Already Thinking About Spring Training and Other Bullets

So, this Lance Armstrong business. He’s giving up the fight, saying at some point it becomes too much, and the process is unfair, etc., etc. I’m sure that is, on some level, true. But surely he knows that everyone everywhere will view this as an admission of guilt. Knowing that, and knowing how hard he’s fought against these doping allegations for years, I just have a hard time seeing him giving up the fight merely because he was tired of it. Then again, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

  • Jeff Samardzija says Spring Training next year is “going to be crazy,” because almost everybody will have something to prove. It’s nice to hear that coming from Samardzija, who is arguably one of only a couple guys who have a certain job next year. Samardzija’s first full season as a starter with the big club has definitely been a success, and it’s probably going to come to an end soon. Hopefully he keeps up his offseason workout activities, blows the doors of the place next year, and earns himself a huge extension with the Cubs.
  • Jorge Soler’s hitting coach at Peoria is a fellow Cuban defector, Barbaro Garbey, who is relishing the opportunity to work with Soler. There are some great quotes in the article, but this might be the best, from Garbey: “He has the five tools, and the best thing about him is he’s very coachable, very humble. He’s a good teammate. When you do that, the transition will be easier for you, because everybody wants to work with you, everybody wants to try to help you.” It also makes it a lot easier for the fans to love a guy like that.
  • Paul Sullivan offers the things to watch over the last month of the season, including Chris Volstad’s winless streak, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters’ development, Carlos Marmol’s strong finish to the year, the empty seats at Wrigley, and whether Dale Sveum goes insane.
  • You can learn a bit more about outfield prospect Albert Almora by way of a former teammate, Willie Abreu, who seems to pretty much idolize Almora.
  • There’s an email campaign going on to keep the Cubs’ A-ball affiliation in Peoria, which I think is laudable, but probably fruitless. While the relationship with Peoria has, undoubtedly, been a good one, the opportunities that Kane County offers are probably going to be too much to pass up, no matter the outcry from downstate.
  • Aisle424 (Tim) at Obstructed View wonders how it is that the White Sox can’t even out-draw the Cubs for a game in which they’re going for a sweep over the Yankees when both teams are leading their divisions, and the White Sox are starting their young ace (Chris Sale). The Sox got just 26,000 in the house for the game – 65% capacity. That’s less than the ticketed sales for a random Cubs/Astros mid-week game in May. Seriously, what’s the deal?
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the continued shredding of the Red Sox by the Boston media. It’s kind of nuts.
  • I had a dream last night where I was playing on the infield for the Cubs (in the snow, for whatever reason). Matt Garza was pitching, and I knew the other team was going to bunt to try and expose Garza’s fielding issues. So I told him that, after he pitched, he should run backwards, and I’d run forwards (I think I was playing shortstop), and I’d cover everything in front of the pitcher’s mound. He did, and I did, but I proceeded to throw the ball away on four consecutive plays. One of those four, I really feel like Anthony Rizzo could have come off the bag and bailed me out, but the other three were total yips. I remember thinking that my fielding percentage had just gone to crap, and was no longer a fair reflection of my defensive ability. Wonder what that’s about …

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

46 responses to “Already Thinking About Spring Training and Other Bullets”

  1. Ron Swanson

    I bet Paul Sullivan is extremely jealous of the Boston media right now. Carcass cleaning is his favorite pastime.

  2. Jim

    That’s so weird Brett, last night I had a dream I saw you throw the ball away four times on the Not Top Ten…

  3. terencem

    Yeah but if you had just made one of those plays, it would have done wonders for your UZR since it would think you’d made a play well out of your zone.

  4. Karena

    LOL!! Great dream

  5. Jon

    Had a dream last night that the cubs traded Brett Jackson and others for Justin Upton… If only.

    1. David

      Funny, in my dream they traded that same group for Kate Upton…

  6. Tom B

    Damn that Rizzo!

  7. Karena

    ”He has the five tools, and the best thing about him is he’s very coachable, very humble. He’s a good teammate. When you do that, the transition will be easier for you, because everybody wants to work with you, everybody wants to try to help you.” It also makes it a lot easier for the fans to love a guy like that.

    Wow!! All the things Castro is not.

