Un-F'ing-BelievaBULL

11:39 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Wow. Speechless. With all due respect to the Chicago Blackhawks (it goes without saying that the Cubs and Sox don't even warrant a mention), right now the Chicago Bulls are the ONLY GAME IN TOWN. And if you aren't watching this series, well...I honestly feel sorry for you.*

The latest in chapter in this heart attack inducing saga included tonight's 128-127 Bulls victory....in triple overtime! For those playing along at home, the series is now tied 3-3, with 4 of the 6 games going into overtime. Ri-cock-ulous. Do yourself a favor and look up the highlights. (I can't hold your hand.) Watch Brad Miller hit a huge 3 at the end of regulation. Watch Joakim Noah (what!) make the play of the year with a steal and throw down (and one!) as time was running out. Watch unheralded John Salmons go MJ on everybody with 35. Watch Ray Allen hit clutch dagger after clutch dagger and Rajon Rondo make more bitch fouls.

Madness I tell you!

Game 7 is Saturday night in Boston at 7pm Chicago time. If you don't watch that one, just stop reading our site. (Or writing for our site, same thing.) Even if they lose, it's been epic and they have nothing to hang their heads about (unlike the bloated Celtics), but I honestly think we might pull it off.

Go Baby Bulls!

*Saying that you "don't like basketball" or "hate the NBA" isn't a valid excuse. Sack up and put down your wine cooler. If you like "sports" or even just "competition", this is must-see-TV.

Gist on Ice: Blackhawks 3 Canucks 5

9:46 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

The Blackhawks got off to a rough start in the first game of the Western Conference Semifinals. They looked flat through the first two periods and Vancouver took advantage, scoring once in the first period and twice in the second. The Hawks would find their mojo in the third period, as Patrick Kane scored twice and Davey Bolland chipped in to tie the score. Unfortunately, the momentum shift came too late and the Canucks were able to bounce back, scoring with just over a minute left to play. The Hawks sent off goaltender Nikolai Khabibulan, but even with six attackers on the ice they were unable to tie the game, finally surrendering an open net goal.

Hopefully, the Blackhawks rebound and come back strong from this defeat. They can't afford to give two periods away as they did in this game, not really playing the way they're capable of doing until the final period. Expect this series to maintain a physical, nasty edge, as the bad blood between these teams continues to seethe.

Thunderwatch 2009: Murton Promoted!

2:33 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

STATUS: PROMOTED

Did you think we forgot about our fair-skinned, ginger-haired namesake? Of course not. Thunder Matt has been tearing it up in AAA Colorado Springs and with Rockies 2B Jeff Baker hitting the DL he's finally made the trip up I-25 to the big club in Denver. Murton made his first at bat of the season last night when he pinch hit in the 7th inning. Unfortunately he struck out, but we'll just attest that to butterflies on his first MLB at bat since last July.

In 18 games this season in AAA, Murton has hit .411 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI. He has an on base percentage of .476 and even stole 5 bases (Who knew Thunder had wheels?).

We wish Murton best of luck with his current promotion and hope it certainly sticks longer than just the duration of Baker's DL stint. We'll have the Trophy Room ready.

Underrated: Aramis Ramirez

11:30 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Chaim Witz pointed something out the other day that struck me as odd, but true. If you go to Wrigley or watch games on TV, you'll see scads of fans wearing Soriano, Fukudome, Lee, and Zambrano jerseys, and Theriot is starting to show up more often as well. Tons of folks still wear classics like Grace, Sandberg, and Wood. But what you don't see very often is an Aramis Ramirez jersey. Like Chaim, I find it odd that the guy who is possibly the Cubs' best player is so underrepresented among the fans. There are maybe a couple of reasons for this, which we'll look at here.

Short Memory. In a way, Ramirez has so solidified third base, it almost seems like he's always been there. But he hasn't. Rami was acquired by Jim Hendry midway through the 2003 season. Before Ramirez came, third base was a black hole into which many players disappeared. Todd Zeile, Mark Bellhorn, Ron Cey, Gary Gaetti, Jose Hernandez, and Leo Gomez were just a few of the extended cast of characters that held down the hot corner during my lifetime. The revolving door dates back to when Ron Santo played for the Cubs. Perhaps trading him to the White Sox cursed future thirdbasemen to mediocrity until the Rammer's arrival. I say short memory because for many Cub fans, Ramirez has always been there. The Cubs gained a lot of fans after the 2003 playoff run and many older fans came back to the team and began paying attention again. (By the way, I see nothing wrong with this. My wife became a Cub fan after getting wrapped up in the 2003 playoffs and has been die hard ever since.) The point being, I think Ramirez gets overlooked by a lot of this group because they didn't have to go through watching the endless parade of lousy third-sackers the Cubs have trotted out there. They're spoiled by how consistent Rami is, and he's been overshadowed by higher profile acquisitions the Cubs have made, such as Nomar Garaciaparra, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, the return of Greg Maddux. and the emergence of some farmgrown talent like Geo Soto, The Riot, and little Mikey Horse N Phone.

The No Hustle Tag. For some reason, Aramis has never been able to slough off the onus that some writers and fans have laid on him: that he's lazy. I think that's the biggest load of shit I've ever heard. When we got Aramis from the Pirates, the big knock on him was that he couldn't field. He made a shitload of errors in 2003. The one good thing Dusty B. Baker did for the Cubs was fixing Ramirez's defense. He and the coaches worked with Rami to improve his footwork, especially on the throw to first base. In my mind, Ramirez is now one of the best fielding third basemen in the game. Are David Wright, Joe Crede, and Ryan Zimerman better? Well, yeah, but so what? Ramirez is easily top ten and I would even say top 5, now that Scotty Rolen is on the back end of his career. It's impossible for a lazy player to improve so dramatically. That kind of improvement takes effort and dedication. Now I know, I know, there's a buncha people going, "But Arcturus, he doesn't leg out ground balls." Whatever. Aramis had 44 doubles last year. If he ran faster, could he have more? Maybe, but who gives a shit? Aramis is the #4 hitter. His job is to drive in runs. He's also had leg problems and really ain't all that fast to begin with. I don't want our #1 RBI guy blowing out a quad trying to stretch a single into a double just because some dipshits think he ought to be as fast as Theriot. Rami may be slow, but he's a smart baserunner. Guys like The Riot need to hustle, beacuse without that hustle, they're one year closer to being a utility player. Ramirez's bat has got all the hustle he's ever going to need.

The Cock-Fighting Thing. I'd like to hope that most people are grown up enough not to let this bother them. If he were doing it in the US, where it's illegal, then there's a problem. In the Dominican Republic, it's not only legal, but a national past time. Is it cruel? Sure, I suppose, but considering what we do to chickens in the US poultry industry, I don't really see it as a big deal. You want to get outraged, throw your McNuggets at someone before criticizing someone else's native culture.

Low-Key. Lastly, I think the other reason Ramirez gets so little attention is because he likes it that way. He never seems like a showboat, despite the mirrored shades, and his interviews are always very laid back. He never comes off as arrogant and I've never seen him make himself the center of attention. He's got superstar numbers without the superstar baggage and that's one of the reasons he's my favorite current Chicago Cub. I've even got the jersey to prove it.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

12:27 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

ABC - "The Look of Love (Part 1)"

I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your ass about ABC. It was an '80's pop song. Enjoy it as either a guilty pleasure or some token of hipster street cred. Your choice.

