Reminder: Cubs single game tickets go on sale today at 10am CT. You can get into the virtual waiting room as early as 9:30am CT at Cubs.com.
- Two more cities in the Cubs’ blackout region are getting over-the-air games: WIFR in Rockford has announced that it will have 45 Cubs games this year, and MyTV in Fort Wayne will have up to 45 games, as well (h/t Josh). Recall, the issue is that about half of the Cubs’ games in 2015 will be broadcast by local Chicago stations (WGN-9 and ABC-7), but folks outside of Chicago in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and parts of Wisconsin would be blacked out from those games on MLB.tv even if they weren’t getting the games on their own local stations. So those local stations are individually negotiating to get the games. So far, we know that Peoria, and now Rockford and Fort Wayne will have the games. I expect these deals to keep trickling in as the season approaches.
- UPDATE: And Quad Cities folks are in luck, too, as Ivy Envy notes you’ll be getting about 45 games.
- The Cubs haven’t confirmed the Phil Coke signing yet (could be pending a physical), but Joe Maddon told Cubs.com that “it’s not a big secret” that the Cubs are trying to find a lefty specialist. That could very well be Coke, who could be very good in that specific role, or it could be one of the many in-house options. If the Cubs go with Coke, he’d be the most expensive of the options: Chris Iott reports that Coke does get a split contract, as expected, and he’ll make $2.25 million if he’s in the big leagues, with another $900,000 possible in incentives based on appearances. If the Cubs believe Coke’s experience and strength against lefties makes him the best option, of course, then it’s worth paying a couple million extra.
- Teammates gave Kyle Schwarber the silent treatment after his big grand slam yesterday, which I would have loved to watch (Tribune). Eventually they gave him love, of course.
- What happens when a switch hitter (Dexter Fowler) faces the extremely rare switch pitcher (Pat Venditte)? Well, the pitcher has to declare which side he’ll be pitching from, but apparently that doesn’t mean he has to warm up from a particular side … which can mess with the hitter. Fowler was a little annoyed (Cubs.com).
- A FanGraphs piece looks at the “expected” payrolls for MLB teams, given a variety of factors, and the Cubs, as you might expect, show up on the “underspending” end of the spectrum (i.e., their expected payroll is much higher than their actual payroll). What shocked (and dismayed) me is that the Cardinals were right there with the Cubs. The Cards have already said some things publicly about bumping up payroll significantly in the coming years, and this analysis suggests they really could do it.
- This is just cool as heck:
- Some Spring shots from the opener:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 6, 2015
- And, while we’re at it, one more Twitter picture:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 5, 2015