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Cub Tracks’ Floydian slip

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Theo gets praised, more Joe? Will core players get raised? and other bullets

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gonna need some new lumber
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As the writes of spring indicated, I’m ready for the regular season to start. That offseason crawled like a turtle with a piano on its back and was as painful as millipede bunions.

I don’t know about you, but I feel that Opening Day should be a federal holiday. But then I also feel that every single damn game should be televised, that it should be easy for fans to watch and attend, and that one of these days, pigs will fly.

That sentiment’s almost worth a quick grin. Almost. We are not yet at the point where we can savage the powers-that-be. At least not until the MLBPA masters the art of karate, if then. In the meantime, there are 170 or so games to enjoy. Let’s move on.

It’s a balmy 76F where I am, with gentle breezes bearing the fruits of the palo verde’s labor directly into my nasal cavities. My hair is chestnut, my eyes are green, and I like long walks on the beach with Samantha Eggar. Wish you were here.

And now it’s time for the news. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs news and notes:

  • Bob Nightengale (USA Today): Dusty Baker reuniting with San Francisco Giants. He is expected to become a “special advisor to Giants CEO Larry Baer.”
  • Sports Illustrated: Will the Nationals finally break the curse? SI writers make their World Series predictions. The Nationals have a curse? I thought Dusty left?
  • NBC Sports Chicago*: What being a Cubs fan means [VIDEO].
  • David Dorsey (News-Press): Chicago Cubs generate emotions with historic spring training visit to face Boston Red Sox. “Larry and Carol Blackwood had seen the Cubs play many times in their native Illinois, but they never had seen the team play in their adopted home state of Florida.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Roll Cubs Roll! Why the Cubs have become Major League Baseball’s destination team for free agents. “...if you’re a free agent, you want to come here because you see the potential to put that ring on.”
  • Robby McKittrick (Baseball Essential): An appreciation for Theo Epstein. McKittrick praises Theo.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Theo Epstein and Red Sox manager Alex Cora share mutual admiration. “(Cora) has a great feel for people and the game,” Epstein said.
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Could fear of getting ‘Moosed’ lead to extensions for Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, or Kyle Hendricks? “The answer is a definitive maybe, though it’s much more likely for Russell and Hendricks than for Bryant.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Players come and go, but Cubs’ core appears here to stay awhile. “You really don’t see that much, nowadays especially,” Billy Williams said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cub camp happiest, healthiest place in baseball but don’t tell Theo Epstein he can relax. “We’re in pretty good position. All we know is that will change,” Epstein said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Will Joe Maddon’s legacy include a second term as Cubs manager? ‘‘That’s what I’m thinking right now,’’ he said. ‘‘If it’s up to me.’’
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs set to battle with strong lineup, rotation.“I can’t be happier with a group -- it’s impossible to feel better about a group than I feel about this group,” Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Chicago Sports*): 6 Cubs primed to take a step forward in 2018. Seven, actually.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer (NBC Sports Chicago*): Do the 2018 Cubs have the best starting rotation in Chicago baseball history? Could be.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Darvish likes his fit on Cubs across the board. “The environment is great, and I can’t believe spring training is over,” he said.
  • Marly Rivera (ESPN*): Yu Darvish talks about comfort [VIDEO]. “This team went beyond my expectations”.
  • Josh Cole (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Tyler Chatwood reflects on his first Cubs season. A couple of possibilities.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Victor Caratini ‘moving’ in right direction with Cubs. “This offseason, Caratini made a decision to move to Arizona so he could train at the club’s spring complex in Mesa...”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Letters from camp: What’s behind the Cubs’ surprising decision to keep Caratini? “You gotta talk it all the way through,” Maddon said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Anthony Rizzo sets his sights on doing even more for the Cubs. “...he would like to be more versatile in the field as well as at the plate.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Javier Baez has made noticeable changes to swing in short time working with Chili Davis. “Javy looks more upright and his base isn’t as wide.”
  • AP via ESPN: Former MLB infielder Munenori Kawasaki set to retire. “...a series of injuries has prevented him from being the player he wanted to be.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): The skinny on what the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber has to prove this year. “Sometimes he even eats kale.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs ready to roll with Ian Happ as leadoff man. “I think he’s gone about everything properly,” said Maddon.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): With a refined swing and lighter build, Ian Happ’s monster spring is no accident. “I’m definitely leaner and in a more comfortable spot where I feel like I can go out, run around and be more agile,” Happ said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): A $184 million bench? Young talent could push Jason Heyward for time in Cubs’ OF. “It’s going to be a juggling situation,” said Maddon.

In need of Cubs liquor? EFFEN Vodka releases Limited-Edition Chicago Cubs bottle.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. Where to get my books.