The next episode of BNTV records live tonight at 8pm CT, 9pm ET. There’s no Cubs game to conflict with it, so if you want your live, Cubs-related action tonight, mine’s the only game in town! Check out past episodes at the BNTV page, send questions/comments to bntv at bleachernation dot com, and then have some fun live tonight.
- Speaking of tonight’s BNTV, the opening focus is going to be the close of the 2014 season and the transition into 2015. Specifically, I’ll get into how I feel about the Cubs’ performance in 2014, relative to the rebuild and our initial expectations for that rebuild, and where I think we can realistically pin our hopes heading into 2015. This kind of discussion is natural at the end of a season, and you can see other writers’ thoughts at Cubs.com, ESPN, Daily Herald, etc.
- The sense you get from folks who have followed the team all year is pretty consistent: there are reasons to be optimistic about the future, but getting to there (the playoffs) from here (73-89) is going to take some more work. I agree with that, generally-speaking. I would, however, point one thing out: the last six times the Cubs made the playoffs, they improved 12, 19, 21, 22, 16, and 25 games over the year before.* In other words, making a huge leap from one year to the next is not only possible, it’s generally how the Cubs have made the playoffs in recent memory. (That’s kind of the way it goes when you’re generally not very good. Here’s hoping 20 years from now, that list features much lower numbers, and lots of ’em.) It took 88 wins to get a Wild Card spot in the NL this year. That’s a 15 game jump over how the Cubs finished in 2014.
- *(Idea for future analysis: how did those teams make their big leap? Development? Spending? Trades? Lucky performance?)
- Patrick Mooney collects the year in quotes, which is a long ride through the season.
- My Spanish is quite poor, but it looks like Manny Ramirez will be playing in the Dominican Winter League this year for the Gigantes del Cibao (article, article). Ramirez was a player-coach for the AAA Iowa Cubs this year, and was extremely well-regarded in the coaching role. The Cubs have indicated a reciprocal desire to have him return to the organization down the road in an instructional role, so we’ll see what happens.
- FanGraphs with the most extreme homers of 2014, and do you remember this Anthony Rizzo bomb?
- I remember it like it was yesterday. Easily one of the best moments of the year, for the sheer fun of it if nothing else. That pitch was the most “outside” pitch that anyone took deep all year, and by a wide margin, too. Rizzo had absolutely no business doing that much damage with a pitch like that … but, as we’ve established, the guy is a stud.
- Len Kasper writes about the experiences of many of the Cubs’ young players this year.
- Jesse Rogers wraps up some of the individual performances from the season.