Next Year is Here. So is yesteryear. Baseball is timeless.
*denotes autoplay video, audio, and/or other botherations.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Will Javier Baez get overwhelmed in super-utility role? The idea was touched on in the comments to Josh's Kyle Schwarber article. We're talking about information overload, a term that has been in vogue since Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, where it was the basis of the hypothesis advanced therein. "Just knowing him well, to this point, I don't think it's going to be overwhelming at all to him," Joe Maddon said. "I think he actually kind of likes it." Baez said, "My career is just starting, but the future is going to let us know where I'm going to play."
- Carrie Muskat (Cubs.com): Stephen Fife's whirlwind journey lands him in Cubs camp. "Big leagues to bartending in six months," Fife said. "Then I went back to pro ball, and here I stand. The game will find a way to humble you."
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Former Cardinals exec to be sentenced April 18 for hacking, MLB punishment to follow. Chris Correa's penalties could be serious enough to influence competitive balance the other way. Not the "Cardinals' way".
Tracking with closeups:
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Spring Training Miscellany: Groovy times, Kawasaki cowboy, Q&A, fun videos aplenty. If pictures are worth a thousand words, how much for videos? This might be a novel. [VIDEO] (d'oh!)
- John Arguello (Cubs Den): Spring Training notes and pics: Christian Villaneuva, Kyle Schwarber, the Maddon-mobile and more.
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Yo, Justin Grimm can dance. [VIDEO].
The Happening World:
- Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs taking cautious approach with top pitchers early in spring training. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Monday that his top-of-the-rotation starters won’t get any Cactus League action until the second week of spring training games.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN.com*): Joe Maddon doesn't have a playing time problem. "I think people are missing the point...the Cubs manager has a luxury few in the league possess: deep, deep talent."
- Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): It's time to reframe the narrative. "I didn't get it right before, but I'll get it next time." Good article about perspective takes a big bite out of Bernie Lincicome too.
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Jorge Soler was a hot trade target this offseason, but he'll impact the 2016 Cubs on the field. "...with Joe Maddon as his manager, Soler will certainly be given every opportunity available to succeed."
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Jason Hammel embraced change during the offseason. "Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel changed just about everything this winter. The most visible manifestation is a full beard."
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Jason Hammel sought help from pitching guru Tom House. Hammel's career reached a crossroads a few times, but he says he never sought a major overhaul until after he sputtered just as the Cubs made their ascent last year. He was not heard to say "What kind of a guru are you, anyway?"
The Cubs Look Up:
- Carrie Muskat (Cubs.com): Anthony's song: Rizzo taking piano lessons. Cubs first baseman wants to play music with teammates. The Cubs have a few guitar players and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske plays the drums. @manbearwolf, are you listening?
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Addison Russell gets love compared to two greats: Barry Larkin and Derek Jeter. Ryne Sandberg: "He reminds me of a young Barry Larkin." Joe Maddon: "I can only compare him to Derek Jeter."
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Is Albert Almora poised to become the Cubs' next breakthrough prospect? "He’s just really been getting after it," farm director Jaron Madison said. "He’s in a really good place mentally, feels really good. I think it’s going to be a big spring training for him this year."
- Mike Tumello (AP): Kris Bryant sees possibilities as one of the faces of baseball. Demand for his services will depend on his play on the field as well as the Cubs’ success.
The continuing debate:
- Myles (Obstructed View): The 4-man outfield. Making it all fit together.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): If I'm lyin', I'm dyin', here's why I'm buyin' the flyin' Hawaiian. Alliteration ftw. The case for Shane Victorino as the 25th man.
- Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): The target on the Cubs' backs just keeps getting bigger and bigger. "I don’t know if Next Year is Here, as the T-shirt insists it is."
- Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville -- Baseball Prospectus): Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler's contact issues are different, the same. More about the 4-man outfield.
- Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): The off-season grades have arrived, and the Cubs finished at the top of the class. "The Cubs did two off-seasons worth of free agent shopping this winter and created countless headlines along the way."
- Mike Bates (MLB Daily Dish): The consequences of Dexter Fowler's change of heart. "Nobody apparently ever talked to Fowler or his agent before going forward with the news."
The HipJoe Vocab:
- Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Can Joe Maddon be a better leader? "Not every group requires the same message from the manager," Maddon said.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Joe Maddon, Kris Bryant relationship continues to grow. "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding," Maddon didn't say. But that's what he meant.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon continues to do 'whatever it takes' to bring Cubs together with crazy leap day celebration.
Far out! #SpringTraining pic.twitter.com/q62qMdo4vN— MLB (@MLB) February 29, 2016
Food for thought:
- Sarah Schwartz (Science News): Bubble blowing gets scientific scrutiny. There’s a science behind the art of blowing soap bubbles. [VIDEO]
- CBS: The history, math, and science behind leap years. [VIDEO]
- Lizzie Wade (Science): Neanderthals may have used chemistry to start fires. Manganese dioxide makes it easier to share the smoke of that great burning.
We can't stand on Madagascar, either. No man is an island. Myanmar Shave doesn't have the same ring to it.
With apologies to John (Killian Houston) Brunner, author of Stand On Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, And The Shockwave Rider, which are "quoted" from here. Thank you for reading. It is my distinct pleasure to serve, man.
Dedicated to Al Yellon, who allows me to indulge such foolishness, and Hairy_Angel, who came up with the format I so gleefully mangle. And to Alvin Toffler, who did the Third Wave.