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Cub Tracks Sets Table For One

predictio ad absurdum, the history of baseball, Bryzzness is good, and other bullets

Atta boy!
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Spring training is over! It’s Opening Day!

Due to circumstances beyond my control (namely a pothole-repairing crew cutting the cable), I was unable to participate in the BCB Roundtable. Therefore I will present my very own roundtable... actually an aluminum tv tray table but nevermind that — it’s the thoughts that count. And sometimes I have a few.

I doubt very much that I’ll run any numbers this time around. I might roll some, but I won’t have any Kiss records out, unless there’s one with a gatefold. Instead of fighting on the beaches, the Cubs will defend their title in the ballparks of America (and on tv and pc screens everywhere). Are you ready for that? I am. Tonight, on ESPN, the field is grass green, the infield is dirt brown, the basepaths are chalk-white, the stars are out, and I’d really love to see you tonight.

Wait, what? Are we reduced to 70s song lyrics, already? And by Parker McGee, sung by England Dan and John Ford Coley? Hoo boy. How sad is it that I didn’t have to look any of that up?? Jeebus, and parodying Sony Trinitron commercials, Samantha Eggar???

Well, Dep said he wanted references he could recognize...*ducks*

That’s Cub!

Before we get on to any actual content, and without further fanfare, here are my predictions:

  1. Cubs win 95+.
  2. NL Divisions, East to West: Nationals, Mets, Marlins, Braves, Phillies; Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds; Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres.
  3. Playoff teams: Nationals, Mets, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers.
  4. NLDS: Cubs over Dodgers; Giants over Nationals
  5. NLCS: Cubs over Giants
  6. WS: Cubs over Red Sox
  7. Anthony Rizzo wins MVP in a close race over Kris Bryant, Paul Goldschmidt, and Brandon Crawford.
  8. Carl Edwards, Jr is the closer by the end of the year.
  9. Homerism: Bryzzo hit 80 and drive in 250. Kyle Schwarber hits 30+, Addison Russell 25+, Javier Baez 25+, Willson Contreras 20+, Jason Heyward 20+, Albert Almora, Jr 15+.
  10. Hendricks and Lester each win 20+. Arrieta wins 15+. Lackey spends time on the DL, as does Anderson and both are around 10 wins. Mike Montgomery wins 10+. Eddie Butler emerges as a legitimate rotation candidate.

Random predictions: Zach Greinke is back; D-backs win 85+ but fall short. Marlins similarly challenge Mets for wild-card. Rockies score 900+ but allow 1000+. Phillies, Reds, and Padres are just bad. Joey Votto grows Fu Manchu (against team rules) and takes to twisting the ends of it and chuckling to himself as he contemplates his no-trade clause and .585 OBP. Giancarlo Stanton changes his name back to “Mike”. Javy Baez makes unassisted triple play in the playoffs and starts answering to “Wambsganss”. John Andreoli scores the winning run of the World Series.

Gratuitous shoutouts to the WeirdFic baseball crew: Ann S Koi, S P Miskowski, Robert H Knox, Joe Pulver, and John Claude Smith. My friends write great books and create great art. Just ask them :)

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

Today in baseball history**:

  • 1908 - After a two-year investigation, the Mills Commission, formed on the recommendation of Al Spalding and headed by the former N.L. president A. G. Mills, declares that baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. Overwhelming evidence to the contrary is ignored, but the designation makes James Fenimore Cooper's town the most likely site for a Hall of Fame and museum when these establishments are conceived some 30 years later.
  • 1931 - Thought by some to be a belated April Fools' Day hoax, Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher Jackie Mitchell, a seventeen year-old girl, strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning of an exhibition game, facing the Bronx Bombers sluggers after entering the game in relief. According to legend, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will void the teenager's professional contract, declaring women are unfit to play baseball as the game is "too strenuous".
  • 1976 - The A's trade prospective free agents Reggie Jackson and Ken Holtzman, together with a minor league pitcher, to the Orioles for outfielder Don Baylor and pitchers Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell.
  • 1982 - In an exhibition game against the Padres, A's pitcher Steve McCatty steps to the plate wielding a 15-inch toy bat on the instructions of manager Billy Martin, who was upset that his club was not allowed to use a designated hitter in spring training games at N.L. parks. Home plate umpire Jim Quick refuses to let McCatty use the bat, and McCatty takes three called strikes.
  • 1995 - Having the first 23 days of this season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players' March 31 unconditional offer to return to work. The players’ decision to return to work is made after a U.S. District judge issues an injunction restoring terms and conditions of the expired agreement. Teams will play 144-game schedules.
  • 1996 - Cecil Fielder steals the first base of his career in his 1,097th game. He'll steal another before season's end.
  • 1997 - For the first time in major league history, the salary of one player is more than the payroll of an entire team. The White Sox will pay Albert Belle $10 million for the season, which is $928,333 more than the entire Pirate payroll.
  • 2008 - Calling it one of the dumbest ejections he has ever had to make, third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box. The Dodgers base coach, although warned several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh, will be suspended for three games for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.

