Laying Down the Bunts … and Other Notes from Cubs Camp

It is position player reporting day in Cubs Camp … A majority of the players have already reported to Fitch Park but after Thursday Dale Sveum will have his full Spring Training roster in camp. There are only four position players that have not reported … Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro, Blake DeWitt and Jae-Hoon Ha. The first full squad workout is Friday and Tom Ricketts is expected to address the team prior to Friday’s workout.

The biggest “news” to come out of Mesa on day four of camp was the buzz created by the bunting tournament that begins Thursday. Not only did Dale Sveum come up with idea but he is putting his money where his mouth is and the Cubs’ skipper is participating in the tournament.

Here’s the update … The Bunting Tournament
An idea that Dale Sveum had and used while managing in the Pirates’ minor league system will soon take place at Fitch Park … the Cubs are set to have a bunting tournament.

The Cubs 31 position players will square off against the 31 pitchers, along with Dale Sveum and Tim Buss, in a 64-player bracket style-tournament where the winner will take home $2,000.

Players score points by bunting balls into areas on the infield … and the better the bunt, the more points the player receives. Players have been practicing one of the fundamentals of the game in preparation for the competition.

Sveum thought the tournament would be a good way for the team to have fun and at the same time break things up a little bit … plus, the tournament will also give Sveum and the coaching staff an opportunity to see firsthand which players can and cannot lay down a bunt.

Dale Sveum will participate in the tournament and will face Kerry Wood in the first round. Wood picked Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells as the early favorites to win the tournament.

BuntBracket.jpg
From ESPN ChicagoBracket of the First Annual Bunting Tournament

The Lineup
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, when Dale Sveum finally sets his Opening Day lineup he plans on being committed to it … and “there is no platoon situation in mind for anybody” in his everyday lineup.

Less than a week into camp, Sveum does not have any plans to platoon players but will use Jeff Baker in right field, first base and third base against lefties … not only get Baker playing time but to give David DeJesus, Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart a day off.

According to the Tribune, Ian Stewart will get an opportunity early on to prove he can hit left-handers.

Notes from Cubs Camp
The injury bug has been rather bored so far this spring … only one issue has been reported. Back spasms sidelined John Gaub over the weekend but he is expected to be on the field for Thursday’s workout and bunting contest. Gaub probably will not throw a full bullpen session until later in the week.

Anthony Rizzo envisions a Cubs’ Series title according to ESPN Chicago.

The veterans are helping Dale Sveum sell the Cubs’ game plan according to the Tribune. The Cubs could have gone with a full-scale youth movement but instead decided to bring back Reed Johnson and Kerry Wood, along with keeping Marlon Byrd, in order to help teach the younger players how to play the game the right way.

Jeff Baker’s versatility will help him get playing time this season. Baker can play right field, first base, third base and second base.

According to the Sun-Times, Chris Bosio thinks Chris Volstad has high upside.

News and Notes
The YES Network made the announcement official that Lou Piniella has been hired to be an analyst and special contributor for the upcoming season. Piniella will be on 20-30 Yankees’ broadcasts during the year and he is excited to be back with the Yankees organization after spending last season in the Giants’ organization. Piniella will also be reunited (at least in the same organization) as his former boss, Jim Hendry, and his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild.

MLB.com Prospect Ranking Correction
The CCO passed on two pieces of incorrect information Wednesday in regards to a current Cubs’ prospect and the one that was just sent to the Boston Red Sox.

Zach Cates moved into MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs’ prospect list (number 20) when Chris Carpenter was sent to the Red Sox. Cates came over from the Padres in the Anthony Rizzo-Andrew Cashner deal. Cates is a 22-year old right hander (December 17, 1989) not the 32-year old right hander that MLB.com indicated.

