Cubs Seek Wrigley Sportsbook Approval, Steele Dominates, Laugh at Cardinals, Rizzo Record, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cubs Seek Wrigley Sportsbook Approval, Steele Dominates, Laugh at Cardinals, Rizzo Record, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Boy got me a temporary tattoo to go with his, so we’re now just a couple bros with totally badass tattoos on our chests. He chose the fire-breathing dragon. He gave me the flower with hearts.

•   The Cubs are taking their next step in trying to add a huge sportsbook to Wrigley Field. I doubt the Cubs controlled the calendar on this one, but oof for the timing and the PR cycle:

•   The two-story sportsbook, which would be branded with DraftKings and would be the largest standalone book in the country, is envisioned as a destination for folks on game day (no ticket required), and is going to be something we’ll see many sports stadiums embracing in the coming years. For fans who are into the sports betting thing, it’s a way to do it there at the ballpark together with a game, and for the Cubs, it’s obviously a potential major additional revenue-generator for both the team and the city/state. I’m sure the hope would be that it becomes a popular bar/restaurant/activity even outside of baseball season.

•   If all the city approvals go smoothly – I wouldn’t bet on that (ba dum tsss) – the sportsbook could be open in late 2022 (my guess is they’d love to have it in place for the next football season), so you can start thinking about all the snarky things you’ll say about the Cubs’ 2023 payroll.

•   Justin Steele came up to the big league team despite not having pitched at Triple-A, and showed he could get big league batters out in a relief role. Then he was asked to head to Triple-A to stretch out and show he could hold his stuff over 80+ pitches. I am thrilled that he’s been able to do that, and dominate hitters in the process. His latest outing last night was another stellar one:

•   Steele’s next start should come in the big leagues, even if it’s only gonna be four or five innings, tops. You want the experience for him and the data for yourself heading into the offseason. With his strikeout proclivities (and since he’s a big, tall lefty), I wonder if we’re gonna get some Sean Marshall vibes. A guy who can be very solid for 5-ish innings, but who won’t go much deeper than that, and who might ultimately be more valuable in a setup role. No sense in drawing any conclusions based on historical comps, though, and in the meantime, there are a WHOLE LOTTA STARTS available in 2022 for the Cubs. Would be nice to know by October whether you think Steele MIGHT be a guy who can take about 20-25 of ’em.

•   Praise for Manny Rodriguez, who recorded his first career save last night. His manager is impressed, though he doesn’t yet want to say this is the “closer of the future” ( “I don’t want to put that on somebody,” Ross said. “I think he definitely has the stuff. I mean, 100 [mph] with two secondary pitches, sure, you could make that assumption. I don’t know. It takes a lot of experience of handling those moments …. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be fazed by too much. I was really impressed with [how he handled the walk-off home run in Washington]. It’s not how you handle success. It’s how you handle adversity. And that’s definitely a moment where you’re watching him walk off the field like, ‘Wow, this kid is pretty impressive,’ in just his demeanor.”

•   Whatever the circumstances, the Cardinals totally biffing on the field will never not make me smile:

•   Anthony Rizzo has been absurd with the Yankees, continuing the hot streak that started before he was traded last week. He homered again, and set a Yankees record in the process:

•   After all those struggles early, Rizzo is on such a heater – as he does every year – that his season numbers are up to .257/.357/.469 (124 wRC+) with peripherals that are approaching pretty darn normal for him. Yes, turning 32 and the back issues are concerns for his future. But the productivity this year (and last year) is pretty soon going to have been a silly question.

•   It is 2021, and this is a part of the write-up from Britt Ghiroli at The Athletic on the egregious living and wage conditions in minor league baseball:

In San Antonio, where the Padres’ Double-A team is located, they’re up to five break-ins this year, as players’ cars — which can double as living quarters or storage facilities — are easy fodder for a potential burglar.

Several players on the Brewers’ Triple-A roster in Nashville piled into a small one-bedroom apartment thinking they struck gold within their budget: instead they found a roach infestation. At the Mets’ Double-A affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., last month, a group of players lost electricity and went nearly three days without power and running water. At the Cardinals’ High-A site in Peoria, Ill., it’s not uncommon to see players walking along the side of the road to the stadium about a mile away, or 40 minutes to the two best food options: Culver’s and Steak ’n Shake. Any walk for a minor-league player doubles as a treasure hunt, where discoveries have included discarded food, a projector and the holy grail: a mattress.

Who cares where it came from? It beats sleeping on a lawn chair, pool raft or air mattress, which are all common “beds” shoved into every crevice — including attics and kitchens — of an apartment for cash-strapped minor leaguers. The swell of rental costs in midsize U.S. cities — combined with the pandemic rendering it unsafe for host families to house players — has brought a longtime minor-league issue to the surface: affordable housing.

•   Read the whole article for more context on how absurd it is that these valuable assets to an organization are forced to stress about food and housing, sleeping all crammed together in a small place AND paying out more than they’re making. In some cases, the guys are living in a terrible situation AND paying for the privilege. Why in the world would you WANT to treat your minor leaguers like this, even if you didn’t care about the human angle, and cared only about developing the best possible players? It’s nuts. We have to keep this discussion going.

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.