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Cub Tracks gets some exorcise

ground-rule homer, baseball happened, allergic to exercise, and other bullets

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Fan out
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CUBS didn’t play. Series against the Mets starts today.

Previously, Cub Tracks saw stars. This episode, we’re edging away from the ledge as the doomsayers’ chorus waxes in volume, apparently having taken the lemon pledge. Steve Greenberg leads off our roster of links with an article about this recurring syndrome — sort of expected after the three-game debacle against the Brewers, but still nasty and brutish. Let’s hope the Cubs can win tonight against the hated Metropolitans and make that line of speculation short-lived.

DON’T PANIC!

Thank you, ghost of Douglas Adams. And a hearty 42 to you, too, Deep Thought.

Last I saw, the Cubs are still in first place, and control their own destiny. It might do well to remember that, these last two and a half weeks, assuming that it lasts. Wrigley Field is not Dante’s inferno -- there’s no reason to abandon all hope. Let’s dispel those doubts! Out unclean spirits! Drink deeply of the Cubbie Kool-Aid! As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1930 - The last major league bounced home run is hit by Dodger catcher Al Lopez at Ebbets Field as the NL joins the American League, which had enacted the rule change in 1929. The player who hits the ball over the wall on a bounce will now be awarded a ground-rule double.
  • 1932 - In the bottom of the ninth, Johnny Frederick hits his major league record-setting sixth pinch-homer of the season, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Cubs. The Brooklyn outfielder's major league mark will not be broken for 68 years until another Dodger, Dave Hansen, strokes seven round-trippers coming off the bench in 2000.
  • 1952 - At Forbes Field, the Pirates become the first team to use protective head gear, a precursor to the batting helmet, that protects the players' temples. Branch Rickey's innovation, worn both at the plate and in the field in the Bucs' twin bill split with Boston, is a plastic hat with a foam layer attached to the hat band.
  • 1976 - At age 53, Minnie Minoso becomes the oldest player to get a hit in a regular season game as he singles in three at-bats as the designated hitter for the White Sox. Angels' southpaw Sid Monge gives up the historic hit.
  • 2000 - On the same date the mark was established 68 years ago, Dave Hansen breaks Johnny Frederick's 1932 record for pinch-hit home runs in a single season with his seventh pinch-hit round-tripper.

Cubs news and notes:

  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): ‘It’s 1969 all over again’? Really? Readers sure are down on the Cubs. “They’re done,” a reader declared.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): 14 Cubs pennant races since 1969: Seasons of agony ... and then ecstasy. “An entire generation of Cubs fans grew up without knowing what it was like to see their team in a pennant race.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs see division lead beginning to disappear: 'Are you in or are you out?' “They got us,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Maddon’s not into team meetings, but Cubs players are weighing one. “I feel like we want to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page,” Jason Heyward said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Freak out if you want, just don’t expect Cubs to. “Nothing happened,” Heyward opined. “Baseball happened.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Kyle Hendricks explains why Cubs won’t panic now. “This is just more of it to test us and see what we’re made of,” Hendricks said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs better hope their offense returns before it’s too late. "It happens to every team at some point," Maddon said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Taylor Davis enjoying his 'wild ride' to Chicago Cubs. “It's always good when an organization takes care of one of its own, and the Chicago Cubs are doing that with Davis.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Javier Baez needs to refine, not change, his game. “...there’s no reason for him to change the way he’s playing...”
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Where in the world has Kyle Schwarber been lately? On the Cubs bench. "It's not just about Kyle; it's about everybody," remarked Maddon.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Heyward’s offensive production tanks as hard contact evaporates. “...some of his peripherals this season are starting to look worse than his dreadful 2016 campaign.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Long a thorn in Cubs' side, Mets arrive at Wrigley Field. “It's a good opportunity to snap out of their offensive malaise...”
  • Mark-Louis Paprzyca (Sports Mockery): How this regular guy got to throw a Chicago Cubs first pitch. “I saw a post on Facebook...”
  • Jeff Wackerlin (Motor Racing Network): Talking Cubs with Kurt Busch. “My family is from Chicago...”

Food for thought:

  • Claire Malderelli (Popular Science): Your routines might be screwing with your body. Here's how to fix it. “When to eat, drink, sleep, and think deep thoughts.” Related: Your schedule could be killing you (Leslie Kaufman).
  • Mindy Weisberger (Live Science): Inside Irma: Riding out the storm with the 'Hurricane Hunters' (Photos). “See Hurricane Irma from the inside.”
  • Nicole Wetsman (Popular Science): You can actually be allergic to exercise. “Some people have a real excuse to skip the gym.”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back Thursday.