In the first Cubs’ prospect list released by MLB.com, Chris Carpenter was ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Cubs’ system, not as the 20th best prospect as Wednesday’s report read. Carpenter slid into the Sox’s system as the eighth best prospect in Boston’s organization.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO


  • paulcatanese

    It will be interesting to see how many of the position players can bunt.
    I cannot believe that Soriono will bunt during the season, as well as
    Baker,Byrd,Castro.
    And Campana needs to improve his bunting to a degree,as well as Barney.
    Other than pitchers, who absolutly must bunt and the new players that have been brought in (do they bunt)?
    Spring training is great for these excercises, but once they get back to the North Side, where do they practice? Facilities are despartly needed fr that and batting practice during games.
    The effort looks like it will be put forth by management so lets hope the players can adjust to somthing that has been missing for a long time in thier careers.

    • Teluton

      Do any of you remember when Dusty was being criticized for his teams’ lack of fundamentals, a few years ago? He whined about not having a place to practice because Wrigley was often unavailable.

      What a load of rubbish! there are several diamonds (Billy Williams/Ron Santo Fields  on Damen Ave. near Belmont) that could and should be utilized by the Cubs-   when they need to.
      I guess there may be other indoor facilities, in north Chicago, where bunting, fielding drills and the like,often so lacking can be reinforced.

      Consistent failure to execute the ‘little things’ so common to recent Cub teams might well turn around under Sveum, if he insists on
      alternative practice sites.

       I can’t understand why so many pro basketball and even
      college players can’t make freethrows. You don’t have to be
      a great athlete,for Pete’s sake; you improve by being made
      to practice ’til you get better.

      Ryan Dempster is an excellent and reliable bunter. Guys like
      Soriano, Sosa, Aram and too many others  apparently were clueless. Were they ever required to work on the skill?
      If we’re going to really employ small ball everyone should be
      prepared to become an adequate bunter,along with the other skills that have lacked attention in recent seasons.

      • paulcatanese

        Since I departed from Chicago in 1963,I was not aware of any additional practice facilities, sounds like a plan though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JKQGSH67PHSCQL7OCOLRJHIGY TomO

    Who seeded the bunting tournament?  I think the BCS must have been involved for LaHair to earn a #2 seed.

  • Tony_Hall

    The last of the position players should make it into camp today and Sveum is looking to have a lineup that he is committed to, without platoons.  

    Here is an idea.

    1 DeJesus RF
    2 Castro SS
    3 Lahair 1B
    4 Soriano LF
    5 Byrd CF
    6 Stewart 3B
    7 Soto C
    8 Barney 2B

    Lots of guys in spots that aren’t ideal.  But I start the lineup by placing Castro in the 2 hole.  That is where I like him the best, as he doesn’t walk enough to be the leadoff guy, and I want him batting with more men on base, and lead-off has the lowest percentage of AB’s with men on base and he is the best hitter.  Being the best hitter he should bat 3rd, but I am looking at what is best for Castro and that is to bat 2nd

    Next I I look at lead-off and the only other option than Castro is DeJesus that I like. 

    Next I did 3-6.  I like Soriano in the 6th spot, but have been sold on the idea of batting him higher to get him more RBI opportunities to “inflate” his numbers for a hopeful trade this year or next off-season.  I put Byrd before Stewart, as we don’t know what Stewart will do this year and to seperate Soriano and Stewart so that the wind doesn’t change after they whiff back-to-back. 

    Soto is next at 7th.  I just don’t like catchers higher unless they are much more consistent and upper echelon hitters, Soto is neither.  If he has one of his up years, I would move him up, but not much.

    Barney is either 2nd or 8th.  If Castro bats 3rd, I would bat Barney 2nd in hope of improving how many fastballs he sees.

    I know Sveum wants to be committed to a lineup, but let’s face it, only Castro and DeJesus are going to be in the lineup all year, for sure.

    Think about that for a minute.  We could have a lefty dominated lineup soon enough.

    1. DeJesus RF
    2. Castro SS
    3. Rizzo 1B
    4. LaHair LF
    5. Vitters 3B
    6. BJAX CF
    7. Castillo C 
    8. Pick a 2B, Cardenas, Amezaga, Watkins

    Not the right order, but you get the point.

    • Anthony

      CF Campana

      • Tony_Hall

        He’s not going to be a starter.

        • Anthony

          We can let ST and Sveum make that decision.

