You Make the Call

May 31, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Carlos Marmol.................................or........................Carlos Marmol

The Gist: Game 55

May 31, 2008 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Un. Fucking. Believable.

I sat in my seat along the first base line after the music had finished playing just thinking to myself, "The Cubs don't play like this. This kind of thing just doesn't happen." This is definitely a different kind of team than Cubs fans have seen in the recent past and one that has all the earmarks of greatness.

As the game started, I was grateful for just a few things: it was a beautiful day once the rain/tornado watches passed off to the east, I was holding a cold Old Style, and Iván DeJesús was coaching first base just a few feet in front of me. Wait, what? Where'd Sinatro go?

It didn't take too long before Lilly, whose hand was obviously cramped into a gnarled claw from signing all the 8x10 glossies of himself the prior game, gave up four runs including a two run bomb by Todd Helton in the top of the first. In fact, Lieber could be seen warming up in a hurry before the third out of the game. Ok, down by four runs with the wind blowing out. We've gotten out of worse situations than this before. (silently mouths the word "fuck")

Not much to mention until the third inning where the Rockies padded their lead with three more runs which started when Aktins reached second base when Jim Edmonds let a fly ball fall through his hands. Urge to kill rising. Chris Iannetta brought him home with the second home run of the game. Down seven zip after three innings. At this point most fans were ready to write this one off as a lost cause and were "just happy the weather was nice."

Lieber replaced Lilly for the fourth inning and promptly gave up a home run to the third batter: Ryan Spilborghs. Is there a reason we can't take advantage of the wind blowing out of the park too? In the bottom of the inning Derrek got on base and DeRosa eventually brought him home with a sac fly to get the Cubs on the board. Yay.

In the bottom of the sixth inning things took a turn. Fukudome started things off with his third home run of the year. Horry Kow! Edmonds followed that up with a home run of his own. Urge to kill falling. Rockies up 9-4.

Stan Mikita sang the stretch and ushered in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jelly donuts for everyone! Hank White came in as part of a double switch and cracked a home run driving in Fontenot. 9-6. Hoffpauir and Kfuk got on base with singles and Edmonds drove them home with a double to right. 9-8! DeRosa came to the plate and crushed one to left field. Edmonds scored. 10-9. The place went absolutely nuts.

Marmol and The Beard closed the game out in the last two innings. People high-fived. Strangers hugged. Much Old Style was enjoyed. I distinctly heard the word "destiny" a few times. It's a scary thought but after games like this, even the most jaded and cynical part of this Cubs fan smiled just a little bit and couldn't help but think that this team has what it takes to win.

War Criminal: Current Men's Fashion

May 30, 2008 | Comments (1) | by Rich Funk

What is this world coming to?

Every day I see society fall deeper and deeper into the gaping maw of absurdity. There are at least 3 times a week where I witness something or overhear something that makes me want to wander into traffic.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the mall. Malls are barometers for everything that is wrong with the world. If you're feeling good or wake up one day hopeful and full of life, convinced that everything may just turn out all right, get your ass down to the mall and see how sunny you are after 5 minutes.

I'm not saying that malls are completely useless. I actually enjoy going to the mall at times. But these are usually the times when I don't have much else to do. Things at the mall don't bother me as much when I don't have a schedule to keep or things to get done. It's times where I actually have a goal, around birthdays or Christmas, that the evil side of the mall rears it's ugly head like the triumphant return of a particularly irritating case of herpes.

Take last week for example. I went to the mall to look for some new clothes. The weather is heating up, so I figured I could treat myself to some new selections for the ol' closet.

I almost didn't make it out alive. There used to be about a 30/70 split in the amount of clothes that were "normal" and the ones that were "goddamn stupid". That's closer to a 1/99 split now.

The following are pictures of random things in the men's section of a high end store in the local mall. What you see here may frighten you.

