Monday, December 29, 2003

Vacation Time

It doesn't look like I'll be posting until Tuesday, January 6th. I'm at home for awhile but have not been getting the chance to do much web surfing. See ya next week.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Monday Quick Hits

If only the Saints knew I picked them in my pool, they would have never gotten their hopes up.

Rex Grossman looks like a keeper. Of course he's played against two suspect defenses. Unfortunately, we won't get a chance to see him perform against a good defense this year as KC is pretty bad at stopping the pass too. But it's probably good in the long run for Rex to ease his way into the league anyway.

Greg Couch finally writes something I agree with:

"Thomas seems like a guy who does what he's asked, hangs onto the ball, runs through openings in the line when they exist. And when it's time to create something, he runs into somebody's back and falls down. You cannot expect everyone to be Gale Sayers, but it would be nice to have someone who isn't magically pulled by some sort of magnetic force into an offensive lineman's back. Plunge and fall. Plunge and fall."

But then later in the column:

"The Bears have had Thomas for three seasons and still have no idea if he's any good."

He perfectly describes Thomas as a running back and then says we have no idea if he's any good. Greg, you were right the first time! He can run through a hole but not through a linebacker. The Bears should upgrade if the right opportunity comes along.

Friday, December 19, 2003


I got my weekly IL Republican Party Newsletter today and not a word on indicted former Governor George Ryan. Hey folks, I don't think you can just ignore the story. How about coming out strong saying the party is starting over with a new generation of leadership. Well I guess the problem with that it's untrue. The party is still controlled by the same leadership devoid of any new ideas.

Anyway, my brother tried to correct me by stating that Ryan was the uber-corrupt secretary of state. But from reading the Trib article today it sounds like they're whacking Ryan for raiding his own campaign war chest as Governor.

This is actually somewhat disappointing as many were hoping he was going to be indicted for the license for bribes scandal at the Secretary of State's office. But from what the articles states it sounds like he was being indicted for things that I'm sure are pretty routine for Illinois politicians. Ryan just had more funds to do them on a grander scale. Maybe more details of corruption will come out in the weeks ahead.

Anyway, the state GOP has started a blog. I'm sure this is their idea of being "hip". But here's a suggestion. No one's going to stop by the site if its the political equilavent of the LovaBulls (unless of course you put up actual pictures of beautiful women). You may want to add some thoughtful commentary and a little bit of humor. No one wants to hear cheerleading and a bunch of comments from a guy named Jim.

Winter Blues

Well, I became real excited about the trade speculation this week. But now after I’ve calmed down a bit I’m not sure why I was getting so excited in the first place. I think I was just happy Williams was trying to do something even though its not clear at all the trade would have improved the Sox.

Most people do not believe the Sox would keep Nomar, and after looking at his road numbers the last three seasons, that’s probably a good thing. So what we’re really talking about is trading Ordonez for pitching regardless of where it comes from. It sounded like Scott Williamson would come to Chicago via the trade. And then you ship Nomar off to LA or Anaheim, for Perez, Mota and a prospect, or Washburn, Percival and a prospect. Are these scenarios worth losing Ordonez? I guess it depends on who the prospect is. Edwin Jackson might make the deal worth it. But I highly doubt Evans will be giving the Sox their number one pitching prospect.

So whether or not the deal gets back on track the Sox somehow need to add some pitching to the roster. Williams is reluctant to trade Carlos Lee, although he is the most tradable player because of his contract, and would be less damaging than trading Mags. But they’re looking to unload Ordonez because he’s in his last year of his contract and they don’t want to pay anyone $14m per season (even though he’s worth it).

These are not good times on the South Side.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Latest Trade Update

ESPN now states that the Dodgers are now completely out of the picture. But really, is there any chance the White Sox will keep Nomar and his salary? With only one year left on his contract? We'll know soon.

And Now for Something Completely Different

George Ryan, the free spending, tax raising, license selling, capital punishment ending, uber-corrupt former Republican Governor of Illinois, was indicted today by a grand jury for racketeering with fraud and conspiracy.

Illinois has already become a solidly Democratic state, but this is the last nail in the coffin of the state GOP.

Trade Update

No final word yet but Peter Gammons confirmed that Nomar will be going to the Sox, and possibly with Scott Williamson, for Ordonez if the AROD trade is consumated. However, many people are speculating Nomar will then be traded to LA for pitching.

Here is the original Newsday article which broke the latest developments.

Here's an LA Times article (if you need a log in just use laexaminer, laexaminer) that says Selig has established a Thursday afternoon deadline to complete the trade because of the circus atmosphere and tampering violations that are being committed. The article also mentions the possibilty of Nomar ending up in LA.

Nomar to Sox?

Could this be true? A lot of Sox fans have been upset by talk of trading Ordonez. I didn't want to see Ordonez go, but thought it best to see who Williams could get in return before passing judgement. If we do in fact get Nomar the trade will be worth it.

There are some risks. Ordonez is a slightly better offensive player. But Nomar has a great bat and is also great defensively playing a crucial defensive position. And what maybe most important for the Sox is that Nomar is a "big" name.

For many reasons, but mainly because of his shy personality, Ordonez has not had a marketing profile that a ballplayer with his impressive offensive numbers would usually enjoy. If he played in Wrigley the story might be a little bit different.

But Nomar comes in with his celebrity credentials already established. Will this bring in more fans? I think it will. And if the Sox need anything to help them compete in the future it's more fannies in the seats.

The Sox will still need to add some pitchers to take a run at the division title. But Minnesota hasn't made any great moves to improve themselves so the bar is not set that high. Anyway, this deal isn't done so I really don't want to say anymore about it. But this would be a good move.

For the LA POV go here.


Maybe you have noticed I have some links to some type of Scooter page under Sponsors on the right. Last month I received an e-mail asking me if I would add them to my site for a small monthly payment. I figured the link would somehow take you to a porn site or something, but it looks to be legitimate. Anyway, I went ahead and took the deal and added the links to the site.

Now this month I get an e-mail from a fellow blogger who was also asked to add the links and was now conducting due diligence on the company to make sure everything was kosher. We get to talking and it turns out my fellow blogger was able to negotiate a higher price. Negotiate! Are you kidding me?

Now I’m currently getting my MBA at one of the premier business schools in the nation but I’m obviously not learning enough. Why didn’t I think of asking for more! Well, actually I’ll tell you why. It’s like you’re walking to work one day and someone comes up to you and says “Hi, I’ll pay you X amount of dollars for you to walk to work.” My first reaction wouldn’t be “No, how about Y amount of dollars.” It would be “No problem” while thinking to myself, “What a fool, I was walking there anyway!”

But if you’re going to be in business, you have to realize that no one is going to give you something for nothing. So even if I’m going to do the blog anyway, I’m still providing a service to Mr. Scooter. And I actually believe I’m getting paid a fair amount. Maybe if my hits keep increasing I’ll say my rates have increased. But if anyone happens to buy a scooter after seeing them on my site, please send me an e-mail and let me know. I’m sure they make enough money from one scooter sale to pay my monthly fee for years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

White Sox News

The improvements Kenny Williams has made to the White Sox this offseason are listed below. Deals made at the winter meetings are in bold:

Monday, December 15, 2003

Charles Tillman for Rookie of the Year

The Bears won despite being outgained 393 yards to 232. The game ended with Charles "Peanut" Tillman stealing a game winning touchdown from Randy Moss. Tillman simply took the ball right out of Moss' hands. I think Saddam fought harder coming out of his spider hole.

You can get the Minnesota point of view over at Sethspeaks. Although Moss had 9 catches for 93 yards, he short armed a couple of passes, and should have caught the game winner. So while his numbers may look good, he didn’t have a great day. That’s probably why he didn’t talk to reporters after the game.

The Vikings failed to take advantage of their gaudy running numbers. Like week 2, the Bears played a cover two, taking away the deep pass and daring the Vikes to run. And boy did they run (178 yards). But it seemed once the Vikings got in Bears territory they got pass happy. No I know its harder to run on a cover two as you get closer to the goal line and the safeties are closer to the line of scrimmage. But when you’re picking up 7 and 8 yard gains with the run I think you have stick with it.

The Vikings probably should have taken a couple of shots down the field even with the cover two, as Moss often beats double coverage. But I still think the Vikes would have been better off running even more. Anyway, you have to give some credit to the Bears coaching staff for a good defensive game plane.

The offense didn’t play that well. That might be expected as Rex Grossman was making his NFL debut. He didn’t get any help from the running game which was non-existent. The passing game never really got on track and Grossman was a bit inaccurate. But in all it was a good debut for Grossman. While it was nice to see him take chances downfield, I was most surprised by how mature he was. He didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t take any careless chances. If he can improve his completion percentage, which I believe he will, and continues show the football smarts he displayed, he’s going to have a long career with the Bears.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Buehrle Signed

The Sox signed Mark Buehrle to a three year deal today for $18m, with a club option in year 4. This is actually a surprise as it seemed Buerhle was looking forward to being Cardinal one day. But I guess he would have been in arbitration the next few years anyway so this should give him some financial security while he toils on the southside. The contract is backloaded, only paying $3.5m this year, which means it will cause some problems down the road. Williams must figure he might be gone by then so why worry. Is Kenny a member of the AARP?

