Cubs of Yore: Lee Elia

9:30 AM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the infamous Lee Elia Rant, the old skipper is on tap for today. For you youngsters out there who aren't familiar with Lee Elia, he was brought in by Cub GM, Dallas Green to manage the team, and built the foundation for the magical '84 Cub team.

Nickname: Lee Fuckin' Elia

Played for The Cub: 1968

Managed for The Cub: 1982-1983

Random Write-Up: Let's get it out there right now. He's most well known for The Rant (NSFW). This baby is worthy of being right along side Chicago lore like Mrs. O'Leary's cow and Jordan's Poke Shack. For those of you who don't know about it, it was in '83, when the Cubs were pretty bad. So bad that the fans didn't even come out. There were only about 9,000 attending a day game, and after losing to drop to 5-14 on the season, the few fans that bothered to show booed their hearts out. Lee Elia gets socio-political and tells you what he thinks about day baseball and Cub fans. Needless to say, dude went OFF. This was before it was acceptable and apropos to use cassette recorders (apparently you still had to write it down on a little notebook while smoking non-filtered cigarettes) but someone had one rolling, unbeknown to ol' Lee. This one is priceless. If you want to read the full text of The Rant, then click HERE.

Lee has turned the rant's fame into a positive thing. This week he is in Chicago raising money for Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities by selling autographed balls that say "Print it!" on them, and feature an audio chip in the display case that will play his new rant:
“I’ll tell you one thing, it’s time the Cubs get hotter than hell this season and stuff it up the rest of the baseball world. The 40,000 fans who fill the ballpark everyday and work hard for a living are no nickel dimers! They deserve a championship. They’re the real Chicago Cub fans. And PRINT IT!”

What the hell?: Lee took a lot of shit, but him and Dallas Green really built the Cubs team that went on to peak in 1984. Damn Leon Durham. Recently, he has been a bench coach for quite a few seasons, mostly under Lou Piniella. Sweet Lou even stated that he wanted to have Lee Elia on the bench for the Cubs, but the Tribune gave Lee the ol', "Nah, brah." God forbid we should have too many people to make Aramis play harder. Elia is currently an adviser for the Seattle Mariners.

Did You Know?: Lee hit .176 in 15 games for the Cubs in 1968. I think I counted 38 variations of 'fuck' in the rant, not to mention the multitude of "shit" and "cock" that was strewn about.

The Gist: Game 28

11:01 PM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Brewers 10 - Cubs 7

Selfishly, I went into this game hoping that Jason Marquis would pitch a gem. That result would be beneficial for us two-fold: first, it would mean that we'd most likely win the game and secondly, it would keep raising Marquis' trade value. A win/win situation. Not tonight.

Even with career Cub-killer Ben Sheets having an off night (Christ! He walked 7 batters in 5 innings!), we still couldn't get it done. The ten run output by the Brewers was bad enough, but with as many baserunners and hits that they had throughout the game, this one could have been worse. The Cub staff had a collective WHIP of 2.33 and allowed a shocking 23 baserunners. Mike Cameron came back from a 25 game suspension in a big way, going 3 for 5 with two RBI and a walk. Results of his piss test were not available at time of publishing. That's now 4 losses in our last 5.

Thunderwatch: 1 hit, 1 run scored, 1 broken bat. If he ever needed "Slumpbuster", it is now. Damn, I better get to work on that...

Up next: tomorrow at 7 CST, Dempster (3-0, 2.90 ERA) against Jeff Suppan (1-0, 3.48 ERA).

Cubs Need To Make A Move

1:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

There always seems to be a stretch in each Cubs season where they stumble a bit and drop a few games to teams they should technically beat. It seems like we may be in the middle of that stretch right now, going 2-3 against the God's Team and the Natty Lights last week.

This is the time where the current Cubs team needs to show us that it's less like last season's team and more like...well...more like none of the other Cub teams that have come and gone over the last century.

I can't very well criticize Mel Kiper Jr. for never going out on a limb with any of his predictions and not make any of my own. So I'll put it down on paper (er...electronic paper?) and say that over their next 32 games (which would bring us to the end of May), the Cubs are going to go 22-9. And to really establish ourselves as one of the best teams in the NL, we're going to have to have a stretch like that, as next month's schedule is pretty weak. The combined record of the Cubs' opponents through the end of May is 114-117. Take away the record of the only dangerous team in that stretch (the Diamondbacks at 18-7) and that record falls to a not-so-great 96-110. Add to that the fact that 18 of those 31 games are against division opponents, and it seems like the next month is the time for the Cubs to really separate themselves from the pack, starting today against the Brewers. Notorious Cub Killer Ben Sheets is supposed to start if he doesn't separate his shoulder getting out of bed, but a loss to him is already factored into my prediction.

You heard it here first: Cubs will go 22-9 through the end of May and will go into June with a record of 38-18.

Rockies in 6.

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria: Week 4

8:00 AM | 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 Cuatro

Wet Fart of the Week: Barry Zito, Giants - Oh how the mighty have fallen. It seems like only a couple of years ago that I was reading yet another fluff piece in ESPN The Magazine about how you loved to surf and woo women. You cradled your acoustic guitar in your arms like it was your first born child and the look in your eyes told the world that you, not them, were going home to Alyssa Milano. Wait, that was only a couple of years ago. One huge contract ($126 mil for those bean-counters at home) and countless Alyssa Milano boyfriends later, and there you sit, 0-6 with a 7.53 ERA, pulling splinters out of your ass in the Giants pen. Take heart young Zito. My wife still thinks you're cute.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Felix Hernandez, Mariners - After showing flashes of brilliance his first two seasons, King Felix looks like he will finally live up to the massive hype that accompanied his arrival. Stud pitchers always take a bit longer to develop than their maple and ash swinging counterparts, and it was no different with Felix. With 2 wins, a 2.22 ERA and 41 K's, it looks like Hernandez, not Bedard may be the most significant starter in the land of grunge rock and Starbucks.

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Scott Hairston, Padres - After hitting some huge clutch homers late in the season last year and a guaranteeing himself a spot in the Padres outfield, this was to be the year that Hairston broke out. After a quick start, he stumbled out of the gate, and his .184 average landed him on the bench in favor of Paul McAnulty. Who? The Anul Bandit of course.

Not Even Jesus Would Have Caught That: Reed Johnson, Cubs - Best. Catch. Ever. The Pride of Riverside, soiling pants across the Midwest and greater DC area. Watch the dick in the dirt action here.

