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The Cubs have now been swept on the road by each of the NL West teams this year. Swell. At least you can almost taste that number two pick next year (and second highest international spending pool – don’t forget that).

  • Darwin Barney officially tied the ML record for consecutive errorless games at second base in a single season with his 141st straight such game yesterday. He’ll go for the record on his own tonight in Arizona.
  • There continues to be some kind of disconnect between what the coaching staff wants Chris Volstad to execute on the mound, and what Chris Volstad actually does. On Volstad’s ugly start yesterday, Sveum was plainly irritated. “There was no life, no breaking balls, no sticking to the game plan,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “He pitched a pretty good game against these guys last time, glove side, down and away, and I don’t know what was going on [this time].” It’s frustrating, and, being that we’ve heard Sveum say similar things about Volstad a couple other times this year, you start to wonder if there’s a coachability problem with Volstad. I’m starting to think that the tender decision on Volstad will tell us what we need to know.
  • Dale Sveum says Starlin Castro needs to work on not being so reliant on his strong arm – in other words, get yourself in a better position to field the ball more quickly, and shorten up the throw. Castro’s defense has obviously been vastly improved this year, but it’s a reminder that playing in the big leagues is a constant process of adjustment and improvement, especially for a player of Castro’s caliber.
  • Cubs players can expect extra baserunning drills in Spring Training next year after a series of gaffes have plagued them in the second half of the season.
  • The players continue to respect and like Dale Sveum despite the looming possibility of 100 losses.
  • The MLBullets at BCB note that Bobby Valentine is almost certainly out the door in Boston, and also include a pretty interesting study from Deadspin on pundit predictions in baseball (spoiler alert: they’re all really bad at it).
  • Included in those MLBullets was a really interesting piece from Jonah Keri on those trades where a “small market” team is “forced” to trade one of its stars in arbitration, because they’re getting too expensive. How often did they win that trade? How often was it a good idea to not just pony up the cash to keep the star? The results were mixed – with respect to positional players, there was a clear split in good trades and bad ones. On the pitching side, though, teams were more likely to “win” the trade if they were dealing away an established pitcher who was about to get expensive. It’s a very interesting read.
  • I won’t link to them because they read like the angry rantings of elders with neighborhood children on their lawn, but I find it almost inexplicable that the only place you’ll find vitriol and hostility about the “farce” or “joke” that is the feel-good Adam Greenberg signing is in Chicago. The national baseball media? Wonderful story. The Miami media? Wonderful story. The Chicago media? A farce and a joke. It’s not like I don’t understand the bitterness associated with covering the Cubs for the past four years, but geez … hug a bunny or something, guys. It’s OK to just feel good about something for the sake of feeling good sometimes. It won’t kill you. Promise.
  • http://www.justonebadcentury.com Rick Kaempfer

    Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments regarding the last item. I don’t understand the hostility in the slightest. Must be White Sox fans.

  • Stevie B

    As I opined earlier, why in the world would this be an issue for the Cubs?? Was he not a Cub draftee? Was he not part of the Cub “family” when he was beaned?
    Just at a glance, it kinda bothered me a little. Now that I delve into it, the more it makes me look at the new Cubs regime in a unfavorable way.

    • Beer Baron

      The Cubs didn’t have room on the 40 man roster for him. Its a nice story, but if it forces them to cut someone (ie somebody loses their job) to make room then its not so nice. And yes I know a lot of these guys won’t be back next year, but it still doesn’t mean they should cut someone just for the novelty. The Marlins had a roster spot – and need any postive attention they can get – so why not. But the Cubs just couldn’t do it.

      • Patrick W.

        MLB gave the Marlins an exception, something I’m sure they would have done for the Cubs. Nobody is going off the 40-man in Miami (According to Yahoo News)

        I think it’s great. I think it’s a great thing they are doing. What is loving baseball, and loving the Cubs, if not loving fantastical adventure?

  • hansman1982

    Side note: Today is Anthony Giansanti’s (and his twin-brother’s) birthday. If you have the Twitter spam him a note @GianSanity (see what he did there) and wish him well as he is battling Scarlet Fever (apparently the “Road to Wrigley” follows the same path as The Oregon Trail (lose 25 food, Rebecca dies))

    • Stinky Pete

      Actually, his twin brother’s birthday is Saturday.

