thecubsfan.com

the lull before the prologue

Mar
31

I’ve already noted there’s no new US PS3 games for two weeks. Just announced today is there’s no new PSNetwork updates for two weeks. Sony’s putting the final touches on a new software based store and holding off updates until they’re ready.

This is all a good idea, but what exactly am I going to be writing about on the next two Friday? There’s nothing coming out at all, all I can do is update the release dates. Hmmm.

At least when things get rolling again, there’ll be a lot of stuff. GT4 Prologue and Song From Portal are due out for you, Burnout update is due for me.

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Game 1: Brewers 4 – Cubs 3

Mar
31

Brewers 1-0
Cubs 0-1

POTG: RF “I LOVE JAPAN AND ALL ITS PEOPLE” (3 H, 2B, HR, BB, CS, 3 RBI)
Runner Up: SP Z! (6.2 IP, 3 H, BB, 5 K, Pick Off, QS), RP Carlos Marmol (1.1 IP, 3 K, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R)

What positives can we take from this game
– that guy from Japan may be able to play the base ball okay.
– leaving insane phone messages (as quoted above) remain fun in the ’08
– Carlos Zambrano can actually pitch great on opening day
– Carlos Marmol can pitch great on any day
– we get the “Z needs to drink more liquids/play less Guitar Hero” story out of the way early
– everyone realizes they need to work on calling each other on pop outs already
– Eric Gagne is really not good any more
– Kerry learns to deal with having a bad outing and having to shake it off pretty quickly
– there’s a slight chance of a bean ball war breaking out if Weeks has anything to say about it. He was TICKED after the 9th.

It’s one loss, one bad outing. They’ve got 161 more. Not quite time to freak out.

Tomorrow’s off, and Wednesday starts things off in a normal rhythm. Lilly vs Suppan is going to be a tough matchup, especially if Lilly pitches as he did in Arizona

pick a number, any number

Mar
31

The Cubs will end up with 92 wins, winning the NL Central.

Brewers get 89, and win the Wild Card.

No other NLCentral team gets 82, though at least one non-contending team looks pretty good until June.

The Mets take the NL East, and the Diamondbacks take the West. All of the divisional races go down to the last week of the season, and the Wild Card is still up in the air on the last day.

Kosuke and Soto are okay->good, but neither wins Rookie of the Year.

Every Game Coverage starts later today. I may mess around without how I do it, if I get a good idea between now and then.

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PS3 Releases: week of March 24, 2007

Mar
28

news you can use: SD vs RAW ’08 will have downloadable content. This is one of those things where as soon as it’s mentioned, you’d realize what a vital idea it is and wonder what took so long. This ought to be a simple way to fix the roster problems which happen every single year.

on the shelves

Dark Sector (gamestats) Another slice/dice game. Everyone’s calling it a Gears of War clone but is impressed by the main characters Glaive weapon – a metallic 3 pronged boomerang variant used to solve puzzles when you’re not killing things. Multiplayer isn’t much and neither is the story, but it seems to be a slightly better game than…

Viking: Battle for Asgurd (gamestats) Really neat looking massive battle scenes – 1UP raves about the hundred of characters on screen at once in otherwise very down review – but they’re only a fragment of the game play and the rest isn’t at that level. The story is actively bad and the combat isn’t very deep. The gore is very detailed, if you’re looking for that.

in the store

Downloadable Games

– flOW bundle {$9} – the game and the expansion pack
– Warhawk is cut down to $30 until 04/15. Their next expansion pack is coming out 2 days later.

Add On Game Content
– High Stakes: Poker Edition camera add on {free} – works with the PSEye and EyeToy, may work with other USB cameras

– Unreal Tournament: 3 Map Pack {free} – 3 new maps

– Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore {$1.50}

Konami apparently doesn’t believe in a staggered roll out, or is catching up for the game being pushed back. The full gigantic list:

* “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson
* “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
* “Love Shack” by B-52s
* “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies
* “Take my Breath Away” by Berlin
* “She Talks to Angels” by Black Crowes
* “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men
* “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
* “Oops!…I Did it Again” by Britney Spears
* “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” by Brooks & Dunn
* “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
* “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
* “Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry
* “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire
* “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by The Four Top
* “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” by George Strait
* “Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms
* “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobastank
* “Fame” by Irene Cara
* “ABC” by the Jackson 5
* “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
* “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai
* “Like a Virgin” by Madonna
* “California Dreaming” by Mamas & The Papas
* “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes
* “I Heard it Through a Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
* “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
* “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
* “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order
* “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
* “Don’t Know Why” by Nora Jones
* “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar
* “Crazy” by Patsy Cline
* “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge
* “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” by REM
* “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield
* “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer
* “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations
* “I Hate Everything About You” by Three Days Grace
* “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen
* “Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon

– Rock Band: Journey Boston Pack #1 {$2 each, 6 for $10}
* More Than a Feeling
* Hitch a Ride
* Peace of Mind
* Rock and Roll Band
* Smokin’
* Something About You

– Turok: Multiplayer Map Pack 1 {$5} – five new maps

Game Videos
– Gran Turismo 5 Prologue: (3) Mars Volta, Thin Lizzy, Weezer
– Warhawk 1.3 Update Trailer
– GTA IV Trailer
– Winner X Games ’08 Play the Pros video
– God of War: Chains of Olmpus (tv commerical)
– “Fast Card” by Wyclef (music video, features Burnout Paradise)
– PURE (Gameplayer Trailer and CG Trailer)

Movie/Blue Ray
– Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox story
– Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Fall 2007 TV Spot

PS3 Theme
– Eye of Judgment Theme

PS3 Wallpaper
– Metal Gear Sold 4: Guns of the Patriots Sneak Out Wallpapers

over the horizon
03/31: nothing (NBA Ballers pushed back)
04/07: nothing
04/14: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (downloadable)
04/21: NBA Ballers: Chosen One
04/22: Monster Madness
04/28: Midnight Club: Los Angeles
04/29: Grand Theft Auto IV (and special edition)
05/02: Fatal Inertia
05/02: Iron Man
05/13: The Chornicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
05/19: UEFA Euro 2008
05/20: Haze
05/27: Kung Fu Panda
06/01: Soulcalibur IV
06/02: Civilization Revolution
06/03: LEGO Indiana Jones
06/03: The Incredible Hulk
06/03: Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway

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heading east

Mar
27

One last time?

01 SS The Riot
02 LF Soriano
03 1B D Lee
04 3B A Ram
05 RF Fukudome
06 2B DeRosa
07 CA Soto
08 CF Pie

09 SP Z!
10 SP Lilly
11 SP Hill
12 SP Dempster
13 SP Marquis

14 CA Blanco
15 PH Ward
16 IF Cedeno
17 2B Fontenot
18 OF Reed Johnson

19 CL Wood
20 RP Marmol
21 RP Howry
22 RP Marshall (unless he blows it)
23 RP Lieber
24 RP Wuertz
25 RP Hart?

DL
22 RP Eyre
— RP Guzman

TBD
— OF Murton

Some thoughts here:

– I really like the Reed Johnson signing. He’s not the best of CFs, but I don’t think he’ll hurt the Cubs if he plays seven innings and Pie gets subbed in as late defensive replacement. Johnson hits the lefties great

2007 – 85PA 325/381/531 (all star numbers)
career – 701 AB 308/371/462 (solid numbers)

Moving Theriot out of the leadoff spot against lefties, if they put Johnson there instead as discussed, is really going to help the offense. These kind of situations are made for platoons, and Lou seems pretty comfortable using one.

On the days he doesn’t play, he’s the righty equivalent of Ward, waiting for the situational lefty to get in the game versus our weaker guys. And if he doesn’t pan out, the Cubs can cut him loose for a small price and bring up Sam Fuld in a couple months, and Sam is getting everyday ABs in the meantime.

The problem here is also liked the Craig Monroe trade for the same reasons, and uh, not so good. Johnson was available because of a roster crunch, but also because he spent a lot of last year hurt. Hopefully he’ll be a bit more fortunate in Chicago.

