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Cub Tracks Gets Real

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Distribution of time, the industry leaders, the batter’s box, and other bullets

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Surprise Party!
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
It Happened: Cubs 2016 World Victory
Opie Otterstad

CUBS’ MOMENTS OF VICTORY - THE EXHIBITION

On November 3, 2016 the 108-year wait was over and fans across the country cheered as never before as the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. For his 15th consecutive year, MLB- sanctioned artist Opie Otterstad created a celebratory masterpiece titled, It Happened: Cubs 2016 World Victory, which captures the historic moment The Cubs became World Series Champions. Widely recognized as one of the greatest sports painters today, Otterstad is commissioned to create artworks which capture the most significant milestones in a professional baseball player’s career. Chicago Cubs fans now have the opportunity to own and to savor daily the thrill of this historic win by collecting their own limited edition fine art print of It Happened. The Chicago Cubs World Series celebration paintings will be on public display at Narrative Gallery inside Chicago’s Water Tower Place, featuring special in-gallery appearances by Otterstad on Saturday, April 8, from 6:00-9:00pm and Sunday, April 9, between 1:00-4:00 pm. RSVPs Suggested at cubsartevent@narrative-gallery.com. 312.475.9620. Visit www.cubsartevent.com for more info.

W!

The Cubs are now 2-2-2 after six games. Today they’ll try to break the tie.

Cub Tracks started planning ahead just recently, but we’re full steam behind that issue now. I don’t see the point in posting simulated spring-training scores but I do believe that I’ll sim the season and see how it works out. I don’t see why I couldn’t get some still shots or even video to accompany that small running feature.

If you’ve been following along, you’ve no doubt seen some formatting changes in recent days — things to inform, entertain, and break up the “wall of text” look of the page. The above would just be one of those things, like the Today in Baseball History segment. We’ll see what kind of other nuggets and easter eggs I can stumble upon/concoct for your infotainment and my own creative needs.

Had to listen to Wednesday’s game on the radio, which was unfortunate as I wanted to see Jorge Soler play. MLB Network didn’t have a replay, either, like they did with the previous day’s game, and there was no dependable ‘alternate feed’. I think it inevitable that all of the games will be telecast at some point, but the demand and projected revenue has to be proven, and clearly has not been yet, or the powers that be would be broadcasting in HD right now.

I wish.

Television is a closer connection than the radio, and going to the games is a closer connection than television. Though I’ve seen thousands of games and concerts, I’m not so good about crowds any more (besides, I live out of town) and rarely go...so the Spring Training game I’m going to soon is a real event. First Cub game I’ll have seen in person since 2000, when I struck out on the Horace Greeley path, and first spring training game since the mid-80s. That possibility solidified today as the tickets and the receipt from the rent-a-car agency arrived in today’s mail.

Usually I consume through the glass teat. Even the radio broadcast is coming via that medium as I stream MLB.TV through my Playstation. While it is true that the milk of human kindness seldom issues forth, Cubbie Blue Kool-Aid does.

I consume this nectar eagerly, and ask for more. But seeing there, Chauncey Gardiner, is not the same as Being There. Let’s talk some baseball. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1874 - At the fourth meeting of the Professional Association in Boston, the batter's box is officially adopted. It is also decided that expulsion will be the penalty for any player betting on his own team and any player betting on any other team will forfeit his pay.
  • 1901 - Jimmy Collins, Connie Mack’s choice as the best all-time third baseman, switches leagues but not cities. Collins leaves Boston's N.L. club to manage the A.L.'s new Boston Somersets. The N.L. Beaneaters will also lose outfielder Hugh Duffy, who becomes manager of Milwaukee's new A.L. entry, and catcher Billy Sullivan, who signs with the Chicago White Stockings.
  • 1918 - The Yankees purchase first baseman George Burns from the Detroit Tigers and immediately trade him to the Philadelphia Athletics for outfielder Ping Bodie.
  • 1927 - Babe Ruth becomes the highest paid player in major league history when the Yankees announce the Bambino will earn $70,000 per season for the next three years. The historic deal is struck when the 'Sultan of Swat', who had asked for $100,000, meets Colonel Jacob Ruppert at the Ruppert Brewery in the Yorkville section of Manhattan.
  • 1966 - Commissioner William Eckert, citing a rule that prohibits clubs from signing players during their collegiate season, voids the Braves' contract with USC standout Tom Seaver, who had signed with Atlanta for a $50,000 bonus a week earlier. The Mets will be awarded the future Hall of Famer's signing rights in a lottery that includes the Phillies and Indians, who also were willing to match the Braves' terms.
  • 1992 - The highest-paid player tag belonged to Ryne Sandberg, when the All-Star infielder signed a four-year contract extension worth 7.1 million dollars per season. The future Hall of Famer unexpectedly retired during the season in 1994, walking away from nearly $15.8 million.
  • 2005 - Wearing their regular-season home uniforms instead of the traditional batting-practice spring training jerseys, the Nationals in their first game ever beat the Mets in the exhibition opener at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, 5-3. The first and last games the Expos played, before moving from Montreal to Washington to become the Nats, were also against Mets.
  • 2005 - In a Capitol Rotunda ceremony, with legislators from both the House and Senate and baseball commissioner Bud Selig in attendance, President George W. Bush awards the nation’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, posthumously to Jackie Robinson's widow. Rachel, the widow of the courageous ball player, accepts the award for her late husband, who died in 1972.
  • 2012 - In the first change to the MLB playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first introduced, a new one-game, wild-card round will be added in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners. The new postseason system, which would have allowed the Red Sox and the Braves to avoid their historic collapses last season, increases the reward of a winning a division title, but opens the door of the possibility of a third-place team winning the World Series.