          With a career slash of .264/.324/.375, a player once named Vince Coleman fit nicely into a STL Cards lineup as a speedster.

          In 85/86/87, Coleman stole 110/107/109 bases respectively.

          1985 Cards get to WS-lose
          1986 finished 3rd
          1987 Cards get to WS-lose

          Now, what can Byrd offer versus Campana that is so much better?

          • Tony_Hall

            Until Campana can show a little bit of pop in the bat, and get the OF’s to back up, he will never hit enough to be a starter.  

            Now at parks where the OF’s are bigger, I would play him as much as possible, as the OF’s have less ability to cheat in.

            I don’t want Byrd around, wish they would trade him, but if he is here they will start him over Campana.  If they trade him, BJAX will be in CF.

          • Anthony

            top of thread

    • GaryLeeT

       I would not even bother to try and inflate Soriano’s numbers. Every GM has already cemented their opinions of him. And those opinions must be horrific, because I am stunned that a 25+ HR guy cant even fetch a measly 3 million per.  I mean, those guys usually get around 8 to 10 million a year.

      • Tony_Hall

        Remember, GM’s have a short memory at the trade deadline, when they need a player.  If he is hitting 260, on pace for 25 HR’s and 80-90 RBI’s, someone might be dumb enough to take him (with the Cubs paying the majority of his contract).

        It’s worth a shot.

  • Anthony

    Sveum made a comment about Campana over the winter and leadoff possibility. I like that possibility.

    The name of the game is runs scored.

    here is a 2011 cookbook look at Campana vs. Byrd

    In 2011, Campana had a .301 OBP in 155 plate appearances. His stolen bases were 24/26 with 24 runs scores. After looking at the numbers, 4 of the SB’s were as a pinch runner with one run scored.

    Adjusting for that, the net stolen bases with 155 plate appearances becomes 20/22 with 23 runs scored.

    Byrd had a .323 OBP in 482 plate appearances, was 3/5 in stolen bases, and he scored 51 runs.

    Using Byrd PA’s as a baseline number, Byrd scored a run per plate appearance at 10.6%

    If Campana had the same 482 plate appearances, his rate of scoring at 23/155, or 14.8% would yield 72 runs scored versus the 51 by Byrd.

    The increase of 21 runs can mean the difference between winning or losing a few more games, let alone the intangible of what speedsters can do to pitchers focus. The additional plate appearances would also yield Campana stolen base marks in the 60-80 range based on the aforementioned numbers.

    In 2011, the Cubs were 48-47 in games campana appeared in, and were 14-12 in games Campana started. The 2011 Chicago Cubs were 71-91 overall, 20 games below .500

    You know Theo and all the computer geeks they hired already know this simple math.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      I must be getting old, I find myself agreeing with you more lately, Anthony.
      I totally agree with you about your namesake Tony Campana. He is far and away the most exciting player we have. I am just hoping that he can learn how to get on base enough and be good enough defensively to make the team. I would love to see him play center field for now and left when BJax comes up (or vice versa).
      You didn’t mention anything about his great attitude and what a good team player he is, or how he drives opponents nuts.
      Surely you are right that team Thoyer realize his value.
      My mother used to say that dynamite comes in small packages (she was 5’2″). (she was like Cespedes though, couldn’t hit the breaking stuff)
      Anyhow, thanks for the post.

      • John_CC

         Campana is fast, really fast, but “far and away the most exciting player”?  Really?  I like the guy, I do. He is an odd’s beater – I like that a small man like him has worked his way to show. For the record, we are the same sized men, so I know what it’s like to the small guy on every team.

        But he get’s on base at a .300 clip.  Yeah, he’s not afraid to run into walls, but I just don’t think he far and away the most exciting player on the team.  He is essentially a pinch runner/8 or 9 hole hitter that will steal 2nd every time he reaches. 

        I guess the infatuation is expected because his speed stands out so far on a slow and boring team. But he really is not that great. He is Juan Pierre but can’t hit as well.

