Our Fantasy League Can Beat Up Your Fantasy League

October 31, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

That is correct. Our fantasy league is better than yours. Ours is a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and yours is a Veggie Burger. Ours is Peyton Manning and yours is just Ryan Leaf. Your fantasy league is the Sam Bowie to our league's Michael Jordan. Remember when Vince Carter jumped over that dude's head and slam dunked? Guess which one your league is?

Get the picture?

Think about that fantasy league that you were in this year. You remember, the Yahoo Public League where half the managers dropped out within 3 weeks of the season starting and you still couldn't finish any higher than 6th? That's nothing.

What's that? Your league went deep? Like really deep? 20 managers with a 5 player bench? That's childs play. You want to know how deep our newly started fantasy league is? Our league is so deep, A-Rod, Kobe and Chad Johnson can be on the same team.

No, that is not a typo. Allow me to explain.

A few months back, one of Bill Simmons' readers e-mailed him asking how crazy it would be to have an all-year fantasy league that covered the NBA, NFL and MLB seasons where players from different sports could be traded for one another (like trading Tom Brady straight up for Albert Pujols, etc.). Simmons' response is that it was too crazy and no one could ever pull it off.

Oh ye of little faith...

We here at Thunder Matt's Saloon have done the impossible. We have constructed such a league, which is, as far as any of us know, the first of its kind. Here are the groundrules, provided by the one and only Chip Wesley:

1. All leagues will be keeper/dynasty leagues. After the first seasons, a supplemental rookie draft will be done before the next season.

2. Trading between sports is allowed, but only when both sports leagues are currently in season. For instance, a baseball/football trade can be made starting in September, basketball/baseball in April, etc. There may be the possibility of lifting this rule in the future to make three-sport trades, but this is a great rule for now so things don't spiral out of control in year one.

3. Each of the leagues is H2H. At the end of the year, the standings for all three leagues will be averaged together to determine a winner.

As I said before, there's really no other fantasy league like this, and there's endless new strategy that will go into it. NBA team floundering? You could always give up on the season and trade away your best players for help come baseball season. Have to make a strong finish in football to secure the overall league title? You could always mortgage the future of one (or even two!) of your teams to win now.

We started out with our NBA draft last week, which is like the lesbian sister of fantasy sports (Would that make fantasy hockey the Eli Manning?). The state of fantasy basketball can be summed up by one quote from the draft in the 6th round:

"Can I just stop now? I don't like any of the players that are left."

I think that's close to what Lebron thinks every time he looks around the locker room before a game.

Anywho, since the NBA season is only 1 day old, there isn't much to update about, but I'll try to drop in a few updates every once in a while, as I'm sure the other bartenders will as well. In the meantime, here's Gilbert Arenas dancing around.

That's just Gilbert being Manny.

You Make the Call

October 31, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

Joe Girardi...........or...........Joe Girardi?

Grady Gets the Shaft

October 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Grady Little is out as the Dodgers manager.

As you may recall (though I doubt you do), I called for Grady to be fired after the season ended. He made too many bad moves this year and ultimately lost control of the clubhouse.

This isn't how it was supposed to go down though. I'm now in the odd position of feeling bad for a guy I wanted fired. If the Dodgers were going to fire Grady, they should have done it. Instead, they affirm he's the manager and then proceed to spoon with Girardi and Torre. Poor Grady was left to twist in the wind, and today after reading the writing on the wall, he quit.

Whatever the results on the field were, Grady is a decent guy. He deserved to be treated better than this.

Red Sox Unveil New Uniforms for 2008

October 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Just days after their second championship in 4 years, the Boston Red Sox have decided to change their uniforms. "In light of our recent World Series win, it just felt like the right time to unveil our new unis for 2008," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. "We feel they better represent the direction our organization is heading."

Congratulations Boston on becoming exactly what you hate.

A Mile High Minute: Week 8

October 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

I'm not even waiting for the game to end before I start this.

Why is Robert DeNiro here? Because, as he would say, its amateur hour out there tonight. I'm so god damned tired of watching Brandon Marshall drop passes. This guy may be the biggest fucking butterfingers in Broncos history. Ashley Lelie looks like Jerry Rice compared to this guy.

Jay Cutler is not without skills, but he's fragile. When things start to go bad, he starts making eratic throws and dumb decisions. He's kind of like Rex Grossman, but with some actual talent to justify his continuing presence in the league.

Speaking of dumb decisions, nice job No-Name Offensive Lineman slapping the ball out of Cutler's hand on the Packers one yard line.

Brett Favre is an asshat. Well, he's not so bad I guess, but the Brett Favre bandwagon that follows him wherever he goes is rife with asshats. We know he's passed Marino's career TD mark, why not remind us he's also broken the career INT mark? And seriously, who gives a damn what his wife has to say? "Do you feel it when he gets hit?" Real hard hitting stuff there ESPN. The Monday Night crew makes Tyra banks seem like Mike Wallace.

I honestly don't even care if they win tonight. If they do, its going to be on a last second Elam field goal.

Thoughts From Around the League

Will the '76 Bucs gather together with champagne if Miami or St. Louis go into the last game 0-15? I hope they do. These guys deserve a break. Look at that logo they had to wear. Its easily the gayest thing ever to come out of a sport that involves men in tights piling on top of one another.

Also, how sweet would it be if Miami went 0-16 and New England went 16-0? That would be the last we ever hear about the '72 Dolphins. Watching these miserable old farts finally get blown out of history books would just warm the cockles of my heart.

Oh yes, New England. Hate on America...its only making them better. Bill Cowher goes on CBS Sunday morning declaring Washington won't give up 30 to them. Brady and company go out and put 52 on the Skins. Bring on Mongoloid Manning and his coach Skeletor. Belichick has his scissors sharpened and no hoodie is safe.

Enough with the "running up the score" BS too. They aren't a running team and Brady can't start taking a knee in the 3rd quarter. If a team can't stop the Pats' backup QB throwing to backup receivers, that isn't New England's problem.

and now for something completely different...

I've never really commented on TV here, but frankly, series TV is total garbage. Once every few years you might get something worth watching: Family guy at its peak, The West Wing before they started that lazy "ripped from the headlines" shit, etc... The bulk of it consists of brain-dead laugh track comedies and offshoots of CSI and Law & Order.

Fox has come up with one that has caught my interest though. I started seeing previews for The Sarah Connor Chronicles this weekend. The series picks up the Terminator series after the events of T2.

Chances are it will be an abomination of epic proportions, but if there's one chance in a thousand it captures the greatness of the Terminator series, I'm in.

After the brilliant and underrated T3, I and many fans of the series were hoping for Terminator 4. Skynet had launched the nukes and John Connor and his future wife Kate Brewster (played by the oddly attractive Claire Danes) were riding it out in an old Air Force bunker. Terminator 4 just made so much sense. The war had begun...

But NO! Arnold had to continue the political career he started after usurping my namesake. T4 was not to be. Arnold is already old and saggy, so we can't wait around for 2010 when he leaves office.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles had better give me something to go on.

Monday Afternoon Hangover

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

What a crazy weekend. Mel's still drunk and can't seem to get out of the ill-fitting Nacho Libre costume he wore to Saturday's Halloween party. On to Week 8!