News you can use:

  • Ben Lindbergh (The Ringer): Chicago Hope. “Chicago might be good enough to beat the odds and the critics alike.”
  • Andy Behrens (Yahoo Sports): Pressing Questions: The World Champion Chicago Cubs. “the biggest question facing the Cubs right now is how to distribute playing time to the dozen-or-so hitters who deserve regular at-bats…”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Ryan Dempster preparing to return for World Baseball Classic with Canada. "Twenty-three years later, to do this again is pretty cool," Dempster said Wednesday. He had last pitched in the Classic in 1994.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Theo Epstein connects off Ryan Dempster in an epic showdown. “In five at-bats, Epstein had one solid hit to right.” Jerry Crasnick’s (ESPN) version has video.
  • Richard Justice (MLB.com): Move to 'pen changed everything for Wade Davis. He’s been one of MLB’s best relievers.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs' top starters scheduled for spring debuts. “Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey soon pitching.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta signs exclusive collectibles and memorabilia deal with Fanatics. “Fanatics is the industry leader for licensed sports memorabilia, and I knew they would be the perfect partner for me,” said Arrieta.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Brett Anderson fights for Cubs’ final rotation spot. “The biggest thing for me is being healthy and feeling good going forward,” Anderson said.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Can the Cubs harness Eddie Butler’s talent? Maybe. And Butler can help himself.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): In Alec Mills and Caleb Smith, Cubs hope they have found two arms for the long term. Mills is likely to open in Triple A. Smith is a Rule 5 pick.
  • Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): An interview with Thomas Hatch. Full interview at 2080 Baseball.
  • Michael Clair (Cut4): He can do everything: David Ross to compete on 'Dancing with the Stars'. Ross will be the first baseball player to appear on the show.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Willson Contreras learns firsthand by catching Jon Lester. "I know what he wants to do and he knows what he wants to do," Contreras said. "Everything will be easier than I thought."
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): What if the Cubs tried to extend Kris Bryant? Just how enormous would the deal have to be? Expanding on Craig Edwards’ ESPN Insider {$} article. The price will keep going up.
  • Jim Bowden (ESPN Insider {$}): Trades we'd like to see this spring. Billy Hamilton for Albert Almora Jr and Ian Happ. Um, no. Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery) adds his perspective.
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Matt Szczur immortalizes Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant on canvas. He wrestles them to the ground. Heh, actually he painted pictures of them. And they’re quite good.
  • Ryan Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Is Kris Bryant doomed for regression? Space WARP blues.
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): Hope, history, and the most Jason Heyward seasons ever. Willie Davis is Edward’s best comp.
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus) Joe Maddon’s trust in his young core. “One of the biggest reasons why Joe Maddon is a great manager is that he has the confidence to put his young players in positions to succeed instead of reflexively deferring to his veterans in every situation.”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Munenori Kawasaki is now a Japanese commercial star. “Kawasaki is now starring in a commercial for Kirin, a Japanese beverage.”
  • Jed Hoyer on MLB Network Radio [AUDIO].

For your possible amusement: Every Fan in 90 Seconds — Chicago Edition.

Food for thought:

  • Laura Geggel (Science News): Why the Octopus lost its shell. A new study finds that this change may have occurred during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, Rudyard Kipling.
  • Lucas Joel (Science): Zigzagging backbones helped turn dinosaurs into giants. Special “toothed” bones in their backs that fit together neatly like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle made it possible for them to grow larger than typical bone structures.
  • (Science Alert): A giant neuron has been found wrapped around the entire circumference of the brain. This could be where consciousness forms. Or not. I’m not convinced that everyone is conscious.

That was the news that was. See you Sunday — Thanks for reading.

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