– The Cubs really should’ve never had Matt Murton to begin with. He shouldn’t have left the Red Sox, or he should’ve gone to the Twins or the Expos, that deal got a bit confused when they tried to beat the deadline. I think it’s best to look at Murton’s career as a Cub that way, “something for nothing”, instead of the possibly far more realistic “something instead of something lot more if they just gave him consistent time.” Regardless of Reed Johnson being signed, Murton was done as a Cub a long time ago. At least when Kosuke signed, but probably as far back as Soriano’s signing.

You can’t go back and fix the mistake of not trading Murton a season or two ago now, you’ve got to deal with the situation that now exists. The Cubs are fortunate there’s a good market to move middling corner outfielders; there’s plenty of teams both inside their division and elsewhere, though “solid to plus defender” doesn’t resemble the lost guy I’ve seen out there the last two years. If the Cubs can flip Murton for a non-40-man-roster guy with some promise and no track record, that’d be a fair trade and about what they should’ve ended up in the first place.

The Cubs sound like they’re moving on this, because they like Matt and they want to make it right for him, and I hope they can get this concluded quickly. He should not have to set foot in Des Moines again.

– the Trib’s subheadline on the roster moves “Fontenot’s versatility key to keeping him on roster” was intriguing to me, because the big problem with him has been his lack of utility fielding for what is a utility bench spot. What new things has Mike Fontenot learned that makes him more versatile?

Cedeno will be the back-up shortstop, but Fontenot proved he can play there in a pinch.

That’s versatility? Fontenot learning to play third would be nice, because it’d give a backup to Ram without moving people all around the infield. Though, the Cubs had a guy who was actually versatile, could play 3B, and SS, and 2B, but they just cut Alex Cintron to give Fonentot the spot.

Neither Cintron or Fontenot is going to add all that much at the plate; when they’re at their best, they’re empty batting averages lacking power or enough walks to make it meaningful. Fontenot is a little younger and probably a little cheaper, but not enough of either to make a difference.

I wonder what the real story about this roster decision. Did Cintron’s freak (batted ball to the face) and non-freak (hamstring) injuries concern the Cubs? Did they feel required to keep the Cajun Combo together? Did they want to keep around someone who they could option to AAA easily? The story they’re giving is Cintron was only here as a backup shortstop if Cedeno got traded to the O’s, but it still doesn’t explain why he was limited to that role.

– It would’ve been nice for Eyre to tell people he was hurt more than five seconds before the season started. Marshall was never going to make the rotation, he could’ve been pitching as a one-out guy for weeks. Baseball players, what are you going to do.

I think Pig would’ve be a better fit, but Marshall has earned a shot to take it. Everyone will play before they’re done.

post to twitter (#777013926)

Mar
25

In belgium. Almost got fingerprinted. Driving home with orange slices.

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we have a winner

Mar
24

probably not the Cubs, but at least I’m correct

Piniella also said Jason Marquis would be the team’s fifth starter while Jon Lieber would hold down the role of long reliever.

ESPN, ChicagoSports

Lesson learned: publicly complaining about losing your role will give you a better shot of keeping it. Please make a trade already.

In other news we already guessed, The Riot’s leading off, Soriano’s batting second, and on base is completely optional. DeRosa will be critical, because he’ll be getting tons of RBI chances batting sixth.

Scott Eyre hiding an injury during Spring Training means he’s going to be hid on the DL to start the season and one of Marshall or Pignatiello starts the season on the team.

I don’t get Paul Sullivan’s math here, or I’ve totally missed on a story:

The last two bench spots remain open, with Alex Cintron, Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno competing for two jobs.

Unless they’re going to an 11 man rotation – which would be nice but a story in itself – I only see one bench spot for those three guys. Is there a Hart/Wuertz battle for a spot in the bullpen now?

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Latest 25 Man Projection

Mar
21

Fresh off the radio (two days ago), and pretending no trade is about to happen. I’m risking fate by writing this one day and posting it another, but I thought I’d go for some content.

