TMS NFL Predictions and Picks 2007

10:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

www.marriedtothesea.com

It's that time of year again. As the NFL season nears, we here at TMS bring you our official picks and predictions for 2007. In a Saloon first, I actually drew the participation of all the active bartenders. Now that I've seen everyone's picks, I probably could've just asked like, two of them to contribute since our picks are all about the same.

SEASON STANDINGS, STAFF PICKS (* denotes playoff contenders)

AFC EAST

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
NE*
NE*
NE*
NE*
NYJ*
NE*
NE*
2.
BUF*
BUF*
MIA
BUF
NE*
NYJ*
BUF
3.
NYJ
NYJ
NYJ
NYJ
BUF
BUF
NYJ
4.
MIA
MIA
BUF
MIA
MIA
MIA
MIA
We all pretty much agree that New England will dominate again.

AFC NORTH

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
PIT*
CIN*
CIN*
CIN*
PIT*
CIN*
BAL*
2.
BAL*
BAL*
PIT*
PIT*
CIN*
PIT
CIN*
3.
CIN
PIT
BAL
BAL
BAL
BAL
PIT
4.
CLE
CLE
CLE
CLE
CLE
CLE
CLE
Cincinnati seems to be the favorite here, but there are some dissenting opinions. I'm the only asshole to not have the Bengals make the playoffs.

AFC SOUTH

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
IND*
IND*
IND*
IND*
IND*
IND*
IND*
2.
TEN
TEN
JAC
JAC
JAC
TEN
JAC
3.
JAC
JAC
HOU
TEN
TEN
JAC
HOU
4.
HOU
HOU
TEN
HOU
HOU
HOU
TEN
Even for as much hatred some of us have for Peyton Manning, we still can't deny Indy's place at the top of the division.

AFC WEST

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
DEN*
SD*
SD*
SD*
SD*
SD*
SD*
2.
SD
DEN
DEN*
DEN*
DEN
DEN*
DEN*
3.
KC
KC
OAK
KC
KC
KC
KC
4.
OAK
OAK
KC
OAK
OAK
OAK
OAK
Apparently I hate the Bengals AND the Chargers.

NFC EAST

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
PHI*
DAL*
PHI*
PHI*
DAL*
PHI*
PHI*
2.
WAS*
PHI*
DAL*
WAS*
PHI
DAL*
DAL
3.
DAL
WAS
NYG
DAL
WAS
WAS
NYG
4.
NYG
NYG
WAS
NYG
NYG
NYG
WAS
I was glad to see I wasn't the only one to put the 'Skins in the playoffs. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Giants will suck.

NFC NORTH

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
CHI*
CHI*
CHI*
CHI*
CHI*
CHI*
CHI*
2.
GB
GB
DET
DET
DET
MIN
MIN
3.
DET
MIN
GB
GB
GB
DET
DET
4.
MIN
DET
MIN
MIN
MIN
GB
GB
Not only do we all have Chicago on top, none of us have faith that any of the other teams are even playoff-worthy.

NFC SOUTH

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
NO*
NO*
NO*
NO*
NO*
NO*
NO*
2.
ATL*
CAR*
ATL
ATL
CAR
CAR
CAR*
3.
CAR
TB
CAR
CAR
ATL
ATL
ATL
4.
TB
ATL
TB
TB
TB
TB
TB
Another straight sweep at the top here as we all like the Saints. I put Atlanta in because I like the Ewing Theory potential of them losing Vick.

NFC WEST

Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
1.
STL*
ARI*
SEA*
SEA*
SF*
SEA*
ARI*
2.
SEA
SEA
SF*
SF*
SEA*
STL*
SF*
3.
SF
STL
ARI
ARI
STL*
SF
SEA
4.
ARI
SF
STL
STL
ARI
ARI
STL
This was probably the most volatile division for picks. All four teams were picked to finish first by at least one of us. Although Chaim's pick is more related to his well-publicized mancrush on Kurt Warner.

SUPER BOWL XLII
Chip
Chaim
Brant
The Gov
RichDave
The Hund
DEN
over
NO
SD
over
NO
IND
over
NO
SD
over
SEA
NE
over
NO
CHI
over
NE
SD
over
CAR
I thought it was funny that 4 out of 7 picked the Saints to make it to the Super Bowl but none had them winning. Let's move on to some more predictions.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Chaim: Arizona Cardinals. They've been a trendy pick for a couple years running. This year they finally turn the corner.

Brant: Detroit

The Gov: Baltimore will surprise people by being horrendous. The offense is an over the hill joke. There is no way they can keep up with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Rich: Vernon Davis. This guy will easily be a top 5 TE. He'll be what Kellen Winslow would have been if he hadn't ended up such a headcase.

Dave: Despite the years of criticism and overall lack of supporting talent around him, I'd like to see Harrington do well in the wake of the Vick incident.

The Hundley: Since Matt Leinart is dreamy and a god, the Arizona offense will explode and Edge will bounce back. Also, Cedric Benson sucks and Adrian Peterson (Chi) becomes a poor man's Brian Westbrook.

