Five years ago today, I changed my first diaper. It was actually my first interaction with my newborn daughter, outside of trying to make out her appearance through the tears in my eyes. Mischievous from the start, The Little Girl pooped twice in rapid succession upon her entrance into the world, so I got a very quick introduction into the art of the cleanup and diaper change. Maybe it sounds weird now, but, in that way, I immediately felt like a “dad.”
Happy birthday to The Little Girl. We’re doing some birthday festivities today, so don’t expect me around much. There will be plenty of postings, though, so make sure you stop in from time to time today.
- We’ve heard it hinted before from David Ross, and Jon Lester admits it to Patrick Mooney – upon arrival with the Cubs, he probably tried to do a little too much in his first Spring Training (as the $155 million signing) to impress. That “set [him] back,” which was presumably a reference to the dead arm period that cost him most of Spring Training, and then he started slowly out of the gate. Still, Lester put together a fantastic season – one of the Cubs’ best in decades (overshadowed by his teammate, whose Cy Young season was one of the best ever) – and finished up exactly the guy the Cubs hoped they were getting. With much less attention this year, and with a rhythm in place, hopefully Lester can just be himself this Spring, which will set him up a little better for a smooth start to the season.
- To that end, hopefully none of the Cubs’ new guys feel that kind of pressure to be anything but themselves this year, seeing as they’re joining a team already full of stars and storylines. Jason Heyward is already busy working in Arizona, and, while he’ll definitely get a lot of attention, it’s not going to be like it was for Lester last year.
- Folks talk about the Tampa Bay Rays’ untenable stadium situation and the city of Montreal’s desire to have baseball back in the same breath quite frequently. The point made, most typically, is that, if things don’t work out in Tampa, the Rays can just move to Montreal. But one suggestion I’ve not heard made until now: split the team’s “home” games between Tampa and Montreal. It’s an interesting and creative solution, and there is upside for the organization (making the games more scarce in each local could help drive attendance; having two markets for your TV deal would be a dream). But it’s really hard to see something like that ever happening, given the logistical issues, and, most importantly, the difficulty that team would have with its players. I can’t imagine any players with families would have any interest at all in splitting their season between two cities, plus spending the rest of the time on the road. That would be a very hard year.
- Bryce Harper was asked about becoming baseball’s first $400 million player when he reaches free agency and his response? “Don’t sell me short.”
- MLB and the MLBPA have worked together to develop a new protective cap for pitchers (ESPN’s Outside the Lines) that looks more like a visor than the bulky one you might remember Mets lefty Alex Torres wearing. Now we’ll see if anyone actually wears them.
- Former Cubs reliever Tommy Hunter – we barely knew ye – has finally signed, netting a $2 million deal with the Indians. Apparently Hunter was dealing with a core muscle injury that required offseason surgery, which explains why it took him so long to sign, and also probably hints at why he was so ineffective with the Cubs before essentially disappearing down the stretch. He made just one appearance for the Cubs after September 21, and did not appear in the playoffs either.
- Cubs minor league reliever Blake Cooper may have retired, according to Tommy Birch. Cooper, 27, was very successful for the Iowa Cubs last year (2.63 ERA and 3.83 FIP over 68.1 innings), but never got a shot with the big club.
- I wonder if the Cubs could get in on these plaid uniforms for at least one game?
- The Pirates are going to try and reclaim formerly awesome reliever Eric O’Flaherty, who struggled mightily last year in his return from Tommy John surgery.
- If you missed it last night, a Mets pitcher got dinged a third time for PEDs and has been banned from baseball, and the Brewers traded away yet another quality player.