Buehrle did have an off year last year. Let's just hope it was an aberration and not a trend. But he's been consistent enough the past few years for me to give this deal a thumbs up.

Mariotti Award Winner

Well the other day a stole an idea from Andrew Sullivan about giving awards to people who write or say stupid things. My very first award, the Mariotti Award, went fittingly to Jay Mariotti. I was set to give him another award for saying the Sox will need to Carlos Lee to keep producing after his “breakthrough season”. Whatever. His average went up, his OBA went down, and his other numbers are about the same. We’ve heard this line before.

But then I saw an even dumber comment about Lee from Teddy Greenstein in today’s Tribune. Writing about the possible moves the Sox could make he states:

“Williams could make a deal for Lee in a minute, but he's loath to trade the Sox's most productive player (.291, 31 homer, 113 RBIs).”

Most productive player? Lee doesn’t even come close to the productivity of Thomas & Ordonez who each have an OPS of 925+ while Lee came in at 830. It’s amazing that so many reporters do not go beyond analyzing average, home runs and rbis. For crying out loud, when it’s your job to follow baseball, the least you could do is educate yourself on the relevant measurements of what makes one a “productive” hitter. If there are any GM’s out there who think Lee is the Sox most productive hitter, I hope Kenny Williams can accommodate them with a trade. But frankly, I would put my money on Williams being the only GM who might believe such a thing.

So congratulations Teddy Greenstein. You are the second Mariotti Award Winner.

Poetry Time

After getting all warm and fuzzy watching two people expose their personal lives for the almighty dollar, Seth Stohs decided to write a poem about his beloved Twins. So I thought I would respond with a haiku:

Twinkie fan gloating
In the cold of December
Baseball Gods punish

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

BCS & First Ever Mariotti Award Winner

Well there has been absolutely too much whining about the BCS. I’m not sure what the problem is. There are three teams with one loss. Instead of relying on subjective human analysis, the major conferences thought it would be better to use a mix of human and computer analysis. And voila, you get a result that makes complete sense.

People try to make the BCS formula sound like some crazy number crunching that has nothing to do with football. But strength of schedule is really about the only way you can judge the difference between these teams. And even if you don’t buy into all the different factors the BCS uses, the results still make intuitive sense. Oklahoma has one loss to a very good Kansas State team. LSU has one loss to a pretty good Florida team. USC lost to a mediocre Cal team. So Oklahoma is 1, LSU 2, USC 3. Makes sense to me.

So this is the way it is as long as there is not a playoff system and that’s fine by me. I don’t care what idiot sportswriters have to say. Speaking of which, the very first Mariotti Award, given to the author of the dumbest line in a sports column, goes to Jay Mariotti for this little nugget:

“The reason we have sports, from Little League to the big leagues, is for the premier teams to play off and determine a victor.”

Wow, I now see that I wasted a childhood playing pick up sports and never having a championship to determine the ultimate victor. Now I know why I feel so incomplete!

I would go on to explain how stupid this statement is but I respect my audience enough to believe they already know.

Anyway, I also still think Oklahoma is the best team in the nation. Like the 1985 Bears loss to the Dophins, Saturday’s game was a fluke. They will take care of business against LSU, while Michigan handles USC, and will be the undisputed National Champs.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Monday Hanngover

Well, I celebrated my 30th birthday on Friday. My 6 week old gave me the nicest present. She slept from midnight to 5am! I needed every minute to recover from the Maker's Mark Manhattans I was downing on Friday.

Sox news: Sox offer arbitration to Colon, Gordon. Do not offer arbitration to Roberto Alomar, Carl Everett, Tony Graffanino or Scott Sullivan.

I am hopeful that we will not see Roberto Alomar at 2B this season. Alomar said "you want to be play where they give you the respect you're looking for." Funny, its sounds like you're looking for $$$$ to me. Good luck finding it!

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Sox Make Minor Move

Well the Sox made a minor move the other day, sending Aaron Miles to Colorado for Juan Uribe. The Sox traded away your classic overachiever for your classic underachiever.

I thought Aaron Miles would have been a great story. Career minor leaguer finally gets chance in the majors. It still might happen, but not in a Sox uniform. I’m not sure why Williams didn’t want to give Miles a shot at second. His numbers in the minors were good but the article states he was a defensive liability. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the situation to tell you if that’s a correct judgment.

Uribe, who has hit .240 and .253 the last two years playing at Coors field, will replaceTony Graffinino, who will most likely move on to greener pastures, as the utility infileder. This is a called a downgrade.

Unless Williams makes another move Willie Harris will be the Sox 2004 starting second baseman. He’s young enough for me to hope he can still be a productive player. At least it sounds like Roberto Alomar will not be back.

And I can’t understand why so many Sox fans want to resign Alomar. Look, I thought the Alomar trade was a good idea. You weren’t getting a lot of production from 2B anyway, so why not take a shot that Alomar could rejuvenate his career back in the AL. Take in the fact that the Mets paid most of his salary, and it was definitely worth it. But newsflash folks, it didn’t work out. Take a look at his numbers. I don’t want this guy anywhere near 35th & Shields next year. Those type of numbers come a lot cheaper than what Alomar is looking to get.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Bears

There has been a lot of talk about the Bears making a run for the playoffs. It seems silly, as they have only beaten one good team. But the playoffs are indeed a possibility thanks to the ineptitude of the Vikings and Packers. However, since the Bears are 3-0 against the AFC and 2-7 against the NFC, they will end up losing all tiebreaker scenarios. So the only way for them to make the playoffs is:

For the Vikings to lose 3 of 4.
For the Packers to split their remaining 4 games.
For the Bears to win out.

That would leave the Bears at 9-7 and the Pack & Vikings at 8-8. Now the Bears will be able to help themselves by beating the Packers and Vikings in the next two weeks. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Green Bay & Minnesota do in fact finish at 8-8. But I can’t let myself believe that this 5-7 team has the ability to win 4 straight games, especially with the season ending in KC.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been a lot of positives these past few weeks. At the beginning of the season I thought the Bears would end up 2-14. But the defense has played great lately and the young guys have stepped up. Charles “Peanut” Tillman may be the best player in the secondary, or on the defense for that matter. On a good team he might be the defensive rookie of the year. Lance Briggs (that’s a football name) plays a much better strong side linebacker than the departed Rosey Colvin ever did. Bobby Gray has shown signs of replacing the toughness that left with Tony Parrish.

The offense still has problems, but rookie Justin Gage has shown he can make the big plays. And the offensive line has been opening holes for everyone who carries the ball.

But what we are left with this season is regret. A horrible start, and two point losses to the Lions and Rams, probably created too big a hole to dig out of, even in a bad division. And while Jauron deserves credit for the turnaround, as Carol Slezak pointed out in today’s Sun-Times, he also deserves blame for the horrendous start. (Note: Slezak seems to think that a playoff run will set the Bears back "several years". Any NFL team can start from scratch and be in the playoffs in three years. So that line is stupid but the rest of her column makes sense.)

I have always given Jauron the benefit of the doubt and blamed the offensive woes on John Shoop. But all the points Slezak makes about Jauron are true. Jauron is too hesitant to play rookies, and doesn’t do a great job of identifying talent. And if Shoop was the problem, it was Jauron’s job to get rid of him. Now it looks like Jauron will be fired if the Bears don’t finish 9-7. It’s unfortunate as I would have liked to have seen what Jauron could have done with a better offensive coordinator. But I can’t say it won’t be deserved.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Cat Fight at The Sun-Times

The first article I read in the Sun-Times this morning was Rick Telander’s piece on Brock Forsey. The poor guy (Forsey) doesn't even have his picture on his ESPN stats page. Anyway, the column is your basic story of how the underdog keeps beating the odds. These type of columns must write themselves. But Telander also makes the observation of how few white running backs (halfbacks) there are in the NFL. In fact, Forsey is the first white Bears halfback to run for 100 yards since the worst sports anchor in town, Mike Adamle, acccomplished the feat 28 years ago.

I then work my way through Mariotti’s column and what is he writing about? Well, I’m not sure what the point of his column is, but he uses a couple of paragraphs to bash some unnamed reporter for bringing up the fact that Brock Forsey is white to Kordell Stewart. Could this unnamed reporter be his Sun-Times colleague Rick Telander?

Now you might think that Mariotti would have more class than to criticize the guy who’s column appears right next to his. I wouldn't think that, but you might. But then you read this article and realize it's not so far-fetched.

Anyway, since I have an unhealthy hatred of Jay Mariotti, I’ll go ahead and take Telander’s side on this one. Now I don’t think it’s very important that there are so few white running backs out there. But it is somewhat interesting and I don’t see anything wrong with talking about it. And I also understand Kordell Stewart’s reaction. He doesn’t care what color the guy is, he just wants to win.

But I don’t understand Mariotti’s reaction. Why should he care what other reporters are asking? Can’t he come up with anything else to write about? What a punk.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

News Roundup

The Cubs traded Choi to the Florida Marlins for Derek Lee. Derek Lee is a fine player. So was Mark Grace when the Cubs traded Rafael Palmeiro.