CoY Battle Royale: Round 1, Pete LaCock Region

11:47 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Welcome to the first round of the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale. We've finished first round matches in the Jose Cardenal Region. Today we move on to the Pete LaCock Region and another set of 4 first round battles.

A controversial #1 seed, Kyle Farnsworth faces Terry Adams. There's no love lost for Farnsworth with a lot of Cubs fans. But is Terry Adams the man to beat him?

Turk Wendell will have his work cut out for him against Kevin Tapani, and Doug Dascenzo will be scrapping against Todd Walker.

Here's how it'll work. I will outline each matchup, giving the readers a little background about each player. Once you've finished reading, you are then encouraged to vote for your favorite player to win the battle.

There is a link in the right sidebar under "Cubs of Yore Battle Royale". Click on that link to load a survey allowing you to vote on all four battles. Feel free to leave comments at the end of the survey as well.

The battles will close sometime on Friday morning. Results will be revealed later that day.

Now let's get the battles started.

PETE LaCOCK REGION, ROUND 1

#1 Kyle Farnsworth vs. #8 Terry Adams

KYLE FARNSWORTH FAST FACTS*

  • Hails from Georgia.
  • Played with Cubs for 6 years.
  • Drafted by Chicago in the 47th round.
  • Has successfully body slammed Paul Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt on the field.
  • Was primarily a starting pitcher his rookie season and recorded his one and only complete game shutout.
  • Major street in Aurora, Illinois named for him.
TERRY ADAMS FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Alabama.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Saved 37 games for the Cubs, not in one season but for his career with them.
  • Not as popular as this Terry Adams.


#4 Kevin Tapani vs. #5 Turk Wendell

KEVIN TAPANI FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Michigan.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years, posting a 51-50 record during that time.
  • Went 19-9 in 1998 as the Cubs ace in the rotation. Yes, I said "ace."
  • Once traded from the Twins to the Dodgers for Ron Coomer among others. Later the two would be teammates on the Cubs.
  • Member of the Central Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Knows all the words to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" by heart.
TURK WENDELL FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Massachusetts.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Insisted that the umpire roll the ball to the mound rather than simply throw it to him. If an umpire would ignorantly throw the ball to him, Wendell was known to let it go past him, or even to let it bounce off his chest, after which he would retrieve it from the ground.
  • Wore a necklace made from the claws and teeth of various animals he had hunted and killed. He was the Ted Nugent of baseball.
  • Was incredibly vocal about Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa using steroids.
  • Beaned Vlad Guerrero in a game once and afterward said, "If he doesn't like it, he can freakin' go back to the Dominican and find another line of work."


#3 Doug Dascenzo vs. #6 Todd Walker

DOUG DASCENZO FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Western Pennsylvania.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • At 5' 8", pioneered the "small scrappy fan favorite" niche on the Cubs that everyone seems to love. Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot and Sam Fuld owe him a debt of gratitude.
  • Has a career ERA of 0.00 in 5 innings pitched with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. Certainly much better than the 5 innings Neal Cotts has thrown so far this season.
  • Once played in 241 consecutive games without committing an error, a NL record at the time.
TODD WALKER FAST FACTS*
  • Born in Bakersfield, California.
  • Played with the Cubs for 3 years.
  • A victim of "Dustyball", Todd was forced to platoon at 2B with Neifi Perez.
  • Played college ball at LSU.
  • Holds clubhouse record for chugging a half gallon of whole milk in under 4 minutes.
  • Traded to the Padres in 2006 for some young pitching prospect named Jose Ceda. I wonder if that kid will be any good for us? Oh wait, we have Kevin Gregg now.


#2 Dwight Smith vs. #7 Jim Bullinger

DWIGHT SMITH FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from "Awww shit, you know."
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • Batted .324 in 1989 and finished second to teammate Jerome Walton in NL Rookie of the year voting.
  • Sang the National Anthem before Cubs games during his playing days.
  • The Billy Dee Williams of baseball.
JIM BULLINGER FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from the Big Easy.
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • Originally played shortstop but was converted to a pitcher while in the Cubs farm system.
  • Once beaned Andre Dawson and Quilvio Veras in the same inning.
  • After finally retiring from baseball, Jim donated his ears to Carlos Marmol.
Alright, now it's time to hit the polls. You can vote by going to this link, or by clicking on the "Go to Battle" link in the sidebar.

*Some of the Fast Facts may not be true.

CoY Battle Royale Results

9:20 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The first round matches in the Jose Cardenal Region is over and here are the results.

Number of respondents to the battle: 30

Keith Moreland defeats Damon Berryhill, 23-7

Brian McRae defeats Bob Scanlan, 18-12

Rick Wilkins defeats Steve Buechele, 17-13

Mark DeRosa defeats Frank Castillo, 19-11

Thanks to everyone that participated in this round of battles. The next batch of first round battles will be from the Pete LaCock Region. Check back later today to take part.

Awesome Keith Moreland artwork from www.Cubby-Blue.com

TMS Beer Project: Goose Island Summertime

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Goose Island Summertime

Brewery: Goose Island Brewing Company, Chicago, IL

Type: German Style Kolsch

Receptacle: 12 ounce bottle

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 7, This beer is definitely drinkable, although after a while the subtle fruitiness (like my persona) becomes more pronounced and you'll need a palette cleanser. That said, this beer probably lends itself better to a sixer on a hot summer day than a 12 pack of poundage.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed pork chop infected with swine flu): 3, In the previous paragraph I used the phrase 'subtle fruitiness'. That should tell you all you need to know about it's heartiness. Really, if you can handle the superior Goose Island 312, you can handle this. It won't put any hair on your chest, but it's certainly no Miller Chill.

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea): 5, 4.7 % alcohol. That's also the percent chance you'll get drunk after one. Much like interest on your student loan though, it gets exponentially higher after that first one.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Goose Gossage, Emmanuel Lewis, Christopher Nolan, Jazzy Jeff.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): $$, I bought a 12 pack on sale for $11. I'm no good at math, so...you do the math.

Overall: 7.5, A very solid beer, this is essentially the metro-sexual brother of Goose Island 312. Crisp and fresh, and a little sweeter than it's brethren, this one is good for grilling out in the sun and shirking chores.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:58 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Pearl Jam - "Down"

"Down" appears on Pearl Jam's double album of B-sides and rarities, Lost Dogs, and the "I Am Mine" single. The Internets tell us that Vedder's lyrics were influenced from the works of noted historian and author Howard Zinn. I'm inclined to believe this, though I'd rather hear it from Mr. Vedder himself (please feel free to drop a line Ed). The song centers on a wellspring of hope and triumph that rises up from a time of discouragement and despair. Sort of like if the Cubs finally won the World Series after 101 years. One can only hope.

The Gist: Game #19

11:15 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Cubs 11
D'Bags 3

Chaz Zambrano took the mound Tuesday looking to even up the series in Arizona. Despite the absence of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, the boys in blue pounded the snakes. Milton Bradley and his tender groin were back in the lineup, contributing two hits. Little Mikey Horse 'n' Phone had a two-run jack in his attempt to make up for the previous game's fielding miscues. Soriano also tacked on a three-run homer. The real star of the game though was Big Z, who fell a triple shy of the cycle, like so many bright flowering young men, at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. The final two innings were highlighted by Ted Lilly placing a giant orange moth on Gerald Perry's baseball cap. Len, Bob, and the WGN camera crew were terribly amused, as the moth shenanigans provided a convenient distraction to the fact that Angel Guzman pitched the 8th and 9th. The rubber match of the series will be played as a rare weekday afternoon game in the desert, with Dempster squaring off against Doug Davis.

