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I feel awful. Truly awful. Some stomach pain and generalized discomfort started creeping up on me in the afternoon yesterday, and, after two hours of sleep, I’ve read DEFCON awful. I’ll try not to puke in the middle of these Bullets.

  • Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla chatted about the Cubs yesterday, with the notable bits including Bruce’s belief that the Cubs still have the inside track on Jorge Soler (who remains not a free agent), Bruce’s belief that the rotation will round out with Travis Wood in the 4-spot and Randy Wells, Chris Volstad and Jeff Samardzija battling for the 5-spot, Doug’s belief that Jason Jaramillo is probably going to win the back-up catcher job, Bruce’s belief that Bryan LaHair can’t handle defense in left field, and Bruce’s belief that the Cubs are still going to try and pick up another back-up infielder.
  • Dale Sveum is hoping to wind up with at least two lefty pitchers in his bullpen, one of whom is very likely to be James Russell. The other lefty will come from a group including Scott Maine, John Gaub, Trever Miller, and the Cubs’ 2011 minor league pitcher of the year, Jeff Beliveau. Given how friendly Wrigley Field is to lefty hitters, and assuming the Cubs carry seven in their pen, I don’t think it would be out of the question for the Cubs to start out with three lefties there.
  • The Cubs/Red Sox rivalry continues to build: the Red Sox recently gave the naming rights to their new Spring Training facility to jetBlue, but when you go to “www.jetbluepark.com,” you’re redirected to the New York Yankees’ home page. Why? Cubs fan Eric Engelman bought the domain last year, and now uses it to needle the Red Sox. Nicely done, Eric.
  • Paul Maholm likes cupcakes and hyperbaric chambers.
  • Details on the Cubs’ bunt tournament (featuring all players). It would be nice if Tony Campana could win, but apparently Kerry Wood is the early favorite. You know, the same Kerry Wood whose last plate appearance was in 2007.
  • From the early returns, it sounds like we can tentatively expect to hear some odd, folksy statements from Sveum, who recently offered this one: “Those last three outs are the biggest of the game and the three outs leading up to that are even bigger.” And the three before that are even bigger!
  • My MLBullets at BCB – Bobby Abreu wants to be traded. But, like, where?
  • Fishin Phil

    I like Eric!! :)

  • BFiddy

    …and the first three outs are the BIGGEST OF ALL!

    • Edwin

      Does it reset from game to game, or are last game’s outs the biggest of all? Are all outs getting smaller and smaller as time goes on? Does this mean baseball will suddenly stop existing? What does this all mean?!?

      • BFiddy

        I like this theory.  This would also imply that each game has less importance than any game before.  The Cubs may not have won the Series for a long time, but their Series wins were a bazillion times more important than most teams given the massive number of “outs of decreasing importance” accrued since 1908…

        • SirCub

          And this would mean that the least important out in the history of baseball was the last out of the 2011 World Series. I like that, too.

        • Caleb

          Mind: blown. I’m using this argument in st Louis for the next month! “hey cards fan- you know what the least important out in the history of baseball is? Yours!”. Bam.

          • BFiddy

            All thanks to Dale Sveum!

    • ShootTheGoat

      Unless your Shawn Estes…..

      • BFiddy

        Only if my Shawn Estes does what?

        • RonJohn85

          hahaha… you got to love grammar

        • ShootTheGoat

          Good eye. Thanks, got it corrected.

          • BFiddy

            Ahh…much better now.

            >.>

  • Montellew_IA

    Hey Brett, sorry to hear you’re so under the weather – wish you well very soon! As for the jetbluepark.com gag – Hilarious :) Cub fans – we rule! lol

  • Steve

    Hands down, the most important 3 outs are the bottom of the 7th @ Wrigley. Upon completion of said outs, they quit selling delicious and nutritious Old Style beer.

    • cubsnivy56

      I like the way you think!

  • So Ill Cub Fan

    I’ll take outs #8,17 & 23.

  • OlderStyle

    People keep stating how lefty-friendly Wrigley is, could someone kindly point out where I can find some statistical breakdown on that?
    According to an article I read, last year the wind blew in 42 games and out 18. When it blows out is it primarily towards right? I haven’t heard this lefty-advantage before and the FO seems to really be keying in on lefty hitters.

    Hope you feel better soon, Brett. Fluids and rest is best.

    • Edwin

      OlderStyle,

      ESPN tracks park factors for each year, so if you want to can always look that up. Hardball Times also has some good data. Here’s a good article from 2007.

      http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/home-run-park-factor-a-new-approach/

      They’ve published several other update articles as well. It’s tricky, becasue Home Run rates can change from year to year, and it’s still hard to factor out the players from the enviroment. Even weather conditions can play a part. Like you said, if the wind blows in more at Wrigley for a season, it can depress the home runs. Here is some other good work by The Hardball Times (great site).

      http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/fantasy/article/introducing-hr-offb-park-factors/

      • OlderStyle

        Hey, thanks a lot.