Chip: Every year there are those teams that are receiving preseason buzz as the "dark horse" or the "sleeper". This year I've heard rumblings about the Bills and the 49ers, and of course the Cardinals are the perennial sleeper. Too bad they keep hitting the snooze button each season. But for all the preseason talk and hype there always seems to be a team that comes out of nowhere (How many people were high on the Saints last preseason?). So my pick is the Rams. They've got a veteran QB in Marc Bulger. They have one of the most prolific backs in Steven Jackson, and they still have a good receiving core with Holt, Bruce and now Drew Bennett. The defense is a little suspect but so what? So was Indy's last year. Mark it dude, Rams win the West.


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Chaim: New York Giants and Eli Manning. Tom Coughlin implodes halfway through the season and Eli Manning tries throwing left handed just to shake things up. He fails.

Brant: Kansas City

The Gov: Indianapolis will disappointment me in as much as they will continue to win. It's always disappointing when Indianapolis wins. The defense got weaker, but the inbred hick will keep them scoring points.

Rich: Houston Texans. You are expecting them to be bad. They'll be worse. Looking at the schedule I wouldn't pick them confidently over any one team. Who's their QB? Who's their RB? Their #1 WR? Exactly.

Dave: It's going to be a toss up between Baltimore and Jacksonville for the best Enron impersonation.

The Hundley: Brett Favre. It was a great ride, and he's the most exciting QB I've ever seen. But Father Time is an asshole, and Green Bay has no talent. He'll go down swinging to be sure, but go down nontheless.

Chip: The Chargers. I don't care who they have on their team, there is no way they'll be better than last year with Norv Turner at the helm. I give it a month before we start seeing the "What's Wrong With San Diego" articles.


ROOKIE TO WATCH

Chaim: Adrian Peterson will turn some heads and have the starting job before midseason.

Brant: Eli Manning?

The Gov: JaMarcus Russell. His absence from the Raiders will stand out most as the team flounders towards yet another 2-3 win season.

Rich: Calvin Johnson. The running game in Detroit is terrible, and Jon Kitna is coming off a 4,000 yard campaign. I expect him to be even better this year, just because he has no other choice but to throw the ball.

Dave: Calvin Johnson is going to be a monster.

The Hundley: Calvin Johnson. WR's seem to be better and faster in the NFL. I also like him being in a system that involves the mad genius that is Mike Martz. I'm also saying Chad Greenway because he never played last year.

Chip: Patrick Willis. The ILB from Ole Miss will be the Niners starting middle linebacker. Expect him to wreak havoc and become a focal point on their defense.


HOMER AWARD - No matter how lame it may be, which player do you shamelessly root for?

Chaim: Kurt Warner. For the first time, I am happy with the man who supplanted him. Knowing that Kurt has come to terms with it and is good friends with Leinart has helped me come to terms as well.

Brant: Korey Stringer?

The Gov: In spite of the fact he's retired, I will continue to shamelessly root for Jake the Snake.

Rich: Tom Brady. I don't even like the Patriots, but it's fun to see just how many rings this guy can win.

Dave: It's always fun to see a team kick to Devin Hester. Anything can happen.

The Hundley: Cardinals and Vikings. I say Arizona because I've been to only two games in my life, both in Arizona. I'm not a huge NFL fan, but the best season I can recall was the year Minnesota went 15-1 and just scored a ton of points. Defensive football sucks. Denny Green went to Iowa.

Chip: The Redskins. As a kid I loved them back when they had Art Monk, Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders, Darrell Green, Charles Mann, Mark Rypien, and such. My interest has waned during the Daniel Snyder Era but when Joe Gibbs returned I couldn't help but pull for them again. Plus they have Ladell Betts now. I cheer for all the Hawkeyes in the pros. Betts, Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark, Aaron Kampman. I really hope Chad Greenway has a good year. Not against the Bears though.


HOLLANDSWORTH AWARD - Which player or team do you absolutely hate, even if it may defy all logic and reason?

Chaim: I hate the Patriots because of two things. The fact that they beat my Warner-led Rams in the '02 Super Bowl and also because of Bill Belichick's sweatshirt.

Brant: Dallas

The Gov: I linked Peyton Manning to Al Qaeda last season. Need I go on? For the record, I also have a pathological hatred for Tony Homo and Sebastian Janikowski.

Rich: Barry Bonds

Dave: And that's the news. Go fuck yourself Green Bay.

The Hundley: I guess I shouldn't say this on a "Chicago" blog such as this, but I hate how the Bears think, operate, and draft, most notably the "Grossman Affair". Odd how he's my fantasy QB.

Chip: If The Gov can still root for Jake Plummer, I'm allowed to still passionately hate Jeff George right? I firmly believe Texas Stadium is a massive portal to hell. Also I hate all WR's that have later stepped into the announcers/analysts chair, who are not named Collinsworth.

Thunder Matt! (continued)

8:46 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan


With the outfield so crowded, you never really know when Thunder Matt is going to see playing time any more. You gotta savor these while you can. It always feels good to toss up another plaque in the old Trophy Room.

Thunder Matt!

10:47 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz




River Roots Live 2007

11:15 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Ah, the Quad Cities. An absolute hotbed for music!

Eh, not really. For the most part this bustling "metropolis", straddling the Mississippi that I call home, tends to be nothing more than a generic tour stop for your big corporate music acts, such as Kenny Chesney, Linkin Park, and the American Idol kids. Or we get the hottest groups on the county fair circuit like Poison and Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy ("We're coming! And we're shit-tay!").

