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Cub Tracks En Regalia

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Happ-y Mother’s Day, the Butler did it, dark matter annihilation, and other bullets

Can’t let that slide slide.
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs Lose.

I’m really starting to miss meat loaf.

Thursday, Cub Tracks was off, like we are every day. We ‘talked’ about Mr. Cub going deep, Maddon seeing the long haul, Zuul the dinosaur, and other bullets. Today is Mother’s Day, and happy happy to those of you who are mothers, and also to those of you who are MOTHERS. As usual, Cub Tracks has nefarious agendae.

Today, just like yesterday, will be pink bat country, with hot pink shoes and wristbands and whatnot...which is okay. It’s a whole weekend devoted to a good cause, Susan Komen. However (ahem) I’d like to see equal time devoted to the specter of prostate cancer, and given that FZ passed from that malady, I could even see it happening simultaneously, Jim Corrigan. Could wear pink AND soul patches and fuzzy ‘staches. Good look, if you’re maybe a member of the early 70s Oakland A’s... Joe Rudi woulda loved it. He wore that Camarillo Brillo anyhow, on his upper lip, though not as much in need of a pruning as Frank’s. And he wore white shoes and polyester for a living.

Peachy!

Yesterday, there was a lot of devil magic happening. Little bloopers and stuff like that, the maddening stuff the Cardinals get away with, all the time. At least we got to see Ian Happ play well and ruin a pitch. Lotta pink too. Mother’s Day weekend. I still think that apostrophe is in the wrong place, and that’s where I cast my vote...it’s a day celebrating mothers, plural, not a single mother. If it were a single Mother, I’d vote for maybe Patrick O’Hearn, or Jimmy Carl Black. Or Steve Vai, for that matter. I’m flexable, but English is funny. That word is that way because the original creator of the holiday wanted it spelled that way. “...it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world,” she wrote. But I digress. In Ian Happ news...

“With the addition of Ian Happ, the Cubs are the only team in the league employing a first round pick on its roster from 2011-2015 (ESPN Stats and Info). Happ joins Javy Baez, Albert Almora Jr, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber on the big league team...” — Jesse Rogers (ESPN)

Ian Happ plays to win. I hope we get to keep him. Sorry, Ben Zobrist, but I’d rather see you and your no-trade clause in another uni than Ian. Surely TheoJed can find a fine retirement paradise for you, and send Jeimer Candelario or Eloy Jimenez along to keep you company.

“The 22-year-old Happ was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati. He’s raced through the minors and is off to a hot start with Triple-A Iowa, batting .298/.362/.615 with nine homers in 116 plate appearances thus far in 2017. MLB.com currently rates him the No. 23 prospect in the game, with Baseball America placing him at No. 55 and ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider) at No. 63. MLB.com’s praises the switch-hitter’s bat speed and plate discipline, noting that he could eventually become a 20-20 player in the big leagues.” — Charlie Wilmoth, MLB Trade Rumors.

I could see this again. Maybe you’d like to, too.

I hate that ‘slide rule’. Manfred the Magician should just go back to playing with Tarot cards, or Strat-O-Matic. And Carlos Martinez should just be outlawed. The guy swings better than half of the outfielders on MLB teams. And hey! While I’m busy kvetching, let’s put the damn names on the uniforms, all of them. That really annoys me. Not as much as arbitrary rules put in place to mollify nobody in particular, but an irritant nonetheless.

At least it isn’t boring. And so much for conceptual continuity. I know, you didn’t ask my opinion. The poodle bites, the poodle chews it, and Jose Altuve might ride a pygmy pony to the dentist. Let’s see what the baseball cognoscenti have for us this fine May morning, in the ‘infotainment’ aisle. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs/Baseball history:

  • 1883 - The Phillies, known as the Quakers at the time, win their first game in franchise history when they rout the White Stockings, later to be known as the Cubs, at Chicago's Lake Front Park. Philadelphia had lost their first eight games of the season before the 12-0 victory, and will finish the season in last place in the eight-team National League with a dismal 17-81 (.173) record.
  • 1950 - Pirates' first baseman Johnny Hopp helps his team crush the Cubs, 16-9, when the Nebraska native goes 6-for-6, including a pair of homers. The All-Star infielder is called 'Hippity' by his teammates.
  • 1988 - Jose Oquendo becomes the first non-pitcher to get a major league decision, losing to the Braves in nineteen innings, 7-5. After pitching three scoreless innings in an extra-inning marathon against Atlanta, the Cardinals' utility man gives up a two-run double to Ken Griffey in the nineteenth to suffer the loss at Busch Stadium.
  • 1989 - In his first at-bat as a Cub, Lloyd McClendon hits a three-run homer in a 4-0 victory over Atlanta at Wrigley Field. The 30-year-old utility player, obtained in an off-season trade from Cincinnati for Rolando Roomes, plays an important role for the division champs, hitting .286, with 12 home runs in 259 at-bats.
  • 2000 - Although Sammy Sosa gets five hits, Henry Rodriguez drives in seven runs, and Eric Young steals five bases, the Cubs still manage to lose to the Expos, 16-15. Young's accomplishment on the bases is the most by a Cubs player since 1881, when George Gore stole seven bases.
  • 2008 - After making an outstanding catch of Kevin Millar’s line drive near the Camden Yards warning track, Boston’s left fielder Manny Ramírez high-fives a fan before throwing the ball back to the infield to complete a 7-4-3 double play. Randy Dunning, a 24-year-old Red Sox fan attending the Orioles game with his mom and dad, a going-away present from his parents before he leaves for Officer Candidate School at Fort Meade, is the glad-hand recipient of ‘Manny being Manny’.
  • 2010 - Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones both collect five hits, including a home run for each, in the Pirates’ 10-6 victory over Chicago. The last time two Bucs enjoyed a five-hit game on the same day happened when Willie Stargell and Bob Robertson accomplished the feat against Atlanta in 1970.

