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Sunday, February 29, 2004

posted by James - 10:20 PM


"Everybody scores," Rick Rizzs famously bellowed after Luis Sojo cleared the bases and scored himself to put the Seattle Mariners up for good in the 1995 AL West Playoff.

The cast, crew, creators, et al. of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King must feel the same way right now as they've won every category they were up for so far and Peter Jackson has only been on the stage once.

Even if they don't get the "big one", which would be the biggest upset since N.C. State took down Phi-Slamma-Jamma Houston, they're going to have one hell of a cast party tonight.

I must also say Will Ferrell and Jack Black did the funniest bit I've ever seen mocking the Producers cutting off people by giving lyrics to their curtain-jerking music.

I've had a hectic week and I'm way behind on posting, so I'm working on three or four right now and they're all worthy of finishing so stay tuned.

And I've got a few links to update because some great people have been giving me a lot of support and maybe I'll throw up a soup recipe or two. ;)

Saturday, February 28, 2004

posted by David - 6:25 PM


Now it's time for a Waste of Space.


Just an anecdote I would like to share in regards to the testing comment posted previously this week.

About six months ago, I was working in Florida. I was undertaking a strategic relocation based on local proximity (a.k.a. hiding to take a break) when one of my co-workers finally managed to get a hold of me.

He tells me they've been looking for me for a while, and they need me down at the field office. I'm not sure what's going on at this point, so I head off the ship. I'm cruising down to the office, and I come across a large crowd of co-workers standing around doing nothing... well, a bit larger than the NORMAL crowd that stands around doing nothing.

I walk up to my Supervisor and ask him what's going on? He just slides on the vacant "I don't know, I'm just the boss" look and gestures at an armed MP standing at the entrance to the office.

Standing there is a 6'-tall, ebony bondage goddess... or she would be if it wasn't for the whole MP-standard, "I want to shoot now and not ask questions" look. In a semi-bored way, she tells me that a drug dog hit on my backpack.

"So you want to search it right? O.K. Let's go," I tossed out. My forward attitude threw the MP back a bit, and we did the whole paperwork thing and got down to the search.

While checking out my backpack, they come across a film canister. With eyes positively aglow, they slide the contents out into their gloved palms... Quarter and Dollar Coins slid into their waiting hands.

(A 35mm-film canister is the PERFECT size for storing said coins in case of an emergency. You never know when you may need to call home... or bribe a co-worker with a candy bar. ;) )

Crestfallen, the search falls short. No drugs in my backpack. (Maybe the dog just likes goldfish snack crackers... They were my lunch for the day.) So I'm off to the ship again to once again wander around without purpose until the end of the day.

Once again, I'm cruising back to the office, and confronted with yet another stupidity. The ship's captain wants me to take a drug test. I end up talking to my supervisor and the project superintendent about the issue. (In the captain's defense, there was a LARGE drug problem on his ship.)

Now, there is no basis to require this test of me, and I'm about steamed. I submitted to a search of my personal belongings (not required FYI). And despite coming-up zero, they have the unmitigated gall to ask for a PISS TEST!?

I was a tad upset.

I asked where the test was going to be done. They told me that it would be done on the ship. (Yeah, like I'm going to let them set ME up for a fall that easy.) I said that I wasn't even going to THINK about it unless the test was done at a neutral facility. I then informed them that I would NOT submit to the test unless the captain, and his entire command staff, would take it with me.

I even volunteered to hold the captain's cup. >.<

Well, the point of this is as follows. Asking for a drug test is an insult to a point, especially when there is no obvious basis for said test. It is an invasion of privacy. If someone messes up the test, your career can be flushed, even if you've done nothing wrong. For a figure in the spotlight like a pro-athlete, it can ruin your image. I know... It would be rough surviving off the measly $848,203 bazillion they already have. Not as rough as a person with a less glamorous job that really needs the income, but still hard.

Monday, February 23, 2004

posted by James - 2:28 PM


I'm watching ESPNews, and they're running comments from Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds about this BALCO fiasco, which will haunt baseball all season long.

Bonds and Giambi are acting like such victims in this case. They both made insinuations about having nothing they can do about media or fans "scrutinizing" their performances this year or previously.

Sure there is. Get tested!

Gary Sheffield isn't belly-aching about having his name involved in this scandal. He came out and said he won't talk about it and, if anyone had a thought to question the legitimacy of his physique, give him a test. He said he'll take it anytime, anyplace.

That's all I have to hear.

All of these athletes should either keep their mouth shut or take a test.

And that goes for Sammy too, but at least he's staying out of this witch hunt.

