Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Baseball, Broads*, and Booze

Dr. Uetz

"I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense." - H.L. Mencken

A nerve was hit when I read this little gem. I like Mencken, though, so didn't throw the book across the room or vow to never read him again. After all, he's right. Baseball fans often choose emotion over common sense. It's one of the beautiful things about cheering for a team, or against one. One could argue, as I often have, that being a Cubs fan shows an absolute refusal to embrace common sense. But on the other hand, we are led through the world of baseball fandom by our hearts. We often choose our favorite team because of fond childhood memories, we inherit them from our fathers our one of our favorite relatives, we meet a player once and will forever sign on with the team that gives him his last chance.

Have you ever asked, "Hey, Phil, why a Padres fan?" "Oh, because their bullpen had the leading e.r.a. from 1981 - 1987." No. And if you did, you would likely be struck dumb by such a lack of emotion and true "fan-ness."

Mencken is correct, a baseball fan often shows little common sense. But it's part of the spirit of being a fan. We will trash talk a star after one bad performance not because we truly dislike our star player, but instead because we feel betrayed in the relationship and need to unwind. We will boo obviously good strategic moves not because they don't make sense, but because we yearn for the rush that comes with getting the strike out NOW and winning NOW. We will get into heated arguments with our best friends not because we really think they are "full of shit," but because we love our team and the game; we are emotional, for Christ's sake, because we love.

We stay up late listening to radios for any word. We spend our mornings pouring over box scores. We get upset about weddings that fall during an important series. We spend hours on the phone talking about the starting rotation as if they are family members.

And yet some would rather turn this into some analytical journey through second semester statistics class. Why ruin it? Why make it more than the curious and beautiful emotional struggle it is? We choose our teams, we fall in love with women, we develop loyalty to one brand of alcohol; and this can all defy common sense, but that's why it is so wonderful. And that's why we will always want to write about it.

* "Broads" chosen for alliteration purposes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rockin' Baseball

Ed McElvain

There is no doubt that some of the most hilariously amateurish commercial music recordings of all time have been made by athletes turned musicians. Most of you have heard of the 1985 Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew who were "breakin' it down and doin' it for you." The "Superbowl Shuffle" was a big commercial success, becoming an indelible moment of sports and pop-culture. Fewer are probably aware of George Foster's attempt at cashing in on the perceived post-"Shuffle" gimmick momentum by recording (with Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Lenny Dykstra, Rafael Santana, Rick Aguilera, Kevin Mitchell, Tim Teufel, and Howard Johnson) the less successful "Get Metsmerized," a rap song that boldly (and correctly) predicted the Mets 1986 World Series victory.

The advent of the pop-music form of rap probably helped bring some athletes out of their shells, thinking that by simply talking to the beat they could disguise the fact that range on the baseball diamond does not equate with vocal range. Nevertheless, before rap revealed that rhythm and finesse on the field are not related to any musical qualities, some jocks were still willing to step up to the mic.

Four members of the 1981 Dodgers' Big Blue Wreckin' Crew recorded a 45rpm single for Elektra Records -- "We Are the Champions" with the b-side "Theme from 'New York New York.'" Seldom in the history of recorded music, especially major label history, have vocalists sounded so obviously uncomfortable and out-of-place (and out-of-tune).

"Get Metsmerized" was not the first entry in the New York Mets team discography. In 1969 Buddha Records released "The Amazing Mets," an LP of showtunes and pop music as sung by members of the World Series champion "Miracle" Mets squad. It lacked the audacity of the 1986 Mets record, having been recorded after the season. But what it lacks in hubris, it more than makes up for in teamwork -- no less than 30 Mets voices appear on the record.

Despite obvious memorabilic and comedic value, none of these records are exactly essential additions to your collection (unless you're a big sports and record collector dork like me). I'm still working on acquiring the two Mets records, but I have a couple of sources for the 1969 LP. The 1986 record is proving more ellusive, so if anyone out there can help me get my hands on it, please let me know. I also would love to hear about any other records made by sports teams that you are aware of.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Not frustrated? Then take a hike.

After blowing another game yesterday and once again failing to prove his worth to Mets fans, Victor Zambrano said he's "not frustrated." Really? He should be. Victor must not be familiar with the old phrase, "if you're not pissed off, then you must not be paying attention." If I had an e.r.a. of almost 10, I'd be frustrated. Add to that the fact that the team I played for had traded their top pitching prospect for me, add I would be damn sure to show some public concern for my lack of results.

