The Cubs got approval to make multiple changes to Wrigley Field

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The Cubs got approval last year for a massive renovation project. Then they decided that they needed to make a lot of tweaks to the plan, and had to submit for approval again. They got it yesterday:

The Chicago Cubs today got the green light from Commission of Chicago Landmarks to put up a total of seven signs above the bleachers at Wrigley Field and move its bullpens beyond the outfield walls . . . The team now has the city’s blessing to put up three 650-square-foot advertising signs above the left field bleachers as well as a 3,990-square-foot video board (reduced from the previously approved 4,560-square-feet), as well as two more ad signs and a 2,400-square-foot video board above the right field stands.

This does not solve the impasse the team has with the owners of the rooftops across Waveland and Sheffield Avenues — indeed, it may exacerbate it — but that is a financial matter, not a formal barrier, one assumes. Like, if they just tell the rooftop owners to pound sand, at most they will have to pay them a lot of money.

As of now, however, the Wrigley renovations can start.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.