Playoff Bound

7:38 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

In a game that featured Greg Maddux stealing a base and Kenny Lofton scoring on a sac-fly to second base, the Dodgers clinched a playoff berth. Wild card or NL West will be determined tomorrow.

Serious props to Grady "Sling Blade" Little this year. He was given a team in the middle of a total overhaul and one of the worst bullpens ever assembled and he's taking them to the playoffs. Defintely worthy of Manager of the Year consideration, but we all know he won't win it.

Here's a good shot of Maddux in disbelief after stealing 2nd:

Bartender Banter: October Beckons

9:33 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Who doesn't love October? The baseball playoffs get into full swing. The NFL and college football are moving along at full force. The NBA preseason reminds me that I have the worst franchise in my 16 team keeper league (Seriously, my likely keepers will be T.J. Ford, Tony Parker, Bobby Simmons, David West, and Tyson Chandler. I'm not winning shit with that as my core.) . Hell, I'll even give a nod to the Molson drinking mulletheads that follow hockey, as the NHL season kicks off next week.





Studies have shown, Tyson Chandler will not win you any fantasy leagues.






So as the Cubs season comes to a merciful close on sunday, let's just hope that a few things get sorted outfor 2007, namely new management, and possibly sign a big free agent (Two words for the Cubs, Vernon Wells. Seriously, I don't care if you have to borderline stalk the guy, let's get him on board!). And to help us forget this absolute train wreck we call the 2006 season, the Cubs have released the 2007 schedule. I can start planning now for which games I'll want tickets for. Note to self: if you get in to purchase tickets again at 10:04 am like last year, don't stupidly use that chance to buy a value date. Buy 6 tickets for Cubs/White Sox and don't think twice.

Murton, Flirtin' with .300
It seems like he's been hovering right around the .290's forever, but after a brilliant 5-for-7 performance during their 2-game stint with Milwaukee, Thunder Matt has upped his AVG to .300. Murton has hit .328 since the All-Star break and has an OPS of .937, which is a vast improvement over his .723 mark in the first half of the season. With a great weekend against the Rockies, Murton could put a nice exclamation point on his season if he can keep that AVG up.

MLB Playoffs
Well the playoff picture is far from focused yet. The four American League teams are set (Yanks, Twins, Tigers, A's), but we still have no idea of who will be playing who. Right now the Yankees are one game better than the Twins and Tigers. The Twins and Tigers are currently tied in the AL Central. Of those three teams battling for home-field advantage, the Tigers have the best chance to come out on top, as they play their final three games against a miserable Royals squad. The Yankees have to play three against the Blue Jays, and the Twins will take on a White Sox team that's sure to have a chip on their shoulder. Meanwhile Oakland is battling the Angels. I have no idea how the tiebreakers will play out but I have a feeling no team wants the Yankees in the first round.

Think the AL picture is murky? The NL is even more chaotic. The collapse of St. Louis has opened the door for yet another infamous late-season run by the Astros. The Astros God dammit! They're like a bad venereal disease that won't go away. Please for the love of everything that's sacred St. Louis, win your final games. I can't stand Houston, and I don't think I can endure another postseason with Joe Buck melodramatically blathering about "this possibly being The Rocket's last game". At this point I'm convinced Clemens is an evil cyborg destined to pitch for another 20 years. Our only hope is that someone from the future sends a Terminator back in time to destroy him. Oh yeah, and the Reds are also still alive because of the Cardinals free-fall. The team that looked like they were finished but bounced back a couple of times this season is still alive. They're a longshot, but I'm pulling for Cincinnati to come out of the Central on top.

Meanwhile the NL West and NL Wild Card is far from settled. The Dodgers trail San Diego by only one game. Both have a series on the road this weekend which bodes well for the Padres who seem to play better outside of Petco. Then there's the pesky Phillies who are only 2 back of the Dodgers for the Wild Card. This is all playing out to be a great weekend in baseball.

So who am I rooting for in the playoffs? I think I'll be pulling for Twins and Dodgers. The Twins are one of the more likeable teams out there, plus I'll play the "proximity to my home" card since they're in the Midwest. I refuse to cheer for the Cardinals, Astros or Padres in the playoffs which leaves the Mets, Phillies, or Dodgers. While I'm rather indifferent about the Mets, the Phillies are intriguing with the success of Ryan Howard. But I gotta cheer Mad Dog on as he makes possibly his last run at another World Series ring.




My Pick for the World Series

Dodgers vs. Twins





Offseason in the Saloon
Well with the baseball season wrapping up, the Saloon isn't exactly closing its doors for the winter. I plan on continuing the All-80's team which by my calculations is slated to run through December, as well as offer some football and possibly some basketball coverage. You can still expect some War Criminal and Realm of Red features from the Governor and Chaim too. Don't be surprised though if we don't have new content up as regularly as we did in the summer.

River Roots Live
Quick recap. Overall it was a great time. Almost every band we saw was good. A few high points: Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travellers, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, and Martin Sexton were outstanding. When we saw Lil Brian, I was expecting something similar to what we hear every time we eat at Famous Dave's. But they were a lot funkier than your typical zydeco outfit. Imagine seeing Parliament perform but George Clinton playing the accordian and has a Creole accent. Dumpstaphunk was another great soul/funk band that did some sweet covers of various rock songs. Martin Sexton's voice sounded like a cross between Jack Johnson and the lead singer of Big Head Todd and the Monsters and he looks like the love-child of Neil Young and Jack Black. But his one-man show was terrific.

