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masahiro tanakaI’ll be at today’s game against the Yankees in the right field bleachers, hopefully telling Alfonso Soriano how much he was appreciated in Chicago by most thoughtful fans, and you should join me if you’re going to be in the bleachers anyway. Look for the blue BN shirt and the blue and yellow shoes, down by the wall in the far RF corner (by the LED board). If you’re out before the game, head over the Dark Horse on Sheffield (just south of the park), where Myles and I will be hanging out. Then, after the game, a group of us are headed to Goose Island on Clark (again, just south of the park). Come to all of the locations. Be merry.

  • The day after the Chicago Cubs beat Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees, handing Tanaka – the Cubs’ top offseason target, who wound up taking a more attractive contract to go to New York* – his first loss in forever, it’s fun to troll New York headlines for their thoughts on how the “lowly Cubs” could have possibly beaten the invincible Tanaka. More interestingly, though, the Yankees have been very quick to say that the Cubs didn’t do anything different against Tanaka, or adjust appropriately to his stuff/approach in order to hit him more this time around – instead, it was just a matter of Tanaka not having his best stuff and, also, the weather. I understand that you’ve got to protect your ace, and maybe it’s true that it was simply an off-night. But, as I said in the EBS, it’s interesting that this was the first time Tanaka faced a team for the second time, and he got slapped around a bit. (Definitely make sure not to give any credit to the Cubs’ hitters, by the way. That would be silly.)
  • *Can folks stop ignoring the opt-out in his deal? Tanaka did not sign a seven-year, $155 million contract. He signed a four-year, $88 million deal with a three-year player option at the end (and a full no-trade clause). If he sucks or gets hurt, he banks the full $155 million. If he’s healthy and great, he leaves after four years. Counting the $20 million posting fee, on that kind of contract, if you’re “right” and the guy is awesome, as you hope he’ll be, the Yankees paid $108 million for four years of Tanaka. That’s the contract. That’s what should be discussed. That’s also why it would have been insane for the Cubs to give him the opt out, and that, in turn, is why he wound up going to New York. The Cubs missed their target, and you can blast them for that, but at least discuss the contract for what it actually is.
  • It breaks my freaking heart to read quotes from Alfonso Soriano about how he was booed in Chicago in his later years as a Cub. The guy did nothing but accept the contract he was offered, and then work his ass off on a crummy team for years after the great seasons in 2007 and 2008. Although I was driving at the time, and couldn’t hear it on the radio, I was glad to hear that Soriano did receive a warm welcome from Cubs fans at Wrigley when he was introduced in his first at bat last night. I don’t really understand why Soriano wasn’t acknowledged in some kind of pre-game, brief ceremony or something (Derek Jeter gets a number from the Old Scoreboard after playing three games at Wrigley, but Soriano doesn’t even get a mention? I know he’s not publicly retiring, but this is his first time back to Wrigley), but at least the fans did him right last night.
  • That all said, I do think it was cool that Starlin Castro got a chance to present the scoreboard number to Jeter. I imagine he was loving that.
  • Of the ball he took off of his pitching hand last night, Jason Hammel told ESPN it “goosed” him a bit, but he was able to carry through thanks to the adrenaline. By the sixth, when he was pulled after walking a batter, Hammel said it was getting stiffer and sorer. Hopefully it relents by the time he’s next due up in the rotation.
  • Mike Olt didn’t homer, and went 1-2 with a walk, but it was actually a fantastic night at the plate. (ESPNChicago)
  • Kyuji Fujikawa was finally back on the mound at extended Spring Training yesterday, per Arizona Phil. He threw 12 in-game pitches, 8 for strikes.

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