kcab si yaraC yrraH (That's "Harry Caray is back," spelled backwards)

Years before most of the English-speaking world was convinced it could do a passable Harry Caray impression, Jim Volkman was a regular on Chicago radio and had established himself as the master Harry mimic.

Well, Harry (Jim) is back now, at 1908worldchampions.com, where he recently started a game-by-game commentary on the Cubs season, with assistance from two other great voices from the Cubs past, who, like Caray, happen to be dead: Jack Brickhouse and Lou Boudreau.


¡ʞɔɐq sı ʎɐɹɐɔ ʎɹɹɐɥ

I always knew you had vampire bat in you.

From baseball prospectus' Postseason Odds Report.

As I understand it, they simulate the season 1 million times every day to see how many times each team won/qualified/etc. The Cubs are given a 98.88866 percent chance of making the playoffs as of today, for example.

If they simulate it a million times exactly, how in the world can they need five numbers to the right of the decimal point?

Sorry, I guess this outs me as a math geek.

The answer to your question lies in their descriptions below the results:

"Champions is how often, in percentage terms, this team won the championship of their division. Ties are not broken, but credited as 0.5 championships apiece (for a two-way tie), .333 apiece for a three-way tie, .25 for four-way, etc. This is why the final decimal place is not an error!"

What were the Mets' chances at this point last season? Regardless of their odds right now, I won't trust it until October 1st (or thereabouts).

I'll chalk it up when the magic number for the playoffs hits 0. That will be before October 1st.

I believe they did an article on it last year that ranked the Mets' collapse as the worst ever. I can't find it though.

Seeding opponents by their chances of reaching post season play.

Cubs record vs opponent so far. (remaining games)

6-4 Brewers (6)
4-2 DBacks
2-0 Mets (4)
1-2 Phillies (4)
5-2 Dodgers
5-4 Cardinals (6)

Cubs are 12-6 vs top three seeds.


Perhaps most of you have already seen this, but the ESPN Inside Edge (free) has some pretty cool stats for each player on a player report card of sorts. For instance, 86% of Kerry Wood's 2 strike at-bats become outs. Lots of interesting percentage stats like that compared to league averages, and given letter grades.

Interestingly no Cub batter is rated any higher than a B overall, and I think Wood is the only one on the entire team over B+.

I like the marks for plate discipline for the starters... except Soriano. :-)

I mentioned it a few weeks ago in a post, but the Tribune posts them before and after each game as well.


Another interesting one... % runners faced who score. Cubs only have one pitcher who is above league average in this department. Howry many guesses do you need?

A few other notes:
* Some of the grades are likely to be fluid because A through F differs over only a few percent.
* I'm not sure how the overall grade is computed, but if it gives equal weighting to all of those factors, then it's suspect.
* The individual item grading is based on the assumption that certain actions are always desirable. For example, throwing strikes: while this is generally true, it doesn't take into consideration the value of a setup pitch outside the zone.

I suppose there are lots of nits we could pick with this data, but it is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Which team has the best starting rotation (1-5) in all of baseball?


Thanks for posting. Stark does a great job manipulating his email to advance the debate .

Nice delusional Brewer fans there. Best is the Cardinal fan talking about "when Carpetner comes back"

You should reply to him and say something like, "yeah, bro, when Carpenter comes back it will be like making a major trade for a top-tier starting pitcher."

I agree that the Cubs have the best overall playoff rotation depth. But the D-backs still scare the heck out of me for a 5 game series where Webb will pitch 2 of 5. Doesn't give us any margin of error.

It's all about game 1 in 5 game series, and I would say that Webb has the advantage over anyone in that game.

From article...
Can't overlook Tampa Bay's Big Three -- Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza and James Shields...

I love how everyone talks so matter-of-factly about how obvious it is that the Rays are so good this year. Let's get real about it for a minute... the Rays are defying the laws of physics and Kazmir, Garza, and Shields is not a rotation that warrants a first place ranking in front of the Yankees and Bosox.

The Rays are rubbish that refuses to lose.

"The Rays are rubbish that refuses to lose."

The Cards are rubbish that refuses to lose. The Rays are a team of good athletes outperforming their career lines and winning tight ball games. Their roster isn't intimidating, but they aren't all scrubs either.

That guy does a wonderful Caray impression, but his material sucks. True, Harry would occasionally say the wrong name, but not every other sentence. He would also get it right occasionally, so it was obvious that he had made a mistake (rather than the Jim Rome-esque approach of intentionally renaming people). He also wouldn't have ever said "Ryne" Dempster. "Rick Dempster" or "Rick Dempsey", maybe.

*shrug* Seems like this would be great if they would dial it back a bit.

