Mar 28, 2007

Cub Killre

It has been a while since I last posted. I have been out of town and the "old ball and chain" (as she likes to be called) had some surgery (everything is fine). I will probably not post again for a week or so (funeral) but this was something that I felt I had to comment on before it happened.

Killre's abandonment of the Cubs seems to have the Tribune Company reeling. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the Tribune company was close to accepting Sam Zell's $8,000,000,000 offer. I could have written 8 billion but the amount of pre-decimal zeros in that number is crazy. According to Bloomberg:

Zell said this month that he plans to keep the company's television stations and newspapers intact, including the Chicago Tribune and stakes in the Food Network and CareerBuilder Inc., a Web site that lists job openings and resumes of job-seekers.

"My intention is not to break it up,'' Zell, 65, said in a March 12 interview.

Notice that no where in this quote does Sam say that he plans to keep any part of the Cubs. This would be bad business. Although profitable, the Cubs would be an awful nice way to get some of his money back fast. And with the emotional investment many have with the team (even businessmen) possibly even more money than it is worth. Much more than it is worth if you ask Killre.

So what would happen to the Cubs if the sale happens? According to Reuter's News Service:
A more realistic scenario would be a sale of the Cubs and Tribune's 31 percent stake in the Food Network, in addition to rolling over the McCormick Trust's equity stake and potentially their proceeds from the dividend, estimated at $548 million, into the LBO financing, the bank said. A sale of the [C]ubs is valued between $450 million and $500 million and the company's stake in the Food Network is valued around $700 million to $750 million.
Almost 2 billion back in the pocket right away! Holy Cow! But the article states that the most realistic option on the Trib's table right now is for "a "self-help" option, which could include less leverage and a smaller dividend than what Zell is proposing, as well as the spin-off of Tribune's television group."

So what happens to the Cubbies if the Tribune tries this "self-help" idea? Well, the Trib would likely sell off it's television holdings and become a full-fledged tree-killing news service. Will the Cub's "business model"* continue without the combination of paper, TV, and radio? Maybe not. No matter what happens it looks like the Cubs could have a new owner in the next 1 to 3 years. Hey, hey!

Of course, there is the most likely option that no one seems to talk about. Imagine, if you will, a dad holding hands with his son, staring at his ticket stub, just trying to find Section 4 brought to you by Coca-Cola, Row Hummer H3, Seat Spiderman 3 in the Olive Garden Terrace.

Mar 27, 2007

"Who Knows?" Pickings




Smell that?

Oh, yes: Underneath all the other aromas and odors that have become all too familiar over the long, stale winter months is a mixture of scents that touch something deep down in the soul-- something all but forgotten, until it stirs anew. The blood quickens and thrums, the mind stumbles out of a cloying fog that it was too dulled to know it was in, and you begin to walk around with an extra, um, spring in your step. The mixture is of freshly mown grass, of dirt so paradoxically clean it gives a whole new meaning to the word "earthy." It is of leather, and oil, and pine tar; analgesic... and Human Growth Hormone.

Yea, the equinox is past, your clocks are an hour fast --which begs a question: If we're only going to use Standard Time for four months out of the year, can we really call it Standard Time?-- and your mad brackets are in shambles. The Bush administration is covering up, and making no secret that they're dummying up, and when Alberto Gonzales speaks, he rambles. And just to make sure you're well-primed and in the mood, on the shelf sits Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. (Excuse me for a minute while I giggle like a little girl on nitrous.)

In short, it must be spring.

Yes, ladies and gents, friends and neighbors, houses and tents, it is the season of rebirth and renewal. More importantly, it is the season of Baseball. So, like the six foot, two hundred seventy-five pound delicate flower that I am, I have shaken off my late winter malaise and gone a-hunting for wild Game: National League depth charts.

I must confess: What I found disturbs even me. After careful examination of the relative strengths, weaknesses, and middling adequacies of the fifteen teams (I didn't bother with the Washington Nationals, for reasons I will soon discuss) in The National League, I have come to the confidence-shaking conclusion that, in many ways, this season's pennant race will look an awful lot like last. There's something about that that bothers me: Either the status of most teams around The League has remained mind-numbingly quo, or I am carrying too much of last year's biases over to this year. That's something you might want to bear in mind while I break down the playoff races...

