thecubsfan.com

Chris Candido

Apr
29

Scott’s post on the-W.

Meltzer’s post on wrestlingobserver.com

Rick’s bio on OO

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mind wipe

Apr
28

Busy. And when I’m not doing things I’m supposed to be doing, I’m doing projects for this site which may never see the light of day. (note to self: put a time/word limit on free flowing articles and you may not hate them nearly as much. in theory.)

(So if you’ve sent me an e-mail and not heard back, maybe tommorow? Sorry.)

I was going to go vaguely off about a situation I was expected to be in control of but was actually wildly/agonizingly out of my control and how I felt about it, but then I got away from boards which key for a few hours and accidently got some perspective. Or at least a time out.

I was also going to make an about page and didn’t do that. So we’re all winners tonight.

Anyone else use FireFox? Why is it sometimes I click on links, and it downloads the page instead of opening it? Happens to me at least once a day, twice right now.

The last GitS was the best episode of the series or close to it. But I think it’d only make for an above average episode of Full Metal. Or maybe I’m just bitter because I was inspired to see how many episodes they’d have left to play everything out, only two find out they’re two weeks from being done

(and partly bitter because so much time’s passed and I’m watching cartoons.)

My TiVo is not going to tape Heat if I don’t clean of some lucha soon. I have no idea when I have time to do it. Maybe I can get TiVoToGo to work now?

In a cruel joke, my spam filter junked OO’s call for PPV picks but I found it anyway. It’s not the preview as much as the less than inspiring PPV that saddens me.

REDS @ CUBS, 04/26

Apr
28

REDS @ CUBS, 04/26: I nearly forgot I had these tickets, and after how the game went I’m – still glad I remembered them. Though the game was quite the annoying rollercoaster – all we were missing was LaTroy coming in with a one run lead.

First game there of this season (and last season too, I think.) Hot Chocolate was good. I didn’t get enough of easily screwup-able things to find out if the new food vendor was as improved as promised. I hope so.

Seats were up the third base line, a section in from the Cubs bullpen. Pretty nice, if people weren’t standing up in the aisle and blocking your view. Also, we got to see a lot of action near up close, what with everyone in the pen warming up at least once. (They ran out of people to protect the bullpen catcher! Such a tragedy.)

Zambrano didn’t seem to be finishing off his pitches in the second, leaving a lot low and only getting beach balls in the zone. He was pretty ticked. I couldn’t believe the Reds let Zambrano off the hook by stealing on him, especially as good as Barrett’s been throwing guys out early. Zambrano was tiring in the fifth when Dunn got the home run, and they ought to have had someone warming up as soon as it left the park, but Carlos was pretty hot headed to plunk Kearns when they didn’t. (And he totally did it on purpose, though people around me didn’t want to believe it.)

I thought Dubios might have worked his way into a decent amount of at bats with the home run, and then figured he didn’t when he dropped an easy sac fly because he was worried about the throw. Didn’t actually cost the team anything but really deflated things after the big inning. Corey’s big error did end up costing at least one run, and was so dumb.

It was a sad moment when we realized Wuertz was in the game because LaTroy was back as closer. It was sadder when Wuertz didn’t have anything.

Dusty’s predilection for the double switch gave us Henry Blanco and Ronny Cedeno in key at bats, and made Ben Grieve unusable, which is not the way I would’ve gone. It was the typical manager who was worrying about having enough guys in the 12th at the cost of not putting your best people out there in 8th and 9th.

The team feels pretty much in disarray even though they’re .500, like we’re just about to slip into a “wheel are coming off” 5 or 6 game losing streak. Not a good feeling for April.

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uh

Apr
25

actual conversation I had today (condensed)

[ring ring – actually it was on vibrate, so buzz – buzz – buzz]
Me: [watching the Cubs]: What’s up.
Mike [thru a static storm]: Hey.
Me: Hey.
Mike: What’s up.
Me: [not sure he’s hearing me.] Nothing much. Watching the Cubs take on the Reds in a night game.
Mike: Yea. Hey, don’t you have tickets to watch the Cubs take on the Reds in a night game, this series.
Me: Uh…uh oh. That kinda sounds familiar. [digs franticly thru drawer of random paper]
Mike: Was it today or Tuesday?
Me: [looking, looking, found it] Yea, I’ve got four tickets four tickets for – tommorow! Hey, you want to go?
Mike: Uh, sure. You need to round up other people.

And that’s sorta how I’ve spent my evening, except one person I’ve called twice about going hasn’t called back, and now I’m just deciding how long to stay up waiting without doing anything productive. (Unless ‘hitting refresh for updats on Fox’s elbow’ is productive.)

