TBDS Late Night: The Dirty 30 Chronicles Return

MLB: APR 11 Yankees at Royals
"...And that's how I nailed Kate Hudson before A-Rod."

It's been a while since The Dirty 30 Chronicles had some fresh fodder for the folks out there. Last we heard of The Dirty One, he was batting .226 1.000 and roofying inspiring Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees.

Dirty 30 had an active offseason that included everything from being A-Rod's wingman to orchestrating a trade out of Chicago with some help from his good pal, Dirty 30 Juice. And according to my super slueths, I've got it on good authority that under the cover of night, Dirty 30 was able to strike again.

And with Dirty 30 back in Chicago for a four-game set that will surely include some post-game action, it's time to go to the vault.

"i heard Hawk's wife filed for divorce last week crazy (stuff). apparently, mark buehrle's perfect game gave him an orgasm he hasn't felt since he met carl yastrzemski at that club the same night he got roofied by nick swisher. buehrle won't go on the record, but he told me "Hawk told me he wanted to (perform an oral favor), but didn't call no homo. Now I gotta slap a restraining order on him. good thing swisher aint still on the team, or hawk mighta borrowed some pill. that's part of the reason he got traded. he slipped buehrle something and hawk and swish tag-teamed. i heard kenny williams caught em in the locker room and was jealous that he didn't get the invite."

Not sure what to make of any of this. But I wouldn't be surprised if something wasn't slipped into Jim Hendry's drink when he re-signed Ryan Dempster to a four-year, $52 million contract.

The conversation probably went something like this:

AGENT: Hi, Jim. My client Mr. Dempster is coming off an outstanding year in which he won 17 games, pitched 200 innings and appeared in the All Star Game. He also was your Game One starter.
HENDRY: Well, that's great. But Mr. Dempster hasn't pitched 200 innings in back-to-back years since 2000-02. In his two previous years with the Cubs, he didn't even rack up 200 innings in relief. His record going into next year will be 76-81. And while he's coming off a career year, he choked it up big time in Game One.
(Hendry begins coughing, choking after engulfing two dozen double-glazed donuts)
AGENT (handing Hendry an unmarked bottle): I want you to drink this, it'll make everything better.
HENDRY (grabs bottle and takes a swig): Oh, wow! What is this?
AGENT (removes mask and reveals himself as Dirty 30): It's Dirty 30 Juice. Now, let's talk about an extension for Mr. Dempster.
HENDRY: Here's a blank check for a four-year deal.
DIRTY 30: Even when I'm not in the batters box, I'm battin' 1.000. (Winks.)

It wasn't long after that when Dirty 30 put on his favorite love jams.

A Moment Of Venting, Then Off With TBDS Late Night

What does this Mark Buehrle picture have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing. But I'm pretty sure this was the proper way to celebrate Mark Buehrle Day in Illinois.

(Hat Tip: Hire Jim Essian)

Anyway, as I make my swift (and hopefully unnoticed) exit from work, i'd like to take a moment to address former St. Louis Cardinals great and baseball "analyst" Jack Clark.

Dear Jack,

Go f*** yourself.



I do not know how on earth Cardinals fans are able to put up with this pompous excuse for a baseball analyst. Yes, he was a Major Leaguer but once again it is proven that just because you were serviceable as a big leaguer doesn't mean you are worth a minute of my time.

Last night, it was his analysis of Manny Ramirez that had me lost for words that I could say in front of the family.

The gist of Jack The Ripper's rant was that Ramirez, an alleged PED user, was bringing down the game of baseball and basically gave Man-Ram the good riddance to bad rubbish treament. Clark went on to send several more jabs at Manny and David Ortiz.

It made me think of a saying -- something about smoking throwing rocks if you live in a glass house. Apparently, it was convenient for Clark to not say a peep about Rick Ankiel or Ryan Franklin. Of course not, why would he?

That's why I laughed out loud last night when Cardinals fans gave Rick Ankiel a standing ovation in the bottom of the eighth after booing Manny Ramirez throughout the game. I understand Ankiel is one of your own, fine and dandy. But, Jack, what's the point of making yourself look stupid in front of a national audience so you can get your socks knocked off at Manny Ramirez's expense.

Stay classy, St. Louis. And remember that thing I told you about rocks.


The Chicago White Sox have acquired right-handed pitcher Jake Peavy, a two-time All-Star and the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner, from the San Diego Padres in exchange for left-handers Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard and right-handers Dexter Carter and Adam Russell.

A Plea To Albert Pujols

Arizona Diamondbacks vs St. Louis Cardinals
If Albert Pujols is on The List, it might kill baseball.

Major League Baseball needs a savior. Whether it is a feel good story about a young, up-and-coming team rising from the ashes of failure to contend with with big money spending traditional powers or a shining star that happens to be detached from any links to performance enhancing drugs.

Right now, all six of the division leaders are in the Top 10 of spending as teams have still been able to make it rain on free agents despite an economy that limits me to a passing shower here and there. And with no upstarts off in the distance, baseball is hitching its wagons to Albert Pujols.

This is my opportunity to tell the head honchos at the MLB to be wary of where you hitch your wagons. Big Papi's big bust yesterday proved that even one of baseball's most popular players, who offered up a year-long banishment from baseball as punishment for steroid use could be a suspect. Between Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, Boston fans should feel duped. And somewhere, Cardinals and Rockies fans should feel as if former dopers had stolen a World Series title from them. Of course, that means those teams' fans are assuming everyone on that team was clean.

If losing Papi's veil of perceived cleanliness was a punch to the gut of baseball, then losing Pujols would be like being on the receiving end of a blow from Mike Tyson in his prime.

The only reason Pujols is in this category is because of his link to Dominican trainer Angel Presinal, who (as pointed out via The Big Lead) has worked with many Latino baseball stars. Names that litter the list include Ortiz, Miguel Tejada and Alex Rodriguez -- all of which have been linked at one point or another. Pujols leads the parade of players that have not (yet) been linked to the PED movement which includes Vladimir Guerrero, Pedro Martinez and Robinson Cano.

So here's my plea to Phat Albert. Please do not find yourself on that list, may The Baseball Gods so help your soul. If not for the sake of the game, for the sake of St. Louis Cardinals fans who would look like total hypocrites for giving Manny Ramirez a resounding chorus of boos for the last four days, but gave a thunerous standing ovation to Rick Ankiel.

Oh wait, that already happened.

More on that later.

QOTD: Who's The Hall Of Famer That Was On Roids

Jose Canseco has been (arguably) the most reliable source in the Steroid Era. He's the bad guy you kind of root for but wouldn't mind if he got knocked off because he's like the neighborhood snitch.

Except, when it comes to the Hall Of Famer the he alleges was roided up, via ESPN:

"When you tell me something I didn't already know, I'll be surprised. And I'll tell you this, Major League Baseball is going to have a big, big problem on their hands when they find out they have a Hall of Famer who's used."

So, who was it? It's not like Canseco has taken us down the wrong path before. Could it have been former teammates like Rickey Henderson (who played 'til he was beyond ancient) Dennis Eckersley (a pitcher who racked up a ton of innings when he was with Oakland), Wade Boggs (who was Canseco's teammate in his twilight years with Tampa Bay) or someone else.