New York Giants 13
Miami 10
If the NFL wants to spread the game internationally, perhaps they should send teams that aren't completely inferior to showcase to the rest of the world. I can't imagine we converted any Brits over to our version of football with the craptastic display Eli and company put on against Miami. The Dolphins keep there winless streak going. Screw the Colts & Patriots undefeated records. I find the Dolphins-Rams winless streak much more intriguing.

Tennessee 13
Oakland 9
I feel bad for the poor SOB that got stuck watching this game. The Titans managed a whopping 218 yards of total offense and still somehow won. Credit goes to their defense who sacked Culpepper 5 times and forced 3 turnovers.

Cleveland 27
St. Louis 20
The Rams seemed ready to break their losing streak against the Browns. Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson both started, and Rams fans got a glimpse of what this offense is capable of when both are healthy. Of course that only lasted for a couple quarters. Jackson left in the second quarter, and Bulger left in the third. Meanwhile Derek Anderson rallied the Browns with 3 touchdown passes. Derek f'n Anderson people. The man is second only to freak of nature Tom Brady with 17 TD passes and he's currently 6th in the league in QB rating.

Philadelphia 23
Minnesota 16

Just like us Bears fans, Minnesota fans have to be pondering what it must be like if their team actually had a competent QB running the show. Kelly Holcomb put on a nice illusion of one for a little while, but then he got dropped on his head, which made way for Brooks Bollinger, who continued the QB charade.

Pittsburgh 24
Cincinnati 13
You know what? Cincinnati Bengals, not very good. The Steelers had no problem containing the wily band of criminals. At least their losing ways have all but put a stop to Chad Johnson's mental retardation in the endzone. Yep, Ochenta y Cinco has been mighty quiet this season.

Indianapolis 31
Carolina 7
You know who else isn't very good? The Panthers. How are they 4-3? If you really have to rely on Rasputin Testaverde and Emo Gloves Carr as your QB options, wouldn't you just be better served forfeiting the rest of your games? Apparently the Colts didn't receive the memo about this until the second half.

Detroit 16
Chicago 7

My lawyer is contacting Brian Griese to demand he give me those 3 hours of my life back. Jesus, can we just play Neckbeard Orton at this point? At least when he trows a terrible pick, we can assume he's drunk. Also I did some research and I think I may have discovered something. Jon Kitna has no offensive line protecting him. I know it appears like there is one, but it's all an illusion. How else can you explain his league-leading 32 times sacked? That comes out to roughly 4.5 sacks a game. Trent Green just had a seizure thinking about it.

Buffalo 13
New York Jets 3
Just when you thought you couldn't go more rock bottom than Tennessee/Oakland, here comes the Bills/Jets game. Both teams struggled mightily on offense. Eventually both Trent Edwards and Chad Pennington were out of the game as J.P. Losman and Kellen Clemens took over. Losman flourished, Clemens, not so much. In the end, the Bills came out as the big winners, as did the Jet fans who left at halftime to beat traffic.

San Diego 35
Houston 10

I refuse to acknowledge the Chargers' recent success. I still stand by my prediction that they will miss the playoffs. Instead I'll give you a factoid. Sage Rosenfels is currently the only active NFL quarterback enshrined in the Jewish Museum Sports Hall of Fame. His name will forever be mentioned alongside such sports legends as Marty Hogan and Brad Ausmus.

Jacksonville 24
Tampa Bay 23

The Jaguar D took Jeff Garcia to the bathhouse, picking him off 3 times including a 28 yard return for a touchdown by Aaron Glenn. After the game Garcia said, "It was just a bad day. I just need to shake it off and move on. I'll go home to my lovely Playmate beard- uh wife, I mean wife! Beard? Why would I say that? (nervous laughter) Weird!"

New England 52
Washington 7

This is getting ridiculous. I just imagine the scene in Karate Kid III when Daniel's being forced to constantly punch the wooden dummy thing.

Bill Belichick: [at the climax of Tom Brady's training] Visualize: this is not a bunch of sticks and pipes anymore; this is not some pathetic mugger who needs a couple of dollars so he can eat. No! This is a deadly, hungry wrecking machine who wants to detatch your head from the rest of your body and mount it over his fireplace!
[Brady gashes his fist on the 2X4 with the Redskins' logo]
Belichick: It's blood. So what? Make believe it's HIS! This guy wants to BREAK you! HUMILIATE you! STOMP YOU INTO THE GROUND! NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Tom Brady: ...NAIL HIM!
Belichick: SHOW ME! DO IT!
[Brady breaks all three 2X4s]
Belichick: YES! You nailed him! You're ready!

Wow, by the way, if you needed any reminder of how incredibly awful Karate Kid III was, just go read the memorable quotes section on it's IMDB page. No way you come away from that not feeling dumber for having read it.

New Orleans 31
San Francisco 10
Hey, after beating a mediocre Seattle team, a horrible Atlanta team, and now a miserable San Francisco team, the Saints are obviously back on track! Hey Fox, CBS, ESPN, and the like. Let's keep the superlatives to a minimum until they beat a team worth a damn. If they can take down Jacksonville next week, then we can talk a little.

The Golden Nutcup Team
Wear it with pride fellas!

QB - Tom Brady, NE (Wow, no shit?)
RB - Joseph Addai, IND (23 carries, 100 yards, 2 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD)
WR - Marques Colston, NO (8 catches, 85 yards, 3 TD)
WR - Braylon Edwards, CLE (8 catches, 117 yards, 2 TD)
TE - Antonio Gates, SD (3 catches, 92 yards, 2 TD)
DEF - San Diego (10 points allowed, 1 sack, 4 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 2 TD)

The Flaming Bag Team
Don't put them out with your boot, Harold!

QB - Kellen Clemens, NYJ (5-12, 67 yards, 2 INT)
RB - LaMont Jordan, OAK (12 carries, 16 yards)
WR - Marty Booker, MIA (3 catches, 31 yards, 1 fumble)
WR - Laveranues Coles, NYJ (1 catch, 13 yards)
TE - Desmond Clark, CHI (1 catch, 11 yards)
DEF - Washington (46 points allowed)

Monday Night Pick
I'm excited just for all the fantasy implications this game has for me tonight. Otherwise I could care less. I don't even like either team's chances that much to pick one. I'm predicting a 6-6 tie, and I'm setting the over/under for number of times Kornheiser makes a "He's on my fantasy team" joke at 2.5.

The National League Sucks at Life

October 28, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Like an aging, face-tattooed Mike Tyson trying to lace it up one last time to 'eat your babies', the National League embarrassed America once again. I won't really place too much of the blame on the Rockies. They were merely the unlucky sacrificial lamb chosen for slaughter.

I mean seriously. Every once in a while the Senior Circuit cashes in on a run of good luck (Cardinals, Marlins), but more often than not they are over-matched and outplayed to an extent that could be deemed 'laughable'. Witness getting swept 3 out of the last 4 World Series. Witness the 3-16-1 record over the last 20 All-Star games, including a winless streak dating back to 1996. Speaking of the Senior Circuit, I posed for Senior Pictures that year. I had a mullet and wore a plaid vest, a coy smile and used a fake Coke machine as a photo prop. All that and the National League won the All-Star game. What a year that was in my life. I've yet to repeat that kind of dominance. Neither has the National League.

