Articles du jour, zoot allures.
From Comcast Sportsnet Chicago:
- Patrick Mooney: How Joe Maddon's blue-collar roots made him perfect fit for the Cubs. Narrative that centers around Maddon's street-smart image. Includes [VIDEO] including commercials.
- Mooney: Joe Maddon's long climb to the top prepared him for the craziness of Cubs job. Continues the narrative with quotes from and commercial tie-ins to the Joe Maddon documentary mentioned in the last Cub Tracks, among many other places. Includes same [VIDEO] and commercials.
Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters not to expect a Theo Epstein contract-extension announcement this weekend at #Cubs Convention.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) January 14, 2016
- Ricketts continue to scoop up Chicago rooftops. "The Ricketts family continue their game of real-life Monopoly in Wrigleyville." Plus...well, you know by now.
- Tony Andracki: Giordano's brings back "Cubbies Pizza" in advance of Cubs Convention. In more obvious commercial tie-in news, pizza. Plus Jennifer Garner shouting at you.
From CBS Chicago:
- Anthony Rizzo has enough humor to make fun of his "Shoot the Puck" skills. "Short story short, he wasn’t very good at it." Frankly, he's from Florida. It's like Arizona in that the ice is in the drinks and that's about it. Has [VIDEO].
- Matt Spiegel: World collisions continue at Hot Stove Cool Music. "Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and his twin brother, Paul, give back through baseball and music with their Foundation To Be Named Later..." Good tunes. Unexpectedly good performances from Peter Gammons and Len Kasper, with some Bernie Williams neck-massaging. Has [VIDEO].
- 7 Cubs, 4 White Sox officially file for arbitration. Jake Arrieta, Chris Coghlan, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Adam Warren and Travis Wood were the seven Cubs to file.
- Ricketts family buys three more rooftops across from Wrigley Field. "These moves come just days after new details emerged on the Cubs’ plans for the under-construction outdoor plaza west of Wrigley Field."
From ESPN Chicago:
- Buster Olney [Insider -- $]: MLB's top 10 infields: Cubs leap to the top. "The players are all similar in personality and professionalism, and even if they weren't the best group of infielders -- which they are -- they would have a great experience playing together."
- Jesse Rogers: How the Cubs built their elite infield. "Good scouting, some timely trades and a little luck..."
- Rogers: Arrieta files for arbitration, question is when a long-term deal might come. The Cubs are probably willing to wait it out for now.
- Carrie Muskat: Cubs success stories inspire Albert Almora. "It just motivates me," said Almora. "I'm working really hard." He's probably in the best shape of his life (tm).
- Phil Rogers: 5 Cubs-Rays trades that make sense. As opposed to "force trade"? "Nobody has more pitching to trade than the Rays, and no team seems as persistent in working to find a fit for that pitching than the Cubs." Just not all at once, please. We don't want to lose Dan Vogelbach more than once.
- MLB Rookie career development program, with Albert Almora:[VIDEO].
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Lauren Comitor: Rizzo shoots the puck, misses terribly. Anthony Rizzo has shown love for the Blackhawks before. He has even shown evidence of a sense of humor. He is bad at hockey, good at being a human.
- Ricketts family gains more turf. Three rooftops in Wrigleyville.
- Schwarber ball moved. As reported at Bleed Cubbie Blue and all other Cubs news outlets, the ball has gone elsewhere. Could be Montana. Could be under Billy the Mountain. It's all hush-hush. (in a continuation of our conceptual continuity, some of the linked video has commercials)
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Kyle Thele: ESPN ranks the Cubs as the best infield in baseball. Apparently has Insider access. Has also noticed the ESPN love for the Cubs. It hasn't always been that way.
- Thele: Rizzo isn't going to be a hockey star any time soon. We know. That's not what he's here for. I understand that both Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist are in training to shoot the puck, though.
- Dan Cahill: Cubs are projected to have best MLB record in 2016 by Fangraphs. Fangraphs projects the Cubs will finish 93-69 in the NL Central, well ahead of the Mets and Cardinals, whom they have tied for second at 84-78.
From the Daily Herald:
- Bruce Miles: Will Cubs Convention open with extension for Epstein? Nicely poetic title and seemingly a distinct possibility. "Don't look now, but we're coming up on the fifth season of the five-year contract given by Ricketts to Cubs baseball president Theo Epstein."
From Cubs Den:
- John Arguello: Epstein among Cubs rare talents. "In a world where the term gets thrown around so loosely, we tend to take genius for granted."Agreed. Well-written piece extending that point.
- Arguello: Cubs, Rays still talking trade. The teams do match up well on paper. It remains to be seen if they can make a deal.
- Jared Wyllys: Catchella: What the numbers tell us about our catchers. "It's time to get excited about defensive catching statistics." Not as good as friends but better than enemas. Expounding on new defensive metrics, not Michael Kenyon.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Michael Cerami: Early projections do, indeed, have the Cubs as the top team in baseball. Hmm, Shatnerspeak. Additional exposition on the famous Fangraphs article.
- Brett Taylor: Ricketts family purchases more rooftops, now up to ten being operated together. Danny Ecker apparently broke the story on Twitter. More about one of the stories du jour.
- Cerami: Dexter Fowler's continuing tough market, and his connection to the Cubs. So what’s going on with Fowler? Projections of and speculation about the outfielder's future.
- Cerami: Cuban prospect Lazarito draws mixed reviews from showcase. On Friday, Lazaro 'Lazarito' Armenteros held an open showcase at the San Diego Padres facility in the Dominican Republic...but there is still uncertainty on his overall value." Advance romance.
From Cubs Insider:
- Evan Altman: Do the Cubs have the best infield in baseball? Buster Olney thinks so. "It makes sense that a unit that added Ben Zobrist to supplement a young quartet of Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant would be highly ranked, but it’s always nice to see this kind of external validation." Indeed.
- Time for Arrieta to get the megadeal he deserves. An attempt to explain why both sides would benefit from doing so right now.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 13, 2016
- Trade idea based on latest rumors: Cubs land Odorizzi? "Nobody wants to do a small trade," one executive complained. "They only want to talk about big trades." This would be a biggish one. But wait, there's more.
- Should Adam Warren start for the Cubs? David N. Wilson asks, then expounds. The comps might be a little high.
- Jason Heyward, Adam Wainwright, and being the MAN. Zack Moser visits again with these words about that.
Food for thought:
- Iceman has the world's oldest tattoos. Dozens of marks dot the body of 5,000-year-old European mummy.
- Insects are a sustainable source of Omega-3. Bug out for the dug-out. It's good for you.
- A nanophotonic comeback for incandescent bulbs. Traditional light bulbs, thought to be well on their way to oblivion, may receive a reprieve thanks to a technological breakthrough by MIT.
- Cosmic debris. All rock, no roll.
- FZ and Shuggie Otis, unplugged. [VIDEO]
One of the best times I have ever had was when I saw Zappa and his band at the Riviera Theater, and he sang a mock seventh-inning stretch midway through the show. It remains unavailable on video.
Thanks for reading. Cheer up. Tomorrow's Friday.