It’s a tradition unlike any other. It seems like every fall baseball gets ruined for me. I love baseball, it’s my favorite sport. I think it would have to be for me to devote as much time as I do to the Cubs. But for going on 15 years now I just don’t watch any playoff games involving the St. Louis Cardinals. When I say I don’t watch them, I mean just that. I don’t watch the games. I’ll watch any other playoff game. The Rockies-Diamondbacks? Nobody cared, but I watched.
I realize I’ve missed some pretty famous things. The Red Sox apparently won a World Series in 2004 and last year. I guess they did. I saw them win in 2007, so I know they did that.
Don Zimmer, that baseball sage best known for having a metal plate in his head (and looking like a gerbil) used to say that 40 games into any season you have a pretty good idea of how good teams are. Any team that is .500 or better probably has a chance to contend, any team under .500 at that point is probably going to stink.
The Cubs have not played 40 games yet, but at 13-25 even if they win their 39th and 40th games they’re going to be 10 games under .500. That’s pretty awful.
The darker, dumber corners of the Interwebs reacted with much shock at the news that the Cubs sent prized prospect Javier Baez to minor league camp last week. To the unwashed and unenlightened this was simply the Cubs sending their best player to the minor leagues because they were too cheap to let him start his free agent clock a year early. To them, this is baseball treason, and this egregious thumb in the eye of WINNING shall not stand.
So the Cubs are billing this 2014 season the “Party of the Century.” Oh, boy.
They released the promo schedule today. Keep in mind it’s Wrigley’s 100th anniversary, so some of the giveaways are not entirely Cubs focused. For instance in July they have a promotion where you get a bobblehead version of the Dave Matthews Band tour bus and it releases liquified feces off a bridge onto your bookshelf every 30 days. So there’s that.
But let’s look at what they’re giving away. Every homestand celebrates a different decade.
So sure, we got scooped last week by the dreamy Patrick Mooney, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going forward with it. Today starts what is definitely a spring-long first-person account of the Cubs season by the greatest Cub of them all, Luis Valbuena. How long into the season this goes…well, only God, Emilio Bonifacio and Rick(y) Renteria know for sure.
So, spring training started last week. I counted and this is my eleventh one. I’ve had them in Tempe (Mariners), Winter Haven, Florida (Cleveland), Goodyear, Arizona (also Cleveland), Dunedin, Florida (Blue Jays) and Mesa (Cubs). The new park is pretty cool, but the best part is that we didn’t bother to tell Donnie Murphy that we had a new ballpark. He played catch with a chain link fence at Hohokam for twenty minutes last Monday until he figured out he was in the wrong place.
I’m really looking forward to this season. Coming to the Cubs two years ago was the best thing that’s happened in my career. They got me off waivers from the Blue Jays and I spent some time in Iowa in 2012, and then they realized that Ian Stewart sucked, they blamed it on his wrist and I’ve basically been the third baseman ever since. They’re going to pay me two million dollars this year. Two million. No way, I’d make that kind of money on a real team.