Chicago Cubs announce final cuts; set opening day roster

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The Chicago Cubs set their Opening Day 25-man roster in advance of the 2012 season opener versus the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field today. The Cubs have selected the contracts of right-handed pitcher Shawn Camp, infielder Blake DeWitt and outfielder Joe Mather. Outfielder Tony Campana and right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Left-handed pitcher John Gaub was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay.

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More with Jerry Pritikin: Most Interesting Cubs fan in the World

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The Chicago Cubs fanbase is very vast, and within its friendly confines you’ll find numerous individuals with fascinating stories to tell. Chicagoan Jerry Pritikin could be the most intriguing of all. I’ll let him edify you on his life experiences.

For part one of the interview with the “Gay Forrest Gump” or the “Bleacher Preacher” go here.

To read about and see his pictures from the Stanley Cup at the Gay Pride Parade go here

By Paul M. Banks

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Ryan Dempster key to any Cubs Turnaround

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“Not many people care more than he does,” Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry said of Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster.

The quirky, emotionally expressive hurler is known for both his interesting sense of humor and his burning desire. A native of Gibsons, British Columbia, he’s the team leader in quality starts and innings pitched. In addition to shouldering a lot of the burden on the field, he sometimes carries the load from a media/public/fan relations perspective.

Following his start Wednesday night, a win over Oakland, he was asked about the heat the Cubs are taking from fans and media lately. Specifically, if people are making macrolevel issues out of microlevel mishaps. (but not exactly in those words)

“Maybe the drought of not winning a championship here in so long makes things magnified a little bit more, but as players we don’t think that way,” Dempster responded.

By Paul M. Banks

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Illini Football, Cub fans know Soul-Crushing

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By Paul M. Banks

The year 2008 truly solidified my theory: to be a fan of either the Chicago Cubs and University of Illinois football means you know a lot about soul-crushing defeats. You know more than losing, you know exactly what it’s like to have any shred of hope or optimism crushed into grains of dust. You’ve had your hopes and dreams imploded so many times that you can’t even feel optimism anymore. You’ve routinely endured the type of losing that makes you wonder to yourself why you keep returning, but in ’08 took that disappointment spiked to cataclysmic proportions. The fallout from that devastation will likely linger for generations.

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Cubs and Sox Fans Mutually Exclusive?

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By Sam Svoboda

Before I even begin, I’d just like to say that I fully expect to catch some flak for this- too many people have their opinions on the Cubs and the Sox and refuse to even think about modifying them. But with the “Crosstown Classic” again this weekend, it’s a perfect time to examine the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the city’s two baseball teams are not mutually exclusive. In other words, liking the Sox does not mean you have to hate the Cubs, and vice versa: you can actually (gasp!) like both teams.

If you haven’t already started typing out a comment degrading my sports intelligence, hear me out. I’ll start with my personal story: My paternal grandfather is a life-long Cubs fan and my maternal grandfather is a life-long Sox fan. I grew up going to games both at Wrigley and Comiskey, and listening to both Harry Caray and Hawk Harrelson. I can rattle off the names of completely forgettable Southsiders like Mike Caruso and Jorge Fabregas and Northsiders like Jose Nieves and Brant Brown (insert obligatory dropped fly ball reference here).

And when I was little no one ever told me I was wrong to grow up rooting for (aka suffering with) both teams. Maybe it was because I was a kid, and they figured eventually I’d pick one or the other. But I still don’t see the need to choose. And it’s not because I’m a “glory hunter”, thinking that supporting two teams will double my chances of success- I mean, this is Chicago baseball we’re talking about after all, where World Series titles are less frequent than Haley’s Comet. I just think that, as a born-and-bred Chicagoan and one who loves his city, why shouldn’t I root for both of the teams that are representing it?CT 00294379E_Sox0628_23.JPG

Now, I also realize that this argument is not universal, especially as a fan of English soccer, where “derbies” between teams in the same city make the rivalry between Cubs and Sox fans look almost loving. But these are different in fundamental ways, and can actually provide contrasts that show why the Chicago baseball teams are not mutually exclusive (for simplicity, we’ll compare the Cubs and Sox to North London soccer rivals Arsenal and Tottenham).

