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Cub Tracks Dances In Place

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MC Grandpa, 25th, 26th, 27th men, Born to Hit, and other bullets

A very Goodyear
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

CUBS PLAY!

(This article was turned in previous to the conclusion of Monday night’s game between the Cubs and Indians. Therefore no final score.)

Previously, one-track-mind went One Track Over the Line, and linked to articles about Slider movement, Vegas vocation, cards and more cards, among other things. Since then, the Cubs played in Goodyear, David Ross sang and danced, and we experimented with cats and packing peanuts (I really did as I had a package delivered this morning). And the Cubs announced this:

That’s better than the gold-lettered uniforms anyway. Maybe even better than Ancho Reyes liqueur, which was what I had delivered to me, because I need more seasoning too. Last I heard, Matt Szczur was still a Cub, and he and Tommy La Stella were still in camp. Ian Happ needs more seasoning, too.

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

Today in baseball history**:

  • 1970 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the return of the All-Star selection to the fans. The over-exposure of the Mid-summer Classic (two games each season between 1959-1962), and the lack of fan input prompt the MLB Promotion Corporation to modernize the marketing of the game by restoring fan balloting for the starting eight position players.
  • 1977 - The Rangers' Lenny Randle, angry for having been benched during spring training, attacks 50-year-old manager Frank Lucchesi, sending him to the hospital with a shattered cheekbone. Lucchesi helped precipitate the incident by calling the usually good-natured Randle a punk.
  • 1978 - The A's release Dick Allen, ending a stormy 15-year career which produced 351 home runs, 1,119 RBI, a .292 batting average, and a .534 slugging mark.
  • 1985 - The April 1 issue of Sports Illustrated contains a fictitious article about a Mets pitching prospect named Sidd Finch, whose fastball has been timed at 168 miles per hour. Author George Plimpton offers bogus quotes from real-life members of the Mets, as well as several staged photos, and fools readers nationwide.
  • 1990 - A plan to allow starting pitchers to earn victories with only three innings pitched (because of the abbreviated spring training period) is scrapped, but teams will be allowed to open the regular season with 27-man rosters instead of the allowed maximum of 25.

Cubs News:

  • ESPN: 2017 Power Rankings*: Best and worst case for every team. Cubs are on top.
  • Joe Peta (ESPN* Insider {$}): Predicting Cubs' 2017 record. “...defensive efficiency has even less correlation year-to-year than pitching or offense.”
  • Lindsay Foltin (Fox Sports*): Pete Rose, Frank Thomas weigh in on Cubs and possible World Series hangover. Includes full interview.
  • Dan Symborski (ESPN Insider {$}): What (or who) could take down the Cubs in 2017? The playoffs are a crapshoot.
  • Joe Sheehan (The Washington Post): The Cubs’ rare status as young champs puts a dynasty within reach. “Not only were the Cubs the best team in baseball last year, winning 103 games on their way to a World Series triumph, they fielded one of the youngest lineups in baseball in doing so.”
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN): Are the standings becoming easier to predict? “To study this, I found the preseason over/under win totals for the past 10 seasons from various betting sites and compared those to the final win totals for each team for that season, then added up all the differences.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Loaded Cubs could be quiet at Trade Deadline. “...the Cubs boast a solid core of young position players and they hope to have enough inventory in the Minor Leagues to fill holes if needed.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): I think…I think I’m getting the Jon Lester fear. “...Lester was better in 2015.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Joe Maddon insists struggling Wade Davis is ‘fine’. “I like him in this role a lot,” Maddon said. “I am not concerned. If he was physically unable to do the job, that would be one thing. I think he looks really good physically right now.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Don’t let the stats fool you, Wade Davis actually looks good this spring. “...The biggest problem he’s having now is command,” said Maddon.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Ben Zobrist (neck) nears return to lineup; Addison Russell remains sidelined with stiff back. "We're just being overly cautious with all that," Maddon said.
  • Martin Fenn (isportsweb): Is this the year Addison Russell becomes a superstar? “...he is going to be one of the most dangerous shortstops in the entire league.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune {$}): Kyle Schwarber says knee 100 percent, will have no restrictions. “I expect to be good out there," Schwarber said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber. “He’s born to hit,” David Ross said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Albert Almora will be better than you think. “Think Kevin Kiermaier with more pop.”
  • Joe Posnanski (MLB.com): Jason Heyward's intangibles balance out struggles. "I'm not even thinking about the swing anymore," Heyward said. "I just need to react."
  • Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): Why it ought to be Matt Szczur traded. The backup infielder answer.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cubs Outfield Power Rankings: Not the biggest strength, but far from a weakness. Elaborating on Fangraphs articles: left field; center field; right field.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Why Cubs fandom was inescapable in covering the greatest story in sports. “I grew up a Cubs fan.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Why Chicago Cubs coaching staff fits perfectly with Maddon. “...he was open-minded enough to keep the coaching staff he inherited.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Give Cubs your tired, huddled masses; they’ll give them to Boz. Chris Bosio, that is. “Boz is awesome at what he does,” said Theo Epstein, who made a priority of keeping the Bosio-Borzello-Lester Strode team intact even after firing Dale Sveum. “They all have their roles, and they’re all awesome.”
  • Justin Conn (Decatur Herald and Review): Double play: Central Illinois epicenter of Cubs, Cardinals rivalry. “It transcends all the normal boundaries like race, class and occupation,” said Bob Sampson, Millikin history professor and former Decatur Daily Review reporter and columnist.
  • Jacob R. Misener (Cubbies Crib): David Ross throws it back to the 90s with his cha-cha. “In his second week on Dancing with the Stars, the judges weren’t quite as kind to former Chicago Cubs catcher Ross and his partner Lindsay Arnold.”

Food for thought:

  • Nicola Davis (The Guardian): Fruit foraging in primates may be key to large brain evolution. “You cannot evolve a large brain to handle anything, social or otherwise, unless you change your diet to allow greater nutrient acquisition so as to grow a larger brain. But that is not an explanation for why large brains evolved.”
  • Mary Beth Briggs (Popular Science): Electrically charged sands on Titan would make seriously sturdy sandcastles. “Think of putting a cat in a box of packing peanuts."
  • Robert F. Service (Science): Scientists turn mammalian cells into complex biocomputers. “...down the road, researchers hope the new programming techniques will help improve everything from cancer therapy to on-demand tissues that can replace worn-out body parts.”

See you Thursday. Thanks for reading.

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