Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bob Brenly And Stats

Weird, right?
I don't always agree with Chicago Cubs announcer Bob Brenly — and here's another instance where I don't: My FanGraphs piece entitled, "Bob Brenly: You Were a Good Hitter."
Since time forever, Chicago Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly has joked good-humor’dly about how terrible a hitter he was. For years, I had just taken him at his word, assumed that Bob Brenly was the worst worst hitter ever — a hitter whose home runs came on windy days, whose singles bounced ten times before leaving the infield, and whose walks came only on failed beanings.

But that is simply not true. Recently Mr. Brenly remarked he wanted to see an advanced stat that said he was a good hitter. I’ll give him three.
I've really enjoyed Len Kasper and Bob Brenly taking new stats to the people. It's time Cubs fans started enjoying the insight that management now has.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Baseball In Englewood, Cookoffs, And Helping Youths

I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend (we'll call him Greg) and he told me he coaches baseball in Englewood for the organization called Play for Life International.

(from the website):
PFLI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that uses sports to engage and empower at-risk youth . For us, it’s not just about winning, it’s about empowerment: the power to live a positive lifestyle, the power to treat others with respect, and the power to make responsible choices. Every day, we’re reminding these kids that they’re not victims of circumstances – they’re contenders.
Then, I received this story that made me almost choke on my Big League Chew trying to hold back the tears:
Last week, one of the 12 year olds in our baseball program was attacked and beaten by a group of adults. He still came to baseball a few days later and went about his daily normal daily activities. This is a fact of life growing up in Englewood. In any city, instances like this will happen occasionally, but it's unacceptable that this is an inevitability for the youth in our program.

You have the opportunity to prevent it. Play for Life works with Englewood youth from ages 5-18 to help provide them with the skills to get into college and get some of the opportunities that most of us take for granted. We provide a place for them to go after school and on the weekends. A place where they can participate in a team activity. A place where they can get support for their schoolwork, so that they aren't stuck in Englewood.
If that's not enough for you to support this cause, there is a "Best of the Ball Park" cookoff!!!

Play for Life's fundraiser is tonight at the Newberry Library, 6:30-10:30PM.

You can donate and buy the ticket here.

Donations cover equipment, league fees, transportation, food, umpires, and a few part time coaches. I would also like to encourage you to invite your friends, co-workers and spread the word to this event as every additional ticket sale provides significant returns to the kids.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

VIDEO: Blackhawks Beat Coyotes In OT

Seriously, that Blackhawks-Coyotes game was nuts.

We had opened our windows because the weather — although stormy — was pleasant. When Patrick Kane shot that game-tying goal, the neighborhood erupted. It was a magnificent game, and I feel like I may need to go to a sports bar on Tuesday night just to watch with a crowd.

Here's video highlights in case you missed it / went to bed at a normal hour:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Score: A Better Understanding Of Baseball Teams

Now THIS is a season preview:
Chicago Cubs

Hopes are high for this year’s Cubs. Not only did they win the world series in an MLB 12 commercial, they also hired famous exorcist Theo Epstein. Rumour is, they may even sacrifice him on the pitcher’s mound. Just like they did in Boston.

But you know and I know that, if they ever get close, the baseball Gods will strike them all dead.

At their best, the Cubs are like a fat guy chilling with a beer, looking at the world and shrugging it off. At their worst, they’re like that same guy buying lottery tickets to win the big jackpot. Cause they figured out the system. And now it’ll be different.

I suspect that when the Baseball Gods heard a Chicago team threw the World Series, they may have made a clerical error of some kind.
I don't agree with, maybe, any of the things my buddy Parkes says in this preview, but man does he say it beautifully and perfectly. So much so that I wish I had written it. Or at least hacked his site and changed his name to mine.

And, by the way, Frank Thomas is my all-time favorite White Sox player:
Chicago White Sox

After being banned from baseball following the infamous 1919 Stock Market fixing scandal that led to the First World War, the White Sox have finally been allowed into MLB’s semi-professional American League Central Division. Here, they look to get one really good player. If they have that, who knows what can happen? In the meantime, a giant golden statue of Frank Thomas will play first base.

Glove slap to Will.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things To Be Happy About

Cubs

  • Bryan LaHair has been scalding the ball.
  • The starting pitching — and especially Jeff Samardzija — has been beyond exceptional. The bad Maholm start notwithstanding. (Maholm still should be the best 5th starter in the division, though.)
  • Bill Murray.

White Sox

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ozzie Guillen, Fidel Castro: Best Buds

Not only did Ozzie Guillen laud Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Guillen also failed to fully retract his statement:
"I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still there."
This Ozzie Guillen guy. He's nuts, but how can we do anything but love him?

Happy Easter, everyone. Even if you don't celebrate, tough luck, I wish you a happy Easter anyway.

Friday, April 6, 2012

White Sox Vs. Rangers: Opening Day On The South Side

I strained my back playing basketball last night. It hurts to look at my monitor while I type, so I'm going to try to keep this short.

John Danks starts on the mound today for the White Sox. He's good. Colby Lewis apposes him. Lewis is not bad. It's a shame the White Sox don't get to face Yu Darvish... But actually that's probably a good thing. I'm pretty sure Darvish is the real deal.

Things I'm looking forward to / hoping for today:
  1. Adam Dunn going deep.
  2. Alejandro De Aza making an impressive play in CF.
  3. Brent Morel going nuts. In a good way.
  4. Tyler Flowers getting some freakin' playing time.
That last one probably won't happen today, but in general, I would like some more Flowers please. I know that Alishia will protest that assessment. Sorry Alishia.


Source: FanGraphs

Cubs / White Sox Commercial With Ron Swanson And Darryl Philbin

Yeah. This is pretty rich.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cubs Vs. Nationals: 2012 Opening Day!!!

The Cubs finally get real baseball underway today! And, y'know what, the matchup actually kind of favors the Cubs and I'm feeling optimistic for no good reason.

For those interested, I will be dropping by FanGraphs' opening day chat around 4:00 p.m. CDT, presumably to talk about Ryan Dempster's perfect game in progress and Bryan LaHair's multi-home-run day.

Here's the lineup for the Chicago Cubs vs. the Washington Nationals, Game 1:


What's sort of funny about Opening Day this year: Don't we say that the teams all start the season in first place or something to the nature? Well, the Cubs start the season down half a game to the St. Louis Cardinals. Yeah, that's a portent.

Monday, April 2, 2012

FanGraphs Organizational Rankings: Cubs At No. 14

I got summoned to write this article, so obviously it is excellently written.

2012 Organizational Rankings: #14 – Chicago Cubs | FanGraphs Baseball:

Given the methodology we employed this time around, the Cubs payroll and payroll potential plays a huge role in their No. 14 ranking. Their farm system is relatively uninspiring; their on-field offering for 2012 should be pretty miserable; and their baseball operations department has not yet had even 12 months in command. Still, the Cubs are moving up, and in a league where disparities in payroll have determined which teams succeed more than most other leagues, the Cubs may not stop moving up until they are at the top.

Haters gonna hate, in the comments section, but I stand by my belief. This new front office group could easily make the Cubs a perennial playoff team and the masters of the NL Central.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

VIDEO: Joakim Noah Ears, Feet Burning

When people are talking behind your back, sometimes the best thing to do is just dance out your feelings.