Bandwagoning with the 2023 Cubs, Rays Stadium Steps, Cubs Velocity Talk, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Bandwagoning with the 2023 Cubs, Rays Stadium Steps, Cubs Velocity Talk, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

If ‘The Last of Us’ can continue to execute at the level they did this week, that show is going to be an all-timer. I was vaguely aware that it was going to be something of a standalone episode, and I was circumspect about it actually landing. But boy did it. I know nothing of the video game, and I can’t say for sure where it’s going, but through three episodes, I’m gonna say BIG recommend on the show.

  • There has been a pretty big step forward in the efforts to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area in a stadium that isn’t hilariously awful (the stadium, itself, and also the location for traffic). The mayor of St. Petersburg has selected the Rays and another private developer to lead the redevelopment of the current site of Tropicana Field, and the new stadium would be part of that redevelopment (in a different location). It’s a good first step, because it signals a willingness by the city and the Rays to work together on financially-agreeable terms to create an area that provides a new stadium, yes, but also provides more infrastructure and other multi-use projects that serve the community.
  • That said, the sides still have to actually AGREE on those financial terms, and as we’ve seen out in Oakland, that can be a substantial sticking point (and in that case, it sure seems like a departure to Las Vegas is imminent). As a reminder, the league has indicated it will not seriously entertain expanding to 32 teams (and realigning thereafter) until the stadium situations in Tampa and Oakland are resolved, so every step in these processes is of great interest to me.
  • Are the Cubs a good “bandwagon” team for 2023? Will Leitch says yes, picking them as one of six:

The North Siders have had two losing seasons in a row, and it has still been quite pleasant to go to a Cubs game. But this year, Chicago may have a bit of that old plucky underdog in them. The team’s got exciting young players like Christopher Morel and, soon, Brennen Davis. But they’re absolutely packed with intriguing veterans, from Trey Mancini to Eric Hosmer, as well as guys like Yan Gomes, Jameson Taillon and Cody Bellinger, the most fascinating bet of all. And they also have a big-ticket acquisition in Dansby Swanson.

  • I’ll give it this: *IF* this year’s Cubs wound up being surprisingly good, it would definitely be an extremely fun year to be along for the ride. I can just kinda tell from the vibe, and I usually have a pretty good finger-on-the-pulse for that stuff. I think for we hardcore folks there will be fun stuff even if the Cubs wind up falling out of the race, but for the more casual types – the bandwagoners that Leitch is referring to – it’s going to require winning. And there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. Winning is fun, and I don’t begrudge fans who generally want to follow more when the times are good. Spend your fanning time however you want.
  • Keep scrolling, keep scrolling, keep scrolling:
  • TWO. TWO called or swinging strikes against pitches 98mph or faster (that’s not THAT fast) for the Cubs in 2022. The league-leading Yankees had 300x as much. We’ve said before that this is not the only way to generate outs, clearly, as the Cubs showed last year. But having more velocity creates more margin for error, and it is certainly not a bad thing. I would bet on the Cubs having a few more notches this year, though it won’t be in the rotation, so they’re still not going to be way up there on a list like that.
  • You’re wondering, aren’t you? Where the two pitches came from? They were two of the first pitches of Jeremiah Estrada’s big league career, from his scintillating debut in Toronto on August 30. His very first big league pitch, and then a second one later in the inning. That was it for the whole year for the Cubs above 98 mph. Eesh.
  • Another Codify goodie with a Cubs connection:
  • You know about Sammy in ’98, but Henry Rodriguez hit 31 homers that year. Others who contributed to the outfield total: Brant Brown (14), Glenallen Hill (8), Lance Johnson (2), Matt Mieske (1), and Orlando Merced (1).
  • Old friend Kyle Schwarber was on with DOM:
  • Big get for New Balance, and this must’ve cost a pretty penny:
  • Missed opportunity:

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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.