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Cub Tracks’ Anaerobic Spheroid

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Your happy place, going bats, the Hall of Shame, and other bullets

Round and round we go.
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Last time around, Cub Tracks provided “uncoverage” of certain events — the Cubs’ visit to the White House, the All-Star Game (2020 version), and a few things about the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. Also buried in the mix were Beatles’ tunes by people not named John, Paul, George, or Ringo. Today, we have a bit more from DC, Cooperstown, and one of the happiest places in the world, plus more “prospecting”, from a sorta slow news day.

Several writers comment on Hall of Fame activities and Buster Olney hides behind the paywall. I hate those things. Plus the ESPN Insider account is supposed to come with a subscription to ESPN the Magazine. I got exactly one copy this year. Fortunately, it was the one with Rizzo on the cover. I don’t even like the thing, but still...I can use the pages for kindling in the charcoal chimney. Actually getting it would make up for having to read Jim Bowden. I refuse to pay for the Tribune or the Daily Herald. I can’t stand that revenue model. And I’m not disabling my ad blocker either.

Just throwing it out there. #KateHudsonisannoying #makeherstop

The first full workout is in less than a month (February 18). Let’s talk baseball — as always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history, and more for you if you want it:

  • 1934 - Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis denies Shoeless Joe Jackson’s appeal for reinstatement.
  • 1956 - The City of Hoboken dedicates a plaque honoring the achievements of Alexander Cartwright in organizing early baseball at Elysian Field in the New Jersey city.
  • 1972 - The BBWAA elects Sandy Koufax (344 votes), Yogi Berra (339), and Early Wynn (301) to the Hall of Fame. Koufax makes it in his first try and, at 36, is the youngest honoree in history. He won three Cy Young awards in a four-year span when the honor was only given to one pitcher for both leagues. Berra played in 14 World Series (ten world champions), he had more hits in Series play than any other player, and he was a three-time MVP for the Yankees. Wynn won 300 games and won 20 games five times.
  • 1977 - The BBWAA elects Ernie Banks to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He won back-to-back MVP awards, but he is best remembered for his famous line, "Let's play two."

News and not-news:

  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Cardenal’s First Fan his clout for entrée to White House. Nice. I was a big fan back in the day, too.
  • Tyler Tynes (SB Nation): Barack Obama and the Chicago Cubs shared an historic day nobody saw coming. “A White House visit like the one that happened on Monday was once unimaginable.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): What it was like visiting the White House with the Cubs. Miles describes his unique experience.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN* Insider {$}): Front-office truths. “...if you gave truth serum to the executives of the 30 teams, here's a sampling of what you might hear.” Jason Heyward still wayward in the box? Also, Top defenses, Top left fielders. The Cubs had a historically good defense last year. Left field is still seen as an offensive position.
  • Tony Blengino (ESPN* Insider {$}): Players ready to take it up a notch. Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras make the list.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The Cubs’ position player group is collectively elite on offense and defense. Collectively. Individual members of the group do not necessarily excel at both. See both of the above for more details.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Wrigley Field named one of the happiest places in the world by CNN. “CNN doesn't even mention the World Series championship.”
  • JJ Stankevitz (CSN Chicago*): The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George. "I couldn't text back," Russell said. "It was nuts. I waited four days because I was thinking of what back to say."
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs organizational breakdown, Pt 7A – right-handed starters nearing Chicago. “As many as six right-handed starters could soon be ready to test their mettle in the big leagues.” Who? read on.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta has one foot out the door, Kris Bryant’s just getting started. Jake’s likely here for the year, for reasons. Kris will be here for years.
  • Lenore Sobota, Derek Beigh Isobota (Pantagraph.com): Fans thrilled to get pics with Cubs World Series trophy. The trophy is taking a tour that will include more than 100 stops before it ends in April, around Opening Day. It is also seen as nearly a ‘religious artifact’.
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Hall of Shame: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens gaining on Cooperstown. Morrissey expresses majority opinion, provides backing.
  • Steve Rosenbloom (Chicago Tribune): Here's how I'd put the 'Roid class into the Hall of Fame. Rosenbloom provides the asterisks.
  • Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe): Theo Epstein looks back at World Series win with Cubs. “The Red Sox and Cubs are winners now and the same guy built both champions.”
  • Ryan Davis (FanRag Sports): Cubs see big things for Ian Happ in 2017. “...he’s an exciting young player that can do a lot of things on the field, a switch-hitter with power and really controls the zone. I think we all have high hopes for 2017 with Ian,” said Matt Dorey, the Cubs’ director of scouting.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Chris Bosio's new challenge as Cubs pitching coach: Sculpt a deep bullpen. “Bosio also will be tasked with managing starting depth as the Cubs have four returning in the rotation who made at least 29 starts.”

Food for thought:

  • Carl Zimmer (The New York Times): Most primate species threatened with extinction, scientists find. Three-quarters of primate species are in decline, and about 60 percent face the end of the line.
  • Fiona McDonald (Science Alert): Complex life could have existed on Earth at least once before. “...new research suggests that conditions were right for complex cells to evolve and die off at least once - or perhaps several times - before our lineage even got started.”
  • Mindy Weisberger (Live Science): Well, that sucks: Vampire Bats found drinking human blood. Contrary to popular belief, that isn’t their staple diet.

Smell you Sunday. Thanks for reading.