pierce johnson daytona cubsOn my drive into Chicago last night, I was thinking about how I’m not a music guy. Yes, I listen to it – as I was at the time – but it’s not a sensory passion for me. Some folks are just all about music. They’ve got it on all the time. They can sit down and just listen to music, with nothing else going on, for fun. I can’t do it.

I started thinking about how my thing has always been TV. I love it. I watch TV all the time. In our post-cord-cutting life, I’ve actually had the opportunity to enjoy better TV more often by way of Netflix/Amazon Prime/DVDs/etc. because I can choose a series, divorce myself from all other TV watching (i.e., shameful reality TV distractions), and get through the series in a quick blast. The most recent series I consumed was ‘The Shield,’ an early entrant in the Golden Era of TV dramas, marked by their grittier takes, stylish shots, and, frequently, an antihero male lead. I loved it.

And then I saw this tweet last night:

Shawn Ryan, for those who don’t know, was the creator of, and showrunner for, ‘The Shield’ (among other fine programs). Small world. (Hi, Shawn! Loved ‘The Shield’! I am available for a role in any upcoming sports blog-related show you might develop. I will do nudity if it is integral to the plot.)

  • FanGraphs dropped an interview with Cubs pitching prospect Pierce Johnson yesterday, and it is a fantastic read. Currently, Johnson throws a four-seamer (with movement, because of his arm angle), a slurve that tends toward curve, a slurve that tends toward slider, a changeup, and a cutter. That’s a very healthy mix, especially for a guy who can throw his fastball in the mid-90s. Read that interview – the Cubs’ effort to develop Johnson is readily apparent.
  • Billy Joel is coming to Wrigley Field next Summer, on July 18. Joel is now the first performer to do the Wrigley thing twice, having performed with Elton John back in 2009. Tickets go on sale January 25.
  • Carrie Muskat spoke to Cubs players and manager Rick Renteria at their Cubs Caravan stop yesterday, and Edwin Jackson said he’s particularly eager to get the season underway so that he can put 2013 behind him. Even a slight improvement in Jackson’s actual performance, together with expected positive regression, and suddenly he’s going to look like an entirely different pitcher (and his contract is suddenly going to look very nice).
  • Speaking, above, of guilty pleasures and of music, can I confess that my favorite karaoke song to do is the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’? And now Anthony Rizzo, Travis Wood, and David DeJesus are my favorite karaoke’ers, because that’s what they sang last night at the DeJesus’s fundraiser for ALS research. TELL ME WHY-eee!
  • Keith Law chatted yesterday, and among his thoughts: (1) Law is still not a fan of Kyle Hendricks, whom he calls a fifth starter “if that”; (2) Law bets on the Yankees for Tanaka (without any inside information); and (3) Law prefers Jorge Soler to Joc Pederson as a future big leaguer.
  • It’s the first day of the 2014 Cubs Convention, and I’ll be in and out all day for that reason. If you’re around, look for me in my yellow and blue shoes, and come to Lizzie McNeil’s (just around the corner from the hotel) after 8pm for some drinks.
  • Fishin Phil

    “Shawn Ryan, for those who don’t know, was the creator of, and showrunner for, ‘The Shield’ (among other fine programs). Small world. (Hi, Shawn! Loved ‘The Shield’! I am available for a role in any upcoming sports blog-related show you might develop. I will do nudity if it is integral to the plot.)”

    Hi Shawn, I’ll pay extra if you promise not to show Brett nude.

    • cubzfan

      Maybe just Brett’s head could be nude. Shaven heads seem to be a Shawn Ryan specialty in anti-heroes.

      • CubFan Paul

        White guys should never shave bald unless the have too-is the new stereotype

        • Internet Random

          Where do you stand on toothbrush mustaches?

          • CubFan Paul

            LOL, I had to google that…

            But either way, baldness & toothbrush mustachios should probably be left to cool looking black guys. I’ve seen that look before

    • Jim

      Ill double it.

      • hansman

        Maybe that’s what this year’s Blogathon Fundraiser Extraordinare could be. The Fund to Ensure That Brett Taylor Never Appears Nude on Any TV Show Ever.

        That is a sentence I never thought I would have to type and I hope to never type again.

  • Edwin

    “Bleacher Nation”, a gritty TV drama about a sports blog with an antihero male lead. Constant attention to the blog at the expense of his family, while facing growing pressures of being shut out by Big Media, and the challenge of covering a team that just. won’t. win. It leads to deep questions like how much must this anti-hero sacrifice to please the faceless masses? Is the blog just a blog, or has it morphed into a member of his family, with it’s own feelings and needs? Does he control the blog, or does the blog really control him? Was man ever meant to be able to wield this kind of power?

