TMS Beer Project: Shock Top Belgian White

9:01 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though. Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:

Shock Top Belgian White

Brewery: Shock Top Brewing Co. Anheuser-Busch

Type: It thinks it's a Belgian Style Wheat

Receptacle: 12 ounce bottle someone brought to my house and left here.

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 5
All 5 points go to the fact that I can drink it with ease.  No points go to the fact that this is the shittiest excuse for a Belgian White I've ever had. Maybe a small bit of citrus detected but the coriander is non-existent.  Did they just waft a bowl of coriander over the top of the brewing tank and call it good?

Look I don't like to get all beer snob with these but for fuck's sake look at the label in the photo.  If you advertise coriander, you better deliver some god damn coriander.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 4
Hearty? If Karen Carpenter was a bottled beer, this would be it.

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea): 5
It's 5.2% so I suppose it'll get you drunk, if I chose to drink more of this shit.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Jim Edmonds.  Fucker is probably sucking one back now.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): $$: As far as six packs of "microbrews" go, I don't think it's too terribly expensive, but why the fuck bother? If you really want this beer then go get some Goose Island 312, or even some Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. I cannot tell you enough how incredibly not good this beer is.

Overall: 2
This beer is as phony as the crappy "microbrewery" that makes it. I have a hard time liking much of anything in St. Louis, and Shock Top certainly doesn't help matters.  If you must drink St. Louis beer then I wholly endorse the fine brews from Schlafly. Check those out instead of this pee water.

Castro & Rizzo, Oops, That's Castro & LaHair to All Star Game

11:09 AM | Comments (1) | by Arcturus

"Don't You, Forget About Me"
Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair were named to the All-Star Game.  While Castro was a no-brainer, it was a little surprising to see LaHair get the nod.  He did get off to a hot start, but has cooled significantly as the season has progressed.  Plus with all of the Jizzo'ing for Rizzo'ing going on, I'm surprised that anyone remembered Bryan was still on the team.

It's Rizzo Time!

1:52 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's official.  Anthony Rizzo will make his Cubs debut tomorrow night. We want to wish Rizzo all the best as he begins his major league career. Hopefully it's a successful one.  At least successful enough to unseat Stockard Channing from the top spot when I Google Image Search "rizzo."

Also, we call dibs on trademarking the catchphrase "I'M JIZZO 4 RIZZO!"

War Criminal: Older People Complaining About the Current State of Pop Music

8:53 AM | Comments (0) | by Adam

Not a week goes by when I check my Facebook and don't see some snarky post by some 30+ year old man bitching about Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or any of the other 4 pop stars currently inhabiting planet earth.

What the fuck is going on here?  Aren't you a grownup?  You have a career and a wife and kids.  Or you don't and you live in your parents' basement while amassing an unparalleled blu-ray collection.  Whatever.  It really doesn't matter if you're an accomplished adult or an unemployed turd of a blogger drunk on cheap whisky in the middle of the night.  You should have come to terms with pop music already. 

Here's the memo you apparently missed:  They stopped making pop music geared towards you the moment you walked across the stage and snagged your diploma.  Whether that was your high school diploma or you happened to buy yourself another few years of youth by going to college is completely inconsequential.  The moment you got out of school and tried to forge an existence is the moment pop music stopped being made with you in mind.  So take a deep breath, shed a tear for your lost innocence, briefly complain about the useless Grammy Awards and plunge into the Wilco catalog already.
Typical fan at a Wilco concert

Our parents went through this with grace and style.  Or at least mine did.  I grew up with a sister who was  the perfect age for a full-blown New Kids on the Block obsession.  Posters, dolls, lunch boxes, and the constantly repeating "Hangin' Tough" playing on the newfangled CD player...which cost $400 and was only connected to the stereo of the entertainment center in the living room.  I'm sure my dad wasn't thrilled with his daughter's skeevy-looking masturbation material hanging all over her bedroom walls, tempting her to seek out her budding womanhood, but he didn't complain about it incessantly, even though that period of time was probably weird as fuck for him.  And he would certainly never have 'liked' an anti-New Kids on the Block group on a social network, had they existed at the time.  He handled it the correct way; the entire rise and fall of a pop group wasn't worthy of his acknowledgment, even though his daughter was obviously rubbing it out like a bonobo monkey in heat to the 24" x 36" poster of Joey, Danny, Jonathan, Jordan and the other guy. 

Joey's hair is ribbed for her pleasure

My dad might have been an anomaly though.  Even back in the early 60's, adults were writing songs about that stupid teenage fad that were The Beatles.  In 1964 alone, there were over 200 songs recorded about the Beatles, and a good chunk of them weren't positive.

Now, I'm not comparing Justin Bieber to The Beatles. And I don't necessarily think that complaining about Justin Bieber puts you on the wrong side of history.   In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never even heard a Justin Bieber song.  BECAUSE I STOPPED LISTENING TO THE THINGS THAT PLAY THAT KIND OF MUSIC OVER 10 YEARS AGO.  I'd be willing to bet that I wouldn't like it, but I'm at that age (and posses enough self-awareness) that I realize I'd probably have flat out dismissed rock 'n' roll as an incomprehensible noisy mess had it just arrived on the scene during my early 30's.
Adam fighting the good fight c. 1962

The point is, this shit obviously isn't for us and we can't predict what stands the test of time.  I'd like to think that our parents would have drown us in the nearest creek bed had they known "Don't Stop Believing" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" would be two of the top karaoke songs of all time.  For all we fucking know, our grand-kids will be singing along to Ke$ha on the 2040's equivalent of the Guitar Hero franchise, Auto Tune Glory, on the PS8.  The future very well may suck for us, but it simply isn't up to us to decide.  In the meantime, listen to the shit you like (which, judging by the militant pop-music haters out there, is just the same old shit you listened to in high school anyway) and leave the brand new pop music to high school girls and DJs at gay clubs.

WTFATG*: Luis Valbuena

9:00 AM | Comments (1) | by Arcturus

Apparently I slept through spring training this year because I don't remember Luis Valbuena at all.  If you're like me, you're wondering who this guy is.  I thought he was one of our young farm guys.  Not so.

Valbuena's MLB career started in 2008 for the Mariners.  The Venezuelan was later traded to the Indians, then sent down to the minors in 2011 and eventually traded to the Blue Jays.  The Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Jays in April 2012.

It's been a small sample size, but I like what I've seen from Valbuena.  He looks solid in the field and he's got two homers and 7 RBIs in 6 games.  He's also not Ian Stewart.  His career stats don't really suggest that he'll continue on his current pace, although he hasn't played much the past few seasons.

Valbuena saw action in 17 games for Cleveland last year, following a 91 game campaign in 2010 and a 103 game run in 2009.  He hit 10 home runs in 2009 with a .250 average, his best season.  Homers dropped to 2 in 2010 and his average fell to .193.  In the 17 MLB games he played in last year, he hit .209 with 1 home run.

So obviously Valbuena's probably not the long term answer at third base.  Stranger things have happened though and the Cubs have a dearth of talent at third in the minors.  He's only 27 and the job seems to be all his for the moment.  Let's see what he does with it.   

*Who The Fuck Are These Guys? 

White Sox Fans: Take A Knee

10:00 AM | Comments (1) | by Rotofunk

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was dumb.
I like to think I have a pretty good idea of what still counts as "stupid" in this country. It seems like year after year, the bar is lowered further and further, to the point where it's almost now just sitting on the ground. Getting into how the good ol' US of A got to this point is another post entirely.

It takes a whole lot for something to be so idiotic, so incomprehensibly dumb, that it stops me dead in my tracks and causes my brain to hurt trying to make a modicum of sense of what I'm seeing. It's even harder for something to have that effect on me when I see it on Facebook. Because I regard Facebook as mostly a dumping ground for the very first unfiltered thing that pops up in people's brains, my tolerance for seeing things there that make me want to light myself on fire is pretty high.

But holy shit, I cannot keep what I saw this morning to myself.

As someone that went to high school and college in Illinois, I have a lot of friends on Facebook that are Cubs fans and a lot of friends that are White Sox fans. When both teams clash, I see a lot of updates on Facebook (from both sides) that make me shake my head and move on. But what I woke up to this morning...I'll just jump into sharing it with you. All names have been blocked out to protect the innocent as well as the idiotic.

In case you can't read what the caption says, it's "(Name Withheld) tell this dummy they have the worst record in baseball and sit down lol". This in and of itself is perfectly reasonable. The Cubs do have the worst record in baseball, and in a rivalry like this, it's something that's bound to come up.

As we look at some of the comments that continue under the picture, things start to spiral out of control. Here's the first comment posted:

Well then. If you've ever seen bad improv before, you know that when someone can't think of anything remotely clever to say, they usually resort to excessive swearing or vulgar references, hoping they can get a cheap laugh. The internet equivalent of this is calling someone gay. The biggest difference is that for the improv performer, they're on the spot and have to say something. No one was clamoring for this person's two cents to be thrown in. There is no excuse. But at least we get the mandatory homophobic comment out of the way first. It frees up the rest of the conversation to go in any direction. Of course, it goes in a very predictable one.

There's a very real chance that the guy pictured at the top was being a drunk asshole and ruining the experience for everyone around him, If that's the case, he deserved to get booted out. But to the best of my knowledge, I don't think our homophobic friend was actually at the game. And if that's the case, they're saying the pictured gentleman deserved to be kicked out of his seat just because he was a Cubs fan that had the audacity to cheer for his favorite team in a game that just so happened to take place in the city that team also plays in.

Got it. So what you're saying is you're losing to the Cubs on purpose because you feel sorry for us? Now I know that this person probably doesn't actually think the Sox are losing to the Cubs out of pity. But even saying it makes your team look stupid. Either you look bad for tanking a game or you look bad for getting pasted by the worst team in baseball. You look bad in both cases.

Last night was the only Cubs win of the entire season??? Seriously??? I thought that a team that had an 0-66 record coming into last night would have made more news than it did. I didn't hear about this anywhere else.

The funny thing is that the simple addition of 3 words would have made this a valid statement. "This may be your only win all season against the Sox" would have been infinitely better. It's funny that taking out those 3 words would turn a valid point into one that makes zero sense.

I think my favorite part is that even when making a ridiculous statement, this person can't stick to their guns. If you're going to talk impossible smack, you say "THIS WILL BE YOUR ONLY WIN OF THE SEASON", not "this may be your only win this season". Have some conviction!

Also, talking about how terrible the Cubs are doesn't really look good for you. The "worst team in baseball" just hung a dozen on you last night. And you might want to call Kenny Williams about these "charity wins" you're giving to teams you feel bad for. You're .5 games up in your division and way back in the Wild Card. You can't afford to give many games away. I don't think Detroit will return the favor and tank against the worst teams they play.

What a fantastic bow to tie on the entire conversation.

First off, you wish your team sucked at trading? Even if we had the ship in Prometheus, I don't think we could discover a world where that makes sense, even as a joke.

The other thing that actually made me excited was that I'm connected through a mutual friend to someone that works in a MLB front office! How awesome is that? After all, the only way this person could ever know that the Cubs are currently "sucking" at trading Dempster and Garza would be if they were actually in on those trade calls between Jed Hoyer and other GMs across the league, right?


Seriously, this is about the dumbest statement out of all the ones you've seen here. The Cubs have two prime trade chips in Dempster and Garza. Since they're still on the team, that means the Cubs have to be terrible at trading them, right? It's not because we're waiting for the best deal to come along, is it? It's not that we can get more for them closer to the deadline, using potential injuries and pitting other teams against each other to drive up the price, is it? This guy seems like the type of person that sends you incredibly lopsided trade offers in fantasy baseball, and gets pissed at you when you don't accept them.