I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty", but sounding guilty doesn't help your case, especially when there's an easy way to prove your innocence.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

posted by James - 12:42 PM


Ok... so I'm a huge fantasy sports fan. I usually have multiple teams for every sport, even the ones I don't care about like hockey. Part of it is because I'm so good at it, but I also like the way it makes me stay in tune with the news of each sport. It makes me give a concerted effort to even the smallest roster nuance throughout sports.

So of course, I've started a fantasy baseball league through Yahoo! in the spirit of this site. I've added a link to the left to the Yahoo! fantasy baseball page, so if anyone's interested in mixing it up a fantasy baseball league with me and my friends click on it and add the following information.

League id: 17308
password: chrisdavidjames

The draft is at 8:15 p.m. CST on February 24. So hurry up and get your spot so I can get on with laying down some whuppin'.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

posted by James - 11:15 PM


I don't know if my wonderful readers have noticed, but I've added quite a few links over the last few days.

I wouldn't have put them on here if I didn't think they had high quality content for those interested in the subject I put them under.

Of course, I'm always interested in adding more, especially in the Cubs and Bears blogs sections. So send more on over to me.

And I've added new sections for Bears links - not that we should be wasting time talking about football with the birth of the Cubs' World Series run beginning - as well as my favorite baseball links.

All of the colors on my page, so far, I've taken off the official pages of an appropriate team with a great program called Pixie. And for my baseball links, I picked the colors for the team I feel improved the most this offseason - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Click the link above and scroll down a ways to see the almost unending list of additions to their squad for Devil Rays Manager Lou Piniella to sort through this offseason.

As interested as I am to see just which players make the team, I'm just as interested to see what players immediately get picked up by other teams when the Devil Rays can't find room for them on their roster.

If improvements through free agency weren't enough, the Devil Rays might have to find room for outfield prospects Joey Gathright and Josh Hamilton and "the best shortstop prospect in baseball" B.J. Upton by the end of the year.

I know it's uncommon during his tenure as Devil Rays GM, but Chuck Lamar deserves credit for giving Piniella several options at every position and not blocking the way for their young players to make an impact if they prove worthy.

It's unfortunate that every team in the AL East improved this offseason, but the Devil Rays may have improved enough to post the first 70-win season in their existence.

I must also point out that this site is encroaching on the 1,000-hit mark. I don't know exactly what that means, but I still think it's pretty darn cool. I thank everyone who's taken the time to come to the site and read what I have to say. Hopefully, I'll keep making it worth your while to come back and maybe bring some friends along.

posted by James - 1:08 PM


From the Chicago Tribune:

"I feel like I'm one of the luckiest guys in the game, to be honest." - Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

And we're the luckiest fans in the world to have him.

And that's assuming this had anything to do with luck at all (us Cubs fans would be due for some of the good variety anyway).

Hendry worked hard to make it to his current position, and he worked hard this offseason to improve a team within a stone's throw of the World Series last year.

He didn't just make moves, because a lot of the moves Hendry made were "unnecessary." He identified players he felt would improve the team and he got them.

For example, everyone knows catcher was an offensive problem last year. And a lot of fans clamored for the Cubs to get into the Ivan Rodriguez bidding to help solve it.

Hendry didn't get the former All-Star, but he did convince Oakland to trade him Michael Barrett just after the Athletics had just acquired him themselves.

Hendry didn't need Barrett. He wanted Barrett. And he didn't give up anything to get him.

Hendry didn't need Derrek Lee. He wanted gold-glove 1B Derrek Lee. And he didn't give up anything to get him.

Hendry didn't need Greg Maddux. The whole Cubs' nation wanted the four-time Cy Young Award winner. And Hendry made it happen.

Maybe it will take luck to make all the moves Hendry made work out, but Hendry also did the work to make luck a little more irrelevant than usual.

And this could mean a season of being "lucky bastards" instead of "lucky losers."

All the while thinking this is the good luck
That stays with us most of the time
It takes time to make these machines work
But he ain't got time while he's riding in black cars and pokes at
The sky to see if he can make stars and
People are so unkind
- Counting Crows "Good Luck"

Thursday, February 19, 2004

posted by James - 3:29 PM


Here's the post that brought Greg Maddux back into the Cubs' den.

"I'm going to try to not envision yet another 300-game-winner in pinstripes (unless they're Cubs-colored) no matter what some sensationalist TV station in New York says.

Cheers one and all...

http://northofwrigleyfield.blogspot.com

Posted by: James in Wrigleyville at February 16, 2004 11:43 PM"


Of course, I'll share the credit with Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

So, where's the parade after Maddux wins his 300th game?