      • Redlarczykg

        Campana needs to watch film of the great Matty Alou.
        Harry “the Hat” Walker took Matty aside and taught him to swing down on the ball.  To become a “slap” hitter.  For players like Campana and Alou, fly balls are almost always automatic out.  Alou (who recently passed away) became a 2 time batting champ.  Of course it did’nt hurt that the Pirate’s ground crew mixed in a lot of stone in front of home plate. 

        Alou would slap at the ball and create a 40 foot bouncer and he was sitting on first base.

        Why does’nt Campana know how to bunt well?  OH I forgot, Cub minor league coaches!  TEACH HIM TO BUNT!  And take pitches to take a walk!  Daaa!

        • paulcatanese

          As a huge Campana fan, I totaly agree with you. When coaches saw his speed, they should have had him out there until the sun set, bunting balls and swinging down on the ball.

    • Zonk

      Measuring runs scored per plate appearance is not valid, and particularly isn’t in Tony Campana’s case.

      The first obvious oversight in that statistic is runs scored depends alot on who is at the plate when you are on base; in fact, alot more than footspeed. 

      But even if that wasn’t a factor, Tony Campana was inserted as a Pinch Runner 22 times.  That’s 22 times he gets on base without ANY plate appearances.  That skews the numbers completely.  He scored 11 times when he started, with 104 PAs, to the extent that stat really matters.  At a .301 clip, he would need another 73 PAs to get on base 22 times. 

      How many times was Byrd inserted as a pinch runner? Once. 

      That difference accounts for probably ALL of the difference between the two guys

      Marlon Byrd amde fewer outs per plate appearance than Tony Campana last year, and also hit for more power.  These factors make him a better offensive player based on 2011 stats.

      • Anthony

        whatever Zonk

        post said “cookbook”

        post means propensity

        I removed the SB’s(4 of them) that happened as a PR

        So, stats aside.

        Byrd gets a single. He needs contact to advance. On a hit, he gets to 2B and no guarantee of stretching it to 3B.

        Campana gets a single. He can get to 2B 90% of the time without any contact by the next batter. On a hit, pretty much a run scored.

        Say Byrd has a .350 OBP, and assume they are all singles. In 600 PA’s, he reaches 1B 195 times. Of these opportunities, contact is next required to advance, and more contact to score.

        Say Campana has a .300 OBP, and assume they are all singles. In 600 plate appearances, he reaches 180 times. They send him 1/2 the time(at least) for 90 SB attempts, making 81 successful and he arrives safely into 2B.

        Now, you are telling me Byrd will hit 81 doubles and 114 singles instead of 195 singles?

        This is a crude example of getting a player in scoring position more frequently, and Campana can do it by himself whereas Byrd needs the next hitter, or more.

        Why do think scouts comb the world for kids with world-class speed? Because it is a weapon, and an unused weapon is useless.

        You can Saberstat all you like. The point is simple. Campana gets on base, he becomes a force. Byrd gets on base, he stands and waits for a positive outcome from those after.

        • Zonk

          I understand the points, and respectfully, I think base stealing is way overrated.  I think scouts do comb the world for speed, but speed doesn’t necessarily mean base-stealing.

          Now, Byrd is aging, so Campana might be a better player next year anyway.  But setting that aside, Byrd will produce more runs.

          The logic of 90 SBs and advancing 81 bases out of that makes sense only if  if we think he can continue to steal bases at a 90% clip.  I don’t think he can.  Why?

          Because a) he didn’t do in the minors (144 SBs, 42 CS) against lower competition, and b) he was able last year to sneak up on the league.  They know he is fast now, and can accomodate.  26 SBs isn’t a big sample size.

          Unless a basestealer is successful at least 75% of the time, they are costing you more runs than they are giving you, in lost outs.  Having someone like Byrd wait to get advanced is far better than someone like Juan Pierre and his 2 for 3 success rate try and make something happen, because 33% of the time, that something is an out.

          I like Campana and he is useful, but he isn’t all that.  The ability to get on base and drive the ball is much more important than the ability to steal bases.

