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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

posted by James - 11:03 PM


I know everyone is jonesin' for their fix of Just Another Monday Night, but unfortunately both Skippy and I committed the unpardonable sin of missing Raw because of last-minute commitments...

Which only means we didn't take advantage of the technology at our disposal. We're pathetic. We know.

But as a peace offering to whatever higher power (no, not you Vince!) provides us with our weekly wrestling programming, I bring to you a compilation I've been keeping for a few months now.

I've enjoyed "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's work as the Sheriff of Raw. For me, this incarnation of his character has been his best work outside of an every-week wrestling role, and, as usual, I've found what he's said to be imminently quotable and worthy of archiving, especially with the added power of his words being Law.

So, I bring to the Just Another Monday Night faithful, the first installment of the The Raw Law According to Stone Cold or...

The Law Says So...

1. Do something about it. (02/02/04)

2. I'm not coming here to stir you up or nothing. (02/02/04)

3. Pass the favor on to an old buddy. (02/02/04)

4. Enjoy yourself, but don't do anything I wouldn't do. (02/02/04)

5. What's it going to be, I need an answer. (2/16/04)

6. You're in clear violation of Stone Cold's Law, which means I'm gonna drag your little carcass down to the ring and stomp a mudhole in you and walk it dry. (02/16/04)

7. You always have that karate thing, so go for it. (02/16/04)

8. I don't give a rats ass what you think. (02/16/04)

9. Drink a beer. It will make you feel better. (02/23/2004)

10. I fear no spear just like I fear no beer. (3/01/2004)

11. That ain't the bottom line you dumb little bastard. (3/01/2004)

12. The way I got it figured, you got about a 15-20 yard head start. If I was you, I'd turn around and haul ass. (3/01/2004)

13. When you mess with Stone Cold Steve Austin, you mess with the wrong person. (03/08/2004)

14. Don't listen to this sumbitch. You shake this man's hand, and you're saying to the world, "I'm a sellout. I'm a coward. I'm yella. I'm nothin'." Don't shake this man's hand. (03/29/2004)

15. I hope you know what you're getting yourself into. (03/29/2004)

My personal favorites are 2, 4, 7, 9, 11 and 12. I plan to keep adding to this list for as long as Austin keeps his current position.

In this list, I’ve also included the dates when Austin’s edicts aired. If anybody knows of an online resource, where I can get audio clips of any of these, e-mail me and let me know, so I can get the link up here. I also use almost every messenger program out there, so if anyone has them, I’d love to work out a trade of ones I already have.

Hopefully next week, Skippy and I can return you to the banter you expect from Just Another Monday Night.

Monday, March 29, 2004

posted by James - 11:16 PM


Skippy's Playoff Update
TeamGames
Back
Games
Left
Opponents
(predictions)
Utah*-Home (4)San Antonio (L)
Memphis (W)
Houston (W)
Phoenix (W)
Away (3)L.A. Clippers (W)
Dallas (L)
Minnesota (L)
Portland.5Home (4)New Orleans (W)
Golden State (W)
San Antonio (L)
L.A. Lakers (L)
Away (4)Philadelphia (W)
L.A. Lakers (L)
San Antonio (L)
Denver (W)
Denver**.5Home (3)Houston (L)
Portland (L)
Sacramento (L)
Away (3)Phoenix (W)
Houston (L)
San Antonio (L)

* Utah holds the tiebreaker over Portland
**Denver holds the tiebreaker over Portland and Utah

Updated as of 04/01/2004 12:30 p.m.

Skippy, buddy, was there ever a day you thought you'd be kissing the ground Vin Baker walked on?

As an aside... for all the talk of the disparity between the conferences of the NBA, is there an oversight happening? Is that where the true disparity lies?

Two of the teams in Skippy's Playoff Update come from the same division, but they're also the bottom two teams in that division.

Just take that in... the bottom two teams from a division are battling the third-place team from their competing division for the last spot in a conference playoff.

The Pacific Division needs some help; at least the Eastern Conference is consistently pathetic.


Sunday, March 28, 2004

posted by CHRIS - 4:23 PM


By the way... Someone find me a Mikki Moore jersey. After the last few games, I am very impressed with this boy's play on the inside (which the Jazz will need over the next three months. Right, Jazz fans!). Keep it up Mikki! You may find yourself starting a playoff game.

posted by CHRIS - 4:03 PM


ARROYO HITS THE LEANER!!! JAZZ WIN, JAZZ WIN!!!

What a great game! I was on the edge of my seat the entire game. I don’t think either team had a lead over ten points; with .02 seconds on the clock Carlos Arroyo hits a leaning jumper to win the game for the Jazz.

This is the perfect example of why the NBA is by far the elite professional sports league. On a nightly basis, they have games that come down to the last shot. They have the most unlikely heroes such as Arroyo, and the most entertaining two and a half hours of sports available.

Last night’s Jazz-Nuggets game took two of the West’s most surprising young teams and put them in a playoff-type atmosphere. With less than a minute left in the game, it seemed Denver fell apart. On the last play of the game, Denver’s defense broke down. An offensive foul on Denver’s last play was almost as devastating as the winning shot.

Utah’s young players looked like seasoned veterans, patiently waiting for a Denver mistake to capitalize on. It was scary for the last few minutes of the game watching Utah miss shot after shot, going the last five and a half minutes of the game without a score. But they made one when they needed to.

So here we are in the home stretch of another great NBA season. Utah has a half-game lead on the Portland Trailblazers and a one game lead on Denver. It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks...

GO JAZZ!!!


Thursday, March 25, 2004

posted by James - 11:43 PM


Yeah, I was going to write more about the AL Central, but then a funny thing happened... the Cubs Faithful received some actual, impactual Cubs news.

The first news came as inf/of Jose Macias, acquired from Montreal to add speed to the bench, will miss three to four weeks with torn cartilage in his left knee.

Dusty Baker won’t be losing sleep over not having Macias on his bench for late-inning pinch running duty, but he’ll miss his versatility and will probably have to lean on Ramon Marintez a little more as a result.

But not all of the news is negative with this issue. The injury will open up a spot on the roster for a young position player or a 12th pitcher. Neither of these will be easy choices for the Cubs brain trust, but there are options.

The Cubs are going to have to take a long look at their young outfielders and infielders going into next year with shortstop, second base and leftfield up for grabs.

2B Brendan Harris would be a natural choice, but he’s slowed with a similar injury.

OFs David Kelton (.208 BA, .375 SLG%), who could also fill some infield innings, Nic Jackson (.227, .409) or Jason Dubois (.304, .522) could be in-line to succeed Moises Alou in left next year, and the Cubs need to figure out whether they need to spend their money on an upgrade here, or keep it in house. The Cubs shouldn’t in jeopardize a playoff run with a fact-finding mission, but giving them some time in some meaningless games in April against non-contenders like Cincinnati and Milwaukee could provide a useful benefit and fill a short-term need.

The Cubs leader in homers this spring, 3B Scott McClain (6 HR, also tied for 3rd with 13 hits), doesn’t currently have a roster spot and isn’t even on the 40-man roster (which would require some roster maneuvering).

And of course, the Cubs – assuming left-hander Jimmy Anderson has already nailed down a spot until Mike Remlinger returns from injury - still have right-handers Sergio Mitre, Francis Beltran, Jamey Wright and Juan Cruz to fill in a final open spot in the bullpen.

...oh wait. I guess this is where I should mention the second bit of Cubs news to come out today.

The Cubs divested themselves of Cruz, sending him to Atlanta with left-hander Steve Smyth for left-hander Andy Pratt and infielder Richie Lewis.

Some GMs would jump into Lake Michigan with a reed as an airpipe whenever Atlanta GM John Schuerholz would call offering pitching, but I’m glad Cubs GM Jim Hendry didn’t.

This isn’t a great trade, because it’s closer to a lateral move than anything that will definitely improve the Cubs at the major-league level.

But it might have accomplished two things: diversifying a right-handed heavy pitching staff by acquiring a left-hander who could be ready for the majors and clearing a spot on the 40-man roster for a guy like McClain (this is based on the assumption that carrying Pratt until Mark Prior returns would reduce the necessity of Anderson, who also isn’t on the 40-man roster. Total effect: Cruz for Pratt, Anderson for McClain.)

I don’t have a problem with this trade at all. As much as I wish Cruz could have brought back a young hitter closer to the majors, I’m not sure Cruz still had the value to get this done.

It's a good move for the Cubs, because Cruz wasn't going to be a factor for the Cubs this year and they had no need for another right-handed, fast-ball throwing erratic swing man. They have several options who are less erratic (Wellemeyer, Mitre, Beltran).

They gave up what they got back + a middle-infielder who has shown some offensive ability this offseason. They still have several pieces available to trade for a middle infielder or catcher.

