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winter meetings 2013The late nights and early mornings (and nights punctuated by a baby who needs soothed and a toddler who needs told to get back into bed) have finally gotten to me. I purchased a bunch of those coffee k-cup things – some Starbucks variation that was on sale, to be precise – and I’m going to choke down this coffee so-help-me-God, and then I’m going to feel like I can fly. Eventually you get used to taste of bark and burnt chicken skin, right?

  • The Winter Meetings start tomorrow, and, although the past week has been so ridiculously full of activity that it would be impossible for the normally-active meetings to match it, Theo Epstein tells Jesse Rogers that it’s still expected to be active: “It’s important to have people around you reminding you it’s important to do the right deal not just to do a deal. There’s deal momentum at the Winter Meetings unlike anything you’ve ever seen before so it’s important to make sure you keep your perspective.” I guess other GMs are like some Cubs fans, shouting “DO SOMETHING!” from across the hall.
  • Murphy’s Bleachers, a popular bar on Sheffield across from Wrigley Field (and home to a rooftop business – Beth Murphy frequently speaks on rooftop-related issues), made a terrible mistake yesterday (well, more accurately, a person working at Murphy’s made a terrible mistake), putting up on its placard that folks should “remember Pearl Harbor with bombs and kamikazes.” You don’t need me to explain the thoughtlessness and offensiveness of that sign, and a well-done to Paul Sullivan for noticing and publicizing the sign. That link also includes an apology from Murphy.
  • More from Theo Epstein (by way of Tony Andracki) on Arodys Vizcaino, Kyle Hendricks, and Kris Bryant. We’ve read these things before, but Andracki provides a little more context and quote volume. Your excitement level on each of the three should increase slightly, though your belief that Hendricks or Bryant will see any time in the big leagues in 2014 should tick down slightly (for appropriate reasons).
  • Scott Feldman says something we’ve thought about Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio for a couple years now: he’s good. The former Cubs starter credits Bosio with his breakout season in 2013. I don’t know to what extent bringing Bosio into the organization was Dale Sveum’s idea versus the front office’s, but it’s possible that Bosio will be Sveum’s enduring positive legacy.

Warning: super long meta piece to follow, which will require outside reading to fully understand. But if you ever participate in, or even read, the comments, you should read this. There’s a little naughty language at the end. Felt necessary.

I have mentioned at times that among the great influences for this site is the inimitable MGoBlog, one of the few large, independent sports blogs still going strong. For a variety of reasons both intentional and cosmic, the growth curve of your Cubs home has tracked the development of that site and of the University of Michigan athletic program (mostly football – seriously: from a blog-type-thing obsessiveness standpoint, the Epstein/Hoyer GM search was a carbon copy of Michigan’s coaching search back in 2007, which landed on Rich Rodriguez (hopefully Epstein and Hoyer are given more than three years to do their thing – but, once again, as a Michigan fan, I can tell you there are considerable parallels in terms of rebuilding, patience, and eventual meatball rebellion)).

We’ve always been about three to four years behind that curve, so it was with great interest that I reviewed Brian Cook’s recent “State of the Site” at MGoBlog. There’s a whole lot of that going on around here, which is to say there are certain things that – despite folks sighing about any particularized problems with the community here – eventually happen in every single large Internet community since people were writing ‘Full House’ fan fiction on early-90s bulletin boards (“You always censor anyone who doesn’t agree that Joey should stick with comedy!”). This is especially true when the thing for which folks have gathered to discuss is going crappily.

For those who are into the meta of sites like this and the community aspect, and especially for those of you who feel the comments here have devolved into a constant pissing contest, I would encourage you to read the section entitled “The Issue.” Brian’s description of the balance between a blog’s content and its community is pretty much spot on. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to take things as far as Brian does in the ensuing section laying out a solution, but, as I have in the past, I’m definitely taking some cues from him.

Summing it up? (1.) I have a pretty good asshole-detector. (2.) I’m tired of a tiny percentage of people being assholes here under the auspices of my longstanding hands-off approach to letting folks say whatever they want. (3.) Stop being an asshole, because you’re harming things for everyone else. (4.) I’d rather get rid of assholes, and be labeled the kinds of things you get labeled when you boot people from a community (right or wrong), than allow the assholes to ruin the comments for the other 99% of people who participate in or merely silently enjoy the comments.

  • The Cleanup Poster

    I rarely post here, even though I have been reading this site for three years now. When I first started coming here I would read the comments without fail, but lately I can’t even stomach scrolling down that far because I can’t stand to read all the fighting and bullshit that has forced its way into this great site. From my eyes it seems that a few longtime regulars have got it into their head that they can just talk trash and ridicule anyone that dares to post here. I sure hope you do reign these folks in Brett, because I would love to be able to enjoy the comments again.

    • Frank Cubs Fan

      Longtime lurker +1ing this.

  • Spencer

    Pretty much what I said on the previous page, except more eloquently put here. I ditto all of these sentiments.

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