My fantasy football teams split this week, with the loss coming primarily thanks to Victor Cruz’s three touchdowns. Jerk.
- With last night’s win, the 2013 Chicago Cubs have tied the win total of the 2012 squad. While we might expect that the Cubs will lose most of their remaining 19 games, it is highly unlikely that they’ll lose them all. They will have, then, improved their record over last year’s 61-101 nightmare. Indeed, matching the 71-91 2011 team is not impossible. Is this … enough? It’s progress, in the most limited sense of the word (unless it’s just better luck), and it came with a further reduced payroll. If the Cubs do wind up in the 71-91 range – a 10-game improvement over last year – and then improve another 10 games in 2014, they’ll be at .500!
- Perspective: this week, as the Cubs play the Reds in Cincinnati, the home team is loading up on deals so that it can sell as many tickets as possible. Why? The Reds are trying to break the Great American Ballpark attendance record of 2,355,259, which they set 10 years ago when the ballpark opened. Last year was the first time the Cubs had gone under 3 million in those same 10 years.
- Dale Sveum says that, after last night’s win, Travis Wood is clearly the team’s number one starter. In terms of performance, you simply can’t argue it at this point. In terms of anticipated future performance, I’ll still give the nod to Jeff Samardzija.
- More on the Cubs’ minor league success this year, as well as more on Starlin Castro’s recent success from ESPNChicago.
- On Castro, it sounds like Sveum is wondering whether he hits better in the leadoff spot for reasons unknown to anyone but Castro (and maybe even unknown to him, too). Before we go too nuts, it should be noted that Castro is hitting just 242/.300/.374 in 100 plate appearances from the leadoff spot this year.
- Everyone agrees, including Dale Sveum: the Cubs’ pitching talent in the minor leagues is far better than it was at this point last year.
- Dave Kaplan had a long, long chat with Mark Prior. Definitely worth a read. A particularly interesting quote from Prior on building organizations: “I’m a big believer that you have to have a philosophy and stick to it, and you can’t deviate from it. I’ve never run an organization, but you have to develop players. You have to have a core set of guys which I think they’re starting to do. If something happens, you can’t try to change your philosophy midstream trying to right the ship. You have to come up with a game plan and stick to it. It’s not always easy, but I just felt for me like we changed. We went from being the lovable losers. I felt that 2003 really changed the culture of accountability. We were demanding a team. And, I just wonder if we got a little sidetracked in trying to go New York Yankees-style and ‘let’s go buy a championship.’ It doesn’t work. People forget, the Yankees had four or five, six guys that were core guys.” I agree with all of this.