This is the first thing that I saw that made me want to throw up. Look, I get the whole "distressed" thing. Having your clothes look more worn out and beat up than they actually are is fine, and sometimes more comfortable. But Jesus Christ, what the hell is this abomination? The front bill of the hat IS CUT OFF! Check out the side view for a better idea:

Are you trying to impress girls? Do you want to be able to approach girls with a story about how last summer, you almost got sliced in the face while exploring the Temple of Doom but luckily all it caught was the front of your hat? Well then you are in luck. But I doubt there are enough of those guys out there to require selling half-hats in department stores.

One of the problems I have when I go to the mall is that the people who make mens clothing think that we all want to be decked out in skulls and skeletons all day every day. Now I'll be the first to admit that I will wear the occasional shirt with something undead on the front, but it's because I have a rather large collection of Dio and Iron Maiden concert shirts. This, however, is unacceptable. Does the shirt above look familiar? You probably saw Bret Michaels wearing it on Rock of Love.

This reminds me of vomit. Never a good thing.

"You know what would be awesome? I was thinking that I would totally wear a trucker hat. But not just a regular trucker hat. This hat would be sick. First of all, it would have to be mustard yellow. Then we can add the name of two random dudes on it and for some reason, that would make it cost about $70. And then, we could put something on there that looks like a tatoo. You know, because I've always wanted a tatoo but I would never actually get one because I'm such a pansy, which is why I dress in clothes like this and pretend to be such a badass, broham. Oh, don't forget to add a skull to it."

How could you possibly walk around during the day knowing that you had these on under your clothes and not constantly feel dirty? Now if they said "Shaq Diesel" on them, they would be badass. But they don't so they're not.

No, my hand wasn't shaking when I took this picture. There's actually that much shit going on at one time. This makes my head hurt. And again with the skulls! Enough with the skulls already!!!

Even the displays in this place were idiotic. "Hey, instead of having mannequins stand on the floor like they're supposed to, why not have them up on the table in a douchebag pose!?!" That's just crazy talk! That's way too extreme! And why does this mannequin look like Patrick Ewing?

The person who made this was probably thinking "I really love the curtains in my grandma's living room. Why not make a shirt out of them? GENIUS!"

WHOA! Look out! I don't know if you noticed, but there is a pool table int he middle of the store! And they're using it like it's a normal table!!! How trendy is that??? Apparently, putting items on a pool table in the middle of a store automatically makes them cost $97 each. Don't argue. It's science.

What the hell is happening on the front of this shirt? Why is Anthony Rapp from the movie Road Trip ("And my radio is just GONE!") trying to sell me a fishtank that may or may not contain a break in the space/time continuum? And more importantly, does it have anything to with the explosive Smurf diarrhea coming out of his backside?

This happens to me more and more every time I go to the mall. I see something that at first looks like it could actually be a decent shirt. Success! It's not the greatest thing in the world, but at least it's normal. Let's just check out the back of this bad boy...

Awwww fuck! Someone wiped their ass on it. Maybe it was Anthony Rapp.

Man-Jewelry. I'm not Italian, so I keep walking.

See, now this is something I can appreciate: a half-naked woman with a seductive look on her face. One question: Why in the world is she coming out of a tuba? And did she step on a chicken? Why the hell is the chicken in the tuba too? My head hurts...

The worst part? This shirt costs $250. Terrible. I'd rather spend that money on a decent amount of heroin. And I don't even do heroin (yet)!

Screw the mall. Let's call Brett Favre and go get some Wranglers. At least then, we can bust out a decent touch football game.

The Gist: Game 54

May 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Thank God for AAA Affiliates.

With a number of their stars riding the bench, that's pretty much the caliber of the team that the Rockies fielded for last night's game. That didn't stop the Cubs from making it interesting for a while, however.