That's not to say good music doesn't come around from time to time (Wilco kicked off their latest U.S. tour in Davenport, which I regrettably missed), and it certainly doesn't mean there isn't people and groups that are trying to build a scene here.

First off Rock Island is home to the kickass site Daytrotter, with enough music to make the most ardent indie music freak swoon. Then there is the River Music Experience, which started out as more of a museum of sorts, but has evolved into a means to promote music education in our area as well as work to build a strong live music scene.

One of the products of RME's work has been the River Roots Live music festival. It's a two day fest with a wide array of bands. I went last year, and had a great time. This was the third year for it and unfortunately they apparently had a smaller budget to work with as the main acts weren't as big as the year before (Last year Susan Tedeschi and the Black Crowes were the closing acts each night). That's not to say the quality of music wasn't as good. Not at all. There was still some great music to be heard. So how was it? Allow me to break it down and offer some grades.

Weather: After being rained on for about a week straight, the weather cooperated quite well. Saturday was awesome. Sunny, not real hot. A good day to be outside drinking beer and watching live bands. Grade: A-

Venue: The fest is held in LeClaire Park in downtown Davenport. The park is right on the Mississippi River which makes a nice backdrop for the concert as well as a fitting scene since part of the festival's proceeds support Living Land and Waters. With all the rain, the river was extremely high, about 2 feet from pouring into the park for that matter, which allowed several boats to anchor alongside the park and enjoy the music. No sign of Buzanis' boat, the Orifice Perpetrator however.

They have two stages, in which the performances alternated with no overlapping, which was cool since you never had to worry about missing anything, and with little to no downtime between acts, the music was pretty much non-stop. Grade: A

Food and Beverage: The beer was pretty standard. Cans of Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. But they also had beer on tap from Bent River Brewery, a great local brewpub in Moline. I had quite a few cups of their pale ale which was excellent. They also had their Mississippi Blonde which is quite good as well as their Uncommon Stout.

Food was a vast improvement over last year. Last year local restaurant Centro was the sole vendor of food and it was all overpriced and pretty crappy. This year the festival was merged with another local event, the Ribfest. So we had the choice of five different BBQ vendors from around the country. They also had the standard fair food choices like funnel cake, corndogs and such. Grade: B+

Music:
And the most important part of the festival, the music. We didn't see all of the bands that performed but here's a quick rundown of the one's we did.

William Elliott Whitmore
- Local guy from Southeast Iowa. I've seen him a couple times before. Very cool sound. Just him with his banjo and guitar. Plays a lot of songs about death and dirt. I would highly recommend checking him out.

Andrew Landers Project - These guys were OK. I wasn't really getting into them. They sounded a little too Dave Matthews-ish for my liking. Not a bad band though.

Chicago Afrobeat Project
- Very cool band. A jazz-funk group that infuses West African drums and rhythm to create a unique sound. Reminded me a bit of Medeski, Martin and Wood with more of a dance beat.

Reel Big Fish - There's a name you may recognize. I'm not big into ska, so we didn't stay for their whole performance. Nonetheless they sounded good and were pretty entertaining to watch on stage.

Woodbox Gang
- I love these guys. This marked the fourth time I've seen them live. A great blend of country, folk, and punk. I can't recommend these guys enough. Expect a TMS Radio feature on them in the future.

Daphne Willis and Co. - Mark this down as the most pleasantly surprising performance of the festival for me. I had never heard of her, but quite enjoyed her set. Nice, light, airy tunes. Her voice kind of sounded like a cross between Norah Jones and Joss Stone.

J-san and the Analogue Sons - Group from New York that plays reggae infused dubrock, almost like Sublime without all the punkiness. Very chill music that you could easily toke one out to.

America - Yep, that America. Kids if you don't know who they are, ask your parents. They were the only group to not come out on time, pushing the rest of the bands back a half hour on the schedule. The crowd was considerably older for them, to no surprise. Their music is like catnip for middle-aged soccer moms and dads.

Let me say this. I enjoy a few of America's songs. Who doesn't like Horse With No Name, Ventura Highway, or Sister Golden Hair? Unfortunately this set left little be desired for me. The one guy's voice sounded great, virtually unchanged after decades of performing. The other guy, not so much. Needless to say it made some of their harmonies a little rough. Instrumentally they still sounded good though.

Aside from laughing for 90 minutes at all the yuppie suburbanites from Bettendorf rocking out to their beloved soft rock, my wife and I also came up with "America: The Drinking Game". Note, you don't have to see them live to play, simply put in their Greatest Hits CD and begin (You'll find this disc in your parents collection, next to their copy of Phil Collins, "No Jacket Required"). The game is simple. Commence drinking any time the group breaks into a set of "Doo-doo-doo", "La La La", or "Oooohhh", and do not stop until they've completed them. I suspect you'll have alcohol poisoning by your 4th song. We also had a little too much fun shouting "Go 'Merka!" in our best redneck voice in between songs.

The Headhunters with Leo Noncetelli - These guys were cooler than the entire Quad Cities population put together. Reading about them is like a history lesson on jazz and early funk music. The Headhunters were Herbie Hancock's band through the 70's. Joining them on stage was guitarist Leo Noncetelli, a member of early funk music pioneers the Meters. Their set was awesome. Great jazz and funk music and they knew how to get the crowd into it. One of the songs I recognized was in the movie Jackie Brown, so that's gotta count for something.

