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Cub Tracks Goes Station To Station

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Aceness, Grandpahood, Russell’s hustle, and other bullets

No business like snow business
Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images

Nice 8th inning comeback — That’s Cub™.

In the previous episode, Cub Tracks spoke softly, and spoke of shenanigans, ‘stitions™, a buried lede, baseball and word games. Today we look at Kyle Hendricks’ Aceness™, Addison Russell’s wheels, Anthony Rizzo’s incipient Grandpahood™ and give the side-eye to Will Ferrell, along with John Madden™.

Next Saturday, I’ll be at the park, an occasion that has my cold old heart pounding like a triphammer and has me full of more anticipation than a dozen Heinz commercials. The opponent is said to be the WBC Asia team, though I’m guessing that John Wetton won’t be in the lineup, having been overcome in the heat of the moment. But only time will tell whether that surmise is correct. Looking forward to it.

Ian Happ seems to be serving notice that he’s ready when needed. Eloy Jimenez, who said he was, is confirming his own statement. Joe Maddon praises John Andreoli. Timbuk 3 stand ready for another fifteen minutes of Polaroid moments.

How great a name is Anthony Bemboom? Might be a career minor-leaguer but that sobriquet is MLB-ready. And that seems as good a note as any to depart this preamble and get to the ‘meat of the moment’. Take a big bite -- it’s good. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1894 - Pittsburgh issues free season tickets for ladies, good for Tuesday and Friday games.
  • 1901 - Ground is broken for Boston's first American League ballpark, the Huntington Avenue Grounds.
  • 1903 - The New York Highlanders (later the Yankees) are officially approved as members of the American League.
  • 1951 - Commissioner Happy Chandler loses his fight to stay in office by a 9-7 vote.
  • 1971 - The Cubs' catcher Randy Hundley suffers a badly sprained knee and will play only nine games this season. In 1968, the venerable backstop caught 160 games for Chicago, starting 156 of those contests and played every inning in 146.
  • 1980 - Slugger Chuck Klein and former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Yawkey is the first club owner selected who never served as a player, manager, or general manager.
  • 1982 - Ballantine Books publishes the first of seven annual Bill James Abstracts, bringing the author into the national spotlight for his statistical insight into the game. The sabermetrician, whose first self-published efforts were written while working the night shift as a security guard at the Stokely-Van Camp's pork and beans cannery, introduces baseball fans to new ways of measuring a player's ability, using stats such as Runs Created.

News you can use:

  • Barry M Bloom (MLB.com): Efficient Kyle Hendricks could be ace on another club. Hendricks looks to be ready to go.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Move to bullpen catapulted Wade Davis’ career. His average velocity jumped and he thrived in pressure situations.
  • Bill Thompson (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Gerardo Concepcion: A miss…for now? He is only 24, but the luster has faded.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune {$}): Brian Duensing careful with back ailment. He had a ‘little tightness’ and is ‘doing some stuff’ to loosen it.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): xStats projects 5 Cubs to hit at least 20 home runs. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras. Addison Russell and Javier Baez are just under.
  • Mike Axisa (CBS Sports): The Cubs have signed Kris Bryant to a record contract, but it's not what you think. Small change compared to the 300+ million expected in 2021 or so.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Kris Bryant open to talking long-term extension with Cubs. “I will hear anything they may have to say. I would be foolish not to. I am always open to options,” he said, while making it clear that Scott Boras will be in the mix.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Addison Russell wants to steal more bases. Will Cubs let him try? ‘‘I know the speed’s there,’’ Russell said. ‘‘It’s just a matter of anticipating when to steal and reading that pitcher and getting comfortable on the basepaths. That’s the goal right now.’’
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs in no rush to make Anthony Rizzo the next 'Grandpa'. “... His time will come to be that person within the clubhouse," opined Joe Maddon.
  • Dave Cameron (Fangraphs): The Cubs, Astros, and paying the young superstars. The Astros renewed Carlos Correa for the minimum. What does that mean?
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Kyle Schwarber a ‘very good’ left fielder? Cubs’ manager says so. “I think he’s going to be very good out there,” Maddon said.
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune {$}): Albert Almora Jr. 'a star in the making' for the Cubs. Kris Bryant said so.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Cubs attempting to tap into Albert Almora Jr.'s offensive upside. He’s got more confidence and is showing more power.
  • Barry M Bloom (MLB.com): John Andreoli catching Joe Maddon's attention at Classic. His time is coming, Maddon said.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs break out the big guns for Saturday’s game against Colorado. Much like the lineup for Opening Day should look like.
  • Jayson Stark (ESPN*): From doffing caps to flipping the bird, managers reveal intentional walk signals. Joe Maddon turns it on its side.
  • MIke Axisa (CBS Sports): NL Central 2017 preview: Don't count on anyone taking down the Cubs. “...the rest of the NL Central has an uphill climb ahead of them.”
  • Terence Moore (MLB.com): Can the Cubs repeat? Looking at both sides. 12 thoughts, pro and con.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Former Cubs pro scouting director offers front office insights. Jared Porter was with the Red Sox for a dozen seasons before working with the Cubs and has an unique perspective. References this article from MLB Trade Rumors’ Bret Ballantini.
  • Bianca Silver (Time): Meet the Chicago Cubs' Official Photographer. Stephen Green captures it all since 1982.
  • Don Doxsie (Quad City Times): Ryne Sandberg says Cubs' title changed his life. “I’ve been walking around a little different this winter with my chest out a little further,’’ Sandberg remarked.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Bill Hands under glass. “...a control pitcher and straight shooter.”

Food for thought:

  • Laurel Hamers (Science News): Scientists move closer to building synthetic yeast from scratch. Eventually they’ll make a human genome. But before that, we can make cheese, and beer, and bread.
  • Robert F Service (Science): ‘Supersteel’ modeled on human bone is resistant to cracks. Lattice instead of layers makes the difference.
  • Sid Perkins (Science): Stunning close-up of Saturn’s moon, Pan, reveals a space empanada. Or a dumpling, or ravioli, or pierogi.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back Tuesday with more daily snooze.

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