“Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.” — Jackie Robinson
I miss baseball already.
Last time around, Cub Tracks met some strangers on a train and rode that disoriented express to points west, eventually winding up in Berwyn? for a little Svengoolie, some Cermak smack talk, and the wurst platter. It’s on the back of a barracuda that Cub Tracks is brought to you today, as that was what the Lyft app called for me when I was at the grocery buying the links. The 2017 model is pretty cool to ride in, and I do love the unmistakable sound of a Hemi.
Today in baseball history:
- 1920 - Owners unanimously elect Kenesaw Mountain Landis chairman for seven years. Landis accepts, but only as sole commissioner with final authority over the players and owners, while remaining a federal judge (with his $7,500 federal salary deducted from the baseball salary of $50,000).
- 1959 - White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox wins the American League's Most Valuable Player award. Teammates Luis Aparicio and Early Wynn finish second and third in the voting.
- 1980 - Baltimore's Steve Stone, who led the American League in wins with a 25-7 record, edges Oakland's Mike Norris for the American League Cy Young Award.
- Happy birthday: Jody Davis, Dave Otto, Sammy Sosa
Cubs news and notes:
“I always joke that losing forever was a great thing, because no one ever wanted to leave before we won. Now – and I give the Ricketts family almost all the credit on this – what you’re selling is just a first-class organization in a great city with a great fan base and a great ballpark.
“I think we do everything first class – and the fact that we do that is kind of known throughout the league now. The renovations are awesome. You come here and there’s a new clubhouse and you see all the (improvements around Wrigley Field with) the office and hotel and you realize this is a really vibrant place.
“If you’re going to play on a Tuesday night in May against a last-place team, you’re going to play in front of a sold-out crowd. I think players want that. We have been to the NLCS three years in a row, and I think they want to win as well. That’s what you’re selling. It’s a different sales pitch.
“We can’t sell, you know, the seventh-biggest gathering of humans for a parade anymore. ‘The Curse’ is over and that part’s gone. But I think what we’re now selling is still really good. It’s not unique. But it’s still really positive.” — Jed Hoyer via Patrick Mooney
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): NL Central offseason preview: Can Cubs add arms to stay on top? “They need quality and quantity...”
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Core issue: How deep will the Cubs reach to address pitching needs? ‘‘We’re going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and to execute on them and keeping an open mind to anything that is appropriate under the circumstances,’’ Theo Epstein said.
- Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs and Alex Cobb keep looking like a match in free agency. “I don’t hide the fact that I’ve got the most respect for Joe Maddon and what he did for me coming up as a player,” Cobb said.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Alex Cobb wouldn't mind Maddon, Hickey reunion. "Obviously, if we move down the line and we're able to have some discussions with them, I'd be very honored to be able to talk with them and hopefully come to a deal," Cobb said during an interview with MLB Network Radio.
- Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Brandon Morrow shows ways Cubs can rebuild bullpen. “There’s a little bit more depth in the reliever market than some of the other markets,” Jed Hoyer said.
- Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus) 2017 player profile: Pedro Strop. “Strop has quietly been one of the best, most consistent relievers in baseball over the last five years...”
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Could Dillon Maples really get a shot at closer? “It won’t happen this coming season...”
- CBS Chicago*: Cubs’ Closer In 2018? Right now, your guess is as good as Hoyer’s. “I think we’ll know who the closer is on whatever Opening Day (2018) is. That’s the key.”
- WGN9: Kris Bryant’s honeymoon delayed after he misses his flight. “Always listen to dad!”
- Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Check out these eight relief prospects waiting to break out for Cubs in 2018. “...the Cubs are not known for developing relief pitchers. Or any pitchers, for that matter. Things are about to change.”
Food for thought:
- Robert F. Service (Science): This fabric can give you your own personal climate-control system. “...a team of engineers has invented a new fabric that could be—literally—both the hottest and the coolest thing in clothing. “
Most supernovae are one-off events. This one has exploded at least three times. https://t.co/zyIvGX1Fn1— Science News (@ScienceNews) November 11, 2017
- Joe Rao (Scientific American): How to watch the Taurid meteor shower this weekend. “Sunday night is probably the best time to catch the celestial fireworks.”
Thanks for reading. A new installment of Outside the BoxCar is coming soon.