It's Rizzo Time!

June 25, 2012 | Comments (2) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's official.  Anthony Rizzo will make his Cubs debut tomorrow night. We want to wish Rizzo all the best as he begins his major league career. Hopefully it's a successful one.  At least successful enough to unseat Stockard Channing from the top spot when I Google Image Search "rizzo."

Also, we call dibs on trademarking the catchphrase "I'M JIZZO 4 RIZZO!"

War Criminal: Older People Complaining About the Current State of Pop Music

June 21, 2012 | Comments (0) | by Adam Blank

Not a week goes by when I check my Facebook and don't see some snarky post by some 30+ year old man bitching about Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or any of the other 4 pop stars currently inhabiting planet earth.

What the fuck is going on here?  Aren't you a grownup?  You have a career and a wife and kids.  Or you don't and you live in your parents' basement while amassing an unparalleled blu-ray collection.  Whatever.  It really doesn't matter if you're an accomplished adult or an unemployed turd of a blogger drunk on cheap whisky in the middle of the night.  You should have come to terms with pop music already. 

Here's the memo you apparently missed:  They stopped making pop music geared towards you the moment you walked across the stage and snagged your diploma.  Whether that was your high school diploma or you happened to buy yourself another few years of youth by going to college is completely inconsequential.  The moment you got out of school and tried to forge an existence is the moment pop music stopped being made with you in mind.  So take a deep breath, shed a tear for your lost innocence, briefly complain about the useless Grammy Awards and plunge into the Wilco catalog already.
Typical fan at a Wilco concert

Our parents went through this with grace and style.  Or at least mine did.  I grew up with a sister who was  the perfect age for a full-blown New Kids on the Block obsession.  Posters, dolls, lunch boxes, and the constantly repeating "Hangin' Tough" playing on the newfangled CD player...which cost $400 and was only connected to the stereo of the entertainment center in the living room.  I'm sure my dad wasn't thrilled with his daughter's skeevy-looking masturbation material hanging all over her bedroom walls, tempting her to seek out her budding womanhood, but he didn't complain about it incessantly, even though that period of time was probably weird as fuck for him.  And he would certainly never have 'liked' an anti-New Kids on the Block group on a social network, had they existed at the time.  He handled it the correct way; the entire rise and fall of a pop group wasn't worthy of his acknowledgment, even though his daughter was obviously rubbing it out like a bonobo monkey in heat to the 24" x 36" poster of Joey, Danny, Jonathan, Jordan and the other guy. 

Joey's hair is ribbed for her pleasure

My dad might have been an anomaly though.  Even back in the early 60's, adults were writing songs about that stupid teenage fad that were The Beatles.  In 1964 alone, there were over 200 songs recorded about the Beatles, and a good chunk of them weren't positive.

Now, I'm not comparing Justin Bieber to The Beatles. And I don't necessarily think that complaining about Justin Bieber puts you on the wrong side of history.   In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never even heard a Justin Bieber song.  BECAUSE I STOPPED LISTENING TO THE THINGS THAT PLAY THAT KIND OF MUSIC OVER 10 YEARS AGO.  I'd be willing to bet that I wouldn't like it, but I'm at that age (and posses enough self-awareness) that I realize I'd probably have flat out dismissed rock 'n' roll as an incomprehensible noisy mess had it just arrived on the scene during my early 30's.
Adam fighting the good fight c. 1962

The point is, this shit obviously isn't for us and we can't predict what stands the test of time.  I'd like to think that our parents would have drown us in the nearest creek bed had they known "Don't Stop Believing" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" would be two of the top karaoke songs of all time.  For all we fucking know, our grand-kids will be singing along to Ke$ha on the 2040's equivalent of the Guitar Hero franchise, Auto Tune Glory, on the PS8.  The future very well may suck for us, but it simply isn't up to us to decide.  In the meantime, listen to the shit you like (which, judging by the militant pop-music haters out there, is just the same old shit you listened to in high school anyway) and leave the brand new pop music to high school girls and DJs at gay clubs.

WTFATG*: Luis Valbuena

June 20, 2012 | Comments (1) | by Arcturus

Apparently I slept through spring training this year because I don't remember Luis Valbuena at all.  If you're like me, you're wondering who this guy is.  I thought he was one of our young farm guys.  Not so.

