12:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
1. NEW YORK METS
2006: 97-65 (1st)
So Long: P Heath Bell, P Chad Bradford, OF Cliff Floyd, P Roberto Hernandez, OF Ricky Ledee, P Darren Oliver, P Steve Trachsel, 2B Chris Woodward, P Victor Zambrano
Welcome: P Jon Adkins, C Sandy Alomar, OF Moises Alou, SS Damion Easley, OF Ben Johnson, OF David Newhan, P Chan Ho Park, C Jose Reyes, P Scott Schoeneweis, P Aaron Sele, P Jorge Sosa
C - Paul Lo Duca
1B - Carlos Delgado
2B - Jose Valentin
SS - Jose Reyes
3B - David Wright
LF - Moises Alou
CF - Carlos Beltran
RF - Shawn Green
Starting Rotation - Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey
Setup - Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez
Closer - Billy Wagner
The Mets finished the 2006 regular season head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, but fell short of reaching the World Series. New York won 90+ games last year thanks in part to the hot bats of Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran, and the veteran pitching of Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Steve Trachsel and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
The Mets didn't lose anyone substantial to trade or free agency this offseason, and you could probably say that the mere purging of Ricky Ledee and Victor Zambrano from a roster immediately improves the team. Keeping with their extreme penchant for old guys, New York acquired Moises Alou, Aaron Sele, Sandy Alomar and Damion Easley, who are 40, 36, 40, and 37 years of age respectively. With the arrival of this latest group of baseball geriatrics, plans have been made to include a Bishop's Buffet to be built on to the clubhouse.
Of course the biggest hit to the roster is the loss of Pedro Martinez to rotator cuff surgery. Pedro's targeted return is sometime in July and without him the starting rotation is iffy. With Glavine and El Duque getting up their in years, and with Chan Ho Park and Aaron Sele offering little more than an occasional spot start and help in long relief, the pressure will be on youngsters John Maine, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey to step up and be the heart and soul of this rotation. Other than that, this team looks set to make another strong run for the NL title in '07.
Mr. Sexy Time: 3B David Wright - Anyone who watched the All-Star festivities last year couldn't help but walk away with an extreme mancrush on the guy. At the tender age of 24, Wright has emerged as the man to lead this offense for many years to come. In his first two full seasons in the majors, he has hit .308 with 53 home runs and 218 RBI. Expect big things from him again this year.
Seriously? This Guy?: 2B Jose Valentin - Really? This guy is your starting second baseman? Sure he played alright last year but let's keep in mind his .271 AVG was the first time he hit above .250 since 2001. The only thing Jose's good for is looking like General Zolo* in Romancing the Stone.
Break Out the Icy Hot: SP Orlando Hernandez - Last season El Duque threw 162 1/3 innings. That's the highest mark for him since 2000 when he threw 195 2/3 for the Yanks. They'll be lucky to get 160 out of him again this year.
FOR MORE READING
Yes Joe, It's Toasted
*I was all proud of my Zolo reference, until I did a Google search for a photo of him, only to find that this comparison has been made before on Dodger Blues. Dammit.
2. ATLANTA BRAVES
2006: 79-83 (3rd)
SO LONG: P Danys Baez, 2B Marcus Giles, 1B Adam LaRoche, C Todd Pratt, P Horacio Ramirez, P Chris Reitsma, P John Thomsen, OF Daryle Ward
WELCOME: P Mike Gonzalez, P Rafael Soriano, P Tanyon Sturtze, 1B Craig Wilson, 2B Chris Woodward
C - Brian McCann
1B - Scott Thorman/Craig Wilson
2B - Kelly Johnson
SS - Edgar Renteria
3B - Chipper Jones
LF - Ryan Langerhans
CF - Andruw Jones
RF - Jeff Francoeur
Starting Rotation - John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Mike Hampton, Chuck James, Kyle Davies
Setup - Rafael Soriano, Oscar Villarreal
Closer - Bob Wickman/Mike Gonzalez
For the first time in 16 years (read: Bobby Cox' tenure as manager), the Braves finished below .500. This team isn't that bad though, and with some exciting young hitters in Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur along with solid veterans Chipper Jones, Edgar Renteria, and Andruw Jones this offense is very capable of competing in the fierce NL East. The bullpen was beefed up this offseason with the acquisition of relievers Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, and the starting rotation will be happy to have Mike Hampton back after missing most of 2005 and all of 2006 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
While Philadelphia finished ahead of Atlanta last year, it appeared the Braves were on a downhill slide. However, you can't underestimate what Bobby Cox can do with this team. I don't foresee them making it two losing seasons in a row.
