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Today, the Indianapolis Colts would have had to pay Peyton Manning $28 million to keep him. Why is anyone even doing the song and dance about whether the Colts did the right thing or could have kept Manning? Of course they did the right thing.

  • Jeff Samardzija agreed when asked if he was “on a mission” to make the Cubs’ rotation. “That’s 100 percent correct,” Samardzija said to reporters. “I hold a lot of stuff inside, I don’t say too much stuff. I have a big chip on my shoulder, especially the older I get and I slowly see my football skills diminishing [he was smiling as he said this]. I’ve got to understand I need to start pitching good.” I’m still rooting for Jeff’s success – as a starter or a reliever – and I can certainly understand, and even respect, his single-minded desire to start. He could say things a little more artfully (“I’m going to do everything I can to make the rotation, but if the Cubs feel I can help them best in the bullpen, I’m going to be the best reliever I can be. I just want to make the team and help the Cubs win.” – something like that), but I can’t really give him grief at this point. Not just because he pitched well, but because it’s early, and, right now, he’s very clearly in the heart of the rotation competition. He’s been working hard since November for this chance.
  • Bryan LaHair is able to prepare a little differently in Spring Training this year. Instead of just trying to kill it in the Spring, he’s able to be working on video, and preparing for the regular season. We’ll have to keep that in mind when looking at his Spring numbers, and thinking about his role this season.
  • The Cubs have released minor league pitcher Kyle Smit, who bounced around (High A, AA, and AAA) last year without much success (5.69 ERA, combined with just 47 strikeout and 35 walks in 61.2 innings). You may remember Smit as the third player in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot trade, in which the Cubs received Smit, Blake DeWitt, and yet-unsuccessful pitching prospect Brett Wallach. Not one of Jim Hendry’s finer moments. Just 24, Smit will almost certainly catch on with another organization.
  • Starlin Castro talks about his experience in the Dominican Republic coming up alongside Junior Lake, and talks about Lake’s future. A very good read from Patrick Mooney.
  • The Cubs have revealed ticket pricing for the new patio/rooftop-style seating area, and, as expected, it’s pricey. The tickets sell in blocks of 50, and the per ticket price ranges from $125 (for lesser games) up to $250 (for premium games). You get food and drink with that price.
  • Cubs Den hits the high points from a recent Hanley and Mulligan interview of Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. He’s working on changing a host of minor things – grip, lower body mechanics, approach – that he hopes will net major results. He also wants the Cubs to pound the inside of the zone, and if guys get hit, they get hit.
  • Want to see the Tennessee Smokies’ home opener? Want to see it for $1? That’s how much tickets are via a special promotion, in celebration of the team’s President’s Award (best franchise in Minor League Baseball).
  • The Cubs are looking for ball boys and ball girls for the upcoming season. Applications are due by March 12. (The “boy” and “girl” titles are a bit arcane – you’ve got to be at least 18 to apply.)
  • daveyrosello

    $250 for a ticket to a Cubs game? Um, no thanks.

    • die hard

      I used to pay .75 to sit in the bleachers and had the best seats in the house. Why are you surprised? As much as Mr. Ricketts should be commended for trying to turn the franchise into a perrennial winner, hes in it for the money and wants to eventually create a cash cow. In the past I have advocated boycotting the games if the team goes south. Maybe there are now 250 more reasons to do so.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        It’s a bad thing to bring in an extra million or two in revenue?

        • Joe

          I hear what you’re saying, Norm, but my response would be “Yes, if I can’t afford a seat!”

          That said, the $250 is just for seats on the fancier end of town. I’d be surprised if there’s a stadium out there that doesn’t have a price point at that level, at least for any in the mid to major markets.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Yeah, it’s just the right field group section. I’ve been to a lot of games, but I’ve never sat in the right field bleachers because it’s always reserved for groups (I believe).
            Nothing changes for majority of people. Businesses spend more to take their clients and it’s a better experience so they would ideally be more likely to spend again.
            IMO, this right field is nothing but good news for the organization and it has a very minimal impact on the fans.

      • Jim L.

        We’re all in it (whatever our it may be) for the money.

    • Beer Baron

      Those prices are in line with rooftop prices across the street. Maybe a little higher, but also significantly better “seats” than rooftops. I won’t sit there myself, but don’t think its unreasonable – I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them empty half the time this year. But good for them for maximizing revenue where ever they can.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        They are targeted at businesses to take their clients there…I think they’ll sell out.

        • WGNstatic

          I’d add that that pricing is in line with luxury box pricing. Not that I would ever have access to a luxury box, but they really don’t appeal to me for a Cubs game, where the sunshine is a part of the charm. In my book, this is a great move by the Cubs.

