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dale sveum sleepingMLB Network is starting its 30 Clubs in 30 Days program today, and, what do you know? It kicks off with the Cubs at 5pm CT as part of MLBN’s “MLB Tonight.” It repeats at 7pm and 10pm, in case you don’t do the DVR thing.

  • As the Cubs continue to battle the City and the neighborhood for more night games for business reasons, Dale Sveum says he’d like to see more night games for baseball reasons. “I think it’s something that’s always going to help, to have more night games,” Sveum said, per the Sun-Times. “The [big] thing you just try to stay away from is the different start times four or five days in a row. That’s what throws your time clock off.” We’ve debated the day game issue here before many times, and the point I keep coming back to is this: the fact of playing day games (or even a day game after a night game) is not the issue. Players can adjust, and, as everyone who favors day games like to point out, the visiting team has to adjust to day games when they come to Wrigley, too. But that’s not the problem. The problem is the constant resetting of the body clock that Cubs players face more than any other team in baseball. As several former Cubs have conceded, by August and September, that constant resetting can really take its toll on you. So, for me, more night games = more revenue = slightly better players in August and September = good for Cubs.
  • Like Jeff Samardzija, setup man Kyuji Fujikawa is apparently already throwing like it’s the World Series. I’m sure he’s eager to prove himself to the new guys, but let’s save some of that for the season.
  • Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon, the lone remaining pitcher who has yet to arrive in camp (pitcher Dayan Diaz made it yesterday), is expected in camp today after finally resolving visa issues.
  • Matt Garza and Dioner Navarro, who scraped earlier in their careers, are now buddies.
  • A scouting story featuring former Cubs pitcher (now scout) John Koronka and Albert Almora.
  • A couple more Spring Training previews at Vine Line, courtesy of podcast-mate Sahadev Sharma: a look at the catching situation, and a look at the bullpen.
  • Tim Sheridan got video of Dan Vogelbach hitting in the cage, and looking trimmer than he’s looked in the past. He’s still a big boy, but – just based on body – he doesn’t look too big to field a position (or two). He also looks like he could snap me in half like a twig:

  • Dan W

    Vogelbach looks alot smaller than Prince Fielder. I hope he tears the cover off the ball this year. Good trade material for an AL club. Unless MLB and the National League allow the DH. I know, I know that will ruin baseball. (NOT) But I’d rather possably watch Vogelbach hit 4 times in a game, than watch the likes of Garza, and Shark try and hit the ball 4 times a game.

  • NCMoss

    That looks like it’s probably close to as small as Vogelbach will get. Think he could play third well enough? I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to play outfield.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Still really doubt he’ll ever be able to play average (or even slightly below average) defense outside of first base. But losing a little weight couldn’t hurt.

  • LoneStarCub

    Anyone notice what he says at about the 0:22 second mark?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Not sure but it sounded dirty.

    • MikeW

      does it rhyme with “truck me in the grass”?

      • Seth

        Ding Ding Ding. I think we have a winner.

        • JulioZuleta

          Haha yeah i heard that too.

          I like the Vogy look. He reminds me of the fat mean guy in all cliche baseball movies that just destroys the team you’re rooting for.

          • Stinky Pete

            Clu Haywood, Heddo….

            • JulioZuleta

              I can picture John Candy saying “Oh no, it’s Heddo.” Who knows, maybe Vogy has trouble with the floater. Also, I just watched Trouble with the Curve (prettttty bad), and the jerky kid that Clint scouts looks just like Vog (except he’s a righty).

  • Justin

    Vogelbach- 6′, 250-260lbs. Prince Fielder- 5’11′, 275 lbs. Vog’s gonna be just fine at 1B.

    • bbmoney

      I’ve never seen him play first so I have no opinion about Vog’s ability to play there or elsewhere. But just looking at weight and height and saying he’s ok because he’s smaller than prince fielder? A bit simplistic.

      Not to mention Prince is a butcher at 1b.