I admit we could see Cruz bust out with Atlanta (who still needs a fifth-starter), but so what? The Cubs still have no fewer than three guys right now who could do anything and everything just as good, if not better, than Cruz.

Let's not forget that Cruz got lit up this spring and didn't look like any MLB team should be looking at him. And Hendry turned him into a lateral value prospect with the added value to the Cubs of being lefthanded... AND a former first-round draft pick at another position where the Cubs are thin.

I'm not saying either of these guys are locks to ever help the Cubs, but I'm willing to give Hendry the benefit of the doubt. He deserves that from us after what he's done since taking the job.

There’s something different about this team. I feel different about this team than I think I ever have.

I don’t mean to speak for everyone who bleeds Cubs Blue and Red, but we’re Cubs fans. We’ll always be Cubs fans no matter what, and I pity anyone who can’t understand that. We’re continually drawn to it, and some of us are born into it... born with a loyalty to our Wrigleyville Nine. Tethered like an umbilical cord even through the worst of times.

Now, I don’t need that umbilical cord to keep me interested in what’s going on in Wrigley Field. I attribute a lot of this to the work of Jim Hendry.

Jim Hendry has made me more than a Cubs fan in his two years on the job. He’s made me a Cubs believer.

posted by James - 12:41 PM


Oh, I know you all have been waiting for this

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

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

Breaking news from the Just North of Wrigley Field Ugueth Urbina Update Center... maybe for the final time.

The former Marlins and Rangers closer has reached a deal with the Detroit Tigers pending a non-eventful physical, though he already took a physical for the Tigers earlier this year.

Though the Tigers weren't on my top five places Urbina might land, I did mention them as other contenders because they have several young relief pitchers available for late-inning duty, but none have impressed this spring including ailing Fernando Rodney and the newest Toledo Mud Hen, Matt Anderson. Even worse, they lost right-hander Chris Spurling to injury for the season, who I still think is a good long-term choice as a closer in Detroit. He held right-handed batters to a .200 BA in his first season in the majors, but he really needs to raise his strikeout rates.

I probably should have broken out the midi-format Iron Man after Spurling went down, but nonetheless this is a good choice for Urbina and the Tigers.

Urbina had flirted with the idea of signing with Al Central rival Cleveland, but he would have had competition from anointed closer David Riske and eventually former closers Jose Jimenez and Bob Wickman.

With the Tigers, he has a free shot at the closer's gig with no competition. The Tigers don't mind because it’s money they have and ninth-inning peace they lack. And because they have an option on his contract for next year, they could end up trading him to a contender such as Atlanta or San Francisco come July.

I think the Tigers could have horded their money and available roster spots and put it back into player development and younger-talent acquisition (such as letting Craig Monroe get a shot at leftfield and signing a few "international" talents like Maels Rodriguez or one of the Japanese relievers), but they have a brand new stadium, a very rich owner (Pizza! Pizza!) and I don't think they overpaid for any of their acquisitions. So, I applaud Mike Illitch for letting Dave Dombrowski have at it.

Here's what I see as the Tigers' 2004 roster:
1. Sanchez cf
2. Vina 2b
3. Rodriguez c
4. Young dh
5. White lf
6. Guillen ss
7. Higginson rf
8. Pena 1b
9. Munson 3b

Inge c
Infante inf
Monroe of
Shelton inf/c
Norton inf

Johnson rhp
Bonderman rhp
Cornejo rhp
Maroth lhp
Knotts rhp

Yan rhp
Patterson rhp
Walker lhp
German rhp
Levine rhp
Urbina rhp

other notables
Robertson lhp
Rodney rhp
Anderson rhp
Ledezma lhp
Eckenstahler lhp
Roney rhp
Van Hekken lhp
Dingman rhp
Spurling rhp (DL)
Mears rhp

DiFelice c
Petrick c
Klassen inf
Ozuna inf
Torres of
Ross of
I'm not really sure what to do with their bench, because it's light on outfielders and heavy on catchers... but Dimitri Young could see time in the outfield, and they're turning Brandon Inge into a utility player, which I can't figure out... but I'm all for it if it gets Chris Shelton more at-bats at catcher, first base and DH. He's been tearing up the Grapefruit League since they pilfered him in the Rule V Draft (aka the annual Pittsburgh Plundering).

The Tigers could leave Greg Norton off the roster for Andres Torres (.366 spring BA with 2 SB) if they think they need to take an extra pitcher. There's still a pretty good battle going between Gary Knotts, Nate Robertson, Esteban Yan and Eric Eckenstahler for the fifth starter and/or back-end bullpen slots.

The best part about what the Tigers did this offseason is they didn't inhibit the progress of any of their young pitchers. For the most part, they'll all have their spot back next year and they signed an "ace" (Jason Johnson) to take the pressure off them without committing a whole bunch of salary or contract years to him.

The Tigers could have went out and signed a bunch of middle-of-the-road Dave Burba type swing pitchers and harmed the development of guys like Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Cornejo and future aces Kyle Sleeth and Kenny Baugh.

I don't know how much better the Tigers are over the team that lost almost 120 games, but I know that Cleveland is still bad and did nothing to improve and the White Sox did nothing to improve and lost Carl Everett, Roberto Alomar and Bartolo Colon. I can see the Tigers winning 70 games and challenging for third in this division. I'll get my working shoes on and post my roster projections for the rest of the AL Central tonight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

posted by James - 11:54 PM


David, David, David... how dare you? You keep telling all of my greatest hits like that and pretty soon (maybe already) there won't be any left for me. (I still have that application, by the way. After moving three times over the last year, I have no idea where it is now, but I know I have it.)

Good thing we have David around here to show us that it is possible to have a discussion about baseball while having some wrestling in there somewhere, because lately that's all Skippy and I have contributed, besides some crappy basketball teams and the most disappointing future hall-of-famer in sports history.

I don't often give many shoutouts, but I feel compelled on this night.

Courtesy of Edgar is God:
"Even Japanese managers don’t take the righty-lefty switch this serious. Shouldn’t the best hitters be in the heart of order regardless of which hand they hold their chopsticks with???"
Not only has his site given me the two best phrases I can think of to continually have on my site in the links section (the other being Fire Bavasi), but he gives me hope that people will stop despairing over the Cubs right-handed dominated lineup.

I'm not going to go over their statistics tonight, but the middle of the Cubs' lineup (mainly Sosa, Lee and Patterson) still mashes right-handed pitchers. Not as effectively as they'll do a number on left-handed pitchers, but I don't expect a problem except against the toughest righties (i.e. Oswalt, Morris, Schmidt, Millwood, etc.).

And Edgar is God is also a great resource for anyone who wants to understand more about the media coverage of Japanese players in MLB, and I'll be checking in frequently throughout the season.

And because with all the wrestling coverage over the last three days on this site, I'm going to send out a warning (an anti-shoutout, if you will).

I have a couple links to my favorite providers of wrestling news on this site. Unfortunately, they all heavily rely on popups to generate revenue. These popups are usually benign, but lately my computer has fallen under non-intentional, malicious attack from these popups on two occasions to where I am now no longer visiting these sites.

The most virulent forms of these popups come in the guise of a security warning. Again, most are easily disabled without incident, but some don't actually give you a choice... clicking cancel or any action to close the window results in several pervasive programs infiltrating your computer without your consent. Suddenly, your IE home page changes to a casino, your browser is running an extra module or five and there are ads for AOL Top Speed all over your desktop.

Even worse, they load directly into your system processes and self-replicate. That is the first place you should check if you fear any suspect action. Make sure there aren't any rogue programs running on your computer or set to run on startup. Also check your add/remove programs to see if any programs you didn't authorize show up and run a program called Ad-Aware to get rid of them (whatever you do, don't try to uninstall them yourself. There are so many files that your computer could become unstable if you don't get them all. Ad-Aware does this for you).

I'm not saying don't patronize these sites. I wouldn't continue to link to them if I didn't believe in their content, but just be careful out there no matter what sites you're on.

posted by David - 9:02 PM


Well, I suppose it's time for another Waste of Space. James' commentary on the latest Griffey situation brought back some memories of my own. Back in '95, I was attending a Friday game with my father, and one of my friends. (He was more like one of my brother's friends... but that would change later this evening.)

My group sat on the second deck in the Kingdome, right field, NO other fans within several sections of our seats (a testament to the Mariners and their bullpen from pre-"Refuse to Lose" times).

I wound up fielding a batting practice home run by one Ken Griffey, Jr. I was going to ask him to sign the ball after the game if I could, but one minor incident would keep that from happening.

Just so happens, this would be the evening Junior would run full tilt towards the center field wall after a long fly ball, jump and joust his arm between the padding. He would injure his arm, somewhat severely, and have to leave the game. (Of course, he STILL caught the ball... AND had a smile on his face... Well, more of a painful grimace-like smile...)

