javier baez aflKeep your eyes on the sky tonight! I know our little ones will …

  • You must read this piece from Carrie Muskat on Javier Baez and his sister, Noely. She has an amazing story, and, by extension, her brother does, as well. You will learn a whole lot about what kind of young man Javier Baez is by reading that article (not just his story with his sister, but his parents, his background, and his development). I am touched, impressed, and rooting even harder for him to succeed.
  • Among the 13 pleasant surprises in Chicago sports this year, per the Tribune, are Welington Castillo’s emergence as a dependable backstop and Travis Wood’s breakout year.
  • Howard Megdal writes about the December 25 to 31 week in the history of baseball, and notes that it’s actually been a fairly active week over the years. There have even been some notable moves/signings on Christmas Day. (And, with a Masahiro Tanaka announcement possibly coming today or tomorrow, it could happen again this year, too.)
  • Think I was just being an apologist by saying that the seven-year, $130 million deal the Rangers gave Shin-Soo Choo would have been a mistake for the Cubs? Dave Cameron writes that the contract may wind up being his least favorite of the entire offseason. A sample quote: “That said, even with the Rangers having ample revenues — thanks to their television contract — and being in a prime position on the win curve, this still looks like a pretty significant overpay to me, and a contract I think Texas will regret sooner than later.”
  • The Grant Balfour/Orioles drama (the O’s signed Balfour to a two-year, $15 million deal before backing out after checking out the medicals) has become even uglier, with Ken Rosenthal writing that it fits a pattern of behavior for the Orioles over the past 15 years. The implication is that the baseball side was into the signing, but ownership used the medical review as a pretext to kill the deal (outside doctors, apparently (grain of salt) say Balfour’s shoulder looks fine). Once again: say what you will about the Cubs’ current baseball side/ownership schism (and I’m not saying one actually exists), but at least we’re not seeing stories like this.
  • The David DeJesus Family Foundation and Chicago Cubs Charities are putting on a karaoke fundraiser on January 16th. Details here.
  • A reminder for those who’ve missed it: starting in January, you will be required to register and log-in to post comments on the site. You can register now if you’d like (the link isn’t all that prominent just yet, buried at the bottom right of the sidebar), but it won’t be required or prominent until next month. The rationale for this change is tied to the increasingly frustrating character of the comments for folks who used to enjoy reading them. A more complete explanation is here.
  • Check out the Christmas Day NBA one-day fantasy contest if you haven’t already.
  • If you’ve settled down from Sunday’s Bears debacle, you can read Jay’s thoughts on the game here. The loss just made this week more exciting, right?
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Sorry – for some strange reason, comments were closed on this particular post. I wondered why everyone was going back to the last post to drop their thoughts.

  • C. Steadman

    i was wondering that, awesome story on Baez…thanks for the bump Brett!

  • Tim

    Thanks Brett for a fantastic story. The timing for a story like this couldn’t be better!

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    Brett, I am having trouble finding where to register so I can continue reading BN daily?

    • Chiburgh

      Maybe, I can help. The column on the right side of the page is where you need to be looking. See “Official BN Apparel”? Scroll down from there. “TradingPub Sponsor”, “Get Your Tickets”, followed by “Latest Posts”. Under the “Latest Post” section you will see “Meta” and “Archives”. Login and register is in “Meta”. Hope this helps.

  • Mike W

    I read his story earlier this morning on Cubs.com pretty awesome dude! I hope he makes the big leagues this year and I can cheer for him. This is a type of player/person I can stand behind and hope all the best for him.

  • greenroom

    What a great story. thanks for the link and heads up. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, BN!

  • Frank

    Gee thanks Brett for making me read the story. I hate starting out my day by reading a nice story. It makes me feel like I have to a nice guy instead of the Curmudgeon that I am.

  • mdavis

    awesome story. makes you pull for the kid that much more.

    side note, any word on the new IFA the cubs reportedly signed?

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Thanks Brett. I was wondering if Javy’s brothers are good baseball players. Maybe we could draft the family. LOL

    • C. Steadman

      it would be cool if we could draft his sister as an “honorary draft pick” like the Astros and other teams have done in the past…but I dont know of any gender rules in the MLB draft and with the draft shortened by 10 rounds down to 40, i dont know if we’ll ever see honorary draft picks again

      • Pat

        Based on the story, I think that would be the last thing his sister would want. Seems like she just wants to be treated like anyone else.