We took an early lead thanks to some timely hitting including Derrek Lee's 13th homer which took about two seconds to reach the fans in the left field bleachers. Marquis looked good until the sixth inning where he loaded the bags and Lou brought in Neal Cotts. This wasn't the razor sharp reliever Neal Cotts that we traded David Aardsma to the White Sox for, this was the Neal Cotts who was fresh off the plane from Iowa. Appropriately, he gave up a single to Willy Taveras that ricocheted off of Lee's glove and took a sharp right allowing two runs to score and tying the game at three. In the seventh Ian Stewart, who tripled and scored the first Rockies run earlier in the game, padded his stats with an RBI double to give them the lead.

Luckily, the reeling Rockies made a few fielding mistakes in the bottom half of the inning and our boys were able to reclaim the lead 8-4. Thanks to some filthy stuff by Marmol and Wood we never lost it. Cue the music.

Pre-Game Note: Before the game started there was a little attraction near Harry's statue. Dempster and Lilly were signing autographs for $10 a pop at a table near the gate and all the money went towards fighting breast cancer. The player's wives were the ones running the show. I tried to get a picture with the lovely Mrs. Kerry Wood but that just wasn't in the cards. Great job guys, we can never have too much good karma.

The Gist: Sweep Edition

May 28, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Fly the white flag, bitches.

Cubs win 2-1. Sure the weather was cold during this series, but the Cubs pitching was lights out. Again, this game looked like the early score would hold up, with Derek Lowe on his game and the Cubs bats sleeping. But just like last night's game, it came down to one inning. This time it was the 9th. As soon as Dodger closer Takashi Saito threw 2 pitches to Ryan Theriot, you knew that not only did he not have his best stuff, but that he must have misplaced his stuff and accidentally brought Jason Marquis' stuff to the mound with him. Saito got out of the inning only giving up one run, but after the 9th, you just knew that the Cubs would pull this one out. The Dodgers had used their two best relievers up already and had to turn to Chan Ho "I Used To Be Good In 2000" Park.

Game Over.

Cubs Sweep.

Bring on the Rockies.

Quick question: How the hell are the Cardinals only a game and a half behind us? How the hell is Houston only 2.5 back? Can someone knock on their doors and remind them that they're terrible?

Also Included: Equipment To Be Named Later

May 28, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Just when I think a GM can't get any dumber, they go and do something like this...and totally redeem themselves!!!

News broke out yesterday of a Calgary Vipers player that was traded to the Laredo Broncos of the United League. Normally trades in the independent leagues don't make the news, but former Viper John Odom was traded to Laredo for 10 bats.

That's it. 10 baseball bats.

The best part of the story was the reaction of the Bronco's GM:

"They just wanted some bats, good bats - maple bats," Broncos general manager Jose Melendez said.

Maybe this was just the first step in something bigger. They trade this dude for 10 bats, trade each bat for a midget, trade each midget for 3 lawnmowers, etc until they turn one career minor leaguer into a date with Bret Michaels or something. Hey, if you can turn a paperclip into a house, anything is possible.

That got me thinking of what you could get for other MLB players in a trade that didn't involve other players. I tried to trade each player for something that would pretty much be able to do the same job in their place.

Jacque Jones - 2 pieces of the hard gum that comes in a pack of baseball cards (already chewed)
Jeff Kent - 2 cases of Skoal and a camouflage poncho
Brett Myers - 1 cardboard cutout of Larry the Cable Guy
Neifi Perez - 1 wiffle ball bat (broken)
Kerry Wood - 3 cases of antacid
Jason Marquis - 1 Tee-Ball tee
Prince Fielder - 350 lbs. of sausage (uncooked and not in link form)
Ozzy Guillen - 1 space heater, 3 fart bombs, 1 fan
Carlos Marmol - 1 Ark of the Covenant (opened)

Any others?

The Gist/Counter Gist

May 27, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

The Gist
By Daft Funk

The real story of this game was in the bottom of the 7th inning. Sean Gallagher left after giving up just one run, but it looked like he would be the loser because Kuroda was lights out. Kuroda got into a bit of trouble and Joe Torre totally fucked up. He had Jonathan Broxton and Joe Beimel up in the pen. When Fontenot's spot in the lineup came up with 2 guys on, Torre decided he'd rather have Broxton face Fontenot than have Beimel come in and most likely face DeRosa.

