12 Days of 108mas: The 5 – Christmas Favorites for Pets

Hi friends, it’s your old pal BeefLoaf, as we roll up on Christmas day I’m coming back at you with another post for 12 days of 108mas.  If there is one thing that is under represented in the 108 blog it is our favorite fur friends and how they effect our lives.  It’s no secret, pets of all religious denominations FUCKING LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!!!  Since I celebrate Christmas and have been a long-time pet owner, I figured I would get down on the highlights of the Christmas season for our fur babies…..Enjoy!!

5 – Tinsel

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If you aren’t listening to the FromThe108 Podcast, then you are not only missing out on our “unique” White Sox analysis, but you are missing out on many stories and (Vincent Antonelli aka Todd Wilkinson like) anecdotes.  In the most recent show, Episode 6 “Major Rager for MacHarper” I discussed how mine and Chorizy-E’s childhood cat LOVED chomping down on tinsel from the tree.  I have no idea how many pounds of that shiny junk that fine feline ingested, but she sure kept going back for it every single holiday season.

4 – Shiny Ornaments

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I’m being kinda cat biased right now, but FUCK IT, I love cats and I won’t let the dog people intimidate me into not talking about these important issues.  Anywho, Shiny Ornaments are an obvious cat obsession, I mean, they look a lot like the toys that Jackson Galaxy would recommend for them.  There is really no solution for this, cats are going to fucking play with these ornaments and eventually break them….ALL OF THEM.  I recently read a study, that estimated each house cat in the country destroys 13.5 ornaments per holiday season.  It’s science.

3 – Cloth Ornaments

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There aren’t many cloth ornaments still out there in Christmas trees, but those that still do exist have likely been nibbled, gobbled, licked and possibly destroyed by our sweet innocent fur babies.  Look, its our own fault, we shouldn’t put cat / dog toys on the tree.  You’d think we’d learn, but we never do.

2 – Wrapping Paper

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Nuff said

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1 – Chocolate (and Alcohol)

Look, I don’t condone everything I write, but if we are being honest with ourselves, there is a lot of loose chocolate and booze around the holidays and it’s not like our pets AREN’T interested in this stuff.  If you are like me, you are sloppy as fuck around the holidays with eating and drinking and you probably won’t be able to keep your pets outta this hooch.  Just try to keep them from having too much, for cats, no more than a Snickers Bar worth of chocolate and a double tequila neat.  For Dogs, you can up the chocolate intake to a maximum of the equivalent of 12 cadburry eggs and a 6 pack of Schlitz.

-BeefLoaf

12 Days of 108mas: Why we are ALL Cousin Eddie on Xmas?

Good day friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf back with another of our 12 days of 108mas posts.  One Xmas (or CHRISTmas but most definitely not Cmas, gfy MSS) movies that I particularly enjoy is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (once again, gfy MSS).  I tend to catch it anytime it is on, because Beverly D’Angelo.  There is nothing like the nutty chaos that is a family Christmas when multiple portions of the family unit are staying together and trying to co-exist whilst getting through the holiday.  The tensions of being around family for the holidays are often hilarious to the outside observer and that is without even including the goofiest character in the film, Cousin Eddie (played by the even fucking goofier in real life actor Randy Quaid).

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In the film, Cousin Eddie and his family are basically broke and coast into town in their mobile home without any cash for presents for their kids or possibly even to gas up their RV to head home….you know what, fuck it, I’m not explaining anymore of the plot, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, I suggest you run home right now, begin #108ing, wait till you’re Christmas drunk and flip on this flick (it’s probably showing on some basic cable channel every hour between now and the moment on the calendar that Mary’s water breaks).

Anywho, as I was watching this movie for the umpteenth time, I started realizing, as goofy and screwy a character as Cousin Eddie is in this film.  WE ARE ALL COUSIN EDDIE AROUND CHRISTMAS!  What!?!?! You say….yes, we are all him around Christmas, he is the character that all in one combines all of our discomforts and insecurities into one particularly grotesque skin.  Allow me to explain.

Overdressing for the occasion

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We’ve all been there.  We are going to a holiday party and we don’t know if we need to go funky Xmas sweater or if we should dress more casual or wear something nice.  In Eddie’s case, to top it all off, his cousin-in-law is like the big success of the family, which is why everyone is going to be at his house.  Eddie doesn’t have a pot to piss in and doesn’t have much fancy clothes to wear.  We’ve all been there, whether it be we are short on cash for new threads for the big holiday party or we were working too much to find time to grab new threads or maybe we had a little too much Thanksgiving and that one nice outfit we had doesn’t fit as well as we’d like it to (Yea motherfucker that last one is possibly my own personal example).  Regardless, we gotta bite the bullet and do something and sometimes it looks a little off, but we were trying.  WE ARE ALL COUSIN EDDIE.

