Kap's Corner

The Latest in Chicago Sports

Let's see....where should I start? The Zambrano meltdown? The Blackhawks elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs? Derrick Rose's name being linked to an NCAA scandal at Memphis? The Jake Peavy rumors that continue to link both Chicago teams to the superstar pitcher?

Let's start with the Derrick Rose story that was broken by the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper.

It sure sounds like the NCAA has some great evidence or they would never have gone as far as they have in calling the violations major and in allowing Rose's name and reputation to be called into question nationally.

Rose is a nice young man and a tremendously talented basketball player but if he did indeed have a teammate take his SAT test for him he is in serious trouble and the allegations will follow him for a long time.

This investigation also will seriously taint the reputation of former Memphis coach John Calipari who is now at Kentucky. If this was Coach Cal's first brush with NCAA investigators you might be willing to shrug your shoulders and cut him a break.

However, while Calipari is one of the few coaches to take two schools to the Final Four (Massachusetts and Memphis) he would be the first ever to have both of those teams forced to forfeit all of their wins because of NCAA troubles.

ZAMBRANO

Onto Carlos Zambrano and his ridiculous meltdown yesterday at Wrigley Field. While Big Z was losing his cool over a bang - bang play at the plate, one in which he felt that the umpire missed the call he needs to realize that he was wrong.

The umpire got the call right. More important than that though, Zambrano continues to show why he has never achieved the heights that his incredible talent should allow him to reach. He has only won more than 16 games in a season once (2007) because he cannot control himself in pressure situations.

He is, to this point in his career, being paid like an ace but he is not performing like one. Watch his lunacy in action as he puts his selfishness ahead of his team again. 




The Cubs have been scuffling lately and the last thing they need is to lose their #1 starter to a suspension. MLB officials are reviewing tapes of the outburst and a decision on punishment shouldn't take very long to be issued from MLB disciplinary czar Bob Watson.


PEAVY

The Jake Peavy rumors are continuing to simmer after the former Cy Young Award winner rejected a trade to the White Sox. Now the latest speculation that I am hearing has the Cubs considering a trade to acquire Peavy for prospects because the Padres are desperate to shed Peavy's contract from the books.

The Cubs need to proceed very cautiously here because while Peavy is a great pitcher that is not their primary area of need. They need offense and they need to show some patience prior to the July trade deadline because they have limited chips to use in a big trade and they don't know yet what their needs will be at the deadline.

If the price tag for Peavy involves superstar 3rd base prospect Josh Vitters then I vote no on the deal because starting pitching is not the Cubs weakness. They do need to shore up their bullpen and a deal to add a setup man would be a great help to Lou Piniella's club.

BLACKHAWKS

Finally, the Blackhawks outstanding season has come to an end after last night's 2-1 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit. While I am not confident that Cristobal Huet is the answer as the #1 goalie he did play well in Game Five and deserves credit for keeping the Hawks in the game.

Now GM Dale Tallon has to figure out how to add some help for his defense while also making sure that he can re-sign his superstars (Toews, Kane, and Keith) whose contracts are up after next season.

In a salary cap environment it would be a real shame if the Blackhawks have to trade away a star that they would like to keep simply because the cap prevents them from keeping this great young team together. Salary cap concerns could also lead to the end of both Martin Havlat's and Nikolai Khabibulin's days in an Indian Head sweater.

Make sure you tell your friends to read Kap's Corner. I promise you I will always give you the straight scoop on what I am feeling about whatever topic it is in sports. If you don't agree with me that is okay. We can have a great debate on the happenings in the greatest sports city in the world! We'll talk later.

Have a great day!

Kap

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14 Comments

Andy said:

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This is fun, Kap. Great job. I love how you word your nonsense so generally. It's a skill.

First, Derrick Rose isn't in trouble, Memphis is. You can't expel a student from a school he no longer attends. But you say he's in "serious trouble and the allegations will follow him for a long time."

How are they going to follow him? Is he going to go to jail? No. Is it going to hurt his credit score? No. Will it go on his permanent record and be kept in a large file cabinet at the NCAA offices in Indianapolis?

Then you bloviate about Zambrano. This is rich.

"Zambrano continues to show why he has never achieved the heights that his incredible talent should allow him to reach. He has only won more than 16 games in a season once (2007) because he cannot control himself in pressure situations."

