Poor Man's War Criminal: Combos

12:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

A few weeks back I made what can only be described as one of the worst decisions of my entire life, and Lordy I've made a few. I purchased a bag of motherfucking Combos. What was I thinking? I was in a gas station, I was hungry and quite frankly, I panicked. For some reason I was under the assumption that I used to like them a long time ago.

It wasn't until I bit into the first one that I realized it was quite the opposite. I used to hate them, and like a 'Nam flashback, that first bite brought all the bad memories flushing back.

Oh sweet Jesus, come save me.

Combos have the appearance of a doggie treat and I have to imagine that 9/10 folks would prefer the doggie treat in a blind taste test. The pretzel ones are especially horrid and get the old gag reflex working like a shot of store brand tequila. I'm almost positive that what is on the inside doesn't qualify as anything even close to cheese and wouldn't pass FDA inspection.

After doing a little research on their official site, we learn that Combos is a longtime sponsor of NASCAR, their slogan is 'A Meal That's Not a Meal' (what the fuck does that even mean?) and that they're trying to market it as 'real man's snack'. Dammit Combos! They're clearly pandering to the uneducated and morbidly obese. This shall not stand.

So join me America, in saying No to Combos and Yes to Life!

A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

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

Drag Me to Hell

In Theatres: May 29

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

Review: Although director Sam Raimi is best known for the uber-popular Spiderman trilogy, hipsters will tell you that his real street cred lies in his earlier work on such campy delights as Darkman and the Evil Dead series - which admittedly I haven't seen...I know! (Ducking hipster-thrown rotten avocados and bacon...get it, because they're too hip for tomatoes...oh never mind.) Drag Me to Hell marks a return to his early roots, and what a triumphant comeback it is. (Think more George Foreman and not Brett Favre.)

Put simply, Drag Me to Hell was the most fun I've had at the movie theatre this year.

While the plot and story won't be winning any awards for originality, the film contains more laughs (both intentional ones and knowingly unintentional ones), scares and gross out moments then any horror movie I've seen in years.* Normally horror films seem to fall into one of three categories: your standard 'scary guy who walks at a medium pace and chases teens with a sharp weapon', torture porn (Saw, Hostel) and remakes of Japanese supernatural horror films (The Ring) that take themselves way too seriously.

DMTH exits outside of this realm and is all the better for it. If blood and guts isn't your bag, have no fear; besides a classic scene involving a bloody nose, there isn't a drop in sight. Conversely, for those of you leery of the PG-13 rating, let me also put your fears to ease. There is plenty of stuff to gross you out (think gooey, slimy and icky) and it really pushes it's rating; the fact that it didn't get an R probably stems solely from the lack of swearing, which I didn't even notice until after the fact.

Much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this movie is best scene in a packed theatre, where the screams, groans and laughs of the audience only add to overall sense of camp and fun. This Movie City News piece sums up the audience effect better than I ever could, but let me just say that you shouldn't have to be dragged to see this movie. It's cool as hell.

*I'm not even a big horror movie guy and I loved this. Let me go on record as saying it contains the best 'parking garage fight scene' ever. Ever.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4.5 Pairs of Dentures out of 5

UP

Release Date: May 29

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn't alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

Review: Having only really jumped aboard the Pixar bandwagon starting with Ratatouille, I'm probably not qualified to say, "Pixar's done it again". But I will. "Pixar's done it again."

Up is a charming, heartfelt and brilliantly illustrated tale about a widowed (and cantankerous) old man and the friendship he develops with a neighbor boy and the adventures they encounter while flying his balloon-powered house to South America.

Again, citing my Pixar history ignorance, I am going to have to assume that his is one of the more random, esoteric and original films in the Pixar canon, certainly moreso than Ratatouille or Wall E. You never really know where the film is going next and it doesn't follow any Screenwriting 101 format, which is certainly to it's credit. A random island filled with dogs that talk via their collars? Sure, why not? Fights atop a blimp filled with the skeletal remains of dinosaurs? Oh, don't worry, they didn't forget to include a scene like that.

Once again proving that Pixar movies are for all ages and not just kiddies, the first 15 minutes of the film are more honest and touching than anything you'll probably see on the screen all year. It's pretty dang hard not to get a little choked up (at the beginning of the movie no less) while watching a montage of a younger Walter and his wife Ellie go through life only to have Ellie get sick. Parents should fear not; the sad parts are an exercise in subtlety and good taste...Old Yeller it ain't.

I saw this in 3D, with real glasses and not those cheapo red and white kind you remember from the cereal boxes. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you see it in this format. It really works in way that adds depth and texture, as opposed to the 'things coming at you' way. It serves to add an extra layer of depth to the experience of an already great film.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Balloons Out of 5

California Dreamin'

10:48 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Alyssa Milano's favorite team invaded the Friendly Confines tonight for the start of a four game series and the results were decidedly subpar. The men in blue and white beat our boys in blue and red 2-1, with the Cubs blowing a golden opportunity in the 9th with the bases loaded and only one out.

A flu-ravaged Bobby 'Smoke Em If You Got Em' Scales made a hasty return from O'Hare to hit a solo shot to cut the lead to 2-1, but Scales and everybody's new favorite Cub, Jake Fox, both struck out to end the Cubs threat in the ninth. Randy Wells pitched wells again and was the tough luck loser. (It's okay Randy...my whole life I've been a tough luck loser)

The series continues well on into the weekend and yours truly is in line for his first 'non-rained out' game of the year on Sunday night. The last time I watched the Cubs do battle with the Dodgers in person was when the North Siders were bamboozled by those douchebags from the City of Angels in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS.

Since it's a night game (Joe Morgan, ack!), I do believe a pre-game trip to Sheffield's outdoor beer garden is in order, where Schlitz will be ordered and their black and white photo booth will be put to work.

On a totally unrelated note, I caught the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Tuesday at the Aragon Ballroom. What a blast. They certainly proved that their Lollapalooza performance a couple of years back was no fluke. Beg, borrow or steal their new CD (It's Blitz!), even if you hate female singers like The Hundley does. If only someone had the foresight to throw a YYY cd into Sammy's boombox back in the day, we'd probably have a World Series trophy or two by now.

Karen O leads a rousing rendition of "Go Cubs Go".

Gist on Ice: Blackhawks 1, Redwings 2

9:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Well, unfortunately the Blackhawks' stellar season has come to an end in Motown. The Hawks, particularly Christobal Huet, put up a valiant effort, but lost in overtime to division rivals Detroit. This was a hard fought, low scoring goalie duel. Huet saved 44 of 46 shots and was absolutely magnificent, especially for a goalie who'd seen very little action since the end of the regular season. The Man From France stepped up big time, vastly improving on the effort he gave during the final game in Chicago. I'll never forget the save he turned in in the third, stopping one blast, and then catching the rebound from on his belly by a well-timed flick of his foot. It was truly unreal. Unluckily for Huet and the Hawks, Chris Osgood was equally as effective for the Red Wings, stopping 30 of 31 shots, the only goal allowed an absolute beauty from Patrick Kane in the third. For the third time in the series, the Hawks and Wings went to overtime where Darren Helm was able to chip one in the corner of the net and win the game for Detroit.