First of all, the Cubs and Sox only play six out of their 162 games against each other (1 out of every 27 games), whereas Arsenal plays Tottenham twice in a 38 game season (1 out of 19 games- not counting the possibility that they’ll also face each other in a domestic cup competition). I’m basically the opposite of a math major, but I can tell you that the six Crosstown Classic games will not have a huge impact on the overall season. But in the Premier League, where there are no playoffs and everything is decided in the regular season, two matches can be very influential in determining a team’s fate.

More important than the different mathematical weights of games, however, is the different league structures. In the Premier League’s “single table” structure, every Tottenham match has an impact on the same standings that Arsenal are in- they’re fighting for the same spots.

With the two-league structure of MLB, though, how the Cubs are doing has zero effect on the Sox’ hopes of success, and vice versa. In fact, games against the other Chicago team mean a whole lot less than those against division rivals, or even just fellow NL or AL teams. These separate spheres mean that the success of one team does not hinder the other… unless the two play each other in the World Series again, in which case Satan will need to buy some heavy wool clothing.arsenal-london-club-badge-4900624

This is magnified even more when you add in history. Arsenal and Tottenham have been playing each other in high stakes matches- including many in the aforementioned cup tournaments- for over a hundred years (except for the years when Tottenham have been relegated to the second division). The Cubs and Sox played each other in the 1906 World Series. Interleague play started in 1997. Suffice to say, the two teams didn’t exactly play hundreds of meaningful games between each other in those 91 interceding years.

So while they’ve occupied the same town, the Sox and the Cubs might as well have been in separate universes in baseball terms- and they still compete in separate spheres today, although they both represent our fair city. Again, I’m not naive enough to think that the above argument will make all Chicagoans love both teams, but if I’ve convinced one person….

Sammy Sosa: A Corked, Corrupt, Conundrum of Saviors, Steroids & History

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By:  Soxman

On June 3rd, 2003 Sammy Sosa used a corked bat in a baseball game.  With a Ruthian swing, the bat exploded into 1000 pieces exposing a hollow core.  Sosa smiled and walked away denying any knowledge of wrong doing.  Years later this memory becomes the perfect analogy for not only his career, but the career of almost anyone who used illegal performance enhancing drugs.

As the unofficial steroid correspondent for the Sportsbank, I, like most baseball fans can’t say I’m at all surprised by the revelation from the New York Times yesterday that Sammy Sosa was among the 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  Honestly, with the exception of Sosa himself, who appears to suffer from short-term memory loss, was anybody?

My memory is not short-term either.  After the 1994 season was cancelled, baseballs true most valuable player, the fan, filed for divorce from the game.  One of the seven deadly sins, Greed appeared to forever tarnish America’s pastime.  Attendance was down and the game seemed to lose that magical romantic connection that fans, regardless of age or gender, had with it since the first time they could grip a baseball.

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1998, enter Sammy Sosa and McGwire:  The Saviors of the Game.

Engaged in an epic race to break Roger Maris’ season record of 61* (remember this asterisk) homers, the fans’ love affair with the game was reborn.  Fans flocked, cash flowed, and baseball once again had “juice.” Unfortunately, it was much more than “juice” as the term is used in the world of hip hop, which means “power and influence.”  The balls and players were also juiced up- in a totally different way.

We know now that everyone knew it too, players and owners alike, but they turned their heads because everyone was happy. I question, if the fans knew then, what they know now, would the magic truly have returned to the game?  Maybe, but perhaps on a level equal to that of World Wrestling Entertainment, another “sport” rocked by steroid scandals. Like watching Hulk Hogan body slam the Big Show, Sosa and McGwire traded gargantuan homers.  Would we say: “I know its fake, but I love it anyway.”  Like it requires skill to belt a 500 foot blast, it requires strength to slam 600 lbs like a paperweight.


Enough conjecture, let’s look at the facts.
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Major League Baseball, modifying a bat or a ball with foreign substances and using it in play is illegal and subject to ejection and further punishment.  Until 2003, it was ok to modify bodies with foreign substances, but not bats and balls.

Baseball has a moral clause since the early 1900s, where illegal actions taken by a player outside the game can lead to suspensions inside the game. Another key part of the moral clause has not been enforced for years.  If a players knows of illegal activity but fails to report it, that player possesses the same guilt as if those who committed the crime. Buck Weaver batted .324 in the 1919 World Series, tallying 11 hits. He also played errorless ball in the Series, yet was banned for life from the game based on his Black Sox connections.