Susan Tedeschi was equally outstanding, and a pretty damn good guitar player too. But when it comes to the best guitar playing, nobody could top Junior Brown's virtuoso performance. The Gourds were fun to listen to, but alas, no Gin and Juice. The crowd was shouting for it the entire time, which led me to believe they probably don't break it out that often since every drunk asshole is screaming at them to play it. Scott H. Biram was a complete trip, playing some crazy pyschobilly punk that kicked ass. The Hackensaw Boys were good as always, but suffered from poor sound in the bandshell.

Oh and the jam bands. Let me first say that I'm not a huge jam band person. I've never been that big into Phish, Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, or any of the other hugely touring live acts. There were three jam bands that played, Umphrey's McGee, Groovatron, and Ernie Hendrickson & the Make Believe. I'd say that Groovatron was probably my favorite, because they had a much harder sound. I was too drunk to really remember much of Umphrey's performance.

Oh yeah and the Black Crowes. Um, yeah I was pretty well tore up from drinking beer all day that I can't recall much of anything. In fact we only stayed for about 5 songs. Two things I remembered are 1) they opened up with "Gone", and 2) Chris Robinson was fucked up on something, whether it was marijuana, coke, booze, or more likely a combination of them. He just sort of flailed about and apparently kept missing his cues to sing. While I don't think they were bad, I do think that other bands' performances were better.

All in all we had a great time, with very little rain thankfully. They did a good job with keeping the festival moving with literally no dead time between bands. I think we'll go back next year, and hopefully they can build off of this one to bring even bigger acts to it.


That's all for now. Here's to the Hawkeyes toppling the Buckeyes tomorrow night, and the Bears sticking it to the Seahawks on Sunday night.

The All-80's Team: NL Right Field

3:19 PM | 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.

We're nearing the final stretch here for the National League. This last week, Dale Murphy won the online poll and has been named the starting CF to the TMS All-80's National League Team.

NATIONAL LEAGUE RIGHT FIELD

Andre Dawson
Montreal Expos (1980-86), Chicago Cubs (1987-89)

Nickname: Hawk
All-Star: 1981-83, 1987-89
Awards: 1987 NL MVP
Gold Gloves: 1980-85, 1987-88
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987
Postseason: 1981 NLCS, 1989 NLCS
NL Leader: 1983 Hits, 1987 HR, 1987 RBI

Notes: I still remember my Awesome Dawson t-shirt that I got outside of Wrigley Field when I was a kid. Hawk was one of my favorite players growing up. Before his MVP season with the Cubs, Dawson was an outstanding right fielder for the Expos, picking up 6 Gold Gloves while playing in Montreal. Unfortunately it was the nasty artificial turf of Olympic Stadium that tore up his knees and abruptly ended what could have been an even more dominate career. In his prime he could hit, run and play defense, making him one of the best outfielders of his decade.




Tony Gwynn
San Diego Padres (1982-89)

Hall of Fame: Likely inducted in 2007
All-Star: 1984-87, 1989
Gold Gloves: 1986, 1987, 1989
Silver Sluggers: 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989
Postseason: 1984 WS
NL Leader: 1984, 1987-89 AVG, 1986 Runs, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 Hits

Notes: An absolute shoo-in to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this coming spring, along with Cal Ripken. Tony played the first half of his career in the 1980's and certainly left his mark, winning 4 batting titles. A career .338 batter, Gwynn was the model of consistency at the plate who also backed it up with solid glove work in right field.




Pedro Guerrero
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-88), St. Louis Cardinals (1988-89)

All-Star: 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989
Awards: 1981 WS MVP
Silver Sluggers: 1982
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1983 NLCS, 1985 NLCS
NL Leader: 1985 OBP, 1985 SLG, 1989 Doubles

Notes: Behold the majesty of Pedro Guerrero. If there was any player that deserved his own Chuck Norris-style fact website it's Pedro. His legend has grown bigger than the man himself, well, at least here at the Saloon it has. Who doesn't love a good anecdote about Pedro, whether it has any semblance of truth or not?



George Hendrick
St. Louis Cardinals (1980-84), Pittsburgh Pirates (1985)

All-Star: 1980, 1983
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1983
Postseason: 1982 WS

Notes: I'm not going to deny George's place on this list, but when stacked against these other virtual juggernauts of the outfield he doesn't fare very well. Nonetheless before some of these other guys even got started in the bigs, Hendrick was slugging the crap out of the ball in St. Louis driving in over 100 runs in 1980 and 1982.






Dave Parker
Pittsburgh Pirates (1980-83), Cincinnati Reds (1984-87)

Nickname: Cobra
All-Star: 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986
Silver Sluggers: 1985, 1986
Postseason: 1985 WS

Notes: Like our friend over at Mondesi's House says, "Parker was one scary hitter." But like the late Rick James unfortunately said, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Parker went from fearsome slugger, to fat, bloated also-ran once he began doing coke. He did bounce back and have a couple great years in Cincinnati later on. Parker also sported the nickname Cobra which is probably one of the most badass names ever in baseball and was later the inspiration for King Cobra malt liquor*. Nobody has a good nickname any more. Now it's all about the stupid abbreviated name/initials combo. A-Rod, T.O., K-Fed. Lame. Why can't anyone have a kickass nickname? Oh I don't know, like Thunder Matt for example.