The Gist on Ice: The Bulin Wall Edition

11:35 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

If Nikolai Khabibulin pays for a drink tonight, his teammates are a bunch of pikers. The Bulin Wall was rock solid this evening, delivering 43 saves in 44 chances. He wasn't scored upon until the third period and was absolutely fucking incredible in the second, making several amazing saves as the Flames fired 17 shots at him, 1 more shot than the Hawks had in the whole game. As announcer Eddie Olczyk said, Calgary could have had two pucks on the ice and Habby still wouldn't have allowed a goal in that period. A true bravura performance to secure the Blackhawks' first post-season series win since 1996. While the offense didn't take many shots on Miikka Kiprusoff (16), they made the most of it, scoring twice in the first and once in the second before Dustin Byfuglien put the game away for good with an empty net goal near the end of the third. Congratulations to the Blackhawks and good luck in the second round!

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:13 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Jane's Addiction - "Pigs in Zen"

Today we take a selection off of Nothing's Shocking in honor of last week's release of Cabinet of Curiosities, a box set of rare and original material compiled by Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins. Jane's Addiction has once again reunited (for the first time as a complete quartet) and will be one of the main stage acts at Perry Farrell's baby, Lollapalooza. They will also be embarking on a tour with the incorrigible Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails this summer.

Cubs of Yore Battle Royale: Round 1

3:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Welcome to the first round of the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale. Today we kick the tournament off with 4 matches out of the Jose Cardenal Region. There's sure to be some good battles here as top-seeded Keith Moreland comes in with high expectations. Vegas currently has Moreland a 7/2 favorite to win it all.

Another battle of note is #2 seed Frank Castillo battling recent ex-Cub Mark DeRosa. Will fan favoritism from last season push the #7 DeRosa to the upset? We'll see.

Here's how it'll work. I will outline each matchup, giving the readers a little background about each player. Once you've finished reading, you are then encouraged to vote for your favorite player to win the battle.

There is a link in the right sidebar under "Cubs of Yore Battle Royale". Click on that link to load a survey allowing you to vote on all four battles. Feel free to leave comments at the end of the survey as well.

The battles will close at 12:01 AM Central on Wednesday. Results will be revealed later that day.

Now let's get the battles started.

JOSE CARDENAL REGION, ROUND 1

#1 Keith Moreland vs. #8 Damon Berryhill

KEITH MORELAND FAST FACTS*

  • Nicknamed "Zonk".
  • Hails from Texas.
  • Played with Cubs for 6 years.
  • Acquired by the Cubs from the Phillies in December 1981 along with Dan Larsen and Dickie Noles for pitcher Mike Krukow and cash.
  • Played C, 1B, 3B, LF and RF during his time in Chicago.
  • Once hunted and killed a chupracabra.
  • Led the Cubs in 1985 with 106 RBI.
  • Inducted in the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Regarding Keith, former teammate Gary Matthews once said, "I don't think I have ever seen a better hitter at the plate when the game is on the line than Keith Moreland."
DAMON BERRYHILL FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Southern California.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Drafted by the Cubs in 1984 with the 4th overall pick.
  • Traded to the Braves in 1991 with Mike Bielecki for Yorkis Perez and Turk Wendell.
  • In 1989 was the main player of a scrappy young trio of Cubs catchers including Joe Girardi and Rick Wrona.
  • Has seen every episode of "Moonlighting."
  • Took over the starting catching job from Jody Davis in 1988. Davis held the job since 1982 when he took it from none other than Keith Moreland.

#4 Brian McRae vs. #5 Bob Scanlan

BRIAN McRAE FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Florida.
  • Son of All-Star DH Hal McRae.
  • Played with Cubs for 3 years.
  • Acquired from the Royals for Geno Morones and Derek Wallace. Wallace threw in 33 career major league innings. Morones never even got a cup of coffee.
  • Known for his speed, McRae led the '96 Cubs in stolen bases with 37. In '95 he stole 27, which was second best on the team behind Skinny Sammy Sosa.
  • Was born with a full five o'clock shadow.
  • Took pain killers while playing in New York, more than likely to deaden the feeling of playing for a worse franchise at the time than the Cubs.
BOB SCANLAN FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Southern California.
  • Played with Cubs for 3 years.
  • Saved 14 games in 1992, the most by anyone on the team that year.
  • Came to the Cubs along with Chuck McElroy in a deal that dumped Mitch Williams to the Phillies in an effort to later crush the souls and spirits of their fans.
  • 2-time state arm wrestling champ.
  • Bob hates batters that swing too hard.

#3 Rick Wilkins vs. #6 Steve Buechele

RICK WILKINS FAST FACTS*
  • Whereabouts unknown.
  • Rick Wilkins may not so much be a real person as a myth. A strange being that appeared in 1993 and hit .303 with 30 home runs. When the baseball strike hit, the creature that called himself Rick became disheartened with the game and returned to his mythical homeland. In an effort to make fans believe Rick was still around, the Cubs brought in a lookalike in 1994. But after batting .227, the astute fan deemed this replacement a mere charlatan. Before the truth was found out, the Cubs managed to trade the Fake Rick Wilkins to Houston for Luis Gonzalez and Scott Servais.
STEVE BUECHELE FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Southern California, where 86% of all American-born ballplayers originate.
  • Played with the Cubs for 4 years.
  • The Buechele Era was the longest tenure for a starting Cubs 3B throughout the 1990s.
  • 3-time All-"Big League Hair" selection.
  • Was the Cubs' bounty when they mercifully rid themselves of Danny Jackson.
  • A rainout game attended by Chaim, Brant, and myself has been officially dubbed "Hurricane Steve Buechele." Here is a brief account of the game from Retrosheet:
5/11/2003: The Cardinals were at Wrigley Field and a 23-MPH wind was blowing out to right field. In the bottom of the first, Moises Alou of the Cubs hit a 2-run homer off Brett Tomko to centerfield. In the top of the second, Albert Pujols hit a grand slam to leftfield off Matt Clement. Corey Patterson led off the bottom of the second with a homer to rightfield. In the top of the third, Tino Martinez hit a solo homer to leftfield. Troy O'Leary hit a 2-run homer to leftfield in the bottom of the third. In the top of the fourth, Martinez homered for the second time in the game. This time it went to rightfield and scored 3 runs. In the bottom half of the fourth, Alex Gonzalez hit a 2-run homer to leftfield. He was the last batter faced by Tomko. The game was rained out in the top of the fifth inning. The final count in this day's barrage: seven home runs and a score of 11-9 St. Louis ahead all lost to the weather.

#2 Frank Castillo vs. #7 Mark DeRosa

FRANK CASTILLO FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Texas, where 12% of all American-born ballplayers originate.
  • Played with the Cubs for 7 years.
  • Led the league in losses with 16 in 1996.
  • Threw a couple complete game shutouts one season.
  • Nearly had a no-hitter in 1995. Top of the 9th with 2 outs, Bernard Gilkey hit a pop fly that Sammy Sosa nearly caught on a diving attempt. The ball would roll to the wall giving Gilkey a triple. Afterwards Sosa was heard mumbling about finding some special "enhancers" to help him make the catch next time.
  • Is actually still playing baseball. Last season Frank pitched for the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League.
MARK DEROSA FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Valhalla according to some Cubs fans.
  • Played with the Cubs for 2 years.
  • During those 2 years, Mark played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF and was also a part-time referee for Aramis Ramirez's cockfights.
  • Mark was signed as a free agent in by the Cubs after having what at the time was a career year with Texas. He came to the Cubs in a head-scratching signing and left the Cubs in a head-scratching trade.
  • In 2008, Mark was seventh in the NL with 8 sacrifice flys.
  • According to his Baseball Reference similarity scores Mark is most similar to Mike Lamb.
  • Married to hot model.

