Getting The Call

Nothing says 'Happy Labor Day' more than September call-ups, especially for the Chicago Cubs.

With a 4.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs have a little bit of breathing room as the last month of the baseball season gets under way, which should allow manager Lou Piniella to rest a few players down the stretch.

Here are some players I think the Cubs should bring to the big club, in an attempt to give Piniella some help (like he'd listen to a student-blogger, anyway).

  1. Micah Hoffpauir, first baseman/left fielder.
    • Hoffpauir is a younger, cheaper version of Daryle Ward, so I expect to see the young lefty slugger join the team. He hit 25 homers and drove in 100 runs while posting a 1.145 OPS at Triple-A Iowa and could give Derrek Lee a rest and give the Cubs a valuable lefty bat off the bench.
  2. Koyie Hill, catcher.
    • It would be wise for the Cubs to carry three catchers down the stretch to give Geovany Soto and Henry Blanco some off time. His offensive numbers aren't terrible (.275 batting average 17 HR 64 RBI) and I'm sure the boys who play backstop could use some time to rest.
  3. Kevin Hart, pitcher
    • Hart has tons of potential, but unlike 2007, he was unable to hit his stride with the big club. Hart could be a valuable pitcher down the stretch, whether it be as a long reliever or as a spot starter. Especially if this Zambrano stuff keeps up.
  4. Andres Torres, center field
    • Torres is the kind of player the Cubs need to bring up based on one thing: speed. Torres swiped 27 bags and posted a .388 OBP thanks to 53 walks in Iowa. That ranked second on the team. He's the late-inning pinch runner the Cubs could utilize without worrying about running out of catchers.
  5. Bobby Scales, second baseman.
    • The Cubs are so solid up the middle with DeRosa, Theriot, Cedeno and Fontenot, I doubt they'll bring up anybody at that position. But if they do, it will likely be Scales, who notched a .914 OPS as a second sacker with 94 runs to lead the Iowa Cubs.
Numbers wise, Torres and Scales (30 and 31 years old, respectively) are basically 4-A players that are as likely to make an impact as you or me, but you never know with some of these players. You never know when there's an Orlando Merced or Tony Womack out there, waiting to contribute.

I'm pretty sure Lou has made up his mind and those players are already on their way to Wrigley Field as we speak or could be in town already.

Other players that just missed the cut: Michael Wuertz, Angel Guzman, Felix Pie, Jose Ascanio, Josh Kroeger.

Coming later this month (God willing) a blog on how to put together a playoff roster.

Brewers fans have got to be thinking 'here we go again'

Ned Yost's boys are at it again.

Reliever Carlos Villanueva's reaction after retiring Joe Mather with the bases loaded in the seventh inning helped spark the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 come from behind victory against the Milwaukee Brewers.

You really can't blame Villanueva for being excited, with a 4.35 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, I'm surprised he can get anyone out, let alone a guy hitting .246.

Cards first baseman Albert Pujols took exception to Villanueva's "excessive celebration" and took it out on David Riske in the eighth inning. Pujols lead off the inning with a double and the rest of the Redbirds followed in suit, scoring four runs to over take the Brew Crew.

Doesn't that whole Brewers incite Cardinals thing sound familiar?

Like when they started a bean-ball war with the NL Central title in the balance last season?

Starting shit against your closest competitor in the Wild Card with over a month to play isn't smart. Had the Brewers won Wednesday night, they would have pushed the Cardinals 5.5 games back and had them reeling off a brief two-game sweep in their home ballpark.

Instead, a split leaves Fredbird's gang only 3.5 games out with plenty of confidence headed into Houston to take on the Astros. And they don't even have to face Roy Oswalt this upcoming weekend.

Are you ready for another classic collapse?

Let's see if the Brewers follow in a great tradition they began last fall.

Mariotti Madness

The madness that surrounds former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti is not over.

The blogosphere (understandably) is still in celebration mode now that Public Enemy No. 1 is moving on. Hell, it's not just the blogosphere, everyone's joining in on the celebration.

Hell, even Mariotti's former employers are getting their digs in. Former colleague Chris De Luca dropped this barb on the newly departed former columnist.

"Word of Jay Mariotti's split with the Chicago Sun-Times reached the White Sox' clubhouse minutes after their victory Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, and the reaction could be heard outside.

Once again, Mariotti should've been there to witness it first-hand.

Ozzie Guillen -- the top target of the venom-spewing columnist who called for the Sox to fire their manager this season despite the team being in first place -- said his e-mail inbox had a record number of new arrivals by Wednesday afternoon."

And don't think it's just his former cohorts that are getting at him, it looks like his one friend in the industry, Sun-Times E.I.C. Michael Cooke is getting his cuts in, too.

"We wish Jay well and will miss him -- not personally, of course -- but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days."

Those are all sharp shots directed at Mariotti, who by the looks of this story, did his stories from his mother's basement. Maybe blogging is right for him after all.


The blogosphere is getting their shots in too:
  • (The Chicago Tribune's Jim) Kirk reports that Mariotti is talking with “a lot of Web sites.” And that when he e-mailed in his resignation to Sun Times editor Michael Cooke that Cooke replied, “You kidding?”

    Then, I’m sure he pulled a hamstring jumping for fucking joy to be rid of the prima donna dipshit. [Desipio.com]

  • We finally got it done. Sort of. Not really. He's probably just taking some time off to write a shitty book and moving to Sports Illustrated or something. [Fire Jay Mariotti]
How about this from former colleague (and enemy?) Rick Telander, via The Big Lead:

"There were celebrations in the White Sox locker room that was described to me as being like the final game of the 2005 World Series. At our own paper, people were high-fiving. In press boxes, people were high-fiving. I called the paper and the first thing someone said to me was ‘ding-dong the witch is dead’. I am not selecting people that just didn’t like Marriotti. I am talking about this as a professional matter as someone who could undermine so much that can’t even believe it.”

But wait, there's more. Are you ready for the buried lead? Via Deadspin:

According to two reliable sources, Mariotti, just back from Beijing, wanted to write a column on Barack Obama. But it wasn't Jay's turn to write — it was Rick Telander's — and Telander also wanted to write on Obama .... Sun-Times says no, Jay, wait your turn.

...

And so Mariotti, showing the maturity he's famous for, calmly assessed the situation and figured he was not going to let it bother him. Just kidding! He threw a fit worthy of a three-year-old.
Again, I revert to my first days at my current employer, the Daily Egyptian.

When I first got to the DE, I wanted to big as soon as I stepped into that newsroom. And to be honest, there's nothing wrong with that. If you don't wanna be great at something you love, you obviously don't love it. But I knew that I had to wait my turn, and I made the most of it.

In closing, I sit here at the DE making minimum wage because I love writing for a newspaper and hope to write sports (in whatever forum) when I graduate. And Jay Mariotti expects to make seven figures off a blog.

Wait. Bloggers get paid?

When did I miss the memo?

This, from the White Sox today.

Daily Dosage; Now Mariotti-free!

This is random Yankees girl. I'd love to take credit for finding her, but kudos to Deadspin for this great grab.

Now that TBDS can successfully move past the Mariotti Era, the site can run as normal again which is great for us the writers and you, our beloved reader.

Enough nonsense, on with the Dosage (with an hour head start)!

As for today's shameless cross-promotional item: The SIU women's tennis team continues to rebuild under the watchful eye of second-year coach, Audra Nothwehr. They should be better than the 11-12 record they posted last season [Daily Egyptian]

And always check out siuDE.com for more!!!!!

