October 2007

Elias has released their annual player rankings which MLB uses to determine free agent draft pick compensation if a player signs with another team and is offered arbitration by their former team. It's a rather insane system based off the last two years worth of numbers that relies heavily on the triple crown numbers and counting stats. A ranking that has five players higher than Alex Rodriguez and one in which Troy Percival would net the Cards a supplemental pick. Players are classified into five categories:
  1. DH, 1B, OF
  2. 2b, 3b, SS
  3. Catchers
  4. Starting Pitchers
  5. Relief Pitchers
The new collective bargaining agreement has lowered the percentages meaning less players would net their former teams draft picks. Type A free agents are considered the top 20% at their position and Type B are from the 21-40% range. Under the old CBA, Type A free agents were the top 30%, Type B were from 31-50% at their position and there was a Type C for players from 51 to 60% at their position. Under the current CBA, a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration but signed with another team would cost his new team their top draft pick as long as it's not a top 15 pick, plus his former team would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If it is a top 15 pick, much like the Cubs last year in signing Alfonso Soriano, they would lose their second round pick instead. If a team signs multiple Type A free agents, they would lose their second round pick and then their third round pick and so forth and which round goes to which team is based on who scored higher in the rankings. Type B free agents cost the signing team nothing, but the previous team gets a pick in the supplemental round between the first and second rounds. Some players of interest after the jump....
Once again, it's time for the TCR Free Agent Frenzy, which really is the MLB Free Agent Frenzy and we just piggyback off of it. This year's winner will likely receive the Chicago Cubs Legends DVD Set although I might switch it up on you to something of equivalent value. Whatever it is, it'll definitely be Cubs related and something any true Cubs fans would want. So just follow their contest procedure and post your guesses in the comments but with one minor change. They have Joe Torre as the final option, we're going to switch that to Kosuke Fukodome for our contest since Torre has all but agreed to go to the Dodgers. Also, if you want to choose retire for someone like Bonds, go right ahead. Please ONLY use the comments for your contest entries, save the rumor mill for the previous thread if you can. Finally, please submit your picks in the same order that they appear in the MLB.com contest, but of course switching Torre for Fukodome. My picks after the jump...
With the 2007 World Series history, today marks the beginning of the 15-day MLB Free-Agency Filing Period, where MLB players with at least six years of MLB service time who are not signed to a contract for 2008 are eligible to file for free-agency under Article XX of the CBA.
First of all, how angry do you think Bud Selig was Sunday night when Scott Boras effectively shattered Bud’s edict prohibiting major announcements during the World Series by telling Ken Rosenthal of Fox who then told the world that Alex Rodriguez would be opting out of his Yankees contract? Not that the report smothered any World Series drama: the Sox and the Rox took care of that by playing four long, mostly tedious games that were decidedly short on compelling moments. Back to Boras. Even before the A-Rod announcement, I felt like I was having an all-Scott Boras weekend. First, I happened on the Boras profile in this week’s New Yorker (headlined “The Extortionist”). It paints a picture of a profoundly driven man who has built a firm with an infrastructure—complete with talent scouts, stats guys and sports psychologists—that would put many Major League front offices to shame.
We’ve seen Cub ownership try to squeeze every little ounce of revenue from us whenever they can, but due to a tight schedule they’ve missed the big one. Now that the Wrigley field playing surface is being reconstructed by the Sodfather, Roger Bossard, they are moving all that historic dirt out and not selling it. The Sun-Times site even has a video (if you can stand waiting through the commercials) through the knothole gate in right field, Wrigleyville resident Ken Vangeloff said it looked like the Tribune was having a demolition derby or tractor pull, but the fan’s just didn’t show up. I could see them selling Urn’s of infield dirt… with a locker room/uniform number and card you can label:

#14 -- Uncle Fester

So my poor Uncle Fester’s ashes are getting a free ride in a dump truck outta his native Cook County. The Cubs are not selling it to fans. Per Shamus Toomey’s interview of Cubs VP, Mark McGuire in the Sun-Times:
“We have been accused of selling everything all of the time,” McGuire said. “But in this project, we didn’t want to do anything to impede” the tight schedule.