Going back for 2nd’s on a questionable dish at the meal

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A sit down meal around the holidays is possibly the most uncomfortable ordeal you will encounter in your life (possibly giving a best man / maid of honor speech for a wedding you are kinda meh on is a little tougher, but I digress).  You are often sitting around people you don’t talk to on the regular and required to make small talk.  You have to be careful not to drop any food on your clothes, because you won’t be able to slurp those tasty mashed potatoes off your sleeve like you would normally do at home…NOOOOOO!!! you’ll be required use a napkin to clean up.  There is also passing food etiquette that I can never follow, I am always sending the bread or a side dish in the wrong direction, fucking things up.  You have done this as well I presume.  Imagine being Cousin Eddie in all this, and then, the most uncomfortable of all situations.  NOBODY IS EATING WHATEVER THE FUCK THAT THING IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.  Yep, you aren’t quite sure what it is (in Eddie’s case it was jello with cat food in it) but you know that it has barely been touched and you did have a little bit of it and didn’t gag too bad, so you have to do it, you have to go in for seconds and exclaim to the table “That is goooo-oooood!!”.  Fucking holidays!! WE ARE ALL COUSIN EDDIE.

Soft shoeing the poor behavior of you and yours

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In the movie, Eddie’s dog “Snots” is not the best house guest, whether it be drinking the tree water or digging through the garbage for bones or destroying the house chasing a squirrel (actually that’s worse than it sounds).  We’ve all do something similar, maybe you brought that drunk friend to the holiday party that keeps hitting on the hosts girlfriend.  What about that time you brought your kid over to a family holiday dinner, she was only 6 and said “OH MY FUCKING GOD!”.  Or remember when your significant other brought like 5 extra people to a private gathering at someone’s house?  Yeaaaaaa….each time, you may or may not have given a sincere apology to the host because you were too fucking embarrassed or too stressed or whatever.  WE ARE ALL COUSIN EDDIE.

Wanting to help out with something and overdoing it badly

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This is a feeling we tend to have anytime someone has a lot going on at a gathering and we get invited.  Eddie was feeling particularly helpless when he finally got an opportunity to help out and might have overdone it a bit (kidnapping his cousin Clark’s boss, Frank Shirley) and causing a zany disaster.  We’ve all tried to help put out the wine glasses while smashing a few in the process or we’ve carried the rolls into the other room and dropped a few, putting them back in the basket before anyone noticed.  We gladly volunteered to watch some element of a meal, only to get to talking and let that fucking thing burn up like Freddy Krueger’s skin.  WE ARE ALL COUSIN EDDIE.

-BeefLoaf 

12 Days of 108mas: The 5 – Sports Figures as Mall Santas

Good day friends, as you know, we are in the midst of our 12 days of Xmas blog posts here at the @fromthe108 blog, today I bring you a dilly dally and a jilly jam so sine your pitty on the runny kine and let’s do this!!!  I know Malls are barely a thing anymore and Mall Santas even less so, but let me run this back to when Mall Santas were plentiful, I bring you, the 5.

5 – Ben Rape

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Look, we needed to add the creepy, horny, smelly mall Santa that permeates movie folklore.  Most recently this sort of Santa was played by Artie Lange in Elf

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(boy has Artie aged gracefully) and now will be played by an even more handsome, even bigger creep in Big Ben.  He’s the type of mall Santa that has you sit on his lap to see what “pops up!”.  He’s already been involved in several sexual assaults, ALLEGEDLY!!!  Remember when the NFL suspended him, but also sort of helped him cover up his digressions?  He’s perfect for this role.

4 – Papa Smurf

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Okay, I admit, there is a bit of a size issue with listing Papa Smurf here, but I thought it was time to give him his do anyway.  I figure there are probably a work around or two that we can figure out, we’ll just get an architect (not Art VanDelay) and physics expert and we should be able to handle getting 50 lbs kids on the 6 inch tall Papa.  I know Papa Smurf isn’t exactly in professional sports, but if you watch the badass Smurfs tangle with Gargamel and Azrael, you’ll know they are true sportsmen (and women) and deserve to be on this list.

3 – Daniel Palka 

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We need one fun lovin’ jovial Santa that the moms will think is a hunk and that is Daniel Palka.  I’m not even sure he’ll remember to ask the kids what they want for Christmas, but I know he’ll be cracking jokes and tossing candy canes around to kids and adults alike.  Given the MLB’s pay structure for players in their pre-arbitration phase, this Mall Santa gig will be the best he’s paid all season.

2 – Diego Maradona

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I just couldn’t have a list here without the Santa that has the “magic dust”, Diego Maradona.  I understand he’s only slightly bigger than Papa Smurf who is #4 on this list, but I figured since we are putting in time for a work around for him, we could do the same for Maradona.  Now, you can’t have such a celebrated World Wide star as mall Santa without a few risks.  1. He’ll likely curse, A LOT, but luckily the curses will mostly be in spanish, so it will only effect about 30% of the participants  2. As noted he likes to imbibe a bit (#108ing……………and stuff like that) so it’s possible he might pass out and/or need to be rushed to the hospital.  Sorry fam, them the grits.  Otherwise, we are sure he’ll do a great job!