Valbuena's MLB career started in 2008 for the Mariners.  The Venezuelan was later traded to the Indians, then sent down to the minors in 2011 and eventually traded to the Blue Jays.  The Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Jays in April 2012.

It's been a small sample size, but I like what I've seen from Valbuena.  He looks solid in the field and he's got two homers and 7 RBIs in 6 games.  He's also not Ian Stewart.  His career stats don't really suggest that he'll continue on his current pace, although he hasn't played much the past few seasons.

Valbuena saw action in 17 games for Cleveland last year, following a 91 game campaign in 2010 and a 103 game run in 2009.  He hit 10 home runs in 2009 with a .250 average, his best season.  Homers dropped to 2 in 2010 and his average fell to .193.  In the 17 MLB games he played in last year, he hit .209 with 1 home run.

So obviously Valbuena's probably not the long term answer at third base.  Stranger things have happened though and the Cubs have a dearth of talent at third in the minors.  He's only 27 and the job seems to be all his for the moment.  Let's see what he does with it.   

*Who The Fuck Are These Guys? 

White Sox Fans: Take A Knee

June 19, 2012 | Comments (1) | by Rich Funk

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was dumb.
I like to think I have a pretty good idea of what still counts as "stupid" in this country. It seems like year after year, the bar is lowered further and further, to the point where it's almost now just sitting on the ground. Getting into how the good ol' US of A got to this point is another post entirely.

It takes a whole lot for something to be so idiotic, so incomprehensibly dumb, that it stops me dead in my tracks and causes my brain to hurt trying to make a modicum of sense of what I'm seeing. It's even harder for something to have that effect on me when I see it on Facebook. Because I regard Facebook as mostly a dumping ground for the very first unfiltered thing that pops up in people's brains, my tolerance for seeing things there that make me want to light myself on fire is pretty high.

But holy shit, I cannot keep what I saw this morning to myself.

As someone that went to high school and college in Illinois, I have a lot of friends on Facebook that are Cubs fans and a lot of friends that are White Sox fans. When both teams clash, I see a lot of updates on Facebook (from both sides) that make me shake my head and move on. But what I woke up to this morning...I'll just jump into sharing it with you. All names have been blocked out to protect the innocent as well as the idiotic.

In case you can't read what the caption says, it's "(Name Withheld) tell this dummy they have the worst record in baseball and sit down lol". This in and of itself is perfectly reasonable. The Cubs do have the worst record in baseball, and in a rivalry like this, it's something that's bound to come up.

As we look at some of the comments that continue under the picture, things start to spiral out of control. Here's the first comment posted:

Well then. If you've ever seen bad improv before, you know that when someone can't think of anything remotely clever to say, they usually resort to excessive swearing or vulgar references, hoping they can get a cheap laugh. The internet equivalent of this is calling someone gay. The biggest difference is that for the improv performer, they're on the spot and have to say something. No one was clamoring for this person's two cents to be thrown in. There is no excuse. But at least we get the mandatory homophobic comment out of the way first. It frees up the rest of the conversation to go in any direction. Of course, it goes in a very predictable one.

There's a very real chance that the guy pictured at the top was being a drunk asshole and ruining the experience for everyone around him, If that's the case, he deserved to get booted out. But to the best of my knowledge, I don't think our homophobic friend was actually at the game. And if that's the case, they're saying the pictured gentleman deserved to be kicked out of his seat just because he was a Cubs fan that had the audacity to cheer for his favorite team in a game that just so happened to take place in the city that team also plays in.

Got it. So what you're saying is you're losing to the Cubs on purpose because you feel sorry for us? Now I know that this person probably doesn't actually think the Sox are losing to the Cubs out of pity. But even saying it makes your team look stupid. Either you look bad for tanking a game or you look bad for getting pasted by the worst team in baseball. You look bad in both cases.

Last night was the only Cubs win of the entire season??? Seriously??? I thought that a team that had an 0-66 record coming into last night would have made more news than it did. I didn't hear about this anywhere else.

The funny thing is that the simple addition of 3 words would have made this a valid statement. "This may be your only win all season against the Sox" would have been infinitely better. It's funny that taking out those 3 words would turn a valid point into one that makes zero sense.

I think my favorite part is that even when making a ridiculous statement, this person can't stick to their guns. If you're going to talk impossible smack, you say "THIS WILL BE YOUR ONLY WIN OF THE SEASON", not "this may be your only win this season". Have some conviction!