*No, not really.


Darryl Strawberry
New York Mets (1983-89)

All-Star: 1984-89
Awards: 1983 NL ROY
Silver Sluggers: 1988
Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 NLCS
NL Leader: 1988 SLG, 1988 HR

Notes: Jesus, insert the Rick James quote here as well. You figure Darryl stopped being productive when he was 29 years old. Just think what kind of numbers he could have put up had he stayed clean through his 30's? Nonetheless Darryl's stats in the 1980's speak for themselves. Plus who can forget his memorable peformance on The Simpsons?





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

A Mile High Minute...with Governor Gray Davis

10:42 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

With the MLB season winding down, I need to start thinking about my duties as Thunder Matt’s rogue Broncos correspondent. After three games, I’ve got some observations:

Plummer finally looked like last year’s Plummer tonight. His numbers weren’t great, but he was the victim of quite a few dropped passes. The two bombs to Javon Walker could not have been thrown better though. Also, don’t forget he sucked the first two games last year too, so put those fucking Jay Cutler jerseys away for awhile.

Speaking of Javon Walker, I take back all the nasty things I said about you in week one and two. You bought yourself some time tonight.

Memo to Mike Shanahan…Everyone in the league knows 2nd and 10 means Tatum Bell up the middle right now. Try to mix it up a bit. You’re the offensive genius, I shouldn’t have to be telling you this.

The defense looks awesome, giving up only one touchdown in three games. Even though they don’t wear orange anymore, can we bring back the Orange Crush nickname? Its pretty cool and that would save everyone the trouble of coming up with a new one.

River Roots Live

11:09 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the Cubs kick off a 4-game series against Cincinnati today as they've hit the home stretch on their quest for 100 losses. They'll need to lose their final 9 games to achieve that mark, but I think they're capable. You gotta believe!

Anyway, with the Cubs season about to officially float away on its turd vessel, I will be focusing my time this weekend to other things, most importantly the River Roots Live Music Fest. River Roots Live is a musical festival held in Davenport on the banks of the Mississippi River. This is the second year they've held it, and the big headlining act is the Black Crowes. The rest of the acts aren't as familiar to most people but they do have a pretty eclectic lineup of bands. Here's a list of all of them.

Friday September 22nd
Girlyman
The Nadas
Junior Brown
Lil' Brian and the Zydeco Travellers
Martin Sexton
Bo Ramsey
Susan Tedeschi

Saturday September 23rd
Family Groove Company
Sunnywheat
Scott H. Biram
Ernie Hendrickson and the Make Believe
The Gourds
Groovatron
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
Hackensaw Boys
Umphrey's McGee
Alejandro Escovedo
Black Crowes

Now I can honestly say I've head of 7 artists on that list. So we'll see how good it ends up being. It seems though that they've got some pretty talented groups lined up. A lot of folk, jam bands, and Americana from the looks of it. Its no Bonnaroo or Austin City Limits, but for an area that usually only draws the big corporate arena tours that usually involve no talent acts, (Rascal Flatts, Hoobastank, etc.) it's nice to see something like this possibly taking off. Hopefully in coming years they'll bring in bigger acts. It'd be cool to see some bands like Wilco, Kings of Leon or the Black Keys come to this. I'll report back next week on my experience.

One band I'm interested in seeing is the Gourds. Some of you may know them for their silly yet jamming cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice". It was a pretty popular download back during the Napster Days, a lot of the time falsely listed as Phish being the band that did it. Nothing like hearing the lyrics, "Dr. Dre got some bitches from the City of Compton!" belted out in a twangy country voice with a mandolin playing in the background. If they don't play it I'll be severely pissed.

One thing I know for sure is that it'll be wet. Our forecast for the next two days calls for rain with some drizzle along with a chance of showers. I wonder what its like to be deaf, hungover and have pneumonia? I guess we'll find out.