The Bulls hired Scott Skiles (Update: I jumped the gun. This is not yet official). The players are unhappy. The last thing they want to do is work. I think that speaks volumes of the type of program Cartwright was running. The Bulls will improve under Skiles. But I have doubts whether a coach of his temperament can last more than a couple of years in the NBA.

The Sox signed Jon Garland to a one year contract (2.3M) and avoided arbitration. Will Garland finally have a breakthrough year? Probably not. But $2.3m is not that bad for 3/4 starter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A Democratic Alternative?

Well, the prescription drug policy passed today. Another crowing achievement of our President's “conservative” domestic policy, otherwise known as "Spend, Spend, Spend... and Spend!" I truly wish there was a Democratic alternative. But I have no doubt they would spend even more if given the chance. And none of them seem to have a serious grasp of foreign policy. I can’t even sit through their debates. Last night I watched five minutes and had to switch the channels to keep my eyes from rolling out of their sockets. The two exchanges I did hear are below.

Dick Gephart explaining why it’s not very smart to call Kim Il Jong evil:

“When Bush came in office, he called the agreement that Clinton had appeasement. He then put them in the axis of evil without explaining to anybody what in the world that was. And then he called the leader in North Korea the most evil leader in the world. Now this guy's half nuts anyway.”

I’m sure he’ll like being called half nuts much better than being labeled evil.

And here’s General Wes Clark, inexplicably still trying to pin the blame of 9/11 on Bush:

“And I think the real failure occurred after the change of administrations. It took a few weeks after the Cole was attacked to really definitively pin it on Al Qaida. By that time, the Clinton administration was on the way out. As I'm told, as John Edwards said, the Bush administration was told the greatest threat to the United States is Osama bin Laden”

Well, the Cole bombing did happen in October 2000, but it’s not like that was the first time we were attacked by Al Qaida. The embassy bombings happened August 1998 and it’s been reported that Al Qaida played a role in Somalia as well as the first WTC bombing.

Now I believe trying to blame the President for the 9/11 is repugnant. On top of that, I think it’s a pretty stupid campaign strategy. If we are going to play the blame game, do you expect the American electorate to place more of it on the Bush administration after 8 months in office, or the Clinton administration after 8 years in office?

And Clark keeps repeating Truman's phrase “The Buck Stops Here” (at the President's desk). But it sound like he’s trying to pass the buck to me. All this talk about the Clinton administration handing over some plan to tackle Al Qaida and telling the Bushies that Al Qaida was the biggest threat to the United States is horseshit. If they had some magical plan to defeat Al Qaida, and prevent 9/11, why in the hell didn’t they initiate it themselves?

Clark went on to say, "And I think the American people deserve to hear exactly what happened during that period." I totally agree with that statement. We need to know what happened so we can learn from our mistakes and try to prevent another attack. But Clark can make that point without trying to blame President Bush for the death of over 3000 innocent people.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Second Chicago Coach Fired, One More to Go

The Bulls fired Bill Cartwright today after starting the season 4-10. There is still a lot of games left to turn things around, especially in the weak Eastern Conference. But is Pete Myers the man for the job? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The Bulls have a lot of talent but generally play stupid basketball. That’s a combination that will get any coach fired. But the overall problem with the Bulls is that the talent doesn’t fit together. It would make the most sense for the Bulls to try and take advantage of their inside strength by feeding the ball into Curry and Fizer with Tyson Chandler crashing the boards. In Cartwright’s defense, Chandler and Fizer have missed games with injuries. But even so, the strategy would be hard to implement with perimeter players, such as Rose and Crawford, handling the ball. These guys shoot first, and then shoot some more. It’s also distressing to watch Donyell Marshall, Pippen and Gill, jack up jump shots repeatedly, as none of these players can be considered “shooters”.

Of the bunch, Crawford has probably been the biggest disappointment. He might be the most talented player on the team, but has no concept of “team”. The worst thing that can usually happen to the Bulls is for Crawford to get off to a hot start. Because he will then proceed to put up ill-advised shots for the rest of the game. That’s why Cartwright had to insert Hinrich into the starting line up even though he isn’t nearly ready for such a role. But at least Hinrich attempts to get the ball down low. And Crawford is so stupid he’s at a loss to explain why he’s been pulled from starting lineup. Maybe its because you take shot after shot without even passing the ball once. Do you not know what a point guard does? Do you think you're Michael Jordan? Even Michael would work within the framework of the offense until the closing minutes of the game. Do you not see a correlation between losing and poor shot selection? Do you know what a poor shot is? But I digress.

Role players like Hinrich (if he can cut down on the turnovers) are probably what this team will need to win. But with the ability to score from all five positions, the current roster had the potential to be a good team. Cartwright was ultimately resposnsible for trying get things to work. But I'm not sure anyone is up to the task of getting Rose or Crawford to pass the ball. That's why Paxson will be trying to unload both of them before the season ends.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Where Will It End? When Does It Start?

When I started this blog I figured I would get a lot of material from blasting local journalists, especially Jay Marriotti. But most times I can't take reading more than a paragraph of his ego driven, player/GM bashing, humorless dreck. Other columnists aren't much better so I usually refrain from reading them too often. But yesterday I read a column from the normally bland Greg Couch that I had to comment on.

The article is titled, "And The Reason Number One Not Turn Pro at 14 ..." You figure if that's the title of the article Couch should try to answer the question. But he never does. The article is more of the "where will it end" variety.

Now I know teens signing professional contracts is a very important societal issue. It ranks right up there with the millions of children living in poverty who don’t have health insurance. I mean this year there may be only ten teens jumping to the pros, but next year there may be 15. I shudder to think of the number 5 years from now.

Couch also seems to have a problem with the professionalization of youth sports, specifically traveling teams. This seems to wreak havoc on Greg’s comfy suburban lifestyle. But again, what exactly is the problem with them. Are the kids being forced to play at gunpoint. My bet is that they participate because it’s actually fun to be on a traveling team. I was on two traveling teams in my youth. I participated in Small Fry basketball and got to visit such wonderful places like Highwood, IL and Kenosha, WI. I was also on a traveling baseball team that played throughout the south suburbs of Chicago. They were two of the more enjoyable experiences of my childhood. If I didn’t enjoy them I wouldn’t have played.

Couch’s columns gets even sillier when he drops this whopper:

“It already has become a sign of failure for basketball players to go to college instead of jumping to the NBA.”

Whatever. Name me player who feels like a failure, or is called a failure, for being a top twenty high school player instead of a top five.

Couch vents through out the column while never giving a reason why Adu shouldn’t turn pro or offer any solutions to fix the “problem”. That’s probably because there really isn't a problem at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Quote of the Day

“My brother is not eccentric. We had an incredible, wonderful childhood,” - Jermaine Jackson, defending his brother Michael

Not eccentric? Actually, I would think this has to be a misquote. Being eccentric is his only defense against the accusation. Let's face it, he's either eccentric, or plain old child molester.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Gone In A Flash

The Sun Times is reporting that the Sox will not try to resign Tom Gordon. This probably means they weren't able to find any serious takers for Billy Koch. If they had they might have used the extra cash to try and keep Gordon.

Gordon didn't have a great ERA last year, but at times he was dominant. The Sox will now look for Damaso Marte to take over closing duties and he's more than capable. But this still leaves a big hole in the bullpen. Hopefully Koch will be able to bounce back from his poor 2003 season.

There is some good news in the article. Williams says he expects Ordonez to be in the lineup in 2004. I've gone on record saying I don't want the Sox trading Ordonez. But everyone has a price. And it's important to remember that Seattle prospered after the departures of Griffey, Johnson & ARod.

My main worry was that Williams wouldn't get enough in return if he traded Ordonez. At least this article gives me some comfort that Williams will demand a high price in order to depart with Maggs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Two New Blogs

The Sox didn't have alot of representation in the blogosphere this year. As far as I could tell, I was the only one out there. Pretty pathetic compared to the dozens of sites committed to the Cubs, not to mention the Twins.

Although, I have to admit, I do enjoy reading the many blogs that cover Minnesota. But it was a shame I had to go to their sites just to read about the Sox. That's why I was glad to find two new sites devoted to the White Sox, Put It On The Board! Yes! and Two Headed Monster. Although it appears the monster will be on top of both the Cubs and Sox. Actually, from the looks of his site, he seems to have all baseball covered pretty well.

And I love the title Put It On the Board! Yes! All I can say is don't expect a lot of links from Twins fans. I don't think they like that phrase!

Anyway, it's great to have company.

Linked By Sullivan

It's been almost three months since I started this blog and its been a lot of fun. The motivation was never to get a lot of visitors. Actually, there was no great motivating factor. I just had a few hours to kill at work one night waiting to get our accounting server back up so I started ChiSox Daily.

Nevertheless, I was interested on how many visitors would stop by. I didn't think there would be that many for a couple of reasons. One, I'm writing about the White Sox, which pretty much limits my potential market. Two, I'm not the greatest writer. And three, I don't put in the effort to overcame the first two obstacles.

