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.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.