          • JulioZuleta

            I’m all for the Cubs making as much as they possibly can. If people will pay it, I want them to charge it.

    • CubSouth

      The Braves have the section behind home plate reserved for people who buy season tickets 3-5 yrs in a row. Those are the only people who can buy that section of seats (unless you know the person or buy them off of stubhub).
      In Tampa they have $200 seats right behind home plate for every game, $235 for premiere games against the Red Sox or Yankees, or Cubs when they’re in town.

  • MichiganGoat

    Your right about the financial reason to cut Peyton, but as someone who grew up in Indianapolis it’s will be tough for the Hoosier in me to see Peyton in a different uniform. At least it appears that there were no grudges between the Colts and Peyton and one day he can return to Indy in glory. He will be missed in the Indianapolis not just as a player but as supporter of the city. His name is on one of the best children’s hospitals and he was a regular contributor to local charities and services. Goodbye Peyton Indianapolis can always be your home.

    • die hard

      Miami is getting a winner and he will lead team to playoffs at least once over next 3 years provided they have a stud left tackle. Hes the closest to a Johnny Unitas that I have ever seen. But 28 mil for one season is out of the question. Wonder what Miami will pay?

      • King Jeff

        Miami will pay whatever it takes. It will be up to Manning whether he wants to play there or not. The Dolphins have one of those owners who wants to make news and get people talking, and Manning is the perfect way to take attention from LeBron James and the new Marlins stadium. If he doesn’t pony up for Manning, the fans here might burn the stadium down.

        • die hard

          The trifecta of Heat, Dolphins and Marlins could be formidable.

          • Spencer

            I’ve been a Dolphins fan all my life, and am from northern Indiana, so I’ve been surrounded by Colts fans for as long as I can remember. Having Manning go to Miami would be amazing, for numerous reasons. Only if he’s healthy though.

            • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

              No, I only hope that he goes to Miami if he is unhealthy. By this time next year, there could be a full on civil war when James chokes in the playoffs, the Marlins implode and the Dolphins WAY overspend to get Manning.

          • Jim L.

            Why the Marlins? They are not getting into the playoffs ahead of the Phillies or Braves, plus the Nationals will give them a run for their money.

  • die hard

    “I’ve got to understand I need to start pitching good.”…Thought Notre Dame educated their students good…I mean well….Hope he pitches better than his grammar….He should make his move now as he could become the ace if Garza is moved…Hes got the tools but needs to keep ball down and develop 4th pitch. Saw highlights of Darvish yesterday and this kid is the real deal as he has command of 5 pitches…..on the way to be like a Juan Marichal who had 10 pitches when you consider all of the variations.

    • King Jeff

      I love when the grammar police completely ignore grammar in their own comments.

      • MichiganGoat

        Me…. confused, me thinkith grammer is well… Dots make me happy. Pretty rabbit… why you no talky wrabbit?… Dots like school me connect dots making new bunny. I like toast.

        Back to the hall with you “King” your throne is right outside the door. You and your “police” badge. THIS is public education.

        • die hard

          Unfortunately, I understood exactly what you said.

          • MichiganGoat

            I kid, I kid there is some cool little experiments that use nonsense and bad grammer to prove just how well we decode and self-correct the mistakes.

        • King Jeff

          Who’s the one with the badge?

          • ferrets_bueller

            We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

      • die hard

        Me too as we all have deficits in that respect. But one would expect more from a ND grad. Maybe shouldn’t I guess. Who knows? As long as he can pitch lights out nobody will care what he says at the post game interviews [hopefully].

        • Tim Mo

          In my Iverson voice “grammar, we’re talking about grammar.” I kid, I kid.

        • MichiganGoat

          Um I don’t expect any education from any starting pro-ready player at any college. Athletes are spoon fed their education if they are important to the team. Having major educational aspirations from an elite program that wants to win more than educate is a pipe dream.

          • King Jeff

            He was playing football and baseball at ND. When did he have time to do things like study. Between two sports, all the women and partying, and all the time he had to spend on his hair, we’re lucky he can speak in complete sentences.

            • MichiganGoat

              Grooming at his level takes some serious time and energy.

              • Katie

                I’d like him to groom that molester mustache. Go Tidrow or go home!

  • http://bleachernation.com Tarheel Cub

    Mooney’s article on Castro/Lake is a good read. It would be wonderful if he blossomed as Castro did. They could switch from ss to second like they did when playing in the Dominican. Excellent insight from Castro on Lake.

