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Friday, June 16, 2006

This Just In... the Cubs Suck.

Astros 3, Cubs 2
Let us start by saying thank you...
Thank you, Bob, for giving Brad Ausmus a pitch he could handle. We know you're statistically a reliable guy, but we really appreciate your gift to Brad and, consequently, our team.
Thank you, Todd, for making an easy play look hard. We appreciate your filling in for D-Lee at 1st, especially when it comes to rally-killers. Special K sends you a special, "Peace-Out." Oh, and another thank you for promptly ruining Marty's leadoff single in the bottom of the frame by hitting into a twin-killing.
Thank you, Jac-QUE, for killing about 8,000 worms on your 17-hopper to the plate, just barely missing Fat Lance, who scored what would be the winning run. Looks like the 'roids don't help you throw good.
Thank you, Lizard, for opting not to squeeze another run out after opening the 7th with a leadoff triple. I know, I know, you were probably too busy chewing on your toothpick to remember that you need as many runs as possible. That's why you let Ronnie Cedeno and Roid Nevin swing away.
This game was comical in so many ways. We need to just say an overall thank you to the Cubs. Let me point out a few notables (if you want a recap, click on the "thank you" at the top of the post)...
1) Juan Pierre stole an eye-popping 4 bases. Good thing it helped, seeing as he scored ONCE.
2) The Cubs' website calls Crazy Carlos "Big Z," which is just GAY. Obviously I like "Crazy Carlos" or "Senor Smug" better.
3) The Lizard thought his guys "busted their humps" yesterday. Tell that to: Todd Walker, Ronnie Cedeno, Roid Nevin, Jac-QUE, etc. No, Lizard, they didn't "just come up short." YOU LOST.
4) Zambrano blamed his "lack" of dominance on a heavy arm. This guy is so SMUG (to quote South Park), he loves the smell of his own farts... rrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiipppppppp... "MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...." Come on, Crazy Carlos (sounds like a low-rate furniture store personality... and we've got plenty of them here in Houston), this isn't video-baseball, where you can set the difficulty setting to EASY and throw no-hitters every game. He obviously expects to one-hit us every time he faces us. SORRY...
5) The Lizard decided to pull Cra-ZEE because he was "out of gas." No sh**, Lizard... the guy had thrown 107 pitches already. Oh, wait... that's right. You like to throw guys for 125+. Nevermind.
6) The Lizard said, "You just get tired of the same kind of thing." Then retire, Lizzy. Lizard.
7) I don't particularly like Marty Barrett, but at least he's trying. He seems like the only guy on that club that cares. Yeah, Pierre stole 4 bases... but that seemed more like a stat thing to me.
8) The Cubbies' website says that Cra-ZEE "stifled the Astros for seven innings." Hmmm. Maybe, but if you use that logic, then Nieve "stifled" the Cubbies for 5.2 innings. Compare:
Cra-ZEE: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Nieve: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
So Nieve gave up one more run, one more hit, and five fewer strikeouts over 1.1 fewer innings. But... he's a rookie. The Cubs' website makes me want to puke. It's the same 'ole propaganda... the 'ole, "We're better than this," line that they'll keep believing until Christ returns. When all else fails (which it's done in 18 of their last 21), blame someone or something else.
9) Walker's Cub-ness shows: (referring to his errant throw) "I still thought he had his foot on the bag, but the ball's got to be online and at least get one." That's right, Toddie... you got robbed.
10) At least Bob Howry spoke like a consummate professional, which means he's on the wrong team: "'Today I didn't make very good pitches,' Howry said. 'I struggled with command, leaving balls up and they hit them. You get a ground ball to first in that situation and you're hoping for one out and get the next guy,' he said. 'The fortunate thing was no one had scored yet and with the bases loaded and one out, you get a ground ball to somebody and you're out of the inning. As ugly as it was, we still could've come out scoreless.'"
Bob, Howry'd you like to pitch for us?
So maybe we can continue this great run of four games with a sweep of the ever-cellar-dwelling Royals (sorry, Shafty, but it's true).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just Plain, Pure, 100% Awesome

Idiot fan taken out by 12-year-old batboy:

Put that kid at the top of the "Awesome People" list.

Just Tip Your Cap, Greggie.

When you're winning, everything seems better. The air seems cleaner (well, sort of), food tastes better, your beer seems a little colder and more refreshing, the abominably hot weather seems more bearable, etc.