Weaver was banned for having knowledge of other players’ plans to throw the World Series and failing to tell team officials. However, Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, had learned of the fix before the World Series began from both Kid Gleason, manager of the White Sox, and Hugh Fullerton, a Chicago baseball reporter.  Yet, he was never fined, reprimanded, or punished in any way.  Sound familiar?

Baseball management’s drug policy has prohibited steroid use without a prescription since 1991, but the policy had no penalties associated with it.  Why?  Because fans were happy and money flowed. Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Canseco and McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress and testified: “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

“I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything,” he told the House Government Reform Committee on March 17, 2005. “I have not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.”

Sammy Sosa likely lied in official testimony to Congress in 2005.  It’s a crime called perjury.  Yet no moral clause was ever evoked for him or Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids after his testimony.
So where do we go from here?vince_mcmahon_-_ecw_champion


My final thought on the matter of steroids in baseball is as follows:

Steroid use without a prescription has always been illegal outside of the game in America, so why did baseball develop a special set of laws to govern an already illegal activity?  Where is the moral clause and in fairness to the players, where is the penalty to the owners and executives of Major League Baseball who turned the other cheek in the interest of the game..or the almighty dollar? MLB owners deserves no less scrutiny than Vince McMahon received when his employees started dying from chronic steroid and painkiller abuse.


So the question of the day: Does Sammy Sosa deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

In giving my answer, know this admission of honesty by Soxman.  As a former member of the White Sox, I loved Sammy Sosa even when he wore the colors of the enemy.  I owned a Sosa Jersey, his Wheaties Box, and a hat which commemorated his 66* (like the asterisk?), bombs in 1998. 6th on baseballs all-time HR list with 609*.  1667 RBIs*, 234 SBs* and a lifetime .534 slugging percentage* is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, providing the Hall, which is the protector of our game’s history, however dark it may be, has the courage to tell a truth its owners and players couldn’t.

* All record denoted with an asterisk are reflective of an era in major league baseball where performance enhancing substances while illegal, where not actively tested for.

Cubs-White Sox Exchange: Apathy Reigns!

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

(PMB)What a difference a year makes! Last season around this time, both Chicago teams were in first place and the Crosstown Classic actually came remotely close to living up to the absurd hype that accompanies it each year. It was so important that we actually ran two exchanges for each series, and broke comment records on all of them. (Those records were subsequently broken by my piece following Soxman around at the Cell for the home series on the opening weekend of Batman: The Dark Knight. (That scheduling was intentional- not coincidental by the way)

Back to ’09 where apathetic is the word. Both teams redefine mediocrity and bad situational hitting. I’d almost still rather bask in the glow of “TSB weekend in MLB.” There are four main teams covered regularly here (Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Minnesota Twins) although we are starting to branch out into the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers now. And interleague weekend brought the four together. How rare and how cool was that? This midweek series however, no buzz at all.

(DK) To be completely honest, I didn’t even realize the Cubs and Sox were playing each other this week until you e-mailed me about this exchange. With the Blackhawks run to the Western Conference Finals, Bulls exciting series against the Celtics, and Bears acquisition of a real quarterback, this spring baseball season has taken an unusual back seat in the Chi. With good reason though. Neither the Cubs nor Sox have shown any sign of consistency or being a real contender in their respective divisions.

(PMB) The Cubs just fired hitting coach Gerald Perry and replaced him with Von Joshua. I think Sox hitting coach Greg Walker is possibly next. When you play in a hitters park like that and your team’s offensive numbers look ajlike Allan from “The Hangover” with his shirt off, you got to be on the hot seat.

(DK) The Cubs needed to shake things up somehow and it’s too early to give Sweet Lou the boot, so it certainly wasn’t unexpected when Perry was replaced by former Sox hitting coach, Von Joshua, who has a good history with some of the younger bats on the Cubs’ roster having coached them at I-City.

I think Walker is fairly safe. If there was ever a time to can him it was at the beginning of the month when the Pale Hoes scored three runs over a four game period, being shut-out three of those games. The veterans are hitting the ball well for the south-siders, it’s the young talent that needs to step their game up.

(PMB) Being a pitcher in softball, I like watching a good 3-2 MLB game as much as the next man, but this series’ inevitable low scores will be more about bad hitting than good pitching. Well, maybe the scores might be higher than we anticipated given how the Sox defense is to fielding what Heather Graham’s character in “The Hangover” is to chastity. That’s right two references this week to the funniest movie that I’ve seen in years.

