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Cub Tracks Detects Sarcasm

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Holmes, Holmes On the Range, a three-pipe problem, and other bullets

A musical about the 'Miracle' Cubs? It could happen
Yes, sir, Senator. Eat at Barney’s.
Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

DadaDaaaaa Dadadadadaaaaaaaa! In our last breathless episode, Cub Tracks got the facts, Joe Friday, and featured a variety of bullet points that embraced the target firmly, Bill Gannon. The stories that you read were true, and none of the names were changed, because nobody is innocent in TV noir, Craig Stevens. There are eight million stories in the Naked City, it’s said, but what about the Windy City, Bessemer Chunderlunch.

Don’t the Bleacher Bums have stories to tell? What does one do if one has Cubs Fever? Is there only the one cure? Why is Ralph Dibny’s nose twitching...and how far can I stretch this metaphor, Mike Connors? Let’s leave this business to the experts.

These and other elementary questions comprise the essential mystery that we touched on last time around. Will our Cubs repeat as champions? Have they given themselves the best opportunity? Everything else folds into that question like spacetime donuts fold into black holes. And no amount of detective work is going to yield that solution, until sometime in October or November, Benzedrine Cummerbund.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1920 - The Yankees announce the purchase of Babe Ruth. The deal had been delayed until Ruth agreed to terms believed to be $40,000 total for two years.
  • 1925 - During a European tour by the White Sox and Giants, the French Baseball Federation awards silver medals to John McGraw, Charlie Comiskey, and Hughie Jennings for their efforts to advance the game in France.
  • 1927 - Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis begins a three-day public hearing on the charges that four games played between Chicago and Detroit in 1917 had been thrown to the White Sox. The White Sox, Swede Risberg contends, returned the favor for two games in 1919. A week after the hearing opens, Landis clears all the accused due to a lack of evidence.
  • 1931 - Lucille Thomas purchases the Topeka franchise in the Western League. She becomes the first woman to buy a professional baseball team.
  • 1943 - Teams agree to start the season later than usual and prepare to train in northern areas because of World War II. Resorts, armories, and university facilities are chosen for training sites. The Dodgers will train at Bear Mountain, New York; the Cardinals hop to Cape Girardeau, Missouri; the Yankees try Atlantic City.
  • 1957 - Jackie Robinson retires rather than move across town from the Dodgers to the Giants, to whom he had been traded in December.
  • 1960 - The Continental League, a proposed third major league, gets an assurance of congressional support from New York Senator Kenneth Keating.
  • 1963 - Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby dies at age 66 of a heart ailment. Hornsby's .358 career batting average is the second highest in major league history.
  • 1989 - Three weeks after signing a record four-year, $1.1 billion network television contract with CBS, major league baseball signs a $400 million contract with ESPN. The deal will put 175 games per year on cable television beginning in 1990.
  • 1993 - Reggie Jackson is the lone player elected to the Hall of Fame. Jackson, whose .262 lifetime batting average is the lowest of any outfielder in the Hall, receives 93.6 percent of the vote. Jackson's 563 career home runs make him a hit with voters in his first year of eligibility.
  • 1998 - Don Sutton gets into the Hall of Fame on his fifth try. With 324 wins, he had the most victories of any eligible pitcher not in the Hall of Fame. He reached the postseason with three different clubs (Dodgers, Brewers, and Angels), and struck out 3,574 batters in 23 seasons. Sutton receives 386 votes of the record 473 ballots cast for 81.6 percent; Tony Perez falls short with 355 votes and Ron Santo, on the ballot for the 15th and final time, gains 204 votes.

Though I am anxious for the season to start, I’m not sure that I’m prepared to go on that ride just yet. I’m still enjoying the last one, still taking that 108-years-in-waiting victory lap, in the comfort of my La-Z-Boy, Sir Arthur.

The game isn’t yet afoot. It will be, soon enough. For now, we have speculation, intrigue, extrapolation, deductive reasoning, market efficiencies, roster jenga, comparison studies, projections, numbers, words...they’ll have to do until we have something more tangible, Benedictine Carrotbunch.

