The Rich Report

Ed. Note: I've come to the conclusion that each of Rich Harden's starts down the stretch are going to be crucial. So after each start, I'll provide the line for Richard James Harden until the season ends or his arm falls off. Whichever comes first.

Harden vs. Milwaukee 7/31 (W, 1-0): 7.0 IP 6 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 9 K 1 HR

It looks like Rich owes Jim Edmonds a fat juicy steak because of the five runs that came off of the center fielder's bat. Maybe a beer-brat will do the trick. In either case, Harden picks up his first victory in a Cubs uniform.

Micah Owings Needs To Talk To Rick Ankiel

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings is Exhibit A on why the American League should abolish the designated hitter.

On the other hand, that might be where he best helps his team.

Owings was sent to the D'Backs minor league affiliate in Tuscon to hone his pitching skills. And to be honest, he needs a little more than some fine tuning.

In his last 12 appearances (8 starts), Owings is 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA. In his most recent start against the San Diego Padres, who go to the plate swinging a wet newspaper (except Adrian Gonzalez), hit two home runs en route to scoring eight runs in the three innings Owings pitched.

The Padres can't score eight runs in a week, let alone in one game.

Now that he's toiling away in Tuscon, the Diamondbacks could use the time to take him to the Rick Ankiel School Of Redefinition: Outfield 101. Hell, he could play the outfield between starts if they want him to pitch so damn badly.

Owings has a career .313 batting average and .895 OPS and would look better hitting in the middle of the Diamondbacks line-up than facing the opponents heart of the order hitters. He's got five home runs in 112 at bats.

Extrapolate that over 650 ABs and you've got 29 home runs and 104 runs batted in. That would fit in quite nicely with what Connor Jackson, Chris Young and Chad Tracy are doing.

But what do I know? I'm just a fan.

The Power Of The Euro

The NBA's global expansion is taking an unexpected turn as NBA athletes are now testing the European waters to get their money right.

Josh Childress, one of the best sixth-man role players would have likely signed for the mid-level exemption with one of 29 NBA squads. Instead, he will be get a multi-year deal worth about $20 million after taxes with Greece's Olympiakos.

Since then, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Sasha Vujucic have all flirted with heading across the Atlantic Ocean.

And before that, hot-shot high school prospect Brandon Jennings of Arizona gave David Stern and his NBA minimum age requirement a big F-U, going to Europe after failing to meet the minimum SAT score to attend the school of his choice.

So now what? For years the NBA and MLB have benefitted from foreign stars headed Stateside. Will the emigration to Europe hurt the homeland?

Maybe. Roster depth will be hurt the most, but until you see Dwyane Wade or Albert Pujols darting their respective clubs for Olympiakos or the Chuchni Dragons you won't see much of an effect on America's games.

Is Rich Harden Too Good For A Pitch Count?

James Richard Harden takes to the mound in a few hours in search of his first win in a Cubs uniform and a series sweep of the rival Milwaukee Brewers.

The fact that he is winless in three starts as a Cub is truly criminal. How do you limit opponents to two runs on eight hits and post 30 strikeouts against eight walks and have a record of 0-1.

Manager Lou Piniella's strict pitch count seems to be stunting Harden's growth as the co-ace of the staff while putting the Cubs bullpen (shortened with the absence of closer Kerry Wood) on alert any time No. 40 takes the mound.

How could this injustice continue?

Well, going deeper into games could help bring it to an end.

See, Piniella and the Cubs are babying Harden's golden right arm (and rightfully so) in a manner in which Dusty Baker should really take note of. Despite his dominance of the Giants, Diamondbacks and Marlins, Harden is winless because the lack of run support and a struggling bullpen.

Both of those problems look to be resolved.

The Cubs have scored more runs in this series in Milwaukee than the Bears will score in Green Bay against the Packers (remember, you heard that here first). And the bullpen should be fully rested with the exception of Chad Gaudin and Neal Cotts who pitched an inning each in Wednesday night's victory.

If Harden gets the backing that Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster have received in the first three games in this series, he will head back to Chicago with his first victory leaving the Beermakers drowning in their suds.

Daily Dosage: Gettin' Extensions!

Megan Good is hot! Therefore, there is no further explanation needed for today's eye candy. Oh, but you still want one? Well, she's got a pretty face and a smoking body. Oh and she's an actress and she's stinkin' rich. Need more? Screw off and take your Daily Dosage!

Boof Bombed As Sox Stretch Lead. It's OK to back off the ledge Sox fans, the Minnesota Twins can't win 'em all. Especially if they're sending Boof Bonser to clean up Livan Hernandez's mess.

The Boofer allowed three runs on three hits, pouring gasoline on Hernandez's fire start that only lasted four innings that saw the White Sox light up the scoreboard for five runs on nine hits in a game the South Siders won 8-3 to extend their lead to 1.5 games.

Carlos Quentin went 3-for-5 with his 28th home run of the year, Alexei Ramirez hit his ninth long bomb of the year and Gavin Floyd scattered five hits in 7.2 innings to pick up his 11th win of the season.

Cubs Club Brewers, Again. Do you remember the last time the Cubs won four consecutive road games? Neither do I. To be honest, I can't remember four Cubs road victories. Nonetheless, the Cubs downed the Brewers, 7-1, to extend their NL Central lead to four games.

Ryan Dempster (12-4) picked up his second consecutive road win by punching out nine in seven innings of work. Table setters Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot combined to go 6-for-7 with four walks with three runs scored and three runs batted in.

A sign that things aren't going well for the Brewer bats: starting pitcher Manny Parra went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple. J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Bill Hall and Mike Cameron went a combined 0-for-19 in the loss.

It doesn't look to get easier with James Richard Harden taking the mound against David "I'm Not Related To President" Bush in the series finale.

Quality Linkage
  • Jay Mariotti really needs to get over the hard-on he has for Dwyane Wade and in an act of defiance, I won't even give him the chance to be linked!
  • Secret NBA Uniform Updates Leaked. (Fanhouse)
  • Ari Fleischer: From Bush To Gore. (Signal To Noise)
  • Is Buster Olney getting screwed by backdating time stamps? (The Big Lead)

The Future Of TBDS

So, you know how I keep saying I've got future posts in the blog. Well, I do and I will be putting them to good use very shortly.

I'll be heading back to Carbondale on Friday to resume my studies and sports reporting career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Daily Egyptian.

So while I'm gone you'll be fed scheduled posts beginning A.S.A.P. The only non-scheduled posts will be Thursday morning's Daily Dosage and The Rich Report after Harden's afternoon start.

Regular blogging should resume Monday, but I'll make no promises.

Wrigley Packs 30K And The Cubs Ain't Even There

More than 30,000 fans filed into Wrigley Field on Tuesday night to see minor leaguers. That's really not news because that was what the Cub fans were treated to during the Andrew B. MacFailure era.

However, this time was different. Hall Of Famer Ryne Sandberg returned home to manage the Peoria Chiefs against the Kane County Cougars in the inaugural "Road To Wrigley" game.

Sandberg is in his second year as the head Chief, gaining managerial experience on a daily basis as he prepares to eventually take over the Cubs whenever Lou Piniella decides to call it a career. And if you're expecting the mild-mannered Ryno, you're wrong.