You're definitely right about it being over the top, but I think that's what makes Volkman's take on Harry his own and some of the forced misnaming is pretty funny. In a recap of one of the Cubs/Reds games last week he referred to Johnny Cueto as Jose Cuervo, which Harry clearly would never have done in real life. Anyway, thanks for listening and offering the comment.

DUDE! It's a parody. It's not a one man's historical account of Harry Carray.

I've heard a lot of different people parody Harry over the years. Most of them just make me wince. This is the first guy I've heard who can do him convincingly enough to really fool me. But then he takes that mystique away by saying things that Harry wouldn't say.

I understand that he's just trying to be funny, but every Harry joke has already been told a million times. I'd rather just hear more realism. It's probably just me, but I was disappointed, depsite this guy's mad impersonation skillz (and certainly props are due for those).

I have a buddy who does an awfully good Harry. The best component of my guy's impression is the same one Volkman gets right: remembering that Harry had a lower vocal register. For the life of me, I will never understand how Will Ferrell got over with that head-voice, breathy nonsense of his. It bore no relationship to the real Harry, to my ears; and yet his is the impression everyone rips off.

This all makes me sound like a Harry devotee, when really my heart is along the Brickhouse/Boudreau/Lloyd axis. The impression of Brickhouse on Volkman's website needs work.

Over the top or not, I love it.

The Brickhouse impersonation is not quite there, but whoever does Boudreau is spot on ("yes, indeed").

All that's left is finding someone who can do Vince Lloyd.

Volkman does all the voices. He also does a devastating Steve Stone.

All the voices -- that's impressive. I hope Steve Stone drops into the Cub Pub for a visit.

Hope we have a better show against Karstens tonight than last time. Last chance to feast on the Pirates this year!

DUDE! It's a parody
Is that a reference to the Pirates mascot?

The Twins just got Eddie Guardado from the Rangers to help their bullpen down the stretch. Who did they have to give up for him? None other than the Twins Rookie League closer Mark Hamburger - you can't make this stuff up.

twins are disgusting...one of the worst organizations in baseball, imo.

so many years they're in competition...so many years they get it done spending next to nothing...so many years they get to the trade deadline and DO NOTHING EXCEPT TOKEN PICKUPS.

yes, they dont need/want to pick up someone they have to pay 15m the following year and they dont need/want to give up a ton of kids...but they constantly do...nothing.

a team legacy full of blown opportunities (or a least a chance to better their opportunities).

On similar lines...it's mind-boggling to me that they let Johan Santana go this year, then inked Joe Nathan to a 4-year/$47 million contract. Nathan was signed for $6 million for 2008 before they renegotiated.

They dealt Santana for a replaceable part for 2008 (Carlos Gomez, .256/.291/.348) and some down-the-road minor leaguers. Imagine this team with Johan Santana on it instead of Carlos Gomez. Spend part of what they committed to Nathan down the road on a CFer.

And at the beginning of the year, they were counting on 600 AB's from Michael Cuddyer too. The Twins not trying to win this year in particular is shameful. Santana, Nathan, Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer is a good enough nucleus to take a crack at it.

a nice argument until you consider the fact that Santana was gonna ask the Twins for a contract 2-3 times the value of what Nathan got. They just couldn't afford that and hope to hold on to the other players you mentioned as nucleus.

I mean make a run in 2008. Santana would have gotten an arbitration contract this year, then would have left as a free agent at the end. They had a real shot to make a run this year. Now, by the time the guys they got for Santana are good enough to be major leaguers, Mauer/Morneau/Cuddyer will get expensive and be gone. This was the Twins' window year.

Schedule Check:
31 games
16 home/15 away
15 .500+/16 .500-

32 games
13 home/19 away
26 .500+/6 .500-

30 games
15 home/15 away
21 .500+/9 .500-

Based on schedule alone, we should have no problem holding off the Cards by a significant amount. But the Brewers have by far the easist September schedule of the 3 teams.



" NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said."

...and more...

btw, look how small his hands are in relation to the baseball to gain a little respect for a "40mph fastball".

I read that and it's sad really how adult politics get in the way of the kids having fun. If that boys parents were really concerned about letting him develop his "gift" then they should find a more competitive league for the boy to join so that he could be challenged more to get even better.

...also Tapani, Aguilera and two rolls of duct tape acquired for when Guardado's arm falls off.

can Jacques Jones and Gary Gaetti be far behind?

White Sox are finishing a suspended game today from April when the Sox and Orioles ended tied 3-3 after 11.

Random question. Do the stats for this game including the final score count as an April game or August game? It's a pointless question, but I'm curious if the final score will be reflected in April when the game began, or August when the game finished?

I saw the recap of this game on ESPN. It counts as an April game. A notable former Cub stat is that Luis Montanez gets credit for playing a game 3 months before his major league debut. Also it gave the O's the AL East lead back in April.

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