Archive for February, 2013

The Impact the 2012 Postseason Had on a Cubs Fan

Friday, February 8th, 2013

 

October 22, 2012 was an ordinary autumn day in the suburbs of Chicago, with all the smells and colors and strange weather patterns that are typical in the Midwest during the fall. It also happened to be Game 7 of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. Being the self-respecting Cubs fan that I am, deciding which team to root for was easy. The San Francisco Giants were up against the ultimate evil and had one last chance to destroy them for good.

 

Leading up to this game, the sting of the Cardinals victory in Atlanta and the unbelievable comeback in the Division Series against the Nationals was all too real. Memories of the infamous Game 6 of the 2011 World Series flooded my memory. It was up to Matt Cain, Buster Posey, and the former Cubs Theriot and Pagan to avenge me and quell the suffering of us Cubs fans, at least for a few moments.

 

During this game, the state of my mental health altered with each movement made on the field. A deep fly ball to right center? Panic. Fastball down the gut? Better be a strike. Hard grounder to short? YOU BETTER MAKE THAT PLAY, CRAWFORD!

 

My roommates threatened to send me to the mental health center that is located just down the street. Eventually, though, they left the living room and attempted to do their homework in between my shouts of glee and groans of dismay. Little did they know what was about to happen.

 

It was the top of the ninth, two outs, Matt Holliday at the plate. Sure, the Giants were winning 9-0 and the Cardinals had committed two errors in the game, but this moment was the end-all be-all. Then, it happened.

 

The pitch. Holliday swings; a sky-high pop up to second. Scutaro scrambled around for position on the soggy, puddle-filled infield. Then, he squeezed the leather and the game was over.

 

Giants win.

 

The average fan would smile a smile of relief and satisfaction, turn off the TV, and carry on with their evening. The average fan might have had a conversation with the significant other over an average Monday night dinner. The average non-Giants fan might even be a bit apathetic about the outcome of the game.

 

To the dismay of my roommates, I am not an average fan. They knew I loved baseball, of course, but it was a bit of a joke among the group. What they experienced that night might have been comparable to the joy of the liberation of the Americans from British rule.

 

“All hell broke loose” might be a bit of an understatement. The whole apartment complex heard my shouts of celebration. I may as well have been at AT&T Park, considering all the dancing and shouting and near-crying that was taking place.

 

My roommates looked at each other in disbelief as I crumpled onto the couch, gasping for air. One of them even attempted to record the mayhem on her phone. Unfortunately, the initial celebration had subsided. The Giants had won and the Cardinals were eliminated from a postseason that they arguably should not have even been a part of anyway. The dark forces had been defeated.

 

I cannot even imagine what it would be like if the Cubs actually advanced that far in the postseason. We will cross that bridge when we get there. But for now, for a fan who bleeds Cubbie Blue, a Cardinals postseason elimination is the next-best thing.

 

Fast forward to the next week, Tuesday night. A few friends want to get together to go get a bite to eat. Naturally, before leaving, I check my email. Lo and behold, an email from MLB.com was sitting there, beckoning me to apply for the MLB FanCave.

 

As quickly as I could, I read the requirements for application and began working on the writing segment of it. Out of excitement, I called my dad and told him about it. Thus began the journey of applying to the FanCave.

 

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor the gloom of the night can keep me away from the game, and I mean that most literally. Part two of the application process required filming a video. If you know anything about Wisconsin, it is cold, and it snows a lot. Naturally, it was incorporated into the video.

 

Once the writing submission and the video were both completed and turned in, the waiting game began. It took 30 days to hear anything about it. Those 30 days felt like a month to me, they took so long (Yes, 30 days does equal a month, I am aware.).

 

When I finally did hear something about the application, what I read was unbelievable: “Congratulations! You have been chosen as a Top 52 finalist for the MLB FanCave!” I was beside myself with excitement. I had to tell somebody. It was 9:30 on Thursday morning, right when Principles of Coaching was supposed to begin, but I ran outside the classroom and exclaimed to my professor, “I have really exciting news. I’m a Top 52 finalist for the FanCave!!!” and skipped around a little bit. Then who did I call? You guessed it. Dad.

 

I dialed with shaking hands. The phone rang and rang and rang. Finally he answered.

“Katie?” he said.

