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Cub Tracks’ strangers on a train

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and other bullets, and other bullets

Historically Restored Steam Engine Rides The Rails Again In Virginia
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Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

We met last time in the dining car. This time we convene in a Pullman car, the better to arrive in Chicago in, my dear Poirot.

Scowl and twiddle the ends of your prim little moustaches as you will...there is a killing just waiting to happen, or my name isn’t Meursault. But the perpetrator has yet to show his hand. So, patient we must be, patient and stealthy and agile, while waiting for the pot to boil.

And it will boil, just as surely as buttermilk will sour, and money will change hands, filthy lucre that it is, and we must be johnny-on-the-spot, or we shall certainly be overcome by hostile forces.

...as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs history:

  • 1953 - Reaffirming its earlier position, the United States Supreme Court rules, 7-2, baseball is a sport and not a business. This decision exempts baseball from anti-trust laws.
  • 1976 - Oakland releases Billy Williams, ending his Hall of Fame career with 2,711 hits, 426 home runs, 1,475 RBI, and a .290 average.
  • 1998 - Chicago pitcher Kerry Wood was voted the National League Rookie of the Year after going 13-6 with a 3.40 ERA and helping the Cubs to the playoffs.
  • 2002 - After a decade as the skipper in San Francisco, Dusty Baker signs a four years deal to pilot the Cubs.
  • 2004 - The Cubs, hoping to fill the void created by Steve Stone's resignation, hire former Diamondbacks manager and current Fox television analyst Bob Brenly to broadcast games on WGN.

Cubs news and notes:

The Braves released reliever Armando Rivero, a Rule 5 pick from the Cubs last December.

“The Cubs have made moves that increase the likelihood of consideration,” Scott Boras said, about Jake Arrieta’s free-agent status.

  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): No ride into sunset yet for John Lackey, who plans to pitch in 2018. ‘‘One of the best teammates, one of the best people, I ever got to play with,’’ Jon Lester said, once upon a time.
  • Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Explaining Wade Davis's full impact on Cubs and hidden value as a free agent. “Wade has been such a big factor for us,” general manager Jed Hoyer said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Let’s consult warning label on potential Cubs target Alex Cobb. “...I’m slightly suspicious of Cobb because of his injury history and the disappearance of his splitter.”
  • Tommy Meyers (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cubs Target Profile: Pat Neshek. “Out of 150 relievers to throw at least 50 innings in 2017, Pat Neshek had the lowest walk percentage of them all.”
  • Matt Snyder (CBS Sports): Rumor buy or sell: Cubs could deal Heyward to Giants for Samardzija, Melancon? Jason Heyward, w/Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon to offer. Phil Rogers-originated.
  • “Let’s go ahead and put it out there that this is a) not a brand-new report; and b) very much more smoke than fire right now,” says Evan Altman. Some things make sense. Melancon doesn’t walk people. Shark doesn’t either, any more...just sayin’.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Anthony Rizzo wins Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. “Rizzo... also won the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award last month for his foundation’s work, giving him a sweep of baseball’s off-field humanitarian awards.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): MLB agrees to Grandfather Otani under old posting rules, still needs union blessing. “...the Shohei Otani saga may finally be entering the home stretch.”
  • Miriam Di Nunzio (Chicago Sun-Times*): Park at Wrigley will transform into ‘winter wonderland’ for season. I’m holding out for the Island of Misfit Toys.

Food for thought: