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Cub Tracks rakes the grounds

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The Stratton Story, the Ohtani Train, a hallucination machine, and other bullets

CHICAGO, IL - 1980's: General view as the Chicago Cubs take on the Philadelphia Phillies circa 1980's at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
A long time ago, in the Friendly Confines
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last time through the order, Cub Tracks went for the hit and run with nobody on. This is what we call thinking outside the batter’s box, something you have to do when the grounders gather moss and free agency deals are so thin on the ground. It’s like Lucy van Pelt is running things and keeps pulling the ball back.

Yeah, we got conceptual continuity, if nothing else, and comments from the Peanuts gallery. Read all about it — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1938 - Monty Stratton, having compiled a 36-23 record (.610) during his five-year major league career, has his right leg amputated as the result of a hunting accident in Greenville, Texas. The White Sox hurler's attempted comeback is chronicled in the 1949 movie The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart in the title role.
  • 1955 - Monte Irvin's tenure with the Giants ends when the former Negro League standout is claimed in the Rule 5 draft by the Cubs. The future Hall of Fame outfielder will retire after playing one season in Chicago, finishing his brief eight-year major league career with a .293 batting average.
  • 1979 - Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe, who compiled a 17-10 record on a losing Dodger team, is named on 20 of 24 writers' ballots to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Outfielders Jeffrey Leonard of the Astros and Scot Thompson of the Cubs garner the remaining four votes.
  • 2007 - In a six-player trade, the Twins obtain outfielder Delmon Young, infielder Brendan Harris, and outfield prospect Jason Pridie from the Rays in exchange for right-handed starter Matt Garza, starting shortstop Jason Bartlett, and pitching prospect Eduardo Morlan. The acquisition of the 22-year-old turbulent Tampa Bay outfielder, who was admonished by his manager Joe Maddon last season for not hustling, will help Minnesota fill the void created by free agent Torii Hunter's departure to the Angels.
  • 2014 - In a blockbuster trade, the Blue Jays acquire Josh Donaldson from the A's in exchange for second baseman Brett Lawrie, pitching prospects Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin, as well as Franklin Barreto, a talented minor league infielder. The deal for the 28 year-old All-Star comes as a surprise because the Toronto third baseman was considered untouchable, in part for not being eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.

Cubs news and notes:

Just so you know, I’m not on the Shohei Ohtani train. But someone at Cubs Insider is. So there’s your daily Ohtani. Oh yeah... and Grant Brisbee, too.

“He was the greatest competitor I've ever seen. I've seen him beat a team with his bat, his ball, his glove, his feet and, in a game in Chicago one time, with his mouth.” — Duke Snider on Jackie Robinson

  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): How slow salary growth, tanking persist in era of record MLB revenues. “The media gold rush (TV rights and digital revenues) in the last 10-15 years has overtaken attendance as the primary source of team revenues...”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs not among five teams that have checked on Jake Arrieta…yet. “...tepid offers could bring the Cubs back into the picture.”
  • Daniel Kramer (MLB.com): Free agent Arrieta presents dilemma for suitors. “Is he an ace who could put a contender over the top, or is he more of the enigma we saw in 2017?”
  • Joshua Diemert (Pinstripe Alley): Yankees potential free agent target: Jake Arrieta. “...his free agency to be a likely landmine for the team that eventually bites and signs him.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): What went wrong for Justin Wilson? “...his release point grew noticeably inconsistent...”
  • Tommy Meyers (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cubs target profile: Joe Smith. “...one of the better fits they might find is former Cub Joe Smith.”
  • Ryan Davis (Fanrag Sports): Examining the Cubs potential 2018 bullpen. There are a handful of lesser-known guys...that could make the leap to the big leagues with a switch to the bullpen...none of these guys have a great chance of making the Opening Day roster.”
  • Adam McCalvy (MLB.com*): Let there be light: Anthony Rizzo donates to high school. It's ‘the season of giving’ for the Cubs first baseman. Madeleine Kenney (Chicago Sun-Tomes) also covered.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Contract decisions await Kris Bryant and other arbitration-eligible players. “As the Cubs scour the free-agent and trade markets for pitching help, there’s still the business of deciding which current players are worth keeping.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Colt following: Horse named Bryzzo wins race. “On Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the 2-year-old Bryzzo won his second race.”
  • Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): Addison Russell gives us a glimpse. “...a close look at what he did in a few different segments of his season tells us what is possible.”
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN*): Ten players who should be traded this offseason for their own good. “For Kyle Schwarber, it would be a boost to know he's going to be in the lineup every day in a first base-DH situation.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Examining Jake Odorizzi as a trade target…isn’t as exciting as I thought. “...the fit is fairly obvious, Odorizzi’s availability is clear, and the Cubs have been connected to him in the past.” But.

Food for thought:

  • Emily Conover (Science News): ‘Arrow of time’ reversed in quantum experiment. “But the second law of thermodynamics still holds true.”
  • David Nield (Science Alert): Scientists have built a 'Hallucination Machine' for a drug-free brain trip. "We're hallucinating all the time," the Sackler Centre co-director, Anil Seth, said in a recent TED talk. "It's just that when we agree about our hallucinations, we call that reality."
  • (Inverse): Why cats follow you to the bathroom, according to science. “Scientists don’t have answers but certainly some ideas.”

Thanks for reading.