Also, talking about how terrible the Cubs are doesn't really look good for you. The "worst team in baseball" just hung a dozen on you last night. And you might want to call Kenny Williams about these "charity wins" you're giving to teams you feel bad for. You're .5 games up in your division and way back in the Wild Card. You can't afford to give many games away. I don't think Detroit will return the favor and tank against the worst teams they play.

What a fantastic bow to tie on the entire conversation.

First off, you wish your team sucked at trading? Even if we had the ship in Prometheus, I don't think we could discover a world where that makes sense, even as a joke.

The other thing that actually made me excited was that I'm connected through a mutual friend to someone that works in a MLB front office! How awesome is that? After all, the only way this person could ever know that the Cubs are currently "sucking" at trading Dempster and Garza would be if they were actually in on those trade calls between Jed Hoyer and other GMs across the league, right?


Seriously, this is about the dumbest statement out of all the ones you've seen here. The Cubs have two prime trade chips in Dempster and Garza. Since they're still on the team, that means the Cubs have to be terrible at trading them, right? It's not because we're waiting for the best deal to come along, is it? It's not that we can get more for them closer to the deadline, using potential injuries and pitting other teams against each other to drive up the price, is it? This guy seems like the type of person that sends you incredibly lopsided trade offers in fantasy baseball, and gets pissed at you when you don't accept them.

I know that the people above aren't representatives of all White Sox fans. Hell, the person who posted that picture in the first place is a Sox fan, and one of the more knowledgeable baseball fans I've ever met. But the other commenters need to realize that they're making all White Sox fans look like idiots.

Sucking With Purpose

June 18, 2012 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Well, the Cubs lost another series last night, dropping 2 out of 3 to Boston.  This team has been every bit as bad as I expected them to be, but losing hasn't bothered me as much as it has in the past.  Reason being, I'm still confident that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a plan to rebuild not just at the major league level, but system wide.  That kind of sea change takes time and isn't going to happen overnight, much less over the course of a single season.

The only thing I've found frustrating is some of the comments and complaints I've read from some Cub fans on the internets.  A lot of people seem to have missed the memo on just what's going on the North Side right now.  There was no chance in hell the Cubs were going to be competitive this year, so please dispense with the bitching and moaning about Theo not knowing what he's doing or calling for Dale Sveum to be fired.  It just makes our fanbase look foolish.

Yes, the Cubs suck.  However, I would argue that this year, the Cubs suck with purpose.  As one of the ESPN announcers pointed out last night, this is audition time.  Any of the players on the current team might be trade bait or cannon fodder.  Guys like Darwin Barney need to step up and prove they deserve to be on this team when the rebuilding dust settles.  Theo and Jed are going to be watching carefully to determine who stays and who goes.  Meanwhile, they appear to be ready to trade anybody they can get good prospects for, even ready to eat some money in order to do so.  Along with the draft and the addition of Jorge Soler, this will go a long way to replenishing a barren farm system.  Theo has admitted he made some mistakes in Boston, but most of those mistakes were on the free agent side.  This guy knows talent and I have confidence he can build a first rate farm system, which to me is the foundation for sustained success.  What a nice change from the Hendry regime, who merely threw oodles of money at the major league roster.  The Cubs had a few good seasons with this method, but no sustained success.

Dale Sveum may not have been the sexy hire the fanbase was hoping for, but honestly, if I see one more doofus bitching about Sandberg not being hired, I'm going to slap them around.  I'm not sure why these people believe the results would be different with number 23 in charge.  I loved Sandberg the player, but Sandberg the manager has never managed at the major league level.  There's no way in Hades he'd magically be able to make this a better ballclub.  Being a Cub icon ain't gonna make Ian Stewart hit for average, reverse Soriano's steady decline, improve Castro's concentration, or solidify the duct-taped bullpen.

I see Sveum's role much like Alan Trammel's in Detroit a number of years ago.  The Cubs have a motley collection of youth and veterans and Sveum's job is to stress the fundamentals and teach these kids to play the game the right way.  As they get better, add some better free agents over the next two-three years and all of a sudden, you're ready to compete.  Whether Dale will continue to be the manager at that point is anyone's guess, but I think he's the perfect guy for the task at hand.  The only thing that worried me at first was how he handled the bullpen, but the bullpen is so bad, there's really no way of telling if he's handling it right or not.  It seems like a complete crapshoot as to what kind of performance you're going to get from any Cub reliever at this point.  Hard to pin that on Dale.