Lefties are hitting almost .400 against Broxton this season, but I think Torre made the right move bringing him in to pitch to Fontenot. The brain fart came when Torre sat Beimel down so when Fukodome's (lefty) spot came up in the lineup, there were no other relievers to come in. Broxton had to face another lefty and gave up another hit.

How bad is Jim Edmonds? He's a lefty and did not get a hit off Broxton. He was booed, and rightfully so.

After that, things were money. Marmol made things a little interesting in the 8th, but Kerry Wood came in and, surprise(!), didn't hit anyone when nailing down the save.

The Counter-Gist
by Governor Gray Davis

Cubs and 2000-something. Coincidentally, 2000 is also the number of runners the Dodgers have left on base in these last two games. How sad is our offense right now? When they loaded the bases in the 8th, I knew they were fucked. Thanks to Buffet Buster Broxton and the invisible offense, they wasted another good outing by Obi-wan Kuroda.

I'm in shambles after these two 3-1 losses, because they could have easily been Dodger victories. Any other time I would be spared the pain of seeing this as the Cubs take the field about the time I'm finishing up my 1st cup of coffee out here in California. No no no, I get to watch this torment.

At least I got something out of watching this debacle. Seeing Tommy Lasorda "sing" the 7th inning stretch and say "root root root for the Dodgers" in the heart of Cubs Country is always worth whatever pain the boys in blue put me through.

Impotence Rankings

May 27, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It seems everywhere I look, someone is releasing their own set of "power rankings" these days. That's all well and good but to me, I find them ultimately boring. Boston is the best, woohoo, blah, blah. What doesn't get enough attention is what team is the absolute worst at the moment. Thankfully I'm here to help. I give you Thunder Matt's MLB Impotence Rankings, a list of the 10 most craptastic teams of the moment.

Last week's ranking in (parentheses)

NOTE: I'm pulling a Buzanis this week on the column. I have nobody to blame but myself here. But if we're going to point fingers, allow me to blame these 10 teams' worthlessness on a single player(s).

10. Detroit Tigers (3) - the starting rotation

Amazing Stat: Bonderman currently has 35 BB to his 32 K, Verlander has 7 losses so far, and opposing batters are hitting .314 and .309 against Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson respectively.

9. Milwaukee Brewers (8) - Corey Hart

Amazing Stat: Yeah, yeah, I know he's playing relatively well, but seriously, look at this guy. He's got the face of a dwarf for God's sake. He's like the world's tallest midget. That has to be distracting the other guys.

8. New York Yankees (7) - Kyle Farnsworth

Amazing Stat: Kyle can easily be blamed for pretty much anything, much like fellow TMS bartender Dave Thomas. Also when did that son of a bitch get glasses? Who still wears glasses in baseball? I mean besides the mentally retarded.

7. Colorado Rockies (4) - Jesus*

Amazing Stat: Maybe not enough players are praying. Maybe Aaron Cook can get busted with a hooker to give you inspiration.

6. Washington Nationals (5) - Cristian Guzman

Amazing Stat: By showing the rest of you clowns up by clearly being the best hitter so far this season. That's gotta kill Ryan Zimmerman's self esteem.

5. Cleveland Indians (NR) - Everyone except Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore.

Amazing Stat: The rest of you position players make me sick. Not one of you bastards save for Ben Francisco can even bat above .250!

4. San Francisco Giants (1) - Barry Zito

Amazing Stat: As long as Zito's contract is around they can aim no higher than mediocrity at best.

3. San Diego Padres
(2) - Shawn Estes and Glendon Rusch

Amazing Stat: How do these two still have jobs? Kevin Towers is good at taking other people's trash and spinning it into gold, but unfortunately for him these two turds just fell apart in his hands.