It was nice to see the Blackhawks end their run on a classy, well-executed game, as opposed to the pitiful showing they exhibited the previous game. Detroit showed why they're the best team in the league and it would have been nice to have taken more than one game in the series. It was a disappointing finish for the Blackhawks, but hopefully the start of good things to come. With all the youthful stars on this team, the Hawks should be poised to contend for many seasons to come. I know I've had my love of hockey reinvigorated by this team and I'm looking forward to watching Johnny Toews, Patrick Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and hopefully Marty Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin and others for many seasons to come. Hats off to you guys, it was a great run, and I enjoyed the hell out of it! Let's get even further next year.

Bartender Banter: Last Call for Interns

5:40 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Last Friday I announced the TMS Summer Intern project. So far I've received 5 quality applicants, and I'm satisfied enough to close the application process tomorrow. So this is your last call. Send us an email expressing your interest to be considered for the TMS internship by noon central tomorrow. Our email is thundermatts[at]gmail.com. Please note that it's 'thundermatts' and not 'thundermatt'.

So quite the game today huh? Cubs win, the ump tosses Z, Z tosses the ump, Neal Cotts is released into the wild, new callups Jake Fox and Andy White immediately make an impact, Ryan Freel gets hurt like clockwork. Anything I missed?

If Zambrano still had the mustache the umpire would have left.

Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass, Neal . .

1:13 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Millions of Cub fans and Lou Pinella's acidic gut rejoice as the Cubs sent struggling left-hander Neal "Aw Shit" Cotts to Iowa today, calling up lefty Jason Waddell. I knew there had to be a lefty in the system somefuckingwhere. Unfortunately, the Cubs also sent down folk hero Bobby Scales, who'd been sidelined with the flu. We'll miss ya, Bobby! Aaron Miles, the only non-Cajun hobbitt on the roster, was placed on the DL. Jake Fox and Andres Blanco were recalled to replace Scales and Miles. No word if Fox is bringing his cape and underoos with him. Every PCL pitcher not on the Iowa roster just let out a giant cheer.

War Hero: Mr. T

9:25 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

I seriously pity the fool who doesn't like Mr. T. One of the few heroes from my childhood who has remained consistently awesome, Mr. T threw out the first pitch and sang the 7th inning stretch on Memorial Day at Wrigley Field. Mr. T isn't afraid to show his love for America, as evidenced by his wardrobe for the day.

Born Laurence Tureaud in Chicago, Mr. T would serve as an MP in the Army before becoming a bouncer and bodyguard for luminaries such as Muhammad Ali, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Steve McQueen, among others. Mr. T appeared as Clubber Lang in the third Rocky movie, which was his big break. I didn't see that film until after seeing Mr. T as B.A. Baracus in The A-Team, so I always enjoyed the first fight in the movie, where Mr. T beats holy hell out of Rocky, more so than the final fight, in which he loses. Yeah right. Like Mr. T could ever be beaten down by the Italian Midget.

Like most males of my generation, The A-Team was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. I was heartbroken when I figured out that I would never grow up to be a large scary-looking black guy. ( I still want that kick ass van he drove the team around in. My wife has thus far refused.) I also watched the Mr. T cartoon, in which he and a bunch of goober kids went around solving mysteries. It seemed like Shakespeare at the time. Ah, the 80's.

In 1995, Mr. T was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma, one of the nastiest types of cancer. He refused to go down without a fight and now spends a great deal of his time visiting cancer wards, serving as an inspiration to those battling the disease. After Hurricane Katrina, he stopped wearing his gold chains and has donated money and clothing to the victims of the disaster. He's one of the few born again Christians that I can stand listening to. Seriously, who's gonna tell Mr. T to shut up about Jesus already? He talks the talk and walks the walk, so you've gotta applaud him for that.

On the air with Len and Bob the other night, Mr. T was funny and personable. To some he may be a forgotten 80's icon or a parody of sorts, but I always get a kick out of seeing him, no matter the venue. Maybe it's an act, but he comes off as a genuinely good guy, which in this day and age is pretty rare. Plus it's nice that someone I admired as a child is still worthy of respect now that I'm an adult.

CoY Battle Royale: Round 2, Cardenal and LaCock Regions

3:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

After another lengthy hiatus the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale is back in action, bringing you the Round 2 matches for the Jose Cardenal and Pete LaCock regions.

You can catch all the previous first round excitement here.

JOSE CARDENAL REGION, ROUND 2

#1 Keith Moreland vs. #4 Brian McRae
  • Moreland defeated Damon Berryhill 23-7 in the first round.
  • McRae defeated Bob Scanlan 18-12 in the first round.
  • Yes I know that is his father Hal, not Brian on the card. Hal's cards are cooler.

#3 Rick Wilkins vs. #7 Mark DeRosa
  • Wilkins defeated Steve Buechele 17-13 in first round.
  • DeRosa upset #2 Frank Castillo 19-11 in first round.
  • Rick Wilkins pictured in one of the only known photos of him.
  • Mark DeRosa is pictured in his Indians uniform. He's gone folks, get over it.

PETE LaCOCK REGION, ROUND 2
#1 Kyle Farnsworth vs. #5 Turk Wendell
  • Farnsworth defeated Terry Adams 20-8 in first round.
  • Wendell defeated Kevin Tapani 17-10 in first round.
  • Neither Farnsworth or Wendell should ever be looked at directly in the eye.

#3 Doug Dascenzo vs. #2 Dwight Smith
  • Dascenzo defeated Todd Walker 16-11 in first round.
  • Smith defeated Jim Bullinger 23-4 in first round.
  • Famous Dwight Smith quote: "Aww shit, you know."
  • Famous Dascenzo quote: "This Gatorade is cold."
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.

Koyie Hill Appreciation Society: 12 Hits & Counting

12:45 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


Koyie Hill continues to hit the ball whenever he starts games. He's got 12 hits for the season in 13 games. Paul Bako hasn't sniffed the majors this year, having signed a minor league deal with the Phillies after his release. Maybe it's time to hang up the Tools of Ignorance, Gabor.

As far as the Cubs go, Koyie is a bright spot in a season populated by suckitude. Hopefully, he'll continue to hit whenever he gets a chance to play and squares will continue to fall off the board.

Koyie Hill Fast Facts:

Koyie Hill's Beard once beat Chuck Norris's beard in a beard wrestling competition.

Koyie hit .355 at Wichita State and drove in 186 runs, playing mostly 3rd base.

Here's a thought: let Hill play third and Bobby Scales can play 2nd everyday. The Cubs release Aaron Miles into the wild and bring up Jake Fox to be the backup catcher.

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria

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

May 18th - 24th

Wet Fart of the Week: The Chicago Cubs - Worst road trip ever. The Cubs drop 6 on the road. The blame lies solely on the limp-wristed offense who only mustered up a measly 5 runs in that 6 game span. Perhaps they're not breathing out of their eyelids appropriately.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Clayton Richard, White Sox - Those that have been patient were rewarded this past week. Richard finally got his chance in the starting rotation and certainly did not disappoint. In his first two starts, Clay Dick has struck out 11 in 13 IP with only 1 earned run. He currently is 0% owned in Yahoo leagues so my guess is you didn't have him.

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Ryan Theriot, Cubs - After all the stud shortstops were gone in the draft, managers then reached for The Riot as a cheap means for AVG and SB. Then the little guy started hitting home runs and folks got even more excited, including Theriot himself. With his new found power, The Riot began calling his shots in batting practice and swinging for the fences in games. After going 2/24 this week with 0 R, 0 RBI, and of course 0 HR, it's obvious his power stroke was fleeting. Looks like the Cubs will have to rely on Aaron Miles for run support instead.

