The Dreaded All-Star Break

I can't begin to explain how much I hate the All-Star break and it's three days of nothing I care about.  That's even been stretched to four on occasion as they no longer mandatorily schedule a four-game set after the break. So we sit and twiddle our thumbs waiting for something exciting to happen as the Cubs plan how to make up either 3.5 games on the Cardinals or 5 games on the wild card in the last 76. Some stuff to discuss and think about it or ignore after the jump...

- Morally bankrupt for years, the Cubs may make it official ...oh, that's a financial bankruptcy filing. Supposedly some sort of legalese to facilitate the sale which does look more and more like it's going to go through rather shortly with the Ricketts.

- Pedro is flying to Philly to take a physical, presumambly to sign or maybe the doctors are really good in Philly.

-  Ex-Cub manager Jim Riggleman has been named interim manager of the Washington Nationals, just in time for the dead-cat new manager bounce as the Cubs start off the second half against them. Wonderful. How worried is Stephen Strasburg's arm right about now?

- Muskat says the Cubs will make a run at recently released reliever B.J. Ryan once he clears waivers. She adds this brilliant commentary.

He'd be a good addition if Ryan can regain the velocity that made him a dominant reliever.

Rich Harden would also be a good addition if he could throw 95 mph again.


If TOR was willing to cut ties with Ryan, he must be DONE! Not horrible to take a flier on him though, but let's not expect anything out of him and not put him in high leverage situations for awhile.

Of course he's done, Toronto does not make mistakes.

You never heard of Reed Johnson again did ya?


do the cubs need a 2-pitch fireballer with a 85mph fastball and no control?

I so agree about the All-Star break. It seems to last for freakin' ever. You can tune in to the Home Run Derby and count how many times ESPN refers to Pujols as "The Machine" or you could shoot yourself in the head.

It's Chris Berman's beautiful play by play of the derby that keeps me from watching..."back back back back back back back back back back back back back..." every fucking time. It's like commentary from a duck.

the HR derby is retarded beyond belief....please change the rules and shorten it by at least an hour. I know they won't bring back the fielding skills after Larkin blew out his elbow that one year, but I'd love to see some other activities. A pitcher's HR derby would fucking rule and put the Futures Game on Monday afternoon.

Moving the draft to the All-Star break would be smart too...

As for rule changes, does anyone not think Hamilton deserved it last year?  of course he did, this 3 round bullshit and not making it cumulative needs to end. 

Make it two rounds, with top 4 advancing to second round and cumulative wins it...



Once player his a certain plateau they should just flick a few to opposite field and sit down. Stupid to keep hitting.

My other suggestion would be players should wear their team's mascot costume when hitting.

For the Cubs player in the derby they would have to wear Ronnie Woo Woos unwashed uniform after a July dh after it was stored in Sinatro's Festiva trunk.

Make it one round and have them hit golf balls with a nerf bat.

I loved the All-Star Game when I was a teenager, rushing back from summer band practice to see how the Cub representatives did. 1969 was the high point, with the whole Cub infield plus Hundley on the team, Santo and Kessinger starting. NL won big, no thanks to any of the Cubs. Ominously, Koosman and Seaver were on the team, no Cub pitchers.

But that was a long time ago. Now it's just noise and cgi and blather and commercials. And, God help me, it determines home field advantage in the World Series. I love Brenly's take on the ASG; he rants about it several times a year: Either let the fans decide and make it a meaningless exhibition game again, or make it count and let the managers pick the teams and play to win. I actually prefer the former--I think MLB overreacted to the tie game a few years ago--but the latter would still be an improvement.

Of course, it's hard to get people to watch TV in July, so they hype the thing to death. Me, I ain't buyin'. Should be a few nice days in Chicago-- can cook out, go out on the nearby lake in our kayaks, read a book, sip a little good rye whiskey. See ya in Washington on Thursday.

Ryan was getting hammered by righties but if used correctly (which is doubtful that lou will do) i think he'd be a fine loogy.

Sounds exactly like Jimmy Gobble, who was misused in KC, then Ozzie didn't understand he's only a LOOGY, and now he was picked up by someone else last week if I recall. The Cubs had two chances to add him for the minimum this season and passed twice. And despite his 7 something ERA on the South Side this year, lefties hit only .226 off Gobble. It's amazing that in this golden era of statistics so many managers and front office people don't notice things like that. Gobble isn't a shut down lefty specialist, but he's not a bum, if used properly.

Harden threw 95 several times in Pittsburgh two weeks ago. It's the location of his stuff that is the problem.

