Phil Nevin - RIP

August 31, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Well, the Cubs finally traded Phil Nevin. Why they waited until the last possible day, we'll never know. Did they think his stock would rise? No, most likely, they just dished him off for two cents on the dollar (not that he's even worth a dollar). Obviously Phil Nevin would only garner a player to be named. To be honest, I'd almost rather not find out who that player is. Instead, we'll end the Phil Nevin experiment with a pleasant photo.

You Can't Sit the Thunder

August 31, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Perusing the Cubs blogs this morning I came across this quick and dirty little post on GROTA. It made me realize that I should update my quick reference graphic for Dusty. So here it is.

Left-hander, Noah Lowry is slated to start on friday for the Giants. Dusty would have to have shit for brains to bench Thunder Matt. Check the splits.

Chaiming In

August 31, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

  • The Cubs got swept by the Pirates. No joke needed. Just crickets.
  • Dusty Baker has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he can't develop young players. I refuse to believe that all of our rookies suck, but lately it sure does look that way. Compare the Cubs youngsters to those of our cellar dwelling pals, the Pirates from Pittsburgh. If you're a Pirate fan (all twelve of you), you have to feel pretty good about the progress of Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Jose Bautista, Matt Capps and hell, even Chris Duffy. The Cubs? I mean honestly I don't see any of our young pitchers putting together enough solid performances to get me excited. Marmol, Guzman, Marshall, Mateo and Hill have all had their moments, but under the Dusty regime I just don't see any of them developing to anything more than number 4 or 5 starters. To quote Sheryl Crow, 'a change will do ya good.' Holy shit, I just quoted Sheryl Crow. On the offensive side, we have our hero, Thunder Matt, quietly coming into his own (no thanks to Dusty), but Ronny Cedeno is languishing on offense and looking like Yankees-era Chuck Knoblauch on defense. And can we please stop playing Freddy Bynum?
  • Chien-Ming Wang has 16 wins. Who knew? I have him on my main fantasy team and even I had no idea!
  • The WNBA Finals are taking place. Record ratings in the always key 35-48 year old lesbian demo.
  • Snakes on a Disappointment. A renter. Instead, see Little Miss Sunshine, the little indie comedy that could. Who knew that an indie comedy would also be the summer's biggest crowd pleaser? "No one gets left behind!" After this and the criminally ignored The Matador, Greg Kinnear has certainly risen above 'that guy from Talk Soup' status. And if you don't think Steve Carell is funny, chances are you're in Al Qaeda.
  • So I was watching Sportscenter tonight (I know, I know) and Stuart Scott breaks out the whole 'he drinkin' Hatorade' line. Uh, pretty sure that phrase was played out in 2002. I am quite possibly the whitest man alive and even I know that no self respecting black man ever dares utter that phrase in 2006. I've actually seen people on the streets savagely beaten for uttering that phrase, while passersby look on, nodding in approval. Hatorade? Is he gonna make a 'He Hate Me' joke too? Are we going XFL here? Jesus!
  • Random raves: Butch Walker, avocado, uncomfortable silences, goat cheese, the 'Applebees scene' in Talladega Nights, the new Pete Yorn CD, reading at night, Ron and Pat's off subject banter during blowouts, margaritas, room service, tv shows on DVD, the president of Iran's ever-present tan jacket, good improv, great white sharks, Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
  • Random Rants: Kevin Federline, You Tube, Curb Your Enthusiasm jumping the shark (loved the first three seasons, but the last two have really been subpar. They have their moments, but the whole Producers storyline in Season Four was gay and Season Five appeared to be just going through the motions, save for "The Seder" and "The Korean Bookie" episodes. Guess it still beats "Two and a Half Men"), communists, Emmy voters, celebrity gossip blogs, the worst basketball movie of all time - Crossover (the unintentional humor is off the charts...Wayne Brady as the evil agent with a goatee...remember goatees and/or smoking makes characters evil!), people who drink PBR because it's trendy-it tastes like piss! it tastes like piss!, people walking into a theatre a half hour or more into the movie, fast food, America's Got Talent, the Jon Benet Ramsey case, not getting paid overtime, getting swept by the Pirates.

Bartender Banter: Who's the worst?

August 30, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Make no mistake, the Pittsburgh Pirates Chicago Cubs are the worst team in the National League. The Pirates, a mere 2.5 games behind the Cubs at least have a winning record at home. Ugh, I don't even have the heart to rant about this. Bottom line is, when you have the 7th highest payroll in the majors, and you post the 4th worst record in the league, rank 30th (that's last for those that can't count) in RBI's, and 6th in most runs allowed, somebody should be getting fired.

"But Chip, they suffered some key injuries early on that they just couldn't recover." Give me a break. Granted Prior, Wood, and Lee are important pieces to the puzzle, but honestly, how many more wins would they have really bought this team? There seems to be even less accountability in the Cubs disaster season than there was in the Hurricane Katrina relief debacle. Not to compare their season to a horrible natural disaster, but shit, someone man up and take some blame for this nonsense.

Ahh, there's not enough coffee to keep going this morning. I'll just hang my head and tune in to today's 11:35 game to hear the Cubs squander yet another one. It's baseball in the AM! Mateo vs. Santos! Cubs! Pirates! Feel the excitement!

Football is here....finally
Labor Day weekend is coming up, which means that football season has officially arrived. I can now focus some attention towards a couple of teams that know how to win. The Bears and the Hawkeyes. So pardon me while I attempt to alienate a chunk of our established readership by blathering about both these teams for a bit.

One positive for the Bears this season, is they won't be relying on that guy (pictured left) to lead the offense. The negative, Chicago's offense is still in the hands of papier-mache doll Rex Grossman. But its ok, we got a solid backup plan this year. So on opening day, when AJ Hawk looks at Grossman the wrong way causing his leg to fall off, we'll have the scrappy Brian Griese to take over. I feel a little bit better knowing our backup is good enough to start elsewhere and has some solid experience under his belt. No offense to Orton, but this team is ready to win now, and this offense can't rely on the defense for all its scores again.

More negative, the Bears offense has looked atrocious this preseason. I know its only preseason but they haven't looked sharp at all. We'll see if things start to come together on thursday against Cleveland. Chicago has two solid running backs in veteran Thomas Jones and second-year stud Cedric Benson. Jones looked outstanding in the first half last season, but injuries took their toll later on. The Bears receivers will have a better QB throwing to them this year, so hopefully Muhsin Muhammad and company will find the end zone a little more. Also look out for WR Mark Bradley to emerge. He's getting some buzz.

Defensively the Bears should still be solid. It'll be hard to repeat last year's performance, but Brian Urlacher, Mike Brown and the rest of the gang are still the biggest strong point of this squad.

The Bears start the season at Lambeau Field, which will be a tough opening act. I look for the Green Bay crowd to be relentless and Favre to have one of his monster games in what could be his last opening day start, as the Pack humiliates us. Then all week the media will question whether the Bears are all they're cracked up to be followed up by them destroying the Lions in Week 2.

Now on to the Hawkeyes. I have a little higher hopes for the Hawks than I do for the Bears this year, and I'm not the only one. ESPN has been dry-humping the Hawks even more than they usually do and they're picked by several media outlets to vie for the Big Ten title.

First off you couldn't ask for a better schedule. 7 home games and 5 road games. Of the 5 road games the only one of real consequence is October 21 when they head to Ann Arbor. Other than that, they have to visit Syracuse, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota, none of which should be a terrible threat. They're biggest test will be September 30 when they face the Buckeyes at Kinnick.

