Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Boo! The Scariest Scenarios for the Cubs

Friday, October 31st, 2014

[So Joe will let me keep this image, I'm going to say that it came from cubs.com. You should immediately go to the site and purchase one of these stencils. You'll have it for next Halloween!]

Happy Halloween, fellow Viewers! It’s great to be back. Since we’re celebrating a holiday, I thought I’d have some fun and talk about some of the Cubs’ scariest scenarios. I’m going to rate each one on a 10-point scary factor scale.

1. The Cubs don’t get Joe Maddon.

BREAKING NEWS: The Cubs have dismissed Rick Renteria, clearing the way for the hiring of Joe Maddon (read the press release from Theo here). Multiple sources are reporting that the press conference announcing Maddon as the next manager will take place on Monday. Best of luck to Rick Renteria, who worked hard for a long time to get this opportunity.

2. The Cubs strikeout in their pursuit of free-agent starting pitchers.

It’s well known that the Cubs intend to sign one or two starting pitchers this offseason, with the consensus top choice being Jon Lester. Theo has stated as much, and he’s hinted that they’d like to get a top tier starter (e.g., Lester, Shields, Scherzer) and a second-tier guy (e.g., Masterson, Hammel, McCarthy, Peavy). The bidding could get out-of-hand, though, and there’s no guarantee that the Cubs get someone like Lester or Shields. The young talent on the offensive side is either here or coming very soon, and we have the dream manager on board. Adding a TOR-type pitcher plus another dependable arm is just what this team needs to start competing now.

Scary Factor:  :twisted: (8/10) – The only thing that keeps this from being a 10 is that there is a very strong FA starting pitching class coming up next offseason.

3. Javier Baez turns out to be a bust.

The bat speed is all-time great. The athleticism is outstanding. The positional value should be phenomenal. He has a track record of being able to adapt to new levels of competition…but what if it never comes together for Javy? What if that epic power potential is squandered because of his pitch recognition problems?

Scary Factor:  :evil: (5/10) – A few years ago, this would be a disaster. Now, though, the Cubs have stockpiled so much elite, young offensive talent, a bust of one or two of them won’t destroy the team. We still have Rizzo, Soler, Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, etc… It would hurt, for sure, but it wouldn’t kill.

There’s no bust factor with Javy’s halloween costume, though Javy being Manny! (from Javy’s Instagram account: javy23baez):

Yes it is Javy Being Manny.

4. The planned revenue-enhancing additions to Wrigley Field (signage, Jumbotron) are further delayed/halted by more lawsuits.

There were reports last week that the Ricketts may be in talks to purchase some of the rooftop buildings. This would seem like a logical move: threaten to destroy the value of the buildings by erecting signs, then buy them at a discount as the owners bail. So, I’m not too worried that the signage plan will be derailed, but it could be delayed by some lingering lawsuits against the Landmarks Commission. Although the Cubs have tons of payroll flexibility right now, that comes from starting from a low-point (old, big contracts have come off the books, most of the team’s talent is on young “first” contracts or team-friendly extensions). The total dollar amount will probably not be increasing, though. For the future, the Cubs will need expanded payroll flexibility, so having these additional revenue streams is important.

Scary Factor:  :oops: (4/10) – It’s an important piece of the plan, but I think the signs will happen, but even if they are delayed a bit, the imminent TV deal will make everything OK.

 

What are your scariest scenarios for the Cubs?

Have a great Halloween – it’s an exciting one for Cubs fans!

 

 

 

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GirlieView (10/30/2014)