Not that the Cubbies would know anything about that. After dropping another decision to the Astros, 5-4, the Cubs are now perched perilously on the edge of being the worst team in the National League. They're but a game up on the woeful Pirates, and dead-even with the AAA Marlins (percentage points being the only difference between the two). They can't hit, they can't (apart from Zambrano) pitch, they can't field. Their only solid offensive contributor is on the shelf for an indeterminate time. They actually see it as a positive that they traded for the destined-for-the-bench, over-the-hill, former Astros headcase washout, probable-roider Phil Nevin. One of their big free-agent "splashes" is a guy who has no idea where the strike zone begins and ends. (Not that they're alone in that.) Their fans (and front office) keep thinking that--if they could just convince Wood and Prior not to be permanent residents on the DL--they could field a winning team. They blame their 2003 collapse on a dork wearing headphones. They've got one of the worst managers in baseball. The team owners don't care about winning, as long as they turn a profit. Their team MVP, at this point, is Wrigley Field. Wrigley--which, by the way, I visited and thoroughly enjoyed a few years back--is what brings fans out to watch the not-so-lovable losers. Their fans have, understandably, given up all hope. Desipio's usual Cubs Live! blog doesn't show up all that much anymore and, when it does, it often goes by another title: Cubs Dead, or "Pointless Exercise." Two nights ago, a group of idiot--and probably drunk--fans decided to jump up and wave their arms and be idiots during every pitch in the ninth inning. Distracting, to say the least. And yet, those were not their only stupid fans:
That is really dumb of you guys to be making fun of the Cubs player. Jacque is a great player, and yes he does have the highest batting average on the team besides Cedeno is a little ahead of him. Really you guys should think of all the things you are posting. Its terrible, I don’t see any of you guys out there playing ball. I’m not saying all of the Cubs are terrific. But Walker, Barrett, Murton, Jones, Nevin, Cedeno, Ramirez, Maddux, Marshall, and Zambrano I think are great.

Oh yeah, Corey Patterson is also a great player. He may not be a Cub but I sure wish he still would be.
The only positive I can see in these two Desipio posts is that, at least the seven-year-old fans haven't given up hope, I guess.

Despite all of the Cubbies' obvious shortcomings, the ever-myopic Greg Maddux--who should have retired two years ago rather than tarnish what was a stellar career--can't come to grips with the facts that (a) he ain't what he used to be, (b) he's not that effective when he isn't getting 4-inch-off-the-plate balls called as strikes, and (c) he just got his arse whupped last night. Rather than acknowledge that the 'Stros beat him into submission with 11 hits and 5 runs, Greggie offered the following weak excuse:
"I left pitches up with two strikes that I was trying to throw in the dirt," Maddux said. "It's kind of a tough way to get beat. If they go down and pick it, that's one thing. But to hang pitches like that with two strikes way ahead in the count. ..."
Yeah, Greggie." But for hanging pitches last night, you would have been the Greg Maddux of old. Just tip your cap, as the rest of the Cubbies did when discussing Oswalt's performance last night, and continue to collect paychecks for mediocre, six-inning (only 84 IP in 14 starts), 76.5 pitch-per-start, performances. (Fat Rog, by contrast, was still throwing 100.1 pitches per start last year while averaging only 15.2 pitches per inning. For his career, he has never dipped below a 100-pitches-per-start average.)

Jacque Jones's choke strikeout in the 8th inning, with the tying run 90 feet away, was classic. Not only did he strike out swinging at a ball that never approached the strike zone, but he had the grace to holler out a "G-D" on his lonely trudge back to the dugout. Good idea, Jacque; your team doesn't have enough troubles without getting the Man Upstairs mad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Astros 9, Cubs 2

In other news...

No, seriously. Last night's win was impressive. It's nice to see the bats finally waking up. Oh, damn. I've just jinxed them now, haven't I?

Cletus pitched a great game... finally. I thought he looked pretty tired in the 7th (when he consequently gave up the bomb to Roid-Monger Phil Nevin). Granted, I was tired by the 7th. I like Cletus, but he is so cumbersome to watch (works slowly, throws WAY too many pitches, etc.). Anyway, I was glad to see him get one game closer to .500.

Chris Burke is unbelievable. I think that's the first time since like 1991 that an Astro has scored 5 runs in a game. For crying out loud, they couldn't get him out last night (on base every time he had a plate appearance, and even stole a base). Willy T., I hope you're taking notes on how to get playing time.

Special K's come out of his Special Funk... for now. I'm glad to see him starting to be more productive... especially with guys in scoring position.

HUZZAH! for Jason Lane and Adam Everett for staying above the Mendoza Line!

BOOOOOOOOOO! to Brad Ausmus who, with the bases loaded, only 1 out, and a FREAKING 3-0 COUNT, decided to swing away and grounded into a double-play. That gets last night's Stupid Award.

Of course, The Mole added another craptastic performance. Seriously, you guys, is it possible for him to pitch and NOT give up at least 1 run?

So tonight it's Roy Harvey vs. Greg "Corky II" Maddux...

