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wrigley field lightsThe Wife and I are still doing shifts for taking care of The Little Boy at night. Some nights that yields a bounty of sleep for me (as much as seven broken-up hours), while others it leaves me with just a handful of broken-up hours. I got plenty last night, but the preceding two nights were thin, so this morning is when I’m really feeling it.

  • Add Alfonso Soriano to the growing list of current and former Cubs who are willing to say that they’d prefer more night games at Wrigley Field. Soriano told the media that more night games at home would help the team, and, instead of having just 30 night games, “It should be the opposite – 30 day games and 51 games at night.” But Soriano is just being a whiner and an excuse-maker, right? No. He’s not. The constant resetting of the body clock – see my preamble up there – takes a toll on you over time. A day game after a night game here and there? No problem. Other teams have to do that, too, when they come to Wrigley. But Cubs players have to do it constantly all season long. By July and August and September, it wears them down in a way that other teams don’t have to deal with. Further, more night games generate more revenue – both in the ballpark and in TV deals – so, with apologies to lovers of day games, there’s just no reason not to be completely in favor of more night games. The players want it. The Cubs want it. It helps the organization. And it doesn’t completely abandon day games. Just do it already.)
  • I’ve long suspected that Hisanori Takahashi would win the final spot in the Cubs’ bullpen, and now that it’s down to just he an Cory Wade, I’m fairly convinced. Dale Sveum certainly sounds like he agrees, per Carrie Muskat: “[Takahashi]‘s been pitching really well, he’s been getting right-handers out a little easier than left-handers. He’s very durable. We know he can pitch two, three, even four innings and get to 90 pitches. He’s valuable in a number of ways. If the game goes really smooth, you can have the possibility of two left-handers in the last three, four innings. I want him to keep throwing strikes like he has and keep doing what he’s doing.” In other words, Takahashi is the guy Sveum wants, assuming no roster additions are made.
  • As the Cubs consider logo and uniform changes, their short-season A-ball affiliate is making it happen. The Boise Hawks are changing their logo and uniforms for the upcoming season, and will reveal the changes on April 1 (which is not only Opening Day in the bigs, but is also April Fools Day, so I hope they’re prepared for jokes if the unis and/or logo look bad).
  • A profile on now-starting third baseman (likely in a platoon with Brent Lillibridge, though) Luis Valbuena. It’s easy to look at his .219/.310/.340 line last year and be discouraged, but let me do some tortured math to make you feel better about his upside this year. He’ll mostly play against righties this year, so let’s just look at his line against righties last year – .225/.312/.344, which is slightly better. Then, let’s consider that his 2012 BABIP – .260 – was around 30 points lower than what you might expect for him (he’s always had a BABIP on the lower side, but .260 is crazy low). If he gets those 30 points, and even if all of the added hits were singles, his line against righties becomes .255/.342/.374. Not world-beating, but definitely a line you’d take – and that’s with no improvement considered.
  • Dale Sveum told Paul Sullivan that the Cubs did consider picking up Jon Garland before he signed with the Rockies, after the Mariners dumped him.
  • One AL scout told Bruce Levine that Jeff Samardzija was the most improved pitcher he saw all of last season.
  • Idaho Razorback

    I’m glad to see that the Boise Hawks are changing their uniforms. Their colors are terrible. They should change their nickname too, to the Cubbies.

  • CUB5

    Day games, while a Cubs tradition, have always been a bone of contention. I agree with those that say over a normal season it screws up your clock. Even visiting players who don’t have to play at Wrigley much say it. I don’t know if more night games would fly with the neighborhood ‘Illuminati’ though…

  • David McCumber

    Mick Kelleher told me years ago that the day-game-after-night-game drill was unbelievably difficult. “You find out what your absolute rock bottom playing weight is by July,” he said. “Mine – and Ivan DeJesus’ – were both 147 pounds.”

  • DCF

    Living overseas, I love day games cause they are actually night games (7 to 8 pm) for me. Night games on the other hand are like 2-am-night games, which sucks.

    • dob2812

      Yeah the amount of day games played makes the Cubs a great team to follow from Europe because night games aren’t really watchable if you have to get up the next morning.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    I like day games on weekends. I would love for Sundays to always be day games. Saturdays can be a majority of day games. If the rest are nights, that’s fine with me!

    • mak

      With rare exceptions. there is only one night game played on sunday night league-wide. So the Cubs, even when they are in the hunt, would play 2-3 sunday night games per year.

  • Noah

    One of the issues in switching weekend games to night games (considering we’ve seen the pain of getting local business to agree to such things) is that the restaurants in the area complain that weekend night games kill their business. Perhaps a first step could be to flip all non-weekend home games (which I’d consider Friday/Saturday/Sunday games), aside from the home opener, to night games. In 2013, that would flip 12 games over, making it 42 night games to 39 day games. While get away days might not allow all of those games to flip, even if you converted 9 of them it’s a move in that direction. Then after that you can start to bargain for some Friday night or Saturday night games.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Mr. Know It All (Kyle)

    I really liked the Cory Wade pickup in the offseason.

