A Tale of Two Beards

11:52 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz


On July 6th, I face a quandary. My wife wants to see one of her favorite bearded bands, The Black Crowes, who are playing for free at the Taste of Chicago. That same night my favorite bearded comedian, Zach Galifianakis, is playing at the Vic Theatre, for a meager $20 fee. Keeping in mind that we have never seen either act live before and that money is not an issue, as I have loads and loads of it, who do we go see? My argument to the wife is twofold:

1) The Black Crowes 'ain't the same' since Chris Robinson's (aka, Jesus of Nazareth) muse left him for Owen Wilson.

2) The Taste of Chicago is populated by sweaty, obese tourists. The Vic Theatre on the other hand will be populated by people much hipper than us, and we may learn something from them.

Here are samples of each artist's respective works. Decisions, decisions.
Zach #1

Who is Morris Almond?

10:31 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Apparently the newest member of the Utah Jazz. Should I be happy? Hell if I know. Those fickle old white men at the Salt Lake Tribune are divided, but it sounds like the kid was highly rated. Since I'd rather watch grass grow than college basketball, I have no idea. We'll see what the 2007-2008 season brings. I'm just going to say now, its going to bring an NBA championship to Salt Lake.

The Drought is Over

8:25 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Congrats to Adam Haluska, who became the first Iowa Hawkeye to be selected in the NBA Draft since J.R. Koch in 1999. Adam was taken in the second round by the New Orleans Hornets.

I'll need to go back and revise the stats in my Steve Alford War Criminal.

NBA draft picks in the Tom Davis Era: 12

NBA draft picks in the Steve Alford Era: 1

Nice job Steve! Oh wait, he wasn't even one of your recruits.

Joakim Noah Hates MJ

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

So the Bulls drafted this guy. A lifelong Knicks fan who admits, "I hate Michael Jordan", and whose jump shot resembles Dennis Rodman's. I suppose he brings the requisite hustle, passion, scrappiness and other intangibles that "don't show up on the statsheet". But why, oh why do the Bulls continue to draft players from college teams that I abhor? (Florida, Duke, Kansas, etc) I guess I'm OK with it as long as he turns out to be a poor man's Ben Wallace, aka Tyson Chandler, who we just traded last year precisely because he shared all of Noah's weaknesses. Better than that Spencer Hawes guy I guess. An average white center (he's a great passer!) with little upside excites me about as much as Kirstie Alley in a bikini.

The 'Ha Ha Look at You' goes to the Boston Celtics, who traded their pick and couple of players for Ray Allen. 32 year old Ray Allen? Danny Ainge is the new Jerry Krause. GM Cancer. I wonder what Bill Simmons' dad said about that one?*

*I'm sure you can just go to Page 2 if you really want to find out.

You Make the Call

11:55 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Paul McCartney..............or............Paul McCartney

A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

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

Live Free or Die Hard: Or Die Hard 4.0 for our European readers. John McClane is back and balder than ever. Having not seen the first three for a solid decade, when fellow bartender Brant Brown had the VHS trilogy playing on loop in our dorm room, it would be unfair for me to try to compare this latest entry to my vague but positive memories of the other three.

But as a stand alone action flick this is summer escapist fare at it's finest. Shakespeare it's not. I have minor qualms, namely a rather weak lead villain (compensated for by his bad-ass Kung Fu girlfriend) and one scene in particular where it is painfully obvious that the dialogue has been altered in the editing room to pare it down to a teen-friendly PG-13 rating. Though to be fair, the PG-13 doesn't really affect the amount of violence, blood and ass kicking. It just means substituting lots of 'shits' for 'fucks'.

But on to the good stuff. John McClane is back in full force. Lots of the cheesy one-liners that we've come to love, and surprisingly good chemistry with the "I'm a Mac" guy, Justin Long, who proves to be less annoying than one might fear. They have some genuinely funny exchanges. On screen chemistry between a dweeb and a tough guy hasn't been on display with such force since the infamous Rob Schneider/Sly Stallone pairing in Judge Dredd.

Some of the big stunts require a suspension of disbelief, but they are so cool that you won't care. There is a refreshing lack of excessive CGI, and the action comes so fast and furious that plot holes be damned. There is no time nor any use in over analyzing this. It's like a thick juicy burger and a side of steak fries. It's not particularly good for you, but goddamn if it doesn't taste good.

John McClane shows Spidey and Jack Sparrow how to stage a real 'summer event' movie. Buy yourself big-ass popcorn, the largest soda money can buy, and hell, splurge for some Junior Mints. Enjoy the air conditioning.

Yippee kay yay Motherfucker.
Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Thunderbolts out of 5

Evan Almighty: This is strictly kids stuff. A 90-minute Sunday School lesson disguised as a comedy, Evan really shares nothing in common with it's purely average predecessor, Bruce, save for Morgan Freeman in a white robe. This one comes equipped with Bible verses, montages of Steve Carell hitting his thumb with a hammer, and lots of birds shitting on people. If that is up your alley, far be it from me from stopping you from seeing this. It remains watchable due to some good lines courtesy of 'sassy black woman of the moment', Wanda Sykes and a few good deadpan Steve Carell moments. Overall you're better served just watching reruns of The Office. Or even Bruce Almighty for that matter.
Thunder Matt Rating: 2 Thunderbolts out of 5

Ratatouille: You know, in general I tend to stay a safe distance away from the kiddie animated genre (insert inappropriate pedophilia joke here). Full disclosure, I've never even seen Shrek. I figure there's plenty of time for that stuff once I start adopting kids from Africa. So I was none to pleased to have to sit through the latest Pixar flick, Ratatouille. Color me pleasantly surprised.