Signs that May is finally arrived: Kosuke Fukudome - Much like lilacs blooming, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and Brett Favre flirting with comebacks, Kosuke Fukudome's failings at the plate are a sure sign that it is officially May. Kosuke went 2-16 this past week, but at least one-upped Theriot by actually driving in 1 run.

There's No Place Like Home: Chris Young, Padres - If it were possible, Bud Black should really consider messing with the rotation so that Chris Young only pitches games at Petco. Never have I seen a pitcher with such glaring differences in their home/away splits. At home this season, Chris is 4-0 with 28 strikeouts, 9 walks and a 2.25 ERA. On the road, he's 0-2 with 16 strikeous, 16 walks and a Dan Napientek-esque 8.03 ERA. Naturally I blame Joel Southern.

AIDS of the Throwing Arm: Ricky Nolasco, Marlins - At one point considered to be the possible ace of a young fireballing Marlins rotation. Now he's in AAA New Orleans. Fantasy owners that couldn't dump him in a trade a few weeks ago are now stuck with either letting him rot on their bench, or finally taking him back behind the fantasy shed and putting him out of his misery. Do what you think is most humane.

Freddy Sanchez Award: Jason Bartlett, Rays - To the guy that is currently making a run at the batting title while everyone says, "Where the fuck did he come from?" Astute fantasy owners knew of the shortstop Bartlett for a cheap source of stolen bases, but I don't think anyone expected this kind of offensive output thus far. Bartlett currently leads the AL with a .373 AVG, he has 14 steals already and his 7 home runs are already a career high for him. With 30 RBI on the season, he's 7 away from matching his 2008 total.

Give These Guys a Greasy Taco:

Mark Reynolds, Dbacks - 10/28, 4HR, 9RBI, 6SB
Joe Mauer, Twins - 11/24, 4HR, 13RBI
Michael Cuddyer, Twins - 13/29, 4HR, 12RBI
Mark Teixeira, Yankees - 12/27, 5HR, 10RBI
Jason Marquis, Rockies - 2W, 1.72ERA, defying logic and reason
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers - 2 more saves, stud fees still going up
Jake Peavy, Padres - 6IP, 10K, 1 giant FU to the White Sox
Heath Bell, Padres - 3 saves, still hates ESPN

Give These Guys a Taco Filled with Cilantro:

The entire Cubs offense - 1 sad trombone
Chris Davis, Rangers - 1/19, 64 strikeouts already on the season
Pudge Rodriguez, Astros - 2/18, in danger of dropping career AVG below .300, retire already!
Francisco Liriano, Twins - 4IP, 7 ER, 3BB, 1K
Manny Parra, Brewers - 3.1IP, 21.60 ERA
Jorge de la Rosa, Rockies - 3.2IP, 7 ER, 5 BB, 1K

Thunder Matt's Saloon Summer Intern Program: Taking Applications now

10:52 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The other day Chaim mentioned in his post that anyone interested in writing for Thunder Matt's Saloon should drop us an email inquiring about it.

Today I'd like to officially announce we are in fact taking applications for the TMS Summer Intern Program.

We're looking for 1 or 2 motivated bloggers that would like to come aboard and begin writing for an "established" Cubs blog.
  • Have you ever wanted to write for a blog but haven't found the time or know-how to get up and running?
  • Have you in the past, or currently wrote your own personal blog but have become discouraged by the lack of traffic/notice your work is receiving, or have you burned out trying to single-handedly keep fresh content up?
If either of those have ever happened to you than this is the perfect opportunity.

Excited? Well you f'n should be! Let's go over some of the rules and criteria for the Intern program.
  • This is not a paid internship, in fact we'll probably try to bum money off of you.
  • You cannot receive college credit for this, although Tommy Buzanis still has his part-time gig teaching 'home gun repair' at night school, but that's neither here nor there.
  • Must be 21 years of age to be considered.
  • Must have a good sense of humor and not be easily offended or insulted.
  • Must be a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
  • Must have a solid base of pop culture knowledge in some capacity (i.e. music, movies, books, televison, comic books, s&m pornography, etc.).
  • Must be committed to writing at least 1 blog post a week minimum.
  • Internship will go from June until the end of the Cubs season.
  • Once internship is complete the possibility for a full-time gig at TMS will be determined.
  • Must have a Gmail account.
  • Must possess competent writing skills.
  • Must be able to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon without complaint or remorse for your liver and colon.
  • Accepted interns will receive an official Thunder Matt's Saloon Intern t-shirt*.
Still in? Then drop us a line at thundermatts[at]gmail.com and specify your interest. We'll take applications until June 1st. Then we'll pool the applicants together and take them through a series of challenges. Open-hand slapfighting with Chaim, beer drinking with Dave Thomas, chest bumping with The Hundley, fellating Iron Maiden with Wolter, and other various feats of strength may be part of the agenda.

*shirt may be substituted with a glass of scotch or some other various item of our choosing.

These Cubs Are Harmless

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

(cue Jim Ross) "Good God!"

3 games in St. Louis. 2 runs. 0 wins. How bad would it suck to be Lou Piniella's wife right now? Do you think that she goes and stays with a sister during times like these? The Cubs offensive ineptitude has reached such lows that Sour Lou "jokingly" threw out the idea of playing Soriano at second to get Hoffpauir's bat in the lineup in left. I think he's actually kind of serious about it and just wanted to see if the reporters would bust a gut laughing in which case he could say he was kidding. Maybe I'm delusional, but that doesn't necessarily seem like a bad idea. Wasn't it just a few years back that Soriano was refusing to play the OF for the Nationals? Was he really that bad at second base?

Also, I keep hearing about how Jake Fox is raping AAA to the tune of a .425 BA, 17HR, 50RBI and a 1.439 OPS, but it's always followed by the caveat that he can't play defense so there's no place to put him. I've never seen the kid play so I'll have to take his defensive ineptitude at face value, but right now I'd gladly trade a couple of defensive miscues straight up for a couple of extra base hits. In the words of fellow bartender and avowed fake baker, The Hundley, "Baleedat".

Soto, Bradley and Fontenot are the worst offenders right now. I realize that everyone goes through slumps and you have to continue to play to work through them, but at some point (and we're reaching that point rapidly) you have to consider giving Hill, Hoffpauir and Scales some more PT at their expense until they can show that they deserve to be out there every day.

What it boils down to is that the Cubs are merely an average team right now. They don't have a lot of depth, the bullpen is sketchy and they couldn't hit their way out of a tee-ball tournament (round robin). There's still time to turn this around, but you don't really get that feeling of invincibility with this team that we had with last year's squad (up until the playoffs of course).

A few weeks back, the day Manny got suspended, Brant Brown commented, "I can't think of a single player on the Cubs roster that would be catastrophic to lose for 50 games." I submitted that losing Aramis would be pretty close to catastrophic to which Dave Thomas responded, "Yeah, I'd have to go with Aramis too. But given that he's related to Manny, anything could happen."

A few days later, catastrophe officially struck and Aramis was lost for 2 months with a busted shoulder. Dave Thomas is currently under investigation for both assault with deadly foreshadowing and the disappearance of Brant Brown's name from the sidebar.

On the bright side, at least we didn't lose 20-1 today and have our slutty advances spurned by Jake Peavy. Jake Peavy is an honest man. You won't get him into bed that fast Kenny Williams!

