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.