You gotta love the internet.
How it has helped shape our lives.
You can research that great American novel your writing,
tell your friends about that trip to the mall yesterday, or find your favorite players stats.
It almost seems like we’ve always had viral videos and “You’ve
Got Mail”. But it really hasn’t been that long.
Check out this clip from the Today show in 1994 with Bryant
Gumbel and Katie Couric.
“What is the internet”:
This morning the Minnesota Twins announced that they will
retire Bert Blyleven’s number 28 this coming July just a week before his induction
into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He will be the sixth Twins player to have his
number retired by the team.
When you look at the list of all Major League Baseball
retired numbers, every number from 1 through 45 is represented except for two,
#28 and #38. So Blyleven takes care of 28. Who’s going to cover #38? Carlos?
1: In the 135 year
history of the Cubs, they have had only one left handed hitter hit more than 33
home runs in a single season. That Cub was Billy Williams and he did it three
different times. Can Carlos Pena be the second to do it?
2: Ryan Dempster is
number 3 on the Cubs all-time Saves list behind Lee Smith (180) and Bruce
Sutter (133). He has saved 87 games. Carlos Marmol is 5th on the
list with 61. BTW, Dempster is 41st on the Wins list with 52.
3: Melted Mild
Mexican Velveeta Cheese with chopped petite tomatoes and onion over a plate of
tortilla chips makes for a tasty “Big Game” treat.
4: The most pitchers
ever used by the Cubs in one season is 25. In 1999 Jim Riggleman used 25 different
pitchers for a team that finished in last place with a 67-95 record. Felix Heredia
led the team with 69 appearances.
Bonus: The Bears won
Superbowl XX 25 years ago today.
Alright, the NFL season isn’t over yet, we still have the
Superbowl. But with the Bears now out of it, I can put my focus on the upcoming baseball season.
This year I plan** on posting one picture per day of shots
that I take in and around Wrigley Field. I don’t have enough pictures on hand
to start posting them every day now, but I’m going to post maybe one a week
until Opening Day.
Photo by Wrigley Regular
**- Plans subject to change based on the whims of the author
of this blog, me.
Last night I got a chance to go out and conduct a poll on
why the Bears will beat the Packers this Sunday. It might be unscientific, yet
it is completely accurate. The results are graphed below.
My final score
prediction: Bears 23 – Packers 16
The world we live in is ever changing. They way we live our
lives, communicate with each other, and get our news is getting faster and
faster, while our collective patience is getting shorter and shorter.
Why take the time to call someone when you can just as
easily send a text? And a shorthand text at that.
Do U wan2 go out4 Dnr?
But least you think I’m an old man crying about these kids
today with their new fangled gizmo’s and bad manners, the answer is no. I’m not
longing for the days of a single line phone and having Sarah switch me through
to Ellie Walker. I love my IPhone, mobile updates, laptop computer and
twenty-four hour cable tv.
But if there is one thing that I do miss about “the good ole
days”, it’s the excitement I used to get waiting for, and then seeing the first
preseason baseball publication hit the magazine rack.
Before we had the ESPN’s and MLB Network’s of the world, it
was just your local newscast and newspaper to keep you updated on the happenings
in baseball. And outside of the winter meetings, the coverage was spotty. Fans
needed the Street and Smith Official Yearbook
to catch up on all that had happened and where the players had gone. Seeing that
magazine gave you the real feeling that spring was just around the corner, that
baseball would once again renew your summer. But those days are gone.
Even though I will still buy one of the magazines that are
out now, the feelings not the same. I’ll flip the pages and read an article or
two, but in my mind I know it’s like reading a history magazine, all the info
is old. Hell; just in the last hour I’ve received 7 ESPN-baseball mobile updates
on my phone about players that have signed contracts for the 2011 season, no
written publication can compare with that.
So technology moves on and I move with it, but every once in
a while I like to remind myself of how things were……. back in the day.
CTO-Check this out
Baseball players basically work as independent contractors.
Yes they belong to a union that controls the overall workplace structure and
rules, but after a fixed amount of well paid servitude to the ballclub at the beginning
of their career, players are free to seek what they think is the best offer.
And with the nature of the limited MLB free market system,
every contract is independent of all other contracts. Meaning; just because
Player “A” hit 28 homeruns and received a $10 million contract, it doesn’t mean
you will get $11+ million if you hit 30 homers. You’re only worth what someone
is willing to pay.
This brings us to Albert Pujols.
Yesterday Albert Pujols, through his agent, told the St. Louis Cardinals that he would only be willing
to negotiate an extension of his contract until the start of spring training,
after which point he will stop all talks and then test free agency after the
So what is Albert worth?
Well; if you did compare him to other players, not that many
compare, Pujols is at the top of the list. And so if he were to make more money
than anyone else next year, his contract would be 30+
Is Pujols worth that much? To St. Louis I would say yes. He
is the face of the Cardinals. He sells tickets and merchandise and parking
spots and food and drink. St Louis is a great baseball town and Cardinals fans
will still love their team, but I think not signing Albert would be costlier in
the long run than signing him would.
I think the Cardinals managing partner, William DeWitt, has
four weeks until he signs a 150+ million dollar contract with Pujols.
If you’re a New York Yankee’s fan, you gotta love your team
for doing what they do in an attempt to win. And that is, spend money.
Now money doesn’t guarantee a championship, if it did the
Cubs would have won one in the last ten years, but it gives you a leg up on
First the Yankees go after the best offensive player
available on the free agent market, Carl Crawford. They didn’t get him, and
maybe they were holding back just a little because they also were making a play
for Cliff Lee, but they forced Boston to pay full price.
