I know there are some arguable benefits that Justin Fields missing today’s Bears finale – no risk of injury, no further exposure in a system that clearly doesn’t work for him, etc. – but, as a fan, I just wanted to see him play another time before the year ended. Because now I barely care about today’s game at all, and then it’s over seven months before we even get preseason games again. There are just so few games. Baseball definitely has the volume advantage over football from a watching perspective.
Not that I’m thrilled with baseball right now …
• I got an email this weekend from the Cubs about Spring Training tickets going on sale this Saturday, January 15. The first Spring Training game at Sloan Park is scheduled for February 26, and at this point, no one is expecting Spring Training games to be unaffected by the lockout (very small hope that they won’t? Yes. But expectation? No). So these tickets are going to go on sale – across baseball, mind you, not just with the Cubs – and folks are going to be asked to pay for tickets that they may not ultimately be able to use. And because Spring Training is a destination for most folks, they may have trips planned that will be impacted. The Cubs and other teams have to “act as if” things will be OK, because they have to make plans for their parks and employees and a million other things. But if consumers are being discerning, they will already not be buying any Spring Training tickets – and maybe even not planning or cancelling trips – because they can’t know if Spring Training will actually be there for them when the data arrives. Me? I’m staring down the barrel of my third straight missed Spring Training, and it is deeply aggravating that, while the first two were because of the pandemic, this one is because of the lockout.
• I suppose my point is that getting that email was a reminder of how this lockout is already causing problems, for fans if no one else. It’s a pain point already, even if whatever revenue losses the owners face from Spring Training won’t be large enough to force any movement. I don’t blame the Cubs’ staff for sending out that email – again, they have to make their plans just in case – but it was aggravating to receive that email and be forced again to face the implications of the lockout.
• Something else is coming on January 15: the opening of the new IFA period. The Cubs have been tied to a trio of seven-figure bonus babies, and they will presumably take up most of the Cubs’ pool (as a big-market team, the Cubs get one of the smallest pools each year; they can trade for more pool space, but generally haven’t done so, since these deals are wink-wink-wink agreed to years in advance). What’s going to be interesting is whether this is the last IFA period – the new CBA could have an international draft kick in for 2023 – and/or what the impact would be for the Cubs if they decided to sign a Qualified Free agent (you lose $500,000 in IFA bonus pool space in the following period, but the Cubs would’ve already agreed to those 2023 deals in advance … but also, what if there’s a draft? Then what happens to those deals (nullified, I’m sure, since they’re handshake-only) or the penalty? How does any of that work? I think it’s just an open question).
• A good question – my instinct was the Ultimate Grand Slam, but there are actually a lot to choose from:
What is your favorite Chicago walk-off/ buzzer beater?
— This Day in Chicago Sports (@ChiSportsDay) January 8, 2022
I'm not even 100% sure this is actually my favorite, but it's on the list. Because there are so many good ones! This, KB against the Rox, Lester's walk-off bunt, ARam v MIL, Javy Mother's Day, even Heyward's walk-off grand slam was shocking and fun as hell. https://t.co/P4Dq06R2CC
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) January 9, 2022
• Bruce Miles is great:
“I always wrote for the reader … I wanted to entertain and inform the fans and the readers."@BruceMiles2112 shares advice for young journalists, his favorite moments as a longtime @Cubs beat writer and more on this week's podcast.https://t.co/4I4WeKZCjb
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) January 8, 2022
• Hey, the Blackhawks finally won again:
Enhanced Box Score: Blackhawks 2, Golden Knights 1 — January 8, 2022https://t.co/1WqudHk7JR
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 9, 2022
META: For the regular commenters among you, how in love with Disqus are you? There were reasons we chose it as the commenting system 10 years ago, but in that time, there have been increasing problems with the system that have started to make me wonder if we’d be better off with something different. But I didn’t want to go too far down the road of exploring if it turns out that people are obsessed with Disqus. Just holler your thoughts down there in the … Disqus comments.