2. Kansas City Royals (NR) - Allard Baird

Amazing Stat: Look there might be a small disadvantage to being a small market team, but some franchises have managed to still do well. Shit, look at the Rays and Marlins right now. Baird's stats: 381-576 during his tenure, traded away Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran, signed Juan Gonzalez.

1. Seattle Mariners (6) - Richie Sexson

Amazing Stat: Can Seattle really not find anyone better to replace him? Watching him hit is enough to drive someone to go out to the driveway and pull a Kurt Cobain.

Look who got better and dropped off the previous list: #9 LA Dodgers, #10 Minnesota

Back To Work, Assholes!

May 27, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Happy Tuesday. Yeah, you're back at work, but at least it's already Tuesday, which is practically Wednesday. See? Your week is already halfway over. Don't say I never do anything for you.

Because of the holiday, things were a bit slow here around the Saloon over the weekend. Because we've missed The Gist over the last few games, here's a quick recap of the last 4 Cub games in the form of a haiku:

5/23 - Cubs 12, Pirates 3

Fat Z gets four hits.
Zach Duke is a great pitcher,
But the opposite.

5/24 - Pirates 5, Cubs 4

Cubs lose in extras.
I hope Jason Bay will choke
On a bandsaw blade.

5/25 - Pirates 6, Cubs 5

Fonzie pulls a Brant.
Bay wins again in extras.
He can die of crabs.

5/26 - Cubs 3, Dodgers 1

Go fly the white flag.
Lee and Aramis homer.
I still hope Bay dies.

The worst thing about the 4 losses the Cubs had last week? They were winning in all of them. We gotta keep these leads, fellas!

On a more somber note, Geremi Gonzalez (formerly Jeremi Gonzalez...not sure why he changed his name) died on Sunday. He got hit by lightning. That's no's the truth. You may remember Geremi from his time with the Cubs. He went 11-9 in 23 starts as a rookie for the '97 Cubs and was a member of the magical '98 Wild Card winning Cub team that we all love so much. No one had Gonzalez in the Thunder Matt Death League, so no points are awarded. Speaking of...

This weekend saw the passing of two Hollywood greats: actor/director/writer/producer/badass Sydney Pollack and comedian/Laugh-In creator Dick Martin. Despite both being famous and old, neither of which were on anyone's roster in the Thunder Matt Death League. We're terrible. Overrated: Thunder Matt's Death League.

That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as much as Chaim did.

Get Your Grill On

May 23, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

We all love to barbecue. Or is it BBQ? WTF?

Either way, with the holiday weekend coming up, there's going to be a lot of grillin' goin' on. So what have you got on your back porch?

What? That's it? That's not gonna attract the ladies! You need to get with the times, geezer. I'll bet that Old Man Chaim's got that same old grill at his house. You don't want to be old like him, do you?

You want some awesome grills that will punch you in the nuts and have you wanting more? Look no further.

For The Redneck In Your Family:

Is Andy Griffith your uncle? Do you own Deliverance on DVD? Like inbred backwoods sex? Then this grill is for you. You know what the grill is for, but what goes on inside the cabin? What goes on indeed...

For The Home Improvement Fan:

More power indeed. I guess a few years ago, Chrysler had a contest where they asked people "What else can you do with a Hemi?" and this guy's grill was the winner. So let me get this straight...there was a contest where you took something that only exists to power a truck and asked people to put it to other uses? And this was the best one? I think the thing that pisses me off the most is that this whole contraption probably cost more than my car. They should have just given the money directly to me. I would have made them a certificate and everything.

For The Guy "Compensating" For Something:

Have a small dick? Buy a bigger grill! Let your kids sit on it!


For Anyone Who Liked The Movie Casino:

Sure, it's a little unorthodox, but you have to make the best of a situation, right?

For The Baby Hater:

Recipes found here.

For The Waaay Too Earth Friendly Geek:

No, that's not a bench to sit on. Two words, broham: Solar. Grill. No gas needed for this piece of work. You know how Hawaiians used to cook pigs by burying them in hot rocks under the sand for hours at a time? In a few thousand years, all we've done as a society is move the rocks from under the sand to the surface. We are a failure.