“Yeah.” I choked as tears welled up in my eyes.

“What’s up?”

“I made it.”

We both were cheering and crying and carrying on over the telephone. People walking by were giving me strange looks.

 

After the necessary phone calls were made to my mom and other close friends, the campaigning began. Receiving endorsements from current players and sports writers is a lot of fun. You know that feeling when your favorite player at the ballpark acknowledges you? That is kind of what it is like. Local newspapers posted stories and headlines and Cubs blogs posted stories about the only Cubs fan making it to the Top 52. Even the Iowa Cubs put up a post on Facebook about it.

 

Let me tell you, the amount of support from everyone has been incredible. For a small-town girl from Wisconsin to be recognized by Major League Baseball to represent the Chicago Cubs in this contest is something of which only a person could dream. I am eternally grateful to everyone for your votes and kind words.

 

The next phase of the contest is a segment at Spring Training. That’s right; if enough people can find it within themselves, somewhere in the cockles of their hearts to vote me into the top 30, I could be representing the Cubs for the Spring Training portion of this contest. How incredible would that be? (It would be very, very incredible.)

 

So, Cubs fans, I have a request for you. While you are voting for me, please tell your friends, your coworkers, and your family. Basically, tell anyone who has ears. There are only five and a half days left to vote, and every vote counts.

 

Plus, don’t cubs live in caves, anyway? So it would only make sense for a Cubs fan to be in the FanCave.

 

You guys are the best. I really mean that, too.

 

To vote, click here.

 

 

(Postseason logo borrowed from: http://www.eauclaireexpress.com/webfiles/fnitools/albums/news/large/mlb-postseason-2012.jpg)

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Best Defensive Teams of the Decade

Friday, February 8th, 2013

by John Dewan

It’s hard to believe, but with the close of the 2012 season, Baseball Info Solutions is celebrating 10 years of Defensive Runs Saved data. We plan to use that milestone to reflect on the previous decade of defensive play, starting with a look at the teams with the best defenses in that time.

As baseball exited the power era of the turn of the century, defense reemerged as a focal point in baseball in recent seasons. That narrative trend is reflected in our Defensive Runs Saved numbers since 2003. All the best team defenses were from the later years except for the 2005 Philadelphia Phillies. They were the only team on our leader board of best defensive teams in the last decade before 2007. They also happen to be the best defensive team of the decade:

Best Defensive Teams of the Decade

Team

Season

Runs Saved

Philadelphia

2005

95

Seattle

2009

85

Tampa Bay

2011

85

Toronto

2007

83

San Diego

2010

81

The 2005 Phillies had not yet reached the overall peak of their core players. They won 88 games that year, the fifth of six consecutive years with at least 80 wins without a playoff berth. That all changed in 2007, when the Phillies won 89 games and reached the playoffs for the first of five consecutive seasons. In terms of overall success, those teams peaked in 2008 when they won the World Series, and then again in 2011 when they won 102 regular-season games. Their 2008 team fell just short of the top-five with 77 Runs Saved, but their 2005 team was the best of the decade with 95 Runs Saved.

Chase Utley was the defensive star of the 2005 Phillies, but he was not alone. Utley was one of six of their players to save nine runs or more: Jimmy Rollins saved 18, David Bell saved 17, Jason Michaels saved 11, Ryan Howard saved 11, and Placido Polanco saved 9. Howard is the most amazing. That was his first season as a regular and his range quickly diminished as his career progressed. In fact, Howard has never again reached a positive Defensive Runs Saved total in the seven seasons since 2005.

The 2009 Seattle Mariners and 2011 Tampa Bay Rays tied for second place with 85 Runs Saved, which they achieved in a similar way. Both teams had a pair of defensive stars that accounted for more than half of the team total. For the Mariners, it was Franklin Gutierrez and Adrian Beltre. Beltre has a well-deserved defensive reputation. That season, he earned the first of his three Fielding Bible Awards. Gutierrez is less of a household name, which is a shame because he had a chance to become an all-time defensive great before a string of injuries derailed him. His 2009 season saved the Mariners 32 runs, more than any player from a top-five team and third-most of any player in a season since 2003.

