Thursday, March 4th, 2010
Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!
OK, not as I’m writing this. But assuming you care enough about the team to follow them in March, and didn’t lose too many IQ points watching Olympic curling, you should know that today is the day that gen-u-ine Cubs beisbol returns. Well, at least, in its meaningless-but-good-practice spring training form.
The good news from a dramatic standpoint is this Cubs team isn’t like, say, the New York Yankees (who I watched play yesterday via mlb.tv). The Yanks have pretty much every position sewn up and not much to sort through besides ARod’s most recent legal woes and what the deal is with Derek Jeter. (What is his deal, anyway?) What I’m tryin’ to say here is there are a number of interesting subplots going on with the Cubs right now – second base, Starlin Castro, the bench, the bullpen, STARLIN CASTRO – that should make this one of the more involving spring trainings to date. That established, let’s get to the news*:
Cubs! Athletics! 2:05 CT today! Our lead story can be no other. Looks like I’ll be able to catch the first hour or so before a work meeting and my arduous commute cut off my ability to access. Some key details via Carrie Muskat’s Twitter page: Theriot will start at SS but Castro will replace him at some point. DLee, Aramis, Byrd and Geo will also see action. Oh, and Randy Wells gets the start, of course. The game will be available on WGN Radio 720 as well as on gameday audio via cubs.com or MLB.com.
Update: Today’s starting lineups, courtesy of A’s great beat reporter Jane Lee:
Fox 3B (← That would be Jake Fox.)
Soriano will make Saturday special. That’s when he’ll appear in his first game. I’ve read several quotes indicating Alfonso basically feels fine physically and that it’s more the mental adjustment to putting stress on his knee that he’s working through. And Lou seems to be sticking with his plan to use Soriano has a 6-hole hitter, which is fine with me. Just hit for power, my man. Forget the stolen bases. Hit the ball hard, hit the ball often – the rest will work itself out. We got five long years to go.
Cubs probably have tentative deal with young Cuban pitcher. His name is Juan Yasser Serrano and, though this deal is far from finished, all signs point to the 21-year-old right-hander starting the season in Single A ball. What with all the excitement over the Reds signing Cuban lefty fireballer Aroldis Chapman, this may seem like a savvy follow-up move by the Cubs. But this post by the ACB guys indicates this may turn out to be more of a WTF? move.
Several MLB teams boycott breakfast. Are you crazy?! That’s the most important meal of the day! Oh, wait – they’re upset about the Cubs’ plan to fund their new spring training facility with a Cactus League-wide ticket surcharge. You guys do know we had an omelet bar, right?
In other financial news, the Ricketts continue to say good things. This article in the Business Times, one of my favorite reads over a morning espresso at the highly exclusive country club in my head, quotes Tom as saying ”it’s possible” the ownership group could kick in some cash for a difference-maker at the trade deadline – assuming the Cubs are in contention, of course. Let’s hope.
You got apps, I got apps. Heck, we all got apps. If you’re a smartphone user, MLB has got you covered with At Bat 2010. The go-to software for monitoring games via your mobile device lets you, and I quote, “…listen live to every regular-season and postseason game, watch live out-of-market streaming games and get MLB.com Gameday, up-to-the-minute box scores and player stats, in-game highlights and Condensed Games, as well as push notifications.” Best of all, the app is now available for BlackBerry (w00t!) and Android users as well as you ubiquitous iPhone folks. I desperately tried to download At Bat yesterday for my Storm 2, but my lack of a PayPal account pretty much screwed me. Now I’m stuck waiting for said account to activate before I can partake of the digital goodness.
*Click on reddish text for hyperlinks. Check back for updates!
Milton blames Chicago. I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this because it’s becoming a pretty big story of the day. To sum up, in a couple relatively brief quotes to the New York Times today, Milton Bradley blamed Chicago (the city? the local government? the band?) for his poor performance last season. He apparently feels the team pressured him to produce home runs beyond his career norm. Gordon Wittenmyer reports via his Twitter page that Lou has denied that the team wanted anything out of Milton other than good production of any kind out of the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
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