No, he wasn't a part of the Dayton-Peoria fiasco, but Sandberg has been described as feisty and has been thrown out of numerous games in his brief managerial career.

Do the Cubs have a Lou Jr. waiting in the wings? Who knows, but the bigger question is whether the Chicago media could handle blow ups by Sandberg and Ozzie Guillen on the same day or even in the same game.

That's No Gouda!

For most of the year, the Chicago Cubs have been giving their fans a different type of road rage, entering the series with Milwaukee a whopping eight games under .500 away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

After beating the Brew Crew on a night where CC Sabathia started, the Cubs followed with a sixth inning base-hit barrage against All-Star Ben Sheets to extend their lead to three games. Now the question is: can a pair of wins two hours north of Wrigleyville propel the North Siders for the rest of the season?

After the CC trade, when he still had periods in his name, everyone seemingly wanted to crown the Crew and brush off the cursed Cubbies. And while the Brewers have been the hottest team in the league since the All-Star break, erasing a five game deficit to tie the Cubs for the division lead July 26, the North Side Nine have rebounded in Milwaukee at the expense of the beer makers.

It might be back to the drawing board for Ned Yost.

The Brewers' team 'D' looks porous as Swiss cheese. Monday night, it was Rickie Weeks turning an inning ending double play into a two-run fielders choice. Tuesday night, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart made Manny Ramirez look like a Gold Glover turning singles by Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot into triples. Even the slick-fielding shortstop J.J. Hardy spun his wheels and was unable to stop a weak grounder by Mark DeRosa from turning into a line drive RBI single in the box score.

If not for the efforts of three-time Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron, the Brewer defense would be even more offensive.

Oh an did I mention the Brewer bullpen? Seeing Ned Yost making a call to the pen is like seeing the drunk chick at the end of the bar giving you eyes, you know your night is gonna get better, soon.*

And even if they get all of that straightened out, Ned Yost is still in charge. He's overdue to make a silly decision. Like keeping Yoavani Gallardo in a game where he tears his ACL. Or using a suicide squeeze with the bases loaded. Or head-hunting against a team that's out of it while you're in a pennant race.

Look, the NL Central is far from being decided. But if the Brewers can't get their act together, Wisconsinites will be turning to FOX NFL Sunday sooner rather than later.

Daily Dosage: Happy 100!

Welcome to the 100th post in TBDS history. I'd like to thank my mom, Jesus, Matt, Jon, I Am Legend and the four of you currently reading this site. Helping us celebrate this momentous occasion is Ms. Eliza Dushku, whose appearance as the eye candy opposite Kirsten Dunst in the horrifically wonderful 'Bring It On' made it the best movie ever to watch with the sound off.

On with the Dosage.

Awe Sheets! Cubs Take Game Two. The pitching duel between the Brewers' Ben Sheets and the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano lived up to its billing through five innings Tuesday night. After the sixth, you wouldn't have known it ever existed.

The Cubs beat the Brewers 7-1 behind RBI hits by Kosuke Fukudome, Mark DeRosa and Zambrano helped chase Sheets in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-0. Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice fly to center capped the Cubs scoring.

As for Big Z's performance on the mound: 8 innings 5 hits 2 walks 9 strikeouts were good enough to move his record to 12-4.

Piranhas Nipping At The Sox's Heels. Gone are the days of Johan Santana and Torii Hunter torturing the Sox. Unfortunately for the Good Guys in Black, Justin Morneau is still around.

The Home Run Derby champ's bases clearing double capped a five-run fifth inning as the Twinkies overcame a 4-0 deficit to top the Sox, 6-5. The Sox's lead is down to 1/2 game.

Nick Swisher's broken bat homer in the ninth off Twins closer Joe Nathan brought the Pale Hose within a run, but it wasn't enough as Carlos Quentin grounded out to end the game.

Deng, That's A Lotta Money! Bulls forward Luol Deng, who was the latest NBA free agent to flirt with the Euro, has reportedly agreed to a six-year $71 million dollar contract extension to stay in Chicago.

Deng's 15.6 points per game and 48 percent shooting from the field might get a boost with the addition of No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose and the Phoenix Suns-like offense Vinny Del Negro wants to implement with the Bulls.

Quality Linkage:
  • Welcome to the blogosphere, Colt Brennan (
  • The Gators party hard (MSNBC) Illinois (16) Indiana (14) SIU (NR)
  • DeShawn Stevenson wins his beard bet with Drew Gooden (D.C. Sports Blog)

Heeee's Baaaaack!

Some things change and some stay the same.

Try as you may, but Adam Jones will always be Pacman Jones. Always. You can say you're dropping it. You can even go the Lew Alcindor or Cassius Clay doesn't matter.

Pacman forever!

On an unrelated note, Joe Simpson said that his buxom daughter Jessica will be at Cowboy camp "soon."

I wonder if Pacman has his 81,000 singles ready?

'Pacman' Jones still on the field with Cowboys (Associated Press)

No More Happy Returns?

Devin Hester's days of striking fear into kickoff teams league wide might be over.

Now that he is handsomely paid, the Windy City Flyer will get every opportunity to earn a starting gig as a wide receiver. But the more time he sees split to the outside, the less time he will see standing at his own goal line doing the Soulja Boy.

Is that a smart move? Probably not. Hester's returns either go for six or put the Bears in a good place to start to get points on the board. And when they don't go for six, the ball is out of bounds or kicked to an up-man who will land the Bears great field position as long as he fields the ball cleanly and just falls on it.

Removing Hester's joystick-like abilities from the return game could ultimately hurt the Bears' offensive offense.

Hester has security, but what will job be? (Chicago Sports)

Is Jeff Samardzija The Answer?

Does anyone know what has happened to Bob Howry?

In 2007, he was part of the bullpen triumvirate that included Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood that was in charge of getting the ball to closer Ryan Dempster. And as the '08 season began, he was a popular choice to win the closer's role because of his past experience in the role.

And as we head closer to August, Howry, who is in the final year of his three-year deal, doesn't look like the same pitcher that posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2007.

Enter Jeff Samardzija, a fifth-round pick that comes with more hype than any non-first-rounder should come with. "The Shark" was a star wide receiver at Notre Dame, but he turned down the chance to be a sure first-round pick to try his hand at the game he loved and ended up being drafted by the team he grew up cheering for.

At a galnce, the move looked like a classic Cubs/TribCo public relations love fest. In the long run, it might be more than that.

And while the Wrigleyvillians are ready to anoint the former standout wide out as the closer of the future, Samardzija could be to the '08 Cubs what Joba Chamberlain was to the '07 Yankees.

Chamberlain was the Yankees' prized pitching prospect who was called up to the big club August 7 to help bridge the gap between the starting pitching and closer Mariano Rivera. General Manger Brian Cashman's "Joba Rules" helped ease him into the show.

And all he did was go 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 24 innings with 34 strikeouts to go against 6 walks as he helped the Yanks claim the Wild Card.

Maybe manager Lou Piniella will lean on the youngster from Merriville, Ind. to do the same. And it's not like Piniella hasn't pulled this trick before. Marmol was a starter under Dusty Baker, but Piniella moved him into the bullpen and the Cubs have reaped the benefits ever since.