But I did get some links from some fellow bloggers and a decent amount of traffic. A couple of times I attracted over 50 visitors in one day (well I guess "decent" is relative). But as the baseball season ended traffic slowed down considerably. And judging to the self-referred/bookmark originations, I was down to a select group of regular readers (probably family and friends). I was approaching the 900 total visitor mark but figured I would have to wait a couple of weeks until I reached the 1000 threshold.

That was until I wrote the snarky item below about Josh Marshall's critique of the administration. I sent the post to Andrew Sullivan who linked to it right away. In minutes, I doubled the amount of visitors I had in 2 plus months of existence. I passed 1000, then 2000, then 3000 and on past 6000. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day.

But now I feel a little bit guilty. Like someone who gets rich by playing the lottery. I don't feel like I really earned those visits with the quality of my writing. Its as if they were handed to me, which of coure they were. But like the lottery winner, I don't think I'll be giving my prize back. So as the lottery winner will say he's a millionaire, I guess I'm blogger who averages 80 hits a day.

Friday, November 14, 2003

A Quick Political Tidbit

Does Josh Marshall actually believe the administration's policy towards North Korea is aggressive and unilateral? Or does he just not mind contradicting himself to advance the Democratic agenda? I report, you decide.

Josh Marshall on the administration’s North Korea policy, November 14, 2003:

"But in no small measure the stance of the current South Korean government is the result of the Bush administration’s aggressive and unilateral policies toward the Korean Peninsula."

Josh Marshall on the administration’s North Korea policy, March 6, 2003:

"QUESTION NUMBER TWO tonight in the president's news conference was on the North Korea crisis. The answer was depressing. And the message was clear: we have no policy. The president wants help from the Chinese, South Koreans, Russians, Japanese, etc. etc. etc. Can anybody help? Does anyone have a policy we can borrow? Does anyone have another question? Next question. "

Now I guess having no policy can in fact be argued to be aggressive. It wouldn't be easy to argue, but one could try. But I don't see how you can spin asking for help as being a unilateral policy.

Da Bulls

The Bulls missed a chance to get to 500 last night, losing in overtime to the T-Wolves. Sprewell hit a tough 3-pointer to tie the game at the end of regulation (after Rose missed a free throw that would have iced it). Spree also made a tough jumper to put the T-Wolves in the lead for good in overtime. The loss dropped the Bulls to 4-6. The loss also featured a nasty fall by Jamal Crawford, who fell over Fred Hoiberg and landed squarely on his head. Man, that karma thing is a bitch!

Now this has been a strange start to the season for the Bulls. They are 1-5 at home after going 27-14 at home last year. They are 3-1 on the road after going 3-38 on the road last year. Anyway, there were high hopes for this team which makes the 4-6 start disappointing. But in reality this is still a vast improvement over prior years. In 1999, 2000, and 2001, the Bulls started the year 1-9. Last year they did start 4-6 before dropping 9 in a row to fall to 4-15.

Also, the Bulls have played half their games without Tyson Chandler and Marcus Fizer, arguably their best starter and best bench player. Both are scheduled to be back for Saturday's game. So even though the Bulls are off to a slow start, I’m still optimistic they’ll make the playoffs.

But the upcoming road trip will be key. The Bulls play Seattle at home before taking a 5 game Western Conference Road Trip. The Bulls are 0-27 over the past five years taking their early season road trip out West. This year they play the Suns, Lakers, Kings, Mavs & Spurs. Now that’s brutal! The Bulls will be the underdog in each game. But if the Bulls can somehow win 2-3, I think they’ll be in a good position to make some noise in the East.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


The latest rumor, courtesy of Phil Rogers, is that Magglio is now on the trading block. Magglio will be paid $14 million this year and will be free agent in 2005. The Sox plan on having a payroll of $60 million next year and have already committed 43.4 million to 6 players:

Loaiza $4m
Valentin $5m
Thomas $6m
Koch $6.375m
Konerko $8m
Ordonez $14m

This doesn’t include arbitration eligible players such as Carlos Lee, Buerhle and Garland. As you can see the Sox will not have much room to sign any free agents unless they unload some players.

Now the two obvious choices to unload would be Koch & Konerko. But it would be real hard to find any takers. But it doesn’t make any sense to try and unload Ordonez. Yes he will earn the most of any Sox player next year, but he is also been the best Sox player for the past 4 years. It’s hard to see them competing without him on the team. Especially since, if what Rogers writes is true, they would only be looking to get players such as Percival & Erstad in return.

If the Sox don’t think they could resign Magglio for 2005 they could always look to trade him in mid-season if the Sox are doing poorly. I don’t see the urgency to let go of him even before the season starts.

The person Williams should be trying to trade in Carlos Lee. He has put up some good numbers although with a low OBP & walk total. But there are still plenty of GMs out there willing to trade for a .300/30/100 player. The Sox have a few young outfielders they could try in left. They'll probably give Joe Borchard the first shot, although he seemed to regress in AAA. But you also have Rowand, Harris and Rios. I admit these are not great options, but with a $60m payroll, you’re going to have some weak spots. There is also Jeremy Reed who hit lights out at AA this year. The bottom line is that the Sox do have some options in the outfield.

One thing that doesn’t make sense to me is how Colon could have been offered $33m for 3 years if the Sox want a payroll near $60m. Who would they have gotten rid of then?

All I can say is that I hope the Magglio rumor is not true. I have to believe Williams is smarter than this.

Friday, November 07, 2003

2003 White Sox Season High/Lowlights

High Points
Taking 4 out of 6 against the Cubs - It’s always fun to beat the Cubs. This was the first year I went to the cross-town series as I attended Games 1 and 3 at Wrigley. But the best game had to be Game 1 at Comiskey which I watched at Monk’s Pub. It's great that my boss is a Sox fan.

Twice in that game the Sox intentionally walked Patterson with one out to load the bases for Sammy. Sammy had been struggling the first half of the season so it was probably the smart baseball move to make. But even if it was smart it still had to be insulting to Sammy.

Both situations were intense and the crowd was going crazy. The first time up Sammy struck out. The second time he managed a sacrifice fly. Anyway, Sammy could have changed the game in either at bat but failed. Man, was it enjoyable. The Sox went on to win that game with a walk off home run by Jose Valentin.

Winning 13 out of 14 after the all star break to make up 7 games in 2 weeks - The Sox started the second half on a great run that I thought would propel them to the division championship. But after a 12-1 win at Seattle on August 1, the Sox would basically go on to play .500 ball the rest of the way.

The Sox sweeping the Twins at home at the beginning of July - The last game, the first with Everett and Alomar in the line up, was fantastic. Down to their last out in the 11th, Konerko hit a home run to tie it. Frank then won it in the 12th with his second home run of the night. It was a great at bat against everyday Eddie that ended in a walk off 2 run homer.

Low Points
Being swept by the Tigers (and losing 2/3 to the Rays) - The Sox finally built some momentum in early July by sweeping the Twins at home and then promptly lost 5 of 6 on the road to the two worst teams in the AL. Ugly.

Being swept by the Twins in September - After the Sox won the first two at Comiskey versus the Twins I again became optimistic that the Sox would win the division. Those were big games and the Sox came to play. However, they would go on to drop the next five against the Twinkies. Even worse, the games were hardly competitive. Culprit number 1 was Esteban Loaiza. The Sox ace had two of his worst outings of the year against the Twins which pretty much sealed the Sox fate.

Turning Point
While the head to head versus the Twins was obviously a turning point in the season, the first sense of doom came on Wednesday September 3rd. The Sox were one game up on the Twins. Every knew they needed some breathing space in order to win the division since the Twins had a much easier schedule down the stretch. Things looked good in the afternoon as the Angels built a lead on the Twins. But then something, if not miraculous, then certainly out of the ordinary happened. With 2 outs and no one on base, and Troy Percival pitching, the Twins scored two runs to win the game. The tying run, Dustin Mohr, was out by two steps at home when he ran into the catcher, Molina, and broke his wrist. Stewart then came in to score the winning run in the ensuing mayhem. I was tracking the game on Sportline and I couldn't believe my eyes when they posted the score.

So the Sox needed to win to stay a game ahead. They should have won the previous night against Boston when they left plenty of men in scoring position with less than two outs. The same thing was happening on this night. But then in the ninth they had a chance to win the game. Like the Twins/Angels game this involved a close play at home. Rowand had come in to pitch run at first after Thomas singled. Ordonez then doubled down the line. But Rowand, looking like he’s running in quick sand, gets nailed at the plate. Boston went on to win on an Ortiz homer in the tenth. Just like that the division was tied but the Twins had the clear advantage. That was the turning point of the season.

Now the Sox had to at least win 5 of 7 head to head against the Twins in September to have a shot at the title. Well, they lost 5 of 7 to the Twins. The Sox did end up going 8-5 with their tough opponents down the stretch (NY, BOS, KC) while the Twins went 9-4 against the Indians and Tigers. But it’s not likely the Twins would have dropped 3 of 4 versus the Tigers if they hadn’t already clinched the division.

