Players React to Spring Training Plans, Beckert Passes Away, Fowler's Moment, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Players React to Spring Training Plans, Beckert Passes Away, Fowler’s Moment, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

We got Pokemon Sword for the Switch this weekend – mostly for the big kids, but hey, I wanted to check it out, too – and they’re already hooked. I’m glad they got into it so quickly, but also, it’s like … save a couple a them Poke’s for dad to catch …

  • With a little time for the various quarantined-in-a-spring-training-location plans out there being discussed over the past week, we’ve got more player reactions, and I think for the most part, they land about where you’d expect: few are opposed to the idea of playing some kind of baseball if at all possible, even if it means weird circumstances, but virtually everyone wants to know that it will be safe and not impact the efforts of medical professionals to provide the testing and care that everyone needs. Moreover, the idea of being away from their families for months at a time – if it came to that – is not at all received well by the players. The biggest collection of thoughts you’ll see is here at ESPN, where the players had anonymity so they could speak freely. Those ESPN reached by and large do not see the Arizona Plan, as it was initially proposed, being realistic (whether they like it or not).
  • Pete Alonso likes the idea of the Arizona Plan, though ideally players would be able to stay at houses/apartments with their families in Arizona, rather than strictly in hotels. The Athletic has reported that is still under discussion, but it adds considerable additional layers of risk of COVID-19 finding its way into the “bubble,” so to speak.
  • Nico Hoerner focuses on the potential positives (NBC): “I have no idea how true [the plans and possible rules changes are], but I love that people are getting creative and making a strong effort …. I would love if baseball is the first sport back — for personal reasons, obviously — but I think it would be awesome for the game to have that showcase. People are starved for sports at this point. Beyond that, it would be interesting to see what new rules they implement and what stick moving forward.”
  • More from MLB players here and here at The Athletic. If you could sum it up, it’s really pretty simple (and I think it’s exactly how most of us feel): They want to play, but they don’t want playing to cause more harm than good. We don’t know that point of inflection will come (cases way down all over the country, mass testing widely available, promising treatments in play, vaccine on the way, etc.), so really, what else can anyone say right now? You just make plans, observe the data, and you hope.
  • Glenn Bekert, a mainstay of the Cubs Convention and a former All-Star with the club, has passed away:

  • It’s incredible to think about just how different the era was that Beckert played, and how unique his approach was. He had only a couple above-average overall seasons at the plate (he was more of a glove man), he posted a .283/.318/.345 career slash line, with a 4.7% walk rate and … wait for it … a 4.4% strikeout rate. For his career. We haven’t seen a SINGLE SEASON with a qualified player posting a strikeout rate that low since Juan Pierre all the way back in 2001.
  • And now I’m down a mini-wormhole thinking about the one season Pierre spent with the Cubs in that dreadful 2006 season. Did you know that, despite hitting .292/.330/.388 (18% below average), he was still worth 3.1 WAR thanks to his defense and baserunning? Pierre notoriously gets crapped on by Cubs fans because he was not actually the super high OBP guy emerging sabermetricians wanted to see leading off at the time, he was actually a very useful player. He was like if Billy Hamilton actually could hit just a little bit.
  • Speaking of former Cubs center fielders who used to play on the Rockies, I had this play on my mind – and shared it – before I even realized it was literally the 5th anniversary:

  • You may or may not remember that Fowler’s shot came fresh off the heels of an entire year when the Cubs had failed to come back to win in the 9th inning or later. So, yes, when it happened … it really felt like something different was going on.
  • The MLB Shop is 25% off all orders today, so check out the Cubs gear here.
  • Something to watch later:

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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.