anthony rizzo happy celebrationMake sure you grab yesterday’s fresh episode of the BN Podcast for your weekend listening pleasure.

  • Chicago Cubs single game tickets go on sale today at 10am CT. I’d say it’s a fair bet that demand will be down this year compared to a few years ago, so you’ll probably be able to grab whatever games you want today. I guess that’s the silver lining of a crappy run of seasons. Here’s the promotional schedule, in case you wanted to make sure you get some swag at your game.
  • Anthony Rizzo is already a World Baseball Classic hero. Thanks to his two-run, go-ahead double in the 9th inning off of Sergio Romo, Rizzo’s Italy team upset Mexico in their first WBC match-up. (How do you say “RizzOMG” in Italian?) You don’t necessarily want to see Rizzo away from camp longer than necessary … but, I mean, come on. How can you not cheer for them? I’ll probably pull for Team Italy over Team USA, whom they play tomorrow …
  • So, have the Cubs signed Cuban pitching prospect Armando Rivero or not? As of yesterday, I could go only as far as to say that the Cubs may have signed him (based on the fact that he was set to arrive and participate in minor league Spring Training). Phil Rogers says yes, the Cubs have signed him after a “lower-level bidding war.” Carrie Muskat says no, the deal isn’t finalized. It doesn’t sound like it won’t happen, though, given that he’s in Arizona (having received his necessary clearance from the United States and MLB). Perhaps we’re just waiting on a physical, which is finally being conducted now that he’s in the States. Once he starts participating in camp, we’ll hear more about him, and how excited we should be. He’s been mostly a mystery among scouting circles until now.
  • Scott Baker threw two innings of a simulated game yesterday, and is on schedule to pitch in a minor league game next week. If that goes well, he’ll make his Cactus League debut in his next outing.
  • In an unrelated piece about Cubs management holding out hope for competitiveness this year, Jed Hoyer says this about the difference between being in Boston and in Chicago: “The fan base and how much they care is very similar. The big difference in Boston is there had been so many close calls [between championships in 1918 and 2004]. There haven’t been that many close calls with the Cubs. The Cubs haven’t even been in a World Series since 1945. The Cubs haven’t enjoyed a run of successes only to be disappointed.” I know what he’s saying, and he’s not wrong. But, for us, the “close calls” have been about getting to the World Series, rather than winning it. I’m not sure it doesn’t hurt just as much.
  • Quote machine Carlos Villanueva on the value of swing pitchers: “Our value is definitely under appreciated, if you ask me. If I was ever managing, I would want at least two guys who can do what I’ve done. It’s not an easy job …. There’s no market for it. When you go to arbitration with somebody, you hear you’re not good enough to start, you’re not good enough to close and it obviously drives the value down. But you ask a manager or a pitching coach or the guys who play behind you, if your starter doesn’t have it that day, and it’s a two-run game and you can bring that guy in the third inning and can hold it there, that’s a beautiful thing.”
  • A group of athletes, notably including Ernie Banks, have signed onto a letter backing a gay marriage bill in Illinois. I know nothing of Mr. Cub’s politics (and if you turn this into a political discussion, so help me …), but it is interesting to see he’s gotten involved in this issue.
  • BUNT TOURNAMENT! It’s down to the Elite Eight (almost), with David DeJesus vs. Logan Watkins, Michael Brenly vs. Edwin Maysonet, Edwin Jackson vs. the winner of Hisanori Takahashi and strength coach Tim Buss, and Blake Parker vs. video staffer Nate Halm as the remaining match-ups.
  • Big League Stew’s Dave Brown sums up the chorus of jokes we’re hearing a day after the Cubs announced their 2013 “Committed” marketing campaign. In short, folks can’t seem to believe the Cubs didn’t properly consider that other meaning of the word “committed,” and the Cubs therefore deserve ridicule for their carelessness. Considering the absurd number of – and quality of – super smart people working for the Cubs these days, I find it impossible to believe that not one of them thought, “hey, you know, ‘committed’ means something else, too.” Of course they realized it. Of course they knew they’d face a thin wave of the same joke being told again and again … for a week or so. They decided, for better or worse, that the campaign was valuable enough regardless of the jokes. The truth is, there isn’t a campaign you can create that the Modern Internet cannot cleverly indict. Folks wonder why the Cubs keep coming up with slogans that are easy to make fun of? It’s because all slogans are easy to make fun of. Especially when you pool the collected cynicism of the masses (if only we used our powers for good). So, I’m not going to rip the campaign. These things tend to fall into two categories: terrible, and not terrible. They’re rarely “good.” This campaign is decidedly “not terrible,” especially when you consider that folks seem only to be able to rip the slogan word, rather than the entire fan-focused campaign. So I think the Cubs did about as well as they could. And I challenge you to come up with a campaign that I/we cannot ridicule. Seriously: offer up some ideas in the comments, and we can ridicule them. It will be fun.
  • Edwin

    My ad campaign would feature billboards with everything Die Hard has ever posted.

    • Kubphan82

      Heh, you said die hard! I’m sure that’s the best way to go for him, but hard on her…

      • ichabod


      • Josh Ed.

