So, that was a pretty crazy day of playoff football, for those watching. Earlier in the day, The Wife asked me who I thought would make the Super Bowl, and naturally I said the Broncos and the Packers. That’s why I stick to fantasy sports.
- Paul Sullivan previews the Cubs Convention, which opens on Friday at the Sheraton Hotel in River North (a new location after years at the Hilton downtown), and it’s not an overly positive take. After noting that the Cubs were able to sell last year’s Convention on the back of “hope,” Sullivan says it’s a trickier business this year, coming off 101 losses. A snippet: “Suffice to say the addition of well-traveled starter Edwin Jackson as the Cubs’ marquee free agent hasn’t exactly created a buzz. Most are bracing themselves for another difficult season in the rebuild, hoping it won’t be quite as painful as the end of 2012. Still, fans have to get past the botched Ryan Dempster-to-Braves deal in July, the decision to leave doomed pitcher Chris Volstad in the rotation in September, the aborted Carlos Marmol-for-Dan Haren deal in November and the re-signing of underperforming third baseman Ian Stewart last month.”
- I do wonder what the atmosphere will be like this year. Last year, even though the team was coming off a terrible season, and three straight disappointing years, the excitement of Theo/Jed/Jason/etc. was enough to pump everyone up (the opening ceremonies were electric). This year, there really isn’t the same kind of obvious “thing” or “moment” to jack folks up. The change in venue also makes it interesting, because it’s hard to predict how the Cubs will manage the fan/player interactions, which is obviously a huge part of the experience for the fans. For me, at least, that uncertainty is what’s making things exciting – I have no idea what to expect.
- Say goodbye to Rodrigo Lopez – after spending the last two seasons with the Cubs (isn’t it amazing that he actually made considerably more starts for the big league team in 2011 than in 2012? Think about the rotation this past September … ), Lopez is off to join the Phillies on a minor league deal.
- Speaking of former Cubs pitchers, Ryan Dempster is still trying to decide whether he’ll pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. No Cubs showed up on Canada’s preliminary roster, but it looks like these rosters will be coming out soon. Starlin Castro is a possibility for Team Dominican Republic, and Anthony Rizzo is a possibility for Team Italy.
- Somehow I missed Jonah Keri’s take on the Hall of Fame stuff late last week, and, as usual, it’s great.
- A fun piece from FanGraphs: the worst called strikes of the year.