Chaiming In

8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

  • Is it possible to overuse the f-word? As this article proves, no. No, there isn't.
  • I get a lot of fan mail asking me, "Chaim, when are we going to get another Realm of Red? Are you just full empty promises and unrealized potential?" The answer to those questions is 'soon' and 'yes'. Brilliance takes time, like a nice pot of beef stew.
  • It has been said before but let me reiterate. It is never a good idea, even while in Jamaica, to get your hair braided into 'dreads' if you are white. Are you listening Axl?
  • Wait, are the Cubs still playing? Shit.
  • To be successful next year, the Cubs don't need a new manager. They don't need new personnel. Nope. What they need? A good old fashioned uniform change. I'm thinking maybe something modern and edgy. Maybe all black. Very sleek and classy. And in the summer time when it gets hot, who's to say you can't wear shorts? I think this would give their legs more room to breathe and the players would all run faster.
  • I do give a shit about the NFL, although I follow one man into the promised land (heaven, duh) and he goes by the name of Kurt Warner. The Redbirds will soar! (until week 7 when he is unceremoniously dumped in favor of that tall surfer guy). Kurt has always been the one guy to help identify my alma mater, Northern Iowa. If talking with a guy and I mention I mention that I went to Northern Iowa and I get a quizzical look I always follow it up with 'Kurt Warner went there'. As if that legitimizes it. Works better than saying 'Mike Furrey went there'. Kurt must really be trying to reshape his image as in a recent Sporting News feature he talks casually about going out for beers with Edge and him and Fitz making a bet about who could get home first after practice and stick it to their wife. And Kurt won! Guess that would explain his 7 kids. Before the obligatory Brenda joke, can I just say what's up with her long blonde hair now? Big improvement.
  • Lots of Iowa Hawkeye fans live in Chicago. Moreso than Illinois fans even. But for the record, many of these said Hawkeye fans are grade A douchebags, as the majority of them are Nickelback listening frat guys and Trixies who couldn't even tell you who Iowa was playing, much less the score. I cringe when I walk into an 'Iowa' bar (they're all either that, Notre Dame or Michigan until basketball season when the Illini fans come out of the closet)
  • Raves: Simply Limeade, Red Stripe, old-school KISS, Ryan Theriot, lobster, naps, Forest Whitaker, the return of fall TV (Lost and The Office especially), Esquire, Negril, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Half Nelson and The Last King of Scotland (movies), coconut chicken, the Rockstar house band, a good solid pen, the Pirates late season surge, soft core porn, live music.
  • Rants: Seeing fucking Peyton Manning in every fucking commercial during every fucking NFL game (Man I hate the one with him and the fake mustache!), 'Manning Bowl' or 'Brother vs. Brother' or whatever the hell they were calling that stupid thing (Backwoods Inbred Brother Fucking Bowl?), Lukas Rossi, Ronny Cedeno, batting gloves, Yankees fans, spinach, The Black Dahlia, work, the absence of mankind's ability to time travel, any beer referred to as a 'stout', ESPN Zone, speedos, the commercials for TGI Friday's "green bean fries", snuff films.

Out of pitchers, Cubs start ER's Eriq LaSalle tonight

11:08 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Sweet, I loved him as Dr. Benton, and let's not forget his stellar performance as the Soul Glo guy in Coming to America. Man this so cool, I didn't even know he could pitch......what? Les Wal-rond? Who the hell is that? The Cubs are throwing yet another wild young kid out there I see.......he's what? He's almost 30?! Jebus!

It's been over a week since anyone here has even muttered about the Cubs. In that time not a whole lot has happened.
  • The Cubs still suck.
  • It took a blood clot in his lung to shelve Glendon Rusch, instead of a incompetent management staff that should have waived him long ago.
  • Thunder Matt and The Riot are still hitting well.
  • Freddie Bynum made us pine for the days of Todd Walker's amazing defensive prowess.
  • Like Death from GROTA said, I like Angel Pagan and enjoy watching him play....off the bench.
  • Carlos Zambrano is the only Cubs pitcher that has enough innings to qualify for the MLB ERA leaders list. Next on the list is Sean Marshall who's 30-some odd innings short.
  • The Cubs have used 14 different starting pitchers this season. In 2005 they used 11. In 2004 it was only 7.
  • Chicago has the third worst record in the majors currently. I can't wait for us to blow another top draft pick on a pitcher.
Hey, at least we have the Bears this fall. Although I think I may be the only one here at the Saloon that follows them or even gives a shit about the NFL.



Seriously, Les Walrond? Next are they going to bring back Ruben Quevedo? Not sure where that dude is, but my guess is that wherever Ruben is chilling it's probably "All You Can Eat".

The All-80's Team: NL Center Field

8:36 AM | 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 time we tackled the NL LF. Tim Raines won the online poll and has been named the starting LF to the TMS All-80's National League Team.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTER FIELD

Chili Davis
San Francisco Giants (1981-87)

All-Star: 1984, 1986
Postseason: 1987 NLCS

Notes: Chili brought speed and solid bat to the Giants lineup. He's also the best outfielder in major league history named after an item on Wendy's Super Value Menu. Shown at right is Chili's rookie card. It was still back in the days when Topps wouldn't give rookies their own card so everyone had to share their first card with some other guy. So Chili's card is ruined by Bob Tufts choading it up on the right. At least Brenly managed a World Series champion. What did Tufts ever do besides be trade fodder for the Giants to acquire Atlee Hammaker?




Eric Davis
Cincinnati Reds (1984-89)

All-Star: 1987, 1989
Gold Gloves: 1987-89
Silver Sluggers: 1987, 1989

Notes: Its amazing that given the numbers Davis put up in the 80's, the most games he ever played in a season is only 135. Davis is one of those guys that makes you wonder what he could've done had he played a full career, relatively healthy. Either way he was a force in center field for the Reds, picking up 3 Gold Gloves in the decade. He later went on to the Dodgers where he enjoyed driving the car while Vince Coleman threw fireworks at kids or something.




Willie McGee
St. Louis Cardinals (1982-89)

All-Star: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988
Awards: 1985 NL MVP
Gold Gloves: 1983, 1985, 1986
Silver Sluggers: 1985
Postseason: 1982 WS, 1985 WS, 1987 WS
NL Leader: 1985 Hits, AVG, Triples

Notes: Willie was the anchor of the Cardinals outfield for most of the decade. Baffling opponents with his bat and his glove, McGee played on three World Series teams and in 1985 won the National League MVP award. While Cooperstown passed on Willie, he was a first ballot inductee to the Ugly Athlete Hall of Fame, home to other notable freakshows such as Tom Henke and Otis Nixon.


