Matt Garza makes his final start of the year for the Cubs. I think few would argue that he has not been very good, or that the Cubs didn’t make out all right in the trade for him this past offseason. But I also think few should argue that making the trade in the first place was probably a questionable decision.

  • We all wanted a picture of the Cubs’ rookies in their costumes/dresses yesterday? Thank you, Kerry Wood, for the picture to the right. I can’t quite make out who it is, but the guy in the front middle is dressed up as a penis, right? I mean, what else could he be?
  • Gordon Wittenmyer says, cryptically, that the Cubs and Ryne Sandberg will “reconcile” this offseason, which could possibly include him coming to Chicago to manage the Cubs. I’m not exactly sure what he’s trying to say, but, like, yeah – Sandberg could possibly be the next manager of the Cubs. We know.
  • MLB appears ready to add an additional Wild Card team in each league, according to Joel Sherman. The plan, in that scenario, would be to have the two Wild Card teams in each league face each other in a one-game playoff, before moving on to take on one of the three division winners. I’m a vocal supporter of adding a fifth (and sixth) playoff team to each league, but a one-game playoff? I understand – and approve of the idea – that the move will help reward division winners. But this goes too far – it makes the Wild Card playoffs a total coin flip (your best starter against mine), and then puts that Wild Card playoff winner in a huge, huge hole going into the “real” playoffs because they may be down 2-0 in that series before they can even think about using their best starter again. I previously thought a three-game series was bad enough, but, right now, that’s looking like a dream scenario.
  • Phil Rogers doesn’t think the Cubs will have much luck this Winter if they try to trade Carlos Marmol. He’s probably right.
  • ‘Catching Hell,’ the 30 for 30 documentary on Steve Bartman and the aftermath Game Six in the 2003 playoffs, premiers on ESPN this evening. The movie has been in development for years, and I’ve been working on a post for almost as long. Because of the nature of the subject matter and Cubs fans’ general desire to leave it all behind, I’m not going to just throw up some hasty review this week. When I write on the subject, I want it to be the article I’ve been working on for a very long time. So, don’t look for much on the subject until later in the offseason.
  • More details on the Wrigleyville West development. An interesting requirement? The Cubs have to have a restaurant opened at the facility by the first day of the first Spring Training at the new facility or they pay a $250,000 penalty. The “destination” aspect of the development is clearly as much of a priority as the “improved baseball facilities” part – and, you know, that’s actually just fine with me.
  • Jim Callis thinks the MLB Draft signing deadline – currently August 15 – will be moved up a month or more in the next CBA.
  • Joe Hansman

    I like the 1 game WC round – puts the WC teams at a distinct disadvantage which is where they should be because they didn’t win the division. Homefield advantage in MLB isnt nearly what it is in the NFL. It could be argued that a 3 game playoff would help the WC teams because long stretches of down time hurt the teams that arent playing while the WC teams stay in the “regular season groove”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I know, and that’s what the players say (the downtime part). But, to me, the disadvantage is too strong for my taste.

    • Jim

      I agree with Joe, winning your division should be rewarded and having the best record in your league really becomes an advantage with the new format. Plus the excitement of a ‘win or go home’ game will make for a great story, which is what MLB probably wants.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I think we all agree that winning the division should be rewarded (I even said as much in the post). This, however, goes too far.

  • die hard

    regular season way way way too long…If regular season started May 1 and ended Aug 31, reduced to 140 games and then go into playoffs with world series to end Sept 30, fan interest would increase and fill those empty seats given playing in better weather, less competition with football and the psychology of less is more…also playoffs should be 3 out of 5 at all levels until world series…..By Oct 1, give it a rest and we will look forward with greater interest to next year..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It will never happen, but I agree – I would be in favor of shortening the season. Again, it’ll never happen, though.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat


    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      The season will never be shortened. The record books alone is reason enough not to shorten the season. A 140 game season would basically mean no more 3000 hits, 300 wins, 600 HR members. I live the length of baseball, it’s an endurance test for both players and fans and it’s what separates baseball from other sports. I truly believe american sports fans are either baseball fans or football fans, one can still enjoy sports but ultimately one is either baseball or football. It is the “football” fan that wants baseball more uniform, more structured, and more like football (less games, more replay, game clock etc). But I am a baseball fan and I love flaws and differences that is baseball.


