Top Ten Reasons to Keep Watching the Cubs in 2010

Let’s build us a happy little L flag that flies high in the sky every day. It’s gorgeous!

10. The Cubs have turned losing into an art form, and art is good for the soul.
9. Like a Godfather movie, even though you know it won’t end well, watching the bloodbath is half the fun.

8. You’re gonna want to be in a longterm relationship with Starlin Castro . . . baseballistically speaking.
7. You could win 5 $5 footlong subs from Subway.
6. One of these days Len Kasper is gonna snap, and you’re going to want to be the one they interview on the news and say, “He always seemed like such a nice man. Quiet, kept to himself. It’s just a shame.”
5. No matter how many times you think, It just can’t get any worse, it will. It always does. Do you really want to miss that?
4. If you stop watching now, you might forget how bad this team was when the Bears start to suck in September.
3. Real masochists obsessive junkies people who need to seek professional help addicts stalkers morans body-snatched pods fans keep watching no matter what.
2. Sometimes they win.
1. DeWitt. Blake DeWitt.

Top Ten Non-Player Trades the Cubs Should Make Right Now

Make this move, and I’d never turn away from the TV for a second.
Photos from and Mary Altaffer / AP 

With the trade deadline just over a week away, the theories, rumors, and proposals about who’s going where and for what are running amok across the information superhighway with reckless abandon. And while the mainstream media and the superbloggers out there would have you believe only players can be traded, that won’t stop me from encouraging the Cubs to take their mercantile thinking outside of its proverbial cardboard enclosure.

Here are ten trades that could improve this ballclub right now and in the future, and they don’t have to deal a single player:

10. Chicago’s weather  and a half a pizza for San Diego’s weather
Do I really need to tell anyone how bad the weather sucks in Chicago? No, I don’t. But it sucks. I’ve never been to San Diego, but I hear it’s nice. I don’t want to have to go there to confirm the matter, so I expect Hendry to bring the deal to me. And there’s still half a pizza left for him to enjoy, so no complaints.

9. Len Kasper to Crazytown for Mike Tyson and a sedative to be named later
This deal has so much upside for both parties, it makes me want to gnaw my ear off.

8. Jim Hendry to DD for a box of donuts
It’s not that I think he’s doing such a bad job, it’s just that the Gift-of-the-Magi irony would be, quite literally, delicious. I love delicious irony.

7. The Wrigley Scoreboard to Navy Pier for the IMAX screen
I really want to see Inception. I’ve heard it’s quite good, and I’m tired of trying to avoid all the spoilers. So to everyone at the theater watching the score get updated manually, allow me to spoil the ending for you: Cubs lose.

6. “The Friendly Confines” nickname to the United Center for “The Madhouse on Madison”
I know, Wrigley’s not on Madison. And the UC isn’t all that friendly. But it would be nice for the place known as the Friendly Confines to know what it’s like to see a championship banner raised to the rafters. Then the Cubs can re-sign the name in the offseason and it can tell us all about it.

5. The men’s room troughs to Hell for whatever it is they pee in there
I mean . . . really.

4. Cubs history to Croatia in exchange for their entire Summer Olympics legacy
Because they’ve won one more gold medal than the Cubs have won World Series. That’s a 50% improvement there, pal. Although, if it’s true that sports history has come to an end, this deal becomes moot.

3. Cub fans to the USS Enterprise for Spock, Data, Uhura, and Deanna Troi
Cubs fans need to be more logical if we’re to survive another century. But there’s no sense in putting the Bud Light Fan Cam to an end. Well, okay, maybe there is, but let’s not get carried away.

2. The Wrigley Field press corps to the Ringling Bros. Circus for a team of poorly trained monkeys
If the beat reporters are going to sling crap at Cubs players and coaches, it might as well be a literal exercise.

1. The 7th Inning Stretch Guest Conductor tradition to the American League for the DH
So you’re telling me if you had to choose between Denise Richards singing and Ted Lilly not hitting, you’d have to think twice about it?

Don’t worry. His days of batting for the Cubs are probably gone, but we’re not covering that here.

Top Ten Ideas to Get D-Lee and A-Ram Hitting

They’ve done it like this. They’ve done it like that. They should try it with a Wiffle Ball bat.

If Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez could hit again, the comparisons of the Cubs’ offense to the effects of an enlarged prostate would stop. But until things get flowing properly, here are 10 suggestions to help the slow, unpredictable trickle of corner-infield hits to get back to the rushing stream of extra-base hits we all expected.

