Yesterday, Jay Cutler called Brian Urlacher the P-word and both spent some serious time laughing at it all. Which pretty much sounds like I thought it would. In more important news to Bears fans, training camp opened yesterday. The Bears allow fans to attend practices for free, so if you are near Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, feel free to drop by. Just FYI, there is no smoking or alcohol allowed on the campus anywhere.
Not much else to report on there.
Yesterday, on the North Side in baseball, the Cubs just laid waste to the Houston Astros. For whatever reason this year, the Cubs just have the Astros number. They swept them in May and then took 3 out of 4 this time around. Oddly enough, they are the only team with a winning record that the Cubs have accomplished that feat against. Hopefully, this is he precursor of good things to come.
In an quirky aside, both teams lost their starting pitcher after the game. The Cubs traded Kevin Hart to the Pirates and the Astros put Russ Ortiz on waivers. That has to be some kind of record, I just don’t know what kind.
BRIAN MCTAGGERT (MLB.com) takes a look at the carnage from the Astro’s point of view.
When the Astros arrived at Wrigley Field on Monday, they were a team on the rise and looking forward to facing the Cubs, who they were chasing in the National League Central division. They left wondering where the momentum had gone.
The Cubs feasted on a Houston starting pitcher for the second day in a row, chasing right-hander Russ Ortiz after nine hits and nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings to send the Astros to their fifth loss in six games, 12-3, on Thursday afternoon.
Ortiz, who was 0-3 with a 12.23 ERA in five July starts, was placed on waivers following the game for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.
Houston is now 4 games out of first and not looking like the threat they were when they came in. Things do not get any better for the Astros as they face off against St. Louis tonight. Frying pan? Meet fire.
On the South Side, the Sox faced the Beasts of the East, the New York Yankees, and slipped out with a win. In this case, I mean that literally. BRIAN HOCH (MLB.com) fills us in from the Yankee’s perspective.
The grounds crew at U.S. Cellular Field will have a little extra work to do before the next game, as Andy Pettitte guessed he’d extracted about a one-yard-long divot by slipping on the infield.
Little could the left-hander have known how much that chunk of grass would take away from him. Pettitte’s seventh-inning misstep on the slick turf erased another strong start and set up a costly White Sox rally in the Yankees’ deflating 3-2 loss on Thursday.
“It’s just like a rerun, every start right now,” said Pettitte, who has not logged a victory in five starts. “I’ve been feeling great, and it’s frustrating not to be able to get my team the ‘W.’”
Innings before Chicago’s DeWayne Wise took the flair out of a two-out ninth-inning Nick Swisher homer by driving in the winning run off reliever Phil Coke, Pettitte couldn’t corral a check-swing roller up the first-base line hit by Jim Thome, stumbling and falling as he tried to extend a tag.
“That ended up being a huge play in the game,” Pettitte said. “I’m not winning when I pitch right now, and that’s frustrating.”
An out after Pettitte’s slip, third baseman Alex Rodriguez couldn’t handle an A.J. Pierzynski smash that was originally scored an error before being revised by the official scorer as a hit.
So, to wrap up, the Bears are handing out free Meow Mix (TM) to the media, the Cubs and the Sox are still in contention and my bar tab is clean. All in all, not a bad way to head into the weekend.
Benedick: Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
Beatrice: A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
Benedick: God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall ‘scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beatrice: Scratching could not make it worse, an ‘twere such a face as yours were.
- William Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing
It is not often that the electronic bird cage liner offered daily by Jay makes me think of Shakespeare, but he* is clearly channeling Beatrice today. Simply put, Jay has a problem with men. Especially those that talk like men.
Let’s face it, whether or not Brian Urlacher has anointed himself The Diva of the Defense or called Jay Cutler a naughty word in a private conversation, is irrelevant. Guys talk to other guys like that. Assuming that the comment was accurately portrayed by Bobby Wade on his radio interview, we still don’t know if it was in jest or in frustration or what. We do know that Mr. Wade has called to apologize and that Mr. Urlacher denies the comment vehemently.
So, clearly, what we have here is a great opportunity to write about Urlacher’s prior usages of the “P-word.” What? You thought he* might actually write something meaningful? I thought you knew better than that.