Clark St.? They have to at least give him one shot to do it at Wrigley, right?

I'm just wondering so if I need to start shredding paper so I can throw it out my window as he goes by Clark St.

This is so much fun. For as depressing as the winter was just a week ago, I'm about as lively as I can feel right now.

Thank you, Jim Hendry for all your hard work, even with your health problems... a true warrior who won the good fight.

Now, how about an upgrade for our middle infield?

GO CUBBIES!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

posted by James - 11:24 PM


Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Nextel Nascar Daytona 500. Nascar... the only sport that has its biggest event as the first event of the season. And it means even less this season under the new rules.

Maurice Clarett will be eligible for the 2004 NFL Draft, and he's hired an agent... no, he hasn't. Well, he has, but... Who cares? The draft is at least two months away, right?

Lakers C Shaquille O'Neal won the All-Star Game MVP in his home arena with a thunderous "CAN YOU DIG IT?" I'll start "digging it" when the playoff starts.

Sen. John Kerry won the Wisconsin primary in a tight battle with Sen. John Edwards. The real contest is at least eight months away, right?

The Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez to continue to gild their expensive, aging lily with another offensive All-Star they didn't need.

But, who cares on this night...

BECAUSE GREG MADDUX IS A CUBBIE ONCE AGAIN!

Everybody on the North Side, get up and dance, baby!

I'll write more about this tomorrow. For now, I'm going to go to sleep and dream of Greg Maddux winning his 300th game in the right-colored pinstripes.

I actually said that very same thing in a chat room last night.

So maybe I'll dream about Jose Vidro hoisting a World Series title in the right-colored pinstripes.

Either way, there will be sweet dreams Just North of Wrigley Field tonight.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

posted by James - 11:27 PM


Just in case people aren't interested in wrestling talk...

Here's a link to skip past my latest post to the sports discussion you may or may not be looking for.

Either way, Cheers

Update: And apparently that link is not correctly anchoring down to the right post. If anyone has a clue on how I could make that happen within the blogger system, drop me a line.

posted by James - 12:16 PM


World Wrestling Entertainment will host their last pay-per-view broadcast before Wrestlemania XX tonight.

I was up late Thursday night after watching the latest edition of Smackdown (which was an alright show which did the job of creating interest in the PPV after they spent the previous week's show focusing on a PPV which is still a month away), and I started thinking about what they have already announced for the PPV and what could happen.

Although most of the readers who come here for traditional sports insight may not appreciate it, I'm going to post my thoughts anyway for those who might.

As a word of warning... aside from the match listing, the rest is a complete work of fiction based on current and yet-to-happen events. It's not my attempt to prove I could do a better job than those who run WWE at putting together a card, nor is it "fantasy booking." It's just a subject I've been interested in since this phenomenon appeared over a decade ago. It's a completely fictionalized drama, written for a live-event situation. I have no idea whether it would display through a TV screen, which might be why they wouldn't do something like this.

I also won't be saying what I think of the respective matches or what will happen in these matches. That's a job for the WWE agents (who I've seen work in person) who will script these matches. Click on the links to the left if you want opinions on these matches. 411mania does an especially great job.

No Way Out, Live from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA
February 15, 2004

WWE Title Match*

Champion
Brock Lesnar

vs

Challenger
Eddie Guerrero

* Raw superstar Goldberg will be
at ringside.

WWE Cruiserweight Title Match

Champion
Rey Mysterio w/ 2-time boxing champ Jorge Paez in his corner

vs

Challenger
Chavo Guerrero, Jr. w/ Chavo Guerrero, Sr. in his corner

WWE Tag Team Titles Match

Champions
Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty

vs

Challengers*
The Bashams & Shaniqua

*The titles would go to the Bashams if Shaniqua makes the pin

#1 Contender's Match*

Kurt Angle vs John Cena vs The Big Show

* Winner gets shot at WWE Title at Wrestlemania XX

Blindfolded Revenge Match

Jamie Noble vs Nidia

The APA vs Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas

Six matches seems a little light for the PPV, so they might be planning a match to utilize their very under-utilized cruiserweight wrestlers - who the crowd goes nuts for - or non-wrestling segments, maybe concerning their dual-Playboy Playmates.

Playmate Pals Posedown*
Sable vs Torrie Wilson

*Raw Divas Stacy Kiebler and Miss Jackie, who were "snubbed" for the chance to be in Playboy, interrupt... WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon and Smackdown GM Paul Heyman act amused instead of stopping the intrusion until Heyman's assistant Dawn Marie snaps them out of it...

They could also do a segment which would catch the viewing audience, both at home and the arena, in shock, yet they've already laid the groundwork to do so.