    • Fishin Phil

      Got a couple of sponsors lined up for the show:
      Hansman’s Hamburgers
      MI Goat Brewery
      TWC’s Medical Marijuana

      • Edwin

        Edwin’s Hot Air. “I’m full of it!”

      • TWC


      • hansman

        Ya know, the three of us could make one helluva restaurant.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


      • Edwin

        In later seasons Luke tries to make a Power Grab and wrest control of the blog away from you.

        • hansman

          Every so often a senile old man walks through the shot muttering incoherent nothings. Fans think it is some sort of editing error and the scene should have been deleted.

          The final episode is just a white room with DieHard in it rambling on and on and on about anything.

      • jp3

        A man of your fame and stardom doesn’t have to do nude scenes…unless it’s tasteful..and stars opposite Sophia Vegara

  • Edwin

    I’m thinking Johnson cuts down on his pitch mix eventually to mainly using 3-4 pitches. It seems most pichers settle in to thowing a couple different fastballs, a breaking ball, and some type of change-up. It will be interesting a year from now to what he keeps and what he puts in his back pocket.

  • Bails17

    Two things: 1. Kim was looking about as good as expected in the video. 2. Is it me, or did it seem like DD had a few cocktails before that interview.

    • andyb

      I thought that too. I also thought that Travis Wood was looking a little rough. Looked like Louis C.K.

      • cooter

        Really, Louis C.K. I wish I could have seen that!

  • TK

    I know the TV role comment wasn’t entirely serious, but just to be sure of where we stand on that matter, Mai’s considerable stardom (& $$$$$) is based on Japanese media – being piped into every TV & radio in Japan. In NY and Cali, she can still have direct, dedicated access to JP media outlets. Being an extra on an English Cops/robbers show would be a waste of time for her. She would be much more intrigued by the potential of a MOVIE role, which would be much more likely if they signed in Cali. And Cali allows her to travel for live appearances/performances much more so than midwest/east coast. My money is still on West Coast for Tanaka. Let us pray.

    • CubFan Paul

      $15M-$20M a year can buy a chicago condo and a LA mansion.

      Maybe even partial ownership in privately owned Jet company

      • TK

        says the guy on the outside, enviously peeking in. its real easy to inconvenience THEM, spend THEIR money, separate THEIR family, etc…

        Funny how jokers have such wisdom to offer ‘solutions’ to others’ lives, with zero regard for THEIR interest, based on said joker’s personal selfish fanaticism.

        NOW . . . back to reality

        • mjhurdle

          in your own way, you are projecting your own opinion of what the Tanakas desire onto them.
          Truth be told, no one but them knows where their priorities lie. It could very well be that her career is just as much of a factor in this as his. Or it could be a very very small factor. No one knows but them.
          To that point, if you look back at the players that said they had other concerns, the vast majority of them ended up with the highest bidder.
          I don’t think it is selfish or ignorant to say that, most likely, he signs with the team that offers him the most money.
          That doesn’t mean that will happen, just that it seems most likely after reviewing previous big-name free agents and their destinations.

  • Isaac

    Drives me crazy. That opinion of Hendricks’ is equivalent to someone who didn’t play attempting to evaluate talent. A guy like Hendricks’ will ALWAYS be hard to hit.

    • jadebuddha

      I find it much more annoying that the format only allows for terse answers with no reasoning to back it up. Why does he believe that? I’m no scout so I’m truly curious as to why he feels that way, but that is the glory of ESPN.

    • Edwin

      Law isn’t the only scout/prospect guy to feel that way. I think Sickels wasn’t too high on Hendricks either. From what I hear, Hendricks doesn’t have great stuff, with a fastball that sits mostly in the mid 80’s. Typcially, that doesn’t get you far.

      • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

        It’s especially not going to get you far in prospect ranking ect. They drool over “stuff/power arms/projection”. You have to think about how they rank (scouting scale). Hendricks is never going to be a guy that would rank high in that regard. That certainly doesn’t mean he cannot be a nice rotation piece. He is just not a guy that you stops you in your tracks when you are scouting. Guys with his stuff are a dime a dozen in MiLB. He can obviously “pitch” but can he take that to the next level in the bigs? With average “stuff” you need excellent control ect.

        • CubFan Paul

          Hendricks reminds me of Randy Wells when you say it like that

          • Edwin

            That’s a good comp. I’m thinking Wells is a good ceiling for what Hendricks could be.

  • Southside Cubs Fan21

    Anyone have a link for the most recent MLB farm system rankings? Ranking best to worst farm systems is what i’m looking for.

  • mjhurdle

    Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 4m
    .@ProfessorParks in his latest chat: “One front office source told me that he thinks Baez has hall of fame potential” http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?

    wow, that is exciting. not sure the last time i have heard that about a Cubs prospect.