The animation itself is 'knock your dick in the dirt' good and the story is at the very least original, especially given the target audience (Gourmet food? Paris? Voiced by Patton Oswalt?). Perhaps it's because I'm a foodie myself, but I found this to be charming. Almost made me want to reproduce. Almost, but not quite.
Thunder Matt Rating: 3.5 Thunderbolts out of 5

Chicago Cubs Legends in Review

8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

Being 30 years of age, my first coherent memories of the Chicago Cubs came in 1984. While I didn't fully appreciate the team's history at the time, or understand how their playoff run that year was botched by a "Bull" and a goat, I understood the excitement I was viewing through my parent's console television. From that year on, many a summer afternoon were spent watching the Cubs, listening to Harry Caray and Steve Stone, and cheering on my favorite player, Ryne Sandberg. I've often wondered if there would ever be a day when I could watch Andre Dawson standing at the plate again, or hear another lovable rant by Harry. How fitting then, for fans of my age to now have at their disposal a Cubs DVD set that encapsulates all of the best memories we have shared with this team over the last 23 years.

A&E has used their time machine to pull together eight of the defining Cubs games since 1984. While there haven't been many seasons to celebrate over the last 20 years (much less the last century), the eight full games in this package provide flashbacks to the moments that mattered most. Mark Grace's Game 1 performance against the Giants in the NL Championship of 1989 is one that many of us remember fondly. The "Sandberg Game" and Rick Sutcliffe's Game 1 dominance against the Padres give us a glimpse of the thrilling team assembled on the north side in 1984. The coaches and players that time forgot over the years are there in all their moustached and skin-tight uniformed glory. Infamous Cubs of yore such as Steve "Rainbow" Trout and Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams are on display, right beside Greg Maddux's milestone 300th career victory.

The extras featured on the last DVD may be the true gems of the set. These brief nuggets in time would be nearly impossible for the common fan to ever find, even in the age of YouTube. Harry Caray's Hall of Fame induction speech and the last three postseason clinchers are treasures that never get old. But perhaps the real prizes are the highlight clips of Billy Williams and Ron Santo. These two Cub legends, along with Ernie Banks, are figures that those of our generation never had the privilege to see play in person. Diving stops by Santo at third base and mammoth home runs onto Waveland Avenue are set to the tune of Jack Brickhouse and his famous "Hey Hey!". Taken together, this DVD package is something any true blue Cub fan would adore. Kudos to the folks at A&E for giving us the opportunity to view these nostalgic games and highlights.

We have included a link to the DVD set at the bottom of this post, as well as in our left sidebar if you would like to check it out for yourself. In the coming weeks, I will be providing a detailed, lighthearted account of each game, as well as the bonus features. We hope you enjoy.

Poor Man's War Hero: The Bud Light Fan Cam

9:07 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Who doesn't love this thing? The Bud Light Fan Cam, a brief montage of various "fans" in the crowd at the Cubs game, while some incredibly cheesy bad pop song plays in the background (imagine any Rob Thomas song and you get the gist). The thing is, it's not so much a montage of various fans as it is a short tribute to all the incredibly hot chicks that are hanging out at Wrigley. Oh sure they throw in the occasional cute kid or old person to not make the whole thing completely obvious, but someone producing the Cubs broadcasts is certainly doing Joe Cornejo proud. Even if the game is complete garbage, the Fan Cam brings me joy.

We salute you, Bud Light Fan Cam producer! And since I couldn't find a decent photo of a hot Cubs fan, in my haste I bring you yet another Alyssa Milano pic.

Jones NOT Going to Florida

7:19 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Before we could even post about the deal, it appears a trade that would've sent Jock Jones to the Marlins has hit a snag and has all but died on the table.

While it's speculated the so-called "unspecified snag" was money-related, a TMS insider tells us that the Marlins balked at the deal once they discovered that Jock really isn't very good.

Well I think the writing on the wall is pretty big at this point. Jones will probably be gone within the month. Let's hope Hendry gets something for him and doesn't get duped into taking another catcher and a Dunkin Donuts gift card.

You Make the Call

8:17 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's a bonus TWO for TUESDAY!

Scott Eyre............or............Scott Eyre



Bob Howry............or............Bob Howry



I will say this. You want to know what the big difference is between this year's Cubs and the '06 team? Last year's team would never have made a comeback after 'ol train wreck and tackle dummy blew a 5-run lead. That and Mike Fontenot is a god.

On the Move

8:07 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Good news for Dodger fans: Doctors were finally able to dislodge Grady Little's head from his ass. Nomar is moving back to 3rd, replacing the hapless Wilson Betemit and clearing the way for wunderkind James Loney at 1st.

How did each player respond?

Loney came up as a ph & tripled home two runs (the Nomar move takes effect later this week).

Betemit came up as a ph & hit a homer raising his batting average to .198.

Nomar went 0-5.

The Free James Loney movement is hereby declared a rousing success. Now I can redouble my efforts to get Hong Chih-Kuo deported.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, LA beat Arizona which was no surprise with Big Brad Penny on the mound. The Dodgers are 14-2 against Arizona when he starts. The Dodgers' offense got kick started tonight when Brad Penny, smarting from being hit by a pitch, slid hard into Orlando Hudson at 2nd. Good times...

2007 TMS Fantasy Football Player Rankings

5:35 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Due to the popularity of the fantasy baseball rankings, I've decided to unleash my football edition. This will be a work in progress, so bookmark it and check back every now and then, because I intend to update it at least every two weeks until the end of August.