How demoralizing would it be if Cal Ripken Jr.'s Iron Man streak was tainted? Or if Tony Gwynn's 3,141 hits and .338 career batting average didn't come naturally. What if it was one of the Midwest's most beloved baseball icons such as Ozzie Smith or Ryne Sandberg?

All of the above should be considered pure speculation. But in a crazy world like this, anyone who is suspect should be considered a suspect.

White Sox and Buehrle Taking Away from Politics!

MLB- All Star Game

Just a thought as the economy and other issues surround our great country, and this is not to take away from any of our politicians, but....

President Barack Obama heads to the All-Star game in St. Louis, wearing a White Sox jacket, which puts him center stage among the baseball world. There was plenty of talk surrounding Obama's wardrobe choice, including the jeans, but more on the jacket.

I am sure Mark Buehrle loved it, and he thanked Obama by pitching a perfect game last week. Obama was even headed to Chi-Town the night of the milestone for a conference, and he called to congratulate the left-hander.

And today, two nights after Buehrle completed a record of 45 consecutive batters retired, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proclaims July 30, 2009 as Mark Buehrle Day in the state. He even says Buehrle should join the state legislature when he is done pitching. The Sox thank Quinn by going out and hitting a walk-off single in the ninth to beat the Yankees. Dewayne Wise got the hit, and Wise made the great catch to preserve perfection last week.

There is a state budget crisis, the nation's economy is trying to get back into shape, health care is an issue, meetings at the White House are being held today with beer, and so many other issues to be resolved.

Yet, the focus has also been on a 52-51 team from the South Side of Chicago. Again, all the love in the world goes out to our leaders. Yet, if problems continue in our country, you may want to thank the White Sox for bringing the attention on themselves.

For those in Illinois, I hope you had a wonderful Mark Buehrle Day. I wonder when Dewayne Wise Day will be.

Cubs Send Down Hart; Call Up Grabow, Gorzelanny

Sports - February 04, 2008
Evergreen Park, Ill., native Tom Gorzelanny pitches for AAAA Pittsburgh.

And who says the Chicago Cubs have a piss poor minor league system?

GM Jim Hendry proved the skeptics wrong today as he announced that the Cubs called up left-handed reliever John Grabow and lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny from the team's Quadruple-A affiliate in Pittsburgh.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs sent Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio and Marvin Josh Harrison to Pittsburgh.

This might be the last time the Cubs use the Quad-A squad this year, but Cubs fans can look to the future as prospects like outfielder Andrew McCutchen, third baseman Pedro Alvarez wait in the wings along with pitchers Matt Capps, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm and Brad Lincoln.

TBDS Late Night: Where Jerking Off The Baseball Happens

Keeping TBDS Late Night brief as changes are forthcoming.

This is audio of Phillies broadcaster, and former Cubs hitting instructor Gary Matthews Sr., who gives baseball players (and young men, for that matter) some interesting advice.

You should remember this as you pregame for what will likely be an awfully Thirsty Thursday.

(via Awful Announcing)

Oh, Missy You Tease

Well, I'm hooked. All signs point to a new recruit coming in, but who knows what it could be.

Pat Summitt or Geno Auriema as an assistant? Candace Parker forgoing the WNBA for one more year of eligibility at Southern Illinois?

Too bad former coach Dana Eikenberg isn't on Twitter. It seems like she has fallen off the face of the earth since Mario Moccia announced her resignation once upon an April afternoon.

(via @SIUCoachTiber)

Report: Big Papi Was On The Big PED List

Man reading newspaper in armchair, portrait
Here's a thought: The NYT should sell the 2003 PED list to the highest bidder to save the newspaper industry.

Move over Detox. Move over Blueprint 3. This year's biggest release might not come from either of you -- or anyone in the music industry, for that matter. I think it's time for the New York Times to release the entire 106-player positive test list.

Yes, I'm writing this partially because David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez each had their name dropped on this list by a report in New York Times. But also, because it's getting annoying to have this list leak one-by-one. Every time another name gets leaked, it just proves to be even more evidence that someone is just screwing with us.

Heck, if I'm the NYT and I want to save journalism, I'd sell that list to the highest bidder. Is it ethical? Hell no. As a journalist, I know better. But I also know that the world of journalism needs a savior like the Washington Nationals need -- well -- an entirely new team.

I'm also bothered by the notion that a good chunk of PED users have been Latino baseball players. This 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article details part of the matter, but it makes me wonder what some of these agents are telling these young ball players.

How easy could it be for a slimey agent to sell a lavish lifestyle as a Major Leaguer at the expense of the sanctity of the game? How easy would it be for said agent to suggest that steroids could rescue a youngster and his family from a life of poverty in developing country?

I won't justify cheating -- even though it was technicaglly legal at the time. But I will express my disappointment.

BREAKING NEWS: The Pirates Are Rebuilding -- Again!

MLB: JUN 23 Indians at Pirates
There hasn't been much to clap about for the Pittsburgh Pirates since Barry Bonds got BALCO'd up and moved out west!

Why are the Pittsburgh Pirates so bad every year, yet, every year they have a handful of players contending teams covet?

That is the hard question no one seems to be asking about the perennial NL Central cellar dwellars, who began their yearly firesale early this season when they traded future Hall of Famer All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves. Since then, they have jettisoned former ace Ian Snell along with three-fourths of their starting infield as first baseman Adam LaRoche, second baseman Freddy Sanchez and shortstop Jack Willson have since been jettisoned to teams that consider themselves contenders.

It won't be long until John Grabow, Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny each find new homes outside of the greater Pittsburgh area after July 31.

The Pirates' ineptitude dates back to their terrible drafts. In 1985, they drafted Barry Bonds, who turned out to be a pretty decent ball player. Pre-BALCO Bonds led Pittsburgh to some pretty good years ... and a cameo spot in the hit movie Rookie of the Year. I've still never been able to confirm it, but being struck out by teenager Henry Rowengartner (50 second mark in accompanying YouTube video) might have pushed Bonds to be a PED pusher.

I guess the world will never know.

But the world does know about the Pirates' lame-duck drafts since drafting Jason Kendall in 1992. Notables include Kris Benson (1996) is known more for his hot wife, J.J. Davis (1997), who was a dy-no-mite! bust. More notable are some of the guys the Pirates passed over when selecting what has turned out to be a real-life "Major League III" movie.

In 1994 they passed on Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Konerko and Jason Varitek to draft Mark Farris. They probably would have been better off drafting Anna Faris. When they drafted Chad Hermansen in 1995 with the No. 11 pick, they could have drafted some guy named Roy Halladay, who went No. 17 to the Toronto Blue Jays. Lance Berkman was on the board in 1997 when Pittsburgh picked Davis.

This list could go on for days. And I stopped in 1997. Guys they've passed on since the 2000s began include Adam Wainwright (29th overall), B.J. Upton in 2002 (2nd overall), John Danks in 2003 (9th overall -- one pick after selecting Paul Maholm).