Dale Murphy
Atlanta Braves (1980-89)

Nickname: The Murph
All-Star: 1980, 1982-87
Awards: 1982 & 1983 NL MVP
Gold Gloves: 1982-86
Silver Sluggers: 1982-85
Postseason: 1982 NLCS
NL Leader: 1982 RBI, 1983 RBI, 1984 HR, 1985 HR

Notes: There's been so much talk from a group of folks talking about how much of a crime it is that Jim Rice isn't in the Hall of Fame. While I agree with them, why is there no love for Dale? No one hit more home runs in the 80's than him, he won back to back MVP awards and was one of the most feared sluggers for a large chunk of the decade. Plus one thing that he even has over Rice is that he's pretty nice guy too. Enough is enough. Put Murph in the Hall.

Andy Van Slyke
St. Louis Cardinals (1983-86), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987-89)

All-Star: 1988
Gold Gloves: 1988-89
Silver Sluggers: 1988
Postseason: 1985 WS

Notes: Van Slyke didn't play as much with the Cardinals. It wasn't until he was sent along with Spanky LaValliere to Pittsburgh that he had his chance to shine. Andy had a career year in 1988, hitting .288 with 25 homers, 100 RBI and 101 R. He could run too, swiping 184 bases in the 80's.





Mookie Wilson
New York Mets (1980-89)

Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 NLCS

Notes: Why the hell is he on here? Because he's Mookie frickin' Wilson, that's why. I was running low on candidates and I wanted to get at least 6 on the list so Mookie got the call. Despite the lack of accolades, Mookie was a pretty decent ballplayer. He even stole 50+ bases in back to back seasons. Plus I couldn't resist a chance to stick it to Red Sox fans.







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

About Damn Time...

10:27 AM | Comments (2) | by Governor X

The Dodgers were about to lose to the god damned Padres for the 14th time this year when they suddenly realized this was bullshit. Something inside them said, "Hey, we're the better team. These guys from San Diego have Dave Roberts starting in left field for christ's sake, and Mike Piazza isn't getting any younger (or straighter)."

Responding to the voice of reason inside their head, down 9-5 in the ninth, Kent, Drew, Martin, and Marlon Anderson hit four consecutive home runs to tie the game. This was the fourth time in MLB history this has occurred and the first since the 1964 Minnesota Twins did it. Making it even sweeter was the fact that this was the first time in 24 chances that Trevor Hoffman blew a save against LA...and he took no time doing so.

On to the 10th, where just to make it interesting Aaron Sele gave up the go ahead run. To lose the game after that 9th inning probably would have crushed their soul and guaranteed they spend October playing golf. Not gonna happen. Kenny Lofton walked to start the inning, and then indicted War Criminal Nomar Garciaparra came up to the plate...

A few minutes later, the pitch Rudy Seanez had thrown landed somewhere near Palmdale and the Dodgers were celebrating an absolutely insane comeback. The fans gave a standing ovation worthy of a playoff win.

Hopefully this will be the needed spark for LA and the necessary nail in the Padres' coffin. Having Geoff Blum on the roster alone should keep San Diego home for the playoffs. LA has the hapless Pirates, who are now suffering from full blown Tracyball, coming to town and San Diego has to play Arizona and St. Louis. For now, everything is in its right place...

Guarantee This!

9:36 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Can we just stop with the guaranteeing victory schtick at this point? Obviously Namath's bold prediction 37 years ago has become legendary, but now any knucklehead within a ten foot radius of a microphone thinks they're being tough and brash by guaranteeing they'll win. It's pretty much lost all of its meaning now. Lions WR Roy Williams is the latest to join the hall of shame for making a stupid guarantee. The Bears defense can pretty much chew up and spit out any offense out there, and for some reason Roy thought it'd be a good idea to fire them up some more. Nice job.

The Bears destroyed the Lions yesterday 34-7, led in part by the spectacular play of Rex Grossman. Grossman went 20-27 passing with 289 yards and 4 touchdowns. One potential mark on his stats, an interception by Boss Bailey, was overturned on a hands-to-the-face penalty on Detroit CB Jamar Fletcher. Grossman's sharp play has fans ecstatic about this year's much more balanced offense. No longer are the Bears relying heavily on grinding the ball down the field with their running game. Bears' receivers seem to be in tune with Rex as Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad, and Desmond Clark all had a handful of catches.

The Lions offense was led by Jon Kitna. Kitna was brought in this season to lead Detroit's stacked offense (on paper). What with their 3 stud first round receivers they drafted three years in a row, they should have no problem now that they have a reliable QB throwing to them. Oh wait, Roy Williams is the only one of those three that actually plays! Charles Rogers was cut, and Mike Williams was inactive. So instead the Lions started a fearsome trio of Williams, Mike Furrey, and Eddie Drummond. It's amazing the Bears weren't overwhelmed by their awesomeness.
A quick side note about Mike Furrey. He went to the same college as me (University of Northern Iowa), and I can attest that the man is a grade A douchebag. He thought he was King Shit on Turd Mountain because he was the top receiver in I-AA football. After the XFL folded he was back in Cedar Falls hanging out at the bar by himself until someone recognized him and a small crowd formed around him. What a douche. He was hanging out just to play the "Do you know who I am?" card and eventually had a handful of underclassmen drooling over him. That's the sign you know you've made it. When you go undrafted in the NFL and end up playing in some ill-fated football league that collapsed faster than Korey Stringer during two-a-days, then come back to your school so you can go hang out at Sharky's and have all the kids with fake ID's, and are full of Busch Light worship you. Screw you Furrey. You couldn't hold Eddie Berlin's jock.
Anyway moving on, the Bears will head up to Minnesota next week to take on the 2-0 Vikings. This should be Chicago's first real challenge as the Vikes have looked surprisingly good so far this season.