Mr. Sexy Time: OF Andruw Jones - The guy has been around for so long now that it's hard to believe that he's only turning 30 this April. Jones' numbers have been fairly consistent throughout his career and he's emerged as one of the premier sluggers in the National League. 2007 is a contract year for Andruw, and while he's expressed great interest in remaining a Brave, expect him to put on a show offensively and defensively as other teams keep an eye on this potential free agent.
We Thought You Were Dead: SP Mike Hampton - It just seems so long since Mike Hampton actually mattered. As the Braves ease him back into the rotation this spring, the 34 year old lefty is ready to make a comeback.
Break Out the Icy Hot: 3B Chipper Jones - Well he ain't gettin' any younger. Chipper has been hobbled with injuries the last few seasons that it's not becoming 'if' he gets injured but 'when'.
FOR MORE READING
It's Braves Time
Home of the Braves
3. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
2006: 85-77 (2nd)
SO LONG: OF Jeff Conine, OF David Dellucci, P Aaron Fultz, SS Jose Hernandez, C Mike Lieberthal, P Arthur Rhodes, P Rick White, P Randy Wolf
WELCOME: P Antonio Alfonseca, C Rod Barajas, P Adam Eaton, P Freddy Garcia, 3B Wes Helms, OF Jayson Werth
C - Rod Barajas
1B - Ryan Howard
2B - Chase Utley
SS - Jimmy Rollins
3B - Wes Helms
LF - Pat Burrell
CF - Aaron Rowand
RF - Shane Victorino/Jayson Werth
Starting Rotation - Brett Myers, Freddy Garcia, Jon Lieber, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Adam Eaton
Setup - Antonio Alfonseca, Ryan Madson
Closer - Tom Gordon
Philadelphia's season last year was up and down, and while it ended in disappointment as they narrowly missed the Wild Card, the team seems poised now to make another run in the East. Gone is Bobby Abreu, but with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell making up the core of a solid offense, his presence hasn't been missed too much.
Then there's the pitching staff with Brett Myers and recently signed Freddy Garcia as the two aces. Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer bring some veteran experience to the mix and youngster Cole Hamels will show the world his cannon of an arm this summer. I'm certain that if I was a Phillies fan instead, our blog would be dedicated to Hamels. Oh and Adam Eaton will be pitching batting practice to the opponents at Citizens Bank.
Oh, and last but not least, the 12 fingered marvel Antonio Alfonseca is back. El Pulpo lives!
Mr. Sexy Time: 1B Ryan Howard - What's MLB's marketing department doing? Howard could be one of their biggest superstars of the post-steroids era, yet if you ask the average person "Who is Ryan Howard?", they'd probably come up with this guy.
You Must've Been Something Before Electricity: SP Jamie Moyer - Just to give you an idea of how long Moyer has been pitching. According to his HR Log on Baseball Reference, the first four home runs he gave up in his career were to Juan Samuel, Mike Schmidt, Mookie Wilson, and Keith Hernandez. Yikes. If it weren't for the living fossil, Julio Franco, Moyer would be the oldest guy in the league this season.