But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves here. There's a game early on that means just as much to every Hawkeye fan than any Big Ten matchup. Of course I'm talking about Iowa State. This season will mean nothing to me if they fail to beat the Sucklones.

The Hawkeye offense will be led by senior QB Drew Tate, who's getting some preseason Heisman hype. Tate has been a solid signal caller for Iowa and is great at throwing on the run, making him a tough guy for defenses to get to. Running the ball will be Albert Young who ran for 1334 yards last season as a sophomore. The Hawkeye receivers are a little young but Tate will get help from a solid stable of tight ends led by senior Scott Chandler.

On defense the Hawks have two huge holes to fill at linebacker with the absence of Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway. But their defensive line looks to be a real threat to QB's most in part to defensive end Kenny Iwebema. The defensive backfield is led by senior Marcus Paschal.

This is Kenny. He eats pieces of shit like you for breakfast.

Anyway, its shaping up to be an exciting fall. Here's to the Bears in the Super Bowl, the Hawks in a BCS bowl, and the Cubs management getting fired!

The All-80's Team - NL Third Basemen

August 28, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Astroturf, powder blue uniforms, wearing batting helmets in the field to protect your jheri curl, hitting 25 homers and being considered a legitimate slugger, big-league hair, that horrible gum from packs of baseball cards.... who doesn't love baseball from the 80's? Over the next several weeks I will be looking at the best players of the decade as we assemble the TMS All-80's Team. We will start with the National League and then we'll tackle the American. To meet the criteria a player will have to have played in at least 4 seasons in the 1980's and they must have played the bulk of their games at a certain position during that time to qualify there. Included will be a poll on the left sidebar, so our faithful readers can weigh in on this great debate. But remember, we're focusing on a player's contributions in just the 1980's. What they did in the decades before and/or after are not being considered in this.

Last week we tackled the NL 2B. Ryne Sandberg won the online poll and has been named the starting 2B to the TMS All-80's National League Team.


Bobby Bonilla
Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-89)

Nickname: Bobby-Bo
All-Star: 1988-89
Silver Sluggers: 1988

Notes: Bonilla got his start late in the 1980's as a third basemen for Pittsburgh. He emerged as one of the premier sluggers at the hot corner and with Barry Bonds, made up one half of the feared Killer B's.

Bob Horner
Atlanta Braves (1980-86), St. Louis Cardinals (1988)

All-Star: 1982
Postseason: 1982 NLCS

Notes: Horner would've probably been better suited as a DH in the American League, but in the early to mid-80's he was a heavy hitting 3B for the Atlanta Braves. Plagued with injuries, Horner spent one season in Japan before coming back with the Cardinals in 1988. He hung it up after that. On July 6, 1986 Horner hit four home runs in a single game. That feat would not be seen again until 7 years later when Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten hit 4 in a game with the Cardinals.

Ron Cey
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-82), Chicago Cubs (1983-86)

Nickname: The Penguin
Awards: 1981 WS MVP, NL Babe Ruth Award, 1982 Lou Gehrig Award
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1984 NLCS

Notes: While the Penguin had his best years a decade earlier in LA, he still managed to crank out a few good seasons with the Cubs. Cey led the team in home runs in 1983 and 84. In 1981 Ron shared the World Series MVP with fellow teammates Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.

Howard Johnson
New York Mets (1985-89)

Nickname: HoJo
All-Star: 1989
Silver Sluggers: 1989
NL Leader: 1989 Runs (104)

Notes: Remember Howard Johnson? No, not the crappy hotel chain but the player. HoJo became a slugging force for the Mets in the latter part of the decade. Johnson also has two World Series rings despite not really participating much in either. With the Tigers in '84 and with the Mets in '86, he went a combined
0 for 6 at the plate with 2 strikeouts.

Bill Madlock
Pittsburgh Pirates (1980-85), Los Angeles Dodgers (1985-87)

All-Star: 1981, 1983
Postseason: 1985 NLCS
NL Leader: 1981 AVG (.341), 1983 AVG (.323)

Notes: The Pirate fans really came out for Johnny Ray last week. We'll see if Bill Madlock gets some love too. Madlock was an outstanding hitter for the Bucs in the early part of the 80's, garnering 2 batting titles in the process. In 1985 the Pirates shipped Madlock to the Dodgers for some players to be named later. Those players ended up being R.J. Reynolds, Cecil Espy and the infamous Sid Bream.

Terry Pendleton
St. Louis Cardinals (1984-89)

Gold Gloves: 1987, 1989
Postseason: 1985 WS, 1987 WS

Notes: Before his MVP caliber seasons in Atlanta, Terry spent his days playing 3B for St. Louis. A solid gloveman, Pendleton racked up two Gold Gloves for the Cards and helped lead them to two World Series appearances. Pendleton appeared in 5 World Series' total in his career, never winning one of them.

Mike Schmidt
Philadelphia Phillies (1980-89)

All-Star: 1980-84, 1986-87, 1989
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1995
Awards: 1980 NL MVP, WS MVP, 1981 NL MVP, 1983 Lou Gehrig Award, 1986 NL MVP
Gold Gloves: 1980-84, 1986
Silver Sluggers: 1980-84, 1986
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 NLDS, 1983 WS
NL Leader: 1980 SLG....ah Christ! There's too much to list. Just go here if you're interested.

Notes: If there was ever a poll that probably didn't need to happen for this it'd be at NL 3B. Mike Schmidt absolutely buries the competition here. Plus look at that photo. The 'stache the Mike Brady hair. Chicks and dudes alike dug Schmitty.

Tim Wallach
Montreal Expos (1980-89)

All-Star: 1984-85, 1987, 1989
Awards: 1980 NLCS MVP
Gold Gloves: 1985, 1988
Silver Sluggers: 1985, 1987
Postseason: 1981 NLCS
NL Leader: 1987 Doubles (42), 1989 Doubles (42)

Notes: Looking at all the stats and what not, I'd say that if Mike Schmidt wasn't on this list, Tim Wallach would probably be the front-runner. Tim quietly put up good numbers throughout the 80's and had a great glove to back it up. One of those guys that played the bulk of their career in Montreal that probably didn't get as much recognition as he should.

Be sure and vote for your choice of NL Third Basemen for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.

Go to hell

August 27, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Go to hell Gary Bennett. Just go to hell.

A View From the Top

August 25, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

A wise man once said 'Better to be lucky than good' (I think it was one of the two Corey's). Considering I've never been good at much, save for being good at not being good at anything (huh?), Wednesday night, I was one lucky bastard.

When you get a call asking, "Hey do you want to come to the Cubs game and sit in the press box?", you don't say "Well let me think about it. 'Project Runway' is on tonight and it can't be missed!" No, you try to remain calm and say, "Wow, sure that would be great", while thinking to yourself, 'Are you fucking serious?'

So my wife and I were ushered rock star style through the Cubs administrative offices, past a pair of sizable but gentle security guards, up a few flights of stairs and into the hallway that leads to press land. A press cafeteria sat empty on the right hand side of the hall, and then lining the left side of the hallway are all of the press boxes. Small, bare bones rooms that can fit between 2-4 people, each equipped with simple rolling chairs, a counter and tv monitor tuned into the game. There are glass partitions separating the booths on the side, with an open air view of the field in front of you.We took our seats in the very first booth, normally reserved for Andy McPhail himself. The only drawbacks are that A) you can't drink alcohol and B) since you are right next to the radio booth you can't cheer loudly. Golf claps and utterances of 'jolly good play chaps, jolly good' are encouraged.