A couple notes:
  • I realize there are 1,001 different scoring systems for fantasy football. Obviously you can make a set of rankings that caters to all of them. Consider these to apply to your basic Yahoo default scoring.
  • I don't have an overall ranking list, and I do not plan on publishing one any time soon. This is something I said for baseball but eventually caved and provided a top 150. I can assure you there definitely won't be an overall list for football
  • For you folks that like to play IDP (Individual Defensive Players) instead of Team Defense, have no fear. I plan on having IDP rankings available at some point. UPDATE: They're now up. Check them out after the Team Defense list.
  • Feel free to post comments, giving your own thoughts. Don't be a dick though, and don't just post some crap like "Roethlisberger is waaaay too low and Vince Young is waaaay too high", without actually giving your input or reasoning as to why you think so.
UPDATED: 8/17/07

QUARTERBACK

1. Peyton Manning, IND
2. Carson Palmer, CIN
3. Drew Brees, NO
4. Tom Brady, NE
5. Marc Bulger, STL
6. Donovan McNabb, PHI
7. Jon Kitna, DET
8. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
9. Tony Romo, DAL
10. Vince Young, TEN
11. Eli Manning, NYG
12. Philip Rivers, SD
13. Matt Leinart, ARI
14. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
15. Brett Favre, GB
16. Jay Cutler, DEN
17. Alex Smith, SF
18. J.P. Losman, BUF
19. Jake Delhomme, CAR
20. Steve McNair, BAL
21.
Chad Pennington, NYJ
22.
Matt Schaub, HOU
23.
Jason Campbell, WAS
24.
Rex Grossman, CHI
25.
Trent Green, MIA
26.
Jeff Garcia, TB
27.
Byron Leftwich, JAC
28.
Joey Harrington, ATL
29.
Tarvaris Jackson, MIN
30.
Brodie Croyle, KC

Just off the radar: JaMarcus Russell OAK, Damon Huard KC, Charlie Frye CLE, Michael Vick ATL, Brady Quinn CLE, Josh McCown OAK, Daunte Culpepper OAK


RUNNING BACK

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
2. Steven Jackson, STL
3. Larry Johnson, KC
4. Frank Gore, SF
5. Shaun Alexander, SEA
6. Joseph Addai, IND
7. Brian Westbrook, PHI
8. Willie Parker, PIT
9. Rudi Johnson, CIN
10. Laurence Maroney, NE
11. Travis Henry, DEN
12. Reggie Bush, NO
13. Willis McGahee, BAL
14. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
15. Ronnie Brown, MIA
16. Edgerrin James, ARI
17. Clinton Portis, WAS
18. Cedric Benson, CHI
19. Thomas Jones, NYJ
20. Deuce McAllister, NO
21.
Brandon Jacobs, NYG
22.
Marshawn Lynch, BUF
23.
Marion Barber, DAL
24.
Carnell Williams, TB
25.
Ahman Green, HOU
26.
Adrian Peterson, MIN
27.
Jamal Lewis, CLE
28.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR
29.
Julius Jones, DAL
30.
Jerious Norwood, ATL
31.
Fred Taylor, JAC
32.
LaMont Jordan, OAK
33.
Chester Taylor, MIN
34.
Ladell Betts, WAS
35.
Warrick Dunn, ATL
36.
Kevin Jones, DET
37.
Brandon Jackson, GB
38.
Tatum Bell, DET
39.
DeShaun Foster, CAR
40.
Vernand Morency, GB
41.
Chris Brown, TEN
42.
LenDale White, TEN
43.
Reuben Droughns, NYG
44.
Mike Bell, DEN
45.
Michael Turner, SD
46.
Leon Washington, NYJ
47.
Anthony Thomas, BUF
48.
Dominic Rhodes, OAK
49.
Chris Henry, TEN
50.
Adrian Peterson, CHI

Just off the radar: Correll Buckhalter PHI, Ron Dayne HOU, Michael Pittman TB, Michael Bennett KC, Lorenzo Booker MIA, DeDe Dorsey IND, Noah Herron GB, Najeh Davenport PIT, Sammy Morris NE, Kevin Faulk NE, Musa Smith BAL, Maurice Morris SEA, T.J. Duckett DET, Tony Hunt PHI, Brian Leonard STL


WIDE RECEIVER

1. Steve Smith, CAR
2. Chad Johnson, CIN
3. Marvin Harrison, IND
4. Torry Holt, STL
5. Terrell Owens, DAL
6. Reggie Wayne, IND
7. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
8. Roy Williams, DET
9. Javon Walker, DEN
10. Lee Evans, BUF
11. Donald Driver, GB
12. Marques Colston, NO
13. Anquan Boldin, ARI
14. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN
15. Andre Johnson, HOU
16. Randy Moss, NE
17. Plaxico Burress, NYG
18. Hines Ward, PIT
19. Laveranues Coles, NYJ
20. Santana Moss, WAS
21.
Reggie Brown, PHI
22.
Joey Galloway, TB
23.
Braylon Edwards, CLE
24.
Darrell Jackson, SF
25.
Deion Branch, SEA
26.
Chris Chambers, MIA
27.
Mark Clayton, BAL
28.
Terry Glenn, DAL
29.
Calvin Johnson, DET
30.
Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
31.
Bernard Berrian, CHI
32.
Vincent Jackson, SD
33.
Donte Stallworth, NE
34.
Greg Jennings, GB
35.
Santonio Holmes, PIT
36.
Isaac Bruce, STL
37.
Kevin Curtis, PHI
38.
D.J. Hackett, SEA
39.
Jerry Porter, OAK
40.
Muhsin Muhammad, CHI
41.
Eddie Kennison, KC
42.
Devery Henderson, NO
43.
Joe Horn, ATL
44.
Brandon Marshall, DEN
45.
Matt Jones, JAC
46.
Drew Bennett, STL
47.
Derrick Mason, BAL
48.
Ronald Curry, OAK
49.
Brandon Jones, TEN
50.
Mike Furrey, DET

