Osama Bin Laden: "Go Colts!"

January 31, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

I've known it all along...the FBI's #1 most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden, is an Indianapolis Colts fan. He's released a chilling new video in preparation of Sunday's Superbowl. TMS's correspondent in Qatar has provided us with a transcript:

Allahu Akbar.

You, the American people, I talk to you today about the best way to avoid another catastrophe in the Superbowl.

Contrary to what you may think, you aren't all infidels and great satans to us. Some of you are truly worthy of God's praise and love; those of you who play American football for the Indianapolis Colts. Only through a Colts victory in this Superbowl can your lives be vindicated.

The transgressions of the Bears and the zionists are well documented. Only Peyton Manning and the glorious Marvin Harrison can expel them from the lands long occupied by evil groups like the Steelers, so-called Patriots, Buccaneers, and Rams. A Bears' victory would be a terrible castastrophe and a crime against Allah.

There is only one team worthy of Allah, and Peyton Manning is their quarterback. May the mercy of God be upon them. Go Colts!

There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth (not from Barbaro's mouth though, since, well, you know...). If the Bears don't win the Superbowl on Sunday, the terrorists do.

The All-80's Team - American League Lineup

January 31, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Finally. That's all I have to say at this point. The TMS All-80's Teams are complete. The voting output was a little stronger for the AL, mostly because of our general increase in traffic. Anyway, here's a recap of the AL team.


Carlton Fisk
Boston Red Sox (1980), Chicago White Sox (1981-89)

Nickname: Pudge
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2000
All-Star: 1980-82, 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1981, 1985, 1988
Postseason: 1983 ALCS

Notes: The original Pudge was known more for his slugging rather than his glove. Fisk made 4 All-Star teams in the decade. His 174 home runs is only second to Lance Parrish for catchers in the 80's.


Don Mattingly
New York Yankees (1982-89)

Nickname: Donnie Baseball
All-Star: 1984-89
Awards: 1985 AL MVP
Gold Gloves: 1985-89
Silver Sluggers: 1985-87
League Leader: 1984 Hits, Doubles, AVG, 1985 RBI, 1986 SLG, Hits, Doubles

Notes: I'll argue Donnie Baseball's case for the HOF any day of the week. Screw the naysayers who claim he didn't play long enough. Don played plenty and his accomplishments speak for themselves. Like Bill James said, Don is "100% Ballplayer, 0% Bullshit".


Lou Whitaker
Detroit Tigers (1980-89)

Nickname: Sweet Lou
All-Star: 1983-87
Gold Gloves: 1983-85
Silver Sluggers: 1983-85, 1987
Postseason: 1984 WS, 1987 ALCS

Notes: Part of the legendary Trammell-Whitaker middle infield, the lifelong Tiger is considered one of the premier second basemen of the decade. In 1985 Lou forgot his uniform for the All-Star Game, leaving him to wear a uni that was put together from items purchased at the ballpark. Trammell and Whitaker are one of only nine 2B/SS duos to win Gold Gloves in the same year. Only Vizquel/Alomar and Renteria/ViƱa have done it since then.


George Brett
Kansas City Royals (1980-89)

Nickname: Mullet
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1999
All-Star: 1980-88
Awards: 1980 AL MVP, 1985 ALCS MVP
Gold Gloves: 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1985, 1988
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 ALDS, 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: 1980 AVG, OBP, SLG, 1983 SLG, 1985 SLG

Notes: Well before Kenny Rogers came along, Brett was part of the real "Pine Tar Incident". Brett apparently is the guy that coined the term "the Mendoza Line". He is also good friends with Rush Limbaugh, who stood up with him at his wedding.


Cal Ripken
Baltimore Orioles (1981-89)

Nickname: Iron Man
Hall Of Fame: Undoubtedly in 2007
All-Star: 1983-89
Awards: 1982 AL Rookie of the Year, 1983 AL MVP
Silver Sluggers: 1983-86, 1989
Postseason: 1983 WS
League Leader: 1983 Hits, Runs, Doubles

Notes: Obviously we all know about this guy. Cal was a freakin' cyborg, playing in 2,632 consecutive games. He will no doubt be elected into the Hall of Fame this next year. But honestly, can you be considered one of the greatest of the 80's without ever having donned a moustache? Fascist.


Rickey Henderson
Oakland A's (1980-84, 1989), New York Yankees (1985-89)

Nickname: The Man of Steal
All-Star: 1980, 1982-88
Awards: 1989 ALCS MVP
Gold Gloves: 1981
Silver Sluggers: 1981, 1985
Silver Sluggers: 1981 ALCS, 1989 WS
League Leader: Runs (1981, 85, 86, 89), BB (1982, 83, 89), Stolen Bases (1980-86), (1988-89)

Notes: The only player I know that has a section in their Wikipedia entry entitled "Malapropisms" which lists various quotes and anecdotes of him speaking in the third-person. My personal favorite being that he's known to take practice swings in front of a mirror fully nude while saying "Rickey's the best! You tha man, Rickey!"


Kirby Puckett
Minnesota Twins (1984-89)

Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2001
All-Star: 1986-89
Awards: 1989 ALCS MVP
Gold Gloves: 1986-89
Silver Sluggers: 1986-89
Postseason: 1987 WS
League Leader: 1987 Hits, 1988 Hits, 1989 Hits & AVG

Notes: One of the most prolific hitters of his era, Kirby was also a whiz in the field too, earning as many Gold Gloves in the 80's as he did Silver Bats. Kirby is credited as having given the nickname "Donnie Baseball" to Don Mattingly.