The All-80's Team: NL Left Field

8:01 AM | 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 time we tackled the NL SS. Ozzie Smith won the online poll and has been named the starting SS to the TMS All-80's National League Team.

NATIONAL LEAGUE LEFT FIELD

Dusty Baker
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-83), San Francisco Giants (1984)

All-Star: 1981-82
Gold Gloves: 1981
Silver Sluggers: 1980-81

Notes: Way back before he was our favorite whipping boy in Chicago, Dusty was fairly decent ballplayer. While his heydays were in the 1970's (You know he batted behind Hank Aaron? No really he did. He rarely mentions it), Dusty still managed a couple good years in the 80's making the All-Star team a couple times and even getting a Gold Glove.





Vince Coleman
St. Louis Cardinals (1985-89)

Nickname: Vincent Van Go
All-Star: 1988-89
Awards: 1985 NL ROY
Postseason: 1985 NLCS, 1987 WS
NL Leader: 1985-89 Stolen Bases

Notes: In the mid to late 80's, a kid named Vince Coleman gave Rickey Henderson a run for his money on the basepaths. In his first three seasons, Coleman stole a total of 326 bases. He was also the last player in the NL to top 80 steals in a season. He later went on to New York where he threw fireworks at kids or something.




Jose Cruz
Houston Astros (1980-87)

Nickname: Cheo
All-Star: 1980, 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1983-84
Postseason: 1980 NLCS, 1981 NLDS, 1986 NLCS

Notes: Long before his son drove us crazy in fantasy leagues with his terribly inconsistent play, Jose Cruz Sr. was the model of consistency, as he batted over .300 a handful of seasons for the 'stros in the 80's. He was also voted "Sexiest outfielder" in 1983 by Latin Beat magazine.






George Foster
Cincinnati Reds (1980-81), New York Mets (1982-86)

All-Star: 1981
Silver Sluggers: 1981

Notes: Foster had his best years in the 70's playing for the Reds, but he still put up some decent years in the early 80's, earning him an All-Star nod and a Silver Slugger in 1981. Like Dave Concepcion, Joe Morgan can't understand why George isn't in the Hall of Fame. Shit, why not? He'd be a better candidate than frickin' Tony Perez was. One thing's for certain, George's moustache was a first-ballot inductee in the Sports Hair Hall of Fame.





Gary Matthews
Atlanta Braves (1980), Philadelphia Phillies (1981-83), Chicago Cubs (1984-87)

Nickname: Sarge
Awards: 1983 NLCS MVP
Postseason: 1981 NLDS, 1983 WS, 1984 NLCS
NL Leader: 1984 OBP (.410), 1984 BB (103)

Notes: Good old Sarge. Who doesn't love this guy? Matthews was an offensive machine for the Phillies and Cubs, helping both into the postseason. In 1983, Matthews destroyed the Dodgers in with 3 homers and 8 RBI en route to becoming the NLCS MVP. In 1984 while playing for the Cubs he had one of his greatest seasons, amassing 103 BB with only 97 strikeouts. If only the Cubs of today could show that kind of plate discipline (*cough* Jacque Jones *cough*)



Tim Raines
Montreal Expos (1980-89)

Nickname: Rock
All-Star: 1981-87
Silver Sluggers: 1986
Awards: 1987 ASG MVP
Postseason: 1981 NLCS
NL Leader: 1981-84 Stolen Bases, 1986 AVG, 1986 OBP, 1984 Doubles

Notes: Rock seems to be one of those forgotten guys of that era. Playing the entire decade in Montreal, Raines put up monster numbers. He led the NL in steals four straight years until that Vince guy showed up. He won a batting title in 1986 and made 7 All-Star teams.




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

Getting Comfy in the Basement

11:21 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

"Alright, that should be the last box. Now its time to start unpacking. This isn't so bad. Kinda musty but at least the couch pulls out to a bed. Basic cable, a mini fridge....hey and there's two bottles of Steel City left inside. Thanks Pittsburgh, but could you at least cleaned out the bathroom before you left? Its disgusting in there.

Hey what's this giant hole in the corner? Who would dig a giant pit in a basement? Oh my god! Is that Derek Bell? Hey Derek what's up? What? No I don't have any lotion......uh.....basket? Huh? Dude let me just go find a rope ladder ok?"

New York Time Warp

5:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Ten years ago, if you told me the Mets had Julio Franco, Steve Trachsel, and Darren Oliver on their team, I wouldn't be surprised. Since its 2006, I'm absolutely floored to see them on the field. Oddly enough, the geriatric Julio Franco is the least shocking. At lease he's been playing steadily since I was still a baby. Darren Oliver and Steve Trachsel have been missing longer than that Austrian girl though.