Just off the radar: Reggie Williams JAC, Michael Jenkins ATL, Dwayne Bowe KC, Marty Booker MIA, Amani Toomer NYG, Dwayne Jarrett CAR, Anthony Gonzalez IND, Troy Williamson MIN, Robert Meachem NO, Wes Welker NE, Drew Carter CAR, Rod Smith DEN, Joe Jurevicius CLE, Sidney Rice MIN, Samie Parker KC, Craig Davis SD


TIGHT END

1. Antonio Gates, SD
2. Tony Gonzalez, KC
3. Jeremy Shockey, NYG
4. Todd Heap, BAL
5. Alge Crumpler, ATL
6. Kellen Winslow, CLE
7. Chris Cooley, WAS
8. Vernon Davis, SF
9. Benjamin Watson, NE
10. L.J. Smith, PHI
11. Jason Witten, DAL
12. Heath Miller, PIT
13. Dallas Clark, IND
14. Randy McMichael, STL
15. Owen Daniels, HOU
16. Tony Scheffler, DEN
17. Ben Troupe, TEN
18. Desmond Clark, CHI
19. Daniel Graham, DEN
20. Greg Olson, CHI

Just off the radar: Marcus Pollard SEA, David Martin MIA, Zach Miller OAK, Eric Johnson NO, Bo Scaife TEN, Chris Baker NYJ

KICKER

1. Adam Vinatieri, IND
2. Jeff Wilkins, STL
3. Nate Kaeding, SD
4. Shayne Graham, CIN
5. Robbie Gould, CHI
6. Neil Rackers, ARI
7. Jason Elam, DEN
8. Matt Stover, BAL
9. Josh Brown, SEA
10. Stephen Gostkowski, NE
11. David Akers, PHI
12. Josh Scobee, JAC
13. Olindo Mare, NO
14. Jason Hanson, DET
15. Joe Nedney, SF
16. John Kasay, CAR
17. Jeff Reed, PIT
18. Mike Nugent, NYJ
19. Rian Lindell, BUF
20. Jay Feely, MIA

Just off the radar: Rob Bironas TEN, Ryan Longwell MIN, Lawrence Tynes NYG, Martin Gramatica TB, Sebastian Janikowski OAK

TEAM DEFENSE

1. Chicago Bears
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Diego Chargers
4. New England Patriots
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
7. Philadelphia Eagles
8. Miami Dolphins
9. Denver Broncos
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. Carolina Panthers
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Green Bay Packers
14. Seattle Seahawks
15. Oakland Raiders
16. San Francisco 49ers
17. New York Giants
18. Buffalo Bills
19. New York Jets
20. Cincinnati Bengals
21. Indianapolis Colts
22. New Orleans Saints
23. Kansas City Chiefs
24. Atlanta Falcons
25. Arizona Cardinals
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27. St. Louis Rams
28. Tennessee Titans
29. Cleveland Browns
30. Washington Redskins
31. Detroit Lions
32. Houston Texans

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

1. Jason Taylor, MIA
2. Julius Peppers, CAR
3. Aaron Schobel, BUF
4. Aaron Kampman, GB
5. Terrell Suggs, BAL
6. Will Smith, NO
7. Robert Mathis, IND
8. Osi Umenyiora, NYG
9. Leonard Little, STL
10. Derrick Burgess, OAK
11. John Abraham, ATL
12. Charles Grant, NO
13. Tamba Hali, KC
14. Justin Smith, CIN
15. Trent Cole, PHI
16. Patrick Kerney, SEA
17. Jared Allen, KC
18. Dwight Freeney, IND
19. Mark Anderson, CHI
20. Mario Williams, HOU
21.
Kyle Vanden Bosch, TEN
22.
James Hall, STL
23.
Bertrand Berry, ARI
24.
Trevor Pryce, BAL
25.
Michael Strahan, NYG

Just off the radar: Ty Warren NE, Chike Okeafor ARI, Kevin Williams MIN, Adewale Ogunleye CHI, Bryan Thomas NYJ

LINEBACKER

1. Keith Bulluck, TEN
2. Brian Urlacher, CHI
3. DeMeco Ryans, HOU
4. London Fletcher, WAS
5. Zach Thomas, MIA
6. Ray Lewis, BAL
7. Will Witherspoon, STL
8. Antonio Pierce, NYG
9. A.J. Hawk, GB
10. Mike Peterson, JAC
11. Donnie Edwards, KC
12. Lofa Tatupu, SEA
13. Kirk Morrison, OAK
14. Shawne Merriman, SD
15. Keith Brooking, ATL
16. Lance Briggs, CHI
17. Bart Scott, BAL
18. Gary Brackett, IND
19. Derrick Brooks, TB
20. Adalius Thomas, NE
21.
James Farrior, PIT
22.
Jonathan Vilma, NYJ
23.
Nick Barnett, GB
24.
DeMarcus Ware, DAL
25.
Julian Peterson, SEA
26.
Ernie Sims, DET
27.
E.J. Henderson, MIN
28.
Karlos Dansby, ARI
29.
D.J. Williams, DEN
30.
Andra Davis, CLE

Just off the radar: Gerald Hayes ARI, Paul Posluszny BUF, Patrick Willis SF, Jeremiah Trotter PHI, Cato June TB, Shaun Phillips SD, Kamerion Wimbley CLE, Marcus Washington WAS, Mike Vrabel NE, Angelo Crowell BUF