I hate to say it, but as fans, all we can do is be patient.  I think we can look to what's happened in Detroit and Tampa Bay over the last decade to see what the future might hold.  You build from the bottom up, not the top down and I think your team is going to always have a chance to be in it.  The Cubs are going to have more money to spend than either of those teams in the next few years, but before you start spending money, a solid foundation has to be there.  That's what the Cubs are doing this year: pouring the concrete.  Yeah, watching it dry isn't going to be super exciting, but what the Cubs build on top of that just might be what Cub fans have been waiting for this past century and change.              

TMS Beer Project: Grain Belt Premium

June 12, 2012 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Apparently everyone at the Saloon forgot we were running a fucking blog again.  In an attempt to keep some content fresh, allow me to revive an old feature.  Also did the Cubs win?  Eh, it doesn't matter.

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though. Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:

Grain Belt Premium

Brewery: August Schell Brewing Co.

Type: I don't know, fucking BEER I guess.

Receptacle: 16 ounce god damn tall boy

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 7
It's not bad, but it is a heavy so if you have a vagina and can only handle light beers you're probably not going to fare well.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 6
It's a regular blue collar beer.  It's got some meat to it but it's not going rape your taste buds (it may rape your soul).

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea): 8
It's a traditional macro, and the fact that the ABV isn't labeled leaves me to believe it's probably around a 4.9%.  However these are tall boys that I'm drinking.  In fact it was a 12 pack of tall boys.  I didn't know such things even existed until tonight.  What else have I missed in my 33 years of life?  So many more questions than answers have arose.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Prince, Tim Pawlenty, Jesse Ventura, Rod Carew, Zombie Kirby Puckett, Brian Dennehy.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): $$: Grain Belt seems to sell at a higher price than PBR or High Life.  Sometimes too high in my opinion.  You shouldn't be spending over 10 bucks for a 12 pack.  Unless of course the 12 pack is god damn tallboys.  Seriously, tall boys in a 12 pack? What an age to be alive!

Overall: 8.12515
In the world of blue collar macro beers, Grain Belt is really overlooked and underrated in my opinion.  PBR has the hipster crowd locked up.  Schlitz has the hipsters that have tired of PBR.  Old Style has the Cub fans.  And High Life picks up the rest of America that shakes their cock at shitty light beer.  If you haven't tried Grain Belt I highly recommend it if you can find it.  More often than not it comes in bottles.  But if you happen to find tall boys in a 12 pack, you buy that shit and never look back.

Hey Post-Dispatch, Asterisk This!

June 04, 2012 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Come now. If you're going to put asterisks next to MLB achievements at least be consistent!

Seriously. I understand if you're upset because of the bad call.  But show some respect to Santana. It's an official no-hitter so just recognize it as such. You wanna complain about the botched call then do it in your article instead of making a grand juvenile statement in your damn headline.  It just makes you, the Cardinal fans, and your city as a whole look extremely petty.

Grow up St. Louis.

2012 WAIW Pub Crawl: The Aftermath

June 01, 2012 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It seems like ages ago when I posted about attending the 4th Annual Wasting Away in Wrigleyville Pub Crawl. I had promised that I would video document the event and then publish my footage of each bar stop back here at the Saloon.

Well I've got good news and bad news.

First, the bad news. It turns out, that the first handful of bars provided nothing real interesting.  Unless you enjoy watching relatively sober people quickly chug a beer before heading to the next bar.  So I pretty much scrapped any ideas of posting that footage because it's pretty terrible and worthless.

Now the good news.  I did eventually get some footage that's pure gold.  Apparently shit doesn't start getting crazy enough until after the 8th inning.  That footage, my dear readers, you will get to see.

So here's a basic bar-by-bar recap of what transpired, with the few amazing video clips I got added in.

Pre-Crawl: Lucky's Sandwich Shop
Standard meeting place every year.  The plan is to fill up on one of their giant sandwiches to give yourself a solid base before the marathon of boozery begins. This may draw the ire of some folks, but can I just say, on the whole I find Lucky's sandwiches to be woefully overrated. Are they decent? Yes. But holy shit, can we take a knee with the fries and cole slaw on top? They make up 75% of the god damn sandwich.  I'll happily take both items as sides with my normal sized sandwich thank you. It's disappointing when several bites turn out to be nothing but a french fry and cole slaw sandwich.