You Sir are no David Bell: 3B Wes Helms - Sorry I had to go Lloyd Bentsen on you there. Cripes, where have you gone Scott Rolen? Who would've thought Philly fans would miss Bell's bat?
FOR MORE READING
The Good Phight
We Should Be GM's
4. FLORIDA MARLINS
2006: 78-84 (4th)
SO LONG: P Joe Borowski, 3B Wes Helms, P Matt Herges, P Brian Moehler
WELCOME: 3B Aaron Boone
C - Miguel Olivo
1B - Mike Jacobs
2B - Dan Uggla
SS - Hanley Ramirez
3B - Miguel Cabrera
LF - Josh Willingham
CF - Alfredo Amezaga
RF - Jeremy Hermida
Starting Rotation - Dontrelle Willis, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez
Setup - A bunch of guys you've never heard of
Closer - Taylor Tankersley
Florida had a payroll that wouldn't have even covered A-Rod's paycheck last season, yet with fiery new manager Joe Girardi (in what became a one night only performance), this rag tag team of scrappy youngsters showed some spark and impressed quite a few with their play. With Aaron Boone as their only major acquisition this offseason, Florida will be looking to its young squad once again. At the ripe old age of 29, Alfredo Amezaga is the oldest guy in that projected lineup.
With slugger Miguel Cabrera anchoring the offense, the fish will build upon the the solid seasons from Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, and Josh Willingham. Also outfielder Jeremy Hermida looks to bounce back after a disappointing injury-plagued 2006. The pitching staff is led by 25 year old ace Dontrelle Willis, who by the way was originally with the Cubs farm system. In fact there are four pitchers on the Marlins staff that used to be with Chicago including Sergio Mitre, Renyel Pinto, and Ricky Nolasco.
Mr. Sexy Time: SS Hanley Ramirez - Most know about the talent of Miguel Cabrera. But last year Hanley Ramirez was one of the hottest studs in the batting order. After a so-so first half last year, Hanley blew up after the All-Star break, batting .317 with 11 home runs. His 51 steals was 3rd best in the NL.
I Love the 90's: 3B Aaron Boone - With Brian Moehler gone, he'll have no one to reminisce with about playing in the bigs way back when.
Most These Guys Never Had a Prime: CF Alfredo Amezaga - Yikes, what happened to Reggie Abercrombie? Keep an eye on Alex Sanchez who was signed to a minor league deal. Sanchez will try and win the CF job and revive his career after falling off the face of the earth following a steroid suspension in 2005.
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5. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
2006: 71-91 (5th)
SO LONG: P Tony Armas, OF Marlon Byrd, OF Jose Guillen, P Ramon Ortiz, OF Alfonso Soriano, 2B Jose Vidro
WELCOME: 3B Tony Batista, 2B Ronnie Belliard, P Brandon Claussen, P Ray King, OF Chris Snelling, P Jerome Williams, 1B Dmitri Young
C - Brian Schneider
1B - Nick Johnson
2B - Felipe Lopez
SS - Cristian Guzman
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
LF - Ryan Church
CF - Nook Logan
RF - Austin Kearns
Starting Rotation - John Patterson, Beltran Perez, Billy Traber, Shawn Hill, Jerome Williams
Setup - Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala
Closer - Chad Cordero
Last time I looked, the "Misfits in the District" had the longest odds in Vegas to win it all this season. Who am I to argue? When you're willing to run with Cristian frickin' Guzman as your starting SS, 225-1 sounds about right. Hell the D-Rays are getting 200-1.
While the batting order is certainly capable of hitting decent (if they all stayed healthy, and with Austin Kearns in the lineup that's a big IF), the pitching staff is incredibly green. They make the Marlins rotation look like seasoned vets. Closer is Chad Cordero is golden though. If and when they actually get themselves in a save opportunity, they'll be in good hands.
I've got pretty high hopes for the Cubs this year, but in a worst-case scenario, I at least hope they finish better than the Nats.