You are right, he's a terrible clutch pitcher. Just awful.

Let's examine: He won 51 big league games before his 25th birthday.

Remember the pennant race the Cubs were in in 2004? While the team around him was falling apart, Carlos made six starts in September and was 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA.

He won four games in September of 2007 as the Cubs completed a comeback to overtake the Brewers and make the playoffs. His September ERA was 3.44, he'd also gone 9-3 with an ERA under 2.00 in June and July of that season.

Last year he threw a no-hitter in September. The Cubs had won only three of the 11 games before that no-hitter and their lead had been trimmed to 4.5 with 13 of their remaining 16 games to be played against teams who won at least 86 games, including the Mets (89), Brewers (90) and Cardinals (86). But you're right, there was no pressure there.

He has yet to win a postseason start, something that I would have thought you would have pointed out to strengthen your argument, but you didn't, because that would have required you to actually look for a fact to back up your vague arguments.

However, his ERA in the 2007 postseason was 1.50, and his manager thought he was so important that he purposely shortened his game one start because he also wanted him to start game four.

Last year, the volatile Zambrano was on the mound when every one of his infielders made an error in his postseason start. Did the crazy man throw his glove at any of them? Did he punch out Ryan Theriot? No. He kept making pitches to get out of the inning and they kept kicking balls and allowing four unearned runs.

But your version is better, because it supports your completely factless argument.

And finally (because I'm not even going to lend credence to you suddenly pretending you know squat about hockey), you keep making vague, unsupportable references to your "sources" who tell you that the Cubs are after Peavy. And you keep saying the Cubs don't need Peavy because they need someone in the bullpen.

Why, it's almost like if they traded for Peavy that they could move Sean Marshall to the bullpen, and then when Rich Harden comes back they could put Randy Wells down there, too.

Nope. That makes too much sense.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Desipio! Dude, so glad to see you stalking Kap here on ChicagoNow.

Now, if only you weren't putting words in his mouth. Kap never wrote that Zambrano wasn't clutch, you made that up.

He wrote that Zambrano hasn't reached expectations, which is arguable. He's won a good number of games, but he's also had about a 4.00 ERA the last two years and despite his no-hitter in September, he gave up at least five runs in five of his last eight starts. Not what you want from your $18 million a year man.

So Zambrano had a 1.50 ERA in the 2007 playoffs? Great stat. That's like saying Tuffy Rhodes should be in the Hall of Fame for hitting three homers on Opening Day. It was one game, Desip, not a whole playoffs. And his fault or not, the Cubs still lost. That's how pitchers are judged.

Anyway, glad to see you stalking Kap here. Don't be a stranger.

Jimmy Greenfield
ChicagoNow
Sports Community Manager

David Kaplan said:

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So let's get this right. Carlos has won multiple Cy Young Awards and I somehow just missed them. Here are his numbers from the 2008 pennant race:

DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT
Sep 24 @NYM W 9-6 4.2 3 5 5 1 4 2 6 9 87
Sep 19 STL L 12-6 1.2 6 8 8 1 3 1 3 7 45
Sep 14 @HOU W 5-0 9.0 0 0 0 0 1 10 12 4 110
Sep 2 HOU L 9-7 5.0 5 3 3 0 3 3 10 7 86
Aug 26 @PIT W 14-9 4.1 8 6 6 0 4 3 7 12 98
Aug 21 CIN W 3-2 7.0 6 1 1 1 4 4 12 9 105
Aug 15 @FLA W 6-5 6.0 4 5 5 1 5 6 6 11 119
Aug 9 STL L 12-3 4.1 10 9 9 4 1 3 7 13 88

He sure doesn't look like an ace to me. By the way, his ERA this season is 4.22 and he has the grand total of 3 wins and he was just suspended for 6 games.

I sure want to pay a guy 90+ million dollars to act like a clown. Add in the fact that he is not pitching like a #1 starter and your argument is ridiculous.

I don't care what he did in 2004. This is 5 years later and he is vastly overrated to this point in time. He has the ability to win but he has to start pitching like a stopper.

Thanks for responding.

Andy said:

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Wow, you got me Kap. Nice job there. The Cubs only won five of his last eight starts. That's just terrible.

