- Steve Schlickman, head of the Urban Transportation Center at UIC, regarding an estimated $320-million project to build a Brown Line bypass in Lakeview.

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- Former Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano to Randy Wells when asked if he had change for $100 (per @CSNMooney).

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Jackie Robinson at Wrigley Field in 1947.

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- Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat. Tonight’s game in New York has been postponed due to rain. The Cubs will play a doubleheader against the Yankees tomorrow.

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The worst seat at Wrigley Field.
Photo credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune. Full gallery here.
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The worst seat at Wrigley Field.

Photo credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune. Full gallery here.

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- Rangers GM Jon Daniels on trading for Cubs starter Matt Garza last season. The Cubs received C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez in return.

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Cubs announce new remote parking lot

As promised, the Cubs officially announced plans for a free remote parking lot at 3900 N Rockwell St. (located south of Irving Park between California and Western) on Monday.

The lot has enough room for about 1,000 cars and it will be secured by Cubs personnel. There’s also a shuttle to and from Wrigley Field that runs for 2.5 hours before the game and an hour after.

As always, I strongly recommend taking public transportation if possible, but this seems like a nice alternative if you must drive, especially with the recent increase in parking tickets around the ballpark.

Update (4/22/14): Per DNAinfo Chicago, the lot is in violation of city zoning rules. The Cubs will seek approval for a special permit, but in the meantime, the team will be allowed to operate the lot as planned.

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Watch the mitt

When Cubs prospect Javier Baez is at the plate, it’s easy to be mesmerized by the beauty and violence of his swing.

In his second at-bat on Wednesday night, Baez hit an awe-inspiring no-doubter to the back of the left-field berm off of Mariners lefty Randy Wolf. It was transcendental.

And while most fans will watch the replay and marvel at the power Baez is able to generate with his elite bat speed, understanding why Baez got such a good pitch to hit is just as important. How do we do that? We watch the catcher’s mitt.

Notice where the catcher sets up before the pitch and where his mitt is located when the ball reaches the plate in the images below:

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As you can see, the catcher wants the ball down in the zone, but Wolf leaves it up and over the plate. That’ll do. You can swoon over the final result here.

I’m certainly no talent evaluator or scout, but I’ve been watching baseball this way for a few years and I’ve learned that pitchers miss their spots fairly often. Sometimes they get away with it, but not against good hitters.

Javier Baez is a good hitter.

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Effectively Wild Episode 383: Chicago Cubs season preview

Here’s a comprehensive—though somewhat underwhelming—look ahead at the 2014 Chicago Cubs from BP’s Effectively Wild podcast.

As with most national coverage of a non-contender, there tends to be some generalizations and blasé analysis. For example, I disagree with the notion that Anthony Rizzo needs a bounce-back season. Last year, Rizzo was fifth in the NL in doubles and extra-base hits and sixth in walks. He also played Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. Sure, you’d like to see a higher batting average and more home runs, but he was fairly effective in 2013, and his perceived shortcomings could be due to bad luck (.258 BABIP (.172 (!) on ground balls)). 

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