We returned home in the late afternoon yesterday, and I started the process of digging out from under the ancillary life activities that build up when you’re away for nine days. (If you’ve emailed me in the last two weeks and I’ve not gotten back to you yet, I do apologize, but it might be a bit before I get back to you – I’m sorting through hundreds of emails at the moment when I get spare time.)
Also: the jet lag is so real this time. It usually doesn’t bother me, but I feel absolutely wrecked today trying to get back on my usual schedule. I was recently told that eating meals at your regular time helps you re-adjust quickly, so I’m gonna work on that. I’m also told (by myself) that getting the Bullets out at your regular time helps, too, so …
- No, the Cubs weren’t stealing signs yesterday … in a Spring Training game … in a way so obvious that Madison Bumgarner could tell. Here’s how it went down last night if you missed it, and now here’s the final word. After the game, Bumgarner said there was only one reason Heyward would be looking to Fowler after he struck out (sign stealing), and they need to be more discreet about it. Except that isn’t the only reason Heyward would be looking – there’s also the reason he was actually looking. Despite the lefty’s complaints, it’s pretty clear what happened: Heyward was called out on strike three, and he looked out to Dexter Fowler, standing on second base, as if to ask whether it was really a strike. As they communicated, verbally or non-verbally, Bumgarner pounced, thinking Heyward was talking to/looking at him. Overreaction, misunderstanding, etc.
- You can read more about the situation here at Cubs.com, where Heyward explains it all.
- Heyward was also interviewed in-game, discussing it more, and his explanation for everything – and how he goes out of his way to compliment Bumgarner and Buster Posey – sounds pretty credible to me:
- Moving on. Kris Bryant spoke about his lack of power results this spring with Cubs.com, and he makes an interesting point: last year, as a minor leaguer, he played much more regularly early in camp, and that gets you into a rhythm, whereas it’s a little more irregular as a big leaguer getting ready for the season. Even setting that aside, we’re talking about a small sample, and a bunch of balls that have gone to the wall for him this Spring – change the wind a puff here and there, minor differences, and he’s got several more homers. I don’t think there’s anything to it.
- That said, Bryant has been working on a change to flatten out his swing a little bit, and he’s feeling good about the results (Cubs.com, Tribune). The goal is to improve overall contact without sacrificing home run power – indeed, if Bryant gets the angle just right, he could actually increase his home run output (he wouldn’t have as many of his trademark towering shots, but he’d have more rocket-type shots), especially when the conditions are less conducive to homers.
- One more on Bryant, who started in left field yesterday, arguably giving the Cubs their best defensive outfield alignment (if Matt Szczur doesn’t make the roster, that is) – Joe Maddon didn’t disagree that Bryant-Fowler-Heyward might be the Cubs’ best outfield defense, but asked rhetorically what happens in the infield then, because you don’t want to sacrifice defense there if you were, for example, trying to go max defense late in a game (Cubs.com). To me, that’s an easy answer given how all-universe Javy Baez looked at third base defensively last year, albeit in limited doses. If Szczur doesn’t make the roster, I think sending Bryant to left and putting Baez at third is your best late-game, max defense.
- Among the notes here, the Cubs’ Wives are holding a fundraiser today.
- This is so awesome, as two Cubs prospects graduate from the team’s English program:
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 24, 2016
- Yoenis Cespedes tries to convince an ump that a ball cannot be found … when the ball is right there at his feet. Funny stuff.
- Also at BIF: the hardest hit homer of the Statcast era just went out at nearly 120 MPH, and it wasn’t even Giancarlo Stanton.
- The Cubs are sure to remind folks that arriving a little earlier to Wrigley Field this year is going to be important, because new security measures (mostly, metal detector screening) will make the process of entering the park a little slower. With bigger crowds expected, too, you’re going to want to come a little earlier than you’re used to unless you’re ok with getting into the park a little later than you’re used to.
- Duuuuude! Cadbury Creme Eggs are on a gold box sale now on Amazon! You can get six boxes of four eggs for just $9, or, if you’re a crazy person, here’s the 48-pack for just $14.
- A mini-catch-up if you missed anything yesterday:
- The Cubs beat the Giants 16-14 in a crazy game, during which Jake Arrieta left early, Jeimer Candelario homered, and the above-referenced dispute occurred.
- Goodbye Edgar Olmos, again, as he’s been traded to the Orioles.
- Michael noted that the free agent class after this season looks rough.
- The Cubs are now valued at a whopping $2.2 billion.
- John Lackey is a big addition to the Cubs’ clubhouse.
- A big set of MLBits, including the Dodgers’ TV deal maybe finally getting full distribution.
- The Hammel-Schwarber battery is looking real, and good.
- The Jorge Soler misadventure on the basepaths gets some discussion.