Despite the Pirates' drafting dilemmas, GM Neal Huntington should be commended for turning Snell, Sanchez, Wilson, LaRoche and McClouth into 11 warm bodies.

But unless the rest of the Pirates organization gets it together, it won't be long until guys like Andrew McCutcheon, Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos and Pedro Alvarez are the next names to be put into the firesale.

SIte News: TBDS Under Construction

John Key Visits New Lynn Rail Trench Project Assemble
Slaves Construction workers are helping re-tool this site.

As I have tried to re-tool this site to make it more visually appealing, yours truly has ran into some problems. But it's cool, because the problems are mostly on my end. So while I take a bit of a breather as I try to straighten some things out, you might get some posts from this sites other bloggers.

Or a dumbed-down version of what I want to write extensive prose about. Oh well, until I get everything straightened out ... (And by "I", I mean my trusty Web expert) ... I won't be fully back up and running.

Until then, enjoy Men at Work.

Memo To Jim Hendry: I Found Your Left-Handed Bat

There's a firesale in Cleveland. Everything must go. Except for LeBron James, of course. He's not leaving until next year.

Mark DeRosa, Rafael Betancourt, Ryan Garko and Cliff Lee have escaped the Mistake By The Lake -- and that means Victor Martinez should be next. At this rate, if I were Cubs GM Jim Hendry, I'd at least make a call about center fielder Grady Sizemore and see if you can strike while the stove is hot.

But my focuse right now just might be on the 30-year-old catcher that will make what remains on the $4.5 million left on this year's contract and the $7 million on next years. He would look fine sandwiched between Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. (No homo.)

Yes, I understand the Cubs have Geovany Soto coming back from injury soon, but why not build the trade around him? Switch-hitting catchers whose career batting average sits at a cool .297 don't grow on trees.

Geo, cash considerations and friends for V-Mart. Get it done, Jimbo!

Wang Currently Disabled, Heads To DL (So Do These Kinds Of Headlines)

Hasn't this dude ever heard of Extenze? I'm pretty sure his girlfriend isn't going to be happy with this latest development.

Video duration 38 seconds? Finish the joke as you may.

Once Upon A Time, Even Wrestling Laughed At Mark McGwires (Alleged) Steroid Use

The funniest video you'll see all day. (Via The Big Lead)

Unless, of course, you live in, are from or are a friend, fan or associate of St. Louis or the Cardinals baseball organization.

Flaming Cards hat ... Pretty much sums up St. Louis, doesn't it?

More on Josh Fields

First off, Luis' comment on Upper Iowa University was flat out wrong. He's just bitter that "former Saluki great" Dion Coopwood went there first before transferring to Southern Illinois.

Now onto something slightly less ridiculous.

Josh Fields wants out of the Chicago White Sox organization. We know, we know, it worked for Brian Anderson.

But you can't fix bad. Bad being an inability to hit belt-high mid-90's fastballs.

Check that, it's REAL bad.

That's the scouting report on Fields: feed him fastballs in on his hands and watch him whiff.

Clearly, there's some potential here, more so than was the case with Anderson. Fields had a great year in 2007 on a bad team besides an obscene amount of strikeouts.

But that was his rookie year.

If you can believe it, the rest of the league figured out the belt-high fastball weakness and exploited the hell out of it.

Imagine that!

Sadly, Fields never adjusted back and coupled his poor defense with poor hitting make him an awful candidate for a starting third base job which he held on to longer than he should have with Gordon Beckham waiting in the wings.

In reality, Fields should have been sent to Triple-A a long time ago because he rarely plays and that's only hindering his progress. But at the current time, there isn't anywhere for him to play regardless of the fact that outfielder DeWayne Wise still has a job despite his sub-.200 average.

I just found it hilarious that Fields complained about his playing time earlier in the season when he was hitting .220-ish with terrible defense. It's sort of like the same thing Nick Swisher did last year and it bought him a ticket out of town.

The situation of selling low on both Swisher and Anderson before was shocking in a sense of how low they sold on them (basically getting nothing in return). Although Anderson didn't have much value I thought Swisher did.

But in the case with Swisher and to a certain extent, pitcher Javy Vazquez, it was a straight salary dump.

Would both of those players had a spot on this season's team? Sure, but the poor attitudes sealed their trip out the door.

Swisher brought absolutely nothing back in return as the centerpiece of that deal, Jeff Marquez, barely looks like a Triple-A player. At least in the case of Vazquez, the White Sox netted a future backstop in Tyler Flowers.

But selling as low on Fields as they did on both Vazquez and Swisher is a stupid move for the club because Fields doesn't cost anything and still has options left.

He wants to be traded? Too bad. Let him figure his stuff out first in Triple-A and then worry about it. Why do we care about his feelings? Why should the front office?

If he wants to be traded make him up his value in Triple-A first so the White Sox don't deal him for a LOOGY or a non-impact player for a potentially non-existent stretch run.

In Anderson's case, there were no "flashes" but I think there still might be a future for Fields on this team if he can show the 2007 wasn't a fluke by figuring out the hole in his swing.

After that promising year, during one game which White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone compared him to being on the same track as Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (WHOOPS!), Fields tanked after a leg injury and psychological pressure.

There still might be hope so don't sell low unless he's out of options.

So, Tell Me Again Why Does Josh Fields Want To Get Traded?

Rumors floated around yesterday not involving Roy Halladay involved Chicago White Sox third baseman Josh Fields, proving to me there are other players on the trading block. It wasn't too long ago when Fields' name being tossed around the rumor mill in association with a blockbuster trade.

And maybe, it still could be.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Fields has asked to be traded. And while the once-prized prospect who was supposed to make South Side fans forget about Joe Crede has been usurped by Gordon Beckham, I am hardpressed to find a reason to want out of Chicago.

(Well, other than having to drive through the South Side at night, of course.)

His numbers are disappointingly underwhelming, batting .220 with a .301 on-base percentage while slugging .354. It looks like the Louisville Slugger he once carried to the plate in 2007, when he hit 23 home runs, drove in 67 runs and slugged .480, has turned into a wet newspaper overnight.

(And no, I'm not going to make a "nobody reads newspapers anymore" joke.)

Had Fields played his cards right, he could have re-emerged as an option at third base if manager Ozzie Guillen shifted Alexei Ramirez to second base and moved Beckham to shortstop.

Could the former prospect need a change of scenery, perhaps? It's possible. But to me, it looks like he needs a change in plate discipline (71 strikeouts in 71 games/251 plate appearances) more than anything.

TBDS Late Night: The Buried Lead Part II Takes You To Bed

What Crazy Uncle Milton would do to Steve Rosenbloom if he had a chance.

If I were to come up with the concept of a sports blog today, rather than a little more than a year ago, I probably would call it "Bashing Milton Bradley" because that seems like the easiest thing to do in to do.

So easy, a Cards fan can do it. Easier than Sunday morning. Easier than getting into Upper Iowa University. Easier thank the sorority skank sitting at the end of the bar gulping down her eighth, ninth and tenth Long Island.