The point is: Junior’s efforts impressed me. I was a baseball fan after that evening more so than ever before. This would lead me back on another occasion or two... Including one evening where we started a "Buzz Griffey" chant to honor Jay Buhner and Buhner Buzz Night. And the privilege of listening to a certain Cubs fan, who shall remain name... ed as James, threatening to fire half of the players on the M's roster with shouts of "I've got your job!" This was due to the fact he had obtained an application to work for the ball-club earlier that day after a pre-game visit to the Mariners’ offices.

Meh, Guess I'm rambling. Other events that night involved my brother angering my mother (by breaking a promise he made over borrowing a van for his Senior Prom that weekend). This led to a showdown between my buddy Red and my brother and his "friends" - the only time of marked note anybody physically tossed me... with ease I might add.

(FYI... Red was a transfer student from Texas. My family un-officially adopted him. He was, and is very protective of my mother. When he championed her cause, he fell out with my brother. A good move on his part, especially since he stayed friends with me.)

Hmnnn.... Since we did some rasslin' commentary, I feel like sharing something I would like to see for all you Cub-lovin fantasy booking fans out there. As WWE recently divested itself of Farooq, one half of the APA, I was thinking instead of giving Bradshaw an ill-fated singles push replete with tasseled boots and a lasso, no doubt, they should have him form a new version of the APA. He should hold a gauntlet of sorts to see who can make it in...

Round One: A Poker Tournament

I'm thinking Haas, Noble, Jindrak, and O'Haire can fit into this scenario to give them a foot-hold, as well as provide fodder for a few younger, newly introduced wrestlers. The best four from the poker tourney would then go on the next week two round two.

Round Two: A Tag Match... From A Slightly Different Point Of View

This would be a fifteen-minute contest with unlimited falls, and I do mean falls.

Each time a team makes a tag, the partner tagging out has to chug a beer before he can get tagged back in. Every time a team scores a pinfall or submission, both members of said team has to chug a beer.

Yup... in true tradition of American pastimes (softball, anyone?). The final two members, Jindrak and O’Haire, then have to "survive" round three.

Round Three: The Bar Room Brawl

The two lucky applicants get to spend a night at the bar with Bradshaw, who, of course, will start a fight between them and the biggest, burliest bar patrons he could find. Often shouting support, Bradshaw would make comments like...

"Watch out for that bottle.”

“Hey! I’m gonna make you pay for wasting that beer later.”

“No, punch him in the stomach... ok, there’s good, too. Not very sportsmanlike though.”

“Not like that. Here, try this bar stool.”

I know, silly idea, but I always enjoyed the APA back when they were getting their push, and having Bradshaw as the heel manager of a new tag team could help stimulate the flagging tag-team division on Smackdown!.

This has been a very large...

Waste of space.

posted by CHRIS - 4:53 PM


After watching the Portland Trailblazers lose Sunday night to Houston, I am more reassured in my belief the Utah Jazz are really only trying to get ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

With over 20 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, it seemed the Blazers were in no hurry to take a possible game-winning shot. Now I understand you want to take your time with the last shot so the other team doesn’t have time to rebound, if you miss, or take a shot themselves, but waiting until there is only a couple of seconds left is ridiculous.

In the overtime period, the Blazers just seemed to give up. They scored only two points in the extra period, and with 21 seconds left, it seemed the Blazers were looking for an open three-pointer instead of throwing up any shot that might happen to find the basket to get them closer. They just gave up.

With two games a piece against L.A. and San Antonio in the last 9 days of the season, they’ll be eliminated from the playoff picture if they don’t have the lead before April.

As it stands now, Utah has a half-game lead with both teams playing tonight. (BTW... I will be at the Jazz vs. Sonics game to watch the Jazz beat the Sonics to a bloody pulp.) If they end up tied, Denver has the tiebreaker by winning the season series. Denver is slowly righting their quickly-sinking ship after recent embarrassing losses to Boston, Detroit (by 19) and Minnesota (by 21), but the question is: Will it be too little too late?

With Utah winning 11 of its last 18 games, they are by far the more energized team; Denver has won only five of the last 17.

To the right, you'll see the Jazz’, Nuggets’ and Blazers' remaining schedules and my predictions of the results of each game.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

posted by James - 11:40 PM


Here's the info to join the official Just North of Wrigley Field NCAA Tournament pools and share in our misery just in time for the Sweet 14 Round (UAB and Nevada are not sweet!).

Yahoo! Group ID: 73074
Password: chrisdavidjames

ESPN Group ID: Just... BLOG!!!!
Password: chrisdavidjames

Just search for the group name on ESPN and enter with the password.

posted by James - 7:21 PM


Just Another Monday Night: Fact or Fiction
(yet, another blatant rip off of ESPN)

Welcome back to Just Another Monday Night for a round of Fact or Fiction. At 9 p.m. Eastern, we’ll find out the aftermath of last night’s draft lottery: a new Smackdown! GM and his or her newest acquisitions. I’m David from Just North of PetCo Park, and I’ll be your host, and I’m alongside Chris from Just West of SafeCo Field and James from Just North of Wrigley Field.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Thanks for joining us.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: How ya doin’?

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Thanks for having me. Let’s get on with it.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: And away we go...

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Fact or Fiction: Former 5-time World Champion Booker T will remain on Raw now that his tag-team partner has moved on to Smackdown!.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FACT

That’s a fact. He'll stay on Raw and challenge John Cena (who will come over in a trade sending Kane to Smackdown!) and the rest of Raw for the Intercontinental and World Title.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FICTION

That’s fiction, David. He’s going to end up on Smackdown! in a trade for Charlie Haas and the A-Train... and he won’t be coming to make friends. In fact, I expect him to immediately align himself with new Smackdown! manager Theodore Long and start some thuggin’ and buggin’, if you can dig that, playa.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: I can dig that. And since you brought in the pimp overtones... How ’bout we take a ride aboard the hoooooo train? Fact or Fiction: The new Smackdown! GM will be Stephanie McMahon.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FACT

I’ve got to go with fact here. The McMahon’s will keep this in house and go with experience. She hasn’t achieved much success in a managerial standpoint, but Vince always has a soft spot for his progeny. She’ll persuade him to let her get another crack over ex-husband Triple H.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FICTION

I have a feeling we won’t see a McMahon in a GM role. It will more than likely be a former wrestler. They’ll go for some new blood on Smackdown! to combat Eric Bischoff on Raw.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: I hope the person they pick has the skills of a mongoose... Bisch needs a challenge. Speaking of new GMs, how about the old one? Fact or Fiction: Heyman will go from Smackdown! GM to selling hotdogs in Central Park.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FICTION

This is fiction. Vince will make him beg for his job back and Vince will say he has a special assignment just for Heyman. He can be Vince’s personal bathroom attendant, he’ll have his own “office” and everything.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FICTION

Toilets, huh? I think there’s someone here who belongs selling frankfurters on the corner. That was fiction and so is this. We haven’t seen the last of Heyman. He still has a score to settle with the Undertaker, and Heyman doesn’t let feuds die that easily. Heyman proved what he can do with a budget and talent level of a Smackdown!-type show. He’ll be a thorn in Raw and Smackdown!’s side until he finds something else to spend his time on.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Look here, you roody poo candy ass. I'll tell you where you and Heyman can both go... He's nothing more than a whiny little bee-yotch, and I'm glad to see he's done wasting the WWE's payroll, like you’re wasting ours.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Well, Heyman and I (the people with any creative talent at all) will wait our turn by the hot dog stand, while you go wait where you belong, by your choice: the toilet.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: That's right, I said toilet!

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I said hot dogs!

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Toilets!!!

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: HOT DOGS!!!

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: TOILETS!!!

The first annual Just Another Monday Night Rumble breaks out! (actually, it's like the 300th, but who's counting)

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: I'll whup both your asses and have you scrubbing latrines with him while eating hot dogs, if ya both don't shut up and move on to this question...

