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Cub Tracks Blows Hot And Cold

Un-Happ-y campers, the longest game ever, character counts, and other bullets

Ringing in the changes.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Borrowed from Baseball is Fun.

Cubs don’t win! Brewers observe National Bat Day.

"To be around to see the payoff is something I'll cherish." — Travis Wood

Cub Tracks blew off the losses to Pittsburgh, seeing them as anomalous, looking

through Cubbie-Blue-colored lenses, and has already moved on to the series against Milwaukee. Last night the Cubs faced the Brewers in the opening game, which featured slumbering and lumbering sluggers and lots of neckwear. Why hasn’t the league developed a book on Eric Thames yet? And what’s up with King Kong Bandy? Enquiring minds wanna know...along those lines, the Matt Szczur/Tommy La Stella question hasn’t been answered yet. Somebody has to want one of them, or both, and be willing to tender a decent player or two. Maybe not MLB-ready, but capable of standing out in the field at some level. I don’t necessarily want either to go but numbers are numbers, and I suspect that a lengthy stay in AAA isn’t going to happen in La Stella’s case. Could be wrong.

Speaking of things that are outstanding in the field, how about Small Ball Schwarber? “Chalk up a hit,” Len Kasper says. Har har. That was great. Also, fans in the NW Indiana area should note that ticketholders for the South Bend Cubs game Thursday will be able to view the Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy between 6 pm and 8 pm, inside the 1st Source Bank Performance Center at Four Winds Field. We’ll have another note to this effect Thursday.

And on that note we’ll go see what the writers have to say. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome). Lots of history today:

Today in baseball history (**):

  • 1899 - John McGraw, only 26, made his managerial debut with the Orioles. He led them to a 5-3 victory over the New York Giants, a team he would later manage for more than 30 years.
  • 1923 - The debut of Yankee Stadium is a huge success with an announced attendance of 74,217. Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1.
  • 1925 - Charles Ebbets, Dodgers president, dies on the morning of the opener at Ebbets Field, won by New York 7-1. No N.L. games will be played on the April 21, the day of his funeral. Ed McKeever, the new club president, will catch a cold that turns into pneumonia and die on May 27.
  • 1925 - In a game that sees Rogers Hornsby score five runs, the Cardinals rout the Cubs in Wrigley Field, 20-5. Redbirds third baseman Les Bell leads the 22-hit attack, compiling 12 total bases with a pair of home runs along with two doubles.
  • 1945 - In his major league debut, one-armed outfielder Pete Gray got one hit in four at-bats in the St. Louis Browns' 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
  • 1950 - In the first Opening Day game to be played at night, the Cardinals beat the Pirates at Sportsman's Park, 4-2. Gerry Staley gets the win and Stan Musial homers.
  • 1950 - Vin Scully calls his first regular season game. Brooklyn loses 9-1 to the Phillies.
  • 1960 - Ted Williams becomes the first major leaguer to homer in four different decades. His first home run was in 1939.
  • 1981 - The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings begin the longest professional game ever played; the game is suspended at 4:07 am after playing to a 2-2 tie through 32 innings. The game will be completed later in the season with the Red Sox scoring the winning run in the 33rd inning.
  • 2007 - Mark Buehrle pitches the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history, facing the minimum number of batters due to picking Sammy Sosa off first base in the fifth after Sosa walked.

Cubs News:

The Cubs are #2 in the ESPN power rankings. Ken Rosenthal discusses trade possibilities, including Ian Happ in his speculations [VIDEO]. Sean Sears (Sports Mockery) is trying to trade Happ, too.

  • Stefano Esposito, Mitchell Armentrout (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs are handing out World Series rings — but there’s a catch. “...the rings come with strings attached.”
  • Rustin Dodd (Kansas City Star): Kansas City’s former Cubs prepare for ring ceremony at Wrigley Field. This happened last night but it’s a cool thing and deserves mention.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Travis Wood walks down memory lane with Cubs. “It was a long journey,” Wood said.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Top 5 games of WGN-TV's 70 seasons of baseball will be talked about for all time. “WGN is woven solidly into the fabric of Chicago baseball.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs may not be dominating like 2016, but no one should be concerned. "It's always something," Anthony Rizzo said. "Nothing is ever perfect on any team. Guys are going to have good days. Guys are going to have bad's just the game of baseball."
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Could bullpen hold the .500 Cubs back? “More of our problem than anything is not getting a clutch hit and not holding a lead in the latter part of the game,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Here's why Cubs fans should stop freaking out about the bullpen. “'s not just the Cubs.” Bullpens all over the league are struggling.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Cubs keep faith in bullpen, consider adding 8th reliever permanently. “It takes a month to figure out your bullpen,” Maddon said. “We are still going through that process out there.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Addison Russell offensive trends point to significant improvement ahead. “We may not think of Russell as a prototypical “high-contact” guy, but perhaps he will be.”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Addison Russell feels like he's just scratching the surface of offensive potential with Cubs. "This year, I came in with the mentality that I feel like I'm a threat in the lineup," he said.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Kris Bryant’s mindset completely destroys traditional superstar thinking. Bryant is the poster boy for “Character counts.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Why do pitchers keep throwing inside to Kris Bryant? “...he was one of the league’s best inside fastball hitters last year...”
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den*): Eloy Jimenez returns to game action and wows everyone with his superhuman strength. Gotta harness that somehow.
  • Nate Greabe (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Young Cubs: Still going strong. “...let’s take a trip around the minors...”
  • Tom U (Cubs Den): Versatility a short path to the Majors. “You have to come to the park ready every day” said Jonathon Mota, “you have to put in more work than everyone else”.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): When it comes to player development, small changes can yield big results. Insights gleaned from an interview with Myrtle Beach Pelicans radio announcer Scott Kornberg.
  • Evan F Moore (Daily Herald {$}): Maddon sees changes in opponents. "Athleticism is really starting to show up," he said.
  • Jeremy Fuchs (Sports Illustrated*): How the lowly White Sox are modeling themselves after the Cubs. They have the system...just need some luck.

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

Food for thought:

  • Owen Jarus (Live Science): Solstice alignments discovered in 'Peter Pan' gardens. Echoes of standing stone arrangements could be intentional.
  • Carolyn Gramling (Science): Curious fossil could rewrite early days of the dinosaurs. Ankle joints may indicate the lineage.
  • Cary Romm (New York Magazine): People with this personality trait literally see the world differently. “...creative people really do see the world differently than everyone else.”

I’d buy that for a dollar. Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back Thursday with more hot and cold takes.