    I like the idea of a shorter season too.  Let’s go back to 154 games.  If you must increase the number of playoff teams, I like the 1 game playoff for the added wild card teams.  The main thing though is to avoid becoming like the NBA and NHL, where so many teams are in the playoffs, the regular season is diminished.  Let’s finsh the world series earlier; I hate to see snow flurries during a baseball game.  If need be, the season could start alittle earlier by scheduling all early games in warm weather cities and domed stadiums.

  • Toosh

    I’ll argue that the Garza move was questionable. If, at that time, Hendry thought the Cubs could contend in 2011, he should have traded his “prospects” for a position player or players. Starting pitching was not a need then.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      …which is, of course, ironic, given where the starting pitching ended up. It’s amazing how things change over the course of one season – before the year, the pitching situation looked great. Now, it looks dire.

      • EQ76

        a healthy Wells & Cashner would have helped some..

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    As for adding a new WC team, we wouldn’t have the excitement of the Tampa/Red Sox and ATL/Cardinal series we are watching right now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dude, you can’t be serious. Think about that for a moment.

  • nwicubfan

    another thing that will shorten the calendar length of season, but will never happen… Sunday doubleheaders. Expand the roster by 5 so some of the whiny players can take a breather.

    • Toosh

      154 game schedule. More doubleheaders. Same number of playoff teams as there are now. All postseason series 3 of 5 until the World Series. Less off days before and during the playoffs. All good ideas. The problem? Less revenue for the owners.

      • Jim

        One day/night double header a week – expand the rosters to 28 – keep the 162 game schedule. This should help with scheduling, especially the beginning of the season, starting the first week of April is ridiculous. Get a start date around the 15th, an end before that last week of September and hopefully the World Series is finished by the week before Halloween.

  • jstraw

    Look at all the pretty white girls.

    Geesh, how did the Cubs wind up with such a pale rookie class?

  • koboldekobold

    I like the idea of more wild card teams, but I hate the one game playoff. I would like to see it expand to 6, as opposed to 5. A one game playoff is completely luck based and that being the solution, I would rather see it just stay at 4 teams.

  • Joe Cartwright

    Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….. Darwin Barney is Chinese Takeout!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes… I chose to ignore that part. It’s a little… indelicate.

    • CubFan Paul

      ..i think he’s Korean

  • Deez

    For space purposes, I’ll try to keep it short.
    MLB should go to a 12 playoff teams in each League (3 divisional winners & 3 Wild Cards).
    Top 2 Divisional winners get a automatic buy to the Divisional Round
    Bottom 4 teams (#3 seed, WC1, WC2, WC3) play Wild Card Series
    (best out of 3– 2&1 Format)
    Divisional Series best of out 5
    LCS best out of 7
    World Series Best of out 7
    Drop the Non-Wavier Trading Deadline until 15 August
    Keep the Waiver Trading Deadline until 1 Sep
    Look at how much excitement it puts in Baseball in August/September baseball?
    How many teams are in the race & have a shot!?

    • EQ76

      I had the same idea in the forum..I mean, exact same format and everything and it got shot down rather quickly.. but I agree, that is the best option.. this 1 game sudden death idea is stupid.

      • Joe Hansman

        bye weeks are not good in baseball…too often do teams that sweep a series get handed a couple quick losses due to being out of rythm – you cant go 6 months with playing 6 days a week (at least) and then suddenly have 5-7 days off without issue.

        this isnt football where a team can take a week off and is better for it because they got healthy…in this scenario there is no disadvantage to being the WC and all of the disavantage goes to the division winners.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I suspect we’re in the minority (together with EQ), but I would be all about this plan.

      • TWC

        And the World Series ends on Thanksgiving Day!

        Actually, I don’t totally oppose this idea, provided all the damn off-days between playoff games are eliminated, and games are able to be played concurrently (blah blah blah MLB revenue blah blah).  Even so, that’s an awful lotta October baseball… likely leading into November baseball.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I agree with you on all points. It would be difficult to actually implement (with the regular season as it currently stands, that is).

  • KB

    I think the one-game do-or-die format for the Wild Cards is IDEAL. It indeed rewards the teams who properly won their divisions, (instead of those who snuck into the tournament because of the wild card.)