The Rays will be remembered for their end-of-season heroics that led them into the playoffs in 2011. Two of the biggest reasons they even had that opportunity were Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria. Zobrist rarely gets the attention he deserves for his great play, even from us. He has failed to win a Fielding Bible Award in his career, mainly because the Rays move him around the field, which, in realty, makes him more valuable. In 2011, he saved 29 runs, mostly in right field and second base. Longoria is a star. 2011 was his third consecutive year with at least 19 Runs Saved.

Rounding out the list are the 2007 Toronto Blue Jays and the 2010 San Diego Padres. All of our top-five defensive teams had decisively winning records. Toronto was fifth-best of the group with a 83-79 record in 2007. John McDonald and Aaron Hill combined to save 43 runs up the middle, the second best of any double-play combination in the decade behind Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins in 2008. The Padres did not have a player reach 20 Runs Saved, but they had six players with at least 7, including starting-pitcher Jon Garland, a superlative defensive contribution for a pitcher.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.

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GirlieView (02/07/2013)

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Monday. Yippee! I know it doesn’t really mean anything and we’ll be bored yet for a few more weeks (or months depending on whether you’re fond of spring training or not) but it’s still nice to know things are getting started. And speaking of getting started, let’s go!

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of 2013 = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • the thought that Delmon Young could play enough in the field to be worth a roster spot at this point is almost comical.
  • Raker D. asked if Sori was going to use his 14″ outfielders glove at 3B, or switch to a more conventional 11.5″ model.
  • Ms Muskrat replied That Soriano at 3B was no longer funny and Mr D should stop the emails, cards, candy-grams and flowers he has been showering her way to make that happen. She also pointed out that she has no actual sway over the roster as Theo banned her from the press room for  asking about Neil Diamond songs late last year.
  • I believe Hairston will platoon nicely with his new similarly-sort-of-average mates Nate Sherhairzt and David DeHairstus.
  • We’ve been in hairy situations before. I think it’s best to avoid them altogether.
  • self-promotion is the mating call of the mute button
  • It has to happen naturally. You can’t force a Lizzie.
  • Cumin Vegas
  • Aramis Banana
  • Sam Adams Golfing
  • Tulip Douglas
  • Dill Weed Panama
  • Freddy French Lick
  • You don’t trade a guy because he’s blocked at his position when he’s still 3-4 years before being ready. Develop him and see what happens.
  • I’ll wait until Vogelbach gets a couple of seasons in before deciding whether he’s going to fail or not.
  • Just 12 months ago, not too many people thought Jeff Samardzija could possibly turn into a top 60 pitcher
  • I have every confidence that you can more than compensate for my lack of snark in your comments below.
  • My local Outback Steakhouse has only a few precious years remaining to add a drive through so I can be buried at 48 with my beloved Bloomin Onion.
  • No famous folks here (except me) this year.
  • A few years ago I couldn’t even spell single A, now I know about some of the Cubs players there.
  • You guys are mean.
  • My guess is the Hairston signing really puts the future of Dave Sappelt in jeopardy with the Cubs.
  • I’ve dined with Joe. He’s quite fetching, but could never be confused with a Sarah.
  • And as everyone who has ever watched the Simpsons knows…it’s the growing done during the 5th and 6th months that make it ok to subject your infant to the freezing cold temperatures of a wintery Midwest.
  • anxiously anticipating that first, glorious moment of seeing 9 of your favorite men skip over the white chalk line and trot out to their respective places on the field.
  • Sharing a fifteen-dollar helmet bowl of nachos with a close friend, heckling the opposing left fielder with your younger brother, discussing the likelihood of a go-ahead home run from Reed Johnson with your father, and getting a wink from Anthony Rizzo as he ducks into the dugout cannot be replicated anywhere else.
  • Theo must of forgotten to include a chapter titled “Don’t Do Stupid S*** On Twitter” when he distributed the Cubs Way manuals to the squad last year.
  • What’s funny is that in most instances, these guys could communicate the same ideas and sentiments without coming off like insensitive jerks.
  • Artie Lange was able to get media credentials?  That should be a story itself.
  • Yours truly has been selected as one of the top 52 finalist for the MLB FanCave!
  • The visual didn’t bother me…it was the grotesque sound of the kissing, especially in surround sound.