Howry's struggles are mostly due to a high opponents batting average (.305) and giving up more hits (63) than innings pitched (51). Samardzija can be the answer to some of the Cubs' bullpen woes because he possesses what Howry doesn't--the ability to miss bats. In the smallest of sample sizes, Samardzija has five strikeouts and zero walks in four innings pitched.

Can the Cubs, who have developed their fair share of pitching prospects for the rest of baseball, use the perfect storm of Samardzija's hype and electric stuff to propel them to the promise land?

It's too early to tell, but after collecting his first save Sunday against the Marlins, the sky might be the limit.

Just Wondering

Since LeBron James donated $20,000 of his own hard-earned cash (because carrying the likes of Eric Snow and Damon Jones to the NBA Finals is harder than Chinese math) to Barack Obama's campaign, it makes me wonder who John McCain has in his corner.

Arizona hoops coach Lute Olsen? How about D'Backs shortstop Stephen Drew? Maybe Matt Leinhart has some political ties to the Arizona senator.

I wonder who's next to step out to support the campaign trail for either side.

LeBron James Donated $20K to Barack Obama's Campaign (Fanhouse)

Daily Dosage: Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Ah, the blunders of the internet. A lack of internet connection had stunted the progress of this blog which allowed me to do other things (like wash the dishes). Isla Fisher, the crazy little sexpot from 'Wedding Crashers', is today's eye candy. I can't believe she's married to Borat. He must be hung like a polar bear.

On with the Dosage.

Cubs Take Advantage Of Wrigley North, Win 2nd Straight Road Game. The Chicago Cubs extended their lead in the NL Central to 2 games by virtue of their 6-4 victory over the Brewers in what is slowly growing into a very intense rivalry.

Derrek Lee went 3-for-5 and picked up three key RBIs. His first came in the first frame, driving in Alfonso Soriano who led off the game with a double and then stole third base. The second was a gift ribbie on a fielder's choice that should have been an inning ending double play until Rickie Weeks' defense reared its ugly head. The third was came when Soriano scored on D-Lee's ninth inning double.

Lost in the game's booming bats (J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun and Alfonso Soriano also homered) was some solid pitching. CC Sabathia and Ted Lilly posted quality starts but were not around to fare in the decision. Carlos Marmol picked up the save and Chad Gaudin notched the win, punching out the side in the eighth.

Twins Slow-ey Sox's Roll, Cut Deficit To 1.5 Games. The pitching match-up looked to favor the South Siders, on paper. I guess that's why they play the games on the field. Twins starter Kevin Slowey outdueled the crafty lefty Mark Buehrle, limiting the Sox to six hits in a complete game, 7-0 shut out.

Justin Monreau went 2-for-3, blasting his 17th homer of the year to center and recently recalled outfielder Denard Span hit his first career homer off Buehrle, a two-run shot to put the Twinkies on the board.

The Sox were a few feet away from putting one on the board when Jermaine Dye drove one deep to left that was called a home run even though it appeared to hook foul. Dye, who acted like it was a foul ball the entire way, rounded the bases only when Jim Thome signaled to his teammate it was a homer. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued the call which was eventually overturned.

Quality Linkage
  • Welcome to the blogosphere, Eric Musselman (E Muss)
  • Scandalous cheerleaders, what more do I need to say? (Deadspin)
  • Brett Favre's resume is better than yours. (Ghosts of Wayne Fontes)
  • Green Bay has been de-throned. Valdosta, GA is the new Titletown (AJC)

Daily Dosage: You're Late!

Lack of internet access will limit me to only one post this morning. That's sad, especially since I really wanted to do Brewers-Cubs and Sox-Twins previews, along with a recap of my day in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. Maybe a pic of the beautiful Eva Mendes will help calm your nerves.

Comeback Kids Of The Chi. The Cubs were down 5-0 against the Marlins. The Brewers were up 4-1 against the Astros. If I asked you who would be in sole possession of first place in the NL Central when the day was over you would have told me the Brewers.

But a solo homer by Derrek Lee tied the game and a three-run double to Mike Fontenot put the Cubs ahead to split the four game set against the Fighting Fish. Alfonso Soriano also went deep for the Cubs. Dan Uggla and Mike Jacobs (twice) played long ball to power the Marlin offense.

Sox Take Two. The White Sox pretty much just laid the Tigers season to rest by winning two of three in Detroit. The Sox blasted their way past the toothless-Tiger pitching staff, but was unable to take the final game of the series.

Even in the 6-4 loss, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and outfielder Jermaine Dye played a little bit of longball themselves. Dye homered in each game of the series.

Paid In The Shade. Devin Hester, you are now ridiculously paid! The Bears kick return extraordinaire and soon to be No. 1 wide out got his money right to the tune of four years and $40 million with $15 million up front.

See, I knew it wouldn't be long. What might take the most time is getting Hester into the flow of an offense lead by Dumb-and-Dumberer at the QB position. I wonder if the Bears know there's a future Hall of Famer on the market?

Quality Linkage:
  • There's a Cincinnati Reds drinking game. (Tom Knox) And yes, there's a Mark Prior reference.
  • The headline says it all: Florida Gators Find Success In Erin Andrews' Bed (Sports By Brooks)
  • The Royals need help, on and off the field. (With Leather)
  • The Brewers prep for the big series (JS Online) and so do the Cubs (Chicago Sports)

The Rich Report

Ed. Note: I've come to the conclusion that each of Rich Harden's starts down the stretch are going to be crucial. So after each start, I'll provide the line for Richard James Harden until the season ends or his arm falls off. Whichever comes first.

Harden vs. Florida (ND): 5.0 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 3 BB 10 K 1 HR

That move's Harden's numbers as a Cub to: 0-1 17.1 IP 8 H 2 R 2 ER 8 BB 30 K 1.04 ERA

That's nasty!

TBDS: Week In Review

Here's a segment I'd like to really put some work into. Something that puts a nice little cap on the week that was. Aided by the photo of a pretty girl, of course, this week in review thing could take the world by storm. This week it's Lacey Chabert of Mean Girls fame.
Here's what we blogged about:
Well, it's tough seeing the lack of stories this week. That's mostly my fault because I blew the Micah Owings, Carlos Quentin and Mark Cuban feature pieces. But don't worry, they're in the can and will be making the rounds next week.

After that, I'm taking a break as I move back to Carbondale. And after that, who knows? I'd like to add more team members. I wanna get big, people.

OK, I'm done for now. Someone's gotta be at 6060 North Western Avenue at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow to deal with your car's problems.

Peace out.

Just Wondering

Jeff Samardzija is living a dream. At Kerry Wood's expense, nonetheless.

Samardzija, a life-long Cubs fan and former wideout at Notre Dame, was called up today as Woody was sent to the land of the disabled.

Who needs Jeff Samardzija more?

The Cubs bullpen, who needed four pitchers to get the last six outs of Thursday's victory against the Marlins or the Bears offense, in search of a legit go-to receiver.

I wonder if Woody can comeback for the big series against the Brewers, is it possible for the Cubs could option Jeffrey to Bourbonnais for Bears camp?

The North Siders already have a solid relationship with the Blackhawks, should they spread the love to Chicago's other teams, too?

How about Carlos Zambrano on the Fire for a day? Could D-Lee flourish getting the rock from D-Rose for the Bulls?