So while the Sox did go 41-27 in the second half they weren’t able to hold off the Twins. There were some exciting moments in the season but overall it was a disappointment. Look for individual player evaluations in the next few weeks.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Sox Keep Valentin

The White Sox went ahead and exercised their one year option on Jose Valentin for $5 million. I don’t think Jose is a bad player to have in the lineup but I do think the Sox could have gotten him a little bit cheaper. First they would have had to buyout his contract for $500,000. They then could have tried to sign him to a two year deal for about $3M per season.

I’m sure Valentin would have tested the free agent waters but I’m not sure he could have done much better even with the limited depth of shortstops in the free agent market. And if he did do better the Sox could have tried to match. But I guess there was no plan B for the Sox and they didn’t want to risk being stuck empty handed at short.

And speaking of free agents, At Home Plate has a nice round up of who’s available listed by team.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Favorite TV Sports

Seth at SethSpeaks asked his readers to send in their lists of their favorite sports to watch so I decided to put my list below. My list only includes TV watching since that's how I take in most of my sports.

1. NCAA Basketball Tourney – I have huge expectations for the tournament every year and it never disappoints. This goes number one since I enjoy watching it even why I don’t have a local team to root for. Gambling may influence my enjoyment of the event!

As for the local teams, I was a fan of DePaul basketball before I was a fan of any other sport team. Back in the late seventies and early eighties they were probably the biggest sporting event in town. I got a early lesson in Chicago sports as DePaul lost in their first game as a number one seed back in 1981. They followed up with some gaudy regular season records and more early exits in the tourney the following years. I've only cried one time as a fan (hey I wasn't even ten) and DePaul basketball was to blame. I was a little more mature when Illinois lost to Michigan in the final four in 1989 after beating them twice in the regular season. But it still hurt!

2. Pro Football – I’ve probably watched 95% of the games played by the Bears since 1985 when I first became a Bears fan. And what a time to be a Bears fan as they dominated the NFC Central in the mid 80's. But even when they lose I watch every Sunday. But when they win, watching Bear football shoots up to my number one sport watching activity. Now, I never used to watch that many games played by other teams. But I found that gambling makes those other games enjoyable in their own right!

3. College football (regular season) – In general, I find it more enjoyable to watch college sports. The passion of both the fans and players make the games more exciting. And the rivalries are a bit more intense than those usually found in pro sports. As for the bowls, I usually don’t make a point of watching many. Normally just the Rose Bowl & Championship game if I’m not busy.

4. College Basketball (regular season) – see college football (except of course postseason is #1 on list).

5. NBA – There are just too many teams that suck. Unfortunately the Bulls are one of 'em. Back in the Bulls hey dey I’m sure this would have been higher on the list.

6. MLB – Now I love to watch White Sox baseball but I can’t in good conscience say it's my favorite sport to watch on TV. I have a hard time not wearing out the remote when I’m watching other teams play. I usually watch 10% of Sox games at the beginning of the season. That percentage will slowly increase as the season wanes depending on how well the Sox do. This year I watched just about all of their games in September. I also follow the Cubs pretty closely throughout the year (and actually attend more Cubs games).

Now just because baseball isn’t a game I watch religiously on TV doesn’t mean I’m not a huge fan. Reading about baseball over the course of the year is one of my favorite activities. A baseball season tells a story that can be followed even if you don’t see the games. You can also dig into statistics in way that’s not possible with other sports. And going to baseball games is definitely a more enjoyable (and affordable) activity than going to the other pro sporting events in town.

7. The Majors – Back when I was single I would waste entire weekends watching the Masters & US Open. It’s also nice to wake up early, grab a cup of coffee, and watch the British Open. You have to invest a lot of time watching a tournament to truly enjoy it. There are so many ups and down, great charges and great chokes, that cannot be enjoyed by the casual observer. Now that I’m married I’m lucky to get in a couple hours on Sunday. Of course, I won't be complaining as long as I get to keep my three hours of Bears football each week.

In addition to watching the majors, I attended the US Open at Olympia Fields this year and had a great time. It was my first time watching golf in person and it was awesome following all the great players from up close. I’ll definitely try and get to more golf tournaments in the future.

8. World Cup Soccer – I never played soccer in my life but found myself watching more and more the past few years. I even woke up early in the morning last year to watch the US play in Korea. It must be the great tournament atmosphere.

DePaul Heads East

This is great news for Blue Demon basketball. DePaul has been inching closer to other city schools like Houston, San Francisco & Dayton, which have made a complete transition from national powerhouse to second tier basketball program. Many people would say they have already joined them. Except for the short-lived Q. Richardson era (two years) there hasn’t been much to get excited about this last decade. And while CUSA had some strong programs, I don’t think the conference helped the University in recruiting top talent.

But the Big East is a whole new ballgame. DePaul will get to renew some traditional rivalries with Notre Dame. St. John’s and Georgetown. They will also get games with great programs such as Syracuse & UCONN.

Dave Letiao has already brought some respectability back to the program. They will certainly need to get a whole lot better to before competing in the Big East. But the exposure the Blue Demons will receive in the Big East should help them compete with area recruits who would normally opt for a Big Ten squad. And the additional TV exposure will definitely help DePaul nationally. Let’s just hope DePaul’s ready when they begin their Big East schedule two tears from now.

Monday, November 03, 2003

It's Official

Ozzie Guillen is the new Sox manager. The Sun-Times is the media only outlet with details as of now.

Welcome back home Ozzie! May you have a long and successful run.

Chisox Daily Gets Results!

It looks like Guillen has had a second interview and is now the front runner to become the new White Sox manager.

Now its probably foolish to get excited about a new manager but I think Guillen will bring a lot of enthusiasm to this ballclub. Maybe a Tony Pena type of shakeup? Who knows, but a new manager always brings hope.

I liked Manuel, even though I knew he wasn't a great tactician. But I thought this was a ballclub that should have won at least one more divison title since 2000. So the next year should tell us whether the White Sox were poorly managed these past three seasons, or just overrated.

Friday, October 31, 2003

I Thought It Was Halloween...

But I guess it's April Fool's Day.

Will Carroll has a post today titled "Thank You Mr. Thomas"

It reads:

"Pardon me for gloating today, but by Frank re-upping with the Sox it virtually guarantees that they'll be non-contenders again in '04.

What a great world we live in!"

Now this is one stupid thing to say. It's only two sentences so it shouldn't be hard to take apart. First of all he writes that it virtually guarantees the Sox will be non-contenders again. Say what? The Sox were in first place up until the last 2 weeks of the season. They had an opportunity to take the division until being swept in Minnesota. Is that a non-contender?

Thomas has great numbers so Carroll must be referring to his clubhouse presence. Now I have no idea who Mr. Carroll is, but I doubt he has the intimate knowledge of the inner dynamics of the White Sox clubhouse to make such an assessment.

I would go on, but his readers are already taking him to task in his comments section. So I'll just add that the Sox have finished in first 3 times in Frank's 13 seasons. For Chicago baseball, that's about as good as it gets (or at least as good as it's been). And there is no way your going to convince anyone the Sox would have won more games with Matt LeCroy at DH.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

White Sox News

Frank Thomas made it official today and picked up his option for the 2004 season. Frank will make 6 million this year and will have another option for $8 million next year. The Sox have a buyout option of 3.5 million after 2005, or they would be obligated to pay him $10m.

In all Thomas will be guaranteed 17.5 m over the next two years which I just about his fair market value. I think he could have done better that $6 million this year, but I’m not sure he could have approached the $9m per season it probably would have taken to get him to leave the Sox.

From the Sox point of view, I think it’s great the Big Hurt will be staying. I could care less if some people think he’s a jerk. Overall he seems to be a solid citizen which is more than you can say of a lot of professional athletes. If he continues to put up the kind of numbers he did this year (267/390/562), which I think he can, the Sox have a bargain.

Now the Sox need to hire a manager. Terry Francona was mentioned earlier but it looks like he’s no longer in the running. Wally Backman, who coaches for the Sox at the AA level was the early favorite. But he seems to have shot himself in the foot by lobbying for the job earlier this season. There’s also a rumor that he called Ron Gardenhire before the big Sox-Twins series and told him to beat the Sox so he could take over as manager. Who know if its true, but he's most likely a longshot at this point.

That leaves Cito Gaston and Ozzie Guillen. Gaston has a nice pedigree, winning two World Series titles with the Jays in the 90’s. Now, I don’t follow MLB close enough to tell you if he’s actually a good manager. But I have to think the Sox could do worse. As for Guillen, he’s certainly popular with the fan base. He was also one my favorite players. I have no idea if he would make a good manager, but I would love to see him back in a Sox uniform.

The Tribune reports that Guillen doesn't have much of a chance. So I'll have to go out on a limb and predict Guillen will be the next Sox manager.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Back to Work

Wow. It's been a long time since I posted! The big day finally arrived last Wednesday. My wife and I just had our first child, Claire. We decided not to find out the gender of the baby which made the delivery even more exciting (if that's possible). Thanks to all who sent congratulations.

Congratulation message basically had came in two categories. People who have yet to have kids congratulated us with words like "exciting" and "fun". People who already have kids congratulated us and wished that we didn't have too many sleepless nights! So far I think the wife and I have been in survival mode. It is still very exciting. But right now, I don't think fun is a very good description.

