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I keep meaning to mention here, and keep forgetting that I haven’t already, that The Wife and I are expecting another kiddo in early March, and this time it’s a Little Boy joining The Little Girl. Obviously we are super excited, but I suppose the reason I was reminded of it this morning is because The Little Girl had a now-uncommon rough night, which means I’ve been up since around 3am. I’d forgotten how … swell that is. Looking forward to The Little Boy reminding me.

  • Another of those outrighted veterans from last week has elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to AAA Iowa. This time it’s Joe Mather, which means that we’ll have to retire “Super Joe” for the time being. He, like Justin Germano and Manny Corpas, will try to land a minor league deal (because, again, I don’t see big league deals forthcoming – possibly for Corpas) in an organization where he thinks he’s got a good shot of breaking through to the bigs again. I think departing the Cubs was probably the right move for Joe at this time – Dale Sveum was going to short Joe’s career from overuse if he stuck around.
  • After Gordon Wittenmyer said the same, Steve Stone apparently has now also suggested strongly that Eric Karros is going to be the Cubs’ next color commentator, joining play-by-play man Len Kasper.
  • An extensive interview with the Cubs’ new minor league pitching coordinator, Derek Johnson. The whole thing is worth a read, but here’s an interesting quote from Johnson: “I’ve had other opportunities with other jobs and I felt like … I’m an Illinois guy and I grew up watching the Cubs on WGN just about every day in the summer. I considered myself I Cubs fan growing up. That was part of the appeal. On the mature side of things, it was along the lines of I just felt good about the vision they have for what’s upcoming and what’s next for the organization, and I felt like they were going to give me the opportunity to be involved in that. That’s probably the main couple of reasons the Cubs appealed to me in the first place.”
  • Starlin Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, has been fired by his firm after a protracted dispute dating back to his midseason 2011 failure to file a no-trade list with the Mets on behalf of client Francisco Rodriguez. (It was a pretty embarrassing oops, and the details are here.) How that might impact his relationship with Castro remains to be seen. Players tend to be loyal to their agents, rather than their agents’ agencies, but, then again, we’ve all seen ‘Jerry Maguire.’ (Flash to Castro telling Kinzer to show him the money, to shout “I love Dominican people!”, and then Castro catching an important touchdown on Monday Night Football.)
  • Brett Jackson will be opening 2013 back at AAA Iowa, which we knew – but here’s some more on that decision, and on Jackson’s take on the ups and downs of 2012.
  • A friendly profile on Matt Szczur from Arizona, where Szczur is still playing in the AFL. It is, like so many Szczur profiles these days, replete with non-baseball-state reasons to be excited about his future. I’m not saying those reasons aren’t legit – his athleticism, his heart, his effort, his passion, his unselfishness – but he’s reaching an age and a professional experience level where that stuff needs to translate itself into “great numbers.”
  • Speaking of the AFL, Javier Baez and Tony Zych were named as participants in the AFL Rising Stars Games, which is played Saturday night. Obviously Baez can’t play, but it’s a nice honor. And it is notable for Zych, who’ll be shooting for a bullpen spot with the big club as soon as Spring Training.
  • And speaking of Baez’s thumb injury, Logan Watkins has been plucked from his offseason to head to Mesa and join the Solar Sox in Baez’s place. I thought of it as a nice reward for Watkins’ great season, but apparently he thought of it as bear on his already-feeling-awful arm. (I kid, in part – he also said he was blessed by the opportunity.)
  • In case you missed yesterday’s Episode 2 of the podcast Sahadev Sharma and I are doing.
  • Today only, there is free shipping on ALL BN apparel orders. Just use the coupon code “GIVETHANKSSHIP.” I’m truly not trying to “sell” you on the t-shirt thing – I’m just a fan of free stuff/coupons, and I know that if I’d been thinking about getting a BN shirt (holidays coming?), free shipping would be something I’d be hoping to land.
  • And in case you are desperate to see my Halloween costume (unshaven, unkempt, food-stained t-shirt, X-Box underwear and pajama pants … I was a blogger).
  • Internet Random

    Eric Hairos ™

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You did it.

      • Internet Random

        It was either that or “First!”.

  • Kyle

    On the one hand, he managed to reach negative-WAR depths that even Neifi Perez, Lenny Harris, Jose Macias and Shawn Estes failed to acheive in their time with the Cubs.

    On the other hand, that walk-off hit vs. the Cardinals was one of the highlights of the season.

    Call it a wash. Good luck, Super Joe.

    • Myles

      Cubs were the only team last year with more than 5 position players contributing under 0 WAR (min. 100 PA).

