Sometimes Cub Tracks can be so true-blue that it makes even my eyes water, and other times the column’s so full of cowflops that it makes my eyes brown. Last time around, we learned that it’s easier to catch lightning with a rock than it is to capture it in a bottle, and cried a lifetime’s worth of tears. Or we unpacked and played the world’s smallest violin. It isn’t really clear — must be too much nitrogen content in this lighter-than-air commentary.
For I have come not to bury the lede, but to raise it. Perhaps from the grave, but that’s a gray matter for another occasion, Brainiac-5.
I was thinking about my patron saint Murphy, and the astonishing connection between that sort of enlightened fatalism and Cub fandom in general, which I have been afflicted with since I was very young. Both lead one to prepare for the worst, and to expect the worst.
How then 2016? In an environment to which one would like to be accustomed, however novel it may be, what is the proper mode of decorum. How much gloating, how much chortling, how much rubbing one’s handses with utter glee is acceptable, o my precious?
Let’s not circle around the point. Let’s beat it down with our shillelaghs, you nobs. What we don’t want to do is become Red Sox fans, who are in reality Patriots fans in different hosiery, or to wear another uniform of that odious crimson hue.
The trick is to do things with class, to act like you’ve always been there, to behave with the poise and aplomb of a pro, but not to take it for granted that the promised land is right around the corner. Even when you’re the defending World Champions, and favored to do it all again, and you’re going to be eating the breakfast of champions every day until November 2017, because Murphy will strike down the hubristic, in his own way, in his own time, Dwayne Hoobler.
So far so good, fellow Cubs fans. Let’s keep it going, and by all means, let’s have a round of special blue kool-aide to celebrate. Mine has vodka in it, and Blue Curacao. Good chemicals for the brain, in moderation of course.
The cupboard’s a bit bare here, five days away from Xmas, as most of the beat writers and bloggers seem to be on vacation, but here are some things that other people wrote or said...as always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
- 1921 - At the major league meetings, the AL votes to return to the best-of-seven World Series, while the NL votes to keep it best-of-nine. Judge Landis casts the deciding vote, and the best-of-seven format is reinstated.
- 1926 - Rogers Hornsby, who batted .317 and managed the Cardinals to the World Championship in 1926, is traded to the Giants for shortstop Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring. While the trade of future Hall of Famers is highly unpopular in St. Louis, Frisch will become a fan favorite and bat .300 or better in seven of his next eight seasons while successfully managing the team for six years. Hornsby will bat .361, .387, and .380 over the next three seasons while bouncing between the Giants, Braves, and Cubs.
- 1929 - Bill Carrigan has had enough of managing the Red Sox. He quits, and Heinie Wagner signs on for a year.
- 1940 - Connie Mack acquires controlling interest in the Athletics from the Shibe family at the price of $42,000.
Yesterday in Cubs history:
- CSN Chicago*: Joe Maddon gives his take on Aroldis Chapman [VIDEO].
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Maddon relishes reuniting with closer Davis. “Hot dog!” He didn’t say. "This guy knows how to pitch," Maddon did say, on MLB Network's "Hot Stove.”
- CBS Chicago: Cubs to pay $2.96M in Luxury Tax. That’s approximately a tenth of what the Dodgers and Yankees are paying.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs' offseason has been about smart moves, not big ones. I’d swear on a stack of Bibles that I posted the url to this one Sunday, but a word or two must have been added, cuz it has a Monday datestamp.
- ESPN*: Simone Biles, David Ross, and JR Smith celebrate the craziest sports year ever. [VIDEO].
- RJ Anderson (CBS Sports): Cubs reportedly 'most interested' team in starter Tyson Ross. “The World Series champions could be adding another starter to the mix.”
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cubs reportedly brought Tyson Ross to Wrigley Field for a tour. Bruce Levine reported it on his radio show, but the feed is unavailable as of press time.
- Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com): Javier Baez caps 'amazing' tour of Puerto Rico. Lots of video and other coolness centering around "Peloteros Por Puerto Rico,” capped by a celebration of the late Roberto Clemente.
- Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated*): The Rainmaker: How Cubs boss Theo Epstein ended a second epic title drought. “He understands people,” Joe Maddon remarked.
- Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Jeimer Candelario’s breakout year, odd season, and future with the Cubs. “You wouldn’t want to see the Cubs deal Candelario just to move him out.”
- Nicolas Stellini (Fangraphs): Jason Hammel, useful free agent. The list of decent free agent starters isn’t very long.
- Nate Greabe (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Player profile: Addison Russell. “He just keeps incrementally improving...”
- Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs organizational breakdown, pt 3: Second base second to none. Arguably the strongest position in the system.
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Cardinals admit they signed Dexter Fowler for reasons beyond baseball. Just eight percent of today’s players are African-American.
- Jo Schwarz (Viva El Birdos): Following Dexter Fowler’s lead on the base paths. The view from the other side.
- Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): In Chicago, there are the Blackhawks, the Cubs and a huge dropoff. For some teams, attendance and attention have waned a little bit. The product needs improvement.
- Tommy Stokke (FanRag Sports): What should the Cubs do with Javier Baez? Play the wild card.
- Joseph S. Pete (NWI Times): Cubs World Series gear a popular Christmas gift. Indeed. Those things were on my list.
Food for thought:
- Nell Greenfieldboyce (NPR): Scientists blast antimatter atoms with a laser for the first time. Do matter and antimatter truly obey the same laws of physics?
- Laura Geggle (Live Science): Anxiety may give dogs gray hair. "This is an original, unique study that has implications for dog welfare," said study co-researcher Temple Grandin.
- Science Alert: Scientists have identified that mysterious, metallic sound coming from the Mariana Trench. Dwarf minke whales probably make it. They also do boing! noises.
Thanks for reading. See you Thursday.