Breathe deep, the gathering dawn Basepaths sprout on every lawn Front office people look back and lament Another utility player spent Embattled managers wrestle as one LOOGY cries for help and has none Left fielder picks up and throws the ball in Bartolo Colon wishes he were thin Warm hearted orb that rules the day Abner Doubleday made up the plays Opponents in crimson and our team in blue And we decide which one is true And which is an illusion. -- with apologies to Graeme Edge.
The Day Begins:
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): 'Dripping with potential': Willson Contreras keeping it simple in Cubs camp. Contreras is flying under the radar, hoping to soak up as much knowledge as he can in his first big-league camp.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Albert Almora is playing with confidence for Cubs. The Cubs center fielder made another highlight-reel catch in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Sloan Park.
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Dan Vogelbach making a name for himself with Cubs in Arizona. He's rooming with Kyle Schwarber and is often mistaken for his better-known teammate. But he's working on having that happen less often.
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): A little early-morning leather-flashing: Kristopher Negron robs one. [VIDEO]
- Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs could use international market to address lack of early draft picks. It's not the source that matters, it's the players.
- Carlos Nazario (Da Windy City): Albert Almora showing what he can do for the Cubs. "A little more seasoning, and when he comes up he will be ready to be a fixture in the Chicago Cubs’ future for a long time."
- CBS Chicago: Any NL hitters scare Cubs ace Jake Arrieta? Not right now. Arrieta appeared on the Speigel and Goff show. The audio from the interview is at the bottom of the article.
- Kris Bryant explains the 'Grandpa Rossy initiative'.[VIDEO].
- Nicholas D. Blazek (Cubbies Crib): Miguel Montero could be the glue for the Cubs offense. "Now healthy, Montero has made some adjustments at the plate that have paid early dividends this spring."
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): A close look at three nonroster players in spring training. Matt Murton, Stephen Fife, and Tim Federowicz are profiled.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta talks process, confidence, embracing the target. His stuff is great. It's his approach that sets him apart. OM-nipresent confidence.
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): David Ross breezes through Cubs workout on his "Grandpa" scooter. I love this. Better than the ones at the grocery store.
- Clarissa Young (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Let it flow: The psychology of Joe Maddon's Cubs. ""The aim of positive psychology is to begin to catalyze a change in the focus of psychology from preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building positive qualities," wrote Martin Seligman and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who helped to develop the branch of study. Next up, orgones.
- JJ Stankevitz (CSN Chicago*): Cubs hoping Jason Hammel can find his groove. "...the thing would be to maintain that delivery all season..." -- Joe Maddon.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Adam Warren settling into a groove. "Warren appreciates how the Cubs have fun and goof around, but also get their work in and know when to focus on the task at hand."
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Jason Hammel finds rhythm after early butterflies. "They were Iron Butterflies," he didn't say. "My heart was beating out of my chest," he continued, "I don't know why. I was able to calm it down and work on the things I needed to work on."
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Jason Hammel seeks a turn for the better in Cubs rotation. The timing of Hammel’s delivery, in which he rotates his hips with more effort, was off at times, but his fastball command improved during his first spring start of 2016.
- Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Competition in the Cubs rotation? Maybe not. The incumbents have the edge.
- What Kris Medlen had to say about Jake Arrieta breaking his ERA record. "It was my favorite," he wailed. "You owe me a new one." Not. "He was unbelievable and really cool to see. Anytime anyone is doing that kind of stuff you are paying attention. I’m sure it helped in arbitration," is what he actually said.
Time to Get Away:
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Cubs monitoring Addison Russell's hamstring issues. He's in the best shape of his life (TM). "I'm pretty confident in my hamstring this year," Russell said. "I've been working out really, really hard and I'll hopefully be able to swipe more bags this year."
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Calf soreness sidelines Tommy La Stella. The injury did not appear to be serious. He's also in the best shape of his life (TM).
- Mike Imrem: Cubs' reported tree-chopping casts Tom Ricketts as Mr. T II. Bugs. He hates bugs. Some notes about "The Wrigleyville Chainsaw Massacre."
- Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): The fight for the last bench spot. Six players on the bubble. I like his conclusion, and I won't spoil it.
- Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Five Cubs listed among Jonah Keri's "trade value top 50". Discusses SI article in detail. Avoid the ads, read this instead.
- John Sorce (Baseball Essential): Easy on the Cubs kool-aid. Naw. Disappointment will make the eventual victory all the sweeter.
Knights in Blue Cotton:
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Royals bullpen is royalty. How far behind are the Cubs? "The numbers aren’t that much different but I feel like their guys have been consistent for so long," Justin Grimm said Monday. "We’re not better than them but we’re close," Hector Rondon said of the Royals.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Ryne Sandberg rejoins Cubs at spring training. Hall-of-Famer Sandberg joins fellow former Cubs Rick Sutcliffe, Kerry Wood, Ted Lilly and Kevin Youkilis as in-uniform spring instructors.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Joe Maddon: Input from Cubs alumni welcome. Among the former Cubs who are currently spending time in camp include Hall of Famer Billy Williams, Rick Sutcliffe and Jon Lieber.
- Burt Constable (Daily Herald): Cubs at Wrigley give fans no rings but 100 years of stories. Book review.
Food for thought:
- MIT: Big data analysis is changing the nature of sports science. "...the capacity to gather data has not been matched by the ability to process it in meaningful ways." So far.
- Nathan Collins (Pacific Standard): How one little number erodes trust in science. End "the cult of statistical significance."
- Quantum mechanics is so weird that scientists need AI to design experiments. "If it doesn't confuse you, that really just tells you that you haven't understood it."
Just like Cub Tracks.