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Fact or Fiction: Chris Benoit will benefit the most from having his toughest competition for the title move to Smackdown!.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FICTION

This is also fiction. Benoit doesn’t get it easier. Now, he’s got even hungrier competition for his title. Booker T and Kane are still there, for the time being. And Trip’s effect will still haunt Benoit on Raw, with an energized Shawn Michaels fighting for another title run and Evolution’s new leader Randy Orton picking up right where Trip left off.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FACT

It will give Benoit an opportunity to fight fair fights instead of having to deal with groups like Evolution. It actually favors all the top contenders for the World Heavyweight belt. Without Triple H to take up all of his time, Benoit will be able to defend his title against more young new talent.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Both good points-ah... and now on to The Game-ah. Fact or Fiction: Triple-H will dominate Smackdown! like he dominated Raw all these years.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FACT

It will depend on the friends he's able to make on Smackdown. Trip’s only been as good as his friends. I guess I’m almost obligated to say fact here because I’ve already said Stephanie will regain her position as Smackdown! GM. His success will depend a lot on his relationship with his former wife, or other people which he’s done business with before like Kurt Angle, who he could unite with to eliminate Guerrero.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FICTION

Whoever gets the GM job is going to make the biggest effect on what Triple H does. If it is Stephanie as GM, I would find it hard to believe she wouldn’t let him get away with whatever he wants to do. But if someone that is a little less interested in Trip’s personal interest comes in, we could see him have to work for a belt... something we haven’t seen in years on Raw.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Interesting point Skippy... but wasn't Triple-H last feuding with Steph about the whole divorce angle? Speaking of Angles... and I don't mean Kurt here... Fact or Fiction: Having a Smackdown! main event headline Raw devalued Raw from the fans’ perspective.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FACT

This is a fact on so many levels. The Raw wrestlers got screwed out of a main event on their show. It’s one thing to have Triple H in the main event while he’s on the Raw roster, but he gets it even after they “get rid of him.” I know Heyman saw it as free advertisement for his brand, but he screwed the Smackdown! audience out of a title defense between THEIR champion and his newest rival. And the Raw audience ended up with a devalued interest in their program and live event, because they were watching a main event for a completely different show... between wrestlers they’ll never see again and don’t want to. If they want to make this a true rivalry between the shows, they need to allow the audience to make the same choices.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FICTION

I would call this fiction, but I would think that it shows how much they rely on Triple H to put on a show. It also made it look like Smackdown! may have taken the advantage with its roster being boosted due to the draft. Raw will still be the superior brand, but Smackdown! has shown it can entertain on a major scale. Also... are people going to consider the break-out brawl during the match between Triple H and Eddie normal? This is not a normal Smackdown! event that was a Raw-style ending. So, I fear the fans are going to go looking to Smackdown! to continue that style of fighting and be disappointed when it’s not what they see.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Yeah. Besides, I can't think of anything better than a mob of over sixty people to see HHH's butt out the door. This brings me to my next question. Fact or Fiction: The Brawl at the end was the highlight of the show.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FACT

HELL YEAH!!!!!!! In fact, that was the best ending to a show I have EVER seen. It made me want Thursday to come much faster to see the fall out of who went where and what trades were made. It was a little short though. I really would have loved to see more of the brawl. We barely got to see the final stream of wrestlers come down to the ring. For a show that was supposed to be the biggest night in WWE history, it should have been a little longer giving more time to announce some early trades and see a little more from the drafted wrestlers.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FICTION

It’s fiction, but not a fully supported fiction. I couldn’t imagine something more entertaniing than the brawl at the end of the show... but they managed to make it a sore point for me anyway when the cut it off at the end for Stripperella. They knew they were going to have this at the end. They needed to either ask Spike TV for more time or start the brawl earlier. This could have been a three-hour episode easily. I envy those who had their VCR or TiVo running, because I’d still be watching it if I had a chance. Because I have to pick another highlight... I’m going with Edge’s brief appearance, and his new and improved spear on Eric Bischoff... now with silencing action.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Ahh... Yes. Since we just did a question on the highlight, lets move on to it's opposite. And since we were just talking about the draft. Fact or Fiction: Tajiri moving from Smackdown! to Raw was the lowlight of the show.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD > FICTION

Last night was very confusing, neither the Smackdown or the Raw announcers did a very good job letting the audience know what other ways they had to stay updated on the events of the evening and as the trade deadline approaches. Also the fact that the Undertaker was mentioned and never showed up disappointed me greatly. He should have come out when Kane was complaining about the possibility of being on the same brand as the Undertaker.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD > FICTION

If only this were fact and I didn’t have to end this with agreeing with Skippy, but it’s fiction, and he’s actually on the right track. I would have found a way to get Taker on this show too, but I’d give anything to give back Kane’s appearance. Where did my Kane go? He can light a stage on fire and obliterate Rico, everyone’s favorite effeminate wrestler this side of Billy Gunn, but he can’t resist begging off another confrontation with the guy who laid a whuppin’ on him at Wrestlemania? Whatever respect I had for the Big Red Machine as a terrifying character is gone.

And, hopefully, they’ll find a way to save Tajiri moving to a brand without a cruiserweight title. If they work a trade sending Hurricane and Rosey to Smackdown! for Akio and Sakoda, Tajiri could become a force for the Intercontinental Title and the Tag-Team belts.

JUST NORTH OF PETCO PARK: Well, thank you boys for joining us and keeping it relatively clean and free of incident.

JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: My pleasure as always.

JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Yeah, yeah... whatever.

After the way things have gone over the last 24 hours with the WWE it will be interesting to see how the next week unfolds.

Well after a couple of long wrestling posts, we go back to our regularly scheduled posting with only a few battle scars to show for it.

posted by James - 1:50 AM


Before I sign off for the night, I made the mistake of turning on SportsCenter. On the Big Show, former Seattle Mariners All-Star Harold Reynolds is interviewing another former Mariners All-Star Ken Griffey, Jr., and he's throwing out a doozy of a quote on how he copes with all the booing and jeering over his annual letdowns since joining the Reds.

"They wish they were me," Junior said.

No, Junior. We wish you were you.

You stopped being you in about 98, which coincided with you coming off a 2 H/15 ABs ALDS and the Mariners limping to the end of the decade and the opening of SafeCo Field.

You lost your smile... and you lost at least 20 points of SLG% per year until your body fell apart and dropped the rest for you.

...but none of that mattered to me. Your home runs and over-the-wall catches meant little to me. The way you played meant everything to me as a baseball fan. It's probably the main reason for my existence as a baseball fan.

You played like there was no other place in the world you'd rather be than on the baseball field, whether it was Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium or the Kingdome.

And I felt that with you. When you were flashing your smile, you made me not want to be anywhere else, whether it was sitting in front of the TV, huddled around the radio with my father listening to Dave Niehaus or even in the third deck of the Kingdome hoping you'd hit one my way.

You gave us hope. Not just the fans who had watched two franchises mire in failure for the breadth of their history... the fans who weren't even born when Diego Segui threw out the first pitch.

After you arrived, we had hope we might see winning baseball. Before you arrived, I barely knew what that was.

About this time, the Oakland A's had started their run of playoff appearances. I watched them pretty closely, mainly because the Mariners were always behind them. In 1987, I even went to Oakland Alameda Coliseum and saw Mark McGwire hit his 45th and 46th home runs en route to setting a new rookie record.

And of course, the previous season introduced me to the concept of a single player making the difference when Kirk Gibson won a World Series game with a last at-bat home run.

I saw that in you, Junior. You played like those guys, and you were even funner to watch than them.

You made me believe baseball could be fun; that baseball is fun and was fun the whole time.

I had to wait for the replay to make sure I heard you right. I did, and I don't think any differently.

No, I don't want to be you, but I sure used to.

posted by James - 1:30 AM


Whew! I hope you're ready for some reading. I have in it's complete, yet unbelievably-edited, entirety the latest edition of Just Another Monday Night.


JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: hey there!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: What's up C-dizzle!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: not a lot J-fizzle!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: have you heard anything about Raw tonight?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: No, I haven't really checked either, but I'm pretty excited to see what happens. I hope you're TiVo-ing it
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: hell, I'm going to watch it live
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Even better
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: brb Scott is getting his eyebrows waxed by Heather and I have to watch this
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: You should take pictures!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe even record sound!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: They made me do it too
(Sympathy pains from JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: what? did you take pictures?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no, Scott can't find my camera
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: you lost your camera?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah, Scott did
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: not very happy about it
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: blah blah. It's your camera and it's lost, so you lost your camera
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: what a bunch of crap
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: somebody's cut off! lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: did you take collateral?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: wrestling is on in a half hour
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: this should be a good show
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: hell yeah
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I should be done recording Most Xtreme Challenge by the time wrestling is on
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: and what if you're not?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I will I only have a few left to record
(For all you Just North of Wrigley Field Kitchen fans)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: hold on... I'm making hamburgers.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: make me one
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: no problem... kicking it up with some garlic, carrot and a little chile. I'll leave the onion out of yours
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: damn that sounds good
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: hell yeah... I'm going to marinate it overnight too with some honey barbecue sauce
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is going to rock!. They had some .99c/lb ground beef at the local European grocery store so I was all over that!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: hell yeah
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I’m recording MXC #19
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: 20 MXC's man that is great
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: all on one tape
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: 5 minutes and counting
(Raw opens with the GMs of Raw and Smackdown! on opposing sides ready to make the selections to determine the immediate future of both shows. Smackdown! GM Paul Heyman makes his first choice… it’s 20-year-old French Canadian Rene Dupree, who marches down to the ring for his last appearance on Raw and challenges anyone from the back for one more shot of the "Phrench Phenom.")
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol... Steve Austin giving me a Stunn-ERE! lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: DOES HE WANT A MATCH NOW?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: is this how this is going to work?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: you get drafted and fight?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I don't know... I figured they'd have Cole and Tazz call this match because it has a SD wrestler... but who knows?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no idea
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Stone Cold
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: hell yeah!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: he looks unusually happy
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Stunner on the mic. Ouch!
(Burger King shows their new “get it your way” whopper commercial, which they play at least twice more during the 2 hour program.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that was great
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: "wanna kiss ’em?"
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol... I didn't get that until you said that.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: who is in the ring and why?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Rico will be facing the newest Raw wrestler
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: ah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That's what I think
(Raw GM Eric Bischoff reaches in to make his first pick and picks former Smackdown! Tag Team Champion Shelton Benjamin, though he couldn’t help drawing it out for a while. This apparently will split Benjamin from his long-term tag-team partner Charile Haas.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: get on with it!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I like these two as singles wrestlers
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: wow, Benjamin’s 245 lbs?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: …or maybe Kane will come beat up Rico!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: For once, I'm actually glad I'm wrong!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That was a cool sign.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: what did the sign say?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: it was just a painting of Kane in his old mask
(Kane departs after quickly disposing of Rico and heads toward the top of the ramp. He grabs both GMs menacingly, then does something that should be out of character for a 7-foot, 300 lb monster.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “several expletives directed at Kane”, after he begs, nay demands, to be put on the opposite show of the guy who kicked his ass at Wrestlemania… the Undertaker
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: little bitch
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I thought he was going to say the opposite
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: same here
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: who's the jackass who came up with Kane looking like such a little bitch?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “expletive directed at the WWE writers”
(Heyman reaches into the gold mesh “bingo-style” basket and pulls out the next ball.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: it's like Easter
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: open the little plastic egg
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: they should have little eggs with wrestlers painted on them
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
(Heyman pontificates about his newest selection and the possibilities of ruining something good about Bischoff’s show by breaking a long-standing team.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: the Dudleys?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: D-Von?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Lawler?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I don't think so. Orton?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: who?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “expletive directed at WWE, once again” (that’s two if you’re counting at home… still below average.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Jindrak
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is starting to reek of sucktitude
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: blue chipper! blue chipper! blue chipper!... shut up Cole
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He's not a blue chipper. He's a cow chipper.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: dude... my cat is freaking out about a fruit fly
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol I wish you could take a picture.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Everytime you want to take a picture and can't, you should throw something at Scott!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I know
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: no really. That should be the payback (until you get a new camera).
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: like get some foam balls or something
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: it's better than getting smacked in the back of the head.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: he he
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ok.. I'm pretty sure each GM will pick 12 names
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: but are they all going to be retards
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: not all of them... Benjamin isn't a retard
(Bischoff reaches in for his second pick and hints at a feminine addition to the Raw roster… and no I don’t mean Billy Gunn)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Sable?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Torrie?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ugh
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Nidia
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: she of the new breastsesses
(Nidia enters the arena with a Smackdown! shirt on. As they did for all the draftees, they flashed their “tale of the tape” like in boxing.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol measurements
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah, those look good
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: they'll put Nidia and Maven back together
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: she's gonna have to take off that shirt.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I would be pissed if I were at the arena
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: “expletive directed at the cameraperson who was in the middle of the shot of Nidia taking off her shirt”
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe he should have had Raw bras made
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that shirt is huge
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd throw that at Heyman. lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I like her boobs
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: they don't look bad
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: they look great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, I mean they don't look obvious like she just had surgery. They don't look out of place on her body
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: so she'll still be a good wrestler
(Smackdown! wrestler John Cena’s music hits and he busts freestyle in his old-school Barry Sanders jersey on Heyman and Bischoff and ends up grabbing the next ball for Heyman.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: here we go!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: thug-a-nomics
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Barry Sanders, baby!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I love Cena vs Heyman!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: they're great together.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Cena's just plain great
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that was great!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe they'll put him on Raw now. That went really well with a live audience
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: where is Vince?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah... He was there earlier
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: this should be a good pick
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: these two are doing a good job although they need to do less talking and more picking
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: blah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, exactly
(Heyman reluctantly opens the ball Cena handed him and comes up with the first shock of the night… long-time Raw superstar and Evolution leader Triple H going to Smackdown)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: OH
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: HOLY…
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that was good
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: now, that was a twist
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe they'll have Cena vs Triple H... or maybe have him team with Angle against Guerrero.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I wonder what trades they'll do after the show.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I think they should have someone come down and steal Brock Lesnar's F5. A big heel... maybe Matt Morgan. It would give someone to feud with instantly when he came back.
(Back from the break, they show the aftermath of Triple H’s selection to the Smackdown! brand. The rest of the Raw wrestlers serenade him with a rendition of “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye!” and Creepy Christian, with his new girlfriend Creepy Trish, come to the ring to face Spike Dudley.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: J.R. really needs to get out more often
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: If Triple H ever comes back to Raw (via trade maybe?), he's going to be pissed at everyone of those peons who chanted at him.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol... I thought that was a cape on Trish when I first saw that. It looks terrible and it covers up her butt, which is what they pay to see.
(Spike rips off his shirt for the first time since… ever.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: GO SPIKE GO! GO SPIKE GO! GO SPIKE GO!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Obviously, Trish read Stephanie McMahon's latest self-help book, "How to Look Like a $2 Dollar Slut-ah" with a foreword by the Rock.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ... or maybe Sable could write the foreword I don't know.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: If Trish was a book, Lawler wants to read her in Braille. That's great Lawler. I can't wait until you suffer a debilitating voice injury.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
(Bischoff goes to Vince to try to “lawyer” his way out of losing Triple H, but Heyman ups the ante giving Triple H a title shot tonight against his champion, Eddie Guerrero. Bischoff tries to make an equally grandiose announcement concerning his champion, Chris Benoit, and his next selection for Raw.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: wah wah wah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: shut up Bischoff
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: na na na na hey hey hey good bye
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that sucks.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I love the match, but it belongs on Smackdown!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: they better have something big planned for the Raw side if they're giving away HHH vs Guerrero on Raw TV
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: he's going to get Funaki lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Cole?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Cena?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Funaki vs Chris Benoit!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ahhh... Bisch your mouth writes checks your ass can't cash!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...or maybe not? Kurt Angle!!!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Rhyno
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: wow
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: wow... Benoit vs Rhyno. Smackdown! gets to show us Triple H vs Guerrero and Raw only gets Benoit vs Rhyno. Which show am I watching again?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Abusing Heyman will always get you cheap face heat!
(Spike TV shows a commercial for their newest animated feature… the one with Ted Kennedy drunk, which in fact isn’t far from reality.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that looks funny
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, I've said that about a lot of cartoons from their commercial promos.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: true
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: there are a lot of commercials on this episode
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is really a bad time for me to work anything new into the schedule since I'm still wrapping up my fantasy hockey and basketball season, March Madness is upon us, we're just coming off of Wrestlemania and baseball is right around the corner. Add my usuals like The West Wing into that, and there's no time for anything new.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
(Raw Tag Champions Booker T and Rob Van Dam come out and defend their title against former champions Evolution members Ric Flair and Batista.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Booker T and RVD have the worst train wreck for a theme music. It's like an audio montage
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ... for you arts and crafts dweebs out there.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: those pyro's should set Heyman’s stand on fire
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He could just get worse and worse through the night
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He comes in with a broken neck, which he swears he’ll get Taker back for
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Then he gets throttled by Kane a little bit
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Then he gets a pyro flame up his butt
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Then Taker can chokeslam him off the podium and make the last pick himself... "That will give you something to get revenge over."