    1. Can't think of a cool name

      But Castro is a 2 time all star with almost 500 hits in the big leaugues, something Soler is not. I wish Soler nothing but the best and hope he is a perenial all star. But lets not compare a kid in A ball to an established player who is only 2 years older.

      1. Karena

        It’s all good, but I think you missed my point. I was praising Soler for being coachable, humble, a good teammate, and likeable. On the other hand, I find Castro to be the opposite.

        1. Karena

          I find Castro to be lacking in these fine qualities.

          1. Gabriel

            This is total extrapolation based your perception of his play and/or interviews. NVM the fact that he’s improved his defense exponentially this season, or that he’s gaining more power/speed, OR that despite his low OBP for the season, that he is now taking more walks and will likely pass last year’s BB total. On top of all this, he’s now much more vocal in the clubhouse & with media as he’s made incredible efforts to learn English.

            I feel like you are judging him exclusively on the mental miscues (EVERY young player, and most vets, make mental miscues) and the fact his batting avg is down. The miscues are human, and will dissipate over time. And the lower BA is very likely due to his efforts to incorporate more power and selectivity into his offensive game.

            Frankly, I love 90% of what I’ve seen from Castro this year, I can live with the other 10%, and there isn’t a single SS I’d rather have in the league for the next 8 seasons.

        2. Drew7

          Well, see, here’s the thing – you know absolutely ZERO about any of that. Stop pretending you can tell everything about a guy by watching him on WGN a few times.

  8. CubFan Paul

    “I just have a hard time seeing him giving up the fight merely because he was tired of it. Then again, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors”

    MONEY. Lance retired over a year ago. To fight the USADA will cost money he’s not earning now.

    “But surely he knows that everyone everywhere will view this as an admission of guilt”

    I don’t/won’t. The Federal Government concluded a two year investigation into Armstrong February of this year. Their investigation had more reach, subpoena power, resources and manpower than USADA’s and government found nothing. The USADA claims that some of the evidence dismissed by the federal government is valid (two blood test from the late 90s) which is impossible because the government would NOT cover that up/lie for Lance.

    If there was something to find to tarnish Lance’s legacy the feds would have found it, just like the Freeh Report (not done by the government but investigated by former federal officers who are trained detectives)

    1. Edwin

      I don’t really care if Lance is guilty or not. Either way, in my eyes he’s the best cyclist ever. It’s bullshit to strip him of his titles. USADA is just trying to make an example out of Lance, and it’s bullshit.

      1. keith

        ding ding ding, you guys are dead on.

  9. Smitty

    I can understand Peoria being upset about losing the Cubs, but now you have 2 options. You can either embrace the new affiliate or you can travel to the Quad Cities and watch the River Bandits. I kind of feel like a spy when I’m out at Modern Woodman. I watched Cardinals; Matt Adams, Ryan Jackson and Joe Kelly at the beginning of their careers.

  10. pfk

    Brett, given your dreams, I think you should seek help. NOW!
    Are we all going to be sharing our Cubs dreams on this site? Maybe a special section? “There I was batting in the bottom of the ninth, based loaded, 0-2 count, Crane Kenny is pitching, gets his sign from Oneri Fleita…here it comes….buzzzzzzzz…damn alarm!”

    1. hansman1982

      I had a dream I paid for a flight to travel 8 miles…because of the flight I was broke so I had to go to a dirty and dark loan shark place where I was attacked by a gang of ninjas…before the flight I made out with a woman who had no lips which was disgusting and weird, her husband was in the car behind us yelling at me but since I had an umbrella open on my right shoulder he couldn’t do anything – oh and this was happening at an intersection…the plane even took off from there

  11. JR

    That’s a pretty funny dream Brett.. Garza’s fielding must have had some effect on you!

  12. Sigmund Freud

    Clearly, this dream means that you want to kill your father and marry your mother…

    1. Spriggs

      Sigmund,
      Do you think Brett intentionally left out the part about the big airplane?

      1. Sigmund Freud

        No, zee bat serves that function in zis dream…

  13. OlderStyle

    Lance is guilty. The process was not unfair. If he really believed that he could go to arbitration and make his case. By saying he won’t contest it and the USADA are a bunch of meanies he gets to influence the PR campaign his team is running.
    If it went to arbitration, then all the witnesses, suspicious results, cover ups, lies and scandalous ugliness would be publicly aired. LA would lose control over PR spin.
    Armstrong is not the best cyclist ever. There’s a gentleman named Merckx that holds that title.

