Milton Bradley, who was sent home for the season last week, is seriously contemplating retirement from baseball according to a possibly made-up source out of Chicago.
Bradley has been plagued with problems, from injury to attitude, for a number of seasons with his conflictual nature coming to a head this year with the Cubs. While he would be passing up on $20 million guaranteed were he to quit baseball, Bradley says that he is wealthy enough to live comfortably.
"I can support my family," Bradley said. "I've got money. I'm a smart man, and I understand how to run a business."
To prove his point, Bradley unveiled a product demo for his future career outside of sports -- growing a variety of nuts.
"My family is descendant of peanut farmers," Bradley said. "So we're going to take my very marketable name and turn it into a brand that will compete with Planter's."
Bradley will begin his nut business as soon as he retires, whether it is this winter or several years from now.
I certainly understand how a number of our readers enjoy the photoshops which basically mock and make fun of the Cubs or their opponents, and I promise to continue with them in the future. (I'm just waiting for a good picture of the Zambranostache to surface so I can do a Zorrombrano photoshop.) But these days, I've really enjoyed my little "this is the year/yes they can" project, and the image below is the latest of those.
I won't be trying to sell this image, however, as I directly incorporate the Cubs logo and the Wrigley Field image. While I doubt that the Cubs lawyers would be breaking down my door, I'm not prepared to try to sell copy written images. Anyway, enjoy:
I hope everybody is having a good Valentine's weekend. I'm fortunate to be spending mine in the States, where I have lounged about lazily while thinking almost not at all about blogging. (Although on Monday we'll have something - or maybe lots of things - about the start of Spring Training and Carlos's manstache.)
Since people do seem to like the photoshops, I thought I'd open a thread about them. I've done an awful lot of them in my time, many for The Heckler as well, and not all of them - okay, fine, many of them - will be remembered for being timeless classics of satire and humor.
So, I'll put it out to you guys. What do you think would be a funny photoshop? But keep in mind one thing: I'm actually trying to avoid the ones that make fun of the Cubs. Sure, they're the easiest, but I've seen our 'chops on more than one Cardinals website in the past few years.
If I choose your idea, I will add your username to the tag.
I've always been a fan of the old team photos that used to be very popular at the turn of the 20th century... sort of like the ones on the cover of The Best Team Ever, the book about the amazing 1907 Cubs.
I've been thinking about doing a modern version, and here's what I came up with ...
You'll see that there was only room for 18. I had to pick which ones to leave off. I'm also probably going to do a second one in which I give it the more traditional newspaper look. Enjoy.
I'm probably alone in this, but I always find the process of creation to be fascinating. (Yes. I am a geek. So what?)
Since I posted the new Carlos image last night, I've been tinkering with it fairly non-stop - in fact, I'll tinker with it some more once I get home tonight. I'm also interested in doing a propaganda poster of the other Cubs - Lee, Alfonso, A-Ram, etc. - and in most cases it'll just be a matter of finding the right angle.
Anyway, posted below is the total body of photoshop work for 2009 so far... I don't know how many I'll do this year, if only because last year was a fine example of how the creative well runs dry when choppin' on a quota system, but hopefully the ones I do do (heh, doo doo) will be high caliber and extremely creative.
By the way - if you are looking for digital work to be done, I'm available for slightly below-market cost. Just drop me a line.
I should make myself wait until Monday to mention this, but I've worked hard on it and I'm feeling impatient with myself.
I decided to work on a series of images that could perhaps best be described as propaganda posters to promote my heartfelt, optimistic belief that 2009 will be the year of our fortune's reversal. I've also put them on t-shirts in the GROTA store at CafePress. Here are the ones I've come up with so far beyond what you saw earlier this morning...
If the latter two ring a bell, it's because I blatantly stole the concept from the Obama campaign. Anyway, we don't really make a whole lot of money from it even if you went spend crazy, but we love the idea of people walking around Wrigleyville with a GROTA t-shirt on. Here are pictures and links to the various items in our store:
You'll have to forgive me for the last one, but I just can't allow myself to get rid of it from the store.
Anyway, we've got even more items than those, but they are perhaps my favorites. Enjoy, and thank you for shopping GROTA.
Although Jim Hendry left the GM meetings without Peavy, there are still rumors that the deal might still happen ... thus prompting this photoshop:
Of course, I should have added a Cubs cap to his head.
As this off season progresses, despite the two years of winning we've seen from the Cubs, I get more and more of a feeling that Hendry will go to Arizona in March as a sad participant. He's not going to get anybody he wanted. No Peavy, no Marquis deal, and no Milton Bradley.