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: midnight deadline on trades
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Did they just say that?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: until tonight?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: check WWE.com for updates
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ok
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that's what they said
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I missed that somehow. I was too busy of thinking of ways to torture Paul Heyman
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: wow they are updating the draft quickly
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: the picks are already up there
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They could do so much more with WWE.com. They could have a big list of names online and the pool they are picking from
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ok... maybe they do. lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: oh... I think Batista just got a thrust kick to the nether-regions!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: each one only gets 6 picks
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: but that is lame
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: i thought it was going to be more than 6
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: a little bit. Raw is getting hosed so far
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I don't see 3 guys on Smackdown! who can make up for losing Triple H
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah this hasn't done a lot for them
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: …but this gives Stephanie and Trip a chance to work together again
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe, unless she gets picked for Raw.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah... but that would be a waste unless Raw gets Bischoff or Austin. Raw would have 3 gm's
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: What happens if Heyman gets Bisch?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That is a cool little feature they have up on WWE.com about the draft... but it would be much cooler with a list of guys who were available. Is the Rock available? Is Edge available? Are Heyman and Bischoff available?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: They have Trip, RVD, Big Show, and Cena on a pic for the draft. One of those guys already traded shows, could that be a sign?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: After they built it up, they have to have at least one champion trade shows, right?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: you would think so
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: ...and Benoit would be my choice
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Really... you'd send Benoit back to Smackdown!?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: he would fit in better there
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah I think there are more of his style wrestlers there
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I think there used to be before Lesnar left and Angle might be injured.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...and Benjamin moved to Raw too.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: what would you do with the World Heavyweight Title then?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: a one-night tourney. Eight men involved like the Elite-8 in the NCAA
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: take advantage of March Madness
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that would be appropriate. tis the season.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: (singing) tis the season for lots of tourneys!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe even make it so you could fill out a bracket online at WWE.com
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: the winner would have to fight three times in one night
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd like that... especially if all us suckers who picked Kentucky could get another shot at brackets!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'll give RVD and Booker T credit for teamwork! You don't see many teams using team-oriented moves, and they might be splitting up the ones that do (Benjamin/Haas and Jindrak/Cade).
(RVD costs his team the title after mistakenly kicking his tag-team partner in the back of the head. Flair and Batista are tag champions for the second time.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that gives Evolution something to do
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that was a great shot by RVD
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: clumsy RVD
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe RVD should lay off his special seasoning before matches from now on
(Benoit starts hour two of Raw with his title defense against Rhyno, while RVD and Booker T receive the news that they not only lost their tag belts, but their rematch too because Heyman called RVD as the newest member of Smackdown! )
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that's a new belt
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: new design
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, the last one had Triple H permanently inscribed on it
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: they all do
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: mmmm what ever Heather is cooking smells great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: CAN YOU SMELL LALALALALALA WHAT YOUR CHICK IS COOKING???
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: she is laughing at you
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: holy crap! How can they make this even now that Smackdown! has Triple H and RVD?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Who could they move over to Raw?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: wow! They are updating the site fast
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: they have RVD on there already
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: well... for the clueless cover your ears... but they already know who's going where. lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I guess I shouldn't say clueless, just the naive who haven't spent as much time backstage at wrestling events as us.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: ...and still think this is unscripted.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: they’re doing this now?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah... there's so much left to go in this show.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: well, that makes the Smackdown! fight the main event
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: which makes no frickin’ sense
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: GORE
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: GORE
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: GORE
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Rhyno looks great tonight
(Benoit dodges the Gore and locks on the Crippler Crossface for the submission victory. Shawn Michaels watches from behind and is torn between following his long-time fued with Triple H to Smackdown! or pursuing his long-time obsession with the World Title on Raw.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that's in tight!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: NICE
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: we still have 5 picks to go
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: and only a half hour
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: 45 mins at most
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I think they should move Cena over and then have your tournament for the U.S. Title on Smackdown! (though I guess they already had a tournament for that title).
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I don’t want HBK to get traded
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I want him to get a shot at Triple H
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: HELL YEAH
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: HBK says... "This time The kick is gonna stick."
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: sounds like a T-shirt there
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yup
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe with a rosary bead motif or something
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: ok back with food
(With the show coming to an end, Raw and Smackdown! move into lightning round... which starts with the odd selection of Taijiri from Smackdown!, where they have a title specifically for cruiserweights like him, to Raw.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: shut up Heyman. Give some food to Heyman so he'll shut up
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: what?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: “expletive directed at WWE”
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: what's the point in this? What are they doing to Raw?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Taijiri for Trip?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: and RVD
(Smackdown then selects manager and CEO of Thuggin’ and Buggin’ Enterprises Theodore Long.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: LOL
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: thuggin' and buggin' on Smackdown!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: belee' dat playa!
(Raw gets their first potential superstar with Edge, who is coming back from injury.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Edge!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: wow! Raw finally got someone half-decent
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: We already knew Raw was going to get Edge
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That should have happened anyways to balance out the lopsidedness of this draft so far
(Smackdown!’s final pick is Spike Dudley, who lost to Christian earlier that night, setting up the final pick for Raw.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that almost makes up for it.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Taker?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Stephanie?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Heyman?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Heyman?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol give him back, Bischoff. lol
JJUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Steph is back
UST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: ...and going to help Trip on Smackdown!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: He might fire Heyman
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: and then Heyman will end up on ECW
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: trade?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: trade with who?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: he quits!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this is great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Vince needs to come out and explain.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: does Bisch get another pick?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: that was his pick
(Bischoff makes it down to the ring gloating over his great fortune in selecting Heyman. Edge interrupts him.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: here comes Steph?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: hit Vince’s music
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Edge?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I was expecting "No Chance..." as well
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: he looks great
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: SPEAR
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: very heelish spear too
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: and this isn't the end of the show yet
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Yeah, still a lot of time left
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'm still expecting the new GM to come out by the end of the show. Vince is there why not use him?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: no title holders changed shows
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: no, they took it from RVD before it could happen.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: or no one with a belt got picked
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I was hoping Booker T would move instead. He'd be great with Teddy Long.
(Triple H stands at the top of the entrance ramp awash in his familiar multicolored light effects. He adorned a Raw T-Shirt before ripping it off, revealing a Smackdown! T-Shirt underneath and making his way for his match against Guerrero.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: That was an awesome shot with the contrast between the red Raw shirt and the Blue Smackdown! shirt.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Have Trip and Eddie ever faced each other?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: when Eddie first came over with Benoit... I think so
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: yeah, probably during the Radicalz.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: lol... watch out Eddie. Trip invented lying, cheating and stealing (other people's career aspirations).
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I am not enjoying listening to Cole right now
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: man, now i feel fat
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that was a lot of food
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: phat? Maybe you could be Teddy Long's new client. I don't know who he's going to manage on SD.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Here comes Teddy Long and Skip-dizzle!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: fo shizzle my nizzles
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I feel ya playa
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: so who comes down Steph or Vince?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Vince... with Steph after.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: We haven't seen Foley at all tonight either.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: and Stone Cold hasn't done a whole lot
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: maybe Vince will offer it to Stone Cold and he'll decline name a new GM and then stunner Vince.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: and does Trip win or does Eddie via distraction?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: There's no way they take the title away from Eddie.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Eddie looks so small compared to Trip
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Definitely two different styles.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: wow the crowd is dead.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: of course they are this is a Smackdown! main event on Raw
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: good point
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: this doesn't mean anything to Raw
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I'd be booing the whole time. booing them off the stage until Austin came down and broke it up.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: if I hadn't paid good money to be there I might have left
(Trip’s former Evolution running mates Batista and Flair come down to ringside starting a Red and Blue avalanche of wrestlers from both shows in from the back culminating in an unprecedented brawl and nullifying the main event.)
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Evolution screwing Smackdown!?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Evolution? Hmmm... maybe they should screw Triple-H out of the title.
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: where are the Smackdown! people?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: all out brawl!
(Michaels enters the ring and gives Trip a parting shot with some Sweet Chin Music.)
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: HBK
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: This is great. I want to see them all brawl on the outside
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: all hell is breaking loose
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: It's a slobber knocker all over the place!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: It's like Superman's undies started fighting each other!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that was the funniest thing I've ever heard
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Taker?
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: where are you?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: where is Taker?
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I want the bells!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: all four announcers are calling this
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Stone Cold!!!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Stone Cold!!!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: Stone Cold!!!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Here comes the law!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: Come on Stone Cold get up off your hoss!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: This is the best ever. I'm frickin serious!
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: this could go on all night and I'd love it
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: that was a great show
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I can't wait to read the post-Raw recaps online and see what happened after the cameras shut off
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: yeah, that's true
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: I think that was supposed to run a little longer or start sooner
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I don't know why they couldn't have asked Spike TV to go to 10:20. Shut off a 60-man brawl for Stripperella? Heck, if they needed the T&A just let the women go at it too.
JUST NORTH OF WRIGLEY FIELD: I thought this was the first network for men!
JUST WEST OF SAFECO FIELD: lol

