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Cub Tracks’ bird has flown

Ugly skeletons, a big nothing, laser tweezers, and other bullets

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Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
Bears repeating?
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images


A BCB poster, FB friend of mine, said this:

And that’s enough of this for one day.

Something is very wrong with this Cubs team.

I didn’t blame him a bit. I almost turned the game off in the third. But I hung with it, even though the ship looked like it was ready to keel over for now and the players looked like they had been at the sand bar.

Let’s just get this all out of the way now, I said.

And I hung on grimly, looking stuff up for this column.

In the fifth:

“...hoping for a miraculous comeback, sitting here in the air-conditioned comfort of my living room. Dubious about the Cubs’ chances, though.”

In the seventh:

I don’t want to let them see me cry, as I said yesterday.”

And then, and then....

“You gotta be kidding me,” — Jim Deshaies


“Insanity!” — Len Kasper

“It is a yard-sale out there.” — Jim Deshaies

“Insanity!” — Len Kasper

That was so Cub. Oh, my heart.

To Al fell the duties of compiling the recap. You should read it, if you haven’t already.

Last episode, we talked about Javy-da-fé, low Hurdles, hot and cold running takes, and other bullets, and this time around, we have more about this, that, and the other thing. We have a rare Sullivan for you (it’s NOT a Pontiac). Sunday always means Beatles to me — I’m a longtime ‘XRT listener. Here’s a suggestion for baseball bat composition from Herbie Mann and his Whirling ‘Darvishes’.

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

Cubs news and notes:

“If we can’t give you an answer, we’ll tell you we can’t tell you. Otherwise the best way to disarm is … the protagonist from the Tom Clancy movies, the Jack Ryan theory … it wasn’t only the president’s friend, it was his best friend, the dude in ‘Clear and Present Danger’ … with the drug bust in the Caribbean.

“Why run away from that answer? That was Jack’s advice to the president. Where the spin doctors are trying to create this smokescreen to throw everybody off course, I love the way our guys do this, and they have our support. We’re all going to screw up on occasion and say some stupid things, but we try to keep it to a minimum.” — Joe Maddon via Paul Sullivan.

“I think everybody’s trying to settle into their rhythm.

“Early on in the season, it’s kind of tough, everybody’s trying to do so much at the beginning. Everyone wants to get off to good starts and stuff like that.” — Kris Bryant

  • David Just (Chicago Sun-Times*): Joe Maddon says Braves-Cubs game should not have been played. “I give both teams a lot of credit under the circumstances,” Maddon said, “because that game should not have been played.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Other good teams also have bad records so far – does that mean anything? “...actual baseball reasons to be concerned.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Yu Darvish unravels, the Cubs offense goes missing and what happened to that fast start? “...this is the only team where a new dugout and a bat flip can drive multiple news cycles.”
  • NBC Sports Chicago*: Maddon on why he disagreed with controversial Darvish balk [VIDEO].
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN*): Darvish’s post-balk meltdown unearths some ugly skeletons. “It was that kind of post-adversity result that led to so much hand-wringing over Darvish’s response to the big stage of the Fall Classic.” Yeah. I love ESPN.
  • Maija Varda (Twinkie Town): Darvish wore a TC Bear shirt in a Cubs post-game press conference. Did he know or didn’t he? How strong is Darvish’s troll game?
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Jose Quintana’s velocity was up a bit in his second start, but still lower than last year. “...he’s not been a guy who starts out slow and then ramps it up significantly.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune {$}): Anthony Rizzo’s return from disabled list on schedule. “He’s walking and smiling and he’s happy, and his work is very good in the weight room,” Maddon said. “He should be on schedule to come back on time.”
  • Vinnie Duber (NBC Sports Chicago*): Rizzo on track to return to Cubs soon, but Joe Maddon wants everyone to recognize the fill-in job Victor Caratini has done. “...Caratini’s 7-for-20 with three doubles since Rizzo went on the DL.”
  • Sierra Santos (NBC Sports Chicago*): Javier Baez shares the details of his engagement. “She Said Yes!”
  • Barry Rozner (Daily Herald {$}): Cubs’ Baez watches tiny molehill grow large. “It’s all a big nothing.”
  • Daniel Shepard (Baseball Essential): Kris Bryant is posting MVP-caliber numbers thus far in 2018. “...Bryant is slashing .333/.469/.588. Along with that, the slugger has logged a wRC+ of 188, 40 percentage points higher than his MVP season of 2016.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Watch: Kris Bryant christens ‘KB’s Cage’ at Sluggers in Wrigleyville. “ member of Cubs Twitter managed to register any points.”
  • Jeff Arnold (*): Albert Almora makes presence felt early after illness. “...he wasted no time in making Maddon glad he was there.”
  • Mark Townsend (Big League Stew*): Cubs batter’s bat flip backfires, nearly takes out catcher and umpire. “That’s what happened to Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Unheralded 2B Jared Young has right approach, could add power. Big and versatile lefty with a good bat.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune {$}): Former Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio has no hard feelings over firing. “It was time to move on,” he said before a game last week against the White Sox. “There’s nothing really to be said.”
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): In 48th year as Cubs season ticket holder, Haddon soldiers on through Wrigley Field future shock. ”Carol Haddon has done this from three different locations at Wrigley Field since 1971.”

Food for thought:

  • Shaunacy Farro (Mental Floss): 8 unexpected activities people have done in MRI scanners for science. Don’t try this at home.
  • Susan Milius (Science News): These hummingbirds aim their singing tail feathers to wow mates. “There’s more subtlety than humans have realized in dropping out of the sky so fast your tail feathers sing.”
  • Maria Temming (Science News): Using laser tweezers, chemists nudged two atoms to bond. “It’s the first time chemists have manipulated two atoms to create a compound.”

Thanks for reading. It has been our pleasure to serve.