Alright, now it's time to hit the polls. You can vote by going to this link, or by clicking on the "Go to Battle" link in the sidebar.

*Some of the Fast Facts may not be true. TMS disclaims any accuracy of the facts mentioned.

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria

9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Week Ending 4/26

Wet Fart of the Week: Chien-Ming Wang - Avert your eyes if you're pregnant or have a heart condition. 3 starts, 0-3 record, 6IP, 23R, 34.50 ERA, 2K, 1 bad batch of sushi. In 2 of this 3 starts he didn't even make it out of the second inning! Now he's on the DL with a "hip ailment". Yikes. There goes my Asian fetish.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Andre Ethier, Dodgers - Often times overshadowed by fellow fantasy man-crush material Matt Kemp, not to mention that Manuel Ramirez guy, Ethier has done everything possible on the field to win the heart (and something else) of Alyssa Milano. 5 HR, 20RBI, a .439 OBP and still no Sportscenter love.

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Chris Iannetta, Rockies - This poor man's Matt Wieters seemed to have all the pieces in place to break out. Prospect pedigree, half of his games at Coors, a solid second half last year and a few eye opening games in the WBC. Alas, thus far he's been more JR Towles than Matt Wieters, sporting an ugly .128 AVG and 5 RBI. A solid buy low candidate, as the Rockies have played most of their games on the road thus far.

Underrated: Stealing Home - I of course refer to the most exciting play in baseball, as performed by Jacoby Ellsbury with the bases loaded vs. the Yankees on Sunday night, and not the Mark Harmon/Blair Brown baseball romance which failed to capture the heart of America. Mark Harmon, you are no Kevin Costner.

No Perry Farrell, We Will Not Be Caught Stealing: Nyjer Morgan, Josh Anderson, Endy Chavez - The stolen base is a lost art in real baseball and a hot commodity in fantasy baseball. While the higher profile guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Ian Kinsler, Bobby Abreu (8 already for the increasingly portly old man!) and Carl Crawford are all doing their thing, the leader board also sports names like Flyin' Nyjer Morgan (6), Josh 'The Anvil' Anderson (6) and Endy 'Hugo' Chavez (5). And lest you consider them all one-category wonders, they are all batting over .300 with at least 8 runs scored. Juan Pierre, we hardly knew ye.

At the bottom of my gut, with every inch of me, I plain, straight hate you. But dammit, do I respect you! Albert Pujols - Are you kidding me with guy? No seriously. 20 R, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 1.178 OPS. I just...(blood pressure rising, getting flustered, at a loss for answers)...steroids!

Break Up the...Pirates? - Could this be the year they break sports longest losing streak? 11-7 with great pitching from the likes of Ross Ohlendorf and Zach Duke. Mauling guys like Jake Peavy and Ricky Nolasco without Ryan Doumit and Nate McLouth. Getting clutch play from both LaRoche brothers. It's a start, but I wouldn't sell those pre-season Steelers tickets just yet Pittsburgh fans.

Give These Guys a Greasy Taco:

Adam LaRoche, Pirates - 9/22, 2HR, 8RBI
Kurt Suzuki, A's - 8/15, 1 HR, 7RBI
Rich Harden, Cubs - 2 W, 17 K, 0.92 WHIP
Albert Pujols, Cardinals - 3HR, 11RBI, 3SB
Ryan Franklin's Goatee, Cardinals - 3SV, 0.00 ERA, 3K
Shane Victorino, Phillies - 5R, 9RBI, 1SB
Torii Hunter, Angels - 3HR, 8R, 6RBI
Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals: 2 W, 8K, 2.38 ERA

Give These Guys a Taco Filled with Cilantro:

Matt Lindstrom, Marlins- 2/3 IP, 7R, 94.50 ERA
Johnny Peralta, Indians- 1/18, OR, 1RBI
Edwin Encarnacion, Reds- 3/27, OHR, OR
BJ Ryan, Blue Jays- 1IP, 3R, 1BS, Black Lung
Oliver Perez, Mets - 11.00 ERA, Bad breath, Toxic
Adrian Beltre, Mariners - 3/24, 0HR, 3RBI
AJ Burnett vs. Josh Beckett - 5IP, 8ER each

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

12:05 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

INXS - "New Sensation"

There was a time when I couldn't distinguish Depeche Mode from INXS. For a while I thought both of their lead singers had died while pleasuring themselves. It wasn't until INXS were given their own reality show that I realized only their singer had met that fate. Though they found a new frontman, the band recently sent him on his way unceremoniously. INXS currently has no permanent frontman, but hey, at least they're not Depeche Mode.

BullGist: Game Fo'

7:54 PM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Celtics 118, Bulls 121 (OT2)

Alrighty, then. This bitch is evened up. After that stinker of a Game 3 (which the TMS editorial staff deemed "unGistaBull"), it's back on. Oh, Christ, is it ever. After years of Marlboro reds, Jack Daniels, and cocaine, I'm not sure that The Hundley's heart can take much more. Free throws missed in the clutch, baffling set plays coming off of timeouts, matador defense, clutch threes, acrobatic driving layups, freefalls onto one's backs...jeepers creepers! Johnny "Red" Kerr, God rest your soul, I have to think you yelled "DAGGER!!" more than a few times in that big announcer's resting place in the sky.

Once again, it came down to Ben Gordon and Ray Allen. Both former UCONN Huskies, both guarding (or lack thereof) each other, both hitting jaw dropping, breathtaking, boner-enducing shots from all over the court, both missing potential game icing free throws. I've never wanted to simultaneously hug and strangle a player as much as I did Ben Gordon. Good for us, it ended in me wanting to hug him. BG has always had a knack for the clutch, and in a must-win game, he was Big Ben once again. (On a totally unrelated note, I've found that if you do enough blow and Jack Daniels simultaneously, when you look at your shirtless self in the bathroom mirror, through the haze of Marlboro smoke you'll swear that your arms are as big as Ben Gordon's.

Much like Game 2, this was all back and forth action in the second half. Boston's Rajon Rondo has taken over as THE dominant point guard in this series, and arguably one of the best in the NBA Eastern Conference. Rondo posted his second triple dub of the series, trying to fill a big void for the Celtic's injuries and underperformers (that's YOU, Paul Pierce). However, Game 1 hero, Derrick Rose was not to be ignored, as he provided the hustle after loose balls, being a leader, and let's not forget how he carried his team for a large stretch of the fourth quarter. This just HAS to be an epic Game Five as the series goes back to Beantown. I just hope my ticker can hold up.