(DK) I guess it’s safe to say that it was date night this weekend for you, huh? Heather Graham isn’t wearing roller skates in this one is she?

Maybe they should agree to adopt your underhand softball pitching style to add some firepower to this series. Both teams are in the bottom third in the majors in runs, hits, batting average, and RBI. Having CQ and A-Ram on the DL has been costly as has a major lack of clutch hitting. helmsgrahamhangover050809


(PMB) Of course Rollergirl took her clothes off in this film. Your predictions on this series? What’s the worst this series could be on the Unwatchability index? Using a 1-10 system, with 1 being seeing someone’s knee dislocate (very hard to watch), 5= Comcast Sports Net’s “Monsters in the Morning” (I’d rather be knocked unconscious) and 10 representing a Smashmouth concert. (worse torture than waterboarding)

Shall we get back to our NBA Draft work?

(DK) I’ll go against the grain on this one and predict an ‘8’ for this series. And I mean an 8 on a normal 1-10 scale, not the scale of horrific pain that you just described. The Cubs and Sox were each victorious thanks to game-winning runs in the ninth inning on Sunday and should have some momentum going into this series, which always has a different feel to it compared to any other series. I also have a feeling we could see some A.J. Pierzynski/Michael Barrett-type fireworks. Cubs take two of three.

Time to study some tape of B.J. Mullens’ footwork in the low post…

(PMB) You’re right. I’ll probably watch (and probably enjoy) all 3 games of the series. But I’d still rather be studying up on Darren Collison and Jeff Teague.

Catching Up with the Cubs

by: David K.

Anytime I have written anything about Carlos Zambrano, I always half-jokingly mention his craziness and habit of taking out his anger out on helpless Gatorade jugs.  Now you know why.

Big Z lost it Wednesday afternoon, throwing an impressive tantrum by bumping the home plate umpire then throwing HIM out of the game, whipping the ball into the outfield, slamming his glove on the ground, and then taking a bat to the new Gatorade dispenser in the Cubs dug-out like it was the copier in Office Space after disagreeing with a close play at the plate.  Cue up the Geto Boys, “Die Mother F@!&ers, Die Mother F@!&ers, Still!”

The thing that really irks me about another Los blow-up is that it came in the seventh inning of a tied game when the Cubs needed him to finish out his solid performance.  Way to have the team’s best interest in mind, Z.  You make Milton Bradley and Lindsey Lohan’s relationship with Samantha Ronson look sane.  Now, you will likely see a hefty fine and multi-game suspension.  Just what the Cubs need.

A friend recently pointed out to me that since his power out-burst of hitting three home runs during a four-game span, Ryan Theriot, who only hit one longball in 2008, hit two more jacks, but just five singles in his next 17 games and saw his average dip fifty-points.  That is what happens when a 5-11, 175 pound shortstop who makes his living using the opposite field and getting on base for the big bats behind him suddenly hits a couple bombs and thinks he is a home run threat.  Thankfully, The Riot has gone back to his old ways in the Pirates’ series in which he was 7-11 with three doubles and ZERO home runs.

Now I know how Brewers’ fans felt last season whenever Eric Gagne toed the rubber in the ninth inning to try and close out a game.  I trust Kevin Gregg as much as I would trust Michael Jackson with my first born child.  Gregg is not quite in Brad Lidge territory (8.85 ERA, 2.07 WHIP), but he certainly doesn’t put Cubs fans at ease in the ninth inning, as he has allowed at least one base runner in all but one of his save opportunities.  What is it going to take for Carlos Marmol to get the closer job?  Maybe Gregg needs shoulder stiffness and a short stint on the DL.

By the way, this rule needs to change.  On May 16th against the Astros, Gregg came in to close things out in the ninth with the Cubs leading 4-0.  He proceeded to give up back-to-back solo home runs, two singles, and then a hit batsman.  Aaron Heilman then relieved Gregg with the bases loaded and gave-up a two-run single to tie the game at four.  So Gregg allowed four earned runs without recording a single out, but did not get credited with the blown save.  Heilman did.  That’s just not fair.