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

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 the 2014 Offeason = 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 greed for more rounds has lessened the accomplishment of being the best team in your league that year.
  • That said, the great “intangible” in my mind is “approach.” The winning teams have a great approach to the game. They are usually patient at the plate. They usually have pitchers who get ahead in the count.
  • I agree with Sherm 110%. Smart baseball is good baseball.
  • I just want to thank Lizzie for recognizing my genius yet again. But enough about my genius, today is a possible Cardinal Elimination Day. I have bubbly on ice. How will you celebrate CED?
  • On CED I will relax, breathe a heavy sigh of relief and then enjoy the WS not really caring who wins or loses.
  • Drinks on me – as my hero JSwan likes to say. On this CED, I will be consuming any adult beverage not brewed in St. Louis.
  • a) Football, pro and college
    b) Basketball, college
    c) Talk to girlfriend
    w) Hockey
    x) Avoid soccer
  • Football, basketball and a little hockey. Those should keep me busy until spring training starts, thus avoiding the girlfriend chit-chat.
  • Excuse me Brian, don’t you think you missed a little news from last week? The new 2014 off season Lizzie standings was big news and ruffled some feathers of the VFTB entitlement class… I am still celebrating Lizzies astute acumen and Cardinal Elimination Day. Drinks on me!
  • It must be some party to still be going stong since Thursday.
  • Doc really knows how to throw a party. Who else would think of events like Pin the Tail on Len?
  • It will be interesting to see the debate between Doc and Len on what music get played during the musical chairs game.
  • The party will last as long as his case of Mogen-David does.
  • I just Fed-Exed him another case. We could be here a while.
  • I hope you ordered blackberry this time. Concord was too dry for my palate.
  • I ordered the 20/20 Dragon fruit in honor of Lizzie’s perceived vision.
  • Should we invite Seymour? He did come in 5th? I think we should, in fact everyone on the Lizzie board should come and party. Bushmills on me! Doug S, bring your Len Kasper voodoo doll.
  • For sure. He can give us rides home, one at a time, in his Chevy Volt. I’ll go last and we can finish off the box of M&D.
  • I inadvertently sent Len an invitation. Sounds like he’s coming too. Doug S. can leave his doll at home.
  • Your comment on the Dodgers payroll got me looking. The article I saw, dated earlier this year, had them at the highest total salary team in the world at 241 mill and change. It surprised me. For contrast the Shanghai Dongya placed last (294th) at 1.4 mill.
  • Rumor has it they are keeping the books clear in order to sign Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, and Mike Olt.
  • Shanghai Dongya Channel 9 , 8:00 PM must see TV Thursday starring Matt Morton and Bryan LaHair.
  • Exactly. The TV deals are considered under the table $$$ and not reported.
  • Good to know you are OK Joe. Did you see I am at the top of the Lizzie board? Seymour is five behind EVW, Jerry from Wisconsin and Jswan. We are celebrating CED and Lizzies insightful wisdom, come join us.
  • Having tied their next few years to Jay Cutler, a quarterback unlikely to ever win a meaningful game, Chicago is ripe for a new team to get behind.
  • Off-season plans and FA predictions are always entertaining. The also give your enemies ammunition for the next several months as you are proven completely wrong.
  • I would like to discuss venues for the VFTB Spring Training dinner.
  • I would like to discuss how Joe’s avatar can look so not like the real Joe.
  • The neck is a little different.
  • Real Joe doesn’t have to comb his eyebrows, cartoon Joe probably has to.
  • Same with his hair.
  • I would like to discuss/debate past Cubs at a particular position. Who was better at 1b Mark Grace, Derrick Lee, Bill Buckner, Pete LaCock or Hee Sop Choi?
  • It’s either Buckner or Lee!
  • Grace was pretty damn good also, but Pete LaCock was Seymours favorite.
  • Great stories, great guy, Classic name.
  • What does LaCock like to order at Subway? Special sauce I would presume.
  • A more conspiratorial thinker would say that Russell was pulled in preparation for a trade for Cole Hamels.
  • On Golden Blonde
    Shaving Ryan’s Privates
    Jurassic Pork
    Good Will Humping
    Assablanca
    Every one a classic
  • I’m shocked Romancing The Bone didn’t crack your top 5.
  • Or the classic film, “Yank My Doodle It’s A Dandy.”
  • I PRAY that the Cubs hire Joe Maddon. If they don’t, well, they’d be the Cubs.

Lizard

  • Before I delve into the topic of this post, I wanted to touch briefly on the tragic death of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. There are times when we are reminded of the unimportance of the actual results of baseball games, even World Series games, and Sunday night was one of those times.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Buddy, Kizzfastfists, Mark From Toronto, Sean Powell, and Sherm for their first 2014 off-season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Doc Raker, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go Doc!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Doc Raker
2. Eddie Von White
3. jswanson
4. Doug S.
4. Jerry in Wisconsin
4. Seymour Butts
7. Noah Eisner
8. Dork
8. Sherm
10. Buddy
10. Jedi
10. Kizzfastfists
10. Mark From Toronto
10. SBardo
10. Sean Powell
10. SouthKakalakiCubsFan

Chit Chat

By the time you read this, you will know who won the World Series. As I’m writing it though (early Wednesday evening) I don’t yet know. I am hoping the Royals pull it off but I’m not really invested either way. How about you? Did your choice win?