You Were Huh-Yoooge!
  • Ben Gordon - duh.
  • Kirk Hinrich - though the stat line may not show it, he did an outstanding job defending the bigger and stronger Paul Pierce. We'll generously forgive you for missing two out of three free throws in crunch time. This time.
  • D-Rose - Slowly becoming a leader, and a viable scoring option in crunch time.
  • Rajon Rondo - when he's not making bafflingly stupid decisions, the game seems to come unbelievably easy to him.
  • Ray Allen - I hate to admit it, but I'm now a believer in the popular opinion that Ray Allen Is A Hall of Famer.
You Were an Absolute Munch!
  • Joakim Noah - let's not forget that you were a ninth overall draft pick. Yes, he went for 12 and 10, but that was in 40 minutes of play. Countless, COUNTLESS second chance rebounds were squandered at his expense. He also was -19 for his time on the court. Bleh.
  • Ty Thomas - he's not so lovable when his WTF! jumpshots don't fall. You know what you'll get from him at the line, but his horrible decision to hold the ball and get fouled in crunch time rather than pass to a wide-open D-Rose nearly cost the Bulls the game.
  • Vinny Del Negro - A horrible x's and o's coach. Some of those set plays and personnel lineups were inexplicable.
  • Glen Davis - he lived up to his "Big Baby" nickname with theatrics in the "fight" with Brad Miller, acting like a bitch. I love that announcer Jeff VanGundy called him out.
  • Brian Scalabrine - 18 minutes played, 3 points, 6 fouls, $3.2M per year. If you look up "munch" in the dictionary, there should be a picture of his dumb, gold brickin' ass.

The Gist: Game 17

4:17 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Criminy. Despite starting everybody but the fricking bat boy in the game, the Cubs managed to defeat the Redbirds 10-2 Sunday. Is there anybody left who thinks getting rid of Mark DeRosa was a good idea? Please raise your hand so I know who to punch in the mouth. I love Mike Fontenot to death, and while he did make a nice play in the game, I know I'd feel much more secure with Marky D at the hot corner and Mikey Horse N' Phone at second where he belongs. There was a scary moment where Wellemeyer hit Soriano in the head with an errant pitch. Alfonso toughed it out and stayed in. Much as I hate the Cards, it was nice to see Todd showing real concern, as well as Molina and Pujols. Of course the Cubs proceeded to dick up the moment by later hitting Pujols near his Poo-hole. I understand retailitating when your guy gets drilled on purpose, but when it's a clear accident and the other team does everything but give the guy a sympathy handjob, I think the retalitory measure is a bit unneccessary.

So to sum up:

Carlos Marmol: Knee Sprain
Aramis Ramirez: Quad Strain
Derrek Lee: Neck Spasms
Alfonso Soriano: Drilled in helmet (Seems to be okay)
Milton Bradley: Leg/Groin/Discontented already

Now I know Fukudome was a question mark to start the season, but right now he's every bit the Japanese batting champ we thought we were getting. It's still early, but I'd really rather have Fukudome and Johnson both playing everyday. So far, even with DeRosa's slow start in Cleveland, it's The Pulse>Headcase. Again, I love the Cajun Hobbit, but give me DeRosa as the normal every day second baseman and Fontenot swinging the left-handed bat off the bench. The offense might be more balanced now for the post-season, but if you don't score enough runs in the regular season, that won't mean much when your balanced team is on the golf course or attending cock fights in October.

Oh, and to everyone who thinks Soriano should bat anywhere but leadoff, please, please kindly shut the fuck up. The guy is off to his best Cub start ever, aside from the two games he spent in the three hole. Enough with this shit already.

Gist on Ice: Blackhawk Playoffs Game 5: Hawks 5 Flames1

10:58 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Now that's what I'm talking about! After being embarrassed two games in a row in Calgary, the Hawks came out of the gate strong tonight, scoring 3 goals in the opening period. Brent Seabrook got things rolling, scoring just over 9 minutes in to the first, followed in short order by Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg. The Blackhawks would continue to roll in the second period, answering a Dustin Boyd Calgary goal with tallies from Andrew Ladd and Cam Barker.

Tempers boiled over in the 3rd as Ben Eager beat the crap out of Flame Adam Pardy. Both were sent off the ice, given five minutes for fighting. Lesson: Don't Fuck With Ben Eager. The Hawks would later deliver an awesome penalty kill as Brouwer and Bolland would get sent off for successive penalties. The penalty kill was up to the task and the Boulin Wall rebounded from a tough Game 4 to record 19 saves in 20 chances. The series resumes in Calgary on Monday. Hopefully, the Blackhawks get the series win in the Land of the Great White North. Pretty sweet, eh?

2009 NFL Draft Drunkblog

2:44 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Ah, the NFL Draft. So much speculation and drama. And hair. Lots of hair. While I won't be bringing sexy back today, I will be bringing some TMS nostalgia back in the form of a Drunkblog. Odds are I'll only do this for the first round, but only beer will tell. I'll try to remember, even after numerous drinks, that brevity is my friend. God help us all.

My drink of choice: Goose Island Summer Ale. My teams of choice: The Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. Brant Brown's fetish nationality of choice: Asian.

Lots of questions remain today. Will Anquan Boldin be traded? Who will land Mark Sanchez? Will Keyshawn Johnson pontificate? Will Todd McShay and Mel Kiper get into a shirtless knife fight? Stay tuned, as I'll recap all the highlights in an increasingly inebriated state. Expect lots of doldrums and offensive tackles you've never heard of. Let the games begin.

Round 1

3:05 - The Lions select Matthew Stafford, QB. We knew this already though. This is so anti-climatic. I should just shut it off now. Stafford looks like he could potentially develop a weight problem. Will he bust? Who can say. My best guess is that his career turns out to be some sort of Rodney Peete/Chuck Long hybrid. Wrap your mind around that.

3:11 - If the Rams have any balls they'll take Sanchez. I bet they take a tackle instead.

3:15 - Yep. Jason Smith, OT goes to the Rams. Wusses. Mark Bulger is lame. As a Cardinals fan though, this pleases me. In other news, big thumbs up to the Goose Island Summer Ale. I'll have to do a beer project on this stuff.

3:33 - After the Chiefs draft someone irrelevant, the Seahags take Aaron Curry, LB. He's bawling like a baby. Probaby at the thought that he might turn out like his brother, Eddie.

3:36 - Whoa, Chris Mortensen seems drunk. Is he Drunkblogging this for ESPN.com?

3:38 - The Browns trade their pick to the Jets, who take Mark 'Dirty' Sanchez. That was a blockbuster, though not wholly unexpected. Sanchez recalls a young Broadway Joe, so this seems appropriate. Will he inherit Broadway Joe's drinking problem later in life? Time will tell, but the smart money is on 'yes'.

3:48 - Where in God's name is Todd McShay? Did Kiper bludgeon him to death with his draft guide and then stuff his corpse into the trunk of Chris Berman's Buick LeSabre? I have a feeling that only Mark Sanchez knows the answer to that.

3:50 - Ha, the Bengals of course, select Andre Smith OT. It should be noted that Smith is highly regarded as the prospect most likely to bust. Fitting that he'd go to the Bengals.

3:55 - Remember this epic Drunkblog? Lingering Bursitis sure doesn't. And this is only one part of four!

3:57 - The Raiders pull an upset and pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR. This guy wasn't even on Kiper's Top 5 WR. But he's really fast! They passed on Crabtree for this guy? Al Davis? Jackass.

4:22 - Michael Crabtree, WR, falls all the way to the Niners at #10. This guy looks like he'll be good, but can he dance like Jerry Rice? If not, this is a questionable pick.

4:34 - My dreams of seeing Knowshon Moreno in a Cards uniform are shattered as he's picked by the Broncos. The Broncos now own the rights to 2/3 of the league's running backs. John Elway? Buck teeth.

Heeheehee. No you say it first. No you. Please. Ok. I love you. Oh my God, you have to say it back now.

4:41 - Unrelated to this draft, the Cubs are falling apart before our eyes and my fantasy team is underachieving. Things are reaching Oakland Raider-esque ineptitude. Or as "Boom" says, "the Raaaaidaaaahs." F that guy. Lose some weight you portly SOB!