        I see what you did.

        Also, remember that the point of a marketing slogan is replication and amplification of itself. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad at this point: any repetition or virality of the idea is exposure, which is the whole freaking point.

        I bet some smart guys saw the “committed” joke as one that plays out in two extremes: the Cubs are worse than last year, or they improve to some (perhaps crazy lucky) degree.

        I don’t think we are looking at 100 loss team, and I think if we end up with one the jokes will be justified (and still serving their intended purpose).

  • Chris84

    Maybe we are crazy for being fans of a team that can’t seem to catch a break, but you know what? The alternative isn’t much better and honestly, I’ve always had a better time at Cubs games than at Sox games.

    • hansman1982

      This is a slogan that I cannot ridicule.

  • Seth

    Antonio Rizzo è il migliore.

  • Morken

    Ernie Banks is a better person than he was a player. And that’s saying something, because he’s ERNIE Banks!

    In an attempt to change the perception of gay marriage amongst African-Americans – a demographic that not only strongly opposes gay marriage, but is also intolerant to homosexuality in general – Ernie Banks is taking an active leadership role.

    Great job, Ernie!

    • CubFan Paul

      WTF are you talking about (rhetorical)? I didn’t know I was supposed to be a homophobe so I’m confused.

      Hrmmm…maybe I should stop skipping the weekly Black Ppl meetings (no whites allowed). I have some issues to bring up anyway (..white people putting just bbq sauce, onions, & sausage pizza)

      • Jp4unc

        Uh oh… IN at the beginning of this.

      • Morken

        Not all African-Americans are opposed to gay marriage, of course. However, there’s a very serious problem within the African-American community in regards to tolerance to homosexuality.

        Ernie Banks should be applauded for taking the initiative.

        • CubFan Paul

          “very serious problem” according to a white guy on a message board.

          Thanks for not providing any referenced/sourced material to prove your idiocy. Are you going to explain racism to people of color too, and say you understand?

          • hansman1982

            Just disengage now and realize that it’s not worth it with him.

            • Morken

              Are you my stalker, hansman? Simply ignore me, as you’ve proclaimed to do so many times.

          • Morken

            Racism comes from all races, not just white people. You don’t have a better understanding of racism simply because you’re black.

            I’m sorry you’re ignorant to a very serious problem. There’s a reason that same-sex marriage has struggled to pass in liberal states, like California. African-Americans overwhelmingly oppose it.

            • CubFan Paul

              Because there’s no gays in the “African American” community, or not enough gay “African Americans” for it to matter. You’re right, only whites and Asians are gay. Us “African Americans” are too hip for that shit.

              • Morken

                Homosexuality exists in every race/ethnicity. What does that have to do with tolerance?

                California, a state deeply rooted in liberalism, struggles to pass same-sex marriage laws. There’s a very simple explanation…

                • CubFan Paul

                  So the surf & sun state speak/represent the other 49. Morken you’re a Moron. Offense intended Mr. Wide Paint Brush

                  • Morken

                    It has struggled to pass in every blue state, not just California.

                    • Patrick W.

                      It was no struggle here in Washington State. None whatsoever. Voters voted for it, first time on the ballot, overwhelmingly.

        • N8theGr8

          “Not all African-Americans are opposed to gay marriage, of course. However, there’s a very serious problem within the African-American community in regards to tolerance to homosexuality.” — Committed.

      • N8theGr8

        “I didn’t know I was supposed to be a homophobe so I’m confused.
        Hrmmm…maybe I should stop skipping the weekly Black Ppl meetings (no whites allowed).” — Committed

  • ncsujuri

    Typo Alert!!!

    Tournament has two T’s in it Brett…

    • Jp4unc

      That’s 2 O’s in Goose fellas

    • Brett

      Ha. When it’s in all caps, the exclamation point kind of looks like a T.

      • ncsujuri

        It definitely did, caught it the 2nd or 3rd time around…were there brackets put out anywhere for the full field bunt tournament that I missed?

  • Morken

    While those who watched Rizzo’s “double” in the 9th will point out that it should have been caught, it’s important to point out that Rizzo’s fly ball would have still produced a sacrifice fly, thus tying the game for Italy, in the 9th. It’s also worth noting that this all went own with two strikes, against Sergio Romo, while going the other way with a pitch outside.

    It was a very “mature” at bat.

  • Gcheezpuff

    So with the tigers needing a closer, Texas needing a starting pitcher, and the Cubs needing a 3rd baseman, what are the chances the teams discuss a 3-way involving Porcello, Olt, and Marmol. Obviously not equal with just these 3 players, but it appears there could be the foundation of a deal here.

  • Jan Forty-Two


    • Kev


  • forlines

    Not gonna get into it too far, but good for Ernie Banks. It’s nice when people ues their elevated platform to advocate something positive.

    As for Rizzo, Morken hit it right on the nail. Very mature AB indeed. Dudeman is a beast with RISP. Hopefully he’ll produce like that for the Cubbies all season long!

  • ETS

    Did Brett just scold the internet?

    • Brett

      A little. And it was tough to do, because I love the Internet.

      • ETS

        Ha, that’s a dangerous relationship.