Better Than a Double Bill of Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf Too: Pat Burrell and Chase Utley, Phillies - The two hottest hitters in baseball and they play for the same team. Chase Utley sports a .359 BA, 10 dongs and strong enough sperm to impregnate your grandmother. Pat Burrell goes up there and literally swings a tree trunk. This tree trunk has produced 8 donkey punches and a .349 BA. It's Mike Schmidt/Juan Samuel 2.0

Barry Zito, This is Your Life: Matt Morris, Pirates - After inexplicably trading for Matt Morris last year and taking on his $10M salary (highest paid Pirate ever!), the Bucs finally cut their losses after Matty got off to a dubious start. 0-4, 9.67 ERA and only 9K's. Hmmm...didn't his career start to go downhill with the Giants at around age 30 too? (Ominous Music. Perhaps the 'Unsolved Mysteries' theme song)

Give These Guys A Greasy Taco:

Carl Crawford, Rays: .407 AVG, 6R, 4SB
Lance Berkman, Astros: 4HR, 12RBI, .455 AVG
James Shields, Rays: 2-0, 12K, 1.12 ERA
Jason Werth, Phillies: .323 AVG, 4HR, 9R
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs: 2-0, 0.64 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Paul Maholm, Pirates: 2-0,1.20 ERA, 0.73 WHIP
Evan Longoria, Rays: .333 AVG, 2HR, 2SB
John Lannan, Nats: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Give These Guys a Taco Filled With Cilantro:

Francisco Liriano, Twins: 2/3 IP, 81.00 ERA, Red Roof Inn
Gil Meche, Royals: 10 IP, 9.90 ERA, 2.00 WHIP
David Wright, Mets: 3/25, 0HR, 2RBI
Bronson Arroyo, Reds: 3 2/3 IP, 8ER, 3.00 WHIP
Roger Clemens: Alleged Wandering Weiner
Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: .167 AVG, 2RBI, 0SB
Chode Figgins, Angels: 4/26, 1R, 0SB

MLB Impotence Rankings

1:26 PM | 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 bring you Thunder Matt's MLB Impotence Rankings, a list of the 10 most craptastic teams of the moment.

4/28/2008
Last week's ranking in (parentheses)

10. Cincinnati Reds (6) - Dusty gets credit for finally wising up and playing Joey Votto at 1B over Scott Hatteberg. That credit is immediately lost though when he decides to start Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston Jr. (at leadoff!), and Paul Bako in a game.

Amazing Stat: In 64 AB, Paul Bako is batting .328. What the shit?

9. Toronto Blue Jays (NR) - A recent six game skid lands Toronto on the rankings this week. I'd chalk it up as an early season slump and nothing more. They're definitely better than their record shows. Either way I don't think anyone in Canada has noticed or cared, what with the Stanley Cup playoffs and all.

Amazing Stat: A.J. Burnett has a 6.07 ERA and is fucking up my fantasy team.

8. Minnesota Twins (8) - The Twins maintain their 8th place standing by continuing their sub-par play. The bullpen is being overworked, Francisco Liriano has been sent down, and Vicente Padilla just pitched a complete game shutout against them, something he hasn't done since his "glory days" in Philly.

Amazing Stat: Delmon Young still leads the league in unrealized upside potential.

7. San Francisco Giants (4) - Barring the Barry Zito shitstorms, the Giants have somehow "improved" enough in the last week or so to drop to 7th. But for a team that can't push Zito to the bullpen because they're too thin in the rotation, I doubt they'll drop off the top ten any time soon.

Amazing Stat: Tim Lincecum's ERA is 1.23. The rest of the rotation is 5.24.

6. Washington Nationals (1) - Hey, congrats to the Nats for getting out of the #1 slot and dropping to 6th. They've won 4 of their last 6, including two to the Cubs this past weekend. That being said, I wouldn't hold out much hope of seeing them drop any lower on the list.

Amazing Stat: Hey, Nick Johnson isn't hurt yet!

5. Colorado Rockies (NR) - The Rockies have lost 7 of their last 10. Manny Corpas has lost his closing duties to Brian Fuentes. Rockies management has started using a new rallying cry to get the team pumped up. "It's time to drop the losing and pick up the Lord!"
Amazing Stat: Troy Tulowitzki is batting .157. Meanwhile everyone's favorite venison monger, Clint Barmes is batting .305.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (10) - Oh Pittsburgh, will you ever be good? Even Kansas City managed a winning record in recent memory. The only bright spot on this team seems to be Nate McLouth. Nate will go 2-4 with a double and 3 RBI's as well as punch you in the face and have sex with your girlfriend, and oddly you will be ok with it. Sorry Chris Duffy, you no longer have a home.

Amazing Stat: Matt Morris was let go as Pittsburgh finally realizes he hasn't thrown effectively since 'Nam

3. Kansas City Royals (NR) - After briefly treating their fans to some winning baseball at the start of the season, Kansas City has finally nestled into the #3 spot in the rankings. The Royals have lost 8 of their last 10. Eh, I can't bag on KC too much. Like Pittsburgh, they've got a good group of fans that certainly deserve better than what they've got in the last 15 years. I can't help but hope that some day they'll get out of this funk and turn things around.

Amazing Stat: Zack Greinke's ERA is 1.25, Brian Bannister's is 2.48. Could this be the beginning of an effective one-two punch in the Royals rotation?

2. San Diego Padres (NR) - Now here's a team I have no problem bagging on. The Padres are 10-16 and have lost 8 of their last 10. While their starting pitching has been pretty solid, their relief pitching and offense have been suspect. Trevor Hoffman just doesn't look like the same young buck, rocking the jorts. Oh yeah, and they have Glendon Rusch in the bullpen, who's about as effective as Mark Prior's vagina. The offense has been miserable with Adrian Gonzalez's .280 AVG currently the best on the team. In a close second is Kevin Kouzmanoff with a fat .257.

Amazing Stat: San Diego as a team is batting .225 with a .620 OPS.

1. Texas Rangers (7) - Only two things come from Texas, steers and shitty baseball. Actually in the case of the Rangers it's mainly shitty pitching. Their offense actually isn't too bad at all. but man this pitching staff is as E-Claire would say, hella bad. Sure Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla are pitching decently, at least as far as what you can expect from someone like Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla. But beyond that, the rotation has looked atrocious. Then there's the bullpen. Any team that can just wear down the Texas starter early will be licking their chops in the later innings. However the main exception is C.J. Wilson. When he's not painting his teammates with generalized stereotypes, he's mowing down opposing batters in the closer role. If Texas can just get enough runs to take the lead before the final inning, they can have Wilson close it out and they'll be just fine.

Amazing Stat: Counting their days as the Washington Senators, the Rangers franchise currently has been around the longest without having even played in a World Series.

Look who got better and dropped off the previous list: #2 Detroit, #3 Cleveland, #5 Houston, #9 Atlanta

Poor Man's War Criminal: Hannah Montana

8:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

As a young male with no children, I have no business knowing who Hannah Montana/Myley Cyrus is but since I don't live in North Korea I can't escape the media onslaught surrounding this little tramp. Remember the torment of Achey Breaky Heart? Yep, the same inbred Cyrus family genes are at work here. Go away already damn it.

Thunder Matt Turns 2!

12:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


Today is Thunder Matt's Saloon's second birthday! As part of the celebration, take a look back at some of the finer moments of the last 2 years.

The very first post in Thunder Matt's Saloon history.

The first post by our fearless leader, Mr. Chip Wesley.

The Gov's first post where he informs us that Jonathan Broxton is nothing but a less-gay version of Kyle Farnsworth.

Chaims first post. Apparently, he's a MLB stalker/groupie.

A general rundown of the principles the Saloon was founded on.

The Saloon's very first War Criminal: Nomar Garciaparra. All Nomar did in retaliation was sign with the Dodgers and...get hurt a lot

Our very first Realm of Red: David Caruso, a dead ringer for The Gov.

A great day in Cubs history. The only thing Michael Barret was good for was punching White Sox. That's good enough for me.

The first Bartender banter. How exciting was it? It was titled "Crickets".

Remember the Fantasy Hurricane League? Neither does anyone else. A rare misstep for the Saloon.

One time, Brant Brown tried to listen to Colin Cowherd for a week...but he'd never let Colin take care of his cat.