*When the Sox were losing 20-0, had they hit a home run, would Hawk Harrelson still be obligated to yell, "You can put it on the board.....YEEEEEESSSS!" Wouldn't that have been both comically absurd and wildly inappropriate? Alas, the Sox suck worse than the Cubs, so that didn't happen and we'll never know.

Koyie Hill Appreciation Society

1:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

This is something I started at my other Cubs blog, Effectively Wild, The Cubs Blog That No One Reads (or updates regularly). Koyie Hill saved me from having to watch Paul Bako all season. For that reason alone, he deserves some kind of prize, but he's also been pretty good in the games he's caught this year. Hill did a bang-up job filling in for Geo Soto while Geo was sidelined with a sore shoulder. Hill is currently hitting .306, recording 11 hits in 12 games with a home run and 6 RBIs. Not too shabby for your backup backstop.

Hill deserves special mention beacuse he suffered a horrific injury in October of 2007, severing the fingers on one hand in a table saw accident. Koyie saved the fingers, put them on ice, and drove himself to the ER. After months of therapy he regained motion in the fingers, returned to baseball via the Iowa Cubs and proceeded to mash out 17 homeruns and record a .275 average.

Koyie Hill Fast Facts:

His middle name is Dolan.

He named his daughter Phoenix Rose Hill. It takes real balls to give your daughter a built in porn star name. She'll probably be a senator or something.

Hill's first appreance with the Cubs was on June 1st, 2007. Hill replaced Michael Barrett in the game after El Toro Loco cleaned Michael's clock in the locker room. That skirmish effectively ended the Michael Barrett era in Chicago. So not only did he prevent Paul Bako's second stint as a Cub, in a small way he enabled Jim Hendry to deal away Barrett. I love this guy.

Any way, here's the skinny: for every hit Koyie Hill tallies in 2009, I will remove a square of the picture below. As he has 11 hits, there are already 11 squares removed.

Double-Fisting At Minifist

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Wolter

An Attempt At Remembrance

Chaim's memories of last Friday has inspired me to dust off my keyboard and participate in this blog like an actual writer, as opposed to just drawing a salary and commenting on every fifth article written by someone else. So here's what I'm capable of remembering from the 2009 Minifist:

To catch those just joining us up, last Friday was the long-awaited Annual Thunder Matt's Saloon Gathering of Bartenders That Could Actually Make it To Chicago, or "Minifist" for short. I have been told this is a reference to a previous full gathering of bartenders known as "Thunderfist," but I suspect it's actually named after a midget porno that Dave Thomas kept trying to get us to go back to his house to watch.1

The reason for this gathering was to watch the Cubs play the hated Houston Astros. I'm not kidding when I tell you that the Astros are my "least favorite team that I shouldn't give a shit about" ever. I really hate the Astros. A lot. I'd be more eloquent about it, but the white-hot rage that fills my veins when I think too much about them is making it difficult to type, so I'm going to change the subject.

I was originally scheduled to attend this game, but had to cover for our receptionist, who was out of town. So I was limited to meeting up "after the game," where I expected to meet either several very annoyed or very excited bartenders for a post-game Celebration/Drowning of Sorrows. Then I learned the game had been postponed to another day due to the weather, which was about 10 different kinds of ass that day.

So, at about 4:30, I texted our very own Chaim Witz to ask if they were still at the Gingerman (on account of I was dreadfully sober), and received the following text:

Oh god yes
That's always a good sign. When I finally arrived at the Gingerman (at roughly 5:30, for those keeping score), I found Chaim (who was heroically warring with Sobriety and winning at this point), as well as fellow bartenders Chip Wesley and Dave Thomas in fine spirits. With them were Valued TMS Reader Nick V (whose real name, it turns out is Steve V), a friend of Chip's that I will call "Mark," to protect his identity, and my good friend, Dr. Scotch, whose company I greatly appreciated, considering that I was at least 5 hours behind everyone else on the booze front.2

Not in attendance was the legendary Tommy Buzanis, who had apparently left some hours before I arrived, muttering something about "ditching this sausage party to look for a steak and some broads." I still have yet to meet this mysterious, near mythical man, but his empty seat was treated with the greatest of reverence.

A raucous conversation ensued, whereupon I learned much about how to administer a throat-jab properly, the most obscene insults Lingering Bursitis had used in private correspondence, and the proper way to eat at Wrigleyville Dog (answer: apparently Not at All). At some point (about 3 pitchers in from my arrival), Chaim's head finally hit the table, and we all knew he had defeated Sobriety handily. We bundled him in a cab pointed towards his house, and staggered into the still sunlit evening to find the next bar.

This being Wrigelyville, the bar selection was wide, but shallow. Pretty much the only non-sports bar left open was The Irish Oak (where, incidentally, I spent a fascinating night last fall listening to the Clash's excreble Cut the Crap album and watching a friend of mine get hit on by a DEEPLY RELIGIOUS group of Suburban Cougars). So we went there, Chaimless, but proud. Dave Thomas and I shared a shot of Rumple Minze3, and I trace my ultimate downfall to this point.

Eventually, we left the Oak, losing Nick V and Dave Thomas in the process, and the remaining three (Chip Wesley, "Mark," and myself) decided to go to the Wrigleyville North (a delightfully rednecky and cheap bar not far from the Sheridan stop). Every trip I take to the Wrigleyville North is either a disaster or not memorable at all, so I don't know why I get drawn to it so readily. Unless it's because the drunker I get, the more I want to listen to country cover bands.

We had barely settled in when I got a series of texts from my fiancee, who was in nearby Boys Town, singing Karaoke with her friends at a relatively seedy gay bar named Bobby Love's:

Worst version of tiny dancer ever on the karaoke stage EVER! ;)

And I'm babysitting a sox fan glass. HELP!!!
So, I asked my companions if they minded swinging by, and when I assured "Mark" that there are tons of chicks at karaoke night at a gay bar (there are), and Chip that I wouldn't tell anyone about this (I did), we staggered drunkenly there. On the way, I almost got us lost twice, recieved a text that my fiancee was leaving soon, made it there in time for one more round, coninued to be collossally drunk, watched "Mark" make out with a friend of my fiancee's and mine, failed to sign Chip up for a song (I assume he was planning to sing "Two Minutes To Midnight" or something, but my memory is swimmy by this point), and finally left.

All in all, a fine night out.4


1. Not strictly a "fact," but I've never let that stop me before. In fact, anywhere from 50-95% of these remembrances might not be literally "factual." But dammit they are still The Truth.

2. Of course, I now know that any less than a 10 hour head start for Dave Thomas is not fair to the rest of the group...

3. I just googled the spelling. Huh. Two words. Weird.

4. Well, if you don't count the huge argument I started with my fiancee on the way home (entirely my fault; I was a mess), the fact that I had to get up at 6:30 am to work a convention, and that I spent all the next day shaking and covered in a thin, clammy layer of beer-scented sweat.

War Criminal: Alex Rodriguez

10:01 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

I know, I know. everybody's talking about A-Rod these days. It's become trendy and hip to rip on him. You have to understand, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to be baseball's poster boy. He was the best player in the game (At least until the devil went down to St. Louis in 2001. Come on, no one can be that good. Albert had to have made some sort of unholy alliance to be that freaking good.) After the steroid era, A-Rod was going to be the white knight who rescued baseball from itself. He was supposed to take the records back from the undeserving, bring the pride back, restore honesty to the game, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, end the war, cure the sick, break Barry's record, balance the budget . . . wait, am I talking about A-Rod or Barack Obama?

