— 田中将大/MASAHIRO TANAKA (@t_masahiro18) January 21, 2014
It set twitter ablaze, with everyone thinking he’d made a decision. As it turns out, it means he hasn’t made a decision. But one of Julie’s sources is steadfast (or at least was yesterday) that the Cubs are still the frontrunners.
Asked my source if he wanted to back off his #Cubs & Tanaka optimism today. His response? “No way.”
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) January 20, 2014
So that’s where we stand with Tanaka, for now. Rest assured that we’ll be monitoring Tanaka’s twitter feed, running to Google translate and trying to make sense of the gibberish that spews forth.
While we’re waiting on Tanaka, one thing we learned from this weekend is that Jason McLeod has a penchant for swearing. And that he showed the Cubs prospects who were paraded around Chicago last weekend some footage from the 2004 ALCS featuring new Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller.
“One of our big things is ‘When It Happens.’ We’ve kind of tied it into the ‘W’ flag,” said Jason McLeod, the vice president of scouting and player development. “That could be when it happens on the back field when you’re working on groundballs or it could be the apex of a career moment.”
That’s how McLeod cued up the clip of Mueller facing Mariano Rivera in front of 34,826 fans at Fenway Park. The New York Yankees had the greatest closer of all-time on the mound, three outs away from sweeping the American League Championship Series.
“The great thing was Soler was kind of sitting there watching,” McLeod said. “And all of a sudden he goes: ‘That’s him!’ It was like: ‘Yeah, this guy was really f—— good!’”
Mueller hit the game-tying single off of Rivera, scoring Dave Roberts, who went to high school with McLeod.
“It gives me goose bumps thinking about it, because I was sitting seven rows behind home plate when it happened,” McLeod said. “Dave was my high school center fielder. It was freaking awesome. But with the video, right away, they were like: ‘Holy s—!’
“It was only like a three- or four-minute clip. And then when it was off, I’m like: ‘Which of you guys want that moment? Who wants to be up there?’ You could tell Albert was like: ‘I f—— want it!’
“Bryant (was the same way). It went right into Bill talking about his preparation and how he didn’t get caught up in all the hoopla, because it was so loud. And then when Dave stole second, (the noise) got even louder. But (Bill said): ‘My preparation, my routine allowed me to not get caught up in it.’”
Mueller wishes to keep them grounded.
“Handling the moment” is how Mueller summed up his message to the prospects. “This is going to be real for you guys. And how are you going to prepare for that particular moment?”
Isn’t that a nice, profanity-laden story?