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Cub Tracks Gets The Picture

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Teammates, WBC, Weapon X, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs Victory Celebration
On a cellular level
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In our last episode, we met the Flintsteins, discussed regressive tendencies and superb owls, and indulged in a little bit of cultural ‘throwpology’. Today, we’ll dig for different nuggets.

Happy belated birthday to Joe Maddon!

David Ross will be on Dave Kaplan’s Inside Look tonight, 7 pm CT. Anthony Rizzo is beside himself. Ryan Dempster is officially pitching for Team Canada. Javier Baez plays for Puerto Rico, and Hector Rondon for Venezuela. Kyle Schwarber for Comeback-Player-of-the-Year? These things and more things will be on our minds in the coming days. Read all about it! As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1916 - The N.L. votes down a proposal by the Giants, Braves, and Cubs to increase the club player limit from 21 to 22. (The Reds want to decrease it to 20).
  • 1920 - The Joint Rules Committee bans all foreign substances or other alterations to the ball by pitchers, including saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin, and the shine and emery balls. A pitcher caught cheating will be suspended for ten days. The A.L. allows each club to name just two pitchers who will be allowed to use the pitch for one more season. The N.L. allows each club to name all its spitball pitchers. No pitchers other than those designated will be permitted to use it in 1920, and none at all after 1920.
  • 1943 - The N.L. is looking for a buyer for the Phillies, whose owner, Gerry Nugent, has fallen in arrears on rent and bank loans. The league pays $10 a share for 4,685 out of 5,000 outstanding shares in club.
  • 1951 - The St. Louis Browns sign Satchel Paige. The 45-year-old pitcher had been out of the major leagues since last pitching for the Indians in l949.
  • 1971 - Satchel Paige is nominated for the Hall of Fame. On June 10 the Hall's new Special Committee on the Negro Leagues will formally select the flamboyant fireballer for induction.
  • 1976 - Oscar Charleston is selected for the Hall of Fame by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. Charleston, a quick and powerful player as well as a skillful manager, played in five different decades.

You can find more art like that (including more Cubs-related art at artofwords.com.

Things people said:

  • Dominic Armato (LTH): A Guide to Cactus League eats. “Pitchers and Catchers Report” takes on a very different meaning when you move from Chicago to Phoenix.
  • Max Rieper (Royals Review): Jason Hammel is a first-half pitcher. Somebody named Al Yellon contributed to this article. The slugline says that “Fatigue could be an issue for the right-hander.” I’d make him a reliever.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Central): Theo’s second Five Year Plan about sustainability….and developing some pitching. “The 2015 and 2016 teams are just the beginning of a long, long, sustained run of success.”
  • Chris Cwik (Big League Stew*): Cubs no longer the class of the NL according to early projections. Actually, one early projection, the PECOTA, which says that “the Los Angeles Dodgers are projected to win the most games in baseball.” I ain’t buyin’ what they’re sellin’.
  • Ryan Fagan (The Sporting News): Cubs poised to knock on World Series door again. “That first World Series title was just the beginning for these Cubs.”
  • Buster Olney (ESPN-Insider {$}): Cubs' projected regression is unexplainable. “...it's hard to imagine this team declining so quickly, and the defense being so poor at a time when Maddon is penciling excellent defenders into his lineup every day.”
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN): The state of baseball’s best teams. “...the Cubs could hardly be better positioned for a repeat.”
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN): Will Kyle Hendricks and Aaron Sanchez repeat as ERA champs? I keep expecting Sanchez to whip up a plate of barbacoa y frijoles like his Food Network namesake, but he’s a fine young pitcher. I think he has a better chance than Hendricks, but that’s due to power-arm bias.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Albert Almora, Jr poised to grow into everyday player. “He has a career .290 average in the Minors, and now it's time to show what he can do at the big league level.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Javier Baez: The best (defensive) player in baseball. “Baez is Weapon X.”
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Transaction Analysis: Eddie Butler. “The Cubs have spent the winter squirreling away pitchers...”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Can anyone chase down the Cubs in 2017? Looks at contenders based on USA Today’s projections.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): PECOTA Projects Cubs to have fourth-best record in 2017. “...even one of the most accurate projection systems mankind has created must still genuflect before the baseball gods.” Evan Altman chimes in about the long ball.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Digging into the Cubs PECOTA projections: the position players. Jason Heyward is projected to be the third most valuable position player on the Cubs this season.
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cold takes on Cubs’ PECOTA projections. “...projection systems, including PECOTA, are useless if they are not used in concert with other forms of knowledge.”
  • Matt Snyder (CBS Sports*): Anthony Rizzo reaches out to victim of school attack in Chicago. Rizzo still rules, even if he likes Tom Brady. The boy is home now.
  • WGN-TV: Man gets hitched after saying he’ll marry if Cubs win World Series. Steve Schrage is a producer at WGN's St. Louis sister station, KTVI.
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Arthur Goldberg and the Reserve Clause. Strong stuff.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): The buzz around Eloy Jimenez will keep building in Cubs camp. “Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus identified Jimenez as the organization’s top prospect.”
  • Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): It’s time to re-frame the narrative (again). Disses Bernie Lincicome and Nick Vlahos, talks up Cubdom. “Generations hoped for the outcome we saw on November 2, and now there is the real opportunity for the Cubs take their spot as a dynasty. Embrace it.”

Food for thought:

  • Emily Conover (Science News): When a nearby star goes supernova, scientists will be ready. “Earth's observatories hope to detect neutrinos and gravitational waves.”
  • Michael Price (Science): Scientists turn food poisoning microbe into powerful cancer fighter. A use for salmonella.
  • Sara G. Miller (Live Science): Your brain on music: why certain songs bring pleasure. Dopamine. Great song.

Thanks for reading. Smell you Sunday.