We didn't stay for Saturday night's closer, Tea Leaf Green although I'm sure they were probably pretty good. Overall a solid lineup of bands that entertained us for various reasons. Grade: B

The Crowd:
Despite having lesser-known acts this year, the crowd seemed larger. Plus, there's no better people-watching then at an outdoor music fest. A strange mix of hippies, families, and just plain weirdos. Grade: B-

Here are some of the characters we saw.

Hippies - This is going to be a given. You pair together more than two bands for an outdoor concert and they emerge from the rock they live under, armed with their patchouli oil, their tie-dyes, their peasant skirts, and their hula hoops. They can be easily spotted as they're usually the only ones at the front of the crowd dancing in typical hippie fashion. More amazing are the hippies with kids. Very rarely do you see a three-year old that acts more mature and responsible than their parents. God damn hippies!

Douchebags - "I came here for only two reasons. Drink some beer, and act like a douche. Looks like we're almost out of beer." Generally walking around in small packs, typically shirtless, and are sporting two Bud Lights using the classic "fair grip". Rarely do they stop to actually watch any band perform. They're usually too busy being drunken asses and douching the place up.

Old People - The venerable sore thumbs of the music fest. Since this is the big event in the city this weekend, that's what they're going to do. Nothing better than seeing a couple of elderly people sitting in lawn chairs watching a jam band perform as they have a glazed-over look on their face. They likely refer to America's songs as "that blasted rock and roll music you kids like so much!"

Parrotheads - Let it be known that Jimmy Buffett did not perform here, nor did anyone like him perform. Hell not even a Jimmy Buffett cover could be heard. Yet there were two obvious Parrotheads, with their tropical tank tops, barefoot, criminally tan, wearing straw hats and leis. This couple was also piss drunk on both days, and just stumbled aimlessly through the crowd the entire time. I wanted to ask them to say 'hi' to Buzanis for me.

Gyrating Middle Age Guy - The guys in their 40's or 50's that seem to be really digging the music. So much so that they're constantly kicking their one good leg around to the beat. That or they're just jostling around enough so no one notices that their Cialis just kicked in. "It's really not me. It's the pleats."

Midgets! - I kid you not I counted 4 different dwarfs in the crowd while I was there. That seems like an abnormally high ratio.

Morbidly Obese People - As American as apple pie, the merger of the Ribfest brought them in throngs. Nothing like watching a plastic folding chair on the verge of collapsing under the sheer weight of a Louie Anderson clone devouring a whole slab of ribs.

Mullets - Some finely groomed manes were on display. There seemed to be a large number of women with their "life partners" walking around, many sporting some serious femullets.

Homeless Dude - Walking around with a dirty scraggly beard, a backpack, talking to himself, wearing a beat up old Phat Farm t-shirt that looked like it had not been washed since Tupac allegedly died. I watched as he successfully managed to scrounge about 8 cigarettes and two beers off of concert-goers. Well done crazy homeless man. Well done indeed.

Well that about does it. Props to you if you actually read through this 'entirely too long' post. We'll see what the festival brings next year.

The Gist: Wha' Happen'd?

10:02 PM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Somewhere I can hear TMS's very own bartender, Rich screaming in frustration, "Why is Kendall catching Zambrano?!?!" Well Rich, I have no answers. I am dumbfounded. Just like I'm dumbfounded that the Cubs could play so flat in such a big game. No clutch hitting, shoddy defense, and lack of pitching in tough situations all added up to bite them right in the ass - to the tune of a 6 -1 loss.

Fresh off the DL, Brewer hurler, Ben Sheets looked like he never missed a beat, throwing six strong innings and allowing only one run on six hits. Big Z matched him for the most part until the 7th, when usually sure-handed Ryan Theriot botched a potential double play. Two batters later, Ryan Braun hit a bases loaded double to put the Brewers up by three, and this time it was the Brewers that hung a 4-spot in the 7th. Zambrano is now winless in his last six starts.

Only one more game against the Brewers this year. That ain't right. Hopefully The Machine Gun (13-7, 3.85 ERA) can turn things around in tomorrow night's game against rookie lefty Manny Parra (0-1, 3.09 ERA), who has only one career start under his belt. Perhaps a Thunder Matt start is in order to get us back on track?

War Criminal: iPhone

12:55 PM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

iPhone? iPhucking Don't Care.

I know this could also be considered an "Overrated" post about the iPhone, but my hatred for this device goes well beyond that.

The iPhone wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't shoved in my face at all times. Everywhere I go on the internet, there's an iPhone story. I see iPhone ads all over the place. And if I have to hear that jingle in the background of the iPhone commercials one more time, I am going to shoot myself in the face.

Let's talk about those commercials for a second. Am I really to believe that someone would be watching Pirates of the Caribbean's giant squid attack and suddenly think "Wow...I have to have seafood right now and it can't wait!" I guess we're glad that this person wasn't watching Silence of the Lambs.

