Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Friday, June 27, 2008

Don't Bump Me, Ump

I'm glad to see MLB take at least a small stand against overaggressive, argumentative umpires. While umps deserve support and respect, it is not acceptable for any of them to incite or raise the level of an argument.


Talk About Going Down With An Injury

I have no trouble believing that Brandon Inge hurt himself in exactly the way he described.

What I don't get is this: why in hell is your three year old still sleeping with mommy and daddy? Take some time while on the DL to take a few parenting classes, Brandon.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Thank God That's Over

Sweet zombie Jeebus, I hate interleague play. But I hate the White Sox series even more than interleague play in general.

No, not because I hate the White Sox. It's because the Cubs/Sox series can never just be about the game. There's so much extraneous BS going around that it just gets tiresome.

Whether it's the bozos from both sides of town who pollute the message boards here to the constant whining about everything from White Sox players, field manager, and front office executives.

I hate to be on the same side as a putz like Mariotti, but I am. You'd think a World Series trophy would be enough to validate some people's sense of self-worth so they wouldn't feel the urge to denigrate others. You'd be wrong.

Look at what those guys were saying over the last week. Now, imagine that instead of a guy from the White Sox saying that stuff about the Cubs, their stadium, and their fans, that it was a guy from the Red Sox talking about the Orioles. Or the Astros talking about the Rangers. Or some random team not from Chicago about some other random team not from Chicago.

If it were a member of the Tigers front office ripping on Cleveland for not having won a World Series in a long time, you'd think him a nut job. Or deeply, deeply disturbed.

But what do I know? Stay classy, Chicago White Sox organization!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Grasping At Straws

The Toronto Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons today. Apparently deciding to make every day "Turn Back the Clock Day," they hired Cito Gaston, last seen being put into a lifeboat with a compass and a supply of food and water back in 1997 by a Jays team that went 76-86. Records from that era are spotty at best, but I seem to recall that Gaston pretty much reviled by his entire roster back then. I doubt that ten years out of the game have much improved his ability to interact with his players.

Gibbons was a poor manager, but he's not the one solely responsible for this train wreck. Some people had the idea way back in February that this wasn't the contending team that Gibbons and GM J.P. Ricciardi thought it was. This is a very mediocre offensive team which dumped its' best power source over the side in April after a hissy fit over a two-week slump. When you are looking at Rod Barajas, Brad Wilkerson, and the 40-year old Matt Stairs as upgrades to your offense, you have far, far more problems than can be solved by firing the manager.

At least the Jays made the announcement in mid-day, instead of waiting until the middle of the night like some teams we could name.


Coney Island Sideshow

Brooklyn and Staten Island players made a mockery of the game last night. How about a new rule, right now, that switch hitters and switch pitchers must declare their "natural side" and must use that side in any confrontation?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Coincidence, or Something the White Sox Organization Teaches?

Looks like the waaaaaaaaaah-mbulance needs to make a stop in Saint Louis:

“Lately it’s gotten a little unfair,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “You lose Albert, you lose Wainwright, (Joel) Piñeiro was missing. All that stuff gets to be a little unfair.

“If it gets excessive, it kind of pisses you off.”

Unfair? Yeah, I guess that's one way of looking at it.

The non-whiny way of looking at it: that's baseball. Deal with it.

Yahoo's Jeff Passan must be trying to get some credentials for the McCain campaign, because this is his sentence immediate after LaRussa's "unfair" claim:

La Russa is a lot of things. A whiner isn’t one of them.

Spare me. If anybody else in the game had said that his team's injury situation was "unfair," he'd be mocked nine ways from Sunday for being a WATB. I guess LaRussa's reputation as a straight-talkin' maverick protects him from such judgements...

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just in Case You Have a House That Gets Hit by Lightning All the Time, or in Case You Have a Loved One Cryogenically Frozen in Your Basement

If it weren't for the unintentionally funny e-mails I get from some of my co-workers, this would be the most hi-sprockin'-larious thing I've read in a long, long time.