I guess the Rockies will have to settle for a different kind of Cinderella Story. This one involves them listening to "Don't Know What You Got (Til It's Gone)" in the clubhouse, tears streaming down their faces, stroking Todd Helton's angry goatee for comfort.

Come the SuperBowl, I'll probably just cut and paste this post and replace 'National League' with 'NFC'. And I'm afraid that the sacrificial lamb will probably also fall to a behemoth from the Northeast. One that favors sweatshirts and the frowny faces.

Wicked Awesome: Part II

October 28, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

The 2007 season is over - Red Sox sweep.

Lets be honest folks, the fact that the Rockies were the NL representative should have told you how this was going to end. To paraphrase Bill Plaschke, what made you think the last 22 games erased the 140 that came before it?

The Rox were the Bad News Bears. Clint Hurdle is pouring whiskey in his beer as I write this.

On to the off season...if I'm able to tell you ARod lands in Chavez Ravine, I'll start going to church.

TMS 30 Greatest Movies: #31 Children of Men

October 26, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Note: After looking at my compiled rankings, it was brought to my attention that I had miscalculated the score for one movie that would've put it in the Top 30. With the correction made, that bumped Children of Men to #31. But instead of dropping it outright from the list, we'll leave it as part of the TMS 30.

Children of Men
Year: 2006
Genre: Sci Fi, Adventure
Main Actors: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine
Ranked: Governor Gray Davis #1, Chaim Witz #29

Its 2027 and the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Cities have been nuked, war and terrorism rage across the globe, and the human race has become sterile. Britain is still semi-functional and has cracked down on all immigrants to maintain order. The only hope for humanity may in fact be one of the demonized "fugees" that is not welcome on British soil.

Reasons This Movie Kicks Ass
Deep, but not obnoxious political commentary coupled with some of the most impressive action sequences ever filmed and Michael Caine as an over-the-hill pot head.

Monster Role
I have never seen Clive Owen in a role he didn't absolutely nail. His portrayal of a disaffected political activist resigned to not only his fate, but the fate of all humanity, could not be better. If a film is ever made about my life, I want Clive in the lead role.

Knock Your Dick in the Dirt Moment
Alfonso Cuarón is one of my favorite filmmakers in the business today (Y Tu Mamá También, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), and delivers big time here. Children of Men offers two separate single-shot action sequences to knock your dick in the dirt. One is a four minute sequence involving a hoarde of people, gunshots, and a flaming car and the other is a seven and a half minute escape sequence with what amounts to a war going on in the background. DVD bonus features are usually worthless, but the story behind these sequences is well worth your time.

Watch this movie if you like.....
V for Vendetta, George Orwell, or other tales about our imminent dystopian future.

Red Sox Waste Energy By Scoring 11 Meaningless Runs

October 25, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Yes, the Red Sox can pound the ball. Yes, Josh Beckett is phenomenal. Yes, it'll be interesting to see how the Rockies react to their first postseason loss.

But wait just a minute there, cocky Baaaahston fan...this series isn't over by a long shot.

The Red Sox looked incredibly dominant last night. They entered the World Series on a pretty good offensive tear and with some momentum after making a 2004-esque comeback against the Indians. But just because they rocked Colorado last night does not mean this series is over. Last night shouldn't have changed anyone's predictions about the Series.

Look, let's be honest...you knew the Rockies were going to lose last night. Sure, they had their best starter on the mound and hadn't lost a game all postseason, but deep down, no matter how big a Rockies fan you are, if a gun was put to your head before first pitch last night, you would have chosen Boston. And even if you did think the Rockies were going to take Game 1, there's no way in hell they were going to take both games at Fenway to start the series. So at the very best, the Rockies were going to lose at least one game at Fenway.

See where I'm going with this?

Last night was a loss, but it was just one loss. All of the people jumping off the Rockies bandwagon should take a closer look at the following:

1. The Rockies lost to the most dominant postseason pitcher to come around in a while. Anyone could have seen that coming.

2. It was wet. This does not excuse the fact that Colorado gave up 13 runs, but it could have led to it. When it's raining, you don't want to pitch to contact, so the harder you throw, the better. Clearly, last night's weather favored Beckett and the Sox.

3. Losing by 12 runs isn't that bad. Losing 2-1 or 30-1 still counts as only 1 loss.

4. While the Sox offense is running on all cylinders right now, it could be in for a bumpy ride in the coming week ahead. Out of Lowell, Youk, and Ortiz, one of them is going to have to ride the pine each of the 3 games in Colorado. That's a huge blow.

I'm not taking anything away from the Sox. All I'm saying is that this series is not over. Not even close. Don't listen to the talking heads on ESPN or believe what you read on Yahoo Sports; the Rockies are still as much in this series as they were at this time yesterday. If the Rockies can take game 2, suddenly, everyone will pile back onto the Rockies bandwagon like they never left.

Cubs of Yore: Jody Davis

October 24, 2007 | Comments (1) | by The Hundley

Nickname: Catcher Extraordinaire

Played for The Cub: '81 to '87

Random Write-up: If you're a lifelong Cub fan and over the age of 25, you probably remember Harry Caray singing "Jodeeeee, Jooooo-dee Davis, hit one in the upper tierrrrr, Jodeeeee, Joooo-dee Davis, catcher extraordinaire!" Okay, maybe Harry was a better announcer than a lyricist, but his passion for the likeable Cub catcher matched that of the Cub faithful in Wrigley Field. Throughout the 1984 season and then for the rest of his Cub career, it was common to hear the "Jo-dy! Jo-dy!" chant ringing out when #7 stepped to the plate. Jody was one of the better Cub catchers of the last 30 years, being a two-time All Star ('84, '86) and a Gold Glove winner ('86). Jody was well-liked by fans because of his workmanlike attitude, and it showed in his abilities behind the plate. After being atrocious behind the plate early in his career, he parlayed his hard work into being a very serviceable catcher behind the plate. Jody was a pivotal part of the '84 Pennant winning team, hitting .256 with 19 homers and 94 RBI. In the post season, Jody really turned it on, hitting .389 with 2 homers and 6 RBI against the San Diego Padres. Had seasons of 12, 24, 19, 17, 21, 19 throughout his Cub career, catching nearly 1,000 games. A heck of a guy and a heck of a Cub.

What the hell?: In playing a difficult and rigorous position such as a catcher, Davis caught at least 125 games per year during his Cub tenure as starting catcher. Amazing as that is, it is more amazing that he never took a trip to the DL. Not once. In his Gold Glove season ('86), Jody gunned down 78 guys attempting to steal, good for a 48% success rate. As for the Harry song about him, it was sung to the tune of the Davy Crockett Theme Song (for you youngsters). Was also a redhead.

Also of Note: Career (estimated) earnings of $5.5 million. Was traded to the Atlanta Braves to make way for Damon Berryhill, allowing Jody to return home to his native Georgia. Has managed in the Cub organization for the Peoria Chiefs (where he was the coach of the All-Star team) and Daytona Cubs. Has been rumored to be a possible successor to Lou Piniella.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Give that man a great offensive line and he will put up ridiculous passing numbers.