For Dave Thomas:

This KeGrill is perfect for the alcoholic in all of us. Why get a regular grill when you can get a grill that shows your drinking buddies that you love beer so much, you want to look like you cook with it too! Awesome!!! *Shotguns beer*

For The Theater Kids:

Technically, it's not a grill. But I couldn't pass up a chance to share the BBQ Sword(!) with the world.

For The City:

Wait...I thought Chaim's mom was the worlds largest transportable wiener smoker?

The Gist, Game 47

May 21, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Gone Huntin' 5, 1908 World Champs 3

Things started out promising enough. Three runs in the first inning, courtesy of a Lee donkey punch and a RBI double from our Italian catcher. Plus, c'mon, Shawn Chacon was on the mound for the other team.

Unfortunately, from there things spiraled out of control. We only managed two more hits after the first inning and our pitcher (and Oasis singer) Liam Gallagher got abused like the box of tissue next to Tommy Buzanis' waterbed.

Our bullpen did a good job. Scott Eyre looks like he gained all the weight that Liam Gallagher lost. Oh, and here's something to vent about. Why was Jimmy Ballgame Edmonds and his batting average which rivals my blood-alcohol level batting 7th, ahead of the red hot Mark DeRosa? To crib a internet abbreviation that all the kids are using, WTF?

We managed to stifle Lance-in-the-pants Berkman but still drop two of three. Good riddance to that claptrap of a ballpark in Houston. All of the other NL Central ballparks have their charms, but that thing is an offense against decency and good taste. Almost makes you pine for the Astrodome. Take the architect outside and give him 10 solid lashings.

Onward to the Steel City. Nothing like a series against the hapless Buccos to get back on track. PNC. Now that's a ballpark.

Beasley vs. Rose

May 21, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Defying all odds, the Bulls ended up with the first pick in the draft last night. They only had a 1.7% chance of coming up with the top pick. How small is that chance? Let's put it this's twice as likely that Elijah Dukes gets a hit (.038 batting average this season) than it was for the Bulls to win the draft lottery.

Hot on the heels of the "Oden vs. Durant" debate of a year ago, we now have "Beasley vs. Rose". Before the NCAA tourney, Michael Beasley seemed like the sure-fire #1 pick. Not only was he just as good as Kevin Durant stats-wise, he was actually better! And unlike Durant, he can probably bench press more than 105 lbs.

But Derrick Rose stepped up and pretty much steamrolled everyone in his path on the way to the NCAA title game, abusing DJ Augustin and Darren Collison in back to back games so badly, they could have put him on trial for sexual abuse.

So now Beasley and Rose are both at the top of the 2008 draft class. Rose is projected to be a Chris Paul type player, but bigger and more explosive. Beasley could be the second coming of Kevin Garnett if you believe some members of the media. Rose is the "local boy" hailing from the Chicago area. Beasley could be the low-post scorer that the Bulls have needed for the past 3 years.

There are a few obstacles in the way. If you pick Beasley, what if his troubled past (6 high schools in 5 years, multiple suspensions) catches up with him? What if he's more Spreewell than Garnett as far as attitude goes? Picking Rose seems to make sense too, but it seems like the Bulls already have a capable point guard in Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich may have struggled last year, but this is the same guy that shut down D-Wade for 2 straight years in the playoffs, is a point guard on Team USA and made the NBA All-Defensive 2nd team just a year ago. Players don't just forget how to be good. What happened is that most of Heinrich's teammates started off last season trying to get their stats for an eventual $13 million a year contract and things just snowballed.

On the other hand, how can you pass up a talent like Rose?

On the other other hand, how do you pass up someone that's even better than the college player everyone was drooling over last year?

Do you draft Rose? Do you draft Beasley? Do you flip-flop picks with the Heat and let them make the decision for you? Do you trade the pick to Memphis for Mike Conley so they can get their "hometown" guy and we get their #5 overall pick this year and a possible #1 next year too?