There have been rumblings of A-Rod's War Criminal tendencies. Remember when he slapped the ball from Bronson Arroyo's mitt in 2004? How about how he screamed "Mine"at the Blue Jay's infield during a routine pop up? Both pretty bush league stunts, not exactly the plays you want baseball's biggest star performing. Then there was the Madonna thing. Alex, it might have been okay if you were hooking up with "Like a Virgin" era Madonna. Now, it's just kind of creepy. A-Rod also has always seemed more about the money than the game. when he signed his monster deal with Texas, he pretty much handcuffed that team for his tenure there and the Rangers are just now shaking off the financial effects of that contract. Not that that was entirely his fault, as Scott Boras deserves a good share of the blame on that deal. Selena Roberts has also alleged that A-Rod would tip pitches to opposing batters while on the Rangers.

When A-Rod admitted his steroid use, it was the biggest shockwave to hit the sport since Charlie Hustle got busted for gambling on his own team. If the so-called best player in the game needed 'roids to play, then it casts suspicion on everyone else. The sad thing is that A-Rod didn't need those drugs to be the best. Now instead of a legacy, he leaves a punchline. Instead of baseball's crown prince, he has become its jester, a symbol for how the game went wrong.

Chaiming In

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

-So Mini Fist was a rousing success, so long as you define success as a Cubs rain out, followed by 5 hours of heavy drinking at The Gingerman, your favorite handsome blogger passed out by 7:30, and Wolter and Chip Wesley ending the night at a bar designed for boys who like boys. Now that's what I call "arousing success"! (Enter Dave Thomas playing Yakety Sax on kazoo.)

Special thanks to reader and TMS loyalist Nick V for making an appearance. Nick, I technically remember you being there and donning a black t-shirt and close cropped hair, but other than that, you're a mystery to me.

-It's been a little slow going here on the site as far as content goes, save for the arousing success of the Song of the Day. That proved to be about as popular as Magic Johnson's talk show, or more to the point, every other music venture TMS has done. But really...interested in writing for the site? Send some samples to thundermatts@gmail.com. Let's be honest. You don't even need to be that good. Relatives of crappy relief pitchers need not apply.

We already have one new writer. Ladies and gentlemen, Null Void! Scrolling down, it looks like he already pre-dated some really good posts. The Saloon will rise again, don't you worry. Dear reader, it's up to you to help spread the word about this site. It can be bigger than Ashton Kutcher's Twitter feed!

-A hearty congrats to fellow bartender and fake baker The Hundley who finally ties the knot this weekend. I know a lot of people were "getting worried" about The Hundley, and I'm not just talking about his drinking problem, which is a whole different beast. Oddly, none of the other bartenders were invited to this surely extravagant (not to mention sordid) affair, but rest assured that a Trojan Horse will arrive at the chapel just in time. (Dave Thomas: "Did somebody say Trojans?")

-The Cubs got PWNED by Joel Pinero tonight. He was really Maddux-esque. By the way, it's not pronounced Jol. It's Joe-EL. I bet that drunk LaRussa still pronounces it wrong. LaRussa reminds me of my old freshmen baseball coach. What a dick that guy was. Once I missed a cut-off throw and he made me sit on the pitcher's mound cross legged, while he hit infield with a fungo. Ground balls whizzed past my head as I prayed for Jesus to deliver me and strike that man down. That's the day I stopped believing in a higher power.

-Finally, here are some underrated things that you need to get your hands on:

Whole Grain Waffles. Way better than regular Eggos, and one would imagine better for you. Holy shit those things are good when you're on the run in the morning. No syrup needed. Throw some butter on those motherfuckers and make it rain!

Onitsuka Tiger shoes by Asics. Great all-purpose tennis shoe, good for kicking it around town. Comfortable as hell and stylish enough that the ladies will all want to rub your inner thigh.

Saturn Astra
. GM really dropped the ball (as usual) on this underrated gem. Great car for the big city. Also stylish enough that the ladies (and dudes) will want to rub your inner thigh.

The Old Man and the Sea. Quick read. Classic read. And I don't even like fishing!

The Godfather Trilogy on BluRay. Mesmerizing. Brando in HD will make you shit your pants like George Brett.

The Cubs t-shirt I bought at MiniFist. As I apparently kept repeating, "Look at how blue it is!"

Gist on Ice: Hawks 2, Redwings 3

9:34 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


Well, it was a helluva game, but unfortunately, the Redwings were able to score in overtime and send the Blackhawks back to Chicago winless. Osgood and Khabibulin were both spectacular in their respective nets as this game was a real goalie duel. The Bulin Wall stopped 35 of 38 shots and Osgood was just a little better, snuffing out 37 of 39 Blackhawk shots. Johnny Toews, the young captain, scored both Chicago goals and Rafalski and Cleary scored Detroit's regulation goals. Mikael Samuelsson delivered the heartbreaker a few minutes into overtime.

I guess the only comfort to take away is that the Hawks really showed that they can hang with the big boys in this one. Both teams looked fantastic and this is what playoff hockey is all about. I would have preferred the final to have gone the other way, but I have no complaints with the effort. The Hawks will have their work cut out for them in Chicago, so hopefully they can continue the strong play they showed today and take both games at home. I'd like to see the kids win at least a couple in front of the home crowd.

Gist on Ice: Hawks 2, Redwings 5

8:27 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


It was an ugly day in Motown for the young Blackhawks as they fell 5-2 to the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Bulin Wall was solid, but too many turnovers doomed the Hawks. The game could have easily been much uglier if not for some stellar saves from Khabibulin. He did give up four well struck goals and the Wings added an empty-netter in the final few moments. Kris Versteeg and Adam Burish scored the only Blackhawk goals and I won't bore you with details of the Redwings' tallies.

Basically, it comes down to this: the Blackhawks have to have better puck control if they're going to have a chance in this series. There were a lot of turnovers in the Vancouver series as well, but the Redwings are a far superior team and will take full advantage of any mistakes. I think Habby is an elite goalie, but if the more shot opportunities a team is given, the more likely it is that they will score and that's certainly a big part of what happened yesterday. Tighten up the puck control and the defense and the Blackhawks will have a shot here. If not, there will be a long offseason to think about those things for next year.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:30 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

The Cat Empire - "Party Started"

The Cat Empire are an ensemble cast of musicians based out of Australia. Their sound is best described as world music, with heavy influences in Latin, ska, and funk. Their 2005 album Two Shoes, which this track is taken from, was recorded in Havana, Cuba. It brought the band a fair amount of notoriety in Europe and America. In 2007 they released So Many Nights, an excellent album that was met with similar critical success.

Minifist 2009, May 15th, Time to get fisted!

12:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

From the folks that brought you Thunderfist 2008, comes Minifist 2009. Yes, once again multiple bartenders from your favorite Cubs blog that writes nary a word about the Cubs are descending upon Wrigleyville for some baseball, some beers, and perhaps some playful games of grabass.

Joining myself will be none other than Chaim Witz, Dave Thomas and the legend himself, Tommy Buzanis. We'll be sitting in the left field bleachers for Friday's 1:20 game against the Astros. Insults will be hurled, luke warm Old Styles will be consumed, Buzanis will bring his own steak, and so on and so forth.