Again, this is complete fiction...

Mr. McMahon gets in the ring to make a public acknowledgment of his respect for Goldberg showing up in his ringside seat for the PPV and not making a disruption... then the lights go out. A video plays on the screen announcing the Undertaker's arrival in time for a Wrestlemania XX showdown with Kane... and his arrival is now!

The lights go up. Mr. McMahon is in a seated position, but he can't get up. In fact, he can't move all.

His terror grows as Taker's music starts with an eerie bell ringing through the arena - first quiet then increasing to a deafening volume, followed by the too familiar organ music.

Cloaked druids start to come down and surround the ring. Flames start to shoot up from the sides of the rampway; smoke fills the entrance. A shadowy figure begins to emerge.

The Dead Man reveals himself.

He grabs the microphone from the paralyzed WWE Chairman, and reacts like a craftsman getting used to having an old tool in his hand.

But he suddenly remembers his purpose. He peers intently at Mr. McMahon through his demonic eyes.

"There's an explanation everyone on this planet is interested in as to my return to this form," Taker says. "But that will have to wait for I have a different purpose on this date, this time, in this ring."

"Revenge!" Taker utters in a manner which chills, frightens and excites everyone within an ear, except Mr. McMahon, of course.

"When you enlisted the aid of my brother, Kane, to bury me alive, you must not have thought of the grave mistake you made, but you of all people should have understood the grave consequences."

Mr. McMahon begins to frantically mutter a defense for including his brother.

"You should have done it alone!" Taker responds with rage while menacingly standing over Mr. McMahon.

"You should not have included him. You don't understand; you see a lot more when you've left the living. You sought him out. Instead of accepting your fate, you tried to cheat death, and instead YOU BROUGHT DEATH BACK."

"I wasn't going to go through with it. It would have only served as a lesson for you. You would not have died, but I was prepared to lose. I was ready to rest peacefully, but you made that impossible. Having that maniac celebrate over my demise awoke something you couldn't handle the first time."

"I don't know the extent of my existence in this form. I know he is my ultimate priority, but I have unfinished business with YOU! And I don't know if I'll ever complete that business, but I am here to give you a taste of what it's like to Rest In Piece."

Mr. McMahon regains control over his body and overcomes his paralyzation and attempts a hasty getaway. The Dead Man comes alive and pummels the overmatched Mr. McMahon with nostalgic offense, finishing with a thunderous Tombstone Piledriver.

Taker leaves the ring with the nearly lifeless Mr. McMahon slumped over his right shoulder. His druids follow him up the ramp as flames shoot up as he leaves. He raises his left fist with his back towards the exuberant and exhausted crowd as they wonder what will become of the WWE Chairman of the Board.

Of course after a segment like this, the crowd would need a breather before the title match, which may be why a useless tag match like the APA vs Haas and Benjamin was added to the card.

Since I was a teenager, I've been enthralled by the Undertaker character - maybe too much heavy metal - and I've always wanted to explore the possibilities of a character where anything is possible and the audience just eats it up.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

posted by James - 9:27 PM


After watching Indiana guard Fred Jones (who's only 6'4") throw down his first dunk in tonight's NBA Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest... I am no longer disappointed at Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony's omission from this contest.

Now, the All-Star game is a-whole-nother matter. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen should both be sitting this one out. They're great players who are having sub-par or incomplete seasons. LeBron and Carmelo have their teams in contention for playoff spots and have added excitement to the league.

posted by James - 11:40 AM


Apparently it took longer than I thought to exorcise the mention of "the third baseman who shall not be named" from this blog...

(Yeah that's it. It had nothing to do with a strong case of writer's block or boredom that sets in between the conclusion of the NFL season and when pitchers and catchers report.)

…but if you think it’s bad here Just North of Wrigley Field, when our media is focused on maybe losing a hall-of-fame, fifth-starter candidate to late-coming competition, you have no idea of the drastic circumstances the media is forcing fans to discuss in Seattle.

The local newspapers are rampantly "reporting" Quinton McCracken (yes, that Quinton McCracken, who was arguably the worst hitter in the NL to get 200 at-bats last year. Do your sanity a favor and don’t click on that link and discover the rather round home run figure he posted last year) will see at-bats next year at DH for the Seattle Mariners if Edgar Martinez were to succumb to injury for an extended period.

They’ve even gone as far as to call him the best option in “Papa’s” absence. (But again, don’t click on that link to verify unless you’re in the mood for a big batch of kool-aid, Jim Jones style.)

There is no conceivable reason on this earth to use McCracken at DH, not for one day or even one at-bat with the Mariners.

