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Cub Tracks catches up

He was good, Sweet Swingin’ Billy, ‘Different Dynamic’, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals
one leg to stand on
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Cubs Lose.

To make a short story shorter, last time Cub Tracks visited, it was a quickie.

Well, that was a surprise, wasn’t it? Or was it? Anyway, Miguel Montero has been exiled and then there was a game. Sorry, Miggy. It was great, to a point.

Later, Cub Tracks was firmly esconced in the cushiony comfort of our personal viewing chair, performing the link harvest and viewing the contest. Four jumbo Vienna Beef hotdogs were harmed during the contest, and innumerable Steak Fries were also thrown into the gaping maw of the editorial we, as we were hoping to invoke victory through the weight of sheer superstition.

Despite the warmth (103° F at game-time), we clad ourselves in our Cubbie raiment for the game, there being by the grace of the Elder Gods such a thing as air-conditioning, and ignored the cats’ plaintive mewing. They would have to do without watching the bats leave for their feeding for once.

This changed in the bottom of the second as garments were shed in order not to be rent, and the door was opened to the fading sun. Rent isn’t due till next week.

So hard to come back from four or five down, and the Cubs make a habit of it. It’s almost as if they want to handicap themselves. Distressing. I try to time taking my bp meds until just before game time.

No news at press time about Kris Bryant’s ankle.

Here are some of the reactions to the tilt by our usual rogues’ gallery. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1897 - The Chicago Colts (Cubs) of the National League establish the record for most runs scored in a game by one team when they clobber the Louisville Colonels, 36-7. The Cardinals will beat the Phillies 28-6 at Philadelphia's Baker Bowl in 1929 to set the modern NL mark.
  • 1909 - The Pirates play their last game at Exposition Park, defeating the Cubs, 8-1, in front of 5,545 fans. Tomorrow, the team will leave the small and cramped ballpark on the north side of the Allegheny River to play at Forbes Field, baseball's first stadium to be constructed with concrete and steel.
  • 1913 - Only one baseball is used during the Reds' 9-6 win over the Cubs at Redland Field. There are no home runs or foul balls which land in the stands during the contest.
  • 1937 - In a 10-2 loss to Brooklyn, Chicago's first baseman Ripper Collins does not make a putout during the nine-inning game. Although this is just the third occurrence of the rare feat, it is the second time for the Cubs infielder, who also didn't make a putout playing first for the Cardinals in a game played against the Braves two seasons previously.
  • 1969 - Billy Williams plays in his 896th consecutive game to surpass Stan Musial's mark established in 1957 when the Cubs sweep a doubleheader from the Cardinals 3-1 and 12-1, with the Chicago outfielder going 4-5 with a single, a double, and two triples in the nightcap. The team honors the accomplishment with an emotional ceremony between games of the twin bill on 'Billy Williams Day' before a crowd of 41,060 at Wrigley Field that visibly moves Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler, Alabama.
  • 2014 - In the longest game (by time) in Cubs’ history, John Baker becomes the first position player to earn a victory since Oriole first baseman Chris Davis accomplished the feat in 2012. In the six hour and 27 minute marathon played at Wrigley Field, the backup catcher tosses a scoreless 16th inning and then scores the winning run in the bottom of the frame, giving Chicago a 4-3 victory over Colorado.
  • Happy birthday — Dizzy Trout, Bruce Kimm

Cubs News and Notes:

“I just want you to run hard to first base. As long as you run hard to first base, they can make up their own mind whether they want to go to the White House or not.” — Joe Maddon

"I reminded [Montero] of the standard we try to hold our players to when it comes to being supportive of one's teammates and being accountable for one's play and for being a good teammate," Theo Epstein said Wednesday. "I reminded Miggy that we expect when something goes wrong on the field, we expect our players to take the blame and step up and proactively assume the blame, even if it's not their fault." -- Carrie Muskat

