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Cub Tracks, Soul Train, and Yu

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baseball is just around the corner, focus on the present, and other bullets

A Bullet Train at Odawara Station in the Kanagawa Prefecture...
Ridin’ on a soul train, yeah baby just-a me and Yu
Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Don Confucius here: Soul Train dancers rejoice! It’s almost time...

...and Yu and I are still no closer to breaking this impasse. The equipment has already arrived, which means baseball is just around the corner (see below). I’d feel better if Yu were in our corner, but I will understand if Yu is not. This is, after all, serious business, and Yu is my backup plan anyway. I fear the Beard isn’t coming back, though, only Theo’s hairdresser knows for sure. Or maybe his bartender? His barista?

Certainly any Tom, Dick, or Bruce would like to play at storied Wrigley Field, but there are always the filthy lucre equations to consider. These guys don’t play for the love of the game, Yu know? Pitchers and catchers report in a week — we’re running out of time for Yu to sign. If he doesn’t we’ll have to...

And go home. Man, I used to love Sly and the Family. Bass players (I am one) generally love the funk, and Larry Graham taught us all how to slap. Enjoy... and thank Yu on the behalf of the group and myself — Yu’re a good crowd. I’m sure Yu are all in the best shape of your lives™, tanned, rested, and ready for some Cubs baseball.

Me, I’m making Tide Pod jello shots in red, white, and blue, just for Yu. Now let’s get to the new Yu news, if there is any. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

(disclaimer: Chiefly Cubs history but sometimes Hall-of-Famers might sneak in, and there’s the odd bit that might be salient to current events)

  • 1935 - Cardinal right-hander Dizzy Dean, who posted a 20-18 record last season for the Gas House Gang, becomes a holdout when the team refuses to meet his demand for a yearly salary of $25,000.
  • 1962 - The Phillies announce the team will retire Robin Roberts’ uniform number 36 when his new club, the Yankees, visits Clearwater to play Philadelphia in a March spring exhibition game. It will mark the first time that a uniform number has been retired in the 79-year history of the franchise.
  • Happy birthday: Babe Ruth, Dale Long, Walt Huntzinger, Smoky Burgess, Travis Wood

Cubs news and notes:

Aramis Ademan, SS, Chicago Cubs: ZiPS’ No. 18, Law’s No. 78. ZiPS has a strange thing for Cubs infielders with alliterative names, also liking former Cub Arismendy Alcantara better than most prospect observers. That didn’t quite work out, but maybe the second time’s the charm and Ademan’s seven homers in 68 games as an 18-year-old is more impressive than it sounds with both the Midwest and Northwest Leagues being pitcher-friendly environments. Keith thinks that Ademan could hit 20 homers a year in his prime; ZiPS agrees. — Dan Szymborski, ESPN {$}

  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Joe Maddon emphasizing energy and enthusiasm. “Pitching will be hot camp topic as Cubs prep for postseason run.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Unimposing? Maybe, but Cubs rotation can still be pretty darn good. “Rather than “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” the sign might read, “No lifeguard on duty, swim at your own peril.””
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jose Quintana’s strikeout rate exploded with the Cubs – is it here to stay? “Quintana kept batters off balance so well and got himself into so many two-strike counts that he could save his wipeout pitches for those moments.”
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Offseason prospect profile: Alex Lange’s future may depend on third pitch. “...he is not a fully formed prospect and still needs to work on developing a third pitch that he can throw consistently for strikes.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): While Anthony Rizzo focuses on present, Cubs have bargain for future in slugger’s contract. “It’s kind of fun to see all these guys breaking (salary) records,” he said. “You can start dreaming: ‘Hey, if I keep this pace up, what can I make in a few years?’”
  • Mike Petriello (MLB.com*): Top 10 third basemen entering ‘18. Petriello differs with the shredder, who rates every position. Lots of Cubs who should don’t make it.
  • Sean Brown (lockedoncubs.com): Player Profile: Non-roster invitation edition. Three players who might be afterthoughts.
  • Maudlyne Ihejirika (Chicago Sun-Times*): Condoleezza Rice, Cubs’ Joe Maddon explore nation’s identity in ‘American Creed’. “Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy said people have forgotten the American Dream.”

Food for thought:

Thanks again.