It’s Friday, so I think I’m in the clear to mention: obviously I really liked Wednesday’s episode of ‘Boba Fett,’ and I was really surprised at how much it was totally just a ‘Mandalorian’ episode. I thought maybe he might make a cameo this year because of the way filming happened, but I didn’t expect that he was going to be, like, a major character and plot point and that there would be more of his story explored (and then obviously setting up season three). It is good and cool and fine – I was just really surprised.
• In another timeline, yesterday WOULD’VE been one of those kinda-arbitrary dates that was getting me pumped:
YEAH BABY LET'S G— … oh … wait … pic.twitter.com/VHNN1qsZK4
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 28, 2022
• A lack of spring hype is not a major cost of the lockout, obviously, but it’s not nothing. We baseball fans can’t feel the excitement about the coming Spring Training and the coming season. We’ve already talked about the fact that it’s gotta be crushing Spring Training ticket sales and Arizona/Florida hotel bookings, but even for the folks who weren’t going to travel, it’s a bummer. I like the *feeling* of a season coming. I like counting down the days to the first spring game or to pitchers and catchers reporting. This year, not only is that absent, it also has an affirmatively negative feeling associated with it. I think about Spring Training right now, and I get pissed off.
• Also: this is the third straight Spring Training that won’t be normal.
• More minor league coaching news trickling out, as the Cubs have a new infield coordinator:
Excited to share that I’ve accepted the opportunity to serve as the Minor League Infield Coordinator for the Chicago @Cubs. I’m very proud to be joining such a great organization, and excited to work collaboratively within player development to build baseball’s best infielders! pic.twitter.com/0g5Y8dp5xS
— Ryan Serena (@Ryan_Serena4) January 28, 2022
• Serena is another coach who comes over from the private instruction world, having founded Rogue Baseball. In theory, I love it, because these folks already have a long history of working at a very high level with performance data to develop young players. Over the last two years, the Cubs have brought in a number of coaches from DriveLine, as well as (minor league hitting director) Justin Stone’s Elite Baseball. The Cubs’ pool of legit prospects right now is as deep as we can remember – and it is an extremely young group – so, in theory, maxing out player development right now is as important as it’s ever been.
• Michael is right – this was definitely one of the best moments of the season:
Javier Baez vs Amir Garrett. This was fun. pic.twitter.com/SN1AvTn4fA
— Chief Cub (@ChiefCub) January 27, 2022
• Seeing that play circulating on Twitter, Miguel Esparza re-shared his call that night, and it’s so dang much fun:
— Miguel Esparza (@Miguelsvoice) July 27, 2021
• The behind-the-scenes stories from many of the minor league teams that lost MLB affiliations last year:
What happens when an MiLB team gets kicked out of MiLB? Talked to a dozen former affiliates about life after contraction:
“Had to fly the plane as we were building it.”
“Financially, it beat the hell out of us.”
“One of my favorite years I ever had.”https://t.co/m5NqAowjqV
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) January 26, 2022
• Random highlight:
5/9/1993: Mark Grace hit for the cycle at Wrigley Field. He would earn his first All-Star Game selection and finished the year with a .325/.393/.425 line to go along with 14 homers and 98 RBI. #Cubs #CubTogether (via MLB) @BleacherNation @TheAthleticCHI pic.twitter.com/pjDnEvEoSm
— MLB Daily Dingers (@MLBDailyDingers) January 28, 2022
• I remember telling my non-Cubs-fan brother about Mark Grace’s cycle the next day, and he was so unimpressed. Which made me so angry.
• For those of you in Louisiana, mobile sports betting is launching today, and yes, we have a huge promo code from Caesars that you should check out if you want a deposit match. Thanks/you’re welcome.
• A proposal for fixing the line score, which doesn’t actually tell you a lot about a game by showing only runs, hits, and errors. Ben Clemens would prefer to see runs, single-base events, and extra-base hits as the three items, which indeed would tell you a whole lot more about a game in the same size line score.
• OK, sure:
30 seconds of Joe West showing off the pipes pic.twitter.com/cUQG2vUgux
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) January 27, 2022
• Beautiful shot here:
The hazy lazy days of July would feel pretty good right about now. pic.twitter.com/u6DR4U2gtS
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) January 27, 2022
• Pretty good for the “worst move of the offseason”:
DeMar DeRozan Has Officially Been Named an All-Star Starter!https://t.co/rI6xGSehif
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 28, 2022
• Specific Blackhawks rumor dropping:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 27, 2022
• And if you missed the big Bears news:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 27, 2022