Cubs’ Sveum Was Hired to be Fired
The Chicago Cubs made it official on Monday when President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein announced that manager Dale Sveum was relieved of his duties. Epstein’s announcement ended weeks of speculation regarding Sveum’s status and brought a close to the latest disappointing chapter in Cubs’ history. Sveum went just 127-197 in his two seasons at the helm in Chicago and drew criticism from fans and media for the way he handled young players Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Darwin Barney.
The firing of Sveum shouldn’t come as a shock to any avid Cubs follower. The 2013 team was never expected to compete for the playoffs but the on-field regression of assumed franchise cornerstones like Castro and Rizzo ultimately led to Sveum’s demise. The Cubs don’t figure to be big players in free agency (sorry Robinson Cano) this winter meaning that the next wave of talent will be coming from the minor league system that Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have spent the last two years stocking with quality prospects. The struggles of Castro and Rizzo, and Sveum’s responsibility for those struggles, has cost the manager the chance to manage the next generation of Cubs’ stars.Pin It Tweet
Honda to Unveil New Accord Hybrid on Halloween
While kids anxiously await Halloween’s bounty of candy and treats their parents could be anticipating a treat of their own. Honda is expected to put its latest iteration of the Accord Hybrid on sale in the United States beginning on October 31st. The 2014 Accord Hybrid boasts an impressive EPA fuel economy rating as well as a “Made in the U.S.A.” claim.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid has been given an official EPA fuel economy ration of 50 MPG in the city and 45 MPG highway for a combined rating of 47 MPG. The eye-popping 50 MPG rating is thanks to a newly engineered Hybrid engine a decade in the making. The new Accord is the ultimate hybrid as it pulls technological elements from competitors like Toyota, Chevy, and Ford into a single vehicle. The 2014 Accord Hybrid is the first mid-sized car to crack the 50 MPG figure.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid will feature three drive modes: EV, Hybrid, and Engine. In EV mode the car is propelled only by the electric motor powered by lithium ion battery. In Hybrid mode the gasoline engine powers a generator that creates electricity for the electric motor. In Engine mode the Accord runs directly on a gasoline engine through a one-gear transmission.
In addition to drawing raves for fuel economy the 2014 Accord Hybrid will be manufactured in Ohio. Assembly of the vehicle will occur at Honda’s Marysville plant. The 2014 marks the first Accord Hybrid to be manufactured in North America.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid could be yours as soon as Halloween. If you’re interested in learning more about the Accord or any of Honda’s other offerings contact the courteous sales team at http://www.davidhobbs.com/ in Glendale, WI.Pin It Tweet
Ravens’ Defense on the Rise
A lot was made of the Baltimore Ravens’ post-Super Bowl purge. Veterans Ray Lewis, Matt Birk, Ed Reed all went off to retirement parties, or to steal money from the Houston Texans. Championship contributors Cary Williams, Paul Kruger, and Dannell Ellerbe found greener pastures in free agency. According to many analysts the final nail in Baltimore 2013 playoff hopes was delivered when Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco.
After Week One the critics had little foresight but plenty of reasons to crow. Boldin had torched the Packers’ defense for 13 catches and 208 receiving yards. Boldin’s explosion came just days after the new-look Ravens’ defense had been torn asunder by Peyton Manning and his bevy of receiving options. The Ravens allowed seven passing touchdowns on that Thursday night in Denver while Colin Kaepernick and Boldin looked like the NFL’s new “It” couple.
What a difference two weeks makes.Pin It Tweet
Gloom Then Doom Befalls Orioles in Tampa
I scraped my first attempt at writing this column on Monday night after failing to muster more than a string of epithets and sobs. The Baltimore Orioles’ disastrous weekend in Tampa took an unfortunate and brutal turn when 21-year-old All Star third baseman Manny Machado blew out his knee in a freak play at first base. The stomach churning video of Machado’s injury was only slightly more unsightly than the Orioles collective bed-wetting in the most important series of their season. The O’s were officially eliminated last night at Camden Yards, falling to the Blue Jays.Pin It Tweet
Buck Showalter’s Last Stand
It all comes down to the next 13 days for the Baltimore Orioles. After an offseason of grumbling about Joe Saunders and Mark Reynolds, five months bitching about Jim Johnson, and the past three weeks trying to figure out just what Buck Showalter’s been thinking, Orioles fans are scoreboard watching. Yes, the team has been maddening. Yes, Showalter’s in-game decision making has led us to scratch our heads. Yes, Dan Duquette’s failure to obtain a real designated hitter has hampered Showalter’s options. Despite all of that the O’s have a puncher’s chance at the postseason with less than two weeks to go. Rejoice!Pin It Tweet
Ravens Plagued by Brynden Trawick’s Boner
Unless you’re a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan, you’d probably never heard of Brynden Trawick prior to Sept. 5. The undrafted rookie free agent made his NFL debut for the Ravens against the Broncos last week on national TV. What should have been one of the best days of Trawick’s life took an ugly turn when he ran into teammate and punt returner Jacoby Jones. In a moment Trawick went from unknown rookie to goat. The news got worse the next day when it was revealed that Jones would miss four-six weeks with a sprained knee.