Anyway if you happen to be attending tomorrow's game in the bleachers feel free to track us down. We'll be the drunk guys wearing the Cubs hats. If you cannot make it to the game, then feel free to join us at the Gingerman Tavern afterward where none other than newest TMS bartender and purveyor of punches to Hitler, Wolter will join us. Just shout "THUNDER MATT!" if you're looking for us. If no one responds, we're probably not around or maybe we didn't hear you so maybe you should shout twice. Also acceptable things to shout would include, "BOBBY SCALES!" and "BASTARD FROM A BASKET!" If you shout the latter I personally will buy you a TMS favorite, the Ron Goldman shot.

Also we'll be updating throughout the day via the ThunderMatt Twitter feed, so keep an eye on that for our whereabouts and such.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:59 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Green Day - "Macy's Day Parade"

The last Green Day song goes out to Nick V., whose spirited discussion a couple days ago earned him the right to pick today's song. He's chosen what is possibly the most depressing Green Day song to day, off of the album Warning. Warning is the epitome of a transitional album. The lyrics and subject matter on Warning took a decidedly more mature turn, though the obvious attempts at structuring radio-friendly pop songs did not go over as well as had been hoped. However, the attempt paved the way for the more conscientious and somewhat inflammatory (though incredibly poignant and successful) American Idiot.

CoY Battle Royale Results: Trout throws a shutout

11:34 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

And with the conclusion of the Paul Reuschel Region the first round of COYBR 2009 is in the books. Again we had 3 blowouts and one close battle. Steve Trout is the hero of the day with the first shutout in COYBR history.

Kevin Foster beats Corey Patterson, 20-3
Mike Bielecki beats Luis Salazar, 13-10
Steve Trout beats Ronny Cedeno, 23-0
Scott Sanderson beats Jacque Jones, 20-3

Thanks for everyone that participated. Here were some of the comments from this round of battles.
  • Kevin Foster wins because he's dead. Jacque Jones wins because he's black...don't want him to feel that Chicago is racist...you know.
  • I'm not voting for Luis Salazar and his massive, horse-like teeth. He swung at too many bases-loaded, 2-out, 3-2 fastballs over his head in 1992 for me to ever forgive him.
  • I still hate Jock Jones.
  • Kevin Foster-gosh, he wasn't very good, but he was one of my favorite Cubs of that era. Was that Steve Trout's website or GLAD's? Fuck Ronnie Cedeno. Am I a big loser for actually liking Jacque Jones? He played a pretty god center field for us and the wind generated by his bat helped provide electricity for my hometown. I miss you Super Jock.
  • 2 was the only one I had to think about. My hatred of Patterson, Cedeno, and Jones is still fresh. Cedeno is remembered (by me) as being arguably the dumbest player to ever put on a Cubs uniform. And I suspect that's saying a lot.
  • As a ballplayer in high school, Steve Trout's nickname was "One-Eyed Trouser". Ronnie Cedeno slept with Chad Cordero's dad*.
That's it for now. We'll begin the second round battles next week.

*This is obviously not true and is nothing more than a stupid joke. But alas, Mr. Cordero has no sense of humor and cannot take a joke nor can he simply find better things to do than get angry at middling blogs that hardly anyone reads anyway.

Death League Update: Jack Kemp

9:37 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

One can easily compare Jack Kemp to Ted Turner, Chik-Fil-A and the Toyota Tundra: the name sounds familiar, but I'll be damned if I know anything worthwhile about them. Jack Kemp passed away two weeks ago at the age of 73. To honor such a dignified man, one must look at his accomplishments. I will list Jack Kemp facts below. Three of them are true and one is false. See how well you know Jack Kemp:

  1. Kemp was a vice presidential nominee on Bob Dole's ticket in 1996.
  2. Kemp was a professional quarterback in the NFL and AFL and led the Buffalo Bills to a title.
  3. Kemp was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1957, but was cut before the season started.
  4. Kemp was a Time Magazine "Future Leader" in 1974.

What is your answer friend?

Actually, the answer is that there is no answer. All four of those items are true. And looking at number three, it's nice to see that some things never change.

Six points are awarded to Daft Funk, who insists that he will soon make his triumphant return to TMS.

TMS Endorses: Bobby Scales

12:01 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

He's got the journeymen credentials to make him a fan favorite. He hustles and he perseveres. In some circles, he's known as the 'black Matt Murton'. His smile alone is enough to impregnate even the most barren of wombs. He hit his first home run of his career on May 12, 2009 at age 31. He is the same age as at least 2 of the bartenders at TMS. He will surely be in some future edition of a Cubs of Yore Battle and will likely win his region handily.

His name is Bobby Scales and we endorse him.

We're not entirely sure which person in this photo is Bobby Scales. Bobby Scales might be hardpressed to identify himself in this (or any) photo.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:44 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Green Day - "Christie Road"

This song appears on Green Day's second full-length album, Kerplunk. It is particularly meaningful if you've ever been infatuated with a girl named Christie in your youth. You might even be inclined to play this song in her presence, revealing that it makes you think of her, as you slowly inhale the scent from a pair of her underwear that you stole from the laundry basket. What?

CoY Battle Royale: Round 1, Paul Reuschel Region

4:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Welcome back to the the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale. Today we finally wrap up the first round battles with the Paul Reuschel Region.

Wait you mean Rick Reuschel right? Nope. I mean Paul.

This final region has quite the mix of old and new, ranging from guys that played on the '84 team to guys that played last season.

Here's how it works. 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.

Assisting me with the "Fast Facts" for this region is fellow bartender Dave Thomas.

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 whenever. Results will be revealed later that day.

Now let's get the battles started.

PAUL REUSCHEL REGION, ROUND 1

#1 Corey Patterson vs. #8 Kevin Foster

COREY PATTERSON FAST FACTS*

  • Hails from Atlanta.
  • Played with Cubs for 6 years.
  • Selected as the third overall pick in the 1998 draft.
  • Was named the single A top prospect in 1999 and the double A top prospect in 2000.
  • Blew out his knee in spectacular fashion against the Cardinals in 2003.
  • Known for regurgitating the phrase “It’s just a game” time and time again.
  • Dusty’s favorite Patterson.
  • Cub fans are still anticipating his "break-out" season.
KEVIN FOSTER FAST FACTS*
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Traded to the Cubs for Shawn Boskie.
  • Deceased.
  • Played independent ball in the Northern League in 2003 and 2004.
  • In 1995 led the NL in most home runs allowed with 32. Fellow Cub Steve Trachsel was second with 25.


#4 Mike Bielecki vs. #5 Luis Salazar

MIKE BIELECKI FAST FACTS*
  • Played with Cubs for 4 years.
  • Shares a birthday with Wesley Snipes and Tim Couch.
  • Pedro Guerrero of the Cardinals robbed Bielecki of the first Cubs no-hitter in 19 years with a home run. Mike was a scant 8 outs away from history.
  • Won a career high 18 games as a Cub in 1989.
  • Traded to the Braves with Damon Berryhill for Yorkis Perez and Turk Wendell.
  • Known to hang in the same social circles as Tommy Buzanis.
LUIS SALAZAR FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Venezuela.
  • Played with Cubs for 4 years.
  • Played every position in his career except catcher.
  • Currently serves as the hitting coach for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
  • Joined the Cubs in the final month of the 1989 season. Salazar hit .326 that September and helped the team win the NL East crown.
  • Kept a large machete in his clubhouse locker.