          • paulcatanese

            Just having Campana step in the batters box cause’s great concern for the defense.
            It’s still a learning process for Campana on how to read pitchers and even how to take a lead. If and when he advances there you will see great sucess.
            True still a problem getting on base, but how many guys can hit a ball directly to the first baseman and beat him to the bag?
            Improved bunting skills, and more ground balls are the secret to his sucess.
            Sveum himself quoted the concern when Campana faced the Brewers.
            If Campana could hit as many toppers that byrd has , wow he would hit .300 easily, while Byrd is an out.
            Not dis agreeing with you, just adding a bit.

          • paulcatanese

            Zonk,one little addition,remember spring training in the movie Major League?
            The speed burner they had was made to drop and do pushups every time he put the ball in the air and not on the ground.
            Thats not a bad drill, funny but not bad.

          • Texcubnut

            Like Anthony said, let ST and Sveum make that decision.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, and as a Campana fan, I will accept that.

          • John_CC

            Good point on minor league SB%. Of all stats, SB success rate will surely decrease in the MLB.  A runner’s speed doesn’t change, the distance between the bases doesn’t change, the guys you are running against – pitchers with much better moves and catchers with much better arms – does.
             
            Run Produced must also take into account RBI. I know Byrd was a lousy RBI man last year, but I reckon Campana isn’t very good either, since he hits the ball even less than Byrd.

    • Steve_Rock-Vegas

      your missing one MAJOR argument there Tony. 155 plate appearances don’t even register on opposing teams radars and once your on their radar they figure out a way to stop you.  Until Campana can prove he can adjust to their adjustments, he’s just a backup role player and nothing more. Would I love to see him become something even remotely similar to Vince Coleman, sure, but that’s a HUGE stretch to make that comparison.

  • cubs1967

    just wondering what extended uncle bud’s thoughts are on a “gambling-style” bunting tournament in MLB.  even though it’s for fun, etc. having money on the line is most likely a problem.
    who is sponsoring the winnings??…….the cubs??….which even that could be a violation of some union agreement or are the players putting in the funds like a NCAA bracket.

    just sayin’.

    and any line-up needs to have Castro in the 3 hole……if he cannot deal with it (and is just a spot in the line-up);so be it, but in the 2012 year of Not Trying to win for a record 104 yrs.; might as well see if he’s mature enought to hit there; he and Sori are the only 2 that have somewhat realistic chances of 80 RBI.(how bad is this line-up if Byrd or Sori are gonna be in RBI spots……..100 losses here we come)!

  • cubs1967

    so in the year of Not Trying 2012; is not-platooning Ian Stewart part of not-trying or is Sveum soon-to-be called Dale Quade??
    Stewart has 4 times as many career homers off righties (43 vs 11) and has a .236 lifetime avg with 425 at-bats his career high; which sounds like someone who has always been platooned and proved why.
    Yet; Baker hit .300 last year against lefties.
    DeJesus & Lahair have better batting eyes so I could see them playing more against lefties.
    Wow……..no platoons and Sori/Bryd in RBI spots most likely……

    what’s the Cubs record for shutous in a year by the offense???
    If I’m that record; I start gettin’ nervous come April.

    • gary3411

       Pretty sure he means there will not be any “true” platoons. The article states Baker will play against lefties, just not automatically 1 for 1 for another player, but for all 3 lefties. Same will be if Campana happens to make the team I’m sure. He will play for Byrd and Soriano at times against righties, just not always for a certain one of them.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Cubs1967,
      To answer your question: Dale Qlueless.Let’s seeeeee……
      Ian Steward lifetime vs. LHP……223 BA….
      2011……091 BA
      2010…….231 BA
      2009….178 BA
      2008……370 in only 20 AB

      The FACT is this: The Rockies didn’t trust Stewart to bat vs. LHP. But Boy Genius says he can do it. Carlos Pena hit .133 vs LHP in 2011. He got 146 PA vs LHP in 2011 by means of Mike QQlueless. If our manager is that dumb again, expect .091 or lower BA from Mr. Stewart.