Even the baseball geniuses in his former AL stops of Tampa Bay and Minnesota saw fit to give him only 31 at-bats as a DH.

And all of them came with the Twins in 2001, where they had an adequate reason to use him as a DH. They didn't have many other DH options and not much use for him as a fourth outfielder with a stellar starting outfield defense and several options as a backup. And we're only talking about 31 at-bats where he stunk (.226 BA/.273 OBP/.355 SLG).

With the current roster for the Mariners, they actually need McCracken (or minor-leaguer Jamal Strong or non-roster-invitee Eric Owens) to be the fourth outfielder, whether or not he produces.

If the Mariners have to suffer through him being in the lineup on a regular basis, they should at least get the double-sided benefit of his defense in the outfield (I actually have no proof he would be an improvement over Raul Ibanez in the field, but I'm reaching here) and keeping Ichiro, Edgar, 1B John Olerud, 3B Scott Spiezio, etc... fresh for a grueling pennant run.

The Seattle Times and PI (links to the left) are equally in league with this sentiment, and, even worse, they aren’t giving any source for this info, yet they’re both reporting it.

John Levesque, David Andriesen, Bob Finnegan... they've all been reporting this like it's fact and just a dose of reality in the absence of Edgar, but where are they getting it from?

Sure... it's possible, but it's also possible youngsters Chris Snelling, Justin Leone, or Greg Jacobs would end up the DH in Edgar’s stead. Why not report that?

Who is saying he's the best option?

If the respective writers came up with it, they should at least explain their reasoning for championing McCracken as a scare tactic to diversify the payroll (i.e. Ron Villone, Owens, Ellis Burks, Raul Mondesi) instead of spending it on an actual improvement.

And... if this is coming from someone in the Mariners organization, why aren't the beat writers attributing it, quoting it, and, at the very least, questioning it? (At least Levesque, through the ghost of former Mariners’ owner Danny Kaye, made fun of it.)

This whole line of reasoning is making the fans look at the Mariners as fools in the way they've set up next year's roster (why isn't Greg Colbrunn, the guy the Mariners traded along with cash to get McCracken, the back up DH?) and fester much distrust for the reporters who have made no attempt to get any answers from the Mariners.

At least the blogs (I have a bunch of blogs with great info and insight to add to the links section) and the columnists (Levesque, Art Thiel and even the Times' Steve Kelley) have taken up the task.

Pick anyone on the Mariners’ roster you want, but "the best option" and McCracken should never be uttered in the same sentence.

Unless... *looking in the crystal ball* McCracken is the best option to get cut to make room for Chris Snelling, Jamal Strong or Greg Jacobs, who have all had great Spring Trainings.

Either way you look at it, McCracken is actually the worst option at DH, not the best.

McCracken may not even be "the best option" for the last spot on the Mariners' bench.

Unfortunately for the mindsets of the Mariners' brass and the fans who they have victimized this offseason, the Seattle media hasn't discovered the journalistic backbone to fulfill their duty. Wouldn't it be a shame if the Mariners keep believing McCracken was "the best option?"

Meanwhile, the Cubs are losing their grip as the frontrunner for Greg Maddux and the White Sox haven’t made the necessary improvements to keep up with even the Royals in the AL Central.

And the local Chicago media calls them on it, and the Chicago faithful shows their appreciation with trust... in the media and their beloved teams.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

posted by James - 11:57 PM


Now back to your regularly scheduled baseball posts...

Boonie. Boonie. Boonie.

I've said this plenty of the last three years, but usually it's in reference to Seattle 2B Bret Boone. He can be an exasperation with his overactive style of play and overactive style of mouth... but he's been a productive exasperation since he donned a Mariner uniform for the second time.

No, this time Yankee 3B Aaron Boone is the subject of my scorn when it comes to the Boone family.

He has this magical offseason where he buries Boston's hopes at making it back to the World Series for the first time in 17 years with Bartman-like efficiency, and then he signs a pretty hefty contract to man the hot corner for a perennial contender.

Then he plays himself a little pick-up basketball like he's Stephon Marbury, only his contract wants him to be more like Charles Barkley... which means on the sidelines, not rotund.

Unfortunately, Boone ends up like Grant Hill after sustaining a knee injury which might sideline him for a significant portion of the season, but unlike Hill he won't be collecting a fat paycheck, because his contract says don't play basketball!

(And Reds OF John Vander Wal doesn't get off the hook either. He injured himself while shoveling snow. You'd think when you're less than a month from the greatest eight months of your life - nine if you play for the Cubs - you'd walk on egg shells and pay Little Billy from down the street $20 and an autograph to shovel your snow.)