You see, it all comes down to the fact that Brian fathered a child out of wedlock with a woman who has had less than meaningful relationships with the truth. Therefore, Brian deserves to be damned for all time and his ashes scattered over a sewage plant upon his demise. Read this if you can.
But here’s why the comments of Wade, who said Urlacher took the shot when they were together in Las Vegas recently, might not be so far-fetched: Urlacher has made such references before—concerning his young son, no less. Reckless and immature in his 20s in the big city, Urlacher fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a former exotic dancer named Tyna Robertson. The custody and visitation battles became heated, and, at one point, Robertson made public a series of text messages allegedly sent by Urlacher about her parenting of a boy who then was 2. The content of the texts never has been denied by Urlacher and his legal team. And if you have a child or simply a warm heart, you’ll cringe upon reading the one about little Kennedy.
“You’re raising a little p***y,’’ Urlacher wrote her.
That wasn’t all he texted, according to court papers filed by Robertson in 2007. She said he called her “a hooker’’ and “jealous bitch.’’ He ordered her to “grow the [bleep] up and quit praying and get a job.’’ He called her “a [bleeping] fruit cake who should “make one of your pimps drive you around.’’ As a topper, he allegedly told her, “Go to hell, you [bleeping bleep],’’ the second bleep being a particularly vicious word.
Now, go back and tell me what any of that has to do with Bobby Wade, Brian Urlacher or Jay Cutler? All it is, when you read it, is a chance for a tiny, disturbed, man* to use references to the word “pussy” in a national forum. And use it he* does. He* is like a 5 year old who has learned his first naughty word and, though it is devoid of meaning to said 5 year old, that word will be heard loud, long and often.
As any parent can tell you, while those utterances will be soundly discouraged, they often provide some great ice breakers at parties, such as “And then our little angel said to the priest, YOU’RE A BIG ....” Ah, the joys of parenthood.
Anyway, back to the point here, such as it is. Did Brian Urlacher say a naughty thing about the Bears new golden child? Maybe. I don’t know and neither do you. Certainly Jay is clueless (his* favorite movie this week).
If Urlacher did is it a problem? Probably not. Steve McMichaels, while at a private party at the Union Nightclub back in the 80’s, once called me a series of words that are not suitable for family viewing and then bought me a beer ten minutes later. And that was just because I said something nice about Jim Harbaugh. Imagine our conversation had I actually offended him.
In other words, he* wrote an entire column* about nothing. And, he* got paid for it. If there is any solace in all of this it is this; since Jay left the Sun Times, readership has gone up. Since he* joined AOL, readership has gone down. Coincidence? I think not.
Our very own blogger, myturn, has started a thread so CLICK HERE TO QUOTE THE BARD!
How odd was yesterday in Chicago baseball? I’m glad you asked. Mark Buehrle set a world’s record for the most batters retired in a row, at 45, and lost the game. Alfonso Soriano did his best “Betsy Ballerina” impression while spinning the wrong way to catch a ball and caught it anyway. Scott Podsednik seemed to set up perfectly on an easy fly ball and watched as it bounced in front of him and opened the flood gates for Buehrle’s loss. Fukudome drilled a shot back at the pitcher and watched it get caught under his shirt which allowed him to reach base safely.
Yes, as I noted, yesterday was odd. Let’s let the professional writers fill us in. First, for the Sox, JOE COWLEY (Sun Times).
Mark Buehrle gave it a hell of a run.
Making his first appearance on the mound since reaching perfection five days earlier, the White Sox left-handed pitcher wasn’t quite done stamping a place in major-league history on Tuesday.
What started off as ‘’How long will it last?’’ went to ‘’You’ve got to be kidding me’’ by the sixth inning, as Buehrle began the stanza once again pitching a perfect game.
But as the Sox have found out far too often in the Metrodome, good things end quickly in the Twins Cities for them, and they often end ugly.
Buehrle did establish a new major-league record, retiring 45 consecutive hitters to break the old record of 41 held by teammate Bobby Jenks and former Giants pitcher Jim Barr, but that mattered little on the scoreboard—Twins 5, Sox 3.
Just a little aside, Jim Barr set the record in 1972. Jenks tied it in 2007. That record has been around for a little while overall and I doubt we are going to see Buehrle’s number crash any time soon.