The situation is only made worse because Kris Benson now calls Camden Yards his home; at least if things had gone south with Kris, we still would have had Anna around. Minaya and Co. better do something about the Zambrano Syndrome soon or it will turn into their own Iraq. Right now there's no apparent exit strategy and innocent Mets fans are in danger of having their dreams shattered.

In other news, it appears that Doug Mientkiewicz has finally given up his fight for his little balls. Okay, that was a cheap shot. But really, how cheap is this bastard? It's not enough for him that he was a member of the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox. It's not enough that he was playing in the field when that historic out was made. It's not enough that he was able to live what so many tens of millions of us could only dream of. No, he needs to piss and moan and play keep away with the ball that was the last out, even joking that it was his "retirement fund." He makes over $2 million a year, people, and he's not very good.

But pissing and moaning is something he does well. He was bitter when the Mets sent him packing. He really never liked being there, he claimed, and was happy to be moving on. I'm sure he's loving life in Kansas City. And I know we really miss him in Shea. All we have is this Delgado guy. Talk about frustrating.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Fantasy Baseball Ruined My Life

Chad M

Last night before I was about to go to bed, I opened my browser to check on my fantasy baseball team. My default page contains (among other things) a section with MLB news headlines, and in looking at these last night, one headline stuck out: "Derrek Lee injured in Cubs win."

Now, I'd like to consider myself a Cubs fan. For a year and a half I lived within walking distance from Wrigley Field, and I tried to support my Cubs (though not necessarily all of their fans) on a regular basis. However, I am disappointed in myself to say that upon viewing the aforementioned headline, my first reaction was not "Oh no! Derrek Lee is injured!", or even, "Well, at least the Cubs won." Nope, my first thought was "Derrek Lee is injured? That should really help my fantasy team!"

If you have read any fantasy baseball magazines, you have probably seen sections with general advise on how to win. These sections include tips ranging from the obvious (try to spend all of your allotted money) to the obscure (Pitchers tend to break out in their third year in the majors) to the utterly ridiculous (try to get your friends drunk the night before the draft so they are hung over the next day). One rule common to most any list of fantasy tips is a rule stating that you should not draft a player just because you like him, or just because he plays for your favorite team.

Now, I would not hypothesize that this last tip is a poor one if you're looking for victory in your league. But, I have to say that even though following this rule gives one an advantage in fantasy baseball, it takes some of the enjoyment out of watching a real game. I still cheer for the Cubs, but since I only have two Cubs on my team (and only one who actually plays) a Michael Barrett home run is, unfortunately, just a little less exciting. Call me selfish, but when something positively affects the Cubs and negatively affects me, I feel some conflict.

To give fantasy baseball some credit, if the Reds are playing the Braves on TBS, I can actually watch the game now. Part of it comes from my ability, gained through investment fantasy baseball, to actually cheer for some Reds players that are on my fantasy team, but another part of it comes from my increased knowledge of the players. Because of the necessities of draft preparation (e.g., researching up-and-comers and recent trade acquisitions), I can watch more teams with fewer instances of thinking, "I've never heard of half of these guys."

So, until my fantasy team completely tanks, I'll do whatever I can to try to separate fantasy from reality and put aside my own interests when the Cubs are on. On the bright side, my fantasy team totally sucks, so I'll likely only have to worry about this for another three weeks at the most.

Chad M

My name is Chad and my bio reads much like an amalgam of the other bios on this site. I'm from the midwest, but I now live in a big city (Phoenix) that I don't really care for because I sometimes prefer to go to establishments that aren't in strip malls. I'm a graduate student in Social Psychology, which doesn't impress many people outside of the field of Social Psychology. Forgive me if my posts read like a research article; that's all I usually write.

I listen to music alot. I drink too much. I work too much but accomplish too little. I sleep from 1:00 to 7:00. I watch baseball when I can.

Albert Pujols and the anatomy of a "boo"

Ben Godar

Albert Pujols wants us to stop booing Juan Encarnacion, and that’s got me thinking about what the role of a true fan should be when it comes to the Bronx cheer.’s excellent Cardinals reporter, Matthew Leach, reported Pujols’ comments – basically saying he was mad with fans for booing Encarnacion, who is working hard but frustrated. The crux of Pujols argument seems to be that Encarnacion knows he’s struggling, and booing him won’t help him turn it around.

