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confused computerThe ground outside my window is covered with snow. It’s April 15. I cannot believe these things.

April 15 is an odd day this year – Tax Day, Jackie Robinson Day, and the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Many things on which to reflect, I suppose.

  • A great read on Alfonso Soriano and his mentorship of Starlin Castro. I’m sure there will be many hugs and well-wishes when the Cubs reunite with Soriano today in New York.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada, who pitched extremely well in the final month at AAA last year for the Orioles, has carried that forward to this year at AAA for the Cubs. Through two starts this year, he’s allowed just one earned run over 13.1 innings, walking one and striking out 18. That’s pretty much as dominant as it gets, and it earned Wada pitcher of the week honors in the PCL. Odds are good that, if the Cubs had need for another starting pitcher in the early going, Wada would be the guy, despite his mixed Spring Training. I wonder what Wada’s contract situation is; you’ll recall that he was briefly released at the end of Spring Training (he had the right to become a free agent) and then re-signed. Typically, veterans like Wada will have an opt-out built into their minor league deals, right around June 1. If he doesn’t get a shot with the Cubs by then, it’s possible he’ll be on his way. Alternatively, if there’s a really pitching needy team out there, we could see the Cubs swing a PTBNL deal like they did last year for so many of their minor league signees.
  • Arizona Phil at TCR reports that Kyuji Fujikawa left his scrimmage outing yesterday after 18 pitches, and a meeting with the training staff. Fujikawa is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and seemed to be doing so at an accelerated pace (if he was already pitching in games, early May was looking like a legitimate possibility). We don’t know that what happened was a setback, but it’s safe to say it’s rarely good when a TJS guy leaves an outing early. We’ll see if he gets back on the mound soon, or if he’s now got to take some time off. The timing could be unfortunate for Fujikawa, as he was potentially going to return with a closer’s job up for grabs. If he’s not able to come back until late May or June (or later), that job may have been secured. All that said: until we hear from the Cubs on Fujikawa, try to keep the nervousness to a minimum.
  • Here is Javier Baez on being placed on the DL with a sprained ankle:

  • I know that’s supposed to be reassuring, but, for some reason, it actually makes me clench even more. Hurry back, Javier (well, I mean, not too hurried, but, like, I mean, get better) …

META: The Sun-Times has elected to do away with comments for now. An animating quote from managing editor Craig Newman:

The world of Internet commenting offers a marvelous opportunity for discussion and the exchange of ideas. But as anyone who has ever ventured into a comment thread can attest, these forums too often turn into a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.

In fact, the general tone and demeanor is one of the chief criticisms we hear in regard to the usability and quality of our websites and articles. Not only have we heard your criticisms, but we often find ourselves as frustrated as our readers are with the tone and quality of commentary on our pages ….

Again, we are not doing away with comments. But we do want to take some time and work on the qualitative aspect of how they are handled and how we can foster a productive discussion rather than an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing.

And every purveyor of internet content everywhere said, “Yup. I feel you.” That said, although we’ve had our issues with the comments here at BN, recently moving to a registration requirement (something just about every other site out there has long required), I think the community here remains generally quite strong. That’s particularly true when you compare our discussions to the “morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors” that you find most other places. I commend the Sun-Times for a bold move to try and improve their comments, and I hope they find success.

The internet is a marketplace of ideas, and a web site is at its best when it functions as a community. I’m pretty proud of ours, but we all have to take ownership of the things we say, and recognize that they reflect on all of us here. I don’t agree with everything the collective you posts here, and I don’t always think that what you say is the highest reflection of what BN is about. But I do think that the fact that you can say it without fear of reprisal, so long as you say it thoughtfully and respectfully, is a fantastic reflection of what BN is about. May we continue to be that place, and never have to take any drastic steps.

  • Patrick W.

    First

    • gocatsgo2003

      Really REALLY hoping this is a tongue-in-cheek nod to one of the most peculiar intracacies of internet commenting.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s damn clever right there.