Just wondering.

A Happy Camper?

Devin Hester's holdout was short-lived.

The Windy City Flyer showed up to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University Friday morning, passed his physical and is back in the fold for the Chicago Bears.

No, there has been no contract resolution, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that deal done very quickly. Jerry Angelo has his work cut out for him as he and Hester's agent Eugene Parker try to iron out a deal.

Angelo, who doesn't want to pay an unproven talent the money a proven talent deserves, has his hands tied because Lovie Smith and his staff has pegged Hester as a No. 1 receiver. Now, the most exciting player in football sees himself as a top flight receiver and wants to be paid as a highly ranked rookie receiver -- which he is in a sense.

Contract? Details. Details. We're just happy to see everyone at camp.

Dan Pompei, You Are Ridiculous!

Are the editors at the Chicago Tribune asleep? Drunk? Coked out with Lindsay and Paris? Maybe I shouldn't out and out insult the company I dream to work for, but someone's asleep at the wheel if a column that suggests the Bears trade (arguably) their best player for draft picks.

Devin Hester isn't the best player in the NFL and heck, he might not be the best player on his team. But he is the team's only offensive threat. Let me repeat that so it can sink in there for those of you still focusing on that picture of Amber Heard in the post below. Bears. Best. Offensive. Player.

That's got to account for something, especially since the Bears' offense is as threatening as a stuffed animal.

Trading Hester would be like...

  • ...the Cincinnati Reds trading Adam Dunn in exchange for low-level prospects. Don't let the .237 batting average fool you, El Grande Mulo is an offensive force. Dunn brings left-handed thunder with 29 home runs, 65 runs batted in, a .389 on-base percentage and a .944 OPS.
  • ...the San Antonio Spurs trading Manu Ginobili. He might not crack the Spurs' starting five, he gets starters minutes (31) while averaging 19.5 points per game. If he'd walk into the Berto Center, he'd be the Bulls' their best player and No. 1 scoring threat
Enough analogies. Trading Hester would be dumb. End of story.

Daily Dosage: Where Making $445,000 Is An Insult

Seth Rogan has got to be one of the luckiest actors on the face of the earth. How do you follow a love scene with the beautiful Katherine Heigl in the hit movie 'Knocked Up'? Well, how about co-starring with the equally beautiful Amber Heard in Pineapple Express. I don't know if there's a love scene, but who cares. She's HOT! This pic alone makes me wanna go pick up a Maxim.

On with the Dosage.

Pay The Man, Already! Usually I start these things with a recap of what happened last night with Chicago's baseball teams, but its football team is in a major pickle. I believe that players should honor their contracts, but when a player outperforms his/her rookie contract, a renegotiation should take place.

And when this player is insulted by the fact that he makes only $445,000, I usually ream him into the next decade. But when this player is Devin Hester, known as the best return man in the history of the NFL entering only his third year of pro football, you must reward him handsomely. Right? He's the Bears only offensive threat and all it takes is the stingiest management in football to screw it all up.

Hester is far-and-away the most important player on the roster. If he gets the ball, he's taking it to the house. If he doesn't, the offense gets great field position. And when the 'O' goes three-and-out or turns it over, Mike Brown and Nathan Vasher have a shorter distance to go for their Pick 6s.

Everyone's a winner when Devin Hester is on top of his game. Reward him A.S.A.P.

Sweet Home Chicago. The Cubs' 2-4 road trip was disastrous to say the least. Despite getting solid starting pitching, 19 of the team's 23 runs came in its 9-0 win against the Astros and its 10-6 win against the D'Bags. Thankfully for the North Side Nine, they were back in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field to deliver their 38th home victory, a 6-3 triumph over the Marlins.

It was the first time the Cubs beat the Marlins since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS. I kid. It just seems that long, seeing that the Fighting Fish swept the entire season series in 2007. And that Marlin team sucked!

Quality Linkage
  • Olympian v. Horse. (Des Moines Register) Who ya got?
  • Former Hawaii QB Colt Brennan plays the ukulele (D.C. Sports Blog) and he probably plays a better QB than who the Bears got right now.
  • The U.S. Army is sending Detroit Lions draft pick Caleb Campbell into active duty. (AP)

Pardon the Interruption

I'll be on assignment in DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETROIT, Michigan this weekend. It's been a while since I've posted but nobody reads this anyway. So long as I don't get shot outside the Motor City Casino I should have some solid reports on the White Sox/Tigers series.

I'll be on the look out to see if the roar has indeed been restored. More than likely I'll see the the Tigers take 2-of-3 from the White Sox and maybe I'll catch up with Miguel Cabrera at HockeyTown and watch him down 10 cheeseburgers.

Just Wondering

How annoying would an announcing team of Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson and Ron Santo be?

Imagine Hawk screaming at the top of his lungs "YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD..." and Santo chipping in "YEAAAAAH!!!" as he performs the duties of head cheerleader. It'd be J.J. Redickulous at that point.

But wait...what if they're team was losing.

Hawk giving the silent treatment with Santo chiming in "Oh jeez" and "why do we do this to ourselves?"

Wait, I'm starting to like this idea. Whose story time would be better? Hawk and his stories such as his recent "I was talking to Ray Fossey about Kurt Suzuki and Gabby Hartnett once said he knew a catcher when he saw one" are pure gold. So are Ronnie's stories of the '69 Cubs and how his No. 1 hairpiece was burned to a crisp at Shea Stadium are good too.

DJ can be there too. It's not like he brings anything to the table anyway other than being Hawk's yesman.

Man, I wonder what I'd have to do to be able to listen to that tag team of baseball awesomeness!

Daily Dosage: Sweep Salvation!

Did you know that Megan Fox was asked to gain weight for Transformers 2? That's like asking Tiger Woods to change his approach. Albert Pujols to change his swing. Peyton Manning to change his throwing mechanics. WTF are you thinking, people?

Slam Saves Cubs From Sweep. Reed Johnson's eight inning grand slam off Micah Owings (a future TBDS blog feature) helped the Cubs win 10-6 to salvage the series finale in Arizona. Johnson picked up three hits in his four at bats starting in place of Jim Edmonds.

Ted Lilly pitched six innings allowing three runs, scattering six hits and striking out six batters to move his record to 10-6. He also stole third base and scored on Ryan Theriot's RBI ground out.

Did You Know? Here's a good one for ya. Did you know Carlos Quentin leads the AL in home runs? His 26th, a three-run shot off Rangers closer C.J. Wilson, helped the ChiSox win the game, and the series.

Quentin looks to be making up for the offensive threat lost by the Pale Hose when they sent Chris Young to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Javier Vazquez.

Pack Your Bags, We're Goin' Camping! The Bears opened camp Wednesday short a camper. Return man extraordinaire Devin Hester enters day two of a contract hold out. Hester feels he is underpaid and is looking for a new deal. And it's not like he's out of line here. He's only got a million return touchdowns and potential through the roof as a wideout.

Too bad the Bears offensive minds couldn't run an offense if they were handed Tom Brady, Randy Moss and an opposing defense of seventh graders.