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A Look at the Off-Season MLB Key Dates to Know

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Last night’s 10-0 beat down put on by the Royals did two things for us. First, it set the stage for an epic 7th game in the World Series and it gave us the start date for the 0ff-season calendar of events. Given that this off-season figures to be a very key one in the Cubs rebuild process, it seems like it would be good to know some key dates and what they mean.

November 2nd – Last Day for teams to submit qualifying offers to eligible free agents

While this doesn’t directly affect the Cubs in the sense that they need to make any qualifying offers, I do think it may have an effect on the free agent landscape this season. In order to get free agent compensation for a free agent that leaves your team, you must make a qualifying offer to him, which he could then decline and enter the free agent market with a compensation anvil around his neck. We saw this past off-season that it greatly affected Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. Both turned down offers from their team and as a result were looked at as if they had leprosy. For Drew, he was forced to wait until after the draft to sign because teams just were not willing to make him an offer because they would be losing a top draft pick. I think we’ll see a lot more guys consider accepting the offer made by their team if they are not top tier guys.

November 3rd - First day free agents may sign with a new team

This is where it all gets started for Theo and Jed. My guess is that we will already have an announcement that Joe Maddon has been hired and so now it’s time to get to work. I think the Cubs will be active this off-season, particularly in the starting pitcher market. Whether that comes via trade or free agency is still to be determined, but we’re close to contending and have tons of payroll flexibility. Put on your seat belts guys. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

November 10th – Last day for free agents to accept the qualifying offer from their prior team

Assuming the player does not accept the team’s offer, they hit the open market with that draft pick compensation anvil around their neck. Here is a breakdown on how the system works:

The system now in place doesn’t entail any arbitrary classifying of free agents. Instead, a team that wishes to receive compensation must submit a “qualifying offer” to the outgoing free agent. A qualifying offer constitutes a one-year proposal worth at least the annual average salary of the top 125 free agents from the previous winter. For this offseason, that comes to a one-year offer of $13.3 million.

If a team makes such a qualifying offer to an outgoing free agent and the free agent signs elsewhere, then his former team will receive a sandwich draft pick between the first and second rounds. The signing team, meanwhile, will forfeit its first-round choice — unless it’s a top-10 pick, in which case the team would give up a second-round pick. The lost picks don’t go to any other team; rather, the teams behind the vanished pick all slide up a slot.

One other important change is now in place: To be entitled to compensation, a team must now have a departing free agent on its roster for the entirety of the season. Under the old framework, a team that acquired a walk-year player at, say, the non-waiver trade deadline could offer that player salary arbitration at season’s end and thus be entitled to compensatory draft picks. That’s no longer permitted. (Source)

The Cubs figure to be active in the market, and do have a top 10 pick in the draft, so that spot will be protected should they go after someone like Jon Lester.

December 2nd – Last day for teams to offer a 2015 contract to unsigned players

This could be an interesting date to watch. This would apply to guys who are not signed to long term deals (guys signed year to year), which happens in your first six years of the league. A player not tendered a contract for 2015 is immediately removed from the 40 man roster, receives no termination pay, and is a free agent. James McDonald would be a guy who figures to be a candidate for this. The key thing to remember with this date is that if you want to make room for other guys to be on the 40 man roster, which you do since there will be free agents and guys eligible for the rule 5 draft that will need to be added, you should really try to make the room by this date to cut some cost.

December 8th – 11th – Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft

The Cubs have a few names that are eligible for the draft that would need to be added to the roster. The names of note are:

Gerardo Concepcion – I’d leave him unprotected

C.J. Edwards – Top 5 prospect in the system. He’ll get added to the 40 man roster

AZ Phil does a great job with the full list.

There are other dates that relate to arbitration and things like that, but these are the key dates you need to know and they are coming fast. Get excited.

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I Really Want Joe Maddon as the Cubs’ Next Manager

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Before I delve into the topic of this post, I wanted to touch briefly on the tragic death of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. There are times when we are reminded of the unimportance of the actual results of baseball games, even World Series games, and Sunday night was one of those times. My thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of Oscar Taveras and Edilia Arvelo.