      • TK

        Uh, what does “morass” mean? Is it the antonym of “lessass”?

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Am I too late for a Scruffy second?

    • JulioZuleta

      Hah, this made me laugh. Nicely done.

    • fromthemitten

      As a child i learned first is the worst second is the best third is the nerd with the hairiest chest

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        no no.. third is a turd….

  • Darth Ivy

    This is how I feel when I sign in to BN to make a comment

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPsdxR0zzNE

  • Darth Ivy

    Although, this is how I feel when I think I’m making a really great comment

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO1Vhc88QkM

  • Spoda17

    I have seen some pretty brutal comments on other sites. I agree, we have had some no-so-productive-days in the comments in the past (and I’m sure we will in the future as well), for the most part I think we all respect each other… although we don’t always agree…

    This is the only site I actually comment.

    • Cubbie in NC

      This is the only site that I comment on as well.

      I find other sites that I read people are trying to drown each other out and not contribute to anything. It is either crazy venting, or trolling. It appears as though many sites write articles to play into the reactions of people as well.

  • Jon

    I’m not going to name names, but last night someone affiliated with another Cubs blog that ends with ‘Den’ started a bogus twitter rumor about Almora passing out on the field.

    Not really a fan of how that place goes about it’s business. I’ll just say that.

    In spite of our disagreements here, we all want a winner in the end. Let’s hope the winning comes soon then we won’t have to argue about anything :)

    • Wrigley1

      Really? I’ve always found that site to have excellent coverage and also to have a great comment section, similar to this one.

      • Jon

        I give Brett a ton of credit, he’s goes the extra mile to debate and counter points he disagrees with, vs censoring the comment like over there. The only comments I have ever seen censored here have been racial or extremely inappropriate.

        • Wrigley1

          I guess we’ve just had different experiences there but I’ve always had good experiences with the people writing for the site, and the people who used to write for the site and have moved on to other Cub-related blogs.

          • MightyBear

            I’ve commented over there and never had a problem. I actually think that’s a pretty good site and comparable to BN. I usually go there in the morning after I come here, just to see if there’s anything over there that’s not here. Both coverage is similar obviously but sometimes Brett/Luke have something here that’s not there and vice versa. It’s a pretty good site.

            • Wrigley1

              You can’t beat this site for their coverage of the financial situation and the Wrigley renovation. Brett has done top notch work on both topics. Cubs Den has excellent minor league coverage, and they seem to get a ton of comments on all of their articles, just like Cubs Den. I never see any crazies commenting on there or here.

        • CubFan Paul

          +1

        • J. L.

          I’ll tell you, you don’t even sound like the same guy who got scolded by Brett in the comments a month ago for being an asshole.

          • DarthHater

            He told me he got his meds adjusted. ;-)

    • DarthHater

      “Let’s hope the winning comes soon then we won’t have to argue about anything :)”

      [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7316/12126432166_04dd027043_n.jpg[/img]

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      The thing about the site you are talking about is that there are several contributers to the content. Evidently the main honcho has another job or something. During the winter months there were days that they struggled to post one thing new on a daily basis, while Brett was throwing us fresh meat two or three times a day. There are some writers out there that don’t know squat. I read one today where the whole piece is based on the premise that Baez is being prepared for third base and that Olt is the odd man out. No mention at all about second base or the fact that Baez played two games there in ST. There was no way to comment on that article. Basicly if a writer has to shut down the comments because the readers are calling him a dick head, then he probably is one.

      • DarthHater

        The Sun-Times did not shut down comments because commenters were calling some writer a dickhead. They shut down the comments for all their writers because the commenters were acting like dickheads.

      • Wrigley1

        Where was that Baez article, I’d like to read it. The Mark Potash article in the Sun-Times the other day was also irritating. It’s like he was ghostwriting for Wittenmeyer

  • JM

    I think common decency and common sense dictates how successful a comment page can be.Though nobody wants censored, the right to free speech isn’t necessarily the God given right that some people believe it to be. It needs to be treated with respect.