So the trusty iPhone looks up where the closest seafood places are and that's that. But here's the thing: if I'm watching a movie on my phone or any other kind of portable media player, it means that I'm somewhere away from home, most likely on the bus or a train. And if that's the case, I couldn't just shoot off and get seafood at the drop of a hat anyway, so the instant seafood-finding abilities of the iPhone don't really come in handy. And if this person isn't on the train or in a cab? Then why not watch the fucking movie at home? Oh right...you have no TV and no home because you used that money to buy an iPhone.

What does the iPhone really cost? Let's check it out:

$599 for the phone, plus sales tax = about $650 give or take.
Minimum $60 a month plan from Cingular for 2 years: $1,440

Total: About $2,100

You could buy a new MacBook for that much. Hell, you can buy a decent car for that much.

The touchscreen? Just asking to get smudged, scratched or broken.

All the "Features"? Other phones do it better. Hell, I have a Moto SLVR, a phone that not only has iTunes built in, but can also surf the internet AND can send text messages without having to strain my fingers to type the tiny iPhone keypad.

I'm a pretty tech savvy person, and a Cingular customer, so naturally I was asked if I was going to get an iPhone when it came out. Seeing how I already have an iPod and a phone, I don't really need one. When I'm at work, I have a phone and internet access. When I'm at home, I have 2 computers with internet access and a phone and a TV. When I'm out at Target, I don't need immediate access to the internet to find the closest massage parlor. There's this thing called "Knowing the local places". And if I'm out of town, then I can take the 2 seconds to make sure I have a map before I go out! Why would I possibly need a phone to do it all for me, especially one that kills the environment?

What else could you get for the price of an iPhone?


  • An 80GB and a 30GB iPod
  • An 8GB, and a 4GB, and a 2GB iPod nano
  • Seven iPod Shuffles with $40 left over
  • A Playstation 3
  • A Nintendo Wii, and a Xbox 360 Core System, and a year of Xbox Live Gold
  • An Xbox 360 Premium, and a year of Xbox Live Gold, and a Xbox 360 media remote, and a Nintendo DS Lite
  • A Nikon D40 digital SLR with a 18mm-to-55mm lens
  • A Panasonic DMR-EH75V DVD recorder/80GB DVR/VCR deck and a Panasonic SC-HT40 home theater in a box


  • Why do we feel like we have to have everything we own, music and movies, all in one place. If you want it all on a trip with you, bring a laptop! Does anyone else remember when phones were just for calling people???

    I need to stop before something bursts in my head and I die at the keyboard with pictures of iPhones on my screen. Knowing my luck, my headstone would say "Here Lies Rich. He Loved The iPhone."

    Wrigley Roundtable

    9:06 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

    Once again it's time for our weekly segment in which we debate a selected matter of interest. The topics could range from the Cubs to baseball or other sports, to movies and music.

    Our panel of bartenders will weigh in, and we invite any of our readers to offer their two cents as well. So grab a beer and a handful of stale popcorn and tell us what you think.

    Today's topic: Fear the Redbirds?

    Well with last night's win, the Cubs expand their lead over the Brewers to 2.5 games. That's good news right? Here's the not so good news. The Brewers have dropped to third as the St. Louis Cardinals have taken over second place, just 2 games behind us.

    So the question now is, should we really be worried? I'll hang up now and listen to your response.

    The Gist: Don't Call it a Comeback

    7:23 AM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

    He's the guy that so many people love to hate. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that when he gets a chance to be a regular in the lineup, the guy produces. Jacque Jones had a huge 2-run double in the Cubs' 4-run 7th inning to tie the game, then scored the go ahead run on an error by Brewer, Scott Linebrink. Cubs win, Cubs win, 5-3

    Rich Hill had another quality start, allowing 3 runs in seven innings while striking out 9. D Lee, Jones and Kendall all had 2 hits, and closer, Ryan Dempster looked nasty in the end, pitching a perfect 9th for his 22nd save - his 10th in a row. Big, big win, especially the come-from-behind variety. If we can sweep this series, someone better check the Brew Crew's pulse. Tonight's game (7:05pm CST) has Chaz Z (14-10, 3.95) against Ben Sheets (10-4, 3.39). Go Astros.

    Overrated: Lunch

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

    Lunch is frustrating at best. It has no real purpose but to serve as a buffer between breakfast and dinner. Lunch is the abusive uncle that nobody in the family likes to talk about.*

    Take the weekdays for instance. Some may tend to overstate the importance of lunch because it provides a short respite from the workday, a small glimmer of hope in our otherwise and glum and joyless existence. But in this case, it is the 'break' part that we value, not necessarily the 'lunch' part. Let's examine the lunch part a little more closely as it relates to you, the reader.

    Lets see what are your options? Hmm...here is this shitty turkey sandwich you packed that got flattened in your bag when that sweaty fat lady on the bus pushed past you to get that last handicapped seat. Not that the sandwich was any good to begin with. When you opened the package of long-forgotten turkey the night before you noticed that is was starting to get slimy and had an odd smell. But you said "Fuck it, lets live dangerously", and besides, "I'm trying to eat healthy". Too lazy to cut up a tomato and not wanting to take a chance on that browning lettuce, you just slap it between two undersized slices of Wonder and lather it in mustard. Lets call it a night shall we?