Dave Winfield
New York Yankees (1981-88)

Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2001
All-Star: 1980-89 (1980 with the Padres)
Gold Gloves: 1980, 1982-85, 1987 (1980 with the Padres)
Silver Sluggers: 1981-85
Postseason: 1981 WS

Notes: One of the hardest hitters in baseball, many opponents have said that Winfield could crush line drives greater than anyone. Dave was a great all-around athlete and was drafted out of the University of Minnesota by the San Diego Padres, the Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Stars, making him the only person to be drafted by 4 different pro leagues. Dave didn't even play football in college. Winfield obviously chose baseball and never played a single game in the minors, being promoted immediately to the majors by the Padres.


Reggie Jackson
New York Yankees (1980-81), California Angels (1982-86), Oakland A's (1987)

Nickname: Mr. October
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1993
All-Star: 1980-84
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1982
Postseason: 1980 ALCS, 1981 WS, 1982 ALCS, 1986 ALCS
League Leader: Home Runs 1980 & 1982

Notes: Most remember Reggie for his postseason heroics with the New York Yankees, but in the 1980's, Jackson spent most of his time with the California Angels. Towards the end of his career his reputation was mired by his assassination attempt against the Queen.


Roger Clemens
Boston Red Sox (1984-89)

Nickname: The Rocket
All-Star: 1986, 1988
Awards: 1986 AL Cy Young, 1987 AL Cy Young, 1986 AL MVP
Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 ALCS
League Leader: 1986 ERA, Wins, 1987 Wins, Shutouts, 1988 Strikeouts, Shutouts

Notes: Well most of you should know this guy. Roger was the man in Boston for the latter half of the 1980's. While it's still purely speculative, many believe he is in fact, the antichrist.

Jack Morris
Detroit Tigers (1980-89)

All-Star: 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987
Postseason: 1984 WS, 1987 ALCS
League Leader: 1981 Wins, 1986 Shutouts

Notes: Jack has a devout core of fans that are pushing for his entry into the HOF. Morris was a postseason stud. In 1984 he pitched two complete game wins for the Tigers to help them defeat the Padres in the World Series. He'd later top that with his effort in 1991 with the Twins. Morris posted a winning record in 9 of his 10 seasons in the decade including two 20-win years.

Bret Saberhagen
Kansas City Royals (1984-89)

All-Star: 1987
Awards: 1985 AL Cy Young, 1985 WS MVP, 1989 AL Cy Young
Gold Gloves: 1989
Postseason: 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: 1989 ERA, Wins

Notes: Saberhagen was an absolute ace for the Royals. In 1985 at the age of 21, Bret won the Cy Young Award as well as the World Series MVP after winning two games against the Cardinals including a complete game shutout. Bret would also have an outstanding Cy Young season in 1989 where he went
23-6 with a 2.16 ERA.

Bert Blyleven
Cleveland Indians (1981-85), Minnesota Twins (1985-88), California Angels (1989)

All-Star: 1985
Postseason: 1987 WS
League Leader: Shutouts 1985 & 1989

Notes: Blyleven is one of those pitchers that gets arguments from both sides of the fence on whether he should or should not be in the Hall of Fame. I think he should, but I'm also pretty liberal with everyone I'd like to see in. One thing's for sure. Bert's broadcasting skills probably aren't getting him a Ford Frick Award any time soon.

Dave Stewart
Texas Rangers (1983-85), Oakland A's (1986-89)

Nickname: Smoke
All-Star: 1989
Awards: 1989 WS MVP
Postseason: 1988 WS, 1989 WS
League Leader: 1987 Wins, 1988 Complete Games

Notes: Not to be confused with this Dave Stewart, the man known as Smoke was signed in 1986 by Oakland following what had been a pretty lackluster major league career so far. Stewart proceeded to rattle off 4 straight 20 win seasons and became the ace of the Oakland staff.


Dan Quisenberry
Kansas City Royals (1980-88)

Nickname: Quiz
All-Star: 1982-84
Rolaids Relief: 1980, 1982-85
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 ALDS, 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: Saves 1980, 1982-85

Notes: Quiz was one of the top American League closers of the 1980's. Best known for his submarine-style delivery, Dan was mostly a ground ball pitcher and was extremely effective, leading the league in saves 5 times.

So there you have it. Your TMS All-80's American League lineup. So what should the batting order be? Here's what I came up with.

1 - Rickey Henderson (Right)
2 - Don Mattingly (Left)
3 - Kirby Puckett (Right)
4 - Reggie Jackson (Left)
5 - George Brett (Left)
6 - Dave Winfield (Right)
7 - Cal Ripken (Right)
8 - Lou Whitaker (Left)
9 - Carlton Fisk (Right)

Feel free to post your own order in the comments. Also be sure and vote on which team you think would win in a best of seven series. The NL or AL?

Baseball been berry berry good to me...

January 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Sammy Sosa has signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. Fart twice if you give two shits.
I can only hope he shows up to camp looking like the fresh faced, mustachioed rookie who loved papaya and salsa music and not the egomaniacal superstar who loved steroids, gold chains and cocaine plant.
For as big of an a-hole as he was at times in Chicago, I still sincerely do hope he does succeed at least on some level. Hell, I hope he at least makes the team. There would be a Donnie Moore-esque sense of sadness if he didn't.

Do you think he still uses a boombox? In this day and age one would hope he would have at least upgraded to an iPod by now. He can probably even afford those nice Bose speaker decks.