      • hansman1982

        Was unaware of that – Knowledge is Power!

    • cubbiesOHcubbies

      damn diptheria…… Killed Rebecca EVERY time. Her and two of my horses……..

    • Katie

      Anthony is a good kid and it’s good for the fans to support the young’uns. I follow quite a few prospects on Twitter. It’s nice because they will chat with you before they get too full of themselves.

      • Sweetjamesjones

        You only say that Katie because you want to do him.

  • Polar Bear

    I’m gonna remember that the next time I’m in a bad mood. “Hug a bunny”…you crack me up!!!

    • RoughRiider

      Beware of “attack bunnies” !!!

  • Bricklayer

    Your last bullet is exactly why it’s a good thing the Cubs did not give Greenberg his wish. It just would have been one criticism of Cubs after another. Whether or not this is objectively a feel good story, in Chicago it would not be. Bemoan the cynicism all you like, but I have to give credit to the front office for recognizing the local media implications of this stunt.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I do agree with you that the local media would have crucified the Cubs if they’d done this.

      But, to me, that says nothing about the relative goodness or badness of the Cubs’ decision.

      • JulioZuleta

        I don’t get why anyone would take the time to write an article bashing the situation, but I will say that I’m very glad the Cubs weren’t the ones to do it. The whole situation makes me feel a little uneasy. I know the proceeds are going to charity, but the proceeds went to charity for Lebron James’s “Decision” too. That was clearly a publicity stunt that he tried to mask through charity, and with the Today Show appearances and documentary, this feels the same way to me.

        I think there’s a reason why the team that took this on was the walking publicity stunt that is the Miami Marlins. Does every player that had an injury and flamed out deserve a shot to come back for some side-show act on a non-contending team?? Just reading about Greenberg and hearing him speak, it just seems to me that this is a way to further his career as a motivational speaker. The big leagues aren’t the place for things like his in my opinion. When I was in 3rd grade a teammate of mine broke his ankle at the beginning of the year, and the opposing coach let him take an AB in the last game of the year and have someone run for him as soon as he made contact. That was nice, it was also for 9 year old kids.

        I don’t mean to come off as a heartless guy, I just don’t really feel bad for a 31 year old who really did not have anywhere near the talent to have a sustainable MLB career anyways. He has already made a second career out of that HBP, and this just seems like a way to act opportunisticaly through some free PR.

        • JulioZuleta

          *Publish an article. I realize that I followed up my first sentence with a rather long post about it, but I meant it’s not worth bashing on a national scale like some have.

    • BD

      I think the Chicago media would’ve crucified no matter where it happened. That’s kinda their thing.

    • Kyle

      “objectively a feel-good story” is a bit of a contradiction :)

  • beerhelps

    Couldn’t agree more about the Greenberg story. What’s the big deal? Like you said, it’s a “feel good” story. Some people are just too cynical and can never just “feel good” I guess. And some of this vitriol if coming from some of the local media I actually respect. I am just having a hard time seeing any downside to the Marlins doing this, and in no way do a see this as any kind of “slippery slope” as 1 media person put it. Ya, every player that had a career threatening injury on THE ONLY PITCH HE GOT IN THE MAJORS is going to want the same treatment. Boy I bet that is 1 long list. Christ. Thanks, end of rant.

    • Chris

      I don’t think it’s cynical to disagree that Greenberg be given another at bat in the majors. I’m not angry that he’s getting this opportunity. I’m glad the Cubs decided against it. I won’t lose any sleep either way. I just don’t like the gimmick, plan and simple. I haven’t read many posts on this topic since yesterday, but what I did see doesn’t make me feel like this backlash against “cynisism” is necessary. While I don’t believe the Marlins are being altruistic here, and that may make me cynical, that isn’t the main reason why I don’t like the idea. This just doesn’t seem like something a major league team should do in regular season to me. It’s a great story, and since it’s happening I hope he gets a hit, but I’m glad the Cubs didn’t do it. I don’t think the Cubs spent any time analyzing whether or not this would be a good or bad media blitz. I think they saw the request and politely declined, because that’s what a major league team does. This is a minor league-type promotion. Good for Greenberg that he gets the chance. It’s not the end of the world that the Marlins are doing this. There is no “slippery slope”. I just wouldn’t want the team I root for to do it in season. That’s all.