About a week ago, the big non-World Series news was that longtime Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon made use of a clause in his contract that allowed him to opt out after Andrew Friedman left the Rays to become the Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations. Maddon has long been viewed as one of the best managers in baseball, particularly for his willingness to use modern analytics, which many managers appear to avoid using. This, and his likely desire to be among the top paid managers in baseball, makes him a good fit for the Cubs. In fact, he’s such a good fit for the Cubs that many think the Rays may ask Major League Baseball to conduct an investigation to determine if any collusion occurred if Maddon and the Cubs consummate the deal. Personally, I hope that deal gets consummated. I really, really want Maddon as the Cubs’ next new manager.

Now, let’s start by being honest about what managers do not do. Managers do not turn bad teams into good teams. But they can improve teams by a game or two through setting the lineup in an optimal manner and using the bullpen well. Or they can lose their teams a game or two by failing in those areas. While I’ve never heard any complaints about Maddon’s usage of his bullpen, he especially is the current king of setting the best lineups possible.

My favorite feature of Maddon’s managerial style is his understanding of reverse splits. Too many managers load up a batting order with opposite handed hitters against any starter. But Maddon has understood longer than any other current manager that not all pitchers are more effective against same handed hitters. Indeed, pitchers who primarily feature a fastball/change up repertoire often feature reverse platoon splits; they are more effective against opposite handed hitters than same handed hitters. Maddon will load up lineups with same handed hitters against these starters because he really delves into the numbers.

Now, this also means that Maddon changes his lineups, at least slightly, on a near nightly basis. This doesn’t mean that you’ll see Anthony Rizzo batting 2nd one night, 6th the next, then 4th, etc. You’ll likely see Rizzo batting somewhere between second and fourth every night even if Maddon is the manager (another strong argument for Maddon is that he might be able to convince Rizzo to embrace batting second) If you’re an old school type who believes that a manager should set a line up and stick with it unless someone gets injured, Maddon will drive you batty. However, if you believe that the manager should set the best possible lineup each given night, you’ll love him.

This is not a dig at Rick Renteria, who I think did quite good work this season and improved as the season went along. I’d feel quite badly for him that just this level of timing did not work out. But Maddon’s too good to pass up on. And, if the Cubs do make the playoffs in 2015 or 2016, I know I’ll be a lot more comfortable with Joe Maddon calling the shots than any manager making their first run at the postseason.

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MLB Suffers Great Loss, Pivotal Game Of World Series Is Played & More!

Monday, October 27th, 2014

By this time next week, this year’s baseball season will be over. The World Series has been a phenomenal battle to this point, with each team doing their best to get a leg up on their opponent. As exciting as the series has been, though, this week will be clouded in tragedy.

Taveres Killed In Car Accident

While Madison Bumgarner was putting on another show during Game 5 of the World Series, Twitter exploded with a baseball-related bombshell that had nothing to do with the game.

Oscar Taveras, a 22-year old outfielder and top prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals, was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. His passenger in the car, his 18-year old girlfriend Edilia Arvelo, was also killed in the crash.

There aren’t many words that you can say about a tragic event like this one, other than it’s a terrible loss both on and off of the field. Taveras was known as one of the most lighthearted players in the game and his teammates have remarked that he always had a smile on his face.

Baseball truly lost a large part of it’s future with the death of Taveras and it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see what he could have accomplished. After hitting a huge home run in the NLCS and being a genuinely nice person off of the field, Taveras left a big impact on a wide variety of people and will be sorely missed by many. RIP Oscar Taveras.

Bumgarner Rolls Through Royals Again

Despite the tragedy involving Taveras taking center stage, there was some very entertaining baseball that was played this week. The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants went neck and neck through the first 4 games, which made Game 5 pivotal.

Luckily for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner was taking the mound for them. Simply put, he has been lights out this postseason and has put on a performance that will be remembered generations from now. He has cemented himself as one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball and Sunday’s game furthered that notion.

After hurling 7 innings (and allowing one earned run) in Game 1 to get the win, Bumgarner one-upped himself in Game 5. He threw a complete game shutout and fanned eight Royals along the way. With this start, Bumgarner’s ERA this postseason dropped to 1.13 over six starts.

While he may not have been nationally recognized as one of the best pitchers in the game, this postseason has certainly changed that. At just $3.7 million this year, Bumgarner’s current salary has to be seen as one of the best in baseball, if not the best. If you had to win one game in the playoffs, which pitcher (active or retired) would you make the call to?

Maddon Leaves Rays 

If you’ve ever read the book The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri, you’ll know that the Tampa Bay Rays have relied on a variety of Wall Street strategies to be able to compete with the larger market/payroll teams in their division and across the league. With Wall Street in mind, my advice would be to “Sell” on any Rays stock that you may own, especially with this most recent news.