1 – Lovie Smith

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Former Bears head coach and still the last head coach to take them to a Super Bowl is now the coach of the University of Illinois football team, which is probably why you didn’t know what he has been up to, but what he has been up to is growing the most fantastic beard that I have seen in the last decade.  I think Lovie is tryna look like Frederick Douglas, but in the process is giving us the best fucking real life Santa beard I have seen in my lifetime.  He’s an ace in the hole for this position.  Also, he’d be great with kids and parents.  For one, he’s always been a great players coach so he’d get the kids to be honest with him and really open up about what they want from old St. Nick, but also, he’d probably help them set realistic expectations, which is key for mom and dad.  Whatta guy.  Definitely numero uno on this list!

-BeefLoaf

12 Days of 108mas: The 5 – Who I’d catch under the Mistletoe

Good day friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf as we continue the @fromthe108 12 days of Xmas bloggings, I bring you a holiday tradition that is very weird and doesn’t quite fit with the holiday, but because it is sexual in nature, it of course has managed to survive and that is kissing someone under the Mistletoe.  Now, I, as a happily married BeefLoaf of 16 years (goddamn, that’s 40% of my life) have no real interest in this sort of thing, I figured I was the perfect guy to bring you a top 5 list.  I’ll choose dead, fictional and unorthodox if I wish……anywho, here goes, the 5.

5 – Anna Nicole Smith

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I’d be interested in up-and-coming model Anna, established bombshell Anna, even fat washed out Anna, but please don’t give me end of the road, drugged out Anna, that wasn’t too g00t.

4 – Sharon Stone

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There are a handful of women each era that leave an indelible mark on a young man’s life and Sharon Stone be one of those fine women.  Basic Instinct was just a whole new level for excitement and excitement, if you know what I mean.  Wayne Knight’s reaction is pretty much the muted reaction of the entire male populous.  Believe that!

3 – Jessica Rabbit

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Pppppplease!

2 – Dottie Hinson

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Other than Jimmy Dugan nobody was hoping that Bob Hinson would perished in the war more than me.  What an ass kicker Dottie Hinson was and a babe on top of it.  I’d have to think if I caught her under the mistletoe, she’d kiss me and then possibly punch me right in the chops just for liking it too much.

1 – Tiffani Thiessen

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Those are my 5 Mistletoe selections, hit me up on twitter with your choices….

-BeefLoaf

#WhiteSox Analysis?? (Not really)

Good day friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf, welcome in, pour yourself something to drink, take off those boots and lets sit by the tree and have a little chat, albeit an oration from me.  For me, one of the best things about writing for the Section 108 blog is that we can basically do anything in these virtual pages.  We aren’t bound to a specific theme.  We can go all ee cummings with the punctuation if we please.  We can broach topics far and wide and we can craft a post with ultimate freedom knowing we don’t have aspirations beyond scratching our own itch and entertaining the literally dozens of yous (this is Bridgeport) that click on our stuff.  With that being said, this post here takes a look at two parallel situations and how they were handled and leaves open questions as to why they were handled in such a way.  I’ll merely prepare the canvas, but I’ll need the Bob Ross’ of the world out there to give me some conclusions as I am not WOKE enough to know WHY?

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I’m critical, but supportive of one Rick Hahn, and have been since the dawn of the rebuild.  I appreciated the chutzpah it took to go down this path (obviously using suspension of disbelief to ignore that he was a big part of why they were in this mess), in this market, with this ownership group.  I think he was aggressive with seeking out trades that expedited the timeline of the next great White Sox teams.  That was the first 1.5 or so years of what us locals call “The Rebuild”, but since then we’ve seen lots of parts of the rebuild stall out and other moves or tactics begin to be put in play.  One that got WILD support from basically all of the fan base, were tree (this is Bridgeport) trades in which Hahn used International Amateur spending cap to acquire prospective high minors bullpen arms.  Mind you, when I say “spending cap”, I literally just mean, the rights to spend some money, not actually spending any money by the WhiteSox, so basically, these were free (sort of) acquisitions.   Each team is alotted a “pool” of money to spend each year on July 2nd international free agents (usually 16 year old kids primarily located in the Caribbean or South America, largest concentrations in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela).  These pools range from roughly $4M-$6M and teams can then sign players using those caps (but to sign players, they must use actual money, not the fake salary cap they are given, that is just a guideline).  The teams can also trade their pool money (again, not actual money, just the rights to spend your own additional money).  Now, one team can’t just accumulate all of everyone’s pool money, there are restrictions to how much a team can trade for, but you get the general idea.

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Also, under the previous rules, which butted up against the two years I am going to detail, teams could exceed their spending limits, but they would be put in the penalty and required to have 2 consecutive years where they can not spend more than $300,000 on any individual player.  Our White Sox were in the box in 2017 and 2018 because they spent like a billion SpaceBucks on Luis Robert (which we fucking jumped for joy at them doing).  Several other teams were in the penalty these years with the White Sox and had sort of a similar marketplace in which to deal.  The specific team I am going to pick out is the San Diego Padres, primarily because they are in a similar rebuild position as the White Sox, they have a similarly GRAND minor league system (generally rated ahead of our White Sox), the two teams engaged in a trade in the not so recent past and they are stark opposites in this part of the business.