Lizard

  • I could care less if anyone is gay.  There is precious little happiness int his world so if loving someone who looks a lot like you in the mirror makes you happy, go for it.  Choose love people.  Don’t choose hate.  You are the sum of your actions and feelings so make those actions and feelings positive.

MVL

  • Congratulations to Chuck the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around!

Shout Outs

Many thanks and congratulations to the following folks who contributed their very first 2013 Lizzie!

  • Bryan
  • CAPS
  • Katie
  • Norm

Top Ten of 2013 (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Doc Raker
4. Buddy
5. Eddie von White
6. Chuck
6. Gymjok
6. Jedi Johnson
6. Joe Aiello
10. cap’n obvious
10. Noah Eisner

Chit Chat

Don’t forget to vote for Katie in the MLB Fan Cave contest. Voting continues until February 13! And speaking of caves, tell us about your man cave, or wherever you like to go when you need some time away from the grind.

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Morning Post: NU at Wrigley and Ryan Braun PED (kinda) News

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Northwestern University came to an agreement with the Cubs to play a whole host of sporting events at Wrigley Field over the next five years. Most noticeably, Northwestern will play a football game at Wrigley over each of the next five years. The first Northwestern athletic event at Wrigley under the contract will be a Northwestern baseball game on April 20. Despite being a proud Badger myself, as the son of two Northwestern alumni and the brother of another, they’ve always been my second favorite Big Ten team. I could only imagine that the ability to play at Wrigley Field wouldn’t hurt either their football or baseball recruiting either.

Ryan Braun was on a list of people who owed money to Biogensis. For those of you who have been camping in the woods far, far away from civilization for the past week, Biogensis is the Miami “anti-aging” clinic that has been at the center of the recent PED news, affectionately referred to as Balco West. However, Braun’s name was not connected to any drugs. Instead, it appears that Biogenesis’s head honcho, Tony Bosch, was hired to be a consulting witness in Braun’s PED dispute last year.

At this point, it’s too early to tell if Braun is telling the truth or not, so I’d just advise to not rush to judgment. If you want a good rundown of why Braun’s story is plausible, FanGraphs’s Wendy Thurm posted a good one on Wednesday.

Our fearless leader, Joe Aiello, made an appearance on ESPN Radio in Des Moines today. Give it a listen!

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Minor Move

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

It’s a struggle to write the Morning News each day and come up with something noteworthy about the team at this point. It’s a dead period right before spring training begins. All the good free agents are in the fold with their new teams (sorry Michael Bourn). It’s a rather dead period for news. So, in an effort to try to scrape something together, here are a few news and notes nuggets for your Wednesday perusing.

  • Righty reliever, Lendy Castillo, was outrighted to AAA Iowa after being designated for assignment late in January. If you’re not familiar with who he is, he was drafted in the Rule 5 draft in 2011 from the Phillies and his numbers in 2012 were less than stellar.
  • Theo Epstein was a guest on the Waddle and Silvy podcast for ESPN 1000 on Wednesday. If you’re not a regular podcast listener, you can download the full show that day here. Epstein was the first guest of the day so you won’t have to listen long, though I would highly recommend the show. It’s my favorite podcast to listen to.

 

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In Defense of WAR

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Following last week’s PED news coming out of Miami, I was actually planning on this post being about baseball’s real drug problem: drunk driving. But that was before Jim Caple’s post on ESPN.com on Friday, where he critiqued the use of WAR by the more statistically inclined.  Clearly, a statistical measure is much less important in the long run than the fact that a lot of players, managers and broadcasters are taking stupid risks with not only their lives, but also the lives of others. As a self professed stat head, I had some issues with Caple’s characterization of those who use WAR and how we use it.

My issues weren’t with Caple’s discussion of the drawbacks of WAR. It’s true that there is no definitive WAR figure. Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs not only have different versions that use different metrics, but they also put “replacement level” at a different place. Baseball-Reference has a team full of replacement level players winning about 52 games, while FanGraphs gives them 43 wins. On top of that, a good number of baseball teams have their own internal versions of WAR that are completely proprietary.

It’s also true that one of WAR’s strengths, the fact that it takes defense into the equation, also leads to one of its biggest problems: as defensive statistics are new and not based upon as clear cut of information as did a player get a hit or make an out, they are less reliable than offensive or pitching statistics. When you see a large swing between a position player’s rWAR and fWAR, it’s almost always because Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs judge their defense differently.

