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Cubs reportedly prepared to ‘blow away the field’ to sign Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka is a player who has been widely discussed over the past several months as the next big superstar to join Major League Baseball from Japan. Early reports after the season ended indicated that the New York Yankees were the team to beat when it comes to bidding on Tanaka. The Chicago Cubs have since taken on that role.

On Thursday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Cubs were “pushing hard” for Tanaka to beat out other interested teams that include the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. ESPN’s Jayson Stark took it a step further later on Thursday.

Tanaka was dominant last season in Japan, posting a 24-0 record and a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The posting fee for his services was initially expected to be in the $75 million range (50% more than the Boston Red Sox paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka and Texas Rangers paid for Yu Darvish), but a recent deal reached between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball has capped that number at $20 million.

The common belief is that Tanaka will sign a contract that is somewhere around the $120 to $140 million range, meaning he could cost a team around $150 or $160 million when you factor in the posting fee. The team that shells the money out can only hope his effectiveness is comparable to Darvish, not Matsuzaka

H/T Hardball Talk

CSN shows naked Cubs mascot with penis on live TV (Video)

In an absolutely fantastic moment in live TV history, CSN Washington made one of the greatest, albeit inappropriate, blunders that we have ever seen.

On Monday, the Chicago Cubs unveiled their new mascot — Clark the Cub — which aims to appeal to young kids. The mascot looked cute to me and like something that would appeal to youngsters, but the internet got a hold of it and turned it into a big joke, apparently forgetting that the mascot is for, you know, young children.

Anyway, Deadspin sunk their claws into the mascot and said it looked like a “perverted furry.” They then turned it into a meme and encouraged readers to Photoshop dirty images of the mascot, leading to the handy piece of artwork with Clark’s twig and gigs sticking out.

Then, in some amazing twist of incredible fate, Deadspin’s inappropriate photoshop of Clark the Cub ended up on CSN’s broadcast when they did a segment to decide which was the worse mascot: Clark or the New Orleans Pelican. The reaction from host Nicole Darin was priceless.

“Also worth noting … he doesn’t wear any pants! Uhh I think that’s a gag photo,” Darin quickly pointed out.

Darin and her co-host smoothly transitioned into a discussion about whether Yogi Bear wears pants, unlike Clark, whose junk was ever-present in the photo.

Oh man, that was just fantastic on every single level.

Cubs mascot Clark

Chicago Cubs fighting to put a stop to unauthorized ‘Billy Cub’ mascot

Billy-CubIf you asked Chicago Cubs fans who the team’s official mascot is, some of them would tell you it is “Billy Cub.” Since 2007, John Paul Weier has been climbing into his bear suit and interacting with fans outside Wrigley Field on game day. Now, the Cubs want him to go away.

Weier NBC 5 Chicago on Thursday that he recently received a 120-page cease and desist letter from Major League Baseball claiming he has been infringing on trademarks. The letter ordered him to stop engaging in “unabated Mascot Activities” and claimed that one of the Billys (Weier has recruited others to wear the costume) has been racially abusive toward fans.

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Ian Stewart goes on whiny rant about being stuck in minors with Chicago Cubs

Ian-Stewart-CubsWhatever chance Ian Stewart had of being recalled to the majors by the Chicago Cubs prior to Monday night has probably slipped away. The once-promising young infielder was sent from the Colorado Rockies to Chicago last year, and he hit just .201 in 55 games with the Cubs. Stewart now appears to be stuck in the minors.

The 28-year-old is hitting .165 with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa this year. On Tuesday night, he took to Twitter to vent about how the Cubs have no interest in calling him up and how manager Dale Sveum doesn’t like him. It all started when a follower asked him when he would be called back up to the majors.

Stewart then began getting bashed by some other followers, who were quick to point out that he is making $2 million this season to play in the minors. He acknowledged that he is making a lot of money but began complaining about how the Cubs and Sveum have it out for him.

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Chicago Cubs, White Sox somehow hosted games in this fog (Video)

Chicago-Cubs-fog

The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox hosted games in some unusual weather elements on Monday night. Rain delays are common throughout the MLB season, but very rarely does fog invade a city to the point where player safety comes into question.

The screenshot you see above is not one from a low quality camera or a broken lens. The reason you can hardly make out Cincinnati Reds left fielder Xavier Paul is because the fog was so thick as he camped under a fly ball that cameras nearly lost sight of him. The Reds won 6-2 at Wrigley Field in a game that was somehow not delayed. The White Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 10-6, but their game was delayed for about an hour in the third.

Here is a video that shows how bad the fog in the Windy City got at certain points during the night:

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Cubs prospect Jorge Soler reportedly went after opponents with a bat

Jorge-Soler-CubsChicago Cubs prospect Jorge Soler may have a slight anger management issue to deal with before he makes his way to the Big Leagues. Soler plays for the team’s Class-A affiliate, the Daytona Cubs. On Wednesday night, Daytona lost 14-9 to the Clearwater Thresers in extra innings, but the thrill of extra frames took a backseat to the commotion Soler caused with his outburst in the seventh inning.

According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal (via the Chicago Tribune), the 21-year-old outfielder charged toward the Threshers’ dugout with a bat in his hand following the seventh. Prior to that, Soler had been involved in a confrontation with Clearwater’s Edgar Alonso after Soler slid into second base. The two reportedly exchanged words and had to be separated by teammates, but Soler apparently never cooled down and went after Alonso wielding a bat. Daytona manager Dave Keller said it was “kind of like a nightmare.”

“I think that he was frustrated by some things and there was some emotional things he was fighting with,” Keller said. “Why he did that, I don’t know. I think he was frustrated by what happened. When he slid into second base, (Alonso) ended up laying on top of him. He was laying on him so (Soler) pushed with his arm to get him off him, and I think the second baseman interpreted that the wrong way like he wanted to fight or something.”

Keller went on to describe the scene, which sounded like something straight out of Hollywood.

“There were two separate incidents, and there was really no fight,” he said. “But because nobody was around him when he was running across the field with a bat … that makes things a little bit crazy.”

Baseball fights like this and bench-clearing brawls like this are all part of the game, but running after someone with a bat takes things to a dangerous level. There’s no telling if Soler was actually going to to something with the bat, but the league has to assume he planned on using it as a weapon when deciding his punishment.

Goat’s head delivered to Wrigley Field for Chicago Cubs owner

Billy Goat TavernIf the Chicago Cubs didn’t believe in the curse of the Billy Goat before, they probably do now.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a man drove up to Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon, dropped off a package that contained a goat’s head, and told the security guard to give it to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. The Tribune says the head was all black and had a U.S. Department of Agriculture tag on its ear.

The Cubs reportedly called police and gave them the package. Police are investigating the situation.

If you’re kind of lost at this point and wondering if this is some sort of reference to “The Godfather” and the horse’s head, allow us to shed some light.

As the story goes, in 1945, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis wanted to bring his goat into a World Series game between the Cubs and Detroit Tigers but was denied admission. There supposedly has been a curse placed upon the team since then. The Cubs have not reached the World Series since ’45, and they have not won it since 1908.

Think about this for a second: How jacked up is the dude who delivered an actual goat’s head in a package to Wrigley Field? What kind of Travis Bickle schemes do you think this guy is plotting in his apartment? And how about the poor schmoes who had to open the package? You think those folks were able to sleep tonight? Heck no. That’s taking creepiness to levels it should never go.

Photo: © 2006, Jeremy Atherton