The Rundown: It’s (Sort of) Opening Day, Various Cubs Season Previews, Trout Signs Record Extension, Brewers Have Approached Kimbrel

Spring arrives today and meaningful Cubs baseball is just eight days away. Meanwhile, baseball is showcasing a soft opening of sorts with a two-game series in Japan that got underway this morning.

Yu Darvish has a blister and nobody is calling him soft, and it seems like Kris Bryant gets asked about a contract extension every time a player finds an extra finski or $430 million in his paycheck. Can you tell we are desperate for baseball? MLB journalism has reached that point of the offseason where it seeks sensationalism in every nook and cranny of every spring training complex in Arizona and Florida.

What’s next? MLB March Madness brackets?

Clubhouse prop bets to pass time as spring training winds down?

They don’t call these the dog days of March for nothing. Even the actual baseball games have become boring as teams are fielding lineups of mostly minor league and fringe players. Yawn.

I suppose it’s better than those first days of camp where managers set the ground rules for the coming season and we sift through endless video highlights of players doing calisthenics. And after a tumultuous offseason, news surrounding our Wrigleyville ballclub has been of the mild variety for the most part. Addison Russell has managed to keep himself and his issues out of the spotlight and Joe Maddon has avoided tripping over his own tongue by avoiding the topic entirely.

So, are you ready for some baseball?

The Cubs’ feel-good moment of the month has got to be the organization’s repurposed YouTube channel, one that features some truly great content while giving its fans a bird’s-eye view of key baseball moments as well as the personal sides of players’ lives. It’s a nice diversion from some of the more troubling issues facing the team.

I’m ready for training camps to break. Spring training has lost the boot camp mentality of ages long gone by and now seems more like a nicely packaged forward to the more compelling chapters of baseball that lie ahead. I’m anxious for the season to start and looking forward to every ooh and aah the Cubs will provide from now until the end of October.

Baseball season, nothing could make me happier.

Cubs News & Notes

Spring Training Notes

Uh-oh. According to a tweet from MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, the Milwaukee Brewers are thinking of making a big addition to their already dangerous bullpen in the form of Craig Kimbrel.

Mr. Trout got paid a whole lot of money yesterday.

The Angels outfielder could actually be a $430 million bargain.

Trout’s record-breaking extension might be the predictable result of baseball’s current free agency climate.

The reaction by Phillies fans to the Trout news is priceless.

Speaking of Philadelphia, Bryce Harper is an epic failure as a recruiter.

Harper climbed out on another limb yesterday, predicting he will help deliver a World Series trophy to Philadelphia. The right fielder is obviously full of confidence despite being snubbed by his buddy.

USA Today offers a season preview for all 30 teams using just one sentence for each. It’s a quick read.

Ichiro Suzuki is still beloved by Japanese baseball fans.

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler threw 46 pitches in his spring debut.

Interested in a ranking of the 10 craziest food items at baseball stadiums?

On Deck

Baseball is here! It’s opening day for U.S. Major League Baseball…in Japan? Yes: The Mariners and Athletics squared off this morning in Tokyo for the first regular-season game of the MLB season. The game began at 5:35am ET.

Despite what George Carlin says, I’ll take baseball over football 365 days a year.

Extra Innings

Oh dear God, no…

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Beautiful Day by U2. Welcome back, baseball.

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