Which of the following Hall of Famers never played for the Cubs: Richie Ashburn, Al Simmons, Rabbit Maranville, Ralph Kiner?

Schilling v2


11-2, 19 GS, 133.1 IP, 2.23 ERA, 25 BB, 120 K

Things you think of while watching a World Series slaughter and waiting for an all-old rerun of The Daily Show to come on: * Last night’s one-sided contest looked like the Dads vs. Kids softball game at the annual Cub Scout Picnic, only in this version, the dads wanted to be sure the kids went home in tears and never had the will to get on the field again. *Fox’s Ken Rosenthal had to point out that the Rockies were stepping up in class by matching up with the AL’s best after fattening up on the lowly Diamondbacks and Cubs in the NL playoffs. Bad enough to have your favorite league trashed (however deservedly); even worse when your favorite team has to be mistakenly dragged into the argument to illustrate the point. *I look at that Boston lineup and a very small part of me is glad the Cubs aren’t on the field to face it. I’m imagining it would feel pretty hollow to have finally made the Series after all these generations, only to be disemboweled in front of an international audience. *The consensus before the Series--that Boston was the better team and that Colorado’s miracle ride was about to skid off the road and crash into an embankment—was certainly borne out by last night’s result. But even assuming the Red Sox roll again tonight, I think the games in Denver may prove to be challenging for Boston. The altitude, the unfamiliar park, the selling of Rocky Mountain Oysters in the concession stand—lots of reasons for the mighty Red Sox to be thrown just a little off kilter. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. The thought of three more games like Wednesday night’s is just not anything to be excited about. Finally, a non-World Series Cub note: At The Hardball Times, Dave Studeman reports on Net Win Shares Value, i.e., which teams got the most and least for their payroll dollars in the season just past. A shout out to possibly soon-to-be-ex-Cubs Jason Kendall and Craig Monroe, who showed up at 2nd and 7th respectively on the Worst Values of '07 list. On the positive side of the ledger, the Cubs 2007 free agent class finished as the fourth best value in the game. Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Detroit led the way.
2 for you today...
What is the full birth name (first, middle, last) of Harry Caray?
Which Cubs pitcher was the first African-American to throw a no-hitter in the Major Leagues? Bonus points for the opponent and the year.
As always, web searches are discouraged. And for what it's worth, I've never even heard of the player that is the answer to the second question.
The final tallies aren't in for the 2007 preseason prediction but there were a few other contests we ran over the years that I never got around to calculating. So now is the time... 2006-2007 Free Agent Frenzy Full Results 1. Chifan3887 - 64 2. WPZ - 59 (Now known as Wrigley's Believe it or Not) 2. Junior - 59 Chifan3887 takes the prize by being the only one to correctly pick Greg Maddux signing with the Padres last offseason.
Which dubious single-game NL record did Glenn Beckert set in 1972?
Good luck with that one....
Today we welcome five esteemed Cub bloggers who were kind enough to share their thoughts on the questions which the TCRers addressed on Monday. The guest list includes: Andy from Desipio.com, Adam from Bugs and Cranks, Joe of View From The Bleachers, Cub Reporter alum and Mayor of Cub Town, Derek Smart, and the Ted Lilly Fan Club. It's an honor to be your hosts, gentlemen. Thank you for coming over to play in our sandbox. Enjoy… 1.) What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Joe (View From The Bleachers): My favorite moment of the season was by far the comeback on June 25th, when the Cubs had seemingly blown the game in the 9th after a bullpen implosion that allowed six runs. The Cubs came back and won it on a walk-off, two-run single by Soriano that made Len Kasper’s voice crack. I wanted to jump up and scream, but the family was asleep. Adam (Bugs and Cranks): Aramis Ramirez' walk-off homer against the Brewers on June 29th was probably my favorite memory. It was the moment where it really seemed like winning the division was going to happen.
A double dose for you...
Following the 1973 season. the Cubs traded future Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Vic Harris and what future four-time batting champion?
