The Bunt Tourney Heats Up and Other Bullets

Pfft. NBA Dunk Contest got nothin’ on the Cubs’ Bunt Tourney…

  • The second day of the first round of the Cubs’ Bunt Tournament (apparently a quarter of the first round of the bracket is going each day that the tournament is played) was played yesterday afternoon, but, unfortunately, the coverage wasn’t quite as comprehensive as it was for the first day back on Thursday. So, instead of super-awesome live-updating action, you get a ho-hum Bullet recap. Matt Szczur, Adrian Cardenas, Jonathan Mota, Blake Lalli, Brett Jackson, Welington Castillo, and Bryan LaHair were among the winners, taking down Junior Lake, Josh Vitters, Michael Brenly, James Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Dave Sappelt, and Anthony Rizzo. The other loser? Tony Campana, who’d talked a healthy dose of smack, but lost to back-up catcher hopeful, Steve Clevenger (in Campana’s defense, Clevenger put up the second highest total in the tournament so far). Quotes from Campana and Clevenger here.
  • As you can see from that list of hitters, and then the pitchers on Thursday, the bigger names will be going in the next two days of the tournament, whenever they are played.
  • Dale Sveum talked up reliever Blake Parker a bit yesterday. “Blake Parker I think threw the ball really well today,” Sveum said when he was asked for any early camp surprises. “I like how the ball comes out of his hand.” Parker, 26, was the Cubs’ 16th round pick in 2006, and has had a successful minor league career since then (3.00 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 9.6 K/9). He’s a long-shot to make the pen, and his biggest problem has always been control – he’s walked 4.4 per 9 for his career, and he was at 4.8 last year.
  • A great article on outfield prospect Matt Szczur from Patrick Mooney, which helps make clear why opinions on him are so divergent. He’s an off-the-charts athlete, but his baseball background/training/polish is quite low – and it’s hard to make that stuff up in your early 20s.
  • Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo helped another non-Cub refurbish his swing this offseason (we earlier learned that he’s worked several times with Raul Ibanez): Vernon Wells. I have no beef with Jaramillo working with non-Cubs in the offseason (at least non-Cubs whom the Cubs won’t face regularly), but I do have a beef: why do we not hear stories about Cubs players wanting to work aggressively with Jaramillo in the offseason? Is it because they already do, as part of routine training, so we don’t read articles about it? Is it because Cubs players feel like they get enough Jaramillo during Spring Training and the season? Is it something else? You got me. But it would be nice to read a story about how, for example, Alfonso Soriano has reinvented his swing thanks to a grueling two-week session with Jaramillo.
  • See, new Cub Ian Stewart has nice things to say about Jaramillo: “Hitting is such a big part of the game that you want a hitting coach that can break it down into terms that are easy to understand and is easy to take into the cage and the game. He does that, and he’s by far the best at that that I have been around. That’s why I speak so highly of him to my former teammates and to other ballplayers as well.”
  • A kind profile of Theo Epstein, coming out of Boston.
  • Tim Sheridan’s Boys of Spring awards poll is now up, and you can vote for your favorite Chicago Cubs blog here. *Eh hem.* *Cough.* Excuse me.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

60 responses to “The Bunt Tourney Heats Up and Other Bullets”

  1. Stan

    Wow Brett is dominating that poll on Boys of Spring haha.

    1. Doc Evans

      Why don’t you start a blog then?

      1. Serious Cubs Fan

        Haha I wish. Couple problems. I suck at writing. Don’t know anyone and have no connections for sources. Don’t have time. I prefer to leave the experts do their work and me just chime in with ideas

  2. NL_Cubs

    “Tim Sheridan’s Boys of Spring awards poll”…

    In the true spirit of Chicago style politics/voting…vote early, vote often. It’s a land slide.

    1. scorecard paul

      It looks to me like Bleacher Nation only has 60 votes. I would say we need to go vote.

      1. college_of_coaches

        Voted! I hope BN gets the recognition it deserves.

    2. Brady

      I just got home from work where the site for the poll is blocked so I had to do it here, currently still in first at 60% with 531 votes! I was surprised at all the negatives comments about BN but what can you do, looks like you are winning by a landslide Brett congrats! Are you gonna buy everyone a round if you win?

      1. Matt

        I laughed at all of the negative comments. You think being fellow Cubs fans they’d be better at taking a loss.

