Breaking News

Soriano Injury Update

This just in: Alfonso has been listed as day-to-day with an unknown strain he received chasing down a shallow pop-up. The Cubs trainers have informed us that Soriano will pitch a simulated game this Friday and they hope he can work his arm strength back up before his next start.

Pie Called up from AAA

Update: Felix 'The Future' Pie got the call up yesterday when Soriano pulled a hamstring and he responded by having a great game at the plate and in the field... talk about some silver lining in that- oh wait- the Cubs still lost that game to the Padres in extra innings.

Mizarro April gives way to May

A 2007 Cubs April in Haiku:

Batter Interfered.
Home losses and rising stars
with base over slid.


Our star crossed April shows promise in the name of Felix, Theriot, Lilly, and Hill yet reminds us of our frailty with Blanco, Cedeno, and our record in 1 run games (now being reported in the standings as 1RG for no other reason than to taunt our tortured fan base.

As I write this, our May record and seemingly our fate for the rest of the season hinges on whether the Cubs can hold their slim lead against the Pirates in the bottom of the seventh.
This only further proves the existence of our fickle baseball gods and their cruel indifference to our fate.

New TFB Logo

Feast your eyes on our new Old Style Inspired Logo


Say It Ain't So Neifi!

There is probably not a bigger Neifi Perez fan in this world (Mr. and Mrs. Perez included) than myself.


Neifi was always a fantastic and graceful fielder, for a position player with a career average below .270, this was something of a necessity. But when he first came over to the Cubs at the end of the 2004 season and the beginning of 2005 Neifi was a hitting machine. He would consistently slash doubles down the line, bloop singles in front of outfielders, bunt his way on and slap high bouncing grounders to the shortstop for infield singles. Over that astounding four month stretch he must have hit somewhere in the neighborhood of .330 and even made a little write in noise for the 2005 all star game. This was a remarkable achievement for a player who had no discernible hitting skill. It was like watching a submarine fly, or a hippo dance, everything you ever learned in life tells you that this should absolutely not be happening. But it does happen, repeatedly, and the whole experience is magical. dhippo.JPG

About the middle of June 2005 Neifi’s magic wore off and everybody slowly started to turn on him. By the time he was traded to the Tigers the following year every Cubs’ fan with vocal cords or internet access (sometimes both) was screaming/typing bloody murder for Dusty Baker to stop playing Neifi. Every Cubs’ fan but one.

I stuck by my Neifi. I even started a web site devoted to Neifi. There was something about his slick fielding, colossal failures at the plate, unusual first name and the giddy exuberance with which he played the game of baseball.

Then it turns out that his giddy exuberance was most likely the result of a steady and voracious diet of amphetamines. This is hard for me to deal with.

My initial thought was that it was a set up, that the Tiger club house was closely aligned with Omar Infante and any other utility infielders he beat out for a roster spot this spring. We’ll find out slowly enough, with baseball’s lengthy appeal process, but it seems most probable that his signature hyperactivity was mostly the result of shoveling zip loc bags full of greenies into his system.

Neifi gets a 25 game suspension from baseball, I get to ponder over a few questions:

a. If I liked Neifi while he was so pepped up on amphetamines, does that mean that I really like amphetamines and not Neifi?
b. Would I start a web site in devotion to an illicit drug?
c. Did I ever really even know Neifi?
d. Was there something I could have done to prevent this?
e. Do I continue to root for Neifi

Answer key:

a. Possibly
b. Probably not
c. No
d. No
e. Hmmmm?

I’m having fits over that last question. I don’t have an enormous computer sitting in my living room that has flashing lights (think George Michaels Sports Machine), whistles and an extensive database of all the relative merits and demerits of every baseball player and runs them through complicated mathematical models to spit out a piece of paper with my favorite player printed on it
(complete with electronic computing sounds and steam venting violently through an ad hoc pipe attached to the top).

I have to make these calculations myself!

Neifi’s best attribute was the joy factor I got from watching him hop around the field at 100 mph and the reliably pathetic but sometimes brilliant performances he put on at the plate. The Neifi experience is going to change come August 4th when he makes his triumphant return. I imagine him slowly trudging around the dugout listless and strung out with a lifeless expression on his face. Ghost like and confused, he’ll boot routine ground balls, fall asleep at the plate and generally continue his unique take on being a major league baseball player but in a manner diametrically opposed to his previous (chemically altered) nature.

