Friday, September 30, 2011

On the Way to Work This Morning...

Look at all of the leaves that have already fallen on the sidewalk outside La Casa del Terror.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/30/11

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Game Over

Baseball's regular season ended yesterday. For Chicago sports fans, this is a blessing.

I could have written that second sentence just about any year in this city (with notable--and rare--exceptions), but this past baseball season was, in many ways, more miserable than usual.

Granted, expectations were pretty low on the North Side, where the Cubs made such modest adjustments during their off season (signing Carlos Pena, who hit under .200 last year, to play first base) that most experts anticipated, at best, mediocrity. After a tidal wave of injuries punched significant holes in the outfield and starting rotation, though, the team sank early and never recovered. Throw in a poor early season performance by third baseman Aramis Ramirez (who later tore the cover off the ball--well after the Cubs were out of contention) and the ultimate, final blowup (at least with the Cubs) of Carlos Zambrano and you get a team tied for second-worst in the National League that had little reason to run up the white "W" flag you see above.

On the South Side, the prospects for a good season seemed decidedly brighter. The White Sox had finished second in their division the previous season and had added left-handed slugger Adam Dunn during the off season, so what could go wrong? As it turns out, plenty. Dunn was a massive bust with more than 2 1/2 times as many strikeouts (177) as hits (66). Outfielder Alex Rios and second baseman Gordon Beckham also drastically underachieved at the plate and gave little support to their basically decent starting pitching staff. Consequently, the Sox hovered around .500 much of the season and ultimately finished in third place--well behind the Division-winning Tigers, who mercilessly thrashed the Sox in many of their head-to-head games.

Toward the end, the White Sox seemed to quit on manager Ozzie Guillen, but this was no surprise. Guillen, whose mouth has no off switch and whose brain has never conceived a thought that wasn't ready to come flying out of said mouth, spent much of the last month of the season publicly bitching about his contract status. (True, a reporter asked him about it, but he didn't have to answer--again, that lack of an off switch.) This provided a prominent distraction for a team that wasn't quite out of the race yet and ultimately led to Guillen returning the favor and quitting on his team in the most literal sense: He asked to be released from his contract with two games to go in the season. (Pitching coach Don Cooper managed the Sox for the last two games of the year, going 1-1.)

Before Guillen left, he told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I work in this job for money . . . [Bleep] the ring. I don’t even wear my [bleeping] rings,” Now that he's been hired as the manager of the Florida (soon-to-be Miami) Marlins, he says winning is what's most important to him. Which side of Ozzie's constantly running mouth should be believed? Not our problem anymore.

Also not our problem anymore: Cubs manager Mike Quade, who seemed well out of his depth much of the year. Maybe that's unfair. Maybe any manager would have struggled with so much uninspired play and so many injuries. Doesn't matter. General Manager Jim Hendry was fired during the season, and the new General Manager (whoever that poor, nigh-suicidal sucker that winds up being) will almost certainly bring in his own manager and attempt to fill the many holes his predecessor left behind.

The winter will be long, and it will be cold. The grass on the baseball diamonds will go brown under blankets of white.Then, a few months hence, trees will green, ice and snow will melt and melt, and hope will rise again--whether that's justifiable or not.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/29/11

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On the Way to Work This Morning...

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/28/11

I hope nobody's foot was in this shoe when it was run over in the middle of Montrose Avenue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

For Dinner Last Night...

Cute li'l meatball sandwiches (and by "li'l," i mean "huge") constructed from the leftovers from Dee's birthday celebration at JB's place Saturday night. I added a bit of super-sharp Australian Boxing Cheddar to the top, heated the whole thing in the microwave, and then it was NOMNOMNOMNOM until I couldn't NOM anymore. (One sandwich remains in the fridge for whenever I get home tonight.)

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/26/11

Red maple leaves fall
on Francisco Avenue.
Autumn has arrived.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On the Way to Work This Morning...

Dew accumulates on the lumber destined to replace the rapidly rotting planks of the Francisco CTA platform.

Yesterday Morning at Breakfast...

I had the day off yesterday, so I indulged.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/20/11

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/13/11

I feel bad for old buildings. This one on Montrose has been empty for a while. Now it's windows are being busted. Insult to injury.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/12/11

This drawing was taped to the sidewalk. I don't know why.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 9/8/11

This enormous white pigeon stopped by the bird feeder in Mom's backyard for a nosh.