1st Inning: Blarney Stone shit, um Rebel, I guess
Classic Pub Crawl moment. It never fails that at least one bar won't be open for us when we get there. Rebel turned out to be a decent Plan B mainly for its proximity.  I drank a Bud Light then I left.  That's about all I can say here.

2nd Inning: The Stretch
Always a nice place with good staff. I avoided the wait for a beer and instead bought one from WAIW's Steve's bucket. Fellow TMS Bartender White Chili retells us his story about the time he stole someone's birthday cake from this place.

...on the way to Merkle's, WAIW John (aka Muldoon) offers some solid advice.

(This is the only worthwhile thing I filmed for 8 innings)

3rd Inning: Merkle's
Oh Merkle's. Home to so many terrible drunk moments I either don't or rather choose not to remember. After drinking two pee water Bud Lights I was ready to strap on a real beer so I went with the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. It was nice to finally have a beer that tasted like something. Not much else happened. They have Colonel Sanders statue at the entrance.  I have no idea why.

4th Inning: Mullen's
Got an Old Style here.  Spent a good chunk of time talking with Corey from Ivy Envy about how to podcast. Most of this conversation has now been lost in a booze-induced fog.  I think you gotta record some shit and then put it on the web and... damn. I need to talk to Corey when I'm not drinking.

5th Inning: Sluggers
Like a dumb kid, every time I forego any beer and immediately run upstairs to the batting cages, where I then flail wildly at pitches and see how fast I can give myself blisters from the shitty bats with no gripping on them.

6th Inning: Captain Morgan Club, -wait, seriously? What's that? The Dugout is actually open? The day is saved!
In a strange twist of irony the Captain Morgan Club was close yet The Dugout was open.  We must've gotten lucky and got there during one of the 4 hours a week they're open.  Two years ago The Dugout was supposed to be a 7th inning stop but wound up being closed, therefore we spent an extra inning at Captain Morgan's instead.

7th Inning: Sports Corner
I never went to the old Sports Corner but the new incarnation is quite nice looking.  Drank some High Life and played foosball. A few folks learned two things by being my teammate. 1) I'm fucking terrible at foosball. 2) I'll cheat like a motherfucker. I'm honestly kind of surprised I've never been punched while playing.

8th Inning: Murphy's
OK, now things start taking a turn.  And the one firmly grabbing the wheel and veering us towards certain doom, is our good friend Malört. I do believe I had two shots of the stuff while there. Possibly three? It's not that important. What is important is that said Malört consumption then led to this.

After touching the Wrigley Field wall (and Mr. Funk apparently making out with it?), I decide to sprint like a drunken ass down the sidewalk to some folks up ahead. One of which, is our good friend, Mr. John Carruthers. As you can hear in the video as I reach them, John shouts "KARATE KICK!" followed by an audible "thunk" sound and then me making a grunting sound.  The "thunk" would be John's foot landing squarely in my stomach.  It knocked the wind out of me and I completely biffed on the sidewalk. Impressively though, I maneuvered to protect my iPhone. Aside from a few scrapes I was fine, and once I was able to breathe again I couldn't stop laughing.

9th Inning: Bernie's
We made it! Mostly unscathed. Once I got a beer and sat down I was able to have a word with John asking him to explain what just happened.

Cool story bro!

A little bit later I got some classic footage of a Pub Crawler passed out at the bar.

Post-Crawl: Gingerman
Ah yes. The official bar of Thunder Matt's Saloon. Had some PBR, did some more shots of Malört, and tried to make friends with an old Puerto Rican dude who was a marine in 'Nam. Pretty sure he was ready to stab me when I left. Oh, and I also made this disturbing discovery. Let me also say that I was pretty much shit-rocked at this point.

Thankfully I wound up not having AIDS. Mr. Funk and I later adjourned and went to the Double Door that night where we saw Electric Six, who managed to render me deaf for at least two days after.

And that's it.  Fun times had by all. Oh and the Cubs lost the game too. I guess we were following that supposedly.  I can't wait for next year's pub crawl. Hopefully I remember to not go in to John's dojo, WHERE KICK, MEETS CHEST!!!