We’ve got another edition of the podcast coming later this morning, and it features another great guest. I guess we’ve given up on teasing, at least this time around, and I can tell you it’s Tim Sheridan, the Cubs’ PA Announcer in Spring Training, and the purveyor of the Spring Training goodness that is Boys of Spring. It’s a good one, and you’re going to want to check it out.
- Barry Rozner writes that Tom Ricketts made a critical error in not threatening to move the Cubs out of Wrigleyville immediately upon taking over the Cubs. I think it’s easy to say that now, especially after discussions have been so difficult, and if you’re viewing things through a restricted lens. But, when Ricketts took over the team, I’m not so sure it would have been a good idea to immediately tell fans, “that ballpark you cherish and hold so dear? Yeah, I don’t give a crap about it, and we’re going to move the team out to the suburbs.” I think Ricketts probably could have done a better job of leaving himself some options, but coming out of the gate guns blazing about a move could have been a disaster. As for making “the move” threat now, I’m just not sure he could do it credibly. Not only do we know that Wrigley Field – actual Wrigley Field – is a unique draw for fans, but it also is a property that the Ricketts Family owns, and that has superior value only if it remains Wrigley Field. Unless they could get a suburb to pay for a new park, abandoning Wrigley Field in favor of a suburban spot where they can then pay $500 million to build a state of the art ballpark (and entertainment akin to Wrigleyville) is robbing Peter to pay Paul, even if you view it only from a financial perspective. And, maybe I’m a dope, but I still worry about attendance long-term out in the suburbs.
- Another player looks better than last Spring. This time it’s Carlos Marmol, who is throwing “way better” than last year at this time, according to Dale Sveum. I’m telling you, it’s the new “best shape of my life” platitude.
- Jeff Samardzija lost his offseason training buddy (Ryan Dempster), so he had to train alone in Arizona this offseason. He’s looking forward to competing with Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson for the Opening Day nod. (I also couldn’t help but notice that he mentioned that Darwin Barney was sitting on his cutter in batting practice, and Barney drilled one. That made me think Samardzija is thinking about throwing his cutter more often this year (hard to sit on a pitch a guy isn’t throwing much) – he threw it just 10% of the time last year. It was his hardest hit pitch (by line drive percentage) by far, so I wonder if he’s improved it.)
- Vine Line has some video from Cubs camp of “the new guys.”
- Josh Vitters talks about his brief stint in Venezuela this Winter (recall, he appeared in two games, went 0 for 7, and was removed from the roster).
- A profile on catching prospect Michael Brenly, who dropped 20 pounds over the offseason.
- BUNT TOURNEY! From Carrie Muskat: “Players to advance on Tuesday included Michael Brenly, Jeff Samardzija, Jaye Chapman, Brent Lillibridge, Darnell McDonald, Blake Parker, Brett Jackson and Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera won by default because his opponent, Cory Wade, didn’t show. Parker beat Kyuji Fujikawa, who batted right-handed. The Japanese pitcher usually hits left-handed.” Dude. Cory Wade. You better have a great excuse. I know you’re new, but someone must have told you by now that the Bunt Tourney takes precedence over all other Spring activities.
- Kent Sterling performs his semi-annual troll of Cubs fans (seriously, I’m not aware of him writing anything Cubs-related save for one item in the Spring about how the Cubs are going to suck, and then another piece late in the season about how the Cubs do suck). He actually wrote the following things:
The Cubs suck. Fans know it. Ownership knows it. The players know it. While other teams are building a farm system, reaping the rewards of building one, or investing in a free agent that might put a team over the top, the Cubs are busy with other issues, according to a Paul Sullivan post on chicahgotribune.com.
The Cubs have become very adept over the last couple of years at monetizing the only valuable asset in the Cubs catalogue – Wrigley Field. They have hosted an NHL game, a very cramped version of college football, movies, and soon they will host field hockey. Not sure whether money was actually made, but the place has been busy for more than the Cubs 81 home dates.
Now, the Cubs are busying themselves by reassessing their music repertoire. It seems fans are upset with the barrage of hits from the 1980s, as well as the celebrity conductors of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch ….
Now, instead of finding a way to compete with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, they are updating the public address offerings for the pregame.
- Classic indicia of an effort to rile people up in the interest of page views and attention (aka, professional trolling): (1) Factual inaccuracies? Check; (2) Inflammatory and/or loaded language or phrases? Check; (3) Plucking the lowest hanging fruit of fan anger? Check; (4) The semblance of a point only in the most rudimentary sense? Check; (5) Spelling and/or grammatical errors? Check; (6) Employment of logical fallacies like straw men, false choice, and reductio ad absurdum? Check. Well played, Mr. Sterling. I hope it was worth it. As with another certain professional troll in the Chicago media, you’ve seen the last Sterling mention on BN.