Mike’s getting Bulls Playoff Tickets off me for Wednesday, too. I later pointed out how he was getting to life the highlife off my dime (though not completely my dime), and he noted that at least he was remebering to use the tickets. Defeating me with logic, how truly unfair.

People who life was much more unfair to:

Chad Fox, likely getting elbow surgery and out for the season.
Nomar – but the good news is the surgery he’s having may actually allow him to be back in August or September.

Heat 04/24

Apr
24

Heat was Todd to the max. Hey, assuming they’re still paying Steven Richards, why couldn’t he and his busted face show up? It needed some more of the not suck.

I *think* we get matches next week for Velocity, but then I haven’t been paying enough attention to know if they’re already taped SmackDown!, plus they usually don’t bring people they’re not planning on using overseas so who knows how much we’ll get.

I can’t believe Backlash is next weekend. I mean, it’s four weeks since WM21, but it doesn’t feel like time for another PPV already. Maybe I’m just not at all excited for this PPV?

We’ve got
HHH vs Batista (rematch from WM)
Jericho vs Shelton (rematch from Taboo Tuesday and the RAW after)
HBK/Hogan vs Hassan/Daviari (no)
Edge vs Benoit (LMS – which may actually be good, but then I haven’t seen enough Edge PPV matches to hate him)
and nothing else. I guess Tajiri/Rhyno vs Hearthrobs (Shawn nixing “Heartbreakers” has to be one of the most predictable things ever), and something stupid with Chris Masters, but I can’t really figure what else. post-WM card is always repeat heavy, but the complete lack of hot issues (maybe I’m unfair and it’s just hot issues I care about) isn’t helping here.

Devil Rays vs Red Sox is the goofiest choice for a death feud ever.

Saving an short post: the 04/09 ELL-Mex report.

Velocity 04/23

Apr
24

Velocity. I was looking forward to the whole battle royale; we got two mintues. So disappionting. And I’m not even the battle royal freak.

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Madden Dementia

Apr
23

Planned on heading out to the KC Cougars game tonight, but like the Cubs game, it got rained out. So I mostly screwed around and accomplished little instead. One of the things I wasted time with is my never ending Madden 2005 franchise.

My friend Jim is a huge Madden/EA fanatic for the GM Modes. Within a week of getting each year’s game, he will know the relative worth of every single player on the game, how he can acquire him for a trade, and how he could put together a team of Pro Bowlers in under an hour starting with any team, salary cap hits or not.

Which would be fine enough, and relatively useful as video game knowledge goes, except it doesn’t end there; last year, he spent three weeks trying to figure out the best All Rookie team he could put together, and knew the class inside and out by the end. On top of that, he was working, off and on, for about three months on a team with a perfect defensive record. By trading and playing, he wanted to go a couple season without giving up a single point. Sometimes he’d get as far as 11 games without doing it. Sometimes, he’d get four, delete, and restart because he just didn’t like the team. Amazingly (semi-insane) dedication.

Anyway, this deal he’s settled on started when he settled on a team long enough to sim out a season, and won a Superbowl as a slight surprise. And then he won again. And again. And again, all simming it and not playing it. Since he was on such a run, Jim decided to keep the franchise going, instead of just deleting and trying a different idea. Pretty good idea – last he told me, he was at 17 Super Bowls, in a row.

(#1 Piece of advice: trade for the 1st round picks of the worst team in the league at Week 6. Computer erroneously will overvalue your pick despite your better record, and if you’re good, you can pick up two 1st rounders. Helps to keep restocking if you get good picks.)

Back when he around 11 or 12, he was talking about his run and how he was starting to field mostly created guy teams, and it got me thinking about how I’ve never gone that far in Madden. (An article on VeteranPresence got me thinking the same thing.)

Madden games go like this for me
– start my own franchise
– figure out a few things on All Pro*, get a hang of the new year
– get way too into knocking off the madden challenge and mini camp things
– start a franchise with other, actual live people
– get good playing the computer a billion times in the franchise season between actual real games against people
– get more creative playing against real people
– occasionally go back to single player franchise, find out I can now stomp the computer at will, get bored without the carrot of eventually playing a real person
– move on to some other game

The multi-person franchises never go more than three or four years – this year, we’re going four somewhat against my interest at the time, and I’m gaining my revenge by breaking passing records with Matt Schaub – because it takes about four to six week to get thru a season if everyone’s around, and it feels kinda lame if we’re still playing by next year’s draft. (This year, we shall be lame.)

Jim’s franchise gave me an inspiration – I’ve been playing these games which hype a 30 year mode, and I’ve never gone past year 5, what am I missing? What are those wacky things you can buy? How does the game change when all the guys who started it are gone? What exactly happens after year 30? I thought I needed to find out.