But, another record was set yesterday as well. The first time Mark Buehlre has been anything but pleasant to the media. He was a tad irritated after the loss, and it showed. Back to Joe.
‘’Right now, nothing,’’ Buehrle responded, when asked how he felt about his major-league record. ‘’This is the most fired up I’ve been after a game. I don’t mind if guys hit the ball hard, but I’m not big into broken-bat singles. Maybe it will mean more to me tomorrow when I cool off.’’
As Buehrle was taken out of the game midway through the seventh-inning meltdown, he did receive a standing ovation from the Metrodome crowd. Or maybe it was a thank-you, considering how the Twins (51-50) continue to feast off the Sox and their lack of fundamentals when the two teams meet on the turf.
In the meantime, on the North Side, the Cubs hosted a large group of potential investors who left the game early. Way to impress there guys! They actually managed to lose a game where all the breaks possible went their way. GORDON WITTENMYER (Sun Times) fills us in.
Almost every break that could go the Cubs’ way did on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros—from Houston ace Roy Oswalt’s early exit to Kosuke Fukudome’s single into pitcher Jeff Fulchino’s shirt to Alfonso Soriano’s 360-degree pirouette the wrong way to nonetheless make a catch in left field in the eighth inning.
But the only break that mattered at the end of the night was the Cubs’ broken five-game winning streak after Houston outhit the Cubs’ good fortune in an 11-6 victory at Wrigley Field—dropping the Cubs from first place in the National League Central.
Ryan Dempster’s rusty return from his broken right big toe lasted just five innings and left the Cubs in a 6-3 hole—despite Houston being forced to go to its bullpen in the second inning when Oswalt left the game with a lower back strain.
Except for a brief interlude of dumb luck and power in the fifth, it was mostly downhill for the Cubs after that.
‘’It was frustrating. It was by no means my best performance, that’s for sure,’’ said Dempster, whose throw into center field on a first-and-third, no-out comebacker contributed to a three-run third. ‘’And it was disappointing, too, because we played 13 innings [Monday] night, and I knew I was on a short pitch count, but I wanted to be able to give the bullpen a little bit of a break, so I feel I let those guys down.’’
So, for both teams, all the good stuff they could possibly ask to happen, happened, and they both lost anyway. As noted, it as an odd day.
My wife thinks I have an unhealthy fascination with ellipses. She is probably right. But, there are some thoughts that really don’t need to be finished, people know what you mean without taking the long way to the point. Oh well, one of these days, I’ll come up with something else. Until then ....
Oh, okay, I’ll stop now.
As many of you know, this site has long held that players who try and put the “I” in “team” should play anywhere but here. Yesterday, the Cubs won a much needed game against the Houston Astros to retain their half game lead over the Central Division pack. Naturally, it was a hard fought game fraught with drama. Well, for everyone but Soriano that is. For him, it was ALL about him. Check out this gem that PAUL SULLIVAN (Tribune) got yesterday after the game.
“I play nine innings all the time,” Soriano said. “I had three strikeouts and was 0-for-5, but in that last at-bat, I changed my day. I got the victory tonight, and I think everybody is happy now.”
Let’s play ‘fact check’, shall we? The game was 13 innings, not 9, and had not Soriano’s teammates kept the final inning alive he wouldn’t have gotten to bat in the first place. Also, as a bonus, this is the same player that hit a fair ball on the ground and just stood at the plate watching it roll in the 11th. That kind of hustle gets you benched in Little League.
Let’s face it, whatever success the Cubs have this season, and I think they are going to be just fine, it will not be due to the stunning displays of team work from Fonzi.
Also missing from his celebration of self was the fact that Zambrano pitched a heck of a game and Samardzija, pitching to Jake Fox, sealed the deal from the defensive side.
I wonder if he even knows who those guys are. After all, they don’t have Soriano on their jerseys, so they can’t really count for much, can they?
Anyway, on the South Side, the Sox traveled to the Horror-Dome and horked up a giant hairball on the nice artificial turf. Between the second inning from hell to the lackluster offense to the worlds oddest argument, yesterday is a day better forgotten. But, before we move on, let’s let our number one fan, JOE COWLEY (Sun Times), catch us up on that whole argument thing.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski deserves some credit.
He’s the only player on the White Sox capable of ticking off a teammate who understands only a few words of English.