Immediately to our right sat Andy Masur and then a rotating cast of 'dudes', one of whom looked like he could be Bob Brenly's hard living brother. Next to them and only twenty feet over in the next booth were the legendary Pat and Ron. Throughout the game we would look over at Pat and Ron and without fail, every time we looked over one of the 'dudes' from the booth next to us would look at us. "Dude, we're not looking at you jackass. Pay attention to the game and do your damn job and just let me fucking gawk a bit would ya?" Besides a killer view of the game, here are a few highlights.

  • Ron Santo eating a apple. Green. Best guess would be Granny Smith.
  • Pat would stand up and stretch his legs during commercial breaks. At one point my wife Katy glanced up at Pat mid-stretch, to which he acknowledged her with a wave and a smile. You would have thought that Justin Timberlake had just offered to make sweet love to her and/or take her to Applebees. Quote of the night: When I told Katy that now she had to get Ron to wave, she replied, "I don't care, Pat is better looking anyway."
  • When Bobby Howry gave up the go ahead double in the ninth inning, Ron took off his headset just so he could utter a few choice curse words without being heard. Classic. The man's passion for this team is not an act. For better or worse he wears his emotions on his sleeve and lives and dies with this team, weather they are in the thick of a pennant race or 13 games out and playing for next year.
  • Our own Matt Murton tying the game on a 8th inning opposite field blast. The perfect time for a 'Thunder Matt' chant, thwarted by the 'no cheering' rule. Don't want to incur the wrath of Brenly's hard drinking brother. The guy had on a shit kicking ring and looked adept at using a broken bottle as a weapon. Would it have been wrong to run into Ron and Pat's booth and start chanting with my shirt off?
  • Ballpark Nachos.
  • Having to step out of the box for five minutes at the beginning of the game because Billy Williams had to use the phone in there. "What, I'm not leaving...who do you think you are? Billy who? The Hall of Fame? Shut up. Hall of Fame huh? Don't you know who I am? I take the bus to work Billy Boy!"
  • Angel Guzman pitching pretty, pretty, pretty well. (Curb Your Enthusiasm reference anyone?) Too bad the Cubs rookie pitchers are more inconsistent than Andy Dick's sexuality.
These photos were taken from my camera phone, which doesn't really do justice to the view and makes things look much farther away than they actually are. But you get the drift.
So there you have it. There are a lot of 'Cubs blogs' out there that will give you your basic 'average Joe on the couch perspective'. But no other Cubs blog gives you the pressbox perspective like Thunder Matt's Saloon. These are the lengths we go to to satiate our 6 loyal readers. (Hi mom!) Throughout this season and next look for other unique perspectives as we bring you live reports from Ron Santo's kitchen, Moises Alou's motorcycle, a bathroom stall at Merkle's, Dusty Baker's dreams, and a comprehensive comparative analysis of Red Ivy vs. The Ivy (which bar would you rather pass out in?)
Now, if I can only somehow get a spot next to Dusty and get my hands on that lineup card...

Ron Santo, third person over, loves swearing and apples.

Cubs help Phils back into Wild Card Race

August 24, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

After the Abreu trade, most people had left the Phillies for dead. Instead they've become yet another case study in the Ewing Theory, going 15-7 in the month of August so far. And thanks to their recent roadtrip to Wrigley, Philadelphia finds themselves only 1.5 games behind the Reds for the Wild Card.

Today the Phillies, looking to get the sweep, will face an uphill challenge as Chaz Zambrano takes the mound against them. But Philly has an ace up their sleeve as well in Cole Hamels. The 6' 4" manchild will face the Cubs for the very first time, and we all know what that means. Just like John Maine was like an enchanted unicorn, mystifying the Cub batters back in July, Hamels will be a hulking left-handed minotaur tossing 8 innings of one-run ball against us. I say one run because you know Thunder Matt will launch one again. The guy eats pieces of shit like Hamels for breakfast. Pieces of shit meaning left-handed pitchers.

So Neifi's gone and Cesar! is hurt. Which means we've officially gone from a three-headed monster of Walker-Perez-Hairston to start the season to a three-headed monster of Theriot-Bynum-Coats. Yes folks, the Buck Coats era has begun. Buck Coats. That sounds like a made-up name you'd use while talking to a girl at a bar. Kind of like Chip Wesley. It just sounds phony. But hey, at least we don't have a washed-up aging vet in the trio this time. Where's Tony Womack Dusty? Or could we dig up some other fossil? What's Carlos Baerga up to these days?

I'll close with some random notes about nothing.
  • The other morning I briefly caught a snippet of the basebrawl involving the Angels and Rangers on Sportscenter. All excited, I jumped on the MLB website when I got to work to find the video of it. All I gotta say is, weak. That was the worst bench-clearing "brawl" I've ever seen. The best part was the announcers making fun of Scott Feldman for throwing his punches sidearm as well. Seriously what happened to good old-fashioned fisticuffs on the field? I think every team needs a Kyle Farnsworth/Robert Fick type of player just to keep things lively. The benches clear, some minor scuffling occurs and things seem to settle down when BOOM! Farnsworth body slams the bullpen catcher for no reason whatsoever and all hell breaks loose.
  • Our fantasy football draft is this weekend and I've hardly begun to prepare. Right now I know that I should draft a RB first and Marshall Faulk is good and...what? Ahh shit.
  • Thanks to ESPN for playing out the college football season for us already. I can't wait to cheer the Hawkeyes on in the mythical football playoffs. Seriously, the nutsack on them to pull this after we had to endure a frickin' month of "Is the '05 USC team better than this historic team" last season. It became like some sophisticated version of Bill Swerski's Super Fans. "Eh, I'm gonna say 2005 Trojans 145, 1971 Cornhuskers 3." Hey guys, usually to be considered one of the greatest college teams ever, you need to win the National Title first.
  • Our household has recently discovered the wonderful reality shows on A&E. Two big thumbs up for Dog the Bounty Hunter and Gene Simmons: Family Jewels. Dog seems to be A&E's bread and butter as its on all the frickin' time, kind of like Trading Spaces was on TLC a few years ago (What? No I didn't watch Trading up!). Its just hard to explain Dog properly. Lots of mullets, chasing fugitives, and praying to Jesus. What's best though is that they wrap things up into nice 30 minute shows. So your attention span can be that of the meth addict they're busting and you can still enjoy it.

Free Floating Hostility

August 22, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

I've got some news, notes, and random nonsense thats been ratting around in my head, but can't write an entire post about any of them. So in the spirit of Bartender Banter, Chaiming In, and Larry King's News and Views, here is Free Floating Hostility (thanks to George Carlin, I'm wearing my brown ribbon man):

Shawn Green is now a Met. I say there’s a good week of Greenie grounding into double plays at crucial points of the game before the Mets faithful start booing him mercilessly. Also, the Mets play the Nationals on Yom Kippur, so get ready for at least two weeks of “will he or won’t he” - he won’t.

6’8” little leaguers are not OK…ever. I don’t care if they’re pseudo-Saudis or not.

We’re coming close to a time when we really have to buckle down and decide if 500 HR’s gets you into the Hall of Fame or not. Carlos Delgado hit 400 today. Four more so-so years and he’s at 500. Delgado shouldn’t even be allowed to buy a ticket into the hall.