Who has taken the most career walks as a member of the Cubs?
Web searches are discouraged....
With a lull in the offseason action and on the playoff diamond, we thought it's time to break out the TCR roundtbale. As always, TCR is not responsible for the opinions and viewpoints of its authors. ------- 1. What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Cubnut: Two come to mind: Ramirez's game-winning home run against the Brewers at the end of June and Lee's pinch-hit grand slam to seal a win against Team Grinder. I also enjoyed the early-season game (at Cincy?) in which Lou Piniella stormed out to the mound in the ninth inning, screamed five or six words at a struggling Ryan Dempster, then made a u-turn without ever actually stopping. After all the mealy-mouthed managerial nonsense of the past few years, I thought that moment was refreshing AZ PHIL: Aramis Ramirez hitting the game-winning HR in the bottom of the 9th off Brewers closer Francisco Cordero at Wrigley Field. Transmission: I agree with AZ Phil. Dr. Hecht: I was at the game where Lou Piniella had his tirade with umpire Mark Wegner. I still love watching it on the highlights that I've saved for my iPod. The first portion of the season had been so disappointing. The day before Zambrano had his altercation with Barrett and the Cubs were a 22-30 to that point. The Cubs wound up losing the Saturday game to the Braves 5-3. So what was to like? Although many have said Lou's antics were contrived that day, particularly because Pagan was pretty clearly out out at third, it really had a tangible feel that Lou was doing the right thing for his club. He was doing what any good 1950-60's manager would have done...go toe to toe, belly to belly and kicking some All-American third base dirt on a very prissy modern day umpire, you know, these umps who nowadays toss players for blinking improperly. Somewhere above (or below) the ghost of Jocko Conlan was enjoying Lou's display. I love old style baseball, not to mention an Old Style when Lou went ballistic. Rob G.: The Aramis walk-off homer was the "oh my god" moment of the season. But that whole period from the end of June until Soriano hurt his hamstring, there was a general feeling that the Cubs would find a way to win most of their games. I'm not sure there's a more reassuring feeling for a baseball fan when you know your team will find ways to win. Christian: Mostly I have an overall general memory of slowly remembering why I like this team. Four years of Dusty Baker had really soured me on the Cubs, and the off-season, with its questionable signings and news that my favorite player wouldn't be playing this year (if ever again) didn't help. Once the season started, it took a few months for me to even want to pay attention anymore. Once I did, I realized how different the team looked and how much more interesting they were under Piniella. I guess the specific moment I can point to is the June 29th game, when they came back from a 5-0 hole in the first to win on A-Ram's walk-off homer. Beating the first-place Brewers to win their seventh in a row, I think I felt for the first time that even if they didn't make the playoffs (which seemed a foregone conclusion at that point), they would at least be fun & interesting to watch down the stretch.
This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused).
It be rather slow when it comes to all things Cubs related these days but we've got a few things planned for next week for your enjoyment. In the meantime, notes start walking: - Cubs.com has a new offer for an online fan club. Your twenty bucks gets you this:
Cubs Club members will receive benefits unavailable to other fans, including your very own 2007 Membership Card, MLB.com's Gameday Audio for the 2007 regular season, exclusive ticket offers, access to the home postgame press conference video archives, the ability to view Wrigley Field 24/7 through our interactive web cameras, and access to our exclusive editorial content and blog provided by the staff of Vine Line.
It seems to be just worth the Gameday Audio that usually goes for $14.95 I believe. UPDATE: As always, read the fine print or well just read it thoroughly. It's not such a great offer since the Gameday Audio expires at the end of 2007 and there's about 5-12 games left on the year that matter. You can read the full membership benefits here.
I'm going to bring back TCR Friday Notes for tomorrow but just a reminder that Derrek Lee will be making a guest appearance on ER tonight which should be relatively soon for your East Coasters. Here's hoping that it's better than his last performance on a big stage.