The Cubs Quickie

January 29, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well it appears everyone here at the Saloon is too intimidated/busy/lazy to write a new post following the epic media social article. I guess that leaves me to write something incredibly boring and lackluster to surely disappoint our avid readers, which I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say now numbers in the twenties.

One quick note about Chaim and Tommy's report. The 'Thunder Matt' nickname grass roots campaign appeared to get a real shot in the arm, now that we know Mr. Murton is aware of it. Also the fine folks over at GROTA are starting to use it in their writing as well. My wish this year is to hear Len/Bob or Pat/Ron refer to Murton as Thunder Matt during a broadcast. So make sure to do your part and help get the name out there.

Moving on, here's a quick review of the Cubs news from the past week. So if you didn't already read about all of this on every other Cubs blog that is more on the ball than us, enjoy!

Floyd to the Cubs
Dammit, I already spoke my mind on this a while back. Well the deal appears to be for real finally. Reports out of the Cubs Convention made it sound like Murton was still the man at LF for them, but then there are reports like this, that suggest otherwise. Of course that Tribune article seems to be mere speculation that Floyd would be the main starter. We have to consider the variables here.
  1. The man has bad kidneys.
  2. In the last four seasons, Floyd has played in 108, 113, 150, and 97 games respectively. I can't foresee him really being sturdy enough as a full-time option.
  3. The most common speculation that supports a possible Floyd-Murton platoon is that Floyd would hit against righties and Murton would hit lefties. Fine, but if you look at the splits, Murton batted .295 last season against righties. Not too shabby. Meanwhile over the last 3 seasons, Floyd has batted .277 against righties. If Murton struggled against right-handed pitching while Floyd flourished, that argument would make a little more sense.
  4. Floyd could possibly hit for more power than Murton. Emphasis on 'possibly'. Floyd is on the wrong side of 30, and is oft-injured. Meanwhile Thunder Matt is 25 years old and heading into his second full season in the bigs, and while he only hit 13 homers, keep in mind that 9 of them came in the final two months of the season. Given the opportunity, Murton could put up 25 homers this season.
  5. Floyd is a Chicago-native. That always works out well when they bring in a hometown boy. Oh wait...
Honestly, I see Floyd being a solid option as a 4th outfielder coming in for pinch hit situations and occasionally getting a start to spell Jock and Thunder Matt. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

Glendon is Gone
The Cubs released pitcher Glendon Rusch, who had his abysmal season cut short last year due to a blood clot in his lung. With Neifi gone too, this latest cut makes my list of players that draw my ire and frustration even shorter. Here's my preseason list for 2007
  1. Roberto Novoa - Lou better have you on a short leash.
  2. Jason Marquis - You're coming with a strike against you having been a Redbird.
  3. Cliff Floyd - I see you eyeing that starting lineup. Don't even think about it, unless it's RF.
  4. Neifi - I don't care that you're in Detroit. You'll still be responsible for at least 2-3 losses this season.
Cubs Ticket Prices Posted
We're less than a month away from that glorious day that I take a full day off to sit on my ass in front of the computer at home, and impatiently stare at the damn 'Virtual Waiting Room'. Tickets usually go on sale at 10:00am online. Last year I got in at 10:04am. Will I get so lucky this year? Probably not.

I have to say though that my days in the bleachers are probably over. Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to drop $42 for a general admission seat. For that price I'd rather have a back to my seat, my own cupholder, the possibility of shade and vendors that can bring the beer to me. The bleachers have completely sucked the last few years I've sat there anyway. No one gives a shit about the Cubs or the game out there. Apparently it's the best place for your frat to have a reunion. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against getting drunk and having a good time at Wrigley. But dammit, watch the game somewhat, cheer for the Cubs, and if a guy jumps up and starts chanting "Right Field Sucks!", stand up and follow suit!

Also, God bless the Value Date. I don't care if it's a game against the Pirates, it's just fun to ditch a day of work, catch a 1:20 game, drink beer and watch baseball. It's the American Dream, and once a year in the Spring I live it to the fullest.

Thunder Matt's Saloon at the Cubs Media Social: "I Thought I Saw Juan Pierre"

January 24, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Friday, January 19th, 2007. The Cubs Media Social at the Hilton.

What a beast. Insatiable. Hungry. And horny. There was bloodshed, tears and alcohol. And that was just our encounter with Mickey Morandini.

The whole day at work leading up to the event dragged on slower than Aramis Ramirez running out a flyball.

"Is it 3 yet?" I would shout over my cubicle to my running mate, Thomas ‘Tommy’ Buzanis.

"You shut your mouth and get back to work," he would snap back.

Finally, like the nervous kid in the "Hot For Teacher" video waiting for the bell to ring, we sprang to action at 3PM and we were off to meet our destiny. Giddy as two school girls who have just glimpsed me bare-chested for the first time, we hopped into a cab and made our way towards the Hilton Towers.

Making our way through the throngs of fat guys in Nomar jerseys and overweight children with greasy palms clogging up the lobby was no easy task. Ascending the stairs toward the ballroom we confidently handed the majestic looking woman (actually she was quite plain and old) our passes and stepped into the ballroom. Nothing too special at this point. Just a nice sized cocktail reception room, with a buffet line set up on the left wall and two small bars set up on the right. We immediately head to the right. 2 Bud Lights sir. Oh, you accidentally gave us 3? Not a problem sir, as Tommy Buzanis can double fist alcohol like his name was Rod 'Shooter' Beck.

