There is free shipping at the BN store right now on ALL orders, so you’re gonna want to take advantage of that. Just use the code WOOSHIP when you check out. I’ve quietly created some more options for you to show off your passion, so please check out the new shirts.
- Baseball’s early and unquestioned MVP has been Dexter Fowler, whose 2.0 WAR so far is 25% higher than the next closest player (Manny Machado, who could have been Fowler’s teammate if not for an apparently bungled negotiation by the Orioles and a shocking return to the Cubs). Here’s hoping Fowler keeps it up for a few more days so that he’s got a real shot at securing NL Player of the Month honors. After an offseason where teams clearly undervalued his potential contributions in 2016, he deserves it.
- Speaking of that offseason, there’s a great read in the Tribune on the various things Fowler did to improve his game, with quotes from Kris Bryant and hitting coach John Mallee. Fowler worked with a personal trainer and a nutritionist to add 18 pounds to his otherwise svelte frame, and he does indeed look stronger this year, with a .308 ISO that is exactly double his career mark. Moreover, he worked specifically to try and improve from the left-handed side of the plate, where he takes most of his at bats, but where his production historically lagged the other side. It’s early, and although he’s still hitting better from the right side (.388/.516/.735), he’s been killing it from the left side, too (.375/.474/.563).
- The Cubs have released righty Jonathan Pettibone (BA), who had been signed to a minor league deal this past offseason after recovering from shoulder surgery.
- It was 40 years ago that Cubs outfield Rick Monday saved an American Flag from being burned at Dodger Stadium.
- A fascinating read at CSN on the new man in charge of the Cleveland Browns, former baseball executive Paul DePodesta, and his relationship with Jed Hoyer (and how the Browns are learning from MLB’s rebuilding clubs).
- If you missed it, Dan Vogelbach hit a comically long and destructive home run.
- Some nice giveaways for this upcoming Cubs homestand:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 25, 2016
- Fun stuff from Randall:
— Randall J. Sanders (@RandallJSanders) April 25, 2016
- I know it’s a strange fit here, but the deal was too good not to share with folks here in case any of you have already been mulling getting a new set of cookware: 70% off a 10-piece Calphalon set. That deal is today only.
- Over at Baseball is Fun, Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had to play some outfield, and he acquitted himself just fine. Also, the Astros mascot is a cotton candy thief for the good of the people.
META: A general note to all of this stuff that is to follow – I hate talking about ads and site performance. I focus on it a lot behind the scenes, but I hate talking about it. The reality here is that BN is a business, and it has to generate revenue – there are real, actual people who count on that revenue. So we have ads. Those ads represent the price we ask you to pay for using BN: please let our ads display. We’re sorry that they’re not perfect, and sometimes they’re annoying. But that’s the only way we stay in business, and keep delivering you the content you love for the low-low price of waiting an extra second or two for the page to load. If you don’t let the ads display, we do not generate revenue. (For more on the problem of generating revenue and keeping sites like this in business, consider reading my piece on the death of Grantland.)
But it’s a balance, and I promise you that I care deeply about your experience on the site. I’m constantly trying to improve it.
To that end, you may or may not notice some site tweaks this month (some in the past, some in the future). Hopefully you won’t really notice at all, because the goal of the tweaks is to improve the site performance a bit. One thing I’ve done in that regard is remove several of the ads, which puts a squeeze on the site’s revenue, but I’m hoping we can make up for some of it by placing the remaining ads in slightly more prominent spots. Whatever shortfall remains, I’ll chalk up to being worth it for an improved overall site experience.
Relatedly, the ad at the very top of the site next to the BN logo is no longer a traditional rotating, kinda-slows-things-down ad. It’s now just a static banner for Amazon, so you’ll always have a convenient spot to click if you want to do some shopping at Amazon (which supports BN in the process). So, that is to say, it’s still an “ad,” but it won’t impact the loading of the site.
Finally, although Disqus is awesome, it is also kind of a beast to load, especially for folks on mobile, and especially for folks who don’t want to use the comments (without apologies to our amazing commenter community, some folks just aren’t into it (but they should be!)). I’m working on a way to delay Disqus loading until the user actually reaches the comments and opens them up. It’s likely going to involve clicking a button to open up the comments. Apologies in advance for the extra step you’ll have to take to load the comments – but, truly, it’ll just be the click of a button. No reloading the page or anything like that. Just a click. You can do it!