Today should be inordinately busy around here – which is good news for you if you like to read lots of swell stuff – so stick around and/or check back in frequently. I already offered a catch-up on what was an extremely busy weekend, and a preview of some of the big things happening today.
Ok. I’m strapped in. Away I go …
- The Cubs are getting more national love as the hype train prepares to leave the station. For example, ESPN did its annual future power rankings, which looks at a variety of things like big league talent, farm system talent, financial resources, front office talent, etc., and the Chicago Cubs have rocketed up to 4th. That’s an enormous leap for an organization that was much lower last year, and that has finished in last place several years running. Setting aside the cynical rationale – the Cubs have lots of fans, and articles/rankings praising the Cubs tend to do well (and now you’re turning that cynical eye toward me, aren’t you?) – I see no reason to disagree with ESPN’s take that the Cubs’ future looks as bright as any team in baseball, when you consider all of the inputs. There’s probably a small part of you that thinks, “Hey, I knew that a year ago,” but whatever. Rankings don’t win anything, and “the future” is actually still a long way away. But it sure is nice to see folks swooning about the Cubs rather than ripping them and noting that they might be competitive in 2017 or 2018 “at the earliest.” Yes, that’s what some were saying as recently as last year. I’m glad everyone seems now to recognize how ridiculous that was. Better late than never.
- That said, are some going too far in the other direction now? Don’t get me wrong, I think the Cubs can be competitive in 2015 if they make the right moves this offseason and get a little luck. But Scott Miller is already taking the Cubs as his NL rep in the World Series next year … and then predicts the Cubs as the champions in 2015. The playoffs are a crapshoot, so, I suppose if I’m saying it’s possible that the Cubs will make the playoffs next year (it is possible), then I’m also saying it’s possible they win it all. When was the last time we could technically, credibly say something like that in November? Five years ago?
- The Chicago Cubs Hype Train looks like this, by the way, if you needed a visualization:
- We folks around here will have to do our best to stay grounded, by the way, and remember that this is the way national stories work. Some team or some guy or some group of prospects enters the national consciousness, and then the story is relentlessly pounded. That’s probably going to be the Cubs all offseason now, especially if they do add an impact player or two. Again, that’s better than the opposite end of the spectrum, but it takes a whole lot of intellectual honesty not to let yourself buy into it completely yet. The Cubs have some nice young talent, a great front office, a great manager, and some money to spend. But it’s a long way from where they’ve been to where they want to get.
- Speaking of the future and of Joe Maddon, I really enjoyed this read on those subjects from Patrick Mooney.
- And speaking of Maddon, David Haugh has quite a few more details on the Cubs’ pursuit and dismissal of Rick Renteria. Once again, it sounds like the front office handled things as well as they could in a situation like that.
- Christina Kahrl writes about why the Joe Maddon hire is such a good move for the Cubs from a completely stat-less perspective.
- You know that the world of technology has changed in irreversible ways when …
Embarrassed it took me this long to find Joe Maddon's dog on Twitter: @WinstonCMaddon. Sadly, it's time to unfollow Rick Renteria's macaw.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) November 2, 2014