March Madness technically kicked off earlier this week, but, it gets underway for realsies today. Remember how you used to be able to watch all the games online for free while you were toiling away at work? No more. Now it costs $3.99 to do it. Nothing worth having or using is free (except BN, of course)…

  • He’s said it a half dozen times, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum is saying it again: Brett Jackson is not breaking camp with the big club, short of serious injuries or trades. “I don’t see that opportunity the way the roster is configured,” Sveum said Wednesday. “You don’t want the guy to sit on the bench. He needs to go play still. Unfortunately there isn’t an opening right now for that to happen …. You still have to remember that developing is just as important as anything else, too. There are just no job openings, unfortunately for him. It’s just one of those things, timing and a numbers thing. But he will spend a lot of time here [eventually], and part of that development plan is that he hasn’t spent a whole year in Triple-A. We have to see what’s going on and what’s happening after the halfway mark and make your decisions in Triple-A.” You’ll recall that, if Jackson stays at AAA until mid-season, the Cubs get an “extra” year of control over him, and he probably wouldn’t qualify as a Super Two player, which would save the Cubs a fair bit of money.
  • Sveum probably hates having to answer the question like that, by the way, when he knows full well that the decision is largely out of his hands. Jackson starting at the big league level would be bad, overall, for the organization (and possibly bad for Jackson, too). Whether Sveum agrees or not (and he might), I doubt he has much say in the matter.
  • Another thing Sveum probably doesn’t like having to do: meet with his closer in mid-March. But that’s what he did yesterday, trying to settle Carlos Marmol down. “I just tried to make him relax and everything is fine,” Sveum said. “It was a great meeting and that’s what it was. It was nothing more than, ‘Don’t worry about all this and what happened. We have a long spring left and just be ready for the season.’”
  • Fluff on reliever Jeff Beliveau. I have a feeling that, even though the organization is high on Beliveau, and even if he continues to pitch well in the Spring, the Cubs are more likely to go with, for example, Trever Miller as the second lefty in the bullpen to start the year than Beliveau for a few reasons: (1) if the Cubs don’t add Miller to the 25-man, they either have to release him or pay him $100k; (2) though less important for a reliever like Beliveau, delaying Beliveau’s service clock for a month or two has financial benefits down the road; and (3) Miller could pitch well enough in the first two months to become a minor trade chip at mid-season (at which time he could be replaced by Beliveau).
  • For those of you who’ve been around a while, you may remember the “Why Team X Will Suck” series, previewing only the negative aspects of the other teams in the NL Central. We’re doing it a little differently this year, because I think we should all have a say on why those teams suck. So head over to the Message Board where we’ve started with why the 2012 Cincinnati Reds will suck. Add your thoughts. There are already some great ones.
  • Starlin Castro is focused on baseball, rather than any legal issues (which may or may not ever really pop up again).
  • As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, Dale Sveum is really pushing his players to be aggressive on the base paths in Spring Training.


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