I haven't even picked up a sports page since the October 20th so I'm a little behind on current events. I didn't even realize the Marlins won the World Series until Sunday night, a full day later. But I'm back at work today and trying to get back into the swing of things (which of course means checking out some blogs).

I had to send a quick e-mail yesterday to Seth for predicting the Bulls would win 22 games this year. Now they went 27-14 at home last year so its real hard for me to imagine them only winning 22 this year. I agree Chandler, Curry and Crawford need to continue their improvement, but if they play anything like they did last April, the Bulls should reach 40 wins. I guess its hard for Minnesota fans to give Chicago teams respect right now after the beatings given out by the Twins & Vikings.

Anyway, I think this will be a real exciting year for the Bulls and look forward to following them on the site. If you're interested Bulls-stuff drop by over the next 6, hopefully 7, months. I still plan on doing a year end review of the Sox but it seems to keep getting pushed back. I'll try to get it done in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


In my lifetime the Cubs have gone 0-6 in games that would have sent them to the World Series. The White Sox have never been closer than 2 wins away so I really can't relate to the anguish being felt right now by Cubs fans. So I have to ask: Was it worth it? Would it have been better to lose to the Braves? Not make the playoffs? Does all the fun during the season make up for all the pain in the end?

I really don't know. Normally I would say it would be worth it. You know - its better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all (I'm sure I butchered the line but you know what I mean). But the way this one ended was especially cruel!

I don't want to get in to how I felt about the game last night since I'm the only Sox fan in my family (and that includes in-laws, aunts, uncles, etc.) and don't want to rub salt in anyone's wounds. So let's just say I slept well last night.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Journalistic Ethics

It seems the Sun-Times has gone ahead and published the name of the fan who caused Alou to miss the foul ball last night. They also named his employer, the town he lives in, and the little league team he coaches.

This man is a private citizen and there is no compelling reason to identify him. Releasing this information is completely unneccesarry and irresponsible. The Sun-Times should be ashamed of itself.

Update: Information now on smoking gun and ESPN (from the AP). The ESPN article is also on the MSN home page. This is really unbelievable.


The turnaround that happened last night was unbelievable! Prior's meltdown is what surprised me the most. Now I know the "fan" is getting all the blame. But the situation before the fan interference was:

Score 3-0, top of the 8th, 1 out, man on second, full count.

The situation after the interference:

Score 3-0, top of the 8th, 1 out, man on second, full count.

So technically nothing changed. But somehow everything changed.

The biggest mistake Prior made was the 0-2 pitch to Rodriguez which drove in the first Marlin run. Now, I think Mark Prior is the best pitcher in baseball. One of the major reasons is that he never seems to make mistakes. But leaving an 0-2 breaking ball over the plate was a big mistake. I guess he might have been trying to induce a double play ball to get out of the inning. Or maybe he was just tired. Who knows.

And the fan interference maybe the best thing to ever happen to Alex Gonzalez. His big error seems to be getting underplayed by local fans and media, even though it was probably more costly than the missed foul ball.

So what's going to happen tonight? I think it'll be a tight ballgame with the Marlins winning late. How could it be any other way?

Monday, October 13, 2003

Monday Movie Review

Since Game 4 of the ALCS was cancelled last night, the wife and I decided to pop in The Dancer Upstairs, one of our netflix movies we’ve had sitting around for weeks. We decided to rent this movie for basically two reasons. First, it stars Javier Bardem. We’ve liked him in both Before Night Falls, and the great Almodovar film, Live Flesh. Second, it was directed by John Malkovich. We both like Malkovich as an actor and hoped he would bring the same intensity to film as a director.

I would like to get some petty annoyances out of the way before I get to the story. First, Javier Bardem is a Spaniard, and looks European, while the story takes place in an unidentified Latin American country. Now there are many people of European ancestry in Latin America, but Bardem’s character is also supposed to be partly indigenous, which seems a bit far fetched. Two, the accents drove me crazy. Not because it made the English hard to understand, which it sometimes did, but because their were so many. There were Spanish accents, Mexican accents, various Latin American accents, and I believe Americans trying to act in a Latin American accent. These accents just highlighted the fact that you had no idea where the story was taking place which became bothersome. Given the fact that my wife is a Spanish teacher and knows many people from Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, etc., I think the accents annoyed me more than it would most people. Finally, the story centers on the search for a revolutionary figure named Presidente Esiquiel. Now, Ezekial is a very uncommon name in the US (I’m not sure how common it is elsewhere) and it sounded funny every time I heard it. I said these complaints were petty, right?

On to the story. Javier Bardem plays a police detective, Lt. Rivas, assigned to investigate an unknown revolutionary force headed by the above mentioned figure Presidente Esiquiel. The group started out in the countryside by assisinating politicians and committing other terrorist acts. They then begin to assisinate national politicians in the capital. The corrupt national governemnt begins to get very nervous and tires of waiting for the police to find out what the hell is going on. It’s not long before they send the military out on the streets.

Despite the deteriorating situation, Lt. Rivas continues his investigation and finds that the revolution is beginning to take on mythic qualities with the population. They are passionately supported by many people in the countryside and feared by the rest. One thing that was not clear to me is why the revolution seemed to be made up by so many women. Also, Malkovich does little to demonstrate why so much passion exists for the revolutionary cause. The only thing we are given is government corruption. But that doesn’t seem enough to sympathize with the tactics employed by the revolutionaries (not that I want to sympathize with commies anyway).

Like I said, the government is shown to be corrupt, but they aren’t shown doing the many awful things that would seem to ignite a bloody revolution. This ambivalence displayed towards both the government and rebels may be purposeful, as movie focuses on the Bardem character. Lt. Rivas is a former lawyer who quit to join the policeforce. He made a life choice to try and make a difference in this country and enforce the law in an honorable way. But it's hard to act honorably when their are so few "good guys" on either side. So Lt. Rivas must conitnue to make sacrifices and take the difficult path dictated by his own standrads of right and wrong regardless of the environment in which he exists. Bardem displays a quiet intensity in this role that really makes the film. It’s slowly paced, which gives him ample opportunity to develop his character. And even though there are not a lot background details given for the plot, there are enough twists and turns to keep it chugging along.

So while there are some things in the movie that bugged me, the story was interesting and I thought Bardem’s performance was great. I also think Malkovich shows a lot of potential as a director. On a scale of a bases empty dinger to a grand slam, I give The Dancer Upstairs a three-run homer.

Thursday, October 09, 2003


Gleeman asks the same question I was pondering last night. What in the world was Mark Prior doing pitching in the 8th? Actually, he wonders why Prior was pitching the 7th. Even if you don't subscribe to pitch count/injury theories, which I do, why even take the chance in a ten run ballgame?

Anyway, posting may be light for the next few weeks for various reasons. One, I don't particularly enjoy writing about the Cubs accomplishments. Especially since the Sox failed to live up to their end the bargain in giving the city a cross town classic. Two, the fall quarter just started and financial derivatives seem to be taking up a lot of my time. Three, year end at work is our is always the busy season. And finally, we have a baby due any day now so the home front is becoming quite chaotic.

Look for most posts as basketball season starts up. I'm looking forward to the Bulls finally getting back to the playoffs. And if the Bears manage to knock off a couple of more wins I'll be sure to add my two cents. But for now, I don't plan on wasting my time highlighting their ineptness.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Govinator

I'm not used to seeing the "Republicans are evil" theme over at Calpundit:

“The California recall is just the latest in a lengthening string of Republican power grabs that reveal the cankered soul at the head of the Republican party these days. Even leaving aside Florida 2000, we've seen ; campaigns that compare Democrats directly to Osama bin Laden; an indecent and truly morally bereft performance following Paul Wellstone's death; the end of the traditional blue slip rule for judicial nominees in the Senate — because control of both houses of Congress and the White House and most of the judiciary isn't enough for them; and the Valerie Plame affair, a scandal that, I think, is truly an "At long last sir, have you no decency?" moment.” - Calpundit

Let’s take this one at a time.

“The California recall is just the latest in a lengthening string of Republican power grabs.” Well Republicans took 60% of the replacement vote, so I guess that would qualify as a power grab! But not only was the recall quite legal, but I think also very democratic. So while the recall may have been initiated by Republicans, it was also supported by many Democrats. Oh – and it wasn’t even supported by the “cankered soul at the head the party” until it was certified!

“unprecedented mid-decade redistricting in both Colorado and Texas” – Wow, now we’re getting to the nitty gritty. Those damn Republicans will stop at nothing to subvert democracy! Now basically the Democrats are complaining because the Republicans aren’t following established precedent. But sorry folks, the current practice of redistricting to make districts safe for incumbents, or select racial groups, is shameful no matter if its done every 2 years or every ten years. Anything that forces us to take a good look at the current situation is, in my mind, a good thing.

The biggest critics complain that the redistricting fights are too expensive and consume too much legislative time. But I guess my libertarian streak thinks it will save us all money in the long run if lawmakers don’t have enough time to actually pass laws. And again, it must be emphasized, there is nothing illegal nor undemocratic about redistricting more than once every 10 years. If done correctly, it would actually make government more representative of their constituents. But hey, so did the recall.

