For those thinking of becoming a youth basketball referee, let me offer this piece of advice: It's really a fun time. Especially at the young levels (kindergarten and first grade) where the kids are just happy to be out there, learning some fundamentals that will turn them into fifth through seventh graders that mysteriously become out-of-control hacking machines that seeming know nothing other than "separate player from ball by any means necessary."
As for the advice: Refereeing six games in one day... may not be a great idea. Unless you enjoy that rubber-leg sensation from walking and running seven miles while standing for six hours straight, in which case have at it.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- A common phrase around here is TANG (There Are No Guarantees), but Anthony Rizzo has decided to go against that statement by making a big one for 2015: The Cubs will win the National League Central. And that statement was before the convention. Now that's how you generate some convention buzz, folks.
- [VIDEO] What did the other Cubs have to say about Rizzo's statement? They like it. And what's Patrick Mooney looking at, anyway?
- [VIDEO] Didn't have tickets to the convention and missed the webcast? Here are the best of the player introductions. I can't imagine why Edwin Jackson wasn't included in that package.
- Speaking of Jackson, he's not wasting time thinking about being traded. Hopefully he's spending that time trying to figure out how to not be horrible.
- Turning to what's left for adding to the roster, Theo Epstein says that it won't be a frontline free agent.
- The Cubs would like Jake Arrieta to be a big part of their future, but the two sides are still far apart on a long-term extension.
- Epstein still believes in Starlin Castro as a player that the Cubs can rely on, calling his offseason a wakeup call.
- From the fashion department: Joe Maddon's "A Shot and a Beer" now has its own T-shirt.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Starlin Castro talks about his offseason, saying that problems follow him. He also says that he has to move so he can stay away from involvement in negative things, so that's a plus.
- Javier Baez on his 2014 major-league season: "I was really confused."
- Jon Lester weighed in on Anthony Rizzo's guarantee, saying that it was a bold statement. And Jon Greenberg made a guarantee of his own.
- What does Lester think about pitch clocks? They take the beauty out of the game. So I guess we can put him down for a "no", then.
- Crane Kenney addressed the blackout issue that many Cubs fans will face in the surrounding area, laying out two options that could be taken to alleviate the issue. Of course, neither of those options is currently in place, but they're being worked on.
- Oh, he went there... Tom Ricketts fired a shot at the White Sox during the convention regarding their lagging attendance the past few seasons.
From CBS Chicago:
- Theo Epstein on Rizzo's guarantee: Swagger is a good thing.
- As for Bruce Levine, he's not guzzling the Kool-Aid yet.
- Tim Baffoe takes issue with those taking issue with Rizzo's guarantee, asking what's so galling about athletes making predictions. Thankfully no one wrote anything taking issue with Tim Baffoe, because that sentence could get pretty hard to read.
From the Chicago Tribune via RedEye Chicago:
- Lots of video: [VIDEO] Crane Kenney speaks about the bleacher delays...
- [VIDEO] Tom Ricketts speaks about the bleacher delays...
- [VIDEO] ...and Javier Baez, Jon Lester, and Joe Maddon speak about
the bleacher delaysthe future of the team.
- And good news for Baez fans: He's lost 15 pounds and has made changes to his swing in an effort to reduce his strikeout rate. The John Mallee Effect begins.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Despite the changes that Baez has made, Jed Hoyer said that Baez will still have to earn his playing time.
- Jay Johnstone loves the Cubs convention. So much that he'd walk to come back to it.
From the Daily Herald:
- Another message from Theo Epstein during the convention: "Please hold us accountable."
From Chicago Cubs Online:
- Report-gate: The Cubs have reportedly signed right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard and left-handed pitcher Francisley Bueno to minor-league contracts.
From Cubbies Crib:
From Chicago Cubs 101:
- Tim Duxbury looks at four pitchers and four position players that he feels are worth an invite to Spring Training. Your mileage is likely to vary.
From Cubs Insider:
- Another person who loves coming back to the convention is Mark DeRosa. Tom Loxas spoke with him about his Chicago years and other topics.
Today's food for thought:
- In case you hadn't heard, 2015 is the International Year of Light. (I didn't see it on my Dilbert Page-a-Day Calendar.) The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics presents 20 of their favorite facts about light.
- Two or mode undiscovered planets may be hiding in our solar system.
- And in case you were ever thinking about making a hippopotamus angry... don't do it.