If he's throwing 95, it doesn't much matter where he throws it. Fastball up, change down, and occassionally do the opposite to keep them honest. Any location he gets horizontally is just a bonus. Try to keep that fastball in around the hands and let that change float out away, but he hasn't ever had a ton of ability to hit spots with any regularity.

He doesn't have very good control. Never really did when he was in Oakland, either. But, he was OK because the 96 or 97 gets by you in a hurry. That loses a lot of effectiveness when your fastball and change-up are seperated by 5 or 6 mph instead of 10 or 11. (EDIT: Yes, I know he can throw that change at like 79, but having a 88-79 repitoire is a lot different than having a 95-86 repitoire.) That, to me, has been by far his biggest problem this season.

However, I didn't see that start in Pittsburgh, nor any other start this season in which he threw that hard.

Pretty sure he hit 96 on the TV gun Friday.

His control is bad and he's leaving too many 88 to 91 MPH pitches, changes and fastballs, in the happy zone.

The problem with Harden isn't his velocity so much as the difference in velocity between his Fastball and Change. Last year he generally threw the fastball around 93ish, but the change was a full 10 mph slower. Apparently this year the difference is more like 6-8 MPH, and that's why he isn't fooling as many batters.

I know this is not ASG related, but as was mentioned in the last thread, I as well am slightly encouraged with MB's recent AB's. He indeed smoked a double off of Wainright, and if we were not last in the NL with RISP, who knows? Someone MAY have even driven him in considering there was only one out at the time.

As Lou keeps preparing us for: "If we don't start hitting - its gonna be tough..."

And in the WHAT THE FUCK?! department - for those of you watching at home - did Wells feed the same pitch twice to Ludwick? We were in the Upper Deck, and only knew it caught some nice plate.

Wells is a terrific surprise this year to me, but once in a game to the same guy PLEASE!

first HR, was just a terrible belt-high fastball...

second HR, was just not far enough inside of where he wanted to get it....

Second one actually looked a hair inside on the TV replay. Obviously Wells was trying to jam him. Gotta give Ludwick credit for being quick. Wait,he's a Cardinal, never mind.

Yeah, he was ready for some inside heat on that 2nd homer pitch. He earned that one.

The first time he hit a homer, though, that pitch would have been difficult to not hit for a homer.

Alfonso Soriano thinks it's very easy to not hit that pitch for a homer.

Alfonso Soriano wouldn't have waited for a good pitch.

Wow, Mitre is still a prospect. Damn Hendry for trading him.

I always liked Mitre, couldn't stay healthy though...

Mitre's problem is his hair is made of shellac.

Clearly his most memorable moment was beating Halliday. I was all about Sergio Mitre for about a month.

Kaplan... Guess the Trib-Ricketts deal is done but they ARE NOT going to have a presser today. They'll let it get cleared through bankruptcy court and MLB first. I can't see this happening before the trade deadline if that little detail is even important at this point.

I can't help but wonder why any of this is news.

I like the All-Star stuff because it allows me to get some crap done around the house without having to sit and actually WATCH it. I wait for Berman to shriek something that resembles a legitimate emotional outburst and I can glance at the TV to see what is happening.

Otherwise it is background noise.

It is pretty cool when someone gets locked in during the derby though. Josh Hamilton was just ridiculous last year.

Word. I have exactly 0 interest in the home run derby. Maybe if a Cub were in it I might have a little interest, but I still probably wouldn't watch it.

I just hate the camera angles they use during the derby. They think that by getting on the field, 5 feet from the player they're giving us this great view, but from that close it's impossible to tell how hard a guy hit the ball. Popups initially look exactly like HRs. I'd rather have a further, wide angle view to actually see the trajectory and ball flight.

Mitre's problem is his hair is made of shellac.
chitin, not shellac

...but that might be a bit existential

My problem with the HR Derby is that they are ALL fucking juicers. Sosa, Bonds, Howard, Abreu, Luis and Juan Gonzalez, McGwire, Giambi...

I don't doubt at all that Josh Hamilton uses HGH or some other hoodoo. Given the track record of the guys who have had monster rounds all having been cheaters, Fuck them all (with a capitol F) right in the eye.

I think a far more interesting All Star Game activity would be to put all the All Stars on an temporary island in the outfield, built a moat, and fill it with crocodiles. Escape From Crocodile Island would get HUGE ratings and viewers could pray the stars from their rivals would be eaten or disfigured, and to make it more interesting, if a player is disfigured, his team cannot place him on the DL or put him on the bench, he must play.