Depending on the severity of the injury and the extent of his DL stint, the Yankees have the right to non-guarantee Boone's contract. Boone could end up missing out on more than $4 million in salary. That's an expensive pickup game.

Now the Yankees have to answer the question: Who will man third base in Boone's absence?

They have limited, in-house options, especially after dismissing disappointing prospect Drew Henson back to his more productive football roots.

They could hope perennial gap-fillers such as Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo can add some production with the increased playing time.

The Yankees of course didn't rest there, signing former Cub, Brewer and Phillie Tyler Houston to a minor-league deal and trading for former Ranger Mike Lamb.

All four competitors are versatile infielders, and Cairo could serve as a fourth or fifth outfielder, while Houston can fill an emergency-catcher role behind Jorge Posada and John Flaherty.

The Yankees have also set themselves up for a competent platoon with Cairo posting a career 768 OPS vs. LHP, Lamb posting a 789 OPS vs. RHP in 2002 - he spent last year in AAA as the Rangers rightfully went with youth; He has a career 724 OPS vs. RHP - and Houston having a career 741 OPS vs RHP.

Wilson's numbers aren't worthy enough to mention, but Joe Torre's not getting rid of him and he'd be their only backup to Derek Jeter at shortstop. I'd find a way to scoot him off the roster, but I'm not running the Yankees.

But unfortunately for the Yankees, they all can't stay. Not even the Yankees can finagle their way to a 30-man roster. (Al Davis would sue, but that's a whole different sport.)

So, assuming they go with a five-man bench, they could have Flaherty, Wilson, Cairo, Lamb and Ruben Sierra on the bench. Lamb beats out Houston for the last spot because of his experience at first base, which leaves Clark out in the cold.

There's a chance they could leave Sierra off in favor of Houston or Tony Clark, but only if Bernie Williams proves healthy enough to play a couple games per week in centerfield.

But of course, this is the Yankees and there's always another option: Spend more money!

You know where this is going.

...Beep...Beep ...Beep...Beep...Beep
...Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep
...Beep...Beep...Beep

(Beeping to the tune of Black Sabbath's Iron Man)

Another update from the Just North of Wrigley Field Ugueth Urbina Update Center.

The Yankees could explore the trade route and look to the West coast for third-base options.

Anaheim's Troy Glaus and Los Angeles' Adrian Beltre would probably cost too much in terms of salary and prospects, of which the Yankees have very little, but they're probably available as long as their tradees can weather the offensive downgrade (the Dodgers probably couldn't).

The San Diego Padres have Jeff Cirillo... I'm sorry I ever brought him up. I have forever shamed this blog. I will now attempt to move on.

And San Francisco has Edgardo Alfonzo... former New York Mets 3B Edgardo Alfonzo, who can also play second.

This is where your Triple-U update comes in.

The Giants have acquired several offensive upgrades in the outfield, but have yet to make room for 1B/3B Pedro Feliz, who had a 793 OPS last season (854 OPS in the second half!), and they've made only two significant additions to their pitching staff when they needed at least three, and more if closer Robb Nen doesn't make it out of spring training.

Trading Alfonzo (and maybe some cash) to the Yankees for Clark, who would back up J.T. Snow at first base and has a $750,000 contract, and a prospect or two would free up money to bring in a fifth-starter to compete with Dustin Hermanson, Kevin Correia and others at fifth starter...

Or they could offer Urbina a couple million dollars as Nen insurance, with escalator clauses if he were to assume closer duties (similar to the deal former-Twins closer Eddie Guardado signed with Seattle).

Barry Bonds might not be too happy about losing Alfonzo's protection in the lineup, but Feliz would represent a 70-point increase in OPS and a 125-point increase in slugging percentage. And Bonds doesn't care if the person behind him gets on base (they have plenty of candidates who can do that in front of him), he needs guys behind him who can strike enough fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers, and managers, to hold his walks under 200 per year.

A prospective Giants lineup and their relevant 2003 statistics:

1. Durham 2b (.366 OBP, 50 bb in 110 G)
2. Pierzynski c (.360 OBP, 35 2b)
3. Bonds lf (1278 OPS, 45 hr)
4. Feliz 3b (.515 SLG%, 16 hr in 235 AB)
5. Tucker rf (815 OPS pre-All-Star Break)
6. Grissom cf (.468 SLG%, 56 extra-base hits)
7. Snow 1b (806 OPS, 51 RBIS in 103 G)
8. Ransom/Perez ss (none)

And they'd still have a loaded bench at this point with Clark, Dustan Mohr and Jeffrey Hammonds and some decent minor-leaguers waiting when the inevitable injuries happen.