With Andrew Friedman leaving for the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, the team was already wobbling, but the news of manager Joe Maddon leaving may just be the knockout blow. After weeks of negotiation the team and Maddon were unable to come to an agreement, which is going to leave a large void within the organization.

Maddon, generally considered one of the top 5 managers in all of baseball, has suddenly become the hottest name on the market. Some teams that may have seemingly been set with their manager might even take a look at him. For me, however, the one team that stands out is the Chicago Cubs.

They have the money behind them that Maddon never had with the Rays and they have a ton of young talent that will be coming up over the next couple of years. It seems like a perfect fit and we’ll see how it progress. As for the Rays, they may be in for some rough times without their front office leader, and now their manager. If the Cubs wind up hiring Joe Maddon, who do you think will finish with a better record next year; the Cubs or the Rays?

This Week’s MVP: Hunter Pence (.474/.545/.737, 1 HR, 5 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 0.56 ERA, 13 K)

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Why Addison Russell Left the Arizona Fall League

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Yesterday it was announced that Addison Russell was being sent home from the Arizona Fall League (AFL), after just 10 games. Immediately, fans everywhere worry about an injury that derails everything and causes the whole rebuild process to fly wildly off the track. You can relax. Everything is just fine. After playing 11 games in the AFL, the Cubs simply want Russell to shut it down and begin his off-season plan. Rest easy Cub fans, everything will be just fine.

For the record, in his time in the AFL this year, Russell posted a line of .196 / .260 / .348 with 2 HR in 11 games. It’s not the best, but it’s such a small sample. Russell finished his time in AA very strong in 2014, and I think he’s primed to potentially see Wrigley Field late in 2015 if all goes well. Most likely it will be very similar in situation to the 2014 Javier Baez call up, though I’d be fine with him spending the entire year in the minors due to his age.

The Cubs also announced that they were planning on keeping the most recent first round pick, Kyle Schwarber behind the plate for the immediate future. Whether or not that is where he ultimately ends up is still in question, as I would guess that his hitting far out paces his development behind the plate, which would force a move to another spot, but for now it’s encouraging as the catcher position is a weak one in the organization right now.

There is going to be a lot of power in the lineup in the very new future, which has some worried that the Cubs will have tons of bats, but no pitching to back it up. Fan Graphs posted a nice piece about how, perhaps, it’s hitting that is more likely to win championships and not pitching. It’s a debate about as old as the chicken or the egg debate, but if they are right, then the Cubs should be in an unpresidented position given the bats they have and the recent success Theo and Jed have had with piecing together a rotation on the cheap. Add to that the fact that payroll flexibility is going to be there with contracts now off the books and the majority of the core being paid near league minimum and things are getting very exciting. Take a look at the piece and be excited.

Finally, there is a note coming out of Bleacher Nation that the Cubs have recently scouted Korean shortstop, Jung-Ho Kang, who is 27 years old and could potentially be posted by his current team in Korea. The story seems more like fishing for readers, but it bears watching. My guess is that the Cubs are simply doing their due dilligence in the international market, which is a market they have invested heavily in the recent years. You can never have too many shortstops in the organization, but at this point I would guess the odds of an offer on him would be slim.

Friday Five

I wanted to do something a little different today and run a top five list. Most likely when I do these, it will be random things (no, there will not be a return of condiment fingers), but there may be times where we do more sports themed ones. With that said, here are my top five, in no particular order, movies of all time. They may not be the best movies of all time, but they are ones I consider my favorite.

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Off-Season Posting – You Make the Call

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

As we’re nearing free agency and the close of the World Series, I’m calling on you to know about what content you want to see this off-season on the site. Obviously we’d be talking about off-season rumors and moves made, but what other content do you have interest in. Here were just a few of the things I had thought about.

  • Free Agency prediction contest – You choose the destination of the top 25 free agents and put confidence points on each.
  • Season in review for key members of the 2014 team
  • My (or other writer’s) off-season plan were we to be the GM

Let’s hear your suggestions and get some brainstorming going.

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Could the Cubs Be Chicago’s Premier Sports Team?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Everyone knows that, deep down, Chicago is a Bears town. Sure, north and south siders go at each others’ proverbial throats all spring and summer, but once fall hits we’re all friends again. Well, maybe only on Sundays until the baseball season is over, but the point remains. The NFL started with the Chicago Bears. Aside from Michael Jordan, the most sacrosanct figures in Chicago sports are Bears: Payton, Butkus, Ditka, Halas.

