happy kid at computerI am in Chicago for a few days to take in today’s Cubs/White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field (I’ve never been) and then tomorrow’s Brewers/Yankees game at Miller Park (also never been), because there’s a Baseball Prospect event there, and I like me some Baseball Prospectus. For tonight’s game, I think I’m going to wear Cubs garb (shirsey with “Ace” on the back), although I typically don’t do that anymore at Cubs games (some kind of weird fan-media cognitive dissonance). I want the authentic experience of being a Cubs fan at a Cubs/White Sox game at the Cell. Make sure to follow me on Twitter, as that’ll be where I’ll be live-tweeting my experience. (And if you’re going tonight, I’ll be on the third base side in the upper deck, wearing my trusty blue and yellow shoes.)

  • Rick Renteria was tossed last night for the third time already this season. He took issue with a legitimately erratic strike zone, and a stretch of plate appearances mid-game (when the White Sox started rolling) where the calls seemed to not go the Cubs’ way again and again. Renteria didn’t offer many thoughts on the subject, though Anthony Rizzo and Welington Castillo were obviously both also displeased. (Cubs.com)
  • I’m quickly eyeballing the zones for John Danks and Travis Wood last night using Brooks Baseball’s PitchF/X tool. Although you can see that the two strikes to Anthony Rizzo, in that critical two-on, two-out situation with the Cubs down one, were both outside the zone, you can also see that it looks like Wood, not Danks, was getting the more generous calls. I see four strikes that were called balls for Danks, and three balls that were called strikes. For Wood, I see only one strike that was called a ball, and six or seven balls that were called strikes. (Interestingly, most were down in the zone, which was the area we just discussed yesterday was giving Welington Castillo the most framing issues – did he fix it in one day!? Hooray!)

  • Mike Olt suggests that inconsistent playing time isn’t to blame for his early season struggles; instead, it could just be that he puts too much pressure on himself to perform when he does actually play. (Carrie Muskat) I know that’s a fine distinction, but I can see what he’s saying. Like I’ve said all along: as the season goes on, and becomes what it’s becoming (read: not competitive), we’re going to see Olt get more starts. If we don’t, that would be mighty disappointing, especially now that Luis Valbuena can pick up starts at second base.
  • If a Cubs minor league affiliate came back from a 16-run deficit to win, would you think that was awesome, or would you worry about which pitching prospects got lit up in the first place?
  • The first day of the NFL Draft is here, and Jay ponders some of the questions that will govern the Bears’ approach.
  • META: Your kinda-sorta regular Net Neutrality update (background here). I am pleasantly surprised to report that a consortium of some of the largest Internet companies – ones who, if they were evil, stood to profit from the FCC’s relaxed Net Neutrality proposal, because they could have afforded to squash all newcomers – has reached out to the FCC to express their strong desire that the Internet remain totally open, without any traffic discrimination, side deals, or fast lanes for big companies that are willing to pay ISPs. The letter is signed by Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Google, Tumblr, Yahoo, Microsoft, and many, many more. This is the kind of opposition that killed SOPA, so I’m suddenly very optimistic that, whatever rules are now put in place will not threaten the innovative ability of the Internet as we know it (nor add on a bunch of gratuitous costs to consumers).

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