The awesome All 80's Team series begins
.

The first edition of Chaiming In. This piece needs to make a comeback.

The inaugural Mile High Minute, which somehow involves the Arizona Cardinals now?

The Governor's very first press conference. Never has the news been so much fun.

The first Brant's Rant. Anyone that's been to the Saloon knows that there are many...many...many where that came from. He also hates DVD's and Ken.

Our first ever War Hero: Freddie Mercury. This is one of the pieces on the site that we all respect and still brings a tear to our eyes.

Our 200th post! Yay?

The first annual Rick Astley Awards. I don't believe I'm alone in saying that these need to come back. Now.

The first post by the now missing Martin Gramatica. I'd say maybe he found a job kicking in the NFL again, but we all know that's not true.

The awesome debut of Thundersim 2000.

Truly one of the high points in the history of the Saloon, the unforgettable Cubs Media Social. Awww shit...you know.

It's never a bad time to take a stroll through Thunder's Trophy Room. NOTE: Murton OWNS Aaron Harang.

The debut of the often controversial and downright hilarious Ronald McDonald Fantasy Baseball tips.

The first Thunder Matt Movie Minute.

What ever happened to the weekly Gracies and Neifis?

TMS' first birthday!


Who is Tommy Buzanis?

Brant Brown left for Russia once. I blame Ken.

First Wrigleyville Bar Project. Yes, we are all alcoholics.

The first You Make The Call.

The glorious debut of the one and only Ken (aka Dave Thomas). He's not a Silver Bullet man.

My first post. It sucked.

The Hundley's first post. Much better than mine.

Our first Wrigley Roundtable. Why are these not more popular?

The first Overrated and Underrated.

The perfect post: Julio Franco's War Hero.

The only post by Tommy Buzanis. Here's where we picked the theme song for the 2007 Cubs.

Our first Cubs of Yore.

Man, did this Overrated: Lunch piece get us talking around the Saloon. The discussion lasted for days on end. The effects are still being felt.

Our first Monday Afternoon Hangover. Mel Gibson is nowhere to be found!

The ill-fated first installment of OJ Simpson's Low Down Dirty Shame. It seemed like a great idea, but when we did them, the Cubs actually played worse, and the Brewers played better. The curse of OJ?

This post about How To Waste A Lunchbreak sparked an uproar from the fans of Billy Boyd. What about Beecake?

How much controversy surrounded the Overrated: Condiments piece?

Apparently not as much as the Overrated/Underrated: English Things post. This was also LB's debut.

You may be wondering why this Max "Chris" Fonticito has disappeared. We're wondering the same thing.

The Mustache Diaries: TMS' classy peak.

The first ever TMS Man of The Year: Manute Bol.

First ever TMS Bookworm post. We can read too!

In case of emergency, break glass.

I'll take any chance I can get to pull up this post about ski masks, the highlight of the first TMS vacation.

The unprecedented Super Tuesday Drunk Blog.

WHAT???

The birth of Steve Finley Was Here. Go read it!

We love Paul Sullivan. A lot.

The Thunder Matt's Saloon Death League. Yes, we do want to go to Hell. Why do you ask?


So knock a few back this weekend while pretending you care about the NFL Draft (Yeah, I'm going there). But remember that TMS is only 2, so if you say you love us, you may be a pedophile. Even in dog years, that's only 14. Perv.

Overrated: The NFL Draft

9:40 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk



Remember the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? Remember how the two people that made the Emperor his new clothes said that they were made from a special material and that if you couldn't see it, it was because you were a dumbass? But really, they were just scam artists and knew that everyone would be so afraid of seeming dumb that they all pretended to see the clothing?

That's sort of how I feel about the NFL Draft. ESPN is the clothing designers, telling us how important the draft is and that if you don't like it, you aren't really a true football fan. The Emperor, of course, is the one and only Mel Kiper Jr. And the townspeople are us, and everyone else that is told that if you have other plans for tomorrow (and Sunday), then you're a terrible person and should cover your head in shame. You probably hate America and Brett Favre too, don't you?

But this has gone on long enough. Allow me to play the 8 year old kid that breaks the silence and admits that the Emperor is indeed naked (Let me apologize to all of you who just thought of Kiper Jr. in the nude. That was unintentional...).

The truth is, I don't really think anyone "likes" the NFL Draft. Sure, even the most casual fan has at least some interest because you want to know who's going to help out your team. And if you have one of the top picks in a good draft, you may be getting a franchise player which is always a plus. But all the hype? The months and months of analysis? Totally unnecessary.

Let's take a closer look at why the NFL Draft is overrated.

1. Mel Kiper Jr.

Any discussion on the draft begins and ends with Kiper. He's one of those personalities that you either love or hate. There's no one that thinks Kiper is "Just ok". But love him or hate him, I actually feel sorry for him. His entire existence at ESPN is based around one weekend a year. If there was no media hype around the NFL Draft, you may not know who this guy is and he'd probably just wander around downtown San Diego with a beard, drinking milk and complaining about the heat.

Because Kiper is stuck as sort of a one-trick pony, he's really gotta hype up the draft as much as possible. And I don't blame him really. If I had only one thing to do at ESPN, I'd do whatever I needed to do to get people to watch, including wrestling midgets and giving draft analysis while experimenting with mushrooms.

But Kiper is in a bad situation. In the weeks and months leading up to the draft, the only thing the public wants is mock drafts. Men will kill to get the most current mock drafts. They come in second behind NCAA brackets on my list of "Things That Come Out WAAAAAY Too Early". But more than any other sport besides baseball, the NFL draft is as close to a crapshoot as you can get. Trying to predict what teams are going to take what players is sometimes an exercise in futility. No one can predict with any accuracy what college players are going to become in the NFL, so Kiper is forced to really hedge his bets sometimes when analyzing picks. You can say that anyone in the draft has athleticism and drive. But just once, I'd like to see Kiper grow a pair and really go out on a limb with his predictions. I wish he'd say things like "I guarantee on my reputation that this guy will make it to the Pro Bowl within 2 seasons" or "This guy is a complete bust. He'll never amount to anything." Hell, he could do a segment every draft looking at the people he predicted as "locks" for greatness and see how right he was. Now THAT would be interesting.

But no...Mel Kiper Jr. just continues to play it safe, never truly criticizing any players or making outrageous predictions that would make the draft much more enjoyable. Plus, he resembles Count Chocula. And I think he gets his overblown sense of superiority from his hairstyle. That thing is a motorcycle helmet. I bet a jumbo jet could crash into that thing and he'd still be sitting there giving us pointless analysis.



2. The Hype

I think I'd be more tolerant of the draft if it wasn't shoved in my face so much. The week or two leading up to the draft is alright. Since it's so close to draft day, it makes sense to get awareness out there. Either that, or by that point I just don't care so the commercials don't bother me as much.

No, it's the analysis that starts immediately following the Super Bowl that bothers me the most. In football, there truly is no offseason. The biggest crime to me is that NFL Live is on year round, but Baseball Tonight doesn't come back until the week before the season. Guys, can't we just take 1 week for a break?

