It’s one of those days, man.
By which I mean one of those days when you’ve got “Let It Go” stuck in your head on an interminable loop, and only about twelve words of the song.
- Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts said this week that the Sporting News’ Cubs World Series prediction is not “completely crazy,” according to the Daily Herald. That’s just about how I’d phrase it, too. I think predicting *any* team to win it all is a little crazy, because it’s inherently unpredictable with any kind of certainty (it’s one of the beauties of baseball). The best we can predict is that the Cubs look like a team that could be very competitive this year, and, if they make the playoffs – which is plausible – anything can happen. So, predicting a World Series for the Cubs this year, if you’re into that kind of thing, isn’t completely crazy. It’s a nice change from the last few years when folks started brandishing straight jackets when Ricketts suggested the Cubs could make the playoffs. (Which, candidly, I didn’t think was all that crazy either, because the various projection systems were giving the Cubs something like a 5% to 10% playoff shot back then, and, also, what do you expect the owner to say? … but I digress.)
- Keith Law ranked the Cubs as the top farm system in baseball yesterday, and Jesse Rogers followed up with his colleague on a couple items, which you can read here. One bit that sticks out is Law’s guess, based on everyone he’s spoken with, that Kyle Schwarber has only a 10% chance of sticking behind the plate long term. That’s probably not unfair, given that very few have seen Schwarber working behind the plate after the 2014 season ended (and accounts at that time indicated that, yes, he was really rough back there). There is a lot of optimism, privately, that Schwarber made significant strides during his post-season work in Arizona, but we won’t really know until it is put into practice regularly this year at AA. With MiLB.tv and such a high profile name, there will be plenty of eyes on Schwarber’s catching mechanics right out of the gate this year. By midseason, I think we’re going to know which way this thing is going, not only because of the eyes, but also because the Cubs aren’t going to hold his bat back any longer than necessary if it’s clear that a life behind the plate simply isn’t for him. But, since having a catcher with his bat is the dream scenario, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
- The memorial for Ernie Banks at Daley Plaza featuring his statue opened up yesterday, and you can read the accounts of some who were in attendance here, here, and here. Sports Illustrated celebrated Banks this week, too:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 28, 2015
- I was pretty disappointed to read that Sammy Sosa – who was very close to Ernie Banks – will not be attending Banks’ funeral, and hasn’t yet visited with the Banks family in large part because he doesn’t want his presence in Chicago to take away attention from memorializing Banks (Tribune). I’m frustrated to think that Sosa can’t even come to pay his respects because of whatever is going on behind the scenes between he and the Cubs, especially when Banks, himself, was a proponent of the sides reconciling. Whether that’s Sosa’s own fault, the Cubs’ fault, or other individuals’ fault, I really don’t know. It just makes you shake your head.
- Speaking of Sosa, many folks anecdotally point to the Salomon Torres fastball he took to the helmet in 2003 (this one) as the turning point in his career, but Bradley Woodrum actually looked into the data associated with that anecdote. There may have been something there – an undiagnosed concussion, for example? – that changed the course of his career. Or maybe it was the alleged positive PED test that year. Or maybe it was the corked bat incident that year. Or maybe it was just the fact that Sammy was 34 at that point, and he naturally declined from there. It’s a very interesting read.