But go back to 1994 with me. A 13 year old kid really wants a Starter jacket because, for some insane reason, every teenager wanted a Starter jacket in 1994. Preferably a Chicago Bulls jacket. He’s at the store to pick up some winter clothes with his mom, and there are Bulls jackets and Bears jackets. The Bulls jackets are full priced, which is a vast overspend for a mediocre piece of outerwear. The Bears jackets are available on a big discount. The mom makes it clear that the full priced Bulls jackets are not an option. The boy settles for a Bears jacket. When the boy first starts wearing him to school, he isn’t teased per se, but he’s asked why the heck he’s wearing a Bears’ jacket. There are Bulls jackets all around him. He’s the only one in a Bears’ jacket.

In case you didn’t realize it, the boy was me. And no, I do not feel traumatized by not getting a Bulls starter jacket. However, a mere 20 years ago, the Bears were not Chicago’s first sports priority. The Bears were midway through a horrendously mediocre 1990s, while the Bulls were one of the best teams in basketball even during Michael Jordan’s first retirement, which would end about six months after the Bears jacket purchase. Chicago was a Bulls town. The Bears played second fiddle, at the least.

Again, it appears that the Bears are mired in a run of mediocrity. Having tied their next few years to Jay Cutler, a quarterback unlikely to ever win a meaningful game, Chicago is ripe for a new team to get behind. Sure, the Blackhawks have been and should continue to be awesome, but hockey is something of a niche sport throughout the US, even in Chicago. The Bulls are a good team, but will they ever get past Lebron? Even if they do, does Derrick Rose have it in him to be the media presence that Jordan was? Does he even want that?

Could the door be open for the Cubs to become Chicago’s number one sports team? The Cubs appear to be on the verge of their longest run of competitiveness… well… ever. When the Cubs win a World Series, whether it be this decade or some other, it will be the single biggest sports story of that decade in North America. Wrigley Field is being renovated. The Cubs have the best set of prospects either side of the city has seen in a long time. Some of them, along with Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta, have star potential. All reports I’ve seen indicate that Kris Bryant has the type of personality that, along with his prodigious power, could make him the biggest star in the game. And, quite frankly, I don’t believe that many young White Sox fans are so invested in their team that they wouldn’t flip to the Cubs if the Cubs are a consistent winner and the White Sox aren’t.

Sure, some things work against the Cubs reaching that level of prestige now that weren’t working against the 1990s Bulls. Fantasy football was a game for only the most intense of football fans and sports gamblers then. Now it is played by a huge proportion of sports fans, while fantasy baseball remains a game played by a small number of die hard baseball fans. The NFL and their partners have been more and more successful turning every NFL Sunday into a full day event.

But cities that are baseball towns first, football towns second, do exist, with Boston and St. Louis being the foremost among those. Could Chicago join them? For the first time in a long time, the answer to that question could be yes.

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Jake Peavy Headed to Chicago?

Monday, October 20th, 2014

I bet you all thought I died. Admit it, you know you did. I just get frustrated with losing and took a break, but I’m back now and ready for the off-season. Let’s get it going with some news and notes.

Jake Peavy in the rotation next year? – Paul Sullivan reported that Peavy still has interest in pitching in Wrigley Field. I think the Cubs will be major players this off-season in the starting pitching market and I believe they will land at least one arm. My guess is that it will be Jon Lester, though I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see them go Lester AND Max Scherzer. Assuming you only get one, it gives you a nice rotation of guys. I don’t think Peavy is needed at this point. I’d rather not take a shot on him and trust Theo and Jed to sign scrap heap starters for depth.

Fan Graphs Top 31 Prospect List – They had a really nice piece that includes videos. It really gets you excited about the future. It’s funny, coming into the season, the player I was least worried about was Javier Baez and the player I thought had the most bust potential was Jorge Soler. After seeing August and September baseball, I’ve done a complete 180 on those feelings for both players. That said, here is the top 31 list.

Albert Almora Can’t Walk? – Also on Fan Graphs was an article focusing on Almora’s plate discipline that is worth your time. I think Almora will be good, but it will take a little time. He’s young, but everything I read is that he has the polish and poise to be a face of a franchise.

What Say You?

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