Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

cubs new spring trainingDid you know that the “It’s Friday, Friday, Friday” girl has a follow-up, appropriately named “Saturday”? The problem? It doesn’t have the kitschy awfulness that made “Friday” a hit. I’m not saying “Saturday” is good – I’m just saying it’s too good to be good (but not good enough to be good).

  • Mark Gonzales of the Tribune offers a look at the new Cubs Spring Training facilities in Mesa, complete with pictures. How’s this for bad timing? The Little Boy’s first birthday is the day after Opening Day at Spring Training, forcing me to choose between missing the first game at the new ballpark or missing my son’s first birthday. Under no circumstances will I be missing the latter, though his party isn’t until the day after his birthday. There’s a conceivable path to doing both, but it would be dicey. Long story short: you may not see me covering Opening Day at the new ballpark.
  • Speaking of the new ballpark, here are more details on the Wrigleyville West commercial development that is to eventually accompany the ballpark. The previously-discussed hotel is the only piece set in motion at this time. According to AZ Central, the Cubs were supposed to have restaurant space in place by Spring Opening Day, but that didn’t happen (either by choice or circumstance – it’s unclear). So Mesa, itself, took over. A considerable reason for having a Wrigleyville West in the first place was to expand the Cubs’ opportunities for commercial growth – and revenue – so it’s odd to hear that the team has foregone some opportunities. That said, there’s still plenty of development space for the Cubs, and, so far, this is just one piece.

  • Friend of the program Harry Pavlidis chatted over at Baseball Prospectus yesterday, touching on, among other things, Javier Baez’s lightning quick hands. When asked to compare Baez and Miguel Sano, a top three overall prospect, Pavlidis appears to prefer Baez because of his position (shortstop versus third base), his nearly equivalent power (Baez is a 75 if Sano is an 80, he said), and his superior hit tool. As usual, the whole chat’s a good read.
  • A Vine Line Q&A with presumptive Cubs starting center fielder Ryan Sweeney, who notes that he worked with Rod Carew last offseason on some swing changes. It was a very small sample, but in his stub year with the Cubs, he put up the best offensive numbers of his career (.266/.324/.448, 109 OPS+, .337 wOBA). Pair those numbers with average or slightly above average center field defense, and you’d actually have a great starter out there. But, as I said, small sample (212 PA).
  • Apropos of yesterday’s Hall of Fame discussion, the four eligible voters from the Daily Herald reveal and discuss their ballots. Bruce Miles would’ve voted for 12 guys if he’d had the space (voters are allowed just 10 names), and Scot Gregor pretty much nails the group I’d vote for, too:¬†Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, and Frank Thomas.

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