The declaration from H.H. Albert Pujols has touched off a fierce debate among Cardinals fans, but the question is relevant to any follower of The Game.

Booing the home team is generally a classless move born of ignorance. It often comes from fair-weather fans who don’t know a sac bunt from their camera phone. Or it comes from Neanderthals in places like Philadelphia, who take great pride in booing Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Firefighters and anybody else who has the audacity to step before them.

That said, I don’t buy into this notion that we should never boo the home team. I’m sure booing Juan Encarnacion won’t help him, but blindly supporting even the ineptness of your team is the kind of thing that creates the Chicago Cubs.

Juan Encarnacion has done nothing to warrant my respect. Some argue I owe him my allegiance simply because he wears a Cardinals uniform. But I’ve never bought into that blind Patriotism, "either you’re with us or against us" mentality.

I would never boo Jim Edmonds, even though I’ve watched him strike out with runners on base at least 10,000 times. Why? Because I’ve also watched Jim Edmonds bust his ass for the team and come up with at least as many clutch hits. And shame on the people booing Jason Isringhausen, another veteran who’s shown us he will walk at least two batters but still get the save.

Juan Encarnacion is another story. It wouldn’t be fair to boo just because he’s off to a slow start, but the man is playing bad baseball. Really bad. Pujols only won Sunday’s game with that walk-off homer because Encarnacion gave the Reds the lead by duffing an easy fly ball. A few games before that, he was doubled off first base on a lazy fly to left field. The game before, he was almost doubled off when he inexplicably went halfway to second on a short fly to RIGHT FIELD!

Had I been there when Encarnacion was doubled off first, I would have booed. In fact, I would have asked him where his head was, suggested a location I suspected it was, and asked him to remove it from said place.

If Encarnacion comes around, I’ll be cheering him on – and that does not make me a fair-weather fan. It just makes me a fan who holds even my own team to a certain standard. I’m a Cardinals fan because I like to watch good baseball. It’s the job of the fan to encourage good baseball. We supported this team long before these players arrived, and we will be supporting it long after they are gone. It’s our job to call a bum a bum.

A Marquis Moment

Ben Godar

Albert Pujols epic walk-off homer, his third of the day, was the story of Sunday's Cards/Reds game. But something even more interesting and unusual happened just before that blast.

With position player Gary Bennett still on the bench, Tony LaRussa brought in pitcher Jason Marquis to pinch-hit ahead of Mr. Pujols. The reason? Marquis can flat out hit - last year, to the tune of .310 in a not-insignificant 87 at bats. The pitcher, who would start the very next day, lined a single into center field. Marquis' hit allowed Pujols homer to end the game.

I don't know that I've ever seen a situation quite like it - a pitcher used to pinch hit, not just to lay down a bunt, with a position player still on the bench. It was an elegant move that highlighted the beauty of the NATIONAL LEAGUE game.

When you play The Game the right way, the pitcher is just another position player, albeit with an extremely demanding role on the defensive side. The light-hitting pitcher is a practical result of a demanding defensive position, not an immutable truth and certainly not something that should ever have been put into the rule book by the Junior Circuit.

You can have your David Ortiz mashers swinging from their heels. I'll take a pinch hit from Jason Marquis.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jackie Robinson, Radical Abolitionist

Mr. P

We all pick on the often-ridiculous remarks made on programs like Baseball Tonight. It’s not too hard—really, just pick any night and there’s bound to be something absolutely stupid said by Harold Reynolds or John Kruk. But the other night Buster Olney decided to give his “writer’s” perspective on Jackie Robinson Day celebrated all MLB games last Saturday. And this was beyond ridiculous.

In Olney’s esteemed opinion, the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson was as significant a moment for the 20th century as the Emancipation Proclamation was for the 19th century. That’s right, someone playing baseball is the historical equivalent of freeing the slaves.

First things first: The integration of baseball is NOT as significant a moment for the 20th century as the Emancipation Proclamation was for the 19th century. We’re comparing apples to oranges here. It’s just not true if you’ve read any history, and comparing the two is honestly offensive. Hey Buster—pull your head out of your ass.