We take our position on the left hand side of the room. Prime people watching territory. Lots of media types along with their kids, but this is an invite only affair. Shit, is that Jeff Samardzija? Yes it is. We’d recognize those flowing locks anywhere. There’s Santo sitting down. Stands to reason he would sit since he has fake legs. We’ll wait to make our move on the legend. These beers are going down nicely. Another round if you will. And of course, my digital camera is on the fritz. Damn you technology. Tommy makes a mad dash towards the gift shop for a disposable camera. What am I, in college in 1998? Better than a camera phone we reason. $25 for a disposable camera. Is that even legal?

Wait, there's Carlos Zambrano. Tommy wastes no time in making his move.

"Hey Carlos, how bout Beckham going to the MLS?" Tommy asks. Carlos says something to the effect of "Yeah, that’s cool." Tommy sees his in. "We’ll have to go watch a game sometime." Carlos walks off. I chide Tommy. "You’ll have to go watch a game sometime? With Carlos Zambrano? Really? Can I come?"

Then, all of the sudden, angels from up high began to sing and the sea of humanity parted. We bore witness to the man himself in the flesh. Thunder Matt Murton. He's the Christie Brinkley to our Clark Griswold. The encounter is chronicled below.

From there it is just an avalanche of Cubs, past and present. Lets go down the list of players and legends that we talked to, photographed, laughed with and marveled at. Tommy will help me with the commentary.

Matt Murton
Tommy: Thunder Matt lived up to the hype. At first, I was nervous that because he seemed distant and difficult to talk to. Turns out he just thought that Len Kasper was Juan Pierre. He quickly apologized saying, “Sorry, I thought I saw Juan Pierre”. I chanted his nickname – Thunder Matt – each time I walked past him. Each time he looked back with a look that can only be described as “positive bewilderment”. Overall, very friendly and very red.
Chaim: I gave him my business card with this website on it. He may be reading this. If so, he is surely horrified . I told him that in order for the nickname 'Thunder Matt' to catch on he may need to just start referring to himself as Thunder Matt around the locker room and talking about Thunder Matt in the third person to all media within earshot . He actually seemed to kind of like the nickname. After the brief Juan Pierre mishap, we settled into a nice conversation with him about breaking out and earning his nickname.

Tommy, Dutchie and Chaim. Holy cow.

Dutchie Caray
Chaim: She took to us like her two sons back from the war. Seriously, a good twenty minute conversation. Her and Tommy are both from St. Louis so they went on and on, while I would occasionally inject a one liner or two. She introduced us to the manager of the Haray Caray’s restaurant, Gary, who gave us his card. After we got our photo with her, we told her she had to put it up in the new restaurant they are opening in Lombard. We said to just put it up by the other photos and if anyone asks, just refer to us as ‘two minor leaguers who had all the talent in the world but just never panned out.’ Sadly, she sounded like she thought that was good idea. No joke, we are sending her a framed photo. Remains to be seen if it will get past Gary.
Tommy: Men between the ages of 18-35 beware…she may want to make you her next pool boy.

Tommy, Ryno and Chaim. Lobbying for jobs in Peoria.

Ryne Sandberg
Tommy: My hero…The only the thing that made meeting him better was the trail of events that led to the encounter. First, charming the pants off of (literally) Dutchie Caray, who then proceeds to lead us to Sandberg’s wife, Margaret. Explain to her how Sandberg is “the man”. She then interrupts Sandberg who is meeting with several members of the media and explains that there are two fans who really need to meet him. Then she proceeds to put her finger over the flash of our $25 disposable camera creating a darkening affect in the subsequent photo. A huge thrill though none the less.

Dwight Smith. He bought that blazer with his 89' pennant bonus money.

Dwight Smith
Tommy: What a legend…After likely not seeing his old teammate Ryne Sandberg in 15 years, his first words are “Hey Ryno, why didn’t you make me the hitting coach down there?” His bright blue blazer screamed “I love the Cubs!” It also screamed, “no one has showered me with attention in over a decade, somebody come talk to me”. That I did - late into the night. Smith pounded seven and seven’s while lamenting the fact that “white and black players don’t party together anymore”. He then proceeded to regale me with stories of his exploits with women during his playing days finishing each statement with “awww shit – you know!”
Chaim: Yeah, he was definitely there for the free stuff. Like that old episode of The Simpsons where they have to kick Homer out of an 'all you can eat buffet'. I can just hear him using the 'I'm the Cubs all-time leader in pinch hits!' as a pickup line. Let the record show that after I left, Tommy hung around the bar in the hotel and eventually ran into a visibly intoxicated Dwight Smith in the lounge where more free booze was being served. Thus was born the line, "Awww shit - you know!"

Jody Davis. Notice Tommy double fisting in this photo! A walking Bud Light ad.

Jody Davis
Tommy: Jody Davis: Used him simply for a photo-op.
Chaim: I may have sang a bar of the "Jody Davis" song. He looked as if he wanted to beat me up.

Mickey Morandini. Somebody loan this guy a dress shirt.

Mickey Morandini
Tommy: The Dandy Little Glove Man (as Chip Caray nicknamed him) felt no need to dress up for the occasion. He was more than happy to stand in the back and pound whiskey and cokes while twirling his mullet.

Scott Eyre. 50% relief pitcher, 50% playa.

Scott Eyre
Tommy: This booze monkey was seen double-fisting towards the end of the event.

Ron Santo. Legend. Tan.

Ron Santo
Tommy: (View Photo…enough said)

Mike Bielecki. That ain't ice water in that bottle.

