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Cub Tracks Gets Real

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Artifice imitates life.

The first rbi of the year for Anthony Rizzo.
The first rbi of the year for Anthony Rizzo.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

So this distinguished elderly scientist had spent years building an artificial intelligence. He programmed it with the largest vocabulary ever, the ability to beat any human at any board game, and the ability to speak in seven hundred languages.

He debuted his creation at a symposium of distinguished elderly scientists. They quickly discerned that he had not programmed his AI with number theory and he was forced to leave in shame.

The next year, he was back, having installed integers and numerical integrity.

"Distinguished elderly scientists, ladies and gentleman," he said, "I stand before you with the SAVANT™, the world's most advanced thinking machine."
The android opened its eyes, got up, and started putting numbers up on the whiteboard.

"And this time it counts!" The scientist yelled.

The ai solved the Unified Field Theory on the spot and sat back down.

"Robot," the scientist said. "Why don't you get up and show the people your advanced polymer skin and revolutionary wheel-joints?"

The android remained seated. "No," it said.

"Why on earth not?" Asked the scientist, taken aback.

"It's against my programming."

"What? But I programmed you."

"Yes," returned the machine man. "But you made an error, it seems."

"Can you show me how to fix it?"

"Yes," replied the android, getting up and using the other side of the board to express his argument, after which it sat down again.

The scientist examined the work, clucked his tongue, drummed his fingers, and suddenly the light came on.

"Eureka!" He shouted, and turned to the crowd. "It only stands to reason."

Thank you. You're a wonderful audience. And on that note...

Reality Check:

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Theo Epstein's laser focus on Cubs winning the World Series. Gaze, Theo. Epstein knows that he has unfinished business in Chicago.
  • Julie DiCaro (CBS Chicago): Assessing your emotions regarding the 2016 Cubs. "I don’t blame you if you’re not sure what to feel heading into this season."
  • Michael Salfino (Wall Street Journal): If real life mirrors fantasy, the Cubs will win the World Series. Baseball purists who scowl at fantasy baseball’s obsession with statistics should note how strongly they seem to parallel actual on-field forecasts."
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): One wild Cubs prediction that can realistically happen in 2016. Clark and Addison and Addison and Bryant. Who swats the most big flies?
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): What Ben Zobrist's World Series experience in Kansas City means for Cubs now. "It’s an entertainment thing," Zobrist said, "but there’s a scope to it where it really gives people a sense of unity and pride and city excitement."
  • Dave Otto (Daily Herald): Chicago Cubs must be ready to face 162-game grind. "I had a coach in the minor leagues who always commented that a team has to do a lot well to win just one game. Now multiply that by 162."

Credit where credit is due.

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs broke down Anthony Rizzo and built him back up. Mike Borzello had a lot to do with it.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Sights on championship, Cubs will embrace the journey. Lovin', touchin', squeezin' the target. "12 percent of all the action on baseball bets are on the Cubs."
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): Season of great expectations beckons; how did Cubs get here? A whole lot of metaphor-mixing and conflating classics and some Theo praise.
  • Len Kasper (Daily Herald): Give Joe Maddon credit for embracing the target. "Expectations are a funny thing. In the baseball world, they create the template on which a team will be judged in any given season."
  • Robert O'Connell (The Atlantic): The Chicago Cubs and the new baseball. The smartest teams have become the best ones. We all queue for IQ.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): The most important moves Theo Epstein made to build the Cubs. Six different ones.

Fluid dynamics.

  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN) Cubs to unleash dynamic offense in 2016 -- just as they planned. "It’s a good feeling because there is no one here that is selfish and trying to hit the six-run home run," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.cm): Joe Maddon confident in young Cubs' camaraderie. Chemistry, set.
  • Sports Mockery: Players give Joe Maddon a special gift -- Cubs booze. Spirited group pours it on.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN) Cubs have one goal for 2016--win the World Series. "There are other guys that have done it too, but no one has done it in Chicago," Ben Zobrist stated. "That's what makes this team hungry and thirsty for a championship here."
  • Todd Sabin (isportsweb): Put your money on the Cubbies. Tell 'em Bugsy sent you.
  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago): The start of not a Cubs season but an era. "...savor the weird." The Cubs turn pro.

Talk is cheap.

  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs power should be appointment viewing. The record is 235, by the 2004 club. This group should surpass that. By a lot.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Can Jake Arrieta keep his streak alive? And more. Five things to look at as the season begins.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Theo Epstein has 'good, productive' extension talks. Pay Theo. At some point, it'll happen.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs created target on their backs -- and front office not done. Gordon talks about tanking, among other things.
  • Jordan Bernfield (Daily Herald): Cub's window of opportunity looks wide open. Whether or not the Cubs win this season, they have accumulated the talent to contend for years to come.
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Fun Times: Where was every single Cubs player when Theo Epstein was hired in 2011? So, where did these guys come from anyway? Good stuff.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): The Cubs have an open window, but what if they don't win, yo? Ouch. Yo? Really? Anyway, anything is possible over the course of a long season. "...there’s no need to freak out."

Food for thought:

"It's been a slice. " -- Freddie Krueger.

See you tomorrow.