4:55 - The Chargers took Larry English, DE. This was a guy I liked for the Cardinals. Dammit all to hell. Hopefully the Cards get that Donald Brown guy. What the french happened to the Bears? Oh yeah, they got that Cutler kid. This draft is loooooooonnnngggg. My other draft party is a Tommy Buzanis boat party.

5:13 - The Eagles draft Jeremy Maclin, taking a Boldin destination off the board. Have fun catching short-armed balls from Donovan!

5:16 - Todd McShay has been relegated to the kids table with Herm Edwards and Trey Wingo. His anger is apparent, as are his frat boy good looks. Todd McShay + Kirk Herbstreit = date rape and chest bumps.

5:06 - The Broncos just picked Robert Ayers, DE. So far as we know, he's no relation to Bill. We hope to confirm this shortly.

I'm Mel Kiper Jr! I eat my steak well done! My father won't return my calls!

5:28 - The Vikings take Percy Harvin, WR and troublemaker. If he acts up, expect coach Brad Childress to give him a good mustache rub!

5:50 - Mel Kiper took a bathroom break, looked in the mirror and hated what he saw.

5:59 - The Patriots trade down for the second time. Bill Belichick is up to something, and it probably isn't legal.

6:06 - Fuck. The Colts got that Donald Brown bastard. At this point, the Cardinals should just shoot for Thurman Thomas. Interest: waning. Buzz: Moderate but unspectacular. Where is Campbell Brown when you need her?

6:08 - Back to the Cubs for a minute. Milton Bradley, A-Ram and Marmol were all officially diagnosed with AIDS. Again, where is Campbell Brown when you need her?

6:18 - Cards are on the clock. Is it Beanie Wells (a stud, but high bust potential), that stud Hawaiian LB from USC or this Everette Brown cat from FSU?

6:28 - It's Beanie Baby Wells from Ohio State. Talk about high risk, high reward. If he stays healthy, he's the best RB in the draft. First up: Getting a nickname less gay than "Beanie".

6:49 - Oh my God, Round 2 and I'm still here. Bea Arthur? Not here (on Earth that is). No joke, sometimes when I sign up for shit, I pick Bea Arthur as my Username. Bea, I think I speak for America when I say, thank you for being a friend.

7:13 - Good Lord. There is nothing really worth mentioning at this point. The Draft is too long and I'm getting tired and hungry. Time to bring in a relief pitcher, alas, I think I'm the only one left that actually writes for the site. Thus, with my last pick, I pick Bea Arthur, University of Hotness.

Cubs of Yore Battle Royale

2:26 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Everyone loves a good bracket, especially blog readers. It seems like there have been tons of different faux-tourneys done, whether it be to see who's the hottest chick, to who's the biggest douchebag. So I figured it was time TMS beat this idea even further to death with the "Cubs of Yore Battle Royale." A field of 32 former Cubs battling it out for the top crown*.

But there's one catch.

In an effort to prevent the obvious candidates like Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg from making the finals I've decided to make it more interesting. Instead of having all the Cubs legends battle it out, we're featuring the unsung heroes. The guys that never earned any accolades in their playing career. The guys that when their name comes up in conversation never have the words "All-Star" or "Hall of Famer" been mentioned, but rather words like "scrappy", "cult following", "workhorse" and "innings-eater" instead. The guys that probably weren't as good, or as crappy as you remember them.

So the field of 32 was mainly picked based on some loose criteria rules I came up with.
  • The player had to be a main starter for the Cubs in at least one season since 1984.
  • The player cannot have won any real accolades of note, including ASG appearances.
  • The player cannot be on the current Cubs roster.
The first round will begin on Monday and the whole battle will go through the month of May. I'll have polls posted for each battle, probably in the sidebar for a couple days.

Now for some FAQ.

Q: I can't believe you didn't include ________________! What the hell?
A: Calm down. I can't include every damn player, so some were left out. If this thing is successful I have a plan to maybe make this an annual thing where we change up the players a bit each time.

Q: This seems a bit obvious, but why no Thunder Matt?
A: For all intents and purposes, Thunder Matt Murton would qualify for this under my loose criteria. However there's just too much conflict of interest to have him here.

Q: This sounds great. Will you just show us the damn bracket already?
A: Yeah, here it is. Check back on Monday.

Click to enlarge, like my pe-, eh that joke is worn out....like your mom last night, natch!


*I'm not sure what exactly said "crown" could be.

Things I Would Rather Do...

8:40 AM | Comments (0) | by Wolter

Ugh. Even the picture ENRAGES me.I missed yesterday's game, but I hear that once again, Neal Cotts is violating the Geneva Convention by pitching in baseball games. This saddens me enough to allow Thunder Matt's Saloon to print some excerpts from my upcoming book, 10,001 Things I'd Rather Do Than Watch Neal Cotts Pitch For the Cubs.

The book will be a lavish, coffee-table style hardcover full of illustrations completely unrelated to Neal Cotts pitching for the Cubs, as there are over ten thousand other things I'd rather do than ever see that again. However, plans are in the works for a deluxe edition bound in Neal Cotts' skin, if I can just talk Hendry into releasing that turd.

Here are a few to whet your appetite:

~Hammer a 6" railroad spike through my own left foot

~Listen to an Audiobook of Mike Tyson reading the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

~Listen to Chris DeLuca explain how Alexei Ramirez is the best baseball player in Chicago, even though a mentally challenged Cocker Spaniel can tell he's not the best baseball player on his own team, or even the best player named A. Ramirez in Chicago, for that matter

~Spend one full year living in Indiana (Official State Motto: "Why Not Give Up On Life Here?")

~Relive the time I was eight and watched my dog get hit by a car over and over again

~Attend a synagogue in Jerusalem with Mel Gibson

~Play an 8-hour marathon of The 3-D adventures of World Runner

~Perform a pap smear on Paris Hilton

~Get a tattoo of Ernest Borgnine's face on top of my own face

~Sit in a hot tub full of Au Jus with a naked Chip Wesley (the casual TMS reader probably doesn't realize how real this fear is)

~Eat a huge bowl of cilantro, and wash it down with a Woodchuck Pear Cider

~Listen to Chaim explain, in depth, how Kiss are "totally better than Maiden, man."

~Actually write a blog post for TMS

I'm already gathering data for the sequel, 10,001 Things YOU'D Rather Do Than Watch Neal Cotts Pitch For the Cubs, so feel free to submit your own in the comments section.

TMS Song of the Day

12:23 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Guns N' Roses - "Used to Love Her"

All that bitchin', fussin', cussin'. Admit it guys, it gets you down from time to time. This whimsical ditty off G N' R Lies contemplates the relative merits of disposing of a loved one in the backyard. Would you really be "happier this way" as Axl jokingly suggests? Likely not. Think of the hassles involved, what with the police questioning, the jailtime, the courtroom drama. It didn't work out well for O.J. in the long run. So take it from TMS and Axl; the real way to deal with frustration is to talk it out, preferably over ice cream and an episode of Cheers (That darn Sam Malone!). And remember, no matter how much you might yell at each other, it only ensures that the makeup sex will be that much sweeter.

The Gist: Game #14

11:00 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Cubs 1
Vietnam 7

As I am apparently one of the few Americans who retains steady employment, I was unable to watch or listen to today's game. This was probably for the best. Aaron Harang stymied the Cub offense, and the Reds would hold on to allow only one unearned run over the last two games. I was not around to experience the fallout of the Vietnam War, but I would imagine that the today's letdown was similar, only on a far less consequential scale.