      • cubs1967

        longterm it does not matter; Stewart is not the future; maybe Vitters will live up to his very high draft slot;otherwise when the team is ready to contend 3rd base will have to be addressed ; if Baez progresses he could be; but not till 2015 at the very earliest.

    • Tony_Hall

      Can you use stats in relative terms?

      43 HRs against RHP in 964 AB’s or every 22.4 AB’s
      11 HR’s against LHP in 278 AB’s or every 25.3 AB’s

      If you can imagine he has faced more righties in his career, more opportunities, more HR’s.  His per AB ratio isn’t that much different.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Scott Miller (CBS Sports): List of 12 or so players Cubs and Padres have agreed on re. compensation. 1 player will come from that list later in spring.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil, is there a link for that list?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

         I have not seen one … sorry.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bunt winners of the day: Beliveau, Castillo, McNutt, Dolis, Rhee, Rusin, Maine and Coleman

    • Ripsnorter1

      All pitchers, or was it Wellington Castillo?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

         All pitchers, Lendy Castillo.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jeff Baker cannot hit RHP anymore. He is truly one dimensional. 

    2010 vs RHP…..106 in 72 PA and slugged .121
    2011 vs. RHP…..200 in 80 AB, and slugged .263

    By this you can see he had a career year in 2011…….

    His usefulness is steadily declining. Time for Jed to sign him for a multiyear contract.

    What is interesting is that Sveum has already named him a “semi-starter.” By what stroke of genius did he come to that conclusion?

    • gary3411

       Wait, Stewart shouldn’t hit against lefthanded pitching and Baker shouldn’t always hit against lefthanded pitching? Which one do you want? There’s no one else left.

    • Steve_Rock-Vegas

      Where did he claim he’s a “semi-starter”?  He said he’d fill in and give people a break at multiple positions, how is that a semi-starter?  And why would Jed give him a multiyear contract, has he done that for ANYONE yet? No!

    • Tony_Hall

      Rip – I don’t believe anyone here thinks he should play much against RH pitchers, but he should start against lefties.  

      There is no basis for thinking Jed will give him a multi-year contract, none.  

      And if by semi-starter, you mean he will start most of the time against lefties, well then that isn’t a stroke of genius at all, it is just plain common sense.

  • Ripsnorter1

    And maybe Sveum and Jed will come to the Quade conclusion that Baker ought to start over Barney. Just think of the possibilities……

    Stewart hitting .091 vs. LHP, while Baker hits .106 vs RHP….
    It would be a platoon of can’t hit players no matter if the pitcher was a RHP or a LHP….you’d essentially be playing with just 7 hitters any day of the week….and if Stewart pulls a 2011 where he mashed RHP to the clip of .170 [yup, he nailed RHP at a .170 clip in 2011], then on days that a RHP started, you’d be down to 6 hitters per lineup. And that’s not even considering the rest of this lineup…..

    Soriano hit RHP at a .235 clip, assuming no more regression
    Byrd hit .293 vs RHP, only .219 vs LHP!
    DeJesus….174 vs LHP–give him $10 million!
    Soto……207 vs RHP
    Castro hit .297 vs RHP…..342 vs LHP

    You can see that it doesn’t matter LHP or RHP, we are going to have days where there are only 4 or 5 hitters in the lineup at once. The rest will be automatic out.

    Of course, this is how Jed built the Padres for their last place finish in 2011, too.

    And no, we don’t need to platoon player. No. Not at all……..

    And the incompetence continues……

    • Steve_Rock-Vegas

      The only incompetience is the logic in the post above.

    • Tony_Hall

      I’m not following you, in one post you are mad because as you say Baker is a “semi-starter” or will as I say, will start most of the time against lefties.  Then in this post you are complaining they aren’t doing strict platoons. 

      Which one don’t you like? or have you become so negative you now don’t like either side of an discussion?

  • Ripsnorter1

    In his career, Koyie Hill won 60% of the games he started at C……

    • Rational Logic

      That stat is garbage. You catch different pitchers, play against different lineups, and play alongside different players every day, week, and season. Don’t try to bring that weak sauce into your argument. 