But no, the beast that is the NFL Draft Hype Machine has to be fed. For the 2 months after the Super Bowl and before the draft, we have to see as many mock drafts as possible. Doesn't it seem like a complete waste of time to do mock drafts when A) The season isn't even over so we don't know the draft order yet and B) Underclassmen haven't all declared their intentions yet? What good is that? And the mock drafts come out so damn early that by the time we get to the draft, the "updated" mock drafts look nothing like the ones you saw in mid-February. Free agent signings can completely change team needs and players' performance at the combine can raise and lower their draft stock. At least wait until after all of that to start churning these things out, fellas.

3. "The Next"

If it's one thing I hate, it's draft day lingo. Players don't have potential, they have "upside". Players don't give a lot of effort, they "have a great motor". Players don't stink, they're "overvalued". Speak English please! Don't use the same 10 words to describe every player! While making the draft an easy target for a drinking game, it doesn't tell me much about the players.

Nothing irritates me more than when any player is named "The Next" somebody. Why does every player have to be "The Next" Barry Sanders or "The Next" Tom Brady? Why can't they just be themselves? And like I mentioned before, the analysts never go out on a limb. They always say "This guy has a chance to be the next Marshall Faulk." Well thanks for that, guy. You know what? I have a chance of becoming the next George Clooney too. I never said it was a good chance, but it's still a chance, right? All of us have a chance of waking up tomorrow morning as the opposite sex of what we are today. And if that were to happen, Melanie Kiper Jr. would still be in front of the camera spewing worthless analysis to us.

4. Who?

Outside the top 5-10 picks or maybe someone that went to your favorite school, most people probably have no idea who any of these people are. Yeah, that's fun. I just hope they all have enough "upside".

5. Even Having A Top Pick Sucks

It seems like every year, the team with the top pick tries to trade down for either more picks, or to save money. So having the first pick in the draft isn't even a good thing in some situations. And chances are, whoever you draft #1 overall is probably going to sit out (JaMarcus Russell) or complain his way to a trade (Eli Manning).

6. Really, No One Cares

Admit it. You don't watch the whole draft. Even the most hardcore fans don't watch more than the first round. I'm like most people. If I do watch, it's usually just until my favorite team picks, and then I'm on my way to enjoy the rest of my Saturday. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if 100 football fans were polled and asked if they cared about the entire draft or just when their favorite team was picking, 98 of them would say they only cared about their own team. And maybe you watch it because someone from your alma mater may be picked, and that's cool too. But other than that, there really is no reason to watch the draft live, especially if your team doesn't have a top pick. Just log onto ESPN on Sunday night and check out the results there. I know that looking at a box score is not the same as actually watching a baseball game, but with something as long and boring and drawn out as the draft is, it makes more sense to go out and enjoy your weekend and check in on the draft later.

Remember the Brady Quinn situation last season? What does it say about the draft that the most entertaining thing that happened was when someone didn't get drafted?

My advice for the draft? Air the thing on ESPN still, because there's not much else on during a Saturday morning, but cut back on the hype and promotion big time. It seems like the NFL Draft thinks it has to compete with the NBA Draft, but it can't. The NBA is a much more individual game, in as much that one single player can pretty much carry a team. So when your team has a chance to draft a Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, guys that can completely change the direction of your franchise, it's exciting. But no one football player can turn around an entire team, no matter how good. LeBron James and 4 random dudes can get to the playoffs in the East, but take LaDanian Tomlinson and put him on a team without a decent offensive line and no defense, and you're looking at a loooooong season.

So please, NFL Draft, realize that you just aren't as popular as you think you are and stop trying to make us feel bad if we don't worship you. Until that happens, I'll just continue to tolerate you. Unless you bring in Stephen A. Smith to yell at me for 20 minutes after every pick. Then all bets are off.


"I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT!!!"

War Criminal: The Drive Thru

5:15 PM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


"I hate you."

Let me start this by saying that I used to love the drive thru. I would hug the man who invented it. Apparently, drive thrus started in the US in the 1940's. Since McDonalds also started in the 1940's, I'll just assume that they've been joined since birth, like a pair of freaky (unfunny) conjoined twins.

The drive thru made total sense for fast food and went together with it like peanut butter and jelly or Ozzie Guillen and other dudes. You drive to the fast food place, why should you have to get out of your car if you're going to bring the food home? Who wants to eat inside of a fast food place anyway? Everything smells like fries, and just about every surface in the place is greasy. Drive thru...you get two thumbs up!

I didn't even mind it when the drive thru started creeping into other facets of my life. Drive thru ATM and banking? Fantastic! Drive thru pharmacy? Sounds good! Drive thru liquor store? Ummm...ok! Drive thru marriage? Please excuse me while I stand up and salute the flag and thank God that I live in a country where that's available.

So why the War Criminal? When was the honeymoon with the drive thru officially over? You may not have noticed, but drive thru is getting greedy. The first 2 years of my working life were spent working at McDonalds and Taco Bell, so I know a thing or two about drive thrus. Our orders every day were that if there was a full drive thru line and a full lobby, drive thru always got priority for some reason. So if the drive thru was full and it looked like there was an empty lobby at your fast food place of choice, guess what? You're still gonna have to wait, so you may as well wait in your car. Of course, this would only make the problem worse.

Now it seems like things are finally getting out of control. Back in the day, it seemed like if a drive thru line was too long, people would just say "F that" and go somewhere else. But we as a society are so reliant on the drive thru now that we'll sit there in a line behind 12 other cars and wait the 25 minutes to get our Double Double with Cheese.

The real tipping point for me has been seeing how perverse and insane this drive thru thing has been getting right here in my city of San Diego. Here are 2 examples that make me throw my hands in the air and curse out loud in front of women, children and the elderly.

1. Subway Drive Thru

Can you think of any food place that deserves a drive thru LESS than the freakin' Subway? Everyone knows that no matter what, no matter how simple and uncomplicated your order is, Subway is still going to take a while to get ready. So why would you ever slap a drive thru onto that place, knowing that it's going to take forever to make the food? And I can't remember the last time I went to a Subway and the person making my sandwich didn't almost screw it up. How was I able to stop them? When they reached for the wrong ingredient to add to my sandwich, I told them no. I can't do that in a drive thru, so if I get the wrong sandwich, I either have to eat it and not enjoy it, or go inside and tell them I got it screwed up and make them make another one, which will take twice as long as normal because half the work force is now concentrating on drive thru.

2. The Dual Drive Thru

I know this one was probably designed with people in mind, and it seems like a good idea on paper, but it's a nightmare. Behold what I saw the other morning:



That's right. That's 2 drive thru order screens you see. The McDonalds has 2 ordering lanes. Not only does it fail at speeding things up, but it actually makes things go slower than the normal drive thru because both lanes have to merge before getting to the payment window. This setup also increases the chances of you getting the order that was meant for the person behind you who was ordering at the same time, so good luck with that too.

From what I gather, the whole point of the drive thru is to make things quicker. So why have it at places where you aren't going to get your food quickly? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

EDIT: It has been brought to my attention by SFWH contributor E-Claire that she uses the Subway drive thru so that she doesn't get hassled by the workers either trying to chit-chat or trying to push cookies and chips on her. I see the wisdom in this. Anything that can keep those goons away from me is ok. Subway...we can let you slide.

EDIT: It's just been brought to my attention by the Governor that the Pizza Hut in Yucca Valley has a drive thru. It's not by-the-slice either. You drive up, you order, you wait for 20 minutes, and then you get your pizza. Why not order the pizza and wait from the comfort of your own home? Sure, you may get charged a few bucks for delivery, but other than that, I don't see why it would be used. Or you could order it on the phone 20 minutes before you planned on going out and pick it up on the way home. The point is, why spend 20 minutes in your car at a Pizza Hut when you can spend that 20 minutes doing something more productive, like reading this website?