    You wake up the next morning and decide that your sandwich absolutely must have a side dish. You are out of chips. A bag of pretzels left over from your last Super Bowl party stares at you, mocking you. You hate those pretzels, but you're running ten minutes late as it is and you haven't had your morning coffee yet, so your brain is unable to comprehend proper alternatives. You hastily shove a handful of those stale, brown sodium chips into a plastic bag and now your hands smell like pretzels until you get to work. Your good intentions get the best of you and you grab an apple. You know as well as I do that you're not eating that thing. When you finally do decide to eat lunch, your Catholic guilt, stemming from you spending all morning checking your fantasy football team, leads you to eat this shitty lunch at your desk so you can 'work' at the same time. You're getting crumbs and pretzel dust all over your already disgusting keyboard. You start to cry.

    You make me sick. This lunch is a metaphor for your pathetic existence.

    What are your other options? Frozen dinners. When are those ever good? You might as well shove a Hot Pocket up your ass. Fast food? Ah, fast food. The quick adrenaline rush of a Big Mac and fries is followed immediately by a depression spiral and a greasy forehead. The stench of a drunken Ronald McDonald and his association with dog fighting and labor malpractice is a stench that can linger.

    As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether it is a full on orgy of eggs, sausages, hashbrowns and crispy bacon or a simple bowl of sugared cereal, time and time again breakfast delivers.

    Dinner, the accomplished older brother who is always offering you sound financial advice, offers a whole world of possibilities, replete with appetizers, drinks and desserts. There will be no dessert with your lunch sir. A big 'fuck you' to the old man if there ever was one. Name any food and you can have that for dinner. By contrast, you can't eat steak for lunch. Well technically, you can, but it's frowned upon and considered to be in bad taste. Have a little class for Christ Sakes.

    To add insult to injury, now a lot of people order 'brunch', a combination of breakfast and lunch, which, lets me honest with each other, skews heavily towards the breakfast side. Brunch is essentially people saying, "Well, it's actually lunch time, but lunch sucks and I would enjoy some breakfast, even at this advanced hour of the morning."

    Lunch is slowly being replaced by 'snacking' and rightfully so. In today's post-9/11 society, one cannot compromise their good taste for outdated practices such as 'lunch'. I don't have time for this shit and neither should you.**

    *Sure, no one talks about him, but every Sunday morning when you glance over the police log you exchange a knowing glance with your spouse. Not in front of the kids.
    **It goes without saying, neither does Tommy Buzanis.

    You Make the Call

    10:18 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

    David Wells............................or...................David Wells

    "I might not look sexy, but I feel sexy."
    -David Wells after his first start in a Dodgers uniform

    Cubs of Yore: Hector Villanueva

    1:08 PM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

    Nickname: N/A -- although middle name is Balasquide

    Played for The Cub: '90 - '92

    Random Write-up: The portly Puerto Rican was one of the many fan-favorite players to back stop for The Cub. He was kind of a clone of Mike "Spanky" LaValliere from the Bucs, but Hector was ours. I think many people loved him because he looked like he came off the street and started playing. He had a beer gut, a Latin-influenced and well-groomed Porn 'Stache, and from what I can remember he was about 5'5" and 230. Sadly, it wasn't his play on the field that cause many people to remember him. Although, to be fair, he hit .276 and had 13 homers in limited action during the '91 campaign. No, sadly for him, it was his NAME that was so endearing - especially when Harry (this was the tail-end of his on-air drinking days) tried to say Villanueva. The casual fan watching it on WGN might have thought Harry was throwing up when he tried to slur those 5 syllables. At the end of the '92 season, he was tired of playing Chump to Joe Girardi and Rick Wilkins, so Hector sold his soul to Beelzebub, and signed with the Gaybirds of St. Lewis. He only played sparingly, and blamed St. Lewis for not being capable of handling his "Machismo Gordito".

    What the hell?: Actually, Hector went on to a productive semi-Pro and foreign career. During the Puerto Rican Winter League season of 91-92, he won the Triple Crown. In 1993, he was the MVP of the Carribean Series and in 1994, he led the Mexican League in Slugging %, home runs, and RBI. iUf! iQue Bueno!

    Also of Note: Career (estimated) MLB earnings of $545,000, went to college at UAB, owned Tom Pagnozzi on the basepaths: gunned him down 3 times in 2 days --> Here (5 guns in 1 game!!) and Here - stupid Cardinals, you don't run on HV!!!

    Bartender Banter: Riding the Storm Out

    9:05 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

    Yuck. That image says it all. What a crappy way to end the weekend. No matter. The Cubs are still a game and a half ahead of the Brewers, who now sit at .500. Starting tomorrow the two teams will face each other for the last time this season in a three game series at Miller Park. If everything goes right, we could be putting the Brewers to rest for good, leaving only the Cards to worry about*.

    Just in time for the pivotal series, Alfonso Soriano will return to the lineup. Hopefully his presence alone will give this team a nice confidence boost.

    Hurricane League Update
    Well we had two storms make some noise recently. My first round pick, Erin reached Tropical Storm status before making landfall near the Texas-Mexico border. Not a bad performance as I netted 85 points from her.

    The big winner though was Chaim, who's first round pick Dean kicked some ass in the Caribbean. Becoming the first hurricane of the season, Dean wreaked havoc on the Lesser and Greater Antilles before hitting the coveted Category 5 mark before slamming into Mexico. The official score on Dean: 235 points. Well done Chaim.