        • C. Steadman

          yeah…very true, i guess i didn’t think that through haha

        • D.G.Lang

          Spina Bifida is much more common than people realize. There is a variant, Spina Bifida Occulta (hidden) were people aren’t even aware that they are affected until they suffer an injury to the lower spine and it is discovered on either Xrays or MRIs.

          Spina Bifida Occulta refers to the lower spine’s failure to completely develop but in mild cases it isn’t a problem at all, just something that happened and people with a mild case can lead full complete active lives without being aware that they are impacted.

          I do have a mild version of it and I do experience a lot of back pain but in my case like so many others, it wasn’t discovered until I had several tests done to determine why I was experiencing so much back pain. In my case, I injured my back while I was in the Army but we didn’t know the cause or the existence of the Spina Bifida until many years later.

          Spina Bifida Occulta often gives no evidence of it’s existence until other injuries or diseases occur and a careful examination of the spine reveals it. The potential problem which occurs however is since the spine hasn’t fully developed it might be compromised by minor injuries while a healthy spine isn’t impacted by the same injury at all.

  • arta

    very nice story, tells us a lot about the kid.

  • Chiburgh

    Great story, Brett. Thanks for sharing on BN.

  • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

    Louis C.K. had an interesting take on electronic communication. When you say something mean to someone’s face, you can see that it hurts them and then (normal people) feel bad about having said it. But when you hit “send” and don’t see the negative reaction by the recipient, it makes you feel good so you do it again and again.

    • cub2014

      These answers are from questions that are
      asked. This is not expounding on your
      beliefs, journalists love to (its their job) get
      the most controversial answers and some
      people are very prone to giving the answers
      that are the most sensational.

      But you are right it is easier to type and send
      than it is to speak to someone for many

  • forlines

    Great story indeed.

    Merry Chirstmas to you and yours Brett! Thanks for another year of BN!

  • baldtaxguy

    Great story on Baez and his sister & family. His attitude about last Spring Training is wonderful to read about.

  • http://worldseriesdreaming.com Rice Cube

    Thought I’d registered before but then I realized I’ve been a “guest” this whole time…I sit on a throne of lies :(

  • David

    Great story. Brett – when do we find out which minor league guys will participate in spring training with the big club?

  • Ballgame

    Great story, makes me feel like if Baez can deal with this, then Castro’s financial issues shouldn’t affect him either. We all have our issues in life and it’s how you handle/learn from adversity, that really defines your character. I liked Baez already, but reading about him and what his fam means to him is all the more reason to be a fan of his…

  • Curt

    Sorry all I see at the bottom of the page is the disclaimer thtd not the register thing we need to do Is it?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      At the bottom of the right sidebar, not the bottom of the page. Don’t stress: when the time arrives for you to *need* to register, I’ll make it much more obvious and easy.

  • bjones

    Baez needs to replace Barney yesterday. A incrdebile athlete and amazing role model. Cubs need him, Bryant to make the jump.

  • arta

    merry xmas to u and ur family Brett, along with all our BN family.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What a neat story, thanks for posting it. I have a new favorite ball player, sure hope this fine brother can make it big time. Sending all my karma for the health of this brave young lady.
    How fragile and unfair can life be, she has to deal with this from the day she was born, and her brother is an world class elite athlete.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    Wow. That story took me from HUGE fan to a HUGER fan. Hope to see him beltin’ laser beams for her at Wrigley sometime this summer!

  • Rafael R.

    I’m glad of the love the Baez family have for one another. As a nurse I’ve helped treat some kids with Spina Bifida and its not easy at all for them. Even though the quality of life is difficult, quite a few of these kids have absolutely wonderful personalities. It seems Noely B. does too! God bless and Merry Christmas everyone!

  • http://Bleachernation Glenallen

    Noely was at the playoff game in Birmingham. I didn’t realize that was his sister at the time. Javy went right to her after he came out of the stadium. He signed an autograph for my four year old afterward. Please be the real deal, kid! We sure do need one in Chicagi!!