The holidays were so awkwardly placed this year, with Christmas and New Year’s Day on Thursdays. That means that two weeks were put into a kind of limbo, where it was a broken up work week for some folks, and a four-day weekend for others. It’s a normal work day for me, but, like last week, I’m not really sure how many of you are around.
I guess Tuesdays would come with similar problems, but we’ll deal with that in about four years.
- A look over at FanGraphs on how Jake Arrieta’s success has developed over the past couple years, and whether it can be viewed as sustainable for fantasy purposes (i.e., should fantasy baseball players trust that he can be an elite pitcher for them next year). As I’ve said before, I enjoy these fantasy takes, because they have no skin in the game. No fandom. No need to appease a player. It’s just purely dispassionate performance analysis and projection. So, it’s nice to see that the conclusion is essentially, yes, there’s an injury risk, but what Arrieta did last year was legitimate and repeatable.
- Another piece over at FanGraphs worth checking out: the legal year in baseball. Although there were bigger stories, I’d say the author nails the lead item as the most important one – will MLB’s blackout restrictions (which reinforce the local broadcast rights regions that support those huge TV contracts) survive a federal antitrust challenge? It’s still up in the air, but it could be resolved in 2015.
- Buster Olney offers the top ten storylines for 2015, and number two is none other than the Chicago Cubs. And he’s right. It’s easy for Cubs fans to forget – or, going in the other direction, to chalk up to homerism – that this team is a hugely compelling story when they’re even remotely competitive. It’s not just the championship drought, either. Casual fans and fans of other teams want to like the Cubs. If it doesn’t affect your team, it’s easy to want to see the Cubs do well. It’s been too long since the Cubs have been competitive in June and July, but, once they are, you’re going to see the national folks all over the Cubs, and baseball consumers are going to eat it up.
- Then, more narrowly, the 10 questions facing the Cubs in 2015 from Cubs.com.
- Farewell, Dae-Eun Rhee, who is off to Japan. The former Cubs pitching prospect and bonus baby was a big name back in 2008 before he blew out his arm. He had some nice years after that, but never quite emerged as a serious threat to crack the big league roster. Now he gets to go make some money – good for him, and best of luck.
- As some of you know, the Oregon football team – who will face the Ohio State Buckeyes for the championship after each team won yesterday – uses picture signs to call their plays from the sideline, which helps their up-tempo approach. Here’s one of the signs they used yesterday:
— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) January 2, 2015
- I think SB Nation’s joke there was weak (the Cubs reaching the playoffs isn’t the historical joke), and I think you can probably top it. What play was Oregon calling by using the Cubs’ logo? My entrant: the quarterback is supposed to take his towel, and repeatedly wave it in a throwing motion, but never accept the snap.