Sunday, February 29, 2004

Cubs Signings 

Kerry Wood: 3 years, $32.5 million. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable at $1 million annually over three years, and salaries of $7 million this season, $8.5 million in 2005 and $11 million in 2006. He has a no-trade clause for those three years. The option for 2007 is worth $13.5 million and has a $3 million buyout. It will be guaranteed if Wood pitches 400 innings between 2005 and 2006, but he can still reject it and become a free agent.

Derrek Lee: 3 years, $22.5 million. $5.5 million this season, $7 million in 2005 and $8 million in 2006. He also receives a $2 million signing bonus spread evenly over the three years.

Also, Dusty announced the rotation will be Wood, Maddux, Prior, Clement, Zambrano.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Babe Ruth took steroids!!!! 

Quite simply, one of the dumbest things I've ever read:

Houston Astros second baseman Jeff Kent said the steroids controversy is an embarrassment to baseball and that the public needs to rethink whether sports heroes of yore abstained from illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Kent told the Houston Chronicle in Friday's editions that he believes all players are at least tempted to use the drugs. He also said there's no way to know Roger Maris, Babe Ruth or any other great sluggers of the past weren't on drugs.

"Babe Ruth didn't do steroids?" he said at the Astros' spring camp in Kissimmee, Fla.. "How do you know? ... People are saying Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. How do you know those guys didn't do steroids? So all of a sudden, you've got guys doing steroids now in the 20th century, 21st century? Come on."

Kent continued: "Keep going backward. Pete Rose? Who knows? ... How do we know those guys were clean? Did they test those guys?"

Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, told the newspaper that he would "not dignify his comments with a response."

Barry Bonds, Kent's former teammate on the San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi were called December before a federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative.

Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, admitted to giving steroids to several players and was one of four men with ties to the BALCO charged this month with distributing steroids.

A quick history of steroids:

Scientist started testing Steroids in the 1930's on dogs and noticed an increase in muscle mass (steroid world, 1999-2001). Then in the 1940's some believe that steroids were given to people who were POW's and were suffering from malnutrition (steroid world, 1999-2001). In the 1950's Russian used steriods with their army to make their soliders stronger. By 1964, all the top steroids were on the market.

Well, I'm no doctor, but I'll play one on the internet. Babe Ruth was fat. He was not a dog, nor was he a POW. I don't think the fatness was due to anabolic steroids. It was due to hot dogs. Lou Gehrig died of a disease that was named after him. I don't believe that ALS was caused by steroids. Pete Rose gambled on baseball. I suppose it theoretically possible that steroids caused an increase in his testosterone level and was therefore responsible for his "macho" compulsive gambling. Right, Jeff? You idiot. Go race a motorcycle and shave that moustache. One more reason to hate the Astros. Go Cubs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Cubs TV Schedule and promos 

From MLB.com...

The Chicago Cubs today announced their local television schedule for the 2004 campaign.
A minimum of 159 regular-season contests will be televised in the Chicago area on WGN (68 games), Fox Sports Net Chicago (63 games), Fox Sports Net Plus (nine games) and WCIU (seven games). In addition, seven Cubs spring training affairs will be televised in Chicago (four on WGN and three on FSN).

Eight Cubs contests are currently scheduled to be televised by the Fox Network, while four games are scheduled for ESPN.

Fox Sports Net Chicago will televise the Cubs' April 5 season opener at Cincinnati. WGN's first telecast will take place April 8 at Cincinnati.

Cubs games have been televised by WGN since 1948. FSN began televising the Cubs on cable in 1999, while WCIU began televising the Cubs in 2000.

Chip Caray returns for his seventh season as the television play-by-play voice of the Cubs. Analyst Steve Stone returns to the television booth for his second consecutive season and his 17th year as a Cubs broadcaster.

The number of WGN games keeps going down and down and down. I couldn't find much about this on the net, other than in '99, there were 92 games on WGN. That year was the beginning of the end of the Cubs on WGN with Fox Sports joining the party. I'm sure last year though, there were more than 68 games on WGN. Next year, this trend should continue, with the beginning of the Comcast Chicago sports TV network. For this year though, it looks like I'll have to break down and get the Extra Innings package.