    Now that it’s down to those two, I can’t see them not going with the lefty, but I would be impressed and intrigued if Wade won it instead.

    • MightyBear

      I just saw the Indians stashed Capps and Matsusaka in AAA. Can we do that with Wade?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Depends on his contract, and if he’s got suitors. If he’s got an opt-out and other teams want him on their big league team, then no. If he’s got no opt-out, or if he’s got no other options out there, then maybe.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wade and Takahashi were my two favorite NRI/minor league signings, so I’m pleased that they are the final choices.

  • Diesel

    As someone who has to constantly change my body clock for work I agree with the players on this. The increased night games and more consistent start times would help a lot. It is hard to be up and at work by 1pm one day to have to be at work by 7am the next and then noon the following day. It is torture on the mind as well as the body.

  • http://Noclue Marc N.

    Saw Wade pitch a lot for the Yankees last year. He will really remind you of Camp. I think he can be Camp’s replacement as the solid but unspectacular middle reliever, and I think there’s a chance he maybe is even an improvement. He’s got some innings with good teams.

  • Jon

    I would prefer more night games also, but lets be honest many businessman including myself travel across multiple time zones with changing meeting times and various commitments and we don’t get paid millions of dollars. On some level you need to suck it up and deal with it. When you signed with the Cubs; you knew this was part of the deal.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re confusing two issues:

      (1) If the Cubs player were COMPLAINING about playing day games (I don’t want to do it, it’s hard, boo hoo), you’d be spot on. But they aren’t.

      (2) Players are saying they are more worn down by the end of the year than players on other teams, which puts the Cubs at a disadvantage.

      Why would anyone – not you, Jon, but lots of people say this – respond to number 2 with “suck it up and play, you baby millionaire”?

      • TWC

        “Why would anyone … respond to number 2 with “suck it up and play, you baby millionaire”?”

        Misplaced jealousy.

        We see this response all the time to articles on the difficulties of the day/night game issue. It allows people to feel superior to the professional ballplayers (“*I* could suck it up and play, why can’t they?”).

    • Colocubfan

      Yes, it is known before they sign the contract. However, if you were the only businessman in the world that was forced to deal with time changes, don’t you think it would affect your production vs. others that didn’t have to???

  • NCMoss

    Considering Putnam is 25, I figured we might keep him instead of putting him in the pen and trying to flip him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The plan is to keep him if possible – at AAA Iowa for now.

  • Brent

    Unrelated but in case anyone is interested: ESPN Classic is showing Kerry Wood’s 20k game at noon (Central time) today.

  • TWC

    Anyone see the Cubs season preview article on Sports Illustrated? Looks like it was posted today. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130327/chicago-cubs-season-preview/)

    My favorite part:

    “Biggest Loss: Brian LaHair
    LaHair, one of the league’s best stories in the first half, was an All-Star before his second half struggles landed him on the bench and cleared the way for the start of the Rizzo era.”

    This Albert Chen guy clearly did his homework…. Fool. LaHair’s season ended on May 15th. It was simply inertia that got him to the All-Star Game.

  • DarthHater

    Don’t forget about: “Josh Vitters, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft, continues to be a big disappointment in the minors”

    That’s just not true. His minor-league performance for his age has been solid. His major-league performance last year was bad, but I’m not sure event that can exactly be called disappointing, since they called him up for reasons other than worrying about his stats.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    I’m rooting for vitters. The guy has dedicated most of his life to being a baseball player and to fail would be devastating for the kid.

    Hope he makes it

    • Edwin

      Probably not any more or less devastating than for any other prospect in baseball who has ever failed.

      • TWC

        I’m still pissed about Ty Griffin.

        • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

          Isn’t he the guy we took a few picks before Robin Ventura? Or was he the guy we took a few picks before frank Thomas? I forget.

  • Joker

    Sorry Wade…the waiver wire hits again

    ESPNChiCubs Jesse Rogers
    Cubs have claimed Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from Toronto. More info coming. Bullpen guy if he makes the team

  • Mike

    As a new season ticket holder who works regular business hours, I’m all for more night games (on weeknights). I do love day baseball though, so I’d be in favor of as many day games on saturdays as possible.

  • Die hard

    If he wants more night games them quit blocking trades and will get his wish but careful what you wish for cause he’s a better day player if not after a night game

    • TWC

      Alfonso Soriano (career):

      Day games: .266/.319/.487
      Night games: .278/.326/.517

      source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=soriaal01&year=Career&t=b#stad

      I know this will come as a surprise, but you are completely wrong. I know it’s a bother for you to think and/or research before you type out whatever insight comes into your head, but it really does make you look like a bit of an ass.

      • MichiganGoat

        Hmmmm facts what are these good for

      • DocPeterWimsey

        TWC: The Equid Anti-Defamation League would like a word (or bray) with you…..

        :-)

        • TWC

          Oh, great, now I’ve got THEM after me…

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