Snowmaggedon! Snow-a-palooza. The Pitchfork Snow Festival. (Wha…?) It’s snowing as I type this. I point this out because, as some point this spring, all you loyal VFTBers are going to be studying for your off-season finals by going back through all my “In the News” segments and laughing at how freaked out we all were about this snow. (What, you didn’t know you’d be graded on this stuff? We’re not kiddin’ around here.) Anyway, without further meteorological adieu, let’s get to some Cubs-related news items* from the past few days:

The old ivy-covered mare ain’t what she used to be. Yes, the Ricketts are making good on their promise to rehab, redo and otherwise refurbish Wrigley Field. This blogpost by Bruce Levine,  whom I’m feeling a little better about lately, details some of their many efforts. Of particular note is the “Executive Suite” being built down the left field line that will enable fans to buy season tickets at a cost of $300 per game. Membership brings, among other perks, food, drinks and (gasp!) parking. The total cost is pretty steep but may be a feasible option for small to midsize companies looking to entertain clients and employees.

The Saga of Spring Training is not yet over. Yeah, yeah – Mesa won and all that. But a whole new battle has erupted over how the Cubs’ new, megafantastic spring training facility will be paid for. I’m not going to lie here, folks: I’m having a hard time following the tax- and finance-related intricacies of this story – mainly because, as mentioned, I don’t attend spring training games. If you’re interested in a reading a very detailed discussion of the matter by several parties “in the know,” check out Al Yellon’s BCB post from yesterday.

Read this profile of Ryan Dempster and his family. As many Cubs fans know, Demp has faced an enormous personal challenge over the past year or so. This New York Times piece from last week details Ryan and his wife’s battle against the condition, DiGeorge Syndrome, afflicting their baby daughter, Riley.

The Brewers want to honor Bud Selig…with a statue. This may sound like a headline from The Onion, but it’s true. And I don’t get it. Should a major league team really honor a sitting commissioner in this manner? Shouldn’t they at least wait for Selig to retire? I know he used to be their owner and still lives in the Milwaukee area, but geez. This is a really odd story.

Class of ’05 update: Remember Scott McClain? Yeah, me neither. Nonetheless, this slugging 1B/3B-type dude played 13 games for the 2005 Cubs before moving on to the Giants and then…Japan. Think of him as the Jake Fox of his day. Well, this charming local piece lets us know that the Cubs have re-signed him to a minor league deal so he can compete with the 2,083 other guys trying to make the team’s bench.

Class of ’04 update: Remember Moises Alou? Of course you do! And, yeah, I realize he played for the Cubs in ’02 and ’03, too. But I always equate with him with that enormously frustrating 2004 season in which Moises put up an outstanding .919 OPS and the Cubs faded down the stretch like that pair of jeans I’ve been wearing for the last five years. In any case, check out this look at what he’s up to these days – GMing for the Dominican Republic’s Leones del Escogido. Can’t imagine he makes too many handshake deals. (<–Let me know if you get this joke.)

The new USA Today Team Report is out! The new USA Today Team Report is out! Tie up your loose ends here – taking special note that Carlos Zambrano is already in Arizona working out (crikey!) and David “’09 Rule 5 dude-man” Patton will probably start the season in AA.

Single-game Cubs tickets go on sale February 19. See you in the Virtual Waiting Room. Don’t drink the coffee and keep your hands off my favorite copy of the Oct. ’07 Popular Mechanics.

*Bolded phrases leading off each paragraph are hyperlinks.

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