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Cub Tracks Speaks Softly

shenanigans, ‘stitions™, a buried lede, baseball and word games...and bullets

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I got a secret.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Even though there was no game yesterday. Because Cubs.

That’s Cub™.

Last episode, Cub Tracks batted around ideas like seven-run innings, the World Baseball Classic™, and brighter days ahead for Cubs pitching, and featured tweets from Joe Porter and the Chicago Cubs and charts from, to add to the shenanigans, if not to the lede.

We at Cub Tracks™ are more than happy to add to the shenanigans at any given time, not being married at all, but especially not being married to the idea of any more than a passing nod at traditional sports journalism. While there may be plenty of links to such fare, those items are just a part of the dish. Audio, video, and even smellio (if there were such a thing) are gleefully deployed as part of a typical Cub Tracks™ repast, where the recent past is wrapped up like a present, incarnated as toroidal baked goods, and given two minutes for icing, which is a heinous misapplication of NHL™ rules, handed down because I don’t have enough of an attention span to continue referring to myself as the ‘editorial we’, or even to manage the third person, let alone oversee the manipulation of conceptual continuity™. Wait, is this the lede?

Pitiful, really. But ice is SHINY. Oh Look!

And the NHL rules, at least during the baseball offseason (though it looks like the NHL will be leaving Glendale), here in my humble hovel™, but that offseason is slowly, oh so slowly, reeling out, and soon the regular baseball season and the Cubs’ title defense™ (I LOVE LOVE LOVE™ the sound of that) will commence. Or Spring upon us™. Anyway the games are about to begin™, and I think I’m just about ready — I’m in the best shape of my life™, and being just a little ‘stitious™, I have new wardrobe items but the same basic set of rituals. Instead of eating chicken a la Wade Boggs™, I plan to institute a strict regimen of Vienna Beef™ hot dogs (Chicago style plus chili) alternating with beef and sausage combo sammiches™ (wet with mozz and sweets), on home-game days, and a meal corresponding to location for road games. This is largely because I really like those foods, but because of ‘stition™, too. Is that the lede? (said in bad Jim Gaffigan imitation)

Sartorial applications will be discussed another time. I’m still searching for a “De-Peat” tee shirt and feel depleted. If I can’t find one, I may make one out of tie-dye and stencils, which I have on hand. I just ordered one of these. It will bookend my Ozzy bobblehead, which wears a tiny Cubs hat in-season. Everyone’s a comedian in the desert. (said drily)

Please feel free to regale us with tales of your Cubbie OCD. Add to the shenanigans. I’m dying over here. (said cryptically)

Ahem. Let’s talk some baseball™ and get away swiftly from this line of inquiry. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Anthony Rizzo and Sean Casey on MLB Network.

Assigned to minor-league camp: Andury Acevedo, Ryan Williams, Daniel Corcino, Fernando Rodriguez, Gerardo Concepcion and Manny Parra.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1897 - Cleveland signs Holy Cross star Chief Sockalexis to a contract. Sockalexis, a full-blooded Penobscot Indian, soon earns the admiration of Spiders supporters because of his outstanding all-around skill. Before long, baseball fans start referring to the Cleveland team as the Indians. Sockalexis plays only three years with the team because of acute alcoholism, but the nickname Indians will be revived in 1915 to become the club's official name.
  • 1936 - Babe Ruth turns down an offer by Reds general manager Larry MacPhail to make a comeback as a player. Ruth, who retired in June 1935, is inclined to accept the offer at first, but after talking it over with his wife, Claire, he says he has put on too much weight and is concerned about injuries to his legs if he returns as a player.
  • 1946 - Ted Williams is offered $500,000 to play in the Mexican League. He stays in the U.S. and captures the A.L. MVP while leading the Red Sox to the pennant.
  • 1948 - Ted Williams accepts Babe Didrikson Zaharias' challenge to compete with her in a driving contest at a local range. The former Olympic track star, turned golf champion, playfully teases the Red Sox superstar, giving him pointers when the 'Kid' slices most of his drives as her shots go straight, and usually, longer.
  • 1972 - Players on the White Sox vote 31-0 in favor of a strike, if necessary, during negotiations between players and owners. The dispute centers around health and pension benefits for players. This is the first of a series of landmark team votes.
  • 1979 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn issues a notice to all clubs urging that all reporters, regardless of sex, be treated equally in the matter of access to locker rooms.
  • 1995 - With a vote of 28-0, the major league owners admit two new teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The teams will be assigned leagues in January of 1997.
  • 2005 - Current and former big league players as well as baseball executives are issued subpoenas to appear on March 17 by the House Committee on Government Reform. The eleven ‘invitees’ to the congressional hearing on steroid use include Sandy Alderson, Jose Canseco, Donald Fehr, Jason Giambi, Rob Manfred, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, and Kevin Towers.

