What I wanted to write about here are some comments and tweets I saw that said, in essence, that what Soler did showed "passion" and "grit" and "fire" and they wanted more of that.
This is the kind of thinking that got us Milton Bradley four years ago. It's so far from what a major-league baseball player should be that I can't imagine why anyone would want it. Show passion for baseball? Absolutely. What Soler showed -- reportedly, because no video has yet surfaced -- sounds like unrestrained anger. I can understand being upset or angry at what reportedly happened during a previous play -- according to Josh's report:
Soler was apparently stepped on by [Carlos] Alonso and words were exchanged. Both benches cleared. No punches were thrown, however.
OK, things like that happen in a baseball game. The players got "tangled up" in a play at second base. It doesn't sound like there was any intent to injure by Alonso. For Soler to then reportedly -- here are some more details -- go back to the dugout, take a bat and go to the opposing dugout -- well, what would you call that? If true, I'd say it was intent to do some damage to ... something or someone. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
We saw that kind of anger in Bradley. We saw it to some extent with Carlos Zambrano. Neither of those players is still in baseball, and part of the reason for that is their inability to control their anger.
Passion? Yes, have passion for your play. Go look at the way Anthony Rizzo plays baseball. He plays with intensity and passion. Channel your passion into your work, because if you let it control you the way Bradley and Zambrano have done, it will destroy your career.
Fortunately, Soler is still young. He will likely be suspended, during which time I hope the Cubs help him understand things like this can't happen again, because Soler has the kind of talent we want to see on the major-league Cubs in the future. Does he have passion for the game? I certainly hope so. Does he have "anger issues"? We don't know that for certain; this could be, and I hope it is, an isolated incident. Hopefully, it doesn't ever happen again, and if Soler has passion for playing baseball, he can channel it into his play on the field.
Now, on to this afternoon's game with the Giants, which will once again be played in miserable, cold conditions, though most of the rain has exited the area.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Valbuena 3B, Lillibridge 2B, Feldman P
The Giants lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post; check the BCB Twitter feed for the Giants lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Scott Feldman faced the Giants last year in interleague play, June 9 in San Francisco. He actually threw pretty well, seven strikeouts and just one walk in 5⅓ innings. Current Giants have hit a small-sample-size .268 (11-for-41) against him with no home runs. That all sounds pretty good, but Feldman has been bad since the start of spring training. In short, who knows?
Ryan Vogelsong hasn't faced the Cubs much, but shut them down pretty good in a spring training game this year March 25 in Mesa. Current Cubs are hitting a small-sample-size .291 (16-for-55) against him. I really don't have much more to go on; it's going to be cold and windy again, but a pitcher whose home park is in San Francisco should be used to that.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
As has been the case during spring training, you will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.