The Cubs are hurting worse than the Cavs NBA Title hopes.  Los comes off the disabled list just as Rich Harden is sidelined with a back strain.  (At least it’s not his shoulder this time.)  Aramis Ramirez has been on the DL since May 10th with a shoulder injury and still is not close to partaking in baseball activities.  Aaron Miles was just put on the shelf with a sore shoulder.  Ryan Freel left Wednesday’s game with a lingering hamstring injury and will likely be placed on the DL as well.  Bobby Scales was recently suffering from flu-like symptoms and sent down to Triple-A because the Cubs need healthy bodies on their roster, but could be called back up if Freel is indeed placed on the DL.  Derrek Lee has been banged up as well, most recently missing a few games due to the flu.  No wonder the Cubs are four games back in the Central and recently went on an eight-game skid.

Thankfully, they won their last two so I can un-quit them for the 298, 714th time in my Cub fandom.

One…Two…Three…Let’s All Step Back From the Ledge

By Paul Schmidt

So as a general rule I have been the most pessimistic Cub fan I know.  Outside of the loss of Mark DeRosa (which every Cub fan hated this past offseason), I hated every single move the Cubs made both with their offense and with their pitching staff.  I felt as though they completely weakened the team from a season ago in a reaction that could only be described as knee-jerk.

Not to bite former Arizona Cardinals head coach Denny Green, but the Cubs are who I thought they were.  They are who I thought they were.  This isn’t the same team that won 95 games last season.  They aren’t as good.  Now, it’s not going to matter a lick, because the rest of the division is worse this year as well, probably even more so.

And while the Cardinals are dominating early, and the Brewers are showing a little bit of life, it would seem that they don’t have the talent to hang in the long run.
Even still…what is wrong with this team so far?

Overcompensation – I figured I’d get my last gripe (for the length of this article) about the mismanagement of the franchise by GM Jim Hendry while I’m trying to get this noose off from around my neck.

Look, I love Jim Hendry.  I do.  But the things he did this offseason…he just tried too hard.
It sort of reminds me of the new White Castle commercial.  You know, the one with the stripper pig, dancing around on stage?  Then getting doused by barbeque sauce?  It’s a push for everyone to learn about their new pulled pork sandwich…but it turns out just being really creepy.  Excessively skeevy. 

And the worst part was it was completely unnecessary.  Everyone already loves White Castle.  They will never lose business.  And hey, if I’m in the mood, I might try some pulled pork sliders.  Why not?  I like sliders.  I like pulled pork.  I might give it a shot.  But probably not if you show me a stripper pig pole dancing, getting doused by Sweet Baby Ray’s and then slopping it all over the audience.  I’m just saying.
The point is, Jim Hendry did much the same thing this past offseason (without the gross imagery). Not enough lefty bats off the bench?  Let’s ship out solid fielders and good right handed bats for subpar fielders and hitters, just because they hit from the left side of the plate.

The lineup is too right-handed?  Let’s ship out the most versatile player on the team (Mark DeRosa)  and get quite literally nothing of value in return.  Hey, while we’re at it, let’s sign an injury-prone, temperamental, stone-handed designated hitter to replace him (Milton Bradley).  Great call.
Point being, sometimes you can over-compensate for perceived problems.  And really make me mad/skeeved out by doing so.

BULLPEN: This is a really bad problem.  Bad, very bad. Going-to-cause-heart-attacks-across Chicago-before-the-end-of-the-season bad.  Naming Kevin Gregg the closer over Carlos Marmol not only sent millions of fantasy baseball players scrambling to the waiver wire, it immediately weakened the ‘pen (the combination of Gregg-Marmol in the 8th and 9th instead of….say…Marmol-Wood is already a step down, why just flip the two and make the problem worse??).

Then you have a situation where you have too many pitchers for roster spots, so obviously, you keep the rule 5 draftee who has never played above High A ball (David Patton) instead of the established long reliever who can spot start for you (Chad Gaudin).  Because why would you need a spot starter for the North Siders’ rotation, when, historically, they’ve been sooooo healthy, and have a pitcher named Rich Harden whose arm could detach at the shoulder on any pitch.

Plus you have Angel Guzman pitching as though he is bringing gasoline and matches to the mound and lighting himself on fire ever time he pitches.  PLUS you have Neal Cotts – the only lefty in the pen, mind you – throwing as though he has money against the Cubs every time he pitches.  I hate this bullpen.  I need a drink.