Top Ten Ideas to Get D-Lee and A-Ram Hitting

10. Stop calling them D-Lee and A-Ram.

9. Let them use Wiffle Ball bats for increased bat speed.

8. Three words: Little. Jerry. Seinfeld.

7. Have them look in the mirror. That’s what they all suggested Milton Bradley do, anyway.

6. Last one to get a hit each game wears the Hello Kitty backpack.

5. Convince them that while their abysmal start has been an absolute joke, it’s still no replacement for Kevin Millar.

4. Give their mothers 10-year visas.

3. After three strikes: bring out the tee.

2. Substitute their advanced scouting videos with 15 hours of Lou Piniella saying, “Look, I don’t know what else I can do.”

1. 1980s campy movie solution: most triumphant video.

Top Ten Things Cubs Fans Can Look Forward To

Better cigars = better clubhouse chemistry

The season hasn’t gone all that well for the boys in blue, but there’s a reason the phrase “hope springs eternal” gets used so often at the Friendly Confines . . . and not just because we’re all so darn sarcastic.

Still, that’s one of the primary reasons. So here are ten things Cubs fans haven’t seen yet this year that, while not necessarily qualifying 2010 as the year, would still be kind of awesome.

10. Carlos Zambrano named the permanent Walgreens Bat Boy. 
Big Z has been making a very little contribution since being moved to the pen (just 7 2/3 innings in 7 games in the 21 Cubs games since the switch). That’s just not enough Zambrano for my liking. But that could all change if, as I suspect, Carlos is named the new bat boy. Those kids winning the Walgreens contest just aren’t getting it done, and this move would put Carlos in the action on almost every play. More Carlos. Better bats. This will work.

9. Calling up another Castro.
The dictator can play. Yes, I know his health is failing, but this move isn’t so much about the talent of Fidel so much as it’s about the message it sends to the team. If you don’t start hitting, you and your families will pay dearly. Tell me that won’t work! It sends a message.

8. Ron Santo losing it big time.

Everybody thinks of Ron as a generally happy guy who has overcome quite a bit of physical pain and Cub-related anguish. But this year, the complaints about his focus and disposition have made many wonder if he’s not too old to keep sane in the booth. We’ve heard the historic Nooooo!, so we know he’s capable of having an in-booth meltdown. But if Santo gave us another Brant-Brown reaction, but expanded it into a Lee-Elia style explosion, we’d have ourselves a memory that would last a lifetime.

7. Another sweep at the hands of the Pirates.
Last year, the Cubs owned the Pirates, winning 161 out of 15 games against them. If it hadn’t been for their -79 and 75 record against the rest of MLB, the Cubs would have made the postseason. The Cubs were better than the Pirates last season, and they’re better once again this year. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect the pendulum of luck to keep swinging back in a more Cublike direction. If the Cubs lose six straight to the Buccos, it’ll almost be like Barry Bonds has a normal size head again.

6. Mass Head Shaving
If we ask ourselves, “What would DeRosa do?” (and who doesn’t ask that question on a daily basis?) , the answer will eventually be, Shave our heads to bust out of this slump. It may not be effective, but we’ll feel better about the losing at the very least. Because where there are bald heads, there are smiling faces. I swear on Reed Johnson’s glaring dome, it’s true.

5. A New Logo
The Cubs might change up the unis again, but that’s not what I mean. Even here on May 14, it seems fairly obvious that the And Counting Meter is going to have to roll over to 103. That’s exciting. Right?

4. The Trade Deadline
This is actually completely serious. The Cubs have a plethora of players who may jump at the chance to shed their standard-issue no-trade clauses to skip town to a winner. Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, and Ronnie Woo could all give some contender a chance to take a serious step toward World Series glory and to unload their can’t-miss (or some such) prospects into the Cubs farm system (aka, their current bullpen).

3. Booing the Cardinals in the Playoffs
Remember when Matt Holliday got ro-sham-bo’d by that routine line drive and the Cardinals wound up going down in flames? That was probably the Cubs’ best postseason memory in the last 7 years. Something like that could happen again and salvage 2010.

2. The Wildcard Race
Again, this is completely serious. The Cubs could go 0 for their next 100 games and they still wouldn’t be eliminated from wildcard contention until September 10. No matter how bad the Cubs are or might continue to be, the National League is bad enough that the excitement of wildcard hopes will last a very, very long time . . . and the Cubs have a legit shot at winning that thing.

1. Wrigley Talk Friday
Don’t tell me this is all just some elaborate Top Ten ploy to get me to listen to your stupid podcast! Okay, I won’t tell you that. But, since you brought it up, listen to my stupid podcast, here, in the player on the sidebar, or on iTunes.

Top Ten Things Tom Ricketts Still Needs to Change at Wrigley Field

By law, this scoreboard must go unaltered forever. That includes general cleaning.

Wrigley Field is a beautiful place, a holy cathedral of baseball’s highest order. But it’s also home to some of the foulest, sludgiest nooks and crannies this side of Jim Hendry’s colon. The Ricketts regime has already begun to make a few changes, replacing concrete slabs with monstrous photo banners and substituting a few troughs with IPPS’s*. But it’s not nearly enough. I’m sure Ozzie Guillen could think of many more, but here are 10 suggestions to get the Cubbies started:

10. Trough-style bidets.

9. Guess the Ambassador’s Age Contest. (Hint: the answer’s 85.)

Can we get a picture of Miles, just for old time’s sake?

8. Clearly marked “Entrance” and “Exit” signs for all restrooms. (Wait, they’re installed already? Then how do you explain the 5-idiot-per-second rate of people trying to get out the wrong way? They must just be friendly.)

7. Replace out-of-town scores with manually updated out-of-touch tweets from disgruntled White Sox fans.

6. Miss an inning in line for the restroom? No problem: piss-trough time machines.

5. Tickets that don’t cost 5 billion dollars.

4. Every 7th-inning stretch, every guest conductor: auto-tune.

3. Twenty-five percent discount on concessions for everyone who agrees to shower before coming to the game. With much thanks.

2. Keep “Go Cubs Go,” as the victory celebration song, but after losses everyone joins hands and sings “Kumbaya.”

1. A new World Series banner. (Seriously, it doesn’t even have to be real. Humor me.)

*individual pee-pee stations

Ten Things Cub Fans Can Still Look Forward to in 2009

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. You can take that truthism as a blessing or a curse, depending on your state of perpetual hope or interminable anguish. On the positive side, here are 10 things we still have to look forward to in a season most of us wish would just die already:

10. The return of Bobby Scales. It’s hard to remember the adrenaline shot the substitute teacher gave the Cubbies in his last fill-in stint in the majors, but I seem to recall feeling happy for a few days. I’d welcome another dose right now.

9. The unconditional release of Aaron Miles. I hope life treats him kind, and I hope he has all he dreams of. I wish him joy and happiness, but above all this, I wish . . . he was gone. And I-yee-I-ee-I will always *deep breath* loathe you-whooooo, and I will always . . . sing it, Whitney.

8. The sale of the team. It’s still not over. It won’t guarantee success. It won’t become final final until after the season is done. But I can’t wait to put the biggest distraction of the season (yes, even bigger than Milton Bradley) behind us.

7. One more game against the White Sox. Losing will be fuel on the depressing fire. Winning will do little to lift my spirits. But when the game goes down on Thursday . . . aw heck, never mind. I’m not looking forward to this at all. I hate it when we play the Sox pre-October.

6. The Wild Card. Will the Cubs win the wild card? Probably not. But the wild card race should be fun to watch. The National League is really just not very good this year, which makes that last playoff spot all the easier to grab. I’m not so much of a purist that I don’t enjoy a whole scrum of teams battling over a playoff spot they don’t deserve.

5. The eruption of Mt. Lou. You. Know. It’s. Going. To. Happen. I’ll bring the popcorn.

4. Randy Wells. I’m genuinely excited to see how Randy Wells finishes out this year. He may have seen his Rookie of the Year chances sail into the left-field bleachers, but he still has a chance to reach the teens in wins.

3. Aaron Milesless baseball. Even if he doesn’t get released, the expanded September roster now gives Lou no excuse whatsoever to ever put Aaron Miles on the playing field. If I see him so much as lift the Hello Kitty backpack, I’m launching an investigation into Lou’s sanity.

2. Da Bearsssss. Bearss. Ditka. Cutler. Bearss.

1. That guy. Somebody always has a good September. A lot of times it’s Soriano. Soto had some good moments in last year’s last month. In case you forgot, many people were ready to write off Zambrano’s 2008 until his no-no on September 14. It might not save the Cubs. It might not add to the wild card drama. But there will be somebody who makes September memorable.

It’s reason enough for me to keep watching.

Top Ten Things I Hate About Cubs West Coast Trips

I did a Top Ten Positives list to try to fool myself into happiness. Here’s reality’s wake-up call:

Top Ten Things I Hate About Cubs West Coast Trips
10. The Cubs lose when they go to the West Coast.
9. Reminds me of Steve Garvey.
8. Limericks about Orel Hershiser don’t fit in one Tweet.
7. The worst migraine I ever had (which included temporary local paralysis) was induced by staying up to watch a Dodger game.
6. The pain of a midnight loss is still fresh in the morning.
5. The Cubs stink out West.
4. Mannywood.
3. Dogs that roam the field before games leave behind metaphors of Cubdom.
2. West Coast trips are like those sitcom episodes where the whole family goes to some exotic place and something awful happens and by the end of the two-parter, everyone’s just glad to make it home alive.
1. I’m just so tired of losing.

