Okay, so it was mail-order, and A.B. Normal at that, scratch-and-dent collection, but Cub Tracks got a brain in our last episode. Ray Bolger would probably be jealous, but Bert Lahr doesn’t have the heart to tell him, and I’m just gonna ease on down that road, to where I can see Dexter Fowler clicking his red shoes together next year, when the deadbirds are fifteen games out, and wishing he was home. But even the Wiz can’t help him find that road, unless Theo Epstein is behind the curtain.
Today, we take a look at superheroes, long odds, and diamonds, Jim. It has come to my attention that more people searched for Powerball than searched for Cubs info last year. That’s just wrong — the Cubs are never to be second-best. I urge you all to search early, and search often. I myself have resolved to canvass the internet for Cubs info five or six times daily instead of just twice, even though I haven’t lived in Chicagoland since the turn of the century. Sympathetic magic, or something like it, drives that idea, me being only a little ‘stitious. Granted, the data is probably skewed, because it says nothing about searches for pr0n, but okay, we’ll play along. Cub Tracks will even take a step toward optimizing for SEO by mentioning Powerball again, and mentioning that yesterday was Shirley Jackson’s birthday.
Cub fans haven’t always lived in this castle, but we’re currently the champions of the civilized world, the Cubs having won the World Series a couple of months ago. And we’re wearing the crown well, so far. I haven’t seen many Cub people acting entitled, and have personally been gracious to the Cardinal fans on my Christmas card list.
In the meantime, I can always whisper to myself “The Cubs won the World Series” and have an avalanche of happy feels fall on me, even though that event seems to have torn a hole in the space-time continuum. Or perhaps it created the holes in the space-time donuts. The continuity police love those things.
We’re getting pretty close to bat country with that line of inquiry, and so, here in coyote country, being prisoners of the limitations of time and space and the white lines on the freeway, we’ll stop getting metaphysical and bring you the results of a few of those aforementioned searches, for your possible pleasure. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
Today in baseball history:
- 1920 - Yankees general manager Ed Barrow pries future Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt, catcher Wally Schang, lefty Harry Harper, and infielder Mike McNally from his former Boston team in exchange for second baseman Del Pratt, catcher Muddy Ruel, pitcher Hank Thormahlen, outfielder Sammy Vick, and cash.
- 1933 - The major leagues agree on a uniform ball, to be livelier than the NL ball of recent seasons, to match the AL balls. Owners also agree to ban Sunday doubleheaders until after June 15.
- 1980 - Dave Winfield becomes the highest-paid player in baseball when he signs a 10-year, $15 million contract with the Yankees.
- Sirius XM: Vote for the top 5 games of the 2016 MLB regular season. Out of the top 18 games, pick five. Well, four, since one of them is Jake Arrieta’s second no-hitter.
- Linze Rice (DNAinfo): 'Schwarb-O-Meter' getting new home at Chicago History Museum Wednesday. All you little Schwarb-o-maniacs, take note of the new digs.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Schwarber, Batmobile surprise 10-year-old at HopeKids event. Not content to be just a combination of Babe Ruth and the Hulk, Kyle Schwarber apparently has access to the Batcave as well.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs could look to Kyle Schwarber to end games early. “Scoring first is a tried and true recipe for success in baseball, and in Schwarber, the Cubs have a guy who can increase win probability early and often.”
- Dan Hodgman: Which Cubs pitchers are spin doctors? Apparently the Professor is a doctor, too, Little Miss-Can’t-Be-Wrong.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Koji Uehara agrees to 1-year deal with Cubs. As reported elsewhere on BCB, the free-agent reliever has come to terms with his fate.
- Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs still pursuing pitcher Tyson Ross. “Some teams feel he will have a better than even chance of making a full and successful recovery.” The Cubs seem to be one of those teams.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Recent report provides further insight into Cubs’ pursuit of Tyson Ross. “The question now is where Ross believes he can find the greatest reward, both in terms of finances and future.”
- David Schoenfield (ESPN): Center your attention on these guys. Schoenfield thinks Ender Inciarte would look good in Cubbie Blue, but wants Ian Happ or Jeimer Candelario to go in return. Who can make the sun rise?
- Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago): MLB banning misogynistic hazing is decent, logical. “...you’ve been presented with valid reasons why dressing up like women for the purposes of hazing is bad and dumb, and to still endorse it is being willfully ignorant.”
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The Cubs Have Been Very Good at “Avoiding the Awful”. Fun article based on Jeff Sullivan piece from Fangraphs.
- Bobby Mueller (Call to the Pen): Joe Maddon suggests Fantasy Baseball be taught in schools. And he makes a pretty good case. Make math fun.
- CSN Chicago*: Have Cubs' offseason moves made 2017 roster better than the one that just won the World Series? [VIDEO]
- Clarissa Young (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Player profile: Jon Lester. “There’s no reason yet to undersell the southpaw for next year.”
- Sports Mockery: Amazing stories about Theo Epstein that prove he’s simply awesome. 10 reasons for praise.
- Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): A proper punishment for espionage. Not draconian enough, in my view, but I may be biased.
Food for thought:
- Rachel Kaufman (Smithsonian): Trying not to get sick? Science says you're probably doing it wrong. “Cold and flu viruses transfer in very different ways than we think.”
- Rachael Rettner (Live Science): How to give better gifts, according to science. “...the giver and the recipient focus on different things.”
- Fiona MacDonald (Science Alert): Scientists have made a diamond that's harder than diamond. This even improves upon chicken-fried chicken, which until now has been the high point of civilization. The new diamonds have a hexagonal lattice, which improves their strength 58%. Down with cubism.
The beat writers would seem to be on vacation still. I’d guess that’s gonna last a while. We may have to get creative here. See you Sunday — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.