That's all I have to say. I'm finished...


TMS 30 Greatest Movies: #14 Goodfellas

9:43 AM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Title: Goodfellas
Year: 1990
Genre: Organized Crime
Main Actors: Ray Liotta, Bob DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
Ranked: The Hundley #4, Chip Wesley #8

Synopsis (via RottenTomatoes.com)
Based on Nicholas Pileggi's book WISEGUY, Martin Scorsese's GOODFELLAS is a wry, violent, and exhilarating film about the life of Henry Hill, an aspiring criminal who ends up in the FBI's witness protection program after testifying against his former partners. As a poor Irish-Italian growing up in 1950s New York City, Hill (Ray Liotta) rises through the ranks of his Brooklyn neighborhood's organized crime branch, and with money from the mob he begins living the good life, complete with a beautiful bride, Karen (Lorraine Bracco), a fancy house, and the best seats at the most exclusive restaurants. A botched robbery lands Henry in prison for a brief period of time, and when he gets released, his reckless infidelities and drug abuse damage his association with his adopted family. Scorsese's film is a visual and sonic onslaught, featuring a brilliant pop-music soundtrack and stunning camera work--including the infamous Steadicam one-take that introduces the audience to the Copacabana's patrons. He uses the songs to infuse a breathtaking, invigorating rhythm into every scene. As the psychopathic Tommy DeVito, Joe Pesci delivers an unforgettable performance that is alarming in its cold-blooded callousness, helping to cement GOODFELLAS' place as a classic portrait of life in the mob.

Reasons This Movie Kicks Ass
It's tough to go wrong with a Mafia movie when you have heavyweights acting and directing the feature. Sure, much of it is cliche, but Scorsese works some magic in this one, and tells Henry Hill's story with great detail and amazing cinematography. You could make the argument that Scorsese deserved some hardware for directing and co-writing the script. Maybe the Academy just figured that a cast like that could make any movie great.

The fact that the movie is based on a true story is great as well. The movies spans through a period of 20 years or so, and seeing the characters philosophies and physical characteristics change is key. You get to see the good old days period in Brooklyn, when people looked out for one another in a much simpler time. You get to see that grow into a period of decadence, where a wiseguy did what he wanted, like in the now famous shot of Liotta taking Bracco to a show, not having to wait in line, having doors opened for them, and getting a table front and center. We're also treated to the decadent life of mobsters in PRISON of all places. Steaks, pasta, fine wines and cheeses, you name it. All at their beckoning. And of course, we get to see all of them fall.

Monster Role
Goodfellas features two actors who turn in career performances - Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. Sorry if I offended fans of Unlawful Entry and Home Alone, but them's the facts. Few guys in Hollywood can play a neurotic, coked-up gangster like Ray Liotta did here. And kudos to the makeup department for giving him a constant cocaine enduced sweat glaze for the entire second half of the film. In the other monster role, Pesci gives us classic Pesci - a hyperactive goon that suffers from Little Man Syndrome and is prone to vulgar and offensive language. Sure, it's the same role as he had in Casino and to an extent, My Cousin Vinny, but this film features him doing better than ever before. Pesci is also the most quotable character of the film.

Knock Your Dick in the Dirt Moment
Liotta, DeNiro, and Pesci all enter their favorite neighborhood bar to have a few drinks. Upon entering, they see Pesci's cousin, Billy Batts, who was recently released from prison. Billy Batts is on a roll, busting Pesci's balls about how he used to shine everyone's shoes when he was a boy. Pesci wants to hear none of this, and voices his anger toward his cousin, spouting that he's a big deal now. Batts feigns an apology, buys Pesci and company a drink, before ultimate saying, "Now go get your fucking shine box." Batts ends up shot and stabbed about 50 times before being buried in the woods.

Watch This Movie if You Like
Cussing, Drugs, La Cosa Nostra, Quotable Lines, slicing garlic with a razor blade.

Wrigleyville Bar Project: Harry Caray's

1:37 PM | Comments (0) | by White Chili

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We're here to profile some of the local watering holes around Wrigley, so that you aren't the poor sap who gets dragged into going to the Cubby Bear before the game, wherein you are soon left wondering how your life spiraled out of control so quickly. Tommy Buzanis has pledged to help out with this column, as he is no stranger to the bottle, but you can rest assured that those promises are as empty as his shot glass. So here it is, another sporadically timed, mildly entertaining column that you can only find here at the TMS. Actually you can probably find lots of info on Wrigley bars in a much more concise and helpful format, but that's neither here nor there.

Today's Bar: Harry Caray's Tavern

Website: http://www.harrycaraystavern.com/

Douchebag Factor (1-10, with 10 being this guy): 7

Who You'll See Here: The crowd was pretty diverse and there were even a few Mets fans hanging around from after the game. Since it's right across from the park you can expect a lot of overflow from games before, during, and after.

What to order: The menu is a dumbed-down version of the original restaurant that mostly caters to the bar & grill crowd with lots of appetizers and sandwiches. If you go during a game you can take advantage of the burger bar where you can build any of the half-dozen or so burgers to your liking. The signature chicken Vesuvio is on there as well which, if you're not there during a game, is worth ordering. The beer selection wasn't anything special. Mostly the same draught selections as other bars with a two wild cards on tap depending on the time of year.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: Dutchie, Joe Mantegna, Gary Sinese, Dwight Smith

Summary: I decided to take a walk down to Harry's last night after most of the game crowd was heading home so I knew I wasn't about to have a game day experience. That having been said, I probably learned more about the place than I would have had it been packed. The first thing I noticed was how different everything was from how things used to look when it was called Hi Tops. Instead of a big bar in the middle of everything there was a big open area with some tables that can be cleared away to make room for a dance floor. The bar, measuring 60 feet 6 inches, spans the entire right side of the bar. The look of the bar takes a cue from the original restaurant and most of the walls and ceiling are all dark wood covered in pictures of celebrities and sports memorabilia. You can't miss a huge bust of Harry himself just to the left of the entrance.

Just like every other bar in the neighborhood there are TV's in every direction including a monster 123-inch screen near the back that wasn't being used last night. There are even a few TVs in the bathroom, lest you miss even a second of whatever game you were watching before the Old Style caught up to you.

Our waitress was nice but it took forever to get our first round of beers. She came back and apologized saying that she was working the end of a double shift on game day and that she had a show downtown when she was done so her mind was a little fried. Of course, no problem. A show huh? Let's see, short skirt (check), low-cut shirt (check), high leather boots (check).......nahhh. So I, being the inquisitive type, begged the question:

Me: "So you're going to see a show downtown after you're done working?"

Barmaid: "Oh, no no no, I'm actually in a show."

Me: (fighting laughter) "Oh REALLY?"

According to her she used to be a lawyer and didn't like that line of work so now she works as an improv actress. Suuuuure she does. And I bet she takes those pole dancing classes for the cardio. Gotta keep that resting heart rate up! No, I'm just kidding, strippers don't have hearts. Wakka wakka!

Anyway, I pulled aside a helpful bus boy and grilled him about details. If my broken English was on par, there are rarely, if ever, any drink specials. The upstairs is open on game days and on weekend nights with some couches and there's a VIP room that you can reserve if you order bottle service. Usually the bar is open until 11 but on weekends they stay open until about 4 am. He also mentioned that Dutchie has made a number of appearances and, this comes as no surprise, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Just ask Chaim and Tommy Buzanis. For a bus boy, he had an awful lot of information, don't you think?

All in all I think this place will be pretty popular with the kiddies. Think of it as a "classy" Cubby Bear.

Thunder Matt Rating: 7 empty Old Style cans out of a 12 pack.

Wrigley Roundtable

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

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: Don't Mess With Success?

There's no question that the Cubs are playing fantastic baseball. Chaim Witz is leading the charge here around the Saloon, professing his love for this year's Cubs while sporting one of the largest Cubs-induced erections anyone has seen in the last century.

Here's the catch: The Cubs are 7-1 since Alfonso Soriano hurt himself. Right now we have Reed Johnson, Felix Pie, Daryle Ward, Matt Murton, Fukudome, Mark DeRosa, Fontenot and Theriot somehow all sharing the at-bat's for 5 positions. Somehow, it's working. Mad genius Lou can do no wrong.

So here's the question: Will bringing back Soriano rock the boat? Obviously Soriano is talented and you aren't going to keep him on the bench if he's good enough to play, but will it screw with the offensive success we've been enjoying over the last week or so? And if he comes back and Lou sticks him in the lower half of the order, will he become some kind of distraction?

TMS 30 Greatest Movies: #15 Fellowship of the Ring

5:16 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Title: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Year: 2001
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Main Actors: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Billy Boyd, Christopher Lee
Ranked: Brant Brown #9, Chaim Witz #3



This movie is too long to write about.

The Gist, Game #19

9:40 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Hi-Yo! Check Please!


Men in Blue 7, Team Associated With Coked-Up 80's Debauchery 1

Holy cow, what a win. Great game. Something about seeing the Cubs on National TV always gets me pumped up, even if it is ESPN. The Cubs did not disappoint on the national stage, proving that they can play with the big boys and that they're more than just the Pirates daddy.

Fat Z was on his game again. Let me put this in writing, yet again. If healthy, this horse will win the Cy Young. As the announcers remarked (It was so refreshing to listen to ESPN announcers not named Joe Morgan), he looks as if he's harnessed all of his emotions this year and is a 'good excitable' rather than just 'caffeine addled hyper'. Must be the bananas.

Leading 2-1 in the 8th, the Cubs loaded the bases only to see DeRosa and Soto go down on strikes. It looked like we'd be nursing a 1 run lead heading into the 9th, until Ronny Cedeno, after a great at bat, lined a base hit up the middle, plating two.

Ronny has been much maligned (for good reason) by Cubs fans, but I was thinking just yesterday that I've actually been pretty impressed with his play this year. He seems much more relaxed at the plate this season and it seems like every time he goes up there now he battles. He's no longer an automatic out. I feel like his presence on the roster is completely justified.

Speaking of automatic outs, up next steps Felix Pie. Boom! 3-run donkey. Are you kidding me? I love that no one looked happier for the kid than Sweet Lou in the dugout. Felix was grinning like a 4 year-old Chaim Witz when he was given a Dukes of Hazzard birthday cake. It's not too late for the boy to turn it around. I would love to see him turn the corner, as if he were good, he would be like an infinitely more likable version of Soriano. Even my wife aptly commented tonight, "he seems like he'd be funny." And that's all we can ask for in a ballplayer in this post-9/11 society.

Can you feel it? This is gonna be a good year. It's got a certain mojo and aura that's hard to classify. The scary thing is, we're gonna get better. Rich Hill and Ted Lilly have no where to go but up, and once they get on track...well, I don't know if a Cubs team has ever qualified as being scary, but dammit if we're not getting pretty close.

Go Cubs!

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria: Week 3

1:45 PM | 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 Tres

Wet Fart of the Week: Frank Thomas, Blue Jays - The Blue Jays hastily parted ways with the Big Hurt after he got off to his traditionally slow start, batting just .167, albeit with 11 RBI thus far. Gotta open up playing time for that Matt Stairs kid. Frank still seems to have a little left in the tank, and unlike Barry Bonds, isn't a team cancer, so he'll likely end up somewhere else shortly. I would expect Tampa Bay would be a good fit, as that seems to be the place where past-their-prime sluggers go to fade off into oblivion, but not before padding their stats a little.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good
: Joe Crede, White Sox - A month ago, if we were discussing the sleeper 3B candidate for the South Siders, we would have been referring to Josh Fields. Who knew that Joltin' Joe Crede was actually the real sleeper in the equation? Early Spring rumors had his bags all but packed for baseball purgatory (San Francisco), but with 5 HR, 18 RBI and a .305 AVG he may want to rethink taking up Omar Vizquel on his offer to 'show you all of San Francisco's sordid bath houses, brothels and underground hippie communes.'

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot
: Yankees young hurlers - Ian Kennedy is pitching more like Ian Ziering. Joba Chamberlain went to be with his sick dad and missed the whole week. Phil Hughes won't bend the bill of his hat, and has thus suffered the same slow start as another reputed straight-billed starter, CC Sabathia. Maybe they should have traded a couple of these guys for that Santana guy after all. Where's Hideki Irabu when you need him?

Yep, I Gave Em AIDS: Ben Sheets and Rich Harden, Brewers and A's - No sooner do I laud them for their fast starts in Week 1's recap, does Harden go on the DL with shoulder woes and Sheets get a start pushed back to due to triceps trouble. Better that than 'chronic fatigue' I suppose.

You're a Shame to Your Family, Your Team and More Importantly, Jesse Orosco
: The Pirates lefthanded starters - Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke gave new meaning (and not a good one) to the phrase 'soft tossing lefties'. Duke failed to strike out one batter in 10IP this week, Gorzelanny hasn't made it out of the 3rd inning in his two starts against the Cubs and Maholm has been more hittable than Bret Myers' wife. Apparently there's some Pirate disease where their lefties show tremendous potential as rookies and then suck horribly from there on out. The only cure? Trade them for Roberto Hernandez. See Perez, Oliver.

Derek Jeter, You and Your Weird Fade Haircut are No Longer The Apple Of NY's Eye: David Wright, Mets - This guy is amazing. He hits, he runs, he plays defense, his grooming habits are impeccable and I'm told he makes sweet love like a young Frankie Sinatra. Is there anything this guy can't do? (Wait...we're being told that he's merely average at Pictionary. So there you have it.)

Shhh...We've Secretly Replaced Their Wooden Bats With Big, Red Wiffle Bats: LA Dodgers - I haven't seen this kind of ineptitude at the plate since the Deadball era. I suppose when you lock up Nomar, Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones, you reap what you sow. Their leading hitter this year? Yep, Alyssa Milano.

Triumphant Return of the Week: Matt Murton, Cubs - Who else but the prodigal son? He's a bit rusty (staub), as evidenced by his 1-6 showing on Sunday, but that's to be expected from this ginger batsmith. He did get a swinging bunt and drove in two runs on RBI groundouts, which were admittedly, the most exciting RBI groundouts ever. A few more games and Thunder should be back to his usual Ruthian ways, hitting dongs onto Waveland and autographing the unformed heads of babies.