News you can use:

Kris Bryant talks about the offseason and repeating the World Championship.

  • Darius Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): A recent history of defending Champs. “Five out of the last six winners have failed to even make the playoffs the next season.”
  • Andrew Baggerly (The Mercury News): Two Giants roster hopefuls will receive the ultimate baseball novelty: A Chicago Cubs World Series ring. Neil Ramirez and Tim Federowicz received requests from the Cubs for their ring sizes.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Cubs name 20 fans to present World Series rings. “The winners were selected from more than 1,500 video nominations on Twitter.”
  • Suzanne Baker and Erin Hegarty (Naperville Sun): Naperville woman, Aurora teacher join fellowship of the World Series rings. Joanne Harrer and Melissa Hurd will be protecting the precious.
  • ESPN: Jake Arrieta joins Dave Kaplan and Jesse Rogers [AUDIO]. Arrieta talked about bat flips. It’s interesting...he says they’re only okay in certain instances, and that there’s a bat-flip pecking order. Dayn Perry (CBS) backs this up.
  • Carrie Muskat ( John Lackey glad to get into game routine vs. Italy. "It's Spring Training," Lackey said. "I kind of have a routine...”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Rings are ‘awesome,’ but for Lackey it’s hard to top those boots. He’s not the only one.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Koji Uehara's goal: Pitch 10 years in Majors. Two more to go.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): How Wade Davis transformed into an elite pitcher by simply not caring. He is antistitious. "I try to stay away from rituals that I might be relying on," Davis said. But he says also “...the preparation is in the ritual.”
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune {$}): Carl Edwards Jr. hopes to move closer to being the closer. He says he “thinks of every game as a World Series game.”
  • Larry Scott (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Chris Bosio’s Eddie Butler blueprint. “...Bosio knows how to work with this kind of pitcher.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): After 2 years of rehab and TLC, Cubs to ‘unleash’ 100-mph Dylan Cease. “I can’t just rely on throwing hard. I’ve got to be a complete pitcher,” said Cease.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Willson Contreras' passion on display from beginning. “...scout Paul Weaver first saw the youngster at a tryout in Venezuela. The only problem he had was getting Contreras off the field.”
  • ESPN*:Miguel Montero joins Carmen and Jurko [AUDIO].
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Consistent Rizzo leads way for Chicago Cubs. “It's still the same feeling," he says, about being a Cub.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): For second base, Cubs enjoy first-rate options. Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez both give different options.
  • Carrie Muskat ( John Andreoli has fun playing for Italy in win vs. Cubs. Anthony Rizzo also reconnected with his former manager.
  • ESPN*:Theo Epstein also spoke to Kaplan and Rogers [AUDIO].
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Cub problems? Talented roster blocks road for Chicago's prospects. “It’s the elephant in the locker room...”
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Behind every successful baseball promotion is a woman. Margaret Donahue was her name. She changed everything.
  • Rian Watt (Chicago Magazine): How to Fix the White Sox? Don’t Follow the Cubs. “Did you know Chicago hosts not one but two major-league teams?”
  • Bill Zwecker (Chicago Sun-Times): John C. Reilly channels ’40s-era Cubs fan in ‘Kong: Skull Island’.

Food for thought:

  • Ashley Yeager (Science News): Astronomers detect oldest known stardust in distant galaxy. The discovery “offer(s) clues to early cosmic history.”
  • Helen Briggs (BBC News): How to super-size your memory, according to science. Mnemonics aid in memorization.
  • Lindzi Wessel (Science): Do human pheromones actually exist? A new study throws cold water on the idea.

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday with more half-baked ideas, probably carrying a big stink™.

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

Quotes from baseball quotes and The MLB Network.