Chan Ho Park is now on the DL for intestinal bleeding. He also gave up two grand slams in one inning to Fernando Tatis.

A company named Pink Taco is bidding for the naming rights to the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium. Insert lesbian joke here. Looking the way it does, Jiffy Pop would be the most logical choice.

I like the band Keane, but seriously, the singer is way too much of a pussy to need rehab. Rehab is for bad asses like Axl Rose, Robert Downey Junior, and Betty Ford. Also, you're British, you're expected to have an alcohol problem.

Speaking of the British, they're absolutely ecstatic that "petrol" has dropped to 95p per litre. This works out to $6.79 per gallon, so shut the fuck up about paying $3.

Tom Cruise was essentially fired today. Thunder Matt's own Brant Brown is devastated.

Finally, some guy at the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote this gem comparing the debate over whether or not Pluto should be considered a planet to whether Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame. Don't worry Cleveland, you'll soon have something to do when you're buried under 20 feet of snow or your septic tank of a river catches fire again.

We're in the Army Now

August 21, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well its official. After some routine pestering and badgering by yours truly, we've finally been admitted to the Cubs Blog Army. A big ThunderMatt thanks to Byron for adding us. If all it took was having Neifi whacked, we would've tried it sooner.

At long last the Saloon now joins the ranks alongside some outstanding Cubs blogs. I can only speculate, but this new membership should increase our general readership from about 14 to perhaps around 22.

No More Neifi

August 20, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Thank you Placido Polanco. Its because of you and your seperated shoulder that we can finally say good riddance to Neifi "El Sapo Gordo" Perez. I've been waiting for this day for quite some time and given the current sorry state of the Cubs, I was overjoyed when I found out they sent him to Detroit.

So what did Cubs get in return? A sack of baseballs? A firm handshake and a beer? A coffee mug that says "World's Greatest Grandpa"? Nope, they got minor league catcher, and lead singer of the Black Crowes, Chris Robinson. Robinson is an Illinois native and has spent this season in high-A ball, playing for the Lakeland Tigers of the Florida State League. The change of scenery will be good for Chris as he looks to move on from his recent breakup with wife Kate Hudson.

So long Neifi. Now I can officially focus all of my hatred towards Roberto Novoa and Phil Nevin.

Chaiming In

August 17, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

After a long layoff fraught with hangovers, danger and evenings with Kenan Thompson (insert 'Good Burger' joke here, please), I am back with my daily dose of what I like to consider wit, but most consider filth and slander. Let's start out by talking about two dangerous predators looking to take a bite out of yo' ass (I am so white) this weekend...cardinals and snakes.
  • The Cardinals invade Wrigley this weekend. So it's a 'friendly' rivalry they tell me. Well St. Louians, you can take your khaki shorts with the red polos tucked in (you know who you are), your Anheuser Busch, your moustaches, your fucking navy blue hats with red bills and your 'ARC-itecture' and shove it up your ass. One of my greatest Cubs memories was in 2004 in the strech drive, where sitting behind home plate I watched Shawn 'Motherfucking' Estes dismantle your brood of pill popping, needle injecting, size 8 hat wearing ne'r-do-wells. But the greatest thing ever occurred when a Cards fan, all of about 5'7, 150 lbs soaking wet tried to pick a fight with a Cubs fan who I recall as being a dead wringer for Andre the Giant. In fact, I think it was Andre the Giant. Is he dead? If so, God rest his soul and I apologize for the 'dead wringer' remark, but if not, then shit, pretty sweet seeing him at a Cubs game. Anyway, this Cards fan tries to knock the Andre's hat off and Andre just punches him in the face. Boom! Andre the Giant, Shawn Estes and the Cubs beating the Cards in front of a packed house down the stretch. I went into a joy coma.
  • "Snakes on a Plane" opens this weekend. Consider it your patriotic duty to see this film. While the initial irony of all it has long since worn thin, I will still slap down my 10 dollars (ok, that's a lie, I get into movies free) just to hear Sam Jackson utter the line of the year, "Get these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane!" to the eruption of a packed theatre audience. I mean, even if this movie is bad, it will still be good. That doesn't make sense but you get the drift. I read some early user reviews on IMDB, and the early reports from the late screenings seem to be overwhelmingly positive. The best line was from someone who said, "Snakes on a Plane is so good it makes The Godfather look like The Shaggy DA." Ha! Nice. They could have went for the obvious (The Shaggy Dog) but instead throw in a reference to obscure sequel. The Shaggy DISTRICT ATTORNEY! Fucking Tim Conway. Before Snakes on Plane there was...the Shaggy DA.
  • It's a damn shame that the Cubs Blog Army hasn't been updated, if for no other reason than to include Thunder Matt and expose us to the masses. A glaring omission (a travesty if you will) on par with KISS not being in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And if we were to assign KISS related identities to Saloon members, I of course would be Gene, the Guvna' would be Eric Singer (much more proficient AND affable than Peter Criss), Chip would be Paul and last but not least Brant filling the role of 'Ace Frehley, lead geeeetaaahh!' I really had to resist throwing in a Mark St. John reference. Oh, and I guess Chi-Town Girl could be Shannon Tweed.
  • Went to sell my Saturday bleacher tickets a few weekends ago...they offered me $20. Wow. Didn't see that coming. It was only 2 years ago around the same time that my brother and I tried to scalp tickets and the guy wanted $125 bucks apiece. My brother looked him straight in the eye (or as straight as 3 Bloody Marys and a wicked hangover would allow) and said "I hope you burn in hell." Those same sentiments could be applied the $20 lowball.
  • The photo insert feature on can officially kiss my ass. It's like the internet version of whiskey dick. It just doesn't work.
  • Summer in Chicago. So great. For those of you that haven't tried it, fuck it, move here for 5 months, then get the hell out before winter comes. As the one true Chicagoan (via Iowa transplant, I concede) at the Saloon (LA, really?), I will put my city up against all comers. Quad Cities, you want a piece?
  • Fearless prediction. The Cubs take 2 out of 3 against the Cardinals, "Snakes" grosses $30 million at the box office and the wheels are put in motion for a sequel...and after an unfortunate contract snafu, Sam backs out and is replaced by...Danny Glover. Who starred in the Lethal Weapon series with...Mel Gibson. Six degrees of Mel Gibson! Wait, I don't think I did that right. Oh well. Better than Roberto Novoa I suppose.

Skipping Work for Baseball

August 17, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

One of the only things more American than baseball itself is the fun of skipping work to attend a day game. When someone calls you up and tells you they have tickets, you go. There's no debate.

Knowing full well the Dodgers have a nasty habit of losing when I attend (something like 8 or 9 in a row now), I knew I was gambling with their hot play. Of course, if ever there was a time for them to win when I went, its in the middle of an incredible hot streak against the AAA Marlins.

That didn't quite work out...Mark Hendrickson started and gave up seven runs in a few innings of work. If ever there was an example of a guy winning his job because he's left handed, its Hendrickson. Then Sele, Carrara, and Beimel gave up 8 more for good measure. In the end, it was a 15-4 bloodbath, with Julio "I'm a god damned shortstop" Lugo committing three errors in the process.

Honestly, if I'm going to attend a loss, I'd prefer this type. Just get your brains beaten in quickly so we can have some fun with it. Seventy-five degrees, clear as a bell, Dodger dogs, nachos, and the LA eye candy we've come to expect walking around the stadium. I'll take that over work anyday.

