bob brenly broadcasterChicago Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts will address the team – now fully assembled – in Mesa this morning. Among the subjects: the progress on the Wrigley renovation front. Hopefully that means new information today, but it’s possible it will just be things we’ve already heard (not everyone is obsessing like we are). He’s expected to meet with the media, though, so I reckon they’ll ask some good questions. (Nudge: what’s the status of talks with the rooftops? Are you still considering the possibility of a plan to block them, or is something collaborative expected to come together? Frustrated by inability to get others on board to help? Will construction start in the Fall even if, for example, the night game plan hasn’t been implemented? How many night games do you want, by the way? JumboTron – anything new on that front? I could go on …. )

  • Bob Brenly says he was so close to re-upping with WGN and the Cubs on a five-year deal that he went out with his family to celebrate. The problem, though, was that WGN couldn’t guarantee him the final three years of the deal, because its contract with the Cubs expires after the 2014 season (and WGN didn’t want to be forced to pay Brenly for those final three years if they lose the Cubs, and the new network didn’t pick up Brenly (I’m thinking there’s no way the new network wouldn’t have picked up Brenly, but whateves)). So, he sought out the security of the D-backs deal. Hard to blame him. As for the implications, this isn’t really something we didn’t already expect. The real question is whether the Cubs will also be able to get out of the CSN portion of their TV deal (which runs through 2019), so they can put out the whole lot of games for bidding. I’ve got a big ‘ole TV contract post in the works, so I expect to dig into this heavily soon.
  • Brenly made sure to add, and I agree, that fans are probably going to enjoy Brenly’s replacement – Jim Deshaies – quite quickly.
  • Nate Halm, the assistant video coordinator and advance scout (“video dude”), won the front office play-in tournament, and he’ll be entered into the full 64-man field for the Cubs Bunt Tourney. Theo Epstein surprisingly beat Jed Hoyer in the first round, but then lost in the second round to wunderkind Scott Harris, the new (25-year-old) Director of Baseball Operations.
  • When the Cubs open their Cactus League schedule next Saturday, Travis Wood will get the first start, followed by Jeff Samardzija on Sunday. Baseball in six days.
  • Before that, there will be a couple intrasquad games on Thursday and Friday, with Chris Rusin, Cory Wade, Trey McNutt, Nick Struck, Robert Whitenack and Rafael Dolis scheduled to pitch Thursday, per Carrie Muskat. Brooks Raley, Drew Carpenter, Hector Rondon, Dayan Diaz, Alberto Cabrera, Michael Bowden, Blake Parker and Jensen Lewis are expected to go on Friday. It’s almost every pitcher in camp who is competing for a roster spot/bullpen spot. Some of the guys guaranteed to make the team will be throwing live batting practice as soon as today.
  • Luis Valbuena says he doesn’t feel like he’s on the team yet (though Dale Sveum disagrees), and wants to prove once again that he belongs. I like that attitude. He’s also kind of competing for the third base job, though Sveum has called it Ian Stewart’s “job to win.”
  • It’s getting harder and harder to believe Ryan Braun, says Scott Miller. Indeed.
  • Ron Swanson

    I liked Brenly but with the addition of Deshaise, I’m ready to move on. Nothing at all against Brenly other than a few of his jokes were getting tired.

  • Ron Swanson

    His analysis was usually spot on and very candid. That part the d-back fans will enjoy.

    • ichabod

      no matter how good deshaise will be, brenly will be missed. casper-brenly combo was spot on. personality goes a long way.

  • Andy Nelson

    The security of a 5-yr deal?!

    One of the best color men in baseball is worried about whether he can fid a job or not? Odd rationale to me. I would prefer that he just say he wants to enjoy the AZ weather all year round

    • Hansman1982

      It’s no different than Pujols or Fielder wanting a ten year deal. Anything can happen, he could be in an accident and not be able to work or a disease could take his speech.

      Bully for him.

  • Die hard

    Maybe Brenly wanted more leeway to speak his mind ?

  • Tommy

    Easy solution for Braun would be to agree to round the year drug testing to prove his innocence. I doubt we’ll see that anytime soon.

    • CubbieBubba

      Braun just needs to tell the truth; that PEDs abused him as a kid and so all he was doing in buying PEDs was for his own testing and research for a book he is writing on the subject. (The Townshend Defense)

  • James

    I think the Cubs need to keep at least some of the games on WGN. It’s tradition! If they dump WGN, they might as well move into a dome down by Lake Michigan!!

  • rich

    Brenly was great the only one with any balls to say it the way it was ! His objectivity will be missed by a lot of us i believe !

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Brenly is the epitome of subjective assessment. There might have been “balls” to what he said, but there certainly were no brains to it. Indeed, my favorite Brenly moment came this summer when he had to eat crow about Aramis Ramirez and tacitly admit that talent actually means a lot more than attitude.

      Brenly will fit in well in AZ, where they do seem to take a “one size fits all” approach to baseball: including the idea that one shoe size fits all hands just as well as feet…..

  • Mrcub1958

    Hmmm. Dome by the lake? No Wrigleyville issues, night games, and warm opening day …..

  • adam

    Went to high school with nate halm! Awesome catcher!!

  • Colocubfan

    I’m wondering with the departure of Brenly, will that be the end to “Give it to a kid!”.

    Also, can someone explain to me why the Mayor of Chicago thinks that he has any right to pressure the Cubs into a deal with the rooftop owners since he has no intention of helping out with renovation costs???

  • J. Edwards

    “It’s getting harder and harder to believe Ryan Braun, says Scott Miller. Indeed.”

    Is anyone still trying?

    Sure, the court of public opinion is full of fools and opinions (and people like me). But it’s hard to believe the evidence of his failed test was a mistake and all this other business about his involvement is just coincidental.

    Let’s be clear, people often lie. And MLB players have good reasons to lie about PED usage given the job/money/success/fame that results.

    Between the two options: that Braun used PEDs, or that he did not use PEDs, one of them seems to me much easier to believe. And the balance of probabilities as to what actually happened doesn’t favor Braun’s version of events.

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  • hookersorcake

    Braun is worse than many of the PED cheaters.
    I can almost understand a fringe AAA guy trying to finally make it and get a payday. What I don’t understand is All Star level guys like Bonds, ARod, and Braun using to pump up their already impressive numbers. Maybe a guy like Braun’s whole career is built on PEDs. Or sadly maybe its not. Maybe he risked his health, career, and image for nothing. Whatever the case when he and his lawyer tried to publicaly destroy the drug tester in his case, Braun sunk to a new low. And for that alone he should be labeled a scumbag eternal.
    Hopefully the stricter testing will either catch Braun or show up in his numbers. Either way I hope he never see’s the HOF.

    • Tom A.

      Agree !

  • BluBlud

    I hope Watkins or Lake or even possibly at some point Baez takes off and force their way to the majors so I don’t have to watch that God awful Valbeuna play baseball for the whole season.

  • 5412


    I don’t think the Cubs are too concerned about CSN. I understood they bought a portion of CSN as part of the deal when they bought the team.


    • Brett

      They did (25%). And that may prove to be the case – but it’s only 25%.