You can add Tribune blogger/glorified columnist/former sports radio host Steve Rosenbloom to the list of those who took the easy road to writing a column/blog. Lost in the outrage over Bradley's cynical comments was this tidbit that was oh-so-easy to ignore because it made too much sense.

"It's nice, but I don't think we're going to get any nicer articles written about us. But we're in first place, so you can't find a negative in that."

Translation from the eyes of someone not looking to use Crazy Uncle Milton as a jump-off: "First place is nice, but it's July 26, not September 26."

Also, take note the different lead ins between the columnist and the beat writer. You know, the guy who follows the team religiously.

Paul Sullivan, respected beat writer:

"A crowd of 41,528 seemed to enjoy the fact the Cubs overcame a lot of adversity to get to the top spot, though some, like (Milton) Bradley, downplayed the accomplishment."

Steve Rosenbloom, columnist:

"As usual with the guy whose motto must be “Surly to bed, surly to rise," Bradley offered some comments on sweeping Dusty Baker’s typically bad team and jumping over the dreaded Cardinals..."

Then he followed with:

"Here’s a tip, pal: Nice articles are easier to come by when you don’t sound like a self-pitying brat. Just saying."

It doesn't take a baseball connoisseur to figure out that Rosenbloom's column is slanted more than a weigh scale that has Bartolo Colon on one side and Alexei Ramirez on the other.

Then there was this quote, that instantly made me stand applaud Milton Bradley for something that had to do nothing with on the field stuff.

"Are we going to stop getting bashed by everybody, articles about our lineup and how it was better last year and all that garbage. Last year's team is sitting at home, just like everyone else. There's just one champion."

Translation: "There's no point of popping too much wood at the sight of being in first place in July when there's still two-and-a-half months of baseball to be played."

Look, if you want to be happy with being in first place in the middle of July, then you can join the "It's Gonna Happen" guy, the Can The Cubs Mend My Heart Guy and all those stupid attention-seeking whores in a circle jerk. Don't get me wrong, division titles are nice. Winning a baseball division title means you have to be better than five other teams for the majority of a 162 game schedule. Think about how hard that is, numbers wise.

Cubs fans, you should always remember that your beloved Mark DeRosa didn't lead the Cubs to a World Series. Heck, in two years, he couldn't help the team win one game. So, does that mean if Bradley is a part of a Cubs team that wins one measley playoff game (a feat that hasn't been reached on the North Side since 2003) -- does that make him a savior?

Probably not. It will likely take a walk-off home run in each and every game of the playoffs for Cubs fans to side with Bradley.

Until then, Crazy Uncle Milton has the right to go batshit crazy upside the head of Rosenbloom or any other dumb columnist looking to get off easy on a column.

This Just In: Brett Favre Will No Longer Tease Us

Brett Favre Press Conference
Favre: "I'm crying for Vikings fans who have to put up with Tarvaris Jackson for one more year.

There is a God, and his word has been passed down to Star-Tribune reporter Judd Zulgad who let it flow freely (first?) via the interwebs:

"Brett Favre won't be joining the Vikings. Vikings coach Brad Childress told the Star Tribune late this afternoon that the quarterback informed the team he has decided to remain retired. "

So does this mean the Vikings will go after Mike Vick?

Have fun with Michael Tito Tarvaris Jackson and Ken Rosenthal Drew Rosenhaus Sage Rosenfels as they attempt to boost the morale of a team that was expected to get a future Hall of Fame quarterback in the fold. The only person celebrating this more than yours truly is John David Booty, who gets to keep his beloved No. 4 jersey.

That is, of course, until Favre announces his return before Week 4 -- when he will suit up against the Green Bay Packers.

A Hollywood producer is writing this script, isn't he?

Childress: Favre Is Staying Retired [Star-Trib]


(via Chicago Sun-Times)

The Buried Lead Part I: Jake Fox Can Catch

Indians vs. Cubs
Breaking News: Jake Fox can catch.

There were myriad heroes in Monday night's Cubs win against the Astros. Take your pick. You can have Derrek Lee, who visited Waveland Avenue on a game-tying blast in the fourth inning. How about Carlos Zambrano (3-1, 2.63 earned run average in July) and another stellar summer outting. Of course, there's the obvious choice, Alfonso Soriano. This blog was once committed to bringing out the buried lead in stories, and today, I return to those roots to bring it out.

Last night's biggest hero was Jake Fox.


Fox took over for Koyie Hill in the 10th inning and called a heck of a game behind the plate and did his part to preserve a 1-1 tie. Hill, who is renowned as one of the better game-callers and defensive catchers since debuting for the Cubs in 2007, watched from the sidelines as Fox caught four scoreless innings before Soriano's slam ended it.

The latest in the line of late-developing Iowa Cub phenoms, Fox has proven to be a very valuable asset to the North Side Nine. He can play both corner outfield and corner infield positions. And proved last night, and in some other spots, that he can serve as a back-up catcher. He's like Mark DeRosa, but without the fawning twentysomethingyearold babes dudes with DeRo posters above their beds.

It is almost too bad the Cubs do not play in the American League, where Fox would garner plenty of at bats as a designated hitter. Until the day Jim Hendry goofs and trades him to an American League team in exchange for some burned out prospects and a dozen donutes, it is up to manager Lou Piniella to find him some playing time.

Check that. A lot of playing time.

Will the benches clear tonight for Fonzi?

If I were starting tonight for the Houston Astros I'd make sure I nailed Chicago Cubs frolicking left fielder Alfonso Soriano with a ball square on his hip.

The over the top celebration is a staple of Soriano and his man-crush John Cena and Monday night's walk-off grand slam was a good time to bust out the "You can't see me."

But act like you've done it before for God-sakes.

It's not like I wouldn't behave in the same way but then again I've never hit a home run in anything other than wiffle ball before. And if you're going to have a staple celebration, pick something specific.

First, he started with a long glare at the majestic fly for a few seconds, he was standing still, admiring the ball. Then a slow trot around the bases was punctuated by the signature Cena celebration/intimidation move/marketing gimmick.

That was all fine and dandy even with the mob at home plate. It's just a basic walk-off celebration in the MLB.

But making out with your wife and essentially jumping into the crowd to cap the celebration? Enough already.

Soriano showed up the other team and he should expect to get plunked. No big deal. Just make sure Big Z knows that.

STFU LaTroy Hawkins

Dear LaTroy: A message from TBDS.

In my 23 years of life, there are only a handful (if that) of Chicago Cubs players that I did not like. Some I did not like because of their attitudes. Others I disliked because of their performance on the field. But when it comes to LaTroy Hawkins, it was a little bit of everything.

When Hawkins was a Cub, his numbers weren't terrible -- on paper. 2.76 earned run average, 29 saves and a 1.099 WHIP in 98 career games looks good to the naked eye, but his attitude and his inability to close games down the stretch in 2004 are the reasons he will go down in Cubs lore as one of the all-time free agent busts.

That, and his crummy attitude.

He did nothing but blame others for his shortcomings. Teammates, fans, media members -- none of whom were safe from LaTroy's wrath. And while his mechanics are different since finding a new home in Houston, his attitude apparently hasn't.