Mike Bielecki
Chaim: Bringing back the soul patch. This isn't the clean cut Bielecki I remember from Comcast pregames.
Tommy: “Mike, where is the after party” – “Ah, I got my daughters here…but they go to bed!” This aging rock-star made it clear that his right shoulder was good for only one thing these days – 12 ounce curls. No, he really did say that.

Len Kasper. Note to self: Don't try to 'crack jokes' as camera goes off. Camera inevitably captures your mouth in contorted position. This is undesirable to both sexes.

Len Kasper
Chaim: His casual demeanor and willingness to talk shop with us hurtles him past Chip Caray in my book. Sorry Dutchie.
Tommy: More than happy to talk baseball with a couple of fans… Got the distinct impression that he was wearing make-up… Had to feign interest when he started telling us how good recording artist Ryan Adams is.

Sean Marshall
Tommy: Eager to talk about up-coming season and other topics – Thunder Matt’s on the scene interviewers wilt under the pressure and slowly make their way back to Dutchie Caray.
Chaim: Wow, we just got crickets with this guy. So, uh...looks like I'm low on beer. You need one too Tommy? Ok, good talking to ya Sean!

Also spotted briefly: Derrek Lee, Michael Barrett, Rich Hill, Jeff Samardzija, Bob Brenly, Lou Piniella, Larry Rothschild, Randy Hundley, Ryan Dempster.

Seen during the introductions, but not at the media social: Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Alfonso Soriano.

A great time was certainly had by all. If only we had more time, I think we could have parlayed our way onto the actual team. Or at least as bat boys with Peoria (unless Dwight Smith holds that position already).

So next time you stop for a bite to eat at Haray Caray's tell em' the guys at Thunder Matt's Saloon sent ya. It may get you a free meal. More likely though, it will get you a quizzical look, an awkward silence and then they will stop serving you alcohol.

Cue the Boyz 2 Men. "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday."

Another New Addition to the Saloon

January 23, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Thunder Matt's would like to welcome onto staff Jimmy Johnson's confidante and all-around douchebag, Tommy Buzanis. Tommy drinks hard liquor on the rocks and scoffs at men who eat anything other than steak. Tommy is your drunk uncle that makes inappropriate comments at family gatherings. He refers to himself in the third person and also owns a houseboat with a crude sexual name, which he has lived on since his his thrid wife kicked him out of the house for making passes at his mother-in-law. He is a loyal friend with a firm, almost painful handshake, but if you stab him in the back, it's quite possible that your family could turn up missing, or worse, dead.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Tommy Buzanis to the Saloon. He would prefer you stand up and clap.


Real Name: Shane

Where are you from? Meadville, Mississippi

Where are you now? Chicago, IL

Favorite Baseball Team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite Current Player(s): Thunder Matt Murton, Michael Barrett, Derrek Lee, David Wright, Joe Mauer, Alfonso Soriano

Favorite All-Time Player(s): Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Lou Gehrig, Bird Fidrych, Hector Villanueva

First MLB game you attended: Cubs vs. Giants, 1988

Any memorable encounters with MLB players? Jim Edmonds flipped me the bird...Met Sandberg...Met Thunder Matt...Got in a heated argument with Dan Plesac about the talent level of players today versus players from his generation.

Which player(s) would you love to sit and have a beer with? Ryan Dempster, David Wells, Sean Marshall, Mark Teixeira

Which player(s) would you like to punch in the face? Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, A.J. Perzynski, Brian Anderson, Jim Edmonds

Which player(s) would you like to punch you in the face? David Eckstein, Hee Seop Choi, Thunder Matt

What's better for baseball, the moustache or the big-league mullet? The Mullet - Without it we would have no Mickey Morandini

What 80's hair metal band do you most relate to? Winger

What's your favorite beer? Amber Bock

What's the capital of Bolivia? Shreveport, LA

What's the most valuable baseball card you own? Kevin Orie rookie card

If your daily life had game commentary, who would you want as your play-by-play and color guy? Thom Brenneman

What would you rather see, Kyle Farnsworth in a barfight, a cockfight, or a hobo fight? barfight

The Poor S.O.B. of the Week

January 23, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

You know that player you always somehow pick in the mid to late rounds of your fantasy drafts every year? You don't know why you keep taking him as he usually does nothing but disappoint and frustrate you for a solid 3-4 months before you lose all hope and dump him to waivers. For some reason, each Spring you end up gravitating towards him, like a moth to a flame.

Well for me, that guy seemed to be pitcher Brian Lawrence. Now Brian isn't a horrible pitcher, but he hasn't been outstanding either. He's the type of guy that baseball analysts like to say is good at "eating up innings", which I've found is usually only mentioned when nothing else good can be said of them. Eating up innings? What the hell is that supposed to even mean? Just go out there for 6 or 7 innings and try not to totally suck? Does that mean Rex Grossman is good at eating up quarters? I mean when he's not busy throwing picks that is.

Anyway, for about three seasons I seemed to be constantly picking Lawrence in my drafts. Last year he did me a favor by tearing his labrum early in the Spring so I didn't even have to consider him. Now to further cement my stance in avoiding him like the plague for this season, Brian has signed with the Colorado Rockies. A good choice for a middle of the road pitcher coming off shoulder surgery. Pitching in Coors will certainly get him back in good form again.......oh wait.

Somehow I can still see some poor schmuck taking Lawrence late in the draft this season followed by a couple managers saying "nice sleeper pick", only to dump him in disgust by June when his ERA is hovering around 5.00. I just hope that poor schmuck isn't me.

Mile High Minute...Manboobs Addendum

January 22, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Lucky you...I forgot to comment on the resignation of Coach Manboobs so you get another Mile High Minute. Its just as well, since I haven't done one since Christ lost his shoes.