In the meantime, here are some words. I’m gonna go get something to eat. For it is an alimentary matter, dear Watson. My stomach thinks my throat is cut, and Inspector Lestrade is keen to investigate. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome). Pro tip: If you’re in Scotland Yard, stay off the lawn. And don’t order the haggis.

  • Jim Bowden (ESPN Insider {$}): Midwinter MLB power rankings: Series finalists pack a punch. Bowden exists under the impression that Dexter Fowler was a consistent stolen-base threat, apparently.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN Insider {$}): Top relievers: Who is baseball's best fireman? Nos. 4 and 5 have a familiar look to them. Hector Rondon isn’t on the list.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN Insider {$}): Top starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, then who? 8 and 9 have a little blue in their uniform. The Professor isn’t in the top 10.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Mike Montgomery’s lights-out stuff better suited for pen than rotation. “Montgomery’s eventual deployment and the value he can bring to the team comes down to the rest of the personnel on the roster and what makes the most sense.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs seek to maintain fun quotient by re-signing Munenori Kawasaki. Fun in Iowa, anyway.
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): With David Ross retiring, to whom will Jon Lester turn? Willson Contreras wouldn’t be bad.
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Let ‘em go: The case for not extending Jake Arrieta. Arrieta’s demands are going to be high.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): One call away: David Rollins recounts busy offseason. "I thought about getting a hat embroidered with all the teams on it -- I thought that would be funny," Rollins said on Tuesday.
  • Eno Sarris (Fangraphs): 2016’s best pitches by result. Take a spin on the main stage, Carl Edwards, Jr.
  • Daily Herald: Cubs World Series trophy coming to Naperville. Or going to Naperville. Either way, the trophy will be in Naperville Saturday. At City Hall, not Fox Valley mall.
  • CSN Chicago: An exclusive look at an interesting collection by David Ross [VIDEO].
  • Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): Tuesday Talking Points: Being loathed and paradigm shifts. “...other fanbases have been laying it on pretty thick for a long time...”
  • Ryan Davis (Fanrag Sports): How do Cubs handle their catching situation next season? “Contreras will catch the majority of the games while Montero catches Arrieta and fills in whenever Contreras needs a day of rest.” That sounds about right until there’s some certainty about Kyle Schwarber’s ability to get behind the plate.
  • John Perrotto (Fanrag Sports): 5 intriguing people in baseball to watch in 2017. “Maddon is the master motivator...”
  • Mark Saxon (ESPN): Can't catch the Cubs? Cardinals betting on wild card instead. “If they’re the rabbit, we’ve got to find a way to catch it,” John Mozeliak said.
  • NewsOK: Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg among Lincoln Award winners. “Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the list of seven winners Tuesday.”
  • Ryan DeVault (Inquisitr): Seattle Mariners rumors: Should Jerry Dipoto sign Jason Hammel away from Chicago Cubs? Nathan Grimm thinks so. John Perrotto isn’t sure. Also, there’s no evidence that Hammel or his agent have been approached by the Mariners.
  • CBS Chicago: Cubs Assistant GM Shiraz Rehman: Jason Heyward approached offseason with best attitude possible. “He takes a lot of pride in what he does, and he’s excited for next year. We’re really excited for him having that attitude toward this offseason.”
  • Sam Miller (ESPN): Pitchers swinging on 3-0? It's not so strange anymore. Lots of Jake and some Madison Bumgarner.

Food for thought:

  • Govert Schilling (Science): Mysterious radio bursts originate outside the Milky Way. We control the horizontal and the vertical. FRB 121102 is the name of the small galaxy that’s “broadcasting.”
  • Ian Robertson (Time): How stress can make you stronger, according to science. “I feel excited.”
  • Robert Ferris (CNBC): Scientists identify a new human organ. The mesentery positions itself between the abdomen and the intestines. It had previously been thought to be just a collection of tissues.

Quite a three-pipe problem, Brontosaurus Clumsybluff. See you Sunday, when the Redheaded League goes bowling. Sherlock Holmes quotes from the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Thanks for reading.