Cubs Corner: Sloan Park, PECOTA Picks, Cubs Flashback, More

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With just a couple of weeks until Spring Training starts (asterisks all over that last statement), this edition of Cubs Corner will focus on the spring home of the Chicago Cubs: Sloan Park.

Cubs Corner: Sloan Park Facts

Named after a Chicago-based plumbing company (Sloan Valve Company), Sloan and the Cubs have been doing business together for over a century. When Wrigley Field was built, Sloan Valve Company valves were used for the toilets and urinals (that never flushed back in the 70s).

Sloan Park has been the home of the Cubs Spring Training facilities for the Cubs since 2014.

Opened for business in 2014, Sloan Park has a seating capacity of 15,000, icluding 9,200 fixed seats, 1,600 suite-level seats, and an outfield berm which allows for another 4,200 spectators.

With a grass surface, the outfield walls sit at 360 feet to left, 366 feet to left-center, 398 feet to right-center, and finally, 360 feet to right. I know several friends who’ve seen games there, and from everything I gather, it’s an awesome park for attending a Spring Training event.

Cubs Corner: Cubs a 2nd Place Team?

I’ll admit, I’m just not seeing it, and in fact, I wrote just yesterday that the Cubs looked to be a fourth-place team (as of now) in my book. PECOTA, however, seems to disagree, viewing the Cubs as a second-place team in 2021.

People seem divided on PECOTA’s predictions, year in and year out, but they seem to be more right than wrong, at least in recent years past. I think this year, however, someone may have gotten into the liquor cabinet before making predictions.

As it stands now, PECOTA says the Milwaukee Brewers will win the division with an estimated 88.5 wins with the Cubs trailing in second with 85.1 wins. In third, the Cardinals are projected to collect 80.6 wns, while the Reds are figured aa a fourth-place team with 79.1 wins. Bringing up the bottom (as always) are the Pittsburgh Pirates, figured to take home 61.1 wins – well, at least they got that one right…

Other division winners per PECOTA are as follows: The Mets (95.5 wins), the Dodgers (102.9 wins), the Yankees (97.4 wins), the Twins (90.6 wins), and the Astros with 93 wins. For the record, PECOTA also has the White Sox languishing in third with just 83.1 wins.

Um… Where do I even begin here? From where I sit, it looks like 83-85 wins will capture the NL Central. There’s no way in hell the Brew Crew outlasts the Redbirds – especially not with the addition of Nolan Arenado – assuming he adjusts to life outside of Coors Field.

In the west, the Dodgers are not going to finish 7.3 games ahead of the Padres (San Diego is estimated to win 95.6 games). I could go on forever with this round of early predictions, but I’ll let you do your own scoffing. You can find the picks under the PECOTA link above.

Cubs Corner: Cubs Flashback

Joe “Maddog” Maddon

The date was July 4, 2019 and the Cubs had lost a few in a row. Needing some ammunition to fire up is slumping squad, Joe Maddon picked the right time and battle, as the Pirates pitchers had been throwing at guys for weeks.

After exclaiming, “Let’s go! Throw the ball over the fu***ng plate!”, umpire Joe West gave Maddon the boot. Maddon wasn’t having it. Figuring he’d already been tossed, he was going to get his nickel’s worth in. Maddon wanted a piece of West, he wanted (former) Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, and anyone else who got in his way that day.

Well, as it turns out, the Pirates didn’t learn a lesson from Joe Maddon’s tirade, and two weeks later it was the Reds who were livid about pitches up and in. After Reds’ pitcher Amir Garret let one or two travel upwards and inwards, the Pirates started giving him lip from the dugout. Unlike Maddon who feigned an attack, Garrett went full-on – by himself, nonetheless – with the entire Pirates bench. Multiple suspensions were handed out, but Pittsburgh finally got the message.

Cubs Corner: Birthdays

Celebrating yesterday were ex-Cubs:

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Ken Allison is the senior of two MLB Department Heads, as well as a writer and editor for Overtime Heroics. A life-long MLB fan, he's also written for CubsHQ and had the opportunity to try out for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.