Personally, I welcome the new Neifi, this could possibly be the sort of career reinvention that keeps perpetual celebrities fresh and new in our constantly changing pop culture. Neifi is like (/will be like) the Madonna of MLB.

I can live with this, and it still beats cheering for Barry Bonds.

Neifi is a junkie…

Neifi Neftali Perez will not be making a triumphant return this season, not to baseball anyway. Neifi is a junkie; he couldn’t even stay off the greenies for a few months to secure the rest of his guaranteed contract. That’s a good chunk of drug money for the off season. That means Neifi is not only an addict but a dumb one. Even Lawrence Taylor was able to temper his appetite for narcotics until his career ended.

Still, the good times of seasons past cannot be taken away from me. In honor of the presumed end of Neifi’s career we’re giving second life to my old Neifi-net web site, enjoy!

Fukudome rhymes with "Andre"

Ladies and gentlemen we finally have the legendary Fukudome (Foo-koo-doe-may) under contract to play Right Field according to ESPN last night and the Cubs made it official this morning!

There are good things being said:

  • "Plays like Ichiro in the field"

  • "On-Base-Machine"

  • "Power to the Gaps"

  • "Best Japanese player in Japan"

And some unfounded rumors:

  • Had surgery

  • Eats raw fish

  • Last name is Emodukuf spelled backwards

  • Is really a Japanese guy (?!)

TFB thinks this move will really help the club, we scored an exclusive interview with Lou Pinella to hear his thoughts:

TFB: Hi Lou!
Lou: What the F*ck do you want at 4am?
TFB: It's 2 in the afternoon Lou.
Lou: (mumbling...) Look lets not gloom and doom this thing guys...
TFB: It's over Lou, the playoffs are over, we are calling about Fukudome.
Lou: Hey listen- I don't need this crap- good bye!
TFB: No! Don't hang up.. He is the new addition to the Cubby line-up from Japan.
Lou: (mumbling...) I really thought we needed Carlos for game 4.
TFB: Lou- it's OK, forget the 2007 NLDS. We want to know about the Japanese guy Hendry has been writing love letters to- he used to play for the Chunichi Dragons over there.
Lou: (suddenly alert) Now that you mention it I am pretty hungry.
TFB: Thanks for the chat Lou! See you at Spring Training.
Lou: What about that Chunichi I ordered? Let me have some Won-Tons and maybe some fried rice with that.

The Goose and The Hawk

Congrats to Goose Gossage on his induction. The Goose's only year worth discussing is actually 1988. The Goose was part of a Cubs team on the brink; or rather between NL East Championships in 1984 and 1989.
It was the first season I can vividly remember every Cubs player on the roster (well OK, Rick Wrona rings a bell but I can't quite picture him), It was the the debut of the Dunston-to-Sandburg-to-Grace combo, Berryhill took over for Jody Davis, Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer suddenly broke out, MarkGrace.jpg Sutcliffe pitched 12 Complete Games but only won 13. It was the year of Vance Law, Popeye came to town, Raffi was still clean and most importantly: the Hawk settled in to roam the right field grass after his MVP year.

The Goose was mostly a bust in 1988, but we won't dwell on it.


Now that we are finally leaving the Steroid Era, I can look back at these memories with more appreciation for the Hawk. It looks like he is steadily gaining enough votes to make it into the HOF, thanks in part to the ridiculous excesses of Sammy, Barry, and McGuire his accomplishments and career can now be properly recognized.

Grace Image via

Celebrate the Sweep!!!!

In honor of the Crosstown Classic Sweep TFB has created the limited edition Series Sweepin Zone Shirts:


Buy these shirts here while supplies last!

The Wrigley Storm

Cubs vs Astros
Wrigley Field

Mother nature takes over Wrigley for 70's night.

Wrigley Storm Part 2

See the entire set of Wrigley Storm Videos here.

Zambrano's No Hitter: An Eyewitness Account

The Prelude

On Saturday night at approximately 9:21pm I received the news from frantic Cubs Fan #43 that hurricane Ike had relocated the Cubs vs Houston game to Miller Park.

"Cubs are playing tomorrow night and Monday in Milwaukee. Road Trip?"

The only valid response to this question:

This prompted me to send a bunch of messages to round up the gang, rally the troops, get the band back together etc....

The silence was deafening.

Apparently the rain and the recent slide had taken its toll on my circle of Cubs Fans. They will be referred to only as the Idiots from now on.

After performing various spiritual rituals, escaping the teary eyes of my lovely Cubs widow, and dodging biblical floods on the streets of Chicago I arrived at the condominium village on the northwest side of Chicago (this place belongs in a suburb) to begin our epic journey.

Agent 43 and his trusty Cubs sidekick, Lisa, began our harrowing trip to the land of cheese in our heavily armored limo. Traffic was avoided, GPS systems enabled, smoke screens deployed, and special defensive driving allowed us to pass unholy numbers of fellow Cubs vagabonds. Lisa can haul ass- God bless her.

We arrived and paid Bernie the Brewer for parking. With 30 minutes to spare we dashed quickly through a couple pregame warm ups and collected our tickets.

I noticed a strange collections of baseball fans at will call - Cubs fans mixed with Brewers fans, and most curiously some idiot wearing a White Sox jersey he apparently stitched himself from used underwear. There is a good chance that no one will ever love this misguided southsider.

Act I: The Scoring

I'd never been to the Brewery and as we were escorted to our luxury right field bleacher seats I took in as much of the stadium as possible.

We arrived as the Anthem was playing and before the lineups were announced. During the first at-bat Fonzie smashes a towering blast that was going to hit the roof. I was concerned about Miller Park ground rules and probably had enough time to look them up before the ball finally landed in the left-field bleachers.

The crowd, after the long commute, erupts. A cute little 4 year old girl behind us in a little pink Cubs jersey freaked out and was insanely happy. That was fun. If the game ended here and we had to go home, it would have been worth it. The Cubbies go down quietly after that, time for the Astros at bat.

Zambrano starts dealing and he hits 96 and 98 with his fastball. I look to #43 and we agree the gun must be hot.. no way is Z firing like that.

It is obvious this isn't the measured Z we have seen all year who has been taking his sweet time getting warmed up and slowly reaching his peak around the 3rd or 4th inning. This doesn't look like inning management. He retired the side to some big cheers. I am positive the radar gun is broken.
*We are 500 feet away and Soto's mitt is popping like we are calling balls and strikes. I bet Soto has to get the day off tomorrow to get the swelling down.

We are pretty easily distracted:

"No big deal- where's the count in here anyway- oh neat there is a pitch count over there, that's the slide where Bernie slides down, hey next Cubbie homerun lets siege the slide.. ha ha"

3 up, 3 down for the Cubbies and the Astros. An unlikely single next inning from Cedeno, then another single from Z puts runners on first and second. Fonzie hits another moon shot that doesn't leave the infield this time and then TheRiot pops out.

"Oh crap- we can't get the number 8 and 9 hitters on and not score this inning- and here comes D.Lee"

Agent 43 mentions that D.Lee has x home runs and all of them are solo homers and he is so unclutch they should move him to number 13 in the batting order, blah blah blah.

In my prescient but measured way I mention he could make up for that right now.
Boom: 2 Run Double!

The floodgates open with a couple more hits from Ramirez and Soto and after walking DeRo Randy Wolf gets the hook. 4 runs... we congratulate ourselves.

Act II: The Canoe of Cheesecurds

After that long inning, I'm a few beers in and a long car ride from Chicago in need of a bathroom. There is no trough in here... I'm confused and a little scared to be in such a small bathroom. The bathrooms at Wrigley are made for the thousands. I'm pretty sure my bathroom at home is bigger than this Miller Park fiasco.

Might as well grab a brat and some beer while I'm up. For some reason they are playing the Brewers-Phillies game on TV. This is confusing - I glance over my shoulder and notice a man on base, then I hear a double play go down, cheer, and return to the long line.