Cubs front office promotions include Oneri Fleita and Mark O'Neal. FLEITA WAS: director of player development and Latin American operations NOW IS: vice president of player personnel It's a new title, so what becomes of Oneri's old position? Is this a cost cutting move (24 fewer letters on his business card)? O'NEAL WAS: head athletic trainer NOW IS: director, athletic training I think it lets Mark O'Neal take care of the entire body now instead of only things above the neck (he was getting tired of working on Z punching people in the noggin). My congratulations to Mark O'Neal. Keeping the team healthy makes my life on TCR that much easier! CARL RICE WAS: director of information systems and special projects NOW IS: senior director of information systems and special projects Looks like our Cub computer whiz is either a year older so he got the elder statesman title or he took a course in Spanish, so now they get to call him señor. JAY BLUNK WAS: director of sales and marketing NOW IS: vice president of marketing and broadcasting The promotion includes getting a key to the executive washroom. His first action will be to get rid of the remaining Andy McPhail monogrammed hand towels.
The Baltimore Orioles have claimed RHP Roberto Novoa off waivers from the Cubs. Acquired along with 3B Scott Moore and OF Bo Flowers from the Tigers in February 2005 in exchange for RHP Kyle Farnsworth, the 26-year old Novoa spent the entire 2007 on the DL after suffering a fractured shoulder in an off-season car crash. In his two previous seasons with the Cubs (2005 and 2006), Novoa went 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 115 games (all in relief), allowing 124 hits and 19 HR in 120.2 IP, with 57 BB and 100 K and a 1.50 WHIP. Because Novoa, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman were on the DL going into the post-season, the Cubs were able to add three players to their post-season roster who were not on their 25-man roster as of 8/31 (Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, and Geovany Soto), but once the Cubs were eliminated, there was no further need to keep Novoa on the DL. Players on the 60-day DL do not have to be placed back onto the 40-man roster until rosters are frozen on 11-20, but wth 2+169 of accumulated MLB service time, Novoa will almost certainly qualify as a "Super Two" for salary arbitration purposes, and so he probably would have been non-tendered by the Cubs on 12/12. And because he is eligible to be a Six-Year Minor League FA, even if he had cleared waivers today, he probably would have refused his outright assignment to the minors and would have opted for free-agency instead. So this way, the Cubs get $20,000 instead of nothing. Novoa joins a host of other "refugees" from the Cubs who are now in the Orioles organization, including (among others) RHPs Francis Beltran, Chadd Blasko, Rocky Cherry, and Jon Leicester, IF-OF Freddie Bynum, OFs Jason Dubois, Jason Fransz, Luis Montanez, and Corey Patterson, 3B Scott Moore, and 1B Brandon Sing, former Cubs President Andy McPhail, and ex-Cubs Scouting Director John Stockstill. Also, Orioles manager Dave Trembley and bullpen coach Alan Dunn are former coaches in the Cubs minor league system, and ex-Cubs RHP Kennie Steenstra is pitching coach at the Orioles Delmarva club in the South Atlantic League.
From Dusty, himself:
"I love challenges." "I know I'm not a miracle man. I don't know if it's going to take a year or two years or whatever. But we're dedicated to winning.” "I want to dispel the reputation that I can only work with older players…I'm looking forward to having a mixture of young and old. I sometimes feel I have more in common with younger players." "I want to help guys on the team have a winning attitude. I'm almost more of a teacher than a manager." "A number of players have indicated that they would possibly like to come [here] and play for me. They're dedicated to bringing in the best players that the budget will allow."
From his new boss, the General Manager:
"He brings a lot of intangibles. A lot of people want to play for him." "It's pretty obvious that he's one of the best in the business. Every player he gets, he gets the most out of him." "Putting our young players in his hands is going to be terrific. It came across very clearly…that he was looking forward to helping mold and shape their careers and he was looking forward to working with young players. He felt, through his homework, that we had a lot of good ones, not only coming up to the big leagues last year, but coming up through the system…He's a guy I feel can work with any type of player, and certainly with our young players."
Bob Castellini and Wayne Krivsky feel they have the right man. But then, so did Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry, back in November of 2002…when Dusty and Hendry stood before the assembled Chicago media and the microphones at the press conference from which all of these quotes were taken.