I ended up picking up my franchise I’d otherwise discarded (Texans) and with an actual reason to keep playing, kept on going. Since I can’t stand the idea of putting so much effort into building a team and having the sim screw it up, I’m simming it up to the point where my team might be eliminated (either the start of the playoffs, or when it looks like I might not make the playoffs with another loss), and winning all the way out by myself.

I didn’t realize going in how fun it’d be to draft guys, improve them thru playing time, and watch the prosper into perennial pro-bowlers; you don’t see that as much in short franchises. Having coach after coach retire because they’ve got too many rings is neat, though it did lead to an agonizing ethical dilemma at one point: if he’s got the best numbers, can I ethically hire Brett Farve to be my head coach? (No. What was I thinking?) Building up quarterbacks, letting them to go when they want too much and there’s another on the way, and watching the be awesome on other teams is pretty satisfying; there’s something hilarious about causing Dave Ragone to be Farve’s successor, even if the other guys seem to end up coming back into my division.

I spent part of the night building my way to my 11th (or 12th?) championship, which started out as one of my worst teams (having parted with my #1 QB, #1 RB, #2 WR, and #2 CB mostly to let younger guys get playing time and improve), and I’m only a couple wins away as I take a moment to write this out.

The neat thing is I’m closing ground on Jim’s run of championships. See, he stopped playing for a while to pick up MVP – he’s trying for a season with zero losses.

I think I’ll draw the line there.

* I’d play All Madden if the AI was actually smarter and figured out you were running the same eight plays on that level; it just gets cheaper instead. Waste of time.

1/10

Apr
22

I think we can pretty much throw out the possibility of Nomar meeting almost any of his bonus clauses. Good thing he got that extra little bit guaranteed.

1/10th Review

First (games 1 thru 16)
Record: 8-8, 8-8 in period
Standings: 2 out of the NL Central, 1 out of the Wild Card

MVHitter: DEE LEE
MVPitcher: Carlos Zambrano.

Biggest News: Todd Walker goes down for 6 weeks, and he’s the healthy middle infielder.
Most Underplayed News: D-Lee and Dempster horrible picks for Teammate till obvious questions to close bail them out.

The idea of doing a 1/10th review is figuring the 1/10th means anything. Shaky to start with, I know, but near irrelevant in current situation – what happened in the first 16 games was already mitigated by it being the start of the season and things (like the rotation) still getting into the swing of things. With Nomar out, even despite his really bad performance, we can’t figure rely on it to help predict the next 9/10ths.

Best I can do is try to guess how ripples of the Nomar groin explosion will affect everything else.

at least Neifi hasn’t sucked hitting this season. 317/333/415 seems is the definition of unrealistic (and above the 90 percentile on his PECOTA forceast.) But at least there’s some proof he might be able to hit if we get really really lucky.

It’s unlikely Nomar’s back this season. He’s going to be a free agent, and there are already plenty of questions about him. Why would he add another by not getting this injury fully taken care of? All credit to him for even considering coming back, but no one’s going to think you any less of a gamer if you decide to get surgery for a muscle that’s been ripped off the bone.

The imbalance on the 40 man roster turned out to hurt. A lot. I noted before the season only 4 players of the 15 man extras were position players. This is a little bit helped by having an extra spot, and having a plethora of non roster outfielders in Iowa able to sit on the bench if called upon.

Same isn’t true for the middle infield. Fontenot happened to be around as excess cargo from the Sosa trade, neatly taking over the Bobby Hilly/Brendan Harris shuttle spot, but there’s no SS the Cubs have access to fill this spot. Ronny Cedeno isn’t ready to hit at the major league level, and if he’s ever going to get there, it won’t be by sitting on the ML Cubs bench. And there’s not really another choice.

They actually had the right guy for this spot in Cody Ransom but traded him away at the end of Spring Training. It’s tough to plan for major injuries.

Giving it some extra hours to think (after today’s game), I think they should’ve fished around to other teams, seeing if someone had someone who was already AAAA SS who they were willing to move.

Anyway, if you want a reason to hate the Sosa trade a little more, look at Roberto Novoa’s and David Crouthers’ spots; if they just got hitters with little long term use instead of pitchers, they might be better of at the moment. It shouldn’t have been an 10/4 split.

What does Dusty do with this bench?: This is going to freak him out. Look at what you got:

UT Macias – already getting most of the PH ABs and double switched, but can only play one position at a time.

C Blanco – backup catcher, Dusty rather concede than use both
LF Dubios – used partially in a platoon but not strictly, not a favorite as a pinch hitter
2B Fotentot – only been used when Dusty’s clearing out the bench. A young guy and a guy from the other league, a horrible combo for Dusty.
SS Cedeno – has “best rookie hitter of Mesa” going for him, but nothing else. Early discussion has him starting only if Neifi develops polio.