Mr. Sexy Time: 3B Ryan Zimmerman - He basically wins this by default as Washington has the least sexy team in the majors. Zimmerman showed some pop at the plate last season as the Nats starting 3B, hitting 20 homers and knocking in 110 RBI.
Race to the DL: Nick Johnson & Austin Kearns - Who will be the one to hobble onto the DL first between these two oft-injured warriors? My money is on Kearns by late May.
Seriously? This Guy?: SS Cristian Guzman - OK, I can understand having him as a utility infielder on the bench, but how can Manny Acta consider him as the starter? Hell, having Ronnie Belliard at 2B and Felipe Lopez at SS would be a better option. I've also heard unconfirmed reports that Acta plans to bat Guzman second. Oh no! The Tracyball epidemic has spread!
FOR MORE READING
District of Baseball
The Curly W
7:34 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
12:57 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
Some would say it takes a great deal of
Yeah, yeah it's a value date. Frankly I don't care much about who they play any more, just that I get to see the Cubs in Wrigley. Also you can't beat ditching work for a 1:20 game in the middle of the week.
Hopefully this year will break my current losing streak. The last time I attended a Cubs game and watched them win was back in 2001 against the D-backs. Since then, they're 0-3 when I've been present at the game, and that's not including the Cubs-Cards game in 2003 that was called after 4 2/3 innings because of rain and was wiped from the books (the legendary Hurricane Buechele Game). Last year's loss was the most depressing as it was capped off by Neifi Perez's idiotic bunt with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth. Just a dismal game.
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
Posted in: Chaim Witz
10:17 PM | Comments (2) | by Governor X
With global warming crusader Al Gore filling the political rockstar void left since Bono got kind of lame, Americans are starting to pay attention to climate change. As a result, many are beginning to feel guilty about buying enormous, wasteful vehicles that are contributing to the problem (I didn't include myself in that, since I've felt guilty since I bought the god damned SUV).
Enter the marketing douchebags...in a desperate attempt to keep Americans buying these things, rather than investing in more fuel efficient engines, the auto makers - particularly the two remaining American auto makers on the verge of collapse (Chrysler is German now) - turn to these slick shysters in expensive suits to help pull the wool over everyone's eyes. A couple brainstorming sessions and a few million dollars later, the solution appears: Don't sell SUV's, sell crossovers.
The term "crossover SUV" isn't new. Its been used to describe a certain type of vehicle for years now: mainly the Mom cars no straight man would own like a RAV4 or CR-V. Herein lies the really annoying part. The marketers didn't come up with anything new! They just dropped the SUV part and applied it to such a broad range of vehicles that its rendered meaningless.
Is anyone out there really dumb enough to fall for this shitty ploy? If you are, please don't respond to me. Just go out in the garage, turn on your new crossover, leave the door closed, and just sit for awhile thinking about what you've done.
3:28 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
A Message from Mr. Tufts
A few weeks ago we received an email at TMS from Bob Tufts. It simply read,
"Thx. I liked being a filler - kind of like the Cubs existence in the majors..."I was completely dumbfounded by this message at first as I didn't have a clue who this was or what he was referring to. Eventually I figured it out. Checking back at my All-80's NL Center Field post, I found my answer in the Chili Davis writeup where I wrote,
"Chili's card is ruined by Bob Tufts choading it up on the right. At least Brenly managed a World Series champion. What did Tufts ever do besides be trade fodder for the Giants to acquire Atlee Hammaker?"Suddenly his comment made sense, thus marking the first time in TMS history a former major leaguer has written something about our site. My only response to his zinger I guess is, "Touche Bob, touche." I sense a Baseball-Reference page sponsorship in the future.
Bob seems like he's a pretty interesting guy too. I found this article about the leaks in the grand jury testimony in the BALCO case from two years ago, in which he posted a lengthy comment. Apparently he was blackballed from the league based on guilt by association during the Pittsburgh drug trials in the early 80's.