Quality Linkage
  • The Big Lead lands an interview with Titans QB Vince Young.
  • People reports that Miley Cyrus is auctioning herself off. So what happens when R. Kelly is declared the winner?
  • Deadspin adds Justin Timberlake to the offensive folks who have worked for the WorldWide Leader.
  • Calling The Shots interviews Jim Larranaga...oh and he's 14!

Line-Up Shuffle

Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano will likely return to the line-up tonight in the series finale against the D'Bags. And not a moment too soon.

The Cubs offense is mired in a team-wide slump. Other than the nine-run outburst Sunday against the Astros, the Cubs have scored four total runs in the other four games. The worst part is they're wasting quality starting pitching.

So now that Soriano will be back in the line-up, it is up to manager Lou Piniella to figure out how to rebuild what was the most powerful offense in the NL.

My guess: Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Fuku, Soto, Edmonds, DeRo.

I think the Cubs should maybe flirt with the idea of bumping Fuku to the third spot based on his high on-base percentage, dropping Lee to sixth based on all the double plays he's been grounding in to and putting Edmonds in the fifth spot.

Maybe just for a little bit to see the kind of spark the line-up brings. I'd also tinker with maybe Fuku in the seventh spot so when the line-up turns over, Soriano's got the high OBPs of Fukudome and DeRosa on base in front of him.

Daily Dosage: Snakebit!

I'm not a big fan of Arizona's baseball team right now, but the Arizona State Sun Devil cheerleaders are alright with me. Thankfully, these naughty pics didn't cost the ladies their program. But if any of them are free, I'm sure there are a few Chicago transplants in the Phoenix area that need a hug.

The Brewers Are Coming, Tra-la! Tra-la! The Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, coupled with the Arizona D'Bags' 9-2 spanking of the Chicago Cubs has put the Brew Crew within one game of first place.

And while most of the state is likely focused on the happenings in Green Bay, the additions of CC Sabathia and Ray Durham have helped spark the Crew's six-game winning streak.

Sox Rock Rangers. No, it wasn't a no-hitter, but Mark Buerhle was good enough for a 10-2 White Sox winner. The crafty lefty pitched 7 and 1/3 innings of six-hit, one run ball to increase the Pale Hose's lead over the Minnesota Twins to 1.5 games.

One night after being shut down by the Rangers, Alexei Ramirez hit his first grand slam, Jermaine Dye went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI and the much maligned Jim Thome went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored to pace the Sox offense.

Yes, I said the much maligned Jim Thome. Sure, his batting average is a less than inspiring .258, but his OBP is around .375 and his OPS is almost at .900. He's been getting the job someone's gotta get Paulie goin'.

It's Deja Vu All Over Again. A lot of people out there wanna crown the Cubs right now...and as much as I'd like that, they don't deserve it. Not if they can't beat a team on the road that just got to the .500 mark.

I don't care if they lead the NL West...I can scrap together 25 guys right now and give them a more competitive nine inning ball game than this Cubs team can right now.

The North Side Nine couldn't hit (scattered seven hits), field (three errors) and they couldn't get clutch outs despite a quality start from Jason Marquis of all people (6 IP 5 H 3 R 3 K 2 BB).

If Jason Marquis is shutting down offenses (no matter what the team's record) the offense needs to score more than two stinkin' runs!

Quality Linkage:
  • Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins remix 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game" (Deadspin) Maybe this will be one song Lil' Wayne won't touch.
  • Charles Barkley is going to pay a bus boy's tuition at Temple. (Philadelphia Daily News) Sir Charles, if you want to stop at a certain car dealership at 6060 North Western Avenue in Chicago and help a certain garage attendant, it would be greatly appreciated!
  • Baltimore, are you ready for the Troy Smith Era? (Pro Football Talk) I wonder what first-round pick Joe Flacco has to say about it.
  • Joakim Noah is having the best summer ever! (Sports Point)
  • Miley Cyrus might be naked in a movie (What Would Tyler Durden Do) ... and R. Kelly is standing in line for tickets, already.

Just Wondering

Is John Paxson still the general manager of the Chicago Bulls?

Since draft day, the only team on West Madison Street making any noise is the Blackhawks and that's like one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Drafting Derrick Rose is a nice step in the right direction. However, it's worthless without a supporting cast.

Ben Gordon's pricing himself off the team. Luol Deng is being victimized by Jerry Reinsdorf's negotiation tactics. Vinny Del Negro still hasn't coached an NBA game. The Bulls still don't have a legit big man.

Elton Brand has gone from LA to Philly. Marcus Camby went from Denver to LA. And that low-post scoring threat the Bulls fans are craving...well, they passed on him with the No. 1 pick.

Is it too early to be looking for the 2009 NBA Mock Draft?

I'm just saying, "The Shot" happened 15 years ago...isn't it time to revoke Pax's free pass?

Daily Dosage: Warning Track Power

Tony Romo, you're a f*cking ballhog! You're currently dating Jessica Simpson and that's fine and dandy because her daddy's a nutcase and I just don't feel like dealing with nutcases from Texas because that's not my style. But, the fact that you also dated the wonderfully delicious Carrie Underwood just sickens my stomach. Does anybody besides me notice that Romo has dated two of the hottest women in America today, yet he still has two less playoff victories than Rex Grossman? Hey Tony, put in a good word for me with Carrie and we'll forget that this rant ever happened.

On with the Dosage.

WTP. WTF? As a Cubs fan, you're trained to watch the kind of baseball that makes you want to rip your hair out on a daily basis. Monday night's game was no exception. The Cubs and D'Bags combined to collect four hits in nine innings of baseball. Luckily for the Bags, their two hits scored the two runs that gave the North Siders their third loss in four games since the All-Star break.

And while Rich Harden has proved to be a great investment in his two starts as a Cub (12.1 IP 20 K 0.90 WHIP), Randy Johnson still owns the Cubs as he moved his record to 13-0 in 14 career starts against them.

The Great Hambino Strikes Again. This just in: Josh Hamilton just went deep again. This time it counted...seriously. Hamilton's 3-run shot off Javier Vazquez helped the Rangers hand the White Sox their third straight loss.

Fellow AL All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin of the Sox also homered, but it wasn't enough as the Sox fell, 6-1.

Paid In The Shade. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher got the raise that he wanted. The team agreed to terms that included a $1 million yearly raise for the next four years with the former defensive player of the year on Monday.

And while the pay hike will look good to Urlacher now, just wait 'til his babys mommas get ahold of the news that daddy's got some more attainable income.

Quality Linkage:

  • The Washington Redskins now have an official blogger (D.C. Sports Blog) So when can I sign up for the Bears gig?
  • It looks like the Luol Deng era is coming to an end. (Chicago Bull) See, that's what happens when Jerry Reinsdorf takes over negotiations!
  • The Cubs still might be interested in A.J. Burnett. (My Hogtown)
  • Iowa football has got problems. (The Big Lead)

R.I.P. Jerome Holtzman

Jerome Holtzman, baseball historian and one of the best sports writers in Chicago history passed away Saturday at the age of 81.

Holtzman will likely be remembered for two things: inventing the save and finding Hack Wilson's missing RBI from 1956.

I personally know little of Mr. Holtzman, other than what I've read up about him in the past and those two fact nuggets I mentioned above. However, I do know that a baseball mind like his will truly be missed.