Paul Sullivan from the Trib drops this nugget on us via the Internet:

Houston reliever LaTroy Hawkins may be looking at a hefty fine from Major League Baseball after claiming plate umpire Mike Everitt "wanted" the the Cubs to win Monday night's game.

Hawkins was ejected by Everitt in the eighth inning after disputing a called ball to Aramis Ramirez and continuing to complain after Everitt ordered him to "knock it off." ... Hawkins sounded off on the ejection to the Houston Chronicle.

"Maybe he was having a bad day," Hawkins said. "I thought he had determined who he wanted to win the game anyway."

Some things never change, do they, LaTroy? It was only in 2004 when he gave up a big blast to Albert Pujols at Wrigley Field in which Hawkins blamed the fans for his struggles. A head scratching moment that caused me to think:

  1. I wasn't on the mound grooving a low-90s fastball to Phat Albert with the sacks packed.
  2. I don't know one Cubs fan that would suggest throwing said low-90s fastball to Phat Albert.
Alas, the Hawk Squaks again, blaming someone else per usual. Dusty Baker will probably have his back, but none of his teammates should. Nor should the fans. They're probably next on the firing line.

Alfonso Soriano 4 Carlos Lee 1

Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Soriano is smoking in the sixth spot, especially after a walk-off slam!

Carlos Lee might have hit the longest home run of the night. But Alfonso Soriano hit the most important one.

Long story short, it bailed out Lou Piniella's questionable managing and Mike Fontenot's poor execution. But a win is a win is a win. And by the slimmest of margins, the Cubs are still in first place.

Cubs 5 Astros 1 [Yahoo! Sports]

TBDS Late Night: I Won't Let Billy Beane's Star Fade

I got this pushed across my path toward the end of the work day, so what I had originally planned on writing about got pushed back to a later date. Why? Because I must defend Billy Beane.

And despite this glowing piece on ESPN (via @MoneyballMovie) the Oakland A's general manager has lost one of his biggest fans, ESPN's Rob Neyer, who had some not-so-nice things to say in the aftermath of the Matt Holliday trade.

"If the A's made a trade like this two years ago, I would have organized a parade to celebrate Billy Beane's great wisdom.

Today? I just can't do it. Instead of seeing three prospects obtained for a song, I wonder why the A's would want a "pear-shaped" third baseman who doesn't have much power and is widely thought to be a future first baseman, and I think about what a disaster Oakland's last first-baseman-of-the-future (Daric Barton) has been. Instead of applauding Beane for adding to the organization's pitching depth, I wonder what the A's -- who already have eight starting pitchers 25 or younger -- could possibly do with another young starter. And I wonder how Peterson's going to succeed where Ryan Sweeney and Travis Buck and Aaron Cunningham haven't."

This is me admitting something I don't want to admit. The original Moneyball concept is dead. The secret is out. OBP. OPS. Bill James' wisdom. All of it. Dead.

It's like befriending that one average looking young lady friend when she was "just alright" and your friends would have laughed at you had you actually dated her. Then she got hot overnight, and yeah, you two fooled around. Heck, you were the talk of the town. Then she left you and has been gettin' her freak on all around town. Now she's used goods and you're old news.

However, there is still hope for the underlying theme of the concept. Hoarding (and developing) young talent.

Oakland can't compete with the big boys because they cannot afford the price to keep the Hollidays of the world long enough. So they stockpile prospects instead. And if enough prospects flourish, then you have a winning cycle. It's a shame that Beane's genius is being wasted for an ownership group that wouldn't spend a penny to make a dollar.

Oftentimes, I've called for Beane to be the next Cubs GM once a real owner heads into town. Not based on my man crush on Beane, my love of the Michael Lewis best-seller or the movie that is coming out that will star Brad Pitt as the Outback Steakhouse waitress slaying, smooth-talking smoother criminal.

I've wanted Beane to come to Chicago and develop a farm system so the Cubs can be a real team.

Since 1998, when Beane became Oakland's GM, the A's have developed more home grown talent than the Cubs have. Then, the home grown talent gets turned into someone else's overlooked young talent.

Imagine had the following pitching staff been able to stay healthy and in tact: Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito.

Or if Oakland had the loot to keep Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Nick Swisher around.

If Oakland's owners had Bill Gates money, the West Coast baseball scene would be poppin' like Tupac's California Love video. Instead, the Oakland baseball soundtrack plays like an old blues record.

Sean May Is Gonna Prove You Wrong

North Carolina Tar Heels v Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois fans are going to hate that I'm writing this blog more than the fact that I posted this picture.

Last we saw Sean May, he was torturing a trio of University of Illinois "big" men on the low block. With a stunning array of post moves, combined with brute force that came from a man with that much size and strength, May scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds en route to a 75-70 win clinching a national title for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Gateway to the West was truly the Gateway to a Championship for Roy Williams.

Wait, what? You say May has been in the pros for X years now? And that Williams and the Tar Heels have won another title since? Pardon me. So, May is an NBA superstar averaging 20-10 after being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets Bobcats, right?

Well, not quite.

It has been quite the fall for the 2005 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, who was selected with the 13th overall pick in the NBA Draft. Expected to team with Emeka Okafor (a former Final Four MOP at UConn) to provide the Bobcats with a formidable front court. Aside from Andrew Bogut at Utah, he was college basketball's best big man and was destined for a reputable pro career with his UNC pedigree in tow.

But since joining The Association, May has averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds. Hardly the numbers anyone expected out of the Tar Heel product. He's had strength and weight issues, but has vowed to make a strong comeback.

"I will prove everybody wrong. Yeah, there’s people that have written me off and that’s fine. I understand that and I accept that challenge."

May recently signed with the Sacramento Kings, and said that he had an offer from Cleveland Caveliers and had been talking to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Chicago Bulls worked out the former McDonald's All-American, recently, as well.

Here's hoping that May returns to form with a little bit of hard work and a lot luck on the health side. If May comes back, even as a reserve, I might question the Bulls for not signing him.

He can't be worse than Aaron Gray or Jerome James ... can he?

Sean May: "I Will Prove Everybody Wrong" [Hoops Hype]

Roy Halladay Ain't Comin, But The Cubs Could Fleece The Pirates Yet Again

Houston Astros vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Upon hearing trade rumors, Ryan Doumit is begging Zach Duke to take him with if he gets traded to Chicago.

Roy Halladay has been ticketed to go anywhere and everywhere that isn't the North Side of Chicago. It's almost sad, too, seeing that each of the Chicago Cubs' top four starters has spent time on the disabled list.

But off in the distance, help might be on its way. And if the Washington Nationals are baseball's starter girlfriend, that means the Pittsburgh Pirates are baseball's neighborhood pusher. Because whenever you need it the Pirates got it and are willing to give it to you.

Not long ago, the Cubs turned Bobby Hill, Matt Brokeback Bruback and Jose Hernandez into Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton. Lofton turned into the lead-off man the Cubs still haven't had since 2003 and Ramirez has become a franchise cornerstone.

And no one has ever heard from those "prospects" ever again.

Fast forward to 2009 and the Cubs have their eyes on another coup of the Pirates' ship.