    • die hard

      If Lake is a much better fielder, thats got my vote no matter what he hits. A good SS is worth one-two runs a game. Castro cost Cubs one run a game and hitting .300 only made it about even as to his value. Without Pena, it could be ugly. LaHair needs to work more on defense this spring to ramp up his game. But this stress could affect his hitting.

      • Noah

        I haven’t seen a single scouting guru who thinks Lake can stay at shortstop. He’s most likely headed for 3B.

      • DocWimsey

        “A good SS is worth one-two runs a game.” Actually, a SS who saves one run every 10 games relative to the average SS is Ozzie Smith level good. (That’s still a win or maybe 2 per year, though.)

        I do find it funny how often people toss out those numbers without thinking them through. Pat Hughes once said that Greg Maddux saved a run a game with his mitt. However, Maddux’s ERA could be predicted by FIPS alone: in fact, an unusual increase in Maddux’s ERA is what led to the invention of FIPS! Similarly, I remember in 2004 when people stated that Carlos Beltran saved the Houston pitchers a run a game. Fascinatingly, this must have been offset by the pitchers, as the staff ERA didn’t go anywhere…..

  • CubFan Paul

    “..song and dance about whether the Colts did the right thing or could have kept Manning? Of course they did the right thing”

    i disagree whole heartedly as an Indianapolis native, citizen, Colt fan, season tix holder, and Peyton fan. Hard for others/outsiders to understand or know what downtown Indianapolis was like before 1984 and how it changed forever after 1998

  • MichiganGoat

    Yup, Paul and I remember the city and Hoosier Dome with Jeff George and the barren landscape that was downtown Indy. The success of the Colts (which Manning was a huge part of – understatement) was a direct driving force behind the rebirth of downtown Indiandpolis. Hopefully Luck is successful but it would have been nice for him to work with the master.

    • CubFan Paul

      we’re waiting here to see if the Colts/Irsay take down the giant poster of Peyton off the side of Lucas Oil (the house peyton built) ..dark days here (the rain isnt helping) & sad times

      • MichiganGoat

        Yeah I’m in Indy this weekend and giving the girlfriend a downtown tour. It will be sad to see his facade off the building.

    • Joe

      Shocked they didn’t take a page from Green Bay. Even with Farve’s struggles with retirement, it had to be worth the wins and the cash that came into town. Hard to argue with GB’s status now, and this is coming from a lifelong Bears fan.

  • die hard

    I like Bosio’s attitude. Glad Z is not here or there would be a brawl every time he pitched if told to go inside. Its good the Cubs have Smardzjia and some other behemoths on the staff to handle the fisticuffs that will follow. Can the Cubs bring back Farnsworth to help in this regard? The video of his take down of that hitter who charged the mound belongs in the hall of fame.

    • Drew

      You mean Paul Wilson, the opposing pitcher? that was great

  • Edwin

    I can’t feel too bad for Indy fans. They got to enjoy Peyton Manning for how many years? The bears have had a pile of suck at QB ever since I started watching around 1994. And now the Colts can go out and draft the best QB prospect to come along in 10 years. Most teams go decades without finding a “franchise” quarterback. The Colts have a chance to get two franchise QB’s back to back. Instead of being sad he’s gone, fans should be thankful they got to see #18 for all these years, and not have to watch:

    Steve Walsh, Erik Kramer, Rick Mier, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Malone, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart, Rex Grossman (who was actually decent at times), Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Kyle Ortan, Todd Collins, Caleb Heine, and Josh Mcown.

    • CubFan Paul

      Edwin you are confusing Colts fan’s luck to have had Peyton & the Bears qbs with the bad management the Bears have had for decades. That was the colts until the Bill Polian was hired.

      Lovie should of been fired at least 2 years ago and most definitely after last season for the sake of change

    • RoughRiider

      Just think how you would feel if you had been a Bear fan since 1960 and watching Bear Quarterbacks. No real “Star Quarterback”. Some good years but a lot of bad. While the Colts have had Unitas, Jones & Manning

    • KyleNovak

      I think you mean Moses Moreno, NOT Moses Malone. Moses Malone was one of the best rebounders of all-time in the NBA, so he would have probably been a better tight end anyways. :)

  • Eric

    To be fair to Manning commentary, I think most are just annoying with how the Colt’s prima donna of an owner handled the whole thing and his constant twittering.

  • RY34

    Totally agree with you on the Colts! I love the attitude and approach Samardzija is displaying right now, i wish him all the best and hope he make the rotation! Some big shoes will be needed to fill the void in the pen if he does.

  • Tank

    Why are people complaining about the ticket prices in the new area in right field? Are you going to buy 50 seats as an individual? If you don’t like it, don’t go or don’t buy the tickets. This is an option you always have and the team needs the money to compete.