The Giants have already reached the limits of their payroll, but if they were able to rid themselves of Alfonzo's contract when they have a possibly superior replacement already in hand, they could keep their lineup strong and still keep up with the strong bullpens throughout the NL West.

Now I'm going to go spin around four times and spit even further North of Wrigley Field and try to exorcise the demons of "the third baseman who shall not be named" from this blog.

Monday, February 02, 2004

posted by James - 11:06 PM


I’ve got a warning for you, just so you don’t freak out after a reading this next post for a little while and realizing, “Hey! This post is about wrestling.”

This next post will be about wrestling.

Why? Because I like it. I grew up liking it (or never grew up as your opinion might be) and I like it even more now. You can set your clock on where I’ll be every Monday and Thursday night.

This post contains an excerpt of a chat between Just North of Wrigley Field (I) and Just West of SafeCo Field (my great friend Chris, who hasn’t written here lately, even if his Utah Jazz need the support) during the last hour of the most recent episode of Monday Night Raw.

Ahhh… two great areas of the country coming together, such a beautiful thing.

I know it's quite long, but it reads pretty fast and there are a lot of funny exchanges between two of the best of friends, who would probably be damn depressed without the technology to talk as much as we do (at least that's how I feel).

And away we go…

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: what's up?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Another great night of wrestling
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ... so far
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I might start a new feature on the website around Stone Cold Steve Austin
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: The Law says... 1. Do something about it.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that would be cool
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: The Law According to Stone Cold
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...or the Stone Cold Law says so
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He said that to HBK when HBK was looking down about Benoit getting the title shot at Wrestlemania
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah the jazz game is back on
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: cool... are you at home?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: cool
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Wrestlemania is only 41 days away
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: sweet
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah
(Triple H makes his way down the ring, unexpectedly ready to actually wrestle.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: shut up trip
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: you're watching it?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: he stayed in the tanning bed too long
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: You're getting the east coast feed?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I forgot I get the east coast feed
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: wow
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Have you been watching it the whole time?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no I just remembered
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: you should wait til your feed starts. The first half was great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: WTF!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I don't get another feed
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: huh?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I just get the east coast feed
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Did you TiVo it?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: nope
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: why not?
(Little Spike Dudley comes down to the ring as Triple H's "Big competition to prepare him to Benoit.")
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: what the heck is spike doing?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I don't know
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I forgot
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I wish I had TiVo
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: but it's better than having it and not using it. lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: “expletive directed at JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD”
(Triple H drops Spike on his head.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ohhh
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that looked terrible
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: damn
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: why do they continually make Trip look like such a wuss? Why couldn't he have faced real competition?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: because he is a wuss
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: or maybe the writers are wusses?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no I think it's trip
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They are having some fun with the Undertaker though...
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd have even more fun
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: what are they doing??
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: cool stuff... if you found out how to set your TiVo you'd know
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ;)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I forgot that I only get the east coast feed
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: “expletive directed at JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD”
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...but if I had TiVo, I'd set it up to "tape" it every week... Smackdown too maybe even Heat
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: You can do that with TiVo right?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Man, how fast could I watch Heat and Velocity if I "taped" it... maybe five minutes. lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Wow... Raw from Portland
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah smackdown from Tacoma
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: The Law says... 1. Do something about it. 2. I'm not coming here to stir you up or nothing 3. Pass the favor on to an old buddy. 4. You're representing the good name of Stone Cold Steve Austin. 5. Enjoy yourself, but don't do anything I wouldn't do
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'm thinking of taking some of those off
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: maybe #4?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That might not be a good law
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: But I'd sure abide by it if it was
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd represent
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That's something else but probably not a Law
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Utah is playing like nothing tonight
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They're overachievers; you have to expect that kind of performance sometime
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: “expletive directed at JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD”
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I thought that was a compliment
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I just called a last place team over achieving
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I could have said... they're supposed to play like nothing... they're a last place team
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: a team that should be in a better place than that
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: we would be in second if they would have changed the divisions this season
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, and Orlando, Washington, Atlanta or Charlotte would be leading a division
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They need to stop having Coach on the broadcast
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
(A promo for the Eddie Guerrero-Brock Lesnar WWE Title match at the upcoming Pay-per-view airs.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That's gonna be good if it's Lie, Cheat and Steal Eddie
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Would be fun and a great match
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I think Eddie could win maybe so they can have Brock vs. Goldberg at the PPV without a title on the line
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...and then have Angle or Cena vs. Eddie at Wrestlemania
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: man the refs are killing us
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: to go with HBK vs. HHH vs. Benoit UT vs. Kane Rock/Foley vs. Orton/Batista/Flair (I'd like to see them get Ricky Steamboat involved in this match too) ...and I hear they'll do a cruiserweight battle royal which will be fun
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: There are a lot of guys unaccounted for there
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: man it's 61-46 one minute left in the quarter
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd like to see Vince McMahon get buried at the next PPV... UT still owes Vince one
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: third?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah and Duncan has 30
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: 46 points through three quarters?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: s.a. only has 61
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: which is plenty
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They'll approach 90 points
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no it's not
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah it is
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: when you play their kind of defense
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Wow there's at least 15 minutes for this match
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: is it just hbk vs. Orton?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Are you saying the Spurs should be running up the score more on the Jazz? lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: no, I'm wondering whether Foley will get involved
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: the way the jazz are playing yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: 15 minutes is enough time for a PPV match, so this match is either going to PPV quality (very possible) or Foley will get involved maybe
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: uh-oh there goes the ref
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: ouch
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I wouldn't mind seeing Bischoff or McMahon vs. Heyman at Wrestlemania
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: shawn needs to stop doing that
(Stone Cold comes down to the ring on his ATV... much hilarity ensues.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Here comes the LAW!!!!!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: LOL
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I love Randy Orton!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: LOL
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: This is great!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ouch
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: commercial break
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “expletive directed at the commercial break”
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They better go to at least 10 after
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That was awesome... I think "the Law" is the best role Stone Cold has had yet
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: since he stopped wrestling
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah it's pretty good
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I love the ATV too... especially now when he's taking knocked-out refs to the back with him. That was great and any foreign objects too. Good stuff
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yup
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Orton was great too putting the title down right before Austin came down to the ring... That would have been a stunner-able offense
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “expletive directed at Jonathan Coachman”
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He's such a tool and he serves no purpose on the broadcast... the King can do that just fine and he's not the worst broadcaster this side of Michael Cole
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...this is a great match and Coach is talking about JR's hat?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Who the heck is coming up with this stuff?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: gotta run ok
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ok
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: talk to ya later