Top Ten Things About a Cubs West Coast Trip

The Cubs are about to begin a string of late-night (for me) contests against those West-Coast adversaries the Padres and the Dodgers. And while these road trips bring their fair share of negatives in both the baseball world and real life, I did manage to come up with these ten pluses:

Top Ten Things About a Cubs West Coast Trip
10. You’re barely awake enough to appreciate the sadness of a tough loss.
9. Tom Skilling is even sexier after midnight.
8. Eating your traditional 8th-inning nachos means you can call in sick to work without lying.
7. Afternoon and evening freed up for more important matters like reworking your fantasy football draft strategy.
6. Easier to curse Aaron Miles freely and loudly after the kids go to bed.
5. 90210 airs at its originally scheduled time.
4. Dodgers series = four straight nights of watching the camera cut away to Alyssa Milano.
3. Real good chances of falling asleep before Marmol or Gregg blow the game.
2. Gail Fischer and Todd Hollandsworth not afraid to drop F-Bomb in after-hours postgame.
1. Milton Bradley’s swing gains two hours.

Ten Things to Like about Twitter

It’s been so long since I started making this list of 10 Things to Like about Twitter, I forgot to list them all in one top ten list. But to call this a top ten is a misnomer. It’s hardly the definitive 10 best things about Twitter. I haven’t even touched on the commercial possibilities Twitter presents, the potential for social change, or anything all that much bigger than my own private Twittersphere.

That’s the point, really. This is my list. These are 10 things you should like because I like them. If you’re an experienced tweetist, you may hate some of them. If you’re new to Twitter . . . you might hate some of them. But I like ’em. Humor me.
I guess I should also preface this with a brief tutorial. If you want to partake in the Twitterfest, it’s really not hard, far simpler than Facebook or just about anything else you could do online. Twitter is a place (or a method) for updating and getting updates on anything or anyone. To get started, just go to, browse, sign up, go to my page, and click “Follow.” Alright, this is a long preface. Here’s the 10 Things I Like about Twitter:
10. Trends. When a topic gets tweeted a lot, the keywords show up at various places on Twitter (the home page, the sidebar). You can find out what people are talking about almost as soon as they start talking about them.
9. Hashtags. That’s Twitterese for putting a # in front of your update’s (or tweet’s) keyword, so you can easily find tweets about the same thing. It’s more useful (and less confusing) than it sounds.
8. No Commitment. You don’t have to read everything your friends, followers, or followees post. You don’t have to join groups, causes, or drawn-out comment threads. It’s light, casual . . . we’re just friends with twitterfits. That was terrible.
7. The Return of Editing. You only have 140 characters, and everybody can read it. You best clean up your spelling and grammar, there, kid.
6. And other easily postable links to the music of the moment. If a song is stuck in your head, why shouldn’t you lure some unsuspecting soul to wallow/revel in it.
5. No Computer Necessary. Most Internet experiences get a serious downgrade when you switch to mobile. Twitter was made for mobile. You don’t have to live like a nerd to get your geek on.
4. Anyone Can Do It. Kelso from That 70’s Show is the Twitter king. If you can’t at least get started . . . okay, there’s no then statement. You can at least get started.
3. We, Not They. Twitter users determine what reigns on Twitter. Not The Media. Not The Government. Not The Corporate World. It’s ours, people. We have no one to blame but us.
2. Conversation. I like to think Twitter is just one big conversation. It’s in the moment. Blogging is more of a journal for posterity. Twitter doesn’t wait around that long. Twitter is now. Twitter is a party to which everyone is invited, everyone can hear (almost) everything anyone is saying, and it’s real easy to sneak away.
1. Words. In a world of video, images, CGI wizardry, Twitter is governed by the almighty word. Thank God.

Top Ten Additional Songs To Sing Along In The Car With (Even If I Can’t Hit All the Notes)

10. “Carolina in My Mind,” James Taylor
9. “Friends in Low Places,” Garth Brooks
8. “Rock and Roll,” Led Zeppelin
7. “I Go Blind,” Hootie and the Blowfish
6. “Yellow Ledbetter,” Pearl Jam
5. “Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac
4. “Santeria,” Sublime (although I like to substitute the lyrics, “I’m not Edgar Renteria. I don’t like to play baseball . . .”
3. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” Elton John
2.”Cult of Personality,” Living Colour
1. “Need You Tonight,” INXS

With these lists, there are no jokes. These songs come on in the car, watch out, I’m singin’. And no, I don’t care if I hit the notes. I’m singin’. And I love it. I don’t pretend I’m on American Idol. I don’t care if my voice goes to pot. I only slightly mind if someone pulls up next to me in traffic. (And I could probably do 100 of these lists.)

Rock on.