In another story, the Cubs are doing some pretty cool giveaways this year. When you enter the park, you are given a scratch-off card and have roughly a 1-200 chance of winning a retro jersey. Here's the jersey list:

1992 Greg Maddux #31 home jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1908 Cubs home jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1958 Ernie Banks #14 road jersey by Mitchell & Ness

2004 Mark Prior #22 home jersey by Majestic Athletic

1969 Ron Santo #10 road jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1998 Sammy Sosa #21 home jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1984 Ryne Sandberg #23 home jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1978 Bill Buckner #22 road jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1984 Rick Sutcliffe #40 road jersey by Mitchell & Ness

2004 Kerry Wood #34 road jersey by Majestic Athletic

1945 Andy Pafko #48 road jersey by Mitchell & Ness

1990 Andre Dawson #8 home jersey by Mitchell & Ness

Since none of you were charitable enough to buy me a Greg Maddux jersey that I so graciously linked to on this page, maybe someone will give me one of these.

Thank you, Jesus!!!! 

Friday, February 20, 2004

#2 Starter? 

"I'd rather face two power pitchers back to back if I was hitting because the second day power pitcher is not going to be as effective as the first day power pitcher," Baker said. "It's kind of counter productive to the second guy. I've thought about that." - Dusty Baker, yesterday.

Well, now do I get tickets for game 2 or game 3 of the Reds/Cubs opening series when they go on sale Saturday?

Anyone know how I can get a 2004 Media Guide?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

OK, everyone, since you're at this site searching for it... 

Here's the link for you to buy a Greg Maddux Cubs jersey. While you're at it, pick up one for me too!

Buy one for Joe!

More on Maddux  

3 years, $24 million for Maddux. $6 million for 2004, and $9 million for '05 & '06. The third year is only guaranteed if he exceeds 400 IP in 2004-05.

Paul Bako on Maddux: ...who served as Maddux's personal catcher in Atlanta for most of the 2001 season, maintains that the 2004 Cubs rotation is "as good or better than any Braves starting staffs," including the ones featuring Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

"But that doesn't mean anything until we go out there and play," Bako said.

Unfortunately, that "we" does include "you", Paul. The names Casey Kopitzke, Fernando Lunar, Casey McGehee and Jose Reyes don't look too promising to overtake even someone with a .242 career average.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Welcome Back Greg! 

Well, the Cubs have a 3rd starter now. I know I'm relieved. And it's this guy!

Eat that Houston!

Some weird injury news from the Trib about some guys that were going to be in Arizona:

Three Cubs minor-leaguers suffered freak injuries in the last few weeks, including non-roster invitee Nate Frese, who broke his leg in a farm accident in Iowa. Frese, an infielder who hit .243 at Triple-A Iowa last year, had plates inserted into his leg during surgery and will miss the 2004 season. Frese, 26, was a contender for a reserve infielder spot on the Cubs' roster. … The other injuries were to right-handed pitcher John Webb, who broke his leg chasing a dog down the stairs, and infielder Brendan Harris, who woke up one day with a sore knee and will undergo arthroscopic surgery. Harris, who will miss up to 12 weeks, doesn't know how he was injured. Webb, who is on the 40-man roster, had surgery Monday and will be out until mid-June.

I hate it when I wake up with a sore knee and I have to have arthroscopic surgery.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Good God! It's a site update!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Hi to the few readers I may have left and a hearty hello to all you people out there just looking for your daily fix of "Joe".
I promise, especially with pitchers and catchers reporting on Wednesday, I'll have a lot more to say. Anyone know how I can get a copy of the 2004 Media Guide?

Looks like Scott Boras won't be using the Giants any more. But, hey he did get a few more million out of Jim Hendry. Please, let's sign him or move on. And if we sign him, let's trade for a catcher. So we don't have to see this:

Together again?

Just go away, Paul.

All the Cubs have to "worry" about is a soft tossing lefty pitcher in a bandbox and Fat Roger. It could be worse:

On another note though, please check out this posting from Curt Schilling (his nickname is "Gehrig38") on the Sons of Sam Horn message board. Curt practically wrote enough to fill a short novel over there about pitching, baseball and the work he puts into it. On the last page, he also mentions the current situation with Maddux and the Cubs. This is really good stuff, and I know Curt is known to be an avid computer user and internet gamer, but the main reason he agreed to the Red Sox trade was the fanatic nature of their fans and his desire to bring a championship to Boston.

However, I am going to quote probably the most interesting post that Schilling in regards to agents:

When a player hires an agent like say Scott Boras, how much say does the player have as far as issues such as wanting to take a hometown discount, etc?

