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Cub Tracks Drops The Ball

The tragic death of Ozzy the Osprey, it’s all in the wrist, invisible bones, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
Can’t catch a break.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Those darn baseball gods love meatloaf...slim pickin’s in the ninth.

“They were never lovable.” – Anonymous White Sox fan, about our favorite team

Tuesday, Cub Tracks considered such things as gamma rays and dark matters, and also baseball, Bruce Banner. The less said about the Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, the better, Paul Zindel. It’s a travel day off for the Cubs, who are over the hump and headed into Fenway for a weekend set after taking two out of three from the suddenly hapless Pirates.

Lester strode to the mound, and then, two innings later, Lester Strode to the mound. Willson Contreras needs to stop watching how Francisco Cervelli holds the ball. That was the pivotal play, to me. Get the details in Al’s recap. That was a weird game. Slim Pickens had it right.

Pittsburgh meatloaf comes with pierogi, I suppose. Dunno what Boston meatloaf would involve. Any ideas? Does too much meatloaf lead to a ‘blazing saddle’? These and other questions may be answered by our scriveners’ gallery. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Two days in Cubs history:


  • 1905 - Jack McCarthy becomes the first and only major league outfielder to throw out three runners trying to score in one game. All of the 36 year-old flychaser's assists result in double plays, helping the Cubs beat Pittsburgh at Exposition Park, 2-1.
  • 1941 - Wrigley Field becomes the first ballpark to employ an organ to entertain fans, though Roy Nelson's pregame serenade didn't help the Cubs, as they fell to Max Lanier and the Cardinals, 4-2.
  • 1997 - In the Cubs' 7-6 win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field, Ryne Sandberg hits his 267th career home run as a second baseman, breaking Joe Morgan’s record for the most homers at that position. Jeff Kent broke that record in 2004, when he was an Astro.


  • 1961 - The expansion Angels play their first home game, bowing to the Twins at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, 4-2. The 74-year-old baseball legend Ty Cobb, in his last-ever visit to a ballpark, throws out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • 1972 - Preston Gomez is fired by the Padres after 11 games. He is replaced by Don Zimmer. The Padres ended every one of Gomez’ three previous seasons in last place as he compiled a 180-316 (.363) record with the team.
  • 1977 - The Cardinals snap a three-game losing streak by pasting the Cubs, 20-3. Garry Templeton scores five times in the game, a club record.
  • 2003 - Class A Daytona Cub Jae-Kuk Ryu was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for harming a protected bird as he hit Ozzy the osprey with a thrown baseball.
  • 2016 - Last year’s game was a rainout. Jake Arrieta and Stephen A. Smith were having a jawflap.

Cubs News:

Joe Maddon had a thought regarding former Cub Chris Coghlan's acrobatic slide at home plate (the other) night: "That's otherworldly right there. That's something you see Bo Jackson or Dick Fosbury (do). That also, I think, is a residual of the blocking home plate rule. He could have run him over but internally probably felt like he couldn't, instead putting himself at risk by landing on his head. I want to make a point of that also." Maddon is not a fan of the rule. — Jesse Rogers, ESPN

  • Carrie Muskat ( Joe Maddon looking forward to Fenway return. He’s not the only one, says Jon Lester. "It's the American League East, and I cut my teeth there as a manager," he said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta’s (pitch) location has shifted dramatically as he adopts new strategy to attack hitters. “Nowadays, the pilates-loving pitcher attacks righties by jamming their hands, not by freezing them on the outside portion of the zone.”
  • Carrie Muskat ( Velocity differential helps Kyle Hendricks get on track. His fastball gained another gear and there was more difference between his pitches. "It's just one start but definitely a lot better," Hendricks said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Cubs bullpen finding its form after early-season struggles. “Of course, it's still not even May yet, so this stellar stretch is just another small sample size.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Precautionary days for Ben Zobrist boost Javier Baez’ playing time. “I’m looking at the big picture down the road,” Maddon said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jason Heyward confirms that his wrist injury last year contributed to swing problems. Based in part on Jesse Rogers’ article for ESPN*. “I’ve always been a handsy hitter,” Heyward said.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Jason Heyward: No preference for placement in OF. “Whatever will help us go as a group is the best thing in the world,” he said, in part.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): As other teams seek outfielders, Matt Szczur keeps focus on Cubs. “No one said it would be easy,” he said. “I’m up for the challenge.”
  • John Perrotto (FanRag Sports): Cubs not worried about high expectations or slower-than-expected start. “It’s all about 2017 now,” Addison Russell said.
  • Chris Bahr (Fox Sports): Cubs are bringing their World Series trophy to Fenway Park for a great cause. “The trophy will be featured alongside the Red Sox’s 2004 World Series trophy in a special “curse-breaking” display...”
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Lesser lights get Cubs rings while Andre Dawson is ignored. “Time for the big boss to make a correction.”
  • CBS Chicago*: Joe Maddon: ‘No place’ in baseball for a ‘Vigilante Head Hunter’. “...there’s no place in the game for that,” Maddon said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins [audio included].
  • AP via ESPN: Pirates rookie Gift Ngoepe first African player to reach majors. He played in last night’s game. Dovydas Neverauskas was sent to Triple-A.
  • Paul Swydan (Fangraphs): Job Posting: Chicago Cubs Baseball Systems Web Developer. FYI.

Food for thought:

“If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” — Albert Einstein

  • Lizzie Wade (Science): Were humans in the Americas 100,000 years earlier than scientists thought? “This evidence is well documented, but it’s not sufficient to close the case,” archaeologist John Shea says.
  • Laura Geggel (Live Science): Humans mastered advanced weapon-making technique 77,000 years ago. “...according to a new study.”
  • Sara Fecht (Popular Science): We now have the power to make bones nearly invisible. This provides scientists “a new window into skeletal diseases...”

And that was the way the future was. Thanks for reading -- smell you Sunday.