The Bulls have the #1 pick and 2 potential superstars to pick from. It seems like they would have no problem shipping off Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Ty Thomas, etc in a package deal. Once again, the Bulls seem like they have a ton of potential to make a move in the East.

And who's in charge of making this move? John Paxson. Aw fuck.

Just make sure to keep us under the cap for 2010 so we can bring in Dwyane Wade, ok Johnny?

Thunder Matt's Bat Odyssey (Part III)

May 21, 2008 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Wow. A lot of discussions and musings about maple baseball bats lately. They're exploding into shards everywhere, people are getting impaled, Reed Johnson is getting frustrated, and I remembered that I'm supposed to be making a bat. An ASH bat, nonetheless. Quickly my attention went back to the project. If Slumpbuster can make a big enough debut, maybe I could quit my day job and make bats for Reed Johnson! We'll see.

I set up the white ash bat blank (or billet) on the lathe and went to turning it down, meaning I started roughly shaping the bat. I'll have to say that I was quite nervous working with the actual wood that is to become Slumpbuster. I actually went through the trouble of sharpening all of the gouges and skews that would be used in the manufacturing, and what a difference it made. The pictures do show it to an extent, but the amount and velocity of the shavings are somewhat lost in two dimension, still-action photos. It was actually quite fun seeing all the shavings fly everywhere and get caught in all of the spiderwebs that I never knew my garage had. It was like being a kid again, save for the fact that carelessness could leave to a loss of fingers and or hands and eyes.

I decided to start with the barrel, more so just because it has less wood to take off. Starting there, I would have a point to work from while making my way down the handle. Again, not sure of this is the proper way to do it, I'm just thinking that it's easier to taper down than taper up. Surprisingly, after only 15 or 20 minutes, things started taking shape. The barrel was done in about 10 minutes and after I began tapering, the thing actually started looking like a bat.

Working on the handle has proven to be the most nerve-wracking and intricate part of the odyssey. The knob on the end of the bat has a pretty tight inside curve, which loves to "grab" your gouge and try to fling it in the air. As you can imagine, this is not fun. To make matters worse, the knob was also the section that I had the blowout on while fabricating the prototype. I love all of you guys that read this site (that's a lot of love spread around 14 ways), but not enough to keep buying blanks of "bat quality" white ash if I screw it up.

After some light sanding and fine tuning after fine tuning on the handle and taper, I think she's just about done. As the picture shows, I'm still a bit chickenshit on finishing the handle. I'm putting that on hold until I can consult a local Quad City woodturner on the best way to attack it. This old-timer has been a great resource so far on this project, and I'm gonna milk him for all his worth. That sounded gross.

I took Slupbuster off the lathe and gave her a maiden swing. Words can't describe the feeling it gave me, but "heavy" and "sore back" kind of come to mind. Maybe I'll have to thin it down a bit more. That will have to wait, the local minor league team is playing tonight, and the opposing coach is none other than Ryne Sandberg. I may have to scout some players and see who'd be interested and worthy of swinging a Slumpbuster during their rise to stardom. Until next time, kids, be sure and wear eye protection...

The Prototype, The Model, Slumpbuster

The Gist: Game 46

May 20, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

Chris Sampson can go straight to hell. You almost have to respect the way this guy keeps the Cub offense in check though every time we face him. And we always face him. We miss the Roy Oswalts and the Brandon Webbs of the world, and then totally get worked over by journeymen and rookies. Screw the goat nonsense, this is the Cubs curse.

Despite being mastered by guys like Sampson, the Cubs staff does a fantastic job of keeping the best hitters in the game in check game after game. Berkman was "Zac Efron hot" going into the series, but we've held him to a solitary hit in two games. I know they've been talking about the imminent injuries from maple bats shattering at a tremendous rate, but Berkman swung and let go of his bat on no less than two occasions tonight. He nearly decapitated Carlos Lee in the on-deck circle with one of his tosses (not that that would have been a bad thing). Still, as Aerosmith would say, get a grip dickhead. Talk is cheap, shut up and dance. Lance.