Trawick’s gaffe set off a series of unintended consequences, and angry tweets, over the past week. The biggest surprise of all may be that Trawick is still on the Ravens’ roster.Pin It Tweet
Can the Orioles Rekindle the Magic?
The 2013 Baltimore Orioles are a good baseball team. The O’s are in the thick of the AL Wild Card race, have several young All Stars, an emerging ace, and a capable and respected GM/Manager duo in Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this Orioles team hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of “Orioles Magic”/late inning success/luck as the 2012 edition. Baltimore fans are having some trouble handling it. I can’t blame them.
Locals bristled last season whenever the team’s unexpected success was labeled a fluke and deemed unsustainable. They wanted to believe that the Orioles were a good team with a legit chance to win the World Series and not some Little Engine That Could propped up by an unprecedented run of fortune. The results of Baltimore’s 2013 season have proven both the fans and critics right.Pin It Tweet
Chrysler Celebrates 30th Anniversary of the Minivan
It’s been 30 years since my Aunt and Uncle pulled up in front of my Grandmother’s house in their brand new Dodge Caravan. I’d never seen anything like it and immediately wanted to go for a ride. Now that I’m a married father of two I couldn’t be happier with my family minivan. In the 30 years since those first minivans rolled off the assembly line Dodge and Chrysler have dominated the minivan market and have been responsible for countless innovations.
On Wednesday, September 11, 2013 Chrysler announced that it would celebrate the 30th anniversary by offering special Anniversary Editions of the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. The 2014 Caravan Anniversary Edition will be available in both the SE and SXT models. The Anniversary Edition will offer luxury details and special 30th Anniversary badging. The Town & Country will be based on the Touring-L model and feature 17-inch wheels with polished faces and optional Granite Crystal paint.
Chrysler founded the minivan segment and never lost its stranglehold. After 30 years the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country still rank among the top selling minivans. The pair combined for nearly half of all minivan sales in the U.S. last year. While Honda and Toyota have made gains in the minivan market Chrysler maintains a stranglehold.
The news of the 30th Anniversary Edition minivans comes at a great time for Chrysler. The automaker posted double-digit sales gains in August. The 165,552 vehicles sold by Chrysler last month marked a 12% gain over August of 2012. The good news continues as six of Chrysler’s models set sales records in August.
If you would like to learn more about the 30th Anniversary Edition minivans or one of Chrysler’s other record-setting models contact the helpful professionals at Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep & Ram of Naperville, Il. Zeigler is currently running special offers for recent college graduates and members of our Armed Services.
Follow Dan Soderberg on Twitter @dadstimeoutPin It Tweet
Yahoo! asked me to write about my 110 mile daily round trip. Have at it.
I drive about 55 miles one way to work each day from my home in southern Pennsylvania to my office in the Baltimore suburbs. The drive, which generally takes about an hour and five minutes, could be shortening my life expectancy, according to recent studies. While I’m sure the results of observing drivers with long commutes can certainly reveal some enlightening information about health, stress, weight, and marital trends, I don’t think it pertains to me.Tweet
Lies, Damned Lies and Bud Selig’s SI.com Interview
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig sat down with SI.com’s Tom Verducci last week to discuss his future, PEDs, instant replay, and his legacy. The 79-year-old former Brewers’ owner and used car magnate has held his post since the owners ousted Fay Vincent in 1992. While Selig has presided over MLB during a time of tremendous growth in terms of revenue and attendance he’s also been at the helm during some of the sports’ greatest embarrassments. From the cancelled World Series in 1994, to the Steroid Era smashing offensive records, to the tie in the 2002 All Star Game, to the current unbalanced schedule and Biogenesis quagmire, Selig has vacillated between baseball’s bumbling bureaucrat to the game’s elder statesman. Selig, fresh off the Biogenesis mess and the announcement of a haphazard new instant replay scheme, defended his inactions and actions of the past two decades in his interview with Verducci.Pin It Tweet