Craig Calcaterra

Those wacky Chicago Cubs continue to be wacky


The Cubs have had a different fun distraction seemingly every day of spring training. That wacky 70s van, funny t-shirts, dress-up days, you name it. That’s just sort of how things go with a Joe Maddon-managed team. He likes to keep them loose.

In the past couple of days they’ve done a couple more fun things. Yesterday, it was a hiring a guitarist to jam on the field during workouts. His choice of jam? AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”:

Nothing 20-something baseball players like more than 37-year-old rock riffs!

Today they tied up their strength and conditioning coach:

I’m heading to Arizona tomorrow and will be at Cubs camp over the weekend. Here’s hoping more wild and wacky shenanigans go down!

Johnny Damon on Donald Trump: “If he needs me anywhere, I’ll be there”

Former New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon tips his cap during introductions for the 68th annual Old Timers Day prior to the Baltimore Orioles baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, June 22, 2014.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press

I smell a new regular feature, you guys: ballplayers who endorse Donald Trump. Unless of course it’s just ex-Yankees who do it, which is a distinct possibility. I dunno.

Earlier it was Paul O’Neill. The latest: Johnny Damon. Which should not be anything approaching a surprise given that he spent a season on The Donald’s reality show a couple of years ago. He was on the same season as Geraldo Rivera, Kate Gosselin and Vivica A. Fox, so it was a pretty heady time for him. Of course later that year he was the subject of a fantastic Pat Jordan profile that suggested maybe it wasn’t so heady, actually, but more of a lost time for him as he struggled to figure out how to live life without baseball. Understandable.

Now Damon seems pretty clear about what he wants — Donald Trump in the Oval Office. From the Daily News:

“I want (Trump) for president,” Damon, 42, told the Daily News Wednesday. “I’m a Trump fan ever since I met him seven or eight years ago. Everything he does, he does first-class — his hotels, his businesses, his golf courses. The issues all the other politicians failed to discuss, (Trump) is bringing us up to speed.”

He’s cool with Trump’s immigration platform and defends him against accusations of racism. Damon says “Everyone is calling him a racist. He just wants people to come into this country legally and fill out the proper paperwork. That’s how I’m viewing it.”

Whatever works for you, Johnny. Now, can someone find Andy Phillips or Scott Proctor? I’m dying to know their take on Decision 2016.

Adrian Beltre wants a three-year deal

Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre points to the dugout whiles standing on second after hitting a bases learning double off of Los Angeles Angels' Andrew Heaney in the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Adrian Beltre is entering his walk year with the Rangers. It’s the last year of a six-year deal if you include the option year on which he’s currently playing. It was a five-year $80 million deal and the option for 2016 is $16 million.

Beltre has been a fantastic signing for Texas. In the past five years he’s hit .309/.358/.514 and has averaged 27 homers and 92 RBI a year. That, combined with his outstanding defense at third base, his durability (he’s averaged 146 games a year on this deal) and his status as a team leader had made him one of the better free agent signings in recent memory.

But Beltre is not done playing and Jon Heyman reports that he’s looking for a three-year extension worth $19 million a season, which is Pablo Sandoval money. Beltre is better then Sandoval, but he’s also turning 37 next month.

Do you commit to a guy like that for his age 40 season? Especially when, in his age 36 season, his offense took a clear step back? I suppose you do if Beltre is willing to negotiate during the year and shows that he’s still capable of being a superior hitter and fielder, but that’s going to be a hard call for Texas, I think.