Ok, So Maybe It Was a Good Signing
: Reed Johnson, Cubs - We were the first to criticize the Pride of Riverside, Reed Johnson, but admittedly most of that was merely bitterness stemming from the mistreatment of Red Jesus, Thunder Matt. But given Felix Pie's level of unforeseen sucktitude, this Reed Johnson kid has proved to be a breath of fresh air. So far, he hasn't looked merely 'passable until we make a trade', but instead, legitimately 'good'. I'm still not sold on that landing strip he's got on his chin, but with each passing day he's winning me over with his wiles and charm. Reed, will you continue to stay in this house and rock my world?

Give These Guys a Greasy Taco

Chase Utley, Phillies: .391, 5HR, 8RBI
David Wright, Mets: 12/23, 9RBI, 1SB
Nate McLouth, Pirates: 2 HR, 5 RBI, 18 gm hitting streak (season)
Mark DeRosa, Cubs: .421 AVG, 8RBI, 1SB
Manny Ramirez, Red Sox: 10/24, 4HR, 8RBI
Ervin Santana, Angels: 2-0, 14K, 1BB
Cliff Lee, Indians: 1-0, 8K, 0.40 ERA (season)

Give These Guys a Taco Filled With Cilantro:

Ryan Howard, Phillies: .174 AVG, 10K, 0SB
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Hurt doing the 'hop'. Idiot.
Jason Giambi, Yankees: 2/18, 0HR, 2RBI
CC "Don't Call Me DeVille" Sabathia, Indians: 4IP, 9ER, 1K, 200LDL
Jose Valverde, Astros: BS, 6ER, 19.29ERA, ADD
Matt Cain, Giants: 3.2 IP, 9ER, 2HR
Justin Verlander, Tigers: 0-1, 2.20 WHIP, 1K

Thunder Matt's Bat Odyssey (Part II)

8:01 AM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Definitely an old school flavor. Working on a belt drivn lathe from the 50'sWell, after talking about it, I finally got around to starting the Thunder Matt Bat. First off was making a prototype. Originally I had some regular 2x4 lumber glued up, but after roughly shaping it, I was growing tired of half of it chipping off and hitting me in the face. If you're scoring at home, that's not good. As luck would have it, I found a solid piece of fir (very soft wood) that would hopefully do better, and it did.

I started out trying to shape the bat by memory, but I quickly found that since Little League, years of Mt. Dew, Old Style and roll-your-own cigarettes had left my memory about as sharp as a Jamie Moyer fastball. A quick trip to the parents house produced a wooden bat from the Field of Dreams and got me back on track. Working away in my garage for the first time this year was nice. The weather is better, I could open the windows, but everyone and their grandma seemed to wander in and see what was going on. "That doesn't look like bat!" was the most common remark. "You have a misshaped head" was my common retort.

I do not recommend trying to take a lathe action shot by yourselfWhen I finally was left alone, I set to work on the bat. Never having done this before, I didn't know if you were supposed to start at the barrel or the handle. Because there was more wood to take, I started by roughing out the handle end of the bat. Nothing too terribly exciting to report, you don't have to be super careful when making the initial shape, mostly working with a gouge tool. The initial shaping went pretty well. I'm not an overly accomplished wood turner, but still it only took me about 30 minutes to get to a rough bat shape.

When I started working on the handle end to do some finer, finishing cuts with a 1" skew tool, disaster struck. Because fir is a soft wood with an almost flaky Son of a bitch!grain (and most certainly because I did something wrong), the bat blew out on the end. Needless to say, it was a little frustrating after putting in all the work. I guess that's why you do a prototype first, right? I'm banking on learning from my mistakes on this one, so it won't happen when I get around to turning the final ash stock. In a sense, I was lucky the chip wasn't more severe. I was still able to turn the rest of the bat save for the bottom six or seven inches. Practice, practice, practice.

After getting it pretty darn close to resembling a bat, I decided to call it good. I found that I really need to get a set of calipers and use the Field of Dreams bat for a template, customizing certain features here and there. For example, I like a bigger knob on the end of the bat and I like the bat to have a little bit thicker handle. Like Soriano's bat, I guess. It will probably yield similar batting average results as well. I may also try to hollow out the end to give it some more balance. We'll have to see. For your viewing pleasure, I added some lemon oil to give the bat some color, and you can see it sort of looks like a bat.

That's all for now. Don't forget to vote for name to be engraved on the bat in the right hand column.

The Return of Thunder!

11:41 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Cubs recall Thunder Matt! E-Pat sent down. It took them 3 days to figure out what seemed obvious in the first place. Better late than never I suppose.

National League pitchers are quaking in fear. It's pants poopin' time!

MLB Impotence Rankings

5:16 PM | 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 bring you Thunder Matt's MLB Impotence Rankings, a list of the 10 most craptastic teams of the moment.

4/18/2008

10. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates haven't been too terrible thus far, winning 5 of their last 10 games and sweeping the Reds. Hopefully this weekend series against the Cubs will bump up the rankings a bit for next week.

9. Atlanta Braves - Honestly the Braves shouldn't be on this list. When 5 of your 7 losses are one-run ballgames, it's just a matter of time before you start catching some more breaks. Their pitching rotation has been quite good and the only batter that has struggled so far is Mark Teixeira.

8. Minnesota Twins - Let's see, Livan Hernandez is their best pitcher so far and Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel are the only two to have hit any homers. Some more folks are going to have to pick up the slack here if the Twins are going to stop being so limp.

7. Texas Rangers - After dropping 5 in a row, the Rangers were able to right the ship a little bit by taking two from the Jays in Toronto. Now they head to Boston for four games. While the offense hasn't been too shabby, the pitching has had it's share of issues, most notably Jason Jennings. After three starts, Jennings is 0-3 with a 8.79 ERA with 5 HR, 10 BB and only 7 SO. That's pretty bad, even for Rangers standards.

6. Cincinnati Reds - Dusty's band of commies are heading home today after getting swept on the road by the Pirates and dropping 2 of 3 against the Cubs. The statline of the week goes to Josh Fogg's 2 inning performance on Wednesday. Fogg gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, a hit by pitch and 9 runs, which help push his ERA to a meaty 13.09 on the season.

5. Houston Astros - Breaking news. It has been revealed that Houston actually has 11 losses this season instead of 9.

4. San Francisco Giants - Obviously their recent 5-5 tear* is keeping them from ranking higher on the list. However as long as Barry Zito keeps sucking at life and Bengie Molina remains as their "home run threat", we'll be seeing the boys from the Bay Area for the duration.

3. Cleveland Indians - Definitely not what we expected from the Tribe, who have dropped 7 of their last 10 games. So far Jake Westbrook and Cliff Lee have been the most solid pitchers in the rotation. Fausto Carmona is sporting a nice 1.96 ERA but his 18 walks to just 10 strikeouts in 23 innings is a bit troubling. And then there's C.C. Sabathia, who looks absolutely atrocious. Perhaps his dough-like physique has finally bit him in the ass, which then bled sausage gravy.

2. Detroit Tigers - A week ago they would've been number one, but they've managed to finally piece together a few wins. The Tigers are 3-3 in their last 6 games, which is an improvement, but if you look at those 3 losses.....holy shit. 0-7, 0-11, 1-11 and two of those were with their "ace" Justin Verlander on the mound. The Tigers will need a little more help to get their season from flaccid to erect.

