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.
  • Stan

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

    • Doc Evans

      Why don’t you start a blog then?

      • 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

  • 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.

    • scorecard paul

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

      • college_of_coaches

        Voted! I hope BN gets the recognition it deserves.

    • 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?

      • Brett

        I’m going to give everyone a hearty e-high-five.

        • Brady

          That would probably be more practical. It would be really hard for you to ship some Old Style out here to Hawaii. Well I raise my glass and say good job. Now get back to work ha ha.

      • Matt

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

  • 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

  • cubsnivy56

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

  • 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?

  • 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.

    • Brett

      Or someone who read the second word as “Report.”

      • MichiganGoat

        That’s my thought, because BR is the worst site in the world with all there stupid Top 10 sideshows and made up trade rumors. I think their budget is spent on the look vs. the content. Does anyone know if BR is an ESPN or SI funded site? Early in my searching for quality news sites I feel victim to the look of the site as a measure of quality. The are also constanly picked up in news finders, I keep waiting for BN to come up on Zite and the other news I frequently use.

        • AP

          Well, even though I don’t comment much, I couldn’t leave the poll without doing my part to correct the horrific misstatements about Bleacher Nation. Brett does great work and I’ve all but stopped going to other sites for my Cubs news as a result of it. Keep up the good work.

          • Brett

            Thanks, gents, but if the IP addresses listed there are accurate, it’s pretty much just one guy (who’s clearly a regular reader (and a reader of the comments (hi))) saying silly things. We should probably just ignore it and try to leave the poll unadulterated.

            • MichiganGoat

              Figured as much but BR still sucks, and there will always be negative nancys that need to complain about everything good.

  • oswego chris

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

  • Brett

    Thanks for the support, chums.

    • MichiganGoat

      You deserve it buddy, to watch this site grow from a part time hobby with 10 comments per post to the level you have achieved in just over a year is remarkable. Thank you google for bringing me this site.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      BRETT plz honestly start writing more Cubs rumor (ex: matt Garza Trade, soriano trade, draft picks. Future big name signings for next year, etc.) articles because no offense I’m going to stop checking the site if you don’t starting getting back to the those type of articles. I know its not just me too. I have a lot of friends that are bleachernation readers who are saying the same thing as me. I know its a down time but please start writing more rumor or talking about what could possibly big moves the organization could make to the team next year to make us contenders again. PLEASE BRETT read this and consider it. Thanks man

      • Brett

        I’m glad you dig Cubs rumors (I do, too – it may be my favorite thing), and I’d love to report them … but they simply don’t come up this time of year. There will be a handful of minor ones throughout Spring Training (and VERY RARELY a big one), especially at the end, but that’s usually about it. And, since I’m not in the practice of making rumors up or speculating about what would necessarily be off-the-wall or unlikely trades, there’s not much to say about trade rumors right now. To discuss trade ideas and things like that, the Message Board is probably the best place.

        What’s going on in the Cubs’ world is Spring Training, and that will be the bulk of what you see here for the next several weeks. To me, how the roster shapes up, who the starters are, who wins a spot in Spring Training, etc., are all pretty compelling.

        I can’t create the news or rumors. I simply report them. I hope you enjoy what there is to enjoy, which also includes analysis and discussion about the upcoming Cubs season. That’s ultimately why we’re all here, right? Because we love the Cubs … who play baseball? In five weeks?

        • DocWimsey

          It would be an amusing project to tally all of the rumored trades over a season and compare that to the list of actual trades.  It seems like we frequently are blind-sided by the trades that happen on one hand whereas the rumored ones never come to anything.  It would be interesting to see just how many trades really are rumored in advance, and how far in advance they are rumored.

          • Brett

            I suspect that it would be additionally interesting to see a team-by-team breakdown. Some teams are more revealing.

            The thing to keep in mind, though, is that 95% of *legitimate* rumors (i.e., the teams actually have spoken, or the team really is considering the free agent, etc.) never produce a move. So, there are always going to be a deluge of rumors that never “come true,” you know what I mean?

            • DocWimsey

              Oh, certainly.  Theoretically, you could use the number of “unrumored trades” against the number of “rumored trades” (that is, trades that happened after rumor) to get an idea of how many unrumored non-trades: that is, GM A brings it up to GM B, but nothing ever comes of it.

              But my guess is that this is another 95%!

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Hey Brett. Thanks for responding back, I think its really cool how you do that and interact with your readers. I really respect you for doing that. To be honest I’m such a diehard cubs fan that I probably couldn’t stop being a reader of bleachernation. Check probably 3 times a day. Great Stuff. Hope to meet you at the cubs convention next year. Started checking the site out in September probably when all the Theo rumors were swirling, been hooked ever since. Hey can I just post some suggested topics or possible ideas for future articles at the bottom of the chat? And you can just glance it over if you see anything that you think would be good. Thanks for responding back, I really appreciate it!

  • 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!!

  • 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.

    • Former Hawk

      Ankeny, IA? I graduated from High School there.

  • Dingo

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

    Well done tiger…

    • Brett

      I know… No profession wants me!


  • Cubbiecop

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

    • Brett

      Thanks, Cop. Down to 59% … embarrassing.

      I kid. Some great, great blogs in there.

      • DocWimsey

        Got an Oscar’s style acceptance speech ready?

  • 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…

  • 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!

    • Brett

      I appreciate the input. Almost all of those are things that will be discussed at some point this season – it’s just a matter of timing. To me, February isn’t the time to be discussing 2013 free agents. That’s a June – at the earliest – conversation (but a good one).

      It’s a marathon ’round these parts, not a sprint. With four to six articles per day on weekdays, and a few more every weekend, a great many things will be covered – in time.

      Thanks again for the thoughts.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        No thank you. I really appreciate it! I guess I’m just a Diehard Cubs fan who happens to be in college and I’m pretty obsessed with the cubs or so my friends say. I read bleachernation probably most when I should be studying or doing homework, but o well. Thanks again!

  • deej34

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

    We’ve got your back Brett.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • Ogyu

          The revenge of BetterNews. LOL

          • Brett

            Based on the portion of the IP you can see over there, you’re more right than you know.

            • MichiganGoat

              You could tell by the tone of the message who it was. Hi!

            • SirCub

              I imagine Brett has pretty much memorized everybody’s IP address by this point. Like, literally. Everyone’s. You are Big Brother now.

              • Brett

                Watch what you say, Number 402X9.

                (Not real.)

      • 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

        • Brett

          One of them might, but it’s literally – at most – three people posting under a variety of names. And I could name two of them.

    • 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?!

      • Brett

        Thanks, chums.

        • MichiganGoat

          He must work for you

          • Katie

            Don’t we all? Where’s my check for voting for you, BTW?

            • SirCub

              Whoa, you get money? He’s been paying me in banana hammocks!

              • bluekoolaidaholic

                Wow, lucky you, I’ve been getting cat’s pajamas.

                • Brett

                  That’s clearly the *best* payment.

                  • hansman1982

                    Certainly better than pictures of banana hammocks

                    • SirCub

                      Depending on who’s sporting the banana hammock in the picture…