Dempster has had a damn good start to the season, and he really only let one inning get away from him tonight. The grand slam from Hunter Pence, he of the appropriately Astro-ish first name, was our undoing. But the bullpen kept the rest of the game in check, including the debut of rough-'n-tumble Jose Ascanio. Ultimately the boys just couldn't string together the hits, save for Ramirez's second homer in two nights.

The Preparation H "Asshole of the Game":
Jim Edmonds. 0 for 3 with a walk. Again we emphasize: Asshole.

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria: Week 7

May 20, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Each week we will go around the league and recap all of the significant happenings, in an effort to keep you, the reader, abreast of such time sensitive news. And of course, by 'each week', I mean 'probably not each week'.

La Semana Siete

Wet Fart of the Week: The San Diego Padres - Mark Prior gets hurt. Wait, how can somehow who's already hurt get more hurt? Oh, leave it to our towel (and salad) tossing, USC-edumacated white boy to find a way. Then their one ray of hope, Jacob Peavy, goes down with 'elbow troubles'. Time to officially wave the white flag. Or white towel if you will. Just trade Mad Dog now. Let that caged bird fly.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Josh Hamilton, Rangers - While his hunting buddy across the pond (huh?) in Houston, Lance-in-the-Pants Berkman gets all the sexy headlines and John Kruk reach-arounds, it's Hammy that quietly leads the majors with 50 RBI to go along with 11 HR and the responsibility of carrying the pitching thin Rangers on his broad, tattooed shoulders. Everybody kinda figured he'd be good, but this good? One could reasonably call his numbers 'prodigious'.

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Nick Swisher, White Sox: This goateed son of a bitch has found himself firmly entrenched on many a fantasy bench, as owners wait for him to stop laying pipe and start laying wood. Ozzie Guillen inexplicably batted him leadoff for the longest time, which seems to be more than a tad ricockulous. There's still hope for him once the Chicago weather turns more Oakland-esque this summer. Aside from Carlos Quentin, the entire White Sox lineup is hitting about as well as my gay cousin. (Note: My cousin's poor hitting has nothing to do with him being gay.)

Finally, the Gods Have Answered Our Prayers: An all Florida World Series: The Marlins vs. The Devil Rays - Unfortunately, for viewers outside of the Sunshine State, you'll have to watch the series online, as Fox has opted to not broadcast it, instead opting for reruns of 'King of the Hill' and 'America's Dancing Midgets: Oh No They F*&%ing Didn't!'

OMG! Chipper Might Hit .400! Berkman Might Win Triple Crown! LOL! No. Just stop. It's May. I know that you're desperate for stories until football mini-camps start, but please. Check back in August.

Did You Know? Ted Lilly allegedly doesn't wear his wedding band when he goes to bars. Sssssscandalous.

Give These Guys A Greasy Taco:

David Murphy, Rangers: .414 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Carlos Quentin, White Sox: .381 AVG, 2 HR, 1 SB
Jayson Werth, Phillies: .348 AVG, 3 HR, 12 RBI
Clint Barmes, Rockies: .462 AVG, 2 HR, 1 SB
Todd Wellmeyer, Cardinals: 2 W, 2.08 ERA, HUH
Albert Pujols, Cardinals: .433 AVG, 4 HR, UGH
Jose Guillen, Royals: .407 13 RBI, Not Accused Of Murder

Give These Guys a Taco Filled With Cilantro:

Alex Rios, Blue Jays: 4/26, ORBI, OSB
Kenny Rogers, Singer: 15.75 ERA, Bad Temper
Melky Cabrera, Yankees: Not Miguel
Andrew Jones, Dodgers: Torn Knee Cartilage. Bruised Ego.
Vlad Guerrero, Angels: .174 AVG, 2 RBI, Getting Fat
Chip Wesley, TMS: Poured a beer on my head