I made a late-night trip to Chicago last night so that I could take in today’s season ticket holder event, featuring the Presidents (Epstein and Kenney), later this afternoon. In recent years, the Cubs have done a conference call for this kind of thing – and they are usually pretty fruitful with information – but this year it’s an event at the Bank of America Theater downtown. I’m not sure what the Internet will be like there for live-blogging purposes, but, at a minimum, I’ll be sure to take copious notes to let you know any interesting tidbits as soon as I can deliver them. Until then …
- With Rick Renteria in place as manager, the Cubs will turn to the coaching staff, a process that will be collaborative between RR and the front office, according to Theo Epstein on a conference call yesterday (Tribune). At least one report has pitching coach Chris Bosio set to return, but there could be significant turnover from there. Bullpen coach Lester Strode and staff assistant Mike Borzello have received a lot of love over the last year, so they may also be set to return. Bench coach Jamie Quirk, hitting coach James Rowson, third base coach David Bell, and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer are all question marks at this point. We should hear more about the search process over the coming days. Early candidate for a promotion? Mariano Duncan was the hitting coach at High-A (where he worked with Javier Baez and Jorge Soler (among others), and then came up to join the big league staff for most of September.
- More praise for Rick Renteria from former player Will Venable and minor league coach (former Cub) Jacque Jones.
- Darwin Barney is the Cubs’ defensive player of the year, according to Wilson. I didn’t know Wilson gave out such an award, but I guess they figured Rawlings had the league defensive awards pretty much covered.
- FanGraphs looks at the rate at which strikes are called balls, and notes the five worst ball calls of the 2013 season. The two worst calls? Both came against the Cubs (because of course they did): one was a Kevin Gregg pitch right down the middle that JC Boscan dropped, probably confusing the umpire. The other was an Edwin Jackson pitch – again, right down the middle – that Welington Castillo caught awkwardly as he was turning it into a snap throw to first. You may even remember that particular at bat. It was against Yadier Molina in St. Louis in mid-June, with the game tied 1-1 in the sixth. Later in the at bat, on a 1-2 pitch down and in, Molina somehow swiped at the pitch, yanking it, and homering for two runs. You can see the GIF there at FanGraphs. The Cubs went on to lose that game 4-1.
- David Ortiz finished third in the running for Boston mayor. For realsies.