chicago cubs logoI’m glad the Super Bowl falls when it does at the beginning of February. With college bowl season in the rearview and Spring Training just around the corner, the NFL playoffs and then the Super Bowl are a nice bridge between sports fandom stuff. I can enjoy the game on February 2, and then get unnecessarily geeked up about pitchers and catchers reporting a couple weeks later (well, 11 days later, if you’re counting).

  • This year’s Cubs Caravan – an annual tradition before the Convention – looks to be service-oriented, and some of it will last all year. The Cubs are calling it the ‘100 Gifts of Service 2014 Caravan Tour’, and it will feature community projects, food service, and general make-good stuff all year long. The “100” part is a nod to the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, which will also be celebrated all year. The tour that kicks off the year-long service effort is this week, on January 16 and 17, featuring stops at three local schools and three local hospitals. Cubs players, coaches, and other personnel will participate. You can see the full details in the Cubs’ release on the tour. Hopefully we get lots of pictures of smiling faces. Some things are just nice.
  • Oh, and speaking of the Super Bowl, if you’re into the prop bet thing, SuperBowl360 has a list of common prop bets┬áthat sportsbooks will be putting up for Superbowl XLVIII. Give them a look if you have any interest.
  • And speaking of football, head over to the BN Facebook page to see a picture that confirms that, whatever you think of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, he certainly has good taste in baseball teams. Or at least headwear.
  • Tony Andracki begins a series looking at Cubs prospects in advance of the season, and today’s installment considers Dan Vogelbach, whom Jason McLeod calls a “baseball rat”. And if you can’t get enough Vogelbach and missed it last month, Luke also took a look at the first base prospect back in December.
  • A little bit on the Cubs’ new ballpark in Mesa, and the first impressions some fans got this weekend when they came out to get tickets. Tim Sheridan offers a visual tour of the new facilities with a whole bunch of pictures.
  • Jeff Sullivan wonders how you would do as a batter in the big leagues. Meaning, how would you perform if you never swung the bat. The answer? Terrible, but not nothing.
  • Sullivan also looks at the impact of the pitcher on a catcher’s ability to frame well. No surprise: a pitcher with “good command/control” will make for a more successful framing catcher.
  • woody

    Hey Brett there iis no comment link on the Rodriguez piece.

  • BrianH

    “That’s a bad pitch to throw when you have zero strikes on a plant.”

  • wv23

    Do you think it would be easier to gain 100 yards rushing in 16 NFL games – or manage, say, 20 hits in 162 games?

    Please show your work.

    • MikeyEsq

      Start off by presuming, for some godforsaken reason, that an NFL team makes you their featured back. That’s about 20 carries per game. Also presume you don’t get injured and somehow manage to play a full season. So you get 320 carries in a year. To get to 100 rushing yards in that season, you just need to average 0.3125 yards per carry. That’s 11.25 inches per carry. That’s definitely do-able, especially since the average running back gains 2-3 yards before contact (Trent Richardson, who runs behind a terrible line and sort of sucks, averages 1.5 yards before contact -third worst in the NFL). Factoring in the fact that you’re probably slower than an average running back and have no pro-grade agility or escapability, you could probably average at least 0.5 yards before contact. So even if you fall down the moment you get touched every single time, you’re still getting 0.5 yards per carry, which gets you 160 rushing yards on the season. And probably traded to the Colts in return for a first round pick. Getting 20 hits depends on a lot of factors out of your control (a hit requires contact and the ball going into fair territory and not in someone’s glove, plus not getting pinch hit for at every possible moment), and even though it’s only a batting average of .041 (assuming 3 AB’s per game), I’d take my chances with the NFL.

    • hansman

      100 yards rushing, easy.

      You’ll end up getting most of those on 3-4 plays.

      • wv23


        Being generous, let’s say I run a 5.1 40 (which I probably don’t).

        On my first run, let’s say I get -3 yards. That means there are 103 to go. And so on.

        Plus, you aren’t immune to the laws of physics. So, say you play the 49ers in week one and Whitner comes through the middle and hits you in the middle of the chest with his helmet.

        When are you back on the field? Week 14? 2017?

        I would not say “easy” by any stretch of the imagination.

        • hansman

          Easy relative to getting 20 hits. I have no illusion that rushing for 100 yards would be easy; however, it’s possible to get 50-60 of those in 1 run at some point in the year .

      • scorecardpaul

        There is no way that hansman would ever gain 50 or 60 yards in any one play in the NFL. You are giving yourself way to much credit.

  • ari gold

    Pretty good Vogelbach article. The Cubs seem to do what’s best for the player, but I think in Vogelbach’s case, they might be a little more conservative with him until their is some clarity with the DH rule in the NL. If it happens, then you have your DH of the future. But that’s still a couple years away. His bat could have him in the big leagues sooner. I think the Cubs will do what they did last year with him no matter how well he’s doing. Jump him up to the next league for the last 3 weeks if he’s performing well.

    • Noah_I

      Vogelbach also really hasn’t forced the matter. He was very good last season, showing a great approach at the plate, but didn’t show elite power. If Vogelbach slugs .550 next season (he slugged right around .450 in 2013), he’ll force a call up to Tennessee sooner. If he doesn’t, the Cubs really don’t have any reason to push his time frame.

      • gocatsgo2003

        In fairness to the kid, the FO probably instructed him that they would like him to maintain a consistent approach at the plate that conforms to the “Cubs Way” as his power will likely come along as he continues to develop physically (hopefully in a positive way).

  • hansman

    So a random, athletic looking person could outhit some pitchers?

    Why do pitchers hit again?

  • Cizzle

    Manziel may have had on a Cubs hat, but he also had on a throwback Favre jersey.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Nyjer Morgan – Convention surprise ?