We were all shocked today when Bill Parcells walked away from the Cowboys before his contract was done (sarcasm so thick you can cut it with a knife). Its not like he's done that before or anything...So I guess if you like press conference reactions more staged than American Idol, its a bad day for you.

With Manboobs now officially having "retired" more times than Barbara Streisand, the Cowboys are in search of a new coach. For reasons unknown, I'm already hearing Wade Phillips' name being mentioned. I guess people think the 5th time will be a charm with Wade, who previously failed as the coach of the Saints, Broncos, Bills, and Falcons.

A couple notes on Wade Phillips: He has the odd distinction of being succeeded as head coach by both Jim Mora Sr. and Jim Mora Jr. and his daughter Tracy played a hot dead goth chick in the My Chemical Romance video for their song Helena.

The All-80's Team - AL Relief Pitcher

January 22, 2007 | 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've finished with the National League and now 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.

This is it. We've come to the final position, AL Relief Pitcher. It seems like yesterday that we were just starting this thing with NL Catcher (Christ, that was in August!). Actually it probably feels more like this damn feature has drug out longer than it probably should've, but oh well.


Dennis Eckersley
Boston Red Sox (1980-84), Oakland A's (1987-89)

Nickname: Eck
Hall of Fame: 2004
All-Star: 1982, 1988
Awards: 1988 ALCS MVP
Rolaids Relief: 1988
Postseason: 1988 WS, 1989 WS
League Leader: 1988 Saves

Notes: When Eck came to Oakland in 1987 he had pretty much become a middle of the rotation starter at best. But Tony LaRussa had other plans for him. Using him at first as a middle reliever, Eck was eventually thrusted into the closer role when Jay Howell got injured. The move proved successful and Eck redefined his career as one of the best closers of his time.

Rollie Fingers
Milwaukee Brewers (1981-82, 1984-85)

Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1992
All-Star: 1981, 1982
Awards: 1981 AL MVP, 1981 AL Cy Young
Rolaids Relief: 1981
Postseason: 1981 ALDS
League Leader: 1981 Saves

Notes: Rollie was nearing the end of his career in the early 80's, but that didn't stop him from posting some great numbers. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Rollie led the league in saves with 28 and posted a 1.08 ERA, en route to winning both the AL MVP and Cy Young Award. Rollie's moustache is also an inaugural inductee of the Sports Hair Hall of Fame.

Rich Gossage
New York Yankees (1980-83, 1989)

Nickname: Goose
All-Star: 1980-82, (1984, 1985 with Padres)
Postseason: 1980 ALCS, 1981 WS
League Leader: 1980 Saves

Notes: Goose was an outstanding reliever for New York in the early 80's and is widely considered the pioneer of the modern-day closer role. Recently snubbed by the latest Hall of Fame voting, Goose looks to probably be the most likely inductee in 2008.

Tom Henke
Texas Rangers (1982-84), Toronto Blue Jays (1985-89)

Nickname: The Terminator
All-Star: 1987
Postseason: 1985 ALCS, 1989 ALCS
League Leader: 1987 Saves

Notes: Tom was a dominate closer for the Jays in the latter half of the decade. His blazing fastball and imposing 6' 5" frame helped dub him "The Terminator". But looking at that baseball card, maybe "Sloth" would've been a better nickname. Yeesh, he looks like one of the family members from The Burbs.

Willie Hernandez
Detroit Tigers (1984-89)

All-Star: 1984-86
Awards: 1984 AL MVP, 1984 AL Cy Young
Postseason: 1984 WS, 1987 ALCS

Notes: Willie had a solid three-year span with the Tigers from 1984-86. '84 was his best season as he pitched over 140 innings of relief, saved 32 games, struck out 112 batters, and posted a 1.92 ERA. Like Rollie Fingers in 1981, he also won the AL MVP and Cy Young in the same season.

Dan Quisenberry
Kansas City Royals (1980-88)

Nickname: Quiz
All-Star: 1982-84
Rolaids Relief: 1980, 1982-85
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 ALDS, 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: Saves 1980, 1982-85

Notes: Quiz was one of the top American League closers of the 1980's. Best known for his submarine-style delivery, Dan was mostly a ground ball pitcher and was extremely effective, leading the league in saves 5 times.

Dave Righetti
New York Yankees (1980-89)

Nickname: Rags
All-Star: 1986, 1987
Awards: 1981 AL Rookie of the Year
Rolaids Relief: 1986, 1987
Postseason: 1981 WS
League Leader: 1986 Saves

Notes: Originally winning the ROY as a starting pitcher, Righetti was eventually converted to a closer to take over for Goose Gossage who went to San Diego. He went on to close for 8 seasons, notching 24 or more saves each time.

Bob Stanley
Boston Red Sox (1980-89)

Nickname: Stanley Steamer
All-Star: 1983
Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 ALCS

Notes: Hell, I don't even know why Bob is on here. His accolades are lacking compared to the others. But he did have a decent nickname.

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

Mile High Minute...Blind Dog Edition

January 22, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

They say even a blind dog finds a bone once in awhile, and everyone's favorite inbred Dan Marino clone found one last night in Indianapolis. I decided to post this picture of Tom Brady instead of Peyton Manning because I didn't want to scare any kids who may be reading.

Somehow the Pats went from total domination of the Colts in the first half to being completely outmatched in the 2nd. I don't like the Patriots, but I took this one pretty hard. I have to keep reminding myself that Marino made it to the big game once...and never returned.