My issue with Caple’s post was that he argued that those of us who use advanced statistics don’t understand WAR’s flaws on the basis that we have issues with Miguel Cabrera winning the American League MVP over Mike Trout.

Let’s stop pretending that anyone thinks that Miguel Cabrera isn’t one of the best hitters in the game.  But the fact is that he won the MVP because he won the Triple Crown, and that means he won the MVP because he led the league in RBIs. And the biggest reason he led the league in RBIs was not because he improved off of his 2011 effort, but because Austin Jackson raised his on base percentage 60 points and because Cabrera bats third in that line up.

The mental gymnastics that the people who voted for Cabrera went through were in competition for a medal. Some said he deserved credit for being willing to switch to third base when Prince Fielder signed, despite him being terrible there defensively and Mike Trout being an excellent defensive center fielder, a more demanding defensive position than the hot corner. Then there was the argument that Cabrera made the playoffs and the Trout did not. But Cabrera only made the playoffs because the Tigers played in the worst division in baseball, while Trout’s Angels finished with a better record despite playing in the very tough AL West.

Trout was better than Cabrera last year. WAR is not the reason why Trout was better than Cabrera, but is merely one (of many) pieces of evidence in his favor. Trout put up nearly identical offensive numbers while being much more valuable on the base paths and defensively. If the BBWAA wanted to award Cabrera the MVP based on meeting a neat but archaic set of criteria, that’s their prerogative. But just be honest about it.

And don’t tell the statistically inclined about the problems with WAR. We’re aware it needs refinement. We’re aware that defensive statistics need a lot of fine tuning. We’re aware that, eventually, there is probably going to have to be some agreement about how WAR is calculated. We’re aware that Miguel Cabrera is one of baseball’s best hitters. We don’t think that the MVP should just automatically go to whomever has the highest WAR. But in 2012, Mike Trout was the American League’s, and all of baseball’s, best player. With or without WAR.

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Tuesday Logic Puzzle

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

I am pretty sure I posted a puzzle like this in the past. In fact, it may have been this one. That said, here is something to work on today in the wake of a slow news day.
Mike, Ed, Harry, Paul, Allen, Bill, Jerry, Sam, and Andy play on the same National League team. Using the clues below, help them identify which position they need to run out to when the season begins.

  • Andy Dislikes the Catcher
  • Ed’s sister is engaged to the second baseman
  • The center fielder is taller than the right fielder
  • Harry and the third baseman live in the same building
  • Paul and Allen each won 20 dollars from the pitcher at pinochle
  • Ed and the outfielders play poker during their free time
  • The pitcher’s wife is the third baseman’s sister
  • The catcher, pitcher, and infield except for Allen, Harry and Andy are shorter than Sam
  • Paul,  Andy and the shortstop lost 150 dollars each at the racetrack
  • Paul, Harry, Bill and the catcher lost to the second baseman at pool
  • Sam is undergoing a divorce suit
  • The catcher and the third base each have two children
  • Ed, Paul, Jerry, the right fielder and the center fielder are bachelors, the others are married
  • The shortstop, third baseman and Bill each won betting on a fight
  • One of the outfielders is either Mike or Andy
  • Jerry is taller than Bill and Mike is shorter than Bill and each of them is heavier than the third baseman
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Morning News: Super Brownout

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Super Bowl!
The game swung wildly from blowout to interesting when half the lights in the Superdome suddenly shut off just after the Ravens had taken a 28-6 lead in the 3rd quarter. Baltimore had all the momentum and the 49ers clawed back scoring 23 points in roughly 12 minutes of play. They got as close as 2 points, or a defensive holding call that’s sure to leave half the Harbaugh family disappointed. On what would be the 49ers final play from scrimmage, Colin Kaepernick threw a ball past the outstretched arms of Michael Crabtree. Whether Kaepernick overthrew the ball or Crabtree was egregiously held probably depends on your allegiance. Ultimately the Ravens held on for a 34-31 win.

Ray Lewis leaves the game a champion for a second time, firmly securing his spot in Ravens lore and punching a ticket to the Hall of Fame in four years. Move over OJ Simpson, it’s time for another HOFer who beat a murder rap.