I really missed my calling in life, I should have been a torturer during the Spanish Inquisition.

I was going to suggest a 16' inch softball game, no gloves between the All-Star teams on Monday, see how many jammed fingers it could produce, but your idea is cooler.


These are real good ideas when you have just 1 All-Star on the team, but not so good when you get 8 of them on the team...

There is an "Old Timer's" 12" softball game, usually tonight. But, it is a "Pro-Am" variety. I think I saw Jimmy Kimmel in one a year or two ago - and Hal Reynolds - as well as a couple o'ladies that I cannot remember...

Maybe Sarah Silverman was there at the same time, but I cannot remember.

No fingers broken. Or bats.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I loved the ASG before they ruined it with Interleague. I'll watch, hoping for Lilly to get in and not embarrass himself and I''l probably watch the HR derby tonight. It's neat to see guys try to hit HR's. Someone should tell them they'd do a lot better if they have someone throw the ball 75 to 80 MPH from the pitcher's mound though. I can't remember what year it was, but one time Pujols seemed to be intentionally spraying his HR's from the left field line to the RF line, 15 degrees more with each one. He's a helluva hitter.

Rosenthal rips the Nationals management team, then the commenters rip Rosenthal. Amusing.

Edit. Guess a link would help.

Maybe they could try a reverse HR derby where you take 7 or 8 of the best pitchers in MLB and they each have to face Pujols. They have to throw him ten strikes, however many pitches that takes, with all pitches judged by K-Zone or whatever the computer is called. Even if he swings at it, it doesn't count as a strike unless it's in the zone.

Whoever lets the fewest balls leave the yard wins.

Plus, maybe Pujols would expend so much energy on it that he would suck for the second half.

Well I guess this is a pretty fitting link today then, huh?

Remember Sosa's last year in the HR Derby? He wiffed at the first pitch.

slider outside?

The symbol of the Home Run Derby should be a syringe.

B...b...b...but Pujols is cleeeeeeeeeaaaaannnn. You have no proof.

doyel is onto something on this subject more than off mark, imo.

it's discussed a lot more than anyone will ever own up (or have seen own up to) and i'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's still being used.

when the people with the 400K-25+million a year jobs have to winter piss, then i'll be impressed. just saying...

...but yeah, it's a pretty whiney and bitter article on whole.

Fielder's on a steady dose of Crisco.

that's slick.

I call bullshit. Fielder is a vegan, and Crisco is animal fat.

Crisco is vegetable oil. Always has been.

You and your "facts."

Ever wonder what hydrogenated means?

Ever wonder what hydrogenated means?

Totally whiney but still fun to read. I love rants. People take rants too seriously. I also think it's premature putting Pujols into the steroid bunch. He's been too consistent. Although I suppose it could be argued that he's consistently used steroids and that explains how he went from a 13th round draft pick to one year in A ball to ridiculous numbers. I've also been wrong every time about steroid users and players because I've given them the benefit of the doubt.

"Catching Clemens' ceremonial toss -- in his teeth, preferably -- could be Bud Selig, who let this whole thing happen."

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be as slipshod at our jobs as the average sportswriter?

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be as slipshod at our jobs as the average sportswriter?"
I thought that's why we all hang out here?

is TACO BELL the CENTURY 21 all-star FORD break McDONALDS over CITIBANK yet?

Not until the Mastercard Gold Ball sponsored by Progressive Insurance is hit for a Miller Chill out.

EDIT: the Derby is over. Prince beat Nelson Cruz 6-5.

could not be happier unless Prince beat Albert. Besides the irony having those two f up their swings for the second half will be great

I'm no Fielder fan, but it was gratifying to see that he won after Joe Morgan went on ad nauseam about how Fielder couldn't win it because he puts too much into each hack and will get tired.

I really enjoyed the HRD a few years ago and looked forward to watching it last night. But they fucked it up, naturally. After an hour, they weren't even through the first round.

Based on his... eh... shape you have to figure Fielder is clean. Glad he beat Pujols.

sullivan/tribune article on Soto rehabbing in Arizona during the break

harsh...a big misunderstanding of course...

Jay Jackson came on in the fourth inning and threw just eight pitches, topping out at 98 mph on the park’s radar gun. The right-hander worked a perfect inning, striking out Hankerd on three pitches and finishing him off with a swinging strike on a slider.

Jackson was named the winning pitcher as the South Division All-Stars were maimed throughout the night, recording just four hits.