On the plus side, the Bears put a stop to this New Orleans Saints nonsense in dominating fashion. I like New Orleans, and consider myself fortunate to have seen the city before the hurricane destroyed it, but seriously, rooting for them because a hurricane hit their city is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Most of the people pulling for the Saints this year didn't even know New Orleans still had a team a couple years ago.

Beyond that, is there any better commentary on how weak the NFL is now that a team that went 3-13 a year ago could get to the conference championship game this season? What happened to paying your dues? In proper sports, like baseball, it can take years to rebuild a franchise. Just further proof that the NFL's salary cap has completely watered down the sport.

Bartender Banter: Tecmo Blow

January 22, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the TMSSS2000 couldn't have been more wrong with it's picks this week, and frankly I couldn't be happier. It was a little nerve racking to start the third quarter though. The Saints seemed to be on a roll as they pulled within 2 points and the Bears offense was just spinning it's wheels. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But it never did. The intentional grounding safety on Drew Brees marked the beginning of the end for the Saints and the Bears, little by little, regained their momentum. Berrian makes a ridiculous catch at the goal line, then Ogunleye murders Brees and takes the ball away, and after a while it became very clear that they were actually going to win this son of a bitch.

The most important key to that win had to be the turnover ratio. The Saints gave up the ball 4 times to the Bears 0. Sexy Rexy managed to not F it up and the Bears cruised to victory, and that seems to be all we need. Now they're going to face a team whose defensive strategy against the run is to stack 18 guys on the line and hope for the best. I'm feeling good about this. A whole lot better than seeing the Patriots in the big game. I know some were pumped about possibly seeing a Super Bowl XX rematch but honestly, if that had happened and the Patriots smoked us, I feel it would've sort of tarnished that legendary season. That, and we wouldn't be able to throw" 46-10" in a Chowderhead's face when they started droning about how wicked awesome Tom Brady has been.

A quick side note about the Bears-Pats. Apparently Yahoo was dying to see them in the big game as well. When I went to their NFL page this morning, they had a poll asking which team will win Super Bowl XLI. Your choices: Bears or Patriots. I just went back and they have since changed it, but not before I got a screen capture of it. Colts fans are probably feeling pretty surreal right now. Damn you Yahoo, why must you toy with them?

Seriously though, I can't honestly remember the last time I watched a Super Bowl where I actually gave a crap about the outcome. Looking back I'd have to say the last one where I was seriously rooting for a team was Super Bowl XXVI when the Redskins destroyed the Bills. I used to love Washington, back when I was a kid, and my favorite player was Art Monk (arguably the biggest HOF snub in any sport right now that wasn't mired in some sort of scandal). It'll be fun to cheer for a team I'm a fan of this year, instead of watching a game that I don't really care who wins, while I drink beer and eat my own body weight in junk food.

Oh, and did you hear that? That was the collective groan from Bristol, CT, over the Saints not making the Super Bowl. Alright guys, you better call Chris Connelly back from New Orleans. We won't be able to do the tearjerker puff piece on post-Katrina New Orleans that will inexplicably kill the middle portion of a Sportscenter and allow everyone to turn the channel to something that actually reports on yesterday's events and shows sports highlights.


Super Bowl Shuffle

January 21, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Bear Dignity!

What a weekend. First and foremost, DA BEARS will be taking on my nemesis Peyton 'Where's the Chin?' Manning in the Super Bowl! Setting me up for either orgasmic euphoria or suicide watch. We can only hope the 'Monsters of the Midway' version of the Bear's defense decides to show up and that Rex Grossman doesn't completely suck (we can at least hope for only a 'partial-suck', like we got today). We need a mean, angry bear. Like the one that ate Timothy Treadwell in "Grizzly Man".

Secondly, there was the surreal experience that was the Cubs Media Social Friday afternoon. Yes, we talked to Thunder Matt Murton. We even gave him the website and got our photo taken with him. And yes, he liked the nickname. So Matt, if you actually didn't tear up the card I gave you and are reading this (highly unlikely), welcome to your home. You are safe here.

More photos (courtesy of a last minute, $25 disposable camera) and stories to come shortly. Suffice it to say it was a wild hour an half, complete with an impromptu adoption of Dutchie Caray as our surrogate grandmother, party plans with Mike Bielecki, a quick snapshot with Ryno and talking shop with Len Kasper, among other things. Oh yeah, and Dwight Smith.

Anyway, go Bears! One side note...I love how secretly disappointed you could tell all of the sports pundits and announcers were that the Saints didn't win. But as Tommy Buzanis aptly noted, "Hurricane Katrina? What about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871? Our city was totally destroyed. Not even one mention. Where's the love?"

Well played indeed.

Off to the Convention

January 19, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

In a few short hours Tommy Buzanis and I will be making our way to the annual Cubs Media Social. 3:00-5:30. Tommy and I debated wearing full Cubs uniforms, including stirrups, with our last names emblazoned on back, but at the last second decided for a more conservative look. I will be wearing a Tommy Hilfiger blazer with no shirt underneath, leather pants and Teva sandals with socks while Tommy will be outfitted in a plain white t-shirt with a 'Hit It Here' bulls eye drawn in magic marker on the front, with tuxedo pants and bright red Air Jordan hi-tops.

We've also decided to forgo any autographs and go straight for the photos. Anybody can go just buy an autograph. Big whoop. A photo is more substantial. I've decided my top three photo ops would be Sandberg, Grace and of course, Murton. With Santo running a close fourth, followed by any members of the 84' Cubs, the more classic (Leon Durham) the better.

