Holiday Shopping Guide 2012

Everyone has their own special Christmas traditions. Mine include baking/eating an obscene amount of cookies, having nothing but Muppet Christmas Carol songs stuck in my head for a month, and rolling my eyes every time my mother casually suggests getting an artificial tree.

And then there is this, the FBB shopping guide. It’s been a few years, I think it can qualify as a tradition. It tends to toe the line between awesome and demented, not unlike anything else you see here at this blog. But it also gives me an excuse to spend an unholy amount of time browsing on Etsy. So, basically… I like my holiday shopping guides. I hope you do, too.

I present you now with installment numero uno for this 2012 Christmas season.

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The ???

Country Baseball Snowman Ornament: I can’t decide whether I like this or not. On the bright side, I suppose if you were to buy it and then decided it didn’t suit, you could always break the nose off and have a catch. https://i0.wp.com/img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5772597/il_570xN.196975516.jpgThe Neat

“The Catch” Infographic Poster: I’m a total geek when it comes to baseball infographics, so it will come as no surprise that this made me ohh and ahh.

https://i0.wp.com/img3.etsystatic.com/000/0/6244483/il_570xN.237009839.jpg

Cubs Wall Art Logo: Another something that I would totally hang on my wall.

Chicago CUBS wall art logo 12" diameter - white and red with rust patina - indoor outdoor

The Frightening

“Archie“: Don’t worry. I know he looks a little scary, but I’m sure “Archie” is perfectly harmless. He doesn’t come alive at night when you’re sleeping and bite off your fingers or anything like that. No worries.

Hand Painted Baseball Funny Face - Archie

The Wearable

Cubs Tees: Who doesn’t love an original Cubs tee? Here are two winners.

Vintage Chicago Cubs T-Shirt Heather Gray

Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs T-Shirt

1967 Wool State Champions Jacket: It’s vintage, yo.

1967 wool state baseball champions jacket size L

The Ire Inspiring

Boys/Girls Baseball Sign: This is the sort of thing that just irks me. Further commentary might lead to some kind of unpleasant baseball-feminist She-Hulk incident, so I shall refrain for the good of us all.

Sports Sign / Boys Love Baseball Girls Love Baseball Players - Hand Painted Handcrafted Signs

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Saying Goodbye: Bryan LaHair and Randy Wells

 

The Cubbies 2012 first-half first baseman (and All Star, thank you very much) recently agreed to a deal that will send him to play for the SoftBank Hawks in Japan next year. Seems about right, doesn’t it?

In any case, I offer my appreciation to Mr. LaHair for the services he rendered us this season, along with wishes for a successful, happy tenure in Japan.

As for Randy Wells, I sort of forgot all about him, which I feel badly about. Because, even though he’s the sort of guy most fans turned on a long time ago, I can’t help remembering the good times. He took a no-hitter into like, the seventh or eighth inning one time. Remember that? No? Well, it happened.

Happy trails, Randy.

The Traditional Thanksgiving Post

It has been nearly a month since my last post, which is sad. The fact that interesting things have happened in baseball during that period makes it even sadder. And you want more sadderer (besides my grammar)? I’ve tried to patch together a meager post or two during this period of time, but they’ve all wound up half-finished and unused. The only excuse I can offer for all this is that life has been on the topsy-turvy side, and that my writing efforts have been pointed in a different direction as of late. Usually I enjoy blogging in the offseason more than when baseball is actually going on, but this may not be one of those years.

The reason I have come back now is because it’s Thanksgiving, which is one of the greatest holidays in history. I always feel obliged to write something for Thanksgiving. It’s such a happy time. Sharing and caring. Love and warmth. … Thanks… and … giving. Sentence fragments. Thanksgiving is full of goodness, all around.

What is more, it is giving me the ideal opportunity to play catch-up with all the baseball stuff I’ve not written about for the past month or so. It might be a cheap way of doing it, but that’s OK. I’m a very cheap person.