    For a few years there, the Wild Cards were winning every World Series, which had the effect of making the the whole 162-game season a freaking joke, not unlike the Hockey regular season. This way, the best teams have a better chance of playing for all the marbles.

    And what else in sports is more dramatic than a one-game, winner-take-all match?

    Ace. I’m really curious how you could be against this?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I dig the drama part of it – completely. But, in baseball, unlike every other sport, you can’t play all of your best players in each game. So, if one team has a super stud ace, and then a mediocre rotation, while the other team has five great starters (but no super stud ace), the better team may not prevail. And it’s just ONE game out of 163. I want to see winning the division mean more than it does today, but not at the expense of a ONE-game playoff that is more luck than anything else.

  • Deez

    I guess good minds think alike. I propose this to Verducci a couple of years ago at cnnsi.com w/ no answer.
    BTW, Look at how many days they have between games now?!
    How many meaningless games are in August & September!?
    Have you really been watching the Cubs or betting on the NFL?
    We’ve cut the LDS to 5games (best out of 3)
    You can cut the season by 8-10 games which will save you 1-2 weeks & makes mid August – September more competitive.
    Also, you can add 1 player to your 25man roster on 1 Aug
    Then, you can add a 2nd player to your 26roster on 1 Sep in addition to call ups.
    The 26th & 27th players would be playoff eligible.

    With 12 playoff spots up for grabs, you could “possibly” have 20 teams battling for playoff spots & position on 1 August.
    Football season (college & Pro) has taken precedence in years especially w/ most of these teams out of the WC spot in 1 August.
    Think the interest this could spur? Most teams would never be out of the race. It “tremendously” changes the last third of the season.

    • EQ76

      My post a few weeks ago was comparing it to the NFL playoff format.  I believe Brett responded to my earlier post on this before with the argument that it would be too much time off for the 2 bye round teams.. potentially a week off for each.. which I understand, but if we really want the top 2 to have an advantage, maybe allow the 1st round, 3 of 5 series to be quicker.. maybe no days off between games?  or allow only 1 travel day only?

      Shoot, the whole season is played at a much faster pace than in the playoffs.  we need fewer playoff days off anyways.  If we continue to fall back in popularity to the NFL, then why not make a bold statement and allow 12 teams to make it to post season?  It will make baseball and it’s races more relevant and exciting in September and October.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yes, to add: you can’t have a full week off for bye teams. That much, I get. So I think we agree.

        • EQ76

          It just seems too hard to make any more teams than 4 work, but you could see where adding wildcard teams would be beneficial.. I just think thatt the 1 game playoff is ridiculous… 162 games and you end up with a sudden death??

          Maybe the wild card round, with the 6 team format, is a best 2 of 3 with no off days??  then the top seeded teams only get 3 days off?  That’s no different than the all star break.  Round 2 on can go back to the 4 of 7 format we’re in now.  That would also make it harder on the wildcard teams.  More travel, no breaks until after game 2 of the 2nd round??

  • Deez

    Let’s be honest,
    The Baseball season ended a 3 weeks to a month ago for most people (if not earlier). Once Competitive Football (college or Pro) starts & the Cubs 20 games out.
    You can cut the season (say to 150 games) & add the additional WC teams, Baseball becomes relevant in more cities in September.
    The WC series is a 3 game series. Div 3 Winner/WC1 seeds get home-field & get 2 home games, a travel day then the Sudden Death Game (if necessary).
    E.g. Regular Season ends on Wednesday, WC series starts on Friday, at tops, the series should be over by Monday.
    Also, knowing MLB they will stretch the series w/ rest days in between the games to get every lick of TV revenue they can.
    They could make the games “WildCard Quadruple Headers”
    Starting them at Noon (ET), 3:30pm, 7:00pm, 10:30pm

  • KB

    While you’re at it, why not just give a free Corvette to every fan?
    Anything less than a 162-game schedule is a non-starter, because the owners are simply not going to throw away that money. No way-no how. How do you you think they got to be rich in the first place?

    Like every non-greedaholic, I LOVE the idea of going back to 154-game sked, and making the playoffs more fair. But like I said…about as much chance as driving away from Wrigley in that new ‘Vette.

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