Yeah, I said it. No, I'm not drunk.
And I am indeed talking about the wunderkind with the ability to make grown men swoon. With dreamy power generated by a nightmarish swing, Baez has injected new life into a fanbase starved for both stars and wins. Cubs fans are salivating at the mere thought of seeing Baez launch baseballs over the ivy.
I'm sure some folks saw the shot he hit the other night, the one that nearly took out the scoreboard in left, and extrapolated out to the days when he might do the same to Tom Ricketts' new LED video board at Wrigley. But before we go putting the overloaded cart ahead of the emaciated horse, I've got this to say: the Chicago Cubs don't need Javier Baez...yet.
Oh, did I omit "yet" from the title? My bad.
But before I go any further in my defense of the decision to keep Javy in the minors, I want to admit something to you: I am addicted to Candy Crush. Yes, I enjoy -- and am infuriated by -- a stupid game that involves lining up like-colored candies in the oft-futile attempt to beat a level.
But lest you label my endeavors as juvenile and pedantic, understand that at least one respected mathematician has lent credence to the fact that CC is awesome, assigning it the designation of NP-complete. I'm not going to pretend that I know what that means on anything other than the most cursory level, but I do know that it's in the same league as Mario Bros. and Zelda. That's heady stuff, right there.
Anyway, in my efforts to slog through the mind-numbing levels of the game, I happened upon a cheat that worked wonders for my progress. You see, the game gives you up to 5 attempts at a time, and you are given a new attempt every 30 minutes. So if you fail 5 times, you must wait 30 minutes to play again or 2 1/2 hours to have a full set.
However, if you manually override your phone's time settings, you can trick the game into thinking time has elapsed, thus granted you more attempts. It's not much different from tapping out up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, A, B, select, start. Or even 007-373-5963. Well, the latter just advances you to Mike Tyson; the former is where it's at though.
That nice little time-cheat has bought me hundreds of extra attempts, thus allowing me to make it all the way to the end of Candy Crush on several occasions. But they keep making new levels, so I keep playing; I'm currently sitting at 530. Don't believe me?
And while it may be true that if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin', trying to game the system can and will come back to bite you in the ass. You see, the trick to changing your clock to gain extra attempts is that you need to remember to go back and reset it to auto-detect the time zone.
That isn't as easy to remember when you're playing later in the evening, and I thought nothing of it as I went to bed the other night. So when alarm started going off, I hit snooze, then snoozed again, and again. Finally, seeing that it was 7:05, I arose and shook my wife to get her going as well. "What are you doing, it's only 5 in the morning."
In my rush to win, I had moved things along too quickly and ended up struggling to fall back into my comfortable Circadian rhythm (by the way, I can honestly never spell "rhythm" correctly; in face, I just had to type a few letters into my Chrome address bar to see what popped up). I eventually fell asleep again, but the whole issue could have been avoided had I simply taken a little extra time to make sure things were all corrected.
So do you see where I'm going here?
Just in case I haven't gotten my point across, let's look at it this way: Javier Baez, or any stud prospect for that matter, is like a microwave burrito. And while my good buddy Earl McGraw would tell you that that sh*t'll kill ya faster'n a bullet, I love me some burritos. Anywho, I'm sure you've run into a situation in which you zapped one of those bad boys and almost burned your tongue with the first bite, only to taste the icy disappointment of cool beans with the next.
I'm not alone in advocating for a little more time in the minors(wave), but it seems that many folks are in full on why-the-hell-not mode. He's proven himself in the minors, they say; he's better than what we've got already, they say. And, true though that may all be, calling him up now serves no purpose. It'd be like buying a Ferrari just to drive around your neighborhood.
It seems like every time I say this, people get all up in arms, thinking that I'm saying they should keep him shuttered away for another year or two. But this isn't like the special-edition Megatron figure that I won't let my kids take out of the box; it's simply a matter of waiting for the proper intersection of service time and readiness.
I've linked to it before, but CI staffer Justin Jabs wrote a great piece about exactly that intersection here. If the Cubs were to bring Baez to Chicago right out of camp, it would satisfy some of the shiny-object crowd, but it could also result in them waking up at 5am and finding it difficult to fall back asleep.
So you can rest assured that I'm not calling for them to turn Javy into Crash Davis. I'm simply calling for fans to dig a little deeper and find the restraint to understand that getting a few meaningless at-bats for a last-place team in April and May really aren't worth giving up a year of club control.
So the Cubs don't need Baez yet. But he'll be up soon enough, and when this team is competitive for years to come, the organization's patience is going to look virtuous.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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