A Contrarian’s Take on the Cubs’ Game 1

Game 1 of the 2015 baseball season didn’t go quite according to script for the Chicago Cubs and, as we head into tonight’s game 2, it seems as though Cubs nation has already given up. Some tell us the first game was a nightmare. Some who were at the game say the fans at Wrigley were out of it after the second inning.

Screw that. Continue reading

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You’ve Been Framed!

Holy moly, do I still remember how words work?

So I just read this fantastic article on how the Cubs are using technology to improve their catchers’ framing ability, as well as their overall practice routine. It’s really interesting and I love that the Cubs are doing it and OH MY GOD I HATE PITCH FRAMING SO MUCH.

Sorry, give me a second to compose myself… Continue reading

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Filament Friday 10/17/2014

Baseball season, for me, is now officially over – I have no teams left to root for (a nice season for Baltimore kept me in the game a little longer than is, unfortunately, usual) or against (with the Cardinals losing in exquisitely bone-headed fashion). It’s time to turn a full set of eyes towards the 2015 season and the hope that awaits, separated from today by the unknown void of the offseason. The Cubs should be busy, so the offseason should be fun.

Meanwhile, the Saints have an incredibly important game this weekend in Detroit and my nervousness level is at -9 fingernails. Mark Ingram should be back to bolster a run game that has been one of the bright spots this season, but the beleaguered secondary is going to have their hands full with Megatron & Stafford, LLC. Coming off the bye week the team should be prepared, so the result of this game will likely dictate the rest of the season – a win on the road can be the catapult towards the lofty heights we expected before week 1, while another ugly loss would be…well, let’s just say ugly.

Providing the spring to baseball’s winter (even though they’re both in the winter…damn, I don’t think that metaphor is going to work…) is the Washington Wizards, as we’re less than two weeks from the start of the NBA regular season. With a small handful of games left in the preseason, the Wizards are dealing with injury issues (again), but this year’s team might have the depth to withstand them. Otto Porter is looking vastly improved and has the opportunity for the extra minutes created by Bradley Beal’s wrist surgery. Similarly, Kevin Seraphin looks like a completely different player than last year and is joined by DeJuan Blair to bolster deeper, more versatile front court than last year’s version. With a somewhat easier schedule out of the gate, here’s hoping the Wizards can get off to a good start and the return of Beal and Kris Humphries in several weeks feels more like additional reinforcements and not a rescue squad.

You know what I really dream of…a year where all three teams are playing meaningful games at the same time. If that were this year, it would have taken the Cubs going to game 7 of the World Series.

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Filament Friday 10/10/2014

Unfortunately I have nothing witty to say today, I’m far too busy for such banter. What I do have are some links, each one better than the last. I hope. Enjoy!

Oh, quick note – you’ll notice a lower than usual number of sports links in this edition of the Filaments. That is somewhat intentional, I am juggling several different ideas about restructuring this feature and doing editions that focus on the three main teams we follow here. No guarantees yet, but some type of announcement on the new format will be forthcoming. Ok, now enjoy!
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Filament Friday 09/26/2014

The Cubs played their final home game of the season this week, beating the Cardinals (yay!) to finish the season with a winning record at the friendly confines. This was all well and good, but there was some melancholy among many Cubs fans, for coming next season Wrigley Field will look a little different. The full scale expansion and renovation of the old ballpark has begun in earnest and next year will feature a new jumbotron (Is that, like, a generic noun now?) in left field, new video scoreboard in right, improved lighting and new signage all about. You can see many images of what it will look like in this post, as Wrigley is dragged into the 21st century, changing from museum to modern ballpark (with some definite museum-like qualities).

