Good morning, good afternoon, good night, Cubs fans. You’re out! Actually, you’re in – In the News. And you’re in deep. A couple of notable individuals in the Cubs organization, on the other hand, are in the money. Let’s get to today’s top stories*:
Ryan Theriot may have lost in arbitration, but he’s won an endorsement deal. Our scrappy, controversial and outspoken starting shortstop is now the official spokesperson for the RCN data/voice/TV network. He signed a two-year deal that will put him in advertisements and at several community events. Congrats to Ryan, though this could get kind of awkward next year if Starlin Castro is made starting shortstop and Theriot is dealt. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Ricketts looking to accelerate some dollars to the Cubs bottom line with “lighted billboard.” Odds are, you may have caught wind of this story already, but it’s one to keep an eye on. The Cubs, having ended their relationship with Chevy, are now looking to Toyota for a revenue stream. The, of late, greatly beleagured Japanese automaker would sponsor a lighted billboard to be perched over the left field bleachers. (The sign would also conveniently and partially block the Horseshoe Casino ad on the building across the street, from which the Cubs draw no revenue.)
So far, the plan has seen initial resistance from Alderman Tom Tunney regarding the sign’s effect on Wrigley’s historical landmark status. And some, more traditionalist Cubs fans are crying foul at the idea of putting a “jumbotron” (or “minitron”) at the Friendly Confines. I don’t really have a problem with the idea if it allows the team to add to its financial dominance over the NL Central.
Jim Hendry quietly goes about his charitable activities. I know a lot of Cubs fans like to rip on Ol’ Jimbo, but he deserves some credit for his under-the-radar charity work. Case in point: Hendry made an appearance at a Omaha, Nebraska school this week to promote the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which helps low-income families pay school – even private ones. Oh, and for the sabermetrically inclined, Jimbo even tied baseball to algebra, saying, “It’s a combination of statistical analysis and great scouting.”
Coming soon to Lakeview: The Steve Goodman Memorial Post Office. (Or something to that effect.) Sounds like a great idea to me. In other music news, and for purely selfish purposes, I’d like to recognize the passing of another brilliant singer-songwriter, Alex Chilton, who died yesterday at age 59. Click here to listen to one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded.
Andres Blanco to return this weekend. Oh, right – the baseball team. Look for defensive specialist Blanco to be back in the lineup over the weekend. Y’know who else will be playing shortstop this weekend? Mike Fontenot. Hey, I’m happy Mike is doing well so far this spring but considering him as a backup shortstop makes less sense than ever if he’s the front runner for the starting second baseman position. Does Lou seriously think Fontenot can play 160-odd games? The roster remains as confusing as ever.
Tuesday’s game results – Cubs win 4-1. In case you hadn’t heard, Carlos Silva – yes, Carlos Silva – pitched virtually lights-out on Tuesday as the Cubs dominated the Rangers for a solid victory. ESPN’s Rob Neyer thinks Silva could be an acceptable No. 5 starter for the Cubs if he (Silva, that is) gets his fastball up above 90 MPH. I’m keeping my expectations low, but ground balls do win baseball games – and if Carlos can get them, he could provide some value after all. He does seem genuinely happy and excited to be a Cub.
Today’s (Thursday’s) game: Cubs vs. Dodgers at 3:05 CDT.The baseball contest will be broadcast via mlb.tv if you have it. Here’s the Cubs lineup via Carrie Muskat:
Aramis Tracy 3B (←Aramis was a late scratch from the lineup but Muskat assures us it’s nothing to worry about)
*Reddish text = hyperlinks to my sources. Check back for updates!
Breaking news update: Angel Guzman has decided to have shoulder surgery. Carrie Muskat quotes Angel as saying Dr. James Andrew gave him “hope.” I assume this means Guzman is out for the season and his hopes of ever returning to the mound in a major league game remain quite precarious.