Cubs sweep Pirates, whose fans hate Aramis Ramirez for some reason. Jason Marquis (a.k.a. Bi-Polar Betty) pitched seven strong innings and got the support of a perfectly executed suicide squeeze as the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-0.

Marquis' stellar outing came hours after being called out at HJE, for once again, he has struggled down the stretch. Truth be told, he hasn't been terrible this year. When he's been bad, he's suffered through one bad inning.

Unfortunately for Marquis, that won't be acceptable in the playoffs. It won't matter when October rolls around when Dempster, Zambrano, Harden and Lilly (in that order?) take the mound while No. 21 watches from the pen.

Orioles beat White Sox, Andy MacPhail still blows. Home runs by Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar paced the Baltimore Orioles to a 11-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

And by the way, who was that handsome fellow playing center field and left field for the O's this evening? Luis Montanez? Say what?

Montanez was the Cubs' No. 1 draft choice (No. 3 overall) in the 2000 amateur draft. He was a highly regarded shortstop prospect for a while, but never panned out with the Cubs, it looked like the North Siders gave up on him too quickly. Go figure.

Notable players in that draft: Adrian Gonzalez (1), Rocco Baldelli (6), Chase Utley (15), Boof Bonser (21) and Adam Wainwright (29).

Quality Linkage:
  • Do they have Hornets in Seattle? They might. [Sparty and Friends]
  • This Cadillac needs some work. [Buccs Blitz]
  • Kenny Rogers: This whole replay thing was instituted to help the Yankees [NBCSports.com]
  • Upon further review, baseball gets replay. [AP]
  • Steroids are bad. Now with visual proof! [With Leather]

The ever-changing face of TBDS

[Ed. Note: This was written before I wrote the Jay Mariotti blog, therefore, because it's 2:45 a.m. as I write this, and I have a previous commitment to the SIU women's tennis team at conflicting hours, there will not be a Daily Dosage. Check out TBDS in the afternoon for TBDS: Late Night]

The Big Dead Sidebar is embarking on a new era as I continue to improve this blog's quality through my recruiting efforts.

Coming soon to TBDS....a St. Louis Cardinals writer?

That's right, a Cards fan!

Chicago baseball is already well represented by a guy who knows the Cubs (myself) and the White Sox (Hartwig) but I needed someone to cover the team I once pegged as the Evil Empire of the Midwest.

Enter stage left the newest member of the Daily Egyptian, Stile Smith, a Centralia, Ill., native who also happens to be an Orphan (that was their team's name).

I'll let him introduce himself when the time comes.

Also coming soon will be an SIU football blogger (not myself) but is a former sports editor over at the DE. I'm also in the process of recruiting a hockey blogger.

The empire is expanding on a daily basis. Here's hoping we don't fall like Napoleon's France.

Thank you for your continued support of the best sports writers you haven't heard of, yet.

BREAKING: Jay Mariotti resigns and what that means to you and me

Look, it's 2:40 a.m. and I should be sleeping.

But this is when I do the Daily Dosage. I Google search beautiful girls, recap the Cubs and Sox games and find cool links for you people to read.

No, this site doesn't get much pub other than the people that get the links on Facebook, know me personally or know my work through a friend or a co-worker.

So I usually don't break news this early in the morning but I must...

Jay Mariotti is out at the Chicago Sun-Times, via resignation.

Why wait until the World Wide Leader covers it? Why wait 'til one of the big-time sports blogs cover it? I say do it now because dad gum it, I'm a blogger whose focus has been on Chicago sports since I came out the womb.

Anyway, on with the news of the day.

Mariotti's out. This from the Sun-Times:

Sports columnist Jay Mariotti has left the Chicago Sun-Times to pursue other opportunities. Mariotti, also a regular panelist on ESPN's "Around the Horn," joined the Sun-Times in 1991.


But wait, I could have sworn Mariotti just re-upped with The Bright One...that's right he did...in June.

This from the Chicago Tribune:

He said that he "is talking with a lot of Web sites'' and added that the future of his business "sadly is not in newspapers.''

Do you know what this means people?

Put your hatred aside and think about it. The most polarizing force in Chicago sports media is talking with Web sites and not with newspapers.

Think about it.

Everyday we talk about the dying media that is newspapers. And by "we" I mean everyone at the Daily Egyptian, professors in the journalism department and my friends and family.

If a character like Jay Mariotti needs to hit the Web to get across, people like myself are fucked. And you might think I'm going off the deep end. But we (those of us in the sports journalism) are fucked!

The business is no longer in newspapers? That's all I've wanted to do with my life since I was young.

But wait, there's more:

"I'm a competitor and I get the sense this marketplace doesn't compete,'' he said. "Everyone is hanging on for dear life at both papers. I think probably the days of high stakes competition in Chicago are over.

"To see what's happened in this business...I don't want to go down with it.''

Since I was a kid I've always wanted to be a sports journalist. All I've ever wanted to do is write sports in my hometown (Chicago). Harry Caray, the great Cubs announcer and my idol, told me that one day I'd make it.

He was probably drunk. Or maybe he had an eye on the blondes behind me in search of his "autograph." The point is that I was young and impressionable, and I'll be damned if I don't fulfill the prophecy given to me by my idol.

The worst news (AND THE BURIED LEAD) is that Chicago is going to become a one newspaper town. Everyone suffers when there's no competition. When there's no competition, you tend to become complacent. You settle for less than your best. I, for one, will NOT stand for mediocre sports journalism!

Currently, I'm Assistant Sports Editor at the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and you can ask anyone that has known me since I was a freshman at SIUC, my goal from day one was to work on the DE's sports desk.

And it's been four years in the making but I'm finally here. And believe me, it was worth waiting the four "next year's" to be here.

If it wasn't for Sean McGahan, who was the managing editor when he recruited me even though he couldn't guarantee me a spot on the sports desk, and Jeff Engelhardt (our incoming hoops expert) who gave me my first shot at the DE sports desk, I wouldn't be where I am today.

So while I realize that blog commenters and critics will rejoice and pop a bottle like they were members of the 1972 Dolphins, realize that the face of sports journalism is changing.

And that's why I'm here. Check it. That's why we're here at The Big Dead Sidebar, and elsewhere.

I realize now I've gone off course, but understand the idea that the newspaper industry is slumping and when a top columnist (love him or hate him) resigns to take opportunities elsewhere because what he's doing "is not with newspapers," bothers me.

If you're a sports journalist out there, it should bother you too.

Kenny Williams is cashing on the bargain that is Alexei Ramirez

Alexei Ramirez came to the Chicago White Sox from Cuba as a relative unknown.

Now, the Cuban Missile is becoming a daily feature on ESPN's Web Gems and an offensive force in the American League.

Despite batting in the .100s during April, Ramirez has rebounded and is currently hitting .314 with 15 homers and 58 runs batted in and would be closing on a Rookie of the Year award if not for what Evan Longoria is doing with the feel-good story of the year, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Nevertheless, Ramirez's ascent to a cult following in Chicago is surprising only to outsiders. Hawk Harrelson calls him the best player in the organization, and despite what VORP tells me, I have to agree.

Ramirez possesses every skill and instinct you want a baseball player to have. And now, the stats got his back. His .821 OPS ranks among the best among middle infielders.

Oh yeah, and there's the fact that he's playing out of position. In fact, scouts say he's playing his third best position. Ramirez, who came up through the ranks as a shortstop, played excellent center field earlier in the year.

Having a player like Ramirez on your roster is worth every penny, especially when that player is making pennies on the dollar.*

*Ramirez is making only $950,000 in the first year of a four-year deal worth $4.75 million.