      • npnovak

        I’d also go as far as saying the Cubs never have a good left-handed pitcher to neutralize lefty power hitters. Plus, all the recent lefty bullpen guys (Grabow, Marshall) weren’t specialists…they were historically just as good at getting righties out.

  • farmerjon

    The bug hit me the end of last week brett…brace yourself. Coming from a guy who refuses to get sick, I was crushed for two days. Since I don’t post often, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for a great job, but also for the effort towards maintaining a great community. Take care, get well and stay away from the little one for a couple days (i know it’s hard, but that’s a whole different basket of bunnies…babes with the flu, that is).

  • Spencer

    Food poisoning? I got that last week. It was terrible.

  • Spencer

    PS, where are all the other pitchers going to go that don’t get a spot in the rotation? All to the bullpen?

    • Andrew

      Bullpen, AAA or traded. Right now I’m hoping Samardzija makes the rotation, Volstad is the long man in the pen, and Wells gets traded for some prospects, but I also hope the last spot goes to the best pitcher of those three

  • Leroy Kleimola

    Nice job Eric!!! hahahhaha!!!!

  • cubsfaninKY

    This is totally off topic but I love this site and it gives me all of my cubs fix for the whole year but does anyone have any good Bears blogs that could compare to this one? All the ones i find kinda annoy me after awhile.

  • Katie

    Sorry you’re under the weather, Ace!

    That Cubs fan Eric is awesome.

  • Andy

    Didn’t Dempster have 20 or more sac bunts a couple years ago? He has to be the favorite from the pitchers. I’d take someone like Barney for the position players.

  • Mike Foster
  • ogyu

    Sveum reminds me of my high school track coach, whose advice always was: “Run the first half of the race as fast as you can, then gradually increase your speed.”

  • Dave H

    Man, way to go eric! Ace, get some rest and drink LOTS of fluids. My family has been down and out for a while with this stuff going around. Feel better!

  • jason

    Bruce Levine believes LaHair can’t handle defense in left field? Good thing we have a gold glover like Alfonso Soriano out there!

    • art

      Thank you, lol. and didn’t the Cubs tell Bruce LaHair is playing 1B? unless he thinks Sori will be gone soon.

    • JustSwain

      Stay tuned, Levine’s next article is about why Marlon Byrd wouldn’t make a good Catcher.

  • Richard Nose

    I’m down with Sveum’s phrases. Anything is better than Quade’s nicknames/pet names I always heard him using for the players. That shit drove me nuts. He used the shorten-whole-name-to-one-syllable strategy combined with the add-a-’y’-to-the-end strategy. Always called Soriano “Sori” (which many people do, ok) or “Fonzy”, called Dempster “Dempy”, and worst of all I heard him call Starlin Castro “Cassy” more than once. What the fuck is that!?!?!? I can understand the common ones, but when you can’t refer to a person by their given or accepted name and you have to come up with bullshit pet names, just a though but that might be directly linked to the whole accountability problem that arose. Sorry, had to get that off my chest, it’d been locked inside for the last 8 months. I feel like a new person now.

    • BetterNews

      Don’t forget about Rammy!(LOL)

  • Sparks

    Soriano should have been called “Sorry”.

  • Jeremy

    I don’t know about you guys but so far I’m really liking Sveum. He is saying all of the right things and I am loving his attitude toward defense and hustle. Of course we will have to wait for the season to begin before we can judge his baseball management skills but I really think we have a great manager here.

    Does anyone else outside of me hope that Jeff Samardzija wins the 5th starting job? I really liked him last year and I saw vast amounts of improvement and potential in him. His K/9 was very good and he has solid stuff. Thoughts from anyone?

    • SirCub

      Yea, Sveum is pretty sveet. I don’t svoon over him as much as Theo, but I do love his svashbuckling attitude. As for Samardzija, I feel like the rotation is just too svamped right now, and he will really have to sveat it out to see if there will be a spot for him.

      • Jeremy

        Hahaha I see whatcha did there. The rotation is svamped but hey competition brings out the best in the players. I guess Im just a big fan of Samardzija due to his improvement last year and I guess being an ND fan helps too.

        • BetterNews

          Ya I like Samardzja too. My big concern with him is does he have enough in his pitching repertoire to succeed as a starter. Two pitches will not cut it as a starter.

          • Jeremy

            Yeah that is a big concern of mine as well but I thought I remember reading that he was working on developing his change-up. I really think his fastball which tends to sink works well for him, especially at Wrigley.

  • ferrets_bueller

    So far I really, really like Sveum.

  • necusfan

    “I’ll try not to puke in the middle of these Bullets.”
    Um, …never mind, to easy.

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