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As previously noted the WhiteSox chose to use a significant part of their International Spending cap in trades to other teams to acquire the following upper minors bullpen only arms.  Arms that needed a home (relatively quickly) on the 40 man roster.

Thyago Vieira

Ryan Burr

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I cheered!  You cheered!  RICK HAHN HAS DONE IT AGAIN exclaimed twitter.  In those two years, the White Sox also used some of the cap (but they had to spend actual money for the signings) on a handful of signings (2017 and 2018 respectively)……

White Sox 2017

White Sox 2018

The White Sox signed a couple of players each season.  It appears they chose to focus using these resources on the bullpen arms (that we all loved when the trades were made and were exclaimed to be basically FREE) noted above.

Every time I find myself siding whole-heartedly with the majority, I get a little itchy and I feel I need to investigate the other side of the argument, the other side of the coin if you will.  Most times that I do this, I find nothing and I am pretty comfortable with my original position…..but not always.

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Now, let’s look at what AJ Preller and the San Diego Padres did faced with similar restrictions ($300k spending cap on individual players), what did they do…..

Padres 2017

Wow that’s a lot of signings….but that’s just 2017….here’s 2018.

Padres 2018

The Padres and AJ Preller took a different approach to the same problem, signing tons of International Talent, albeit none of the top, top talent because of the penalty.  As I said, I don’t have answers.  Although I do have plenty of questions.

Why would these teams take such different approaches?

Are the Padres much better set up to gamble on Int’l signings than to bring in older / almost major league ready relievers?

Do the White Sox feel a distinct advantage at bringing in almost major league ready bullpen arms?  If so, aren’t there lots of readily available such arms getting DFA’d on the regular to fill that void?

What is the expected value of what the Padres did vs what the White Sox did in a neutral setting?

Is the Fernando Tatis Jr trade a look into how AJ Preller builds up the Padres farm?  Do they just know more about these international kids than materially everyone else?

Do the White Sox not have the infrastructure set up in the Dominican Republic or the relationships and connections to do what the Padres did?

Which move is cheaper in the long run? Maybe the decisions are based on a monetary budget.

I don’t fucking know.  What I do know is that 2 of the top 5 farm systems in Major League baseball chose decidedly different paths for the same assignment and I am intrigued by it.  I’m so interested in different methods to solve the same problem (in this instance, win baseball games, particularly in the future).

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?  Hit me up on the Twitter Machine and tell me wtf is going on.

-BeefLoaf

What does a Bryce Harper contract look like?

With the off-season stove getting hot and lots of chatter linking the White Sox with more than a mild interest in Bryce Harper the question begs to be asked. What would a Bryce Harper contract look like?

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I am by no means a contract expert, so feel free to take this for what you will. I personally think a Harper contract will be anywhere between 10 – 12 years with a value of $375 million. If you break it down a 10-year contract would have an Average Annual Value (AAV) of 37.5 million, whereas a 12-year deal would have an AAV of 31.5 million. To be honest the years and AAV are irrelevant for two reasons, one appearance and one business. Let me explain why.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers

We know that Scott Boras will want his client to have the biggest contract of all time. This contract regardless of 10 or 12 years accomplishes that. Just because he signs a long-term contract DOES NOT mean he will be around for the entire contract. This is where the most important element of the contract comes into play. An opt-out after the 3rd year. This is a critical element for the White Sox and even more so Harper. Why you ask. The White Sox answer is very simple. After three years the rebuild should be in the rear-view mirror with a wide-open competitive window and a farm system that will hopefully be supplementing the major league roster where needed. The Harper answer is actually very simple. I heard people speculating on MLB Radio and in all honesty, I probably blinded someone with the light bulb that went off over my head when I heard this. To get to the answer we must look at some of the expected events of 2021. As we know the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the players union and ownership will expire. One of the critical elements of the CBA that will be a point of contention will be the luxury tax. The reason Harper will want an opt-out after year three is because if the Luxury Tax is altered, or abolished, he can go back on the market still in his prime and make even more money.

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This is why the years and total value of the contract are just ego pieces. The contract will be front loaded so that the first three years’ salary will be much more than the AAV.

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Does this mean the White Sox will sign Harper? I wish I knew the answer. But if you run the numbers with the way the team has managed their roster and expenses the last few years, they could sign him and still have a very comfortable payroll as well as Rick Hahn’s beloved payroll flexibility.

 

The hell with it. GET IT DONE!

-AlohaMr.Hand

The One Hitter – Luis Robert

Good evening, it’s your old pal BeefLoaf and this is The One Hitter, don’t forget to exhale.

