I’ll try not to inundate you with fantasy football stuff this year, but this space in the Bullets is usually reserved for random thoughts, so … well, it’s the first Tuesday of the NFL season … deal with it. In my two leagues this week, I lost one by less than one point, and tied in the other. Do you know how hard that is to do? The odds of that happening are astronomical, and it was one of those weeks where, if I were playing virtually any other team in the league, I would have won both games. At least the Cubs won last night, AMIRITE?!
- The Cubs will decide on whether to continue their current short season Low-A ball affiliation by tomorrow, according to the Idaho Statesman. Currently, the Cubs are affiliated with the Boise Hawks, and the affiliation is expected to be extended by two years. That comes after some heavy talk from Tom Ricketts about the Hawks upgrading their facilities earlier this year. Those upgrades haven’t yet happened, but the Cubs must believe they’re coming. Obviously the big decision/change is expected to be at the A-ball level, where the Cubs are going to switch their affiliation from Peoria, IL to Kane County, IL, about 30 miles west of Chicago.
- That article focuses on Boise hitting coach Bill Buckner, and the positive effect he’s had on the young hitters there. I certainly liked hearing things about “patience” and “don’t be afraid to take a walk.” Obviously you’d hope kids would already know and appreciate that stuff by the time they are professionals, but I guess sometimes we forget what high school ball (and some college ball) can be like. If you can hit .500, why would you even consider taking a walk?
- Alfonso Soriano continues to get extreme love from Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “[Soriano’s] work ethic is unmatched by anyone,” Sveum said, per Patrick Mooney, “the way he goes out to left field and tries to make himself a better player. He goes to the cage, he’s got a routine. He’s not that typical (36)-year-old that makes millions and millions of dollars and just comes in and might play cards and sit around and do nothing all day. He’s always trying to make himself a better player, which is something young guys should be watching, because he’s one of the better veteran players I’ve ever been around.” I’ve mentioned Soriano’s intangible additions before, particularly in reference to a younger team, learning how to be professionals, but it merits stressing again: this is among the reasons that not trading Soriano this Winter wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
- Sveum added that he hopes Soriano reaches 30 homers and 100 RBI, and that it would be one of the better stories in baseball if Soriano could do that. In other words, you can expect Sveum to put Soriano in a position to reach those figures, to the extent he can control it (which isn’t much – I guess it means Soriano will get plenty of starts). Soriano is at 28 homers and 94 RBI.
- Jaye Chapman, the 25-year-old reliever the Cubs got in the Paul Maholm/Reed Johnson/Arodys Vizcaino deal, has appeared four times with the big club, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two walks, and striking out six. It’s the smallest of sample sizes, and could be entirely meaningless. But it’s an interesting debut for a guy whose minor league numbers generally supported the consensus of him when the trade went down: “just a guy.” He’ll get a look next Spring for the Cubs’ bullpen in 2013, but his ceiling is probably that of a solid middle reliever, rather than a late-inning type.
- Don’t expect to see Roger Clemens facing the Cubs this year. Although Astros owner Jim Crane clearly still wants it to happen with Clemens, he says they won’t pitch him against a contender, and obviously he doesn’t want to pitch Clemens on the road (that defeats the whole purpose). So, since it’s not going to happen in the next two days, and it won’t happen in the season-ending series against the Cubs, it’s pretty much this weekend against the Phillies or bust.
- Pat Hughes and Ron Santo are up for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the Hall of Fame for excellence in broadcasting. Do yourself a favor: don’t look at the rest of the list.
- Brett Jackson could return to the lineup today, depending on how his knee feels, and how he looked in batting practice yesterday.
- Now THIS is a hardcore Cubs fan.
- It feels wrong not to say anything in this space about it being September 11. Never forget, I suppose. And then read this story.