Theo Epstein Says Day Games Can Be a Competitive Advantage and Other Bullets
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t said anything about that Paul Sullivan business yesterday. In true me form, I’m responding to a single Tweet with a 1400 word treatise. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, be patient. It’s coming.
- Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts, among many comments yesterday, noted that they would like to see more night games allowable at Wrigley Field. Epstein’s take, however, was interesting, as quoted by the Tribune: “It really would help from a revenue standpoint with a [new] TV deal. Competitively, we’ll adjust to anything. The day games can be a competitive advantage for us because we can adjust to it. So it’s more about revenue than it is about competitiveness, but it’d be nice to have the flexibility to do that, certainly.” If Epstein actually believes the day game issue can be an advantage for the Cubs, and isn’t just cowing to a traditional fan base that loves day games, we’re just going to have to disagree. As I’ve documented here for years, and as player after player has confirmed, individual day games – even individual day games after a night game – are not the issue. On an individual game basis, you could definitely argue that Cubs players are better able to adjust to day games than a visiting team, who isn’t used to doing it. That’s not the issue. The issue is the cumulative effect that the constant re-setting of the body clock has on Cubs players. Other teams don’t have to deal with it. The Cubs do. It’s a competitive disadvantage, and I really don’t understand Epstein’s position on this – other than maybe just not wanting to seem like an excuse-maker. Players don’t like to be excuse-makers either, though, and several have been honest enough to admit that it’s a problem.
- Baseball America’s Jim Callis did the Q&A thing, and, in response to a question the best bet for success among outfielders Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Yasiel Puig, and David Dahl, Callis said that the most likely to succeed was easily Almora. The money quote: “I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t become at least an annual .275/15 homer hitter with Gold Glove ability in center field.” Callis gives the edge in highest upside to Puig, though, because of his power and speed, as well as his apparently advanced bat.
- Jon Greenberg with a great piece on the continued “process” of remaking the Cubs into a team that actually wins games, including some interesting Theo quotes. This one is easily the best: “[Wishing on prospects is] an unrealistic panacea because not all prospects work out. You can’t over-leverage your organization on the hopes of two or three prospects. That doesn’t work out. You have to look at every day, every player, every draft, every waiver wire, every game-on-the-line situation in the ninth inning as a way to get better as an organization and win some games.” That’s why, even the smallest moves, are important. It all adds up.
- Greenberg also wrote this in the piece, which deserved its own line: “With the stink of the past four years lingering like spilled Old Style, Epstein said he understands how a small sample size affects the way some cynics look at this team through one week.” Poetry.
- I’m no scout, but I noted yesterday in the first inning of Edwin Jackson’s struggles against the Brewers that something seemed to wrong with his grip. The ball was coming out of his hand in such a way that it didn’t look like he had any shot of actually commanding his pitches in the way he wanted. And, per Cubs.com, here’s what Dale Sveum said about Jackson’s early struggles in the game and then subsequent success: “He was pulling and jerking his fastball and he couldn’t get ahead or anything. He changed the grip and things changed around.” OK, now I’m a scout.
- Cubs Pitching Coach Chris Bosio told Bruce Levine that the Cubs still want Carlos Marmol to succeed as the closer. Bosio suggested that, after Marmol gets back on his feet – which seems a long way off yesterday’s low-pressure, poor-performing (albeit scoreless) inning – the Cubs will make him the closer again. That stands in stark contrast to Dale Sveum’s comments just two days ago, when he said that Kyuji Fujikawa’s ascension to the closer’s role was intended to be permanent.
- I keep meaning to highlight it: a site (and Twitter account) dedicated to tracking the baserunning mishaps in baseball – the TOOTBLAN Tracker. Best of all, it comes courtesy of the man who invented the term. Check it out.
- You’ll have chances to “Meet the Team” this year, with that team being the Kane County Cougars. All proceeds benefit the Anthony Rizzo Foundation.
- If you missed it yesterday, you’re going to want to get in on the $300 fantasy contest DraftStreet is hooking us up with. Not only is it a chance to win some scratch, it’s going to make Friday’s games a hell of a lot more exciting. You can sign up here. And you can see the full details here.
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