Thursday, April 01, 2004

posted by James - 1:09 PM

I don't do April Fools... I mean I don't pull April Fool pranks, but I love when they're done with some intelligence and coolness (and no intentional malice). Fellow Cubs blogger Cub Fan Nation has done just that, as he did the unthinkable to his blog for the day, and everyone should check it out. Go ahead and click on the link above. I'll wait while you look at the coolest thing on the web right now (I guess it's more impressive if you visit its original incarnation as often as I do, so check back there for the original as well).

Ok, now that you're back... I guess April Fools Day fell out of favor with me when I had tickets to a Counting Crows concert on April 1, 1997 at the Paramount in Seattle, Wa. A local radio station decided to announce that Pearl Jam would give an acoustic performance in a parking lot in Seattle that night. If my parents didn't also have tickets, I might have went to that parking lot.

I spent the whole night wondering if I made the right choice because I was less than enthused with the performance (it was more the venue really). I did get their bass player to sign my ticket stub after the concert, but I had doubts about missing something that might have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Of course after announcing the joke the next morning, the radio station had to eat crow all day long. I'll never forgive them for I'll never be able to look at a calendar the same way again. * sob ** sob * Whatever...

As for April Fools Day sports news... If OF Milton Bradley walking out of Cleveland's Spring Training camp isn't an AFD joke, the Mariners and Cubs should both be all over this guy. He comes with some personality issues, but he's got value as a switch-hitting centerfielder, who had a 921 OPS and almost a one-to-one, K/BB ratio, and comes cheap.

Because I've never liked Alex Gonzalez at short (or anywhere) and this is OF Moises Alou's last year under contract, I'm on the record as saying the Cubs should trade both to the Indians for Bradley and SS Omar Vizquel.

Vizquel would give the Cubs the No. 2 slot hitter they lack right now (assuming 2B Mark Grudzielanek would remain the leadoff hitter), moving Patterson and Bradley lower in the lineup to mix up the currently right-handed dominated lineup.

There are money issues to be worked out... the amount of money the Indians would get to cover the difference in salaries would influence the prospects they would get from the Cubs. That's how today's trade market works.

I'm uneasy with giving up Alou's leadership, but this has the potential to improve the Cubs in two spots on the field and provide a residual improvement throughout the lineup.

The Mariners need thump throughout their lineup from both sides of the plate and his .421 OBP would do much better in front of DH Edgar Martinez, 2B Bret Boone and OF Raul 'ugh' Ibanez than 3B Scott Spiezio, OF Randy Winn or SS Rich Aurilia.

There's an updated playoff scenario below with nothing much having changed last night since both Utah and Portland beat Eastern Conference Playoff contenders impressively last night.

And our Beloved Chicago Bears are fooling no one with their intentions to improve their running game.

They've brought in RB Thomas Jones to combine with RB Anthony Thomas in the backfield, re-signed Stanley Pritchett and traded for Bryan Johnson to lead the way at fullback, and today they've announced their second big signing for the offensive line with Pro Bowl OG Reuben Brown coming over from Buffalo to join the right side with OT John Tait, signed from Kansas City.

The Bears got some serious work done this offseason on offense, which isn't to say they've done enough on the defensive side to make them any kind of favorites for next year.

And lastly, and most recently, the Cubs aren't fooling around with replenishing their depth in left-handed pitching with Mike Remlinger and Kent Mercker recovering slowly from injuries and in backup infielders after losing Jose Macias. They signed LHP Glendon Rusch, who would be better than LHP Jimmy Anderson - though the Texas Rangers didn't think so, and INF Damian Jackson after his release from the Colorado Rockies.

Both players will initially report to Iowa, but I fully endorse Jackson leap-frogging Macias as an option for the bench, even after Macias comes back from injury, because he's got more speed than Macias and played seven positions with the Red Sox last year, including nine postseason games.

As C.J. Cregg would say, that's a full lid for this afternoon.

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