“an indecent and truly morally bereft performance following Paul Wellstone's death”. Are you serious? All I can say is don’t remember things happening quite that way.

“the end of the traditional blue slip rule for judicial nominees in the Senate” Again with the precedent breaking. Could Calpundit at least give reasons why this is a bad thing? Is it just because the Republicans initiated it? And is this worse than filibustering judicial nominees? And again, it must be emphasized, there is nothing illegal nor undemocratic about taking away a Senator’s veto power over judicial appointments.

"campaigns that compare Democrats directly to Osama bin Laden". I don't recall seeing this. If it's in regard to the Max Cleland ad I would have to say it's wildly distorted. Showing Osama to try and demostrate that a person is soft on Homeland Security may be distasteful, but that's not quite what Kevin implies. However, I did see Howard Dean call George Bush "the enemy" on national TV.

“the Valerie Plame affair, a scandal that, I think, is truly an "At long last sir, have you no decency?" moment.” Yes, if every thing Kevin Drum believes to be true this would be an awful thing. But one, we don’t know who leaked the information. Two, we don’t know the motivation behind the leak. And three, we don’t know if the person who leaked knew the exact nature of Plame’s position. There is only speculation that gets battered back and forth between like minds until it becomes gospel. And is this one example supposed to be representative of how the whole party operates?

Anyway, I’m sorry for the rant and I’ll try to get back to sports. But nothing drives me crazier than to hear partisan Democrats whine about Republicans playing dirty pool.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Game 4

Even though I’m not a Cubs fan my brother was nice enough to take me to Game 4 at Wrigley on Saturday. All I had to do was promise not to cheer against the Cubs. That’s really not a problem. While I do take some enjoyment from watching the Cubs lose, I’ve never been they type of Cubs hater White Sox fans are known to be.

Anyway, I had a good time, and even cheered for a nice play Sosa made in the field. Cheering was made possible by the fact the Cubs were losing so I was able to manage a “good effort” applause.

As you can imagine the crowd was intense. Fans were into it from the first pitch. I almost wish the Cubs were able to clinch just to have been able to see the crowd reaction. As it was, the late innings were pretty subdued with the Cubs falling behind .

A few observations:

There were more people keeping score than usual.

There were very few kids in the park and I didn’t see anyone over 10. This was somewhat surprising since I always see a lot of children at Wrigley. Of course I understand why you wouldn’t want to bring them to a playoff game. Most young kids won’t be able to focus on every pitch for three hours and there would be a good chance you might have to miss a portion of the game taking care of their various needs.

Hardly anyone got up from their seats during the game. After the second inning, I went out to the patio to get beer and not a single person was in line! In fact, there were only about four people out there getting their nicotine fix.

Overall, I came away impressed with the fans in the ballpark. Not the usual “party time at Wrigley” atmosphere. But the same cannot be said for the fans outside the ballpark.

I had a couple of amusing experiences walking home from the game. Out on Waveland, women were hanging out one of the rooftop buildings flashing fans on the street Mari Gras style.

Then I heard the following conversation on the corner of Grace and Sheffield:

Cop: You have to get up.

Man in drunker stupor laying on grass between sidewalk and street: In a minute.

Cop: No, you have to get up now!

I was pressed for time so I didn’t stick around for the rest of the conversation. But I don’t think the guy was going anywhere. Now even though I’m not a Cubs fan, I strive to be unbiased observer on this site. So honesty compels me to admit the man was wearing all black and was by himself. In other words, there was a good chance he was a Sox fan.

Thanks for the game bro.


Friday, October 03, 2003

Friday Football Picks

So what was more embarrasing for Chicago last Monday? The Bears getting run over by the Ahman Green "Machine", or Jim Belushi hamming it up, getting face time as Mr. Chicago. I go with Belushi. But the blowout just exacerbated the Belushi embarassment, as it meant extra chat time with Al and John.

By the way, do people really like John Madden? I think he's just awful and has been for the last ten years. He only states the obvious and gets that wrong an awful lot. I'll blame his so called "popularity" on the media. Why? Because I'm part of the vast right wing conspiracy and have marching orders to blame everything on the media.

I did hear Al Michaels say something intelligent. He stated that the 13-3 2001 season was in fact a curse in disguise. His basic point was that the Bears were more lucky than good and ended up signing a lot of players to long term contracts instead of trying to improve the team. I couldn't agree more with his analysis of the situation.

So what does that say about Jerry Angelo and Dick Jauron? I mean, it was no secret that the Bears were more like a 9-7 team than a 13-3 team. But yet they signed Holdman, Robinson, Azumah, and McQuarters to long term contracts. It's clear now that these players are mediocre at best, and downright terrible at worst. They've now benched Azumah for a rookie, and if they could they would do the same to Mr. RW "I no longer wear a band-aid under my eye because Nelly stopped wearing one" McQuarters.

The defense might be okay if the Bears supposedly "great" defensive players showed up to play. But Packers center Flanigan pushed Urlacher around like a baby in a stroller all night. But I'm sure Urlacher got credit for some 15 tackles anyway. Too bad most were 15 yards down the field. And I'm getting very tired of hearing what a smart player Mike Brown is. If he was so smart, he would have just let go of Ahman Green on the 5 yard line. Instead he humiliated himself by getting dragged in the end zone wrapped around Green's leg like a three year old hanging on to his mommy.

Anyway, the football picks are up over at SethSpeaks. I was 7-7 last week which left me 35-25 for the year. Okay - if it were against the spread. But this week I actually looked at the standings and team stats so I'm looking forward to a big weekend.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Wood 1, Braves 0

I was starting to feel a bond with the Cubs last night. They were blowing so many chances it reminded me of another local ballclub.

Only one hit off Wood in the early innings but it goes for a home run. It shouldn’t have mattered because the Cubs were putting runners on all night. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Next three batters: strike out, strike out, pop out. Then they load the bases again in the sixth with no outs. Next batter, pinch-hitting sausage beater Randall Simon strikes out. Now Bako is up and no one expects him to do anything. All the sportwriters are sharpening their kni-, I mean pencils, ready to pounce on the Cubs. And wouldn’t you know it Bako hits a double play ball.

But hold on, Fick mishandles the ball and the Braves only get one out and the tying run scores. Now Wood comes up with two outs and puts the game away. He got a fastball right down the middle of the plate and put a nice easy swing on it. Two bagger to the gap. Now the writers have to start all over. No more wasted gem. New line – Wood pitching and offensive star. One inning, one misplay, one huge hit. A great win for the Cubs in a game that was heading towards a demoralizing defeat.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Card Not Playing With Full Deck

Cards pitcher Steve Kline takes things too far by wishing Mark Prior "takes a line drive to the forehead". (thanks to redbird nation for the link) I guess this is in response to Prior hoping the Astros beat St. Louis even if it meant the Cubs losing ground in the playoff race. Say what you want about Prior's priorities, but he wasn't wishing bodily harm on anyone. Kline's comments brings a great rivalry down to the depths usually inhabited by fans like the sloth.

The AP story leaves it up in the air as to whether Kline was joking, but anyone who sees the clip will know he was serious. It sounds like he's a bit razzled by the fact the Cards will have to face Prior and his golden arm for about, um, 15 more seasons.

Monday, September 29, 2003

AP Errors

There were two errors in the ESPN article (from the AP) I linked to below. First it states that the White Sox were heavy favorites to win the Central Division this year. I think I saw the Twins picked to win as much as I did the Sox.

The bigger error states that the Sox lost 10 of 15 after being swept by the Twins. Now first off, they only had 10 games after the sweep, of which they finished 6-4. If you include the sweep, they were 6-7 in their last 13. They had won the two precediing games, so in their last 15 they were 8-7. So I'm not sure what time frame they are using, but I can't come up with 5-10 anywhere.

Now these errors are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But I often find similar ones when I read articles about subjects I am somewhat familiar with (baseball, bourbon and - well that's about it). It makes you wonder what they get wrong on the subjects for which you don't have good base of knowlkedge.

UPDATE: ESPN now is now stating that the Sox lost 10 out of their last 15 on ESPN News.


The Bears open up the new Soldier Field tonight against the Packers. The Packers haven't looked that great so you would think the Bears would have a chance. But the Bears have managed about 320 yards of total offense in two games, so it looks like 0-3 tonight.

But what do I know? My football picks aren't going very well. I've picked 8 upsets in the last 3 weeks, and have gone 0-8! And there were upsets to be had yesterday. I'm heading towards last place of the baseball bloggers pool. To check out the standing just click on the football picks link on the right.


Well the White Sox made it official today. Jerry Manuel is gone.

I'm relieved but not happy. Sure Manuel underachieved, and yes, he was a poor bench coach. But he was a very likable person. And his even temperemant should have been just what a veteran team would need to reach the postseason. But in the end it had to be this way. The Sox failed to build off their 2000 success and its time to start a new chapter.

I'll try to get to a post season wrap-up in the next couple of days.