  • Edgewood

    I think what Samardzija said with a smile about focusing more on his baseball now is really interesting.

    Tongue-in-cheek, probably. But, why would you say that at all? Assuming his improvement lasts beyond, you know, his first Cactus League start, could that be part of the reason he’s finally getting it together? Something in the back of his mind that’s like, “Ok, Jeff; football is fading fast. If you don’t get it together soon here in the MLB, things could take a turn for the worse.”

    Or not. It’s just an angle I’d never thought about before.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Send the Colts….back to Baltimore!

    Indiana is BEAR TERRITORY!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Send the Colts back to Baltimore, and a lot of us Hoosiers would probably go back to seeing the NFL as that annoying thing that keeps college basketball off national TV.

  • Beer Baron

    On a differet topic – anyone happen to know what is being built on the McDonald’s lot? Definitely some form of construction going on there but I don’t recall hearing any plans after they bought the land in the fall. I searched the city’s building permit database and see a construction permit for 3616 N Clark for “ERECT/CONSTRUCT ARCHITECTURAL STORE FRONT” , but that doesn’t really tell me much.

    • TWC

      That’s the new Bleacher Nation HQ – offices, broadcast studio, day spa.  Brett had it in a bullet post a few weeks back.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That commute is going to be a giant pain.

        • TWC

          Thus the day spa.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I heard that the Cubs were planning to fashion their own, like, tee-shirt/gift shop-type selling area. So that sounds about right. The McDonald’s will stay, though.

      • Beer Baron

        So wait – no day spa? Now I have to change my Opening Day pre-game plans.

  • Spencer

    So I know a handful of people that know Samardzija personally…and they don’t exactly have rousing things to say about who he is as a person. That said, if he helps the team win, I’ll get in his corner, but I have a tough time rooting for him as a person like I do with Dempster or Campana who seem like nice, quality guys on and off the field.

  • Reality Check

    Except tank, you’re totally full of crap.. If the cubs put the added revenue into the product on the field I’d agree with you, but they haven’t. The cubs added revenue and lowered payroll, which is a slap in the face to us fans. It’s sad more people don’t feel like me, but since cubs fans will pay and fill the stadium to watch a bunch of minor leaguers, why should they pay Yu, just let him go to another team that actually wants to field a competitive team. This years cubs team will not sniff .500.. I predict the first months record to be something like 7-16.. Time will tell if I’m right, but if I am, I bet you guys start to sign a different tune.

    • CubFan Paul

      I agree. They’ll be off the bandwagon by May/June as usual and complaining

    • Joe

      Sounds about right, and I won’t be complaining. There was no feasible, realistic way in which the team could rid itself of the burdensome contracts, add fresh blood in terms of top-quality prospects, and convince real talent to sign with this historically bad team (by overpaying brutally) all in one year and without obliterating every record in the game for payroll.

      Give an example of a single team that successfully pulled off the level of talent-swap that you’d like to have seen. Or would you rather they simply break the bank on one or two FAs in a limited FA market, just like Jim Hendry did every couple of years?

      • Reality Check

        Actually Joe, there’s lots of examples of teams not crying over a couple bad contracts, but the Yankees are the best example.. The Yankees never rebuild, they simply re-tool, and their record for world series titles speaks to their success.

        • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

          Comparing the Yankees and their overall level of sheer raw piles of money with which to make bad contracts hide is just silly.

          That is like saying that Darwin Barney still eats steak for 3 months when he has to replace his washer and dryer set so I should do the same when I don’t make near as much as he does.

          I think, given the same front office hiring, the Cubs offseason would have looked nearly identical, had Soriano’s contract been expiring at the end of 2011 and not 2539.

    • Jim L.

      Yu is not a good example, for all we know the Cubs bid could have come in at a dollar less than the Rangers. Yu was not a free agent as Fielder, Pujols, etc.

  • TeddyBallGame

    You are correct Brett. When I was going by the stadium yesterday, they were putting up a decent sized structure for the souvenir shop you’re talking about on the SouthEast end of the McDonald’s parking lot. I’m kind of curious how the Cubs treat the family who had a signed contract to use that part of the parking lot for the next 3-4 years for their trailer souvenir shops. Ironic thing, that family has been selling on the McDonald’s lot for 20+ years and two seasons ago they signed their first contract ever to sell at that location…

    As for Samardzija *spell-check*, I have done a complete 180 on him since the middle of last year. I was beyond tired of watching him walk EVERY first batter he faced. Couldn’t stand seeing him pitch, but something has obviously changed and he really wants to be in the rotation, so hopefully we give him a fair shake. If he was a solid #3 or #4 for us that’d be the “cat’s pajamas”!!!

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