But the point that Olney raises is part of a bigger problem. This myth that baseball was at the forefront of Civil Rights in the 20th century is a bit tiresome. Yes, baseball integrated before the Army did, and Robinson arrived in the Major Leagues before the huge upsurge of Civil Rights protests in the 1950s and 60s. But the story of Robinson is now used by MLB to suggest that Robinson’s integration of baseball solved the problem in 1946. It took decades before African Americans were on all major league teams. And if the MLB is such a great figure of equal rights, where are all the minority managers, owners, and front office people? While declining, the good ol’ boy network still seems to be running fairly smoothly.

We should certainly celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at every ballpark across the United States. But we shouldn’t trip over ourselves to congratulate the game on its “foresight” in racial equality. Branch Rickey brought Robinson up because he could play, and he could play cheap. Celebrate the integration of baseball by all means, but the MLB’s celebration of Jackie Robinson Day in some ways seems a little like the league congratulating itself on implementing a steroid policy in 2005.

Mr. P

Weight: 185
Height: 5’11’’
Throws: Right
Bats: Right

My name's Tom, and I’m a native Midwesterner, with Chicago as my current adopted home. Although my personal experience with the game of baseball came mostly from the lonely environs of right field and the #9 batting slot, I have managed to stay interested in the game by watching the futility of the Chicago Cubs. I enjoy the NL brand of baseball, the taste of the Brewers' “stadium sauce,” Notre Dame football, and think “team chemistry” and “scrappy” are the two most meaningless phrases in baseball.

Dear friend, please send baseball news

Dr. Uetz
My local newspaper is not good. It's really a horrible disappointment. How bad is it? They once ran as the headline and feature story the winner of CBS' Survivor. I'm dead serious. I woke up one morning and the front page was plastered with news of who had been the last one on the island. At that moment the Des Moines Register sealed the deal for me. It was officially dog shit and has only continued to get worse. And I was comforted by a story last week on NPR that used the Register as an example of greater concerns.

But before that story I had major concerns. And since the start of this year's Major League Baseball season I have been teetering on the edge of sheer rage. You see the Register now has decided that it only needs to cover baseball teams in the Midwest. Anyone who is a fan of a team other than the Cubs, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals, or Royals is on their own for information. Unless your boys happened to play a game against one of the Midwest teams you are shit out of luck. Yesterday the Mets, my favorite team since I was child, improved their record to 10-2 with a win over their rivals the Atlanta Braves. It was also Pedro Martinez's 200th career win. The Register gave me one sentence about the game, one lousy sentence. And it was the same for every other non-Midwest team. This is a crime. I'm a fan of the game. I want to know what happened throughout the league. But I guess I'm supposed to be grateful to get anything at all from this rag.

This has been the trend for the last few years but it has gotten ridiculous. Midwest teams get a paragraph and every other game gets one sentence. Real newspapers seem to find a way to give you good solid information about all major league games. I recently was in Baltimore for a bachelor party and was blown away by the coverage the Baltimore Sun had of the ENTIRE MAJOR LEAGUE. Obviously there are two MLB teams in the area, so I understand the in depth coverage of the Orioles and Nationals. But the Sun found a way to give me at least one solid paragraph about every game played the day before. And the really interesting games got two paragraphs of coverage.

The Register this year also drastically pared down the amount of information provided in the league standings and day's pitching matchups. Not so the Sun and numerous other papers across the country. And what truly amazes me is that the Register is owned by Gannett who also owns USA Today. The only thing I have ever liked about USA Today was the sports section. What the hell happened? The Register doesn't even list a team's win/loss streak anymore. They sometimes never run the box scores of late west coast games.

The Des Moines Register, of course, still claims to be the newspaper Iowa depends on. Don't believe it. We can do without it. The Register publisher interviewed by NPR used the recent controversy in Iowa over Touchply machines as an example of their hard hitting journalism. She claims they broke the story and changed Iowa's laws. But the gambling industry broke the story. And their campaign contributions changed the laws.

But I'm getting off track here and I have to get going. There's a lot I don't know about what happened in baseball yesterday. The Des Moines Register wouldn't tell me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mets fans make it hard to support their team

Ed McElvain

I caught my first in-person game of the 2006 season yesterday, watching my Brewers overmatched by the Mets at Shea. It was a good game, well played by both teams until the 8th inning, when the Brewers bullpen, already down by one run, gave up a five-spot.