Alfonso Soriano is earning his keep

Alfonso Soriano cashed in on his epic 2006 40/40/40 season with an eight year deal with the Cubs worth $136 million.

Now, the Cubs are looking to Soriano to be money down the stretch.

The Soriano the Cubs and their fans have seen recently is the player they expected coming from Washington. The Cubs are 23-8 since Soriano came off the DL for a second time and has been using all of his tools to help pace the Cubs.

He's throwing runners out at the plate.

He's stealing bases.

And most important of all, he's hitting the cover off the baseball.

He's batting .288 with 22 home runs and 62 runs batted in out of the lead-off spot that no one wants him hitting in. His on-base percentage currently sits at .341 with an OPS of .889. The OBP isn't particularly good for a lead-off man, but would be his best since the .351 OBP he posted in 2006 with the Nats.

If Soriano can atone for the .143/.200/.143 line he posted against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS and lead the Cubs to the promised land, no one will care about the $106 million remaining on the back end of his contract

Obama throws down the gauntlet on Cubs fans. Hilarity ensues!

Courtesy of Awful Announcing, this is part of ESPN icon Stuart Scott's interview with Democratic Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama.

Scott: “If the Cubs and the White Sox both make it to the World Series?
Obama: “I would be going.”
Scott: “Who would you root for?
Obama: “Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. Southside.”


Oh, no he didn't!

First, I'd like to say at least he's not a fair weather fan. Fair weather fans (I'm talking to you John Cusak) can go off and suck a fat one...pick a team and stick with 'em, no matter what!

On to my rant...

I'm not mad that he's a White Sox fan, hell, we all make mistakes in life...but to throw out that generalization is out of line, especially for someone that wants to bring everyone together. That's just silly Barack, silly!

That's a petty argument Mr. Obama. Cubs fans aren't serious? Nothing is more serious than a fandom that constantly supports its team despite 100 years of suffering through crap with a few sprinkles of joy (1984, '89, '98, 2003, '07) in between.

Maybe it's easy to turn a blind eye when you're busy in Washington, D.C. and around the world an all. Oh, but I was wondering: when did this, this and this count towards "watching the game"?

[Ed. note: This #1 is Patty Biggio gettin' smacked during the World Series...classy. This #2 refers to a father/son duo jumping a fossil of a first base coach...trashy. This #3 is Sox fans jumping an umpire who happened to be an ex-Marine...stupid!)

Look, I can go on with this debate, but it's truly petty.

As for the fans Mr. Obama wants to call out...you know the Wrigleyville Trixie that skanks it up over at the Cubbie Bear. Or Douche McFrat with his popped collar and vocabulary that begins with the word "dude" and ends with "sweet." They give actual Cubs fans a bad name.

Those are the people who will read this and say "screw that dumb Sox fan, I'm voting McCain" and won't think twice about it.

As for me, I'll leave my preferred team out of this, since they sport the best record in baseball (81-50) and base my election choice on which candidate can find lower gas prices, provide a better educational system and understand the value of a high OBP in a lead-off man.

What? You gotta have something to base your choices on.

Daily Dosage: Jessica Alba is pretty much flawless

Jessica Alba rocks my socks. She's an OK actress, her best work is behind her (like Dark Angel, yum!) But she could be a terrible actress, she's still delicious and I know many men that would drop their iPods, iPhones and other iThings at her beckon call. Heck, I'd be one of them.

Today's shameless cross-promotion: Members of the SIU football team "switch it up." And by switch it up I mean change positions. And by change positions I mean...hey, quit oggling Ms. Alba! [Daily Egyptian]

And remember visit siuDE.com, just do it and don't ask questions!

Cub slump busters put Pirates in the pits. Kosuke Fukudome and Jim Edmonds combined to go 6-for-9 with five RBIs and two runs scored in the Chicago Cubs' 12-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Fukudome, now hitting .268 after hitting in the .100s for most of August, is 4-for-5 in his last two games with a home run and six RBIs.

Ted Lilly pitches seven strong innings, striking out seven while limiting the Bucco's to three runs on seven hits, improving his record to 13-7.

Sox 'split' in B-More, make Thome's Homies proud. Jim Thome belted his 535th career home run, giving him sole possession of 15th place on the all-time home run list, as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3.

Earlier, the Sox and the O's played the end of a suspended game in which the Sox were the home team despite re-starting the game in Baltimore.

Rookie southpaw Clayton Richard pitched six innings of quality baseball, scattering six hits and limiting the Orange & Black attack to only three runs.

Quality Linkage:
  • Remember that guy who was traded for 10 bats? He's got nothing on Eddie Guardado, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins for a Hamburger. [CBC Sports] No truth to the rumor that cheese or any other condiments were involved.
  • Jobba and the Giambino suck at beer pong. [NY Post] They better get checked for the herp. [College On The Record]
  • Are you ready to dance with stars? [Yahoo!]
  • Not shown in this pic, an angry mob of Cubs fans [The Lennin Closet]
  • Rudy Fernandez gets the highlight, Team USA gets the Gold. [You Got Dunked On] I'll take that exchange any day of the week!

CQ: Man of the Year!

Ed. Note: Chicago White Sox slugger Carlos Quentin is in the hunt for an AL MVP award, but since he doesn't play for the Yankees or Red Sox, he won't get much love from the media. Except from me. I'm driving the Carlos Quentin bandwagon until the regular season ends!

Alexei Ramirez is a nice surprise. And Ozzie Guillen has been pleasantly not annoying. But Carlos Quentin has been the offensive force behind the Chicago White Sox's winning ways.

Quentin continued his torrid pace with his 36th home run of the season, a two-run shot off Tampa Bay Rays starter Andrew Sonnanstine, in the White Sox's 6-5 extra-inning win Sunday. The homer was Quentin's only hit, moving his numbers to .289 36 homers and 99 runs batted in. Hecurrently ranks first in homers, fourth in RBIs and third in OPS (.975) among AL hitters.

CQ continues his race towards an MVP award Monday in Baltimore against Chris Waters and the Orioles.

Kobe > LeBron: Game, set & match

Allow me to get this out of my system, please.

LeBron James is a man among boys.

He's a point guard in a power forward's body.

He cuts through defenses like a hot knife through butter.

He passes as if he has eyes in the back of his head.

He has the potential to be one of the all-time greats.

But when push came to shove in the Gold Medal game, Kobe Bryant threw the punch.

Bryant put the entire United States on his back and scored 13 fourth-quarter points en route to bringing home the Gold for the Redeem Team. It was sweet redemption for Bryant, a part of the 2004 team that finished with a bronze medal.

And months after his championship aspirations were dashed by the Boston Celtics in June, it looked like Kobe took out his frustrations on Pau Gasol and the Spaniards.

Yes, Dwyane Wade led U.S. scorers with 27 points, but when Team U.S.A. needed a key basket all eyes were on Kobe and he did not disappoint. He was ESPN classic "en fuego" and Spain "couldn't stop him, they could only hope to contain him" ... and they couldn't.

As Chris Bosh, Deron Williams and Chris Paul enter their primes, Team U.S.A. should only get better as they try to reclaim the strangle-hold they had on the world's top spot.

And just like Superman, Kobe will be there when you need him the most.

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.

Rich Harden was dominant, again.

Harden threw seven innings of two-hit ball as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-1.

Harden (4-1 with Chicago) threw his fifth 10+ strikeout game, punching out 11 Nats without walking a batter. He has struck out 21 batters over his last 14 innings of works (2-0) without walking a batter.

Harden is now 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA since being traded to the Cubs from Oakland.

More to come...

