We’re moving! No, not The Taylor Family. BN is moving! Technically! The server that hosts this here site lives in Anaheim, California, and, just in time for the Cubs to come to town (apparently), we are being moved to a different data center in Portland, Oregon (BN’s sensibilities will become more outdoorsy, more laid back, and more interested in weird donuts). I’ve been assured there shouldn’t be much impact in service, but you never know. If you notice some site slowness over the next couple weeks, that’s probably what’s up. Fingers crossed for a smooth ride.
- Today is the end of the Cactus League for the Cubs. Can you believe it? Although they’ll play three more exhibition games before the regular season – two against the Mets in Las Vegas, and one in Anaheim a day before actually opening the season there – this is it. With a win, the Cubs can avoid the basement, which they currently share (by win total, anyway) with the Padres. Overall, though, you may be surprised to learn that the team’s 9-17-2 record is in the same range as four teams that play in the Grapefruit League in Florida: the Cardinals, Pirates, Mets, and Braves. Recognize three of those teams? That’s right, they’re big-time NL contenders. Maybe all three of the Cardinals, Pirates, and Mets, as well as the Cubs, are doomed to a horribly disappointing season … or maybe Spring Training results, as we’ve said all Spring, simply don’t matter that much. Last year, among the five worst Spring Training records in the NL? The Cubs, Giants, and Nationals.
- Joe Maddon is a big Munenori Kawasaki supporter (and so are Cubs fans, as evidenced by their explosion yesterday when he homered), and the only thing that kept him off the Opening Day roster was the crowding ahead of him (Tribune). Maddon clearly prefers Tommy La Stella’s bat off the bench (hard to argue with that – or at least I won’t argue, because I, too, see a lot of potential for La Stella). Kawasaki should see time in Chicago at some point this year, and, when he does, he’s going to bring a whole lot off the bench and into the clubhouse – and for the fans to enjoy. Maddon even said Kawasaki will be one of the most popular athletes in the city when he comes to Chicago. I don’t really disagree. Watching him in Spring Training – even before the game and in between innings, when you can’t see him on TV – he just has this joy about him. It’s magnetic.
- It’s interesting to remember that another light-bat, glove-first player made the Cubs on Opening Day last year as an injury fill-in, and then wound up staying on the roster all year. That was Jonathan Herrera, who was also a ton of fun. Kawasaki won’t make the Opening Day roster absent an injury in the next few days, but I wouldn’t rule out him spending plenty of time on the big league roster this year. The season is long, guys get hurt, and the Cubs aren’t loaded with glove men in the middle infield at AAA like Kawasaki.
- The Braves’ new ballpark is due to open for the 2017 season, and, among its features: a zip line. I can only assume the Cubs will poach that idea now that the Ricketts Family owns most of the rooftops, and create a zip line from a rooftop into the bleachers.
- How’s this for something ridiculous: the Royals are reportedly seeking payback against the Mets on Opening Night because of a Noah Syndergaard pitch in the World Series.
- Anthony Rizzo showed off his burgeoning piano skills for his teammates.
- This is a really fun read on the Reverse Curveball or the True Screwball – a curveball from a righty that moves to the arm side (i.e., like it’s a curveball coming from a lefty).
- I got curious what the single best-reviewed Cubs-related item on Amazon was.
- Thanks, David – I love it. One of my favorite moments and pictures from the 2015 Cubs season:
— David C. Miller (@David_C_Miller) March 29, 2016
- If you missed anything yesterday:
- Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo hit some stylish homers on Monday.
- SCardenfreude out of Cardinals camp, as there is a lot of unrest.
- We talked about Javy Baez’s thumb and the roster implications, and, indeed, he’ll wind up on the DL and Matt Szczur, Tommy La Stella, and Neil Ramirez all make the roster.
- MLB 16 The Show came out yesterday, and Anthony Rizzo is all over it.
- The Cubs released a trio of vets on minor league deals, but then re-signed them all.
- The Cubs also released a big group of minor leaguers (and did not re-sign them).
- Notable injury items from around the league.
- Luke teed up the BN Top 40 with a primer on the nature of ranking prospects. A great read.
- FanGraphs’ power rankings wrapped up with rotations and bullpens.
- The Cubs beat the A’s, and homered five times: Kyle Schwarber, Munenori Kawasaki, Addison Russell, Matt Szczur, and David Ross.