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

One of them is really ugly. One of them is sssssuper hot. One of them dates supermodels. The other falls asleep alone in a recliner, masturbating to his playbook and a glossy photo of Merlin Olsen. How could two players have such superficial differences yet be so insanely good when placed on a 100 yard patch of well maintained grass?
Well sure, there's the so-called 'intangibles', blah blah blah. Pedigree...zzzzz....knowledge of the game (fingers in my ears)...physical tools (yawn)....I could go on. But I won't. I will sum up their success succinctly, with a healthy dose of bitterness.

These guys have all frickin' day to throw.

Seriously. Watch a Patriots game this year, or any Colts game the last 5 years or so. Let the record show that Peyton and Tom (a new reality show, coming to the CW!) have been blessed with a multitude of talents. Mobility isn't one of them. Yet these guys rarely get sacked. Moreso, they never even seem to get 'hurried'. Even a woman could tell you that if a QB gets time to throw the ball, his chances of completing a pass rise exponentially.

I was actually watching a Colts game the other day. Do you know how much time Manning had? (How much?) He had so much time that he went to the sideline, hauled a Weber grill out to midfield and grilled a steak ('well done' mind you). Sitting down (Indian style), he slowly and deliberately cut his steak into symmetrical pieces and chewed each piece 25 times. He would occasionally mix his steak pieces in with his mashed potatoes and corn. This tasted good to him and reminded him of when he was little, eating school lunches with Eli, alone at an empty table, devoid of friends. This made him sad and he wanted to cry. He sipped a glass of iced tea. The glass was sweaty. While he ate, he watched a rerun of 'Becker' on a TV that he jimmyrigged on the field, courtesy of an extension cord and some well placed rabbit ears. 'Becker' made him happy again, but also a bit sleepy, as Ted Danson tends to have that effect. So he took a nap. He woke up, a bit groggy eyed and did some stretches to warm back up. He then made a long distance phone call to his mother before finally hitting Reggie Wayne in stride for a 45 yard touchdown pass.

How many times have I watched a game hoping to see Peyton Manning get hurt? (Answer: Every game I've watched Peyton Manning play.) But goddammit, you can't hurt a guy if you don't hit him.

Same goes with Brady this year. Did anyone see the game against the Dolphins? Granted, bad example since it's the friggin' Dolphins, but still. That second touchdown he had to Moss he had a good 7 count in the pocket before he had to throw it.

Now I'm not saying that these guys aren't good. But I would argue that even Chadwick Pennington could be a serviceable QB given the time these guys have to throw. Are their O-lines that good? I dunno. But it pisses me off. Why can't my favorite teams have offensive lines like that? It's not fair. I know. "Chaim, life isn't fair."

All the time in the world to throw + patently unfair weapons of mass destruction at your disposal = The Worldwide Leader in Sports having multiples at the mere mention of your name.

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi...

Bartender Banter: Crickets Edition

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

Uhhhhh, hello? Where the hell is everyone? Someone told me this was the place to be, but it's about as lively as a Harry Potter book reading in the Bible Belt. Lame. I'm outta here....

Wait! Hi! Sorry, I was in back checking the kegs. We're still open. Business has slowed since the '07 Cubs have finished up, but we've still got plenty of things going on. Allow me to bring you up to speed.

First of all we've started the official TMS Fantasy Behemoth League. The league consists of 10 managers, including the 7 main bartenders, Nick V. who's a regular reader of ours, Daft Funk's girlfriend E-Claire, and some other person I'm not familiar with. The league will span 3 different sports and we will have the chance to trade players between them. We kicked things off on Sunday with the NBA draft. A recap of that will come in the future. I could go into more detail of how the league will work, but it only seems to make sense in my head right now, so I'll spare you my crazy convoluted gameplan.

The Cubs report cards are still ongoing. I hope to have the outfielders graded within the next week or so.

Lastly, we're about to begin a new feature here at the Saloon. Inspired by the recent update of the AFI 100 Greatest Movies list, I proposed that all of the bartenders prepared their own personal top 100 list that we would compile into one master list. Everyone was fired up for the project, that is until they realized how daunting and shitty of work it was to actually rank 100 movies. So we scaled it back and instead ranked our top 30 movies from the past 30 years. All the lists were compiled into one and the TMS 30 was created. This is surely going to be the hot intellectual talk of the holiday season. Who better to come up with a smart, well-rounded list of quality films, than 7 males between the ages of 24 and 29? Let's just say your girlfriend's favorite movies, probably didn't make the cut, and if they did, she's probably a transvestite with good taste. Look for the countdown to start with #30 later this week.

Oh, and I almost forgot, we came up with a TMS 30 official seal. Check it out. As we countdown our movies, feel free to add this seal to your BluRay, DVD, VHS, Beta, or Laserdisc covers and cases. Just a quick print to the office laser printer, some scotch tape, and voila! Our seal ensures that the movie in question is top notch.

A Mile High Minute/Sun Devil Second: Week 7

October 23, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Washington 21 Arizona 19

I'll pick things up about the same time Fox finally turned off that hideous 49ers game... Kurt Warner, now some sort of weird cyborg with no ligaments in his left arm, got the Cards in a position to win the game late. Unfortunately, a series of brainfarts conspired to give the Skins the victory.

Earlier in the game, Neil Rackers missed an extra point, so after scoring a TD with only seconds remaining, Arizona needed a two point conversion to tie. For reasons known only to him, Ken Whisenhunt decided to split Tim Rattay out wide and snap to Anquan Boldin. Larry Fitzgerald was wide open, but Boldin threw a horrendous pass even for a wide receiver and they missed the conversion.

With no choice but to try an onside kick, Arizona goes for it...and makes it! Locutus here takes them down the field for a Rackers FG attempt to win the game, but alas, he misses again.

Basically Arizona dominates Washington all day (the Skins only had 160 total yards) and manages to lose thanks to Neil Rackers and a botched gadget play. Ugh.

Denver 31 Pittsburgh 28

With that disappointment behind me, I prepared for the next one. I gave Denver NO chance against the Steelers, but look at that score. Occasionally, I like being wrong.

Denver dominated the first half. The defense looked solid and the offense was actually able to move the ball even with Travis Henry strugling.

The second half was a little rough. The defense switched from Orange Crush back to store-brand Orange Drink mode and gave up 21. The saving grace was the offense. They actually managed to keep up and gave the great Jason Elam a chance to win it. Naturally, he did.

I'll say it: Cutler with the game on the line is nerve racking. His errant throws are just asking for trouble. He got it done this week though, so I'll give him a pass.

I'll say this too: As I watch Cutler hand off to the *potent* Travis Henry, I put the odds at 50/50 that Jay Cutler is a virgin.

Thoughts From Around the League

New England - Tom Brady is STILL better than you.

Chevrolet - Someone should tell Chevy that no matter how good an advertising idea is, there is an overkill point. "Our Country" isn't even a particularly good advertising scheme and it makes me ill every time I hear it. I will never buy a Chevy now (honestly, I wouldn't have bought one before this, but this sealed it).

