Even Ricketts is Feeling the Buzz, a Big Year for Wilson, and Other Bullets

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Even Ricketts is Feeling the Buzz, a Big Year for Wilson, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Frankenfoot status: yesterday, I was able to do a workout class (mostly upper body and core, but some strength on the affected leg), and I used only one crutch all day. The real test was overnight, and … I wasn’t in horrible pain! So I’d call that a huge success.

  • Chicago Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the team and then the media yesterday, crediting the players, the front office, and offering his belief that this may be the best on-paper rotation the Cubs have had (Cubs.com). The part that really stuck out to me, though, was yet another person who perceives that something is different around the club this year from last year: “Coming out of our team meeting, the vibe feels a lot like two years ago. Everybody’s in a really good place and everybody is hungry and wants to get the season off to a great start and make this a memorable year.” Ben Zobrist said it this weekend, and I think the fans are feeling it, too. Last spring was great because of the spillover vibes from the World Series. But this is different. This, frankly, is better.
  • Joe Maddon is predicting a big year for Justin Wilson (Cubs.com), in part because he’s gonna be here from the start of Spring Training and there’s no in-season adjustment to a new life (and I’d add that there’s waaaaaay less pressure on him now). I will say that Maddon’s mention of a mechanical tweak to improve strike-throwing (leg lower) makes me feel half comforted and half nervous, because the implication there is that it wasn’t just a lack of comfort last year that threw his command out of whack – it was that something was actually off. On the one hand, a little mechanical tweak might be easier to overcome than a total loss of confidence, but on the other hand, cementing fixed mechanics can be more challenging than just being the guy you’ve always been and getting on a roll that instill confidence.
  • For now, I’m just going to hold out hope that Wilson will be fine, since he’s never not been great outside of his two months with the Cubs, and he’s never been traded in-season before. And if Wilson *IS* the normal Wilson, then the Cubs are just loaded with late-inning options – Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., Steve Cishek, and Wilson, all with late-inning experience. But, of course, we know that at least one of those guys will get hurt, at least one will inexplicably struggle, and at least one will be even better than expected. Ah, bullpens. You are so delightfully unpredictable, aren’t you?
  • This is perfect in every way:

  • The whole baseball community should be proud:

  • If you missed it in the Spring Training Miscellany last night, Ben Zobrist has a minor back issue. He does say that the wrist that bothered him for so much of last season (and, in my suspicion, robbed him of the ability to make his typically hard contact (he’s always been very wrist-heavy)) is now 100%.
  • We had some fun with the Cubs’ new “Everybody In” slogan yesterday, and, although I think Luis and I did all right, Michael clearly won:

  • Watching the eras go by on this is pretty awesome:

  • Best turn-of-the-century home run leader name: Buck Freeman, Dave Brain, or Socks Seybold?
  • Awesome editing skills here:

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.