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Cub Tracks Ornaments The Discussion

Happy holidaze, getting into the swing of things, and other bullets

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In the previous episode, we did the ‘wave’. Not the dumb old wave where you stand up in succession, but the clearly superior ‘waving of the W.’ Because it’s still a pinch-me moment (for me) that the Cubs won the World Series just last month, and it keeps me always mindful of the behavioral mores of fandomhood. A good Cubs fan never wants to behave as if one were previously clad in Cardinal crimson or Boston red.

So far, so good. Is it wrong that I sorta feel sorry for Dexter Fowler, for the reasons that BCB poster ‘TC Cubby’ posted? That’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for a guy who’s still a young man in real-world terms. Good luck, Dex. That’s a heavy millstone to wear. I hope the money makes it worthwhile. Class act all the way.

In better things, Jason Heyward’s swing seems to be coming along, judging by recent posts from Dayn Perry at CBS Sports, John Arguello at Cubs Den and Brett Taylor at Bleacher Nation. A regression to form for Heyward would bode well for the Cubs’ efforts to repeat as MLB Champs, doncha think? Here’s a look, from Darnell McDonald’s Instagram account:

Cub Tracks heartily approves. Still needs shorter and sharper but a much better and vastly simplified approach. The ball is the enemy. Attack it like you mean it. A revitalized Heyward is just the thing I want in my stocking, Sinterklaas. Far better than coal slaw or cowboy chunks...

The nights are getting shorter. Spring training is on the way. I don’t want to go out on a limb, but Yule forgive me if I pine for it to begin as soon as possible, or am I barking up the wrong tree? Deck the Hall in Cubbie Blue, Jeff Idelson. Fa la la la la.

Here are a few gifts for you from the baseball-writing elves. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1915 - Organized baseball and the Federal League sign a peace treaty at Cincinnati, ending their two-year war. The Feds agree to go out of existence, but the major leagues pay an enormous price: $600,000 for distribution to FL owners, the amalgamation of two Fed franchises, one each into the NL and AL, recognition of Fed players' eligibility, and agreement to bid for them in a Fed-controlled auction.
  • 1953 - Jack Dunn III, whose family successfully owned and operated the Baltimore Orioles in the International League, officially turns the old team name over to the relocated St. Louis Browns. The new Baltimore Orioles will draw 1,060,910 in their first season the Browns barely drew that number in their last three years in St. Louis combined.
  • 1959 - The fledgling Continental League awards its last franchise to Dallas / Ft. Worth.
  • 1962 - Harris County voters approve a bond issue to complete the financing of an all-weather stadium to house the Houston Colt 45s.
  • 1980 - The Cardinals release outfielder Bobby Bonds. Despite 326 home runs and 456 stolen bases in 13 seasons, he hit just .203 with St. Louis. Bonds will make one more stop, his sixth in the last four years, with the Cubs in 1981.

Some gifts from me to you:

Out on the links:

  • Tim Stebbins (Fansided via Cubbies Crib): Heyward will be like a new free agent signing for Chicago Cubs in 2017. The one we didn’t get in 2016...
  • Chris Cwik (Big League Stew*): How the Cubs' $184 million man Jason Heyward is fixing himself. Eric Hinske is apparently only ornamental.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Theo Epstein: Cubs fans haven't seen real Heyward. "We're not asking him to do new things but go back to doing things he did well. He's totally bought in and excited to get started,” added Jed Hoyer.
  • Neil Payne (Five Thirty Eight): The 2016 Cubs won just like the 1997 Marlins did. “Chicago boosted their payroll by 169 percent between 2014 and 2016...”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Willson Contreras was a stud in 2016, and he can get even better. Elaborating on Rian Watt article {$}.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Remember When Cubs Crushed Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS, and the bunt that started it? Why Ben Zobrist was the MVP, in my view. That bunt was definitely the pivot on which the Series turned.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Behind the scenes at Wrigley: Cubs winning World Series hit longtime scout Sam Hughes ‘like a tidal wave’. “There were just so many times throughout the playoffs that it could have went a different way...”
  • CSN Chicago*: Keeping up with the Rosses [AUDIO].
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs draft profiles: Reloading with some big shortstops. A couple of guys the Cubs might like to have in the organ-i-zation, Bob Pulford.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Translated interview reveals Eloy Jimenez’s winter off is not his choice. “Jimenez will be back in Mesa hitting balls off the roof again in a little over seven weeks.”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Player profile: Justin Grimm. Grimm’s curveball and slider (which he largely abandoned last year) are different offerings than some of the other bullpen members flash. He should loom large in the middle innings again.
  • Caitlin Swieca (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Player profile: Rob Zastryzny. He might be “a good candidate for an increased role.”
  • Brett Smiley (Fox Sports): Bill Murray and brothers planning to open a ‘Caddyshack’-themed restaurant near Chicago. Christopher Placek of the Daily Herald weighs in, too. It follows a similar successful venture in St. Augustine, Florida.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): The Cubs top prospects: 13-16. Capsules of Victor Caratini, Bryan Hudson, Rob Zastryzny, Donnie Dewees.
  • Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): Cubs Re-Sign Elliot Soto to minor league contract, Logan Watkins departs for the Tigers. Both are likely career minor-leaguers but teams need guys like that, too.
  • Grant Brisbee (SB Nation): Baseball’s offseason is boring now, so these trades should happen for our amusement. Danny Duffy? Okay by me.
  • Sara Sanchez (Bleed Cubbie Blue): Honoring Joe Maddon The Hazleton Way. Newest ‘Cub reporter’ chimes in just before the holidays.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Like the Cubs themselves, this quilt won’t quit. Joey Rodman knits things together.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Eternal fan Marv Levy authors message to ‘never give up’ in new Cubs kids’ book. Levy would know, four times over, and then some.
  • Dan Hodgman: The future of the Cubs’ rotation. 2017 and beyond.
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune): In World Series moment, Wayne Messmer wore reminder of night he was shot. He walked a mile in his own shoes.
  • Patrick M. O’Connell (Chicago Tribune): Fight between Cubs fan, team highlights tenuous ownership of season tickets. “Revocable license”, Eric Soderholm.
  • Pat Tomasulo (WGN-TV): David Ross on rumors about working for Cubs front office, Grandpa Rossy jokes, new book [VIDEO].
  • Ryan Pollack (The Hardball Times): The 2016 Chicago Cubs and their Most Similar Team. The data say that Ben Zobrist was on that team, and Joe Maddon managed it.
  • Bryan Curtis (The Ringer): The End of “Historic”. He includes Leicester City, Josh Timmers. Hyperboling for dollars.

Food for thought:

Happy Holidaze from Cub Tracks. See you Sunday, under the mistletoe.