Thunder Matt on MySpace?
A while back I discovered that Matt Murton supposedly created his own MySpace page. Not only that, but he actually refers to himself as Thunder Matt. Even in his photos, there is one picture that was taken directly from our site. I also love that one of his 'friends' is Old Style. Seriously, the frickin' beer has a MySpace page. Good to see that inanimate objects aren't being left out of the MySpace revolution.
This marks the third supposed MySpace page of Murton. The first two being this one, and this one. This most recent one however seems to be the most active and the guy pretending to be Thunder Matt is making his presence known all over the MySpace realm.
I'd just like to state that Thunder Matt's Saloon nor any of it's bartenders are affiliated with this MySpace endeavor. Having said that, I do support his work in getting the Thunder Matt nickname further spread out there to the Cubs faithful.
The whole baseball player MySpace page is a bit weird in general though. I'd venture to guess that 99.9% of them are complete phonies. Like most of the ones I've seen the main photo is completely ripped off from the MLB.com player profile pages. Even if these guys actually had the time to spend creating and maintaining a MySpace page, wouldn't they have their own personal photos to add instead of the ones easily found on a Google search? Well, given his um, history, I guess I can't rule out Zambrano actually having a legit MySpace.
The Return Of Mr. Tony
Tomorrow morning marks the return of Tony Kornheiser to the radio airwaves. After taking a hiatus from his morning talk show to do the MNF gig, Tony is back on Washington Post Radio doing his show from 8:30 to 10:30am Eastern, followed by a repeat airing immediately after. I've already checked and the Post radio station does have a free online streaming broadcast. If you can't wait until tomorrow morning, perhaps this will tide you over.
In Other News....
Felix Pie and Alfonso Soriano are hitting it off so far at Spring Training camp as Alfie looks to be a mentor. Meanwhile a despondent Jacque Jones sits in the corner sharpening his knife collection.
The Cubs announced a deal where Under Armour will have their logos on the outfield walls at Wrigley. Well actually it'll just be on the doors in the outfield wall. My feelings? Eh. I don't see this as reason for some big public outcry. And to those that say all these ads are destroying the old nostalgic ballparks, well I guess you're right. I mean can you imagine if such legendary places like Ebbets Field had advertisements all over it's outfield wall? Oh, wait....
It looks like the Cubs and Zambrano are working hard to avoid arbitration and get a deal hashed out. Thank God. After an offseason where the Cubs were unloading dump trucks of cash on various free agents' lawns, it would be an absolute crime to not pay Z his money. I don't know if I could've handled seeing Carlos in a Yankees or even worse, a Red Sox uniform.
Norv Turner is the new head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Because when you can replace a coach that led your team to a 14-2 record, with a guy that has been wildly mediocre at best as a head coach with Washington and Oakland, you gotta make that move*.
*Apologies to Sports Guy for stealing one of his bits.
8:48 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
10:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
- Only two pitchers have surrendered multiple homers to Thunder Matt. Wandy Rodriguez and Aaron Harang.
- Some of the more notable pitchers in the Trophy Room include Brett Myers and Brad Lidge.
- Jamie Moyer gave up Murton's 20th career homer. When Moyer first debuted in the majors, Murton was 4 years old.
- Randy Johnson marks the first likely future Hall of Famer that Murton has hit a homer on (Well other than Brett Tomko, obviously...).
11:05 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X
Let me say at the start, it was very good. Be that as it may, anyone even mentioning it in the same breath as Goodfellas has a screw loose.
By now, everyone who cares knows its about the Boston mob and the fact that the cops have a rat in the mob and the mob has a rat in the cops. That plot runs its course in entertaining fashion over the length of the movie.
What stood out to me was the performances of Nicholson, Damon, and DiCaprio - Nicholson in particular. Damon plays the mob's rat and brings back that "Southie" accent from Good Will Hunting. It reminds us after a couple of those dreadful Bourne and Ocean's movies that he still can act.