Ford - I don't care if your truck can tow Idaho. Tell me when it gets more than 12 miles per gallon.

Miller - Miller is hit and miss. The "Purveyors of the High Life" ads are about as close as a commercial can be to being good, but the Commissioner ads with that guy from Scrubs are awful. That guy was OK as Bob in Office Space, but he's associated with Zach Braff so natural law dictates he's annoying.

Yes, I'm commenting on commercials. The games were awful this week so I didn't pay much attention.

and now for something completely different...

Apparently Dumbledore is gay. OK then.

Two things come to mind.

1. JK Rowling is on an unending mission to terrify the religious nuts. Not only has she created a best selling book series about witchcraft involving teenagers, but now their beloved headmaster is gay. Beware! Your kids will turn away from Jesus and turn to spellcasting and turtlenecks! Somewhere, Jerry Falwell's corpse mutters "I told you so!"

2. How is it possible that after writing about 4000 pages, she has anything left to say about any of these characters? We learn everything down to Hermione's cup size and Ron's favorite brand of toothpaste, but there's still more backstory? Come on lady, time to wrap it up.

Monday Afternoon Hangover

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

It's Week 7. Grab another cup of coffee and shake off that last can of Foster's you had last night, as we look at this week's scores and try to comprehend how the Bears can look like shit on offense all game, but then magically march 97 yards down the field with under two minutes left to win the game. Fellow bartender Daft Funk was good enough to help out with this week's recaps.

Detroit 23
Tampa Bay 16
Wow, first off, I just wanna apologize to whoever I pissed off that caused them to put this game as my only noon game option on TV yesterday. The Buccaneers should've won this game except Garcia kept fumbling. Insert joke here about Garcia not knowing how to handle his balls.

Tennessee 38
Houston 36
Good lord. This game was just ridiculous. Tennessee heads into the 4th quarter with a comfortable 32-7 lead, only to watch Houston go on a ridiculous 29-3 run. Then Rob Bironas squashes the amazing comeback with a game-winning FG in the final seconds. A special shoutout to Sage Rosenfels who threw 3 interceptions thus making me not feel like a complete douche for starting the Tennessee defense this week.

New England 49
Miami 28
This score does no justice as to how big of an ass clobbering this game really was. 42-7 at halftime? Miami scored 21 garbage time points in the fourth quarter to make it appear like they remotely had a shot.

New York Giants 33
San Francisco 15

Hey remember when everyone was picking San Francisco as their sleeper team this season? Trent Dilfer lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions as the Giants lucked their way into another victory.

Washington 21
Arizona 19
Kurt Warner and his robot arm did everything they could to win one for the Cards, but Neil Rackers' ineptitude kicking the ball cost them. After the game Warner confronted Rackers, gave him a cold, dead stare, and said, "missed extra points make baby Jesus cry."

New Orleans 22
Atlanta 16
Just when Atlanta fans are content with not seeing Joey Harrington on the field anymore, Byron Leftwich gets hurt and lo and behold, old Joey is back on the field, treating everyone to his underwhelming play.

Buffalo 19
Baltimore 14

Buffalo's D gets a big chunk of the credit here, as they stopped Baltimore on a critical 4th down late in the game to secure the win. The Bills move to 2-4 and further secure a spot for second place in the AFC East ahead of the 1-6 Jets and 0-7 Dolphins.

Kansas City 12
Oakland 10
For those of you scoring at home, the Chiefs are in first place in the AFC West right now. I just blew your mind, didn't I?

Cincinnati 38
New York Jets 31

Did anyone else see the Sunday Conversation on ESPN where Keyshawn Johnson interviewed Chad Johnson? I swear that Keyshawn Johnson is the only person in the Universe that can sit and have a conversation with Chad Johnson and make the guy who refers to himself as "Ocho Cinco" seem like he has a better idea of what's going on.

Dallas 24
Minnesota 14

When did Kyle Orton turn black, get traded to the Vikings and start calling himself Tavaris Jackson? This guy completed 2 passes in the first half…and the Vikings were winning. Further proof that the NFC is 20 kinds of awful.

Chicago 19
Philadelphia 16

Before the game, Donovan McNabb said that the road to the NFC East Championship still goes through Philadelphia. Apparently, every other team in the NFC is perfectly fine with using that road and going straight through Philly's defense.

Seattle 33
St. Louis 6
If ever there was a time that the Bears could trade Rex Grossman to a team that desperate for a quarterback, that time is now and the team is St. Louis. Hell, they should just bite the bullet and sign Jeff George now.

Denver 31
Pittsburgh 28
I don't care about either of these teams. Denver is boring. Pittsburgh is boring. Come grab me when a Steeler gets hit by another car.

The Golden Nutcup Team
Wear it with pride fellas!

QB - Tom Brady, NE (354 yards, 6 TD)
RB - Kenny Watson, CIN (31 carries, 130 yards, 3 TD)
WR - Wes Welker, NE (9 catches, 138 yards, 2 TD)
WR - Laveranues Coles, NYJ (8 catches, 133 yards, 2 TD)
TE - Heath Miller, PIT (5 catches, 50 yards, 2 TD)
DEF - Seattle (6 points allowed, 7 sacks, 3 INT, 2 fumble recoveries)

The Flaming Bag Team
Don't put them out with your boot, Harold!

QB - Marc Bulger, STL (3 INT, 2 fumbles, at least Frerotte threw TDs)
RB - Travis Henry, DEN (17 carries, 51 yards)
WR - Patrick Crayton, DAL (2 catches, 19 yards, 1 fumble)
WR - Jacoby Jones, HOU (3 catches, 11 yards, 1 fumble)
TE - Quinn Sypniewski, BAL (4 catches, 33 yards, 1 fumble)
DEF - Atlanta (22 points allowed, 0 sacks)

Monday Night Pick
Peyton has been good but not great. Jacksonville can stop the run with the best of them, which will force the Colts to the air. Wait, that's a bad thing for Indy? Pick the Colts. Manning always shows up for Monday Night games. Seriously, he's in every commercial.

Fantasy Hurricane Update

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

It's been a long, long while since I updated the standings for the TMS Fantasy Hurricane League. Here's a list of the storms that occurred since my last update.

Felix - 210 points
Gabrielle - 55
Humberto - 95
Ingrid - 5
Jerry - 5
Karen - 5
Lorenzo - 45
Melissa - 5

The Gov was the big winner here, as he picked Felix, Gabrielle and Melissa to give him a total of 270 point, which is good enough to put him in first place. Also, after a second review, I've revised the total score given to Hurricane Dean previously. Instead of 235 points, it earned 250 points. So Chaim's score with the addition of Karen is 255. Here's how the full standings look.

1. Governor Gray Davis - 270 points
2. Chaim Witz - 255 points
3. Chip Wesley - 140 points
4. Chi-Town Girl - 95 points
5. Brant Brown - 65 points

As the season begins to wind down, it looks like the Gov may hold on to the lead. The next possible storm is Noel which was the Gov's 4th round pick. Chaim's next possible storm on his roster is Rebekah. And who knows? There's always a chance that Chi-Town Girl could still strike it big with Olga or Pablo.