The Rich Report

Ed. Note: I've come to the conclusion that each of Rich Harden's starts down the stretch are going to be crucial. So after each start, I'll provide the line for Richard James Harden until the season ends or his arm falls off. Whichever comes first.

7/21/2008 @ Arizona

Harden (L): 7.0 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 10 K 1 HR

That brings his season total (as a Cub) to: 12.1 IP 6 H 1 R 1 ER 5 BB 20 K 1 HR 0.73 ERA.

Baseball's Newest Hand Shake

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via TBL

Caption: Catcher Ryan Doumit offers some encouragement to starter Yoslan Herrera in the first inning last night at Coors Field. Herrera failed to make it out of the second inning.

Oh wait there's more. The apparent advice to young Yoslan:

"Don't shake off your catcher."

Um, it looks like the catcher is doing the shaking.

OK, I'm done for the rest of the day.

Will You Bear To Watch It?

Hey Chicago, where do your loyalties stand?

The Bears open training camp Wednesday, but with two first-place baseball teams, how much will you be paying attention to a team coming off a 7-9 record one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance.

This is a slight change from the norm in the Windy City, where training camp serves as a distraction from Chicago's cellar dwelling baseball teams. But as the Cubs and Sox sit atop their respective divisions, the team known for uniting the city is looking like an afterthought.

The Bulls built some good will towards the fans after winning the NBA Draft Lottery and selecting Memphis guard and hometown product Derrick Rose. But they failed when they bumbled the Mike D'Antoni hiring that eventually landed Vinny Del Negro his first ever coaching job.

John McDonough and Rocky Wirtz have Blackhawks fans buzzing with the combination of young stars and a free-agent spending spree for a team that is rebuilding its image one day at a time and increasing the popularity of hockey on West Madison.

And while the Bears have the excitement of having several open competitions for starting positions, that just means they don't have anyone that is head-and-shoulders above anyone else.

I hope Lovie Smith is a bricklayer, he's got some rebuilding to do.

Who's Getting Your Attention

Da Bears
Da Cubs
Da White Sox

(View Results)

Create a Poll

Um...The ESPYs Forgot An Award

Courtesy of the Daily Egyptian.

And the understatement of the year goes to...

"They underachieved, obviously, but with us four coming in we should be able to pick that up. They need some kids who can score and help out, and I think we can really do that for them."

Welcome to Saluki basketball, Torres Roundtree.

Roundtree joins guards Ryan Hare, Illinois' Mr. Basketball Kevin Dillard, Justin Bocot and forward Anthony Booker as newcomers to the Southern Illinois men's basketball program looking to rebound from a disappointing 18-win campaign that saw SIU land in the NIT, missing the NCAA Tourney for the first time since 2001.

Gone from that squad are star forwards Randal Falker and Matt Shaw, who averaged 25.5 points per game, accounting for 40.7 % of the team's scoring (for those of you who want a lil' bit of Stat Boy action on a Monday morning.)

The only returning starter to average double digits is senior floor general Bryan Mullins. Mullins, the Missouri Valley Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 10.7 points per game and will be in charge of jump start an offense that averaged only 62.6 points per game during the 2007-08 season.

Filling up the basket would be a step in the right direction for a program known for its stifling defense. In 2008, the magic number for the Dawgs was 63, where they went 16-1 when scoring 63 or more points.

No pressure, Mr. Roundtree.

What The 'Fuk'?

Right field is becoming an area of concern again for the Chicago Cubs once again.

Sure, Kerry Wood is inching his way to another DL stint and Rich Hill is closer to Rick Ankiel than Rick Vaughn. But it's the slumping stick of Kosuke Fukudome that has the Cubs and their fans puzzled.

Fukudome, who went 3-for-3 with a double and a dramatic game-tying home run off Eric Gagne, is hitting .171 with more strikeouts (14) than games played (11).

It's a drastic turn in the wrong direction for the rookie All-Star, who was expected to give the Cubs a solid left-handed bat in a line-up full of right-handed thump. Fukudome has struggled in the top two spots of the order, hitting .191 in 99 at bats. On the other hand, he has been successful in the No. 5 slot, hitting .316 with a .427 on-base percentage.

So what is it? Is K-Fuk slumping because the dog days are wearing on him? Is it because of the line-up (and sometimes position) movement? Is it because NL pitchers have figured him out?

When Alfonso Soriano returns to the line-up, manager Lou Piniella has some major decisions to make. And none of them involve moving Soriano down in the line-up.

Will he move Fukudome back into the slot he's been most successful in or will he keep Jim Edmonds there because of his success in that slot in a Cubs uniform? Will Fuku bat two, behind Soriano and in front of Derek Lee? Will Lou drop The Dome to the No. 7 position? Will he lose playing time to Mike Fontenot, who has one more homer than Fukudome in 188 less at bats?

You know what, I'll let the manager that earns upwards of $3 million per year make those decisions.

Daily Dosage: Not So Frequent Flier Miles

The St. Louis Cardinals won a baseball game behind the strength of an Aaron Miles walk-off grand slam. You're kidding right? I'm sure that made these girls quite happy. You know what would make me happy? A situation that involves myself, those girls, a bottle of Patron and Barry White's greatest hits.

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before. It looks like Kerry Wood is going to visit the DL for the 12th time in his star-crossed career. The flame throwing closer has been sidelined with blister issues on his right index finger and now it looks like the only thing that can heal it is some time off.

Carlos Marmol, your time has come. Marmol was the popular choice in Spring Training to win the closer's role, and that popularity grew as Marmol man-handled the opposition while Wood struggled early.

Since that time, it's been a bit of a role reversal. Wood has a solid grasp on the job, converting 24 saves this season. Marmol has struggled of late, seeing his ERA balloon past the 4.00 mark.

Expect Marmol to assume his new duties beginning tonight in Arizona against the Diamondbacks...where last we saw him, he was giving up what would turn out to be game-winning home run.

It's A Celebration, Bitches. Congrats go out to one of the greatest hitters in the history of the Chicago White Sox. Harold Baines was honored with a statue at U.S. Cellular Field joining former star players Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Billy Pierce, Luis Aparicio and Nelly Fox in being immortalized in bronze.

Baines collected 2,866 base hits, posted a career .289 batting averagewith 384 home runs and 1,628 runs batted in during his 22-year career. Those numbers are usually reserved for sure-fire hall of famers, but Baines might be snubbed, seeing that he spent most of his career as a designated hitter.

One must wonder who will be the guy who paves the way for DHs to make the hall? It looks like it's up to an elite hitter such as Edgar Martinez or current greats like Jim Thome, Frank Thomas and David Ortiz to do the job that Harold made famous.

Quality Linkage

  • A .322 OBP doesn't go as far as it used to. That's why the Brewers acquired Ray Durham. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Cat Fight!!! (Deadspin)
  • Former Trojan to side with Big Blue? Carson Palmer does not like THE Ohio State University. (Fanhouse)
  • Marcus Camby has reached the lowest point of his life. (Boston Globe) I want to hit the lowlight of my life and still make $10 million that year.

How The Cubs Will Win The Central

Win or lose, we'll still boobs .. er .. booze -- yeah, that's what I meant! Anyway ... am I the only person thinking that there's a slight chance that the girl pictured has a butterface? And if she did, would it matter? If you mix a Cubs fan, a girl with a nice body and a few Old Styles, you'll get a party. Book it!

