Congrats to BN’ers hardtop and hansman who won my extra tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games against the Cardinals next week. Thanks to everyone who entered (the entries were hilarious and awesome, and choosing winners (one was randomly selected, one was chosen by me) was extremely difficult. We’ll do this again.

  • Cubs players are staying positive about the abysmal start to the year, which can’t be easy. “It’s a little frustrating,” Volstad said of the start to the year, “but guys are not getting down. Every day we come in with a positive attitude to start the day off. We’re not the type of team that’s ever going to get down on ourselves or quit or back down from anybody. Everyone’s positive. We know the kind of talent we have, we just haven’t shown it yet.” It costs nothing to remain positive, so I’m certainly not going to rip a guy for having a good attitude. The start to this year has sucked. It’s probably been the worst since the 1997 team started the year 0-14. The 1998 team made the playoffs, for whatever little that’s worth.
  • The New York Yankees had as many home runs yesterday (5) as the Cubs have had all season. The entire Cubs’ starting outfield has two extra base hits. Total. Both just doubles by David DeJesus. That’s fewer than Darwin Barney, who’s got a double, a triple, and a homer. And he’s still slugging just .377. Ian Stewart also has a double, a triple, and a homer. And he’s slugging just .340. Shall I go on? We expected the Cubs’ offense to be below average and power-weak, but this is beyond the pale.
  • Dale Sveum on Marlon Byrd, who’s currently hitting .070: “He’s played a great center field all season long. He really has. Today he hit three balls hard. … Like I said earlier, it looks like he’s swinging the bat better. He’s going to keep going out there. He’s been an asset to us in center field …. I don’t know if you ever get down when you’re swinging the bat good and not getting anything to show for it. You know you’re swinging the bat good and getting good at-bats and putting good swings on the ball. I think it’s more important that they understand that once the weather warms up and we get in a little better hitters’ park than what we’ve been dealing with, a lot of those things turn out for the better.” Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.
  • The Cubs are expected to make a decision on Ryan Dempster today, whose MRI results should be in at any moment. He’s got a sore right quad, which could be a problem for a right-handed pitcher trying to drive toward the plate. Randy Wells stands ready to start in Dempster’s place tomorrow if needed.
  • Thoughts on Anthony Rizzo from a fantasy perspective, with words of hopefulness and caution.
  • A sad story about former Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman, who was with the Dodgers organization this year. He’s tested positive a second time for a “drug of abuse,” and he’ll have to get treatment. His is not so much a cautionary tale – other than the drug stuff, all the bad things that happened in his career (injuries, death in the family) happened to him as opposed to being caused by him – as it is a sad reflection on how sure things can go terribly wrong. Good luck, Angel.
  • Jon Greenberg, who might secretly hate the Cubs, spends a column extolling the virtues of Theo Epstein’s long-term plan for the organization, and admonishing anyone who thought the Cubs were going to be anything but terrible this year. But then he wraps it up with this: “But I think something is wrong with an organization when Wood is on the DL, The Noodle is the hottest thing at any corner, and a real-life major leaguer like Marshall was traded for next to nothing. It should make Cubs fans mad.” Which is it, Jon? Should we be mad that the team is crappy in service of long-term goals? Or should we have expected this because of those long-term goals? You can’t have it both ways, unless, of course, you’re just looking for a reason to dump on the Cubs. (And to Jon, who is almost certainly not reading this: please don’t go the way of the Rosenblooms and Rozners. Vitriol gets you only so far. And the cheap eyes it buys you aren’t worth it in the end.)
  • Well, we blew our chance to get a Honus Wagner card for a measly $1.2 million. At least now I know what I’m asking for for my birthday.
  • Shawn

    Greenberg and that whole ridiculous slew of people over at ESPN they call writers are ponderously bad though Greenberg is particularly annoying

  • Rooster

    Got home from work and saw the final of yesterday’s game. Buffalo Wild Wings and 3 tall ones later made it feel like a 6 game winning streak. My child has a hard time understanding why there aren’t many Cubs fans at school (we live in MI). At work I have to bring up the 119 loss season for the Tigers to respond to any Cubs jab. It’s ridiculous. Can’t wait for the off-season.

  • nkniacc13

    hat is the heck is up with this line up Saturday we don’t play Split squad games in the regular season.