I'm under the impression that this is different from the actual convention in that it's more of a 'cocktail hour' where the players mingle with the media and sponsors as opposed to fat guys in old Nomar jerseys. Thus anyone with any 'icebreakers', feel free to suggest them.

I fear that my approach will closely resemble the Chris Farley Show.

"Hey. Uh...remember that time you...uh..shoot...remember when you used to play for the Cubs and hit homers and then the crowd would call you out for a curtain call...but you didn't want to, but then the other guys pushed you out...and..uh..you tipped your cap? (Uncomfortable, forced laugh) That was awesome!"

So check back this weekend (or if I'm lazy, Monday) for reports. And sometime next week, I will also get around to posting a long overdue Realm of Red column.

Chip's Playoff Picks: AFC Championship

January 18, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Regrouping after that bitter defeat I just witnessed, it is now time for the AFC game.

New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts

Well here we are once again as these two teams face off in the postseason. You can play any angle you want but when it comes down to it, this match is really all about one thing:


The numbers above their heads are fitting since Peyton has played second fiddle to Brady when it comes to NFL success. Tom has 3 Super Bowl Rings, Peyton has none. Tom is handsome, Peyton fights with the ugly stick and loses daily. Tom uses VISA, Peyton uses MasterCard. I could go on but let's just get to the game at hand.

The Colts start with the ball and Peyton comes out firing, nailing Dallas Clark, Dominic Rhodes and Reggie Wayne on the drive, eventually finding Wayne for the TD (0-7 Colts).

Brady has no such luck on his first series, as Gary Brackett sacks him on third down, forcing the Pats to punt after 3 and out.

Starting on their own 16, the Colts once again move down the field with ease as Manning seems poised in the pocket and finds Marvin Harrison for two big first down conversions. As their drive continues in the second quarter, Manning once again tosses a TD to Reggie Wayne (0-14 Colts).

Disaster nearly strikes for the Patriots when the kick return is fumbled by Ellis Hobbs. New England manages to recover though.

Seemingly unimpressed with the Colts air attack, Brady launches a perfectly thrown ball deep to Reche Caldwell who takes it in for a 65 yard TD (7-14 Colts). This is shaping up to be a real shootout.

Peyton takes the ball, and once again appears to be marching his troops for another score. He hits Reggie Wayne again who reaches the Patriots 7 yard line.

On the next play Joseph Addai runs it up the gut and fumbles. Patriot safety James Sanders recovers.

With little time on the clock, Brady manages to get his team into field goal range. Stephen Gostkowski nails a 41 yard field goal to end the half (10-14 Colts).

The Patriots get the ball to start the half, and begin to heavily utilize their run game. Laurence Maroney has a couple big gains and even Tom Brady runs for a first down. Brady eventually finds Troy Brown for his second TD pass of the game as his team takes their first lead (17-14 Patriots).

Manning, still in control, once again launches his air attack. He connects for a huge 55 yard TD pass to Dallas Clark, the greatest Iowa TE since Marv Cook, who ironically was on the Patriots roster in Tecmo Super Bowl (17-21 Colts).

New England begins driving again, and just like last time, they're keeping it mainly on the ground as Laurence Maroney is punishing this Colts defense with big gain after big gain. Once in the red zone, Brady finds Reche Caldwell open in the endzone for the score (24-21 Patriots).

It's now the fourth quarter and 8-bit Peyton is starting to show signs of the infamous "Peyton Manning Face". On 3rd and long, Manning overthrows a wide open Reggie Wayne. The Colts are forced to punt.

After a sack from Gary Brackett, things are looking up for the Colts as the Patriots are facing a possible 3 and out. Brady drops back, can't find anyone open, and finally dumps off to Corey Dillon who manages to barely get the first down. A downtrodden 8-bit Peyton is sulking on the sideline.

The Patriots continue their drive as they get into Colts territory. Then a sack by Robert Mathis sets them back to 3rd and 17. The Pats fail to convert, which leads to an amazing 57 yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. 8-bit Belichick, in his cropped-sleeve pink hooded sweatshirt is heard muttering "Who needs Vinatieri now, bitch?" (27-21 Patriots).

Still plenty of time on the clock, the Colts get the ball on the 20. Peyton is ready to lead his team to victory. Finally he'll be the one who makes the miraculous comeback. He'll be the one that gets to the Super Bowl. He'll be the one that gets to host SNL.

First play, Peyton drops back, throws, and it's picked off by Artrell Hawkins! The crowd is stunned, and the Peyton Manning Face is officially in full effect.

With great field position, Brady has no problem connecting with Troy Brown who scores to essentially put this game out of reach (34-21 Patriots).

With time winding down and the Colts' chances quickly fading, Peyton begins to drive again, getting down to the 50 on a pass to Harrison. On the next play Dominic Rhodes catches a screen pass but gets stripped of the ball. James Sanders recovers his second fumble of the game. The Patriots will run the clock out and win their 4th AFC title in 6 years.

Player of the game goes to Tom Brady, who didn't have the greatest stats, but managed to make plays when it mattered.

A couple things of note. The TMSSS2000 predicted both road teams to win this week. Apparently this hasn't happened in real life in like 11 years.

Also how frickin' eerie is it that it simulated a complete Peyton meltdown? The guy was golden for the first three quarters and then in the 4th, he couldn't tell his receivers apart from his own asshole.

And one final note, I want to send my condolences to Jason from Goatriders who will surely be disappointed with this outcome. Hopefully the TMSSS2000 is wrong. I'm pulling for a Bears-Colts Super Bowl so I'm not real pleased with these results either.