This is well and this is good, as this project will stretch over the next several offseasons, eventually netting the Cubs a new clubhouse and workout facilities, extra revenue from advertising to funnel into player personnel, and, eventually, one hell of a place to celebrate a World Series. Still, a lot of fans, mostly those who have or had frequently attended games, were a little misty eyed at the thought of these changes. I understand this, a little, I suppose, though I admit that I had none of these feelings. As an out of town fan who has never (yet) attended a Cubs home game, I don’t really have anything to miss. And, no, this doesn’t make me want to go Wrigley any less. It’s still on the bucket list. But nostalgia is the curse of the human condition, so, like I said, I can understand.

Depending on how the Cubs cut deals for TV rights over the next few years, my real gut punch will be when they no longer show games on WGN. That was the Wrigley of my youth, the magical channel that transported me to a baseball shrine seemingly every afternoon. Eventually the Cubs will have their own network, or reach a deal with CSN Chicago, or make other arrangements, and WGN will become just another channel showing syndicated sitcoms. And this will net the Cubs even more revenue to pump back into the team, meaning it’s a change I will support. It will be well. It will be good. But, I’ll get that pang of nostalgia every time I see the WGN logo or hear the call tag. For me, it will be less like Wrigley getting renovated and more like Wrigley getting replaced.

What the heck does WGN stand for anyway?
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Filament Friday 09/19/2014

The Cubs completed their minor league affiliate shuffle this week, changing all three of the Class A level teams: Daytona becomes Myrtle Beach, Kane County becomes South Bend and Boise becomes Eugene. I’m happy because Myrtle Beach is the Pelicans, but other than that the only effect it has on me is that I have to update my Matters of Minor Importance page. Que sera, sera.
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You Know It’s Bad When Both Sides Agree

Word came out yesterday that Adrian Peterson was cleared by the Vikings to play this weekend against the Saints, a somewhat curious decision. Peterson was suspended last week after child abuse charges were filed against him and the past week has only seen more disturbing details and rumors of previous allegations surface. One has to wonder if he would be playing if Minnesota weren’t so thoroughly humbled by New England their last game. So, it was not surprising to read Jeff Duncan’s pull-no-punches take on the situation this morning. Continue reading

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Filament, uh, Saturday 09/13/2014

One year ago today I posted Friday Filaments (Re-revisited), with the goal of posting them every Friday for a year. Well, I came close. A few were posted late, but, as luck would have it, last week’s was the only one I truly missed. #SoDylan. However, instead of getting down on myself or giving myself a break, I’m going to rededicate myself to posting the weekly links every single Friday for the next year. Finger’s crossed.

Also, I’ll be attempting to live blog during the Saints game tomorrow. Due to a confluence of circumstances, the game will be shown on TV here in Maryland, so I will be offering my observations and pithy comments, as soon as I look up what pithy means.

I'm not wearing that...

I’m not wearing that…

Hopefully it’s a better result than last week, which I’m thankful I did not get to see. In fact, last Sunday was a spectacularly awful sports day. Literally every team I was rooting for lost. Well, I was rooting for Serena.
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Filament Friday 08/29/2014

It’s unofficially the last weekend of summer, which means baseball is entering it’s home stretch, football is getting started (fo’ realz!) and basketball…uh, get out of bed basketball, time to start getting ready. For the rest of us, hopefully it means a long weekend, some barbeque and brews, and enough water to submerge yourself in, at least up to the knees. Preferably deeper, but take what you can get. Boy, that sounded dirty.
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Filament Friday 08/22/2014

I participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge and want to thank all of my friends and all of the people who I’ve never met who did likewise. Despite the best attempts of the trolls this viral phenomenon has raised over $15 million dollars for research into the cure for ALS. I really don’t what causes people to take a big, steaming dump on anything good that others try to do, but I sincerely hope that every person who took the time to complain about other people trying to do a tiny something positive at least put their money where their mouth is and donated (SPOILER ALERT: They didn’t). However, since the whole point of this blog it to not get too negative, I’m not going to dwell on that, but, instead, provide you to the links where you can make a donation to this incredibly worthy cause.

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