After losing out on Crawford, the Yanks made a full court
press to get Lee. They offered the best contract, and in today’s world that
would usually be enough, but Lee decided to go back to Philadelphia where he
pitched in 2009. As a fan, you have to appreciate their effort.
But when you don’t get your first two choices, when you’re
the Yankee’s, you get pick number 3 no matter what it takes.
So according to ESPN sources, New York has agreed to a deal
with closer Rafael Soriano to be Mariano Rivera’s setup man. How do you get a
closer to sign as a setup man? You give him closer money. Look, most teams have
to abide by a general salary structure for their club and paying huge bucks for
setup guys just doesn’t fit the equation. But when you have almost unlimited
funds and you don’t get the first two guys that you wanted for some reason, the
rational thought that would limit how much you pay for a setup man goes out the
The crazy thing is, Soriano probably should have been their
first choice all along. The Yankee’s rotation is going to be in flux for most
of the year (even if they do get Pettitte back) and their bullpen is going to
be counted on more this year than in any recent memory.
With the re-signing of Mariano last month, the recent
signings of lefty Pedro Feliciano and Soriano, and throw Joba Chamberlain in
the mix, the Yankees will have a solid pen that will only require starters to
get the game to the 7th inning.
Will it be enough to beat Boston? Does it have to be? The
truth is that two teams will probably come out of the East just like they have
in 7 of the last 9 years.
PS. I like all 4 home teams to cover this weekend in the NFL Playoffs.
Volume 3 -
Rich “Goose” Gossage.
With the recent announcement of the Hall of Fame class of
2011, I thought it would be appropriate to showcase a HOF member as the next
subject for my “He Was a Cub” series. That hall of famer is Rich “Goose”
Rich Gossage was drafted in the 9th round of the
1970 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox.
After being drafted, Gossage pitched 51 innings in single “A” ball to finish
out the summer of 1970. The next season, 1971, Rich Gossage was a starting
pitcher for single “A” Appleton, and Gossage totally dominated his opponents. Rich
made 24 starts that year going 18-2 with a 1.83 era.
Gossage’s great minor league season led to a roster spot
with the Chicago White Sox for the 1972 season as a reliever in the bullpen,
although his first appearance would be delayed by the first ever players
strike. The start of the season began 13 days late and Gossage made his first
appearance on April 16 against the Kansas City Royals. With runners on second
and third and no outs, Gossage came on in the bottom of the fifth in a 1-1 tie.
The first batter that Gossage faced was the 1969 AL rookie of the year, Lou
Piniella. Gossage walked Piniella to load the bases. The next batter hit
into a 6-4 force-out at second with a run scoring and then Gossage was able to
get out of the inning without additional runs scoring.
With Chuck Tanner as his
manager, Goose Gossage spent his first three seasons in the bullpen for the
White Sox pitching middle relief and making a couple of spot starts. The main
closer for those teams was Terry Forster, however, during the 1975 season
Forster suffered an injury and Gossage took over the closer role. That season
Gossage made 62 appearances with a 9-8 record, 1.84 era, and a league leading 26
saves. Unfortunately for Chuck Tanner, the Sox finished 75-86 in fifth place
and Tanner was fired.
In 1976, new Sox manager Paul Richards decided to make Rich
Gossage a starting pitcher again. Gossage made 29 starts; he was 9-17 with a
3.94 era. Meanwhile, Chuck Tanner was managing the Oakland A’s for one season
with Rollie Fingers as his closer.
Chuck Tanner was fired from Oakland after the ’76 season and
hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates to be their
new manager. One of his first moves was to make a trade with the White Sox for
Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Tanner told Gossage he would make him the
closer like he was under Tanner in Chicago. That season Gossage saved 26 games
to go along with 11 wins and a 1.62 era.
Today Gossage gives Chuck Tanner all the credit for defining
his role in baseball and making into who he became.
Rich Gossage became a free agent for the first time
following the 1977 season and he signed with the team that he would become synonyms
with, the New York Yankees.
Over the next 7 seasons Gossage dominated the AL in the
closer role for the Yankees saving 151 games, winning 42 more. He was a four
time all-star with the Yanks, getting Cy Young and MVP votes three different
times each during that period.
After the 1983 season, Gossage left the Yankees and signed
as a free agent with the San Diego Padres. 1984 would be a good year for both
Gossage and the Padres as San Diego made the playoffs and crushed the hopes of
Cubs fans winning three straight games and winning the NL title 3 games to 2.
In the World Series the Detroit Tigers beat San Diego 4 games to 1.
Rich Gossage pitched the next three years for the Padres
bringing his four year total stats with San Diego to 25 wins, 83 saves, and a
On February 12, 1988 the Padres
traded Gossage and Ray Hayward to the Chicago Cubs for Mike Brumley and
At the age of 36, Gossage pitched in 46 games for the Cubs
in 1988. He was 4-4 with 13 saves and a 4.33 era for Don Zimmer’s 77-85 fourth
place finishing Cubs. That season he pitched in 21 games at Wrigley Field going
2-3 with a 5.06 era over 16 innings. 1988 would be Gossage’s only season with
the Cubs; during spring training of 1989 Chicago released the Goose.
Over the next five years Gossage pitched with five different
teams including Oakland, the Rangers, and finishing his career with the Seattle
Rich Gossage pitched his last game on August 8th,
1994 for Seattle against the Rangers in Texas. He pitched the final 3 innings
in a 14-4 Seattle win to earn his 310th
and last career save.
Richard ” Goose” Gossage entered the Hall of Fame in 2008 with
85% of the writers vote in his 9 year on the ballot.
Photos – Bing Image Search, SI, Vintage Cards
After stating with absolute certitude that the Saints would
crush the Seahawks, you should take these next couple of picks with much less
Baltimore over KC
Philadelphia over GB
Oregon over Auburn
For entertainment purpose only J