Wicked Awesome

October 21, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

How does Cleveland like them apples?

After giving up on the 2007 season last week, my faith is renewed. The Red Sox rally and crush the Indians in three straight to prove to me there is a baseball god and he hates Cleveland as much as I do.

So Boston/Colorado in the World Series...I know you all marked that before the season started. If I didn't predict Boston coming out of the AL, it was a brain fart on my part. I can safely say no one had Colorado coming out of the NL though.

The Governor's World Series pick: Boston in 6 - mark it Vegas.

War Criminal: Radio

October 19, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

War Hero Freddie Mercury once wrote, "Radio, someone still loves you..." Sorry Freddie, it isn't me. I'm not sure if radio has gotten worse or if it was always this bad and I didn't notice. Every radio broadcast is a complete disaster. As you may have expected, I'm prepared to tell you whats wrong with all aspects of it:

Morning Shows

This may not be the case everywhere, but here in LA, you cannot find music during your commute to work. Danny & Lisa, Dave, Shelley, and Chainsaw, Douche, Dickhead, and Colostomy Bag - they're all the same. Basically you have three middle aged yahoos too ugly for TV yammering from 6-9am every day. None of the jokes are funny and the guests are boring.

I don't think its the hosts so much as the format though. Take the Adam Corolla example. Adam is a pretty funny guy. Remember The Man Show? Classic. Now listen to his hideous morning show with Danny Bonaduce and Teresa Strasser. Aside from the constant rips on Huell Howser, the show has no redeeming qualities. During my research for this collumn, grotesque amounts of time on this show were devoted to Teresa's fake wedding. Apparently phony wedding plans are comedy gold. No one told me though.

I just want to hear music on the way to work. Is that too much to ask?


With all the songs ever written, the average oldies station plays maybe 50 or so. "Hey Jude isn't the most overplayed song of all time or anything, lets run that into the ground some more!" Listen to any Oldies station for an hour and you're guaranteed to hear Hey Jude or Hotel California.

Classic Rock stations seem to have even shorter playlists. If you don't love Styx, don't bother.

Pop and Modern Rock Stations

If you love a band that has a new song out, listen to these type of stations at your peril. You're going to hear that new song about once every two hours. Too much KROQ actually made me dislike Green Day for a period of time because I heard "When September Ends" too much. I've since gone through detox and enjoy American Idiot again, but the radio tried their damndest to kill them for me.

Another gem from our local modern rock station: Their tagline is "LA and OC's only new rock." This is almost always followed by an Offspring or Nirvana song from 15 years ago.

The Flashback Lunch

A spinoff of the pop/modern rock critique...

Every day at noon, the pop and rock stations go into flashback mode. Need to here Come on Eileen? Tune into the pop station. They WILL play it. Nirvana's Come As You Are more your fare? Go for the rock. Nirvana had alot of good songs. Unfortunately the ones they play on the radio are so tired at this point I can't bear to listen anymore. This is why Kurt Cobain shot himself.


Country radio has been notoriously bad for years. Some country is good. Johnny Cash, Willie, and even some modern artists like Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley. Carrie Underwood and TimFaith McGrawHill are not country. Putting a fiddle in a pop song does not make you a country artist. Carrie Underwood's voice makes the Baby Jesus cry. Sure she's hot, but her singing is like nails on a chalk board.

Country radio is SO bad in fact, after winning a Grammy for one of his brilliant American recordings late in his career, Johnny Cash took out this full page ad in Billboard flipping them the bird to thank them for all their support. They hadn't played any of the CD even though it was loved by critics and fans accross all age groups.

Talk Radio

Talk radio isn't immune either. You have several types of crap that can be heard on your AM dial without fail:

The Hypocritical Right Winger

Right wing radio hosts seem to be the biggest hypocrites on the planet. Bill O'Reilly decries the moral decay in society and gets nailed for sexual harassment and a lufa fetish (Fox security has just been dispatched to my home.) Rush Limbaugh blasts drug users for years while simultaneously doing enough oxycontin to subdue a whale. OK, comparing Rush to a whale may be a little redundant I guess. Dr. Laura dispenses conservative family values and it turns out she had nude photos taken of her in the 70s and didn't know her mother was dead for over two months. Come on guys, at least try to practice what you preach.

The Whore

This section is brought to you by On-Star. On-Star turn by turn navigation - directions from where you are to where you're going! Now lets check the Michelin inbox. Tom Leykis here recomending 1-800-FLOWERS as the perfect Valentine's Day gift (even though Tom's whole schtick is telling you NOT to spend money on women, particularly on holidays like Valentine's).

Christ, have some pride and say no once in awhile. Congrats to Dan Patrick on this front. He left ESPN and no longer has to peddle crappy navigation systems or tires.

The Guy Who Can't Talk

If you have a job where you speak for hours at a time, you should probably be able to speak clearly. This seems to be particularly prevelent in sports talk radio where you get these former athletes who couldn't find a coherent sentence with...well, with On-star turn by turn navigation.

There's also the stutterer. ESPN radio seems to love these guys. Just spit it out already.

Another common one is the guy who sounds like he has a sock in his mouth.

Rarely, you get one who nails all three parts of the "can't talk" trifecta. I'm looking at you Petros Papadakis.

(Remember my too ugly for TV remark? Yeah...)

The Idiotic Premise

I know you have hours to fill, but you're only hurting yourself by wasting time on ridiculous hypotheticals like "what if Ohio secedes from the union?" or "will the Dodgers move back to Brooklyn?"

The Clock

Thirty-six minutes after the hour...

Well, I'm spent. There are probably hundreds of more examples of how radio sucks, but all I have to say is thank god for the iPod.

Torre To Yankees: "Eat Me."

October 18, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Ever since the Yankees were eliminated by the Indians last week, my mind has been filled with different scenarios involving Joe Torre and the Yankees. Here are the potential outcomes that I considered to be acceptable:

1. The Yankees fire Torre, all their fans turn on them, A-Rod opts out, Posada and Rivera leave, Yankees finish last in 2008.

2. The Yankees offer Torre a deal, he turns it down, the fans back Torre and turn on management, A-Rod opts out, etc.

3. The Yankees offer Torre a contract. Torre takes a dump on Big Stein and asks for $20 million a year. Somehow, the Yankees get Texas to throw in $14 million of that per year.

Honestly, one way or another, did anyone expect Torre to be a Yankee next year? How much abuse can a man take? The Yankees have made the playoffs for 12 straight years! Sure, the Yanks have crapped out over the last few years and haven't won it all since 2000, but that's not Torre's fault. He can't go out to the mound and throw 8 innings himself, which is the only thing that could have helped the Yankees over the last few years.

I'm glad Torre stuck up for himself. Just like Marty Schottenheimer is doing right now, Joe can sit back next baseball season, pick up the newspaper or turn on ESPN whenever he wants to, and laugh at the situation his old team is in. Seriously, these Yankees are done for. After A-Rod opts out and Posada and Rivera follow him out the door, does this team scare you?