Thank you, Mr. Kermit, for teaching us to laugh at love -- again.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Don't Let The Door Hit Your Fat, Knighted Ass On The Way Out

Why did this not surprise me one bit? This is my suggestion to any team thinking about giving him another chance: don't. Sidney Ponson is a fat, drunken, boorish jerk who has now worn out his welcome with six major league teams while running up an 86-102 record with a substandard career ERA. Someone should remind Ponson that you can be fat, a jerk, or even both and stay in the majors if you show results. Below average players with those qualities run out of chances fast.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Hell???

Michael Lewis, the evil-doer who co-wrote Moneyball with Billy Beane (that's a joke -- don't write in to tell me that's incorrect), once referred to baseball as a big social club, with the media serving as a Women's Auxiliary to the club.

One journamalist that Lewis points to as playing a large role in the Auxiliary is Tracy Ringolsby. And Ringolsby shows off the credentials that led him to that role with this puzzling piece about Cub Fans and White Sox Fans.

I'm not sure what the hell this was supposed to be about. But I'm pretty sure there's something to offend everyone in this piece (Jim, any thoughts on those Sox Fans who "like to talk about Disco Demlotion?").

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Surf City, Here I Come

The Tribune's Phil Rosenthal reports that new Tribune Co. headmaster Sam Zell expects the media behemoth to "retain a minority interest" in the Chicago Cubs.

That would be the same Sam Zell who also holds a minority interest in the Chicago White Sox.

We may have to toss out the Second City nickname for Chicago and replace it with Surf City. To paraphrase Brian Wilson -- Two teams for every boy!

Zell received an exemption from Baron Budhausen regarding this dual ownership. For good reason, it's quite against Major League rules for anyone to have an ownership stake in multiple teams.

Reportedly, Zell was in the process of off-loading his White Sox share when he leveraged himself into the TribCo's top job. I haven't seen any further report of movement on this front (Gentle Readers, please correct me if I am wrong). Let's hope the Baron uses his Commissioner's powers to hasten the process along...

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What a Difference a Day Makes

After wasting a few paragraphs with pointless trivia (Did you know that the Cubs are off to their best start since 1977? Or, more to the point, do you care?), Sully drops this nugget of joy into his "game" story late Tuesday night:

While the Cubs came into the game ranked third in NL starting pitching with a 3.96 earned-run average, Marquis and Ted Lilly have yet to show the kind of consistency needed to convince anyone the Cubs are truly a championship-caliber team.

That's actually a fair cop, and an unusually insightful piece of commentary from a usually-inane Sully.

Unfortunately, the insight doesn't continue today. Sully reverts to his typical typist fare with this:

Two months into the season, the Cubs are the obvious front-runner for the National League pennant, an unfamiliar position for many of the players.

Gentle Readers, try to wrap your mind around these two statements, posted on the web site of a major metropolitan daily on two consecutive days.

I understand that the unfolding narrative of the season means that team's fortunes will rise and fall. But can a particular team's fortunes rise so fast that on Tuesday it is unable to "convince anyone they are truly a championship-caliber team," while on Wednesday it is the "obvious front-runner for the National League pennant?"

I don't know about you, Gentle Readers, but if I overheard a fellow at my local watering establishment, or at the office water cooler, spout off two wildly divergent opinions about the same team on consecutive days, I'd be inclined to write him off as a kook. Or a disingenuous phony.

Perhaps Major League Baseball follows the Heisenberg uncertainty principle -- measuring a team's position in the standing makes its momentum uncertain.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Back To The Ballot

National League:

C: Brian McCann.
Bob is lobbying for Geovany Soto, and there certainly wouldn't be anything wrong with that vote. Nor would Russell Martin be a poor choice. Benjie Molina has been pretty good, too. I'm going with McCann because even though he's only been in the league four years, that's still a lot more than Soto. Also, remember this handy voting guide: A vote for McCann is good, a vote for McCain is very, very bad.

1B: Albert Pujols. Last year it was Prince Fielder, this year it's Lance Berkman. Berkman is a terrific hitter and a favorite of mine. Albert Pujols is one of the greatest players of all time. I check his name on the ballot pretty much automatically.

