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Cub Tracks, Rizzo, and turnstiles

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Cubs in extras, Parkland honors, the competition is all wet, and other bullets

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Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Last time through the turnstiles, Cub Tracks celebrated opening day, predictions, and other bullets, casting reflections as I went like a Cubbie Blue version of Amber. Cuz everyone knows our laundry is the real laundry, and all the others are just imitations.

This time, Cub Tracks comes to you fresh from the extra-inning affair in Miami, with news of a Cub defeat (Al will have the recap a bit later this morning), the Cubs and MLB honoring the Parkland families, one of our brethren taking a dive, and more.

I gotta say...I can’t stand the Marlins management, but I give all the credit in the world to those players, who put it all out there against a much better club. That was an entertaining and well-played game. The winners earned their victory.

“Long night for a home-plate umpire.” — Jim DeShaies

Boy, ain’t that the truth. He sure looked like he wanted to go home fast when the game got to extras. Great pitching by the pens.

Butler looked like the Cubs may have had a clue when they kept him around. And we continue to put the ‘tracks in Cub Tracks’ with two Sweet confections.

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

Cubs news and notes:

Gotta give a man credit for having the courage of his convictions:

The Cubs front office has invested a lot in Anthony Rizzo as a person, dating all the way back to when Theo Epstein drafted him in the sixth round from Stoneman Douglas in 2007.

So it’s no surprise to Epstein see Rizzo’s image transcending professional sports.

”He’s much more than a baseball player,” Epstein said. “There’s a lot of elements to him as a human being. Very caring, emotional person that develops important relationships easily.

”He feels really connected to his home town, to his school. He’s got a big heart. It really affected him when he saw that and he’s standing up for what he believes in.

”He’s not someone that’s just going to look the other way and think someone else will take care of things. He really wants to dive in and make a difference. You see that with how he conducts himself in Chicago. He’s a great role model for all of us, really.”

Any issues with this off-the-field stuff affecting Rizzo’s performance between the white lines?

”No,” Epstein said, flatly. “You’re talking about somebody who stops by pediatric oncology on the way to games in Chicago. He’s good at compartmentalizing when he needs to.” — Tony Andracki.

  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): As his 2018 season begins, Cubs president Theo Epstein talks to The Athletic. “...there are always a number of things you get lucky on each year and if you don’t identify it and think it’s skill or talent and bank on it to repeat itself in future years, you’ve made a grave mistake.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs, Marlins proud to host Parkland families. “Players sport T-shirts with ‘#MSDStrong’ during batting practice.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Don’t panic about Jon Lester’s declining velocity. “...three relevant goodies from last season that should give us confidence.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Lester after rough outing in season opener: ‘No excuse for it’. “I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for anything,” he said.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Yu Darvish eyes consistency before Cubs debut. “I’m as ready as I’ll be to go into the season,” Darvish said on Friday.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Spotlight will be on Darvish in his Cubs debut Saturday night. “I’ve thrown enough games (so) I can adjust to any team now,” Darvish said. “There’s nothing in particular from the past.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Opening Day takes on special meaning for Anthony Rizzo. “I’ve hit a lot of home runs,” Rizzo said. “That was probably the most out-of-body experience I’ve had hitting a home run in my life.
  • Jon Greenberg (The Athletic {$}): On both sides of town, there’s a lot of action at the shortstop position. “While Anderson just wants to show he’s a complete ballplayer, Russell will try to prove the hype was real.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Elgin native Ryan Court’s spring training impresses Cubs’ Maddon. “A lot of our young guys had a really good camps,” said manager Joe Maddon. “Court showed to me he’s a really good baseball player.”
  • Doug Glanville (NBC Sports Chicago*): 5 biggest challenges facing Kyle Schwarber in left field (or any left fielder). “Bad days can turn good very quickly.” More Glanville [VIDEO].
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times*): If you’re looking for adventure, take a ride with the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber. “...one person’s ‘‘entertaining’’ is another person’s ‘‘I can’t bear to look.’’”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): With Ian Happ’s ascension, where does that leave Albert Almora Jr.? “The simple answer is: it’s a fluid situation, as Joe Maddon explained.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Happ doesn’t like to waste words or time, as he showed with his leadoff homer in the Cubs’ opener. “He’s got this kind of serious demeanor,” said Jason McLeod.
  • Sara Freund (Curbed): Wrigley Field: The ultimate guide to Chicago’s ballpark. “All the tips you need to feel like an insider.”
  • Bill Daley (Chicago Tribune* {$}): An inside look at new Big Star, opening in time for Cubs home opener. “a “bourbon and beer-focused, taco-slinging, honky-tonk hangout.””

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. Where to get my books.