DEFENSIVE BACK

1. Adrian Wilson, ARI
2. Kerry Rhodes, NYJ
3. Chris Hope, TEN
4. Ronde Barber, TB
5. Gibril Wilson, NYG
6. Troy Polamalu, PIT
7. Sean Jones, CLE
8. Brian Dawkins, PHI
9. Roy Williams, DAL
10. Champ Bailey, DEN
11. Charles Tillman, CHI
12. Antoine Winfield, MIN
13. Sean Taylor, WAS
14. Bob Sanders, IND
15. Madieu Williams, CIN
16. Ed Reed, BAL
17. Rashean Mathis, JAC
18. Michael Lewis, SF
19. Donte Whitner, BUF
20. Dawan Landry, BAL
21.
Dunta Robinson, HOU
22.
Nick Collins, GB
23.
Nate Clements, SF
24.
LaRon Landry, WAS
25.
Asante Samuel, NE
26.
Oshiomogho Atogwe, STL
27.
Antoine Bethea, IND
28.
Will Demps, NYG
29.
Ken Hamlin, DAL
30.
Dre Bly, Den

Just off the radar: Antrel Rolle ARI, Stuart Schweigert OAK, Jermaine Phillips TB, Kenoy Kennedy DET, Rodney Harrison NE, Nnamdi Asomugha OAK

Soriano Comes Alive and Remembering the Shooter

10:39 PM | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

We'll finally have to hand it to Alfonso Soriano after this weekend. He's starting to earn his millions. Three home runs and two excellent outfield assists helped immensely in securing a series sweep against the White Sox. Deserving just as much credit though, is the performance of the Cubs starting pitchers. The White Sox are in an incredible funk as they spiral down the AL Central rankings. These victories against poor performing teams are obviously the ones the Cubs need to be capitalizing on. With a little luck and a lack of mental mistakes, the Cubs will hope to carry this momentum into a Wrigley Field set with the just-swept Colorado Rockies. We at TMS are generally against the idea of interleague play, and are happy that it has concluded for the season. However, the Cubs performed surprisingly well against the AL, wrapping things up with a 8-4 record for the year.

On a sad note, MLB is mourning the loss of one of the game's greatest characters, "Shooter" Rod Beck. Beck enjoyed 13 years in Major League Baseball, including the 1998 and 1999 seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He was an integral part of the 1998 Wild Card team, saving 51 games for the boys on the north side. Wrigley lore has it that Beck could often be seen leaving the stadium after a day game and lumbering to a local pub for a post-game beverage or two. Much has also been made of his time with the Iowa Cubs in 2003, where he made himself accessible to fans in his trailer outside the stadium. Mullets and fu manchus will be held at half mast Monday in honor of Beck.

You Can Put It on the Board...YEEEEESSSS!

3:22 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Nothing like a sweep against the ole' crosstown rivals, who just happen to be the most pathetic bunch of losers in the majors, to get back on track. Sure, sweeping the light hitting White Sox is an accomplishment on par with finding out that you are HIV positive, but don't actually have AIDS yet ('heeeeyyyy, Magic!'), but I'll take it.
The White Sox are so bad that once we got the lead in each game, even if by only one run, I felt like we had shut the door on them. And being a Cubs fan, that feeling doesn't come around too often.

The best was in the series finale today. There was a 10 minute delay where the umps discussed that insane play on the basepaths that resulted in two Cubs being tagged out, but it was all negated because Juan 'I've More Than Likely Shanked People In My Home Country' Uribe interfered with Angel Pagan on the basepaths. So instead of man on second, two outs, we had the bases loaded, NO outs.

I continued to flip between Len and Bob on WGN, who clearly knew what was going on, and the White Sox bumbling idiots on Comcast, who were up in arms. Ken 'The Hawk' Harrelson (your War Criminal time will come you fucker) sounded like he was suffering a massive heart attack. "This is BS!" the crotchety old fuck yelled, over and over. "This is BS!" Him and Darrin Jackson (worst Cub ever?) could not understand what was going on. To them the play was 'cut and dry' as they said over and over. They could not possibly understand what the umps were discussing.

This delay was 10 minutes long. Clearly, one would assume that one of their producers would just TELL them about the interference so that they wouldn't sound like such uninformed jackasses. The classic is, they couldn't even tell there was interference after replaying the same play over and over...and over! "This is BS!" I was so pissed at Hawk that I screamed at the TV. "You stupid fuck, it was interference! I hope you get hit by the team bus you incontinent douchebag!'

Whatever. Hawk, your team is a bunch of white trash, light hitting, washed-up nobodies and has-beens. I revel in your frustrated silences. Now it's back to drawing less than 20,000 fans a game and getting your asses handed to you by the Omaha Royals. Or is it Kansas City?

I gone.

Bartender Banter: Optimism Waning

8:25 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Wait, did we just drop 2 of 3 to the Texas Rangers? A team that has allowed more runs than anyone in the majors other than Tampa Bay? A team whose staff "ace" is the 3-8, 6.69 ERA Vicente Padilla? Jebus. These are the series that we need to be winning if we're going to have any semblance of a chance. Now we're 8.5 games behind the Brewers (who've won 8 of their last 10 by the way), and are even a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals! They've resorted to starting Todd frickin' Wellemeyer and we're a game behind them?



Seriously, you're telling me we lost to that guy?

<===========================

(sigh of despondency)





My optimism is waning fast folks. I just feel like we've had the carrot dangled in front of our faces for an extra month is all. Unless we can pull a 2005 Astros run in the second half, which happens practically never, I'm not holding out much hope for this season.

But hey, the implosion on the Southside has been a real treat!

The Barrett Trade
Now that it's been a few days since the Michael Barrett for Rob Bowen and Kyle Tyler Kyler Burke trade, it seems the main consensus of fans aren't terribly upset Michael is gone, but wish that Hendry had gotten a little more for him. Eh, maybe, but I don't think we got entirely hosed on the deal by any means either. Barrett was an asset in the batters box, but a huge liability behind the plate and on the basepaths. Looking around the Cubs blogosphere, I'd say that Andy Dolan's article over at Desipio explains the whole thing best. A good read.

Also the next person that says "addition by subtraction" gets punched in the throat.

