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Cub Tracks Crosses The ‘T’

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Dancing with the Ross, I Hate Bugs, You’re IT!, and other bullets

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Every day is a beautiful day for a ball game.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

CUBS PLAY!

Inside Baseball — In order for Al to get some semblance of a night’s sleep while he’s in Arizona, Cub Tracks gets in early. So I won’t know the final score of the first night game of spring training until after this feature goes to press. While what we do here isn’t exactly reporting, still, we like to keep current here in the Cub Tracks continuum. Pass the spacetime donuts, please, and I’ll have a bit of that coffee...

Previously, in the vacuum that cats abhor, Cub Tracks uncovered the naked truth (or mostly naked, Tim Buss), talked about high-school baseball encounters, discussed the Big Dead Machine, and posted a few opinions about Ian Happ’s possibilities.

Today, we link interviews with current and former Cubs, get more naked truths, and look back on tomorrow. Ian Happ and Javier Baez are in the news again, and the #5 starter’s identity is still in the air.

Saturday, Cub Tracks will be at the game between The Cubs and the Japanese WBC team. That promises to be an exciting contest-the Japanese play a good brand of baseball...and especially good considering that there’s no tv coverage. There’s no truth to the rumor that I’ll be appearing with Dr. Gonzo, or even Oscar Zeta Acosta, who has been missing for many years. Also, the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

LOLwut? Yeah, I’m not dead, and have stepped out of the editorial we again. That makes my other personalities nervous, so we’ll talk about baseball instead of extending this farce any further.

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

Today in baseball history**:

  • 1900 - At an A.L. meeting in Chicago, Ban Johnson announces that an A.L. team will be placed in the Windy City to ensure the stability of the league. Other franchises are in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo. In an agreement with Chicago N.L. officials, the A.L. club will be situated on the south side of the city and will be permitted to use the nickname White Stockings, formerly used by the N.L. team. However, the White Stockings will not be able to use the word Chicago in their official name.
  • 1953 - The A.L. rejects Bill Veeck's request to move the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore. The rejection is designed to force Veeck out of the A.L.
  • 1985 - Denny McLain, winner of the A.L. Cy Young Award in 1968, is convicted of racketeering, extortion, and cocaine possession in Tampa, Florida. He will serve 29 months of a 23-year sentence before an appeals court overturns the decision.
  • 1994 - Eric Show, who won 100 games pitching for the Padres, dies of a drug overdose at age 37.
  • 2001 - Sammy Sosa signs a four-year contract extension, keeping the Cub right fielder in the Windy City until 2006. The prolific home run hitter had averaged nearly sixty home runs (179 HRs/3 years) during the previous three seasons.
  • 2015 - The Grapefruit League game between the Phillies and Twins marked the first time two current Hall of Fame players managed against each other. Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, who was enshrined in 2004, opposed Philadelphia skipper Ryne Sandberg, an inductee a season later.

News you can use:

  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta tops early 2018 free agent power rankings. “A lot can change between now and the offseason, but I think it’s safe to say that Arrieta will remain in the mix for a pretty decent contract.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs Q&A with Ted Lilly: Winning it all, next steps, Kyle Hendricks. Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III has thoughts about things.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon wants Cubs relievers ready for any situation. "We've got a lot of talent and are deep and will be ready for any situation that arises during the season," Maddon said.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN): Cubs No. 5 starter is up for grabs this spring. Mike Montgomery, Eddie Butler or Brett Anderson might get the job.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): xStats Projects Hendricks, Koji Uehara, Arrieta to lead Cubs pitchers in 2017. Check it out.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Miguel Montero may catch more often than a typical back-up catcher. Elaborating on Mark Gonzales’ article. Reading between the lines suggests that Montero may well catch Jake Arrieta more often than not.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Anthony Rizzo was doing some weird sh!t in the locker room during the World Series. Too late for the last edition; make it a continuation of theme. Mike Axisa confirms the weirdness, which comes from Tom Verducci’s book. Here’s more.
  • Joe Posnanski (MLB.com): Tag, he's it: Javier Baez' wonderful skill unmatched. “Nobody thought that tagging someone could be an actual art form. And then … Baez.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Tag, you’re it? Not if you’re Javy Baez and ‘it’ is a regular job. “I’m certain that he’s going to play often,” said Joe Maddon.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): The connection between Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor is nothing short of amazing. They’re getting to play on the same team for the first time since they were kids in Puerto Rico.
  • CBS Chicago: Ben Zobrist envisions ‘A Little Bit More Of A Super-Utility’ role for himself in 2017. Also includes interview with Speigel and Goff [AUDIO].
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Kris Bryant: Covering strike zone, repeat title top of mind. "One [championship] in 108 [years] sounds cool, but two in 109 sounds pretty cool, too, so hopefully we can do that."
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Munenori Kawasaki enjoys Cubs life, even if it means another year in Iowa. "I'm not on the 40-man (roster), but I'm very happy because it's my honor to play for the Chicago Cubs again," he said.
  • Ryan Davis (FanRag Sports): Who is World Baseball Classic breakout star John Andreoli? “...there might still be a glimmer of hope for his future in a big league uniform.” Probably not Cubbie Blue, though.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Chicago Cubs counting on Jon Jay and Albert Almora, Jr to fill gap in center. “The two are workout buddies in Miami.”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Matt Szczur's perspective as Cubs shed 'Lovable Losers' label. “No current player understands what it means to be a Cub more than Szczur.”
  • Dan Hodgman (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Has the fly ball revolution hit the Windy City? Has Jason Heyward heard about this?
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Can Heyward turn things around at the plate for Cubs? "I think so," he said.
  • Jim Callis (MLB.com): Q&A with Cubs prospect Dylan Cease. “This year I'll be a real pitcher now. I'm very excited, ready to go.”
  • Chris Bahr (Fox Sports*): Meet the latest stud prospect to emerge from the Cubs’ hit factory. Ian Happ gets some good ink.
  • Ryan Lawrence (Philly Voice): The Q&A ... with Phillies vet (and Cubs Series champ) Chris Coghlan. Good interview with former Cub.
  • Brad Pautsch (KTIV-TV): Explorers sign former Cubs infielder; trade Mendonca. Josh Vitters will play in Sioux City, Tommy Mendonca goes to the Lincoln Saltdogs.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cubs have succeeded with a balance of big contract free agents and young players. Applying some details of Craig Edwards article to the Cubs.
  • Jared Wyllys (Baseball Prospectus): Looking back on tomorrow: Chicago Cubs. Thoughts about de-peat and beyond.
  • Joe Posnanski (MLB.com): Theo Epstein goes deep! Class reunion? Perpetual night? “Cubs architect humbled by part he played in building Red Sox, Cubs.”
  • WGN-TV: David Ross plans Cubs tribute for 1st ‘Dancing With The Stars’ performance. Go Cubs Go.
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): AG Spalding and the birth of America’s Game. Last but not least. Baseball “was made to be distinctly American.”

Food for thought:

  • Mitch Leslie (Science): Good vibrations: A bit of shaking can burn fat, combat diabetes. Whole-body vibration may be helpful in illnesses from cerebral palsy to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Christopher Wanjek (LiveScience): How fast will your brain age? Scientists identify key gene. “The gene, called TMEM106B, kicks into action at about age 65.”
  • Peter Dockrill (Science Alert): Spiders eat more each year than all humans put together. “...spiders play an essential role in keeping natural ecosystems in check.” Bugs. I hate bugs.

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday, if I make it back from the ballpark.

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