  • college_of_coaches

    I am fine with cautionary statements about minor league prospects. It isn’t helpful to burden a young player with unreasonable expectations. At the same time, though, the fantasy perspective (or “farm report”) on Rizzo is a bit disappointing as a news piece. It offers no new information other than a review Rizzo’s AAA stats (this year and last), and the cautionary is what everyone already new about the book on Rizzo’s swing. This, plus his current struggles against lefties (again, nothing new). The article could have used some more practical observations from those who watch Rizzo play, rather than a cursory analysis of stats available from a website. There has been some Internet chatter that he’s shortened his swing (including a comment here on BN the other day).

  • Katie

    Well, I for one can’t wait to check out Rizzo & the rest tonight at the Iowa Cubs game. It will keep me hopeful.

  • BeyondFukudome

    That “You can’t have it both ways” remark is way off base. Accepting the approach of sacrificing short-term success for longer-term improvement does not mean that it’s automatically a good move every time management trades away a proven player. Moreover, if it makes sense for a rebuilding team like the Cubs to keep and build around Garza, then why couldn’t it also make sense to keep and build around a proven young pitcher like Marshall? Accusing anyone who makes a critical remark of looking for reasons to dump on the Cubs appears to me to be just another brand of vitriol.

    • Brett

      If we’re going to make it all about Marshall (it’s not – I stand by what I said, and I find it hard to believe that someone could read Greenberg’s article and accuse me of vitriol or being off base; I landed smack-dab on base), it’s pretty simple: Marshall was going to be a free agent at the end of the year. He was also going to expensive to re-sign, and 30 years old. Keeping him – a setup man – might have meant the difference between a 70 win season and a 72 win season. Why on Earth would it be worth keeping him (and then paying handsomely to keep him thereafter) instead of getting two prospects and a possible cheap, good rotation member in Travis Wood?

      Your comment – and Greenberg’s article – smack me as the worst kind of “hindsight is 20/20.” The very guy who is saying the Cubs were going to be bad in 2012 and the Epstein plan is a good one (Greenberg) is also saying Cubs fans should be mad about the crappy team. Forget that noise. That’s just shit-stirring.

      • Kyle

        If Travis Wood can’t do better than No. 4 in the Iowa rotation, and Dave Sappelt can’t make the team over Joe Mather or Reed Johnson, then that Marshall trade doesn’t look nearly as good. Of course, if these are just temporary blips and both will be up and performing later in the season, then it still looks brilliant to me.

        • Brett

          But that’s not the point, whether it proves to be a brilliant move or a terrible one. The point is: at the time it was made, it made perfect sense. And, looking at how crappy the team is overall, it makes even more sense.

          • Kyle

            I know it’s not strictly the point you guys were discussing, because whether or not we got good value is not relevant to whether or not trying to get good value was a good idea.

            But I think in the long run it’ll be the more important point.

            • Brett


      • BeyondFukudome

        U mad, bro? Need a tissue? Who flung the first “shit” in this conversation, hmmm?

        • JoeSchmoe

          Did you really just say that? What are you twelve?

        • Matt3

          we’re talking about sports on a messageboard

        • ferrets_bueller

          Considering that that came completely out of nowhere, i believe this is more appropriate for you, not brett…

  • ty

    Nice and real comments about Angel Guzman Brett. That last surgery was such a reconstruction–had never really been tried–rehab and post surg. very painful. I think you know what I am saying. Anyhow he was lights out with Dodgers in S.T. and Don Mattingly stated yesterday in interview that this is a special case–that they knew all spring that he was facing suspension . He said he is a great kid, very talented, and his abuse was different–that they were going to stand by him. Angel is only 30 and this quiet un-assuming kid will overcome–praying for you my friend.

  • Kyle

    Dempster to DL, Campana up, some other move tomorrow to get Wells onto the roster.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Sveum on Byrd. What is Dale like the anti Bobby Valentine? Talk about I got your back. I ever hear any Cub player complaining about the skipper being critical of him in public I am going to cry prima donna foul.

  • JulioZuleta

    Dammit, I bid $1.165 mil.

    • Brett


  • hansman1982

    Thank you for the ticket, Brett. I am really looking forward to meeting my long-time idol…

    When I found out I won, I squealed for exactly the same amount of time as I did when we got Theo.

    • Brett

      Quite stoked myself.

    • hardtop

      im not a squealer per se, but this is pretty cool. mucho thanks (thats spanglish).
      like the cubs, i dont “win” much. this is the first thing ive won since i got those mc hammer tickets i got by calling into 97.5 in rockford. WZOK? is that station still around? boy, that show sucked. Im sure tomorrow wont suck. Should I wear my Hammer Pants?

  • Karen P

    I liked Angel Guzman. Bummer how things have gone for him. :/ And the Red Sox are dumber than I thought if they’re seriously taking Byrd…