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manny ramirezChicago is getting a new museum on the museum campus downtown: Star Wars! George Lucas selected Chicago for his upcoming museum over San Francisco, and there will be more detailed plans coming later this year. Something tells me Lucas won’t have to come to blows at any Zoning Commission hearings to get the thing built.

  • Manny Ramirez arrives at AAA today, joining the Iowa Cubs as a player coach. His past transgressions are well-documented, and some degree of circumspection is fair over the next few weeks. Patrick Mooney writes a great piece at CSN about bringing Manny into the fold, and it’s worth a read. As an aside, I found Theo Epstein’s explanation of why Ramirez will be a “player/coach” to be pretty compelling: “As a player/coach, there are no boundaries with his teammates. Sometimes, when you’re a coach, no matter how well you can communicate, no matter how well you can connect with players, there’s always a little bit of a boundary there. One person’s a coach, one person’s a player. But as a teammate, there’s often full transparency and you can admit things [about] your mental approach and your anxieties in the box and things like that. So I actually think it could work and I became more comfortable with that concept.” It sounds as though the Cubs would have been less interested in Ramirez as a pure coach, and I’m sure that would have been less appealing to Ramirez, too, who’s indicated that he’s not quite yet ready to hang ‘em up (even at 42).
  • In any case, I expect we’ll be hearing a whole lot about Ramirez and the AAA youngsters in the coming days, and I look forward to it. It’s hard to know the tangible effect someone like Ramirez is having on, say, Javier Baez. And, if Baez suddenly goes on a torrid hot streak – something he’s wont to do anyway – it’ll probably be attributed to Ramirez (or if Baez struggles, etc.). I doubt we’ll actually be in a position to know, at least not any time soon, the real impact. So, I guess, that’s your word of caution.
  • When Edwin Jackson puts together a rough outing, I always hope there’s going to be some kind of explanation for why things went awry (see, for example, last time when he struggled in the sixth inning, and it was apparently because of calf cramps). No such luck in the quotes from Jackson or manager Rick Renteria this time (Cubs.com). Sometimes, a guy just struggles, I guess.
  • I didn’t know that Jake Arrieta and Homer Bailey are friends (I wonder if Homer ever tries to fist bump Jake), or that they train together in the offseason (Cubs.com).
  • Speaking of Arrieta, Gordon Wittenmyer writes about how the Orioles could have given up on a guy with this much potential. The reality is, it was pretty understandable at the time. I think the Cubs tend to deserve a lot of credit for believing in the upside and rolling the dice.
  • Rick Renteria says, per the Tribune, he has considered sending a reliever to the outfield for a batter so that he could then bring that reliever back to face the next batter (for match-ups, without taxing the pen). With an eight-man pen, it hardly seems like that would be necessary. I’m not opposed to it, but I’m also not crazy about sending a reliever out into the outfield to try and field a position, avoid injury, and then come back and pitch. I’m all for alternative thinking, but I’m not sure that should be high up on the chain. Perhaps just less bunting. Let’s start there.
  • Kris Bryant sparkles his way to the top of the home run leader board in the minors, and also to the top of BA’s most recent prospect piece. Kane County’s Trey Martin comes in for a mention, too, after swiping five bases the other day.
  • Jeff Moore at BP chatted, and, while he touched on a variety of Cubs prospect bits, I have to highlight this Q&A:

Mike (Milwaukee wi): The overall thinking of cubs fan is the farm system has taken a step back this year. Do you agree?

Jeff Moore: I don’t think Cubs fans could relax if they had ten beers, popped a Xanax then got laid. No, the farm system is fine.

  • Good line. Accurate.

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