The Chicago Cubs are in first place in the NL Central, soak it in. They also have the best record in the NL and are tied for the best record in baseball. Again, soak it in Cubs fans, this hasn't happened since God knows when and it's not guaranteed that it will ever happen again.

The North Siders sent a team-record eight players to the All-Star Game in New York and still were unable to secure the all-important home-field advantage. However, the performances by Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol against the American League's best provide a glimmer of hope that they can continue their success into the second half.

Yet, one of those stars should be the team's major concern.

While most "experts" will try to tell you that the Cubs' second-half success depends on the golden right arm of one James Richard Harden, the North Side Nine will need reliever Carlos Marmol to be lights out.

Despite a solid 1.03 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in only 52.1 innings pitched, No. 49 has struggled of late. His ERA has ballooned to 4.13 and seemed to lose his confidence before striking two of the three batters he faced in Tuesday/Wednesday's All-Star Game.

How The Cubs Will Overcome. Two things: the starting pitching is going to have to go deep into ballgames to save the overworked 'pen and the Cubs' offense needs to keep it in high gear. If Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall can eat innings and win ballgames, it can go a long way towards keeping the bullpen fresh.

If the Cubs offense can score at will like it has for most of the year, you're talking about those starters pitching low-stress innings in the dog days of August. A fresh Cubs team in September should win the NL Central easily.

However, the Cubs have the tough task of having to overcome their opponents and their past.

How The ChiSox Will Win The Central?

Step One: Have these girls distract the opponents. Whether it be by sticking them in the bleachers, on the jumbotron or at the visitors hotel...just do it! If that fails, read on...

Surprise, surprise. The Chicago White Sox are leading the AL Central going into the unofficial second half of the season. The Sox have surpassed all expectations, thanks in part to the players acquired by GM Kenny Williams in the past two seasons.

Outfielder Carlos Quentin is leading the team in home runs (22) and runs batted in (70). Infielder Alexei Ramirez is the team's shortstop of the future currently playing Gold Glove-caliber second base. Reliever Scott Linebrink sports a 2.37 ERA. And starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd have combined for 17 wins at the break.

Yet, there is concern in Bridgeport.

The struggles of captain Paul Konerko seem to be holding back the team, according to every Sox fan that calls up sports talk radio. They might have a point, if you take into consideration he has almost as many strikeouts (51) as hits (55).

How Will They Overcome? By attempting to do what they did in '05, and that's out pitch the competition. Danks, Floyd, Mark Buerhle and Javier Vazquez will have to carry the load, and lucky for the Sox, both the latter and the former have the abilities to do so.

Javie is a strikeout machine, punching out 8.7 batters per nine innings and Buerhle is starting to earn that crafty lefty label as he avoids the big inning. If Danks and Floyd can continue and build on their first-half success, they will be able to hold off the Twins and the too-late Tigers.

Daily Dosage: Vacation Days

Say what? More time off?

Yeah, well, I'm preparing for the BIGGEST cookout in the history of the world. It's called Papa Roy's Annual Rib Out where my pops (and a collection of my buddies and pals) cook 27 slabs of ribs among other things.

Is your mouth watering yet? It should be.

Friday you'll get a nice li'l post on how the Cubs are gonna win the NL Central. And then later Friday, so people don't think I'm just a one-sided Cubcentric bastard, I'll show ya how the ChiSox are gonna win a division no one predicted they'd win.

Aren't I such a nice guy?

Until then, enjoy a blast from the past...Lindsay Lohan, before Lil' Wayne used her name in a rap song to can figure it out.

BREAKING: Tony La Russa To Manage The Cubs

Lost in the HR Derby and All-Star Game is the nugget dropped in the celebrity game by ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe.

Yay! I've got a new drinkin' buddy!!!!!

Who's Ready For A Mediocre Offense?

The Yahoo! Sports team ranks the Bears as the 32nd best offense.

Wait, what do you mean there are only 32 teams in the NFL?

I guess the signing of Kevin Jones isn't going to bump the Monsters of the Midway up the list.

The Bears could have Moss and Owens split wide, but it wouldn't matter because "Rex is (still) our quarterback." Some Bears fans have the gall to think their team is better off with Kyle Orton's Neck Beard at the helm because he doesn't throw the picks Grossman does.

Stat Check: 12 touchdowns, 15 interceptions in 18 career games.

The running game, which is supposed to be the bread-and-butter of Chicago Bear football, is laughable. They passed on Rashard Mendenhall, a local product who ran wild against the pro team that is the USC Trojans, and drafted a running back who starred in Conference USA. How many Conference USA Pro Bowl running backs are there?

Don't worry I'll wait.

Stat Check: Tulane Football 2007: 4-8 overall, 3-5 in conference play despite Forte's 2127 rushing yards, 5.9 yards per carry and 23 touchdowns.

The aerial attack went from bad to worse when the team's only deep threat and Grossman's favorite target (Bernard Berrian) jumped ship to the Minnesota Vikings party boat. In response, the Bears re-acquired Marty Booker, a possession receiver expected to be a No. 1 and Brandon Lloyd, who hasn't been a No. 1 target since that intramural flag football team he starred on at the University of Illinois.

Stat Check: The Bears best returning receiver is...The Other Adrian Peterson...who caught 51 balls and gained 420 yards.

The only skill position in which the Bears have a plus talent is at the tight end slot. Greg Olson has tremendous upside and a flow Lil' Wayne would be envious of. Unfortunately, Desmond Clark is stunting his growth.

Stat Check: 3. The number of legs Olsen admits to having in the NSFW song.

For now, I'm putting my money on kicker Robbie Gould, All-World return man Devin Hester and a rejuvenated Bears defense to score more points than the offense.

And that's probably not a stretch.

Daily Dosage: All-Star Capper

Poor Dan Uggla. He makes three errors in the All-Star Game after making only three during the first half of the regular season. On top of that, Uggs went 0-for-4 with 3 whiffs while leaving a small village on the base paths.

Did nerves get the best of Mr. Uggla? Or was it the Yankee Stadium ghosts' revenge on the Marlins for clinching their 2003 title at The Stadium.

Maybe an evening with Miss Italy, Claudia Ferraris, would cheer him up. But, until that time comes, I hope this picture is sufficient enough.

Ciao, bella.

On with the Dosage.

Chi-Town Stand Up. The Cubs pitchers who played in the Midsummer Classic did their part to help the NL get the home-field advantage. Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol combined to strike out 6 batters in their four innings of work.

How about Dempster striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th? Wish that woulda happened more often in the past few years. How about Marmol punching out the Sox' Carlos Quentin? Here's hoping that Carlos shows up in the second half for the North Siders.

His Name Is (Now) Dan Uggly! I hate to rail on the kid, but I kinda feel bad. Especially after Ken Rosenthal said that it was his dream to play at Yankee Stadium in front of his pops. That dream quickly turned into a nightmare.

The Closer, Starring The AL Bullpen. Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria and George Sherrill combined to throw 5+ innings without allowing a stinkin' run. On the NL side, Billy Wagner and Brad Lidge combined for a 40.50 ERA.