Friday, September 26, 2003

My Take

Well, there certainly were a lot of responses from Twins fans to the question “Why I Hate the Sox?” As a concerned Sox fan, I think its important we understand “Why They Hate Us.”

1.) First off, the Sox seem to be hated for both being overrated and for not living up too expectations. Somewhat contradictory, but I’ll go with it nonetheless. Tim G. states that 85% of the reason why he hates the Sox is the way the media covers and promotes them. Well, no doubt many people believed the Sox were the better team. So yes, the local media did expect the Sox to beat the Twins. However, this was a notion shared by many across the country. Even Aaron Gleeman stated less than a month ago, that yes, the Sox were better than the Twins. So if the local media “expects” the Sox to win, deal with it.

As for national media bias, that’s a joke. Maybe the Sox get a few more highlights because they hit a lot of home runs, but I’ve spent many a night waiting ‘til midnight trying to catch a 15 second clip of the Sox on Baseball Tonight.

2.) A lot of people believe the Sox don’t give enough respect to the Twins. Well that’s a bunch of BS. Every time a Sox player was asked about the Twins this year, everyone gave your standard "the Twins are a great ballclub but we think were the better team." Blah. Blah, Blah. What do you expect? I think I would hate the Sox if I heard someone say, “yeah those Twins are a lot better than us”. So the respect issue was valid in 2001, 2002, but the respect argument was a non-issue this year.

3.) Another ridiculous line of argument was about the Sox style of play. The Sox don’t play defense? Well then why do they have a better zone rating and range factor than the Twins – for the last 3 years. Now I know these numbers don’t tell the whole story, but its certainly some evidence that the “White Sox don’t play defense” argument is nothing more than a myth. Folks, 2000 is over and you need to move on.

As for ERA, the Sox have finished ranked 8th, 8th and 4th in th AL the last 3 years, while the Twins have ranked 7th, 6th and 7th. Not that much of a difference.

And it’s true the Sox are a home run hitting ball club. But Mags and Frank manage to do a bit more than hit home runs. It’s not like they have 5 Sosas up there striking out 150 times a year.

4.) I forget that some Sox telecasts go out nationally on WGN. You may find Hawk annoying, but you have to admit his Hawkisms are catchy. I find myself shouting “put on the board” and “he gone” during games. So while he’s a lot of fun for Sox fans, I do see how he can be seen as obnoxious by other teams.

Now this is taking too long so I’ll just tackle some choice quotes:

The best line is from Anthony Fox, “Were gonna outwork and out-heart them every year”. Please, don't get all mushy one me. Look, the Twins play with great chemistry, but I would hate to my faith in out-hearting other teams. It’s funny that Twins fans get mad when people believe other teams are better, but they themselves think they get by on “intangibles”. The Twins are a talented bunch. They are not great at anything, but above average at everything. For the last two years, this has been good enough to win the central.

Again from Fox on how the Sox try to outclub teams “And one year they did. Barely.” Well I don’t know about barely. They had a comfortable lead all year in 2000 and pretty much put the division away by sweeping 7 games in mid-summer on the road vs. Cleveland and NY. And sweep doesn’t tell the whole story, they pummeled them.

“Frank Thomas is the Randy Moss of baseball”. No, I think Moss is definitely in a class by himself. Be proud Minnesota! And really, I think Frank gets a bad wrap. He’s not much of a leader, but his hitting more than makes up for it. And at $6m next year, quite a bargain.

"If we were able to spend $150 million or $130 million, we'd win every year, too," Thomas said.

..."Money doesn't guarantee you'll have big performances down the stretch when it counts," [Derek] Jeter said. "You can have all the money in the world and it doesn't matter if you don't have people who are going to play well. That's an easy out. Money, money, money. Go ask him why Minnesota is where they are."

Look, what Thomas said is true. If you spend $150 million you probably will have the best team. It’s great the Twins, A’s, and yes, the Sox can compete on smaller budgets, but that doesn’t make Thomas’ statement any less true. And maybe, as Seth says, Jeter is a classy player. But he sounds like the #ss*ole to me in that exchange.

“jose valentin. there's something truly creepy about his moustache. it's
not a bad moustache (see tom prince), it just bugs me. don't know why.
can't explain it. “ e-mail from Kirk Beller.

On that we are in total agreement.

Again from Beller: “this is just me talking, but your gm is a joke. i've hated every one of his trades. most of all, i hate the attitude that throwing money at veteran
players and dealing for the same type of guys, rather than developing talent
from within is the best way to build a club. that just reeks of
yankee-style team building, which is exactly counter to how the twins have
put together their team. his trade-for-the-sake-of-making-a-trade theory on
running a franchise--beatiful. i cheer every time i hear that the sox have
made a deal, because i know that it will make them worse in the long run. “

Look, not all of William's trades have been bad. And your mistaken in your belief that he has thrown money at veterans, they were mostly paid for by other teams. The Ritchie trade turned out horrible. But the Colon trade was a steal. He didn’t quite perform up to expectations, but he was close. He pitched a lot of innings and won some big games down the strecth.

Bottom line, I don’t see a lot of reasons to be hating the Sox. I will give you the disrespect issue from a couple of years ago and Hawk now. But it sounds like this stuff is deeper than that and goes further back. I think those uniforms (silver and black), marketing (good guys wear black), and "hate the big city-itis" also plays a role. But mostly, I think it's a good old fashioned rivalry. The Twins have come out on top the last two years, but please quit acting like your the '27 Yankees. Your maybe the fourth best team in the AL, probably 5th best, with the Sox right behind you. Lets keep things in perspective.

Finally, e-mailer Kirk Beller also asked if I might state some reasons why I hated the Twins. Well, I don’t hate the Twins. I don’t exactly like them, but I’d rather see them win than the Indians. And I would like to see them beat the Yanks. I hate the Yankees.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Twins Fans Speak

Earlier this week I wondered why the White Sox generate so much hostility. Well, Seth Stohs asked his readers to answer that very question. Today he posted their responses.

You will be hard pressed to find anything of substance, although it looks like a main complaint is in fact, Hawk Harrelson. I'll try to post a full response tomorrow morning. Some of the softballs tossed my way make it just too hard to resist adding my comments to the debate.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Congratulations to Esteban Loaiza, who won his 20th game of the year today against the Yankees. His starts against the Twins probably dropped him out of the running for the Cy Young award, but he still had a great year.

Like most fans, I was disappointed in his two losses against the Twins (not to mention the last outing vs. KC). But the Sox have gone 22-11 in games he started, meaning without him that would probably under .500. In the first half of the year the Sox would have been well over 10 games back without his superb pitching.
One Band Wagon I Won't Be Jumping On
Right now the Astros are down 1-0 to the Giants in the 7th. If the Astros end up losing, the Cubs can pretty much nail down the Central with a win tonight. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Baker is starting Estes (ERA 6.19). Now the Cubs still have a good shot at winning since they are playing the Reds. But at this point I think starting anyone over Estes is a good idea. He has allowed opponents a 312 BA and 476 Slug %. On top of that, he allowed 16.3 men on base per 9 innings for the year.

In any event, it looks like 3 wins out of the next five will at least give the Cubs a tie in the division at year end.

UPDATE: Pinch hitter, and ex-Cub, Jose Vizcaino drove in two runs. Score now 2-1.

Saint Father Smyth

The media continues to drop the ball on this one. But then again, they pretty much drop the ball on everything. For those of you who aren’t aware of this story, Father Smyth is the head of Maryville Academy, a child services organization run by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Now the governor has decided to close down the main Maryville campus because of rapes, drug abuse and attempted suicides. You would think we could all get behind the governor making sure these children are removed from this dangerous place. But you would be wrong!

Father Smyth obviously is a very powerful figure in Chicago and has used this power in some very despicable ways. First he accused Gov. Blago of not caring for these children they way he cares for his own children. Why else would the guv send his daughter to a private school in Chicago rather than a public school in Springfield. Now, I’m not sure what the governor’s daughter has to do with this situation, but the fact Father Smyth dragged her into this is pathetic.

But the big hit job came yesterday. Michael Sneed is our local gossip hound and probably the dullest in the nation. In her column yesterday she “passed along” a rumor that the Governor wants to close down Maryville so Cardinal George can sell the campus to pay off defendants in the priest sexual abuse lawsuits. Wow, that’s some crazy conspiracy - but where’s the evidence? Of course there is none. It’s just an outrageous slander. What kind of journalistic prostitute would write this stuff.

And Father Smyth must know where all the bones are buried because there is no end of politicians willing to defend him. Mayor Daley is said to be furious. Public Guardian Patrick Murphy says that Father Smyth loves children so much he took too many in and that caused all the problems. OK, pop quiz. Do you think Father Smyth took in too may kids because A.) he loves them so much or B.) he receives state aid for every kid in the facility. Hell, every new kid is money in the bank for Maryville as the fixed costs of running the place are much greater than the added costs of taking in one more kid.

But the best line came from former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services chief Greg Coler, who said, "This whole thing is a crime. The children should not be removed from Maryville, which is like shipping a kid from the Four Seasons hotel to a Motel 6.” I’ve never stayed at a Four Seasons, but if rape, drug abuse and suicides are rampant there, maybe it should be closed down too.