And Greenfield, what your overly tan friend wrote was "he can't control himself in pressure situations."

That's why I went all the way back to 2004 to take a look. But if you guys would rather just look at a six week stretch in 2008, more power to you both.

By the way, love the name for this. Chicago NOW. Where have I heard that before?

www.chicagonow.org.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Hey Desip, you're absolutely right. Cubs won five of the eight games, but with little help from your Prince Charming.

In three of those five wins your boy allowed 16 runs in 15 innings.

But hey, you say he's clutch so he probably did better in the games against the NL Central contenders. Well, except he didn't. In those games he gave up 20 runs in 20 innings, and that's with his brilliant no-hitter factored in.

Look, Zambrano's above average. But he's a head case, he's not worth the money he's being paid and, lastly, you've got a serious man-crush on Kap. But that's okay Desip, "sources" tell me the feeling is mutual.

Todd said:

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Jimmy wrote: "And his fault or not, the Cubs still lost. That's how pitchers are judged."

Then Jimmy wrote: "Cubs won five of the eight games, but with little help from your Prince Charming."

I judge him on those five wins. Shouldn't you?

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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I take your point, and given a choice between a pitcher who goes 6-0 with a 6.00 ERA or a pitcher who goes 0-6 with a 1.50 ERA I guess I'll take the much lower ERA every time.

So I hereby retract my "that's how pitchers are judged" comment.

Best example: In 1987, Nolan Ryan went 8-16 and led the NL with a 2.76 ERA. Just checked and he lost 9 games when giving up two runs or fewer that year. Talk about a tough luck pitcher.

Andy said:

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Jimmy, why are you calling me Desip? I would think a relatively grown man who still calls himself Jimmy wouldn't do that.

Why don't we look at what the real issue is here? Your boy, the Chicago National Organization of Women.com's featured sports expert is just tossing out a bunch of banalities about sports, generalizations so broad as to be laughable.

Unlike on his radio show he can't hang up here on people who disagree with him. We get to point out just how much of this stuff he pulls out of his hiney.

Weebs said:

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I'm not sure I can find any credibility in a guy who routinely argues sports with someone named Sack Boy and a cartoon dog.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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I actually went by Desipio until I was 14 but everyone thought it was really stupid so I switched to Jimmy.

Hey, disagree all you want! I don't see how you can bash Kap for not wanting to listen to people when he's...right..here...listening...to...you.

The real issue seems to be you don't know how to tell people you think they're wrong without coming across as smug and condescending.

Apex said:

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Don't you consider it smug and condescending to smack down your readers for commenting in kind to a **PROVACATIVE!!** blog post trashing one of the city's most popular players? What I find it smug and condescending that you expect some sort of decorum in the comments after you've accused one of your readers of stalking the pud you have cranking out simple reactions to the events of the past 24 hours. You want to remain above the fray? That's fine and all, but don't get dirty yourself and expect anybody else to pull punches.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Who asked for decorum?

Apex said:

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I dunno, Jimmy. Someone who looks and smells like you may have hacked into your account and taken issue with the style and tone of one of your readers, indicating that it was a "real issue." I'm sure you'll sort that person out.

It doesn't matter though. I'm certainly not coming back to this page because this blog isn't very good and Kaplan won't have to bother working any harder at it with you around to defend his ham-fisted vagrancy.

Forklift said:

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What "help" can Dale Tallon get for the Hawks' defense? They already have Seabrook, Keith, Sopel, Campbell and Hjamarlsson signed for next season, and Barker is a non-arbitration RFA, so they'll re-sign him without too much trouble.

So that gives you 6 defensemen on a team with "salary cap issues" - a misnomer considering the league is switching to a "soft cap", which means the cap hits of first rounders like Kane and Toews (along with possible additions like Jack Skille and Kyle Beach) are minimized.

And, thanks to our friends in Detroit, the precedent has now been set for longer-term contracts at lower annual payouts. If Havlat and Khabibulin both walk away, Kane, Toews and Keith all get very handsome extensions in time for the Blackhawks' Convention. For that matter, that type of salary structure wil probably keep Havlat in town. The UFA that is most vital to the Hawks' continued improvement, and omitted here?

His name is Sammi Pahlsson.

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