      That’s like saying the Cubs should beat X team because historically they have a 300-150 W-L record…

    • gary3411

       Yea that’s a terrible stat. He usually caught our better pitchers.

    • Tony_Hall

      You hated Koyie Hill, what’s your point?

      • paulcatanese

        He gotcha! Rip is just grinding everyones stones.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Tony,

        Just stating a fact. That’s it. And I thought it to be an interesting fact that comes as near to being inexplicable as any I’ve ever heard.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Tom Haudricourt: Ryan Braun has won his appeal of a drug suspension and will not be suspended for 50 games. Blog on jsonline.com.

    • BosephHeyden

       And no one is even going to give an explanation as to why they gave that 2-1 decision.  But I think we all know why without it needing to be said:  the MLB named Braun the National League MVP right before this news came out.  Them giving the MVP award to a man who, for all intents and purposes, cheated (because the suspension was simply overturned, it wasn’t a case of “Oh, it was a bad drug test”) make the front office look like complete idiots (which they are).  Them overturning the suspension is basically them saying “We do not acknowledge that he cheated, despite evidence to the contrary”. 

      If Braun is smart, he learns from this, doesn’t take any supplements that aren’t on the MLB’s approved list (which professional athletes who do get caught are wont to do), and steers clear of any needles not containing a vaccine of some sort.  Then maybe we forget all this.  Then again, he’s a professional athlete who, until they flat out say the drug test was incorrect or contaminated to give a positive result, cheated, so he’ll probably do it again.

      And this still doesn’t mean the Cubs shouldn’t try to compete, because I think this team can at least make a dent in the NL Central.

      • daverj

        If what you say is true, then why is MLB upset with the decision by the appeal panel?  Do you think MLB is just saying that publicly, but secretly MLB is happy with the decision?

        • BosephHeyden

          It was a 2-1 reversal, so that means at least one person tried to do the right thing.  People can say the MLB is upset at this, and chances are there are a few people who want to see a man who cheated pay for it by not playing 50 games.  But 2 people voted in favor of Braun, which tells me more people support this decision and are just not vocal about it because, realistically, there likely is no evidence to justify this reversal and by getting vocal, they’ll have to justify their position.

          A situation like this, it is always a lot easier to be vocally supportive of the side with evidence.  And, well, unfortunately it looks like that side lost.

          • daverj

            If the reason regarding the sample being improperly placed in the courier’s fridge for 2 days is true, then I think the reversal is the right decision.  If that is not true, however, and all the proper rules were followed with Braun’s sample, then I agree with you.

          • Anthony

            Blame it on the LA Police Dept. and Detective Mahrlk Fermun

          • paulcatanese

            Took the words right out of my mouth, If it doesent fit, you must aquit.

          • Anthony

            paul, you got the Rosa Lopez slang

          • BosephHeyden

             Here’s the thing, though:  it was in FedEx’s fridge over the weekend.  That’s standard stuff.  I, too, would understand if FedEx picked  up his sample from the lab, left it out in the open over the weekend, then came back and shipped it out.  But they didn’t.  They stored it over the weekend for the sole reason it doesn’t get shipped over the weekend and risk contamination due to the fact that no one would get it for a full two days but it would be handled by more people than usual.  And blood and/or urine doesn’t get elevated testosterone levels from staying stagnant in a refrigerated environment.

            The more information that’s coming out, it seems like they were purely looking for any sort of excuse to waive the suspension.  I’m sure that, had they shipped it over the weekend instead of storing it, Braun would have had the excuse that FedEx didn’t follow procedure with weekend drug test shipments and, because it was shipped out during the weekend, there were plenty of opportunities for people to tamper with it.

            The whole thing stinks, and MLB, if they’re angry enough about this, needs to take some steps to punish him until he’s been proven innocent (because so far he hasn’t).

  • Lola71125

    How Mather should not be underestimated for the bunting title! He IS a GREAT bunter! Just sayin…do ur homework!!!

    • Maggiemae2408

      He CAN bunt! If you’re talking about Joe Mather that is!