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Cub Tracks fans on one

Almora this, the Hawk belts one out, arrested developments, and other bullets

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MLB: Miami Marlins at Chicago Cubs
that’s so gloriously goofy-looking
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

CUBS WIN! 4 in a row!

Random thoughts:

Albert Almora has some serious pop for a medium-sized dude. Gonna be a 15-20 HR guy once he takes over center field. I just wonder if it's gonna be for the Cubs. Someone (or someones) are going to have to go. I don’t think I’m over-reacting, David Haugh. Theo of the infinite wisdom warned us of this day and days like these. It is why the Cubs have had waves and waves of hitters. Okay, so, this year, they’ve mostly been waving, and that’s a problem, but other people in other towns around baseball also have faith that some of those bats will get back to hitting and not missing.

Just one of the guys that ‘might’ go. Almora is doing a great job as a part-time player, with some help from Jon Jay, a fellow Miami resident. “Teams that win have a lot of depth and that's what the big picture is — to win," Jay says. The duo are doing okay. There are a couple of good articles about them today.

The Hawk on the Stretch. Andre Dawson has a fine singing voice. Here’s a previous appearance:

Really liked that. Andre Dawson is one of my favorite players ever. His response to the blank check was so Cub. One of the reasons why I’m a Cubs fan -- Andre Dawson. Too bad he had to get a job with the Marlins.

At least Ryne Sandberg ended up back with the team. He’s another reason. Bill Buckner, who was my favorite player for a long time, is another.

The main reason, though, is my grandfather, Edward. We used to watch the games together -- when I was four, my family moved into his home. He worked first shift at the Stockyards, and got home shortly after noon.

Grandpa Ed played the horses a little, and he would take me on his rounds, to gin mills in a grid bounded by I-55 and Archer, Pulaski and Kostner. Wasn’t always the same ones, but they always had a cold beer for him and a root beer for me and smiles and snacks and baseball. If it had been a good day I would get comic books. And we would root for the Cubs, and root hard. There was never a question about that, even though it was White Sox territory.

This continued after I started school, until Papa suddenly passed, when I was seven, in 1968. I still imagine him watching with me.

‘scuse me. Some dust.

Okay. Let’s see what the pundits and prognosticators have for us today. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1892 - Benjamin Harrison becomes the first US President to attend a major league baseball game. Cincinnati defeats the Senators, 7-4 in 11 innings.
  • 1920 - The Cardinals play their last game at Robison Field, their home field since 1893, beating the Cubs, 5-2. Robison Field was renamed Cardinal Field in 1917.
  • 1940 - 19 year-old southpaw Warren Spahn, who will become the winningest left-hander in baseball history with 363 victories, signs a contract with the Boston Bees (Braves). Due to a clash with manager Casey Stengel and his enlistment in the U.S. Army, he will have to wait six years before he gets his first major league win.
  • 1944 - Annabelle Lee, aunt of future major leaguer Bill Lee, pitches the first of five perfect games in the 12-year history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The Minneapolis Millerettes southpaw knuckleballer, who will also pitch a no-hitter for the Fort Wayne Daisies exactly one year from this date, doesn't allow any batters to reach first base in the 18-0 rout of the Kenosha (Wis) Comets.
  • 1957 - After an 86-minute delay, the first fog out in major league history occurs at Ebbets Field when the umpires call off the Dodgers' game against the Cubs due to extremely poor visibility. Brooklyn has a 1-0 lead when the game is postponed with one out in the bottom of the second inning.
  • 1971 - All youngsters attending the Yankee game are given a youth-sized Bobby Murcer model wooden Hillerich & Bradsby Louisville Slugger during the team's annual Bat Day promotion. When the young fans begin banging their bats in unison during the late innings of the Bronx Bombers’ 5-2 victory over Kansas City, pieces of concrete begin to fall into lower levels of the stadium, a harbinger that the Bronx ballpark may be in serious need of repair.
  • 1992 - Eddie Murray, now a Met, passes Mickey Mantle for most RBI by a switch-hitter, driving in his 1510th run in the game against the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium.
  • 1999 - Derek Jeter’s streak of reaching base safely ends at 54 straight games when the Mets keep him off the basepaths in their 7-2 win over the Yankees in the Bronx. The defeat also marks the end of Roger Clemens' streak of 20 consecutive victories, an American League record.
  • 2003 - Insisting that the corked bat, designed to put on home run displays during batting practice, was accidentally used in the Devil Rays' game, Cubs' slugger Sammy Sosa is suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball. Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations, agreed the Chicago's outfielder use of an illegal bat was an "isolated incident," but one that still deserved a penalty.
  • 2006 - When Eric Gagne, who will earn his first save in over a year, throws his first pitch to his receiver Russell Martin, the pair become the first All-French-Canadian battery in major league history. The pitcher and catcher both attended Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School, one of the few schools in Montreal that had a baseball program.