      • OlderStyle

        I agree entirely.

        If I didn’t like bunnies does that make me bitter, angry and cynical? (I do by the way)

  • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

    I wonder if Darwin Barney got to take that cutout of him home with him. Although I surmise that it would be creepy to walk into your trophy room and find yourself staring back at you.

  • wax_eagle

    I’d like to invite all of the Chicago Sports Media to the Chattanooga zoo this easter for hug a bunny day! (it’s right down the street from historic Engel stadium where 42 was filmed).

    Man I sound like the flipping Chattanooga tourist office today, but that was too good an opportunity to pass up…

    On another note congrats to Darwin!

  • Todd

    I just hugged a bunny and got bit so…………..

    On a serious note, I can’t wait to see Greenberg on Tuesday, I hope ESPN or MLB cut into whatever game they are showing. I think it’s an awesome story.

    • Pat

      Cut into games in other market’s games to show this nonsense? Please God, no. And yet there’s no “slipppery slope” here.

  • Stu

    Maybe Miami doesn’t take themselves so seriously. Maybe the Messiah/Theo could see that at take himself off the pedestal a notch and see baseball as entertainment.

    In the end, what does it matter?

  • Curt

    Adam Greenberg=a nice story and I feel good for him that he gets his st bat if he wants more hell have to earn it like everyone else. And as far as the Chicago media and some cubs fans who don’t like this ill use a great line from s funny move stripes ” lighten up Francis” be happy for him if wont hurt you, I’m sure you can find a bunny to hug at wal-mart.

  • mudge

    Adam Greenberg will have had, then, two at-bats in the major leagues. I’m going to bask in the glow of this for a long time.

    • BD

      I think you mean plate appearances. No official at-bat thus far.

      • mudge

        I stand corrected. Two plate appearances. One with hash browns, one with the cheese grits, honey.

        • wilbur

          Well played …

  • Cubbie Blues

    Bunnies aren’t always the best thing to hug. If you doubt me, you only have to ask Sir Bors.

    Tim: There he is!
    King Arthur: Where?
    Tim: There!
    King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
    Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
    King Arthur: You silly sod!
    Tim: What?
    King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
    Tim: Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit.
    King Arthur: Ohh.
    Tim: That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
    Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
    Tim: Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!
    Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
    Tim: He’ll do you up a treat, mate.
    Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
    Sir Robin: You manky Scots git!
    Tim: I’m warning you!
    Sir Robin: What’s he do? Nibble your bum?
    Tim: He’s got huge, sharp… er… He can leap about. Look at the bones!
    King Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!
    Sir Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin’ right up!

    • RoughRiider

      Not to mention the infamous General Woundwort.

      • Dan

        Watership Down

    • MightyBear

      One of the funniest movies ever. Love the bunny scene.

  • DarthHater

    hug a bunny or something, guys

    Here’s the only bunny I would hug:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krd7KIVl34Y

    • DarthHater

      hug a bunny or something, guys

      Here’s the only bunny I would hug: . . .

      bloody quote function . . .

  • fortyonenorth

    I was surprised to see Len Kasper tweet that he was sour on the Greenberg story. He said he felt that only people who “worked for it” belonged in the majors. C’mon, the guy did work for it. He just happened to get KO’d in his first AB. Besides, he’s been playing minor league ball since then. He might not necessarily be MLB-caliber, but neither is half the Cubs roster. I like Len, but thought this was out of character.

    • mudge

      I agree with Len. He’s always been a reasonable guy.

    • JulioZuleta

      He got hit in the head 7 years ago. If he deserved to be back, he wouldn’t have to do it like this. A long time ago he worked for it, as do 98% of the minor leaguers who never make it. I think when you’re around the game on a daily basis, and deal with guys being sent up and down, traded, or have a long time partner whose son is busting his ass in the major leagues, but likely isn’t going to pan out, you’re much more likely to be bitter towards a guy who plays baseball part time in between speaking engagements and talk show appearances that makes a circus out of the game like this. Again, the whole thing just makes me uneasy. There are a bunch of guys out there who actually could be legitimate players that aren’t getting this chance, he doesn’t deserve it.

