Saturday, February 26, 2011

Taking a look at Southsider Edwin Jackson

I remember when little Edwin was just a 21-year-old top 100 prospect on my MVP Baseball 2005 (best baseball video game of all time). It seems maybe in 2011 he may finally live up to some of that potential I salivated over in my basement.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Carlos Marmol has ice running through his veins

I read this in an ESPNChicago article and thought it was just classic,

Marmol doesn't worry about pressure in his role.

"I don't think about anything much," Marmol said. "I go out there, get my three or four outs, help the team win, go into the clubhouse, put my headphones on and go home."

Well when you put it that way...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra came on Sirius XMU, by chance right as I was pulling into the neighborhood one afternoon. I’m not sure what it was but the sound really hit a chord in my brain and I could not stop singing the song on my way inside. The DJ had graciously provided a website for the band and I assumed if I took the time to type in the website I would be rewarded with a free download, so I hopped right on. Amazingly at the website you can listen to, but not download the songs. Not even pay for them. With my brain craving more, I pressed play next to the song on the radio, “How Can U Luv Me?” and fell immediately back in love with it.

For some reason I had to leave right away, so I quickly pre-ordered the EP and then forgot all about the band. Until today, because walking through my doorstep this afternoon I was surprised to see a small square parcel, courtesy of Her Majesty’s Royal Mail. Perplexed but intrigued I tried not to think of what it could be as I walked down into my garden, dungeon, floors-cracked from the extreme cold unit. I love surprises, and hearing “How Can U Luv Me?” be followed by equally indelible “Nerve Damage!” was one hell of a surprise. Listen to the full EP for free at the band’s website.

They have a throwback guitar style that some have made popular lately, but these songs are uniquely crafted and incredibly catchy. Can’t wait to hear what “Thought Ballune” and “Ffunny Ffrends” sound like.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yes, please and thank you

Yesterday not only did the Cubs lock up the one and only Carlos Marmol for his final two years of arbitration and his first year of free agency for a cool $20 million, but Radiohead also dropped a bomb on the world, announcing their eighth full-length album The King of Limbs would be released digitally this coming Saturday. Scott Plagenhoef at Pitchfork sums it up nicely:

So Radiohead have set aside the "pay what you want" patronage model that dominated the conversation surrounding the In Rainbows release, yet have retained that album's more important business aspects: Packaging their music as a high-end collectable and controlling and monetizing its leak, which has the effect of creating what these days is a rare, worldwide, collective listening experience. Once again, we all know exactly when we're first able to hear a new Radiohead record and therefore will largely all experience it together, something almost completely lost in today's pop music landscape.

Marmol submitted $5.65 for arbitration while the Cubs had countered with $4.1. For the sake of argument, the Cubs would have been on the hook for about $4.875M in 2011 if they settled before a hearing. In 2010, players saw an average arbitration increase of 107%, meaning Marmol would have seen a raise likely nearing $8 million in 2012, and his worth on the open market for 2013 would have been around $10 million.

Marmol received a $1 million signing bonus as a part of his $3.2 million salary for 2011. Marmol will receive $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013. Add it all up and the Cubs saved a few million dollars by locking up their closer and buying out a year of free agency. While there is always a risk of injury for someone who throws as many sliders as Marmol, he has been essentially injury free as a pitcher and this looks to be a low risk deal.

Also seemingly low-risk is pre-ordering the new Radiohead album, which I did immediately upon hearing the news. Billed as a “Newspaper” album, I honestly do not have a clue what that means. The world will find out Saturday, February 19th.

Pre-order @

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carlos Marmol and strike one

I was taking a look at Carlos Marmol’s player page at Fan Graphs last night and noticed an encouraging sign for the future and a partial explanation for Marmol’s historic 16 K/9 ratio in 2010. Here is Marmol’s First Pitch Strike % for the past four years:


First Pitch Strike %

Swinging Strike %


















It is not a stretch to say that when Marmol gets ahead in the count he is nearly unhittable. Pitching coaches always make a point of emphasizing the importance of getting ahead in the count and for some pitchers this is a natural advantage that is easily exploited. However, for a guy who can lower his walk rate by nearly two and still not bring it to 6 BB per 9, it’s a much more difficult task.

Hopefully Marmol can build on last year’s progression in this area and permanently change his approach on the mound, rather than regress as he did after the 2007 season. It should be painfully obvious to the Cubs and to Marmol the importance of him getting strike one in as many at bats as possible.