Micah Hoffpauir committed a brutal error in right field, though it did not really factor in the final score. Zambrano wasn't exactly lights-out, but he only gave up three earned in seven innings. The bottom line is that we couldn't string together enough hits to succumb the power of the Dusties. And don't even get me started on Neal Cotts. Jesus tapdancing Christ. You're a lefty reliever whose career is based on the statistical assumption that you can get left-handed batters out. Is this not accurate? Yet you give up a homerun to a Votto. I'm so discouraged and perplexed by our bullpen situation that I just cannot even stomach a diatribe here. How's Kerry Wood doing? Why did we let him go? Money you say? How much did we dump on Vizcaino and Gaudin, $6 million? Where has this gotten us? Ugh...

Luis Vizcaino Designated for Failure

12:43 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

So the Cubs finally made a move in their bullpen by calling up wunderkind Jeff Samardzija and letting go of Luis Vizcaino. In designating Vizcaino, the Cubs will be eating nearly $4 million. Economy? What economy?

This all begs the question: Is not having Luis Vizcaino on your roster better than having Jason Marquis? Probably. Either way, someone had to go out of the David Patton/Angel Guzman/Luis Vizcaino trifecta of mediocrity. At least Samardzija has a personality and has been productive in his short career. The only downside is that we have to listen to every national announcer ballwash Samardzija by reminding us that he played at Notre Dame.

Not pictured here: Luis Vizcaino

TMS Song of the Day

12:03 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Billy Bragg & Wilco - "California Stars"

Mermaid Avenue was the title of an album recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco, based off of unused lyrics written by folk legend Woody Guthrie. Guthrie's family approached Bragg to set the lyrics to music, and he in turn recruited Wilco to assist in the effort. The album went on to garner a Grammy nomination for best contemporary folk album in 1998. "California Stars" remains a fan favorite for Wilco on tour.

TMS Song of the Day

12:31 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Willie Nelson - "Blue Skies"

While we have been updating the song on the right sidebar each day, we've failed miserably at calling attention to it. We will make a concerted effort to put a small blurb up like this each day. With a little luck, we may keep the feature going.

This is Willie Nelson's take on the classic "Blue Skies", originally written by Irving Berlin in 1926. It became a number one country single for Willie in September of 1978. What stands out about his version are the down-tempo harmonies. This gives the song a darker feel compared to the more standard renditions by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and the like. Give it a listen as you peruse the site.

The Gist: Game #12

9:47 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Cubs 7
Communism 2

The Cubs opened a series against Dusty Baker's Reds with a rousing stampede akin to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, minus the arrests and bloodshed. Unlike said revolution, however, your boys in blue wrangled victory from the firm grip of their oppressors. Stalin would not have been pleased.

Rich Harden improved greatly on his last outing (not exactly a difficult task) by throwing six innings, allowing two earned and chalking up eight strikeouts. At one point in the game, the feral cat pictured above ran onto the field. As it was being corralled by one of the ball boys, it appeared to bite the poor lad. I'm no feline expert, but I'm pretty sure this cat needs to be found and euthanized for precautionary reasons.

Major League Baseball recorded it's first ever Micah on Micah action, as Hoffpauir blasted a solo shot off of Owings in the second inning. Lee just missed a three-run homer at one point, and Soto made great opposite field contact on three occasions. A-Ram also had two clutch base hits to right field, and Little Mikey Horse 'n' Phone made a fine leaping grab on a liner early in the game.

As usual, Lou played the numbers and brought in Neal Cotts in the eighth to face Votto and Bruce. Naturally, Cotts proceeded to give up a walk and a hit, and was promptly removed. It's pretty sad when Lou has a five-run lead and still needs to bring in Marmol. Luis Vizcaino finished things up without incident in the ninth, and the Iron Curtain was held at bay, if for only one night...

In Defense of Thunder Matt

1:47 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

A big shout out to Dave Cameron on FanGraphs.com who makes the case for promoting Thunder Matt back to The Show. It feels good to know there are others out there who recognize his plight, always having his career hamstrung by deep outfield rotations. Someone will give our namesake a chance. We just hope it happens soon.

Gist on Ice: Blackhawks Playoff Game 3: Hawks 2 Flames 4

8:15 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


This will be a brief gist, as both the Hawks and yours truly lost the battle in the third period. The Hawks lost the game and I fell asleep. Lame on both counts. All I can say about this game is that the Flames had it going on. They seized the momentum in the second period and apparently never looked back.

BullGist: Game 2

8:53 PM | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Bulls 115 - Celtics 118

Let's get it out right now, the Celtics had 34 second chance points (21 offensive rebounds) while the Bulls had just 12. There's not much else to say, that's where they lost the game. If it's possible to play solid D while still giving up 118 points in today's NBA game, the Bulls did. By and large most of the Celtic's shots were contested when the Bulls weren't blocking them - a staggering 14 blocks for Chicago.

The fourth quarter turned into a two man show with Ben Gordon dueling with Ray Allen. Christ, they were even guarding one another. The action was back and forth, and the game changed leads 14 times. Gordon finished with a game-high 42 points and hit six threes. Allen finished with 30 points and also hit six three-pointers (four in the fourth), the biggest of which came with :02 on the clock to give the Celtics a two point lead and the win.