Understand one thing, the player ALWAYS, ALWAYS, has 100% say in every single matter regarding ANY issues the agent is HIRED to oversee. If not, the player can fire the agent at any point in time. Agents work for players. The unfortunate fact is that some agents have made this appear exactly the opposite. As the player in this relationship, I'm the employer, period. My agent says what I want him to say, to whom I want him to say it. He represents ME, at every turn, and in every conversation when talking with anyone about my career. It would be naive to think that we all understand this, because we don't. I certainly didn't early in my career. I looked at these guys with some reverance, these college grad three piece suit wearing lawyers. It's a bit intimidating, especially when they start talking about the major leagues as if they'd spent their whole lives in and around the game. The hard charging ones keep this approach I think, it allows them alot more leeway on their end, to do their thing during negotiations. I realized very early on that every time my agent(s) opened their mouths in public the fans, the people reading the sports pages, took that quote as if I'd said it, that the agents really did speak on my behalf, regardless of how stupid their comments may have been. There is no question that as a young player you definitely must have an agent, clubs will take advantage of players that don't have representation at this stage of their careers, especially now with so many foreign players playing in the major leagues. The language barrier is a pretty daunting thing in most cases. BUt i think at some point there becomes zero need to have an agent represent you. At some point you know the market, if you have an ounce of integrity, pride, you know your place in that market, you know your worth within the sport. THe next decision to be made is whether or not you want to get every penny of that worth, or whether settling for "less" is still ok. I retain a lawyer now, who handles the fine print of contract language for me, and I have someone outside handling all the PR things that need to be taken care of. It used to be that agents were one stop shopping for these services but I have found that to be less and less that case these days. My agents used to handle all of my off the field stuff, as well as the normal day to day things like handling finances. As an agencies client list grows, their desire to handle these items diminishes.
So in short, I think players need agents early in their career, but I honestly think that most players could do fine for themselves, and the game by representing themselves later.
That being said, there are some players that just don't want to handle the agent side of things, the contracts, the hassle and stuff. That's what agents are for IMO, they gladly pay their 5-10% off the top to have someone else do it. I can't, I can't justify paying someone that kind of money to do something I could easily do myself, with alot less headache. IT's the main reason I have done my last two contract extensions and was heavily involved in my first contract extension, it's my life, my families future, no one on this planet is going to look out for my family and I with as much concern and I would, or do.

My feeling is that with someone like Boras, the groundrules are laid out as the agent has his reputation to get top dollar that he needs to protect.

IF that's what a player is after, top dollar, then that's your guy I guess. I have never liked Scott Boras, nor anything he's done. He represents alot of players i respect and love to watch play, but I don't think he does the game any service in any way. Anyone think JD Drew was better off sitting out for a full year of professional baseball? I'm not sure what JD thinks but I wonder if he'd do it differently given another chance, how about Tek? I'm curious to know how he feels about the whole situation he went through during the draft situation.

What prepared you to be able to handle your own negotiations?

My desire to play in a place that I wanted, and that wanted me, and my desire to take care of my own future.

Can you give us some insight into how much an agent influences the game by things such as exchanging favors with GMs regarding giving opportunities to veterans that are their clients and how an agent goes about marketing a player for this ml contract?

I don't think there can be any question that this sort of thing goes on in alot of different situations. And it was just one more reason to not be represented. If your Joe Smith the agent, and you have Pitcher A who's a 27 year old phenom, and pitcher B who's a 33 year old average guy, and both are free agents, which of those guys are teams after? Which of those guys is gonna get the lions share of attention? If I am pitcher B is the person out there representing me working on my situation 24/7? Hell no. BUt if I am representing myself, it's gonna be a whole lot easier for me to know the landscape sooner and to find out the situation that works best for me faster, and if I understand the marketplace, then I understand where and who I fit best, and I can get something done. As opposed to phoning into the agents office three times a week and waiting for a call back to see if anyones interested, or if any offers were made.
Not to mention I don't have that buffer their with his OWN personal agenda, which all agents do.

I loved my agents, they all were in my wedding, and I stood up in two of theirs, they were like family to me. But when they decided to renig on a verbal agreement, and turn it into a business, we were through. EVen when we were close, and we saw each other often, I told them something I have always felt to be true, and to be at the foundation of the reason I have always had issues with that line of work.
"Agents are the ONLY people in baseball that take from the game, and give nothing back."
There may be the odd case in which this might not fit, but I haven't seen it. I haven't seen any agent, or agency, opening up inner city youth programs, helping underpriveleged kids get baseball gear, etc

I leave you with the Cubs E-Bay item of the day. Apparently Sammy and Julian enjoyed sharing pants!

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