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Tue, Jun. 1st, 2010, 06:18 pm

A little something for me today.

Greatest Cubs WAR (Wins Above Replacement) among the top 300 or so highest all-time WAR:

Cub WAR (All-time WAR, All-time Rank)

Rogers Hornsby 17 (127.8, 11)
Pete Alexander 38.6 (106.8, 21)
Cap Anson 89.1 (99.3, 27)
Greg Maddux 33 (96.9, 29)
Fergie Jenkins 49.1 (81.5, 51)
John Clarkson 36.8 (81.3, 52)
Bill Dahlen 38.3 (75.9, 64)
Ron Santo 68.5 (66.4, 104)
Rich Reuschel 48.1 (65.3, 111)
Ernie Banks 64.4 (64.4, 118)
Ryne Sandberg 57.6 (62, 139)
Sammy Sosa 60 (59.7, 152)
Billy Williams 55.2 (57.2, 175)
Andre Dawson 16 (57, 178)
Mordecai Brown 46.1 (55.6, 189)
Billy Herman 42.9 (55.6, 189)
Stan Hack 54.8 (54.8, 199)
Gabby Hartnet 49.3 (50.3, 241)
Kiki Cuyler 26.7 (49.6, 248)
Frank Chance 49.4 (49.5, 252)
Joe Tinker 42.3 (49.2, 257)
Johnny Evers 40.1 (48.4, 263)
King Kelly 28.5 (47.5, 276)
Mark Grace 44.9 (47.1, 283)

And in order of Cub contribution:

Cap Anson 89.1 (99.3, 27)
Ron Santo 68.5 (66.4, 104)
Ernie Banks 64.4 (64.4, 118)
Sammy Sosa 60 (59.7, 152)
Ryne Sandberg 57.6 (62, 139)
Billy Williams 55.2 (57.2, 175)
Stan Hack 54.8 (54.8, 199)
Frank Chance 49.4 (49.5, 252)
Gabby Hartnet 49.3 (50.3, 241)
Fergie Jenkins 49.1 (81.5, 51)
Rich Reuschel 48.1 (65.3, 111)
Mordecai Brown 46.1 (55.6, 189)
Mark Grace 44.9 (47.1, 283)
Billy Herman 42.9 (55.6, 189)
Joe Tinker 42.3 (49.2, 257)
Johnny Evers 40.1 (48.4, 263)
Pete Alexander 38.6 (106.8, 21)
Bill Dahlen 38.3 (75.9, 64)
John Clarkson 36.8 (81.3, 52)
Greg Maddux 33 (96.9, 29)
King Kelly 28.5 (47.5, 276)
Kiki Cuyler 26.7 (49.6, 248)
Rogers Hornsby 17 (127.8, 11)
Andre Dawson 16 (57, 178)

Fri, Apr. 2nd, 2010, 12:49 am
My girls, my world.

Annika Kathleen, welcome!, originally uploaded by stevenbeil.

Fri, Mar. 19th, 2010, 12:29 am
note to self

A reminder, before everything changes...

The toughest part is the barely ambulatory dog, all 16 years of her. She's having a hard time, and I mean a very hard time, walking again. We still give fluids (sub-cutaneously into the neck scruff) every few days. I still think they help, but they did wonders back in October. We're realizing we've fewer wonders left from her. But she still loves as much as she ever has. I looked at a picture of her from when she was 11, maybe 12, and remembered how she romped all over the park just a mile away from the old condo. We've taken good care of the girl, and we should be so lucky to receive in kind when one day we get to be her age.

There's the orange cat, the young one, the unstable one. She's warmed up to us--well, to me. At 5 years old, it's really about time. Her malady is asthma, the kind that cost us a $900 vet bill last year. So yes, we pay the $50 or so every two or three months to fill her prescription. Steroids, actually. Orally for now, but she needs to have her liver checked to see if they're doing damage. Our other alternative is an inhaler. Did you ever imagine? Better for her, but more expensive, and yes, we'd have to stick it on her face every day. I need to trim her claws.

The clawless cat is the elder, friendlier and (to the dog) meaner at the same time. Allergies for the gray one, if you please. We think it's chicken or some other crap in bad food. Makes her scratch herself hairless. For a cat who gets by more on personality than looks in the first place, she needs all the hair she can keep. I'm considering Rogaine, so I know how she feels.

Before bed each night, it's two prescriptions for the dog, one for the orange cat, and some sort of non-chicken wet food for the gray. You will spend many hours searching for cat food without chicken in it if you try. And you will fail, unless you pick up some cans of 'cat tuna' from Trader Joes. Real tuna is okay too for the gray, but not for the orange. If I try to put the steroid in real tuna for the orange, I have to shove it down her mouth. I have to force my cat to eat real tuna. This is a problem, such as it is, that I have.

