The new season premiers in 11 days. I am giddy with excitement. You can catch up on the show if you’ve never watched here, and/or buy the seasons at Amazon.
- Thanks to Michael for popping up a post on the tour of the Cubs’ new facilities yesterday (I was on the road soon after the tour ended), which includes lots of pictures and video from the day. You can also see more pictures here at the BN Facebook page, which you should make sure to “like”:
- To say that the new facilities represent a night and day shift from where the Cubs were before is so far from adequately describing the difference that I hesitate to even use the metaphor. The old facilities and clubhouse felt so “Wrigley Field”, but in the worst possible ways: archaic, cramped, crumbling, preserved, from a different era. You heard the stories, and maybe you saw for yourself. The Cubs’ locker room – where they also had to eat and meet with the media and warm up and relax – was befitting a really good high school baseball team, not a professional sports organization. The players had to pull down a net from the ceiling in the locker room and hit off of a tee to try and get their swings in. That old locker room is now a full batting tunnel. The area where that net used to hang down is now a dedicated post-win party space, complete with a disco ball, strobe lights, a sound system, a flat screen, and a fog machine. That, right there, is probably a better metaphor for the changes than the night-day thing.
- Moving away from the old clubhouse and locker room, you find the new facilities located under the triangle property west of the ballpark, which will become the plaza. As you’ve seen from the pictures and video, it’s all gorgeous. It’s lush, but not overly so. No expense was spared, but it doesn’t have the feel of opulence for the sake of opulence. The fancy amenities actually serve specific purposes (the Cubs now have fantastic workout, training, rehab, and meal facilities), but, moreover, it’s impossible to be in there and not feel the seriousness of what you’re there to do. While the old facilities were something of a joke, the new facilities are like a stern parent, smiling as they instruct you, but you know exactly what they want you to do. The Cubs’ players, coaches, and executives, simply must feel much more like professionals in these digs. As they should. And that mindset will permeate everything they do, living in the background, and probably making them better.
- You will be unsurprised to learn that John Lackey doesn’t really care if he’s liked or hated by fans or media (CSN) – he cares about what his teammates think (everyone likes him) and how he performs. His first start with the team was disappointing in Arizona, but the conditions figure to be more conducive to a good start tonight.
- Javy Baez played some left field for the Iowa Cubs yesterday, as you would expect. He’ll probably still get some experience in center field, but with Kyle Schwarber out, it’s far more likely that outfield starts for Baez will come up in left field, especially if he proves to be good there defensively. He threw out a runner trying to score in the game, for what it’s worth.
- Pierce Johnson was struck by a line drive Monday in his Iowa Cubs start, but thankfully X-rays came back negative for a break (Des Moines Register). He’s just sore. No word yet on Jen-Ho Tseng, who was also struck by a liner (in the leg) and had to leave his Tennessee Smokies start on Monday.
- I love this Yasiel Puig slide – the question is whether it’s better than the Anthony Rizzo “It’s Magic” slide …
- Don’t miss Luke’s Minor League Daily, which not only digs in on some top farm system performances, but also has a good bit on the nature of small samples in minor league stats.
- If you missed anything yesterday, here’s your mini-catch-up:
- Re-living an incredible Opening Night at Wrigley Field, including Kyle Schwarber’s touching introduction.
- More on the opener and Addison Russell’s winner.
- Ian Happ and Eloy Jimenez gave Cubs minor league teams some walk-off wins.
- Michael looked at the fallout from the Schwarber injury on the roster and in the outfield.
- And the visual look at the Cubs’ new facilities at Wrigley Field.