I’m going to get lunch with The Wife today … school lunch! I can’t wait to open up my tiny little chocolate milk carton. I’m told The Wife’s school doesn’t do the segmented tray thing, which is something of a disappointment.
- SI offers final offseason grades for the teams in the NL, and the Cubs land a C. It was a shrug-worthy offseason that merits a shrug of a grade. That’s not to say the offseason wasn’t understandable for the Cubs, it just doesn’t really get you up out of your chair. Kinda seems like the definition of a C. The Cardinals get an A+, because of course they do (I try not to actively root for a guy to suck, but if Jhonny Peralta flops for the Cardinals, I would not weep). Set up the way they were, the Cardinals patched their obvious hole at shortstop, could allow Carlos Beltran to walk, and replace his bat in the lineup with Matt Adams (and his position with Allen Craig), replace some athleticism in the outfield by trading David Freese for Peter Bourjos, slide Matt Carpenter over to third, and thus open up a spot for Kolten Wong. And that’s just the offensive side of things. The Cardinals didn’t need to do much on the pitching side, and could arguably stand to trade an arm or two for prospects. That’s a perfect offseason.
- The Reds and Pirates actually bring up the bottom of the pack, by the way, with a D- and F, respectively. Given the really weak offseasons for teams coming off playoff appearances, that’s either totally fair (shoulda done something!) or totally unfair (didn’t need to do anything!). I tend to think it’s fair.
- CSN honored Cubs catcher Welington Castillo as the Cub of the Year for the 2013 season. Given his dramatic leaps forward defensively last year, that’s totally fair.
- Rick Renteria wants to focus on the Cubs being as successful as possible this year, rather than just thinking about the future development of the Cubs’ top prospects. In essence, RR is saying that winning now (as much as reasonably possible) is a key part of development for the young players already on the big league club. That sounds nice, and no one is going to argue that winning is a bad thing for development. So … sure. Ok. Fine by me.
- A Vine Line Q&A with lefty reliever Zac Rosscup.
- Scott Lindholm, writing at Beyond the Box Score, takes a look at attendance trends in baseball over the past few decades. Although there’s been a steep rise since the 1980s, there was a dip during the 2007-08 recession, and it hasn’t come back. With TV ratings for the sport down on a national level, the health of the sport, long-term, will once again come under scrutiny. (Lindholm mentions, as I have before, that the media fan age is climbing well into the 50s.) Life these days will necessarily lead to a fracturing of attentions, but MLB has to do more to attract younger fans. You can’t rely on parents forcing it on their kids to do the work for you.
- Dave Cameron wonders if stats for righty pitchers in the NL Central in recent years have been inflated by a lack of great lefty-heavy lineups in the Central.
- Masahiro Tanaka wanted to arrive to Yankees Spring Training in style, so he charted a private 787 for himself and three other people … to the tune of $195,000. Man, not only are we going to miss out on Tanaka’s performances, but we’re clearly going to miss out on so many stories …
- Dan Farnsworth at The Hardball Times offers a thoughtful piece on why “swinging down” to create backspin is a bad idea, and why is pretty much never pays for a hitter – of any kind – to try and hit groundballs.
- A Super Bowl in Chicago? That could be a lot of fun, and Jay writes about the possibility.