Cubs News:

  • Stephanie Lynn (Cubs Den): Visiting Mesa: An experience every Cubs fan must have. Having just recently done this, I concur.
  • Bill Thompson (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Change: One fan’s journey to seeing the Cubs differently. “The more I talk to my fellow Cubs fans, the more I realize I am not alone in having a moment that changed me as a fan.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): A plane ride with the champs? Cubs prospects fly first class for a day. “The flight was nuts,” infielder Chesny Young said. “Not sure I can talk about it.”
  • Scott Spratt (ESPN* Insider {$}): Cubs' defense poised to take a step back. “Which defensive changes will reap big rewards?” Spratt opines.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*:): Straight from the Cubs: How can we possibly top 2016? “We set out to find some answers by asking those very questions to Cubs players on the eve of the regular season.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN Insider {$}): Bold predictions for all 30 teams in 2017. “Cubs: The offense will put up American League run-scoring numbers.”
  • Chris Cwik (Big League Stew): Cubs vs. Red Sox is your probable World Series matchup, oddsmakers say. Yahoo staff agrees with Bovada. So do I.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Take Me To Your Leader: Theo Epstein and the inimitable inevitability of the Cubs’ success. “If imitation truly is the highest form of flattery, the Cubs are being roundly fêted by the roundly fetid bottom-dwellers across Major League Baseball....”
  • Michael Clair (Cut4*): Bryzzness is good! Cubs' new promo rocks. Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez and even David Ross are brought into the firm. Also, from Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Staff directory. Great stuff.
  • Mark Townsend (Big League Stew): No Joke: Reynolds Wrap changes its name in Chicago after losing bet to Anthony Rizzo. “Rizzo Wrap” is a real thing.
  • Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): Cubs announce the Official 2016 Championship Season “Fly The W” book. “You never take anything for granted. You never get complacent. Coming off a really good season, there’s a lot to be proud of, but there’s so much more to accomplish.” – Joe Maddon, manager
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jon Lester fully expects Cubs to keep winning big for years to come. I like the sound of that.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Curse-buster? The story of a left-hander, an antler and a trophy. Finally a buck is worth something.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Should we be worried about Hector Rondon’s spring? I’m more concerned about his fall.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): X-Rated Factor: Joe Maddon won’t reveal NSFW slogan for leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber. “though the squeaky clean Kris Bryant isn’t letting fly with four-letter words — you only need three for MVP — you can bet that more than a few of his teammates are willing to pick up the slack.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs look forward to facing off against Dexter Fowler in rivalry with Cardinals. "I said: ‘It's 2017, so I can't talk to you anymore,'" Rizzo said.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Blood, sweat and no tears? Cards believe they can hang with Cubs. “We think we’ve got a chance to be very good this year,” chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Launch angle, the fly ball revolution, and the increasing importance of outfield defense. “...more and more hitters are going to be working to put the ball in the air more often, where shifts can’t hurt and the most damage can be done.”

Cubs tribute dept: "You and Me" by James Egbert.

Food for thought:

  • Sarah Zielinski (Science News): Camera trap catches a badger burying a cow. The American badger is known to cache carrion in the ground. Usually the caches are small.
  • Sean Quinton (Seattle Times): Don’t blink. The science of a 100mph fastball.
  • Ryan F. Mandelbaum (Gizmodo): How to drink wine the right way, according to science. “...don’t just order something because you’ve never heard of it.: For starters.

Thanks for reading. Go Cubs! See you Tuesday.

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