Quality Linkage

  • Fox Sports signs a mult-million dollar deal with the Florida Gators. (Jacksonville Business Journal) Relief for the budget cuts? Doubt it.
  • Is Josh Hamilton The New Rick Ankiel? (The Big Lead) The answer is yes if we can go the rest of the year without The Great Hambino being linked to HGH!
  • One of the more entertaining second half prediction blogs I've read. (Sparty & Friends)
  • Barry Bonds Is Hated. Jason Giambi Is Loved. Both were BALCO'd Up. What's up with that? (New York Times)

How'd That What To Watch For Thing Work Out For Ya?

Edinson Volquez. 1.0 IP 2 H 2 ER 18.00 ERA (BS)

Brad Lidge. 0.2 IP 2 H 1 R 1 BB 13.50 ERA (L)

Jonathan Papelbon. 1.0 IP 1 H 1 R 55,632 Boos

It's 12:44 AM (Central Time) Do You Know Where Your All-Stars Are?

To be totally honest, they're probably saying f-you to the post game press conference and heading on their private jets back to their respective teams after the 15-inning marathon ended with the American League winning 4-3, giving the Boston Red representative home-field advantage in the World Series.

Rather than give you a detailed account of the game, I'll just tell you the difference in the game (other than Dan Uggla's boo-boos, of course). The difference lie (or is it lay?) in each team's respective bullpens.

The AL had the better arms and it showed with Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria and George Sherrill all pitched without giving up a run.

That's 141 saves coming at ya. Let's see Murderer's Row hit against that.

On the other hand, Edinson Volquez, Billy Wagner and Brad Lidge combined for an ERA of 58.50.


Too bad most of America was asleep for all of the goodness that was extra-inning baseball for the rights to have home-field advantage in the World Series.

Who Got Snubbed?

It's easy to point out who you should be watching for in The Midsummer Classic, but it's even easier to point out who you aren't watching because they're not there.

The nominees, please.

Ryan Howard. He leads the NL with 28 homers and 84 runs batted in despite a .234 batting average. Who cares what your BA is when your OPS is .832.

Johnny Damon. I was pretty sure this guy's career was over the day he signed with the Bronx Bombers. His .387 on-base percentage is quite impressive at the top of that Yankee line-up.

John Danks. Arguably, the biggest snub in baseball was the White Sox' other "JD." Danks has a nasty 2.67 ERA, a filthy 1.15 WHIP and only seven (7!!!) wins to show for it. That from a guy who went un-drafted in almost every fantasy baseball league.

Cole Hamels. King Cole is 9-6 on the season, but has 126 punch outs, a 1.02 WHIP, a 3.15 ERA and has limited batters to a minuscule .213 batting average.

Jose Reyes. Whoudathunkit? The New York Metropolitans were saved by the quota rule (holla back, Billy Wagner). Somehow a .302 batting average, an .854 OPS and 32 swipes aren't better than Miguel Tejada's .275/.316/.423 line.

What To Watch For In Tonight's All-Star Game

Intern Bill over at The Big Lead put together a nice lil' piece breaking down the NL and AL rosters. I'll pick a few guys I'll be watching for.

Chipper Jones. Even though Larry Wayne Jones is no longer hitting .400, he's the best at the hot corner and could possibly hit a homer from each side of the plate if he gets enough ABs in the game.

Edinson Volquez. Finally, Volquez has managers that understand the definition of "pitch count." Clint Hurdle ignores Dusty Bakers advice, limiting his pitches as Volquez lives to pitch another game.

Aramis Ramirez. A-Ram loves the spot light. Whether it's making a Gold-Glove caliber play (yeah, he's a pretty damn good defender these days) or it's standing at the plate admiring a game-winning home run, The Ram might have one of each tonight.

Brad Lidge. If your name is Brad Lidge, you're thankful that Albert Pujols is on your team. If the NL has the lead going into the bottom of the ninth, I'm giving him the ball. No homo. (Did I do that right?)

Manny Ramirez. The king of admiring home runs is still admiring the walk-off shot from last year's ALDS against the Angels. I can see him doing it again at Yankee Stadium.

Mariano Rivera. The G.O.A.T. will be the guy closing it out in the top of the ninth if the AL has the lead unless....

....Jonathan Papelbon gets the nod from Tito Francona. How odd would it be to see a Red Sock picking up a save, walking off a winner at Yankee Stadium and getting a rousing ovation? Just wondering.

Milton Bradley. I can see him grabbing two hits tonight. One, a double to right-center and the other comes at the expense of a New Yorker's chin.

Daily Dosage: Whose Ready For The Big Game

First, check out Miss Universe. That's Miss Venezuela. And that begs the question, why the f*ck is Ozzie Guillen so pissed off all the time when women like that are gracing your homeland. Don't worry, I'll wait.

On to a brief moment of Dosage.

Favre Wants Out. Apparently, Ted Thompson is taking management lessons from the Jerrys Reinsdorf and Krause book of stupidity. Pissing off one of the greatest QBs of all time to the point where he's begging you to let him go is absolutely retarded. Hey Brett, you're always welcome to don the Blue & Orange over here on the lakefront.

Another Packer Rally? I wonder if Packer fans will circle Lambeau Field (among other places) to protest the treatment of CBS college hoops analyst Billy Packer, who is out after a billion years at The Corporate Nipple.

I Read Goldielocks As A Child, So I'm Not Surprised. The Bears don't seem to be interested in a really good QB from a division rival who could step into the Hall of Fame right now. Instead, they're interested in football's Mark Prior and another Jones character. Who's ready for a 6-10 season?

Quality Linkage

  • Peyton Manning's sac is hurting. (Pro Football Talk)
  • I blog from my Mom's basement. Does that make me a bad person. No, and FJM got my back. (Fire Joe Morgan)
  • Jonathan Papelbon apparently doesn't know that Mariano Rivera is The Greatest Of All Time. (Fanhouse)

Josh Hamilton, You Are Ridiculous!

I understand that Justin Morneau of the Twins won the Home Run Derby. Yeah, he was my click to pick. And yeah, he's helping out the fantasy team. But count me in on the Josh Hamilton love fest.

28 home runs in the first round. 35 overall. And all it takes is the silly rule that all the home runs don't accumilate over all three rounds and Morneau wins the HR Derby with 22 home runs.

Golfers around the world must have been watching that spectacle green with envy, seeing a baseball player drive balls farther than they could.

I'm not sure if there are words to describe what the Rangers' slugger is doing at this point of his career.

But I digress.

Hamilton is not only the feel good story of the year, but his legend will grow as this generation of baseball fans will more than likely tell his story years from now to their children and their children's children.

It might be just me, but the only thing that would have made this story perfect would be if Jim Hendry had a time machine and undid the stupidity that was trading a player that would solve his ball club's biggest weakness.

Look, I've been one of the bandwagon drivers since the Cubs chose him No. 1 overall in the 2007 Rule V Draft and then for some unthinkable reason, traded him to the Cincinnati Reds for $50,000 cash.

And despite Jim Hendry's initial mistake, he could have made amends this off-season if the rumor was true that the Reds were asking for were Sean Marshall.

Lucky for the Reds, they ended up with All-Star Edinson Volquez.

I'll guess I'll stop now and give Hendry a hug and thank him for Rich Harden.