Adduci had a hit, Coleman struck out two, Lalli 0/4, Thomas 0/1 Schlitter went .2 IP.

on a side note...

got to see the innings jake fox caught again today at a friend's place. i know nothing of his game calling skills, but he didn't murder receiving the ball and looked comfortable doing it.

be interesting to see him throw, but hopefully we won't have to test those waters too much.

I was nervous when he was back there, too, but then I recalled he caught for 4 years at Michigan. He could probably manage 1 start a week.

Fox was talking about the possibility of catching for Wells -- turned out Hill got the start, and he said that his biggest concern was that Wells' repertoire of pitches had increased and it would take him an inning or two to pick up a pattern for play calling. And I know we all hate Joe Morgan so I hate to bring this up but Morgan was impressed at how Fox was framing the pitches for Marshall during the crazy Marshall as left fielder game. I would rather give this kid a shot at catching a few games and let him fuck up than taking a chance on another journeyman has been, which would cost us a decent prospect since the entire MLB knows we need a catcher. I know AZ Phil says he's got no defensive skills whatsoever but seeing is believing. And if he is just not good enough to handle Marmol just bring Hill in as a defensive replacement or have Marmol race to home plate after a pitch to catch his own sliders in the dirt.

Fielder is a vegetarian, not because he doesn't eat meat; it's because he eats only vegetarians.

(Incidentally, watching him run is a great way to diet.)

Paul sulivan at tribune says this would be his lineup:


Seeing as bradley would rather walk in a rbi spot,then
swing the bat,i would think the 2 hole would be a good spot.

Substrates for and products of hydrogenation:

aldehyde, RCHO---> primary alcohol, RCH2OH

ester, RCO2R'---> two alcohols, RCH2OH, R'OH

bud, BUDW3R---> three alcohols, BUDW3OH, R'OH

guinness, GUINN4SS---> four alcohols, GUINN4SSOH, R'OH

silly bankruptcy question...

saw this in mlbtr via a sun-times link: Major league baseball guarantees payment on player deals, so the Cubs won't be able to avoid contracts like Alfonso Soriano's and Milton Bradley's.

Does this imply the Cubs/Tribune/New Owner can avoid paying these contracts and dump them on MLB who probably is providing the guarantee? Crazy thought but it might create some interesting developments since the Cubs are officially playing the bankruptcy card. I think this is an abuse of the intent of bankruptcy but it's just lawyers jockeying with corporate loopholes.

from the article:

But it could prevent Tribune creditors from chasing a new Cubs owner for partial satisfaction on Tribune debts.

The tactic for the Cubs "would deliver as clear a title as possible to the new owner of the team," said a source close to the talks. "It's a way in some respects of inoculating the team."

3/44 link:,CST-NWS-c...

you think the MLB owners would approve the new guy if they had to pay his player contracts as well?

I don't have a problem with the fans picking the players for the ASG. They don't do a horrible job.

But the managers still have a little league attitude about playing everyone. They are the real problem now.

"But the managers still have a little league attitude about playing everyone. They are the real problem now."

The game is only an exhibition, why shouldn't they play everyone?

Because it's for home field advantage in World Series.

Which is stupid.

"Because it's for home field advantage in World Series.

Which is stupid."

So the biggest problem isn't that the managers manage stupid and play every player (which I assume most fans want to see), it is that it is an exhibition that determines something that most of the players and fans could careless about since it only negatively impacts one team.

I would say it only negatively impacts half a team, since 1 team is going to get HF advantage anyway.

I don't think most fans want to see every player. Most fans want to see their players do well during a good game.

"I don't think most fans want to see every player. Most fans want to see their players do well during a good game."

Of course the only way you can see your player do well during the game is if he plays.

Right, but most fans don't give a rat's ass if Zach Duke pitches.

If we're talking percentages, most fans probably don't care much whether Papelbon pitches, or if Derek Jeter gets in the game. You probably won't get a majority of fans wanting any one particular player in the game.

The current All-Star format, though, is set up sort of like the US Senate: everyone gets their representative in, regardless of how insignificant they really are (I'm looking at you, Kansas City and Wyoming).

I think by a large margin, fans want to see a good, hard-fought game with smart managing and no injuries.

that's so damn rational.

im just ready for the side show to be over. hehe...

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 10 min 42 sec ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 3 hours 29 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 3 hours 35 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 3 hours 53 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 4 hours 47 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 4 hours 49 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 5 hours 7 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 5 hours 14 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 6 hours 9 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 6 hours 32 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 8 hours 21 min ago view