And lastly, let's not rag too hard about this Kyler Burke kid. He's only 19 and he's in his first full season of professional baseball. You need to wait at least a couple years and then if he hasn't made significant strides, then you can rag on him. I've got my calender circled the next time Peoria swings into town though, so I'll try to catch a game, and maybe catch a glimpse of possible Cub future stars.

The Ombudsman

12:18 AM | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

A number of individuals have sent e-mails to the TMS staff in recent weeks concerning the identity of the man referred to as Tommy Buzanis. Some have gone so far as to question whether or not Mr. Buzanis really exists, calling attention to inconsistencies in the Buzanis story (I refer you to the post entitled "A Tommy Buzanis Anecdote"). I cannot provide solid answers to this matter at this time. However, I intend to begin a fact-checking process next week on Mr. Buzanis, and hope to soon report my findings.

Another issue was raised by a reader involving the MediaMaster radio link on the right sidebar. We understand that some of you have encountered difficulty loading TMS because of the embedded media player. As you can see, we have deleted the player, but retained a link so that the songs may still be listened to in the media player of your choice, apart from the site. This should resolve the issue.

Due to the nature of inquiries such as these, I have decided to arrange a system by which the readers may contact me with questions and concerns regarding the content we display. I have been given permission to field these queries at a new e-mail address of my own, tmsombudsman@gmail.com. Please feel free to send me your questions and thoughts, and I will address them in future postings. More general comments and correspondence will still be checked daily by Chip Wesley at thundermatts@gmail.com.

As always, we appreciate the word of mouth endorsements by you kind readers to your friends, family, and anyone else who may be interested in what TMS has to offer. You play a crucial role in the future of Thunder Matt's Saloon. Next week, please look forward to another War Criminal, as well as the TMS Fantasy Football Rankings. For now, enjoy your weekend, the cross town rivalry, and a little Harry Caray.

Thunder Matt's Saloon Pronounces 2007 Cubs 'Likable'

2:19 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

After years of frustration, the Cubs have finally shaken the 'lovable losers' tag and have been upgraded by the bartenders here at TMS to simply 'likable'.

The same could not be said for teams of recent lore, of which one could argue, while certainly 'losers', were far from 'lovable'. The current squad, their fight scenes playing like outtakes from Walker Texas Ranger, has spunk, personality and a general likability not seen on the North Side since 1984, when Ryne Sandberg's bat did the talking and Leon Durham's nose did the snorting.

A hearty handshake and subtle head nod are in store for your 2007 Chicago Cubs. Likable in the same vein as butterfly kisses or ginger snap cookies baked fresh by your grandmother.

Boozin' With Buzanis

9:10 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Attention TMS Readers!

Do you have a question for the legendary Tommy Buzanis? Are you curious what everyone's favorite margarita-swilling, steak-eating, ass-slapping, walking sexual harassment case has to say about various hot button topics. Well here's your chance!

We're asking you to send us your questions and comments to Tommy for a new feature we like to call Boozin' With Buzanis. Tommy has happily obliged to answer any fan mail he receives, under one stipulation. Per his lawyer's request, Tommy cannot respond about either of the two paternity suits currently pending, nor will he discuss the night he was thrown out of the Harrah's in Joliet.

All messages can be sent to our site's email at thundermatts@gmail.com. Be sure to include Buzanis in the subject title.

Where's My Fork?

11:32 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Somewhere, Deep in the Heart of Texas, a Boombox Blares Triumphantly

10:41 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Congratulations on number 600 Samuel. While some Cubs fans choose to forget all of the good times and unintentional humor you brought to the North Side, I shall not be counted among the embittered. I fondly recall the corked bat, the broken English and the inability to lay off the two-strike breaking ball. And who can forget the goatee?

Your feigned ignorance at the steroid hearings was bliss. How about that year in the Home Run Derby where you put on that massive power display, causing Chris Berman to pleasure himself on-air? I think it was later discovered that you were using a fungo bat.

You were never my favorite Cub even in your heyday, but that is merely because I have always shied away from throwing my allegiance behind what society deems to be the 'most popular' (give me an oatmeal cookie over the overrated chocolate chip any day!). And also because Mickey Morandini was on some of those teams.

None-the-less, I salute you Sammy. One of these days you and Gracie will make a triumphant return to the Wrigley Field. If Americans can exonerate OJ, you're golden.

Cubs Get the Last Laugh on Padres

9:46 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

In what can only be assumed is a vindictive move, the Cubs have exacted revenge on the Padres by trading Michael Barrett to them for catcher Rob Bowen and a minor leaguer. Let's see how the Padres like it now with Barrett calling games to their pitchers and getting tagged out on the basepaths. Suckers!

A Tommy Buzanis Anecdote

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

So I'm laying in bed and my cell phone goes off. I glance at the clock. 1:07AM. What the? I look at my caller ID.

Luminated against the florescent backdrop are the letters T. Buzanis. The following exchange transpires:

Chaim: Tommy, you son of a bitch, it's three in the morning.
Tommy: Chaim listen to me. (Pause) I've been drinking.
C: Yeah, so?
T: I would like you to join me for a cocktail and some good conversation. I'm putting the finishing touches on a buxom blonde with a cross to burn.
C: Ok, first off, are you a character from a 1940's detective movie? Who talks like that? Secondly, where are you?
T: Rush Street. I'm not sure where. Some place that smells of cologne and desperation.
C: You've done nothing to narrow my choices. The Viagra Triangle. You would.
T: Tommy doesn't need Viagra. My boner is Au natural.
C: Disgusting.
T: I see you've been defiling my good name on that blog of yours. I've spoken to my lawyers and charges will be filed. I will ask the judge for full custody of the site, hereby changing it to Tommy Buzanis' Saloon and I will dedicate the site to boobs and steak.
C: To be fair Tommy, the site is pretty much dedicated to that now. Creative name change there too. Clearly you've been drinking and your comments should be taken with a grain of salt.
T: Margarita salt! (Pause) Bitch!
C: Tommy, I don't have time for this shit.
(Click)

War Hero: Dock Ellis

12:06 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

They just don't make 'em like Dock Ellis anymore and frankly, that's probably for the best. While assholes are not in short supply in modern Major League Baseball, few if any are clinging to their fragile sanity like Dock was.

