Ahem. I have an announcement.
I’m Josh Timmers and as of today, I have officially rejoined the writing staff of Bleed Cubbie Blue. I had been writing for this site since 2007 before changes in California labor law in 2020 caused Vox Media to terminate my contract. Without getting too deep into the details which I don’t completely understand anyway, the California AB5 law has been amended so that I can return as a staff writer.
You can read my farewell letter from last March if you want a refresher. Since that time, I contributed two articles “for free,” but honestly, other than that, I didn’t do too much with baseball or the Cubs in 2020 other than watch passively.
I watched a lot of games since I left without having to worry about what I was going to say about it later. You’d think that would be liberating, since that’s probably what most of you do and it’s what I did for most of my life. But honestly, it just felt weird. You don’t get into a habit of doing something one way for over a decade and then just turn it off in an instant. The positive side of this, for you anyway, is that I probably won’t have much trouble getting back into the swing of things when the games start, because the habit never really left me.
So I’ll be back with a Top 20 Cubs prospects list for 2021, which is going to be really difficult since I haven’t seen any of those players play in any meaningful sample size in 2020. I’ll have to go back to what I saw in 2019 and do the dreaded “scouting of the scouting reports,” which I hate but is unavoidable in this case. Even those on-line scouting reports are mostly second-hand reports from team officials. But I’m hoping to have this done by the end of this month. I obviously got a late start on it this season.
I’ll also be back with the nightly Cubs Minor League Wrap, assuming the minors play this season. As opposed as I am to the changes in the minors, the changes will make my job somewhat easier. (And thank you to Sara and Tim for covering the minors in my absence.) Finally, I will be returning to what is now called “Outside the Confines,” although this will be a job-sharing assignment with Ashley that has yet to be figured out. (And thanks to Ashley for the work she’s done on that beat over the past year.) I’ll also be writing on whatever other baseball and Cubs-related topics that either Al or I decide that I have something to write worth sharing with you.
While neither I nor any member of my immediate family got sick from COVID or anything else, the year 2020 was a rough one for me: mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The events of the past year, both in sport, society and politics have left me with a darker outlook on life than I had a year ago. I’ll keep my social and political fears to myself, but the changes in minor league baseball (no point in capitalizing it anymore) were, for the most part, bad for the sport and bad for the people involved. The only people truly benefitting are the elites in the game while everyone else suffers. After the events of the past year, no one should have any illusion as to the motivations of the Lords of Baseball. The romance of baseball does not touch them in any meaningful way — only the numbers on the profit and loss ledgers reach their hearts. But baseball still has a magic that has existed alongside the mercenary since its origins. I can only hope that the magic of baseball touches my, and our, hearts again in 2021.
I tried to keep myself sane and quarantined this past year by watching a lot of television. I caught up on a lot of shows that I had been meaning to watch as well as giving myself a bit of an education on the history of cinema by watching a ton of old movies. Maybe I’ll share a little bit of that here from time to time. Maybe I won’t. But if anyone has any recommendations for some books on the history of film, I’m listening. I’ve read a couple over the past year and I realize that I’ve only scratched the surface. I’m not interested in the gossipy stuff about the stars, but I am in the development of the art and the industry.
So here’s to a better 2021. If you read my work in the past, thank you and I welcome you back. If you’re new to the site, I’m puzzled as to why you started reading this past year of all years, but I ask you to give me a chance.
Finally, I have a new Twitter handle at @JoshFTimmers. This is the same account that I used to have, I just changed it from @CubsMinorsWrap after I was let go. I’d appreciate it if you’d follow me there. I haven’t been real active over the past year, but I’m sure I will be if and when the minors start to play again. Or when Everton plays.