brandon phillipsWhile The Wife and I patiently await the arrival of kiddo number two, my brother and his wife had their second over the weekend, a boy. Given their proximity in age, I can only assume that our sons will be buddies. They have no choice.

  • Brandon Phillips just went from fun, tongue-in-cheek, knowing heel to … well, the kind of guy who would say things like this: “Was I surprised [I didn’t win the Gold Glove]? Yes. I don’t get mad at things I really can’t control. But I was very surprised I didn’t see my name. I thought I was getting punked when I heard about it. That’s the way it is …. The only thing I can do is go out and play the game the way I do. I do it with flair because baseball is a boring game. That’s why I play with flair. Do I think that’s one of the main reasons I didn’t win the Gold Glove? Yeah, I can say that.” Wow. Is he still just playing up his persona? Or is this just him? I am increasingly thinking it’s the latter. In no universe would I, as a fan, enjoy having a Cubs player saying things like this. It reeks of the worst kind of attention-seeking desperation, to say nothing of how insulting it is to the quality defensive player – Darwin Barney – who won the Gold Glove going away. Maybe Phillips is just bummed that his flair wasn’t enough to save him from his statistically worst season in years – worst UZR since 2009, and worst OPS+ since 2008.
  • A little more from Matt Garza on his side injury, per Carrie Muskat: “I threw the first fastball from the stretch, and it was like a water cramp. I didn’t drink that much water today. Naturally, I’m not going to push it. My arm felt fine, so I was pretty pumped about that. The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I think that’s what I’m most upset about — I was like, ‘Yeah.’ It shouldn’t be a big thing and we’ll see [Monday].” Hopefully a cramp is all it was. (Obligatory “isn’t that what he thought the elbow thing was originally” comment.)
  • Cubs players punked their manager as he delivered the opening address to the full squad, dressing in orange hunting shirts and caps, and giving Dale Sveum a shirt with a target on it. The joke was a reference to an offseason story Sveum told, in which Robin Yount accidentally hit Sveum in the ear with birdshot while hunting together. Matt Garza is the suspected ringleader of the joke.
  • Patrick Mooney on new minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson, and on finding the next David Price (rather than just buying him).
  • Jesse Rogers dumps on the Cubs’ 2013 chances, and he’s probably not wrong in the particulars. Patrick Mooney writes on a similar subject, but with a slightly less negative tone (note that I’m not saying it’s optimistic … ).
  • Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus writes about finding “the next Orioles” (i.e., the next team that no one gives a chance, and then surprises massively to the upside) and why that’s kind of a specious endeavor in the first place. Among other things Lindbergh points out, he notes that the Indians are the vogue “next Orioles” pick, which de facto makes them not the next Orioles. In other words, if everyone thinks the Indians might be a surprise team, it’s not really a surprise if they do well. So … maybe it’s the Cubs? (Of course, Ben notes that a team has increased its win total by 20 or more only six times in the last 16 seasons. The Cubs need a 20-win improvement just to hit .500.) The Cubs certainly qualify in the sense that no one expects them to be in the playoffs in 2013.


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