1. Washington Nationals - Hey at least the visit from the Pope distracted folks in DC to how absolutely shitty the Nats have been playing. Not since Bruce, has there been a Benedict to rock a ballpark crowd this hard. Anyway this Nationals team is pretty damn bad. So far this season Cristian freaking Guzman has been their best hitter, Tim Redding is the only starter to earn a victory, and closer Chad Cordero apparently has been inflicted with AIDS. Congrats Washington. You are the shittiest team in Major League Baseball.

*Yes, playing .500 ball would be deemed a "tear" for the Giants.

Cubs of Yore: Dwight Smith

8:27 AM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Nickname: D-Baby

Played for The Cub: 1989-1993

Random Write-up: It's a sad, sad tale when you're known to most Cub fans for playing second fiddle to Jerome Walton, but that's reality. Though Dwight proved to have the (slightly) more productive big league career between the two, his best season was his first, and that was when he finished second on the Rookie of the Year ballot, behind Saint Jerome. In his rookie year, The Cubs took the top spot in the NL East, with Smith hitting an impressive .324 in the two-slot behind, again, Jerome Walton, primarily playing left field, splitting time with Mitch Webster and Lloyd McClendon. Not an easy thing to do, splitting time with Cub Legends such as those. Dwight's high energy game and constant smiles were a welcomed sight in 1989, and there is no doubt that Dwight was pivotal to the team's success.

What the hell?: As some of you diehard and longtime TMS readers know, Dwight has been seen at some Cub Conventions, and even held conversation with our own Chaim Witz and the surly and elusive Tommy Buzanis. With a penchant for wearing loud and outlandish suits that would make even Craig Sager cringe, Dwight is legendary in the Saloon for his public drinking and the trademark phrase of "Aww shit, you know..." when answering any question. It's true.

Also of Note: Not to be confused with the current Minnesota Vikings defensive back, the real Dwight was a second phase 3rd round pick by the Cubs in 1984, and toiled in the minors for five seasons before getting his shot with the big squad. Always a talented singer, Dwight sang the national anthem many times before games, including a game that Your's Truly was blessed to attend. D-Baby struggled to get consistent playing time after leaving the Cubs, but he did win a World Series ring with the Atlanta Braves in 1995, even getting a key pinch hit single in Game 1, and drawing a walk later in the series. Longtime Cub equipment manager, Yosh Kowano said that Dwight was one of his favorite players during his 65 year tenure with the club.

Aww shit, Did You Know? Not only did Dwight Smith have one of the finest manicured mustaches in Cub history, but he also had his own Dwight Smith Game. Much like The Sandberg Game against the Cardinals, Dwight Smith had his own heyday in 1989, when the Cubs rallied from a 9-0 deficit to beat the Astros 10-9. Dwight was a late inning replacement, and ended up with two hits, three RBI, including the game winner. All hail Dwight!

The Gist, Game #14

9:17 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Red Stockings 9, Baby Bears 2

This one pretty much sucked from the get go. Dusty Baker gives veteran stalwart Scott Hatteberg a rare day off in favor of the unproven and undeserving Joey Votto and what happens? Votto socks a home run and drives in five. Surely it was a aberration and Hatteberg will be placed back into the starting lineup post haste.

In other news, which at this point qualifies as old news, Ted Lilly got rocked. I foretold of this man's downfall before the season and my wisdom has been shown to be beyond reproach every fifth day when he takes the mound. Then Jan Lieber came in and immediately got donkey punched by Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card. Dang it Jim!

The only bright spots for the Cubs was that Reed Johnson and Mark DeRosa reached base a combined 8 times. Alas, out of those 8 times, they only scored a combined one run. Edison Volquez was, as they say, effectively wild.

Nice little side note. Mike Fontenot, who the Cubs decided could play second base full time (with DeRosa in left) while Soriano is out, thus negating the need to call up Thunder...yeah, he was 0-5 with 7 runners stranded.

I'm finished.

Wrigleyville Bar Project: Bernie's

3:59 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We're here to profile some of the local watering holes around Wrigley, so that you aren't the poor sap who gets dragged into going to the Cubby Bear before the game, wherein you are soon left wondering how your life spiraled out of control so quickly. Tommy Buzanis has pledged to help out with this column, as he is no stranger to the bottle, but you can rest assured that those promises are as empty as his shot glass. So here it is, another sporadically timed, mildly entertaining column that you can only find here at the TMS. Actually you can probably find lots of info on Wrigley bars in a much more concise and helpful format, but that's neither here nor there.

Today's Bar: Bernie's , 3664 N. Clark St.

Douchebag Factor (1-10, with 10 being this guy): 2

Who You'll See Here: Astute Cub fans, young and old, people from Iowa just getting off their tour bus making a beeline to the bathroom.

What to order: What has become a standard pre-game drinking hole for us, all I can honestly recommend is a can of Old Style, since that's all I've ever had there. Important note, if you get there before 10am, the Old Style might be warm since it probably was just put in the cooler for the day. I've seen folks order food before. I can only assume it's your standard bar sandwiches and such.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: George Wendt, Ron Santo, any TMS bartender. We once saw Billy Corgan walk by the beer garden so I guess that counts.

Website: I couldn't find one. Not even a MySpace. There are reviews on sites like Metromix and CitySearch. Use your keen Google skills to find them.

Summary: Located right next door to Casey Moran's, Bernie's appears a little more low-key than it's synthetic prefabricated neighbor. Maybe that's part of what I like about it. It's legitimately the only true Wrigleyville bar that's been around for ages that I can tolerate. For the uninitiated to the Wrigley experience, the typical buffoon will direct you to Murphy's, or Sports Corner or the Cubby Bear, or one of the other well-known-yet-overrated bars around the stadium. You'd be better off ignoring them and heading to Bernie's. The staff is always friendly and the typical crowd knows a bit more about the team than the fairweather fans you find at the other joints. You'll hear more real baseball conversations and less "I think Ryan Theriot is cute," type statements.

As I mentioned earlier, Bernie's has become a staple for us as the place for pre-game beverages. Its close proximity to the bleachers makes it a great meeting point if other friends are joining you. I don't know about you, but "Meet me at Bernie's," sounds much better to me than "Meet me by the Harry Caray statue." Unless of course someone stashed a cooler of Old Style inside Harry, but alas security got kind of pissed the last time I climbed the statue to inspect for the mythical beverage booty.

The last few times I've gone, we were early enough to be able to belly up to the bar. That's always nice as you can quickly get a refill. However if the bar is full and it's a nice day out, you can't go wrong with grabbing a seat out in their beer garden. Back in '03, Brant, Chaim and myself sat at Bernie's for a Cubs-Cards game. The place emptied out quite a bit once the game started, but the folks that remained were all transfixed on the game. No loud tribal armband and visor-clad douchebags causing a disturbance were to be found. As the game drew to the end the crowd slowly filtered back in, including some Cardinal fans that we had a good time talking some trash with.

Also if you have to drop a deuce for the game, I highly recommend the crapper at Bernie's. It's probably one of the better stalls you'll find outside the stadium, and is much, MUCH better than the shitters inside the stadium, which rank just above waterboarding for most pleasant experiences. But get in there and pinch off a loaf early. The longer you wait, the more likely some drunk jackass will stuff it full of paper towels, piss all over the seat, or some other equally stupid shit.

Thunder Matt Rating: 11 empty Old Styles out of a 12 pack (3 of which you drank before they could sit in the cooler long enough to actually get cold).