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Cub Tracks Rings One Up

Lester attempts a pickoff, Cubs won’t bolster rotation, fans can’t even, and other bullets

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Lackey gets his jewelry.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs don’t win. It’s just one game. But holy cats, did you see those rings?

John Smoltz utters the most awkwardly-constructed sentences I’ve heard in a long time. He knows what he’s talking about, sure, but he’s hard to listen to. I’m looking forward to Len and JD.

Tuesday, we entertained Chicago Hopes, building on the promise of a new season after a spectacular year where all of our baseball dreams were fulfilled. Yeah, corny, but so what? Real feels.

A good time was had by all not in Dodger Blue as the Cubs eked out a victory on Banner Day. We previewed a Kyle Schwarber Gatorade commercial, showed you Ross and Rizzo‘s moves, added a new chapter to the legend of the man, the myth, the Warbird, and calculated the average WAR of an unladen swallow.

Wednesday night’s game didn’t come out so well...but today we have a guerrilla monsoon, a Fangraphs writer grappling with the complexities of Jason Heyward’s swing, and we get off the mat with Daniel Duffy name-checking the Cubs in a most interesting fashion. It’s the day after the Ring Ceremony, and nobody was thrown into Mount Doom as far as I could tell. Did you see those rings? I’d bet they didn’t go to Jared, my precious. You can get one of your own, if you have the ducats for the carats.

What an undertaking. Just another reason to be cheerful, after last night’s contest.

I dunno about you, but I think That’s Cub™.

Munenori Kawasaki goes deep for his new team:|

Interestingly, I’ve been reading a book entitled The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime (I recommend it). Nobody in there says a thing about sticky chest protectors, though there are scores of people holding forth about competition and cheating. Part of the “code” is that silence speaks Dale Bozzio says...”What are words for?”

Is THAT Cub? Probably not — let’s see what the writers have to say today. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history (**):

  • 1926 - Walter Johnson takes on A's knuckleballer Eddie Rommel in baseball's greatest Opening-Day pitchers' duel, a 15-inning battle won by the Senators 1-0. Johnson gives up six walks and fans 12.
  • 1954 - Hank Aaron made his major league debut in left field for the Milwaukee Braves and went 0-for-5 in a 9-8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
  • 1962 - Stan Musial scores his 1,869th run to set a new N.L. record. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 8-5 in 15 innings.
  • 1969 - When the Cubs rally, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Expos, 7-6, twenty-seven-thousand fans spontaneously swarm Wrigley Field in an early season frenzy. The enthusiastic display of affection for the team had not been witnessed in the ballpark since 1960, when Don Cardwell threw his no-hitter on the north side of Chicago.
  • 1970 - Oakland uses gold-colored bases during the club's home opener. The Rules Committee subsequently bans this innovation.
  • 1972 - The end of the baseball strike is announced, with an abbreviated schedule to start two days later.
  • 2015 - Jon Lester finally attempts a pickoff at first base, ending a streak that had covered a span of 66 appearances. The Cubs southpaw, who signed a six-year free-agent deal worth $155 million to start for Chicago, last threw over to first base on April 30, 2013, while pitching for the Red Sox.

Cubs News:

“2016 World Series opponents Indians and Cubs each walked off in their home openers. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, this is just the 2nd time in MLB history that the reigning pennant winners each walked off in their home openers. The White Sox and Dodgers, who met in 1959 World Series, each walked off in their home openers in 1960.” -- ESPN Stats and Information

  • CBS Chicago*: Cubs Ring Bearers ‘cannot even fathom’ special Championship Moment. “Melissa Hurd said she still can’t believe she was among those picked for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
  • Chad Thornburg ( Rings will bring Cubs' celebration full circle. “...tonight the Cubs will turn the page on their 2016 championship with one last commemoration before refocusing their attention on securing a repeat title.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): When will Cubs wear their World Series rings? Anytime they want. Said Bryant: "Most prized possession I'll ever have."
  • Kate Stanhope (The Hollywood Reporter): 'Chicago Fire' taps Chicago Cubs All-Stars for Season 5 Finale. “Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta, along with NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico, will appear in the season finale of the NBC drama.”
  • Larry Scott (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cubs won’t bolster rotation at the trade deadline. Won’t is pretty strong — there’s a lot of games between now and then. But why might they not need to, or want to?
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): New bullpens will take some getting used to. “Some pitchers prefer warming up on the field.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Anthony Rizzo on the Cubs' mission [VIDEO].
  • CBS Sports: Joe Maddon stresses importance of letting Anthony Rizzo grow into leadership role for Cubs. Includes interview with Parkins and Ostrowski [audio].
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Javier Baez Way a new Chicago street. There’s “a street named after him in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood.”
  • Diane Stafford (The Kansas City Star): Former KC Royal Ben Zobrist, as a Chicago Cub, makes Hallmark Cards’ Itty Bitty lineup. The new “Zorilla” 4-inch-tall doll sells for $7.95.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Inside the scouting report where Cubs compared Kyle Schwarber to Babe Ruth and called their shot. The late Stan Zielinski pushed the Cubs to draft Schwarber.
  • Travis Sawchik (Fangraphs): Is Jason Heyward’s broken swing on the mend? “It’s premature to say...some solid evidence to build on.” SSS.
  • CBS Chicago: Chris Bosio on Yadier Molina’s sticky situation: ‘Oh boy, here we go with the Cardinals thing again’. “All he’s got to do is the take the ball out of the glove, wipe it on the chest protector, throw it back to the pitcher, and the ball is loaded up.”
  • Eric Karabell (ESPN Insider {$}): Will Cubs prospect Ian Happ make a 2017 impact? Magic 8-ball says “possibly”.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs Draft Profile: David Peterson and his fastball project well. “It’s not every day you find a 6-foot, 6-inch, 245-pound left-handed pitcher. But that’s what you’ve got in Peterson, a junior at the University of Oregon.”

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

Food for thought:

  • Alexandra Witze (Nature): Saturn spacecraft begins science swan-song. “NASA’s Cassini probe will go where no spacecraft has gone before — between a planet and its rings.”
  • Ula Chrobak (Science): Why do shoelaces untie themselves? This team may have the answer. Stomping and swinging — both.
  • David Ryan Polgar (Big Think): The science is in -- you should always order the biggest pizza. It will cost less per square inch of pizza.

Thanks for reading. Back Sunday with more snooze.