The Spectacle Blog

The Cubs Looked Like The Bad News Bears Out There Last Night UPDATED

By on 4.6.15 | 9:28AM

Yes, I'm the guy who picked the Cubs to win the NL pennant for the first time in 70 years.

Well, the Cubs bore more resemblance to The Bad News Bears than they did to a big league ballclub last night.

Jon Lester couldn't go five, they left runners in scoring position and they couldn't catch the ball. I think it was rather generous the Cubs only ended up with two errors (a throwing error apiece for catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero). Jorge Soler should have been charged with at least two errors in right field. He has no business being out there.

I just want to add that Wrigley Field looks awful. I understand they have to renovate. But the way the Red Sox did their renovations, they managed to take care of it in the off-season and they looked like they had always been there. Having a hotel and a shopping plaza is going to turn the place unWrigley.

There is a silver lining however. The Bad News Bears got better, much better. And so will the Cubs.

We Know Where the Strike Zone Is

By on 4.6.15 | 12:37AM

It’s great to have the Grand Old Game back. It was a joy watching the Cubs and Cardinals play one for real on ESPN Sunday night.

What detracted from my viewing pleasure though, other than the fact that I would have rather watched the Cubs start their season with a win than with a 3-0 loss to St. Loo, was that irritating strike zone graphic on the screen for every pitch. EVERY PITCH!

Earth to ESPN: Folks who like baseball enough to watch a three-hour game know where the strike zone is. We don’t need a distracting and annoying graphic like this. Just show us the ball game. Please.

Screen graphics in all televised sports are getting out of hand and need to be reined in. Getting rid of this stupid little square in front of the batter in ESPN games would be a great place to start.

I Knew The Braves Would Trade Craig Kimbrel But Not Today

By on 4.5.15 | 11:08PM

In my 2015 MLB predictions piece, this is what I wrote about relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel:

Craig Kimbrel is great in the ninth inning, but if the Braves aren’t in contention after the All-Star Break he might be pitching elsewhere.

Well, it looks like the Braves won't be in contention on Opening Day because today they traded Kimbrel along with Melvin Upton, Jr. (formerly known as B.J. Upton) to the San Diego Padres for outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin and two prospects. 

It looks like the Padres want to win now. Kimbrel has led the NL in saves in each of his first four seasons in the big leagues. In all, he has 186 saves under his belt before the age of 27. Kimbrel has yet to reach his prime. The Padres did have a credible closer in Joaquin Benoit, but Kimbrel is out of this world.

As for Upton, he is again reunited with younger brother Justin. The elder Upton has struggled since leaving the Tampa Bay Rays. However, given that the outfield is populated by Matt Kemp, Will Myers and his brother, Upton will be a fourth or fifth outfielder.

Some Baseball Trivia Of My Own

By on 4.5.15 | 6:03PM

While I had to correct George Will on his baseball trivia article, I nevertheless enjoyed it and I would like to offer one of my own.

1. What Hall of Fame pitcher did Ronald Reagan portray in the film The Winning Team?

2. Name the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season.

3. Name the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

4. Who hit the last home run at the old Yankee Stadium?

5. Who is the only catcher to have caught two perfect games?

6. Name the last pitcher to win and lose 20 games in the same season.

7. Name the two Hall of Famers who won the AL & NL Rookie of the Year in the same season.

8. Name the only three pitchers to have struck out 3,000 or more hitters while walking fewer than 1,000.

9. Who are the only three players to hit .400 in a season to have never won a batting title?

The State, Bakeries, and Pizzerias—and Religious Liberty

By on 4.5.15 | 5:17PM

There’s an old Jewish joke that goes like this: A Jew finds himself stranded on a desert island for many years, until finally one day he is discovered. The rescuers observe that he has erected two structures which he’s labeled as synagogues. “Why two,” they ask, “when there’s only one of you?” “One is the synagogue I go to,” he explains, “the other is the one I’d never step foot into.”

Unlike Catholics, Jews can break up into as many denominations as their imaginations will allow. And each is presumably free to deny their ritual services to all others. Presumably.

An E-6 on George Will’s Baseball Trivia Column

By on 4.5.15 | 2:36PM

In honor of the forthcoming 2015 season, George Will's latest column is devoted to baseball trivia.

However, I would like to offer a correction on one of his questions.

He asks the reader to identify the only World Series between teams with fewer than 90 regular season wins. In his answer section, Will indicates that this occurred in last year's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants who won 89 and 88 games, respectively.

However, this was not the first time this had happened in World Series history and I'm surprised that Will overlooked this considering it involved his beloved Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs faced the Boston Red Sox in the 1918 World Series. The Bosox won the AL pennant with only 75 wins while the Cubs won 84 games en route to the NL pennant. The reason for this was that the regular season was ended on September 1st due to the work or fight order handed down by Provost Marshall General Enoch Crowder

Is Juan Williams Really This Stupid About Iran?

By on 4.5.15 | 12:18AM

When I saw that The Five was going to discuss the Iranian nuclear framework, I knew that Juan Williams would defend the indefensible.

I don't have a video clip or a transcript of what Williams said. But take my word for it he thinks the framework reached between Obama & the P5+1 is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel.

Jonah Goldberg Doesn’t Understand The Difference Between Rabbis & Pizza Joints

By on 4.4.15 | 11:19PM

I saw Jonah Goldberg on Neil Cavuto's show yesterday afternoon defending Indiana's RFRA as well as Memories Pizza.

I thought he made an odd argument in its defense when he stated didn't complain about "bigoted rabbis" when no rabbi would marry him and his Catholic bride. Goldberg would later express his bewilderment that people were not receptive to his argument.

Goldberg's rabbi argument is a poor one because rabbis are generally affiliated with synagogues which is of course a religious assembly covered under the federal RFRA as it was originally written. There's a world of difference between rabbi refusing to marry a Jew to a non-Jew in a synagogue and a pizza proprietor refusing to serve food to a same sex wedding. 

Thoughts on Josh Hamilton, Ervin Santana & Jarred Cosart

By on 4.4.15 | 9:50PM

A couple of hours ago, I submitted my predictions for the 2015 MLB season which will hopefully be up by Monday morning.

In the meantime, I would like to make a few comments about the situations involving Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana and Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart.

An arbitrator has decided not to suspend Hamilton following his disclosure that used cocaine in the off-season. Both the Angels and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred are less than pleased with the decision. The Angels are displeased they will have to continue to pay him his $125 million contract while Manfred is displeased with the arbitration process and that changes would need to be made. I suspect that Hamilton wasn't suspended because he disclosed his relapse (as he did in 2009 and 2012). What's interesting is that Hamilton seems to relapse once every three years and in the off-season. As long as he's playing baseball, he's fine at least where it concerns substance abuse.

How Team Obama Got Iran to Agree to Nuclear Framework

By on 4.2.15 | 9:35PM

If you like your nuclear facilities, you can keep them.