A fresh podcast episode dropped yesterday in case you missed it, or haven’t yet started doing the podcast thing. I’m told I shared a little bit too much about my trip to Chicago in this one, so you’ll just have to excuse the first five minutes or so. And then you should subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you can get more chunks of TMI.
- In case you were concerned that the delay in making the Carlos Villanueva deal official was tied to a bum physical or other issues that could cause the deal to fall apart, Phil Rogers has a source who confirms that the only hold-up is the roster issue. (We’d suspected that for a while, and Assistant GM Shiraz Rehman and manager Dale Sveum suggested as much this weekend.) With Scott Hairston being signed, as discussed yesterday, the Cubs have to find two new spots on the currently-full 40-man roster. With respect to Villanueva, a portion of the delay was certainly the holidays, and finding a mutually-agreeable time for a physical. But the last few weeks of delay have undoubtedly been due to the Cubs’ efforts to make a trade that would clear a 40-man spot. Indeed, the Cubs have probably been exploring a huge range of trade options over those weeks, and there’s no sense in designating a player for assignment until you absolutely have to. That said, if we soon hear of the Cubs DFA’ing two players, you’re probably going to have some folks saying, “well, geez, if they were just going to dump guys, why didn’t they do it weeks ago?” Well, it’s a last resort. That’s why.
- A quote from Matt Garza in the Northwest Herald about his kids reminds us that Cubs players are just people, not machines: “If I wasn’t going to learn patience, then it was never going to happen with those three,” Garza said of his kids, smiling. “This offseason was a good test. I had to fight a 7-year-old to wipe makeup off. I had to fight a 3-year-old to go to sleep. And I had to fight a 5-month-old to eat.” Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that the players, in addition to performing on a stage for us, also have to live lives and do regular stuff.
- The Rooftop Association – i.e., an association involving the rooftop owners in Wrigleyville – has apparently put together their own plan for the addition of advertising at and around Wrigley Field, and they will unveil that plan today at Murphy’s Bleachers at 11am CT for anyone in the area. I assume the plan will involve signage that doesn’t block views into Wrigley, and indeed could be signage on the rooftops, themselves (with a split of revenue with the Cubs). It will be interesting to see what they have to say.
- The Vine Line Blog offers a peak at their prospects profiling series, with a look at pitching prospect Nick Struck: “Struck, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, doesn’t have big stuff but pitches like he does, to paraphrase McLeod’s end-of-season report. Struck’s ultra-competitive approach helped him put together a phenomenal 155-inning year at Tennessee. He stands only 5-foot-11 but is big, strong and durable. His fastball touches 92 mph with heavy movement, and he’s not afraid of contact. He also mixes in a change-up and slider. A former 39th-round pick, Struck provides starting depth, though his best role may be as a swingman who can spot start or eat a couple of innings at a time from the bullpen.” Vine Line is covering more than 60 Cubs prospects this month.
- In case any of you are looking to start a website, the host I use – DreamHost – is offering my readers a $20 discount when they sign up for new hosting. All you’ve got to do is enter the promo code “BNHOSTINGDH.” Folks are often asking me about the functional side of a web site, so I figured I’d throw that out there for anyone who wants to save a little scratch.
- Here’s a series of pictures from the charity event David and Kim DeJesus put on last week – a fashion show involving Cubs players and their significant others. Pretty easy to see why the DeJesuses chose a fashion show – as a couple, they’re quite easy on the eyes.
- BN’er Joe emailed me with a story from the Convention, and I had to share a portion of it with you. He was with his daughters waiting in the Ernie Banks autograph line when it became clear that there wasn’t going to be enough time for them to get to Ernie before the signing period ended (vouchers or no vouchers). And then this happened:
I came across a young lady with the Cubs front office and informed her of the situation. She informed me that while they couldn’t pull a kid out of the line and move her to the front because it would cause a riot, she assured me she would come up with a solution after speaking with her supervisor as well as Ernie’s people. A little while later my two daughters were taken out of the line and told to wait by an exit door that Ernie was leaving through and he would sign it as he left.
The time came and he made his way towards the exit. As he got close, one of his people took my two daughters through the exit door to wait away from all the people in a less chaotic area. Ernie went through the doors and that was the last I saw of him. As my wife and I waited, the time passed. Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes. I asked my wife, where the heck they went to sign this jersey. They shouldn’t be gone this long. Shortly after, a gentleman came back out the door, but no sign of my daughters. I asked the man if he had seen them and he said last he saw they were walking to a private room to sit and sign and he had his arm around my daughter singing to her as they walked away. I thought he was mistaken, but shortly after, my two daughters emerged crying hysterically. He sat with them and signed anything they wanted signed, told them stories, sang to them and talked to them about school. All my daughter was looking for was an autograph and she got a life changing experience that she will remember for the rest of her life. It’s great when a player that you put on a pedestal and idolized can not only meet those expectations, but surpass them by far. After telling a friend the story of this, his response was “And THAT’S why he’s Mr. Cub!” Never has a truer statement been written.