We'll begin in the East. The overall character of this division --particularly of the teams at or near the top-- is one of awesome everyday lineups with big question marks in the pitching department. Let's count 'em down...

(5) Washington. The experts are all saying this team will be so bad that it'll reach historic proportions. I'll take their word for it. When I went looking for the Nationals' depth chart, I found that they hadn't finished it yet. There's symbolism in that. This franchise is, after all, owned by MLB itself (you bet your [donkey] I'm looking right at you, Bud). I guess Joltin' Joe Girardi-o had a point when he said that no matter where you put them, no matter what you call them, they are still the Montreal Expos. Actually, he was being kind: The Expos were better than this.

(4) Florida. Speaking of Joe, Girardi had the Marlins in the playoff race last year for far longer than they really deserved. He did it with Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera and a couple of guys named Smoke and Mirrors. He also benefited from the overall parity (great mass of mediocrity) that characterized The League last year. This year, I think we'll see a wider gap between the haves and the have-nots.

(wider gap)

(3) Philadelphia. Yes, I've heard the hype. And --who knows?-- maybe I'm underselling them, but I just don't trust the Phillies' pitching.

(2) Atlanta. Overall, the Braves have better pitching than the Philly fellas. Their everyday lineup isn't as flashy as the other two contenders, but it's solid.

(1) New York. The everyday lineup is stacked. While the starting rotation is a big question mark, I think it'll hold together well enough. The Metropolitans' real edge is their bullpen. It's the best in the division.

On to the Central. If you wanted to be positive, you could say this division is one of texture and subtlety. On the other hand, you could also say that aside from a couple of bright spots, it's a bastion of mediocrity, and it's entirely fitting that much of the middling portion of The League is in the middle of the country...

(6) Cincinnati. Oh, they'll hit their share of home runs, but will there be anybody on base? My math says no. The Reds' top three starting pitchers could probably be adequate if they were on another team. As it is, it's going to be a long, hot summer in Porkopolis.

(5) Pittsburgh. Despite the fact that they will so often be over-matched, the Pirates will be a likable team. Too bad nobody in Pittsburgh will notice.

(4) Chicago. My, my: 100 years is such a nice, round number... Don't you think?

(3) Milwaukee. Another likable team. This one has more talent and depth than the Pirates, and more people will notice, too, but ultimately the Brew Crew will be on the outside looking in.

(2) Saint Loo. Make no mistake, here: The Defending Champions will contend. It'll be tough to repeat, though.

(1) Houston. I'm leapfrogging the Astros into first place on a hunch. My original analysis of the two contenders actually favored the Cardinals --especially their starting pitching-- but I'm going with my gut.

Okay, let's head out West. There is some very good pitching out here, which could tighten the race somewhat, but in the end I think it will come down to just two horses. If you've paid any attention at all this off-season, then you already know which two I'll be talking about...

(5) Colorado. Another rocky season for the Rockies.

(4) Arizona. The Diamondbacks are an x-factor. Good pitching, but with a lot of young unknowns in the everyday lineup. They could stay close until late in the season and then fade to third or fourth, or they could stumble early and never really be in the race.

(3) San Francisco. I heard that the Bay Area Retirement Home All Stars have actually gotten older. I didn't think it was possible. Then again, maybe I heard wrong (old age, y'know).

(2) San Diego. Last year, the Padres edged out the Dodgers for the division title by a tiebreaker. This year's race will be close, too. The Friars have good starting pitching and the best bullpen in The League, but their offense is monkishly spare.

(1) Los Angeles. If I heard right, the Trolley-dodgers will become the Cactus League's newest member next spring-- half a century after leaving Brooklyn. That has nothing to do with anything, but then again I've seldom been accused of having a point. I'll say more about the Dodgers in a moment.