    So here's how standings breakdown.

    1. Chaim Witz - 230 points
    2. Chip Wesley - 90 points
    3. Brant Brown - 60 points
    4. Chi-Town Girl - 0 points
    5. Governor Gray Davis - 0 points

    The Govenor and Chi-Town haven't had any storms yet, but that should change soon. The Gov took Felix and Gabrielle with his first two picks and Chi-Town took Humberto in the first round.

    Time for Football
    I have to admit. With the Cubs still very much in the playoff hunt, I really haven't devoted much time to the fast-approaching football season. Not that I would have any idea what was going on had I tuned in anyway. Every time you flip to ESPN it's all about Michael Vick. Apparently he did something to a dog and now people are mad. I don't know, I haven't heard much about this.

    Anyway, you can look forward to some sort of a football preview this week from us. Also I updated my fantasy football cheat sheets a while back, so check them out if you've got a draft coming up. The latest update now includes IDP as well. If you don't know what IDP is, you probably don't have it in your league, so don't worry about it.

    TMS Radio Revival
    I'm working on getting this going again. The plan is to make it an ongoing feature with various playlists put together by the bartenders. I'm working on a separate site that will serve as the home for TMS Radio and archive all the playlists we create, so readers can check them out any time they please. Stay tuned.

    They're All Wasted!
    Out here in the fields
    I fight for my meals
    I get my back into my living.
    I don't need to fight
    To prove I'm right
    I don't need to be forgiven.
    yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Thanks to everyone who voted on our Cubs Theme Song Poll. Baba O'Riley by The Who was the winner, beating out Don't Stop Me Now by Queen by 4 votes. So what now? Did our lowly poll really matter or change anything? Probably not. But you can do your part. Wherever you are, at a bar, at home with friends, at work, or by yourself. Anytime the Cubs finish victorious, crank up Baba O'Riley on your stereo, iPod, computer, parent's hi-fi, or bar jukebox. Maybe, just maybe we can create a trend. Hell, the trend may already be starting. Check out this email we got from TMS regular Nick V.
    True story, I kid you not. I was at Cortland Garage in Bucktown tonight. As soon as the Cubs beat the D-Backs, they blasted "Baba O'Riley." This only has one of two explanations... (And NO, I did not request it, nor did anyone that I saw)

    1) They are frequent visitors to the Thunder Matt blog and adhered to the poll wishes and blasted Baba O'Riley
    2) Fate. Fate. Fate. And the Cubs will win it all in 2007.

    You decide. I just work here.

    Cheers,

    Nick V
    Honestly, I'm hoping for all of the above.

    Ghaaaahh.....eghhhh

    10:48 PM | Comments (0) | by White Chili

    First of all I'd like to mention that I spent about 5 minutes figuring out how to spell the Chewbacca yell. Five minutes I will never get back. Today Michael Vick entered an 11 page plea agreement stapled to a summary of facts that goes on for 10 more. He admits to gambling and to being an active participant in the torture and killing of dogs. The government spent their time, energy, and money to back him into a corner where all he could do was confess in hopes that they would ease up a bit when it came time to drop the axe. My experience with jail lies somewhere between The Shawshank Redemption, OZ, and Prison Break so I can't entirely blame the guy. If I had Jeff Garcia and the sisters breathing down my neck I'd sing and dance for The Man to get out of there too.

    If I were Michael Vick and I were trying to make a last minute Alamo stand I would have Billy Martin follow the lead of the late Johnnie Cochran and use the Chewbacca Defense. How can you lose? For those of you unfamiliar with the Chewbacca Defense, I'd like to quote South Park where Johnnie defends Chef for the credit as the composer to the tune "Stinky Bitches":

    Cochran
    Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, Chef's attorney would certainly want you to believe that his client wrote "Stinky Britches" ten years ago. And they make a good case. Hell, I almost felt pity myself! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

    Gerald Broflovski
    Damn it!

    Chef
    What?

    Gerald

    He's using the Chewbacca Defense!

    Cochran
    Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.
    Ellis Weiner wrote in The Huffington Post that Dinesh D'Souza was using the Chewbacca defense in criticism of new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, defining it as when "someone asserts his claim by saying something so patently nonsensical that the listener's brain shuts down completely." All he had to do was talk about how 7-11 has locks on the doors but is open 24 hours or Hawaii has interstate highways and he would have been able to shift the public's attention enough to one side in order to, at the very least, settle with the government.

    Mr. Mexico, all I have to say is you better hope that you don't run into anyone like Chewy for the next 12-18 months or you're going to be making the hard-to-spell noises.

    Here Comes Keystone Monroe!

    3:22 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

    So most Cub fans know by now that the team has acquired Craig Monroe from the Detroit Tigers. What they may not know is that Craig's middle name, I shit you not, is Keystone. The guy doesn't even need a nickname. Keystone Monroe? That's brilliant. It conjures up images of some badass character from a 70's blaxploitation film.

    The Cubs are sending a Player To Be Named Later to the Tigers in exchange for Monroe. There's no official word yet but according to the Detroit Free-Press, Jim Leyland has said they will be getting a left-handed pitcher in return. Since a PTBNL cannot be from the 25-man roster, the only three likely candidates would be Will Ohman, Neal Cotts, or Clay Rapada. It would be fitting if the Tigers took Ohman. It was about this time last season that we dumped a certain player who wore the #13 (like Ohman), and had wore our patience microscopically thin.

