because of the sudden and unwanted invasion of a very small tributary of the Little Vermillion River, itself a tributary of the Vermillion River proper, it in turn being a tributary of the Illinois River, which of course flows into the Mighty Mississippi down around Alton.  Of course, this very small tributary has disguised itself the past 75 years as a very minor drainage ditch, and 99% of the time does not contain enough water flow to sustain a minnow.  But 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, coupled with the lack of proper sump pump parts has resulted in somewhat moderate damage to my personal Cubs museum; namely, the curling of paper-based items such as photographs and posters; the absorption of odors into felt-based items such as banners and pennants; and the condemnation and removal of all item-bearing furniture, such as cabinets and shelves.  Not to mention all the flooring, baseboards, and everything else that was ankle deep or less.

Right now, the basement is in shambles.  The Good News is that Mrs. Sloth had the basement and its contents insured!!  The Insurance Rider of Love is making it possible for us to hire professional restoration experts (no kidding) to come in all this week and preserve all important artifacts, and the liberal replacement policy will permit me to update all the furniture and, hopefully I can make the accounting stuff work so that I can actually add a couple of new things I needed, like the pub table. 

I couldn't juggle things so that I could venture straight into Version 2.0 (flat screen TV and the Cubs-themed upholstery, but things could absolutely be worse.  My sympathies to everyone who has been less fortunate that I have been during this wet season, and I will update the galleries when everything is set up, hopefully in time for the "third round of playoffs", in which case I had planned on inviting the whole town of Corn Hole down there to watch with me..

I know, I'm the only one who gives a rat's ass, but ain't that what a blog is about?

Friday Morning Odds And Ends, Few Odds And No Ends

The Cubs, apparently looking to fill Chicago’s hole at wide receiver, are calling up Jeff Samardzija. Kerry Wood is on the DL with – yeah – a blister. Apparently he could start Saturday. Which is… odd.

(By the way, impress your friends: it's pronounced suh-MARR-zhuh.)

Jim Edmonds, however, will stay off the DL – an MRI on his knee was negative.

Also, the Cubs don’t think they deserved their recent half-million fine from MLB regarding their conduct in the recent draft:

The Cubs plan to argue against an expected $500,000 fine from Major League Baseball for a pair of what MLB says are violations regarding the amateur draft. The decision is still under review, but the Cubs consider it nothing more than a couple of "clerical errors" in the filing of paperwork on two signees.

"There's no dollars that we've spent, or hidden, or things like that," general manager Jim Hendry said. "Two of our entire draft choices were signed to above-the-slot figures, which is perfectly legal."

Meanwhile, the Cubs A-ball affiliate the Peoria Chiefs have an absolute battle royal.


Thursday Morning Odds and Ends, Long Time No See Edition

Some quick notes.

Ted Lilly got a quality start tonight, which probably would have warmed the heart of Jerome Holtzman, who invented the stat. Holtzman, a long-time fixture in the Chicago baseball press, died over the weekend. Bruce Miles has a touching tribute.

Wood could go onto the DL soon, and his replacement might bee Jeff Samardzija. Shark’s on a very odd developmental path right now:

Year   Team G W L IP TBF H 2B 3B HR R ER BB K ERA
2006 A- Boise 5 1 1 19.0 84 18 1 1 1 5 5 6 13 2.37
2006 A Peoria 2 0 1 11.0 43 6 2 0 1 5 4 6 4 3.27
2007 A+ Daytona 24 3 8 107.1 479 142 22 4 8 69 59 35 45 4.95
2007 AA Tennessee 6 3 3 34.1 145 33 7 0 8 15 13 9 20 3.41
2008 AA Tennessee 16 3 5 76.0 332 71 14 1 6 43 41 42 44 4.86
2008 AAA Iowa 6 4 1 37.1 152 32 6 0 5 13 13 16 40 3.13

Yeah, a lot of guys raise their strikeout rate and cut their walk rate when they get promoted to AAA. Happens ALL the time.

An interesting thing happened on the way to buying the Cubs:

A group led by John Canning, chairman of Chicago private-equity firm Madison Dearborn, valued the Cubs, Wrigley and the team's stake in Comcast SportsNet at far less than the $1 billion or more that the four or five groups team owner Tribune Co. deemed satisfactory to continue, a source with knowledge of the process said.

But Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune, appeared to be serving notice in shooting down the lowball offer. The source indicated that the most important figures connected with any offer will be the ones with dollar signs, in order to maintain the integrity of the process and the media concern's fiduciary responsibilities.

Of the five to 10 offers fielded for just Wrigley Field, the source said three were deemed promising enough to be asked to continue in the process.

Expect to hear more on this in the coming days. Meanwhile, MLB doesn’t seem to be happy with the Cubs’ draft:

The Cubs' fine for violations related to the June draft of first-year players was a whopping $500,000, SI.com has learned. Major League Baseball ruled that the Cubs violated a couple of baseball rules, including failing to report a signing to MLB's New York offices and putting the player on the field before receiving approval for the signing from MLB offices. The Cubs were said by people familiar with the case to have exacerbated the situation by how they responded to MLB's concerns.

