The Cubs have finally answered that age old question, posited by the eternally hilarious Lou Costello - "who's on first?"
Okay, in the Cubs situation, the question was more like, "who's coaching first?" but that doesn't flow nearly as well.
As part of the surprise cleansing and reshuffling of the coaching staff, former first base coach, Brandon Hyde, was shifted into the bench coach role in replacement of Davey Martinez, who finally got his chance at managing with the Nationals. In the last few weeks, due to the lack of real hot stove season scoops, Cubs fans' minds have wandered, wondering just who might slot into that newly-opened first base vacancy.
Well, yesterday afternoon, we got our answer:
Former Padre, Ranger, and Dodger, Will Venable, officially hung up his spikes and joined the Chicago Cubs front office, as a special assistant to the GM, this past September. It was a move that made a ton of sense, seeing as Will was drafted and developed under the Jed Hoyer regime and is thus quite familiar with the current FO. Furthermore, as a Princeton graduate with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology, Venable added another brilliant mind to the highly analytical executive staff. All in all, it was a match made in heaven.
Then, the Cubbie coaches started jumping ship.
Therefore, yesterday it was announced that the Cubs would be reshuffling their deck by moving Will out of the front office and back onto the field as Joe Maddon's first base coach. Furthermore, the 1B coach is also expected to serve as the club's outfielders coach, which likely played into the decision to have the former fly-chaser and his career .988 fielding percentage move back down to the field.
Thankfully, I just so happened to have the above 2006 Bowman Originals single sitting in my trade stacks and I was able to immediately slide it into my Cubs' All-Time Coaches binder - an offshoot of my CATRC. I must have acquired this card in some sort of repack, as I know I have never opened so much as a single pack of this one-and-done, semi-high end product.
It's not the most exciting card, but it gets the job done; plus, I appreciate the Spring Training/batting practice jersey appearance. Additionally, courtesy of the back, I learned that Will was quite the all-around athlete - he has more hardwood highlights on the back of his baseball card than diamond credentials. In fact, upon further research, he was recruited by Princeton as a basketball player exclusively and didn't even play baseball during his freshman year. Maybe he could try to help out the disorganized mess known as the Chicago Bulls during the off-season?
Will Venable hoopin' with Princeton, image courtesy of Princeton Athletics
Now, the Cubs coaching staff is almost completely set - Venable at first, Brian Butterfield at third, Hyde on the bench, Lester Strode in the bullpen, Jim Hickey leads the pitchers while Chili Davis and Andy Haines handle the hitters. At this point, the only vacant slot left is the quality control coach, as the aforementioned Martinez poached fan-favorite, Henry Blanco, and brought his to Washington. I wonder who Joe Maddon and the Cubs might bring in to fill that position?
At any rate, welcome to Chicago, Will, and welcome to my crazy collection as well! Here's hoping that we don't hear your name too much during the 2018 campaign, as you seemingly only hear the base coaches names as the result of a bad send.
Fingers crossed that there's nothing but Good Will Sending!
P.S. - today's blog entry is something of a milestone; at least, it's a notable number anyway. This writing is Wrigley Roster Jenga's 666th post... Zoinks - the number of the beast! This post needs Jesus!
Good night, everybody! I'll be here all week; don't forget to tip your waitresses.