Spring Training


· Joe Sez, News, Spring Training · , , , , ,


Hey there, turf toes. Happy little Friday. (Uh … that mean’s Thursday, White Sox fans.)

Anybody see Tim Tebow’s debut as a Met yesterday? Two words: strike six. One can only hope that the rest of the Mets — all goose-bumped from showerin’ with a Heisman Trophy winner — start swingin’ just like him. Hey, I totally get that hittin’ a wicked-nasty Rick Porcello sinker is harder than a choir boy at a porn festival. And I freely admit that the only difference between Tebow at the plate and ME at the plate is about 5 inches and 47 lbs of solid muscle. But I mean, c’mon … Puttin’ Joey Chestnut in a suit and tie doesn’t qualify him to teach classes on the finer points of culinary etiquette.

Now I like Tebow. As a football player. In that capacity, I thought he got the shaft by the press — a bunch of yay-hoos who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, by the way, and who attacked the hell outta him for wearin’ his faith on his football uniform sleeve. Especially that colossal trouser snake, Bill Maher. Of course you never hear anyone breath a friggin’ syllable about players of color, in any sport, for expressing their thanks to the Almighty after takin’ someone deep, or for praising the G-man after winnin’ the Super Bowl. But Tebow? They did everything but actually nail him to a cross, my friend.

I give a lot of credit to the guy for standing up to that pinheaded crap and chasin’ his other dream. I mean I’m guessing baseball is some kinda dream. Although, so far, it’s a pretty bad one. Still, workin’ hard enough to get a shot is commendable. But at some point, I think we’re gonna have another Michael Jordan come-to-Jesus revelation, and Timmy is gonna realize that hittin’ a running back would be lot easier than hittin’ a baseball.

And if that doesn’t happen, even the geniuses running the Mets may eventually bring their heads back out in the sunshine. Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.



· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, Spring Training ·


Hey there, dust covers. Unless you’ve been vacationing on Jupiter, you know that it’s Spring Training time in Mesa. (Everywhere else, too, but Mesa is the only place that matters.) So, while the Cubbies are doing wind sprints, practicing pick-offs, and are still tied for first, I thought it would only be fair that you and me got into ‘fan shape’. And I’m not talking about wait-until-next-year shape. I’m talkin’ about in-your-face, trash-talkin’, we’re-not-gonna-take-this-gettin’-broomed-in-the-playoffs-crap-anymore shape. WARNING: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 12 hours afterwards.

Alright, Step 1) Pour yourself a nice, frosty adult beverage — Old Style if you got it — and put that La-Z-Boy in full recline, my friend. This step is actually common to many important activities, and happens to be one of my favorite parts of gettin’ in fan shape, because I get to make those faux farting noises that accompany even the slightest butt adjustment against my chair’s fine corinthian leather. Always entertaining.

Step 2) Prepare your mind. (Only natural since baseball—unlike football—is a thinking man’s sport.) Try and clear out everything you got running round in your head. You Sports Illustrated subscribers get an extra couple of minutes to get rid of page 57 of the Swimsuit Edition. Once your head is completely empty, and the beer has started to take effect, you’re ready for step 3. You’ll also know what it’s like to be a Dodgers Fan. But I digress.

Step 3) Fill the void with a jumbotron-sized, slow-motion, 2003 instant replay of Steve Friggin’ Bartman. (That is his middle name, right?) And set it to loop over and over and over. If you start to get hot, it’s ok. That’s normal.

Step 4) While this motivational video plays in the background, start thinking about all of the great achievements of the past 100 years. Among other things, this would include the following: The automobile. And the airplane. Television, telephones, computers and the electric garage door opener. You got Einstein’s General and Special Theories of Relativity. Both of ’em. There’s Dove Bars and air conditioning. And Hooters. There’s the assembly line and the bikini and, oh my God … Playstation. I love Playstation! The Sears Tower went up. (That’s what it was called then, and I don’t care who owns it now, it’s still the Sears Tower to me.) The Berlin Wall came down. On the medical front there’s that special gift to Yankees fans — penicillin. And, uh, Viagra for White Sox fans. And there’s the heart transplant (that I now need after the Mets ripped mine out last September). Did I mention the bikini? Let’s see … we’ve had guys standing on the top of Mt. Everest, and other guys hittin’ golf balls on the moon and, hell, we got us an African American for President. We’ve had all that in the last hundred years. Oh, and Halley’s frickin’ Comet? It’s been by TWICE my friend. Twice.

Step 5) Addendum to Step 4. While you’re thinking about all that (it has to be done simultaneously), ask yourself this: Do we have even one … just one … Cubs World Series championship? Noooooooooooooooooo. You know, I feel compelled to mention here that the friggin’ Marlins have TWO of them. And they’ve been a team for like 4-1/2 minutes! And in just the last 10 years, the Cardinals scored 2 rings (including the pathetic ’06 team), the Red Sox — who have stunk almost as much as we have — won it twice more, the Giants have won it 3 times, and last year the damn Royals won it. You go back one extra year and even the White Sox won it. Let me say that again; the … White … Sox … won … it.