Now, then: The Wild-card race. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be read into the record and duly noted by all that I do not have a very good track record when it comes to picking the Wild-card. Oh, I do okay with the Divisional races, but the Wild-card... not so much.

The way I see it, there will basically be seven teams competing for four playoff spots. Alphabetically, they are the Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, Padres and Phillies-- pretty much like last year. Assuming I correctly predicted the Division Champions (Astros, Dodgers, Mets), that leaves the Braves, Cardinals, Padres and Phillies competing for the Wild-card. I believe the first three are all viable candidates (I still don't trust the Phillies' pitching). As much to hedge my earlier hunch as for any other reason, I'll go with Saint Loo.

Now, I have been asked by One F to pick the pennant winner. Typically, I refrain from doing that. This year, though, I will go out on that limb...

This team has just about everything you'd want in a ballclub: Pitching, defense, speed, and they make good contact with decent power up and down the lineup. I predict that the 2007 National League Champions will be... the Los Angeles Dodgers.

P.S.... Bud "The Cowardly, Lyin'" Selig must go.

Mo' Bile, Homes

[1] I now know more about breast cancer than I ever wanted to. That should give you an idea just how bad cancer is: It made me say the word "breast" and the phrase "more... than I ever wanted" in the same sentence. That's bad.

[2] A little perspective, people: If you were in Iraq right now, September 2008 would seem like an entire chamber of Congress, one whole Presidential veto, and roughly 1200 lifetimes away. So stop celebrating.

[3] Please, oh, please, I beg of you, in the name of anything we can both agree just might be sacred and/or holy: Do not read "2008" as "two thousand and eight." You're better than that. And if you're not, go away.

[4] The word "Ewok" is never mentioned in Return of the Jedi. Not once. Think about that.

[5] Walter Mosley is a god.

[6] Mag-Lite --now there's a company running a legal scam: They have taken just about the most simple electrical tool known to man, and turned it into a status symbol.

[7] About a month ago, a British performance artist named Mark McGowan spent 72 hours crawling around New York City on all fours dressed in a business suit, knee pads, work gloves, a George W. Bush mask and a sign that read, "Kick My Butt." I've not heard just how many New Yorkers partook in punting the proffered posterior, either because they dislike Bush... or just on general principles.

[8] Performance art (per-FORM-ants-art) [noun] a publicity stunt staged by somebody you've never heard of before.

[9] "My Ding-a-ling" was Chuck Berry's biggest hit. Think about that.

[10] Danica Patrick, in a promotional spot for a show on XM: "On the radio, you can sorta hide behind the microphone and show the fans who we really are." Hey, now, how about that: They make Bimbo in brunette, now.

[11] There are 664 days left until George W. Bush pardons Scooter Libby.

[12] Boycott Under Armor.

[13] Bud "See No Barry, Hear No Barry, Speak No Barry" Selig must go.

Mar 22, 2007

Big Sister Update

The creator of the Hillary "Big Sister" YouTube ad found out to be Democratic staffer who worked for Internet firm contracted by Barack Obama campaign. That's Barack HUSSEIN Obama, for those of you who didn't get the memo from Mrs. Clinton's campaign office.

Click here for the story

"Philip de Vellis, the author of the anti-Hilary Clinton viral video was outed yesterday on the Huffington Post. The company he worked for, Blue State Digital — a Democratic Internet strategy company that does work for Barack Obama — has now fired him as a result. Said Vellis: 'I made the "Vote Different" ad because I wanted to express my feelings about the Democratic primary, and because I wanted to show that an individual citizen can affect the process.'"

Perhaps this is a one time occurance? Will the acts of one man actually begin a series of copycat artists to continue on. Will people stop, look away from the light and see what is really going on? I'd like to think that somehow, someway this will actually spark true debate to discuss the need for actual leadership.

Forget that, pass the Kool-Aid. 2+2=5

Mar 21, 2007

Big Sister Ad

Here's the most viral ad so far. It shows people are thinking. And how
dangerous is that to the old skool? Watch this, and realize the fear this brings the establishment.

Enjoy. Anyone got a hammer?