  • Mark Bowman ( Keith Lockhart thankful for support for son. “We are all encouraged about today!” He tweeted.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Kyle Hendricks recovery timeline for a return makes pre-All-Star break unlikely. Mike Montgomery will likely keep heading to the bump for a bit.
  • Darius Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The BABIP-defying bullpen. “...the fact that the Cubs are well above-average might still come as a surprise.”
  • John J. Fleming (Viva el Birdos): Considering Lance Lynn to the Chicago Cubs. “...dangling the soon-to-be free agent to the Cubs could be a smart long-term play...”
  • Travis Sawchik (Fangraphs): Let’s Do the Math on Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta. “In no case did Arrieta record a time to the plate below 1.5 seconds. Even if Montero had recorded an average pop time in every case, the pair would have produced a time of 3.5 seconds or worse each time.”
  • RJ Anderson (CBS Sports*): Kangaroo Court: Passing judgment on the Miguel Montero-Cubs drama. Veteran baseball writers offer their opinions.
  • Chris Cotillo (SB Nation): Joe Maddon & Cubs acted quickly to get rid of Miguel Montero before things got worse. “Maddon’s main concern Wednesday was that his young players would internalize exactly what they heard come out of Montero’s mouth the night before...”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Miguel Montero after Cubs cut him: ‘People can’t handle the truth’. “Too bad it had to end up this way,” he finished.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Catcher trade rumors begin already: Alex Avila mentioned as possibility for Cubs. Believe I saw a line or two about that somewhere...
  • Ashley MacLennan (Bless You Boys): MLB trade rumors: Alex Avila could be perfect for the Cubs. “...the Cubs have a catcher problem.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Hail to the Victor: Who’s the Cubs’ new catcher and will he stick around? “While I do think Caratini is MLB-ready, I’m not sure how willing the Cubs will be to have him shoulder the load as Willson Contreras’s backup for very long.”
  • Chris Mitchell (Fangraphs): Projecting Victor Caratini. “KATOH thinks the 23-year-old has a productive big-league career ahead of him, even if there’s little chance of star potential.”
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Education of a catcher in high gear at Kane County. Victor Caratini in the minors.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Joe Maddon on Anthony Rizzo at leadoff all year: ‘We don’t have Lou Brock’. “...we’re trying to get the best we can with what we have, which I’m very happy with. Willie did a nice job [Monday]. Rizz has done a nice job,” he added.
  • Ryan Fagan (The Sporting News): Strange days have Cubs at crossroads in season that's been frustratingly mediocre. “Remember, even with all the frustrations, they're only a game out of a playoff spot with 85 games left to play.”
  • Leigh Coridan (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cubs’ “Different Dynamic” makes uneven path: Still time to find themselves. “I think it’s important to talk about it and figure out how to conquer it…” says Theo Epstein.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs’ Albert Almora denies giving middle finger to President Trump. You can try to make something political, even if it isn’t. Both Almora’s index and second finger are clearly visible. Grant Brisbee seconds the notion.
  • Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs fire back in response to city’s Wrigley Field safety demands. “The Cubs are accusing City Hall of demanding security improvements around Wrigley Field in a “calculated” public relations campaign.”

Food for thought:

  • Helen Thompson (Science News) Male cockatoos have the beat. “New study suggests that birds’ drum grooves are analogous to human music.” Wild. One of my short stories has birds beatboxing.
  • (Science Daily): Astronomers detect orbital motion in pair of supermassive black holes. "This is the first pair of black holes to be seen as separate objects that are moving with respect to each other, and thus makes this the first black-hole 'visual binary,'" said Greg Taylor, of the University of New Mexico (UNM).
  • Ashifa Kassam (The Guardian): Bright nights: scientists explain rare phenomenon of 'nocturnal sun'. “‘...’zonal waves’ in upper atmosphere may explain why people have reported oddly well-lit evenings since Roman times.”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Sunday, hopefully with better news.