  • Wrigley1

    It’s really a shame the Sun-Times turned off the comments for Wittenmeyer articles, those things were an endless source of entertainment, and also a pretty good window into the plight of mental illness in America. There seemed to be one guy, using several usernames, who just posted the most insane, nearly unintelligible things about how much the Cubs sucked and how they should fold and Bartman and goats. If I didn’t know better (like knowing how lazy he is) I’d think it was Wittenmeyer himself.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Must have been the same guy who wrote the essay in the New York Times this morning (Or was that Wittenmeyer too???)

      • BT

        No you are right Tommy. Since other people write columns saying the Cubs are bad, ALL columns saying the Cubs are bad are completely justifiable.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Did you read that essay?? It was hysterical. Here is the gist:

          The Cubs haven’t won in a 105 years and it’s all their fault. People who believe in curses are stupid. It won’t get any better soon because prospects are dumb. Yankees rule, Cubs drool.

          • BT

            so you are saying it actually may have been Wittenmeyer?

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              No that was a joke haha, it was very Wittenmeyer-ish though

  • Medicos

    Weather forecast for the Bronx area in NY is for excessive rainy thunderstorms beginning around 4:30 and continuing throughout the evening hours. Tonite’s game will probably be played as part of a day–nite doubleheader tomorrow.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yeah, there is a huge system sitting on the east coast right now, and basically moving along the coast. We are getting absolutely dumped in DC, and it’s supposed to be like this until the evening. Then the effin’ White Walkers are marching back into town….

      So, don’t hold your breathe on the game tonight. (And if you have fantasy players supposed to play in east coast cities, you might flip them out for guys playing elsewhere!)

      • DarthHater

        This is why I just love fantasy sports sooooo much. Nothing adds to one’s appreciation of the game like scouring national weather reports every day. ;-)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          It enhanced my appreciation of meteorology.

        • Karl Groucho

          Agreed. I’m trying out a league with once-a-week rosters and it’s working out well so far. Though I’m 0-2 so perhaps I should be more upset.

  • DarthHater

    The Sun-Times action is just another example of the media elite trying to act as a filter and substitute themselves in place of the real voice of the people. :-D

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I wonder if RR is going with his lefty lineup today or if he might play Lake and Olt. My guess is Sweeny in center and Valbuena at third. I give all the respect in the world to Jackie Robinson, but I hope we spoil his celebration with a blow out tonight.

  • blars82

    Great points Brett, I am a huge fan of this site and the thoughtful discussions each day!

    Way off the subject, I was just having a freak out moment thinking about bloody noses. Where does that blood come from and how does it stop? I’m picturing a leaky faucet in my house and needing to use the main water shut off valve. I don’t think the human body has one of those and I don’t think a tourniquet would work with a bloody nose.

  • lukobravo

    Brett,

    Re: Sun-Times This is the exact reason I stopped posting on the Cubs mlb message board. It’s turned into a flame board, negitive remarks and just outright insanity. We all come to these board with the single most thing in common….Were Cubs fans. If you can understand people will not always agree then you can be adult and disagree in a respectiful way. But most find some sort of satisfaction in putting others down and It troubles me. At any rate, I really enjoy your website here and visit it 10-20 times a day.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Yeah, I used to post on there. There’s one dude who’s been posting on it for years and acts like a high school quarterback douchapotamos who feels he has to control the message board and its content/”clique”. He’s just obnoxious and sort of ruins the board, making it less conducive to different viewpoints. I haven’t used that message board in over a year.

  • Hee Seop Chode

    “a web site is at its best when it functions as a community”

    Couldn’t agree more. When people fall into the racist/hate speech thing at BN they’re put in their place quickly. Comments which can’t be reinforced by fact are sumarily dismissed, which can be intimidating at first but has a positive effect over time.