Doug Eddings *hearts* A.J. Pierzynski

Hawk Harrelson is no longer allowed to complain about umpires, because it looks like the Chicago White Sox already got one on the payroll.

Three years after aiding the ChiSox to a game two victory in the ALCS, Doug Eddings reared his ugly head again.

Ugly, of course, if you're a Rays fan.

Need a re-hashing of the '05 ALCS incident? Via MLB.com [bottom]:

"Ironically, Eddings received national attention during Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series between the White Sox and Angels when Pierzynski reached first base against Los Angeles after striking out. Eddings had been the umpire behind home plate, who ruled that the ball had hit the ground before Angels catcher Josh Paul [ed. note: Paul was a big-time White Sox fan, hence the conspiracy theories] caught the ball. Paul had rolled the ball back to the pitcher thinking Eddings had called strike three."

Here's an excerpt of what happened in Sunday's game:

"With the score tied at 5 in the 10th, Pierzynski ill-advisedly strayed from second base on a grounder and got caught in a rundown. He was tagged out after making contact — literally, A.J. made it — with Rays infielder Willy Aybar by sticking out an arm. "As soon as A.J. tripped, he yelled 'Obstruction!' " infielder Jason Bartlett said. Umpire Doug Eddings agreed that Aybar had gotten in the way and he awarded Pierzynski third base, which set up the Sox to score and avert a sweep."

Actually, here's a better description of A.J.'s antics:

"A.J.'s like the kid who calls "time-out" all the time during a fight and then gets in a late shot to your ribs."

That's tough for manager Joe Maddon, the current Tampa Bay Rays skipper who served as Mike Scoscia's bench coach with the L.A. Angels.

Ready to bring out the buried lead? I know I am.

This all would have been avoided if center fielder B.J. Upton didn't lollygag after catching Carlos Quentin's deep fly to center. It's been a rough month for B.J., who basically set up A.J. for the winning run.

How's that for alphabet soup?

Long story short, you either love A.J. because he's a grinder or you hate him because he's got a horseshoe stuck in a particular region of his body.

Doug Eddings apparently loves him. I hope they exchange Christmas cards and find themselves under some mistletoe this December.

In response to: That's just A.J. being A.J., Doug being Doug. [Yahoo! Sports]

Daily Dosage: First place is for pimps

Today's eye candy is Gabrielle Union. She's underrated as an actress and as an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous woman. Remember when Nelly coined her a "young Janet Jackson, live in livin' color" because I do!

But Union is a hotter, more talented person whose family doesn't contain a whacko named Jacko. Here's to you Ms. Gabrielle Union.

Today's selfless cross-promotion: SIU football is running the spread and the 3-4 defense, but how did it get here? [Daily Egyptian]

And always remember, check out siuDE.com for more.

Harden hexes Nats. If you have Chicago Cubs starter Rich Harden on your fantasy team, you're having a good year.

Harden struck out 11 batters, and with the help of homers by Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa and Kosuke Fukudome, defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-1.

Since joining the Cubs, Harden is 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA with 70 strikeouts against 14 walks.

Sox avoid Rays romp. The Chicago White Sox fended off the sweep at the hands of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays (that feels weird typing, still) by winning 6-5 in extra innings.

Carlos Quentin hit his 36th home run on the year and A.J. Pierzynski found himself at the center of another Doug Eddings controversy, chronicled here.

The Sox's win, coupled with the Twins loss puts the White Sox back in first place in the AL Central.

Quality Linkage:

ESPN commenter named valedictorian of summer school

See this is why people are (or at least should be) losing respect for ESPN.

"Game ball goes to Scola. In a losing effort he was easily the best player on the floor." -- haze1205


28 points and 11 rebounds is fine and dandy, but Luis Scola isn't even considered the best player on the court when he's the only player on it.

I'm not sure who to blame more: the commenter, who seems ready to put Luis Scola into the debate of greatest Olympian ever or ESPN, who decided to make this a featured comment.

That's like saying Jason Marquis is a better pitcher than Fergie Jenkins because Marquis won a World Series with the Cardinals while Jenkins was unable to do so with the Cubs (and other teams).

That's just stupid. People like that should really have their computers (and the porn that's on them) seized.

ESPN Featured Comment Of The Week [Deadspin]

I guess he's a Romosexual

If there's one thing I can't stand it's when a guy's ball-hogging.

If you're name is Kobe and your teammates suck then it's OK, but when your name is Tony Romo and you're hogging two of the hottest blondes in the southwest, it's uncalled for.

It looks like Romo's current flame (Jessica Simpson) and ex (Carrie Underwood) are going to be sparring over the Dallas Cowboys QB again.

Jess and Carrie have been going back-and-forth since Carrie and Romo broke up. Like that whole "Real Girls Eat Meat"* shirt Simpson sported after Underwood won the Sexiest Vegetarian Award. Underwood's response: Tony's still calling me.

Ladies, there are only two ways to solve this:
  1. Cat fight: Bikinis, KY Jelly and Pay Per View. I'd like two tickets, please.
  2. One of you decides to get over Romo and date me. At least I don't fumble when the game's on the line.
Holla.

Jessica Simpson & Tony Romo are laughing at Carrie Underwood [i Village]

TBDS Presents: The News Minute

Remember when I premiered the News Minute? Well, it's back. Enjoy, bitches.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre is the latest National League West executive to start a blog. Following in the footsteps of San Diego Padres exec Paul DePodesta's "It Might Be Dangerous Blog", Torre gets you inside his new lifestyle.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Joe Torre.


Zack Morris is getting his own television show. Good to see him rebound from his days at Bayside. AC Slater couldn't be reached for comment.

Hello, Bayside. Zach Morris is back on the air.

And after hearing about Michael Phelps' extra curricular activities, I'm really regretting not pursuing a career as an elite Olympic Athlete.

Sex and the Olympic City


The Artrell Woods story is interesting, so I'm bringing a buried story to the forefront (via The Big Lead).

Summer 2008: He’s risen as high as 3rd on the OK State depth chart at receiver, and expects to catch plenty of passes in the Cowboys pass-happy offense.

That's just part of a nice story.

Feel Good Sappy Time: OK State's Artell Woods


Happy Friday, friends!

We're gonna get it right here, I swear

Sorry folks, I've been busy. All of us at TBDS have been busy as we adjust to life back at SIU and with the Daily Egyptian.

As for my posting, my schedule for Monday and Wednesdays allows me to post several times a day. Friday's I have off, so unlike this week, I'll be very active in the blogosphere.

So in exchange for not having any posts (or your Daily Dosage) it'll be TBDS Late Night. I hope you enjoy our work.

Again, thank you for your support of this up-and-coming blog.

We're gonna make it big one day, you just wait.

-Luis

Daily Dosage: Sox sweep and Cincy squeaks

Photo courtesy of maxim.com.

Lilly Robbins is exhibit A, B, C...on why the Chicago Bears should bring back the Honey Bears...or at least a cheerleading squad of equal or greater hotness than Robbins. Now I know why the Dolphins struggle, it's hard to concentrate with hotties like that on the sidelines.

Girls like her make me wish I could be a badass quarterback. I guess I'll settle for writing about 'em.

Today's shameless self cross-promotion: 'SIU stares down new competition' covers the freshly minted Missouri Valley Football Conference and a pair of new schools who are already in the Top 25.


On with the Dosage.

Sox slappin' around the M's. The Chicago White Sox's dominance over the Seattle Mariners continued Wednesday with a 15-3 whoopin' of the Mariners.