The contracts of 18 Cubs minor league players expire on October 15th, and so each of the 18 is eligible to be a free-agent. The Cubs have until the day after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether to add a potential minor league free-agent to their 40-man roster (which the player cannot refuse), offer the player a minor league contract for the following season (which the player can refuse), or just allow the player to walk away.
Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs and the Seattle Mariners are the two MLB clubs who have expressed the most interest in Hiroshima Toyo Carp RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is 32-years old and an 11-year veteran of Japanese major league baseball. Because he is an unrestricted FA, no posting fee would be required. Sully also mentions that the Cubs had tried to sign Kuroda a year ago, but Kuroda decided to return to the Carp for one more season. Cubs Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator Steve Wilson has been busy the past few months, signing amateur free-agents from Australia, Korea, and Taiwan. By being present and active around Asian and Australian baseball circles, Wilson gives the Cubs a leg-up over where they were just a year ago. The "Big Fish" among Japanese FA this off-season should be Chunichi Dragons OF Kosuke Fukudome. A 30-year old left-handed hitting RF, Kosuke (like Ichiro, he wants to be known by his first name) had right elbow surgery in L. A. in August, and is presently said to be rehabbing in the U. S. As is the case with Kuroda, Kosuke (pronounced "Ko-Skay") is an unrestricted FA and so no posting fee would be required.
10-15-07 - Dusty Baker announced as Reds new manager 11-2-07 - Wayne Krivsky trades Phil Dumatrait for World Series MVP Augie Ojeda
Today was "getaway day" for the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team, and when I say "getaway" day," I don't mean an overnight trip to Tucson. I mean the end of the line, far as we go, everybody off the train.
The Brewers Arizona Instructional League team took advantage of five errors, two passed balls, and three wild pitches, en route to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs AZ Instructional League team at Maryvale Sports Complex Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix this afternoon. (The "Big Stadium" at Maryvale was pre-booked for the championship game of some national senior league baseball tournament, so the Brewers and Cubs had to play their game down on the "Lower 40").
After our twenty-one game turnaround in 2003 from 2002, Hendry and Co. didn't rest on their success and spent the offseason of 2004 and the season building one of the best Cubs team ever assembled on "paper". Taking out the bitter ending, the team ended up winning more games and having a better run differential than the 2003 team despite significantly more injuries to key players. A quick reminder course on what happened after 2003: C - Subtracted Damian Miller, added Michael Barrett (say what you will but we had a better team ERA in 2004, gave up less runs as a team and Barrett was definitely an offensive upgrade that year) 1B - Subtracted Eric Karros, Hee-Seop Choi and Randall Simon; Added Derrek Lee INF - Added Todd Walker and Jose Macias to the bench SS - Added Nomar Garciaparra mid-season (Should have added Miguel Tejada during the off-season) OF - Subtracted Kenny Lofton; Added Todd Hollandsworth to the bench SP - Subtracted Shawn Estes; Added Greg Maddux to the 2nd best starting staff in the league RP - Subtracted Juan Cruz, Mark Guthrie, Antonio Alfonseca & Dave Veres; Added LaTroy Hawkins, Kent Mercker, Ryan Dempster and Glendon Rusch There are a few peons I'm probably missing but that should be all the significant moves. In 2007, the Cubs improved nineteen wins from the disaster of 2006 and once again find themselves atop the NL Central but still short of their World Series goal. The precedent though has been set that Hendry will unlikely sit idly by and be happy with a division title and McDonough has already hinted that the Cubs will continue to push on for the trophy. The question though is who and what positions should the Cubs target and where can the team improve within and where should they look for outside help?
For some, it's Christmas. For others, it's Thanksgiving or the 4th of July. Or Arbor Day, maybe. But for a certain "special" few, it's the home opener for the AFL's Mesa Solar Sox. And for us, tonight was the night.