    1. Flashfire

      The real question: who in that sport ISN’T guilty? They make late ’90s MLB players look like DEA agents.

      1. TWC

        I have a bicycle and I’m totally clean.

        1. SirCUb

          …I’m totally clean.

          Yea, I’ve heard that one before. Hippy.

      2. OlderStyle

        That’s a media-fueled public perception. If you honestly believe that cycling is dirtier than MLB, NFL, FIFA or international track and field than you’ve probably only been reading Yahoo.com article titles.

        1. Flashfire

          Actually, have a friend who is seriously into it and wanted to go professional — until he discovered what that meant.

          1. OlderStyle

            I believe a lot of young athletes have to make those kind of decisions when they reach the professional threshold. I believe there are clean athletes, but many are told they have to engage in doping to be able to compete because everyone else is on it.
            And I think the USADA/Armstrong case goes to the heart of this issue. If we want a sporting world where a young athlete doesn’t have to make the decision between giving up their dream or engaging in doping then this is the kind of example that should be made, regardless, of the megalomaniacal personalities involved.

  14. Nomar's Left Glove

    you know, Sheryl Crow is not a bad looking older woman……….
    Although, I have to admit, her more recent proximity to Kid Rock is somewhat questionable.

  15. Wilbur

    I remember thinking that my fielding percentage had just gone to crap, and was no longer a fair reflection of my defensive ability. Wonder what that’s about …

    Either lack of sleep due to parental responsibilities or lay off the anchovy pizza with buffalo sauce …

  16. MightyBear

    Brett, I like you but if your dreaming about the cubs and they’re not in the world series, something is wrong with you. Was it game 7 of the WS? I could see that dream.

  17. Spencer

    It’s not an admission of guilt, it’s an unfair system. This stuff has literally been going on for 13 years. Now USADA, the group bringing the charges, wants him to enter THEIR OWN arbitration process. I’m sure that those arbitration proceedings will be fair and that the witch hunt that’s been going on for the last 13 years will all of a sudden stop and he’ll be granted a fair chance, right? Come on. USADA shouldn’t even have jurisdiction over the matter; UCI should be the one handling it. The whole thing is ridiculous and a sham. LIVESTRONG

    1. SirCUb

      I’m with you Spence. I don’t presume to know much about the specifics of the case. But I know that if I had to defend myself for over a decade against allegations I knew to be untrue, and there was no end in sight, and the only thing I stood to lose was my reputation (that was going to be dragged through the mud regardless), why the hell would I want to continue that kind of farce?

    2. OlderStyle

      One could say it’s an admission, or it’s simply another tactic of LA to protect his image.
      And, literally, it has not been going on for 13 years. The USADA case has been two years in proceeding.
      Again, Armstrong signed on a long time ago to the USADA processes, in fact, his agent, Bill Stapleton, helped write the code by which USADA is applying in LA’s case. USADA is exactly the agency that should have jurisdiction, the UCI has a serious conflict of interest especially since there is evidence the UCI actively covered up positive tests for LA. WADA and a federal court in Texas have confirmed this.
      The only sham is the Livestrong brand which Armstrong is furiously trying to protect.

  18. Ash

    First, Yahoo has a great article about Armstrong today, which pretty much sums up how I feel about him.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/lance-armstrong-gives-up-fight-against-usada–raising-questions-about-his-innocence-.html

    Second, congratulations Brett on #2! Working from home, this was bound to happen…

    1. Ash

      Oh, and there’s a third… As far as the dream- secretly you’re convinced that you’re the only person that can save the Cubs, but subconsciously you worry your efforts are fruitless.

    2. Edwin

      The article seems a little cynical to me. Athletes aren’t perfect. They aren’t hero’s. Lance Armstrong was probably the greatest cyclist ever, and that’s how I’ll remember him. He trained unbelievably hard, got cancer, beat cancer, and went right back to winning. Best. Ever. The fact that he may or may not have been doping doesn’t change my opinion of him one bit. I admire his drive and determination.

  19. Cubbie Blues

    Second, congratulations Brett on #2! Working from home, this was bound to happen…

    That one made me laugh out loud an my office is very quiet. When you have little kids that sentence brings a whole different meaning to it. And yes, congrats Brett.