It wasn’t the prettiest Super Bowl that was ever played, of course the 34 minute power outage had more than a little to do with that; a handful of people likely woke up this morning wondering if that outage will cost them their job. Not since Bud Selig presided over the ASG tie in Milwaukee has a major American sports league seen such an unnecessary bungling of a marquee event. Surely in 2013 our arenas and stadiums have better backup plans than to sit around for 30+ minutes waiting for everything to come back to life. CBS’ coverage of that particular portion of the night was hilariously awful. James Brown ‘the lights have gone out here, down to Steve Tasker for more on the field’ – Steve Tasker ‘the lights are out James, and it’s going to take some time to get them back’ – James Brown ‘John Harbaugh looks furious on the sideline’…ya think James? His team is sporting a 22-point lead in the Super Bowl and they are forced to take a second halftime because the stadium can’t stay lit. Marino and Cowher bickering only made it more laughable.

The Commercials
I don’t understand some of the Super Bowl advertisers. Does McDonald’s really need a Super Bowl commercial to stay in our conscious? Does a commercial about a stain on a jersey really make a guy say to his old lady, ‘you know I think we should start using Tide as our primary detergent’? And do commercials for alcoholic beverages do any good after halftime? Because either you’ve already been drinking (in which case, the commercial isn’t leaving an impression) or you’re not going to be drinking. Isn’t Carl’s Jr. just throwing money down the toilet? I’m not leaving with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter to run through the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru.

Anyway, the Audi commercial seems to have received the greatest reception; and I must concur that the GoDaddy commercial was simply nasty; because when I’m knuckle deep in guacamole the last thing I want to see is the overweight, afro’d nerd making out with a supermodel.

Cubs’ News
If you’re headed to Mesa for Spring Training, you’ll get a good look at Javier Baez. He, along with 22 others have received non-roster invites from the team. Casey Coleman secured one of them too…sorry, Buddy.

Rich Indians
I need to trace my heritage, maybe I can still get into the tribe.

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Sunday News Roundup

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, one of the most watched shows of the entire year. People everywhere, including women who would never otherwise watch sports, sit down with a mountain of wings and watch the game. For the sports betting sites, this has to be the highlight of their business year with all the various ways you can lay down money. You can bet on if the coin toss will be heads or tails (vote for heads so I win a free pizza). You can vote on the length of the National Anthem. To be honest, the sheer amount of coverage the event gets amazes me, and in a way, disappoints me that there isn’t as much hype of hoopla around MLB opening day or even the World Series. With that said, I decided we’d break from football this afternoon and instead catch up on a some quick notes related to our sport.

  • John Sickels released his list ranking the farm systems and the Cubs came in ranked #10, which is a very nice upgrade from the # 20 ranking they were at last year. I feel like I get more and more excited the longer this regime is at the helm. Say what you want about “prospects”. We can talk all day about how a prospect is just  a prospect until they have proven something, but the fact remains that this farm system is generally looking up in the view of all the major minor league pundits and that has me excited.
  • Carlos Marmol ran into a little trouble over the weekend as the story came out that he was accused of abuse of a 24 year old woman in the Dominican Republic. Both Marmol and his legal representative deny the allegations, but we’re moving toward a time in the world where everyone claims to be innocent, even to the point of counter suits being filed, only to eventually admit guilt. I hope that’s not the case with Carlos, but things like this don’t just come out of nowhere.
  • Jon Greenburg of the ESPN staff recently caught up with new Cubs consultant, Tom Tango.
  • Our old, and by old I mean old, pal Marlon Byrd signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.

Stay the course guys, the clock is ticking and baseball will be here before you know it. Just to round of the post and wet your appetite, here is the list of non-roster invitees to spring training:

The following 11 pitchers have been invited to major league camp: right-handed pitchers Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Barret Loux, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Nick Struck and Cory Wade, as well as left-handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi.

Three catchers have been invited to big league camp: J.C. Boscan, Michael Brenly and Rafael Lopez.

Five infielders have been invited to major league camp: Javier Baez, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Edwin Maysonet and Brad Nelson.

Three outfielders have been invited to big league camp: Brian Bogusevic, Johermyn Chavez and Darnell McDonald.

Chicago Cubs Media Relations Dept.

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