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joe maddon speaksYesterday, I received a new Leaf antenna from Amazon that should extend the range of TV channels received at the old Taylor household, which popped into my head when I saw the news that Indianapolis is going to be getting Cubs games (I still won’t be in range – which is OK, because I’m an MLB.tv guy).

Yes, you read that correctly, Indiana/Indianapolis folks: WISH-TV and MyIndy-TV 23 will together be carrying 46 Cubs games this year over-the-air. So, add Indianapolis to the list of cities outside of Chicago, but within the Cubs’ blackout region, that will be getting some games.

(Also, obligatory with the mention of Amazon: you should totally do your shopping at Amazon, because it is awesome. They’re even testing out new delivery drones like it’s 2030 or something. By using the Amazon link here at BN to do your shopping, you also support the site. Win, win.)

  • If you want a quote to give you excitement shivers about the Cubs’ new manager, how about this one about positioning center fielder Dexter Fowler: “The data suggests more extra base hits and more runs are taken away [by playing deep in center],” Joe Maddon told ESPN. “I switched my thinking. I looked at the stuff and I was wrong.” It’s such a simple thing, but it embodies something so great about Maddon: he isn’t beholden to any ideas he’s had in the past, or that conventional wisdom has held up as true. It’s not just about the data. It’s about an openness to reconsidering an approach with available data helping to inform that decision. Here, the conventional wisdom had been if you have a fast, athletic center fielder, cheat them in to try and cut down on hits (while presuming that they’ll have enough speed to go back when necessary). Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe that’s wrong with respect to Fowler, specifically. Maybe a different approach is necessary. Maybe giving up far more singles in exchange for a handful fewer doubles and triples is worth it. Whatever the specific case here*, I’m just excited to see a manager thinking and speaking in this way. I thought Thing X, but the data showed that I was wrong. So let’s try Thing Y.
  • *(This is all especially interesting in the case of Fowler, a guy who passes the eye test as a good defensive center fielder, but whom the metrics have always disfavored. How much is positioning playing into things?)
  • Jesse Rogers spoke with some of Miguel Montero’s former D-Backs teammates to get a sense of the man, and it sounds like they appreciated how energetic and straightforward he is, but it can take a little getting used to, especially for younger guys.
  • Starlin Castro’s preference, all else equal, is to hit second or fourth in the Cubs’ lineup (ESPN). Those are just the spots he feels most comfortable. Given the Cubs’ pieces, and the way lineups are best constructed, I’d say neither spot is unreasonable for Castro, though he’s probably better at 3 or 5/6.
  • A nice read at Cubs.com on veteran catcher Taylor Teagarden, who is likely to wind up the Cubs’ third or fourth option heading into the season (he’ll be at AAA Iowa, likely with Rafael Lopez). Given his defensive chops, I think the Cubs’ pitching staff will be in good hands if one of their big league catchers has to miss time.
  • Joe Maddon offers love for Kyle Hendricks, whom Maddon says doesn’t need a ton of coaching from him.
  • Anthony Rizzo offered some thoughts to Kris Bryant on the nature of Spring Training and the promotion schedule, and also offered heaps of praise on owner and chairman Tom Ricketts (CSN).
  • Joe Maddon Tampering Investigation Status: still unresolved.
  • Jon Lester will live close to Wrigley Field.
  • Speaking of Lester, BN’er Ryan was good enough to upload a bunch of Spring Training videos of Lester that you may enjoy checking out.
  • The Spring Training Miscellany for last night’s Diamondbacks game has a bit of a tangent on the possible outcomes for Felix Doubront, given his unique situation. It was a possible Bullet item, but I got rolling on it since he pitched in the game … but, anyway, read it there if you missed it.
  • So, I bought a signed Anthony Rizzo bat. It’s nice to look at, for now, but soon it will belong to one of you:

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