I’m looking forward to getting some eyes on the renovation process at Wrigley Field today. Obviously I’ve seen all of the pictures in recent weeks, but I think I’ll enjoy experiencing it in person.
Speaking of which …
- You wondered it throughout the demolition process, and now the Cubs have confirmed it: yes, they are selling pieces of the torn down bleacher area as part of Cubs Authentics. There will be aisle signs, bleacher sections, etc., available for purchase and bidding, all authenticated and legit. The Cubs announced the availability of these items as part of a broader group of authentic items, called The Wrigley Field Collection, which will also include things like flags, scoreboard tiles, celebrity guest memorabilia, Wrigley dirt, etc.
- Now, then. In my experience, folks tend to have one of three reactions when they hear news like this: (1) OK, whatever; (2) the Cubs are CHEAP!; or (3) Sweet, I’m gonna get me some dirt! To varying degrees, all reactions are understandable, and maybe even appropriate. I’ll ignore 1 and 3, because they are the least interesting. That middle reaction, which pops up any time the Cubs try to make money doing anything these days, is to be expected, particularly at a time when the Cubs have been limited in their payroll spending (the two things really aren’t terribly connected, but I understand why folks’ heads go there). I thought about it over the past day – The Wrigley Field Collection announcement came yesterday while I was on the road – and here’s where I land. Like it or lump it, the Cubs are going to have all of this stuff. They could hoard it, they could throw it away, or they could give it away for free. The first two options are silly, and the third could be logistically problematic (though the Cubs will undoubtedly give a lot of this kind of stuff away throughout the coming years as part of promotions). It’s not impossible, though, so if you want to rail on the Cubs for not spending money to conceive and implement a free distribution program, then so be it. To me, though, the fourth option here – selling the stuff – is the most reasonable. By it’s very nature, selling the items creates an orderly approach to distributing the items (because people really do want this stuff (I wouldn’t hate trying to make an office chair out of a bleacher section)). And, as a side benefit – OK, primary benefit – it generates revenue. Any other approach here is either silly or unrealistic.
- Danny Ecker has more on the authentication process here.
- Eno Sarris writes a fascinating take on Pablo Sandoval, and the many peculiarities of his game. In short, there are so many things working against Sandoval sustaining his (already-declining) level of performance that the five-year, $100 million deal could become an albatross as soon as next year. I try not to let any single article sway me so dramatically, but it’s hard after reading this piece. (Also: hooray for Luis Valbuena.)
- That said, Jeff Sullivan looks at the very early WAR projections for the Red Sox, as currently constructed after adding Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, and the Red Sox now project as the best team in the AL. That should probably tell you a lot about how much underperformance and injury stuff they dealt with last year, and about how impactful the right free agent/trade moves can be.
- We know that pitch sequencing – literally the order in which pitches are thrown during a plate appearance – is a hugely important, and rarely discussed, aspect of effective pitching. Jon Roegele attempts to dig deep on the actual, tangible effects of pitch sequencing, with fascinating results. Among them? If you can manage consecutive pitches that look to be the same for the first 20 or so feet of the pitch, but then wind up in different spots as they reach the catcher, the swing and miss percentage on that second pitch is disproportionately high. That’s probably always been intuitively true to you – recall how silly Mark Prior or a young Kerry Wood would make a batter look by hitting the outside corner with a fastball, and then throwing a hard slider that wound up two feet off the plate (“Why in the world did that guy swing at that?”) – but seeing the data underscores the point. Moreover, for this effect to work, it appears to be more important that the consecutive pitches look the same for the first 20 feet than for the two pitches to have dramatically different end points.