      • Kyle

        “a guy who plays baseball part time in between speaking engagements and talk show appearances that makes a circus out of the game like this. ”

        Ding ding ding.

        I wouldn’t like it, but I’d feel less annoyed by it, if they had just asked him to do this out of the blue. He whored himself out for it pretty hard for quite some time now, and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you can’t get it by merit, don’t whine until someone gives it to you out of pity.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          For whatever it’s worth (not much to you bunny-haters, I’m sure), Greenberg hopes this turns into an actual Spring Training invite from some team. This whole process, he’s hoped that. Whether that makes it better or worse (as in, complicates the narrative that this is about getting him his one at-bat), I don’t really know. But I don’t think he’s trying to get speaking engagements out of this thing – he doesn’t want to give up the baseball dream.

          • Kyle

            Well, I’m sure he does hope that. At 30 and having shown no athletic ability since naturally short legs consistently led me to the best V-stretch in elementary school presidential fitness challenges, I’m *still* hoping that I suddenly become an MLB caliber athlete. That hope is slimmer than Greenberg’s hope that his skill set will earn him a real shot, but not much slimmer. Both are so unlikely as to not be considered.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              The likelihood isn’t the thing – his motives are. I think they’re not as nefarious as has been suggested.

              • Kyle

                I don’t think “nefarious” is the term I’d use. He’s not using his publicity from the campaign in a plot to destroy the world or anything.

                He simply wants something that a lot of people want, isn’t good enough to get it, and doesn’t have enough pride not to whine for it until someone gave it to him out of pity.

          • BluBlud

            “Greenberg hopes this turns into an actual Spring Training invite from some team.”

            If he was playing well enough in the minors, he would have already recieved a ST invite. I don’t think 1 at-bat will get him that, even if he hits a homerun.

  • JulioZuleta

    A very sinister side of me kind of hopes whoever the Marlins are playing intentionally walks him…

    • Chris

      Why waste 3 pitches… Drill him!

      Disclaimer* This was not a serious comment. If you cannot take a joke, please ignore this comment. I do not need to hug a bunny, I just couldn’t resist following up on JulioZuleta’s comment.

      • BluBlud

        Chris, you evil bastard!!!!!!!

      • Jim L.

        I’d nail him with a pitch if I was a pitcher. Not that I would put it in his ear, in the chest – just for the fun of it.

    • BluBlud

      I not saying I hope that happens, but if a pitcher or manager who didn’t like it does this, I would completely understand. I just think it puts a stain on the integrity of the game.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, same here. That’s actually what I was thinking, but I changed it to intentional walk to seem more civilized.

  • BluBlud

    Brett, usually decide how I feel about something and stick to it. This one I’ve gone back and forth on with just myself. I would not have been mad if the Cubs had given Greenberg an at-bat. I think its a nice gesture by the Marlins 100%, without getting into why I think the Marlins are doing this. I just think the integrity of the game is more important. When do you give him his at-bat. Is it while playing a team thats going for a wildcard slot in a close race. Is it while playing a bad team who’s win-loss record will effect their draft position. I know it just one at-bat, but over the course of a game, every at-bat plays a factor in the outcome. That outcome plays a bigger role in everything from playoff seeding, to draft pick position and even how much money a team can spend to sign players. Once agian, I know it’s just one at-bat, but if I’m the Rockies, and I finish the season tied with the Cubs for the number 2 pick, and more spending money, and this at-bat was in a game they lost by one run, I might have a problem with. I know one at-bat might not probably wouldn’t effect the overall outcome this much, but the fact that it might make the Cubs the decision the right one. Also, even if I was a pretty bad player, I would have a problem being cut of the 40 man roster just so this can take place. At in the fact that he should be more proud of the fact the he tried to come back, worked hard at it and never gave up. I would feel he didn’t earn his spot. He earned it the first time, but this time he didn’t. It doesn’t make me a bad guy, as I feel for the guy and his situation. So it’s not the feel good story that I’m against, as much as it’s the respect for the proper way to compete and play the game of baseball.

