Good morning, Cubs fans. *Awkward silence.* And now, the news:

The Cubs have signed a player! Is it Bay? Is it Holliday? Is it Mark freakin’ DeRosa?! No, no…it’s former LSU third baseman Derek Helenihi, who will join the team for spring training. I’d hope someone in Mesa…or Naples…or wherever the hell spring training games will be held next year will have a camera ready to record Theriot and Fontenot’s bizarre hazing rituals. I believe a vat of crawfish and a pound of butter are to be involved somehow.

Speaking of spring training — beware, Illinois, they’re coming! No, not Al Qaeda bad guys from Gitmo. Not yet anyway. A delegation of Mesa businessfolk is on its way this week to make their case for keeping the Cubs in sunny, dry Arizona.

Meanwhile, in Collier County… Floridians are planning a massive January event to lure the team to the swamplands. Expect an electric atmosphere, which may be dangerous because of all the humidity in the air.

Wondering what Marlon Byrd looks like? Click here! This Trib “breaking news” piece doesn’t really break any news. There’s apparently been no movement on the Milton Bradley scene except for the either fortuitous or unfortunate fact that Byrd (who’s now the prime candidate for centerfield) and Bradley have the same agent.

Oh, and Coco Crisp’s name is starting to come up, too. Sorry, folks, but going from having “Milton Bradley” in the outfield to “Coco Crisp” is just too rich for my blood. Maybe they could pick up a guy named “Matchbox” or “Lego.” (These references are from my childhood, beloved readers. If you don’t like ’em, sue me. What else you got?)

This just in: Former Cubs centerfielder Juan Pierre to wear long johns on the Southside. As you’ve probably heard, our favorite Class of ’06 fleet-footed slap hitter (not counting Neifi) will be back in Chi-Town next season. He claims his legs have been in (presumably temperature controlled) storage and the only thing he’s worried about is the cold. Quite a team Kenny Williams has assembled.

Ryan Dempster charity event tonight!!! If you’ll be anywhere near Wrigleyville tonight, head over to D’Agostino’s Pizza at 1351 W. Addison. The North Side eatery will be holding the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation Event to create awareness for DiGeorge Syndrome, which their daughter suffers from. For a $100 donation, it’s all you can eat and drink, not to mention a chance to mingle with the Cubs starter and perhaps even a few of his teammates.

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