The Cubs will be a part of some very special ceremonies this weekend as the team travels to New York for the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. It’s quite an honor, and was assuredly not a coincidence when the schedule was being put together.
- For nostalgia’s sake, here’s a selection of videos of Sammy Sosa carrying the US flag. I still get chills. The link also recounts the story of Sammy’s plan to circle the bases with a flag after hitting a home run when the Cubs played their first game at home after 9/11.
- Phil Rogers says Baseball America will name Eric Jokisch the Cubs’ minor league pitcher of the year (I’m not sure if he’s guessing or has heard – he refers to the Cubs’ affiliate in Peoria as the organization’s “low-A” team, so I’m not sure how well he understands the whole “minor league” thing). Jokisch, 22, was the Cubs’ 11 rounder out of Northwestern last year. He split time between A-ball Peoria and AA Tennessee, and finished the year with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.216 WHIP in 136 IP. Jokisch, a lefty, doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but is a control-type guy. He did manage to strike out almost eight per nine, though. He’ll probably open the year still in Tennessee next year, and, if he continues developing, could emerge as an option for the Cubs in the second half next year.
- A very cool interview with the Cubs’ Manager of Statistical Analysis, Ari Kaplan, conducted by IBM. The interview is largely from the perspective of a statistical analyst (as opposed to, for example, a Cubs fan), so it’s an interestingly different take on what Kaplan does. Perhaps the most interesting response came to a question about what Kaplan does on a day-to-day basis. “Being in the Baseball Operations, I have had the opportunity to get involved in many areas,” Kaplan said. “There is the long-term development of our analytics and baseball-related technology to position us to be consistent champions on and off the field. On a day-to-day basis I help prepare information for the coaches for games, do special projects for the General Manager and other baseball management, and try to stay one step ahead looking for ways for us to improve. There is a rhythm to the baseball season – Spring Training, the MLB season, the Minor Leagues, the draft, signings, trade deadlines, organizational meetings, Winter Meetings. These events set the pulse of what we focus on month to month.”
- An architecture student at Notre Dame (naturally named Marty Sandberg) has taken it upon himself to design his vision for the Triangle Building. If you were ever trying to picture what it might look like, there you go. I like both the vision and the initiative. More pictures of the design here. The only thing I don’t see are improved baseball training facilities. There’s an area for an improved and expanded sports medicine area (needed), but what about additional batting cages and team exercise facilities? Get on that, Marty. Actually… get on that, Cubs.
- Another keeping-Oneri-Fleita-was-the-right-move take, this from David Haugh.
- The Hardball Times notes the 25th anniversary of Rafael Palmeiro’s debut with the Cubs – in a season that also saw the debuts of Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer.
- Reader Michigan Goat with a writeup on the Cubs’ first base possibilities in 2012.