The Cubs? Nothin’.

Step 6) Status check. Take the nearest Cubs logo into the bathroom and look in the mirror. If your face matches the red part, you’re in Cubs fan shape, my friend. You’re also probably dangerously close to a heart attack, so while you’re in the bathroom, grab a couple of aspirin from the medicine cabinet and wash ’em down with the last of your beer.

You, my friend, are now ready for the season. Question is, will the Cubbies be ready?



· 2013 Cubs, Joe Sez, Spring Training · ,


The Cubs ended their spring in Ho Ho Kam in a way that reminds us that they are, in fact, the Chicago Cubs. They ended up a couple of games below .500 and blew an 8th inning lead in the spring finale, losing to the Mariners 6-4. Another typical March; in like a lamb, out like a lamb. I hope they can locate some lion from April forward. But I also hope for Hugh Hefner to turn over the keys to the mansion, and everything female in it.

Las Vegas currently has us at 75/1 to win the Series this year. I know that sounds hopeless, but they’ve also got 6 teams listed with worse odds than that, including the Astros at 300/1. I mean, compared to that … we’re a friggin’ lock.

Bottom line is this; we’re currently tied for first. Spring hope is eternal, my friend.



· Joe Sez, Spring Training, The Playoffs ·

Was it just me, or did anyone else (besides Phillies and Rays fans) feel that even if you used the $27 million microscope at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory you wouldn’t have found one fly speck of drama in this year’s Series?

I kid you not, this was one anti-climactic Fall Classic, was it not? I mean, tip of the Joe Schlombowski lid to the Phils (though, personally, I thought Dick Cheney would appear in drag on Dancing with the Stars before Phily would win it all). And that Cole Hammels guy. He was Mr. Nastypants, I’ll give him that, pallie. But if a rain delay is the defining moment of a not-exactly-down-to-the-wire showdown, well, ’nuff said. Wake me when it’s over.

Which brings me to the point of this diatribe. What the hell do we do to get us through to mid-Feb when pitchers and catchers report to spring training?

Alright. I admit football will help. But as I’ve pointed out before, as fun as football can occasionally be, it is vastly inferior to the one, the only, the true America’s pastime — baseball. One need not look any further than ice fishing — the single most uneventful activity on the planet — to see my point. Ice fishing, in which a group of men sit around telling jokes, smelling each other’s farts, and risking 1) severe frostbite; 2) maiming oneself with a gas-powered ice auger; and 3) losing one or more fingers to an angry pike or walleye, was invented right smack in the middle of football season. It’s like somebody made a bet that since football is so damn boring (Army went a whole game this season without throwing a single pass), nobody could possibly come up with something even more boring. And since soccer already existed, voila, the guy lost the bet and ice fishing was born. (In fairness, ice fishing does have its moments. Like when there’s a warm spell and somebody’s Dodge Durango is converted into a U-boat.)

So Joe, you ask, what else can get me through to spring without me turning into a raving lunatic? Lord Stanley’s Cup? I think not. (Why they ever named a championship after a crotch protector is beyond me.) But here’s my answer, pal. I’ll give you two things, three if you’re a fly fisherman. If you fly fish, just keep tying flies until the icicles melt and you’re good. For the rest of you, here goes: 1) The SI Swimsuit Issue (whoever thought of this should get a MacArthur Genius Grant); and 2) a little game I call Names-In-A-Blender.

Here are the Official Joe Schlombowski Names-In-A-Blender rules: You take the name of anyone you love or despise, say Alfonso Soriano, and you combine his name with someone else you either love or despise. Say Scott Boras. You put those two together and you get ALFONSO SOR-ASS.

Here’s one you’ll like. You put Kerry Wood together with Alonzo Mourning and you get KERRY MOURNING-WOOD.

Staying with that theme for a minute, mix Chien-Ming Wang with Long John Silver and you get CHIEN-MING LONG WANG.

Put Derek Lee together with someone else who screwed the pooch in October and you get DEREK LEHMAN BROTHERS.

Felix Pie plus Mike Holtz of the Dodgers gives you FELIX PIE-HOLTZ.

And my personal favorite: Kosuke Fukudome with Alex Rodriguez gives you KOSUKE FUK-U-A-ROD.

Once you run out of Cubbies just keep going through all the other sports. Mix it up with the names of a week’s worth of Howard Stern guests, and throw in the NY Times Op-Ed columnists for good measure. If all else fails, go to the Yellow Pages.

With any luck, Names-In-A-Blender, a deck of cards, the Home Shopping Network and a couple dozen cases of Old Style should get you to at least Groundhog Day no problem.