Twas the night before PCR Day

And all through the land

Many a Cubs player was stirring

Wondering where his roster spot might stand

Yes, ladies and germs, pitchers and catchers report this week — or Thursday, February 18, to be exact – also known PCR Day (or at least that’s what I like to call it). (Please note correction: I mistakenly thought pitchers and catchers were to report Wednesday, February 17. It’s actually Thursday. Wait, hang on, according to this site, pitchers and catchers report on the 17th but don’t have their first official workout until the 18th.)

ANYWAY, it’s been a, uh, interesting winter – at times slow (has Milton been traded yet?), at times surprisingly fast (holy crap, Milton’s been traded!). In just a couple weeks, we’ll have some spring training games to enjoy/endure and a reality show’s worth of drama to watch as Cubs bench players and bullpen dudes try to secure a spot on the big league club. Not a ton going on as I type this, but here’s a few stories* to consider:

This Friday is your first chance to buy Cubs tickets! Wait, what?  Oh, right – the Cubs kicked off a presale yesterday in which they marked up ticket prices 20% for the privilege of buying them early. Anyone out there participate? I completely ignored the promotion – even though I’m thinking of buying tickets on Friday. (A perhaps regrettable move.) Many Cubs fans are understandably upset about the presale. One interesting take on it, however, can be found here, in which blogger Adam Kellogg points out that the presale actually undercuts scalpers. Not surprisingly, the Cubs marketing department is already calling the presale a success. It runs through Thursday if you’re still interested.

The Cubs have been a .600 team since 1974! No, I’m not talking about baseball games – I’m talking about arbitration hearings. Check out Maury Brown’s handy historical chart. And, in a related story, all signs still point to Ryan Theriot testing the Cubs arb. record. Carrie Muskat tweeted yesterday  that, as reported here on VFTB a couple times now, Theriot will likely face off against the Cubs (in Tampa of all places) soon.

Andre Dawson will celebrate his Hall of Fame induction in…wait for it…SCHAUMBURG!  Yes, the home of Woodfield Mall, a ton of traffic and a few good Indian restaurants will play host to the Hawk upon his return from Cooperstown. He’ll appear at a Schaumburg Flyers game along with a few other Cubs luminaries. Y’know, I don’t live too far from there – maybe I should go and do some on-the-scene reporting.

Getting back to spring training…  Here’s a decent “general” article from SI.com, in which Sweet Lou is quoted as saying, “Spring training…sets the tone for a championship season.” Let’s hope the Cubs aren’t tone deaf. Dying to see some 2010 spring training pics? Here are the first I’ve come across.

UPDATE:  Here’s a more Cubs-specific spring training article with some, as usual, GREAT quotes from Ryan Dempster.

The Shark wants to start.  Well, of course he does. Problem is, aside from an initial bit of bullpen effectiveness in ’08, Samardzija just hasn’t been that good. But he did OK in Mexico this winter and is certainly in the mix. My crazy idea for Jeff is to have him develop a hard sinker and turn himself into a Brandon Webb-type pitcher. Just running that up the flagpole.

*As always, bolded phrases leading off each paragraph link to mainstream news articles. Check back throughout the day – I may add some updates and additional stories.

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