    Keystone will probably play LF until Soriano comes back and then join the Wrigley Right Field Experience alongside Cliff Floyd and Daryle Ward. His ability to hit lefties well makes him a valuable asset at the plate. Just think of him as the bizarro Jock Jones.

    So let's welcome our new outfielder by having a toast. Just follow these easy steps.

    1) Open a can of Keystone.
    2) Raise can to the air in salute.
    3) Take a large swig from the can.
    4) Realizing what you have just done and immediately regretting that decision, take the next few minutes to seriously contemplate when and where your life went horribly, horribly awry.
    5) Take a large swig of Old Style to wash out the taste of Keystone.
    6) Cry yourself to sleep as you slowly realize that Keystone Monroe's presence in the lineup spells even fewer opportunities for Thunder Matt.

    Pledging Allegiance

    9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

    Its time for me to chose sides: I need to pick an MLS team to root for. I've wasted enough time. This task has proven to be easier said than done though. There are only 13 teams, but each presents their own challenges. I'll walk you through my thinking.

    First off, lets just dismiss the Eastern Division out of hand. I have no connection to any of these places and I would never see a match in person or on TV. Beyond that, seriously, The Columbus Crew? Toronto FC? I'll pass. New York's team is actually named after an energy drink. Talk about selling out. That leaves six teams, but two are in Texas and that presents the same issues the Eastern Division teams do, so put those in the no column as well.

    We're down to four: Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake, and Colorado Rapids.

    Los Angeles Galaxy - The Galaxy are the most obvious choice and they've always been in the back of my head as the team I would be for if I decided to go in whole hog, but there's a problem now: David Beckham and his ghastly plastic wife.

    They are the home team & one of the founding members of MLS. They are two-time MLS champions & two-time US Open Cup champions. They probably have the coolest uniforms in MLS too, which as girly as that sounds is something one needs to consider. You don't want to root for a team if you'd be embarassed to wear their gear. How many fans did the Buccaneers lose when they had tangerine uniforms?

    In spite of that, I would feel like a douchebag if I declared myself a Galaxy fan now. People would assume I'm doing it because of the overhyped, overpaid, and oversexed David Beckham. They would probably assume I was gay too.

    All of that could be overcome though if not for his trendy prozac popping wife. Beckham is a good player and god bless him if he can help vault the MLS over crappy sports like senior women's lacrosse and the NHL. Unfortunately, David and Victoria come as a package. He is that friend of yours that drifted off into oblivion after marriage because he couldn't be peeled away from his shrill harpee of a wife and her enormous $700 sunglasses.

    Chivas USA - The other LA team...the Clippers of MLS if you will. Chivas is actually better than the Galaxy this year, but they're the new kids on the block here in LA. Yes, we have two football teams, but no football team.

    Chivas is an odd case. They were founded by the owner of the Mexican team Chivas that hails from Guadalajara and are designed to appeal to Los Angeles' large Latino population. The club's official language is Spanish and they have no English radio broadcast. In spite of this, they have a Jewish midfielder.

    Aside from the fact that I do not want to root for the Clippers of any sport, I'm not Latin. Not even close. Nothing against Latinos, but if this team is going to be primarily covered in Spanish, I'll be lost. Also, their uniforms make me want to order a corn dog.

    Real Salt Lake - I wouldn't have much connection to Real Salt Lake other than my inexplicable die hard devotion to the Utah Jazz, but its worth considering. I love Utah and likely would have moved there years ago had it not been a theocracy run by the Ayatollah Gordon B. Hinckley. Alas, it is, and I'm in California.

    Real Salt Lake have the noteworthy status of being the worst team in MLS. Since I don't root for a perennial underdog, this would be a new twist on things for me. The name is supposed to invoke Real Madrid, an international powerhouse, and the locals in SLC didn't seem to get that. They were in an uproar over it. Real Salt Lake also laid claim to Freddy Adu, albeit briefly.

    Colorado Rapids - First off, let me say these guys get points for actually having a dot-com and not a shootoff of the MLS page. While the Galaxy are my current home team, I would give the Rapids a 50/50 shot of being my future home team when I flee this place for good.

    Like the Galaxy, the Rapids are one of the ten original MLS teams. They've had some success, making both an MLS and US Open final, losing each time. They're pretty much middle of the pack and nondescript at this point. I see these as strong points as they would solve the problem of any bandwagoning accusations I might encounter with the Galaxy.

    So there are the choices. I have to say, Chivas and Real Salt Lake aren't really in the running here. Chivas just isn't a good fit and poor Real Salt Lake doesn't have enough going for them. That leaves a deathmatch between Colorado and the Galaxy. When I started writing this, I had almost resigned myself to an existence as a LA Galaxy fan, but the Rapids make a damn strong case.

    I will see how things play out. Colorado and the Galaxy have a match on the 8th of September that would probably be a good one to go to. It would be a great way to see which one feels like my team.

    Note: The Galaxy looked absolutely dreadful in last night's Super Clasico against Chivas USA. They lost 3-0 and all three goals were embarassing.