A reminder that there are awesome shirts in the BN store, and you can get free shipping on anything right now if you use the code WOOSHIP when you check out.
Also: if anyone can think of a way to get the current BN logo (see the top of the page) onto a shirt and have it not look like one of those mid-90s “here’s a picture on a shirt!” things, I’d love to hear your suggestions. I have tried and failed to come up with a way to make that logo look good on a shirt. So I’m crowdsourcing, because I’m guessing some folks would like to have it (including me). I’m not necessarily looking for anyone to create a design – just some feedback on how you make that logo look right on a shirt.
- In his retirement year, David Ross is getting a whole lot of love from teammates, and he’s performing really well. He’s also getting a lot of love from fans, who increasingly appreciate how much he contributes to the team, from his work with the pitching staff, to his skills behind the plate, to what he brings in the clubhouse. So, then, there’s been a campaign floating out there to try and get Ross to the All-Star Game – there’s even a dedicated Twitter account to try and make it happen. But, for his part, Ross doesn’t really seem to want any unearned merits, telling the Tribune, “I’m the flavor of the week. It’s flattering. But I don’t want anything I haven’t deserved. I’m not that type of player. I want to earn everything I get. I’m a backup catcher for a reason. There are a lot of deserving players ahead of me that deserve to have that special moment.”
- Ross is not wrong about his standing, from a production standpoint, and I get that no one want to be “honored” by a token, half-serious-half-joking selection to something like the All-Star Game. But I would point out that I bet a lot of people associated with the Cubs consider Ross an All-Star.
- Also from Ross, I liked reading his thoughts on Jake Arrieta’s delivery here in the Tribune. I’d always suspected that a big part of the reason he’s been successful post-Cubs after going back to the crossfire delivery is because he’s right on top of right-handed hitters, and uses his body to hide the ball for so long before he comes back across and delivers. Sure enough, that’s the gist of what Ross said on that topic (plus quite a bit more). You can imagine it from a hitter’s perspective – a guy throwing 95mph only gives you so much time to pick up the ball anyway, and now he’s also hiding it longer than most other pitchers, too? No wonder there’s so much weak contact on his two and four-seamers (in addition to everything else Arrieta can do with all his other pitches). The key for Arrieta, though, is that he can actually throw back across his body like that and still locate his pitches well enough. Other pitchers might try to do what he does, but would lose their command pretty easily (that’s probably why the Orioles tried to breed it out of him when he was breaking into the big leagues). Arrieta is just special.
- No one actually around the Cubs is buying the Jake Arrieta PED rumors/concoctions (CSN). If you missed it, there’s a bit about it here and here, from yesterday.
- Praise for Javy Baez’s ability to take to his new utility/part-time role from his manager at Cubs.com. So far, both he and Tommy La Stella have been incredibly useful for the Cubs coming off of the bench, and haven’t seemed to see their overall performance suffering for a lack of regular starts.
- Ken Rosenthal writes about how good the Cardinals and Pirates are, reminding folks that the NL Central is far from a sure bet to go to the Cubs. Hopefully no one here needs to read that to know that the Cardinals and Pirates aren’t going away any time soon. The Cubs are really good, and better – even without Kyle Schwarber – on paper than the Cardinals and Pirates. But those are still two of the best teams in the NL, and given all that can happen in a season, whatever the odds say, the Central will be a “race” for many more months to come.
- Amazon’s Fire TV stick pretty much never goes on sale (that I’ve seen anyway), but it is today, and today only.
- In case you’re wondering, today’s forecast in Chicago calls for dry conditions … right up until game time, when the rain is due to arrive again. So help me, weather, if you cost me ANOTHER Jake Arrieta Day, I will literally be outside shaking my fist at the clouds.
- If you missed it this morning, Minor League Daily fun with Ian Happ and ballpark food. Not, like, together. But in the same post.
- And if you missed it yesterday: the expanding analytics boom, Adam Warren’s hot start and shifting role, and the Cubs’ best start since 1907.