Because I refuse to relinquish my crayons -- the Story of Baseball coloring book is my template. Green below, and blue skies as far as the eye can see.
*denotes autoplay video, intrusive ads, or other browser-botherers like badly-written scripts.
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald*): Sizing up Cubs' position players in training camp. There are few jobs to be won on a roster that appears almost set. Miles looks at those few.
- Joe Maddon on Cubs batting order: "We need to get together with our geeks." All chicken heads and offal aside, Joe wants data. "I just don’t want to miss anything," Maddon said. "So I’ll throw that at (the analytics guys), see what they have to say, then make my decision."
- Chicago Cubs Online: Tommy La Stella ready to compete for a spot on the Cubs roster. He has changed his diet and is in the best shape of his life™. Also, healthy.
- Ray Fischer (Sports Mockery): The Cubs will need their bullpen more than ever. "The Cubs’ starting staff was one of the big reasons why the team was so successful last season. They also worked harder than they ever have before, all the more reason why the Cubs’ bullpen needs to be prepared for a big season. Joe Maddon understands that and is prepared for it."
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Addison Russell to strike 'gold' in 2016? "I just want to make the play," said Russell, who made 84 starts at second before he moved full-time to shortstop in early August. "It'd be really nice to win a Gold Glove, I'm not going to lie, but I just want to make the plays."
- Cat Garcia (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Embrace the target: The Cubs bullpen options are good in 2016, pt.1. "There’s no doubt that the talent is there in camp. The arms that are almost sure locks to make the roster are not simply based on their ability to fit reasonably well into the roles that a standard bullpen calls for, but because they excel at filling those roles."
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Cubs manager sees Gold Glove days ahead for Addison Russell. Manager Joe Maddon did not hesitate when asked if Russell could win a Gold Glove as early as this season. "No question," the always-positive Maddon said.
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Joe Maddon believes he's got a bunch of Gold Glovers in the waiting. He even has them in the lineup. And he might be right. Cerami examines the case by the numbers and the eyes.
Drawing on experience:
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon perfectly captures 'little league' mindset with Cubs. "I think that's a perfect way to describe it," Kris Bryant said. "When you think back to when you started playing baseball, it was always so much more fun in Little League."
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Fun tops agenda for Cubs first full-squad workout. Joe Maddon didn't bring juice boxes, but he did emphasize having fun on the first full-squad workout day.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Guest Star: Rick Sutcliffe took one for the team. Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez awards yellow-star stickers to players or coaches, and Sutcliffe, who is in camp to work with the pitchers, got one Wednesday after he was struck by an errant throw from Jorge Soler.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Cubs' workouts tailored to Joe Maddon's fundamental style. "I like the spring training dance," Maddon said. "I think it should be a slow dance." Maddon emphasized he wants to keep drills basic and simple. Anna one anna two. Wun'erful, wuner'ful...turn on the bubble machine-a.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): David Ross's retirement is already cooler than Derek Jeter's. "...while the rest of baseball probably won’t genuflect before the majesty of His Royal Graybeardness, some of his younger charges have made it their mission to send the battered backstop off into the sunset in style."
- Andrew Felper (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): John Lackey has become a man in need of few pitches. Last season, among qualified starting pitchers, Lackey ranked third in pitches per plate appearance (3.49) and tied for third in pitches per inning (14.3). Both were the lowest totals of his career...
- George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Baseball under glass: Hype has blown up in the Cubs faces over the years.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): As legend of Schwarber grows, Cubs slugger plans to stay true to himself. "Schwarber doesn't want to get a big head and prefers to stay who he is — a small-town kid with a blue-collar mindset."
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Kris Bryant ready to continue his 2015, celebrate David Ross. Bryant is unique. "I’m looking at it as a continuation of last year with a three to four month break," he said."
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Ryan Williams' diary: Getting the call to big-league camp. Good perspective. Williams is easy to like.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jason Heyward's intangibles could be as valuable as his stats. "In Heyward, the Cubs have a player who not only excels at his craft, but who understands how to study its intricacies in an effort to improve. What’s more, he can articulate those thoughts." Altman puts on his thinking cap and warms to the subject.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Reining in Schwarber a challenge for the Cubs. "The problem is that this guy wants to work all the time," manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. "That's the only problem we have -- and is that a problem when you have a guy who wants to work too much?"
- Isaac Bennett: (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Boom or bust: Evaluating individual upside and downside, pt.1. Because of the extreme youth of the offense, it seems that there are many possible outcomes...the numbers pro and con.
Turn the page:
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Generally on the same page. Tom Ricketts has nothing to report about an extension for Theo Epstein, other than noting that it's a low-stress process.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Cubs believe top prospects now can develop naturally under radar. Missing from the Cubs' ballyhooed first full-squad workout Wednesday was the attention given to the next wave of prospects — a rarity from past camps that were fixated on the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.
- Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Tom Ricketts: Theo Epstein's pay should reflect that he's the best executive in baseball. He praised Theo. "We had dinner last night. We are on the same page. We just have to sit down and hammer it out," Ricketts said.
- John Arguello (Cubs Den): The Cubs most important prospect this year may just be Albert Almora. Assuming that Jason Heyward isn't the center fielder for the length of his contract and that Javier Baez doesn't become his replacement, Almora is the next guy in line.
- three prospects beginning to break out. Spring training performance could propel them into a breakout season. Read on and learn their identities. The next Contrerases? (Cubs Insider): Cubs minor league camp could see
- Tom Ricketts building home on Wilmette lakefront. The Chicago Cubs Chairman is building a home on Wilmette's lakefront less than a mile north of the one his sister Laura built a few years ago.
- Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jon Lester plays football with Jake Arrieta at spring training. Maybe he should throw it to first base.
- John Arguello (Cubs Den) Tom Ricketts talks about creating and sustaining a winning organization -- and paying back the fans. "Ricketts was a fan before he was an owner..."
- Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Andrew McCutchen is still pretty pissed about losing to the Cubs. The one-game playoff isn't to McCutchen's liking. It's easy to understand why.
- Barry Svrluga (The Washington Post): For the Chicago Cubs, it's blue skies as far as the eye can see. "Here is where a century’s worth of frustration and angst has come to die, scorched by the sunlight and shriveled into nothingness."
Food for thought:
- Food for thought recipes. Weight loss groups don’t rеаllу wаnt уоu tо succeed! Thаt mау sound harsh but thіnk аbоut it. If еvеrуоnе wеrе successful, thеу wоuld gо оut оf business.
- 'Selfish' DNA flouts rules of inheritance. In the Star Wars movies, the droid R2D2 is a heroic rebel. In living animals, a selfish bit of DNA called R2d2 is an outright lawbreaker.
- Whoops! 12 tales of accidental brilliance in science. Isaac Asimov once wrote, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny ... ' "
Diamond Days are coming...