With Ted Lilly hitting the DL, there is an apparent interest in lefty starters Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny. Duke has come across some rough times since going 8-2 with a 1.81 earned run average as a rookie, but that's to be expected from a franchise that hasn't won anything since Roberto Clemente roamed right field.

After going 18-37 after his freshman campaign, Duke has posted a 9-9 record, 3.42 ERA and 1.227 WHIP for the bottom-feeding Bucco's. As for Gorzelanny, the Evergreen Park, Ill., is wasting away in the minors somewhere -- like most Pirates prized prospects.

The Cubs also might have an interest in Freddy Sanchez, as the team is in search of offensive production out of the second base slot. Same can be said about lefty specialist John Grabow and probably closer Matt Capps.

The purging of the Pirates is already underway (as Phil Rogers points out) as Pittsburgh has already traded Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche for a 1970s Pinto and a steaming pile of garbage to be named later.

So, here I am, wondering whether or not Jim Hendry can take Neal Huntington to the woodshed for one more Pirate heist.

My prediction: Duke, Grabow, Capps and Sanchez for Aaron Miles and David Patton.

Let's get it done, Jimbo!

Homerism At Its Finest Part I: I'm Psyched About Saluki Football

When it comes to SIU Football, I'm so excited I can do a backflip. (Not really)

While the days of covering Saluki athletics like a blanket are behind me (for the most part) I will always keep a close eye on the alma mater. And there might not be a better year to do so than 2009.

Over the weekend, I ran into several current and former SIU athletes, prompting this Twitter post announcing my excitement. And while I understand that it is only July, I have good reason to believe things are on the upswing for Southern Illinois University.


I wonder what second-year head coach Dale Lennon and the football Salukis have up their sleeves for an encore. In his first year, Lennon was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference's coach of the year as SIU posted a 9-2 regular season record en route to a conference championship and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.

Yes, a college football playoff system. Whodathunkit?

The Salukis return all but one starter from last season's defense. Everyone knows that. But what exactly does it mean for the team's success? How about everything.

The only departed starter is the ever-so-popular James Cloud, but SIU returns fellow linebackers Brandin Jordan, Ryan Patton and Chauncey Mixon. Nose tackles Chris Arthurs and Tony Colletti also return, meaning that six of the starting front seven returns. And that will lead to much havoc for opposing offensive lines.

The emergence of cornerback Korey Lindsey solidifies the secondary gives me hope that teams will struggle to move the ball through the air. After a strong sophomore season, few teams dared to throw to Brandon Williams' side, so they picked on Lindsey. Who, in turn, picked back with a few interceptions.


The bad news is that junior quarterback Chris Dieker loses one of his top targets in wide out Damian Sherman. But the biggest concern is finding someone to replace Larry Warner's production out of th ebackfield and on special teams.

The good news is that Joe Allaria is progressing as more than a slot receiver and could be in the running in the return game. He will be joined by Marc Cheatham, Jeff Evans, who will hopefully be healthy, and Bryce Morris.

For those of you worried about who will be toting the rock, don't worry. SIU churns out running backs like Michael Jackson churned out No. 1 hits. It seems that every year, Saluki coaches, fans and beat writers have to ask who's going to be the top dawg in the backfield. And every year, several Salukis emerge to be productive backs.

Larry Warner is the latest in the line of great Saluki running backs. He followed the lead of John Randle, who came after Arkee Whitlock, who came after Brandon Jacobs. So, who will it be this year? Richard White and Deji Karim get first dibs on the tailback position, but don't be surprised if Anton Wilkins or Jonate Govan get a chance, as Lennon loves show off the team's depth.


Last we saw placekicker Kyle Dougherty, he missed a few crucial kicks in the team's playoff loss against New Hampshire. Consider that a fluke. Dougherty will come back strong, I'm sure. And expect punter Scott Ravanesi to rebound as well from his issues. Ravanesi had several punts blocked last year, including one in the playoff game. Lennon said SIU will re-work some punt protection schemes to prevent opponents pressuring the punter.


The Salukis start their season against Marshall, which will be a very winnable game against a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) opponent. SIU returns home to face the sacrificial lamb game against Division II Southwest Baptist.

Then the fun starts.

The defending champs travel to Macomb, Ill., to face one in-state rival (Western Illinois) before coming home to face another in-state foe Illinois State, which will come into the match-up with a new coach and probably some new schemes.

It is very likely the conference champion will be decided in the UNI Dome when SIU travels to Northern Iowa on Oct. 17. That place has been a house of horrors for the Salukis, but Dale Lennon pounced on the Panthers in his only previous appearance at the Dome of Doom.

The match-up I look forward to most is the payback game against North Dakota State. The Salukis went up to the Fargo Dome and took an early lead before watching it all fall apart. After that loss, Larry Warner delivered the pep talk that would charge SIU into a conference champion.

And 'til this day, Warner still will not share the details of that speech. But if SIU needs it, I'm sure Larry Lightening won't mind repeating himself for his former teammates.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, featuring how and why the SIU men's basketball team will win 20 games next year.

(Image Credit: Sean McGahan Exclusive)

Stay Classy, Philadelphia

Finally, I was able to get some video proof of the happenings between the Cardinals and Phillies on Saturday. Picked up the video of a disappointed Dick Stockton and Tim McCarver via The Big Lead's Yardwork. No truth to the rumor that Carlos Zambrano, Albert Pujols or Ozzie Guillen is in charge of the baseball rundown segment.

A laser pointer ... really? I expect more from a fan base that boos Santa Claus and makes it rain with D-batteries.

On a serious note, that had to be distracting. I read some Cardinals message boards of the weekend (which I refuse to link because of their ineptitude) and once I got through the rubbish, the general consensus was that it was messed up. And for once, we agree. There is so much drama in the L.B.C. U.S.A. and with the fear of terrorism always looming (not so much now compared to when G-Dubya was running things) the last thing I need at the ballpark is a sniper ... let alone some idiot with a laser pointer acting like a sniper.

They never did catch the guy (or girl) responsible for this, and they probably went home scot-free and were the toast of the town among their close friends, relatives and those of the ilk. But I'll guarantee you one thing, he (or she) didn't get laid that night.

Honestly, no one who carries a laser pointer is getting laid.

Power Rankings: 10 Week Anniversary

Every week I do Power Rankings because I feel obliged to take a weekly cheap shot at Phil Rogers, who couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. This week, I'll take a jab at Gorden Wittenmeyer, who I assume cuddles with Rogers before he writes his stories.

1. Perfection. White Sox fans have Mark Buehrle, Cubs fans have Bud Light Fan Cam at Wrigley Field.

2. First Place. .5 is a number Tony LaRussa is very familiar with. He better get used to it, the Cubs are in the cat-bird's seat. Whatever that means.

3. Hollidays and Halladays. One has found a new home, the other will to ... if not ... he'll enjoy that wonderful Canadian health care.

4. Twitter. You can follow us @bigdeadsidebar.

5. Walking Wounded. Ted Lilly is joined on the Chicago DL by Marian Hossa -- who hasn't even put on a Blackhawks jersey.

6. Coming Clean. Jim Parque said he was sorry that he cheated, even though when he was doing what he was doing it wasn't illegal.