Former Mariner great Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 609th career-homer, tying him for fifth place on the all-time home run list with former Cub icon Sammy Sosa. If not for Griff's injuries, all sustained by playing hard, Junior would likely be pissin' all over the record books. Instead, he'll just go in as the Greatest Non-Steroid Using Baseball Player of this era.

Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski and Nick Swisher also homered for the Sox.

Cincy squeaks past the Cubs. Bronson Arroyo issued five walks and lived to tell about it. That's because he limited the Cubs to three hits and used a pair of double plays to help lead the Reds to the 2-1 victory.

The Reds scored their two runs on a fielders choice by Jeff Keppinger and a sac fly by Jolbert Cabrera.

Not Miguel. Not Orlando. Jolbert. Hey, you can't win 'em all, right?

Lilly struck out seven batters in seven innings of work as he moved to 0-3 against the Reds in 2008.

Quality Linkage:
  • Peter King is mad at Jets fans for not showing up to a preseason game [SI.com] Does PK know not everyone has an unhealthy man crush on BrettFavre?
  • Speaking of crushes: the competition for Erin Andrew's affection heats up [Everything Erin Andrews]
  • It's not fun to cheer against the Yankees anymore. [Epic Carnival] I disagree.
  • Tiger Woods is Jesus of the golf course [via Awful Announcing]
  • Always check out siuDE.com. Always!

Usain Bolt picked the wrong Olympics to be a star


You know what has happened to all that good will built up by U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps?

Jamaica's Usain Bolt has taken it, ran with it and shattered records in the process.

Bolt's success should be more welcomed than it is, seeing that he's done something NO ONE has ever done before, but it'll be ignored to a point while everyone continues to profess their undying love for Phelps.

And I don't blame them, but if it were not for Phelps' dominance, Bolt would be up for the nomination of Greatest Olympian Ever.

Heck, if Usain Bolt from Jamaica was Michael Bolt from Miami, Florida he'd probably be an American if not world icon.

Instead, we watch from afar as Bolt continues to fly by the competition because apparently, he chose the wrong Olympiad to try to be a show-stopper.

CQ: Man of the Year!

And to think, Carlos Quentin was a healthy Jerry Owens away from not even making the 25-man roster.

All Chuck Quentin has done is hit .296 with 35 home runs and 97 runs batted in this year as the White Sox's primary No. 3 hitter. Throw in his .398 OBP and and .589 slugging percentage and you've got a guy who should be the AL MVP.

No, he isn't a shameless self promoter like myself. No, he isn't a sexy name like A-Rod or Big Papi. But all he does is hit the crap out of the baseball and that's all you really need out of your No. 3 hitter in the order.

Can he keep it up? How does a CQ: Man of the Year weekly blog summarizing the week that was Carlos Quentin?

We'll see if I can do that. If not, I'll pass it on to Hartwig whenever he comes back from vacation.

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.

Rich Harden has been ridiculously good since joining the Cubs. So while CC Sabathia grabs the headlines (and another beer brat) Harden continues to throw lights out for the North Siders.

In a good sign for Cubdom, a testy Harden said he is tired of being called injury prone. It could be worse, they could just call him Mark Prior.

You know, a dominant pitcher whose previous health concerns are used to indicate how many bullets said dominant pitcher should throw in a given game.

So are Harden and Prior interchangeable? Barely.

Both are young, stud pitchers with high upside but are clear injury risks because of their past. It's like having a girlfriend who took you to a very special place, but only did it once and the only reason you keep her around is because she's dynamite in bed.

That's what it was like having Prior. As for the Harden experience, it's like having that dynamite experience start after start.

Harden's line in Tuesday night's win against the Reds: 7 IP 2 H 0 R 0 ER 10 K 0 BB

Harden as a Cub (3-1): 42 IP 0.95 WHIP 1.50 ERA 59 strikeouts 14 walks.

Up All Night

You know how Deadspin has its "DUAN" (which stands for Deadspin Up All Night)?

Well tonight, The Big Dead Sidebar's gonna be up all night since I failed you earlier (damn schooling got my priorities jacked up!)

So there are several posts coming to fill the void that you and I both need to be filled.

Get ready. Set. Go!

Afternoon Delight

I'm taking the afternoon off to focus on stuff I need to do for the Daily Egyptian.

But tonight (after my fantasy football draft, of course) I'll be back at it with a bunch of posts.

So be ready!

Daily Dosage: Baseball & Boozehounds

Here's an ode to Kanye's favorite white girl. She's gorgeous and dare I say...near flawless? She's pretty, curvaceous, successful and deserving of top billing in today's Daily Dosage.

Today's shameless cross-promotion linkage part one: 'Saluki defense on the attack.'

As for part two, check out the Daily Egyptian's newest venture, blogging. Check out gusbode.wordpress.com.

Hard times for opposing hitters. While CC Sabathia continues to grab headlines (and deservedly so) for his dominance of the NL, Chicago Cubs starter Rich Harden is doing similar things with less fanfare. Harden punched out 10 batters in seven innings of work in the Cubs 5-0 win against the Cincinnati Reds. Harden is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last four starts as a Cub.

Harden's continued dominance, combined with Houston's 5-2 win over Milwaukee, has allowed the Cubs to move a season-best six games ahead of the second place Brewers.

ChiSox shutout Seattle. Clayton Richard and his 6.75 ERA wasn't deserving of another start with the South Siders, but manager Ozzie Guillen had faith in the youngster. Richard's six inning outing validated Guillen's confidence. Richard scattered five hits over those six innings to pick up his first big league win, a 5-0 White Sox winner over the Mariners.

Carlos Quentin didn't go deep, but he did go 2-for-3 with a run scored, run batted in and a walk as he continues to make a case for AL MVP. The Sox's lead remains at one game because former Cub Sean Gallagher wet the bed against the Twins. Gallagher allowed 10 runs and 11 hits in five innings as the Twins routed the A's, 13-2.

Quality Linkage:
  • BREAKING: The U.S. just laid the smackdown on the Aussies. 116-85!
  • Barry Zito's contract is apparently a chick magnet. [The Big Lead]
  • Hideki Ira-boozehound! Former Yankee arrested for assaulting a bartender. [NY Post]
  • Rafael Palmeiro is a Hall of Famer...in the eyes of Mississippi State, at least. [Hattiesburg American]
  • Headline: Reds Management Would Like To Apologize For All The Sucking [Deadspin]

NFC North: A QB Crapshoot

In yesterday's 6 p.m. blog, I ridiculed Kyle Orton for "winning" a quarterback competition comparable to being named valedictorian of summer school. However, I conveniently forgot that the rest of the QB's in the NFC North suck. Let's run it down, briefly.

Jon Kitna, Detroit Lions. Kitna is a great quarterback. If he's on your fantasy team. In a league that doesn't count interceptions. Sure, he was NFL Europe MVP, but that and $1.50 can get me Sunday's Sun-Times. Kitna's best attribute is that he has a billion receivers to throw to (Thanks! Matt Millen) but no one to hand the ball off to.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. There's a reason everyone wanted Brett Favre next. He's untested and just might crack under the pressure of following, The Man.

Tavaris Jackson, Minnesota Twins. Jackson is so bad, the fossil of Gus Frerotte and rookie John David Booty are better options in the short and long term. Jackson obviously has some dirty photos of Brad Childress because there is no reason he should be a starting quarterback for an NFL team.

B.J. Upton is no Rick Ross

It's been a while since I dropped a hip-hop reference on this site, but today I found it necessary.

After a very highly publicized benching, Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton came out swinging Sunday against the Texas Rangers going 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and three RBI.

But lolly gagging on the base paths (again!) must have manager Joe Maddon up in arms.