C: Someone crappy. Probably Michael Barrett.
1B: Doug Mienxlplykiviwicz (Old)
2B: Robinson "I have to try during the first half too?" Cano
3B: Wilson Betemit
SS: Derek Jeter
OF: Melky Cabrera
OF: Johnny Damon (Old)
OF: Hideki Matsui (Old)
DH: Jason Giambi (Old)

Combine that with a starting rotation of Mussina, Pettitte, Kennedy, Hughes and Chamberlain and no bullpen (Who's gonna close? Farnsworth? HA!), and you've got the makings of a 4th place team.

"Eat shit."
"No, you eat shit first!"

Cubs 2007 Report Card, Part II: The Infield

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

Now its time to look back at the season that was, and review how the various Cub players fared. The TMS Cubs Report Card will break down each player's performance with the hard-hitting analysis that only the Saloon can bring you. We also give them all a letter grade, an idea I can only describe as 'incredibly original'. We covered the catchers last week, so today we bring you the infielders. We have a special guest joining us this time around, as Bad Kermit from your second favorite Cubs blog, Hire Jim Essian has offered his own assessment and grades of the Cubs infield. The Hundley also brings his insight to the table, with myself rounding things out.

Derrek Lee
G 150, AB 567, R 91, HR 22, RBI 82, SB 6, AVG .317

BAD KERMIT: If you're one of those people saying that Derrek Lee had a "terrible" year, you're a moron. I'm sorry you had to find out this way. Yes, Derrek ended up being only the third-best offensive first baseman in the division. Yes, his power didn't arrive until the second half of the season. Yes, he ran and hid behind Lou Piniella after swinging and missing Chris Young's face several times. But now, Lee is more than a year removed from Scott Eyre ruthlessly shattering his wrist, and the fact that his power trended up throughout the course of the year bodes well for 2008. Lee also played his usual spectacular defense (though there was more than one play that made me think, "2005 Derrek Lee has that ball"), and he had his hottest month in September, just when the Cubs needed him. Perhaps because he finally realized that every damn pitcher in the league was going to throw him breaking balls low and away until he proved he could hit them. Still, 82 RBIs from the Cubs' number three hitter is a bit disconcerting. Say what you will about Alfonso Soriano's inability to get on base, but you know the RBI opportunities were there. In 2005, Lee seemed to cash all of them in. In 2007, not so much. Grade B

THE HUNDLEY: Lee put out a typical Lee-type year, sans the power numbers we've all been hoping for. He was a bit streaky at the plate, but proved (yet again) to be the most consistent hitter. I wish he would take more of a vocal role in leading this team, but I suppose you can't have it all. Need to have him back as an everyday player. Grade B

CHIP: I can't argue with the B grade. There are very few 1B out there I'd rather have than Lee. Looking at his pre and post-all star break splits I think it's safe to say his power has returned. I think we can look for him to hit 30-35 homers next season. The disparity between his stats at home versus away is a bit odd, namely his AVG (.371 at home compared to.265 on the road). I'm not sure what's up with that. Grade B

Daryle Ward
G 79, AB 110, R 16, HR 3, RBI 19, SB 0, AVG .327

BAD KERMIT: What can I say about Daryle Ward that hasn't already been said? Daryle Ward needs to eat something before he blows away! There. I did it. Ward showed Cubs fans what a professional pinch-hitter is supposed to look like, and it was nothing like Lenny Harris. Ward showed patience and power at the plate, and if Lou had ever, ever left him on the basepaths, he would have swiped at least forty bags. A Cardinal killer, Ward hit two of his three home runs off the Cardinals, the biggest one being a grand slam at Wrigley to put the Cubs up 5-0 in a game they would eventually win. Daryle was one of the few Cubs to bring his bat to the NLDS, which was awful decent of him. When he was sparingly used in right field and to cover for Derrek Lee, Ward didn't humiliate the city of Chicago, which is something. He wasn't brought in to play defense, anyhow. He was brought in to rake, and rake he did. You guys know he lead the team in OPS, right? Of course you do. You all love Daryle as much as I do. Grade A Beef

Could we really have expected anything more for Ward? I can't imagine how hard it would be to be a professional pinch hitter, which he pretty much was this year. When he did get spot starts, he came through. Grade B

CHIP: I can't honestly remember the last time we had a bench guy that I was happy with. Ward provided a great bat when called upon and made us easily forget the lazy days of Jose Macias and John Mabry. Also I always took joy in watching Daryle try to leg out a double. Grade B+

Mark DeRosa
G 149, AB 502, R 64, HR 10, RBI 72, SB 1, AVG .293

BAD KERMIT: Admit it. Unless you have a vagina, you were pissed when the Cubs signed DeRosa in the offseason. You thought, as I did, that Jim Hendry was foolish enough to sign yet ANOTHER guy to a hefty contract right after he put together a career year in a hitters' park. Let me be the first to say that you're a stupid jerk. DeRosa performed far better than I expected and, for much of the season, it looked like DeRosa might end the season with more home runs and RBIs than Derrek Lee. DeRosa is the most talented "utility" guy the Cubs have had on the roster in years, filling in more than adequately in the outfield and at third base when Aramis Ramirez was injured. More importantly, he was one of the few Cubs who swung at strikes and took balls (hee hee!) for most of the season. It's a shame he put together one of his worst at-bats of the season with the bases loaded and one out against Livan Hernandez in Game Three of the NLDS. DeRosa left a bitter taste in all of our mouths (snort!), but expect him to be the full-time second baseman starting with Opening Day next season. Grade A-

THE HUNDLEY: I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think DeRosa was the MVP of this team. A consumate professional, he did whatever was asked of him, played all over the place, and was always positive. A pro's pro, frequently sporting a faux-hawk in bench shots. Grade B+

: I'll admit it took me a while to warm up to this guy, but by the end of the season he was probably one of my favorite Cubs. Nothing flashy about him at all, but you can count on him to always give you a little something almost every game. In games where multiple guys would go hitless, it always seemed like DeRosa was putting up 1-3, 2-4 type of games. If this time last year you would've told me that our starting 2B would be Mark DeRosa I would've probably groaned and bitched that we can't ever get anyone decent to man 2B. Now, I'm quite happy with him possibly being our starter in '08. Grade B+

Aramis Ramirez
G 132, AB 506, R 72, HR 26, RBI 101, SB 0, AVG .310

BAD KERMIT: Despite what Barry Rozner would have you believe, Aramis Ramirez was the best hitter on the Cubs last year. His defense, for the most part, has steadily improved in his years with the Cubs. The guy could be the 2007 version of Santo out there though, for all I care, with all the goodwill he built up by collecting huge hit after huge hit. Statistically, Ramirez has turned himself into a consistent .300 hitter with about a .360 OBP and somewhere in the neighborhood of a .560 slugging percentage. In 2007, he was even better than that with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, posting a .300/.455/.567 line (1.021 OPS, if you can't add). I remember talking with one of my friends in early September about the very real possibility that the Cubs would not have a single hitter with 100 RBIs or more after having only one such hitter in each of the last two years (Aramis in 2006, Lee in 2005). Aramis shut me up by blasting 8 home runs in September and driving in 21 RBIs to put him at 101 for the season. He's simply become the guy you want at the plate with the game on the line, and if you don't recognize that, you're as stupid as Rozner. Plus, without Ramirez, we would have never heard Len's, "Oooooooh, BABY!" call. See if you can live with that. Grade A