Thus ends a pretty amazing episode of Raw with an ending that needed to be seen to understand the "holy ----" factor. They didn't do everything right of course, but for a "WWE-standard" landmark episode, it gave me the amount of misses I expected and even bigger high points.

Monday, March 22, 2004

posted by James - 10:15 PM


***** UPDATE *****

The event is over and it was everything I thought it would be... and then the end came with total chaos taking over. Ever wrestler from either show (Raw and Smackdown) fought, interrupting the WWE Title match between former Raw competitior Triple H and Champion Eddie Guerrero.

But before that, they threw a big wrench into the plans with Smackdown GM Paul Heyman (who selected the Smackdown side of the the draft lottery) ended up as Raw's sixth and final pick. Of course, he quit rather than work for Raw, and the show ended without explanation of the future of Smackdown without their GM... not to mention the possible trades between shows that could have happened.

But on WWE.com, they've announced Vince McMahon will clarify the fallout of tonight's events at 11:30 p.m. Eastern tonight on the official site.

Check it out there, and come back later for tonight's Just Another Monday Night transcript.

posted by James - 8:30 PM


I'm still nursing my wounds from getting throughly thrashed in my NCAA tournament bracket, like all of us. Oh, not you? Come join my Yahoo and ESPN groups and further my despair. I'll post the group infos laterso you can show me how bad you’re kicking my ass...

Because right now I'm fully immersed in my usual Monday ritual of WWE Raw. Only tonight there's a twist, which has all of my mental energy tonight. (mental... watching WWE... just save it)

They're shuffling the rosters tonight with a "draft lottery" and even the most in-tune wrestling fanatic, such as myself, can't predict what will happen. If you can't get to at TV set, they're keeping a running draft recap on the official site.

So, technology willing, Skippy and I will be watching Raw tonight and afterwards I'll be posting a recap of our conversation about tonight's WWE World-changing edition of Raw.

I won't promise it will be up immediately, but I'll have it online before tomorrow morning. I don't promise it will be short or all about wrestling even, but it should be fun.

If I have enough wrestling fans interested, I'll try to do this every week.

Also, I have a few baseball related projects I'm working on, and I should have them up by mid-week... so keep looking for those...

Back to watching sweaty men in tights hugging each other.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

posted by James - 11:03 PM


I've felt like this all day... like there’s fire and brimstone in my future.

I was at a Chicago Wolves American Hockey League game at Allstate Arena last night. I've only been to one other hockey game. I've never been to a hockey game at Allstate Arena. Heck, I've never been to Allstate Arena.

So, when they started the pre-game, ear-busting fireworks ritual, I was shocked and reminded of when they used to blow off fireworks in the Kingdome after a Mariners' homerun... just louder and brighter. But there was a young boy with his father that was neither shocked nor nostalgic; he was terrified.

His father took him beyond the curtain separating the passageways from the seating bowl until the lights came up for the start of the game.

It was probably my giant-sized, yet teddy bear-like figure, which prompted the father to approach me while carrying his son.

"We're going to ask this man about the fireworks," he said to his son.

They both looked at me and his father requested my assurance of ending the explosive end of the evening and winked at me.

At the time, I took this winking to mean, "tell my son what he wants to hear so we can return to my front-row seats." He also looked like this wasn't his first Wolves hockey game.

Now, I'm a guy who will do just about anything to help a crying child, especially if it's easily in my power to do so. So, I looked the boy right in the baby blues and told him, "Nope. No more fireworks tonight. You can go back to your seat now and get ready for a great night of hockey."

The boy seemed satisfied with my answer, and his father compounded the assurance with, "And if there are anymore, we'll come back and talk to him about it."

I was happy to see the boy stop crying and a little worried about his father's last statement.

My worries became justified when the Wolves scored about two minutes into the game... now, why can I watch an entire NHL game on ESPN and not see anyone score, but I go to a hockey game and can barely get near a seat before somebody's lighting the lamp and setting off more loudness and brightness.

However, these celebratory, stadium-vibrating outbursts also accompanied the sinking feeling of lying to a little boy.

Almost immediately after the puck crossed the net, the boy's father grabbed his coat and prepared to head for the door with his, once again, terrified child.

I felt some trepidation until they passed my location without an altercation, but I don't remember if they returned to their seats. And it would have been best for the boy unless he got over his explosion-phobia, because with the Wolves winning 5-1 they blew off enough fireworks to run out before the final goal.

I'm not enamored with indoor fireworks, but I've yet to shake the self-loathing I've felt since I LIED TO A LITTLE BOY! (capitalization added for damnation effect)

Oh, you thought I was going to take the eternal down elevator because I actually sat through a hockey game - sorry for the confusion.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

posted by James - 12:07 AM


I'm watching ESPN's NBA coverage tonight... and it's a slow night, to say the least, with only three games on the schedule.

So, they're zealously showing Amare Stoudemire dunking over Yao Ming like he's Paul Bunyan chopping down a Sequoia, and they're talking about the 2004-2005 homes of Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson.

Yeah, there's only one month left to decide some tight playoff races, but they're keeping busy by talking about next season.

Iverson thrust himself into this discussion after engaging in a sit-out on Sunday night as the 76ers faced the Pistons, and Interim Head Coach Chris Ford intended to bring Iverson off the bench.

I can't defend a player refusing an assignment, as it sends a bad example to the rest of the team, but I also can't defend a stop-gap coach taking over mid-season and alienating the franchise player - if there ever was one in the NBA - while the team is only two games out making the playoffs.

Even though he comes with myriad problems, Iverson does a couple things undeniably well: score... a lot and give fans the one and only reason to come to the First Union Center, except to boo Bryant when he's in town.

Iverson's big-time entertainment because he touches the ball a lot, and he's a threat to score every time he does and, the rest of the time, he's flapping his gums and doing something crazy.

With the unhappiness growing on both sides, Iverson could be on his way out to a team who needs a main scorer, main attraction or both, and ESPN discuss his potential suitors.

Most of the conjecture falls outside the scope of my interest, except David Aldridge’s mention of the Utah Jazz.

Now, I know our resident Jazz supporter, Skippy, would rather focus on their fight for the final Western Conference playoff spot (which they did their best to undermine Sunday by losing decisively to the current No. 8 team, Denver, while the team directly behind them, Portland, beat a division leader), but maybe he’d have some thoughts about how Iverson would work out in Salt Lake City?

The Jazz could definitely use some scoring in their backcourt and have a ton of cap room next year to make a deal. I’d be interested to see the relationship between Head Coach Jerry Sloan and an Iverson-type player.

Sloan makes me think he’d come to blows with a player during practice and still put him in the starting lineup.

While the national sports coverage focused on the 2004-2005 NBA season and the ridiculous Terrell Owens soap opera, they missed the biggest story: Kerry Wood throwing four spectacular, shut-out innings against the Royals, striking out four without walking a batter.

With Matt Clement struggling to find his groove and Mark Prior still on the sidelines, Kerry has given me hope that the Cubs might have their first Cy Young award winner since 1992 (Greg Maddux, incidentally having a great spring himself), and it might be his influence that gets Kerry there.

Monday, March 15, 2004

posted by James - 10:28 PM


As promised, here is the entire, un-edited, raw and uncensored version of my contribution to the 2004 Cubs Blogger Roundtable.

Q: Most pundits agree that the Cubs have one of the best rotations in baseball. Will the rotation live up to the hype? If so, which pitcher will have the best year? If not, who will falter, and will the team be able to overcome it?

A. I'm not sure about the hype factor because baseball pundits are still in Boston and New York euphoria, but I'm sure it will come once Gammons gets around to writing his "look at how these guys can strike batters out" article, and I welcome it because it's warranted.

I'm going with Kerry Wood to have the best year out of our Five Aces rotation mainly because of Greg Maddux's influence.

There's a chance one of them could succumb to injury at some point like Mark Prior did last year, but I'm not worried because the Cubs have quality replacements readily available.

Q: Which, if any, of the Cubs pitching prospects will make an impact on the team this year?

A. Because Moises Alou isn't under contract next year, there's a good chance David Kelton, Nic Jackson or Jason Dubois will see time with the Cubs this year. And it's a given the Cubs will use more than 11 pitchers this year if only to keep their pitchers from getting overworked (Hint! Hint!: Mariners)

Q: What should be done with Juan Cruz?

A. As much as I like having Cruz for backup, he's nothing more than a luxury. He'll be a good 11th man for the Cubs bullpen and his strikeout rates say he could be even more. But the Cubs have several guys who can fill that position (Todd Wellemeyer, Sergio Mitre, Francis Beltran) and Cruz has a lot of value. If the Cubs can get an offensive prospect, especially a catcher or a middle infielder, they should pursue it.

Q. Jim Hendry was very active this winter. Everyone expects the Lee and Maddux acquisitions to help the team immensely. Was there another, lesser transaction the Cubs made this winter that you think will have a significant impact on the team?

A. I'll give you two, because I see these guys admonished in the blogosphere.

Hendry made two shrewd moves to help the Cubs' versatility in two key areas. He traded for Jose Macias from the Expos. He's not a great player, but he can run, and play several positions. He's a faster, less offensive Ramon Martinez, but that's ok because Hendry brought him back too.

And the Cubs needed a second lefty in case Remlinger couldn't make it out of spring training healthy, and Hendry picked up Kent Mercker, who performed well with Cincinnati and Atlanta last year (only three runs over the last two months of last season). Mercker will be the only lefthander in the pen until Remlinger is healthy, and then he'll move to the earlier innings, where he could actually end up the long man and allow the Cubs more talented, young, right-handed relievers such as Sergio Mitre, Todd Wellemeyer and Francis Beltran into higher leverage situations than just the 11th man.

And Hendry did both of these moves as low salary, preemptive moves, which put Houston and St. Louis into the uncomfortable situation of looking up at a team coming off a N.L Central Title the year before. Therefore, they had to make moves under pressure (such as overpaying for Andy Pettite to come Houston and bring his buddy Roger Clemens with him and St. Louis bringing in a pathetic crop of leftfielders only the '90s Mariners would love).