"I whine when I don't get my way. My way is 4" off the plate." ~ Corky II

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Footy Post!

Yesterday at lunch, Phat-C and I had the following exchange:
Phat-C: You know, if Rice loses today, I'll have no reason whatsoever to watch the CWS.
Shafty: Yeah, I know what you mean. Like how I'm unlikely to watch the World Cup after the US gets first-rounded.
Phat-C: *shrugs, rolls eyes* Not like I'm watching the World Cup, anyway.
So here's a reason to pay attention to soccer, Phat-C:

Roy Keane Announces Retirement

Keane is/was a famous Irish footballer, thought by many to be the finest center midfielder ever to play the game. He captained the Republic of Ireland team for many years, led them to the 1994 World Cup and the 2002 World Cup (although he was sent home before the '02 tournament after arguing with the team's manager), and led Man United to seven Premiership titles and one UEFA Champions League win.

He had left Man U in December 2005 and signed with Celtic, but was forced to retire because of a lingering hip injury.

Slightly less well-known: Keane--throughout his career--has been one of the truly unstoppable video game footballers. I respect the man in real-life, but hate the hell out of him in video games (especially since Phat-C always uses him).

Farewell, Mr. Keane.

P.S. Although I only occasionally read Norman Chad's columns, today's--devoted to soccer--included the following entry (which was contained in a purported timeline of soccer in America) that I could not resist:
1930: The first World Cup is won by Uruguay, in Uruguay-- most Americans could not find Uruguay on a map if you gave them a map of Uruguay.

Finally Found this Gem...

We were at last Monday night's game against the Cubs, and they showed this during the "bloopers" segment. It finally showed up on YouTube, for everybody to enjoy:

Don't Throw at the Owls!

Yesterday's being an off-day for the Astros didn't mean that there weren't some baseballs getting hit out of the park in Houston yesterday. The Rice Owls clinched their fourth trip to the College World Series by shellacking Oklahoma 9-5.

The "trick" to not getting blown out by Rice, it's been said, is to "avoid the big inning." The Sooners were unable to do so yesterday. Trailing 4-3 in the sixth, Rice loaded the bases with one out. Josh Rodriguez (whom Phat-C hates, based solely on video game baseball) drove in two runs with a single through the left side. The next batter, superstud Joe Savery, homered to right-center. Five runs crossed the plate, and Oklahoma was sent home packing.

Their big mistake, clearly, was pitching to the Owls. It's like we always say about Texans games: "DON'T THROW AT DUNTA [Robinson]!" Every time you throw at Dunta, you're in for a world of trouble.

The only way to avoid the big inning is to not pitch to the Owls. Just don't come to Houston, and accept your 1-0 forfeit defeat.

The Owls move on to the CWS, where they'll play Saturday at 1:00 CST against Georgia (who defeated South Carolina yesterday to advance). I'd probably prefer that we play Georgia, as I just can't survive the numerous "Go Cocks" signs ever-present at SC games without resorting to bouts of hysterical giggling and elbow-nudging:
Me: See that, Hon? Heh ehahehe!!
Wife: Yes, for the hundredth time, I see that she's holding up a sign that says, "Go Cocks." How old are you, again?
Ahem. As I was stuck at work yesterday afternoon, I spent some time looking around for game accounts, etc. (especially to get details on how both the head coach and assistant head coach for Oklahoma manage to get ejected from the game). I came across the CSTV message boards. Rice's had a post or two about the game.

Oklahoma's message board had a ton of posts... although I'm not sure that baseball was a common topic, as evidenced by the thread subjects:
  1. tu SUCKS!!!!!!!!!
  2. Can't wait to beat tu at Cotton Bowl!!!
  3. OU = 2007 Nat'l FB Champs!
And so on... I felt like I was listening to sports radio again, where the topics year-round are pretty much divided into:
50% Texas/Texas A&M/College Football
25% Texans/NFL
15% Stupid proposed trades
7% Astros
2% Every other miscellaneous topic
1% Rice
I can't wait for the "lifelong Rice baseball fans" to jump out of the woodwork after the CWS teams stupidly decide to pitch to the Owls, and get punished accordingly.

Although that will probably be limited to a call or two, before the focus returns to how the Longhorns are doing in recruiting for the 2012 season.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Astros 14, Braves 4

Needless to say, I'm ecstatic over our heroes' recent offensive revival. Granted, the Braves' pitching staff has struggled mightily this year (mostly the pen), but still. We scored 7 or more runs in 3 of the 4 games, and 30 total.
There was so much to cheer about yesterday, that I'll just say it was a sigh of relief. Why is it, though, that Magic Wandy gets all the run support? Is it because he's truly magic?
Nice to see Lane get--even temporarily--off the schneid.
Next up... Cletus takes on Corky in Chicago.