THE HUNDLEY: We all knew about his hitting, but what really impressed me this year was his fielding. He made quite a few memorable plays that it seemed he would have booted in years past. Solid at the plate, but again had problems hustling, not to mention the NLDS vanishing act. Grade B

CHIP: Aramis always confounds me. He's probably our best all-around slugger on the team, yet I doubt many fans would say he's their favorite player on the team when asked. A-Ram Ram did everything he was supposed to this season. He hit for average, he hit for power, he drove in runs, and he played solid defense. Also anytime you can hit a walkoff homer and make Len Kasper's voice crack like a pre-pubescent Peter Brady, you're alright in my book. Grade A-

Mike Fontenot
G 86, AB 234, R 32, HR 3, RBI 29, SB 5, AVG .278

BAD KERMIT: Fontenot's 2007 season went something like this:
First half: "Hey, this little Muppet can hit!"
Second half: "Hey, Mike Fontenot sucks!"
He doesn't suck, per se. He just sucks against lefties. Very, very, very badly. He's certainly a useful player who, if he wasn't absolutely terrible in the field, would be a nice platoon partner with Ryan Theriot. Unfortunately, you'd be better off putting Daryle Ward at shortstop than Fontenot. Still, Fontenot put together some nice at-bats against righties and provided the Cubs with a bit of a spark when he came up in May.
Grade D+

THE HUNDLEY: A breath of fresh air and a god-send when A-Ram went down. He excelled (overachieved) in his everyday PT, and then faded quite a bit down the stretch in his decreased role. Glove was very suspect at times. Grade C

CHIP: You know what, even it was just for a 28-game hot streak before the all star break, I was still happy that we got a little more out of the Sammy Sosa trade other than just Jerry god damn Hairston (although Kevin Hart may turn out to be the real gem of that deal). Good bat in the early going, not so good with the glove, but he did reunite with former LSU teammate Theriot to form The French Connection in the middle infield for a time. That has to count for something. Grade C-

Ryan Theriot
G 148, AB 537, R 80, HR 3, RBI 45, SB 28, AVG .266

BAD KERMIT: As much as I'd like to believe that the Cubs have their answer at shortstop in 2008, they don't. I'm sorry. I like Theriot. He plays good defense, he is one of the few players on the Cubs that has a clue what they're doing before they step into the batter's box, he led the team in steals with 28, he walks as much as he strikes out, and he prevented Ronny Cedeno and Cesar Izturis from taking the field. The only problem is that Theriot kind of sucks as an everyday player. The kiss of death for a Cubs player is if the girls in pink Cubs jerseys cheer for you more loudly than the guys with scorecards when you step to the plate. Call it "The Augie Ojeda Curse." Theriot had it. OPS is certainly not a perfect statistic, but it's a pretty good one, and Theriot had the 3rd-worst OPS of all qualifying shortstops in the National League in 2007. Of the 26 qualifying shortstops in the MLB, Theriot ranked 22nd, behind Juan Uribe. What's more, Theriot completely disappeared in September, putting up an absolutely embarrassing line of .202/.257/.263. The good news is that Theriot hits lefties as well as Fontenot hits righties, making for an absolutely perfect platoon situation. If the Cubs can upgrade only one position next year (see how I qualified that?), I think the smart money would be spent upgrading shortstop, platooning Theriot and Fontenot at 2nd base (ideally, you could get close to an .800 OPS out of that platoon), and putting DeRosa in the outfield. Grade C-

THE HUNDLEY: The resident Cub "grinder". Theriot performed admirably once he got some everyday PT. More than anyone else, he seemed to have the knack for getting the big hit or getting on base in the late innings. He faded down the stretch with the bat, but his glove and his footspeed were consistent and much needed. More than any other Cub, it will be interesting to see if he can adjust next year to the 162 game schedule. Grade C+

CHIP: Sorry. Next to Thunder Matt, Ryan The Riot is the one player I hate to crap on. I have to give him credit for a few things. One that he finally gave us stability at shortstop after the failed Cesar Izturis Project. Secondly, he filled in admirably in the leadoff role when Soriano was out, batting .300. I blame his decline late in the year to him just wearing down given that it was his first real full season in the majors. Hopefully he can come back strong in '08 as our starting shortstop or even as more of Mark DeRosa type utility player. Grade C

Ronny Cedeno
G 38, AB 74, R 6, HR 4, RBI 13, SB 2, AVG .203

BAD KERMIT: He's just a terrible, terrible baseball player, folks. He's so terrible, in fact, that Cesar Izturis was actually a better option off the bench than Cedeno. Since Izturis is gone, however, expect Cedeno to be back with the team next year unless the Cubs are able to upgrade the shortstop position and have Theriot play the part of backup shortstop. Grade F

THE HUNDLEY: Cedeno still has not shown anything in the last few years that lead me to believe he will ever be a factor in the MLB. Augie Ojeda you are not. Grade D

: At what point do we cut our losses with this guy? He's my pick to be the next guy shipped off to Pittsburgh or Baltimore, since those seem like our favorite dumping grounds of players we no longer like, want or need. I'd flunk him but I'm giving him a little credit for getting his AVG back above the Mendoza Line before the season ended. Grade D-

Cesar Izturis
G 65, AB 191, R 15, HR 3, RBI 8, SB 3, AVG .246

BAD KERMIT: Izturis was slightly less terrible than Cedeno, and he gave us the most hilarious celebration of all time, as he wiped Aramis Ramirez's ass for him after Aramis' walkoff homer against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. For that alone, I'll pass him (barely). Grade D-

THE HUNDLEY: Good riddance? For an ex-Gold Glover, he sure booted quite a few early when he was inexplicably our everyday shortstop. A punch-and-judy hitter at best, I'd take him as a defensive replacement, but definitely not a starter. Grade D+

CHIP: Totally worth ditching Greg Maddux for. Ugh. Only two positives I can make about Cesar this past season. 1) Cesar got traded. 2) I enjoyed giving away my Baseball Reference page sponsorship to WHYGAVS. Other than that, Cesar is dead to me. Grade F

Scott Moore
G 2, AB 5, R 0, HR 0, RBI 0, SB 0, AVG .000

BAD KERMIT: Was on the Cubs in 2007. When you're looking up at Rob Bowen's .065 batting average, something is wrong. Still, the guy only had 5 at-bats. I'm sure they're expecting huge things from him in 2008 at NSBB because, you know, they're a bunch of morons. Grade Incomplete

THE HUNDLEY: Who? Grade Incomplete

CHIP: I wonder if the NSBB morons know he plays for Baltimore now? Here's a fun fact: Scott was the 8th overall pick by Detroit in the 2002 draft. For the record, guys taken after Moore that round include Jeremy Hermida, Khalil Greene, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, James Loney, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Cain. Although he seems like a guy that will eventually come around and be good, and we'll look back and think, "Wait, we gave up this guy for Steve frickin' Trachsel?!" Grade D- (I'll give him credit for batting .255 for Baltimore after he got traded this season)