Back when we all cheered at the end of Titanic because pansy ass Jack had just sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic with the boat, if you told me Leonardo DiCaprio would one day be a bad ass in a Scorsese mob movie, I would have laughed at you and punched you in the testicles for saying something so absurd. Shockingly, it turns out DiCaprio is a pretty good actor. Since that Titanic nonsense, he's turned out quite a few decent ones like this one, The Beach, and The Aviator (Blood Diamond is still on my to see list). He plays the cops' rat here and has to do some pretty messed up things to get "in" with Nicholson's crew.
Nicholson's performance was the best though and somehow he didn't get an Oscar nomination. For the first time in years, he doesn't play himself. Though the Boston accent comes and goes, he gets the aging, racist, cold hearted mob boss just right.
Where I dock points is Scorsese's style. He has developed a certain directorial style over the years that I really enjoy. In this movie, he seems to abandon that. Any decent director could have made this. Thats why I would say Goodfellas, and even Casino, are better.
One last note to Marty: Its time to give "Gimme Shelter" a rest. How many times have we heard this on one of your movie soundtracks?
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
Don't laugh at that picture. Seriously. If you do, Danny Bonduce will find you. What will ensue, more than likely, is the following:
Danny Bonduce may be the toughest of all the redheads. He gained fame as a child actor in The Partridge Family, playing the aptly named 'Danny Partridge'. He apparently would get confused when called by a different 'character' name, which led to lots of on-set awkward silence and more than one pants peeing. Given the fact that Danny looked nothing like any of the other members of the family it is widely assumed that he was the product of a tequila and ecstasy fueled tryst between Shirley Partridge and their manager, Reuben Kincaid. Anyway, the show was apparently about four Vietnam vets, framed for a crime they didn't commit, who helped the innocent while on the run from the military. Shit, actually that may have been The A-Team, but lets be honest...The Partridge Family would have been way cooler had that really been what it was about.
Despondent, Danny will box, but not other celebrities. He will literally just stand on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and challenge everyone that walks by to try to kick his ass for five bucks. Few will take him up on this offer and even fewer will succeed.
2:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
- McDonald's (The closest drive for me, thus usually the lazy default choice)
- Wendy's (Eh, nothing is that great about Wendy's but their drive-thru is extremely fast)
- Hardee's (Usually I have a death wish to go here. Never, have I eaten Hardee's then immediately said, "I'm glad I ate that.")
- Taco Bell (Nice change from the burgers, but their drive-thru is the exact opposite of Wendy's. It usually takes at least 15 minutes to get through, and that's when you're the only car)
- Subway (This franchise can go to hell. They offer nothing that you can't get a better version of somewhere else.)
- Quizno's (One just opened nearby. I give them 2 years before the idiots can make a sandwich at a normal speed)
Checkers(You know what, let's just forget I mentioned this as it really is not a legitimate option. Even I have standards)
Back to the subject at hand, I remove the pickles and just then I look at my burger and realized it looked kind of funny. Instead of the standard brownish-grey disc of bovine carcass I've grown to know and love, I instead see a golden breaded square. Yep, they slapped a fish filet on the bun and proceeded to top it with the standard kethcup, mustard, pickles, and onions that a quarter-pounder would receive. Now I understand accidents happen and if I got a straight up Filet-O-Fish sandwich in a quarter-pounder box I would be upset but would deal with it. But this is just weird. Obviously the person putting the toppings on had to notice it was fish and not a burger. So there can only be two obvious scenarios here.
- The McDonalds staff likes playing the occasional joke and flip-flop their sandwiches around.
- The retard making my sandwich obviously can't look at the pretty picture diagram of how sandwiches are put together and properly decipher the difference between a burger and a deep-fried piece of pollock.
Oh well. Now if you excuse me I have a fish-burger to eat.