This was a game the Bulls needed. Rajon Rondo finished with a triple double, though was clearly slowed in the second half with a knee/ankle injury. Paul Pierce looked dead and showed little emotion. Obviously KG was still out. The Bulls had a 5-point lead with two minutes to play. It was there for the taking. Still, we head back to Chicago with home court advantage in our favor, and we've won 14 of our last 16 at the United Center.

~~~~~~~~

Junior War Criminal: Comcast. The only good thing they offer is Stacey King. I know it's been this way all year, but I miss Tom Dore. I do not like Neil Funk. Ugh. Yet even worse is the TV coverage. Countless free throws and inbound passes are missed in lieu of shots of bench players. I'd rather see the live action instead of Tim Thomas joking around and not paying attention. Court side cameras are great for replays, not for continuous game action. Pull your head out of your ass, Comcast. All you're doing is making TNT and ABC look that much better.

"Put Noah in a woodchipper." - Chaim Witz, post game.

Wrigleyville Bar Project: The Stretch

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Today's Bar: The Stretch Bar and Grill, 3485 N. Clark

Douchebag Factor (1-10, with 10 being this guy) : 4

Who You'll See Here: A solid mix of Cubs fans and beautiful people, with the age skewing closer to Derek Lee than Jeff Samardzija. This is a good thing, because today's youth remind me of my own mortality. That said, there was one really douchey looking guy with a mohawk, but that's to be expected at any of the newer Wrigleyville haunts.

What to order: Wow, a Wrigleyville bar with standout pub fare? Say it ain't so. The Clark Burger that we had was possibly the best burger I've had in the whole city, not just the neighborhood. Cooked perfectly, topped with bacon, avocado, cheese and a few onion strings atop a soft toasted bun, it was Kuma's Corner good. The accompanying tater tots were perfectly crispy and had some seasoning on there that really put em over the top. Add in a top-notch appetizer (fried Mac N Cheese balls with marinara dipping sauce) and ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. A word to the wise: We ordered the appetizer and opted to split the burger and this was more than enough food. Don't say that TMS isn't looking out for your wallet in these times of economic woe.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: Mindy from Rock of Love, Justin Long, Reed Johnson, Jeff Probst (host of Survivor)

Summary: Occupying the former Tryst space (that's okay, I don't remember it either), The Stretch is a cool and unexpectedly friendly new addition to the increasingly trendy Wrigleyville bar scene. Divvied up into a front section (which kind of looks like a classier version of Bernie's) and a back room, the Stretch features wall to wall cedar paneling, vaulted ceilings and a loft like feel, while still maintaining some sense of intimacy. Adorning the wall over each table are photos of various celebs (I spied Eddie Vedder and Ditka) singing the 7th Inning Stretch. This is a neat idea that I wish was mine. As you can imagine, there are flat screen TVs everywhere you look, most of them clustered in groups of four, so there isn't a bad seat/angle in the whole joint.

We snagged the last table in the back on a Saturday afternoon during the hectic Cubs-Cards series and despite our initial reservations (see: douchey guy with mohawk) the service was tremendous. Our waitress was golden: perfectly timed visits without hovering, spot-on recommendations and genuine kindness not often found in the Chicago dining/bar scene.

The food menu is creative (cheese stuffed hotdogs wrapped in bacon served on a pretzel roll!) but wisely sticks to the basics of appetizers, burgers and a few sandwiches so as not to be too overwhelming. The beer selection is also an exercise in quality over quantity. You won't find a million pretentious beers on tap, but instead you get a good mix of your basics (Old Style, Bud Light) along with a few essentials (Stella and a few microbrews that I can't remember but that everyone else that writes for this site probably loves). It looked like they also had a few specialty cocktails (Margaritas, Bloody Marys, Arnold Palmers) in mason jars, small and large.

The best part is the price. You would think at a trendy new hotspot you'd be paying up the arse, especially on a Cubs-Cards gameday. Imagine my surprise then, when we got our bill and my Old Styles were a mere $2. One Old Style and a Bud Light draft were $6 here. Comparatively speaking, when we went to the new Harry Caray's afterwards, that same round was $10.25! Even at TMS sponsor The Gingerman, that round ran us $8.

The Stretch will never be mistaken for your neighborhood dive or hole in the wall, but among the newcomers to the Wrigleyville area, this is tops in my book. You get great food (I'd go here to eat even when the Cubs aren't playing), killer service and cheap beer. Once you get the bill, you may actually be tricked into thinking that you were at a your favorite dive bar, only here, the waitresses are good looking and still have all their teeth.

Thunder Matt Rating: 11 empty Old Style cans (kraeusened) out of 12.

The Clark Burger, side o' tots. Unexpectedly awesome, like your team's pitcher hitting a grand slam.

Gist on Ice: Blackhawk Playoffs Game 2: Hawks 3 Flames 2

12:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


A Chicago sports victory trifecta, does it get any sweeter? Following victories by the Cubs and Bulls, the Blackhawks made it a perfect day by defeating the Flames 3 to 2. Martin Havlat was the go to guy in Game 1, scoring 2 goals. In Game 2, that role would go to 20 year old captain, Jonathon Toews. If you haven't been watching the Blackhawks, then you've been missing out on one of the most exciting young players in any sport. Following the same blueprint as Thursday night, the Hawks came out of the gate sluggish through the first period. Down 2 zip after the first, the youngsters once again upped their game with goals from Patrick Sharp and two tallies by Toews, one on a power play. The Boulin Wall was in full effect, not allowing a goal after the first period, making several spectacular saves along the way.

Look, I know hockey has become something of a national joke, but this Blackhawk team is a gas to watch. When they get rolling, they set a quick, exciting pace of game. I was a big Hawks fan in college, but let the team slip by the wayside. It wasn't until John McDonough took the job as team president that I began to get interested again, and not until this season that I began watching games regularly again. I'm totally glad I did, as Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg, Marty Havlat, Nicolai Khabibulan, Dustin Byfuglin, and others are among some of the most excting athletes I've seen. This team is legit and is poised to be for years to come. They may not be good enough to get past Detroit and they still have to win two more to get past Calgary, but here's hoping they take it as far as they can.

Oh, and Ryan Dempster was at the game, taking shots at the net during the 2nd intermission penalty shot competition. Dempster Baby was wearing a plaid sportjacket even Shecky Green would have been embarrassed to be seen in. Ryan, you just signed a huge four year deal in the off-season. You can afford a nice suit, jerkweed. Christ, at least let your wife pick out your clothes if you can't handle it yourself.

BullGist: Game 1

9:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Bulls 105, Celtics 103 - Overtime

The Rose hath officially bloomed. If you aren't watching the NBA playoffs (probability: high), here's your reason to my friends. Derrick Rose, the humble rookie phenom for Chicago put the show in showtime Saturday morning against the Kevin Garnett-starved defending champs. 36 points (rookie record), 11 assists, 4 rebounds, 12-12 FT, 12-19 FG and enough dick in the dirt plays to recall a certain #23, minus the tongue wagging and phantom fouls.

Full disclosure, I don't watch a lot of pro hoops. I watch some Bulls games here and there, but as is the case with most of America, it's hard for me to get into a full 82 game schedule. Playoff basketball, on the other hand, is a different beast (I'm told the same is true for playoff hockey). The intensity is turned up and it's anybody's ballgame, as the game Chicago Bulls proved today. Granted, the idea of a Best of 7 first round series is patently absurd, but all big picture qualms aside, today's game was Case In Point as to why you should watch the NBA Playoffs. Derrick Rose vs. Rajon Rondo (yes, Rajon Rondo) in a back and forth dick-puncher that was entertaining as all get out from the first tip to the final buzzer.

Tyrus Thomas was clutch, hitting lots of jumpers that have you going, "NOOOOOO.....YES!", and Ben Gordon was big in crunch time, as is his MO. That guy can miss his first 20 shots, but once he gets going, it's over. Hell, even Joakim Noah was an absolute beast on the boards, racking up 17 of em, even if the Bulls did have to overcome his horrible foul at the end of regulation that sent the game to Overtime.

But the real star of the show was Derrick Rose. Good God. I don't even know what to say about this kid. If you're leery about dipping your toes into the NBA waters (I'm sure you have your reasons, you racist bastard), just give this guy a chance. I can't remember the last NBA game, nay basketball game, that had me pacing, swearing and getting legitimately "jacked up" before today. All because of #1. The guy is smoother than a glass of well aged scotch and more fun to watch than midget mud wrestling. He may not be much for the post game soundbite (the guy has more 'ummms' than a high school public speaking class), but that's ok. He lets his game do the talking and trust me, it talks plenty of trash for him. Go Bulls.

The Gist: Game 11

9:14 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Cubs 7, Assholes 5

Cubs win, Cubs win! Rammy Ramirez goes fucking deeeeeeeeep in the 11th to give the Cubs the win over the dreaded Cardinals. Oh, by the way...fuck the Cardinals.

Rammy, previously 0-5, donkeypunched one off of Dennis Fucking Reyes. That dude is so fat that he shouldn't even be allowed to watch a game much less pitch in one. Denny served up a fat taco and Rammy went BLAM and blasted one into the bleachers.

I was in Wrigleyville to watch it all go down. The Gingerman deserves your money. That place has street cred coming out of it's tattooed arse. Again, F the Cardinals. Go Cubs go.

Oh yeah, Theriot was the balls and Kevin Gregg stepped up like a goddamn man. Neil Cotts, on the other hand, failed to provide an reason for him to go on living. My wife may call you Neil "Hotts", but to me, you are Neil "Cocks".