Cubs News and Notes:

"We all know you weren't here for your bat, so I wanted to give you a chance to throw some guys out. That's kind of what I'm doing for Willie [Willson Contreras] right now. We want to get his arbitration numbers up, so he can make a little money." — Jon Lester to David Ross, explaining why he doesn’t throw to first base.

Ryan Williams has a rotator cuff issue. He’ll be back next year.

  • Ryan Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Winning 100 games is hard. “The last team to win 100 games in a season before the Cubs was the Cardinals in 2015. Cubs fans will be the first to tell you that those 100 wins were fueled by a lot of talent and a lot of luck.”
  • Chris Emma (CBS Chicago*): Maddon’s methods provide comfort, confidence for struggles. “...lineup cards don’t just consist of batting averages and run production...”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Grading Joe Maddon's in-game decisions. Examining Sunday’s game. "It was a very active game," Maddon said afterward.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Kris Bryant in line for ASG start; Anthony Rizzo falls to 2nd. Ryan Zimmerman has a total of 670,671 votes, while Rizzo has 657,702 votes.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Kris Bryant talks playing with Bryce Harper again, the next megadeal and Cubs building a super-team. “...who wouldn’t want to play here?” Bryant said. “...if that were able to happen and work out like that, gosh, it would be exciting.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Kris Bryant: Support from management, coaches crucial for Cubs amid early bumps. “We are lucky to have Joe (Maddon), the coaches and the front office totally behind us,” Bryant said.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Ian Happ enjoys having Minors coach around. Andy Haines has coached Happ since he joined the organization in 2015.
  • Phil Rogers ( Kyle Schwarber, Happ show Cubs' dynamic depth. “ team has as much position-player depth as the Cubs, who look ready to use it to go on a sustained run in June.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Reconsidering the Kyle Schwarber-Minor Leagues conversation everyone was so eager to have. “This weekend, we saw the highs and lows of Schwarber’s current state of being.”
  • Daruis Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus) Schwarber and the Shift. “...Schwarber’s bad luck is the main culprit in his poor line.”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Jon Jay: The Cubs' Sixth Man. Jay has taken Almora under his wing this season and the two have stayed ready on the bench as they await the next opportunity.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Put me in, Coach: Albert Almora ready to play centerfield, needs to more often. “Albert’s playing great and he hasn’t had that opportunity, so we need to get him out there,” Maddon admitted.
  • Chris Landers, Carrie Muskat (Cut Four): David Ross warms up Jason Heyward from the stands. "It was pre-planned," Heyward said. "For him, doing his ESPN thing, he asked me about it, and I was like, 'Sure.' I'm happy to see him doing well and having fun and enjoying the other side of things. I never thought about seeing that."
  • Tom U (Cubs Den): Up next? Chesny Young makes his play. Tommy Birch says that the feeling is that Young is “not far away from being ready for the big leagues”.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Prospect Update: Are walks arresting Eloy Jimenez’s development? “What is Jimenez still doing in Myrtle Beach?”
  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): Maybe the Cubs are just fine. “Maybe the Cubs haven’t played nearly their best baseball and still have the best odds in Vegas of winning the pennant.”
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Tim McCarver sounding dumb was the cherry on top of the Cubs sweeping the Cardinals. Relative to the tweet on the top of the page. Schadenfreude, lovely schadenfreude.

Food for thought:

  • Maria Temming (Science News): Scalding hot gas giant breaks heat records. “The planet KELT 9b is so hot — hotter than many stars — that it shatters gas giant temperature records, researchers report...”
  • Jennifer Moss (Forbes) The science of happiness and the creative brain. “We often state that being creative makes us happier. But what if we flip that concept on its head and say that being happier makes us more creative, more innovative?”
  • Theodora Sutcliffe (BBC News) The island that forever changed science. Alfred Russel Wallace arrived at many of his conclusions while there.

Today is the day Wimpy pays for his hamburgers. Popeye will be watching, because nobody expects the Spinach Inquisition.

Christopher Russo is Yngvi. Smell you Thursday.