There was a crowd of 42,000ish when it started, but by the time I decided to be an asshole and whip out the camera phone, it had thinned out considerably (11 run defecits will do that).

Thunder Matt Saves the Day

August 16, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

In a fantastic 18-inning affair late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Matt Murton proved his worth to this 2006 Cubs team. After entering the game on a double-switch, Matt hit a homer in the 9th to tie the game, followed by the winning single in the 18th. Said commentator Bob Brenley after the game, "Thunder Matt Murton is my favorite Cub!" ("Thunder" added by the editor). Wednesday's scheduled starting pitcher, Rich Hill, pitched the final two innings to earn the victory. The Cubs used all 25 men on their roster, the first time they've done that since April of 1986. Murton has hit incredibly well as of late, and hopefully this performance will solidify his starting job in left field for the remainder of the season. Seriously though, Lee, Prior, and Wood are basically all done for the season. Why not let the kid play every day? Is Angel Pagan a serious part of the Cub future? We think not. Now, how say you Dusty Baker?

War Criminals: Closers

August 15, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Let me put it simply, if you’re a “closer” and your name isn’t Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, you are a thief. Not just a petty crook who robs the 7-11, but a major movie level thief that would make Bonnie and Clyde look like a couple college kids stealing forks from Denny’s.

Closer is the most overrated and interchangeable position in baseball. I hate it. It’s a bogus position made up to rack up bogus stats. In the last 10-15 years we have seen the explosion of this position and an explosion in their salaries.

Few closers have ever had any staying power. Most come out of nowhere, save 40 games or so, sign a fat contract, and then implode. Its these contracts that make them war criminals.

Look at the salaries of some MLB closers that have lost their jobs, (either by blowing goats or going on the DL) or are just not earning their keep and their respective salaries:

Eric Gagne (Dodgers) - $10,000,000
Keith Foulke (Red Sox) - $7,750,000
Eddie Guardado (Mariners/Reds) - $6,250,000
Troy Percival (Tigers) - $6,000,000
Francisco Cordero (Rangers/Brewers) - $4,125,000
Danys Baez (Dodgers/Braves) - $4,000,000
Brad Lidge (Astros) - $3,975,000
Chris Reitsma (Braves) - $2,250,000

I could go on and on. Just look at those numbers for a minute. Millions and millions of dollars for either doing absolutely nothing or doing your job so poorly you’ve lost it or should lose it (*cough* Brad Lidge *cough*). This money is stolen - give it back you assholes.

MLB owners are dumb, but not so dumb that this will go on forever. Sooner or later they’ll realize you don’t need to pay a Keith Foulke millions when you can just pick a guy like Papelbon out of a hat and insert him at closer (considering the Red Sox wheel-o-closers in the last few years, they should know this by now).

So Mr. Papelbon & Mr. Jenks…I know you’re thinking of signing a fat contract and then phoning it in for the rest of your careers, but be warned, we’re watching and I know a guy at Interpol (the police organization, not the monotone band).

The All-80's Team - NL First Basemen

August 15, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Astroturf, powder blue uniforms, wearing batting helmets in the field to protect your jheri curl, hitting 25 homers and being considered a legitimate slugger, big-league hair, that horrible gum from packs of baseball cards.... who doesn't love baseball from the 80's? Over the next several weeks I will be looking at the best players of the decade as we assemble the TMS All-80's Team. We will start with the National League and then we'll tackle the American. To meet the criteria a player will have to have played in at least 4 seasons in the 1980's and they must have played the bulk of their games at a certain position during that time to qualify there. Included will be a poll on the left sidebar, so our faithful readers can weigh in on this great debate. But remember, we're focusing on a player's contributions in just the 1980's. What they did in the decades before and/or after are not being considered in this.

Last week we tackled the NL catchers. Gary Carter won the online poll and has been named the starting NL catcher to the TMS All-80's Team.


Bill Buckner
Chicago Cubs (1980-84)

Nickname: Billy Buck
All-Star: 1981
NL Leader: 1980 AVG (.324), 1981 Doubles (35), 1983 Doubles (38)

Notes: Most people only remember Buckner for that one unfortunate play (nevermind Bob Stanley with help from Calvin Schiraldi blew the lead prior to that and the Sox still managed to lose Game 7 even after that). What some people have forgotten is that Buckner was a gritty hard-nosed player that was pretty damn good back in his heyday with the Dodgers and Cubs. Billy Buck put up some solid numbers on the Northside in the early 80's. Buckner also had a first ballot moustache for the Baseball Hair Hall of Fame.

Jack Clark
San Francisco Giants (1980-84), St. Louis Cardinals (1985-87), San Diego Padres (1989)

Nickname: Jack the Ripper
All-Star: 1985, 1987
Silver Sluggers: 1985, 1987
Postseason: 1985 WS, 1987 NLCS
NL Leader: 1987 OBP (.459), 1987 SLG (.597), 1987 BB (136), 1989 BB (132)

Notes: Battling injuries his entire career, Jack Clark still put together some impressive numbers at the plate and had two huge seasons in St. Louis. Jack is an avid drag racing fan and also is the career home run leader among players with a unibrow.

Will Clark
San Francisco Giants (1986-89)

Nickname: The Thrill
All-Star: 1988-89
Silver Sluggers: 1989
Awards: NLCS MVP (1989)
Postseason: 1987 NLCS, 1989 WS
NL Leader: 1988 BB (100), 1988 RBI (109), 1989 Runs (104)

Notes: In the late 80's, Will's career took off in a hurry. In 1989 Will pounded the Cubs in the NLCS, winning MVP of that series. He then faced an Oakland team whose slugging duo of Canseco and McGwire were no match for him. It was as if their home runs were aided by some sort of performance enhancer. But what was it?

Glenn Davis
Houston Astros (1984-89)

All-Star: 1986, 1989
Silver Sluggers: 1986
Postseason: 1986 NLCS

Notes: Remember Glenn Davis? No? Yeah you do. Reach back into the recesses of your brain when you collected baseball cards. Glenn was the only guy that could be considered a slugging threat in Houston for the latter part of the decade.

Andres Galarraga
Montreal Expos (1985-89)

Nickname: Big Cat
All-Star: 1988
Gold Gloves: 1989
Silver Sluggers: 1988
NL Leader: 1988 Hits (184), 1988 Doubles (42)

Notes: Before his homer-crushing days in Colorado, Andres was a young phenom up in Quebec. Equally solid with his glove as he was at the plate, Galarraga won a Gold Glove in 1989. Nicknamed Big Cat for his amazing quickness covering first base despite his large frame.

Steve Garvey
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-82), San Diego Padres (1983-87)

All-Star: 1980-81, 1984-85
Awards: Roberto Clemente Award (1981), Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1984), NLCS MVP (1984)
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1984 WS
NL Leader: 1980 Hits (200)

Notes: While his prime was in the decade before, Garvey still had some great seasons in the '80s. After he retired, Steve pursued acting and has been seen in such memorable straight-to-video favorites as Sandlot 2 and Bloodfist VI: Ground Zero.

Keith Hernandez
St. Louis Cardinals (1980-83), New York Mets (1983-89)

Nickname: Mex
All-Star: 1980, 1984, 1986-87
Gold Gloves: 1980-88
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1984
Postseason: 1982 WS, 1986 WS, 1988 NLCS
NL Leader: 1980 Runs (111), 1980 OBP (.408)

Notes: What didn't Keith do in the 80's? He won a slew of Gold Gloves. He won a World Series with two different teams, and he introduced young phenoms Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden to the joys of alcohol and cocaine. In 1987 he was wrongfully accused of spitting on Kramer and Newman (turns out it was Roger McDowell hiding in the bushes). Keith also loves all you gals out there, just stay out of the dugout.