The box score will show Upton was tagged out as he tried to stretch a single into a double, but sometimes you must go beyond the box score. Upton was tagged out by LA Angels first baseman Mark Teixeira before reaching second base. If you rewind the tape further, you'll notice that Upton doesn't hustle out of the box after making contact. If he hustles out of the box, he's standing at second...instead, he's embarrassed again on the base paths.

This is an epidemic in the big leagues and I don't like it. Whether it's Manny in L.A., the Fonz on the North Side or B.J. the Ray, it sickens me to not see multi-millionaires not run out a double. What maddens me even more is when B.J. or Sori don't do it...these are guys with the speed to steal 30+ bases, but they can't hustle to second base on what should be a stand up double.

Gentlemen, do like Rick Ross and get your hustle on!

Is CC Cy Worthy?

Is the defending AL Cy Young Award winner the front-runner for the NL award?

Before being traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Milwaukee Brewers, Carsten Charles Sabathia posted a pedestrian 6-8 record with a 3.83 ERA.

Then Sabathia realized he was pitching for a new contract, and since being moved to the land of cheese, CC's got an 8-0 record and a 1.60 ERA. And even though he'll only have half a year as a National Leaguer under his belt, Sabathia should get some serious CY Young consideration.

Sabathia's competition:
  • Brandon Webb (ARZ): 18 wins (leads the league) 145 strikeouts, 2.85 ERA
  • Tim Lincecum (SF): 13 wins, 192 strikeouts (leads league), 2.60 ERA (leads the league)
Not only could CC make a run at the Cy, he could land the Silver Slugger Award, too.

Johan Santana got $137.5 million just to pitch, how much could Sabathia fetch with a golden arm and a silver bat?

Daily Dosage: My arm hurts, thanks Ned

I know I'm not the only person who has a thing for Alyssa Milano, but I'm sure I'm the only one who has a thing for her because of her love of baseball. Don't believe it, even she's got a baseball blog. Much love, Alyssa.

Taking the lead. Let the record show that I might be one of the handful of people that realize that Ozzie Ball is a joke. That whole small-ball/smart ball doesn't exsist. And Sox fans, you shouldn't care because the South Siders are slamming their way to another division title.

For the second consecutive game, the ChiSox hit four homers in their 13-5 win against the Mariners on Monday night. The Men In Black lead the major leagues with 182 long balls.

Leading the attack is Carlos Quentin, who hit his ML-leading 35th and is solidifying his case as AL MVP. And teammate Alexei Ramirez is really making a push for the AL Rookie of the Year. Ramirez is hitting .308 with 13 homers and 51 runs batted in, despite hitting .121 in April.

The Sox took sole possession of first place with the Minnesota Twins' loss against the Oakland Athletics.

Ned Yost doesn't care about CC Sabathia's arm. I probably should lead with the fact that the Brewers beat the Astros 9-2 on Monday night. Or I could have led with the fact that CC Sabathia has been flat-out dominant since coming to the NL. Instead, it is apparent that Ned Yost is riding Sabathia 'til he's on 'E'.

Sabathia threw 130 pitches in Monday night's win and has five complete games in his nine starts in Milwaukee. Even ESPN's Steve Phillips (who traded top prospect/Rays ace Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano) said he would trade an inning in August for a fresher arm in October.

If this pace keeps up, buyer beware when Sabathia hits the open market this winter.

Quality Linkage:
  • Curt Schilling buries the lead. Can you find it? [38 Pitches]
  • Charles Barkley: Gone off Patrone! [You Been Blinded]
  • Women don't like fantasy sports? Say what!?!? [Lion In Oil]
  • The Dodgers are bringing back Greg Maddux [LA Times] and don't have to trade Cesar Izturis to do so.
  • Kanye West's favorite white girl is...Scarlett Johansson. [Kanye Universecity]

Orton 'Wins' QB competition, Bringing "Rexy Back" is a back-up option

Just in time for the 6 p.m. blog, news that Kyle Orton has officially been named the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback. Orton edged Rex Grossman and Caleb Hanie and will try to completely suck.

Where's the Hawk Harrelson audio cue when I need it, because this quarterback competition is OVA!

Kyle Orton has been anointed as the chosen one and will begin his official reign of terror Sept. 7 in Indianapolis against the Colts. Rex Grossman has been regulated to back-up duties, while Caleb Hanie will be in charge of not taking after the fools in front of him on the depth chart.

Notice in the head I put wins in quotations...I did that for good reason, so allow me to explain myself.

Winning a "competition" between Rex Grossman and a rookie from Colorado State isn't really a great feat. It's like winning a spelling competition against Dan Quayle, or winning a dieting contest against CC Sabathia. Orton's "win" in this QB derby is like being named the valedictorian of summer school.

So while Kyle will likely celebrate with guys named Jack (Daniels) and Ron (Bacardi), maybe he should take the time to convince guys like John St. Clair, Terrance Metcalf and Roberto Garza to block like the early-to-mid-90s O-lines of the Dallas Cowboys. Because if they don't, he'll spend more time on his back than Paris Hilton.

OK, enough with the analogies. The point is that it didn't matter who won the QB derby because this team has bigger holes to fill. The offensive line is just that, offensive. The wide outs are led by a very talented "rookie" and an over-the-hill Marty Booker. The running backs that are expected to be counted on are a rookie and football's version of Mark Prior.

I hope there's an incentive in Orton's contract that awards him billions of dollars for winning the starting job, he'll need it for the medical bills he'll be paying after he gets blitz to oblivion.

One AB 101 Years In The Making

Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is one dangerous dude.

He currently stands as one of the elite power hitters in the American League, hitting .304 with 28 home runs and 114 runs batted in, and everyone knows about the 30 million bombs he hit at Yankee Stadium during the Home Run Derby. But what happened Sunday night hasn't been seen in more than 100 years.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Madden asked for Hamilton to be intentionally walked with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with the Rays hanging onto a 7-3 lead. Hamilton's RBI walk brought the Rangers within a run at 7-4 before Dan Wheeler retired Marlon Byrd to end the game.

The last time this happened was when Buck Showalter (then employed by the Arizona Diamondbacks) gave Barry Bonds the bases loaded free pass to force in a run. Better yet, Bonds was inserted in the game as a pinch-hitter for left fielder Chris Jones, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI.

Yet, Showalter walked Bonds, then walked a way with a victory.

Just like the Rays.

Bases-loaded intentional walk to Hamilton pays for Rays [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

Is It Time To Give Han-Ram The Soriano Treatment?

Hanley Ramirez is one of the five most exciting players in Major League Baseball.

The Florida Marlins star is as close to a five-tool talent as South F-L-A will get. He can hit for average (.297), power (27 home runs), has good base running skills (28 steals), and is a slick fielder with a rocket for an arm.

Yet, Han-Ram is lacking in one statistical field. Runs batted in.

Despite the 57 extra-base hits and an OPS of .928, Ramirez has only 56 RBIs, which is 14 less than team leaders Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla. Those RBI numbers are down primarily because Ramirez and his .392 OBP sit atop the Marlins' line-up.

It doesn't help that the bottom of his team's order consists of Cody Ross' .257 batting average, Jeff Baker's .226 batting average and the pitcher spot.

Like his fellow Dominican Republican, Ramirez is miscast as a lead-off man and would best fit into the No. 3 slot in major league-quality line-up. You know, the one where a player with the rare combination of speed and power can thrive with high-OBP guys in front of him.

Until that day comes, Han-Ram will thrive as a 27 home run 70 RBI top-of-the-order guy.