    *insert obvious statement that he probably wont reach that level*

    • hansman

      Considering that Prior, Sandberg and Maddux were the last ones to fit that description.


    • Voice of Reason

      One front office source? Who was that, the janitor?

      We heard hall of fame potential for Shawon Dunston, Kerry Wood, Mike Harkey….

      • hansman

        You do realize that Dunston is in the HoF, right?

        • DrReiCow

          Umm, no. Shawon Dunston is not in the Hall of Fame.


          • hansman

            Jesus, something I have been doing since forever. Confused Dunston and Dawson.

            They really need to have more different last names.

            • DarthHater


              • hansman

                That’s a snazzy outfit you have on today.

                • DarthHater


                  • Fishin Phil

                    Looks shockingly like the outfit you had on yesterday.

                    • DarthHater

                      Yesterday’s suspenders were crimson. Today’s are scarlet. 😛

    • Seth

      In that same chat:

      LanceR (Dallas, TX): Alright Jason. You’re at a scientific lab (a cloning facility) and you’re given the opportunity to splice DNA together of two different ball players to make the perfect player. Which two players’ DNA do you choose?

      Jason Parks: Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. It would create a highly instinctual shortstop with a plus-plus arm, plus-plus glove, elite power potential in combination with a mature approach from both sides of the plate. JF Lindor-Baez

      I lol’d.

  • V23

    Did you guys see Baez’s neck and body during the interviews this week?
    He is absolutely jacked!
    He must have worked his arse off this offseason.

    • Voice of Reason

      Or, he met some of A Rod’s friends.

      • andyb

        I hope not. That thought has crossed my mind. I don’t have any real reason, but i have a gut feeling that might be possible.

        • TWC

          Because why not assume the worst, right?

          • Voice of Reason

            We’re the Cubs…. ALWAYS assume the worst!

            • TWC

              That must be a pleasant way to go about your day.

              • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

                Better to receive a pleasant surprise than an unpleasant surprise.

                • TWC

                  Both approaches involve prejudice. Why would you ally yourself with pessimism and cynicism? I’d rather approach things optimistically.

              • Voice of Reason

                I’m a very glass half full kind of guy.

                But, I also play the percentages in life. It’s been a while for the Cubs.

                • TWC

                  The glass is always full. It’s just not full of what you expect.

                  • hansman

                    Unless half of it is a vacuum. Then you might want to run.

        • Jon

          I may be just dreaming, but I recall Baez being of similar build coming out of high school. He always had some decent guns.

  • willis

    The Shield is my favorite show of like ever. Shawn Ryan has been someone I’ve always really respected and loved the work. I had no idea he was a Cubs fan. That’s super awesome.

    • cms0101

      The Shield was a great show. One of the best series endings you’ll find, next to Breaking Bad and The Wire. I wish they could find Michael Chiklis another role as good as Vic Mackey. His super-hero dad show, and Vegas mobster role left something to be desired. Shawn Ryan is pretty awesome. The Unit, short run Terriers, and The Chicago Code were all underrated. Maybe he and Chiklis need to collaborate again after both have had limited success since.

      • willis

        I never understood why the pulled the plug on terriers, I thought that show was pretty good too.

  • Smitty


    If you haven’t binge watched The Wire, make that happen. Especially if you liked the Shield.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I have watched ‘The Wire’ three times through. :)

    • Patrick W.

      You can sort of skim the second season.

      • matt23

        I disagree–I thought the second was one of the strongest seasons. (I’ve also watched the whole series several times and the second really holds up well for me.

  • Fastball

    Hopefully he isn’t taking Hulk Hogan’s vitamins

  • Diggs


    If you haven’t already read it, check out Alan Sepinwall’s book “The Revolution was Televised.” Lots of cool behind-the-scenes stuff on all the recent great TV shows. One of the chapters is on the Shield.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Have it. In the middle of it. Love it.

      • matt23

        Also Difficult Men by Brett Martin. Same subject matter, different takes, both worth reading.

  • mosconml

    I’m pretty sure “I Want It That Way” is our generation’s version of “Sweet Caroline” or “Don’t Stop Believin'” — i.e., when someone starts singing it at a karaoke, EVERYONE ELSE joins in.

  • http://www.draftday.com udbrky

    Can’t wait for the Convention! I’ve wanted to go my whole life!

  • DarthHater


    I am emailing you my new movie script, an integral component of which is a sports blogger who does nude lip-synchs of boy bands. You’d be a shoe-in for the lead.

  • Tommy

    The Shield may be my favorite show of all time – all 8 seasons were outstanding. The only show that I can think of off the top of my head that lasted that many seasons is Dexter. I am pleased to see you have a good taste in television series, Brett! Well done!