I don't like the Mets. I don't like Shea Stadium. I don't like David Wright, Carlos Delgado, or Jose Reyes. Glad to see the Dodgers muster a split with them. Now its on to Chicago for the big board showdown...

Jamaica Me Horny

4:51 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

I will be scouting talent for the Cubs in Jamaica and stuffing myself with jerk chicken for the next week. Look for a new Realm of Red as soon as I get back. Odds are in favor of me profiling this guy to the left.

Bartender Banter: Thunder Lips and Hurricanes

9:53 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

I really have nothing of consequence to discuss today, but to keep our content fresh, I'll offer up a quick throwaway post to forget about 5 minutes later as you prepare for the weekend.


NFL Kicks Off on NBC
Well the season officially got underway last night with the Steelers beating the Dolphins 28-17. I caught bits and pieces while flipping channels. Two things I learned from the bits that I saw.
  • Nick Saban should probably throw the red flag with a little more urgency next time.
  • Wesley Welker is without a doubt the starting return specialist for the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.
Thunder Matt on Urban Dictionary
Just like we've left our mark in Wikipedia, getting the "Thunder Matt" nickname out there to the masses, we've now added it to the lexicon of Urban Dictionary. So from hereon, Thunder Matt will be forever wedged between Thunder Lips, and thunder monkey.

Speaking of Thunder Lips, does anyone watch Hogan Knows Best? I caught an episode the other night, where Hulk's son got in the ring with John Cena and the Big Show for fun and began to consider following in his father's footsteps. There's no way this would work out well. At best, Hulk's kid would be like the Jakob Dylan of the WWE. He may gain some fame at first, but eventually would fade out of the spotlight, never coming close to his father's legacy.

TMS Fantasy Hurricane League Update
OK so I've slacked off a bit on keeping this updated but it doesn't mean we've forgotten about it. So far here's the official scores for the storms to date.
  • Beryl - 55 points
  • Chris - 10 Points
  • Debby - 5 Points
  • Ernesto - 105 Points
  • Florence - TBD
So based on that here is the current standings.
  1. Chaim Witz - 105
  2. Chip Wesley - 60
  3. GovGrayDavis- 10
  4. BrantBrown - 0
  5. Chi-Town Girl - 0
TMS FANTASY HURRICANE LEAGUE

Oh and the reason why this hurricane season has been so mild compared to the original forecasts/expectations is because of our old buddy, El Nino.

Dip into the Wells

10:08 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

I was cruising around the Cubs site when I saw their current poll. "Should the Cubs try to sign Juan Pierre to a long-term deal?" The current results are 79% to 21% in favor of re-signing him. Honestly I can't understand why. While he's not a horrible lead-off batter, he's really not all that great either, especially not for what he'll command for a salary. I went through and ranked all 30 teams' leadoff guys by OBP (On Base Percentage) to see how Juan stacks up. These leadoff guys were derived from the depth charts provided by Rototimes.com.


Player Team Runs OBP
1. Reed Johnson TOR 76 .390
2. Grady Sizemore CLE 114 .377
3. Dave Roberts SD 66 .376
4. Jamey Carroll COL 69 .371
5. Maicer Izturis LAA 57 .369
6. David DeJesus KC 69 .368
7. Johnny Damon NYY 103 .367
8. Jason Kendall OAK 64 .367
9. Ryan Freel CIN 64 .366
10. Ichiro Suzuki SEA 87 .365
11. Gary Matthews TEX 83 .364
12. Rickie Weeks MIL 73 .363
13. Brian Roberts BAL 75 .361
14. Rafael Furcal LAD 94 .360
15. Alfonso Soriano WAS 105 .360
16. Jose Reyes NYM 111 .353
17. Luis Castillo MIN 78 .352
18. Marcus Giles ATL 78 .351
19. Carl Crawford TB 75 .346
20. Alfredo Almezaga FLA 37 .342
21. Jimmy Rollins PHI 109 .342
22. Curtis Granderson DET 74 .339
23. Juan Pierre CHC 71 .335
24. Aaron Miles STL 37 .333
25. Willy Taveras HOU 74 .331
26. Scott Podsednik CHW 82 .330
27. Eric Byrnes ARI 69 .328
28. Coco Crisp BOS 54 .319
29. Randy Winn SF 75 .318
30. Chris Duffy PIT 31 .281


I think its safe to say that Pierre is being overvalued as a leadoff hitter, especially when you look at much cheaper options like Maicer Izturis, David DeJesus and Jamey Carroll. Hell even at a hair over $2 million, Dave Roberts is a bargain compared to Pierre. My point is, there's bound to be a cheaper more reliable option at the leadoff spot for next season than Juan Pierre.

So who would play CF then? No, not Felix Pie. As much as some people are pushing for this, he really should have another year in AAA before coming up to the bigs full-time. What the Cubs need to do is get Vernon Wells to play CF. Wells is currently 27 years old, and would provide the Cubs with a much more dependable bat to protect Derrek Lee. Imagine having the 3-4-5 slots in the order filled with Wells, Lee, and Ramirez (on the assumption that A-Ram doesn't try to leave)? That would be pretty tough to pitch around. And on defense, Wells would be an upgrade over Pierre, bringing his 2 Gold Gloves (2004, 2005) with him. Wells isn't for certain that he wants to stay in Toronto and I'm sure plenty of teams will be throwing offers at him (reports are that Wells could command as much as $15/year). Yeah he'll be expensive, but the Cubs already spend a lot of money (7th largest payroll), so there's really no excuse not to be in the running for his services.