Much more serious is the kidney stones coming out of my pregant wife. I'm thinking of collecting them--we're up to 5 or 6 now in the last couple months--and turning them into a rattle for the baby. Good to teach her about irony and passive aggression at an early age.

Much more serious is the high blood pressure, headaches and swelling. Not as serious as it could potentially be, thank goodness, but serious enough. And then there's the serious business of deciding on child care, a college fund because it's never too early, and the basics of raising another human being.

Also I need to get my car fixed from where a guy rear-ended me on the Tri-State. Oh the Tri-State. And an oil change.

And work.

And taxes.

I play my guitar as opportunity allows. I still like it. I've plateaued on technique and pehaps talent, but I still delight in a strum and a sing. Though I have a healthy respect for the skills I'm missing and the relative disinterest of others in this, my late obsession.

I work out 45 minutes each weekday I can motivate myself to fit it in. 15 pounds gone so far. 15, at least, to go. Oh, and I'm reading The Atlanic again, usually while I work out.

I know life is going to change abruptly and completely toward the end of April. Parents are telling me to forget about sleep, but I wake up between 2 and 4 a.m. every morning, and carry my dog down the stairs and into the still cold night so she can relieve some of the fluid I inject under her skin. Parents are telling me to get used to a life of excrement, but I clean up the gush of urine our old dog releases on floors and rugs in her all-too-frequent seizures. Parents are telling me to forget about movies and television, but I've got a light at the end of a 4-year long tunnel filled with doctors & drugs, hope & heartbreak--and a DVR. Parents are telling me to forget about free time and doing things I enjoy, but I've got guitar chords for nursery rhymes--they're almost all in F, which is fucked up, but what the hell, I can stretch a skill--or transpose.

Brother, I'm sure this experience will be like no other. And I'm likewise sure that I'm naive, starry-eyed, and in for the rudest awakening. But I don't care. Wake me up, little girl. Break me down. Frustrate me. Infuriate me. Make me say things I'll regret. None the less, I will love you. All the more, for all we've done to see you in the world.

I have no real idea what to expect. But I didn't expect to help Sandra bury her mom or step-dad. I didn't expect to dread the inevitable death of our dog like the loss of a friend. Hell, I didn't expect I'd ever mow a lawn & blow snow.

Oh universe, I don't claim to be ready. But I assure you, I'm willing.

Fri, Feb. 26th, 2010, 01:39 pm

Expected improvement or decline by position:

SP: No change to slight decline.
Harden didn't have a great 09, but I don't see the Cubs improving on his performance with in-house talent. I'm hopeful Dempster does a little better this year, but I expect Wells to do a little worse. The big factor is that Lilly won't put up his performance from last year. Unless Gorzo or Samninja are special (and that seems much to ask), I don't see this as a better group.

RP: No change to slight improvement.
I can see Marmol/Guzman/Grabow bettering Gregg/Marmol/Heilman

C: Improvement
I'm a believer in Geoskinny Soto

1B: Slight Decline
Lee won't do better than last year, but I don't think it's going to be a drop-off like we saw after 05. His cast of back-ups doesn't impress me.

2B: Slight Improvement
I'm expecting Fontenot to improve, Baker to regress, leaving us with a slightly better performance over last year overall.

3B: Improvement
More Aramis means more love. Chad Tracy back-up is appealing too

SS: No change.
Just a higher dollar per scrap ratio(t). I don't expect Castro(t) to be anything remarkable for this season.

LF: Moderate Improvement
I'm not expecting great, or even particularly good things from Soriano. But even decent play will be quite a bit better than last year, won't it? Nady seems like a solid back-up if healthy.

CF: No change to slight improvement.
I like Byrd in a small center field doing better with total defensive and offensive contribution than Fukudome last year. Concerns about back-ups though.

RF: Slight improvement.
Fukudome/Nady platoon sounds solid, but it requires both Nady to be healthy and Soriano to be healthy so Nady isn't covering him in Left.

Bench: Slight improvement.
No Jake Fox or Micah Hoffpauir pop, but I like Trady and Nady if healthy. And keeping Bobby Scales off the team has to count for something.

Overall, I'm seeing the world through cubbie blue lenses, but I'm seeing a lot of chances for improvement. Optimism, I tells ya.

Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009, 09:46 am
smooch and veil

smooch and veil, originally uploaded by stevenbeil.

My favorite picture from Sandra's cousin's wedding. S Dee snapped it.

Mon, Jul. 20th, 2009, 01:51 pm
happy 40th

Who knew there was so much crap on the moon?


Fri, May. 22nd, 2009, 05:04 pm


Ambitions beset by ambitious men,
set to under torque and labor,
hard hands with weights aloft
settling work into shoulders,

back, where it stays. As
weeks end, the wrought wear
and burdens lift. With anthems,
we plan celebrations. Carousal.

Triumph. Achievement. In my
youth, this is sex and poetry. Or
Stories. Novellas. All the arts, the cold
Arts. Yet plans…as plans do…Oh

the doors never opened fearing
stale air behind. Woe that soul
bound. Cobweb laden. Drying
in wait. Skin crisp to touch.