NOW, as is my usual way, I present you with a rather random list of things for which I feel grateful. Please feel free to contribute your own in the comments section.

This year, I am thankful for…
Darwin Barney and his Gold Glove award. I want to, like, throw a parade for this guy. All out. Line the streets, throw flower petals, play tambourines, dance spontaneously… the whole nine yards. Watching his defensive play was one of the few things made tuning into Cubs games worthwhile in 2012.

Bob Brenly. The Cubs TV color-man of the past 8 years recently announced that he would be abandoning us for Arizona. You can’t blame him. He has connections there. Besides which games in Phoenix hardly ever get snowed out in April. But we will miss Bob. His commentary was always palatable (for lack of a better word) and shall not be soon forgotten. Happy trails, BB.

New family members. There are at least two new additions since last year. We’ve suffered some losses as well, but the love has only grown. I am profoundly thankful for all my family.
The ability to create. I have been considering lately what a gift this is. We have been provided with SO many outlets for creativity… whether it’s writing a blog, or sewing, or fingerpainting, or origami, or whittling, or cooking, or photography. It’s a wonderful thing.

Space. Not outerspace, although I like imagining the possibilities there. I mean the much smaller space in which I live. I have space to myself now that I didn’t use to have. Closet space and bookshelf space and floorspace. It is glorious.

The good old U.S. of A. I am sure there were many little storms of stinkery swirling around before, during and after this year’s election. I didn’t pay attention, but I know there were. There always are. Despite this, I am quite thankful to live in a country that gives me and everyone else a say in things.

Spotify. Because I can’t afford to pay thirty bucks for Sufjan Stevens’ new Christmas album box set. And for allowing me to indulge my inner nerd by listening to nothing but classical music and film scores for hours on end.

Homemade Bread. Noodles. Gravy. Autumn Wheat cereal. Curry. Soup. Mild white cheeses. Apple sauce. Dill. Chocolate covered Ritz with peanut butter. Tamagoyaki. Grape Nuts heated up. Hot chocolate. And food in general. I like food.

The baseball turkey. He’s last, but he certainly isn’t least.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Life Is Sad

The only problem with the fact that baseball is awesome is that sometimes it isn’t. Case in point: this year’s divisional playoff series. Underdog lovers everywhere were united in excitement at the number of unlikely contending teams. Such a variety of desirable match-ups! Such potential! We could have had, like, the Mona Lisa of playoff pictures.

But then, just like that, all such dreams were gone.

Oakland? Out of it. No mo’ moneyball.

O’s? Schmos.

Nationals? Defeated the Cardinals like Dewey defeated Truman.

It is a reminder to us all… sometimes, life is sad. As a Cubs fan, I don’t feel I really needed this particular memo. And, let me tell you. Being handed it by smug St. Louis loyalists ain’t helping much.

To those of my readers who are actually fans of the aforementioned clubs, you have my sincerest sympathies. I know how you feel, and then some. You are welcome to join me in the waiting-til-next-year queue. There is plenty of room.

I guess now all I can say is Go Tigers, but it is with very little enthusiasm.

I think it would be more fitting to close with: Here’s to 2013. May it be kinder to us all.

Saying Goodbye: 2012 Chicago Cubs

Another year of disappointing Cubs baseball is in the books.

I know this wasn’t the easiest team to watch…

I know you guys probably made a few faces like THIS during the course of the year…

I know I did.

But let’s not be fatalistic, guys. I mean, why should we be? So we had another bleh season. So what? We can take it. We’re Cubs fans, doggone it.

And there is every reason to have hope for the future. We still have Theo and friends. We’re building something. Our turn may not be as far away as it feels right now.

Besides which, if you look at this year’s playoff picture, you’ll see a whole lot of reasons for optimism. I mean, the Orioles made it, you guys. To the postseason. The BALTIMORE Orioles. And the Nationals. And the Athletics. It’s crazy. And kind of awesome.

