Cubs get back to normal with re-opening of RF bleachers


Cubs get back to normal with re-opening of RF bleachers

Finally, right field will have an opportunity for a rebuttal against the argument that it sucks.

The Cubs re-opened the renovated right field bleachers for Thursday night’s game against Cincinnati, meaning blue-clad fans will spread across the outfield at Wrigley Field for the first time in 2015.

[MORE: Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber keeping it 'stupid']

“It’s nice. I guess we’re back to capacity, and it’ll be fun,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Coming off a nice road trip, I know the fans are definitely into it, even walking around downtown I’m getting a lot of feedback from the folks. It’s fun. I’m having a good time.”

The Cubs returned to Wrigley Field Thursday night off a 5-4 road trip with stops in Miami, Washington D.C. and Detroit. The right field bleachers were closed for the season’s first two months due to delays in their renovations, while the left and center field bleachers opened in May.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo said he’s looking forward to a more complete atmosphere at Wrigley Field with fans in all three bleacher sections.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans]

“You heard it when left field and center field opened up, and now right field opened up,” Rizzo said. “It’ll just be louder. It’s perfect timing, summer’s hitting and we’re about to get pretty deep into the season in the next few weeks here.”

The Cubs entered Thursday night with a 15-11 record at Wrigley Field, so the empty sections haven’t had a negative impact on their performance.

“It really hasn’t been that weird,” Rizzo said. “It’s nice to have people there, but once the game starts you’re focused on what you have to do. It’s good. I think it looks great.”

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers. 

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis didn't go all scorched earth on the Cubs in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, but he had quite a lot to say after being ousted by the organization after just one year as the hitting coach.

The Cubs made Davis the scapegoat for an offense that faded down the stretch, struggling for the entire second half and scoring just 1 run in three of the final four games of the year.

When he was hired a year ago, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon talked up Davis' impressive resume that includes a 19-year MLB career, two separate stints as a successful hitting coach with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox and a philosophy that they hoped would withstand the test of time in the game today, preaching more contact and using the opposite field.

Throughout the 2018 season, Maddon often commended Davis for his ability to communicate with players, particularly in the area of mental approach to each at-bat.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on his firing, Davis felt he had some issues getting through to some Cubs players.

I learned a lot this year," Davis told the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I'll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn't connect with. It wasn't that I didn't try; it just wasn't there.

The Cubs hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach Monday afternoon. Iapoce comes over from the Rangers and has a direct link to John Mallee, who was the Cubs' hitting coach for three seasons before being let go when Davis became available last winter. 

Iapoce also spent three seasons with the Cubs as a special assistant to the GM, overseeing the organization's minor-league hitting from 2013-15. Presumably, he found a way over those years to connect with the Cubs' top young hitting prospects — guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras that are now leading the big-league lineup.

Hopefully he has better success at this than I did," Davis said of Iapoce in the Sun-Times article. "But regardless of who's there, certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments because the game's changed and pitchers are pitching them differently. They're not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They're pitching away from that. They're going to have to make that adjustment whether I'm there or not.

Davis had a whole lot more to say on the matter and I encourage you to read the full interview with Wittenmyer over at

A healthy Bryant very likely could've changed everything for Davis and the Cubs' 2018 lineup. Contreras hitting like he's capable of in the second half would've made a huge difference, as well.

But the end result is a finish to the 2018 campaign that was viewed universally as a disappointment — particularly in the offensive department — and the Cubs are left with their third different hitting coach in three seasons.