In that 8th inning Jose Reyes drew a lead-off walk. So, the Mets have the fastest man in the league on base with no one out, only up by one run. This is a situation that calls for a few throws to first to keep the guy honest about his lead, right? Right. You and I know that because we understand the game of baseball. However, whenever Brewers' pitcher Jorge De La Rosa threw over to first base, the Mets fans booed. I can understand if the guy is really stalling, throwing more to first than pitches to the plate, but that was not the case.

As this was happening, my girlfriend asked me if I liked Mets fans. Being as they are my local NL team and I plan on rooting them on (whenever the Brewers aren't in town) in person a handful more times this season, I consider myself a Mets fan. Or at least one in training. So, I wanted to say yes, but at the same time I'm sitting in a stadium full of people booing a pickoff attempt in a situation that clearly calls for it.

So, my answer was and is, "I like smart baseball fans, no matter who they cheer for."

Sunday I was surrounded by people who were not smart baseball fans. Since I live here now, I'd like to become a Mets fan. I just hope I don't encounter too many more situations at Shea that make it embarrassing to count myself amongst them. It's hard to support a team whose fans don't seem to understand the game.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New Busch Stadium; same Harold Reynolds

Ben Godar

Yesterday was a good day to be a Cardinals fan. The new ballpark opened with a who’s who of legendary players: Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Willie McGee.

But the big question with any new ballpark is, how will it play? We probably won’t really know until at least the All-Star break, but that didn’t stop Baseball Tonight’s Harold Reynolds from making some bonehead predictions.

When designing Busch III, the Cardinals brass decided they wanted a park that played similar to the old park, and if anything skewing toward pitcher-friendly. The fences are slightly deeper everywhere but dead center, and a whopping 18 feet deeper in the power alleys. In other words, this stadium wasn’t designed to be one of these mini-golf parks like in Houston and Cincinnati.

But after exactly one game in the new digs, Harold Reynolds declared that the new park would favor hitters. As with most claims made by the ex-jock panel, HR’s were based on nothing more than the assumption that as a former player he has an innate sense of everything that will happen in The Game.

Reynolds reached further into his own ass to pull out the idea that "they have a lot of fly ball pitchers on that team." The Cardinals? Does this guy watch baseball?

So I thought I’d introduce some research into this flood of ignorance. If you look at ground ball/fly ball ratios, everyone in the St. Louis rotation ranks in the top 20 among starting pitchers. That shouldn’t be surprising, given the team led the league in double plays last season. So no, Harold, the Cardinals do not have a lot of fly ball pitchers. They have the most extreme ground ball staff around.

Nobody is certain how the new Busch Stadium is going to play. But based on the information we do have, it seems likely to play neutral or pitcher-friendly. And based on the lack of information coming from Harold Reynolds, it seems clear he is an idiot.

Witch hunts, smoking guns and other nonsense

Ben Godar

It’s hard to know where to stand on this steroid investigation. Is this righting a wrong or opening an old wound? Is the Commissioner’s Office asserting its authority or flailing helplessly? I’m not sure what the right answers are, but I do know some of the wrong ones – and I keep hearing them.

Here are a few things about Barry Bonds and steroids that I never want to hear again:

Witch hunt: On several occasions, I’ve heard all the scrutiny around Barry Bonds referred to as a "witch hunt." A witch hunt is when someone faces accusations without evidence. Barry Bonds is swimming in a sea of evidence. There have been suspicions leveled at many players, but none of them saw their personal trainer go to prison for distributing steroids or admitted to a grand jury that they used steroids, knowingly or otherwise.

Racially motivated: A particularly disgusting subset of the witch hunt crowd suggests that race is an issue. That’s only true if by race you mean "volumes of damning evidence." These folks often suggest that a cracker like Mark McGwire wasn’t subjected to such scrutiny. That’s funny, because I seem to remember when Big Mac refused to answer questions in front of Congress he was NAILED TO THE CROSS. But regardless of what happened with McGwire, Bonds is not being singled out because he's black. He's being singled out because his personal trainer is a convicted steroid dealer.

Smoking Gun: Every time someone lays out the volumes of evidence against Bonds, some self-appointed legal scholar will observe "there’s no smoking gun." There may be no videotape of Bonds putting a needle in his ass, but that hardly makes this a he said/she said situation. Even in a criminal court, the standard for guilt is only an absence of reasonable doubt. If you look at the sources behind Game of Shadows, it’s hard to harbor any doubts that could be termed as "reasonable." The fact that Barry Bonds used steroids is beyond rational dispute.

