I went down to the field to check out the Cubs’ BP. As the pic suggests, it’s a damn fine day here in Mesa. A little cold this morning, but it doesn’t take much sun to warm it up, and there is much sun today. Frank Lloyd Wright was right: wintering in Chicago is for suckers. I think he actually said it in those exact terms.
I got to the cage and Aramis Ramirez was dug in and taking his hacks. He utterly abused the scoreboard out beyond the left field wall. A lot of guys were smacking it around. The ball carries really well here of course. I read that the Cubs’ new spring training home is going to have the exact dimensions of Wrigley Field. Not sure that’s wise, actually. A bunch of guys are gonna break north and wonder where all their power went.
The fella to the left is Tyler Colvin taking grounders at first base. He’s an outfielder, but ever since Derrek Lee was shipped out last year there has been talk of Colvin being the long term solution at first (Carlos Pena is on a one-year deal). For what it’s worth, Colvin looked pretty competent picking it at first. No idea what anyone who actually knows something about evaluating defense would think.
Got the lineup card. Cubs play the Brewers today. Sadly, no Prince Fielder. At first: Mark Kotsay. I am excited about third base, however, as Milwaukee has someone named Zelous Wheeler playing there. I’ve never seen a 19th century prospector and/or patriarch of a family involved in a blood feud play third.
Down on the field I met Chuck Wasserstrom, the Manager of Baseball Information for the Cubs. He gave me his business card and on it is his work address: 1060 West Addison. I had an immediate visceral reaction when I saw that, convinced that Wasserstrom was putting me on. Then I remembered that this isn’t “The Blues Brothers” and, yes, people actually do work at that address. File that under problems people who are around 37-years-old and watched too many movies growing up have.
I tend to get lost wandering around these ballparks. It’s not always easy for a newbie to find the clubhouse and it’s not always easy to find the press box. The clubhouse was a bit tricky this morning, but they certainly erred on the side of clearly marking the press box here:
Game starts in about an hour. Ho-ho-ho. Kam. And a happy new year. Or something.
You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.
There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:
I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.
There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.
The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.
In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.
The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.
As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:
An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”
Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.
Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.