Tag: Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs photo day

VIDEO: Cubs prospect Kris Bryant hits two more home runs


Cubs fans got a sneak preview at the future on Tuesday when Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant hit back-to-back-to-back home runs. Well, Bryant went mashing again today against the Angels by going 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double. By the way, the first home run went over the head of Will Ferrell, who was playing center field at the time.

Here’s home run No. 1…

And home run No. 2…

Bryant led the minors with 43 home runs last season while posting a 1.098 OPS and now he has four homers this spring. You can obviously make the case that the 23-year-old deserves to be with the Cubs on Opening Day from a talent perspective, but the expectation is that he’ll head down to the minors for a couple of weeks to delay his free agency by a year. Unfortunately, that’s the system we have right now.

VIDEO: Will Ferrell fields ball in center field


As you have probably heard by now, actor-comedian Will Ferrell is in the process of playing every position in five Cactus League games today in Arizona. The stunt is being filmed by HBO for an upcoming special from Ferrell’s company, Funny or Die. However, it’s also for a good cause, as memorabilia from the day will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to cancer charities. Our own Craig Calcaterra is on the scene for Cubs-Angels, where Ferrell just played center field for the Angels and coached third base, played first base, and even took an at-bat with the Cubs.

Courtesy of Craig, here’s video of Ferrell as he replaced Mike Trout in center field. That’s not a misprint:

Ferrell actually got an opportunity to field a ball, as Welington Castillo hit a single into center field. As you’ll see in the video below, he picked it up cleanly and hit the cut-off man. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Fun stuff. Our own Aaron Gleeman had perhaps the best reaction to Ferrell’s throw:

Ferrell didn’t get an opportunity to field a ball when he played first base with the Cubs and he struck out swinging in his at-bat, but here’s a look at Ferrell’s brief stint as a third base coach, complete with cue cards:

Ferrell still has three more games on his agenda today. We’ll pass along any relevant highlights:

5:10 p.m ET: Reds vs. Diamondbacks
7:05 p.m ET: Giants vs. White Sox
9:15 p.m. ET: Dodgers vs. Padres

It’s the Yasiel Puig show at Sloan Park today

Yasiel Puig

MESA, Ariz. — Today’s game between the Cubs and the Dodgers hasn’t lived up to the hype of a Zack Greinke-Jon Lester matchup. Greinke wasn’t sharp. Lester was OK. Sort of whatever. As I write this it’s tied at three in the top of the fifth and we’re heading into the benches. Phil Coke is making his Cubs debut, so I suppose that’s something. Spring training: feel the excitement.

Know what is exciting, though? Yasiel Puig. He’s playing center field and hitting third for Los Angeles today. And if you just perused box scores you wouldn’t necessarily think too much of his day. A single and a run scored so far. But:

  • That single was a full-blown sprint on a ball hit deep to short that most players would not have beaten out;
  • After advancing to second, he was dead to rights between second and third on a grounder to third that looked as if it would go through. But he stopped, juked, jived, flopped and likely cast three spells of confusion on the third baseman, and managed to make it safely to third base. He then came around to score.
  • On defense he saved one run by throwing a laser to third base on sac fly, holding a baserunner at second. If he had tried to kill the run that scored on the sac, the runner would be at third. Before the inning ended with no more damage done, there was an infield single, meaning that the throw saved a run.
  • Earlier than that he hustled to cut off a ball in the gap, turning what should have been a three-run double into a two run single.
  • Just now, in the bottom of the fourth, Puig robbed Anthony Rizzo of extra bases by slamming into the wall to catch a rocket he hit to right-center for the inning’s third out. Puig appeared shaken up at first, but got up under his own power and ran back to the dugout to a huge, respectful round of applause by the Sloan Park fans.

I imagine that, somewhere, someone is writing a column in which they question Yasiel Puig’s judgment for playing a spring training game at Mach 2 with his hair on fire rather than saving it for the regular season. But these are the same folks who, somehow, can watch Yasiel Puig play baseball every day and think that he is anything other than a joy and a gift of a ballplayer. One that, yes, messes up a good bit, but one which shouldn’t bug people without a vested interest in the Los Angeles Dodgers the way he does.

Oh, and one who appears to continue to all of the right things — big and little — this spring.

Cubs fans: Wait ’til next year? “Screw it, it’s our year.”



MESA, Ariz. — “Wait ’til next year.” That’s been the Cubs’ motto for more than a century. It’s gone from a sincerely held belief to a ironic philosophy to meta commentary on the existential dilemma of what it is to be a a Cubs fan. At its very bottom it’s a verbal identifier for members of the same sad tribe. So much losing for so long has caused Cubs fans to build up all manner of psychological defenses, a motto which tells them their reward will come not now but later chief among them.

Walking around the Cubs’ gorgeous new spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona this morning, however, and I found some people who are committing what’s tantamount to a thought crime among Cubs fans: present optimism.

There’s good reason for it. The Cubs have undergone nothing short of a transformation in the past few years. The organization is rotten with top hitting prospects like Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are superstars, each only entering their age-25 seasons and each around whom a serious contender can be built. The acquisition of Jon Lester this past winter was a free agent coup no one would’ve dreamed the Cubs could pull off even a year ago. The same could be said of the hiring of Joe Maddon away from the Rays. The amount of positivity surrounding this organization right now is pretty staggering, especially considering that they’re coming off a 73-89 season.

source:  I asked Don Myers of Cary, Illinois — here with his wife Joyce (a White Sox fan) and daughter Nicole (non-committal, but wearing a Cubs shirt) — if they’re excited about the 2015 Cubs. Or if, after a lifetime of disappointment as a Cubs fan, maybe it’s a good idea to temper one’s enthusiasm. He rejected the notion.

“Screw it. It’s our year,” Myers said with a chuckle. He’s not deluded of course. He knows the NL Central is tough and ballclubs can take a while to gel. But Myers said that it’s baseball and what’s the point of being a baseball fan if you don’t think positively? “I’m quite optimistic,” Myers said. When I told him about Soler, Baez and Bryant going back-to-back-to-back yesterday he smiled and said offered a low, happy “wooo!”

More tempered in her optimism is Diana Jaworski of Joliet. Jaworski — visiting Mesa with her husband Jeff, also a White Sox fan — said she is “cautiously optimistic” about the new-look Cubs. Jaworski is more what you expect from a Cubs fan. She has had her heart broken pretty consistently since the 1969 collapse. “When the ball went between Leon Durham’s legs [in the 1984 NLCS] I sobbed,” she said. She remembers being crushed when Steve Bartman happened in 2003. “We were six outs from the World Series. It just wasn’t our turn,” she says. Though she sounds like, even more than a decade later, she’s trying to convince herself of that.

Jaworski’s hesitance to fully buy-in is not merely a product of those heartbreaking moments, however. When talking about Joe Maddon and his positive attitude she said, “we were supposed to get excited about Don Zimmer. Don Baylor. Dusty Baker. Lou Piniella.” She noted that, under those regimes, it was more typical for the Cubs to “put together a bunch of old players who were famous but whose careers were almost over” while the new Cubs are all about young up and coming players. She is aware that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer transformed another one time sad sack organization into a champion and thinks it can happen with the Cubs too.

But she’s not in the bag just yet. Jaworski has four children, three of whom are Cubs fans. “I’ve told them all, ‘honey, I’m sorry I ever did this to you.'”

If Don Myers is right, however, she won’t be sorry soon.

Cubs shut down Jacob Turner with an elbow injury

Jacob Turner

Right-hander Jacob Turner was in the mix for the Cubs’ final rotation spot, but a sore right elbow has eliminated him from the competition and will likely cause him to begin the season on the disabled list.

J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com reports that an MRI exam revealed no structural damage in Turner’s elbow, but “did reveal a minor flexor strain and a bone bruise.”

Acquired from the Marlins last August, the 23-year-old former top-10 draft pick is out of minor-league options and must be kept on the 25-man roster (or the disabled list) unless the Cubs want to risk passing him through waivers. He has a 4.97 ERA in 299 career innings.