"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do, I stare out the window and wait for spring." - Rogers Hornsby

al yellon rants about the Cubs, the universe, and everything
:: welcome to 'and another thing!' - voted by readers as Best Cubs Blog 2004

:: Cubs' final 2004 record: 89-73, 3rd NL Central, -16. Last game: 10-8 win over Braves
:: Al's final 2004 record: 51-41, .554 (44-37 home, 7-4 road)
:: Cubs' 2004 record in all other games: 38-32, .543 (1-0 home, 37-32 road)
:: Next spring training game: Thursday, March 3, 2005, vs. A's at Phoenix, 2:05 pm CT
:: Next game: Monday, April 4, 2005, vs. Diamondbacks at Phoenix, 4:40 pm CT
If you had a Java-capable browser, you'd know how much time is left till the Cubs opener! If you had a Java-capable browser, you'd know how much time is left till the Cubs opener!

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:: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 ::

A Rant

Many of the newspaper sites on the Web require free registration, including the Chicago Tribune, which also runs chicagosports.com.

For years the site has used a "username" for login. Today they changed it to "e-mail address". Well, I've changed primary e-mail addresses a couple of times in recent years. And do I remember the e-mail address I used to sign up years ago? After racking my brains and trying a couple of them, I found it.

I figure they are guessing a lot of people will forget and have to sign up again, because on their registration page today they say:

From time to time, we will send you e-mail announcements on new features, products and services from the Chicago Tribune and selected advertisers and affiliates. The quality news and information in chicagotribune.com is supported by advertising revenue, and a controlled program of e-mail marketing is an important element of our online publishing business. We limit the amount of advertising you receive.

They do give you an link for opting out of commercial e-mail, but if you check it, they go on to say that even if you opt out:

However, we will continue to include you in our e-mail announcements, as explained above.

Yeah, just what I want, more spam. And further, unlike the New York Times which saves your information on your computer so you don't have to log in each time, the Tribune site makes you log in every time you go there, not saving your information from session to session.

:: posted by Al at 6:40 PM [+] ::
...
:: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 ::
Congratulations To Ryne Sandberg!

Ryno was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame today, receiving 76.2% of the vote, or six votes to spare, on his third year of eligibility.

Wade Boggs was also elected, with 91.8% of the vote, becoming the 41st player to get in on his first try, and that is also the nineteenth-highest vote total in HoF history.

I feel a special affinity to Sandberg, not only as a member of the Cubs for so many years, and as a leader of the 1984 playoff team, but he is probably the first Hall of Famer whose career I saw in its entirety.

And that leads me to an anecdote.

Along with 18,872 other Cub fan masochists, I attended the last date of the 1981 season at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Phillies. It was a strike year; the Cubs were winding up a horrid 38-65 year and the Phillies were on their way to the split-season playoffs.

And on that last day, September 27, the Cubs and Phillies played a doubleheader. In the first game, Cub-killer Steve Carlton beat the Cubs 5-2, but somehow, in the second game, a makeshift lineup that included Tye Waller (four hits) and Pat Tabler (1st major league home run) scored twelve runs in the first four innings on their way to a bizarre 14-0 victory.

With a team going to the playoffs, the Phillies pulled all their regulars and put in reserves like Greg Gross, Del Unser, George Vukovich, Bob Dernier, and a skinny kid shortstop named... Ryne Sandberg.

Sandberg had been a September callup for the Phillies and had been a defensive replacement and pinch-hitter up to that date, and on that sunny Sunday, he got his first major league hit, a little flare of a single to right field off Mike Krukow, and his only hit not in a Cubs uniform.

I wish I could tell you that I remembered it better than that, but who knew that a 22-year-old shortstop wearing #37 for the opposition, would eventually become one of the best-loved Cubs ever, and today a member of the Hall of Fame? I sure didn't.

But I can say I was there. Congratulations, Ryno. Now let's hope for the Veterans Committee to add some more joy to the Cub family by voting Ron Santo in. Vets Committee voting will be released on March 2.

:: posted by Al at 1:22 PM [+] ::
...
:: Monday, January 03, 2005 ::
And Now For Something Completely Different!

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Yes, I'm spending a portion of this holiday week in the Valley of the Sun, though there hasn't been too much sun here this weekend and in fact, right now it's about 55 degrees and pouring down rain, just enough time to tell you about the trek my son Mark and I made last night to downtown Phoenix to see the Suns take on the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was worth it in an historic sense. The Suns beat the Blazers 117-98, but most newsworthy was Amare Stoudemire's 50-point game, the fifth in Suns history and the fourth such game in the NBA this year -- they do tend to be about this rare, last year there were six fifty-point or more games, and as such I was pleased to be part of a small bit of sports history. NBA regular-season games don't tend to have that much energy, but toward the end, even though this was beginning to become a blowout, the crowd sensed Stoudemire (who is definitely the real deal, proof that players can come out of high school and dominate pro basketball without sitting around with an attitude while not playing) getting close to that milestone, and erupted when he finally reached it.

This was the first sporting event I had attended since the last day of the baseball season, and it really drove home the difference between baseball, designed to be an everyday event, and other sports, particularly the NBA, which has become much more theater than sport. There were the obligatory cheerleaders, including "junior" versions of same, nine- or ten- year-old dancers, many on-floor contests, indoor fireworks, and even the Suns players getting involved in the loudness of the player introductions, ending them in some sort of dance-around-in-a-circle that reminded me of what baseball players do when someone hits a walk-off home run.

Still and all, we had fun, we both got Shawn Marion bobbleheads, though oddly, instead of handing them out when you get inside the arena, we were handed cards that had to be redeemed at The Sports Authority, where you get not only the bobblehead but a stand that will accomodate the four other Suns dolls that will be given away later this season, none of which we are likely to obtain.

After the game they let kids onto the floor to shoot a free-throw (one, and I got shooed away from the expensive seats when I tried to get close enough to watch), which Mark liked.

Oh, and try doing this in Chicago. I got a free place to park on the street in downtown Phoenix.

:: posted by Al at 3:11 PM [+] ::
...
:: Sunday, January 02, 2005 ::
Something You Should Know...

... if you don't already.

On the Sun-Times website and in today's paper, somebody named Dale Bowman, a self-professed Sox fan, wrote this vitriolic article, trying to show why Ryne Sandberg should not be in the Hall of Fame.

It's riddled with errors and inconsistencies and is, in general, shoddy journalism. But what's most interesting about the article is that, unlike most online articles, particularly at the Sun-Times site, it doesn't give any link to contact the writer, or even who he is -- I didn't recognize his name.

So, a bit of Googling turned up this:

Bowman is a Sun-Times staff reporter, writing primarily about hunting and fishing matters, as seen here.

It is awfully gutless for them not to put his e-mail address at the bottom of the article, especially because he is not a guest columnist, but a member of their own staff. You can imagine why this happened -- I would think his e-mail box would wind up being filled today, and as such, I'm going to help you fill it up, by providing it to you, from one of the articles at the above link:

dale@DaleBowman.com

Speaking of "DaleBowman.com", here it is.

Note the photo of him with a Sox cap. Gutless is right. Feel free to fill up his e-mail box with the facts about a true Hall-of-Famer, Ryne Sandberg.

UPDATE: Even most Sox fans know what an idiot Bowman is. This thread on a Sox message board contains some well-thought-out and reasonable ideas from Sox fans on Sandberg's HoF worth.

:: posted by Al at 2:12 PM [+] ::
...

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