Let's Talk a Bit About the Added Value of Fun Players and Other Bullets

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Let’s Talk a Bit About the Added Value of Fun Players and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

clown cowboy kawasakiSo, the reviews for “Batman Versus Superman” have been as unkind as anyone paying even remote attention to that production and the movie’s marketing could have told you they would be. It’s a real shame to see such fun, valuable properties misused so badly (I guess I shouldn’t say that until I see it for myself, but it’s not like I’m going to go pay money to spend a couple hours watching a bad movie just so that I can say, “Yeah, I saw it, and it was bad”). The best comic book movies (Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, the first two Toby McGuire era Spider-Man movies, the most recent X-Men installments, Deadpool) make it look like an easy trick to pull off, but it apparently is not.

All of that is partly to set up a magnificent video of Ben Affleck, together with Henry Cavill, being asked about the bad reviews for the movie, and someone did something to the video that makes it laugh-out-loud funny.

  • I want to add something to Michael’s discussion of the roster situation yesterday. Assuming health and an eighth pitcher in the bullpen (both of which I’m assuming right now), the final bench spot will almost certainly go to one of Tommy La Stella or Matt Szczur. The guy just missing out will be utility man Munenori Kawasaki, whose legitimate baseball ability – very good and versatile defense, good base-running, good contact ability, no power – would be the primary reason he would or would not make the Cubs’ roster. But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t acknowledge that there’s something else he adds to the team with his personality and genuine, magnetic joy. Not only does that provide a little something in the clubhouse (which absolutely can and does have an impact on the games on the field over the course of the season, by keeping guys in a positive state of mind), but he also provides extra fun for the fans (so long as they’re enjoying what he does for reasons that steer clear of mere stereotypes and borderline racism). Baseball is supposed to be fun, right? It’s supposed to be entertainment, right? So if you’ve got a guy who is a legitimately adequate bench player as is, then I don’t think it’s at all inappropriate to consider the fact that he might also be entertaining as part of the calculus on whether to carry him on the roster. Does that mean you choose Kawasaki, in this particular situation, over La Stella and Szczur? I’m not sure it’s close enough on the baseball side for me to say yes, but I’ve definitely been thinking about it. And I think that’s totally fair to consider that piece of the equation. It doesn’t make me a meatball or a fan who’s not focused on the right things. So, if you’ve had similar thoughts, I absolve you of any self-recrimination you’ve privately been doing.
  • All that said: hopefully Kawasaki sticks around in the organization for the whole year on his minor league deal, and maybe the time will come when he’s needed for a stretch by the big league team.
  • Although he didn’t give anything up (just two hits, one walk, and no runs over five innings), it sounds like Jon Lester wasn’t too happy about his start yesterday against the Brewers, telling Cubs.com he didn’t have good stuff or location.
  • Anthony Rizzo did a Q&A at ESPN, and it’s an interesting read. I especially liked his answer to beating the shift – in part, you beat it by not hitting the ball on the ground, which is something Rizzo has clearly worked on (his flyball rate has increased every year since 2012, and his groundball rate has decreased every year in the same span). Generally speaking, you’d rather have a guy with Rizzo’s skill set keeping the ball in the air, so this is all good. I’d never really thought, specifically, if the shift-related implications. (Also, Rizzo’s answer to the final question about whether the sweep by the Mets in the NLCS will feed the team this year gave me a special tingle: “No, the memory of beating the Pirates and Cardinals will feed us. We want to remember the good and feel it again.”)
  • If you missed it, the Cubs had actual bear cubs at camp yesterday, and it was as adorable as it sounds. You can watch a video here on it, too:

  • Batten down the hatches! Make ready yourself for the next life! Click the “like” button! It’s all over people:

The Braves/Astros game was called early today BECAUSE THE FREAKING WORLD IS ENDING! (picture via @JifferAlderman on Twitter)

Posted by Baseball Is Fun on Friday, March 25, 2016

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.