#3 Steve Trout vs. #6 Ronny Cedeno

STEVE TROUT FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Detroit.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • The last Cub to pitch back-to-back complete game shutouts, which were his last games with the Cubs.
  • Helped the team reach the playoffs in the oft-heralded 1984 season.
  • Was no stranger to the occasional burrito-eating contest.
  • This.
RONNY CEDENO FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Venezuela.
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • His hero is Jose Nieves.
  • April 20th, 2007: Tagged out by David Eckstein after sliding past second base when Jacque Jones was walked. Cedeno commented with “must be new rules."
  • Huge fan of mound conferences.
  • Best remembered for nothing in particular.


#2 Scott Sanderson vs. #7 Jacque Jones

SCOTT SANDERSON FAST FACTS*
  • Played with the Cubs for 6 years.
  • One of his two home runs was a game winning grand slam at Wrigley. Granted, he was an Expo at the time.
  • Became an agent after retiring from baseball and has represented Frank Thomas, Josh Beckett, and Lance Berkman.
  • TMS Bartender Dave Thomas got drunk in his basement when he was in high school.
  • Caused Harry Caray notable distress when he suited up with Ryne Sandberg and Jim Sundberg.
JACQUE JONES FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Southern California.
  • Played with the Cubs for 2 miserable years.
  • Began his career in Minnesota where he and teammate Matt Lawton represented 66% of the African American population. (cue When Doves Cry)
  • Cheers - Tied his career best in home runs (27) his first year in Chicago.
  • Jeers - Struck out 116 times his first year in Chicago.
  • Claims to have signed with Chicago to play for Dusty Baker.
  • Last played as a Cincinnati Red.... for Dusty Baker.
  • Will swing at anything.
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.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

11:37 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Green Day - "Paper Lanterns"

"Paper Lanterns" comes from Green Day's Slappy EP in 1990, which became part of 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. In earlier days it was a staple of the band's live sets. "Paper Lanterns" alone is a two and a half minute number; however, it would often run upwards of 15 minutes in length when played live, as it would expand into a medley of songs such as "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "Eye of the Tiger". It was during one such "Paper Lanterns" medley that the infamous mud fight broke out during Woodstock 1994.

Gist on Ice: Canucks 5 Blackhawks 7

10:56 PM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus


Hawks Win! Hawks Win! The Blackhawks are going to the Western Division Championships to face either the Detroit Red Wings or the Anaheim Ducks thanks to a win in a back and forth game that didn't slow down in intensity since minute one. What a game. Patrick Kane was unreal, delivering a hat trick. Johnny Toews, the young captain, scored two goals of his own, including the go ahead goal in the 3rd period. Kris Versteeg and Adam Burish contributed the other two Blackhawks goals as the youngsters outlasted the Canucks in a wild game that went right down to the wire.

The teams traded scoring throughout the game, but the Blackhawks scored the goals that counted. Congrats guys on being the first team in the final four. Bring on the Wings or the Ducks! There will be more Gist on Ice to come over the next week and hopefully beyond.

CoY Battle Royale Results: Glenallen PWNS

12:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The first round battles in the Ivan DeJesus Region have concluded. In the end we had three blowouts and one that couldn't have been closer.

Rey Sanchez beats Ricky Gutierrez, 12-11
Joe Borowski beats Derrick May, 17-6
Glenallen Hill beats Scott Servais, 19-4
Les Lancaster beats Dave Martinez, 19-4

Thanks for everyone that participated. Here were some of the comments from this round of battles.
  • Scott Servais vs. Glenallen Hill was tough. Servais couldn't hit for shit, but he was a pretty good backstop. How about that tandem of Servais and Joliet Jeff Reed? Good times. I had to go with Glenallen, because let's face it, I'm afraid of him. That homerun onto the apartment building was a glorious, steroid fueled monster. There's also a great YouTube clip of him getting a hit during an intentional walk. I'm too old and lazy to find it, so Google it you lazy bastards.
  • Is there any way I can vote "no" on both Les Lancaster and Davey Martinez? Also, it breaks my heart to vote against Derrick May, but the Cubs don't make the playoffs in '03 without Sweaty Joe.
  • It's a well know clubhouse secret that the players all used to call him "Long Dong" Borowski.
Up next, we wrap up the first round with the Paul Reuschel Region. Stay tuned.

In Defense of... Cockfighting

9:56 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

I know this will piss a lot of animal lovers off, but I really don't care. Honestly, I don't understand why cockfighting has gotten such a bad rap. To understand why I feel this way, there's a few things you need to know:

1. I Hate Birds. Seriously. Birds creep me out. I still have never seen the Hitchcock movie and never will. The last time Mrs. Arcturus and I went to Shedd Aquarium we were mobbed by seagulls and I about had an "episode". So it doesn't bother me to know that people breed birds to fight to the death. One more dead bird is a step in the right direction.

2. Cockfighting Is A Lot Less Cruel Than The US Poultry Industry. At least the rooster gets a fighting chance at survival in cockfighting. If he wins, he lives. Simple as that. Aramis Ramirez's roosters live better than most Dominican children. Cruel my ass. By contrast, a chicken in the poultry industry is bred to either lay eggs constantly or have an accelerated growth cycle so they can quickly become fillets or drumsticks, or blended with mystery fish meat to become McNuggets.* These chickens live horrible lives, while the fighting roosters in the Dominican are admired and well cared for.

3. Cockfighting Is in No Way As Terrible As Dogfighting. Dogs are intelligent, loyal human companions. Even pit bulls are cute and cuddly, so long as they're not trained to eat babies. Dogs exist to please humans, so forcing them to fight is a horrible way to take advantage of that loyalty and love. A chicken is dirty, stupid and snake mean. A cockfight also has the built in benefit of being able to eat the loser, hell, sometimes the winner if they're fucked up enough. You can't do that in a dogfight.** So not only do you come for the fight you stay for the barbecue. Bonus.

4. I Want My Own Cockfighting Team. Seriously. The LeRoy Leghorns. There could be leagues of fighting cocks all across the country. KFC and Popeye's could sponsor. Money in the bank, baby. In this troubled economy, it would create jobs, not to mention meals, for thousands of people.

5. They're Chickens. Seriously people. Look, I'm all for protecting whales, wolves, seals, and polar bears, as well as other endangered species. Most of those animals are noble, proud animals. A wolf is symbol of pride and independence. A bear is a symbol of strength. Whales are symbols of . . . I have no idea what the fuck a whale is a symbol of. Chickens are not noble, chickens are tasty. Nobody likes to be called chicken or a cock, so even their names have negative connotations. Fuck, Rooster was the guy who tried to push Little Orphan Annie off a fricking bridge, thus canceling out the only "cool" Rooster, Rooster Cogburn. I've said it before and I'll say it again: chickens are McNuggets with feet. Let them fight and at least have a moment of glory before they end up in the skillet to be pan fried to crispy goodness. Now I'm hungry. Hey, Aramis!

*McDonald's claims that this is no longer the case, that McNuggets are all white meat. Yeah, right.

** Unless you're in Korea.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

10:44 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Green Day - "Going to Pasalacqua"

In honor of Green Day's release of 21st Century Breakdown this Friday, we are dedicating the jukebox this week to some of the band's earlier tunes. "Going to Pasalacqua" comes off of their first full length album, 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, which is actually a compilation of their first three EPs. As Pasalacqua is a reference to a Bay Area funeral home, the suggestion is that love can be the death of you. The majority of Green Day songs from this time period dealt with unrequited love. It's a cornerstone theme of popular music. Just because you're punk doesn't mean you can't express love.