2B: Chase Utley. Pretty much as automatic as Pujols. Dan Uggla will make a fine backup. It's pretty cool to have two all-star second basemen whose names begin with "U." I would also be remiss to not mention Orlando Hudson, an outstanding defensive player who is slugging .514.

3B: David Wright. This was a very difficult choice; how do you pass on a future Hall of Famer who is hitting .405 with power? Hmmm, maybe I can't. I guess I'd just have to say that there is no way that Larry can keep this up, and by the end of the season Wright will have had the better year. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

SS: Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez was the best shortstop in the NL last year, and for the first two months of this year, but Jose Reyes is pretty close, and by the All Star game might pass him. I'll stay with Hanley for now.

LF: Jason Bay. The NL leader in OPS among leftfielders so far this year is Ryan Ludwick. Let's try again. Second is Pat Burrell. Burrell is a good hitter but a clown in the outfield. The next three are Adam Dunn, Bay, and Matt Holliday. I went with my usual tiebreaker, the same one I used to pick Justin Morneau over Kevin Youklis--when in doubt, pick the Canadian.

As an aside, I could have very easily and defensively picked an all-Pirates outfield. How can a team have three guys having all star seasons in its' lineup and still suck so much?

CF: Aaron (Pants) Rowand. Well, this worked better than the last time the Giants handed out a huge free agent contract. Sure, he's over his head, but so is Nate McLouth, and who else are you going to vote for? Maybe Carlos Beltran, if he has a hot June.

RF: Kosuke Fukodome. I'm going with the guy with the .409 OBP. I trust that you understand the reasoning behind that.


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Miller To Hall: Drop Dead

This interview might give you a better idea of why I think that Hall of Fame elections are no longer relevant.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Big Mouth Morrissey: Even More Annoying Than the Real Morrissey

Shorter Big Mouth: It's about time the focus at Wrigley Field was on the games, instead of stuff like billy goats, evil advertising signs, people singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and the horror that is selling naming rights to the place. You know, the kind of stupid sh*t that is the bread-and-butter of my columns.

Hey, don't take my word for it. Here's the first five paragraphs of his piece:

A beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the only thing that matters at Wrigley Field is the action on the field.

This is more like it. Or, at least, this is the way it's supposed to be. But these are the Cubs, and this is a different universe.

Of course, the emphasis should be on the baseball. Not on the physical state of the ballpark. Not on the offensive Kosuke Fukudome T-shirts on sale. Not on the eventual sale of the team. Not on the seventh-inning-stretch singers. Not on how much advertising to allow inside Wrigley. Not on the ballpark's landmark status.

Not on the long-suffering fans. Not on naming rights. Not on the concern that fans are harassing Alfonso Soriano. Not on the Billy Goat curse or rooftop owners or a fan reaching for a foul ball during a playoff game.

It should be about the team with the best record in baseball beating the Rockies on a sunlit afternoon. By the way, the team with the best record in baseball hasn't won a World Series in 100 years. Would that be considered immaterial to the Cubs holding off Colorado 5-4 on Saturday?

A Bartman re-set followed up by a 100 year re-set? Well played, sir! Well played!

I gotta hand it to ol' Big Mouth, though. No one at the Tower is as much a virtuoso at playing the rubes than he is...

Big Mouth does let something slip, a dirty little secret that few in the Chicago journamalist trade will ever let you in on:

The Yankees might dwell in the Bronx Zoo and every breath they take might be material for New York tabloids, but the difference is that the Yankees have won 26 World Series. They're the circus; the fans aren't. It's the other way around here, with Wrigleyville serving as the big top.

If you're thinking to yourself that this wouldn't be the case if the media chose to take a pass on everything Cub, you're right.

WHAT????? I'm so confused..."if the media chose to take a pass on everything Cub?"

B-b-b-b-but Kenny told us that there was only one team in Chicago that got a pass. And it wasn't the White Sox!

Now Big Mouth says the Cubs don't get a pass, either. It's like one of those paradoxes Kirk uses to make evil computers blow themselves up on Star Trek!

Note: I take no credit for this post's title. I shamelessly swiped it from a commenter over at Hire Jim Essian. I'm not clever enough to come up with anything that funny...

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