I really can’t imagine being a fan of the football team in Washington. That team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has been in a years-long quest to defend the team’s name – which, for all the history attached to it, is an ethnic slur, let’s be honest – and is completely tone deaf to the way his efforts are perceived on the outside. The latest installment is a letter talking about a tour he took to some Native American communities/reservations, and how there were totally some Native Americans who didn’t have a problem with the name. And then he launches into a “but did you know” that some Native Americans are really struggling, and the Washington football team is going to start a foundation to help them. That’s all well and good, but pairing that effort to the preservation of a racist name smacks of the worst kind of condescension and ignorance. Perhaps the first step would be treating Native Americans as people rather than caricatures for your sports team? (Also, if there’s nothing wrong with the name, why go to such great lengths to refer to them as “Native Americans” in your letter? Why not just call them “redskins”?)
- More on Starlin Castro’s continued hamstring recovery here. He felt good after yesterday’s minor league game, and the Cubs will figure out today what the plan is going to be for him, in terms of playing in a Major League Spring game. If the Cubs ultimately decide that it’s going to be best for Castro to start the season on the disabled list, his 15-day DL stint can be backdated up to 10 days before the start of the season. That means, he could miss just four or five games, even if he starts the season on the DL.
- Theo Epstein spoke with Dave Kaplan about the decision to send Javier Baez to AAA to start the year (which was a surprise to no one who has been paying attention), and offered a great line about how some of the very same people who are upset that Baez is going to AAA rather than starting with the big club are the people who rip Starlin Castro for some of his fundamental lapses and struggles in recent years. By going to AAA, Baez can work on not only developmentally necessary things at the plate and in the field, but also on his overall approach so that he doesn’t have those same kinds of struggles when he comes up. The people to which Epstein was referring, by the way, are the meatballs. He just can’t say meatballs.
- Kyle Hendricks shares his thoughts on being cut from big league camp.
- The Mariners signed Scott Baker to a minor league deal, but, despite their rotation problems, they apparently told Baker he wasn’t going to make the team, and he elected to opt out of his deal into free agency. It’s been a rough few years for a guy who was quietly so very good in Minnesota for a long time. I’m not sure a reunion with the Cubs is in the cards, but hopefully he winds up somewhere with a shot.
- Don’t forget to check out this week’s pair of fantasy contests, which kick off on Opening Day. There are $500 and $20,000 prize pools at stake.
- Junior Lake talks about his three-homer game, and about how he’s working on his approach at the plate. (Cubs.com) Most of the focus of fans looking for a this-could-change-everything story lands on Mike Olt, and I think rightfully so. But if Junior Lake winds up being the rare guy whose tools play up at the big league level and who turns the corner at 23/24, that’s another enormously impactful development for the Cubs.
- Patrick Mooney spoke with Carlos Villanueva about Lake, and about those Yasiel Puig comparisons last year (remember that?). Villanueva thinks that Lake has, eh hem, a better head on his shoulders and maybe better mentors around him.
- Speaking of Lake, your kinda-sorta prospect porn of the day (sorry for the (necessary) potty-mouth):