How we're gonna roll

I hope you liked the first Daily Dosage of this semester...heck, I know you did. So I've created a little bit of a posting schedule that I hope to keep together this semester.

In summary: the Daily Dosage will be seen Monday thru Friday at or around 9 a.m. followed by feature-ish posts around noon, three and six.

Well, that's what I'd like to do. I'd also like to stumble upon Pacman Jones' trash bag of 81,000 dollar bills on my way home after school. Maybe it's just me.

Also, I've successfully recruited Jeff Engelhardt to be our new basketball writer. The kid's a dynamo whose knowledge of the college and pro games is outstanding. Also returning to the staff is Hartwig, to balance out my Cub-centric blogging. I'm also looking to add one or two more writers.

The more the merrier.

Enjoy the new edition of The Big Dead Sidebar. Thanks for your readership!

Daily Dosage: It's Back!

Welcome back to the new and improved version of TBDS, now with the Daily Dosage (again.) Today's hottie is British model Keeley Hazel. And to think you can have a calendar of just her, greeting you on a monthly basis. Now that's how you should kick off a new semester.

On with the Dosage!

Bye-bye, 3-0-5! The Chicago Cubs put the finishing touches on a 5-1 road trip with a 9-2 victory against the Florida Marlins. Down 2-0 going into the top of the seventh inning, the Cubs exploded for eight runs in the top of the frame behind a pair of two run doubles fromAlfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez and a three-run double by Reed Johnson.

Ryan Dempster allowed five hits in six innings en route to his 14th win on the campaign. Demp also punched out 10 of the Fightin' Fish for his third 10+ strikeout game this season.

The Cubs head back to the Friendly Confines for a series with the Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr.-less Cincinnati Reds. Oh, and Dusty's still there too!

An A+ Effort In Oakland. After losing a heart-breaker against the A's late Friday night, the Chicago White Sox won back-to-back games to clinch the series win and keep the race in the AL Central tied.

Home runs by sluggers Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye paced the Sox 13-run attack. Most of the damage came against former Sox farmhand Gio Gonzalez, who allowed seven earned runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.

Javier Vazquez allowed one run on four hits and punched out eight Athletics to move his record to a deceiving 10-10 mark.

Seriously, Javy should have about 15 or 16 wins now if he always pitched like he did today. He's got the nastiest stuff on the Sox staff and should be rewarded with a little run-support here and there. Good for you, Javy!

From the Did You Know department? Did you know the Chicago Bears scored 26 points in their pre-season loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Before you get excited about Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton leading a potent offense, let's recap, shall we?
  • Ball through end zone, safety. SEA 6 CHI 2
  • Robbie Gould 39-yard FG. SEA 9 CHI 5
  • Corey Graham INT return TD. CHI 12 SEA 9
  • Earl Bennett punt return TD. CHI 19 SEA 9
  • Kellen Davis TD reception from Caleb Hanie. CHI 26 SEA 26
And that's it. If you're waiting for a juggernaut, I hope you've got a comfy seat.

Quality Linkage:
  • HEADLINE: Boy named after ballpark to throw first pitch. [Chicago Tribune] It makes the fact I wanna name my daughter Addison, my son Sheffield and my dog Wrigley look kinda sane.
  • The missing piece to your favorite NBA team's puzzle has been banned. [Press TV]
  • Did Jeff Kent just pick a fight with Vin Scully? [LA Times] What a d-bag!
  • Shawn Kemp is heading to Italy. [Ball In Europe] And so are a boatload of condoms.

Patrick Beverley is going overseas, and not with an exchange program

Bob Sakamoto of the Chicago Tribune has the Patrick Beverley going overseas story covered like a jimmy-hat. Stat Boy might have found a more intriguing reason on why the former Arkansas star is walking out.

"It had nothing to do with academics,'' said Beverley, the Razorbacks' lone returning starter who averaged 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. "I violated NCAA rules, and what happened next went over the coaches' heads. A lot of people thought it was because of grades, but I go to class every day."


For a second, let's overlook the fact that he violated NCAA rules to bring the buried lead out.

The 6-foot-1-inch point guard averaged 6.6 rebounds per game despite having a 7-footer on the team.

By the way, that 7-footer averaged only 2.9 RPG in 16.3 minutes per game. Still, extrapolate that into a 30 minute average and those numbers jump to 5.3 RPG per game...not good enough for a guy who is almost a foot taller than the team's leading rebounder.

Screw grades. Screw NCAA violations. Maybe the reason Beverley is headed across the Atlantic is because he outshines a guy who stands a foot taller than he does.

Michael Phelps: The 8th Wonder

I never thought I would have to do a swimming post, but when someone wins eight gold medals their feats must be brought to the light.

Michael Phelps' eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics is outstanding, for somewhere Mark Spitz is tearing up and fading into the distance where he will never be heard from again.

Enter Phelps, a golden child (no pun intended) who not only is the new face of U.S. Olympians, but also the face of this Olympiad which was intended to showcase China's economic growth as a nation. Instead, the smog and the drama has taken a backseat to the coronation of a new Olympic hero and...dare I say...the greatest athlete of all time?

Jim Brown had linemen opening holes for him throughout his pro football career. Michael Jordan, whose sidekicks grabbed boards and made jumpers, assisted his ascent to glory. Babe Ruth had eight men in the field when he was on the mound and protection in the line-up.

And yes, three of Phelps' medals came with the help of his teammates, but the overall eight gold medals are even more incredible if you take into consideration the seven world records broken in the process.

That's like if Brown broke the rushing, receiving and passing records. Or if Jordan shattered the scoring, rebounds, assists and steals records. And still, each player would be short a few from statistical glory.

Phelps is a one-man wrecking crew, who has four years to figure out what else he can dominate as he attempts to hold on to the moniker of Greatest Olympian Ever.

Done and Dunn

Yesterday, I chronicled the fall of Richie Sexson after the two-time All-Star and former Cub killer was waived by the Yankees. Today, a look at Adam Dunn who will be taking his Cub killing ways west to Arizona, who was last seen sweeping the Cubs out of the NLDS. Does he have a little Steve Garvey in him?

Let's just get this out of the way right now: Adam Dunn is this generation's Dave Kingman.

Ignore the Big Donkey's career .247 batting average for just a moment and realize he's slammed 270 homers and drove in 648 runs in his eight year career. Oh, you don't believe RBIs is a telling enough statistic for an offensive force, how's that .899 OPS sound to you?

Anyway, Dunn was traded to the Diamondbacks so it looks like his days of torturing the Cubs are over, for now.

So if you're looking at the trade with blinders on, you're probably thinking this is a great trade, seeing that the Cubs get to play the Reds six more times with Adam Dunn out of the line-up and Corey Patterson in it.

Westward bound is Dunn's .260/.398/.619/1.012 line against the North Siders in exchange for three prospects whose talent will be ran into the ground eventually by Reds manager Dusty Baker.

Dunn's acquisition by the D'Backs was a counter move to the Dodgers' deadline addition of Manny Ramirez, who is batting .423 with a 1.293 OPS in Dodger Blue.

So while the Cubs must fend off the (Self) Battlin' Brewers and the Can't Quit Cards, they're biggest competition come October just might be out west.

Does the addition of Dunn, to a team the Cubs struggle against tip the scales? Or does the addition of Man-Ram under the playoff-tested eye of Joe Torre make the Dodgers a more dangerous squad?

Lest we forget about the powerful line-up possessed by the Philadelphia Phillies or the overall talent residing in Flushing, NY with the Metropolitans?