OFFENSE: Perhaps a lot of the offensive woes could be attributed to injuries to Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Milton Bradley.  I get that.  It does make sense, as two of them, along with Alfonso Soriano, are your teams’ biggest three weapons.
It doesn’t excuse the following stats, though: Derrek Lee, 1 HR, .205 AVG; Soto .143 AVG 0 HR; Bradley 2 HR, 2 RBI, .128 AVG; Aaron Miles .167 AVG;  Mike Fontenot, .250 AVG.

The offense has been, at times, putrid, and is being carried for long stretches by Kosuke Fukudome (one thing I was right about) and freakin’ Ryan Theriot (I LOVE The Riot, I do, but when you’re relying on him to hit a grand slam for you to win a game…well, that’s not a good sign folks.  Not a good sign…).

STARTING ROTATION: These guys cannot be blameless either. Everyone thought Ryan Dempster would take a step back, but at 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 25:14, he’s been downright awful.

Rich Harden is another matter.  He’s striking out a ton of guys, leading the team in Ks despite averaging less than 5 innings per start. When healthy, Harden is one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, but he absolutely does not look good so far this season.  The Cubs need him to turn things around quickly, especially if Ryan Dempster is turning into the Ryan Dumpster of Cincinnati fame.

All in all, things could be worse.  The offense will get better quickly as everyone GETS healthy, meaning the pitching staff won’t need to be great to keep the team in games.     However, the larger issue is that, at 11-11 after 22 games into the season, we as a fandom should probably scale back our expectations of running away with the division. Maybe 87 or 88 wins, and a fight to the finish against the Cards and/or the Brewers.

I’m as big of fan as anyone, I swear to you, but when my friends and I took a Vegas trip in mid-March, we made some future bets on win totals in baseball.  We saw the Cubs number at 92.5, my buddy Mark and I did, and we looked at each other.

“The under?” Mark, another die-hard Cub fan, asked.
“The under,” I agreed.
They are who we thought they were.

Douchebracket Regional Finals Results- David K. Regional

By: David K.

Fifty years from now, when your grandchildren ask you about the all-time greatest performances in Douchebracket history, you will have to mention Rachel Nichols’ run in 2009.  It has been legend… wait for it… legendary!

Sweet 16
#3 Rachel Nichols vs. #7 T-Shirts under basketball jerseys
Despite a spirited effort by Oklahoma’s Tony Crocker and the long sleeve t-shirt he rocks under his jersey, T-Shirts was absolutely no match for Rachel.  Maybe T-Shirts was hypnotized by Rachel’s eyes since she only blinks once every twenty seconds or maybe it was her over-dramatizing every sentence she said like she was a soap opera star.  Whatever is was Rachel came ready to play and it showed in the final score.

#16 Cub fans who blame Steve Bartman vs. #4 Around the Horn
It was a memorable run for the 16 seed Cub fans, but their Cinderella story ended abruptly at the hands of Around the Horn.  Woody Paige’s yelling for no reason and asinine arguments threw Cub fans off their game from the start.  In an absolutely disgusting act that I am sure Jay Mariotti would fully support on the show, Around the Horn showed absolutely no class at the end of the game when host Tony Reali crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it in the face of one of the fans as the clock read zeroes.  Cub fans then camped outside his house the next day waiting for him to emerge from his domicile while sending him death threats, blaming him for being their curse.

Regional Final
#3 Rachel Nichols vs. #4 Around the Horn
You know how when Pittsburgh played Villanova in the Elite 8 this past weekend, it was pretty much a win-win for the Big East Conference seeing as one of their teams was guaranteed to advance to the Final Four.  This is how ESPN felt heading into the match-up.  The biggest difference between the Pitt/Nova game and this showdown was that there was no last second dramatics needed.  Rachel rolled the entire game and then interviewed herself on the court afterwards which led to this awkward sign-off.  “Rachel Nichols told me, Rachel Nichols, that she’s glad she won the game.  And she hopes you vote for me, I mean, I hope you vote for her.  Wait… Whatever.  I’m Rachel Nichols, EEEEEEE SSSSSS PPPPPPPP NNNNNNNNNN.”

Douchebracket Banks Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.

This is the bracket compiled by site founder Paul M. Banks

1. Bobby Knight-
Where do you start with this asshole? My heart goes out to his players and his children. Pat Knight is both, so he must have the highest pain tolerance of any human being alive.