7. TBDS Late Night First Timers. Johnny Sole did a great job, didn't he?

8. Videos. More specifically, videos that don't feature Erin Andrews.

9. Teases. Carlos Boozer is toying with the hearts of Bulls fans.

10. Pleases. Begging for Roy Halladay. Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase!

Whipping Boys Lead Cubs Back Into First Place

Kevin Gregg, my bad. Most of the season, you've been among the most frustrating player I've ever witnessed as a Cubs fan. You wear goofy goggles and your throwing motion has been compared to one of a batting practice pitcher.

But even I, your biggest detractor, can't help but give you a tip of the cap for what you have done.

Believe it or not, Gregg has gotten better as the season has moved on. In April, his batting average against was .282 and that has dropped to .169 in July. On May 1, his earned run average was a robust 5.91. Now it sits at 3.42. Over the last month, Gregg has a 1.84 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP while racking up 10 saves and punching out 14 hitters in 15 innings pitched.

Not bad for a guy that nobody wanted.

He'll never be confused for Mariano Rivera, but if he continues to get three outs without blowing the lead in the ninth, the Cubs all of a sudden have one of the NL's best bullpens with Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman turning nine-inning games into six-inning games.

Then there's Milton Bradley. The only person taking more grief than me for supporting Crazy Uncle Milton is Milton himself. It's hard enough when opposing fans are riding you hard, but Bradley's in a no-win situation with Chicago fans. But slowly and surely, he's starting to get work done.

Over the last month, his batting average has been a pedestrian .258, but his on-base percentage has been an outstanding .417 . He's drawn 18 walks in 19 July games to bump that OBP all the way up to a team-best .382. Two of the walks he drew today came into score, one of which came as he scored from first on Alfonso Soriano's double to left due in part to an excellent slide.

He might not be scorching the baseball, but if Bradley (who's hitting .307 in home games) can get on base at a 40-percent clip in front of Soriano in the six spot.

Speaking of Alfonso Soriano, it looks as if he really has taken a liking to being a middle-of-the-line-up thumper.

The former lead-off man came into today's action batting .392 in the six-hole and that will get a nice boost after a 2-for-4 day at the plate today. He's slugging .692 out of his new home in the order and if he keeps it up, he will clearly surpass the .560 slugging percentage he posted in his last year as a Washington National and first year as a Chicago Cub.

Finally, we end with Rich Harden, whose acquisition was much-ballyhooed last July. This year has been an up-and-down kind of thing for Harden. But in his last three starts, Harden has been flat out nasty.
  • 6 IP 3 H 1 R 0 ER 7 K 0 BB (W @ WSH 7/16)
  • 7 IP 4 H 1 R 1 ER 6 K 2 BB (ND @ PHI 7/21)
  • 6 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 8 K 0 BB (W vs. CIN 7/26)
That's a 0.526 WHIP, 10.5 K/BB ratio and a 0.95 ERA in his last three starts.

Despite having each of their top three starters see DL time this year, missing its biggest offensive threat player for a majority of the year, the whining and crying of Mark DeRosa fanboys and jersey chasers ... the Chicago Cubs find themselves in first place.

Here's hoping it can stay that way.

Cubs 5 Reds 2 [ESPN]

Defending Milton Bradley

I'm pretty sure I might be Milton Bradley's only fan.

I might never understand my fellow Cubs fans. No, not the beer-swilling, babe-chasing Wrigleyville Chads. Instead, I'm having trouble finding a common ground with the baseball enthusiasts, especially when it comes to Milton Bradley.

There is no denying being disappointed with Bradley's performance this season. Cubs fans expected more than a .246 hitter after he signed a three-year $30 million deal coming off a season in which he led the American League in on-base percentage (.436) and OPS (.999). Bradley's struggles are amplified even more when compared to the numbers Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Raul Ibanez are putting up this season.

There was a segment of Cubs fans that were giggly when Steve Stone created a monster (via Twitter) that said "Rumor is that tigers are interested in trading for milton bradley. Cubs should fly him in a private jet." and Bradley was not in Saturday's starting line-up.

Statistically, there is no doubt in my mind that the Cubs need an upgrade out of right field -- a position they have struggled to fill since Sammy Sosa walked out on the team in 2004. And a small sample size indicates Bradley is starting to come out of his season-long funk. His OBP has gone up every month, which suggests his eye at the plate is getting better.

But for a fanbase that has reamed players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez for the perception of not trying hard, how can said fanbase turn around and rip Bradley, who manager Lou Piniella claims part of his issues come from his passion to be perfect. When asked about his struggles in the media, Bradley doesn't blame anyone but himself. His fielding deficiencies, blamed no one but himself.

I was once told a good worker doesn't blame his tools. Bradley has had a billion opportunities to do so this year. But he hasn't. As a Cubs fan, I appreciate someone putting out a 100 percent effort despite their shortcomings. It would be easy for Crazy Uncle Milton to shut it down and collect what's remaining on his contract.

But that's not the kind of player he is, and Cubs fans should applaud that.

TBDS Late Night: The Cubs' Coffers Have Gone Dry

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
Apparently, Jim Hendry was still drunk when he signed Milton Bradley.

At 49-45, the Chicago Cubs are reminding me of a simpler time in my life. A time in which mediocre Cubs baseball reigned supreme and while there was help to be had in the open market, it never came to Chicago.

It is apparent to me that the Cubs have returned to their roots as a small market team.

Say what?

That was a hard sentence to write, especially after the spending sprees that landed Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly and Kosuke Fukudome. Chicago has followed an offseason that featured overpaying for Ryan Dempster and Milton Bradley, and totally missing the boat on Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Raul Ibanez by watching the two teams they're battling for NL Central supremacy make moves that help their respective teams.

Felipe Lopez to the Brewers and Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals are good moves because their addition allows their manager to utilize their versatility. But the Matt Holliday deal is the one that sparks the fire. Yes, he replaces the power productivity the Redbirds expected out of third baseman Troy Glaus, but his acquisition gives the Cardinals a boost that hasn't been around since Mark McGwire left town.

Except this time, that boost is legal.

It's hard for me to believe that the Cubs are crying poor. Every member of management has said that payroll won't hold the Cubs back from contending. Forever, Cubs fans were told the Cubs were run seperately from the Tribune Co. that owned them.

The Cubs rank in the top five in TV revenue, merchandising revenue, advertising revenue and sell out every frickin' ball game. So, how come there isn't money in the bank to bring on something more than a John Baker onto this squad?

Simply put, the Cubs' free-wheeling ways was just a mirage. It sold tickets. It won games. It made headlines. It made money. It didn't matter that the Cubs were finally relevant again ... and not because of a one-man show or an all-time great announcer. Cubs fans were finally rewarded for 20+ years of Tribune Co. futility with a good product on the field.

So, right now, I'll ask the Cubs to make a decision. You can either act like one of the big boys, or you can take your money, pocket it and leave me and Cubdom alone.

There is no reason for the team in the third largest market to be acting like a second-rate city like Milwaukee or St. Louis. Sorry, that doesn't cut it with me. Nor should it fly with my fellow Cubs fans.

