The calendar has turned to February, and, in our world, that means one thing: Spring Training is near. Pitchers and catchers report in two and a half weeks, and positional players a few days thereafter.

Those are, of course, merely the nominal report dates, as a number of players come much earlier (and, while it is probably unfair to do so, we instinctively “like” players who show up early just a little bit better), and, indeed, many Cubs players are already in Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs Spring. Many have been participating in Camp Bussie (formerly named Camp Colvin, an offseason strength and conditioning program now named after strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss), while others have started baseball drills.

And, this time of year, if you’re looking for the latest from Mesa, Tim Sheridan’s Boys of Spring blog should be among your first stops. Sheridan is the Cubs’ PA announcer in Mesa, and he chronicles the Cubs’ efforts each Spring (I’ve also always got the sense that he’s a good dude, too). This week, he’s been writing about Dale Sveum’s early work with those guys who are already in camp, and also snapping off some great pictures.

Sheridan notes that the players in Mesa, in no particular order, include Darwin Barney, Tony Campana, Zeke DeVoss, Justin Bour, Jim Adduci, and Matt Cerda (I know that Jeff Samardzija has also been training in Mesa this Winter).

Among Sveum’s messages for the kids in camp:

There will be no excuses for not doing something the right way.

Theo Epstein is one of the smartest people he’s ever been around, and that Theo will not accept mediocrity, not from himself, not from anyone.

Making excuses is caused by your own insecurities and lack of preparation.

So many games are won by one run and the Cubs will prepare and do all the little things the right way in order to be the team that wins those close games.

He also told the guys they are being given the greatest opportunity in all of sports, to be the players who win it all after 103 years.

All good stuff, obviously. Sounds very much like what Sveum has been saying in the media, as well, so no real surprises.

Hopefully more players will trickle in over the next couple of weeks, if for no other reason than we can see more pictures and get more stories of, like, actual baseball from Boys of Spring.

  • Luke

    One of these years I’m going to make it to spring training. One of these years…

    • TWC

      Spring Training is the greatest way to see baseball, outside of a pennant race.

      • jt

        agreed, we went last year and it was a blast. AZ has about the perfect weather during March.

        • Wilbur

          Going this year for the first time. My wife and I were going last year, but we wound up spending the spring and summer with her fighting cancer. She won and we plan to make up for lost time …

          • TWC

            Awesome.  Fuck YOU, cancer!

          • loyal100more

            praise the lord!

          • Fitz

            Registered just to say this.

            Congratulations to you and your wife! What a great way to celebrate.

            Fuck cancer.

          • Brett

            Out-freaking-standing, Wilbur.

            • Katie

              That is awesome Wilbur!
              And yes, big resounding FUCK cancer!

  • baseballet

    On the Boys of Spring blog, yesterday’s post contained this photo of Tony Campana:

    He looks like he’s been working out in the offseason.

    • SirCub

      I smell a 30-30 season…

      • Mike Foster

        Who was our last Cub to accomplish that?

        • loyal100more

          30-30 i would have to say sammy sosa

        • KidCubbie

          I believe is was Sammy Sosa in 1995. He went 36-34.

        • King Jeff

          Sammy was the first and only Cub ever to have a 30-30 season. He also had one in 93.

        • DocWimsey

          Of course, earlier Cubs might have done it had SB been “big” before the mid 1960’s. For example, Ernie probably could have, but almost nobody stole bases when Ernie was in his HR hitting prime. (Mickey Mantle once commented that if he’d ever thought that stolen bases meant anything, then he would have invented the 50:50 club!)

          Sandberg came close a couple of times, but he cut back on his SB after the Jack Clark collision in 1987, so he never quite made it.

  • Ron Swanson

    I’m heading to Mesa on Feb 17th and going to be around there for a week. Plan to hang out around Fitch Park as much as my wife will let me. This will be my first Spring Training visit so I’m kind of excited to see what it’s like.

  • Quintz

    I’m diggin the (very slight) new spelling of the strength and conditioning program. Doesn’t make you do the same double take and/or cause an extremely wrong turn during a google search.

    • Brett

      I know … after seeing it spelled that way a couple other places, I decided to make the change, although there is no formal spelling. It’s pretty much only spoken. I still think “Bussy” is right, but, yeah, didn’t want to look like I was going for cheap laughs…

    • JulioZuleta

      Quade ruined the “add an ‘E’ sound to the end everyone’s name”.

      • loyal100more

        looking at his name and the way he handeled his biz i thought mabe he was related to randy “quaid”

  • Cheryl

    Still hoping Hayden Simpson returns to health. I’ve heard that he lost 22 pounds from mono and another report says he lost nearly 40 pounds. Probably the 20 pounds is corect. But wonder how he’s progressing and will he be in Mesa?

    • loyal100more

      yea! another hayden fan! heres to hoping that our former first round pick has a great year. as far as i know he wont be at ST, and as you may already know last year was a disaster for him on the come back trail. he was basicly ineffective in a handful of innings. he has lost a significant amount of movement on his fastball… and all in all speed has dropped. im keeping the faith but its gonna be tough. heres a cub fan prayer for hayden… amen!

      • Luke

        He’ll be in minor league camp, but not the major league one. He pitched about 80 innings last year, which actually isn’t bad for a guy in his first full professional season. That he did it with two tears in the arm and missing 20+ pounds of muscle is pretty impressive.

        I’m hoping he pitches well enough in the spring to open the year in Daytona, but Peoria would not surprise me.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, thanks for the link to Boys of Summer, good stuff. These are things that make this the BEST Cubs site to watch, thanks!

  • mark carpenter

    The cubbies havenot had good pitching in quite some time this is what this team really.but every one wants to see power also we need pitching good pitching