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With the Hot Stove ostensibly cooling off after the completion of the GM Meetings and narry a signing to be seen, we turn our attention to any little bit of beisbol that might catch our eyeballs.  The US vs Japan all-star games are going on, I literally saw 3 pitches before Bonita Steakie told me, “turn this off, baseball is boring!”  I did also happen to notice (via twitter) that the Arizona Fall League is going on and one White Sox prospect appears to be having quite a hoot down there.  Between crushing long, LONG home runs and stringing together a 14 game hitting streak, Luis Robert appears to be doing thangs down there in ‘Zona.  I’ve seen short videos of mammoth blasts and bursts of speed, it has been fun to catch little bits of Robert playing to a tree slash line of  .324/.367/.432 (that’s Batting Average / On-Base Percentage / Slugging Percentage).  The entire twitterverse appears to be head over heels in love with this version of Robert.  For a second, I was pretty thrilled too…..then, I was struck with a pang of anxiety as I struggled to remember another former Arizona Fall League legend draped in White Sox clothing.

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Ooooooh, Yea……..this guy right here, remember him?  He almost won the Gold Glove this year.  His major league bat (tree slash line again) of .235/.279/.336 probably cost him that Gold Glove (everyone knows Gold Gloves are partially won with hitting).  Well, back in 2015, this fine fella hit hisself a .403/.523/.642 line in that same old Arizona Fall League.  Look, don’t panic, but there is some evidence that the Arizona Fall League might not be the stiffest competition in the land.  I’m not a prospect hound, but someone who is, and someone who has previously had a near bromancish love affair with Robert had this to say about viewing Robert’s AFL performance.

Robert

Look, let’s all take a step back, whether it be us fans getting tight pants over long bombs or Mr. Longenhagen downgrading his bromance over something he might have seen in a 19 game sample and focus on Robert being healthy and playing everyday to get the necessary reps to start to chip into his potential.  It’s gonna take TIIIIIIIIME..

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…..so for those of yous (this is Bridgeport) that had him in the 2020 Opening Day lineup, lets pump the brakes and just enjoy the ride with Robert, if all goes right, he’ll be the cherry on top, the prospect that brings it all home and helps them win their first pennant in nearly 2 decades.

-BeefLoaf

What if Cleveland trades Corey Kluber?

Good day friends, it’s your old pal BeefLoaf and I figured I would write about something that caused many of you great excitement and me…..well, not so much excitement.  WARNING the tweet below may cause Priapism.  Proceed with caution!

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Anywho, Buster Olney, take it from here…..

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The big take away here is that the Cleveland Baseball Club would like to pare down their payroll some and see trading Corey Kluber (or others) as at least part of that grand plan.  I’m not going to cry poor for the billionaire owners in question, if they don’t want to spend on their team, let’s leave it as their discretion, not fan shaming the fine people of Cleveland.  This is a different tangent, but how about teams just say, “LOOK, we want to make more operating income than this, so we aren’t going to spend, we have the means to spend as much as we want on things because we are Billionaires, but we don’t give a fuck about spending more on this because it isn’t generating the operating income we would like.”  Honesty is the best quality….anywho.  Before we get to what a Kluber deal might look like in the current climate, let’s take a look at what losing Kluber might mean to the team on Lake Erie.

Last year’s standings….provided by FanGraphs

AL Central

PythagPat ~ Record based on run differential, ie, if you smoothed out all the runs you scored and gave up, what would your record look like.  Ie, the bigger the positive differential, the better the team.

BaseRuns ~ Record based on hypothetical run differential, based on underlying statistics, but same idea as Pythag, just it is using hypothetical runs.

Cleveland was fucking good….actually, they were fucking better than we even realize when you look at these other angles of measuring the season long performance.  In other words, without any adjustments to the teams in the AL Central, they are back to being gigantic favorites to win the 2019 division.  They are loaded on the pitching side and they have two young studs in the middle of the diamond in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.  They have an excellent core.

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Corey Kluber Steamer projection for 2019 is 4.8 fWAR, lets just round that shit to 5 WINS.   5 less wins on the 2018 Tribe leave them with only 86 wins,…..seemingly more catchable than before (although by those other measures of performance, they are still FAR and AWAY the best team in the division)……….but WAIT!!!  This assumes that Kluber is replaced by some jamoch that has no business pitching in the major leagues.  Someone better than 2018 Lucas Giolito albeit, but still someone that isn’t good.  Well, that’s not likely to happen, in fact, what is more likely to happen is that some form of Danny Salazar will get first crack at that job, presuming health.  I think yous (this is Bridgeport) remember Danny Salazar, he was a pretty decent pitcher for the Tribe back in 2016 / 2015.  They also have their #1 prospect Tristan McKenzie who doesn’t seem very far from the majors either.  In other words, losing Kluber would be a BIG DEAL for most teams, but when you play in the LOL AL Central and you have the depth that Cleveland has, you aren’t mere mortals, you are a team that is ready to move on such an odd mission.

