Back to reality today after a pretty darn great family trip to Disney. I got to check every box that I, personally, cared about checking off (yeah, that new Rise of the Resistance ride/experience is pretty darn cool).
Most importantly, I think the three kiddos really enjoyed themselves. You hope you’re creating happy memories for your kids at all times, but when you invest in a trip like that, you can’t help but feel a little extra pressure to make sure they enjoy it. I feel very lucky to be able to do it for them, and many thanks to you readers for understanding my limited availability (and to Michael for rocking this week, even across some pretty un-fun Cubs moments).
- When the 2023 Chicago Cubs Convention scheduled dropped, there was one thing that was absolutely going to stick out to anyone who pays far-too-much attention to the relationship between fans and their favorite sports organization (hey, I do that!):
- The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs since 2009, generally participated in the Cubs Convention openly and annually thereafter. That ended in 2019, when the family, citing a lack of interest – and not citing increasing fan frustration – stopped doing the traditional Saturday morning panel, which had offered fans an opportunity to speak directly with the team’s owners. The panel did not return in 2020, and then the convention, itself, took a pandemic hiatus.
- That means the upcoming family panel will be the first in FIVE YEARS. What’s particularly remarkable about the Ricketts Family (rightly!) choosing to return to the stage this year is that it could come amid a disappointing offseason, which follows back-to-back disappointing seasons of losses (in the W/L column and in the clubhouse). It’s a bold time to return, and I respect it, even as I would also so it’s the bare minimum thing an ownership group should do at a fan convention. How it goes could ultimately hinge on whatever the team accomplishes between now and January 14.
- (So I guess you better make sure the front office has plenty of money to land some impact players, AMIRITE.)
- Speaking of this topic, and although there are “reasons” for this, you can’t help but notice the outlier:
- IT DOES NOT WORK THIS WAY, but it’s a little fun to imagine a curve to fit the plot there, which would have the Cubs’ expected payroll right around $230 million … aka the first tier of the luxury tax, which is AT LEAST where they should be in a typical year, give or take.
- You never want to transition a guy with starting potential until you really have to, but with Adbert Alzolay, it’s pretty hard not to dream on many years of being a dominant multi-inning relief weapon. I love how he’s buying in, and can see his own huge value there:
- Also, so far in his big league career, Alzolay has thrown just shy of a season’s worth of dominant relief numbers: 42.2 IP, 2.32 ERA, 32.9% K, 6.6% BB, 2.34 FIP.
- Pretty sure if they each do this again, the Cubs might make the playoffs:
- Indeed a tiny sample, but I do like the idea of new Cubs minor league signing Ben DeLuzio being one of the fastest players in the sport:
- We don’t know for sure how dramatically the new rules will impact base running (and even outfield defense, potentially), so having a super speedy plus-glove outfielder in the organization as a possible bench guy down the road seems really good.
- ‘Tis the nature of Obsessive Top Shortstop Watch … I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from this – social likes/follows/cryptic tweets/etc. are notoriously misleading. HOWEVA I basically want every possible thing in the universe to point to no other teams being seriously in on Swanson at this point than the Cubs. So …
- If I had to put an implication to it, it wouldn’t be that Swanson is definitely headed to the Red Sox, but it would be that the Sox may indeed be putting on a very serious recruiting pursuit. Which, well, also ain’t great. If you think Cubs fans are up in arms about the last few years, Red Sox fans might be even more aggressively hostile and lusty for ANY KIND of major move (I thought Masataka Yoshida was a really interesting signing, but it doesn’t seem to have abated the bloodlust).
- I still think about how Nolan Arenado, 31, and coming off a 7.3 WAR, MVP-caliber season, considered his opt out and said, yes, five years and $144 million, that’s the best deal out there for me. Arenado and his agent left $100+ million on the table with that decision, and I don’t care HOW MUCH he truly hearts the Cardinals, ain’t no player anywhere ever in the history of anything gonna take $100 million less to sign somewhere. It was a whiff. A terrible, embarrassing whiff, and of course it benefited the Cardinals wildly. I am unapologetically salty about it.