Does Wrigley Field culture need changing?

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Does Wrigley Field culture need changing?

When Theo Epstein came to town, he preached the need for a culture change with the Cubs here in Chicago. It's something CSN's David Kaplan has stressed for months.

But they meant within the Cubs' organization, not cultural dynamics that have been implemented for the fan's enjoyment.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote Thursday night Theo and the Cubs may be nixing one of the traditions that make Wrigley Field and the Cubs so great.

Now, to be fair, Sullivan isn't advocating -- or even suggesting -- eliminating one of the traditions, but he is simply asking "what if Theo got rid of this?"

But some of the things he suggests could go is crazy. The "Go, Cubs, Go" song? No way. Day games? Can't do it. Seventh-inning stretch singers? Unless you can find somebody as iconic as Harry Caray to belt out the lyrics every game, you can't take away a big tradition like that. The organ music? Might as well tear down Wrigley Field and move it to the suburbs.

The only one I really agree with is the "L" flag. The "W" flag is a cult favorite, but the "L" flag does nothing but let the world know the Cubs lost that day and considering they've been doing a lot of losing lately, that flag has probably had to be replaced multiple times over the past two seasons.

Sullivan brings up other things such as the phrase "Cubbies" and how that may be on its way out.

I can't imagine any of these things really has an impact on anything. Maybe some fans find them annoying. No doubt most Sox fans find just about everything on this list annoying, especially Steve Goodman's classic song.

But when I think culture change, I think more like taking pitches to extend the at-bat, not accepting excuses for mistakes, avoiding mental miscues. Not getting rid of some of the things that make going to a Cubs game so rewarding.

If Albert Pujols hits a home run into the bleachers and I'm lucky enough to catch the ball, I want the whole stadium yelling at me to "Throw it back!"

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs wrapping up spring training

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs wrapping up spring training

Today on the Sports Talk Live podcast, David Kaplan, Seth Gruen, Teddy Greenstein, and Mark Grote discussed Addison Russell’s injury, if Szczur or La Stella should get the Cubs final roster spot, if the Bulls would be better off facing the Celtics or Cavs in the first round of the playoffs, and Jay Cutler’s butt all over the internet.

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell believes he will be ready for Opening Night. Right now, Cubs manager Joe Maddon says his All-Star shortstop starting the season on the disabled list is an option that "I'm not considering."

But Russell hasn't played in a Cactus League game since March 22 and the Cubs have only three exhibitions left before facing the St. Louis Cardinals on national TV. The new 10-day disabled list would also allow the Cubs to backdate Russell's injury (stiff back) to March 30 and create a degree of roster flexibility. 

"We're trying to start the season out on a good note and definitely in St. Louis," Russell said Tuesday. "That's kind of the goal, but if the back doesn't feel well until then, maybe that's something that we'll have to do. With the way that I'm feeling, I don't think that's necessary."

The Cubs did get Ben Zobrist (stiff neck) back into the lineup that afternoon against the San Francisco Giants at Sloan Park. Russell estimated he's around "95 percent" and hoped to play Wednesday before the Cubs leave Arizona and fly out for two exhibition games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.      

"We're not trying to take it too quick," Russell said. "Missing a few games here in the spring is a lot better than a few games in the season. I've talked to Joe and there's no hurry back."

Five days out from what should be an electric atmosphere at Busch Stadium, Maddon said athletic trainer PJ Mainville didn't sound concerned about Russell's back issue.

"PJ felt very strongly that he's going to be fine over the next couple days," Maddon said. "From Addison's perspective, knowing baseball players who've been doing so well, you take a couple days off, you're concerned that you're going to lose it. 

"I'm certain he's going to be fine. Actually, I'm OK with him getting some rest right now. The biggest thing is: Medically, is he going to be fine? Everybody thinks that he is, so I'm not concerned."