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Somehow, we keep losing to Cleveland

Let’s assume from all of this though, that the 2019 Cleveland squad is 5 games worse than expected, lets assume EVERYTHING goes wrong.  This would require a lot of work (and luck) by our White Sox to catch up.  Indeed, I couldn’t agree more (I know they let Michael Brantley walk in free agency, shhhh, stay on point), 2019 still seems like a pipe dream even with significant moves.  You at home are probably saying, “Beef, I know, but 2020 is supposed to be different, we’ll have Kopech and Cease and the wave of prospects behind them.”  Oh yea, I forgot, it isn’t just like the Tribe are tossing Corey Kluber out, they actually get stuff back for him when they trade him.  Kluber is owed $46.5M through 2021 (with cheap buy outs in 2020 and 2021 if disaster strikes and he gets injured), so basically he’s in mostly everyone’s price range.   Also bad news is that the Braves and Yankees are both flush with prospects and are dying for the services of a Corey Kluber type hurler.  Imagine a deal headed by Frazier and/or Andujar, or Florial from the Yankees or Austin Riley or Mike Soroka from the Braves…..so what I’m tryna say is that while 2019 might get a little easier for our boys (albeit the White Sox ain’t ready for that shit yet), 2020 and 2021 are going to get harder….possibly much harder.

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I guess we’ll wait and see, but while some of you are celebrating this Cleveland “re-tooling”, I’m seriously concerned.  Well, maybe I’ll just drown my sorrows in some McRibs and call it a day.

-BeefLoaf 

BeefLoaf steals a question from SoxMachine

 

Good day friends, it’s your old pal BeefLoaf, today, I’m bringing to you (with permission) what I thought to be one of the more interesting questions that I have heard from fans in a long time (save for the gems that get sent to us on a regular basis for the #SundaySoak and our other videos).  Twitter user Jim Kane tweeted in a #POSox question to the boys at the SoxMachine during the September 17th podcast “Lack of Clarity” that I just thought was something the 108ers are uniquely qualified to answer.  The question is below….

Jim Kane

 

Jim Margalus, the Final Boss of the SoxMachine pirate ship, had some answers for this question, listen here at the 1:02:57 mark…..but, to summarize

Move Section 108 to an area where we can be seen more by the camera

White Sox organization encourage fans to bring in instruments / implements of noise conduction

Foreign baseball, either in southeast asia or in the caribbean have all of these elements of additional sound and fan participation, so why not the White Sox?

Both Oakland (RF as well) and Miami have sections of the ballpark where incessant noise-making is encouraged

It is rare that the 108ers are uniquely qualified to answer any sort of question or have any sort of “expertise” on a subject other than drinking and falling down.  A few notes before we get into possible ideas or solutions for this…the two following things suck terribly and aren’t up for consideration.

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The Wave – Look, if you were on the West Coast 25 years ago, the Wave was probably a pretty cool thing.  It probably felt organic and fresh and like you started some revolution to get the entire ballpark to do something almost involuntarily that you started, but its tired now and it lacks originality.  If the Wave was a local tradition and stayed that way, cool, but you realize it is mass produced garbage these days.  Someone, possibly multiple someones will come at me and say, quit being a Scrooge, the Wave is fun, get over yourself.  If the Wave is “fun” for you, I suggest digging in deep on yourself and figure out why this is appealing to you and why you can’t find some other things to gobble up the fun quotient in your life.

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The Woo – This actually had some potential, but nah……Ric Flair’s 40 year old Wrestling schtick has recently made its way to White Sox park (possibly other parks, I have no clue), but it went from kinda fun to incredibly fucking annoying in 2.7 seconds.  I think materially, the problem with the Woo is……a) It isn’t done for anything specific, its almost like you are listening to some canine mating call that is just permeating your viewing experience.  It isn’t triggered by a big strike out or a bases clearing double or something like that, some in-game exciting achievement, its just randomly howled across the mostly empty White Sox park making us look even more embarrassing (is that possible?) than we already were b) It isn’t original.  In fact there are so many people / places copying this in a variety of ways that by NOT imitating Ric Flair, you are counterculture.

I know what you are thinking, hey Beef, when are you going to get to the suggestions or ideas….yea, yea, we are getting there.  One other thing of note, there is an old tradition that goes back I think as far as the Winning Ugly days…….

That shit used to be so much fun when an opposing pitcher was junked to sing that, but alas, the smaller crowds and lack of significance of any individual game in a current White Sox season other than “securing a good draft position” makes a once fun tradition slide to the background. Besides, that tradition is primarily being propped up by the team.  We are looking for something “organic” and fan founded…..I got ideas.  Remember, these are just spitballin’, but all are possibilities in the lexicon of #WhiteSox fandom these days.  Everything is currently up for grabs including the media, which I’ll touch on in a later piece, so although most of these are probably never going to take hold, maybe some of them will give birth to something else cool that we’ll all be doing at games when the White Sox start their competitive window (whispers *Whenever that is*).

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The Juan Uribe – It’s Wednesday, which is $1 hot dog day, one of the finest promotions the White Sox have held in the last half decade.  Nearly everyone in the ballpark has acquired a $1 tube of fat and nitrates, which puts us in the perfect position for executing the Juan Uribe.  A big at-bat occurs for the White Sox (obviously before the 8th inning because White Sox concessions disappear after the 7th like a travelling carnie show trying to get out of town before you realize the shell game was rigged), anywho, Daniel Palka steps to the plate with the White Sox down 1 in the 5th with 2 on and 2 out.  The crowd unsheaths their $1 tube of magic and waves that bunless wonder in the air, nearly wagging it like a dogs tail to entice a big hit.  Imagine the beauty, the majesty of such an occurrence.  Also, Jerry would be selling extra dogs as NOBODY in the ballpark would want to be without a dog when the Juan Uribe spontaneously started because of acute game conditions.