This is the sort of thing that just wouldn’t have happened under the watch of Andy MacPhail, who came from a long line of distinguished baseball statesmen and who played ball with the commissioner. I personally am comforted by the thought of a front office who cares more about what’s best for the team and less about what’s best for the league.

Wednesday Odds and Ends, Keystone Cops Edition

I don’t want to talk about Rich Hill. You don’t want to read about Rich Hill. In case you don’t believe me, you can do so here. Please don’t click that link.

I don’t want to talk about this, either, but I feel compelled. I saw the most absurd sequence of plays last night. Here’s how it went: with Howry on the mound, Ray Durham.... oh, what the hell, Ray Durham pops it up back of third base. Theriot and Fontenot go back on it, Edmonds comes in on it, none of them actually catch the ball. Drops right in between the three of them. Edmonds gets the ball back into the infield... only nobody is covering second and Durham is in with a double.

Then - then! - Howry and DeRosa are standing there at second, Howry has the ball, and who's on third? Ray Durham starts to think that he should be, because nobody's there to stop him. Howry starts to try and chase him down, Durham gets back to the bag before Howry can tag him out.

Just, wow. I bring it up because none of the postgame recaps do, and I thought it important.

Expect Dome to move into the 2 spot in the lineup when Soriano returns. Edmonds moves to fifth, Theriot presumably moves down to seventh or eighth.

Soto still can't believe he's an All-Star.

Finally, some Sabathia dirt. Rosenthal: "The prevailing wisdom is that the Cubs' farm system isn't deep enough for them to land a pitcher such as Sabathia, but rating prospects often is tricky." The Cubs do have a top prospect they could deal, but the only other team Soto's going to is the All-Star team.

Gammons has a lot more dirt. He also mentions that the Cubs don't think they have the prospects to make a Sabathia deal. Other options the Cubs are looking at include Rich Harden, Randy Wolf, Greg Maddux, Erik Bedard, A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo and Kevin Millwood. Bedard has "makeup issues" but I still think he's the best option on that list (Harden could end up requiring more prospects than Sabathia, Burnett has a horrible contract, Randy Wolf hasn't actually pitched well at all.)

The Padres and the Rays are both interested in Matt Murton, he adds.

Even more odds and ends

I was tempted to write the series preview this morning, but if I want to have enough time remaining to clean myself before work, then that's not a real possibility. Instead, I offer a few, rambling, random thoughts about the Cubs on this, your Tuesday morning.

  • Colin already covered everything.

That was easy! Have a great morning!

...just kidding. I actually do have a few things to add.

First and foremost, I do agree with Colin about the troubles the Cubs have seen. If you happen to work in a place where you have to deal with idiot fans of inferior ballclubs, don't put up with their guff. This has been no easy journey for a Cubs. Sometimes they've needed a compass, a machete, and a Native Guide To Be Consumed When Food Runs Out.

Second, I might as well take the time to address a few comments made about Joe Morgan. It's been discussed on other blogs, and this time around it really seems to be upsetting Cub fans, but it's no new thing. In case you missed it, Joe Morgan has, for years now, been calling the basket in the outfield "Banks Boulevard," because of the number of homeruns hit by Ernie that landed in the basket. In other words, Morgan has subtly been implying that Ernie wouldn't be the legend he is were it not for that basket.

Except the basket wasn't installed until something like May of 1970; after which Ernie hit perhaps no more than 8 homeruns in his career at Wrigley Field. It's a total, complete fabrication by Joe. Now, some Cub bloggers are threatening to boycott ESPN until Morgan apologizes, which I think is both self-riteous and pointless. Instead, I submit to the Cub Fan Nation in general and the Goat Rider Army in particular that you do something which will actually have an effect - heckle the crap out of Morgan at every opportunity. If he does a live chat on ESPN, go there and blast him. If he's scheduled to call a game at your local ballpark, intentionally get bad seats near the press box, go with signs, and rip into him. It should come as no surprise to baseball fans that Morgan is a tool, and he's always displayed a bias against the Cubs. So, screw him. Make his job hard.

Third. I've been meaning to ask Des Moines radio host Jon Miller about the availability of Iowa Cubs jerseys in his area. I've always been fond of the home jerseys of our AAA Cubs, but they are almost impossible to find on the internets. Point of fact, I'm considering taking the next step in Cub geekdom by acquiring a number of minor league jerseys - the Smokies home uniform is cool, the Peoria road jersey is nice, and the Iowa home uniform belongs in my closet. Oh, and lastly, I'm sad that the Cubs jerseys have names on the back. It's so much classier when they don't have them at all.

We'll have a series preview for you later, and I'll blog again in a while. Have a great morning.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award