One day in the future we'll read about the day when the Pitch F/X servers became self-aware and took over all of the baseball parks for their evil, fiendish plot.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- As the trade deadline inches ever closer, Joe Maddon is continuing his focus on the players he currently has while leaving the wheeling and dealing to the front office.
- Even though they front office hasn't made any moves just yet, it isn't for a lack of trying as Jed Hoyer says that they are "on the phone non-stop, trying to be in communication with everyone."
- One player not worried about the Cubs standing pat at the deadline in Jon Lester, who believes that the team is "pretty darn good right now."
- Turning to the closer's job, Maddon is going to stick to the closer-by-committee approach for now.
- First-round pick Ian Happ got his first taste of batting practice at Wrigley Field on Friday. He's heading off to Low-A South Bend for his next minor-league assignment.
- If Kris Bryant or Addison Russell need any advice about going through a rough stretch as a young player, they can always turn to Chris Coghlan.
- Jon Lester on playing against sub-.500 teams: "They're still big-leaguers... the best players in the planet." I'm sure he meant on the planet, but you get the idea. That or Carrie Muskat's proofreader took the day off.
- More quotes from Jed Hoyer about the trade deadline, including his belief that there are three to five teams that are actively assessing their situation on a daily basis.
- Last week it was keeping Kyle Hendricks "spiffy"; this week it's keeping Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler "somewhat crispy". I'm just waiting to hear what the plan is for the veterans in the rotation. "Well-marbled", perhaps?
- The list of the Top 20 Most Popular Jerseys was released on Thursday, with Kris Bryant debuting at number two just behind Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.
- I'm including the story about Shawn Johnson throwing out the first pitch on Friday not because of her surprise engagement, but more for the photo of Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm watching her and Alicia Sacramone as they did walking handstands on the infield. As Al always says, you watch enough baseball and eventually you'll see something you've probably never seen before.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jonathan Papelbon on playing for the Cubs: "If someone had the opportunity to come here and play and win a championship, it would be as big as winning in Boston." Methinks that he underestimates the city of Chicago by several orders of magnitude.
- Regardless of their current crispiness, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant are all looking to have better second halves of the season.
From CBS Chicago:
- Bruce Levine warns that deals made at the trading deadline should come with "Buyer Beware" signs posted on them as they can have a detrimental effect on team chemistry.
- Chris Emma writes that thanks to Joe Maddon, the Cubs lead all of baseball in perspective.
- Emma also makes his case for an acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- David Haugh looks at the Cubs' tendencies to focus on intangibles in drafting and development and wonders if they're on their way to becoming the baseball version of the Blackhawks.
- In the face of tough losses, Joe Maddon and the veterans have been key in monitoring the responses of the younger players.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Gordon Wittenmyer looks at the recent trade of Scott Kazmir to the Astros and measures the effect that it could have on the Cubs.
- The Cubs have inquired about the services of David Price, but they're not willing to pay a premium to get him, writes David Just.
- What does an all-Epstein team look like? It's pretty impressive, as this tweet from Jeff Passan illustrates.
From the Daily Herald:
- Just what do the Cubs need to add to their roster to make the playoffs, anyway? Bruce Miles gives his input on the matter.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Despite the tough extra-inning loss on Friday, Brett Taylor writes that moments such as Friday's are part of why he and other fans watch this season.
- Minor League Ball released its mid-season list of Top 75 Prospects, featuring three Cubs in the top 30.
Today's food for thought:
- THE ROBOT UMPIRE UPRISING HAS BEGUN. Well, at least in an Independent League. And only for a couple of games.
- What would happen if a massive comet struck the sun? And more importantly: Who's going to do the first movie about it? (Okay, maybe that's not actually part of the story.)
- And, finally... China is building a radio telescope. And it's going to be really, really big.