Today marks the beginning of the end of the 2011 Chicago Cubs’ season. While a handful of teams are yet fighting for a playoff spot before ending their season in a blaze of glory, the Cubs are simply expiring like a great uncle you never really knew, but are now being forced to visit in the hospital for his waning days. The smell is insufferable.
- Mike Quade is likely to play a “kids lineup” today for the opener in San Diego. At a minimum, it sounds like you can expect to see prospective 2012 catching backup Steve Clevenger make his debut.
- CSN’s Patrick Mooney writes about Sean Marshall’s effectiveness and future role, drawing the obvious comparison with the man he might replace, Carlos Marmol. It’s a fine piece with one glaring flaw: Mooney says Marmol’s pre-2011 extension, which pays Marmol $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013, was “widely praised as a sensible way to buy out a year of free agency and reward a homegrown player.” Perhaps I’m too wrapped up in my own take, but that certainly wasn’t the reaction around here. The extension was a foolish the day it was signed, and it only looks worse today.
- Carrie Muskat writes that yesterday was rookie dress-up day, an annual hazing tradition. Among the outfits, Tony Campana dressed as Tinkerbell, Casey Coleman as Hannibal Lector, Tyler Colvin as Minnie Mouse, and Andrew Cashner as MC Hammer. But, in a cardinal sin, she posts no pictures.
- In a Tribune article about the theoretical possibility of the Cubs reaching out to fans to help finance Wrigley Field renovations, Phil Rosenthal quotes an economics professor from the University of Chicago on the city’s failure to assist in the renovation with public dollars. “Although the Cubs and Wrigley are private entities, and presumably Tom Ricketts knew what he was buying from the Tribune, nevertheless the area … benefits from the Cubs’ existence,” said the University of Chicago’s Allen R. Sanderson, senior lecturer in economics. “The Cubs are certainly not a [nonprofit] entity, nor in the league with the Red Cross or United Way in terms of charity. But I don’t think the city ought to stiff them as much as it does.” I enjoy when folks who are smarter than I am articulate a point I’ve been trying to make for more than a year.
- Carlos Pena sees Albert Pujols returning to St. Louis next year.
- Bryan LaHair hopes the Cubs have seen enough to bring him back next year.