Pete Rose
Philadelphia Phillies (1980-83), Montreal Expos (1984), Cincinnati Reds (1984-86)

Nickname: Charlie Hustle
All-Star: 1980-82, 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1981
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 NLDS, 1983 NLCS

Notes: Despite the humiliating end for him in the latter part of the decade, the early 80's were quite good to Pete. A World Series ring with the Phillies in 1980, eclipsing the all-time hits record, and being a part of 4 All-Star teams is enough to give Charlie Hustle a mention here. Pete was also the last player-manager in the majors.

Be sure and vote for your choice of NL First Basemen for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.

Hafner ties Donnie Baseball

August 14, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Yesterday in the Indians first inning scalping of Luke Hudson, Travis Hafner hit his sixth grand slam, tying him with the great Don Mattingly for the single season grand slam record. Hafner is batting .615 this season with the bases loaded. We here at ThunderMatt congratulate Travis on this accomplishment.

Six grand slams in a MLB season is an amazing feat, but even more amazing is the record held by Badlands Booker, who once took down 13 Grand Slam breakfasts at Denny's in one sitting.

Let's see Travis and Don beat that!

CCP: Threesomes Are All the Rage

August 14, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

It's becoming clear to me that the Colin Cowherd Project is more difficult than I originally anticipated. It's one thing to force yourself to listen to a radio show that you hate, but it's a whole other ballgame to make yourself write about it every weekday. However, as grueling as this task may be, I know that I'm carrying it out for a greater good. A Herdless world is our goal, and together we can see this to fruition. On to the matter at hand...

Colin's monologue today dealt with the new team in the broadcast booth for the inauguration of Monday Night Football on ESPN. It centered on the third man on the telecast, the newest one being the debut of Tony Kornheiser. TK is mostly known to sports fans as one half of the show "Pardon the Interruption". He also had a long-running morning radio show on ESPN (Colin Cowherd actually replaced TK's show in many major markets). Most recently, along with his PTI duties, TK had been anchoring another radio show in the Washington, D.C. area.

Colin's gripe on one hand said that we need to tune in for a few weeks and give TK a chance to be successful, but at the same time, he kept hammering into our brains the fact that threesomes, as opposed to duos, rarely work out. He then waffled between these two stances, and named off about 10-15 threesomes that did work. But then he brought up how Dennis Miller in the MNF booth clearly did not pan out. Holy Christ, will you make up your mind? He wanted to argue that threesomes rarely click, but then contradicted that stance in the same argument. He clearly had no argument at all at this point.

From here, Colin just begins to ramble, much as I am now. He says something to the effect of the third man in the booth being like the third wheel on a date. I don't know about you guys, but when I was a swingin' bachelor, I was always sure to bring one of my wisecracking buddies along on my dates, just to see how awkward things could get. Colin also ponders how well the sports viewing public knows Kornheiser, if at all. Well Colin, we can guarantee he's far better known than you will ever be. And for the analysis...

Was his topic/view informative?
Not really. He's telling us to give Kornheiser a chance before he's even had his first chance. Colin doesn't trust the people to make up their own minds on something. -1
Did he dig a little deeper than just re-hashing the top story?

Yeah, I'll let this slide. It was a good, different topic, I just wish he would have had something enlightening to say about it.
Did he give credence to the other side of the story?
This one doesn't necessarily apply. But it would be nice if Cowherd made an attempt later this week to get Kornheiser on The Herd to chat about tonight's experience. He probably won't think of that though.
Did he use a fake voice?
Yes. Howard Cosell. Does everyone have to imitate Cosell? It's not bad enough that every comedian does a Cosell impersonation, it's that they all think theirs is great, including Cowherd. You are not Howard Cosell. Quit trying. -1
Did he repeat one thought/idea/analogy incessantly?

Yes, this whole "threesome" analogy grew quite tiresome after about 12 minutes. This is especially the case when he was waffling back and forth, constantly contradicting himself. -1
Did he make an assumption or exaggerate to help prove his point?

Well, he pretty much assumed Kornheiser would bomb tonight. This coming from the guy that replaced Kornheiser. Interesting. -1
Did he contradict an earlier stance without saying he changed his mind?

One big contradiction wrapped inside his monologue. -1
Did he alienate a good portion of his listening audience (like presumably over 30%)?

Probably not, but I'm sure he pissed off Kornheiser fans. Then again most Kornheiser fans probably can't stand The Herd.

Final Score: 3 (out of 8) Makes me wonder if there really is any animosity at all between Cowherd and Kornheiser. Maybe they don't even know each other. We at ThunderMatt are rooting for Tony tonight.

Bartender Banter: You called down the thunder, well, now you got it!

August 14, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the Cubs managed to not suck just enough to avoid being swept in Denver. Here are some random notes.
  • In his last 10 games, Thunder Matt Murton is hitting .429 with 3 home runs, 11 RBI, 3 BB and only 1 K. Angel Pagan has hit .367 with 1 home run, 5 RBI, 1 BB, and 4 K. Meanwhile Jacque Jones has hit .182 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 5 BB, and 9 K. I understand the Cubs are spending too much to keep Jones on the bench, but it'd be nice to see Murton and Pagan in the corners every now and then. Come on Dusty. Rock out with your Jacque out!
  • How about Ryan The Riot? 3 for 3 on saturday and then the game-winning homer yesterday. Can we get this guy some PT at 2B? Nevermind the defensive prowess of Cesar! and Ronny. If The Riot can offer some offense lets give him a shot at 2B. At least we're not dealing with a starting middle infield of Neifi and Womack. That was what I feared most back in June given Dusty's track record.
  • Our rotation right now consists of Zambrano, Hill, Guzman, Marmol, and Mateo. There's still a good amount of season left, so there's plenty of time to pitch Zambrano's arm off and get Glendone in there to make this the worst rotation in the majors. But dammit, we still have the best rotation when everyone's healthy "on paper". Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs! The 2003, 2004, and 2005 National League Champions on paper!
Are You Ready For Some Football?
Well Monday Night Football premieres tonight on ESPN. The new MNF lineup consists of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, and Tony Kornheiser. This just seems like an odd grouping, but I think that's what they're trying to go for. The execs seem to keep trying to recapture the magic of the Cosell and Meredith days, which isn't going to happen. Its like the media constantly dubbing some young hoops star "the next Jordan". In the end, it only fuels disappointment

Anyway, I'm kind of mixed about this group. Theismann seems like a nice enough guy, but he comes off kind of dopey most of the time. Mike Tirico is a pretty good play-by-play guy, but I have to question his impartiality calling games after he dry-humped the Iowa State Cyclones for the entire game against Iowa last year. He was so disgustingly obvious in his bias that I'm pretty sure he called the second half wearing a Cy the Cyclone costume.

Then there's Mr. Tony. Most people know TK from Pardon the Interruption, a sports talk show he co-hosts with Michael Wilbon on ESPN. I'm not sure how he'll do. They had the three on Sportscenter this morning giving a preview of tonight's game featuring the Vikings against the Raiders. Tony looked like a deer in the headlights, not very comfortable at all. This may go well, or it may not, but if he ends up coming off like he did in this morning's Sportscenter, I think the MNF era for Tony will be short-lived. I guess the one plus would be that if Tony left MNF he would probably come back to radio. Kornheiser's show, which used to be in Cowherd's spot in the ESPN Radio lineup, and more recently was aired locally on Washington DC's Sports Talk 980, was fabulous.