01 SS The Riot
02 LF Soriano
03 1B D Lee
04 3B A Ram
05 RF A Japanese Person
06 2B DeRosa
07 CA Soto
08 CF Pie

09 SP Z!!!
10 SP Ol’ Glove Spike
11 SP Hill
12 ?P Dempster (making the staff somewhere)

13 CA Blanco
14 PH Ward
15 LF Murton

16 RP Wood (preuming no DL spot – yet!)
17 RP Marmol
18 RP Howry
19 RP Eyre
20 RP Wuertz

21 ?P Lieber – they wouldn’t sign him, have him pitch well, and cut him, and can’t trade him so soon after signing him

Those are all beyond quetion. Now it gets tricky…

22 IF Cintron – performed better than Cedeno, who hasn’t taken advantage of the spot
23 OF Fuld – they’d really like to trade for someone to take this spot, but we’re assuming it doesn’t happen

24 RP Hart – assuming one bad performance didn’t kill him



:sigh:

25 SP Jason Marquis – if they can’t make a trade, they can’t eat his contract by themselves. Marquis gets the fifth spot, Dempster gets the fourth, Lieber goes to the pen like a good solider, and Hendry burns thru many cell phone batteries in trying to make a deal. The Nats could use an opening day starter…

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PS3 Releases: week of March 17, 2007

Mar
20

Updates:
PS3 Firmwire 2.20 should show up by the end of the month. It seems split between updating the Blue Ray ability (where you left on a disc is saved, so it’ll pick up there even if you watch something else in between) and music/photo cross platform integration (playlist sharing with PSP, save files to your hard drive from the internet browser.)

– Rock Band will be adding an in game store, rather than having quit the game and go to PS Network. This sounds/looks much better.

on the shelves

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (and limited edition) (The W at Amazon) (link is for the limited edition) [gamestats] – more than an upgrade from the last game, but not an entire new game. In is the ability to run, out is the four player co-op story (now down to two.) It’s very good, but it is recycled.

Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds [gamestats] – arcade golf, and somewhat limited with only six courses to choose from. It sounds like an easy to pick up fun game that takes advantage of next gen for an improved look, though possibly making it’s characters too cute. It’s an easily a step ahead off..

Sega Superstars Tennis [gamestats] – which is dragged down in the category of cute spots by lots of repetitive minis games and feels like a nostalgia purchase, relying on gamers to like the old Sega characters as much as they might for a similar Nintendo game. If you remember who people like Beat, Gum, Ulala and Alex Kidd are, maybe this game is for you.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot [gamestats] – first person horror shooter, very bloody and very violent. Doesn’t sound very long, and the multiplayer isn’t much, but it nails it’s theme pretty well.

Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore [gamestats] – pass.

in the store

Game Demos
– Condemned 2: Bloodshot
– Sega Superstars Tennis

Add On Game Content
– Rock Band: Ear Ache Thrashpack 1 ($2 each, or all for $5.50)
* “Blinded by Fear” by At the Gates
* “DOA” by the Haunted
* “Thrasher” by Evile

– Tiger Woods ’08
* Doral Golf Resort Blue Monster Course ($5)
* Turnberry Golf Resort {free!}
* Maxed Out Player {$2.50}

$5 seems a bit much for a new course, but the timing is pretty good. They should’ve have been releasing things more frequently, but people still seem to be getting the hang of that.

Game Videos
– MotorStorm 2 (Teaser)
– Eye of Judgement (Trailer for Set 2)
– Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (Japan Trailer)
– Ape Quest
– Turning Point
– Soulcalibur IV (Character Reveal – Darth Vader?)
– Condemned 2: Bloodshout (Trailer)

Movie/Blue Ray
– Gattaca
– Sleuth

over the horizon
03/25: Dark Sector
03/25: Viking: Battle for Asgurd
04/01: NBA Ballers: Chosen One
04/17: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (downloadable)
04/22: Monster Madness
04/28: Midnight Club: Los Angeles
04/29: Grand Theft Auto IV (and special edition)
05/02: Fatal Inertia
05/02: Iron Man
05/13: The Chornicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
05/19: UEFA Euro 2008
05/20: Haze
05/27: Kung Fu Panda
06/01: Soulcalibur IV
06/02: Civilization Revolution
06/03: LEGO Indiana Jones
06/03: The Incredible Hulk
06/03: Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway

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post to twitter (#773033738)

Mar
17

Anyone need a manual for front page football pro 98?

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