Starlin Castro Set to Return to the Cubs Tomorrow and Other Bullets

starlin castro featureSo, I finally finished watching ‘Friday Night Lights,’ among the very few Golden Era TV shows (together with ‘LOST’) that came from a non-cable network. That comes with certain advantages, but, creatively, it can be a huge disadvantage when compared with short-order cable dramas. I could definitely see why FNL stood out as an example of one of the best dramas of the era, especially for a network show. It went places other network shows wouldn’t, worked hard not to fall into the standard tropes you see with those kinds of shows, and was entertaining, heartfelt, and all that. Enjoyed it, and I’m glad I took the time to watch all 5 seasons. That said … it’s no ‘LOST.’ If we’re comparing those two as the best network dramas of the Golden Era of TV, it’s just not close. To have so completely captured the minds of the TV-watching nation as ‘LOST’ did, especially in the pre-big-time-social-media era, there had to have been something extremely special. (And there was.)

In should add, promotionally-speaking, that I watched FNL on Amazon Prime, which I love. BN has a relationship with Amazon, where I say good things about Amazon, and they throw BN some revenue when you consume there. It’s easy enough for me, because I’m a hardcore Amazon user and have long preached its virtues to my friends and family long before I had any incentive to do so. So, yeah: use Amazon. Not just Prime, but also for buying things. Our latest purchase was a new mat to go under my office chair, because I’d destroyed the last one (probably during the Blogathon). Even if you already use Amazon anyway, you can use this link to do your shopping (bookmark it, if you want) and you’ll be supporting BN in the process. Easy enough.

  • After missing time due to a tragedy in the Dominican Republic, Starlin Castro will return to the Cubs on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Castro has been on the bereavement list since last week, when a car accident claimed the lives of one of his cousins and three friends. I can’t imagine what that’s been like for Castro, and hopefully baseball can serve as a kind of distraction as he goes through the grieving process. I’m sure his teammates will help with that, and he’ll be returning to what I expect is a very positive energy, with the Cubs having swept the Orioles and won six of eight. These events have a way of putting sports into perspective: they are simultaneously unimportant by contrast to “real life,” but also very important for the diversion, relief, and happiness they can provide.
  • In anticipation of Castro’s return tomorrow, the Cubs sent Logan Watkins back to AAA Iowa. He filled in well, and will likely return when rosters expand in September. Watkins, who turns 25 on Friday, hopes he can be a part of the Cubs’ future as a super utility player (CSN). The Cubs will have to make a decision this offseason on Watkins’ 40-man roster spot, if there is a crunch.
  • More tarp wackiness this weekend, though this one has a good ending, with Rick Renteria and Brandon Hyde helping out a grounds crew member who’d slipped under the tarp (Cubs.com).
  • Bruce Miles on the different feel these days, versus the past two and a half years.
  • The Pirates have sent top prospect Gregory Polanco back to AAA for now, and Jeff Moore makes a great point:
  • Buster Olney had Jed Hoyer on his podcast (near the end) on Friday, discussing a range of things.
  • Reminder: Episode 3 of BNTV records live tomorrow night at 8pm CT/9pm ET. Send your questions/comments to bntv AT bleachernation DOT com in advance, or show up for the live event and drop your questions/comments then in the comments or on Twitter.
  • He got the call up! Dylan Heuer, a swell dude (and BN’er) whose Iowa Cubs pictures you’ve undoubtedly seen around here and on Twitter many times before, got the call to Wrigley to cover the weekend series against the Orioles. You can see his magnificent shots here. What I like best about Dylan’s work is that he doesn’t just get clean, quality shots (he does that, too), but he often captures guys at just the right moment to put the mood into picture form. Example? That Alcantara/Baez shot at the top of the blog. Two young guys, making their way through their first big league experience. That shot just looks right to me.
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    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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