  3. brittney

    I would love to see Lahair take the tourney! I’m really starting to like him even more now that the staff is going to give him a shot from day 1. I wish the old staff would have done so with colvin. But stewart will be one of the 2 guys ill be full force rooting for to have a bounce back season and be the player he was a few years ago. Oh hell who am I kidding I hope all the new guys that are looking to bounce back have a killer year!

    I want to throw out my rotation set up. (Pen- k. Wood, smarj, sonnistan (spelled wrong), wells, russel, marmol as our main guys)
    1. Garza
    2. Dempster
    3. Moholm
    4. Volstad
    5. T. Wood

  4. cubsnivy56

    Bleacher Nation conveniently, and appropriately, at the top of the list!

  5. art

    yesterday in the trib. Soriano said he has to get his legs, swing, and D ready for the season, what does he do in the off season?

  6. necusfan

    Just voted, BN is smoking the competition. Good luck. BTW BN got a review as “the worst cubs site ever” in the comments section. Wonder if it’s from someone who used to post on this site. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

  7. oswego chris

    I am not sure when the precincts close…but I think CNN just projected Bleacher Nation the winner…(currently at 70%)

  8. truebeliever

    Being long-time Cub ran (Gene Baker, Dale Long, etc.), I only recently found your site. Love it! !I voted for BN also. Go, Cubs!!

  9. Ryan

    Looks like the Reds and Marshall are close to an contract extension


    I was just checking out some of the pictures for Spring Training on Tim Sheridan’s blog. Anyone notice the picture of Marmol? Looks to be in much better shape physically than last year. Hopefully his pitching will show similar improvement.

    1. Former Hawk

      Ankeny, IA? I graduated from High School there.

  11. Dingo

    Ace, You should go back to being a lawyer as you can’t cut it as a Cubs blogger!

    Well done tiger…

  12. Cubbiecop

    Voted For Bleacher Nation too.. 62% is where you are at right now Brett. Not that you would gloat over anyone or anything… :)

  13. John Holmes Castro

    I am not sure why you posted this on here that many times. But I agree Serious Cubs. I too love the speculation about getting new players and potential trades for later in the year. Also, what are the chances Starlin goes to trial?? Too be honest the bunting contest, Wrigley renovations, and Geo’s groin situation in spring training is pretty boring. I am sure this time of year is tough to come up with realistic trades/rumors, but I would take anything…

  14. Serious Cubs Fan


    I’d also just like to add I’m a big fan and love your work Brett but really please just if you could put a couple articles talking about the future based articles. For example: Possible trades for prospects, Who the cubs should draft in the the up coming draft, Prospect updates and making comparisons on what type of level of player they could become, An article on what you would like to see in the renovations done to Wrigley Field, An article about possible big name free agents on the market in next off-season that could put us over the top, An article about the Cubs possibly getting a new TV contract and how that will affect the payroll and help us compete, An article about the new Spring Train Facilities down in Mesa AZ and about the amenities they will offer there like how they want to make it into a wrigleyville around the park down there, I really think people would be interested in this article idea if you did it which would be your blueprint as if you were Theo making moves with in trades, drafting and free agent signings the next season and the off-season to make our cubbies competitive in 2013 season, Please do that one because I’d be really interested.

    Brett: I know you don’t want to turn Bleachernation into an awful fake rumor site like bleachereport is but please consider these ideas because I really respect and love your work but I think these would be some cool and fun article ideas for this week because it seems like a down time for news and I would love to hear your opinion on these topics. It be cool if I could have you respond back to this so I could know what you think. Thanks man, keep up the good work!

  15. deej34

    Boys of Spring poll – Bleacher Nation 400 votes, 57% and in the lead…

    We’ve got your back Brett.

    1. Katie

      I posted a comment on there and will probably take some flack but I don’t give a flaming rat’s ass. I couldn’t help it since the haters were referencing a certain female poster. I had to set the record straight.

      1. JulioZuleta

        Hah, yeah I saw that. At first I was astonished by all the hate, but then I noticed that it’s basically one guy who apparently doesn’t have much of a life.

        1. Ogyu

          The revenge of BetterNews. LOL

      2. TC

        I’m pretty sure everyone there thinks its BleacherReport, not BleacherNation, and that’s why theyre angry…it sure seems so in the comments, anyway

    2. Evolution

      Hey Brett! Hey Brett! Hey Brett! Hey Brett! Hey Brett! Hey Brett!

      I voted for you…I voted for you…I voted for you.

      Isn’t that…you know…awesome?!