I would love to play chess with Jim Hendry, just to see what kind of moves he'd make when I started to beat him, because he's had the advantage so far in his charmed life as Cubs GM, but so have Cubs fans since he took over.

Q: How much better is the Cubs bullpen this season than it was in 2003?

A. I'm not sure how much better it is, but I feel more comfortable with it. They've made improvements going from Dave Veres to LaTroy Hawkins and from Mark Guthrie to Kent Mercker. So, if Mike Remlinger is healthy and Joe Borowski doesn't regress, they have all the pieces in place to have a bullpen Dusty Baker can trust if and when Maddux, Prior and Wood start to fade late in games.

Jim Hendry made a great pickup with Mercker. Not only will he be the second lefty in the pen, but he could also shift to more of a long man which could give one of the Cubs young right handers a chance to get more innings, if warranted, and also give Hendry more flexibility to get another short inning lefty if the opportunity arose.

Q: While there are very few questions about the pitching, there are plenty of questions about the offense. Will the Cubs score enough runs to hold off the Astros in the NL Central?

A. Will they score more? Probably not. Will they score enough with the additions of Derrek Lee and dos Todd and full seasons from Corey Patterson and Aramis Ramirez? Yes.

Q: Who will have a better 2004, Michael Barrett or Damian Miller?

A. Michael Barrett

Q: Who will have a better 2004, Derrek Lee or Hee Seop Choi?

A. Derrek Lee

Q: Who will have a better 2005, Derrek Lee or Hee Seop Choi?

A. Derrek Lee - For all of the above, In Hendry I Trust.

Q. The Hee Seop Choi for Derrek Lee trade was a classic example of trading potential for current performance. Do you think it was the right trade to make for this year? What about for the future of the team?

A. Derrek Lee is the perfect example of an extreme upgrade, eliminating a mediocre offensive platoon with a bona-fide offensive threat and a gold glove defender. This is similar to the Dontrelle Willis for Matt Clement trade, also with the Marlins. Even if I'd like a left-hander in the rotation, I'm ecstatic over having a pitcher of Clement's quality and the Cubs still have plenty of pitchers to replace him, if he leaves in free agency.

And Lee's young, so by the time Hee Seop Choi would be ready to ascend to Lee's level, Lee might be on his way out and the Cubs can make another choice then. The most important point of his acquisition is Hendry compounded a great trade with signing Lee to a deal to keep him here for a few years, saving the Cubs money and making sure that Lee isn't just a one-year-and-gone acquisition like, for example, Carlos Beltran would have been.

Q: What sort of seasons do you expect Moises Alou and Corey Patterson to have? If one or the other struggles, will Dusty pull them from the lineup, or stick with them?

A. If they look slow, unproductive or hampered by injuries, Dusty will work Walker and Hollandsworth into the lineup more. He won't just pull them unless Hendry can get him someone from outside the organization like Kenny Lofton last year.

Q: Who will get more playing time at second base, Mark Grudzielanek or Todd Walker? Who *should* get more playing time?

A. Grudzielanek will get more time at second because of his defense or Walker's deficiency thereof. But Walker should get enough at-bats to keep him productive over the course of the season, and if that's at second so be it.

Q: How close is Sammy Sosa to being a Hall of Famer?

A. He is a Hall-of-Famer as long as steroids and cork stay out of the conversation.

Q: Recently, GM Jim Hendry locked up Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee for the next few years. Who on the current roster, if anyone, should get the next long-term contract?

A. Nobody. Carlos Zambrano hasn't proven he deserves having his arbitration years bought out. And they shouldn't lock up Ramirez until they know how much money they have to improve next year's team and whether third base is as option for improvement (i.e. Eric Chavez).

Q: As a Cubs fan, are you having a hard time dealing with the fact that the Cubs go into this season as favorites?

A. This season? The Cubs are always the favorites, right? I thought they were the favorites last year and they proved me right. So, I'm only having a hard time curbing my enthusiasm.

Q: What are you looking forward to about the 2004 Cubs? What are you dreading about them?

A. I worry the team could get abused by tough right-handed pitchers. I worry that the bench has depth, but not exactly depth I want to see in the lineup everyday. I worry that Hawkins will have to move into the closer's role where he's struggled over his career. And I worry that I'm going to have to spend big money to see any Cubs games this year, because I didn't get a favorable wristband number.

Everything else, I'm looking forward to... all the way to the World Series.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

posted by James - 11:09 PM


Because someone asked for it, here's the first recipe From the Just North of Wrigley Field Kitchen with the world-renowned Chef Rachel.

Notes from Chef Rachel: I cook by instinct, not by measuring spoons; you have to tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes... or those of your favorite Cubs fan.

Hot Potato Soup

7-8 med size potatoes (can be all reds or russets or a combo)
1/2 large onion
Olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
~2 cups Apple Juice
2 carrots
1 broccoli head and stem
1/2 green pepper
1/2 head garlic
1 slice sourdough bread
parsley
basil
8 oz tomato sauce
1 jalapeno (or hotter pepper if you dare)
mozzarella, colby cheese
2 pat butter

Cut potatoes in 1-inch cubes, put in soup pot and add enough olive oil to cover bottom of pot.

Turn on med-high heat. Cut onion in large pieces and add to the pot along with a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

After potatoes start sticking to the pot, but before they burn, add apple juice and stir, getting most chunks off the bottom of pan.

Add enough water to almost cover the contents. As you add ingredients and liquid evaporates, you will need to add some more water, always to almost cover. Add salt.

Cut and add carrots, broccoli, and green pepper. Chop and add a handful of fresh parsley and a few leaves of basil. Smash and peel garlic, but don't cut small; Add to the soup. Cut bread into cubes and add along with tomato sauce. Cut the jalapeño in small pieces, adjusting amount to your taste.

Add small handfuls of mozzarella and colby (or whatever you have around) and 2 pats butter. Keep on heat for about 5 minutes to let cheese melt, and add pepper.

Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream (or cream cheese), some grated cheese, and a slab of bread.

Makes ~15 cups


Watch out! Because the second day, the heat in the soup intensifies amazingly. Sour cream was necessary for me to mellow it out.

But we're never afraid to try new things, so keep watching for more From the Just North of Wrigley Field Kitchen.

posted by James - 5:11 PM


The final installment of the Cubs Blogger Roundtable is up at The Cub Reporter. I'll post the breadth of my answers here next week.

I want to thank all the participants for making this an enjoyable event, which I would be happy to contribute to next year.

Here are the highlights from Chapter 2: Section 2 of the Cubs Blogger Roundtable:

Let's clear this up now. The Cubs are going to be good. Really, frickin' good! So start getting used to the fact now, so you can deal with it when it's August and the Cubs are 10 games up on the pathetic Houston Astros and competitively-useless St. Louis Cardinals.

Friday, March 12, 2004

posted by CHRIS - 1:52 AM


The Utah Jazz are only a ½ game out of the eighth seed in the NBA Western Conference playoffs, and they should have no problems making up the deficit within the next two months. The Denver Nuggets have the lead for the last spot currently, but they have played horribly, winning only two of their last ten games. Utah has won seven of the last ten.

With 18 games left in the season for Utah and 16 for Denver, every game matters. The two most important games for these teams will be the games they play against each other, one in Salt Lake City and one in Denver. If one team wins both of those games, I would have to believe that would pretty much set the eighth seed.

The other major factor about who will take the eighth seed is how well these teams play against the top teams in the league. Both teams will have ten games against teams with a .500 record or better. Utah - with games against the Lakers, Minnesota, San Antonio and Houston - has the easier schedule of the two. Denver plays Houston twice, Minnesota twice, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Eastern Conference defensive-powerhouse Detroit.

This should make the race for the West’s last playoff spot very exciting.

The wild cards in this whole situation are the Portland Trailblazers. They could spoil Utah’s or Denver’s playoff hopes. Sitting two games out of the playoffs, they aren’t completely eliminated either, although Portland does by far have the hardest schedule of the three - two games against the Lakers and San Antonio each, as well as games against Houston, Minnesota and the Eastern Conference leaders Indiana Pacers.

To take the eighth seed, I believe the Jazz will have to win twelve or thirteen of their remaining games, and two of those need to come against Denver.

Here are my predictions for the Western Conference:

1: Sacramento Kings (60-22)
2: Minnesota Timberwolves (57-25)
3: San Antonio (56-26)
4: Memphis Grizzlies (54-28)
5: Los Angeles Lakers (53-29)
6: Dallas Mavericks (51-31)
7: Houston Rockets (48-34)
8: Utah Jazz (45-37)

Just missing the playoffs:
9: Denver Nuggets (43-39)
10: Portland Trailblazers (41-41)

GO JAZZ!!!