SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The sun is shining in the Phoenix area and temperatures are headed back to the 70s Sunday (and much warmer later this week, we're told), much better weather for baseball. Perhaps the Cubs will even win a game. I haven't seen them do that since I've been here. (No, it's not my fault.)
Very early this morning, it was announced that there would be no further discipline from the Mexico/Canada brawl in the World Baseball Classic Saturday. Here's some of the reaction:
Text from major-league pitcher: "No discipline from the brawl? Are they serious? Why don't we just inform all players that MORE— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 10, 2013
intentional beanings, charging the mound, throwing punches, etc., will be tolerated?"— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 10, 2013
Whoever that major-league pitcher is, he is exactly right, in my view. We don't have these sorts of brawls in major-league games very often, but when they do happen, they are a blight on the sport. They can be reduced or eliminated by the powers-that-be issuing strong penalties for incidents like the one in the Canada/Mexico game. Which happened, apparently, because Luis Cruz didn't understand the tiebreaker rules, which meant that Canada wanted to score as many runs as possible to give themselves better tiebreaker position (all moot, after the USA beat Italy Saturday night). Which led to these comments from Canada's manager, Ernie Whitt:
"There's got to be another method other than the scoring runs, running up the score on the opposing team," Whitt said. "No one likes that. That's not the way baseball's supposed to be played. ... And unfortunately teams are knocked out of the tournament because other teams run up the score on them. Unfortunately that's what you have to deal with when you have that type of format."
I'm not sure what that tiebreaker format would be. I suggested home-run derby in the comments Saturday night, but Josh responded that idea could put certain countries without top power hitters at a disadvantage. But Whitt is right. I hope the next WBC will change the tiebreaker rules.
DeJesus CF, Barney 2B, Schierholtz RF, Soriano LF, Navarro C, Bogusevic 1B, Lake 3B, Gonzalez SS, Feldman P
Decker CF, Buck LF, Kotsay RF, Alonso 1B, Gyorko 2B, Ransom SS, Baker C, Petit 3B, Marquis P
What an anonymous list of baseball players that is. Amazing: Cody Ransom, still around, sort of like Rasputin. Ransom has played 10 major-league seasons and has averaged... 58 at-bats per year. He has over 5,000 minor-league at-bats and has hit 212 minor-league home runs. He was in the Cubs system for half a year in 2005, one of eight organizations he's played for.
This afternoon, Scott Feldman goes for the Cubs. Here's hoping for a better outing for him than the last one. Also scheduled for the Cubs: Carlos Marmol, Michael Bowden, Jensen Lewis and Travis Wood.
Former Cub Jason Marquis, who actually pitched pretty well for San Diego in 2012 after they acquired him from the Twins, will start for the Padres. Andrew Cashner is on the relief-pitcher list for San Diego.
Today's game at Mesa will be a webcast on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast should be online and on the MLB At Bat app around 2:50 p.m. CDT.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.