  • Brocktoon

    Re: Wada – I’m guessing we don’t know for sure, but considering he was re-signed on a minor league deal, I’m guessing there is no mechanism in there allowing him to enter FA before 6 years should he be added by any roster deadline(Which I agree, I’d assume would be in there)

    While he is older(32?), that’d still be nice to have 6 years of control on him, even if he just winds up a reliever.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Nope, he is subject to the same roster rules as everyone else. If the Cubs called him up right now, they’d control him until his age 40 season.

      • Brocktoon

        Thanks, any idea on Fujikawa? It may not matter if his elbow’s busted, but I wonder if his contract has the common Japanese major league free agent clause forcing them to be released after their first contract.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          ” Bust” is how to define his contract. Period!

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Check out cards talk on the post dispatch website. Constant name calling and pissing contests. One attack post after another. I was told the newspaper couldn’t care less. Good or bad, the more hits, the more money.

    • Wrigley1

      I believe there is a Twitter account dedicated to the St. Louis Post Dispatch comments section, or Facebook page, but only shows the comments from Cardinals articles. A nice combination of the Cubs/Bears/White Sox Facebook and Best Fans in Baseball twitter feeds

  • Isaac

    This is absolutely the only website I post comments on. I appreciate this community probably more than I should. My wife certainly doesn’t understand it.

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    I think “good” is in the eye of the beholder.

    Sure, how one says their peace has tons to do with how the message is received. But remember: not everyone has the same “value system” as you, nor were they raised in the same way as you. Some readily find conflict and edgy comments tolerable; others, make it their moral purpose to suppress those ideologies or opinions that repulse them, and many others. (And where you come from – as not everyone thinks “American” – introduces 7 billion souls from other countries that have unique value systems that are very much different, and influential, even here in the good ol’ USA into the equation.)

    And how one perceives through this medium called the “internet” is wholly inadequate – as we likely know most human communication is not even written or verbal, but body language! And why women are so good at “communicating” and men are usually bad at it. (This would be a fascinating addition to BN – large-scale video conferencing to get all the body language stuff – and so, does any sports site do this? And being first is a big way to succeed in business. And would get people to “behave”…too.)

    Many times, what one feels is absurd, or aberrant, turns out time and time again not so far from the future way, or at least, has a ring of truth. Certainly, if this absurdness is “on” topic, it can be. Neil Degrasse Tyson mentioned this concept in his Cosmos program recently.

    In today’s world of sending quick quips from a cell phone while driving (and I bet a few here have done it), not much time is spent on the structure, logic, or the tactfulness it appears the Sun-Times has an interest in maintaining. So, while I guess they have their Babel problem going on there, they will just figure some way to either moderate these messages, increase barriers to entry, or “keyword” to exclude messages. Whatever works. I rarely read their stuff.

    Lastly, on topic for the Cubs:
    I don’t have an affirmative feeling either way on their current plan. It is easy to criticize the present. It is easy to laud the future. It is easy to sacrifice the present in the hopes of a resource-filled future.Though if the media blackout case is decided against MLB, the Cubs TV deal windfall may go up in smoke: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-mlb-s-blackout-policy-hurts-its-already-eroding-fan-base-055955588.html

    Quoting Passan: ” If every fan wants to subscribe to DirecTV, lock into the minimum $30-a-month package, then plop down $14 a month on top of that for the Sports Pack, well, yeah, maybe – and even then, in some cases, multiple-team markets that use the same RSN such as Chicago with Comcast can’t broadcast two games at one time….Territorial rights existed in an era well before the explosion in TV money, and the game – and its technologies – long ago outgrew the idea that a team could be defined by some crudely drawn boundary. Baseball argued in its letter to Scheindlin that territorial rights “serves fans by … supporting a healthy, competitively-balanced league to produce games by 30 clubs, each of which is the favorite ‘home team’ to its fans.”

