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Cub Tracks addresses the issues

Names on the back, Jake says goodbye, Quintana throws shade on the side, dissecting Jupiter, and other tweets and bullets

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs
the new Player Rep
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Previously, Cub Tracks played two. This time we play through, with articles addressing current areas of concern such as roster makeup, pitchers’ thoughts, and Jake Arrieta leaving the Cubs and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

There’s a little dust in the room. I’m still going to wear my “Fear the Beard” shirts.

And let’s not forget:

As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1915 - “Help me, Lads, I’m covered with my own blood!” - Wilbert Robinson’s reaction before quickly realizing the fluid dripping down from his chest is grapefruit juice.

Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson, thinking he is going to catch a baseball dropped from a plane, is surprised and splattered when the sphere turns out to be a grapefruit. Although legend has it that Casey Stengel is behind the prank, the pilot, Ruth Law, a pioneer in American aviation, substituted part of her lunch when she realized she forgot to bring a baseball.

  • 1943 - The major leagues approve an official ball, the insides of which will be made from reclaimed cork and balata, materials not needed in the war effort. Officials insist the ball will have the resiliency of the 1939 ball, but the players will express with dismay that they cannot drive the new ball and point out the dearth of runs and homers in 1942 even with the old ball.
  • 1953 - On the day that will become known as ‘Black Friday’ in Boston, Lou Perini announces he will seek permission from the National League to move his franchise to Milwaukee, home of the team’s top minor-league affiliate. The Braves owner cites poor attendance as the reason for asking to relocate the club, after spending 82 years in the New England city.
  • 1960 - Much to the chagrin of other owners and most of his players, Bill Veeck’s White Sox become the first team to put the players’ names on the back of the jersey, unveiling the new look on their road uniforms in an exhibition game against Cincinnati in Tampa. After the rest of the league’s clubs protest the Chicago owner’s innovation, the commissioner’s office will rule that in addition to displaying traditional numbers, each team will have the option to use monikered uniforms.
  • Happy Cubs birthday: Mal Eason, Chippy Gaw, Eddie Butler. Also notable: Frank “Home Run” Baker.

Cubs news and notes:

Under the circumstances, Kris Bryant thinks Arrieta got a good deal: “He wanted the ball every game and he always gave us his best. Some of the biggest games in Cubs’ history are pitched by him, so I can’t say enough about him. I’m happy for him. Glad he’s not in our division.” — Patrick Mooney.

  • ESPN: Mission accomplished: Tommy Hunter helps Phillies land Arrieta. “I’ve been on the phone with him this whole entire offseason to see if it can work out,” Hunter said Monday.
  • Tim Stebbins (NBC Sports Chicago*): Looking back on the five pitchers to win the Cy Young award with the Cubs. “ is how Arrieta’s Cy Young season matches up with the four Cubs to win the award before him.”
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Cubs’ 25-man projection for Opening Day. “I like what we’ve done -- not a little but a lot,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Kyle Hendrickssurreal pitch leaves Astros pitcher dumbfounded. Lance McCullers Jr tweeted the Pitching Ninja.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Can Yu Darvish live up to Jake Arrieta’s big-game reputation? “We’ll see, but I have a lot of faith in the guy,” said Maddon.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): What the Cubs’ secret weapon can do for Darvish. Mike Borzello thinks Darvish still has untapped potential and something to prove.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Darvish ‘where I should be’ after 2nd spring start. “All of my pitches, like the fastball, changeup and all the cutters were all up there. I usually have trouble with one pitch I need to work on, but everything is going well,” Darvish said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jose Quintana expects better run support and more wins with Cubs. “...during his 5½ seasons with the White Sox, Quintana was often the victim of poor run support.”
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Quintana tired of the .500 life: ‘I want more wins. This is my year’. ‘‘We’ve got a really good team here, and I saw that support the second half when I played here,’’ Quintana said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Quintana tosses sim game to stay on track. “This is a good time to practice. Today I worked more on my changeup,” he said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Mike Montgomery believes tweak in delivery will make him sharper — as reliever or starter. Tommy Hottovy, the Cubs’ run prevention coordinator, noticed something on video.
  • Sean Holland (Cubs Insider): Cubs may have wanted arbitration with Justin Grimm, who faces uphill climb for roster spot. “Grimm has struggled mightily thus far in Arizona.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Justin Wilsonremember him? — looks to put 2017 ‘aberration’ behind him. ‘‘I wasn’t myself last year,’’ Wilson said.
  • William Chase (Cubs Insider): Using fourth closer in four years, restocked Cubs pen features plenty of backup options. “...who steps into the closer’s role should the need arise?”
  • Vinnie Duber (NBC Sports Chicago*): Can the Cubs’ bullpen move on from all those postseason walks and provide a safety net for Brandon Morrow? “...there’s a reason for folks to feel that the safety net past Morrow might not be all that safe.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Kyle Schwarber ready to be in left field full time. “Over the years, the Cubs have gotten by with the left-field play of Dave Kingman, Henry Rodriguez and Glenallen Hill.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Is there a new ceiling for Schwarber? “...does his new fitness change anything on the offensive side of the game?”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): How Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr could affect center field, leadoff spots for Chicago Cubs. “It’s really wide open, and I’m not hyper-concerned,” Maddon told reporters last week regarding the leadoff spot.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): How the Cubs view disagreement with Happ, extending young players and saving for future. “Theo and Jed have had a great offseason,” opined Maddon.
  • Ashok Selvam (Eater Chicago): Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville will feed kids for free, even on Cubs gamedays. “...the restaurant will go beyond catering to Cubs fans.”

Food for thought: