The Gist: Game 24 (Cubs 7, Pirates 2)

10:37 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


What Happened: Man, I hate the Pirates. I've always disliked them, but this year I REALLY hate them. They're a lineup of one awesome outfield and a bunch of scrubs on the infield, and yet somehow they're in the top 3 of nearly every offensive category because they're hitting way over their heads. I keep telling myself that the BABIP Gods will eventually regress them into the ground, but waiting for that to happen is frustrating. Every time Jordy Mercer gets a base hit, I die a little on the inside.

That's why last night's win was such a satisfying one. The Cubs came into last night's game with the best record in baseball, but they really hadn't had too many tests so far. Even the Cardinals are showing definite signs of concern. So going on the road and laying the smackdown to the Pirates against their ace was immensely satisfying. As the broken record of the 2016 Cubs always says, we did it by making their starter throw 100+ pitches in only 5 innings of work and feasted on the sweet, sweet underbelly of the Pirates bullpen.

Game MVP: This is a tough one. On one hand, Jason Hammel held one of the more productive lineups in baseball to just 2 runs in 5 innings of work. He might have been able to go longer, but Joe wanted to go to the bullpen and everything worked out beautifully, with the pen delivering 4 innings of shutout ball. Also, Dexter Fowler added 72 more hits to his total for the year. So let's split the game MVP between all of them. It's like the '3 Stars' thing in hockey.

Game LVP: I have no doubts that Gerrit Cole is a good pitcher, but man, you gotta step up in these big games dude. With Arrieta going tonight and Lester tomorrow, last night's game was probably the best chance at a win that the Pirates had on paper. That makes 2 Pretty Important Games in a row that Cole has pitched against the Cubs and not gotten the job done. If the Cubs could set up shop inside his head and just stay there for the rest of the time that Cole is a Pirate, that would be just fine by me.

But none of that matters because...

HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS WE'RE BACK WITH ANOTHER THUNDERWATCH!

YES!!!! For the first time in almost a decade, the Cubs are on RED (get it?) ALERT because a stormfront of THUNDER may be making its way to Chicago.

That's right...THUNDER MATT MAY BE ON HIS WAY BACK!
WOOOOOO!

If Murton is on his way up, I would think that means that Szczur may be a bit more banged up than first thought. If he's going to need 3-4 days off, it makes sense to bring up an OF for depth. And the bullpen is so rested that we could afford to send down a RP to make space until Szczur is well enough to play again.

This was going to be a really tough week regardless, with 3 games against the Pirates and 4 against the Nationals coming up, but having the Ginger Thunder around the clubhouse can only help matters.

"YOU ARE NEXT" (brought to you by TMS Correspondent Chong Li):



Game two against the Pirates kicks off at 6:05 CST with NL Pitcher of the Month Jake Arrieta squaring off with Jon Niese. Expect Anthony Rizzo to homer.

The Gist: Game 20 (Cubs 4, Brewers 3)

9:14 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


What Happened: How many times have you seen this happen so far in the 2016 Cubs season: The Cubs get shut down offensively for the first 5-6 innings by some scrub pitcher and then all the sudden they bust things open in one big inning and end up scoring 6 runs in a final that doesn't look like the game was ever close at all?

That's how this game looked like it was going for a while, with the Cubs pretty much ineffective against the Brewers Jimmy Nelson through 5 scoreless innings (the cold weather helped). But right when it looked like the Cubs could bust the game wide open, loading the bases with one out in the 5th, all they could do was scratch out one measly run off a Fowler sac fly that might have been a home run on any other night that didn't feel like it was below 40 degrees. The Cubs would tack on three more runs on an Addison Russell (hustle?) triple in the 6th and a Rizzo RBI in the 7th before things got interesting.

After a Ryan Braun pinch hit, 2 run double made the game 4-3 in the top of the 8th, the Cubs bullpen stepped in and locked things down and the Cubs won, which is good because the Brewers are awful and good teams beat bad teams, especially at home.

Game MVP: I'd say that this was a collective team effort, so no one person sticks out more than any other. The weather was really helpful in making sure that everyone in attendance drank a ton of beer to forget the cold which can then be used to pay Jake Arrieta ludicrous amounts of money for his extension.

Game LVP: Tommy LaStella. It's well known around these parts that I hate Tommy LaStella and when he's somehow involved with the Cubs doing well, I hate him even more because of his attempts to make me hate him less.

Awesome Stat of the Day: The Cubs are now 10 games over .500 after just 15 games. Last season, they weren't 10 games over .500 until game 104. Thanks, super easy April schedule!

"YOU ARE NEXT" (brought to you by TMS Correspondent Chong Li):



Game two against the Brewers happens at 7:05 CST tonight with Jake Arrieta taking the mound for the first time since his no-hitter last week. He'll be opposed by Taylor Swift Lautner Jungmann, who has an ERA quickly approaching 9.00.

Thunder Matt's Saloon Turns 10 Years Old

9:24 PM | Comments (3) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It started with a simple post on April 26, 2006.
Caught the game in Los Angeles where Rafael Furcal maimed Derrek Lee. Thunder Matt entered the game late, I think he ended up with two at-bats. I tried numerous times to get a "THUNDER MATT" chant going, but the LA crowd wasn't having it. That's OK though, cause they all left in the 7th inning.
With that simple paragraph a humble little blog at thundermatt.blogspot.com was born. A silly Cubs blog based on a young outfielder whom we dubbed "Thunder Matt" for no real reason other than we thought it sounded cool. We chose pseudonyms for ourselves. Brant Brown, Chaim Witz, Governor Gray Davis, and for myself, Chip Wesley.

We were never very good at sticking to only blogging about the Cubs. We did however find our niche, which was not really having any niche at all. We just started writing about anything we felt like, and as such set ourselves apart from other Cubs blogs with our weird posts about damn near anything not related to the team. We were the most un-Cub Cubs blog ever, and for whatever reason it worked. And when I say "worked" I merely mean we managed to find a small cult audience that enjoyed us being weird bastards.

As time went on we brought on new writers and in our heyday had nearly a dozen different guys contributing. We quickly got bored and tried new ventures. Remember Pomp Culture? How about Exile on Clark? Or were you one of the four people that read Steve Finley Was Here? As fickle as we were about switching blogs, the Saloon was always our main home. It was Mom and Dad's house we could always move back to when our latest dumb idea didn't pan out, and it usually didn't.

For us blogging was mostly a hobby. And like lots of hobbies, real life can eventually consume your time to do them. So little by little the Saloon died off in 2010. A brief revival in 2012 was exactly that. Brief. This latest iteration has been fun and while I certainly can't write as much as I'd like to, it's good to be back home again, for however long it may be.

Looking back the thing I certainly value most with this whole venture are the friends I've made. This blog and the writers we managed to bring in, allowed me to meet some great people I never would've known otherwise and for that I'm grateful.

Well this is certainly getting sappier than I intended. I assure you I'll be back to my sailor-mouthed cursing self again soon. So here's to Thunder Matt's Saloon. And here's to our original crew. Ted, Ben, Brad, and myself. And to all the guys we added along they way: Nick, Ken, Rich, James, Jon, Jack, Jordi, Adam, Other Ben, Russ, and John. Thank you.

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 San Francisco Giants

11:14 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series. More or less anyway. It's nearly May and no one cares.

Still? Yep. Still.We're so close to the end though... It's the Giants.

2015 Finish: 84-78, 2nd in the NL West

So Long: Middle Class Residents, Affordable Housing

Welcome: Silicon Valley Assholes on company buses, even more hobos, Johnny Cueto

Projected Lineup:
1. Dirty Harry, CF
2. Fog, 2B
3. The Golden Gate Bridge, 1B
4. Gay People, C
5. The Car Chase From Bullitt, SS
6. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, LF
7. Overrated Burritos, 3B
8. Rice-A-Roni, RF
9. Big Trouble in Little China, P

Nickname Rotation: San Fran, Frisco, The City by the Bay, The City (eyeroll), Peestenchburg
Setup: Internal Affairs was setting them up all along!
Closer: Kyra Sedgwick

Something something even year. Buster Posey and so on. Is Tim Lincecum still high? Yes.

Reason to Watch: The X-Files is now in HD on Netflix. That's a good reason to watch. The makeup on the episode where they age fast on the boat is a little rough, but generally it looks pretty good.

Reason to Drink: You can drink on Caltrain going to the game, which means you should. Nothing quite like arriving at the park with a solid buzz going.

The Food: The crab sandwich in the outfield is the best ballpark food I've ever had. Frankly it's my #1 sandwich ever. Unfortunately they are small and like $16, so the cheapskate in me only allows the purchase of one. I'd gladly eat like 10 of these.

Greasiest Player: The Giants love them some greaseballs, but it comes down to Angel Pagan and Brandon Crawford, and really it's no contest. Brandon Crawford's hair has more oil in it than the Alberta Tar Sands. They should build a pipeline to his house.

Fantasy Standout: I dunno, Brandon Belt?

Fantasy Bust: I dunno, Brandon Belt?

The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: Greasy Brandon Belt eating a crab sandwich while drunk on Caltrain heading home to watch The X-Files on Netflix.

None of these people are Brandon Belt.

TMS Late Night: Top 5 Game of Thrones Characters We Haven't Heard From In A While

11:30 PM | Comments (1) | by Governor X

Game of Thrones is back! Prepare yourself for all the hot takes every time something horrible happens. "OMG, how could they be so insensitive to rape victims/animals/short people/land use planning/religion???? (continues to watch the show for five years)" I love the show, but one of its major issues continues to be the fact that seemingly important characters tend to vanish without a trace. Here are my Top 5  characters we haven't heard from in a while:

5. That guy who couldn’t die – Do you remember that guy who couldn’t die? There was that guy in a cave and he couldn’t die. He scared The Mountain with fire.

4. Edmure Tully - He married the only non-homely Frey girl and was luckily whisked away before the Red Wedding, but that was that. Are they happy? Do they have kids? Does he drive a Dodge Stratus now?

3. Daario Naharis – Whatever happened to that long haired Fabio looking asshole? What, he turned into this guy? Seriously? I guess those casting agent certifications don't mean much do they...

2. Robert Baratheon’s Bastard (one of them anyway) – He got some of that sweet Melisandre action and it only cost him a little blood, but then Davos put him in a boat and we never saw him again. Given that so much of the plot revolves around who is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, we have to see him again at some point right? Hey, his name was Gendry. I forgot until just now.

1. Rickon Stark – Assuming that fall left Bran impotent, Rickon is the only male Stark capable of carrying on the line.  Sure he’s a bit of a weenie, but these are desperate times. Last we saw him, he had run off with Tonks from Harry Potter. When he's old enough, he should get on that. A half-Stark/half-wildling would unite "The North."

Yeah. You totally forgot about me didn't you?

TMS Investigates: The Power of Determination in Milwaukee

10:50 AM | Comments (0) | by Shooter Muldoon


Hello there, welcome to Science. I am your bartender and lecturer, Dr. Science Muldoon. I come to you today in search of the truth. Namely: how long will it take a stadium full of Milwaukee fans to suffocate themselves in bratwurst-and-Lite-beer-leavings, given unlimited time and under the condition that the material itself remains static indefinitely?

I know you're shocked. That's because science is about asking uncomfortable questions. Except political science, which is for people who don't know what to major in, but aren't popular enough to drink with the marketing or communications students..

Anyhow, let's start with some Science Facts:
  • An adult produces about 1 ounce of stool per 12 pounds of person. 
  • We realize that the 1 ounce measure refers to weight, but since we're speaking of a certain state of matter, we'll convert it to volume, since water itself is about 1 oz of weight per 1 oz of volume.
  • The average adult human is 166 pounds. Since this is Wisconsin, we're bumping that up to 185, Tommy Thompson be damned! So that's a per-capita production of roughly 15.42 ounces daily.
  • Average attendance in 2015 was 31,390 per game.
  • Miller Park covers 8.4 acres, and has a roof height of 220 feet.
  • It would take 4,655,926,995 baseballs to fill Miller Park.
  • That's a total of just over 224,784,545 gallons of Ryan Braun t-shirt dye.
  • One game, with everyone doing a day's worth of dirty sinful business, would create 3,776.67 gallons.
  • Top TMS scientists worked with these numbers and came out with a figure of roughly 2.5 baseballs of liquid volume of Milwaukee Yuck Juice (TM) per person per day.

Disclaimer: Muldoon majored in the humanities and was at best an indifferent student of mathematics.


The Maddening Crowd

Ever see your team blow a game so bad that you just want to unload your bowels in anger? We've seen Ryan Dempster, Kevin Gregg, and Neal Cotts in pinstripes, so we definitely have. It got us thinking, what if an average Milwaukee baseball crowd got so mad at a blown lead that they began to simultaneously defecate? They don't get super powers or anything, but they do fall into kind of a diarrhea trance (this also explains living in Milwaukee for decades on end). How long until they tax the volumetric capacity of Miller Park and suffocate themselves? More importantly, how can we measure this in baseball games and seasons? 

It would take 59,330 games for them to achieve this monumental feat of self-destruction. And at 81 games (we aren't assuming playoffs because hahahhahahahhaha), it would add up to 732 seasons of horrifying futility.

Now, if we're being super accurate, that number of fans, at a liquid volume of 17.54 gallons per Brewer fan, would cause a total displacement of 549,002 gallons. But we're ignoring that for now, because more math make brain hurt.

That's an intimidating amount of time for a human to ponder, but it's also completely within human scale. The Weihenstephan Brewery traces its roots to 768 AD, and even the brewer making the beer you can buy at the store today claims their founding date as 1040 AD. That's plenty of time to watch a future-cathedral full of robust men and equally robust women meet their ultimate end in a self-generated sea of torment. Hell, that's enough time for an ageless Nosferatu brewer to watch it start to happen a second time and go "FOOLSSSSS! Do they not learn from the misssstakesssss of the passsssst?!?"

Wow! That's good science.

The Lonely Sentinel

But say we just wanted one person to achieve this on their own, standing eternal guard in the ruins of Milwaukee with naught for company but a Ryan Braun jersey, a decaying handlebar mustache, and an endless supply of White Castle sliders soaked in raw chicken juice.

The age of mankind comes to a gentle twilight. The stars burn out and ignite anew. The aeon of science gives way to the aeon of magic, then to the aeon of the Battletoad. Benevolent alien archaeologists descend on the our home of antiquity and investigate the sole remaining life form - the lonely, determined sentinel. Like a single grain of cocaine on a velvet blacklight painting of a panther, he stands alone in the darkness.

He cries a single tear and says "I was ageless when your world was young." 

"GLEEP GLOP," they reply, which is a very touching and bittersweet sentiment. 

He cannot die, save for in a Hellish Jacuzzi of his own devising. How long will he torment, reader?

5,102,385 years and 9 months.

That's what you get for making a Bartman joke in 2016, dick. 

Lessons

Science is magic. But the real magic ... is inside YOU.

Wait, I didn't mean it like that. That's gross.

The Gist: Game 16 (Cubs ∞, Reds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

9:06 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


When you think about truly special seasons in any sport, these are always images and moments that immediately come to mind. The more magical the season, the more of these moments you have to look back on. Take the 2015 Cubs season for example. Remember Rizzo's tarp catch? Bryant's home run that almost cleared the scoreboard? Addison's flip to second? Rondon's fist pump after closing out the sweep of the Giants at Wrigley? Schwarber's bomb in the NLDS that landed on top of the scoreboard in right? There's a pretty good chance that with just those quick descriptions, your mind conjured up vivid images of each and every one of those moments. Those are the moments that you remember where you were when they happened. They define the seasons that stick with you forever.