Luke the Puke
How about the shitbomb Luke Hudson dropped yesterday? 0.1 IP, 8 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, and 1 K. What's even sadder is all those stupid schmucks in fantasy leagues that in a feeble attempt to pad their stats in head to head leagues, picked Hudson up on the waiver wire for a spot start. Jackasses. Fantasy managers that churn starting pitchers on the waiver wire to gain on their opponents have no real fantasy knowledge or ability. Its the equivalent of doing the nose tackle trick in Tecmo Bowl, where you just dive as soon as the ball is snapped and sack the QB. Do you win by doing that? Sure you do, but your friends look at you as a lousy douchebag that couldn't ever win by playing it straight up.

CCP: Another Day Without Our Dear Leader

August 11, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Cowherd was again absent from the airwaves today. There's really not much to be said. We've been analyzing his show for the last two weeks, and out of the ten shows, he's had a sub for three of them. Personally, I feel less angry when I arrive to work on the days in which he's gone. We'll see what next week brings. Fear not, for the Colin Cowherd Project is alive and thriving.

CCP: Colin is a No-Show

August 10, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Subbing in for Colin today was Jason Smith. Therefore there will be no CCP analysis, though it warrants mentioning that Smith discussed the Clarett affair again. Can't we just put this guy behind us like The Ohio State University alumni are trying to do? Bah!

Oh yes, they call them The Streak

August 10, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

So I've been keeping quiet so as not to jinx them, but now that its over I can comment: The Dodgers won 11 straight and pulled to within 1/2 game of first place. Of course, before this, they lost 8 straight and were 7.5 out. Fortunately they got hot just about the same time the Padres' inevitable implosion began.

A new streak starts tonight. The Dodgers have completely owned the Rockies dating back to Hideo Nomo's no hitter in Coors Field - still the only one at that stadium.

Dusty Baker, keeping the delusion alive

August 10, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

I, like many people out there, pretty much gave up on this season two months ago. The Derrek Lee injury, the ineptitude at the plate, stupid gaffes on defense, the remains of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior lying in a pile making us wonder if we could build some sort of cyborg superpitcher from the salvagable parts, among other things, caused me to chalk it up as yet another wasted year as I drowned my misery in some Old Style.

Drink up you poor bastards. Drink up!

So this morning I got the chance to read this article, and I laughed my balls off. OK, first off let me say that I'm well aware that Dusty is going to always respond like this. The man's head has been in the guillotine all season, and it hasn't left. Jim Hendry simply let the executioner take a cigarette break until October. So obviously he's going to spew bullshit like this. If he said, "Yeah there's not much left in the tank this year dude, we're hoping to finish out strong and be back in it next season," Hendry could hail back the executioner midway through one of his Camel Lights to pull the lever. Bottom line is, no manager will say they're out until they really are out.

The Cubs dealt Greg Maddux, Todd Walker and Scott Williamson at the trading deadline. Doesn't that send a signal that the season is over?

"Not to me," Baker said. "It signals to me that it was time for somebody else to play. It was up to Greg, too. He didn't want to leave, but if somebody else wants you -- who says Greg isn't coming back? I always feel I have a chance. That's how it is, that's how I am."

Who else was supposed to play in their absence? Neifi? Juan Mateo? Michael Wuertz? The only big leaguer you got in the deal was Izturis. Those are not the moves of a team still fighting for the postseason. Who says Greg isn't coming back? Um, this year? I guess I am Dusty. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Greg isn't coming back this year. That's what we're talking about right? I thought you weren't looking to next season yet.

But hey we're only 9.5 games back (10.5 after Chaz got shelled again) from the wild card! Yeah, we only have to leapfrog Washington, Florida, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Colorado, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Cincinnati, and we're right back in this sumbitch! Only 10.5 out and yet we hold the second worst record in the NL (you stay classy Pittsburgh!). All this shows is how absolutely shitty the NL is this year. Don't get me wrong, I've been a staunch supporter of the Senior Circuit, buts lets face the facts folks, this league sucks right now.

At this point, just like so many other people out there, I'm looking forward to seeing the younger guys play the rest of the year. Thunder Matt has been stroking a hot bat (and getting extra base hits too). Some people say that he and Angel Pagan should be in a platoon in LF, which I call BS. Flash the stat splits all you want at me, but the fact is Pagan hasn't really had that many at bats this season, at least not enough to say that he's clearly better batting in certain situations than Murton. Yes Pagan hits righties better, but last time I checked, Thunder Matt was batting over .280 against them as well, which isn't crappy by any means. Pagan will be a good 4th OF to have but lets allow Murton to finish the season strong starting in LF, in hopes he's the man next year. That is of course until the Cubs sign Carlos Lee in the offseason causing me to take a molotov cocktail to the Saloon.

Then there's Rich Hill, who finally got over the hump in the bigs and is pitching decent ball now. I'm extremely happy about this because it could mean we'd finally have a solid lefty in the rotation, thus possibly stopping management from drinking the Glendon Rusch kool-aid. Seriously guys, he hasn't pitched well as a starter in like 3 years, stop trotting his ass out to the mound. Bring him in for long relief if you have to but please, PLEASE stop starting him.

And one last guy I'd like to mention is OF Felix Pie, who is one of Hendry's golden kids that he refuses to bargain with in any trade. Pie has pretty good defense, but his offense isn't quite ready yet, as he's struggled a bit in AAA Iowa this year. Some people want him called up to play since the season is lost (shhh, don't tell Dusty). But that would be a mistake. He's only 21 right now, so another year in Des Moines won't hurt, and its not like the clock is ticking here. Lets not rush him, only to be pissed that we're stuck with Corey Patterson-lite.

That's all I have for now. I figured someone should talk about the Cubs since that's what we claim our blog is mainly about, yet haven't said much concerning them lately. Here's to hoping Mark Prior wins two in a row and the Cubs can pull back to within 9.5 in the wild card. Look out rest of the NL except Pittsburgh, the Cubbies are on a roll!

CCP: Arguing Just to Hear One's Voice

August 09, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Colin led off his spasmadic monologue Wednesday with the most recent Maurice Clarett arrest. The former The Ohio State University running back was tasered and maced into submission by police, and found to have a cache of semi-automatic weapons and at least one open bottle of vodka in his vehicle. Oh yeah, and he was wearing a bulletproof vest. This is all really par for the course for Maurice Clarett. Basically, we all know Clarett is a terribly misguided individual, no argument there. But we will argue with Colin Cowherd.

Cowherd details the Clarett incident, then kicks it into "sarcastic cockweasel" mode. He claims that he recieved a bunch of e-mails from "liberal" listeners yesterday saying that he's too judgmental on people and he generalizes too much. We at Thunder Matt's don't necessarily care if he's judgmental, as long as he makes a coherent argument out of it. We do, however, take exception to his sweeping generalizations, as noted in past posts. Colin proceeds to sarcastically whine about how maybe he's being "too hard" and too judgmental in regards to Clarett's actions. Naturally, he would pick the one individual who we all know is a total lost cause socially and professionally. Any sports fan will tell you that Clarett needs to be put away and not given any more chances. So what is Cowherd arguing? Nothing. He's using the circumstances and his soap box to punch back at listeners who feel he's being too tough with his stances while not citing any real supporting evidence. He essentially conjured up a fake argument in an attempt to fight back at his critics, which just totally makes him sound like an ass-heel and a petulant child. I wish you could all listen to these rants, they're quite mind-boggling.