Come on! Lets go out and get Vernon Wells. Him and Zambrano can refine their celebratory "point to the sky" technique.

It's Official

11:20 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the Cubs officially confirmed what I had stated last week. With a wild pitch by Ryan Dempster, the Cubs lost 6-5 last night, thus giving them sole possession of last place in the NL Central.

On a positive note, Thunder Matt Murton and Ryan The Riot looked good once again. Thunder Matt going 3-4 with 1 walk, and The Riot went 1-3 with 2 walks and a triple.

The All-80's Team - Shortstops

1:00 PM | 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 time we tackled the NL 3B. Mike Schmidt won the online poll and has been named the starting 3B to the TMS All-80's National League Team.

NATIONAL LEAGUE SHORTSTOP

Hubie Brooks
New York Mets (1980-84), Montreal Expos (1985-89)

All-Star: 1986-87
Silver Sluggers: 1985-86

Notes: Hubie got his start playing 3B for the Mets before being traded prior to 1985 season to the Expos for Gary Carter. Brooks then played a handful of years at shortstop in Montreal before moving to the outfield at the end of the decade. Hubie holds the longest hitting streak in Mets history, with 24 games. A feat he shares with Mike Piazza. He is also the all-time home run leader among players named Hubie.






Dave Concepcion
Cincinnati Reds (1980-88)

All-Star: 1980-82
Awards: 1982 All-Star Game MVP
Silver Sluggers: 1981-82

Notes: Concepcion was a defensive stud throughout the 70's and continued to shine through the 80's before giving way to a young kid named Barry. He even hit a little, earning a couple Silver Sluggers in 81 and 82. Joe Morgan can't understand why he's not in the Hall of Fame. Then again, Morgan can't understand why everyone, including the batboy from the "Big Red Machine" isn't in the Hall of Fame.





Shawon Dunston
Chicago Cubs (1985-89)

All-Star: 1988
Postseason: 1989 NLCS

Notes: Was a fan favorite in Chicago who gave us many great memories at Wrigley as well as yet another spelling of the name Shawn (later to be outdone by Chone Figgins). I'm surprised that he doesn't have any more All-Star appearances in the 80's than that. Maybe when I was a kid I just thought he was better than he was. Kind of like how I thought Mike Pagliarulo was a kickass slugger because he hit 32 homers one year for the Yankees.






Barry Larkin
Cincinnati Reds (1986-89)

All-Star: 1988-89
Silver Sluggers: 1988-89

Notes: OK before you go all buck wild and start pumping votes for Barry, I just want to note that this is the All-80's Team, not All-90's. Barry had some great seasons in the late-80's that warrant him getting a nod here, but lets keep things in perspective when voting. I had to argue down a handful of guys once who claimed he was a better 80's SS than Ozzie Smith.







Rafael Ramirez
Atlanta Braves (1980-87), Houston Astros (1988-89)

All-Star: 1984
Postseason: 1982 NLCS
NL Leader: 1983 Singles (160)

Notes: Why's he on here? Why the hell not!? Rafael has an All-Star appearance, a postseason appearance, and once led the NL in singles. He has every right to be here. Hell I may even vote for him.........Oh who am I kidding? I'd vote for this Rafael Ramirez before I would vote for Raffy the shortstop. Check out that hot salsa sound!






Ozzie Smith
St. Louis Cardinals (1984-89)

Nickname: Wizard of Oz
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2002
All-Star: 1981-89
Gold Gloves: 1980-89
Silver Sluggers: 1987
Awards: 1985 NLCS MVP, 1989 Lou Gehrig Award
Postseason: 1982 WS, 1985 WS, 1987 WS

Notes: This contest is about as lop-sided as they come. While there are some decent shortstops on this list, pretty much none of them can sniff the Wizard's jockstrap when it comes to their play in the 80's




Garry Templeton
St. Louis Cardinals (1980-81), San Diego Padres (1982-89)

All-Star: 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1984
Postseason: 1984 WS

Notes:
See what an obscene gesture will get ya? In 1981 while playing for St. Louis, Templeton apparently made a gesture to some hecklers, much to Whitey Herzog's dismay. He was traded to the Padres at the end of the year for some Ozzie guy.






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

R.I.P. Crocodile Hunter

9:49 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Steve Irwin, the beloved Crocodile Hunter, is dead...killed by a god damned stingray. Normally when celebrities die, its a big ho hum, but Irwin is a tragic loss to the legions of nerds like myself who have been addicted to wildlife shows since we were young. He did what we would do, if we had balls or a thick australian accent.

A stingray is a pretty shitty way to die for a guy that wrestled crocodiles and captured poisonous snakes with his bare hands. Not more than three weeks ago I was petting them at the Aquarium of the Pacific. They're soft, playful, and generally harmless. In fact, Irwin was only the 2nd person EVER killed by one in Australia.

The Battle for Last Place

9:23 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.