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The Cub Tracks Continuum

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Metaphysics, Javy at the hospital, Epstein speaks, and other bullets

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cub Tracks has its own time zone, you know. This is partially why I keep falling back on metaphysics and metaversal concepts like spacetime donuts. In the previous edition, Cub Tracks was a day late with some items, even though they were current when added to the article. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. It is what it is. It is the Cub Tracks Continuum, named after the transcendentally good William Gibson short story ‘The Gernsback Continuum’, which sort of answers the question of why we haven’t gotten the flying cars we were promised so long ago. Sort of... The link opens to a .pdf version. Enjoy.

Anyway, Cub Tracks represents an alternate timeline. Sometimes things change, in the interim between writing/compiling and publication, in much the same sense that near-future science fiction can be made obsolete by current events. Sometimes things change while I’m writing — a phenomenon that I’m sure any reporter can understand. Not that I am or call myself a reporter, here... being one step up from Yardbarker, only with commentary. But I trained as a reporter, as a print journalist, actually, way back in the Cretaceous. So some of that is bound to leak through into these small weird essays and rants, in the same sense that what you read will inform the text you write, or that you are what you eat.

Which is neither here nor there, in the strictest Heidelbergian sense, but having long since established the larger context in these pages, Cub Tracks can appear as anything, at any given time. We massage the medium in the McLuhanesque way, create the Escherian perspective, full of non-Euclidean angles, and draw upon our previous store of material for perspective, connecting the dots in a pointillist fashion, knowing all the time that it’s the spaces in between the dots that are important, that actually make the connection.

In my continuum, it’s a cool Wednesday afternoon. In the Cub Tracks continuum, it’s sometime Thursday morning. If I were to go to Australia, I could write this yesterday.

Crazy.

Maybe not.

At any rate, we’re here to discuss baseball, and so we shall. First we have Today in Baseball History, and then a few words from the papers and the blogs and perhaps the twitters as well. I don’t know, as I haven’t written that part yet. Let’s find out together, shall we? Sunday, we’ll take a look at the future of baseball. Today, this. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

On this day in baseball history. More about the national pastime.

  • 1932 - William K. Wrigley, owner of the Cubs since 1919, dies and is buried on Catalina Island. His only son, Philip K. Wrigley, inherits the Cubs and the minor league Los Angeles Angels.
  • 1951 - The baseball writers vote Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx into the Hall of Fame. Ott hit 511 home runs, batted .304, and managed the Giants from 1942 to 1948.

This ‘n’ that:

  • Mina Bloom and Heather Cherone (DNAinfo): Cubs Star Javier Baez will be honored with Humboldt Park street sign. Cool thing tied in with Baez’ Puerto Rican roots.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Stan Zielinski's impact went beyond evaluating talent. “Longtime Cubs scout who passed away Jan. 5 connected with players, families.”
  • Phil Rogers (MLB.com): Sum of all parts: Dodgers better than Cubs? Don’t blame Phil this time — “According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers moved past the Cubs when they imported Logan Forsythe to fill their second-base void.” (Jeff Sullivan says multiple projection systems say so, but doesn’t attribute any.)
  • Travis Sawchik (Fangraphs): Cubs add Brett Anderson, remain vulnerable. “The Chicago Cubs are almost perfect,” he says.
  • Eno Sarris (Fangraphs): Finding the next Kyle Hendricks. “So we missed on Hendricks. And while we can maybe absolve ourselves of past transgressions because of the nature of measuring and seeing command, let’s try to find our next Hendricks by defining the last.” Amen.
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): Scott Rolen, Ron Santo, and the third-base myth. The case for Rolen to make the HoF, based on comps to #10.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN Insider {$}): Who is under the most pressure in 2017? Two Cubs are mentioned prominently.
  • Keith Law (ESPN Insider {$}): 2017 prospect rankings: 80-61. In which Ian Happ appears.
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Theo Epstein speaks: Cubs future, avoiding entitlement and arrogance, and much more. “We’d love to go out and become one of those teams like the Yankees or Braves that is synonymous with October baseball and plays in – and hopefully wins – multiple World Series. I haven’t thought much beyond that.” Refers to article from The Atlantic ({$}) and David Axelrod podcast (linked to in the story).
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Secrets to Theo Epstein’s success extend beyond the Cubs. “Failure is inherent in the game,” Epstein said. “So if you don’t respond well to adversity, you’re probably not going to have a long career.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Ian Happ’s improved whiff rate means he could be next. Next to Chicago.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): The future of Cubs’ pitching. “The bottom line is the Cubs could be looking to replace 60 percent of their rotation next winter.”
  • Janey Murray (isportsweb): Looking ahead at the Chicago Cubs 2017 starting rotation. College writer’s take.
  • Dan Hodgman (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): How the Cubs will find places for Javier Baez to play in 2017. Baez’ offensive inconsistency means he should still sub.
  • David Miniel (Fansided): Could John Andreoli outshine Jon Jay during Spring Training? He could. Probably won’t. And Andreoli hits righty.
  • Jeff Long, Jonathon Judge, Harry Pavlidis (Baseball Prospectus): Two Ways to Tunnel. Analysis of pitching styles includes Kyle Hendricks.
  • Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): Kyle Hendricks vs. Joey Votto. “...Votto has had Kyle Hendricks' number.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Sports*): Signing LHP Brett Anderson a reasonable gamble for Cubs. “...this won’t be the Cubs’ last move in making sure they are pitching-protected going into the 2017 season.”
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): The Cubs just made Spring Training a lot better for fans. For the first time ever, all 38 games will be made available for fans and it’s free.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Javier Baez visiting a hospital will be the best thing you see today. “Baez went room to room taking pictures...”
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Jon Hamm: Story that Bill Murray tossed Cardinals hat is true. “Hamm famously trolled Cubs fans at Games 3, 4 and 5 at Wrigley wearing a Cardinals cap with the team's logo from 1908.”
  • Tim Bannon (Chicago Tribune): Six unusual things to know about Brett Anderson. His mom was a softball player, for one.
  • Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): Cubs and others able to bid on Cuban pitcher Hector Mendoza. Elaborating on Ben Badler article.

Food for thought:

  • David Nield (Science Alert): Scientists have detected a habitable zone in one of our nearest solar systems. “...the fact that there's a roughly Earth-like planet in the habitable zone of a star so close to our own Solar System is a good omen as we continue our search for life on other planets."
  • Science Daily: Scientists discover a way to sequence DNA of rare animals. DNA degrades and splits into small fragments over time. Until recently, there was no way to put it together.
  • Laura Geggel (Live Science): Why do men gain weight in their bellies? Think of it as the trunk of a car.

That’s the way the future was. Tune in Sunday for another vintage season.