Cubs News:

(AP) NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, will be Class Day speaker at Yale University, Sunday, May 21.

  • Zack Pearson (ChiCity Sports): Joe Maddon upset about call against Cubs at second base. Might have been what the game turned on.
  • Mike Axisa (CBS Sports*): Jon Lester is 'over this damn slide rule' after Cubs lose a run Saturday. Axisa says otherwise. Let’s you and him fight.
  • Jesse Borek (FanRag Sports): Cubs voice displeasure with slide rule. “I’d like to see that rule ejected,” Maddon told reporters. “That rule has no place in our game.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Tough love pays off: Maddon's mom proud. Joe says his mother is now "a woman of leisure." "Yeah, right," Beanie said.
  • CSN Chicago* Maddon gives an update on injured Cubs [VIDEO].
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Could Eddie Butler’s strong Cub debut be glimpse into rotation future? Could be. “I don’t want to look too far in the future, but certainly we were excited when we traded for him,” Jed Hoyer said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Eddie Butler after debut win for the Cubs: 'I plan on holding the spot'. “Eddie was really good, wasn’t he?” Maddon asked reporters rhetorically, after the game.
  • Zach Bernard (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): What to expect from Eddie Butler. “We had to find a way to at least be able to attack the zone,” Butler told Tommy Birch. Bosmosis has served him a sinker.
  • Dan Hodgman (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Is Eddie Butler MLB-starter material? Hodgman is not as bullish as the others, who have gone so far as to make Jake Arrieta comparisons.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): What’s that, you say, Kyle Hendricks’ fastball looking like a cutter now? “The verdict is still out on whether this is a sustainable change.”
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): What is up with the Cubs’ rotation? “...95 wins is still a reasonable possibility if the team pitches just a little bit better.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): Starting pitching may be available for Cubs as would-be contenders fade. "Obviously not everyone is going to play their whole career at Wrigley Field," said Theo Epstein a while ago.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): When it comes to Willson Contreras, errant flames worth the fire. “...the good will far outweigh the bad with this kid.” Yes. This is the anti-Geo. Contreras has energy to burn. ‘Willy’ is (hopefully) going to be the Cubs’ answer to Yadier Molina.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Something I wondered: Has Anthony Rizzo had deep slumps like this in his great years? A qualified ‘Yes’.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs waiting for Kris Bryant – their ‘Swiss Army’ knife – to feel better. Bryant has a gut feeling.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Competitive Happ will bring versatile glove and a powerful bat to Cubs lineup. C’mon. Aren’t you secretly hoping he forces his way into the lineup?
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): How the outfield is to blame for the Cubs’ slow start, or: The Outfield Is Slowly Killing Us All. Kyle Schwarber is about where he’s gonna be. Ben Zobrist isn’t fabulous, either. Neither is Jon Jay. Okay, So whatcha gonna do, Jim Brown?
  • Neil Payne (Five Thirty-Eight): Have the Cubs forgotten how to field? Bad luck, he says.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Trying to find balance of perspective in the Cubs’ uneven start. “There are things that need to be fixed.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Maddon, Hoyer confident Cubs will break out. "We know it's all there. We just have to put it together," Hoyer said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs GM, manager see tale of early struggles as a glove story. “...the Cubs opened their weekend series against the Cardinals hoping their slumping fielding would show signs of improvement.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs GM Jed Hoyer dissects what’s gone wrong and how the defending champs turn it around. “...we’ve had so many deficits. I feel like the whole year we’ve played from behind...I just don’t think we’ve played our best baseball yet,” Hoyer said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Quantifying Hope: Despite struggles, Cubs still boast 90 percent playoff odds. They’re way below projections, and should improve.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): A season-long Cubs-Cards division battle sounds fun. Where do we sign? ‘‘I’m all for a good race,’’ Joe Maddon said. ‘‘I think it’s good for our souls and it’s good for the industry of baseball in general.’’
  • Paul Roumeliotis (CSN Chicago*): Matt Szczur makes presence felt in Chicago return, taking full advantage of opportunity with Padres. Szczur crushed a 431-foot homer to left field off Miguel Gonzalez on the first pitch of Friday’s White Sox-Padres series opener. Corroboration.
  • Rahul Setty (Halos Heaven): Blake Parker has emerged as a truly dominant reliever. “...at 31 years of age, his story has only just begun.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Linda Wawrzyniak an unsung hero for many Cubs. "English builds relationships. Relationships build chemistry. Chemistry wins games. Teach English to win."
  • Tony Pierce (Busblog): 80 years ago today, Bill Veeck convinced the Cubs to plant ivy. Bill Veeck, Jr., that is.
  • James Neveau (NBC Sports): Woo Woo Booted: Cubs Superfan ejected from Wrigley Field. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
  • Kangaroo Court: Ronnie Woo-Woo against the Cubs [VIDEO].

Food for thought:

  • Linzi Wessel (Science): Your nose knows more than scientists thought. Your stinkfoot puts a hurt on my nose.
  • Emily Conover (Science News): Antiproton count hints at dark matter annihilation. “Whiffs of dark matter may be blowing in on a cosmic ray breeze.”
  • Elisabeth Sherman (Food and Wine): Why skipping coffee gives you a headache, according to science. It’s an addictive drug, that’s why. The headaches are withdrawal symptoms. Adenosine triphosphate is the operative amino acid. HST readers will recognize the term, I’m sure. It basically turns you into Cornholio.

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return at the same bat time, on the same bat channel, Tuesday, May 16th. These dogs would like to do you a hecking frighten, fren. Borkchito, Occult Doggo Detective.