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Cub Tracks’ Gyres And Gimbles

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Cabbages, Kings, Sammy Sosa says, and other bullets

Keep your shirt on
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

Lewis Carroll

A “noble” pursuit...

Before the world was demolished in order to make way for an intergalactic highway, Cub Tracks endeavored to provide the answer to the question about baseball, the Manfredverse, and everything.

Of course the Cub Tracks crew, fumble-witted from a winter without baseball or anything resembling professional football in Chicago, forgot the question. But this snafu is reportedly not fubar, and the editorial we are prepared to ride out this wave, dragged along by our hair.

For this is Cubdom, and the World Series is our oyster if not our Oester, and this is Cub Tracks, where we decline to dole out pearls of wisdom and instead make with the verbal pineapple, couched in layers and layers of ironic detachment suitable to our avocation as sofa tubers, lying down on the job but still maintaining an air of bemused superiority better suited to talk of ships, sealing wax, and malice in wonderland.

For lo, we have built a grand edifice out of jabberwocky in the Cub Tracks continuum, and must needs maintain the facade of disengagement while still applying the verbal thrust and parry, searching for the mot juste to justify our puerile existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, and will pursue happiness in our own time, in our own fashion. Let it be said that we hold the Commissioner of Baseball in contempt, and don’t hold the Executive Director of Major League Baseball in high regard either, instead preferring the Presleyan lipcurl and a generous helping of side-eye to be meted out on those occasions when either worthy must be treated with, for reasons that should not be discussed in such an august and robust assemblage, but likely will be anyway.

Let us not wax rhapsodic, George Gershwin, but instead let us airily apply handwavium in liberal doses, not erasing the mistakes of the past, but ameliorating them, and looking forward to the bright blue prospects of another season of the other National Pastime.

Selah. Pass the spacetime donuts, please, and we’ll dispense with conceptual continuity. Let’s talk some baseball. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1934 - Casey Stengel, who had been a Dodgers coach, signs a two-year contract to manage Brooklyn. He replaces Max Carey.
  • 1960 - Demolition of Ebbets Field begins. Lucy Monroe sings the National Anthem, and Roy Campanella is given an urn of dirt from behind home plate.
  • 1964 - Charlie Finley gives in to A.L. pressure and signs a four-year lease with the municipal government to keep the A's in Kansas City. Finley wanted two years. His exasperated A.L. colleagues voted 9-1 that KC's offer was reasonable.
  • 1976 - Major league owners announce that spring training will not open until a new labor contract is agreed upon.
  • 1986 - Despite losing his arbitration case, Boston's Wade Boggs receives the largest salary ever awarded through that process to date: $1.35 million.
  • 1987 - Just three days after training camp opens, an extremely frail Dick Howser abandons his attempt to come back from a brain tumor and gives up his position as Royals manager. Billy Gardner is named his successor.
  • 1988 - A committee of Chicago aldermen vote 7-2 to allow the Cubs to install lights and play up to 18 night games a year at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had feared losing the 1990 All-Star Game, as well as future playoff and World Series games, if lights were not installed.
  • 1990 - Although the owners drop their arbitration and minimum salary proposals, spring training camps remain closed. Baseball's seventh work stoppage in baseball will last 32 days, resulting in Opening Day being moved back a week and the over-all season extended by three days in order to accommodate the 162-game schedule.
  • 2012 - Avoiding a 50-game suspension, Ryan Braun becomes the first major league player to successfully challenge the results of a positive test. The panel that heard the appeal voted 2-1 in favor of the 28 year-old Brewer outfielder because the test collector kept the urine sample at home and stored it in his refrigerator for two days before sending the specimen to a Montreal laboratory for analysis.

The kids are all right (from Cubs Insider):

News you can use:

  • Larry Stone (The Seattle Times): Daniel Vogelbach believes he’s ‘in the right place’ with Mariners. He’s going to platoon with Danny Valencia, it looks like.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs keep eye on new wave of young studs. "Everyone thinks our talent is already here," Maddon said. "Time out: there's other guys coming."
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Eloy Jimenez to Cubs young core: There’s more core on the way. “I’m going to just keep working and hopefully break with the [big-league] team,” he said in Spanish, through coach/translator Henry Blanco.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Mark Zagunis is just a walk away from Chicago. “He has shown the ability time and time again to get on base in the minors...”
  • Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated*): How Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio is fixing four pitchers who could be hidden gems. "He’s had a little bit of success, wouldn’t you say?” Asked Alec Mills, one of the candidates.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Humorous anecdote: Apparently the Nationals could have had Jake Arrieta before the Cubs. But the Nationals don’t like the Orioles.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Cubs' big-money decisions start with Jake Arrieta. “The price of winning is looming for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Miguel Montero feels great after dinner, talk with Joe Maddon. Cubs manager Maddon and Montero cleared the air. Jesse Rogers (ESPN) chimes in.
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN* Insider {$}): All of the Kyle Schwarber hype comes with a catch. Stop if you’ve heard this before: “Schwarber is back for what everyone hopes is a full season, and the Cubs again have more starting-quality position players than lineup spots.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kris Bryant believes baseball's fine just the way it is.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Kris Bryant: Major League Baseball could be going down 'slippery slope' with rules changes. "The people you really need to ask are the fans,” he said. Joe Maddon concurs [VIDEO].
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Kris Bryant’s dad, Mike, talks to Cubs Insider about crafting an MVP swing and how his son can get even better (Part 4). The end of the series.
  • AP via ABC news: Addison Russell tears up thinking about 2016 accomplishments. "This whole fame thing is completely new to me," he said.
  • Karen Jordan (ABC-7): Young patients head to Cubs spring training in Mesa, Ariz. “The all-expenses-paid trip aims to boost the spirits of current and former patients who have dealt with medical complications most, if not all, of their lives.”
  • Carl Edwards Jr (The Players Tribune): Why I fly the W so hard. Worth reading again and again.
  • Chuck Wasserstrom (chuckblogerstrom.com): “My intention was to finish my career in Chicago” … a conversation with Sammy Sosa. “If one day they want to do something, I want to do it in style. If it’s going to happen, it’s got to be the right way. Don’t worry, one day they’re going to do it. I’m not in a rush,” said Sosa. Justin Terranova (NY Post) added this. Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune {$}) says the door is now closed.
  • Chris Cwik (Big League Stew): Sammy Sosa would gladly return to Cubs, but he won't beg. “...the silence on the Cubs’ end speaks volumes...”
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Rick Renteria opens up on losing job to Joe Maddon.
  • Kenny Kelly (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The PECOTA Gap between the Cubs and Dodgers. “Neither team has made any major changes to their roster.”
  • Joe Reed (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Past bullpen compositions and what Maddon is looking for. “One of the more interesting battles figures to be between the Cubs’ bullpen arms...”
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Joe Maddon had a crazy World Series superstition after the Cubs fell behind 3-1 against the Indians. Plus a heap of clips from the HBO Real Sports special, which aired last night.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Observations, news, and notes from Cubs spring training 2/22. Plenty of stuff to dig into.
  • Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): What if Jim Henderson shines in Mesa? Can a non-roster invitee make the team?
  • AP via Chicago Sun-Times: Lincoln Museum to showcase Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. As previously noted: “The historic and longtime rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals will be the subject of an exhibit at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum starting next month.”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday, when we invent the left-handed monkey wrench, reel out fifty feet of shoreline, and hunt the snipe.

** information derived from today in baseball history and the national pastime.