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Cub Tracks Springs Into Action

Games players play, It ain’t cricket, the fifth sixth man, and other favorites

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Javy being Javy.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

There was baseball today, and no longer will I have to gyre and gimble in the wabe to create copy, though, truth be told, it’s likely that there will still be some component of snark in the Cub Tracks continuum. Praise the baseball gods and pass the spacetime donuts.

The Cubs looked to be having some nice rips at the ball, in a game they eventually won 4-3, against the Oakland A’s, which was televised on MLB Network, and also lost 8-6 to the San Francisco Giants (behind Chicago-area native George Kontos) in the other game of a split schedule. It could have been worse. It was good to hear Len and JD, even though JD made a sorta lame defense of the Commissioner’s rules changes based on the theory that there has been and always will be change... least until the inevitable entropic conclusion. And JD made up for that with a neat invocation of Simon Bar Sinister just before Charcer Burks’ seventh-inning homer. There’s no need to fear. Javier Baez is here. You gotta see his new tattoo.

Let’s talk some baseball. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1935 - Babe Ruth is released by the Yankees to sign with the Boston Braves for $20,000 and a share in the team's profits. In April he draws the largest Opening Day crowd in the Braves' history.
  • 1989 - A California court throws out a major part of the $12 million breach-of-contract suit filed by Margo Adams against Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs. Adams claimed that Boggs had promised her a salary and expenses during a four-year affair.
  • 1991 - Bill Veeck, the colorful owner of the Browns, Indians and White Sox (twice) and Yankees great Tony Lazzeri are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
  • 2004 - With hundreds of onlookers, including a man covered in ivy, singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the foul ball made famous by Steve Bartman in the 2003 NLCS playoffs is blown up at Harry Caray's restaurant in Chicago. The infamous ball's demise is executed by Cubs' die-hard fan Michael Lantieri, an Oscar Award winner who has worked on similar special effects in the movies Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.
  • Better than his slap shot:

Today in Cubs Baseball:

  • ESPN: MLB-sanctioned artist depicts Cubs' World Series win with limited-edition painting. Opie Otterstad has commemorated the Cubs' long-awaited win with the limited-edition piece "It Happened."
  • Carrie Muskat ( Cubs celebrate with Cactus home-opening win. Mike Montgomery started. “It was hard to control the adrenaline today a little bit,” he said after the game.
  • Chris Haft ( Javier Baez paces offense in Kyle Schwarber's return to left. Former Cub Justin Ruggiano paced San Francisco’s offense against Jim Henderson and the Cubs.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Cubs Fans are making Spring Training games feel like the real deal. “Baseball is back. That’s all that matters.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune{$}): Cubs hope to get a leg up on health. Keeping players on the field is the easiest way to win.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Maddon: 'Sky's the limit' for Mike Montgomery. "I think he's a 10-plus-game winner on an annual basis," Maddon said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Mike Montgomery, Brett Anderson vie for Cubs fifth starter position. Montgomery and newcomer Anderson might both win the job.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs envisioning ‘hybrid' roles for Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson. "Be ready for anything," Montgomery said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): If all healthy, Cubs plan to open season with 6 starting pitchers. “It’s theory right now. We haven’t actually laid it down on paper,” explained Joe Maddon.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Baez celebrates Cubs' title with new tattoo. His ambition is apparently to become Rod Steiger.
  • Tyler Kepner (NY Times): With each hit, Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu shows Cubs’ Epstein what he gave up on. Ian Stewart didn’t pan out.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Kris Bryant’s latest adjustment. Kris goes oppo. It was the obvious next step.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Signs point to defensive growth in Cubs’ outfield. Holt makes the case for a step up.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Albert Almora Jr. became part of the World Series puzzle for Cubs. "He has a really good awareness of what's going on out there," manager Joe Maddon said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs eager to see the Jason Heyward relaunch in Cactus League. "If there's ever any doubt," Heyward said, "then you probably shouldn't be here."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Watch: Side-by-Side video of Jason Heyward’s old and ‘new’ swings.
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Unleash the Schwarber…against lefties too. Fels makes the case for not-platooning the Schwarbird.
  • Doug Glanville (ESPN): In defense of Sammy Sosa. "It is as if someone or something is trying to erase Sammy from history. I don't understand what happened,” said former Cub Amaury Telemaco.
  • Michael Cerami (Baseball is Fun): Greg Maddux has more Gold Gloves than any player in MLB history – let’s watch him work. “He’s a living legend and pitching was only part of that.”
  • Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports): Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester lead charge to support badly beaten student. And the boy is following suit, planning to shave his head for charity.

Food for thought:

  • Virginia Morrell (Science): Bumblebees are surprisingly innovative. “...the insects can innovate to solve complex problems...”
  • Thomas Sumner (Science News): Newly identified continent Zealandia faces a battle for recognition. “Defining the largely submerged landmass may be trickier than defining Pluto as a planet.”
  • Elizabeth Pennisi (Science): Biologists propose to sequence the DNA of all life on Earth. ...the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) plans to do just that.

Thanks for reading. See you Tuesday with more new news.

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