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Technology….Tech-knowledgey – One of my favorite all-time noise making occurrences at a sporting event, was listening to the racing programs at a harness race getting smacked as the horses came down the stretch.  This was Sportsman’s Park circa 1991, when a 13 year old Beef and an 11 year old Chorizy were allowed to place bets on our own (gambling is good for the soul).  Anywho, as the horses came down the stretch, excited bettors would smack the programs against their hands, the seats, possibly some unsuspecting persons voluptous tokhis to get a cacophony noise that blended with the thundering of the horses running towards the finish line was just wonderful.  Well, guess what, in the era of “MONETIZE EVERYTHING” programs are too expensive for most fans to bother with, we have $10 beers to buy, we don’t have that in the budget.  One thing all fans do have is a handheld computer in their pocket, YEA BABY!!!  My thinking here is that when a critical error, ah FUCK IT, any gaff in the field by the opposing team occurs, we WhiteSox fans can fetch out our handy pocket watch and fire up one of the many “ringtones / alarms” that our fine phones have to offer.  Just flipping through my phone, I hear a handful of noises that would work great, but we’d want this to be organic, so we’ll have to wait and see what pops up.

I know what you are saying, the people who listened to the SoxMachine pod where the questions originally debuted are probably thinking, “Jim was talking about music and chanting, what you are talking about is dumb stuff.”…..Okay, fine.

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Jim wanted music, the only problem is, White Sox security are fucking NARCs….we detailed in a prior Sunday Soak how they wouldn’t even allow us to bring pizza into the ballpark, you really think they are going to let us bring a Tuba or some shit into the ballpark, furthermore, IF we could somehow work some magic to get something fun like that past security, we have like 20 ideas of crazy things that we think would be funnier, so we wouldn’t waste it on that. However, Chicago is a Blues town and one item that I believe would pass snuff would be a Harmonica.  If we could get a band of Harmonica playing Blues artists into the ballpark (we’d happily have that crew in Section 108 with our maniacs) we could get the feel of some real local music into the park to be played at various junctures in the game.  The sad part is, I think on most nights, you probably don’t even have a dozen musicians in the ballpark and that includes 108’s very own Chorizy-E, slapper of the bass.

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It’s a hard and interesting question posed by Jim Kane and I’ll be honest, it is something we should keep at the front of our minds and bring up regularly because there is probably someone out there, who doesn’t even attend games regularly yet, that is going to come with the big swinging idea that bowls all of these over and becomes the hot new thing in White Sox fandom.

-BeefLoaf
 

The White Sox Culture

 

As I stated in my previous article, I am a Season Ticket Holder and a lifelong fan. I take no joy or pleasure in writing this, but it is my opinion and I feel it is something that needs to be said.

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As the team finishes what many have claimed is the “toughest year of the rebuild” I keep hearing something from White Sox Management that quite frankly disturbs me. They keep talking about building a culture with Ricky as the agent of change, or agent of chaos depending on your view. My question is how can you talk about building a new culture when you have lost 100, count it ONE HUNDRED, games? When I hear about a culture change I immediately think of out with the old and in with the new, yet for the White Sox we see the same characters being trotted out year after year. This includes Daryl Boston, Todd Steverson, Ricky Renteria, and Don Cooper.

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I have to start with a simple question about Daryl Boston and I have to ask it in my best Office Space “Bob” voice. “What you say, you do here?” I cannot think of anyone to replace him because frankly I do not know what value he is supposed to add.

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As we look at Todd Steverson all White Sox fans should be infuriated that he has a job after the White Sox set a record for the most strikeouts in a season, EVER. Also remember Todd Steverson is still at the helm of imparting his hitting “knowledge”, and I use that term loosely, to the young players the team is basing their future on, reassuring isn’t it. I will admit that I never thought about this until my friend Joe brought it up to me, Chili Davis would be a GREAT hitting coach for the White Sox, and he is available. His approach is to use all fields and he preaches contact, not this “selective aggression” crap that Steverson preaches.

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Ricky Renteria is the man with the plan. He is the straw that stirs the White Sox culture drink. I will use a Bulls analogy from the late 80’s involving Doug Collins and Phil Jackson. Just like Doug Collins was not the man to take the Bulls from Point A to Point C (Championship) I feel that this is also Ricky Renteria. I think he is not a good tactician who makes some game decisions that make me scratch my head in disbelief and is so in love with bunting to waste outs. He also drives me nuts with some of the lineups he has fielded, example, why was Avi Garcia playing at end of season with a knee that required surgery? I would love to see someone like Buck Showalter brought in to manage. He is a manager who has developed teams from scratch, Arizona, and laid groundwork for a dynasty, the 1990’s New York Yankees. He is the exact kind of manager that the White Sox need. Joe Girardi is not the answer, not only because I think he is not that good. I say not as good because he had all of that talent in New York and only appeared in, and won, one World Series.