And don't ask us where we come up this stuff, it's like this all the time with us. That's how it is when you're practically brothers.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

posted by James - 11:52 PM


I'm not going to make a long post about the Super Bowl like I did for the other playoff games. I figure everyone in the world saw it, and every paper and website and park bench will have all the info you want about the game on it tomorrow morning. But I do have a couple short thoughts I will share with you before we move on from the greatest month of football ever and on to the greatest nine months of the year - baseball season. (There will be nine months this year, right Cubs fans?)

First, Patriots QB Tom Brady proved last night he is the most underrated QB in the NFL. This is why they shouldn't hand out MVP awards until after the season is complete. I'll probably meet a lot of disagreement there and for what it's worth, I agree with Warren Sapp, who said to be MVP you have to put up the numbers. Fifteen wins in a row are good enough numbers for me.

To me co-MVPs Payton Manning and Steve McNair both showed they have considerable talent and other intangibles, but also considerable faults. Brady has everything above, seemingly without any faults.

I just hope he's not the kind of competitor who thrives on adversity, because next year the Patriots are going to get better through youth, in the form of a high number of high-round draft picks, and therefore depth, and talent through a favorable cap situation. And I'm not even asking them to be healthier than they were this last season, because the Patriots proved his year injuries are not an excuse.

Over the last three years, Brady has played like a Super Bowl MVP in every game I've watched him play. If he comes into next season with his guns fully loaded, let's see if he can play like a League MVP.

And second, I'm trying to refrain from using blasphemy when talking about Adam Vinatieri. The guy has won two Super Bowls.

Up until Super Bowl 36, there had been only one Super Bowl in my lifetime close enough to have a field goal make the difference (sorry to bring that up Mr. Norwood. ahem... WIDE RIGHT! WIDE RIGHT!).

And now we've had two in three years decided by the same leg (not to mention another decided at the goal line a couple years earlier).

I don't know if this means we're seeing the right teams make it to the Super Bowl, or more competitive, but less-talented teams, but they've made for amazing Super Bowls.

And ever since I watched Patriots Head Coach Bill Belicheck set the stage for Vinatieri without worrying about getting it closer than a 41-yard field goal or worrying which hash mark it was on, I knew the game was over before Ken Walter ever put the perfect snap down, and I've thought Adam Vinatieri is the most storied kicker in NFL history.

Maybe I just don't know enough about NFL history, so if you can think of someone better e-mail me and tell me what you think.

And now that this football madness is over... Let the Countdown Begin.

(whispering... pitchers and catchers report. pitchers and catchers report. pitchers and catchers report.)