So Cowherd could only muscle about 9 minutes out of his fake Clarett argument, leaving room for more preening and self-congratulation. He wrapped up by discussing Mike Piazza's return to Shea Stadium, and how proud he was of Mets fans for cheering him. This was the backhanded compliment of the day, as he was sure to stress that Met fans are usually clueless and obnoxious. He also pointed out that Mets fans are not as classy as Yankee fans, but then turned around and bashed Yankee fan for booing A-Rod. In fact he completely contradicted himself on everything in this part of the monologue. Mets fans are obnoxious, no wait, they're classy. Yankee fans are classy, no wait, they're obnoxious.

But seriously, what fans don't cheer when one of their heroes return for the first time? Unless the departure ends up being a dick move on the player's part (see Roger Clemens heading to Toronto). It's usually not the player's fault for moving on (yes, there are exceptions. I hope I'm not generalizing). On to the analysis:

Was his topic/view informative?
No, he discussed and attempted to argue nothing that wasn't already obvious. -1
Did he dig a little deeper than just re-hashing the top story?

No, this is pretty much the top sports story today. -1
Did he give credence to the other side of the story?

Well, the other side of the story in regards to Clarett should not be heard. He gave up that right.
Did he use a fake voice?
No, but he did some gimmick where they made a song out of Old Navy selling bulletproof vests. That sucked up about 30 seconds of his monologue, proving that there isn't enough to talk about, and anything Clarett-related from here on out should be a non-story. And from now on, any of these produced gimmicks used on The Herd will fall under this category? -1
Did he repeat one thought/idea/analogy incessantly?
That "liberals" were being hard on him. The odd thing is that I couldn't tell if he was really pissed at liberals, or he was just mocking them in a good-natured way. Based on what Colin has shared about his life in the past, I would imagine he's fairly liberal. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm still taking a point off. -1
Did he make an assumption or exaggerate to help prove his point?
His whole argument was a big convoluted exaggeration. -1
Did he contradict an earlier stance without saying he changed his mind?

He's been critical of A-Rod in the past, and worked in the fact that Yankee fans should be ashamed for booing their own hero. -1
Did he alienate a good portion of his listening audience (like presumably over 30%)?

This is a close call, as he managed to call out anyone who would consider themselves "liberal", and gave the backhanded compliment to Met fans as well as Yankee fans. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and let him have the point. The whole thing was such an incoherent mess that most listeners probably felt like a cracked-out chimp with ADD trying to follow it.

Final Score: 2 (out of 8) This was such a garbage monologue. I'm totally surprised he came out with two points.

The All-80's Team - NL Catchers

August 08, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Astroturf, powder blue uniforms, wearing batting helmets in the field to protect your jheri curl, hitting 25 homers and being considered a legitimate slugger, big-league hair, that horrible gum from packs of baseball cards.... who doesn't love baseball from the 80's? Over the next several weeks I will be looking at the best players of the decade as we assemble the TMS All-80's Team. We will start with the National League and then we'll tackle the American. To meet the criteria a player will have to have played in at least 4 seasons in the 1980's and they must have played the bulk of their games at a certain position during that time to qualify there. Included will be a poll on the left sidebar, so our faithful readers can weigh in on this great debate. But remember, we're focusing on a player's contributions in just the 1980's. What they did in the decades before and/or after are not being considered in this.


Johnny Bench
Cincinnati Reds (1980-83)

Nickname: The Little General
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1989
All-Star: 1980, 1983

Notes: Bench just barely qualifies for this as he was well into his twilight years once the 80's rolled around. In fact he played more games at 3B during the 1980's than he did at catcher, but we'll make an exception this time. If this were the All-70's Team he'd be shoo-in. Johnny is the only hall of fame catcher to have his very own scotch.

Gary Carter
Montreal Expos (1980-84), New York Mets (1985-89)

Nickname: The Kid
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2003
All-Star: 1980-88
Gold Gloves: 1980-83
Silver Sluggers: 1981-86
Awards: ASG MVP (1981, 1984); Roberto Clemente Award (1989)
Postseason: 1981 NLCS, 1986 WS, 1988 WS
NL Leader: 1984 RBI (106)

Notes: Pretty much trumps all other NL catchers in this decade. His accolades speak for themselves. Carter also sported one of the great man-perms of the era.

Jody Davis
Chicago Cubs (1981-88), Atlanta Braves (1988-89)

All-Star: 1984, 1986
Gold Gloves: 1986
Postseason: 1984 NLCS

Notes: A fixture behind the plate in Wrigley for most of the decade, Jody's play often caused Harry Caray to burst into songs about him. Davis was a Rule V draft pick by the Cubs in 1980. He currently manages the Peoria Chiefs, an A-ball affiliate of the Cubs. He's often confused with another Jody Davis, who's in a christian rock band.

Terry Kennedy
St. Louis Cardinals (1980), San Diego Padres (1981-86), San Francisco Giants (1989)

All-Star: 1981, 1983, 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1983
Postseason: 1984 WS, 1989 WS

Notes: Terry was a solid hitting catcher for the Padres throughout the mid-80's, making 3 NL All-Star teams (He made one AL team in '87). In '86 Kennedy was traded to Baltimore for Storm Davis as San Diego made room for a young phenom catcher that we'll talk about shortly. Terry now stays busy managing the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden Baseball League, which has gained notoriety by signing former major leaguers such as Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco in recent years.

Mike LaValliere
Philadelphia Phillies (1984), St. Louis Cardinals (1985-86), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987-89)

Nickname: Spanky
Gold Gloves: 1987

Notes: I couldn't find a good picture of any of his 1980's cards so we'll have to settle for a 1992 Upper Deck card of Spanky. While he doesn't have all the accomplishments as his counterparts, Mike was a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. After a couple seasons in St. Louis, Mike came to the Steel City along with Andy Van Slyke. Who did Pittsburgh trade? I thought you'd never ask......

Tony Pena
Pittsburgh Pirates (1980-86), St. Louis Cardinals (1987-89)

All-Star: 1982, 1984-86, 1989
Gold Gloves: 1983-85
Postseason: 1987 WS

Notes: Before Spanky, there was Tony. Pena was one of the best defensive backstops in the NL. Tony later managed the baseball anomaly that was the 2003 Royals. His son Tony is a shortstop for the Braves.

Benito Santiago
San Diego Padres (1986-89)

All-Star: 1989
Awards: NL ROY (1987)
Gold Gloves: 1988-89
Silver Sluggers: 1987-88

Notes: The year was 1987. With Terry Kennedy sent away to Baltimore, the stage was set in San Diego for the emergence of young Puerto Rican phenom Benito Santiago. Benito was a 22-year old rookie, with an amazing glove, a hot bat, speed on the basepaths and the best dirtlip moustache of the decade. In his later years, Benito morphed into cro-magnon man.

Mike Scioscia
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-89)

All-Star: 1989
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1985 NLCS, 1988 WS

Notes: Before he took the reins of the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim next to Garden Grove, Scioscia was on the other side of the Orange Curtain, playing behind the plate at Chavez Ravine. For the entire decade, Scioscia was the Dodgers main catcher and was a part of three postseason appearances and two world championships.

Be sure and vote for your choice of NL Catcher for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.