      • bails17

        I am smaller than Price Fielder…so will I be better at first base? Size doesn’t matter (to a point). Time will tell if he can be an average devender there. I am hoping (and it’s a big hope) that he can be a passable left fielder and have a .300/.350/.450 line. I would be all in for that! I know, I know…STRETCH!!

    • Brian Peters

      WHAT ABOUT RIZZO???

    • Mick

      Did I ever tell you about the time Vogelbach took me out to go get a drink with him? We go off looking for a bar and we can’t find one. Finally Vogelbach takes me to a vacant lot and says, “Here we are.” We sat there for a year and a half and sure enough someone constructs a bar around us. The day they opened we ordered a shot, drank it, and then burned the place to the ground. Vogelbach yelled over the roar of the flames, “Always leave things the way you found em!”

    • JulioZuleta

      I’m 6’1″ 205. Does that make me a Gold Glover? Strange argument.

      • Justin

        Just trying to say that the knock on him is rarely about his technique at 1B. It’s always about his conditioning/weight. I was merely stating that a big dude can play, and be successful at that corner infield spot.

  • Spriggs

    Fujikawa is a rock star at camp. Hordes of Japanese reporters and autograph seekers wait for him at every stop.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Vog looks like a different person.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    You can bet he’d be the MVBP (most valuable bench player) if he were to come up in September. What’s great about Vogs is his ability to cut down his swing with two strikes to make contact (hence, his .300+ avg). I’m fairly certain his splits vs. lefties are similar, so that is promising.

    I just heard a closer got injured and will be out for 6-8 weeks. Theo, get on the phone!

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      Balfour with the A’s, meniscus surgery.

  • cubchymyst

    Apparently Vogalbach taking grounders at third base during Camp Bussy. If he can gain some credit as a defender he will rocket up prospect charts.

    • CubFan Paul

      “If he can gain some credit as a defender he will rocket up prospect charts”

      No, he needs to hit. Crush the A+ League and do the same at Tennessee before he rockets up anybodies chart.

      • cubchymyst

        Well yeah, if his bat falls apart he will not rocket up prospect charts. But one of the things that has been held against him by many of the raters is his lack of defensive ability, so he as been considered as a bat only prospect. Adding some defense to that bat will only help. So far his bat has been great.

  • Dustin S

    It probably won’t happen, but I would do cartwheels if Vogelbach could find a spot in this lineup somehow. Unfortunately LF is really the only other realistic spot for him on this team. He’s looking in much better shape though, and if you think about some of our left fielders over the past 30 years I’m sure he’d hold it down ok. I’m almost surprised they don’t use him in LF in a minor league game here and there just to see how he does. Then again, maybe they know he would look bad and would rather not have scouts see and hurt his value.

    • Whitflag

      That’s an awful big jump, you are purposing.

  • arta

    could he be any worse than Soriano, Kingman, Dunn, Fox, etc in LF? the way he hits, lose a few more LB and who knows!

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      He kinda reminds me of Matt Stairs.

  • Mike

    The Cubs have been using the excuse of lack of night games for ages as one of the reasons for not winning. It’s a lame excuse. Loads of other teams found ways to win before lights were even installed in ballparks, except the Cubs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah! Don’t address the substance of what the players and manager are actually saying, just call it an excuse and move on!

      (Sorry, this is one of my go button issues.)

      • Fishin Phil

        I still think they should have Mark Grace take the opposing team on guided tours of Rush St. the night before a day game. Let’s turn this into a real advantage!

      • Jeff R

        But isn’t that just anecdotal evidence? And is the only answer is to have more night games? How about trying to implement a system in the minors that somewhat mimics the “rigors” of 50 home day games. Because even if the Cubs get 40 night games, this is still going to be a perceived issue.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          No, it’s not anecdotal evidence, it’s an explanation for a pattern. The evidence is that the Cubs have won far fewer games (especially in September) over the years, and that MLB players show September drop-offs in performance that they do not show on other teams. The inconsistent schedule induced by the Cubs playing so many more day games than all other players parsimonious explanation for a pattern that we’ve seen since 1946.

