Front and Center

The 2007 season unofficially began on Sunday night, major league baseball and the Cubs are now front and center as baseball prepares to start another season. The preseason predictions are beginning to roll in and many are confused as to how the Cubs will play under new management and with so many question marks still surrounding the team. Baseball Prospectus released their thoughts on the NL Central and many of the national publications have begun to chime in as well. The CCO will get to those in the coming days….but that is what is so great about baseball, it is unpredictable and that is why they play the game.

Here are a few news and notes from around the league, Jayson Starks’ take on the Cubs, a last look at the off-season calendar and a little house cleaning….

Starks on the Cubs….

Jayson Stark from ESPN.com is the latest member of the mainstream media to give his recap of the Cubs’ off-season to this point. Stark did not offer anything that has not been discussed over and over again here at the CCO. Stark brought up the record amount of money the Cubs have spent, $297.55 million ($317.55 million counting Piniella and Samardzija), this off-season and reiterated the Cubs’ desire to win and win now.

Stark did list the top off-season spending sprees in the history of the game:

  1. Chicago Cubs (2006-2007) – $297.55 million
  2. Texas Rangers (2003-2004) – $268.45 million
  3. San Francisco Giants (2006-2007) – $208.52 million
  4. New York Mets (2004-2005) – $196.9 million

Stark brought up similar questions about the upcoming to season to the ones brought up here just under a week ago. All in all, the report is worth the read.

Paul Sullivan released a report on Sunday night, again similar to the topics posed here last week.

News from Around the League….

The Pirates made news over the weekend. After agreeing to a 1-year deal with defending NL batting champ, Freddy Sanchez ($2.75 million), they also signed Dan Kolb to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training to compete for a spot in the pen.

The Brewers signed Bill Hall to a 4-year, $24 million dollar deal on Monday.

Former Cub, Steve Barber passed away on Sunday night. Barber was the first 20-game winner in the history of the Baltimore Orioles and pitched 5 games for the Cubs in 1970.

2007 Cubs’ Calendar

  • February 14 – Cubs’ Pitchers and Catchers Report to Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona
  • February 15 – 9th Annual Worldwide Toast to Harry Caray
  • February 15 – MLB Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training
  • February 15 – Cubs’ First Workout for Pitchers and Catchers at Fitch Park
  • February 19 - Cubs’ Position Players Report to Spring Training at Fitch Park
  • February 20 – Arbitration Hearing for Carlos Zambrano is Scheduled
  • February 20 – Cubs’ First Full Squad Workout of 2007
  • February 23 – Regular Season Single Game Tickets Go on Sale
  • February 27 – Hall of Fame Veterans Committee Results Announced
  • February 27 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players
  • March 1 – Cubs’ Spring Training Opener at HoHoKam against the Giants
  • April 1 – MLB Opening Day
  • April 2 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs in Cincinnati

House Cleaning….Updates from the CCO

With a lull before the Cubs season starts next week I thought it would be a good time to update everyone on what is going on here at the CCO….

The redesign of the CCO is well underway and in the process of designing a user-friendly site it has taken more time than anticipated. We are working diligently to launch the redesign as soon as possible but in the rush to make it live before the convention there were a few snags that we need to repair properly. It should be ready before Spring Training.

Thomas Edgar has decided to write for the CCO full time so look for more articles from him in the coming weeks.

The CCO Forum has been cleaned up and several new categories have been added, just another way for the Faithful to discuss the Cubs.

The CCO Feedback column has another entry from Jim in Tinley Park (that will run later on Tuesday) and if anyone else is interested, feel free to email me at neil@chicagocubsonline.com so your opinion will be front and center for everyone to discuss.

And last but not least….the CCO’s coverage of the Cubs does not stop once the season starts. For those of you new to the site there will be game recaps, updates from the minors courtesy of Thomas, Brian and Jason’s colorful opinion columns, first hand coverage from opening weekend of Spring Training, Opening Day at Cincinnati and all of the news from the North Side plus the return of “Talkin’ Cubs Live” where readers can discuss the games as they happen….live if you will.

Here’s to a winning season for the Chicago Cubs!!

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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