      • Myles

        We also traded Soto, Byrd, and Johnson who all fit the category.

    • Kyle N

      Kyle,

      However, he joins the elite company of one Ruben Quevedo. So congratulations are in order.

      Your post just gave horrible terror-inducing flashbacks involving the absolutely terrible 1999 and 2000 teams, particularly the pitchers.

      Quevedo. Micah Bowie. Dan Serafini. Andrew Lorraine. Daniel Garibay. How the hell was I supposed to be even remotely interested as a naive, hopeful teenager when I would hear Steve Stone sigh and pathetically eke out, “It looks likes Dan Serafini is scheduled for the start today, let’s hope he can turn things around.”.

      I remember Quevedo was comically bad, as in “batting practice fastball, no secondary pitch of any kind, why the hell am I even in the majors?” type of bad. If you want to laugh at the futility, go look at his 2000 game logs. I remember watching him throw his one Cubs complete game win (taking 135 pitches to do so) on TV against LA at the end of that horrible season and seeing him absolutely beyond gassed trying to finish the game.

      But Garibay was the one that frustrated me the most. He was a goofy left-hander who would literally almost fall off the mound to the third-base side (and almost on his ass) on every pitch and as a result, would end up putting the ball way up and over the left-handed batter’s box. I remember thinking, “Maybe he should think like a bowler and move a couple of boards to the right to help compensate.”

      Pretty much like a completely deranged, destitute man’s version of Francisco Liriano.

      So thanks for that. Thanks for making me laugh and cry a little inside.

      And yet those teams STILL didn’t lose 100, even though it felt like they should of they should have lost 120. Ah, the PED-era.

  • ssckelley

    Any ideas on how are the Cubs going to replace Mather leading off in the lineup? Vitters maybe?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha.

    • Joe

      That made me laugh….a very painful, displeasing laugh.

    • terencemann

      That was great.

  • Fishin Phil

    Brett, congrats to you and the wife.

    Buh-bye Super Joe, I will miss you almost as much as an abcess.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you, sir.

  • Don

    Congratulations Brett! Good luck with everything! Another Cub fan on the way!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Don. Poor kid.

  • kmr1453

    Congratulations to you and your wife. She must really did those “The Simpsons” pjs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sometimes she borrows them. That’s not a creepy joke, by the way – she does.

  • ron

    Congrats on the little one, boys are a hoot! Not that girls are not but, they are very different!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Ron.

  • Myles

    Awesome news, Brett! My wife and I are expecting also, she’s due in April. In 25 years, my kid will probably be the shortstop of the Cubs (boy or girl), so hopefully your kid’s playing 2B. That seems the most likely scenario to me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And odds are good that my boy will have the size of a second baseman.

  • Internet Random

    Anyone who tells you that a second child of those ages is twice the work is lying to you. It’s at least three times the work.

    Here’s an example of how it works: With only one child, you can keep a pretty close eye on her. You see her preparing to draw on your walls with crayon and you prevent her from doing so. But now you have two. So you’re changing your son’s leaky deuce diaper, which is taking longer than you’d like. You’re feeling like you should check on your daughter to make sure she’s not wrecking the house, but you can’t because your son is on the changing table and you’re elbow-deep in baby doo. You finally get your son into a new diaper and clean clothes and go back out to the living room… where you discover that your daughter has created a large abstract mural on your wall with pink and green crayons. So now you get to clean that up. While doing so, other messes naturally ensue.

    If you can’t tell, I’m speaking from experience… older daughter, younger son, close together in age. Sincere congratulations are in order (and hereby extended), because the good news is, it’s well worth the extra work.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I whole heartily agree with every point you made. It is very trying at times. But, at the same time every bit worth it (and then some).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I have no illusions about what the next couple of years will be (except that they’ll be awesome).

    • CM

      Congrats Brett, and this is exactly correct. Allow me to continue this as child number two does not double the work load, it increases it exponentially. Again, like everyone else has said, well worth it, especially thinking about it on the heels of things like Halloween, when you really get to enjoy them in the element of them having so much fun.

  • Spencer

    Congrats, Taylors.

    • Spencer

      AND, Happy Birthday to boot.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Thanks, Spencer.

  • dan

    losing joe just does not mather

    • Myles

      That was awful, you must be Joeking

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I love it!

  • leroy

    Congrats Brett!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Leroy.

  • Dr. Percival Cox

    Congrats. Have you convinced the wife to name him Bleacher Nation Taylor, yet? (You have to take advantage of branding opportunities like this. ;-) )

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’re not telling yet, but, at a minimum, he’ll get a BN tattoo within the first few weeks.