          Also, you cannot get used to no schedule. Sure, most people can get used to *a* schedule. However, having no schedule at all leaves is not something to which you can adapt. Highly inconsistent schedules cause physical and mental exhaustion and increase the severity and frequency of illness and injury. Put another way: the Cubs schedule is a very mild form of what they call “aggressive interogation” in Gitmo!

          • DarthHater

            But surely, long familiarity with the coyotes and rats in Wrigley gives the Cubs an advantage over visiting teams?

          • Jeff R

            Can you provide me the link to the data? And how this data correlates to resetting of the body. I’m skeptical. Plus, it’s not like the Cubs haven’t gone to the playoffs since 1946. But let’s say I agree with you, the cubs can’t do anything about the lack of night games in the near term. It’s not like the Cubs are going get 60 or 70 night games in 13, 14, or 15…it’s going to be at least a couple of decades. If this is a truly a problem today, it’s time to start thinking about a different solution(s), wouldn’t you agree?

            And why the Cubs asking for 40 night games instead of 60-70 night games if they truly thought this was the root of the cubs futility?

            • TWC

              “if they truly thought this was the root of the cubs futility?”

              That *your* reductio ad absurdum, not the Cubs’.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Which data? Bill James found the correlations between how Cubs players compared to MLB players as a group many, many year ago. (I think that he published it around the time that the Cubs first got lights.)

              The issues on the insidious effects of inconsistent schedules has come up in studies of medical errors at hospitals: the vaunted tradition of making young doctors keep crazy hours is strongly correlated with them making critical mistakes that kill people. Now, it’s not like they always screw up: but it’s true that they screw up more often. It’s also well-documented in studies on sleep deprivation, in terms of both causes and effects. In particular, inconsistent schedule induce insomnia and poor sleep (i.e., rapid shifts from deep phases to shallow ones).

              And the solution for an inconsistent schedule is pretty well-known: make it a consistent one. If that is not an option, then don’t count on seeing your grandkids get married (or even born).

              As for why the Cubs are asking for 40 instead of 81, well, watch “Life of Brian.” (We have to haggle….)

              • Jeff R

                Doc – Can you send me that link, i googled it and couldnt find it. Actually dont. It matters, I want to move on from that point. The cubs wont get the night games to get a help get a consistent sched. Am i right? You can agree with that. I’m just trying to point out that this issue needs a different solution in the near term. More nights cant be the solution today, right?

                And yes, doctors working 24-40 hours straight make mistakes. I know, I’m married to one.

    • Hansman1982

      It’s all about incremental improvements. If the increased day games cost the cubs 1-2 wins and optimal lineups give them another 1-2 wins and improved facilities gets another 1-2 wins we are easily talking about 4-5 wins a season.

      It’s like saying your flat broke but not buying a pack of cigs a week won’t help your situation. If you combine that with something else you’re talking about a real change.

      The reason the cubs didn’t win before lights has far less to do with day games and far more to do with terrible ownership.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Uh, Joey? That would add up to 3-6 wins.

        • DarthHater

          Yea yea, we know. “Math” is supposed to have “rules” blah blah blah…

          • Cubbie Blues

            Must be BetterMath.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Same mean, different variance on the error bars. Just note it in the figure caption!

            • DarthHater

              show off :-P

        • Hansman1982

          Uh Timmy, you forgot to carry the 42.

    • DarthHater

      The fact that the Cubs failures to win a World Series 60 or more years ago may have been caused by factors other than lack of night games does not mean that, in more recent times, being the only team without a significant number of home night games has not been a significant negative factor for the club.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, the Cubs won pennants at good rates before night ball became the norm: they won 9 of them in the 40 years prior to WWII, after all. The Cubs last pennant (1945) was in a year with mostly day games because of WWII. What happened in the WS doesn’t really mean much other than the Cubs were a bit unlucky.