  • MichiganGoat

    Chicago Cubs 2013: This year goats ARE allowed!

  • ETS

    Oh mio dio Rizzo!

  • Dougy D

    From what I’ve seen of the committed campaign, I actually think it’s not too bad. This is coming from a person that does everything in his power not to watch a commercial, or will purposefully not buy something because of there repeated advertisements. It is fairly cheesy, like any slogan, but being a Cubs fan since I was a we boy, I can connect with it.

  • Edwin

    2013 Cubs: Enjoy the Runs!

    • Mak

      Nailed it.

  • MightyBear

    I’m so happy Scott Baker is on track and not having any issues. I can’t wait to see him on the mound at Wrigley and opponent’s ballparks pounding the strike zone for the Cubbies.

  • MightyBear

    Also, Rizzo coming through in the clutch is another huge difference between this year’s team and last years and why the Cubbies are going to surprise everyone by making the playoffs.

  • Luke

    I’ll take Watkins against that field.

    • Spencer

      I’m on DeJesus for the repeat.

  • justinjabs

    Buying tickets in an hour. My family and I will be at Darwin Barney’s Gold Glove Day (been stoked about that giveaway ever since the Rays did one a few years back), and my girlfriend and I will be at Social Media Night.

    Anyone else have any plans for the season already?

    • MichiganGoat

      I’ll be drinking beer

      • bbmoney

        Really? Me Too. Unbelievable.

      • MightyBear

        I wish I was sitting down for that news flash.

      • N8theGr8


        • Jp3

          Got to say N8theGr8 love the random use of commited. I was thinking of using the slogan during the year on the EBS when Marmol blows a save with this stat line: 0.1IP 4BB 2Hits 1HR 3ER….for the 3rd time that week-COMMITTED

          • N8theGr8

            Marmol can be too often committed to that type of line.

    • hawkcub

      Bought all my tickets in 15 minutes(just 4 this year). Wow that was fast. Going to see St. Louis and one vs. Anaheim in July. Expected it to go fast but even that surprised me.

  • Jamie

    “It might be…it could be…another long season! Holy cow!”
    Loving the youth movement and building it the right way!

  • cubzfan

    Rumor out that Padres would listen on Chase Headley. If the Cubs could somehow snag him for any combination of prospects that doesn’t include the big 3 (Baez, Soler, Almora), it would be a tremendous deal and move up the timetable for playoff contention. If I were the Padres, I’d insist on Baez, plus a couple of lesser lights like Vitters, Lake, Paniagua, or Cabrera. But could the Cubs overwhelm them with a big portfolio of players like B. Jackson, T. Wood, Villanueva (3B), Watkins, etc….guys that are not surefire starters, but could turn into such?

  • Cub Fan Dan

    I dont know whether to be happy or sad that (depending on how Bussy does) 1/4 of the elite 8 of the bunt tourney includes the team’s video guy & the strength coach. Maybe next year they can include a blogger.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      At what point does the front office tell the video guy, it’s not your night kid. He can always tell his kids, I coulda been a contenda.

  • Katie

    I would pay 5 American dollars to see Brett vs Nate the video guy.

    • justinjabs

      Me too.

  • mpope30

    2013 Cubs: Great Seats Available!

  • DarthHater

    “if only we used our powers for good”

    You have recognized the power of the Dark Side. Now, you have only to embrace it. Your training will then be complete and the Emperor will be most pleased.

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Loyal 4 100 more!

  • Tommy

    I’m disappointed to see 2 non-players in the final 8 of the bunt tourney.

    • DarthHater

      Given the unimportance of bunting to on-field success, I am encouraged to see 2 non-players in the final 8 of the bunt tourney. 😉

    • Edward

      And it’s BP bunting. Even I could execute a bunt under BP pitching at 50mph. I wouldn’t read too much into the results it’s just for fun. Guessing Video Nate would have a little more trouble with real, big league pitching!

  • OCCubFan

    I recall that a long time ago Ernie Banks ran for office (alderman?) as a Republican. He lost.

  • Jack Weiland

    Possible slogans:

    2013 Cubs: Sorry Everyone!

    2013 Cubs: Our Fans Must Either Be Stupid Or Crazy And We Don’t Care Which As Long As They Continue Spending Money We Promise To Be Good Soon Theo Epstein!

  • Red Baron 42

    Cub have to be the worst team in the league with promo’s. First 10k adults? Gimme a break.

  • cubmig

    A few words on the Cubs 2013 campaign: It’s advertising. Nothing more and nothing less. What is difficult to understand, however, is that the front office feels the needs to prop up expectations with reminders of who and what Cubs fans are. Most of us have been Cubs fans for as far back as we can remember. Why do we need to have all this flashy s*** thrown in our collective face? It makes no sense. All the Front Office has to do is concentrate on putting a damn good team on the field to win. If they do that and the team performs, there is no need for inventing words to trap the mind into believing what only action on the field can deliver. If any of you think I am against advertising, you are right. As a society, I think we’ve gone overboard with it…..It’s everywhere.

    Lastly, and a word to the Front Office: Save the campaign $$$ and just put a damn good team on the field and “they will come”…..