Here is your dosage of quality linkage:

Ted Lilly Heading To The DL

While Matt Holliday is headed to St. Louis, Ted Lilly, the Chicago Cubs' lone All-Star, is headed to the disabled list.

Ever since the All-Star Game:
  • Lilly had his start against the Washington Nationals pushed back because of his knee.
  • In his start against the Phillies, Lilly allowed 9 runs (7 earned) on 8 hits (2 HRs) in 4 innings
  • Paul Sullivan writes there's a problem with Lilly's throwing shoulder.
And all of a sudden, the North Side Nine has a need for a pitcher like Roy Halladay. Just saying.

It looks like the Cubs are back to the days in which they lie to the public about their players' injuries. Is it a coincidence that Dusty Baker is back in town for three games?

Probably Not.

Cubs' Lilly Headed To Disabled List [Chicago Tribune Hardball]

Statistical Analysis Of The Matt Holliday Trade To The St. Louis Cardinals

MLB: APR 18 Athletics at Blue Jays
Stat Boy says Matt Holliday will love hitting against the NL Central's best.

Good afternoon, folks. Had to wake Stat Boy up from his hangover nap with the news that the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday from the Oakland A's. As usual, Stat Boy has got some good news if you happen to support the Cardinals ... and bad news if you happen to support one of the other National League Central Division contenders.

Take it away, Stat Boy.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Redbird Nation up in arms despite acquiring Matt Holliday. St. Louis is acquiring a career .315 hitter, a three-time All-Star and would have been the 2007 NL MVP had Jimmy Rollins not stolen it from him. However, GM John Mozeliak is paying Billy Beane a hefty price with hot-shot third base prospect Brett Wallace, highly touted right-handed pitcher Clayton Moretnsen and outfielder Shane Peterson.

When it comes to trades with Beane and Oakland, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a buyer beware notice because of the last time these two hooked up for a big trade.

But I'm not here to re-ignite a burning sensation you should probably see a doctor for. Instead, I come to bring St. Louis fans a little bit of good news and the rest of the division some really bad news.

The common misconception is that Holliday can't hit outside of hitters haven Coors Field because he was allergic to gray road uniforms. Apparently, that doesn't count toward NL Central teams, especially the contenders.
  • Against the Milwaukee Brewers, Holliday owns a 1.082 OPS with 5 HRs and 13 RBIs, with three of the five dingers coming at Miller Park where he owns a .928 OPS.
  • Against the Houston Astros, he owns a .989 OPS and will challenge Albert Pujols for longest home run in Minute Maid history if he gets to face a flat Brad Lidge slider.
  • Against the Chicago Cubs, Holliday OPSes .856 ... but his number surprisingly slip to .652 at Wrigley Field. Probably distracted by this particular bleacher babe.
Interesting to note that the team Holliday OPSes the highest against is, in fact, the St. Louis Cardinals, where he owns a career 1.225 against the Redbirds.

Want more numbers? Of course you do.

He batted .394 with a .475 on-base percentage while slugging .750. I'm sure Cardinals fans are glad Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Ryan Franklin don't have to face that anymore.

Then there are Holliday's numbers at Busch Stadium II. I'll acknowledge the small sample size, but even Don Denkinger can see .385/.478/.872/1.350 is impressive. Not to mention the five homers in 46 career plate appearances.

When the going gets tough, Holliday seems to get going with a .305 career batting average after the seventh inning to go along with 38 homers and 142 runs batted in.

Truth be told (as pointed out by Hire Jim Essian), Holliday's bat is, in essence, a replacement for the 30 homer 100 ribbie year expected out of Troy Glaus at the hot corner. But more than that, adding Holliday shows that the Cardinals will not settle to be just "one of the guys" in the race.

This trade means they're for real.

Whatever that means

Blackhawks Are Not Perfect; Hossa Needs Surgery

NHL: MAY 30 Stanley Cup Finals - Penguins at Red Wings - Game 1

Well, how about this for a 360-degree turn? The Chicago baseball teams are riding high the last couple of days including a perfect game today by Mark Buehrle. Yet the Chicago Blackhawks are a mess right now after announcing today that Marian Hossa will undergo shoulder surgery.

This will not overshadow the perfect game by any means, but the way the baseball teams were playing, I could not have foreseen a day this summer where the conference final hockey team brings bad news and the White Sox bring the good news.

Hossa will miss at least the first two months of this coming season. He plays right wing, which is a pretty key position for the offense. Martin Havlat (guess what position he plays..yes, RW) is gone after the team did not re-sign him. That was okay because Hossa was there to replace him. Well, time for a new plan.

We will see Hossa at some point this season, and in a 12-year contract, there will be plenty of Hossa sightings down the line. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and company will still make a pretty good offense.

Yet Hossa's shoulder will always be in the back of people's minds, and this is not the way the big free-agent deal was supposed to start.

Buehrle Keeps on Chugging Along; Hall of Fame Not Out of Question

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox

A World Series title in 2005 where he became the first pitcher to start and save consecutive fall classic games, a no-hitter in 2007, the 18th perfect game in MLB history today, a four-time all star, 133 wins and counting.

The White Sox' Mark Buehrle is a crafty left-hander whose fastball tops off at about 90 mph. He has a cutter and a change-up that move pretty well, but he is in no means a strike-out pitcher. This can be still a quality arm in the big leagues, but Buehrle has turned this into a historic career.

If he stays healthy, which he has about his whole career, the 30-year-old should have about another ten years left. He his in his ninth full year now and still acts like a kid enjoying every minute of the game. The guy does not get tired due to his smooth delivery, and he is a workhorse, good for at least six innings about every night. There is no reason he cannot continue doing that for about another decade. I see him getting about 10 wins a season the next six years, which would give him 200 for a career.

When you mix all the other accomplishments with at least 200 wins, I see nothing that would take him away from the hall-of-fame. The all-star has done everything this season including hit a home run. It is hard to call Buehrle a hall-of-fame pitcher because you would not classify him as being dominating. Yet he still baffles hitters and is on pace for the best season of his career this year.

The Rays did not have any hard-hit balls today until the crazy catch by Dewayne Wise in centerfield. By the way, manager Ozzie Guillen knows what he is doing, putting Wise in for the 9th inning. Buehrle hardly had any reaction, on the outside, following that catch and just went about his business. He had a three-ball count on the batter after the ultimate web gem and found a way to make the clutch pitch.

Buehrle was born in the "Gateway to the West." The Chicago White Sox may become his "Gateway to Cooperstown."

Mark Buehrle Is Perfect, Not Good Enough To Get Yahoo!'s Top Performer

C'mon Yahoo! Sports, gimme a break. Guy retires every batter and doesn't get top dog? I guess Josh Vitters Fields was due to get some sort of kudos for actually performing at the plate.

Mark Buehrle's Perfect Game [Yahoo! Sports Game Channel]

Mark Buehrle


Mark Buehrle Is Perfect (No Homo)

White Sox vs. Royals

27 up. 27 down. 1 "no homo" reference.

It's a good day to be a South Sider. More insight to come later.