We're only three weeks into the baseball season and the Cubs have already delivered two of those moments. The first was Addison Russell's go-ahead home run during last Monday's home opener. It's pretty hard to have a playoff-like atmosphere in the first of 81 home games against a terrible team, but that's exactly what happened, and replays of Russell doing his airplane impression are going to be in so many hype videos this season.


And just 10 days later, we already have another:


I don't need to give you all the stats and trivia about how amazing it is that Arrieta threw 2 no-no's so close to each other because if your phone is anything like mine, it threw all of them at you all night last night. Let's just all let the greatness of this Cubs team and the best pitcher in baseball wash over us and keep in mind that it's only been 16 out of 162 games and we have a whole summer of excitement to come.

MVP: Jake Arrieta, obviously. He may not have been the most dominant we've seen him as far as strikeouts go, but he was in complete control the entire game and there wasn't much doubt that he was going to finish off the no-no when things got to the 7th inning or so. He was locked in. And this Reds lineup isn't full of a bunch of stiffs either. I mean, they're no Murderer's Row, but Votto and Bruce and Suarez and Phillips are all legitimate bats. Speaking of legit bats, Arrieta had two more base hits and a walk, bringing his average up to .273, higher than Rizzo, Heyward, Soler, Zobrist and Russell. Dude can rake.

Greg Vaughn MVP: Remember Greg Vaughn? If that name sounds familiar, it's because he's the guy that hit the quietest 50 home runs in MLB history. No one remembers that he hit 50 dingers because he did it in 1998 when Sosa and McGwire did their whole steroid fueled run into the record books. But like, 50 home runs is a lot! Way to pick a time to get overshadowed, guy.

There are actually a ton of Greg Vaughn MVP awards to go around last night. On any other night, we'd be talking about Bryant's monster game, with 2 homers (including a grand slam) and 6 RBI. Or Zobrist's first home run as a Cub. Or David Ross' awesome old man home run and subsequent dugout hip thrusting. But no, this was no ordinary night, so all of you take a backseat to the reigning Cy Young winner.

Ok Fine, One Stat: This blew my mind:

Last 24 starts Arrieta: 178 IP, 0.86 ERA, 0.70 WHIP

HIS ERA IS ALMOST LOWER THAN HIS WHIP.

HAHAHA LOOK AT YOU: Now I wasn't there, so this could be off by a bit, but from what I saw on television it looked like there were about 60 people a the game last night. Way to go, Cincy!



We get to play the Reds for 3 more games in a row??? Really??? HAHAHAHAHAHA awesome. The Cubs are back at it at 6:10 CST with Jon Lester vs something called a Jon Moscot. JON v JON! NO H'S ALLOWED IN THIS CAGE MATCH!

God, I wish we could play the Reds forever.

The Gist: Game 15

8:37 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

HURRR I'M TOMMY LASTELLA
What Happened: This game was played during work hours, so I wasn't able to watch any of it, but I feel confident in saying that it was all Tommy LaStella's fault. I don't know why he's even on the team anymore now that Baez is back. If I'm going to have to sit there and watch someone flail away at the plate, I'd at least like it to be someone that can sometimes run into a pitch and crush it 400 feet.

The Good News: Hey, we get to play the Reds again!

The Bad News: LaStella will also be in Cincy, so he'll probably play at some point and make me want to vomit.

"YOU ARE NEXT" (brought to you by TMS Correspondent Chong Li):

The Cubs go to one of the worst states in the union (Ohio) to play one of the worst teams in baseball (the Reds). What? The Reds are 8-7?? Have they been doing nothing but playing the Brewers? The Cubs have Jake Arrieta going against Brandon Finnegan. Hopefully the Cubs do better against him tonight than they did in the home opener. Game time is 6:10 CST.