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With the White Sox model of pitching, pitching, and pitching Don Cooper becomes a critical player in this culture change. Coop has been around for a long time, in the good (2005), and the bad like the current six, YES 6, losing seasons in a row, including seasons of 99 (2013) and 100 (2018) losses. The main thing that bothers me about Coop is that the walk totals have increased from 474 (2015) to 653 (2018) and the WHIP 1.320 (2015) to 1.432 (2018). This is more alarming to me than anything else because it shows that the young White Sox pitching staff either can’t or doesn’t attack the strike zone. How many times have there been 0-2 pitches in the dirt or a foot outside the strike zone hoping the hitter would swing? How many times have we seen pitchers get ahead 0 – 2 only to walk them (aka the Quintana special) or the pitch count after the first two outs in an inning is at 6 or 7 yet at the end of the inning the count is around 25 pitches? Too many to mention in my humble opinion.

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I am also of the opinion that Coop is a system pitching coach. I’m sure some of you don’t understand what I mean. A system coach is one who tries to fit the players into what the coach wants, not looking at the players on an individual basis and building a pitching repertoire for each one. This is clearly evidenced by his constant use of the cutter. Not every pitcher on the staff should throw the cutter, it’s time to teach some other pitches based on the individual pitcher’s capabilities. Did you ever notice on certain counts teams jump all over the White Sox pitchers? Could it be that they know what pitch is coming since they are all equipped with the same pitch and approach, leading to the same pitch to be thrown in the same location by multiple pitchers? Another thing I have been told by a couple of former major leaguers is that some of the White Sox pitchers have been known to tip their pitches. If this is known by former major leaguers don’t you think this is something the major league coaches should know, especially Dr. Coop? Further, look at the track record and you will see some success stories, such as Jon Garland and Matt Thornton. You will also see abject failures in Mike McDougal, Will Ohman, Scott Carroll, Dylan Axelrod, and Carson Fulmer, to name a few. The Fulmer failure is especially alarming because he was supposed to be one of the core components of the future White Sox pitching staff and is it an example of Fulmer not really being major league caliber, possibly, or Coop being unable to relate to the new generation of pitchers, also possible.

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Now people can argue numbers and how it correlates to the talent level, and there is a valid point to be made, but if that is the argument then you cannot claim that the White Sox should sign pitcher X because Coop will coach him up. If this model no longer applies, then Coop must go and be replaced. Again, the organization needs to go outside of the organization to find fresh blood. I would like to see them utilize Dave Duncan, remember he is a consultant for the White Sox now, as a de facto pitching czar for the organization. He has actually coached Cy Young Winners (Bob Welch (1990) and Chris Carpenter (2005)) as well as helping to transform Dennis Eckersley into a pinpoint pitching machine who made it to the Hall of Fame.  I would also like to see them try to engage someone like Mike Maddux as the pitching coach. I know Richard Dotson is the heir to the pitching coach position for the White Sox but this is just a propagation of the losing culture, in my opinion.

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I have met Jerry Reinsdorf on numerous occasions and he is a terrific person. The issue with Jerry is that his greatest virtue is his greatest vice. He is way too loyal to people who do not deserve his loyalty. The bottom line is that this is a result driven business and the results have not been there. The White Sox last finished above .500 in 2012. That’s right TWO THOUSAND TWELVE. That is six (6) seasons of sub .500 baseball. If I failed in my job at that clip I would have been shown the door long ago.

As I type this it pains me to say that the White Sox, in this current configuration, will NEVER be able to sustain long term success under this coaching staff because, frankly, they do not know how to win. Yes, they are losers. Some of them (Cooper and McEwing) have been here for the current six season losing streak while others, like Nick Capra and Todd Steverson, have been here for only part of it. It appears that they have grown comfortable in this losing culture where accountability is not found, and expectations are built on selling hope for future prospect development. My concern is that the prospects will not pan out not only because of questions regarding talent evaluation as well as the coaching staff’s ability to connect with players and help them achieve their maximum potential, I’m looking at you Todd Steverson. Further, stop with the “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit” because if they don’t quit he would never have had to bench some at different times for not hustling. If you think I am wrong about my opinion I will immediately destroy your argument by pointing out my Todd Steverson argument and adding in at the end that he is still the White Sox hitting coach.

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As a Season Ticket Holder, and more importantly a fan, I want to know when this organization will quit with the “woe is me” crap and start acting like a big city franchise with accountability and expectations. Until they show the ability to do that, and win, they will continue to be an irrelevant organization that will continue to do a half-assed job at selling hope, because they don’t know how to sell anything, let alone hope or winning.

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In the final analysis true culture change cannot, I repeat CANNOT, be realized until the White Sox organization takes a long hard look at themselves based upon some of the information provided above and blows up the ENTIRE coaching staff. They need to bring in an outsider with no team ties or affiliation who can disinfect this losing culture that permeates this organization from top to bottom. Nothing less than that should be acceptable to this once great, yet currently diminishing, fan base.

 

-AlohaMrHand