  • Kyle N

    Brett,

    Congratulations on the good news!

    Projecting him as a switch-hitting, switch-throwing, slick fielding, on-base machine seem about right?

  • RoughRiider

    Congratulations to you and your wife on your expected son. Nothing but blessings to you all.

  • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

    Congrats to you and the wife. I just took my son to his first game at Wrigley this past summer. Living in North Carolina now, it’s a tad bit harder to do than when I lived in Bloomington-Normal. What are the chances you’re going to be able to talk her into naming him Clark Addison?

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      I can only imagine how incredible it must feel to take your son to Wrigley for the first time. Congrats to you, too. I’m betting the smile on Brett’s face is about a foot wide right now imagining the same moment with his son.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    The Little Girl had a now-uncommon rough night, which means I’ve been up since around 3am.

    And that’s why we stopped at one! Congrats, felicitations, kudos, etc.

    • Joker

      And where was this invaluable knowledge and insight months ago, Doc? : )

      • DocPeterWimsey

        heh, both Brett and I brought it up months ago during the annual discussions of how excess day games affect the Cubs, and why it’s impossible to get used to an inconsistent schedule!

        Brett clearly forgot….. :-) (Of course, my son is 4.5 and still a pretty crummy sleeper, so it’s yet “now-uncommon” for me.)

  • Katie

    Mazel tov, Taylors! Foregone conclusion that you’ll be naming him Richard Tidrow?

    • Joker

      I’m not sure that the internet (or the world for that matter) could handle the combined power of a Taylor blessed with the Tidrow name. Perhaps it’s safer for all parties concerned to go with something a little less masculine like Johnny Walker Black Taylor.

      Or maybe something completely femine like Larussa Molina Taylor?
      (I keed, I keed…except about the Cards. They really are all a bunch of sissies.)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Haha. Solidly done, both of you.

  • MoistassAlou

    Congrats Brett!!! Love the site too!

  • Frank

    Just don’t name him Ronnie Woo-Woo. Congratulations.

  • Sweetjamesjones

    Congrats Brett.

  • wilbur

    Congratulations! I tend to lean toward the boys are easier to raise than girls school, except when you come home and find them shooting roman candles out their bed room window …

  • Drcub1908

    3 boys at home for me…enjoy the growing family Brett…simply explain to little Bleacher Nation that daddy has go to his blog-o-thon…

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Congratulations on your new child. Don’t know how you did it with all the time you obviously put into this site!
    Mather should have taken a cue from the former 1960’s Reds player Chico Ruiz, who when faced with having to play regularly due to starters injuries, famously told the skipper, “Bench me or trade me, this playing is killing my career.”

  • Joker

    Congrats on the baby news, Ace. Having two myself and knowing the cost of diapers, my new BN shirt was ordered today. Thanks for the free shipping incentive.

  • #1lahairfan

    Congrats Brett

  • Sircub

    Congrats dude! Hopefully our kids will grow up with a much better Cubs team than we did!

  • Fastball

    2 kids is a cake walk. I had 6 and they are all within a 9 year span. I was a damned nut case most mornings Monday – Friday. Luckily the eldest were great helpers. 3 boys 3 girls. Wait til you turn 40 and all of them start leaving for college year after year. Our kids are very athletic and very good students and that helped pay a ton of tuition. All 6 graduated and have careers now. My suggestion is figure out how in the hell your wife is getting pregnant and fix that problem immediately :)) I swear a women can get pregnant just by looking at her naked.

    My first grandson was here all last week. He is 4 months old. Boy it was fun . I remembered how to do everything. Can’t wait til he gets dropped off for the weekend overnight stays when he is a little older. Grandpa will be sending that boy home a mess. I tell my daughter pay backs are going to be hell. LOL

    Good Luck and I hope you have a very healthy baby boy.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      2 kids is a cake walk.

      I can agree with that. Walking in cake is, after all, pretty much like walking in quicksand! :-)

    • Internet Random

      My suggestion is figure out how in the hell your wife is getting pregnant and fix that problem immediately.

      Ha. Very nice.

  • Fastball

    So Long Joe Mather… This organization is improving by the hour. Addition by Subtraction so to speak.

  • North Side Irish

    Bad news for the Wrigley renovations…Quinn will not help the Cubs at all.

    Quinn wins over Emanuel in battle over sports authority leadership.
    http://www.suntimes.com/16086612-761/quinn-wins-over-emanuel-in-battle-over-sports-authority-leadership.html

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Grumble.

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