Tyler Colvin drove in three runs with a single and a triple, as the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team defeated the White Sox AZ Instructional league team this afternoon at Maryvale Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Cliff Andersen slammed a three-run homer and Brandon Guyer drove in three runs with two-out RBI singles in the first and third innings, as the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team drubbed the Oakland A's AZ Instructional League team 8-2 this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
Swiss born psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., published her groundbreaking book on the five stages of grief in 1969. It's been a model for those who have to deal with grief, to understand why we react the way we do and therefore to adapt to what life has thrown our way with some insight. Here they are and feel free to post where you are at this point: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance. Cubs fans will most definitively recognize many of the 5 stages over the decades and for the most senior of us remaining, over the century. Here are a few of my thoughts regarding the events surrounding some of our lasting experiences with grief.
A chance to relive the horror... ---------------- (After Chris Young's first pitch homer and Drew's sun-aided double) Rob G: Should Jason Marquis have been warming up before the first pitch? Cubnut: Prediction: Cliff Floyd won't be the only guy who is victimized by that late afternoon sun today. (Hill K's Jackson) If we can hold them to one run, maybe this half-inning will actually provide a momentum boost for us. (Upton singles in a run) If we can hold them to two runs, maybe this half-inning will provide a momentum boost for us. Rob G: Well maybe that inning will give Lou a momentum boost to get the bullpen going.
Thanks for the memories. Good luck Diamondbacks (I'll be rooting for the Rockies). Sincerely, Rob G. P.S. - That sucked. P.P.S. - Four months until pitchers and catchers report.
Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Pass Livan Hernandez vs Rich Hill Lineups:
Young CF Soriano LF
Drew SS Theriot SS
Byrnes LF Lee 1B
Jackson 1B Floyd RF
Reynolds 3B Ramirez 3B
Upton RF DeRosa 2B
Ojeda 2B Jones CF
Montero C Kendall C
Hernandez P Hill P
It's true: Geovany Soto is sitting in favor of Jason Kendall and his lifetime 846 OPS against Livan Hernandez. We're talking about 31 at-bats, none since 2005. One double, one triple, nine singles. And don't forget about Kendall's CS% (5-out-of-57, 9%) vs. Soto's (4-for-14, 29%). Maybe the Diamondbacks will be so intoxicated by the beauty of all that new Wrigley Field sod that they'll forget to run wild against Hill and Kendall on the bases. Addendum : On Piniella's pre-game radio show with Santo, he just mentioned a desire to balance Hill's inexperience with Kendall's veteran-ness. No mention of Jason's past plate success against Hernandez. Rob G: So it's come to this - a must-win, do or die, backs against the wall, sudden death, win or go home battle just for the right to play yet another must-win, do or die, backs against the wall, sudden death, win or go home battle that'll set us up for a final must-win, do or die, backs against the wall, sudden death, win or go home battle. And while the up-Hill climb might seem daunting, maybe it'll just make the journey all that much sweeter. Or maybe today's the last day we'll enjoy Cubs baseball until 2008. Either way I'm here to enjoy it while lasts - to root, root, root for the Cubbies all the way until their final out. Let's Go Cubs!!!!
OK. So it was the Arizona Instructional League Cubs. But, hey, they ARE Cubs, and they DID win 8-1 today at Fitch Park Field #3, defeating the Giants with a 15-hit attack that featured the professional debut of Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee.
Our [censored] Game 2 thoughts... ----------- Cubnut: If I had to condense last night's game into a single, telling snapshot, it would be the image of Ted Lilly slamming his glove to the ground after throwing Chris Young that 3-2 meatball in the second inning. That moment captured Lilly's dismal performance, lack of poise, and the frustration of watching them. It appeared to me as though Lilly couldn't spot his curveball and was determined to compensate by trying to throw his fastball 130 mph, thus all the wild-high pitches. Rob G: It seemed pretty obvious from the beginning that Lilly didn't have "it" tonight, that "it" mostly being his control. He was ever so close from escaping the second before throwing such a lousy 3-2 pitch to Young that I'm pretty sure 5 of 6 TCR Writers could have hit out. The 4-2 lead still seemed within reach but apparently this is Stephen Drew's coming out party. I'm thrilled to have been invited. If I had known beforehand I would have suggested postponing it until the spring...of 2008.


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