Why "no Miltion Bradley", you ask? As much as the Cubs may be targeting him, I can't help but wonder if he's heard the rumors we've heard - Cub fans are racists, underperforming black outfielders get called very nasty names at Wrigley, etc. - and if he has, then why would he sign with Chicago? And even if he does sign with the Cubs, how long before he tries to climb the bleacher walls to fight somebody?
Lastly, Kerry Wood signed a 2 year deal with the Indians today that will pay him at least 20 million. Not bad for Woody. I remain sad to have seen him go, but I'm wondering when Cleveland comes to Toronto next summer. Maybe I'll try to see him pitch.
If you were a Cubs fan who has lived through 1974, 1980, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2006, then you have seen in this season a Cubs team that's won more games than any of those other Cub teams from those years in 47 fewer games played. Imagine that - the Cubs in the first week of August have already eclipsed Chicago teams that belong in our worst baseball nightmares. It shouldn't give us a feeling of accomplishment; we should be outraged that the Cubs have given us so many wasted seasons.
However, let's take comfort in this - it may not end in the achievment of the ultimate goal, but 2008 does not appear to be another one of those hopeless, wasted years. At the very least, this Cubs team should reach the playoffs, quite possibly with the best record in the National League, and there's a simple reason why. These guys play good baseball and they get big hits. Today was another example of that.
Apparently, Lou Piniella does not read this Cubs blog, to my surprise. If he did, then he might realize the futility that comes with throwing strikes to Carlos "Cliff" Lee. When a Cubs pitcher throws strikes to Carlos Lee, the ball tends to wind up a long ways away from the catcher's mitt, usually by at least 400-or-so feet. In the 3rd inning today, after having surrendered an RBI to Lance Berkman, wonderful* Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis decided that Carlos Lee at the plate with runners on was the equivalent of No Bubbles, No Troubles. He proceeded to deliver to the Astros a 3-run lead on a silver tray, as Lee predictably smacked a 3-run shot into the atmosphere.
(*You don't think Marquis fits the definition of "wonderful?" C'mon, every time he pitches, aren't you filled with wonder about why Jim Hendry saw fit to give him a multi-year contract?)
But, hey, it was okay. It's just that kind of year for the Cubs. They score 4, the Cubs score 4 more. In the bottom of the 3rd, with 2 outs and 2 strikes against him, Mark DeRosa hit a clutch grand slam that was really just the opening card to the main event that is the continued dominance of Alfonso Soriano. (Phew, that sentence was a keyboard-full.) Soriano, who saw his second at bat of the inning thanks to a Fukudome double, a Soto walk, and, more impressive, a double by Marquis, hit another homerun, his 5th since returning from a broken hand*, putting the Cubs in the lead for good. I could almost hear the fight leave the Astros, which was a pretty impressive feat since I was working at the time and I could only follow the game through a sports ticker.
(*Rumor has it that broken hands often cause players to lose power. Maybe that's the case with Soriano, which makes me think that a fully healthy Fonz would be putting up Nintendo Numbers right now. As it is, he's already resembling Roy Hobbs. Luckily for him, Kim Basinger has hit the wall, so he won't have that temptation waiting to toss him back into a month-long slump.)
The Cubs added on to their absurd score in the 4th, giving them 11 runs on the game. All told, the immense Chicago Juggernoffense (I'm coining that phrase, which I'm sure will not be contested since it's pretty lame) had 11 hits, drew 6 walks, and forced an average of 35 tears to trickle down the faces of most Astro fans out there. Jason Marquis went 6.1 innings, looked as mediocore as usual, but still was able to walk away with his 7th win of the season. All told, not a bad day ... or a bad series.
If the Cubs are able to win 2 out of every 3 games they play this month, then they'll be in a pretty good position come September. As it is, they probably could have swept Houston, but the weather did not cooperate and apparently our Cubs preferred to lose in an offensive sputter rather than win while risking a lightning strike. It's okay, if your friends ask about the near-tornado, just tell them that it was the first seal of the apocalypse cracking open. Forgive me if I'm recycling a joke I've made about six times in the last two days.
The Cubs will now enjoy an off-day before hosting a 3-game set against St. Louis. The Cardinals are perilously on the brink of becoming a non-factor this season. If they lose tonight and tomorrow, then they will be 7 games out of 1st place, and a Cubs sweep will put them in Pittsburgh territory on the year. I'm not saying it'll happen, or even that it's likely to happen, but a Cub fan can wish, right? And, hey, it really might happen. It's just that kind of year.
Current Record: 69-46
Position in the NL Central: 1st place, 5 games in front of Milwaukee and 6 ahead of St. Louis
Best Possible Record: 116-46
Worst Possible Record: 69-93
On Pace For: 97-65
Magic Number: 43, as powered by CubsMagicNumber.com