I Use My Whole Bench Dusty is colliding with I Wait For Rookies To ‘Get Their Feet Underneath Them’ Dusty, and I’ve got no idea who’s going to win this one. I expect Dubios will be the beneficiary just because Dusty’s gotta use someone, but this is going to test him.

This started as a very weak bench, and now it’s a weak bench filled with players Dusty isn’t familiar with. Not good. I wonder if they still have Dave Hansen’s number? Sending down the lost Leicester and picking him up would probably serve everyone better. They needed one more hitter before people starting going down, and now they certainly need one Dusty will actually use.

How’s the lineup work now?: I was stuck on this one, till I read Corey’s inner most desire is to bat sixth. If he loves 6th, I’m hoping he’ll be happy with 7.

vs R
1) R Hairston 2B
2) L Hollandsworth
3) R D-Lee 2B
4) R A-RAM 3B
5) L Burnitz RF
6) R Barrett C
7) L Corey CF
8) S Neifi SS

vs L
1) R Hairston 2B
2) L Corey CF
3) R D-Lee @B
4) R A-RAM 3B
5) R Dubios LF
6) R Burnitz
7) R Barrett
8) S Neifi

If breaking up the L/Rs wasn’t a strict rule, we could probably do more interesting things here. And I don’t think I’ve nailed what Dusty’s going to do regularly yet, but I do believe eit’s going to be important – if the bench is going to be down played, he’s going to have to pick an actual lineup at some point, and it’s going to hurt us if it includes Neifi high up in the order after he’s stopped hitting.

Is Dusty learning anything about his bullpen? He seems set on Fox and Remmy setting up Hawkins, with everyone else getting time whenever those three can’t go. This would be fine if the setup guys looked the slightest bit consistent this year. While Remlinger has the ugly ERA, I think the real problem is Chad Fox.

Inherited Runners
Fox: 9, 4
Remlinger: 5, 1
Wuertz: 4, 1
Rusch: 4, 1
Wellemeyer: 2, 1
Leicester: 2, 0
Hawkins: 0, 0
Bartosh: 0, 0
(source: BProspectus)

Fox is being hyped as counterpart to Remlinger, with his own reverse split, better against lefty despite being righty. This has relatively held up, though he doesn’t have great numbers either way.

vs LH – 12 PA, 273/333/455
vs RH – 17 PA, 307/412/615

He’s done bad versus lefties, but he’s making right handers look like All Stars. Either he needs to improve quick, or Dusty’s gotta cut him down to a ROOGY for everyone’s safety.

What would fit Dusty more is to be able count on someone to count for the 8th every day, and Remmy and Fox are more situational guys at this point. I’m guessing they hope JoeB could be the answer when he comes back, but he needs to actually give Wuertz a try between now and then. If he had played last year for the Rangers instead of the Iowa Cubs, I think he might have already gotten it.

As for everyone else

Rusch – probably thinking his groin is no longer bad, all things considered. Suffering from a need to keep him around as a long relief guy, but hopefully everyone being back and near full strength should free him up.

Bartosh – Lost in the mix. Dusty obviously has no idea what to make of him. While he may help later, we might have actually been better keeping Randolph; Dusty’s only going to use a guy he’s seen pitch for a while, and Bartosh isn’t there yet.

Leicester – Lost in the mix and lost on the mound. Badly needs to be sent someplace where he might pitch more than once a week, if he actually wants to learn how to control his pitches again.

Next tenth

04/22 vs PIT 2:20
04/23 vs PIT 1:20
04/24 vs PIT 1:20

04/25 vs CIN 7:05
04/26 vs CIN 7:05
04/27 vs CIN 1:20

04/28 OFF

04/29 @t HOU 7:05
04/30 @t HOU 6:05
05/01 @t HOU 1:05

05/02 OFF

05/03 @t MIL 7:05
05/04 @t MIL 7:05
05/05 @t MIL 12:05

05/06 vs PHI 2:20
05/07 vs PHI 1:20
05/08 vs PHI 1:20

05/09 vs NYM 7:05

2002 index

Apr
21

Remember the time before the brand split? Remember when things didn’t suck?

That wasn’t the rest of 2002 I just finished, oh no.

2002 WWF Index (pre split)

leading into updates for
Women’s Title History
World Tag Team Title History
IC Title History

I’m thinking about doing the European Title one day when I’m really bored. I’ll be doing the Hardcore Title once I solve cancer and world hunger AND the Cubs win the World Series.

(shut up)

(ripping my own work comment omitted!)

ouch

Apr
21

So. I thought after today’s day game, with just about one-tenth of the season done, would be a fine time to recap the season so far.

And then this happened

That’s not the season…but it’s going to make the next nine-tenths seem like thirteen-tenths. Not so good.

After the game, I’ll catch up.