But there were Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, jawing at each other in the dugout between the second and third innings of the eventual 4-3 loss to Minnesota.
Ramirez was angry enough to go after Pierzynski when he was walking away and had to be restrained by outfielder Jermaine Dye.
‘’I’m not commenting on that,’’ Dye said later.
Asked if it was over, Dye replied, ‘’Go ask the players involved or the manager.’’
Just another night for the Sox at the Metrodome.
When all was said and done, the sox lost 4-3. The only positive you can take from this is that Detroit lost too, so the Sox are still just 2 games out of first.
Sorry that’s really about it. Danks wasn’t bad, but everyone else was so terrible it kind of negated any effort on his part.
Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. - Romans 5:3-4
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11
Given the lamentations of Cubs fans as of late, their recent ascension into first place of the National League Central Division does seem to attain Biblical proportions. The “glass is half full” contingent bemoan the fact the Cubs can only beat bottom feeders as of late while the “glass is half empty” folks point out that wins are wins and you have to get them where you can. As in most arguments, there is truth in both positions.
The fact of the matter is this; as of right now, right here, the Cubs are ½ a game up in their division and that is better than they have been for quite some time. TONI GINNETTI (Sun Times) grabbed a quote from America’s #1 Team Player and looks at the overall picture.
‘’It matters where we’re at after 162,’’ Milton Bradley said. ‘’But it’s better to be chased than chasing.’’
Since the start of July, when they were looking up at three teams, the Cubs have gone 15-6 to climb over the Milwaukee Brewers, Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. In completing a three-game sweep of the Reds on Sunday with a 5-2 victory, they looked more like the team expected to be pursued than the squad stymied by injuries and an inconsistent offense.
‘’We’ve been through adversities with injuries and guys not having the years they usually have, but it’s nice to see everything coming together,’’ said Hill, a major figure in not only the victory but in how the team has stayed in contention as key players have taken turns on the disabled list.
Okay, I was kidding about that “America’s #1 Team Player” crack. The real team player is rookie Jake Fox who has played in 5 positions since being called up and three of them require different gloves. Toni, again, fills us in.
‘’I enjoy watching him play,’’ Piniella said of the rookie who now has played five positions—first base, third, left field, right and DH.
‘’It’s been a lot of fun coming to the park every day,’’ Fox said. ‘’I got another start today, and hopefully they feel confident enough to put me in anywhere they need me.
‘’I’m excited about how the team is playing and coming together. When you see people getting healthy and playing the way they’re capable of, that’s what’s great.
‘’I’m telling you, this is going to be an exciting second half. You just watch.’’
That, I think, is as fair an assessment as you are gong to get.
Yesterday my wife helped me put on my leg brace and get back into the swing of things. I had severely limited my activities for a couple of days after Buehrle’s perfect game. Those two events weren’t related at my house, so I was saddened that the Sox seemed to have joined me on my personal DL during that time. Nevertheless, yesterday, the new guy wearing the Clayton Richard suit went out and pitched a heck of a game and the Sox won 5-1 and avoided the ignominy of being swept.
He also gave Ozzie options he didn’t have less than 2 weeks ago. JOE COWLEY (Sun Times) fills us in.
Behind an early barrage of runs and Clayton Richard making the argument that maybe he should stay in the starting rotation a bit longer, the Sox held off the Tigers from completing the four-game sweep, beating them 5-1.
All Richard did was go eight innings for the second consecutive start, allowing just one run on five hits, while walking two and fanning three. More importantly, he gave the Sox brass something to talk about before the Twins series.
‘’Last two outings this kid has been great,’’ Guillen said. ‘’I’ve got to sit down with [general manager] Kenny [Williams on the plane ride to Minnesota] and talk about it. See if we have better ideas. What we have to do to keep him in the role, give him another shot. The way he pitched the last couple games, he’s been great.’’
Guillen was then asked if Richard had changed his mind about putting him back in the bullpen.
‘’To me, yeah. To me,’’ he said. ‘’I’m the boss of the team, the manager, but this team runs by coaches, manager and general manager. We do all things together. [Today] we should have a better idea.’’
Ozzie’s mangling of the English language aside, the Sox put themselves in this position since they could have easily won 3 of 4 in this series. Hopefully the pen will find its form of - way back when - like a month ago and this team will make a run for it.