Gist on Ice: Hawks 4 Canucks 2

10:25 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

The Blackhawks looked really good last night in Vancouver. Dustin Byfuglien was a beast in the first two periods, notching two goals. Davey Bolland would put the Hawks over the top in the third and Martin Havlat would add an empty netter to seal the deal at 4-2. The Canucks played well, answering Big Buff's 1st period goal with one by Ryan Kesler a few minutes later. They would score first in the second as Mats Sundin tallied a score against The Bulin Wall. That was all the Russian would allow for the evening, stopping 19 shots out of 21. This was the first time in the series the Blackhawks had scored first, something the coaches had wanted to see happen. The series now returns to Chicago with a chance for the young Hawks to send the Canucks back to Canada disappointed.

One note to the Blackhawks' GM: You must resign Marty Havlat next year. How clutch has this guy been so far this year? He pretty much singlehandedly kept the Hawks alive in Game 4 and has come up huge in so many regular season and post season games, I've lost count. Open up the checkbook and make sure he sticks around. If it helps, I'll buy a fricking Havlat jersey next year, even though they're so damn expensive.

Hopefully the series concludes on Monday. Stay tuned!

A-Damn

11:58 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz


Sigh. Not a good week to be a run producer from San Domingo named Ramirez. Our best hitter (and arguably defender), the glue to the middle of the order...out indefinitely.

Oh, but don't worry, we got Ryan Freel! No? I got nothing then. This also means more PT for Aaron 'White Rey Sanchez' Miles. Ugh, doesn't he have some hostages to save or something?

Getting rid of DeRosa looks more and more like an epic FAIL with every passing day.

CoY Battle Royale: Round 1, Ivan DeJesus Region

2:00 PM | Comments (1) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Welcome back to the first round of the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale. After an unintended hiatus this week at long last we continue with the Ivan DeJesus Region.

This region provides quite a few throwback players as all but a couple are pre-9/11 era.

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.

Assisting me with the "Fast Facts" for this region is fellow bartender Lingering Bursitis.

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 whenever. Results will be revealed later that day.

Now let's get the battles started.

IVAN DeJESUS REGION, ROUND 1

#1 Rey Sanchez vs. #8 Ricky Gutierrez

REY SANCHEZ FAST FACTS*

  • Hails from Puerto Rico.
  • Played with Cubs for 7 years.
  • Has played for 1/3 of MLB teams.
  • One of the great practitioners of the sacrifice bunt.
  • THE definition of a bench player.
  • Can play all the infield positions.
  • Cannot play the banjo, despite years of lessons.
RICKY GUTIERREZ FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Florida.
  • Played with Cubs for 2 years.
  • Amazingly, improbably, miraculously, Ricky has a World Series ring (2004, Boston).
  • Hit 38 home runs in 14 seasons in the majors. 21 of them came in the 2 seasons with the Cubs.
  • Led MLB with 17 sacrifice hits in 2001.
  • HAS A WORLD SERIES RING.
  • Prefers to be called "Richard".


#4 Derrick May vs. #5 Joe Borowski

DERRICK MAY FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Rochester, NY.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Son of Dave May, and definitely not the first guy in history to get a sweet job because of his daddy.
  • Career .271 hitter.
  • Enjoyed his best career year in 1993 with the Cubs (thank g-d): .295, 10 HR, 77 RBI, 25 2B, 10 SB (all career highs).
  • Picked 9th overall by the Cubs in the 1986 draft. I was going to make a snarky comment and mention someone better taken later that round but the "best" guy taken after him was Lee fucking Stevens. Jesus, Jeff King was a #1 overall pick?
JOE BOROWSKI FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from your local Denny's.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • At age 31 improbably came from nowhere to become a top arm in the Cubs bullpen.
  • Converted 33 of 37 saves during epic 2003 season.
  • With the Indians, Joe led the AL in 2007 with 45 saves despite posting a 5.07 ERA.


#3 Scott Servais vs. #6 Glenallen Hill

SCOTT SERVAIS FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from LaCrosse, WI, the birthplace of Old Style Beer.
  • Played with Cubs for 4 years.
  • Traded to the Cubs along with Luis Gonzalez from Houston for the mythical beast Rick Wilkins.
  • Batted .256 during his time with Chicago.
  • In 1996 he was hit by a pitch 14 times, 5th highest in the NL that year.
  • His nickname is Scott "Full" Servais because of his fondness for giving backrubs to his SPs after the game. This in addition to calling pitches and keeping them focused on their job.
  • Was back-up catcher on the US Olympic Team in 1988 that won a gold medal.
GLENALLEN HILL FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from the Land of Badass Motherfuckers.
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • HE DON'T TAKE NO SHIT FROM NOBODY.
  • Hit a HR onto a 5-story apartment complex outside Wrigley Field in 2001.
  • Was named in the Mitchell Report. It remains his most famous mention in anything ever.
  • Not very good on defense; nicknamed "The Juggler" for his defensive ineptitude. Just don't call him that to his face.


#2 Les Lancaster vs. #7 Dave Martinez

LES LANCASTER FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from Texas.
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • 1.36 ERA in 1989, and won Game 2 of the NLCS against the SF Giants.
  • Greatest MLB pitcher ever named Les.
  • Current manager of the Sioux City Explorers.
DAVE MARTINEZ FAST FACTS*
  • Hails from the New York.
  • Played with the Cubs for 4 non-consecutive years.
  • One of a precious few MLB players to have played for FOUR MLB teams in one season (Devil Rays, Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays in 2000).
  • Current bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Was traded to the Expos, helping to usher in the vastly underrated "Mitch Webster Era" in Chicago.
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.

Saloon Jukebox Featured Song

12:33 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Muse - "Exo-Politics"

"Exo-Politics", a great album cut off of Muse's brilliant Black Holes & Revelations, is a decidedly upbeat song given the fact that the lyrics seem to be about political corruption, conjuring up images of men in trench coats in dark alleys; exactly the sort of visuals displayed on the screens at a Muse concert. But really now, aren't all rock bands taking abstract political jabs these days? Perhaps it's best not to think about it so much, and just enjoy this song for the killer riff and soaring chorus.

The Gist: Game #28

10:12 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Been a while since we had a Gist. To say we're inconsistent would be an understatement.

Ted Lilly wasn't exactly lights-out tonight, but he put in a yeoman's effort, allowing two runs in six innings. His command was spotty early on, and Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez's performance enhancing brother-in-arms, light Lilly up with a two-run homer and a sharp double. But hey, at least he wasn't Russ Ortiz. Remember this guy? The ace of the Giants staff during their World Series run in 2002? Not so effective, pitching only two and a third innings. Needless to say it was a long night for the Houston bullpen.

Soriano jacked two home runs, one of which came in their four-run eighth inning. At the time, those insurance runs made it an 8-2 Cubs advantage. Chad Fox and his bionic arm entered to shut things down in the bottom of the ninth. Things did not go smoothly, as he allowed three runs in only one-third of an inning. Kevin Gregg came in to preserve the game, causing Cub fans across the nation to sweat. Fortunately he was able to seal the deal, capping off the game with a strikeout of Lance Berkman, who chalked up the elusive Golden Sombrero.