        • DarthHater

          Yea, those Gabby Hartnett/Rogers Hornsby Cubs teams really sucked! I wonder what lame excuses Cubs fans were using back then?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, there was one other team that played far more day games than anyone other than the Cubs: the SF GIants. And the Giants, too, did not fare all that well, with several good teams slowing down towards the end of the season.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Loads of other teams found ways to win before lights were even installed in ballparks, except the Cubs.”

      And if you have 8 teams in a league, all of whom are playing all (or even mostly) day games, then you get a first place team that didn’t “find” a way to win in day games…. how exactly?

      Seriously, this is a contestant for the most illogical assertion of the year! We should mark it.

      • Hansman1982

        Hey, the cubs installed the pipe organ in 1941. After that you had Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and only 1 World Series appearance.

        BAN PIPE ORGANS!!!!

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Or bring back the Czar! The Cubs were a much better team when there were Czars….

          • DarthHater

            Cubs haven’t been to the Series since the Nazis were deafeated. Just sayin’…

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, the Nazi’s were defeated in the spring of 1945. Well, the ones in Germany were, anyway….

              Didn’t they make some special allowance for players returning from the war to appear in the WS? I think that they already had the roster rules, and the Japanese didn’t surrender until late in the season.

          • Cubbie Blues

            So your a fan of Matt Szczur then?

      • SirCub

        Yea! And people won wars long before the the tank was invented, so why can’t we succeed with a military driving around in covered wagons?

        • Cubbie Blues

          [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/26336292.jpg[/img]

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/250×250/34576997.jpg[/img]

            • DarthHater

              heh

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Those covered wagons are unmanly! We should line up on horses with lances and charge the enemy with chivalry and valour in our hearts, singing praises to our King! (*grumbles about wusses who need plate armor instead of good old-fashioned chainmail….*)

          • Cubbie Blues

            Aren’t you basically made out of plate armor?

            • DocPeterWimsey

              23%!

      • Jim L.

        Just give him the award right now.

  • Cubby Mike

    I hear he is extremely competitive. All I would do is say to him ” get in world class shape, and take ground balls 5 hour a day for the next year and it would be worth 200 million dollars”. I know I would would that challenge.

  • Patrick G

    Is hector anyway related to Bruce Rondon

  • Dave H

    Was that John Kruk

  • Marc N.

    This “man he’s throwing his ST bullpen like its the playoffs(!)” cliche is new to me. It probably isn’t.

    More night games please. It only makes sense.

  • Marc N.

    Also, man crush on Almora.

    • Navin R. Johnson (formerly mirky waters)

      Agreed! Haha

  • Idaho Razorback

    Brett, I just checked my tv listings and didn’t see the Cubs Spring Training preview on it. Went to MLB Network and it wasn’t listed on it’s schedule for today either.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      MLB Tonight.

  • Section 409 Row 2

    Like Brett said, It just says MLB Tonight during the time slot, but the Cubs 30 on 30 must be included in that hour. I’ve got my DVR set!

  • Navin R. Johnson (formerly mirky waters)

    Interesting story on Garza and Navarro. I have a feeling Navarro might become a fan favorite here. But did I read that Garza was quoted saying something like I thought the cubs overpaid for Navarro at first? Cause to me, that’s a pretty assinine statement to make about a friend and teammate.

    • Edwin

      Navarro isn’t very good, so if he becomes a fan favorite it will probably have more to do with Castillo struggling than Navarro being good. The Cubs did overpay for Navarro, but I wouldn’t think Garza would have commented on it (unless he was just trying to give a friend a hard time).

  • JulioZuleta

    I love the no batting gloves. Also like the pinky over the end of the bat. Seems like a lot of guys have gone away from that. Gives you a lot more wrist flexion.

  • Mick

    He’s a 10-foot-tall beast man, who showers in vodka, and feeds his baby Shrimp Scampi.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Our new 32 year old bass fishing Japanese reliever with the disappearing splitter. And he says he is just a rookie and will do anything to help the team. I think I am going to really like this cat.

  • myporsche

    at :23 Did vogelbach say “fuck him in the ass” ? Srs question

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yes

    • JulioZuleta

      Nooo, no not at all. He said “me” not “him”

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