No one said this 100-year thing was gonna be easy, but these deadline deals are making it a wee-bit more difficult.

Sexy Time Is Over

Alright, we're getting back to more of a normal blogging schedule. I think the Daily Dosage will return Tuesday at the latest. Also returning will be The Week In Review, seeing that there will be more posts in the offing. Heck, I've also recruited a new hoops expert to get on here.

Anyway, this post is part one of a two-part series on former NL Central sluggers (and Cub killers.) Richie Sexson defined Cub killer to the tune of 18 homers and a .929 OPS. Now, the man who single-handedly put the Cubs in the playoffs in 2003 is out of a job. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

First baseman Richie Sexson was part of the late-90s talent developed and later traded away by the Cleveland Indians in a deal that netted the Tribe Bob Wickman and Jason Bere. Sexson found a home in Milwaukee, hitting 14 bombs and driving in 47 runs and getting on base at a .398 clip.

For a three-year span, Sexson was not only one of the biggest power threats in the NL Central, but in the entire league. He averaged 39.6 homers, 126 RBI, a modest .274 batting average and a solid .894 OPS.

Then he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a boatload of players including Junior Spivey, Craig Counsell, Lyle Overbay and Chris Capuano. That's when his troubles began.

Big Sexy only hit nine homers in his 90 plate appearances in Diamondback purple (I think that's what it was then). He was granted free-agency at the end of the season and signed a lucrative deal with the Seattle Mariners.

And on paper the move didn't look too bad. He averaged 31 homers 97 runs batted in three seasons. But his averaged dropped from .264 in 2006 to .205 in 2007. Then Big Rich hit rock bottom hitting .221 between stints with the Mariners and Yankees, despite mashing the lefties to a .325/.414/.578/.992 clip.

So what happened to the 6-foot-8-inch masher?

Well, the OBP and OPS numbers stayed pretty constant, but the batting average dropped and his production against righties severely plummeted. Maybe leaving the very hitter friendly Miller Park for pitcher paradise parks such as Bank One Ballpark in Arizona and Safeco Field in Seattle.

In any case, the former All-Star first baseman has been regulated to platoon duty as the certified right-handed hitting lefty masher best used in a DH platoon.

Coming Soon: The departure of Adam Dunn from the NL Central and the debate whether Adam Dunn or Manny Ramirez is more dangerous to the Cubs' pennant chances.

Did Stat Boy just use Mo Williams and Jeff Blauser in the same sentence?

Apparently, LeBron James doesn't read this blog. And why would he? He's a multi-millionaire currently overseas trying to bring the gold home to the U.S.A. But if he did, maybe he'd be less than thrilled if he had read yesterday's blog, his excitement would be a little more tempered. Or maybe not? We'll let my alter-ego "Stat Boy" handle this one.

Mo Williams' addition to the Cavs looks like one of those "if you can't beat 'em, steal 'em" kinda deals. He lit up the Cavs in to the tune of 26 points, nine assists and more than six rebounds per game. The four game sample size isn't much--but it's still something to take note of.

  • In a March 22 108-98 Bucks victory, Williams scored 29 points, grabbed 5 boards and dished out 13 assists.
  • In a Feb. 26 105-102 victory, Mo dropped a season-high (and presumably a career-high) 37 points to go along with six assists and seven rebounds.
  • In a Nov. 20 111-107 triumph, Williams scored 20 points with 9 assists and six rebounds.

In closing, Mo averaged 28.6 ppg, six rebounds and 9.3 assists in the Bucks' three wins against Bron-Bron's Cavs. That's 11.4 more points, 2.5 more rebounds and three more assists than he averaged over the entire NBA season.

Those are some pretty intriguing numbers if you ask me.

Here's hoping (for LeBron's sake) that Mo Williams isn't to the Cavs what Jeff Blauser was to the Cubs.*

*Jeff Blauser was an All-Star Atlanta Braves shortstop. Blauser hit .351 with a .431 OBP and a 1.023 OPS in 78 career games against the Cubs. In two seasons as a Cub, he hit .230 with a .343 OBP and .703 OPS.

In response to 'LeBron gives Cavs 'A' for Williams trade' (Akron Beacon Journal)

You can put it on the board...YES! YES! YES! YES!


I didn't get a chance to see the game, but I assume that Hawk Harrelson's voice had to give out at some point during the Chicago White Sox's 9-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals.

Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe went back-to-back-to-back-to-back to secure the win. And as rare as the crosstown Cubs road success has been, four consecutive long balls is even more rare, happening only for the sixth time in the history of baseball.

Despite the Sox's power surge, their lead over the pesky piranhas is only one game. How much longer can those guys hang on? Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are stars with the stick. And Joe Nathan is nasty in the ninth. But what's the deal?

I expect the Sox to runaway and hide with this division, sooner rather than later.

This has just got to be a coincidence, right?

At first glance, the Chicago Cubs sweep of the Atlanta Braves would have been more impressive had it happened against the vintage Bravos of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.

As for a mini-breakdown. The doubleheader sweep where the Cubs won both games by at least eight runs was the first of its kind since 1908...the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

The eight game road winning streak is the team's longest since 1945...the last time the Cubs appeared in a World Series.

Still, a season sweep of any team is impressive.

Remember, the lowly Florida Marlins swept the season series from the Cubs in 2007, keeping the Brewers hopes alive and not allowing the Cubs to clinch the NL Central.

Oh, did I mention that the Cubs start a series against the Marlins tonight?

Coincidence? I think not!
It looks like Jeff Samardzija is gonna get his first major league start. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Not! [Cubs.com]

What The Buck?

Welcome to the new edition of The Big Dead Sidebar. In the first post of the new era, I'll tackle the impact of the Mo Williams trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Someone explain to me a trade that really doesn't help anyone.

Mo Williams and his 17 points per game will be a nice addition to the Cavs, but he isn't the answer. If you think the addition of Mo Williams will keep LeBron James in a Cleveland uniform, then you're wrong. The only way that happens is if Williams takes Bron-Bron hostage and holds him for ransom.

The Cavs need outside shooters. Anyone with a pulse who watched the Cavs fall a P.J. Brown jump shot away from a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals knows that.

Who handles the rock? LeBron does. Who distributes the rock? LeBron does. Who penetrates and takes the ball to the hoop? LeBron does.

See a pattern here?

LBJ is a point guard in a power forward's body. Why doesn't Danny Ferry take a clue and surround the franchise with the type of sharp-shooters that will keep Flight 23 from taking off to New York City?

As for the Bucks, they're left with a billion point guards. You're talking about finding two regular contributors out of Luke Ridnour, Romain Sessions, Charlie Bell, Damon Jones and Tyronn Lue.

And even if they do that, they need to figure out what to do with the million small forwards they have. Finding playing time for Richard Jefferson, Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is as likely to happen as chefs finding a big enough cake for CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder.

Good luck with that, Scott Skiles.

As for the Sonics, the only sense I can make out of the deal is the return of Desmond Mason for his second stint with the Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise. Sounds like a marketing ploy to the locals, who saw Mason star at Oklahoma State University.

And for those Okie State fans waiting for D-Mase to unleash his ridiculously mad hops, your best bet will come in a blowout because it's unlikely he'll see any playing time in front of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

Good luck with that, nameless and faceless Oklahoma City Sonics/Thunder/Whatever Your New Team Name Is coach.

Ed. Sidenote: When I clicked on the OKC team Web site, it initially came up as "Seattle Supersonics" on my tab key before changing to "NBA OKC." Looks like breaking up really is hard to do.

Until the OKC franchise finds a name for itself, enjoy another episode of the Mo Williams Show!