If anyone's ever to make sense of this situation, we at least should begin by dismissing these foolish ideas.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rollins streak ends on a classy note

Ben Godar

Jimmy Rollins 38-game hit streak ended this afternoon in Philly. He added two games to that streak this season thanks to a sound baseball decision by Tony LaRussa. Unfortunately, some writers and talking sports buffoons have suggested LaRussa asked his fighter to take a dive.

Check your facts, gentlemen.

LaRussa ordered a strike to be thrown to Rollins on a 3-0 count in the eighth inning on opening day. Then he told reporters he didn’t think Rollins streak should end with an intentional pass, implying some karmic connection to the way teams treated Mark McGwire in his prime. I call that a classy move, but it’s a moot point anyway.

What every story about the 3-0 strike seemed to omit was the fact that, at the time, the score was 13-5 Cardinals. With an eight run lead, you’d be a fool to walk anybody. There’s also a difference between throwing a strike and serving one up. This wasn’t taking a dive, it was sending your best stuff at their best and seeing what happens.

Isn’t that why we watch?

We’re being drowned by this Monday Morning Quarterback mentality. It’s good sport to second-guess the manager, or general manager, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re there to watch the game. There’s something wrong when sportswriters and fans are calling for more intentional walks.

And let’s not forget who we’re talking about here. This is Tony LaRussa, and whether you like him or not, it’s hard to argue he’s a true baseball man who follows a strict code for how the game should be played. When everyone in the league was walking Barry Bonds, LaRussa pitched to him, saying "I don’t want to send a message to our guys that they can’t get somebody out."

That’s old school. That’s how the game should be played. Don’t let anybody tell you different.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ryan Freel, the scrappy little MVP that no one noticed

Ed McElvain

I've long been a fan of "super-sub" type ball players. Just ask anyone in my fantasy baseball league, I usually have at least a couple of these guys on my roster. My current favorite is Cincinnati’s Ryan Freel.

Freel can play four positions on the field with competency and can fake his way through two others in a pinch. He's not afraid of having to use a stain-remover on his jersey after a game. He impacts games with his speed and by playing aggressive, head's-up baseball. In other words, he is the very definition of "scrappy."

Today Freel took advantage of a start at secondbase against the Cubs by getting on base three times, stealing three bags, and scoring three runs. Nevertheless, in a game where six baseballs were hit over the fence on the fly, the long ball highlights will overshadow Ryan Freel’s role today.

The Cubs' radio postgame show barely mentioned Freel. The AP game recap (used on, CBS Sportsline, and Yahoo! Sports) doesn't mention him at all. The game recap on gives Freel credit for "manufactur(ing) an insurance run," but fails to mention that his three total runs scored were the difference between a win and a loss in the 8-6 game. Not to mention that he actually manufactured two runs.

Was I listening to the same game that these reporters were watching? I'm sick to death of baseball reporters being so homerun happy that they won't give a guy credit for a game-impacting performance unless he hits the ball really, really far.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I think you're in my seat, Roger.

Dr. Uetz
This morning's paper had a lovely little piece about Roger Clemens. It seems he watched yesterday's Texas game from the stands, still unsure if he will retire or come back for a 23rd season of baseball. Can we let it go already? This guy makes Michael Jordan look more decisive than Hitler. Look, redneck, shit or get off the pot. As much as I enjoyed your snubbing of the Yankees to play for Houston, it's time to leave us alone. The season has started and there are other things for true baseball fans to discuss.

God bless the Cubs for giving their fans at least one more day of hope. They managed to pound the Reds, 16-7. How long will they continue to tease their followers? I'm going to say that June 2 will mark the beginning of the end for Dusty and his poorly managed crew. That's the day they start their 10 game road trip, kicking it off with three in St. Louis.

But I could be wrong. The Cubs are unbeaten right now. This could be the year. After all, the Red Sox and White Sox have had their turns. Isn't it time the Cubs finally kicked the goat off their backs and won the Series? No. Not even close.

I'm not sure who will win it all this year. I'd love to say the Mets but they're not quite there. Watch those Central divisions. They're often undervalued by the media.