So, let us accept the Cubs 2012 stinkiness with grace, and look forward to 2013 with minds unclouded. Because, one of these years, waiting til’ next year is going to pay off.

The Farmboy Files: Logan Watkins and Nick Struck

Last week the Cubs declared Logan Watkins and Nicholas Struck as the organization’s minor league player and pitcher of the year, respectively. Congrats to both of them on the honors, and for a job well done this season!
It seems appropriate on this occasion to take a bit of a Farmboy Files mini-peek at both these guys. So, in case you have yet to acquaint yourself at all with Logan and Nick, here’s a brief rundown for each of them.

Vincent Logan Watkins
Born: August 29, 1989, in Goddard, Kansas
B/T: L/R
Position: IF
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 170 lb.
Drafted by the Cubs in the 21st round in 2008.

Stats: Logan batted .281/.383/.422 in 488 at-bats for the AA Tennessee Smokies in 2012. He hit 20 doubles, 11 triples, and 9 home runs, scoring 93 runs and driving in 52. He also stole 28 bases.

Scouting: Logan is one of those tough little guys who gets things done. I won’t use the term “scrappy”, but you get the drift. Let’s say he’s the firecracker type.
He possesses good speed, the ability to hit for average, and a very glovey glove. He is defensively versatile, having seen playing time at second, short, and center in 2012.

From the Twitters: Just gave myself a haircut lol first time I’ve ever cut hair and I think it turned out okay. I just need my dad to clean it up a bit (9/26)

Interviewage!

 

Nicholas A. Struck

Before I say anything else, let’s just address the obvious: Nick Struck? Totally super awesome name for a pitcher. Perhaps not quite up there with the likes of Josh Outman, but still extremely incredibly great.

Ahem. Moving on…

Born: October 7, 1989 in Damascus, Oregon
B/T: R/R
Position: RHP
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 185

Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 39th round in 2009.
Three cheers for late-round draft picks, eh?

Stats:  In 155.2 IP this season, Nick went 14-10 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He struck out 123 while walking 44.

Scouting: Features a fastball the low 90’s, sinker, slider and change-up, with good command. The smarty-pants baseball types predict he will end up as a back end of the rotation guy or a reliever. Nick will play in the Arizona Fall League this year, so we’ll get another look-see at him. Yay!

More interviewage!

An Ode To Darwin Barney

As the Major League regular season winds down, I find myself pausing to reflect upon it. Sadly, it has not been a year to remember for the Cubs. Yet there are always a few bright spots, if you’re willing to look at them. Alone at the top of this year’s bright spots is Darwin Barney. As a small token of my appreciation for the efforts he has put forward in 2012, I have written the following poem. Don’t judge my poetic skills too harshly. It’s the thought that counts.
Darwin Barney… Cubs second baseman… You know ‘im.
Well, he’s been so delightful, he deserves his own poem.
His on-the-field efforts have been nothing but pleasin’,
And especially stand out this forgettable season.

He makes all the plays, sometimes leaping or spinning
And he hasn’t messed up for a whole lot of innings.
Whether it be routine, or web-gem deserving,
Darwin’s defense is a pleasure observing.

Now, Brandon Phillips has praised himself highly
While Darwin’s expressions are made much more shyly.
On the latter alone will I shower my love,
And, if I had a say? He would get the Gold Glove.

He might not receive much acclaim o’er his bat,
And yet, I wouldn’t just leave it at that.
He isn’t like Babe, or those muscle-man batters-
Darwin doesn’t hit homers, except when it matters.

He has bloomed in front of our eyes, like a lotus-
And even if some haven’t bothered to notice,
Most others among us are duly elated
And his efforts are very appreciated.

Oh, the Empire State has its building, and Sydney its opera house;
Africa has elephants, and Orlando a talking mouse.
China has its great big wall, and Ireland has its Blarney,
But Chicago has the Chicago Cubs, and the Cubs have Darwin Barney.