    If that is the case – this ideal in which fans chose a singular home team – how can the league advocate for a system in which it prevents people in Las Vegas from seeing the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants, A’s and Diamondbacks if they buy its Extra Innings or MLB.tv packages? There’s a new slogan: What happens in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Arizona doesn’t stay in Vegas.”

    As a member of the blackout in West Lafayette, who has unplugged from cable, I feel aggrieved. I watch Oakland, LA, and Arizona more than I watch the Cubs.

    • Brocktoon

      I’m terrified that we’re going to miss out on the bubble.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Yep. Bubble is the operative word. The standard and cable TV market is following the demise of print publications. The customers can and will find alternatives ways.

        I’ll be interested in the equity stake the Cubs take in said TV deal forthcoming.

        One day, not so long in the future, some enterprising group of fans will “sync up” the ballpark experience, cellular video recording from differing angles, just like TV, and upload to Youtube (or whatever) outlet they can. I bet that someone can give you 75-90% of the TV experience, in high def, without bullshit commercials: and the in between innings do interviews or pan around to the “interesting” fans. And will some do it before 2016…

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        We already did.

        • Brocktoon

          Well yeah we all know we’re not getting a Dodgers deal, but it worries further that we still have nothing done for ’15, and that the FOX rumors seem to have gained no traction since the initial reports.

  • CubsFaninMS

    The Wada is hot! Time to let him step in.

  • TSB

    Out here In LA, the Times lets the columnists decide if they want all comments screened (in addition to the obscenity filter) before they are posted. Most are big boys and say let her rip, but one is a coward who filters out the ones he doesn’t like. And he is the same guy that got suspended for writing comments to his own columns using an assumed name. BN posters, we have it good!

    • Brocktoon

      Gotta be Plaschke

      • TSB

        Nope, Hiltzik

  • Jed Jam Band

    Here, here, Brett! May we continue to NOT suggest that wearing one’s hat slightly cocked to the side is a gang sign.

  • Travis

    That was a fun read about Soriano. Players definitely looked up to him. He was definitely one of my favorite players on the team the past few years.

    One of the reasons I fell in love with the bleachers (besides the party) was due to him. Each game in the bleachers, I would try to get a good seat out in left field to watch Soriano work. He was always interacting with the crowd and fun for the kids (if you allow your kids to sit in the bleachers).

    I loved watching him turn around after, seemingly, each out to wave his fingers to the crowd signifying the outs either before or after popping a whole wad of sunflower seeds in his mouth. He’d show that signature smile after catching a fly ball and after getting yelled at by fans to “turn around and watch the game” or how much he made for that catch. I especially loved it when he would toss a ball into the stands before each inning to one of the kids in the area and, if said ball didn’t make it to the kid, wait and point until the ball was given up to said child.

    Contract issues aside, I just loved watching that guy play and I’m excited to see him again tomorrow.

  • Katie

    I’m just here to find a date.
    You mean I have to post intelligent comments about the CUBS?! Dammit.

    • DarthHater

      No, your comments don’t have to be thoughtful or respectful, if you’re sufficiently hot. ;-)

      • mjhurdle

        I thought anything possessing sufficient hotness was recently discontinued from the series previews and sent to the netherworld of the message boards?

        • DarthHater

          Sorry, Katie. I guess you have to fish for dates on the message board. :-P

          And mj, you can use the word “netherworld” here, but please be sure not to use it in the banana hammock thread.

          • mjhurdle

            my apologies. Henceforth i shall refrain from the term ‘netherworld’ and use the much more acceptable ‘netherregion’.

      • Karl Groucho

        I realize you’re kidding, but…

  • cubs2003

    If you wouldn’t say something to somebody face-to-face you shouldn’t put it in a message board/comment section. Simple and effective strategy.

    • Patrick W.

      I would never spend this much time talking to you people face to face.

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