2. Roger Clemens-
Quite possibly the worst liar in all history, Clemens’ used artificially enhanced brute strength to dumb down and destroy the intellectual element of strategy and finesse essential to the art of pitching. Great role model for kids too!

3. Notre Dame fans w/ no connection to the school-
Imagine if your school had the power to recruit fans based on ethnicity and religion. Then whenever you attended a game/alumni event featuring your alma mater, you could be surrounded by ignorant front-runner bandwagon jumping douchebags.

4. Over-commercialization & self-promotion of Sportscenter-
Remember when you were 14 and you stayed home from school and watched the replay of SC over and over again in the morning? It was easy to do then because the show was actually about stats, highlights and numbers- not promoting a cultural product of Disney or a crappy domestic beer

5. Eric “Basketball Judas” Gordon-
Indiana’s pathetic season has helped drop his seed down, but he still stabbed Illination in the back, just so he could ally himself with the biggest scumbag of college basketball

6. People who think Chris Berman is funny-
Unless you’re 9 years old or a huge fan of 70s rock, how can you find this bloated bloviating Bristol blowhole amusing? Are Bachman-Turner-Overdrive jokes about Eagles fullbacks that important in your life?

7. Peyton Manning’s incessant commercials-
He really does have a face for radio. Some of his ads are well-written, but they lose all their humor after the 4th or 5th showing. After the 3,456th showing, someone needs to be shot.

8. Pro-Chief Illiniwek zealots-
In a world with a climate crisis, an employment crisis, economic crisis, a healthcare crisis, the U.S. stuck in two unwinnable wars and whole host of other pressing issues, your pet cause is gonna be…perceived oppression by the p.c. police against a frat boy dancing for 5 minutes at halftime? GET A LIFE!

9. Anti-Chief Illiniwek zealots-
It’s not like there’s a shortage of causes in the world. With all our problems, we need grassroots involvement to show our corporate and government (perhaps I’m being redundant there) leaders that the people want to see results in things that matter. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

10. People who think Barry Bonds didn’t use ‘roids-
There are tons of people who think Saddam was responsible for 9/11, there are people who think Bush, Cheney et al did not deliberately lie us into the Iraq war. Likewise there are millions of idiots who think Barry is being oppressed by a racist witch hunt. I’d don’t want to sound old and crotchety, but in my day we believed in simple facts. Basic truths are not optional to believe in.

11. ESPN’s Tim Tebow coverage-
That’s wonderful that he embraces his faith so openly; and goes on service missions that exhibit/fulfill his devotion. But you know what? I don’t give a shit! I don’t care what this overrated athlete does in his spare time away from the limelight- which will stop shinning on him after next football season. I can’t wait until he plays in a low level arena league, and there’s no more sycophantic coverage of this dbag.

12. Chase Daniel-
Would have been a bubble selection or NIT until the Alamo Bowl, when ESPN felt the need to show close-ups of the 5’9” QB’s family for the final 20 minutes! Outside of the Daniel family, WHO CARES!!?

13. U of Michigan grads, fans-
There’s a reason Wolverine fans are despised by fans of EVERY other school in the Big Ten. Yes, your school has some great graduate programs, but you didn’t go to medical school there! Yes, when the auto industry was rich and powerful, so was this school, but today Detroit is ready to entirely collapse, UM is a safety school for our nation’s smartest kids and you probably live in a Ypsilanti double-wide. And yes, your football team has a lot of proud moments- they all occurred decades before you were born.


14. Tyler Hansbrough-
Not even the best player on his team, let along the conference or the nation. But don’t tell that to Dickie V. and the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network.

15. Illini fans who incessantly bitch about bad calls- They’ll probably blame Dr. Chester Frazier’s injury on the refs too

16. Drunken, baseball illiterate Cub fans edges out Indiana ‘s circus clown warm-up pants in the play-in game.

I don’t hate the Cubs or their fans. I’m also totally fine with the fact that the local media slurps Cubbie Blue and gives much less attention to the White Sox. What I cannot tolerate though, are the LP Trixies and Trixymales that drink themselves retarded (ok, they’re more than halfway there sober), think Mark Grace is still on the team, and puke on the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

Bubble Burst

-The chick in the Progressive Insurance advertisements

-Former Iowa coaches (Bruce Pearl, Steve Alford etc.)

-The sight of Charlie Weiss