  • Spencer

    Maybe they should have a base running competition in spring training next year instead of a bunt competition.

  • cubsin

    I was all ready to go out and hug a Bunny, then I realized the local (St. Louis) Playboy closed 30 years ago,

    • cubzforlife

      I hugged a “Bunny” last night and it cost me 160.00 for 45 minutes.

  • AZCubsFan

    Why don’t the Cubs do with Volstad what they did with Marmol. Just don’t let him shake the catcher off. Maybe that helps him and helps Castillo develope his pitch calling skills.

  • JulioZuleta

    It’d be interesting if we had a poll to see how everyone felt about this. I’d say 60% would be positive.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah – I bet Cubs fans are about 60/40, Marlins fans about 85/15, and other MLB fans 90/10. I don’t know what that means, but that’s been my sense from reading around/Twitter.

      • The Dude Abides

        When Greenberg bats are ESPN and the MLB Network breaking in to broadcast? I hope they do and I’ve heard it is being discussed to become an annual event where they select a deserving person every year to get one at bat or pitch to one batter. The NFL and NBA are keeping a close eye on it and already are coming up with plans to follow baseballs lead. Sponsors are very interested as you can imagine so this could be the start of something pretty special.

  • FFP

    “I find it almost inexplicable that the only place you’ll find vitriol and hostility about the “farce” or “joke” that is the feel-good Adam Greenberg signing is in Chicago.” Interesting observation.
    Interesting lens for self-examination. But, partly this works for the Marlins this year because baseball didn’t. So there is a fun-house quality to how this reflects on Chicago.

    • Chris

      I think the reason Chicago is the epicenter for vitriol on this topic is because I really don’t think anyone else cares that much, one way or another. Nobody has any true investment in this story except for Greenberg, the guy who ran the petition, the Marlins, and the Cubs. Everyone else in the country see this headline, “like” it, and move on. At a high level, it’s a bunny-hugging story. It’s the “good” news that they stuff in the last 2 minutes of a newscast to end on a lighter note. This isn’t real news. It’s not hurting anyone, but it’s not really helping anyone, except Greenberg and maybe the Marlins. As a Cubs fan, it feels like a minor league promotion, and I’m glad they didn’t do it. I don’t hate the Marlins for doing it. I don’t hate Greenberg for participating. If I were a GM, I would politely decline and offer him an opportunity to throw out a first pitch or come to spring training.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        (Loves that bunny-hugging has become a thing.)

        • MightyBear

          Hugh Hefner’s got a bazillion bunny’s I’d like to hug. He’s an alum of the finest educational institution in the world.

          • JulioZuleta

            Steinmetz…my Dad graduated from there, Class of ’78 I believe.

  • TSB

    To all haters of “gimmicks” at Wrigley; here are some you forgot:

    What’s with this honoring of former players at games? Sure they were great in the past, but what have they contributed lately to the Cubs winning (or losing, got to have that all important high draft pick)? Even worse is that moment of silence for those in the military killed in war, or those that died on 9/11. What sentimentality, no place in Cubs baseball! And least we forget bows to the crowd by a player after a walk off , or tipping the cap, what a waste of time! “Gimmicks” all!

    • DarthHater

      Right. Because announcements, bows, and such are exactly the same as adding someone to the active roster and inserting them in the lineup in a real game. Yea, those things are really comparable. I don’t really care about the issue one way or the other, but this is just a moronic comparison.

    • Chris

      Really? Ok, you got me. What a thoughtful, intelligent, mind-changing argument you’ve presented. I’m smarter for reading it.

    • Carew

      You can’t be serious..

  • Pat

    And the Non-Sequitor Award goes to ….

    Seriously if you can’t tell the difference between people who deserve to be honored and those who don’t, the probably the root of the problem.

  • TSB

    Sorry about that. Don’t worry, i don’t want to join your male circular activity…

    • DarthHater

      Thanks for demonstrating that even the most asinine comment can be made still more imbecilic.

  • TSB

    Your welcome

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