She’s getting up there in years, but her beauty only grows. Wrigley Field turns 100 years old today, and the Cubs will hold a party in her honor. I’ll be there – at Captain Morgan Club before the game (stop by) and in the right field bleachers by the well/LED board for the game (stop by) – and I hope many of you will be, too. What do you get a ballpark like Wrigley Field for its 100th birthday? Championship banners? Netting? Little black dress?
I say the best gift would be an agreement with the rooftops that ensures the renovation of Wrigley Field (and preservation) proceeds as soon as possible, and then maybe the Friendly Confines will be around for another 100 years.
- Everyone wants Mike Olt to get another start after last night’s homer (keep those expectations in check, folks – he has tremendous power, but there’s still a learning curve at play), and Ricky Renteria says he’s going to oblige. “We’ve talked about him gradually getting into that role,” RR told Cubs.com. “Do I plan on playing him tomorrow? Yes. Everything is very calculated. I’m going to throw him out there and let him run with it a little bit. We’re still measuring everything, but he’ll be in there tomorrow.” I’ve said all along that, presuming Olt stayed healthy and showed a modicum of effectiveness, he would get more starts as the year went on – that’s the easing in process, and I wholeheartedly approve. But, as for today’s game … it’s against a lefty, so Olt was always going to start anyway. Just sayin’. We’ll see what happens on Thursday and beyond.
- On the issue of platoons and playing time, Theo Epstein told Jesse Rogers pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear: “There’s nothing wrong with having a team that finds favorable matchups. Oakland is one of the best teams in all of baseball and they do it to perfection. There’s no ego involved, there’s no complaining, there’s no rhythm that needs to be found. You find very favorable matchups with your hitters against the opposing pitchers and you let those guys go to work. If we become that kind of team, great. If guys step forward and emerge and end up with every day at-bats then great. What we’re looking for is production one way or the other.” Rogers’ piece also has thoughts from Olt and Renteria, if you want more.
- Should Olt do what we all hope he does and emerge as a regular, an interesting situation develops. Luis Valbuena has demonstrated that he deserves regular playing time, too (not only to help the team win, but the guy is under control for another two years after this one, and has legit value on the trade market). He also happened to look pretty good at second base last night … but what about Emilio Bonifacio, who probably also needs to start regularly? Even if you shift Bonifacio to center field against righties (allowing Valbuena to start regularly against righties at second base), then you’ve got Ryan Sweeney and Darwin Barney almost completely left out in the cold. Maybe that’s the best approach long-term, but it’s a tricky balancing act. And it all starts with what happens to Olt.
- Pedro Strop tells CSN that there was nothing to him throwing behind Miguel Montero on Monday night. Just a pitch that got away. Like, legitimately. Not wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
- The Tribune’s coverage of the first game at Wrigley Field (then Weeghman Park) 100 years ago.
- It doesn’t sound like there’s much of an update on Jorge Soler at this point, who is rehabbing his injured hamstring in Arizona. He’s doing baseball activities (Arizona Phil has mentioned batting practice a couple times, but I don’t believe he’s seen Soler in the field or running the bases yet), but Soler isn’t playing in any extended Spring Training games yet. Throwing a time table out there would be nothing but guesswork. All I can say is that when he finally does start playing in games in Arizona, it’ll probably be a week of that before he returns to Tennessee.
- Carlos Villanueva, while extolling the virtues of being a Cub and playing at Wrigley Field, tells Carrie Muskat, “We get a little renovations done and it’ll be around for 100 more years. In this next century, let’s have at least 25 championships.” That’s it. Don’t ever trade Carlos Villanueva. Just let him stay for the next 100 years, pitching when he can, and saying wonderful things.