To touch, to shatter. To fall.
To end. But then, there is this.

And this is what? This is but
one word after one other word,

blind save a narrow light—
as if distance does not care

what requires you to reach it,
just that you show on time.

And time, oh she pays less
than once earned. And the dark

outside filled with such ears to
hear your uptonowlifelong plans
for rockstardom or what so passes
as poets, they are what—ungroupied.

Again, the end. Shall there be one word
in cracked stone below name and
years, Shadoobie, if it please you. And
if it not, then with faster intent, the same.

Mon, Mar. 9th, 2009, 01:02 pm
thoughts on watchmen

I've read a lot of tempered criticism because of the monumental effort to produce such a monumental comic achievement. Phooey to tempering anything, though.

I think Zach Snyder has earned full accolades for his successes and the full burden of criticism for his failures. If he has accomplished anything, it's responsibility for his work, good and bad. An artist can hardly ask for more, eh? Fortunately, it's mostly good. My thoughts follow.

spoliers, blah...Collapse )

Tue, Feb. 24th, 2009, 11:36 am

John asked:



Pitchers and catchers on Friday...


And I answered:

Ah, me. So much to comment on this offseason, and I just haven't had the inclination to throw it into Internet words as yet. Perhaps I will one of these days before the season opens.

Suffice it to say, I'm optimistic about the Cubs, though I doubt 95+ wins is likely again. Then again, after the fivethirtyeight.com predictions this election, I'm not likely to doubt much that comes out of Nate Silver's brain ever again.

I think this might be Tony LaRussa's final season in St. Louis--which would be fine with me. I'm also probably going to pull for the Indians in the AL this year. Although I would be fine with your Yanks smacking down some of these uppety Red Sox fans too.

The AL East is just a bear. Too close to call, if you ask me. The Sox and Yanks may have the best talent, but I like young, healthy Rays. The 4-to-6-win difference in talent between the Rays, your boys and your nemesis is easily overcome with luck and injuries.

AL Central: emotionally pulling for Wood, DeRosa and Sizemore, and glad to see them atop BPs standings. I'm surprised to see the Sox in last place. I prefer to see them do well. Though the difference in talent between any of these teams is pretty minute. For example, the 10 win difference in talent between the Indians and Sox encompasses every team in their division. Check out the difference between the Cubs and Crew in the NL Central. Same dif between 1st and 2nd place.

AL West: Meh. Who cares? I've got no dog in this hunt. I'm a little sick of the Angels, though I still loves me some Vlad Guerrero. They've been an also-ran lately on big talent acquisitions, though I guess they have some young talent. I don't know. I think Seattle will be interesting in a few years. They've got proper management now, from all I can tell.

NL East: Same story as their AL counterparts. Three teams too close to each other for talent to decide. Mets look good, I guess. But will Delgado be like he was early or late last year? And big money bullpens don't solve all problems. Though I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 12-year-old in me snickering at having a Putz and a Rod available near the end when things get hot.

NL Central: Well, we're all set up it seems. I think 96 wins is a ridiculous expectation, though. But when you're ten wins of talent better than your closest competition, you have no excuses. That said, I don't believe the difference is really that high. Milwaukee's core is still relatively young, and I fear Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder and even Corey Hart and JJ Hardy and whatever the next hot kid coming out of their stupid system is going to be. The Cubs, like most teams have struggled against Trevor Hoffman. Though I can't understand, having just suffered massive failure with Eric Gagne, why you would go for another former hero closer. Especially when your starting rotation is...well...the Brewer's starting rotation. It's the very definition of serviceable, isn't it? But apart from Gallardo, not a lot of upside. I don't really think the Cubs will be better than last year, but they don't have to be. Still, it would be nice if there was a net gain from Bradley, Gregg, Heilman, Miles, Gathright and Bako over DeRosa, Wood, Blanco, Howry, Wuertz, Cedeno and Pie. DeRo was nice on offense and defense and versatility. Bradley should out-hit him, but I'm not sure the value is all that different between the two. Gregg won't out-perform Wood's 2008. Heilman should be better than Howry. Miles can play a few positions and kind of hit, but I hope will not steal time from Fontenot who is actually quite good in the field and a decent stick. The Cubs have poorly managed their 40-man roster and had to trade away a lot of talent this offseason. Angel Guzman will be next if Samardzija finds his way onto the team out of spring. That may be fine, depending on what we get. But I wasn't wowed by the haul for Rich Hill or Wuertz. Heilman is a fine pick for Cedeno, though. I think the Pie thing will sting us later.

NL West: The Cubs have now lost post-season series to every team in the NL West except for Colorado. I kind of hate the NL West. That said, I'm pulling for Arizona because they're still a young team and I've got friends in the Phoenix area.

Thanks John. I needed that.

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