I know that the people above aren't representatives of all White Sox fans. Hell, the person who posted that picture in the first place is a Sox fan, and one of the more knowledgeable baseball fans I've ever met. But the other commenters need to realize that they're making all White Sox fans look like idiots.

Sucking With Purpose

9:20 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Well, the Cubs lost another series last night, dropping 2 out of 3 to Boston.  This team has been every bit as bad as I expected them to be, but losing hasn't bothered me as much as it has in the past.  Reason being, I'm still confident that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a plan to rebuild not just at the major league level, but system wide.  That kind of sea change takes time and isn't going to happen overnight, much less over the course of a single season.

The only thing I've found frustrating is some of the comments and complaints I've read from some Cub fans on the internets.  A lot of people seem to have missed the memo on just what's going on the North Side right now.  There was no chance in hell the Cubs were going to be competitive this year, so please dispense with the bitching and moaning about Theo not knowing what he's doing or calling for Dale Sveum to be fired.  It just makes our fanbase look foolish.

Yes, the Cubs suck.  However, I would argue that this year, the Cubs suck with purpose.  As one of the ESPN announcers pointed out last night, this is audition time.  Any of the players on the current team might be trade bait or cannon fodder.  Guys like Darwin Barney need to step up and prove they deserve to be on this team when the rebuilding dust settles.  Theo and Jed are going to be watching carefully to determine who stays and who goes.  Meanwhile, they appear to be ready to trade anybody they can get good prospects for, even ready to eat some money in order to do so.  Along with the draft and the addition of Jorge Soler, this will go a long way to replenishing a barren farm system.  Theo has admitted he made some mistakes in Boston, but most of those mistakes were on the free agent side.  This guy knows talent and I have confidence he can build a first rate farm system, which to me is the foundation for sustained success.  What a nice change from the Hendry regime, who merely threw oodles of money at the major league roster.  The Cubs had a few good seasons with this method, but no sustained success.

Dale Sveum may not have been the sexy hire the fanbase was hoping for, but honestly, if I see one more doofus bitching about Sandberg not being hired, I'm going to slap them around.  I'm not sure why these people believe the results would be different with number 23 in charge.  I loved Sandberg the player, but Sandberg the manager has never managed at the major league level.  There's no way in Hades he'd magically be able to make this a better ballclub.  Being a Cub icon ain't gonna make Ian Stewart hit for average, reverse Soriano's steady decline, improve Castro's concentration, or solidify the duct-taped bullpen.

I see Sveum's role much like Alan Trammel's in Detroit a number of years ago.  The Cubs have a motley collection of youth and veterans and Sveum's job is to stress the fundamentals and teach these kids to play the game the right way.  As they get better, add some better free agents over the next two-three years and all of a sudden, you're ready to compete.  Whether Dale will continue to be the manager at that point is anyone's guess, but I think he's the perfect guy for the task at hand.  The only thing that worried me at first was how he handled the bullpen, but the bullpen is so bad, there's really no way of telling if he's handling it right or not.  It seems like a complete crapshoot as to what kind of performance you're going to get from any Cub reliever at this point.  Hard to pin that on Dale.

I hate to say it, but as fans, all we can do is be patient.  I think we can look to what's happened in Detroit and Tampa Bay over the last decade to see what the future might hold.  You build from the bottom up, not the top down and I think your team is going to always have a chance to be in it.  The Cubs are going to have more money to spend than either of those teams in the next few years, but before you start spending money, a solid foundation has to be there.  That's what the Cubs are doing this year: pouring the concrete.  Yeah, watching it dry isn't going to be super exciting, but what the Cubs build on top of that just might be what Cub fans have been waiting for this past century and change.