Lots of hiking yesterday for the Taylor Family means the crew was still asleep when I dragged myself out of bed early to start typing these words. Today is a baseball day, though, as we’ll make our way out to Goodyear to see the Cubs take on the Reds. I can’t wait to see The Little Girl shouting, “Let’s go, Cubs!” over and over in the stands. And then, eventually, I suppose I’ll have to tell her that the game hasn’t started, and she needs to be quiet during the National Anthem.
- Oh good. The Donald Trump versus Ricketts Family spat is back in the news, and in a way that implicates the Chicago Cubs, so I feel like I have to mention it. Swell. As you may recall, the presidential candidate recently threw a barb at the Ricketts Family because of some politically-inclined spending in which the matriarch of the family has participated. Cubs owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts responded as diplomatically and neutrally as possible, but now Trump is doubling down. In an interview with the Washington Post editorial board, Trump threatened to take out attack ads against the Ricketts Family “telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs.”
- While I don’t doubt that this is mostly just political bluster, I have a sick, twisted desire to see what those ads might look like. After engaging in a necessary rebuilding program, the heart of which was the Ricketts’ move to bring in a top tier front office and then turn over the keys to them, the Cubs broke out to 97 wins last year, improved upon that team this offseason, and look like one of the best teams in baseball on paper (with an extremely bright long-term future). Furthermore, the Cubs are now spending among the upper teams in baseball, and Wrigley Field is being substantially renovated and developed. I would very much like to know what an attack ad against the Ricketts Family ownership would look like right now.
- (I know it will be hard to resist the urge to talk about the political aspects of this stuff, but I do ask you to do your best not to. There are great places out there to discus politics, but this is not that place. I mention this particular item only because of the direct connection to the Cubs.)
- Kyle Schwarber is a great guy, helping out a young baseball player when he had the chance.
- By all accounts, John Lackey’s minor league outing yesterday went exactly as planned and expected, with him dominating the younger crew of players and continuing to feel good and ready for the season (Tribune, ESPN). While no one should expect the 37-year-old Lackey to duplicate his sub-3.00 ERA from 2015, expecting a solid, durable middle-of-the-rotation starter on a playoff-caliber team is absolutely a reasonable expectation (and very valuable).
- Starlin Castro is looking for a new walk-up song with the Yankees, because his extraordinarily catchy “Ando En La Verasace,” which got everyone in Wrigley Field (and the dugout) clapping when Castro took to the plate, is special to his time in Chicago. He told the New York Times, “It’s like a tradition in Chicago, so I’m going to keep it there. I can bring it, but I don’t want to. It was special. Leave it there, keep it in everybody’s mind.” I’m pretty sure that’s his way of saying he still loves the Cubs and Cubs fans. Same, Starlin. Castro, whom the Cubs traded to the Yankees in December to open up a spot for Ben Zobrist and to net Adam Warren, is hitting .444/.464/.741 on the Spring.
- It’s very likely we’ll have a longer look at this at some point, but for now, you’ll want to read Joe Posnanski’s take on the Cubs’ evolution of the last couple years into a favorite this season.
- Fun times:
Let’s do this! pic.twitter.com/ncDaxH7Xig
— MLB (@MLB) March 21, 2016
- Also, if you missed anything big in the Cubs’ world yesterday, here’s a mini-catch-up:
- MiLB.com ranked farm systems.
- Good vibes about how Hector Rondon’s Spring is coming along.
- Cubs ticket prices are popping about 10% this year.
- Bits from around the league, including the White Sox’s interest in (not) trading Chris Sale.
- Jon Lester is not concerned about that chip in his elbow.
- Joe Maddon has a dress code for his players.