It’s National Signing Day for you college football fans out there. I used to follow college football recruiting almost as obsessively as I check Chicago Cubs rumors, but it’s waned in recent years. I don’t know if it’s the whole 30-year-old-man-hanging-on-the-whims-of-a-bunch-of-17/18-year-old-kids-is-kind-of-weird thing, or if it’s just been a matter of having less time to do it.

  • Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein and New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman look forward to working together now that Epstein isn’t heading up Cashman’s rival. Obviously they had some great battles over the years, and, at a forum at Sacred Heart University last night, the duo shared one particularly interesting story:

There was the time in 2002 when Epstein had his Latin American scouting director buy up every room in the small hotel in Nicaragua where then free agent Jose Contreras was staying while negotiating with the Red Sox and Yankees as a free agent.

“We were smoking cigars with Contreras and drinking rum until about 4 o’clock in the morning,” Epstein said. “He told us he always wanted to be a Red Sox, and then the next morning the Yankees offered him about $10 million more.”

Cashman said the hotel move made George Steinbrenner angry.

“The Boss, that was something that was a one up on us when they did that, it was a shrewd move, and he (Steinbrenner) was not going to be denied,” Cashman said.

  • Matt Garza’s Fresno home was burglarized at some point in the last week. Yes, I recognize that this is a perfect opportunity to make some crack about losing a cat’s sleepwear, but burglary and the like is very serious. It can bring a scary, helpless feeling, even if you “only” lose “stuff.” I hope they catch the bastard(s). Garza’s AL East Championship ring from 2008 was taken, which includes his name on it, so apprehension may be a real possibility.
  • Roger Waters’ version of The Wall Tour and a country show headlined by Brad Paisley will be playing at Wrigley Field this Summer (June 8 and June 9), but will there be other concerts? There have been rumors about Bruce Springsteen and Phish (not, like, together, but that would be crazy – ‘Born to Run’ would *never* end), but the community group in charge of approving such concerts says they are just rumors for now. For the Cubs’ part, they’re hoping at some point to establish a system whereby they won’t have to get every single extra event at Wrigley Field approved of by the community.
  • Randy Wells’ high school is going to honor him on Friday with a “Randy Wells Night,” and a celebration during halftime at the boys’ basketball game. That’s the kind of Randy Wells night out I can get into.
  • Want to write the song of the 2012 Chicago Cubs? Well, WGN Radio is giving you that chance, if you can get it together by February 29. 2012 Cubs, eh? Is “No, Cubs, No” taken? “Take Me Out of the Ballgame in the Seventh Inning,” as sung by Alfonso Soriano?
  • Speaking of contests, Cubs fan Brian Pasnik wants to win the MLB Fan Cave gig (that nuts thing where you live in a glass box watching every single baseball game of the year), and it seems to me it would be great to get a Cubs fan in there (this is unsolicited – I just wanted to share some love). Pasnik put together a funny video to support his candidacy, and I’ve got nothing but respect for a guy putting himself out there like this (and for the work that went into it). If you like the video, you can support Brian by tweeting a link to it and Brian’s name (@BrianPasnik) to @MLBFanCave:

  • Bren

    I think I’m most surprised that they actually make divisional championship rings

  • rocky8263

    I’ve seen two of the concerts and Wrigley and have my tix for The Wall. As long as the grass is unmolested I see this is a greater moneymaker than more ads in the park. The neighborhood be damned if they get in the way of unmined riches. After Paul McCartney I witnessed no one peeing on any ones lawn. I’m guessing the taverns and restaurant’s are all in.

  • SirCub

    That Contreras story is so freaking awesome. It reminds me of the line in Inception,  ”  ‘We’ll have to buy out all of the entire first class cabin, and the flight attendant.’ ‘I bought the airline, it seemed neater.’  ”

    Epstein was clever enough to buy up first class, but Steinbrenner was totally the dude that buys the airline.

  • Rochester, NY Cubs Fan

    Brett – I really enjoy the website but please don’t ever put that logo on it again. It’s nauseating to look at.

    • Brett

      Ha, sorry.

  • justinjabs

    I remember reading about that Contreras story in Moneyball, I think. Funny stuff.

    Since they make ALCS rings, how about some Division rings? or Wildcard rings? I want rings for the Cubbies, darnit!

  • When the Music’s Over

    Bruce and Phish have played together before. Bonnaroo 2009, which was Phish’s first year back after a long hiatus (~5 years).

    • Brett

      Ha, look at that.

  • Bryce Barnes

    Phish and the Boss raged at bonnaroo. Email me if you want a copy of the show.

    • TWC


    • ferrets_bueller

      Jealous, whish I had been there.  Somehow, I still haven’t seen Phish live.

      But I’ve already got my tickets to see the Wall again!!

  • Spencer

    haha Brett so now you’re a 30-year-old-man-hanging-on-the-whims-of-a-bunch-of-20/30somethings-hoping-their-decisions-relate-to-the-Cubs.

    • Brett

      Yeah. Not much better.

  • ferrets_bueller

    That Contreras story is epic.  Theo Epstein is almost always guaranteed to be the smartest man in the room.

  • ferrets_bueller

    “No Cubs no, no Cubs no!

    Hey Chicago, whattaya say,

    please don’t sign Prince Fielder today!”

  • ferrets_bueller

    From another article about the cashman/epstein thing:

    “All these negotiations, the team that doesn’t sign the guy is better off than the team that actually signed the guy — the joke’s on us,” Epstein said, before relating the story of his 2002 courtship of Jose Contreras, who signed with the Yankees but failed in New York. “Sometimes, there’s a winner’s curse.”

    I love that he actually came out and said what so many of us feel is the correct way to approach big ticket FAs.

  • mjhurdle

    Brian Pasnik and his friends did a great job on that video. Only thing that would have made it better in my opinion would be if a Bartman look-alike had caught the ball instead of him in the opening scene