Ellis got started young, refusing to play for a high school coach he claimed was racist. To be fair to Dock, it was the early 60s so there was a 50/50 chance the coach was a racist, but it was just the first of many perceived slights that threatened to send him to a rubber room. This guy didn't take shit, or imagined shit from anyone.

A few years later while in the minors, Dock hurled a bat into the stands in response to a racist heckler. We would only find out later the heckler was blind and was shouting anti-asian epithets, but who cares (OK, I may have made that up).

On 12 June, 1970, Dock pitched the greatest game of his career, no-hitting the San Diego Padres 2-0...while on acid. Ellis only revealed this after he retired, but he also added the awesome detail that the ball was talking to him that day, telling him which pitches to throw. With a revelation like that, I'm surprised more pitchers haven't opted to try hard drugs (Turk Wendell, I'm looking at you).

In 1971, Dock predicted he wouldn't be able to start the All-Star game against Vida Blue because baseball would never start "two soul brothers" in the same game. Baseball did.

Not to be kept down (or up in this case), Dock stepped it up and got into a scrape with a security guard in Cincinnati in 1972. The guard didn't believe this guy carrying a half empty bottle of wine was a ballplayer. Go figure. Dock flashed his world series ring, but the guard wouldn't budge. The incident was slated to go to court but later settled.

Ebony magazine ran a piece on ballplayers' hairstyles in August 1973, and Dock responded like any of us would have: he started wearing curlers on the field. The team didn't like it, so Dock fired back charging discrimination. He claimed it was a nefarious plot against him and him alone by the commissioner's office because they didn't crack down on Joe Pepitone's bad toupee as well. If the commissioner's office was as poorly run then as it is now, he may have been right.

By 1974, the constant oppression of Dock pushed him over the edge. Feeling his teammates were lacking heart and too easily intimidated, he decided to bean the Big Red Machine...the entire Big Red Machine. Before the game, Dock announced "We gonna get down. We gonna do the do. I'm going to hit these motherfuckers." He gave it the old college try, nailing Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen. Tony Perez managed to dodge his attempts and walked. The next two pitches went right for Johnny Bench's head and the Pirates manager finally pulled Dock from the game. Given the umpires hastiness to toss players for throwing at people, you have to wonder if the guy behind home was asleep. With the hatred of Joe Morgan burning in my belly, I must say in my opinion, this was the crowning achievement of Dock's career.

Dock bounced around for awhile after his Pirates glory days, finally retiring after the 1979 season. He finished up with 138 wins and a career ERA of 3.46 - not too shabby. Today, at the age of 62, Dock spends his free time fighting racial injustice, real and perceived, marveling at "the colors", and talking to that god damned baseball from the Padres' game that still won't shut up 37 years later.

What a long strange trip its been.

2007 All-Star Ballot Breakdown: National League

8:44 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Last week I broke down the American League All Star ballot. Today we'll focus our attention on the Senior Circuit. Looking at the latest voting tallies posted yesterday on MLB.com, I'd say that most of the starting jobs are locked up with the exception of first base and catcher. Are the top guys the most deserving? Let's break it down.

NATIONAL LEAGUE


Move over Albert, there's a new Prince in town!1B Yesterday's latest update made me happy. No way Pujols had warranted being the starting first baseman this season, and finally the voters agreed, putting Prince Fielder in the much-deserved top spot.

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. Prince Fielder, 2. Albert Pujols, 3. Nomar Garciaparra, 4. Derrek Lee, 5. Carlos Delgado

Who shouldn't be there?
Jesus, if there's one guy on here that's living off his performance in season's past, it's Nomar. One home run is good, if you're a backup second baseman, but not a starter at first. Meanwhile James Loney is stuck in the outfield, crashing into walls. Delgado is batting a paltry .229 right now but he's a Met. They could have Tim Bogar starting at first and he'd be in the top 5.

Who SHOULD be there?
Look, all hatred and bias aside, I do believe Pujols should be on the team, and if he doesn't win the starting job we know he definitely will be. But Prince Fielder has been outstanding at the plate so far this year. I'll refrain from displaying my Cub bias too much, but I do feel D-Lee deserves a spot on this team. It'll be interesting to see if LaRussa picks any Cubs at all to fill out his roster, and with Soriano looking like he'll be a starting outfielder, he won't have to. One guy that also deserves consideration is Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres, who was in a bit of a slump recently until he faced the Cubs. Also while he's not on the ballot, keep an eye on the Nationals' Dmitri Young, who could very well end up as their representative.


This is what a real 2B looks like kids.2B Here's a position where I blew nearly all my votes on The Riot as a write-in. This spot is pretty easy, as one guy has been head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, and he's gotten more than enough support from the voters to give him the starting job.

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. Chase Utley, 2. Jeff Kent, 3. Craig Biggio, 4. Rickie Weeks, 5. Jose Valentin

Who shouldn't be there?
Thank God Utley is on top, because the rest of that top 5 is a complete disaster. Kent and Biggio are both in the twilight of their careers and are playing as such. Weeks would be a decent selection if he could stay healthy, and actually hit. Jose Valentin should be happy that he's even on the ballot let alone in the top 5, or on a Major League starting roster for that matter.

