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Cub Tracks Steams Along

Enquiring minds, now and Venn, debut taint, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals
All aboard!
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

In our previous edition, we zoomed in for a closeup, aided greatly by the words and wisdom of Patrick Mooney and the late great John Brunner. Today we anticipate the playing of yesterday’s postponed game and the resumption of the Cubs’ title defense (I love writing that phrase). John Lackey will be throwing for the Cubs, and I’ll be watching from the safety of my new couch. I’m in the best shape of my life™, and I’m tanned, rested, and ready™ for the grind. I’ve even arranged to replenish the David Ross reservoir.

Scary stuff, that.

We’ll try to look a little more at the big picture, today. We have stuff about trading Kyle Schwarber because Ian Happ, and a few words about Albert Almora Jr’s great catch:

"As soon as [Almora] caught the ball, Addison Russell came up to me, and said, 'Defense wins you championships,'" Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez said Wednesday.” — Carrie Muskat

Indeed. That has That’s Cub™ written all over it.

From Baseball America: Chicago Cubs Released: RHP Frank Batista | RHP Dallas Beeler | RHP Greyfer Eregua | RHP Jonathan Martinez | RHP Jordan Pries | RHP Tyler Skulina | RHP Michael Wagner

No real surprises there. Dallas Beeler has hung on for years for no apparent reason, and Jordan Pries just didn’t work out. If not for Mike Montgomery, that would have been a waste of Dan Vogelbach. Well, Jonathan Martinez was a little bit of a surprise, some say...

Check this out:

I’m of two minds about that. I guess another outlet is cool and all, but I don’t very much like Twitter as a medium. Or even as an economy size.

When do ya think Hector Rondon pitches again? Do you think he’s hurt? What about Jon Lester? Does he have a chance at the Hall of Fame? These questions and many others will be answered below. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history**:

  • 1971 - Willie Mays, a month shy of his fortieth birthday, homers on Opening Day and will hit home runs in the next three games to tie a major league record.
  • 1979 - Baltimore’s Earl Weaver wins his 1,000th game as a manager.
  • 1993 - The first new N.L. teams since 1969 both play their first games. The Colorado Rockies are blanked 3-0 by the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. The Florida Marlins are 6-3 winners over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Joe Robbie Stadium.
  • 1998 - The Arizona Diamondbacks get in the victory column for the first time with a 3-2 win over the Giants. Their previous 0-5 record was the worst start ever™ for an expansion team.
  • 2015 - On Opening Day, the Rays retire number No. 66 in honor of their late senior baseball adviser Don Zimmer, who passed away in June at the age of 83. 'Popeye', who was a player, coach, and manager with a dozen different teams, wore the number in his final season with the organization to represent the number of years he worked in professional baseball.

Cubs News:

Kris Bryant is ready for the Masters (from Red Bull)!

Look out Rickie Fowler! #themasters

Posted by Kris Bryant on Wednesday, April 5, 2017
  • David Venn ( Willson Contreras feels at ease with starting role. A comfy Contreras is good. Venn diagrams why.
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Contreras home run and Cubs fandom. “...these were your grandma’s Cubs. And, despite defending a World Series championship, they always will be.”
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN*): Who is the Cubs’ must-watch player? And who on other teams bears watching? At first glance, the eyes have it.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Javy Baez and Spice Adams riding in a car is the best thing you’ll see all day. Javy being Javy.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Season debuts haven't been kind to Kris Bryant. Last year’s MVP doesn’t start out hot. "I'm not a big debut-er," Bryant said.
  • Jayson Stark (ESPN*): Can Kris Bryant be “the Face of Baseball”™? In baseball, “ one athlete is big enough to draw national attention."
  • Kyle Schwarber joins Waddle and Silvy [AUDIO].
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): 'I robbed you one: ' Albert Almora Jr. dedicates his game-saving catch to his mom. He had promised a home run, but that didn’t happen.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jason Heyward on the state of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and how defense wins championships. "We all take pride in it (defense)," Heyward said. "I kind of got a front-row seat to how (good it is from) right field (because) I can see the whole field.”
  • Mark Feinsand ( Jed Hoyer on twice making MLB history. “Do you think teams are looking for the next big thing now that analytics have caught up?” Hoyer: “Yeah, you have to.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): *WARNING* MLB has changed way Velocity and Movement are measured. “The PitchFX era is dead.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): After spending years looking up in the NL Central, Cubs vow not to regress. "You get to that point, you never want to go back," said Hector Rondon.
  • Josh Benjamin (Forbes): 30 Teams In 30 Days: Will lightning strike twice for the Chicago Cubs? “...the team as it is right now is more than capable of repeating as champions.”
  • Jim Callis ( Cubs Top 30 prospects starting assignments. Who’s where in the organization.
  • Extra Mustard (Sports Illustrated): Theo Epstein: Curt Schilling consulted 'Negotiating For Dummies' during contract talks. “...there on his desk is a well-worn dog-eared copy of the book Negotiating for Dummies...Every time he was pretending to go to the bathroom, he was running back and looking at that book.”
  • Deanna Rust (Frogs of War): Frogs in the Pros: Baseball Returns in 2017. TCU SB Nation site reports on Jake Arrieta and other alumni.

Food for thought:

  • Megan Gannon (Live Science): Walking Dead? Medieval villagers zombie-proofed their corpses. “...the bodies were dismembered to ensure they wouldn't walk from their graves...”

Hertz me. Hertz me so good. See you Sunday with more from the wide world of Cub.

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