Fried Cheese Curds in a little paper canoe, a brat, and a beer. The little paper canoe makes me happy and I trot back to the loyal team. Lisa is out on reconnaissance but Agent 43 is holding the seats.

Cheesecurd Fonseca: "Hey- who got the hit"
43: "Shut up dumbass- that's an error on the scoreboard"
Cheesecurd: "Erase that comment from your memory completely- I never said that- understand?"

I'm not even going to recount the Cubbie offense from here on, there might have been a hit somewhere but no one cared.

Defensively I am sure every Cub on the field was scared for their life. Think about it, if you screwed up on a normal day, Z might devour your children ala Iron Mike. Today, he would slay your entire family Kaiser Soze style, but with more panache and ferocity.

It is the 5th and soon after the cheesecurd enabled conversation, Carlos fires some inside heat and barely misses Hunter Pence- the blood thirsty crowd calls out to really nail him next time. Z complies and plunks him in the back. (I admit I was the only one who wanted Hunter to get hit, but I was only kidding)

The next batter senses weakness and hits a rope. Quantum physicists are at a loss to explain how this happened, but D.Lee puts a patented leaping stab on this ball that goes over any normally proportioned first baseman's head.

It's the 6th Inning and the Astros call in their 12th no-name pitcher of the night. It doesn't matter, every Cub in the lineup is scared shitless that they are going to screw up in the field or look cross-eyed at Z in the dugout. The crowd is slowly starting to figure this out.

Lisa says something to 43 about there "not being much offense from the Astros". There is almost a tragic end to this fairy tale romance. Luckily Lisa brought back 2 beers from her latest Bernie-Slide Recon mission. (Her suggested route involves a trapeze and a zip line... note: bring zipline next time)

Act III: Internal Conflict

It's the 7th, at this point I start to worry about Big Z's arm. we thought he needed an MRI only last week! He is still only around 85 pitches but I know he will do anything to make this no-no happen.

"He could kill himself out there"

Part of me almost wishes for a hit so we can relax and put Z on ice. That part of me is obviously defective and will soon be surgically removed regardless of cost.

By the 8th, the text messages and voicemails start piling up on the phones, the excitement is building and all of a sudden an Astro bat cracks a shot tailing towards the right field corner.

A strange feeling of dread mixed with relief hits me... then out of nowhere a streaking DeRosa finds an angle on the ball and barely snares it sno-cone style. It might look like an easy catch on the replays and it was easier than the D.Lee leaper earlier, but there was so much riding on that catch.

Oh man the crowd is going nuts at this point- this guy next to me almost breaks my hand on a high-five, another grown man is obviously hyperventilating and most everyone around us has completely lost their mind.

The next batter pops one up in foul territory- It's DLee, Carlos and Soto heading towards each other in slow motion- all sorts of horrible collisions go through my tortured mind until Z waves his arms maniacally and scares every living human on the field away from the ball. I saw the 1st base coach flinch along with the entire section behind the dugout. That was funny- I can't wait to see it on ESPN Classic.

At this point Z might be tiring- he has a small battle but collects another K and storms to the dugout.

Act IV: The Final Inning

We all look at each other in disbelief- there is a sort of strange silence before the Cubs come up to bat in the top of the 9th, not a murmer... I think everyone has something like this in their heads:

"Is this real? am I dreaming, is this what heaven looks like? did I just eat a whole canoe full of fried cheesecurds? Is this really just a brain embolism"

The first two batter hit tough choppers to TheRiot who gobbles them up. Pretty quickly we are facing the potential 3rd out...

What was already a boisterous, loud, and excited crowd has reached asylum bedlam levels.
Flashbulbs are going off all over the stadium- adults with jobs and responsibilities are jumping up and down slamming their palms on the seats like self flagellating holy pilgrims.

I still can't believe it- Z threw a wicked breaking ball on the outside that had no chance of touching a bat and IT happened.

To say we all felt chills is not sufficient- we all felt a sub-absolute-zero-3rd-degree-simultaneous-climax. People were crying, singing, most of all cheering and screaming. I grabbed a stranger and shook the living crap outta him. A couple fools with no respect for the moment ran for the aisles to beat traffic.

The story doesn't end here, but I can't read what I am typing anymore.
To be continued....