Who SHOULD be there?
Well Utley obviously. But since I just trashed the other top four guys, who else? I don't know, maybe Brandon Phillips of Cincinnati. The Marlins' Dan Uggla is second among NL 2B with 40 RBI. Kelly Johnson of Atlanta and Orlando Hudson of Arizona have both had productive seasons thus far that should garner attention. Had he not spent so much time on the DL, I think a stronger case could have been made for Colorado's Kaz Matsui.


Miggy is a great slugger who apparently gets his dieting tips from David Wells.3B The NL hot corner is jammed pack with talent, so there's bound to be some guys getting the shaft here. A slew of injuries has weeded out some of the guys but this is still one of the more interesting positions to examine.

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. David Wright, 2. Miguel Cabrera, 3. Chipper Jones, 4. Aramis Ramirez, 5. Scott Rolen

Who shouldn't be there?
I really can't argue with the top 4. Aside from #1 and #2 needing to be switched around, they all deserve to be at the top. That brings us to our favorite Julia Stiles look-alike, Rolen. Scottie has battled injury this year and even when on the field has been far from his old self. I have a bad feeling that Rolen will somehow be one of LaRussa's homer picks, which is really too bad, because there are a bunch of third basemen that should be an All-Star over him.

Who SHOULD be there?
ESPN's favorite mancrush, David Wright should be there, but Miggy Cabrera deserves to be the starter. Cabrera currently leads all NL 3B in AVG, HR, and RBI. While they've both missed time with injuries, Chipper and A-Ram have both played well enough to possibly earn a spot. Looking beyond the top 5, there's Ryan Zimmerman, who could maybe eek in as the lone Washington Nationals rep.


A-Rod (mumbling): I used to play shortstop too!SS My one All-Star wish this season is that David Eckstein NOT be on this team. You wonder why the NL gets their asses handed to them each year, it's because of ridiculous roster picks like him. At this point I'd take Cristian frickin' Guzman over Eckstein. You hear me LaRussa? Don't do it!

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. Jose Reyes, 2. J.J. Hardy, 3. Rafael Furcal, 4. Jimmy Rollins, 5. Edgar Renteria

Who shouldn't be there?
As much as it pains me to watch Cesar Izturis starting at SS for the Cubs, I'm kind of glad we didn't blow a bunch of money on Furcal, who isn't coming close to earning his fat paycheck in LA. No way should he be an All-Star. Hopefully a back injury will keep Eckstein out of consideration.

Who SHOULD be there?
Reyes starting is fine by me, but LaRussa better damn well have a spot for Milwaukee's J.J. Hardy. Oh and Tony, if you're having trouble picking another shortstop other than David Eckstein, here are some more choices for you to consider: Jimmy Rollins, Edgar Renteria, Hanley Ramirez, Cristian Guzm- nope I can't do it. I can't honestly consider Guzman All-Star worthy and live with myself. I would suspect one or two guys here will wind up on the Final Vote ballot.


Russ Martin, the sexiest Canadian catcher alive.C Cripes, I think I may just write-in Jody Davis several times and hope for the best here. I am glad to see Russell Martin got some love and pushed ahead of Paul Lo Duca however.

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. Russell Martin, 2. Paul Lo Duca, 3. Brian McCann, 4. Johnny Estrada, 5. Bengie Molina

Who shouldn't be there?
Eh, I really have no beef with any of the top 5. Any of the four behind Martin would be a suitable backup....

Who SHOULD be there?
....but if I had to pick one to be a reserve it'd be Bengie Molina. San Francisco, being this year's host, needs to have some more representation other than Bonds, and Molina has been hitting well this season. Right now, he's second among NL catchers in AVG, and third in RBI.



Oh no, if you keep your hands and feet away from his mouth you should be fine.OF Well the NL OF pool certainly isn't shallow for All-Star talent. There are all sorts of guys to choose from that deserve to be there over a certain someone who's name rhymes with Schmarlos Schmeltran.

So currently, who are the top vote-getters?
1. Carlos Beltran, 2. Ken Griffey, 3. Alfonso Soriano, 4. Barry Bonds, 5. Andruw Jones, 6. Carlos Lee, 7. Matt Holliday, 8. Luis Gonzalez, 9. Juan Pierre, 10. Moises Alou, 11. Jeff Francoeur, 12. Geoff Jenkins, 13. Andre Ethier, 14. Bill Hall, 15. Jason Bay

Who shouldn't be there?
Alright I'm gonna post a series of statlines. You try to pick out which one currently belongs to our leading vote-getter.

A) .306, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 13 SB
B) .270, 19 HR, 46 RBI, 7 SB
C) .265, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 9 SB
D) .320, 10 HR 38 RBI, 4 SB
E) .290, 14 HR, 31 RBI, 4 SB

So how many of you guessed C? If you did, you'd be correct. Does that look like someone who should be a starting outfielder for the NL? Didn't think so. Oh and if you're curious, A is Eric Byrnes, B is Adam Dunn, D is Aaron Rowand, and E is Barry Bonds.

Also as much as I hate to say it, Alfonso Soriano is a pretty weak choice for a starter as well. Luis Gonzalez in 8th is a joke, but is still a better choice than fellow Dodgers Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier.

Who SHOULD be there?
Griffey is the only starter I don't have an issue with. If I had to pick two others to put along with him, it'd be Carlos Lee of the Astros and Matt Holliday of Colorado. Jason Bay's play is enough to lock up the token Pirate All-Star spot once again, although Xavier Nady could be worth arguing. While he doesn't have the monster batting average like his fellow teammate Holliday, fellow Rockie Brad Hawpe has provided just as much power at the plate. Aaron Rowand, Eric Byrnes and Geoff Jenkins are all lower profile guys that have played their asses off and should be considered. Adam Dunn deserves credit for maintaining that high of a batting average this late into the season. And lastly, Bonds should be on the team (quickly ducking to avoid various items being heaved at me).


Well there you have it. I may cover pitching later this week.